Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
Volume 13: November 2012
Thoughts On The Customer: Reflections on 100 Blog Posts and Posting Frequency
This Monthly Mash is our 100th blog post, and I thought it would be a good time to discuss the concept of posting frequency. Currently, we publish twice a week here at CTS, and with a few minor hiccups, have consistently delivered a post every Monday and Thursday for awhile now.
However, 100 blog posts is a relative milestone, and even for a single author blog like CTS, it seems fairly insubstantial.
So, this 100th post has sparked some strategic analysis about a topic that many blogs struggle with: what is the optimal frequency of content delivery?
To begin, let’s look at the numbers.
At 2 posts per week, it takes Customers That Stick almost a full year to produce 100 posts.
As you can see, an incremental weekly increase adds up fast.
When evaluating this change, we also have to consider our niche. In the customer service/customer experience field, the content production per blog is much less on average (at least as far as I can tell) than it is in other fields such as marketing, social media or blogging.
Very few blogs, and no single author blogs, that I read in the custserv/custexp field clock in more than 3 times a week. In fact, most blogs, (ironically, considering what most preach about consistency in service) seem to be fairly inconsistent with content production.
Of course, the reason is obvious. In most cases, the blogs in the customer service sphere are more disconnected from the real world economic drivers of their authors than say those in marketing and social media.
In fact, the most consistently prolific blog I read regularly is not from the custserv /custexp field but from the public relations field, Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks. Gini and her team produce 11 posts a week. That’s 100 posts every 9 weeks. That’s over 500 posts a year. (I got tired just writing that.)
In general, Gini writes 6.33 of those 11 posts, and 4.66 are written by others. However, the fact that nearly half the content is produced by others is not a magic bullet. Managing guest posters can be as resource consuming as producing content, if not more so.
Also, the team at Spin Sucks facilitates this volume by covering many topics outside of the PR field, and they manage to do so without losing their PR base and without sacrificing quality.
And it is that last phrase, “without sacrificing quality,” that rings loudest. To me, the most important part of increasing posting frequency is understanding that additional content must create additional value.
To that end, I think any single author blog looking to increase its content production should answer 3 crucial questions:
#1: Will more content add value to our readers?
Do readers really want more? Almost everyone is overwhelmed with content nowadays. Personally, I never make it to any blog consistently, even people I consider friends. Will more content add value to existing readers? Will it add value to new readers without negatively affecting existing readers?
Sure, more content generally generates increased traffic and readers, but at what cost if the quality deteriorates?
#2: Can we consistently deliver on our brand promise?
If we set the expectation that we will deliver 3, 4 or 5 posts a week, can we deliver on that promise consistently? Since committing to a Mon/Thu schedule, I’ve only been late once, and I haven’t missed a publication day with the exception of vacation/holidays.
However, with the demands from my offline businesses, it has been extremely challenging, and I’ve barely made it on a number of occasions. Can we deliver more times a week consistently and maintain quality?
In customer service, we preach the concept of under-promising and over-delivering. Would we be doing the opposite?
#3: Will I personally enjoy it as much?
Coming from a business background, I don’t expect to enjoy what I do every minute of each day. Sometimes, work actually feels like work. However, I do believe that you will never truly succeed at something you do not fundamentally enjoy.
With blogging, it matters more because the payoff is never immediate. Blogging takes time and patience, as Mark Schaefer eloquently pointed out last week. Your rewards for doing the work need to be intrinsic early on — you need to enjoy it — because other than some positive reinforcement, most of the rewards from blogging are not fast in coming.
Will a higher content production schedule turn CTS into a grind instead of the excellent and challenging adventure it has been thus far?
We will focus on the three questions above as we head into 2013 and try to determine if more will actually equate to better here at CTS. In the meantime, we would love to know your thoughts on more content. We have already committed to adding more diverse voices with our guest post program; should our frequency increase also?
In closing, I would just like to say that the most important part of hitting 100 posts is having gratitude for those who have traveled the path with us up until now. I entered this discussion in our Thoughts On The Customer section, because I do consider our readers to be our customers. We appreciate you, and thank you all for taking part in the journey!
See you at 200 posts… whenever that might be!
The Month in Customer Service Blogging:
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.
- Rethinking Customer Appreciation: Showing Gratitude Is Not About The Money – A bank alienated this blogger with terrible customer service, but it results in an inspirational piece on loyalty and relationships. (Thanks to Michelle Quillen for sending me this one.)
- When Customer Service Really Matters – Read how a college took on a student challenge and provided an unforgettable customer experience for this student.
- Customer Care: A Harmless Harmful Response – People skills are important in any service industry, but when an employee over-shares, it can actually hurt the customer experience.
- A Fantastic Starbucks Customer Experience Story — An excellent example of how a creative and motivated employee can create magic for a customer.
- How Choice Influences Customer Satisfaction – An interesting post on how the presentation of choices affects the way we feel about our purchase decisions.
- A Cure for Customers’ Survey Fatigue – Would you be more likely to fill out another survey if you actually saw what came of it?
- Help Your Employees Be Fearless – Some interesting stats about employee fear that might explain why many fail to provide outstanding customer service.
- Amazon On Negative Comments: Disregard 5% – I like Geoff’s take here, and I think this topic deserves a CTS post in the future.
- 6 Ways to Get Customers to YES! – Yes, this is about getting customers to buy more products. You might find that some of these tips have worked on you, too.
- Sentiment Analysis: What Do Your Customers Think of Your Business? – A great guide for companies who want to discover their customers’ opinions and perceptions about their brand.
- Customer Service Recommendations For 2013 – 9 killer strategies that companies should consider in the New Year.
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
- What Is Customer Experience Enhancement and Why It Matters. Perhaps one of the most important shifts in customer service in the past few decades has been a focus on the total customer experience. This post introduces the concept of enhancing that experience and shows how it can make a difference to organizations that approach it strategically.