Creating a New Customer Experience: The Learning and Social Media Cafe ‘Renovation’ Is Complete!

The Learning and Social Media Cafe has a new look and feel.

Join me and other guest writers as we connect, collaborate and create together.  Be a part of the experience!

Looking forward to seeing you in the Cafe!

The Connector – Ryan

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Creating a Positive Customer Experience: Blend High Touch Experiences With Technology (Part 4 In a Series)

In earlier installments of this series, I highlighted two core drivers of successful customer initiatives.

The first driver of success starts with your employees: create a culture that engages them, treats them as internal customers and leverages their experiences as consumers. After all, we all are consumers and experience the good, bad and ugly customer experiences every day.

The second driver of success is all about your end customers: their expectations, their priorities, and their “moments of truth.” When you truly understand why customers chose you, why they come back (or don’t), and why they stay (or run to your competitor), you are on your way to creating the consistent positive interactions that bring your customers back – again and again.

The final installment in this series focuses on the third core ingredient in successful customer initiatives: how you blend high touch experiences with on-demand, just-in-time experiences via technology.

Organizations have jumped on the “social media” bandwagon and, frankly, many have fallen off. Utilizing technology whether it’s your company website, social media such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube require a strategy, an implementation plan, maintenance continuous improvement, and a structured method of tracking and evaluating success.

Two ideas to consider:

1. Go back to what you learned about your customers! Determine what “blend” of high-touch experiences and on-line and on-demand experiences your customers want, need and prefer. This is your baseline for your strategy for completing the best experiences for your customers.

Think about companies like The Ritz Carlton and State Farm. They emphasize the personal touch, while also offering alternatives through 24 hour on-line access to reservations, agents, etc. Now, think about a company like E-surance, where the customer experience is reflected in their slogan “people when you want them…technology when you don’t.” Or how about Discover’s new ‘It’ card? Discover emphasizes the same concept: you can go on-line or you can talk to a ‘live’ agent 24/7 – it’s your choice, your preference…but we’ll be there. These companies understand their customers’ needs, priorities and preferences….and deliver consistent positive customer experiences.

2. Define a detailed social media strategy that goes beyond your website and customer support. How do you or how should you be using social media? It starts by asking yourself who your audience is. Many companies make the fatal mistake of believing that creating a Facebook page is similar to the great film “Field of Dreams”: build it and they will come. Bad news: they won’t come unless they have a reason to.

Who is your audience for communication through social media: current customers; potential customers; current employees; potential employees? If your Facebook strategy is not defined and mostly consists of pictures of your annual bowling event or holiday party it is very likely customer traffic will be low if existent at all.

The bottom line: social media is an investment in time, research, strategy, and yes money. Start at the beginning and ask yourself a simple question: Why are we doing this? The answer may be surprising: no…at least not yet.

Until next time: connect, collaborate and create!

The Connector – Ryan

Make An Appointment With The One Person Who Doesn’t Get Enough of Your Time – You!

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We’re always connected:  Iphones, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and even those dreaded land lines! Our calendars are filled with back to back meetings, project updates, client calls, team building, training, birthday celebrations.

 

Those occasional “drive by” conversations can also throw our day off track, but the value of relationship building can never be underestimated when a spontaneous conversation yields something productive!

So, how do you do it all? Competing priorities, both at work and home, often make it difficult to take time for yourself, especially while at work. I learned years ago that, as a leader, I could not do everything and everything could not be a priority. In fact, making time for myself would be one key to success as I continued to grow as a leader and client consultant.

A while back, my mentor suggested that I manage my “me time” just as I would any other business transaction: schedule regular appointments each week. Define your goals for that time: what you will do, what you want to accomplish, and what your next steps will be.

Here’s how I use my personal appointment time:

1. Schedule two standing appointments each week.  My Monday morning appointment is non-negotiable even if it means I have to move it from 8am to 6am. It’s my “quiet” time to fully review the previous week, prepare for my current week and look out several weeks (and months) to see what’s coming and how I need to be preparing for it now. I also schedule a “rolling” hour each week where I can use “quiet” time to catch up on industry and professional news, schedule my writing and publishing deadlines, make calls to colleagues to “pick their ear” on a topic, or participate in a web-conference or event.

2. Block out time – literally create an appointment – in your calendar and label it “busy.” I have a very strong “open door” policy, but these appointments are times when I literally close the door or find a place where I cannot be disturbed. And when the phone rings….don’t answer it. When that text message bings….don’t pick it up. If it’s that important, they’ll leave a message.

3. Encourage your team or others you work with to do the same. It may seem strange to a few people, but once they get into the habit, the value becomes very clear. You’re better organized, more creative, more engaged and, yes, more energized about what you do.

One more thing: I make time each week to connect, collaborate and create with all of you!

Until next time…

Ryan

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FaceBook and LinkedIn: Two Services With Two Different Purposes…Or Not?

Social networking is like, well, personal networking. Chances are, you’re going to run into someone or a few people you already know.

The question is: with Facebook launching a job search/connection application, what does this mean for LinkedIn and its vast network of professionals?

I, like many professionals strictly utilize LinkedIn as a professional networking tool and a resource for keeping up to date on topics that are most relevant to business, industry, and my profession. FaceBook, on the other hand, is well….personal. Literally, I reserve Facebook for interaction, in a humorous and sometimes serious, thought provoking manner, but it’s limited to people who are truly friends outside the professional arena. Some are, in fact, “FaceBook friends” – people I have been connected to through other friends or acquaintances whom I haven’t seen for many years but have re-connected with through the wonder of social media.

As our social networks continue to converge and overlap, I guess there’s one thing to do. Watch, listen and see where this one goes.

Until next time: connect, collaborate, and create

The Connector – Ryan