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Zappos’ Secret To Customer Loyalty


I’m quite fascinated with Zappos (if you can’t already tell); they seem to have their act together when it comes to business – they have created a business model that really works.


I recently came across an article that talks about customer loyalty and how Zappos nurtures that in their company. Rob Siefker, Directory of the Customer Loyalty Team at Zappos, was interviewed by 1 to 1 Media and the concept of customer loyalty was discussed. There were several takeaways that were enlightening and fairly simple concepts:


1. Start with employee engagement: Rob states that the company culture dictates the success of the business. Working in a call center, where complaints and issues are coming at a constant rate, it’s important to create an environment that is supportive for the staff on the team. By creating a positive and support culture, the employees are more successful, in turn creating a positive customer experience.


2. Be transparent: Rob shares that the company is quite transparent and listens to both customers and employees, always working to better the customer journey and the corporate culture. Employees are on the front lines, and continually talking with them, learning what makes their job easy and difficult, and asking for ways to better the experience can go a long way in both customer facing and employee facing aspects of the business.


3. Do something with the data: it’s one thing to have feedback programs in place; it’s another to really look at the data and make good use of it. For Zappos, this means taking the data and providing additional training and coaching for their staff, looking at “make or break” factors in the customer journey and continuing to make improvements, and evaluating the company as a whole based on feedback data from employees and customers.


4. Never stay stagnant: that’s the one underlying theme through all of the articles I’ve ever researched on Zappos. Continually measure, change, and improve. That seems to be the way Zappos handles business. In the article, Rob states that “We have to prioritize what’s most important and has the biggest customer impact. We have to continue to be smart about that and test some things in small ways. We go big if it has a positive impact on the customer experience. And we test a lot. Our philosophy is to fire some bullets around before you fire a big cannon ball.”







Trends in B2B Marketing


B2B marketing efforts can be challenging, though technology and even social media has offered more options that in the past. LinkedIn is a front runner in social media marketing for this sect, more so than Facebook, which tends to be geared more toward B2C marketing and engagement.


A recent study conducted by SageFrog Marketing Group looked at B2B Marketing options and how they changed between 2012 and 2013. The study suggests that while many of the marketing options show a lower use in 2013 when compared to last year, this does not mean that they are necessarily marketing less or using various marketing tactics less than they used to. Instead, they suggest that there are more options now for B2B marketers, giving them more ways to reach potential customers than before.


The chart below shows the various marketing options and the percentage of users in 2013 and 2013:


B2B marketing


It’s interesting to note that trade shows didn’t show significant, if any, use in 2012, but this seems to be a strong tactic in 2013. Website, social media, and email marketing remain as the top three marketing channels. The big surprise was telemarketing, which showed an increase in usage compared to last year.


When email marketing was born, people said cold calling was dead. When social media emerged, people said email would die a slow death. Here we are in 2013, and cold calling, or at least sales calls, are still alive and kicking.


With this increase, I’m wondering if the percentages are up because people are laying the groundwork in other forms or marketing, especially social media/online, and these calls end up being “warm” leads vs the traditional telemarketing efforts of the past. This might account for the jump in percentages. After all, it’s easier to start a call by saying, “My name is XYZ and we have this in common…..” With sites like LinkedIn, these types of lead ins are possible, even more so than they were pre-social media days.


If you’re a B2B marketer, we’d love to hear from you! What are your top methods of marketing? Has it changed since last year? If so, how? Please feel free to share your thoughts and join in the conversation!



Make The Most Of Customer Feedback


It’s not always easy to get customers to provide feedback in a survey. So, when they do, you want to make sure your survey is designed to get the most information possible while not frustrating the customer.


There are some things to keep in mind as you’re designing your feedback survey:


1. Factor in the entire experience: in the case of a cell phone feedback survey, for example, your current survey may focus on the customer’s in store experience, since that is where they are interacting with the brand and you can easily offer a survey. Your questions may relate solely to the in store experience; since that does not encompass the entire experience with the brand, it’s best to add questions related to more peripheral points of service, such as network coverage, connectivity satisfaction, speed of online browsing, etc. If you’re only focusing on one point of the customer journey, you may not be aware of other things that are driving customers away.


2. Measure, then really analyze: don’t focus on one statistic, such as overall satisfaction; that may mislead you into a false sense of security. It’s best to really dig down into each aspect of the customer journey and compare those to overall satisfaction to really learn what motivates customers to stay with you and what motivates them to leave.


For example, you may find that customers are generally dissatisfied with the speed of service in the checkout line, yet they are giving fairly high ratings for overall satisfaction and likelihood of returning. This tells you, especially if it is a trend over time, that while this needs to improve, it’s not a “make or break” situation for customers. On the flip side, you may find that product selection is a consistent issue, and those customers are also saying they won’t be back. This is more of a “make and break” issue that needs to be addressed quickly.


3. Have a follow up plan in place: studies show that if a customer requests follow up on a feedback survey, and they are highly satisfied with the follow up, even if their issue may not have been fully resolved, they are 61% more likely to return in the future.


Your best bet is to have a double closed loop resolution in place. When a customer requests follow up, make sure there is a plan in place to reach out to the customer as quickly as possible after the survey is submitted. Then, follow up a second time to ensure that follow up was in fact done, and the customer’s issue was resolved. This sends a great message to customers while making sure there is no breakdown in the customer journey.


Customer feedback can be hard to come by; make sure you’re making the most of it.