Top 10 ways to keep your online clients happy

EmilyEVC, Avatar

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

EmilyEVC, Avatar

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:

Listening

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

Emotions

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.

Resolution

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.  


WRAPped up in marketing with EVC Marketing

EmilyEVC, Avatar

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.


Reputation Management versus Reputation Marketing

EmilyEVC, Avatar

Guest Blog By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing Communications

Is there a difference between reputation marketing and reputation management? Absolutely.

What is reputation marketing?  

Simply explained, reputation marketing is the ability to prevent negative or digital crisis situations arising through a sustained strategy of positive: content, images, video, comments, reviews, likes, share, mentions and testimonials.

Focusing on the positive at all times is, by far, the most efficient way to spend your time and marketing efforts – and prevents the need for reputation management.

How is reputation management different?

Reputation management is digital or online crisis management.

Bad reviews, negative comments, dislikes, and critical posts can have a major impact on your brand perception, future client contact or lead generation opportunities.

And reputation management matters regardless of your business size, industry sector, location, product or service.

Would you book accommodations with 1-star negative reviews or the 5-star glowing testimonial?

Would you buy online where other purchasers have placed negative feedback?

Reputation management is no longer a nice-to-have-option. It is a pre-requisite of every business. Your brand matters. Your brand reputation matters more.

When you have a crisis or frequent negative feedback, reputation management, as a process, can work to improve your status, increase your positive visibility and counter any negativity.

For example, positive input can push negative posts, comments and content down to page two. Not removed, but less visible and less front and centre on initial searches.

We live in a digital world, which, sadly, includes trolls and cyber-bullying. It is all too easy to be negative behind an invisible persona. Such reviews, posts and comments can often mean the difference between success and failure for many businesses – regardless of size.

There are numerous processes and options to implement a crisis campaign – reputation management is all about accentuating the positive. And the need to act quickly, with a positive brand content response, is paramount.

Negative will not simply go away or disappear. You have to replace with positive.

And that is where a reputation management strategy comes to the fore.

reputation-management-vs-reputation-marketing

Where do you start?

Consider an audit. Where are you now?

Do you need immediate crisis management and, if so, have you enough positive content and planning to respond?

Do you have a reputation marketing plan?

Here’s how to start:

Establish where you are now

  • Find and review all business and/or brand comments, negative, neutral or positive;
  • Set a timescale such as the last six/12 months and review seasonal trends;
  • Use Google; and
  • Look at your brand and key product or service search terms and review the first two pages of Google results.

Trends

  • Are there common themes, comments, sites or persons and so on.

Your brand visibility

  • Do you promote a consistent and accurate online presence?

Brand/key terms ranking

  • If you are not ranking – ask a specialist to find out why;
  • Include existing content, social media platforms and PR within the assessment;
  • Review your website and content SEO;
  • Is your brand a search authority;
  • Are you visible where you want to be on Google; and
  • Is your website and/or content up to the task.

Don’t forget the competition

  • If your competitors are winning the authority and visibility race – find out why; and
  • Develop a strategy to compete.

Social monitoring

  • You may love your company, products and services but what is the customer saying;
  • Do you gain positive sentiment; and
  • Do you consistently listen to your target audience.
reputation-management-vs-reputation-marketing

Remember, reputation marketing companies are not PR agencies.

PR is often about relationships, emotion and brand awareness. Reputation marketing involves more complex tools, strategies and technical solutions. Often working in the background, these techniques quietly promote and share positive content and enhance brand authority and trust without drawing attention to any negativity that PR is often produced to counter.

A good reputation marketing plan should include and embrace PR in addition to positive actions and digital marketing activity.

Your reputation management objectives

Develop trust and authority

People buy from people they know, like and trust. Trust in the digital world is hard won and easily lost. Developing Google authority will increase your trust status.

Open, honest and transparent

Your customers want to see the real you.

Listen to the conversation

You cannot react to negativity if you do not know where, when and why it is being posted. You cannot develop a reputation marketing strategy without knowing your target market and the sentiment values they require.

Don’t ignore – react but in the right way

Don’t argue, respect the feedback and, in a polite and professional way, offer a response.

All statistics show that no response enhances negative sentiment.

A quick response – even one that suggests we do not agree with you – highlights the business/brand perception.

If someone is critical, take on board their point of view and consider a response that leads to a positive position.

Learn

If you have made a mistake – take it on board, learn, act and advise your audience. Provide frequently asked questions to answer key customer service issues.

How to find our your online reputation

One way of finding out what your market is saying about you is through social listening.

RCI’s TravelVUE for the vacation ownership industry monitors brand sentiment, gathers real-time brand conversations and provides insight for marketing teams.

Working in conjunction with CustomerCount’s customer feedback platform, marketers have a solution that can be used to glean important insights that can help dramatically reshape customer strategy.

What next?

If your research has identified an online reputation issue or if you want assistance in developing a reputation marketing plan, then contact EVC Marketing or call us on +1 239 444 8176 or +44 (0) 208 123 9273.

With over 25 years’ timeshare marketing experience and our connection with CustomerCount, we have a range of tools, techniques and strategies that will repair and increase your brand authority and trust – and maintain and grow your brand’s positive online reputation.