Category Archives: customer service

When Brands Fail To Remain Relevant, They RadioShack – Who’s Next?

Now that the buzz and media frenzy about the demise of RadioShack and the analysis of why by Wall Street and other experts  is beginning to subside, another consideration should be examined. What happens to brands that do not remain relevant, stop innovating and sit on their hind quarters? Well in short, they RadioShack…

When Brands Fail to Remain RelevantAre You Relevant?

On and offline businesses should be getting a clear message that remaining relevant through evolving with changing times is a must. The penalties for not doing so can be incredibly harsh as we have seen with many top brands in North America that became so massive and full bureaucracy that they could no longer move or even make decisions quickly when times changed. A reliance on their “brand” coupled with an expectation that their customers would remain loyal if they continued to do business and usual has resulted in many going the way of RadioShack.

Many have commented and speculated as to the reasons for RadioShack and other big brands falling, but the details all tend to simply boil down to not remaining relevant and changing with the times. We’ve seen very similar results with the likes of Palm, BlackBerry and even Kmart. Regardless of the industry, company size or product niche, brands and marketers must realize what their customers want, how their buying habits change and how marketing and delivery of products and services continually change.

Who’s Next?

We believe the next industry that we can expect to experience a significant shake up is in the content world. Now we bet you are thinking we mean online, and that will be part of it, but for this discussion we are referring to content providers, television and Hollywood.

Just like digital disrupted the music industry with the rise of the iPod and later online music services like Pandora and iHeartRadio, the cable and satellite space is going to be in real trouble. Visual content we normally think of for television, movie theaters and DVD players has been on a long transition toward streaming services via the likes of Netflix and others.

Now before you start thinking “duh, we know this”, it’s important that we take the discussion to a deeper level. Beyond the innovation of technology resulting in an advancement in relevance that Streaming Video providers are delivering to the market, there are a few other things that they are taking advantage of that might not be as obvious.

1) People hate their Cable Company – Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but most of us dislike Comcast and the like. We feel you have extorted from us for years, displayed horrible customer service and near zero concern for us as a customer. Your social media has highlighted these facts to many and your prices are not sustainable. Most of use want something better, that gives us control, without the $200+ monthly bill.

2) Content is becoming a Commodity – With the internet expanding in technology and access on a daily basis, we know how to get the content we want, without being tied to our television. Though we like our local content and special “shows”, we are tired of you controlling the content we have access to and when and how we can access it. Additionally, your technology is seemingly ancient and we want the latest, easiest to use and non-tethered options that fit our lifestyle.

3) On Demand Rules Consumption – The way we want to consume content is changing. We have increasingly busy and diverse work hours and responsibilities for career and home. We want access to content when it is convenient for us, not you.

These are just a few of the reasons that Comcast and the like are going to see a disruption in their monopoly businesses. Technology is advancing and driving down price, while increasing access, mobility and on demand capabilities today’s consumer wants. Innovation, service and care has all but disappeared in the space, while prices and restrictions continue to rise. Consumers are screaming for alternatives and the industry is only clamping down harder to retain their domination. This opens the door for massive market disruption.

Online Disruption As Well?

These similar constraints and concerns will ultimately disrupt online content consumption patterns as well. As consumers increasingly tire of Google and Facebook controlling the content they’re able to see and easily discover and marketer frustration is amplified for many connected reasons, a shakeup to the status quo is certainly going to come in short order. Consumers want the most recent relevant content in increasingly simplified ways and content marketers, brands and blogs need improved abilities to get in front of those consumers with their content. Do you see the similarities here? Another space rife for disruption.

How do you see relevance and innovation disrupting on and offline brands, marketers and consumers in the future?

 

 

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Filed under Brand, Content, customer service, Facebook, Google, marketers, Marketing, Social Media

You Charge This Much Money For Social Media ??? by @smconnec

A Guest Post By Samantha Cangelosi

You charge how much for social media marketing?Who doesn’t like referrals from current clients? Having your social media agency referred to someone else shows that your current clients are obviously happy with your services, and that’s ultimately what any business owner would want, right?

When I received a referral from a client last week, I was excited about the potential business. This, however, wasn’t a typical referral call. Rather than calling about hiring me, this man reached out to me about a potential partnership between him and me. (He is a web designer with several clients looking for help with social media.)

Couldn’t hurt to talk to him about it… so I thought.

Our phone call began on a somewhat normal note — him asking me questions about how I long I’ve been doing what I do and how I came to work with the client we have in common. Simple stuff.

Briefly explaining that he had no interest in learning how to do social media “ever”, he praised me for how well we could potentially “fit together”.

Things were all fine and dandy until he started to describe his clientele. He referred to them as “mom-and-pop shops located in small strip centers.”

Red flag.

Oh, and “they hate to open their checkbooks”.

Bigger red flag.

This man continued on with how marketing agencies over-price everything, and therefore, someone like me would be great to help. I knew I had to lay out my pricing soon because the more this man talked, the more red flags appeared.

Soon after I explained my pricing, silence met me on the other side of the phone followed by, “Wow! You’re telling me that clients would pay you this much for 6 months?”

Ok. This response isn’t too uncommon for those unaware of what social media marketers do, so I proceed to share my thoughts on social media and describe how I help my customers with not just the daily management, but also strategy building. I explain that social media needs to be where business are now since their customers are on there connecting with the competitors. If businesses don’t have a presence on social media nowadays, they will get left behind.

Despite what I said, he continued to greet my answers with long awkward silences. Clearly this guy didn’t know what I was talking about, nor did he care to learn.

He finally responded, “So you’re telling me that you charge [referring client] this much money?” By this point, I was starting to get slightly offended by his attitude and tone and, frankly, it was none of his business what I charge them.

After several minutes of this back-and-forth he gave me the quotes of all quotes. The quote that launched a (865 word) blog post:

I’m sure you went to college and majored in Marketing or something.” Pause.

Me: “Journalism”

Him: “Yeah. Same thing… And I’m sure you’re book smart…but let me give you some advice”

I was in utter shock. This gentleman decided to give me unsolicited business advice on how to price my services because, apparently, mine was somehow flawed. Weird how he knew how to price my services, yet knew nothing about the industry, how it works, what I do or how I do it. Hmm…

I had to take deep breaths, remembering that a client of mine had recommended me and I didn’t want this man to talk bad about me to my current client; or any potential clients, for that matter.

I can go on and on sharing the awkward and offensive things that happened during this conversation, but I think the point has been made: this man clearly had no understanding of social media and absolutely no interest in learning.

It Takes Time

It’s our job as social media managers to help businesses realize the potential social media has, and when done right, how successful it can be. Social media requires time to do that, though. I’m not just talking about time for building relationships — we all know that doesn’t happen overnight. I’m talking about actual time. It takes time to create a social media strategy. We research their competitors, their industry, what they are currently doing with their marketing strategy.

It takes time to build accounts, optimize them, create and edit graphics, etc.

It takes time to find their business’s target audience and follow them and connect with them.

It takes time to find content to share with their target audiences — content that they will actually find interesting.

It takes time. If you want to hire someone who spends 2 minutes a day on your social media management who charges $99 a month, then be my guest, but odds are that they probably won’t have the knowledge or ability to execute a proper strategy, let alone achieve anything resembling real results.

Yes, I went to college and I’m proud of it (Go Mustangs)! Yes I consider myself “book smart,” and shocker: I enjoy learning. If you don’t then you shouldn’t be in this business because social media requires marketers to learn something new every day. I also know that I can’t live without a paycheck, just like you, “man on the other side of the phone”. This is my livelihood. This is my “bread and butter”. This is my business. I get my clients real results and I don’t work for free.

About Samantha:

Samantha CangelosiSamantha Cangelosi is a social media marketer based in South Texas. A graduate of Southern Methodist University in journalism, she has always had a passion for telling and sharing stories with audiences. Now, she gets the chance to tell brands’ stories on a daily basis all while connecting with people just like you. She loves food of all kinds, coffee with a little cream, and her Corgi-child.

Twitter: @smconnec
Facebook : Social Media Connections
Website: sm-connections.com
Linkedin:

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Filed under Agency, Content, customer service, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

Be A Maitre d’ Of Social Media Marketing

Maitre d' Of Social Media MarketingI can’t recall the source or specifics, but I recently heard a story on the radio involving a restaurant and a Maitre d’ that is embedded in my thoughts for time and memorial. Not the specific details, but the over-reaching premise and point of the story that directly connects to social media marketing and customer service. The story crossed my mind again this morning, triggered by a television commercial that was on in the background in my office. I decided to make the story the topic of this post.

The Story:

A couple came into the high-end restaurant that was known for their steak. The gentleman had really been craving a good steak, so he and his wife decided to go out. The Maitre d’ seated his guests at a table and proceeded to give them the royal treatment, helping with chairs and napkins. Taking the couples order the waiter meticulously detailed every instruction for their meal and went off to secure its creation with the chef.

After getting the couple their drinks, appetizers and salads, the moment of truth arrived. The waiter delivered the most beautifully prepared steak the man had ever seen.

As the aroma filled the man’s nostrils, the Maitre d’ asked if there was anything else the couple required. The simple gentleman looked up at the highly polished servant of culinary excellence and politely asked for some A1 steak sauce. Without so much as blinking, the Maitre d’ immediately snapped back with, “right away sir”.

After a short period of time, the Maitre d’ rushed over to the couples table and opened a bag, revealing the A1 steak sauce the customer requested. Slightly out of breath, the Maitre d’ calmly pronounced “Your steak sauce sir.”

The gentleman looked up at the Maitre d’ and said, “why are you out of breath?” To which the Maitre d’ replied, “I had to run 5 blocks to the grocery store for your steak sauce.”

This restaurant didn’t even have A1 steak sauce and the Maitre d’ went and got it!

BE The Social Media Maitre d’

What did you learn from this story as it relates to social media marketing? I got a lot from it. Here are some things that stuck with me.

1) Stand out – Stop doing the same thing everyone else does. Stand out from the crowd in new and unique ways that deliver value to your audience.

2) Value, not price is incredible – Providing value in your streams, content and actions is what matters, not the price of your product or service.

3) Selfless is an action – Stop looking at what is in it for you and be selfless in your relationships in social media. Do this right and it will come back to you in so many ways it’s immeasurable.

4) Don’t belittle, just help – The Maitre d’ could have easily made this guy look and feel like a loser for wanting steak sauce, yet he didn’t. He did what was needed to help the man get what he wanted/liked. Most importantly he did it without belittling the man.

5) Be memorable – In everything you do in social media, do it in a way that your prospects, customers and connections never forget you. Make a memorable impression, over and over.

6) The customer isn’t always right – We could all argue that ruining an amazing, expensive steak with A1 is almost inexcusable, however who are we to say how someone else likes their food. Follow the example of keeping your opinion to yourself and just helping, therefore making them FEEL as though they are right.

7) Immediate action – Don’t wait, don’t think, don’t even ponder. Take action toward a customers need, NOW.

8) Serving others is the highest reward – No need to embellish this at all.

There are many more things that could be added to this list, but these are the main points I wanted to impress upon you, as they impressed upon me. As you continue your week, remember this incredible Maitre d’ as you engage with customers, prospects and connections in social media. Let your actions speak loud, your customer service stand apart and value trump your profitability.

disclaimer: I tried my very best to find the actual story, but despite my best searches, (I even tried using Google instead of my Bing) I was unable to locate it. So I apologize for not providing credit to the originator, but I tried to stay true to what I remembered and made a valiant effort to find it.

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Filed under Community, customer service, Marketing, Relationship, Restaurant, Results, Social Media Marketing