Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Should Rank-and-File Employees Be Speaking on Behalf of Brands?

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The question of whether front-line, everyday employees should be speaking on behalf of a company and its brand has been in the minds of business owners and executives for years. On the one hand, harnessing the full weight of a company’s workforce can put a lot of bodies into the marketing effort. At the same time, companies often fear the potential negative, counter-productive impact of “rogue” or un-coached employees. Think of the employee complaining about her job on her Facebook page, or the insider who gives friends and neighbors the “real story” about his company at a backyard BBQ. (more…)

How to Get Customers to Spread the Good Word

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

by Linda Pophal


wrote a post recently about the value of positive public relations compared to other ways of generating awareness and preference for organizations. I made the point that what others say about us (e.g. positive word-of-mouth) is always more impactful than what we say about ourselves. One reader followed up with a question: “So how do we get our satisfied customers/alumni to talk about us more?”

This was my response: (more…)

Are You Attempting to Influence “Controllers”? What You Need to Know

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

By Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

A few weeks ago, we looked at an article in Harvard Business Review written by Gary A. Williams and Robert B. Miller titled “Change the Way You Persuade.” In the article, Williams and Miller discuss what they found after spending two years studying over 1,600 executives. The authors discovered that the executives could be categorized into five different decision-making types: thinkers, charismatics, controllers, followers and skeptics. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve looked at thinkers , charismatics, skeptics and followers.  This week we’re going to look at the final group: controllers. (more…)

It’s All About the Brand, ‘Bout the Brand, No Bull$#!!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

I responded to a reporter’s query recently wondering about whether companies in industries with historically “poor” reputations (e.g. airlines, cable companies, telephone providers, etc.) are hindered because they serve as a “middleman” for consumers to access their services and that they may purposefully decide to just suck it up, accept the fact that they will never be able to satisfy their customers and, therefore, cut back on the costs of providing exceptional service. My short answer: “No.”

Here’s why, and what I think is really at play here. (more…)

When You Simply Have to Say “No” To New Business, or a Potential New Client

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

By Linda Pophal

Have you ever turned down new business or said “no” to a potential new client? It may seem hard to believe (especially for very new businesses), but there are definitely times when saying “no” is the best thing to do. Doing so effectively, though, is a bit of an art, and it may take a while for you to determine the types of clients and projects that make the most sense for you to tackle—and those that simply don’t make sense. (more…)

Think Before You Give That Next Customer Discount

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

A few years ago I was lamenting my cable bill with a friend who told me she had recently told her cable company she wanted to cancel her service because, based on how little she watched TV, she couldn’t justify the monthly fee. Rather than lose a customer, the cable company offered a steep discount. I’ve heard of others who have used the same strategy successfully.

I recently came across a Harvard Business Review piece called “The Downside of Discounts,” which reminded me of these cable company discounts. (more…)

Why Your Customer Surveys Just Aren’t Working

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Customer surveys are one of the most commonly used arrows in a marketer’s quiver. What better way to get an idea of how your customers think than by asking them directly? While the basic idea is sound, the execution of customer surveys is often lacking. (more…)

The Critically Important Audience You May Be Overlooking

Monday, November 24th, 2014

It’s probably no surprise that poor customer service can have an enormous amount of negative impact on your business. But what about poor service to employees? Does the internal satisfaction of your employees weigh on that metric? A recent article by Christine Porath in Harvard Business Review would suggest that it does. (more…)

A Wake-Up Call to the Newspaper Industry

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

I had an experience recently that made me think: “Hmmm. Maybe this is one of the reasons the newspaper industry is struggling.”

After landing a new account recently, I began setting up my files and processes for gathering information about the client and sources of information that would help me stay on top of issues impacting them externally. This generally includes some combination of online sources, industry trade publications, etc. In this case, because of the type of business the client does, I decided to subscribe to the local paper because I wanted to add it to my morning reading ritual.

So, I went online to their website to subscribe. And that’s when the fun began. (more…)

Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? You May Be Surprised!

Monday, August 11th, 2014

I worked in a healthcare organization for about 10 years from 1996-2007. Back at that time the transition between referring to patients as “customers” was just emerging and it was fairly controversial. Marketing and administration favored the approach and logically it seemed to make some sense. But I can recall the debates, conflicts and consternation from clinical staff — physicians and nurses — about the use of this terminology.

At the time, I was firmly on the side of using the term “customer.” After all, I had come from the marketing world with a background in the investor-owned utility industry and a private educational firm, in addition to experience growing up in a family-owned business, so the concept of “customer” was one I firmly identified with.

In hindsight, though, (more…)