Making a profit from social media

Most of us don’t have the ability to buy Twitter; however, we can responsibly invest in social media and see returns. Hilary Kramer of InvestorPlace.com writes that there are investing opportunities that can yield big investment gains from the social media networking world. Persons can invest in public companies that have bought some of these fast-growing social media pure plays and are building and investing themselves in related businesses and public companies that stand to benefit from the explosive rise in social media-driven traffic, ever increasing time spent online and changing online behaviors. Hilary offers 12 Social Media Stocks to ride this changing wave of consumer adoption of social media.

As more and more people not only invest their time but invest their money in social media, will we see a shift in the way social media is used? From sharing personal photos to targeted ads based on social media behavior – what’s next?

Let us know what you think of investing in social media. What stocks or companies are particularly fascinating to you?

Restaurants using Twitter for customer engagement

In an effort to connect with their patrons, restaurants are turning to Twitter. Restaurants have adopted the micro-blogging platform to promote their offerings and specials; but only recently have they started using Twitter to fully engage with their customers. The Associated Press reports that chains like Chipotle and Pei Wei even have full-time social media employees. Previously corporate-sounding restaurant Twitter feeds now are filled with streams of replies directly to diners, in some cases performing nearly instantaneous customer service.

Geoff Alexander, managing partner of Wow Bao in Chicago explained his company’s Twitter commitment like this: “If somebody has 1,000 followers and writes a negative Tweet about Wow Bao, then 1,000 people could think the restaurant is bad. But if Wow Bao publicly responds to that Tweet, 1,000 people may see the issue is being handled.”
If you work within the restaurant or hospitality industry, have you adopted Twitter as not only a advertising platform but an engagement tool? We’d love to hear your thoughts! DM us on Twitter @customerworld 

Photo: Courtesy of Vidafine 

What are some of the societal trends in the next ten years?

In a white paper at Decision Analyst, they look at ten of the trends the see emerging from society in the next ten years:

1. The Emergence of China as the World’s Largest Economic Power
2. Global Demographic and Migration Shifts
3. Energy and Water Shortages
4. Managing our Waste/Reuse of Products
5. Lowering Education Standards/Less Skilled Thought Leaders
6. Brand Relationships Intensify
7. Short Time-Frame Transactions
8. On-demand Media Consumption
9. Extensive Expansion of Customization, Personalization, and Community Experiences
10. Youth Rules

How are these thing going to affect the market you’re working with? Is there another trend you predict affecting our society today?

Kmart to post customer reviews on store shelves

According to Kmart’s blog, the retailer will now put customer reviews directly on the shelves of their games department.

In order for the review to be displayed on shelves they must be:

* Helpful and constructive
* Unique and well-written
* Written for an audience that may be made up of non-gamers; your review will be read by gamers and non-gamers of all ages
* About a title released in the last month or so, or a more “evergreen” title (Example: Red Dead Redemption or NCAA Football 11) that will be prominently featured on store shelves for several months.
* Abide by the MyKmart terms of service
* We won’t post reviews that simply say whether a game is good or bad. Reviews that describe gameplay, graphics and storyline are more likely to be featured. (This way, we can cut down on any potential abuse of our program.)

What do you think of Kmart’s move to put customer reviews directly on store shelves? Will this help to improve the customer’s experience while in store?

Consumers watching less live TV

Market Research World looks at how young adults are moving away from watching live TV and instead moving to online television consumption. Overall, three in five US consumers are watching programming on something other than a television, leaving only 41% of adults 18 to 34 to watch television live. The most popular alternative medium is online, but DVDs and DVRs also have similar consumption rates. These numbers will continue to grow, as the youngest generation is feeding their television viewing habits off the tube. How do you think this will change the marketing landscape of traditional TV?

Register for NACCM by this Friday and Save $100

There’s still time to Save $100 off the registration fee – Register by THIS FRIDAY, October 1st.

We’re so excited about the 2010 NACCM storytellers and their amazing customer initiatives, that we just couldn’t wait until the event to give you a sneak peek! This week we’re highlighting Gina from Best Buy (who will be taking part in the Breakfast of Champions at 9:00 on Wednesday, October 27th). For the full list of speakers, click here.

Gina Debogovich
Best Buy
Under Gina’s leadership as the Senior Manager of Communities and Social Media Strategies, Best Buy has positioned itself as the leader in the technology retail space in part because the company isn’t afraid to take risks with new customer support platforms.

That means making social media a priority as a customer experience tool, instead of considering it an afterthought for someone to do in their spare time.

The company’s original goal for its online activities was to decrease customer support calls into the call center and reduce expenses. But new benefits soon emerged. More than 60% of forum posts are product discussions, something Gina saw as an opportunity to increase and influence customer spending. In addition, social media platforms help build retention and loyalty, and the user comments help Best Buy gain new insight into the customer experience. “Every contact is an idea”, she says.

Download the brochure for full conference details.
Register Today & Save!

Customize your Experience – Mix and match sessions geared to Leadership, Company Culture & Employee Engagement or Crowdservicing & Customer Experience. View the agenda-at-a-glance for an overview of everything NACCM.

Second-to-None Customer Service! Making the conference a success for you is the goal of the entire team at NACCM. Not sure where to start? Simply the download the conference brochure and review the sessions – still have questions? Contact our event concierge, Alexandra Pagano at MyNACCM@iirusa.com

Relax! How to handle angry customers without losing your cool

Sue Shellenbarger’s post on the WSJ.com blog, Work & Family outlines tips that customer service representatives can use to help keep their cool in the midst of an angry wave of customer complains. The post notes that customer service takes a heavy toll. Turnover ranges from 25% to 300% a year. Part of the problem is having to fake happiness, according to a German study. Call-center workers who were instructed to remain polite and friendly with angry, rude customers had elevated blood pressure long after ending a call, researchers found. Those allowed to react naturally and defend themselves were far less stressed.

Shellenbarger’s tips include eye exercises, keeping calm, keeping a vacation photo nearby, and exercising to alleviate some of the stress from the job.

In your work, what tips help you to keep your cool while staying focused on the customer’s needs?

How to Keep Your Cool in Angry Times

A Look Back at TMRE 2009: The Future of Retail by Herb Sorensen

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we’ll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

The Future of Retail by Herb Sorensen


If you missed Herb Sorensen’s presentation on on Retailing: The Return to Personal Selling, you should check out his book and blog. No one doubted his passion for the subject as he walked us through the “history of retail” before giving us his take on the “future of retail.” “The need for efficiencies” he claims, is the reason the retailer/consumer relationship has evolved to where it is today. “It has always been about efficiencies and where we are today is simply because of this.”

The following quote summarized his point: “One hundred years ago retailers ran their stores by watching their customers closely. Somewhere during the last hundred years, spread sheets, slotting allowances, and quarterly performane replaced the basic principles of the business.” Norm Myhr, Group Vice President Sales and Promotion and Marketing, Fred Meyer.

He mentioned P&G’s early “Soap Opera Ad” and Sears “Wish Book Catalogs” as examples of how we began getting consumer’s attention outside of the store when it became difficult to do so inside the store.

And now, “everyone is realizing the system of communicating to consumers ‘outside of the store’ is not working due to the fragmentation we have” {due to MTV, facebook, etc.}

Statistics he cited include:
In 95, 3 commercials reached 80% of women 18-49
In 2000, it took 92 commercials to do the job

He concluded with how he sees the future of retail, titled: the “Amazonification” of Retail. “Because Amazon gets it, that the selling is always about the closing… Amazon understood that they had to ‘close the sale fast.’” And now, “the real battle in retailing is between Wal-Mart and Amazon.” So, how will we get personal selling back in the store? By “pulling the internet into the store,” he claims.

Also, other tips he gave for “closing the sale” in the store included:
1. Provide only a few “Top Seller” tags in the aisle
2. Brand call out tags on packaging: “Shoppers #1 Choice”
3. To make it clear, you can only do that with 1 or 2 items

I think I’ll buy the book. April

The Explor Awards Finalists: ANZ National Bank’s Voice of Customer Platform is a Major Innovation for Customer Insight Programs

The EXPLOR Awards are back at TMRE this year! This week, we’ll be taking a look at the four finalists!

Finalist #4: ANZ National Bank Ltd

Represented by: Andrew Ammundsen, Head of Customer Insight ‘ Marketing Information, ANZ National Bank Ltd

While many companies are adopting email and online surveys to collect feedback, we have moved several steps forward, creating an automated feedback loop that connects customers with frontline staff around specific ‘moment of truth’ transactions. Through automated real-time email alerts and daily-updated dashboards, the program has empowered customer-facing staff to harness the voice of the customer to effect rapid, positive change to the customer experience. Automation has also helped generate large cost savings for the bank.

The 2010 EXPLOR Awards winner will be announced at The Market Research Event, taking place November 8-10, 2010.

Photo Source

The Evolution of Self-Service at Continental Airlines: Customer, UNinterrupted Spotlight

Jared Miller, Managing
Director, Self-Service & Emerging Technology

Join us for the presentation “Enhancing the Customer Experience through Seamless Self-Service Interactions: Evolution of Self-Service at Continental Airlines” with Jared Miller, Continental Airlines’ Managing Director, Self-Service & Emerging Technology on Monday, October 25th at 1:4opm. This presentation is part of Customer, UNinterrputed where you will learn to develop a consistent strategy for delivery seamless service interactions across multiple channels, with a focus on self-service, online experience, and technology.

Customer, UNinterrupted

October 25, 2010
Walt Disney World Dolphin
Orlando, FL

Download the brochure
Register today!

About the presentation:
Having provided self-service options to customer for 15 years, Continental Airlines and its customers have embraced self-service technologies and processes. This session will give an overview of the evolution of self-service at Continental Airlines with specific emphasis on the multi-channel approach adopted in the past few years. In particular, the session will explore the many ways in which the various channels work together to provide a seamless experience to the customer while recognizing the unique strengths of each channel.