“We do not have the time, nor would we want to, answer every question that [our customers] have.”
That’s exactly what someone said to me recently when speaking about how to handle a customer request. Sure, customers/clients/patients are often needy. They ask for extras, exceptions, hand-holding and discounts. They want what they want and it rarely follows a “Customer Service Handbook” protocol. Their unpredictable needs make it hard for a business to stay efficient.
Efficiency is something that most companies strive for. How can we deliver a good product while using the least amount of time, manpower and resources as possible so that we can continue to grow?
The problem with this type of thinking is that the focus the bottom line of the company itself. And people don’t care about a company’s bottom line–they care about what that company is going to do to improve their lives.
There are plenty of options today. I can order shoes from thousands of sites online. I can have a website developed by any number of companies. I can buy my dog’s absurdly expensive organic, HMO-free, grain-free dog food from just about any store that carries dog food.
What keeps me coming back to certain companies and brands is the high-level, positive experience and interactions I have them. Think about the best and worst customer service experiences you’ve had–chances are, you can start to see a pattern in the companies you deem the best and the worst.
Were you able to answer my question quickly while respecting my time or did you keep me on the phone for 30 minutes? Did you go out of your way to do something above and beyond to correct a mistake or did you deny it was your issue and state your policy? Did you acknowledge me on social media when I posted something positive about your brand? Did you treat me like a person or a number? Did you solve my problem?
Standard is everywhere. Today, to be a truly remarkable business, companies have to focus on becoming more than an efficient, well-oiled machine, they have to put extra focus on the customer and the experience they have when interacting with the company. Sometimes, that means answering every question, making yourself available, spending more time and manpower, giving your employees autonomy to solve issues based on incident not protocol or stopping to correct a problem even if the consumers may not even realize it’s a problem in the first place. Sometimes, great customer service means a little bit of inefficiency.
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Humans have been contemplating the details of death from the very beginning. Civilizations have formed beliefs on not only what happens to the body and the soul after we die but also on what should happen to the things we leave behind–family, legacy, possessions and our physical bodies themselves. Today, we have a new concern to add to this list that our predecessors did not–what happens to our online lives after we die?
Jeff Quipp, founder of Search Engine People, says that “many people will prepare a will to manage what happens to their possessions after their death [but] most have likely not considered what happens to their digital information.”
According to Facebook, there are over 30 million Facebook accounts that belong to people who are deceased. 3 Facebook users die every second. And around the year 2060, there will be more accounts on Facebook that belong to the deceased than their will be the living.
The scary thing is, Facebook is just one of hundreds of online footprints most of us have. Consider the email accounts, shopping accounts, YouTube videos, tweets, blog posts, Instagram pictures, and resumes on LinkedIn. While not everyone wants their digital existence to live on after they die, what we want done with all of these accounts needs to be something we consider and plan for.
There are services our there that can track logins and passwords and even instructions that will guide loved ones in handling the deceased person’s online presence such as Asset Lock. One somewhat creepy step further, LifeNaut is a company that gives people the ability to create a “DNA” profile to be used in the process for future cloning.
No matter what we each individually believe happens after we die, one thing is certain, we will have digital footprints that live beyond our physical selves and we should consider the meaning of this.
What’s so remarkable about technology of this very moment? 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are 2,405,518,376 people with access to the internet–and this number has grown 566% since 2000. 67% of internet users in the United States are on Facebook.
As Dan Lynch, founder of Interop and former director of computing facilities at SRI International, wrote, “The most useful impact is the ability to connect people. From that, everything flows.”
Technology and the internet flow freely through many of our lives like electricity. Entire industries have been rocked by this revolution and many more will follow. We all know, to some degree, that things are changing at a pace we never imagined. But Pew Research Center took it one step further last month, releasing the report, “Digital Life in 2025,” polling over 2,500 digital experts.
Below are the 15 theses that Pew arrived at based their research:
1) Information sharing over the Internet will be so effortlessly interwoven into daily life that it will become invisible, flowing like electricity, often through machine intermediaries.
2) The spread of the Internet will enhance global connectivity that fosters more planetary relationships and less ignorance.
3) The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data will make people more aware of their world and their own behavior
4) Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially tied to personal health.
5) Political awareness and action will be facilitated and more peaceful change and public uprisings like the Arab Spring will emerge.
6) The spread of the ‘Ubernet’ will diminish the meaning of borders, and new ‘nations’ of those with shared interests may emerge and exist beyond the capacity of current nation-states to control.
7) The Internet will become ‘the Internets’ as access, systems, and principles are renegotiated
8) An Internet-enabled revolution in education will spread more opportunities, with less money spent on real estate and teachers.
9) Dangerous divides between haves and have-nots may expand, resulting in resentment and possible violence.
10) Abuses and abusers will ‘evolve and scale.’ Human nature isn’t changing; there’s laziness, bullying, stalking, stupidity, pornography, dirty tricks, crime, and those who practice them have new capacity to make life miserable for others
11) Pressured by these changes, governments and corporations will try to assert power—and at times succeed—as they invoke security and cultural norms.
12) People will continue—sometimes grudgingly—to make tradeoffs favoring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; and privacy will be something only the upscale will enjoy.
13) Humans and their current organizations may not respond quickly enough to challenges presented by complex networks.
14) Most people are not yet noticing the profound changes today’s communications networks are already bringing about; these networks will be even more disruptive in the future.
15) Foresight and accurate predictions can make a difference; ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’
Social media has changed the way we connect, communicate and educate. It has raised us to a new level where time and distance boundaries do not pose the same challenges as before.
Businesses everywhere are stepping up to the challenge in creating strategies and processes so they can engage with their current and potential customers online and on social and to interact, respond to and meet their needs.
Here are 10 key actions to consider while building your business social media strategy:
1. Know Your Target Market
Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are all very different platforms and each has a specific demographic most likely to engage. Just as you would do with traditional marketing, you need to what your target customer really looks like. Don’t chase the exceptions to the rule–look for the commonalities in your core customers. Once you know who you’re trying to talk to, do the research to see what social media platforms they are on and be there!
2. Create Content With Purpose
Carefully consider the message and goal of every post or tweet before putting it out there. Do you want to drive more buzz about a specific new product? Are you trying to educate people about your business in away that would interest them? Be sure the words you put out there support the end-result you are seeking.
3. You’ve Got Analytics–Use ‘Em
Analytics and research are the foundation for any outstanding social media strategy. If you’re using Facebook, then yes, look at your Facebook Insights to see who you is looking at your page, what time they are on, what types of posts they are engaged with.
Even more importantly, leverage the information you get from Google Analytics to understand what content is making the biggest impact with your audience. Let the statistics and analytics be your guide for what, when, where and how you post content.
4. Target Across Multiple Platforms
Facebook is the big guy in many areas. For businesses, most of their “socially” savvy consumers are in that space. But the companies that are using social media to its greatest potential are expanding their presence to multiple platforms. Look to see if there are secondary platforms you could create a presence on to increase your influence.
5. Stay Fresh
The same old same old gets really boring, especially in the world of social media where engagement and content is key. Don’t just stick with the same old “LIKE if you agree” format on Facebook or tweet with a caption on Twitter. The best strategy for social media is mixing up your tactics. Try new things and analyze afterwards what the reaction was.
When setting up accounts on different social media networks, make sure your logo, color scheme, fonts and graphics are consistent.
You want to ensure that no matter where people connect with you, your personal brand is easily identifiable.
6. Keep Consistant Across Platforms
You want to be sure that no matter where people are encountering your brand, they can easily recognize it. Keep your graphics, fonts, logo and color pallets consistent everywhere.
7. Have A Conversation
If you’re lucky enough to capture the attention of the audience you’re seeking, make sure you’re there to engage them! Respond to comments–yes, even the negative ones. In today’s society of constant contact, even the angry customers just want to be heard. You would be amazed at how easily you can turn a hater in to a brad ambassador just but treating them as a person, not a LIKE or a Follower.
The purpose of social media for your business is not just to have a presence, it’s to show the human side of the business and express personality. There is no way you can do this if you ignore the people that are engaging with you.
8. Don’t Sell All The Time: Follow the 70/30 Rule
Social media is personable. Each person on a particular platform gets to customize it in ways that suit his or her interests best. If you want to gain and keep the attention of current and potential customers, follow the 70/30 rule. At least 70% of the time, your posts should have engaging content and let the other 30% (or less) of your posts be the promotional ones.
So what does “engaging” content mean on social media? Use the 70% of your posts to give content to your followers that is intriguing, useful and fun–stuff they would seek out on their own. This allows your audience to feel as though they are engaging in a conversation rather than being sold every time your business posts something.
By following this rule, when you do actually post something that is promotional, your followers are far more likely to value that information.
9. Stay Current, Stay Relevant
Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s trending socially and in news in general, especially the topics relevant to your target customers. When you appear out-of-touch or feed “old information” to your fan base, you’ll lose their attention quickly.
10. Never Assume You’ve Got It Masters–Stay A Constant Student
Never assume you’ve mastered this stuff. The moment you put it on auto-pilot is the moment you lose relevance. Social Media is fluid so your strategy has to also remain ever-changing and flexible.
Don’t be afraid to try something and fail. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there–it’s what social is all about. And absolutely, most definitely, don’t be afraid of change!
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