Blog

January 2013 - PS Insights

HELP

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We recently called a customer service line for help—and were told there was a 2-hour wait. A 2-hour wait on a help line is not a help line. The company is fortunate we’re not naming names here. Give your customer service line a call one day and see what your customers are experiencing. Is it serving your customers or doing your brand a colossal disservice?

WHO DECIDES?

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Avis recently killed their 50-year-old tagline, “We Try Harder” and replaced it with “It’s Your Space.” From a consumer oriented promise to a double entendre about parking? Really? Was there a survey that showed consumers hated the original line? Or one that said 100% of the target audience knew the line? (An excellent reason NOT to drop it.) Oops, see if this sounds familiar: they changed ad agencies. How do you protect—or  sacrifice—your long term equities?

BOOK IT!

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Getting published today is both easier and more difficult than ever. More difficult if you want to go the classic print route. Easier if you want to self-publish. We’ve done both. Each has its trade-offs. One gets you wider distribution; the other delivers you a bigger profit margin. The exciting dynamic is that there are more ways to bring content to the marketplace than ever before. What are the many ways you go to market?

HIGHER-THAN-USUAL CALL VOLUME

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What a euphemism for “we don’t have as many Customer Service Representatives as we need.” Over the years we’ve noticed that no matter what day of the week, time of the day or season of the year that we call our local phone or cable company, we always get a message saying, “We’re experiencing higher-than-usual call volume.” What a depressing message. We much prefer “Your wait time will be x-x minutes.” We’re not interested in their problem, we’re interested in knowing how soon our problem will be addressed.

A NOVEL APPROACH

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Paul just read a novel with footnotes. It seemed a mixed metaphor, but it won the Pulitzer Prize. Paul thought it was pretentious. The critics thought it was brilliant. We’ll give them this. It was novel for a novel. Changing the game, pushing the form and doing the unexpected to established practices can produce huge results. How do you challenge your status quo to reach new heights?

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION

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When your computer doesn’t start up, do you decide the hard drive has crashed—or do you look to see if it’s plugged in? Don’t assume the sky is falling or it’s the end of the world. The solution may be simple. Trouble shoot the obvious fixes – whether it’s your computer, your business or your relationships. It will help you manage or mitigate stress and crisis. And your balanced approach to problem-solving will likely save you time, money and aggravation.

WRITE IT DOWN

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How many good ideas do you have every day? How many of them do you forget because you haven’t written them down? One of the fundamental tips we give young employees starting out in business is to always carry pen and paper (or digital device) to take notes. No matter how senior you get, don’t forget the fundamental discipline of writing stuff down. Who knows, something from one of your lists, your scribbles, or your nascent ideas could possibly turn into a $ multi-million sensation!

UNINSTALL/REINSTALL

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How do you solve a problem? Our recent experience with some techies revealed their preferred solution was to wipe our computer – to uninstall everything and reinstall. The best doctors don’t remove every organ to repair a problem. Care, consideration and kid gloves make the difference between radical surgery and inspired solutions. Where do your sensitivities lie in fixing problems delicately?

MAGIC TRICKS

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We always want to know “how did they do that?” Truth be told, we don’t really want to know how a magic trick was performed. The answer is always such a letdown. Magic is magic because it defies and delights the imagination. In showmanship and in marketing, let the show dazzle and the audience appreciate. Do you really want to know how everything is accomplished? Or would you rather enjoy the show and profit from the joy of the experience?

BEST IN CLASS

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Last week we posted a blog about “Chain Pizza,” and asked the rhetorical question, “What’s Best In Class for pizza?” One of our readers commented that “Best In Class is an overused phrase that should be tossed in the same place as an empty, used pizza box.” Good observation. There are so many ways to measure “best” (JD Power & Associates notwithstanding) that it truly is a meaningless term. How do you measure quality and in how many ways?