Helping not selling

apple1I think most people who read Angela’s quote will nod their head in agreement with the statement. From a brand’s point of view it is common sense; you need to establish a rapport with a customer before they are really going to be listening to what you are saying. But I wish more people would get that this thinking applies just as much to email interactions as well.

I don’t want to be sold to when opening my email either, I want to be helped.  If you have an email address for your customer you probably have some kind of a relationship with them but this does not mean that they spend their day waiting around to buy more from you. I tell my clients to think about email as bait that leaves customers wanting to know more, gets them clicking on links to find out more and ultimately predisposes them towards your brand so that when they are in the market – they will think of you. Email is perfect for enabling your customers to unlock more of what your brand has to offer. Whether it be reminding them about your after sales service, handy tips on getting the most from your new phone or invitations to exclusive customer events.  You’ll stand out from the crowd if your emails are not about selling, but about helping.

BTW – I found this quote in Fast Company – if you have not liked it on Facebook, you should!

PS – Angela starts at Apple in early 2014 so expect her to shake things up!  🙂

Show me you know me

The simple act of recognition can be a powerful loyalty driver. Using your customer’s name, remembering what they bought last time, enquiring about their last purchase.  These are all things that make a customer feel like you know them.  And in this “always on” world we live in today, successful brands will be the ones that make you feel like it is easier to do business with them. A real life example of this was my experience recently when I logged onto my Kiwibank internet banking and I received this message below:

kiwiwbankI thought it was a sweet customer recognition idea.   I love it as it doesn’t cost anything to recognise customers and really makes customers feel that their bank is looking after them – as an individual.  And happy customers buy more from you.  You don’t need a business case to tell you that.

You gotta be yourself, because everyone else is taken

One of the buzzwords around leadership at the moment is this thought about being authentic. I have never really thought about it too much until today. I attended a Network of Executive Marketers breakfast and was privileged to hear Shelley Campbell (CEO of The Sir Peter Blake Trust) speak. It was – as my friend Simone said – an inspirational start to a Wednesday.

For me, one of the things Shelley summed up brilliantly was this thought about being an authentic leader – “You gotta be yourself, because everyone else is taken”. The brilliance in this thinking is that it totally makes you back yourself. Try this out for your own benefit by saying the quote out loud now. When you say it – it makes you have confidence in your own abilities as a unique individual. In fact it makes it a no brainer for you to think – “of course, I’m the the right person for this, I’m me!”

Plus it makes me happy to have met another kiwi chick that inspires me and is taking it to the world!

Disobedient thinking

Recently, two of my friends both independently suggested that I check out someone they had heard talk as they thought I would identify with the way she views the world.  These friends don’t know each other but they know me: passionate about customer experience and big on challenging convention.

And that pretty much sums up Geraldine McBride as well.   Both kiwis as well so we could almost be the same person.  Apart from the small fact that she is the ex-President of SAP’s North American operation where she ran a US$14 billion business, is an acknowledged global expert in corporate evolution and is now co-founding a global next generation technology business called MyWave.  Geraldine gave a talk to the Kea Inspire conference recently and there was one thing in particular that resonated with me – the idea of “disobedient thinking”.   It is kind of the same idea as terms like “flipping things on their head” or “zigging when others are zagging” or even the great Steve Jobs quote below.   But I think her way of describing it is so much more powerful as it makes you feel like you are being naughty and that is strangely attractive.

Geraldine reckons that this kind of thinking is part of the DNA in all kiwi businesses and we need to embrace it as one of our competitive advantages which I totally agree with.  A very inspirational person and another great kiwi.

Click below to watch her presentation from KEA on the trends impacting global business today.

And be more naughty this week!


The Second Splendid Truth

gretchenSome years ago, a journalist living in New York decided to complete a project. Her project (and later her bestselling book “The Happiness Project”) was to spend one year experimenting with different techniques to make her happy. For example – month one was going to sleep early, month 2 was clearing clutter, month 3 was being nice to her husband and it went on like that. Last week I was reminded of this book and specifically the second splendid truth – pictured above.
I had recently been to a parent teacher interview for one of my children and had come away feeling really pleased that the teacher had my child’s best interests at heart and really cared about getting a positive outcome. I reflected on this to a friend and she suggested that I should pass my positive feedback onto the principal. So I wrote an email to the school’s leadership team passing on my thanks to the teacher and recognising her commitment. It felt great to write that email! I was smiling when I was writing! But it got better as I smiled even more when I got the replies from the team and the teacher. I felt good. I made myself happy by making someone else happy.

Do it today!

From the desk of the Chief Happiness Officer

booksBooks on my desk at the moment:

“Outside In” Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning, Forrester Research.
CHO Review: One word. Fan-tabby-tastic. This is my “go to” book on Customer Experience and the power of putting the customer at the centre of your business. Detailed case studies, practical advice and truly inspirational. Need it.

“Heart to Start” Derek Handley
CHO Review: I saw Derek speak at a conference once and thought he was a bit arrogant. But as much as I want to hate him (and that is mainly jealousy because he is a gazillionaire) he is a clever guy and this book is story of how he started up Hyperfactory and hints of turning your own ideas into action. I have not read this yet! But I want to!

“Steve Jobs” Walter Isaacson
CHO Review: One word. Genuis. Not a particular nice guy to work with that’s generally what you get when you work with a genius. He changed the world. Read it.

“The Thank-You Economy” Gary Vaynerchuk
CHO Review: How a guy built a business solely through social media. And realising that to go forwards today you need to look backwards to how our grandparent’s used to run their businesses. Read it.

“Extreme Trust” Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
CHO Review: From the Godfathers of CRM and 1:1 Marketing. Honesty as a competitive advantage. If you look after your customers, if you can prove to them that they can trust you – why would they go anywhere else? And how can a competitor compete? Get it.

“Groundswell” Charlene Li and Josh Bernhoff, Forrester Research
CHO Review: Published in 2008 to help navigate the “new” world of social technologies but still relevant today if you want to build a groundswell around your brand.

“V is for Vulnerable” Seth Godin
CHO Review: ABC for adults from The Master. Full of quotes from the man himself.

“Enterprise One To One” Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
CHO Review: An oldie but a goodie. The book that got me interested in CRM. Love it.

Hold the line caller

When I worked for a start-up back in the UK, one of the things that I thought was inspired was that the Marketing team sat right in the heart of the action – in the middle of the call centre. Being located here meant that we always knew what was going on with customers. And talk about understanding the impact of marketing. We knew instantly when customers starting calling in as the result of a campaign and we knew even more instantly when there was an issue. No hiding behind voicemail, this was about being faced with the realities of the good and the bad of customers everyday.

In this recent blog post from the brilliant Seth Godin there are lots more ideas for treating your inbound calls with the respect they deserve.

P.S: my personal favourite is forwarding all calls to your CEO’s spouse….I reckon that is a pretty quick way to get a result!

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