“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#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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Forget the Vendor, it’s About the Customer

I was recently asked by Dianne Jolly, an IBM customer reference professional, about telling customer stories rather than vendor stories. It’s a great question and I think it’s the next wave of customer reference programs. Most companies aren’t there yet, because it’s a huge jump, but I bet that within 5 years, it’ll be the standard for customer stories.

Image it, you go to a vendor site, look at their press releases and case studies and instead of seeing “<Customer> Deploys <Vendor> for blah blah blah” or “<Vendor> Helps <Customer> Save $xxx” you see “<Customer> Solves Absentee Problem” or “It is Possible to Have a Work Life Balance…Just Ask <Individual Customer Name>.  Okay, so these may be bad examples but I think you get the point.  At the end of the day, every company is the best, fastest, easiest to deploy, most flexible, cheapest…  Because of that, why not differentiate yourself and focus on the end user?

It’s really not a huge, earth shattering concept, but it’s amazing how many companies are so reluctant to do it.  Companies want to tell their story, but at the end of the day, it’s not about them.  It’s about the end user.

Tech example:

Vendor story…Fake company deploys a network security solution (one similar to most other network security companies).  Money is saved, man hours are saved, threats are stopped sooner.

Customer story…Bob uses a new network security solution (little to no mention of name because it’s implied by the template that the press release and/or case study is on and absolutely no mention of product) and because he can stop threats sooner. He can now leave work at 5pm and coach his daughter’s soccer team.  He’s happy and his daughter is happy.  Because he’s not working 24 x 7, he’s happier in general and doesn’t get burned out at work. He also just got a raise and a promotion because people now like working with him and he’s more productive.

How many companies are you aware of that are willing to make that jump of telling the customer story and not their story?  Companies sell to people, not companies so start telling the people story!

Instead of telling the vendor story, tell the customer story. What do you think?  Do you have good examples of companies telling their customer stories?

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp As a reference professional, what are you doing to create revenue opportunities for your sales team?

 

“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.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp When was the last time you said to one of your customers, “thank you!” and you really meant it?

“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.

Target is…on target

I had the day off a while back and I went into Target at the San Jose Market Center at 9am on a weekday.  I hadn’t had my coffee yet and didn’t want to deal with anyone.  I was walking through the aisles and heard this man’s voice and then a group of folks clapping and then the man’s voice again and then more clapping.  I was intrigued by what was going on and wasn’t sure if it was a recording or something real.  As I walked closer to the voices, I realized that it was a real voice.  I turned the corner from the home goods section and standing in the aisle by the groceries were about 15 Target employees.  Then I realized what was happening.  The team lead was giving his morning spcheel to his team but, as he was doing it, he was giving kudos to team members who had done exceptional jobs. He was also explaining that Perry’s counterpart was in town and “what does that mean?”  A few team members yelled out “it means we’re awesome!”  He replied that he agreed and as he started to explain what all that meant, I started heading in the other direction. 

What I liked about this was not that credit was giving and that the team lead was pumping up the team (kudos to him though for doing that), but that it was being done in an aisle and not some back office.  To me, this is important because those recieving kudos are getting somewhat of public recognition. As a visitor to the store, I got a completely new appreciation for the work that is being done there.  It was very obvious to me that those employees were proud of what they were doing.  How many times can you say that when you go in to a retail location?

After I checked out I stopped in the store’s Starbucks location and was once again shocked by what I came across. An exceptionally genuine, not fake friendly kid took my order.  i think his name was Aaron and he was such a pleasure to speak with. 

Kudos to the staff at the Target in the San Jose Market Center!  You made my morning and although I’m no longer living in the area, I’ll be back to shop there.

“Things to Think About” for the Reference Professional

#crlp What do you do when you have spent tons of time on a press release and/or case study and then it doesn’t get approved?

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.

Gene Simmons has Marketing Advice? Huh?!

I just read this Marketo post “5 Content Marketing Lessons from Gene Simmons of KISS” and thought that it was definitely worth reposting here.  Happy reading.

“With over 100 million albums sold worldwide, KISS is arguably one of the biggest and most successful bands on the planet. Led by the marketing genius that is Gene Simmons, they continue to reach new audiences while engaging lifelong fans. Gene Simmons may be best known as the fire-breathing, bass playing demon in one of the most influential rock bands in history, but he can also teach us a thing or two about content marketing.”  Read the rest of the Marketo blog post.