Making A Good First Impression

When it comes to your customers, it’s important to realize that building a relationship with them begins immediately.  When you meet someone face to face, you have about seven seconds to make an impression. Seven seconds! The truth is, your website probably doesn’t have much longer than seven seconds to keep the attention of your customers and your potential customers. Everything from the color palette you choose to the font you use speaks volumes of who you are as a company–and what you stand for.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Nordstrom

Hall of Fame Class of 2011–Nordstrom

It’s not easy finding a pair of shoes that you like for a particular occasion. What is even worse is when you find the perfect pair, but your feet are slightly different sizes–and one of the shoes doesn’t fit well. Our feet, much like us as humans, aren’t perfect. In fact, many of us have feet that aren’t quite the same size. Whether one is longer, shorter, more wide, or more narrow, the shoe department at Nordstrom understands this–and they’ve been using it to their Purple Goldfish advantage for a long time.

THE ORIGIN

Since 1901, the good people at Nordstrom have worked to deliver the best possible shopping experience, helping customers possess style—not just buy fashion. Additionally, they’re committed to providing their customers with good service. With 347 stores in 40 states and Canada, you can certainly tell that their commitment to their customers has taken them far in the world of retail. In addition to selling customers two different shoe sizes as needed, Nordstrom also offers free shipping and free returns, and mobile shopping.

WHY TWO SHOES SIZES?

If you’re one of those lucky people whose feet are the same size, I salute you. Speaking as someone whose left foot is slightly larger than his right foot, I can tell you that Nordstrom has a customer in me for life. I’m sure I can’t be the only person who feels this way. After all, most of us wear shoes every single day of our lives. It’s important that they fit well–and sometimes that means they have to be two different sizes. 

TAKEAWAY

Your customers are human. Realizing that they, just like you, are imperfect is they perfect way to find common ground. Purple Goldfish like these not only help you connect with your customers, but also help you retain them forever. 

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Ellen sent her beauty guru Kym Douglas to Nordstrom with a secret earpiece. The results are hilarious.

Amazing Technological Advances Part V

This is the final installment of amazing technological advances over the last sixty years. As you can see, our society (and the world) has come a very long way in just a short time. I, for one, am very excited to see what kind of tech advances will come to us down the road.

2004 – 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg launches thefacebook.com in his dorm room as a Harvard sophomore.

2005 – YouTube is founded by former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The idea was born at a dinner party in San Francisco the year before, inspired by two key events that year: Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl and a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Purple Goldfish Hall of Famer–Starbucks

Hall of Fame Class of 2011–Starbucks

There is one on every corner–and thank goodness! Sometimes I just need my coffee. While some people might get annoyed by the fact that their seems to be a Starbucks everywhere you go, loyal customers couldn’t mind in the least. These customers are the ones who appreciate the little things that Starbucks does for them every time they enter the coffee shop–no matter which Starbucks it happens to be. From similar atmosphere to free iTunes downloads to samples of their latest creations, Starbucks knows how to make their customers feel like they’re visiting a good friend.

 

THE ORIGIN

The story behind Starbucks is one of those feel-good stories that really makes an emotional connection with customers. Again, they’re all about giving their customers that warm fuzzy feeling and they’ve been that way since the beginning. According to the Starbucks website, “It’s just a moment in time – just one hand reaching over the counter to present a cup to another. But it’s a connection. We make sure everything we do honors that connection – from our commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world, to the way we engage with our customers and communities to do business responsibly. From our beginnings as a single store over forty years ago, in every place that we’ve been, and every place that we touch, we’ve tried to make it a little better than we found it.”

WHY FREE SAMPLES?

Starbucks believes in coffee. More than that, they believe that people can become connected over coffee. When you meet someone new, your first date takes place somewhere safe and simple–a coffee shop. Have a business meeting? You offer to meet them halfway at the coffee shop. Starbucks knows that people come to them to settle in and to connect. Free coffee helps people build a connection with Starbucks–and with one another.

TAKEAWAY

Never doubt the power of a good connection. As humans, we need to connect with other people regularly in order to maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle. Starbucks realizes this–and they want to be the place customers go when they’re ready to slow down and connect with one another. 

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Did you know that Starbucks has a secret menu? Here are the reactions of people trying drinks off of the secret Starbucks menu–and they’re great.

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.

Amazing Technological Advances Part IV

The series continues! There have been some amazing technological advances over the last sixty years. Today, we take a look at some of the biggest tech advances since 1995.

1995 – Google begins as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Both are Ph.D. students at Stanford University.

1999 – Kevin Ashton coins the term “the Internet of Things” (IoT) while working at Auto-ID Labs.Oracle executive Marc Benioff invites three friends to his San Francisco apartment. His business idea gets a lukewarm response. Cofounder Dave Moellenhoff doesn’t sugarcoat it, “You’re an idiot. That’s the stupidest thing. This is never going to work.” The group presses forward and launches Salesforce, one of the first enterprise cloud software services in the world. The company pioneered the concept of delivering enterprise applications via a simple website.

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: