Facebook has changed my life. As strange as it sounds (and I understand how most will take this), the fact is, it has. Chances are, whether you admit it or not, you’re in the same boat as me.
You could make every argument that I’m a strange bird, I’ve been accused of worse things in the last week, but the facts are undeniable. Friendships that I’ve made over the last 5 years are due, at least in part, if not completely, to the connection I have to these people through Facebook. Sad? You be the judge, but because of the information readily available on my phone, TV, computer, and tablet, I can, at a glance see how everything is going with people’s kids, parents, friends. I’ve celebrated, albeit minimally, in people’s marriages that I barely have contact with. I’ve mourned with people who have lost loved ones. When my mother passed away, Facebook allowed me to see support beyond what I would have had without it. I maintain relationships better, because I share in things. I can keep up with people who mean alot to me, because if you’re like me, I have very little time in the day to call my friends, but I can still share in their experiences; and I have little outside of work – I can’t imagine if you have those things called “families”. I’d probably never be heard from again.
Sure, I hear pretentious arguments against it. How “I don’t need to read what you had for breakfast”. These are arguments from people who don’t experience what it’s like to have true connections with people. No one’s going to share what they had for breakfast, unless it’s an amazing brunch; in which case yes – let me see that. I hear things like it’s removing the intimacy of face-to-face relationships – how? It’s a tool to stay connected. If you’re not visiting people, maybe you should free up your schedule and go do it. That’s not a problem with a social tool, that’s a scheduling issue.
Sam Biddle of Gizmodo says, “If you don’t believe me, believe history. Remember those self righteous morons who took such groundless pride in not having a cell phone? Ten years ago, those people were left behind. Sure, we liked them. But they became annoying to get a hold of, forcing you to go out of your way to be friends with them because they labelled some new technology as beneath them without even taking the time to understand it. They didn’t want to learn how modern friendship had evolved. They choose to look at a brand new social tool as a hindrance rather than a convenience. This is all happening again, but with Facebook.” I love what Sam says here. It’s true. This is the evolving course of friendship – embrace it, or reject it; but reject it at your own peril.
Sure, there’s a lot that sucks about Facebook, but the fact of the matter is, it’s the way we connect these days. I hear arguments like, “I’d rather have a face-to-face relationship with someone” right before this person sends a text to someone. It’s probably similar arguments that farmers had when the first telephones were coming to town.
Sure there’s people who post those overly-dramatic or cryptic status updates that bothers everyone, there’s plenty that make me roll my eyes; but the fact is, I like my friends, despite their flaws. I want to share what’s going on in my life with them, and I want to see what’s going on with them. Make the argument that I should do that in person, but I’d argue back that Facebook is now where we’re going when it comes to sharing birthdays, weddings, get togethers, etc. You’re missing out a whole lot by not sharing in these things.
You’re not on Facebook? You probably don’t like your friends. I recommend getting some new ones.
We all know at least one person, (maybe you) that has played the children’s game, Telephone. The rules are as follows: a group sits in a line and the first person starts out by whispering something in the next person’s ear. Then they whisper what they heard to the next person and so on. What happens at the end? The message that was started usually comes out completely different when it gets to the last person.
Everywhere you look, people are getting the wrong message across. Coming from the customer service world, a lot of what people think is “he said, she said”. How do you stop your customers from getting your intentions confused? Well, you stop playing the game of telephone.
How do you do that? Start with being there for all your customer’s needs. Never use the phrase, “I don’t know.” That makes it seem like nobody knows what they are talking about. A better sentence would be, “Let me go get so and so to answer that for you.” Always make sure your employees have the correct information that you are trying to get across.
How else to get the customers thinking what you’re thinking? Get creative, have a brainstorm or a picnic. However you want to do it, get you and your employees thinking more about the importance of unity when it comes to information.
If everyone is conveying the same message and getting the point across clearly, then the customer understands more clearly. If we all follow basic rules of communication, the game of Telephone can almost be completely avoided.
We live in a society where we always hear sayings like: “black and white”, “cut and dry” and my personal favorite, “either you’re in or you’re out”.
Another popular one is “what have you done for me lately?”. Whether it is at work, school, home or whatever you are in to, you are usually judged or managed based on the most recent action or development. At work, you get a pay check based on your sales for that week. At school, you get a report card for that last semester. At home, you get in the doghouse for not taking out the garbage or leaving your pizza box out by the TV. In marketing, there are differences in how we judge consumers that has really thrown me into a tizzy.
In a typical rewards program, the customer gets rewarded for their most recent transaction. Whether it is points for a hotel stay, or a gift card for spending $100 dollars- you are rewarded for your loyalty and usually directed back to the brand in one way shape or form.
But, you also commonly see programs offer even MORE to get you in the door. What does that say? To me it says, “Hey we want to give you free stuff to come in and do business with us, even though you haven’t before” as opposed to what I mentioned earlier, where you get rewarded for actually DOING business.
So I sit and think (I really don’t, but I definitely could)…should I sit and wait for a “we haven’t seen you for a while” bonus offer? Or continue to do business with the companies I know, love and trust-expecting to get my rewards and benefits? In this chess game we call life, this is a move I have yet to stop and think about. But I most definitely still am playing to win (or whatever that means).
Please, economists and marketers alike…Give me direction!
Your dealership is great. Otherwise you wouldn’t work there, right?
But how do you show people how great the customer experience is, without ‘differentiating’ like the other guys?
Too often, I view dealership websites that say the same thing as everyone else, even if it may be true in their case.
‘Best service in (city), guaranteed.’
‘No one will beat our prices.’
‘Our staff are your neighbors, and provide unmatched customer service.’
While these may be true (especially the fact that your staff may live in the neighborhood they sell to), your competition has every right to say them as well. And they will.
So what can you do to provide an experience the other guys can’t? One suggestion is a sincere follow-up from the sale. Given, this isn’t in the dealership, but it is an important piece to let customers know they’re appreciated. It’s much better than a template email asking to complete a survey. To me, nothing says ‘we’re done with you’ than a form email.
This is only a suggestion, but what are some truly unique things you do in your dealership that are TRULY different from the guys down the block?
Business Development Manager
The NHL is back, and my office doesn’t care.
You probably don’t either, but I’m going to talk about it anyway. Deal with it.
At this time of the year, I should be talking about how exciting the last 40 games have been, and how awesome the Winter Classic was on New Years Day. I should be glowing about how the Minnesota Wild are a top contender for the Stanley Cup, and they’re playing with the best record of the season.
But I’m not. The NHL was locked out in October, and as of this writing hasn’t had a game yet this season. This made me a very angry fan, and I spent much of the time griping about the players and owners acting like greedy babies. I decided to boycott the NHL when it was locked out, and didn’t buy anything NHL-branded. I followed other types of hockey, and even got into basketball a bit. That was rough.
The players and owners finally agreed to a deal, and the season’s back. I’m excited, and it seems a lot of other people are too. But how amazing is it that these fans, these customers of a product, are so willing to come back.
Would you go back to do business with a company that has shut down three times in the last 15 years?
That kind of loyalty amazes me, but I realized something amazing during this lockout: These teams are brands, and some people have been customers of this brand for all of their lives. There are customers out there who will do business with brands regardless of issues surrounding that brand.
There are many people who have said they’ll boycott this season, and won’t buy tickets to games. That’s fine with me. I’m sticking with my solution, and won’t be buying any NHL stuff this year, but I’ll be making purchases next season. What can I say? I’m a sucker for pro hockey.
Sports leagues are a totally different monster in terms of loyalty. I know that. But are you doing all you can to have raving fans like your favorite sports teams? I know there’s a message here. Let me know what you think.
If you weren’t able to make it out to the 13th Digital Dealer Conference, you’re in luck! The Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition is going virtual December 5-11. In that time, you can check out the vendor programs and services as seen in the 13th Digital Dealer Exhibit Hall, and also experience the top ten educational sessions on demand 24/7 anywhere with Internet access.
We at the re:member group will have a virtual exhibit there – just click on us in the Exhibitors list! From there, you can check out Nate Sieveking’s session from DD13, ‘Treat Your Customers Like Dogs’, and you can even take a look at ‘The Great Differentiator’, the loyalty platform we’ve built to help our clients reward and keep their most valuable customers.
Every day of the seven day event a dealership attendee will win a free registration to the 14th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition May 7-9, 2013 in Orlando, FL. It’s free to register, so check it out at www.DDVirtualExpo.com! I’m available for live chat from 9am – 6pm EST on December 6th and 7th, as well as on the 10th and 11th. Come say hi when you have a chance!
I recently visited a local food establishment (I will let it remain nameless), which has been a consistent leader in its genre for many years. It has been a stalwart, rarely have I had anything negative to say about it. The restaurant industry is far from perfect, and I usually let minor issues go.
But this time, they pinched a nerve that has been tough for me to get over.
Loyalty is based upon the trust between a business and customer. Businesses know that their loyal customers will be there, time and time again, with the customer expecting to receive their accustomed experience. This time, my loyalty was questioned by an employee. This had me feeling a lack of trust, and that’s not what customer loyalty is about.
To sum up my story, this restaurant has a tablet located at the cashier, that customers simply type in their phone number to receive free items, and other rewards. I was asked by the employee if I was a loyalty program member (which I was). I replied “Yes”, and continued to head to the tablet to get credit for my visit. The employee then came out from behind the register, stood with my at the tablet and said “Well, let me just make sure about that”. His tone suggested that I was either a. lying, b. incapable of knowing my own phone number, or c. trying to somehow cheat the system. Either way, I took offense to this and have not gone back since.
Loyal customers should not leave a store feeling uncomfortable in any situations. When boasting your loyalty program, have trust that your customers tell you the truth. In the fact that they deceive you, that proves they aren’t loyal at all and not worthy of your business.
End note: People with killer mustaches can be trusted. #movember
This summer has been a series of ups and downs for the hockey fan in me. On July 4th, I got to see my hometown Minnesota Wild pick up the 2 best free agents on the market, along with a few solid core players. In the weeks that have passed, I’ve gone from figuring out where the championship parade would begin, to accepting that the NHL may be cancelled this year.
That’s classic Minnesota sports luck for you: Fans get hopeful and excited about a great team, then something gums up the works and the excitement quickly fades. What a buzzkill.
Think about your last vehicle purchase, and the lengthy process you had to go through, even after you made the purchase. For me, it was quite like the high-and-crash I saw with the Wild.
I went with a friend and test drove a car. I was in love on the spot, and my logical friend saw the benefits in the car, as well as how well it was taken care of. The price was right, and I wanted to buy it then and there. My friend tells me to this day I was so giddy about the car in the salesman’s office he nearly had to slap me to bring me back to earth.
That was true excitement. Like ‘2 free agents to my team’ excited.
Then came the post-purchase discussions. Paperwork and F&I offerings. Excitement turned to impatience. I certainly understand the paperwork and after-sell is required, but I couldn’t believe how much fun I wasn’t having.
I know instant gratification isn’t always the best, and that you have to wait for some things. But why not make it fun in the meantime? While discussing paperwork, go over the great features of the car again. Get the customer even more fired up to be driving off the lot. My overall emotion after the purchase was relief after it was done. I was excited, sure, but also a little exhausted in the process.
Now, obviously this is just one experience at one dealership. How about you? Are your dealerships ‘fans’ fired up about buying a car from you, or are they just fatigued by your sales process?
I visited a couple of restaurants in the last week and was not particularly happy with the service. These are places I have been to before. I had a particularly difficult time getting a server’s attention in both of these visits. Off and on in the past I had good service and/or good food but was not as impressed as I had been before. It made me less likely to eat there again.
Ask yourselves, how do companies produce customer loyalty if there is not a consistent basis on which the customers are treated well? At these visits I wasn’t able to have good service and good food. That made me less likely to be a loyal customer.
Ucsdnutritionlink.org says the average consumer dines at a restaurant 4-5 times a week. Think about how many of those consumers could be loyal if every visit was spectacular. Unfortunately not every time is a good experience.
If you were a customer of your own company, think of this, wouldn’t you like to be treated like a valued customer every visit, every time? Wouldn’t you like to eat your cake and have it too?
On the 4th of July, family and friends gather around our great nation to view local firework spectaculars. If all goes according to plan, viewers will get to enjoy the eye popping, jaw dropping, explosions light up the night sky for a solid 10-20 minutes. Unfortunately for the people in San Diego, they got their entire show in 15 seconds (Click link to see video).
Now, some people might say they got the most “bang for their buck” (though the show was free and open to the public I’m sure), and they got to witness something extremely rare. While others feel that they got tricked, and wasted their time. Now remembering 2012 as “The Summer of Bummer”.
Now my question is; what are you doing to avoid making your customers feel like they just got a 30 minute firework show in 15 seconds? Obviously, you want to lure them in with something new and shiny to get their attention. But if you spend all your effort and fire off your big guns right away, what’s saying that your customer won’t feel like they were cheated and not feeling the love? How do you balance or prioritize your initial ‘bang’ and also keep them engaged for longer than 15 seconds? Customers want to feel cared for, past the point of purchase antics that they experience every day.
Especially in major purchases, savvy customers will pay just as much (if not more) for their experience after the sale. Weather that is a warranty, bonus points, or just a good rapport with the salesperson, people seek out not just the best deals, but the best experience.
If your business includes pleasing the customers, keep in mind to not light all your fireworks off at once. Give the customer an awesome show so they will make sure they won’t be anywhere else when the 4th of July rolls around next summer.