Tag Archive | "Customer"

The New Rules to Win Customer Loyalty and Increase Online Sales

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Get more from your customer data with marketing automation

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6 Ways to Achieve Great Employee and Customer Engagement

There are six things that you need to think about with employee engagement and customer engagement says Andrew McMillan, a renowned customer experience expert based in the U.K. “The most important thing is what you do for each other is actually what you do for customers.”

Andrew McMillan, a leading customer experience expert, recently discussed customer engagement strategies at the London Business Forum:

Customer Experience is Simple

For me, customer experience is simple. I think the first part is to know who you are as a business and to know what your personality is going to be. Friendly, kind, thoughtful, helpful, or forward thinking? What’s the personality of your brand? Then come up with some attributes and behaviors that are going to enhance that personality. That’s what you then start to try and recruit in terms of your employees.

How You Treat Employees is How Employees Treat Customers

The most important thing, I think I learned from John Lewis, was actually what you do for each other is what you do for customers. Create that working environment for your employees so they find their managers are friendly, thoughtful, and kind to them. I believe then, it’s just a leap of faith but I proved a ton time again, that they will then be friendly, thoughtful, and kind to their customers.

What is Your Companies Vision?

The North Star, some people will call it visions and some people call it purpose. It’s just why do we exist? Why should anybody care about this? Why should anyone want to do any business with us? John Lewis’s was a bit of a strange one actually. The purpose in 1929 was to have an organization where employees were happy.

So these can be really highly aspirational and lofty or they can be very very simple. But having something there, the idea is that people come to work inspired and having a sense of purpose.


John Lewis Partnership – Vision

6 Ways to Achieve Employee and Customer Engagement

There are six things that you need to think about with employee engagement and customer engagement:

  1. The first one is to define what your personality is going to be in terms of behavior and attitude. It can be friendly, kind, thoughtful, whatever you want to be as a business.
  2. The second one is to measure that and measure it with employee surveys and customer surveys. This is inside-out. This is what you do for your employees and what you hope they’ll do for customers.
  3. The third thing is to communicate it. Communicate it at inception. Then continue to tell stories about people who’ve lived up to those behaviors and attitudes to see what it’s done for customers and what it’s done for them to bring it to life, so people can see what it looks like.
  4. The fourth thing is leadership. That’s probably one of the biggest things I see that’s lacking in organizations. There should be leaders modeling the behavior that we talked about and then actually coaching it in their team’s to encourage them to deliver that behavior for each other and for their customers.
  5. The fifth thing is HR really. It’s a Reward Recognition Appraisal to make sure those are links to not just the outcomes people achieve but the alignment with the behavior with which they achieve those outcomes. So it’s about how they do things, not just what they do.
  6. Finally, the sixth part is the recruitment. If you’ve done the first five really effectively and really built a cohesive network around those first five, you’ve got a great blueprint for exactly the sort of personality and individual you want to recruit into your business.

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Zoom CEO: If We Cannot Make the Customer Happy, Nothing Will Matter

Zoom Founder and CEO Eric Yuan says that the number one most important thing for a business is to make the customer happy. He says it really comes down to these three areas of focus; Product, Process, and People.

Eric Yuan, Founder, and CEO of Zoom, recently sat down with industry analyst Michael Krigsman, who conducted another fascinating interview for his CXOTALK video interview platform:

If We Can’t Make the Customer Happy, Nothing Will Matter

I think, every day as a CEO who manages a company, I have so many things to work on but, ultimately, I’ve got to understand what’s the number one important thing as a business, right?

If we cannot make the customer happy, nothing will matter. That’s why this is our number one priority. If a customer is happy, everything else will be easier. Customers will like to talk with us, share our stories with others and, essentially, will help us to further improve our product experience and also make our business better.

Look at Everything From a Customer Perspective

You’ve got to look at everything from a customer perspective. If you truly care about them, you are not only going to look at it from your perspective. When you build a product, you will say, “Hey, will this product, will this feature, deliver happiness or add value to a customer or not?”

Anything you do, look at it from a customer perspective. Then, actually, the customers, they will feel more like a part of your business. They’re happy to grow your business.

Focus on Product, Process, and People

Ultimately, it’s three things. When we talk about happiness, first of all, your product has got to work, right? Every time a customer is using Zoom, they really like it. That’s the number one thing; your product has got to work. Every time after the meeting is over, customers say, “Yes, this experience is great.” They enjoy using your product.

The second thing is your process. When you do business with customers, you’ve got to make sure your process is very simple but very easy.

The third thing is about the people. Meaning, because not only do those customers use your product but, also, we want to make sure every interaction between Zoom employees and the customers  — say like support, a customer success manager, engineers, our product managers — every interaction between our company and the customers, they enjoy it. Process, people, and the product, from all those three aspects, we make sure the customer is happy.

Watch the full 44-minute interview below or read the full transcript at CXOTALK:

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What the Local Customer Service Ecosystem Looks Like in 2019

Posted by MiriamEllis

Everything your brand does in the new year should support just one goal: better local customer service.

Does this sound too simple? Doesn’t marketing brim with a thousand different tasks? Of course — but if the goal of each initiative isn’t to serve the customer better, it’s time for a change of business heart. By putting customers, and their problems, at the absolute center of your brand’s strategy, your enterprise will continuously return to this heart of the matter, this heart of commerce.

What is local customer service in 2019?

It’s so much more than the face-to-face interactions of one staffer with one shopper. Rather, it’s a commitment to becoming an always-on resource that is accessible to people whenever, wherever and however they need it. A Google rep was recently quoted as saying that 46% of searches have a local intent. Mobile search, combined with desktop and various forms of ambient search, have established the local web as man’s other best friend, the constant companion that’s ever ready to serve.

Let’s position your brand to become that faithful helper by establishing the local customer service ecosystem:

Your Key to the Local Customer Service Ecosystem

At the heart sits the local customer, who wants to know:

  • Who can help them, who likes or dislikes a business, who’s behind a brand, who’s the best, cheapest, fastest, closest, etc.
  • What the answer is to their question, what product/service solves their problems, what businesses are nearby, what it’s like there, what policies protect them, what’s the phone number, the website URL, the email address, etc.
  • Where a business is located, where to find parking, where something is manufactured or grown, etc.
  • When a business is open, when sales or events are, when busiest times are, when to purchase specific products/services or book an appointment, etc.
  • Why a business is the best choice based on specific factors, why a business was founded, why people like/dislike a business, etc.
  • How to get to the business by car/bike/on foot, how to learn/do/buy something, how to contact the right person or department, how to make a complaint or leave feedback, how the business supports the community, etc.

Your always-on customer service solves all of these problems with a combination of all of the following:

In-store

Good customer service looks like:

  • A publicly accessible brand policy that protects the rights and defends the dignity of both employees and consumers.
  • Well-trained phone staff with good language skills, equipped to answer FAQs and escalate problems they can’t solve. Sufficient staff to minimize hold-times.
  • Well-trained consumer-facing staff, well-versed in policy, products and services. Sufficient staff to be easily-accessible by customers.
  • In-store signage (including after-hours messaging) that guides consumers towards voicing complaints in person, reducing negative reviews.
  • In-store signage/messaging that promotes aspects of the business that are most beneficial to the community. (philanthropy, environmental stewardship, etc.) to promote loyalty and word-of-mouth.
  • Cleanliness, orderliness and fast resolution of broken fixtures and related issues.
  • Equal access to all facilities with an emphasis on maximum consumer comfort and convenience.
  • Support of payment forms most popular with local customers (cash, check, digital, etc.), security of payment processes, and minimization of billing mistakes/hassles.
  • Correctly posted, consistent hours of operation, reducing inconvenience. Clear messaging regarding special hours/closures.
  • A brand culture that rewards employees who wisely use their own initiative to solve customers’ problems.

Website

Good customer service looks like:

  • Content that solves people’s problems as conveniently and thoroughly as possible in language that they speak. Everything you publish (home, about, contact, local landing pages, etc.) should pass the test of consumer usefulness.
  • Equal access to content, regardless of device.
  • Easily accessible contact information, including name, address, phone number, fax, email, text, driving directions, maps and hours of operation.
  • Signals of trustworthiness, such as reviews, licenses, accreditations, affiliations, and basic website security.
  • Signals of benefit, including community involvement, philanthropy, environmental protections, etc.
  • Click-to-call phone numbers.
  • Clear policies that outline the rights of the consumer and the brand.

Organic SERPs

Good customer service looks like:

  • Management of the first few pages of the organic SERPs to ensure that basic information on them is accurate. This includes structured citations on local business directories, unstructured citations on blog posts, news sites, top 10 lists, review sites, etc. It can also include featured snippets.
  • Management also includes monitoring of the SERPs for highly-ranked content that cites problems others are having with the brand. If these problems can be addressed and resolved, the next step is outreach to the publisher to demonstrate that the problem has been addressed.

Email

Good customer service looks like:

  • Accessible email addresses for customers seeking support and fast responses to queries.
  • Opt-in email marketing in the form of newsletters and special offers.

Reviews

Good customer service looks like:

  • Accuracy of basic business information on major review platforms.
  • Professional and fast responses to both positive and negative reviews, with the core goal of helping and retaining customers by acknowledging their voices and solving their problems.
  • Sentiment analysis of reviews by location to identify emerging problems at specific branches for troubleshooting and resolution.
  • Monitoring of reviews for spam and reporting it where possible.
  • Avoidance of any form of review spam on the part of the brand.
  • Where allowed, guiding valued customers to leave reviews to let the greater community know about the existence and quality of your brand.

Links

Good customer service looks like:

  • Linking out to third-party resources of genuine use to customers.
  • Pursuit of inbound links from relevant sites that expand customers’ picture of what’s available in the place they live, enriching their experience.

Tech

Good customer service looks like:

  • Website usability and accessibility for users of all abilities and on all browsers and devices (ADA compliance, mobile-friendliness, load speed, architecture, etc.)
  • Apps, tools and widgets that improve customers’ experience.
  • Brand accessibility on social platforms most favored by customers.
  • Analytics that provide insight without trespassing on customers’ comfort or right to privacy.

Social

Good customer service looks like:

  • Brand accessibility on social platforms most favored by customers.
  • Social monitoring of the brand name to identify and resolve complaints, as well as to acknowledge praise.
  • Participation for the sake of community involvement as opposed to exploitation. Sharing instead of selling.
  • Advocacy for social platforms to improve their standards of transparency and their commitment to protections for consumers and brands.

Google My Business

Good customer service looks like:

  • Embrace of all elements of Google’s local features (Google My Business listings, Knowledge Panels, Maps, etc.) that create convenience and accessibility for consumers.
  • Ongoing monitoring for accuracy of basic information.
  • Brand avoidance of spam, and also, reporting of spam to protect consumers.
  • Advocacy for Google to improve its standards as a source of community information, including accountability for misinformation on their platform, and basic protections for both brands and consumers.

Customers’ Problems are Yours to Solve

“$ 41 billion is lost each year by US companies following a bad customer experience.”
-
New Voice Media

When customers don’t know where something is, how something works, when they can do something, who or what can help them, or why they should choose one option over another, your brand can recognize that they are having a problem. It could be as small a problem as where to buy a gift or as large a problem as seeking legal assistance after their home has been damaged in a disaster.

With the Internet never farther away than fingertips or voices, people have become habituated to turning to it with most of their problems, hour by hour, year by year. Recognition of quests for help may have been simpler just a few decades ago when customers were limited to writing letters, picking up phones, or walking into stores to say, “I have a need.” Now, competitive local enterprises have to expand their view to include customer problems that play out all over the web with new expectations of immediacy.

Unfortunately, brands are struggling with this, and we can sum up common barriers to modern customer service in 3 ways:

1) Brand Self-Absorption

“I’ve gotta have my Pops,” frets a boy in an extreme (and, frankly, off-putting) example in which people behave as though addicted to products. TV ads are rife with the wishfulness of marketers pretending that consumers sing and dance at the mere idea of possessing cars, soda, and soap. Meanwhile, real people stand at a distance watching the song and dance, perhaps amused sometimes, but aware that what’s on-screen isn’t them.

“We’re awesome,” reads too much content on the web, with a brand-centric, self-congratulatory focus. At the other end of the spectrum, web pages sit stuffed with meaningless keywords or almost no text as all, as though there aren’t human beings trying to communicate on either side of the screen.

“Who cares?” is the message untrained employees, neglected shopping environments, and disregarded requests for assistance send when real-world locations open doors but appear to put customer experience as their lowest priority. I’ve catalogued some of my most disheartening customer service interludes and I know you’ve had them, too.

Sometimes, brands get so lost in boardrooms, it’s all they can think of to put in their million-dollar ad campaigns, forgetting that most of their customers don’t live in that world.

One of the first lightbulb moments in the history of online content marketing was the we-you shift. Instead of writing, “We’re here, isn’t that great?”, we began writing, “You’re here and your problem can be solved.” This is the simple but elegant evolution that brands, on the whole, need to experience.

2) Ethical Deficits

Sometimes, customers aren’t lost because a brand is too inwardly focused, but rather, because its executives lack the vision to sustain an ethical business model. Every brand is tasked with succeeding, but it takes civic-minded, customer-centric leadership to avoid the abuses we are seeing at the highest echelons of the business world right now. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, and similar majors have repeatedly failed to put people over profits, resulting in:

  • Scandals
  • Lawsuits
  • Fines
  • Boycotts
  • Loss of consumer trust
  • Employee loss of pride in company culture

At a local business level, and in a grand understatement, it isn’t good customer service when a company deceives or harms the public. Brands, large and small, want to earn the right of integration into the lives of their customers as chosen resources. Large enterprises seeking local customers need leadership that can envision itself in the setting of a single small community, where dishonest practices impact real lives and could lead to permanent closure. Loss of trust should never be an acceptable part of economies of scale.

The internet has put customers, staffers, and media all on the same channels. Ethical leadership is the key ingredient to building a sustainable business model in which all stakeholders take pride.

3) Lack of Strategy

Happily, many brands genuinely do want to face outward and possess the ethics to treat people well. They may simply lack a complete strategy for covering all the bases that make up a satisfying experience. Small local businesses may find lack of time or resources a bar to the necessary education, and structure at enterprises may make it difficult to get buy-in for the fine details of customer service initiatives. Priorities and budgets may get skewed away from customers instead of toward them.

The TL;DR of this entire post is that modern customer service means solving customers’ problems by being wherever they are when they seek solutions. Beyond that, a combination of sufficient, well-trained staff (both online and off) and the type of automation provided by tools that manage local business listings, reviews and social listening are success factors most brands can implement.

Reach Out…

We’ve talked about some negative patterns that can either distance brands from customers, or cause customers to distance themselves due to loss of trust. What’s the good news?

Every single employee of every local brand in the US already knows what good customer service feels like, because all of us are customers.

There’s no mystery or magic here. Your CEO, your devs, sales team, and everyone else in your organization already know by experience what it feels like to be treated well or poorly.

And they already know what it’s like when they see themselves reflected in a store location or on a screen.

Earlier, I cited an old TV spot in which actors were paid to act out the fantasy of a brand. Let’s reach back in time again and watch a similar-era commercial in which actors are paid to role play genuine consumer problems – in this case, a family that wants to keep in touch with a member who is away from home:

The TV family may not look identical to yours, but their featured problem – wanting to keep close to a distant loved one – is one most people can relate to. This 5-year ad campaign won every award in sight, and the key to it is that consumers could recognize themselves on the screen and this act of recognition engaged their emotions.

Yes, a service is being sold (long distance calling), but the selling is being done by putting customers in the starring roles and solving their problems. That’s what good customer service does, and in 2019, if your brand can parlay this mindset into all of the mediums via which people now seek help, your own “reach out and touch someone” goals are well on their way to success.

Loyal Service Sparks Consumer Loyalty

“Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to twenty times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
Harvard Business Review

“Loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.”
White House Office of Consumer Affairs

I want to close here with a note on loyalty. With a single customer representing up to 10x the value of their first purchase, earning a devoted clientele is the very best inspiration for dedication to improving customer service.

Trader Joe’s is a large chain that earns consistent mentions for its high standards of customer service. Being a local SEO, I turned to its Google reviews, looking at 5 locations in Northern California. I counted 225 instances of people exuberantly praising staff at just these 5 locations, using words like “Awesome, incredible, helpful, friendly, and fun!”. Moreover, reviewers continuously mentioned the brand as the only place they want to shop for groceries because they love it so much. It’s as close as you can get to a “gotta have my Pops” scenario, but it’s real.

How does Trader Joe’s pull this off? A study conducted by Temkin Group found that, “A customer’s emotional experience is the most significant driver of loyalty, especially when it comes to consumers recommending firms to their friends.” The cited article lists emotional connection and content, motivated employees who are empowered to go the extra mile as keys to why this chain was ranked second-highest in emotion ratings (a concept similar to Net Promoter Score). In a word, the Trader Joe’s customer service experience creates the right feelings, as this quick sentiment cloud of Google review analysis illustrates:

This brand has absolutely perfected the thrilling and lucrative art of creating loyal customers, making their review corpus read like a volume of love letters. The next move for this company – and for the local brands you market – is to “spread the love” across all points where a customer might seek to connect, both online and off.

It’s a kind of love when you ensure a customer isn’t misdirected by a wrong address on a local business listing or when you answer a negative review with the will to make things right. It’s a kind of love when a company blog is so helpful that its comments say, “You must be psychic! This is the exact problem I was trying to solve.” It’s a kind of love when a staff member is empowered to create such a good experience that a customer tells their mother, their son, their best friend to trust you brand.

Love, emotions, feelings — are we still talking about business here? Yes, because when you subtract the medium, the device, the screen, it’s two very human people on either side of every transaction.

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SMX East session recap: Aligning marketing with your customer journey

The session offered a sophisticated blueprint to calibrate marketing, sales and content for different personas at each stage of the buyer journey.



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Adobe Creating an Industry Around Digital Engagement and Customer Experience Management

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO, recently discussed on CNBC about how Adobe is working to actually create a brand new industry focused on digital engagement and customer experience management. I thought this was interesting in that this makes Adobe a CRM company competing with the likes of Salesforce, rather than what most people think when they hear the name Adobe, a company providing creative, marketing and document solutions.

Much of this new focus will rely on their AI solution, platform Adobe Sensei, which you can read more about here.

Narayen’s expands on Adobe’s intent to be a CRM leader in the excerpts below:

We really believe that what’s happening is that every enterprise wants to in real time engage with customers. When you think about what CRM used to be, CRM was more about a record that was in a relational database. That is not as important as what you do with that customer information and how you make action out of it.

That’s where the Adobe and Microsoft partnership is so valuable because together with what they have done with Azure and the ability for people to process the data at the pace at which they want and what Adobe has done. We enable people to attract customers to your platform. We allow you to engage it. We think we’re actually creating a brand new category and industry which is all about digital engagement and customer experience management, far more critical than what a record might store.

We continue to think that content and data and how content and data come together is really where this magic happens. You’ve walked into a retail store you’re accessing an application on a mobile device and it’s all about what’s the right content that’s being delivered based on the intelligence.

I think it’s a dramatically different approach that Adobe has pioneered and I think it’s companies like Adobe and Microsoft and SAP who actually see this vision for what’s happening in the world.

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How Adobe is Using AI to Transform the Customer Experience

Adobe has now integrated their artificial intelligence platform Adobe Sensei into Photoshop and most of their creative products. “Adobe Sensei is an AI and machine learning platform that deeply understands how our users work and delivers a lot of simple workflow that makes that magical moment happens in any of our applications,” noted Abhay Parasnis, CTO & EVP at Adobe. “What makes Sensei so unique is that Adobe is the only company in the industry that can marry art of content and creative expression and science of delight on a massive scale.”

“The key areas we focus on are content intelligence, computational creativity, and the experience which is related to understanding events related to how content is delivered,” commented Scott Prevost, VP Engineering of Adobe Sensei and Search in an Adobe explanation of the product.

“If I can go all the way from how I create content in the creative tool and then have the ability to personalize it at scale to Adobe Experience Cloud, then have the ability to measure it through analytics and feed the measurement back into the creative workflow, saying these designs work better, that actually is the holy grail in what customers tell us they want,” says Parasnis.

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO, recently commented on CNBC about how this is helping to improve the Adobe customer experience:

On the creativity side, everybody fears the blank page, so if AI can start to infer what people want to do in terms of using either Photoshop or one of our creative products and when you can speak to the computer and it understands and infers what you want to do and makes our products and tools more accessible, that’s a huge win. Then you can attract a tremendous amount of customers.

At the other end of the spectrum, when you have millions of customers hitting your website, the AI that we have on the Digital Experience Cloud being able to infer intelligence from the trillions of transactions and ensure that you get the right offer that was meant for you in real time, that’s something that humans cannot do.

Those are two really good examples at different ends of the spectrum of how AI enables our customers to do more with our technology.

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New report from MarTech Today: Enterprise Customer Data Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide

Learn everything you need to know about enterprise customer data platforms.



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Successful CEOs Understand The Customer Journey

Ryan Deiss is the co-founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer, a highly successful online community and learning platform for digital marketers. Ryan recently talked about the challenges of going from founder and Chief Marketer to CEO and offered some great advice for those of you who are in the process of building a company. Below are some highlights from a recent podcast:

You Were the Rainmaker

Any successful founder who now finds themselves as a CEO, or if you’re a CEO who came up through the ranks, it’s because more times than not, you were the person who could make the cash register ring. You were the Rainmaker. You could by just own force of will dig in there and make the sales happen, which is why as your team grows it’s very hard to turn that off.

As a founder, even if you don’t enjoy marketing, you’ve got no choice in the early days of your business. Your first job is to create the product, and then as soon as it exists, even if it’s kind of crappy, it’s like okay we’ve got to sell this thing.

If you’ve experienced any success whatsoever as a founder, as an entrepreneur, a small business owner, congratulations! It’s because you’re a marketer and it’s because you’re pretty good at it. Turning that off and handing that over to someone else is one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do in my career.

Making the Shift to CEO

When you make the shift into CEO or any type of leadership role, it means you have to take on more of a strategic process and more of a strategic approach. It means that the work is going to be done through the efforts of others, so you’re not gonna get that thrill. But if you don’t do it you’re going to be stuck. If you don’t do it your company is not going to grow because it’s only going to be as strong as you are and it’s only going to be able to do as much as you have time in a day.

As your company grows and you have to take on more responsibilities you have less and less time. That’s why so many companies grow and do really well and then they seem to peter out and flounder. It’s because they never make that transition from the tactical to the strategic and that’s what CEOs need to learn to do.

How to Move from the Tactical to the Strategic

You start by hiring people to do the work that you hate to do and you suck at, that’s where it always begins. So in the early stages, building a team is really really easy. However, when you start needing to scale and hire for the roles that you’re good at and enjoy, that’s when it becomes difficult. For me, I really enjoyed marketing and I like to think I’m pretty good at. In the beginning, I tried to find someone who was this all-in-one marketer, who could do everything that I could do and then some.

What I found is that person just didn’t exist, and it’s not because I’m so amazing, it’s because I had a lot of experience doing this type of marketing that we were doing and also that I had so much tribal knowledge. If you take somebody even with more experience, because they didn’t have the direct experience and all the tribal knowledge associated with the specific company, they are never going to be as good as I was right from the beginning.

Hire, Train, Retain People… and Don’t Run Out of Money

If you think about the role of a CEO at its core, it is to hire, train and retain great people, and don’t run out of money. As your team begins to grow, you may really love diving in and doing all the tactical aspects of marketing. But if you’ve got a marketing team there’s going to be issues that are going to suck up a lot of your time.

You’re going to spend time talking with accountants and finance people, whether you like it or not. You’re going to be dealing with legal and all the other operational aspects of a business that maybe you don’t want to deal with. But in many cases, you’re the only person who can deal with it, and so a lot of the day-to-day, blocking and tackling, that goes into business and into marketing, in particular, you simply don’t have the time to do.

CEO’s Should Understand the Customer Journey

It is just taking more of that 30,000-foot view. So along with the roles of the CEO, hire, train, retain the best talent, and don’t run out of money, I would add to that, understand and seek to optimize the customer journey.

I think as a CEO that’s one of your critical documents if you want to still be involved from a marketing perspective, it’s that customer journey. You need to understand that because if you don’t know how strangers become customers, then you don’t know how the growth engine works in your business. How can you responsibly influence that growth?

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