Archive for ‘Client Services’:


Building Brand Loyalty Through Customer Service

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
flickr user adifansnet

flickr user adifansnet

In the age of an online marketplace, very few customers remain loyal.  How do we stem the tide of customer churn?  Companies that have great customer service, coupled with other great qualities like their product, tend to create customers that remain brand loyal.  One common denominator of companies who have loyal customers is the focus on the trusted relationships rather than transactions.  Without a solid relationship based on trust, you’re doing nothing other than appeasing customers for the short-term until they find something better.

I recently purchased a pair of denim jeans at Diesel.  Within a week, I noticed they seemed to have a hole in them from fraying.  I was disappointed to say the least, as I had only worn them once.  I decided to go to the store and discuss the matter to see about a possible exchange. I was expecting them to say no, given I had already worn the item.  To my surprise, they said to bring them in for a switch, no questions asked.  The customer service I received was attentive, courteous and genuine.  The associates seemed vested in not only meeting my needs as a customer, but ensuring I would return to the store again in the future.  Needless to say, I was elated and ended up going back later in the day for a new winter coat that had caught my eye while in the store.

We hear these stories every day, but we also hear stories from the other side.  I was recently watching NBC4 and the I-Team ran a segment on a college grad who sent her computer in for repairs.  The company made the repair, then added on additional repairs that weren’t needed, creating a hefty invoice.  The customer refused to pay, as she did not give her consent for the repair.  As a result, the company refused to return the laptop until they received payment in full.  Turns out, after an investigation, the company wasn’t licensed or registered with the state.

I watched the segment and thought, this all could have been prevented if they had fixed the problem the customer sent the laptop in for and/or the customer was consulted regarding possible additional problems and the fix was approved before incurring additional charges.  Now as a result, the state is investigating the company.  The company was not licensed and should not be servicing customers in the first place, but this serves as a great example of some serious missteps in the management of the customer relationship.

It is my belief that there is a direct correlation with building and keeping a deep customer relationship and the increase of brand loyalty.

Giving your customers something little makes a big reason for them to come back.  It doesn’t cost you or the company a lot and could result in a trusted long-term relationship with your brand.  After all, a happy loyal customer results in brand advocacy.  This is free marketing!  Isn’t that what every company loves?

How to Maintain Client Satisfaction – Webinar Recap

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Scott Cytron Formal 2011Last week BurrellesLuce had the pleasure of presenting a webinar with Scott H. Cytron, ABC, president Cytron and Company, on How to Maintain Client Satisfaction. Click here to view the recording of the presentation or download the slides at your convenience.

In today’s economy retaining a client or customer is not only easier than finding a new one, it also costs less in time and resources. Yet, organizations may need a boost to determine what their customers need in order to nurture and solidify this very important long-term relationship and continue to provide value that bolsters the bottom line.

Most PR, marketing, and communications, professionals know that engaging with clients is key to measuring satisfaction. However, many struggle with asking the right questions and fostering the relationship.

Here are just some of the takeaways from Scott Cytron’s presentation:

  • 3-step rule to happy clients: Trust + Loyalty + Referrals.
  • Put yourself in front of the client, ideally in person if possible.
  • Pick up the phone. When was the last time you called?
  •  Know what you’re going to ask the client.

The results of your conversation should provide you with some concrete feedback. Ideally, the best result would be “no surprises.” However, “good feedback” is always great too. If the client gives you “not-so-good feedback,” see it as an opportunity to dig deeper. Scott reminds us that “All hope is not lost” and to “turn negatives into positives and call in the Calvary.”

Depending on your organization, clients, and goals – surveys may be another way to gain client feedback. There is no one-size-fits-all survey, but Scott provides some pointers to increase success, including keeping it short, making it available online, and setting a return deadline. Whatever feedback you gain from the survey, it is important to use the results in a positive way and not just forget about them.

Scott offers other insights during the webinar. Click here to download the recording of the presentation or download the slides at your convenience.

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Scott Cytron, ABC, is a frequent speaker on growth strategies and organizational communications, including using social media for business building and retention. He is president of Cytron and Company, a consultancy specializing in public relations, marketing, and communications activities for clients in professional services (accounting, healthcare, financial planning, legal) and B2B product/services.

Philadelphia Public Relations Association – Hall of Fame Inductions 2012

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

by Rich Nisivoccia*

I am thrilled to have attended the 2012 Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA) Hall of Fame earlier this month. It is always a pleasure to attend these events and this year’s was no exception. The ceremony – held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Monday, May 7, 2012 – was in honor of Mark A. Tarasiewicz, associate executive director, Philadelphia Bar Association.

Chris Lukach, president of PPRA, welcomed everyone to the ceremony and Aditi Roy, NBC10 news reporter/anchor emceed. A number of speakers from a variety of industries shared words of encouragement and appreciation: John E. Savoth, chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association; Kenneth Shear, executive director, Philadelphia Bar Association; Daniel Cirucci, lecturer, corporate communications, Penn State University; Bobbi Booker, lifestyle reporter for The Philadelphia Tribune; Amaris Elliott-Engel, staff reporter for the Legal Intelligencer; Valerie Knight, co-host of The Breakfast Club, 98.1 WOGL; The Honorable Annette M. Rizzo, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas; Betsy Leebron Tutelmann, senior vice provost for Strategic Initiatives and Communications, Temple University.

The induction ceremony also featured a performance from composer Dan Martin and special presentation from PECO followed by the 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

According to his program bio, “Tarasiewicz recently marked his 17th year with the Bar Association, the oldest association of lawyers in the United States. As director of communications, he is the primary point of contact for the news media and also directs the association’s award-winning print and electronic communication vehicles, including the Philadelphia Lawyer magazine. He also served as senior communications manager for Dechert LLP, one of Philadelphia’s largest law firms. Prior to his public relations career, Tarasiewicz was managing editor of the Pennsylvania Law Journal and a reporter for The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest law journal in the United States.”

Included in the bio is a description of how he “served as president of PPRA in 2006-2007 and chair in 2007-2008, and is a recipient of the association’s Fast Track Award. He is an adjunct professor of public relations in the Temple University graduate program in Strategic Communication, and has also lectured for the Public Relations Society of America, the American Society of Association Executives, the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE), Penn State University, Villanova University, and the University of the Arts. A three-time recipient of the NABE Luminary Award, he is treasurer of the association’s Communications Section and volunteers his time to create education programs for his national legal public relations colleagues as a member of NABE’s Program Committee. He has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia region, including the Young Advocates for Mural Arts and the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Philadelphia.”

Recent past inductees to the PPRA Hall of Fame include, Nina Zucker (2008), Ellen Toplin (2009), Lisa Simon (2010), and Matt Cabrey (2011).

I personally enjoy coming to these events throughout the year because it gives me the opportunity to connect with so many of my clients and professional colleagues, many of whom I’ve developed extensive business relationships with over the years. Nothing beats meeting a client face to face and connecting with them in person.

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Rich Nisivoccia has been a member of the BurrellesLuce team since October 1994 and is currently a Director of Client Services. In 2004, Rich began to manage the portfolio for Philadelphia clients and is enthusiastic about attending events in the area. Rich’s main objective for blogging on Fresh Ideas is to share the positive experiences from meeting clients face-to-face, such as building and fostering relationships with clients and prospects at industry-wide events. He feels honored to be in the company of men and women in the PR field. Rich is passionate about all types of music (favorite genre is 1980’s British new wave), movies, the gym, sports, countless treks to NYC and Philadelphia. But most of all, “my family,” says Rich. “I’m nothing without them.” LinkedIn: rnisivoccia Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Hollow-Point Bullets Prompt Solid Online Response Tips

Monday, February 13th, 2012

By now most of you have seen the “Dad uses Facebook to teach daughter a lesson” video where a frustrated father shoots his daughter’s laptop with hollow-point bullets. Yeehaw! But have you all seen his response to the media requests? There are several interesting things about this response. First it prompts my apologies to the IT world as a whole — contrary to popular belief, some of you DO understand media relations as demonstrated by the father’s response to the media. Most importantly, he provides transparent and clear, written communication.

How does this domestic squabble translate to business? Other than being a teenager’s “crisis” I don’t know that it does, but it does strike me to remind everyone the importance of responding to negative comments online.

Here are my top tips for dealing with negative comments online:

1.  Stay calm. Don’t let your adrenaline (fight or flight urge) get the best of you and cloud your judgment.

2. Respond publicly. Mirroring the original format is very powerful. Dominoe’ss Pizza is probably the best case study of this when they had their viral video crisis in 2009.

3. Be courteous*. Offer acknowledgement or an apology, whichever is most appropriate, with sincerity and gratitude for the opportunity to address the matter. *If you run into a troll refrain from calling them out until you have done your due diligence of their misdeed or erroneous feedback.

4. Provide resolution. In some cases this means a refund or some other compensation for the problem. In other cases this will mean “agreeing to disagree” on what is fair and what you can do based on the feedback.

5. Reflect.
         
a. Why did this person take their grievance public?
          b. Was this the only forum available to address the concern?
          c. What are the opportunities you have to improve your product or
          service to strengthen your relationship with all of your customers?
          d. Did you provide resolution to the issue?

6. Be thankful. REMEMBER: Negative can be positive. Your public response will demonstrate your commitment to your clientele. Also, when a customer is talking to you, even sometimes negatively, you are still communicating and can improve the situation.

 At BurrellesLuce public comments are primarily responded to by either our account managers or the marketing team. These are the people who are closest with our existing clients and who manage the external communication and social media interactions. This post by Mack Collier further reinforces the importance of public responses and provides additional resources of how companies have fared much better when they respond to negative feedback. This list is meant to be a primer and I welcome your feedback and additional tips for the Fresh Ideas readers.

Social Media: Reflecting Room or Eye Opening Forum

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Kelly Mulholland*

networkingAn overwhelming amount of news has been about Facebook’s new Timeline, a feature which all users will be required to implement in the near future. (If you are unfamiliar with the Timeline layout, please check out my colleague Andrea Corbo’s blog post for a detailed explanation of this new debatable feature.) Other headlines have focused on Facebook’s Rise From Start-Up to Establishment and its latest IPO.  

Personally, I’m much more interested in Facebook’s recent study on how the social giant has changed the way we gather and transfer information.

In a 2011 study conducted by Facebook’s Eytan Bakshy — which I found when I subscribed to Mark Zuckerberg’s statuses via Facebook this past month — the  author debates whether or not social media acts as a reinforcement of our own ideas we share with “strong ties” (such as friends, family, coworkers, classmates) or  a tool that broadens your view of the world by taking in new opinions from “weak ties” (strangers or acquaintances) and asks us to Rethink Information Diversity in Networks. Bakshy’s study was inspired by a 1973 American Journal of Sociology study conducted by economic sociologist Mark Granovetter called, The Strength of Weak Ties. In Granovetter’s study, documented well before the Internet, stronger ties flock together sharing similar information while weaker ties aren’t as prominent and withhold eye-opening news.

Fast-forward to the age of social media … Interaction is often compared to that of a party-like setting in which you must interact and share information with people in a similar manner. Bakshy conducted his current study to measure to and/or from whom at this “party” we are more likely to share information. With the help of Facebook’s newsfeeds feature, the study measured how often a Facebook member would re-share their weak ties links versus their strong ties links. While it was found that strong ties’ links would be reposted more often, it was the weaker ties that were the ones who provided the most information. How? While the strong ties may have more interests in common and a stronger influence,  Facebook friends are more likely to have a majority of acquaintances invited to their metaphorical social media bash than close friends.

The majority of a person’s newsfeed will contain new information from more dissimilar members via new updates posted throughout the day. Now more than ever, “weak ties” are able to share information spread throughout a social group. Whereas before this segment would not have the capability to reach a broader audience without the assistance of a larger media outlet, but now thanks to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and any other social network site that has a newsfeed element these “weak ties” are spreading their influence. I can say that Bakshy’s theory explains why I read his article in the first place from Mark Zuckerberg, a “weak tie.”

 Do you believe we are more likely to spread information due to the quality of the connection or the quality of content? Have you found that you are more aware of opinions that differ from your own, now that use of social media outlets has increased as opposed to face to face interactions? Most importantly, did you read or share my article because of this theory?

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Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland