Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are Corporate Gifts on Your List This Season?

The holiday season is upon us – ready or not.  Each day our mailbox (and inbox) is stuffed with catalogs, coupons, and reminders from gift retailers and holiday card vendors.  And while we will choose to procrastinate just a little bit longer, many of you have already made your gift-buying decisions.  Industry statistics, as well as our own research study targeting businesses, show that corporate gifts are planned for and approved in October/early November.  Some motivators for early ordering are price discounts, free gifts and other special offers.  And I think those incentives will prove even more meaningful in today’s bleak economy.  Do you still plan on giving corporate gifts this year? 

 Food gifts are becoming increasingly more popular.  Why?  Because they can be easily shared with others, are well-received by all, offer flexible price points, and allow you to share something you like. 

According to a recent study, the corporate gift market was valued at $7.7B with food gifts at $2.5 B and growing, representing one-third of the overall corporate gift market.

 This year we will continue our tradition of sending gifts to our customers and vendors.  Being marketing professionals, we are sometimes extra critical when evaluating our shopping experience. But for what it’s worth, here’s our list of must-haves for any e-commerce site looking to grab a slice of this year’s holiday pie:

  • Site has to be easy to navigate
  • Once we find what we want, it has to be easy to buy.  Sounds like a no-brainer, but unfortunately not everyone complies!
  • Has to be easy to order an item for multiple recipients
  • Provide an order history so gifts can be reordered for past recipients with minimal hassle
  • Ability to send personalized message
  • Satisfaction guarantee
  • Good customer service

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Customer Satisfaction and Profits

For many years the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has been used as input for a model developed by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. One of the interesting findings from the model is that there is a high positive correlation between the ASCI index and the market performance of individual company's stock. The conclusion is that consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations for product performance and service drives profits because of strengthened loyalty. This is not a new idea, but it is interesting to see it actually statistically proven.

Are you measuring and tracking customer satisfaction? You may think your customers are all very happy, and will remain loyal, but perception is not always reality. If you do not have a system in place to formally track and trend customer satisfaction, then you are missing opportunities.

Here is a short list of benefits:

  • Identification and importance-ranking of the issues that lead to customer defection
  • Ability to measure progress on initiatives put in place
  • Greater understanding of needs by key customer segment
  • Capturing specific and actionable feedback
  • Getting more candid input through a third-party
  • Learning how to capture more of a customer's requirements

Bottom line: Ask for feedback.  Listen.  Be prepared to take action. Repeat.

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