Volume 8: June 2012
Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
Customer Experience Resource: Marketing in the Round
This month’s customer experience resource is a book on marketing — so I guess I should explain.
Marketing in the Round by Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston is a book written by marketers for marketers. It promotes the concept of a marketing round, an integrated circle of marketing disciplines devoid of bureaucratic and political barriers that works together towards a common strategic goal.
To be frank, I never intended to write about Marketing in the Round on Customers That Stick. Though I do know one of the authors, I bought MITR because as a small business owner, I try to keep abreast of what is current in all areas of business.
I pre-ordered the book expecting it to be an insightful look at marketing and marketing integration (and it is); however, I had no expectations that the book would provide any more than a tangential crossover to the topics of this site: customer service and the customer experience.
Sure, Marketing in the Round focuses heavily on marketing techniques and strategies; however, it also addresses one of the great challenges of customer experience professionals worldwide: integrating organizations so that everyone can focus on creating a seamless and memorable customer experience.
The lessons on integration alone make the book a great resource for CX professionals. A few concepts from Chapter 9: Integration will be illustrative:
- Taking a holistic approach to integration. An important idea when pursuing integration is to address it on every plane: horizontal (across business functions and departments) vertical (from headquarters to the front line), internal (amongst employees) and external (amongst external partners). These approaches are exactly what is needed to manage the customer experience across a large organization.
- Mapping to resources and planning from zero. One of the great lessons of the book for CX professionals is the concept of mapping to resources and beginning your planning with a zero budget. This means evaluating what you can do with current resources and the human capital available to you. Since customer service is often the forgotten stepchild in many organizations, this approach lends itself well to facing the often fragmented and almost cursory budgets dedicated to customer experience optimization.
- Determining approaches and tactics through testing. Another useful idea is determining both what your organization is strong at now and new approaches that you want to try. If you are good at email follow up, use that, but then try something else you think might be effective like phone or social. Once you have implemented both the known and new approaches, you should “test, test, and test some more.”
In addition to the chapter on integration, numerous chapters have information of direct value to CX professionals, most notably Chapter 10: Plan The Entire Tactical Effort and Chapter 11: Measure Results to Dollars and Cents.
In the end, Marketing in the Round is more than just a great book on marketing; it is a resource for anyone trying to understand how to get divergent stakeholders to act together towards a common goal.
Buy it here; you won’t be disappointed.
The Month in Customer Service Blogging
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.
- Perkins Goes the Extra Mile to Create Customer Loyalty — Every weekend, this blogger and his breakfast crew are given the royal treatment. A follow up post was shared throughout Perkins’ corporate chain, and the staff members got company-wide recognition. That is customer service from within!
- A Tale of Two Stores — A good story on the effects of inconsistent experiences within the same retail chain.
- Customer Experience: Using Jargon Requires Huge Leap of Faith — As customers, we are more likely to trust and purchase from a company when its customer facing professionals explain their processes in simple and universal ways.
- How Customers Decide to Buy — What makes us bring an item to the register or put it back after a half-hour of perusing the store with it in our hand? This post explains the mental processes behind our purchasing decisions.
- Culture Shock: Culture’s Impact on Social Marketing and Business — Despite the ubiquity and uniformity of digital space, there are so many cultural considerations to make when interacting with social media users.
- E-Tailer Customization: Convenient, or Creepy? — An article about web-based customization to online shoppers. Sometimes familiarity backfires and comes across creepy.
- The Art of the Frugal Wow – How Small Acts Create Big Loyalty — WOWing customers does not always require big spending. This post is full of great ideas and “Frugal Wow” moments.
- Six Key Technologies Impact Customer Service — An informative piece on how technologies like cloud computing and mobile will impact the way companies interact with customers.
- Complexity Kills: Keeping Customer Service Simple — A look at how complexity is making even good employees have challenges delivering great service.
- The CRM Crystal Ball. What CRM Will Be Like in 5 Years — Imagine getting a highly personalized customer service experience on the phone or even online. If this is the future, I look forward to it!
- Social Media for Business [Infographic] — “70% of businesses ignore complaints on Twitter” and other great nuggets about social for business.
- Every Job Is a Customer Service Job — Every employee is connected to customer service and contributes to the end user’s experience. A great post that reminds us that customer service is not an isolated function.
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
What Is a Loyalty Program (And Will It Work for You) – This post attempted to define loyalty programs and to evaluate how effective they are. Some interesting statistics on loyalty programs are in the piece — for example, 84 percent of loyalty program members are likely to choose the program retailer over its competitor — however, my favorite parts of this post were the comments.
We hope you enjoyed the June Monthly Mash. See you in July!