By Dave McLaughlin, CEO & Co-Founder at Vsnap
On Valentine’s Day, we hosted our 2nd Annual Customer Love Summit. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing videos of the different talks. I want to kick this off as we did with the Summit, by sharing a few thoughts on what we mean when we talk about Customer Love – and why it matters so much to growth-focused businesses.
Simply stated, we believe that focusing on customer emotion is the fastest path to growth. It’s our experience that making customers feel valued and even loved increases customer acquisition, loyalty and referrals.
Also, it’s our belief that employees are happier and more productive at Customer Love companies than at companies that have a purely transactional view of the customer.
That’s the Why of Customer Love – why it is so important. What about the How? How do companies build Customer Love? What are the tools & tactics that help you create and nurture this all-important emotional connection?
Well, that’s what the Customer Love Summit and our semi-regular Customer Love Meetups are all about. They’re simply conversations among business people who share tangible tools and tactics that other Customer Love believers can test and implement. The Summit is structured, and our Meetups are informal. But both are an action-oriented dialogues, not academic ones. (BTW - to stay in the know, you can sign up for the mailing list and you’ll only be emailed when the meetups are scheduled.)
We think of the How in three buckets: values & culture, user experience, and interactions. Most companies can meaningfully deepen their connection with customers – and grow business – by making improvements in each of those areas. And often there’s low-hanging fruit where you can create impact without lots of additional cost. The Customer Love conversation is a living, breathing resource to help folks do just that.
Okay, enough of me talking about this. Can’t wait to start sharing some of the actual talks from the Summit. We’re really looking forward to your thoughts! And in the meantime, you can check out the tweets from the event by scrolling through the Storify below.
By Guillaume Delloue, Director of Marketing at Vsnap
Ten years ago social media mainly consisted of college students looking up each other’s pictures. Today, it’s a crucial component of any organization, large or small, public or private. And although it’s widely used by customer service folks, marketers and PR professionals, many salespeople remain skeptical. 2014 will be different. As the year of “social acceptance”, it’s when the sales community will fully embrace social selling. Here are four reasons why:
Customers Live On Social Media
A decade after the launch of Facebook you’d be hard pressed to find anyone without a social presence on the web. In 2013 nearly three-quarters of Americans reported using social networks, while 80% of millennials log on at least once a day. No longer awkward or uncomfortable to use, social networks have become one of the primary ways people communicate. In order to sell to today’s customers, you must be prepared to meet them where they live digitally — and that’s on social media.
Customers Expect You To Sell On Social Media
Customers are also getting used to buying and being sold to on social media. It’s already been shown that social conversations can accelerate deals. Of course, the same way aggressive sales tactics rarely work, you shouldn’t be bombarding prospects with tweets begging them to buy your product. Instead, use social media to get more info about your prospect’s interests, discover influencers, keep opportunities warm or stay in touch with past clients.
Customers Want To Engage With You On Social Media
As a salesperson, you shouldn’t be on social just to reach customers, but also so that customers can reach out to you. For example, an informative LinkedIn profile may be the one push that convinces a prospect to call you back about an offer. Similarly, replying to a customer’s questions via Twitter may be the perfect opportunity to ask for a referral. Spend some time improving your personal brand on social and you’re sure to reap the benefits of inbound selling.
Customers Will Be More Mobile
If there’s one fact everyone in the business community seems to agree about, it’s the unstoppable rise of mobile. According to Morgan Stanley, the number of mobile devices will exceed the number of desktop computers in 2014. The big winners in that shift? Apps and mobile friendly sites. And since smartphones are the primary way customers access social networks, you can expect the web to get even more social. Consider how your organization could use a mobile strategy as part of its sales process. You can be sure your competitors will.
Vsnap is looking for a developer that has all the passion in the world, and wants to take their development skills to the next level. You will be assigned a mentor that will teach you development best practices. You will have the opportunity to work with the latest and greatest web technologies, and get in on the ground floor of an exciting new product. Culture is critical in our eyes, so please take a few minutes to learn about the values Vsnap is built on — here’s a 3-minute video that says it all — http://blog.vsnap.com/post/58791956085/6-values-were-committed-to-at-vsnap
And by the way, those values are very real for us here at Vsnap. Check out our founder’s 5% Promise as an example — http://blog.vsnap.com/post/67472589598/the-5-founders-promise. If you think you might want to launch your own startup at some point, Vsnap is the place for you!
We’re excited to find the next person who is as excited as we are about where we can take the Vsnap product.
- Interest in new web technologies
- Pride in your work
- Ability to learn fast & take direction
- Curiosity, independence, and a portfolio of side projects
- Familiarity with Grails
- Some prior startup experience
If you want to explore this further, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll respond fastest to the people who share which Vsnap value they like best!
By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap
(pictured, L - R: Dave McLaughlin
, CEO at Vsnap; Diane Barr, Vice President, Customer Experience and Brand Standards at Wyndham Hotel Group; Paul Gilliham
, Director - Community & Social Support at Adobe; Matthew Finneran
, Co-Founder of Sparkcentral)
Last week Dave
and I spoke at the Social Media for Customer Care Summit
in San Francisco. I had the opportunity to be on a panel about first contact resolution with Priya Shah
, Senior Social Media Manager at SquareTrade and Amy Higgins
, Content Marketing & Social Media Manager – SMB at Concur Technologies). I also co-presented on proactive customer care and delight with Ryan Dickman, Global Insights Lead - Consumer Affairs, Listening & Digital Insights at The Clorox Company. While I was very excited to present, my brain was buzzing with ideas from my fellow presenters and peers. Here are some of my takeaways from the summit:
Forget Return On Investment, think Risk Or Investment.
Great insight from Randy Rubingh
, Director of Customer Service at StubHub, during his opening keynote. It’s my favorite way of describing the gamble that comes with social customer care. You’ve got to think, “Can I risk ignoring my customers on social media? Or can I invest time to respond right now?”. Social concerns lack the confines of an email or phone call, and can be tweeted, blogged, or shared at any time. And not only that, as Amy
pointed out, most search engines will pull up old responses found on social media. But be not afraid, as Blake Landau
, Social Media Program Manager for Digital Support at Intel emphasized in her presentation, social is a place for opportunity. Support is marketing (well, as the 37 Signals guys would say, everything is marketing
). Happy customers on social frequently share when they’re excited, so in addition to solving their problems you’re opening up your brand to another audience and adding more return to that time investment.
Empower employees to put the fire out with the first touch.
First off, hire the right people. There were a few questions over the course of the conference about employee behavior on social media. If your team members align with your values, there’ll be less pressure to monitor what they’re saying. They’ll communicate from the heart and have your mission in mind. Next step? Empower them. Matthew Finneran
, Co-Founder of Sparkcentral, had some great stories to share about one of their clients, Delta. The people behind @DeltaAssist
are empowered to ask the same questions on social media that their counterparts can on the phone. Seems like something small to train your employees to be well rounded, but remember, many customers turn to social media because they don’t want to be passed from department to department while on the phone or email.
Be human and don’t be afraid of showing some personality.
My co-presenter Ryan from Clorox had some great Twitter examples from some of the company’s 20+ brands
. Clorox deals with some messy moments in our lives, so why not have a playful brand voice like the tweet above? And speaking of voice, pro tip: what it comes down to is forgetting about the normal constructs of B2B or B2C and focusing on H2H. "Be human" is Vsnap’s #1 value
. I love that Eric McKirdy
, Global Customer Care Manager at Ask.com, had his keynote presentation focus on personalization and treating customers like human beings. People get to know, like, trust, and do business with other people on social. Not logos.
Let your community be your ambassadors.
Considering the fact that I’ve held two titles at Vsnap with the word “community” in them, this was obviously a point that I was excited out. For a company like us that has been based almost solely on word of mouth, having community members step in to rave about us or help another Vsnapper out has been amazing. On social, we always know when our friends love or dislike a brand and there are more eyes on what people are saying. Allow your customers to show off their expertise, and take time to highlight and connect them to other people. It’s not just about your company with social, but creating a community that people want to identify with when it comes to their own personal brand.
To see what else people were talking about, check out the Storify