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 Should the 3 million dollars spent on the SuperBowl been spent on customer service

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Spending 3 million dollars on :30 seconds of an ad is a scary thing for many companies.  However if you have the right brand for the audience, the right product and the right idea for an ad it can be a great investment in your company leading to increased sales, traffic and brand.

Given the economy this year it is an even more risky bet to run an ad in the Superbowl.

At MeasuredUp we think many companies that advertised in the SuperBowl could have spent their moeny better by investing it in customer service programs, social networking and reputation management.  These efforts in many cases would have increase revenue more then an ad in the SuperBowl.

Having said that we think a few companies spent their money wisely and put together effective ads in the SuperBowl.

Winners:

Hyundai – New products, good prices and an implosion by Toyota could help Hyundai step up to the big time.

Cars.com – Smart ad, good message, well executed.  A great way to take leadership in the category.

Google.com – The first ad from google is distinctive, smart and clear.  Not sure who does not use google already but if they saw the ad they do now.

Why bother:

Bud Light – Keeping your brand top of mind is one thing. Dumb commercials dont sell more beer.  Try creating a quality message.

Sketchers – No idea why this brand is here.

Bridgestone – No message.

Total waste of money:

Boost Mobil – Might have well given phones away to customers with the money to build usership.

GoDaddy.com – Reliably running the worst ad each year.  Too stupid to comment more.

Vizeo – Garbage ad. Totally useless.

Each year advertisers as a group largely miss on this event.  While blame to ad agencies is clear it also takes a supremely stupid client to buy off on many of these ideas.

The shame is that too many of these agencies and clients are trying to win a popularity contest that means nothing.  What they should be doing is creating a smart ad on message that pays off on what their brand does.

 How Search Works With Social CRM

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

From Media Post

by Laurie Sullivan,

Search technology: Some companies will license it, while others build it from scratch. It depends on the egos of executives working at the company. Real-time search and social media have pushed technology to the forefront. Companies need sophisticated algorithms that can sort and index structured and unstructured data.

A recent Accenture report titled “Social CRM: The New Frontier of Marketing, Sales and Service” ties it all together. Joe Hughes, senior executive from Accenture’s customer service and support business, confirms that enterprise companies have begun to build search engine technology that will integrate into software applications and consumer hardware to help marketers, advertisers, agencies and others sort through the mounds of data created by social media.

Hughes defines social CRM as the conversation data from social media networks. And as marketers continue to try and make sense of the mounds of data flooding in from real-time search, Twitter streams, Facebook status updates, and behavioral targeting tags, they will need a faster method to sort, index and access data. Wow, are you overwhelmed yet?

Marketers need technology that can move feedback from customers and call center agents between channels with as much automation as possible. That will become the only way to analyze the data. Natural language query processing will also become a focus, to search through documents of unstructured and structured data as the mounds of social media data continues to mount.

Last year, tools measuring buzz metrics in social networks emerged. This year, the focus turns toward integrating the social data into traditional CRM platforms from companies like software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Salesforce, which late last year integrated the feature, allowing people to search on that data in real time.

Until now, CRM packages did not allow marketers to view data collected on Twitter alongside traditional queries. But the real-time search movement has sent companies looking to improve search results back to the drawing board to build engines that can process structured and unstructured data, as well as sentiment analysis, taxonomy, classification and entity extractions, according to Hughes. “The strategy of combining structured and unstructured data will become more important,” he tells me.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=121505

 Barnes & Noble Tops Customer Experience List

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Jan 13, 2010

Elena Malykhina from Marketing Daily

Barnes & Noble is the No. 1 brand when it comes to customer experience, according to a survey released this week by Forrester Research.

Forrester asked more than 4,600 U.S. consumers about their interactions with companies across various industries as part of the “Customer Experience Index, 2010.” Participants rated the usefulness, ease of use, and enjoyability of their experiences. Forrester calculated the results for 133 companies in 14 different industries and found that retailers, hotels, and
parcel shipping firms ranked the highest for all categories, while health insurance plans, TV service providers, and Internet service providers ranked the lowest.

The second and third highest-rated companies behind Barnes & Noble were Marriott Hotels & Resorts, and Hampton Inn/Suites, respectively. Amazon.com and Holiday Inn Express rounded out the top 5. On the other hand, Charter Communications, United Healthcare, and Citigroup, among others, were at the bottom of the list.

“If you step back and look, a lot of the industries at the bottom haven’t had the need for competition in terms of consumers—including health insurance providers who traditionally competed for employees. Other organizations just haven’t grown up in terms of being customer-centric,” said Forrester analyst Bruce Temkin, who worked on the survey.

According to Forrester, only 13 firms had an “excellent” customer experience rating; 35 received a “good” rating, 40 got “okay” ratings, and 45 received either a “poor” or “very poor” rating. (See the complete survey results here.)

Read entire article here – http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/direct/e3i5b45383f2cd3f8b3848cb4869a779206

 L.L.Bean Still Tops In Customer Service

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

From article in Mediapost. By Sarah Mahoney

Customers of L.L. Bean aren’t just wearing their duck boots, they’re feeling the love.

The Freeport, Maine-based retailer once again landed in the No. 1 spot in the National Retail Federation/American Express Customers’ Choice survey, followed by Overstock.com, Zappos.com and Amazon.com. (All four ranked in precisely the same order as last year’s survey.)

QVC jumped into No. 5, followed by Coldwater Creek; HSN; Lands’ End, a division of Sears, and JCPenney. Nordstrom and Kohl’s tied for the 10th spot.

Read the article here: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=120495&nid=109870

 Customer satisfaction improves; shoppers’ favorite stores

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

An article at Forbes.com confirms that while the economy is still experiencing a downturn, with The National Retail Federation estimating a 2.5% drop in sales for the first half of the new year, the shopping public is exhibiting signs of being more content with the service it receives from certain retailers.

Among ‘America’s Favorite Stores’ are: Nordstrom and Kohl’s. [Search MeasuredUp for Customer Service Reviews of Nordstrom and Kohl's, or write your own review!]

To read the article, which provides an in-depth look at the statistics and shopping habits of America in relation to the economy, click here.

 Keep in touch with your customers, to keep them – period

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

From Portland Business Journal an article extolling the virtues of keeping in touch with customers in order to keep them coming back, time and again.The author suggests that companies looking to cut costs without also looking for “ways to improve their business model and become more productive, with better sales and customer service practices” are doing their customers a great disservice and in turn are damaging customer loyalty, and ultimately, the bottom line. His solution: a simple phone call.MeasuredUp understands that it can be exceptionally time consuming for a small business to reach out by phone to each and every one of it’s customers – and that’s why we’ve created the MeasuredUp Direct Connect feature. Direct Connect is a free online service that gives your company the tools it needs to get in touch, and stay in touch, with customers. Direct Connect allows you and your company to communicate with your customers so that you can help solve their customer service problems and consumer complaints quickly and easily, without having to devote endless resources of time and money to the process. Create your company profile on MeasuredUp today and get started using Direct Connect – it’s free and easy!

 How to deal with disputed credit card charges

Monday, January 26th, 2009

From USA Today:

THE DETAILS OF DISPUTING
Consumers’ maximum liability for unauthorized credit card charges: $50
Number of days consumers have to report unauthorized credit card use: No limit1
Number of days consumers have to file a billing dispute: 602
Number of days the card issuer has to respond: 903
Maximum number of days a dispute drags on: 2701 = Consumers should notify issuer as soon as possible to avoid complications;

2 = Must be in writing; time starts when the bill with the improper charge is sent;

3 = Within two billing cycles or 90 days, whichever comes first

Sources: USA TODAY research, MasterCard, Visa, National Consumer Law Center

With the slumping economy consumers are paying closer attention to just what it is they’re paying for - from groceries and personal items to electronics and furniture – shoppers are weighing the value of their purchases before making a decision. But what about after that purchase has been made? Consumers are turning to their credit card and banking companies for assistance in resolving fraudulent charges, overcharges, and viable charges made against unreceived goods and services.

So what can consumers do when they find a charge on their credit card statement for something they didn’t buy, didn’t intend to buy, or did buy and didn’t receive? More on this from USA Today:

While it’s not always possible to avoid credit card disputes, here are some tips for dealing with them:

Get promises in writing. Save receipts. For big-ticket items, also ask for written confirmation of when the item will be delivered and what services are provided as part of the purchase.

Know the rules. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives consumers the right to dispute a credit card purchase or withhold payment for a card purchase — but only under certain conditions.

Disputes must generally be filed in writing within 60 days after the bill is sent. In certain disputes, the goods or services must cost more than $50, and the transaction must have occurred in the purchaser’s home state or within 100 miles of his or her mailing address. Although state laws vary, items bought online or by phone are generally considered purchases made where you are, Feddis says.

While disputing a charge, the card holder will not have to pay the contested amount and won’t incur interest on it. If the dispute is lost, the card company is allowed to charge interest back to the date you filed the dispute, after a standard grace period.

File the dispute carefully. Banks classify card holders’ disputes into nearly two dozen categories, such as “merchandise not received” or “canceled recurring transaction.” But generally, if filed as an “unauthorized transaction” — as long as it is unauthorized — you’ll have more protection.

By law, liability for unauthorized credit card use is limited to $50, but most banks don’t hold the card holder responsible for even that amount. Unlike billing-error disputes, which generally must be filed in writing, unauthorized transactions can be reported over the phone. And, there’s no requirement to do so within 60 days

Read the full article, including individual cases of consumers who fought back against unfair, fraudulent, or exhorbitant charges on their credit cards, and find out how their situations have played out, here.

 The worst of the worst: top consumer complaints of 2008

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Each state’s Attorney General has been releasing their ‘Top 10 Worst’ lists – noting the industries most notorious for fraud, consumer rip-offs and complaints.

In Florida: telemarketing calls top the list of reasons consumers are filing complaints.

In Nebraska: the credit and financial services industry tops the chart with most of the complaints centered on inaccurate billing.

In New Jersey: it’s used car scams inspiring the majority of complaints.

In Oregon: the telecommunications industry holds the top spot with complaints about everything from cable and internet services to cellular, long distance, and local telephone services.

The lists from 2008 from each state share a common theme: angry consumers turning to the Attorney General for assistance in resolving complaints that have otherwise gone ignored by the companies they’re complaining about.

From the NAAG website (National Association of Attorneys General) it’s clear that not much has changed since last year; bad-business is a repeat performance for certain sectors. Their top-ten worst list of consumer complaints, nationwide, from 2007:

Debt Collection
Auto Sales
Home Repair/Construction
Telecommunications/Slamming/Cramming
Automotive (General)
Telemarketing/Do-Not-Call
Financial/Investments
Retail Sales
Internet Goods and Services
Contests/Sweepstakes/Prize Promotion

 The high price of fake consumer reviews

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Via Search Engine Journal comes the story of a large company, Belkin, getting caught with it’s hand in the proverbial cookie jar for paying for positive consumer reviews on sites such as NewEgg, Amazon.com, and others.

Apparently the sincere (and mostly negative) reviews for one of their internet routers wasn’t what the Belkin company had been hoping for – so they went looking for reviewers to flood the market with positive reviews, for $.65 a pop.

The backlash against Belkin’s misuse and abuse of the internet as a shopping hub has already begun – Search Engine Journal notes that Google searches for the company reflect a deservedly negative tone which we can only assume will continue to plummet.

It will be interesting to see what actions the major online retailers will take against Belkin, if any.

 Dell Customer Complaints Case Reaches Settlement

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

33 states reached a settlement with Texas-based computer manufacturing company, Dell after consumer complaints rose to a level that brought the attention of numerous State Attorneys General.

The complaints against Dell range from warranties and service guarantees not being honored to unpaid rebates as well as falsified financing offers.

The settlement carries with it a 3.3 million dollar price tag and the requirement that Dell be more responsive to customer service issues, repair requests, and issue rebates in a timely manner.

Dell is required to pay claims made until April 13th, 2009 by eligible consumers. Consumers who are interested in finding out if they qualify for inclusion in the settlement payout should contact their State Attorney General’s office. To find out more about getting in touch with your local Attorney General, visit MeasuredUp’s Consumer Resources page.

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