Best of Seeds 8/14/06 to 8/18/06


8/14/06 to 8/18/06

Another week, more great business ideas. Enjoy!

From Seeds--Customer Service Lessons from Station 2

Turns out firefighters know a lot about customer service. It could be a matter of life or death--for your company.

From Other Business Blogs

Number 3--Two Things You Can Say from Seth Godin.

As hard as you and your employees try, mistakes will be made and customers will be upset--it may even be the customer's fault. Simple words will make all the difference. Do your employees know how to get on the customer's side--quick?

Number 2-- Talk is Cheap, Buzz is Vital, Viral is Worth it and WOM is where it's at. from Small Business Branding.

Great list of resources and tips for generating word of mouth. “With WOM, consumers become an extension of the marketing department by helping spread the word and create buzz."

Number 1--Give Users a Hollywood Ending from Creating Passionate Users.

Great movies have great endings. The ending is what you walk away with. What do your customers walk away with? Focus on the ending.

That's it for this week! Don't miss next week--exciting stuff coming! (how's that for an ending?)

Dave

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Best of Seeds is a service of Promoterz--Happy Customers Talking

Promoterz is the hands-free, word-of-mouth marketing service that takes care of the details so you can focus on business. Learn more

Customer Service Lessons from Station 2

Customer Service Lessons from Station 2

Had a chance to visit a local Tempe, AZ fire station last night (career night with venture scouts). I was impressed and came away with a few lessons, or at least things to think about, to improve customer service.

  1. Hiring. When asked what it takes to become a fire fighter our tour guide responded, "They can teach anyone to do this job. What they are really looking for is some one with people skills that can deal with the public and get along with everyone on the team." Now certainly there are certain skills that you look for when hiring for a particular position, but in my experience the fire chiefs got it right: most important is people skills. The cost of hiring someone that is hard to get along with? Read this.

  2. Everybody's Job. Apparently the greater Phoenix area has a dispatch system that is the envy of most metropolitan areas. Somehow common sense won out over politics in this area and the number one rule of dispatch is "closest engine gets the call" regardless of which city pays the bills. Simple but powerful, and in this case, life-saving concept. If you've decided to sequester your "customer service" people in one corner of your building and have everyone forward irate customer calls to them you are losing lives. Change your policy to "closest employee solves the problem."

  3. Know Your Role. When the alarm goes off, firefighters in station 2 have 60 seconds to be in their clothes, in the truck and screaming out onto the street. At night they get an additional 30 seconds to allow for wake up time. Everyone obviously has to know what their duty is, where their equipment is, etc. to make that happen. If the engineer is off or out for a particular shift a substitute driver is designated at the start of the shift--no time to do rock, paper, scissors for driving privileges once the alarm has gone off. Here's the point, knowing what they are supposed to do when there is an emergency empowers firefighters to be fast and effective. Do your employees know what their role is when the alarm goes off? Perhaps even more important, have you given your customers an easy way to set the alarm off? Someone with a house fire knows to call 911 and will follow through and do it--they have no other option. Someone with a bad experience at your business could easily just walk away and tell several of their friends. Unless you provide an easy and obvious way for them to sound the alarm, you may never know what damage is done.

Maybe it is extreme to use the firefighters as a standard for customer service--after all, they are dealing with life and death situations. On the other hand, ignore or handle poorly volatile customer situations and it could be a life or death situation for your business.

Find your happy customers and put a megaphone in their hand. Learn more

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Welcome to the August 13, 2006 edition of the Carnival of Marketing. Summer is winding to a close, kids are heading back to school, and it's time to take down the big top and move this carnival elsewhere. For our last carnival hosting this summer, Seeds of Growth is please to present the following "big ring" attractions.

Daniel Scocco discusses the evolution of advertising and what will make the next great advancement to aid both consumers and retailers in Intelligent, Interactive and Converged Advertising posted at Innovation Zen.

Wow! Lot's of neuroscience info from NeuroGuy who presents Why Negative Ads Work: Framing, Emotions, and Irrational Decisions posted at Neuromarketing, saying, "Brain-scan proof that emotions affect everyone's buying decisions."

With a nice comparison Kevin Hillstrom presents Branding verses Selling: Gap vs. Zappos posted at Kevin Hillstrom.

Mr. Spock would be good at business due to his purely logical decision making. Well, David Maister doesn't talk about Spock, but he does present How We Really Make Decisions posted at Passion, People and Principles.

Imani Peterson does a product review in Professional Logo Designing Made Easy posted at AmericanInventorSpot.com.

Writing to real estate agents, Jim Cronin presents Your Company Provided Website Is A Waste posted at The Real Estate Tomato.

Some companies need to grow, some just need to grow up. Benjamin Yoskovitz presents Companies That Act Like 2-Year Olds Need to Grow Up posted at I Got News For You.

I have been a PalmOS fan so this discussion of a public relations stunt by a Palm OS developer was interesting. Tam Hanna presents Dmitry Grinberg evaluating PocketPC? so what? posted at TamsPalm-the Palm OS Blog.

Thinking that marketing materials, including blogs, should be readable, cehwiedel presents Readability as an Online Marketing Tool posted at Kicking Over My Traces.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Marketing using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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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

Best of Seeds 8/7/06 to 8/11/06


8/7/06 to 8/11/06

Handpicked and emailed fresh from the heat of the desert, here are the best business ideas of the week from the blog world.

From Seeds--Is Your Marketing Self-Perpetuating?

Perpetual Motion: the motion of a hypothetical machine that, once activated, would run forever unless subject to an external force or to wear. Is self-perpetuating marketing possible?

From Other Business Blogs

Number 3--Advertising vs Publicity which medium is more effective for a startup from Small Business Branding.

Brad Williamson doesn't think advertising is part of the formula, "DO NOT ADVERTISE!!! You might as well dig a six-foot hole for your venture, because it will die a violent death if you go about generating buzz via advertising."

Number 2-- Are Your Users Stuck in P Mode? from Creating Passionate Users.

Passionate customers become promoters (think self perpetuating marketing). According to Kathy Sierra, "If we want passionate users, we have to help them do something cool... fast."

Number 1--This is Broken-The Video from Seth Godin

Do your customers think anything about your business is broken? Seth Godin may change your perspective. The real question is: How long since you asked them?

Have a perpetually great week!

Dave

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Best of Seeds is a service of Promoterz--Happy Customers Talking

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

Is Your Marketing Self-Perpetuating?

Is Your Marketing Self-Perpetuating?

As I've thought more about guerilla advertising and how it differs from quality customer engagement that turns customers into promoters, it occurs to me that the key difference is self-perpetuation, or the lack thereof.

The goal of both efforts is to get people talking to their friends or colleagues about your business--to create buzz. But guerilla advertising is based on a staged event or gimmick that may not even be related to the business. Yes, it creates buzz, but that buzz will wear off and then all you are left with is the headache of trying to come up with the next gimmick.

Turning your customers into promoters through quality customer engagement is different. It may not get as big of an initial buzz, but it grows naturally and is self-perpetuating. People end up talking not about your gimmick, but about how remarkable your product or service is. They plant seeds in the minds of their friends that produce additional seeds as those friends give your business a try and spread the seeds to their friends and so on and so on and so on.

Self-perpetuating word of mouth--start planting the seeds.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more

Seeds from the blogworld
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.
I grew up in the west and now live in Arizona. There is a simple rule for growing things out here (this rule applies everywhere but is more obvious in the arid west): if it doesn't get water it does ...more.
After describing modern consumers and their desire to watch or read what they want, when they want, the current issue of Business Week concludes: The result: a serious case of attention deficit for ...more.
What is the most compelling thing about your business from your customers' perspective? Is it remarkable? ...more.
Another example of the power of promoters. Shade Clothing sells undershirts for women that are longer than normal for those that aren't interested in showing the world their belly button. It was fou ...more.
I read recently about a musician--a cello player to be exact--that moved to New York City. She didn't know anyone in the city and was looking for opportunities to play her cello. Her solution? She ...more.
I read a great article recently about George Washington. As I read about his amazing leadership characteristics it occurred to me that they are the same characteristics any entrepreneur or business l ...more.
On the company the effect is like being assimilated into the Borg, but for users of their software it's like having a friend with a malignant brain tumor. You're going to have to say "goodbye" soon t ...more.
What says summer more than traveling carnivals? Cotton candy, hot dogs, rides that go around and around until you puke! Does life get any better than that? I submit that it cannot! The blog worl ...more.
Remarkable is the key here. These native american kids are remarkable in and of themselves. Their product follows suit. They have figured out government issues, food serving issues, product, marketi ...more.
In the cluttered marketplace we compete in, I don't think the power (and necessity) of staying in touch can be overemphasized. I learned the lesson again last week--thankfully in a good way. It had ...more.

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