Vote For Trump: I’m Not Asking You…I’m Telling You

Vote For Trump: I’m Not Asking You…I’m Telling You

Why Not Voting For Trump Shows Your Gullibility

While I am aware that writing this article is most likely suicidal for our media outlet, at this point, I don’t care.  I might as well write this and hopefully get a few shares before the United States collapses economically or Hillary Clinton shuts us down next year anyway.  The CNN debate last night should have created some movement within the brains of voters in the United States.  It should have been an enlightening moment in American politics on behalf of the American people and proved how stupid politicians think you are.  As the mainstream media are claiming victory today on how they were finally able to destroy Donald Trump in the debate last night, one can only hope that enough voters saw last night for what it was.  A total and complete Washington hit job.  Considering the amount of pre-debate analysis on what the other candidates needed to do and how the commentators promised fireworks in this debate, they are truly feeling superior today and are claiming a complete and total defeat of Donald Trump.  Allow me to explain something that they are completely unaware of or simply choose to ignore..

Donald Trump won the debate last night.  Pure and simple.  He didn’t win the debate because he was able to insult the other candidates the best or because he had more favorable policy positions. He won the debate because his hardcore supporters said he won the debate and it doesn’t matter how much Steve Hayes or George Will try to analyze what happened last night.  He won the debate because 30% of the Republican party said he won the debate and said that they would never vote for anyone but Donald Trump.  He won the debate because without those 30%, Ronald Reagan couldn’t be elected President if he were risen from the grave.  He won the debate because the Republican party doesn’t need another 2008 or 2012.  He won the debate because the media said he lost the debate and there is nothing that his supporters hate more than the media.  He won the debate because the RNC, yet again, loaded the debate hall with donors and special interest groups. He won the debate because two first term Cuban Senators were desperate and attempted to take him out, but didn’t bother to try in the previous 9 debates.  Finally and most importantly, he won the debate because without Donald Trump, there will be 15 Million people staying home on election night against Hillary Clinton.

The Big 3

Even if you hate Donald Trump, you cannot deny that his supporters mean business and they are seriously tired of Politicians and Politics as usual.  It doesn’t matter what anyone says or what anyone digs up on Donald Trump and his past or his past positions.  We have said here all along that Donald Trump will be one of two things if he is elected.  He will be either the greatest President we have ever had, or he will be the beginning of the end of the United States.  He is that definitive.  Unlike politicians who will just drag us slowly to our death, Trump will either shake up the system and bring us back from the edge of collapse, or he will be the final push over the edge so we the III% can finally come in and take the country back.  There is no possible middle of the road.  It will go one way or the other with Trump.  With Cruz or Rubio, you will need to train your children in the use of firearms and pass on your preparation skills and stockpiles to them so that in 15 or 20 years or so, they will be able to take care of themselves.  Politicians are the reason we are in the mess we are in right now and it has come from both parties.  Nothing will change.  I personally would rather it happen now so that I can take care of it for my children.  They need a country to grow up in and they need a future.

So why am I telling you to vote for Donald Trump?  Well…it’s because if you don’t, you are voting for Hillary Clinton.  The Constitutional Conservatives, like myself, are realists and all 8 million of us aren’t about to be walking definitions of insanity.  That means voting for phony politicians.. We already realize that the country is lost.  America doesn’t break promises.  We borrow money to keep them.  America doesn’t cancel programs.  We “reform” them.  America is broke and without significant change…you know, the kind of change that starts revolutions, there is no hope for our country.  When you hear the words “Repeal and Replace”, it means the “Same Ole Same Ole”.  It’s still a government program that costs money.  When you hear politicians afraid of creating a trade war, it means “I like foreign workers”.  When you hear “legal status”, it means “I like foreign workers”.  It means what Donald Trump says about politicians being all talk and no action. Action is building a wall and not giving a damn who it offends.  Action is creating a trade war for the sake of fair trade and not caring about the Global Economic repercussions.  Action is realizing that America is dying and unless we start making some painful choices, we will be unable to be resuscitated.  Action is pissing people off in the short term to have a positive uniting effect in the long term.

The hardcore Trump supporters understand this.  They understand it so well, that it doesn’t matter what Limbaugh says, even if he is right 99.8% of the time.  So say what you will about Trump.  I ask you simply to become a realist for this one issue alone in regards to voting for Trump.  If it’s anyone but Trump…we will stay home.  All 15 Million of us…

Follow me on Twitter @mrmarkethive and like me on Facebook at Puppet Masters Revealed

Original Article By: Adam Lankford February 26, 2016

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

10 Steps to World-Class Customer Service

Because the business world is presently entrenched in a too-many-suppliers-chasing-too-few-spending-customers death spiral, there has been a renaissance in Business Media about Customer Service. This proves, in one fell swoop that every cloud does indeed have a silver lining. However, what is often overlooked (and what is certainly being overlooked at present) is that great customer service, like charity, begins at home.

word class customer service

The critical component in any Customer-centric strategy is your people, they are the point of delivery, where 'the rubber meets the road' as it were. So in order to make customers happy, we must first ensure our people are happy, demotivated employees make lousy brand ambassadors, highly motivated and enthused employees will provide a sustainable strategic edge (no mean feat in a world where differentials are eroded hourly). Consequently, leaders should make it their business to ensure that the troops are fed, watered and enthused.

So, assuming that we have good systems and processes in place for firing up our people, what about the customers themselves? Who are they, where are they? what do they like? what are they like? Do you have internal as well as external ones (we have written about the internal supply chain before, often hugely overlooked and a must-have component in any customer service strategy).

Much has been written about 'under-promise and over-deliver' and, whilst it has merits, it can be dangerous because it can lead companies to assume they know what the customer wants and assume the customer will be delighted when we exceed that expectation – this is not always the case. As a default, keep your promises, do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it and do it with the minimum of fuss and hassle to the customer – that will be enough.

So how to provide world-class customer service? Follow the 10 steps below and you will not be far off;

1. Take the customer seriously. He is always right, especially when he's wrong! He is right about how he feels and he is right in that he can leave your premises and tell the world and his wife that you and your company suck, so – take the customer very seriously!

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. If things have gone wrong say so. Do not lie (this is insulting and sends a message you do not want to send). It insults your customer's intelligence. Customers understand that people make mistakes, they do not expect you to be perfect, they expect you to care when you screw up..

3. When things go wrong, do not despair, complaints are gifts. Customers are so used to flawless service now it is taken as standard. When things go wrong your responses may be the only chance you will get to show just how special you are. I will say again, A complaint is a gift – treat it as such.

4. Be available, if you cannot deal with someone immediately at least acknowledge them immediately. People do not mind waiting, what frustrates them is feeling ignored.

5. Respect – should be a given, often (in a depressingly large number of cases) isn't.

6. Listen don't talk. Do not assume you know what the customer wants and do not answer them from your own perspective. The solution that will work in the long-term is the solution the customer wants, not the one you do.

7. Know your stuff. It is not acceptable to be ignorant in front of a customer. All staff who are customer facing (and that includes those on telephones) must know their products and services and where and how to route a call and when (and this is so much better) to 'own' the problem themselves.

8. Quality and value – Both are very important, both are hugely subjective and both are determined in the customer's brain. Taking the time and trouble to know the customer and to listen to him really pays off here. The world is full of companies giving 'added-value-solutions', many of them are giving added-cost-non-solutions since their interventions cost them money and if they haven't taken the time to listen to the authentic voice of the customer, will almost always not be perceived as either quality or value because they do not address the specific problem the customer has in mind.

9. Treat as you would be treated. Courtesy, respect and appreciation are the bare minimum. Many customer service staff complain that customers do not respect them. Remember that respect, like love, has to be given away before it can be received. No customer will ever respect us until and unless we respect them first.

10. My word is my bond. Give staff the power and authority to deal with a customer's problem. The ownership belongs with the person taking the call, they should be allowed to provide a fix. If the staff member always says "I'll have to ask my boss" the customer will get frustrated and want to deal just with the boss. Have the faith and confidence in your staff and your products & services that you can trust them both and that you will stand behind them and back them. THEN you will have the basics for world-class customer-service and world class customers.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

A Beginner’s Guide To Learning Mobile Marketing

If you're thinking about getting into mobile marketing but aren't sure how, then look no further. This article is geared towards informing you of some valuable tips about how to succeed with mobile marketing. Remember that these tips are only going to benefit you if you read this article thoroughly and digest the information.

Make sure that your emails are mobile device friendly. An increasing number of customers are reading emails only on their mobile devices. If your emails are not mobile friendly, they might never be seen by a significant portion of your clients. This means that valuable advertising dollars are wasted, and your campaign will not be successful.

Do your best to target your message to fit the needs of the people that you are sending it to. If you are sending out a message about one thing that that person is not interested in, there is a great chance that they will not take the time to read your future messages.

Be very aware of the market conditions around you when involved in mobile marketing. If anything changes that you're not absolutely prepared for, you can easily be left behind and lose a lot of business. The internet is constantly changing, especially the still-evolving mobile leg of it. Always stay prepared for change.

Keep your mobile marketing messages short and sweet. Although many cell phone and smartphone users are signed up with plans that offer unlimited data transfers, not everyone has this luxury. If your ad consumes a great deal of their monthly allotment of data, chances are good that your efforts will go unappreciated and even resented.

If your mobile marketing campaign includes multiple images and pages, it is best to keep the file sizes very small. Many cell phones and smartphone plans have limitations on broadband access and transfer speeds. If your message takes too long to load or consumes too much bandwidth, the customer is likely to abandon it.

Make your messages relevant. This is the most important aspect of mobile marketing. A text message can be very personal and it interrupts someone no matter what they are in the middle of doing. Avoid re-purposing an e-mail. Your text message should be short and very relevant to the audience whom you are sending them out to.

Balance your mobile marketing within an integrated media strategy. Mobile marketing alone will not take your brand to the next level. Neither will direct mail or internet marketing alone. You need to develop a multi-channel strategy that works in harmony with each other to really tell the story of your brand. If you feel your mobile marketing strategy is acting on its own, now is the time to bring it into your larger marketing strategy.

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas to use when creating your own mobile marketing campaign. The information you have learned from this article will only be useful if it is applied. Incorporate your new knowledge into your mobile marketing strategies, and watch your success grow.

Thank you,

Ida Mae Boyd
Skype me at imboyd681
Please include in the Skype Contact message “Market Hive”

P.S.

Check out the MarketHive:

The MarketHive consist of Free Inbound Marketing Tools and it is a social network for entrepreneur.
By signing up you will become a member with me in the MarketHive Social Network for Entrepreneurs.
The following video that explains it all to you.


You can sign up for a Free MarketHive account at
https://markethive.com/marketingwithida

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Are Social Networking Sites Doing Us Any Good

It is not long ago when the only mode of communication was the snail mail way or the expensive Telephone. But with the advent of internet our lives have completely changed. We are now able to connect with anybody in any part of the world instantly and at a very low cost. This indeed has brought a pleasant change in our lifestyle. Internet has helped us so much that even organizations can employ a global workforce and they all can work together sitting in different parts of world as if they are sitting in the same building. Not only this the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has completely revolutionized the way we connect with people. We can get connected with our friends sitting in any part of the world and at the same time search our long lost buddy.

The immense benefits that have been brought by internet and the social networking sites sometimes downplay the negative effects associated with it. As it is an adage that excess of everything is bad, same holds good with these social networking sites. We are so much addicted to these sites that sometimes we forget to check the wellbeing of our near and dear ones but we never forget to check the latest updates on Facebook. 

Though it is not legal to create an account on social networking sites for a minor, but given its popularity, children are so tempted to use these sites that they adopt unfair means at such tender age and get themselves registered on these sites. These days we see lesser number of children willing to play outside as they are glued to the latest happenings in their virtual friend circle. And children here are not to be blamed because a child usually does that what he sees and when he sees that his father after coming back from a hectic schedule directly turns on his laptop to know the where about of his online friends rather that asking the child how was his day at school or without playing with him, he is also bound to check what is so interesting about these sites.

Therefore, instead of turning a blind eye and deaf ear towards this issue, it's time for us to awaken. No doubt we have witnessed a tremendous evolution in technology but to gain immense benefits from this new revolution, we have to make a judicious use of it. We are witnessing so many new diseases which were not even heard of because of our changing life styles. We prefer sitting for long hours in front of computers rather than taking a refreshing walk in the lap of nature. Therefore, it is time to act before we repent.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Get Inbound Marketing Tools at the lowest Price

First let me state that Internet Marketing Tools are now defined as Inbound Marketing Tools.

Who doesn't want inexpensive Inbound Marketing Tools that work? In this day and age when advertising your business online is must. It is also a must that you get these tools at the lowest possible price.

You may ask, how can I get them? Please read on to find out.

MarketHive

The MarketHive Inbound Marketing System is priced at a reasonable price (free) as compared to other Inbound Platforms from medium to large businesses that cost around $72,000 per year on average.

Unlike any of the other Inbound Marketing (automated marketing) platforms, the MarketHive is a vertical Social Network design for and by Entrepreneurs.

The following 31 minute video will give you a cost comparison between some of the top Inbound Marketing systems.


Click here if you would like to register for a free Inbound MarketHive System

Thank you,

Ida Mae Boyd
MarketHive Alpha Founder
Skype me at imboyd681
Please include in the Skype Contact message "Market Hive"

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Inbound Marketing Systems Compared

The MarketHive Inbound Marketing is priced at a reasonable price (free) as compared to other Inbound Platforms for medium to large businesses that cost around $72,000 per year on average.

Unlike any of the other Inbound Marketing (automated marketing) platforms, MarketHive is a vertical Social Network design for and by Entrepreneurs.

Free trial by invite only.

The following 31 minute video will give you a cost comparison between some of the top Inbound Marketing systems.

Free trial by invite only


Click here if you would like to register for a Free MarketHive System

Thank you,

Ida Mae Boyd
MarketHive Alpha Founder
Skype me at imboyd681
Please include in the Skype Contact message “Market Hive”

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Join the Rise of the Entrepreneurs

What is it?

The first and only Entrepreneur's Inbound Marketing Social Network.
Inbound Marketing Explained and Compared

 

Why you want it!

An Entrepreneurial Social Network integrated with an advanced Inbound Marketing platform is genius on steroids. Sharing up to 50% of the potential revenue with you is very generous and the potential of this combination is atomic!

Join the Rise of the Entrepreneurs with me!

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Using Inbound Marketing to promote your Company’s Business and Website.

Promotion using social links

Using Inbound Marketing as a means of promoting your Company's Business and Website.

Inbound marketing is a way of promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, e-newsletter’s, whitepapers, social media marketing.

Other forms of content marketing, lead pages, Search Engine Optimization which serve to attract customers through the different stages of promoting one’s own company fit “hand in glove” with the social engagement systems that is so prevalent in today’s market  

In contrast, buying attention, cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, sales flyers, spam, telemarketing and traditional advertising are considered "outbound marketing" and seem to be having a secondary role in a Company’s marketing activities.

Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects' attention. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easier to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content.


Many companies are now realizing that their technical documentation, often considered a "necessary evil", is now considered a way of producing authoritative and trustworthy content that can become a Company’s most effective inbound marketing channel, generating more than half of overall site traffic and over half of lead generation.

Once a website has been constructed and the content optimized for the chosen key words, the main objective or strategy of a smart webmaster will be to submit the Website to the Search Engines and obtain as many Social Inbound Links.

One-way Inbound Link is an external link pointing from social accounts to your website from another site. You need not reciprocate; in other words, you do not have to link back to that website. On the other hand, in Reciprocal Linking, to obtain an external link from another site pointing to your website, you have to link back to that site or reciprocate with a link from your website.

In recent times One-Way Inbound Links have received a lot of prominence and smart webmasters are spending their time, effort and energy in obtaining more One-Way Inbound Links rather than Reciprocal Links. The stampede to obtain One-Way Inbound Links is understandable once you know the facts and the benefits of having these links.

The Search Engines have begun to realize that many Webmasters have started adopting various ruses to artificially increase their link popularity and the page rank of their websites. Many website owners started manipulating the system to their advantage such as purchasing high PR links and adopting certain Black Hat techniques. This approach can be very detrimental to one’s business in the long term

Hence the Search Engines have now begun to consider One-Way Inbound Links superior to Reciprocal Links because, if a website links to your website without obtaining a link back, it clearly indicates that your site is a site of quality and that it is popular with a lot of other sites.

If your website has many One-way Inbound Links, especially links that are of quality and relevance then your website will be ranked higher than those sites with just reciprocal links. So it stands to reason that the more number of quality and relevant One-way Inbound links you obtain the greater and faster your chances of increasing your link popularity and page rank and the higher your site will rank in the searches for your keywords.

Smart webmasters soon began to realize the importance of one way inbound links and started adopting certain strategies to obtain them such as:

1. Submitting the website to high page rank quality social sites and to Niche or specialized directories.

2. Writing high quality articles displaying their Company’s expertise and submitting these articles to article directories, article banks and article distributors, thereby creating a viral effect with webmasters picking up these articles and publishing them.

4. Submitting articles to Social Bookmarking Sites. Most of these sites have a high page rank and are a valuable source for inbound links.

These Strategies not only help Webmasters boost the link popularity and page rank of their websites but also help the websites to rank high in the Search Engines for their keywords.

In addition to the above, Targeted traffic will soon start flowing from hundreds or even thousands of links in the Resource boxes of these articles, from Directories, Forums, Blogs and Social Bookmarking sites.

These are actually visitors searching the Internet for websites, products and services like yours or admirers of your expert articles who could end up as customers or members of your list.

Acting smart and adopting your strategies to suit the changing algorithms of the Search Engines is the best way to move forward and be ahead of the competition.

The ultimate goal is to obtain good Link Popularity, High Page Rank and substantial Traffic to your website. It appears that for all practical purposes, One Way Social Inbound Links have come to stay and the stampede to acquire these links will continue.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive

Markethive

Markethive Promotion

http://brian-walters-online.com/

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

25 Creative Ways To Improve Internet Customer Service

Consider the competitive advantages of an online retailer. Customer service is usually not the first thing that comes to mind, right?. Many eCommerce websites, even the large well-known store, are infamous for impersonal, mediocre customer service practices. And yet, the few internet retailers that differentiate themselves on service become well-known case studies in client care. In this article, I'll share some of the best-practices I've seen over the years that serve to differentiate companies on customer service.

Upgrade Your CRM Tools: Proper technology can go a long way to improving customer care. At the very least, ensure that your staff has the ability to view the history of previous interactions with a customer. It's very frustrating when you have to repeatedly explain the situation to a representative.

Hand-written thank you on Packing Slip: Most packing slips are dull, impersonal, and useful only if you need to return the merchandise. On rare occasions, I've received orders where the packing list featured a hand-written, personalized thank you from a staff member. While this may not be practical for every order, it is a great way to impress select customers. Another idea might be to include the business card with contact info for a manager.

Assign Personal Customer Service Reps: Along with the order confirmation receipt that you send to your customers, also automatically assign each customer a personal representative that will field their questions. Send the email from this representative's name, and include their contact info. Customers will be impressed that they have a "personal" representative assign specifically to them.

Call Customers Who Abandon Orders: When a customer starts an order but doesn't finish it, follow up with a phone call to find out if there were any problems. Customers appreciate the gesture, and you will likely save many sales in the process.

Follow up surveys: Consider sending a survey email out with every order confirmation. While not every customer will complete it, your customers will know you care enough to ask their opinion.

Extensive FAQ Knowledge Base: Surprisingly, one of the easiest ways to improve your customer satisfaction may be to prevent needless customer interactions in the first place. No matter how friendly your call center representative, no customer will be pleased if they have to call you in order to answer a simple question like "how do I return a product?" Prevent situations like this by maintaining a searchable FAQ knowledge base that answers every reasonable question.

Live Chat: Many customers dislike the thought of sitting on hold for even a few minutes. Offering a live chat option can be an inexpensive way of answering questions for your visitors, and reducing the call volume for your call center.  Improve 

After Hour Call Center: If your business employs a 3rd party after hour call center that is off-site, make sure you frequently monitor the quality of care they are rendering. Make sure they are empowered to serve your customers as effectively as possible. If your primary call center is 3rd party, seriously consider bringing it in house. While this is not always the most affordable option, it's necessary if you desire to give your clients your absolute best.

Free Upgraded Shipping: Surprise select customers by upgrading their shipping to 1 or 2 express. If you do this, be sure to send them an email letting them know they have been upgraded. This strategy was pioneered by Zappos.

Same Day Shipping: Most websites have a policy of shipping orders 1 or 2 business days after they are placed. If possible, selectively ship some orders the same day. The speedy delivery will be appreciated, though not expected by your customers.

Prominent Customer Testimonials: Place customer testimonials on more than just the "testimonial" page. Zappos features them right on their main customer service page. A word of caution applies here though. If you're going to "brag" so to speak about your service, make sure you follow through!

Human Touch: Many online shoppers struggle with trusting an online merchant due to the lack of face to face interaction. Mitigate this weakness by showing pictures of your customer service staff.  Christian retailer C28 shows the picture of their customer service manager on the Help page as well as on every order confirmation email. In addition, below the picture is the manager's direct contact info. Something like this can go a long way to instill trust in your company.

Detailed Product Pages: Answer questions before they are asked by always having thoroughly detailed product pages. Include all the relevant info a customer would want to know about your products. For more ideas on this topic, checkout my previous post on 25 ways to improve your product page.

Automatic Price Protection: Always honor sale prices of items that were previously purchased by customers. They need to be able to shop with this confidence. Better yet, automatically notify customers when items they have purchased in the past go on sale. Offer to apply the price difference toward a future purchase or just refund the amount. Sound crazy? Maybe, but it's small cost that can win a customer for life.

Lenient Return Policy: Make sure your return policy is not unnecessarily complicated or rigid. How many times have you shopped at a certain retailer because their lenient return policy gave you the confidence you needed to buy? (Think Costco vs. Walmart!)

Thank You Calls: Call select customers and thank them for ordering. This personalized gesture will blow them away.

Thank You Emails: Email certain customers and thank them for their business. Be sure to include something personalized in the email that will convince them it's not just something generic sent to everyone.

Do More than Fix Your Mistakes: When your business makes a mistake, be sure that you exceed your customer's expectations when fixing it. If an item was mistakenly left out of a shipment, don't just a apologize, offer that item for free. Many businesses find their most loyal customers result from a highly satisfying resolution to a problem.

Fix Other's Mistakes: If a shipment is delayed or lost due to the fault of the shipping carrier, don't just blame UPS, offer a solution. Offer to promptly re-ship the item, or at the very least, offer to take care of the problem with the carrier so the customer doesn't have to.

Guaranteed Email Response Time: Most customers expect an email inquiry to be answered within at most 24 hours. If you can, guarantee a response time faster than this. Also, acknowledge the receipt of an email inquiry by employing an auto responder.

Secret Shopping: Used extensively by brick-and-mortar retailers, secret shopping is a great way to identify problems and keep your customer service staff on their toes.

Customer Centric Slogan: Show your dedication to customer care by prominently featuring a customer centered slogan that summarizes your company's practices. A great example of this would be Zappos' famous slogan on their home page: "We are a service company that happens to sell shoes."

Free Return Shipping: One of the greatest stumbling blocks to online ordering is the thought of having to return the product. Consider sending customers a pre-paid return shipping label in the case of a product needing to be returned. Because this is rarely done by e-commerce stores, you will certainly set yourself apart in the mind of your customer.

Personalize Everything: Always great customers by name on the home page, and offer them personalized product recommendations based on previous orders.

Increase Number of Service Reps: It goes without saying that if you have a higher representative to customer ratio, you will have the time to better serve your clients. While not every business can afford this, if you want to differentiate yourself with outstanding customer service, it's a must.

I once heard it said that "the enemy of good is not bad, it's mediocre." Too many online retailers struggle with mediocre customer service. Many businesses fail to realize their customer base is also powerful marketing machine. If treated right, they can become to most effective viral marketing campaign imaginable. Treated poorly, and they can become a PR disaster.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

10 Questions to Ask When Collecting Customer Data

When your customers disclose their personal and financial information to you, they're taking a leap of faith that you won't lose, abuse or otherwise mess with it — accidentally or not. Your customers don't want you to spam them every two minutes, hawk their info to third parties or, worse, expose it to cyber attackers. 
 
Collecting Customer Data 
 
 
Collecting customer data has been notoriously loaded with a tangle of privacy pitfalls. But when done right, the benefit to your bottom line could outweigh the risks. Leveraging customer data can lead to happier customers, reduced client churn and bigger profits. 
 
Gathering sensitive customer information isn't something business owners should just jump into and make up as they go. Get up to speed with these 10 essential questions to consider before you ask your customers anything: 
 
1. I don't have time to get anything from my customers but their money. Do I really need to collect data from them, too?
 
Without customers, you wouldn't be in business. Knowing who they are and what they want, particularly from you, can lead to more effective marketing, increased brand loyalty and the holy grail — more sales. 
 
"Collecting customer data helps you know each customer more individually and treat them that way," says Jeff Tanner, professor of marketing at Baylor University and director of the school's "Business Collaboratory." And the info you glean from them can empower you to "craft offers that increase purchase rates at higher margins while also delivering better value to the customers because they're getting things they want," he says.
 
2. What types of personal data should I collect and why?
 
Start with the basics, such as customer names and mailing and email addresses. These allow you to personalize your communications with them, directly market to them and follow up with them if there's a problem with their order. Other data points to collect for an overall demographic snapshot are age, profession and gender. 
 
As you develop trust with your customers, Tanner suggests going deeper and asking them for certain psychographic data points, like details about their personalities, values and lifestyles. For example, if you own a furniture store and find out your customer has children via a customer questionnaire, you might consider marketing children's furniture to them.   

3. What types of transactional data should I collect and why?

Recording and analyzing each customer's transaction history — what they purchase from you, when and how often — helps you know which products and services to offer them in the future. Companies like Amazon, and Zappos are some of the best at this powerful marketing practice, also known as "basket analysis," automatically delivering sometimes impressively personalized product recommendations based on past purchases.   

4. What are the best ways to collect customer data?

You can start by accumulating customer data every time they interact with your company — on the phone or in online chat with customer service, in-store with a salesperson or via online survey or contest, Tanner says.
 
It's important to note, though, that the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 prohibits procuring email addresses from certain online sources, including blogs and internet chat rooms, without the permission of site users and owners.  

5. How should I organize and store it?

Once you obtain the customer data you want, dumping it into a basic Excel spreadsheet won't do you much good. The best, most time- and cost-effective way to store, track and make sense of customer data, Tanner says, is to use an all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) solution. 
 
He suggests trying CRM packages for entrepreneurs from Pipeliner ($30 per month with a 30-day free trial), Zoho ($12 to $35 per month with a 15-day free trial) or Teradata (prices available by contacting Teradata sales). 

6. How can I best protect my customers' personal and financial data?

 
Encrypting all of your customers' data is your first step in safeguarding it. This includes their names, email and physical addresses, credit card numbers, spending habits, social media logins and any other sensitive data points you're privy to.
 
Best practices for data encryption vary from industry to industry. Here's a guide to creating a strong cyber security plan for your small business, complete with expert encryption tips. You might consider hiring a data security specialist to take on the task for you. 
 
If you hire a third-party to collect and store your customer data for you, be sure that they use the highest encryption standards available. 

7. How can I be sure what I'm doing is legal?

All that's legally required of you when collecting customer data is to create a customer information privacy policy and give your customers access to it, Tanner says. 
 
In an ideal world, your privacy policy should closely follow the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Information Practice Principles, which are guidelines for securely collecting electronic consumer data, though they aren't enforceable by law. 
 
Clearly state in your policy exactly who is collecting which types of data, how it's used and with whom you share it with (and if you intend to share it at all). You also have to allow your customers to opt out of receiving marketing material from you.  
 
Specifically, if you own a business in the healthcare industry and gather patient information, you have to abide by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) laws. Or, if your company's target demographic is children and you interact with them online, compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is mandatory.  

8. Should I sell my customer's information to third-party marketers?

The choice is yours and plenty of companies do — and profit from it. But Tanner warns that doing so could alienate your customers. And they generally don't come back once they've gone. 
 
"If [business owners] use customer data like a mailing list, then they spam," he says. "If they use data to have an intelligent conversation that includes relevant offers, then they become a preferred partner. You might be able to sell access to your customer list, but no customer will want to stay with you once they figure that out."  
 
If you decide to sell customer data to third parties, clearly say so in your privacy policy.  

9. What's the best way to benefit from the customer data I collect?

Leveraging it to offer added value to your customer is the biggest advantage. Customer data helps you paint a clear picture of who your target customer is and how to best communicate with, advertise and market to them. 
 
When you know your ideal customer better and really understand their needs and wants, you can better craft offers to entice them, which should in turn boost sales.  

10. What are some common mistakes to avoid?

Perhaps the worst in the bunch, Tanner says, is asking for too much at one time and overwhelming your customers.
 
Other common faux pas Tanner suggests steering clear of are not using the data at all and making assumptions about customers based on collecting transactional data only.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member