Posts in October 2012

Is insider really outsider in customer experience?

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Insider is outsider in customer experience
© Rodeo/Andres Rodriguez

We were going through an industry lately, selling our services to executives.

In one call, it came to me, how outsiders these industry insiders really are, when you think about a customer perspective to their business or industry.

Their product was used by virtually all households, so every executive was also a customer. But not one of these executives have ever bought their product the normal way their their customers do: through a normal purchase process. They all had used internal ways:

- they didn't have to select the supplier, so they have never compared the companies

- they do not pay normal price, so did not understand how the customers see the pricing

- they did not had to fill any forms themselves, someone in their organization took care of this for them. And if they would have to do that, they already speak “the industry”, that it, they understand the industry’s mambo jumbo.

- if they had any problems, they would always get best service from best people. They would never have to call customer service or support, they would call the customer service manager, or ask their secretary to do that.

Thus they were total outsiders of how their customer perceive their business, how the customers compare companies, prices, products, how easy or difficult it really is to buy the product, how low the quality really is and how frustrating it is to try to get someone to fix an issue, or how difficult it is to understand any communication, conditions, forms etc because of the industry’s internal language.

I am not going to tell you which industry I am talking about, as it really does not matter, the problem is universal. Consider for a while a car industry. First consider how you buy a car, how you get it serviced, what problems do you face, when something needs to be fixed and so on. Now consider the car executive from the brand. Do you think he or she goes through the same processes you do? Definitely not. If her car broke down, she will get it to service in front of the queue. She will not need to fight whether the fault should be covered by warranty or not. She would not need a courtesy* car (if even available), as she can always borrow from internal or press fleet.

*I read a story from a British CAR-magazine: A customer has left his new + 200 000 € Aston Martin for a warranty service and got a 10 000 € Ford Ka as a courtesy car. Or as the customer put it, a discourtesy car.

If you blog, update or tweet, don't stop

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Great product, but latest update 14 months ago (news, blog, FB, Twitter).
Looks like a dead company, so I didn't signed up.
Once upon a time every company web site had a news section. A news section that should demonstrate how active, successful and newsworthy the company is.

That, at least, was the plan. Few more months, and the news feed had dried out.

Enter Web 2.0 and every company now has a blog, a Facebook page or a Twitter handle. Some still have a news section.

Your digital agency has told you these will help engage with your customers, help establish you as a thought leader and bring many free leads, which all are very good to get.

So you start full of excitement. You blog, you update, you tweet. Your SEO rankings rises. You get inbound from your posts. People will like you, and follow you. All is good. 

But after some time, you get tired. Posting, updating and tweeting is hard work and takes many hours a week. You get other priorities, some problems to solve, a project to lead or a rise perhaps. So you take a month off.

But what happens when a company stops blogging, updating or tweeting?

You have your posts, likes and followers and they are not going away. Your blog posts will get you inbound traffic, and it's not going to fade away quickly. So it's easy to take a month off. 

Which of course extends to two months, six months and finally it's all forgotten.

But all is not good. Your in activeness is slowly going to kill your company. And I am going to tell you why, and what to do about it. It's all simple really.

Dry blog, Facebook page and Twitter account is a warning flag for prospects

When a prospect arrives to your web site, she gets excited about your products. You make all the right claims and promises, you have testimonials and everything is how it should be. Your web site is perfect, you might think. And she thinks too. For a second.

Then she wants to know if you are doing well. She follows your links to news hoping some proof  your product is as good as you say it is: Big deals, awards, customer stories, new hires. But the latest update is from last year. She clicks to your blog. Nothing happening. Your Facebook page. Ditto. And finally Twitter, and sees you don't even bother to retweet other's content, let alone produce your own, so you really must be dead, out of business or something. It's time to look elsewhere.

By having news, blog, Facebook or Twitter available and not updating them, means you lost your prospect. A dry feed means your company is not active, is not successful and is not newsworthy. It's a warning flag about a dead company.

What to do if you want to stop?

Social networks come and go, so you might want to fade off from a network. If you do, follow these three steps:

  1. Remove links to your blog, page or account from your web site and stop marketing it elsewhere. Check email signatures, marketing material etc.
  2. Direct your followers to other networks where you are active or your web site. 
  3. Consider closing the account as people may not read your redirect message. But there are downsides such as freeing up your name on the network for others to take, so you might still want keep it.

But my blog is still generating traffic?

On a blog you might have content that's still generating traffic. If you take it down, you'll lose traffic. If you keep it, you loose credibility.

One thing for sure, you don't want your prospects see you are not updating the blog. So remove links to blog front page and remove navigation from the blog. So when someone gets to a post, there is no table of content, no way of seeing it's not being updated. Be sure, you have links that leads to your web site though. The posts are your landing pages, not a dead end.

But if you remove links, Google will soon forget your posts, so you need something else to aid Google to find them. Maybe you could link to best pieces within your web page copy where it's relevant.