You Digg It, I’m Delicious, We All StumbleUpon

Social bookmarking is a popular part of the social media movement. For the tech dweebs that is:) I say that lovingly of course, because I’m part dweeb myself. Though social bookmarking hasn’t quite caught on with the mainstream user, I’m confident that it will be soon. Most of the folks I meet are still grappling with what Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and LinkedIn are all about…but, hey, one thing at a time.

Even though I love technology, it took me a while to connect how I could use social bookmarking in a meaningful way. Once I got it though…it was like the parting of the Red Sea. The possibilities of how you can use social bookmarking as a customer retention tool are endless.

Whenever I speak on the topic of social media and social networking, I notice that people seem to be the most confused about how social bookmarking fits in. Even more confused than they are about Twitter, so that’s saying something. In Made to Stick, the Heath brothers talk about how to help people understand a concept that confuses them by tying it back to something that they can relate too. An analogy. In pretty simple terms, I tell people that social bookmarking is like having one gigantic, personal file cabinet on the Internet. You “tag” the web address of articles, video’s, blogs or websites that you like for easy reference later. Instead of file folders, you use an informal tagging system that lets you create categories that you’ll remember later on and can access quickly. AND…what I think is the coolest part of social bookmarking is that you can “share” your tags with others.

From a sales perspective, you could create categories that represent a particular clients’ interest. If for example, I’m your customer and you know that I love social media technologies (as everyone who knows me, knows that I do!), you would watch for interesting information that you would tag for Barb and share with me. I don’t have to rip an article out of Fortune Magazine and then send it to you manually with a personal note, although I still do a lot of that. Instead, I can tag articles that I think my clients and prospective buyers will find interesting and share them with everyone at once, or I can choose just to share with people in my private network. Either way…it’s a great connection point. Now, if you get your contacts to sign up and engaged in your bookmarking community, they can tag information that they then share with everyone in the community too. Very cool stuff indeed!

So, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon are 3 of the biggies…each having a slightly unique twist to their approach, which I’ll cover in more detail in subsequent posts.

Stick around…you really do want to know about how to integrate the use of social bookmarking into your customer relationship management approach, because THIS IS a key way to not only provide value but to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Can you dig it?

OMG - Where Has Customer Service Gone?

In the past, I’ve written about the lack of attention far too many companies place on delivering a customer experience that wows. Being the optimist that I am, I keep hoping with fingers tightly crossed that companies will eventually get it. And you’d think that with times being what they are, the emphasis on delighting customers would be a big priority. Oh, if only that were true!

The dismal customer service that I have received these past few months from a company that has had my business for almost 5 years is what prompted me to write about service again. The experience has me thinking about what can happen when a family owned business is bought out by a mega corporation who clearly doesn’t care if customers are happy or not. This company is stagnating - not an innovative thinker in sight. No matter what the situation, they not only have one excuse after another, but after 5 months they have yet to resolve the problem. Frankly, I don’t care about their operational issues or the lack of staff, though I will say that if you must reduce your staff, please make sure you don’t keep the village idiot on board. Whatever their problems, they are not mine! I’m a paying customer who expects accurate billing and promises kept. What about you?

In the bestseller, The Pursuit of WOW! Tom Peters reminds us that 70% of customers hit the road NOT because of price or product quality issues, but because they did not like the human side of doing business with the provider of the product or service. Research conducted by The Forum Corporation supports this fact and indicates that 45% of these same customers said they switched to another company because the attention they did receive was poor in quality.

Is providing great customer service really that difficult? IBM founder Thomas Watson is attributed with saying, “if you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work”. Delivering WOW service is a commitment to do whatever it takes to serve the customer, and that commitment must be imprinted on the hearts and minds of every single employee. Only then can any organization stand apart from their competition.

Based on my own professional experience, I have defined four rules crucial to delivering winning customer service:

Rule #1: Listen! When customers complain there is a reason. Hear them out. This is an opportunity to make it right and to learn something. Listen without interrupting, giving excuses or arguing.

Rule #2: Don’t take it personally. Customer complaints are about products or services that did not live up to their expectations. Taking it personally, getting defensive, or getting angry only makes the situation worse.

Rule #3: Offer a sincere apology for the inconvenience and then fix the problem! Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Consider how you feel when something you bought didn’t do the intended job or caused an even bigger problem than the one it was supposed to fix.

Rule #4: Never say, “It’s not my job, my department, or my responsibility.” If you work at the company that made the product or sold the service - it is your job! Make a personal commitment to do whatever it takes to fix the problem even if it is not in your job description.

In the end, only those companies with an ongoing commitment to listen and serve can consistently keep their customers delighted and buying from them. Now would be an ideal time for my vendor to heed these words!

Sell More, More Often When You Understand Customer Buying Styles

A sales assessment is a specialized profile that analyzes the “make-up” of a salesperson. Sales assessment results can be used in three specific ways.

  • Help sales managers hire better salespeople.
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Understand what you have to offer! What your strengths are, what challenges you face when selling, areas for growth AND you learn about what appeals to your customers when being sold too.

Using this profile, you will:

  • Learn about your sales Strengths
  • Recognize and learn from your sales Challenges
  • Recognize Customer Buying Styles
  • Learn what Drives Buying Behavior for each style
  • Learn to Adapt your sale style to Meet Different Customer Needs
  • Practice what you’ve learned

Included with each Everything DiSC Sales Profile are five online, personalized Customer Interaction Maps that are completed after the profile is initial completed. This gives you to put your learning into immediate action.

Everything DiSC Sales Profile Price: $75.00