What does it take to win the CEP Award?

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By Georgi Bohrod, RRP and WRAP member

Merriam-Webster defines a winner as “one that is successful especially through praiseworthy ability and hard work.” This is also a great definition of the attributes of the recipient of the Annual CustomerCount® Customer Engagement Professional Resort Trades (CEP) Award which will be awarded at the end of the year.

More specifically, the five judges reviewing the nomination applications have carefully detailed guidelines to establish the winners of the CEP Award.

With two components, a numerical rating portion and a narrative section to support the nomination, our judges will look to the narrative to provide detailed insight regarding the team member’s performance and contribution. Their goal is to establish the ways in which the candidate’s contribution has impacted the team, company, and/or community.

Nomination for Customer Engagement Professional CEP Award

Nominations for the CEP Award will be judged using a rating rubric to ensure objectivity. Yet, as clearly defined some categories on the judging matrix may be, the narrative may end up being the deciding factor as to who is the overall winner.

Areas of contribution may be extraordinary interactions with members/guests; remarkable improvements in on-site ratings of the resort; innovative training techniques and outstanding social media mentions and reviews.

Nominations should focus on the performance of Resort Managers, General Managers, Assistant Managers and consumer facing team members such as Front Desk and Contact Center employees.  The candidates should exemplify contributions to the success of the company in an exceptional manner.  As with any blind judging process, the more detail provided the better.

The winning customer engagement professional and their company/resort will be profiled in the March 2020  issue of Resort Trades. Two trophies will be presented; one for the company and one for the individual CEP Award winner.

To submit a nomination fill out the online form.

About CustomerCount

To find out more about CustomerCount and our feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution, contact Bob Kobek now by email or by telephone on 317-816-6000 for further information.


The importance of customer feedback management

EmilyEVC, Avatar

Collecting customer feedback is critical for the long-term success of your business. Top performing companies understand the important role customer feedback plays in business. And yet, so many others choose to ignore it, believing instead that returning customers must be happy customers (or at least paying customers).

At CustomerCount® we know finding out what your customers really think, what their experiences are with your company, and what they’re saying about you can:

  • Increase customer retention;
  • Improve customer loyalty;
  • Tackle negative sentiment;
  • Help you develop better products and services; and
  • Improve and measure customer satisfaction levels

Business today can only stay ahead of the competition by asking the opinions and views of their clients, listening to feedback (both prompted and unprompted) and then acting on what they’re told. Putting your clients and their feedback at the heart of your business and across all departments is key to business success today.

feedback management system
Customer Feedback Management is crucial for customer satisfaction

Of course, customers can still use your product or service and be unhappy about it. They come back to your resort year after year, use a certain exchange service or fly with a particular airline. But how many do so grudgingly, complaining on sites like TripAdvisor, social media and review sites? How much damage is that doing to your brand?

Without regular customer feedback as part of your reputation marketing plan, you’ll never know how satisfied or not, your customers are. This not only leaves you wide open if, and when, a business crisis arises, but means you are making business decisions in the dark. How can you adjust and develop product and services if you don’t know what the customer needs?

The enterprise feedback management system from CustomerCount will help you do just that. Working with our team, we will develop a program that gives you tangible data and insights you can use every day in your business.

About CustomerCount’s Feedback Management

If you’re looking to find out what your guests think about your brand, then CustomerCount offers a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution. With detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities, CustomerCount’s feedback management identifies the issues, builds customer loyalty, and improves your bottom line. Contact Bob Kobek now by email or by telephone on 317-816-6000 for further information.


11 ways you are damaging your online reputation

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing

It might be called SOCIAL media, but when it comes to your brand, letting your guard down, not doing your research and being plain rude to your fans can really damage your online reputation.

If your business is guilty of any of the following, you are risking harming your reputation with dramatic and long-term consequences for your business.

1 Denying the issues

In today’s 24/7 news-hungry world, denying issues when they happen is a major mistake. These days everyone has access to a smartphone and before you know it, a video of the disaster is being played to millions on YouTube, a photo of a badly behaved staff member is going viral on Facebook and an image of your brand is being destroyed on Twitter. Don’t try to hide. It will just make things a whole lot worse.

2 Deleting comments

The good news is that you can delete comments – but only some. If they’re the spammy kind that bears no relation to your business, you can remove them. But otherwise it’s a big no-no. When a crisis it is all too easy to hit the delete button when the comments are mounting up and you don’t know how to handle them. Don’t do this.

Social media cannot be stifled and when people are emotionally attached to a situation, deleting their comments can just escalate the issue.

3 Allowing issues to flame

Any delays to handling the issue will only feed the flames of hostility. So do not employ the spin tactic of delaying bad news. It will only be leaked. Make sure that you are the one in control of bad news, frame the discussion and maintain the trust of your customers.

Being indecisive can also cause issues. it is better to say that you are looking into an issue than leaving it hanging, waffling or misleading your customers. Own up and get on with it.

4 Over sharing

We all know that it’s important to be authentic and accessible when it comes to social media. However, that does not mean that you have to tweet and post constantly, sharing information your clients really don’t need to know. Be careful what you post. Ask yourself if it is relevant and will posting actually open yourself up to issues.

5 Being rude and obnoxious

While it might get you instant attention, being confrontational, unkind or selfish is a disastrous way to manage your online reputation. Keep your inflammatory remarks to yourself – they haven’t a place on social media. Remember, once online, always online.

How many actors and celebrities have lost their reputation (and jobs) because of tweets and posts written years before they were famous? It will come back and haunt you. If you wouldn’t find it in a Disney movie, there’s no place for it on your social media platforms.

Online reputation

6 Not thinking through the repercussions

You have a great marketing plan, but don’t think through every aspect of its implementation. Before you know it, your plan is out of control because some team members were unaware of the possible results of their actions. Make sure that everyone is signed-up to the plan, knows key dates and what they can, and can’t, share.

7 Not learning from others

Everyone will have an online reputation disaster at some point – even the biggest brands have suffered. Think about Applebees, Nike, Lockheed Martin and even the US Air Force. Learn from these. See how these companies responded, what they did right and what they did wrong.

8 Not checking your content

Remember when YouTube tweeted the wrong flag for their 4th of July celebrations? And when Snapchat’s advert for a game app featured Rihanna and Chris Brown slapping and punching? Don’t just proofread your content; check your images and tags as well.

9 Ignoring online influence

Influencers these days are not just from TV, news and film. Your followers may also be influencers in their own field with huge followings. Treat them badly and they are going to share that out to all their fans. So make sure you are polite at all times. Check out their profiles, do a little research before you respond. You never know whom you are messaging.

10 Publishing wrong information

In the world of fake news, it is easy to break trust with your followers by make inaccurate statements – and then keep making them. Building a strong reputation online is achieved through authenticity. Don’t just head to the keyboard before checking, and checking again, that what you are saying is correct and honest. Getting your facts wrong can end up fuelling the cause you’re working against.

11 Forgetting to do your homework

Releasing a new product or service? Make sure you’ve Googled the name to check that it’s not a rude word somewhere else, culturally or historically sensitive or just plain offensive.

Think about the damage Kim Kardashian did with her Kimono brand of shape wear which offended most of Japan? Now think of the costs she had to cover changing the branding when she renamed it. Do your homework.

What to do next?

If you’re guilty of any of these, then contact EVC Marketing today and are worried about your online reputation. We can help you develop a reputation marketing strategy that builds up positive sentiment for your brand, reduces the impact of any negative practices and will prepare you if, and when, a crisis hits your business. Contact us today on +44 (0) 208 123 9273 or +1 239 444 8176 or by email.

If you’re looking to find out what your guests think about your brand, then CustomerCount® offers a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution. With detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities, CustomerCount’s feedback management identifies the issues, builds customer loyalty, and improves your bottom line. Contact Bob Kobek now by email or by telephone on 317-816-6000 for further information.


How to manage a brand reputation crisis

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By John Heffernan, digital marketing specialist, EVC Marketing

In today’s instant social media world, sadly, most brands will experience some form of crisis affecting the company brand, reputation, product or even personnel.

The one common trait is that the vast majority of businesses are wholly unprepared for such eventuality – despite the likely disruption to the business operation, reputation and finances.

To manage any crisis involves retrospective action – after the horse has bolted and so on. However, businesses today need to do more than just look back and learn the lessons.

Businesses need a robust reputation marketing strategy, producing positive sentiment and building the brand’s reputation before a crisis occurs. Then having systems in place to act when it does so.

A reputation marketing strategy is designed to manage the crisis and minimize the impact on brand and reputation. Being unprepared can lead to knee-jerk response, poor action and weak decision making from key stakeholders causing further and enhanced damage within an already difficult situation.

Without a strategy in place, the time to respond can also be delayed and this only adds to a potential ill-managed and inadequate rush to judgement.

Common reputation management statistics suggest that one negative article on the first page of search results can cause an estimated 25 per cent loss of business. That statistic alone should send shivers down the spine of any CEO.

Crisis management as part of your reputation marketing strategy
Crisis is a wide-ranging term and can be minor to catastrophic for your business

What is a crisis?

Crisis is a wide-ranging term and can be relatively minor to catastrophic and include:

  • Loss of data/security breach
  • Non-compliance to legal requirements
  • Product fault or recall
  • Social media, ex-employee or other vindictive comments (most often false)
  • Management resignations
  • Poor salesmanship/customer service

We should all be clear that where a crisis event is preventable, the damage that results must have a documented and clear response strategy.

Bad reviews can escalate out of control as a direct result of the crisis action taken and the minor can very soon become very major. And let’s face it, bad news still travels faster.

A professional and coordinated response has to be in place for such eventualities.

How to manage crisis prevention:

  • You must identify and train key stakeholders;
  • Assess and evaluate any areas of vulnerability – and encourage staff interaction and feedback;
  • Create a response/action process and a plan – tailored for potential crisis issues with a clear delegation of responsibilities and response budget allocation; and
  • Implement a reputation marketing process – be proactive not reactive!

If you need to nominate a face-to-the-public, ensure they are not only comfortable with PR, camera interviews, written statements and, of course, the full details of the crisis.

A key element of reputation marketing – proactive prevention – must include a look, listen and monitor process:

  • Online review sites/social media channels
  • Your own website comments/user-generated content
  • Google searches/Google Alerts

Your team must be focused on resolving the problem, communicating with the source of the problem and advising and training relevant internal staff involved with the problem.

Communicating your resolution actions (both internally and externally) is one-step towards re-building trust or limiting the damage caused.

Finally, with the potential of negative posts, comments, articles or Google Search listings, solving the problem has to be complemented by a range of positive actions to improve your brand digital standing.

Reputation marketing and reputation management working hand-in hand.

For more information and an audit of your brand risk contact EVC Marketing today on + 44 (0) 208 123 9273 or +1 239 444 8176.

You can also contact us on Facebook Messenger at m.me/evcmarketing and follow us on Facebook .

About EVC Marketing

John Heffernan and Emily Collins of EVC Marketing are WRAP’s digital marketing experts. With over 25 years in the travel/timeshare market working with developers and service providers such as RCI, Interval International, CLC World, DaE, RDO, EURoc and TATOC, the EVC team understands the very specific issues facing developers, resorts and exchange companies. EVC Marketing’s deep background in all aspects of the digital marketing spectrum puts them at the cutting edge of business to business market development.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities. It supports process improvement efforts, builds customer loyalty and improves ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. Follow them on LinkedIn or Facebook.  


How to create good survey questions

EmilyEVC, Avatar

By Lisa Kobek, EVP of Client Services and Operations at CustomerCount

It’s time to get serious when it comes to customer surveys. If you want meaningful and actionable survey data, then creating good survey questions is a craft you need to master. After all, a survey is only as good as the questions you ask.

Poorly asked questions will not only give you answers you can’t use, but completion rates will be low and the drop out rate will be high. And for the long-term health of your business, the customer experience will be negative with a direct effect on your brand’s reputation.

Indeed, survey question development is important that Erika Hall, author of Just Enough Research, explains: “If you write bad survey questions, you get bad data at scale with no chance of recovery”.

So now you know it’s worth spending some time developing your questions, we asked Lisa Kobek from CustomerCount® for her top tips for writing good survey questions.

Ensuring you set yourself up for collecting valuable data is a combination of crafting an appropriate question and corresponding response options.

These can help you:

  1. Optimize your opportunity to capture valuable, actionable, germane data
  2. Optimize customer perception of you through the questions and response options you present.  A poorly crafted question works against you.  Focus on questions that make sense to the customer and are meaningful from their perspective as well.
How to write good survey questions
A survey is only as good as the questions you ask

How to create customer survey questions?

1 Define the objective

Understand and define the data you want before crafting the question.  Know what you want to know before you start.  What’s the purpose and how will it help your operations and bottom line?

2 Make it actionable

Avoid asking a question that will elicit a non-actionable response.  If you can’t act on what the respondent is telling you, the information is not useful or valuable.  And as importantly if you’re not willing to act on the response, don’t ask the question.  Can you and are you willing to do something with the responses that will positively impact customer engagement, loyalty and the bottom line? 

3 One thing at a time

Don’t ask about more than one thing in the same question.  While tempting in order to keep the survey succinct, it doesn’t pay off. 

For example: don’t ask the customer to rate a customer service representative’s responsiveness and level of knowledge in the same question. 

When the customer rates the performance he may have been thinking about only one of the two attributes in this example.  Or worse yet the customer doesn’t understand how to answer the question given it’s asking about two things – risks bad impression with the customer or leads him to just skip to the next question or abandon the survey altogether.

4 Closed end

Think about how you will analyze results before you craft a question and the corresponding response option.  When possible, make your back end analysis as efficient and effective as possible. 

For example:  You may want to find out what new product features would be of most interest to your customers to help guide your product development efforts.  You could ask an open-ended question such as “what new product features would be valuable for you”? 

Verbatim comment responses take more time and effort to analyze in order to identify trends.  In contrast, if you pose the question with pre-defined response options, analysis becomes much easier. 

For example:  Of the following possible new product features, which one(s) would interest you most?  Then list the options.

Remember, there are text analytics tools available to help sort through unstructured (verbatim comments) data.  If you don’t have access to such a tool, creating closed end questions can greatly enhance your speed and effectiveness of response analysis. 

How CustomerCount can help

The survey data you receive can have a huge impact on the decisions you make as a business. The wrong questions to the wrong people could result in the wrong actions being implemented.  So don’t leave it to chance.

While there is a wealth of online survey solutions available, using the services of CustomerCount ensures that the right questions are developed for the answers you need. Our online survey system makes survey data capture quick and easy with high response rates and survey satisfaction. And the data is presented in a way that is clear, precise and understandable.

To find out more about our customer survey and feedback solutions and learn how CustomerCount can help you craft the perfect question, contact Bob Kobek on 317-816-6000 or bobkobek@customercount.com.  You can also follow them on our blog, on Twitter or Facebook.