Turning Customer Loyalty to Customer Royalty

149688248_cbe86dd021 There was a time when "Customer Satisfaction is Our Goal" might fly. Now, it better be the norm – not the goal. On your worst day, you better be hitting "customer satisfaction" or you’ll lose customers. In fact, simply satisfying customers may not be enough to keep them.

How do you reward Customer Loyalty? How do you turn Customer Loyalty into Customer Royalty?

ConverStations will be hosting the Carnivale of Customer Service on Monday, Oct. 1. The theme will be Customer Royalty. If you’re interested in taking part, write a Customer Royalty post on your site, then email me by Monday, 12:00 pm PT. We’ll point to your post from here.

If you have a Customer Royalty story, we’d love to hear about it.

  • What company makes you feel like royalty as a customer?
  • What do you do to make your most loyal customers feel like royalty?
  • Are some companies missing out on the royalty factor?

Previous Carnivale of Customer Service stops:
- CustomersAreAlways (September 11)
- Custserv (September 25)

Interested in hosting the Carnivale? We can roll the red carpet your way next time.

Photo at Flickr by Kaotiqua

Putting Your Toes in the Water

Toes_1 Ready to launch a blog for your company? Have you Put your Ear to the Blogosphere? Next step – Put Your Toes in the Water.

Dancers rehearse, ballplayers take batting practice, and business leaders practice their porch pitch (shorter than an elevator ride). I think those new to blogging should follow suit.

Before I begin a coaching agreement with a prospect, I will usually counsel the potential blogger to set up a TypePad Pro account and use the free 30-day trial to build up some blogging muscles. You can keep the blog out of the public eye while you’re practicing.

This does a few things for you – and one for your blog coach:

  1. Write About Anything – Just Write. You don’t have to worry about hitting a home run during practice. This is to create the habit of posting often.
  2. Get Your Timing Down. Bring a kitchen timer if you need one, but whittle your writing down to 20-30 minutes.
  3. Develop Questions and Ideas. During the practice, you’ll develop some great questions – and great ideas. Ideas for Categories, Themes, and other Purpose Driven Blogging answers.

And the one thing you’ll do for your blog coach:

  1. Prove You’re Serious. I ask prospects to do this to save them money, save me time, and save us both the headache of an experiment gone bad. At the end of the 30-day trial, if you haven’t practiced – you don’t play. Cancel the account, keep your credit card in your pocket.

So why TypePad and not Blogger? Why TypePad Pro and not Basic? Again, it’s to prove you’re serious. The things a business can do on TypePad Pro are greater than the alternatives.

Who knows, you may not even need a coach. If that’s the case – I’ll cheer you on from the stands. Now – go get your feet wet.

Photo at Flickr by massdistraction

Quotes n Notes: Hard Work

Qoutenote_3_2 "Most people won’t do the hard work it takes to make success easy." - Jeffrey Gitomer

At Developing Talent, Douglas Eby reminds us that "…creative breakthroughs take years of hard work" but also that if we wait for inspiration, "…we may never start working on what we might someday create."

Bravo!  Look, I’m all for working smarter than harder, but the "hard" I’m thinking about isn’t the perspiring type. It’s the mundane, the dull, the chores. Isn’t that what’s "hard" to you too?  I mean, if we enjoyed it – it wouldn’t be hard.

In some ways, I could say the following quote turned it around for me: "Do what you want to do least – first." Get it out of the way. You’ll find success faster and easier if you do.

Putting Your Ear to the Blogosphere

Ready to launch a blog for your company? What’s the first step? Listening. Before you start to publish a blog, put your ear to the blogosphere.

If you believe, as I do, that blogging is a conversational tool – it’s important that you practice listening first. Before you begin publishing, I encourage you to get familiar with a few other tools.

- A Feed Aggregator: I prefer GreatNews, a stand-alone tool which allows me to read content offline. MAC users seem to prefer NetNewsWire as their stand-alone of choice. For Linux, people I trust rave about Liferea. If you prefer a web-based tool, Bloglines or NewsGator work well.

- Technorati: Sign up for a free Technorati account. You don’t need a blog to do this, and when you do start publishing, you can quickly claim your blog. There are three types of searches in Technorati: Word Search, Tag Search and Blog Search.

- Google Blog Search: I use the Google BlogSearch mostly for searching on specific URLs, such as client sites. You can easily subscribe to the feed from the mid-left side of the screen.

- Topix: For news, Topix.net provides a mix of mainstream and social – and you can subscribe to the search results.

Using these three tools are important for a few reasons:

- Say Hello to my Little Friend
- Is Your Blog Radar Up?
- Synchronize Your Communications
- Business Blog Toolbox: Listening
- How Do I Find a Blog About…?
- A Single Feed Creates a Lifetime of Loyalty

Carnivale of Customer Service: Let’s Own This Together

The Carnivale of Customer Service is being hosted by Meikah at Custserv -The New Competitive Edge this week. The theme is Providing Impossible or Exceptional Service.

People hear me talk up giving the customer a "sense of ownership" quite a bit. But the customer service folks should also take a "sense of ownership" – ownership in the customer’s want or problem.

Too many times, the counter (or desk, phone, computer, what-EVER) becomes a dividing line separating two sides about to do battle.

  • Eliminate this barrier.
  • Move to the customer’s side of the counter.
  • Become an assistant buyer (problem-solver).

Next time you’re faced with an impossible customer service situation, sing this:

Let’s Own This Together (as in "Let’s Stay Together")

I’m, I’m so in love with you
Together, we’ll see this thing thru
You’re important to me
‘Cause you make our brand have real value
And I want to plant a smile on you.

How, oh tell me, how can I make your day
So you’ll turn to others and say
"Did you see what they did for mee-eeee!"
Let me, be the one who provides you a "Wow!"
Together, we’ll have produced a Purple Cow.

Let’s, let’s own this together
Co-owners whether, whether,
My day is good or bad, happy or sad.

How do you become an Exceptional Service Provider?

Why I’m Attending BBS ’06: Tracking Feeds

The Blog Business Summit in Seattle is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to it. One discussion I’ll be sure to attend is Tris Hussey’s feed metrics session. This is important! Every web (under)developer I talk with about measuring traffic within a feed does four things before giving their answer:

  1. Jiggles head around to try to shake the cobwebs out
  2. Looks deep into my eyes to see if I’m joking
  3. Takes a stab at an answer, dropping names like AWStats or WebTrends
  4. Examines my eyelids to see if there’s any wool that can be pulled down

One of the reasons I’m a big fan of FeedBurner TotalStats is how they measure reach and clickthroughs – from within the feed aggregator. As more people become aware of feed aggregators, they way we measure readership will change – is changing.

Tris is looking for some feed data to use in his experiment. I’ll be sending mine over. You?

I have a keen interest in this subject, and my thoughts are part of Ted Demopoulos’ new book, What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting

Are You Reading What You Already Agree With?

While in the bookstore yesterday to buy Who Are You People (<– to the blog), the bookseller shared some great insight:

"Nobody buys a book unless they already agree with it."

Interesting, explain.

"I’ve never sold an Ann Coulter book to an Al Franken fan."

Hmm. Do we do the same with blogs?  I don’t always agree with Wayne or Brian, but I rarely miss a post. I’m not in the same business as Sean or Katherine, but I try to read them often.

While my gut says the bookseller is right, I believe its healthy to view different perspectives. Even if you don’t agree with the message of the blog, maybe you can emulate the methods of the blogger.

Interesting conversation considering the title of the book I bought. Do you only read things you already agree with?

Is Blogging a Marketing Tool?

Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer:  Definitely

I’m pleasantly surprised to see that this site is ranked #15 at The Viral Garden’s Top 25 Marketing Blogs. (Actually, I did a bit of an end zone celebration at first – then remembered, "Hey, this is what you get paid to do.")  Mack Collier does a great job putting the list together and I share it often with Iowa marketing pros as resource to begin their blogging.

The common thread amongst the brilliance around me is how their passion for their craft and passion for others appears in everything published.

The passion, dear present and future business blogger, is the key. If you believe that marketing – when done right – puts the product/service in a position to sell itself, then blogging is a great way to transfer the belief and passion you have for your business, your operation, your customer.

To borrow a line (paraphrasing, I’m sure) from Mike Wagner, if you’re giving a mild-mannered message to a mild-mannered crowd, you’ll end up with a mild-mannered result.

Enough with Mild-Mannered. Share your Enthusiasm!  Hit It or Quit It!

If you’re in marketing and not blogging (either talking or listening) – your next stop on the ‘Net should be Indeed.com

Thanks for the list Mack. It’s a great tool. Don’t be surprised if you see Drew McLellan up there soon.

How Blogs Make Me Smarter – Quicker

A quick example of why I read blogs:

Today, I’ll be speaking at the Iowa Rural Health Association Summit. We’ll be talking mostly about RSS Feeds, Sustained Connectivity and Synchronized Communications.

In preparation for the event, I immediately went to Know More Media’s HealthCare Vox by Fard Johnmar. Fard points to Healia and OrganizedWisdom as two resources I can share.

I also noticed a headline from reading the feed of Toby Bloomberg’s Diva Marketing about the Healthcare Blogging Summit in December. The Medical Healthcare Blog Network is one we’ll share today.

So a tip of this blog doctor’s ‘scope to Fard and Toby. Thanks for the ‘scrips. We’ll use it offline in a healthy way.

Quick Update: Did a search on Sustained Connectivity so I could link out – found the HealthNex blog.  Nice! There are no accidents.

Blogging and Conversations

True confession time.

It’s been almost four full days since writing a blog post (anywhere), reading the feeds I follow (except for a few important searches and favorite sites) and/or commented on another blog.  I’ve missed the people. (I just heard Maria got married)

So much.  …to catch up on, to share, to comment on. But where to start? With my ears and eyes.

I’ve been taking notes on the WUP all along, so I’ve plenty of blog-fodder, but I’m going to catch up on comments and feeds before I go off on a 5,000 word "Here’s what I’ve been doing" post.

And here’s the real deal on this post: When you go silent for a few days, just start typing. Make it short. Crawl back into the conversation.

Give yourself a chance to catch up. Gives your readers a chance to catch up with you. When it comes to blog debt, the rates are low, the lenders forgiving.