Consider SEO & SEM Bones, Social Media the Soul That Embraces

Mad Marketer, creative project management tools, marketing program management, marketing projects management, project management for marketing, project management marketing

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMC NET’S MAD MARKETER

In a globalized economy and a world where customer relationships are everything, businesses are finding that “branding socially” is still the most effective means of retaining valuable customers and in acquiring new ones.

Traditionally, high ranking sales professionals found that they did well by keeping in regular contact with those in their Rolodex or their top-secret black book. To keep in contact with hundreds of people on a daily basis  — holding one on one conversation with everyone in that Rolodex – was a difficult and even impossible task to carry out. As the digital world exploded, this all changed.

Now, we can keep thousands of people in the loop at once. We can interact as a group, and short conversations are now the norm. With social media, we can carry many short, private conversations at once. The downfall is, however, that many traditional business models aren’t up to speed and they’re throwing thousands of dollars away just to find no return on their marketing investments.

Social media influences our lives, whether we want to admit it or not. It can influence us for the better. It can influence us for the worse. It can simply be our entertainment. But, it definitely changes our ways of thought.

Chris Sewell, Creative Director and Chief Strategist of Chris Sewell Digital Media in Brooklyn, New York, pulled this concept into the work of cosmetic surgery. He recently released a video for plastic surgeons, breaking down the cold hard facts of marketing in the digital world. In this video, he discusses the reasons some surgeons are reporting a 40% decrease in customer retention and how they are ultimately throwing money into the garbage through their current marketing strategies.

Sure, billboards, for example, are powerful marketing tools. The problem, however, is that most target markets have become spoiled and want everything instantaneously. They have also become so distracted that every time they return to the billboard to grab the details, they either forget that they meant to take down the information or it just so happens to be that moment that their Facebook just got a notification. Consumers want to access information immediately after it cross their minds.

No one uses the yellow pages anymore, because it’s not personal enough. We want to see visuals, check out pricelists and even reach out semi-anonymously at 3 a.m. AdWords is effective, but only if the company knows what they are doing. With Google’s recent removal of sidebar advertisements, SEM advertising has to take advantage of the correct criteria to find themselves ahead. Trust is a major factor in this process.

We want to see what experiences others had with this company, before we waste any of our precious time contacting them. We don’t want to risk being put into the spam or scam loop, either. We’re frightened to give our phone numbers to just anyone anymore… We don’t want to be haunted for months to years later.  

With many companies now paying people to leave biased reviews, personal experiences are more valuable than ever. Interactions with brands and businesses continue to be more meaningful and impactful. We are able to evaluate the caliber of business we are dealing with, as well gauge the people within their walls.

 In the case of life-altering industries, such as Plastic Surgery, almost 50% of patients surveyed admit that that their influence was, indeed, social media. Peer pressure was a major contributor, as selfies have made us take a deeper look at the flaws we want to perfect.

Likewise, it is the actual media content being shared by social savvy clinics that have caused patients to travel hundreds of miles to take advantage of their services. Photos, videos, client testimonials… these all influenced the decision for patients to take advantage of certain treatments at specific facilities. We can blame it all on Facebook and Instagram.

With YouTube’s monetized video platform, more videos from local businesses are being seen on a regular basis. They are low cost advertising, and the younger generations are okay with consuming them before watching a video that interests them. For this, videos on social media channels are equally disruptive. The days of SEM and SEO are more numbered than you think. While they are the basis for more impactful and more aggressive marketing efforts, it’s going to take more – way more – for most businesses to not just be seen but to also be adopted.

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The Difference Between Enterprise and Mid-Size Customer Service Solutions and Why Aspect is a Big Deal

Omni-Channel Customer Engagement, Omni-Channel, omnichannel, omni channel, customer engagement, self service, multichannel, mobile customer care

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S OMNI-CHANNEL CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

As decent-sized business, expanding services to overseas clientele, you might wonder how you fit into “the mix.” Is your company considered a mid-sized business? Or, is it an enterprise? Both come with distinctive needs, and yet it always comes down to whatever it is that the business is looking to achieve.

When understanding which grade of solutions your business requires, take a step back and analyze your business. Identify your direct needs – and what solutions would best help your business to excel. The same is no different from customer service solutions.

What you will find out is quite surprising, really. In a time of productivity and meeting clients where they “hang out” the most, enterprise customer service centers are still primarily phone-based, with agents numbering in the thousands.

While services are scalable, they are usually meant to serve agent populations of over 10K or more. Because many of these call centers are specialized in their line of expertise, they are often preferred in providing vertical customer service solutions.

Enterprise vendors are, slowly but surely, moving away from on-premise solutions and are starting to adopt cloud-based systems. In a way, they seem old-fashioned compared to the mid-sized services that tend to appeal to the more millennial generation. They do provide a plethora of services, including CTI (NewsAlert) integrations, allowing client computers and telephones to interconnect, and agent guidance through the system.

Enterprise customer service solutions also include reporting and analytics, data management and additional case management. Businesses that have been grandfathered into existence or have carved a major chunk out of the marketplace may deem this type of customer service more efficient and cost-effective for their brand. They may feel no need to connect via online platforms with Marketing already controlling a persona amongst audiences online.

While enterprise solutions tend to be more affordable, because they are based on prepackaged pricing, they cost more upfront, as mid-size solutions cost more on the backend. Mid-sized businesses work off of a time-to-value model. Solutions are enabled based on budget, quote or need. Businesses will pay for servicing based on time period for servicing, an outline of scope, a price quote for resources used, upkeep and maintenance, storage and even how large internal teams would become.

Mid-sized customer service solutions, however, tend to get the biggest bang for the buck, serving multiple customers simultaneously in a cloud contact center or work-at-home environment. Dedicated agents number only in the 100s and are available to service customers around the clock and via multiple service platforms, such as social media, mobile delivery and e-mail correspondence, in addition to traditional call center options.

Mid-sized vendors tend to target specific divisions within the organization. Dedicated teams will engage in specific tasks, while much of the solution-based servicing is self-initiated. Cloud solutions allow for internal help desks to access knowledge bases, omni-channel usability and integrated controls. Mid-sized solutions tend to involve more platforms and more automation than enterprise customer service solutions.

Why have all the bells and whistles but no clue how to use them?

Will learning these tools save time and investment in the long run? Or, will they be unnecessary to your organization even if learned? Will it cost a pretty penny to train internal teams to use these tools, or would the company excel having someone else handle your customer service externally? These are the differences between enterprise and mid-sized solutions.

Whether an enterprise customer service experience is taking place or a mid-sized solution, Aspect (NewsAlert) Software has been recently making a name for itself as a business that does more than monitor call center activity.

Aspect combines solutions from both types of servicing to connect agents to solutions, immediately, and better serve customers on the first call. With enhanced customer service features, this suite of enterprise solutions supports high interactivity, automated controls, video and audio integrations, while promoting productivity.

Aspect allows key relationships to be documented and maintained, ensuring each customer receives personalize treatment, where they feel appreciated for their continued business. While enterprise solutions normally aren’t focused on contact center options, the integration will allow for future utilization, as call centers are becoming more focused on how to best serve our millennial generation, who now comprises over $2.45 trillion of our annual marketplace.

Enterprise customer service solutions may find that keeping their current model is not enough, and Aspect helps them stay with the times in caring for audiences of all shapes and sizes. Like mid-sized solutions, enterprise service solutions will need dedication teams for both social and digital customer service needs through larger, more focused contact center systems. 

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Resolve to Keep Your Customers Happy in 2016

Omni-Channel Customer Engagement, Omni-Channel, omnichannel, omni channel, customer engagement, self service, multichannel, mobile customer care

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S OMNI-CHANNEL CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

As productivity literally falls into our hands, and technologies allow for better integration of our most precious business tools, cloud contact centers are working hard to plan their roadmap for 2016. While some of us have been working diligently through the holiday season, many of are returning to the control boards for the first time since last year!

As we enter 2016, many of us are ambitious and excited about what is rumored to come. We have set goals through resolutions of things we are inspired to achieve – and we will. Aspect (NewsAlert), a developer of omni-channel customer engagement solutions, did their homework. And, they offer us a list of 6 common denominators for contact center resolutions in the New Year:

Reinvent “Cool.” + Become More Available = Enhance the Customer Experience.

These three resolutions play a major part in the potential of one another. In fact, becoming more available on mobile and through social media, the customer experience will be enhanced, improved and more gratifying to the brand enthusiasts.

We are living amongst millennials – those young professionals who never sleep and hate living within the confines of tradition and “normalcy.” For them, it is normal to pick up a phone at 3 a.m. and call customer service. But, customer service isn’t usually available past 8 p.m. on a regular business day. Allowing customers to connect to work-at-home individuals at these hours, however, is not just cool – But, man, is it convenient!

Cloud contact centers are resolving to become part of the conversation. They are building their “cred” in social media, while adjusting to the needs of their most valued customers – even acquiring a few strays in the process. In 2016, if you aren’t listening to your customers, you’re already #failing!

Instill Confidence.

Build brand advocates. Brands that include do-it-yourself tutorials, troubleshooting tips, videos, easy-to-read user manuals and customer portals for live group discussion will notice an uptick in the way their brands are consumed by those who matter most.

Take Apple (NewsAlert) for example. Each new MacBook Pro comes with paperwork that the average customer would never read. This material breaks down care and handling of the new device. It also includes installations with picture and diagram, highlight with easy-to-read directions.

Users can find their way to a support page and be addressed by a customer service agent directly, or can find additional help by brand enthusiasts sharing similar experiences of the past. Thanks to search engines, these tips can be “Google’ (NewsAlert)d” and brand loyalty continues.

Apple finds that many loyalists have created their own help forums in dedication to the brand, often selling Apple products, as a third-party carrier. On the other hand, for a subscription fee or onetime payment in store, customers can be serviced over the phone or at a live store.

Apple has instilled the “do-it-yourself” mentality by allowing consumers to learn their products inside out and provide tips to better maintenance and repair of their complex machinery.

Because consumers feel they know their product, they are most likely to accessorize, tell a friend how “easy” a product is to use and how they should be using that brand, while upgrading their products and purchasing surplus repair parts – directly from the brand. Customers will also be able to better voice concern with a product, knowing exactly what is wrong with their item – and feeling more confident that their issue will be handled immediately.

Retain More Customers. Bring the Old Ones Back!

Probably one of the more difficult of industries, the Tech World finds innovation, trends and the evolution of technology can sometimes shift response by consumers in support of your brand. So, how do you keep those consumers? It’s simple!

Be their lifeline. Advocate on their behalf. Listen.

When it comes to customer service and often experienced when work is outsourced to individuals with frequent turnover ratios, customers aren’t being heard and call center agents are often treating customers as if they know not what they are talking about. This is a huge problem, especially if a customer knows exactly what they are talking about and where the root of the problem occurs. Not only does this lead to escalations after almost an hour into the call, but it leads customers to lose patience and trust in a brand. They go elsewhere…

Believe it or not, there are many loyalists that love a brand so much, that they stick around based on the customer experience and familiarity with the product. There are others, who simply are content with the product at hand and do not have the time to switch platforms or learn a new one. But if they are experiencing horrible customer service, they are also the first to “jump ship” and leave your brand in the dust!

Cloud contact centers are resolving to integrate features more often, saving time and complexity of resolving the customer’s needs – allowing for more time to be spent on listening to the customer, engaging in short, memorable chit chat and improving customer service. They retain their current customer base, while bringing back former clientele thanks to viral experiences that are shared over and over again.

Eliminate Escalations. Improve Service.

We really should consider our customers as people and stop playing “hot potato” with their issues. Making them call back over and over, dropping their calls, not solving their issues on the first point of contact is only pushing them away – and millennials, as social as they are, will let it be known!

Improving serving impacts the bottom line. Period! Aspect points out – and it’s no laughing matter – that “a third of consumers would rather clean a toilet, than talk to customer service.” Now, isn’t that just crappy? Seriously, though, how can we expect customers to trust our brand when they can’t even trust us to help them in a time of crisis? Furthermore, if they have issues with our products and services, do you think they will return for more – and at such a high cost to their pockets?

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Call to Action: Make THEM do what YOU want them to do!

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON EXAMINER

Today, nearly everybody has a social presence, a website, a blog. Yet, there are so many consumers who are never converted into customers. The brand is then discouraged by the “Power of Social” and what great possibilities can be brought through Viral. So, what’s going on? What is being done wrong that could better create sales and conversions for the brand and increase bank account registers at the same time?

Whether your content is “on point” or not, whether it’s elaborate or not… whether your content is optimized OR NOT, you more than likely aren’t going to convert consumers without a “Call to Action.”

What is a Call to Action?

It is the point of your Marketing Message where you direct consumers to do what YOU want them to do. This may be as simple as a “click here to subscribe” statement to as complex as “fill out the form below to download this free white paper.”

Without a Call to Action, there is no clear reason for the content to be provided other than for consumption. Sure, when someone is extremely interested in what you have to offer, they will seek out your product or service and pay for it. But, let’s look at the reality of the situation.

Most of your potential consumer bases have already seen this and similar content multiple times before. Even if they haven’t, most consumers are lazy and need that “pep talk” to seal the deal! Close the sale! Don’t let them get away!

In Marketing, there is a term that we use in directing our consumers to do what we want them to do. It’s called funneling. This is a process that includes many options for a user to get to the direct point of interest.

We may make the sell through the “home page,” or we may make it through multiple landing pages of the brand’s websites and social presences. Whichever route they take, we continue simplifying their options, until the point of sale is achieved. We analyze the funnel to find out where consumers are yielding to our coercement in improving sales over time. Sales may just be sign-ups to our mailing list, or they may actually be for monetary gain… as in actual sales! Without a call to action, they will more than likely click the next thing that interests them or leave our presence altogether. We have to stop this from happening immediately!

If you own a blog, tweet, post to Facebook or even send out SMS messages through power programs like Trumpia, make sure you are calling your users to an action via a Call to Action. Tell them what they should do, and entice them to do it! And, if there really isn’t a purpose to your message, be sure to tell them about your website or some other interesting detail that will keep you connected!

On that note, here is my own confession: I am personally guilty of not placing a Call to Action on most of my articles here at Examiner. However due to ethics, I try to keep things as “Kosher” as possible. On the contrary, there are still ways to subscribe to me and connect with me directly and can be found within the body of each article.

So, make sure you take advantage and connect with me today!

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