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Category Archives: Customer experience

B2B and social buyer behaviour

By | CRM and lead generation, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology, Online Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Selling Through Social Media to Close More Leads
Selling Through Social Media to Close More Leads
InsideView

This Info graphic explains some of the behavioural changes I am seeing in the B2B space. People are accessing, connecting and researching online and using social tools to do this. CRM social aggregators like Nimble and Inside View are giving a 360 view of customers. In today’s economy B2B companies are decreasing their marketing dollars and spending more online. A recent survey by B2B Magazine revealed that over 48% of those surveyed were increasing their online marketing spend.

In a recent study done by KnowledgeStorm of B2B technology decision makers the following statistics were revealed:

  • 90% Participate in Video
  • 80% Participate in Blogs
  • 80% Participate in Wikis
  • 69% Participate in Social Networks
  • 53% Participate in Podcasts

In the same study it was shared that of 69% of B2B buyers use social networks “primarily for business networking and development.”

At a minimum B2B businesses should at least be involved in communities and social network where there customers already are. Explore the opportunity to reach out to key influencers in your target market and optimize your content and social media applications for syndication.

Social media enables you to :

  • Share your expertise and knowledge
  • Tap into the wisdom of your consumers
  • Enables customers helping customers
  • Engages prospects through customer evangelism

Here is a video about this B2B changing space.

Co-creation as a business strategy

By | Customer experience, Customer Insight, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Back in 2009 I wrote an article about the intersection of CRM and social media. Basically,to summarise, I wrote about the customer driving their engagement with us as small businesses and the need to engage with them in the appropriate mediums that they choose to use. I also wanted to see some more aggregation of the listening touch-points we have via CRM/Social  (SCRM), so we can get closer to our customers and use this information to be involved in their conversations.

Jump forward to 2012/13 and as Paul Greenberg states “that we are now at a point that the customers’ expectations are so great and their demands so empowered that our SCRM business strategy needs to be built around collaboration and customer engagement, not traditional operational customer management.” It is less about transaction and more about interaction.

The disconnect I still see, is while customers have become in control of how they interact with us, we still are yet to make leap to map our goals to that of the customer needs and concerns with the solutions our products or services provide. We don’t make their agenda important. The end result is we are still in the large part transactional or commodity based businesses not partners or loved brands.

Examples of how we make the customer an intrinsic part of our business ecosystem  Paul Greenberg lists as follows:

 

“It can mean anything from customers and the company collaborating on product development, to customer suggestions on how to improve a company process, to customers helping other customers solve customer service issues, to even doing what gamers do and modifying game play using tools for scenario creation which adds value to the game. Co-creation is the ability of the company and customer to create additional value for each other – what form it takes is not always THE BIG THING.”

Co-creation is one example where we as small businesses can help the engagement with our customers.

 

Examples of co-creation is Amazon with reviews of books,  Nike in the design of shoes. Solosso is a leader in co-creation for men’s wear, making it possible for their customers to create high-quality custom dress shirts

that are perfect just for them, and do it for a reasonable price. Threadless is the same concept. At Threadless.com customers can send in their own t-shirt designs, which are subsequently voted on by the other custo

mers and visitors to the site. The winning design is then printed and sold as a newly created item/product. Again, consumers have a direct participation in and influence on the final outcome of the product development process. By the way, the winning design is rewarded with a cash prize as well as other benefits. Now this concept has moved into different product offerings including iphone case design. Keepcup does the same design concept online.

“The four types of co-creation

  • Club of experts: A very specific challenge is needing expertise and breakthrough ideas. Contributors are found through a selection process. Quality of input is what counts (e.g. Nokia)
  • Crowd of people: Also known as Crowdsourcing. For any given challenge, there might be a person out there having a genial idea that should be given a podium. It’s the Rule of the big numbers (e.g.Threadless)
  • Coalition of parties: In complex situations parties team up to share ideas and investments. Technical breakthroughs and standards often happen when multiple parties collaborate (e.g. IBM)
  • Community of kindred spirits: When developing something for the greater good, a group of people with similar interests and goals can come together and create (e.g. Linux)”

My favorite by far at the moment is Ikea for Business. What a long awaited idea. I want to design my space, pick it and get it delivered! Hooray Ikea you are listening. Great case study examples too!

Chris Lawer for the P2P foundation puts why we should consider co-creation carefully as a small business,

“Co-Creation is therefore just a natural way for organisations to help their customers meet their goals in the lifetime of use of their products. But they can only do so if they embrace a different view of value and start building back from the customer’s view of value, not the firm’s.”

How can you co-create with your customers? It can be a small step first. Even asking for feedback will spark some ideas. Ask your employees and brainstorm how you can co-create with your customers today.

Businesses are from Mars and customers are from Venus

By | Branding, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

A major issue all businesses face is that of changing their internal measures and focus from that of what they need to be successful to that of thinking like their customers so they can solve their problems better and deliver a superior experience. These mindsets are in conflict and the internal pressures of running a business often give way to only thinking about costs and sales which creates less visibility to trying to innovate, look at customer aspirations and developing a truly differentiated experience.

It is really a catch22. The more internal a company becomes, the more internal measures then I propose the more likely they are to deliver a vanilla or commoditised customer experience and as such likely to resort to cost cutting. On the other hand the more innovative, customer centric and in-touch with their customers a company is the more differentiated and likely they are to create memorable experiences for customers and thus the more they can charge. This video featuring Lior Arussy, Strativity Group President explains it well.

How do we reconcile the external forces of running our businesses and being customer centric?

Sample: Principles of Customer Experience from Strativity Group on Vimeo.

Understanding and mapping out the customer buying path or touch points with your team is a good starting point.

KickStart Your Small Business in 2014

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Is your business sucking the life out of you? What are your goals for 2014 as a small business owner?

There is something about the comfort of an old t-shirt as p.js or a nice pair of warm socks that keeps you turning back for things of comfort. I guess the same can be said for setting goals for your small business. It is comforting to just go with the flow, rather than set some ambitious goals that make you get out of your comfort zone. But without the end game in mind, your small business becomes a job can have you working 80 hours a week and sucking the life out of you.

As Brian Tracey says in his goal setting sessions, “success is goals.”What do you want out of life? What do you want out of your small business? What will make you happy? Seems simple, but most us seem to do what is easy or do what we have always done even if that means our business runs us, instead of us running our business. We put our heads under the doona and hit the snooze button, rather than take the challenge of changing and do that brisk walk when the alarm button goes off in the morning.

For me, to grow my small business and even keep it afloat it is about knowing what are the important questions to ask? It is being able to make the right decisions on a day by day basis that takes me that ideal company I have in your mind. To do this I have to be able to picture that vision with real clarity. Here are some aids I have found that will help you ask those tough questions and set the stage for a great 2014 and a business you want to run. A year that you will look back at and say, “yeah, 2014 was a great year for me and I am getting closer to that vision I have for my company and my life”.

  • Have a vision for where you want to goIs your business sucking the life out of you? What is it would you like your life to look like? John Jantsch Goal Setting Video is a must resource. John has a exercise of describing your business as it is 3, 5 years from now and what does it look like? Goal Setting I find it useful to have a personal vision and a company vision.

 

  • Set some realistic but stretch revenue goals. We all need money to live. We need our small business to provide for us. What do you want your income to be now and in the next 1, 3, 5 years? I do this every revenue setting exercise  every year. I sit down and write an amount that I need and would like to make. Guess what? I come within 5% of  this figure year on year. Each year I try and stretch the figure and each year I reach it. I guess it is because once I have a target I plan my plan to support it. I do everything in a purposeful way. As a consultant,I find it useful to set, monthly, weekly and daily targets that sharpen my focus. It is a real measurement for me in terms of how I am tracking . http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/ is a great tool for this purpose. I love Freshbooks.com for time, invoice and estimate tracking. (heaps better than MYOB in my book).

 

  • What do you need to invest in yourself to reach your roles

 “Success is something that you attract, by becoming an attractive person.” As Jim Rohn says “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Personal development is an area all about developing skills that will serve you well in growing your business and making better business decisions. An extra skill I have developed digital marketing have served me well. Podcasting and writing has enabled me to reach you. What do you need to be able to make better decisions this year. How can you be the expert in your industry? Invest in yourself.

  • Build a great team around. Zig Ziggler says, “if you can help enough people get what they want then you can probably get what you want.” This give to get mentality is already used in content marketing to great affect. We can no longer interrupt, persuade or buy people’s attention. We need to earn, give and educate to receive it.  Building a great team around me is critical to business success. I spend a lot of time on communicating and sharing with my team so we are all on the same vision with clear goals to get there. I also focus on having fun.
  • Get a Coach or Mentor. The biggest growth I got in one single year was when I took on a lifeline.  A Lifeline concept was introduced to me by Keith Ferrazzi when I read his book, Who’s Got Your Back. This is a person that I could banter with, share ideas, and would be accountable to. As a small business it is easy to feel isolated. Networking groups help but there is nothing like having that person who as got your back.  I am lucky in that I found this person just when I was ready and he has shaped my approach to business. He shares the same value set as me and I respect his opinion. However he has a different approach to me and asks me the tough questions and always has my back. I do the same for him. I remember interviewing Linda Hailey another successful small business marketer and she did this with her competitor. They would have lunch and share information, ideas and learn. Who can you ask to mentor you? Most people will say yes.  It is a must for small businesses.
If you are ready to set some goals for your small business and get ready for a great 2014 book in a session with me!

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Other resources

Brian Tracy – Goal Setting

Vision Mission Values Template

Who’s Got Your Back by Keith Ferrazzi

Your True North Exercise

 

 

Effective Marketing: It’s simple, just be helpful!

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments

Marketing your business can be really easy. You just need to be helpful. I always thought there was no real skill in being helpful, but maybe being able to think about what your customers want and need during their experience with you is a hard thing for business owners. Those businesses that are putting more energy into thinking like their customers are gaining a competitive advantage and creating or disrupting current markets for significant growth; e.g Uber.

Currently I am on holidays in sunny Gold Coast with my family and have come across a couple of great examples of how you can be helpful and leave a laSlide1sting impression. At the local Coles there was a new guide on the trolley which was a fantastic help for a shopper like me that isn’t familiar with the store layout (every Coles layout is different, right yes we hate that). In the Gold Coast I am sure that they have a lot of holiday shoppers and so adapting the trolley with this guide, a quick overview of how to find exactly what you need in this Coles store was incredibly helpful.

When we checked into our Hotel where we are staying the lovely Kaye gave us a couple of vouchers for cheaper meals at the local RSL and not only was that unexpected but very thoughtful. Today it is so much more about showing that you understand the customer you are serving or trying to serve and less about what you have as a product or service.

nivea-solar-chargerSkincare brand Nivea placed solar panelled chargers in Brazilian magazines. Lucky beach-goers can charge their phone while they sunbathe. There is nothing better than a free iphone recharge when your battery is down to 8%! Recharge Bar chargebarChargebar is a new company that has made a business by providing this service at airports, cafes and shopping centres based on the premise that being able to recharge can really be appreciated by the consumer.

Maybe it is time to map out your customer journey and see how you can provide some more helpful steps in their experience, it might just be the best marketing dollars you have ever spent!

 

Virgin Airlines lead the way with social CRM

By | Branding, Customer experience | No Comments

Virgin Airlines have recognised that maintaining their competitive advanVirgin airlinestage in terms of their culture is critical and something that the other airlines could find it hard to replicate. The friendliness of the Virgin staff has become a foundational element of their brand.  To keep this culture in tact has been a challenge as they have grown. 90% of their staff never sit down at a desk or pc. They needed a app that would allow the conversation to be mobile. They wanted their staff to be able to communicate effectively with staff and with customers. They use Salesforce’s CRM social chatter function to deliver this functionality and is a real competitive advantage.Chatter Hear from Virgin Airlines American division how they are going to change the flight time for all of us.

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