“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

March 24, 2014

#crlp Every customer can help and is valuable.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp


Forget the KPIs and work on the relationship

March 16, 2014

It’s so easy to look at the day’s to do list and then focus on crossing items off.  We have to get x amount of references for the analyst and the case study interview is in 30 minutes and the customer press release needs final approval from the executive staff.  We become strangled by the things we have to do and we forget one of the basic principles of running a customer reference or loyalty program…relationships!

When was the last time you sat down with the Sales team to find out what’s going on with them?  When was the last time you called up a customer to see how they are doing?  If you build relationships, everything will become a little bit easier because your support group of you, gets bigger. If you treat people as people and try to get to know them, your relationship will grow.  I’m not suggesting becoming friends with all your customers, partners or sales teams, rather, become interested in them for who they are rather than what they represent to you or your company. 

When on calls with customers, partners or sales people,  I make notes of their birthdays,  anniversary, vacations, anything that is personal to them that’s not necessarily work related.   I can then email later  and see how their son’s baseball game went, how their trip to Italy was or how their wife’s birthday was.  Something a little personal without asking for something. If you don’t feel comfortable emailing them, drop a mention in a conversation. 

This week forget the mechanics and details of the reference program.  Focus on building relationships with your customers…sales, analysts, partners and customers.

I challenge you tomorrow, before you start crossing off items on your to do list, email or call a customer and say hi, thank you, happy Monday, how was your weekend.  Anything but asking them for something.  Treat them as a person rather than an action item, it’ll get you much further.


“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

March 6, 2014

#crlp This week forget the mechanics and details of the reference program.  Focus on building relationships with your customers…sales, analysts, partners and customers.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp

 


A good reference professional is good, not god.

February 25, 2014

It’s so easy to tell your reference professional, “I need five references for xxxx vertical.”  “I need 15 references for xxxx analyst.”  “I need six references for xxxx customer.”  Fingers are secretly snapped and the result is that the references professional has heart palpitations and you ping him/her every day, sometimes every hour, until you get what you need.

I was just going back through my old blog posts and found this one, appropriate for this post, and that I thought was worth reposting. “Why Running a CRP Isn’t Like Starbucks – and That’s Okay”

Happy reading!


“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

February 13, 2014

#crlp Don’t expect miracles. A good reference professional is good, not god.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp


How Honest are You with Your Customers?

February 5, 2014

In any relationship, honesty is key.  Friends, family, partners and coworkers can’t have a rewarding and real relationship with you unless you are honest.  I don’t mean telling them that you can’t stand that they leave cabinet doors open in the kitchen or that they way they smack their food when they eat drives you nuts, I mean being honest about your word.

If you tell someone that you’re going to do something, do it.  If you can’t do it, communicate with them.  Let the know why, let them know if it’ll be done differently or with a different timeline.  If you can’t be honest and communicate with others, then you might as well not get out of bed because others will want to communicate or be honest with you.

In my years or running customer reference programs, this is the one thing that I did no matter what.  I always told customers that they had 100% approval on all press releases and case studies that I wrote on them.  At times it was a pain, I don’t deny that, because I had internal goals and timelines that I had to go by, but I always got the customer approval before publishing a press release or case study…because I told them I would.  I knew that if I published something with out their approval, and after I had told them I’d get their approval, then I would kill our relationship.

Not too long ago I had to bring my car in to get it fixed and Leonard, my mechanic, told me at the beginning of the process that the cost would be somewhere between $300 and $500 based on how much work was needed after he dug into the problem.  He also told me that it would be done by that Wednesday.  That Tuesday afternoon I got the call from him telling me that my car was ready.  I was thrilled because it took as long as he said it would take.  Now the next question was how much it was going to be.  Most car places that I’ve been to tell you one one thing and then when you pick up your car, it’s more expensive by “just a little bit”, meaning a few hundred dollars.  But, to them, it’s no big deal.  When Leonard called that Tuesday afternoon I asked him how much my bill was.  To my surprise, he said $380.  I was shocked, but in a great way.  Not only was he honest about the timeline, but he gave me a realistic expectation of the cost and then beat it.  Sure, he might have over inflated the cost at the beginning of the conversation, but he set realistic expectations of what I could expect from him.  That, my fellow reference professionals, is critical.  Be honest, communicate and set realistic expectations for your customers.  They’ll thank you for it!

Do you treat your customers like Leonard?


“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

January 30, 2014

#crlp How honest are you with your customers?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional is a blurb to get you thinking. You can find content here on this blog or at Twitter under the hashtag for Customer Reference and Loyalty Professionals #crlp


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