Posts Tagged ‘touchpoint’

why do you social media?

I have almost 800 friends on my persoanl Facebook page, over 300 fans on my business fanpage and close to 1500 followers on Twitter…not huge numbers, but respectable. Of those 2600 friends, fans and followers, 75 percent consists of retail, blogs, restaurants, services, entertainment, career connections and news sources.

Every day I read about what is for sale, what the economy is doing, how to run my business, what time happy hour is, what the special is tonight, why bedbugs are making a comeback, how to train my dog and the latest top 10 list about something.
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I comment. I engage. I ask questions. I like. I share. I tweet. I retweet. I post. I suggest. I repost…and over and over.
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Oh, and I also schedule updates to post later. I do this to make good use of my time and share information on a wide variety of topics that interest me and my friends and followers. I am proud to say that 99.4 percent of the time, I am available to ENGAGE with friends, fans and followers when the post goes live because that is the point of social media.

So why do I Social Media?

From a professional level (for my business and for my clients): to build relationships and to understand the root causes of customer sentiment and behavior in order to prioritize improvements that enhance each customer’s experience.

  1. Listen
  2. Know your customers
  3. Care about your customers
  4. Evolve with your customers

From a personal level: to create relationships, to support those I believe in, to stay connected with my past, to build my future and to find out what the special is tonight….because after all, food is high on my list of priorities.

Why do you Social Media?

celebrate friends and fans – 2011

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Fridays are for celebrating Stance Friends and Fans. I encourage you to visit their facebook page, website or place of business and tell Stance about your experience with their company, product or service.

 

In 1902, Mose Iacino’s family came to Colorado from Grimaldi, Italy, in search of a better life. Young Mose had a mind full of ideas, an entrepreneurial spirit and an appreciation for quality seafood.
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In 1918, Mose Iacino, age 16, set out to bring fresh seafood from Seattle to the people of Denver and the surrounding area and created Seattle Fish Company. Although much has changed since that time, Seattle Fish Company remains a family-run business, where Mose’s spirit of innovation, dedication and service lives on.

Mose developed a system for transporting fresh seafood to the landlocked state of Colorado. It entailed packing fresh fish in sawdust and ice, and shipping the goods by railcar from Seattle. At each train stop, the ice was replenished to keep the seafood fresh. Denver citizens flocked to his stall inside his uncle’s shop at 1537 Market Street downtown. Little did Mose know that he was launching a career that would last a lifetime.

Today, fresh and frozen seafood is flown into Denver International Airport seven days a week from American coasts and port cities from around the world. The product travels in special shipping containers that maintain the seafood in peak condition.

Mose built a thriving business on ingenuity, customer service and quality seafood. His son, Edward Iacino, carries on the tradition as Chairman and CEO, grandson James Iacino is President and granddaughter Chelsea Iacino is Human Resource Manager.

Today, nearly 100 employees work to deliver their products to more than 650 grocers, restaurants, hotels and caterers, making them one of the largest seafood distributors in the western United States. They are also an active member of several industry organizations that help ensure high quality and sustainable practices. As the region’s largest supplier, they bring value and selection that are second to none — with the personal service of a three-generation, family-owned business. As a certified Marine Stewardship Council supplier, Seattle Fish Co. is committed to protecting the environment and maintaining sustainable practices from catch to consumer.

Visit Seattle Fish Co. on facebook.

 

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If you have had the pleasure of experiencing a Culinary Connectors tour, please share your experience. If not, visit them today. I look forward to hearing about it and sharing your experience with other Stance Friends and Fans. 

celebrate friends and fans – 2011

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Fridays are for celebrating Stance Friends and Fans. I encourage you to visit their facebook page, website or place of business and tell Stance about your experience with their product or service. If you have already interacted with the featured Friday Stance Friend or Fan and have a story to share, please do.

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Culinary Connectors was launched on November 15, 2008 by its president, Becky Creighton, to share the love, passion and excitement of Denver’s culinary world.
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Joining a Culinary Connectors tour is like stepping into the comfortable kitchen of a talented good friend. Experience excellence at the elbow of award-winning chefs in a small intimate group where pomp and pretense is replaced with genuine laughter shared over delicious details and tasty tidbits of expert information. Taste your way across Colorado’s complex cultural heritage from its high-stepping international recognition down to its home-spun roots and warm hearth.

Why Culinary Connectors:

-Learn where to find the freshest seasonal, local and organic produce
-Taste and sample, pair wines, learn the whys-and-hows
-Discover the gourmet shops and local artisans frequented by top chefs
-Sample from purveyors in quaint neighborhoods off the beaten path
-Learn how to meld regional influences into a recipe to make it uniquely yours
-Delight in “backstage access” and candid conversations
-Learn the treasured ingredients that elevate a dish from edible to indelible
-Feed your mind and body, nourish your foodie soul

Culinary Connectors provides behind the scenes culinary tours to Denver, Boulder and Aspen top restaurants, gourmet shops and ethnic markets. Visit www.culinaryconnectors.com for a tour calendar and details.

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If you have had the pleasure of experiencing a Culinary Connectors tour, please share your experience. If not, visit them today. I look forward to hearing about it and sharing your experience with other Stance Friends and Fans.

third party doldrums

I spend a lot of time building relationships on the great internet via social media. I talk regularly with people I have never had the pleasure of meeting and have made some real friends along the way.

I also have regular cyber conversations with restaurants, hotels, out of state services and local business owners. Each group has created an identity for themselves or the establishment they represent. As a consumer and believer in the almighty word of mouth marketing (WOMM), it excites me to watch the relationships grow before my eyes.

Which is why, on a recent visit to a local restaurant and bar, I was saddened by the treatment (or non-treatment) from the staff. Now don’t get me wrong, I am NOT looking for handouts or freebies, just the continued sharing and conversation that is done online.
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Before heading to happy hour with four other ladies, we all did our fair share of tweeting and facebooking about where we were going and at what time. We included the twitter handle of the establishment and even received a tweet back from them. They were happy we were coming in and excited to serve us (I bet they were also happy for the free WOMM). Also, I should mention, this was not my first time “chatting” with this business. I have been a supporter and so have the other ladies who include foodies, business owners and mega social media users.

The staff had no idea who we were. I do not expect the average restaurant to know who I am as I am not famous, but when five ladies have tweeted, facebooked and checked in on foursquare, it is assumed that an owner, manager, bartender, host or bartender will have some clue. Nothing. Enter the third party doldrums.

This particular establishment hires an agency to manage their social media which is NOT a problem at all for me. The problem is they do not have a system in place to inform the on-site staff of what to expect at any given time.

One large benefit of social media is building relationships with potential and current customers. People do business with people they like and spend money in places that make them feel good.

At this point the relationship has been broken and the experience was a let down. Even more alarming is that the employee, customer and company are not aligned so there is no way to provide the optimal customer experience.

Have you had the third party doldrums? If you are an establishment who hires out of house social media management, what systems do you have in place to avoid third party doldrums?

celebrate stance friends and fans

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Fridays are for celebrating Stance Friends and Fans. I encourage you to visit their facebook page, website or place of business and let Stance know about your experience with their product or service. If you have already done business with the featured Friday Stance Friend or Fan and have a story to share, please do.

Today we celebrate G&S Mortgage, a Denver-based mortgage company owned by George Gore III, my brother. George has been exceeding expectations and mastering mortgages for over 15 years in Colorado communities.
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His mission at G&S Mortgage is to set a high standard in the mortgage industry. George is committed to quality customer service – putting the people first – while adhering to the highest degree of integrity in business.
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George is happy to work with both brokers and buyers direct. His reputation for “getting it done” follows him everywhere.
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Services offered by George at G&S Mortgage:
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:    CONVENTIONAL
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:    GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS (FHA/VA)
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:    DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE

:    90% RATE OR TERM RE-FINANCING & PURCHASES UP TO $1,200,000

:    SECOND HOME

:    INVESTOR/RENTAL PROPERTY

:    NO INCOME VERIFICATION

:    BALLOON/ARM

:    NON-CONFORMING

Learn more today, because as you know, it is a great time to buy a home.

If you have done business with G&S Mortgage, please share your experience. If not, visit them today. I look forward to hearing about it and sharing your experience with other Stance Friends and Fans.

G&S Mortgage Corp.
Denver, Colorado
303.759.0508

G&S on Facebook

G&S on Twitter

www.gsmortgagecorp.com

 

celebrate stance friends and fans

Fridays are for celebrating Stance Friends and Fans. I encourage you to visit their facebook page, website or place of business and get back to Stance about your experience with their product or service. If you have already done business with the featured Friday Stance Friend or Fan and have a story to share, please do.
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Today we celebrate kuulture, a family owned frozen yogurt store in lower downtown Denver. Luscious, creamy and satisfying is one way to describe kuulture frozen yogurt, but is also fat free, low in calories (about 25 calories per ounce) and contains no added sugar. It’s packed with calcium, protein and vitamins, yet its gluten free and Kosher.

Besides the exceptional taste, kuulture frozen yogurt is incredibly healthful and nutritious and contains live and active cultures for good health. Studies suggest that the live and active cultures in yogurt aid in digestion and strengthen the immune system. Based on studies in countries where yogurt consumption is high, researchers have found that yogurt may even help to lower cholesterol and the risk of certain types of cancer. Even individuals who are lactose intolerant typically can digest frozen yogurt without any of the side effects common among other milk products.
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Kuulture embraces the local art community and encourages artist to submit art for their monthly gallery. They know what it takes to not only open a business, but also focus on the work that goes behind the scenes to continue to succeed and grow. Their philosophy is that they grow if communities thrive, and they believe in honoring this special relationship by giving back. Kuulture also sponsors children’s programs that cultivate the community. 

With every city and each expansion, kuulture will connect and continue to work closely and be involved with each community. Help kuulture make a difference in the community by collaborating with them on our blog.

If you have been to kuulture, please share your experience. If not, visit them today. I look forward to hearing about it and sharing your experience with other Stance Friends and Fans.

Located in LODO on the corner of Larimer and 15th St
1512 Larimer Street Denver, CO 80202
303-573-7200

Winter Hours: November thru March
Every day: 12 pm – 10 pm 

kuulture on facebook

www.kuulture.com

the new #7

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A friend texted me an interesting question last night as she was eating in a local restaurant.

What do I do when the service is good but the food is not?
Do I tell them?

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A valid question and a reminder that not all the focus can be on the customer experience because the product is just as important.

A great customer experience supports a well planned product, whether it is the perfectly executed nine course tasting menu at The French Laundry, the best shoes at a great price from Zappos or a superb night’s stay at Ritz Carlton.
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Imagine that during your visit to The French Laundry you are treated as royalty, but instead of being served a divine dish fresh from The French Laundry farms, you are served beanies and weenies. No amount of planned, repeatable customer experience will make that acceptable for the price of the product, right?
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So I propose an addition to the Six Laws of Customer Experience by Bruce Temkin, customer experience transformist and Managing Partner of the Temkin Group.
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1.  Every interaction creates a personal reaction.
2.  People are instinctively self-centered.
3.  Customer familiarity breeds alignment.
4.  Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers.
5.  Employees do what is measured, incented and celebrated.
6.  You can’t fake it.

And the New #7: A well planned product or service that is aligned with the experience.

So what did I tell my friend? A bad product is a bad product. Fortunately there is always room for improvement…but not if they don’t know.

Although her opinion is just one of many, if the restaurant integrates customer feedback and insight throughout the organization (one of four core customer experience competencies by Temkin), then they already know and (hopefully) are making changes to the product so it meets the customer experience they provide.

And then, once again, the employee, customer, organization AND product/service are aligned.

CEM Gone Wrong

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I recently had an interesting customer experience with my mortgage lender. Ok, I know the experience was with the individual in the call center, but that experience was designed by someone in the CEM department, or whatever they call it, and it was also a huge failure.

While making my June mortgage payment on line through my bank for my rental unit, I inexplicitly switched two numbers and sent the payment $90 short. A week later I received a notice that I was two months behind in payments. Knowing I sent the payment, I checked the status on my banking site…yep, there it was. Sent, cleared and $90 short.

Last week, before leaving town, I called my lender to double check the amount owed before hitting the send button. The amount totaled two months plus a late fee. I was confused as I was only $90 short plus the full amount for July. The representative said that no amount is applied when an amount less than the full amount is sent….something I did not know and an expectation they never set.

What was clearly a typo on my part (two numbers transposed) was considered non-payment by them. Interesting…and infuriating. I indicated I would send July’s mortgage plus the coverage and asked if she would waive the late fee. She said she did not have the power to do that and would need to transfer me.

Then she asked if I lived in the home.

ME: “NO, it is a rental.”  (I could visualize her reading her script….if no, go to question 89. If also a rental, go to question 122.)

HER: “Do you plan to keep it and continue making payments?”

I thought to myself, what? Of course. But I said “why do you ask”?

Stumped. There was no script directive for that answer. She had no idea why she was asking. All she knew was that the when dealing with late payments on rental units she should ask if the intention is to keep the mortgage or not. Ok, I get it. The company is trying to foresee any foreclosures or bankruptcies for obvious reasons: they too have been hit hard over the last two years.

This is CEM gone wrong. I was insulted they insinuated I may be attempting to “walk away” from my responsibilities. The goal was to get a feel for if a customer is going to “walk away” but the result was making a perfectly happy customer angry. That is not a customer-centric (sorry Shevlin) company. It is a company-centric organization interested in covering their assets at all costs.

They set the protocol to ask a question, but did not empower the employee to stray from the script and engage me in informational dialogue that would have streamlined the process. I should also mention, the next day, I received a phone call from the collections department trying to make good on two months of payments. I told the guy to read the notes in their fancy CRM system and hung up.

Aside from re-creating the entire process and empowering and trainging their employees, how could this have been handled better? For starters, they could have been truly customer focused, and instead of a letter and an insulting phone call, they could simply have called and said the following:

Ms. Gore, it appears you have transposed two numbers in your payment amount. Would you like to pay the shortage now, or simply apply it to your next payment?

Problem averted and customer, employee and company aligned.

PS some BPM work would not hurt either. 😉

Customer Experience is Not Tangible

Today I am posting my first official blog representing my new company,
Stance: Customer Experience Exemplified

FIRST LOOK
At Stance, our position is simple and strong: we help companies create positive experiences for their customers. From our standpoint, Customer Experience Management (CEM) is an ongoing journey (a leisurely road trip as opposed to a quick overnighter) during which we observe, address, and implement processes that place your organization, your employees, and your clientele on common ground.

For all intents and purposes, let’s start at the beginning: defining customer experience
and customer experience management.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
The customer experience is not a tangible item. You can’t touch thoughts and feelings and you can’t bend an expectation or a perception. The customer experience is what happens when a customer buys a home or a phone, or orders a meal or gets a massage. The experience starts when the idea enters their mind and it really never ends. Every time a customer gets a massage or orders another meal, they think about the time before and how they wish this time would be different, better, cheaper, easier, faster, more emotional, tastier, friendlier or possibly the same. The experience belongs to the customer. 

It stands to reaason that your company’s brand promise IS the customer’s perception which is based on

  • Expectations
  • Experiences with you and competitors
  • Social interactions which affect the brand (thank you Eric Jacques, Customer Excellence)
  • Word of mouth

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT (CEM)
Two years ago I said:

“CEM is a customer-centric business strategy that ensures all employees are delivering the company values, mission and brand promise to create a favorable customer experience.”

In April 2010 I said:

“CEM is the ability to meet and exceed the expectations of those with the highest propensity to buy.”

Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst at Aite Group and author of Marketing Tea Party blog has a knack for consistently pushing me to bend my definition of CEM and go beyond empty industry jargon…..and I like it.

Yesterday, after reading his blog, I upgraded my definition again:

“CEM is improving business processes to include customer perspective to align the employees, the customer and the organization and increase business and reduce losses due to wasteful practices…. and do it better than the competition.”

It sounds so simple.

Processes – without processes companies crumble under pressure (something I forgot I knew and learned from Jennifer Gore – mentor, stepmother and friend) and fail to create optimal customer experiences.  

Customers – without knowing the customer, there is no chance of differentiating from other companies or creating remarkable, memorable and over the top experiences.

CEM is well-traveled by large corporations…but why should they have all the fun? Stance aims to introduce smaller companies to the benefits
of CEM (to be discussed in future blog posts): customer retention, customer referrals and higher profit margins.

Clearly CEM continues to evolve, at least for me. How have your ideals and definitions of CEM evolved over the years?

Thank you for supporting my first blog post. There are many more to come as well as inevitable changes including the new site design which is under way. I look forward to your comments.