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Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Feedback Customer Journey Customer Loyalty Value

Do your customers feel valued?

OK then, it’s Valentine’s Day next week; don’t just keep this day for your loved ones, but think about your special customers in your business too..
man with gift iStock_000014527125XSmall
When did you last tell them they were valued? Last week, last month, last year?      Scary stats for why people stop buying from businesses (quite a few variations here but this is the ‘average’):
1% die.
3% move away.
5% follow a friend’s or relative’s recommendation.
9% find an alternative they perceive to be better quality or value.
14% are dissatisfied with the products or services.
And a massive 68% of people leave a business because of… indifference.
They take their business elsewhere simply because they do not feel valued.
Since you spend a lot of time, money, and effort to get a visitor to your business, if you let them leave because of indifference, you might as well be flushing £20 notes away.
Do you know what your customers think of you/your business and service/product?  If you haven’t asked them recently, maybe now is the time to do that survey that’s been on your ROUND TUIT list.  It’s such a great way to get feedback, build your testimonials and ask for word of mouth recommendations.  If you would find it difficult to ask such questions of your customers, then I’m sure I know someone who would be delighted to undertake this for you – just call…
Customers love it when you
Customers love it when you

  • know them, remember them by name and remember their preferences;
  • make it easy for your customers to do business with you;
  • treat them with respect and make them feel special;
  • treat your 20% VIP customers like royalty (more about your 20% in my Pareto article);
  • let them know you’re accountable when problems arise;
  • ensure they  know they can communicate with a live person;
  • deliver what you say by when you promise it and on the first time of asking; even      better would be to deliver ahead of time;
  • anticipate their needs, even before they do;
  • sort any problems that arise promptly and efficiently;
  • make offers clear and transparent so that customers don’t feel ‘cheated’ by not      getting exactly what they thought they were going to get;
  • grow with them;
  • and let them know they are valued.

 

Categories
Communications Customer Journey Customer Loyalty

How to give good customers bad news

A great article by Bruce Kasanoff on working with your customers when things don’t go to plan.  I had a very much smaller but similar experience many years back when in direct sales and the company supplying the goods had a strike and everything was delayed by a month.   No comparison I know to the below story but nonetheless, many of my colleagues were having their orders cancelled. I didn’t lose any because I let them know how it was and kept them informed.  “Simples” really.

 

“What happens when you make a promise to your customers, and then discover that your promise will be impossible to keep?

Many years ago, my boss at The Danbury Mint had placed an ad in Smithsonian Magazine for a 1934 Packard Speedster model car. Far beating all expectations, 5,000 people ordered the car.
The problem was that the supplier he hired couldn’t make the car to our standards. We were advertising precision die-cast models, and they were making cheap toys. He left the company, and I inherited the business.
Die-cast is not like digital. It takes many months to make new tooling, and then to produce the models. To make matters worse, I had to convince my superiors to leave our original supplier in Macau, to increase by a factor of five our investment in each new model car, and then I had to find suppliers actually capable of meeting the exacting standards we had advertised.”……..
Read the rest of the article here
Categories
Customer Journey Email

Sending Email Newsletters – points to consider…

Sending Email Newsletters – points to consider…

How many emails do you get pinging into your inbox each week?   

Which do you read, and which do you zap away?  

What makes you decide?    

Think about that for a minute if you will…  If you are sending email news letters, have you identified why, and what ‘success’ will look like for you?  

Here’s a few pointers…

 What are your objectives from sending your newsletter?

  •          to maintain communication with your clients and prospects?
  •          to generate sales?
  •          to help build your brand?
  •          to promote special offers?
  •          to generate feedback?

Maybe it’s all of the above? 

Ask yourself 3 key questions

  •          what am I selling?
  •          to whom and why now?
  •          what do I want my reader to do – what’s my call to action?

It’s all about permission  You need to have permission to add someone to your data base to receive your newsletter.  Meeting them over breakfast and having a chat doesn’t count!  I normally follow up people I’ve met individually by email, forwarding my latest newsletter, and asking if I may include them on my marketing info emails which are normally fortnightly. I then invite those I want to keep in contact with to connect on LinkedIn.  Don’t be too prescriptive of exactly when your email will be sent, or you may find you need to be seeking additional permission if you want to vary this.   Your email must also have an unsubscribe option and you MUST adhere to requests to opt out.   

My article on networking may be of interest to you…

 Why should anyone sign up to receive your newsletter – what’s in it for them?

People love exclusivity, be the first to see something (several of the stores invite their data base to be the first to see their newest advert) have special status, be able to visit certain parts of your website for information, have special discounts etc. And you need to remind your readers every time you mail them that they are your exclusive readers etc, lest they should forget.

Planning: Have you completed your marketing calendar for the remainder of the year?   I’ve got a ‘template’ here for you if it helps. Mark in important national days, important days for your industry, important days for your specific business and important days for you personally.  Build content and timing around these dates.  

Content:  If you’re B2B get your team involved – give examples of great expert advice, events and case studies. And of course industry news. Remember you want to be the ‘ology’, but make it human as well.  People ‘buy’ people and will read emails from those they know and trust. 

– give some information about your business and offers; – some about industry news updates; – and some about you/family/something random and/or fun.    Don’t just send a “broadcasting newsletter” about your business and its offerings…People will switch off and zap you away!
Use lots of links back to your website.  Research shows that the more links the lower the unsubscribe rate and the higher the click through rate (CTR).  Also a lot of people use their inbox as their archive box and it would be good if your email were so valued that it was kept. What can you do to make it so?  Include reference and data info that people will want to keep and refer back to. 

Style: Keep it friendly and professional

· review and cut unnecessary words

· write in the second person, ie you. Write as though you’re talking to your client/prospect and read it out aloud when proofing it

· vary sentence length and keep paragraphs short

· use ‘keep reading” words and phrases, such as “and, but, consider, however, for example, listen, it’s a fact, what’s more, “

· put your most important points at the beginning of paragraphs and lists

· can your copy answer the two questions “What’s in it for me” and “So What”? Have you highlighted the benefits over the features?

· list your examples in ‘threes’ – it gives a good movement

· less rather than more is a good maxim for copy length!

What order are emails read?    Well, research shows: · From · Subject Line · Email header and Sub header · Linked Text · Bold Text · Bullets · The PS at the end 

Which font to use? Sans-serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Helvetica are easier to read on line than serif.  This email is in Verdana 10 point

Create a check list: Send your email to yourself before sending out and ask trusted colleagues to proof read for you; it’s so easy to miss something. Apart from typos, check also that all links are working.  You want lots of links going back to your website.

Sending through your own email system or using an email provider? Personally I don’t see it makes a lot of sense to spend the time and effort in sending a newsletter if you don’t have a clue how many are opening it, who is reading it, which articles are being clicked through to, etc. etc.  Why would you want to ‘broadcast’ to an unknown data base in the hope that someone somewhere will find something of interest?  Really easy to use email providers.  Ask me for a recommendation (and we both get a discount off next newsletter!)  

Part 2, covering when to send, subject words to avoid, how often to send,  open stats, what makes an email show as ‘read’ and lots more in the next edition…    

Research is from several sources including a Hubspot webinar which used data from Mailchimp and focus groups. 

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Journey Customer Loyalty Marketing

The "Wow" Factor – have you got it?

Turning a customer with a complaint into one of your biggest fans:
The Wow Factor-have you got it?
Things do go wrong and most people are reasonable if a complaint is handled well. Handle it
really well and you have a fan for life.
When working in the mobile ‘phone industry, many things were out of our control and
sometimes things did go wrong but I never lost a customer because of it and instead they
always became my most loyal customers. Why? I told them how it was; what we were doing about it; kept in touch with them and eventually sorted it.   

Categories
Customer Journey Feedback Marketing

Scary stats for why people stop buying from businesses

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Journey Feedback Marketing

The Value of the thank you/good feedback

I received a great email from Lou Fletcher of Piccolo Property in Salisbury: “I love receiving your email newsletters – they constantly remind me of all the things I *will* do when I can magic up some more hours in the day! Good tip about picking up the phone – you’re right – it is good to talk!”

Just a couple of sentences; doesn’t take long. Nice to send. Great to receive.

How often do you give positive feedback and/or thanks?
What more could you do?

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Journey Sales

17 tips for selling in a recession

Written a couple of years ago when this latest recession first hit….

Trust is a paradoxical thing. It requires risk-taking when we’re risk-averse. It requires doing the opposite of our first instincts. Recessions are the same. The thing our prospects and clients want to do—cut costs, squeeze suppliers and customers, and scale back plans—paradoxically drives the recession deeper.  Trust is about relationships, not transactions. Thinking of downtimes per se is transactional thinking. Thinking of downtimes as one half of a business cycle is relationship thinking. And it’s what you do in tough times that determines how others trust you in the good times. Trust is based on being willing to put the other’s needs first. But in a recession, the instinct to take care of Number One has the same trust-destroying effect as selfishness does in personal relationships. And it hurts business development in both the short and long run. Building trust in professional services involves four principles: client focus, collaboration, taking the long-term view, and transparency. Here are seventeen trust-based tips for selling in a recession organized around these four principles.

Client-Focus Tips
Tip #1: You’re a practice area head in a professional services firm and project or client
relationship managers report to you. When was the last time you visited your top three or four clients? Go visit, with your client manager. Your agenda? “Just wanted to hear what’s new with you. Besides our own services, what can we do for you?” And don’t even think about charging the time.

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Journey

How well do you know your customers?

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself” Peter Drucker

Do you know your customers really well?  Have you analysed your customers recently and worked out why they buy from you and not the competition and why some customers are better customers than others?   What makes them different?  How can you get more of the better ones?

Without knowing your customer, your target market, the competition and how they compare with you, both with pricing and offerings, the size of your market, understanding your brand, looking at the positioning, featuers and benefits of each of your products/services, doing a SWOT, working out your marketing mix for communications for the year and putting it into a calendar, then the marketing efforts you do undertake during the year will be diluted.  No question.

When I talk about doing an ‘audit’ it really takes in all of the above and more to get a snapshot of where you are now, what’s working, what isn’t, what you’ve tried and rejected and why.  You won’t get a glitzy brochure at the end of it, or advertising flyers, but you will better understand what your business is all about and then be able to implement how best to communicate…  Email is still one of the most powerful means of communication but it has to be done correctly.

I wanted to renew the insurance for my daughter Bea’s cello last week so tried a couple of alternatives and then asked my original insurer to let me know their benefits over one specific one …. Their response?

“I do not know what kind of cover XXX offer, so I do not really know how they compare to us”. 

Hmm is that how you would reply or would you immediately know where you score over the others and be able to give specific examples? The golden sales rule is never to ‘diss’ the competition. BUT you do need to know immediately where your offering exceeds this or that competitor and be able to home into these benefits immediately, without having to um and aah and say you’ll get back to them.

Simples!

Debbie Newman, Armstrong Beech Marketing

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Journey

Do your customers feel valued?

When did you last tell them they were valued? Last week, last month, last year?
Scary stats for why people stop buying from businesses:
1% die.
3% move away.
5% follow a friend’s or relative’s recommendation.
9% find an alternative they perceive to be better quality or value.
14% are dissatisfied with the products or services.
And a massive 68% of people leave a business because of… indifference.
They take their business elsewhere simply because they do not feel valued.
Since you spend a lot of time, money, and effort to get a visitor to your business, if you let them leave because of indifference, you might as well be flushing £20 notes away.
Do you know what your customers think of you/your business and service/ product? If you haven’t asked them recently, maybe now is the time to do that survey that’s been on your ROUND TUIT list. It’s such a great way to get feedback, build your testimonials and ask for word of mouth recommendations. If you would find it difficult to ask such questions of your customers,
Customers love it when you

  • know them, remember them by name and remember their preferences;
  • make it easy for your customers to do business with you;
  • treat them with respect and make them feel special;
  • treat your 20% VIP customers like royalty (more about your 20% in my Pareto article);
  • let them know you’re accountable when problems arise;
  • ensure they know they can communicate with a live person;
  • deliver what you say by when you promise it and on the first time of asking; even better would be to deliver ahead of time;
  • anticipate their needs, even before they do;
  • sort any problems that arise promptly and efficiently;
  • make offers clear and transparent so that customers don’t feel ‘cheated’ by not getting exactly what they thought they were going to get;
  • grow with them;
  • and let them know they are valued.

Simples!

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Customer Journey Customer Loyalty Leadership/Management

Achieving brilliant customer service

The BT small business unit put out this bulletin in 2008 which I thought was good.

Achieving brilliant customer service
If you want your customers to keep coming back to you, getting your customer service right is vital. We asked the Institute of Customer Service to give us their tips for customer satisfaction.