Sometimes we need to be reminded that our customers are the heart of our business. Denyse’s article below serves as a powerful reminder.
Many of you know that you need to become more customer centric, to put the customer clearly at the heart of your business, but just don’t know where to start.
This week I give you ten simple actions to accelerate your organization along its path to improved customer centricity.
#1 – Review the description of your target audience
Do all your brands have a clear description of their target audience? Is it as complete as it should be? If not, then use the 4-level who, what, where and why model to complete it for each one. Include not only demographics and consumption / purchasing habits, but also information about where they do these things, what values they have that you can tap into and what emotions motivate them to use your brand.
#2 – Assess the optimum way of connecting with your customers
Do you know the best way to contact your target customers, as well as their preferred place and time to connect? Review how you communicate with your customer and what information exchange there is at that time, Is it one-way or two? Are you in a monologue or a dialogue? Obviously the second is preferable as you can learn more about your customer when they are ready to share their information with you.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
#3 – Identify the needs your brand is addressing
Do you know which of your customers’ needs you are tapping into? There is certainly more than one, but if they are not sequential your customer may be getting mixed messages on what the brand can do for them. Knowing where your brand sits on Maslow’s hierarchy can also bring more successful regional or global launches.
#4 -Make your customer everyone’s responsibility
Is customer care only on the objectives of one or two departments in your organization? It should be on everyone’s annual objectives to watch, listen and engage with your customers and to understand how their work fits into the company’s objective to delight them.
Identify possible scenarios to be better prepared
#5 – Plan for the unthinkable
Do you know where your business is going? Do you know what might happen in the future and what you would do in each situation? How would you react to new laws, new customer demands, and their new sensitivities such as ecology, sourcing or ingredients? It is best to plan for such events before they happen, so you can quickly react to challenges as well as opportunities.
#6 – Review your business plans for customer centricity
Are your customers clearly identified and described in your plans, as well as the customers of your major competitors? Review your plans by considering how your customers will react to each of your planned actions; not just the outcomes you are hoping for, but a true detailed analysis based upon your understanding of them and their desires. Have you planned any actions to surprise and delight them, or are you only relying on the “same old” activities, repeated from last year? People get bored quickly and you can actually “train” your customers to expect your actions, which as a result will quickly become less interesting to them. Plan at least one unexpected WOW action each year.
#7 – Expand your innovation thinking
Are you blocked in an innovation box, relying on your internal technical and expert skills? If you know your customer well you can offer them more successful innovations, perhaps through additional sensorial experiences. Consider adding sound to taste, color to services, touch to packaging, aromas to retail displays. Give your customers more reasons to stay with you and they will become more loyal.
Testing isn’t the only way to make great ads
#8 – Stop testing your communications to death
I can feel your shock as you read this, but why not review your process for developing your advertising? If you spent more time and resources reviewing how to connect with your customer, and then reviewed early stage work up-stream with them, you would be more likely to develop winners. It would also reduce or totally replace your usual tests just before airing them, when in most cases it is too late to change anything.
#9 – Define your image
Your brand has an image but it might not be what you think it is. Make sure you are measuring it regularly and not only on the attributes that you ideally wanted to perform well on. Review and update the attributes used to measure the perceptions of your category with your customers, and ensure you measure what is (also) important to them. The coverage of the total category will likely be more complete and you might even find a new or adapted positioning that no-one else is currently occupying.
#10 – Update your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)
You know that what gets measured gets managed, well are you measuring what needs managing or only the easy metrics to gather? It you know your customers well, who they are, what they do, what they think of you and your competitors, and then compare these to where you want to take your brand, the metrics you need to be measuring become evident.
I hope this list has helped you to define a few areas that need revision in your organization. Even taking action on just one of them will improve your customer centricity. Of course doing them all will ensure that your customer is really at the heart of your business, as well as in the hearts of all your employees.
Hugs and Shout out to Denyse
The SendOutCards.com/loryfabian system is a valuable tool that will help grow your business. Never underestimate the power of sending a personalized greeting card and/or gift. Sending cards is a simple and easy way to help build better relationships with your customers who will become life long, faithful customers. And those types of customers provide referrals without ever asking. In other words, free word of mouth advertising. (The best kind!)
As all bloggers know, blogging doesn’t only come down to just writing your post,
publishing it and waiting for reactions.
It is much more than that, but let’s focus on the post-publishing stage…
You have finished writing. You have also come up with a compelling title. What else needs to be done? Which are the steps you need go through after having published your new blog post?
The following article is a simple blog checklist to some of the more important, but often neglected blogging tasks that will ensure maximum exposure for your newly written article:
Have You Added ALT Tags to Your Images?
As you probably know, ALT tags actually the only way of telling the search engines that you have an image in your blog post. If you don’t add an ALT tag, describing what’s in the image you’ve uploaded, then the crawlers will see the post as plain text and nothing more. Having the tag and of course using it properly by adding relevant keywords can help you improve rankings. It doesn’t take more than two minutes, so just fill in the blanks after adding the images!
Further reading: “4 Reasons Why You Must Add Images to Every Blog Post You Publish“
Did You Choose a Category for Your Blog Post?
That is probably the one I forget about the most. Adding your posts to categories is a great way to organize them so that they are easy to find.
The best thing to do would be to get that one sorted out right from the start. Choosing a relevant category before even starting to write will ensure that you don’t forget that step. It’s good for search engines, it’s good for poeple, so make sure you get it done.
Did You Notify Your List Subscribers?
What about the ones who have signed up for email updates? Your list subscribers are the ones who have the highest chance of taking action. These are the folks you can really count on.
Email lists are mostly there to provide subscribers with exclusive content. That does not at all mean that you should not keep them informed about what’s going on with your blog.
Connecting an RSS feed and following the required steps doesn’t take more than ten minutes and it’s well worth the effort. I would advice you to use your post title and a prefix such as “New article” or “New blog post” as a subject line.
I discovered that messages like “New Content from *blog name*” don’t work that well. It is a bit annoying when the visitor needs to click on the email and wait for it to load in order to see the title of the post.
Did You Share it on the Blogging Networks?
The good old blogging networks are still worth submitting to. The concept behind such sites is voting on blog posts also known as stories. The stories that reach a certain threshold of votes get featured on the main page thus receiving additional exposure.
All in all the traffic you can get is not huge, but submitting takes no more than 15 minutes so it’s not a big deal. The 4 blogging networks I submit every one of my articles to are BlogEngage, Blokube, BizSugar and Inbound. The process is straight forward, you just need to paste the story’s URL in the desired box and fill in some additional details.
Did You Add a Keyword or Two to Your Title?
Catchy titles are a must if you want high click-through rates on your tweets (see “Titles that Get Retweets“), Facebook and all kinds of other shares. However you should also always think form SEO perspective.
I myself never put too much weight on SEO when creating content, but a keyword or two, clearly showing the direction of what you are going to present won’t hurt at all. After having finished with the writing part, check and double check if your title follows some basic SEO rules. Best, especially for longer headlines, would be to include the most important keyword right in the beginning of the title. Don’t aim for too generic terms such as blogging tips or social media, but rather try some more long-tail phrases.
Have You Pinged it?
It is always a good idea to ping the post after publishing it. This is a sure way to let search engines, RSS feeders, etc. know that you have new content ready for them. Pinging immediately updates such services so your have a better chance of your new article getting indexed faster.
This is also good if you have published the post, and done some modifications to the title. If you don’t ping it, it might take a ton of time for RSS feeders to update to the new title, while doing it will update it instantaneously.
The service I recommend is Ping-O-Matic. Once you set it up to work for your site, you can just save the link as a bookmark and click on it whenever there’s new content to be pinged. Super simple! Pingler (download as Firefox or Chrome add-on) is another great tool I use after editing an already published post.
Did You Share Your Post on Facebook?
An obvious one. What I do is share the post both on my personal wall and on my fan page right after publishing the article. I used to do it with Buffer (see “5 Great Twitter Tools“) but now I switched to just copying and pasting the link manually. The thing I didn’t like about the way Buffer does it is that the footer of the message is modified with some elments being placed differently.
For the two months of using that approach, I came to the conclusion that people don’t want posts from 3rd party apps on Facebook.
There is also something else you can do to get more attention and likes on your fan page. Clicking on the date of the post will load it separately from your stream. That way you can copy that link, shorten it with bit.ly and post it on Twitter. Doing so will get people to first visit your Facebook page rather than your blog.
And What About Twitter?
Apart from tweeting the post on your Facebook page, the best way to get initial retweets on your new article is to be the first to tweet it. Add something like “New blog post: *Article title and link*” and tweet it. Doing that once doesn’t cut it though.
If you want to get as many visitors as you can, you need to tweet the post throughout the first day of publishing it. That doesn’t mean bombard your followers with hourly tweets. However 3-4 times in the span of 24 hours definitely won’t be a problem.
StumbleUpon is Also Worth a Try!
I have been using StumbleUpon for almost two years now and I have received thousands of visitors throughout the months.
My advice after submitting there is to tweet the post from within StumbleUpon’s toolbar. Doing the tweeting from StumbleUpon will post the tweet with the su.pr shortener, which is a good way to get additional visitors. Then you need to share the post (again via the toolbar) with your mutual followers. Make sure to write a message, encouraging poeple to like, share and retweet the post. Keep in mind not to sound too promotional.
Hug and Peace to Reviewz & Tips.
Little things make big things happen. ~John Wooden
Ed Wallace, author of Business Relationships That Last, shares ny passionate belief that creating business relationships that last is the secret to success. Ed Wallace explains that even in the midst of technological advances, the one remarkable simple constant: business is still driven by people and relationships.
One story in Ed’s book, he writes about how the little extras can turn customers into friends. He talks about mastering the art of taking so-called simple business from a merely transactional level to the level of high-value personal relationships, to creating a memorable experience between human beings.
Ed writes that too many of us lose sight of the fact that we are dealing and selling to real people. A real person is on the other end of a call or an email. We may miss an opportunity to enrich business endeavors and life with the growth and learning that comes from true interaction with others. I totally agree, do you?
Ed Wallace’s The Principle of Worthy Intent is the inherent promise you make to keep the other person’s best interests at the core of your business relationship. At BNI, we call Ed’s principle, a Giver’s Gain philosophy.
Ed Wallace’s Relational Capital which he defines as “the distinctive value created by people in a business relationship” or simply put “the little extras.” Keeping the client’s best interest as your focus is the gold rule for client-facing professionals. This realization stood the test of time as Ed advanced through his career from inside sales rep to an executive and now a business owner. The little extras transform transactional activities into the relational attributes.
I highly recommend reading Ed Wallace’s book, Business Relationships That Last to help understand the most undervalued, least understood, most ignored, yet most important asset in your company.
If you do, however, recognize the value of Relational Capital, think about signing up for a proven low cost system that will help you start building personal relationships immediately with your customers. SendOutCards.com is an online marketing tool that will give you an added edge above your competition.
SendOutCards.com/loryfabian has both IPHONE and ANDOID apps available that allow you to send a note of thanks before you leave the parking lot of one appointment to head out to your next meeting.
Imagine sending out a “Nice to Meet You” card before leaving a trade show and include a photo of yourself? Do you think the person you send a personalized note to will take your call? I do.
Check out my website at www.SendOutCards.com/biz/128092 and start building your own Relational Capitol today.
Peace and Hugs to Ed Wallace