Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

Rigerous Robust Communication – part 2 July 26, 2013

Filed under: Ideas,Resources,Strategy — Carla Bobka @ 8:38 am
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The last post was an intro to the communication plan we have with my client. In addition to the weekly update I send out (see Rigorous Robust Communication – Part 1), each of my team send a weekly summary for the programs they own.


The client program owners aren’t on the Weekly Update distribution I send out. So the Weekly Program Summary is their consistent communication tool. These summaries drill down in more detail so program owners have a snapshot of the week for their business all in one spot.  Similar to the Weekly Update, it’s written so the client can distribute it upward in their organization. And we’ve found many of them use it to launch their week and prioritize open topics they want moved forward.


Weekly Program Summary Format

Currently we manage 7 programs. Each is assigned an owner within our client services team. All of client services work on each throughout the week. The owner is responsible for getting the summary out every Friday.

Distribution list: program owner, contract manager, ops team, me, my boss, the rest of the client services team, call center team.


  • major events of the week for that program
  • key weekly volumes – orders and revenue
  • items we are waiting on from the customer, and what is held up until that thing arrives
  • items we owe the customer, with target delivery date
  • open quality issues that need attention from the client’s QA rep
  • project updates, and % complete


Initially my team balked at the extra work. They insisted the client already knew everything that would go into the summary. And they are right, the client knows about all of it, there are no surprises. However, what they know is scattered across 200 or so emails throughout the week. The weekly summary puts it all at their finger tips. It’s like we are doing the organizing for them.


My team is on board now, they send them out on Friday like clockwork. The positive feedback from the client helped with buy-in. Now they get it. And the clients rely on it. One program manager was leaving on vacation. On our weekly call she told us, “Don’t copy me on any emails while I’m gone. Just send me the Friday summary, that will get me up to speed.” That’s high praise for a simple tool.


15 Minutes of Fame for AmEx OPEN Big Break Finalists July 7, 2011


Despite the fun and excitement of the American Express OPEN Facebook Big Break finalist announcements, the work of running the business HAS to go on. Take a look at the Facebook newsfeed from Distinctive Gardens.


These are the moments you stretch as a business owner. Yeah, that can leave a mark.


Lisa typically man’s the Distinctive Garden Facebook page. She is getting a baptism by fire being Social Media Community Manager for a Facebook Page that has grown by 40% in 24 hours. Look at her post, she’s nearly overwhelmed at trying to keep up with the posts.


And look at the post about the event invite they did. It invited people to vote for them and to share the invite with their friends.  7000 invites in 3 1/2 hours. Wild.


Keeping up and running the business


Notice also the post from Laura, her wedding reception is at Distinctive Gardens Pavilion on Saturday. The wheels can’t come off, or Laura gets the day of her life overshadowed by a contest.


Correction: It’s not Laura’s wedding reception. She’s a guest. The newlyweds are Trisha and Zach Arquilla.


What do you think happens next? What do you think they should do next? Drop you ideas/suggestions in comments.





Negative Post Planning March 2, 2011


Fun and Cheap – Foursquare & Gowalla September 23, 2010

Filed under: Ideas — Carla Bobka @ 8:16 pm
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Rewards can get expensive as Foursquare and Gowalla increase in popularity. And early adopter businesses are finding loyalty is higher when there’s intrinsic value to the reward rather than it being a free trinket or drink. Intrinsic stuff is harder to think of.

Let’s build a list of fun, cheap ideas to reward players and drive face-to-face interaction with the business.

You get real bang when your reward is creative and unexpected. That’s also the best way to keep it low-budget.

Ideas so far:
  • A law firm specializing in real estate can give away a gift card to users who have checked in 10 times. The realtors who check in frequently gets the card, and they use as closing gift to clients. Here’s a possibility to help the new homeowner decorate with advice from a pro.
  • Every 10th person who checks-in gets a free drink. (Especially great if you are NOT a bar or restaurant)
  • Every Mayor gets their picture taken for the “Mayor Hall of Fame.” (the wall behind your cash register)
  • The Mayor has duties – she gets to pick the music played in the lobby. New Mayor, new playlist. Post a sign “Our Foursquare Mayor selected these tunes.”

Let’s build a big list. Add your ideas to the comments section. If you need an idea for your business, leave that in comments and we’ll take a swing at coming up with something fun.


Form Letters Are Not Enough Anymore September 14, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Carla Bobka @ 12:03 am
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Thank you very kindly... form letter disappoints

"Thank you very kindly..." form letter disappoints

Dear Tuttorosso Spaghetti Sauce,
Thank you for the coupon for a free jar of sauce. As the letter enclosed with the gift does not specify, I assume buying the sauce again will answer the question presented in my original email. As you know, from that email, my family only eats smooth sauce. Your sauce has been meeting that requirement AND tastes great. We love it.

Except for the last time we bought it; it was chunky. My kids don’t eat chunky.

The purpose for my initial correspondence was to inquire as to whether I had purchased the wrong variety or if you had changed the recipe. You asked me for a great deal of specific information about the jar in question before I allowing the email to be sent via your website. UPC code, batch number, manufacturing site, size of jar, store purchased and city/state/zip. I presumed you would use those details to address my specific concern.

The form letter I received with the coupon did not reference my question at all, in fact it doesn’t mention anything about me or my experience. It only talks to me about you and what you want me to know about your company. I had a question about the sauce I used to enjoy.

By sending me the coupon I assume you have fixed the problem. With the coupon for the free jar, least I won’t be out $3.69 if my family won’t eat it.

Best Regards,