Posts categorized ‘Customer Success’
International Finance Company (IFC) has been a Zmags customer since 2009. Their primary use for Zmags is internal. They utilize the software in several departments for a variety of reports, brochures and promotional materials. As one can imagine, a lot of these documents serve internal purposes resulting in a text heavy, design-lacking experience. That is, until recently…
The concept of omni-channel, or designing for digital, appears to be spreading like wildfire to all industries. IFC’s latest Zmag, which promotes FinNet- their annual knowledge sharing event, is an excellent example of really optimizing a digital publication. Some key things to note about the experience:
- Complete HTML5 experience - the viewer, publication rendering, and animations are all done in HTML5. This ensures that the viewing experience is identical across all platforms – web, tablet, and mobile.
- Designed for Digital - the design of the publication is optimized for digital, instead of print. The font is larger, the layout is cleaner and the experience is more immersive.
- Richer Experience - you’ll notice throughout the publication that IFC has used lightboxes, scrolling text, animations and videos. All of these are key features that engage the user with the experience resulting in longer time spent and numbers of pages viewed.
As traffic from different devices increases for all industries, it becomes even more critical to ensure that users are being offered an optimized and ideal experience. Zmags, like so many other SaaS based solutions, is making this extremely easy for users. A lot of the core functionality- HTML5, widget support, video capabilities etc- are standard features that make it possible to create a comprehensive, engaging publication in an efficient manner.
Whole Foods Market® has been a Zmags client for a few years, and has historically used the platform to create online newsletters and loyalty magazines specifically for their customers in the Northeast Region.
Earlier this week, our Account Management team was informed of how Whole Foods is expanding its usage of Zmags. Recently, they decided to use Zmags as part of a broader initiative, one that spans across all Whole Foods Markets® across the entire United States. This initiative involved designing, launching, and heavily promoting a digital magazine experience that speaks specifically to college students as they prepare to go back to school.
Surviving College with Whole Foods Market®
Titled “Surviving College with Whole Foods Market”, this creative digital magazine features tips for healthy, dorm-friendly snacks and meals on a budget. For coffee-addicts, it even calculates the savings to be had through brewing in your dorm rather than buying a cup o’ joe out every day — a difference that amounts to $400/year!
The Whole Foods team collaborated closely with Zmags to make this digital magazine that would be optimized and provide a great experience across all platforms – particularly iPads, since college students are so mobile, always on the go.
In addition, Whole Foods is taking this opportunity to link brick-and-mortar locations to the website. They will be distributing posters to all US store locations that will promote the online magazine, with a QR code that links shoppers directly to it. This should enable them to see which regions of the country, and even specific stores, are generating the most interest in the ”Surviving College” campaign.
If you’re heading to college for the first time, have a loved one going back to school soon, or just live in a small apartment, this is worth a read!
Merriam-Webster defines “community” firstly as “a unified body of individuals”. Compiling a body of individuals is easy enough, but achieving that unity is what will truly creates strong communities. Zmags has specific initiatives designed to foster that unity and create a strong community.
At Zmags, the face of the Zmags Support Team and Customer Success Program is the Zmags Community Portal. The main reason being is that it bridges the communication gap between Zmags and the Customer. The customer can find all the information they need to be successful with the Zmags Platform and we can communicate all updates, articles and contact information the customer needs.
In 2013 the Zmags Portal evolved from more of a community to a knowledgebase. Based on feedback and study we found that customers don’t want to interact and share with fellow customers they want to find information as quickly and easily as possible.
We therefore re-designed and re-worked the Community Portal so that it’s easier and intuitive to use and, at a glance, easy to find the information needed from whatever page you have navigated. With the design we worked in new key feature areas, new webinars, made it easier to find the Support team and brought the announcements to the forefront of the home page.
The latter two updates were key in helping customer product usage and satisfaction. We have an excellent in-house Support Team who field around 1000 tickets per month. We want to not only promote the team but encourage engagement with it so that we can add value to the customer experience. The announcement area means that we can communicate the weekly feature releases effectively so that customers can start using them as soon as possible.
It’s very important to keep the Knowledge Base content up to date. By definition, when using a self-service tool, the customer wants to educate themselves when possible. Thus they expect to find the information they seek. The Community articles are also very useful for our Support Team. It’s very efficient, when replying to a request, to be able to send a competent article rather than writing a response each time. If a request comes in and there is no content on the Portal, it will be added.
Product Usage is paramount to our and any self-service business. A Community is key in housing and promoting all your in-house retention tools.
When evaluating the success of a SaaS company, one would ultimately look at the strength of its customer base and rate at which these customers are retained. When the bloodline of a business is renewal, it is paramount that customers are successful with your product.
The way that Zmags addresses this is the Zmags Customer Success Program (CSP). The philosophy of the Program is educating, training and supporting clients to exceed expectation, foster brand loyalty and drive revenue. The focus is to ensure that Zmags customers have the resources and tools available to be successful with our Platform.
As a SaaS Platform Zmags, is always releasing new features to stay ahead of the curve. Having the CSP ensures new and existing end users can always engage with Zmags to leverage its functionality to its full potential.
Zmags is a great product, but nonetheless its important that customers see, realize and utilize all potential value with the Platform. The CSP is an on-going Program that includes Account Management, round the clock Business Support, Educational online tools, Webinars and 1:1 or Group Training & Consultancy.
Customer Success is key to any decision made, and Zmags uses customer feedback to continually evaluate and evolve the CSP. You can have the best product in the world but if your customer base doesn’t realize or recognize that, then any hope of success is diminished. We recognize that our success is very much driven by our customer success, so we make the CSP an integral part of all customer life cycles.
As part of the CSP evolution in 2013, we updated the customer 1:1 training modules, re-vamped the Community Portal and introduced industry best practice Webinars. Whether a prospect or client, Zmags has a variety of resources available.
Royal Caribbean has been setting sail on the open seas for 45 years. With 21 active ships and ownership of other cruise ventures like Celebrity and Azamara Cruises, Royal Caribbean has become a household vacation name.
Royal Caribbean has been using the Zmags platform for the past five years to bring immersive, digital brochure experiences to their customers. With online research being the primary method of vacation exploration today, it’s critical to offer your users as much information as possible.
Quantum of the Seas
The latest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet has been named “Quantum of the Seas”. The ship isn’t technically built yet but heavy marketing efforts were put forth to start generating buzz.
Royal Caribbean designed an extensive eBrochure to showcase the exciting design and activities the ship would have. While flipping through 20 pages of beautiful imagery and detail, a user has the ability to watch videos, learn more by visiting other links in the site as well as viewing the experience on a variety of channels.
Integrating the eBrochure into the Marketing Efforts
Royal Carribean uses their eBrochures as another avenue in their overall marketing efforts. There are still consumers who request the print version of their brochures but for others there is instant gratification by being able to view the same experience with the click of a link.
The eBrochures are also available on multiple channels. Users can peruse the information on the web, iPad, iPhone as well as it being available to the 1.3 million Facebook users who like Royal Caribbean.
eBrochures help to tell a story and draw a user into an experience that both engages and educates them. It helps them to visualize what the actual cruise experience is going to be like and if it’s a good fit for them. In this case in particular, it’s offering a more up-to-date way to view, what once was solely a printed experience, into something that is instantly and easily viewed and shared.
When it comes to service, is there a difference between a customer and a client?
At Zmags we strive to deliver an unparalleled world class service. The service we continue to offer has grown our service offering into a real unique selling point for Zmags as an organization – a happy customer breeds a healthy growing business.
Internally, though, we like to regard our client base as our bloodline, who in turn use our software to deliver a user experience to their customers. There are a lot of definitions of “client versus customer” available, but in essence when it comes to delivering online software, there is very little difference.
You tend to associate a client with someone you have meetings with and you partner with to grow a prosperous long term relationship, whereas a customer is someone you look to support and surprise with service to foster brand loyalty and spread that experience with friends and family.
In reality, the Zmags Customer Service Team (as we call ourselves) does both. We partner with our clients and our Account Management Team to offer personal consultancy, product training for all digital catalogs and solutions, webinars and best practices as part of our Customer Success Program. As part of this Program we offer round the clock Customer Support and a Community Portal to ensure that our customers have what they need to deliver to their customers on time.
So does this coin a new breed of service? Probably not. But it demonstrates that whoever you are offering that service to, there is significant value and importance in making sure it exceeds expectation on every level.
Markets move fast, and innovative online products enter the competitive field very quickly as cloud based solutions are scaleable, fashionable and heavily funded.
Treat every service interaction with the professionalism you associate with client services and the personal touch you associate with customer service. The value you create will help drive a successful business.
The SR Group is a fully integrated firm of specialist recruitment consultancies that operate in niche business areas. Employing 185 people across 6 office locations including London, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne & Sydney. The brands working under The SR Group umbrella are:
The SR Group have been using Zmags to create digital versions of various existing print marketing resources that include:
- Salary Reports
- Job Guides
- Career Advice
- Interview Tips
- Working in Foreign country advice
- City Guides
Recently, the marketing team at The SR Group have started to use rich media assets within these publications to make the content more engaging:
Market Update and Salary Survey 2012/2013
This means that the budget being spent to create these assets goes much further as they can be used with YouTube and other social media, as well as within their Zmags solution.
“Zmags technology is constantly striving ahead, enabling us to use this platform to not only showcase content that would have traditionally sat in a PDF brochure, but utilize it as a platform to integrate with our social media and digital strategies. By using this technology we are able to deliver our content in a new and exciting way, pushing this out to a wider audience.”
Zmags is working closely with The SR Group to ensure we support as many of their digital marketing goals as possible. Keen to reinforce their position as true thought leaders in their industry, having digital as well as printed media assets is increasing reach by 3x, whilst allowing both candidates and clients to access resources which enhance the credibility and reputation of the ever-expanding brands within the group.
“Zmags delivers innovation, guidance and expertise to myself and my team, acting as an extension of the team and digital advisor. Their support goes way beyond the remit that we would expect from a supplier. It is certainly a partnership.”
We are also helping deliver independence for the small but effective marketing team at The SR Group. Rather than reliance on expensive agencies, Zmags is allowing for campaigns to be turned around in days and controlled 100% in-house. The future for this digital content is certainly bright, and the results have been good enough to justify bespoke content built around digital best practice. Watch this space closely to see how corporate communications can be turned into compelling digital experiences using the Zmags digital solutions. These efforts will continue to generate leads and reinforce reputation for The SR Group brands.
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
-Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart
Customer Service, as Mr. Walton sees it, must be married with corporate objectives and the bottom line. I would be inclined to agree.
The customer experience is certainly becoming (or already is) the next competitive battleground or playing field.
Fortunately for Zmags, we have always seen the customer experience as the way to foster brand loyalty and we pride ourselves on the service any of our customers will receive when they interact with our team.
Ultimately, if our customers are successful we are successful. So it’s essential to partner with them, support them, and learn from them to drive us forward from both a service and product standpoint.
We benefit from the word of mouth that a “wow” customer experience provokes and we learn from any negative experiences to improve the customer service throughout the organization.
The bottom line, especially when we compare our services to our competitive landscape, is that offering a fantastic customer service not only supports the product offering but can in essence be a standalone product itself. Meeting expectation is easy; exceeding it is what will ensure that you stand out and have a competitive advantage. Our key drivers are to provide a customer experience that exceeds expectation, to measure & learn from it, and to communicate both back to the customer and the organization.
Providing a Customer Service
- Net Promoter Score – great way to measure not only your service but how likely this service is to positively or negatively impact the business
- Irritant Matrix – Make sure that Support Tickets and feedback is measured and acted upon in the right way.
- Surveys – Feedback, feedback, feedback! Ask your customers for honest feedback and reward them for it.
- Always close the loop – respond to all feedback with gratitude and an action plan
- Beta Programs – Involve your customers in new product developments; they know the product well and love to feel part of the journey.
You may be competing in terms of Price, Product, Place & Promotion but you’ll be nowhere without a Perfect Service.
Brand image matters. Very often, it is the brand image, or the positive perception associated with the brand, that makes customers prefer it to competitor products.
This image or positive perception depends on not just the inherent quality of the product, but also on how the products are showcased to consumers.
Brands invest in high-end photography, glossy papers and high quality prints to position the products in the best possible manner through print catalogs. Digital catalogs allow such brands to replicate the success of print catalogs to the digital media at a fraction of the cost, and even expand on the strengths. However, mere replication of the print catalog rarely works.
To maintain (or increase) a positive brand image, the digital catalog needs to deliver an optimized yet consistent experience across multiple touch points, including tablets, smart phones and tablets.
Digital catalogs needs to highlight the product as close as possible to its natural form, with multiple views of the product, ability to zoom and do more, exploiting all other inherent features of the device. It needs to offer an immersive shopping experience that deepens the experience.
The digital catalog also needs to fuel purchasing at the spur of the moment. Integrating the shopping cart with the catalog allows the overawed consumer to buy the product without having to leave the catalog. Encouraging social sharing across Facebook, Twitter, PinInterest and other channels helps to spread the catalog across people with similar tastes.
An example of a brand that has applied all these is Brahmin. Brahmin, which takes its brand image seriously, features exclusive handbags that are both stylishly beautiful and functional. The new catalog powered by Zmags Commerce Pro and the new Verge experience has successfully transferred the positive brand image from the print catalog to the digital catalog.
How can you use digital catalogs to create a positive brand image?
In a hyper competitive market, marketers compete on providing a better shopping experience for their customers. One of the best ways to deliver a pleasurable shopping experience is making the purchase process easier for your customers.
This can be done in many ways, including:
1. Leverage Multi-Channel Opportunities
User behavior has undergone a big change. More and more users now undertake multiple activities spread over devices and channels.
Marketers should leverage such multi-channel sales opportunities by providing web users the ability to make purchases during any point of their user experience. For instance, allowing the user to click on the dress she likes while browsing the digital catalog and purchase it would be key to conversions. Or, at the very least, let the user place the dress into the shopping cart with one or two clicks. Very few smart phone or tablet users have the ability or patience to search for the same dress in a dedicated ecommerce website, which would ultimately lead them off your site.
Since social media is so important in this digital age, it makes sense to integrate social with ecommerce.
In the example above, clicking on the dress, which leads to a registration page where the user will have to enter tons of information would be a put off for the customer. What would be even worse would be the registration page leading to a home page away from the dress. Provide alternatives such as accepting an Open ID login such as Facebook. That way, the only information the user would have to fill out would be their purchase information.
This integration not only contributes to making the purchase process easy and fast, it also helps in providing a personalized experience.
3. Ensure seamless and easy navigation
Ensure that the website work across devices by adopting technology suitable across all touch points. The iPad, for instance, supports HTML and not Flash. Asking the user to download a plug-in or the page displaying an error message will drive customers elsewhere.
Again, the user trying to purchase the dress she liked when browsing the catalog should be able to add the dress to the shopping cart and check out at their time of convenience. There is nothing frustrating that the shopping cart disappearing if the user navigates away from the page.
Have you gone through your shopping experience? If you were a potential customer, would you think the process was easy and seamless?