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Category Archives: Service Marketing

How to create a competitive advantage?

By | Branding, Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

What else can you do to stand out from the crowd?

  1. Collaborate. Whether we like it or not customers are in the box seat. They choose to visit your website, view your ad or open your email and they can click delete, navigate to another page or change the channel in a nano second! As a small business, you are uniquely placed to collaborate with your customers. You can do this using social media tools like Facebook, and forums, blogs and Tweets. Innovations are best when they come from the customers because they are telling you (in many cases) a better way to do something! Invite customers to be a part of your planning. Creating a collaborative culture in your small business with your employees contributing freely can really help too!
  2. Offer Understanding and Insight
    Communicating with your customers could be as simple as a phone call or online survey. If done with sensitivity to their needs and not in an annoying five-page survey it can be something that provides great insight for your small business to change something that was losing you business or create something that will give you a competitive edge.
  3. Share your story
    Stand for something and make it count! So many companies still just don’t get it. People buy from those they know, like and trust. How can they get to know you if all you have on your website is the same old company spiel? Your potential customers are making decisions about whether to contact you every day. Give them the whole story so they can make a decision based on what and who you really are. Freshbooks is a good example of this. Remember, you don’t have to try to make your story inspiring, it just has to be real! Read Tell to Win by Peter Guber which tells the importance of storytelling in business.
  4. Make Work Fun and Easy
    How likable are you anyway? The journey, the process and the prospect of working together has to be enjoyable for you and the client. Marketing is not a one-off activity, but an integral part of the business model. Inject some whiteboards, smarties and have a sense of humour! All services have an opportunity to create a customer experience that is enjoyable.
  5. Be Customer Centric
    Step into your customer’s shoes every day. One of the most fundamental changes you can make is to step through the customer touch points in your business and consciously think about them. This awareness of how they feel at each stage in your process makes you change how you do things. Small businesses are best placed to be customer centric but it does take a mind shift. Look at your website, storefront, business card, flyers, staff and services from your customer’s view point. Now should you change something? The answer is always yes.
  6. Fail quickly but create an idea-based culture
    No one will ever get fired for trying something new. If you can create a culture where you and your team are prepared to try ideas and experiment you are likely to hit a few jackpots!
  7. Love your Employees. Would you want to work for you? Employees are the soul of your small business; this is because your customers can feel instantly if they have walked into a positive or negative environment. If your employees are happy you are half way to creating a great brand. Something as simple as bean bags in the coffee-room, a punching bag (good one Pete), and some nice flowers planted in the garden outside your office, can make a world of difference. You have to take responsibility for setting the tone and then allow your employees to add their own flavour to it.

These seven principles are simple yet very effective and can set you apart from other businesses. How can you take these strategies and improve your competitive advantage today? Love to know.

 

Are your touchpoints as smart as your customers?

By | Business marketing, Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

We can create, review, produce, consume, entertain, work and play all with a touch of a button. The digital age is has created The Age of the Customer. We are now in the boxseat as we have the resources to make us smarter than ever before. We now have access to tools that were only available to large enterprises a few years ago and what’s more they are very affordable. We are now empowered to make decisions and choose who we want to do business with. More and more these choices are based on the sorts of experiences that businesses provide.

“Smart customers are right here, right now. We’re not talking about sometime a decade out. Right now, smart customers can “see” traffic james two miles ahead – and avoid them. They can “sniff out” delicious food being prepared 5.4 miles away – and reserve a table at that top ranked restaurant in an instant. They can “hear falsehoods in the voice of a pushy, unethical sales person and recognise the precise factual errors he has stated – and locate elsewhere exactly the price, features and delivery they require.” Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will thrive and How to be One.

So the tables turned, the customer has more negotiating power and choice than ever before.  What does this mean for your business? I believe it means there is no where to hide and you now need to be  truly customer centric. You need to create experiences that are as smart as your customers.

Effective touch-points of all types—human, static and interactive—move customers closer to your business. Ineffective touchpoints push customers away. As a result, touchpoint performance is critical to customer experience. To improve it, you need to understand what touchpoints exist and how well they work.

Customer Journey Mapping is a way of drawing a map of your customer journey and is used to analyse, the processes and perceptions so that it can be improved. The visualisation of every touch-point or experience helps you determine how to optimise the overall experience.

We  help you  to see customer journeys, through your customers eyes. Customer eXperience (CX) mapping starts with understanding the Touch-Points across the current end2end customer journey and standing in customers shoes.

Example : Banking

 

Importance factors

banking customer benefits

This process includes

  • Map the end2end journeys through customers eyes
  • Identify pain points and moments of truth
  • Improve the things that customers value most
  • How to measure the real customer experience
  • Capture the true costs of failing to meet customer expectations
  • Get your internal Touch-point owners fully engaged
  • Pinpoint where to focus to improve customer loyalty
  • Identify new ways to engage customers
  • Re-innovate to define your signature brand experience

 

We can support you in this process by starting with mapping an existing customer journey and then progress to define the ideal signature brand experience. To learn more about how to get started with customer journey mapping for your key customer segments  Click Here to find out more

Online Mapping tools

Great news….Customer Journey Mapping  just got even better!

TouchPoint Dashboard is the first online software of its kind and goes beyond traditional mapping techniques. Maps are sharable with remote colleagues or anyone with access to the internet. This makes co-creation much easier and dramatically speeds up the total process of mapping a customer journey for different customer segments, propositions, channels and variations in your operating model.

  • %Organise all Touch-points
  • %Capture Touch-point information in one place
  • %Share online maps
  • %Collaborate with remote colleagues
  • %Change views with one click
  • %Map end2end journeys
  • %Create a library for proposition design

Book a consultation today to discuss how we can help you use customer mapping.

If 70% of us pick up a smart device to learn about you, what do we find?

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

They find youIn 2012 Google Published ZMOT: Winning the Zero moment of truth. I did an post on this in the impact of multi-devices some time ago. You might think that you have a website, so you are fine right? We now know that customers are checking out 10 sources about us before they engage. In 2010 /2011 the average number of sources used doubled. Now if we are booking a dinner we check out reviews like WOMO, ask our friends on Facebook, go to our Apps. When you are considering a purchase, what sources of information do you seek to assist you with your decision?

The truth is, we decide to share whatever we experience when you are not there and we use digital channels to do that. This shared experience is what others seek out before they engage with you. This social proof is more important than anything else in shaping our opinion. We are looking for substance, personalisation and a shared experience to guide us in our decision making. This is the Informational Experience. Jagan Neman in his book The Shift calls it the Customer Knowledge Chasm.

The ShiftYour website is not enough. The future of your influence lies in the experience. The customers entire journey they have with you, online and off. Someone must take responsibility for these experiences and design and define them. Understanding the customer journey is the only way to see what it is we don’t know and what is missing. We like to call this humanising the experience.

Businesses need to monitor and assess these experiences, and ensure to craft experiences their customers enjoy. One of the key challenges facing businesses in a social economy, however, is that the behaviors of connected customers are no longer congruent with that of the traditional customers they were originally built to serve. In many organizations, customer service is still operated out of a call center; marketing is spread across multiple, yet siloed functions that follow the linear path within a traditional sales funnel; and product development follows a roadmap that looks so far ahead
that it inevitably splits from evolving customer realities and expectations.” The Future of Business

 

Employee culture is too important to leave to chance

By | Branding, Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer Insight, Employee Experience, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition, vision | No Comments

Your culture can make or break your brand but more importantly it can attract the right people who want to work for you and can helps people deliver their best work.

  • Culture HackHave you considered whether you are creating a purposeful culture?
  • Have you got a list of values that are active and don’t just consist of lip service?
  • Do you make decisions according to your values?
  • Do you hire and fire for values?
  • Do you have a personality to your company?
  • Is it important to create a company you love?
  • What are our shared beliefs?
  • Is making money your highest priority or do you have a higher motivation?
  • What is your global vision and local vision?

Whether we like it or not a culture will be created, so why not create it?

Isn’t it important to rally the troops around one goal?

Resources:

Is your customer at the centre of your business?

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

Currently I am reading a number of books on customer centricity and the latest is Outside In from the forester researchers Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning. Their research has outlined that we are not managing the customer experience very well so far and that we should really have an inside out approach to business with the customer in the centre of all our decisions. Not only is this a good strategic decision but with customers now controlling the market it might just be a matter of survival. Outside In

What I really love about their book is how they define customer experience as every interaction that a customer or potential customer has with you. From the point at which they discover

MARS

Forrester Research Outside In book

you to the moment of purchase to each touchpoint in the ongoing relationship. It is this journey that I feel is so critical to manage and the reason I have built a framework on called  Strategic Service Design

Key Take Aways from the Book:

1. Customer experience can be a real key differentiators for your business because it is hard. The experience can  go from missing (we don’t do that at all) to adhoc (we sometimes do that) to repeatable (we have a process so that mostly happens) to systematic (We have process that is an system and we follow it).

2. It is holistic and involves not just your customer facing employees but goes across every process and product of your company’s ecosystem. It requires discipline, insight and commitment. Not only do you have to find the moment of truth and disconnects, you need to fix them and that is even harder.

What's wrong

Forrester Resarch Outside In Book

3. It is made up of all those little things that the customer finds important. How do you know what they are unless you ask.

4. A customer experience is not a nice to have, your customers now have an amplified voice and vote with their feet and clicks. According to Forrester customer experience laggards have a much worse growth rate.

5. Customer Mapping is a starting point to understand what is happening and rather than finger pointing, work collaboratively for the customers journey to be better.

6, Real change, that becomes a systematic approach needs to have an important place at the CEO management table.

7. Outside In describes six disciplines of customer experience.

  • Strategy – what is your plan for customer experience. It is unique to your business and customer
  • Customer understanding – you need to understand your customers and what they are thinking and feeling.Outside in book model
  • Design – Yes you can design an experience. It is how your customers interact. This is where creativity and customer centricity is vital to getting this design just right. It has to be practical, doable and meaningful for the customer. It is hundreds of tiny little moments that can make the customer journey memorable.Customer Experience Pyramid
  • Measurement – you need to measure it to manage it. Perceptions, activity, intended behaviours. You need all three.
  • Governance – you need rules and accountability so you can see where the problem lies and fix it. It is not finger pointing but team work.
  • Culture – only if you hire the right people with the right attitude and values will a customer experience become your point of  difference. It is in those little moments and interactions when the culture will ensure that consistently the customer comes first.

To me this just makes sense. It is a natural evolution from the information age to the customer centred era. Companies will experience the fastest growth if they commit to a customer centric strategy and now Forrester have the research to prove it.

Age of the customer

 Resources
Webinar

Customer Centric Marketing

Outside In website

Ready to make your customer the centre of your business? Learn more

“Your Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”

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

Jeff Bezos once famously said that your brand is what people say about you when you’re not
in the room. Today we have platforms that allow us to listen to what people of saying and these are really a gift. Social networks, blogs, You Tube, Review sites like WOMO all give us access to understanding and responding to customer questions, answers, experiences. It can help validate a decision. Crowd scoring tools can help us as well like customer monitor, sodahead ,1000heads and Buzzagent. Then there is Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and updates.

BUSINESSES SPEND BILLIONS AND OBSESS OVER FIGURING OUT WHAT THEIR CUSTOMERS THINK–BUT THEY SHOULDN’T. HERE’S WHY YOU CAN NO LONGER MAKE EXCUSES FOR A LACK OF USEFUL FEEDBACK” Fast company.

Collaborative marketing

We can see who are influencers of our brand and connect with them. We can learn about how to improve. We can create and steer future experiences with the benefit of this insight.

So what is the take away. You should be listening to what your customers and  employees and take action to improve your marketing. The information is out there if you use it. We spend annually $33 billion on customer research but today we don’t need to do that. It is at our fingertips with the digital touch points. Listening to your customers isn’t hard. We can test and make different decisions quickly. Stop programs, change your website within an hour or email campaigns. We can test and fail quickly and spend our dollars more effectively.

Mashable give us some good feedback suggestions. What happens if your brand perception isn’t what you thought it should be. What if your customers have a different understanding? What next?

Strategic Service Design is a great start

 

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