How to make your customers love you

Are you making your customers fall in love with your business? Have you ever thought of romancing your customers? Or treating them as valued partners who help your business grow?

These cultures are adopted by companies that are on the fast track to growth. And such mindsets, when embodied by employees, can create win-win situations every single time.

Major change begins from the inside out. To provide exceptional customer service, you need to value your employees and be interested in their growth too, because happy employees literally equal happy customers.

The Ritz-Carlton understands this all too well. In an interview with Forbes, Ritz-Carlton Group President and COO, Herve Humler, has one word to describe their outstanding customer service: employee engagement.

He said, “I believe in the power of recognition and empowerment leading to great employee engagement. And employee engagement is critical to guest engagement.”

The hotel chain is so well-known for its exceptional customer service that many stories about it have made into books. Author John R DiJulius in his bookWhat’s the secret to providing world-class customer experience?’ shares one such experience.

He left the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in a rush and forgot his laptop charger behind. He planned to call the hotel when he got into his office, but before he could, he received a next-day air package from The Ritz-Carlton with his charger. It also had a note that said;

“Mr. DiJulius, I wanted to make sure we got this to you right away. I am sure you need it, and, just in case, I sent you an extra charger for your laptop.” The note was signed by Larry K. Kinney, in Loss Prevention.”

This customer service story, and many others like it, are so over-the top-good, they sound unreal. But the Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to stellar customer service is evident from the fact that every employee is allowed to spend up to $2000 per day to improve customer experience in some way.

If you’re just starting a business, this is the one differentiating factor that will give you a clear advantage [apart from having a great product or service offering, of course].

The battle for customers, it seems, is based on price points and features. But the fact is, it is often decidedly more emotional.  The more you demonstrate your care and consideration for the customer, the easier it is to capture and retain their loyalty.

Amazon is yet another company that has grown its business to one of the largest in the world on the back of exceptional customer service. They’ve built a billion-dollar business on their ability to go the extra mile for each buyer.

Here’s what Jeff Bezos has to say about it,

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” 

Source

To run a successful online business today, it’s not enough to just close the sale. You must turn your customers into raving fans who adore your brand and don’t even want to look elsewhere for the product or service you provide.

Today, everyone is talking about creating a business and employing a marketing strategy that’s customer-centric. But when we get right down to it, not many brands are actually doing it. It’s a great opportunity for smart brands to outshine the competition.

Customers are craving good experiences. Research confirms that people are willing to pay as much as 55% more for a positive experience.

Source

And while you may think losing a customer or two isn’t a big deal, let me tell you this. It is also anywhere from 5-25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. On an average, smart business owners understand that every business relationship lost costs them $289 per year.

To thrive in the competitive business world of today, you need to focus on exceptional customer service as the differentiating factor.

Recognize the value of word of mouth marketing

Word of mouth marketing is the most priceless asset for any brand, and when utilized right, can be used to propel a business towards profitability. According to the Wharton School of Business, a customer acquired through word of mouth has a 16-25% higher lifetime value than a customer acquired from other sources.

So when you combine word of mouth marketing with proven techniques to improve your sales and carefully analyze what your competitors are doing; you have a definite advantage.

Almost 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends more than any other form of marketing.

 

Source: Nilson Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Q3 2011.

On that topic, Zappos’ founder and CEO Tony Hsieh, says, “Our philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.” Source

The goal is simple: make your customers fall in love with your brand. At the end of the day, happy and satisfied customers mean you’re creating a league of devoted brand ambassadors who work round the clock to get you more business.

Netflix is a great example of a company that utilizes word of mouth to retain and acquire customers. Its core products such as House of Cards and Stranger Things offer an original customer experience that people naturally want to talk about. Netflix boosts customer experience by tapping into user data and sentiments to create and deliver shows that customers really want.

Start the journey before they become customers

The key to driving great customer satisfaction lies in one thing: understanding the mind of your customer. For this, you need to create clear customer profiles – based on data – that are sure to benefit the most from your business offering. Next, you need to see how you can offer a seamless experience that they remember.

Knowing your customers well will lay the groundwork for strong relationships with them.

Here’s a complete guide to understanding consumer psychology.

 

Once you’ve understood customer psychology, you can now work to provide them with an experience they’ll never forget.

Get up close and personal

Think of customers as the most special people in the life of your business. When you consistently put the needs of your customers at the center of everything you do, your business will grow.

Did you know that bad customer experiences cost US business $40billion every year?

 

Source

Get up and personal with your customers. Talk to them as if they’re your friends and you’ve known them for a long time. Even if you don’t have a one-on-one connection with them, you can still add personal touches to your business experience.

You can use their first names in emails; you can engage them via social media, etc. Find a way to show your business’s personality and let customers feel that you care.

Here’s how asking the right questions from your customers will help you create better experiences for them.

Are you going to extra mile to make your customers feel special? Maybe bending the rules a little can make a big impact in someone’s life. A passenger on Virgin Trains East Coast experienced this firsthand when the train’s manager allowed him to change their travel dates to accommodate their son’s hospital stay.

And not just that, the manager also moved the family to 1st class so the child could sleep comfortably.

 

The family shared their experience on social media, and their tweet garnered over 1.2k likes, 94 comments, and 77 retweets. That’s the power of providing positive customer experiences.

Here’s another example from Warby Parker – the glasses manufacturer. The company revolutionized the pricey glasses industry and made itself a beloved brand thanks to its affordable frames and its try-at-home program.

Here’s an interesting customer service story that gained a lot of traction. A customer forgot a pair of reading glasses on a train and got home to find a new pair waiting for him! Here’s how he narrates the story;

 

This kind of customer service may be hard to replicate on a daily basis, but it sure does highlight Warby Parker’s commitment to exceptional customer experience.

Listen to and implement customer feedback

This is what some of the best companies are really good at doing. They treat customer feedback as a treasure trove of information and use it to better their product and service offerings. The key here is to embrace two-way communication where you treat customers as valued partners.

Here’s what Target did when regular shopper Stephanie Giese posted a blog revealing her distaste for the company’s overly sexualized children’s clothing. Her post became viral, and many concerned parents added their voices to hers. Target was quick to respond and asked Ms. Giese to collaborate with them to change their ways.

 

In a follow-up post, she wrote “I am beyond thrilled to announce that I am going to start working with Target towards change, starting in my own house.

They have asked me to provide them with some specific feedback about children’s clothes, and I am going to start working toward a behind-the-scenes partnership with them to get more of what moms and girls want into their stores. Thank you Target for hearing our voices and taking our concerns very seriously!”

With their quick response, Target was able to turn a strong backlash against it into a minor bump along the road, all the while helping create/ acquire a product that parents of girls actually want.

Not sure how to effectively gain valuable customer feedback? Here’s a detailed guide by Hubspot to get you started.

 

Source: Hubspot

Learn how to manage unhappy customers

We all want to avoid such tricky situations – but it’s a skill that can prove to be very valuable in business. When faced with a client who is dissatisfied or downright angry, most people take the loser’s path by putting off handling the situation. Or worse, they handle it inappropriately.

Postponement may make you lose a client. Now you may think that losing one client is okay – but it’s not. Like I mentioned above, one happy customer will sing your company praises and work as a brand ambassador round the clock. Imagine what an unhappy customer would do?

Here are some tips to help you manage unhappy customers with ease;

  • Acknowledge their anger quickly: Nothing makes a customer more resentful that a company which is unresponsive to her complaints.
  • Show your concern
  • Ask questions and get them talking about solutions
  • Agree on a solution
  • Help them out

Companies are raising the bar every day by not just how they conceive, design, and create those products and services – but by keeping the customer at the center of everything they do.

Let me conclude by this quote from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, “Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.” Source.

And that’s exactly what we mean when we say stellar customer service.

Have you experienced customer service that was unforgettable? Share your stories in the comments below.


7 things no one tells you about starting a business 

Entrepreneurship has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It is going through a phase of the romantic renaissance of sorts – everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon and live the American dream.

No doubt, starting a business has never been easier. But it’s a journey riddled with fear and anxiety and comes with its highs and lows.

According to this popular statistic, a little over 50% of small businesses fail in the first four years. This is why you’ll hear people saying that if you spend more than five years in business, you’ve successfully beaten the odds.

What you don’t hear is what happens during those five years that lead to success [or lack of it].

According to Shark Tank investor Lori Greiner, ‘Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week’.

But despite the hardship and hustle, entrepreneurs are also the people who create great things, change the world and grow the economy. If you’re about to start this journey, here are seven things you must know about starting your own business.

It could take a decade to succeed

Unlike what many people wrongly believe, entrepreneurship is not a shortcut to success. It never ceases to amaze me how hard people try to find instant success in business. Well, it doesn’t work that way. It takes a real business product or service, created by real people, that solves a genuine problem for success to arrive.

And you’re in it for the long haul. In business, slow growth is the norm, not the exception. It takes time to figure out what customers want. How to market your brand effectively. How to hire and train staff for maximum impact and results. What your brand positioning should be.

Once all of these elements are fine-tuned, that’s when you’re able to reach the coveted accelerated phase of growth. You can’t expect to get everything right the first time. Since we often see stories of those rare fast-growth companies, we have come to expect this to be the new normal in business.

It is also important to remember that ‘failing forward’ is the process by which companies usually grow. It all starts with a ton of mistakes, followed by learning, and then a little progress. Here’s the paradox: You have to work intensely – and quickly, all the while remembering that success takes time.

“But the idea of creating something out of nothing, something millions of people could use to find love, was worth facing failure for. So we learned to fail more quickly, pushing through bad ideas to arrive at great ideas. That’s ultimately what propelled us forward (and continues to do so): learning and failing quickly, and never making the same mistake twice.” – Aaron Schildkrout, Cofounder, and Co-CEO of Howaboutwe.com.

Work hard, but don’t forget to take care of yourself

Just because you’re working hard doesn’t mean you’re working smart. And these two are entirely different things. We are living in a culture where working 17-hour shifts and pulling all-nighters are badges of honor.

But the key to running a successful business is to understand that work is unending. Your attention and energy are limited. Therefore it is best to focus on the most value-adding, game-changing activities in your day.

Many people think exhaustion equals hustle. It’s not. When you’re grinding away just for the sake of grinding away, you’ll have little to show for your efforts except for getting burned out.

Huffington Post founder, Arianna Huffington, credits her business’s success to finding work-life balance. According to her, “The success at The Huffington Post happened when I started taking care of myself.”

 

Source

She was working round the clock, hustling 18-hour days when she collapsed one day while checking her emails and making phone calls. At the time, her venture was just two years old. That’s when she decided to turn things around and has since become one of the biggest proponents of sleeping 8 hours every day.

So work hard, and smart. And don’t forget to take care of yourself while you’re at it.

Goals and deadlines are important, but sometimes you have to trust the path

Most business owners credit their success to their ability to not take no for an answer, break down doors, kick ass and basically go out there and do it. But sometimes, despite all your good intentions and efforts, results don’t materialize, at least not immediately.

It is in times like these that we have to let go and trust God, the universe or the path and know that things will find their way.

Good Morning America Anchor and bestselling author Dan Harris tells a great story about David Axelrod when he was running Obama’s re-election campaign. At the time, many global factors were out of the administration’s control such as al-Qaeda, problems with Israel and Iran, the European debt crisis, etc.

When Axelrod was grilled about these seemingly unending challenges, he responded; ‘All we can do is everything we can do.’ Remember this when you start your business. Give it all you’ve got and then hope for the best.

There’s a sense of isolation

Not many people talk about this aspect of starting a business – whether it is out of embarrassment or because it doesn’t fit in well with the perceived notion or personality of an entrepreneur. But when you start a business, the sense of isolation is very real.

We are all used to having reference groups throughout our lives. In college we have friends and classmates, then at work we have colleagues, and as the owner of an established business, you have people around you at all times.

But in the initial days of a business, you’re truly on your own. You may have a partner or co-founder if you’re lucky, but the hustle is hard and long, and you mostly have yourself to rely on. When the going gets tough, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals or why you chose this path in the first place.

These tips from Marie Forleo will make it easier to cope with this sense of isolation;

The lows and highs are intense

Running a startup is truly like riding a roller coaster that doesn’t stop. I’ve had some of the highest highs and the happiest moments I could remember while running my business. But it also comes with some of the lowest lows, and I’ve endured many sleepless nights. Rarely are there any feelings in between, but I think it’s important to celebrate even the smallest of victories”. Ross Cohen, Cofounder Been Verified.

And it’s not just Ross. Almost every business owner can attest to this fact. As a founder, you’ll feel the highs and lows of your business far more than you would if you were an employee. Every milestone, no matter how small, will be more pronounced. Every defeat, no matter how minuscule, will hurt so much more deeply.

My advice? Enjoy the wins deeply and draw a line between you as a person and you as a business to maintain your sanity for the wins and losses that are yet to come.

Learning from other entrepreneurs is invaluable

No matter how many books you’ve read, when you actually get down to it, there’s no substitute for learning firsthand from people who’ve done it before you.

Just 10 minutes of insights from the guy down the street who started a pizza business could save you weeks of headaches of figuring everything out by yourself.

When you’re starting a business, there is no set path to success. You could be starting a company with zero experience in an existing niche or starting one with years of experience under your belt in a new niche. Every venture seems daunting in its early stages.

You could even be in the same boat as Eric Bandholz who started BeardBrand – a company that provides beard grooming products for men. He found himself creating a product no one had created before.

 

Source

But while your product or service idea may be unusual, if you look closely you’ll find lessons from other entrepreneurs who’ve been there.

Although every business is different and comes with a completely different set of challenges, the experience of others will help set you up for success and point you in the right direction.

You will grow more than you can think

As an entrepreneur, you will often find yourself applying out-of-the-box solutions to problems. And you’ll have many of those along the way.

You will have to learn everything there is about running a business and growing it from the ground up. Whether it is product development, marketing, sales, client consulting or accounting – you’ll be managing a lot of different roles.

Over the course of a few short years, you would realize that your career has leapfrogged and you’ve learned and grown more than you thought possible. Had you taken the conventional path, learning all of the same stuff would have taken a lot longer, possibly decades.

Starting a business is a roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s exciting, humbling, exhausting, enlightening, lonely, rewarding, frustrating, and awesome – all at the same time. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as a business owner, and how did you overcome them?


Want to be a star performer? 5 signs you need to sleep more

More than a third of American adults aren’t getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep every night. For years now doctors have been trying to help us understand the consequences of sleep deprivation on the human body.

According to Joseph Ojile, M.D. medical director at the Clayton Sleep Institute, when you go from a few restless nights to more chronic sleep deprivation, you don’t realize how tired you are. Sleeplessness and fatigue impair judgment and self-awareness.

Moreover, a lack of sleep manifests itself in other ways too. Your eating habits may become uncontrollable; you may be gaining or losing weight much faster, you may feel oversentimental and find yourself focusing on the negative more often. With consistent sleeplessness, you will also experience decreased libido and an increase in cortisol levels.

In other words, chronic sleeplessness can wreak havoc on the quality of your life. I remember a few years ago when I had just started my career and was working for a PR agency in Dubai. I was constantly overworked, sleepless and stressed. I didn’t have time for family or friends and wasn’t particularly happy about my work either. It kept going, and I soon noticed some swelling on my left thyroid gland.

Fast forward a few days; I got it checked. There were no problems in the bloodstream, but the gland kept swelling and swelling to the point that it turned into the size of a tennis ball. So here’s what I did;

I quit that no-good job that was causing me so much trouble, traveled all the way to Europe on vacation, started meditating regularly and said goodbye to stress and sleeplessness forever.

Viola! The ‘thing’ reduced in size and eventually vanished.

Here’s what chronic sleep deprivation, coupled with stress, can do to you;

You get much less done

Many people think spending less time on sleep gives them more hours to get work done. They think sleep is just a waste of time and ‘interrupts’ their productivity. But instead of becoming more productive, sleep-deprived adults get much less done.  Here’s a schedule I followed for 3 years before I realized I wasn’t going anywhere with it. Not to mention, my body was giving up on me.

6:00 am – Wake up

6:15 am – Exercise

7:00 am – Get ready for work

8:00 am – reach the office & grab breakfast

8:30 am – Start checking emails

9:30 am – Get in touch with writers to check for pending work

10:30 am – Start editing copies

12:30 pm – Take a few client calls

1:30 pm – Check emails again

2:30 pm – Send out a press release to media

2:45 pm – Start calling media outlets for review

3:30 pm – Lunch

4:00 pm – Check more emails

5:00pm – Talk to clients/ journalists

6:00 pm – Get in touch with writers again

6:40 pm – Edit copies again

7:00 pm – Leave for home

8:00 pm – Reach home

8:30 pm – dinner and relaxation

9:30 pm – checking emails again

11:30 pm – check on pending work

On an average day, I would crash before midnight only to repeat the whole cycle again the next day.

Here’s how much sleep people in these countries are getting;

Being exhausted doesn’t mean you’re hustling

Most people assume that sleeping less would automatically equal getting more done. By doing this, they expect to see the results of their labor faster.

30% of the employees sleep for less than 6 hours a night. When your brain can’t function at its optimum, it means you’re taking far longer to finish projects.

So here’s what everyone is thinking; if I sleep less, I can make more time for the activities that are important to growing my business or further my career goals.

For a while it works, but the impact of sleeping less soon starts to show. As I started sleeping less and less, I realized I was performing worse at work. I was much less productive, and I was making mistakes, forgetting important things Not to mention, I felt so much more irritable and short-tempered.

I was also taking much longer to finish projects, reply to emails, finish calls, and find out-of-the-box solutions to problems. Everything was stressing me out, and that’s when my left thyroid started growing in size.

Source

You feel under the weather more frequently

Sleeping fewer hours than your body requires to rest gradually weakens the immune system. While you may be someone who never falls sick, you will notice that you get over one illness and get another.

The immune system is unable to fend for itself and fight off germs. According to one study, people who regularly slept less than 6 hours per night were 4 times as likely to catch the common cold.

Webmd.com confirms the link between lack of sleep and lowered immunity.

Source

If you’re not sleeping well, or not sleeping enough, you will also notice that your body feels sore and achy. Sleep allows your body to make growth hormones and undergo tissue repair.

Stimulants like coffee aren’t always enough to override the body’s need for restful sleep.

You find yourself in the middle of conflicts more often

Researchers believe that lack of sleep may reduce impulse control. You may be the most patient person you know, but sleeplessness can cause little things to rile you up.

Studies have shown that people who slept less read facial expressions incorrectly. They start seeing non-threatening people as threatening. It can have serious repercussions on your career and your relationships with your colleagues, managers, and clients may suffer.

In general, sleep deprivation can lead to workers becoming poor communicators. Sleep-deprived individuals drop the intensity of their voices, pause for long intervals without obvious reason, mumble instructions inaudibly, slur, run words together and repeat themselves.

You go over the material again and again

Sleep deprivation affects cognition and focus which is why you’ll find it hard to retain information. You may end up asking people to repeat themselves because you’re tuning out unintentionally due to fatigue. You may find yourself taking notes obsessively and relying on a plethora of tools like Google calendar and spell checks to keep you in line.

You may also find that what you’re reading takes a long time to sink in and you may even have to read the same paragraph multiple times to make sense of it. Overall, these habits translate into poor productivity levels and performance.

On the other hand, sleeping for just an hour more every day can have a huge positive impact on your productivity levels.

You let go of great opportunities

When you’re not getting enough rest, you are also most likely missing out on great opportunities at work. Being proactive and thinking out-of-the-box requires you to sometimes take additional responsibilities or look at your work differently.

But when you’re at your limit physically, the moment someone suggests taking on another responsibility or trying something new for your career, you retreat into your cave.

Mentally, you may know it’s an opportunity, but on a subconscious level, your system is too overloaded to stomach another responsibility.

The true power of sleep for productivity

Sleeping better and longer can change your whole outlook towards work. You may be wondering how to squeeze another 2 hours in your already packed day.

Well, my friends, it’s all about mental capacity. The more rested your brain is, the faster it can process. A well-rested mind and body can get a lot done during your work hours.

Take a look at the sleeping patterns of some of the top performing athletes in the world;

Source

Except for Tiger Woods, you’ll notice that everyone else sleeps a minimum of 8 hours per night. And looking at Woods’ performance lately, he better start hitting the snooze button more often.

I sleep for a little over 9 hours, and the extra sleep helps me manage my work so much better than before. Projects that took me an upward of 10 hours are now completed in 5 hours or less. Responding to emails, talking to clients, and brainstorming new content ideas has all become much faster thanks to a well-rested, sharp brain!

How to get enough sleep so you’re productive

It takes a long time to get into the habit of not sleeping. But sometimes it also takes a long time to get into the habit of sleeping again.

First things first, you’ll need to change your mindset about sleeping. Life is busy for everyone and work is not going anywhere.

A mindset shift will help you prioritize sleep. In my case, I started saying ‘no’ more often at work. This simple change allowed me more hours to rest. Truth be told, I enjoy sleeping. Sometimes that’s what I do on my off days; I just stay in bed and relax.

This infographic will help you ready yourself for sleep;

A lot of times we use mobile devices right before bedtime. Research indicates that blue light affects your sleep patterns.

Also, it helps going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

Entrepreneurs who sleep more than 8 hours and are very successful

Members of the business world continue to brag about how many hours they’ve worked vs. the number of hours of sleep they’ve lost. While losing a few hours of sleep every day may make sense to entrepreneurs who want to get a headstart on their mountainous responsibilities, most people cannot really succeed without sleep.

In fact, sleep is right up there with nutrition and exercise and is very important for sound mental and physical health. It’s a myth that you can’t have a great business if you’re sleeping enough. Lately, Jeff Bezos and Arianna Huffington have been advocating for a healthy amount of sleep. Hopefully soon, the sleep-deprived entrepreneur will become a thing of the past.

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: 7 hours per night (9:30 p.m. – 4:30 a.m.)
  • Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft: 7 hours per night (12 a.m. – 7 a.m.)
  • Ellen DeGeneres, TV Host: 8 hours per night (11 p.m. – 7 a.m.)
  • Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon.com: 7 hours per night (10 p.m. – 5 a.m.)

While there are others who still prefer to sleep 3-4 hours a night, you need to find what works best for your body.

Conclusion

We are constantly lying to ourselves when we say we don’t need rest, we don’t need a break, and we can go without sleeping much. In the end, we are just pushing our bodies to the limit, hoping in vain to be productive.

The fact is, the more sleep-deprived you are, the slower you get work done. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital also found that accuracy and speed at a visual search computer task decreased significantly the longer participants were awake, Reuters reported.

Sleep isn’t optional. We’ve been conditioned to see the burning of the midnight oil and waking up before sunrise as traits of great leaders. But the truth is sleeping restfully is the most competitive thing you can do for yourself.


What makes a company a great place to work?

Few corporate awards are as highly sought-after as a prestigious ‘Best Place to Work’ title. And that’s because there are substantial benefits to it.

Research confirms that companies that consistently win such awards are also those that experience significant growth and success. A company that values employee engagement understands the mantra ‘happy employees equal happy customers’.

Simply Business chief executive Jason Stockwood said: “You can’t force people who hate their environment to do a good job. Customers only come first if our employees are happy and doing a good job.” – LinkedIn

Among the variety of Best Place to Work award programs, the most well-respected are held by the likes of Forbes, Inc., The Sunday Times, Business Insider and Glassdoor. The better you understand what elements make a great workplace, the better you’ll be able to make your company a great place to work.

In most cases, the upper management falls into the trap of thinking that bigger paychecks equal employee satisfaction. But employees seek more than just financial reward. In fact, they also list interesting work, recognition and ‘being in on things’ as the most valued aspects of their work.

Here’s what keeps employees motivated, inspired and producing extraordinary results;

Great pay

Let’s be honest. We all go to work to earn money. Multiple surveys have revealed that the number 1 thing employees look for in a job is a good salary. And why shouldn’t they? We all want to be paid our worth. Employers that can afford to pay should pay the best and the brightest to stay on their staff – whether it’s in the form of a salary increment or performance-based bonuses.

Recognition

Employees value recognition and appreciation for a job well done just as much as other benefits. Recognition is an important criterion of all major ‘best place to work’ awards programs.

According to Glassdoor, the average workplace scores just 39% in the area of employee recognition, compared to an average of 75% among the best places to work.

Redactive Media’s Great Workplaces 2016 publication drives the point home; the number one reason most people quit their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated.

On the other hand, organizations that had employee recognition programs in place had a 31% lower voluntary turnover than those with ineffective or no recognition programs.

Work-life balance

According to this survey, employees rated work-life balance as one of the most important factors when it comes to deciding whether to leave their current job and take a new one. Employees that are burned out rarely produce the results that companies thrive on.

There are only so many hours in a day. The more time an employer requires, the less time [and energy] an employee has available to pursue his interests and hobbies or spend time with family and friends.

At the very least employers should enable – or at least not prevent – employees from having full lives outside of the workplace. And it doesn’t cost much to do so. In most cases, offering telecommuting options and flex timings can do the trick.

A sense of purpose

A job you love also provides a sense of purpose and meaning. While millennials enjoy a good paycheck, 50% are happy to take a pay cut for work that matches their own values. Employees, mostly born after 1982, want to work for companies that are socially responsible and want to have an impact on society.

This includes contributing to the greater good, investing in social causes and being transparent.

According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Here’s a detailed article that highlights the difference in performance of companies with engaged employees and those with an unengaged workforce.

Happier employees are 59% less likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, unlike employees who aren’t satisfied with their jobs. This keeps you from having to replace employees you’ve spent your time and resources in – and we all know how expensive that is.

Here’s what some of the top companies are doing to keep their employees engaged and motivated;

Netflix

The company offers a year of paid maternity and paternity leave to new parents. Netflix also allows parents to return either part time or full time and take off days whenever needed throughout the year.

Airbnb

Listed the best place to work in 2016, Airbnb offers its employees an annual stipend of $2,000 to travel and stay anywhere in the world at an Airbnb listing.

Google

If a Google employee dies, the technology giant provides the surviving spouse or partner with 50% of the deceased’s salary for the next 10 years.

Starbucks

Starbucks provides its employees full reimbursement for tuition fees for an online bachelor’s degree from the State University of Arizona.

Bain & Company

The leadership consultancy giant organizes a two-day ‘Bain World Cup’ soccer tournament. It is open to all employees country-wide, and over 1000 employees from its 50 offices turn it into the event of the year.

Twitter

Apart from free meals thrice a day, Twitter also offers on-site acupuncture classes.

Companies like Southwest Airlines, Legal Monkeys, Asana, Screwfix, Dreamworks and many others offer interesting employee perks to increase engagement.

More and more companies are realizing the important connection between the happiness levels of their workforce and overall company output.

Creating a sense of purpose, belonging and happiness, along with support for employee aspirations both inside and outside the workplace are some of the ways to increase engagement.

Don’t think you have the budget to provide such perks? Don’t worry. Your company doesn’t need to have a big budget to increase the motivation level of your employees. Here are some simple tips to help you get started;

Listen

It may seem like a simple thing, but it can go a long way in keeping your employees happy. Provide multiple channels for employees to express their ideas, opinions, and concerns with the leadership. And make sure each comment gets a response.

Have an open door policy

Some companies have an unequivocal open door policy where senior executives sit in cubicles next to their teams to increase day-to-day interaction.

Create a cultural committee

This committee can be tasked with keeping the entire workforce aligned with your company values. From welcoming new employees to directing celebrations for achievements and milestones, these committee members are like your company’s cultural ambassadors who work to increase the spirit of camaraderie.

Small gestures matter

Small gestures go a long way in terms of building a relationship with employees. Several company CEOs have made it a tradition to send handwritten notes to employees on Christmas or Thanksgiving, expressing appreciation for their dedication and hard work. Some CEOs take new employees to lunch to get to know them better from the very start.

Reward and recognize accomplishments

Recognize and then appreciate employee accomplishments and milestones. You’ll find people going the extra mile more often when their efforts are noticed.

Flexibility

Employees who have a degree of flexibility in their schedule, in the way they work and how they execute tasks will always enjoy their work more. Employees who feel trusted are not just more productive and accountable; they are also more committed to their responsibilities.

Again, back to what I said earlier; happy employees equal happy customers, which means bigger profits. The only way to truly humanize your brand is by genuinely investing in your employees. Success stories of companies that are regularly voted the best places to work back this up;

  • Airbnb, Glassdoor’s 2016 Best Place to Work award holder, was valued at $31 billion in 2017 after just 9 years in business.
  • Softcat, another Glassdoor award winner, was able to increase its turnover from £50m to £600m in just a decade.
  • Facebook, Glassdoor’s current #1 best place to work, is valued at $479.4 billion.
  • Simply Business that won The Sunday Times list of the Best Companies to Work for award in 2015 and 2016 has been seeing steady revenue growth. Its revenue increased from £4.2m to £22.9m between 2006 to 2012.

These ideas aren’t just pretty simple to understand and apply; they are crucial in today’s world if you want to drive better financial returns, surpass the competition and become a ‘best place to work’ that attracts and retains top talent.

Now, we’d love to hear your stories! Share the policies you’ve put in place to ensure a very engaged workforce. Did you face certain challenges and roadblocks while implementing these policies? Let us know in the comments below.


How to launch your first side hustle with no experience and little cash

When I first started my side hustle, I did so to express myself more fully, do something I love and of course build an income independent of my job. I quickly realized that my bank account looked pitiful and between rent and medical bills I knew I had to build the business fast. But it doesn’t have to be that way for you.

Business books and advisors recommend that you start a business with at least six months of runway cash. But it’s possible to start a company with $500 or less.

Most Americans have little to no savings and a ton of debt

America is the land of opportunity, but not everyone is sharing in the wealth. Despite low unemployment rates (around 4.4%), research indicates that wages have barely increased since the eight years after the recession.

A new study from GoBankingRates.com also confirms that more than half of Americans have less than $1000 in savings. The average indebted household owes more than $16,000 in credit card debt.

Find out what you’re good at and sell it

The first step to starting a business is to find out what you’re good at and how you can use your skill to provide value to others. If you’re a music teacher, you can create online courses and teach the world how to play the guitar. If you’re a marketer, you can create a product or service offering that companies can use to further their marketing efforts.

I’m a writer, and I knew that companies need good content all the time. When I jumped into the entrepreneurial world, I decided to use my skills to help companies produce effective blog posts and articles to further their business goals. I realized early on that it was easy to sell my services to companies that couldn’t afford to hire full time, but could still use the services of a professional business writer.

If you’re not sure what to sell or are a multi-passionate individual, then brainstorm a list of services you might be able to provide to businesses and individuals and then pick one or two.

This is the story of MissDesignBerry.com a graphic design company is close to generating a million dollars in revenue. Kristen Berry started it as a side hustle on Etsy in 2011 to earn extra money to pay bills and save some cash. She started by selling logo design, illustrations and more.

“I quickly realized that the wedding products were selling faster than any others, and my illustration style lent itself perfectly to the designs,” she says. – thebalancemb.com

Two years later she hired her first part-time employee. Berry’s company now employs over 20 women who work remotely and also pursue their own creative projects on the side.

Start as a freelancer

Freelancing is simple, and you can start today. All you need is the right level of motivation and the ability to deal with rejection. Freelancing just means taking the skills you already have (or are actively building) and pitching it to companies and individuals who could use them in their business on a contract basis.

“When I started my company, all I had was a laptop and the ability to make animated videos by myself –no extra funding or special equipment was needed,” says Video Igniter Founder, Derek Merdinyan.

Any somewhat established company with a handful of employees should be interested in using the services of a freelancer or consultant who can provide enough value.

It doesn’t matter you’re a copywriter, web developer, software engineer, designer, marketer or photographer – all of these jobs have given you an opportunity to build your skills, and there’s a high demand for freelancers in all of these fields.

Brandon Pearce’s story is empowering. He was motivated to start a business to earn extra cash on the side. As a piano teacher, he knew he was struggling with payment schedules of his students. And he instinctively realized that he wasn’t the only one.

He ended up developing the Music Teacher’s Helper – a software that helps independent music teachers and studio owners keep track of payments and students’ schedules.

Pearce started the project while he was still working for his previous employer.

“I created Music Teacher’s Helper in my spare time, working early mornings, lunch breaks, and late evenings.” – Screwthecubicle.com

Move somewhere less expensive

Living in the most expensive city, area or apartment may not be a great idea when starting a business, especially when you are cash-strapped.

I realized it was challenging for us as a family to pay rent and start a business simultaneously. Consider making a move that lowers your cost of living.

If you haven’t got a day job, or left it, like me, then maybe hop on a plane to Mexico or Romania. I know many writers who are living in Vietnam and Thailand and making the most of the digital nomad lifestyle.

Start by investing little or no money

Spending on glossy photo shoots or expensive websites may be a bad idea at the start. Your set-up cost should be truly minimal.

There are ways to start making money before spending a dime on your business. ‘What if it does work out?’ is a book by Susie Moore that sheds light on these ideas.

A side hustle allowed Susie Moore to walk away from a $500k job as a sales director to pursue what she loved, full-time. But 18 months before quitting her job, she had laid the groundwork for her coaching business.

“I was making great money, but in my heart, I knew what I was doing every day was not my life’s work. I had read 500+ personal development books and was a natural advisor, so I felt called to pursue coaching.” – Forbes.

Another side hustler, Jay Money from Budgets Are Sexy, found unexpected success from his blog. He shares;

“I spent a whopping $10 for a domain name! I started it on Blogger back in the day which was completely free, and then even when I moved to self-hosted WordPress, it still came down to less than $100 for the entire year.”

Jay advises novice business owners that all they need is an internet connection for a blog-based side hustle!

Ryan Robinson took a vote on side hustling set-up costs, and here are the results;

Depending on your venture, if it’s not $0 in investment costs, it should still be really, really low. And its possible too. That’s the beauty of a side hustle.

Pro Tip: Your hustle money should be invested back into your business, so it keeps growing. This is the entrepreneurship spirit in its true sense.

A business needs to be incredibly simple in its early days. When you’re just getting started, any time and money spent on not directly helping people is a waste.

Don’t quit your day job (just yet)

Giving up a reliable source of income is not easy (not to mention inconvenient) and many of us can’t jump in with both feet. You need cash to pay the rent, buy groceries, pay off a student loan and probably feed hungry mouths.

The most important thing that a day job provides you is the certainty of a paycheck and time to work on creating a product or service that the market needs. A winning product requires testing. Along the way, you may be required to learn new skills which can take a while.

The smart thing to do is developing a client-base while holding your day job. As you develop positive cash flow, you can say goodbye to your corporate job.

If you don’t have a full-time job to support yourself during this period, you can easily become desperate. It can have an impact on the way you develop your products and present your services to clients. You may also feel forced to work with clients you don’t want to.

It’s more risky not to start your side hustle

A stinging comment or bad decision is all it takes for your boss to ruin your life. Allowing one person [even if you like her] to have so much power over you doesn’t feel good. You don’t have to work a corporate job if you don’t want to. A 9-5 job isn’t as safe as it used to be anyway. Just take a look around you – layoffs happen in droves.

A side hustle gives you the economic cushion you need to make better choices. It also provides a buffer to help you manage stress levels. As soon as your business starts to grow legs, you’ll get a boost of confidence.

Your income from a side hustle may not be big [at least in the beginning], but with persistence and consistency, it can grow. And there’s no glass ceiling for how much you can earn or how far you can go. For some people, it can mean the difference between just getting by and building a life.

But most importantly, a side hustle give you a chance to build some truly valuable life skills – and the gift of knowing that you’ll be taken care of no matter what.

‘When you know better, you do better.’ – Maya Angelou.


Humanizing your brand’s experience can increase its influence

We live in an age of intense online interaction, but low interpersonal connection. Even in casual settings we now see that people don’t chit-chat as much as before. And it’s hard to understand why, because human beings are social animals who crave connection. According to research, people with strong social ties are generally happier and live longer.

The same applies to interactions on the web. True online connection is limited at best. While most e-commerce sites offer phone and chat support, these are usually handled by entry-level employees who are untrained in sales tactics, and may even lack empathy.

If your e-commerce website is simply meeting basic requirements, it isn’t doing enough. Fortunately, many third-party tools are now available in the market that meet the most basic requirements right out of the box.

Today, we will focus on ways you can humanize your e-commerce brand and how it can have a major impact on the way customers perceive your business. Here’s how some of the top businesses have created a brand persona that’s more than just a storefront that sells.

Get some human feedback

First things first, let’s get down to some research. The most effective customer research I found – in terms of both time and money invested – was speaking with customer service agents.

Talking to experienced customer agents will likely give you a clear understanding of customer challenges and expectations. These agents speak to thousands of customers, and their knowledge can be turned into pure conversion gold.

All you need to do is speak with 3-5 agents with six months or more of experience. A few hours is all you need to know 90% of what these agents require. This information should be enough to help you with the early ‘humanization phase’ of your website.

The insights you’ll gather from the experience, and the resultant website updates are sure to boost your baseline conversion rate.

Provide the human touch

Your primary goal should be to befriend your visitors and customers. It’s an idea that’s been around for years but remains minimal in practice. There’s magic in humanized marketing, and you can see it working when it compels a customer to visit a website.

How to differentiate between propaganda and humanized marketing?

Here’s an example of two emails I received from an e-commerce giant;

a) Propaganda – how email marketing doesn’t work

Now, I had expressed zero interest in furniture online, which made this a blanket propaganda email around President’s Day promotions. It is an example of poor email marketing. No connection was made, and I sent the email straight to my trash.

b) Tailored marketing – humanized approach:

Now, this is what you call marketing with a human touch. For an e-commerce website, this is as close to ‘a friend’ as it gets.

I received this email as I was searching for deals on new computers. I eventually ended up buying HP, but Amazon was able to make a connection with me. And that’s the important part. Here’s what I feel the website is saying to me, ‘Hey Manam, I know you were looking for Dell laptops. So here are some deals. Maybe you’d like something.’

c) Build lasting relationships

A few months ago, I ordered a few dresses from a local Pakistani brand called Lulusar. Three days after the delivery date I was still waiting. I opened up the website’s live chat and complained. I got an immediate response from a representative who gave me a quick and updated delivery date and solved my problem in less than 3 minutes. I wrote a positive review.

Less than five days after receiving the parcel, I received a handwritten ‘Thank you’ note from none other than the representative who had solved my issue. Lulusar could have processed their order and made money. I was already a customer. But their follow-ups and approach to customer satisfaction have me poised to become a long-term customer. Therefore, quality, service and a bit of caring are the top qualities I look for in a brand.

Courtesy

Make every customer experience count

Customers and visitors have very little patience when it comes to bad online experiences. Consider these statistics;

  • One poor experience is all it takes for 60% of customers to be less loyal to a brand.
  • 80% of website visitors will inform others about a poor website/ app experience.
  • In fact, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key quality differentiator by 2020.
  • On average, a typical business hears from merely 4% of its dissatisfied customer base, while 96% of customers don’t voice complaints and 91% will never return.

  • And finally, its good to remember that any business that deals with people is in the ‘people’ business.

It all comes down to one thing; every interaction you have with a customer matters. The key takeaway here is to outperform in the area of customer satisfaction.

‘Always deliver more than expected.’ – Larry Page.

Therefore, if you’re in the e-commerce business, become obsessed with customer experience.

Continuous Communication

What happens most often is that communication between the brand and the customer plummets as soon as a purchase is complete. When to engage a customer in a journey and how often is a science. Businesses that create lasting relationships with clients successfully are engaged in continuous communication and nurturing.

In fact, according to these statistics, it takes 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. So the focus of your business should be to reach out to customers post-purchase and keep the conversation going. It is also true that 65% of a company’s business comes from its existing customer base. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while that of a new customer is just 5-20%.

The critical question here is; how do you want your customers to remember your brand? It is extremely important to really curate an experience that’s truly representative of your brand.

What you want to do is provide an experience that evokes an emotional response. Outperform your competition, deliver your product faster, and provide a uniquely enthralling experience. That’s how you’ll begin to humanize your brand’s experience.


5 ways social listening can help you grow a following

According to these statistics by Statista, approximately 2.62 billion people now use social media daily. A lot of content is produced every day, including blogs, YouTube videos, photos and everything else.

This infographic by Smart Insights highlights the kind of activity that happens online in merely 60 seconds;

Some of these posts may be about your business – and a hell lot of them about your industry. But without social media listening, you may never see them.

Instead of just monitoring and replying to incoming questions and comments, social listening helps brands extract useful insights from online conversations. These key insights are then applied to enhance your marketing strategy, product development, and provide unparalleled services.

According to Brandwatch, 96% of the people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles. This is why companies must go beyond their own channels to listen to these conversations.

Why social listening?

Social listening will enable you to improve several different aspects of your business. These include content marketing, product creation and enhancement, business development, human resources and customer support.

Tracking comments and mentions is an effective engagement strategy. But the key is to analyze the context and larger trends surrounding those conversations. This way, you’ll be able to serve your customers better.

But the question brands often ask is; what social conversations should I listen to?

Let’s start with Twitter. A day’s worth of tweets would fill up a 10 million page book. Every day, over 25 billion social interactions take place on this social media platform alone. We are looking at a goldmine of consumer, industry and cultural insights.

The problem is that most companies can’t go through that kind of volume each day. Plus, looking at individual tweets may even make you lose sight of the bigger picture.

This is where social listening comes into the picture. So instead of focusing on each tweet, you look at a collection of social media messages to discern relevant trends and themes that can help you improve your product or service.

Social media listening vs. social media monitoring: What’s the difference?

Monitoring is the first step of the social listening process. But there are vast differences between social monitoring and listening. This expert’s explanation sums it up pretty well;

“Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest.”
Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights.

Monitoring includes gathering all your mentions such as likes, the volume of buzz, sentiments, shares, etc. But listening goes a step further to help you discern patterns so you can inculcate them in your strategy to drive results.

Here are the 5 ways social listening can help you connect with your audience and grow a loyal following;

1) Create content your audience would love

In most cases, content marketing is a one-sided conversation. A brand publishes a blog, readers leave a few comments, and that’s it. What’s more, it’s exhausting to come up with new blog post ideas every day.

Trial and error is the strategy that most businesses follow. They share a couple of different blog posts, photos, and videos to see what works. But there’s a more effective way to create impactful content. Use social listening to see what industry consumers are talking about and what they’d like to read.

Don’t be surprised if customers are complaining about your brand on forums. Unfortunately, most customers who have a problem with you won’t say it to your face.

Approximately 30% of tweets that mention a brand don’t include an official handle.

So the question is where do you even start with social listening?

Understandably, between social media, blogs, and Reddit – it all becomes too much to track. That’s why you need a top-notch social listening strategy [and tool] to help you get started.

This way, you can keep an eye on the general sentiment and be notified as soon as someone says anything positive or negative about your brand online. These tools will also help you stay on top of influencer conversations so you can hop in at the right time.

Here are the 4 tools to help you get started;

 

 

Mention is one of the best social listening tools out there in the market. It helps you with not one, but three distinct areas of social listening including social monitoring, analytics, and competitor espionage.

You can use a free trial before signing up for the paid version.

This remarkable tool can help you track social media conversations across various channels. Responding to customer queries and concerns on social media can pay off big time. Hootsuite allows you to track social media mentions in real time by putting all your social media feeds in one place.

As soon as you see an opportunity to interact with influencers or customers, you can use this tool to respond directly or assign a teammate to do so.

 

Tracking your brand and product mentions are only one part of the equation. Tracking and analyzing industry keywords is another. Let’s say you want to gain authority on a certain keyword.

Keyhole allows you to find when influencers are talking about a certain keyword. This way you can be in on the conversation when it’s relevant and interesting. Using this tool right can help you become a thought leader in on a subject.

 

Your customers are everywhere. And they’re not just talking about you on social media sites. ReviewTrackers covers over 85 review websites such as TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Heathgrades, Facebook reviews and others. The tool can help you spot emerging issues.

2) Solve problems and attract new customers

The health of your business depends on the number of customers it can acquire. Every business needs to know how to generate leads and convert them into returning customers. As a company grows, it becomes increasingly essential to tune into social listening. Every stage of growth can create a new set of problems that may obstruct a great customer experience.

The challenge is to differentiate between a one-off problem and recurring issues that can take a toll on brand health. Here’s an example;

In 2016, a Tesla owner sent a tweet complaining how the superchargers were always full because people left their cars charging for hours. Tesla founder Elon Musk was quick to respond;

Now take note of Musk’s response – especially the first line.

It shows that it clearly wasn’t the first time Tesla had noticed this problem. A quick Twitter search is enough to find that many Tesla customers were facing the same problem.

By listening to a combination of keywords, Tesla was able to see trends, conversations, the number of people tweeting about the issue, and where the conversations were happening in the world.

Just 6 days after Musk’s response, Tesla published this blog post.

If Tesla wasn’t tuned into social listening, they might have easily brushed it off as a one-off incident.

Here’s another example of a seemingly innocent tweet directed at ASOS that garnered immediate traction.  It gained 32 retweets and 771 likes in under 24 hours.

So when Desi couldn’t buy a coat on one website, her audience redirected her to another. It took ASOS just 12 minutes to respond to this customer’s message, but her audience responded faster and solved the problem before ASOS could.

While social listening and monitoring are two sides of the same coin, they work best together. In a survey by Pegasystems, customers reported that companies failing to listen to their needs was one of their top 3 customer service complaints.

Social listening doesn’t just let you eavesdrop on important conversations. It can also help you drive innovation. Asking your customers what they want may be an obvious choice, but it can still result in skewed responses, misinformation, and a potentially failed product.

Henry Ford famously said, “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” 

That’s because it’s often easier for people to want a better version of something that’s already in front of them than to imagine something that doesn’t exist.

With social listening, you don’t have to ask people what they want. Just listen in on the conversations and give them what they need.

3) Keep track of your competition

Social listening will also allow you to keep track of your competition and see what they’re up to. Social media listening is investigative. You’ll gain useful insights about how customers perceive your competitors and where they have an edge.

Find out why people are drawn towards your competition. It’ll help you tweak your own strategy and products.

You need to know the top words, adjectives, and phrases customers are using for your competitors. This tool called Simply Measured can help you do that.

Some elements that you should look out for include;

  • Which competitor products show up the most? Should your company be tapping into this target segment?
  • What descriptive words are used? Are they positive or negative?
  • Is your competition demonstrating thought leadership? Take a closer look to see what they’re doing right and how you can avoid the mistakes they made.

4) Use the power of influencers

Influencer marketing is an effective way for a brand to communicate with its audience. But looking for the right influencers in your industry is the key first step. Many people talk about a brand online, but not all of them can sway audience opinion.

So essentially, influencers are individuals who can influence others with what they say, share and recommend.

Did you know that people are 5X more likely to make a purchase when recommended by a social influencer?

A Google study also shows that fans are much more engaged by influencers than celebrities.

Here are the three tools to help you dig the right influencers;

Buzzsumo:

Buzzsumo is one of the top tools to help you find influencers. With its influencers and outreach feature, you can find the best writers, bloggers, YouTubers, and publications in your field that are using the same keywords you are targeting.

Remember that influencers are not just people with thousands of followers. Instead, it is more efficient to look at the number of shares per article, the number of retweets, site domain authority, and page authority.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is built to help you grow your network. This naturally makes it a great tool to help you find influencers. Just type the keywords and phrases you’re looking for in the search box, and the social media platform will dig up some useful connects.

Twitter

Twitter is another awesome tool to find influencers in your industry. Its advanced search options give you a lot of room to reach specific audiences or find people who are followed by niche crowds in your industry.

Here’s the Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting by Kissmetrics.

To further refine your research, look out for these 3 elements in your candidates;

Relevance: If an influencer posts about your brand, will their followers find it credible or will it be out of context?

Reach: What kind of following does the influencer have? Influencers usually have a large following. Some influencers [known as micro influencers] have a smaller following and yet they are equally [if not more] effective.

Impact: How does an audience perceive an influencer? Are they thought to be authoritative and knowledgeable? Can they persuade their audience to take a decision?

5) Drive strategic product decisions

Creating products that customers love and marketing strategies that stick require in-depth research. Throw in social listening to get a good idea of how customers feel about your current and past products.

With social listening, you can answer questions such as;

What features customers liked and didn’t like?

Which products outsold others and why?

What new products do your customers need?

The book titled ‘Troublemaker’ by Leah Remini was hugely successful. The marketing team at Random House used social listening to help understand why. The insights would help them drive more readers and use the knowledge to have more successful launches.

Social listening revealed that beyond the controversial topic of Scientology, the book shared very personal stories about Leah. Her authenticity and honesty enticed readers.

Armed with this knowledge, the marketing team set up question and answer sessions and chats via Goodreads between Leah and her readers. This marketing strategy was a huge success because data showed that readers wanted to know more about her.

With social listening, Leah and her team were able to guide their marketing strategy and create a masterpiece that resonated with her audience.

 

 Conclusion

Social media listening can benefit your business at so many different levels. Your sales team can gain valuable insights into what your customers really like about your product. Your marketing team can get brilliant ideas for content and other marketing materials. Your R&D team can understand what your customers like or dislike about your products and that of your competitors.

Using social listening can improve your business quality, customer satisfaction levels, products, and services. No matter what your business, people are what matter most in business. Understanding customer expectations and going beyond those is what ensures your business’s success.