Customer Loyalty

A recent article at the blog Customers are Always pointed out the huge difference between a customers having loyalty cards and customers being loyal to stores. Just because a customer has a loyalty card doesn’t mean that they will continually be loyal to this store. To ensure that a customer does stay loyal to your store, you must give them customer service that they want to come back to your store for. What do you think? Does great customer service automatically guarantee customer loyalty?

Enter with Caution

Before jumping blindly into your business, it’s very important to determine whether your product or service is a good one. Beliefs alone will not sell products; market research not only confirms your beliefs, but it might also help find a manufacturer interested in making your product. Stephen Key presents two out of five options for market research in the beginning phases in this post on All Business. Here are the first two:

  1. Pull-Through Marketing. Use your sales sheet as a basis to show to potential licensors. If they would license it, then you have a good idea of whether or not your product will sell.
  2. Focus Groups. Focus groups are generally for those with bigger budgets, but it can be modified to work for your budget. It consists of collecting the demographic the product intends to sell to, and posing questions such as: Would you buy this product? Be creative in selecting a target audience. Stephen gives an example of going to the mall if you are planning on targeting kids.

What other strategies have been useful for your organization in the initial stages of market research?

Is Facebook a Pot Calling the Kettle Black?

The largest social networking site, Facebook, maybe facing a lawsuit from another social network called Multiply. Multiply has accused Facebook of copying some of the design elements as well as features. Representatives from Multiply sent an e-mail to ReadWriteWeb, that was posted in this article, offering up their reasons for the accusations

“Multiply launched its proprietary newsfeed in August of 2004, when the site launched. Two years later, Facebook introduced a similar, yet more basic, news feed for its users. Blogging, one of Multiply’s core features since launch, was introduced to Facebook more than 20 months later, and video sharing, a Multiply feature since June 2005, was introduced on Facebook nearly 16 months later. In September 2004, Multiply introduced photo printing services for its users, something that Facebook implemented two years later. In its most recent enhancement, “New Facebook” features several changes – both aesthetically and functionally – that make Facebook look and feel even more like Multiply.”
Another interesting point is that currently Facebook is involved in a law suit against a German social networking site called StudiVZ over the same issues that Multiply has mentioned.
ReadWriteWeb has questioned whether or not Multiply is just using this as a publicity stunt to gain more users, or is just simply upset that they don’t have as many users and feel that they have a better site. What is your opinion, and do you think that Multiply has a valid argument?

Plane Simple

We’d like to introduce you to our newest guest contributor, Joanna Brandi. She’ll be co-posting with the Customers 1st blog. Here is her most recent post from her Customer Care Goddess blog. I’m headed for the airport. Again. I can’t say I love travel, but like many, I make the best of it. On the trip home from Indiana last week I was stuck ‘ literally ‘ in the window seat between a very large (and angry) man next to me and the one in front of me who reclined himself into my lap. I guess when Delta put in those few extra rows (and took away leg room) they forgot to change the pitch of the reclining seat. Oh the joy of travel! I thought I might have a glass of wine to celebrate the success of the workshop I’d just delivered, but I was pinned in so tightly I couldn’t get my arm to the floor to reach my purse. Cranberry juice please! The man next to me vibed negativity. My guess he was mad because he was stuck in the middle and spread his unhappiness whether he opened his mouth or not. The flight attendant wasn’t too pleasant and that made it worse, but what came first? When he called her ‘toots’ I chose to close my eyes and visualize how beautiful the beach would be at sunrise the next day. Breathe deeply. I didn’t realize until I got off the plane that despite my best efforts, I’d been holding my breath. Getting off the plane never felt so good. When stuck in situations like that I do think people should make every effort to be as pleasant as possible. No one likes flying any more, why make it worse? The plane ride home was on my mind when I wrote my tip yesterday ‘ rather than ‘how to’ give great service I offer tips on how to get great service. We all need to practice what we teach. Take a look at my Customer Care Tip here If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

Privacy Still Remains an Issue in Online Ad Targeting

Businesses are continuously facing the problem that comes along with online ad targeting and privacy. This article on eMarketer discusses how a recent Harris Poll indicates that 55% of 2,513 respondents are comfortable with websites that have privacy policies which allows targeted advertising content. Respondents aged 18-31 were more comfortable than others, 62% approved of such privacy policies.

Marketers still can not ignore the fact that more than 45% of respondents are not comfortable with policies that allow ad targeting. In the future, marketers looking to advertise in communities and networks will have to address privacy concerns, as it will not be going away anytime soon.

Online Customer Communities Tips

Web 2.0 is one of the latest trends in business and is changing the way companies, and consumers are interacting with one another. Rules that many thought set in stone have become unraveled and it is important for organizations to keep up with the changing times. It is especially important for organizations to understand the nature of online customer communities and how it affects the company and client relationship. This blog post from ZDNet highlights some of the best practices for online customer communities.

  1. Put the needs of the community first
  2. Community is mostly not a technology problem
  3. Active community management
  4. Measuring success with community requires new yardsticks
  5. Consumer social networks, grassroots customer communities, and business-initiated customer communities are closely related yet very different creatures
  6. Customer communities do work as a marketing channel, just not in the traditional way
  7. The more that business is integrated, the better the community will work
  8. Growth will come, but not until a community finds its identity
  9. Mutual ownership and control of communities enables trust and involvement
  10. Most communities are highly social entities, and the rules of social engagement apply
  11. Going to the community, instead of making it come to you, is a risky but increasingly viable strategy
  12. Connect the community with other CRM-related aspects of the organization

Are there any other points that you would highlight? Has your organization been implementing these tips?

Ethnography is powerful form of market research

In a recent article at the Jakarta Post, Amalia E. Maulana looks at what role he plays as a market research and an ethnographer. He states the goal for ethnographic research is to capture the telling moments that reveal what consumers actually do with products, rather than what they say they do.

Tasks for ethnographers when researching a certain subject should be:

  • consumers’ lives in dealing with products; to look closely at their experiences with the products
  • to learn intensively about the product’s role in its original setting
  • to reveal what is in the consumers’ mind from the very beginning
  • when they first decide they need a product until when they finally buy and use the product.

The goal of the ethnographer should be to connect the lines between what researchers observed in a setting and what really goes on when customers are using products within their homes. According to Manulala, ethnography can be used to fill the gaps in between what customers are receiving from a product and what new uses would be of a value to them. Do you use ethnography when conducting your market research? If so, what benefits have you seen that have helped you improve your products?

What’s the difference between social media and a community?

At The Social Organization, Rachel Happe takes a look at the difference between building a social media site and a social media community. Social media, such as allowing comments to limited conversation around the content, creates communication, but rarely leads to a community of people with the same interests.
Happe cites these as the characteristics for social community: they’re continuous, members gather around a common goal, communities take on various conversations lead by different leaders, and different leaders emerge over time.
Would you add any characteristics to this list?

Speaker Profile: JoAnna Brandi

With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to begin to introduce you to the speakers we will have this year at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to JoAnna Brandi. JoAnna Brandi is currently the CEO & Publisher for Customer Care Coach. JoAnna Brandi started her career with CPM Media, where she was responsible for helping to create a multi-million dollar Direct Market Services profit center, building the first database, and on-line customer care system. After leaving CPM in 1990, she opened her own business which has successfully built on the principles that she had learned. Some of the main insights that JoAnna shares through a bi-weekly online magazine ‘Customer Care Tip’, which she authors, are on the topics of positive psychology in business.She has written three books: ‘Winning at Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ‘em Happy, Keep ‘em Loyal, and Keep ‘em Coming Back‘, ‘Building Customer Loyalty ‘ 21 Essential Elements in ACTION‘, and ‘54 Ways to Stay Positive in a Changing, Challenging and Sometimes Negative World‘. In addition she was a contributing author to ‘Inc. Guide to Superior Customer Service’, and ‘Best Practices in Customer Service’. To learn more about JoAnna Brandi visit her blog and read more of her musings. Meanwhile click on this link to see a video found her company website depicting her in action. We invite you to come see JoAnna Brandi at NACCM as she presents her workshop on Sunday, November 16th, The Positive Leader. Be sure to look for another speaker’s profile next week.

New Marketing Research Tool

A new patent pending research tool has hit the market thanks to Synergy Research Group as mentioned in this press release from marketwire. It is called Synergy Interactive Analysis (SIA), and is a web 2.0 tool that will help users ‘SIA leverages the wealth of market intelligence Synergy has developed over the last decade in the Networking and Telecom industries. SIA allows clients to instantly create any type of report or chart, using any unit of measure, for any company, anywhere in the world.’ SIA will cost users $499 per seat per service, and will provide consumers with 38 separate SIA Market Share, and Forecast services. In order for individuals to experience the value of their tool Synergy will be offering 2 SIA Market Share and Forecast services free, for a limited time. The potential benefit to organizations is that this will allow them to efficiently gather and manipulate important market research. As Troy D. Jensen, from Piper Jaffray stated “SIA is an incredible new tool which helps us quickly and intuitively access Synergy’s highly regarded market research. Synergy’s SIA research tool is a great example of what happens when entrepreneurship and technology come together. Synergy has created a powerful and easy to use Web-based research application that will enhance our research efforts and save us time.”