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3 Messages to Personalize, 3 to Automate

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Customers not only expect outstanding support, they deserve it. In this digital age, client inquiries should receive a response within 24 hours. If you fail to do so, chances are your customer is moving onto another company that can.

To provide the quickest, most efficient and most helpful support, a combination of personalized and automated messages promises the best results. The challenge lies in deciding when to take the time, energy and effort to customize a personal response and when to provide a quicker, more efficient automated response.

Why Businesses Need a Social Response Protocol

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Online feedback is instant. Every customer has the internet in their pocket, and they are quick to broadcast corporate missteps, especially when it comes to customer service. If your employees go rogue or even if they just stick to antiquated corporate policies, expect to hear about it online.

The good news? This quick feedback ultimately holds enormous potential for businesses. That success, however, is contingent upon each organization’s ability to quickly and appropriately address the constant stream of feedback. One employee’s emotional response to a similarly emotional customer can change the game for consumer trust and opinion of that brand in a nanosecond.

SEO is Killing Content Quality

2014-13-November-Wicked-Witch.jpgSearch engine optimization (SEO) tips include website design best practices for how to get Google to rank your content higher in search engine results placement or SERP.

In fact, the preceding sentence is a great example of just how cumbersome this practice has made Web-based communications. By ensuring that I used the phrases, “search engine optimization (SEO) tips,” “website design best practices,” “how to get Google to rank your content higher” and “search engine results placement or SERP,” I’m virtually stuffing Google with the search phrases I want it to associate with my content.

But SEO tips aren’t the point of this article. In fact, SEO is the antithesis to my point.

Trusting Your Gut: The Worst Marketing Move You Can Make

2014-13-November-Bad-Fit.jpgHere’s a tip: When it comes to marketing your business, leave your “gut” out of it.

No matter how good your intuition, how prestigious of a business school you attended or how much marketing know-how you seemingly possess, if you think you can make marketing decisions by “trusting your gut” alone, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Things have changed. We don’t count on old wives tales to predict the weather, and business people don’t make marketing decisions on a hunch. Well, at least the smart ones don’t.

New Fashioned Customer Service: Restoring Intimacy

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Remember the good old days when you could call your favorite store, took it for granted you could talk with the same person just about every time and didn’t have to explain things multiple times if you had to call more than once to resolve an issue?

Welcome back to those good old days.

In a recent webinar, NewVoiceMedia and DMG Consulting explained how personalizing call center interactions could bring your customers — pardon the expression — back to the future.

How Accessible is Your Search Application?

2014-13-November-Dyslexia-Center-Christchurch.jpgIt's estimated that one in 10 people has some degree of dyslexia. People with dyslexia have a cognitive disorder which hinders their ability to recognize words. Yet when I brought up the topic of web accessibility with some delegates at the recent J. Boye Aarhus 2014 Conference, I was concerned by the high percentage who had never considered whether their website and intranet search applications met an acceptable standard of accessibility.

Marty Shindler: The Digital Revolution is Over

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Tell Marty Shindler about digital anything and you'll probably make him smile. As he told CMSWire, "I chuckle when I hear the word 'digital' to describe a process." 

Everything is digital now, he explained. 

Shindler — who describes himself as a consultant, thought leader, forward thinking executive and sought after speaker — should know. For more than 30 years, he's been a consultant to creative, technology and emerging companies on business, economic, strategic, organizational and operational matters. 

From 1993 to 1996, after stints as an accountant, controller and vice president of finance at various companies, he landed a job as vice president of sales and marketing at Kodak’s digital start-up, Cinesite — largely because of his knowledge of the digital process for production, post production and visual effects. 

It was during this time that Shindler said he saw a market opportunity with the many emerging digital start-up facilities in the entertainment industry. So in 1996, along with his wife, he founded, The Shindler Perspective, an Encino, Calif.-based consultancy focused on companies in the entertainment and entertainment technology industries.

Demystifying Web Personalization: 3 Myths Debunked

2014-12-November-Name-Necklace.jpgIf you want your online business to keep up with the competition, you should be deploying website personalization.

Amazon set the precedent some years ago, and now receives 30 percent of its revenue through its pioneering use of product recommendations. Other e-commerce giants, notably Staples, have acquired entire personalization tools into their arsenal.

Research by Forrester found personalization to be the top priority for 55 percent of retailers. For B2C marketers, it was found to be this year’s top digital priority. Insights from another survey revealed that 83 percent of consumers prefer to receive a personalized cross-channel experience.

There's a number of studies and reports available that all point to the same place: personalization is the future of e-commerce.

Want to Connect With Customers? First Step: Don't Be a Jerk

2014-12-November-Mean-Pallas-Cat.jpgAll businesses have certain characteristics that embody the spirit of the company, and allow a brand to better relate and communicate with its customers. However, there are a few traits in particular that help businesses to truly connect with its customers. This connection is all about being more human.

So You Want to Be an Online Community Manager?

2014-11-November-Flock.jpgBecause I write a lot about online communities and online community management, I've had people ask me, “I’d like to make a career change into community management. Where do I start?” The first thing I tell them is that I’m not a community manager. But I quickly follow by saying that I work with community managers and that they’re the target audience for much of the content I develop.

Why the Best Digital Workplace Teams Don't Get High on Tech

2014-10-November-Trampoline.jpg“Not another new system.” “I don’t have time.” “There are so many tools already.” If any of these is a common refrain in your organization, it may be a symptom that the digital workplace team is high on technology.

Part of the problem is that shiny new technology tends to make the headlines and attract eyeballs, but we don’t always get to hear the more human stories about what makes those technologies tick.

That Anonymous Visitor Is Your Next Great Customer

2014-10-November-Fake-Mustache.jpgPersonalization is critical to your business — we can all agree on that. But when it comes to rolling up our proverbial sleeves and getting down to getting personal, the conversation veers into choppy waters. Why? It’s a simple enough notion.

Compare digital personalization tactics to the local corner store from decades ago. Remember the butcher who held the special cut of meat for a favorite customer? Or the clerk who knew I wanted the next comic book in the series? That was personalization in the pre-Internet days but, even though the landscape has changed dramatically, the rules really haven’t. We, as marketers, just have infinitely more to work with — and even greater demands than a pound of sirloin.

Discussion Point: Creating Long Distance Collaboration and Teams

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You may not like everyone who works in your physical office. But at least you know people well enough to have reasons to dislike them. After all, you spend eight or more hours together every day.

Not so in the virtual world, where the lack of serendipitous encounters and chance conversations make it all the more difficult to forge connections — and increase the ease of developing biased perceptions.

Sometimes even the warmest and most considerate people sound cold and abrasive on the phone. A shy person can be misconstrued as cool and aloof. And, curiously, someone suffering from massive insecurities can seem narcissistic and egotistical because he insists on hiding behind a wall of faux achievements.

So in the age of remote workforces, when employees are increasingly connected by technology rather than shared desk space, how do we make lofty concepts like collaboration and cooperation a daily reality?

Can we force people on opposite coasts to actually like each other? Or, failing that, can we just get everyone to respect each other enough to embrace a common culture?

When Your Organization's Reputation is at Risk

An organization’s reputation is critical to their success (in almost every case). A smart CEO and her board pay attention to the organization’s reputation and take care to nurture, protect and grow it.

A new survey by Deloitte reinforces that obvious truth and states one other truth that should be obvious to us all: “reputation risk is driven by other business risks.”

Analyzing Social Media? You're Doing it Wrong

2014-10-November-Chatter.jpgThe days when brands had complete control over their positioning are long gone. Consumers can now impact the shaping of a brand, particularly through social media. Brands follow what consumers are saying, where they are saying it and how deeply certain themes permeate the overall conversation on social media — but taking action from this information isn’t as easy as it seems.

Brands often count numbers without understanding context. They focus too much on one channel while ignoring all others, or fail to gauge the collective opinions of the crowd. Instead they focus on a few overly positive or negative mentions, and stay too caught up in the moment to observe trends over time.

Each of these faux pas is easy to commit, and every one of them can have profound consequences. But it doesn't have to be that way.

What the French Taught Me About Customer Service

2014-10-November-Bread-Shopping.jpgBefore moving to Paris, I heard horror stories about how rude the French were and readied my family for the difficulties we would experience. But during my four years there, I came to see the French as the purveyors of the best and worst customer service I ever experienced.

France is a country where customer service is an economic imperative as they claim title to being the most visited country in the world with more than 85 million annual visitors and with tourism representing 10 percent of GDP. The French government has tried several campaigns to promote great customer service to increase tourism.

That's only half the battle. Being the right customer and adjusting expectations is what transformed my customer experience in France, and created new levels of loyalty for me with companies large and small alike.

Your Content is a Promise to Your Customers

The content an organization publishes online is increasingly contributing to how customers regard that organization’s brand. 

How to Raise Daughters Who Are Leaders

2014-07-November-Running-In-Rain.jpgHow do we prepare our children — particularly our daughters — to thrive in the economy of tomorrow?

We need to provide the best education within our means, which includes a lot more than the official schooling they receive. The best education I've received has come through good relationships, strong mentors and leaders who took the time to give me sound advice.

DAM Shopping? Use These Criteria to Find the Right Vendor

2014-07-November-Filters.jpgThe number of DAM vendors on the market can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of DAM vendors, many of which provide very good solutions, which can make it hard to choose the right vendor for your organization. Start by developing the project goals and the key problems to be solved and then filter, filter, filter.

Technology Can Help Humans Sound Human

2014-07-November-Free-Hugs.jpgIs it too much to ask a customer service rep to sound human and, more importantly, to treat the person on the other end of the line as a fellow human?

It may sound like a simple request, but too often the forces in the customer service universe can easily undermine an organization’s efforts to deliver an exceptional, personalized experience.