Your Customers Are Empowered; Are Your Employees too?

Online media has empowered user to share his views to a vast majority. People are tweeting & blogging about their likes & dislikes.

They are writing anything about anything, Yes about your product too. So are you well aware of what’s being said about you? How you manage your company’s online reputation, which has now become very important in past couple of years.

Angry Mike can tweet about the reason behind his anger to his 3700+ followers, worse he can write a post on his blog about.

Mike is not alone here, anyone can be confuse on our your complex product and can warn his prospects never to try you, they do not care of your satisfaction.

So only great products or better services is not the answer of this possible crisis. You will have to make them happy again right there. Unfortunately most of the companies are using social media as another selling tool and fortunately they are getting failed.

Businesses today are serving to the most empowered customers in history. Therefore now customer is considered as a friend/enemy of your business. It’s up to you how you get their trouble solved and respond them as quickly as possible.

My answer to this challenge is to empower your employees. Let a human deal with a human.

  • Ask your IT dept not to ban twitter and other social networking site anymore.
  • Set a social media policy and guidelines.
  • Find the social guys (I call them Rock Stars) out of your staff and encourage them to talk on behalf of the company online.
  • Be there to support the innovative ideas of your staff and help them to apply.
  • Provide them the tools to manage possible risk & let them install Tweet-deck too.
  • Do not shit next time, “why you are installing Photoshop on the company’s computer.” Believe me, ideas can come from any level of the organization any time and they can take you to higher. Encourage them to be creative, look for the solutions with a new set of eyes.
  • Let the Rock  Stars to spread social virus to others inside the company.

What makes the difference is weather the company has organized itself and employees to use the social tools to make their customer happy. Remember social media is to sell TAKE CARE of your customers. Take Care!

Posted in Business, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

If You Can’t, Shift The Authority

You have a pen, right?

But you don’t know how to write.

You’ll probably gift that pen to someone who can utilize it well.

15 years back when you were going to the medical college for admission, you knew that was not what you wanted. You wanted to be a musician but were too afraid of possible outcomes imposed told by the society & family pressure.

I know, you have been running your company for more than 20 years but were too afraid to take decisions. Those big, innovative & risky decisions which could bring you very higher.

Unfortunately, you are still that fearful 50+ guy and don’t want to be changed. But secretly wishing for the success your competitor is getting by taking big decisions.

Do one thing, which is easier but really very effective. Help your employees, especially to those who are not afraid like you. Empower those people in your organization, who have courage to Think Big & Act Big!

You’ll be amazed by the outcomes. And for the above medical college case: Don’t repeat it with your children or anyone, please.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Enjoy Being Friend Of Your Customers

Business people have always been trying to judge the true value of their customers. Because they are the people their business is all about.

I believe now is the time to take next step. Watching customer’s profile picture is not enough  we need to go & comment on the photo (when he was returning from Paris). We need to share the happiness together. Got it?

Our friends are the people we care about. We keep their contact details, so we can get in touch even when Facebook is down. We try to make them feel special because we know their value.

And we know very well when our friends are not happy with us, even they did not tell any body. But we automatically learn this. Same applies in business, we always need to improve things even when customers friends do not complain.

Think about these really important questions to be friend with them:

  • Do you know them?
  • Do you know what they want?
  • Do they know you?
  • Do they know they are valuable for you?

I feel I’ve not summarized it well enough, but one thing is for sure we all love to be customer friend of a good guy / company.

What do you say friend?

Posted in Human-Biz | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Express Tribune: A newspaper to read

Most of you have probably been told that you should read newspaper especially a good one. And many of us do for different purposes. This post is written to inform friends (especially Pakistanis & those who wants to read a daily newspaper from Pakistan) about a new & positive addition in Pakistani Print Media.

The Express Tribune is the newspaper I’m talking about, I attracted to this paper through their powerful social media presence & content written by good guys mostly.

Not only they are on the mission of delivering informative and insightful news in Pakistani perspective, but they have also partnered with The International Herald Tribune – the global edition of The New York Times. Which is simply awesome. The newspaper covers variety of topics, many of them have been ignored by others.

The Express Tribune

 

Here are some good points about them:

  • Price is very affordable (15 PKR) & it’s free on the website.
  • They have non-confusing layout and use quality paper.
  • Editorial contribution is very peace inviting.
  • Less advertisment so far.
  • Diversity of content and writers, some of writers are young.
  • Allow comments online with a back URL.
  • Utilize social media and covers interesting stories at their blog.

Suggestions:

  • Get a good “About Us” page which tell us about the team behind the paper.
  • Keep price low, make it accessible for middle class and students.
  • Encourage readers to THINK
  • Lead by example.
  • Target middle class as your audience too.
  • (website) Get these domains too and direct them to the current main domain.  eTribune.pk,  ExpressTribune.com.pk, ExpressTribune.pk , Tribune.pk, Tribune.com.pk

Friends, no body paid me to write good about eTribune, but their hard work and positive direction directed me to share it with you guys. I shall always appreciate good businesses especially of Pakistan and will share with you people too.  Read the paper for a week and please share your feedback because Social is Better!

Posted in Pak Media, Reviews | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Developing Culture not Rules

Last week I visited my university library, where I spend most of my time while at campus. Before entering into library, students have to submit their bags in a bag room at library’s entrance and get a receipt (token) for their bag.

Let’s get to the point, this time before leaving the library with my friend we got in the bags room, to take her bag back. There was no officer in the room as one used to be and she just carried her bag without returning any token. I asked, don’t we have token system now? She replied, “Nope, our university administration is now working on developing culture instead of rules.”

I like that approach. Changing the focus from whether the students should be trained to follow the rules, developing university culture is 1000 times better.

Same things applies in business places too. Henry Stewart, who is founder and CEO of Happy Ltd, writes in his new book Happy Manifesto, “In many organizations response to something wrong is to create a new rule. Over the time they end up with more rules than anybody can possibly remember, many of which are no longer relevant. We at Happy, talk about having system (culture) rather than rules.”

His company was being rated the best company in UK for customer service (by Management Today) and the 2nd best place to work in the country (Financial Times).

Culture is about everything you do. Do you people try to develop a friendly culture in your organization? What are the benefits of not having rules but culture? Let’s talk more in comments.

Posted in Management | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

What Makes A Company Beloved?

Few months back, one of my Indian friends asked me, Do you hate Microsoft? I replied, “No, I love Google.” Every one of us is in love with some specific companies. They build very positive image in our mind not just because their products / services are awesome at affordable prices, but in fact there are some great things happening inside these companies all the time.

I Love You More Than My Dog (Amazon Link) is a worth reading book by Jeanne Bliss. This book talks about specifically what is common between all beloved companies. Let me share you some interesting finding of the book and my ideas on becoming a beloved company.

Some Beloved Companies

Humanity into their business

Beloved companies take time to set their philosophy, they understand that they are doing business with humans, so they always try to keep humanity into their business. They consider lives of their customers when make decisions, so the customers become emotionally attached to them.

They don’t handle their customers, they treat them humanly in the way customer expects. The language of  Welcome Message seems if an old friend wrote it, not a computer.

They love their employees

Beloved companies believe that employees are the face of the company so they really respect them and believe that these are the people who make a difference.

Vineet Nayar, CEO HCL, developed a management approach called Employees First, Customers Second that has become known around the world. “ What we want at HCL is passion. We want people to be burning up with their desire to pursue their interests. Fascinated by their assignments. Jumping out of their skins with excitement about what’s next. Eagerly pursuing better solutions and new initiatives” wrote Vineet in an article in Forbes Magazine.

I personally believe very much in this approach, but I think good companies have been doing this since long before the businesses came under studies. Letting employees do what comes naturally to their mind other rather than following strict policies yields more result for the company.

They trust their customers

Today every business claims to love & trust their customers, but we as customers know that this is not very common. Inside the beloved companies, they decide to believe. They believe their employees and they believe their customers, their connections are genuine.

By deciding to trust customers, they are freed from extra rules and layer of policies that create a barrier between them and their customers. They enjoy a personal relationship with their customers.

They make uncommon decisions for customers

We often experience that a company’s service / products doesn’t match with our specific need. Officer at the other end says, “I understand your need & circumstances, but I’m sorry this is our company’s policy and we can’t change to that.”

But at beloved companies their employees make uncommon decisions to fulfill customers needs. Their customer service reps have the authority to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. They don’t read from a script or follow process…they help their customers.

Beloved companies takes help from their heart and mind to make uncommon decisions by considering the needs and emotions of the customers.

They admit and say sorry

In real life everyone of us say sorry on mistake, to the people who have value for us. In business sometimes things get wrong too, apologizing well and repairing the emotional connection with customers is identity of beloved companies. They don’t hide behind the wall, they tell the whole story openly, clearly and honestly.

They apologize the fault and promise to make things better. They don’t refuse to answer questions, and encourage further communication to discuss the situation. As a customer it doesn’t only make us satisfied, in fact it makes us love them more.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, the world’s biggest online shoe retailer & winner of numerous customer services awards said in a May 2010 article in SUCCESS Magazine that, “Customer service is about making customers happy , and the culture is about making employees happy. So really, we are about trying to deliver happiness wether it’s customers or employees and we apply that same philosophy to vendors as well.”

We are naturally programmed to treat others as we’d like to be treated ourselves, is Golden Rule which we should never forget in life nor in business. It’s all about being right more often than wrong.

I would love to know what is your beloved company, what makes them beloved for you. Please share your leading thoughts in the comments below.

Posted in Management | Tagged | 15 Comments

How Chris Brogan use Twitter?

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan is one of the most awesome Social Media Gurus. He has been specializing in social media marketing for eleven years. He is president of New Marketing Labs, a new marketing agency based in Massachusetts. He is coauthor of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling Trust Agents, and his other book is Social Media 101. He blogs at [chrisbrogan.com], and speaks professionally at conferences and private events on the business impact of social media. He is also co-founder of PodCamp, the international new media conference series and Third Tribe Marketing, a great learning platform.

Latest about Chris: He got a new logo for his website

CB-Twitter

Chris Brogan at Twitter

138,000+ people are excited about his active presence on Twitter. You may also follow him if you are not not yet (just click on the picture above). In this post I’ll highlight what he is doing to get most out of his twitter account for his followers and himself.

He was kind enough to allow me to write about Chris & Twitter. I’ll simply write what he does and what he doesn’t on Twitter.

Let’s go on!

He:

  1. has a twitter account with his real pictures.
  2. answers the question, “What has your attention?” instead of, “What are you doing?”
  3. is talking with his followers 90% of the time. (I know it because I counted some 700 tweets and it was the case.)
  4. promotes great people, cool services and stuff of others.
  5. is promoting others and his stuff with 12:1 ratio (12 others, 1 chris).
  6. is answering other’s questions, commenting on the tweets and retweeting too.
  7. talks to people about their interests too.
  8. is happy to help other people most of the time.
  9. linked his profile to an awesome homebase i.e to his Blog.
  10. is following back every non-spammer follower
  11. uses URL shortening services like bit.ly
  12. checks links before Tweeting them.
  13. uses third party clients like Seesmic / twitterfeed. Because it’s easy to manage twitter with them.
  14. tries to keeps his tweets to 120 letters, easy to retweet for others.
  15. is talking about his material only because it is useful, has value, interesting for his followers.
  16. uses direct message for 1-to-1 conversation in case if that has not value to others.
  17. tries to connect with great minds even if they have very few followers.
  18. some times shares non-business interesting tweets about him, like: ” Heading off to read bedtimes stories to the kids. Ciao for now”
  19. blocks spammers, (I’m not sure about this).
  20. uses Twitter Search alot, to learn about people and places etc.
  21. has a verified account, so that followers get the real Chris.

He doesn’t:

  1. try to sell people all the time.
  2. use any cartoon to represent him.
  3. create spam tweets.
  4. integrate all of his tweets in LinkedIn, but uses #in for this.
  5. use hashtag all the time, keeps tweets simple.
  6. get money to tweets.
  7. use TweetLater service.

What else you think he does / doesn’t on Twitter? You may also share any other cool idea.

Posted in Social Media | Tagged , | 10 Comments