Beyond Price: Personalization and the New Face of Customer Service

Consumers have been increasingly vocal about their desire for more information to inform their purchase choices. However, they are also dissatisfied with traditional in-store service and are seeking out expert advice online—and not just from friends and family.

To offer a complete and satisfying customer experience, retailers need to leverage the increasing power of online brand advocates to create uniquely personalized experiences for their shoppers. Leaving customers to navigate traditional product information and read customer reviews on their own means leaving sales on the table.

In this newest eBook from FierceRetail, we’ll show retailers how to create a more personalized customer experience that can increase sales and drive revenue for your business.

Chapters include:

  • The Omnichannel Shopper
  • The New Review: Input Drives Conversion
  • The Rise of Brand Advocates
  • In-Store Connectivity
  • Case Study: Home Furnishings

This eBook is available for download as a PDF and is designed to be read on your computer or tablet. We recommend using Adobe for an optimal reading experience. Completion of a short form is required to download the eBook.   Read more >


10 Social Media Etiquette Tips

1. Don’t Mix Business and Pleasure

Some public figures get paid to post outrageous or inspiring things on their social media accounts, but mere mortals don’t have this privilege. If your job requires you to maintain a social media account with your name on it, don’t use it to talk about where you’re going clubbing tonight, or to share photos of your new puppy. Keep separate accounts for this type of engagement. If the handles of your personal and business accounts are similar, clearly indicate which account is which in the about section. To soften the blow of questionable content, attach a disclaimer, such as “All views expressed are my own,” to your personal Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Keep in mind that your professional concerns should always outweigh your personal ones. For instance, if you’ve been tapped for a promotion at work, but haven’t been cleared to discuss it publicly, resist the urge to share the news on your personal social media accounts.

2. Use Caution Posting and Tagging Photos

You probably don’t appreciate it when your friends tag you in unflattering or candid photos, so why put them in the same position? If you’re posting a group photo, ask permission before tagging your friends, or post the photo with the caption “Tag yourself” to encourage others to take the initiative. Also, make sure your profile pictures, especially on business-focused social sites such as LinkedIn, are professional. Crisp, high-resolution head shots work best.

The rules change for your business page, where a logo or representative image might be appropriate. If professional concerns lead you to maintain an anonymous Facebook or Twitter page, feel free to be more creative with images. Just don’t anything truly offensive – it’s still possible to deduce the owner of an anonymous page.

3. Be Self-Centered in Small Doses

Even if you understand you’re not the center of the universe, your social media presence could be singing a different tune. Before you post, tweet, or share anything, think about how others might interpret it – will it be perceived as insightful and informative, or crass and boring? This is particularly important if you depend on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and other tools to market your professional side.

The 4-1-1 rule, which was developed for Twitter, but can be applied to other platforms, is a good template for engagement. The idea is that every time you post something that’s “all about you,” you share at least four pieces of content written by someone else.

4. Understand That Your Sense of Humor Isn’t Universal

Unless you’re sending a private message, your social media posts reach well beyond your friends and family members. What flies in the locker room or frat house might not be kosher in a setting where people from different backgrounds congregate. This doesn’t mean you can’t use well-placed humor in your posts – just make sure it’s appropriate.

5. Don’t Be Reactive

Celebrity Twitter wars are fun to watch, but avoid getting sucked into your own social media arguments. From behind a screen, a fight’s consequences seem less immediate, and many people are willing to go toe-to-toe online in ways they’d never dream of doing face-to-face. If you hash things out on social media, your words and actions can be saved and dredged up down the line.

There are many ways to start a social media spat, from personally responding to a politically tinged Facebook post, to publicly calling someone out for wrongdoing. No matter how the fight starts, the results aren’t constructive. In addition to alienating your adversary and his or her associates, you could develop a reputation as a hot head. And if you’re a senior employee, such as a VP or public relations specialist, your employer could take action against you, even if the dispute has nothing to do with your job.

6. Avoid Over-Sharing

Your social media feeds shouldn’t read like an inner monologue. Occasionally sharing what your cat’s up to or how awesome dinner was last night is fine. But over-sharing – as in posting your cereal choice every morning – is the quickest way to lose your friends and followers. Even if you don’t use your accounts for professional purposes, your social presence is a big part of your personal brand. You want your brand to be interesting, engaging, and representative of your best characteristics. You don’t want to dilute it with scads of irrelevant posts.

7. Build a Legacy for the Future

It’s standard for employers and educational institutions to vet candidates’ social media activity before granting an interview or accepting an application, so be sure that your accounts don’t jeopardize your chances. Ramp up the privacy settings on your personal accounts so your posts aren’t visible to non-contacts. Remove and un-tag morally or legally questionable photos. Find and delete any disparaging comments you’ve made about previous employers or colleagues. Make sure your LinkedIn profile has an updated resume, and begin engaging with relevant professional groups.

Think past the next status update – your social media presence contains years of information about you, and your exposure increases with the digitization of society. If you want to use social media to say and share what you please, consider creating semi-anonymous accounts under a pseudonym, such as nickname, misspelling, or inversion of your full name.

8. Don’t Misrepresent Yourself

Dishonesty can have serious personal and professional consequences, even on social media. It might feel easy to misrepresent yourself when you’re hiding behind a screen, but even a seemingly innocent embellishment on your LinkedIn profile, such as inventing a more impressive title at a previous job, could get you canned. Using social media to take credit for the achievements of your coworkers is also a no-no.

9. Don’t Drink and Tweet

If you’re impaired in any way – lack of sleep, jet lag, or one too many drinks – you’re more likely to break the rules of social media etiquette. If you’d feel unsafe behind the wheel, wait to engage online until you’re in a better frame of mind. Similarly, if your first instinct after a hard day at work or a fight with your partner is to vent digitally, resist the temptation. You’re liable to say something that could damage your personal or professional reputation.

10. Understand Each Platform’s Best Practices

Some social media etiquette principles are broadly applicable, and many are extensions of offline courtesy. But others, such as what to include in direct messages on Twitter, and when or with whom to connect on LinkedIn, are platform-specific. Before you become an active user of a new social media platform, read up on its best practices. And since these practices can change as new features emerge, study up each month to stay current.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci is a freelance journalist and branding consultant who loves to provide practical personal finance advice for regular people. When he’s not writing about frugal living, long-term investing, or consumer-friendly financial products, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine.

For complete article, click here >

How Every Marketer Can Use Little Data Effectively

After 30+ years in marketing, the most important advice I can share with anyone is this: When it comes to marketing communications, stop treating all your customers and prospects the same.

They are NOT the same … and they will react/respond differently if you take the time and make the effort to market to them differently. This fact has been proven time and time again — most recently in the five case studies presented in the Sept. 30 Direct Marketing IQ Brunch & Learn webinar, “Big Things You Can Do With Little Data”Opens in a new window (available on demand).

For example, AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah, was looking for a way to build relationships with their members in their first year of membership. The hypothesis was if members knew more about all the benefits of membership, they would be more likely to renew.

Research had identified that members knew about Emergency Roadside Service, but other than that, awareness of other member benefits was virtually nonexistent. How did AAA solve this problem?

Read more >


Glympse – Your Location, Your Friends, Your Terms

Here’s a neat app to keep track of people you trust. Whether it’s employees, family or friends, Glympse tracks your whereabouts so others know where you are.  For your business, it might help keep track of where employees are, or if you are scheduled for a meeting with a client and running late they’ll know how soon you’ll be there.  Or keep track of family members or friends (reunions, parties, holidays, etc).   As Glympse says, “Set a duration, pick a destination, choose the recipients and hit send! Glympse will take care of the rest.”   App is available from Google Store, Apple Store or Windows Phone Store.

Download here >


A closer look at Windows 10

Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 10 this morning, and the company is planning to distribute a Technical Preview of the new operating system tomorrow. At Microsoft’s event today there were a number of machines running the Windows 10 Technical Preview, and I got an opportunity to briefly explore the new OS. While Microsoft pushed hard with touch on Windows 8, Windows 10 is the complete opposite. If you mouse into the corners to find the tricky Charms Bar they no longer trigger and frustrate. Instead, you’re greeted with the familiar Windows desktop and Start Menu from the moment you use Windows 10. It’s Windows 7 right now and very early in its development, but it has some interesting improvements waiting inside.

Full story >


Best Password Managers

In these days of hacks, Heartbleed, and endless breaches, a strong, unique, and often-changed password for every site is even more imperative. A password manager can help you attain that goal.

LastPass received PC Editor rating as excellent. Plus it’s free!  New user interface puts notifications and queries right where you’re looking. Search from browser menu. Many multifactor authentication choices. Handles site signup, password change, fills web forms and credential sharing.  Check out all the features of LastPass here >>


If you want to check out all the other password managers reviewed by PC, you can do so here >>