How to Manage Customer Relationships on Social Media

Don’t get caught up in thinking that customer relationship management is just for those big box store brands. As it stands, managing the relationship you have with customers can make or break your business. If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or something in between, I’m willing to bet that you’re wanting your business to succeed–and customer relationship management is key. Sure you can invest in expensive CRM software, but remember that all the software in the word can’t take the place of YOU.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Trader Joe’s

Hall of Fame Class of 2011–Trader Joe’s

Taking your children just about anywhere these days can be tough. Most places aren’t exactly “kid friendly.” I don’t know about you, but I find the grocery store to be one of the least kid friendly places out there. That is, unless the grocery store accounts for children as part of their business plan. Very few do, but businesses who know best seem to know that if the children are happy, the parents are happy. And if the parents are happy, businesses know that they’ll be frequented again and again–simply because they offered that little extra to parents. At least, that’s the case at Trader Joe’s.

THE ORIGIN

When it comes to a good customer service experience, taking care of the customer is the number one way to make them happy. What many businesses forget is that oftentimes, while the customer base itself is not made up of children, it IS made up of people who HAVE children. Trader Joe’s has not forgotten it–in fact, they’ve embraced it since the 50’s. In addition to offering a variety of free samples (at several dedicated sampling stations) examples of Purple Goldfish for kids have included a stuffed whale (if you find him, your child gets a treat out of a treasure box and then you get to hide the whale yourself for others to find) and miniature carts.

WHY CHILD FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES?

If you’ve never gone grocery shopping with a small child, you can count yourself lucky. They want to sample the food (even the food that isn’t there to be sampled–like fruit) and they want to push the (often huge) grocery cart. Any grocery store that can get ahead of these basic needs parents experience simply by walking through the door is a solid place to do business.

TAKEAWAY

When you take care of the needs of children, you take care of the needs of parents. While this seems like an easy concept, many businesses forget that children are often part of the equation for their customer base. 

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – There are a lot of reasons to love Trader Joe’s–and they don’t all have to do with children. Watch this video to learn more about what makes Trader Joe’s great.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–AJ Bombers

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–AJ Bombers

Customer service doesn’t always have to feel special–sometimes it just has to feel fun. That “little extra” you give customers, which also makes service feel easy and carefree, is sometimes the only thing your most loyal followers want. At least, that’s how AJ Bombers feels. Perhaps that’s why they don’t just offer their customers free food (peanuts) but also deliver it by way of metal WWII Bombers. 

THE ORIGIN

Happiness with a side of burgers. That is the AJ Bombers way. They strive to be a family friendly, fun eatery where no reservations are necessary. Adding to the atmosphere of fun is that “little extra” they describe as their peanut delivery system.

WHY PEANUTS?

Everyone loves free food. It’s a fact of life. Whether it’s a free bag of popcorn, a free basket of peanuts, or a free meal free food equals happy customers. As a restaurant, AJ Bombers is well aware of this–and ensures that every customer who enters their doors gets free food delivered in a memorable way.

TAKEAWAY

Great customer service doesn’t always entail grand gestures or expensive take homes. Sometimes, great customer service is done simply, ensuring it can be done for everyone over and over again.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Curious as to how those bombers work? Watch this video.

Customer Service: Improving Your Online Reputation

It’s no secret that customers appreciate good service. Naturally, in order to get them through your doors, you first have to market to them. There are the traditional channels, of course– television, online, and even printed ads may do the trick. Of course, the latest trend is marketing a business doesn’t rely much on marketing that we the business owners create–it relies on customers who have given us a chance to impress them.

Influencing Behavior and Improving Customer Experience Through Personal Data

This is the third blog post in a nine post series for IBM by Evan Carroll and I focused on the intersection of customer experience and technology, data and analytics. This post covers the First R of relationship and the concept of personal data and its impact on behavior change.

Some might argue that technology is making us less human. Others would argue just the opposite. No matter which opinion you share, you can’t dispute the rising trend of personal data collection and its effect on behavior change.

TrendWatching.com coined the term ‘data myning’ in 2010 and included it in their 2013 trend report. The intentional misspelling highlighted how individuals, not just companies, are impacted by the awareness and ownership of their own data.

Data myning, as it pertains to customer experience, is about empowerment. Companies who use personal data to empower their customers have the opportunity to create transformative change for those customers.

Case Study: Dollar Bank

Dollar Bank is the largest mutual savings bank in the United States. Today, the bank delivers a comprehensive range of retail and commercial banking services to customers across Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The challenge: With the popularity of its digital services booming, Dollar Bank wanted to drive customer retention and acquisition by ensuring seamless customer journeys online.

The solution: The bank implemented IBM Customer Experience Analytics solutions, enabling its contact center to replay digital customer journeys, identify any sticking points and resolve customer queries quickly and effectively.

The benefits: The bank can now identify and implement experience improvements online – boosting first-call resolution by 30 percent and lifting customer satisfaction.

Blue Goldfish Case Study: Southern California Edison

Southern California Edison saw the opportunity to provide customers with additional insight into their utility bills following their rollout of smart meters. In one test, the company identified 30,000 customers whose bills were on track to be significantly higher than expected. Ten days into the billing cycle, the system sent an email with the header, “Your bill is going to be higher than you expect and we’re concerned.” More than 50 percent of customers opened the email. Compared to a control group, satisfaction rose by double digits, energy usage fell and customer calls decreased.

Takeaway: The lesson here is that customers love to learn more about themselves and especially through data. This empowers them to change behaviors that may be costing them money or making them less healthy. Companies who offer this type of empowerment are in a great position to improve customer satisfaction and their bottom line.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Check out this slideshare on the concept of the Blue Goldfish:

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Lexus

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–Lexus

Good customer service shouldn’t feel like a luxury. While it’s great when you find a reputable dealer to buy from, it feels even better when that dealer continues servicing your car needs long after you’ve driven off the lot. Perhaps that’s why Lexus offers concierge service to their buyers, including a courtesy car wash and vacuum, following maintenance services.

THE ORIGIN

Lexus is a company that takes pride in their innovative, thoughtful designs and the relentless performance of their vehicles. What’s more, they were founded on the principal of being dedicated to always offering top-notch customer service. Showing that dedication through actions more than words, Lexus takes pride in their happy customer base all over the world.

WHY A COURTESY WASH AND VAC?

Lexus goes beyond standard, striving for the unexpected. Washing and vacuuming our cars takes up time and money–and it’s almost always necessary after our cars leave an auto service shop. Lexus takes the inconvenience of dust, dirt, and oil out of the equation, ensuring their customers are back to doing what they love–faster.

TAKEAWAY

While customer experience shouldn’t feel like a luxury, it often does. Luckily, Lexus wants to ensure that all of their customers, no matter what kind of vehicle they’ve purchased, leaves the Lexus dealership feeling a little bit happier than when they entered.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here are a few more ways Lexus makes customers feel like more than dollar signs. 

Good Customer Service Doesn’t Always Depend on Data Models

On the backside of marketing and customer service, you probably come across a lot of data and models. Maybe that is why when it comes to offering good customer service; we can often get caught up in what the numbers say we should do. That’s because we feel that if someone has taken the time to measure what qualifies “good customer service” or a “good experience” we should listen to him or her.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–Five Guys

Dining out is a treat–and we just love to treat ourselves. However, there have been times that I’ve gone out an ended up rather disappointed that I had to part with good money for a meal. Whether the food I ordered wasn’t up to par or the service left something to be desired, going out to eat can sometimes be a gamble. Yet whenever I think of the times I’ve gone to Five Guys, I always feel a smile on my face. How can I not when every time I go in I’m gifted with bonus fries, unlimited toppings, and free peanuts?

THE ORIGIN

The founder of Five Guys, Jerry Murrell, knew early on that what would impress customers had nothing to do with decor–and everything to do with food. From the beginning, his goal was to serve customers fresh (never frozen) juicy burgers. Between the great food, the freebies, and the smiling service Five Guys went from a single restaurant in Washington D.C. to a franchise scattered across America. 

WHY BONUS FRIES, UNLIMITED TOPPINGS, AND FREE PEANUTS?

Founder Jerry Murrell says it best. “We figure our best salesman is our customer. Treat that person right, he’ll walk out the door and sell for you. From the beginning, I wanted people to know that we put all our money into the food.That’s why the décor is so simple — red and white tiles. We don’t spend our money on décor. Or on guys in chicken suits. But we’ll go overboard on food.”

TAKEAWAY

In today’s world, it’s easy to get carried away spending money on your marketing. However, as Five Guys proves, you can keep your mission and marketing budget simple but still experience huge success.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Love Five Guys? Here are ten things that you may not know about them.

How to be Successful Online in 2017

Customer service is an interesting beast. Every time you think you have it figured out, it changes. It used to be that when people had a problem or a complaint about a service or product, they had to call a store and speak with a manager. Prior to that, they physically had to go back to the store where they made their initial purchase. Nowadays, many customers prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of stores–they enjoy the ease of being able to go online. In 2017, the shopping path that customers use will continue to change, so it’s best to make sure you’re moving the same direction as they are.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–TD Bank

Hall of Fame Class of 2010–TD Bank

A lot of companies like to lay the claim of being customer-centric, though not many live up to the hype. After all, when it comes to what I teach with Purple Goldfish it’s those little actions that speak far louder than words ever could. TD Bank not only has longer hours than other banks they’re also open seven days a week. In addition, they’ve pulled together a number of ways to communicate that they care about their customers including automated thanking machines and throwback Thursdays.

THE ORIGIN

TD Bank’s “About Us” page is incredibly telling. The very first line reads, “If something matters to humans, it matters to us.” TD Bank calls this “Banking Human” and they’ve done business that way from the very beginning. To TD Bank, their customers aren’t just money in an account–they’re people. And while TD Bank is constantly searching for new ways to say, “thanks for banking with us” their actions of staying open late and on weekends, lending a hand in local communities, and taking care of their employees speak volumes.

WHY BETTER BANKING HOURS?

TD Bank shares that they understand the weekend (and even after work) is when their customers tend to get things done. They recognize that one of those things is usually banking and for that reason, they keep their doors open late and on weekends. It’s just one way they’re Banking Human.

TAKEAWAY

In today’s technology driven world, it can be easy for companies to rely on the convenience of technology to help customers. TD Bank uses technology to enhance the experience of their customers, but they’re committed to not letting technology take the place of humans.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – TD Bank prides themselves on being there for people through some of life’s biggest moments. To say thank you to their customers, they turned a trip to the bank into a true customer journey.