Your Customer Service is Your Brand

Brand is an expression of Trust.

That means that every contact you or your organization have with an individual can impact how much they trust you and just what they think feel and believe about your brand.

A recent experience with a company demonstrates how to screw this up:

If you are a senior they offer a wonderful service.

They are there when you’ve fallen and can’t get up.

They are there when you need to get to the emergency room now.

You would think they would be there for the relatives after a loved one passes on.

Wrong!

First they call and demand the equipment. Then they dictate how you are going to return it.

Yes, they will have UPS pick it up at no charge.

No, it does not have to be returned from the address of the user. Your business, your home or a neighbor is acceptable as a pick-up point.

Maybe you could leave it on the porch if you can’t be there.

You can’t get a prepaid label sent to you so you can take the equipment to a UPS Store on your own schedule. Explaining that you are in another state 2200 miles away from the equipment and not available to wait for a driver to get around to you does no good.

You must take time out of a wall-to-wall schedule when you are in Mom’s home town because sending you a prepaid label to take to a UPS store “can’t be done.”

Never mind that you’re grieving. You must to do it their way.

I won’t be held hostage by having to wait for an unscheduled pickup.

I won’t accept responsibility or liability for goods left on a porch at their direction.

I will cooperate with a customer service person who listens and tells me the truth. (So far, I’ve spoken to at four and my situation is off their scripts and it is obvious that management has no Trust in their staff.)

I’m done, except for a letter to the Chairman and CEO of the organization.

My letter will detail the multiple telephone discussions and refusals to listen. More importantly I will reiterate some points I’ve made on platforms across the country.

  • Your brand is an expression of Trust.
  • Your brand is a reflection of all the trust points in your organization.
  • Your brand strength requires Trust in yourself, Trust in your company, Trust in your employees, and Trust in your customers.
  • Your brand is the sum-total of all those points of trust. If they diminish your organization will wane and die.

____________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and Business Development on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

Brand vs the Technology Tsunami

TsunamiWhen the client awakens,

Recently, a long-time client quietly announced that he was now going to learn about all this internet stuff because he felt that if he didn’t he might miss out on some “good stuff,”

I applauded his decision and told him so. For years. I’ve been trying to get him to pay a little more attention to all the possibilities, to no avail.

Like so many of us he just had no time for technology shifts as long as it didn’t directly impact his business.

Do not put your head in the sand.

You and your business cannot stand still. The technology changes, each incrementally small, keep adding up until they are like a tidal wave for those that haven’t heeded the warnings. Your brand is judged by all the interpersonal actions it has with the public. All of them. That includes those that include a technology-based interaction.

Engagement is the only option.

You can’t run far enough or fast enough to avoid the hit. You can, however structure your approach in such away that you maintain pace with the preponderance of your customers. You don’t have to be first to adopt a new technology if your clients aren’t early adopters. Being last in some categories is acceptable if that’s where your clients and prospects cluster.

The key is knowing where the people that pay for your goods and services actually are on the technology adoption schedule. Let them dictate your pace.

Talk to your customers.

  • Literally have conversation with your customers about the technology they use and the ones they recommend to friends.
  • Do a digital survey of a larger block of customers based on those conversations at least once a year
  • Carefully select the technologies that will keep you competitive and satisfy current customers and prospects
  • Implement use of the preferred technologies in your business in time to keep early adopters from jumping ship
  • Do not force the paying public to adopt the technology to do business with you

Don’t go all in.

The services and processes that made you successful should not be sacrificed for new approaches. There are earnest young men and women that will tell you to abandon all the “old ways:,” Don’t. For example, I recently flew in to transport my Mom for eye surgery. It didn’t happen because her blood pressure was in orbit. The reason was she had not taken her morning dose of meds.

In sorting the problem out, I found that the directions she had were not clear, only partially in writing and not in type large enough for a person with cataracts to read. In addition, she did not have written information that identified her daily regimen of medicines and what they were for.  There was an app that you could get but when a person is 95 and does not have a computer or smart phone that doesn’t work.

Give the customer the technology they can use.

If that means pen and paper, so be it. If that means printing things out in larger type, make it possible. If that means taking a little more care in making sure  you have communicated, take the time. You get customers by being approachable. You keep them by being flexible and dependable.

Stay tuned.

Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

The Gift of Memory

Welcome back! It is good to see all of you again. How were the holidays?

Memory helpers for Consultants

Gail said, “We had a wonderful time. My son managed to get back for a few days and his kids connected at our place so it was quiet but filled with warm memories.”

Chris jumped in saying, “I finally had some time to work on my house and I’m now ready for the new year.”

Rob said, I ‘member how the holidays were such a big thing at home when I was growing up and how y’all just kicked back and got into Granny’s pies and the gatherings with cousins and aunts and uncles and everybody. Wasn’t so much that way this year. Getting everybody to fly back home gets harder and harder.”

“I know what you mean,” I said. “My daughter and her husband came for Thanksgiving but for Christmas they took their annual sunshine vacation and went diving in Central America.”

“We went to Phoenix’” said Kate, “and I only made two sales calls.”

“New York for us,” put in Rick our Direct marketing master.

“I got back to work with a bang. A client who will remain nameless was having a heck of a time uploading some videos we had put together for her blog and other purposes. I was so frustrated by trying to solve the problem via telephone that I made a house call. She’s a Mac user and does everything from her desktop, doesn’t use the filing system on the computer and doesn’t know how to access it.”

I suggested to her that she should learn how to access the filing system and keep everything there. She told me she wouldn’t be able to find it if she did. The simple answer I gave her was to date every file to take advantage of how the computer reads file names. It reads from left to right, numbers first then alphabetical. So to be able to find a file I date it with 2 digits for the year, 2 for the month and two for the day. So the file for this blog will be 160109 Gift of Memory. The visual will be 160109 Gift of Memory Visual. I can always find a file if I know when I was working on it.”

Rick, our Digital Director said, “You know that the computer puts a date and time stamp on each time you open a file, right?”

“Yup, but it doesn’t keep the original date just the most recent time the file was modified, I replied.

Kate said, “Knowing that saved me a bundle of time in organizing my files. For years I kept them based on the kind of program like Power Point and Word with no client information except in the titles. Had to hire an intern to sort everything out by client. That made one heck of a difference. Now I can find stuff. I’m still figuring out how to find my desk.”

Laughing, Rick said, One of the most difficult lessons I learned early on was that you need to not only put dates on things but you also need to organize by client and project. When we opened we had no idea of how to keep track of things so we just had one list of project numbers. Client A Project 1 would get a number and then Client B’s project would get the next number and so on. Imagine what it was like trying to find anything in the real world much less on a computer. The way we solved it was to designate each client with a three letter code, each project with a number that was assigned serially that included the year and a letter for each version. You wind up with a file name like ABC 16-001 A. Works like a charm.

“You just made my day,” said Chris. “We’re at the point where we have so many projects we’re having difficulty keeping track of them. We can put that in place right now and I can put the new intern to work sorting out last year’s stuff that we may want to access for this year.”

Gail cleared her throat and said, I’m old fashioned. I like paper. I used to have a tough time finding my desk, too. Then I discovered colored file folders. You can get them in a bunch of colors. The key is to designate a color for each major part of your business. Like you guys I speak and consult so I color code this way:

Outreach      Purple

Speaking      Green

Travel           Blue

Business
Development Yellow

Prospect       Orange

Client            Red

Personal       Blue Green

Use your own code to make it work for you.”

Kate said, “Now I have to stop at Office Depot!”

“And don’t forget to put a CRM system in place in your business,” I said. That will save you more time than you can imagine. You simply can’t maintain good files without it…there is a reasonably priced system that will work for you. As you know, I recommend integrated systems so you have the capability to use digital marketing.”

Rick injected, “And it is good idea to make sure you can sync all your devices. That, and the security it provides is a good reason to look into Office 365 from Microsoft even if you use Apple products.”

I replied, “Good addition. That will also get you more cloud storage than you can imagine for a small consultancy and new capabilities to connect with others on your team and clients.

Bubba, our Buddha of Brand clapped his chubby hands drawing everyone’s attention. He said, “Y’all are talkin’ about all this inside stuff. H.G. Wells understood that is only part of your business. What he said was:

We all have our Time Machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.

Don’t forget about branding. Build on the memory of your brand. Make your dream memorable in 2016.

The Takeaway: The better organized you are the easier it is going to be to serve clients with imagination and innovation to make your brand memorable. Always find a way to be able to recover documents, graphics, presentations, etc. a year or two from now.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Customer DisService

“Look out,” Rick warned the others, “he’s on a rant.”

Gail, the calm presence that is the wordsmith in the group asked, “What is it this time?”Bad Customer Service destroys trust

Kate looked over her glasses leaned in and said, “Every time he goes to the bank lately he comes out snarling and snarky. First it was the lines and then it was being asked for identification. Who knows what it was this time?”

Rob, last as usual, sat down and without asking looked at Fletch and asked, “So what’s the burr under your saddle today?”

“Customer DisService,” I said.

“Theahs a lot of that going around,” Rob allowed in his familiar southern drawl.

“I went to the bank just before coming to lunch and once again the line was 6 people deep and there was only one teller. Of course there were three managers discussing their coming weekend over in a cubicle. And when I finally got to the counter the teller asked me for identification even though I was making a deposit into my account with a pre-printed deposit slip and not taking cash! I commented that there was no way I could walk away from this transaction with any cash so the ID thing was ridiculous. Then she told me that tellers are now required by the bank to check the ID of people making cash deposits!

Banks are absolutely the worst in my view. The turnover since the old manager left this branch has been 100%. All the professionalism is gone. Folks my age talk about it in line. It is pretty bad when the bank doesn’t trust its own customers”

“So why don’t you change banks?” Chris asked.

“Because I hear it is just as bad everywhere else.”

“You have no idea,” said Chris. Friend of mine bought a soup deli franchise and now he’s working twice as many hours. Every time he thinks he’s got the staff and shift leaders nailed down one of them just doesn’t show up so he has to fill in. He tells me it happens all the time. Makes me sure I don’t want to have employees if I go back to running my own business.”

Rick waved both hands in the air to get our attention and said, “My experience last week gets the prize.

I went to a national department store and picked out a jacket and a couple shirts just for knocking around. I got in line at a checkout. There were only two people in front of me. 25 minutes later I was still waiting. Two other business men behind me had dumped selections on the counter and said they couldn’t wait around for the clerk. In that 25 minutes only one other clerk had come to help. Finally, a young lady said she could help the next in line. As I passed the counter I muttered that it was about damn time. The original clerk started berating me. You know I’m a mild mannered guy but he really ticked me off. I dropped the coat and shirts on the counter and told him my comments were made for obvious reasons and that his ineptitude had resulted in over $1000 in sales being lost by the store.

I went back to the office and wrote a letter to the President of the company. A few days later, the President called me. No, I would not tell him the name of the employee and no I didn’t want anything other than to let him know he had a problem out here in the hinterlands. If the clerk had simply acknowledged the people in line and stopped using the sell them a credit card script and doing everything by the book, the sales would not have been lost.

Today, I got call from the store manager. After we got through the fact that I would not name the individual we had a conversation about what the store manager’s job is like. It is the same as Chris was talking about. Employees seem to have no sense of their importance in how customers see the company. They just aren’t trained to think about service. Instead they are given scripts and told they must do things one way regardless of the situation. That’s not his choice. It is a corporate mandate“

Bubba, the branding Guru cleared his throat and said, “Now y’all know why it is so hard to keep a positive brand differential. The more locations and the more people you have the more chances there are for Customer Dis Service to happen especially if you push employees to do everything by the book.”

The Takeaway:

Service perceived as good is a matter of trust. Banks apparently don’t trust customers. Corporations obviously lack trust in employees ability to think and adapt to the situation.

DisService might be cured in your organization by getting to trust with customers, staff and yourself.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

The Silver Bullet App

“Brand can be your Killer App,” said Bubba as I arrived.

I asked, ‘Who’s the vampire?”Brand is the Silver Bullet

Our southern born brand sculptor replied, “The fact is that brand can overcome all sorts of problems. When it is done right it can:

  • Differentiate your product or service
  • Get you a premium price
  • Extend the life of your product or service

“But,” Rick interjected, “it can also be like a target on your back if something goes wrong. Because I help people sell direct I’ve seen negative reactions happen a lot faster than with products that go through distribution channels.”

Kate, nodding her assent, dreads shaking added, “But it’s not just small companies that get shot at. Nike caught it for offshore manufacturing and look at VW. I’ve got friends that were driving Volkswagen diesel fueled cars that were taking tax deductions based on faulty information. A couple of them are ready to sue…”

Bubba chimed in, “It all comes down to one simple idea:

Brand is a form of Trust. You earn it.

And in today’s world you’re under a great deal more scrutiny than ever before. Brands have always been established by folks talkin’ to one another but today what used to take weeks or months can happen in seconds. Social media is now the real gating factor for brand.”

I asked, “You think that is true for Business to Business products and services as well as Consumer goods, Rob?”

“Theahs a difference,” he said, “but it’s mostly in terms of speed. You don’t get Twitter flash crowds if you’re selling industrial products usually, but they still get reviewed and those reviews tend to hang around a lot longer. So it takes a while for negative user reactions to kick in but they last longer than a coon’s age.”

Chris, our digital director, put down his glass and said, “So you believe the world has changed due to the internet and now impacts how brand gets built. Is that correct?”

“Sho nuff,” said Rob. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I wanted to be sure and I’m curious as to how you see it impacting what you do for a living.”

Rob replied, “Used to was you could build a brand based on a made up story, a logo and a few happy customers. No more. Now the story has to be true. Folks will look hard at what you’re saying and tattle if it isn’t. Before, you could make a mistake or two and just keep on keepin’ on but now social media reports the transgression in creative ways—did you ever see the song on You Tube the fellow did when United trashed his guitar? www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo Last time I looked at it the video  had over 15 Million views and apparently he has a speaking career because of it. Your product or service has to deliver, as promised.

Everyone in your company has to provide the level of service you claim to have and understand that there is a new partnership in brand building: you, your employees and your customers. Y’all gotta be singin’ from the same hymn book and on the same page!”

The Takeaway:

Brand is about Trust…between you, your employees and your customers. Trust for your product or service is earned and your brand is more influenced by customers than ever before.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Get all his publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Crossing the Divide.

Rick asked, “Have you been across the new bridge, yet?”

“No,” I said, “but I hear it is beautifully lit at night.”

New bridge in Portland

“I’ve seen pictures.” said Gail, “but knowing you, I doubt you will ever cross on it as it is limited to walking, bicycles and light rail and since you don’t do any of those…”

“Pardon me for being a child of the automotive age, I sneered. What they’ve done is used modern bridge technology in support of old time transportation. That’s just what is going on with sales and marketing. Suddenly sales and marketing are being forced to cross the divide that has separated them since forever.”

“Step back from the technology Mr. Marketing,” said Kate. What do you mean ‘cross the divide?’ There is a difference between sales and marketing. Like you say, marketing is one to many but sales is one to one. That is a chasm. How is technology changing that?”

“You’ve heard about big data, right?”

“Slow down theah, Fletch,” said Rob our Georgia-born brand guru. Y’all are fixin’ to pounce like duck on a june bug. I know that tone in your voice.”

“Okay, Bubba, I replied. “The thing that is so nifty about this is that the enterprise level folks are just starting to figure out what consultants and professionals, at least the smart ones, have known for years. There’s a Forrester Report that just came out on the CMOs new role in sales enablement. What it boils down to is that:

  • Marketing automation forces more communication between marketing and sales
  • Better understanding of the customer life cycle creates better customer engagement.
  • Marketing’s ability to probe customer concerns and interests via projections of big data analysis on individual accounts give sales deeper insights into how to more quickly build targeted trust-based relationships.

Kate jumped in, “so you’re saying that the age-old problem of Marketing not being able to figure out what a good lead is has been resolved. Is that right?”

“Only for a few companies at the enterprise level,” I said. “But as you well know from your own consulting business the divide between marketing and sales is, most of the time, not a big one. It is kind of hard for it to be when it is the same person. The only time it comes up is when a consultancy starts to grow and they add a sales person to the staff.

A consultant connects with a prospect, builds trust, reaches agreement, provides the service and maintains the relationship. There is no disconnect. Engagement flows freely from marketing activity into sales, delivery and, in the best operations, into a long term relationship.

Engagement is the key word. I believe mid-level companies can profit by building a closer relationship between marketing and sales particularly in the development of sales support materials that build trust and demonstrate real understanding of customer problems.

The Takeaway

Technology is paving the way for big companies to gather and analyze data to bridge the divide between marketing and sales. Consultants already routinely do this. Mid-level companies can move toward this new level of integration by giving sales people a starring role in helping develop communications that nurture the sale.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Get all his publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

The Eternal Opposite

Kate asked, “Are you just naturally contrary or do you do it on purpose?”

I began, “Sales experts like you are always telling me that…”

The Eternal OppositeBubba, our peach of a branding expert interrupted me as he arrived and slid into an open seat . He said, “Y’all should know by now he’s just naturally cantankerous but there is usually a reason and most often it is because he smells money. He’s looking at things that way agin I’ll bet.”

Chris took a sip of his tea and said, “So why don’t we let him defend himself if he can.”

“Challenge accepted,” I said. “I was telling Gail about a client that was bemoaning the fact that a survey from Aspect Software found that one-third of consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk on a phone with a customer service representative. She was overwrought about her customer service department. All I really did was point out the other side of that equation. Two thirds were happy talking to a CSR on the phone.

The problem is that humans are gated to see the danger and run from it. That’s okay if it’s a rattler or a hungry tiger but statistics and analytics are for sorting out the good the bad and the ugly rather than a reason to put on your track shoes.

You have to look behind the numbers.

Reporters and marketers are always backing the hearse up to the door. That doesn’t mean there is dead body inside.

Gail piped up, “So you’re advising us to look at all the percentages or both sides of the survey, right?”

“No,” I said. “I’m saying you should not only look at all of it but think about how you can use the data to your benefit. Some examples:

  • One up Kate’s alley—in 2015 CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Survey of 1000 firms worldwide reported that 37% of companies had implemented a sales collaboration/networking system such as Chatter, Jam, Jive, and Yammer. Less than 35% reported noticeable impact. That tells me that 65% are in need of some help in making it work. Whether she goes direct to the companies or gets a contract to do the job for one of the software firms there is money to be made.
  • Any of you ever hear of Optor? No? But I’ll bet you’ve heard of Occupy Wall Street. The occupiers got our attention  branding themselves ‘the 99%.’ The movement was an abysmal failure. Everyone lost interest.

Optor, on the other hand succeeded. They overthrew the Milosevic government in Serbia. They focused everything on their mission. People joined them over time seeing that dedication and the slow but sure progress. They became the definition of a positive feedback loop.

Optor operated like a start-up company rather than a protest group. They wrote a manual that has been picked up and used in the Georgian Republic, the Ukraine, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East.

The lesson for me is that to succeed you need a vision and a mission not just a slogan.

  • One more. According to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Facebook is the most used Social media for B2C companies while Linked In is the one B2B companies prefer. No surprise there. What is surprising is the role Twitter plays in both and the fact that it is nearly twice as heavily used in the B2B space. No, I haven’t figured that one out yet.”

 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

 

Speak to Me!

Jean asked, “Should I hire a receptionist or a phone answering service?”

“What did you tell her?” said Gail.

“It depends.” Speak to Me!

“Hold on theah, Slippery, thas your answer to just about anything it seems to me,” said Rob, our loveable branding behemoth from the peach state. “Just what does it depend on if you please?”

Kate jumped in before I could say word. She said, “I can tell you what he’s going to say, Bubba, because I’ve had this discussion with him a couple years ago. I can’t swear to the statistics but he made a pretty good case for having a human on the phone, particularly for a small business like mine. As I recall

  • Somewhere north of 75% of all callers that get an answering machine hang up.
  • Nine out of ten customers that get a machine in business hours think you are too small to do business with.
  • About two thirds of people will immediately call a competitor if a human doesn’t answer.

I said, “You didn’t tell them the most important reason to have someone answering the phone…you can’t afford to miss a call, especially if you look at the average value of your proposals.”

Chris pointed out, “You didn’t really answer Jean’s question: Should she hire a receptionist or an answering service?”

“True,” I responded. “A start-up should definitely look at hiring an answering service. Later, when they can hire a receptionist, assuming there are other clerical activities that person can perform you should look at keeping the answering service on.”

“Wait a minute,” Chris said. “Did you say keep them on?”

“Yes,” I said. “the fact is that if you operate like Kate and a number of consultants I’ve worked with, you will have people calling in anywhere up to three hours ahead or behind the local time zone you operate in because you work with clients or prospects across the USA. In addition, if you are connected on multiple continents you need to worry about what day it is as well as what time.

Over 85% of the times someone might call are outside the time a receptionist is in the office! The beauty of an answering service, a good one, is that you can get coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On top of that, if you need to gather data for a form or other information a good service can handle it. There are even services that can set telephone appointments for you when someone calls in.

I did a little on-line research to be sure I gave Jean today’s facts. The numbers Kate quoted are still true. Here are a couple others I found that make it a good idea to work with a telephone answering service that is human:

  • 80% of callers that get a machine will not call back (and that percentage is increasing).
  • 73% of callers answered by a human will not call a competitor (but you have less than two minutes to have someone knowledgeable on the line to handle their questions or arrange for someone to call them back).
  • A study from the UK indicated that a human answering every call could increase sales by 25%.

So I believe that it is a worthwhile experiment to try using a human based answering service and carefully monitoring the change in acquisition of new business and retention of current business. The probabilities are: up to a 25% increase in acquisition and assuring between 60 and 70% retention.”


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

A Number Is A Fact On Your Way To Trust

Readers like numbers because they believe the numbers represent facts,” Rick, our Digital Director said.

Numbers and  Trust

“And facts will get you to Trust,” I responded.

We were sitting on the deck. I was sipping an iced tea.

Rick took a sip of his Pale Ale and went on, “But it depends on how you use ‘em.
Here’s five ways I think are really important:

1. Numbers are specific. Saying you have 3 models from 7 different brands says you have selection better than saying you have ‘superb selection’. More Trust. Less confusion.

2. Numbers are quick. I just flat get ‘em without having to think about it if I use the numbers In 2 for 1 versus the words, the story is much easier to see and comprehend. More Trust. Less calculation.

3. Numbers are easy to test. Changing from a word to a number in a headline or subject line or a teaser on an envelope can be done quickly and easily and you won’t believe the lift sometimes. And price testing. It is so easy on line. More Trust. Definitive answers.

4. Numbers enhance believability. Say you make a robot with a placement accuracy of 2 nanometers and a .002/second cycle rate. You and I do not completely understand those number but the engineers that need the machine will want to know more. More Trust. Personalized data.

5. Numbers adjust to demographics. In pricing, the numbers you use can skew how a product is perceived. Look at the difference in a price of $10 versus one of $10.00 where the cents are included. The higher the price, the more the high-end buyer wants to see the cents as well as the dollars. More Trust. Specific prices.

People believe you can’t shade meanings with numbers so they trust them more than words.”


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and an unruly mob of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Why Tech is Wonky

Gail slammed her purse down and said, “I tell you all I am sick and tired of just getting to understand a piece of software and they up and change it!

Interface frustration“Now what?” said Chris, our digital director.

“My assistant simply clicked yes to an upgrade on the blog software and it went all wonky. There is no way to edit new posts on it now,“ Gail replied. She continued, “I write and I edit and I always review the post before we publish it. Fat chance at the moment.”

“Thas not the only thing goin’ on at the moment said Rob, the Georgia peach of branding. I understand that the new Google change is driving people that understand this SEO thing kinda crazy, too.”

“You’ve got a point Bubba,” I chimed in. “But not everything is worse because of changes. I upgraded to a new I-phone and I have to tell you the interface is a whole lot easier to use. But I still think they should give you some sort of instructions with the darn things. Those of us that haven’t grown up using them to take photos and e-mail them plus push those apps around could use some help. Besides, I’ve got big thumbs.”

Kate our sales specialist smiled and asked, “Can I join this pity party?”

“Jump in,” said Bubba.

“The thing that gets me is how different all the contact managers I run into are,” Kate continued. “They’ve been around since the 90s and you would think that how to make them easy to use would have been figured out by now. Every time I go into a company to tune up their sales operations it seems like I’m dealing with a new way of doing the same thing. It starts with trying to upload a list of contacts and goes downhill from there.”

“I can tell you part of the problem,” said Rick who runs a world class direct marketing operation. “A lot of software is written by folks in new companies. They try to make theirs look and operate differently from the competition. There is no previous version to narrow their approach and there is no best practices to look at. On top of that they are engineers who seldom if ever try to think like an end user. The result is that we users have to adapt continually to the bizarre solutions they come up with.”

“All y’all got that right. Every time I get told about an upgrade I know I’m gonna be outa kilter for a while, said Bubba.

“The thing is,” I said, “there’s a whole science to this stuff that nobody ever seems to look at. It’s called User Interface Design. It all comes down to the fact that users just want to be able to solve their problem quickly and easily in the same way from software to software. They want engineers to stop thinking they are creative geniuses and start building stuff that is easy to use.”

You and me and all of us should think about that as we develop our trainings and products. If we stop reinventing the wheel we might get there faster.

The Takeaway:

Truly great user interfaces are the ones that are engineered to stay out of the way.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and an unruly mob of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com