Get Charged Up!

iBar_ChartsMobile phones, tablets, MP3 players – in our personal and business lives, much of our time is spent on-the-go, connecting with others through our battery charged devices.  They give us the ability to work from the car, listen to music while mowing the lawn and talk to family members on the way to catching the next flight.  So when considering end-of-year corporate gifts, a perfect gender-neutral option that everyone can use would be a portable battery pack for all those devices that keep  us linked to rest of our world.

Mobile chargers come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.  Some offer LED lights, others come equipped with dual USB ports – but all are built to offer convenience, practical effectiveness and size-appropriate dimensions to accommodate the pocket on a tight pair of a college students jeans or the jacket of the CEO’s business suit.   These devices are designed to appeal not just to the tech-savvy consumer, but more to the mainstream users of all sorts of mobile tools.

Considering their universal appeal, it makes sense that any customer would be pleased to receive a branded mobile charger, but what does the corporate giver get in return?

  • Logo Visibility:  the imprint area is usually generous, which gives the corporate logo a high profile
  • Brand Identity:  every time the user plugs in, the corporate brand will be reinforced
  • Positive Brand Association:  giving gifts that reflect the current trends shows corporate awareness of customer habits and lifestyle
  • Customer Loyalty:  customers support the brands that offer products and services that appeal to their emotions as well as servicing their needs
  • Increased Sales:  positive brand identity + expanding customer loyalty = increased sales

This holiday season, consider giving a gift that will get your customers charged up!

(Image via Idol Memory)

Keep The Sizzle, Just Deliver The Steak On Time

hugCustomer loyalty has much more to do with delivering on the everyday service promises than with the dazzling one-off experiences a corporate marketing team may execute twice a year.  That is not to say those extra efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated, but if the customer service team keeps the client on hold for 10 minutes, or the airlines are chronically late while losing your luggage, all the fancy reward programs won’t salvage the relationship.

Everyday services are the reason we have customers to begin with.  They expect to pay for those services, and in return, receive the prompt attention and quality of service that has been advertised.  The customer shouldn’t have to email or call three times for a price quote that the supplier claims can happen the same day.  Competitive pricing doesn’t mean the same product or service will be found tomorrow for 50% less.  And on-time delivery doesn’t mean the order arrives a day later than promised.

To increase customer loyalty, there are a few basic things to remember:

  • Build correct expectations.  Everyone’s expectations are different, even for the same service.  Approach each client as a unique individual.
  • Over-deliver:  Attention to detail; consistent, accurate follow-up throughout the entire purchase cycle; and proactive attention to customer needs before they are ready to purchase are all ways to surprise and delight without the fireworks.
  • Correct problems quickly.  Excellent service doesn’t always mean flawless service.  When problems arise, move quickly to minimize the impact on the customer.
  • Reduce their effort.  The work they must do to get their problem solved should be nominal.  Whether the problem is the initial purchase, or the unexpected product flaw after delivery, every customer should feel like they are your only priority until the problem is solved.
  • Stay consistent.   Your level of service should be the same when business is slow as it is when the phones are ringing off the hook.  Your staffing challenges should never become your customer’s problem.

Bottom line, our customers shouldn’t be expected to work or worry about the everyday services they come to us for in the first place.  Deliver what you promise, and your company will reap the rewards of improved customer retention – loyalty, repeat business and positive promotion.

(Image via  Hugh MacLeod at

Host A Live Event And Keep The Conversation Going

Live_Event_Laser_3Engaging corporate customers at a creative vendor fair, or inspiring employees after a motivating off-site sales seminar, is an ongoing work-in-progress, rather than a one-time effort.   The lasting personal connection that comes from hosting a live event should be enhanced by continuing the conversation started at the event through social media.  After all, social networks are our best platforms for communication and should be part of every company’s marketing strategy.

Live events are hosted for a variety of reasons, including increasing brand awareness, building customer loyalty, improving employee morale, and capturing media attention.  Integrating social media into business conferences and events will help support those goals and improve the long term ROI.   A few of the things to consider when planning for the next event are listed below:

  • Start with an agenda:  establish a clear schedule for presentations, breakout sessions, Q&A and networking
  • Consider timing for communication:  don’t just focus on how to advertise prior to the event date – determine what follow-up communication tools will play a part after the event
  • Communication should come from all forms of media:  tools like email, mailings, webinars, flyers, Facebook and Twitter should all be part of the strategy
  • Understand your audience:  determine what your customers or employees are hoping to gain from the event, and build your strategy around meeting those expectations
  • Embrace the unfamiliar:  if you aren’t comfortable tweeting live during an event, or you don’t have many Facebook followers, prepare early with social media training sessions and employ others who can help get the word out
  • Share your best stuff:  go beyond the written script and share the best things that are happening in the moment to help build excitement around the event
  • Consider all senses:  when deciding on what communication vehicles will carry your content, Twitter tweets, YouTube videos, Pinterest images and Facebook posts will work together to reach a broader audience

The above suggestions represent only a few of the many considerations the event planning team must tackle before, during and after a live event.  So the best suggestion of all remains – START EARLY!

Oh yes, and don’t forget to have fun while keeping that conversation going!