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Networking allows you to create a personal brand for yourself. After all, you are marketing and trading your expertise, position, and knowledge for the same offered by others around you. Creating a strong personal brand can take years of effort and contribution.

But, when it comes down to it, how do you determine if your brand is strong enough to make people want to join your network?

The following pointers will help:

1. You Thrive On Maximum Interaction

For you, communication is key. You interact, communicate, and respond to every question, problem, or request thrown your way. Your communication encourages your followers to do the same and promote you as a strong and valuable contact.

2. You Are Getting More Than You’re Giving

Because you’ve made it a point to be available for your network whenever they need you, you’ve reached a point where your two-way street of networking is driving organic traffic. Most of it will be coming your way as the ones you’ve helped along the way start returning the favor.

3. Your Followers Turn to You for Professional Help and Advice

You’ve kept a tradition of prompt replies, worthy solutions, and valuable advice. Your followers find it easier to approach you for their issues. They place trust and confidence in your knowledge and expertise. You can’t ask for more. When people are coming to you, then you have a good brand on your shoulders.

4. You Have Focus and Direction

You are not posting and tweeting everything you find. You focus on keeping your topics and ideas relevant. You want to make sure everything with your name on it is directed at a specific audience – your network. Your social media topics are authentic and valuable to the intended users.

5. You’re Always Thinking Of Collective Progress

You take the time to publish useful, high-quality content for your followers to benefit. You are investing time and money in resources and tools that can help you improve your brand activities, and maintain your position in the industry. That does not go unseen by your followers.

6. You’re Widely Recommended

It is one thing to be recognized by new people in the industry, but when people on the same, or higher, level of expertise recommend and recognize you as a brand – that’s a completely different level of achievement. It means you’re on the right track.

6.5. Keep Improving

It is great to have people looking up to you; trying to connect with you – but you need to remind yourself that this is just the beginning. Achieving a strong personal brand is easier than maintaining it over the long run. This is why it is important to consistently improve your personal brand. Here’s what you can do to maintain it:

  • Be humble. It’s crucial to admit that you’re not an expert at everything, and it’s all right to ask help from others when needed – even if it’s someone you have been mentoring from the beginning.

  • Don’t wait for others to come to you. Reach out to others. Reaching out to help others can give you good exposure and promote your reputation as a people person.

  • Establish yourself as an authority on subjects you are most passionate and knowledgeable. You can take on public speaking engagements or develop content (blog) to help others in the industry learn from your expertise on the matter.

network

 

Have you been facing trouble trying to connect with your network lately?

Networking is a two-way street. When someone in your network asks, “What can I do for you?” What they really mean is “What can you do for me?” Networks build value on the mutual benefits its members can extend to each other. Without mutual benefit, there is little reason to carry on with this self-marketing strategy.

If it has been a long time since you connected with anyone in your network, there’s a possibility your network finds less value in networking with you – likely because you are networking with them.

So, how do you find out if you are a poor networker? Check out the following clues that might tell you that you should focus on your networking skills.

1. People in Your Network Never Return Your Calls

It happens quite often – you call someone in your network and get no response. You try calling their business number, and their assistant responds he/she will forward the message. But, do you receive a callback? NO! The person may be avoiding you.

2. People in Your Network Have Been “Busy”

You bump into a person at a networking event. Obviously, they can’t feign being unavailable while at the event, so they come up with the most commonly used excuse, “I’m so sorry for not returning your calls. I’m swamped at work since my promotion.” Sure, this happens. However, if it happens frequently, with many people in your network you should take this as a sign.

3. You No Longer Feel Inspired

None of your contacts seem enthusiastic or pumped up about anything, not even a potential business prospect. Are you to blame? Or, did people in your network collectively figure out that you don’t have much to offer?

4. People in Your Network Do Not Pay Attention

You’re at a business event, with your “network friends,” discussing an opportunity you may have. But, no one is interested. Client “A” was yawning, “C” and “D,” think it isn’t really that great, and “B” has constantly been eyeing another potential contact – red flags!

5. People in Your Network Make New Friends, but Don’t Introduce You

You are with your networking buddies, and they’re talking about this person they know, but you don’t. Why haven’t they introduced you to him? While not introducing you may have been an oversight, if they make no attempt, you might consider this a clue.

6. You Find It Difficult to Create Opportunities

You’ve activated several of your contacts in an attempt to find and create better prospects for growth and success for your business. But, you haven’t heard from them since. Should you be worried? Possibly. If you have not received a response, then your business ideas may not be considered a value to your network.

6.5 Go Ahead and Add Value to Your Network

Don’t wait for things to improve; immediately get to work. This may seem like a monumental task upfront, but you can break it down into three simple benchmarks.

  • Reach Out. Start giving. Try and help the people around you and in your network to lay stronger, more meaningful foundations for genuine relationships. Connect those people who can add value to each other’s professional lives.

  • Mentor. There will always be industry newbies looking for guidance. Take them under your wing and nurture them with your experience. This investment will pay off in the long run.

  • Make Valuable Contributions. Share your experience, pool of contacts, and knowledge. Become a central source of worthy contributions and see how that makes you valuable to others.

cube

We all know the importance of having a good social nd professional network. Networking is emphasized again and again in any business or career-related book or blog you read. Networking is important, but it has to be the right network. The concept of networking yourself is like driving a car. If you want to reach a place, you simply drive there; but, if you don’t have a destination in mind and start driving in any direction, you are only wasting your time. Networking has to be value-adding for it to be worth your time. Here’s how you can ensure the network you build is adding value:

1 – Identify Key Players

If you want a network that can give you an edge over your competition, you will need to fill your network with key players – people who have the power to influence others and promote you. Often, key players will be obvious. It is easy to see that you need to be in touch with people in upper management as well as people in executive positions. Formal and informal leaders at every level are valuable. Diversifying your network is one of the most valuable techniques you can use.

2 – Network Downward

The biggest mistake people make when networking is that they only attempt to network upward; i.e. with people who have larger responsibilities and designations than them. Exclusive upward networking is the easiest way to have a network that seems golden but is, in truth, ineffective. If you are in a bind or need a favor, are you going to call an executive in another company? Networking upward has great benefits for career growth, while networking downward has great knowledge and insider benefits.

3 – Provide Value

The easiest way to have a network that adds value is to become a person who provides value. You don’t have to go around helping people; if you provide support to your network. The news that you are a useful person will spread throughout your network and others. Being the go-to person is always a valuable asset.

4 – Fun Matters

When you’re networking professionally, you need to keep things fun. You don’t have to be unprofessional, but you can be less formal. Back when smoking was a more popular occurence, there was always a manager in organizations who had more clout with underlings than any other manager simply because he/she smoked in the smoking room along with the others and had built a good repertoire with others.

5 – Check in with People

A good way to ensure your network is beneficial is to keep communication open with people. If you are young, most of your peers will text more often than one-on-one or phone discussions. If you are older, then you likely call or meet for coffee to enhance your network communication. Often, during these interactions, people will hear about opportunities and will have the chance to recommend someone. If you promote communication, you’ll be on the minds of those in your network.

6 – Never get Involved in Drama

Just because a network consists of professionals, doesn’t mean there won’t be drama within the group. You need to remain neutral and fair. When the dust settles, people are going to remember who took what side. The people who stay neutral will be in the best position because they can continue being friends with everyone. Staying neutral is a good way to ensure your network grows instead of dividing.

6.5 – Be the Addition to the Network you want

Set the precedent in your network by treating others equally fair and acting in the way you feel all members of your network should work.

 

 

customer value

‘Customer is always right’ is probably one of the most common clichés in the history of consumer services. Apple’s customer services are always regarded as extraordinary and exemplary. However, the brand has to go several extra miles to achieve this success.

Following are some easy and quick ways to give value to your customers and show them that they are always right.

  1. Establish Customer Support System

Many brands design their personal apps for convenient communication with the customers. The apps anticipate the customer queries and automate the brand responsiveness.

  1. Share Information with Your Customers

Most of the brands share positive updates and brand progress with their customers. Asking for ideas and opinions of the customers not only helps generate great customer feedback but it also makes the customers feel valued. Social media, emails, and short service messages are good sources for sending out the information to your customers.

  1. Include the Customer-Favorite Phrases in Your CSR Policy

While training your social media and customer service representatives, make sure to educate them about the customer-favorite phrases. Some of the phrases include these.

  • I can surely solve this problem.
  • How can I help you?
  • Don’t worry! I will take care of this problem.
  • I am taking the responsibility of this problem.
  • It will be definitely according to your requirement/demand.
  • I really appreciate your responsibility.

When customers issue their problems, they expect you to solve them at any cost. Phrases like but, however, I guess, and such create a negative impact. If you feel that you may not be able to solve the issue then don’t say ‘I can’t’. You can address such problems in a different way.

For example, ‘I am sure I will solve this very soon. For best services, I request you to give me a little time to sort this out.’

  1. Let Customers Know When You Do More

You might already be marketing your services and appreciating your employees. However, it is highly important to let your customers know when you are going an extra mile for them. The key is to make your customers realize that you are the ‘one’ who will do extra to provide excellent services in a competitive market.

  1. Surprise Your Customers

An old an inactive customer would love to receive a hand-written note from your brand. Similarly, giving gifts with celebrity signatures is also an expression of gratitude. The customers love to see your brand personalized for them and feel valued.

Along with these tips, never say ‘no’ to a customer. Keep the options open to make the customer realize that they are always right.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com

attract customers

Nowadays, businesses are more inclined towards giving their branding strategies a personalized touch, as personal branding has proved to be an excellent way to attract customers and boost sales. Personal branding comes with a few keystrokes purposed to switch a job or profession, seeking promotion or new clients, or attracting new customers. Personalizing your brand helps retain your existing customers, along with attracting new ones. Here are some tips in this regard.

Use Social Media to Build an Image Like a Pro

Your online brand presence greatly depends on your social media communication strategies, as they must focus on establishing a positive public image. For example, posting videos like public speaking helps establish a leader’s image. Similarly, sharing your personal life on social networks like Facebook and Twitter helps build the public’s trust in you.

Communicate Directly

Giving value to your customers and clients strengthens the foundations of your personal brand. Direct communication includes relating your personal brand with your customers, their cultures, and stereotypes.

  • In order to relate with the customers, post your social media comments and views by individualizing the customers. For example, “The respectful citizens of…”.
  • There are a number of ways to relate with the cultures. Angelina Jolie wears the traditional clothes of the countries she visits. Justin Trudeau celebrates the special occasions and traditions with people belonging to different cultures and posts the pictures on social media. Customize your messages according to the occasions, traditions, cultures, accomplishments, and people.
  • In order to relate with the victims of stereotyping, you can raise your voice against such social stereotypes.

Share Authentically

While Roger Ebert was fighting his crippling cancer, he was also consumed with fear over losing his battle. He won more public trust and love when he started sharing his fear with the public because of his authenticity and honesty. The act of sharing aspects of your personal life including happiness, accomplishments, fears, vulnerabilities, and such creates a bond between you and the customers.

Hire a Social Media Publicist and Visual Artist

A social media publicist is a professional who helps you co-create your personal brand. The specialty of a social media publicist lies in the fact that they help craft a public image based on how you want the world to see you. The effectiveness of their services increase when you hire a visual artist – a professional who knows the tactics of adding impact and emotion to simple images.

The combined effect of both, helps you design text and visual content that is imperative for building positive digital persona, attracting customers, and associating your personal brand with the audiences.

Establish a Direct Network

You can use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to establish direct networking channels. The customers feel bonded with personal brands when they realize that their message directly approaches the brands. Make sure to always be available for advice and help. Be prepared to respond to clients individually.

Apart from these tips, try to maintain online and offline integrity and keep yourself safe from negative imagery. The content of the text and the body language displayed in the pictures should always align with the image you wish to convey. You should always be positive and open with your customers.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com

customer relations management

The customer relationship managers influence your relationship with the customers more than the taglines. They need to achieve their goals including retaining the established customer base, attracting new customers, persuading the customers to buy your products or render the services and conjuring them to transform into brand ambassadors and spread the word. Effective and timely problem resolution and excellent communication skills are the keys to excellent and satisfactory customer services.

However, you also need to include the following customer relations management skills when recruiting the employees or training and monitoring them.

Direct Marketing Skills

Improving your sales conversion rate is highly crucial to boost sales, expand customer base, and improve brand reputation in the market. Your organization spends time and money on the customers, and for boosting your Return on Investment, the customer relations manager needs to keep an eye on the sales conversion rate. The customer service representatives should be able to directly market your services and products while theconsuming the least possible time.

The Ability to Make Connections

The process of converting the prospects into customers requires exclusivity in establishing warm connections with friendly prospects as well as cold leads. Sometimes, a prospect may be friendly but unwilling to convert into a customer. Following are the two capabilities crucial to make connections.

  • The power of persuasion
  • The ability to motivate the prospects to climb up the ladder step-by-step

You may already be aware of the power of persuasion. The latter refers to a systematic process, essentially required to transform the ‘cold prospects.’ It includes:

  • Generating responses and callbacks in the first meeting
  • Inviting prospects to corporate events
  • Persuasive conversions with direct marketing

Skills of Establishing a Sales Funnel

Retaining your established customers along, with constantly adding new customers in your customer base, is critical for the growth of your business. This process is called creating customers. You need the knowledge and understanding of a sales funnel to create customers.

The sales funnel looks like a hierarchy with Leads on the top, Prospects in the middle, and Customers at the bottom of the hierarchy.

The first step is to attract leads. The sales process revolves around awareness and education about your brand, purchase evaluation, engagement of the customers, commitment of the engaged customers, purchase process, and converting the shoppers into repeat customers. A customer relations manager with a good understanding of the sales funnel is nothing less than an asset to your organization.

Entrepreneurship and Ambassadorship

The customer relations manager should be able to identify and mobilize the resources in order to convert the right people into leads and customers. The manager should be able to establish strong networks inside and outside the organization. The managers should have extensive knowledge of the products and services offered by the firm, along with the ability to establish a relation with the right type of offerings.

The customer relations managers can prove to be an invaluable organizational asset, useful for your business growth and expanding the customer base.

www.FreshCustomerService.com

Keeping Customers Happy

As a bitter reality, a hundred good customer reviews do not make the headlines but only one poor review could devastate your successfully growing business.

Chipotle has recently been in the news for its customer services. The poor customer reviews have dropped its recommendation scores by 17 points at YouGov BrandIndex. Chipotle was hovering at 84 recommended score before. Different customer queries brought important issues to light including the rude behavior of customer service representatives, unhygienic service, and such, which resulted in this downfall. According to a recent Bloomberg’s report, Chipotle’s sales have decreased by $10.3 million in the last quarter due to various cases of food poisoning, most of them occurred with Burrito buyers. Chipotle’s  slow reaction to this issue deepened the decline in it’s financial performance and brand reputation.

Here are some secret weapons to avoid customer service failure like Chipotle and keep your loyal customers happy.

Communicate Genuinely and Rightly

Loyal customers are the assets of a brand. According to the Forrester research, around 64% of the brands receive average or poor feedback from their customers. Another report claims that 37% of the customers are willing to pay extra for better customer services. This means that with poor customer services, your business may lose 37% of the customers.

The brands need to listen and evaluate the customer needs in order to address them. It is equally important for the customer service representatives and brands to accommodate the customer needs.

Genuine communication refers to utilizing all the types of resources to communicate with your customers at the right time. Attending events and exhibitions, quickly responding to customers’ queries on social media, and respecting your customers are a few tips to communicate genuinely with the customers.

Value them to the Point of Satisfaction

The brands lose their loyal customers when the customers become dissatisfied. When you lose a loyal customer, one brick of your business’s success is taken down. Therefore, it is highly important to keep your customers satisfied to retain them. There are two ways to achieve satisfaction.

  1. Resolve the problem to satisfy the customer
  2. Keep the customer hooked up until the problem is resolved

Add Personal Touch to Every Relation

Adding a personal touch makes the customers feel valued. For this, you need to communicate with the customers often and associate with them in a variety of ways. For example, send them cards on important events like birthdays and Christmas. Offer deals on special days like Mother’s Day.

Do Not Over-Promise

As explained earlier, you need to reach the point of satisfaction to retain the loyal customers. If you set the targets too high, the customers’ satisfactory needs will also rise up to that level. Be rationaland set realistic expectations only.

Show Gratitude

A positive attitude of the business towards customers is one of the important building blocks of long-term relationships. Your positive attitude includes:

  • Responsible problem resolution
  • Expression of customer value

The latter type includes saying thank you, expressing kindness, and expressing gratitude that makes the customers valued and establishes long-term relations.

Equip your brand and customer service representatives with these weapons to retain your loyal customers, establish positive brand reputation, and expand your business and customer base.

 

www.FreshCustomerService.com

branding

We all have a personal brand within our organization. Our personal brand is the set of values, work ethics, and personality traits associated with you in the perspective of others. We all have a brand while we are on-duty. We cannot be who we are in our free time while we are in office so we create a personality which fits better in office cultures. Sometimes the image we create ends up making us stagnate in our office. Promotions might go by, news might miss you, and you will be wondering what went wrong. If you are feeling that you are not considered competitive within your company look at the 5 ways you can tell for sure if it is happening.

1) You don’t get Problems to Solve Anymore

You might love the fact that your job is stress free since your work is simplified but complexity of work is often the best sign of people thinking you are competitive. When you are the best in the company you are assigned the toughest work. The better you are the worse issues you will be dealing with. When things go really bad the upper management always finds the person they trust the most to fix things. If you haven’t been given any such problems to solve in a long time it might be time to seek why.

2) You are no Longer in the Loop

When you are considered competitive you will know what is going on in the office. Even people who are not in an executive or upper management position often know about upcoming changes. This is because most managers confide in the employees they trust the most. If a big change occurs at your office and it appears that you were one of the few people who did not know the change was going to happen it is a bad sign.

3) People Check in on You

If you are asked many follow up questions about the tasks assigned to you it may be a sign that upper management might not have their full trust in you. When upper managers are worried that someone might not be fully up to the task they will check in on progress again and again. Do note that it is possible that the person asking too many questions might just be a micro manager.

4) Your Increments have slowed down

This is the biggest sign that there has been a change in perception about you. If the company is doing just as well as it was doing last year but the increase in your salary is less that it was last year. This means the company no longer has as much of a positive image of you as it did the last year.

5) You don’t get improvement projects

What was the last change you led in the office? When was the last time you were asked to take an initiative to improve the quality or productivity level of the people around you? When upper management thinks your personal brand is great they want to focus on you as the leader. They will give you committees, projects, meetings, and more in order to promote the type of attitude you have.

Note that while these show that your personal brand is not as competitive as it once was, you will only experience these if you were once competitive. The fact that you are still employed means that people still have faith in you. You just need to rework your brand and show some initiative to change your perception.

 

www.MyFreshBrand.com

bradndng strategy

There is no need to reiterate that your brand is your identity. However, maintaining this identity in the rapidly changing market trends could be very challenging. You may already be following the latest branding trends in 2016; however, those few old school branding strategies that are still a part of your marketing campaign may not be as effective today. Here are some old school branding strategies that you should get rid of as soon as possible.

  1. Branding is More than Just Taglines and Logos

The concept of rebranding previously revolved around redesigning your logo and introducing a new tagline. However, the introduction of social media and the transfer of advertising and public communication from hoardings, billboards, and TVCs to social networking sites have redefined the concept of branding. Now, the brand image depends on market reputation and customer feedback more than just taglines and logos.

  1. Branding Without Social Media Content Marketing

Social media content marketing has offered countless opportunities to multinational corporations. Some of the opportunities include sending the same message in a variety of ways, introducing new products to global audiences, creating a brand image, and gathering customer feedback. If social media content marketing is not included in your branding strategy, then it is time to review it.

  1. Relying on Inconsistency

One of the most common branding trends back in the day was to introduce something unique and different to get noticed. However, establishing or expanding your customer base primarily depends on consistency-based marketing strategies today. For example, Nike promises comfort and has introduced a wide range of shoes adhering to health problems.

Consistency is essential to build familiarity with the brand and establish loyal customer bases.

  1. Skimping on the Marketing Budget

Branding is the strongest tool for your business in competitive markets. Therefore, skimping on the marketing budget to save on the production costs is a mistake that could cost you a fortune.

  1. Using Inappropriate Graphics and Virtual Mistakes

Designing a non-vector logo, using irrelevant colors on your website, and using a website that is not mobile-optimized are some virtual world mistakes that may make you lose your leads. Going an extra mile to hire a professional website developer or graphic designer is definitely worth the effort.

  1. Prioritizing Products over Customer Services

While Wal-Mart introduced the concept ‘Customer is Always Right’; however, many companies continue to make the mistake of prioritizing their products over customer services. In present world, the power of a brand lies in its satisfactory customer services. Training your customer service representatives and establishing online customer response centers are the initial steps you need to take while remodeling your brand strategy.

  1. Not Associating the Brand with Human Emotions and Needs

Note that luxury is no longer an effective branding ingredient as it used to be. Human emotions and needs are now directly or indirectly associated with monetary terms like time and cost-effective shopping deals. You need to humanize your brand by associating it with human emotions and needs while remodeling your brand strategy.

In addition to avoiding these outdated strategies, make sure that you roll out rebranding ideas while keeping your customers informed. After all, an ‘informed customer is always right!’

 

www.MyFreshBrand.com

 

health1

 

In the third quarter of 2015, Hewlett-Packard laid off 10% of its employees, cutting 30,000 jobs in the workforce. According to the Fortune report, most of the layoffs have been reported in customer service and consulting and call center departments. According to HP’s CEO, Meg Whitman, the company may continue firing employees as it moves forward. Whitman took charge in 2011 and since then, the company has downsized by almost 88,000 jobs.

However, if you are also planning to cut jobs like HP, then have a look on these possible side effects.

Loss of Market Credibility

Downsizing is never a desired option for companies. However, the pitfalls of downsizing are way bigger and more today than in the past. As private organizations are choosing ‘blind recruitment’ and ‘recruitment without a university degree’ techniques for hiring new employees, downsizing your customer services could badly affect not only your customers but also your talent pool. This phenomenon could lead to shortage of talent for your company.

Loss of Customers’ Loyalty

You might have spent thousands of dollars to win customers’ loyalty, but cutting thousands of jobs from customer service could result in loss of loyal customers. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the customers start believing that your company is living on the edge and may not survive in the long run. Secondly, your brand starts losing its positive market reputation.

Instability in the Services

One of the most obvious pitfalls of cutting jobs in customer services is instability in the services. Laying off employees to manage your budgetary concerns may lead to reduced services on the scale. You may easily lose your customers if you fail to provide need-based services. Ultimately, the loss of customers will lead to reduced profits. In contrast, downsizing due to shrinking customer base is ideal to maintain your budget.

Weighing the Pros of Downsizing with Cons

Most of the people believe that financial restrictions are solely responsible for downsizing. However, there are numerous reasons for downsizing a company that sometimes lead to effective, productive and better customer services. Some other reasons of downsizing include:

  • Decreased customer base
  • Mismanagement due to imbalanced managerial and employee ratio
  • Reorganizing workforce to improve efficiency
  • Converting employee based organization into a leaner, better-managed enterprise
  • Switching jobs by downsizing one department and expanding the other
  • Shuffling resources by saving on recruitment and service costs to invest the money in productivity costs

When a company downsizes for a specific goal, it is called reengineering or reorganizing, and this is exactly what HP did. The concept of strategic downsizing evolved in 1980s. However, it is essential to remember that your company may suffer miserably if your strategic downsizing plan is miscalculated, or if it fails.

www.52CustomerServiceTips.com