Blockchain: The New Frontier In Customer Engagement

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article |Customer Engagement |Blockchain: The New Frontier In Customer EngagementBlockchain was supposed to make it easy for businesses and customers to make payments internationally, bypassing the traditional banking system. But that vision is yet to materialize. In the meantime, distributed ledger technology is proving invaluable in the realm of customer engagement. Incredibly, technology is making it easier for brands to connect with their audiences and encourage them to make purchases.

Getting organizations to change, even in the presence of compelling new technologies, is hard. When the internet came along in the mid-1990s, some major brands took ten years to begin exploiting it. And even then, their efforts were half-hearted.

We’re seeing the same phenomenon emerge today with blockchain. Everyone knows that it is a powerful technology, but employees struggle to adapt. They don’t want to do new things that could be difficult. They’d prefer to stick to the humdrum, regular mundane tasks they know.

With that said, blockchain is one of those technologies that firms can’t afford to miss. If they do, then it could mean missing out on better engagement with customers, and expanding in their industry.

Already, pioneers are exploring how to use blockchain to transform business infrastructure. Experts are looking at ways to leverage the new technology to transform how firms do business with each person. The hope is that blockchain will prove so valuable to firms that they use it for everyday transactions.

But how, exactly, could blockchain engage customers?

Smooth Peak EV Energy Demand

The electric vehicle revolution is going to be good for children’s lungs but seriously bad for the power grid. Consumer behavior means that most people charge their electric vehicles when they get home from work, between 5 pm and 7 pm. This means that there is a huge spike in demand around dinner time.

If EV usage continues to grow, existing power infrastructures won’t be able to meet demand. There will be rationing and blackouts around peak times – not what anyone wants.

However, there may be a blockchain-based solution. The idea is to reward consumers with individual tokens, called “sparks” whenever they charge their vehicles outside of peak times, such as in the middle of the night. Owners that do this could then trade their currency for real money, getting a discount on their energy bills.

Such systems are actually superior for energy grids compared to current setups. Energy consumption is notoriously low during the night, but power firms need to keep expensive energy-generation systems on continuously to prepare them for increased load in the morning. Charging EVs at night would result in far better use of energy-generating capital, lowering bills, and improving outcomes for all.

There are also virtual power plant capabilities. The idea here is to make it possible for EV owners to sell their power back to the grid in peak times when power plants need extra supply. If there’s a sudden surge in electricity usage in the morning or evening, suppliers could offer owners higher prices to sell their battery charge back to the grid, instead of relying on expensive booster plants and technologies.

Creating Currencies Around Shared Interests

We’re also witnessing the birth of another new (and somewhat strange) phenomenon that nobody could have predicted: the birth of so-called “fan tokens.” Major organizations from Formula 1 to e-sports teams are all signing up to increase enthusiast engagement globally.

For the uninitiated, fan tokens are a bit like cryptocurrencies, but offer punters a deeper level of interaction within a particular industry. Firms are exploring them fervently to see if they can use them to get consumers more interested in what they do.

As with other crypto technologies, fan tokens sit on the blockchain. However, they are not the same as Bitcoin or other currencies that use the technology. Like cryptocurrencies, they are fungible. But holding tokens provides other rewards, such as being able to vote on club decisions, access merchandise designs, and unique experiences, and earn rewards. You can think of owners as being similar to club stakeholders but without any formal rights other than those defined by the blockchain.

If you’re new to the concept, you can read tips for buying fan tokens here. This article explains what you need to do and what fan tokens are in more detail.

Ultimately, these tokens help to make fans feel more engaged in whatever organization issues the coin. Hence, if you have a business with a cult following, you could potentially use this method to give customers more say over products, services, and the direction your firm takes.

Improving The Payment Journey

Then there is the potential for firms to improve the payment journey. Current payment systems can make some customers feel disengaged, particularly those looking to make purchases from overseas. Customers can find it hard to access traditional banking facilities.

With cryptocurrency transactions on the blockchain, these sorts of barriers become a thing of the past. Merchants and individual consumers can transact with each other trustlessly, without the need for an intermediary, such as a bank. Companies and clients can liaise with ease and set whatever payment terms they like. There are virtually no limits on what they can do.

Perhaps even more promisingly, customers don’t even need to have a bank of their own. The network functions as security for all parties. Therefore, firms can sell to customers who are outside of the formal economy.

There are some crazy applications of app-enabled crypto payments, too. For instance, customers can use apps to trade with each other to get faster services.

Take a busy food court, for instance. In a traditional setup without blockchain, all customers have to wait their turn, regardless of how hungry they are or how much of a rush they are in. There is no simple way to pay other customers to jump the line.

But with blockchain, that’s no longer the case. The technology makes it easy to carry out complex transactions like this so that pricing mechanisms can more closely match each individual’s needs. Even if they seem gimmicky, such systems are likely to engage customers interested in trialing them.

How Franchise Owners Can Use Customer Service to Outdo the Competition and Grow Their Business

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article |Franchise Owners|How Franchise Owners Can Use Customer Service to Outdo the Competition and Grow Their Business“Next in line.”

Nothing projects mediocrity better than this tired, dusty greeting. You know it well, because you’ve heard it thousands of times. This robotic phrase and its cousins (“May I help you?” “What can I get you?”) efficiently move things along and cue the customer to state their business. They also prepare the customer to be underwhelmed. It’s the typical encounter we’ve settled for as consumers. And that’s the opportunity for franchisees.

With the bar set so low for customer service, franchise owners are well positioned to jump ahead of the competition. Their franchisor has already developed proven systems and desirable products. Franchisees who deliver these products in a delightful, surprising way will stand out from the lackluster crowd. They’ll awaken customers from their lifeless transaction trance and prime them for excitement, loyalty and spending. Here are three ways to make that happen:

1. Elevate the customer’s emotions. Whether you sell cheeseburgers, pest control or senior care, you’re in the happiness business. People tend to remember how they feel more than what they got. It’s their emotions that most influence what they think of you, what they say about you and whether they come back. Every customer is a potential repeat customer and a walking spokesperson for your business. If you just sell them the “thing” but don’t make them feel a little better, you’re missing an opportunity and leaving money on the table. Be deliberate about providing emotionally satisfying experiences. Use the delivery of your products and services to lift their spirits. In exchange, they’ll lift your revenue.

2. Connect with your customers. Research shows that few things in life make people happier than meaningful human connections. We’re a social species. We’re drawn to community and we deteriorate when lonely. Even introverts have a need for occasional companionship. That doesn’t always mean deep friendship or intimacy. But small moments acknowledging each other’s humanity validates our individual existence and feeds our soul. These moments range from long conversations to saying “bless you” to a stranger who sneezes.

Your customers aren’t coming to you for friendship, but they do respond to friendliness. That means giving them a warm greeting that’s different from the way you greeted the last customer. (You wouldn’t walk around a party and greet every person the same way.) It means relating to them person to person, rather than cashier to customer. You can still do this quickly and professionally (think Starbucks, In N Out Burger). What you don’t want is to facilitate cold transactions or robotically repeat phrases that are written friendly but not spoken friendly (“WelcometoPete’sPizzahowcanihelpyou”). Be present, be authentic and be human.

3. Exceed customers’ expectations. Customer service is your absolute best form of marketing. Unlike an ad that gets seen mostly by people who don’t need what you’re selling, customer service is making an immediate impression on the hottest lead there is. This is someone who’s right there with money in their pocket and an interest in your offerings. And they’re quite likely to need you again. Good ads bring customers in. Good service brings customers back, often with friends. And when they do return, they’ll have more confidence in you and more enthusiasm for what you sell. The goal is always to give them an experience they want to repeat.

Giving the customer more than they ask for is a smart investment. Whether you’re throwing something in, taking a few dollars off or just giving them a little more time and attention, this something extra is part of your marketing. It’s something you do to ensure they return. You’re probably already spending money running ads for people who will never come in. It makes a lot more sense to invest in people who’ve already identified themselves as your base.

Most businesses are too busy being busy to do these things well. Your franchisor undoubtedly wants you to create great experiences for your customers, but they can’t control that. It’s up to you. Make customer service your number one priority. Create experiences that make people happier. Customers will notice, and they’ll come back for more.

About the Author

Scott Greenberg is an internationally recognized speaker, author and coach who helps franchise owners grow their businesses, build high-performing teams and create unforgettable customer experiences. He has given presentations in all 50 states and throughout the world with franchise clients that include McDonalds, Great Clips, GNC, RE/MAX, Smoothie King, Global Franchise Group and many more. For 10 years, he was a multi-unit franchise owner with Edible Arrangements, winning Best Customer Service and Manager of the Year awards out of more than 1,000 locations worldwide. Learn more about his new book, The Wealthy Franchisee, at and

Four Top Tips for Growing a New Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Growing a New Business|Four Top Tips for Growing a New BusinessBecoming an entrepreneur can be the dream scenario for those wanting to escape the sometimes monotonous and uninspiring 9-5 working life. However, once you have bitten the bullet and launched your new business venture, it can become all too easy to sit back and let your business simply plod along, rather than seek new ways to enable its growth. However, if you want your business to succeed, then you need to ensure that you develop both short term and long-term strategies to generate new business and expand your customer base.

From improving your customer service by embracing the latest technologies, to implementing a digital marketing campaign, to learning how to network effectively, keep reading to find out how you can grow your new business in four simple steps.

1. Listen to your customers

If you want to keep your existing customers loyal to you, as well as attract new ones, then you need to make sure that you actively listen to their needs. An excellent way to find out what they want from your business is to consistently ask for feedback on your products or services. Although it can be hard to hear criticism, especially when it comes to your own business, it is essential to know where you are going wrong so that you are able to put it right. A simple email asking, “How can we do better next time?” is all it takes to gain invaluable insight into your customers’ requirements.

2. Improve your customer service

As a small business owner, it is incredibly important that you provide your customers with the best possible level of customer service, as just one poor experience can result in you losing a loyal customer, and also encourages negative word of mouth. If you are struggling to respond to your customers’ inquiries as quickly as you would like to, but cannot afford to take on any more employees, you may want to consider investing in a chatbot that can deal with an infinite number of customers simultaneously.

3. Don’t forget the bigger picture

It can become all too easy to get preoccupied with the day to day running of your business and fail to invest adequate time and funds into your long-term goals and strategies. For example, it has never been more critical for small businesses to improve their SEO rankings as this is the simplest way to attract more customers to your site, which in turn will increase your conversion rates. If you are not overly confident in your SEO abilities, a digital marketing agency can help you to generate leads that will result in conversions and ROI.

Try and make sure that you sit down with your employees and/or investors at least once a month to discuss your long-term visions and goals for the business while making solid plans and action points.

4. Extend your networks

Not everybody loves to network, but unfortunately, it is a necessary process if you want your business to grow. Are you familiar with the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? Well, never has a truer phrase been said when it comes to expanding your small business. You need to attend as many relevant networking events as possible, as well as ensure that you network effectively.

How do you do this? It is not rocket science. The key is to make sure that you give and take. For example, if you see someone who you think can offer you advice, don’t approach them and simply bombard them with questions. You also need to listen to what they have to say and try and find a way in which you can be of use to them too.

Networking can be a great way to connect with customers, investors and even potential employees, so make sure you are open and responsive when you attend events, as you never know when you may need a helping hand from someone in the industry.

Are You Connecting With Your Customers?

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article |Customer Service|Are You Connecting With Your Customers?There are so many things that go into making any kind of business truly successful in the modern age. The truth is that trying to keep up with all of the things that you have to deal with as a business owner can actually be somewhat overwhelming. The main issue is trying to figure out what needs to be at the top of the list of your priorities. A lot of different people will give you different answers to this question. They will say that you need to focus on marketing your business. Others will insist that you need to pay attention to your bottom line above all things. Others will say that keeping up with the times should be your number one priority. However, the truth is that the thing that you should really be paying the most attention to combines all of these things together. The truth is that the one thing that you need to be focusing on more than anything else is your customer base. Your customers are the only reason that your business is something real and not just another pipe dream and you need to make sure that you’re connecting with them properly. However, that can often be something of a challenge. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do to connect more effectively with your customers.

Understanding them

The first thing that you have to understand when it comes to making sure that you’re connecting with your customers is that you have to understand who your customers actually are. There are plenty of great businesses that come up with incredibly effective marketing techniques that still end up failing because they haven’t actually figured out their demographic. This isn’t just a matter of knowing the vague age groups or gender of your target audience. You need to be able to understand your target customers well enough that you can create a clear and detailed profile of them. That way you can not only tailor your marketing to them but you can tailor all aspects of your business in such a way that it is going to be as appealing to them as possible.

Understanding the modern landscape

Of course, it’s not just your customers you need to understand, you also need to understand the context that both you and they are in. The most important change that has come about in terms of how businesses and customers relate to one another is that people generally aren’t as receptive to traditional advertising as they might once have been. Not only that but they often actually find more overt and traditional forms of advertising frustrating and distasteful. Ads are skipped at the start of Youtube videos and pop-ups are closed almost instantly. Customers are interested in content in the modern era and you need to be sure that you’re providing them with just that. Just look at the way that a lot of brands are using social media these days. They’re not just advertising their products. They’re talking to people, making jokes, creating an emotional connection that is essential to building a relationship with customers in the modern era.

Embracing new technology

Technology has also played a major part in the way that businesses connect with their customers. The internet and social media are obvious examples of this but there are ways to go beyond that in how you embrace modern technology. Something that allows you to queue up social media posts on sites like Twitter or your business’s blog means that you’re able to keep up with a clear upload schedule while still focusing on other elements of your business. A few weeks is a lifetime online so a service like that is incredibly valuable. A chatbot on your website is also incredibly useful since it lets you automate a degree of your customer service and remove any barrier between your customers and the information and support they need. Check out this bot building resource page for information how to really get the most out of your website. These might not be the biggest changes in the world, but they’re the kinds of things that can make a huge difference.

Going beyond marketing

The idea of the chatbot raises an interesting point in terms of how you might need to change the way that you’re thinking about connecting with your customers. Most of the time this idea is focussed around marketing, which is certainly important. However, it’s also important to understand that your relationship with your customers goes way beyond marketing. You also need to think about the support and customer service that you’re offering at every stage of your customer’s interaction with your business. Otherwise, you’re going to be putting in plenty of effort into bringing in customers, but no effort into keeping them.

Putting in the effort

Speaking of effort. It’s essential to understand that if you want to connect with your customers in a meaningful way, you have to be willing to put the work in. This is not a part of your business that you can set aside until it’s convenient. It’s an integral part of your business from the very start and if you’re not paying it enough attention, you’re going to end up in trouble.

Of course, it’s essential to understand that this is far from the only thing that you have to worry about when it comes to trying to really make your business the best it can possibly be. The reality is that you need to give the same level of care and attention to every single part of your business because if you don’t then you’re going to end up dropping the ball. It can often feel like you’re spinning plates and keeping them all level can be an exhausting challenge. But that’s just the nature of the beast when it comes to running your own business. It’s the choice that you need to be sure of before you dive in for good. You need to be sure that you’re the kind of person who can handle the pressure and challenge that comes with running any kind of business at all.


Ways to Impress a Client On a Business Trip

StrategyDriven Customer Relationship Management Article | Customer Relationships | Ways to Impress a Client On a Business TripHeavy luggage, lost at reception and boozy business dinners are all regular features of hosting a client who has traveled on business. One of the most important features of impressing a client while they’ve made the effort to travel is to keep them entertained while you get to know them. Spending some time talking over a few beers is great for understanding them on a personal level, but wowing them while they’re visiting can also be hugely beneficial to your company.

Don’t just take them to the local bar

If your client would really just prefer to sit in a comfy chair and drink a few beers, then perhaps take them to a quiet bar downtown. However, if they’re really interested in seeing what your town or city has to offer, take them to a restaurant that will show them you’re keen to offer them a high-quality experience. Something such as a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant will not only offer them some impressive cuisine, but also show them a good time too.

Show them the sights of the city

Does your city have an infamous opera house? A beautiful set of gardens? Changing up where you chat to your clients about business not only gives them some mental respite, but also shows them that you hope they come and visit you again. You want them to get the sense you’re proud to have them in your home city. This also offers another chance to entertain your guests for the evening and make their work vacation have a greater focus on the vacation part.

Show them the best of your country

Some clients haven’t just traveled from one state to the other, they may have traveled from Europe or Asia, and they might be hoping to see a little more of the United States than just your board room. If you’re desperate to win this client’s approval, then showing them the best the US has to offer is a flashy way of keeping them impressed. Taking them to see the all American sights of Texas, by using a specialized transport service, can be key.

You can do this by searching for private jet charters Dallas. This will bring your company one step closer to impressing your international client, and the client one step closer to seeing a real cowboy. It’s even said that doing something silly or fun will lighten the mood and make everyone feel that little bit closer to their colleagues.

Offer them a souvenir to remind them of the trip

At the end of Local Hero, the most poignant moment is when the American lead character takes out a handful of sea shells that remind him of Scotland. Leaving them with something small and significant to place in their luggage that will hopefully remind them of the good time spent with your company, and leave them wanting more.

Clients on executive travel might be keen to be impressed, but they’re also a tired traveler. Finding activities that bring out the human and less of the business person will make the trip not only memorable for them, but also for your team.