Becky has shared her passion with us several times, most recently in Customer Loyalty & Social Media: Customers Rock Video Series and in Becky Carroll On Bridging New & Old: Social Media Series. She's also an original Bathroom Blogfest participant!
Be the third person to comment on Flooring The Consumer; share a story and let me know your thoughts about how to delight and retain customers, and I will send you a copy of Becky's book. [Note: anonymous or spam comments do not count :-).]
C.B.: Becky, congratulations on your new book! Tell us about your background and work experiences and how those led to your passion for customers and your amazing Customers Rock! attitude?
BC: I have been customer-focused for most of my 20+ year career. It started with nearly 14 years at HP, where I was in charge of the worldwide customer loyalty program for HP Services. My passion for customers continued as I worked with Don Peppers and Dr. Martha Rogers at Peppers & Rogers Group as a senior consultant for companies such as Ford, HP, and Electronic Arts. I have had my own company, Petra Consulting Group, for nearly 6 years helping companies focus on the customer experience and how to improve customer relationships with social media (and other methods).
I really think, though, that my biggest influence on my Customers Rock! attitude was probably HP’s founders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. I was fortunate enough to work at HP when they were both wandering the halls of the company and showing us what it meant to care about others – employees first, then customers. That is why I started my Customers Rock! blog back in 2006, to share the positive strategies companies are using to delight their customers and create rockin’ customer experiences.
C.B.: What is most critical about growing your business through customers?
BC: The most critical thing is not taking your existing customers for granted. Today’s companies are so busy trying to woo new customers with deals that don’t apply to the current customer base, or are striving to gain new social media followers that they have forgotten to let their customers know how much they appreciate them. In fact, based on their company’s business metrics, they probably don’t appreciate them. This may seem like a no-brainer (you know, a bird in the hand and all that), but there are still so many companies that are not applying the principles found in the four keys in my book. It isn’t really hard – it just takes a deliberate plan to make it happen!
Why don’t all companies get this?
Not all companies get this partly because they ignore their current customers, as mentioned above. Additionally, many think that “great customer service” is enough to retain customers. It isn’t. Anyone can provide great customer service. From interviewing executive of top-performing companies for my book, I found consistencies across them all. Companies that have a Customers Rock! attitude all have customers “in their DNA”. They speak to customers via the method they prefer, they carefully consider each interaction in the customer’s experience with their business, they create a customer-focused culture, AND they have killer customer service. All of this is part of the strategy to unlock the hidden power of their customers – and it works.
C.B.: You weave social media throughout the book – as it should be throughout a company’s marketing and customer service strategies. What prevents companies from doing so?
BC: Many companies look at social media as only another place to run PR and marketing campaigns. In so doing, they are missing out on the sweet spot for social media – customer retention and loyalty. Social media isn’t just about listening to social media chatter or “being part of the conversation”. It is more than a way to reactively respond to customer issues voiced in this channel. It is a way to learn about your customers and their needs, then apply those insights to helping to meet those needs and growing customer relationships.
C.B.: What’s ahead for launching & promoting The Hidden Power of Your Customers?
BC: I will be speaking at several customer-focused events this fall as part of my book tour. I would be happy to consider expanding my book tour if any of your readers are interested in bringing me to their part of the country/world!
In addition, I have been working with several influential bloggers (such as you, CB!) and have given them each a copy of the book for themselves, as well as one to give away to their readers to help build buzz. Of course, I am sharing about the book in my Customers Rock! blog and with my UC San Diego students, as both of these groups of people helped encourage me to write the book as Wiley approached me about it.
Social media is definitely the main promotion engine for this book!
C.B.: Becky, how can people connect with you?
BC: They can connect through my blog Customers Rock!, Twitter @bcarroll7 and Facebook on The Hidden Power of Your Customers Fan Page.
I've also created a page on my blog for The Hidden Power of Your Customers.
To purchase Becky's book, click on The Hidden Power of Your Customers: 4 Keys to Growing Your Business Through Existing Customers.
Thank you, Becky!
I'm also honored that you mention me in the Acknowledgements. Thank you.
Readers, let me know in the comments what comes to mind when you think about the hidden power of your customers!