3 Ways To Dominate Your Market

My area of expertise is in leadership development using the philosophy of Lean Six Sigma, in other words “process improvement strategies”. 

Now join me on the journey I call A Tale of Two Companies: One business allowed its workers to be engaged by making improvements that allowed the customer to be first in mind. The second created an environment of “it’s not my job” eliminating employees from using client-first thinking. Now you might ask, “How can the customer not be first?”

Many believe Lean Six Sigma is solely for engineering and manufacturing companies. That’s the first misconception. This managerial approach is built on the premise of eliminating wasteful elements and focusing solely on the customer. Having taken that quick glimpse of Lean, as an entrepreneur, you can now see that this philosophy applies to all businesses. Every business operates in what Lean practitioners call SIPOC, (Suppliers, Input, Processes, Output and Customers). Understanding that small segment of lean thinking will open the door for you to look at the three ways to dominate your market. 

Related: Define Your Brand Identity in 3 Steps

How can I hinder?

Meet Office XYZ, a Dental Facility that has a small staff of 5-7 individuals each having their unique jobs when dealing with patients. I called this facility to make an appointment for my mother and was told they needed to verify her insurance and would call back once they received the approvals. Two weeks went by before I realized I had not heard from anyone regarding the insurance verification.

I called the office and asked to speak with the individual that was to call back, whom we’ll call Kelly. I was informed that Kelly was out of the office and had been ill for the past two weeks. My next question was: “is she the only person that verifies insurance?” The response was affirmative and I then asked to speak with a manager. I was told Kelly was the manager. Let’s stop here because now we enter that well-known rabbit hole of “it’s not my job.”

Related: Trends That Can Move Your Business Forward in 2021

How can I help?

Meet Office ABC, A Pizza Company with a similar-sized staff. One night I called for a pizza. Upon placing the order I was told my meal would be about 30 minutes. Half an hour on a Friday evening? This company operated far differently than the first. When I placed my order something incredible happened, I received a text with the following message:  “We’re making your order. It’s all coming together now. The kitchen staff is busy with your order making sure everything is just right.”

A few minutes later I received this missive: “It’s on the way. The driver has left the store and will be at your location shortly”, followed with, “Delivered! Time to eat. It’s been our pleasure serving you”.And it was within the time promised by the associate. 

The “go and see” mentality

These two very different experiences gave me moment to pause. Did Company XYZ know about the importance of “lean thinking” and did Company ABC know they were using the lean six sigma philosophy in their operations? Did the leader of Company XYZ actually walk the process to see if there were any wasteful elements that allowed their service to lack the three main components of customer first thinking: quality, speed and delivery? And what about Company ABC, did that leader utilize the concept of Gemba, meaning “go and see” to improve their value stream and get to the point where they asked what their customers appreciate?

When exploring Lean Six Sigma’s methodology the first step is to find the root cause for the identified waste. Then you move into seeking what the customer defines as quality, you determine the speed of getting your customer the item or rendering the service and you seek an appropriate method of delivery.

Focusing on the three lean strategies

One can’t assume to know what the clientele defines as quality unless they have actually been asked. In Company XYZ it is evident that no one took the initiative to seek input through surveys, focus groups or used any feedback techniques. There is a concept in the Lean lexicon called (VOC) Voice of the Customer. It simply means find out what your customers want and are willing to pay for. This is where you will find that notion of quality.

In the tale of Company ABC, you can attest to the fact that quality for their customers, myself included, is hot pizza, and being notified as to what’s going on with their order. How did they come to know and implement this into their operations? After receiving such great service I had to call and speak with one of their leaders. I was informed this is how they compete as a reckoning force within the market. 

The need for speed

Being the fastest in your field has a huge impact on your market.  As you can tell from the visit with Company XYZ speed played no major role in what they deemed as important to customers. Two weeks to verify insurance is beyond an acceptable practice. And, by the way, I failed to mention that I did speak with another person, upon request, who did call back within 24 hours to inform me that they did not accept the insurance.  Yet I waited 2 weeks for something that could have saved me both frustration and aggravation. Speed and convenience are major players in our buying experience.

Company ABC, epitomizes the importance of speed. On each text message I received that time stamp of delivery was also listed. Today there are ample services to ensure your customers get items and services in a speedy manner. This company has a system in place that allows employees to know time schedules for various sizes, as well as any increase in time based on selected toppings. Have you looked at your level of quickness, while keeping the high standard of quality appreciated by your customers?

Why is the method of delivery so important to your customers? Is it easy to obtain your product or service? Delivery in its simplest form equates to how a customer receives your product or service. Simple right? Company XYZ’s delivery was neither exceptional nor satisfactory. The level of professionalism of their staff created an angst for the customer and therefore any method of delivery they deemed appropriate was subpar. There was no option as to whether they could email, text me or call me. Based on their performance I don’t think any of those options would have changed the outcome.

Related: Entrepreneurial Takeaways From 2020 to Guide Your Next Big Move

Company ABC created a delivery method that allowed me to select how I wanted to receive the product. They of course deliver in their vehicles, but I had an option to have it delivered to my door and left in an appropriate place, to have them ring the doorbell and I receive it face-to-face or contactless, it’s in the trunk and I come out and retrieve it. This allows the customer to select an option.

We have just visited two companies:  One eliminated waste and the other added to it. Which business are you? 

By: Sheryl Mays Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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★★★ Jay wants to mentor YOU with his exclusive Mastermind Mentoring Program! Start your journey with Jay here: https://bit.ly/2FbtM2X ★★★ For the first time ever in public, marketing icon Jay Abraham shares his business strategy that he has previously only shared with his high paying clients. He’s going go teach you the concept of Preemptive Marketing so you can instantly stand out in the eyes of your customers and dominate your market. Enjoy the session

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How To Emotionally Support Your Customers Through Content

Your customers make 35,000 decisions each day, and emotions play a role in a staggering 90% of their day. This means there’s major overlap, and the bulk of those decisions are made when your customers are emotional.If you’re not prioritizing your customers’ emotions in all of your content creation, you’re potentially making most of their decisions (say, 31,500 of them) harder than they have to be — including the one where they choose, or don’t choose, your brand.

Here’s why emotionally supporting your customers through content isn’t just good practice; it’s vital for impacting your target audience’s buying decisions, and, ultimately, your bottom line. More importantly, how to do it the right way.If you think emotions are a casual afterthought in your audience’s buying decisions, think again.

When used proactively, you can use emotional marketing to steer both your prospective and current customers to become loyal, lifetime fans of your brand.

Why are emotions so powerful? Simply put, they impact your decisions — big and small.As for how decisions are influenced, here’s a quick synopsis of what happens in your brain.You have three brains: the lizard brain, the emotional brain, and the rational brain.

  • Your emotional brain is responsible for your limbic system and wins more arguments than your rational brain.
  • Your lizard brain, the brain way under and older than the emotional brain, triggers fight-or-flight mode and wins even more.
  • Your rational brain is there to justify the decisions of the other two — like a wingman, but it’s not really responsible for making them.

What does this all mean for your business?

While it’s not practical to appeal to your audience’s lizard brain in your marketing messages — no need to thrust anyone into fight-or-flight mode — it’s definitely worth appealing to their emotional brain. This engages your limbic system and draws them toward your brand.On the frontend of your marketing strategy, you can use emotional marketing to help connect with your target audience’s emotional brain and persuade them to make a purchase.

In fact, one study of 1,400 ad campaigns found that ads with purely emotional content performed twice as well ( i.e. 31% vs. 16% ) as ads with only rational content.After they convert, you can tap into your customer’s emotions and support them during their user experience (UX).After all, there’s a lot riding on a good customer experience, given that 32% of customers would leave a brand they love after just one bad customer experience.

How’s that for brand loyalty?

To keep your customers happy, make sure you create a UX that matches the rational brain with the emotional brain.Why? All forms of competition between the rational brain and emotional brain will be a bad experience for users.The point here is you can make a strong emotional connection with anyone who comes in touch with your brand — whether prospective, new, or repeat customers — so it’s worth hitting on the right ones, which will ultimately contribute to your bottom line.

As for making an emotional connection with your target audience the right way, here’s how to do it.

Recommended Reading:How to Easily Measure Marketing ROI With a Simple Formula and a Template

Your content shouldn’t just be about getting your point across and promoting your business, products, or services. You should be able to connect with your customers on a personal level and make them feel heard and understood. Here are some ideas on how to do so.Whether it’s new visitors to your site or returning loyal customers, you can support your audience through the content in your live chat conversations.

To make an emotional connection, first and foremost, provide a space for your contacts to be heard. In other words, allow them to vent and don’t forget to really listen. Let your target audience know their point of view matters.Sadly, this isn’t the norm. In fact, people dedicate only about 55% of their time to listening. This makes sense, considering the average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words within a 24-hour period. Needless to say, we indulge in the daily bad habit of not truly listening.

Sure, it’s not realistic to solve the world’s problems through a live chat, but you can make an emotional connection with your target audience by letting them express their emotions.Even if it’s a simple chatbot prompt, like this chat message that asks how their site visitors feel.Emojis and all, it immediately puts the conversation into an emotional context, which opens the door for people to trust you with their problem.

To make the right emotional connection with your live chat visitors, use positivity and supportive phrasing as you engage in chats.REVE Chat, for instance, recommends using affirmative words to help create a positive customer experience, like:

  • Great
  • Wonderful
  • Excellent
  • Absolutely
  • Awesome
  • Amazing
  • Certainly
  • Definitely
  • Fantastic

You can also ask follow-up questions, clarify an agreement, and make sure you’ve done everything you can to understand how to help your target audience.Provide Support Live Chat recommends using these phrases to verify you understand your target audience properly:

  • “Let me check that I have this right…”
  • “Let me see if I have this correct, you want me to…” or “You would like for me to…?”
  • “If I understand you correctly…”
  • “You are saying that… correct?”

That way, you can share content and the right supportive resources at the right time — instead of sending a frustrated or curious user something irrelevant to their unique situation. Do this and watch the positive emotions shine through your conversations.The same concept of listening first, and then validating and offering an emotional response that supports their perspective, applies to your interactions in any online community, too.

From Facebook Groups and online forums to designated comment logs and social media, respond to every comment and let every contact know they’re being heard and taken seriously. After learning about a target audience member’s problem accessing Amy’s podcast episode, Joshua sent over a helpful piece of content in the form of a resource link.

The main takeaway is, regardless of the channel, provide a space for your target audience to be heard and use that to inform your content creation. After all, your target audience (including their emotions) should be at the heart of your business. If you use our next tip correctly, it’s a big indicator that you’re listening to your target audience.

Reflect Your Customer’s Exact Language Back to Them

Another way to emotionally support your customers through content is to use your target audience’s exact language and phrasing in your content. What’s the best source for gathering their verbiage? Your target audience, of course. Whether it’s in first-hand conversations or through secondary research methods, doing remarkable customer research can make all the difference in your business. It’s a way to gather a key list of repeat words, phrases, and issues that come up often from your target audience.

If you’re going the secondary research route — as in, social listening or combing through conversations in relevant online forums, like Reddit or Facebook Groups — you can find a ton of comments by looking up your threads and groups based on your niche topic. Let’s say you’re in the personal development niche, for example. A quick query for “personal development” in Amazon Books turns up over 80,000 results for reviews and verbiage from yourtarget audience.

By: Cyn Meyer

Read more at: https://coschedule.com/

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Hallmark Business Connections

Differentiated customer experiences can’t be created without an emotionally intelligent approach on the part of the business. Rhonda Basler, Customer Engagement Director for Hallmark Business Connections, shares practical tips to foster empathy in frontline employees. To learn more, visit https://www.hallmarkbusinessconnectio….

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5 Reasons Why Your Clients Don’t Read Your Agency’s Reports

Establishing the business value of your SEO performance as an agency is part of client relationship building. It’s also what keeps the churn rate low and the referral rate high.

Yet, when it comes to reporting, why is it that some things get lost in translation?

Picture this – an SEO agency just managed a massive win for their automotive client, a 5% visibility improvement on both desktop and mobile for their highly competitive keywords list in the last month. From the content-driven campaign, over 25 links were built as well for one of the client’s main money pages.

But all of these insights are compiled in a fully automated report that gets sent to the client, together with all the technical tasks and other actions, without being highlighted in particular.

How can the agency make sure the client understands the ROI delivered for their business? Maybe the team is relying on the monthly meeting, but the client postpones that too.

Reporting is a critical activity for an SEO agency – one that supports effective communication and retention. And it can be tedious or strenuous work.

At times, clients don’t react as expected – but doesn’t have to be so.

Let’s dive deeper into reasons why reports sometimes fail to accomplish their objective and what do to about it, to make the best of your reporting process.

Here’s Why Clients Don’t Read Your Reports

Clients Have Different Expectations

One reason why clients won’t read reports can be the implicit expectation to see certain metrics included there or to receive them at a certain date. Or it can be that they don’t understand the specifics of your SEO activities, so they let it slide.

Keeping your clients close from day 0 is mandatory for communications to work. That means setting the right expectations regarding the agency workflows and what’s expected of the client’s team from the onboarding phase.

Reporting is a huge chunk of that so be sure to take into account the following questions and clarify them in the first month:

  • Why do we report?
  • When do we report?
  • How do we go about reporting?
  • What data goes in and where do we get that information?
  • Who is responsible for this client’s reports?
  • When should we escalate an issue? When do we make recommendations?
  • What’s the frequency of our reporting and meetings?

After negotiating all those aspects above in the agency-client alignment meeting, you can create an agency internal dashboard that includes your clients’ portfolio, the account managers responsible for each client report, monthly statuses, and due dates. That way you have an overview of your reporting process at all times.

Confusing, Long, or Unbalanced Reports

Whether it’s a fully automated 70 pages report containing every single SEO action the agency’s done or a document with inconsistent branding and copy-pasted data from various tools – it’s not an actionable document that a client can easily read and understand.

You need to have the end goal in mind: the client reading and getting how your work is helping the business. If the client doesn’t engage with your report, it’s a missed opportunity for both showcasing results and gathering feedback.

To avoid these situations, once more think about the main KPIs and SEO objectives you’ve agreed upon:

  • Do they have a keyword list they’re particular about?
  • Are they an ecommerce client wanting to increase the conversion rate?
  • Is it a lead generation campaign?

Having clarified the expectations and business objectives, that’s what you’ll report on monthly while explaining how your SEO intervention directly impacted their KPIs and business results.

To settle inconsistencies, you can create an agency template with a focus on these key insights and your agency’s brand and unique voice:

  • Think about highlighting the most important trends and victories on KPIs like non-brand organic traffic and Visibility trends.
  • Areas of focus and keyword groups.
  • Content performance.
  • Competitors’ insights.
  • Major updates that affected the campaign (if applicable).
  • Technical insights and recommendations.
  • SEO opportunities.

Then, you’ll have a good foundation that you can go on personalizing for each client.

After all, as each SEO campaign has its particularities, you need to make sure you report on the client’s specific requests.

Too Much Data, Not Enough Explanations

Apart from long or unbalanced documents, another reason for clients skipping on reading the monthly reports can be data-heavy documents, with lists upon lists of keywords and complex graphics that aren’t self-explanatory for a non-SEO specialist.

Sometimes you might work with in-house SEO professionals, but most of the time it will be a stakeholder that is interested in reaching their business goals, so they need to talk business. And even if you’re the extension of the in-house SEO and digital marketing team, they still need to justify the ROI of collaborating with your agency.

In the end, highlighting how you influenced marketing leads and sales is much more important than going into the nitty-gritty of rankings and traffic.

Want more time to focus on what matters? Then think about ways to automate data gathering.

Instead of spending multiple hours in your SEO tools, copying charts, making screenshots, and searching for the most relevant insights, optimize for time and integrate these actions into your daily routines.

For instance, with a reporting module like SEOmonitor’s, you get an assistant in the form of a Google Slides add-on that surfaces the critical insights from your campaign – that you can insert with a click. Those insights are transformed into visually appealing slides, within your predesignated agency template.

You get to focus on what matters – explaining the metrics behind your actions, how the strategy evolved, and what’s next for the client’s business.

Inconsistent Reporting Frequency

Was it supposed to be monthly? Or did you agree on a custom period?

Not getting the timing right and in alignment with your client can be another reason why reports pile up in the unread file.

Having a set frequency, which is usually month by month, helps both from a process point of view and as a ground for calibration with the client’s team.

To make sure you send your reports on time, you can use a project management tool or, again, your internal agency dashboard. Having a support system with nudges and alerts, via email, Slack or something else, keeps you on schedule.

Don’t forget to set your notifications beforehand for preparation – compounding the insights and creating the document itself. Also, you may think about the roles involved in the reporting process from the start, so you coordinate with all the team members in due time.

Unmet Expectations

There may be unmet expectations on both sides: your team made some important SEO recommendations that the client hasn’t implemented, the client expected to see a different outcome.

Returning full circle to the crucial part of alignment and expectations setting, there’s also one final aspect to take into account: communicating why it’s important to receive the report beforehand and read it.

It can work as agenda-setting for the last step in the reporting process – presenting it.

It’s also in the monthly meeting or call that you get to clarify, explain, and make recommendations while presenting the journey so far.

It can even be an opportunity to recalibrate the relationship with a silent client. It’s not the unread report per se that needs solving, but the way you both communicate.

Maybe it’s time to rehash what you both agreed during onboarding or maybe it’s time for a new approach that benefits both sides.

All in all, having the same foundation for this discussion raises its efficiency. You and the client can now focus on campaign fine-tuning and strategic talk because you know where you’re standing, the questions that need urgent answers, and can infer the next steps.

Ways to Optimize Your Reporting Process

Creating an efficient reporting process for your agency is important because, to a certain degree, reporting is retention.

Being able to articulate how your monthly activities and SEO interventions are improving business results will not only be beneficial for your client’s trust, but also for their continued collaboration.

In brief, here are the main things to consider when designing that reporting process:

  • Establishing the rules of reporting and clearly communicating them to the client in the onboarding phase.
  • Having a set internal process for how you approach reporting and its strategic objective.
  • Create a visually appealing monthly report to use across the agency, that showcases your approach and the most relevant SEO insights: SEO actions, visibility status, keyword groups, and their performance, competitors insights, SEO issues and opportunities, and next steps.
  • Automating data gathering so you have time to focus on what matters: strategy, tactics, and explaining what happened in order to translate SEO interventions to business results.
  • Creating a transparent process and gathering feedback. Your reports and meetings are a great opportunity to take the pulse of your clients and find out what you can optimize. For the sake of transparency, you should offer your clients the context to give you feedback and ask burning questions.

Our team at SEOmonitor researched this process through and through, and after gathering insights from SEO agencies, designed a reporting module that takes into account all the aspects above, so you don’t have to struggle.

You get:

  • An overview of your reports’ status at the portfolio level.
  • The status of a client’s report at each stage of the process (Due, Overdue, Submitted, In Progress), in your account manager dashboard.
  • A builder that leverages your campaign data from SEOmonitor into Google Slides – our smart assistant pulls the most relevant insights from each campaign that you can click and insert in your agency template in seconds. Plus, we’ll generate visually consistent graphs and charts that are easy to follow.
  • A feedback tracker for each monthly report that highlights engagement data: the most engaged slides, the most liked slides, and the client’s overall satisfaction, collected at the best possible moment – just after reading your report.
  • Reporting doesn’t have to be a painful or time-consuming experience for your team. And it can be significant for supporting client communications.

By: SEOMonitor

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Ryan Stewart 32.6K subscribers Download report (free): https://theblueprint.training/extend-… It’s much easier to keep your current clients than to sign new ones. This video talks about tips you can use to re-sign your clients at the end of their agreements. ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 💥 LEARN to scale your agency ► http://bit.ly/2MntKos 💥 Let me MANAGE your marketing ► http://bit.ly/2MhTQJi 💥 Get hourly CONSULTING from me ► http://bit.ly/2MiXRNJ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 🗣 CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/ryan.was.here/ Facebook ► https://facebook.com/hellowebris Twitter ► https://twitter.com/ryanwashere FREE FB Group ► https://www.facebook.com/groups/digit… ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 👂CHECK OUT MY PODCAST Spotify ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-spotify Apple ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-a-marketer Google ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-google Stitcher ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-stitcher ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 👋 ABOUT ME: My name is Ryan Stewart, I’m on online entrepreneur and marketer. I used to work a job I hated for a company I didn’t believe in, until I stumbled upon “SEO”. Flash forward 10 years later and I’ve built, grown and scaled almost a dozen 7 figure businesses. It’s my goal in life to free you from the old mindset and institutions in place. If you follow my Channel you’ll learn valuable marketing, business and technical skills that will help you build your own online businesses.

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?

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.

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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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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.

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