Do you know how your customers feel about you?

As an audio and web conferencing provider, ReadyTalk employees have multiple touch points with our customers on a daily basis. Surveying our customers lets us know how we’re doing, and what we can do to improve our customer’s experience. We see customer feedback as vital to growing and improving our business. We regularly review feedback from areas where we currently gather data, as well as explore new areas where we may want to measure performance in the future. We recently finished our first annual customer survey at ReadyTalk. Questions for this survey were designed specifically to measure how we’re doing in relation to our internal corporate values.

 

 

 

 

Several items were addressed in the process of putting together our annual customer survey. We reviewed everything from question content and presentation, to survey vendors to ensure a successful campaign. Selecting a survey vendor was a key part of my involvement in the process. In my role as Manager of CRM Optimization, I focus on improving how we view and use data within our CRM system to drive both new business, and keep our current customers happy. Having the survey data fully integrated with our Salesforce.com instance was our primary selection criteria. We also looked at ease of use, time of deliverability, cost and scalability. As a growing company we needed an affordable surveying solution that would also scale to meet our future initiatives. By addressing all of our requirements up front, we were able to find a vendor that fit all of our needs, and then some.

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, ReadyTalk’s first annual customer survey was a great success. Since we kept the survey short without compromising relevance, we had a very high response rate. We also offered a small incentive for completing the survey which we believe also helped to boost the number of responses. We received invaluable feedback from both our audio and web conferencing customers regarding our support teams, existing services and future feature requests. The results set the benchmark as we look to improve our scores in 2010. And since all of this was integrated with our CRM system, we were able to follow-up with customers, aggregate responses, and measure areas where we can improve our services in the future. The ReadyTalk Management team loved the ability to simply click on a Dashboard to get to the information they needed. Our Sales and Support teams were thrilled to be able to see real time responses from their customers, and our Marketing team is now hard at work leveraging customer referrals and market potential for our future customers.

 

 

How is your company using surveys to measure your customer’s experience? And what are you doing to optimize your results? We’d love to hear your success stories.

 

The Dangerous Yabbuts

excuses

This is a guest post by Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzLocal, a local lead gen company specializing in driving calls via pay-per-click advertising.

Have you ever heard of Yabbuts? They're invisible little creatures capable of massive destruction. Here's a few:

  • You: "I'm so excited about the new prospect that came in today– we could make a killing!"
  • Person A: "Yabbut, they're also looking at our competitors, who are much stronger than we are."

 

  • You: "Check out our Facebook and Twitter social media campaigns– we got 100 followers today!"
  • Person B: "Yabbut, that stuff is all a waste of time and those users are worthless surfers."


Yabbut, you'll never get the budget approved. Yabbut, I'm not feeling well. Yabbut, I don't have time to do that– I'm so busy.

 

 

See? I'll bet, now that you've heard this, you'll hear Yabbuts pop up several times today in talking to co-workers, friends, your kids, anyone. Just like when you learn the meaning of a new word and magically you then seem to notice it used many times.

The core material of self-help guides boils down to eliminating Yabbuts– since when you focus on failure, that's what you get. Think you might fail? You will. Think you'll succeed. You probably will. There are even things like "The Secret" that dress up this concept in a "passed down from Jesus, whispered in his last breath" holy sort of way. The summary: think of success and it will come. If that's what it takes to get people to pay attention to the concept, fine.

Is this a chicken soup, apple pie post about positive thinking? Hardly, it's about ignoring the noisemakers who unintentionally sabotage your success.

Rat In Mouth

With some practice, you can even sense when a Yabbut is about to pop out of a person's mouth.
When you hear a Yabbut– point it out and kill it!

Explain that Yabbuts are insulting– that you're demeaning someone else's goals, while seemingly in agreement with them. The "but" in a Yabbut totally negates whatever was said earlier:

  • "Yeah, that's a good idea, but I don't have time."
  • "Yeah, this project is a priority, but something else is more important."


A related species to the Yabbut is the backhanded compliment:

 

  • "You run really fast… for a girl."
  • "What do I think of Bob? Well, uh, he has a great personality."


As a small business owner or even a cog in the big bureaucratic wheel, as long as Yabbuts exist, you're doomed to fail.
cigarette_butt
To turn things around, consider what might be possible, with no buts. If someone hits you with a Yabbut, ask them how it could be possible for X to occur. What would we need to do for X to happen?

 

 

Don't think of all the ways to fail– you will be there counting butts all day long. Not the most pleasant of tasks.

Constraint breeds creativity– use that advantage you now have to run past your competitors stuck in Yabbut land.

Social Media Marketing: A Useful Investment, or a Supreme Waste of Time?

Throughout recent years, the use of social media has skyrocketed (see: http://socialmediaatwork.com/social-media-statistics/). People everywhere are using twitter, facebook, myspace, linkedin, and the endless other social media sites to stay in touch with family and friends, promote businesses, find people, and discover new information. These tools are intriguing, yes, but the real question is whether they are useful for marketing, or just a sidetrack that will put you hours behind in your “to-do” list.

The decision of whether to harness Social Media Marketing’s potential, or turn away and stay safely unharmed by its vastness could ruin anybody. This is why I am going to uncover some of the benefits of using Social Media in these next few blogs.

Social Media has become the new “hip” technology. So much so, that when you used to get frustrated when your 80 year-old grandmother didn’t have a cell phone (or even know what it was), now you get mad at your grandmother for not staying up-to-date and getting a facebook. It seems like everybody has a facebook these days, and to turn away from such a progressive and popular technology is an unacceptable type of behavior in today’s social expectations.

Other then allowing you to conform socially, here are 10 more reasons why SMM will benefit you and your company:

  1. Developing Relationships: Often times, huge corporate barriers are placed between businesses and their customers, and it is hard to develop a relationship with customers. Through social media, customers can express their ideas regarding your services, and you can monitor their satisfaction and develop relationships. A closer relationship is obtainable and it engages customers in your company and encourages them to participate.
  2. Search Engine Optimization: By using social media and creating links to your pages you increase your visibility on the web.
  3. Acquiring Secondary Traffic: You will have people that go looking for your site (customers), and people that will be channeled to your site through various connections and links. It is a good opportunity to promote your businesses to others, generate potential leads, and create an over all awareness of your company.
  4. Promoting company goals and morals: You can use your social media site to outline goals your business has and develop morals so that customers see you in a good or appropriate light. If you a program where you donate money to charities, or if you are environmentally friendly, or focus on superb customer service, you can outline this to your viewers.
  5. Promoting upcoming events: Using social media, you can invite people to webinars, fundraisers, or other various events your company is hosting. This is an easy way involve people in what you are doing and promote events.
  6. It is Free. Although it may cost some time, it costs no money.
  7. Complimentary Strategy: You do not have to give up existing marketing tools–SMM can be used along side regular marketing techniques as something that compliments/furthers your existing marketing strategy. You can continue using all the techniques you have been, but add in Social Media as a side note.
  8. Recommendations: You involve customers and encourage word of mouth promotion. A happy customer blogging about the benefits of your service on facebook is one of the most powerful ways to promote your product. Social Media makes word-of-mouth promotion easier for satisfied customers.
  9. Becoming More Personal: Add a face to your company. Social media will allow your company to be more “human-like” and approachable.
  10. Learning Customer’s needs/preferences: Using social media, getting customer feedback is much quicker process then a lot of other methods. By monitoring activity you can judge what customers like, what they want, and whether they are any problems or they are satisfied.


Social Media can be a useful Marketing tool that costs nothing and breaks the barrier between customer-business relationships. They only major problem now, is learning how to utilize it for maximum benefits. In my next blogs, I will give effective ways that Social Media can be applied as a marketing strategy to promote your business, generate awareness, and develop relationships with customers.

 

Web Conferencing: Environmental Savior

In my last post I explored the slightly (or highly) unpleasant inconveniences of saving the environment. We can all envision ourselves as the heroic saviors of our mother nature by waking up at 4 AM to bike to work and later sorting through the trash to find items to compost/recycle, but it is actually executing all of these things that is the problem. Luckily, there is a way to go green that requires zero self-sacrifice, and will actually save you money.
Let’s think about this new “going green” concept again: saving the environments, and saving money and time with no inconveniences? Seems like a classic example of an oxymoron to me; especially if you are talking about going green as a business. In some cases, this statement would indeed be an oxymoron (I would like to reference the “no shower for 3 days” option at this time), but, thanks to today’s technology, going green can be your company taking a simple step that will not only save the environment, save money, time and effort. This step is called audio and web conferencing.
Think about this:


Audio and Web Conferencing has made going green an easier process then actually staying in the red zone and continuing to pollute the environment. Now that this sort of technology is available we can reflect on how much time and money we were actually spending to fly a sales representative across the country. In my next blog, I will talk about how ReadyTalk provides the ability to become the oxymoron we never thought possible: green and satisfied.

 

The Sacrifice of Going Green

What does “going green” mean? Does it mean saving all of your money for months on end to go out and buy solar panels, an electric car, or “off the grid” kitchen appliances (when all you really wanted was that special 60 inch flat screen TV)? Does it mean only taking a shower every 3 days instead of 2 twice daily? Does it mean only consuming locally produced food for the rest of you life, and thus never being able to eat those delicious peaches that only grow in Georgia?

All of these things do, in fact, contribute to conservation, but most of us tend to outweigh the environmental benefits with the personal sacrifice—I mean, it is understandable! When faced with the decision of: “hmmm should I eat the measly lettuce salad that came from the 2 foot by 2 foot garden in my back yard, or should I drive to a restaurant and eat their delicious steak imported from across the country?” Most of us know what the answer would be to that question; and the tree growing in our backyard would cringe at the answer. This is the problem with “going green” today and it applies to many businesses too. Saving our planet and boosting our environmentally friendly morals should not be looked on as a huge sacrifice that will devour our paychecks and inconveniences, but rather a process that will actually benefit us financially as well as saving time and effort. In my next blog, I will uncover how going green doesn't have to be giving up an arm and a leg, but rather saving time, money and energy.