4 Things Your Community Needs From You In 2016

conversation

 

When I first got involved with online communities (mumblemumble years ago now), they were largely digitized gatherings of misfit humans around common interests or topics.

Suffice it to say that the world of Community has changed drastically since then, and as a result, the role of the people that steward and tend to those communities has changed drastically too.

Now we have this interesting dynamic, especially between brands/businesses and their various communities. It’s not exactly personal. It’s not strictly “professional”. We’re all trying to hone this elusive “perfessional” balance that maintains the respect of customer/prospect/influencer-to-business relationship but adds a dose of personal attention, communication and voice that ensures each person as an individual feels seen and heard.

It’s not easy.

But even as some things change, many things stay the same, and there are few things your community will undoubtedly need as you gear up for building, managing, and stewarding those relationships in 2016, whatever it looks like. [Read more…]

Salespeople, I Can’t Believe We’re Still Talking About This

Brass Tack Thinking - Salespeople I Can't Believe We're Still Talking About ThisRecently, I had to purchase a rather expensive piece of medical equipment. And I needed it quickly.

So, I researched online, and within a day I’d determined what I needed, how much I was going to have to spend, and was prepared to make a purchase.

I contacted one company through their website. They wouldn’t give me ordering information online, I had to fill out a form and have someone contact me.

Ok, fine, I’ll roll with that for now.

The company got back to me quickly enough; I’d put through my inquiry on a weekend and got a phone call on Monday morning.

I spoke with the rep about my needs, my urgency (I was very careful to indicate that this was something I needed sooner rather than later), and my clarity about what I wanted. I also indicated that I’d be willing to make the purchase up front myself and submit to the insurance company for reimbursement rather than waiting for lots of pre-approvals. I also told him I had also verified in advance with my insurance company that this was an acceptable arrangement.

So, he tells me that he’s going to:

  1. Email me pricing and purchase information
  2. Check with their billing department about insurance
  3. Get back to me quickly.

I didn’t hear from him for over a week. [Read more…]

The One Thing That Smart Businesses Never Do

The One Thing Smart Businesses Never Do - Brass Tack ThinkingSmart businesses don’t make it difficult for people to leave.

The games, the gimmicks, the “hide the cancel button”, the hard “please don’t go” sales routine. Does it work? Maybe, technically. You might get some people who will be too frustrated to go through the brain damage and they’ll sit there paying you every month for a while. (If that’s your definition of “effective”  then you’ve probably got deeper business ethics issues than a blog post can solve, anyway.)

But eventually, if a customer is determined to leave, they’ll find out how to do it. And they will resent the hell out of you for making it hard for them to do so.

When we decide to stop doing business with a company for whatever reason, making it hard for us to do it doesn’t prevent us from leaving. Burying your “cancel account” links, forcing your customers to talk to a “retention representative” before you’ll cancel something, leaning hard on contract cancellation dates to squeeze every last dime out of a client…those things don’t give us a sudden epiphany that causes us to say “Ah, you’re right! What was I thinking? Go ahead and keep charging me.”

It just pisses us off. [Read more…]