Saturday, April 22, 2006

Are Your e-mail Marketing Efforts Reaching Your Customers

Customer communication is the lifeblood of any business and industry. It is so important a topic that millions of pages of online and offline content have been devoted to the essence of proper expression, format and etiquette. Yet it seems like no matter how much was said before it still needs to be addressed. In the perspective of the customer experience communication has played an even more important role than in business days of yore. Meaning, that last week when we took it for granted and today we need take another look at it.

For all businesses email has become a method of quick exchange and reaffirmation of appointments, commitments; delivery of packages and of course the main exchange medium of ideas. So what’s the big deal? Well, email use has declined some 20% in the last few years because of spam, fraud, identity theft and other issues. So now to ofset the trend, at least of the spam content, the industry and government have gotten together and come to terms with an email authentication process. This is significant enough that if you’re not online with it now you better get there. The ISP industry is now supporting and driving this initiative. What does it do? It identifies the sender and provides that identity to the ISP and the receiver of the email.

The problem is that it creates more catch alls for legitimate mail and newsletter marketers who are trying to reach their primary clients and Opt In list members. An ISP may screen your e-marketing effort based on the ISP criteria for authentication enforcement. Meaning, you will be rejected if you met certain profile or behavior types. Every ISP or email provider such as Yahoo or AOL has similar, but differing ways in which to interpret and apply the authentication measures. No matter what you do you will most likely never be 100% effective in your e-marketing and newsletter marketing efforts.

With this onset of email authentication the world of email is entering into a new stage of reestablishing the email as the primary communication tool of business and personnel content mediums. Big problem is that it’s just starting to be used and it isn't a cure all to an ongoing industry wide problem. It is however a much awaited start and the article that is provided by b2b emailmarketing helps to explain the necessity of adhering to getting with the program.

Now DON”T worry. Yes, there is another alternative and that alternative has powerful implications for your business success. Thee is a new direction in the industry that can if not supersede the side effects of email authentication measures by bypassing them altogether. The power of the direct desktop delivery program is enormous. Desk Top Marketing solutions such as Desk Top Marketer Pro guarantees 100% of all mail and newsletters being delivered and read by those targeted in your marketing audience. This process absolutely is a must to increasing and enhancing the customer experience of captured customers. You can get it to who you want when you want without outside interference and be assured of accurate and on time delivery.

Check Out Desk Top Marketer Solutions. Where authentication can't guarantee delivery or that spam filters or ISP blocking won’t stop your mail, desk top delivery software such as Desk Top Marketer Pro can guarantee it will get through.

Imagine 100% open rates of your email and e-marketing news letters

As always we invite your comments and suggestions.

If you want more information on Customer Experience Management please visit "The Customer Development Center"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why we provide "Customer Service" even for the Bad ones

Have you ever wondered why we go out of our way to make even mean customers happy? Or why we bend over backwards to create return policies, build customer experience policies and facilitate refunds. There are so many nightmares stories out there about customers who have created unbearable or unfair situations and unfortunately there will be others. The real issue here is in understanding why we respond the way we do to make them happy now and later.

For the moment I’m going to concentrate on online businesses while what I share applies to all businesses including the traditional. In most online businesses the focus is on the product and the sales cycle. Why is that bad? Well first it concentrates only on first time sales never on loyalty, customers needs and return business. Customer satisfaction levels were at an all time low this Christmas for online companies and the previous is the reason why. If a business is to survive on line then the focus has to change to being customer centered. Why well the above story can be used as an example.

The web is growing fast, but only a small percentage of that growth has sustainable resources to buy on line. In other words to succeed we need repeat customers. This is especially true in niche markets. If you are rude and insistent on poor customer handling policies you will loose the repeat business.

Studies show that you really don't make money on the client until the 2nd or 3rd sale. The 1st one is just a process of cost recovery. By allowing the package to be returned and facilitating it gracefully the customer was left with a mental tag inviting him back to do business again. He knows that the company can be trusted and I guarantee you he will share that with others.

Then he will also share the bad experience as well and he will tell far more people. And online the word of a bad experience will spread faster and farther than it will in person.

Please feel free to comment. We value your thoughts, ideas, and wisdom.

If you would like more infomation on the custome experience please visit
"The Customer Development Cente"

Monday, April 17, 2006

Foolproof Customer Service Strategies

(that only a fool would try!)

I came across this article today at"> The Happy Guyand I couldn't help but laugh and then empathize with the position and observations of the author. What we as business managers or owners see as customer service more times than not isn't close to what the customer sees and most likely not even close to the kind of service they want.

Think about it, if you are a small business owner when is the last time you talked to your clients other than to sell them something. Most likely it is no more than a “hello, how are you”. The idea of building customer relationships and getting to know the customer is, or at least it should be a primary activity if you are on going efforts to sustain long term development and business growth. Learning to understand the customer in their terms requires multiple non sales contacts that are centered on client profile development. Yes, the sales and acquisition cycle is important, but if there is nothing there to build or sustain long time customer value or loyalty they will be out the door and soon will be someone else client.

In this somewhat humorous article the realization that not all businesses are equal or even smart comes storming home. Take a read and ask yourself what kind of customer service you provide. In my terms I'll restate this as to what kind of customer experience do you provide because creating customer experiences of value have a different implication than just customer service and certainly from the customer perspective much more compelling. If you need to take a refresher on just what is the The Customer Experience,just follow the link. Have fun and get ready to either laugh or cry.To read the article follow the link at the top of the page.

Please comment as this is an open forum and we really do want to hear what our viwers have to say.

If you want more information on the customer experience please visit"The Customer Development Center

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Split decision - A Customer Experience

If you went into a Coffee house such as Starbucks and saw a customer you had just met an hour before, what would you do?

This an interesting question and it ask us to measure the impact of something that is normally outside the normal customer impact area. Everyday we are seen and measured people who see us without us seeing them and some of these observations carry very negative impacts in the context of business. How do we manage them or do we even care.

If you run a true customer centered organization the management of such incidental contact would be of prime concern. If I were in the above situation I would walk up to my customer and ask if I could buy him the coffee and then sit down and pick his brain. I wouldn't concern myself with sales, but I would focus on what were his concerns, likes and dislikes and whatever else would let me build a stronger relationship and insight into his needs in relationship to the position he holds and his companies needs. Something to think about.

Your comments are always welcome and if you would like more information on the customer experience please visit The Customer Development Center

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Customer Service - Last Thoughts

In looking back at the great food that we enjoyed and the wonderful service (Check out the previous two blogs) there are a few things that stand out in my mind that set this particular restaurant apart from others.

1. On thing that impressed me as I talked to the manager was the thought that went into picking not only the type of restaurant that they wanted, but the type of food and the way the restaurant would be presented. Although it has changed with time they purposely went after a certain niche market and new who their customers were. In other words they set up a business plan that identified what they wanted, where they were going and how they would get there.

2. They were dynamic in the application of their plan. They were pro active in the way they responded to their identified market and expanded to acquire new market niches by making innovation a part of their business and operating philosophy. They would change and refocus their business plan to meet market needs (the customer) and would from time to time even readjust their strategic goals to enhance their ability to respond to the direction the restaurant would take.

3. They made R&D an inherent part of the business and customer acquisition cycle. Focusing on the way they developed their food, their environment, and served their customer.

4. They weren't afraid to interact directly with their customer and gain first hand insights and feed back that would allow them to identify and meet their customer's needs.

5. They hired open and friendly staff and set a profile for hiring requirements from the beginning as part of their business plan. To get the better employee they paid above scale in wages. What they lost in wages they gained in increased market share.

6. They would sit down with their entire crew including Directors and discuss the business once a week. The employees were empowered with the power to drive the feedback. In other words the employee was their primary feedback instrument. They were the first line of interaction in engaging the customer and the primary resource to recieve customer feedback. This allowed the employees to drive the primary change in the business based on their engaging of the customer and what they learned.

Note: There were many other things they could have done to enhance what they were doing and that would strengthen there market position and maybe at a future date I'll address those. The thing is it wasn't the manager that made it great or was it the owner, but it was the empowerment of the employees and allowing them to be the driver in how the business would react and change. They were not into power plays or wee they afraid of open criticism. All businesses need to take a look at this and this is especially true of small businesses were responding to markets and being proactively involved in dynamic development will either make or brake their business and customer relationships.

Please feel free to comment. If you would like more information on customer service please go to

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Custome Experience - The Rest of The Story

As promised I am returning to finish the tale of my Journey to the restaurant. One must remember in all customer centered activities that the customer is always first, not necessarily always right, but always first. This should help to determine the order in which prioritizing business goals should be done. In most businesses it is centered around the product and the end sale.

When we came into the restaurant, we were greeted by a cheerful and warm manager who then personally introduced us to our hostess. Our hostess for the next 10 minutes didn't once center on her or the business, but centered the entire conversation on us our daughter (4 1/2yrs) and what we liked or disliked.

As we walked toward our chosen destination in the restraint we were continually and quietly taken in by the culture and ambience of our surroundings. True, there aren't a lot of businesses that can build an environment like a restaurant, but they can build an atmosphere of cooperative enthusiasm within the organization, provide a conducive atmosphere for customer/clients to feel relaxed in and the desire to comeback.

Actually If you are in retail, building an environment that brings in the customer and captivates them is no more than providing an increased customer experience. In doing so it will encourage them to stay longer and spend more. The idea isn't to encourage them to spend more, but to develop an enveloping experience that strengthens the customer relationship focusing on their needs. In focusing on your customers they will reward you with loyalty and increased spending, fulfilling the relationship promise.

Back to the restaurant, her first stop was to bring us by the kitchen, hmmm I thought, I have to cook my own meal? Then we were introduced to the chef and staff that would fix our food. Now, remember this is not an expensive, high end restaurant, however, nice touch team. To our surprise they were fixing a delicious seafood kabob. It wasn't what we had in mind in fact it isn't what we ordered, but according to our waitress it was part of the ongoing development of dishes to offer their clients.

Now R&D is an important part of any industry, but here, they involved their customers in this event. Something every business should keep in mind regardless of size or type. No, not focus groups, but real involvement where ideas can be driven by the customer. As part of the R&D experience we were offered a kabob as a free treat just for being there providing we offered feedback. We were then seated and felt as though we were part of the family.

In my next blog I’ll add a few more observations worth mentioning.

As always we invite you to comment or to add your views to this and any other blog. If you would like more information on the Customer Experience please visit"The Customer Development Center".