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How retailers can differentiate customers

This photo was shared by the famous author, Susan Cain.  She noted “There’s an introvert on the customer services team.”

Her world view is all focused on explaining to the majority of the population who are extroverts how the minority (introverts) prefer to be treated.

Treat different customers differently by Sephora retail

Skilful marketers treat different customers differently

Face to face retail is different from online retail.  Online, the customer wanders where she wants, unhindered except by popups and tracking cookies – she’s unaware of one of these most of the time.

But in shops, it’s different.  Many sales assistants are paid on commission – this drives their behaviours.  And without a customer to speak to they risk not getting a commission payment.

When I worked the shop floor [Harrods, Burberrys] and now when I go to Trade Shows, I developed a technique which was successful for me.

I would make eye contact with the customer prospect, smile, and then look away first.  Sometimes I also said ‘Hi’.

Why did this method customer engagement work?

Firstly, I made the customer aware that I was there and could help if needed.

Secondly, by looking away first I left them in control of any future re-engagement.  They could choose to ignore me and I had signalled that this was fine, that they had no obligation to respond or engage with me.

Back to Sephora

A comment under Susan Cain’s post said

While I understand that we are not all extroverts, is it really that hard to say no thanks when asked if you require help? Perhaps it is? Perhaps one solution would be to changes the words. Red”Happy to be approached for you to assist me” Black “Thanks for not approaching me, I would love your assistance when I ask for it”

And this was my reply

It’s not the “hard” aspect that matters, Debbie. It is the quiet lack of interruption in the shopping experience and the energy it takes to interact when you’d prefer not to.

I am married to an introvert and I have had to do a lot of learning.

Plus, enabling ways for brands to “treat different customers differently” is not just about Susan Cain‘s introverts versus extroverts angle.  There are many ways.

I did a website design for a real estate agent.  2 buttons on the home page – I’m Buying – I’m Selling.  They go to separate customer journeys…. with different messaging.

Retail customer segmentation challenge

If you run a retail business, where can you enable simple ways to allow customers to self-identify into different groups who want / need to be treated differently?

Adoption curves for MarTech

This past week has seen a “Sweeper Wave” of coinciding reading and researches which tell me one new thing – podcasting for business content marketing is now going mainstream.

First let me explain the sweeper waves – I was on holiday on the Coromandel Coast and a sea swell off the west coast caused occasionally huge waves to come right up the beach nearly to the high tide mark – even when the tide was half out.  These had large volumes of water inside them and so had great forward momentum and a strong undertow when they receded.  While I watched, people paddling knee deep got caught off guard and swept off their feet and the wave also soaked their clothes higher up the beach – one lady broke her hip being tumbled by the wave and the air ambulance was called out.

podcast studio, auckland podcast, podcast for business, NZ podcasts

I reflected on the sweeper waves and see them as a metaphor for change in marketing and business.

Hemingway’s insight into change (or bankruptcy) is that it happens slowly and then all at once.  They key is knowing whether what you are seeing is at the early-adopter or just-going-mainstream stage.  I have followed the rise of electric vehicles assiduously since watching Tony Seba’s illustration of Fifth Avenue, New York.  These two photos are taken 13 years apart.  What happened in between?  Change.  Disruption.

[Side note, Tony is an investor in New Zealand startups]

Like a sweeper wave, some people get caught unawares.  My attempt to avoid this is to watch out for “recurring themes” in tech, marketing, and business.  The rest of this article is about my recent finds.  Some connect, others are remarkable for different reasons.  

I’ve been podcasting since 2013 and during the latter part of 2018 I saw major brands using the medium for their content marketing – McKinsey, The Economist Intelligence Unit and CapGemini.  This tells me that content marketing is expanding into the audio medium.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this.  Few brands have enough to say that doesn’t involve their competitors (which they are probably unwilling to discuss in public forum) compared to independent commentators who can speak more freely.  And this fact alone will deter many brands from podcasting.  There are other opportunities for content marketing using audio which are less ’traditional’ than a weekly radio show which brands can usefully use.

My podcast interview with Bob Weir author of “Why Businesses Fail” was published by Access Granted NZ.  His book is a must-read for founders, investors and board members for the insights into the human psyche and how it contributes to business. Business failures are usually preceded by identifiable problems.  Analysing problems at the macro level was an observation which led to me writing Problem Solving for Marketing. The insight connecting these is that correctly identifying the type of problem first, aides finding the right solution.  Is your business situation a “mess”; a “problem”; or a “puzzle”?

If you use email marketing and CRM in your business, here is a very nicely written summary of how one startup uses funnels, lead nurturing, and incorporating Net Promotor Score too.  I don’t know the team but they are a young venture and so starting from scratch has advantages.  A word of warning; anecdotally, Active Campaign is said to be less user-friendly than other comparable software.  [If you want to compare software user views, always check out Trust Radius run by Vinay Baghat – it’s independent and user-led.] 

And although this case study looks amazing, very few brands that I meet use automation, business process flows or sales funnels to this extent.  How does this reflect on the adoption curve for CRM, which I was working on with Peppers and Rogers back in 1997?  Maybe some firms will never use marketing automation or sales lead scoring.

Writing a presentation for the Penrose Business Association brought me to confront my lack of skill using traditional presentation software.  I have found two alternatives Beautiful and Stun, one American and the other Kiwi.  

Finally – the joke’s on you for the Mars Rover whose batteries may have died after 15 years – Brendan Boughan’s Cartoons by Jim captures it perfectly. and flashes back to 1997 when we first got Mars fever and the creatives at HP had a similar vibe going.  One of my favourite laugh-out-loud adverts of the time.

What CRM Tools Are Best Used With Google

Which CRM Tools Are Best Used With Google

As a business owner, you want the best for your sales team. One of the things that you can provide them to help them focus on doing what they do best (bring in more sales for your company) is a Google CRM.

Okay, you might think that it isn’t something new, you’ve heard about Customer Relationship Management software before. But, Google CRM isn’t your ordinary CRM tool as it integrates with Google’s suite of apps smoothly. That said, tracking conversations between the CRM and Gmail, for example, becomes possible.

Instead of bringing trouble, CRM software should help your sales and marketing team close more deals, increasing the revenue of your business in the long run. However, since most companies have dozens to hundreds of sales reps, the CRM keeps up by offering way too many features. Is it a good thing? It should be, but it often ends up becoming more of a trouble, primarily when not utilised properly.

If it’s streamlining the use of a CRM tool that you want, then choose those that you can integrate with Google without any problem. You can start with a Google CRM free tool and upgrade later on as you begin to identify more needs for your company.

This post will show you the top three best CRM tools that you can use with Google. Check them out below.

1.Zoho

Social media integration, sales insights, and, of course, G Suite integration, are what Zoho offers. It serves as an all-in-one platform, aligning your marketing and sales team.

Using real-time data coming from different sources, like marketing campaigns, social media engagements, as well as email, your company can target and prioritise prospects. If you want to start closing deals using different channels through an all-in-one CRM tool that can integrate with all Google apps, then Zoho is right for you.

What CRM Tools Are Best Used With Google

What CRM Tools Are Best Used With Google

You can start with a Free plan with Zoho, which will give you contact management features, 1 GB storage, and social integration. The free subscription also allows three users at max. To enjoy additional features, such as email insights, forecasting, and lead scoring, you have to upgrade to the Standard plan, which will cost your company only twelve dollars a month. Should you wish to avail of the Professional Subscription, you’ll enjoy social-to-lead capture, plus LinkedIn and Twitter interaction for twenty dollars every month.

2.Streak

If you want a CRM tool that’s very easy to understand, Streak is worth checking out. The CRM also features email tracking, giving you the chance to know if someone has already opened those emails you’ve sent or not yet.

Aside from the email open tracking feature, Streak also offers contextual reminders, delayed-send emails to cater to prospects and customers from different timezones, scheduling, templates, as well as mail merges. You can also check the status of your sales process through charts and graphs, giving you useful data visualisations.

Checking emails, even if you’re not part of the thread, is also possible with a collaborative email. Contextual data in your inbox will also let you see notes alongside emails, together with account information.

The pricing for Streak will depend on what level of subscription you choose. You can use its basic functionality using the free personal level subscription. You can pay forty-nine dollars per month for the professional level and enjoy more features. If you want a ton more support, the enterprise level will be a perfect choice.

3.Agile

If you want a contact management system with robust marketing automation, social media integrations, and, of course, G Suite integration, Agile could be the best choice. Aside from managing your leads and contacts, the CRM also allows the creation of customised campaigns and placing event triggers using text and email.

Agile CRM has three subscription plans –the free, starter, and regular. You can have ten users in the free subscription, together with email campaigns, lead scoring, contact management, and Gmail/G Suite integration.

If you’re going to upgrade, the starter plan will cost your company $9.99 every month, while the regular subscription requires a $39.99 monthly payment.

The Bottom Line – Your Choice

Whether you’re in a contact’s record or your email inbox, the Google CRMs mentioned in this post make communication easy by integrating with Gmail and the G Suite applications.

You can sync, track, and schedule your Gmail inbox based on the action of your prospect or customer. You can also enjoy features, such as visitor tracking, lead intelligence, and email automation, among others.

The best Customer Relationship Management tools above, which you can use with Google, will revolutionise your marketing campaigns, increases sales, and improve customer satisfaction in your business.

3 Ways to Improve Customer Retention

3 Ways to Improve Customer Retention

Are you looking to build a loyal following among your customers? Great marketing strategies brought them to you, but now it’s your job to keep them. Marketing can only do so much and it is important to understand that there is nothing more effective than customer care when seeking to grow your market. Poor customer service is one of the leading reasons why so many consumers hop from one company to the next, and if you want to keep your current customer base while adding new customers along the way, it would pay to focus on making improvements to customer retentions skills.

Here are 3 of the most important to begin with.

1. Stop Talking and Start Listening

Sometimes it’s hard to stop talking about the products or services you are promoting because you, personally, know what they can do and how effective they are. Unfortunately, all the benefits you might be talking about may not be what the customer is looking for. Instead of giving them a sales pitch, why don’t you listen to exactly what it is they are looking for? What brought them to you may not be what they need, but by listening to them you may be able to provide them with an alternative solution. Consumers are literally fed up with high powered sales techniques and above all, they want to be heard!3 Ways to Improve Customer Retention 1

2. When You MUST Talk – Give Them Something of Value

Sometimes you don’t need to say very much at all if you can point your customers in the direction of where they can find the information they are seeking.

For example, you are explaining a new electronic device your company just launched and a very important feature is the amazing circuitry on the printed circuit board or PCB. Many consumers are technologically challenged, so why not provide an extensive FAQ on your website? Give them information on exactly what a printed circuit board is and why its design is a critical element in your device. Perhaps any safeguards you’ve built in against hardware Trojans can be mentioned so they will know that you care about their security as well as making the almighty buck!

And Air New Zealand helps its customers work out what sort of holiday they prefer using a simple quiz.  This groups customers into segments which will affect future messaging and content served to them.  Gamifying customer segments increases engagement and helps customers to self-identify as different to the brand.

3. Improve Your Own Knowledge

It’s important at this point to know the difference between a consumer who knows little about electronics, for example, and a consumer who is market savvy. Just because they don’t know what a PCB is or how its design can impact the device you are promoting, doesn’t mean they can tell the difference between a salesman and a tech-savvy associate! If you want to retain customers, it pays 3 Ways to Improve Customer Retention 2to learn as much as you can about the products and/or services you offer. You never know when that one answer to an important question a customer comes back with next week is the main reason they stay with your company for future sales.

In the end, it’s all about hearing what your customers are saying so that you can give them well-informed answers to any questions which might arise. If they can believe in you, the person they are communicating with, they can believe in your company. Salesforce says that as many as 70% of customers look for that all-important connection. Do you want to retain customers you’ve sold? Listen to what they are saying! Sometimes, it’s as simple as that.