Why relying on assumptions is bad for your business

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By Yuri Duncan, WRAP Partner and CEO, Buchanan Creative Solutions

We all know at least one good saying about assumptions, and they’re simply never a good idea.

Making assumptions based on stereotypes will almost always lead to miscommunication and poor relationships.

I recall a visit to the historical West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana. It was a beautiful day as we wound our way through the giant porch that surrounded the hotel. The hotel was built over a century ago, and the level of craftsmanship was astounding.

While admiring the work that went into creating such a beautiful structure, I overheard the sound of a heated exchange. A pair of younger guests was greatly concerned with the fact that the swastika symbol, largely associated with Adolph Hitler and World War 2, was embedded throughout the metal works that made up the porch railing.

Familiar with the hotel and its past, I pointed them towards a sign hanging near the metal work: “The West Baden Springs Hotel Veranda Railing was constructed in 1915, long before the Swastika Symbol was used in WW II. Many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years utilized the Swastika Symbol to represent Life, Sun, Power, Strength, and Good Luck.”

After learning of this historical fact, the pair appeared relieved and went on their way, presumably enjoying the rest of their stay.

making assumptions about your clients

The danger of assumptions

This small story illustrates the dangers of making assumptions.  Had they not noticed the explanatory note regarding the railing, the guests could have assumed many horrible, and false things about the West Baden Springs Hotel. 

Even worse, they could have shared their assumptions on social media, creating a reputation nightmare for the hotel, and wasting time and resources as well.  In the end, the guests may have found themselves embarrassed to learn the results of their false assumptions.

In the timeshare industry, it’s not just the guests who are in danger of making poor assumptions.  In an environment where managing reserve funds is a science that can make or break a property, making blind assumptions about how best to spend those funds is a roadmap to disaster. 

One would need to understand the ever-evolving technology needs of the millennials, the legacy needs of the boomers, and the nuanced interests of Gen X in order to operate purely on assumptions.  None of us have that luxury.

Feedback vs assumptions

One way that anyone, anywhere, in any industry can mitigate the risks of the deadly Assumption is to simply ask your customers what it is they want from you and your product. 

Gaining feedback directly from “the Sources Mouth” is the single best way to understand their needs and respond accordingly. 

Are you regularly asking your customers what they want and need from your product?

Using modern survey techniques allows your business to solicit and gather customer feedback on their terms, in the mode they wish to interact.  If gathering this feedback isn’t part of your current decision-making process, then the CustomerCount feedback management platform is the perfect solution for you. 

Our feedback collection services ensure your customers are telling you what they need and allow you to gather that data through reporting to provide the concrete evidence to spend reserve funds wisely.

Why choose CustomerCount?

CustomerCount is clearly committed to fostering engagement across multiple channels.

Their survey platform provides a seamless experience for engaging your customers. And their ongoing communication strategy provides viewers with a wide range of inviting and effective video content.

Enhance your feedback management systems across the board by visiting the CustomerCount channel on YouTube

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the power of CustomerCount in action, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

About Yuri Duncan

Yuri Duncan is an award winning filmmaker and president of Buchanan Creative Solutions, LLC – a video production company specializing in producing affordable and effective videos. His skills and accomplishments as an artist and leader are what drive him to provide high quality services through Buchanan Creative Solutions.

With a proven record in design, illustration, animation, editing, and management, Yuri oversees all projects, no matter how large or small, to ensure the end-result fulfills your vision.


WRAPped up in marketing with EVC Marketing

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By Georgi Bohrod, RRP/WRAP Partner

What do I have in common with Howard Bendell RRP, John Locher RRP, Carlos Marchi and Emily Collins, EVC Marketing ? We are all members of WRAP, a strong coalition of Mobius Vendor Partner (MVP) Associates, each of whom brings valuable professional expertise to create comprehensive resources to support each other and their clients.

Last year CustomerCount® launched WRAP, a detailed qualitative analysis program combining touch point sentiment and accuracy with industry expertise and insights. CustomerCount’s WRAP is specially tailored to address client’s strategic and tactical priorities, particularly those derived from feedback and surveys. The subscription-based service takes customer feedback to a new level, offering the expertise necessary to formulate conclusions and offer operationally based recommendations oriented to improve service efficiencies and drive profitability.

In context of our professional relationship under the WRAP banner, Howard Bendell’s expertise rests primarily in qualitative analysis.  John Locher of Locher and Associates is an expert in membership/ownership engagement and business development.  And Carlos Marchi, CustomerCount EVP of Mexico and Latin America, has years of experience in contact center compliance.

About EVC Marketing

Which brings us to Emily Collins, of EVC Marketing — WRAP’s digital marketing expert. She has operated within the travel/timeshare market for over 25 years. Due to this long term experience with numerous developers as well as service providers such as RCI, Interval International, DaE, RDO and TATOC, Emily and her colleague John Heffernan understand the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum  puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

In addition to revamping the CustomerCount website for easier mobile access, and enhancing its visibility on the web, her part on the WRAP team is geared to promoting CustomerCount®’s Customer Feedback Management system on the international radar.

Emily Collins EVC Marketing

About CustomerCount

The system, available in 40 different languages, is the only enterprise feedback management system designed specifically for the leisure travel industry. It is easily adaptable to gather information for numerous industries and a plethora of purposes. 

Emily, a UK citizen currently residing in Barbados, is carrying the message that CustomerCount is a multi-lingual platform, available in 40 languages.  Clearly, CustomerCount is an ideal fit for the international marketplace and Emily’s international connections are moving the survey system to new horizons.

MVP launched CustomerCount® in 2007 for a major timeshare exchange company.  Since then,  the acceptance of the platform has been widespread in the global  hospitality sector and other industries as well. An enterprise customer feedback system, CustomerCount is a flexible solution providing intuitive real time reporting, fast turnaround on updates, detailed and dynamic data gathering with comprehensive reporting for process improvement and customer loyalty to impact the bottom line.

With the WRAP brain trust poised to assist CustomerCount, each other and our clients, we can exponentially increase our depth of services and know-how.


Our guide to the California Consumer Privacy Act CCPA

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What ALL businesses need to know about CCPA by WRAP Partners, John Heffernan and Emily Collins, EVC Marketing

Not based in California? Sorry, that get-out clause may not apply.

And that may be just one of the concerns within the myths and madness surrounding CCPA and its impact on US businesses.

The UK and Europe launched their own version of data protection legislation in 2018, the general data protection regulations (GDPR). Much of the hype surrounding its implementation focused on the heavy fines and penalties for non-compliance.

As usual, businesses that acted, reinforced their data protection, and implemented GDPR activities have encountered little change other than the positivity of cleaner marketing databases and more targeted client/prospect marketing interactions.

Where CCPA applies, US businesses ahead of the curve can enjoy the same positive impact.

From June 28, 2018, the CCPA was confirmed in law and, subject to specific criteria, may affect your business, your website, and most importantly, your customers with effect from Jan 1, 2020.

Confused? Actually, the CCPA law is mapped out to confirm if, and when, you need to take action.

California Consumer Privacy Act CCPA

Before we start: A brief disclaimer.

We are not providing legal counsel. This content is not intended to be legal advice or counsel and we do not make any warranties or statements regarding the legal acceptability of the information provided.

Any action you may undertake as a result of this content are of your own choosing. We strongly recommend you seek professional legal counsel.

So, what is the CCPA and what is it all about?

The CCPA is about personal rights, personal privacy, and how personal information can be obtained, stored, used and managed by businesses. 

Actual enforcement will be effective from July 1, 2020. However, as the law accommodates data access requests concerning personal information dating back 12 months, you need to have your data collection and sharing process in place NOW!

Will CCPA impact your business?

The CCPA applies to your business if:

  • You have personal clients in OR process data for people based in California.
  • You meet specific business status criteria including:
    • You are a for-profit company;
    • You have gross annual revenue in excess of $25 million;
    • You annually buy or receive, sell or share for commercial purposes, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; and
    • You obtain 50 percent or more of your annual revenue by selling consumers personal information.

And, if the above criteria apply, the law will be enforced if your business is engaged in the following activities:

  • Collecting consumer personal information;
  • Collect personal information about a consumer or about consumers;
  • Selling or disclosing a consumer’s personal information / data;
  • Selling personal information to a third party; and
  • Selling consumers personal information to third parties

California Personal Rights provide client transparency

  • The Right to know what personal information is being collected about them;
  • The Right to know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom;
  • The Right to say no to the sale of personal information;
  • The Right to access their personal information; and
  • The Right to equal service and price even if they exercise their privacy rights.
California Consumer Privacy Act CCPA

Defining “PERSONAL INFORMATION”

  • Personal Identifiers;
  • Real name, alias;
  • Postal address;
  • Unique personal identifier;
  • Online identifier;
  • Internet Protocol (IP) address;
  • Email address;
  • Account name;
  • Social security number;
  • Driver’s license number; and
  • Passport number.

or other similar identifiers.

Internet or other electronic network activity information, including, but not limited to:

  • Browsing history; and
  • Search history

As well as information regarding a consumer’s interaction with an Internet website, application, or advertisement. This may be provided where you use web analytics such as Google Analytics.

What are the requirements outlined by the CCPA?

There are a number of CCPA requirements for your business including transparency of data access (right to know) and disclosure (at or before collection).

The Privacy Notice: Displayed on your website must contain the following:

  • A description of consumers’ rights to request Personal Information collected/shared/sold;
  • A description of consumers’ rights not to be discriminated against for exercising any CCPA rights.;
  • One or more designated means for consumers to submit requests, including (at minimum) a toll-free number.;
  • A notice of the consumers’ right to request deletion of Personal Information collected/shared/sold and/or opt-out/data erasure processes;
  • Information about the transfer and sale of Personal Information to third parties.
  • Specifics about the categories of Personal Information collected/shared/sold; and
  • A process to object to the sale of Personal Information: Consumers have the right to opt-out of the sale of their Personal Information.

What are the penalties for non-compliance under the CCPA?

The simple answer is to comply and not to worry about penalties!

Penalties under the California Consumer Privacy Act aggregate per violation.

A violation can be designated for each individual consumer record, and these will compound. A non-intentional violation can carry a fine of up to $2,500 per record.

If the violation is found to be intentional, the fine can be up to $7,500 per record.

The law also gives the right to individuals to file private actions, which can further drive up penalties.

What are cookies and why do they matter?

Quite simply, a cookie is a data file set by a website onto your computer.

They allow the website to store information during your site exploration. This information can include your history on the site, and page views and interactions.

Using cookies in this way allows businesses to intelligently track consumers around the internet based on interests, engagement and related past content.

California Consumer Privacy Act CCPA

Preparing for the CCPA: 5 steps your company should be taking now

  1. Check whether or not the CCPA applies to your business;
  2. Understand what platforms are loading across your web properties. Note: Under the CCPA, your website, where data is being collected, is responsible for all Personal Information collected, shared, and sold from the site including third-party platforms.
  3. Understand what (and possibly why) data is collected by each platform;
  4. Identify, for each platform, if any of the data points collected are considered “Personal Information”; and
  5. For any platform collecting “Personal Information,” map the data and ensure all requirements under CCPA are being met.

When data is collected, you need to determine where this data is going, how it is used and how required protections are being complied with.

Where CCPA applies you need to take action now.

Be prepared well in advance of January 2020

CustomerCount and the CCPA

Bob Kobek, president of CustomerCount says: “The CCPA may never really happen, though it is set to kick off in 2020. It is a very watered-down version of the first iteration. At last count, there were 27 different pieces of privacy legislation in the US, meaning 27 different laws. So, it’s very complicated.

“What is a greater priority is to understand the various bills that have been introduced in the Federal Legislature that will eventually be melded into one that will look and smell like GDPR.

“To that end, and to accommodate the state laws, CustomerCount is completely compliant with the GDPR and the likely Federal laws. It is counter intuitive to remove data from a survey tool, but we have found way to comply and retain the intelligence.”

Give us a call today for further information on + 1 317-816-6000 or email Bob directly on bobkobek@customercount.com.


CustomerCount and Noble Systems Gamification

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The New Multiplayer Experience We All Win!

By Yuri Duncan, CustomerCount

CustomerCount® has recently partnered with Noble Systems to integrate our first-class enterprise feedback management system with their industry-leading gamification platform. Used together, the two solutions create powerful new levels of value for the processes of motivating employees and gathering customer feedback.

You might wonder “what is Gamification”?

Gamification is simply the application of game mechanics across the generational spectrum to motivate employees intrinsically and extrinsically to align agent activity and company goals. It uses the same techniques that game designers use to engage players and applies them to non-game activities to both motivate action and add value to your business.

Gamification has been embraced by companies in virtually every industry for its effectiveness at enhancing employee satisfaction, and for making learning and improving performance more fun. By doing so, it also elevates the customer experience and builds loyalty. Companies with highly engaged employees have an average 3-year revenue growth 2.3 times greater than companies whose employees are only engaged at an average level. (UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School)

CustomerCount and Noble Systems Gamification

How does this partnership benefit YOUR organization?

“CustomerCount’s robust KPI reporting technology and Noble’s Gamification tools are an excellent fit.  Working together they provide an immediate impact on team motivation and strategy, making the most of every customer interaction.”– Robert Kobek, RRP, President, CustomerCount.

For employees, motivation impacts everything.  Motivated employees deeply impact efficiency, cost and overall expense.  Integrated with CustomerCount’s Enterprise Feedback Solution, CustomerCount’s clients now have the opportunity to further increase productivity and financial performance.

“Every interaction now becomes an opportunity to grow employees and create a customer experience that will surely escalate customer evangelism, resulting in more holistic purchases and greater lifetime value.” – Chris Hodges, SVP Sales and Marketing, Noble Systems.

Adding the power of a gamification solution to a VOC platform places the insight gathered from CustomerCount’s enterprise feedback management platform at the center of a company-wide reward and recognition program, ensuring that all touchpoints of the customer experience journey are met with the highest level of engagement possible.

Contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000 or request a demo.


How video can increase customer engagement

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By Yuri Duncan, CEO of Buchanan Creative Solutions

When your organization sends a survey to a customer, your primary goal with that customer is “engagement”.  A word synonymous with both “participation” and “involvement”.

The survey is the best means for gathering information related to a customer’s overall level of engagement with your services.

The results of a well-prepared survey allow you to measure a customer’s level of involvement with your brand, services, products, and ongoing improvement efforts.

Ideally, that involved customer becomes an active participant within your services and products. And eventually becomes a brand champion.

CustomerCount® provides branded survey communications that are designed to maximize response rates and set you on the path of ongoing customer engagement.

Engagement, Participation, and Involvement are also the reasons CustomerCount chose the power of video as the best means for sharing their message across the globe.

Video is an incredible tool to attract and retain new and existing customers.

The statistics related to video and engagement are impressive:

  • When we receive a message via video, we remember 95% of the message, as opposed to only 10% retained from text;
  • 52% of purchasers say watching an online video related to a product makes them more confident in their purchase decision;
  • A video explaining a product can increase the chance of purchase by upwards of 85%;
  • Animated videos increase conversion rates by 20%;
  • Search results accompanied by a video thumbnail have a 41% higher click-through rate than those without;
  • 75% of executives claim to watch videos on business related websites at least once a week;
  • Online retail shoppers are 64% more likely to buy a product after watching a video; and
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decision.

In this digital age, video is a key resource for education, marketing, communication and research. That is exactly why CustomerCount has partnered with Buchanan Creative Solutions to build a library of impactful video content.

Video increases customer engagement

Using a combination of video, animation and sound, we have created a wide range of content designed to:

  • Educate: An animated video of the CustomerCount whitepaper “The Difference Between Feedback and Surveys”
  • Explain: A series of videos speaking to the “Top 10 Reasons to Choose CustomerCount”
  • Demonstrate: Videos focused on specific products such as TravelVue and the Onsite Service Request
  • Communicate: A series of videos featuring Bob Kobek, President of CustomerCount, speaking directly to the viewer about new innovations and features within the CustomerCount platform

Why choose CustomerCount?

CustomerCount is clearly committed to fostering engagement across multiple channels.

Their survey platform provides a seamless experience for engaging your customers. And their ongoing communication strategy provides viewers with a wide range of inviting and effective video content.

Enhance your feedback management systems across the board by visiting the CustomerCount channel on YouTube

Once you’ve had a chance to watch the power of CustomerCount in action, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.