I live in a student mecca in Boston. Many of the local businesses cater to the college student crowd, including local restaurants, clubs, clothing stores, and even youth-oriented laundromats. The merchandise, the atmosphere, and the prices, which often include discounts with a student ID, are terrific for students. But for old fogies like me, not so much. These are businesses that I tend to avoid.
Ronni MarshakPatricia Seybold Group
0 comments 904 readsPosted on 2011-09-26
0 comments 789 readsPosted on 2011-09-22
Most truly customer-centric companies have people whose jobs it is to deeply understand one or more customer segments and to advocate for that group of customers within the firm. The customer segment might be high net worth customers, enterprise CIOs, inner city teens, first-time home buyers, breast cancer patients, or any target audience(s) that are important to your firm.
Customer advocates typically reside in a customer experience group. Customer segment managers often live in marketing.
If your firm does business through channel partners: financial advisors, real estate brokers, insurance agents, value-added resellers, and so on, you probably also have the equivalent of partner segment managers.
Partner segment managers usually report to the channel sales organization and/or marketing organization.
We recommend that you think about this...
0 comments 1,453 readsPosted on 2011-08-12
With the dismal financial news that has hit us over the past few days, I’m worried. I thought I was doing well with my spending and my saving for retirement. But I don’t know what’s going to happen now. And I imagine that you, too, are concerned, both as individuals with financial burdens and as business people who worry that your company will get hit and your job might go away.
I’m sure you understand that your customers are equally concerned. There is already a lot of belt tightening on both the B2C and B2B fronts. Customers are going to consider, reconsider, and reconsider once again every purchase, including purchases currently in the works.
So what can you do…to protect your business, your job, and your customer relationships?
The first thing is what NOT to do. Don’t start cutting the funds for anything that impacts your customers’ experience with your brand. This is...
0 comments 1,873 readsPosted on 2011-07-01
As I interact with providers, both as an individual consumer and as a business customer, I’m delighted with the improvement in the customer experience that I’m receiving. I’ve seen improvements in customer service and customer-facing processes from companies ranging from UPS (which has redesigned its customer service process—both online and on the phone) to the S&S Deli (one of my favorites places, but which had, in the past, allowed its servers to be, well, neglectful).
I’m not sure, however, if my improved dining experience at S&S was because I was fortunate during my last few visits to have a server in a good mood or whether management had made it clear that the staff needed to be more attentive and polite. I’ve spoken of the dangers of “luck of the draw” customer service before in my article about...
0 comments 2,128 readsPosted on 2011-06-21
Koko Fit Clubs are the health center franchisees of the Koko Fitness cardio and strength training system whose creation is the subject of this week’s article. The Koko Smartrainer weight (and later cardio) exercise programs are 30-minute interactive exercise regimens done on the Smartrainer machines, which include visual instructions and realtime visual feedback as well as a dashboard of how you’re doing—against your goals, your former sessions, even against your friends! The sessions are all self-guided and personalized, and they change as your body and fitness levels change. (To see more about the experience of using the Koko systems, see the video, Welcome to Koko FitClub - The World's Best 30 Minute Workout). The clubs have a loyal and vocal fan base, as evidenced by the endorsements:
“I absolutely love it. I think this is...
0 comments 1,702 readsPosted on 2011-05-26
For over 20 years, Patty Seybold and I have been helping organizations co-design their future with their customers. And the insights, priorities, and recommendations that surface are always impressive and often eye-opening. When you work side by side with customers, the things you discover can confirm your assumptions and validate the path you are on—or they can blow the path out of the water! Usually, companies are at least somewhere on target, even if they don’t hit the bull's eye all the time; but every now and then, they aren’t anywhere near the target area based on assumptions that miss the mark.
I remember a client, trying to launch a new business line, who “knew” that their potential customers would rebel against doing what had traditionally been one-on-one negotiations with a dedicated sales person (with competitors) in an automated, albeit, quicker and less expensive, online manner. They insisted that these old-fashioned...
0 comments 910 readsPosted on 2011-05-18
I recently experienced a busy mobile professional’s worst nightmare—starting up my laptop to be confronted by the “blue screen of death!” My inconsistent and time-consuming (although ultimately successful) experience with Dell support made me think about the importance of ensuring that all your customer support personnel—whether first-line triage or experienced technicians—are provided with the right support to do their jobs:
1. Consistent training on how to interact with customers and on your organization’s policies and processes
2. Tools to capture customers’ context and pass it to a colleague, when necessary
3. Access to a knowledgebase of the latest fixes and workarounds
4. Incentive structures that reward actually solving a customer’s problem!
In my case, the fifth in a series of customer support...
0 comments 1,245 readsPosted on 2011-05-02
For a number of years now, companies have been adding execs with Customer Experience in their titles. But only the most savvy, customer-centric organizations actually empower these CX execs with any clout. Most CX activities start and end with surveying and measuring customer satisfaction. Even those initiatives that do dive deeply into understanding customer needs and expectations often leave those learnings just languishing on the floor—without any official or sanctioned input into product or process development/improvement, these insights have no place to go.
0 comments 1,338 readsPosted on 2011-04-29
As I confessed in my article, “Confessions of a Groupon Addict,” I am addicted to Groupon deals…and Social Living, Tippr, Level-up, Daily Deal, etc. deals. Oh, I no longer buy every tempting deal that comes along. I’ve learned my lesson early on that prepaying for meals and events you might not use for a year can wreak havoc on your bank account. But I faithfully read every offer sent my way, and I pick and choose the ones that really appeal to me and that I’m sure I will use.
Now Facebook has entered the fray! Lucky for me, Boston (my base of deal operation) isn’t one of the supported cities in this new launch. Facebook Social Deals, which was initially launched in Europe three months ago, became available on Tuesday, April 26 in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco. The company hasn’t committed to...
0 comments 1,146 readsPosted on 2011-03-28
Adobe’s many tools are well understood and valued by both graphic designers and software developers. Now, Adobe is making a major move “up market” to appeal to the marketers who plan and implement product marketing strategies, who oversee customer experience, and who control agency budgets. Adobe’s acquisition in 2009 of Omniture—a major web analytics platform and closed loop marketing environment—has provided the company with the opportunity to both move “up market” and to flesh out an end-to-end platform and ecosystem.
One of our Senior B2B marketing consultants, Sue McKittrick, attended Adobe’s Omniture Summit this month to rub shoulders with many of Adobe’s customers. Her takeaway: Adobe is successfully repositioning itself as an end-to-end platform for marketers. At the summit, Aseem Chandra, Omniture’s VP of Marketing, referred to marketing as “the new finance” because it can now measure the pulse of the business in a way that...