Engaging Your Collaboration Universe

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universe

Image credit: Argonne National Laboratory via Flickr

In my view one of the most positive things the Internet and its host of associated web applications has fostered is our ability to collaborate over space and time.

Many organizations have tapped the power of online meetings, shared virtual workspace and file sharing, but few take a holistic view of the new social strategic reality of the collaboration universe.

Since we now have the ability to collaborate with anyone, anywhere, we need to start looking at the various groups or segments present in our businesses with an eye on developing business processes that take full advantage of our innate need and ability to collaborate.

This view of collaboration is partly tool based and partly systems thinking based. It is more than an efficient way to get work done; it’s an entirely new way to think about engaging your markets, building connection and community, and empowering your staff to more effectively deliver on your marketing promise.

Customer Service Is Everyone’s Job

UPSThe International Business Series is brought to you by UPS. Discover the new logistics. It levels playing fields and lets you act locally or globally. It’s for the individual entrepreneur, the small business, or the large company. Put the new logistics to work for you.

serviceHere’s something your customers won’t ever tell you but that you had better understand: Your employees probably treat your customers about the same way you treat your employees. Let that soak that in for a minute, and think about the ways your everyday behavior might be affecting your organization’s ability to generate positive buzz.

Organizations that provide the best customer service consider service traits when they hire and treat their employees like prime target customers. It makes sense, of course; happy employees are much more likely to represent the brand in a positive manner. Let’s face it: Companies aren’t capable of making emotional connections; people are. But it takes effort.

In all but the most technical positions, much of what employees do on a day-to-day basis can be taught. It’s much harder, however, to teach someone to be trustworthy, to give, or to serve. Yet, as stated above, these are key traits of organizations that known for great service.

If your organization has more than two or three employees it’s a pretty good bet they will interact with customers and prospects in ways that will affect your brand. So the question is, are you hiring and training to create a service culture?

Creating the Mindset for Global Marketing Success

UPSThe International Business Series is brought to you by UPS. Discover the new logistics. It levels playing fields and lets you act locally or globally. It’s for the individual entrepreneur, the small business, or the large company. Put the new logistics to work for you.

Global BusinessGrowth in some mature industries may only be achieved by reaching out to emerging markets. To succeed with global expansion you must adopt an internal mindset that treats each new culture as a unique market segment.

Assuming that entering a global marketplace is simply a matter of applying what you do in your domestic marketplace is a recipe for disaster. As you analyze potential expansion into other parts of the world you must start by understanding the differences in each market, as well as the commonalities, with an eye on developing a unique approach to each

Name a champion

Think of your global expansion like you might any large project – the first step is to find, hire, or appoint a champion – someone that can view getting your global expansion off the ground as both a personal and business opportunity.

Exceeding Delivery Expectations as a Strategic Marketing Process

UPSThe International Business Series is brought to you by UPS. Discover the new logistics. It levels playing fields and lets you act locally or globally. It’s for the individual entrepreneur, the small business, or the large company. Put the new logistics to work for you.

surpriseI often find that the secret to success in business, and perhaps in life, is to exceed expectations. But, the one area where businesses let customers down most in the expectation arena is delivery.

Now, understand that as far as I’m concerned delivery can mean shipping a physical product, delivering a result, or filing an RFP. No matter what a prospect or customer is expecting in any form, how and when they receive it is an opportunity for your business to stand out or, not.

Set them first

One of the things to keep in mind about expectations is you have the ability to set them so failing to exceed them is kind of silly. I’m going to suggest you do things that set proper expectations, fully anticipating exceeding them. Over the years I learned the hard way that once you set expectations, even if they were beyond the customer’s request, but don’t meet them, you’ve failed. On the other hand, if you set expectations, even if they were less than what the customer requested, but them beat them, you win.

When you buy shoes from Zappos the standard shipping is advertised as 3-5 days, yet I know they routinely ship some percentage of orders overnight, no matter what the customer requests. I’ve see customers crow on Twitter about ordering online in the afternoon and getting their new shoes the next morning – expectations blown away.