Posts Tagged ‘Tom Kowalski’


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?

Making Sense of Social Media and ROI in the Digital Age

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Making sense of social media and ROIby Tom Kowalski*

Let’s be honest, social media in terms of ROI is overwhelming and convoluted.  How does one make sense of it all in a digital age where everyone has a decreased attention span and increased multi-tasking?  It’s impossible to give 100 percent to anything you do while multitasking.  So, in this day of #hashtag and social media platform overload, how do we give 100 percent, while effectively managing the online chatter?

I attended three presentations at last week’s Digital PR Summit: “The Wake-Up Call: PR’s Role in the Social Landscape,” “How to Measure and Communicate Social Media ROI,” and “What’s in Your Toolbox? Social Media Monitoring Tools – the Paid and the Free.” The common denominator throughout each presentation was listening.  Are you a good listener?  Listening well will ultimately equate to success.

But how can we be great listeners with so many different social media platforms that each play a significant role in the marketing DNA of our organizations, and how can we do it in an efficient and effective way?  There are platforms out there that bundle your various social media accounts, offering a one-stop-shop to listen and engage.  But what if the budget doesn’t allow for that?

Trying to sell social media to your C-suite to obtain a budget can be tough.  Executives want to see instant tangible results.  So before you give your elevator pitch, have a customized strategy with the organization’s end goals clearly defined and present the information real-time.  Don’t overload execs and bring them into the entire realm of the social media vortex; rather, start small, perhaps using Twitter and Faceboook as a sample.  Remember that your focus should never be whether you’re good at social media, but whether you’re good at business.

If there’s one question clients constantly ask me, it’s to provide suggestions to better analyze their coverage.  There is no magic equation, as there are many different factors that need to be taken into consideration to show ROI.  Therefore, the question is always turned into a consultation to discuss the organization’s needs before presenting a detailed road map.  As companies and the digital age rapidly evolve, so will reporting methodologies.

It seems that we’ve come far, but there is still a long road ahead on analysis of coverage in the digital age.  One size does not fit all and it’s imperative that you’re a good listener with a strategy that is mindful of your organization’s goals.

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*As an account manager at BurrellesLuce, Tom Kowalski works closely with New York-based clients and PR agencies. Tom brings extensive knowledge of the PR industry with more than seven years of agency experience. He hopes to stimulate readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas by sharing useful information related to the communications industry and business in general, as well as different perspectives on customer service. LinkedIn: Tom Kowalski Twitter: @IntheknoTK Facebook: BurrellesLuce

PR Week Measurement Roundtable Q&A Takeaways

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Valerie Simon

Questions And AnswersOn Wednesday, May 4th, I had the opportunity to attend the PR Week Measurement Roundtable, along with some of my BurrellesLuce colleagues.

The roundtable focused on the constantly evolving role of measurement in the PR industry. Bernadette Casey, senior editor at PR Week, and Johna Burke, SVP of marketing here at BurrellesLuce, hosted the event. The breakfast provided attendees the opportunity to network with more than 25 senior leaders in measurement and featured a Q&A with Jason Forget, corporate reputation manager for GE Energy, among BurrellesLuce clients and friends.

In a quest to become a “gold standard communicator,” measurement is a key component of PR and marketing activity. In fact, 70 percent of the day at GE Energy is spent doing media monitoring and analysis.

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Using Social Media in a Fast Paced World Requires That You Slowdown and Plan

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

by Tom Kowalski*

I recently attended the Social Convergence and The Enterprise conference held at The Graduate Center of CUNY.  I listened to more than a half dozen speakers discuss the importance of social media in their organizations.  There was one underlying message that everyone seemed to get across:  companies who try and jump on the bandwagon of social media without a concrete plan will ultimately BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas: Using Social Media in a Fast paced World Requires That You Slow Down and Plan, Tom Kowalskiend up failing with this initiative. 

There’s been a 230 percent increase in social media since 2007.  The growth is staggering. Yet, the question remains – how are companies engaging in social media successfully?  Brian Renny, CMO, Harvard Business School says we need to understand the sociology of engaging social media to connect with our audience; otherwise we’ll fall short of success.  Just because a company tweets or has a Facebook fan page, doesn’t mean the organization is successful.  It’s all how the organization is using the social media tools available to them and how they’re leveraging them to connect with the community. 

Conversations, good and bad, are happening everywhere.  As we all know, a successful public relations campaign is always well thought out and planned.  So why should this be any different with the way we handle social media?  Matt Peters, creative director, Pandemic Labs, says building a solid social media platform is essential to the organization’s success of future initiatives. Although social media has certainly changed the way we do our jobs, the core concept is still the same.  We still must identify how we communicate with our audience.

Some of the most successful PR campaigns and crisis communication resolutions in recent times were well-thought out plans that connected with the audience via social media.  As my colleague Denise Giacin points out in a recent post on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, Jet Blue is a great example of a company using social media to manage PR communications and engagement.  When the Valentine’s Day brand disaster occurred in 2007, the company quickly turned to YouTube to connect with their customers.  Founder and former CEO, David Neeleman, went on the Internet first apologizing to the employees of Jet Blue and then to their customers for going against everything the company stands for.  He ensured something like this will never happen again.  The quick response and admittance of fault allowed the public to forgive the airline and move on. 

Jenny Dervin, director of corporate communications stated that the company built the brand on goodwill through daily engagement and cashed in on that when the disaster occurred.  Dervin said it’s important that you’re proactive with social media on daily basis and people will be more forgiving, should a crisis occur.  Another important point Dervin made is that social media allowed the company to directly speak with their audience, rather than using traditional media channels as a middle man.  People perceive the company as being more genuine and sincere when the message is direct.

So before you send that tweet, or create a fan page, have a concrete method that parallels the goals of your business and/or your campaign or crisis and do your research. Once you have the appropriate channels in place remain sincere and proactive when connect with constituents.  Otherwise, if you jump in too soon without thinking, the chances of your success with social media or handling crisis communication will diminish.

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*Bio: As a Senior Account Manager at BurrellesLuce, Tom Kowalski works closely with New York-based clients and PR agencies. Tom brings extensive knowledge of the PR industry with more than 7 years of agency experience. He hopes to stimulate readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas by sharing useful information related to the communications industry and business in general, as well as different perspectives on customer service. LinkedIn: Tom Kowalski Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Media Measurement: A Long Term Investment

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

by Tom Kowalski*

Media MeasurementIn this day in age, it’s becoming exceedingly important for public relations professionals to show their worth.  As PR pros, we all know that effective public relations is as equally important as the rest of the communications mix. Unfortunately, some top executives are still hard-pressed to understand the value of PR. This is where media measurement and analysis are vital to demonstrate results.

Recently, Randall Chinchilla, external relations manager, P&G, spoke with Erica Iacono, executive editor, PRWeek, at a BurrellesLuce sponsored round table discussion to underline the importance of measurement in long-term ROI (return on investment.)  He explained that executives are more apt to understand the value of public relations when shown measurable results over time and the impact to the business. 

According to Chinchilla analysis should be done over time, not only on a “project” basis. Yes, it’s great to see colorful charts and graphs that give a visual (perhaps a spike in publicity for a certain campaign) but more important is how that specific event contributes to the business’ goals over time. It’s hard to determine ROI from a single event when engagement from an event can have a long cycle. When a company invests in a campaign, usually it’s a long term investment. Therefore, the results need to be measured consistently as well. When meaningful analysis reports are presented over a period of time, budgets for measurement are less likely to be cut. 

In a digital age, where most of the chatter is online, there are also many challenges to understanding and measuring the messages on the Internet and it is difficult to predict how they directly impact your business. Chinchilla explained that it’s a constant uphill battle on how to best evaluate discussions on blogs and social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) and how it affects long-term ROI. The consensus? There doesn’t seem to be any real clarity on how social media affects the future of the business.    

Another great point Chinchilla made was that measurement cannot be cookie cutter. One organization’s goals are not the same as another. A great example is that media value or AVE (ad value equivalent) are not a good single-measure of how successful your business is doing. It’s great to show what PR is worth in dollars, but more important for P&G is engagement. There are many other variables that should also be incorporated into the evaluation, but they are different depending on the goals of your business. Are we tracking the online conversations and what’s being said?  Is the message positive or negative and how is it directly affecting the organization in the short-term and perhaps more importantly over a long period of time?

The bottom line: Information and data come in fast, but analysis of results takes time in order to be impactful and thoughtful.

So, how do we really know how PR affects the future our business? How can we align our analysis strategies with organization objectives to show added value?

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*As an Account Manager at BurrellesLuce, Tom Kowalski works closely with New York-based clients and PR agencies. Tom brings extensive knowledge of the PR industry with more than 7 years of agency experience. He hopes to stimulate readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas by sharing useful information related to the communications industry and business in general, as well as different perspectives on customer service. LinkedIn: Tom Kowalski Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce