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Unexpected Customer Delight


Spent the last few days in Scottsdale teaching an internet marketing class for AMA. Traveling to Arizona I encountered a few unexpected customer delight experiences. Here are my stories...

Customer Delight One
TSA Security check-in is stressful, exhausting but sadly necessary in today's world. The frustrations and inconsistencies of the process are frequent topics of conversation among air travelers.
Step 1 - Take out your laptop from its case.
Step 2 - Take off your shoes.
Step 3 - Take off your watch.
Go through the security checkpoint.
Step 4 - Put your laptop back in its case.
Step 5 - Put your shoes back on.
Step 6 - Put your watch back on.

Customer delight was far from my mind when I realized I'd left my watch in the-gray-bin. I raced through Hartsfield-Jackson Airport/Atlanta back to the security check-in. The TSA manager handled this frazzled traveler with professionalism and kindness, found my watch, walked me to the shortest line and wished me a safe trip.

Then he turned his attention to another stressed out customer - a mom with a toddler who both were not happy waiting in line. With a sweet, gentle smile my TSA friend soon had the baby laughing and the mom smiling.

Customer Delight Two
The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is conducting a customer satisfaction survey on its limo and taxi services. As I entered taxi #867, I was handed a prepaid post card questionnaire and asked to please complete and mail it back. And if I had any complaints about the service, to please call the number on the card.

Customer Delight Three
The nice bartender at the Camelback Inn made more margaritas than was need and I was more than happy to help him out when he offered me the extras.

Diva Delight Lessons Learned
There are sophisticated analysis techniques, programs, books, workshops, tapes, DVDs, CD-ROMs, websites on and on about customer satisfaction. But when it's all said and done, customer delight is simply telling people - "You matter. I hear you. I'm paying attention to you." In this world that spins too fast, consistent customer delight is one of the most powerful branding strategies you can put into play.

Behind the Scenes of A Blogger


Conversation with my pal Dana, blogger extraordinare, the other night about the expectations of the quality and content of blog posts - from the perception of regular visitors of specific blogs. And the commitment from most bloggers (the ones I've the pleasure of meeting anyway) to continously meet the expectations of their visitors.

Dear Diva visitors, behind the scenes of many blogs are bloggers who spend significant time discovering, researching and writing posts that entertain, inform and educate. Keeping in mind that posts that should be consistent with the "brand" of the blog. Keeping in mind quality writing. Sometimes the show is a success and there's Applause! (links, comments and feedback) sometimes the post is a bomb. Sometimes it's a challenge finding an idea that is relevant and in keeping with the blog-brand. But we keep trying.

I find myself listening to conversations, reading articles and watching life questioning...will this make a good blog post? Sort of what I imagine good journalists might do. But somehow (business) bloggers have the confidence that people are listening and that their posts will help, encourage and support colleagues in the persuit of their goals. (Yes, I know there are other goals e.g., new biz, credibility, etc. - but that's for another post).

From the file clips - NYT September 19, 2004. Fascinating interview with Harvard Business School Prof. Rosabeth Moss Kanter and author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End.

"Confidence isn't optimism or pessimission, and it's not a character attribute. It's the expectation of a positive outcome." Kantor believes that self-confidence is less important than thinking a situation will work out. 

Confidence Building Tips
- If you've a hit a series of lows seek out lots of human contact.
- If you can't feel confident about a final result, focus on a milestone.
- Don't expect empathy from losers.
- Compartmentalize your life.
- Take responsibilty for your mistakes

And remember....Living well is the best revenge! Or perhaps that should be confidence = blogging well = success?

Read More
US News
Harvard Business Virtal Seminar - November 4, 2004

Friday Fun


Ideas are Fun. Today's Friday Fun looks at innovative ideas that help you creatively market your brand.

Diva's love to shop - especially for bargains. Innovative idea. the [non]billable hour is running an Idea Garage Sale. Items for "sale" include (what seems like) zillions of links to posts, blogs, websites and ideas galore. There's even a bargain bin of "used links." Lots of fun and as the saying goes....someone's trash is some else’s treasure.

By the way, the blog title - the [non] billable hour - is quite appropriate since Matthew W. Homann is an attorney and apparently one of a few who has a sense of humor! Hmmmm..wonder how many [non] billable hours it took to put this great resource together...

More ideas....the Master of WoW - Tom Peters' presentations are online...take a peek.

Stories are great jumping off points for ideas. I played follow the link from Peter's site and somehow found my way to Story Blog.
Read More: Diva Marketing tells how to create business stories - Storytelling For Marketers.

Women's Business Center has 138 Marketing Ideas. Some traditional, some more innovative than others ...worth a reminder visit.

The Diva Challenge
1. Take your cue from the Idea Garage...do something unexpected.
2. Offer a free product/service of perceived value.
3. Listen to the stories of your staff, customers and prospects.
4. Tell the stories of your brand, company, staff and customers.
5. Post the Women's Business Center list on your company's intranet or bulletin board. Add a new idea a day.

Mood Management Marketing


The marketing community is a buzz about experiential marketing. Here’s a slight twist to the story - marketing through mood management.

Mood Management Marketing is about evoking feelings and emotions through sensory elements. Recall how you felt when you suddenly smelled a lover’s cologne, heard a piece of music that tapped into your heart, saw an unexpected perfect rose in your garden or a felt a scratchy kiss from your sweet puppy.

An interesting book, Brand Lands, Hot Spots & Cool Spaces: Welcome to the Third Place and the Total Marketing Experience, from author Christian Mikunda explores the concept in relationship to environments.

In an interview with EMERALD NOW Mikunda reminds us that selling is all about emotions . However, he also cautions...

I think it is important to understand that experiences are not a guarantee for selling, but they are certainly very helpful. It´s like being friendly while talking to customers, which is motivating, encourages them to be positive about your store and interested in your product, to stay longer and be more likely to return on future occasions. Creating experiences fosters the same responses because these will encourage customers to browse.

Bring it on home Divas! With a little imagination, it's not difficult to create sensory experiences in a retail environment, but how can you use Mikunda's concept in the virtual world?

Words, graphics, fonts, images, navigation, useability and of course it goes without saying, that like a divine diva outfit, all must coordinate with your brand and positioning. How could a bit of flash, a video clip of how to use your product or an audio download of one of your best presentations enhance your visitor's experience?

Read More
EMERALD NOW - Interview with Christian Mikunda
Diva Marketing - Experiential Marketing - Test Drive A Stove
International Experiential Marketing Association

I Make Promises For A Living


Had an interesting conversation with my friend Rob Madonna about customer satisfaction and loyalty. Rob is responsible for all that stuff at Palisades Safety and Insurance Management Corp.

Did a bit of multi-tasking while we were talking about my favorite book on customer satisfaction and loyalty - Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon. Should be required reading for everyone who touches the customer … which means everyone in your organization!

I surfed over to Palisades' site. Splash page greets you with the tag - The Nice New Jersey Car Insurance Company. Great positioning that has a retro feel to it. Must be the word nice. It's a word your aunt or grandma would use. But nice in a marketing tagline for an auto insurance company? Somehow it works for me.

That positioning was reinforced in a heartwarming letter from the company president, Gerry Wilson. Mr. Wilson tells a story of how he explained to his four-year old son what he did at work. "I told him that ‘I make promises for a living’. Then he asked me, “Do you keep the promises?” WoW... a 1-2 powerful punch!

However, before a company can keep its promises, it must first know what the customer wants promised. Back to my chat with Rob about customer satisfaction research. Here's what one smart researcher, Rob Madonna, had to say.

I believe the flaw in C-sat research is the focus on products and features rather than in understanding the factors that lead to consumers making decisions to buy or not buy products and services.

Customer Sat research does not go far enough. It often asks, "How can we improve our business?" The only truly intelligent response to this question has to be, "I don't know." What the customer does know are the factors that enter into their decision to buy or not buy a product or service. Identify those factors and monitor how well your product or service measures up. Then organizations will have something to help them understand how to drive future sales.

Speaking of keeping promises Eurotrash tells a story of how amazon.com went the extra mile to deliver a birthday present to her niece. Post also includes 2 amazon customer service secrets: (1) 800-201-7575 and (2) if you mail [email protected] you will reach Jeff Bezos' personal email. He won't check it but he has people who do and they will respond. And they did! Amazing!

Heard it from - Kottke

What's On The Minds of Marketers


Anita Sharp from Worthwhile gives us the scoop on what marketeers are thinking about these days.

Friday Fun


Hugh of gapingvoid doodles brilliant bits of comics on the back of business cards.
Heard it from Scoble.

Hugh how about one that goes something like....
Person #1: We have nothing to say.
Person #2: Quick. Let's blog it!

One step beyond the blog is a virtal community created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab - Second Life. (Linden Labs also has an old fashion or shall we call it, a retro blog.) Creative applications of Second Life are finding their way to support higher ed courses . Aaron Delwiche, an assistant professor at Trinity University in San Antonio is using Second Life to teach classes. Cool! Read more on Wired.

Diva marketer ... take a walk on the wild side! How would you use a vitual community blog to market your brand? If that's not practical, take an idea or two from your brainstorming and spin it to fit the reality of your current world.

My college days are long ago and far away, but I remember CliffsNotes. Those little yellow and black books are still buzzing around but now lots are online and free. What would those notes be like if we added a zing of a blog reality a la Second Life?
Heard it from Research Buzz.