More Proof That Customers Are On To You


More Proof That Customers Are On To You

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  March 18, 2015

This column is a bit stream-of-consciousness, but I wanted to use this space to discuss a few different interesting things on the customer experience front. Here goes.

My daughter and I are big fans of the TV show Parks and Recreation. If you are too, you probably noticed that some of the more recent episodes touch on communications technology and its impact on personal privacy. If not, or you haven’t been able to tune in this season, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening.

Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, and her pals get irritated when a fictional company called Grizzl  (which seems a bit similar to a true-to-life organization that also starts with a G) sends them gifts that are so spot-on and specific to their interests that they’re scary. In a later scene, Leslie’s husband disputes Grizzl’s claims that people don’t have to use what it offers, essentially saying that the Internet is now woven into the fabric of our lives. And he goes on to say that companies should not bury their information collection procedures in lengthy and complicated user agreements, but should instead allow people to “opt out.” (Not only that, but he even used the term data mining.) Meanwhile, a show subplot features the crotchety Ron Swanson having just taken down a package-delivery drone that arrived at his door.

These scenes serve as both entertainment and a reminder of the delicate balance between data collection to more effectively serve businesses and their customers, and disturbing the very individuals to which these efforts are trying to appeal. And it’s interesting that the community at large is so in touch with what’s happening in IT and communications that a mainstream television can talk about it and that viewers understand.

Speaking of drones and the major players in communications, Amazon recently made an interesting new announcement. The company last month introduced a new self-service tool called Amazon Giveaway that enables organizations to easily create and host their own giveaways to promote their brands and specific efforts.

On a separate front, I recently came across an interesting blog by Rachel Clapp Miller of Force Management. In it, she talks about how it’s important when introducing new methodologies that impact sales people’s work habits that you not only introduce those new practices, but also that you reinforce them on an ongoing basis. And she suggests that organizations can do this by scheduling follow-up opportunities through which sales people can ask questions, offer feedback, and participate in roleplay to educate and remind them about how and why the organization is taking these new steps.

Information sharing among sales team members also benefits the whole organization, notes Miller, who suggests businesses should encourage collaboration among team members by rewarding shared successes. Using an internal sales portal as well as various social media tools to both enable collaboration and highlight new business can be effective, Miller says.

A different blog by David Hood, co-founder and CEO of digital image content company Hemera Technologies, talks about how aligning marketing and sales efforts frequently results in better returns for organizations. According to the Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group, organizations that are highly aligned realize average annual revenue growth of 32 percent while their unaligned peers, as a group, experience a 7 percent annual revenue decrease.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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