Category Archives for "Customer Satisfaction"

10 Customer Engagement Ideas

Build a community… We’d all love to have the same level of customer engagement as Harley Davidson but the reality is that it’s a lot of work.  Besides, how many of us have products that are cool enough to be tattooed on your head?  When you build your community around you, your community will support you and you’ll have higher levels of customer engagement.

Harley TattooListen… your customers are trying to tell you about themselves and about your products and organization. When you listen, then act accordingly, you will work toward customer engagement one person at a time.  Social Media is a fantastic vehicle for listening and responding.

Marry the information collected from the myriad of touch points and databases with the key to customer engagement… attitudinal data. After all, if you don’t know the emotion / attitudes behind a purchase how will you gain “the heart” of your customer?

Customer Engagement Ideas:

  1. Embrace Facebook, Twitter, online opinion forums. Open your minds, set parameters and engage in dialogue.
  2. Hold a contest.  Make sure it’s fun and engaging.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to participate and the reward should be desirable.  Afterwards, ask the winner to create a testimonial for your brand.  What better way to build fan engagement and customer engagement?
  3. On Facebook, choose a Fan-of-the-week and show them some love by featuring them on your wall.  You may even choose to reward them with a gift/prize.
  4. Create your own Social Network as part of your website
  5. A traditional customer engagement tool is a loyalty program: points for purchase, discount for purchase, bonus products on purchase; reward for referrals etc.
  6. Text marketing loyalty campaigns:  ask your customers to sign up for your VIP club and then send them specials that are only available to the Mobile VIP Club through their mobile phone.  Not only will you have exclusivity, which can create customer engagement but you can also boost your sales.
  7. On the subject of mobile.  Create a scavenger hunt, using, or (this is for Garmin GPS users only).  Scavenger hunts are fun and can really build a community around your business
  8. Create a mobile app that provides content the user wants, with the bonus being that you push VIP Club promotions to them (e.g. come to the restaurant today and receive a free appetizer or dessert; Surprise guest is jamming in the club tonight, the first 20 VIP members and up to 3 guests can join the VIP line
  9. Ask your customers to provide testimonials.  Video is best, Audio is second best, online reviews next and good old-fashioned paper testimonials work too!
  10. Continually focus on your “TALK Factor”.  This are your best community building traits: Trustworthy – Accessible – Likeable and Knowledgeable

Special Events for Increasing Customer Engagement:

    1. Hold a celebration in store;
    2. Create invite-only access to lecture / conference / educational session;
    3. Treat customers to major league games, concerts, performances etc.;
    4. Host a group travel program for large volume, most profitable customers;
    5. For B2B customers, create a series of webinars for your customers
    6. Host a Meet-up, Twitter Party or Google Hangout


What are YOU doing to increase your customer engagement?  Tell me below in the comments!


Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at and reach her

Avoid behaving like these retail giants to increase customer engagement

You know those days when you just want to shake someone silly… well I had one of those days.  You see I had not one but two disappointing experiences as a customer in one day.  The first one was with our local Staples store and my experience gets an A+ for doing many things wrong… or an F for actually making me happy to spend my money there.

Surprised Businesswoman - IsolatedIt all started on Saturday night when I submitted a file to two Staples stores (one locally and the other in another part of the province, both for pick up).  This file is extremely valuable and extremely time sensitive… it is the draft copy of the first part of my Guerrilla Marketing book tentatively titled “Guerrilla Tourism Marketing  – Increase your profits | Delight your customers | Inspire your employees.”  The irony, of course, being that my experience will not increase their profits, it did not delight their customer and their employees were not inspired to sort the problem.

The mistakes… in chronological order by vendor

I submitted my order on Saturday and received email confirmations (expected).  Given that my order was less than $75 and knowing that the copy center was open on weekends, I expected that the order would be processed by Sunday.  The other Staples order was completed and an email was received at  “Date: Sun, Jun 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM / Subject: Staples Copy & Print Online – Your order #xxxxxxxx is complete and ready for pick up”.

However, I did not receive an email for the copies I ordered locally.  So, I went to the copy centre just before 5pm on Sunday only to be told that their copier was broken and that the file had been sent to Vancouver.  Okay, hold on…. no-one at Staples could email me or call to tell me this in advance?  Strike one.  I was told to come back at either 10 or 11am on Monday when their delivery would be received.

Monday was a crazy busy day for me, so just before 7pm I checked online to see if there was an update and nope, there wasn’t, but I did now see a message that the copier was broken.  So I called the store and pressed the various numbers to get to the copy centre.  Hmmm… everyone was with customers and no one was able to take my call, although it appeared that the call bounced from the copy centre to another line.  So I hung up and phoned back.  This time I did not choose the copy centre option but I did choose customer service and this is when the customer disservice really kicked in.

I had the unpleasant experience of dealing with Shelley (who I confirmed today is part of the management team).  I told her my name and explained that I was trying to reach the copy centre.  I asked if they were available now.  Shelley informed me that the copy centre closed at 7pm.  I told her that I had been waiting for a copy order placed on Saturday and that I was told that it would come in at 10 or 11am on Monday. She asked for my name.   I told her that I hadn’t received an email or phone call to inform me of the status of the order.  I told her that this was a very important document and that I needed it due to a book deadline.  I went on to say that I knew the printer was broken but I didn’t really care.  Their problems should not be my problem and something should have been done (hmmm… perhaps printing it on a colour printer might have worked since 99% of the copy in the document was black anyway… now that would be thinking of the customer first!)

She asked for my name (seriously, she’d heard it 2x already).  She told me that the printer was fixed on Monday.  When I said something snarky she told me to watch my tone…. Well, that would be strike two….  You see, I don’t really care that she doesn’t know what goes on in the copy centre, nor do I care about their machine problems.  I don’t care that they have to send orders to Vancouver  “hub” in the situation where the order couldn’t be filled and I really don’t care that the copy centre person had left 2 minutes before I called the first time.

I told her that she was not at all helpful along with all those things that I really don’t care about.  I became so exasperated by her lack of … hmmm… customer service, empathy, support, willingness to do what it takes (that’s as an employee, let alone a manager) that I said to her “Why didn’t they just print my file on the freaking printer then?”.  To which she said “What did you say?” to which I replied “I said, why don’t they just print my file on the freaking printer”, to which she said “That’s not what you said” and to which I responded “Oh yes, that’s what I said”.  Okay… what was that now, strike three???… so then she asked for my name AGAIN and she told me that Ann would phone in the morning.

A short while later, a perky little voice called me to say that they had found my order in the “hub” box and that I could pick it up.  Right, that’s great that Shelley didn’t call back…. Instead she delegated.  Nice… any person that works with me (manager or not) would have their ass in a sling if they pulled a stunt like that!… strike four.

But wait… that’s not all… today I went to Staples at just before 9am to discover signs on the door that “due to reasons beyond their control it was cash only”.  Strike five.  So, I entered anyway and was greeted by the cashier who told me that it was cash-only because their machines were down.  I asked her where to go to get cash and off I went to a bank that charged me $1.50 to withdraw cash because I didn’t bank with them.

So, money in hand, I went to the copy centre.   I’ve had more than enough by now… but I kept my cool and explained the entire situation and got a better response than any I’d received so far … which was an “I don’t know why you didn’t get a call, someone obviously dropped the ball yesterday” with some concern in her voice.

However,  there was another missed opportunity… she didn’t immediately offer anything to make this up to me.  Strike six Eventually she offered a 20% discount, which was the best she could do.  I took it but decided that I’d help them to avoid this situation in the future.

6 Strikes = 6 Lessons


Lesson #1.

If the machine is broken, use another one… even if it means a colour copier instead of a black and white one.  The little “perk” would be that I got to see the coloured bits in colour and I would not be inconvenienced.

Lesson #2.

If rules are so strictly enforced that you’d lose your job or be reprimanded because you are trying to delight your customers, either speak up to get the rules changed or find another job because no business that cares about their customers has rules that will send their customers to a competitor.  Attn: Management find some common sense and give employees the ability to make the situation acceptable to the customer.

Lesson #3.

Tell your customers when things go wonky and you cannot live up to your promise.  Twice, this team failed to show an ounce of customer service let alone saying “hey, we have a problem but I’d like to do this instead”


Don’t hire people that cannot work with an upset customer to resolve an issue.  And here’s a bonus… only hire people that can remember a simple name like “Carol Wain”.


Communicate…. There is no excuse why my situation wasn’t noted on the front of my file with a message left for the employee to make things right.

Lesson #6.

If there are things out of your control (such as your debit/credit card machines being out of service) offer a token of appreciation for coming to the store.  Yes, donuts and coffee or fruit and juice are not going to make it right if I have to leave to find a bank machine but the thought would be appreciated.  However, what would have been even better is a discount to compensate me for the bank fees and additional effort it required to get the bank and back.

Now onto my next you-didn’t-win-any-awards-today customer experience

I had a craving for a Safeway hot sandwich, so at about 11:30 I made a trek to pick up lunch.  Well, Kim was a bit frazzled in the sandwich part of the deli.  I got the distinct feeling that I was interrupting her day as she didn’t smile or attempt any interaction (other than the questions “what type of bread” “6 inches” and “as it comes”). Strike 1

She then informed me that she didn’t have time to cut the onions so would I like something else.  I said sure “I’ll have the red peppers”.  Ha… good luck trying to get her to give me those coveted roasted red peppers to make up for the fact that she couldn’t make the sandwich “as it comes”.  No way, if I wanted red peppers they’d cost a dollar.   Strike 2

Needless to say I didn’t get my onions or red peppers.  Instead she worked away on the two sandwiches, told the next person in line that she’d get to her when she could  Strike 2.5 (since it wasn’t me but it was someone else) and that was that.

Eventually another gal came over and started the sandwich for the next in line but the vibe from Kim told me that she was working alone for a reason.

Kim did make good use of her time by ringing in my purchase while the sandwiches toasted.  I give her credit for that!

Kim asked if I needed a bag, to which I said “yes”.  She pulled one out, opened it and left it on the counter.   “Like I’m going to pack my own sandwiches”, said the bitchy side of me. Strike 3

Anyway, eventually the deli manager came over and asked Kim if I was rung in.  She put the sandwiches, drinks and chips in the bag… and then I told her that I was disappointed that I couldn’t have onions with my sandwich.

It was a test, I grant you that.  However, I wanted to see how it would be handled.   She turned to Kim who told her that yes, there were no onions as she didn’t have time to cut them.   The deli manager said that she would go and cut some onions for “on the side” if I’d like.  I just said “no, it’s too late” and left to come back and write a blog post.  I will give the deli manager credit, although it was most definitely too little, too late.

3 Strikes = 3 Lessons


Lesson #1.

Grumpy-pants people need to put on their happy face when they come to work.   That’s what you are being paid for.

Lesson #2.

There were 3 gals in the deli plus the deli manager.  Everyone should be helping each other.  If onions were not cut by 11:30 and the lunch rush was about to start, then someone somewhere needs to cut the freaking onions.  (yes, I said “freaking” just like I did last night!)

Lesson #3.

I know that secret shoppers shop at Safeway as I know people who work in another Safeway deli.   Every customer should be treated as if they were a secret shopper because they all are… each and every one of us has the ability to write a review and post it forever on the internet…. Whether on a blog post like this or on a review site.

On the positive side, the gal, Krista, at the liquor store cracked a joke with me.  The gas attendant at Costco waved and smiled… and held a conversation with another customer…. And a pedestrian waved and smiled as I stopped to let him cross the street….

See, it makes a difference when you smile 🙂

Let’s hear from you… what lessons would you give to the people that you bought from today?  What kudos would you give out too?  Please leave your comments below.

Online Reputation is #1 sales engine: An interview with Andreas Schmidt

According to a recent Nielsen report which surveyed more than 28,000 global Internet users, 92 percent say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. Online consumer reviews (i.e. TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook, etc.) rank as the second most trusted source.

We’ve stayed at LeBlanc Spa Resort twice in 4 months and I chose this resort is because of what I found online.  As someone who has been in the travel industry since 1996, first as a retail travel agent, now as a group incentive travel and meeting planner that also books FIT trips for friends, family and reward recipients; who has been on wonderful (and not so wonderful) fam trips with tour operators, CVBs and DMCs and who has a huge network with other agents and planners the way I researched and the steps I took to make my purchase decision is telling.  Instead of going through my regular channels, I chose this resort because it was #1 in Cancun on Trip Advisor and because both positive and negative reviews were responded to by the general manager, Andreas Schmidt.

In this interview, Andreas explains his strategy for optimizing the social proof that results from Trip Advisor.

Modified Transcript

Our service is a personalized service.  We really try to care about our customers and the service should not end when the guests are leaving the resort.  We should still maintain a relationship with them.  We should be thankful for any feedback they are they giving us.  If it is good then it’s motivational for the staff.  If it’s not so good it’s an opportunity for us to improve.

So, in the past, really, if you went to Trip Advisor or something, you will never find any comments or response to the guests.  But, when a guest sits down for an hour or two hours writing a review, it really deserves some response because it’s still a service.  If you ask for something at the resort, our responsibility is to make it happen for you and if we cannot make it happen at least you expect an answer.  It’s the same thing with all social media.  You expect and you deserve an answer and we (at the resort) should be thankful for any response we are getting and you should be noted.

So basically, we started 2.5 years ago and it became really huge.  Trip Advisor for us, and unfortunately I cannot put it down in numbers, is probably the most important sales engine for us now.  Everybody is doing it, I do it, you do it too.  You make a reservation, you look at the hotel, you look for rates, you compare hotels and before you make your final decision you will go to Trip Advisor… at least 80% of the guests do.

And then it comes back to the little details which make a difference.  You get welcomed here with a cold towel, and a flower and coconut water.  When you check Trip Advisor you see that there are comments and the general manager is answering the comments.  And you say ‘Wow, the general manager is answering the comments’.  If you check, maybe, the competition and with the competition, maybe, the public relations manager is handling the comments, which is a nice touch.  But then you think, ‘They really don’t care that much.  The general manager over there does it personally.’  It’s the little details.

It is really important to answer all of them because as you said, ‘he didn’t answer mine’.  So we did not fulfill all of your expectations which is a little cross that they are doing a great job but they are not perfect, so we still have an opportunity to improve.

I talk on a daily basis to our guests and it will not happen … ever.. that I don’t meet 2 or 3 or 4 guests a day who tell me that they chose the resort because of the reviews, so it is important to handle it in the right way.

My advice is if you are doing a great service,   if you care about your customers you will do it.  People in the hospitality business always talk about ‘what is quality?’  and then they talk about ‘exceeding the expectations of the customers’… which is all nice and I agree but quality, in my opinion, is to get the ‘wow’ out of our customers and I want to get the wow out even after the guests are gone.  I want to call you and have the butler call you when you get home to make sure that you got home all right.  You are going to say ‘wow’.

With Trip Advisor if you get an answer right away you want to say “they even care even though I’m not here anymore.”  My advice is don’t stop caring after they are gone.

Mr. Schmidt said it so well, it’s all about caring and delighting customers and it’s no wonder why the property is so well rated on Trip Advisor.