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Book reviews

Never Lose A Customer Again: Notes & takeaways


Gary Vaynerchuk, with his books The Thank You Economy and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, was the first person to open my eyes about the importance of great customer service, and how it often seems to be at the bottom of companies priority lists in the digital age. Joey Coleman, with his book Never Lose A Customer Again, wants to give companies new inspiration and tools to succeed.

The author
The author

Award-winning speaker and business consultant Joey Coleman teaches audiences and companies all over the world how to turn a one-time purchaser into a lifelong customer.

Review

Pros: If you have not read similar books, it’s worth a read as it gives inspiration and strategies on how to improve customer relationship, a vital part of any company. There are several good ideas and points that makes this a good read, especially if you haven’t read any other books on customer experience.

Cons: Having read the works of Gary Vaynerchuk, I felt this did not bring a whole lot new to the table. Could have cut 1/3 of the book, too much repetition. Most of the examples is the authors own personal experiences with different companies’ customer services, which I sometimes find a little too easy. I also consider it a cheap move to write about the creation process of the book and try to derive value from that. You should have a clear vision of what should be in a book when you start writing it. Trying to squeeze in how the author experienced the customer service from some kind of author-helping-consultancy is just not very interesting.

Losing customers is the biggest threat facing business today – and yet most companies don’t even realize it

Joey Coleman

Notes

The current situation

Current business trends glamorize growth, incentivize acquisition, fail to consider the emotional journey of the customer, undervalue retention, and underpay and underequip customer-facing employees. Not to mention the fact that they completely ignore their customers basic biology and human behavior.

The very structure of most businesses is set up to reward the acquisition of new customers. In most businesses, the “stars” are the employees who bring in new clients, not the employee who keep clients happy after the sale. As if this didn’t stack the deck enough, the leaders of most companies usually came through the ranks of marketing or sales. Because they understand sales and marketing, they are quick to look there for guidance and advice, as well as focus and interest. It’s what they know.

This creates a propensity within the typical organization to reward, acknowledge, and promote those who are outward facing and focused on new business development, rather than recognize individuals who are internal facing and focusing on keeping current customers happy.

The salesperson is not concerned about getting the right prospect – a person who will be a good fit and stay with the company for a long time – because they are typically incentivized by the total number of new accounts, not retained accounts.

The number of resources devoted to marketing and sales are enormous compared to those directed toward customer retention. The 2017 edition of the annual CMO Survey found that the average business spends 6.9 percent of total company revenue on marketing – and yet less than one fifth of that total spending is dedicated to customer retention activities.

customer life cycle

Despite the fact that the customer life cycle graphic is balanced with three elements on each side of the “purchase”, very few businesses devote any attention to the right side of the graphic.

Individuals working in customer service usually report to another department (marketing, sales, operations etc), and that department head reports directly to the CEO. The customer service/experience voices go unheard for lack of a seat at the executive table. As a result, the work they do is often seen as a commodity or ignored altogether.

Across a wide range of industries, a 5% improvement in customer retention rates will yield a 25 to 100% increase in profits

Frederick Reichfield, author of The Loyalty Effect

Many people mistakenly interchange the terms “customer service” and “customer experience” I believe they describe very different situations. Customer service is reactive, while customer experience is proactive.

Customer service is how a business responds when things go wrong or a customer expresses a need. Customer experience, on the other hand, comes on the front end. It anticipates what might go wrong and structures the interactions to avoid this from ever happening

Apply the Hollywood technique.

Applying the Hollywood technique in business, the customer’s emotional journey becomes the primary focus. If businesses approached their customer interactions in the same way movies approach their audience interactions – figuring out the emotions a customer should have every step of the way – the entire world would change.

Evaluate your current situation

  • When prospects review your marketing materials, do they get a good idea of what their experience is going to be like if they become customers (not what they will receive from doing business with you, but how they will feel when doing business with you)?
  • How long does the typical prospect assess your product or service before becoming a customer?
  • Does your sales team effectively and accurately record customer desires and needs?
  • Does your sales team effectively and accurately share customer desires and needs with the individual(s) responsible for maintaining the relationship once the sale is made?
  • Do prospects receive a detailed and accurate preview of what the experience will be like after becoming customer?
  • Do you preframe the prospect’s expectations to be in alignment with your business operations?
  • Do you create remarkable experiences during the Assess phase?
  • If so, what are they?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “pathetic” and 10 is “world class”, how would you rate the experience your prospects currently have?

Personalize

Make the required remarkable

Joey Coleman

Zogics is one of the wellness industry’s largest one-stop shops for fitness professionals. They send a personalized thank you video as part of the confirmation email to every customer. After implementing this strategy, the open rate of that email rose from 20 to 60% and the video watch rate is around 20%

Counter buyers remorse

The most important thing a business can do to counter feelings of buyer’s remorse is to offer ways for a customer to reaffirm their decision as quickly as possible. By reaffirming the customer’s decision through a series of positive, high-energy communications, you can counter the chemically induced feelings of doubt. Whether it’s a video that reminds the customer they made the right choice or a case study affirming that your offering can solve their problem, giving evidence of your ability to deliver can serve as a counterbalance to the customer’s feelings of doubt and uncertainty.

A brief “Keep the Faith” video can be emailed to new customers between the time they place their order and when the order is received or service delivered. Giving customers visual confirmation of the business’s enthusiasm for the new relationship is a great way to reassure them about the decision to do business with you.

Building personal connections

Building personal connections is a vital element of relationship building. By explaining who is on the team and detailing roles and responsibilities, it’s possible to reduce uncertainty and establish trust early in the customer life cycle. Customers need to know where they should go with questions, concerns, and problems that may arise in the first few weeks and months of working together. Offering personal details about team members that go beyond their duties and responsibilities creates possibilities for connection via points of commonality or contrast. By empowering your employees to play an active role in creating your customer journey touchpoints, you increase buy-in, implementation, and commitment to the process in the long run.

Make it physical

On Online Trainer Academy, the first-ever certification program for online trainers.
After the training course is purchased, Jon’s team mails the customer a hardback textbook, a spiral-bound training workbook, and instructions for how to use these two items in conjunction with the online training videoes. The fact that Jon’s online training program has a physical textbook and workbook automatically distinguishes it from the bulk of online education programs. The fact that these books are beautifully designed and printed further cements the emotional experience customers have and supports the brand image/reputation of a high-quality, high-value program.

Defy customers’ preconceived expectations. Create contrast in experience. Online customers expect that every interaction will be online. Consider adding offline interactions to bring your company and experience into the tangible world. Sending something via mail feels almost old-school in comparison with online offerings, but this contrasting experience creates a remarkable interaction.

Create micro experiences

On Baro, successfull new restaurant in Toronto
The customers interests, food and drink selections, and preferences not only are captured, but the experience coordinator reviews these daily. Before the restaurant opens for the evening, the coordinators talk to each server about the specifics of the guests who will be seated in that server’s section. “Our goal is to constantly create micro customer experiences for our guests” Michael Falcon, one of Baro’s partners, explains. “Small, subtle, memorable gestures that will resonate with them for years to come.” The budget for creating these interactions is purposely kept lean – 250$ per month total, for the entire restaurant – to “keep the team creative.”

Give special treatment

Your most loyal customers deserve special treatment. Create something of unique value to them and not only will they feel appreciated, but they will see themselves as “part of a club”. If there is the opportunity to add a dash of nostalgia, that will only heighten the experience. Exclusivity is a powerful feeling. Don’t be afraid to create a limited-edition item or make a special experience available just to these customers who are most loyal and supportive.

The best customer rewards offer exclusivity and rare opportunities – and sometimes both! Look for things that you can give away that cost very little to you compared with how much your customers will value them. For your best referrers, go above and beyond to actively seek out special experiences that they wouldn’t easily be able to arrange on their own.

I developed a four-step process to help you understand your customers and position your business to roll out an enhanced customer journey:

  • Investigate
  • Observe
  • Personalize
  • Surprise

Eliminate your logo, tagline or any other message about you: Let’s be honest – if you give a customer an item with your logo or name on it, you’re not giving a gift. You’re giving a marketing tool that you hope the customer will show to their friends, which ideally will lead to more business to you.

Experiences are great, but help the customer remember: Gifting your customers with remarkable experiences is fantastic, but don’t forget to memorialize the experience with a memento. Dinners, concerts, golf outings, and the like tend to be forgotten rather quickly – but not when paired with a cookbook from the restaurant, a framed photo of the band from the concert, or a piece of golf apparel from the pro shop at the golf course you played.

Don’t forget the note: If you’re going to make the effort to surprise someone, you should be willing to make the effort to write a handwritten note to accompany your gift. If you’re not willing to do that, please don’t even bother with the gift.

Don’t give to receive: Give presents and surprises because you want to, not because you want to be seen a certain way or you think it will lead to something else in return. No one likes a present that arrives with strings attached.

Success surveys

A in-depth “success survey” allows for data collection about the individual customer to be used in personalizing future communications. In addition, larger data sets from these surveys will identify trends within the customer base and could alter early sales messages, systems, and processes for future prospects.

Gather referrals

The best referrals come from happy current customers. Make your referral program easy to understand, even easier to participate in, and worthwhile for the referring customer’s investment of time and effort. Your best customers most likely spend time associating with your ideal prospects. Creating the opportunity for customers to talk with their friends and lolleagues about your offering feels natural when you give customers the necessary information to make it easy for them to refer people to you.

Asking for referrals requires thoughtful timing and a sincere ask. The goal should be an honest assessment of how you are performing. This feedback not only provides the data to enhance operations, but can serve as a marketing tool to draw in prospective customers. Used properly, testimonials drive sales in a meaningful and measurable way.

When asking for a testimonial, the company should give the customer specific guidance on what it’s looking for. It’s not enough to email the best customers and say, “We have a new website launching, would you be willing to write a testimonial?” That’s not have you create an advocate. That’s putting the onus on them to do the work.

The better approach is to go to the customer and say, “We’ve worked together for a long time. You’ve had some massive success and changes within your organization as a direct result of your relationship with us. Would you be willing to share the impact of our work together?

To make giving a testimonial even easier, you can also say to the customer, “Look, I recognize that you’re busy and have a lot on your plate right now. With your permission, I’d like to draft a testimonial for you. You can feel free to edit or amend it as you see fit.”

Investigate

Dale Carnegie is famous for saying, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” The typical business approach to interacting with customers is to jump up and down and scream, “Look at me! Look at me! Look what I have!” Instead of asking questions and learning all about their customers, businesses have a tendency to focus on themselves.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn by merely spending five to ten minutes investigating online

Joey Coleman
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Book reviews

The Compound Effect: Notes & Takeaways

You understand what this book is all about from its title: How small, targeted steps and habits over time will add up. A simple, but high-energy and motivational self development book written by the founder of SUCCESS Magazine, Darren Hardy. Several inspirational real life examples of the compound effect at work, and several useful techniques and strategies to improve yourself in every aspect of life.

The author
The author

Darren Hardy is an American author, keynote speaker, advisor, and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine.

Notes

I want you to know in your bones that your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily diciplines compounded over time.

If we want to succeed, we need to recover our grandparent’s work ethic.

Darren Hardy

Your biggest challenge isn’t that you’ve intentionally been making bad choices. Your biggest challenge is that you’ve been sleepwalking through your choices. Nobody intends to become obese, go through bankruptcy, or get a divorce, but most often those consequences are the result of a series of small, poor choices.

If I always took 100 percent responsibility for everything I experienced – completely owning all of my choices and all the ways I responded to whatever happened to me – I held the power. Everything was up to me. I was responsible for everything I did, didn’t do, or how I responded to what was done to me.

From this day forward, choose to be 100 percent responsible for your life. Eliminate all of your excuses. Embrace the fact that you are freed by your choices, as long as you assume personal responsibility for them. It’s time to make the choice to take control.

Go for whole-life success – balance in all the aspects of life that are important to you: business, finances, health, family, lifestyle and relationships.

Track your progress

You cannot manage or improve something until you measure it. Likewise, you can’t make the most of who you are – your talents, resources and capabilities – until you are aware of and accountable for your actions.

Pick an area of your life where you most want to be successful. I want you to track every action that relates to that area of your life. If you want to get out of debt, you’re going to track every penny you pull from your pocket. If you want to lose weight, you’re going to track everything you put in your mouth. This process forces you to be conscious of your decisions.

It’s time to WAKE UP and realize that the habits you indulge in could be compounding your life into repeated disaster. The slightest adjustments to your daily routines can dramatically alter the outcomes of your life

Darren Hardy

Position yourself for luck

The complete formula for getting lucky:
Preparation + attitude + opportunity + action = luck

“When I asked Richard Branson if he felt luck played a part in his success, he answered, “Yes of course, we are all lucky. If you live in a free society, you are lucky. Luck surrounds us every day; we are constantly having lucky things happen to us, whether you recognize it or not. I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.”

It’s a funny thing; the more I practice, the luckier I get

Arnold Palmer

The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not. Successful people aren’t necessarily more intelligent or more talented than anyone else. But their habits take them in the direction of becoming more informed, more knowledgeable, more competent, better skilled, and better prepared.

For example: by listening to something instructional why commuting, you will gain knowledge equivalent to two semesters of an advanced college degree – every year. Think about it; using the time you’re currently wasting by listening to radio or generic music, you could obtain the equivalent of Ph.D. in leadership, sales success, wealth building, relationship excellence – or whatever course you choose.

Action steps

Write out the half-dozen small, seemingly inconsequential steps you can take every day that can take your life in a completely new and positive direction.

Write down the small, seemingly inconsequential actions you can stop doing that might be compounding your results downward.

List a few areas, skills or outcomes where you have been most successful in the past. Consider whether you could be taking those for granted and are not continuing to improve, and are therefore in jeopardy of having that complacency lead to future failure.

Where in your life are you not taking 100 percent responsibility for the success or failure of your present condition? Write down three things you have done in the past that have messed things up. List three things you should have done but didn’t. Write out three things that happened to you but you responded poorly. Write down three things you can start doing right now to take back responsibility for the outcomes of your life.

Identify your triggers: look at your list of bad habits. Identify what triggers them.

Your why

The power of your why is what gets you to stick through the grueling, mundane, and laborious. All of the hows will be meaningless until your whys are powerful enough. Until you’ve set your desire and motivation in place, you’ll abandon any new path you seek to better your life. If your why-power isn’t great enough, if the fortitude of your commitment isn’t powerful enough, you’ll end up like every other person who makes a New Year’s resolution and gives up too quickly and reverts to sleepwalking through poor choices.

Goals

The one skill most responsible for the abundance in my life is learning how to effectively set and achieve goals. Something almost magical happens when you organize and focus your creative power on a well-defined target. I’ve seen this time and again: the highest achievers in the world have all succeeded because they mapped out their visions. The person who has a clear, compelling, and white-hot burning why will always defeat even the best of the best at doing the how.

Choice + behavior + habit + compounded = goals

Top people have very clear goals. They know who they are and they know what they want. They write down and they make plans for its accomplishment. Unsuccessful people carry their goals around in their head like marbles rattling around in a can, and we say a goal that is not in writing is merely a fantasy.

Every morning at 7 a.m., I have what I call my calibration appointment, where I take fifteen minutes to calibrate my day. This is where I brush over my top three one-year and five-year goals, my key quarterly objectives, and my top goal for the week and month. Then I review (or set) my top three MVPs (Most Valuable Priorities) for that day, asking myself, “If I only did three things today, what are the actions that will produce the greatest results in moving me closer to my big goals?

Right now I’m working on adding more adventure into my life. I set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals to do something I wouldn’t normally do. Most of the time it’s nothing earth-shattering, but things such as eating different kinds of foods, taking a class, visiting a new destination, or joining a club to meet new people.

It’s important to cash out your day’s performance. Compared to your plan for the day, how did it go? What do you need to carry over to tomorrow’s plan? What else needs to be added, based on what showed up throughout the day? What’s no longer important and needs to be scratched out? Additionally, I like to log into my journal any new ideas, ah-has or insights I picked up throughout the day – this is how I’ve collected more than forty journals of incredible ideas, insights, and strategies. All hell can break loose throughout the day, but because I control the bookends, I know I’m always going to start and finish strong.

Develop your own personal board of advisors

I’ve hand-selected a dozen people because of their areas of expertise, creative thinking ability, and/or my great respect for who they are. Once a week I reach out to a few of them and solicit ideas, run thoughts by them, and ask for feedback and input. Having started this process, I can tell you the benefits I’ve already received have been profound – far more than I anticipated! It’s surprising the genius people are willing to share when you show sincere interest.

After spending a couple of hours with Paul, hearing about his plans, ventures and activities, my head would spin. Just trying to make sense of all he had going on exhausted me. After time with Paul, I’d want to go take a nap! But my association with him raised my game. His walking pace was my running pace. It expanded my ideas about how big I could play and how ambitious I could be. You have to get around people like that!

Don’t wish for easy

When conditions are great, things are easy, there aren’t any distractions, no one is interrupting, temptations aren’t luring, and nothing is disturbing your stride; that too is when most everyone else does great. It’s not until situations are difficult, when problems come up and temptation is great, that you get to prove your worthiness for progress.

This is perfect attacking weather, mainly because I know the others don’t like it. I believe that nobody in the world is better at suffering. It’s a good day for me.

Lance Armstrong

Be extraordinary

Regarding applying for a job: Research all the people in the organization. Take that list and run it by your entire network to see if they know anyone who might know someone in this organization. Search every name against your LinkedIn database. Find a few people to connect with. Talk with them and ask them to put in a good word for you. Send them gifts, notes, and other things, and ask them to hand-deliver these things to the decision makers. Phone, e-mail, text, tweet and Facebook them during the process. Could this be overly aggressive? Heck, yes! But I have found that you may lose one out of five for being too aggressive, but you get the other four!”

Do what it takes, even the unexpected, to make your case heard. Add a little audacity to your repertoire.

Darren Hardy

It takes very little extra to be extraordinary. In all areas of your life, look for the multiplier opportunities where you can go a little further, push yourself a little harder, last a little longer, prepare a little better, and deliver a little bit more. Where can you do better and more than expected? Where can you do the totally unexpected? Find as many opportunities for “WOW,” and the level and speed of your accomplishments will astonish you… and everyone else around you.

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Book reviews

Alibaba’s World: Notes & takeaways

Facebook, Google, Apple, Ebay, Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn, Netflix, Microsoft, Snapchat, Slack, Yahoo, Adobe… American companies dominates the list of the worlds biggest tech-companies. While Silicon Valley pukes out one behemoth after another, the rest of the world struggles to keep up. However, there are some rare exceptions. Alibaba is one of them. 


Why I read it & expectations

Before I read this book, my knowledge of the company was limited. I thought it was some sort of chinese Ebay, and a place to find eastern manufactorers where half of the providers probably was scammers. I did notice the occasional news headlines like “Alibaba eclipses Black Friday sales records” and so on, and I thought it would be interesting to read about a non-US company for once. In addition, you cannot ignore a company with numbers like:

  • As of this writing, Alibabas market value is 430 billion $
  • Their “singles day” campaign sold products for 25 billion dollars. In one day…

Main takeaways

The author
The book is written from the perspective of Porter Erisman, the head of international marketing in Alibaba and one of the first non-chinese employees. Its very refreshing to get the story told from an inside perspective. It details the journey of Jack Ma, Alibabas founder, from a humble english teacher with big ambitions.

The start
One of his first endeavours into the tech-world was to create a company that offered website services for chinese companies. At the time, internet accessability in China was limited, and the website had to be created in the US. To show its customers that they actually created the webpages, they had to send printed images of the websites from US to China by mail!

Local impact
Taobao, a “chinese ebay” company owned by Alibaba, has made a really big impact. In several chinese villages, the marketplace of Taobao has become so important for the communities that it accounts for a large percentage of its total commerce.

The book illustrates just how important Alibaba and Taobao has been in leapfrogging China from a offline to online country. For example, earlier this summer they announced a project to bring high-tech infrastructure and next-day deliveries to 150 000 new villages in the vast, rural China.

The importance of localisation
When battling with the US giant Ebay, Alibaba used its knowledge about chinese culture to outmanouvre its western competitor. While Ebay had a minimalistic and clean user interface, Alibabas websites was the manifistation of a designers nightmare: flashing icons, glowy text, endless gifs… While most westernes would dismiss this as ugly and chaotic, the thought behind this was to resemble a traditional busy chinese marketplace, filled with color and noise. It worked. To the chinese this was a sign of a place teeming with life and great deals waiting to be discovered, while Ebay’s minimalism was considered boring and lacking “soul”.

Alibaba also knew that one of the biggest obstacles to chinese e-commerce was trust. As a country completely new to internet and a strong tradition with face-to-face trade, building trust between users was of outmost importance. They solved this by implementing a free chat tool, allowing users to get to know each other before settling a deal.  

The massive scale
Every month, about half of chinas population (600+ million users) use Taobao or Tmall (another Alibaba company) services.

Alipay, a payment service developed by Alibaba, is now the worlds biggest payment system with 520 million users.  

A total of 86 000 employees. 

Did I mention the market value of Alibaba is 430 billion dollars? 

Conclusion

Alibabas World ended up changing my perspective on several things, including my view on China. I have always considered them to simply copy/paste western successes, but the amount of innovation they are doing is quite astonishing.

The book made me realise that I really need to expand my knowledge about the country. The sheer size of its websites (did you know 4 of the 10 biggest websites are chinese?) and companies starts to dominate the world, and I believe its worth shifting some of the focus from Silicon Valley and over to the east. 

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