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Author Archives: Ted Rubin

About Ted Rubin

Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Brand Evangelist. In March 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR. He is also the author of the book by the same name... Return on Relationship. Visit his web site at www.tedrubin.com for more information.

Learning to Speak “Human” #H2H


Learning to Speak “Human” #H2H
By Ted Rubin

 

In his new e-book There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human: #H2H, my good friend Bryan Kramer gives some wise advice to brands:

“I don’t care what language you speak, who your brand is or what message you’re trying to send, we all need to speak more human.”

I love that statement because it so perfectly reminds us that in the midst of all of our increasingly complex digital sophistication, making the human connection is more important than anything else. Because of the power of social to inform and educate consumers, companies need to be a part of the social scape, and that means functioning in the world on a human to human scale. They can no longer afford to hide behind a logo. They have to converse with their market and above all, listen.

 

This means radical changes in the way companies operate. Top down doesn’t work anymore. When your customers are reaching out to you via social with a problem, they aren’t happy with standard responses. They want to hear from a warm body at your company who has their finger on the problem and who will do everything in their power to make it right as soon as possible. This kind of response can be what Bryan calls a “shining moment,” turning a dissatisfied customer into a fan and a fan into a raving fan.

To carry this off however, companies are going to have to empower their employees with social so that those who are close to the problem can interact with customers. Companies like Dynamic Signal are providing easy to use platforms that make empowering employees as advocates simple. I know, it’s scary, but it’s beneficial too. Brands who embrace social to crowdsource and to form one-on-one relationships are going to be more flexible, stronger players and ultimately winners in the market place.

Bryan puts companies who aren’t using social effectively into three categories–those who jump into social without a plan for fear of being left behind, those who avoid it for fear of making a mistake, and those who still want to control the message with one-way communication. For the ones who are trying, I have to give them points for sticking a toe in the water. But folks, the landscape is changing too fast to go at this thing halfheartedly. It’s time to jump in all the way.

There’s no doubt that social is a disruptive force, and if you try to control it, you lose. The best companies embrace it and use it as a positive force for fostering innovation and building brand loyalty. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. It’s only human right? Bryan makes the excellent point that if you connect with your market audience on an authentic, human level, people are ready to forgive a few blunders along the way. It’s when they sense you’re not being genuine that you run into trouble.

At one point in the book he relates the story of the FedEx deliveryman who was caught on a home security camera tossing a package containing a TV over a wall instead of carrying it up to the door and ringing the bell. The video went viral with over 9 million views and lots of fall-out. FedEx responded not with excuses or a slick advertising campaign, but with an authentic, very human apology from a clearly nervous spokesperson who also explained the steps they were taking to make sure it didn’t happen again. It took FedEx stock 30 days to recover, but that was the end of it. A lesson learned, and the company is better for it.

Our relationships, our connections to community, are what help us grow and get stronger. However, we can’t have real human relationships if we’re afraid of making mistakes, because as humans, that’s what we do. So, no more time to waste, it’s time to speak human! I highly recommend Bryan’s new e-book, There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human: #H2H.


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Ted Rubin

Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Brand Evangelist at Ted Rubin
Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Brand Evangelist. In March 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR. He is also the author of the book by the same name... Return on Relationship. Visit his web site at www.tedrubin.com for more information.
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CXM: The X-Factor in Return on Relationship


CXM: The X-Factor in Return on Relationship
By Ted Rubin


Are companies finally starting to get the message about Return on Relationship? A new acronym, RonR, is floating around these days and it seems to exemplify the heart of the issue–paying closer attention to customers.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, but now there’s buzz going around about CXM, or Customer Experience Management. To me, CXM is a natural offshoot of CRM, not because it’s a replacement of it, but because it’s the next logical step in today’s world, optimizing the customer experience. But what’s the difference between the two?
 



 

A recent article in crmsearch.com gives each term a pretty clear definition:

CRM: Customer Relationship Management is a business strategy directed to understand, anticipate and respond to the needs of an enterprise’s current and potential customers in order to grow the relationship value.

CXM: Customer Experience Management includes both the individual experience in a single transaction as well as the sum of all experiences across all touch points and channels between a customer and a supplier over the duration of their relationship.

The change in terminology reflects a very important factor: the control shift from seller to buyer that has been precipitated by social media. CRM software is designed to collect data about customers, and to automate systems for getting in front of them and communicating with them. CXM takes the concept even further. It’s really a more customer-centric approach to nurturing relationships by finding ways to delight buyers at every touch point.

This is a necessary step, I believe. For too long, CRM adopters have not really used the tools as much for customer relationship nurturing as for exercising control over customer-facing staff and keeping tabs on sales performance. While those things are essential to track, they don’t address the needs and desires of customers and the kind of service they expect to receive. In order to provide the level of service that truly sets us apart, we need to start delivering the kind of data that helps us provide the right things at the right time to enhance customer interactions and make it easier for them (not just easier for us) at every step in the relationship.

We’ve always known that it’s six to seven times more costly to acquire new customers than to keep the ones you already have, yet we’ve consistently paid more attention to new sales numbers than to customer retention. The focus of CXM is to finally focus more on the relationship.

I’m glad that companies are finally starting to recognize that they need to pay more attention to this. There’s even a new C-Suite position of CCO (Chief Customer Officer) charged with handling the customer experience from top to bottom.

My advice, however, is make sure that your new CCO has close ties with your CIO and CMO. The kind of communication required to deliver the ultimate customer experience needs to run across and run through all channels. To be successful, CXM really needs to be an enterprise-wide cultural shift.

My hope is that as CXM matures and more vendors begin to offer these types of solutions, companies take a holistic approach to implementation. Building better customer relationships should be everyone’s primary objective, from sales, to marketing, to customer service, even IT departments.  If that’s the true objective, then CXM truly has a chance to be the X-factor in achieving Return on Relationship.

The article was originally published on TedRubin.com.

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Ted Rubin

Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Brand Evangelist at Ted Rubin
Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Brand Evangelist. In March 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, hashtag #RonR. He is also the author of the book by the same name... Return on Relationship. Visit his web site at www.tedrubin.com for more information.
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Lose the Fear and Embrace the Opportunities of Social Media

Lose the Fear and Embrace the Opportunities of Social Media
By Ted Rubin

I’ve come to the conclusion that negative social media issues are like plane crashes. The big bad ones get media attention, which produces a disproportionate fear in the marketplace, but airline disasters don’t happen every day. The fact that we have this awesome aviation technology has lifted world-wide standard of living exponentially, yet we only hear about the negative news, which causes some to avoid air travel altogether.

The same thing is happening with social media, in that some brands don’t adopt it or use it to its fullest potential because they’re afraid something “bad” will happen. The conversation isn’t something they can control, so it’s to be feared. The big “what if” has them trembling in their boots. What if they say something negative about us?  What if our social accounts get hacked like Burger King or CBS?


In today’s digital world, brands that don’t step into the social conversation wholeheartedly risk invisibility. Toe-dippers beware! Taking full advantage of social conversations already swirling around your brand can only happen when you jump in with both feet and start communicating. Will there be mistakes along the way? Sure. Will people say bad things about you sometimes? Yes. Could things spiral out of control and kill your brand? Only if you allow it.

How to Get Around the “What if” Syndrome

Use Lemons to Make Lemonade: Burger King is a good example of making lemonade from life-handed lemons. Their Twitter account was hacked. Hooligans had fun saying that the brand was merging with McDonalds, the employees were taking drugs, etc. This was something totally out of the brand’s control, but it got fixed and the incident ended up bringing them a lot of media attention. In the end, people understood. Burger King didn’t lose any followers (in fact they gained a bunch). However, they could have taken further advantage of the attention with some funny, targeted content, making lemonade when the hackers handed them lemons.

Plan Ahead:  Recognizing opportunities doesn’t mean you can turn every negative thing into lemonade, however. Due to the nature of the attack on CBS, we must tread carefully. That’s why every brand should have a “disaster plan” when it comes to their social strategy.  My friend and co-author of Return on Relationship, Kathryn Rose, talks about creating “moderation plans” with her clients in another of her books, Solving the Social Media Puzzle.

In it, she explains how she helped a laundry soap manufacturer brainstorm every negative comment they could possibly get about their product, and list the action they would take to respond. She worked with them to put a plan in place “that took into account the innocuous complaint (e.g. the coupons won’t print; what kind of clothes can I use this on?), all the way to the worst case—someone was injured.” It also took into account how to respond to positive feedback, so all bases were covered. Having this type of plan allowed community managers to act quickly and decisively in moderating their community and not shrink from the unexpected.

You see where I’m going with this? Social conversation is a fluid thing, so you need to plan ahead, but be flexible enough to view some things you may consider bad as opportunities. You can’t control the conversation, so don’t try. The important thing is to be involved in the conversation and work with it; have a plan for moderating and don’t let fear hold you back. People who don’t fly because they’re afraid of what might happen don’t get anywhere fast. So lose the fear. Embrace the possibilities instead.


Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Brand Evangelist. In March 2009 he started using and evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationshiphashtag #RonR. He is also the author of the book by the same name… Return on Relationship. Visit his web site at www.tedrubin.com for more information.

Originally posted at TedRubin.com.

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