By: Marty Haraldson of Alpha Video and Audio, Edina Minnesota
That “personal touch” certainly has disappeared from the business scene, hasn’t it? How many companies or businesses do you call where a real “live” person actually answers the phone and greets you? They try to replicate that “personal touch” with an electronic answering device, but fail miserably.
Just yesterday, I called one of our vendors with a question. The phone rang several times before I was greeted by a recorded voice saying, “Your call is very important to us. To serve you better (?) please select one of the following 27 options.” Of course, the option that interests me is always the last one. My attention span had dwindled by this time and my mind had drifted elsewhere.
To be safe I’ll press the ol’ standby, “0”, and ask the friendly receptionist to connect me with the proper person. I press “0” only to hear a rather rude recording telling me that this is NOT an option! There is no one at this extension to take my call!
So, what are my choices at this point?
I can randomly press any one of the 27 available options in potluck fashion to see whom I get connected with. Perhaps the person I talk to can transfer me to the right person. Or, perhaps not. This individual has no idea of how to transfer me to the right party. Besides that, he or she is rather put out that I had the nerve to press their extension!
While all this is happening, I keep that greeting in the back of my mind, “Your call is very important to us.” After several other unsuccessful attempts to reach a cooperative “live” human being, my call is disconnected and all I hear is a dial tone.
It’s sad in a way to realize that many of our business transactions and activities can be conducted nowadays without ever actually talking with a person – live. I’ll receive a request for a quote by way of voice mail, email, or, do I dare say it, fax machine? I’ll respond in the same manner. Sooner or later, the purchase order arrives electronically. To be courteous, I’ll send my client an email or leave them a voice message thanking them for their order. All of this is done without ever talking!
There are, of course, those businesses that still value the customer and offer that “personal touch”. Whenever I call and a pleasant sounding person answers the phone I’ll speak up and say something complimentary. I’ll thank them for their personal service. There seems to be a definite connection between the level of customer service offered by a business and their phone system.
You will always find better customer service and support whenever you can talk with a live person without difficulty. Whenever you are required to follow multiple phone prompts and options, then leave voice messages, that level of customer service and support is suspect. There are companies that I dread calling because I know I’ll never reach anyone. When I do leave messages, I know it can be days before anyone returns my call. That just isn’t right.
I realize that we can get busy and we cannot be everywhere at once. Voice mail and email are valuable tools. I use them everyday. They should never replace the “personal touch”. These should be extensions of our “personal touch”. Used properly and in a timely manner, these electronic tools can enhance our “personal touch” with people. Responding to an email or voice message promptly is vital to success.
I have come to know which of our business partners and vendors I can count on to respond quickly should I leave or send a message. My customers do not hesitate to leave a message or send a message. They’ve come to expect a quick response from me. I don’t disappoint them.
How are you doing? Are you getting too “electronic”? Are you relying only on text messaging, voice mail, and email? Do your family, friends, and customers ever hear your voice anymore? Are you no longer available, “live”?
That “personal touch” goes a long way in successful relationships and friendships.
3D is becoming all the rage, and understandably so. After blockbusters like Avatar and the introduction of 3D to the consumer market from such industry giants as DirectTV and ESPN, 3D is expected to be the next big step forward in our market.
Per the announcement posted recently by SportsVideo.org – Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro says the ESPN 3D announcement parallels where HDTV was six years ago. “This is a turning point for 3D,” he says.
So… what do YOU think about 3D? We would be interested in hearing from you. Care to weigh in on the topic…?
What are your thoughts about 3D – Is it really the next ‘big’ thing or a waste of time and money?
Have you successfully done any 3D recording? If so, what has been your experience?
Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!
Here at Fast Forward Video, when we develop new products, we’re constantly keeping you in mind. And as such, we’d like to get your ideas, feedback, input and thoughts about the controllers you use. Would you be willing to let us know your answers to these four simple questions? Your response would be greatly appreciated!
1. What’s your favorite controller?
3. What’s your favorite feature?
Remember… post your comments below.
By: Harry Glass, Vice President of Sales, firstname.lastname@example.org
What does it take today to increase sales? Two things – Creative Selling and Creative Bundling. Below I’ve listed a couple examples of how simple it can be to apply these techniques and win more sales.
1. Creative Selling: Get in touch with smaller broadcasters that can’t afford the higher end, multi-function HD products, such as the Omega HD. The Micron HD is the perfect size to tuck under an arm and “show and tell” to your customers. Showing the Micron HD live and in person, rather than from a spec sheet, makes all the difference in the world!
2. Creative Bundling: Because the Micron HD is a single channel SD/HDI-SDI, it would take two units for key and fill applications. However, by simply adding a machine controller to two Micron HDs, your customers can get full functionality!
Instead of selling just one Micron HD or losing an Omega HD sale because of price, offer two Micron HDs with a controller. You’ll have a happy customer and a larger sale!
We’d like to hear from you! Leave a comment below and let us know about your Creative Selling and Bundling ideas. We’ll put the best one in next month’s newsletter!
A couple pictures from the Snader Show in San Mateo, CA. Met up with several customers and made great connections with those that battled the fierce weather.
What a set up!
CEO Hal Rieseger and Dave Herget
Strengthening your Online Presence Step-by-Step
Step #1 – Create Your Editorial Calendar
What is an Editorial Calendar and why do I need one? Well, I like to think of an Editorial Calendar as a personalized road map or ‘Thomas Guide’ that will get you where you want to go – a healthy, thriving and profitable business with a strong online presence.
Everything in this series builds on this simple little piece of paper. Your Editorial Calendar determines the subject of blog posts, what features to spotlight, products to sell, Tweets, what to say on Facebook and so much more. It’s powerful! Here’s how.
1. Open a new spreadsheet.
2. Label columns across the top to include the following –
* Month – Starting with January, go from top to bottom of the page
* Topic – Overall theme each month
* Sell – Product to spotlight
* Add More Columns – Include all the ways you advertise.
3. Start with Topic – Jot down some themes or highlights you can tie into for that month – tradeshows, holidays, weather, etc.
4. Fill in the rest of the columns with products, services, specials and promotions.
5. Make sure all promotions, articles, ads, etc are about the product(s) or service(s) that is highlighted that month.
So there you go. That’s it. Not so hard now was it? Having a plan and a strategy that ties all your communication efforts together will save you from scrambling every month for something to say, do, or write. Taking the time to lay out an Editorial Calendar ahead of time frees you up to concentrate on the important day-to-day operations of your business.
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how you’re coming along with your Editorial Calendar…
PS: If you’d like to see an example of one, just let me know and I’ll post one.
With the hubbub of the holidays over and the New Year in full swing, chances are you’ve already started thinking about an action plan for 2010. Last month we talked about our exciting new marketing series called “Strengthening Your Online Presence Step-by-Step”. So let’s get started.
Step #1: Create an Action Plan – Your Editorial Calendar
Oh I can hear the groans already. I understand, believe me. When it came to sitting down and writing out a plan and a year’s worth of promotions the very first time, I protesteth loudly too (even though it was only to myself). ‘I don’t have the time to do that!’ I told myself. I was overwhelmed before I even started.
However, let me say this… after I drudged through it and put things down on paper, I have to admit that it was the best thing I ever did. AND… have done one every year since! Here are some great results you can have when using an Editorial Calendar -
#1. Save time – What used to take FOREVER now gets done in hardly any time at all!
#2. Eliminate frustration – You’ll have a plan and know what to write about. No need to stare at the dreaded blank page trying to figure out what to write about.
#3. Be pro-active – Your marketing is cohesive and well thought out, not re-active to whatever the wind blows in that day.
#4. Get complete coverage – It’s easy to see the entire year, insuring that each product (or service) gets the attention it deserves. Nothing is accidentally left out.
#5. Set a strong foundation – Nearly everything you do from here on out in this online marketing series, builds on this one sheet of paper – blogging, featured products, Tweets, Facebook posts, newsletters and more.
Save yourself tons of time and frustration… write your plan of action. It’s not too late to put together an Editorial Calendar for 2010.
To learn more on how to create your own Editorial Calendar, check out “5 Simple Steps to a Powerful Piece of Paper”.
And don’t forget to leave a comment! I’m waiting to hear from you… groans and all.