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Why Funnel Vision Will Sink Your Business

They say if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. One of the favorite tools of marketers, the sales funnel, may produce the same kind of myopia, according to Unmarketing’s Scott Stratten. […]

By |October 21st, 2014|

Do Your Customers Feel Ignored?

No business intentionally ignores its customers. In fact, most managers think they do a reasonably good job of listening. But, if a customer feels ignored, big trouble lies ahead.

By |April 30th, 2013|

Love Your Returns!

I hated returns when I was in the catalog business. I viewed returns, not without reason, as margin-killing time-wasters. The returned merchandise was often unsellable due to customer damage, missing items, or shopworn packaging. I had employees who did nothing all day but handle returns. In our lower-margin lines, I calculated I’d have to sell ten more products to make up for the expense of one return. We always kept smiling while we authorized returns, but inside I was cringing. And I wasn’t the only return-hater. Years ago, it was a common practice in some mail order segments to ship products in packaging the consumer had to tear apart to open, meaning that any return involved the added inconvenience of locating new packaging for the return. […]

By |April 19th, 2011|

Replies Can Change Customer Minds

It’s axiomatic that you find out how good a business really is when it has already screwed up once; the speed and nature of the fix show the firm’s true nature. After shipping you the wrong item, do they just offer to refund your return shipping? Do they overnight the correct item to you, no questions asked? How quickly do they resolve the problem?

It turns out that the way companies respond to bad online reviews makes a difference, too. As reported by Mediapost, a Harris survey showed that 18% of those who posted a negative review of the merchant and got a reply ended up becoming loyal customers and buying more. […]

By |March 17th, 2011|

Hire Happy People!

Want your customers to have a better experience? Instead of trying to train your employees to smile, just hire happy people.

Apparently, you don’t have to be an expert in reading faces to tell the difference between a real […]

By |October 22nd, 2010|

Bit Pickles & Fuzzy Olives

In The Million Dollar Pickle (retitled after a reader suggested the original title When Stories Don’t Sell wasn’t that good), I retold a story about how a single bad customer service experience turned a business author and speaker into a negative PR machine for a local supermarket. What sparked that post was my OWN version of a pickle story. Oddly, my story also involves a condiment vegetable: the humble olive. […]

By |October 6th, 2010|

Maslow, Emotion, and a Hierarchy of Service

Branding expert Denise Lee Yohn proposes a new hierarchy of customer service based on Maslow's famous breakdown of human needs.

By |September 2nd, 2010|

Differentiate or Die

Book Review: Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout (Second Edition)
If someone asked you what set your product or brand apart from the competition, would you answer “quality” or “customer orientation?” If your answer is “yes,” you might be in for a rude awakeing… […]

By |October 26th, 2009|

Customer Satisfaction: Time is Precious

Today, there is a big emphasis on productivity in sales and customer service. Increasingly, customers are given tools to place their own orders, check on their status, and so on. In-person sales calls cost hundreds of dollars (some estimates run over a thousand dollars), so an emphasis on efficiency is understandable. And, as a customer myself, I appreciate being able to initiate orders, check on them, etc. at any time of the day or night. CRM software further strives to improve the efficiency of sales contacts by helping separate customers into priority groups, with the most important getting the most contact.

In this drive for efficiency, though, companies need to be aware of the importance of contact time to the customer relationship. Let’s look at three wildly different groups of “customers” and see how contact time played an important role in their satisfaction. […]

By |August 22nd, 2008|