Customer Experience Affects More Than You Think

customer-experienceThis morning I was reading Dan Crick’s Newsletter, “The Marketing Edge.” (Top bloke – I have a lot of time for him.) Dan had come across this research from Forrester. Now Forrester put out a lot of data but only occasionally actually gives you worthwhile information.

Here is the slide that summarizes it best:


If you want to Retain Ups-sell/Cross-sell or get Referrals from your existing customers your customer experience had better be good – top 25% good. For those of you who don’t do math, from being the worst in your industry and best in your industry amounts to between 13% and 16% MORE retention, larger transaction sizes and more frequent purchase and referrals.

According to Jarrad Diamond, “Success is simply avoiding all causes of failure.” Customer experience is a cause of business failure.

Good customer experience will vary, based on what the customer wants and needs from you. Things like having the job done when you say it will be done. Doing it to a high standard may be more important in some cases.

Other times, it may be about having an exceptional atmosphere. Take Starbucks – premium pricing for coffee: largely driven by the environment they sell it in. Fresh coffee smell, nice couches, good music playing in the background and well trained capable staff. Makes a big difference to the price Starbucks commands for coffee.

Take the time to find out what your customers want and deliver it to them. It will make a big difference to your bottom line – far in excess of the initial investment (It’s not a cost if it makes you more money).

Then you need to back those changes up in your marketing to really maximize the return on your investment. The best customer experience should be getting as many customers as possible to it.


Ummm… Congrats, But Who The Heck Are You?

who-the-heck-are-youThis was the reply I got from one of our ‘online only’ subscribers last month when I wrote an email announcing the arrival of my beautiful new daughter Daisy.

It got me asking myself “Does she really not know who I am?” – The reason I found it odd that she didn’t know who I was is because of the sheer amount of automated email contact I have had with her over the past 6 months…

This particular woman willingly entered our database 6 months ago when she requested the online version of our report ‘getting more repeat business and referrals”.

Now for those of you who have requested our report, you’ll know that our email follow-up sequence is quite frequent, there are 24 emails in the first 60 days, plus there are weekly blog/article emails and 2 ezines per month. I checked our systems and over 6 months she was sent 65 emails from us. So I would have thought at the very least she would know me as ‘the guy who sends all the emails’.

At further investigation, she had opened 7 out of those 65 emails, which is a 10.7% open-rate.  Although 10.7% is a low open-rate for us, I’ve heard the number 11% thrown around as an average open rate to commercial email, so I’m assuming this woman is a pretty typical representation of someone receiving email marketing.

This experience just further confirms what Zac and I have been saying all along.

“Email ONLY does NOT build relationships” – In fact in this case it doesn’t even build recognition!

Because we know this, we make a point of getting people onto our hard-copy newsletter database. When people request our free report, they enter their name and email to receive the ‘online version’, we then automatically direct them to another webform to collect their mailing details for their hard-copy too. About 85% of people give us their mailing details, but there is that 15% who are left to be communicated by email only…

If we can’t get recognition with 65 emails over 6 months, what luck does the business sending a monthly ezine only have? Or even worse a business that doesn’t communicate at all?

In order to really succeed we have to communicate with multi-media. We communicate by email, mail and phone to create recognition, familiarity and to build a relationship. I can call virtually anyone who has been receiving our hard-copy newsletter for 6 months and they WILL know who I am because in that 6 months they not only receive the 65 emails, they receive 6 newsletters, 2 post cards, 2 letters and 2 phone calls.

If you would like to discover how to build recognition using print alongside your email, give us a call on 1300 120 106 and lets talk.

There Is NO One Thing!

no-one-thingWe all crave simplicity – I do, you do, it’s universal. If you believe the running man theory of evolution, our endurance made us able to run after gazelles and springboks on the savannah. Our brains made it possible to catch them.

Our brains became hard wired to find the simplest and most efficient way to accomplish any task. It’s why we are human. It’s why we look for the easy way to do stuff. It’s how it is. We also need to know our brain’s limitations.

Why make something twice as hard as we need to? If I can catch a springhare using the half the energy you use we both have a springhare. It’s the earliest form of Dan Kennedys quote, “There is no difficulty bonus when banking your profits.”

The limitations of our efficiency drive are obvious all around us. It’s caused our obesity as a society. If we can eat and sit on our butts all day – then why ever run? There are so many studies pointing out that if we get 30 minutes of cardio exercise a day we would be much happier. But it’s far easier to sit around and eat chips than it is to go run, ride a bike, do Zoomba or anything else you care to mention.

This drive for efficiency has seen mass production, the smart phone, and many other inventions that make our lives ‘easier.’ It is the primal force behind:

“What’s the One Thing I Can Do To Grow My Business?”

So when people start asking about the One Thing they need to do to grow their business, they either don’t like the answer or there is no one thing.

My glib answer to “What is the one thing I need to do to grow my business?” should be “Build a complete marketing system that is able to acquire, retain, grow and monetise customers as well as get the lost ones back. Oh and it should be customised to suit your business.”

If you strip it back maybe it should be “Don’t Be Average.” No average business has all of that. Look at the most successful. Copy what they do and figure out how to add to it.

If it only took one thing to be in the top 1% then we would all be in the top 1%. It’s being able to follow a chain of ‘things’ through to get compound growth getting you far ahead of the masses.

The difference between success and failure is fine. There are only a couple of things we do better than our competitors. They make a massive difference.

Seriously, who sends a gift out with a customer’s first purchase? We do. Who has systems in place to leverage the good will generated from the gift? We do. Not that much of difference in difficulty to implement. Massive difference in results. Don’t look for the one ‘thing.’ Look for 5 small things that will all add up together. That is how you really grow a business.

Newsletters… How Do You Do It?

how-do-you-do-itEaster is just around the corner and the shops are packed full with chocolate. I’m not a huge fan of Easter egg chocolate, but there is one thing at Easter that tempts me, and that is Cadbury Crème Eggs. I have no idea what’s inside exactly, but they are delicious and addictive.

Back a few years ago there was an advert on TV about Cadbury crème eggs, it had a bunch of characters representing the zodiac signs coming up to a microphone: “I’m Leo and I eat a lions share”, “I’m Gemini and I like to slurp it, bite it, slurp it, bite it” and then at the end it says “Cadbury Crème Eggs: How do you do it?”

So how do I do it? – Personally, I bite it, suck out the crème then eat the chocolate. You probably wouldn’t notice though, because it all happens in about 2-3 seconds total. Hollie calls me a vacuum when it comes to food. My kids eat them differently, somehow getting it all over their hands, their faces and the table. Everyone consumes them a little differently, some fast, some slow, some savour it, some demolish it… Some crave more, others are lactose intolerant and give theirs to someone else or throws it out.

But this question got me thinking… Newsletters are also consumed in various different ways! So I got to surveying a few clients about how they consume the newsletters we send them? Asking the question: “Newsletters, how do you do it?”

There was a series of different answers, but here’s a few of the different ways that came up a bit:

“I just have a quick flick through and read anything that peaks my attention”

“I don’t really read newsletters, I have a quick look to see if there is anything important, then throw it out.”

“I put it in my in-tray and get to it when I have a few spare moments”

“I love the trivia and Sudoku puzzles”

“I only like the articles, I’m not a fan of all those puzzles and stuff”

But I have to say, the most interesting answer was Chelsea from Lasermail. She said:

“I love reading, it is relaxing, it is time away from my busy work life, the 3 kids, the husband and just allows me to be on my own and take in some interesting stories at my leisure.  I just don’t feel the same as when I get an email. To easy to delete and when I’m in front of a computer it is usually because I’m working not relaxing.  Lots of things I read I wish I could remember for later on and use when the time is right.  So about 2 years ago I started a newsletter file. It is awesome. I can flick through and re-read something, see a design I like, use an idea for something at work.  It really is the best thing I ever did.”

We know that not everyone files away our newsletter for reading later like Chelsea does (we wish they did), but everyone has their own way of consuming newsletters, whether it is a quick flick-through or a thorough read through.

Personally, and I’m not proud to admit it… I don’t really read newsletters much, If I do, it is a quick flick through, find anything important or interesting, then discard. With my kids School newsletter, I just quickly scan for their names or photos, if not it goes in the bin.

But I would be interested to hear more about how you consume our newsletter. So  please let us know? How do you do it?

On The Great Australian Postage Rise… It’s actually doing you a favour!

Nopostage-increasew there are a lot of people bemoaning the increase in postage.

That’s a good thing. If people are complaining that means they are looking for a way not use the mail any more.

Which means even less clutter in people’s mailbox and much MORE CLUTTER in their inbox.

Invariably, when prices increase all it does is actually knock the most marginal, least effective marketers out of the media. The ones who know what they are doing and have the transaction values to warrant being there will be there, and be more effective because there is less competition.

On top of that they will market better – better targeting, using stronger copy and higher transaction value offers becomes a must when you are faced with a price rise. Quitting is the lazy option.

There Is a Price Rise Coming For Email Too!

One of these days, someone will figure out how to collect a cent or a fraction of a cent on every email sent. I for one am looking forward to it. There is too much junk mail and poor quality advertising being sent to my inbox just because it is free.

Paid email would wipe out phishing and spamming operations virtually overnight. They make their money entirely on volume – with microscopic responses. Interestingly, the most likely person to purchase Viagra from spam emails is medical doctors. A lesson in buyer psychology there.

Also, it means that the laws of profitable direct mail would apply to email marketing too.

Which Side of The Fence Do You Want To Be On?

As with all changes, you are faced with two choices either exploit it or quit. The marketers and entrepreneurs who go the extra yard, will be rewarded. Success is more often than not a battle of attrition you win by being the one who overcomes all the obstacles and doesn’t quit.

I know some people will be despondent about paying 10 cents per stamp more, but firstly it’s not that much ($10 per hundred letters) and secondly there are plenty of ways to get smarter about how you go about your business.

If you are using direct mail and are worried about how it is going to affect your business then I encourage you to give us a call on 1300 120 106 and we can make a time to work out how to make your direct mail more effective.


The Real Enemy Is Within

enemy-within“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”

Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching.

Recently, I realized that variation Lao Tzu’s idea is everywhere.

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) talks about how the map is not the terrain. That means, what is inside of you is not the real world. So if there is a mismatch between you and reality it’s your problem. Knowing this and being able to act is self mastery.

Napoleon Hill talks about accurate thinking in ‘The Laws Of Success.’

It’s been in all sorts of personal development materials.

It’s the reason that some people can take basic ideas and make a fortune with them, while others can’t make any money with them. Well it’s a big part of it.

We come up against this every day within our business and with our clients. Our personal programming has limited our growth. Our clients’ personal programming limits their growth.

Not too much more to it than that. It is why some people will spend 3 hours writing an article this long and another three hours polishing it. Mostly in the dire hope that there are no typos.

I’ve spent my entire life dealing with a part of myself that is afraid of being singled out and hurt. I don’t know why it was there, but it was – and I wasn’t aware of it until this year. The last 15 years I have been fighting with it and now it seems to be gone.

The path to happier more productive life is in dealing with your internal terrain. Unfortunately that is the hardest thing you can do. Battling your own inner daemons. As they say winning isn’t about what you know it’s about what you do.

If you are wasting time and energy fighting your inner daemons, that is lost productivity – getting that back is progress. If you are fighting yourself to make calls… write something… fixing  the internal junk is going to have a bigger effect on your output than learning how the newest copywriting technique or internet marketing fad.

That is why people who are ‘less competent’ than you, succeed – less internal junk in the way. They can take what they have and implement it and be ahead of the masses. You might know more than them but you are wasting your own energy fighting your inner daemons.

My friend has a sign set as the background on his PC, ‘Sometimes I wrestle my inner daemons. Other times we just snuggle.’

It is far harder to do serious personal development and achieve self mastery than it is to learn the newest technique but it will determine more of your success than anything else. Embrace the challenge.

I’ve got a whole host of new ones to deal with.

Playing A Game Is One Thing, Winning is a whole different Beast.

playing-vs-winningThe challenge of unrealised potential has always resonated with me.

Probably because in most respects I could do a lot better.

My 10th grade history report summed it up nicely.

“I believe Zachary is underachieving in this subject.”

And I had scored the second highest grade you could get. I didn’t try in high school and did very well. Top 15% in the country in my year level doing about 20% of the work of the highest achievers in my school.

Everyone thought I would be good at sales. I wasn’t, at first but I am got better.

There I was meditating on the Tennis. I was watching the Wawrinka V Djokovic semi final at the Australian open.

It was apparent that the game was being played entirely between Wawrinka’s ears. Novak was essentially irrelevant to the outcome. He may be the number 2 player in the world but as far as I could see there was no way known to man that he could actually affect the game unless he could affect what was happening in Wawrinka’s head. (The same happened in the final until Nadal got hurt. Nadal was irrelevant to the outcome – until Wawrinka let him be relevant.)

The tennis talent had almost nothing to do with it. Unless in 12 months Wawrinka got 10X better at playing tennis.

There was a gap between what Wawrinka was capable of and what he allowed himself to do. To me that is the art of being a winner. Winners are genuinely able to extract everything they can from themselves. Lleyton Hewitt is a prime example of what you can achieve with modest assets and doing the work to get everything you can out of yourself.

Wawrinka in his late 20’s was slipping the other way. Retirement and unrealised potential. What could he have been if he had only learned how to maximise his talents and also win tennis games?

I’ve realised that winning in and of itself is a separate and unrelated field to the playing the game. Playing is the price of admission. Excelling at something requires that you are able to play the game and you know the art of winning.

The art of winning/being successful is universal – master winning at one thing and you will be able to transfer it to any other endeavour.

Miymoto Musashi put it best in the Book of 5 Rings, “The principle of strategy is having one thing, to know ten thousand things.”


Products Pricing and The Cult Of Apple.

apple-computersThe late Steven Jobs was an emotional mixed bag for me. I hate Apple products with a Passion, yet I admire Steve Jobs for making inferior products so cool that people are willing to play a premium for them.

I grew up with PCs so yes I am going to be biased. Now it is worth noting when I was a teenager that the only reason to have a computer was because you played games. This homework rubbish on your computer was a thing of science fiction, as was the status symbol computer. You were a geek if you had one.

So needless to say when there were exactly 2 games worth playing on an Apple Macintosh they sucked. I had dozens of games in my PC and I will say that both the games on Mac also came out on PC.

Interestingly PC users are the most psychologically normal people. MIT studied it, why? I don’t know.

I did read a very telling explanation of how you can actually build a higher performance PC for about a third of the price you would pay for its Apple equivalent. And yes I am geek so I demand to get the best performance possible for my money. It’s also why I do well at Supercoach and at marketing ($4/lead on Facebook).

Tip of The Hat: Steve Jobs

However, I am not the Apple market, as Steve Jobs and his successor Tim Cook have done is proven that there are people willing to pay a premium to be part of a very ‘select club.’ That size of that club has expanded exponentially over the last decade or so. So it’s not as select as it once was.

The power of Apple to me is the fact they have used price strategy tied to exclusivity to build the second largest technology company in the world.

The higher prices have allowed more money to be invested into advertising. They have built exclusive high-end retail stores which I believe are extremely profitable per square foot.

Everything in their business is classy and high end – supporting their exclusivity and pricing.

All of this has turned their customers into raving fans. Nobody is going to camp out for the latest Google tablet or Samsung mobile phone the way they do for iPhones and iPads.

The Lenovo computer I am writing this article on was mail ordered, arriving in a brown box. I don’t brag about owning it. I am not part of the club…

As a business owner I would rather own Apple than Lenovo. You should too. Rabid fans that will pay premium prices and endure extreme discomfort in order to get to pay them. They are far more valuable customers than I will ever be. I would rather build a business to please them. You should be finding those people in your market and build your business to service them.

The Emotional Bank Account, Customer Loyalty and Referrals

emotional-bank-accountI don’t know where I first heard the idea of the emotional bank account but it seems like an accurate concept.

Unless you are dealing with a sociopath, it seems that most people keep a kind of ledger emotionally. You can build up good will towards you in others over time, do nice things for them and you get credits in the account. Take from them and you are making a withdrawal.

It’s probably tied into the metaphor of you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. (Sheldon Cooper’s point that you can attract even more with manure doesn’t actually help…)

Personally, I’ve abused this phenomenon in a couple of past relationships just by not being aware. I’ve been accused of being selfish and emotionally aloof in my own relentless pursuit of my goals. I’m not a lot of fun to be around sometimes. Not enough nice things done and too much taken from the other person.

Ultimately, if you want to succeed with your customers in the long term you need to be making deposits in their emotional bank account regularly.

Just like a real bank account you can’t over draw without a fine, just like a real bank account you need to make deposits before you can make a withdrawal.

That is how loyalty works, you need to be making deposits, before you can expect loyalty, before you can expect referrals.

This is why you need have retention systems in your business. It is how you build the emotional bank account. As the balance grows the loyalty grows, the more likely they are to refer new clients to you.

Think about it this way, everyone wants referrals but they never actually make the effort to put all the necessary ingredients in place in order to get the referrals.

The first is existing customers who are loyally using your products and services. The second is a significant balance in their emotional bank accounts. Thirdly is a DAMN good reason for them to refer new clients to you.

When you get all of them right you get lots of referrals and lots of customer loyalty

When you don’t you leave all those additional profits on the table. Shame on you for not doing the work to get what is rightfully yours.

How You Could Essentially Double Your Business With Almost ZERO Cost

doubleRecently, Zac and I have been conducting a lot of Existing Customer Opportunity Audits with prospective clients and one of the questions we ask is:

“How many referrals per active client/customer have you averaged during the last 12 months?”

We can count on one finger the number of times a client has been able to reliably answer this without guessing or having to go away and dig deep into records to find it / create it. This is a key statistic for growing your business, yet most business owners don’t measure it.

Arguably the quickest way to double your business is simply to get every customer to refer another one to you. Some may refer 5, others may refer none, but on average if every customer refers 1 other customer in a 12 month period, you will essentially double your business.

But that’s not all it will do, it will

  • Lower your marketing costs. (referral generation tactics are dirt cheap or even free!)
  • Referred customers have less price resistance. Referred customer have pre-established trust. They are predisposed to buy. And they have less resistant to price than new non-referral customers.
  • You’ll get more referrals. Customers obtained by referral are usually more likely to refer.

There are a number of systems you can implement to increase referrals, thank you gifts, referral programs, reward systems, newsletters etc, and if you are interested in finding out more about those, simply give us a call on 1300 120 106 and book in your Free Existing Customer Opportunity Audit.

But today I wanted to focus on something that you can implement immediately at no cost. It’s all about making referrals a priority and holding yourself and your staff accountable.

There is one statistic you MUST measure, focus on and try to improve.

The Average Number of Referrals per Customer

This statistic should become you and your staff’s highest priority and your primary focus. You want keep yourself and your staff accountable and ask “What did I do today to get more referrals?”, “Who did I talk to today about referrals?”, “How many customers did I talk to about referrals today?”

Most businesses tend to be over the moon with whatever referrals that come their way… But honestly, given the power of referrals, not measuring them and just letting them happen willy-nilly is lazy and somewhat negligent.

Try to measure it weekly. Or at the very least, monthly. Just by measuring the number and being accountable, there will be improvement in the numbers, or at the very least it will remain stable.

It’s amazing what happens when you measure things… there is often significant improvement in practices purely because of the regular awareness and reporting of statistics and activities. All successful businesses are managed by statistics.

It may sound tedious or boring, but it is the only scientific way to achieve success.

Recently we helped one of our star newsletter clients, Jarrad Mahon from Investors Edge Real Estate, implement a Referral Program to insert with his newsletters.

Jarrad is a numbers man, he knows his metrics! Because he was focused on his numbers,  he was actively looking for a way to increase referrals. He sent his referral program out to his landlords and he immediately got 3 referrals. Then because he was focusing on his metrics he was looking at other ways he could increase referrals. He then started getting the property managers leaving the referral flyer with tenants during property inspections, which resulted in a quick additional 4 referrals.

What Jarrad now knows is that for every ‘x’ number of newsletters he sends with the referral insert, on average he will get ‘y’ number of referrals.

Or for every “x” number of property inspections, with a flyer left, on average he will get “y” number of referrals.

Now, Jarrad needs to simply make sure that his staff are leaving the flyers, that the insert is going out reliably every month or two (which we can assure him it is!). and by watching the metrics, Jarrad will find additional opportunities to improve that statistic.

Most businesses could easily increase their business by 50-100% simple through implementing this kind of measurement across the important areas of their business. They wouldn’t need to spend a dollar more on marketing or make any breakthrough changes. Just performance improvement automatically by measuring, making it a priority and holding yourself and staff accountable for it.