Customer Satisfaction

Building Trust Instead of Selling

Building Trust Instead of Selling

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame was recently interviewed by a BusinessWeek editor. A few of the tidbits:

It appears to me that advertising itself is at an all time low for effectiveness, and businesses that really succeed are focusing on the idea of building trust and educating as opposed to selling.

When asked for the short list of what small businesses should absolutely be doing to market themselves, Mr. Jantsch responded with the following three:

  • One: Absolutely differentiate yourself from everyone. You have to find a way [to make] people say you're something different, whether that's to focus on a narrowly targeted market or [through] packaging. Otherwise you're just competing on price. And the line I use all of the time is that price is a really bad place to compete because there's always someone willing to go out of business faster than you.


  • Two: It's more important than ever, and easier and cheaper, to embrace technology, and specifically the Internet, as a tool to educate, market, and generate leads. It offers a tremendous way to automate the whole process and is a great tool for customer service and project management -- things that add value with clients. If a small business isn't taking advantage of these tools, they're giving up a great way to level the playing field with much larger companies.


  • Three: I always ask people how they got to where they are now. Amazingly, it's mostly through word of mouth referrals. The follow up question is: What do you do to systematically take advantage of that? One of the most powerful tactical aspects of marketing is referrals, and when it's done right, there could be zero cost.

Differentiate, use the Internet, and systematically generate word of mouth referrals. What a great list! I couldn't agree more. And you know the easiest way to do it? (shameless plug coming) PromoterZ is the easiest, quickest and most inexpensive way to do all three of those things. If you haven't already checked it out do it now at www.promoterz.com. (end of shameless plug)

Unhappy customers tell on average 22 other people. If you ticket price is $50 that is $1100 in revenue. How would you like to know before they tell 22 others? Learn more

Word of Mouth Wins Again

Word of Mouth Wins Again

This from Double Click's report on the internet's role in the modern purchase process:

'Word of Mouth' Is the Single Greatest Form of Purchase Influence.

No great surprise there. We all experience it every day. The real question for us as business owners is: is there some way we can increase the positive word of mouth about our business?

I think it goes with out saying, that we have to start at the beginning with our product or service. It has to be remarkable. In other words, our offering needs to stand out so much that our customers want to talk about it. Assuming we've got remarkable, we can either leave the "word of mouth" to chance or help it along.

Shameless plug: a tool like PromoterZ™ is like a putting a megaphone in the hand of your happiest customers. Why leave the word of mouth to chance? Help it along by giving your customers an easy way for them to tell their friends about your business. End of plug.

Whatever you are doing to grow your business, remember: word of mouth rules. Do you know what your customers are saying about your business?

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Making Gold from Scrap

Making Gold from Scrap

Nucor's business is not new and sexy. In fact it is as rust belt as it comes: melt down scrap steel to make new steel. What's amazing about Nucor is not the business they are in but their results.

How does 387% return to shareholders over the past five years sound? That's better than Amazon, Starbucks and eBay. Since the 1980's it has grown into the largest steel company in the U.S. In 2005 it did $12.7 billion in sales, up from $4.6 billion in 2000. Income was $1.3 billion up from $311 million in 2000.

Their secret? This radical insight from their legendary leader F. Kenneth Iverson: employees, even hourly clock-punchers, will make an extraordinary effort if you reward them richly, treat them with respect, and give them real power. Sounds like something we in the service industry might be able to learn from.

From a recent article by BusinessWeek:

At Nucor the art of motivation is about an unblinking focus on the people on the front line of the business. It's about talking to them, listening to them, taking a risk on their ideas, and accepting the occasional failure.

Lot's of people talk about empowering employees and paying for performance, at Nucor it's not just talk. Base hourly pay at Nucor is around $10 an hour compared to other companies that average $16 to $21. But a bonus tied to the production of defect-free steel made by the worker's shift can triple the average to $30 at Nucor. Bad work is also penalized. If a bad batch is caught before it leaves the plant the shift loses the bonus on that batch. If the defect doesn't get caught till it gets to the customer, they lose three times that amount.

Thinking that will only work with certain employees? Nucor has applied it at several acquired sites with tremendous success. They don't force new employees to switch immediately to their new pay system, they just start posting what the employee would have made. It doesn't take long for employees to demand the switch even as production at the facilities goes up.

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

Justifying a Fishing Trip

Justifying a Fishing Trip

I like trout. I like being out where they live. I like to watch them and figure out how they work. I have discovered an interesting characteristic of trout. They are wary and careful as they investigate food, but once they see another fish feeding, their wariness takes a back seat to quick action.

It is as if two criteria must be met, first is it acceptable food, and second, can I get it first. Since another has obviously met the first condition then it is OK to move on to the second immediately, often resulting in a feeding frenzy. This characteristic serves the trout well as it quickly discovers available food and can eat it immediately.

Maybe I have spent too much time fishing lately, but it seems that trout rely on word of mouth, so to speak, to survive and prosper.

Our customers are also wary and looking for a good, safe solution. Once they have met that condition then they will buy. A referral or word of mouth recommendation provides them with the confidence to move directly to purchasing.

So the question is, are we making it easy for our customers to spread the good news? What are we doing to help potential customers see our happy customers? Spending some time and thought on empowering your customers to share could very well lead to a purchasing frenzy.

Finally, should we use worms or flies?

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Who Ya Gonna Tell?

Who Ya Gonna Tell?

If you are an unhappy customer: your friends.

A new study reports that irritated customers are five times more likely to vent to a friend than a store rep and on average they will tell four friends. Why should you care? The same study reports that those told about a friend's bad shopping experience are up to five times as likely to avoid the store in question as the original unhappy customer!

Did you get that? For every disgruntled customer that walks out your door there will be four potential customers that are five times less likely to give you a try.

The solution: obviously make sure each customer experience is great and then proactively ask your customers about their experience. If they had a bad one, turn it around and do it quickly.

The study was conducted by the Verde Group and the Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative at the Wharton School.

Get customer feedback, generate referrals, and increase repeat sales for as little as $150 a month. Learn more
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We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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