keeping your social media fans happy

Keeping Your Fans Happy With New Content

Gee Ranasinha Advertising, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing, PR, Social Media

So, you blog regularly. Maybe you tweet as well. Perhaps you have a company Facebook fan page too. Good for you. Well done. By now you may have seen tangible results from your efforts. More and more people are reading your content. Maybe you’ve converted interest into leads, and into sales. Hopefully you’ve taken my advice and have a content strategy in place that helps you and your colleagues keep that social media ship on course. You’ve got followers, fans and evangelists and they like what you do. They’re on your side. But there’s a problem. Your most devout followers have been reading your stuff all of these months and, by now, they pretty much have a handle on what you’re saying. The problem is, that you’re saying the same thing again and again. Your most loyal of followers are being done a disservice since they feel that they’re reading the same message – even if it is being regurgitated and rewritten 101 different ways. They’re not being pushed, challenged, educated or informed any more. You’ve made your point to them – and they’ve got it. The only question now is how long they’ll continue to hang around reading your stuff …

bell push

Start With “Employee Service” and “Customer Service” Will Follow

Gee Ranasinha Customer Service, Marketing, Sales

There’s an interesting article on The Harvard Business Review about how management at Ritz-Carlton hotels look at their employees. We all expect a certain level of customer service when staying at all but the most modest of hotels. As a result, you would think that it would be difficult to excel at service if you’re in an industry that’s all about customer experience. Time after time, year after year, Ritz Carlton are one of the few companies that “get it.” Just about any company you care to mention will talk about how much they value the importance of customer service. However, there are precious few that talk about how they value their employees in the same way. Here’s just one example: “Every employee of every Ritz hotel has the right to spend up to $2,000 a day per guest to resolve any problem that arises. It’s a powerful expression of trust in employees, as well as a gift of empowerment and autonomy. It’s also vastly better for guests. How many times have you been told over the years, “I’ll have to go to my manager about that”? For too long and for too often businesses have underestimated their most valuable …

design importance for small businesses

Business Designs On Commerce

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Customer Service, Marketing

How important is “Design” in your business? “But we’re not a design business!” you exclaim. Excuse me, but that’s irrelevant. The fact of whether you’re ‘selling’ design as your business isn’t the issue. It’s that the very essence of every customer-facing touchpoint in your business is dripping in design decisions. Even deciding to not make a decision is a decision in itself Design is much more than simply another way to imagine a lemon squeezer, personal music player, or a vacuum cleaner. But I’m not (just) talking about the design of your product, or the look of your website. I’m talking about the design of your actual business. Not what it makes. Most marketers and small business owners will spend a lot of their time evaluating what are basic – but nonetheless superficial – design elements. The shape and color of your business logo. The typeface, image choice, and layout of the content of your website. Sure, these are part of the design aesthetic of your business. But business design is so much more. It goes so much deeper. Business design is the way you choose to describe what you do to customers, to partners, to the press, to your …

chip on a mug

Your Company Isn’t Perfect

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Customer Service

Regardless of how many – or how few – individuals make up your organization, your company is not a faceless automaton. It’s not a perfect machine. Which means that, every now and again, something goes wrong. Take your pick – airlines, home appliances, cars, computers – just about everyone has their own personal horror story about how they put their faith in a product or service, and how the company behind it let them down. Since we all know that bad news travels faster than good news, a company’s reputation can be hit pretty hard in a short space of time – especially with today’s far-reaching communication tools such as social media, blogs and so on. No organization is perfect. There’s a human component, which means (now and again) your company makes mistakes. And that’s OK. Because, as I see it, it’s not about the fact that your company, your representatives, your employees (hey – even you) have made a mistake. It’s a fact of life – we all screw-up now and again. What’s important is what happens next. Passengers need to be told why there’s a delay, and what’s being done about it. If there’s a hiccup in production …

customers are lazy like this lazy dog

Customers Are Lazy

Gee Ranasinha Business, Customer Service

Regardless of the size of your company, customers are expecting it to be as easy to do business with you as with some of the biggest companies in the world.

hiring the right marketing resource

The Right Person For The Job

Gee Ranasinha Advertising, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing, Presentations, Social Media, Website

We often get inquiries from business owners or marketing people looking for help with a very specific issue. Perhaps they’re looking for someone to set-up and manage their PPC campaigns. Maybe they need a brochure redesigned, the writing and distribution of a press release, or help with their social media efforts. But let’s back up a touch. Each one of the above a very separate disciplines. Broadly-speaking, someone who’s an expert in pay-per-click advertising isn’t going to be able to design a brochure. At least, they won’t be able to do it as well as a someone who specializes in design. This is where things get a little foggy. All of the above job titles could come under the umbrella of ‘marketing’, but they don’t have to. All advertising, for example, is marketing. However all marketing isn’t advertising. Advertising, design, PR, and marketing are very different disciplines. However, far too often the job descriptions are exchanged and intermixed. Someone who’s great at web design, may not be so hot on allied competences such as SEO, CRO, or copywriting. Yes, they can design a kick-ass website for you. But when it comes to how well the site is seen on search …

2010

New Thinking For A New Decade

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing

It’s the end of the year. It’s the end of the decade. It’s also the end of the way that your prospects have purchased your products or services up until now. In the old days, your marketing department devised programs based on old-school methodology that generated leads that fed the sales team. Today, thanks to the internet, your prospects know more about your business value offering – and that of your competition – than you do. Your customers are trying to pigeonhole you, to commoditize you, to make their buying decisions easier. What’s your plan to differentiate your company and its value offering in the minds of your prospective customers? They don’t care that you’ve been in business for twenty years, have four offices and 200 staff. None of that matters to them – and why should it? It’s great that you’ve been in business for all that time. But, just as they say on all those financial services ads, past performance is no guarantee to future gain. How are you ensuring that your messaging is communicating what they want to hear, and not what you want to say? All they want to know is whether your product or service …

fire your worst customers

Do the Right Thing: Fire Your Worst Customers

Gee Ranasinha Business, Customer Service, Website

I fired a customer today. The project wasn’t particularly well-paid, or creatively stimulating. But that’s not why I fired the client. In fact, the project was for a pretty large organization that may have paved the way for more lucrative work further down the road. So, why did I fire the client? Here’s the story: The business owner came to us with a problem. We proposed a solution to that problem which everyone around the table agreed would address the company’s issue. However, for reasons I won’t go into here, the client then came back to us a week later asking us to fix the problem another way. We pointed out to them that, while their way would address their problem in the short term, in the long term the problem would still be there. The solution they were proposing was, in essence, a stop-gap. A patch. A workaround. Furthermore, it didn’t make sense financially since the difference in cost between the two solutions was virtually the same, and that sooner or later they’d end up having to implement our proposed solution anyway. They would end up spending almost double what they needed to, for no reason. However the client …

the thrill of the chase

The Thrill Of The (Sales) Chase: But Don’t Forget Existing Customers

Gee Ranasinha Business, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, small business

Every business needs customers. Well, duh… It’s also true that every business owner, sales manager, and marketer loves finding new customers. The initial contact, the first meeting. The sales pitch, the demonstration, and submission of proposal. Then follows the negotiation, the close, the transaction and, finally, the payment. It’s a complex dance, often with many intricate steps. Any one of those steps can go awry at any time. potentially resulting in sales failure. I think that’s part of the fascination. Business owners and sales managers are often Type A personalities. They relish the thrill of the chase. The sport, the competition against sales professionals from other businesses who are just as hungry for the sale. The importance of understanding the prospect – what makes them tick. The desire to win. The inherent risk and ultimate cost of failure. Looking at it this way you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all quite primeval. Supposing you’ve navigated successfully around the potential pitfalls to failure and – congratulations – closed the deal. What happens next? Sure, the customer takes delivery. Maybe there’s an onboarding phase – installation, training, support, and so on. But I’m thinking farther forward. I’m thinking about the time …

Now What Do You Do?

Now What Do You Do?

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing

Congratulations, you’ve made the sale. Your customer is happy with their purchase and has paid in full. The product or service that they have bought from you meets or (hopefully) exceeds their expectations. Maybe they’re even happy to recommend you. Well done. So, what do you do now? Most organizations understand that, in today’s business environment, regular customer communication is vital for ongoing visibility, helping them remember you rather than your competition. However, many companies, while aware that they should keep in touch with their customers after that initial transaction, don’t know how or what to say to them. They end up sticking the customer name into the company’s standard database, to be blasted with promotional info no different to what a prospective customer receives. Then they wonder why their existing customers are no longer buying from them. Customers that have bought from you don’t need to drink the KoolAid. They don’t need sales pitches, aggressive advertising or discounted offers. Just as you’ve become a known quantity to them, they should be one to you. Structure your “existing customer” communication differently from your “prospective customer” messaging. Communicate to your existing customers with information and messaging that adds value to them, …

why should customers choose you

Why Should Customers Choose You?

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications, Customer Service

From 1987 to 1992 I founded and ran a media production company. Primarily focused on commercial and advertising photography, we mainly did press and billboard ads, calendars, annual reports and a bit of TV commercial stuff. We worked with big-name clients such as Nestlé, BAT, Proctor and Gamble and Ford Motor Company. The company was pretty successful – the last year that I was involved the business had a turnover of more than $1m. And that was with just four of us. We worked, in the majority of cases, with advertising agencies. Over the course of those five years I did some crazy stuff. Dangling 10 feet out of helicopters, manually retouching each frame of motion picture film to create a special effect because it couldn’t be done in software at the time, stuff like that. I photographed fashion models, titans of business, and even the occasional movie star. I was happiest in the studio, rather than on location. Being able to control light and shadow, set design, and so on. My ‘weapon of choice’ was most often 5×4 or 10×8 view cameras, like the one at the top of this page. My Sinar P2 was one of my most …