Marketing is the activity of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society.
Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast and changed the immediate futures of many. Focus will no doubt shift from extravagant extras to just rebuilding the necessities. For many local businesses looking to rebuild as well and turning to their loyal customers and the commitments made prior to this unthinkable disaster, you have to wonder when is the right time to ask your customers to be customers again.
For one local-area sports team, a letter was sent to its season ticket holders affected by the storm offering their support and reminding them their first payment was now due. If you are a season ticket holder it should come as no surprise that this money is due; you committed to these tickets nearly six months ago if not longer. As a team and a business in its own right, at a certain point disaster or not, there are still employee salaries and bills to pay. But if your home is gone or you just lost a family member in the storm and you get a letter like this, would you think the team is pretty insensitive to your situation? Or would you feel they were within their right to collect the money you promised to pay? Continue reading “When is the right time to ask your customers to be customers again after Hurricane Sandy?” »
Targeting customers with the right message at the right time and getting that message into the hands of a decision maker is one of best ways to gain new customers and to upsell current customers on new products and services. Unfortunately for many companies, they fail miserably in their marketing efforts and do not set up the call center for success in selling.
Think about how often you get a completely irrelevant email offers? I’m not even talking absurd spam; I’m talking about reputable companies with the wrong message. More often than not, those companies would tell you they were doing a great job targeting their marketing but the call center just can’t convert the sales. Their customers, on the other hand, disagree (that’s the power of Customer Experience Analytics). So, where is the disconnection between consumer needs and what companies want to convey about their products and services so they can sell more? You know we have to listen to our customers, and we think we are, so how are we still getting it wrong? And what could it mean for our bottom line if
we actually got the message right and set the call center up for success?
Aren’t we all focused on enhancing the customer experience using our web sites to handle common customer service issues and questions to help reduce call center costs (headcount, resources, etc.)? What I find to be a bit of sad irony is that while time and energy is being spent to beef up web site content, few people within the company have the slightest clue as to what is on their web site. I know I’ve been guilty of this myself.
I recently called a company about a service issue and the call center agent promptly let me know that my issue could be solved by going to the web site. I say, “thank you for letting me know that. I did try to serve myself and couldn’t figure it out. What exactly do I need to click on to get the information?”….radio silence. The agent had no idea. So, we both think this should be possible but neither of us knows how to do it. The shame is that I am not the only one having this customer experience problem.
The deployment of smart meters has generated a tidal wave of data for utilities to manage and beyond the initial data storage challenge, there exist real questions about how to use and share this information with consumers. In an article published on smartgridnews.com back in 2009, Jack Danahy estimated that 140 million smart meters installed over a period of 10 years would generate 100 petabytes (1 quadrillion bytes) of information. That’s a lot of data and the effort to store this data is a wasted exercise if the analysis is never used to better project consumer demand and to help consumers better manage their consumption.
One of the utilities that Customer Relationship Metrics supports recently decided to make use of the data they were gathering, and for very good reason. According to OPOWER, an energy efficiency and Smart Grid software company, consumers who receive data about their electricity usage reduced their energy consumption by 1.8% (which, according to the EDF could curb CO2 emissions by 8.9 million metric tons annually). This utility mailed customers a snapshot of their electricity usage compared to the usage of other customers in their immediate area, along with tips on how to decrease energy usage. A company proactively informing customers how to use less of their product!!! What’s not to love? Apparently a lot. Customers who were notified that their electricity usage was comparatively high began contacting the utility’s call center in droves, complaining of over-charging, bad meter-readings and malfunctioning meters. The call center and its agents were unprepared for both the volume of calls and the negative response to the letter. And I was as surprised as everyone for the backlash. Continue reading “How to deliver bad news to ‘smart’ customers.” »
How many of you still get solicitation phone calls at dinner time? Or odd offers via US mail? It seems like our personal data is being bought and sold to substantially more companies for “marketing” purposes.
I use the term “marketing” very loosely because what they are doing is not marketing. I get stacks of home décor catalogs that I’ve never requested from stores I’ve never heard of, and I can only assume that they haven’t heard about my less-than-Martha-Stewart attitude about home furnishings. When I stop to think how much time is wasted on broad marketing versus relationship marketing, it leads to one conclusion — missed customer acquisition opportunities. Getting the right message to the right person will acquire more customers in the short term and enhance customer loyalty in the long run. Continue reading “Are customers listening to your ‘marketing’?” »