September 14th, 2011
Some time ago, someone wrote me an email and said, “I would love to know what motivates YOU!” So I took them up on it and I want to spend some time telling you how I stay motivated.
It is a valid question, this one of what motivates me. After all, each and every day I have to stay on the top of my game, whether because I am giving a speech, marketing my materials, writing to one of the subscribers I have in over 100 countries, or just trying to keep my kids energized!
As I thought about it, I realized again just how simple life can be if you put the right processes in place. I realized that staying motivated revolves around a few basic things that I do. And they are things that ANYBODY can do. So if I can stay motivated, you can too! If you want to stay motivated, try these basics that I use to keep myself motivated:
Read good books and magazines. I am an information junkie! I read all of the time. I don’t care what you say; you cannot be successful without reading! I read books, magazines, etc., all of the time. I read a breadth of information so as to develop myself on a wide variety of topics. Keep reading them on a regular basis throughout the month and not just in reading binges. Listen to good information. Get yourself into some good tapes. Listen to what others have to say. Give yourself a budget to spend on materials that will make you into a motivated animal! Above all, as you listen, apply the truths to your life in your head and they will become what you live! Maintain a positive group of friends and colleagues. I broke this rule yesterday and went to coffee with a real downer. I am still recovering from him! One of the best things you can do is to surround yourself with positive people who will build you up and encourage you to pursue your dreams. They will be honest with you, yes, but they will also challenge you to shoot for the stars!
Focus clearly on my goals. I know where I am going and what I want to accomplish. They are firmly rooted in my mind and heart. Because of this, my mind and heart are in an attitude of motivation all of the time. I want to hit my goals, and since they are present in my heart and mind, I put my energies into them.
Discipline myself to live out my priorities. Most of the time, this takes plain old hard work. We have to discipline ourselves, and as we do, we find ourselves becoming more and more motivated. If we discipline ourselves, it gives us wins and victories, which make us feel good, which motivate us for further action. If we don’t discipline ourselves, we feel defeated and we fall into a downward spiral of despair.
Are you keeping yourself motivated? You can. I know you can because I have seen these principles and actions work in my own life. Take a moment right now and see if you are living out the principles for keeping motivated:
Do you regularly read good books and magazines?
Do you regularly listen to good material?
Do you surround yourself with positive and supportive people?
Do you know and focus on your goals?
Do you discipline yourself to action even when you don’t feel like it?
Commit yourself to these and you will find that you have become a much more motivated person. This is what I do, and why I can continue to motivate others!
Upward and onward my friends!
March 15th, 2011
Can’t redeem your airline miles or hotel points? Airlines and hotels are now offering alternatives such as plastic surgery, diamond necklaces and VIP passes to “Saturday Night Live.”
By Scott McCartney, The Wall Street Journal
For travelers swimming in a sea of airline miles and hotel points or just frustrated that they can’t redeem them for a desired flight, there’s an alternative: Get a face lift.
Plastic surgery, big-screen TVs, iPods, lawn tractors, diamond necklaces, VIP passes to sporting events, casino gaming chips, dinner with the New York Yankees and designer handbags. The catalog of merchandise that can be purchased with miles is growing rapidly and becoming at times oddly creative.
But beware: Airlines charge customers radically different prices, depending on their status and credit card.
David Yu, who travels so much he has platinum status in Delta Air Line’s frequent-flier program, figured he’d be the one to get the best prices. Using miles, he’s bought a computer printer for his college-age daughter, a handbag for his wife and TV speakers for himself.
“I’ve got miles to burn so I consider it free,” he said.
Bing Travel: Search flights and hotels
But when he told a co-worker he was thinking of spending 42,600 miles on the Bose headphones, she said she had just purchased the same product from Delta for 34,100 miles. They compared offerings on side-by-side computers, each logging in with their Delta frequent-flier number. Her price was 20 percent lower than Mr. Yu’s, even though she’s not an elite-level frequent flier with Delta and has fewer miles in her account.
“I don’t think that’s right,” said Mr. Yu. “In my opinion, this is an insidious way to take the miles back.”
Delta says it doesn’t price merchandise based on the number of miles in a customer’s account or past buying history. Instead, elite-level frequent fliers like Mr. Yu get a big discount — the regular price of the Bose headphones at Delta is 68,100 miles. But Delta gives an even bigger discount to holders of its co-branded American Express credit card—like Mr. Yu’s co-worker, Katie Palasek, who has a gold card.
“We differentiate the exchange rate based on customer type,” said Jeff Robertson, Delta’s vice president over the SkyMiles program. A diamond-level frequent flier, Delta’s highest level, with a fancy American Express SkyMiles card can get triple the buying power out of each mile than a regular frequent flier without the co-branded credit card, he said.
United and American also charge lower prices to customers who have elite status with the airline or pay for co-branded airline credit cards. In addition, elite-level road warriors are plied with lots of bonus miles and points, making merchandise redemptions even cheaper.
“The more valuable the program member, the better the redemption rate,” said Krishnan Saranathan, managing director of United’s Mileage Plus program.
The primary lures of the programs — free airline tickets and hotel rooms — still vastly outweigh merchandise redemptions, programs say. And overall, the programs still offer the best value for miles and points.
But as airlines sell more miles to partners like credit-card companies, they have more financial incentive to get customers to redeem miles. Selling merchandise gobbles up miles without opening up more airline seats or hotel rooms for award.
Mr. Robertson says Delta now offers 6,000 merchandise items and more than 30 different gift cards at its marketplace. Customers tend to buy travel-related items the most, such as the Bose headsets. When airfares are low, merchandise gets more popular, he said. When airfares are on the rise, as they are now, using miles for tickets gets more attractive.
The frequent-flier mile has been devalued over the years and lost some of its luster after people couldn’t get free tickets to Hawaii or Europe. But auctioning off experiences you can’t buy with cash — like throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, VIP passes to “Saturday Night Live” tapings, the Kentucky Derby, major music awards or dinner with celebrity chefs — has restored some of the cachet.
Auctions create the most interest. Delta had 55,000 customers sign up immediately for alerts when it first announced its auction program. This spring, the airline is auctioning a spring training package that includes dinner with New York Yankee manager Joe Girardi and pitcher Joba Chamberlain, and a trip to China to build homes with Habitat for Humanity.
“Auctions are a way to continue the aspirational thing,” said Maya Leibman, president of American’s AAdvantage program, which last year sold three packages to the Kentucky Derby, including passes to special clubs and invitation-only dinners, for a total of 1.6 million miles.
Using miles to buy merchandise has also been growing in popularity with customers who either want to conserve cash during the recession or who simply travel so much that the last thing they want to use their fat loyalty accounts for is more travel. The programs also help customers burn up miles before they expire in dormant accounts.
Hilton HHonors merchandise redemptions have been up 50 percent in the past six months, largely driven by holiday gift-buying. United Continental Holdings Inc., parent of United and Continental airlines, says using miles for merchandise exceeded hotel and car-rental redemptions last year.
“People are scrambling for all the buying power they can get. We’re seeing things really go through the roof,” said Jeff Diskin, senior vice president of global customer marketing for Hilton Worldwide.
Some merchandise and service deals offer extraordinary value for your miles; others have exchange rates so unfavorable you get less than half a penny of purchasing power per mile. At United’s marketplace, a 10-inch Sony digital picture frame costs 25,000 miles. The same frame, with memory card, is widely available for less than $150. Those 25,000 miles could claim a discounted round-trip domestic ticket on United, usually worth at least $300, or twice as much.
Finland’s Finnair offers a face lift for 4.6 million miles and hair transplantation and breast augmentation at the same price, 3.2 million “Plus” program miles. But after a year of the program with Nordstrom Hospital, sales of the cosmetic surgery have been, well, flat and will be phased out.
The airline’s most popular items: theater and movie tickets, and Finnish glass work, tablecloths and towels, said Maija Maarni, manager of partnerships. The program recently added driving-school lessons, which “have performed really well,” she said.
Paul Terrault runs his own metals-trading company and spends more than 100 nights a year on the road. Winning an auction for 290,000 Hilton HHonors points — a trip with VIP perks to a Formula One race in Montreal with his son in June — hooked him on the program.
“No one gets access like that,” he said of getting into the hospitality suite and Hilton-sponsored garage. “I’m a jeans, gym shoes and Harley T-shirt guy, and they treat you like a million bucks.”
When another Formula One trip, to Brazil, went up for auction, Mr. Terrault grabbed that
March 4th, 2011
Reward your customers — they’ll reward you with repeat business.
This article has been excerpted from The Power of Loyalty by Roger L. Brooks available from Entrepreneur Press.
The best way to motivate customer behavior is to provide an incentive or reward for that motivation. Rewarding your customers for a specific purchasing behavior s not much different than training your puppy. With enough repetition and positive reinforcement, your pup can be motivated to act upon instruction. That’s because the pup knows if he listens to your command, he’ll receive his reward.
Human nature isn’t much different. People can be motivated to take specific actions that accomplish their buying goals while also accomplishing your goals to increase their spending, frequency of visits or combination purchases (or comparative goals relevant to your line of business).
The question then is how do you motivate behavior? Below are five ideas that will get you thinking.
- Offer soft benefits that provide value such as special access limited only to members.
- Offer relevant promotions through various lines of communication, for example: e-mail, SMS text, receipt messages, statement inserts, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Up-sell complimentary products or services at the associate level.
- Offer sweepstakes, random rewards or special offers for a limited time frame, keep your strategy fresh and exciting:
- Strategically place messages (via signage, web banners, etc.) that will trigger motivating actions.
Motivate, But Don’t Mislead
Once you decide how you’ll motivate, always do so in an honorable way. Your customers won’t want to be misled into thinking they are receiving something greater in value that what they’ll actually receive as the reward.
Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said, “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”
Of course, the statement was made some 150 years ago and the President was referring to politicians attempting to fool their constituents; however, the quote resonates with me every time I see a program that offers empty loyalty. Such programs offer an elaborate program on the outside when, indeed, it’s only a facade to increase business. In time, savvy customers will see through the facade. Your promotional strategy to motivate behavior must be phony proof. Once your customers lift the hood and kick the tires, the promotions must stand on their own and offer real value, not empty promises.
Remember, whatever you do, don’t try to fool the customer! Loyal customers will catch on if the loyalty program does not have true value. This can also backfire and cause disloyalty amongst your customers and defeat the entire purpose of implementing your strategy in the first place.
There are two reasons why your rewards offerings should be upstanding:
- Loyal customers have earned the right to receive a valid reward. If they weren’t enrolled in your program, they may have taken their business elsewhere.
- Customers can see through transparent rewards.
If you want to be in the loyalty game, you have to offer attractive redemption items that are achievable for your customers to earn. If customers are willing to change their purchasing behavior and provide you with their loyalty, they will expect the same in return from you in the form of a relevant reward.
It’s the Little Things That Matter Most
If you put on your consumer hat, you’ll understand that it’s the little things that matter most. One component you should incorporate is providing feel-good loyalty. Feel-good loyalty is just what it sounds like, providing something that the customer will feel good about. Offering feel-good-loyalty incentives should be part of your overall strategy and will require some clever and creative thinking. Some companies offer free Wi-Fi, others offer free shipping. Whatever you decide, brainstorm hard, even hold an employee contest. but find your niche and add feel-good loyalty to the mix.
Photofiddle.com is an Internet company that offers a service to turn your photographs into art. Simply upload a photo and you can instantly transform that image into pop art, impasto, a black and white sketch and even more. Once you create your personal masterpiece you then have many options for the type of surface the image is printed on (glossy photo paper, canvas, etc.). Finally, you can choose from a number of print sizes and framing choices.
Although Photofiddle doesn’t have a recognizable rewards program they do provide various levels of feel-good loyalty. Upon opening your order, customers see each piece is carefully packaged and accompanied with a pair of white cotton gloves. The label attached to the gloves reads, “All fine artwork should be handled with care. Please use white cotton gloves. Oils from your hands and fingers can leave finger prints. Jewelry on your fingers and wrist can leave markings.”
That’s a personal touch and that’s feel-good-loyalty. It’s doing the little things that matter most with customers. It’s thinking outside the box so that your brand motivates your customers and resonates in their mind. Providing the white cotton gloves with each order sends both a literal message and subliminal message. It reinforces the need to treat your artwork with care and that they treat all of their customers with care.
Roger L. Brooks is a respected loyalty strategist with more than 15 years of experience in developing, supporting, and implementing customer loyalty and rewards programs. He has worked with esteemed companies such as Verizon, Sam’s Club, and Chase Universal MasterCard, and he currently serves as the vice president of loyalty marketing for ValueCentric Marketing Group, Inc., managing growth for new and existing clients including GE Capital, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bank of Montreal.
March 3rd, 2011
Could location-based mobile apps possibly have a beneficial business purpose? Survey says … yes.
I’m not ready to say that this past holiday season was the tipping point for mobile, but I know I found myself doing a lot more with my mobile phone in December. Primarily I checked in to retail stores and locations.
And I wasn’t just advertising to my Facebook friends and Twittering to relations about how much I was spending on their gifts (“Look! I’m in Tiffany’s!”). Mostly I wanted to see what merchants were willing to offer me for simply walking through their doors.
When the right offer came along, I bit–whether on 10 percent off at Radio Shack or a free eggnog latte at a coffee shop in the mall. Then I posted the find to my social graph.
Loyalty programs or lead generation? You make the call. But I know I wasn’t headed in that direction until I checked in to Foursquare, Gowalla, shopkick, Loopt or one of the other geo-location services.
Location-based mobile services are becoming easier both for consumers to find and marketers to use. Facebook and Google have launched services in the category, but here are the independent hot spots
Foursquare: About 5 million members worldwide check Foursquare regularly to locate friends and to find tips and offers in places they’ve never been before.
Loopt: With more than 4 million users, Loopt recently announced plans to migrate Loopt Star, its standalone rewards-only app, to the main platform.
Gowalla: An admitted underdog, the 600,000-user app has made itself compatible with both Foursquare and Facebook Places (which claims 30,000 users.)
Whrrl: Allows members and brands to set up “societies” based on shared interests; brands can offer real-world rewards for digital actions such as check-ins.
Critics have been quick to point out defects in the location-based strategy. Yes, the incentive to check in is pretty thin when your only reward is a badge or some other sort of honorific. (How hot are you to become “mayor” of your local dry cleaner, anyway?)
And, yes, the number of people who have downloaded the apps to their phones is relatively small. Foursquare, the category leader, has about 5 million downloads worldwide. That’s a sliver of the 60 million smartphone users in the U.S. alone–and doesn’t even take in the much larger U.S. audience (170 million or so) who are still using regular feature phones and can’t access the app.
The question is, are those objections true for your business? If you had customers who would respond to a location-based game and you could find a way to give them something valuable as a reward, would they check in?
They have for Murphy USA, a gas retailer based in El Dorado, Ark., that operates more than 1,000 kiosk-style gas outlets, most located next to or near Wal-Mart’s big boxes. Buying gas is not exactly the kind of activity you’d expect to tweet to your pals, or even enjoy. And frugal Wal-Mart shoppers might not seem a target audience for a campaign that requires a smartphone and some mobile savvy.
Nevertheless, the company ran a promotion last July on the Whrrl location-based social network. Users who downloaded the app could check in at the pump and win instant prizes, from free beverages and discounts to a daily $50 gas giveaway.
Murphy, already active in creating loyalty among brand fans, publicized the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. It also put up a point-of-sale message at the pumps, with instructions on how new users could get engaged with the Murphy community on Whrrl–or “society,” as the groups are known on the platform–and what they stood to win.
The results compiled from the three-month pilot were impressive, says Casey Petersen, senior Internet business specialist for Murphy. For example, the industry average for pump visits is two a month. Customers who checked into the Murphy Whrrl society visited four times a month on average, and almost half of those checking in bellied up to the pump an average of six times a month. What’s more, the average fill-up ticket per visit by Whrrl users was $30–twice the industry average.
But the most amazing result was that the check-in drove new customer acquisition at an astounding rate. During the pilot period, 44 percent of those checking in to the brand’s society on Whrrl had never been to a Murphy station before.
“We’re a low-cost, high-volume chain, and we’ve been careful in everything we do online not just to do something because it’s a fad,” Petersen says. “We really want to provide value for our customers, not just a badge.” In fact, 85 percent of the check-ins said they chose Murphy over a nearby competitor specifically because of the Whrrl promotion.
Going with a location-based strategy was perhaps counter-intuitive. Murphy USA tracks Wal-Mart demographically and geographically, so the average customer is going to be female with a family. According to a Pew Internet survey in November, only 3 percent of women have used check-in services on mobile, compared with 6 percent of men.
On the other hand, an earlier survey by game maker PopCap found that 55 percent of the player base for social games–like FarmVille and Mafia Wars–are women, and their average age is 43. So maybe the best approach is to ignore the polls and the wisdom about edgy tactics and simply go out, see what your target prospects respond to and build a mobile promotion around that.
November 2nd, 2010
Social media helps local businesses better engage customers and boost revenue. Here’s how to make it do the same for yours.
Joe Sorge is a soft-spoken guy with a fast smile. He runs a couple of restaurants in Milwaukee, including the AJ Bombers burger place, which is where I met him. But how I met him is the real story: I tweeted that I was visiting Milwaukee, and Sorge was fast on the response: “Well, if you’re hungry, we have a burger waiting for you at AJ Bombers.”
It turns out Sorge does this a lot. By listening to people talking on Twitter and Facebook about visits to his city, mixed with customers’ word-of-mouth on the quality of their experience, Sorge is seeing great results. How great?
- Business gross revenue doubled in six months. (He hit his five-year goal in one year.)
- He accomplished a one-day gross sales increase of 110 percent from a social media-only event promotion.
- Sales of one item, the Barrie Burger, increased by 30 percent–when the burger was advertised only on social media.
- He has spent zero dollars on traditional advertising.
His success isn’t an isolated experience for small-business owners. Here are two more telling examples:
How to Stay Plugged In
Mick Galuski runs the Toy Soldier Games and Comics store in Amesbury, Mass., which is directly below my new office. When I ask him how social media is working for him, he says:
- He reads blogs and follows other businesses on Twitter. “Seeing how people are being creative in their business helps me develop new ideas,” Galuski says.
- He uses social media to engage his customers more often. That increases sales opportunities and keeps him “top of mind” to his customers.
- Sometimes, running a shop can feel isolating. Social media is one way to keep everyone connected.
How to Polish Your Image
Brian Simpson and Adam Wallace have been using social media to grow relationships for the Roger Smith Hotel in New York City. July was one of their best months in recent years–attributable, in part, to their social media efforts. “As soon as you realize all of your customers and guests have an audience–on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, etc.–you start to focus on the little things more, improving both your business and the customers’ experience,” Simpson says.
He offers a few things to keep in mind when using social media:
- Train your staff about the “being-on-stage effect” that social media adds to business transactions.
- Knowing that their actions could go public helps staff members perform better.
- Build relationships to lessen the number of public criticisms. If your customers know who is behind the brand, they will reach out to you personally vs. just “yelling” at the brand.
- Stay in touch to keep customer retention up.
It will cost you time and effort to embed a solid social media strategy in your business, but the effect it can have on customer relationships makes it all worthwhile. Don’t let such a low-cost opportunity pass you by.
July 1st, 2010
1. Be Likable: Likability is the gateway to connections and ultimately to relationships.
If others don’t find you likable, then it is virtually impossible to form profitable
business relationships. If you are not likable, people will not buy you or from you. Likability
is responsible for first impressions because it happens in an instant, and it is responsible for
ongoing impressions because it can be lost in an instant. When people find you likable, the door
opens to emotional connections, to trust, and ultimately to business relationships that help
you build a successful career and income. Smile and use your positive attitude and optimism
to project a cheerful, smiling, outgoing personality.
People love to be around happy, optimistic people.
2. Connect: The key to connecting is listening
deeply with your eyes and ears. Listen to what your customers say and observe their emotions.
There are things they are passionate about. Look for common ground here. When you truly connect
with someone, you take rapport to the next level. You begin to move from a business relationship
to a friendship. Connecting tears down walls that tend to get in the way of real communication
and understanding. When people feel connected with you they feel more comfortable telling you
their real problems. With this information in hand, you have the opportunity to solve problems
that really matter. This ability provides real value and engenders true loyalty. Strong
connections are hard to break and are the foundation of truly prosperous, long-term
3. Solve Problems: One of the immutable laws of the universe is that when you give to others,
you are rewarded ten-fold. Problem solvers are the champions of the business world. However,
it is impossible to solve problems you do not know about, which is why connecting is so
critical. The essence of business is one person solving another person’s problem. A solved
problem is the value that buyers pay for. It is the most important lever in the People Buy
You philosophy. The most successful business people take problem solving to the next level.
These individuals are constantly on the look-out for problems they can solve-even if it
has no direct impact on their business. They live by the motto, “By helping others get
what they want, I will get what I want.”
4. Build Trust:Trust is the glue that holds
relationships together and the foundation on which all long-term relationships rest. Trust
is developed with tangible evidence that you do what you say you will do, that you keep
promises, and that you maintain a consistent commitment to excellence. It means going the
extra mile in everything you do. In a world in which most people are doing just enough
to get by, those business professionals who consistently do more than they have to, will
stand out. Buyers appreciate and reward this commitment to excellence with repeat business,
referrals, and ultimately with trust.
5. Create Positive Emotional Experiences:
Learn to make dealing with you fun, relaxing, and rewarding. You always want to leave your
customers and prospects thinking about you and remembering you positively so it is
imperative that you find ways to create positive emotional experiences for your
customers. The key is to focus on the little things. Remember birthdays, send handwritten
notes, do the unexpected. Just as an anchor is used to hold a ship in place against
currents, wind, tide, and storm,; positive emotional experiences anchor your relationships.
They leave people wanting more of you.
May 25th, 2010
We have all heard Oprah Winfrey and others say “pay it forward”. Pay it forward is not a new thing, it is something that many savvy people have known for a long time. Giving makes a difference in their life, the lives of others and in their business. Just the mere surprise of someone generosity is enough to stop someone in their tracks and make them pay attention. A powerful act that usually reaps rewards when done with a sincere heart.
When we give without intention of a pay back, the natural progression of things brings positive results. We feel that we have contributed to others which provides a warmth in our hearts and is a great way to get others to join in. If we volunteer, donate or offer our time to others we will meet people that add to our own lives and businesses. Many networks based on philanthropic interests build strong alliances they are bussiness owners that serve the community and take interest in it.
Take conventional business wisdom and stir with collaborators from complementary industries that have an equal interest. Target others who have the same charitable goal that do not compete with your own. Maximize the fusion between social networks and search engines with well known high quality rewards and incentives to motivate donors. Learn how to use branding and marketing software to retain and build momentum.
Some ideas to to increase donations:
- Upscale attractive and create brown bag lunch auction
- Mentor hours offered to help other entrepreneur
- Weekend cruises
- Virtual shopping mall offering their choice of incentive
- Fundraising competition between industries for free advertising
- Host a chocolate party with prizes
- Free office rent
- Mini golf fundraiser interesting all participants
Particularly in this economy, people feel more inclined to give back. People are grateful for what they have and want to help others.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
ll as extravagant prizes like cars and cruise vacations–which have sold for as much as $250,000. Other auctions have included education internships, gourmet dinners with top chefs and vineyard vacations
Charitybuzz auctions upscale merchandise as we
Maximize the fushion between social networks and search engines with well known high quality rewards and incentives. Learn how to use branding and marketing software to retain and build your business.
ll as extravagant prizes like cars and cruise vacations–which have sold for as much as $250,000. Other auctions have included education internships, gourmet dinners with top chefs and vineyard vacations
April 19th, 2010
Just like your spring wardrobe, you may not have spent a lot of money on giving your business a new look but with a new shade of lipstick you are attractive and in style. You studied trends and shopped wisely while continuing to invest in your image.
If we look back to September 11th, one of the most dramatic events in our recent history, we will discovered companies that continued to invest in themselves reaped the rewards of increased business. They stayed in front of their customers and demonstrated their true belief in our country and in their business. Their investment softened the long term effects of the economic downturn and created success.
Recently, some business owners got spoiled with rapid growth and high dollar receipts. They did not spend time training employees on cross selling, customer service or enhancing their technical skills. Educated and happy employee are less stressed, more effective and motivated to support their companies.
Look to your Customer Service Department. Your customer service staff receives and delivers valuable information to your customers every single day. Why not teach them to sell and keep them motivated to act as sale representatives. Incoming calls are much easier to convert into a sale than a cold call. Invite your customer service representives to marketing and sales meetings to develop their sales skills. When the phones are not ringing, discuss call trends. What are your customers saying? Are they suggesting new products or services. When customers have a complaint what are customer services representatives doing to change the customers mind about your company? What seems to motivate your customers to call in? What incentive do you offer your customers to continue to do business with you?
Cutting back on your marketing budget and overallimage will not only get tongues wagging, it will not provide you withcontinued exposure. If you move to a cheaper location you will be less visible and the your existing customers will get the impression that you may be edging closer to going out of business. Your employees must believe that you firmly believe in your business and are striving for success. The more positive your customer’s and employee’s experience is withyour company, the more word of mouth marketing you will receive. As our economy begins to become more positive you will find yourself ahead of the competition.
- What is new in your industry?
- What seems to be working for your competitors and those in complementary industries?
- Who can you collaborate with to create a non-competitive canpaign?
- Do you have an interesting story?
- Is your website easy and fun to use?
- Do your employees survey their customers?
- Do your employees really know about your products and services?
- When was your last positive all hands meeting?
- Do you have a customer and employee incentive program?
- Have you considered moving to a better location taking advantage of lower rent?
- Have you taken advantage of a marketing interns?
- Do you reach out to your community? Do you host open houses and fun events?
- Do you post interesting and informative blogs each week?
- Do you research current and effective keywords?
Put some lipstick on your business and go out there and make them take notice!
July 9th, 2009
You Get What You Give
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay, “Compensation,” wrote that each person is compensated in like manner for that which he or she has contributed. The Law of Compensation is another restatement of the Law of Sowing and Reaping. It says that you will always be compensated for your efforts and for your contribution, whatever it is, however much or however little.
Increase Your Value
This Law of Compensation also says that you can never be compensated in the long term for more than you put in. The income you earn today is your compensation for what you have done in the past. If you want to increase your compensation, you must increase the value of your contribution.
Fill Your Mind With Success
Your mental attitude, your feelings of happiness and satisfaction, are also the result of the things that you have put into your own mind. If you fill your own mind with thoughts, visions and ideas of success, happiness and optimism, you will be compensated by those positive experiences in your daily activities.
Do More Than You’re Paid For
Another corollary of the Law of Sowing and Reaping is what is sometimes called the, “Law of Overcompensation.” This law says that great success comes from those who always make it a habit to put in more than they take out. They do more than they are paid for. They are always looking for opportunities to exceed expectations. And because they are always overcompensating, they are always being over rewarded with the esteem of their employers and customers and with the financial rewards that go along with their personal success.
Provide the Causes, Enjoy The Effects
One of your main responsibilities in life is to align yourself and your activities with Law of Cause and Effect (and its corollaries), accepting that it is an inexorable law that always works, whether anyone is looking or not. Your job is to institute the causes that are consistent with the effects that you want to enjoy in your life. When you do, you will realize and enjoy the rewards you desire.
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, remind yourself regularly that your rewards will always be in direct proportion to your service to others. How could you increase the value of your services to your customers today?
Second, look for ways to go the extra mile, to use the Law of Overcompensation in everything you do. This is the great secret of success.
Do your people (customers, prospects, team, colleagues) know they’re important to you? Always? Sometimes? Rarely?
Remember… It’s your occasional words and continual actions that’ll help them know best
May 5th, 2009
Companies everywhere are utilizing their Call Centers as frontline sales teams finding real benefit in capturing the customer’s attention from a call that the customer themselves initiate. Organizations are finding more and more that if they sell to their customers they build greater commitment and increase their referral business. Larege costly sales teams are reduced in size and the need for a call to be handed off to another representative is deminished reducing telephone costs.
Most departments that carry dual responsibilities of customer service and sales are doing so with little to no sales training, without recruiting for sales skills and with no incentive program. Goals are often not clear and the “what is in it for me” question is left unanswered for both the customer and the employee.
Call Centers today still primarily focus on Average Speed of Answer (ASA) and Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) getting people on and off the phone in record time. The mindset of call center solutions is changing with developments of software on the horizon to incorporate the sales piece into the equation.
Call Center Trends
Decentralized structuring provide the greatest use of people.
The use of email and self-service has provided ease of service but can circumvent the opportunity to sell.
There has been a spot light shined on quality and resources without compromising costs.
Complexity of products and services continue to grow.
Customers are becoming more demanding.
“Home shoring” with work from home representatives.
Regardless of the type of Call Center that you manage, Morale is paramount. Merriam-Webster defines morale as “the mental and emotional condition (as of enthusiasm, confidence or loyalty) with regard to the task at hand.”
Recognition and rewards are an important key to any successful Call Center but finding the right incentive can be tough. Ages and interest of course vary. The best incentive is really their choice of incentive. A one size that truly fits all are internet based reward programs offer all the same merchandise, travel and sporting events that we all love on online today!
Highlights of the Points Rewards Programs:
- Seamless incentives page that continually brands your organization
- Each participant’s email tracks accumulated points and balances
- Send broadcast emails to announce a new promotion or call for action
- Select your choice of online retailers by locations, products or services
- Set a point reward calendar for birthdays or company anniversaries
- Maintain a personal touch with a personalized communication
- Learn what promotions and incentives were a success using provided reports
Organizations that attach any loyalty significance to such an interaction is going to obtain their goals and create an environment that communicates quality service and builds customer loyalty. Sales will increase and employees will feel that they are benefiting their company.