Interview: Employee amplification: Social strategy for austere times

What is the most intrinsic part of a successful sale? Human-to-human contact. Unless a person already knows exactly what they want, where to get it and what they are willing to pay, a successful sale is about human centricity. This represents quite a challenge in our current context, where social distancing and digital channels have usurped more traditional ways of touching base with customers. But even if those weren’t factors, the potential to reach substantially more people in a meaningful way is so much greater today – if you can pull it off. And according to Mike Saunders, CEO of Digitlab and author of the book Humancentric, this is possible through social media and employee amplification. “What I’m starting to see is that the people who are succeeding are the ones taking hold of their online networks and committing to them, as opposed to just relying on their brand pages to complete the social experience.” Merging social and employees Many managers and executives grow nervous when one mentions words such as ‘social media’ and ’employee’ in one sentence. Is social media not that world of frivolous distraction, fake news and filled with wrecks of brand promotions gone awry? “Social media has a dark side to it, that is true,” says Saunders. “But we shouldn’t allow these mistakes to distract us from the bigger picture. We should focus our questions on why social media, good or bad, is so successful? Why do people keep going back to it and using it? It’s...

Interview: Why does digital transformation fail?

Digital transformation projects fail around two-thirds of the time – and more often if you account for semi-successful projects. More unnerving is that this failure rate has not changed significantly over the past decade, and we can even find its equivalent 15 or 20 years ago. Despite a plethora of advice on fixing the problem, such as bi-modal approaches or creating innovative spin-offs (all of which are good strategies), failure seems more assured than success. What are we doing wrong? According to the book Humancentric, authored by local change management guru and Digitlab CEO Mike Saunders, the issue is quite evident: technology fails unless it means something to somebody. “I don’t think digital transformation is something you choose to do,” Saunders tells ITWeb in an interview. “It’s happening to you, regardless. It’s just whether you’re managing it well or not.”

Is Live Chat So Important To Modern Businesses?

Providing customer service can be a long and time-consuming process for many companies. No matter how hard you work to provide a great service, there will always be customers and clients who need help from your business along the way. In the past, this sort of work would mostly be handled over the phone, but this isn’t the case today. In fact, almost every customer service strategy today needs to incorporate social media platforms that are completely chat-based. Live chat on websites has been slowly on the rise for the last few years, but why exactly is this form of communication becoming the preferred channel to communicate to businesses? Customer Convenience It’s no secret that live chat is popular amongst customers. Many people prefer the option to simply type out their questions and wait for a response compared to sitting on the phone for a long time. They can do their regular work in the process and will have the chance to leave the chat whenever they want to, making this much easier than using other forms of communication. Of course, though, it also has the benefit of being much faster than emails. Productivity Keeping your team productive can be a big challenge, especially when they are dealing with customer service. There will always be cases that last much longer than others, but live chat provides the means for your team members to talk to more than one customer at once if they need to. It also makes it possible...

5 Payment Methods Your Ecommerce Page Needs to Offer

Due to the lack of face-to-face interactions, e-commerce business owners need—more than anyone—to step up their customer service game. In fact, our article ‘Tips to Help Retain Customers & Improve User Experience Online’ highlights this: people will be more willing to transact with you repeatedly if you are able to provide a smooth user experience (UX) on your website. From the moment they load your website to the moment they pay for contents of their cart, users need a smooth and uninterrupted experience.

Tips To Help Retain Customers & Improve User Experience Online

Customers are an integral part of your business and it’s important that you’re making every effort to keep them happy with whatever service or products you’re selling and providing. However, there is a lot that can be done to help retain customers and improve their overall user experience online. That way, you can continue profiting from these loyal customers, whilst also developing your business to attract more of the same customer. Here are some helpful tips to ensure this happens in your business.

Context, Relationship and Intelligence

A framework from my book Humancentric for how to create businesses in the fourth industrial revolution. How do we focus more on people than technology? When we do our research behind all of the aspects of business, we need to focus on the context we are in, the relationships around that and intelligence. Technology is impacting all of these elements. If we take our knowledge of all of the disruptive forces and apply them through this exploration lens, we can simplify the opportunity for fourth industrial revolution success.

Sell in reverse order

I recently read this article on marketing to the C-Suite, which shares an interesting diagram on “selling in reverse order.” We are not talking about reverse selling which uses sales psychology to help customers convince themselves they need your product – selling in reverse order is about flipping the typical sales convention on its head. 

Lessons in building business dashboards

In business, I have learnt the incredible value of building dashboards that eliminate unnecessary data (ruthlessly) and focus only on imperative and useful stats that help you make informed decisions quickly.  In my average week, I refer to two central dashboards. One the shows the health of my business and the other that track my key priorities (which change every few months). The help me progress my business, weather the storms and build a company I’m proud of.  My critical lessons in creating these have been: 1) It should not be hard or timeconsuming to find and update the stats – otherwise, it will fail in a matter of weeks 2) The whole team should agree to the outputs you measure – this helps create buy-in and track accountability. 3) Track what you need to track – never track everything you can (this will drive you insane) 4) If it can’t help you make a decision – get rid of it. So imagine how happy I am to see how we have been able to do this for our clients in our new digital dashboards. None of the clutter, nothing siloed, and meaningful data stories that help them make decisions. Today I got to see the digital dash for Digitlab, yes, we finally got round to creating one for ourselves. Such a great tool. Proud of the team who put this together. 

How Online Training Will Build Your Business

Throughout the last 30 years, organisations have had to adapt their practices to coincide with the advancement of the internet. Constantly introducing innovative technology, there is now so much scope for opportunity. As part of this development, many businesses have begun to offer online training for both their current and new employees.  Fast becoming the most renowned and popular form of employee training, it’s easy to see why the industry experts have indicated that by 2025, the international e-learning market will be worth upwards of $325 billion. Why is it deemed to be the future of corporate training? Here are four reasons you should pay attention to if you’re looking to implement it within your business: Offer employees a personalised training route To ensure that your employees remain motivated, you want to offer them training that’s useful and relevant to them. A one-size-fits-all solution simply won’t be effective in the modern-day, so it’s vital that you look for a more custom option. This is where online training comes in. Many e-learning providers have the functionality to allow employees to follow their own personalised training route. This significant feature will, therefore, guarantee that the training aligns with each individuals’ learning goals. Targeting areas they need to improve in a way that’s fresh and exciting, it will prove to be invaluable to their productivity in the long term. No matter what their role is within your business, you’ll be able to uncover online resources to support them.  A cost-effective training solution  As...

10 Advantages of Building a Strong E-Commerce Presence

Shopping trends have drastically changed since the digital transformation occurred. By 2021, e-commerce sales are predicted to reach a whopping $4.88 billion. It is a booming business. That is why a strong online presence is essential for every aspiring business owner. Also, nearly 90 percent of shoppers start to search for a product online. Even when they end up buying a product from a physical store, they turn to digital channels first to compare prices and brands, read customer reviews and more. Whether you are just starting off or looking to expand your business, you should turn to e-commerce for more revenue. Here are ten good reasons why. Lower costs E-commerce decreases investment since there are fewer costs involved in launching an online store. First, with no in-person staff, you are sure to save money. Also, there is no rent. Digital advertising is less expensive than traditional advertising. Organic search, Google Ads and Social Media are cost-effective ways to drive more traffic and increase sales. Marketing your products can be easy and cheap if you opt for email marketing too. MailChimp makes it easier to promote your pages and reach out to new customers at affordable prices. Create your store in just a few clicks You don’t have to build your e-store from scratch. E-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace allow you to have your online store running in no time. They offer pre-made templates and take care of hosting, platform maintenance and much more. If you are eager...

Why Startups Need to be Humancentric

Entrepreneurs are people who don’t have a shortage of ideas. They’re constantly devising new ways to create value. The very nature of their “idea-driven” personality has become their most significant asset and the most substantial liability.  The trouble with being an ideas-driven person is that we don’t take the time to run those ideas through the gauntlet before testing them thoroughly. We move quickly to our other strength – taking the concept from zero to one.  Clive Butkow shared a list of the Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail, and I found it incredibly interesting to draw comparisons to my experiences as an entrepreneur.  No 1: No Market Need I’ve been down this road so often it’s scary. Launch day comes, and the sales plans are executed. We wait in anticipation and – nothing – or at least, not enough. Coupled with this, we start to see that number six on the list is becoming a reality. Our research said people would pay for the product, but not at the price we could produce the product.  The small starting market we had, found the price too high, and we cannot find the market to generate our sales through.  At this point, I want to suggest a more in-depth dive into your research than “who is my customer.” Best practice talks about market segmentation, consumer research and persona development. While these are all valuable, they are not the endpoint we need. The endpoint is a buying customer – so the question I ask is...

Is Your Tech Empathetic?

In 2018 the SXSW conference took on a new direction for its conversations around interactive technology. It shifted from the idea that the digital ecosystem is driving a new paradigm for people to adapt towards the message that technology should better serve humanity. Susan Lahey summed the conversations up to say “By creating tech to achieve commercial ends, without understanding how it would impact people, we’ve done great damage. It’s time to repair it.” It’s this same message that I share in my book Humancentric. That technology fails unless it means something to someone. We are bestowing a responsibility to human beings to consider people in their commercial models and digital ecosystems. Here lies our most significant advantage over technology, our ability to empathise. As Greg Satell so eloquently writes “a computer will never strike out in a Little League game, have its heartbroken, or see its child born. So it is terribly unlikely, if not impossible, that a machine will be able to relate to a human as other humans can.” Empathy means: I know how it feels to be you – is this something technology could ever understand? I would suggest not. I do, however, believe it’s something technology can help us facilitate and scale. Empathy is why social technology has been such a powerful disruptive force. It’s created the ability to replicate empathetic relationships in a digital economy. As P.J. Maney explained back in 2015, ” we can see in the incredible emotional outpouring of support on...

Welcome to The Zero Moment of Truth

Search Engines are the “go-to” destination for almost every question we have these days. They have become our source of general knowledge, entertainment, purchase information and celebrity gossip. The Zero Moment of Truth, a term coined by Google in 2011, refers to the research which is conducted online about a product, organisation or service before taking any action. It’s this zero moment that drives the discovery of our businesses; it’s the single moment that we need to learn to leverage to build personal and business reputation. Leveraging this moment has a lot to do with understanding search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing and online advertising channels to meet potential customers when they discover the need you can fulfil. It comes without saying that managing a robust online reputation means that you need to be able to meet your customers at that zero moment. SEO then becomes one of your primary digital marketing activities. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the fundamental art of setting up your online presence so that Google showcases you as a highly relevant result when a customer conducts an online search around your chosen topics of interest. When Google views your content as relevant, it ranks you correctly in search results, driving more organic, relevant traffic to your website and online channels. How Search Engines Work Search engines have two primary functions: Search engines use automated software, known as robots (or spiders), to follow links on websites, collecting information and storing it in an extensive database When...

Easy Ways To Improve Your Customer Service

At the forefront of any successful business is a high level of customer satisfaction. In fact, you are unlikely to be successful if you neglect to give customer feedback the attention it deserves, whether it is positive or negative. It is inevitable what will happen to a company that receives constant bad reviews and has poor reputation management processes in place. Your customers are the reason that your business continues to run and therefore are the most important factor to take into consideration. It is essential to be proactive, pick up trends and rectify any problems timeously before you loose customers and risk damaging your reputation. There is a reason there is the saying ‘ the customer is always right’ and that is because they are the key ingredient that will help you achieve your goals.  There are some easy ways that you can improve on customer service in your business…  Respond To Reviews, Comments And Emails We are used to receiving complaints in the form of an email however, now that we live in a very digital world you will find that customers also leave reviews on platforms such as facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your company website and the list goes on. This means that it is there for the whole world to see. The best thing that you can do is to be seen as proactive in your approach to rectifying any issues. It doesn’t have to be all bad though, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are also great...

Three Ways to Boost Your Website’s Performance

As an entrepreneur you’re more than aware that you’ve got a lot to get right, a lot riding on the performance of your website and your marketing activities. You may have plenty of skills in one or two key areas but less in others and right now you need to know why your website isn’t performing as well as you expect it to. What is it about the site that’s failing to convert your visits into sales? Why are some pages underperforming? You have questions and we have three reasons why your website isn’t at the top of its game. In this blog we look at what could be going wrong and how you can fix it. Your Content Misses the Mark Whether you sell physical goods such as D or bow type shackles or a service like copywriting, you need your content to sell you. When you’re looking for a particular item on a website, you don’t want to wade through mountains of fluff, you’re looking at what you can buy and how much you can buy it for. Could it be that your content is simply not fit for purpose? Maybe there’s too much waffle and not enough specific information. If you’ve written the content yourself it might be worth asking a content specialist to look over your site and give you some advice or a rewrite in order to make sure your content is ticking all the right boxes. Your Customer Gets Lost Or to put it...

The Four Principles Of Any Solid Support Call

A while ago I wrote about how “Smart brands have integrated their social media responses team into the customer call centre. It makes sense that you create a single point of contact for customers to contact. Whether on a phone, SMS, Facebook, twitter or other platform the customer chooses, brands are gearing their call centres to handle these requests. This is why call centres are now being called customer contact centres.” In that article I spoke about brand schizophrenia, today I thought it would be valuable to explore a few ways to improve your call centre. After all most businesses want to ensure that their customers are happy, that they feel they are receiving the best service possible and that they can be supported if  there’s an issue. Any support request needs to be completed in a timely manner, and effectively. For that reason, when training your support staff, it’s very important to embody the four principles of any solid support call. No matter if you’re on the phone, speaking through emails, direct social media messaging or live chat, the results are the same. Let us approach what this might mean together, to come to some sense of mutual support. Please consider: Immediacy There’s nothing that can aggravate a customer more than making them wait hours to have their call answered. However, managing expectations is also an important thing to get right. If someone sends you an email, naturally they will be happy to wait a day or two for you to get...

How Can You Improve Your Online Income

If you have a blog or website then you already know that it is more than possible to earn an income from online. But what happens if you’re not making as much money as you thought you would be by now? Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether we are using all the tools available to us or taking all the opportunities that we can do to bring in an online source of funds. Have a look below at some of the things you could do to improve your online income. Make Good Use of Social Media Platforms If you’re not already using the popular social media platforms that are available to gain traffic to your blog or website, it can be a really useful tool. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest have all been proven popular online, have easy access for business use and posting to the public, and best of all are free to use. Using these can really help to drive traffic to your website or blog, especially if you’re posting regular, relevant content that draws people in. Social media is fast becoming an essential part of marketing for any business so if you haven’t got time to deal with this yourself it may be time to think about using a service that can help. It would be a shame to miss out on a tool that could be very lucrative. Partnerships If you have a blog or website that has a successful traffic...

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