Q: You mentioned before that a brand is an impression in consumers’ and customers’ minds. Tracking media reach and after sales surveys are costly. How can we track different aspects of this ‘impression’ on a regular basis?
When we think of the word ‘impression’ usually words like feelings, ideas, or opinions about something or someone come to mind. And many executive managers and business owners would argue that such emotions are intangible and, therefore, immeasurable. What we tend to overlook is that emotions don’t exist on their own. Emotions are generated as a reaction to a statement or behavior. The key here is not only to understand what emotions consumers and customers have, but also to understand what caused these emotions to exist whether these emotions are positive or negative. The next step after understanding the causes is to protect and strengthen the right activities that have a positive effect and to change the processes and decisions that have a negative effect to improve the overall experience.
There are many metrics that can be populated internally at a reasonably low cost. To name a few, consider ‘interaction completion rates’ to understand how functional your channels and touch points are. In other words, how many times customers or visitors can achieve their goals of interacting with your business. Net Promoter Score is another way to measure customer delight level because your customers won’t promote your business and recommend you to others if they were not satisfied with you. One more area to measure is the ease of doing business with the company, because being able to purchase is one thing, and how comfortable the purchase process was for them is another. Emotions and impressions are invisible but definitely measurable…and that’s just my two cents.
Q: We want to have a more flexible exchange policy to have an advantage over competition but we’re worried about abuse by customers of this new policy. Is there a way to go around it?
Can Yoda trust Darth Vader? Can Superman trust General Zod? Can Little Red Riding Hood trust the wolf? The answers are no; no; and yes. None of the first two villains can be trusted because their behavior clearly was hostile, corrupt, and harmful. The wolf, however, did not show any signs at his early interaction with the girl to alarm her so she continued to have a conversation with the wolf thinking it was her grandmother. As the wolf’s answers started to get weird some suspicion started to arise and things take a turn (depending on which version you read or are familiar with – there’s more than one ending). As you can see from the examples above, the focus here is on using behavior and attitude as major contributors to decide how trustworthy the character is.
That means trust can only exist as a result of trustworthy behavior. I can’t accept the assumption that all your customers are not trustworthy. As for the few who might want to take advantage of your honesty-based exchange and return policy, go back to their purchase history. How many returns and exchange claims did they make in the past? How often did they make these claims? Were the items truly defected? I’m not suggesting to keep customers waiting while profiling them, but rather to trust your customers and to track their interactions with your company to monitor how they’re using or abusing your exchange policy. Will this exercise cost you? Sure, but it will cost you more when you’re not competitive or when you don’t differentiate yourself…and that’s just my two cents.
Q: I’ve been working closely with two of my assistants for a while and it’s time to promote one of them, but I can’t decide. They both have been demonstrating strong technical skills as far as their roles are concerned. Any tips?
It’s not clear if this promotion involves any managerial duties that include being responsible of other employees. So, based on the information provided I’ll assume that the promotion doesn’t involve such responsibilities. Since their technical skills are of a similar level, I won’t address how good the promoted person needs to be. If we take managerial and technical skills out of the picture, we’re left with character and behavior. Human characteristics vary and cover a wide range of social and intellectual aspects of communication. Are all qualities important to consider? I wouldn’t recommend that because the assessment task would go on and on for a long time. Choose three to five qualities that matter to your work environment and use them as a benchmark for the comparison.
There are five qualities that anyone can use to find distinctive employees: genuine, honest, true, sincere, and real. To be ‘genuine’ is to be authentic in thinking, planning and communicating constantly. ‘Honesty’ refers to fairly earning his/her income, trust and respect of colleagues and customers through hard work and a morally correct attitude. Being ‘true’ is about being balanced, loyal and accurately conforming to standards yet adaptable to surroundings and circumstances. ‘Sincerity’ at work is harmony in what one feels, says and does and to be free from deceit. A ‘real’ character comes from being factual, unpretentious and free to express and progress. It’s important to mention that not all employees should have all these qualities combined, as long as they don’t demonstrate opposite attitudes…and that’s just my two cents.
For Loaay Ahmed’s advice on business or work matters, send a short email to [email protected]. Regrettably, only the questions chosen for publishing will be answered.
Loaay Ahmed is a management adviser and strategic expert. To learn more about Loaay and his consulting service, strategic business therapy, visit www.knightscapital.com.