Looking for something interesting to read? I read the following links(and visited websites) today and liked, you might want to read them/check them out
- Apple’s Retail Army, Long on Loyalty but Short on Pay (nytimes.com)
- Opportunity Cost (Seth Godin’s simple yet effective reminder)
- Flipkart CEO’s response to the Forbes Story(and their reply)
- The role of physicians at the centre of health care is under pressure
June 25, 2012 No Comments
Looking for a quick dose of weblinks to read? Look no further, for here’s a bunch of links I read today and liked. Let me know how you find them
- Doing the big work (at the little table) (Seth Godin’s Blog)
- Paying Your Dues
- Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 16 – Decoding Ourselves (Another interesting post) (Blake Masters)
- Silicon Valley’s Hottest VC Is a Rug Dealer (Forbes.com)
- How Fit Are You? 3 Easy Ways to Find Out (Oprah.com)
- What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (FastCompany.com)
- Writing and Speaking (Paulgraham.com)
- Blackberry Shortcuts
June 24, 2012 No Comments
This is a classic dilemma that many entrepreneurs(especially the offline one’s) are likely to run into. Customers as we all know come in all shapes and sizes(and mindsets). While there will be some customers who will talk nicely to you and your employees, pay their bills on time and offer you a piece of advice or feedback whenever needed, there’s also a bunch of customers that’ll act as if they are doing you a big favor by using your product or services, they’ll negotiate endlessly on the price and keep getting into endless debates about the most minute(and irrelevant) issues possible.
As an entrepreneur and consultant both I too have run into the thought of segmenting customers into good,bad and ugly but I am not completely convinced if that’s such a good idea. I mean on one hand there’s a thought of optimizing the whole thing for a better ROI on other hand there’s this idealistic thought that customers/clients should be treated fairly and equally irrespective of their spending powers and other behaviors. I for sure would like to get a fair/equal treatment in all the products and services that I use irrespective of the segment I belong to.
If you are committed to offering a delightful customer service the non-segmentation of your customers is highly likely to come in your way. As pointed by Seth Godin here
If you’re going to be obsessed with delighting customers, it’s a lot more efficient to focus on customers that are able to be delighted.
A case in point being if a particular bunch of customers is impossible or way too difficult to delight/please why waste your resources on them when you could focus ‘em on some other set of customers that are more likely to be delighted by what you are offering?
A few things I could think of that one needs to keep in mind if such a situation arises are
- Is the customer bad or your offering?
A situation like this can also be a opportunity to give your offering another in-depth look. Maybe the customer is right and there’s indeed a scope for offering a better solution at the same or reduced price or maybe the customer service offered isn’t up to the mark. So before branding a customer as a bad apple, give a second thought to their feedback and see if there’s a genuine problem there.
- How would it affect the Word of Mouth?
While not giving the same time, attention etc to a not so good customer might be a good utilization for your resources it might have a spill over effect. In cases like these it is also pragmatic to ensure that your segmented behaviour will not spiral into a bad WOM loop. To avoid that ensure that this bunch/segment are not influencers/thought leaders or highly connected individuals from your target segment. For ex: If you are targeting a product or service aimed at doctors and for some reason you decide to segment them, try to ensure that your segmentation policy will not spill over to other doctors and doctors as a community tend to be highly connected to each other
- Customer Segmentation != Spending power segmentation
While you’ll find plenty of real life instances in which retailers/suppliers and many more tend to treat customers with high spending powers differently, it’s not the most wise thing to do. When I started this discussion though I included “paying bills on time” and negotiation I never mentioned spending power as the deciding factor. I strongly feel segmenting your customers based on just their spending power isn’t such a good idea
- Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you
One should always keep “The Golden Rule” in mind before taking any call on customer segmentation. This will most certainly save you from some bad decisions
What do you think about treating different customers differently?
March 20, 2010 2 Comments
About 8 months ago I complied a presentation containing best tweets from Social Gaming Summit 2009 which got a good response and appreciation so I thought of doing the same for #smallbizsummit.
Here’s a crowdsourced summary(in form of tweets) of the 5th Annual Small Business Summit 2010 held at NYC on 16th March. Hope you like it
March 18, 2010 1 Comment
Yesterday evening while trying to explain some best practices for writing emails to my younger brother I tried to make my point clear by showing him some examples and asking him to identify the differences. Given the amount of badly designed/structured emails doing rounds it wasn’t hard to find an example of badly designed email from my inbox.
Here are two emails that I picked up for him, both are regarding bloggers meet.
Instead of pin-pointing the differences I asked him spot them and it didn’t take him a second to say
“The second email is addressed to you while the first one is SPAM”
Though I wasn’t expecting him to flag the first one as spam but I guess that’s how it would appear to anyone who doesn’t know the context beforehand.
Trying to figure out what was really bad about the first email isn’t rocket science. It’s essentially two very simple things
1) ‘To’ Field: I try to find some clues like who all was the mail addressed to etc, from the ‘To’ field (some people put their entire list in to field btw). As you can see here the email’s ‘from and to’ fields are same. Thankfully email clients don’t work like packet sniffers else this mail would have reach spam folder directly, no questions asked.
Perhaps like we used to think during our college day the sender thought it’s mandatory to have an address in ‘To’ field and therefor it’s their name in the ‘To’ field while the addresses email id’s are shoved in the ‘BCC’ field.
2) ‘Greeting’: It’s basic courtesy (common sense?) to greet someone by their name (unless you are not sure about their name) when sending email and it’s even more important when you are sending mail to a blogger on behalf of a client. The last thing the recipient should think is if it’s a bulk email or worse spam.
Given the fact that recepients of such emails wouldn’t be numerous I don’t think it would have bee a tough job.
5 Tips for Writing Better Emails:
1) Don’t send bulk emails. And if you have to then don’t make it apparent that it’s a bulk email by addressing it like ‘Hi Bloggers’ or ‘Hi Guys’ .
2) Write personal emails:
Emails starting with just ‘Hi’, start on a fishy ground(unless you know the recipient)
Though the ‘To’ field here has your name unlike in example 1 above since it starts with just ‘Hi’, you can’t assume that this email is just being sent to you.
3) Avoid generic statements:
‘Your blog makes for very interesting reading’. That’s the kind of lines spammers use these days. Avoid them and insted writing something that seems more genuine and believable.
4) Be relevant/targeted:
Now that’s seriously lame. Thankfully they didn’t add neighbours and relatives to the list.
5) Have an opt-out link: If for whatever reason you plan to send emails to people regularly without asking them before hand at least have a link for them to opt-out from your emailing list.
As with other things finding bad examples is quite easy but finding good examples isn’t. Here’s an example of what could be called a better designed/structured email sent for the first time (to some email list I suppose)
Got some tips to share about writing better emails?
September 11, 2009 3 Comments