March 2014 Archives

Mobile web adoption is growing 8 times faster than web adoption did in the 1990s and early 2000s.

One in three mobile searches have local intent versus one in five on desktop computers.

Meaning people perform different types of searches depending on the device they are using and where they are. Given the mobile growth rate, brick-and-mortar companies really need to evaluate their mobile strategy.

What is mobile marketing?

The definition according to the Mobile Marketing Associationis, 'Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.'

Mobile marketing consists of the following marketing mediums:

Organic Mobile Marketing (vs. Advertising)

It always amazes me that when people talk about marketing, they really seem to mean advertising. Marketing is much more than advertising and when we think of mobile marketingin the local space, we primarily think of 3 big buckets.

  • Local Mobile Search: Making sure you rank on searches on mobile devices means optimizing for Google Places and local directories and apps where 50% of local searches occur

  • Mobile Website Optimization: Mobile optimization means that your website looks great on a mobile device, loads in under 3 seconds (or 60%), and is location aware. Links to social and reputation sites are helpful as well.
  • Mobile Content Distribution: Distributing local deals and announcements to mobile content networks is extremely effective in generating local interest and engagement from location based content.

Mobile Advertising

  • App-based marketing: While you can build your own mobile app, generally that doesn't make sense for brick-and-mortar businesses. You can also engage with services like GoogleAdMob to create mobile ads that appear within third-party mobile apps.

  • In-game mobile marketing: Mobile ads appear within mobile games.

  • QR codes: QR is short for Quick Response and is a unique two dimensional code. When read by a QR reader, the code takes the person to a specific URL.

  • Location-based marketing: Location-based ads appear on mobile devices based on a user's location relative to a specific area.

  • Mobile search ads: Ads that appear within a mobile search, based on key terms.

  • Mobile image ads: These ads similar to traditional text ads but are image based.

According to a 2014 Pew Internet study, 42% of Americans own a tablet and 58% own a smartphone, and these numbers are growing quickly. During the third quarter of 2013, over a quarter of a billion units (smartphone or tablet) shipped worldwide! This means it's critical to get your mobile marketing strategy in place.

Key Findings and Takeaways from the Infographic

    • 33% of businesses are NOT using mobile marketing

    • Almost 50% of businesses plan to increase their mobile marketing budget this year

    • 33% of businesses allocate less than an hour per week on mobile marketing

    • Most popular mobile marketing medium is having a mobile website

    • The 3 biggest hurdles

      • 17% being time requirements

29% cite lack of budget

    • A whopping 32% say they do not have the 'know-how'


Below are some other interesting mobile facts that should be noted:

  • Most popular mobile operating system is Android

  • 1 in 7 people worldwide own a smartphone, with more people owning one everyday

  • 67% of smartphone and tablet users access a social network from a mobile device

  • U.S. Social Media Ad revenues are expected to reach $11 billion by 2017

  • Most popular apps based on mobile audience reach are:

    • Facebook 74%

    • Google Play 53%

    • Google Search 53%

    • YouTube 49%

    • Pandora Radio 49%

Based on these mobile trends, companies need to embrace mobile marketing now, otherwise they risk losing a portion of their sales to a more technology advanced competitor.

The post The State of Mobile MarketingLocalVox

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In a recent major national survey of customers conducted by Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, 85% of the respondents said that good telephone courtesy on the part of businesses makes a lot of difference in willingness to purchase goods and services from them.

And almost half of these consumers indicated that they've refused to do business with companies because they received poor customer service over the phone.

The worst offense was being put on hold immediately when calls were answered:

And use of an automated attendant was the second biggest peeve: 62% reported they preferred to do business with organizations that use only real persons to answer their calls rather than listen to an automated attendant.

"But, says Nancy Friedman, President of Telephone Doctor, "it's not always the AA that's the frustration all the's the frustrating phrase, "Your call is very important to me" that gets their goat!"

"The survey indicated that businesses should not underestimate the importance of providing good customer service over the telephone," said Nancy Friedman, president, and speaker at franchise, corporate and industry association meetings."

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Every end of year you ask your franchise sales team how many franchise deals will they close next year. And they tell you a number.

Almost always the number is higher than the previous year and you believe them, or at least you want to believe them.

Your team is being optimistic. They want to do well and they want to please you.

But you might end up blaming them when the results don't happen and you will consider making personnel changes. About every 18 months, a franchise sales director is terminated.

It's no secret that franchise sales teams have high turnover and you can chalk some if it up to a bad hire here and there. But in my experience that's not the reason why most of the time.

The turnover happens mostly out of frustration. You fire under-performers or they quit because they know they are failing. You find a new person and cycle repeats itself. Every 18 months.

Stop being set up for disappointment and having to get a new team, every 18 months.

You can do something about it now to make things better for this year.

Here is how to do something different? Try improving on one of these dimensions.

  • Confirm your team actually follows your franchise sales process - You will be surprised at what you learn.

  • Find the leaks in your sales funnel - Where are your franchise candidates losing interest & dropping out?

  • Rebuild your franchise sales process - Most processes have too few or the wrong steps to match your prospects timing and decision making.

  • Become expert at using your franchise sales CRM software - You need to be great at it so you can coach your team and know what's happening.

  • Read everything out loud that you are sending out to prospects from your auto-response to closing letter - These emails & letters have changed over-time and need fixing.

  • Listen to your franchise sales scripts - They have to make sense to prospects and your sales team or they won't use them or work.

Do these six things faithfully and you will have a killer franchise selling machine.

You will get more sales out your team and your disappointment will vanish.

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How do you make sure every customer's visit turns into the Almighty Customer Experience, the kind that creates a great lasting impression?

You start things off right! Here are the top 5 ways to set the stage with your customers at your establishment, right from the get-go!

And it doesn't matter what industry...the top 5 are the top 5!

Here's what your customers are looking for in those critical first moments:

1. A Proper Greeting

The first words a customer hears really do matter, so make them count! The most common greeting we seem to hear is, "Hi, how are ya?" While it's not the worst thing you can say, it's weak and ineffective. Why? Well, because it's social noise. Let's face it... most folks don't care how you are. And it's usually just returned with, "Fine, how are you?" Again, there's no substance, and therefore no basis to begin building rapport. Kick start that almighty customer experience with one of these:

• "Nice to see you!"

• "Glad you're here!"

• "Nice of you to stop in today!"

The list goes on. Anything but the dull, overused, "Hi, how are you?"

2. A Few Good Manners

Please. Thank you. You're welcome. Come on...your mother taught you these! But sadly, they're underused, replaced by casual, sloppy language and just plain bad manners.

• "No problem" is NOT "You're welcome"

• "Here ya go" is NOT "Thank you"

• Any instruction you give that doesn't begin or end with "please" is an order ("Pull forward to the next window.")

Please. Thank you. You're welcome. These are words that every customer needs to hear.

Add them into your conversations, phone calls, emails...wherever and whenever you're working with a customer.

Darn it, I shouldn't have to tell you this! It would be nice to hear a "Thank you for holding," when you come back after putting a caller on hold, too.

3. Turn Your Ears On

Your customers must believe they're being heard, and that means you need to listen! When a customer has to repeat themselves, they get frustrated. Why? Because they feel you're not listening.

So even if you need pen and paper to jot notes as they talk, be sure you've listened and heard what they have to say. Then ask questions. Building rapport begins with good listening skills. Your customers need to be heard.

4. Show What You Know (Job Knowledge)

Customers want to deal with people who know what they're doing, and that's why the phrase, "I don't know" must be banished from your vocabulary. As most of our Telephone Doctor clients know, "I don't know" is a forbidden phrase. It's not allowed. At Telephone Doctor, it's a condition of employment, grounds for termination. That's right, you will never hear, "I don't know" from a Telephone Doctor employee. You might hear, "Gee, that's a great question! Let me find out for you." Don't derail yourself with that one forbidden phrase! Show your customers that you're knowledgeable and competent.

5. Smile

Right, smile! You knew that, didn't you? And smiling means we want to see those pearly whites! (Otherwise, you're just grinning, and that makes you look goofy.) Here's the coolest thing about a's contagious! Once you start one, your customers catch it. Your co-workers catch it, and maybe even your grumpy ol' boss catches it! Pretty soon, you have a full-on smile epidemic, and the world is a better place!

The list of things that go into creating that Almighty Customer Experience goes on, but I promise you, these Top 5 Kick Starters will set you on the right path!

For the 5 Most Fascinating Stories in Franchising, a weekly report, click here & sign up.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nancy Friedman is a frequent speaker at association, corporate and franchise meetings. The author of 8 books on her service expertise, she has appeared on Fox News, CNN, Today Show, and Oprah, as well as many other shows. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today along with many major dailies. President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, she can be reached at 314-291-1012 or

I previously wrote an article "How to Quit Having Discovery Days & Sell More Franchises".

I suggested you come up with a new and better name for "Discovery Day".

Here is what you need to do before and during your "New Name Discovery Day".

If you are like most franchisors you carefully track your closing ratios.

And the sale closes soon or just after you have met your candidates at your corporate office.

Here's what you should know about your candidates well before meeting day.

  1. How many. Financially qualified for the number of units they plan to develop.

  2. Where: Area of Interest is available and you want development in that market

  3. Who: Key person or operator has the talent you require to run the business

  4. Ready to Buy? Candidates are ready-to-buy

The franchise sales team has been living with the prospective franchisee throughout the franchise sales process, however the rest of the headquarters team haven't.

You need to inform your operations, training, marketing and real estate teams about your franchise candidates. Make it easy for them to buy-in on your prospects.

Write up a summarizing profile including the vital information and decision logic or business case for approving your candidates.

On meeting day here's what you need to do make it come off without a hitch.

  1. Have a simple agenda, give it to your candidates & headquarter team in advance and follow it.

  2. Define exactly what you want the company presenters to say and give them scripts to follow.

  3. Have only the essential franchisor staff meet with your candidates.

  4. Do a "What Happens Next" at the meeting by scheduling a closing date and review your closing process with your candidates.

When you embrace these basic franchise sales process control elements you'll improve your closing ratio and sell more franchises.

Bottom-line: You have approved the candidate and meeting them is simply a confirmation of a previously made decision.

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If your job entails taking calls from unhappy, irate callers, you've got your work cut out for you. Employees who deal with callers are especially vulnerable to outbursts from customers who are going through an emotional, stressful time. 

Handling this type of customer takes time and training, but it can be accomplished effectively.

Here are some of the Telephone Doctor's best techniques for turning unhappy callers into satisfied customers. 

Get Off on the Right Foot 

Realize that upset angry customers are not unhappy with you, but with the situation. Don't take a caller's hostility personally. You are merely the rod that redirects the violent lightning. You can do a great deal to diffuse a caller's anger before you ever pick up the phone. How?

By smiling before you answer that call. You can really "hear" a smile over the phone. It's very difficult to be rude to someone who is warm and friendly. 

Anatomy of a Hostile Call 

There are four basic steps to handling an irate caller. Telephone Doctor calls them our ASAP techniques. 

A- Acknowledge the person's feelings and apologize for the inconvenience the customer has encountered. Make an effort to be sincere. In today's impersonal society, it's incredibly rare to hear the words, "I'm sorry that happened. Let me get the ball rolling to fix it." You'll probably spend about 80 percent of your time massaging the caller's feelings and 20 percent actually solving the problem. 

S - Sympathize and empathize with the caller. Phrases like "I can understand why you're upset" can help soothe ruffled feathers. Pretend it's you calling. Then get busy solving the problem. 

A - Accept 100 percent responsibility for the call. This is probably the toughest part. Chances are excellent that you had nothing to do with the problem. However, it's your job to take the responsibility and help initiate a solution. 

P - Prepare to help. Begin by re-introducing yourself - callers don't usually remember your name. State that you will be able to help. Use the caller's name, if possible. This helps to diffuse anger. A willing attitude is essential, because if the caller senses insincerity or indifference, it will cause them to stay angry. It's exasperating to file a complaint with someone who obviously doesn't care. 

1. Excuses 

Never make an excuse to a complaining caller. No one wants to hear "The computer is down" or "I'm the only one here." That is your problem, not the caller's. When you give an excuse, the caller automatically hears "I'm not going to help you" 

2. Transferring Calls 

Sometimes you're not able to solve the problem on the spot. Many times you need more information from another department. Perhaps the call needs to be handled by another person. Although these are legitimate courses of action, they usually upset your caller all over again. 

If you need more information, TELL the caller. Ask them if they're able to hold while you obtain it, or would they prefer a call back. "Joe, I need to check with our claims department in order to answer your question. It will take two or three minutes, are you able to hold/wait while I check?" Avoid untrue, frustrating phrases like "Hold on a second." Nothing takes a second. 

If you need to transfer a caller, if you can, let them know the name of the person they'll be speaking with. It's also good to explain a reason why you're bringing in a third party. "Joe, Mrs. Smith in our claims department is the real expert in resolving your type of situation. May I transfer you directly to her?" 

The ASAP technique works! Try it and see! 

# # # 

Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2014 is the previous archive.

April 2014 is the next archive.

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