How We Gained Over $600,000 In Customer Referrals In Five Easy Steps


When we first started Praiseworthy it was extremely difficult to get the word out about the product. Individual Feedback Management was not something that already existed, so we had to educate people about how the product enhances the connection between customer service and employee motivation.  It wasn’t an easy sell because it changed the way business owners think about their customers and employees.

In 2014, our first year of business, it was tough to get even one paying customer. I was working as a model on the side to pay the bills. There were times when I took sales call between shots, dolled-up in an insane amount of make-up and curlers. Luckily prospects had no idea this was happening, and I definitely made sure not to do video conferencing!

While juggling this crazy lifestyle, we tried everything to market ourselves: telemarketing, Google AdWords, nurture campaigns, postcards, posters, stickers — you name it, we probably tried it! Despite our efforts, sales were tough and pretty stagnant for most of 2014. It is hard for a new company with a totally new idea to build trust with new prospects. Apparently there is a lot of noise out there, and prospects had been jaded in the past with products that did not work for them. It was almost impossible to engage or educate prospects through cold outreach.

After nine months of incessantly pounding the pavement, and failing 99.99% of the time, we finally convinced two Verizon dealers to try out Praiseworthy. These two authorized retailers represented fifty total store locations for us. They fell in love with Praiseworthy’s ability to increase their Net Promoter Scores and motivate their employees. We were able to leverage their testimonials and their network of referrals to get meetings with other wireless retail agents and owners. Before we knew it, we had reached what the founder of the first Software-as-a-Service company, Paul Graham, refers to as “ramen profitability”. At that point, my co-founder and I could afford to focus on Praiseworthy full-time.

Since that time, we have been able to generate over $600,000 in revenue through customer referrals, and are now growing an average of 5% per month, through customer referrals alone. We are by no means “crushing it”, but it is nice to know that we can reliably expect to grow an average of 5% per month through customer referrals alone.

In this post, I will share with you the five steps you can follow to ensure that you and your team can steadily generate referrals from promoters of your business.

Before reading further I must warn you that in order for this process to succeed, you MUST already:

  • Offer stellar customer service to your customers and build great rapport in your interactions with those clients
  • Offer a great product or service

If you already offer the two items above, you are good to go! Now let’s get to the juicy stuff!

1.  Get To An “Aha” Moment As Quickly As Possible

My full understanding of the importance of “aha” moments came when I was invited to The Walt Disney World Resort last year for a client conference. I have to admit that I was nervous and not super excited. In my head, I was thinking there will be big crowds, complications with travel (getting from the airport to the resort, to the park) and I imagined I would most likely encounter an overwhelmed and untrained staff bogged down by high foot traffic. After all, Disney World receives 20 million visitors per year.

My experience was the opposite of what I expected. From the moment I arrived at the resort, the attendants were unbelievably helpful, friendly and upbeat. Signs, processes, and systems were clear, concise and efficient. Within ten minutes of arriving, I had an “aha” moment with the Disney brand. Their amazing staff and streamlined processes were designed for rapid intake of large conference groups. They went out of their way to make the visitor experience memorable. Not only did I enjoy my stay there, but I also had the urge to come back again in the future. By the time the conference was over, I couldn’t believe how easy and relaxing my business trip had been! And that is a memory that still impacts me today — so much so that I wrote two whole paragraphs about it!

Just like my experience at Disney World, we try to create that “aha” moment from the first interaction with potential Praiseworthy clients. That is why we do something counter-intuitive on our introductory call with prospects. On the first call, we don’t try to sell Praiseworthy. Instead, depending on the size of their business, we offer up to 3,000 surveys to be sent for them, for free! Access to our dashboard is free. Onboarding is free. No hidden costs. No smoke and mirrors. No tricks up our sleeve. We call it our Free Feedback Analysis. Our goal is to work with the prospect through their buying process, tailoring each survey and product feature around their individual needs, reviewing the results with them, and making sure that they are the right fit for Praiseworthy as a client.

And this gamble pays off! We discovered that adding this “aha” moment to each prospect’s buying process not only shortened our sales cycle by almost half, but it also brought our close rate up to 84%! That is, for all prospects who decide to have 3,000 surveys sent out for free, 84% move forward with Praiseworthy. Now that is the power of an “aha” moment! When we show clients the value of how much customer feedback comes through, and we show them how to drill-down to evaluate each individual front-line associate, it “wows” them. From that moment on, they know they need Praiseworthy to succeed in their daily business.

This concept can apply to any product or service you offer. You most likely do not run a resort like Walt Disney, or make an Individual Feedback Management platform like Praiseworthy, but you can find a way to quickly get your prospects to a magical “aha” moment. This is one of the keys to increasing your customer referrals because, the sooner you bring that “aha” moment into the buying process, the sooner you can mention your referrals program, which brings us to Step Two.

2Build A Strong Referral Program With A Fair Incentive

When asking for referrals it’s important to offer some kind of incentive to thank clients for taking time out of their day to refer you to a colleague. At Praiseworthy, we offer a cash discount for every client referral that moves forward with our product. We have some clients who have referred up to five colleagues, so they have received hundreds of dollars off of their invoices. The program is a win-win for both parties.

Note that the incentive program should be built and structured around the price of your product/service. According to referralcandy.com, a popular website focusing on implementing referral programs, “If your product costs more than $100, cash discounts sound more impressive. If your product costs less than $100, then a percentage discount sounds more impressive.” Be sure to make note of this when building your program, and pick the most pragmatic process for your business.

Courtesy of referralcandy.com

3.  Ask For Referrals Right At That “Aha” Moment

With Step One you’ve figured out how to get customers to that “aha” moment ASAP. The great thing about getting customers to that “aha” moment as soon as possible is that it brings trust into your relationship early in the sales cycle, even before you convert the prospect to a customer. Right after the first introductory call we recommend measuring the Net Promoter Score (NPS). You can measure both their interest in your product and their trust in your company by asking the question, “Would you recommend us to a friend?”

If they give you a rating of 9 or 10 it indicates a strong enough interest to use your next touch-point as an opportunity to ask for recommendations of other people who might benefit from your product or service.

4. Ask For Referrals At Multiple Touch-Points With Your Prospects And Clients

When I ask for a referral, I don’t always get a name right away. It may take a couple of weeks or even several months. The referral is usually triggered when the prospect or client is talking to a colleague that has a customer-facing team of ten people or more. Most of our prospects and clients are CEO’s or business owners who are very busy with multiple projects. It can take months to get an introduction. You have planted the seed with your first request at the “aha” moment, and you have to give that seed time to grow. The next time your prospect runs into someone who could be a good fit for your product or service, they are aware that there is a good referral program in place, so they refer their colleagues to your business.

Click here to see the script we use to ask for referrals. It’s based on clients leaving a rating of 9 or 10 on our Individual Feedback Management platform.

5. Send A Handwritten Thank You Note

This is the final step, the icing on the cake. This step is not for the faint of heart! This is not scalable. It is not efficient. It is not what is preached in our modern “automation nation”. Because of that trend, this step can really help you stand out from the pack. It is a great way to forge human relationships, showing your clients how much you care. According to the Harvard Business Review, “The average home only received a personal letter once every seven weeks in 2010, down from once every two weeks in 1987.” In a world where the average person receives over 100 emails and 100 texts per day, a handwritten note is a great way to go above and beyond for your customers, demonstrating how much you value your relationship with them.

When a client is first brought on to Praiseworthy, I take this old fashioned step because I know how much impact it can have. I send them a handwritten thank you card, thanking them for their business, along with a flyer about our referral program. On top of that, I also send a note to the person who gave me the referral, letting them know how grateful I am for their effort. People are busy. When a client takes the time out of their day to provide a referral, I am extremely thankful. I work very hard to create a personalized thank you message. Over 90% of our growth has been through referrals. They are our company’s key to success, so we are especially appreciative to the executives that take time out of their day to promote us through their network.

I’ve spent a long time writing these custom thank you notes. To see an example of one of the latest thank you notes I sent out, click here.

 

 

 

The One Question Successful Managers Aren’t Afraid To Ask

At Praiseworthy, our first sales call with a new prospect always starts with the same question.  This one simple question can predict employee retention.  It exposes each employee’s happiness in their role.  It gives us a sense of their relationships with their superiors.  It even indicates how they view their individual efforts as contributing factors to the company’s success.  When we ask this question, we find out if team members love their company, or if they are counting the minutes until their work day ends.

The answer to this question helps us qualify our prospects.  Rapid, energetic responses tell us everything we need to know about the company’s culture.  As everyone on the team fires-off answers, they are really reflecting their company’s core values.

The opening slide from our introductory call deck is shown below.

Company Culture

What Do You Love About Your Job?

Anyone working for a great company with a stellar company culture usually answers this question without the need for deep thought.  And the answers involve serving people.  They love the people they work with, and we usually discover that many of the people on the call have been at the company for over a decade.  They feel good about their work because they know they are serving their customers by meeting their real needs.  These companies tend to see a significant percentage of sales from repeat and referral business.  They grow because the customer-facing team is passionate about great service.  Here’s how some of Praiseworthy’s clients answer the question:

Praiseworthy Employee Reviews

Hearing responses like these makes me delighted for the companies we work with; they are making thousands of people happy every day, and that’s what life is all about.  Their employees love the companies they represent and they love serving their customers.  We see it in their Praiseworthy reviews and we hear it in the initial introductory call.

Why did your team come to work today? Their answers reflect a lot about your #companyculture Click To Tweet

When You Hear Crickets Chirping, It’s Time To Wake Up

Most of the time we get great answers to this question from amazing business leaders such as the ones above.  But there have been some awkward moments with other companies that seem to be struggling to build a great company culture.  If the members on the call are silent when we ask this question – if we can hear crickets chirping in the background – it is a reliable indicator that the company might only be giving lip-service to the idea of having a customer-focused company culture.  Sometimes it seems like employees just repeat whatever they think their bosses want them to say.  Their answers lack the passion that we hear when the responses are genuine.

Happy Workplace
Drawing by Liz Ryan of Human Workplace from her 2014 LinkedIn Influencer Post

Unfortunately, even great software such as Praiseworthy cannot fully turn-around a company on its own.  The leaders in the company need to work together to change the organization.  To accomplish meaningful change, business leaders need to do these two things:

Company Values

 

 

From there, tools like Praiseworthy can help measure and reinforce the behaviors that you want your front-line employees to model to your customers.

Dare To Ask The Question, And Don’t Be Afraid of The Answer

Although changing a company’s culture sounds like a really difficult task, you need to start somewhere.  Asking the question “What do you love about your job?” can help you see what areas of the workplace and which tasks are loved most by your staff.  From there you can take baby-steps to nurture employees, identifying which personalities fit best with your company values, and then retaining or adding employees from that foundation.

The author of the best-selling book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown, believes that companies should adopt a “hire slow, fire fast” mentality.  In an article for Harvard Business Review, Greg wrote:

“Trying to force someone to be something they are not is neither sustainable nor humane. It doesn’t serve people to keep them in the wrong role, giving them the same negative feedback week after week, month after month, year after year.”

Building a great company culture can be a tough task, requiring continual commitment to the goal.  But it has significant big picture rewards.  In an article for LinkedIn, legendary General Electric CEO and founder of the JWMI MBA program, Jack Welch noted the ripple effect of keeping hiring standards tight:

“Talent has an uncanny way of attracting other talent. . . . And that launches a virtuous cycle.  The best team attracts the best team, and winning often leads to more winning.  It’s a ride that you and your people will never want to get off.”

You can get started on the journey to building a great company culture by asking your employees this one simple question:  What do you love about your job?  The answers will provide you with tons of insight on the areas you need to address.  At the end of the day, we all want to work within a great company culture where passionate employees are empowered to fulfill the company’s vision of customer service.

Passionate About Our Jobs

My name is Misa Chien, and I am the COO and Co-Founder of Praiseworthy.  If you would like to read more on employee engagement and company culture, you can follow me here.  At Praiseworthy, we built our software with the goal of making it easier to monitor and measure how well your employees represent your company’s vision for customer service.  You can learn more about our solution here.

 

Does Automation Make Us Happier?

Will the future of automation look as Wall-E predicted? (Courtesy: Disney/Pixar)

Automation Is Taking Over

Automation is dominating the news today.  You can now get Alexa to order an Uber or turn off your lights. Forbes estimates that self driving cars could take over by 2040. Personal assistant AI companies are launching regularly, trying to build that connection between AI and humans. Supposedly, this automation will make us happier. It proposes to make life easier, allowing us to focus on the important things.

But another question we need to ask ourselves is: What will our purpose be once everything in our lives is automated? Ordering a book, buying diapers or changing the music in your living room may just be the beginning of automation taking over our lives. When we have self driving cars, personal AI assistants, and other more complex AI solutions replacing jobs and our more challenging tasks – will that finally allow us to focus on the present, and be happier?

Conan O’Brien recently joked about our new dependence and interest in automation. Although a joke, he addresses a genuine concern – will automation make us feel better about ourselves? Will it make us happier? He seems to think not.

 

Miswanting + Automation:  We’re Forever Wanting Badly

As more research is being done on this subject, we are finding the opposite – that automation does not free us up for more meaningful and fulfilling work. In fact, according to a study done by social psychologists Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson, we don’t know what actually makes us happy and is good for us. Instead, we choose paths that make us unhappy and shun paths that actually fulfill us. This act is called mis-wanting. We think we want self-driving cars so we can accomplish more things while commuting to work. We think mobile devices make us more in-touch, but we end-up interacting with the device instead of engaging the people around us. We think ordering a cup of coffee through Alexa will give us a sense of accomplishment. We think if we automate more at work, that will free our stress, and take more weight off of our back, making our own jobs more routine and less challenging.

However, studies find that the end-goal of automation actually promotes the act of mis-wanting. In a study conducted by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, over 100 workers were asked to monitor their day-to-day activities and happiness. He had them document in detail their tasks, interactions and emotions. He was very surprised by what he discovered.

While working, employees felt “fulfilled and happy,” whereas on their leisure time they felt “bored and anxious.”  This was surprising – wouldn’t leisure time make us happier, since we would enjoy the aspect of not having responsibility?

However, it turned out that wasn’t true. If we automate more and more within our daily lives, we could be gearing ourselves more and more toward disappointment; to being unhappy and unfulfilled with less responsibility, instead of having a purpose and drive behind our daily life.

Where will our feeling of accomplishment, hard work, and purpose go, when technology does everything for us?

Automation Cannot Create Happiness

Contrary to popular belief and what social media, ads, and society even tell us, difficult and challenging tasks are actually what we love and what we live for – they give us purpose, and make us feel a sense of accomplishment.

According to Csikszentmihalyi’s research, focusing on these challenging tasks, including anything from making the perfect cup of coffee to building the complex formula for your business plan projections, can bring us into a meditative “flow” that allows for us to “transcend the anxieties” that plague our everyday lives.

As we build more and more AI and automation tools to replace human interactions, we need to ask ourselves: Will this make us happier? If the answer is unknown, we may need to go back to the drawing board, and find a cohesive path that will get us to a better state of mind.

My name is Misa Chien, and in the Automation vs. Humanity debate, I am pro-human. We have built a platform that enhances human interaction and relationships through technology, rather than replacing it. If you would like to read more on this subject, you can follow me here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brick-And-Mortar Retailer’s Secret To Surviving The Amazon Apocalypse

There is a Change Happening in Retail

Whether we like it or not, the retail economy is changing. Some retailers are shutting their doors and letting go of their staff – especially the major chains. Lowes, Walmart, Wet Seal, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and Sears are being hit hard, and retail employees are paying the price.

Best Buy Employee Reacts to Lay-Off News (Source: Business Insider)

Growth in E-Commerce

All of this change has been caused by a major shift toward e-commerce. Amazon especially has been dominating the news, really rocking the boat in the retail space. In 2015, Amazon generated ~30% of US retail sales growth, selling over $59 billion worth of product. And for a lot of consumers, Amazon is an easy and quick way to get products. With the one-click purchase button, you can get the product you’re looking for quickly, without even needing to enter your credit card information. You don’t need to talk to anyone, and you can get the product you need within a couple days. You even get free shipping if your are an Amazon Prime member.

Source: Bloomberg

What Tactics are Brick-and-Mortars Using to Compete?

Option 1: Match E-Commerce Prices

So, as e-commerce sites like Amazon grow and take up more and more of the market, we ask ourselves – how will brick-and-mortar stores survive? How can these retailers prepare in a way that will allow for them to excel despite this shift in the retail road map?

We see a lot retailers getting creative. Some are looking to price match with Amazon, luring in customers with discounted prices.

Source: The Krazy Coupon Lady

This is a great short-term solution. Retailers can get a huge surge in customers and sales. It definitely grabbed the attention of the Krazy Coupon Lady, who has tens of thousands of bargain-hunting followers. However, in the price-match frenzy, these retailers may decrease their margins, and this tactic doesn’t guarantee that shoppers like the Krazy Coupon Lady will become loyal customers for life. They are more likely to just come for the deal, and then move on to the next great deal.

Option 2: Go All-In on E-Commerce

Other retailers such as Macy’s, are expanding their e-commerce efforts, and downsizing their brick-and-mortar presence. It’s a bold move, and definitely shows a major shift is happening in the retail space.

Source: Business Insider

The Real Secret to Brick-and-Mortar Success

Reading up to here, you might think that shifting more toward e-commerce or price matching looks like a great short-term tactic: simply join the trend of the industry, and follow where everyone else is going, right? There is, however, a huge opportunity at stake, when so many other retailers are shifting to be primarily or only online.

Although the news shows that many brick-and-mortar stores are closing their doors, and there is not much opportunity to be had there, there are many stores that are succeeding, despite this e-commerce trend – some of them even expanding! These survivors are flying under the radar without capturing the daily headlines.

One such example is Sephora. This retailer is famous for their beauty specialists who are ready and willing to help any customer with questions, even if they are only window-shopping. I still remember when I shopped there to find a sunscreen I could wear daily that would blend with my skin type. When I arrived, I didn’t know what to do, and luckily there was a beauty specialist to help. The knowledge of that person and the amount of effort they spent on finding me the right product still stands out to me to this day. From now on, I go to Sephora for most of my beauty needs because, for me, having that great customer experience and working with a knowledgeable employee makes the difference between choosing to shop online versus coming in-person to purchase their products.

Source: Forbes

Nordstrom is another great example of this principle.  While JC Penney and Sears seem to be on their last legs this year, Nordstrom only closed two stores last year. Nordstrom is famous for having impeccable customer service, and for recruiting and training a stellar staff. I have numerous friends who worked there during their high school and college years, and the knowledge and experience they gained are still relevant to their careers. Nordstrom cares about its employees, and its employees love and care for their customers. It is a great company culture that will last, despite this trend toward impersonal e-commerce.

Source: AOL.Finance

Lastly, Apple transformed what was once before a crappy not-so-fun experience (buying hardware) into a fun, cool, and sleek experience. And it is all thanks to the Genius Bar staff, who provide a great customer experience from start to finish. They are one of the factors that put the awesome into the Apple brand.

So what do these great retailers have in common? What trend do we see with these surviving and growing brick-and-mortar stores? One phrase: great people and great customer service.

One thing is for sure – as more and more human interactions get replaced by technology, human interaction in retail will become more and more valuable. People still care about buying and shopping in person, there is just a higher bar of customer service expected than before. Associates need to be more helpful, more knowledgeable, and build even more rapport than ever before. Wouldn’t you rather buy a computer from an upbeat, fun, motivated employee at the Apple store?

The answer might be surprising, but in the end, the secret retailers can use to separate themselves from the e-commerce competition is through one factor: people. 

And even Amazon knows this secret. Amazon is now actually building a retail brick and mortar empire themselves, going back to square 1 of the original industry they disrupted. According to the Fortune article below, they are in the process of building hundreds of “pop-up” brick and mortar locations. They see the power of human interaction, and providing a great customer-service oriented, knowledgeable associate, who can educate a customer on their products. They know that an in-person experience is not something you can get when visiting Amazon online.

Source: Fortune

On one of my favorite shows on TV, The Profit, Marcus Lemonis demonstrates this secret over and over: in-person, human interactions coupled with great customer service sets brick-and-mortar apart from online e-commerce. On the show, Marcus Lemonis continues to emphasis that people determine the success or failure of a business. 

Marcus Limonis

We also see this theme every day through our Praiseworthy Stories. The relationships that their employees build is the secret that is keeping successful brick-and-mortar retailers growing while other companies flee to e-commerce models.

Brandon is an Example of Retail’s Secret Weapon

At Praiseworthy, one of our favorite real-life customer experience stories is represented by Brandon. Brandon is famous for gaining referrals from countless customers who bring their friends and families back into one of Wireless Zone franchise stores year after year. He is their go-to phone guy, and according to his reviews, it doesn’t get better than working with Brandon.

 

 

The keyword from these reviews is in bold and underlined: recommend.  Customers are sharing this secret themselves. They not only say that they loved Brandon’s service, but they want to tell everyone they know how “unbelievably awesome” he is.

And Brandon’s photo says it all. Wouldn’t you rather purchase a phone from Brandon, having a stellar customer experience, while making a friend in the process?

Employees like Brandon are the secret that are keeping retailers in business. As long as retailers work to retain, recognize, and cultivate employees like Brandon, they will have a great advantage in weathering the e-commerce boom.

In the end, human connection and human relationships have existed for millions of years. We are human; we are not robots. Whether we like to admit it or not, we love interacting with each other, building relationships, building a connection– it is what completes our lives on a daily basis. E-commerce has only existed for 20 years. By tapping into the base and heart of humanity – the yearning for us to build a connection – retailers can survive this Amazon Apocalypse, and separate themselves from the competition, becoming a compliment to e-commerce rather than a competitor.

What do you think? Do you think that employees like Brandon will help Brick and Mortar locations succeed?

P.S. If you would like to unlock the power of providing an extraordinary customer experience in your business, we would love to show you how Praiseworthy can transform your employee attitudes and give you insight on customer satisfaction. You can find out more and sign up for a demo here.

Positive Company Culture Doesn’t Just Happen

Positive company culture doesn’t just happen.  It grows from the people that make up your company. That’s why it’s important to think about your attitude, and that of your employees, when building a company.  Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

Don’t Just Hire Anyone

This was something I never realized when previously running Nom Nom Truck, and it took me almost 3 years to figure out this important business lesson.  When we first started the truck, we basically hired anyone who applied – no screening needed.  Anyone could make a sandwich, right?  Boy, were we wrong.  Once we saw employee retention at a much lower level than the average in our industry, and saw that team morale was fairly low, we knew we had to go back to square one, and re-do our hiring process.

Find That Needle In A Haystack

Good thing we learned from our mistakes!  By the last year we were in business, we changed our hiring saying from “anyone can make a sandwich” to “at the end of a shift, a great Nom Nom employee can not only make a great sandwich, but also have a great attitude.”  For one position, we would receive over 100 applicants for each week the ad was up, and we would narrow it down after 2 weeks.  We knew we were looking for a needle in a haystack, and that’s how it always should be.  Nom Nom Truck had shifts that sometimes ran up to 4 hours.  Lines could be over 100 people long.  We would sell out of food and have to tell people waiting for 2 hours that we ran out.  I still remember the last year we were in business – even though our SF team would be under a lot of pressure, the environment would still be a fun place to work, and we got through some tough times together.

At Nom Nom, lines could be 100+ people long. It was integral to build a great team that could work together in difficult situations and overcome any challenges that would arise.

Who Would You Like To Spend 2,080 Hours/Year With?

When we hired Jeff, instead of experience, we hired based off of personality.  For us, grit and humor are key traits we need in every additional member we add to the team.

When I ended Nom Nom Truck, I knew I had to take this hiring lesson to heart when starting my next company.  I applied this same lesson when we made our early hires for Praiseworthy. For example, in engineering, we hired based off of personality, rather than the typical years of experience a standard startup evaluates.  In fact, when hiring our current lead engineer, Jeff, he had only been an engineer for 1 month, having just graduated from App Academy.  Three months earlier, he had never even written a line of code.  Instead of hiring purely based off of skill, we look for hustle, grit and discipline.  We look for a great sense of humor, where it’s okay to be goofy and have fun.  All of these traits are not only transferred into our company culture, but also into our product, and they make up an integral core of Praiseworthy.

As you grow, you must follow this rule because hiring doesn’t necessarily get to be an easier process.  For our most recent position, Head of Growth, we went through over 1,000 applications and it took over 60 days to find the right fit for the position.  It was a lot of work; I wouldn’t say it was always fun, sifting through so many resumes, and interviews.  But if I’m going to spend the majority of my time with someone, you’d better believe that I will pick a stellar person, someone who is not only awesome at their job, but also a fun human being who brings a lot of love to our company and culture.

This focus on company culture has paid off – I absolutely love working with the people on my team every day.  That is only because we search far and wide for that needle in a haystack – the person we’re open to spending 2,080 work hours/year with, and going on the journey of building a company with.  Only through this process can you build a positive company culture you love and a company that thrives – through both the good times and the bad.

What about you?  What do you think about this lesson?  Have you experienced the same lesson when making key hires for your company?  It would be great to get your feedback below.

P.S.  After our experience at Nom Nom Truck and building that company culture, we knew we had to build a tool that measured company culture, so that others had the insights needed to start building a great company culture.  If you are interested in getting a demo of our product, you can find out more here.

The 23-Day Employee Appreciation Challenge

employee appreciation day cover photo

Did you know that March 3 is Employee Appreciation Day? Well, we at Praiseworthy wanted to go the extra mile in celebrating this special occasion, so we came up with the idea to launch a 31-Day Employee Appreciation Challenge! We’re summoning all business owners, C-level executives, and managers to participate and show exactly how much gratitude they have for their staff members.

Challenge accepted? Here’s what you’ll need to do for the next 31 days—starting March 1.

The 23-Day Challenge

Day 1 (March 1): Have Lunch Catered To The Office

Day 2 (March 2): Throw An Employee Appreciation Ceremony

Day 3 (March 3): Give Them A Half-Day Off

Day 4 (March 6): Schedule A Meeting Just To Share Praises From Your Customers

Day 5 (March 7): Host A Taco Tuesday Fiesta

Day 6 (March 8): Celebrate Birthdays And Work Anniversaries

Day 7 (March 9): Invite a Masseuse To The Office

Day 8 (March 10): Have a “Work-From-Home” Day

Day 9 (March 13): Bring Coffee And Donuts For Everyone

Day 10 (March 14): Task Employees With Choosing Work Nicknames For Themselves

Day 11 (March 15): Host An Office Town Hall Meeting

Day 12 (March 16): Post “Thank You” Sticky Notes Around The Office

Day 13 (March 17): Have A Team-Building Meeting

Day 14 (March 20): Give Them A Pass To Come In Late

Day 15 (March 21): Take Your Team Out To Happy Hour

Day 16 (March 22): Switch Places With One Of Your Employees

Day 17 (March 23): Allow Them To Wear Flip Flops

Day 18 (March 24): Have A Pizza Party

Day 19 (March 27): Create A Wall Of Fame

Day 20 (March 28): Fill The Kitchen With Snacks

Day 21 (March 29): Award An Employee With A Day Off

Day 22 (March 30): Send A Massive “Thank You” Email

Day 23 (March 31): Host A Family Day

Your Customer Survey Response Rates Will Soar With These 4 Strategies

customer survey response rate cover photo

Surveys are an excellent tool for getting inside the minds of your prospective and current customers. They crack the code for unsolved mysteries regarding their wants, needs, satisfactions, frustrations, demographics, psychographics, and much more. Additionally, qualitative and quantitative data are like maps for business owners, providing them with guidance for future decisions. 

Remember those days when snail mail and direct interaction were your only options for getting surveys out? Well, thanks to technology, automated online platforms like SurveyMonkey and Typeform give business owners the tools to reach the masses in no time—but it doesn’t end there. Getting responses is what takes legwork. Research shows that 10-15% is the average response rate for customer feedback surveys. Although, there are times when companies exceed those expectations.

You can’t put a survey out and expect your customers to instantly complete it in droves (though that’s always ideal). It’s common for people to skip through, or delete these kinds of requests at first sight. Furthermore, getting them to fill the whole thing out—once they click-through—is another task within itself. 

Continue reading Your Customer Survey Response Rates Will Soar With These 4 Strategies

Fosubo is now Praiseworthy

Fosubo is now Praiseworthy

In September 2013, during the heat of a hackathon, our team had to quickly find an available dot com domain before launching the beta version of our product. At that moment, there was barely any time to think about the vision, let alone the future impact of the product name. We hastily came up with Fosubo — which stands for FOrget the SUggestions BOx.

Fast forward 3 years, Fosubo is now working with thousands of small business locations, helping to ensure millions of happy customers to date. After interviewing hundreds of users to understand exactly what they love the most about our service, one thing is clear — the praise and positive feedback stories brought through our Individual Feedback Management platform is priceless to them. Business owners love reading our daily digest and celebrating their wins every day. Managers love catching employees when they do an amazing job, and using that great customer service as a benchmark for the rest of their team. Front-line employees also love the feeling of purpose in their work by seeing first-hand the positive impact they have in their customers.

Our team has spent the last 6 months brainstorming what name best represents our product.

During customer interviews, the concepts of positive reinforcement, praise, and coaching kept coming up. Users loved that they were getting over 95% positive feedback, since it was so easy for customers to leave a review. Employees loved seeing what a great job they did on a daily basis. Though Individual Feedback Management, managers loved that they could identify their best team members that keep customers coming back again and again.

After much debate and brainstorming over the last 6 months, we have decided to change our name to Praiseworthy. This name represents the way our service helps you celebrate your wins, positively reinforce your team through customer feedback, and train your team through positive customer interactions.

We look forward to helping you build a great customer service culture through Praiseworthy.

We ❤ You,

Misa Chien
CEO & Co-Founder of Praiseworthy

5 Benefits of Customer Feedback

As business owners, managers, or employees, it’s often easy for you to describe what your company offers. We wanted to hear directly from our customers so we recently asked our most frequent users what 5 words they would use to describe Fosubo. The most common answers were as follows:

Informativecompany

Helpful

Efficient

Insightful

Easy

 

To elaborate on the 5 words our users gave us to describe our service, Fosubo can increase your customer retention in several ways:

  • Informative: By gathering unbiased customer feedback, made available in real time. Not only do you get to see the customer’s comments, you also have access to the scores they left for each survey question, along with the location and employee that handled the transaction.
  • Helpful: By giving owners and managers the ability to pinpoint problem areas through this feedback and giving them the ability to reach out to at-risk customers. As discussed in a previous blog, resolving a complaint in a customer’s favor means a probability of them doing business with you again 70% of the time (Lee Resources). Resolving a customer’s complaint also helps prevent negative word of mouth exposure!
  • Insightful: Customizable survey questions let you decide what you want to know most. One such question helped one of our clients boost their sales by an average of 8 extra tablets per store, per month!
  • Efficient: By giving you access to customer feedback, employee rankings, statistics for multiple locations, reporting, email updates and so much more, all on one platform! We can also provide additional reports and charts that pinpoint your customers’ most frequent complaints.
  • Easy: Fosubo gathers all the information you need and it’s all accessible in a user friendly platform.

Do you know a business owner that can benefit from our service? Send us a referral! You’ll get a $100 Visa gift card for everybody you refer that books with us, and they’ll get $100 off their first month’s bill as well! Simply contact us today!

The ROI of Positive Reinforcement and Happy Employees

According to numerous Gallup studies conducted over the past few decades, businesses with happy employees report greater productivity and customer loyalty, in turn leading to higher profitability. They link these outcomes to employee engagement, citing that happy employees show more enthusiasm and work involvement.

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, also concurs, “A decade of research proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements.”

company-profitabilityAs I’ve mentioned in previous blogs in this series, one of the biggest influences on employee happiness is being appreciated and recognized for a job well done. This is what we refer to as Positive Reinforcement. The easiest way to accomplish this is by acknowledging an employee’s efforts and showing sincere appreciation for the work that they do. When an employee feels valued, they are more likely to work even harder and aspire to offer exceptional service.

With so many studies reported to substantiate all of this, why is it that it’s almost impossible to find products or services out there to easily implement it? With the help of Fosubo, we make it possible to easily gather your customer feedback and display it in real time onto our platform, enabling your entire organization and employees to receive instant recognition and gratification for a job well done. This also gives managers the opportunity to reach out to customers who have had a negative experience and try to retain the customer’s loyalty. As Bryce Neeley, VP of Sales at Diamond Wireless puts it, “With Fosubo it’s amazing how quickly we can react to recognize employees for a job well done, provide coaching if there is a problem and reach out to save customers.”

What smart and savvy business owner does not want to increase their sales and profitability, and truly know first-hand what their customers are thinking? Fosubo does all the legwork for you! If you’d like to find out more, please contact us today!