Using Social Media to Build Viral Customer Trust


As the Wall Street Journal reported recently, sixty-five percent of all U.S. adults now use social-networking sites, up from 61% a year ago and just 5% in 2005. This is no big surprise for those of us who use social media for business, but it does underline the fact that social media is here to stay and that we would all be wise to explore the uniquely personal customer interactions it makes possible.As a marketing tool, social media is invaluable. It's free, millions of potential customers use it, and it's designed for SEO. While this is also probably old news, what many business owners are failing to recognize is the potential social media has to affect a business' reputation-and not always in a good way.Public interactions with customers happen every day online. On a business' website, customers post comments or questions. On a forum, customers discuss a business' products or services. But on a social network, those same sorts of customer comments reach a much wider audience-an audience of your customers, their friends and families and your competition.

Social networks are designed to encourage participation and conversation. This is wonderful for friends and families trying to keep in touch, but, if not managed carefully, it can become a huge problem for businesses.Many (maybe even most) businesses are built around customer service. Without solid customer care, a good business can go bad, and fast. Reputation has always mattered for business and now word-of-mouth is word-of-status-a single unhappy status update can do more damage than an in-person conversation ever could. On social networks social interaction isn't just public, it's virally public and in real time. Everyone sees a complaint when it appears and, more importantly, they see your response to that complaint. If you haven't thought through your social networking etiquette, you might just post something you'll regret.

The best way to handle this social animal is to develop an internal social media customer service policy. Discuss best practices with staff and quiz them on how to handle different sorts of customer feedback. Provide a script with a list of appropriate responses to some of your most common requests. Make sure to tell your staff when they can offer discounts or specials and remember the gum analogy: if you give it to one customer, you better be prepared to give it to the entire class.If you don't feel that you can trust your staff to follow your strict social media customer service policy, you can easily restrict access to your company account so that only the best customer representatives can post. Remind them often that every single interaction has a large audience.The good side of all this is that you can quickly build an excellent online reputation by making the most of social media. Customers can tell when another customer is being unreasonable just as easily as you can, and that helps your case considerably. If you handle your social media interactions well, you will build a powerful network of trust. This network may be more robust than any traditional network you could hope to build. As our technology provides us with tools that blur the line between personal and public, we will all be well advised to think carefully about how we play the field.

A Corporate Image is All in The Eye of The Beholder


For a company which is nearly 30 years old and which has over 30,000 employees spread across the globe, it is a source of continual interest to see how the organisation is perceived by both its staff and clients around the world.Founded in 1983, Marcus Evans is one of the world's leading providers of business intelligence events and global summits. As a company which is in regular contact with top business leaders in every continent, it is vital that it constantly monitors its image.It therefore makes a point of searching for all relevant reviews whether they be from staff or client companies. These comments are generally favourable with Richmond Fiduciary Group, for example, observing that the quality of delegates at Marcus Evans events is very high and that the events themselves are very professionally organized and meet the expectations of most business powerhouses. Meanwhile, Siemens has detected a pleasant but professional working ambience within the company which is a reflection of a satisfied workforce performing well.Indeed, the company's employees seem to be, by and large, a pretty happy bunch even though their remuneration structure is highly related to performance.

Only a relatively small proportion of employees work on the actual planning and organisation of conferences, with the rest busy on the phones detailing forthcoming events and selling delegate places.The end result is that successful employees can earn substantial sums and are more than happy to speak and write about their employer in glowing terms. By contrast, any negative comment from employees past and present is usually attributable to the fact that those individuals, for whatever reason, simply could not hack the work and put enough bums on seats. There is nothing worse that jealousy of one's more successful colleagues and you can imagine a number of failed employees taking it out on the company itself. Not many people are prepared to admit their own shortcomings.From an employer's perspective employee mental health should also be important.

A Kansas State University researcher says employers should be concerned about the well-being of their employees because it could be the underlying factor to success."The benefits of a psychologically well work force are quite consequential to employers, especially so in our highly troubled economic environment," Wright said. "Simply put, psychologically well employees are better performers. Since higher employee performance is inextricably tied to an organization's bottom line, employee well-being can play a key role in establishing a competitive advantage."

Disregarding Need of Business Plans


Many owners are in habit of preferring research reports instead of making strategic business plans. In this, dozens of pages are written about the market, competition, SWOT analysis, financial projections, etc. but the projections do not help in getting funds from the markets or attract any new businesses. They do not guarantee results. So is it of any use?Any incomplete plan is good for nothing. It must cover at least the major three area without which it will be of nil use. Or even the ultimate power will lead to lesser results.

The first thing it should contain is sound strategic foundation which sets vision and goals for the business. Secondly, it identifies the set of priorities that's helps to make strategic foundation a reality. Finally, all the elements are put together for action and accountability plan detailing what is to be done by whom and when to finish those set goals.Some impatient businessmen try to jump directly into strategic business plans or skip any of these elements in between. The result will definitely leads to ambiguous flow of plan in an unnatural way loosing all consistent strategic vision.

A strategic business plan holds a different prospective from a plan whose goal is to lift money from investors or lenders. For answers to investors you need to look into what are your opportunities and what is your management's ability to take benefit of those opportunities. You need to look into your sources to execute plans effectively. Also one need to consider facts that will persuade investors of your risks in which they are investing.So a business plan for investors is what able to take advantage of the opportunity in order to seek significant rewards for everyone involved. Business plan is what keeps all strategies on track. It should only be designed to help you achieve your numbers. Do only what you can achieve. Failures will only de-grade your reputation and goodwill in the market. Set targets that you can achieve and accept projects that you can complete. Passion is small gateway to reach targets of success but desperation will lead to losses.

Application of Analytics


In this article we will talk about some of the successful applications of analytics. We will start this week with 2 different examples which I was reading recently from a podcast of Accenture and then move to some of the other industrial examples.1. Harrah's EntertainmentGary Loveman, CEO of Harrah's, was presenting at an event and sitting in the front row were all of his competitors. He stood up, he showed slide after slide that showed precisely how they use their loyalty card, how they did the analysis, what kinds of metrics they looked at. And their competition was writing everything down.

Finally, after about an hour of this, someone raised their hand and said, "Dr. Loveman, doesn't it bother you that your competitors are taking down every word you said?" He just looked quizzically at them for a minute and said, "No, not really, because by the time they figure out how to do what I just described to you, we will be so far ahead of them that they will never be able to catch up."2. A. C. Milan: A professional football club based in Milan, Lombardy and one of the most successful organizations.3.

Financial Industry (Credit Card) - Marketing Analytics: .4. Progressive Insurance Industry (Motorcycle Insurance) - Pricing & Risk Analytics: .That is really what makes analytics a sustainable differentiating strategy for these companies. It is because it is not about a single insight; it is about a set of processes they have, a way of using data and incorporating it into their decision making, that really helps them transform their business. It makes them much more able to maneuver changing business conditions; it makes them much more likely to anticipate changes in customers and markets; and, most importantly, it allows them to come up with different scenarios and understand how they ought to react to these changing market conditions.

Verification Methods for Business Plan Companies


Many articles keep talking about how important it is to be sure of a business plan company without engaging in business with them. All of them emphasize the importance of proper verification, but none of them shed any light on the methods. It is important for business plan companies to contribute to such verification. Once a client is sure that the plan writing company in question is trustworthy and reliable, it will open many doors for the firm.For those who are looking for some good ways to evaluate their shortlisted companies, here are some good verification methods and evaluation criteria.Going Through The Companies BackgroundThis activity need not be restricted to finding out how old the company is.

Actually, there should be clarity on how this activity will help you. Make a list of things that would become clearer with this verification step before heading towards its execution. A background verification should ideally give, at least, the below mentioned information:??? How long the company has been in business???? Is it a formally registered firm???? Are there any complaints regarding the company in the past? Were any of them really serious???? During its course of business, what are the successful and popular business plans created by them???? Go through the list of clients. Make note of clients in the same vicinity, in case you want to get a feedback directly.??? Find out the kind of reputation the firm and its owners enjoy in the market.??? If available, see a few business plan samples.??? Go through the list of best plan writing companies, reviews, and client testimonials for the plan writing company.Visiting The Physical Office - This can be a casual visit, but if your intention is to find out about the company, you need to be very attentive and observant. Business plan companies with only a virtual presence are not completely credible.

Worst part is that it is not easy to ensure credibility. When you visit the physical office, make sure you do the following:??? Meet the management team. Most of them make a very good impression, but there are rare chances when you can smell something foul. Just keep your eyes and ears open.??? Go through their work portfolio. Try to strike a discussion regarding the plans that you find impressive.??? Meet the planning team. They are the ones who will be writing your plan. Talk to them to gauge their level of expertise and experience in the corporate world and plan writing business industry.Hire a Private InvestigatorThis stage should actually never arise. If there is a company that needs to be verified till this level, it is difficult to trust the firm anyway. Still, if you wish to hire a professional to give you the details about the credibility of the firm, a few things that should be included in the report that you receive are:??? Bank Verification??? Direct Client Testimonials??? A Clean Chit From Any Major ScamsThe number of business plan companies is increasing day by day. Do not work with unprofessional and amateur firms. Your plan is very critical. Do not take chances with your choice of the planning firm.