Dear Valued Customer – How Not To Write Customer Service Letters

From: Jim Bird  On Behalf Of reviewus@XXXXX.com

Sent: 16 October, 2012 10:04 PM

Subject: Thank you for using XXXXXX – Please Review Us

 

Dear Valued Customer,

According to our records you placed at least one order through XXXX in September. Thank you very much for your business and may it continue for a very long time.

We at XXXX hope that you are very happy with our services and ask that you spend just a few minutes leaving us a review at either (or both if you would be so kind) of the below sites:

http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/evaluate/www.XXXX.com

http://www.reviewcentre.com/add-XXXX.html

Of course we would prefer a glowing 5 Star review, however we are also interested in any feedback, suggestions or ideas you may have.

Thank you once again for using XXXX, and please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

Kind regards,

Jim Bird

Customer Services Manager


What could be improved in this letter?

I find it incredible that this type of templated mass messaging is being used FOR THE FIRST COMMUNICATION to a customer.

Hey did someone just think – it’d be a great idea to get some customer feedback?  What ho, Jeeves, let’s off and ask them to say we’re wonderful.

Crikey.

The Top 5 most popular articles of all time

Enhanced by Zemanta

How To Make Your Anniversary Promotion Campaigns Better

posters for anniversary campaigns

posters for anniversary campaigns

Celebrating an anniversary whether it be one, ten or a hundred years is certainly something to be proud of. You, as a company should almost be bursting at the seams to tell potential and existing customers the news.

Of course, for customers to get as excited as you, they expect something in return. That’s how the system works. They support you for x amount of years and at each anniversary expect a little appreciation. As Mark Twain astutely noted: “It is better to give than receive- especially advice” and following this I will offer my own – He’s right. And this is why businesses offer sales; they give a little in order to gain a lot. 

The question of course is how to celebrate and promote your anniversary. This can depend on a variety of facets such as the length of time of existence, the size of the company and the type of company.

It is for this reason I have come up with 4 simple categories.

4 types of anniversary campaigns

  1.  Sales & Giveaways
  2. Promotions & Interaction

  3. Reincarnation (Sticking with the religious theme)

  4. Internal Appreciation

1. Sales & Giveaways – Clever discounts and freebies

This one is relatively straightforward. Simply reducing the final bill for the customer will obviously get them interested – more bang for your buck has traditionally been the ‘go-to’ strategy. Giveaways however can work equally effective. The total bill may not reduce however the value perceived would still have increased. Better yet, it means more of your product is being consumed by your customers.

A common tip often acted upon is to link the number of years celebrated to the sale/gift. Whether it be 10% off if you’re celebrating your tenth anniversary or every 5th item is free for your fifth, linking the years to the deal instils that number into your customers brains, meaning they will be more likely to associate your business with success and longevity. As has been hugely publicised, customers who associate success and longevity with your business are more likely to purchase from you.

Remember, you can be clever about it – 40 years 40% off may be too much of a discount for some stores so be clever! 40 = XL in Roman numerals so have an XL sale, whether it be just a larger sale than usual or a sale focused on extra-large items, it will most likely prove cheaper than 40% off but have a similar effect.

2. Promotions & Interactions – Get the word out there

This deals with how your company reaches out to your customers and the general public. Obviously, if no one has heard that it’s your anniversary no one will be excited. This therefore is critical that it is done right. Larger companies may not have to worry about it and let word of mouth do the work. Smaller companies however have their own competitive advantage – personalization.

Personalized, handwritten notes prove effective time and time again. These interactions will obviously be critical to making your customers aware of your anniversary. Under interaction I have associated cut-cost ways to deliver value to your customer – tours. Customers are always interested in how their favorite good is actually made, so offer it! They aren’t expensive to run as attendees would actually prefer to see the business running as normal as possible and give your business greater exposure to the public..

3. Reincarnation – Bring back the past

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the reincarnation of old products and methods when companies celebrate birthdays or anniversaries so I won’t go into any detail about it. However, many don’t even consider replacing current prices with the traditional ones. An example would be if Coca-Cola were to sell cans for 5c each – their original price. You may be thinking, this should be under the sale category and you’re probably right, but as it refers to the original price, it could be seen as the rebirth of the price; okay compromise, it’s both.

4. Internal Interaction – Celebrate your team

They say nothing is more important than the customer; if that’s true then employees can’t be far behind. When celebrating an anniversary, celebrate your employees’ efforts. They are just as much a part of the company as the customers and therefore, deserve similar recognition and perceived benefits. Traditionally a party always goes down well, however ensure that at least the long-time employees receive a memento, something which they can be proud of and something that will portray your eternal appreciation.

Most successful anniversary campaigns utilize more than one of these categories so for greater success, try and aim to hit at least two. And remember, no matter what strategy you choose, conveying your appreciation for the past and enthusiasm for the future never hurts.

Need help brainstorming and planning ideas? We’d be glad to help. Click here to get in touch with us.

 

The Top 5 most popular articles of all time

Facebook Groups logo

YIKES! My Facebook Group Got Hijacked by Competitors

When you start a group online in a public social platform, it’s easy. Nothing much happens until your group hits a ‘tipping point” of size + engagement + activity.

Facebook Groups logo

Facebook Groups logo

Different groups achieve this at different points in time. We have a sports group run for a client that has nearly 2,200 members and gets 2–3 posts daily from group members. It is now attracting ‘commercial’ elements such as an advert for privately owned equipment listed for sale.

Interestingly, that one post opened a floodgate of listings from others. It seems as though people felt that ‘permission’ had been given to dive in and sell to the group.

The client runs the group in public at his expense and he refrains from selling into the group more than once a month for his own products. It was clearly time for an intervention and setting boundaries about what is acceptable behaviour in this group environment.

3 Types of ‘Sales Pitch’

1) The first was the lady who listed the equipment for sale. I messaged her privately and she told me that despite getting a huge reaction from the group, it was a private sale and she sold it to a friend, offline. We let this pass as just a one-off. Clearly every member of the group won’t be listing items weekly.

2) The second was a lady who runs an Instagram account through which she gives ‘free training programmes’. We checked out what she does and came to the decision that she’s not making a living out of this. And so I am classifying her as a ‘volunteer’. But her actions need to be curtailed because regular postings promoting her services (even though they are free) would upset the balance of the discussion dynamic already established.

Actions to mitigate impact

We messaged the Instagram lady privately, explaining she can publish her stuff on the website via an existing ‘submit post’ feature where community notices are published. This is important because although it publishes to the blog, it is set up to avoid getting into the newsletter, the Facebook page and other communications channels. She does get indexed by the SEO spiders, gets link backs, but does not get referenced or categorised in the archive.

3) By contrast, the third type of pitch was a post by a commercial sports professional trainer. When we reviewed it, we found it is definitely a paid promotion designed to recruit readers from the client’s Facebook group into HER email list and commercial program.

Actions to Arrest Unwanted Activity

First I turned off comments on this post. Nobody can add to them, and this helps prevent Facebook showing it in feed updates. We also removed all her replies in the comments because they linked to her programme over and over again.

Then we wrote to her privately asking her to get in touch by email so she can pay to promote her products on our platforms, along with other commercial retailers (the website is advertising supported). I am waiting to see what her reply to this Facebook message will be – if she’s contrite and apologetic, I’ll leave her post published; if she takes no action to reply or is aggressive and rude, I’ll delete it and block her from the group.

Behavioural boundaries are yours to define

The underlying logic is that commercial enterprises pay, and volunteers can get access as part of the goodwill of the group. The commercial publicist had made no effort to engage and join in the group discussion – she just joined, dove in and started selling. That’s not how this group rolls.

Making the rules for the group is part of good practice in community management. You can publicise these with a pinned post, or a message to new members explaining what is and is not acceptable.

Enforcing the boundaries will help you to create the group and community YOU want. Know what actions you will take if the boundaries are crossed and also understand how to take discussions into a private space – you don’t want to have a public argument while you try to explain your motives. And you don’t even need to explain them, only the acceptable behaviours.

This article first appeared on NZ Entrepreneur Magazine  

testimonials, creative agency secrets, rebecca caroe

Giant thanks for this testimonial

Campbell Naish, Partner at export strategy and marketing consultancy Katabolt, wrote a generous testimonial for Creative Agency Secrets.  Many thanks!

Rebecca provided Katabolt with a valuable specialised set of marketing recommendations with a specific focus on services which was a great match with what we needed. Her B2B expertise and international experience and perspective helped our team refocus marketing plans and bring new skills into the fold. Thanks

testimonials, creative agency secrets, rebecca caroe

Read other Testimonials or see our Client List

Have you got a strategy in place for testimonials?

Every business needs a strong plan of action to get and publish testimonials for the business from creative agency secrets review, testimonialcustomers and clients.  As the internet becomes the strongest recommendation engine, because it’s easily searched and free to use, your business MUST get a strong profile in places where testimonials and reviews can be seen and shared.

Don’t forget that recent reviews are more powerful than old ones.  So this is a tactic you need to implement weekly or monthly.

Read this Case Study – 3 ways to increase referrals which should give you some ideas for your business.

TrustPilot is a great review site

We implemented TrustPilot for an ecommerce client who needed to improve visibility of its amazing customer service.  Based around the world, TrustPilot has local sites for each country – this one was in the UK.  The integration of their free version with ecommerce platform was seamless – every time a customer buys, they are invited to leave a review a fixed time period after the purchase is complete.

As a mail order business, the time delay between online purchase and receiving goods can be a while and so the flexibility to specify when the review request email is sent was appreciated.

On the reviews page, you can respond to each one which gives full visibility to your prompt response to feedback.  And when you upgrade to the paid version, the option to enable reviews by product, not just for the company as a whole, gives a host of new options.

 

Read more blog posts about Step 5 Relationship Development by clicking the image below – it will take you to that category on our blog.  Teach yourself how to build relationships with people who will bring new custom to your business.

Symbol for relationship development

how to get subscribers to my email newsletter

How to Get Subscribers to My Email Newsletter?

I just started a curated newsletter about personal finance for millennials. Each issue includes 10 curated articles from various sources about investing, budgeting, paying off loans, and etc. I do not have any subscribers yet.

Well done – getting started.

Focus on Your Marketing Assets

Let’s help you work out the key answers you need:  Start with answering these questions.

  1. Do you have a website?
  2. On your website how do you invite subscription?
  3. Have you got social profiles?
  4. On your social profiles, how do you invite subscriptions?

So you’ve guessed, you need to get people to visit a place on the web which you own (website / social profiles) and then invite them to join your newsletter. Consider what ‘offer’ you can make which is attractive to them in addition to getting the articles. Sumo.com has a good WordPress plugin for subscriptions. Also check out Push Notifications as many sites prefer this as subscribers won’t share their email address. I wrote this article about Notifications

Things for you to GrowthHack test

Once you have started the newsletter and finding subscribers, you need to work on continuously improving your offer and the means for people to join it.  Growth hacking is the process of improvement and measurement.

  1. Is 10 articles too few / too may / just right?
  2. What offer can you make to subscribers?
  3. How are you monetising your newsletter?
  4. Which brands can you collaborate with to grow your list with theirs in a joint venture arrangement?
  5. What are your key metrics and ideal customer profile?

Now grow your profile

Get known by answering questions in public which relate to your issue (Financial services) and your audience (millennials).  By showing off your knowledge and linking back to your website or social profile, you can encourage people to remember your brand and respond – starting discussions, which further allow you to show off your expertise.

  1. Good places to start are Reddit and Quora search for questions on your topics of interest e.g. student loans.  Also find niche financial services websites and discussion forums
  2. And also use Google Alerts to search and email you links to places where your key words are being added to the internet
  3. Bookmark websites where these show up regularly.  Approach them and ask if you can write a guest article with a link-back to your website

Good luck and keep up the good work.

This answer was originally posted on Clarity.fm

Creative Agency Secrets live chat icon

Increase customer engagement through live chat

How can you increase customer engagement through live chat on your website?

Creative Agency Secrets live chat icon

Creative Agency Secrets live chat icon

 

A question I received and I thought the answers given were intriguing.  Because after the obvious answers, yes it should engage – because people talking to people, if done respectfully, should successfully answer questions and possibly transact sales.  But the risk here is for marketers to try to create inappropriate outcome measures like ‘engagement’ from customer service activities.

More people on the site should chat with the live chat representatives.  These are real people.  Don’t even think of trying to use bots.  It undermines your brand – unless that’s what your brand values are – robotic.

Use more than one chat option

I would also recommend adding Facebook Messenger as a second live chat option. So many people use it in their private lives, it can be used to build trust with your brand in a medium the customer is already familiar with.

Try this integration for Messenger [disclaimer – I’ve never tried it].

Create a secondary output from chat

We have a mantra to “Write once: Use Three Times”.  And chat is a great source of content for marketing.

We recommend using the chat interactions as source material for your content marketing. Every question should become an FAQ answer.  And a blog post.  And part of your product descriptions, and and and.

Did you know that you can also build a mailing list using the Facebook pixel from your Messenger interactions?

Using this, you can do push messaging using FB straight into Messenger which is an awesome replacement for email marketing.  Particularly as many lists are suffering high unsubscribe rates from customers with over-loaded inboxes.

Happy to discuss further if you need.

Read more on related topics by clicking the icons below

Symbol for marketing communications Symbol for relationship development Symbol for creating new business opportunities

Ghost Street interactive agency

Building Trust with Clients

New clients take a bit of work – you have to work hard to get to know them and they you.

Ghost Street interactive agency

Ghost Street logo

Having been part of the BizDojo community we were lucky to meet a host of great folks in the co-working space on K Road.

So it’s always a delight when we get to re-connect in the interests of client work.

Not only does it look good to be able to say “we know them already” but it builds trust with both parties and also some strong marketing too.

Nice work, Tim Dawson of Ghost Street and fun to be collaborating.

Networks of networks

Which makes me think about questions I have had this past fortnight about the networks which work for me and where and how I find them.

Challenging – because when I moved to Auckland I knew few people. So here are the ones which I find useful for meeting smart folks who think, challenge, may become clients and have good things which I’m interested in hearing others talk about….

Which are your go-to meetings, groups and influencers? Please add to the list.

 

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 4 – Profile RaisingStep 5 – Relationship Development and Step 6 – Opportunity Spotting.

Click on each icon to see more posts in that category.

Symbol for profile raising as part of new business developmentSymbol for relationship developmentSymbol for creating new business opportunities

Step 5: Relationship Development

Step 5: Relationship development

This fifth step is where the hard work, diligence and persistence pay off in your search for success in new business development.

People buy from people they know, like and trust and so having an active relationship with prospects who remember your name when they want to and can get in touch with you easily when they want to is very important.

How memorable is your business?

People are forgetful. What are the ways that prospects use to remember your business?

I know people save the newsletters that I mail out. I find people write replies to Newsletters that I sent months ago and the reason is that they keep them “just in case” they need to get in touch again. Many businesses do not use a business database and this is a shortcoming.

There are many ways to stay in touch with people and it’s beneficial, as your mailing list grows, for you to have some that are semi-automated and do not require a lot of your time in order to fulfil.

Good examples of these are autoresponders and newsletters. We also use social media as a way of staying in front of people we have a set-and-forget process of feeding RSS feeds through to our social media profiles so that we can appear to stay ahead of the news and on top of new developments even though we are not actually watching social media every hour of the day!

Staying memorable

Every business owner should have some form of regular networking in their diary. This could be as simple as a trade professional membership group, your chamber of commerce, or some specialist group for your area of expertise. Meeting people regularly is a very good way of staying front of mind. But beware, these people must be your prospects, not your competitors!

One way to find out if you are doing well in your relationship development is to track the number of new people we put into the business database. I collect business cards from as many people as I can who I think maybe of potential future interest to the business. This includes suppliers as well as prospective clients.

How and where do you get business cards? And what do you do with them?

It is important to have a careful plan to stay in touch with new people you meet. Some of them you want to spend time with and have a slowly developing individual relationship, others you can use mass communication. When planning your marketing, you need to think through these processes and organise all the communications necessary.

I have two special face-to-face relationship development techniques which I use. One is my circle of influence. The other is unhurried conversations.

A circle of influence is a small group of people who regularly feed new work through to us. These are people in parallel businesses whose services precede ours in the business service cycle. I meet with them on a quarterly basis or speak to them on the phone and they send us new enquiries and we are also able to reciprocate work back to them.

Unhurried conversations work on a slightly different format. It is a social event in the evening where I gather a group of interesting people around our board table for some afterwork drinks and nibbles. We use a format whereby only one person may speak any time. This forces everyone to listen carefully to what is being said. There is no agenda. The conversation takes whatever direction it wants to go. Learn more about the unhurried conversations format at this website. It is interesting that in this busy age of connected people and individuals so many people value a slower pace of talk, chat and interaction. Working at the slower pace allows my guests to take their time in thinking and considering whether they might work with us.

In summary – formalise all methods of building relationships between the business staff and prospective customers.

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

How well do you really know your audience?

Do you know what their interests are, what they want and need? Sure, we’d like to think it’s all about us and our brand. But there are strategies to reach your audience in a way that will get them engaged in you and your brand that goes beyond the surface of what you think they want from you. There are tried and true ways for you to know your audience better.

What’s your common denominator?

Find out what you have in common with your audience so you can be the brand that they trust. Engage them to keep them coming back to you. If you’re a marketing communication manager, in public relations, an agency marketer or have done the Audience Industries Sequoia curriculum, you should understand what to do, how and when you need to to make sure your audience comes back to you… every time.

Get to know your audience better with Audience Industries Circles

Audience Industries is coming to a town near you in May and are bringing Circles with them. Really good news for you. The course is broken up into 7 modules that will help you to really get to know your audience. Audience Industries wants to show you how to bring your audience to you, over and over again. Keep them coming back by speaking their language, learning their paths and optimize your ads to deliver maximum value for your site. Because we know, it’s all about the money.

Here’s what’s in store for you if you sign up for Circles:

  • Module 1: Learn what your audience has in common with you
  • Module 2: Be the brand/business that your audience trusts
  • Module 3: Find out what your audience wants and needs
  • Module 4: Break down the elements of compelling stories and apply them to YOUR story
  • Module 5: Understand what makes your audience take actions on your site and use the information for good
  • Module 6: Get the strategies that create likes, clicks, shares… real engagement on your social media channels
  • Module 7: What you should know before you optimize your ads

Sound like something your business needs?

We thought it might. That’s why founders Dan Morris and Rachel Martin are bringing Audience Industries to New Zealand for the second time. The Circles curriculum is coming to these big NZ cities this May, so book your tickets now while there’s still time:

It’s not just the Circles curriculum that’s coming to town.

If you think the Circles curriculum is good… you’re right! But Audience Industries has 3 other curricula that we think you should take a look at, too, to help you grow your business in an online world. Read more about the Audience Industries NZ Tour from Creative Agency Secrets to see just what else you can learn from Dan and Rachel. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to grow you business revenue online! Book your tickets for a city near you now.