Building The Customer First Mindset

Agile is often thought of as a process when it’s really a mind-set (supported by processes, of course). Yes, it’s about testing and learning, and new ways of working, but at the heart of agile is the determination to provide the customer with something she or he wants or needs. That’s the point. Enshrining this principle across the business provides a consistent point of reference. But while almost every company will claim to be “customer first,” a closer look under the hood often reveals that internal efficiency or profit rather than customer need is the true driving force.

An agile mind-set starts from the premise that everyone is responsible for the customer, be it the CEO who determines the business strategy, the salesperson directly serving the customer, or the data scientist developing analytics platforms. You will only be able to embed agile ways of working once this becomes a core value, providing cohesion and purpose. This isn’t about doing your job better; it’s about serving the customer better.

The way a true customer-first ethos comes to life is through design—the process of integrating the customer point of view into all development.

This is much more than gathering insights or building elegant websites. It’s about building an adaptive learning process around the customer for everything the company does.

Getting design right is worth a lot. Companies in the top quartile of the McKinsey Design Index, which rates companies by how strong they are at design, outperformed peers in their sector in terms of growth by as much as two to one.

Here are two of the most important things the winning companies do:

1. They Make Huge Efforts To Know The Customer

A design approach requires solid customer insights to understand the real needs of potential users. Yet only around half the companies McKinsey surveyed conducted user research before generating their first design ideas or specifications.

One international pizza chain wanted to improve home delivery, a crowded market where consumers were already spoiled for choice. Data analysis revealed that one of the biggest drivers of customer satisfaction was how hot the delivered pizza was. This fact led the business to invest in “Intelligent Kitchen” technology, which determines when orders are baked based on the delivery address, driver availability, and current location, as well as road conditions to ensure the customer got a piping hot pizza. This approach grew overall sales 7 percent in the first  year, and more in the years following.

The best results come from constantly blending both quantitative and qualitative research. One top team invites customers to its regular monthly meeting solely to discuss the merits of its products and services.

And the CEO of one of the world’s largest banks spends a day a month with the bank’s clients and encourages all members of the C-suite to do the same.

2. They Continuously Improve With Customer Feedback

Continuous improvement is key to success for a digital transformation. This is the raw learning capability. You can see it in companies that foster a culture of sharing early prototypes with outsiders and discouraging excessive time spent on mock-ups or internal presentations. Despite the value of iteration, however, almost 60 percent of companies in our survey said they used prototypes only for internal-production testing, and even then, only late in the development process.

New technologies allow companies to uncover insights and test products in a dramatically faster way than traditional market research or focus groups. Digital marketing teams can convene online customer panels using video chats and watch as the panels test products and provide feedback in real time. One insurer created digital diaries to help identify customer pain points that would previously have gone undetected.

Similarly, digital companies can quickly A/B test new products and campaigns with thousands of customers in hours or days.

Agile Defined


Agile isn’t just a process. It’s a mind-set that puts customer objectives first. Team autonomy works best with guiding principles about what needs to be done and why.

Agile coaches are necessary to train people to learn new skills fast—leaders included.

Agile budgeting helps scale agile by quickly allocating money to projects.

Agile ways of working can’t take hold unless they are supported by stable processes.

Design thinking is the commitment to completely understanding your customer.

Contributed to BSI By: Arun Arora, Peter Dahlstrom, Klemens Hjartar, and Floria Wunderlich. Excerpted from their book Fast Times: How Digital Winners Set Direction, Learn, and Adapt (Amazon Publishing)

The Blake Project Can Help You Create A Brighter Competitive Future In The Jobs To Be Done Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

By: Arun Arora

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Shep Hyken: Customer Service & CX Expert

Go to http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com or call 314-692-2200 to learn more about Shep Hyken or to learn about customer service training. Your people attend customer service training. They learn techniques and tactics on how to deal with complaining customers, angry customers or customers who just need a little support. They are taught the right answers to some difficult questions. This is what customer service training is all about. But… What happens when something happens that is outside of the parameters of the training your employees have received?

4 Ways to Stop Attracting People Who Can’t Afford Your Services

There’s nothing worse for an entrepreneur than putting all your efforts into building a service, and a marketing strategy, only to continuously attract people who say they can’t afford them. 

While many business owners focus their attention on making sure they have built an apparent “fool-proof” plan to bring people in, they can still stumble into an audience that isn’t right for them. This can be frustrating because people don’t understand why, even though they are good at what they do, prospects aren’t buying or, worse yet, they are asking for discounts on everything.

The good news is that there is a way to stop attracting those who can’t afford your services and shift your attention and marketing efforts to bring in people who are ready to buy. It all boils down to having and implementing a brand strategy that deeply resonates with your target audience and allows you to show up authentically every single time.

1. Get clear on who you do want to attract

For your business to be successful and start attracting the right people, you need to begin by understanding who your ideal customers are at a granular level. The more effective you are at connecting with the right audience and speaking to their problems and needs, the more sales you will make. 

Getting extremely clear on who your ideal customers are requires going beyond demographics to truly understand the psychological and emotional elements that are impacting their lives, which will, in turn, determine their purchasing decisions. 

The more you understand your audience, the more effective your messaging will be because you will have the capacity to speak directly to them, and they will finally feel seen and heard. Pricing becomes less important when they see you as the best solution to the specific problem or need that they have. 

For example, it’s not nearly as impactful or effective to say that you are selling a program for women who want to lose weight, which is hugely generalized, than to say that you help busy women over 40 who are frustrated after trying low-carb, high-fat fad diets without lasting results lose weight.  Not only is the latter version a lot more detailed, but it also speaks to a very specific pain point which means that these women will feel an immediate sense of recognition and understanding.

2. Stop undercharging for your services

Many entrepreneurs undercharge for their services because they believe they need to build a robust reputation or have a large audience before they can charge premium prices. 

However, in practice, lowering your prices may end up hurting your reputation in the first place. If you’re building an audience based on people who are looking for a cheaper solution then it will be very difficult for you to make sales once you raise your prices.

If you want to start attracting clients who can afford your services as an online coach or consultant, you need to start charging the right price instead. Trying to sell a service by being the cheapest option out there is going to be a race straight to the bottom. After all, there will always be someone with a lower price in the market.

Instead, you want to set your price based on the value you deliver. To make this calculation, first determine what the outcome of the results you help to generate is worth. 

3. Position yourself as an authority

Attracting the right people also comes down to being able to effectively position yourself as an authority or leader in your field by creating a powerful brand strategy that will allow you to be intentional with your marketing.

Building an effective brand strategy requires having absolute clarity around who you are, what you stand for and the complete experience that comes from being in contact with your business.

It is fundamental to have a well-defined brand message that clearly communicates your value by showcasing the actual outcome that you help your clients achieve. What you have to ask yourself as a business owner is “what am I really selling?” because I can assure you that it is much more than the service you are giving them. It is truly about the transformation, the outcome and the results they are getting because of hiring you. 

Focus your brand communication on them and not on you. Many service providers make the mistake of simply saying things like “I am a web designer” or “I am a fitness coach” as a way to explain to others the kind of service that they provide. When doing this, they are focusing on themselves instead of on the needs of their audience.

Instead, you want to change your messaging to reflect the result you help others achieve. For example, saying things like “I build websites that increase conversions” or “I help women lose those stubborn 10 lbs” is more specific to the outcomes you deliver.

4. True brand differentiation

While it is true that it seems like market saturation is at its peak, in reality,  this is only an illusion. 

The real problem isn’t that there are too many providers and competitors in an industry, it’s that most entrepreneurs don’t know how to effectively differentiate themselves from others.

To attract the right audience, it’s vital that you position your offer as the best solution and ideal vehicle prospects need to achieve success.  One of the best ways to do this is by creating a framework, methodology, or process that is unique to your business, a signature system that distinguishes you and sets you apart from the rest. 

On top of this, according to the theory proposed by George A. Akerlof, winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and Rachel E. Kranton, professor of Economics at Duke University, in their Identity Economics book, people make economic decisions based not just on financial incentives, but also on their identity.

This matters to you as an entrepreneur because if you want to attract the right people, you need to effectively differentiate yourself from others while standing for something in the process. Today’s consumers are making more and more decisions based on their identities and how others’ identities shape their own. What this means is that when faced with many different options, we tend to choose the one that reinforces our beliefs the most.

If you, as a brand, aren’t doing an excellent job at clearly and succinctly communicating who you are, then you are making it way too difficult for the right people to choose you.

Putting the pieces together

Ultimately, attracting the right people comes down to making sure you are being highly intentional with your message and the way this message comes across. This allows you to transform your audience’s perception of you while bringing in the right people into your business. Taking the time to craft your complete brand strategy will allow you to get more effective results with your marketing plan as well. 

Fabi Paolini Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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Skillopedia – Skills for the real world

How To Attract The Right People For Personal Development & Growth | Soft Skills & Self Improvement Training | Skillopedia #softskills#selfimprovement#personalitydevelopment Researchers and personality analysts say that your personality is a combination of people you interact and spend most of the time with. Yes, it’s true. It’s imperative to surround yourself with the right people for your own self-improvement and personal growth. Now, that might make you wonder how should I attract the right people in my social and professional network? Where do I find them? Some people perfectly do that, they have the right people in their life who motivate and inspire them from time to time. This self improvement and soft skills training video would help you exactly achieve that goal. Learn the steps to invite, not good, but the right people into your life for your own personality development. You are watching this video on Skillopedia, part of Let’s Talk Institute for Personality Development and self improvement. We have hundreds of videos to develop good communication skills, interpersonal skills, personal growth, motivation skills, inspirational tips to develop self-confidence. A complete soft skills training catalogue to help you stay ahead in this competitive world. Skillopedia is a well known name in the corporate training segment in Mumbai to deliver best personality development courses for corporate employees and individuals. To watch such interesting videos and read the complete transcript of this video, visit – http://www.learnex.in/ ============================================= Our Social Media – 👉Facebook – @skillopediaone http://www.facebook.com/skillopediaone 👉Instagram – @letstalkpodcast http://www.instagram.com/letstalkpodcast 👉Follow us on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/letstalkone ============================================= Our other Channels you would ❤️ 👉Learn English as a secondary language http://www.youtube.com/letstalk 👉Learn English through Hindi – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtAr… 👉Learn a new English word daily – http://www.youtube.com/letstalkpodcast Some other Skillopedia sessions you might have missed :- 👉Public Speaking Tips To Overcome Stage Fear https://youtu.be/4-R1EHKmano 👉 How to AWKWARD SILENCE in a conversation? https://youtu.be/CDflqsRwUis 👉What to do when people Shout or Yell at you? https://youtu.be/cR_fjOtNqNo 👉8 Morning Habits To Kick-Start everyday. https://youtu.be/BQQ3I6ztO-A 👉The art of saying – I don’t give a DAMN! https://youtu.be/Hwkavu-F9r0 👉Communication Skills Training – How To Avoid Awkward Silence? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDflq… 👉How To React When People Shout At You? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR_fj… 👉6 Phrases That May Sound Rude. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv48j… 👉Start A Conversation ANYWHERE, ANYTIME https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPxaU… 👉How to be a SMART MOUTH? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fXja… 👉How to attract people like a magnet? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYxn9… 👉How to sound more confident when you are not? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJtcV… 👉Why People Misunderstand You? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcW9f..

How to Turn Your Customer Base Into a Community To Help Your Business Succeed

When people feel like part of a community, amazing things can happen. When people can gather — in person or virtually — they form relationships that keep them coming back for more. One example is the ever-growing — 1.4 million members currently — a Facebook group for the Instant Pot Community, where Instant Pot users share their favorite recipes and latest trials and errors. People visit that page, sometimes multiple times a day. It’s a community. And people love it.

There are ways that you can create this type of following for your product or service too. Bond your customers together so they keep you and your business top of mind by reminding one another. Here are some ways you can implement this. 

Related: 4 Reasons Why Focusing on Community Is Your Best Marketing Strategy

1. Have a place where your customers or clients can connect and help one another

If your product or service solves a problem, there’s one thing all your customers have in common: They’re looking for a solution. And while that’s exactly what you provide, they can also mindshare and connect with like-minded people. Think of it this way: If your product is an email tracking software, your target customer or client base likely consists of salespeople or anyone who frequently sends cold emails. Use that knowledge to host a group or forum where people can share their best tips for cold emailing, follow-ups, etc. 

This is what Sergej Heck, the founder of PEAK Tech does. “We bring blockchain companies together into a community so they can network and help one another,” Heck explained. “These companies all have low visibility so they need each other’s help.” He encourages other business owners to consider what they’re giving to the community. It’s not enough to just have one place where everyone can converse. That could be a community manager who poses discussion questions and offers resources, or there could be something else of value that’s continually given. “We both educate our community and share profits with them,” added Heck. 

2. Create a system where the customer base holds each other accountable

Andrew James is the founder of Oasis, a company that helps businesses scale their marketing by connecting them with commission-based affiliates. James says that by building a community, they are better able to secure results for their customers. “We put such a big emphasis on building solid communities inside of our product because we found that if someone is going to get results, most of the time they need support. In our case, we have courses, which is the info they need to get results. The question is, ‘why doesn’t everyone get results if everyone has access to the same information?'” The answer is simple. “Most people don’t execute,” James added. “Maybe they’re scared or they don’t have a support system. So, we shifted our focus to building supportive communities.” 

James said right after they shifted focus, the results his customers were seeing from the products “sky-rocketed because people were actually going through using the product and staying engaged and focused.” If your product educates or encourages your clients to do something, it’s great to have accountability built into your community. Ask customers to share their progress or tips.  

Related: How to Create a Community Among Your Customers

3. Create a centralized hub for education

How you get customers to stick around matters. In addition to letting the community foster itself through discussion and the sharing of resources and tips, consider how you can offer educational content of your own. According to smile.io, this is what fitness apparel company GymShark does via its blog.

“With articles loaded with tips, tutorials and exercises, their blog is jam-packed full of health and fitness-related information that has clearly positioned them as their members’ go-to source for anything health and fitness related,” said author Tim Peckover. “This makes it easy for customers to decide to purchase their products as a way of strengthening their connection with the fitness community.”

Especially if you do any type of content marketing, consider how it can feed back to a centralized place where your customers, not just your prospects, can get information. This way, if conversation lulls, a new piece of educational content (via an article, video, podcast, or whatever you prefer) can bring customers back to the community. 

There are many online platforms that can help you get a head start on this community — a Facebook group, a newsletter, Patreon, or a hosted forum right on your website. This is how one-time customers turn to lifelong customers and new prospects can feel like they’re part of something bigger when they stumble across your company for the first time. Community is a powerful tool to ensure you’re keeping in touch with all of your customer base.

By: Imran Tariq Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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Fortune Magazine 102K subscribers ONE ON ONE How to turn your customers into a community Christine Day, CEO, lululemon athletica Interviewer: Jennifer Reingold, Fortune

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5 Tips For Entrepreneurs Tco Better Serve Their Potential Customers

If McKinsey & Company insights from July are any indication, consumers have rediscovered their power in the pandemic. Due to a combination of product shortages, economic and job concerns, along with a general willingness to change their purchasing behaviors, 75 percent of shoppers say they’ve behaved differently since coronavirus began spreading. In many cases, their new purchasing habits have led to exposure to unfamiliar brands.

This is a huge boon, especially for entrepreneurs trying to disrupt a market or industry. Under ordinary circumstances, getting consumers to move away from their favorite companies’ products and services can be challenging. However, with so much general uncertainty in the world, customers have become increasingly open-minded about giving untested organizations a chance to wow them.

If your startup or small business hasn’t been ocusing on customer service, the time couldn’t be better to put on a huge customer-centric push. However, you need to make sure you have the infrastructure, protocols and tools to be certain that your brand’s first impression is nothing short of powerfully awesome.

Below are a few ways to up your game when it comes to serving current and prospective patrons.

1. Leverage tech to ensure your sales time is nimble and responsive

Your sales team can’t afford to drop the ball anywhere or any time, particularly when customers are moving so freely from one product to the next. Mixmax, a sales engagement tool, boasts the time management benefits of utilizing key sales tools which can help your sales team focus less on tedious tasks and more on prospecting. Ensure they have the resources they need to carry customers from lead generation to conversion by investing in the best tech stack for your needs and goals.

What type of solutions might make sense? If you’re focused on improving the responsiveness of your salespeople no matter if they’re working from home or the office, you might opt for higher-end telephone and videoconferencing software that integrates most forms of visual and audio communication. On the other hand, maybe you want to streamline the information your prospective customers receive. In that case, you may be more interested in adding a secure contract management system into your toolkit.

Related: How the Sales Process Has Drastically Evolved to Fit the Future

2. Centralize knowledge so anyone can be a customer-service star

Nothing frustrates customers quite as much as not being able to get quick answers to their questions. A fast way to ensure that anyone in your business can solve a client’s issues is to establish a centralized knowledge-management database that can be housed on your intranet or another piece of cloud-based software. You may even want to include a corporate wiki so employees can find any information with only one login.

By giving everyone on your team access to customer information such as buying history, touchpoints and other data, you avoid having to bounce consumers between service representatives. Centralized knowledge-management systems can also be invaluable if you’ve moved some or all of your workforce remote. 

3. Channel your inner Nostradamus and foretell customer questions

You want to make finding answers to potential questions as easy as possible for customers. In fact, according to Drift’s 2020 State of Conversational Marketing Report, 34 percent of consumers cite not being able to find the information they need online as their highest customer-service snag. Rather than forcing would-be buyers to hunt around for the solutions they want, begin peppering your site with rich content that gives them the insight they crave. It’s appealing to a lot of customers to be able to solve their own problems, and they’ll appreciate finding answers fast.

What should your content look like? Ideally, you should have a variety of content FAQs on your website. The content can take the shape of videos, written copy, images, blueprints, schematics, how-to charts or even GIFs. Whatever you feel will be helpful needs to have a home on your site. Of course, you may want a more traditional page dedicated to the biggest FAQs your sales folks and customer experience (CX) personnel hear. Just make sure your FAQs stay up-to-date and don’t become stale or irrelevant.

Related: 5 Tips to Help You Create Great Content While Working From Home

4. Stay alert on social media

Spend a little time social listening, and you may just figure out exactly what your customers want. And you’ll be in good company: More than half of companies are currently using social media listening to get real-time consumer information. To be sure, many customers will talk about what they didn’t enjoy about a CX. However, their honesty is exactly what you need to hear and read. Add social listening to your sales and marketing plan today. That way, you can respond quickly if you notice that a customer is unhappy with you or, better yet, with a competitor.

For example, you might discover a critical review of your latest gadgetry on Twitter. Treat this knowledge as the opportunity to jump in and resolve the problem. Connect with the user publicly or in private and work together to solve the issue. Most people are willing to work with companies to get what they want. And you could end up turning a disgruntled buyer into a raving fan if you’re fast on the draw, take crisis management seriously and empower your CX team to do what’s right in every unique situation.

5. Make being your customer a rewarding, one-of-a-kind adventure.

Why do shoppers rave about Apple, Lululemon or Southwest Airlines? Though their products and services do tend to be well-considered, the key to the brands’ almost cult followings is the culture. Wanting to be part of a community is a basic human desire, and certain companies have made being their loyal customer an amazing experience.

If you’re trying to develop a fierce following of fanatics who wouldn’t think of going anywhere else, consider the user experience from start to finish. Look for opportunities for you to go above and beyond expectations to make shopping with you not just a pleasure, but a must-do. You might just end up building a society of kindred spirits like BMW did with its MINI series of vehicles. MINI drivers consider themselves part of a movement and collective, and the brand promotes this camaraderie on their site. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the “in” crowd?

Related: How to Earn Your Clients’ Trust (and Keep It)

Customers are moving around like never before and into a phase of discovery. Meet them where they are, and amaze them with a CX unlike any they’ve had before. They’ll be more likely to rave, not to mention stick with your organization for the long haul.

By: https://www.entrepreneur.com/

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Kimberly Ann Jimenez

Find clients for your service-based business! In this series, we’re covering how to launch, grow and scale your online service business. 💸💸 ***Join The Early Bird List For The Savvy Online Selling Course DROP for FREE 👉 https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/earlyb… **Catch the entire series business series: http://bit.ly/2KwtZiE 💻Get My Best Work In One Place (And 30+ Business & Marketing Courses) Inside The Business Lounge: http://jointheblounge.com Get in-depth, practical examples of today’s episode over on the blog: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/2019/0… 📺 WATCH MORE ONLINE BUSINESS TRAINING VIDEOS: http://bit.ly/2KwtZiE ▼ GRAB THESE FREEBIES Learn How To Sell More On Your Blog Via My Brand New, Free Masterclass: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/blog-c… The Online Success Path, a step-by-step guide to launching, growing and scaling the profitable online business you’ve always dreamed about: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/succes… How To Start A Blog Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAgJg… Learn Content Marketing Playlist:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5gui… ▼ NEW AROUND HERE? START HERE. Run Facebook Ads On A Budget: http://bit.ly/mystrategyforfbads 5 Steps To Start An Email List From Scratch: http://bit.ly/2wgV8hT 6 Stages Of A Successful Online Business: http://bit.ly/2x5CTsR ▼ MORE RESOURCES Don’t forget to subscribe to our Podcast! : https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/podcast/ Come on over and join The Business Lounge’s FREE Mastermind Group: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/master… Learn to launch, grow or scale a profitable online business without spending thousands on a business coach. It’s my best work in one place. http://jointheblounge.com ▼GEAR I USE: Main Camera Beast: https://amzn.to/2ALA2fQ Buttery Wide Camera Lens of Life: https://amzn.to/3bN9K9N My Favorite Studio/Portrait Lens Ever: https://amzn.to/2WOGcEt Crispy Lucious Microphone: https://amzn.to/2zekiBx Softbox Light For Glowy Skin: https://amzn.to/2XhPE2l Most Reliable Tripod: https://amzn.to/36d2NOa Most Versatile Tripod: https://amzn.to/2XckysF More recommended gear for any kind of budget: https://kit.co/kimannjimenez ▼ FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimAnnJimenez/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/kimannjimenez Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kimannjimenez Instagram: http://instagram.com/kimannjimenez

How Data Can Help You Understand Evolving Customer Expectations In The New Normal

How well do you understand your customers? Whether your brand is B2B or B2C, your customers expect seamless, omnichannel experiences. Especially during the Covid-19 crisis, customers expect brands to offer value, relevant products and services, and to grow with them as their needs evolve.

The pandemic has taught businesses that staying relevant in a time of crisis requires a deep, holistic understanding of the customer, and an openness to new ways of doing business. To stay ahead of such rapid change, customer intelligence and data is more important than ever. From remapping and re-creating customer journeys, to developing more accurate forecasting models, all businesses need a data and analytics strategy that allows everyone in the organization to see customers needs in real time and build scenarios, identify gaps, stress-test ideas and improve results with actionable insights.

Your customer is expecting you to lead, and it’s never been more important for your brand to address their pain points and deliver exceptional experiences.

Meeting the customer where they are

While the long-term economic and societal impacts of the pandemic are yet to be fully understood, customer attitudes and behaviors have already shifted in profound ways, and some of these changes are predicted to continue into the future. Recent consumer surveys reveal how rapidly behaviors are evolving:

  • 68% of people report that the pandemic has changed the products and services they think are important
  • 75% of people using digital channels for the first time will continue to do so
  • In Italy, e-commerce sales for consumer products rose 81% in a single week and in the UK, 20% of people say they won’t buy fashion in-store again

In the retail sector, the shift to online buying and direct-to-consumer selling, coupled with a decrease in discretionary spending and flat sales for net-new products, has forced businesses to change their business models overnight. Traditional B2B businesses like financial services organizations are not far behind, augmenting existing sales and service models so they can better serve customers remotely. In the healthcare sector, patients can now choose telehealth as a standard alternative to an in-person visit—and adoption has been swift: one of Europe’s largest telehealth providers, KRY International, has seen a 200 percent increase in registrations. Government agencies and educational institutions are also finding ways to deliver their services in a virtual world.

But meeting the customer “where they are” is not just smart business—it’s essential for survival. Business segments that aren’t responding to changing customer preferences by accelerating their own digital transformations will be left behind. And a central part of transformation includes prioritizing customer analytics.

In today’s competitive and uncertain market environment, your advantage lies in understanding what resonates with your customers. How businesses choose to respond will influence buying decisions today and in the future.

Goal: a complete picture of your customer

What kinds of customer experience metrics are valuable in order to gain understanding of your customer? To create baseline analyses, you need behavioral, transactional, and feedback metrics. And as Gartner points out, more frequent, real-time monitoring of customer metrics is essential during this crisis, since attitudes are changing so rapidly. Useful metrics include:

  • Customer satisfaction scores
  • Customer effort scores
  • Net promoter scores
  • Customer call volume and types of queries
  • Website behavior
  • Point-of-sale data
  • Geospatial data
  • Social media sentiment
  • Employee feedback

Every business, regardless of industry segment, should also expect to field new questions from customers about products, logistics, inventory, supply chain, and operations—and every business needs to be prepared to capture this feedback and respond.

01. Strategic Dashboard

Potential Users: C-Suite, VP, DirectorObjectives: At-a-glance cohesive data storyInsight Examples: Performance and comparison metrics tracked against enterprise goalsExample: Executive Summary dashboard

02. Tactical Dashboard

Potential Users: Analysts, Brand ManagersObjectives: Granular, in-depth analysesInsight Examples: Identify trends, monitor processes supporting strategic objectives, create targets and predictionsExample: E-commerce Marketing Optimization dashboard

03. Operational Dashboard

Potential Users: CRM Support Teams, Website Managers, Marketing ManagersObjectives: High-level, real-time monitoring and managementInsight Examples: Retail and customer satisfaction KPIs, marketing campaign performance, inventory statusExample: Store-level Product Availability dashboard

Know your customer, know your business

Things definitely look different now, and they are different. When every aspect of your operation is under scrutiny, you need information, quickly, to make the right decisions for your business and your customers. Understanding customers and their expectations has always been a priority for businesses looking to create competitive advantage, but the pandemic has proven that businesses must have an even stronger line of sight into what their customers need.

You need to be prepared to proactively respond to rapidly-evolving behaviors and perceptions. As David Leonhardt notes in a recent New York Times op-ed, “When the economy weakens, people have to make decisions about where to pull back.” By using data insights to understand and adapt to new realities, you can give your customers reasons to remain loyal and eliminate some of the uncertainty facing your business.

What untapped insights are waiting to be discovered in your customer data?

Tableau

Tableau

From connection through collaboration, Tableau is the most powerful, secure, and flexible end-to-end analytics platform for your data. Elevate people with the power of data. Designed for the individual, but scaled for the enterprise, Tableau is the only business intelligence platform that turns your data into insights that drive action.

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Launching a Direct to Consumer Brand? Here Are the 8 Success Secrets

One of my favorite aspects of my job is helping founders bring their vision to life and launch their brands.  Yes, it’s absolutely exciting to work with a brand when they’re already established, but being in those first meetings developing a go-to-market strategy for a brand that’s so new you can still smell the adhesive on their package just hits different. You can hear the heart of the brand beat with every new headline, and watch the founding team grin from ear to ear with each product shot you present.

But all that excitement tends to get matched with the anxiety of a successful launch. There have been months if not years of research and development, trial and error, and highs and lows that lead up to the moment that everything goes live. Everyone’s standing by waiting to see just how well the brand is received — and if people will actually buy it.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned a thing or two about launching brands and products, helping startups get their legs and well-established brands get to acquisition. And although there are many different strategies to get a brand off the ground, there are some things that I believe are essential to a successful launch.

Related: 10 Skills to Master Before Launching a New Business

Identify your ideal customer

The most successful brands know exactly who they are, what makes them appealing, and most importantly who will care. If you’re thinking your brand is for everyone — and it might be true — your messaging can’t be for everyone. Of course, understanding your target demographic is a foundational strategy, but let’s take that a few steps further. Name your ideal customer, understand their pain point, define which other brands they might be loyal to, and create your messaging specific that person in all of your marketing initiatives. It seems pretty basic, but too often do we see brands that fail to connect with an audience because of copy that doesn’t connect to an individual. 

Activate social and collect data

One of our most successful launches was Winged Wellness, a female-focused lifestyle brand.  We strategically activated our social campaign 3 months before the projected launch date to begin growing an audience on social channels with our female-empowerment quote cards and lifestyle images (we didn’t actually have the final product yet) and drive traffic to the brand’s landing page. Why were we driving traffic to the site with nothing to sell? So we could start creating custom audience data for social ads later down the road.

Create a pre-launch interest list

Speaking of driving traffic to your website pre-launch, it’s a good idea to start building your email-interest list for a successful launch date. I’d much rather be reminding consumers about a brand the day that I’m ready to sell my products than be introducing the brand. Keep your interest list engaged before your launch by planning a newsletter sequence highlighting your progress, and “alternative” solutions to the problem that your brand will be solving. For example, if you’re launching a skin-care brand, consider sharing content on food that might help someone’s complexion.

Pro-Tip: Consider a pre-order campaign so you can gauge how much inventory you’ll need to have on hand the day of launch. 

Related: Effective Email Strategies for Startups Marketing on a Budget

Prepare your influencer marketing blitz

Look, I get it. You might be burned out on the idea of working with influencers but at the end of the day, you’re getting reach, targeted engagement, testimonials and really great lifestyle content with each one of your partnerships. The trick is to be strategic about who you’re partnering with. Take a look at who’s following them, the sincerity in their engagement, how often they’ve partnered with other brands and what their audience interested in by using a 3rd party data aggregator.  Please do not just spray and pray based on follower counts — by planning your influencer partnerships as you would any other aspect of your go-to-market strategy, you’ll give yourself the best shot of making them a profitable arm of your marketing campaign.

Related: 4 Influencer Marketing Secrets Entrepreneurs Need to Know

Be strategic about social ads

Since you were already going to be launching social ads, here are a few pointers: start your prospecting with broader targeting optimized for traffic to gather your interest data before remarketing with your offers, ideally before the launch of your product. Think of it like how movies gain interest for their launches. Trailers are launched months, if not a year, ahead of time stating “Coming Next Summer,” getting audiences hyped and thus helping the movie have a big opening weekend. One of the big mistakes I constantly see is brands launching ads optimized for conversion to cold audiences. That’s a sure way to get your metaphorical movie to flop on its opening day. 

Do consider the press

You might be thinking that PR is a thing of the past, but a few of our managed brands depend on press releases for a quick hit of massive reach and establishing themselves as a leader in the industry. And each time a brand gets a good press-hit, there’s almost an immediate spike in sales. Nothing screams “must-have” like “As Featured On…”.  But don’t worry, you don’t have to get on Allure’s Reader’s Choice list to make a meaningful impact on your launch. Even a mention in a trust-worthy digital publication can give your brand the reach and credibility to convert readers into loyal customers.

Get your feedback as soon as possible

Once your product finally gets in the hands of your customers, be sure to ask them for a review on your website as soon as possible. In fact, it might be a good idea to leverage package inserts to help remind your customers to give you some love on your site, if not through an automated, product-specific email upon delivery. During your launch phases, reviews on product pages can be especially useful in increasing visitors’ intent to buy and decreasing your initial cost-per-acquisition through paid traffic. A study by Spiegel Research Center shows that the purchase likelihood of products with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.

Think: retention

Getting your first customers is just the beginning of their story with you. After working with numerous founders who know something about DTC launches, the focus of conversations as of late have been about customer acquisition cost (CAC) and return on ad spend (ROAS), which in my opinion have effectively become the buzzwords of 2020 digital marketing. And while these metrics are essential to consider, I’d venture to say that improving your customer’s lifetime value (LTV) is even more crucial. Think about it, the cost of acquiring a customer bites deep into your profit margins, so repeat purchases and cross-selling are critical to your business’s overall profitability.

So how do you do that? You can begin with email campaigns that reinforce the use of your product like Truff does by regularly sharing recipes that go well with their truffle-infused hot sauce. Creating exclusive Facebook groups and cultivating an engaged community that experiences your brand through webinars, Q&As or panels is another way to keep your customers in your eco-system. And of course, don’t forget that a great brand starts with a great product.

By: Mikhail Alfon / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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Experiencing A Customer Experience (CX) Failure? It’s Probably A Broken System, Not A Broken Employee

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When the customer experience (CX) at your business goes south, it’s often because one or more of your systems are broken or haven’t been set up in the first place. A rule of thumb is that when something goes wrong once, it might be a particular employee’s fault, or it could be just a fluke. If it happens twice, though, you should begin to suspect that it’s the fault of a broken or missing system. When you encounter repeated, similar or identical mistakes, the smart move is to look at the system involved: to review its design and how it is, or isn’t, being implemented.

I’ve used this scenario before in print and with my CX/customer experience consulting and training clients but it’s stood the test of time: Let’s say you own a body shop.  If customers are complaining about their early morning experiences with one of your cashiers, I’d encourage you to look at the situation dispassionately. It’s probably not the cashier per se who is at fault, though it might look that way on the surface.

If you have the chance to study the performance of your cashier, you’ll likely discover a set of problems that runs something like this: they’re not well organized; their computer’s not booted up by the start of her shift—in time to serve the first customer who walks up; there’s no pen close at hand so that customers can sign the charge slips; and so forth.

Even though each of these failures starts with a personal pronoun, what you actually have is a failure of systems, including some or all of the following:

Training and preparation. Shouldn’t the cashier have been prepped on the necessary supplies and the login procedure for starting a shift? Going deeper than this, has your cashier been introduced to and coached in an effective workplace organization system—perhaps 5S, which is the workspace-organization aspect of lean methodology?

Scheduling. Because you were pinching payroll pennies, was your cashier told to show up at work the very minute the shift began rather than a more realistic fifteen or twenty minutes earlier, which would have allowed the cashier to mentally settle in, get the bank ready to make change, find a pen, organize the workplace, boot up the computers, and so forth?

Employee selection (hiring). Saying “there was a failure in hiring” is a bit different from saying “it’s the employee’s fault.” If the cashier isn’t a good fit for the position—if they’re not detail-oriented enough, for example—it’s not the cashier’s fault; it’s the fault of the system that was responsible for selecting the cashier, and it’s time to get to work improving that system.

Overall, your ability to discover the systems in your company that are poorly designed, imperfectly implemented and maintained, or flat-out missing depends on having built a culture where mistakes are embraced as learning opportunities, and customer complaints are seen as opportunities for improvement. If you do the opposite—if you react to every issue that comes up by instigating a witch hunt—you’ll drive your employees to focus on covering up their mistakes rather than on solving problems and providing superior service. Employees need to be comfortable admitting when they’ve slipped up so that such slips can be fixed for the sake of future performance—systematically.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Customer experience consultant • customer service keynote speaker & webinar host • training • executive content creator and ghostwriter • influencer • company culture • patient experience • tech & AI • hospitality • http://www.micahsolomon.commicah@micahsolomon.com • 484-343-5881 • Bestselling author of “Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away,” (HarperCollins Leadership).

Source: Forbes

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The Importance Of Evolving Customer Service And Communication Strategies

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Customer service and its importance is nothing new. For as long as businesses have been around, customer service has always been at the forefront of their success and failure.

What has evolved is what customer service looks like and exactly how we interact and engage with customers. Previous generations grew up understanding the importance of the face-to-face handshake mentality. Customer interaction came from a visit to your store, or perhaps a phone call.

Fast forward to the present day, and customers learn all about your business without ever picking up the phone or visiting your establishment. Nowadays we have Google reviews, websites and, of course, social media. Businesses now have to look at customer service in an entirely different light.

All of these mediums have created new challenges. First on that list is instant customer feedback. I’ve found that most customers expect near-immediate responses to their questions and concerns. They also have the power to brag about your business or bash your business with the click of a button.

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You must also consider how you can be present on all these platforms — or if you need to be. How will you manage them? What will you look for regarding return on investment?

Here are five of the biggest lessons I think brands need to learn to succeed in customer service in today’s age:

1. Right Platform, Right Message

Chasing all the various platforms can be more damaging than being on none at all. Companies must first look at staffing and create a game plan for each platform they plan to interact with. When considering what platform(s) to use, you must ask yourself: Are my customers there? If so, how do those customers consume content?

A simple blanket approach does not apply here. Each platform has different demographics, some with crossover demographics. And the messaging consumed by customers is relative to that platform.

You must also ensure you will have the time to dedicate to interacting with customers and potential customers on the platforms you choose. Unanswered questions and comments are like not answering the phone.

2. Analytics And Agility Are Key

One of the great things about social media, in particular, is the fact that it’s instant. You can quickly and easily measure the success of a campaign or promotion with little effort. Utilizing that data/feedback and being agile enough to make adjustments on the fly is the key to successfully navigating social media.

It’s important to learn who your audience is and how they interact with your business. It’s equally as important to consistently measure and adjust your messaging based on analytics.

3. Don’t Ignore Feedback (Positive Or Negative)

Just as important, if not more so, is to not ignore customer feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. As I stated above, social media has created the opportunity for real-time feedback from your customers and potential customers. It’s important to treat every one of these interactions as though the customer is standing in front of you.

Individuals are utilizing these mediums to learn about you, and how you interact with them can make or break that relationship. Current customers apply here as well. They can be some of your best influencers and brand loyalists online, or they can quite easily turn off a great number of future customers.

Consider this: Before the advent of social media, a person who was unhappy with your company may have told a few of their friends about their experience. Those friends could have potentially shared with their friends. Now, with a simple click of a button, they make it easy for all their friends to see the negative feedback, but also make it quite sharable. Now it’s reaching friends of friends of friends, and that’s hard to undo!

4. Be Authentic

Hand in hand with “don’t ignore feedback” is being authentic. Point No. 1 talked about the right messaging, right platform. That’s ensuring you are on-brand and providing the correct content. Being authentic is sticking to your brand, your company mantra.

We all make mistakes. How we handle those mistakes is often what sets truly successful companies apart. It’s difficult to hide from mistakes, and customers are not looking for the perfect company. They’re seeking a business that treats them fairly and is always honest and authentic.

5. Have Fun, And Let Your Personalities Show

Much like the days of a face-to-face meeting and handshake, it is important to connect with the customer. Creating auto-replies and scripts does not allow your company’s personality to shine through.

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You want customers to feel connected to you and your brand. Your content should align with this as well. Allow things like videos to show your staff’s personality. Give potential customers the chance to identify with someone, and then carry that over to your online customer service.

With all that being said, yes, the way we interact with people has changed dramatically over the years, but the principals of good customer service have not.

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

CMO at Walnut Ridge and Primeaux RV. He lives with his wife, son and two corgis in Indiana. www.walnutridgerv.com. Read Daniel Plumlee’s full executive profile here..

Source: The Importance Of Evolving Customer Service And Communication Strategies

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Success Means Solving Customers’ Challenges

Visit Strokes of Genius to read more stories about the technologies behind the paints and coatings that are transforming everything–from the way we work to the way we fly.

Companies that serve a wide spectrum of markets with diverse products often view their breadth as a potent cross-selling opportunity–and they’re right. But PPG understands that adapting product technologies from one market to solve the problems of another requires more than a desire to grow the business.

First and foremost, such cross-selling requires being close to the customer and focusing on solving customer challenges. Clearly illustrating the effectiveness of this approach has been PPG’s successful application of technology developed for marine coatings customers to solve a problem for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The opportunity surfaced when an onsite PPG support team at an assembly plant of a major automotive original equipment manufacturer saw an opportunity to help address a problem the carmaker was having with maintaining a key piece of paint shop equipment. The metal carriers that move cars through the manufacturing line were quickly becoming coated with thick, dripping paint, which required frequent cleaning with high-pressure spray.

Greater efficiency and safety

The problem added cost and was a safety concern. “It’s been an issue for decades” with carmakers, says Kevin Cunningham, PPG custom platform manager for substrate protection systems, who joined PPG after a 40-year career with major automotive manufacturer. “It’s a major hassle and expense. Plus, the power-washing equipment needs to be operated at extremely high pressures, so it’s also dangerous for the operators.”

After identifying the problem, the PPG team set in motion an initiative to identify and adapt existing PPG technology to solve this problem. The initial contact between PPG’s customer technical team led to the identification of a technology used in the oil and gas industry as a potential solution for protecting the automotive paint-shop car carriers. The final product, PPG ENVIROGREEN® 84, resists damage in the operating environment, but it also resists adhesion of dirt and is easy to clean.

A better solution

Where a typical car carrier might have to be taken out of service for cleaning every 300 to 350 cycles, a carrier coated with PPG Envirogreen 84 can go thousands of cycles between cleanings. After the initial application, another trial took place at a different customer’s assembly plant. The success of that trial led to a full-scale commercialization effort in 2018 that demonstrated the power of “One PPG.” Two PPG teams collaborated to develop documentation and application guides for PPG Envirogreen 84, sales strategies for reaching the decision-makers, and a turn-key solution that includes application.

“It really took off,” says Chris Meier, PPG’s protective and marine coatings national accounts manager. “We have been able to adapt an existing technology for a new market that could ultimately represent significant new business.”

He added that nearly all major automotive OEMs are adopting PPG Envirogreen 84 to coat car carriers at new plants as well as some existing facilities. In addition to illustrating the power of cooperation across business units, the PPG Envirogreen 84 example shows the importance of being close to the customer, according to Randy Peterson, director, business development, PPG’s automotive OEM services.

“It’s a big win,” he says, “that all began by leveraging our daily presence within the customer’s plant and finding a way to create and share in the resulting value.”

By: PPGView

Source: Success Means Solving Customers’ Challenges

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Watch Chuck Wood explain how HPE SimpliVity is helping customers solve IT challenges. Learn more about HPE SimpliVity at http://www.hpe.com/info/simplivity.

Why Customer Engagement Should Be Every Business’s Top Priority in 2020

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Everyone’s talking about customer engagement — but why is it so important, and what does it really mean? How does customer engagement look in action, when you’re a business trying to connect with your customers today?

We already know a lot about the customer journey — how it’s made up of numerous touch points, from search to purchase to post-purchase support. And we know that providing a good customer experience at each of those touch points is critical to building and maintaining a solid reputation for your brand. But customer engagement is often overlooked, even though it’s critical to nudging customers along their journey.

Customer Engagement Impacts Profitability

Customer engagement is about inspiring your customers to interact with your brand and willingly take part in the experiences you’re creating for them. If you do it right, you’ll grow your brand and build customer loyalty — and, in turn, drive revenue.

In fact, there’s a direct and proven correlation between the level of customer engagement and business profitability. A study by Constellation Research reported that companies who improve engagement can increase cross-sell revenue by 22 percent, up-sell revenue by 38 percent and order size by 5 to 85 percent. Reputation.com research backs up these findings —  a high rate of customer engagement increases Reputation Score, and we’ve found direct links between high Scores and revenue in multiple industries, including Automotive and Healthcare.

Today In: Small Business

Despite the immense financial impact engaging with customers can have, some companies are still not doing it.

Case in Point: Retail

In the recently released Retail Reputation Report, data scientists at Reputaiton.com found that most retailers simply don’t respond to reviews — particularly negative ones. Think about the message that sends! I’m a customer who’s had a bad experience with a business, so I do the only constructive thing I can do to express my frustration: I write a review.

Probably like most consumers, I assume the business will care if I have had a negative experience and try to fix it. If they do, they’re better off. If they don’t, I might be left feeling like they simply don’t care what kind of experience I’ve had. Am I likely to buy products from that business again? Well, much less likely, right? And if I do, I’m not going to feel good about it. I may tell my friends I dislike that business, and they’ll probably avoid it in the future, too. Perhaps most importantly, I will almost certainly not say GOOD things about the business to my friends.

When someone takes time to leave a review — good or (especially) bad — it’s the ideal time to engage. We all get this, but surprisingly, the average response rate to negative reviews among leading retailers is just 2 percent. It’s no wonder Amazon is eating away at retailers’ market share, with their frictionless shopping experience and infinite inventory.

Now let’s consider a brand who does a good job of engaging with customers. Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack scored exceptionally high for engagement, compared to many other retailers (61% and 79% respectively). That’s because they place a premium on delivering exceptional service and ensuring their customers are happy and engaged. And maybe that’s one of the reasons that, while many retailers are struggling to keep their doors open, Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are still reporting strong profits.

Investing In Customer Experience Is a Huge Lever for Revenue

The power of engaging and connecting with customers isn’t limited to the B2C world. According to Econsultancy’s Annual Digital Trends report, B2B companies identify customer experience — the product of meaningful customer engagement — as the single most exciting opportunity for 2020.

Temkin Group reports that companies that earn $1 billion annually can earn $775 million more within three years of investing in customer experience with “modest” results. The report found that to be true across industries, with software companies earning the most ($1 billion over three years). Success, effort and emotion, according to the report, were the three factors impacting customer loyalty, and an improvement in emotion increases loyalty more than any other factor. A meaningful customer engagement is the best way to stir up the positive emotions that keep customers coming back.

Take a Walk In Your Customer’s Shoes

So how do you connect with customers on an emotional level and improve customer engagement? Here are a few starting points:

  • Analyze the customer journey. How else can you know what the customer’s experience with your brand or locations is like? Take their journey, and take note of and sticking points or frustrating interactions. Are the emails you’re sending helpful and informative, or intrusive and self-serving? Are your locations easy to get to and welcoming? Is your staff friendly and professional? Do you follow up after customer interactions and respond to reviews? Every one of these customer touchpoints presents an opportunity for engaging with your customers in a mutually beneficial way. Make sure you’re doing that, and if you’re not, it’s time to start.
  • Listen to what customers say about you. Today’s customers are vocal, and it’s easy to find feedback on Google, Facebook, G2 and other review sites. You should also invest in social media management, so you can actively monitor social commentary and reviews as they come in — 42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes, and a delayed response is almost as bad as no response.
  • Deliver seamless omnichannel experiences. If you analyze the customer journey properly, you’ll find brand interactions occur across many channels — search results, emails, websites, physical locations and even text. Make sure to deliver a consistent and pleasant experience every time you engage with your customer, regardless of channel. One bad or confusing interaction can ruin the opportunity to engage effectively, and could even begin to break down the trust and loyalty you’ve invested in building.
  • Pay attention to all factors that comprise your Reputation Score. Increasingly, brands are turning to Reputation Score as the most accurate measurement of customer experience. It’s more thorough than NPS, because it takes into account all the factors affecting your reputation. A critical component of the score is engagement, as measured by your brand’s performance across every customer touch point. Knowing and monitoring your Reputation Score is an essential step to mastering the art  — and reaping the benefits — of customer engagement.

Don’t Force It

An important thing to remember is you can’t force your customers to engage with you. As HubSpot’s Paul Greenberg said, “Customer engagement is the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.” The customer decides how to interact and engage — you can only create the opportunities, and ensure that your diligent effort and reputation inspire people to take action.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m the Founder and Chairman of Reputation.com. I started my business because digital privacy, Big Data and online reputation are issues that impact everyone from individuals to massive corporations. People should be the center of the Internet machine – not cogs in its wheel. More empowerment online, not less, not what we have now. Follow me @michaelfertik.

Source:https://www.forbes.com

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