Excerpt from “Like My Stuff”: Why Do Business on Facebook?

Why is it important for brands to have a Facebook e-commerce capability? Mike Fauscette, an Analyst at IDC Consulting says, “In three to five years, 10 percent to 15 percent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook.”

 

Why might Fauscette make this prediction? Facebook users spend 700 billion minutes per month in an active, relaxed environment. The average Facebook user is connected to 130 friends. They belong to 80 interest groups. Through their detailed profiles and by posting on average 90 pieces of content per month, Facebook users make their preferences known. Word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations or buyer-beware messages are prevalent.

 

Today’s social customer is not shy about posting their thoughts about a brand, its products and services, or the experiences they have with the brand. The unique selling opportunities Facebook can offer has gotten the attention of digital marketer’s and PR professionals. As social media plays an increasingly more important role in purchasing decisions, brands are allocating larger parts of their marketing budgets to engage with their consumers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

 

Many brands, big and small, are wondering if they should go down this path. How is this different than the e-commerce they already offer? And does f-commerce mean that you have to get rid of your traditional e-commerce platform? Are there pitfalls to social commerce or commerce on Facebook? It’s these and other questions we will address in this e-book.

 

Be Where Your Customers Are

For many brands, Facebook is where their customers are online. And the mantra in social media? A brand needs to be where their customers are within the social net. A brand can’t expect that their customers will come to them (or their site.) The theory of f-commerce is that customers should be able to buy wherever and whenever they like. If they are on Facebook then they should be able, among many other things, to purchase products while they interact with their friends and family.

 

Some people have questioned whether it’s even possible to sell customer products in the midst of them using Facebook to catch up with their friends and family. Perhaps that’s all people want to do while on Facebook, i.e., they don’t want their social network to sell them stuff while they are socializing. And if that is the case, then perhaps brands should keep their commerce offerings on their e-commerce sites.

 

However, while some people are of the opinion that people visit Facebook just to catch up with their friends and family, a  JWT (James Walter Thompson) study showed that 48 percent of millennials (aged 20–33) would like to buy directly on Facebook from the places they shop. In a another study industry study, 25 percent of customers aged 18–34 years old stated they use Facebook to interact with merchants. How many companies are planning to increase their funding for social commerce according to this study? Ninety percent will increase funding for social commerce initiatives by 8 percent.

 

There is a trend, and that trend is the blending of social networks with e-commerce. The skill with which brands do this will directly affect the success not only for their own individual brand, but for the industry as a whole. If social networking shopping sites are not delivered in the spirit of what the customer wants, it will fail. If not for this point alone, brands need to pay attention to f-commerce as an example of how shopping can be integrated within a social network.

 

The Future of One-Stop Facebook Shopping

So let’s say you have a vacation coming up. You want to look for good rates on airline tickets. What’s the difference between logging onto an airline website vs. being able to research and purchase tickets inside of an already established social network? First, you may want to ask your friends what airline they flew on, how the service and food was, and what to watch out for. You might find that information on a travel site, but you may not be able to ask your friends their opinions.

 

So the point is that when you are on a regular e-commerce site you may be just getting the “take” from people you don’t actually know. This input is important, because you aren’t just trusting the brand’s marketing spin. You are getting the take of other human beings. But on a social networking site you are connected to your friends and your friends know you and the things you care about the most. You also might want to make plans with a group of people and instead of sending a bunch of e-mails, you might want one place for everyone who is going on the trip to chime in, to plan, and to orchestrate the festivities. Doing so could make coordinating lots of people easier and fuel the enthusiasm for the trip.

 

If you went the traditional route, you’d think about which airline you think you’d like to travel on. You might also think about your favorite travel site, knowing that there are a number of them that aggregate fares and try to provide the best possible deal. So you make your choice and log onto the airline or travel website.

 

Hopefully you’ve saved your log-in name on the computer you are on or you can remember it. It might depend on whether you’ve been to that site before or not. That might also depend on whether you have an account with them or not. If you can’t remember your log-in name then you have to either ask for a password reset or log in as a guest. The first option takes time. Not a lot of time, but it can “feel” like a hassle with all the sites and passwords we all have these days.

 

Once you’ve chosen that path, then you start your search for dates and times for your destination. Once you’ve researched that, you choose a flight and pay for it. Then there’s the step of entering the payment information. That entails your credit card or PayPal-type account information, your billing address and TSA information. If you are renting a hotel and/or a car, that same payment scenario might have to be repeated for each of those transactions unless it’s integrated.

 

In this short scenario, using Facebook could help to lessen the hassles of the travel transactions. With Facebook’s f-commerce tools, you could get the opinion of your friends about each travel item: airline, hotel, car rental, even restaurants in the area. Then you could just hit a Facebook button for each—either while on your laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone and be on your way.

 

Why? Because you are already logged into Facebook, and so have a community of like-minded people to help. Then, since your identity and payment details are already authenticated within Facebook, completing the transaction is as simple as pushing a few appropriate buttons.

If your business could take advantage of f-commerce to make your customer’s experience as quick and easy as possible, think about the spike in revenue you’d get.

 

Social Network Fatigue and Opting for F-commerce

The business decision to use Facebook as part of your e-commerce strategy depends on where you think your customers are going to be online. With more potential consumers on Facebook than there are people logging into eBay and Amazon combined, many companies are betting on the fact that once customers are in Facebook they won’t want to leave to shop. With the number of sites people log into each day, this may well be the trend of the future—meaning that people are starting to suffer from social network fatigue.

 

The reasons for this fatigue include how time consuming it is to log into a bunch of different sites as well as to remember your passwords. Another contributing factor is time allocation. One of the things that most people don’t talk about is the amount of time out of their life social networking takes. While it may be easier to keep in touch with more people and see what is happening with them via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, it does takes time out of one’s day.

 

Having too many social networks means that people may not want to go to a bunch of different sites or URLs. If people have the choice to log into one place to interact with their friends and family and then are required to go to other places to shop, they may opt to participate in a social network that includes not only their favorite brands, but also the ability to buy products and services from them.

 

How Facebook Could Provide Better CRM

Knowing who the people are and details about them allows Facebook to provide customers with an interesting and entertaining online experience, but also provides businesses with information on likes, dislikes, and preferences in the context of their personal and professional relationships. This is different than the data businesses have gathered from traditional Customer Relationship Management or CRM systems.

 

CRM is an acronym that stands for the relationships companies build with their customers during and through the process of marketing, sales, and service. Having social data augment the CRM system could constitute what many call social CRM. While there isn’t any one vendor that truly provides best-in-class social sales, social marketing, and social customer service all in one suite, the concept of combining social data with traditional CRM data could be the missing link to driving more customers through the marketing funnel and getting a return on investment for social media.

 

Facebook Social CRM
Social networking sites like Facebook have massive amounts of individual and social crowd data. That data means something because people have signed up using their real identity. In forums or other crowd-oriented communities, people sometimes remain anonymous. So one of the first advantages of f-commerce is that people are using their real identities.

 

In addition, Facebook started as a site to connect with other people and part of finding people to connect with is to see what they have in common other people. Most people who put up a Facebook page include some personal preference information. This initial data can be very important to companies in understanding their customer’s behavior through knowing about their hobbies, what they like in music, food, travel, and a wide variety of other interests.

 

Companies using Facebook as a marketplace not only have people who have identified themselves, but also user data and analytics that reveals what people talk about, and with the right analytics a business could extract even more data about them as potential customers.

 

Many businesses have just focused on using that data to display hyper-targeted ads. And while there is value for this, the idea that Facebook could be an online virtual mall where friends ask friends what to buy, share what they bought, and thereby influence word of mouth is a reality for many brands.

Like My Stuff_Guide To Facebook Commerce by @DrNatalie Petouhoff

Facebook’s Potential for One-to-One Marketing

One-to-one marketing has long been the dream of many marketers. In fact two of my favorite authors, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, wrote several books about it, including The One-to-One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time, and The One-to-One Fieldbook: The Complete Toolkit for Implementing a 1-to-1 Marketing Program. The theory was that with competition for customers fiercer than ever, with products and services only a mouse click away, with so many choices, and with many products becoming commodities, customers’ loyalty changed. As a result, the way a brand could attract and keep customers would be to personalize how they marketed and sold to a customer. That field of endeavor became known as one-to-one marketing.

 

While most brands bragged about how customer-centric they were, in reality many were at a loss for identifying and attracting a loyal and profitable customer base. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems back in the late 1990s were supposed to provide the infrastructure necessary to support one-to-one marketing. There was a lot of marketing hype around the features, functions, and benefits of CRM software.

 

The issue with CRM systems then was that they were more like a CTM, or customer transaction management system. They didn’t have all the rational database information that marketers could readily use to provide personalized relationship marketing and certainly not enough of the personalized, one-to-one marketing data.

 

Most companies implemented operational CRM, meaning they had a database of contact information about their customers. And that information definitely helped with marketing. But most companies didn’t deploy analytical CRM, meaning the type of CRM that would provide the analytical wisdom about your customers to enable one-to-one marketing and sales. Out of the frustration for the lack of that data developed the field of business intelligence or BI. Separate BI point vendors began to specialize in gathering and mining data about customers to be used to drive customers through the marketing funnel. An industry that was successful at this was the Las Vegas casino system. They developed loyalty programs that could measure the offers sent to customers and subsequent behaviors. Studying these patterns allowed marketers to direct their one-to-one marketing efforts very effectively. But most industries failed to excel in one-to-one marketing.

 

Fast forward to today, where we now have Web 2.0-type technologies that allow interactions between brands and customers. With the enhanced Facebook Open Graph API and supporting tools that it announced in April 2010, Facebook can be seen as a social CRM system. This is especially true if you define CRM as the opportunity to do personalized, one-to-one marketing, sales, and service. What has been missing in CRM is the relationship between the customer, their likes, dislikes, and their friends and family in a context where their reactions and comments are honest, authentic, and updated daily.

 

Facebook API: A Graph of What People Care About

Imagine that Facebook is a graphical representation of connections between people, photos, liking, sharing, commenting, shopping, and the interrelatedness between them and their friend and family relationships liking, sharing, commenting, and shopping. If you took a picture of each of those things and pasted it on a piece of poster board, you’d have a visual representation of that person’s life and what’s important to them as well as poster boards of their friends and families and what is important to each of them as well as the overlaps in interests. This is called a “social graph.”

 

Facebook offers businesses a way to connect to that information via an API. An API is an acronym for application programming interface. Instead of having to write a bunch of complicated code to connect to the data, you just have to connect to the API. The API provides a much simpler way to access the information.

 

The Facebook Open Graph API allows you to easily access all public information about a person. This means that it can retrieve the likes and interests of your customers, and your customer’s Facebook connections. And thus the social graph data provides marketers new ways to understand a customer’s preferences, passions, and connections and by doing so allows a brand to create a personalized experience with each and every customer.

For instance, a customer might live in Los Angeles, listen to Sting, work at Citibank, ride bikes along the Santa Monica Pier, eat at the Cheesecake Factory in Marina Del Rey as well as connect with their network of friends and family. With the Facebook Open Graph API, brands can make personalized offers to that individual based on the information he or she has shared on their page.

 

Deals that might interest this customer are mortgages or refinancing information from Citibank, coupons for free drinks at Cheesecake factory, a sale on bikes or bike accessories, and a special appearance by Sting on the Santa Monica Pier. With contextualized data like this, brands can customize their marketing campaigns based on the information customers share about themselves.

 

Another example is that a brand might show the upcoming birthdays of Facebook Friends as well as their gift Wish List. How would a brand populate this list? The brand can access that friend’s profile data, which might include a list of their favorite electronics, clothes, food, and music as gift suggestions. Normally, it would have to create a system that would ask the customer directly about their favorite items, then get permission to use this information. The Social Plug-ins, mentioned earlier in this chapter, allow a brand to build the social graph by seeing what the customer “Liked” on Facebook. That is assuming the customer opts to share this information publicly among their own individual group of friends. Brands seeking to use this information would need to ask the Facebook member to share this information with them as well.

 

The downfall to getting data is the individual Facebook privacy setting. Each Facebook page’s privacy settings are handled and decided upon by the customer who owns the page. Customers are asked to provide permission to allow their page to be seen by the brand. This determines who can see what. I’ve included some screenshots in the case studies in the following chapters so you can see how brands ask for permission to see what a customer is talking about.

 

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company


Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ :
Google Plus posts
Facebook:
DrNatalie Petouhof

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Excerpt from my book “Like My Stuff”: Driving Sales with F-commerce

Driving Sales with F-commerce

The key to f-commerce ROI is to make sure incentives resonate with ambassadors, influencers, and customers so that they drive sales on the brand’s behalf. That’s why I recommend as one of the first steps in social media strategy is to put yourself back into the mindset of being in school. Go and study some brands that are doing it.

Brands that are in the midst of social commerce have found that when they use some of the same techniques as in regular sales processes, there is an increase in interaction. Those techniques can be:

 

  • Specific calls to action
  • Creating a sense of urgency through limited availability or blackout dates
  • Incentivizing social actions by offering discounts or special access

 

Here’s an example of how this can work. Let’s say you offer a coupon for your product. The catch is that 500 coupons have to be redeemed before I can get my deal. If the brand creates a way for the customer to share the deal with their Facebook connections, then more people will see the deal. If you have targeted the right demographic with the right offer, within hours or days the 500 coupons will be redeemed. It’s the action of one customer sending the deal within Facebook to hundreds of their connections that makes the f-commerce recommendation distribution process profitable.

Brands can increase their return on their investment by integrating e-commerce functionality with the word-of-mouth strategies we talked about in Chapter 13. What’s great about the social networking software is that the tools to implement those strategies are there. Some tactics are:

 

  • Offer contests where when the customer clicks on the Like button, they land on the Facebook store
  • Post ads, promotions, flash sales, pop-up offers to Wall and link those to the Facebook Shop
  • Combine “deals of the day” or product announcements with links to product details in the f-commerce shop

 

The Value of a Facebook Fan

There have been a couple of companies that have calculated the value of a Facebook Fan. In part, the reason why this had not been calculated before is because we needed more data to understand what dynamics affect other dynamics. It takes a while for a social network to get set up before it can be monetized. That is something that has stumped many business people who look at the investments that have been made in social networks. Millions and billions get poured into it, with the rest of the world wondering when they will begin to make money. In addition, to have enough data to watch for patterns also requires that the social network have some legs under it.

A company called ChompOn released a study on the calculations they did on the value of shares, Tweets, likes, and follows in the context of e-commerce. ChompOn works with 50 partners including Blackbook Magazine, JDeal,and Beyondtherack to offer Groupon-like crowdsourced coupons.

They used data from these daily deals to examine the conversion rate and action for deals they shared on Facebook and Twitter. They found the value of a Facebook share is $14 and the value of a tweet is $5.

For shares and tweets, ChompOn was able to directly attribute sales to the original action and took the total revenue attributed to each action and divided it by the total number of shares/tweets.

By comparison, ChompOn says the value of a Facebook “Like” is $8 and the value of a Twitter Follow is $2. For likes and follows, ChompOn estimated attribution by looking at traffic references and subtracting out purchases made through shares/tweets as well as purchases made through direct traffic. Of course this data is a bit tenuous and anecdotal. And it’s important to note that this analysis does not capture the long-term value of customers over time or the customer lifetime value we were talking about early in this chapter.

Syncapse is another company that calculated the value of a Facebook Fan. They looked at the differences in behavior and motivation between fans and non-fans to understand the true value of a fan. They looked at:

 

  • Product Spending: The ability to understand the methodology of increasing product spending
  • Loyalty: The ability to understand the available means to influence and promote brand loyalty within a target audience
  • Propensity to Recommend: Probability and propensity for word-of-mouth recommendations leading to sales
  • Brand Affinity: The impact on brand perception and recall
  • Media Value: Efficiencies of earned reach and frequency via the Facebook platform
  • Acquisition Cost: Efficiency of fans in enticing others to participate and drive organic membership

 

 

They polled 4,000 people who were self-identified as fans or non-fans of Nokia, BlackBerry, Motorola, Secret, Gillette, Axe, Dove, Victoria’s Secret, Adidas, Nike, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Skittles, Nutella, Red Bull, Pringles, PlayStation, Xbox, Starbucks, and McDonald’s.

The results were that consumers who are fans are more valuable to organizations across all variables than those who are not fans:

  • On average, fans spend an additional $71.84 on products for which they are fans compared to those who are not fans.
  • Fans are 28 percent more likely than non-fans to continue using the brand.
  • Fans are 41 percent more likely than non-fans to recommend a fanned product to their friends.

 

They also found that no two brands fan values are the same. But what is reassuring is that because they were able to track behavior, they could see the trends that make a fan more valuable than not.

They noted that fan value can vary widely by company and product. Factors influencing this variability include product purchase price, purchase frequency, product purchase cycle, product category, brand equity, and underlying brand strength.

A fan base is unique and comprises different levels of influencers and customers. Syncapse observed that how much a fan participates with a brand can change the value. For instance, an average fan may participate with a brand ten times a year and will make one recommendation. But, an active fan may participate thirty times and make ten recommendations. The impact this has on fan value can be quite dramatic.

In the case of Coca-Cola, the best-case scenario for fan value reaches $316.78. But it is $137.84 for an average fan. This degree of variability in the value of a fan must be a major consideration in determining how brands address different types of fans in efforts to move them up the value ladder. The strategy needs to be focused on how to reduce fan variability while moving the average fan value to the active end of the range.

 

Facebook Can Be the Decisive Factor for  Commercial Success

 

The Social Commerce IQ™ Genius Index was created with analytics data and the accompanying survey findings. Facebook figured prominently in the results. The social commerce index was broken down into four levels of social commerce maturity. Genius level included brands that represent the most socially-advanced on Facebook, typically having the highest engagement rates and offering shopping offers that were relevant to their customers in the brand’s news feed. In next lower category, Superior Level, the brands typically had fewer status updates and moderate engagement on their Facebook pages. The next category Challenged The brands in this category typically had few status updates, low engagement and little to no shopping status updates or applications/ tabs on their Facebook page. And the lowest category, the Deficient brands had no engagement, new fans and rarely sent updates to their fans. The top-scoring retail brands with Social Commerce IQ™ scores according to this study are: GameStop, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart, Sephora and Clinique.

 

All the top scorers in this study were shown to maintain a high level social currency for their brands through Facebook. Based on the data collected, here are three of most significant takeaways:

  • Status Updates Increase Sales– publish news about sales events, not coupons as a primary driver of fan engagement on Facebook. This is especially true for luxury retailers.
  • Ask Customers to “Like” After Buying—People buy then “Like”, not “Like” then buy – most Likes come from people who have already bought the product, i.e. liking is a post-purchase activity.
  • Likes Drive Sales— Facebook has driven at least 22 million sales transactions in the U.S. as a result of customers “liking” their products.  In general, 35 percent of consumers on Facebook tend to buy a product if it has been Liked by other members.

 

The power of keeping engaged with your customers is key to social commerce success.  Facebook is clearly the leading platform for managing a productive dialogue with customers. With its newly empowered f-commerce tools and platforms, it not only affords brands a wide variety of the opportunities to stay connected to the marketplace but also to collect and incorporate customer information to make the conversation even richer and more profitable for all concerned.

 

Want more? You can get my book here: http://www.amazon.com/Like-My-Stuff-Products-Facebook-ebook/dp/B005Y23KLK

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company


Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ :
Google Plus posts
Facebook:
DrNatalie Petouhof

 

 

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Dr Natalie Petouhoff – List of Publications, Books, Research, White Papers, ebooks,

Publications, Books, Articles and Research Of Dr. Natalie Petouhoff. I was recently asked to create a list of all the things I’ve written… I not sure I have them all… but here’s a list of white papers, chapter in books, books I’ve authored, books I have ghost written, etc…  over the last ten years or more… Hope you find something that gives you some braincandy or a new way to approach your business.

@drnatalie

2013

 

2012

 

2011

2010

2009-2001

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The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg

With over one billion users, Facebook has become the world’s largest social networking site. Its story is incredible: from its foundation only nine years ago it has changed the way people communicate, connect and share information. Facebook has become part of our daily lives and routines. How has Mark Zuckerberg created such a successful company and become one of the great business leaders of our time, and what can we learn from him? I discuss the answers to this question in more detail in my book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”, but in this post I wanted to share some quick insights around the five key elements of success. This is a Guest post by Ekaterina Walter.

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Mark Zuckerberg via CrunchBase

1. Passion

“Find that thing you are super passionate about.” –Mark Zuckerberg

Successful entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and from all personality types. But one thing they all share is passion. Passion is what drives you to keep trying despite all the setbacks you encounter and to turn failure into a learning experience.

Mark Zuckerberg’s passion is using technology to bring people together; Steve Jobs’ passion was to build revolutionary products; Richard Branson’s passion is to build companies he is proud of; Oprah Winfrey’s passion is communication. Passion is essential for success, no matter what type of business you create.

2. Purpose

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Simon Sinek, Start with Why

Long-term customer loyalty comes from your company’s purpose. Having a purpose drives the choices a company makes, from the people it hires, the way it markets a product, the materials it uses, as well as the products it makes. Apple’s products are not the cheapest on the market, but they have inspired great customer loyalty because Apple’s purpose – to create stylish, intuitive products that change the way we use technology – is so clear in everything they do. Ben & Jerry’s have a similarly clear purpose: to create ethical, imaginatively-flavored ice cream, and fans eagerly await their next product idea.

Facebook’s purpose to connect people in the simplest way possible has driven their most popular design innovations and turned social networking into a daily habit for hundreds of millions of people.

3. People

The most innovative companies allow their employees the freedom to develop their interests and to take risks. Facebook have an interview process that only selects new employees who are the right fit for the company’s culture. Once they are in, they take part in intensive training that teaches them the ‘hacker way’ of fast, creative coding that Zuckerberg prizes.

Companies like Facebook, Apple and Zappos have created a culture that empowers courage of conviction, freedom of speech, and action. This comes from strong leadership that leads by example.

Herb Kelleher, the visionary behind Southwest Airlines, puts it this way: “Employees come first and if employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again, and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works and it’s not a conundrum at all.”

4. Product

Mark Zuckerberg has created a product that fulfills his passion for connecting people, one that is changing the way communities communicate. Successful entrepreneurs build their product on three principles: their passion, the purpose of the company, and the right people and partnerships. The fact that Zuckerberg walked away from lucrative offers to buy his company early on shows that he believed in his long-term vision for his product, a vision that has driven many of the changes to Facebook over the years and kept it relevant to the needs of its users. As Zuckerberg continues to say to his critics and stakeholders, “I’m here to build something for the long term. Anything else is a distraction.”

5. Partnerships

Partnerships that work are based on clear expectations, shared values, mutual trust, a fair exchange of value, complementary strengths, commitment, and mutual respect. This can be seen in the partnership of Mark Zuckerberg and his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, who has been key to Facebook’s prosperity.

Image representing Sheryl Sandberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Strong partnerships have been the foundation for many successful companies, from Ben & Jerry to the Warner Brothers, Hewlett and Packard, Sears and Roebuck, McGraw and Hill, or the team behind CollegeHumor. Partnerships could be based on two or more founders, or else finding the right suppliers, distributors, or investors.

Mark Zuckerberg has challenged the traditional blueprint for successful business leadership, and become the 29th richest person in the world with his company. As the way we use the internet around the world continues to change, Facebook will continue to be at the forefront of social technology, ensuring Zuckerberg’s success into the future.

About the author: Ekaterina Walter is a social media innovator at Intel, a speaker, and an author of the book “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”. Walter was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2012. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). You can find her on Twitter: @Ekaterina and her blog www.ekaterinawalter.com.

 

 

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New Book on TRUST by David Horsager – The Bottomline of Success

David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge, reveals the foundation of genuine success. What might that be? Success, in its most simplest element, requires clarity and trust. What’s great is the book is based on research – so you can take it to your executives and get buy-in. And what is also wonderful is that research has been translated into “how to” so the principles in the book are laid out perfectly for the practical leader to take and make their own. This is a great book for leaders who want to gain faster results, deeper relationships, and a stronger bottom line.

Being the ROI Maven – I was fascinated by the way David has figured out how trust is quantifiable. As many of you know my background- I didn’t start out by being an ROI-focused person. I went in that direction because it was difficult — often times–  to get people to understand the value of what was being presented –regardless of what the offering was – a new training, a new way to look at consulting, a new way for sales & marketing… and this was true whether I was an executive in a company, a management consultant or an analyst. So I began back when I was at Hughes Electronics to look at the ROI of human potential — I calculated the ROI of an employee development program. Without it, I was nearly laughed out of the room to suggest that engineers would be affected by a program focused on their development. With it, I was given a very large budget to put an end to the high attrition rates the company I was working with was experiencing!

Here’s how David looks at the bottom-line:

David’s platform and point of view is great for bringing dramatic results to businesses and leaders because he makes people think differently about how to achieve lasting success. In this book, Horsager teaches readers how to build the 8 Pillars of Trust:

English: David Horsager, America's Business Tr...

English: David Horsager, America’s Business Trust Expert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Clarity: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous.
2. Compassion: People put faith in those who care beyond themselves.
3. Character: People notice those who do what is right over what is easy.
4. Competency: People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable.
5. Commitment: People believe in those who stand through adversity.
6. Connection: People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends.
7. Contribution: People immediately respond to results.
8. Consistency: People love to see the little things done consistently.

When leaders learn how to implement these pillars, they enjoy better relationships, reputations, retention, revenue, and results. What you will learn as you read The Trust Edge is how trust has the ability to accelerate or destroy any business, organization, or relationship. The lower the trust, the more time everything takes, the more everything costs, and the lower the loyalty of everyone involved. Conversely, an environment of trust leads to greater innovation, morale, and productivity.

The trusted leader is followed. So for those of you looking to increase your leadership capabilities, this book is an essential tool. And if we think about it, we know the content makes sense — whether its from the trusted salesperson, from who people will buy; whether its the trusted brand, people will pay more, come back, and tell others.

When you break it all down, trust, not money itself; what it is- is the currency of business and life!

You can get your copy of the Trust Edge here: http://amzn.to/RB62Dq  Follow David here: @davehorsager

Learn. Share. Grow!


Learn. Share. Grow!

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

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“Like My Stuff”: How to Get 750 Million Members to Buy Your Products on Facebook (Intro)

First there was e-commerce. Amazon and eBay led the way. This has been followed by thousands of retailers, from Kmart to Delta to 1-800-Flowers to Home Depot, selling billions of dollars of merchandize each year on websites. In those models, an individual company has to promote its e-commerce platform to get people there to buy.

According to audience measurement and tracking firm comScore, currently U.S. retail e-commerce spending went up 14 percent Online retail spending reached $37.5 billion, primarily due to an increase in the number of buyers (up 16 percent), with 70 percent of all Internet users making at least one online purchase. comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni states that almost $1 in every $10 of discretionary spending in the U.S. now occurs online.

But what if a company tapped into the communities where their customers were already on and offered them the same things there? Social Commerce does just that. Simply stated, it is e-commerce on social networking sites.

From the customer’s point of view, what would matter most:

  • A half-dozen reviews from people you don’t know?
  • A coupon for 10 percent off a product for your first visit to the site?
  • Recommendations of twenty of your best friends that bought, use, and love the same product?

Social networking sites are allowing brands to use plug-ins and widgets to connect and encourage customers’ friends to comment, displaying visible discussion threads, thereby creating social shopping experiences that are fueled by word-of-mouth marketing. While e-review sites have driven e-commerce (or prevented it if there are a lot of negative comments about a product or service), the idea of having people you know comment and recommend products they like is the premise of Facebook commerce, also known as f-commerce.

With over 750 million active users on Facebook, there are more potential customers using Facebook than there are logging into eBay and Amazon combined. Some customers may not see Facebook as a purchasing platform yet, but more and more businesses are adding features so customers can browse and/or buy their products on Facebook. By reading this book you will be at the forefront of a huge movement in social media commerce.

This e-book is about how Facebook is transforming into an e-commerce platform. It is written to help you understand what f-commerce means to business owners, large and small. It includes practical examples of brands that have deployed Facebook e-commerce and how you can use f-commerce in your business.

Next week we’ll dive into chapter 1, “Why Do Business on Facebook”

You can order my e-book by clicking here.

 


Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts


 

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SOCIALIZED! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social

Wondering about a field guide to transforming your organization into a social business? Check out SOCIALIZED! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social by Mark Fidelman.

Socialized by Mark Fidelman — Top business Book on Social Media

Authored by Forbes.com writer Mark Fidelman, this 288-page “playbook” is designed to help businesses transform into high-performance social organizations by providing strategies, tactics and examples that companies can apply today to start increasing revenue immediately and for the long term. Filled with road-tested recommendations and real-life stories from visionaries and change makers, the book is designed to help business leaders create more adaptable, intelligent, profitable businesses.

Readers will learn how to create and nurture a high performing internal social network, or “digital village” that helps employees collaborate and share information internally as well as with customers, partners and suppliers. This book helps distinguish between social media participants vs. external social businesses who connect with their external “digital network” and build a community of brand advocates. Fidelman guides readers to manage “Darwin’s Funnel,” a sales and marketing channel with a social wrapper that speeds up lead nurturing and improves businesses’ ability to convert leads into sales.

You can follow Mark here:

@markfidelman and @biznextevents

Here’s where you can buy the book: Socialized!

And the kindle version: Socialized! Kindle Version

Mark Fidelman’s must-read new book is called Socialized! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social (Bibliomotion, November 2012), and it is available at bookstores nationwide, as well as at all major online retailers,  including Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, and others.

Join Mark at  BusinessNext Social — I will be there speaking also!!  It’s January 6-8 in Las Vegas, and network with an exceptional group of social business luminaries, influencers and vendors who have experienced firsthand the strategies and cutting-edge social media and mobile technologies that are accelerating the rise and fall of businesses


Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

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Could Shopping in Social Networks Ruin Them? DrNatalie ‘s New Book: “Like My Stuff” How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Dr. Natalie’s New Book:  LIke My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans With a Facebook Store

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Facebook or f-commerce to some, may see like a dirty word. Whether you think that or not depends on what your point of view is on adding shopping to social networks. Will brands take the next step to social media ROI with Social Commerce on Facebook? That’s what I address in Like My Stuff.

 

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Image via Wikipedia

If you ask Mark Zuckerberg, he says social commerce is the next big thing… but of course he does…

The skill with which brands fulfill on f-commerce will directly affect the success not only for their own individual brand, but as an industry as a whole. If social networking shopping sites are not delivered in the spirit of what the customer wants, it will fail. If not for this point alone, brands need to pay attention to f-commerce as an example of how shopping can be integrated within a social network.

My book, Like My Stuff, is about the opportunity businesses have to combine brand interactions and social commerce on Facebook (f-commerce) to increase their sales and promote their brands. Using nearly 50 live, full color screenshots from major retailers such as Macy’s, JC Penny’s and Avon as well as medium to small businesses, LIKE MY STUFF shows why f-commerce is the fastest growing trend and how to do it right or piss your customers off for good.

Potential Pitfalls for f-commerce

Are there potential pitfalls to dealing in f-commerce? Yes, privacy, intrusion, relevancy, engagement and the social fatique gap. Those and other factors are why f-commerce and eCommerce are so different.

Privacy

Let’s look at privacy first. Remember back to 2007? Facebook tried Project Beacon. That process collected the eCommerce activity of Facebook participants on third party sites and then posted a user’s purchases on their friends’ news feed. That didn’t last long because users felt it was a privacy issue to disperse their information and data. There was backlash and many thought this might be the end of social shopping for Facebook. A study from JWT found the percentage of people worried about Facebook privacy and security to be in the 75% range. So if a brand is going to consider social shopping, it needs to be aware of making their customer’s feel secure.

Intrusion

What’s the issue with intrusion and consumers? The conflict for the shopper is when shopping feels likes it is an intrusion in a user’s social network lifestream. A lifestream is made up of the online posts and interactions a person creates in their daily interactions in social networks. Brands who go down the f-commerce path need to understand the nuances of social networks, what works and what doesn’t work.

This book is full of case studies of f-commerce that work. But brands should not just look at these examples for the mechanics of how a brand delivered an f-commerce solution. They must also understand what motivates a customer to click on a “Like” button and what it takes to go from just “Liking” a brand to getting them to redeem a coupon to getting a customer to become a loyal customer with repeat purchases and preference for the brand. To do that brands must become a social experience that is interesting and relevant to their audience. Social currency is the value a brand brings to a customer’s lifestream, i.e., providing relevancy and customer centric engagements that enhance a customer’s life. And social currency is where the return on investment in social media pays off. When brands don’t understand social currency, relevancy and engagement, they become an intrusion.

Relevancy: Know Your Audience

Often understanding what is interesting and relevant is best found by asking customers directly. Too many PR, Marketing

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Netflix CEO...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

and Advertising firms think they know better. They don’t take the time to do the account planning or research to really understand their audience, their behaviors, their motivations and drivers for let alone for traditional campaigns. Enter social media. If a brand does not listen and understand their online audience, the backlash can be devastating. (Think Netflix- check out my blog post on how Netflix wasn’t really listening or understanding why customers were upset ) That doesn’t mean a brand should not enter into the social media realm. It means they need to go back to school and understand the differences between online and offline customer interactions and the viral nature of a scorned customer.

Get To REALLY Know Your Audience

Brands need to make sure they have someone on staff who understands how to do primary audience research in both social media and traditional methods. Qualitative and quantitative methods of traditional account planning and audience research include:

  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews
  • Polls
  • Surveys, and
  • Ethnography / netnography (observations off- and on-line of the audience behaviors)

Social media monitoring tools like Radian6, Sysomos, Tracckr, etc… lend themselves to account planning and audience research, especially for:

  • Primary Research (research conducted by the brand itself)
  • Sentiment and share of voice online
  • Identification of the top influencers, advocates, customers, brand naysayers and press
  • Polls, surveys, netnography, etc…
  • Topics influencers and advocates are discussing about the brand
  • Customer issues, questions, suggestions and praise for the product, service and the brand…
  • Secondary Research (research conducted by other people than the brand)
  • Studies other research groups or institutions have produced on the brand, the or category that the brand falls into (consumer products, automotive…) and the customers associated with those groups.

In addition, conversations within online communities- either owned by the brand or third party communities, can reveal very interesting insights for the brand. In particular interest to this book on f-commerce is the use of community applications within Facebook. An example of a community application used within Facebook is Get Satisfaction’s Facebook Solution.

Because the Wall in Facebook changes so quickly, brands end up answering the same questions over and over. The Get Satisfaction Facebook widget allows brands to not only avoid spending time repeating the same answers on the Wall (because questions and answers can be searched on and retrieved), but instead can focus on creating relevant content and interactions that engage customers to participate and make that brand part of their lifestream.

Image representing GoodData as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Most social media monitoring tools can only provide Facebook data that is on public pages. Because of the partnership between GoodData and Get Satisfaction, the brand can obtain intimate knowledge of the conversations on their Facebook pages between the brand and its customer’s. And, if the brand has included the Get Satisfaction widget on their website or other communities, that data can also be aggregated.

If a brand doesn’t take the steps to understand their audience, there is no guarantee that the social shopping experience will yield good business results. Why guess, when you can know?

Image representing Get Satisfaction as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

Engagement

In the old days, Marketers counted on customers telling 10-20 of their friends about a product or service. Today with the social web, one customer’s comment, negative or positive, informs thousands and sometimes millions of people in nearly nanoseconds. And reports show that year after year, consumers generally trust the opinions of people they know more than they trust anonymous ratings and reviews posted online. And in comparison, they trust online banner ads and advertisements even less. Social commerce or f-commerce is the opportunity to leverage word-of-mouth to increase the awareness of brand and drive customers through the consideration and purchase funnel.

Social Network Fatique

Brands must begin to think from the social customer’s point of view. Customer’s who use social media are constantly being bombarded with invitations to new social networks. They have to decide where to spend the little free time they have. This means that a brand must provide their social customers direct engagement that acknowledges their understanding of their customers in the social web as well as reward them for that participation in the social experience created by the brand. Customers who do encounter great social experiences influence other customers. That influence can multiply across their social graphs and spark comments, conversations and purchases. To be good at this means that you are a student of “a day in the life of your customers.”

For instance, Nike  built a community where runners can share their experiences about running. There are tools to keep track of the number of miles you’ve completed, etc… This community provides something that runners need and hence they go there. The net-net for Nike is that the more people are inspired to run, the more shoes they sell. But the strategy can’t start with – let’s sell more shoes. Interaction strategy must provide something that customers need and want. Otherwise the brand’s social strategy will fall prey to social fatigue.

Many businesses, big and small, are wondering if they should go down this path? How is f-commerce different than the e-commerce they already offer? And does f-commerce mean that you have to get rid of your traditional e-commerce platform? I addresses these and other questions in the book… if you’d like to order it, click here… LIKE MY STUFF. So Check it out and let me know what you think!

Learn. Share. Grow!
@drnatalie

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FREE Chapter 1 – I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG! by Jeanne Bliss

This is the third post about the book, I Love You More Than My Dog, as part of my favorite book posts.

Jeanne Bliss tweeted me to thank me for writing about her book. And as we got to talking, she provided me with a link to the first chapter of her book, just for you:

http://www.customerbliss.com/pdf/Chapter%201%20I%20Love%20You%20More%20Than%20My%20Dog.pdf

(may have to copy and paste the URL)

Chapter 1: Your Decisions Reveal:  Who You Are and What You Value!

It’s very generous of Jeanne to provide me a link. I hope that you take advantage of it!

The chapter starts with a quote from Walt Disney:“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

Walt Disney

Walt Disney, The Master of the Customer Experience

Companies that are loved by their customers make decisions differently than other companies.

The common denominator, according to Jeanne, is that these companies bring consciousness and humanity to the decisions they make.  When you make decisions that respect and honor your customers, your customers will grow your business by word of mouth. They will tell their friends, who will they their friends, who will tell their friends…

Remember that Breck Shampoo commercial back in the ’60s that used this as their tagline?

The most important thing a company can do is to form an army of cheerleaders and publicists urging their friends, neighbors, colleagues and strangers to get behind your company.

Have we ever seen this in action? Sure we have… Land’s End for instance. That’s where Jeanne started her customer experience career. The founder of Land’s End, Gary Comer, described Jeanne’s job as:  nurturing the “conscience” of the company through the decisions they made as they grew. And they experienced 20-30% grow per year. Their stand? Long-term growth was dependent on retaining their strong emotional connection with customers.

At that time, the stories customers told about Land’s End, revealed their values. They drove not only customers to the company, but also an engaged and loyal employee base. Land’ End need over 200 employee volunteers to answer all the, “I love you, Land’s End!” mail they received each month.

And have we seen this lately? Yes, at Zappos.com When Tony and Alfred started Aappos.com they didn’t have money for large advertising or marketing programs. They made the conscious decision that the way they would build and grow their business was to provide such great service, interactions and experiences, that they tell their friends, who will they their friends, who will tell their friends…

And 2009, Amazon.com bought Zappos.com for over $922 Million.  That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it.

And its not that these types of companies are perfect. It’s not that every single interaction is perfect. What is so is that they have a huge reserve of gratitude from their customers, that if and when a mistake is made, that customers are willing to be more forgiving. Especially when that tender, loving care is how they deal with the mistake or issue.

As Jeanne would say, “The decision is yours.”

 

 

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The Challenge of the “T” Executive

Are you a “T” executive? I was recently speaking with my friend John Shiple and he told me I was a “T” executive. Someone who had vast cross-functional knowledge, but also deep subject matter expertise. I didn’t know that it had a name. Pretty cool.

Part of that has come from an innate knowingness of when people work together things work out better.

Having worked as a management consultant in CRM (Marketing, Sales and Service) meant that I had to work with three different departments that didn’t normally work with each other or even want to work with each other. It meant that I was faced with trying to creating cross-functional capabilities in organizations where there had not been any.

Some people think of me as a  Customer Service expert because of one of my most recent positions. But even in that position I worked directly with CMO’s, with PR Directors, with Product Managers and Brand Managers– I didn’t just cover Customer Service, I also covered CRM. And CRM means Marketing…. It’s interesting how you get put in a box… I’ve done everything from small PR initiatives… like just write a press release to designing the whole media buy… i.e., TV and radio spots…

What I can tell you is that while some companies realized the need for it, and some even realized their ROI would be higher, the ability for individuals to work outside their own functional capabilities is slow to none. And that’s part of why I was thrilled when Marsha Collier, in her new book, The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide, asked to interview me for the first chapter.

The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide by Marsha Collier

What Marsha and I discussed in the interview and what is in the first chapter is what companies are facing and need solutions to regarding cross-functional capabilities.

There are millions and billions of dollars being wasted because of the lack of interdepartmental collaboration. It should be a crime when they don’t collaborate.

Not to mention the facturing of the brands equity in the social sphere when the separately interact with the customer. Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of Marsha’s book; if you want the whole chapter, you can get it here: http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/06/04706377/0470637706-152.pdf

The interview excerpt: “With your online presence, you are in the position to regularly interact with customers. You have the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t. Knowledge gleaned from outside your inner sanctum will enable you to address key questions, such as whether your product or service offering is right for the market and up to date with current trends. This helps you motivate employees to deliver the level of service required and to identify what, if any, are opportunities for your company’s growth. Interestingly, that has been the main focus of former Forrester analyst, Dr. Natalie Petouhoff (@DrNatalie on Twitter). At Forrester, she covered not only customer service and customer relationship management (CRM), but by observing the new juncture of social media and those disciplines, she wrote the world’s first social media return on investment (ROI) model.

Natalie, now the chief social media and digital communication strategist at Weber Shandwick, is one of the truly brilliant folks in her field; her work is legendary at businesses whose budgets we can only imagine.

Her groundbreaking ideas in this arena can help to center our thoughts on exactly how this is all going to work for our own businesses. When I asked Dr. Natalie about my theory about customer service becoming the new marketing, and about how small business has an innate advantage today, here’s what she shared with me:

People asked me why I went from addressing customer service and its professionals to a public relations and marketing firm. What I found was that companies are fracturing their brands. This started to happen even before social PR and marketing departments were crafting amazing brand promises. But because the way those departments have been organized, they don’t interact with customers after the brand promise has been delivered. So who does have to deliver on the brand promise? Customer service. And because customer service has been largely trapped into the category of a cost center, it rarely is able, during those customer interactions, to deliver on the brand promise, or even have enough respect within the organization to have others accept the idea [that] they have to change products or services to better meet customers’ wants and needs.

This dynamic—the lack of interdepartmental interaction— has been happening since companies left the mom-and-pop model. Along comes social media, and what are consumers using it for? Among the many uses—to keep in touch with friends and family, find a lost love, shop—they are realizing they can broadcast to millions their disdain about how companies are not meeting their brand promise. As a management consultant back in the days of the top management consulting companies, (the “Big 6,” including Accenture, Price Waterhouse, Coopers & Lybrand, Ersnt & Young), as PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant, we were taught that more than anything, managing customer expectations was the key to success. And that lesson learned can be applied here today in business. That is the reason I joined a PR and marketing firm. I wanted to help companies manage their customers’ expectations. After many years in the corporate world, I realized the chasm in corporations needed to be healed. That chasm?

Interdepartmental disconnect and dysfunction. If I were to really help the business world make this huge change, I myself had to be the change.

I saw that PR and marketing had mastery over delivering a brand’s promise. And that their worth was based on the ability to help customers become aware, and to consider purchasing products and services from their company. Once sales “closed the deal,” customer service’s role was to help, answer questions, and solve problems.

The disconnect was that PR and marketing professionals were not always delivering a brand promise that customer service could consistently provide. And, note, none of this was the fault of PR, marketers, or customer service. It was an artifact of how companies organize themselves into groups of specialties; and rarely do they have leadership that has the intuition that continuing to interact as disparate silos not only is not in the best interest of any of those departments, [but that] it will actually be the downfall of companies, which will go out of business if they don’t “get it.”

Of the companies that do sense some of this, many of them may not know how to break down the silos in the politically charged situations they work in. And even in the best situations, they certainly would not be compensated for interdepartmental collaboration. What social media is doing for companies is essentially this: It is a source of real-time feedback.

That feedback is filled with information, if you are listening, that can be used to change your products and service to meet your customers’ needs. Imagine how much easier it would be to market and sell a product [that] your customers said they wanted. Imagine if you are listening to your customers and you are using [what they’re saying] for product innovation. Imagine if your competitor is not. Imagine the market advantage you’d have. And imagine if you used customer service as your differentiator. Why would your customers go anywhere else?

PR has now become customer service. Customer service in now PR. The question you have to ask yourself is, “How are you going to be managing the expectations of your customers, and how will all your departments deliver on your brand’s promise?” No customers, no business. Period.

To get the whole chapter, click here: http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/06/04706377/0470637706-152.pdf

To order the book, click here: http://theultimateonlinecustomerserviceguide.blogspot.com/

Thank you Marsha! For addressing a much needed discussion and for writing a wonderful book!

Learn. Share. Grow. @drnatalie

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