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How to Create A Great Customer Experience – A Rant of Sorts

A kind friend recently gave me a $100 gift card from a major credit card company. The company obviously knows how to create an endearing and delightful customer experience that encourages life-long loyal users so I’m excited to spread the love and share the joy with all of my friends. Here is what I learned.

  1. Ensure the safety of the gift card. Brands should force the gift receiver to visit the brand’s website and register the card before it can be used. Ignore the fact that the purchase contract was between the credit card company and the purchaser. Insist that the gift receiver, an unaware third party, share their first name, last name, birth date, and email address so that their personal and private information may be added to a marketing database.
  2. Make the shopping experience the focus. In my case, I spent a good half hour choosing and trying on jeans, and after realizing that none of them fit well anyways, I took the best of the worst to the cash register and pulled out that $100 gift card.  My new jeans actually cost $103 so I slapped 3 loonies on the counter and grinned. Woo hoo! $3 jeans! I watched as the cashier carefully wrapped and packed the jeans like they were the were most precious jeans on the planet. The cashier took the gift card, swiped it 7 times, and then asked, “Would you like to pay some other way” because the gift card didn’t work.mr bean marketing
  3. Create opportunities for engagement. I had to void the purchase, return home, and call my friendly neighbourhood credit card representative to inquire about the problem. After enjoying  some lovely tunes for 20 minutes, I was able to speak to someone and tell them my gift card didn’t work. He asked my name but was not satisfied that I wouldn’t tell him because I didn’t want it added to their marketing database. He insisted on a name for his records so I told him John Smith. Unfortunately, he informed me that John Smith wasn’t the name the gift card was registered with. So I told him my name was Private Private. Finally, he was willing to speak with me because that was the name I had registered the card with. Thank goodness I remembered because I register all kinds of things with all kinds of fake names, fake birthdays, and fake email addresses. Finally, he was allowed to tell me the problem with my non-working card. The problem was that I should have paid the $3 cash first and then the card would have worked. Of course, why didn’t I know that? All gift cards work exactly like that!
  4. Create new joyous shopping experiences. This time, I wasn’t naive. I didn’t spend half an hour tediously picking out an item. I needed new runners. I picked out new runners. $105. But I was wise. I brought the runners to the cash register, slapped a $5 bill on the counter, and helpfully informed the cashier to use the cash before the gift card. But she ignored me. She swiped the gift card first. Which worked. The first time.

So now I have a new pair of shoes and I still need new jeans. But let me tell you. If I ever want to give someone the fun of a gift card, it is absolutely not going to be that brand. Unless I need a gift for someone I don’t like. In that case, I will give the gift of annoyance. Hey….. Wait….

10 Tips to Live Blog a Conference

Hunt and Peck Acoustic EP

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve live blogged at a few conferences now and have learned a few things along with way. It all comes down to preparation so here is how I prepare.

  1. Go online and find the conference schedule at least a day ahead. Copy the session title and speaker names into a draft post for each session you plan to attend. Ideally, the copy paste action will take any hyperlinks with it.
  2. Find each speaker’s twitter account and include the link to a relevant tweet in the post.
  3. If you they don’t have a twitter account (many social media experts/mavens/gurus don’t… interesting…), try to find their Linkedin account or personal blog. Same deal, paste a linked image of their account into the post.
  4. Consider including an introductory message on each post. Indicate the conference, that this is a live blog, that it will probably full of listening errors, yadda, yadda, yadda, don’t blame me or the speaker when I misinterpret what I heard.
  5. Prepare a list of relevant keywords and paste them into the keyword box for each of the blogs (e.g., the name of the conference, the location, topic). Be sure to include the speaker’s name.
  6. Once in the conference, sit out of the thick of things. Some people might be distracted by your typing so bug as few people as possible. Unless you’re sitting beside someone you don’t like. Then hunt and peck as loudly as you possibly can.
  7. Bring your power cord. Even if your netbook has a ten hour battery. it is guaranteed to lose power in about 28 minutes.
  8. Write your post OFFLINE. I cannot stress this enough. I’ve lost a couple of really good posts because the hotel internet connection broke off mid-talk. Just write your post in Word or Notepad.
  9. I tend to stop taking notes as soon as the speaker starts to take questions. At this point, I make sure the internet is working, I copy the post into WordPress, add a couple extra keywords, check the spelling, check the links, choose an image, and click submit. If something juicy comes up during question period, I can still add it in.
  10. And ta dum! This strategy usually means I have a post completed and launched in time to move to the next session.

Quick tips for writing a quality survey

Designing a quality survey seems simple but for anyone who’s tried, the questions you have increase exponentially with every attempt. Here are just a few quick tips.

1) Start with a precise, well thought out purpose. If a survey question does not specifically answer a purpose, cut it.
2) Write questions that can be measured quantitatively. It will save you time, money, and peace of mind if you those numbers map directly to specific company goals.
3) Keep your survey short. This will lead to higher response rates, less self-opting out, and greater generalizability. When I say short, I mean 15 minutes. Absolutely no more.
4) Keep your questions short. This will lead to higher reading comprehension, greater accuracy, and greater data quality. Ditto for short answers.
5) Use real words. Forget consumption and purchase intent. Talk about eating and buying. We’re not all marketers and we don’t all get those fancy words.
6) Use negatives cautiously and sparingly. The human brain has a unique fondness for NOT seeing this word. Avoid tempting fate. If you must use a negative, try to use a capitalized NOT.
7) Get yourself a survey question design book and learn the art. You might as well do it right and get the right data. You will be amazed at all the other strange things the brain does when it digests a survey.

Good luck!

WRITE‘ by karindalziel via Flickr
Image is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution licence

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