Chris Bucholtz released his annual overview of Top 20 CRM blogs. Last year he put me on spot number 12 and this year on number 10. I’m proud to be on the list with 19 other bloggers worth your time. Check them out here.
Once a year I take a good look at my site & related statistics and post some lists for my own referral and as reference points for new(er) subscribers and other readers. Here are some of the highlights of the year in top 3 lists:
But, actually they are #2, #3 and #4, since the most viewed post of 2011 is one of July 2009: NPS & The Customer Experience. Somehow this post keeps attracting people and I’m proud it does.
Most commented posts 2011
1. Destroying Customer Value
2. The Customer is Always Wrong
3. Because it is time you take Customer Service seriously
Engagement is the main reason I blog. I love the interaction, feedback and different viewpoints. And fortunately you do too. This blog holds as many as 800-something comments on 78 posts to date. Keep ‘m coming!
These are all posts written in the ‘golden age’ of the rise of Social CRM, late 2009 and throughout 2010. Great discussions with great people. Please check out the comments in these posts, some even far better than the posts themselves.
Most tweeted/shared posts all time
1. The Future of Marketing: Changing the Game and Playing Field
2. Because it is time you take Customer Service seriously
3. The Future of Marketing: Understanding Value Co-Creation
It is noteworthy that #1 and # 3 are both posts I wrote exclusively for MyCustomer. I owe them a thank you for posting them!
Top 3 referrer sites
I get a steady flow of views from subscribers to my blog, most of them who are subscribed via e-mail. Yet, most views, not surprisingly come from:
3. Search (Google mainly)
And when I look at search terms people used before clicking to my site, the top 3 looks like this:
1. Customer Service Metrics
2. Wim Rampen
3. Service Design
Last, not least:
Of course I could not do this all by myself. I owe you, my reader and you, the commenter on any of my post and also you, who retweeted or shared in any other way any of my ramblings, a million thanks. You is what makes blogging worthwhile, your feedback and engagement is what drives me to write.
Because of you I get infused with new ideas and different viewpoints that ultimately shape mine. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
And I hope to see you back anytime soon :)p.s. In case you wondered: “Bedankt” is Dutch for “Thank You”
Winning in sports is easy.. that is, it’s an easy concept.. Winning in business is not..
The concept of winning requires someone else to lose.. Not a problem in sports, it’s a game. Losing is not a concept that works well in business though. Even negotiation works best if the outcome is beneficial for both parties to the table..
Winning in business should be about creating nothing but winners, because even if both you and your competitors grow, this means that you are growing the total pie.. And growth of the pie means Customers are winning as well..
Winning in business is not about outperforming the competition. Winning in business is about co-creating superior value with all stakeholders, for all stakeholders. It is is about building an ecosystem that is so unique, it becomes a market, or category, in itself.
Being a winner in business is all about finding your spot in the ecosystem, where you can best help others be winners too..
What do you think?
I’m participating today in an off-site team-building session with the Coniche team.. The theme is “W1nning”, and we were asked to contribute a three minute talk with our views on the theme.. I thought I’d share mine here too..
This morning I was listening to news coverage on the Oslo attack.. I don’t have this often, nor soon, but shivers continue to go down my spine listening to survivor stories and even when thinking about them..
Thoughts go back to the attack on Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, performed by a left wing animal rights activist, and to the killing of the Dutch cineast Theo van Gogh. The latter by a muslim terrorist..
Thoughts return to the now.. In the US Republicans are trying to maximize return on their lost presidency… And in the UK a media tycoon denies responsibility..
In Africa children are dying from a lack of food because the international community seems to think that saving on economic aid and closing borders for foreigners will solve their problems…
The American dream is a government who does not interfere with your life, but one you can blame when no jobs are created by businesses..
In Europe the growing number of right wing populist want everyone else to change their habits, beliefs and give up their rights, but do not want to offer a compromise with any of theirs…
I’m an optimist, but today I’m worried. Worried because all of the above seems to root in a consistent and spreading intolerance for others having a piece of the pie. And the intolerance is growing..
I want to express my deepest sympathy for all families and friends of those who have lost their life in Norway last friday, because of intolerance..
And I want to express my hope for the renaissance of tolerance, because our kids deserve to experience it too.. and since they cannot buy it in milk cartons, I need to teach them..
Will you too?
Fortunately @Telfort is listening in on-line for nearly two years now (I think). They even have a service blog (Dutch only; which turned into another marketing channel after they solved a huge backlog in complaints in 2009. But that’s another story)
So, @Telfort engaged in the comments of my last post, asking me to message them my wife’s phone number, which I did the same day. One day later or so, they promised to get in touch with my wife “as soon as possible”.
Not an “official channel”
“As soon as possible” took a bit long, so I pinched them. They sent me back quite an “odd” message, saying:
“I understand your concern, but everything will be alright. Because we are not an official channel we do not work with fixed turn-around times”
I felt the urge of sending them a message back telling them I really did not care about how “official” or not the channel is. I am (or my wife is actually) a very official Customer and I want to be kept in the loop on what’s happening, or at least some kind of notice when “asap” is..
But I didn’t. Thinking I might as well let them know in my follow-up post ;)
Another two days passed without any signs of life, so I pinched them again with a tweet last Friday. I got a quick reply, that they send my wife a letter the day before. In less than an hour I actually found the letter in our mail-box.
The official response
The letter is a typical complaints handling letter. Kind opening, stating the facts and mostly how they are entitled (legally) to do what they did and then some.. I noticed one rather important element we (my wife and I) did not know or forgot:
In the letter Telfort mentioned that my wife actually bought a 1 year subscription two years ago with the reduced price-offer. And that Telfort decided to extend the reduced offer for another year. They made it clear that they notified my wife in advance via text-message and some other channels too. I did not check, I believe them when they say so in a letter carefully drafted with legal eyes ;)
Now, this is important, for this means that Telfort wanted us to know that they extended the reduced price for another year when they thought it was good news to us, yet in the exact same situation, but for the fact that the reduced price is no longer extended, they did not go through the trouble of letting us know.
Kudos to Telfort
Fortunately Telfort also understands this was not the right way to do it. Subsequently, at the end of the letter, they apologized (apology accepted) for not notifying my wife in advance when the reduced price expired. On top of that they also promised to reduce my wife’s invoices for the excessive amounts, prior to her switching to a new offer.
And, kudos to Telfort, they thanked my wife for being a loyal Customer, choosing Telfort again.
3 final questions and one tip for Telfort
My wife is happy now, and thus, so am I. I do have some questions though I hope Telfort will answer for me here, or on their service blog:
- Was not notifying my wife in advance a (incidental) service failure or is there no such policy in place?
- If there is no such policy in place, will there be in the near future?
- If not, why not?
On top of this: Telfort, please take a little more time to pro-actively inform your Customers of what you are doing, and how much time it will probably take. I also think it makes sense to not just drop a letter in a mailbox. It only takes a phone-call, prior to posting the letter, to understand whether the proposed recovery is a suitable one. In this case it was, but what if it wasn’t?
My wife enjoyed her mobile phone sim-only subscription at Telfort (a KPN Subsidiary) for the past two years. She thought she had great value for money paying no more than around 13 euro/month for 300 minutes of call time and 100 text messages. (My wife really doesn’t care about having access to the web and her online social networks through her mobile). That was until a month or so ago she noticed that the monthly invoice increased with around 10 euro to 23 euro. Because of the holidays she didn’t spend a lot of time at it until today.
The Telfort approach, in my opinion, is the perfect example of a 1.0-inside-out-goods-dominant-customer-value-destructive approach. Allow me to explain:
After looking into the details of what happened it seemed that her two year subscription ended and was automatically renewed at the same conditions, without the discount offered two years ago. No questions asked, no renewal offer made, just extended the contract with a 75 % rate-increase.
She was also presented with a personalized message online that she was eligible for an offer of 17 euro/month, and that she could shop around for other offers. So she did. Only to find out that exactly the same package as she holds today is now being offered at approximately 8 euro/month, which is nearly 50 % lower than she paid before!
What she did
So, what she did was extend the contract for another 24 months at the rate of 8 euro/month. So Telfort gets to keep her, but still a lot of value has been destroyed, and here’s why:
- Telfort pi**ed-off my wife. She came upstairs to my home-office to tell me the story immediately.
- Knowing her, she will for sure tell at least her mother, her sister and some friends today (through the old-fashioned phone) how Telfort tried to steal something like 15 euro/month from her, by not telling her the options she had, when the contract expired. For the upcoming weeks she will tell the story wherever the topic of conversation allows it and for the upcoming year at least, it will resurface on several occasions like birthday parties etc etc. In two years from now, when her subscription ends, the story will resurface again.
- I’m as surprised as she is at the ignorance of Telfort, and to such an extent, that I’m even blogging about it.
- On top of that, my wife said to me: “if they would have just extended at the same rate I was paying before, I would not even have noticed anything, and I would still be a very happy Customer. Like she did before, she would even recommend Telfort to her friends, because of the low costs and easy to use online self-service to change your subscription etcetera..
So, let’s see what value has been destroyed:
- Customer Lifetime Value: From the financial perspective at least around 5 euro/month (difference between the 13 and 8 euro/month), thus 120 euro for the two years of missed revenue. Which is in fact, all else remaining equal, 120 euro net margin thrown away by Telfort. On top of that, Telfort accrued additional costs for having to change the subscription status twice now.
- Customer Referral Value: The likelihood of my wife recommending Telfort to anyone has dropped to the lowest level. My wife may not be an “influencer” online, but I know for sure that her telling this story will influence her friends and family, resulting in a destruction of:
- Customer Network Value: If she would only NOT recommend Telfort that would be that, but now she has started spreading the word of her negative experience, resulting in an increased likelihood that people in her network, and now mine too, will no longer consider Telfort when renewing their subscriptions with other providers.
- Value to the Customer: my wife’s perceived value of her subscription with Telfort has been significantly reduced, even although she now pays less than two months ago. She is angry and most of all disappointed that her trust in Telfort has been blamed by them. On top of that, she had to go through all the effort of finding this out, costing her not money, but valuable time and emotional distress.
So, when do companies realize that, while they may stand in their right when automatically extending contracts with conditions that favor only themselves, it is very likely that they will end up destroying a whole lot more value compared to a situation in which they would have helped the Customer keep, or even increase, her value-in-use.
A question for you:
Now maybe (just maybe) my wife was tagged as a “low value Customer” for which Telfort set-out the self-service strategy.. Now you tell me: do you think that was a smart strategy? What could/should Telfort have done differently? I’m curious to hear your views on this.