Can Social Media Replace the Personal Customer Touch?

social mediaHow many times have you heard  “we don’t have to make commitments to speak with our customers anymore, we just text, email, or send them a DM on their Twitter account!”

Really? Is that the only way a vibrant growing business, association, or non-profit communicates with their customers now? How many of our customers are still wanting to live in the “good old days” when you contacted a company you got a real person, or when you entered your favorite store someone greeted and asked to help you?  I am seeing more and more complaints and it has nothing to do with the age or stage!

People are wanting that special touch, along with being in touch on all forms of Social Media too! How can we provide both?  Here are some surprising, startling facts from the Office of Consumer Affairs and American Express that we need to know in order to plan our business strategy. Remember  “without a customer we don’t have a business!”

Did you know:

  • It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
  • For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. 
  • According to consumers, customer service agents failed to answer their questions 50% of the time.
  • 80% of Americans agree that smaller companies place a greater emphasis on customer service than large businesses.
  • In the last year, 67% of customers have hung up the phone out of frustration because they could not talk to a real person.
  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
  • Almost 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience.
  • On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
  • 59% of 25-34 year-olds share poor customer experiences online.
  • Failing to respond to a customer either by phone or social media is perhaps the absolute worst thing you could do.

The current data supports that our customers of today want to be valued, and appreciated and will even pay higher fees to receive the best experience possible! How you do that depends on the customer.

My company loves Social Media and the valuable contacts, fans, customers, and friends we connect with; but Social Media cannot replace what we still love more which is: hearing their voices, seeing their faces, and enjoying quality time with them to be able to serve them in the best possible way that they so richly deserve!

Getting to know our customers is so important! Can Social Media do that for us?  Lots of times it can get us on their radars, but we still have to take the time to reach and contact them one on one either by phone, in person, Skype, FaceTime or Zoom.  They need to know we are “real people” interested in them first-not just in what they can do for our businesses!

The main part of creating that great customer experience is to make sure we follow-up and do what we promise and commit to them, or they will go somewhere else!
We hope you have a wonderful Fall season and a great rest of the year! Finish strong and keep in mind that giving the best customer experience possible is the way to having more referrals that you didn’t even have to ask or market for!

Sue Falcone
Founder and CEO
Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency

The DNA of a Great Speaker!

telling our storyAmong the top characteristics that make a great professional speaker is the ability to tell a good story. Think about some of the best speeches you’ve ever heard, what sets them apart? The numbers and statistics? The lesson? Probably not.

Very likely, the thing that stands out in your mind after a memorable speaker’s presentation is a great story or two. The speaker has the ability to create lasting images in your mind. Visually painting a picture by connecting the story to the message drives home the focal point and makes a terrific impression on the audience.

Telling a story invites the audience in. It makes them comfortable, both with the speaker and the message. Of all the tools in a speaker’s toolkit, it is by far one of the most powerful.

Great speakers weave life experiences throughout their message, creating a rapport with the audience, and giving life to the topic. Stories help the audience relate and creates a message that will live on long after the speech is over. That’s success through great story telling.

Our speakers here at Simply Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency have the ability to do just that – tell a great story. It’s part of their DNA and makes for a riveting presentation with some serious #WOWfactor!

Whether you are looking for an inspiring and entertaining keynote speaker, engaging media personality, interactive conference speaker, mesmerizing seminar presenter, critical thinking corporate trainer, forward moving executive coach, entertainer that will amaze you with their talent, content driven commencement speaker, best-selling author that captivates your audience, or a challenging retreat speaker, we will match you with the perfect speaker that will tailor their presentations to your needs.

Whatever the occasion or topic, with our award-winning speakers, you can be sure that the stories will be memorable and unforgettable; and you will be seen as a “rock star” for choosing our agency to bring a #WOWfactor experience to your audiences!  Less stress guaranteed for you too!

We are honored to earn your business and look forward to serving you soon! Contact us today we are ready to meet your needs!

Sue Falcone
Founder and CEO
Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency

Should You Fire Low-Producing Workers? Guest Blogger Alfred Poor

erase staffEmployee retention is a hot topic for employers in all industries, especially those that rely on recent college graduates for entry level positions. Employers are looking to hire the best candidates that they can, and hope that they will become productive members of the team.

Conventional wisdom states that you should focus your retention efforts on the most productive new hires. Many believe that 80% of the production comes from the top performing 20%, so it makes the most sense to do whatever it takes to keep these people. And that makes sense, to a degree.

But I encourage you to “do the math” before you swing the ax on new hires that are struggling. While Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the typical worker will stay with their current company for about five years, some studies indicate that recent college grads are staying in their first job for two years or less.

That becomes more of a concern for employers when you factor in the cost of replacing an entry level worker in many companies: an average of $20,000 per employee. When that is spread over five years, the annualized cost is a manageable $4,000 a year. Cram that cost into just two years, however, and you’re spending $10,000 a year in replacement costs for every entry level worker.

If you could get entry level workers to stay for just one more year, you’d be saving more than $3,000 a year in replacement costs. That’s money that could be better spent on more training, higher wages, or more jobs.

So why does it make sense to make an effort to work with the bottom performing 20% of your new hires? A good place to start is to look at why they leave their jobs so quickly. Fewer than one in three leave for a better offer. Instead, the majority make a parallel move to another entry level job, resetting their career clock to zero and starting all over again.

In order to understand why they make such a change, it helps to understand the background and attitudes of today’s recent college graduates. Study after study shows that they have behaviors and attitudes that are fundamentally different from those who graduated 20 or even 10 years ago. The explanations for this are complex and intertwined, but they include everything from the impact of digital communications to changes in higher education, to the influence of consumerism.

The end result, however, is that many of these young people have unrealistic expectations about life in the working world. They can have some surprising holes in their preparation, especially in the area of “soft” career skills such as communication, decision making, team skills, effective time management, and basic work ethics.

Managers would do well to reset their own expectations. Too often, I hear a manager say “The person I interviewed is not the person I got.” Rather than focus on identifying the best and worst performers among new hires, I encourage managers to take the attitude that they are there to help their employees succeed. Sure, there are some workers who simply are a bad fit or who are not going to respond to efforts to help them adjust to the world of work. But for many of these young people, it may turn out that there is one small area that they need help with, to help them feel more productive and successful. And they will be more likely to stick around.

If you can get an entry level worker to stick with their job for just one more year, you will save your company thousands of dollars. In many cases, your efforts will pay off with a more productive and happy employee who could stick around long enough to help be a part of the leadership in the future.

AlfredPoorPic

Alfred Poor-America’s Success Mentor for Young Employees; Keynote Speaker on Career Skills–Students, Parents, Colleges, & Employers.
As seen in Money, U.S. News, and Fast Company. To book Alfred for your next event click here: http://goo.gl/GpK568

What Google Can Learn from What I Have Been Doing for Years! by Guest Blogger Laurie Schloff

googlecanlearnA recent New York Times Magazine Article (2/25/16) discussed the Google Project Aristotle, a painstaking, in depth study of what differentiates high functioning team meetings from others.

With all due respect for the yearlong study of over a hundred Google teams, as a communication coach and speaker, I have been helping teams and leaders foster productive meetings for years!

Google’s key findings, which I back with my experience 100%, are:

High performing teams:

•       Support an atmosphere of psychological safety and comfort

•       Enable equal participation from all group members over time

•      Show sensitivity to nuances of nonverbal behavior and tone,
and often share personal as well as professional information.

I appreciate the challenge of masterminding the right mix of talent, personalities, and action items.

Fortunately, it is often the easy tweaks that go a long way to enhance comfort, participation, and awareness of nuances in team members’ behavior.

Recently, I worked with a senior leader in financial services, Mike, who felt he had to be the driver of all meeting content and outcomes; in fact he saw it as his job. He was baffled that his group was so quiet, rarely initiated topics, didn’t show passion regarding action items and only engaged in small talk after the meeting.

Mike asked me how he could change things up. So, here are easy to apply team-meeting strategies I shared with Mike and other business clients:

1. Begin meetings with small talk, or each person sharing an observation or personal update.

2. Develop an agenda which team members are expected to contribute to. Research indicates that 1/3 of all meetings are viewed as a waste of time.

Change that!

3. Use meetings for discussion and problem solving versus only providing information.
One of my sayings is “Go from information to inspiration and impact.”

4. Do a round robin, going around the room approach when possible. The goal is to keep the talkers from dominating and enable the quieter folks to contribute more.

This is essential for equalizing talking time, a key ingredient for team success.

I know this technique can feel awkward and orchestrated at first. In the long run, though, team members will appreciate being valued and meetings will be considered worthwhile.

5. Have some fun and novelty with a bit of partying, lunch meetings outside the office, and appealing surprise guests. Refreshments always help. I had a client who wanted to tighten his budget by eliminating the snacks. I told him I’d give him the 25 bucks for goodies in order to save all the gains he’d made with my coaching.

Let me know how you add to your team meeting effectiveness.

May your next team meeting be a valuable one!

Laurie Schloff1Laurie Schloff- has a nationwide reputation as a speaker, trainer and coach, with a focus in presentation skills, one-on-one executive coaching, leadership training, conference coaching, and facilitation skills. Laurie is the author of “Smart Speaking”, “He and She Talk”, “Speech Gems” and is a frequent guest on radio and television, and has appeared on Oprah and The Today Show.
To learn more about Laurie and have her at your upcoming event, click here:      http://www.simplysuespeaks.com/speaker/69/Laurie_Schloff

 

Are You in the BUT Mode?

Yes BUTHow often do you use the word ‘but’………………?

It is a powerful word when used occasionally to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned, and, according to author Sean Dsouza, it can also become a defensive excuse for not taking responsibility for what happens in our lives!

Have you ever said “I would love to be living my dream, but I don’t have the money and opportunities others do?”  Or how about this one, “I have applied everywhere, but everyone says I am overqualified?” This one, which is specific to my industry, “I was the perfect speaker for that event, but they don’t pay speakers anymore.”

Or the classic, “I was the best candidate for the job, but I knew they wouldn’t hire me because of my age.”

What messages do these “buts” say about the person proclaiming it, and how are others supposed to react?  Words say what our mindset is feeling, and to keep in this mode is very distracting to others and can become devastation to the success we seek.

Is it possible to have a life with “no buts?”  Want to make a change? Here are some ways to begin:

  1. Recognize that you are being defensive and not taking responsibility for your actions so that the ‘buts’ win, both in your words and life.
  2. Take a look at your mindset and see if you are fixed on the failures or learning from the daily growth experiences that failure brings.
  3. Check out who you associate with. Do they allow the ‘buts’ to take over their mindset and words?
  4. Make a choice and decision to change.

Two words I work at deleting from my own and others’ conversation and mindset are: ‘try’ instead do or do not, ‘but’ instead use and. Will you join me?

Sue Falcone
Founder and CEO
Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency

“Thank” Your Way Through It- by Guest Blogger Lucy Wellmaker

Thank Your WayBy now, many of us know the benefits of being thankful and having an attitude of gratitude. Studies show that being grateful is linked to increased satisfaction, motivation and energy. Practicing gratitude involves finding and noticing things in our lives for which we are grateful.

While I am a big fan of a being grateful, I’d like to share a concept that is similar but very different. What I am suggesting here is that we give thanks for things for which we do not necessarily feel grateful.

One of my favorite movies is “Facing the Giants”. In it, a losing high school football coach tells his underdog team that they will do their best in all areas of their lives and whether they win or lose they are going to give thanks and praise.

Why would any coach want to give thanks and praise after losing a game? Maybe, because it works?

They didn’t stop at giving thanks. Giving thanks actually inspired and motivated them to do what they needed to do to change their situation. They faced their fears.

The coach pushed them even more and the team worked even harder to get what they wanted. In the end, when it really mattered, they won.

I know it’s just a movie, but I have seen this play out in my own life as well.

I am generally a naturally positive person. I see the glass half full. I look on the bright side of things. I don’t try to be this way, I just am.

So when I found myself making a list of things that made me angry and resentful I knew I needed to do something about it. Rather than shifting my attention to the good things going on in my life, I stayed focused on this list.

As I read each item on the list, I said “Thank you.” I did not feel thankful, nor did I have a reason to be thankful. I just said “Thank you”.

I was amazed at how quickly my mood shifted. I felt like I had discovered a miracle cure.

What I realized later was that I was tapping into something I know to be true. That is, that all things work for good even when we don’t understand them. It is when we trust this concept and just say “thank you” that we align ourselves with a powerful force that will get us through our seemingly negative situation.

Saying “thank you” doesn’t mean we become complacent and accept our situations as they are. It’s about acknowledging our situations as they are now, facing our fears and trusting that there is a reason that is somehow, someway in our best interest.

The change of heart that can be experienced by doing this is amazing! It really is a miracle.

It will fill you up and provide the inspiration needed to move you forward. In order for this strategy to work successfully, one must believe and have faith in it.

I invite you to give it a try.  Share your comments and let us know how it worked for you.

Give thanks and be well,

Lucy Wellmaker

LucyWellmaker1

Lucy Wellmaker is a Board Certified Coach helping others with work-life balance, discovering deeper meaning and living more on purpose. For information visit LucyWellmaker.com or call 336-540-0733.

 

When Was the Last Time You “Unplugged?”

unpluggedNever thought I would be asking such a question! Not sure I even knew how to spell it, let alone be among the 89% of Americans, according to a new study by Bank of America, that check their devices at least 3-4 times a day- 24/7!

I am not in the 54% of Americans who are continually checking their devices, even when they are supposed to be asleep, however looking at my patterns I could be!

Isn’t our technology supposed to serve us and not the other way around?  I have been told to succeed as a business owner I have to be connected at all times or my business will fail! Have you heard that too?

Just like most Americans are sleep deprived, don’t take vacations, we are becoming addicted to being constantly “plugged in!”

When I looked recently at taking a “Road Trip” and not being continually “plugged in” I admit it was a little scary!

I have a social media person on my company team, and it still concerned me that I could take off and not blog, enjoy the scenery without taking a picture of it to share, read a book without feeling guilty, look at a magazine with no reason in mind, think without having a deadline to meet, enjoy conversation with my family without videoing it, and not answer all my emails on a regular schedule!

I realized I was tired and needed a break from my everyday routine, and how could I get it if I felt I needed to be tied to my devices!

I set about deciding how this could work! Like everything it is a choice and action that we can make happen!

In this adventure I realized 3 valuable things:
●    I had not clearly checked out all the mechanization that I should have in place to prevent me from thinking I had to be “plugged in all the time!”
●    Not trusting my business and its’ operation to those I had in place, thinking I had to do it all!
●    Making decisions on what I needed to be “plugged into” and what I could just let go and not join in.

I returned with a new look on life! Did I go completely off-line and disappear? No, it takes practice to close and have regular business hours and be a part of helping others without being “plugged in!”

Am I perfect at it? NO!  I have learned I don’t have to be perfect at everything, only striving for excellence and helping others do the same!

Ready to take the plunge and be “unplugged” even if only for a little while?

-Sue Falcone
Founder and CEO
Simply Sue Speaks
Global Booking Agency

Do You Need a Bow and Arrow Moment?

Bow and ArrowDo You Need a Bow and Arrow Moment?
This week-end something happened that has been a dream for many years! Something wanted and talked about for years!  Began my journey to being an Archer!  Where did that come from? Watching too many Robin Hood shows growing up? What good can it do? There is no desire to hunt, fish, or compete, which is what you normally do with a bow and arrow. The goal solely is to experience the thrill of one day being good enough to hit the target dead center! And be able to keep doing it!

Isn’t that what our lives and businesses are all about?
-Having a desire and passion
-Letting yourself and others know about it
-Planning how it can happen
-Getting the right tools to work with
-Making the choice and time to do it
-Keep on going and not quitting

Today is it time for your “bow and arrow” moment?  The challenge is: will you do it?

Sue Falcone
Founder and CEO of Simply Sue Speaks Global Booking Agency

Time to Renew, Refresh, and Review Your Business Goals?

topsailbeachAt least once a year I am happy to head to our favorite beach, Topsail Beach, in North   Carolina.  As the owner and CEO of a growing business, I find it hard to completely detach myself completely, but I know it is necessary to catch up with “me” and renew, refresh, and review my business goals and plans in the backdrop of the ocean.

This is where I can take the time to see what is really going on, and revive my energy and plans for a lifetime of joy, peace, and contentment. That is key to my company that I continue to have the passion and joy to love what I do, be at peace in making decisions and building relationships, and be content to live in the moment! Quite a tall order in todays’ frantic pace, isn’t it?

In my business it seems to all happen at once, and I have to be prepared to allow myself to get away but still keep in touch for the immediate needs that may need my attention.  I have found some great automated ways of doing that, and also have wonderful people in place that keep me running smoothly.

But the one major thing I face when choosing to get away for a few days is the feeling of guilt that I should be working and doing something.  I have had to face it all my life, but as a recovering “workaholic:” I have come to see that it is not the number of hours that you work that creates your value and worth, but rather what you produce in the normal hours that matters.  Quite different from the way of thinking we have in place today isn’t it?

I am grateful for a wonderful family that lets me continue to do what I love with no boundaries, and have even joined me, so that we can both work and get away together!

My work style and choice of how I make it happen, may not be what you would choose in life, but I am thankful and grateful to represent awesome speakers, and to do the best to find and book them at the events that they need and want, and keep it all going even when I chose to get away.

Is it time for you to face your guilt and take time to get away?  You will be glad you did!

Have fun!

SimplySue_Logo_iPad Sue Falcone

 

 

 

3 Secrets to Creating an Awesome Storefront-Your Website!

webdevelopmentWhether you have a physical storefront or an online one, your website is the key to your success.  It deserves  the time and effort to make sure you choose the right company to create the website your business needs.

Did you know that there are now over 1 Billion websites worldwide, and that  68% of our clients are viewing them on mobile devices?

Since it is a growing part of our businesses, why is it such a problem to create one that is simple, functional, works for us and our clients, with the ability to keep it updated and fresh looking?

We are not all born to be our own webmasters are we? Many of us have been told we can, should, and that it is the  only way to be a successful entrepreneur; but for most of us we need the right experts!

For those of you who can create a successful website for your business, I applaud you! You won’t need this information, but perhaps you know others that do!

With all the world companies and those doing website design work part-time, and the 300,000 that are officially listed in the United States, there are many vying daily for our business! How do you know which one is right for you?

After experiencing many disappointments in web design, customer service, and making an investment of both monetary and time;  I began to think there must be something wrong with me!  This wasn’t fun and I was frustrated. Ever been there?  What can overcome being in this state?

I realized frustration is not always a bad thing, because in this case it drove me to take control, do my homework, and come up with a game plan to begin again to find someone that would listen and help me develop a website that would meet the purpose I needed for my growing business!

“Choosing a website company is a critical decision. You’re not just putting a project in their hands, you’re entrusting your business to them.”
Blue Fountain Media

In putting my plan together I discovered these three secrets that are key to finding the right company you want and being the client they need.

#1-  Know what you want, and what you don’t want. I found out there is a difference in companies that do website design and those that are website developers. Do your research on this, it is important.

Then pick out some websites in your industry you like, and decide why you like them. Determine whether you want a more modern design, or does a more traditional style fit your style and brand.

Ask yourself, how do you want to maintain it? Make sure you know and understand what a responsive site is, and is not!  Also check out whether a Word Press site or a custom designed one is better for your company. Don’t overlook finding out what SEO means for the results of your website. Having these ideas in mind is important to making sure those companies you are interviewing understand completely what you are looking for.

#2-   When interviewing a company make sure you request a quote that covers the entire scope of the project.  I suggest you take another person with you as you interview companies.  It could be someone in your company or one that already has a great website. This helps to make sure you don’t misunderstand anything in the process.

Ask for references and check them out while waiting for your quote.  Once you receive your quote make sure it is covered page by page allowing you to ask questions.  See how they answer you, as you are looking for a company that has the “heart of a teacher” so that they will make sure that your communication is clear and geared toward your understanding of the project. That is the key difference between just designing a website and developing one and building a relationship with you!

Make sure there are time lines and deadlines included in your quote. Also clarify that you own the website design and the content. Review the hosting and maintenance fees and what is included.

I suggest you do not sign the agreement at the time you receive the quote. Take time to have your attorney and others review the quote just in case there is anything you might need to ask for further clarification before you make your decision.  This is an extra expense and time, but it can save you so much in the long run.

#3-  In website development like anything else, it is true “you get what you pay for!”  Don’t make your decision based strictly on the lowest price,  but take into consideration the quality of the website and the ease and function design that your clients will be looking to experience.

After developing my plan I am thrilled to share that I found the perfect website company for the re-design of my business website: Atlantic Webworks, headquartered in Greensboro, NC. The CEO and President, Adrienne Jandler and her team are true professionals, and deliver exactly what they promise. They give “exceptional” customer service, and are a full service company offering other marketing and training services as well. I highly recommend them for all your website and marketing needs. http://atlanticwebworks.com/

I found my “dream” website company, and hope you do too!

SimplySue_Logo_iPad

 

 

Sue Falcone