CEP Award & The Power of a Thoughtful Nomination

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

In my 26-year career with RCI, I earned just over 20 awards. The awards range from small tokens of appreciation from peers to ARDY Nomination medallions.

Getting awards is a great feeling, and everyone loves when there’s a little cash reward associated as well. Some awards came as certificates, others as small pewter eagles.  The names changed over time as well, including The Spirit of RCI, Count On Me, and the Foundation of Excellence awards, to name a few. 

As far as I was concerned, one thing remained consistent for me: I was more interested in reading the nomination than the award itself. Why? To me, someone taking the time to compose a thoughtful nomination means everything.

Too often people mistake the award as the prize.  Or worse yet, leaders believe the award can take the place of personal praise.  A certificate for the wall, a trophy, or a gift certificate are great at the time, but receiving written praise can make impacts that last forever. 

Taking the time to think and write about someone’s efforts to do a great job reinforces good behaviors and practices and motivates them to keep up the superior performance. 

Nomination for Customer Engagement Award
Nominations for the Customer Engagement Professional Award are now open

Well-written and positive feedback, be it in the form of an award nomination or a performance review shows someone that they are valued. It sends the message that their leadership is paying attention to the good things they contribute to the organization instead of focusing on opportunities for improvement.  This builds a relationship of trust and respect between the employee and their leadership.   

CustomerCount®, provides organizations with the ability to gather detailed feedback regarding their employee performance.  Using their customer feedback gathering tools, CustomerCount is the perfect platform to start from when recognizing your employees.

Nominations for the Customer Engagement Professional Award

This is why CustomerCount®, in conjunction with the ResortTrades magazine, created the CustomerCount Customer Engagement Professional Resort Trades Award. The CEP Award recognizes the highest standards in customer engagement and service.

The coveted CEP award recognizes outstanding leaders and staff members who exemplify customer engagement within the timeshare resort/hospitality industry.

Qualified people most likely to be nominated will be those who are in daily contact with members and guests including:

  • Resort managers
  • Assistant managers
  • Front desk folks
  • Customer service team members
  • Housekeepers, concierge and landscapers

These outstanding team members exemplify the highest standards in customer engagement and service. Their interaction with members and guests shapes the entire guest experience; paving the way and opening the doors to happy smiles and memorable vacations.

To learn more, visit our nominations page or ResortTrades.com. If you’re ready to take the time and effort to make a positive impact on someone’s career, the online form is available at www.ccceprtaward.com. Nominations close on December 31, 2019.

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.  

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.

The importance of enforcing data privacy regulations

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By Bob Kobek, President

CustomerCount® is very mindful of the perils of collecting data and the need to keep it as secure as possible. And, importantly, does not, nor will it ever, share information without permission with any entity other than our client, the actual owner of the data. That means, advertising agencies, so called reputation management companies, no one or group.

But why are we posting this today? Read on.

Yesterday, September 4, it was announced that Google LLC and its subsidiary YouTube, LLC would have to pay a record $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that the YouTube video sharing service illegally collected personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to New York for allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. The $136 million penalty is by far the largest amount the FTC has ever obtained in a COPPA case since Congress enacted the law in 1998.

In a complaint filed against the companies, the FTC and New York Attorney General allege that YouTube violated the COPPA Rule by collecting personal information—in the form of persistent identifiers that are used to track users across the Internet—from viewers of child-directed channels, without first notifying parents and getting their consent.

Data privacy regulations
Data privacy regulations

YouTube earned millions of dollars by using the identifiers, commonly known as cookies, to deliver targeted ads to viewers of these channels, according to the complaint.

The Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General are not messing around.

There are a few strong messages about data privacy for businesses to note

First, taking data privacy and the regulations that exist, and pending, seriously, is gaining significant momentum. We will see more federal and state regulation coming that will make GDPR look simple. At some point we may see criminal charges tacked on.   

Second, notice how the settlement was directed by both the Federal Trade Commission and the NY state AG. By teaming up there is no escape for Google or YouTube. They can appeal to the federal courts and they would have to appeal to the state courts. The likelihood of them winning in one are nil, let alone both.

Third, the feds and the states are going to partner up more often so be advised.  

You can read the full press release on the Federal Trade Commission’s website here: https://bit.ly/2ktM8lP

On a more practical note, how cold do you have to be to sell the information about children?

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting, fast turnaround on requested updates, and detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities to support process improvement efforts, build customer loyalty and improve your bottom line. Developed and managed by Mobius Vendor Partners, CustomerCount was initially designed for the timeshare and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. 

For more information about how seriously we take data privacy, request a demo or call Bob Kobek on 317-816-6000.  You can also follow them on their blog, on Twitter or Facebook.

John Locher – WRAP partner and timeshare Olympian

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By Georgi Bohrod, RRP

WRAP (Worldwide Research Analytics Program), is specially tailored to address clients’ strategic and tactical priorities. And who better to drill down into the intricacies and analysis than John Locher, RRP, founder of Locher & Associates.

John is a fellow member of WRAP and seasoned timeshare professional. His firm, Locher & Associates is a project services company specializing in lifecycle marketing including customer acquisition, engagement, retention and efficiencies, plus timeshare industry vendor solutions, and business development.  

With his broad and comprehensive knowledge of customer engagement priorities,  John is the ideal professional to educate our marketplace about all the tools and analytical benefits that CustomerCount® provides for making informed decisions that add to profitability.

When Bob Kobek told me he was launching WRAP, a detailed qualitative analysis program combining touchpoint sentiment and accuracy with industry expertise and insights, I suggested he speak with well-known industry consultant, John Locher

John Locher WRAP partner
John Locher, WRAP Partner

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.

WRAP clients are finding value with the integration of information in marketing, sales, and reservation measurement.  Others are receiving valuable data that measures and reviews their NPS (Net Promoter Score), housekeeping checklists and even branding consistency.  Text messaging is also convenient on the robust CustomerCount platform which is available in 40 different languages.

Who is John Locher?

So, this brings me back to John Locher and his  wealth of experience in the vacation industry.  Well-known for his role as one of the founders of Redweek.com, where he was instrumental in growing the rental and resale marketplace to over 1.5 million registered users (now 2.6 million), John has played a role with many major organizations within the industry. 

As he continues to represent software and hospitality  companies such as Katana, he has expanded his role to work with Mobius Vendor Partners to both promote CustomerCount and support the analytical component of the WRAP program. His presence in our coalition shores up the pillars of Membership/Ownership Engagement and Business Development. Since 2001, John has been an evangelist for timeshare.

He’s worked for solutions to bridge developer needs with owner wants, and it hasn’t always been easy. As a founder of RedWeek.com, online rentals and resales transparency were not completely embraced. Locher actively contributed to numerous ARDA initiatives, including helping craft the Timeshare Resale Model Act, and participating on the New Business Model, Consumer Education, Meetings and Technology committees.

As of late, John has been a producer of D2C eCommerce Springboard events throughout the US and is promoter of online radio programming in the Pacific Northwest.

When John is not busy in his “day job” he is an avid Olympic supporter. After being a manager for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, John travels to every Summer Games, and Tokyo 2020 will be his tenth.

In addition to John and I, the WRAP coalition is comprised of Howard Bendell RRP (Qualitative Analysis) , Carlos Marchi  (Contact Center Compliance and EVP of Mexico and Latin America for CustomerCount) and Emily Collins, EVC Marketing  (Digital Marketing). 

Along with our commitment to CustomerCount’s Enterprise Feedback System, we bring together each other’s expertise to support each other and our clients.

About CustomerCount

CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting, fast turnaround on requested updates, and detailed and dynamic data gathering capabilities to support process improvement efforts, build customer loyalty and improve your bottom line. Developed and managed by Mobius Vendor Partners, CustomerCount was initially designed for the timeshare and contact center industries and is now used by organizations across numerous different vertical markets and industries. 

For more information, request a demo or call Bob Kobek on 317-816-6000.  You can also follow them on their blog, on Twitter or Facebook.

Top 10 ways to keep your online clients happy

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By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

You might think reputation management is simply a matter of setting up your listening tools and working through your worst-case scenarios. But that really is just the first part of the job.

Having plans in place is one matter, making sure you keep your clients happy both on and off-line is something very different – and one of the biggest jobs of all. Here at EVC Marketing, we believe it requires a dedicated resource, sign-in from everyone at your resort business and an understanding of who your clients are, what they like and what you want to achieve.

When you have happy online clients, who know, like and trust you, your resort will benefit in a number of ways. From increased sales and rentals, to owner advocacy and ongoing support. So, it’s definitely worth the effort.

So how do you keep your clients happy? Here is our guide to the top 10 ways to create happy online clients – and keep them happy.

1. Define your ideal online clients

Take some time and write down ten key characteristics of your ideal client. What is their education level, what do they love to do on vacation, what do they value, how old are they, what do they all have in common? Knowing who they are will help you write for them in your blogs and posts, identify their issues and provide content and products that solve them.

2. Be clear about who you are and what you do

This is easier when you have a resort – you provide vacations. But be specific about the additional products and services you offer. Some of our owners and guests may be totally unaware of what you do other than check them in for a week each year.

3. Keep your tone empathetic and understanding

A time will come when you get a rude or irrational comment on a blog or social media. And it will be hurtful and frustrating. But don’t rush in with knee-jerk aggressive reply. Our experience at EVC Marketing is that sometimes your loyal fans jump in and reply to the comment in your defense. We call this owner advocacy and it’s amazingly powerful. So keep a level head and reply in a positive voice moving any further conversation to private channels like email or messenger.

4. Be generous to your online clients

No, we don’t mean giving away vacations! But be generous when it comes to the information, training and news you provide through your channels. Recognize those who contribute to the success of your resort, feature them in your posts and blogs, invite them to special events and ask for their views. For too long, resort teams have held owners at a distance. It’s time to change the dynamic. Let them know they are special to you and they’ll become your best brand ambassadors and owner advocates.

5. Be authentic

Think about the image you want to cultivate online as part of your brand. Then write about the things that fit in with that image. If you’re a family resort, then make that clear in your posts and blogs. If you’re a couple’s resort, the messaging is going to be very different. If your resort is based in Florida, then there is no reason to write about Hawaii. And remember to keep up to date with trends so that you’re writing and posting fresh content and not what happened two months ago.

Keep client happy online
Top tips to keeping your clients happy online

6. Stay focused

Remembering what your aims and objectives are means that you won’t stray from your message. If you know that your blogging and posting is ultimately about generating vacation rentals, you’ll stop you writing about things that take you off message and upset your fan base.

7. Use a social media monitoring service

Using tools such as Google Alerts and Mention are a great way to track your brand’s reputation online. However, occasions may arise when you need to hire a social media monitoring service. Don’t try and do it all yourselves if there is an issue. Outsourcing to experienced teams, like EVC Marketing, can make a huge difference – so be open to it.

8. Be engaging, meaningful and entertaining

Show your personality, have fun with your owners and rental guests and provide them with what they are looking for. If that means lots of lovely images of your resort and surrounding area, then post them. If your owners love particular staff members, then post staff birthdays and anniversaries so they can congratulate them. Have a funny photo from behind the scenes? Post it. Your owners and guests will love you for it.

9. Connect with online clients as friends

One of the most wonderful aspects of a vacation ownership resort is that you can build long-term relationships with your owners. Treat them like friends and not sales targets and you’ll get more from the relationship.

10. Tell your story

Share your background story and let everyone know why you’re in the vacation ownership business. Let them see your passion for your resort, explain your plans for the future and why their vacation happiness is behind every decision you make.

These days, keeping your owners and rental guests happy is more than just ensuring their apartment is clean and ready when they arrive. It’s a year-round effort of constant communication that ensures they continue to pay their maintenance fees, book additional vacation rentals, refer their family and friends and come back year after year.

To find out more about EVC Marketing and our reputation management and marketing services, you can email or give us a call today on +1 239 444 8176 or +44 0208 123 9273.

How to manage negative customer feedback

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By John Heffernan, EVC Marketing and CustomerCount WRAP Partner

negative customer feedback management
One situation, two points of view

What is customer feedback?

At its simplest level, customer feedback is authenticated and continuous measurement and reporting of customer experience in order to manage.

What is negative feedback?

Some may say that negative customer feedback is a response to poor service, poor product, poor salesmanship or at worst, a combination of each.

In truth, and readily backed by statistical surveys and analysis, we (and I do mean you and I) including our clients and prospects, are all too keen to complain and to highlight and share perceived negativity.

The fact remains that positive feedback remains the poor child to an overwhelming majority of negativity. This is fed by the ease of social media and email, offering shielded anonymity and instant gratification with aggressive, self-righteous and, sometimes, valid comments, posts, likes and mentions.

The business impact of negative feedback

From a business perspective, the impact on brands can be minor all the way through to calamitous.

Indeed, many major complaints have escalated from a small issue that was badly managed, ignored or remained unresolved.

We all make mistakes; we all have examples of client complaints that caused major issues where we have differing perspectives on the actual truth and events.

The old adage of the customer being always right may still hold true, but it is being stretched to breaking point by all too often unrealistic or unwarranted negative feedback.

The image cartoon above is a light-hearted way to depict a difference of opinion and negativity, which is often sourced from a polarized view of events.

How to manage negative customer feedback

Customer feedback, positive or negative, can be attained in a variety of ways including;

  • Online Feedback and Surveys
  • Customer service responses
  • Individual complaints
  • Social and digital media including ratings sites

Perhaps the focus should be on:

  • Improving your brand reputation (Reputation Management);
  • Brand strategies to encourage positivity and 5-star reviews;
  • Highlighting internal issues/training to prevent issues arising;
  • Management buy-in and training on feedback management;
  • Posting positive feedback to encourage more positivity (Reputation Marketing); and
  • Having a plan!

In any form of sales training, sales being the foremost contact with a potential or existing client, a salesman is instructed to listen more than they speak. And any salesman will tell you, that is a task more onerous than it sounds!

Negative customer feedback managment
How to manage negative customer feedback

Two ears and one mouth!

With two ears and one mouth we should all listen at least twice as much as we speak. And listening may be the first step on the road to solving negative feedback.

  • What is the problem?
  • Is it siloed or potentially more widespread?
  • Is the fault genuine and attributable?
  • Can the negative be resolved with positive response?

One way of managing negative feedback is to remember that an argument often has two sides and perhaps no ends.

If you can agree on the problem and resolution (perhaps without admittance of liability), the situation can usually be managed and an unhappy client becomes a satisfied advocate.

The skill in moving negative to positive cannot be underestimated in terms of customer service and lifetime value. Some important aspects to keep in mind include:


But when listening, the key is to actually hear what is being said!


You must distance knee-jerk or emotional reactions from a professional and caring stance.

The problem

Being argumentative or taking the moral high ground will only serve to escalate the problem. Get to the root of the problem. What is the problem? Ask questions, review the issue and consider the personal impact to the customer.


A resolution has to be two-way. It has to be satisfactory enough to turn the source into an advocate and sufficient enough to work for each party.

Lessons learned

Share the solution, resolve the root cause, train and continue to train key staff, continue to review plans and strategy.

Be positive

Positivity will win out!

Take steps and move forward with positive steps. Develop a positive brand reputation. And put resources into positive brand management.

CustomerCount delivers branded survey communications direct to your owners, clients and guests with questions that maximize response rates and get you the information you need.

Used as part of your reputation management and reputation marketing strategies, our surveys help you discover issues before they become negative feedback. And they support your daily activities providing real-time customer feedback that meets your business needs.

To find out more about our customer feedback management solutions, contact Bob Kobek now for further information about CustomerCount’s survey solutions on +1 317-816-6000.

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.