Be a pest – Everest

A little while ago I wrote on this blog how impressed I was with the customer service we received last autumn when we bought new windows from Everest. The company has gone to great lengths to prove that their windows are in fact the best. Click here to read the original blog.

Sadly their after sales ‘sales’ leave a lot to be desired. It wasn’t long after our new windows had been fitted that I received a phone call one evening from Everest, asking if I was interested in buying a kitchen from them. Their reps would be in the area very soon and wondered if they could drop off a brochure. Since I’m very happy with my kitchen, I said no thank you.

A month later and I noticed a cold draft coming through the frame of one of our windows. I arranged for someone to come and look at it and two days before that visit, I received another call – just as I was sitting down to eat my supper – from the sales team. “Are all your windows double glazed?” the young man asked, before stopping to ask if it was a convenient time to talk. “You should know – you installed them” I replied. He simply continued with “Would you like new fascias?” At this point I managed to suppress the urge to be rude and politely told him that since I was waiting for an engineer to come and fix the problem window, his phoning to try to sell me something else was really not a good idea. I suggested that he either remove me from his sales ‘hit’ list, or run the risk of some very bad publicity. At that point he got the message and said goodbye.

I don’t really want to give Everest bad publicity (it will be interesting to see if anyone from Everest reads this and gets in touch!) but I do want you to learn from this tale. Don’t ruin a great customer services experience by then treating your customer like just another number. Don’t waste all the hard work it takes to win a new client by not telling your sales department or others in your business, about the work you’ve done for a customer. Don’t let them rush in and try to sell more, before the dust has settled. Instead, spend time really getting to know your customers and they will come to you and tell you when they’re ready to buy.

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How should you use #ff effectively in Twitter?

Alice

For those who don’t already know, #ff is a hashtag that stands for ‘follow friday’. It is a fun gimmick that adds to the sociability element of Twitter, typically used on a Friday to allow tweeps (Twitter users) to recommend certain followers for others to follow.

Not only is it a way of recommending or being recommended, it is the altruistic part that appeals to many. “Wow, so-and-so must really like what I’ve been saying this week to want to #ff me!”

And that’s the crux. It should really only be used on tweeps who have been socially active on Twitter, by those who have been socially interacting with each other. If there has been a repartie between two followers over the past few minutes, hours, days, week or whatever, using #ff is another way of showing your appreciation for that communication, regardless of the outcome.

But then there are those that abuse the #ff – those that fill up their Twitter streams with great long lists of @usernames and the obligatory #ff at the beginning or end. Either it is because they feel compelled to #ff a series of people to be seen as participating properly on Twitter (which they are not), or it is a way of gaining notice to themselves (which is does, but for the wrong reasons).

If you want to #ff someone, it should be because you really want to, because there has been some successful interaction between each other. You feel this person is worth knowing, and others should know them too. You’ve enjoyed your conversations, or even the content of their Tweets, and it is worth advertising the fact that they deserve more publicity and recognition.

Therefore, when you #ff someone, add a reason why. Not only does it make your #ff recommendation more personal, it shows you really care about what you’ve just done, and there is a proper reason for your action. Twitter is so full of rubbish and inane performances, when someone does a Twitter application properly it really stands out and is more likely to be noted (and appreciated).

Is being the fastest the best?

Alice

It is commonplace to hear that an event had received a large audience because it has been publicised on Twitter. This does, of course, depend on how many followers the Twitterer had, what time of day the tweet was sent, how many times, and what it said. And the viral element: how many times it was retweeted, which, in turn, depends on the Twitter accounts it was retweeted by, and who read it…

Social networking is notoriously fast. To those who aren’t old fogies like me, it seems incomprehensible how slow we were 20 years ago, without email, mobile phones or even the internet. Publicising an event would have taken planning, forethought and a considerable amount of legwork: getting flyers printed, distributed and posted up on show; invites sent out to likely friends, relying on the Word of Mouth (a factor now replaced by Word of Mouse); booking done via telephone, in person at a box office or even by post (heavens, not snail mail!).

Of course there are (slightly) slower versions today: texting and status updates on social media do require a bit of a time delay before you get an answer, which should allow you plenty of time to think of something suitable say (if possible). Go a step slower and blogging encourages comments on its posts which, depending on whether they are moderated or not, can become flowing conversations where necessary.

Email newsletters and similar campaigns are maybe the slowest, but booking online via clicking on a link that will direct you immediately to a Paypal or similar shopping cart certainly cuts down the lengthy procedure of finding a box office, and stimulates a more immediate response that eliminates the chance of being forgotten, overlooked or displaced by another event.

But then these slower options do allow more room for information about the event, a phenomenon that is certainly more difficult if restricted to 140 characters (SMS as well as Twitter) or the quick-fire responses on status updates on Facebook, (certainly, as in the case of my daughter, with several open all at once!). Posting up details of the event on a blog, forum, Facebook fanpage or as a discussion on a LinkedIn group will allow a bit more perpetuity than the ‘here, now gone’ scenario of Twitter, so subject to a continuous timeline forever superseding what has gone before.

Using video testimonials to spread the word

Chantal

A few weeks ago I went to a really good workshop on social media. I picked up lots more tips about using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter that we’ll be passing on to you through this blog, through our newsletter, Scribbles, and through Twitter (follow us @TopMarketingTip).

At the end of the session, the presenter, Nigel Morgan, said that he’d like to video some of the participants, if they’d like to say nice things about him and what they’d learnt. Some people immediately went shy and said they couldn’t possibly go on camera.  Then I heard that the videos would be put onto Nigel’s website, with links back to the participants’ websites and that Nigel would make sure they would be found by anyone searching the internet for them. I volunteered straight away – never one to miss out on some free publicity!

Nigel is very well known in our area (Berkshire in the UK) and across the world, because of how he uses social media. He has over 7000 followers on Twitter and is followed by many journalists, who like to quote him and ask him for comments. He gets thousands of visitors to his website every week. This is something that all of us at the workshop can tap into, thanks to Nigel’s offer to video us. The testimonials will be great for Nigel, helping him to sell more workshops; and the fact that they’ll be seen by thousands more people around the world will be great for those of us who volunteered.

So, the next time you’re offered some free publicity, don’t be shy! Jump in and see what it can do for you!

Promoting your business through CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

Chantal

We’ve been working with a CSR consultant, Jo Sandford from Creating Synergy, to look at what CSR we’ve been doing in our business and what else we can do. Jo knew all the right questions to ask and and we realised that we’re doing more than we had thought. She also helped us set goals for what else we’re going to do this year.

So why are we doing CSR? Well, we’re doing CSR for a few reasons, including developing the skills of our team and finding new ways to promote our business. We’ve agreed that each of us in the business will spend a week working with a charity or voluntary group, giving them our skills and developing new ones. We’ll be keeping you up to date with what we do during the year through this blog. We’ll also be shouting about what we’re up to – through the press and online platforms – to show how we’re different from other marketing companies.

Many people try to do CSR. They offer some time or expertise to a local charity, or just give them money. If you don’t know what you want out of the deal, or what the charity could get out of it, you might get turned down or end up stuffing envelopes for a week. This doesn’t stretch you at all and doesn’t give you a good PR story. So find a friendly CSR consultant who can help you find the right project.

How can you use CSR to promote your business?

Can you make money by going green?

Chantal

Are you doing your bit to save the environment and reduce your carbon footprint? And if you are, can you use what you’re doing to make money, by telling people what you’re doing to promote your business?

At Appletree we’re really keen to do whatever we can to reduce our costs and help the environment. We walk to work when we can – really fun in the snow! If we only want one cup of coffee, we don’t boil enought for an army. And when we built a new desk, we gave away lots of our unneeded office furntiure to someone who needed it more than us.

So we’re already doing things to be more green. And when we realised how much we were doing, we decided to start telling people about what it, to get some more publicity for our business.

Click here to read more about making money from going green in the latest issue of my email newsletter.

What are you doing to do your bit and go green in your business and what are you doing to tell the world about it?