Net Promoter Score

Get Your Helmet Mounted Cueing System Now!

Get Your Helmet Mounted Cueing System Now!

The F35 is an amazing jet. It can reach mach 1.6 and then stop in midair and hover while landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in rough seas. You can see it in action here . For more than 50 years the Air Force has provided its pilots with "head up" displays so that the pilots can monitor key indicators they need without taking their view off the horizon. I guess when you are going mach 1.6 and dealing with an enemy it is pretty important not to take your eyes off the horizon. The Air Force is now testing new technology to replace the head up display specifically for pilots of the F35. According to a recent post on CNET, the new system uses infrared to actually let the pilot look right through the floor of the aircraft. It also displays the feedback that pilots need no matter which direction they are looking. The company that is developing the new technology calls it a "Helmet Mounted Cueing System."

So your business is moving along pretty fast, wouldn't it be nice to have a Helmet Mounted Cueing System to help you make better decisions? What information would you want on your cueing system? I don't think you'd want to clutter it up with important but not critical information. For example, I don't think I'd want to wander around with a copy of my latest balance sheet always in front of my eyes. The current cash balance in the bank, on the other hand, might be very useful. I don't know about you, but sometimes every second counts in getting a deposit to clear before payroll starts hitting! How about some indicator of how your customers are feeling? After all, everything we do as business owners is (or should be) about making customers happy so that they will buy from us again and again and tell their friends. Seems like knowing what they are thinking about our business and what they really want from our business should influence every decision we make. What else would you add to your HMBICS (Helmet Mounted Business Information Cueing System--got to have an acronym if we want to get any government funding!)

If you're not quite ready to pull on the Star Wars helmet (your customers might turn and run), you might check out our sponsor product, Promoterz. Right now--without government funding--you can keep a pulse on how your customers feel about your business. There is no head up display, but your customers' comments will go directly to your email so you will always be in touch and better able to take your business to mach 1.6!

Find your happy customers and put a megaphone in their hand. Learn more

The Power of Realtime Feedback for Your Business

The Power of Realtime Feedback for Your Business

When I get in a car my goal is typically to get from where I am to where I want to be as fast as safely possible. To do that, I primarily use one gauge on the dashboard: the speedometer. Sure every few days I have to pay attention to the gas gauge and, if the car doesn’t seem to be behaving as it should I glance at the other gauges but the majority of the time it is all about the speedometer. WIth my goal being to get to my destination as fast as possible I try to keep that speedometer at (or slightly above) the speed limit.

I rented a car the other day with a new feedback mechanism that completely changed the way I drive. The car was the Nissan Altima Hybrid. I don’t own the car ( the car I own is more of a truck—it has a V10 and can easily pull up the mountain into Flagstaff at 85 mph—but that’s a post for another day and perhaps a different blog). I ended up driving the Altima because the rental car company gave me a free upgrade. I drove it for 4 days in the bay area. The hybrid Altima is rated at 42 mpg. It’s got all kinds of high tech stuff under the hood that switches back and forth between and electric power and the combustion engine and delivers great efficiency. All that stuff is very cool and seemed to work very well, but the thing that saved the most gas for me was a new gauge they added to the dashboard. The gauge was a real time mpg indicator. It was cool. I could always see exactly what kind of mileage I was getting. If I pushed the pedal down to pass, the mpg indicator would drop down into the the 8 to 9 range. When I coasted down a hill it would shoot up to 80 to 90 mpg. I found if I kept it steady I could get to a nice cruising speed and still be getting over 40 mpg.

That one additional bit of information completely changed the way I, the proud owner of a V10, drove. Yes, I still wanted to get there as quick as I could but I found myself balancing that goal with the goal of maximizing my mileage. Now I know that each time I fill up I could do the little calculation and figure out what kind of mileage I got, but the fact is I don’t. Why? Because by that time, the decisions have already been made. I admit it, I am short sighted, but I have never filled my tank with gas, calculated my mileage and said, “Hmmm, I better drive slower.” On the other hand, the real time mgp gauge on the Altima had me driving slower—not always, but certainly more often,

How does that apply to your small business? What feedback mechanisms do you use to monitor the success of your business? Traditional accounting measures are like calculating your mpg after the fact. Everything is history. Sure it is a good number to know, but by the time you know it, it may be too late to influence the behaviors that need to be changed to improve it. Forward looking indicators like sales forecasts and other budgets are more like the speedometer, but even these indicators don’t give what you really need to run your business. What you really need to run your business (in conjunction with the other measures) is a realtime indicator of how your customers feel about your business. You need realtime customer feedback. You may think you know what your customers feel, want and need, but I can guarantee you that unless you are asking your customers and listening, what you think you know is wrong. I can also guarantee you that, just like the realtime mpg gauge changed my driving behavior, realtime customer feedback will change your behavior and the behavior of your staff for the better. Give it a try, you will never go back.

Anybody know where I can get an aftermarket mgp gauge for a V10?

Unhappy customers tell on average 22 other people. If you ticket price is $50 that is $1100 in revenue. How would you like to know before they tell 22 others? Learn more

The Negative Impact of Word-of-Mouth

The Negative Impact of Word-of-Mouth

I listened to a story on NPR this afternoon about the negative impact of bad word-of-mouth, you can listen to it here. Very scary. This is part one of a two part story by Wendy Kaufman, hopefully the second part will bring out the positive aspects from good word-of-mouth.

The basis for the article comes from research by the Wharton School of Business. They found that 1 out of 2 customers has a customer service problem when they shop. Worse is the fact that they then tell friends, family, and colleagues about it and embellish the story in the retelling. The overall result is that 1/2 of those that hear the bad news story won't shop at those places they heard about. Ouch! Those that improve on the situation certainly create a business advantage.

It goes to show the need for businesses to hear from their customers, the bad news as well as the good. Hearing the bad news you can make efforts to correct the situation so that bad embellished stories won't be spread. You even have the opportunity to turn a detractor into a promoter. You can also get to the root cause and fix it to reduce future bad experiences.

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

76% Think You Are a Liar

76% Think You Are a Liar

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has some great statistics and presentations available on their site. The title for this post comes from the finding that 76% of consumers think that businesses don't tell the truth in advertising. That fact and other nuggets can be found in this presentation.

The obvious follow on question becomes, who do consumers trust? The answer is also obvious: each other. From the same presentation 92% cite word of mouth as the best source for new product ideas, up from 67% in 1977. The fact is that as the marketplace clutter continues to build, word of mouth becomes more and more of a necessity to grow a business.

I posted a few weeks ago about the Hawthorne Effect and the role it can play in helping to develop advocates or promoters for your business. Dr. Paul Marsden of the London School of Economics, has written extensively about the Hawthorne effect and how Consumer Advisory Panels can be a tool to harness the power of the Hawthorne Effect to increase word of mouth.

We like the way Paul thinks and decided to do some testing of our own to see what business owners think of Consumer Advisory Panels, the Hawthorne Effect, and our system Promoterz, which can be used to setup and manage online consumer advisory panels. If you are a business owner and would be willing to take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us, we'd love to know what you think. Click here. You'll be asked to watch a brief video and answer five quick questions.

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

More Buzz for Promoterz

More Buzz for Promoterz

Couldn't resist pointing you to some more great things being written about Promoterz (c'mon, it's our baby! what do you expect?)

Robert Kingston over at Small Business Branding, posted a terrific "how to" on getting your message right and getting it out. He includes this about Promoterz:

If you take a look around now, a lot of businesses are realizing how beneficial WoM is for promoting their message. One such business I admire is called Promoterz who advocate the importance of being remarkable and worthy of your customer’s attention.

Zane Safrit is CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited and maintains a blog worth reading. He checked out Promoterz and had this to say:

Interesting service. I liked it. I REALLY liked their video. For a small company, getting started, running fast and being completely dedicated to their customers' immediate needs...this is the tool, I think. It incorporates the power of Fred Reichheld's Net Promoter Score and The Ultimate Question with a standardized, but flexible, program to stay in touch with your customers, follow-up, generate reports, extend special offers, etc.

Need we say more? Watch our REALLY cool video.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more
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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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