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What does Customer Centric actually mean?

Creating a positive consumer experience at the point of sale and post-sale. A customer-centric approach can add value to a company by enabling it to differentiate itself from competitors who do not offer the same experience. Does the business you are involved in fall into the category? Well, these are the indicators: –
 
  • Puts customers above everything else.
  • Enhances the buyers experience, promotes sales and works to ensure customer loyalty, above all.
 

Here’s my list of seven steps for creating a customer-centric culture at your company.

 
These figure in my work as a company culture consultant; I've found them to be central to creating a corporate customer service culture that’s devoted from top to bottom to the customer experience. I am recapping the list here at the request of a MarketHive reader; I hope you find it useful.
 
 
1. Articulate your central philosophy in just a few words, a few meaningful words. That’s right: a company’s culture can begin with words, but those words need to represent a decision – something you actually stand for, a decision then expressed in the clearest, and ideally fewest, words. Find a central operating principle. Think of the Ritz-Carlton’s“We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” or Mayo Clinic’s “The needs of the patient come first.”
 
2. Elaborate on your central philosophy with a brief list of core values – a list short enough that every employee can understand, memorize, and internalize it, yet long enough to be meaningful. Your core values should cover how customers, employees, and vendors should be treated at all times.
 
3. Reinforce your commitment to these values continually. You may want to go as far as to devote five minutes every morning you stress one value, or an aspect of one value, at your departmental meeting. If that’s too often for your business reality or sensibilities, do it weekly. But don’t save it for the annual company picnic. Annual anything is the enemy of ‘‘core.’’
 
4. Make it visual. The above-mentioned Ritz-Carlton has ‘‘credo cards’’ – laminated accordion-fold cards that each employee carries during work hours. The brand’s entire core beliefs, plus shared basics of guest and employee interactions, fit on that card. Zappos highlights one of its core values on each box it ships out. And sometimes ‘‘visual’’ doesn't mean words at all. One way that FedEx shows that safety is a core value is via the orange shoulder belts in its vans: Everyone can see – from twenty-five yards away – that the driver’s wearing a belt.
 
5. Make your philosophy the focus of orientation. That way, if safety is one of your core values and you stress this at orientation, on day two, when the new employee’s co-worker tells him ‘‘In this restaurant, we stack the high chairs in front of the emergency exit when we need more room to do our prep work’’ [This is a real-life example, unfortunately], the new employee will experience cognitive dissonance and work on a way to align the actions of the company with the core values they’re supposed to reflect.
 
6. Train, support, hire, and, if necessary, use discipline to enforce what’s important to you. A core values statement is two-dimensional until you bring it to life – with the right people and energetic guidance. ‘‘Maintaining a culture is like raising a teenager,’’ says Ray Davis, President and CEO of Umpqua Bank, a the Pacific-Northwest-based U.S. retail bank that’s consistently top rated for service. ‘‘You’re constantly checking in. What are you doing? Where are you going? Who are you hanging out with?’’ And, sometimes, you have to use some tough love when that teenager is acting up in ways that don’t support the culture you’re working to build.
 
7. Include the wider world. Your people want to be part of an organization with a sense of purpose. Pizza parties and overtime pay (and even, believe it or not, stock options) only go so far. More inspirational: A version of a corporate “triple bottom line,” such as Southwest’s “Performance – People – Planet” commitment and annual report card. Or Ritz-Carlton’s “Community Footprints” social and environmental responsibility program. Or the story Umpqua Bank Regional VP Michele Livingston shared with me, about her employees visiting the homes of disabled customers to help them fill out their paperwork. Now that’s really something.
 

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

Earn a Full-Time Income as a Part-Time Affiliate Marketer

You don't need business experience, savvy technical skills, or personal experience to become an affiliate marketer. With the right education, tools, guidance and implementation, almost anybody who’s serious can get it running and can begin earning legitimate, dependable money.

Most of us stay at home mums would agree that we have a tremendously demanding job. Caring for a child full time is no joke especially when you have more than one to chase around. On the flip side, most would also agree that it’s the most fulfilling and rewarding job in the world! Despite how busy or stressful it can get, it allows us to enjoy these precious early years with the most important little people in our lives.

As time flies by, most of us are almost given the ultimatum to go back to work or stay at home with the kids. So depending on your personal circumstances and your financial commitments, most of us find ourselves heading back to work, not really having a choice.

But what if there was another choice for you? A choice that allowed you to work from home 1-3 hours a day, never having to personally sell, recruit or host any parties, no physical handling of products and you did not have to have business, savvy technical skills or personal experience? A very uncommon option that could lead you to replacing your full time income (and then some) and giving you back the time with you kids, family and friends.

So what is it? This is what we call Affiliate Marketing.

So what is Affiliate Marketing?

To put it simply, an Affiliate Marketer is like an “Internet Middle Man” who promotes somebody else’s goods online. They make money when they successfully connect an online buyer with an online merchant who is already selling what the buyer needs. If a sale takes place because of the Affiliate Marketer’s efforts, then they get paid a percentage of the selling price (AKA a commission). There’s no need to buy or create products or services to sell, and there are no storage, handling or shipping issues to manage as mentioned above.

Affiliate Marketing also known as Digital Marketing can provide you with a lifestyle people only dream of. Many people globally have made substantial incomes with this knowledge and as the digital economy grows we can only began to imagine the financial bliss you could bring to your lives with the proper training and knowledge.

People who attempt it expecting instant gratification will almost always fail. Successful Affiliate Marketers are the ones who treat it like a serious business and understand that like with anything real, what you put in is what you get out. With the right education, tools, guidance and implementation, almost anybody who’s serious can get it running and can begin earning legitimate, dependable money. It can also provide financial security that employment just can’t promise. The Internet isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon and because you work for yourself, you’re never at risk of losing your job.

The best part about Affiliate Marketing is once you have learnt and implemented the right training, you can run your business from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection and computer, you’re all set! Just imagine being able to jet set around the world, investing 1-3 hours a day into your business and spending the rest with you family. Sounds great right?

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

Characteristics of a social entrepreneur

A social entrepreneur is someone who has decided to undertake a venture that is aimed at tackling societies most pressing problems, like famine and climate change. A social enterprise could be a nonprofit or profit business model. Two people often associated with social entrepreneurship are Blake Mycoskie, CEO of Tom’s shoes who provide a pair of shoes for a child in need for every shoe purchased and Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, providing microfinance to the impoverished.

Social entrepreneurs embody most of the characteristics as other types of entrepreneur. However, there are certain traits that distinguish them.

Healthy Impatience

A social entrepreneur shows a healthy impatience with the way things are, according to Duke University, in a report by its Centre for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. CASE notes that socially minded entrepreneurs want to change things right away, know it can be done, and are often frustrated that bureaucracy and the lack of political will, impede on social changes that could benefit the masses.

Commitment to Improve Social Welfare

Social entrepreneurs are socially committed first and foremost. But what differentiates them from, a company engaging in CSR, is their ability to fully devote their time, energy and limited resources to make ensure they implement positive change. A business can use corporate social responsibility (CSR)  –  which entails everything from charitable donations to community work  –  to improve social welfare, but critics also point out that some for-profit entities use CSR as a public-relations tool.

Philanthropic

A social entrepreneur generally has a philanthropic predisposition. They also tend to distribute whatever profits are made to the socially disadvantaged, or reinvest the profit in the organisation. The idea is to grow the entity by enlisting more people, so more people can be positively affected, more lives can be saved, and much more social value can be created in the long term.

Lack of Megalomania

Social entrepreneurs don’t tend to have a megalomaniac personality. Their cause comes first, not their fame or finance. These entrepreneurs don’t have a problem letting others shine, especially their team members or others involved in local projects.

Reliance on people

Although most early stage businesses have pressures to conserve cash, this is even more true of social enterprises. Social entrepreneurship revolves around the concept of crowdsourcing, tapping into a team of faithful workers along with volunteers scattered around the world to solve the greatest problems of humanity.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

9 Nodding Strategies for Your Next Meeting

How to appear thoughtful and engaged without saying a word. 

You've got a bunch of meetings coming up, but do you have your nodding strategy ready? 

A solid nodding strategy could mean the difference between seeming like you understand what's going on and losing a job. 

meeting strategy

More seasoned professionals may think they can just nod the same way they did in their last meeting, but that's not an option  – â€Špeople will notice. Consider this: when someone's nodding the wrong way don't you immediately lose trust in them? I know I do.

To help you keep your nodding game fresh, here are nine nodding strategies you can choose from for your next meeting.

1. The Slow Nod

The slow nod is great for when someone is explaining something that makes no sense. Hopefully they'll see you nodding slowly and realize how ridiculous they sound.

2. The Slow Nod Followed by a Fast Nod

The slow nod followed by a fast nod is great to let the person talking know that you didn't get it at first, but you totally get it now, even if you still don't agree.

3. Head Shake Followed by a Fast Nod

A head shake followed by a fast nod shows that you didn't remember that thing you were supposed to remember but now you totally remember it. This is a really convincing strategy when you're on the hook for something that you never intend to do.

4. Side to Side Nod

Use this nod when you want to pretend you're considering something. It says – that could work, – while also saying it's not the best idea, and you're still waiting to hear something that'll really blow you away.

5. Let Me Write That Down Nod

This is the nod you use when you're pretending to write that down.

6. Let Me Think About That Nod

This nod will buy you some time before you have to make a decision. Put your chin in one hand, then both hands, then rest your chin on your knuckles, then repeat.

7. Nod With a Sigh

A nod with a sigh lets your coworker know you don't want to say yes, but you will say yes, because you're a professional.

8. Nodding Off Nod

This is a great nod for when you're trying to keep it together after a late night or when your coworker keeps talking beyond the point of reason.

9. The Almost Nod

This nod says, – you almost convinced me, but not quite, keep trying.

Hope this helps you find the perfect nod to fit your particular meeting situation so that no one will ever suspect you aren't really listening. If you enjoyed this, hit the green – Recommend – heart button below!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

Sales Funnels – are they really the Difference Between Success and Failure ?

update
What is this thing called a sales funnel, and why is everyone going crazy over it?
There is always talk on the Internet about sales funnels, but who really understands what a sales funnel is and how to correctly implement one?

Well, perhaps there is a considerable amount of confusion about sales funnels because it is one of the distinguishing factors that separates the successful marketer / business person from the unsuccessful one.

Have you ever bought something online or over the telephone from a TV advertisement? The kind of funnel that most of these TV ad-men design more closely resembles a black hole. The realize that they probably have one shot and one shot only to sell to a customer calling on an 800 number.

After you have made one purchase, you will usually be given a chance to double the order, for only the (inflated) cost of shipping and handling. Then one product after another will be offered in an attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of the call.
This is distasteful to the consumer, but this kind of sales funnel is common in that industry. You really do feel like sucker if you let yourself get caught in their “black hole”, and buy product after product.

Just ask any typical business person, what do you do with the people who do not buy your products or services?  Most would say, well, nothing.  Well, you probably have what is called a leaky sales funnel.  This is not so easy to set up for a brick and mortar type of business, but every online business should pay attention to their sales funnel. There almost always is a significant impact on your bottom line.

Everyone knows that taking care of customers is a priority.  If any business is to survive, it is a well-established fact that you have to take good care of your customers.

Say what you will about the Internet Marketing Industry, one thing that good Internet Marketing Professionals have going for them is that they understand very well that it is not only the quality of the product you promote, but the specific design of your sales funnel that can often make the difference between a mediocre success and big success. To rephrase, a well-designed sales funnel could be the difference between losing money, merely breaking even, and making a significant profit.

Let’s try to clear up some basic confusion about sales funnels using the above graphic.

Most businesses think that everyone in America, or everyone in their hometown of business is a prospect. In reality, until someone walks into your store, they are only a potential prospect. In the case of online business, until someone signs up for your email newletter, free product download, webinar, or other offer, there are no prospects, only potential prospects.

Everyone outside of your sales funnel is the audience you are trying to reach.  This nearly limitless pool contains all of the potential prospects for your business. They have not walked into your store. They have not signed up to be contacted by you in any way. You don’t know who they are, although you might have some idea where they hang out.  They are only potential prospects because you have no way of contacting them, until they take the first step into your sales funnel.

Once they walk into your store, or provide their email address, then they actually qualify as a prospect.  Now you can contact them and work with them to help them become a customer.

Everyone wants to do more than just survive. If you want to thrive, you need to find a way to quickly determine who is ready, willing, and able to buy right now.  That should be the first step.  I have to give Steve Rosenbaum credit for identifying this as such an important step.  He also talks extensively about leak-proof sales funnels.  This is a guy who really knows the sales process, both online and offline.

As you can see from the graphic above you can see there is a step-by-step process until a prospect becomes a customer. Also, there should be a clear method to allow customers to become what I would call loyal customers, by making repeat purchases. As shown by the arrow on the right side of the funnel, they should easily be able to become repeat customers.

It may be because the product is renewable, or relies on a subscription model, or they simply like your product or service enough to purchase additional products or services from you.

There is obviously a great deal more to discuss about funnels, but I think the fundamentals discussed here are important enough to warrant this kind of post.

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