Category Archives: Customer Service

BREAKING: Two Conference Handouts that won’t end up in the Trash Can.

If you’ve been to a trade show lately, you’ve seen the ‘material’ that fills most booths. The white papers and collateral hope to gain attention, while giveaways, such as Frisbees and hacky sacks, aim to attract even the most skeptical conference goer.

But what’s a vendor to do when he’s up against hundreds of vendors and attendees who’ve seen everything before?

Create something different.

cardboard1

Create something that will get people talking.

Our company @VersionOne hosted an agile learning event recently called #AgilePalooza; it featured some of the sharpest agile minds in the business. Two of our partners spoke at the show and set out a free ‘giveaway’ or informational handout at the registration table that stirred conversation.

David Hussman (@davidhussman) of DevJam brought CardBoard to the marketplace recently as a strong, yet simple entrant into the world of sometimes overly complex agile and productivity tools. And is there a better way to get attention to the CardBoard product than handing out pieces of cardboard saying, “If Google Docs and Post It Notes had a kid, it would look like CardBoard.” Who wouldn’t want to see that product?

Dave Sharrock (@davesharrock) from Agile42 was also in the spotlight at this particular event with some keen promotion. His Agile booklet, complete with ring for easy transport, was full of metrics, stories and arguments to sway even the most jaded software development executive. Seeing this in the bottom of your conference bag causes you to take a 2nd look, not throw it in the trash like most conference giveaways, handouts, collateral.

I am a firm proponent of the power of live events. You must, however, think and execute at a high level to get noticed. Don’t settle for predictable, lifeless collateral and giveaways. Keep eyes open and minds alert to see what the best are doing to stand out from the competition. You just might be able to develop something similar to CardBoard or Agile42.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

That’s not my department.

Responsibility; ownership; accountability; these themes sound weighty, and they are; being responsible, accountable, with an ‘owner’s mindset’ is tough to achieve.

A few weeks ago I witnessed firsthand an employee lacking the drive or interest in being responsible and accountable when I was ready with an open wallet to buy his store’s products.

It was Sunday afternoon and the family and I were finishing some ‘before school’ shopping. The store wasn’t insanely crowded, so I believed that I could get some help if I needed it from one of the store clerks.

When a customer arrives at your storefront, act as if you want them there.

When a customer arrives at your storefront, act as if you want them there.

After meandering through the store in search of running shorts, I was at the end of my rope; I needed some help. A few minutes passed before I was able to locate an associate, sporting a bright blue shirt. The clock read 1pm, but he appeared as if he had just awakened from a nap.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said, hopeful that I’d soon find some shorts.

“Can you help me find the running shorts?”

“Uh. Hmm. Not sure. That’s not my department,” a pimple-faced clerk announced.

He pointed towards the back wall of the gargantuan store and reluctantly shared: “I think it is “kinda” that way. I would just walk over there and find someone wearing a blue shirt.”

I faked a thank you (what was I thanking him for exactly?), mumbled something under my breath and walked away. I must have displayed a troubling, confused, bewildered look as I glanced at my wife.

Eventually, I found a few pairs of nice running shorts, but let’s rewind and see how the sales associates could have played this one better.

  1. Take ownership: Walk me over and introduce me to a sales associate who knows the department a little better. Pointing in a vague direction isn’t leadership.
  2. Be a servant leader: Instruct me to wait where I am for a few minutes while the clueless associate finds someone to help me.
  3. Apologize: This person had to know he could have done better, but his lack of an apology had me convinced that this wasn’t the case.

Responsibility, accountability and ownership aren’t just pie in the sky, ethereal concepts. When present, these themes empower employees and shoppers, creating memorable transactions that will make a difference.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

eBook: How Do Brands Win Business

Friends, Product marketers, business owners, customer service reps, product managers, marketers:

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to publish a book. I am thrilled to announce: I did it!!

Here’s my first of what will hopefully be many e-books and books.

The journey is just beginning.

The journey is just beginning. Let’s get there together.

This book is titled: How Do Brands Win Business

In this book, you’ll learn what brands such as Subway, Walt Disney, Hertz, Cirque Du Soleil, CBS did and didn’t do to connect with their customers.

I’ve collected some of my stories and lessons in hopes that you can do more of the good things and fewer of the less desirable things that push us further from our goals.

Enjoy this book and help spread the word.

Note: The book can be yours for only $2.99. That’s less than the price of your extra caffeinated treat this morning.

Until next time,

Dan Naden
Publisher
Naden’s Corner
How Do Brands Win Business’ – eBook

2 simple tips to make your trade shows magnificent

Over the past 12+ months, I’ve had the fun, enriching opportunity to represent VersionOne at a variety of conferences and trade shows across this beautiful country.

These events serve several valuable purposes:

  • extend the brand of VersionOne
  • meet customers and prospects
  • collect valuable feedback on our company’s products and services.

Our ‘conference teams’ have done their best to collect ‘qualified leads’ from these events.

How can you make your trade show investment worth it?

How can you make your trade show investment worth it?

Here are the two best tactics I’ve learned to collect interested prospects for your business at conference time.

  1. A Badge scan does not equal an opportunity: It’s become a standard operating procedure at most shows to embark on a ‘badge scan binge’. This is a process of collecting as many as leads as possible before the show’s conclusion. Not only does this practice aggravate the badge ‘scannee’, but it pollutes your lead database with contacts far away from even thinking about becoming your customers.

Note: I am not recommending that no badge scans ever take place. Try, however, to engage with the attendee before the scan and ask questions such as:

  • What brought you to the show today?
  • What have you learned so far?
  • What’s surprised you about this show?
  • Have you heard about our company before?

If you can try to keep a notebook at the ready to keep notes from some of these ‘pre-scan’ engagements, this will be extremely beneficial.

2. Don’t show the product until it’s time: It’s tempting to showcase all the stirring features and functions that your team has been building.

More importantly, you need to understand the prospect’s situation by asking the following questions:

  • What is your role?
  • What challenges face your business today? What’s the biggest pain that’s hindering your business from growing?
  • Why did you stop by our booth?
  • What are you hoping to learn by the end of the show?

Knowing the answers to these questions puts you in a much more informed position BEFORE you show the product.

Go ahead: show the product AFTER you have some general understanding about the prospect and you’ll both be more satisfied.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

I wouldn’t do your job for all the money in the world.

On a typical day, you’ll encounter a wide variety of people, performing many different roles.

  • Susan, the perky red-haired Starbucks barista prepares your mocha latte just the way you like it.
  • Joe, a distracted Jiffy Lube ‘mechanic’ changes your oil in the amount of time it takes to check your e-mail.
  • Grassy Greens, your lawn care company, trims your lawn to a point where it just might be the envy of the neighborhood.

These services are too often ignored or taken for granted.

I need to reflect more and be gracious to the people who serve me on a daily basis. We could consider that these services are not ‘our right’, but more of a privilege worthy of sincere appreciation.

Some of these jobs may not be glamorous, yet this does not diminish their importance.

During a recent busy travel stretch, where airports blended together like one big revolving door, I overheard an older gentleman direct the following impulsive comment to an airport shuttle bus worker:

Everyone's role has value. What can you do to show appreciation?

Everyone’s role has value. What can you do to show appreciation?

“I wouldn’t do your job for all the money in the world.”

If you were on the receiving end of this comment, how would this make you feel? Diminished? Disenfranchised? Irrelevant? Is all of the above a choice?

Perhaps this gentleman wanted to share a genuine comment about this person’s selfless job. Nothing embodies servant leadership more than lifting and pulling bags off and on a shuttle bus while cranked, harried travelers wonder: “Why is this taking so long?” and “I am going to miss my flight if this guy doesn’t hurry.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t come across this way. When the shuttle bus driver digested this insensitive comment, he froze, unable to muster a response. No doubt his day felt a little less meaningful after this episode. How much better would both of you feel if you added a genuine, friendly comment?

Words mean things. Let’s be careful about how we communicate with strangers. Not knowing people doesn’t give us the right to step all over them with malicious words.

Yours in civility….

Until next time,

Dan Naden