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Creating Better Loyalty Emails


June 22, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“E-mail has an ability that many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches at scale,” – David Newman Customer loyalty remains an interesting concept in the world of commerce; this intangible is directly linked with customer retention and business efforts targeted … Continued

“E-mail has an ability that many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches at scale,” – David Newman

Customer loyalty remains an interesting concept in the world of commerce; this intangible is directly linked with customer retention and business efforts targeted at expanding the customer base. Better loyalty emails represent one of the means by which businesses can work to boost customer loyalty and thereby attain desired business outcomes. The business case for such communications lies in the fact that email has achieved near ubiquity in a fully connected world. Therefore, businesses must leverage this mode of communication to stay competitive in global markets. In addition, email can be used as a business tool by entrepreneurs, small businesses, large organizations, and trans-national enterprises.

The first step toward creating better loyalty emails lies in the realization that email is an intensely personal form of communication. Every business must invest significant time and resources to create interesting email communications that hold the customer’s attention and enable the business to expand its mind share among customers and clients. A ‘welcome’ email must be mandatory when customers sign up for online businesses. This first step must be initiated by the enterprise in a bid to introduce itself to new customers. We note that the import of said email message should be succinct because customers tend to be busy. The email should also contain the connecting co-ordinates, such as a toll free telephone number, email address, and social media handles. We must bear in mind that this email sets the tone for all future communication between customer and the business; therefore, a business must adopt a professional approach when creating the said email.

Every business that is interested in retaining its customers should consistently track its online metrics. The information that issues from these metrics can help the business to craft better loyalty emails. For instance, an e-commerce retailer that engages with customers via periodic emails can use the email platform to inform customers about new products and services. This action is significant because it signals corporate intent to communicate with every individual customer. We remain aware that shopping apps have emerged as the most preferred mode of online shopping in the modern world, but the use of email communications serves as a second electronic channel to engage with online customers. In addition, customers that disengaged abruptly from their online app or abandoned a shopping cart midway may be gently reminded via emails to resume their shopping expeditions. These follow-up actions should be seriously pursued by every enterprise because such actions can help to spur customer loyalty.

Customer education represents another perspective that can help a business to ideate and create better loyalty emails. Businesses and enterprises must make it a point to educate their customers on the utility and aesthetic aspects of certain products and services. We note that interesting nuggets of relevant information and factoids can help to keep emails fresh and engaging from the customer’s perspective. Therefore, a persistent email-driven campaign may be created to improve customer knowledge, because this approach bears the potential to increase the levels of customer engagement. Further, educating the customer remains critical because every customer may not be in a position to constantly monitor and assess market offerings. In addition, research into human behaviour suggests that high-visibility campaigns tend to attract more customers to a business enterprise. Thus, the information sharing approach can help every business to win customer loyalty over the long term.

Colours and the combinations of colours should feature prominently in the creation of better loyalty emails. The human eye is engineered to discern an endless palette of colours and this fact should be leveraged when enterprises design emails for customer consumption. Experts should ideally help the enterprise in email design so that the brand image and the commercial message are melded to spur customer loyalty. We must note that most consumers use desktop computers, connected tablets, and smartphones to browse apps and websites; these devices are engineered with high resolution displays and this makes the use of colours all the more important. In addition, visual design of the email should be attractive so as to retain readers’ attention. This is critical to avoid any conflicts between brand colours and email template colours.

Email reviews that seek the customer’s opinions on a certain product can be important in deepening customer engagement. This email can be sent to the customer’s registered mailbox immediately after online or offline purchase mechanisms have been completed. We note that this feedback mechanism can contribute significantly to the creation of better loyalty emails. This email-driven conversation between the brand and its customers assumes importance because it signals the fact that the commercial organization is interested in the customer’s point of view. The conversation also implies that the business is not driven solely by a dollars-and-cents approach, and that the business remains interested in a long term engagement with its customers.

Customers that opt to enrol in multiple loyalty programs operated by a business should attract preferential treatment. This holds true for both online and offline businesses. The enterprise may choose to create better loyalty emails for the benefit of such customers. The template and content of such emails should be customised for every customer that qualifies for said program. For instance, a civilian commercial aviation operator may choose to offer slabs of special discounts or extra flying miles to special customers. In addition, the enterprise may seek to make the customer experience special by embedding electronic links that lead to a variety of information (such as new rewards, a monthly reward statement, status achievements, etc.) pertaining to the special treatment meted to such customers. We may state that this denotes a purely commercial approach to doing business, but the fact remains that regular flyers must be treated preferentially because these represent extra revenue for the airline operator.

A personal email from a chief executive officer can help to engender significant reactions, such as loyalty, from clients and customers. The said email could contain a brief update on business performance in recent quarters, a review of customer feedback, and the new business initiatives currently underway. We note that the personal touch remains an important aspect of creating better loyalty emails. This is especially true for budding enterprises that have yet to create a mass clientele and remain unknown operators in the market. Frequent and meaningful communications are important for such businesses so that the brand can attain enhanced exposure in the public eye. A timely message from the top executive can help assure investors, clients, customers, and suppliers that the business is being expertly stewarded and the returns on investment are expected to match stakeholder expectations.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed some of the techniques that can assist businesses to craft better loyalty emails. Every serious entrepreneur and business enterprise must work to deepen customer engagement and must cherish the ensuing customer loyalty. Email is critical to such efforts owing to the permanent nature of the said medium, the absence of limits on cyber real estate, and the ubiquity of email in-boxes in modern times. A competently crafted business email can potentially boost customer retention, demonstrate the seriousness of corporate intent, strengthen customer relations, and enable a business enterprise to mark its territory.

 

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Ways that Brands are Ruining Customer Engagement


June 21, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Your organization might be well-meaning but still ruining your customer’s day” – @jeanniecw Customer engagement represents the lifeblood of every business. The modern enterprise must actively court and engage with customers in order to thrive in competitive markets marked by … Continued

“Your organization might be well-meaning but still ruining your customer’s day” – @jeanniecw

Customer engagement represents the lifeblood of every business. The modern enterprise must actively court and engage with customers in order to thrive in competitive markets marked by a multiplicity of brands, businesses, and enterprises. We must bear in mind that customer engagement is directly linked with customer dollars and therefore, a business should ideally work to escalate its customer engagement strategies. However, certain pitfalls do exist and every business must learn to navigate past such situations. Ruining customer engagement can cost a business millions of dollars in lost sales, the erosion of stock value, the flight of customers to the competition, a loss of corporate reputation, and may mark the business’s first step towards oblivion.

We may say that a brand is ruining customer engagement when the business takes its customers for granted. This behaviour may emerge when a brand or a business decides to rest on its laurels and the behaviour becomes part of a firm wide mind set. Consequently, key operating metrics may recede, the management cadre may get complacent, and the business may fall prey to its own inert mind set. Customers may no longer be excited about transacting with said business and may seek out alternatives in the open market. In the case of listed companies, slack business performance may invite public ire, regulatory scrutiny, investor disdain, etc. In such circumstances, the failure of said business enterprise is guaranteed, unless the customer experience becomes central to all business processes.

In modern times, customers operate in an information-rich world and the competent business enterprise should devise newer (and more effective) strategies to ignite conversations with customers in a bid to step up customer engagement. Social media platforms have provided business enterprises unprecedented means to better communicate with consumers, build stronger relationships, and boost brand loyalty. Similarly, e-commerce has become a primary source of revenue for many businesses. However, a slack approach to these business channels represents the ideal recipe for ruining customer engagement. We note that a lack of understanding of the dynamics that underpin business strategies on social media platforms can be equally disastrous. For instance, a software manufacturer and integrator may choose to ignore social media platforms. This studied approach to conducting business automatically excludes said business from emerging business opportunities, not to mention the severely curtailed visibility that attends an absence on social media. Competitors are likely to leverage the situation to forge ahead, while consumers and customers can easily migrate to more social media friendly business competitors.

Ethical lapses can form the lynchpin of ruining customer engagement. Every business enterprise should practice moral values and must uphold and promote fair business practices. The pursuit of business profit should ideally be tempered by the compass of morality. For instance, an automobile maker should undertake every possible measure to preserve the public trust invested in its brands. However, when the car manufacturer chooses to place profit above everything else, it runs the risk of destroying its brand reputation. The said manufacturer may choose to compromise on fuel efficiency standards or product quality standards in its pursuit of the pole position in the market. These actions may initiate a scandal that creates far reaching consequences, thereby causing irreparable damage to the brand image and ruining customer engagement. The consequences of such a course of action may include a heavy fine imposed by a competent authority, the loss of business and brand reputation, a precipitous drop in the stock price, and investor calls for an overhaul of top management.

An insensitive approach to emerging market trends can be viewed as a step closer to ruining customer engagement. Businesses operate in markets that can be considered to be living entities. Every market is subject to changing dynamics powered by customer preferences and choices, government policies, regulatory stances, currency values, and macro-economic factors, among others. Therefore, every enterprise must review its corporate policies and operational management systems to ensure that the aims of the enterprise remain coterminous with customer requirements. For instance, smartphone manufacturers cater to a major segment of the consumer electronics market. This segment is inherently fickle because consumers have access to a wide variety of branded gadgets and operating systems. The complacent manufacturer can ignore market preferences and market trends at its own peril. In this case, ruining customer engagement can lead to erosion in market share, ceding ground to competitors, losing years of cultivated brand reputation, among others. We could say that lax management oversight and inadequate quality control procedures could equally contribute to the spectacular collapse of a smartphone business.

Communication remains a central aspect of the mechanics that govern the commercial world and human society alike. Every commercial enterprise must put in place competent mechanisms to communicate with all stakeholders, such as investors, clients, customers, suppliers, etc. Therefore, a lack of communication (or the creation and propagation of garbled messages) can be instrumental in ruining customer engagement. Consider this: a manufacturer of cosmetics and personal care products must invest in systematic efforts to create a consistent brand image. This should be cultivated and nurtured over a period of time so that customers can identify with the brand, which helps the brand to establish its commercial moorings. We note that the consistency of the brand image is critical for its success. However, the said manufacturer not be careful in its attempts to maintain the brand image and may create slipshod products that fail to meet customer expectations. Consequently, a few instances of sub-standard products in the market can destroy the brand image, thereby ruining customer engagement. We may infer that the aftermath of such a brand disaster may include the loss of customers’ trust in the brand and its products. Damage control mechanisms can be activated, but the slur on the brand may persist in the public domain for a long time.

The management cadre of a business enterprise should take the initiative to boost customer engagement. This action should spring from a deep realization that the lack of such engagement could translate into missed market opportunities, among other problems. However, the top management could (inadvertently) contribute to ruining customer engagement by tardy communications practices and by creating gaps in business performance. This lacklustre approach to conducting business may create long term problems, such as customer attrition, inadequate workforce performance, lower revenue generated per customer, a general sense of customer dissatisfaction, and plunging performance metrics. We note that these issues represent serious business problems that deserve executive attention at the earliest. Management personnel must be made aware that customer engagement flows from the top of a business enterprise and this remains one of the immutable laws of the commercial world.

In the previous paragraphs, we have examined certain situations that can ruin the customer engagement strategy of a business enterprise. These scenarios and situations take time to develop before the corrosive consequences are set into action. We must bear in mind that these situations can be remedied by attentive business managers and brand managers that are driven by performance metrics. The room to improve business performance always exists, but the relevant management skills and genuine intent must be melded to pull back any business from the precipice of oblivion.

 

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Creating more Effective Promotional Campaigns


June 20, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Without promotion, something terrible happens – nothing!” – P. T. Barnum Modern businesses operate in competitive and crowded markets spread across multiple continents and many time zones. The creative enterprise and the commercial organization alike face a business imperative to … Continued

“Without promotion, something terrible happens – nothing!” – P. T. Barnum

Modern businesses operate in competitive and crowded markets spread across multiple continents and many time zones. The creative enterprise and the commercial organization alike face a business imperative to stand apart from the competition in their pursuit to create a distinct identity that will attract customers and help the business to thrive. Effective promotional campaigns represent one of the strategies through which a business can enhance its mind share, retain a persistent presence in the public eye, boost brand appeal and brand recognition, attract customer dollars, and expand the existing customer base.

A business or a brand can opt to use modern technology to fashion effective promotional campaigns because technology can impart a certain momentum to said campaigns. For instance, an e-commerce business can deploy chatbots to initiate and conduct an intelligent conversation with customers. We note that the chatbots are powered by algorithms and this technology can field all questions from human customers. The chatbots can be engineered to answer customer queries and customer questions at a moment’s notice, and this can help customers to discover products based on their preferences. In addition, the chatbots can enable customers to transact business at the e-commerce website at all times. These abilities can emerge as a key plank of the e-commerce operator’s promotional campaign, because online customers tend to discuss their brand experiences and the chatbots may feature prominently in such conversations.

Both brick-and-mortar enterprises and online businesses can choose to create effective promotional campaigns by formulating high profile and high visibility strategies. For instance, the distinctive brand colours of a sporting goods manufacturer can gain high visibility through the use of strings of LED lights wrapped around street furniture, such as light poles and traffic median dividers. A key aspect of modern urban-based civilization is manifest in vehicular traffic and therefore, such an outdoor campaign is guaranteed to raise the visibility quotient of said brand. The LED lights can be coded to display the brand colours to passing traffic and members of the general public, thereby reinforcing the distinctive colours of the brand in the public domain. In addition, the lights help to add an element of glamour to the urban landscape at night. This is an instance of a low-cost marketing campaign that hinges on environmentally conscious lighting technologies but creates a significant impact in terms of highlighting a particular brand.

Effective promotional campaigns can be designed keeping in mind the seasons of the planet. For instance, the rainy season is an annual phenomenon in most parts of the planet. People use umbrellas and rain suits to shield themselves from the weather. These devices can be embossed with the brand colours (or logo) of a software manufacturer and given away gratis in the course of a promotional campaign. Quality checks should be instituted during production to ensure that the promotional products conform to quality standards, thereby promoting wide acceptance among the recipients. This strategy essentially hinges on helping human beings, and therefore is ideally positioned to gain deep traction in all markets. The utilitarian nature of the product should help to prolong brand recall among customers. Every strategy has a potential downside and in this case, the enterprise may need to invest substantial resources to create large numbers of the said products so that the campaign has the desired impact on the market and the brand’s business fortunes. In addition, the said brand may have to contend with the fact that brand recall may fade when the seasons change.

A new player in the market may opt to create effective promotional campaigns that hinge on high velocity objects to enhance brand visibility in a crowded market. This is essential from a business perspective because competing brands may dominate static outdoor media, such as billboards and road side display hoardings. Colourful flags, pennants, and polymer-based display media can be affixed to passenger buses and high speed trains that traverse significant swathes of territory. In addition, vehicle wraps can also be designed for such modes of public transport in order to boost brand visibility for a certain enterprise. We note that motion defines the fundamental difference between static outdoor media, such as billboards, and the trains and buses mentioned above. The ability of these mass rapid transport systems to travel large distances automatically enables said brand to gain a disproportionately high visibility quotient. We also note that the propensity of present day customers to record pictures on smartphones presents the possibility of multiplying the visibility generated by such a brand promotional campaign.

Marketing departments and brand managers can use the spaces afforded by certain events to devise effective promotional campaigns. For instance, a manufacturer of stationery products may choose to give away high quality writing instruments and scratch pads to raise its visibility among students and young professionals. The sites of public examinations and work interviews are ideal for such a low-key brand promotional exercise. This type of a campaign has a focussed target group and therefore, the brand must exercise utmost caution so that said campaign does not disturb or disrupt the proceedings of the day. In a similar vein, manufacturers of musical instruments (and the components thereof) can choose an outdoor music festival as the site of effective promotional campaigns. Music lovers and enthusiasts attending the festival can have deep exposure to the said brands. A public endorsement by a festival performer can serve to deepen the connection between the brand and its customers. The said manufacturers and brand owners may also choose to sponsor part of the music festival in a bid to enhance brand visibility. However, caution needs to be exercised so that the brand image (and its message) is not garbled by the raucous nature of such outdoor events.

E-commerce business operators can resort to new tactics in an attempt to forge effective promotional campaigns. We note that most consumers have access to a personal e-mail inbox in modern times and this fact may be leveraged by said operators. Colourful and distinctively designed emails can be sent to individual customers highlighting seasonal promotional offers. The emails may bear a web-link that directly connects to the relevant e-commerce shopping app; clicking on the said web-link can launch the app and commence a possible online shopping session. We note that this promotional campaign connects two very different aspects of electronic communication – email and the shopping app. Further, an e-commerce operator may choose to highlight its business by inviting customers to join special online shopping groups. When the group attains a certain number of customers, it can qualify to receive preferential reviews of fresh merchandise and large discounts on group purchases. We could say that this tactic represents fresh thinking and business innovation that sets it apart from the cut-and-dried promotional campaigns often deployed by e-commerce enterprises.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the various options that can help businesses to create effective promotional campaigns. Every enterprise that decides to create and launch such campaigns must invest careful thought in terms of budget outlays and the chances of attaining the desired business outcomes. That said, we note that an effective campaign can help the average business to exceed its own expectations and projections in terms of anticipated business performance.

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Best Ways of Creating Customer-centricity


June 19, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Customer-centricity should be about delivering value for customers that will eventually create value for the company,” – Robert G. Thompson Every business enterprise seeks to grow and diversify in an attempt to expand its operations and to generate greater profits. … Continued

“Customer-centricity should be about delivering value for customers that will eventually create value for the company,” – Robert G. Thompson

Every business enterprise seeks to grow and diversify in an attempt to expand its operations and to generate greater profits. One of the methods to achieve these goals is to institute customer-centricity in every aspect of business operations. The customer-centric business organization places the customer at the centre of the values, ethics, norms, beliefs, mind-sets, and the general practices that power and inform a business enterprise. A customer-centric approach aligns technologies and business processes to support and drive the various aspects of customer engagement. We could say that the philosophy of customer-centricity should be deeply embedded in the various tangible and intangible aspects of the commercial business organization.

The leadership of modern business organizations should incorporate customer-centricity into core business processes. This is important because the creation and multiplication of choice in both product and service industries, is forcing a new trend: a general decline in customer loyalty, growing instances of customer impatience, rising numbers of customer attrition, and fundamental challenges to brand loyalty. These trends can be arrested by placing the customer at the core of the business enterprise wherein, the organization braces itself to deliver to the customer what he or she wants, at a time and place of the customer’s choice. Customer-centricity is essentially valuing the customer’s perspective and then designing both processes and products around that perspective.

Consider this – traditional banking and financial service institutions operate on set norms that are predicated in orthodox industry practices. These service providers are now working to achieve operational excellence and top-rate customer relationships in a bid to stay relevant to the emerging needs of the customer. The change in service standards is evident in the many actions that banking institutions are undertaking. From creating a customer-friendly image by implementing Omni-channel strategies, deploying digital technologies to provide faster services and to harvesting customer feedback, building bank branches to offer the customer more choice in terms of visiting brick-and-mortar banking branches, creating bespoke banking products. These institutions use predictive analytics to infer future customer demands. In light of the above, we could say that modern banking institutions are truly committed to customer-centricity and this is manifest in the above.

In the age of the digital enterprise, businesses should bear in mind that the digital domain cannot entirely replace human interaction. Digital channels are known to reduce firm-wide costs and therefore have been widely embraced by modern businesses. However, the modern business organization would be advised not to entirely excise the human factor from its operations. This is an important aspect of building customer-centricity into the business. An overly digital approach to conducting business poses the danger of reducing the customer experience in terms of its total worth. Consider this: a cosmetics and personal care business cannot afford to have only touch screens, product displays, and self-service options in its flagship showrooms. The human element is critical in fashioning a wholesome customer service experience, because human interaction enables customers to create an emotional connection with the business. A positive emotional experience can help the enterprise to win repeat customers, boost customer loyalty, and fashion a meaningful customer experience. Therefore, highly trained showroom personnel can offer the customer options to try out products before a purchase decision is achieved. In this instance, we may say that the traditional ‘shop talk’ is an important aspect of the customer experience and this aspect can only operate through human interaction.

Businesses that pursue customer-centricity should respond to changes in customer behaviour. This is an important aspect of the customer-centric service paradigm because it tells customers that the business is interested in listening to the customer’s point of view and values the perspective of the latter. Consider this: salespersons at an automobile showroom should work to inform the customer on the various features of a certain automotive product. Traditional selling practices dictate that selling is about highlighting all the features of the product to be sold in an attempt to win the customer’s attention, and subsequently, dollars. On the other hand, a customer-centric salesman should acknowledge the fact that modern customers have access to all kinds of information and therefore, should seek to complement the customer’s knowledge base with his or her own unique insights into a product. This approach to selling may require the sales personnel to start a conversation with the customer and then steer him or her to the various products that are on offer. Further, the sales person may choose to compare various classes of the said product in an attempt to outline the choices available the customer. A different angle in the said conversation may emerge when the sales person narrates the many complementary aspects between product features and the specific requirements of the customer. We could say that customer-centricity is in play wherein, the seller proceeds to execute a deep conversation with the buyer.

The modern business organization should overhaul certain aspects of its operations to achieve customer-centricity. Customer data generated through the many interactions with customers should not be restricted to business silos. For instance, the sales and marketing department of an enterprise should make genuine attempts to share customer information and insights into customer behaviour with the research and development group. This sharing of data can lead to brainstorming sessions through which new products or upgraded products can emerge. Additionally, such information can be shared with senior management personnel in a quest to tap their inputs or opinions before the firm proceeds on new product development trajectories. The key aspect here is sharing of information, because every part of a business enterprise can wield its own perspective. Further, the management group of an enterprise should encourage the adoption of data analytics in pursuit of gaining a holistic picture of the modern consumer. Data science has the ability to process large volumes of structured and unstructured data to arrive at useful business insights. The use of such technologies hinges on their ability to use all kinds of information to create a final picture that is both granular and comprehensive at the same time. We could say that this is another means of creating customer-centricity in an enterprise.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have attempted to outline the various approaches to creating the customer-centric business organization. The customer’s needs and requirements always take centre place in such an organization. Its management cadre and business executives need to read the mind of the customer and anticipate (and respond) to the customer’s needs before the customer has a chance to articulate the same. This approach can help the organization to consistently achieve customer delight and widen its customer base at the expense of business competition. A customer-centric approach to doing business can also help to attract high-value customers who would spend significantly higher than the average customer would. The retention of these business assets should be among the foremost priorities of the enterprise. Any deviations from the norms of such customer service should be dealt with strictly and must be remedied at the earliest. That said, we must acknowledge that customer-centricity should be an on-going project at all times, because the modern commercial organization cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

 

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Attract Customers through a Better Social Marketing Strategy


June 18, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Social media marketing is about identifying the essence of engagement,” – Edgerank Checker Social marketing represents the latest trend in brand marketing strategies in the connected world we live in today. This poses no surprise when we consider the fact … Continued

“Social media marketing is about identifying the essence of engagement,” – Edgerank Checker

Social marketing represents the latest trend in brand marketing strategies in the connected world we live in today. This poses no surprise when we consider the fact that social media technologies have become ubiquitous and are uniquely engineered to help brands to boost their visibility and attract new customers. The high visibility of social media platforms makes it imperative for brands, both major and minor, to operate a competent presence on said platforms. Brand owners and brand managers should work to develop a social marketing strategy in the interests of targeting various customer segments. In this regard, we must note that social media platforms represent a (relatively) young medium of communications, as opposed to print, outdoor advertising, television, and online advertising. Businesses and brands can target huge swathes of emerging demographic segments by creating and deploying appropriate social marketing strategies. These strategies can be created after taking into account customer information such as age, occupation, income, habits, interests, and motivations.

Businesses should gauge the pulse of the market and customers before they create an elaborate social marketing strategy. To achieve that, a brand may choose to engage in a direct conversation with its customers. This course of action helps the brand to connect directly with a huge consumer base and form a detailed picture about consumer preferences, tastes, aspirations, and challenges. The said information may be deciphered and evaluated in an attempt to create a genuine social media identity for the brand, as opposed to a cultivated social persona marked with artifice. For instance, a fast food brand or a quick service restaurant can invest serious effort in its social marketing strategy in a bid to connect with core customer demographics. As part of this strategy, the brand could present small tattoos to customers on, let’s say, St. Valentine’s Day. The customers may be encouraged to record photographs of their forearms adorned with the tattoos and upload these images on the brand’s social media handles. This content-driven approach to social marketing can help the brand to enhance its market mind share, attract new customers, and resonate with key audiences. We note that geography may have a role in creating certain differences in the brand’s strategy, but the overall strategy should be designed to help the brand to connect with the targeted demographics.

Every brand is at liberty to create its own social marketing strategy but the business should introspect regarding optimal methods to implement the said strategy. We note that social marketing essentially hinges on social media, and therefore every brand would be well advised to leverage the services of ‘digital natives’ in its pursuit of social media driven campaigns. For instance, brick-and-mortar business enterprises may choose to enrol the services of young citizens to drive a social marketing strategy. While the business targets, desired outcomes, overall direction, and brand strategy should emanate from senior management personnel, the operational aspect of the said strategy can be entrusted to young, social media savvy citizens. We could state that this involves a leap of faith on the part of the business enterprise, but the chances of a successful implementation remain high. Using the services of a young workforce can help the brand to establish its ‘culture’ and ‘tone’ on social media, drive consumer awareness, converse with key customer segments in a language they are familiar with, and elevate the standing of the brand among online audiences. The energy and enthusiasm that youngsters bring to the campaign may also help the brand to achieve priceless brand mileage and online recognition. This is in addition to igniting conversations around the said brand in social media platforms.

Conversations with customers remain a key aspect of crafting a social marketing strategy. This stems from the fact that conversations can inform, enlighten, delight, and enthuse customers about the key value proposition of a certain brand. To that end, a brand must present a unified brand image to all customers, while taking care retain the elasticity that allows it to pursue a social media conversation with fans and customers. Brands can also leverage their social media handles to poll customers on current and future products. For instance, an ice cream and soda maker can post high quality images of (possible) versions of product packaging that the business is considering for launch in the market. As part of its social marketing strategy, the brand may choose to request social media customers for feedback on the said images, while inviting suggestions and inputs. This part of the brand’s strategy may inaugurate a conversation that could continue at length, therefore offering the brand valuable external feedback. We could say that the brand is leveraging its social media followers as consultants that are helping to design better brand packaging. In addition, this approach to driving an online conversation can afford the brand an opportunity to read the minds of customers and gain a deeper understanding of packaging designs that appeal to the market.

Every brand must remain serious about brand ownership in social media. This implies that the brand must exercise tight control on its social media handles and only authorized personnel should operate said handles. We note that online security remains a major plank of a social marketing strategy, because any malfeasance can result in a disaster for the brand, leading to drastic erosion of the brand’s reputation. To that end, brands must conduct periodic audits of their social media business in an attempt to ascertain the numbers and the facts. The primary objective of such audits is to help the brand realize its current standing on social media vis-à-vis the competition, make an assessment of referral traffic, monitor an analytics dashboard, measure the efficacy and return on investment of its social marketing strategy, checking the customer response rate, and weeding out (any) online imposters. Software tools and the services of professionals can be leveraged in the interests of conducting a deep audit of the brand’s social media presence. Interesting facts that emerge from the exercise may be used to inform brand and corporate policies, thereby helping the brand to elevate its use of social media in the pursuit of business outcomes.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the various mechanisms that can be leveraged by brands in order to create a superior social marketing strategy. Social media allows brands to get closer to the customer and therefore brands must leverage this attribute to create and sustain business advantages. Social media is a more immediate medium than competing media such as a website or email. Social media is also an active playground for young citizens and young adults. Consequently, this power should be harnessed to create and strengthen a brand image, expand the customer base, and to decimate the competition. In addition, brands would be well advised to note that a clear marketing edge on social media can multiply the brand’s return on investment manifold. This also implies that brands and their parent businesses must invest much thought and effort in using social media to engage and sustain customer interest in the brand. A well-crafted marketing strategy bears the potential to create outsize gains for a brand and its business.

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Grow and Differentiate Your Brand with Promotional Products


June 17, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Promotional products have often been overlooked, but savvy marketers realize the impact promotions have in reaching a specific target audience,” – Jodi Rudick Businesses can choose to deploy small items – such as pens, pencils, T-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, … Continued

“Promotional products have often been overlooked, but savvy marketers realize the impact promotions have in reaching a specific target audience,” – Jodi Rudick

Businesses can choose to deploy small items – such as pens, pencils, T-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, etc. – branded with a company logo or a corporate slogan to promote their products and services. Entrepreneurs, brand owners, brand managers, and marketing men use promotional products at trade shows, conferences, and business meetings to broadcast a brand name among potential customers and members of the public. The logic of the promotional approach to marketing lies in dispersing the means that spur brand recognition in the public eye. This in turn leads to brand growth and differentiation. Enterprises must take care not to inflict mechanistic brand promotion strategies on consumers, but to invest significant thought and effort into the conception of such strategies. An overtly cheap plastic accessory may damage a brand image; therefore, the material that is used to create promotional products should be durable and must conform to certain standards of product quality. When marketing campaigns premised on promotional products are conducted adroitly, the outcomes may include an enhanced mind share among customers, customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and higher goodwill towards a brand.

Consider this: a real estate management agency that is working to establish its commercial moorings can craft a marketing campaign through the use of promotional products. The motive behind the use of the said strategy is to establish the agency’s brand identity in a competitive market and to acquire clients for the business. The small items stated could be manufactured in substantial numbers at lower costs and embossed with the agency logo. These items can then be dispersed in public areas, such as shopping malls, commercial buildings, railway stations, construction sites, cinema houses, etc. Additional means of raising public awareness may include the creation of small pop-up kiosks in public areas, newsstands, shopping destinations, outdoor festivals, etc. We note that these activities help the real estate management agency to create and sustain public awareness, while helping to shape a distinct brand image among members of the public. This approach to marketing also signals the brand’s arrival to competitors.

Every brand, whether of long standing or recent vintage, should allot a section of its annual marketing budget to the creation and distribution of promotional products. We note that this strategy is essentially a low cost approach to raising brand awareness. The various items that can be embossed with a brand logo or a company slogan can help to refresh the brand image in the public eye. Most of the promotional products tend to have a marked utilitarian value and therefore customers and members of the public can use these products in their daily lives. This helps to create repeated brand exposure in a variety of settings and circumstances, thereby raising the prospects of creating a larger pool of customers. Further, we must bear in mind that the competitive markets of modern times offer an endless variation of brand names, products, and services; this makes it mandatory for most brands to work harder in their brand promotion efforts to boost brand recall and brand recognition.

Modern technology has enabled human life in a multitude of ways in the present world. In light of the above, we may note that not every aspect of promotional products needs to be restricted to material objects. For instance, an anti-virus software maker can create a promotional strategy around electronic coupons. The compact disc-borne merchandise of the said manufacturer can be affixed with a short code that buyers can enter into their computer systems. The said code can help enhance the functionality of the anti-virus software. The electronic coupon can be said to bridge the ‘digital divide’ because the printed sticker affixed to the compact disc represents a material object, while the functionality operates in cyber space. We note that this is another instance of a promotional product (the low-cost piece of computer code), which can help the software maker to re-affirm customer confidence in its brand.

Automobile makers generally create and market a wide range of automobiles to the full spectrum of customers that populate the market. This industry is subject to ‘cycles’ and is sensitive to a whole range of market conditions, such as the fluctuating cost of raw materials, the government policies of the day, regulatory interventions, customer demand, import policies, fresh competition, etc. We note that automakers can resort to using promotional products such as exactly scaled desktop replicas of popular automobiles to gain and enhance the customer’s mind share. The creation of high quality scale models of upmarket vehicles for presentation to select customers can be considered as an escalation of the said strategy. The outcomes of such business strategies can be significant. However, the costs of creating such desktop models may considerably outstrip the costs of mass-producing plastic freebies, but automakers may consider this as one of the costs of doing business in a competitive market.

Promotional marketing campaigns should be designed to create a clear co-relation to the promotional products and the business enterprise. For instance, a holiday tour operator may choose to invest in a marketing campaign centred on quality pieces of headgear for vacationers headed to sunny destinations. The brand logo on the product can help to broadcast the tour operator’s brand, while the quality of the said product can shade vacationers from the sun. This case is a clear instance that demonstrates the working relationship between a brand’s business and its choice of a promotional product. The business case here hinges on the fact that a brand must not be careless in terms of selecting a promotional product, because such carelessness can erode brand value and in the worst case scenario, may promote brand confusion.

Niche market operators need to operate within the confines of their selected market. For instance, a manufacturer of high quality women’s cosmetic products – such as make up and lipstick – may choose to provide a fillip to its brand name by offering a first rate vanity mirror to its customers. This is an instance of using promotional products to combat the market competition. This is true of manufacturers who operate in a crowded market, which caters to a limited target audience. The said campaign hinges on the vanity mirror and may boost merchandise sales in the short term, but the quality of the promotional product and the brand name of the manufacturer is sure to resonate in customers’ minds for a considerable length of time. We may state that this presents a classic instance of matching the product to the promotional merchandise; it can also be inferred that market competitors may try and duplicate this marketing strategy, but the said manufacturer retains the first mover advantage in any case.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined some of the strategies through which a brand can deploy promotional products to reinforce its brand image. Timing the promotional offer and giving away a quality product should be the ideal planks on which businesses must activate this strategy. Every business enterprise can use such strategies to boost business outcomes, but must be careful to invest sufficient thought and resources to harvest the full benefit from the market.

 

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Ways Texting Can Engage Customers


June 16, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Texts can include more than mere text. They can include links to websites, apps, touch-to-call phone numbers, store locators, price alerts, boarding passes, event tickets, event reminders, pictures, and animation,” – Shep Hyken The cell phone-based text message represents technology … Continued

“Texts can include more than mere text. They can include links to websites, apps, touch-to-call phone numbers, store locators, price alerts, boarding passes, event tickets, event reminders, pictures, and animation,” – Shep Hyken

The cell phone-based text message represents technology of recent vintage, but has proved itself to be a versatile medium of communication. Every cell phone user can send and receive texts at leisure and therefore, texting has become commonplace activity among the masses. The text message is a unique manifestation of modern technology because it hinges on brevity and concise communications; the use of text messages does not imply any investment in technology beyond a cell phone and perhaps, the services of a commercial mass message operator. Following the fact that cell phones have become ubiquitous pieces of personal technology, business enterprises have quickly realized the utility of using text messages to reach large swathes of the existing and emerging markets. Consequently, commercial organizations have fashioned business strategies that are premised on the fact that texting can engage customers. In recent years, text-based marketing campaigns have become commonplace and business enterprises of every hue have earmarked significant chunks of their marketing budgets to the pursuit of such strategies.

Businesses need to brainstorm the means by which texting can engage customers. One such tactic can hinge on business units using text messages to inform customers and members of the general public about special offers that will be in force at select retail locations on certain days of the calendar month. This tactic can be extended to festival days and special occasions in a bid to ignite customer interest and boost the sales of merchandise. We could say that by doing so, the said enterprise is essentially leveraging cell phone-based technologies to connect business imperatives to the wallets of customers. Another variation of the said strategy could operate when businesses request customers to present their cell phones (and the received text message) at check-out counters in retail establishments to avail special, limited, hourly discounts on the customer’s final bill. Text messages can play an important role in time-critical businesses such as stock markets. Brokers and sub-brokers can use text messages to transmit market tips and hot stocks to their clientele in a bid to step up customer engagement. While market regulations and the law of the land should be respected in such matters, we note that operators in the financial markets can deploy such strategies because texting can engage customers.

In a similar vein, online businesses could design business promotion strategies that hinge on the premise that texting can engage customers. In-app messages can be formulated that announce a limited edition text message that may pop up in customers’ cell phones. Considering the fact that the number of app users is significantly high among online customers, the in-app announcement can create substantial customer interest; the lucky customers that do receive the text message would follow an ingrained human tendency and make a beeline for the relevant brick-and-mortar retail establishments. The qualifying customers can use the text message to avail a genuine freebie or reduce their shopping bill by availing a discount. We may note that the commencement of the text message-induced shopping expeditions could coincide with a business decision at the retail establishment to dispense with slow moving pieces of merchandise. The text message therefore emerges as a useful tool to draw customers to shopping establishments and set in motion business plans to expedite the liquidation of excess inventory. This constitutes another illustration of the fact that texting can engage customers.

For every business, customer engagement remains a paramount objective because such engagement can boost business outcomes. For instance, an art gallery can make use of modern mobile technologies to increase footfalls on its premises. Top artists and emerging artistic talent often go to great lengths to organize an exhibition of their work at famed art galleries. The regular clientele of the said gallery can be invited to attend through special invitations, but the masses can be informed about the said exhibition through cell phone text messages. Additionally, the text message can include a special telephone number, wherein interested members of the public can call in to inquire about the specifics of the exhibition. The art gallery may respond forthwith and in doing so, the said establishment demonstrates a strong belief in the fact that texting can engage customers.

In addition to the above, businesses and entrepreneurs can choose text messages to poll customers on their end-user experiences. This approach to nurturing customer relations is a quick, no-frills technique to gauge the customer’s mind and to tap the customer’s voice. This is essentially an after-sales exercise which can assist any business to form a picture populated by the customer’s aspirations, concerns, reactions, and expectations. The business that wishes to stay invested in the market over the long term can use brief text messages to wish individual customers on their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Further, marketing departments and customer experience executives may choose to create a pop quiz or an infotainment nugget that can be transmitted through text messages as part of a text-based strategy to boost customer engagement. These campaigns must be closely monitored for their efficacy, but market research lends credence to the fact that texting can engage customers.

Cell phone-based text messages need not be restricted to transmission through cellular networks. Modern short-range transmission technologies, such as low power Bluetooth infrastructure, can be deployed to transmit text messages to customers’ cell phones when these individuals enter a designated area. Consider this: retail establishments that operate in a shopping mall can pool resources to invest in local electronic transmission infrastructure that is designed to broadcast messages to all cell phones entering the shopping mall. The said premises are open for business seven days a week and register a significant number of footfalls during business hours. The targeted broadcasts of text messages can inform every customer entering the mall about the various deals and special bargains that are on offer at the different merchant establishments. This text based system is versatile enough to accommodate any material changes by the minute, thereby enabling merchants at the shopping mall to minutely tailor their offers in response to business conditions. These selling strategies help businesses to exploit the full power of cell phone texting while reposing deep faith in the belief that texting can engage customers.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the various approaches that can reinforce the validity of the fact that texting can engage customers. Every business that seeks to operate over the long term must leverage the various benefits that issue from such technology-centric strategies. An interesting insight emerges in the fact that each customer may view a commercial text message as a personal communication issued by a business enterprise; this aspect of the human psyche helps to pique customer interest and may serve as a means to attract the customer to the said business. Thus, businesses must realize that connecting to the customer and executing effective customer engagement strategies remain significant aspects of conducting business in modern times. The text message presents a low-cost, low profile but highly utilitarian method of discovering new markets and expanding the current customer base; therefore, it must be viewed as an essential business strategy.

 

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Provide Customers with the Perfect Shopping Cart Experience


June 15, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“A ‘friendly’ shopping cart lets customers edit item quantities, remove items, alter attributes (product options), and more, all without leaving the actual shopping cart page,” – Eric Leuenberger Online businesses have come a long way in the modern world and … Continued

“A ‘friendly’ shopping cart lets customers edit item quantities, remove items, alter attributes (product options), and more, all without leaving the actual shopping cart page,” – Eric Leuenberger

Online businesses have come a long way in the modern world and now directly compete with brick-and-mortar enterprises to win mind share and customer dollars. Every business enterprise must work to re-engineer and refine the customer experience to stay competitive in modern markets. Creating the perfect shopping cart experience can help online merchants to boost market traction and significantly enhance the commercial fortunes of their business enterprise. We must note that the very nature of the online domain offers business operators access to huge volumes of granular data that can be leveraged through the use of interesting techniques and tactics.

E-commerce operators and businesses can craft the perfect shopping cart experience by segmenting customers based on their spending habits. This approach implies that e-commerce companies closely track online customer behaviour in terms of browsing time per session per customer, the average spending amount of each customer, and customers’ interest in special offers and shopping discounts, and other similar metrics. This approach helps to bucket online visitors into light spenders, medium spenders, and regular and heavy spenders. Every business operates to make a profit and therefore, the heavy spenders may be targeted with special treatment. One strategy that may be considered is to create an algorithm that identifies and tracks the heavy spenders on e-commerce websites. The said program can offer such customers substantial discounts (based on their shopping history) every time they log onto the website. The shopping cart may be automated when such customers browse the website and can be programmed to display prominently the total amount of dollars spent and the large discounts that automatically apply to the shopping carts of privileged customers. In addition to discounts, freebies and special merchandise can be offered to bulk up the shopping cart as an added incentive for the customer to complete the transaction. We note that this approach can help to spur buying activity online and create the perfect shopping cart experience for regular and heavy spenders, thereby attracting significant amounts of customer dollars into the business.

Businesses can choose to bridge the digital domain and the offline world by offering customers a choice to complete their shopping expedition online and by collecting the items on their shopping cart at a nearby brick-and-mortar business outlet. We could say that this adds a useful dose of variety to the perfect shopping cart experience because customers that opt for this method can visit the physical retail establishment and collect their items on the same day. This approach removes the time typically required of e-commerce customers between closing their transactions online and waiting for the physical delivery of the goods at the home or office address. This approach also spells business benefits for the e-commerce operator in terms of saving on fuel that is spent in the physical delivery of the goods. We note that shoppers that opt for this online and offline mode of shopping help to reduce the carbon footprint of e-commerce operators and contribute to the preservation of the natural environment.

Online businesses must constantly brainstorm in their pursuit of creating the perfect shopping cart experience for customers. Any improvements in the said mechanism helps e-commerce operators to boost their bottom line and earn a higher return on their investments. Significant gains in the online shopping experience can be created by offering customers the choice to shop online as a family. This can mean the creation of common log-in credentials for a declared family unit and allowing different members of the family to shop simultaneously via multiple connected devices. This approach replicates family shopping expeditions in the real world, wherein members of a family visit the supermarket and collect the desired items of merchandise in a common shopping cart. The online equivalent of this shopping strategy can be incentivised by viewing online merchandise through the lens of family members’ individual tastes and preferences. This approach can be engineered and refined to create the perfect shopping cart experience for the entire family.

The online shopping cart can be re-invented to accommodate a wish list. This concept of segregating the virtual shopping cart envisions two sections in the cart. The first is for items that have to be purchased in the course of the immediate session; the second compartment could be a wish list that comprises items that customers will consider paying for during a future session. This segregation bears the potential to create the perfect shopping cart experience because it removes pressure from online consumers, while keeping the shopping cart active for use at a later date. We note that the said wish list is a fluid construct because customers can mark all variety of merchandise for inclusion in the said list. Businesses can offer customers the liberty to edit the items in the online wish list before they arrive at a purchase decision. It can be said that the wish list is a strategy to spur future sales because most online customers are likely to consider the wish list items for purchase when they log in at a future date. The said wish list also offers businesses a chance to assess and re-assess customers’ online behaviour and their shopping habits. The information can be pooled to create detailed customer profiles which can be used for the purposes of improving business services and practices.

The experience of shopping online can be made convenient for customers when the business considers adding certain functionalities to the online shopping cart. The functionalities can include a ‘freeze’ button, wherein the customer can suspend activities on the cart at any point during the shopping session. The rationale behind the said functionality is to afford the customer time off in an attempt to de-stress from an extended engagement with online activities. Businesses can view this as a step closer to crafting the perfect shopping cart experience, because this measure can showcase the human side of doing business and dispense with a pure dollars-and-cents approach to online shopping. However, a failsafe mechanism needs to be built into this approach that reminds customers by text message when they spend an inordinate amount of time away from the shopping cart. We may note that this tactic is an equivalent of customers taking time off shopping in a brick-and-mortar shopping mall (or a retail showroom) to rest and rejuvenate before resuming the shopping expedition.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed some of the techniques that can be deployed by e-commerce merchants to fashion the perfect shopping cart experience for their customers. One of the primary objectives of business innovation is to defeat the competition and the aforesaid tactics can help merchants to achieve just that. Merchants are aware that the shopping cart remains one of the less glamorous aspects of their business, but we must bear in mind that the shopping cart represents the ‘last mile’ and is crucial in securing the customers’ dollars. Innovation in designing new online shopping carts can help to create satisfied customers that will continue to conduct business in the future. The gains are tangible and therefore, significant thought and effort must be invested to refine and perfect the customer experience in terms of designing functionalities into online shopping carts.

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Best Practices to Build Customer Trust


June 14, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“The goal is not to sell a bag; it is to build a relationship of confidence and trust with the customer,” – Damien Vernet The complicated markets and the multiplicity of commercial relationships typical of modern times make it mandatory … Continued

“The goal is not to sell a bag; it is to build a relationship of confidence and trust with the customer,” – Damien Vernet

The complicated markets and the multiplicity of commercial relationships typical of modern times make it mandatory for a business enterprise to consistently build customer trust. The efforts must primarily proceed from the belief that the customer is central to the success and longevity of any enterprise. A business may choose to offer excellent service to all customers in a bid to gain a competitive edge in the market. Customer trust and confidence remain vital for every business, not just to win repeat orders, but also because these attributes act as a bulwark against the vagaries of market competition and the emergence of threats to the business enterprise. For instance, a jewellery showroom that stocks a variety of precious metals, gems, and diamonds for sale to customers may rely on excellent service standards to win customer dollars. This plank could comprise the foundation of the jeweller’s corporate reputation. The said business may invest significantly in its efforts to build customer trust because of its firm belief in the fact that such trust will help to expand the business in the future.

Entrepreneurs, business operators, and corporate chieftains must acknowledge the fact that the modern customer can prove to be a finicky creature, because he or she has a plethora of options in terms of every conceivable product and service. However, business growth and a steady expansion of the customer base remain mandatory goals for any business that seeks to operate and flourish in the long term. Given the inherent conflict in the above, every business must work to show customers that it cares for them, that its goals are coterminous with customer expectations, and that the business remains committed to its customers every business day. This approach can help to build customer trust and enhance customer confidence in a business’s ability to deliver. In addition to the above, a business must resolve to address customer complaints and concerns at the earliest, share relevant information with customers, and ignite pride and passion in business activities.

Every business practice need not be focused on the outside world. This implies that a business enterprise must adequately adjust, tweak, and tune its internal processes in a bid to promote and build customer trust. The norms and best practices of customer service should be drilled into every employee and contractor that serves a business enterprise. This is an important starting point in building a durable rapport with customers because employees and contractors represent the human face of a business enterprise. For instance, a building services firm may choose to sensitise its staff members to place the customer first in the course of every business transaction. The business may send its employees and contractors to serve customers at distant locations, but a unified training regime that emphasises the customer’s point of view above all else is sure to help the said enterprise to earn an enviable business reputation. We could say that these employees and contractors are the ambassadors of the said enterprise and their levels of motivation, performance, and customer-centricity could help place the business on a high pedestal that defeats the commercial competition. A consistent approach to meeting and exceeding the customer’s expectations can help the said enterprise to build customer trust while laying the foundations for a long-term business relationship with clients and customers.

Winning the trust of the customer should be a firm-wide commitment in every business enterprise. The momentum in the processes designed to build customer trust must commence from the first contact with a new customer. The business must work to enhance and reinforce the customer experience from the first contact through service delivery, implementation, and after sales support. This sequence can be brief or may be an extended process, depending on the nature of the business; however, a full commitment to the customer should ideally be the constant element attending these steps. Customers, both internal and external, should sense the total commitment of the business through to the final stages of the business transaction. For instance, a bespoke software manufacturer should seek to build customer trust by hand holding the customer through all the steps of the business engagement through to final delivery of the software product. We must note that timelines committed to the customer must be treated as sacrosanct, but the software manufacturer should never allow time to be a constraint in the delivery of a superior product and an outstanding customer experience. Consequent to the above, the business may gain repeat orders from the customer or may win customer referrals that bear the potential to contribute significantly to the bottom line of the said business. The very nature of software products indicates that the manufacturer may have to attend to outstanding issues in the operation of the product; by attending to such instances with alacrity, the said manufacturer may cement its reputation in the market and create a stellar instance of customer delight.

Flexibility in business operations and a zero-tolerance approach to product and service flaws can help an enterprise to build customer trust. We could consider the case of an oil-field services contractor that assists clients globally with services that are consequent to energy exploration initiatives. This contractor offers a wide range of consultancy services in every geography. The firm’s steadfast performance in its duties may win long-term clients but the firm needs to establish solid business credentials to win new customers. An integrated strategy to win new clients may include initiatives designed to build customer trust, combined with value additions that sets the contractor apart from the market competition. We note that the said firm may boost its range of services and assign experienced business executives to service new clients and thereby create emphatic business wins. In addition, the services contractor may choose to add value to its operations by adding innovation to its mix of services and by offering discounts and special offers to new clients. This approach to conducting business may help the contractor to establish a solid business reputation and smoothen the process of sealing new contracts in its sphere of competence. We note that the initiatives designed to build customer trust remain the bedrock of such business strategies.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the tactics and strategies that can afford businesses significant opportunities to build customer trust. A consistent delivery of high value business services and flawless products can help any firm to win the confidence of clients and customers. This attribute of trust in business relationships is priceless and can said to act as a force multiplier between the business and its clients and customers. In addition, regular conversations with customers should be par for the course in every customer transaction. These interactions can yield valuable insights into the customer’s mind set and can help businesses to unlock significant value in the course of business operations. These processes should be embedded in every business transaction irrespective of contract value or the standing of the client. We note that a solid business reputation remains the outcome of years of consistent operational performance, a patient approach to unearthing client requirements, flexibility in business operations, and boundless enthusiasm to help the client attain business success.

 

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Properly Timing Promotions for Customers


June 13, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Sales promotion is the specific element of communicating the value of your brand, products, and services to targeted customers,” – Neil Kokemuller Businesses employ various sales tactics to increase market traction; one of the many such tactics is to create … Continued

“Sales promotion is the specific element of communicating the value of your brand, products, and services to targeted customers,” – Neil Kokemuller

Businesses employ various sales tactics to increase market traction; one of the many such tactics is to create sales promotions for customers. This practice hinges on giving away promotional materials and free products to customers in an effort to boost merchandise sales. Sales promotions are predicated on the human tendency to acquire a higher number of items for a price that is deemed disproportionately low. For instance, a fast moving consumer goods maker may choose to boost sales by giving away two items free of cost to every customer that buys a certain number of products. This tactic offers a temporary boost to the manufacturer’s sales chart and affords the manufacturer an opportunity to forge ahead in terms of market share. The customers reap the benefit of value for money, or in other words, a lower aggregate price for each piece of acquired merchandise.

We must note that promotions for customers centre round the incentive of registering higher sales than competitors. Manufacturers, stockists, and retailers should bear in mind that busy festive seasons are the best time for sales promotions. This tactic implies a deep knowledge of human psychology. Most consumers work for a living through the year and a festival is a good time to spend hard earned dollars. Retailers and businesses typically tend to offer promotions for customers at such times to spur spending habits. Consider this: an electronics retailer may inaugurate a new showroom during a festival and may offer a set of two music compact discs free for the first two hundred customers. This effort at spurring commerce may be widely advertised and may result in a flood of shoppers during the initial days of business at the new showroom. The electronics retailer gets his new business off to a flying start, while the lucky customers are happy to receive the freebie. We note that certain commercial considerations may have operated behind the scenes. The said retailer could have concluded a mutually beneficial business arrangement with a music producer to supply the sets of compact discs, and the freebie would help introduce the new music to many customers free of charge. This arrangement demonstrates that sales promotions can operate in more than one dimension.

Corporate dictates can provide the impulse to launch promotions for customers. This indicates that a corporate chieftain may not be happy about the sales charts emanating from recent calendar quarters and may challenge his lieutenants to ignite a selling deluge. The resulting actions may see the marketing department unleash a surfeit of selling tactics, the most prominent being sales promotions in the form of flat discounts, special offers, limited time trial offers, branded accessories as gifts, free shipping offers, among others. These forms of promotions for customers need not adhere to any set time schedules or particular points in the calendar; these promotions may follow a diktat from corporate headquarters. However, such selling strategies may follow business intelligence inputs that indicate the launch of rival products and services. The incumbent brands may choose to put up a fight by embarking on massive promotional offers in a bid to guard their market share, while fending off the new market entrant.

We must note that certain business exigencies may force corporate enterprises to launch sudden sales promotions for customers. Consider this: an unforeseen change in government rules and regulations may force a certain category of two wheelers to be pulled from the markets. The manufacturers, sellers, stockists, distributors, and retailers of the said vehicles may be caught off guard by the regulatory announcement and may seek to ameliorate the circumstances by rolling out heavy sales promotional offers. Customers may be offered significant discounts and free riding accessories in an effort to spur sales. We could say that this selling strategy represents a knee jerk approach to commerce, but the corporate organization and its sellers may have no recourse in the face of precipitate, yet unyielding regulatory interventions. Aggressive sales promotional tactics may be the only way forward because the other alternative is for the business enterprise to incur substantial losses in the form of sunk costs and unsold inventory. We note that sales promotions are a useful tactic to be resorted to under such circumstances.

Product promotions remain a useful device during certain days of the year – such as Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, among others. Wily business enterprises may resort to offering promotions for customers in an effort to tap into the dollars earmarked for spending on such occasions. Grooming products, electronic gadgets, kitchen appliances, footwear, formal and traditional attire, etc. may be marked for selling through promotional offers. The offers may be inaugurated a week before the aforesaid days and then the retailers are ideally positioned to harvest extra sales as customers troop into shops and showrooms to acquire the said merchandise. We note that the merchandise items and promotional offers mentioned in this paragraph are tied to family sentiments and therefore, budgets may not necessarily be a constraint in such transactions.

Marketing departments can use the end of the month to push the sales of slow moving items through sales promotions for customers. We note that most customers tend to exhaust their shopping budgets by the last week of the month and therefore, a sales promotion at a retail destination may appear as an enticing opportunity to gain good value for money. For instance, a certain brand of detergent that failed to win market traction can be packaged to move faster off the shelves. Two detergent cakes can be tied to a third piece and the customer has to pay for only the first two. We note that detergent cakes have a long shelf life and therefore, the customer loses nothing by availing the special offer. At the end of the day, the retailer gets the benefit of creating vacant space on his shelves for fresh products, while the customer gets an extra slab of detergent for his or her hard earned money. This tactic is widely used in retail establishments all over the planet and bears the promise of future performance.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have discussed the various methods that can be used by a commercial organization to push product sales. The modern business organization must invest sufficient time, effort, and resources to determine the timing of the promotional sales offers in an attempt to reap the maximum benefit, while delivering solid business value to the paying customer. Promotional offers represent a barometer of business and consumer confidence that can help industry observers to gauge the various trends operating in a market. These offers also help enterprises to gauge the customer’s mood and his or her ability to wield effective spending power. The use of promotional offers during the festival season is a useful vehicle to launch new products and observe their traction in the markets. That said, we note that businesses must continuously innovate in the creation of customer delight through such offers. Happy customers tend to be loyal to businesses and therefore, businesses must deploy promotions for customers in the interests of building long term business relationships.

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