Want to Grow Your Customer Intuition? Become A Customer Evangelist
The role in today's organizations most suited to developing great customer intuition and insight is increasingly the customer evangelist. The person designated to be the customer liaison, the face and voice of the company or product. The customer evangelist is the person(s) in your organization that advocates for the interests of your customers and the person with the most insight and intuition into the needs and wants of your customers.
The Church of the Customer Blog highlights great tips for being a Chief Evangelist:
Betsy Weber, the chief evangelist for software toolmaker TechSmith, has five solid tips for being an official company evangelist and helping create other evangelists just like yourself.
1. Be a power listener.
Listen as much as you talk (if not more). Then, bring those conversations with customers into your company so the user's voice is heard. Keep the conversations going. Relate the feedback you hear to product teams, be the voice of the customer, and fight for what they want at your company.
2. Get out of the marketing department.
This isn't a marketing job. This isn't to create sales. It's about customer care and customer relationships. Dump the marketing lingo. Be transparent, open and honest. You have to be an extrovert and people person. It's almost a way of life -- you're either suited for it or you're not.
3. Get your whole company onboard.
It takes more than a Chief Evangelist to create customer evangelists. Every area that the customers interact with must be on board with creating customer evangelists. If one department fails to give outstanding service or gives the customer a negative experience the whole company is affected.
4. Open the front door and be accessible.
Give out your direct phone number and real email address. If you hide behind voicemail and an email alias you might miss a great opportunity. Give VIP tours and arrange for customer meet-ups. Customers will appreciate it and it can be a competitive advantage.
5. Have passion.
You must love and believe in the products, and you have to be passionate about the people who use them. If you won't, who will?
June 4, 2006 in award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, CMO | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Customer Managed Relationships
Seth points out that Disney is thinking differently about CRM. They see it differently. Customer Managed Relationships. CMR replacing CRM. “...our guests invite us into their lives and ultimately manage our presence/relationship with them.” Now that's understanding permission marketing. Who among us enjoys it when a marketer manages our relationship. We'd much rather manage our relationship.
So what's a marketer to do?
Be on all the Channels
Think about the relationship you want your customers to have with you. That's slightly different than thinking about the relationship you want to have with your customers. What channels of communication do your customers want to hear from you? You probably don't know so maybe you need to use multiple channels and let customers choose what's most convenient for them. Some customers will like email newsletters, some will like direct mail, some will like an RSS feed from your blog, and some will like podcasts. The point is that it should be the customers choice. The choice you have as a marketer is to populate the available channels with your message.
Track, Tweak and Be Respectable
When you offer multiple channels respect the choices of your customers. Don't assume that those that listen and respond to one channel will want to hear from you on other channels. For example don't assume that email newsletter readers will want to hear your podcast. It's ok to let them know you have one but it's not OK to send the podcast file in an email. At every opportunity Test and Tweak your message so that you continually improve your use of each channel of communication.
Sounds like a lot of work doesn't it? That's why you should consider outsourcing your email newsletters and blogs to a provider like BeTuitive Marketing where all the Tracking and Tweaking are respectfully handled for you by experts in permission marketing.
May 8, 2006 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, business credibility, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, CMO, company blog, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Sales Genius Helps You Track Customer Interactions with Your Website
Sure you can have excellent stats and behavior tracking with your email newsletters but what about the follow-up emails that your sales staff sends to hot prospects and potential customers? Ever wish you could see if your prospects are visiting the web pages you are referring them to? Now you can with a new service that will track customer and prospect behavior based on the emails that you are sending. Give Sales Genius a try during the free trial period to see if it's going to be worth paying a monthly expense for the service.
SalesGenius™ is the first personal web analytics service that lets sales professionals instantly qualify sales prospects by tracking individual visits to corporate web sites, without any programming or IT involvement. The real-time Genius Tracker™ gives you immediate feedback about which sales leads have opened your e-mails and clicked through to your web site, so you can tell at a glance who is most interested.
May 3, 2006 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogs, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Tracking Your Customers or Competitors Website
Are you watching the websites of your customers and competitors? How do you know when the sites have changed? Feed Whip is one of a slew of services that track websites and can email you when the site changes.
This is especially useful for monitoring “what's new” pages or “new products” sections of websites. In addition to a business home page you may want to track team pages, personnel listings, specification pages or any other specific intelligence pages.
Tools like these help you stay current with your customers and competitors. It's the essence of customer intuition.
Geographic Customer Intuition: Census/Google Maps Mashup
We're all about the Customer Intuition here at BeConnected. Learning about your customers, their needs, behaviors and desires is so important for any business. For those addressing specific geographic areas when developing new locations, products, services or experiences understanding Census data is critical. Here's a cool tool that allows you to analyze Census data based on a one, three and five mile radius from a given location or address.
March 30, 2006 in award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, CMO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Tom Peters' Blog on Defining Customers
Steve Yastrow over at tompeters.com has a simple definition of a customer:
Anyone whose actions affect your results.
Simple, succinct and broadly applicable. If we're talking about developing customer intuition and using tools to learn more about the background and happenings of our customers we better have a good definition. What do you think? Is this a good definition? Anything to add?
tompeters.com: Refine to Simplicity be sure to read the comments. Good stuff their too.
March 10, 2006 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Put These Entrepreneurial Proverbs on Your Radar
Over at O'Reilly Radar as opposed to Radar O'Reilly, there's a great list of “Entrepreneurial Proverbs” that are intended for engineer types who want to start their own companies. Great bit size chunks for those looking to start a company or just wanting to shape some advice for someone who is.
Cool ideas are useless without great needs -- this is the classic engineers' entrepreneurial mistake (or at least I'd like to think so, since I've made it). Techies love tech, and a new technology can produce a lot of companies that don't really meet a need. Better to start with the need, and then see how what you know can produce a better answer to that need. (Marketers tend to have the opposite problem: real, pressing needs with completely unworkable solutions.)
Build the simplest thing possible -- engineers have the hardest time with this, with not overdesigning for the need they're addressing. Make the simplest possible product that makes a significant dent in that need, and you'll do far better than you would addressing two or three needs at once. Simplicity leads to clarity in everything you do.
Solve problems, not potential problems -- you can waste a lot of money implementing solutions for problems you don't have yet, and may never have. Work on the biggest, most pressing problems today, and put aside everything else.
Test everything with real people -- it's unbelievable how helpful this is. Go find civilians, real people who use computers because they have to and not because they love to. Find them in Starbucks, or at the library, or in a college computer lab. Give them $20 for 20 minutes, and you'll be paid back a hundred times over.
Read the rest of the list.
O'Reilly Radar: “Entrepreneurial Proverbs”
Boing Boing Reports on Two Disconnects Between Operations and the Customer Experience
Today Boing Boing reports on two stories that illustrate disconnects between operations departments and the revenue generating mission of an organization.
First it's airports. Cory Doctorow posts a report that airports are covering power outlets to deny power to travelers looking to recharge their laptops and cellphones. Many of these same airports sell access to WiFi internet access. Who can buy and use WiFi if their laptop batteries are depleted? This sounds like a disconnect between operations looking to curb electricity use and management that wants to generate more revenue and enhance travel customer experience.
Cory also points to a post on the Re-Imaginering blog that discusses maintenance problems at Walt Disney theme parks. Apparently, the operations budget is so tight that animatronics are deactivated instead of repaired, figures are repositioned to avoid excessive wear on costumes and entire new attractions are actively opposed by operations because they don't have the budget to maintain them. Again a disconnect between operations and the customer experience. Raving fans who are more than willing to evangelize the theme parks are noticing and the web is spreading the word.
How about your organization? Are you aware of any disconnects that are negatively effecting your customer experience? Maybe it's as simple as that incredibly cheap paper in your laser printer. That cheap stuff will save dome pennies but the client frowns at that cheap stuff their expensive reports and studies are printed on.
Where do you see disconnects that are sending mixed messages about your business to your customers? Is it time to realign your budgets and priorities?
Use Good Email Habits to Enhance Communication With Customers
How well do you use email to communicate with customers? Many people still send sloppy emails. Concise, well written and efficient email communication can set you apart as someone customers want to deal with. Here is a great article from the great LifeHacker that's not to be missed.
LifeHacker: Geek to Live: Teach others how to use email
January 20, 2006 in award winning newsletter, blog publish, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Annoyed, Annoying or Glad to See You!
What's the most annoying thing you do? Not what annoys you the most but what you do that annoys others. Hard to know unless you are a mind reader. One way you can know some of what others might find annoying about you is to examine the behaviors of others that you find annoying and see if you do those same things. Do your coworkers constantly interrupt you? Ever want to strangle someone talking too loud on their mobile phone? Do you find yourself avoiding calls from chatty sales people? What about you? Do you interrupt your coworkers who are busy? Do you sometimes talk loudly on your cellphone? Do you chat too much with your busy sales leads? Many times with great self importance we are quick to excuse ourselves from behavior that we find annoying in others. “It was really important” “I just don't get good reception on the train.” “I'm just trying to build a relationship.” Reasonable, justification or excuse?
It's time to be more intuitive, to read people better and to understand what habits and work practices you can adjust this year that will enhance your ability to connect, collaborate and grow your working relationships with coworkers and customers.
Start this week and keep a list of annoyances that come into you day. Next week put those on your “Not ToDo” list. New Year, new habits, new style.....new level!