Thursday, December 14, 2017

Taken For Granted

My neighborhood was recently added to the network of a telecommunications provider (the third available to us), providing a story of what not to do in a rapidly expanding competitive environment. 

It has been widely expected that Provider III would be entering this market, and that the company would have a good chance to enroll customers simply because Providers I and II had developed some adverse images.  This is a moment when a sharp incumbent provider would take steps to minimize that opportunity.  For example, the threatened Providers could have undertaken some appreciative outreach to their existing customers, renewal price deals, whatever.  Even a simple Thank You letter could have been issued.  As it stands, I get the message that my Provider takes me for granted.

Amazingly, neither Provider has done much of anything.  My own current Provider is grotesquely silent.  The other put up a couple of pathetic tiny "we offer fiber" signs in the neighborhood.  Can they be so confident that Provider III is no threat?

I don't think complacency is a good idea at all.  Customers want to think they're valued and appreciated.  If their vendor does no more than send bills even when a new suitor---especially one with a better reputation---knocks on the door.  Appreciative outreach won't save every account but it might reduce potential losses.

Bottom Line:  Do you take customers or clients for granted?  Do you show appreciation for their choice of you as a vendor?  Don't make it easy for a competitor to poach your hard-won accounts!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Facebook Live Wave

The Facebook Live video tool is becoming more popular within my networking circles, replacing (if relevant) traditional prepared-in-advance "studio" videos.  It's certainly a fine utility to add to a small business owner's toolkit, one that does well in projecting energy and "hot" ideas and which establishes a connection with the customer.  As with all things, a little thought is in order before use.

First, select a setting that makes sense for you and your brand.  Avoid noisy places, settings with too much or too little light, and anywhere with any odd or distracting elements.  A neutral background makes most sense.  I've seen some done from the driver's seat of a car---something that strikes me as reminiscent of reality TV shows and therefore a little off---but as long as that fits your normal style it should be fine.

Second, keep in mind that if you are going to use or display any text whatsoever that it will be reversed or flipped in the video (an artifact of the camera).  Some folks I know deliberately print signage in reverse to overcome this.  You may also want to select a background without any business or street signs that can be distracting.

Third, consider doing a dry run before recording.  Too many of these videos come across as scatterbrained and/or loaded with "ums" and "ahs" as the speaker strains for a thought.  A Live video ought to be short, so that rehearsing is not a burden. 

Finally, please do have a thought!   Sharing an idea or promoting an event is what a Live video ought to be all about as opposed to broadcasting "just because."  The viewer will appreciate the judicious request your time.

Bottom Line:  Don't shy away from Facebook Live.  It can be a wonderful tool for a business.  But at the same time be careful in how it is used and spend a little time with the details to optimize the experience.