/ Coach: Riding Out the Perfect Storm

It’s no secret that competition in the women’s handbag market has grown fierce. Coach, the 73-year-old handbag company, with global name recognition, now finds itself battling to retain its leadership. How did this happen? Let’s take a look at the critical factors that resulted in a perfect storm for Coach.

Charting the wrong course

The executives at Coach made a major marketing misstep when they elected to expand into the men’s clothing and accessories market (passport cases, backpacks, travel kits, watches and billfolds) — at the expense of its core product: women’s handbags.

Moving into a foreign land

The company also elected to move into China and now has 117 stores there. But, with a slowing economy in this region it experienced a 6% decline in revenue in December 2013. This is significant because it took place during the busy holiday shopping season.

Coping with rough waters

The Coach company underestimated the popularity of new brands such as Tory Burch, Kate Spade and Michael Kors. In fact it was blindsided by the remarkable success of the Michael Kors company which used clever “stealth marketing” to move into handbags. Kors has increased its stores in North America to 400 and its “store-in-store” boutiques to 1,000-plus.

Sailing ahead in the race

The participation of Michael Kors on “Project Runway” (2004-12), (which he had doubts about initially), introduced his brand to millions of viewers. His name recognition went from 11% to 71%.

Perhaps this is the most important point: Michael Kors himself totally understands the power of social media. He likes to focus on, and interact with, his customers: both in-store and virtually. Let’s take a look: on Instagram, Coach has over 300,000 followers, which is a respectable number — but Kors has over 900,000. And, when looking at “Likes” on Facebook we see that Coach has slightly under 5 million — but Kors has over 10 million and uses Facebook to launch new products and extend its customer reach.

Anchoring with flair

The boutiques of the two companies at Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square, New York, are indicative of the difference between Coach and Kors. When entering the Broadway side of the store one’s eyes go directly to the Kors “Cube” on the left — rather than Coach — which is right across the aisle. The Kors store-in-store is a dramatic, one-of-a-kind creation of gleaming chrome and glass with action-oriented LED screens that showcase Kors most recent show. It blows Coach clear out of the water.

Looking closely at both companies’ handbags one notices that Coach is fairly conservative, while Kors has more drama with metallic accents and high-shine studs. Pricing for both is about the same, with Kors skewing a little higher on some products.

Can Coach “go about” to change?

Currently, the company’s demographics are women over 35-years-old. This means it has to focus on the “pull” of branding to a younger age group by creating a line of handbags just for them. This can be done by conducting focus groups to research the needs, habits and fashion wants or desires of 16- to 34-year-olds and then creating and directing products that appeal to this group via social media (as Burberry has done).



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/ Looking Ahead…and Proud

With goals and dreams for 2014 already in the making, we are now looking back at 2013 with wonderment. We’ve rarely shared the successes of our team of graphic artists, writers and business builders. So, before we forget the past year, we’d like to review our own and our client’s accomplishments in 2013.


Did we win all those awards, travel to all those far-flung locations and create all that work? Yes, we did. And, the fact that the STC team enabled each of our clients to surpass their 2013 projected goals is even more rewarding than receiving accolades for outstanding work. Our creative awards were won in a number of categories, from urban branding to digital to content marketing.

Branding by STC Associates

Branding America’s Next Great City

Tysons made great strides toward creating a new residential and business community in Virginia. The project, to be completed in 2050, became a reality in 2013 through the launch of our urban branding strategizing which won two gold awards for Best Urban Branding. The commercial district, with its famous shopping center and a new metro rail system will continue to evolve with STC in 2014.


Designed by STC AssociatesPlatinum Only for Ralph Rucci

Way past its intended lifespan, the Ralph Rucci website earned two more platinum awards for outstanding digital experience in 2013. A holistic journey into an exceptional artistic mind, the site was recently relaunched with a newly inspired sense of modernity and striking avant garde black-and-white art to herald the designer’s new direction.

Designed by STC AssociatesThe Transformative Power Of Wit and Will

Being a part of Suzy Kellems Dominik transformative journey was a privilege. Within a year of its launch, the culture and lifestyle of the site earned two awards for Best New Blog and Best Digital Campaign and attracted a devoted community of over half a million readers and many thousands of loyal followers across all media channels. Editorials from Mumbai, Venice and China garnered a global response that carried the publisher to new creative heights with the launch of her first art exhibit and two new websites.

Additional awards were received for Best Campaign for a Nonprofit were won for The New York Center for Children and Best Online for Elite Model Look on behalf of Of Wit and Will.


What do the Super Bowl, fine jewelry and video games have in common? These are three clients from different worlds, with unusual mandates requiring original solutions. All were handled successfully.

Designed by STC AssociatesThe Engine Behind USA Today AdMeter

Last year was when USA Today AdMeter became the online voting reference for the Super Bowl commercials. Asked to develop the digital voting mechanism, we built the engine behind AdMeter, tracking hundreds of millions of page views and millions of real-time viewer ratings of the 52 commercials aired during the 2013 game– and also in 2014.

Designed by STC AssociatesLuxury is in the Experience

Zoya, the luxury jeweler owned by India’s Tata Group, selected the STC India team to design, develop and promote the online showcase of their outstanding designs and collections. A complete digital strategy maximizing online and social media presence includes the Zoya customer in the opening of new boutiques and the launch of new lines.

Organized by STC AssociatesTaking the Floor and SWAPing Away

For the third year in a row, we planned and executed the game-and-play retail experience for Activision: SWAP Force, the latest version of the adventure video game in the multi-billion dollar Skylanders franchise. With launch events at Toys “R” Us and FAO Schwarz, we played with kids and parents and watched on-site sales skyrocket.

Planned by STC AssociatesA Great Start That’s Ongoing

To launch its new Carrier Services division after its Cable & Wireless acquisition, Vodafone called upon us to plan, design and manage the ultimate brand experience at ITW 2013. From a modern lounge where new relationships started and an evening at a speakeasy club, DrumBAR, the telecom executives networked in the freewheeling era of thirties Chicago and made plans for 2014.



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/ THINGS WE LOVE: The Bold Intensity of Red

One of the most striking features of STC’s offices is the use of the color “red”. Cubicle dividers and chair seats have red accents while red desk lamps add a mellow glow to the office. We even have red picture frames in the loo!

The mystique Red is the great clarifier. Ask any interior designer and you will hear, “A touch of red adds crispness to any room.” It is an energizing, emotionally intense color that is associated with strength, action and power. Or, as Sophie Ann Terrisse, the founder of STC notes, “I’ve always loved red. It’s a warm, direct color that doesn’t fool around. You know what you’re getting. That’s why I wanted it for all our offices.”

The usage Red has very high visibility. This is why it is used for stop signs, fire engines, traffic lights and high voltage signs. Red brings text and images to the foreground and stimulates people to make quick decisions. It’s the perfect color for “Buy Now” or “Click Here” buttons on Internet banners and websites. The color red can stimulate the appetite and increase the craving for food, which is why it is often used in restaurants such as McDonalds.

The cultural ties In some societies, red denotes purity, joy and celebration. It is the color of happiness and prosperity — and may be used to attract good luck. In China it is seen everywhere: on pagodas, on tugboats in Hong Kong harbor and on paper lanterns swaying in the breeze. In the past, red was the color worn by Asian brides, but times are changing, and now white is becoming popular. Back in the day, the Bolsheviks in Russia used a red flag when they overthrew the Czar — thus red became associated with communism. Currently, many national flags (French, American, Canadian and British) have incorporated red into their design.

The celebratory aspect What would the Oscars and other award shows and movie premieres be without a “red carpet”? When one gets the red carpet treatment it really feels special. And, of course, we have Red Letter days that instantly say, “This is an important or significant date.”

The physicality Let’s not forget the expression “seeing red” which indicates anger and may stem not only from the stimulus of the color, but from the natural flush of the cheeks — a physical reaction to anger.

The “wow” factor There’s an old saying that goes like this:

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight
Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning

In my estimation, nothing beats spectacular, glowing gold/red sunsets. For years, Key West, Florida has steadfastly said that its sunsets are the best. This may be so. But, once you’ve seen the sunsets at Pie de la Cuesta, Mexico (near Acapulco) that’s it! Key West talks a good game — but Pie de la Cuesta hits it out of the park.

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/ ON BOARD WITH Rosa Levitan

Our go-to social media guru looks relaxed as she sits with her back to the desk and feet up while typing away on her laptop. But looks can be deceiving. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Our staffer is a whirling dervish when it comes to keeping STC’s clients front and center on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram — you name it.

What do you miss most about the mid-West?

I’m from Cleveland which is in northeast Ohio — the residents often consider themselves to be the New Englanders of the mid-West. I’m very used to suburban grocery shopping, so I miss hopping in a car, getting a cart and strolling through the supermarket. During my two years in New York, I’ve bought the same thing at the grocery store every week. It’s a very different lifestyle.

Do you have a workout plan for your gym visits?

Yes, I do. I go to the gym roughly five times a week and I make a point of going to different places for a variety of workouts. For example, this morning I went to a boutique gym called Barry’s Bootcamp that’s at 135 West 20th (between 6th and 7th). I love this place! I also do yoga and indoor cycling. And, I belong to Equinox, which has 20 gyms in Manhattan that I’m able to use. I like to mix it up a lot!

Would you ever consider running in the 26-mile New York marathon?

Yes, absolutely. I can’t handle the time needed for training right now. But, at some point in my life I’ll do it. This will probably be in five years or so.

Have you ever run in a half-marathon (21.1 kilometers or 13.1 miles)?

I’ve run two half-marathons this year: one in May that took place in Brooklyn and a second in October on Staten Island. Both races were sponsored by New York Road Runners. They were a lot of fun and a lot of training.

Did you ski during your college days in Vermont?

I’m not a good skier. It’s disheartening to be terrified on the Bunny Hill and seeing three-year-olds zip past you. I did try snowboarding twice before I headed for the lodge.

What’s your favorite restaurant in New York?

For brunch, my favorite is Esperanto at 145 Avenue C (9th Street) where I often order “Acai” which is granola and fruit. I also love Westville which features great vegetable sides.

Do you have a fantasy travel spot that you want to visit?

I have a list and Iceland is at the top. I also want to go to Brazil, Patagonia and Russia. I hate to fly, but I love to travel.

Name your all-time favorite movie?

Beetlejuice is first, followed by Clueless.

What has your mother said to you that resonated?

She has a very ironic, Jewish sense of humor. Whenever I felt anxious about changes in my life she’d say, “Change or die”.

If you had a financial windfall, how would you use it?

The first thing I would do is get someone to clean my apartment once a month.


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/ THINGS WE LOVE: The Lucky Frog

The Lucky Frog is found in all STC offices worldwide. Why does this endearing creature have a home with us?

STC was started 20 years ago by Sophie Ann Terrisse, as many of you know. When asked, she relates this interesting backstory about our ubiquitous frogs. “I was in a shop and I stumbled on a frog that was sitting on the floor,” she says. “The proprietor quickly informed me that this meant I would have good luck and gave me the frog as a present. I liked the idea so much that I began giving lucky frogs to others. I also decided to put one in each of our offices.”

So, what’s the story behind this rather benign creature who’s often called the lucky or feng shui money frog? To begin, feng shui is based on an ancient 5,000-year-old Chinese philosophy that encompasses the art and science of keeping one’s indoor environment balanced.

According to ancient beliefs, the feng shui money frog has symbolic roots. One reason “money or wealth frogs” are associated with money is that they are found near water — and water means wealth. Like many symbols in Chinese lore, the lucky frog came from a legend about a frog called Chan Chu who symbolizes both protection and good luck.

The Lucky Frog in New York is on our reception desk and can be easily seen when one steps out of the elevator and enters STC.


This Inspirational Saying, which is on a STC cork board, was created by Vivian Greene, a 34-year-old soul/pop singer and songwriter who is with Columbia Records.

It’s a wonderful message that has appeared on greeting cards as well as a number of inspirational products. In two short sentences, it says that sometimes it feels like we experience more storms than fair weather. So how does one cope when caught in one of life’s storms? Hunker down and wait for things to change? No.

A much better approach is to “learn to dance in the rain” or simply adjust one’s attitude. Every situation can be looked at from a positive or negative perspective. Thinking innovatively and finding purpose and value in the midst of difficulties and disappointments is the solution.


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/ ON BOARD WITH Jemille Bailey

Outgoing, gregarious staffer, Jemille Bailey, splits his time between work and his studies. This multitalented individual handles both accounting issues and operations for STC. At Columbia, he is currently enrolled in Masterpieces of Western Literature which involves reading classic works from Homer to Virginia Woolf and a philosophy-based course entitled Contemporary Civilization. “In the last few weeks, we’ve gone from Plato to Aristotle to Confucius,” explains Bailey.

What was the last thing you read?

Oedipus. The Greek tragedy.

As an ex-Angeleno what do you miss the most?

The weather! I used to live by the beach where there was no pollution. I really miss it.

Describe your typical breakfast.

I’m not a morning person. When I get to work I have a Denver omelet. That’s what we call it on the West coast. In New York it’s a Western omelet. It keeps my energy up.

If you could change one thing about NYC — what would it be?

The trash bags on the street. There has to be a better way.

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Right now it’s Curaco, South Africa and Alaska. And I’m thinking about Asia — maybe Bhutan. Did you know tourists have to pay to go there? Something like $300!

Do you have a favorite spot in NYC?

Yes, it’s Le Bain, the penthouse disco and rooftop bar at the Standard Hotel near the High Line. In the summer, there’s a plunge pool on the dance floor.

Is Columbia all that you thought it would be?

It’s more than I thought it would be. I’m impressed with the campus itself and the professionalism of my instructors. I’m totally enjoying this experience.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’m not sure yet. I see myself working in government. It might be education or agriculture, but not politics. I like to do the work. Not talk about it.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

That one’s easy. My Dad gave me the simplest and most effective advice I’ve ever had. He said, “Don’t give up.” This can be applied to anything.

Name one dish you could eat all week.

Well, I’m from California and I really love Crispy Shell Tacos. But they’re really hard to find in New York.

Are you currently busy all the time?


Many think New Yorkers are rude. Yes or no?

I’ll give you a two-part answer. The people I’ve met and talked to here are the same as everywhere else. However, there’s a service standard here that’s lacking. In Southern California there’s a personal touch. In New York, they don’t look at you or they’re talking to someone else. Except for Trader Joe’s, they know service. They totally get it.

Name the best time you’ve ever had.

I lived in London for six months. I went on vacation for seven days and on the sixth day I called home and said I wasn’t coming back. It was great.

You’re over 6 ft. — do you bang your head a lot?

Yes, when I’m on the subway — every time I get up from sitting down.


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/ How to Run a Successful Social Media Contest

Fans, readers and followers love contests. They’re a way for a brand to create buzz while achieving a number of goals from fan engagement to increased sales.

Moreover, a Lab42 study of 1,000 social media users showed 55% of users that connect to brands on Facebook are swayed by promotions, discounts and giveaways. The same study showed the top way brands could get non-likers to like a Facebook Page is through more giveaways.

Now contemplating running one? Concentrate on goals, budget, platform, legality, promotion and measurement. Here are a few questions you may want to ask while planning:

1. What are my goals?

What do you want to accomplish with a contest, sweepstake or giveaway? Did you know about 46% of online consumers count on social media when making a purchase decision? If you don’t have a clear goal, measuring success for your efforts will prove difficult. Don’t run a contest just for the sake of running a contest. A few attainable goals to think about are:

  • Increasing website traffic (i.e., unique visitors, returning ones, more visitors from a specific location)
  • Fan/follower acquisition (on which platform?)
  • Fan/follower engagement (What type of content? Text, photos, videos?)
  • Newsletter subscriber acquisition
  • Increasing sales

Once you have your goals, brainstorm for a creative way to differentiate your contest, sweepstake or giveaway from your competitors. Your prize will be a part of this brainstorm, so be sure it’s something that is appropriate for your brand. For example, you don’t want to give away lipstick from a food blog. Jeff Bullas shares a list of 30 Facebook Timeline Contest Ideas.

2. Which social media contest platform fits my goals and budget?

Once you understand what your goals and budget are, finding the right platform will take some time and research.Of course all tools and platforms have their pros and cons. You want to make sure your chosen platform has accessible customer service and tech teams — should you run into any problems. We’ve run successful campaigns on Offerpop and Statigram in the past, and both are reliable in terms of customer service.List.ly has a comprehensive list of social media contest platforms and tools.

3. Is my contest, sweepstakes or giveaway legal?

“Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries” ranked number five on the FTC’s 2012 complaint list. To avoid getting your contest shut down or creating unhappy entrants, you have to come up with a clear set of rules with your legal guru.Things to consider: Eligibility (who and where), entry period (when), prizes (why), how to enter, and more. Socially Stacked has shared the best practices for writing Facebook contest rules. This applies to other contests, sweepstakes and giveaways as well.

4. How will I promote my contest?

This depends on your time and budget. You can start as simple as word of mouth or a Tweet with a promotional hashtag. You can also get as complex as a full Google Adwords campaign, involving text, image and video advertising. Adwords got us 41.7% of our contest traffic for Of Wit & Will’s Off the Runway Sweepstakes.Some ways we’ve promoted in the past: Millennial Media mobile ads, Google Adwords, Facebook Promoted Posts, Twitter Ads and more.Also consider taking the time to submit your contest to sweepstakes sites like Sweeties SweepsSweepstakes Advantage and others. One-third of our last sweepstakes’ traffic for Of Wit & Will came from these contest databases.


Running a contest doesn’t have to be difficult, but careful planning is a must. While your contest is running, be sure to look at the analytics that align with your goals. For example: how many entries, email subscribers captured, website traffic and sales conversions. From there, you can gauge the success of your brand’s contest, sweepstakes or giveaways effectively.

For Fashion Weeks all over the globe, STC organized the Of Wit & Will Off the Runway Daily Sweepstakes on Offerpop’s Quiz 2.0 platform to increase website traffic. The result? A 72.8% increase in unique visitors, a 60% increase in newsletter subscribers and a 9.8% increase in returning traffic.


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/ How Amazon Has Changed Us Forever

The following is excerpted from an article entitled The Race Has Just Begun in the current issue of Fast Company magazine. This piece is meticulously researched and beautifully written by J.J. McCorvey.

Amazon has reinvented, disrupted, redefined and renovated the global marketplace. The growth of Amazon, which was founded by CEO, Jeff Bezos, on July 16, 1995 is truly astounding. It has upended the retail world, but Bezos insists it is still “Day One”. He has constantly reminded the public that “we are only at Day One in the development of both the Internet and our retail enterprise.” When asked, “What does the rest of Day One look like?” He pauses to think and then answers, “We’re still asleep on that.”

That’s a big fib. Amazon is a company that is anything but asleep. In fact, it is an army fighting — and winning — the battle. Over the past five years, the retailer has snatched up shoe seller Zappos and Quidsi, the parent of such sites as Diapers.com and Soap.com. Annual sales for Amazon are now a whopping $61 billion.

Retailers and shopping malls have seen sales tank because of Amazon.Circuit City and Best Buy, in particular, have been hit and shopping malls have been hollowed out. Experts predict that 10% of the country’s large malls will close in the next decade.

Are Amazon’s competitors becoming smarter? Yes. For example, Walmart and Macy’s have begun making their stores both places to shop and warehouses from which to ship products.


(Read this: it’s astounding and truly revolutionary.)

Nadia Shouraboura, formerly Amazon’s VP of global supply chain and fulfillment technology, has created Hointer, a fully automated store run on software algorithms and machinery. It marries digital’s instant gratification with in-store benefits.

STEP 1 – Search

A customer enters the spare store, where there’s only one of every product in view. She pulls up the Hointer app, scans the QR code on a pair of jeans she likes and enters her size.

STEP 2 – Deliver

Within 30 seconds of scanning the code, a pair of jeans in her size travels through a chute and lands in her dressing room. She can scan as many items as she likes.

STEP 3 – Refine

Inside the dressing room, she tries on the jeans, but they’re too baggy. So she chucks them down another chute and selects a smaller size from the app.

STEP 4 – Purchase

The jeans fit! She pays on her phone or swipes her card at a kiosk, and leaves the store with her purchase. No sales clerk necessary.

Like most females, over the age of two, I have routinely suffered at the hands of retail employees who are of little, or no help at all, when one is attempting to buy clothes — even something as basic as a pair of jeans can turn into an exhausting nightmare. But change is in the air.

POP QUIZ: Why did Bezos go with the name Amazon?

It was a question of alphabetizing. He wanted to be ahead of Yahoo.

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/ The Millennials: Generation X on Steroids

These days “The Millennials” is a hot topic. However, when one asks for a description of this group — the answer is always “ages 16 to 35.” That’s a good start, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a closer look at this category, which is often known as Generation Y (vs. the previous Gen X or Boomers).

Who makes up this group? There are roughly 79 million people in this group. Diversity is an important factor: 40% of the millennial generation is African American, Latino, Asian — or those of a racially mixed background.

What makes them stand out? As a result of growing up with the Internet and other devices, millennials are said to be the most technologically savvy generation to date. In short, they are referred to as the Net Generation because they don’t remember a time when there was no Internet.

Gen Ys are “digital natives” because they’ve grown up with technology and consider themselves fast adopters of the latest app. They also own multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets and gaming devices.

Who do they trust? This generation trusts people over brands. Constantly connected and dependent on social media, they shop in a whole new way. They’re endlessly curious about what others are doing and they trust opinions from consumers more than what brands say about themselves. Millennials won’t buy without input from others.

That said, it’s important to note that most consumers, regardless of age, go to the Internet to research purchases. And, most of them look for User-Generated Content (UGC) to help them  buy. Over half (51%) of Americans trust UGC more than info on a company’s website.

How do they shop? Millennials use mobile devices to read reviews and research products while shopping. “Crowd sourcing” or tapping into the collective intelligence of the public or one’s peer group, has become particularly popular.

Millennials favor brands that have Facebook pages and mobile websites. Smart companies are using location-based shopping services such as Foursquare and Shopkick to capitalize on this trend.

How do they spend their time? Millennials spend less time reading printed books and watching TV. Only 26% watch TV for 20 hours or more per week and, when they do watch, they’re more likely to do so on their computers through services such as Hulu.

How has the recession affected them? Many came of age in the longest economic expansion of the 20th century and graduated into the worst recession since the 1930′s. Unemployment is twice as high as the national average for this group. Median earnings have fallen for the young and college debt, most of which is held by 20-somethings, is at an all-time high.

What does the future hold for Gen Y? Millennials put a  premium on speed, ease, efficiency and convenience. Or, as one executive says, “Millennials are like Generation X on steroids. If you thought you saw it all when Gen X came on the scene that was a fake punch. The haymaker is coming now.”

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/ A Great Biz Builder: Customer Service

The customer is the most important person in a business. If there are no customers, there is no business. Currently, keeping ahead of the ever-evolving technology is a priority. But let’s not forget a key element that has always helped companies stand out, namely: customer service. Remember, it’s very important to give a favorable first impression. Do you know that, on average, it takes approximately six favorable impressions to overcome one unfavorable one?

Improving customer service: Don’t rely on e-mails only for customer contacts. The strongest relationships are always with people one knows personally. Keep in touch regularly with face-to-face interaction on Skype, weekly/monthly webinars, special events or trade shows. And talk about trends in the marketplace with your customers. Very often your customers will know more than you do about certain topics. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more.

Solve any and all problems to your customers’ satisfaction. Handle each complaint in a courteous and professional manner. Always be willing to do a little extra. And do not make promises unless you plan to keep them. Reliability is one of the keys to a good relationship. This rule applies, in particular, to meetings and deadlines.

Finally, train your staff to always be courteous and knowledgeable. Do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Every staffer should have enough information to make small customer-pleasing decisions.

Answering the office phone: What’s more frustrating than a voice-prompt menu (automated phone service)? Often they are mazes without exits. They may have originated as efficiency tools, but now they are essentially a war of robots against humans. Moreover, they have the ability to turn customers against companies — even companies that do everything else well.

For most businesses, some form of automation is a necessity. Be sure to do it properly. For example:

(1) Keep your menu choices to a minimum and make sure they lead to the desired result.

(2) Offer callers the chance to “press zero to reach an operator” as soon as possible.

(3) Answer with a welcoming tone of cheerfulness — a voice can project a smile.

(4) When you transfer a call — ask if the caller minds being put on hold before you do it.

Customer Service Representatives Are your CSRs so busy following a script that they don’t listen? Take a look at this funny — or not so funny — customer’s experience.

“My father passed away. I called the credit card company to cancel his account. I said, ‘My name is Debra. My father, Robert, just passed away and I am the executor of his estate.’ The CSR replied, “Well, I need to talk to Robert.”

I said, ‘Listen very carefully. He’s dead — now if you want to talk to him, you’ll have to figure out how to do it. Give me your supervisor.’ The supervisor cracked up when I said to her. “Do you have a connection with God?”



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