FOCUS: What About Customer Experience and Relationships?

Visitors Audience Customers Community

On the lookout for…?

“Relationships?! How do you do that when your business is all about selling boxes of widgets? Folks come to my site, order them and I ship them out…”

This is a common question. You have always viewed your company as one that makes something that others buy (hopefully more than once…), and then you make sure they get it. Pretty much the definition of “transactional”, and, especially if you operate an e-commerce site, you only know them by a name, address and order number. It doesn’t look like the opportunities to establish and grow a relationship, as you’re thinking of it, are that ripe.

…or are they?…

I’ve written before about a descriptive construct I call the VACC. It stands for Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community. There are different ways of looking at the people who interact with your business: The Customer Journey, the Sales Funnel, and so on. Viewing these people through the VACC lens focuses on the stage of the relationship they have with you business, and how you communicate and interact with them. Each stage is valuable and there is no hard line dividing them. Nonetheless, knowing, in greater depth, what each set of these people are looking for, how they act and react to you and your business, what their expectations are, and how you can communicate with them is vital to your business growth. Not knowing is the same as tossing your product out on to a virtual (or real…) sidewalk and hoping the right folks come by.

Continue reading

More Promising and Valuable: a Partner or a Customer?

Still in the early years of your business and riding the revenue roller coaster? Yeah, me too.

Things are Really Fat for several months (maybe even longer…), so you focus on project delivery and all of the work that entails. Make those clients happy!!!!  Things lighten up a bit, so you take a TEENSY breather (maybe a couple of actual days off in a row….what a concept…).

Things continue to back off, you realize that you’re experiencing the business equivalent of “the pig in the python“, and you’re staring at a mostly empty pipeline. This is not good. You redouble your efforts on business development, lay out some ads, reach out to some referral sources, revisit your business Facebook page (wow….when was the last time you DID that!?), hit those chamber of commerce lunches, contact some leads, and engineer an email campaign, but getting meetings is hard and they all seem to be too busy or in “let’s talk in about 60 days or so” mode.

Again, not so good.

Continue reading

Trusting [?] Facebook

What you can find on Facebook is all over the map! As a channel for conversation, community, communication and entertainment, it has really grown and branched out. For a lot of small business owners that I talk to, it is both an opportunity and a jungle. They are aware that the chances to grow their audience, deepen their engagement and conversation with their customers and fans, and build a trusted presence online are available. But somewhere, deep down, they’re just a little unsure of it all. When they go to their profile pages and scroll down their timelines, they see So Much that is not business. Cute videos, political barking, blatant advertising (including ads for things that they, IN NO WAY, want to have anything to do with…) and just A Lot Of Stuff. How can they trust their message to all that?

Continue reading