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Vsnapper Spotlight: Stan Phelps of 9 INCH MARKETING

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap

When Stan Phelps of 9 INCH MARKETING signed up for Vsnap after the Delight Conference last year, I was super excited. It took me back to the first time I stumbled upon his Marketing Lagniappe website, which has more than 1,000 examples of customer love (the subject of his first book, “What’s Your Purple Goldfish?: How to Win Customers & Influence Word of Mouth”). It’s awesome to see so many companies that believe that creating customer delight is the fastest way to build a successful business. Since Stan first started Marketing Lagniappe, he has written three books. His last book, "What’s Your GoldenGoldfish: The Vital Few - All Customers and Employees Are Not Created Equal", was released this past April. In this Vsnapper Spotlight, Stan shares his thoughts on the origin of the Purple Goldfish, employee and customer experience, and of course, pie. 

What’s the origin of the Purple Goldfish?

A purple goldfish is signature added value in marketing. It’s the idea of exceeding the expectation of your customer by giving little unexpected extras. I call it GLUE for short. It’s the small things that differentiate a product/service, drive loyalty, and promote positive word of mouth. The color purple is a different reference to Mardi Gras. The concept is based on a principle from Louisiana called lagniappe. In New Orleans its customary for a business to give a little extra at the time of purchase. Something that gets thrown in for good measure. Mark Twain was so enamored with practice that he called it, “a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get.”

Are there any companies that are hitting it out of the park right now when it comes to GLUE?

I have a group of 37 companies in my Hall of Fame (see Slideshare). There are some well known brands like Lexus, Zappos, and Apple. Perhaps one of the companies I like the most is also part of the inspiration for calling it a goldfish. Kimpton knocks it out of the park. It does the little things such as complimentary Starbucks coffee, fresh fruit and wine tastings. But my favorite is a program called Guppy Love. Perhaps you are getting a little lonely during your stay, Kimpton will give you a pet goldfish to keep you company. 

At our last Customer Love Summit, we talked about how office space and employee experience can really benefit the customer experience in the long run. I know you also run employee programs, what are some tips you tell your clients when it comes to the employee experience? 

You are absolutely correct. You can’t have happy enthused customers unless you have happy engaged employees. My second book Green Goldfish addresses the little things you can do for employees to drive engagement and reinforce culture. Here are a few tips:

1. Space matters - invest in great common areas. The bigger the kitchen the better.
2. Recognition isn’t an afterthought - Great workplaces use recognition early and often. They realize its a driver of performance.
3. Transparency - Be open. Employees need to know that you are acting in their best interest. Research shows this is the single biggest driver of engagement.

How do you use Vsnap in your business? 

I use Vsnap to follow up with my colleagues and clients. I love that it provides the personal touch of a handwritten note with the immediacy and trackability of email. 

Any interesting reactions from those who have received a vsnap from you? 

It’s generally surprise. I typically get the “Awesome” reaction. Love that.

And of course, what’s your favorite kind of pie? 

I’m going to go with savory. Having spent a year in Australia while in college, I’m going to have to go meat pie, specifically minced steak and mushy peas. Delicious. (see attached picture)
Thanks for the interview, Stan

What about you? Do you want to share how you’re using Vsnap in your business? Contact Trish at trish@vsnap.com or fill out this form and you could be in our next Vsnapper Spotlight!

Filed under trish blogs vsnapper spotlight vsnap kimpton hotels stan phelps 9 inch marketing purple goldfish

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Know Your Buyers’ Quarter End Vacation Calendar

By Bill Harris, VP of Sales at Vsnap

Q2 fnl.jpg

Reminder: there are 20 business days left in the quarter!

As a sales manager, you have to execute by getting your team to rake in as much revenue as possible ahead of the summertime vacation exodus. One thing you should do is make sure that everyone on your team knows their buyers’ calendars.

Most salespeople on your team can demonstrate the importance of knowing calendars. They’ll have stories from years past — deals lost because of client vacations, and deals won because they got ahead of that question.  

No sales rep should ever make the mistake of having a “surprise” vacation departure on the buyer side. Good sales reps know the importance of walking the buyer backward from June 30th to know where everyone in the signatory process is going to be, their availability, and best ways to reach one another. 

Have your salespeople cover the following steps:

  • Identify ALL stakeholders for signature.

  • Determine if the signatory approval process is manual or electronic.

  • Determine if the approval process is informal (conversational approval usually involving 1 or 2 people) or formal (requiring a business case, multiple approval levels based on dollars spent, and legal).

  • Walk the buyer backward from June 30th to put a deadline date to each task that each person in the process will be responsible for.

  • Establish a written, mutually agreed to Sequence of Events.

As the manager, you can track how your team implements this practice of mapping customer availability, tasks and the buyers’ calendars. A simple spreadsheet will give you a good balcony view of your outcomes.

One more reminder for all reps — the quarter really ends on Friday, June 27th. With July 4th the following week, the lion’s share of approvers and signatories will be heading out at the close of business on Friday.   

Good luck with quarter end!

Filed under sales bill harris vsnap Q2 sales process

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Recap: Customer Love Meetup Boston #4

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap

After 8 events at different companies in Boston and NYC, it was so great to host last week’s Customer Love Meetup at Vsnap HQ. It’s truly an honor to be able to open up our doors to a community of people that are really proving the value of taking time to make customers feel special. And speaking of community, that seemed to be a theme for last week’s meetup. Some people forget, while you’re building awareness around your product, it can’t just be about you and your company. It’s about the community - how the product fits and improves their lives, but also how they can connect and identify with other members. Here are a couple stories that our CustLove guests shared about their communities.

Have fun bringing together your community

At the co-working space WeWork, they have a mobile app that allows members to book conference rooms and connect with other people in the space. Kelsey Schachter shared that they recently built a direct messaging feature into their app, and then ran a special campaign to get their community to use it. When members logged into the app, they had the option to send a Super Special Right Now message to another member. Part of the special, was an option to send a drink (vodka lemonade or regular) that would be delivered by the WeWork community managers, along with a high five. The campaign was incredibly successful because it allowed members to not only connect with each other, but essentially give each other a gift that they didn’t have to pay for. It also helped the WeWork team to follow up with their members in a non-traditional way.

Give your community tools to connect with each other

At Stackdriver, one of their community tactics is to empower their customers to hold meetups. Kelly Rice shared that to start, the team sent users handwritten notes and some swag to say thank you. Then they took some time to build relationships with their customers (while making sure they were getting the most out of the product), before reaching out to gauge interest in being involved with the community. That’s how Meetup-in-a-Box came about. Stackdriver would send over a big box of materials that would help a user hold a successful meetup, from shirts for attendees to a flash drive with examples of other presentations. They also created a page called Community Hub, that showcased open-source projects, presentations, and photos from their users. That provided a central place to both show off their customers but also connect them to other community members. It’s important to take time to help your customers feel confident about spreading the word, whether that’s through education, digital assets, or physical products.

Thanks again to our very awesome sponsor, Grasshopper (and Taylor Aldredge), for keeping our guests fed and hydrated. And of course, thank you to everyone that came out! And to stay in the know about our summer meetups, subscribe to our mailing list (sign up here - emails strictly for the Customer Love Meetups).

Filed under trish blogs custlove14 customer love boston stackdriver wework

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Three Big Benefits of Vsnap’s New Viewer API

By Dave McLaughlin, CEO & Co-Founder at Vsnap


How we feel determines what we do. This is true in our personal lives. And it’s true in business.

Customer emotion accelerates sales velocity, and it inspires evangelism. It’s what lies behind every single referral and retweet you’ve ever received. 

Vsnap’s new Viewer API is an entirely new tool for people in Sales and Support who want to engage their customers emotionally. There’s a quick overview below. But first, for the newcomers…

What is Vsnap?

If you’re in a customer-facing role but you don’t have any face-to-face interaction with your customer, then you use Vsnap to send that person a quick, one-to-one video message.

It’s the easiest and most efficient way to establish a personal connection with a remote customer as a context for doing business together. Now, our new Viewer API makes all this better. It provides three big benefits…

Benefit #1 = Full Branding Customization

Prior to now, when you vsnap a customer, she watches that message at a vsnap.com URL, in the context of Vsnap’s logo, etc. In short, vsnapping has been a Vsnap experience, not a YourCompany experience.

But our new Viewer API lets you completely tailor your customer’s experience. Your customer will receive a customized notification from your email address that brings her to a page on your website, and we’ll dynamically stream the vsnap you’ve made for her right into this view page. 

There’s nothing else like this. A personal video speaking directly to a single customer — talk about making someone feel important! — watchable at the customer’s convenience, in the context of your brand assets.

Here’s an example of a vsnap being sent without our API, and here’s the same vsnap when the sender has implemented the API.

Benefit #2 = Action Focus

In the example above, notice that Nineteenth Amendment’s developer has chosen to make the video larger. Also, notice that they’ve removed the reply functionality. Those simple details illustrate an important point — that everything on the view page is now in your control.

With the Viewer API, you are free to use or not use any of the current Vsnap elements. The title, the attachments, the description, the sentiment buttons, the reply and forward buttons, etc.

And you are free to introduce whatever calls to action you want that customer to take. Remember, Vsnap drives customer action 41% more than email outreach. Now you can choose what actions you want them to take when they finish watching your vsnap.

Here are examples of how some clients are using this flexibility.

  • Inside Sales team - Looking to drive demo calls, putting a “Schedule Demo” button right next to each vsnap.

  • Consumer Apparel company - Sending vsnaps to engage influencers, presenting two clear calls to action: “Purchase” and “Promote”.  

  • Online Education - Using Vsnap to increase enrollment by as much as 70%, presenting vsnap recipients a “Register Now” button.

  • Net Promoter - An online services company sends a vsnap to each client to ask them to complete the Net Promoter question, pairing the video with the ability for the customer to replay 1 to 10 right in the same interface.

  • Increase EngagementAn insurance company vsnaps clients on their birthdays, gives them a “Schedule a Call” button — using this “surprise & delight” tactic to uncover upsell opportunities.

Benefit #3 = Measure What You Want How You Want

Because it’s your view page, you can define any events that you deem important. And you can track them in whatever analytics tool or CRM you’re already using. So now you can run reports on the impact of your vsnapping — and you can connect those events to other items in your workflow.


We love businesses that believe making customers feel loved is the fastest path to growth, and that are brand-sensitive and measurement-obsessed. That’s who we built this new Viewer API for.

Prior to the launch of our new site later this summer, the only way to get your hands on this API is by contacting us — just email me at info@vsnap.com. If you have questions, feel free to email them, or post them in the comments below! 


Filed under dave blogs vsnap api vsnap Video Messaging sales support

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Recap: Customer Love Meetup NYC #2

By Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap


Last week I went down to NYC for a Customer Love Meetup at Bow & Drape. If that company sounds familiar, it’s probably because 1) they’re all about delight in their customer experience 2) their CEO, Aubrie Pagano, spoke at our first Customer Love Summit on Valentine’s Day last year (you can check out her talk here). It was great to visit their new workspace just outside Times Square, and to see what they had in their fall line. Oh, and of course to bring together a tribe of people that believe making customers happy is the fastest path to growth.

The crowd - which was made up of community, social media, and content managers this time around - honed in on a theme: gratitude. What do you do for your customers to show them that you care?

Well there’s the obvious…

Shannon Byrne of mention was the first person to answer: “What about just saying thank you?” Seems simple, but not all companies remember to do it. Sometimes they’re wrapped up in customer issues, or sometimes they’re not even paying attention to the people that are giving them shout outs. Or worse, they’re afraid that engaging with community members may lead to conversation. I know you may be shaking your head, but it still happens out there in the universe. That brand that believes social media is a one way conversation. There should really be a poster board at the gates of the internet that state the same rules of life apply online: be kind and say thank you. And don’t forget to be sincere when you reach out to your community. There may be a computer between you, but customers can sniff out companies that aren’t being authentic.

And then there’s public recognition

Alex Dao, told us that over at Vimeo, the way they recognize the awesome filmmakers in their community is by making them a Staff Pick. These special videos are hand selected by Vimeo’s Curation Team (4 people), and over the past 6 years alone, only 8,000 people in the world have been featured. Seems like a big number, but when compared to the 141,000 people following the channel and the number of people that stumble upon the videos on Vimeo’s homepage, it still remains a pretty elite group. What’s your version of a staff pick? Featuring a customer in a newsletter, blog post, or even on your website is a start. Come up with something that makes sense for your company, and shares your customers’ achievement with your community.

Or coming up with on-brand, little gifts…


Search Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #warbysurprise, and you’ll see some pretty happy community members. At the meetup, Alexa Adler and Lauren Roeder, shared some stories about Warby Parker’s latest campaigns: cute “make-a-snowman” kits in the winter, Arbor Day seeds in the spring, and Jack Kerouac books on the company’s 4th anniversary (the company name comes from 2 characters in a Kerouac novel). Because their store is primarily online, their customers aren’t expecting an “offline” touch and really appreciate the thought Warby puts into its gifts and handwritten notes. So how do they pick who to gift? It’s mainly based off customer experience interactions, social media, and customers who visit their retail locations. Not everyone that receives a gift, is a paying customer either. Talk about a great opportunity for those people that are on the fence! Warby Parker knows that you don’t have to break the bank (or give away high ticket items) to make a customer smile.

Those were just some of the stories from this awesome group, and it makes me really excited to get the ball rolling on more NYC meetups. Stay in the know by subscribing to our mailing list (sign up here - emails strictly for the Customer Love Meetups).

Thanks again to our awesome host, Bow & Drape, and stay tuned for our summer meetups in NYC and Boston!

Filed under trish blogs customer love meetup custlove14 vimeo warby parker mention bow and drape