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Monday, February 24, 2014

Managing Evidence: Getting Credit for Your Brand/Product

In legal circles “tampering with evidence” is strictly taboo...it’s grounds for serious penalties. But in the world of managing customers’ experiences, "managing evidence" is often not only desirable; it may be a tool necessary for survival!

 How Perceptive Are Your Customers?

Most customers fail to recognize the quality built into a product or the efforts extended by a service-provider - even though they may buy your products.  They’re generally unable to fully appreciate the differences between one company’s product and the products of competitors.  They even seldom find the time to consider or appreciate the added value contributed by the perks and niceties that accompany the products and services they buy.  That’s why it’s critical for marketers to call customers’ attention to these values after the purchase has been made.  Otherwise credit isn’t given, increased loyalty (the primary goal for offering the superior services/products in the first place) may never be realized, and positive word of mouth is less likely to be generated.
 
Providing a great customer experience is essential, but it requires additional effort to see that your customers understand and appreciate what’s being delivered to them.  Consider an example.  Norton, the computer security firm, (that might be protecting the computer on which you’re reading this) provides excellent protective software for computers.  But if their software is doing its job, an owner will likely never be bothered; it’s definitely a ‘low profile’ service.  Norton has apparently recognized its need to reinforce its value to customers by managing evidence. It accomplishes this with a monthly top-line report of the number of computer files checked in its latest scan; how many problems it detected; and what it has done to safeguard a computer.  And, each time the service updates its virus-detecting database it informs owners with a pop-up.  Norton is doing a great job of managing evidence to remind owners it’s more than ‘paying for itself’.

'Tootin' Our Own Horn

Most executives seem uncomfortable with the concept of managing evidence.  Given our cultural backdrop, this may be understandable.  After all, Western cultures teach the values of modesty.  Further, managers may fall victim to one of two false assumptions:  1.) Assuming customers will be insulted by having good performance pointed out to them; or 2.) Assuming that all existing customers already understand the added benefits offered by their products.  In both cases managers accepting either of these assumptions are going to be wrong.

Astute managers need to learn how much (or how little) of the value they’re delivering is actually being perceived by their customers and credited to them.  Trusting that one is receiving credit for the value actually being delivered to customers is a fool's hope.


6:18 pm est          Comments

Monday, February 3, 2014

Easy Way To Increase Your Likes and Followers

If your company has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or posts videos to YouTube, chances are you’re measuring your ‘success’, at least partially, by counting your numbers of likes, shares, followers, or views. You may find yourself benchmarking your volume against competitors’.  But, while likes and shares may be the most obvious metrics available,  a a recent AP article by Martha Mendoza offered some startling facts and figures that give us all something to think about.

 

Your Facebook Friends May Live in Dhaka!

  • While you may not be personally familiar with Dhaka, Bangladesh, the city of 7 million is an international hub for click farms.  These ‘boiler rooms’ of workers generate millions of fans and followers for websites around the world, all for pay.
  • Thanks to low labor costs, companies in Dhaka like Unique IT World can find all the literate workers they need to create phantom social media accounts (difficult to actually distinguish them from real followers) and then manually click on clients' social media pages. 
  • Skeptical?  It could be coincidence that Dhaka is the home city of the greatest number of fans of highly ranked celebrities(like soccer star Leo Messi who has 51 million likes) – but probably not.  
  • Even stranger Dhaka, Bangladesh happens to be the most frequent geographic home for likes of Facebook's own security page (among the 7.7 million likes), and Google's own Facebook page (15.2 million likes).

So, How Big is the Click Farm Business?

Surely this activity has to be an exception, rather than the rule....

  • Italian security researchers Andrea Stroppa and Carla De Micheli estimated in 2013 that revenue generated by creating fake Twitter followers has reached between $40 to $360 million for the supporting click farms.  Similarly, fake Facebook activities produce $200 million a year in revenue for these click farms!
  • Attention US taxpayers.  In 2013, the State Department, which has more than 400,000 likes, agreed to stop buying Facebook fans after its Inspector General criticized the agency for spending $630,000 to boost the numbers.  (We wonder why no one noticed the fans were coming from foreign countries!)

How Much Does a Click/View/Fan Cost?

  • For those seeking to inflate their numbers to please their management or earn a bonus tied to measures of “popularity”, hits, fake fans and followers really aren’t expensive.  Companies like BuyPlusFollowers sell 250 Google+ shares for $12.95. InstagramEngine sells 1,000 followers for $12. AuthenticHits sells 1,000 SoundCloud plays for $9.
  • It’s a very open business, especially offshore, with firms bearing names like WeSellLikes.com. In Jakarta, Ali Hanafiah will deliver 1,000 Twitter followers for $10 and 1 million for only $600.

It’s an amazing story.  We won’t try to be ethics cops here, but all this does have to make you wonder what some of those astronomical social media numbers we see bandied about really mean.  And, why are companies trying to game the system?  In the end, they may only be fooling themselves.  That’s why in the case of word of mouth we believe it’s dangerous (and incomplete) to focus on quantitative measures (followers, likes, etc.) alone. Qualitative measures incorporating the ‘energy and attitudes’ of true fans have to be more important.


 

 

 

5:43 pm est          Comments


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Customer Experience Partners, LLC
Measurement, Management, Optimization
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pruden@customerexperiencepartners.com

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