Archive for June, 2011

A recent beef in the Toronto Star called When a new car does not come as advertised about Toyota not meeting its advertised specifications for its Lexus CT200 demonstrates that Toyota still has not understood its customer expectations. When the car specifications in the websites, down-loadable brochures and owners manual do not match the customer specifications, customers will react negatively. With a large order backlog for CT200s, I expect Lexus will see some cancellations of orders as a result of this publicity.

A testimonial or referral from a customer is one of the best forms of marketing. It is not uncommon for businesses to want to post customer testimonials everywhere they can to encourage others to buy: advertising, store signage, press releases, websites. Watch a video on this new technology and technique adopted by Diesel Jeans. As most Facebook users have more than 100 friends on average, this technique provides word of mouth reference spread to over 100 friends in seconds with just a few pushes of a button from a smart phone or using a service like SnapmyInfo for regular cell phones with a camera. Do you know anyone that doesn’t leave home with their mobile phone? Consumers have the ability to easily provide referrals for your product, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Here’s another story about consumers against large organizations: in this case a bicycle rider versus the New York City police department, using a Youtube Video. The bike rider happened to be, Casey, a TV personality from the show ‘Neistat Brothers’ and with a filming crew, created the video below. (Please don’t try these stunts at home.). It went viral and has been watched over 3 Million views. Google shows over 241 related articles.

Google has just added a new tool for it’s Google users called ‘Me on the Web’ to help with personal reputation and identity management. Google has recognized that people don’t always want to be identified when they post things on the web or search for things on the web, as they may be in physical danger, looking for help, or have a condition they don’t want people to know about or are unsure of who the readers are. They have created 3 different identity options: unidentified, pseudonymous and identified. Me on the Web makes it easier to monitor your identity on the web and provides easy access to resources describing ways to control what information is on the web. It also provides links to resources to manage your reputation and on how to control what third-party information is posted about you on the web. These include common tips like reaching out to the webmaster of a site to ask for the content to be taken down, or publishing additional information on your own to help make less relevant websites appear farther down in search results. Some of the tools in this post may also be useful to businesses who uncover unflattering posts about their organization or products on the web.

Social media continues to strengthen the consumer’s ability to get satisfaction from large organizations where front line employees have been unable to resolve issues. This story is about Delta Airlines and baggage allowances for US Army soldiers returning from overseas duty in Afghanistan. An issue arose and a dissatisfied soldier posted a video on Youtube that went viral and embarrassed Delta Airlines. It took less than a day for Delta Airlines to issue an apology and change their policy but 200,000 people have seen the video. It was removed from the Youtube site, but the web never forgets and a mirror site picked it up and 20,000 more people have seen it on the mirror site. Outrage followed with news wires picking up the story and there are 1284 articles on this topic on Google.

Customers can now leave feedback about your company, business or brand on line in various review sites like Yelp, Google Maps, Twitter, etc.. There are many social media monitoring tools that allow an organization to listen for this feedback but what should a business do when they have negative reviews?

In a Bloomberg Busnessweek article titled Good Service is Good Business: American Consumers Willing to Spend More With Companies That Get Service Right, According to American Express Survey, an American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer study found that many customers are willing to spend between 7 – 22% more for excellent customer service.

According to an article in National Journal titled Obama Calls for ‘Customer Service’ Improvements in Federal Agencies, each US government agency is now charged with the mission to improve user experiences. Each agency has to develop a plan within 180 days. They also have to initiate at least one project that uses technology to improve customer experiences and they have to solicit feedback for ongoing continuous improvement.

Sometimes, in business and in life, we make mistakes and need to apologize. I have written several articles in this blog on how to effectively say you are sorry. I found this interesting article called The Science of Effective Apologies by Guy Winch, Ph.D. which has some research behind it. According to the scientific research by Ryan Fehr and Michele J. Gelfand of the University of Maryland, the way you apologize depends on the nature of the relationship you have with the other party.

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