ReMarketing

What Does Your Customer’s Story Look Like?

What Does Your Customer’s Story Look Like? 900 601 WildFigAdmin

Your customer’s story begins long before they become your customer. It starts when they see your logo for the first time, when they hear your name, or when they first engage with you. Their first impressions of your company and their initial experience become the first chapter in their story.

So how do you ensure your customer’s story is a never-ending fairytale filled with magical experiences rather than a melodrama?

You start by planning and documenting your customer’s story from initial contact through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship.

To do so, you’ll need to take a trip down memory lane to fifth grade, when you learned about the five essential elements of your customer’s (and any) story: characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.

How well do you know your customers? If I asked you to vividly describe the traits of your best customer, what would they be? Why do they choose to buy from you? What are their motivations and expectations? Write down all of these character traits. They’ll help you better understand the main characters in your customer’s story.

Where is your customer now? Where do they want to go? Maybe they are sitting at their desk, staring at a mound of paperwork, daydreaming about a beachy vacation. Or perhaps they are spending too much time in the trenches and need to find a way to out so they can better manage their business. No matter what the scenario is, if you understand where they are at currently and where they want to go, it’ll likely mean a happy ending for both of you.

This is where your planning gets really fun. Every good story has a beginning, middle, and end. Your job is to map it out. The best way to do this is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and walk through a typical experience with your company. Here’s an example.

Imagine your customer is about to go on a roller coaster ride. As they wait in line, they are excited and filled with anticipation. This is how they feel when they first meet you and explore the possibilities of how you can help them.

As they make their way up that first scary peak, they are still excited, but a little nervous about their decision to work with your company. Now they are at the top and looking down at what’s ahead and about to shriek with a mixture of anticipation and fear. This is likely the point in the ride where they are paying for your products or services. After a brief, albeit steep decline, they are back on their way up to another crest and are now experiencing the joy of working with your company.

This rollercoaster ride is a great analogy for your customer’s story. We know there will be high points and low points in the relationship, so map them out. Is there a time when your customers are really happy with your products/services? This might be a great time to ask for referrals or testimonials.

Next, look at those low points. Is there a time when your customers might look to drop your services? What can you do to avoid that before it happens?  Once you’ve mapped out the plot in your customer’s story, the next step is to understand the conflict and resolution.

The conflict in your customer’s story can be compared to their pain points or why they need your products and services. Do you feel like you’ve got a good grasp on what their pain points are? If not, we highly recommend setting up a call or meeting with your top 3 customers to ask them why they hired you and how your products/services have impacted their business. It’s also important to understand what their potential sales objections might be so you can address them before they actually become objections.

The last essential element in a well-written story is the resolution.
The solution to the problem is the way the action is resolved. Put more simply: the resolution is the products and services you provide your customers. The reason this element is the last of the five is because you have to understand who the characters are in your story, where they are at, and the conflict they are experiencing before you can provide a sound solution.

Two of the biggest mistakes we see at this point in the story are1) companies just talk about the features and benefits of their product/service. rather than address the impact their products and services can have on their customers and 2) they forget their customer’s story doesn’t have to end after the first novel is complete. They can continue to write the story and provide opportunities for their customers to continue buying from them and refer their family and friends, too.

Do you need help understanding and documenting your customer’s story? Or maybe you’d like your customer’s story to have a happier ending? We can help. Schedule your consultation with Wild Fig Marketing to start writing your customer’s story.

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story 900 600 WildFigAdmin

It all began on Christmas morning, December 25, 1987. I’ve always been a morning person and Christmas morning was no exception. Our family always exchanged presents on Christmas Eve, however on Christmas morning Santa would visit and fill our stockings with all kinds of goodies and usually one big toy as well. That year, I had been pining for another Cabbage Patch Kids Doll and was so excited to see which one Santa brought me. You can imagine my surprise when I jumped out of bed, ran down the hall and stopped in front of my stocking. There was no Cabbage Patch Kids Doll under my stocking, however there was one under my 4 year old brother’s stocking.

I was so upset. Why didn’t Santa bring me the doll? What was my dumb brother going to do with it anyway? That’s when a devious thought entered my brain. What if I simply moved the doll under my stocking? After all my parent’s wouldn’t know because Santa was the one that brought it. After much debate I decided there must have been a reason that my brother got the doll and I was not going to tempt fate or the chance that I’d get coal next Christmas. Disclaimer: I’d like to say that my angelic conscious caused me to not take the doll, but that wasn’t exactly true. On top of tempting fate, I figured since the doll was named Rufus Brent (Brent is my brother’s name) it probably would be obvious that he was meant for my brother and not me.

Looking back I think…wow, what a predicament I would have placed my parents in. Especially since I was still a strong believer in Santa. Would they have had to tell me? Whew…they definitely escaped a sticky situation there.

Why in the world am I telling you this story?

The reason being is that stories help us connect and build deeper, more meaningful relationships. For example, some of you reading this story might have a younger brother as well, or thought about swapping stocking stuffers with your siblings. Now we have something in common, which is often the basis for starting or building a relationship.

Why don’t we share more stories?

Unfortunately, I think we’ve been trained to keep our home/work life separate and therefore, feel like we’ve got to be uber professional at all times. However, think about the last time you met someone new. What is one of the first things you naturally do? Ask them questions and try to find something you have in common. If you are able to do this, the conversation naturally flows smoother and you find it easier to talk to this person vs. someone you have nothing in common with.

How can we tell more stories and build deeper relationships during the holidays?

It’s easy. The holidays provide tons of opportunities to share and further cultivate relationships. Here are a few ways you can do it:

  • Incorporate a holiday video greeting in your next eNewsletter and share a holiday memory/story
  • Engage your family, fans, friends and followers on Facebook with a fun holiday question, like what’s the best Christmas gift you ever received? Or what’s your favorite holiday show or movie to watch?
  • Write a blog like this and incorporate it into your business
  • Add a little touch of the holidays to your logo, email headers and social media
  • Use your holiday images in your newsletter and social media channels
  • Host a Toys for Tots collection
  • Ask your employees a holiday-related question and post their answers along with their pictures in your newsletter

As you can see the options are endless and it really is pretty simple too. What will you do this holiday season to connect and cultivate deeper, more meaningful relationships with your clients and prospective clients? We’d love to see what you come up with. Feel free to tag us on your social media posts and show us what you’re doing this holiday season. Cheers!

PS…Did you know that marketing can actually be fun? It’s true. If you are suffering from a lack of fresh, new, innovative ideas, please give us a call. We’re here to help make marketing your business fun and profitable too!

Made In Minnesota – Bent Brewstillery

Made In Minnesota – Bent Brewstillery 900 600 Kari Switala

Welcome to our new blog suitably titled Made in Minnesota where we will explore different Minnesota-based businesses and learn some helpful tips along the way! The blog format will be a Q&A, conversational style that allows you as the listener to lean in and get to know some great Minnesota business owners on a personal level. You will hear stories of big dreams turned reality, obstacles encountered and how they were overcome, things business owners would love to go back in time and change and fun little tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to! Sound like fun? Pull up a chair and get ready to meet Bartley!

Today’s featured Minnesota business owner is Bartley Blume, owner of Bent Brewstillery. Bent Brewstillery is a brewstillery headquartered in Roseville, MN that specializes in you guessed it! brews and booze.

Q. Hey Bartely! Thanks for being here today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how Bent Brewstillery came to be?
A. Sure! In 2007 my wife, Brenda, gifted me a Mr. Beer kit and what started as a hobby quickly attracted a cult following among family and friends. After a long stint in the aerospace industry, working both for a St. Paul-based aerospace engineering firm and previous to that, NASA, I went to work one day in 2012, turned on my computer, sighed and then walked across the hall and quit my job. I wanted to shed the shackles of corporate bondage. I went home early that day and told Brenda I had quit my job. She didn’t talk to me for a few weeks. After terminating my corporate career I shifted my focus and energy into developing a craft brew start up. In 2013, what became Bent Brewstillery merged with Twin Cities-based Pour Decisions Brewing Company, taking Bent to the next level and paving the way for the significant operation we run today. We have 8 full-time and 6 part-time employees . We are, in fact, the ONLY brewstillery in Minnesota.

Q. What do you love about what you do?
A. I love the creative aspect of my craft and being a part of a high-tech industry that is rich in tradition. Brewing and distilling combine science, process control, experimentation and creativity. I also love working hard and meeting so many great people.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in your business and what did you learn from it?
A. The biggest challenge would definitely be working with the ebb and flow rhythm of supplier reliability. Our business has a lot of moving parts and an interruption in one part of the process can break down the entire process from production to packaging. I’ve learned to order what we need well in advance to allow for supplier delay.

Q. If you could start your business all over again what is the number one thing you would do differently?
A. I would start Bent Brewstillery three years earlier. I wrote the business plan in 2008 and in 2009 the 6th brewery opened in Minnesota. I was logistically ready but wasn’t quite mentally ready to pull the trigger.

Q. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of juggling. How do you manage to stay focused or re-focus when necessary?
A. I don’t know that I do. I just keep juggling. I’m very organized and have an incredibly detailed to-do list. My current list is 600 items long which can be pretty overwhelming. I start each day with a couple small to-dos to create momentum before tackling the bigger items.

Q. If you only had $500 to spend on your growing business where would you spend it and why?
A. I’d spend it on marketing. I’d put it into brand image and social media. Marketing is how you win in the beer and liquor industry. If you take a more grassroots approach it takes longer to get the traction that bigger producers get.

Q. Technology is revolutionizing how we all do business. What are a couple of your favorite apps or software tools you use within your business?
A. Besides the social media apps I utilize My Notes on a daily basis. I also love Zoho for invoicing.

Q. If you could start any business today what business would you open?
A. I’d open a doggie daycare.

Thanks for your time, Bartley! Best wishes for continued success in all your brewing and distilling endeavors at Bent Brewstillery!

If you’d like to learn more about Bent Brewstillery you can visit them online at: www.bentbrewstillery.com

And if you’d like to be featured in an upcoming Made in Minnesota blog, or you know of a cool business that would be a great addition to the series, contact us and tell us why this business would make a great Made in Minnesota feature!

5 Ways to Measure Client Satisfaction for People Who Love Data (and Those Who Don’t!)

5 Ways to Measure Client Satisfaction for People Who Love Data (and Those Who Don’t!) 900 600 WildFigAdmin

If your business is anything like Wild Fig Marketing, your sales team is split 50/50 between people who LOVE data and those who would rather poke themselves in the eye than look at a spreadsheet. It takes all kinds to build meaningful relationships with clients and prospects and grow your business. At the end of the day, what matters is how satisfied your clients are with their experience working with you.

Here’s the deal: 91 percent of unhappy clients will never buy from you ever again. Thus, your mission is to increase the number of clients who love working with you and continue to develop relationships with the clients who already love you. Measuring customer satisfaction is one of the most powerful ways you can increase sales.

How do you measure something as touchy-feely as customer satisfaction? We’ve got five ideas for you, presented with a datahead score of 1 to 5 (5 being peak datahead).

1. Customer Satisfaction Survey (3 dataheads) 
Businesses have been sending customers surveys for ages, but automation has made sending surveys (and getting responses) fast and easy. If you’re looking for a 10,000-foot view, in-app surveys are a good choice. They live on your website and ask customers to rate their experience and maybe answer a question or two.

But in-app surveys give you a limited view of customer satisfaction. For more valuable insights, we recommend sending an email survey, ideally one that is automated to send immediately after you close business with a client (we can help with this!). You may get fewer responses than with an in-app survey, but the data you receive will be much more insightful and actionable.

2. Monitoring Social Media (2 dataheads)
Love building client relationships on social media? Then this customer satisfaction measurement idea is for you! Social media platforms are potential gold mines of customer satisfaction data. To avoid spreadsheets, add a weekly task to your calendar to check and respond to your Facebook reviews, Twitter mentions, and LinkedIn comments. You’ll get a valuable look at how satisfied your social-savvy customers are with your service or products. If data is your thing, most platforms offer exportable data on your social media relationships, too.

3. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) (4 dataheads)
This measurement tool asks your customers to rate how satisfied they are with your business on a scale of 1 to 5, then averages them to create an CSAT score for your business. CSAT surveys are simple, but they leave little room for nuance and feedback (unless incorporated into an email or other survey). But if want to assign a number to your level of customer satisfaction, this is a solution for you.

4. Customer Effort Score (CES) (4 dataheads)
Instead of satisfaction, CES measures the effort it took customers to work with you. Like golf, you’re shooting for a low score. A high CES score often correlates to lower loyalty, as it means customers must put in a lot of effort to make working with you successful.

5. Net Promoter Score (NPS) (5 dataheads)
We’ve saved one of the best for last. An NPS survey asks customers how likely they are to refer you to their friends and family. Answering this question doesn’t require any emotion at all to answer, and it helps you identify the customers who are your promoters. Your promoters are the most valuable customers you have, so treat them well!

If these ideas have you ready to get number crunching or have your head spinning, Wild Fig Marketing can help! We’d love to talk with you about how you can harness customer satisfaction data to grow your business. Contact us or schedule your 30 minute consultation with our resident data expert, Kevin!

Cultivating Your Customer Relationships Using Social Media

Cultivating Your Customer Relationships Using Social Media 900 600 Amy Judge

Every business owner’s dream is to have a brand so rock solid that their customers largely do the marketing for them. Think about Colgate vs. Crest. For the most part, Americans choose one or the other and base their decision on what they have always used. But is one toothpaste truly better than the other? Who knows and, quite frankly, who cares. You’re going to buy the one you feel more connected with. Now, while you may not have millions of dollars to sink into innovation and advertising, don’t get discouraged! Small businesses have a tool at their disposal that’s more engaging than has ever existed, and it’s largely free! Social media.

It seems social media is never going to go away. I know, I know. You’re quitting Facebook. And you mean it this time. But before you delete your online life, consider this: there are more than 1.86 billion active users on Facebook right now. And that’s from Forbes.com, so it has to be true. Social media should be an integral part of your marketing strategy because you can connect, engage, and build a loyal base by reaching multiple people at once. Not to mention your ROI! Social media platforms now have built in tracking so you can see which advertising efforts work and which ones don’t. You can’t do that with traditional forms of advertising, which tend to cost thousands of dollars. So, now that I’ve convinced you to keep your business on social media, let’s go over some steps on how to use these nifty tools.

Solve a burning problem
This is how you initially get people engaged. Check out Gekks no show socks as an example. When their sponsored content promised to solve every problem I’ve ever had with trying to achieve the sockless look, I had to find out more. I went to their website, ordered their product, and can’t stop telling people about them.

Stay engaged
Always invite your audience to like or follow your business’s page. Even though they may love your product, there’s still a chance they haven’t followed you online yet. I literally just liked the Gekk’s Facebook page and have been using their product for a couple of years. Also, don’t ignore your audience. Make up contests, provide special offers, and communicate with your customers.

Practice your customer service
Your social media platform is an excellent way to consistently thank your customers. 10% off is a thank you gift I have a hard time passing up! Additionally, when a fusspot begins to speak up, you can immediately and publicly offer a solution. Think of how that will make your company look to potential customers. People who haven’t done business with you yet will go in knowing the type of customer service they can expect from you. That’s a unique opportunity to start a business relationship with a high level of trust.

Cultivating your customers on social media doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, it should feel natural because your audience wants to work with someone authentic. All of these hints will strengthen brand loyalty, but the bond with your customers will be even stronger when they feel like they know the person behind the product.

The majority of our customer base here at Wild Fig Marketing is made up of small businesses. So we understand the challenge of wearing too many hats and having a full plate. Managing your social media platforms is important, but it also takes time. If you find social media consistently moves down on your priority list, consider contacting us to see how we can help. And we would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to follow us on Facebook.

Use Email Marketing to Improve Customer Retention!

Use Email Marketing to Improve Customer Retention! 900 600 WildFigAdmin

A one-time customer is good. A loyal, lifelong customer is the bread and butter of any business. It’s crucial to promote customer retention within your business and hands down the most effective way to do this is through email marketing.

THE STATISTICS
Let the statistics speak for themselves: According to DMA, the ROI of email marketing is 3800%! What’s more? Business 2 Community states that 80% of brands rely on email marketing to drive customer retention. Additionally, it costs 500% more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one (Destination CRM). Retaining customers through email marketing requires effort on the front end but is a cost-effective way to invest in your business.

THE OBJECTIVE
As a business owner your biggest objective in terms of customer retention should be to create top-of-mind awareness with your customers so they will return to you the next time they are in the market for a similar product.

THE CHALLENGE
The key to email marketing for customer retention is to keep your customers engaged over time – a one-time email won’t cut it. Neither will a slew of generic emails help you meet your customer retention goals. Everyone longs to be known – in relationships and in business. The most effective way to retain customers and promote brand loyalty is to create that connection by getting to know your customer and his/her individual needs, interests and purchasing habits. It’s essential to segment your emails to customers based off of their previous engagement with your brand so each email that lands in his/her inbox feels personal and relevant.

Alright. Now that we have a big picture concept of customer retention through email marketing let’s put some wheels on it.

5 TYPES OF CUSTOMER RETENTION EMAILS

1. The Welcome Email: First impressions are everything. Knock their socks off with a hearty welcome and that special introductory offer code you promised. This is a great time to get your new customer jazzed about your brand. Encourage them to follow you on your social media channels which ensures top-of-mind awareness. It’s also a great time to inquire about their shopping preferences so you can send out those segmented emails down the road. Bronto quantifies that 33% of their marketing revenue comes from their welcome series!

2. The Post-Purchase Email: After your new customer makes their first purchase you can send a follow up email that includes insightful information about the product or service they purchased and include a link to live shipping information. A week or two down the road an email requesting a product review is a great way to follow up. Even if the review is somewhat negative the customer will feel valued knowing that his/her opinion matters to you and that sense of value may be the catalyst for future engagement with your brand.

3. The Friendly Reminder Email: When shopping online it’s commonplace to abandon your virtual cart and sometimes a gentle email “nudge” about an abandoned cart is all a customer needs to click and complete his/her purchase. Another friendly reminder that can keep your customer engaged with your brand is an email notifying them that their card is about to expire. It will communicate to your customer that you are looking out for their interests and it helps keep your brand top-of-mind.

4. The Loyalty Email: People love perks and are easily incentivized. (Think: Starbucks Rewards™) Having a loyalty program in place and keeping your customer up-to-date on his/her rewards status not only keeps you top-of-mind with your customer but incentivizes repeat business. A birthday gift in the form of an email discount or an email commemorating the anniversary of their affiliation with your brand and enclosed discount coupon are two more ways to encourage brand loyalty.

5. The Thumbs-Up! Email: Who doesn’t want a little praise now and then? An email reminding your customer just how awesome they really are and how thankful you are for their business can generate a profound sense of brand loyalty and promote customer retention. The Thanksgiving season is a great opportunity to send that email!

We’re all about staying top of mind for your clients, so if you’re ready to learn new ways to improve your customer retention through strategic email marketing and/or marketing automation, contact us! We would love to help you implement a strategy that not only helps improve your customer retention rate but saves you time and effort as well!

Or, sign up for our Cultivator Strategic Marketing Session where one of our marketing experts will lay out a complete plan that’s easy to implement and incorporates tactics for brand positioning to improve your customer retention rate.

Made in Minnesota – Signature Woods

Made in Minnesota – Signature Woods 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Photo courtesy of Signature Woods

Welcome to our new blog suitably titled Made in Minnesota where we will explore different Minnesota-based businesses and learn some helpful tips along the way! The blog format will be a Q&A, conversational style that allows you as the listener to lean in and get to know some great Minnesota business owners on a personal level. You will hear stories of big dreams turned reality, obstacles encountered and how they were overcome, things business owners would love to go back in time and change and fun little tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to! Sound like fun? Pull up a chair and get ready to meet Brad!

Brad and his wife, Lauren – owners of Signature Woods – are in the business of creating chic, exceptional-quality, reclaimed lumber products. They are located a half an hour south of the Twin Cities off I-35.

Photo courtesy of Signature Woods

Q. Hey Brad! Can you tell us a little bit about how Signature Woods got started?
A. Sure! I was in college for mechanical engineering and feeling unfulfilled in my major. I had the opportunity to salvage old barn wood for some projects I wanted to tackle and after taking down a whole barn I ended up with a surplus. I posted the surplus wood on Craigslist and couldn’t believe the response! One barn led to another and soon my girlfriend Lauren was on the rooftops, crowbar in hand, helping me salvage barn wood one piece at a time. After college Lauren and I married and started Signature Woods – our full-time business. Between Lauren’s eye for design and my business acumen we make a great team! At Signature Woods, we sell wall paneling and design and sell custom mantles and interior barn doors all from elegant, reclaimed wood.

Q. What do you love about the work you do?
A. I love processes. Even more than upcycling old wood I love the process of taking an idea and scaling and growing it into a revenue generator.

Q. Tell us about obstacles you’ve encountered as you’ve been growing your business.
A. Of course there are business obstacles but those I tackle in stride. The greater challenge for me is fighting the mental battle and processing the big questions, ‘Am I on the right track? Is there something I should be doing differently?…’

Q. How do you stay focused and address those hard questions?
A. I start each day with a strict morning routine. That’s crucial. I also have a goal board with pictures and revenue goals on the wall above my computer. Reflecting on my goals helps me keep perspective and stay focused.

Q. If you only had $500 to spend on growing your business where would you spend your money?
A. I would consider spending that money on Facebook and Google ads – investing in my online business presence. Both are fantastic tools for generating traffic and increasing brand exposure.

Q. Technology is revolutionizing how we all do business. What are some of your favorite apps or software tools?
A. One app I love is WooCommerce. In my opinion, it’s the best app for scaling an online retail business. Another great app is ShipStation. Learning the app is daunting at first but it’s tremendously helpful when it comes to shipping out our products to our customers! It really helps facilitate the shipment of packages of various sizes, shapes and weight.

Q. If you could start any business today what would you open?
A. I would love to start a financial education business. I see myself as an entrepreneur and investor and I’m passionate about educating kids and adults on how our financial choices today affect our lives tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of Signature Woods

Thanks for your time, Brad! We wish you continued success in your business endeavors at Signature Woods!

If you’d like to learn more about Signature Woods you can visit them online at www.signaturewoods.co

Made in Minnesota – Envision

Made in Minnesota – Envision 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Welcome to our new blog suitably titled Made in Minnesota where we will explore different Minnesota-based businesses and learn some helpful tips along the way! The blog format will be a Q&A, conversational style that allows you as the listener to lean in and get to know some great Minnesota business owners on a personal level. You will hear stories of big dreams turned reality, obstacles encountered and how they were overcome, things business owners would love to go back in time and change and fun little tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to! Sound like fun? Pull up a chair and get ready to meet Liz!

Our first Minnesota business owner that we’re going to introduce you to is Liz Zurek Beaudry, owner of Envision. Envision is a Minneapolis-based marketing company that specializes in brand strategy, digital marketing and culture.

 

Q. Hey Liz! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A. Hi there! I’m Liz. I’m a wife to a commercial airline pilot and a mom of two boys. My husband and I knew we wanted to raise a family and both had health issues which led us to the adoption of our boys, now ages 7 & 9, from South Korea. The first couple years as a mom weren’t without their challenges as I had to learn how to shift back-and-forth between my new role as a mom and that of a business owner. To de-stress and help me refocus I love to run and do yoga. I also love spending time on my parents’ hobby farm and connecting to the wilderness.

Q. When did you purchase Envision?
A. I purchased Envision in 2007 – just before the economy tanked.

Q. You recently acquired a software platform called MDNA Cloud. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A. MDNA helps companies identify their culture in order to help them build their brand and increase profit. It measures six dimensions of culture and five dimensions of employee engagement. Each employee learns how to integrate their purpose, passions and potential into the workplace. I have been using the software in my work since 2008 and purchased the software platform in March of this year. It’s a tremendous asset to each of our clients.

Q. What is the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered in your business and how did you tackle it?
A. I purchased Envision at the peak of the economic boom for a premium. When the economy tanked I had to learn how to cut costs. I lost my entire team. I became hyper-focused in my efforts to save Envision and really learned how to structure and operate a team. During that time we didn’t lose a single client and have been profitable every year!

Q. What do you love about running your business?
A. I love relationship-building and hearing stories from other people’s journeys. I also love when my clients are satisfied with the work we do. It’s always rewarding to hear that we “nailed” the project.

Q. If you could start your business all over again what is the number one thing you would do differently?
A. I wouldn’t go into debt to make it happen. I don’t like the burden of debt. It feels like a chain around my neck.

Q. Technology is revolutionizing how we all do business. What are some of your favorite apps or software tools you utilize within your business?
A. First of all let me start of by saying that I’m not techy so I’m always seeking out apps to help make this part of running a business easier. One of my favorite apps is Hubdoc. It syncs my receipts, pulls bills and statements into one place and requires no data entry. I’m also thankful for YNAB – fantastic budgeting software for both business and personal finances and MileIQ for tracking mileage.

Q. If you had only $500 to spend on your growing business where would you spend your money?
A. I would direct that money towards generating referral and repeat business. I would consider holding an event for current customers to promote customer retention.

Q. Alright, our last question is outside of the box. If you could start any business today what business would you open?
A. I would love to open an interior design business that specializes in SOHO spaces. Space has a tremendous impact on productivity. Another business that I think would be fun to start is a dog walking business. Dogs are always happy to go on a walk and you can give them back at the end of the day!

Customer Experience (CX): Customer Service, Reinvented

Customer Experience (CX): Customer Service, Reinvented 900 600 WildFigAdmin

The notion of customer service has been reinvented: Now, everyone’s talking about customer experience — or CX.

Customer Service Versus Customer Experience
The shift in perspective is pivotal: Customer service focuses on the provider, CX focuses on the receiver.

Customer service describes a limited sphere: specific activities in which company and customer interact. It begins at first contact, and ends when the prospect makes a purchase or stomps off in frustration.

CX Matters in the Digital Age
On the other hand, CX is all-encompassing. It’s a narrative of every step of the customer journey, from the first moment they become aware of a company to the relationship they have with the product after buying it. A customer can experience excellent customer service, but end up with a product that is junk, or just wrong for them, and that ultimately means a negative CX. Conversely, a customer could have a major snafu with a hotel reservation or a flawed product, but a thoughtfully executed CX will turn it into a positive outcome.

“Customer experience is defined by the experience customers have, remember and share,” writes best-selling business author Brian Solis. It lasts longer and matters more than customer service.

Improved CX a Universal Business Strategy
Focusing on the CX is a crucial trend in the world of business today. The American Marketing Association (AMA) cites a Forrester study stating more than 90% of senior executives describe improving CX as a “top strategic priority.” Similarly, 90% of North American firms surveyed in 2014 aspired to be “CX leaders” within the next three years, according to a study by the Temkin Group.

These are big ambitions. Why has CX become such a focal point?

“It’s been reported that customers will pay up to 25% more for a similar product if they believe they’re going to get an exceptional experience,” writes Solis. That’s a pretty good reason!

Additionally, technology has enabled companies to be connected and responsive for much more of the customer journey than previously. Emails and automation, social media and digital customer reviews have radically transformed the relationship between buyer and seller.

CX — a Lazer Focused Vision on Customer Perspective
Even more so than with customer service, the business intending to excel at CX has to really live its commitment to the cause. Lip service won’t be adequate: it’s necessary to become intimately acquainted with what customers really value, and apply people, passion and resources to upgrading their experience. CX can only be measured from the customer’s perspective, and it’s the sum of their experience throughout their relationship with the company. That might be five minutes at Subway, or a lifetime with a car insurance company.

Bottom line — CX is entirely dependent on customers’ emotional reactions for the totality of the customer journey. For this reason, companies have to embrace a holistic approach: every process, policy, technology and interaction which touches the customer matters, so they have to be designed to work together.

Achieving great CX demands total focus on the customer’s perspective, identifying what may be missing or broken. It also requires awareness of other players in the field, and beyond. You’re competing with their satisfaction in their lives as consumers as a whole. They’ve flown SouthWest Airlines, they’ve shopped at Zappo’s, they’ve hailed an Uber — all these experiences influence the standards they inhabit.

CX: Ambitious, and Necessary
Sound big? It is. Perfecting the customer experience is bound to be a process, not a destination, but the payoff in terms of loyalty and goodwill ensures that it’s a journey worth taking. If you want help defining or redefining your customer journey, give us a call; we’ll work with you to identify ways you can improve or develop your CX and, ultimately, improve your client retention rate. Or, click here to set up a time to meet with one of our automation experts to talk about other ways automation can improve your client retention!

What We Can Learn From a Few Real-Life Horrifying Marketing Mistakes

What We Can Learn From a Few Real-Life Horrifying Marketing Mistakes 900 500 WildFigAdmin

We love to herald social media as a highly-accessible and effective platform on which to market our businesses and target our campaigns and indeed it is! However, we must acknowledge the other side of the social media marketing coin. Because of its accessibility and visibility both from a business and consumer standpoint we are faced with the grave possibility of inadvertently sabotaging the reputation of our business while actually working to propel its success. Let’s take a look at two large scale social media disasters from 2017 – what went wrong in each situation and how we can learn from each of them to protect the reputation and integrity of our own businesses.

Dove’s Bottle Blunder
Earlier this spring, Dove piggybacked on its “Real Beauty” slogan and released a campaign called “Real Beauty Bottles”. Real Beauty Bottles consisted of 7 uniquely-shaped bottles of identical body wash intending to celebrate the beauty of women’s many body shapes. Unfortunately, however, the way the campaign was received was nothing to celebrate. Social media exploded with backlash against the campaign, accusing Dove of reinforcing women’s negative body image issues and pigeonholing women into identifying which awkwardly-designed body wash bottle best represents her individual shape.

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What can we learn from Dove’s campaign disaster?
It is crucial to really know your audience, handle hot button issues with the utmost caution and have a process in place for screening your campaign prior to launching it – double and triple checking for hidden implications or any potential for misinterpretation.

As we see with Dove, entire campaigns can miss the mark and tarnish or ruin our brand image. Perhaps the greater threat of self-sabotage lies, however, in the daily host of emails we send off to our subscribers and our tweets/posts on our social media accounts.

Adidas’ Shortsighted Word Choice
Adidas gets the credit for a recent, epic email fail. This past April Adidas sent out an email to the Boston Marathon finishers with the subject line, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” This shortsighted word choice mortified an entire nation that still vividly recalls the horror of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the backlash on Twitter was swift and harsh. Fortunately, Adidas issued an equally swift and heartfelt apology – owning up their blunder with humility.

What can we learn from Adidas’s email fiasco?
Maintain an awareness of the context in which you are communicating your message. Also, be sure to have someone in your office proofread all material that is sent out or posted on social media – an easy precaution up front that can help you avoid a social media faux pas which could harm your brand image and affect your customer base. Finally – own your mistakes – we all make them! How you navigate marketing blunders can not only help you save face but enrich the integrity of your business and your brand.

If you would like help formulating a marketing strategy tailored to your business goals contact one of our marketing experts to set up your free 15 minute exploratory call to see how we can help you maximize reach and avoid the faux pas.

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