Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

A Bad Customer Experience - The Cost - One Cent

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

I was going to post an article this week on the seemingly lack of motivation on the part of many companies to implement an integrated mobile solution. If the mindset of these companies continues and if they neglect to give this the proper attention it will be at a cost much like not having an integrated customer relationship management solution.

After reading the following story I am going to share with you written by Wendy Victora, Managing Editor at, entitled “This penny wasn’t worth the trouble it caused”, I decided to write about another critical issue confronting companies in today’s marketplace and that is Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

This story points out how a mismanaged series of events can expose significant problems and result in a less than desirable outcome.

For the Cost of a Penny

“Last week, my daughter spotted a penny in the parking lot and bent to pick it up.

She had trouble prying it off the ground, coated as it was with disinterest and unknown fluids. After a brief struggle, she gave up and reached for the hand sanitizer.

She’s been collecting loose change lately, mostly from our kitchen counter, and has filled a decent sized jar.

But a penny isn’t worth much anymore, even to scavengers.

I dropped one while paying for breakfast at a drive-through this morning and the cashier told me not to worry about it – she had plenty.

We all do, most of the time.

Last month, I was one short, apparently.

And I didn’t know it until I got a disconnect notice from a local utility company. I knew it wasn’t a normal bill by the angry-colored orange box visible through the window of the envelope.

My service would be shut off Feb. 26, the notice informed me, unless I paid my overdue amount of 1 cent.

I am not making this up.

I had apparently written the check for the wrong amount and triggered the alarm system for being a deadbeat customer.

I was irate and went to bed that night fantasizing about driving to Valparaiso – the nearest customer service center – and handing them the nastiest penny I could find.

When I called the next day, a bored customer service rep told me they wouldn’t cut off my service for a penny.

She said the computer automatically generates those notices.

When I pointed out that, from a customer service perspective, that was a huge fail, she was uninterested.

There was a time when common sense would have kept that notice from being launched.

There was a time when an apology would have been issued.

There was a time when a penny was worth something, when it was a respectable little coin.

But I can’t remember a time when it was worth more than good customer relations.”

You would think that with the technology available to companies today, especially companies that have the resources to break down silos in their customer relationship marketing, would be taking the necessary steps to update their CRM processes.

With the enormous power customers have today to make impact on a brand’s reputation it is imperative to have the right people in front of the customer and the right processes in place to deal with and detect issues across the organization.

Each department and its employees must have access to the information available on its customers, if not each time a customer interacts with the company, that department has to provide the same information over and over again, duplicating effort and wasting time. This is not good customer relationship management is inefficient and frustrating for both customers and employees.

You must also have employees who are motivated to help customers when they call with a problem, not employees who act “uninterested”.

Empower you people to make decisions.

Customers don’t care who they are talking to only that they have a problem that needs to be solved. If they are not connected with the right person and are passed around, customers get the feeling that your business is not organized, no one wants to help them or both.

I am sure that you have all had these feelings trying to solve an issue that is important to you. Require your customer service reps or anyone who deals with customers to treat the people they communicate with in a way that they themselves would want to be treated. Empower your reps to solve the problem in the shortest amount of time possible and everyone will feel better for having found a solution and possibly create some good will.

The Wrong Message

Wendy should have never been sent a bill for one penny. First of all, it probably cost the company more to process that penny they might receive and secondly you don’t want to send customers messages that are going to upset or scare them and then just tell them you were just kidding.

There is only one outcome and that is a lost customer, in most cases, and all the negative word of mouth the customer can communicate to friends, family and across their social channels. Multiplied you can understand that this could have a devastating impact on your business.

And take notice! Marketing automation technology today is evolving but still finds it difficult, especially in B2C, to be able to recognize that people are complex humans that have many different reasons for any particular action they perform online or offline.

Every customer’s experience is different and to think that you can assume or generalize what a customer’s intentions are can be an ill-advised and hazardous undertaking.


You first need to understand that communities should exist to serve the people in it but the residual benefits to your company can be substantial. Companies that understand and respect this can successfully leverage this asset.

Cultivating the customer experience through a Customer Relationship Management Community is a mutually beneficial way to foster communication and trust between you and your existing customers, potential customers and employees through a central hub, your website, which will emanate your customer centric culture across all your social channels and magnify your organic SEO and social reach to increase not only your inbound lead generation to gain new members but benefit all aspects of your marketing strategies.

In fact, many successful brands are successful because consumers organized around them through brand communities and defined what the brand meant. Today, consumers have the power. They can define the meaning of your brand regardless of how you may want to define it. They can also rally around your brand and to become advocates and influencers.

The benefit of having community members is that you can actually understand their wants, needs and concerns through “one on one” communication that is worth far more than assuming or guessing at their intentions and/or pursuing consumers you don’t know around the internet trying to entice them into to doing something they may not have any intention of doing at the risk of alienating them.

Consumers are inundated with all the ways that exist today to get in front of them and others are developing technology to counter this with technology like ad blockers that according to a recent article at Chief Marketer by Zach Schapira, “In the long-term if pervasive ad blocking shrinks the supply of sellable inventory, publishers may try to make up for the lost revenue by raising CPMs for advertisers.”

Why keep spending more and money on ways to figure out how to get in front of consumers that are trying to avoid you when you can, for a fraction of the cost, create a CRM Community to engage and communicate with them on their terms.

Customer Relationship Management Communities act as a portal to gain valuable information through interaction with your customers who will welcome your contact, to enhance and target your marketing initiatives more effectively by knowing your customers and discovering patterns through interaction to build buyer personas to personalize your marketing messages in the most transparent and effective way available today.

The benefits that these communities will bring are the most cost effective way inwhich to engage, retain, manage, nurture and form alliances with your community members, employees and potential customers that will not only foster loyalty and retention but promote your business in the most positive ways imaginable- all combining to raise the bar in defining personalization and customer relations.

Companies with onsite customized CRM Communities can experience better employee relations, customer service, reduced customer complaints and higher brand loyalty. Think of having a central place in which to connect with and understand your customer’s and potential customer’s concerns, wants and needs without assuming or generalizing their intentions.

Oliver Jaeger, Vice President Global Marketing & Communications for e-Spirit Inc. in North America, states in his article How to create a strong customer experience engine, “With so many different ways to communicate with customers, companies have to work harder and smarter to build and maintain strong relationships. And that engagement must span not just the buying phase, but the entire customer journey -- from awareness to purchase to implementation and support -- to create an outstanding customer experience at all touch points and channels.”

Forrester Research also points out that the three most important measurements of satisfaction are:

  1. Effectiveness-The value the customer perceives they are getting.
  2. Ease-The effort the customer must put in.
  3. Emotion- How customer feels about the overall experience.

All of which a properly customized and executed onsite Customer Relationship community can nurture.

A CRM community offers the engine that can pull all of this together onto one central platform located on your website for your business emanating with brand loyalty, influencers and devoted customers.

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts-go here for more in-depth information on CRM Communities. Then let’s schedule a time to have a “one on one” discussion about customizing a CRM Community for your company.

William Cosgrove

I would like to thank Wendy Victora for allowing me to reprint her story for this post.

11 Ways To Score Customer Relationship Touchdowns

(Posted on Feb 7, 2015 at 01:54PM by William Cosgrove)

And one of the nine things every marketing leader should do to get the most from social media according to Forrester’s playbook of predictions for 2015 so read on…

customer relationship managementFirst And Goal

Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX, featuring the Patriots’ wild, down-to-the-wire 28-24 win over the Seahawks, scored a 49.7 household rating and a 72 share — besting the 48.1 rating set two years ago when Baltimore triumphed over San Francisco. The final viewer tally for that game was 108 million.

Last year’s Super Bowl of course stands as the most-watched U.S. television event of all-time, having averaged 112.2 million viewers.

The Patriots, who just happen to be my favorite team, became the sixth team with at least four Super Bowl wins. They are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys for most Super Bowl appearances, with eight. Pretty impressive statistics.

If you imagine the Super Bowl as a website with people from all over the world clicking through to engaged a piece of quality content, online event or special offer it then becomes essential to find ways to keep them wanting to return.

One thing I am sure of is that the accomplishments of these teams and this event were achieved through hard work, experimentation and by constantly moving forward to find the right mixture of plays, players, coaches and marketing strategies to consistently drive their success.

Scoring Points With Your Audience

This is what you need to accomplish in marketing your website. Do you think that the Super Bowl or any major event would be as successful if they didn’t use every play in their playbook to engage their audience?

You need to give people a reason to want to visit and keep coming back to you website whether they are a lead (perspective customer) or an existing customer.

When events like this occur the social channels light up with a frenzy of activity including commenting, sharing and newsjacking which I am guilty of here but it is a common and can often be a beneficial tactic.

According to Hubspot, the article I linked to here, I am a little late to the party but I don’t do this full time so I guess I can be forgiven. But if it helps to get my point across, an important one- I think, and one that works and has been gaining traction plus a subject that I have been writing about for years.

Calling The Right Plays

If you have been following my articles you might have a good idea what my point is but if not it is creating an Onsite Social or branded community depending what the trending term may be and there are others.

In fact this strategy has been included in Forrester’s playbook of predictions for 2015 as one if the nine things every marketing leader should do to get the most from social media.

Nate Elliott’s favorite prediction , Nate Elliott is a quarterback of Marketing Leadership Professionals, and my favorite from the report is that as social media matures, branded communities will make a comeback. According to Nate, “It makes sense: Marketing leaders report they’re significantly less satisfied with Facebook and Twitter marketing than with branded forums. But nearly twice as many marketers run Twitter and Facebook accounts as host to their own communities.”

It’s time for marketers to focus their efforts on the social tactics that actually work, can play well over the long term and contribute to all your team strategies- meaning brand-hosted forums within communities can help you all the way across the customer life cycle:

  • “They can drive greater brand reach. Many brands try to garner word of mouth by posting content on Facebook and hoping it goes viral. But this “post and pray” method rarely works. The right way to create word of mouth? Advocate communities. Invite a few hundred of your most satisfied customers into an exclusive forum, issue them word-of-mouth challenges, rank them on a leaderboard, and watch your reach multiply. It worked for B2B vendor Bomgar.”
  • ” They can convert prospects into customers. When people are researching and considering their product options, they usually end up visiting your brand site. You already know that adding ratings and reviews to your site can drive more sales — and so can a branded community. Adding a Q&A feature or a forum to your site will both convert more prospects and lead to more satisfied customers. It worked for the Milwaukee School of Engineering.”
  • ” They can cement existing customer relationships. Some marketers turn to Facebook and Twitter to engage existing customers. But US online adults who want to stay in touch with your brand are three times more likely to visit your site than to engage you on Facebook. Both B2B and B2C marketers have found branded communities create more loyalty and lifetime value than Facebook and Twitter marketing. It worked for semiconductor maker Analog Devices.”

Onsite Communities are HERE, they are REALAVAILABLE and currently providing enormous BENEFITS to businesses across the Industry horizontal.”

Scoring Touchdowns through Great Customer Relationship Management

Get out in front and open up opportunities! Great Customer Relationship Management equals delighted customers, loyal customers, attracts influencers, fosters word of mouth advertising, testimonials and provides brand reach that together can turn your site into a virtual ecosystem of engagement that will drive traffic to your site and broadcast your message across the digital spectrum unlike any other form of paid, organic or earned media can offer. See Press Release

Social Community Playbook Strategies Include:

In addition to establishing a forum including an Onsite Social Community will anchor your customer centric culture by offering a permanent and centralized platform for communicating and engaging with your present and future customers and keep them coming back.

Benefits (permanent and specials/offers) and much more can be offered to existing and to sign up potential customers to gain important information to create buyer personas that can all be managed from one central location-Your website (Your owned real estate)

1. Discounts on purchases

2. Discounts on Warranties

3. Discounts on Maintenance Contracts

4. Discounts on Services

5. Discounts on financing

This includes permanent discounts for community members as well as special discounts offered on a timely basis. Put your marketing dollars where they will offer the highest ROI by directly benefiting your members the ones who are going to pay you back over and over through loyalty.

6.An Onsite Customer Care Center

With direct access to Customer Care representatives with knowledge and authority to answer questions, solve issues and make appointments

7.Drawings (To keep them coming back)

Have a monthly drawing for $$$ In free services and or product discounts that broadly cover individuals current needs that members can enter every month with their e-mail to keep members engaged and visiting your site.

8. Contests

There are countless ways to engage your audience by sponsoring contests within your onsite community and across your social channels and are only limited to your creative ideas.

9. Special Offers

Have special offers for community members and site visitors (who join) for doing something that will extend your brand.

10. Onsite community Testimonial Page

Take a picture of winners of contests, customers satisfied with service or at time of purchases that you, your employyes and customers can automatically and easily post to the Community Testimonial Page (See PhotoRep) and their Social Media channels.

11. Social casting for on and offline events in “real time”

Events anchor any business to their community. You can take advantage of and encourage your community members to participate in all your real-time event ‘live’ media marketing to help you broadcast it across every online digital and traditional marketing channel.

Imagine blog casting, social casting, and mobile applications all working together to engage and draw potential viewers and fans to the event both during and after it’s over.

Events marketing can also be used as a multichannel online sales or advertising event tool to enhance your inbound leads and including community members can add invaluable authenticity to all your campaigns.

I have listed 11 Plays here to put in your playbook of marketing strategies utilizing your onsite community and there are many more that you can add to keep driving down the field to keep scoring goals.

Onsite Communities are HERE, they are REALAVAILABLE and currently providing enormous BENEFITS to businesses across the Industry horizontal. Businesses are driving leads through Inbound and Digital Marketing strategies utilizing their onsite communities to broadcast their customer centric culture across their social channels and organically across the internet.

The upside potential of having and utilizing an onsite community to engage and interact with your audience and customers is enormous. Showing your existing and potential customers that you will be there before and after the sale to reward and take care of them will create a customer centric culture that will foster customer loyalty that will extend across all your earned, owned and social media to benefit you and your customers each and every day. This is customer care at its finest and what will drive your success for years to come.

Give me a call to show you how we can get you across the finish line time and time again.

William Cosgrove

The Importance of Knowing Your Customers [Infographic]

(Posted on Dec 30, 2014 at 03:22PM by William Cosgrove)

Most sources say that the cost of acquiring a new customer compared to the cost of keeping an existing customer is between 4 to 10 times higher. Some sources say the cost of acquiring a new customer is over 30 times that of keeping an existing one.

A key element in the cost is probably the industry or market you are in and other factors like those pointed out in this Aria infographic from a post at Hubspot entitled A Visual Introduction to Customer Lifetime Value written by Emma Snider that points out that on average, 80% of a company’s future profits come from 20% of its existing customers and that totally satisfied customers contribute over twice as much revenue as a customer who is not making customer relationship management and the best ways to accomplish it a critical consideration for any company.

Cultivating customer satisfaction through community is a mutually beneficial way to foster communication and trust between you and your existing customers, potential customers and employees through a central hub, your website, which will emanate your customer centric culture across all your social channels and magnify your organic reach through SEO to increase your inbound lead generation.

Social CRM Communities act as a portal to gain valuable information through in-depth analytics to enhance and target your marketing initiatives more effectively by knowing your customers, discovering patterns through interaction to build buyer personas to personalize your marketing messages in the most effective way available today.


Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Communities

(Posted on Dec 20, 2014 at 02:02PM by William Cosgrove)
Websites Need to Evolve
Websites need to be engaging and interactive. Visit any website today and they're much the same as they were 20 years ago: they're entirely one way for the most part.

Social CRM has applications in marketing, customer service and sales.

Social CRM Engagement with prospects
Social CRM community tools allow businesses to better engage with their customers by, for example, listening to their opinions about their products and services.

Social CRM Customer Service
Ownership of social media is shifting away from Marketing and Communication as engagement increasingly relates to inbound customer service-based topics. Rather than social being seen purely as a space for companies to deliver outbound marketing messages, it is the inbound customer queries that allow for meaningful points of engagement and the building of brand advocacy

Social CRM Communities
Onsite Social CRM communities allow businesses their customers and employees to manage their own profiles – including creating their own content, updating their company news and social media – which can all be administered with specified permissions tools. This “conglomerate”-style online network harnesses the power of multiple which acts like a magnet to attract search back to your site.
The benefits that these communities will bring are the most cost effective way in which to engage, retain, manage and form alliances with your community members, employees and potential customers that will not only foster retention but promote your business in the most positive ways imaginable- all combining to raise the bar in defining personalization.
Companies with private customized Social CRM Communities can experience better employee relations, customer service, reduced customer complaints and higher brand loyalty. Think of having a central place in which to read and understand your customer’s concerns, wants and needs.
Social CRM Community Tools
In addition to members and employees having their own profiles including a central console for site navigation, the ability to create their own content, share with their social networks receive company news updates-ask questions and make comments-

 -You can turn your website into a thriving ecosystem with a community customer care and benefit center, as part of the community platform, where member’s interactions with you and your employees will create brand advocates who will create awareness that will drive new customers to the top of the sales funnel.

Add it all up and an onsite Social CRM Community provides benefits to you as the business, your employees and your customers that cannot be duplicated elsewhere-providing a win-win situation for all.

Another integrated part of OBB’s Social CRM Community platform is the MyPhotoRep photo app (read more below) designed to bring customers into the fold at time of purchase and be automatically posted on your Testimonial page and posted to your social networks to create brand awareness, drive engagement, attract search and raise social awareness

Photo and testimonial are automatically posted to your Testimonial Page. Each employee has a link to their MyPhotoRep gallery and profile. Viewers can scroll to see all of the employee’s testimonials without leaving the page. Viewers can also search for other employees. As a reward  the employee with the most testimonials appears first on the testimonial page. (read more below)

Below are outlined some examples of how you can setup and implement your own customized customer care and benefit center within the community  to start reaping the multitude of benefits and good will that no other form of marketing or rewards program can offer. The possibilities are only limited to your creative ideas.

Social CRM Community Members:
Existing members will automatically be made members and sent an e-mail to inform them of the many benefits being offered to them as members of your community.
New customers will automatically become members of the community as part of the benefit of doing business with your company.

Visitors to the site will be invited to join to enjoy member benefits and discounts to be nurtured and converted into future customers.

Examples of Social CRM Member Benefits:
Free loaner or rental or equivalent discount on service charges

Discounts on purchases- example an $$$ or % off community member Discount

Discounts on:
*Extended Warranties
*Maintenance Contracts

Contests and Special Offers
A monthly drawing for $$$ In Free service/products that members can entered every month with their e-mail to win to keep members engaged.
The possibilities are endless and can be fully customized to fit your individual needs.
A picture is worth_2.pngMyPhotoRep Photo and Text App
MyPhotoRep, is the first automated photo and text app of its kind developed by award winning OneBigBroadcast’s

Instantly Take a picture and get testimonial at time of delivery or purchase on any Apple or Android tablet or mobile device.
Innovative technology to:

*Augment your reputation management

*Raise social awareness,

*Increase SEO rankings

*Encourage employee participation

*Solidify your brand through positive feedback and referrals from satisfied customers.

* Instantly share MyPhotoRep on your social channels and testimonial page on your website with our fully integrated plugin.

The happiest time in the buyers experience is:

*The day they pick up their new or preowned vehicle

*Buy a home

*Eat that great meal

*Pick up that new product or:

*Get that great service.

We have made it easy to capture that moment with a photo and text statement from the customer as to why they purchased from your business. There are also many times when a customer is more than satisfied with the prompt and friendly service they recieved.

You no longer need to let these invaluable marketing opportunities slip by. Capture these happy moments on any mobile device as they happen and share them instantly on your Testimonial Page, with a blog and across yours and your sales or service representative's social channels.

These pictures and statements from satisfied customers will do more for your reputation and social awareness than anything that is available to you today and will also help with your search rankings. Your employees will also benefit from sharing these treasured moments on their social channels.

Plus, You can capture those funny or treasured moments that occur during business hours and share them with your current and potential customers to show them that you are people to, transparent and customer centric.
Statistics Show

Search Engine Watch reports that 85 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses. Dimensional Research reports that 90 percent of consumers say that positive online reviews had a direct impact on their buying decision.

Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. 20 Marketing Trends and Predictions to Consider for 2014 (Social Times)

55% of young shoppers said that a recommendation from a friend is one of the strongest influencers in getting them to try a new brand. 47% consider brand reputation to be almost as important.

60% of Millennials said that social advertising has the most influence over them in how they perceive a brand and a brand’s value and Hispanics represent the youngest segment of the population here in the US. The Millennial tech-savvy and fast-paced crowd has now surpassed Baby Boomers spending $600 billion a year compared to Baby Boomer’s $400 Billion

MyPhotoRep  also makes a great contest app for all your social channels.
Applications with long term recurring benefits= Sustainable Long Term Value
A Social CRM Community is part of a natural ecosystem (your website) where without the need for continued monetary intervention, your domain and its web pages are found, engaged and socialized with and their life and success are long-term and self-sustaining
A Social CRM Community and Customized Tools will allow you to easily attract customers, build a brand around your company, and ultimately drive more traffic to your website and convert more leads for years to come.

How many products have you invested in that produce invaluable and sustainable benefits from day one, do not need to be proven, take no time to implement and can be seamlessly integrated into your current site without disruption.

Start the New Year on a positive and productive note. It may be one of the best and most cost effective investments you make for the New Year. Let’s set up a demo of this versatile and cost effective application so you can better understand the immense positive impact a Social CRM Community can have on your online marketing success.

Why Put a “Brain” Behind Your Website? Conversion, Conversion, Conversion

(Posted on Dec 19, 2014 at 01:09PM by William Cosgrove)

Websites Need to Evolve. Websites need to be engaging and interactive. Visit any website today and they're much the same as they were 20 years ago: they're entirely one way for the most part.

Ownership of social media is shifting away from Marketing and Communication as engagement increasingly relates to inbound customerservice-based topics. Rather than social being seen purely as a space for companies to deliver outbound marketing messages, it is the inbound customer queries that allow for meaningful points of engagement and the building of brand advocacy

Social CRM Community tools allow businesses to better engage with their customers by, for example, listening to their opinions about their
products and services.

Why Put a “Brain” Behind Your Website? Conversion, Conversion, Conversion

Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Brad Title

A study of Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers underscores how behavioral analytics on websites can drive smarter chat and better conversion In recent years smart dealers have been re-focusing their digital marketing spend on driving traffic to their own websites, versus relying on high-priced, low-closing third party Internet leads. This means spending more on SEO, [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

The Biggest Mistakes Companies Make With their Customers

(Posted on Apr 17, 2014 at 12:30PM by William Cosgrove)
American consumers don’t feel that their relationships with businesses are improving, according to a new study [download page] from Among the intriguing study findings: one-quarter of customers would switch to a different provider on the basis of a single negative experience, and about 1 in 5 would never re-establish trust in a provider after a significant negative experience. Respondents to the study seem particularly irked by overbearing and irrelevant communications, as well as slow response times.  (Clik to Enlarge Image)

Indeed, some 45% would definitely or consider changing a provider as a result of receiving communications they consider an invasion of their privacy, while 30% share that sentiment about receiving information that is inaccurately targeted, 29% about receiving excessive volumes of communication, and 28% about being treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. Only 1 in 5 or fewer wouldn’t have some type of negative response to these mistakes.

Those results bring to mind findings from a Janrain study released earlier this year, in which almost all respondents claimed to have received information or promotions not relevant to them, with more than 9 in 10 developing an unfavorable attitude to the company or taking some kind of action to limit the messaging in response.

Meanwhile, more than 9 in 10 respondents to the study would have an unfavorable reaction to companies responding too slowly to their inquiries. They might want toconsider a platform other than Facebook if they’re looking for quick responses…

The results are the latest in a string of research pieces indicating that brands are failing to adequately engage consumers. A study by Responsys found about one-third of consumers claiming to have “broken up” with a brand due to receiving poor, disruptive or irrelevant marketing messages. And late last year, an Edelman study discovered that few consumers feel connected with brands.

Overall, just 41% of customers responding to the study feel that they even have a relationship with their suppliers, and only an additional 15% would like one. In order to foster better relationships with their customers, businesses should focus on better communications and offering more value, per the report. That’s because 84% of customers have a positive impression of businesses that communicate with customers in the channel of their preference, and 82% feel favorable towards information and deals presented to them at exactly the right time.

About the Data: The data is based on interviews conducted by Populus among 2,026 adults (18+) online in the USA between 11 and 18 September 2013. Results have been weighted to be representative of all US adults.

By MarketingCharts staff

Topics: Brand Loyalty & Purchase HabitsBrand-RelatedCustomer EngagementCustomer Service & ExperiencePrivacy & SecurityTraditional

Businesses Lose $41 Billion from Bad Customer Service: Here's what to Do

(Posted on Feb 12, 2014 at 12:26PM by William Cosgrove)
This article by Noreen Seebacher  gives undeniable evidence for having  onsite social community. Bring your customers close and your employees closer and stay close to them and stop losing business to perceptions of bad customer service or employee apathy.

There are so many ways to utilize onsite communities to benefit the customer and your company that cannot be duplicated elsewhere - that it is a one time cost effective addition that you need to think seriously about for 2014.

William Cosgrove


Featured Guide: Web Content & Customer Experience Management Guide (Download a Sample)

The US is a nation of "serial switchers" — and that lack of loyalty is costing businesses an estimated $41billion a year, according to research from NewVoiceMedia, a cloud contact center vendor.

Blame it on bad customer service: 44 percent of customers leave because they feel unappreciated, fed up, frustrated and convinced no one really cares about their problems.

You can read more about the study here (registration required). 

But you don't need to dig deep to understand that better customer service can have a big impact on a company's bottom line. So what should you do? For advice, CMSWire turned to customer experience expert Shep Hyken, a best-selling author, motivational speaker and Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations.

Just Amazing When you have a title like "Chief Amazement Officer," people listen. Or at least they should. Hyken works with companies and organizations that want to build better relationships and loyalty with both their customers and employees.

"Keeping customers long-term is key to the success of virtually every business, " Hyken said. The reason is simple:  It's much more expensive for a business to attract new customers than to keep existing ones — anywhere from four to six times more, depending on which research you consult."

4 Essential Strategies So how can businesses build customer loyalty and get a customer to come back again and again?

Be better than average: A company doesn't have to "wow" its customers each and every time. It just has to be a little better than average, consistently. "Two basic things need to be in place before any customer service strategy can be executed.  First, there has to be a clear vision of what it is about.  Second you have to have good people who can execute on that vision.  From there you communicate the vision, train to it, recognize the effort and celebrate the success," Hyken said.

Encourage every employee to act like an owner: Employees who care as much as the person who owns the company put customers first. " You can encourage and ask everyone to step up and act like an owner, but you have to support the behavior.  Empower employees.  Recognize them for their success.  Use mistakes as learning opportunities," Hyken said.

Strive to create totally loyal customers: Even loyal customers may still buy from your competition. The ultimate loyal customer is a repeat customer that buys what you sell — only from you and not from your competition. "Loyalty is created over time, one interaction at a time.  It is the predictable consistent experience that a customer receives that gives them the confidence to want to come back next time.  So, loyalty can be broken down into smaller parts.  It’s really about what you’re doing right now that will get the customer to come back next time.  It’s about the next time, every time," he said.

Create a customer service culture: Treat your employees the way you want the customer treated, maybe even better. " Before you can be a customer focused organization, you must become employee focused.  Leadership initially models the behavior, but then all employees must do their part as well.  The 'Employee Golden Rule' is to treat employees the way you want the customer treated.  That’s a lot different than the way you would like to be treated.  To be the best place to buy from, you must be the best place to work," Hyken said.

Additional Tips
  • Pay attention to details: Little things can make a big impact.
  • Analyze compliments as well as complaints: Don't just learn from your mistakes. Learn from positive experiences, too.
  • Get social: Use social media to send value added messages, develop community and monitor what people are saying about you.
  • Be consistent: You generate trust among your customers by delivering consistent service experiences.
  • Keep your customer service people-focused: Customers should want to do business with you because of you and your employees.
  • Sample your own customer service: See what it's like to be on the receiving end of the service you provide, through first-hand interaction.
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Know These Must Have Social Media Marketing Tools