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  1. What Social Media ROI looks like with Warners’ Stellian

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    This story has a little bit of a twist on using the social channels to buy a washer and dryer.  There are several elements of interacting online that brought me to Warners’ Stellian’s for purchasing our new washing and dryer.  This example of social media ROI is based purely only conversing with and observing Julie Warner online.  Julie is the Marketing Assistant at Warners’ Stellian Appliance Co. Inc.  The reason I say “online” is I have never met Julie face to face, which is weird because we have many of the same connections here in Minneapolis.  I started following Julie about two years ago, based on her and I being connected to several of the same people in Minneapolis.  One person I would like to thank for introducing us is Katie Schutrop.

    So I observed very great interactions Julie was having for Warners’ Stellian, colleagues, and friends.  I even saw her steal a sale from a competitor because the competitor’s customer was extremely frustrated with them and Julie was there in the same channel to help! Personally using the social channels to actually steal a customer and  close the deal is quite impressive.  Much should be written about how she did this!  This observation sealed the deal for me that when we were in the market for their products and services Warners’ Stellian was going to be on that list.

    In full disclosure,  I did no researching of prices, models, or customer reviews for these products.  I had a pretty good idea of prices ranges of what we should spend, but that is it!  I just knew where we should buy based on researching and knowing a company based on one of it’s employees.  My wife Tara did a lot of the research on price comparisons, customer reviews and model reviews.  So she was the educated consumer on the product being purchased, I was not.  I do believe she had some ideas on where she wanted to go and buy too, but since I was driving (“he who drives takes you in a direction”, yeah I just made that up), I suggested we swing by Warners’ Stellian to see if they could compete based on Tara’s research.  I also explained Warners’ Stellian was local and we should try this route.

    This was my first ever visit to Warners’ Stellian.  Upon walking in you are greeted by a Warners’ Stellian employee that takes your name down so they know you are there and let’s you know if you have any questions or want to speak to a sales person to just let her know and she can find someone for you.  This allows you to walk around the store and not get bombarded by sales folks asking if you need help.  As we looked at the washers and dryers, I asked Tara “So are the prices in line with your research?” Tara said yes and they have the exact models I was looking for.  So right off the bat my research and her research were lining up.

    The next step was to talk through the models we were looking at with a sales person.  She answered all of our questions about price, feature differences, and product history.  We then sat down with the sales person to discuss purchasing and she was awesome! Very personable, helpful, and informative.  She helped us make the right decision about warrenty choices without being “salesy” about it. She even made a call to the delivery drivers to move up the delivery day by 3 days because when she indicated the date for delivery. Tara and I must’ve had the “Oh really? The laundry is really piling up” look on our faces and without hesitation she picked up the phone and got the delivery date moved up.  You can’t teach that customer service, you can hire for it though!

    Taking it the extra mile is a sure sign of empowered employee!  They value every customer that walks through the door.  The Delivery Technicians were friendly, helpful and returned to the house no questions asked when there was a slight problem with the install. This was a another sign of the overall commitment to the customer.  See it is not just your marketing, twitter feed, facebook fan page updates, or billboards you need to worry about making an “impression” that turns into ROI!

    Overall I was extremely happy with the choice I made to take a chance on observing a social media channel, then base a purchase on it.  Believe me this was not a cheap purchase to take a leap of faith on, but I figured the worse thing that could happen was being disappointed.  So this is an example that businesses have to be aware there are probably a lot more customers watching and observing your business more through the people accounts than the logo’d ones.

    Get these people out there and just as prominent as your logo! Now this adds an element of responsibility by your employees being aware of situations like this, but with some good old fashion media training, you will be pleasantly surprised how much this type of awareness adds to the element of success.

    I probably would not have done the same purchase path with a logo’d account.  So think about this in your strategy, planning, and execution when deciding company accounts vs real people accounts in your social accounts landscape.  You may want to measure and quite possibly incent them differently.  Just a thought!

     

    ps. Sorry about the miss spelling in my Gowalla checkin, it won’t happen again!

     


  2. What Social Media ROI looks like with Walser Auto Group

    1 Comment

    Her is part two of what Social Media ROI looks like from a customer.  This story starts about a year and a half ago when I met Andrea Kopfmann via twitter.  I met Andrea via a couple tweets here and there from other people I know via this channel.  Over this past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Andrea both on and offline!  This personal\professional relationship set in motion expanding into doing actual business with Walser.

    I was in need of  new tires for the Excursion and I wanted to apply the Bona Bros model to this business transaction too! In a couple of conversations on twitter (forgot to screen shot those, sorry!) I mentioned I needed to get new tires for my Ford Excursion. Which is not a cheap!

    Right away Andrea mentioned that Walser Auto Group had a deal going on buy 3 tires and get the 4th one free (first thought “hot damn” that is a good deal).  I started making plans to make an appointment to get my new tires.  Now the actual process took about four months to complete, but Andrea stuck with me the whole way.  She DM’d me the information of the nearest dealership to my house, which happened to be Hopkins Walser Dodge Chrysler Jeep at the time I would be scheduling. She also looked up my city (not creepy because Andrea and I know each other!) and gave me a google map including directions. She also gave me the name and number of the Service Manager at the dealership!  Information on a silver platter treatment was awesome!

    When I eventually got the appointment scheduled I was closer to the Walser Buick GMC dealership in Bloomington, MN. This location also happened to be next to where Andrea Kopfmann is the Director of the Walser Foundation.

    Since the Walser Buick GMC is right up the street from my current contract,  Andrea was kind enough to come pick me up and drive me back to the the dealership, because by the time my vehicle was done I was out of their normal curtiousity shuttle service that is provided by Walser (hopefully I did not set a precedent for you Andrea!).  This is where people relationships trump business hours and makes for long lasting impression of the brand based on the person and not the fancy designed logo on the outside of the building.

    I will definitely return to Walser for my tire needs in the future (Customer Retention).  I will also keep them on the radar for other vehicle needs (Customer Development).  So in the course of doing one transaction based on one of their employees reaching out as themselves and getting to know a customer they sold 4 tires and gained a customer for future revenue and it costed a lot less than trying to get new customers through other activities TV, billboards, inserts in newspapers, and banner ads.

    This example is yet another reason to let your employees shine for you where ever and whenever they can and it produces actual social media ROI.  First, you have to have foster a culture of empowerment (trust me 98% will succeed for you).  Second, start looking at the collective power of all your human accounts versus your logo’d accounts. Last, make sure your business is tying these real world social conversations of your people to bottom line business financials where possible.

    Thank You Andrea for everything! Thank you Walser for empowering your employees to allow for these channels to development customers for the long term!

  3. What Social Media ROI looks like with Bona Bros

    6 Comments

    So many folks struggle with the concept of “How do you actually get ROI from all this stuff on the twitters?”  Well I decided to show and explain how this looks like IRL (In Real Life).  So this story starts about a 2 years ago.  I have met many people, yes people not logos or brands, people.  By meeting these people I get the opportunity to be introduced to the companies they work for and with. Through these people I get to know the brands, then decide whether I like the products and or services their company provides.

    So the first story started when starts when I bought my 2004 Ford Excursion last year.  I was looking for a reputable auto mechanic and like I normally do, sent out a tweet asking for recommendations and that is when Adria Richards recommended Bona Bros!  I had known Adria via twitter for a about a year prior to this recommendation and highly respected Adria and her work so I entertained the recommendation.  Adria did disclose she was currently working with Bona Bros with there website and social profiles (she still manages the technical side of their website).  This strengthened the recommendation, because I know Adria is very particular about the Clients she does work for.  So I brought my Excursion there for that complete service overhaul when you buy a new used vehicle.

    I am so glad Adria recommended John, Matt, Jacque, and John Jr. of Bona Bros.  These people are absolutely top notch with the service, repair recommendations, honesty, and all around human touch they apply to their business.  This sold me on them for all my service needs for my Urban Assault Vehicle (#uav – now you know what this hashtag stands for).

    During my 1st visit Matt indicated I may need a new ball joint in another 20-25,000 miles.  This assessment was spot on and why I brought it back to them for the repair.  Once again I was throughly impressed by the staff at Bona Bros about their attention to detail and explanations of some key repairs that will be upcoming.  This latest visit to get the ball joint repaired Matt indicated I may want to have the u-joint repaired on the drive shaft, but it was up to me.  Well let’s just say I did not listen which brings me to the series of tweets that happened while I was there the second time.

    So this is what a simple request for a recommendation can turn into on social media channels.  So I encourage all businesses in the social channels to be on the look out for these small opportunities to make big impressions for the ever coveted return on investment.  Many of your customers are not all that impressed with your BIG marketing campaigns, but your customers do appreciate when your people help them on a small scale!  This is the difference maker social can do for small and medium sized businesses to get above the noise.

    This is the first of three posts I will be doing on what Social Media ROI looks like in the real world.  The next two posts will be about  Walser Auto Group and Warners Stellian. These are all based on real life engagements and purchases.  In full disclosure nothing and I repeat nothing was done by these brands except having good business people and good businesses.

    On a side note this interaction also included me encouraging Jacque Bona of all things to buy the book written by Olivier Blanchard called Social Media ROI, which I have not decided if that is irony or good business through social business channels…..

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