Category Archives: Customer Service Excellence

Wisdom Wednesday Printable

build trust not traffic quote by mark schaefer

I love this quote from one of the awesome speakers we listened to at Social Media Marketing World 2016, Mark Schaefer. It’s particularly important because all too often people get caught up in the numbers – the traffic – the clicks. And while those metrics are certainly important, the ultimate goal is to win and keep customers, right?!

I think most of us would agree based on our own experiences with businesses, brands, and sales people, that trust is a key factor in deciding to buy. So try to keep your eye on the prize instead of on the numbers by building trust with your clients and customers, day in and day out. Then the numbers you want (# of clients!) will follow.

~ Monique / @moniqueramsey

Customers Won’t Be Ignored: Why Relationship Marketing Should be a Key Focus for Your Cosmetic Practice

I came across this quote from Peter Shankman, which I think is quite apropos to the way customers are behaving and how businesses need to shift their thinking. He says, “The last ten years were about social media. The next 20 years will be about customer service.”

Customers won’t be ignored. They have tools at their disposal that give them immediate access to brands and businesses. But who is listening to this empowered consumer?

Is your practice prepared to handle what Brian Solis calls “Generation C” (the connected consumer) for whom sharing experiences with others is key? Relationship marketing – what we feel is the next iteration of social media – requires more than a mere presence by your practice.

Throwing up a fan page on Facebook and Google+ and hooking up your blog to auto-post some impersonal message is not enough (and we contend it never was, but that’s just us). This kind of automation of content is not personal, it is not engaging, and the viewer can’t even tell if it’s relevant to her, so why should she bother clicking to read more?

Signing people up for your newsletter is not enough either. Look at what Peter does when you sign up for his newsletter:

By inviting you to connect with him personally over a cup of coffee, Peter is setting the bar much higher than most – and with good reason. Relationship marketing is where it’s at. Savvy businesses who understand that expectations are higher than ever are busy building deeper connections to their consumers that are next to impossible to break.

Social platforms have become a key means by which consumers (and patients) communicate with brands and each other. Rather than thinking about your social media expenditure as “marketing”, think of it as an patient retention tool.

Remember when nobody thought the fax machine would ever take off? “Why would I EVER need to get a piece of paper to someone immediately?!” But they became the norm instead of a “nice to have”. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the rest as your new norm.

The Empowered Customer Speaks (and you’d better be listening)

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (and it’s okay if you have, as long as you come out…), consumers have changed. Your patients have changed. How they interact with the people, businesses, and brands in their life has changed too. And if you don’t switch gears, learn what makes them tick, and adjust your communications with them, you’ll be unable to compete.

This is not just an idle threat. It’s actually happening right now. Take JCPenny, for instance.

Today JCPenny launched a new TV ad campaign on YouTube and Facebook apologizing to their customers *(scroll down for video). They fired the CEO, brought back his predecessor, and have promised to put more promotions back in place. These are very significant changes ~ and all because the consumer outcry was deafening (translation: a 4 billion dollar loss).*

In Brian Solis’s new book, What’s the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, he discusses how to understand the new customer and create rich experiences for them so you can be proactive, rather than reactive. So you can avoid what he calls “Digital Darwinism”.  JCPenny is certainly having to be RE-active – considering their huge loss of customers and revenue. But they are being PRO-active in that at least they have started to listen, admit their mistakes (transparency), and change their business model (adapt).

How much time do you spend worrying about negative reviews, tweets, Facebook posts, or the thousands of other ways your patients can communicate to the masses online? Instead of spending your time, energy, and money in a defensive posture, or worse – burying your head in the sand hoping you won’t be the next victim, why not learn about this new connected consumer (your patient)?

The new empowered consumer “participates in their world” via technology. Brian describes them as “always on, sharing real world experiences as they happen with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Socialcam”.

And the coveted “word of mouth” referral source is still just as important. But think bigger. Social media allows word of mouth to be broadcast to tens, hundreds, or thousands of friends and followers, all with a swift keystroke.

So… are you creating relationships with your patients? Do you know what they really want? Do you know how they behave? Brian suggests (as do we) that you “invest in defining not only a positive experience, but also a wonderfully shareable experience.”

But you can’t create the best experience if you don’t know what they want in the first place. It would be like operating on a patient and having the consultation afterwards. It sounds absurd, but that’s truly what we’re talking about.  And JCPenny has just figured out that they should do the consult BEFORE surgery to have the best outcome. They listened, learned, engaged, and adapted.

I highly recommend you pick up Brian’s book because he does an incredible job of articulating who your new connected patient base is (he calls them “Generation C”) and how the landscape for businesses will be forever changed. As he says… #InnovateOrDie

*Click for today’s complete story in Forbes

Dark Social Media – The ROI Secret No One Wants to Divulge

The Future’s So Dark, You Gotta Wear Shades?

The original song lyrics of Timbuk3’s one-hit-wonder actually were, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” So what’s up with “dark” reference, you ask? Well, I figured that since we’re going to talk about dark social media, it would be more appropriate to don some dark shades.

First let’s start with the concept of “dark social media”…

In this article which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in the fall of 2012, Alexis C. Madrigal coined the phrase “dark social” to refer to social traffic that comes to your site from “sources invisible to most analytics programs”. He explains:

“It (dark traffic) shows up variously in programs as ‘direct’ or ‘typed/bookmarked’ traffic, which implies to many site owners that you actually have a bookmark or typed in www.theatlantic.com into your browser. But that’s not actually what’s happening a lot of the time. Most of the time, someone G-chatted someone a link, or it came in on a big email distribution list, or your dad sent it to you.”

Mr. Madrigal studied this topic further with the help of a real-time analytics firm called Chartbeat. What he found was extremely interesting, especially how it relates to Return on Investment, or ROI, (which we’ll get to soon). They found that dark social isn’t just some inconsequential figure, too small to worry about. They concluded that almost 69 percent of social referrals (see pie chart below) were dark, followed by Facebook at 20 percent and Twitter at 6 percent.

So I ask you… if nearly 70% of your social traffic comes from dark sources, how can you can measure the ROI of social?

My answer (and I’m not alone in this) is, “you can’t”…but this is not to say that social media has no value to you and your practice. In fact, I believe it’s much, much more valuable than you give it credit for.

Cue the “Future’s So Bright” chorus!

Courtney Seiter of Marketing Land said something in her post on the subject that sums it up perfectly…

“It’s a shot to get on someone’s radar and let that person know you’re cool, smart, funny, interesting and valuable to have around. And if you keep being all those things, eventually they’ll want to get to know you better. Or even tell their friends about you. That’s the value of social media – the potential to create a new relationship where there wasn’t one before. And then the ability to repeat that process as many times as you have friends and fans.”

Loyalty. Family, Affinity. Devotion. Allegiance. Bonds. These words are like gold for a practice (or any business for that matter).

You know the cost of acquring a new patient is much higher than a referral or return visit by an existing patient. So why obsess about the ROI of social media when it can be one of the key elements driving your retained and referred business? One presentation I saw asked, “how do you measure the ROI of your telephone or your copier?” It’s a core business tool, plain and simple.  And one of my favorites… the famously outspoken Gary Vaynerchuck (aka. Gary Vee) said in a 2011 keynote to inc500, “What’s the ROI of your mother?” (Watch the 3 minute video – you’ll love it.)

And Brian Solis, Prominent Social Media Thought Leader and Principal of Altimeter Group, said in his new book What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, “Perhaps this is just the new cost of doing business. In an era of connected consumerism, to earn customer attention, trust, and loyalty is a cost and an investment in relevance and relationships.”

Given the “that’s so 90’s” feel of ROI, I propose some new terms…

Mari Smith talks about ROE – Return on Engagement. An excellent alternative. But let’s delve even deeper. What about…

  • ROE – Return on Empowerment – The “connected consumer”, as Brian puts it, is in charge. So arm (empower) her with relevant, valuable content, and you will earn her undying devotion (and her friend base!). Put THAT in your calculator and see what happens!
  • ROR – Return on Relationships – Having patients feel an affinity to you and your practice creates a family-like bond, one which hopefully gets stronger with time as you continue to deliver wonderful experiences both in the office AND ONLINE!
  • PAF – Practice Affinity Factor. This metric would measure not only patient satisfaction with office visits and procedure results, but also referrals, return visits, coupled with online engagement.

So the next time someone asks you the ROI of social media, I encourage you to put on your dark sunglasses and just smile… because you “get it”.

P.S. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!


*P.P.S. I highly recommend Brian’s new book (as well as his previous ones).  As a creative person I’m especially loving the hardcover version (versus the kindle) because of the art & images by Hugh McLeod @GapingVoid.

Social Media Offers Opportunity to Connect with Patients Where They Spend Time

2012 is your year to get socialOkay, we understand. You didn’t want to jump in to this “social media” thing in 2009. And who could blame you? Facebook only had a few hundred million subscribers. How many of your patients were realistically playing with this new online toy?

Then came 2010. You thought… gee… 500 million?! Maybe there IS something to this phenomenon. But let’s take a wait and see approach. I don’t have time for this right now anyway.

Next… by late 2011 you found out that 82% of the world’s internet population over the age of 15  log on to a social network. To boot:

Visits to Facebook accounted for one in every seven minutes internet users spent online in October and 75% of all time spent on all social networks. Close to 65%of all smartphone users in the US visited a social network in October; two in five used their mobile device to connect to a social network nearly every day.” -Social Networking Watch

And you thought…hmmm. Maybe after the New Year I should check into this “social media” phenomenon.

Which brings us to today. It’s 2012 and time to start taking digital patient engagement seriously.

You need to connect and interact with your patients where they spend their time. Social media enables your practice valuable (virtual) face time. Think of it as a wonderful opportunity to share new procedures as well as update them on practice news, special offers (always a hit!), and events. By sharing VALUABLE information with your patient base, they will likely be more loyal, visit your practice more frequently, and refer more friends and family.

Top of mind awareness can work wonders.

If you think you are ready to take the leap… let us help. Our expertise is aesthetic medicine and social media. We’ll set you up and manage your daily interactions… leaving you time to do what you do best… treating patients. (800) 401-5485

*Sources:

http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?timeline

http://www.socialnetworkingwatch.com/all_social_networking_statistics/

Delete Facebook Posts at Your Own Risk…

Let’s say you are a brand… let’s say ChapStick for example… and your marketing department decides it’s time for a funny ad campaign. The top brass signs off and the campaign is posted in social media sites such as Facebook. So far – nothing too unusual. And Facebook, the heart and soul of social media, seems like the perfect place for a hip & lighthearted ad, right?

Well, not always

Check out the article from AdWeek (link below) for an example of how sometimes it’s not the creative that gets you in the most trouble, it’s how you react to your customers’ comments that could do the most damage to your brand.

ChapStick Gets Itself in a Social Media Death Spiral A brand’s silent war against its Facebook fans By Tim Nudd

Social Media “High T” Number 3 – High Touch

In social media we have what I like to call Monique’s Social Media High T’s. They are the four components of a successful social media strategy and all of your posts and campaigns should take them into consideration. Over the past few weeks we have explored Trust and Transparency.

Now we will talk about the value of HIGH TOUCH.

Touchpoints are interactions that your client has with your brand. Some examples include:

  • an in-office visit
  • a call to make an appointment
  • a reminder text message
  • an eBlast with your latest office news

Each one of these touchpoints allows your patient to connect with you, and more importantly, form an opinion about you. The opinion will either make them feel a stronger affinity towards your practice, or leave a negative impression.

Think about your practice for a moment. Depending on your specialty, you have a limited number of times that you see a patient in your office in a given year. Some might include:

  • Post-op /Follow-up Visit(s)
  • Injectable appointments
  • Before/After Photos
You may see some patients more frequently, and some you might not see at all.  Therefore, you should think about touchpoints that:
  • happen throughout the year
  • add value
  • are interesting
  • are varied (in-person, eBlast, email, telephone, text, mailer, social media)

Social media is a perfect way to accomplish every bullet on the above list. Between blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, LinkedIn group postings, etc. you can really keep the message going all year long in variety of venues. Sometimes you will be educating your patients about a new procedure in a blog post. Or you might tweet to share an upcoming event. You might share a YouTube video of  you on the news, or showing off a new tool that you use to make the patient experience more comfortable, etc.

The point is, you can use social media channels to keep your patients in the loop in a very positive and non-threatening way. With every social touchpoint your patients will feel more connected to your practice, making them much more likely to refer you to their friends and family. And remember, with the “viral” nature of social media, they will also share your message with others (at no additional cost to you!).

Next week, we will explore the final “T” in our Social Media High T’s series… Traction! Stay tuned!

And if you found this post valuable, we’d love to have you pass it on to a friend or colleague!

 

Social Media “High T” Number Two

In social media we have what I like to call Monique’s Social Media High T’s. They are the four components of a successful social media strategy and all of your posts and campaigns should take them into consideration.

Image Source: EverydayTenacity.com

This is the second post in a series called Social Media High T’s – Read Week # 1 here

This week we’ll explore the second High T: HIGH TRANSPARENCY

We know what you may be thinking… I hear this buzzword all the time, but what do they mean by transparency?

The issue of online transparency really came about in blogging’s early days when less than honest bloggers would post rave reviews of products and services in exchange for payment or “free stuff”. Of course, it’s a little hard to keep things impartial when you have payola involved (at least in my experience). Combine this with corporate and government greed in the news, and all of a sudden, the public got wise and became much less trusting of what they read.  This culminated in a big backlash and a big emphasis on transparency and authenticity.

But as an online marketing participant, how can you incorporate the idea of transparency in your patient communications?  

I have a few ideas for you…

  1. Be Humble: No one likes a snooty, “I know more than you, therefore I’m better than you” physician. We know you went to med school and have a wealth of knowledge to share. But share it from the heart to help people, not to prove how much you know. Have someone read over any blog posts you write to make sure they feel like the “real” you (even if you didn’t write them -which in itself isn’t authentic but I’m just being realistic).
  2. Be Authentic: This comes down to being yourself… flaws and all. Give them a peek behind the scenes in your office, a typical workday, or some photos from your latest weekend hike. When you are yourself, you will actually be much more approachable to your patient base. In turn, they will feel a stronger kinship and tie to you which leads to higher patient retention (translate – loyalty) and referrals.
  3. No Hidden Agendas: Post information to help people better their lives, not pad your wallet. Don’t get me wrong, we all need to make a living, but trust me when I tell you that we consumers can see right through even the best-disguised sales pitch.
  4. Be Credible: If you make a mistake, own up to it… publicly. Let’s say you have a post on your Facebook wall from a patient who had to wait 45 minutes to see you at her last post-op appointment. The worst thing you can do is delete it (trust me on this one- the backlash to a deleted post can do more harm to your credibility than the original complaint). Instead, face it head on. Post something like this: “Our office strives to be on time for each and every appointment. Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, our schedule dosen’t always go as planned. We value our patients’ time and do our best every day to live by The Golden Rule – treating our patients the same as we would like to be treated.” 
  5. Be Influencing versus Controlling: Not every conversation online will go exactly the way you want it, but you can help steer it in the right direction. It’s okay to disagree, just do it in a humble manner. Remember – what you post on the internet is “forever” and you can’t take things back or have “do-overs”.
Feel free to give us your opinion in the comments section below! We’d love to hear your input.  Next week we”ll discuss High T number three… High Touch… so stay tuned!

 

 

 

Cheep and Cheerful – The Southwest Airlines Way

I read a Facebook post today from my friend Jamey Ice, a member of the band Green River Ordinance (and if you haven’t heard of them… you need to get to iTunes and pick up their new album Out of My Hands and follow them on Twitter @GRO.  Anyway… he was headed on an American Airlines flight to FL and was lamenting that it wasn’t Southwest Airlines.

So… what does Southwest do that others don’t?

I was fortunate enough to attend the Center for Services Leadership’s annual Compete through Service Symposium a few weeks ago and Dave Ridley, the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Revenue Management, at Southwest Airlines, was a featured speaker.

Dave summed up the motto of Southwest Airlines in three words… “cheap and cheerful”. It’s really all you need to know… (well, assuming safety is a given!).  But in my vast experience traveling on Southwest, their motto is consistent with their actions (they walk the talk).  Have you ever encountered a Southwest team member who was rude or grumpy?  I haven’t.

Dave also talked about the company culture… all employees have a sphere of influence. They are all empowered to deliver superior service.   But Dave…” how do you get employees who do this? ”

Three ways… Southwest:

  1. Hire great people
  2. Put people first
  3. Lead them well and no BS  (meaning “Big Shot” leadership)

He also emphasized three things that all Southwest employees need to have:

  • A warrior spirit (being innovative and creative)
  • A servant’s heart
  • A fun-loving attitude

I think Southwest has it right… and I try to embody these last 3 principals in my everyday life.  Do you?  I think any company who does has a huge wing up on their competition!

Off to the Center for Services Leadership “Compete Through Service Symposium” 2009

Packing my bags and heading out to the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU for the Center for Services Leadership annual symposium.  It will be an excellent opportunity to learn how companies in various industries deliver superior service to their customers to maximize loyalty and satisfaction (which leads to profits!).  Will keep you posted on what I learn…

TTFN…

(ta ta for now…)