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10 posts from February 2011

The problem with delighting your customers

Qv-110121a I actually have no trouble with the idea of delighting customers. But I'm concerned about companies that take 'delight' as a goal. 

Mediapost Marketing Daily: Loyalty Now Hinges on 'Delight,' 2011-Feb-7, by Karlene Lukovtiz

Today, the brands across all categories that are knocking the ball out of the park when it comes to customer engagement and loyalty have one critical thing in common: They "delight" customers with authentic innovation and an overall brand experience that delivers on consumers' key expectations within their product categories.

Before you can exceed customer expectations, you have to manage customer expectations. That sounds like something everyone would automatically know, but that's not the case. Over and over, I've seen sales people and customer service representatives delighting the customers in all sorts of unprofitable and doomed ways. When I had my own business helping sales people with their computers many years ago, I planned to install and train them to use contact management software. They were delighted when I ended up providing technical support for their mismanaged computing systems. But I was soon out of business, because I didn't have the resources to continue down that path. 

Deep knowledge of both the company's business and the customer's situation are required. You need a long-lasting value proposition that allows the company and the customer to succeed together. 

Saving the relationships you've collected

In today's dynamic conditions, it's very difficult to collect the people you know into one safe place. It's certainly not Facebook, and probably not LinkedIn. Years ago I tamed Outlook to my will, so I tend to collect things there. In the long run though, none of these will suffice. So until our "personal data locker" is ready, we have to find away to safeguard our connections. 

The GMail Consolidation

I recommend opening a special GMail account for yourself. You can import Outlook and LinkedIn contacts easily. I fetched my Facebook contacts through a Yahoo account, because Yahoo mail accounts can import Facebook connections. The free Contacts feature of GMail will attempt to merge duplicate records, and where it cannot, you'll probably see the records listed next to each for easy usage. The Outlook CSV format seems to go every where easily. 

Emails only?

At the free account level, about all you are getting are email addresses. But if your keeping more complete account records in Outlook, GMail or LinkedIn, you'll either get some automatic merging, and the data will be easy to merge. 

Extra security

Finally, once you think everything's in GMail, export that data and store it in a couple of different places. Now you have a reasonable chance of keeping your connections, even if you get de-friended or worse, locked out of an account. It could happen!

Want to do it yourself?

If you need more assistance in following this procedure, please comment and let me know about your knowledge level. I don't have time to do it for you, but if you can share your issues, I'll get you moving in the right direction. 


It's the age of social business... do you know where your customer data needs to be?

The most effective business web sites of the future must integrate customer data, and that means more than personalized landing pages and tracking visitors. The off-site data you collect must be fed into your web site. Unfortunately, few of the current small business web sites have this capability. I predict the next big wave of web design will be to integrate contact databases. Are you ready?

Qv-110323-cp Digital Life: You Don’t Need A Website! 2010-Jun-26, by Shelly Palmer

It is remarkable how many people still come to the online world believing that a website is the central core of their operation. Nowadays, that seems as archaic as saying that a television show is the central core of your operation. We’re in the information age, everyone is in the customer relationship management (CRM) business and that starts with a database. Now, you might want to build a website that allows your customers to access your data (content, video, audio, text, graphics, pictures, etc.). But you will also need an easy way to supply their needs on smart phones, app phones, cell phones, landline phones, netbooks, notebooks, slates, tablets, iPads, iPods (separate because they are not flash compatible) and a whole host of other devices that are out there and that are yet to be invented.