Communities are Relevant

Matt Morris, Matt Morris

bob

Communities are Relevant
By: Robert A. Kobek, RRP, President
CustomerCountSM

It seems there has been a barrage of information and monetization and promotions surrounding the word “Community.” I hear it all the time and because as a believer of creating and working within communities as a marketing and sales vehicle, I am perhaps a bit more acute listener in the use of the word than most.

In our efforts to establish and maintain our business, we identify certain markets as “verticals,” like health care or time share or loyalty companies. We design marketing and sales plans to reach into those industries yet we forget one very important element. They are more than a vertical inside an industry they are also members of a community, with like-minded goals and concerns.

We also cater to verticals that may surround more personal choices like ethnicity, economic status, job description, LGBT, or any myriad of unending traits that cause us all to be a member of something, even a neighborhood.

I recently had the very high pleasure of a forum that had Francis Gaillard as the keynote that was followed up by a working session dealing with “co-creation” (think Nike + Community). That session was the spark, the catalyst of an awakening that put the whole “vertical market” into a new thought process.

Walking the talk is not an empty phrase. If you are intending to focus on a vertical, you might think about being a member of the community. After all, to be relevant, you have to relate.


It’s Easy Peasy!

Matt Morris, Matt Morris

bob

It’s Easy Peasy!
By: Robert A. Kobek, RRP, President
CustomerCountSM

You just joined a new company to lead an initiative that has been struggling for years. Then, the starter’s gun goes off and just like that, you are off and running!

Or are you?

I have noticed a lot of chatter on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other sites about the relationship between new leaders getting imbedded into old cultures. There are a lot of opinions about the responsibility of the organization, and some about the responsibilities of the new leader once that leader has been brought on.

You have to study the culture, the culture has to study you and then somewhere in the process the three types rear their heads: The nemesis, the supporter and the “whatever” personalities. And almost in that order these distinct types begin to appear and attempt to frame your path. It is called “Boss Training”, and whether or not you are a leader when you come in, you risk being a follower.

Leaders manage but managers do not necessarily lead. There are all sorts of intellectual approaches that delve very deeply into the question. I have one: The next time you are interviewing for a leadership position in a company, ask two more questions. Simple ones really.

“Is your culture primarily one that is process driven or relationship driven?”
“Are you hiring me to lead or manage”?

Find out up front, before you take a job.


The Perils of Loyalty and NPS

Matt Morris, Matt Morris

bob

The Perils of Loyalty and NPS
By: Robert A. Kobek, RRP, President
CustomerCountSM

If you are not in the business of creating and maintaining loyal customers then you are in the wrong business. You may think that you are in the business of providing a product or service, but at the end of the sales day, you should be focusing on customer engagement and loyalty.

Be aware, danger lurks in the whole Net Promoter Score and Customer Loyalty Initiatives.

There is a tendency to take our loyal promoters for granted. Maintaining their loyalty and promotion with vigor, the danger is when they (we/I) get disappointed. When they are disappointed they can become the most vocal detractors imaginable.

I have seen this happen in charity and nonprofit, B2C and B2B. And, it has undoubtedly happened to everyone that is reading this. We endorse our loyalty and promote companies or organizations as being customer/client centric and we are unselfish about it; until the organization screws up.

When it does, as many business relationships will, customers call it to your attention. The tendency by business is to give the defensive answer with no acknowledgement that loyalty was in jeopardy. There was no real attempt to understand why this is an issue. Only the “that’s what we do” excuse. No matter how many times the issue is explained it can fall on deaf ears.

It is inertia at work; every action has an opposite and equal reaction. The variables that can cause your most ardent and loyal supporters cannot be managed entirely, but they certainly can call attention to just how fickle our customers can be.

The safety net is simple; maintain customer/client loyalty by letting them know they are top of mind. Keep them top of mind and ensure that they know they are top of mind. You worked very hard to gain that loyalty, don’t screw it up!