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
Vision Critical recently wrote a post about customer engagement when it comes to market research. Market researchers are having to find new ways to engage their customers, as the traditional telephone market research techniques are quickly becoming irrelevant. Market research studies have started to change to realize this too. In person observation and interviews are often done in fun environments where consumers are interacting and engaging with the product.
What are you doing to ensure your customer is engaged in your market research collection process?
A Community Manager is one that motivates, educates and connects with your audience online. These individuals must possess stellar communication skills and they must be properly educated on your company’s service or product. So how does the community manager differ from a customer relationship manager or a marketing manager? Many companies are asking the same question. Customerthink.com writes,that if you want to ensure that your customer experience extends beyond the store to the conversation online, then hiring a community manager (or team) to manage your online customer experience should be a priority for any organization.
How does your organization use community managers in your customer outreach?
Learn more: Fire Your Marketing Manager & Hire A Community Manager
Let us know on Twitter @customerworld
This was a split session where we got to hear two different experts share their ideas about how to create loyal customers.Kevin Mellander, Director of Customer Care for Allegiance focused on making sure you get the ‘whole cookie.’ Creating uber-loyal customers requires four components:
- Quality Product
- Feedback management
Many times, companies will focus on the first three, but to get the whole cookie (in Kevin’s analogy), you have to make sure you institute solid feedback management. The main reason? You can’t be everywhere all the time, so you need ways to gather feedback.When Kevin talks about creating uber-loyal customers, what he’s referring to is customers who are engaged. There are three levels of customer: Satisfied, Loyal, and Engaged.Satisfied customers don’t necessarily come back to you.Loyal customers might come back, but if they experience a problem they’ll likely defect. Engaged customers will actually bring problems to you to fix. They’ll forgive your mistakes, and they’ll even wear your logo!Another way to look at customers is to categorize them as Disengaged, Swing, or Engaged. The big goldmine is the swing group. If you can sway even one or two percent of these customers to move into being engaged, it can add significant dollars to your bottom line.Engaged customers have some interesting and desirable behaviors:
- They buy more.
- They stay longer.
- They promote your business for you.
- If you mess up, they’ll tell you.
Why engagement is the best goal:
- It’s measurable ‘ a business asset!
- It’s a unique differentiator, built on win-win relationships
- It’s made possible through comprehensive VOC and EFM efforts ‘ (Voice of the Customer and Enterprise Feedback Management)
The world of feedback is complex ‘ there are so many ways to give/get feedback from face to face, to facebook. And much of it is immediate. We should always look at feedback as a GIFT. It’s a chance to do something.If you don’t believe that engaged customers are worth pursuing, consider this quote from a Harvard Business Review study that states ‘Highly engaged customers deliver a 23% increase in share of wallet.’The second half of this session was conducted by Bob Caruso, Managing Director, Endeavor Management.Bob began by asking the audience if they knew which company has been able to sell 20,000 tickets to their corporate event for $125 each in only 75 seconds (it would have been 30, but there was a technical glitch). It’s Blizzard Entertainment ‘ Creators of World of Warcraft.How has Blizzard Entertainment been able to create such a fanatical following for their video games? They create loyalty through ongoing dialog with their customers. They may be the only video game company that employs ‘game masters’ who you can access while you’re playing the game to ask questions! Bob challenged us to Develop Deep Advocacy through the following: Customer experience
- How do you think through the whole experience, even from the pre-sale moment?
- How can you serve them at each step of the customer cycle?
- Are your customers proud to do business with you? (I.e., Ritz Carlton)
- Determining the customers who WILL be loyal. Some will not, no matter what.
- Give people an opportunity to be loyal.
Bob also had some thoughts about how 2009 brought new challenges, including the absolute critical need to rebuild trust in our customers. Over 90% of people in a recent survey stated that trust and honest communication are important to them when doing business with a company. The key to building, and rebuilding, trust is communication.One of the most interesting concepts in this session was the idea that your behavior gives your customers a perception of your company. They respond with a behavior that leads to a business result. So you have to evaluate your actions and behaviors constantly by asking yourself:
- What is the estimated gain of doing it right?
- What is the estimated cost of doing it wrong?
This post on eMarketer highlights how most businesses and organizations have already adopted many forms of social media, the most popular being Facebook fan pages followed by twitter and then customer reviews. Yet, many retailers are still worried about losing control of their brand over social media platforms.
The goal of most online retailers is to boost customer engagement, and many believe that customer reviews were the best tool in driving engagement. One thing for sure is that businesses will have to learn to favor social media and not step away from it because there are no signs of it going away anytime soon. Here’s a chart below from eMarketer that depicts the most popular online social tools used by retailers. Enjoy!
Over at the Examiner, Scott Gringold recently posted a quote from David Morehouse, the President of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
‘We wanted to see what people thought our brand was in the marketplace,’ he says. ‘We researched people within the organization to see what we thought our brand was and then we matched them up, and as we are rolling into a new arena in two years, we decided what we wanted to do was enhance the things that are prevalent in our brand that we liked. (Then) eliminate those that are prevalent in our brand that we didn’t like, and roll out an enhanced brand strategy as we try to market this new arena and this hockey team.’
It’s important to stay in touch with your customers in hard economic times, and it is necessary for you to be engaged with all aspects of your product, including your brand, your customers and your employees. Doing market research, and staying in touch with all parties, is a great way to understand and maintain your customer base.
Jacob Morgan recently wrote a great post about why your business needs to be online. He pointed out that 1.5 billion people are online throughout the world, and they’re using search engines to find out more about what they’re interested in. Yahoo, Google, and YouTube are some of the most visited sites on the internet. They’re already taking time to find you and engage about a topic pertaining to your product or service. When they arrive at your site, you are already given useful information to determine who they are and how to target them: who they are, how they find you, where they come from, what languages they speak, what they click on, how long they visit your site, and what pay they take through your site.
iPerceptions: Online Marketing Research Tool According to this MarketWatch article, IDG has decided to utilize iPerceptions for many of their ‘online properties’ including Computerworld.com, Macworld.com, and PCworld.com. They feel that this tool will help them ‘solicit and analyze user-generated feedback from millions of site visitors in order to discover the issues that matter most to readers and gauge customer satisfaction with its range of content offerings, including multimedia and community features.’ Jonathan Levitt, VP of Marketing at iPerceptions had this to say in regards to IDG “Media companies need to listen to real consumers, in the context of real experiences, in order to understand and improve the online experience. IDG is a great example of a media titan that is taking the right steps to engage its readers and transform their feedback into tactical and strategic decision support that changes their business.” In what ways are the organizations that you involved with gathering and analyzing customer feedback?
As reported in this post from Church of the Customer Blog, BIGresearch conducted a study of close to 16,000 people regarding consumers use of online research to determine which products to buy. The results of the study, as shown below, indicate that adults who actively research online, are more likely to pass on the information that they have found.
|| Active Online Researcher
|| All adults
| Regularly gives advice
| Occasionally gives advice
| Never gives advice
Source: BIGresearch, SIMM 11 (December 2007) The study also reported findings that a majority of individuals, 72.7%, communicated their findings face-to-face. Still many others, 63.2%, passed on information via e-mail, where as 11.8% talked using online communities, and 6.8% used blogging as a medium. These findings indicate that while forums, such as blogging and online communities are starting to become more and more relevant, especially in terms of research about products, a majority of individuals still see an importance in discussing product reviews in person. Brad Fay, study co-author of a Keller Fay study, which concurred with BIGresearch that 75% of individuals communicate product reviews face-to-face stated: “Apparently, the value of eye contact, voice and perhaps even non-verbal communication provides a boost to credibility and the likelihood that we’ll do something about what we’ve learned.”
An important factor to business success is how effective your communication is with your customers, and potential customers. The main point from this article on Customers Rock is that teens may very well be using other forms of media rather than the company website to learn about new products. This survey (conducted by Bizreport) tells us that most teens do their purchasing in stores, but where do they find out about all these cool new products. That’s right ladies and gentleman, the World Wide Web. This blogger’s son actually had a tough time viewing the iPod Touch demo on the company site, and that’s when he turned to YouTube instead. Marketers must first find out where teens are doing their research for products. Then they must assess whether the company website has easily accessible demos and videos, or if they should put together a YouTube video about the product in order to reach customers. What about existing customers? Well, a simple email campaign letting the customers know about their new products would make any teen feel special. The way in which we reach teens is constantly changing. The simple truth here is that teens are finding information for products on the net, so we must learn to adapt to these changing times in order to effectively communicate on their level.