Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

Pizza Time! Domino’s Keeps it Real

When a company is this bold, transparent and carries such swagger to reinvent its age-old secret recipe, it’s bound to turn some heads and raise some eye-brows—but all in a very good way.

Domino’s Pizza gives itself a kick in the back when it makes a “public” confession to its customers that’s like “Yeah, we gotta suck it up to our cardboard-feel pizza crust”, and wants their customers to give them a fair shake so that they can start all over again. Literally, their chefs decide to start all over from sauces and cheese to crust and toppings. Never have I seen a turnaround team so engaged and painfully open about their reactions to customers’ feedback, but they’re surely doing the right thing and making their campaign fun and compelling to watch & follow, hence a great social media project.

Domino’s Pizza’s social media campaign involves the following steps (tactical) that brings out profound learnings (strategic) for all marketers:

Step 1:

Document what customers are saying about their pizzas (the fact that they loathe Domino’s Pizza for the various obvious reasons)

Step 2:

Engage their in-house master chefs to investigate what has gone wrong

Step 3:

Create a new recipe; reinvent the way they market their pizzas using social media

Step 4:

Re-engage their existing customers and ask them to give Domino’s another chance

Classic marketing techniques but applied in a fundamentally open, transparent, graceful yet revolutionary way. Here’s to a praise-worthy brand that truly cares, listens, acts and improves! Good job customers and great job Domino’s on directing negative customer feedback into positive energy to re-focus on creating better products.

Watch the Pizza Turnaround Campaign:

Related posts:
HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Blog on How Domino's is Using Customer Feedback and Social Media Outreach
Capturing Your Customers' Full Value
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2010 will be a busy year of customer relationship building…for marketers

When Bruce Temkins of Forrester Research says on his blog (http://experiencematters.wordpress.com) that 2010 will be a busy year for customer experience, he says it right. Strategy, technology, knowing and building relationship with your customers, restoring purpose in your brand, and the list goes on, are all part and parcel of the busyness marketers will experience next year.

The other day I was a participant (@AdaMarcom) on a Twitter chat #sm38 with Charlene Li (@charleneli) and other great marketers discussing social media, she said social media will be a key differentiator for businesses in 2010, where companies/brands who do well in this arena will increase customer loyalty, I was a bit skeptical.

Yes, social media tools on websites can help differentiate your products from your competition. They will make customer experience more pleasant and welcoming. But when most companies are going on Twitter and Facebook, responding to sales inquiries and handling customer service questions, then what could have been a differentiator is now part of life (the way of doing business). Companies are expected to provide satisfactory customer service, be it via a social media tool, a mix of social media tools or over the phone and email. More so in 2010 and the years to come, given more choices and increased exposure to brands in the media (online, TV, print and events), customers are becoming more knowledgeable than ever. They’re not only becoming selective and knowledgeable about the products themselves, they’re also getting pickier than ever about their shopping experience, how companies handle their orders, and what sources/sites they’re getting their products from.

“Don’t think of social media as an incremental “thing” to be handed off to a consumer. Your social media strategy is an extension of your company’s behavior,” said James Kelly on Forbes.com’s CMO Network in an article named “CMOs: Don’t Give Up Those Brand Reins!”

Customer service experience, with a smart choice of technology and social media tools, is going to be the key differentiator of marketing success and good company behavior in 2010. May I call it the “all-around” customer service experience? When I can pick up the phone, send an email, tweet my question, post on a Facebook fan page about the product I’m considering, finding help to research the product I’m purchasing, rating my experience with the product (and the process of getting the product into my hand), YouTubing the way the product works if it’s really that cool to warrant a video of its own, I think that’s ultimate all-around customer service experience.

Customers still dominate the center-stage of product marketing; they still have the reins the last time I checked. Though Time magazine just announced the “Person of the Year” to be Ben Bernanke, I think the ultimate person of the year is “I” the customer.

Let’s end with this thought on customer loyalty, and we’ll expand on this discussion in my next post: “Real value of social media/technologies is that it creates deeper relationships. How do you measure relationships?” tweeted by @charleneli on the Twitter chat #sm38. Building strong customer relationships will help unleash the true value of social media and technologies, hence giving you the best bank for the buck you spent on achieving it.

I believe with the thinking of creating deeper relationships and measuring them, we as marketers will head the right direction in 2010.

Related posts: Are you capturing your customers' full value? 
10 Customer Service Trends in 2010
Social Media Convergence

Are You Capturing Your Customers’ Full Value?

When customers buy from me, there I’ve proven that I’ve captured all the value (and revenue) to justify the time, energy and resource spent on my customers. Ain’t I capturing all the value there is?

You might be capturing some value, but probably not all. With the rising usage of social media, do you have a marketing engagement strategy to capture all the “social revenue” made possible by sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter? Based on the customer marketing life cycle, are you interacting with your customers at every major touch point? Are you under their radar all along? If not, then somewhere along the life cycle path you might be losing out to competition.

Let’s use the customer marketing life cycle flow chart to look at these key areas of engagement: want, need, research, evaluate, buy and use.

Customer Marketing Life Cycle

1) Awareness (WANT vs. NEED)

Heightened awareness is now made available through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. With the many conversations, status updates, discussion groups and resource sharing happening online, be sure you’re part of the social conversations. Awareness drives engagement. The more you’ve increased your brand awareness, the more likely others will begin to engage with you (if they find your brand interesting and engagement-worthy). Be proactive and progressive in having dialogues with your customers on how you can add value to what they’re doing and try move the conversation to the next level – consideration.

2) Consideration (RESEARCH & EVALUATION)

Now that you’ve successfully guided your customers along the first part of the life cycle and brought them to come to terms with the different options, it’s time to dig in and do some research. This is the part where you can shine. Research studies, industry reports, white papers and insights that you can share with your customers will help you be part of the consideration here. If you’re engaging customers in this phase, you’re further down the road of closing a deal. But the engagement process doesn’t end here.

3) Purchase

Here’s the phase where you want to make sure customer service is achieving 100% client satisfaction. Customers who want to buy your products or services but are treated with subpar customer service during the transaction might ruin your chances for future engagement (i.e. repeat business) with them. Remember the social conversations that have brought you this point – you’ve built a relationship with your customers! Don’t let that relationship leave you or your brand. Bring it to a higher level. Be 100% certain that you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s during this phase of transaction. Seize the opportunity as your wedding ceremony (where you give the ring and seal the deal). It should never be a mere thanks-and-goodbye. The word gets out if customer service doesn’t deliver.

4) Ownership

Ownership is the customer support phase. Are you answering the questions posed? Are you continually engaging the customers to make sure they’re liking what they’ve purchased and would recommend others to buy it? Customer loyalty is cultivated in this phase and engagement here can potentially turn into influence. You’d better watch out “influence” here as this is what new buyer behavior is all about – every customer becomes a point of influence in the social conversations. Are you capturing the influence you need to take your business to the next level?  

Do you survey your customers? Are you actively finding out whether your customers felt positive about the consideration process, purchase experience and usage of your product/service? What type of feedback are you providing to your customers when your receive their comments? As you can tell, social conversations didn’t end with ownership nor will they in the future as long as your business and brand exist. Ongoing engagement with your customers will keep you focused on the purpose of your involvement in social media and keep the energy and innovation flowing. More business to come!

Related post: 2010 will be a busy year of customer relationship building...for marketers

Noticing the Unnoticeable

Different marketers have found different sources of creativity. I’ve found noticing the unnoticeable to be mine.

When I notice something extraordinary, I pause, look again, stare and think. Then I make associations in my head with the thing I’m looking at, “What I’m working on right now needs exactly this thing to be different and to sell.” 

I take notes, mental notes and sometimes voice recordings as well. Taking a spin around the block can also usher in new thoughts and reactions. I believe ideas come when you’re not noticing, when you’re caught off-guard. In fact, I find driving , not talking about the idea, a great companion to decision-making, especially when it comes to making quick and important decisions.

Maybe that’s why we still see billboards on highway, that TV commercials are still selling today.

Can we cut out the ads before a trailer or video online? Coz the way they pop up is too noticeable and predictable. Put ads on plates, coffee cup sleeves, paper napkins, shoe-boxes and any place unexpected – places where you won’t normally look for sources of creativity.

Inspired by reading Magic Beans, TV and the web, watching Julie & Julia and eating at Max Brenner.

In marketing, don’t claim to provide “24/7 customer service” if you can’t deliver

Marketing won’t work when what your promise doesn’t deliver. Your marketing promise doesn’t deliver when –

  1. advertising backfires
  2. promotion ideas don’t sell
  3. customer service fails

Of the three, customer service failure seems to be the most difficult to reverse, and probably the most detrimental to any business brand.

Customer service representatives are the frontline soldiers of any brand or company, they are the first to be called when customers need help with a product or service, report issues or provide feedback; they deliver the first and an important impression of a brand in customers’ minds besides the product or service itself. But how often do we get good customer service when we want to inquire about a product? How often do we get all the answers we want when we’re reporting a problem? And how often do we get our problems resolved satisfactorily through customer service?

If the company, service or product is a “monopoly” in its category or geographical region, the marketing/customer service experience tends to be worse, to the point of even being schizophrenic. Schizophrenia happens when a company makes all the promises it wants on TV, in print or online, but customers are feeling disconnected and disengaged when they interact with the company through repeated product/service failures to perpetually bad customer service. (This is when customers started using Twitter and Facebook to share bad experience with companies, products or services.) I think these companies know who they are.

Marketing won’t work in any case with these companies because the fundamental principle of good marketing has been violated – marketing dollars can only be justified and delivered by great customer service. You can spend millions on a TV campaign telling stories of how good a product is, how environmentally concerned a company is, or how lives have been changed through its service to the community, but if customers call and all they get is a “What?”, “I don’t know what you mean”, ” Sorry there’s nothing we can do”, “You gotta calm down ma’am” type of responses, I don’t think these companies will ever get anywhere with their marketing, and they simply cannot justify their marketing spending. Instead of creating a facade of goodwill, diversity, social responsibility or whatever it may be, these companies should seriously dedicate resources to re-training customer service, re-tuning infrastructure, and refining its business philosophy — create a long-term, growing commitment to its customers.

I’ve been placed into a perpetual queue by calling into a utility company‘s 24/7 customer service hotline for almost 45 minutes now…

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