Could you have zombie loyalists?

zombiePeter Shankman’s new book Zombie Loyalists — Using Great Customer Service to Create Rabid Fans comes out today and I’m looking forward to reading it on the plane tonight!

If you aren’t familiar with Peter, he’s best known for founding Help a Reporter Out, which changed how journalists and sources interact around the world. This new book is his fourth, and is the follow-up to his best-seller, Nice Companies Finish First. He blogs at Shankman.com, and tweets random hilarity at @petershankman.

Peter always does things in an innovative way, so to celebrate his book’s launch, he released this “customer service constitution.”

What do you think?

We, the people of the Customer Economy, in order to obtain a more perfect customer service experience, do ordain this customer service constitution for a new Customer Service World Order:
 
Section One: The “Network” Knows all that which we do, and will share those experiences, both positive and negative.
 
Section Two: There shall be the court of public opinion to determine which companies deserve a customers’ business. This court shall convene online, offline, and in real-time, at all times. It shall be based solely on the experience any given customer has had with your business.
 
Section Three: Every CEO, Business Owner, or Entrepreneur pledges to put customer service before profits, before revenue, and even before fiduciary responsibility, because they understand that when customer service is tops, profits, revenue, and yes, fiduciary responsibility will all work out better than before.

1) In this new, more perfect customer economy, every business understands that it’s no one’s fault but theirs if their brand isn’t perceived the way they want it to be, and no amount of lying, hiding, or faking will get their brand to where they want it to be.
 
Section Four: The time, place, and manner of providing amazing customer service shall be up to the individual company, but should more than likely include “awesome.” In this new, more perfect customer economy, the brand will understand that “We’re awesome! Buy from us!” is the equivalent of “Hey, I’m awesome, you should leave this bar and come home with me,” and will not implement such tactics. Instead, the brand will put forth their best effort to provide amazing service to each customer even if it’s nothing more than just a smile, and in turn, the customer will turn to their network and share the positive outcome of their experience.
 
Section Five: Each company will be the judge of their own customer service, and decide whether they need to improve for the greater good. As the new Customer Economy expands, customers will be in charge, and the companies and brands that come out on top will understand that, and never think that “eh, we’ll get by,” is enough.
 
1) No company, house, or brand, shall adjourn from their good customer service for more than never, lest their customers go somewhere else.
 
Section Six: Each company and brand shall receive compensation for their services. Such compensation includes increased revenue, happier customers, and higher levels of brand awareness.
 
Section Seven: All new ideas for great customer service shall be formulated by the brand, and approved by the customers, understanding that the customers, and only the customers, control the direction of the company.
 
Section Eight: No company or brand shall enter into any treaty with any other company or brand to deceive, confuse, lie to, or in any other way disconnect from their current customers. Such actions shall be construed as ruining the company or brand’s goodwill, and will lead to their immediate downfall.
 
Section Nine: Every company and brand shall realize that at the end of the day, customers rule, customer service determines the future of the company, and the sentiment of every customer’s tweet, post, or the like, will determine whether or not said company or brand will survive in the new Customer Economy.
 
Signed, on this 27th Day of January, in the Year of our Global Customer Network

More on the book after I finish it!

In marketing, you eat the pie one bite at a time

one bite at a timeIt’s the middle of January and by now most people have gone back to life as they knew it prior to January 1st. They aren’t getting up at 5 am to jog or only eating grapefruit rinds and prunes or chewing on licorice instead of smoking.

No doubt there’s been all kinds of studies done on why we both set and violate our new year’s resolutions each January. I think one of the reasons why resolutions are so seductive and yet so elusive is because they’re too ambitious. We don’t resolve to work out once a week or lose five pounds or reduce our cigarette consumption by 20%. We want to go whole hog.  We’re going to work out six days a week, lose 50% of our body mass and stop smoking tomorrow.

No wonder we cave so quickly.

I think the same logic applies to that marketing plan you wrote in the past couple months. It was a thing of beauty – with colored Excel spread sheets, infographic-like charts and a litany of marketing tactics, each one designed to make one of your specific target markets fall to their knees.

If you have the resources (time, money and people) to execute on all of that – more power to you. Go get ‘em! But if you’re the average marketing director or business owner – you are awash in great ideas but bone dry when it comes to the resources to get it all done.

I’d like to suggest a less overwhelming way to tackle your marketing for 2015.

Prune: Look at everything you are currently doing on a consistent basis and have been doing for at least twelve months. Rank them on their effectiveness in relation to your sales goals. If you can’t measure a tactic’s effectiveness – put it at the bottom of the list. Whatever tactic is last – eliminate it and direct the time and effort towards something else.

Listen: Call up five former clients who were at one time – good, steady clients. Ask them to candidly tell you why aren’t buying from you anymore.   Be ready to probe and dig a little to get to the truth. (You’ll have to overcome that Midwest nice thing). If you hear the same thing more than twice – consider addressing that issue or missing element. If you resolve that issue somehow – make sure your entire client base and past client base knows about the change.

Take your best shot: Review that marketing plan you drafted. What’s the one tactic that you believe can have the most significant (and measurable) impact on the company’s bottom line? Keep in mind – it might be new sales, or growth from existing clients. It could also be something that reduces customer erosion or returns. Whatever it is and however it adds to the bottom line – implement it immediately and completely.

Don’t worry about the rest of the tactics for now. Get this one launched and a part of your routine. Once that is done – then you can consider adding another tactic to the mix.

Monitor and measure: This is where a lot of marketing falls flat.   If you can’t measure it, how can you possibly know if your investment of time and resources Is paying off?   People give this lip service but few will spend the time or money to actually implement a measurement program. Yes, it does take some upfront costs and time to build out the tactic in a measurable way – but isn’t that a better expense than just continuing to do something because you “think” it’s effective?

Eliminate something, listen to past customers for clues to what’s missing, add one new thing and measure it all. That’s a bite-sized way to tackle your marketing for this year that will help you stay on course!

Are you selling what your customers want to buy?

All too often, I see businesses advertising their wares…but from their own perspective. They talk about their expertise and what they DO or MAKE, thinking that’s what people are buying. Of course, that’s not what they’re buying at all. Hence my … [Continue reading]

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah’s SEO-Friendly ‘Bluebird’ and the Betterment of a Google Ranking

As you all know -- I love all things Disney, so how could I pass on a guest post that used a Disney classic to talk about SEO!  Enjoy this post from Lucas Miller. American actor James Baskett was most famous for his portrayal of Uncle Remus, an … [Continue reading]