Nominating customers for awards – everyone wins especially when Referential’s David Feber writes the nomination!

One of the most gratifying activities we get involved with is creating a successful award nomination – nothing beats seeing the look on a client’s face when they learn that they just won a major award!
We collaborate with our clients to target specific industry awards for the coming year and then work with account teams to identify noteworthy candidates; either individuals, teams, or whole companies. We typically then do a short interview with the lead nominee and put together a submission for the individual award. Then it’s out of our hands!
We have a stellar track-record for nominations that get picked as winners and category finalists. We are very proud to have Deutsche Bank win a very prestigious award for an IT Risk Management project at a ceremony just held in Munich – the recipient notified us from the banquet hall floor! See their photo below. We also were delighted to hear that Johnson & Johnson received one of the top prizes at the latest Dell annual conference. However, not all our submissions are for large corporations: We championed a regional consumer services provider and were equally excited to be notified that they will be presented with the “Best in Class Contact Center” honor at a major industry event to be held in June in the US. All three happened in the last month and all were nominations written by David Feber.
Irrespective of the ultimate outcome, we repeatedly see major returns from even just submitting a client for an award – all too often people don’t get positive feedback, so being nominated is understandably viewed as being a huge deal! We’ve found that for a modest amount of work, the payback is dramatic and the sense of goodwill lasts for a long time – we highly recommend it!
Olaf receiving KC Award 2018
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Time to refresh your program?

This blog post from Influitive has hints for spring cleaning your AdvocateHub.  All great hints and ones we do more frequently than only with a spring refresh.  If you are an active member of our hub you have probably noticed that we update regularly. 

Each quarter we change the theme of our Hub. We brainstorm potential new ‘locations’ and have a Hub challenge where participants can vote for our next destination.  And then the refresh begins. Our Hub manager, a position which rotates so we all have expertise with AdvocateHubs, chooses a specific day for the change.

Over a pizza lunch we make quick work of a full refresh.  All challenges are reviewed to ensure they are still relevant and we check for broken links. Photos that accompany each challenge are reviewed and the majority are changed to align with our new theme.  Our latest change was In January when we moved from Germany to the Olympics and Korea.  The changes to challenges and the visual theme are the most visible though behind the scenes we’re also looking at advocate groups, rewards, and our metrics.

While the Inflitive article is specific to AdvocateHub refreshes, it really applies to all types of advocate programs.  How do you keep your program fresh and relevant?

Signature of Approval!

Freud.pngWe just returned from the Cyber Defense Summit 2017 in Las Vegas.  Leading up to the Summit we worked with customers to create videos and quotes that were used throughout the event.  Our trip to Australia to film customers resulted in such great content we expedited processes and went from filming in one country to showing our videos on the main stage of the event 12 days later!

Love this photo, Freud Alexandre, the Enterprise Architect and Security Manager for the City of New Orleans, was so happy to be featured he autographed his banner.  That is the signature of approval! What we like to see with all our customer deliverables.

Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish?

Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish? Hard to believe but the average person’s attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish! An article in Time Health quotes a Microsoft study which shows a human will pay attention for 8 seconds and a goldfish for 9!

Our digital lifestyle may make us better multitaskers but we’re also easily distracted. There is a lot of content out there, coupled with short attention spans, it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd.

This  post from RO Innovation makes the case that video can be the way to go instead of the case study format. Our brains actually process video faster than text.

Think about how video might work for you as you share stories of your customers and your brand. Our clients have a clear need for written content but we’re seeing an increase in the desire for video. Often times our interviews will become both short and compelling video pieces and a complimentary case study with greater detail. We’re about to send a team to Australia for a second time this year to create video and written case studies for our clients. There are a lot of interesting customer stories among Australian businesses! Whether your customer is in Australia or right next door, think about the format which will tell their story best.

IDC Research: The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy

Our partner, Influitive, has a variety of great resources for those in the customer advocacy field.  One is recent research from IDC, The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy which you can download here.  

The world has changed, how buying decisions are made has changed, and customer advocacy is more crucial than ever for continued business success. The report has interesting commentary and charts about how advocate marketing staff splits their time among their many responsibilities and which advocate marketing tactics are most common.  There is also discussion of common barriers and suggestions for key success metrics.  The research concludes with recommendations for success. 

This is worth a read.  Let us know if the content resonates with you.  Is this is what you are seeing in your industry, with your clients?  Interested in your thoughts!

Create Win-Wins with Your Customer Advocacy Program

We all know that a huge part of the sales cycle can happen well before a prospect even contacts you.  Our potential customers often look to their peers, friends, and those that are respected in their field for input and advice.  This is where a strong community of advocates comes in.  Your advocates are a very important part of your story, of your sales cycle.

In working with our clients and their advocacy programs we are always looking to create win-win situations.  We advise against asking advocates to do favors.  We caution our clients not to incent advocates with discounts. Instead, we encourage framing the discussion as one of presenting advocates with opportunities to network, to speak with analysts, to show thought leadership, or to influence product direction.   Rather than ask them to do a case study about your products, offer to showcase their success and leadership.  Advocacy activities can offer wonderful opportunities for increased company and personal awareness or for professional development.   Create situations where both you and your advocates win!

Sometimes you find a gem!

Many of us subscribe to newsletters, probably lots and lots of newsletters.  The chances of reading through them all each time they arrive is pretty low but sometimes as you skim through you find a gem.  I recently received the July issue of the newsletter from 4imprint, a vendor we’ve used for branded materials for trade show giveaways to client holiday gifts.  This issue focused on social customer service.  Of course they did weave in ways their products could help, but with a relevant and ‘non-intrusive’ approach.  The newsletter had highlights of an article with much more detail, a ‘blue paper’ as they are called by 4imprint.  Those highlights were interesting enough that I decided to look at the original article.

One statistic in particular was surprising:  “Those customers who use live chat for service report a satisfaction rate of 92 percent. This satisfaction rate is higher than that for service via phone, web form, email and social media.”  Live chat was followed pretty closely by voice which received an 88% satisfaction level.

The full article is here and quite interesting.  There are examples of how well known companies are approaching customer service, research findings, and recommendations as to how you might improve service to your customers.   And the sources are well documented!  How often have you wanted to use a stat you’ve seen somewhere but couldn’t trace it back to an original source?  The accompanying Infographic is a great summary.  Well done 4imprint!