Videos, Public Relations and the Media Mix

March 12th, 2014

“We now live in a vibrant, colorful multimedia world. Print, radio, TV, and online media have evolved into an integrated environment that offers sensory-rich PR opportunities such as those expressed in video.”

Reno Lovison, video producer and owner of Reno Lovison Marketing, explains that whether you “spontaneously capture video from your smart phone or digital camera, shoot it on a computer webcam, or use the services of a professional videographer, your video offers the potential to tell your PR story in ways you might never have imagined…and that journalists and consumers will appreciate.”

Think Video

Begin by thinking about video opportunities. “It can be professional or do-it-yourself, but something is better than nothing,” Reno says, “because there are ways to maximize your video’s potential regardless of the quality.”

Consider your video possibilities:

  • Look for people and things that are moving. After all, they are motion pictures.
  • Demonstrate or announce new products or services.
  • Talk eye-to-eye with viewers in a short, purposeful and engaging messages that can be dynamic and help to make a personal connection.
  • In case of emergency: an urgent message from an expert or organizational leader increases credibility and can get a message released quickly.
  • Videos attract business by featuring your product or service, sometimes in offbeat ways.
  • Testimonials offer first person user credibility. Remember to get written permission.
  • Thank donors after a fundraiser, and showcase the organization’s services.
  • Introduce your staff or offer a tour of your office or trade show exhibit.
  • Consider a video blog or v-log to announce tips and timely messages.

How long should your video be?

“Your video can run as long as it takes to succinctly deliver your story or information in a manner your viewers can quickly consume. Thus, depending on your goals and multiple uses of video, it could run from one to three or even ten minutes – if it is a complex message or story.” Always consider whether your objective should be accomplished as one video or multiple smaller videos.

“Open with the important information first…hooking viewers in the first 10 – 30 seconds maximum,” Reno says. “If you don’t immediately hook them, they may be gone before you get to the good stuff.”

PR Opportunities

If you are contacting the media, remember that they appreciate links (up front in your email letter or news release) to relevant, focused videos that tell your story. Even if it’s a radio station and the audience cannot see the video when listening, they can be directed to the station’s website to see it…and they do.

Reno offers an example of a recent PR approach. “A fine artist we worked with was featured in a two-week museum exhibit, so we shot a video to preserve the experience. On camera the artist explained a bit about the process and inspiration for each of her works. We submitted the 30 minute version to the local cable TV station that scheduled to air it four times in the upcoming month. It was also uploaded to YouTube to be indexed by Google and available in perpetuity. Then we edited the video into a number of smaller videos, which she includes on her website and also uses as part of PR activities and community outreach.”  You will see more at: http://renoweb.net/blog/art-exhibit-koehnline-museum-sandra-holubow-artist/

Another client, looking for public speaking opportunities, had a few hastily produced iPhone video examples of his presentations. We took excerpts of some of the least shaky parts and added some photos and graphics to craft a very nice video to promote him to clubs and organizations for speaking engagements.” http://renoweb.net/blog/professional-speaker-bio-video/

A condominium management company that Reno works with holds quarterly, two-hour education programs for condo board members. “We video the presentation and then break it into smaller segments. Each segment deals with a subtopic such as ‘pets in the hallways’ or ‘escrow accounts for capital improvements’. We then upload these multiple videos to YouTube in order to provide the company with a larger presence. Search ‘condo management Chicago” on YouTube, and you will discover the company and see that it has the largest number of videos under that search criteria.” The videos are also embedded on the company’s website as an ongoing educational service.  http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=condo%20management%20chicago&sm=3

Reno notes that QR codes are being used in magazines and other print media so that consumers who scan them may experience a video. If you do not have a scanner app on your smart phone, consider downloading one of the popular apps such as Redlaser, QRreader or ATTscanner. You will begin to see scanning opportunities all around you.

Speaking of apps, you can download Reno’s “Authors Broadcast” app for free at iTunes or Google Play to learn more and to see book video trailers he also produces. “This app is a great example of how you can create and distribute a collection of videos directed to a specific market or audience that you hope to engage on a regular basis.” he says.

Video, as Reno says, has finally found a home on the web where high speed internet access provides an opportunity for individuals to experience quality video via desk tops or mobile devices, making your message available whenever and wherever it is needed or will be most effective. Consider how it can enhance your next PR campaign.

For even more information on videos, apps and PR opportunities you might not be aware of, visit Reno Lovison Marketing — Chicago at http://RenoWeb.net.

 

 

Public Relations – New Roles, New Publics

February 11th, 2014

As public relations activities evolve and grow in response to the changing landscape, PR pros are assuming new responsibilities, interacting with unique publics, remaining newsworthy, and applying classic qualities.

Most people think of PR as media relations, working with journalists to increase awareness of an organization or yourself. You approach traditional media – newspapers, radio, TV, and others however they’re “delivered” – with targeted newsworthiness. While traditional media produces results, PR includes creating and managing social and mobile media channels and sites with content (blogs, video and other formats) that engage target publics.

Furthermore, PR pros work with other publics besides journalists. Remember, a public is a group (three or more) with something in common, and they can be very influential. Identifying and reaching publics presents new possibilities, challenges and venues (digital, online, video, etc.) and relationships that can reflect your 1st Person PR and success.

While media relations increases awareness of an organization’s services and products to potential consumers, PR pros are involved in other critical activities: reputation management, crisis communications, community relations and outreach, employee relations, investor and donor relations, researching relevant subjects and trends – all of which support marketing and advertising.

New Roles, Classic Qualities

To succeed in all of PR’s possibilities and new roles, a PR pro must apply classic qualities:

  • passion for the purpose
  • intellectual curiosity and research skills
  • understanding the bigger picture – whether local, national or global
  • sensitivity to each public’s interests and goals
  • appreciation and responsiveness to the journalist’s perspective
  • trustworthiness and dependability
  • resiliency and flexibility when facing “rejection”
  • importance of one-on-one customer service and “being there”

As you define your organization and its potential, take a new look at your publics. You can use this starter list of possibilities: “Who Are Your Publics?” http://www.sallychapralis.com/pr_publics.htm  Determine how you can reach them and what each wants and needs. You may be surprised.

 

Time to Benefit from Media’s Long Legs & Clips

January 13th, 2014

When your public relations pursuits have led to features on radio or TV, then you understand “how valuable broadcast time is and what long legs it can have,” says David H Lasker, CEO, media monkeybiz, which monitors TV, radio and the Internet for businesses and PR agencies after a broadcast.

In fact, depending on your goals and media coverage, “a feature’s ROI (return on investment) will likely always be greater than the value of an ad.”

While editorial coverage (PR) coverage is “free,” its value depends on quality of the news and media interest; you cannot control the final feature. Because you pay for advertising, you can control the content and timing. Each has its role.

A media story, however, offers editorial [third party] credibility, which means your company’s PR pro knows how to objectively approach the radio, TV or newspaper reporter with a newsworthy subject that fits the medium’s programming and audience interests. “While many people watch or listen to both news content and commercials, others tune out during ads, which could reduce their viewership,” David says.

“We all know examples of broadcast segments or articles that created awareness of a brand and grew a company’s business. Afterwards, you (or the reporter) can give it legs by following up with TV or radio clips to use in other ways to maintain ongoing interest.” This means that before approaching another journalist or producer, you do your research.  The original reporter might even pursue different news hooks that include your business.

Measurement Potential

Measurement is usually discussed in numerical terms and figures, which is important for your marketing, PR and advertising goals and strategies. “But,” notes David, “the results of some efforts happen over time and the future benefits can’t be immediately measured or factored into results. Furthermore, the metrics may not include analysis of the segment/feature and its current or potential value.”

PR features such as satellite media tours (SMT) or radio media tours (RMT), for example, can offer ongoing post-feature possibilities. And, “because editorial is considered more objective, the impact is always greater than a paid ad.”

“PR pros and authors (particularly nonfiction authors solving a problem) can also use segment clips after a broadcast to illustrate the author’s comfort and expertise when being interviewed on TV or radio. Book stores and other venues also appreciate the segments for book signings,” David says.

Your PR pro can also approach different media – local, national, online – with news hooks targeted to diverse audiences. “We cover all U.S. TV markets and the majority of radio markets, and there are lots of possibilities,” David says. When contacting other media, include your clips (“as seen on…”) to reinforce continuing awareness.

Get ready to benefit from media clips and long legs!!

Job Interviews, Fixable Regrets and Work Distractions

December 16th, 2013

After he advises you not to be a “dimwit at holiday parties,” Rex W. Huppke, “I Just Work Here” columnist for the Chicago Tribune, discusses a reader’s question about job interviews.

“When she interviews with prospective employers, human resource officials always ask about her current salary.” How should she handle this situation when she doesn’t want to reveal what she earns?

Many of us feel we are underpaid in our current positions and don’t want to undercut our salary potential. We also wonder if the question is appropriate or legal, and what should we say. Well, Huppke notes, the question is O.K., and if you know how to respond, you can “convince the interviewer that you’re the most qualified candidate and that you’re a good, likable person who will fit in well with the company’s culture.”

To handle interview challenges and salary questions, and avoid acting like a dim-wit at company holiday parties, read Huppke’s column: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/careers/ct-biz-1209-work-advice-huppke-20131209,0,7837871.column?

Fixable Regret about Changing Jobs

“It’s a potential career nightmare: You switch jobs, only to realize days or weeks later that it was all a huge mistake,” says Sue Shellenbarger, reporter for the Wall Street Journal. While it may seem inconceivable, it is possible to make the dreaded employment U-turn.”

“Most U-turns occur to people in design, tech, media agencies and consulting firms.” And, “some job-changers boomerang back because they miss a workplace culture or respected boss. Others, who initially quit to join an entrepreneurial venture, return after the opportunity fizzles.”

To find out how you can fix your regrettable job change, read Shellenbarger’s article, “The New Job Was a Mistake, But You Can Get a Mulligan”: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB20001424052702304355104579236003135253082

Work Distractions

“Every office has (at least) one – the colleague who is always walking fast, finishing other people’s sentences and racing from meeting to meeting while fielding email, texts and voice mail on multiple devices. That person can appear very important, “says Sue Shellenbarger. However, she adds, “They may not know it, but they’re usually causing secondhand stress” for the rest of us, aren’t accomplishing as much as they could, prevent us from teamwork and achieving company goals.

Are you a work distracter or distracted by one? Read another Shellenbarger article: “The Problem with Busy Colleagues: Secondhand Stress:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579242203005473122

Final distraction

“Workplace Distractions – Here’s Why You Won’t Finish this Article,” by Rachel Ellen Silverman, Wall Street Journal:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324339204578173252223022388

Happy Holidays…if you’re not distracted or linked out?!

Achieve Business Goals and Success through Mentoring

November 21st, 2013

Mentoring continues to prove its benefits in any economy, reinforcing personal and professional growth for both mentee and mentor. “The demand for mentoring has increased because there is a strong business imperative for investing in it,” says Dr. Lois J. Zachary, Director of the Center for Mentoring Excellence, a division of Leadership Development Services. http://www.centerformentoringexcellence.com

Zachary cites many ways that mentoring helps organizations and employees establish common ground and work together to develop and achieve their goals, and here are a few of them.

 “Mentoring drives recruitment of future talent.  While Boomers are exiting the workforce, another door has opened and almost 80 million Millennials are in or entering the workforce. Having a mentor is a fundamental element to leadership success.

“Mentoring contributes to increased retention rate of talent. Almost all successful professionals attribute their success, in whole or in part, to the mentors who have supported their growth and development. When you feel that someone has a vested interest in your success, you are more likely to tough out the hard times and work through difficult issues.  And in tough times, that safety net that mentoring offers becomes even more valuable.

“Mentoring builds and strengthens the company’s talent pipeline.  There is more pressure than ever to encourage everyone to accelerate their results, especially in times of significant change and uncertainty and even more urgency to get high performers in gear as quickly as possible.  Mentors provide road maps and models for fast tracking learning and avoiding missteps that often short circuit results.

“Without mentoring, knowledge is unevenly distributed. Some information is known by some people. Other information is known “in pockets.” Knowledge silos contribute to lack of alignment and make it difficult for leaders to make effective decisions. Mentoring can break down silos and expand the knowledge base.

 “Mentoring promotes diversity and inclusion by giving everyone an opportunity to learn and benefit from the diversity within an organization. Diverse perspectives and opinions get heard, are better understood and are more widely valued.  While differences can spark mistrust, mentoring builds trust in relationships, in teams, across departments, and business units.  Boundaries and borders, and territorialism diminish where mentoring flourishes.

“When someone is moving to a new position, assigned a new set of responsibilities, or takes on a new leadership role, a mentor can help them make a smoother transition, and avoid common pitfalls -  ensuring continuity of competence in times of changing roles.

‘One of the most powerful benefits of mentoring is its contribution to promoting a more connected, engaged, aligned and productive workplace. Mentors can help mentees better understand and commit to organizational goals, rather than work on personal agendas.  An organization’s investment in mentoring builds loyalty.  When you know your organization cares about you, your work, your contribution and your career, you pay back the investment with conscientiousness, commitment and extra effort. Mentoring strengthens teams and encourages employees to contribute new ideas that will help the organization and themselves grow.”

The definition of mentoring varies among cultures and individual relationships. “The word mentor might be related to a teacher, supervisor, or expert in another cultural context.  “I think what surprises so many people is that there are so many (almost 500) definitions of mentoring currently at play.”

Zachary adds that “the biggest surprise is that mentoring takes work for both the mentor and mentee to get it right and that the relationship is a reciprocal partnership. Both partners gain expanded perspectives and insights, not just the mentee.”

As we look forward to a new year and new opportunities, consider the potential rewards – for yourself and your organization – of mentoring.

Note: January is National Mentoring Month in the U.S.  For resources on mentoring: http://www.leadservs.com/toolkits.php

Is Self-Employment For You…Or Not?

November 6th, 2013

“I last trudged off to work for a full-time employer on the Monday after Thanksgiving, 1989. I was fired from my job that day, my third firing or layoff in less than four years. In at least two of those axings, the boss intimated I was about as valuable to the company as a dish of paper clips.

“That did it. I’d had enough of working for people I didn’t respect but who had control over how much I earned, when I woke, when I lunched, what I wore, when I went on vacation and more. So I struck out on my own. I didn’t really believe I’d succeed. In fact, I was almost certain I would fail. But the idea of being my own boss for at least a while was far less abhorrent than shambling through a skein of interviews for jobs I was sure to detest,” Jeffrey Steele, independent writer, explains in his article, “Ain’t-Trepreneurs.”

You may be perfectly happy and rewarded at your job (and you have a job!), working for a great boss. Or, you may be in transition, have an entrepreneurial spirit and are considering establishing your own business. As you evaluate your options Jeffrey offers some interesting perspectives.

“It’s almost 22 years later, and I can say with near 100% surety I will never again take a nine-to-five job. Since launching my own gig, I’ve earned much more money, enjoyed infinitely more prestige and savored far more autonomy than I ever did working for someone else. I truly believe hanging my own shingle saved me from a life of misery. It may have kept me from a steady diet of anti-depressants or even a fortnight in a rubber room.

“As I built my business, I had opportunities galore to meet and size up other people starting their own businesses. That brings me to the message of this opus. There are some folks who should never, ever be in business for themselves. If you see yourself in one of the following types, question the wisdom of going it alone. If you see yourself in two, think long and hard before scheduling a launch party. And if you see yourself in three or more, save the cost of a start-up, and don’t ever let the word “entrepreneur” ever pass your lips.”

Ready for a few of Jeffrey’s “Ain’t-Trepreneurial” tips?

“Ms. Style-Over-Substance. Some individuals have always wanted to open their own business, but for reasons of form rather than function. When I started, they had the coolest holographic business cards and best stationery. Today, they’d own the most up-to-the-minute phone and the greatest looking Facebook page. Regrettably, their attention to customer needs is far less keen, leading to an early exit from the ranks of the self-employed.

“Mr. Nine-to-Five. Spend a long time as an employee, and you can get used to eight-hour workdays. But you better get unaccustomed to them quickly if you want to make a go of your own business. Some weeks, you’ll have nothing to do but prospect. Others, you’ll be working night and day. If you must knock off each afternoon at five, you’d better keep your day job. There’s no such thing as succeeding at business without really trying.

“Ms. They-Don’t-Respect-Me! Don’t open a business with the intent of gaining respect or winning arguments with a client. The client didn’t hire you to duke it out in debates, or to commission a statue in your likeness, but rather to solve some pressing problem. When you do solve that problem, you may or may not win respect, but you will win repeat business.

I have a friend who started her own concern, and often checks in to say she had to argue with a client about a fee or her work’s quality. I tell her to recall retail pioneer Marshall Field’s adage that the lady is always right. When you’ve built a thriving enterprise and don’t have to go work for someone else, you’ve earned the most important respect: Your own.”

Jeffrey adds that “self-employment is a process of self-discovery. I realized that I was far more disciplined and motivated than I had ever imagined. I also had more ability and creativity than I had given myself credit for.”

If, however, you tried self-employment but decided that it was not for you, you will approach your next career move and position with more experience, insights and opportunities.

If you’re looking for self-employment inspiration visit Jeffrey Steele at www.linkedin.com/pub/jeffrey-steele/3/93b/56b

We also invite you to share your experiences – working for yourself or working for others – with First Person Public Relations.

Build Your Platform At Your Public Library

October 15th, 2013

Do you want a platform (in person or online) to showcase your creativity, talents or expertise? Are you interested in meeting others with similar interests or professional goals? Looking for new opportunities?

Then it’s time to explore your 1st Person PR at your public library – community centers that offer you dozens of possibilities.

“Libraries are experiential, as well as transactional, for all ages and interests,” notes Carolyn Anthony, Director of the Skokie Public Library and president of the Public Library Association. Besides checking “it” (books, movies, music, etc.) out, you can benefit from a variety of experiences and resources: entertainment, technology, business experts, job resources, diverse programming, and responsive and knowledgeable staff. And, in its “Go Local” approach, the library features community residents that the larger world will also appreciate.

Want to speak to groups about your new book – self or traditionally published, available in hard cover, paperback or eBook? Are you a musician – jazz, classical, rock, blues, or country – who loves performing? Do you have an expertise that will help others reach their goals? You’ll find an audience – kids, teen or adults – waiting for you at your public library.

The Skokie Public Library’s new High School Lounge offers teens a private, collaborative space that encourages creativity and information sharing. “One wall is a white board so they can engage each other and look at their world in new ways…through technology, discussions and presentations. Our Junior High Zone offers a separate, casual space designed for their study needs, unique interests and conversations, and their own media lab.”

Carolyn adds that “teens, big and little kids, and adults recently used the library’s Digital Media Lab to create and submit entries for our 1st Annual Media Competition, Skokie in Motion, A Movie & Media Festival. All ages discovered new possibilities when making films or music videos with our staff’s help.”
http://blogs.skokielibrary.info/Skokieinmotion/

The Digital Media Lab helps you create and post videos, lay down a music track, check online venues for your photos, or learn about film production. Whether you’re out front or behind the scenes, community residents can benefit from their Own Digital Media Lab. http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2011/11/media/build-your-own-digital-media-lab/

Ready for your own platform and other possibilities? Head to your community’s public library for inspiration.

Entrepreneurial Spirits – Links to Your Success

September 19th, 2013

Entrepreneurs generally start their own businesses because they have entrepreneurial inclinations and see opportunities and needs in the marketplace.  Or, they work for an organization that values their entrepreneurial savvy and contribution to company goals.

The entrepreneurial spirit can also apply to individuals facing the business of everyday life. They see alternatives, take initiative, make sound decisions, develop new strategies or techniques, and assume the risk of innovation when trying different approaches to life’s challenges.

Meet some entrepreneurs who reflect all ages and stages of life experiences, from pre-school to the baby boomers and older.

Ready to Become an Entrepreneur?

What’s the Best Age to Launch a Start-Up? Founders Young and Old Tell Us.

http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/09/whats-the-best-age-to-launch-a-startup-founders-young-and-old-tell-us/

The 11-year-old fashion designer behind “Mo’s Bows.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2013/08/06/the-11-year-old-fashion-entrepreneur-behind-mos-bows/

Are You an Entrepreneurial Spirit?

Spirit of the Entrepreneur – These 5 characteristics will take you far as you start your business. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/190986

8 traits of successful entrepreneurs: http://www.mbda.gov/node/337

25 Common Characteristics of an Entrepreneur:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/200730

Entrepreneurial Kids

Kid Entrepreneurs:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/kid-entrepreneurs

http://quicken.intuit.com/support/help/fun-with-finances/9-young-entrepreneurs/INF16221.html;jsessionid=HmlFgPi4k6yDT+Y1eNVJlA**.p39-2

Entrepreneurial Adults

Older Entrepreneurs find new niche in start-ups http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-11/older-entrepreneurs/53483890/1

8 Over 80: http://www.inc.com/8over80/

Here’s to your “passion, positivity, adaptability, leadership potential and ambition.” Feel free to share your entrepreneurial experiences with us. 

“Labor Day – I’m working today.” Or, not?

September 2nd, 2013

“In fact, if I’m conscious, I’m working. That’s largely because it doesn’t seem like ‘work’ today. I’d write this blog even if no one read it,” says Seth Godin, author of Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck? , other books and his Seth’s Blog.

 “We’re surrounded by people who are busy getting their ducks in a row, waiting for just the right moment. Getting your ducks in a row is a fine thing to do. But deciding what you are going to do with that duck is a far more important issue.”

Godin gives 17 “best times to start making it happen” responses [excuses?] we all give, but, “actually, as you’ve probably guessed, the best time to start was last year. The second best time to start is right now.”

Godin started blogging in the early 1990s and Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck is a collection of “six years of his best, most entertaining, and most poignant blog posts, plus a few bonus ebooks.” It also offers solid approaches, counterintuitive insights, and advice that help you focus your ducks for success. “Godin writes to get under our skin. He wants us to stand up and do something remarkable, outside the standards of the industrial system that raised us.”

So, for your post-Labor Day to-do list and more ideas, inspiration about marketing your business or yourself, and finding the right duck, visit www.SethGodin.com, and “click on his head.”

Do Your Customers Love You?

August 21st, 2013

Because “you need your customers more than they need you,” Jeb Blount offers the “Seven Essential Principles of Customer Service” in his book, People Love You – The Real Secret to Delivering Legendary Customer Experience.

As Blount explains, “The fact is customers are not loyal to products, services or companies. Instead, they are loyal to people they like, trust and believe in.” So while the mechanics and process of servicing customers are important, your real goal is to build “strong emotional bonds with customers that last a lifetime.”

Thus, the “Seven Essential Principles of Customer Engagement”:

Principle 1:  You Need Your Customers More Than They Need You. “The number one reason companies fail is a lack of customers.”  Whether you are the boss, account manager or sales person, “top customer service professionals believe their mission is to help their customers win and reach their goals. They are advocates for their customers. And they believe that by helping their customers reach their goals, they will reach their own.”

Principle 2:  Customers Are People. “They are emotional, irrational and human. They feel fear and stress. They are overworked and underpaid. They are time starved. They have ambition and goals. They have an insatiable need to feel important and appreciated. They have families and priorities. Each interaction with a person crates an experience that they remember. Though you may believe that your product or service has a greater impact on your customer’s experience than you do,” remember that “customers don’t do business with companies, they do business with people – you.”

Principle 3:  You Are Always On Stage. “Business is a grand stage and…from that stage you deliver customer experiences. Everything you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language can and will have an impact on your customer’s experience. Your words and actions have meaning. A misspoken word, display of raw emotion, or slip of the tongue will impact the relationships you have with customers. … This is where customer experience is born.” Yours and theirs.

Principle 4:  Customers Act on Emotion and Justify with Logic. “One of the core principles of the People Love You philosophy is the universal law of human behavior: People act first (or buy) on emotion and then justify those actions with logic.” Yes, there are “folks who will argue this point to the death.” And, yes it is true that we all try to make logical purchasing decisions based on facts, numbers, observations and stats. “But it is the emotion we feel that causes us to act.”

Principle 5:  Customers Do Things for Their Reasons – Not Yours. Account managers or customer service professionals should “embrace the belief that though customers may not always be right, they are always first. They stand in their shoes and view situations through their customer’s perspective.”

Principle 6:  Customers Don’t Do Illogical Things on Purpose. While some managers believe “customers do dumb things on purpose … there is usually an alternative explanation for their actions. … Top customer service professionals assume positive intent. In other words, they recognize that the customer thought she was doing the right thing. They know that when a customer is doing the wrong thing, there is a reason and it is in their best interest as a service professional (because they need their customers more than their customers need them) to investigate why the person is doing something that seems illogical rather than simply judge it as such. This helps them to either gain understanding or uncover and remove the root cause.”

Principle 7:  Always Give More Than Is Required. Generally, when discussing customer service, the cliché is to “exceed customer expectations.” But, Jeb Blount explains, it is not always possible to exceed their expectations, since you may not know what they are or can’t exceed them. “At my company, we have a simple value statement that we live by. We always do more than we have to and we will be kind to everyone, no matter what. … Focus on what you can control – your actions. … That is, give your customers more value that they paid for.” We often forget about our expectations and instead think about how good we feel and our experience.

Blount also discusses the “Five Levers of Customer Experience that help you move people to love you by tapping into the motivations that are driven by human emotion,” and he explains how to “make breaking up hard to do.”