How to Use Your Customers to Boost Your Bottom Line

istock_000006304060xsmallYou have a great product or service. You’ve taken it to market and it’s doing well. But could it being doing better? Are there steps towards growth that you haven’t yet thought of?

Maybe it’s time to talk to your customers.

They are the people that experience your business firsthand. They’re (mostly) objective and see things from the outside – they have a perspective that you can’t have, no matter how much you think you can.

Here are a few things that you can learn from your customers:

1. The state of your customer service
The impression you leave on a customer can help (or haunt) your business for the rest of its existence. In this day and age of sharing experience and reviews online, a bad customer experience can do a lot to damage your earning potential.

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Are You Eavesdropping on the Right Conversations?

eavesdroppingWhether you like it or not, people are talking about you. As a business, you are constantly interacting with people that will have something to say about their experience with you – positive or negative.

The beauty about this day and age is that you can listen in on those conversations. By paying attention to what people are saying, you can:

  • mitigate potentially damaging critiques
  • contribute to conversations and demonstrate that you care about customer experiences
  • identify and address problems within your business/customer experience
  • build a more loyal following

So how exactly do you listen in? Well, in all honesty, it depends on how involved you want to get. Below you’ll find a few different levels of involvement:

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What Zappos and an Obscure Indie Band Have in Common

What business tips can you learn from an obscure indie rock band from Baltimore? And what might they have in common with Zappos, the powerhouse online shoe store?

I just returned from a weekend at Bonnaroo, a massive (90,000) indie/folk music festival on 650 acres of farmland in Tennessee. While there were some big names such as Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews Band, and Jay-Z, no performer surprised and impressed me as much as the Dan Deacon Ensemble.

It wasn’t that their music was so amazing – it was good. However, their live performance and creative way of engaging the audience was mind-blowing.

For example, imagine a concert tent packed with hundreds of people dancing.

In the middle of their set, the frontman (Dan Deacon) stops to command the crowd to form a circle and bend down on one knee.

Difficult to say the least, but possible. A man named Jeff then stood in the centre of the circle, and we were told that Jeff was going to be performing interpretive dance, with the crowd imitating every motion.

Watch the video to see what happened:
(Disclaimer: some strong language)

The result was the most participatory audience I have ever seen at a show. Most rock concerts involve a lot of watching, some head-nodding, and probably some dancing – but fans don’t expect the spotlight to be turned on them. As a result, everyone that’s since asked me who my favorite band was at Bonnaroo got the same answer – a long-winded rave about Dan Deacon.

So the takeaway is this: Provide an AMAZING, SURPRISING, and ENGAGING experience for your customers, and they will evangelize about you until the cows come home.

Not sure how to do this? Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, has a few creative ideas, stemming from their values.

Start getting creative! Don’t worry about ruffling a few feathers, just focus on providing the most spectacular experience possible for the audience that matters to you: your customers. Good luck!