There is Nothing More Important Than the Customer Experience!

For all of the social and digital media advice and trends I provide on this website, as I preach at conferences, keynotes, when I’m teaching, and anywhere people will listen—all of the social media engagement and listening in the world is trumped by remarkable customer service. 

If you provide remarkable customer service, people will tell others through word of mouth and through social media. Conversely, if you have poor touch points with customer service, people will tell others.

I was flying cross country a couple of weeks ago and had a layover at DFW. Now I know airline gate agents are stressed to the max and have to deal with some outrageous people and situations at times, but watching what was happening for a few hours was amazing.

This happened to be American Airlines. I’m sure American has thousands of amazing people who go out of their way to help customers and make them feel good. However, on this day, at this gate, for a few hours, that wasn’t the case. The customers who would approach these gate agents did so politely. For three hours, never did I see a smile. Never did I see anything other than multi-tasking, transaction agents, mostly looking down while “customers” approached them.

Here are a few things to think about:
1. Love your job or leave it. It’s not prison.
2. Love your customers or leave them. Your job isn’t prison.
3. Provide remarkable customer service that people will talk about, otherwise your business is invisible and no different than any other business.

(c)  Joseph Barnes 

What’s the Magic Word for Ecommerce Sites?

I consider Roger Dooly to be an expert on the subject of Neuromarketing. In fact, he’s the author of a book by the same name.

He has a great post on his website about a research study by Kantar Media which surveyed 2,500+ shoppers to determine what would motivate them to place an order. “Which of the following would encourage you to place more orders online?”

  • 77% Free shipping
  • 56% Free returns
  • 43% In-store return option
  • 41% Ability to use in-store coupons online
  • 41% Faster shipping
  • 41% In-store pick-up option

As Roger says, what stands out? FREE.

Roger writes about “The Power of Free.” It’s an important read for anyone interested in understanding why consumers buy.

This is Joe talking now—-Yes, they buy primarily based on word of mouth recommendations from friends and if you do things right—price. Treat your customer extraordinarily well, and they will love you in return. As Andy Sernovitz would say: You must provide “remarkable” customer service — that is — customer service so special people will tell others how great you and your products/service are.


"It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!"

Remember when Bill Clinton was running for president? The key strategic phrase the campaign used everywhere was, “It’s the economy, stupid!” They didn’t say it like that to the public but that was the phrase that everyone, including Bill Clinton, used to remind themselves to stay on target with their messaging.

Today, whether you are an online business, brick and mortar, education or nonprofit your phrase should be “It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!”

Everyone throughout your business needs to view customers, clients, patients, donors and/or students as “family.” Without each one of them, your business goes nowhere.

Today word of mouth about bad experiences can be shared to hundreds, even thousands of people. One needs to look no farther than the backlash at Bank of America’s attempt to start a debit card fee or Verizon’s attempt to charge a fee for paying your bill in a certain way. “It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!”

Whether you like it or not your brand is at stake in every touch point, right down to  how people answer the phones at your business.

The only way to build a trusting relationship with your customers is to demonstrate it. Every part of your business needs to be “remarkable.” That means, an experience that your customer feels so good about they will tell others—-otherwise you are only average. And average isn’t good enough.

Want your business to grow? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When people in our business answer the phones, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?
  2. When people go to our website, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?
  3. When people to to our Facebook page, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?
  4. When people come into our business, is it a “remarkable” customer experience?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions,  create a plan to fix that immediately. Stage a remarkable customer experience. Train the staff to create remarkable experiences.

 Remember: “It’s the Relationship Economy—Stupid!”
(c) Joe Barnes

The True Power of Social Media!

For those of you you follow Erik Qualman, he has a book I highly recommend — “Socialnomics,” which I use in many of the social media marketing classes I teach. And he has produced some amazing videos. Here’s the latest that just goes to prove where people are talking!

The Magic of Digital Storytelling!

As you read through many of my posts you have seen that I talk frequently about the powerful magic of storytelling. Using digital tools you can create powerful digital “experiences.”

Always look for the “nuggets,” not just something that you can replicate or seeing a video and thinking “we can’t don that.” Look for the inspiration, the little ideas and build on those.

With that in mind, here’s a very funny foreign commercial with some great surprising reveals.

Seattle University Students Score Big in Word of Mouth & Social Networking!

It’s truly amazing what an enthusiastic group of students can learn in eight short weeks. I just finished teaching an MBA level course on word of mouth marketing and social media at Seattle University and I was absolutely amazed at their final projects.

Along the way I asked the students to write about their takeaways from “Word of Mouth Marketing” by Andy Sernovitz (a book I use for the course), “Socialnomics,” by Erik Qualman (another book I use), and much more.

We covered everything from WOM to all of the current social networking channels including mobile.

I encourage you to read some of the posts by these bright students!

Powerful Digital Storytelling!

Whether you are a small or large nonprofit, a small or large for-profit, digital storytelling is a powerful way to get your message across—and create powerful word of mouth marketing. Nothing is more powerful than someone “experiencing” your brand or your message.

It can be humorous, say funny flubs from cupcake decorators, or have a serious message. As an Emmy Award Winning television professional I have led teams to create powerful stories and produced powerful stories myself. Along the way I have gathered powerful stories as good examples. Some are incredibly simple, yet carry powerful messages. Here’s one such example:

At Digital 3000 we can create concepts, write, shoot, edit, and produce PSA’s and stories for your organization.

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Ethics

As I was teaching social media and word of mouth marketing to an MBA class at Seattle University last night I showed a very important video I also use in my workshops and seminars on ethics. It features Andy Sernovitz, author of the book “Word of Mouth Marketing.” This is an important video to watch and I urge you—and your team to watch it and discuss it.

Sometimes It Takes Spontaneous Guerilla Marketing!

Here’s a great story I haven’t shared before that created great word of mouth marketing with no cash out of pocket.

When I worked as Vice President of Marketing at Pacific Science Center and flew Southwest back into Seattle I would always carry at least a dozen business cards.The reason? On the back of each card was a free pass into the science center.

While the flight was in progress I would approach one of the flight attendants, introduce myself, tell them about Pacific Science Center and the latest exhibit, and suggest they do a plane-wide contest for the tickets.

It always worked. They were nice enough to always create a great contest for the giveaway, and in the process I sat there in my seat thinking how great it was having 130 people hearing all about what was new at Pacific Science Center. Simply by using some spontaneous guerilla marketing.


(c) Joe Barnes

Social media for social change for social good.

Social media is so much more than marketing, creating communities, listening to customers and having a two-way dialogue. It’s also about using the tools and platforms for change—real change—that makes a difference in the world.

Whether you are an individual, an organization, an association, or a company—it’s your (our) responsibility to use these tools for social good.

I’m reminded of a story from 2010 in which a social media leader had a real epiphany — a real “ah ha” moment about social media for social change. As he tells the story here he is pounding out his blog every day with thousands of readers when his wife comes home and says she wants to help a mother and kids after they became homeless because of a domestic violence situation. The writer took the family in and then  tweeted the need for $5,000 to help set the family up in an apartment. 

Was he surprised. By the next day people had sent in $17,000 via Pay Pal — and he didn’t even know most of these people. 

The moral of this story is to do the same thing. Use your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn connections to help others. Social media for social change for social good.
Joe Barnes