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..

Customer-Centric Leadership is The New Growth Indicator: Zendesk & ESG

  • The new report, CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Improve Their Game Are Driving Business Success , surveyed more than 1,000 CX managers and leaders in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America to better understand their investments in CX.

Zendesk today released new research in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) showing how companies investing in customer experience (CX) are reaping the benefits.

The global study found that there is a clear link between organizations with more mature customer experience capabilities and greater business success in areas such as market share, increased customer spend, and dynamic processes over the past six months.

The research also found that, as companies around the world adapt to new forms of remote work and constant uncertainty in 2020, more than three-quarters of medium-sized and enterprise companies (78%) and almost two Thirds of small businesses (65%) said that customer-centric agility has increased in importance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Organizations are under increasing pressure to outperform the competition and grow their businesses – that’s an even greater challenge as companies adjust to the impact of a global pandemic and associated uncertainty ahead,” he said. Colleen Berube, CIO and senior vice president of operations at Zendesk.

“By working with ESG, we set out to confirm the link between an organization’s ability to deliver a high-quality experience and better business results. The relationship is clear. We hope that these insights into the connection between a focus on customer experience and business success can help companies learn from those ahead of the CX scale, “he added.

The new report, CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Improve Their Game Are Driving Business Success , surveyed more than 1,000 CX managers and leaders in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America to better understand their investments in CX. Based on the research, ESG developed a CX Maturity Scale that segments organizations into three levels of customer service maturity, based on seven key characteristics that cover how organizations use their support teams, technology and data to drive better performance. Next, ESG classified the companies into three maturity categories: Starters : showing from zero to three of the seven characteristics; Risers (Advanced): they have four to five of the characteristics; and Champions (Expert 🙂 that meet at least six of the characteristics.

Some key findings from the report show that companies that invest in CX reap significant benefits, including:

  • Faster growth: Even during the pandemic, midsize and business Champions were found to be 8.7 times more likely than beginners to have significantly increased customer spending. For the Small Business Champions, this figure increases to 9.2 times.
  • Increased market share: Medium-sized and enterprise Champions were 3.3 times more likely to have increased their customer base in the past six months. Small Business Champions experienced similar growth, 3.6 times more likely to have increased their customer base in the same period.
  • High-level support: Champions also ensured increased investment and support from high-level leaders within their organization. For example, senior Champions leaders of midsize companies and enterprises were 3.8 times more likely to see customer service as a differentiator.

“Our research identified a clear connection between CX excellence and business growth. Not only are companies in the Champion stage of scale seeing better results in traditional service metrics such as time to resolution and CSAT, they are also experiencing positive business results in customer spend, retention, and CX board-level support as a business priority, ”said Adam DeMattia, director of personalized research at ESG.

By: Entrepreneur en Español

Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows how customer-centric leadership can help your business. Try our award-winning PM software for free: https://www.projectmanager.com/?utm_s… The customer is king, but unfortunately they aren’t always treated as such. See how customer-centric leadership can help your business with real-life case studies from successful companies such as Apple, Amazon and Virgin Airlines.

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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?

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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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Discover The 4 Practices a Salesforce Vet Uses To Connect With Customers as This Crisis Pulls Us Apart

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My job is to ensure every customer gets the most value out of Salesforce, but my passion is establishing and building trust. As the Chief Adoption Officer, I spend more than half my time meeting with customers all around the world. It’s that face-to-face interaction that helps me help them.

On any given day, I’m landing in a new city with a packed schedule, shuffling from plane to car to client meeting to hotel and then back the other way. That all changed overnight.

As worries over the coronavirus escalated, out of an abundance of caution, Salesforce asked many of us to start working from home. I went from knowing where I was going to be every single day for the next four months to scrambling to set up my next meeting… over video.

So what should sales leaders do to deepen our connection with customers during a time when digital communication becomes the form of communication? What do we tell our teams when they’re cooped up at home? And how do we be there for our people without physically being there?

Below are a few practices I’ve implemented these past few weeks to maintain strong customer relationships and build new ones, even while I’m not out on the road. I hope that by sharing, you too will be able to strengthen your bonds during these trying times.

1. Listen to your team

Let’s be realistic. Your team members aren’t going to be thinking about how they can help their customers if they’re worried about what’s happening at home.

First and foremost, focus on building an inclusive, empathetic culture from the top down. Your team is watching to see how you react. Show them you care. Open up a team call or one-on-one with a personal story and invite them to share their own.  Then probe deeper: How can I help? What boundaries can I respect? What are the things we should all agree on as a team?

One of the first things I did at home was organize a call twice a week with my team just to talk. This led us to create a Quip doc, where we could collect our thoughts and share what we’ve learned. You can also try inviting people to virtual happy hour. You’d be surprised to find how nice it feels – even when it’s just 15 minutes in front of a webcam.

At Salesforce, we’re helping our employees redefine their work through a variety of tools and channels – but no matter what technology you have at your disposal, every leader can be empathetic and listen. That creates team members who are ready to do the same.

2. Listen to your customers

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This is a time for deep listening. It’s important now more than ever. Remind your teams to really hear what their customers are concerned about and to show that they’re really there for them.

How do you do this? Set up a virtual coffee. Talk about what they’re facing. Brainstorm how to work together. Propose ideas that could solve their problems now.

bestmining5

One customer recently told us they needed an emergency preparedness portal to communicate with their customers. Our team turned around a prototype in two days. That customer may or may not ultimately sign a deal with us, but they’ll remember we helped them when they needed it most.

While many things feel uncertain right now, people still need to do business. Contracts are still being written. And pain points still need to be solved. Listen to your customers with empathy, and you’ll end up creating true value for them.

3. Be mindful of customers’ time

Building relationships is a fundamental part of sales and customer success. Of course, treating a prospect to dinner isn’t possible right now.

Sometimes, the best way to show respect is to be mindful of your customers’ time. Don’t let small talk overstay its welcome. Keep agendas tight and focused so your customers can get back to their work and home priorities.

If a customer made time to meet with you, treat the meeting start time like a covenant. Take careful notes, send follow-ups, and, again, focus on how you can help.

4. Learn together

Quite frankly, I don’t have all the answers. But here’s one thing that’s true no matter the situation: We are stronger when we work together, when we double down on our relationships and our community (or Ohana, as we like to call it at Salesforce).

This month, in response to the coronavirus, we hosted our very first online only World Tour, an event that normally brings our customers physically together for a day of learning and networking. We had 10 days to pivot.

When we were transparent with our customers about the switch to digital, we received an outpouring of support. While we were dealing with our new virtual reality, so were our customers. Together, we came out the other side – better than ever.

How are you managing customer relationships while working remotely? I’d love to see what you and your teams have come up with. Reach out to us on @salesforce and share what you’ve learned.

And if you’re looking for more inspiration on how to work remotely, check out this Trailhead module on virtual collaboration.

Our Leading Through Change series provides thought leadership, tips, and resources to help business leaders manage through crisis. Check out some of our most recent articles:

By Salesforce

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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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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.

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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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Session recording from Industry Preview 2018. Session abstract: Salesforce Marketing Cloud Chief Strategy Officer, Jon Suarez-Davis (“JSD”) keynotes an engaging session drawing upon real life examples from working with some of the world’s biggest brands, shares Salesforce’s vision for the future of marketing, and makes some predictions about what’s coming next.

Cyber Monday 2019 By The Numbers: A Record $9.4 Billion Haul

Topline: With the busy holiday shopping season well under way, Cyber Monday raked in a new record of more than $9 billion in sales, marking the first day in history when consumers spent over $3 billion using their smartphones, the latest report from Adobe Analytics shows.

  • Total sales hit $9.4 billion—up nearly 19% from a $7.9 billion haul last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions from a majority of top U.S. online retailers. That’s bigger than both Black Friday ($7.4 billion) and Amazon Prime Day ($4.2 billion last year).
  • As shoppers increasingly move to digital rather than in-person spending, online sales via smartphones grew 46% from last year, accounting for 33% of all Cyber Monday sales in 2019—at a new record of $3 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data.
  • During the peak hour of shopping between 11:00 p.m. ET and midnight, consumers spent $11 million on average every minute, Adobe said.
  • The top-selling products on Monday included Frozen 2 toys, the Nintendo Switch, VR devices, Samsung TVs, LOL Surprise Dolls, Apple laptops, NERF products and video games like Madden 20 and Jedi Fallen Order, Adobe’s report shows.
  • With more competition among retailers than ever, the report also highlights the 41% growth of BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) services this year, as shoppers increasingly looked for maximum convenience and time saving.
  • “Customers increasingly have a bigger basket of fulfillment options,” points out Morningstar analyst Zain Akbari, with more large retailers like Walmart and Target increasingly competing to offer cheaper and more efficient pickup or delivery services.

Big number: As of December 3, the holiday season has generated a record $81.5 billion in total online sales so far, Adobe Analytics data shows. Overall holiday spending for 2019 is predicted to hit $143.8 billion, compared with $126 billion last year.

Today In: Money

Crucial quote: “Retailers unlocked sales earlier to combat a shorter shopping season, while continuing to drive up promotion of the big branded days including Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said John Copeland, head of marketing and consumer insights at Adobe. “Consumers capitalized on deals and ramped up spending, especially on smartphones, where activity increased on days when shoppers were snowed or rained in.”

Tangent: While Cyber Monday saw the best deals on televisions, with average savings of more than 19%, December 27 will be the day with the biggest discounts on electronics (27%), according to Adobe’s findings.

Surprising Fact: U.S. shoppers will on average each spend $637 this holiday season, according to Accenture’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey.

Further Reading: Here’s What Not To Buy On Black Friday, According To Experts (Sergei Klebnikov)

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Cyber Monday 2019 By The Numbers: A Record $9.4 Billion Haul

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Big-box stores including Target and Kohl’s are offering massive discounts on items such as Instapots, Roombas and doorbuster deals online. WATCH THE FULL EPISODES OF ‘WORLD NEWS TONIGHT’: https://bit.ly/2P5Snrx WATCH OTHER FULL EPISODES OF WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: http://abc.go.com/shows/world-news-to… WATCH WORLD NEWS TONIGHT ON HULU: https://hulu.tv/33iKepm #WorldNewsTonight #DavidMuir #CyberMonday #HolidayShopping

 

Why Your Customers Should Be Central To Your Innovation Efforts

There’s a big mistake that a lot of companies make. It’s one that until a few years ago was common in my own organization, and it stems from a worthy goal: to boost innovation. The mistake is adopting what I call the “science fair” mentality: encouraging employees throughout the organization to innovate freely but without much, if any, direct contact with the very customers these innovations are intended for.

Unconstrained innovation sounds exciting, like the sort of thing startups do. But the truth is that successful startups actually don’t do that, because they know that innovation without a framework rarely leads to business success. It does lead to inventions that are impressive and creative, but they ultimately prove impractical or irrelevant for driving business growth.

How, then, can you get employees to innovate products and services that actually improve the performance of your business? The answer is by creating a structure that involves your customers, from an early stage, in your innovation efforts.

Focusing on the customer (for real)

It’s a rare company these days that doesn’t claim to put its customers first. It’s also a rare company that doesn’t do market research. But what is exceptional is a company with a framework to channel innovative energies so that they solve customer pain points and result in a commercial outcome the market will pay for.

Getting employees to innovate products and services that improve the performance of your business requires a structure that involves customers, from an early stage, in your innovation efforts.

Building this framework does not mean stifling creative energies under a heavy layer of bureaucracy. Rather, it means making sure that the innovation responds to customer needs and has the flexibility to evolve as you better understand those needs.

For instance, one of the projects I lead at PwC, the Global Innovation Challenge, could be a model for your organization. Invite employees from around your network, from all disciplines, to submit early-stage, technology-enabled business solutions. But require that before a team can enter the contest, it must include examples of marketplace interest — not just an explanation of how (and how soon) the project will meet specific client needs, but also feedback from potential or actual clients on a prototype or pilot.

Internal incubators are also ways you can create ongoing feedback loops with the marketplace. Multiple customer and third-party interviews and growing signs of market interest are required for a project to receive and keep funding from these groups. As you assess the customers’ feedback, the teams make changes in line with the customers’ needs — and if the market response isn’t promising, you pull the plug.

Four steps to make customers your innovation partners

No part of this process is improvised: Criteria and milestones are critical, including a framework that ensures that the customers are guiding the innovation. To take just one example, before PwC New Ventures, an internal software-as-a-service incubator, releases the first round of funding for a project, it needs to see at least 20 interviews with customers. Indeed, many projects have more than 100 interviews over the development period.

Here are some ideas to get that innovation-guiding framework started:

1. Get specific. It’s not enough to say “talk to customers” or “research the market.” Set specific criteria for the quantity and quality of customer interviews.

2. Set milestones. Even after you’ve made the decision to invest in an innovative project, continue to check not just technical progress, but also customer feedback, on a regular basis.

3. Offer expert guidance. Brilliant technical minds aren’t always brilliant at interacting with customers. Assign a person or team to train technical people on customer outreach, and to do the outreach directly when needed.

4. Set procedures to react. Ensure that the team has the time and the processes to reflect on market feedback and adjust design appropriately. Be ready, if the feedback is poor, to terminate the project and reallocate resources.

What happens when you listen

A team at PwC recently developed a new tool for franchise owners designed to quickly, easily, and digitally market their stores. The team planned to make this digital platform the core feature of a new product.

Following our framework — and our core principle of customer-driven innovation — PwC team members reached out to customers. Listening to the franchise owners, the team learned that one of their top priorities was to support their customers, the franchisees. So the team members went back to work, adding components that the owners could use to help franchisees reach their end-users. The resulting product that was introduced to the marketplace attempted to solve problems for our clients while enabling them to solve problems for their clients.

The result of listening with empathy and emotional intelligence is that you will be able to not just mostly fulfill a customer’s needs but truly fulfill them, which is usually the difference between that customer ultimately buying or not buying your product.

Another big benefit of really listening is stronger customer relationships. After frequent interactions with your design teams to ensure that the final product will meet your customers’ needs, these customers start to view your people as partners and friends. And frequently, customers discover needs — which your new product or service can meet — that they didn’t even know they had.

If your innovation efforts are to truly add value to your business, customer-centricity will have to be more than a motto. It will have to be a framework to turn your customers into your innovation partners. The insights they bring will make all the difference in ensuring that the product not only solves their problems, but also provides an exceptional experience they’ll keep coming back for.

Vicki Huff By: Vicki Huff

Source: Why your customers should be central to your innovation efforts

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