Posts categorized ‘Customer Success’
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?
Think back before smartphones and iPads and even before laptops were light enough to carry everywhere without a wheelie suitcase to a time when you would buy and read magazines like Seventeen, Car & Driver, Good Housekeeping, etc. in the print format (I know some of you still buy, read and subscribe to these in print but I’m talking about when print was the only option). Remember how you would find some really cool item you liked on a model or a feature page and have to flip all the way to the back to find out how to buy it just to discover it’s only available at a boutique store in New York City and you live in Seattle?
Well, this week Hearst Magazines Digital Media has announced in the New York Times, that they are enabling the ability for readers to shop directly within the magazines. That’s awesome!
A partnership with Pixazza will enable them to create interactive images that readers can click on to view product information. The article uses the magazine House Beautiful as an example stating that magazine readers can click on images of rooms within the magazine to get more information about paint colors, for example, and click out to the site for Glidden Paint to learn more and perhaps purchase.
Kristine Welker, chief revenue officer for Hearst said, “Why drive them somewhere else to make a purchase?” I was enthusiastically nodding my head reading this until I saw that although you can click to buy products directly in the magazine, the click actually takes you out of the magazine to the retailer’s web store. How is this not driving readers somewhere else to make a purchase?
Did they forget the original intent of their readers? To read! If I am interested in a product on a page, I don’t want to leave the magazine to purchase it. Why can’t I purchase right then and there and continue reading? Imagine the conversion rates of a consumer leaving the content to land on an e-commerce store vs. purchasing via a dynamic product window that allows the user to buy, share on social channels and then close the window with no disruption? If you are helping retail advertisers and readers to this extent, why not go all the way and enable commerce right inside the magazine?
Almost Hearst. Almost.
Everyone. Every single person on Facebook is a shopper and/or a consumer so why would you not want to use this social networking site to connect them to your brand and give them an incentive to spend time and money with your products?
I have always thought of shopping as a social sport and during holiday season it’s more like a marathon. I want you to consider when you shop with friends, family, co-workers colleagues and how that experience looks. For me, I ask ‘what do you think of this?’ without any hesitation. Yes, I want an answer to the question, validation that I am spending my money right but it’s also a connection between me and my shopping choices and the people I am with. The Facebook ‘like’ is the same thing – online. Your friend ‘likes’ something so are you more inclined to learn more and see what exactly it is she is liking? What are the chances you would like the item too?
There is a trend towards navigating the Internet based on friends’ recommendations on Facebook thus making it even more critical to retailers and brand-owners to be present on Facebook. After all, if you cannot bring the audience to your site you must go where it is in order to retain and expand your reach. Then once you have their attention, ensure you keep it long enough and provide the smoothest experience to the transaction.
The Store Doesn’t Send You Down the Hall to Buy the Item You Saw in Their Window, So Why Do Brands Do This Online?
Practical Ecommerce had an article recently that listed the top 51 Facebook pages with stores. These pages are enabling social commerce by publishing products and offers on their brand page where fans can transact. What I find interesting is that 41 of these 51 stores re-direct shoppers from their Facebook product page back to their commerce site to complete the transaction. I think this is a complete disconnect for the consumer who stumbles upon a brand fan page, locates the shopping page, selects a product and is directed somewhere else away from Facebook to enter their payment details and complete the transaction. The offline retail experience doesn’t do this so why do brands feel they can online? Imagine if you saw an item in a store window, then went into the store to look at more things and was told to go back out the hall, take a left and find the counter to pay for the item? Yikes!
Now consider this, people are not on Facebook to shop so when they do it’s primarily based on an impulse. This is even further validation that you should keep the experience as simplistic as possible. If you are acting on impulse, it doesn’t take much for you to question your decision and walk away before the transaction is complete. Brands need to pay attention to this especially within Facebook. Enable the transaction there – do not re-direct them off of the social network.
Capturing Attention. Capturing Transactions.
If you are already using Zmags, you know that the linear, rich media format captures the attention of your audience for nearly twice as much time as a branded website. Combine that with the fact that brands have illustrated nearly double the check-outs via Zmags when compared to their e-commerce site. Now, we have enabled you to get your Zmags publications to Facebook in a few single steps directly from Zmags.
The feature works by installing a branded app on your Facebook fan page. Once setup, all you need to do is decide which of your publications you would like to share with your fans.
- Your Facebook audience can ‘like’ your publications instantly publishing a link to the publication on that person’s wall. This instantly extends the reach and exposure of your content to multiple networks.
- Your readers can add comments with each publication creating a dynamic engaging community that can provide you with valuable qualitative feedback and insight into what your readers like and dislike.
- You can track the engagement using Zmags Analytics to compare performance of your publication on Facebook vs. your website.
Take a look at the fan engagement with this published zmag on Facebook. Notice all the comments, shares, likes and engagement with the publication?
Related Resources: Community article on social media toolbar
How do you track the performance of your catalog?
- You track how many are mailed and distributed.
- You track the cost to print and mail the catalog.
- You track purchases from the catalog by using customer and catalog codes.
- You track the products purchased from catalogs.
What about the rest? Can you track what happens between the catalog landing on your shopper’s door or in their inbox to a purchase? How valuable is this data to you?
Consider this; you have the data that verifies your product catalog got to your shopper whether it was by direct mail or email. But what happened after? Did they read it? Did they browse through half of it? All of it? Where did they stop? What did they click on, circle, or ear-mark the page on? Did they buy the item after they made this action?
Product Performance Metrics
In the example below, you, as the merchandiser, are looking at your product performance analytics page in Zmags CommercePro. Looking at this, you get specific insight into how well each product in your online catalog is selling so that you can use this data to make important business decisions about both your online and offline catalogs. This time as you are looking, you cannot help but notice the product in row 9 is not performing as well as you had anticipated. You and your team had given this product great placement at the front of the catalog and spent some time on photography and key selling features. You also know that when your readers zoom in on a product, they are extremely likely to buy, but looking at this, not many readers have zoomed in on this particular product.
So, what do you do?
Start testing! Review the layout of the page with this product and compare it to other pages in the catalog with high converting products. Are there any noticeable differences you can apply?
With print catalogs, it’s just a guess. There is no data that suggests why one product was bought over another and as I mentioned earlier, you are missing all the great experiential data in the middle. Consider this same scenario offline; your product (row 9) is in your print catalog sent out to millions of homes. But the product isn’t exactly flying off the shelves as you had originally anticipated. Do you know how many people read the catalog? How many people actually saw the page with the with [row 9] product on it? Why or how did other products perform in caparison? What was the consumer behavior like on those pages?
With the CommercePro analytics, you now have the ability to capture the entire experience from entry to conversion and use that data to promote more experiences like this. Using ecommerce metrics with information from heatmaps, time spent on the individual pages etc. you can continuously optimize your product placement and page layout to create the shopper experience you know best works in converting browsers into buyers.
Now use the data collected online to optimize all channels including print catalogs. The goal ultimately is to increase revenue. Analyze the path of a person that buys so that you can find ways to deliver a like experience to the people that currently don’t.
Shopping Cart Funnel Metrics
To see how well your catalog is doing overall you can look at the funnel metrics. This is where you will find valuable metrics on conversion rates, average order size, items per cart and overall sales. You can then use this data to compare those metrics with similar from other channels (web, phone orders, store) to gauge the value of your catalogs.
Here is a screen shot from Zmags CommercePro analytics:
Going a step further, you can drill down to see how the metrics on a day by day performance basis. As the merchandiser, you can work with your distribution team to use this data to make key decisions about the best days to launch or re-launch a campaign and also how often you should create and distribute new catalogs. Looking at these metrics, you can see that your catalog performs great in the first 3 weeks after which sales drop. This data tells you that you need to take an action 3 weeks after the catalog is sent whether that is to re-launch or re-promote the same catalog, or create and send a new one. But whatever your decision, these charts will provide you with the data to evaluate your decision and support future ones.
The great thing about selling online is the analytics and data you can capture. If your brand is using a multi-channel approach which includes offline and online campaigns, this data is imperative for you to remain competitive and increase sales month over month and year over year.
You may be interested in this whitepaper: Catalog to Commerce – Mobile Consumers & Multi-Channel Web Markets. Click here to get started reading.
According to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, online ad revenue jumped 15% to $26 billion in 2010 and search advertising accounted for 46% of that.
That’s almost $12 billion dollars!
A recent article on Practical Ecommerce that talked about how retailers and brand manufacturers can use pay-per-click advertising to sell high ticket items more effectively. High ticket items are not often considered for purchase online by consumers and brands do not feel that the web is up to par with their image. The personalized experience for their high calibar items is lost. Yet retailers still use PPC advertising to satisfy search queries because people do search for their items nontheless. The main difference between these and other PPC campaigns, is that the search query should provide the information that compels a conversion offline. So I thought I would take a look at how some luxury brands are using thier PPC ads today to both provide information about the item being searched for to drive an offline purchase or to compel me to complete the transaction online.
Search Query: ‘Burberry computer bag’
The search results:
The landing page for top left add for ‘Burberry Official Site’:
The reason this landing page doesn’t work is because I searched for ‘Burberry Computer Bag’ and although I am on the Burberry site and can essentially navigate my way through until I locate the section with computer bags, this landing page does nothing to connect my initial query with the product I am looking for. What Burberry could do instead is to direct me either to the product page with computer bags or an online catalog of Burberry accessories for business people or the page within a product catalog that contains items specifically related to my search.
Search query: ‘Armani mens suits’
The search results:
The landing page for top left add for ‘Armani Mens Suits’:
Emporio Armani has successfully taken me to the exact page within their online store that contains the mens suits. They ‘get’ paid ads and are doing it well. The one thing I believe they could improve upon is to not only take me to the items in which I was searching for originally, but to also drive me to purchase other complimentary items such as belts, shirts, ties or shoes. They could do this by linking the paid ad to an online catalog and point me to the page with suits. Natural instinctive nature indicates that when a shopper is in a linear, catalog environment, they will shop (and purchase) items they were searching on, but will ultimately flip on because they know there is more. even if they flip 1 page beyond the suits section, that is 1 full page of branded products that you are putting in front of them.
Search query: ‘Coach summer handbags’
The search results:
The landing page for top left add for ‘Coach Official Site’:
So I it’s almost summer and I love Coach handbags so I included this search (for this article and my own personal interests) to see what’s new for the season. This page is the homepage for Coach and while it is beautifully designed, and the homepage lands you in the ‘New at Coach’ section of their site, I am not necessarily sure I am in the Summer collection. Should I assume that because its ‘new’ that I am looking at the latest fashions for the upcoming season? Yes, I suppose so but what do I do from here. The site is very elegant in style and this page is constantly refreshed with new handbags. If I look away, I may miss the one I want to click on, so how do I find it? Another great opportunity missed for the searching shopper to land in a beautiful, digital version of a Summer Collection Lookbook.
Search query ‘Brooks Brothers gloves’
The search results:
The landing page for top left add for ‘Brooks Brothers’:
Not quite the selection of gloves I was looking for and without the logo in top left, I would not know I am on a retailer’s site, let alone the Brooks Brothers site. If I really want Brooks Brothers gloves; I am going to have to start searching through the site. There is no ‘Accessories’ category in the main navigation so I am not sure whether to click on Men or Country Club and what exactly is ‘Black Fleece’? Brooks Brothers is missing the opportunity to optimize their paid search ad clicks by directing shoppers to a generic landing page. There is nothing here that says I am in the right place other than the fact that I am on some page within the Brooks Brothers website. But where are my gloves? The company is also asking me to apply for a credit card to receive a discount before I have even seen any products. Major disconnect from all angles.
With the exception of Armani, its clear that brands I tested are not recognizing the opportunity to truly impact the conversions from PPC ads and gain a significant return. They are clearly buying ads for their branded keywords but are not optimizing for long-tail keywords that shoppers with true intent to buy would search for. If you are paying for the click, you should be using that ad space to ensure that the people clicking have the highest likelihood to purchase something. The key driver impacting this return is completely dependent on the relationship between the original search query and the landing page. Your content must support what the shopper is requesting. ‘Burberry gloves’, ‘Burberry raincoat’, ‘Burberry handbag’ should not all lead me to the homepage for Burberry.
Are you using paid search campaigns to sell high-ticket items? Are your landing pages unique to each search query or are you simply directing people to your homepage?
On Mashable earlier this week, an article highlights a recent report conducted by Forrester Research and GSI Commerce. The conclusion is that based on data collected 6 months ago, social media has little to no effect on commerce. What?!? You mean that we have been wasting our time, budget and energy creating fictional monetizing methodologies centered on what the world has defined as social commerce?
First of all, it’s completely illogical. Considering the speed in which social media, mobile media and even internet technologies are evolving, is it really reasonable to make such pointed assumptions and claims based on data collected 6 months ago?
I’m not buying that social media has no effect on commerce sales and here are 5 reasons why:
We are programmed to share. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon provide plug-in tools for all sites (commerce included) to provide visitors with the ability to share what they are buying or considering buying (in some cases wish they could afford). The reach and visibility of their products reached new limits without additional marketing efforts. Now add custom shares like Facebook’s new Send button allow me (and you) to personalize our preferences even more by selecting the individual people within our network that may be interested in what we want to share with them. So while my father would not care to see that I really like the Michael Shannon pumps at DSW, my mom certainly would.
We can get unbelievable discounts if we buy as an ‘online team.’ Another social media commerce site, Groupon, made group buying a common term. In fact, merchants are now on a long waiting list just to post an offer on the site. No money in social media huh?
Social media has its own currency. You cannot argue the fact that if something has its own currency, that is pretty powerful. The Facebook credits system was introduced in 2009 and was originally aimed at the gaming community. Since the recent announcement of Facebook Deals, consumers can now redeem these credits for tangible items.
They have their own shopping mall. The social network has its own shopping mall. How can you say that ecommerce sales are not effected by the ability to place your items in a mall environment visited by millions of shoppers daily?
We live for reviews from our peers. Well maybe we don’t ‘live’ for them, but consider your purchase behavior online. How many times have you tried something or decided to find out more about something because someone within your network either bought it or gave it a nice review.
What the social sites do lack is their ability to deliver an artfully merchandised shopping experience that integrates meaningful content with the ability to transact.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn just aren’t designed for commerce and that’s because they were designed for online communication. For community building. But now retailers have recognized the power the interaction has on the transaction and this is where social media is going to play a huge role.
Retailers and consumer brands have spent a lot of time and money curating a social media community that’s highly engaged and has an emotional connection with their brand. In many cases, they are providing these groups with exclusive content and treating them as lead users. It’s illogical that companies would not want to turn these communities into revenue streams. And that is exactly where they are struggling. How to turn these organic communities into revenue streams without annoying them.
The capabilities and options to retailers and ecommerce merchants who see an opportunity to combine a great branded experience with the ability to purchase within social networks will improve. Technologies will evolve to assist these brands with online merchandising tactics that endorse the experience they are attempting to deliver to their networks and communities. The market is open because the demand is there. Consumer’s trust with online commerce (both on ecommerce sites and on mobile sites & apps) is only getting higher. Seemingly, consumers seem to demand more personal experiences and this is where social media & content engagement will play a complimentary role to one another.
If you don’t want access to a $600 million dollar online economy and don’t feel the need to give 500 million Facebook users even the ability to purchase from you via social media, then don’t. But I would hesitate to stamp a claim on the fact that social media is going to have zero impact on commerce revenues based on 1) data collected 6 months ago and 2) the rapid pace in which social networks are endorsing commerce on their site.
What do you think? Do you believe social media will have no effect on ecommerce? Why or why not?