Idea Factor Blog

No Need to Toot Your Own Horn When . . .

A new customer that we have recently partnered with reached out to one of their resellers last week to introduce them to our services, not knowing that this particular reseller has been our existing direct customer for over 10 years.

After listening to the service offering, touted results, and ROI potential, the reseller questioned: “Are you talking about Idea Factor?” When they answered yes, the reseller went on to explain that they had worked with us for years and had experienced consistent collaboration and results, including a $200,000 account that they landed from the last campaign we ran with them.

Not trying to pop our collar on this one, but it is an AWESOME feeling when your customers advocate on your behalf. It made my day!

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

How Old are Your Contact Lists?

Robot sweeping binary characters data cleansing

When last have you refreshed your data? Data cleansing was an important practice for any business prior to the pandemic, but has become even more so during these times.

During a recent list cleanse we were able to determine that 37% of that database were no longer in business. There are a variety of reasons behind this. Some businesses have not been able to survive the financial strain of the forced closures they have been subjected to. Other companies have had to re-invent themselves and revise their product/service lines to survive. Others still have had to fast-track their move to an e-Commerce solution to move inventory and meet sales requirements during the pandemic and do not have the customer support mechanism to support and drive sales in this manner.

The bottom line is that your sales team might be chasing previously viable prospects that have now gone out of business or have re-tooled their business and are no longer a viable prospect for you. This would frustrate the efforts of your sales team as well as management and waste valuable resources and time.

There is a way to minimize wasted resources, time, and money. CLEANSE YOUR DATA!!!

Call both your dormant customer base as well as your active prospecting list to ensure that :

  1. They are still in business
  2. They are still offering the products, services, and/or programs that make them viable for business with your company
  3. (Dormant customers), Thank them for their business and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can

This will ensure that all sales and marketing efforts levied against this data are real opportunities.

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

Mentoring

Image of adult teaching child to fish which illustrates an example of mentoring

There are many who reach their career goals without a mentor.

That can be especially difficult for first generation immigrant professionals, for whom the personal and professional transition presents additional challenges.

As a first generation professional from an immigrant family, I have found that the quickest way to gain the knowledge and skills to close those gaps is through effective mentorship. By welcoming a different way to look at things, I have been able to adjust my thinking — allowing me to get closer to my goals.

First, the mentor needs to be willing to share the intimate details of their journey to success, including setbacks and failures. They also need to have the patience and bandwidth to commit the time and energy to this relationship. Strong trust, implicit honesty and respect for this relationship will ensure you thrive and produce results.

It’s easy to share positive comments and not so easy to share the negative ones. However, the negative comments are the ones that truly allow us to grow.

A mentor must be invested in the success of their mentee.

Ready to help them to set and achieve goals by actively listening, periodically nurturing, and providing constructive feedback and encouragement. Providing opportunities to tweak or make changes in areas where success is stalled or stagnant. 

Mentoring is a great tool to achieve your goals in a shorter timeframe while ensuring that you are not missing or burning opportunities that might present themselves throughout your career.

If you are in the winter of your professional career, and are not quite ready for retirement, I challenge you to consider mentoring a young professional in which you see promise. The rewards of helping another person achieve their career goals can be the cherry on the icing of your retirement cake!

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

Treat your Vendors Like Family

A support network of exceptional vendors is crucial to the survival and success of any business.  They help to keep your business running smoothly, remain protected, and offer a cost effective service that is constantly evolving to stay in step with ever changing business environments.

At Idea Factor, our vendors are dear to us and share our philosophy of a WIN, WIN, WIN experience.  There are a few key factors to a great supplier/ vendor relationship.  The first is to source vendors that shares a similar culture to your own.  If the core culture of your vendor does not align with your own, you will often find yourself in conflict with them, and unsuccessful in trying to achieve mutual goals.  The outcome is usually costly, and frustrating for you and your team as the results are not there.  The second key factor is collaboration.  When there is a spirit of collaboration, information flows easily and frequently between you and your vendor. They listen to your objectives and ask the right questions.  Everyone is laser focused on a goal that has been clearly defined, and everyone knows what role they play in achieving that common goal.  The third factor is testing and measurement.  If you test and measure you can identify gaps and shore them up. A vendor that puts something in place without
testing or measurement only knows that something is wrong when there is a
failure in production, delivery or service…. Which means there has already been a negative impact to your customers or consumers.  Testing and measurement allow you to proactively insulate your business from as many scenarios as possible that might let your customers or consumers down.

These are the reasons why we treat our vendors like family!  They are a precious resource to the function, growth and success of our business.  How do you treat your vendors?

Finally, and this is the hard part, if a vendor is missing the mark on any or all of the three key factors mentioned, as painful and difficult as it may be, you need to make a change.

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to www.idea-factor.com or look at our list of services here.

Confessions of a Hoarder

hoarder-boxesAre you a Hoarder?

I just found out that I am!

We have lived in our house for 20 years and are about to re-finish our un-finished basement. That means there is a lot of STUFF that
has to go.

 

For years I complained that my husband is a pack-rat. But now that I have been looking in cupboards and on shelves, it is with great embarrassment that I admit … it’s ME! Read More

Good Business Karma Raises Your Business Reputation

 

Good-Business-Karma

A positive Karma in your business relationships can be easily achieved and maintained by employing a few very simple practices. This can mean the difference between seeing and buying into what is directly in front of you and establishing a long-term strategic objective that has more to do with ethically motivated practices than profitability.

 

We are conditioned by decades of business practice that dictates that the customer is always right and to engage in whatever way they want to meet their end goal.  I DISAGREE.  If your customer is committed to an action or path that you believe will cause them irreparable harm, it is your responsibility as a partner or vendor to at the very least lay out in detail the potential dangers and outcomes, bring it to their attention in a distinct and thoughtful manner, or extricate yourself altogether, even if it means walking away from a lucrative contract.

WHY? Aside from being the right thing to do, when things do fail, and you were the only partner/vendor that voiced concerns or shared the potential danger, not only will your reputation with that client increase, they will turn to you for thought leadership and pro-active process, even going so far as to recommend you to others. Trust is earned, and respect is gained.

It is not easy to say no to a strategic partner or customer; but laying out a descriptive list of the reasons for your concerns, offering a suggestion for alternative process that can work to meet their end goals, and walking them through your thought process can help clarify and sometimes even win them over to your school of thought with appreciation and thanks. This should be an essential component of the overall long-term success of your business.

Good Karma all around upholds our mission statement to offer an exceptional customer service experience every time bar NONE!

 

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to www.idea-factor.com

WHY AI & Chatbots Make Me CRAZY!

chatter-teeth

My recent experiences with artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, especially those used for CUSTOMER SERVICE, have left me feeling irritated rather than amazed — and I don’t think I’m alone.

 

How do I hate AI? Let me count the ways:

 

THEY Want to Talk Your Ear Off!

If I chat with a human being, I can express complex issues and speak in long, content-rich paragraphs. The person is able to decode and parse what I say, even when there is more than one thought involved. This makes my interaction more efficient.

Chatbots, on the other hand, aren’t able to consume a firehose of human language. They keep coming back and asking question after question. It’s like a chatty neighbor who keeps talking and talking when you have work to get back to. With chatbots, there is a lot of repeating and “did you mean this?” chatter. They have to be walked through a problem while a person can hear the whole problem and break it down themselves.

I ran into this with Visa Card support. I needed to ask what seemed like a simple question about my account. It was the type of question a human could (and did) answer in less than a minute. The VISA chatbot, however, couldn’t understand my question and kept responding with more and more irrelevant questions of its own in a vain attempt to understand what I wanted. I finally had to ask for a human.

 

Chatbots Take More Time Than a Human

Since chatbots are so inefficient in their “speech” they take a lot longer to find a solution outside the most common ones. That would be only mildly annoying if they offered a single interaction such as “What can I help you with?” followed by a “Is this what you are looking for?” answer and then a pivot to a human agent if it didn’t resolve your issue. I also find the voice extremely condescending in it’s over-zealous desire to sound like a human.

Unfortunately, that’s not how they work. Instead, they continue to ask questions until you give up. Sometimes, they don’t give up even when you demand a human. I recently went to the Verizon Wireless customer service chat expecting a human. It was obvious I was speaking to a chatbot — it kept making really silly suggestions — and I demanded an agent. The chatbot persisted until I asked for an agent THREE TIMES and then it sent me into the chat queue. The question was more complex than the chatbot could handle but it wouldn’t give up. The chatbot wasted my time before finally getting me to an agent that could help … two minutes later.

 

It’s Not About Service — It’s About Costs

Chatbots leave one with the impression that chatbots are not intended to front-end a human interaction or gather information to make that interaction more meaningful. Instead, it is pretty obvious that chatbots exist to keep you from speaking to a human. They are just like interactive voice responses (IVR), which also exist to save costs by keeping you from a human, only they require more effort.

It’s much easier to say a simple command or press “1” on your telephone keypad (although, in all fairness, I do find myself yelling “Agent!” at the IVR voice recognition a lot. So I guess I hate IVRs as much as chatbots.)

What makes the cost shift obvious is the implementation of most customer service chatbots. They don’t ask for some basic information (account number or product model) which could then be used by a human agent. Instead, they try to solve the problem and keep doing that even when it’s out of its league. This is just an IVR jail, only with more typing.

In the end, when I am answered by this level of technology, I’m left with a very firm impression that this company does not want my business.

Ahhh – how great it is to have OPTIONS!

 

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to www.idea-factor.com

 

 

Thank you!

Soldiers at airport

 

At first I thought this posting has NOTHING to do with business.

On further reflection it has EVERYTHING to do with business.                                 

AND the fact that I am able to run my business day to day because of these brave men and women.

Read More