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Category Archives: Service Marketing

Just because you embrace new technology doesn’t mean you aren’t creating meaningful, shareable experiences

By | Customer experience, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

The more network your business joins the more you might be diluting your brand. It is more customer centricity, empowerment and innovation. It is imperative that you understand how technology is affecting the decision and behaviour of your customers and prospects and that you can adapt to to this new communication and engagement.”Technology is becoming an extension of humanity.”

“40% of top Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010.” Forbes 2011 Why? They don’t fit anymore.

Customer behaviour is changing and it is impacting the decisions that we make.  If you are not proactively designing the experience your customers have you can not influence it. You need to start with design the customer experience you want your customer to have and embrace. It is the customer’s ecosystem that matters not ours.

How do they communicate, connect, share, learn, discover, make decisions, take action.

We help you walk in there shoes, learn how they connect and communicate, how they discover and more importantly what they value. Strategic Service Design. Now is the time to recognise that your customers landscape is shifting and discover how to align to their world.

 
Mapping the customer journey
 

Kick start your business 2014

By | Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Service Marketing, 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 go. Is 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 goalsWe 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.Grow purposefully
  • 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! Here are some lessons from SmartInsights.

book first session buttonlearn more button

Other resources

Brian Tracy – Goal Setting

Vision Mission Values Template

Who’s Got Your Back by Keith Ferrazzi

Your True North Exercise

 

 

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:

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