Ensure you're getting in-the-moment data; Don't settle for a delay. 

It seems like everyone is constantly checking their email on their smartphone; Should I try to take advantage of this by emailing my survey or form to my audience? Surprisingly, no. It's not likely that you'll get your target to take immediate action when using email as a delivery method.

Computer vs Mobile Statistics for Daily Email CheckingWhen sending out a survey to customers via email, don’t expect an immediate response. Mobile usage stats have shown that 6% of people are more likely to use their computer to check email daily than those who use their smartphone to check their inbox on a daily basis*. So, make sure you account for a delayed response time when you're using email to send surveys or forms since many respondents won't act on your email until they're on their computer. This delay can also be exacerbated if your email doesn't display well on a smartphone email app. Since 80% of consumers finds reading marketing emails on their mobile less easy than on a PC**, they may be more likely to wait to read your email until they can access it on a computer.

What can I do to avoid the delay in response time? Try to get the participant to take the survey or fill out the form on-location. Utilize surveys and forms that your participants can access easily and quickly on their own, or provide a mobile device to take the survey or form before they leave your establishment. This will shorten the time lapse between the call-to-action and response and ensure you're not missing out on valuable feedback details that may be forgotten or seem irrelevant to mention by respondents taking the survey after the fact. Consider placing a mobile device to take the survey or fill out your form at a reception desk, hostess stand, or at the registers or front counter, depending on your type of business. You could even consider adding the survey delivery to part of your service procedure and have employees bring it to your customers when they get the check or pay their bill. The quicker they take the survey, the quicker you get the results and can ensure you have the opportunity to take action in a timely manner. Sources: *Google, Our Mobile Planet, July 2013 **Email Monday, Mobile Email Usage Statistics, 2013

 

Ask, and you shall receive. (Feedback)

Why is it so important to ask the customer about their experience before they finish their transaction or leave the premises? You don't want customers to leave unhappy and under the impression that you're aloof or unsympathetic to their complaints or concerns.

Customer Experience Negative Reaction Take Action95% of customers have taken action as the result of a bad experience. Here's what they did and why:

  • 79% of customers who received a bad customer experience told others about it.

  • 24% said they wanted to see if the company would take an action as a result.

  • 55% said they wanted to vent their anger.

It’s crucial to ask customers for feedback on their experience in the moment because it gives you the opportunity to reconcile any issues identified by the customer immediately. If you receive the feedback while the customer is still on-location, you'll be able to demonstrate your dedication to ensuring a positive customer experience. Show customers you are genuinely concerned about any mishaps or problems they encountered during their visit by taking action in direct response to their feedback.

By directly asking customers for their feedback, you’ll be alleviating their need to vent and possibly tell their friends in-person or vocalize their distaste online. *Source: Graphic and Statistics; Harris Interactive, RightNow, TechCrunch, Satmetrix, SNL Kagan

 

Create a timeless call-to-action. 

Is there a way to provide a call-to-action that is effective for each of my customer segments?

Create Timeless CTA GuideOf course! If possible, it’s best to have targeted CTAs for each of your customer segments. Breaking down your target audience into specific categories, such as generations, allows your message to easily understood by every customer.

Even if your customer audience is widely spread across generations, or you don’t have the capability to provide different versions of instructions to each generation, don’t worry. You can provide a seamless experience for every generation of customer by ensuring that each call-to-action provides the motivation and the means for all of your customers to complete your surveys.

Often times, you will notice the widest separation between the oldest and the youngest generation of customers when it comes to preferences in the level of detail and length of communications. Thus, if you know the mean and median age of your customers, you'll be able to create a universal call-to-action that will take into account the needs of all your customers.

 

Educate your team.

Incorporate On The Spot Systems® into your training process, making it a fundamental to the daily routine, as opposed to an add-on. This will dramatically increase the likelihood your surveys are completed correctly, and you receive the data you need.

Menu Testing Survey ExampleMake location-specific data work harder for all of your locations.

When you use a location based menu testing platform like ours, you can identify patterns in different markets across the county. Whether you operate a large franchise organization or just a few units, get close to your customers on a location-to-location basis. If you don't, you're losing out on valuable insights that can guide you towards a new approach that will throw the "one size fits all" menu type out the window. Get accustomed to accepting feedback and critiques of your menu items at the local level- don't worry if the aggregate national data doesn't show much. For example, if customers in Idaho think the new pasta dish is too salty, and customers in Maine think the dish could use a little more salty richness, don't average the two together and decide not to change the dish. Use the local menu testing feedback to better inform the chef and staff at each location how they should adjust the dish to be more appealing to the market where their customers live. Read our full article "How National Franchisor Brands Can Market & Test Regional Menus"

Plan when to use it: Consider your industry.

Clearly define the right time for participants to take your survey; understanding their routine will increase the odds they’ll complete the process. This timing varies on which industry you’re in.  In our experience, engaging larger groups (like a conference) is most effective at the very beginning or end of the event, when attention is least likely to be elsewhere. Likewise, capturing a participant’s attention when they first encounter a product is a great way for product/market researchers to ensure their surveys are completed. We suggest these clients use a custom QR code (which can be placed directly on the packaging) to initiate their survey.

 

Be prepared for high customer expectations during holiday seasons. 

Why are consumer expectations so important to monitor over the holiday season? Expectations tend to be much higher for consumers during the holiday season, because the best thing they are getting out of the transaction is the customer experience your brand has to offer. Take extra care to be ready to deal with the heightened expectations of holiday shoppers.

Customer Expectations Rise with the Holiday SeasonRemember, during the holiday gift-giving season, the buyer is usually not the end consumer, so they will likely never get to enjoy their purchase at your business. When the customer experience is all the buyer has to reflect upon after visiting your business, it’s crucial to ensure that your company can understand and meet their expectations and needs.

If you’re worried about how to address these higher expectations, consider using a survey to both collect feedback on the regular in-store experience and also, ask customers what they think is the most important thing in the holiday shopping season. This can help you understand where to focus your attention to address the consumer’s concerns: is it timeliness of checkout, getting extra savings on gift sets, or even free gift-wrapping?

Will I know if changes made based on survey feedback have improved the customer experience? Yes. If you utilize customer nurturing and loyalty programs as a platform to offer rewards or coupons to customers taking feedback surveys in store, you should strive for an increase in Net Promoter Score to benchmark customer satisfaction and loyalty. And, you can rest assured that customers who have a happy, holly, and jolly experience at your company amidst the holiday hustle and bustle will come back next year too!

 

Help your employees be the hero of the holiday season.

Are your employees ready for the holiday season?  Are you getting enough feedback from your employees on their training? Ensure every employee feels prepared for the holiday rush, and the extra expectations of holiday shoppers. In this case, surveying your employees will actually help you increase your customer satisfaction scores.

Help Employees Deliver Their Best Customer Service during the Holiday SeasonAre you getting enough feedback from your employees on their training? Ensure every employee feels prepared for the holiday rush, and the extra expectations of holiday shoppers. In this case, surveying your employees will actually help you increase your customer satisfaction scores. According to research conducted by Deloitte, Americans who prefer to do their shopping in a physical store believe that knowledgeable sales associates can actually make their shopping experience better. Help your employees be the hero this holiday season. Your customers will remember the interactions they’ve had with your employees, and rely on their expertise to help them make gift-giving decisions. Make sure your employees feel like experts.

Consider kicking your training up a notch. Also, make sure to communicate effectively so employees are aware of all the resources available to help. Consider sending out weekly emails with common holiday season FAQ's, suggestions for gift pairings, and if possible, host a pre-holiday party so your more experienced employees can help newer employees feel prepared and excited for the season.

Build and monitor employee confidence. Create a survey that asks questions that you think employees will be likely to get from customers this holiday season. Include a few questions that will ask employees to provide recommendations based on a particular age and price range of a customer. Have managers review the survey results with the employees and commend employees who gave great ideas for recommendations, and also take the opportunity to discuss some of the areas where employee’s answers were weak or incorrect. By having employees take the survey individually, you can ensure they won’t feel embarrassed or hesitant to let you know if they have questions or admit they could use extra training.

Keep the positive momentum of the holiday season going by having all your employees identify a fellow employee they feel went above & beyond to ensure a great customer service experience. For example, at the end of each week, you could ask employees at each location or department to fill out a survey identifying the stellar employee and how they demonstrated superior customer service. At the start of each week, go through the survey results and commend these employees for their great service, and consider giving them a small reward to show your appreciation for their efforts.

 

Leverage surveys to gather and promote glowing reviews from happy customers. 

Should I re-publish positive reviews received from customer surveys on the company website, social media, or other marketing? Yes, consumers still rely heavily on the testimonials and endorsement of your current customers to make their purchasing decision.

Customer Reviews Affect Purchasing Decisions Positively and NegativelyIt's important that you have plenty of these reviews or statements available to show prospective buyers how happy your current customers are with your product or service. Imagine consumers are going through a 'vetting' process of your company- Do you have enough supporting material showing that current customers are satisfied and your company met or exceeded expectations?

Dimensional Research conducted a survey to analyze how reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other online listing sites impact consumer buying decisions. According to the survey of 1,046 respondents in the US, 90% of consumers who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their decision to purchase. Alternatively, 86% said that negative reviews had also influenced buying decisions.*

How can I ensure I'm preserving the credibility of the consumer review when re-purposing a statement submitted via a consumer survey?  You should make sure to ask permission to use any information you plan to use or re-publish in promotional efforts. Giving respondents the option to have their testimonial featured is the best way to go. Make sure to ask your survey respondents for permission to use their statement with a simple yes/no question. And, if they give you the 'ok', make sure to ask respondents to indicate how they would like you to display fields such as first name, city/state when the review is published.

*Source: Statistics; Marketing Land, 2013, Survey: 90% Of Customers Say Buying Decisions Are Influenced By Online Reviews

Encourage participants for more.

By simply asking users, testers, colleagues, employees, and consumers to provide their email address during the survey, clients have received contact information for (on average) 30% of the surveys that have been completed. 

 

Increase the value of customer data through a cyclical process.  

Do I need to ask all of the questions I use to segment my customer data upfront, when a new customer joins my email list or loyalty club?  No; don't worry about collecting all of the data points you want to have on each customer during their first interaction with you. Visualize customer segmentation as a continuous process, so you can identify ways to weave surveys into a loyalty program to continually improve your segments:

Increase the value of customer data through a cyclical processStep 1: Grow, Enhance, and Refine your customer data. Get more detail over time about the segment and add other components to the profile. Once you have added a new individual to one of your lists or loyalty clubs, you’ve only just begun to create the individual’s profile. While you may have started out with just a first and last name and email address for a person, it’s important to identify opportunities to learn more about each customer in order to enable a cohesive customer segmentation.

Step 2: Take your best guess, then test. Try out targeted campaigns and see if you were right about how the target will respond. Will they redeem your coupon or not? Will they respond to a call-to-action to visit your business on a certain day? Will they try the new menu item you’ve been promoting on social media? While it may seem scary, embracing a ‘trial and error’ methodology can be a great way to quickly try new ideas and adapt until you get it right.

Step 3: Gather feedback and improve.  Avoid setting unreasonable expectations that your customer segmentation approach is hinged upon your amazing mind-reading skills. Get feedback on what kind of offers they prefer, etc. How often would they like to be contacted? Do they want to get emails about special offers weekly, or only hear about new menu items?

When you ask for feedback, make sure you also include the ‘why’- When asking for feedback, make sure you keep a consistent tone across all of your messaging channels- if you usually are laidback and throw in a few puns, let that spirit shine through in your requests for feedback.

Keep in plain sight.

If you’re hoping to entice the public to participate in your survey, place the device delivering the survey on a kiosk or a survey board that is highly visible and easy to use; kiosks are especially helpful if you use On The Spot Systems® with an iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Kindle Fire, or other web-enabled tablet device. 

Customers at over 115 Fuddruckers locations will be able to provide feedback on their dining experiences by visiting a mobile-optimized site, scanning a QR code using a smartphone or tablet or via SMS. The benefit of using mobile for customer feedback is that it is convenient for customers and enables businesses to get instant feedback.

Integrate into your other systems.

Maximize the value of the data you receive from On The Spot Systems® for the best results. This can be other measurement platforms, analytics tools, or your rewards and loyalty programs to further incentivize users and employees to participate in your survey–– this can be special deals or discounts on future visits.

Turn negative feedback into a positive impression, even after-the-fact. 

How can I deal with negative feedback received from guest satisfaction surveys after-the-fact? Try thinking outside the box when expanding your surveys to include new questions about the peripheral guest experience, and be prepared for negative feedback. Set yourself up for success by creating a plan to address negative feedback by asking the respondent for their contact information for follow-up.

Broad Customer Experience Factors Like Parking StatisticsThe customer experience can start before they even open the door to your business. You can use 'root cause' branching to ask customers who are only 'somewhat likely' or 'unlikely' to return to your business about other aspects of their experience that may have affected their decision that may be less obvious or relevant to the core services provided by your business. Whether it is how easily customers are able to find parking or if the outside of the location is aesthetically pleasing. You want your customer walking into your restaurant or business excited, not frustrated or skeptical.

How can I turn a customer’s negative reaction into a positive? If you get negative feedback, take action to resolve the issue permanently in the future. Then, promote and share the new improvements proudly! If you try utilizing one of these more creative survey questions, don’t get fazed if you get harsh feedback. Use it as an opportunity for promotion and progression. For example, FSR magazine took a poll that stated that 82% of diners say that ease of parking at a restaurant is part of their decision in whether or not to go*. If you get negative feedback about your parking accomodations, for example, perhaps you can create a promotion for free valet parking or give other nearby locations of where to park to receive a free validation. When used with an email list building feed (like our system offers), this strategy allows you to re-connect with the customer and get their attention, while showing that you are invested in reacting to their feedback.

Keep in plain sight.

If you’re hoping to entice the public to participate in your survey, place the device delivering the survey on a kiosk or a survey board that is highly visible and easy to use; kiosks are especially helpful if you use On The Spot Systems® with an iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Kindle Fire, or other web-enabled tablet device. 

Customers at over 115 Fuddruckers locations will be able to provide feedback on their dining experiences by visiting a mobile-optimized site, scanning a QR code using a smartphone or tablet or via SMS. The benefit of using mobile for customer feedback is that it is convenient for customers and enables businesses to get instant feedback.

 

Tighten your focus to win big.

Pareto Principle Customer ComplaintsWill focusing on winning true loyalty from a small group of customers make a difference?  Yes! In fact, this is a century old tried-and-true business strategy. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) identified in 1906 states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The distribution is claimed to appear in several different aspects relevant to entrepreneurs and business managers. For example:

  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of the time you spend
  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products
  • 80% of your sales are made by 20% of your sales staff

Therefore, many businesses are able to make dramatic improvements in profitability by focusing on the most effective '20%' areas, and eliminating, automating, or prioritizing the rest, as appropriate.

Sources: Data points; Living Life the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch, 2013.

 

Communicate in convienent methods.

Mobile is playing an increasingly larger role in restaurants customer service strategies as the percentage of patrons with smartphones grows. By capturing feedback from smartphones and tablets restaurants receive information immediately – not days or weeks later as with a traditional ‘at the bottom of your receipt’ survey. So, make sure that your communication methods are convienent for your customer base. The majority of customers dining at restaurant chains (like our client Fuddruckers) have mobile phones, so On The Spot makes it convenient for customers to provide real-time feedback from their smartphone while still in the restaurant. Restaurant chains like Fuddruckers will receive more feedback with mobile than traditional paper or Web feedback forms, and the feedback is immediate and actionable. With the number of smartphone and tablet users in the United States over 55 percent, it’s a smart way to embrace mobile as a two-way vehicle for interacting with their customers. It also ensures that their customers are being communicated with in a way that fits into their lives. Read the full article on Mobile Commerce Daily→

Keep customers engaged with photosUse visuals to promote engagement: Keep customers engaged by adding photos within surveys

Incorporate photos to show examples of your company's location, products, services, etc. within your feedback surveys to keep your respondents engaged throughout. You can also add photo question types to surveys so your customers can upload a photo as part of a question. For example, if you ask them what they thought of the newly remodeled office space, include the option to upload a photo of their favorite part of the remodel.

Customers that are more engaged during the process of filling our your survey are more likely to finish submitting the survey and even answer more personal demographic information about themselves.

Prospective customers need to see your marketing messages up to 27 times before they’re ready to take out their wallet and spend money to do business with you.* You can use surveys as an extension of your marketing campaign to amplify your presence and keep your brand top-of-mind for your consumers. *Source: Shoestring Marketing University, February 2013

Spike engagement with short & simple surveys.

What is the maximum number of questions that I should ask customers in a survey? There's no magic number of survey questions that's right for every company. We recommend that our clients try to keep it to less than 10 questions for customers who say they've had a perfectly positive experience.

Is it more important to pay attention to quantity or quality when designing survey questions? It's not as important to monitor the exact number of survey questions you ask in a survey- try to stay focused on ensuring the quality and clarity of each question. To do this, make sure your questions are clearly defined about a single topic.

For example, the image on the right shows two questions that are asked about a specific product- these questions allow the respondent to quickly recall the product, then rate both the flavors and decide if they would be likely to order it again. By grouping questions about a particular product, topic, or service attribute together, (even if they aren't all on the same page) respondents will be able to quickly respond and complete the survey.

Clearly defined questions will also give you greater accuracy in your data. The easier it is for respondents to understand what you're asking, the easier it is for the individual to weigh the answer choices and choose one that best describes his or her opinions.

 

Know the right time and place to ask for feedbackKnow the right time and place to ask for feedback

When is the right time and place to ask for feedback? Passing time waiting, On-the-go. When it's easy to do on the go, people will do it. An overwhelming majority of US smartphone users say that they use the internet on their smartphone to pass time while waiting (around 70%) and to answer questions quickly (around 60%).

Do I need to worry about generational differences? No. This smartphone usage behavior doesn't really change at all between the 18-year old and 49-year old users. Ultimately, it's important to keep in mind what consumers of all ages really expect when they are checking your company out on their smartphones, on-the-go. The percentage of smartphone users that expect websites to be as easy to use as on a computer is already over 60% and it continues to grow. *Source: Google, Our Mobile Planet, June 2013

 

Involve employees to engage your customers

Can involving front-line employees help us to better engage customers in feedback programs? Yes, and taking the time to engage your employees can have some other impressive benefits for your company!

Involve employees to engage your customers

A Gallup research study polled over 1.4 million employees in nearly 50,000 companies and discovered nine areas where employee engagement affects performance outcomes, such as:

  • 25% - 65% lower turnover
  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
  • 10% higher customer metrics
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability

Do I need to budget for employee incentives to increase engagement? No, not directly. There's plenty of 'free' ways to motivate employees to consistently encourage customers to give feedback. Try instituting a customer satisfaction program that also allows employees to be rewarded for reaching positive customer feedback goals.

This is a great place to get creative- think about rewarding the employee with the most surveys completed each week with first priority for scheduling days off the next week. It's important to promote a healthy, friendly competition among employees, but you should be careful not to offer incentives that are so valuable that some employees may consider trying to "game" the system, aka cheat their way to the top of the pile. Sources: Gallup, 2012; Achievers, Inc., 2012; Bersin & Associates, 2012

 

When the going gets tough, go mobile.

How can I ensure my employees aren’t forced to sacrifice quality and accuracy with the extra foot traffic over the holiday season? Save time and money by implementing a tool that allows employees to conveniently manage and track completed tasks and responsibilities.

Go mobile to get the most ROI

Consider helping your employees with their everyday responsibilities by moving your opening, closing, or quality audit checklists to a mobile form. Keeping forms in a single place that is accessible from their smartphone or other mobile device will help them stay on top of their responsibilities throughout the holiday season.

Your data collection forms and checklists can be automatically initiated in the field via a web URL or text message, and QR codes at your location validate on-site visits. Mobile checklist forms also decrease the time it takes to type handwritten notes, both reducing human error and saving paper. A survey and form platform (like ours) with the ability to run on any web-enabled device is a holiday season no-brainer. Keep your employees cool, calm, and focused on ensuring a positive, praise-worthy customer experience.

Real-time reporting allows you to monitor various points during the process to see the form details being provided by each employee--view and compare results online, or in an Excel, CSV or PDF document before a shift, at the end of the field user's route, or at any time period across your locations. Create an instant alert for critical issues triggered by incoming form submissions so your managers are notified in real-time of a potential violation of quality or safety standards.

Source: Statistics in Graphic; Real Money Savings with Mobile Apps, 2013

 


Get the right information to the right people, instantly.

Can automated notifications delivered to the right person within your company hierarchy make a difference in how efficiently employees are able to deal with critical customer experience issues? Yes! When there is a critical lapse in service performance, leveraging technology can provide this data immediately to exactly the employees that are able and empowered to take action.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that by 1999 nearly 30 percent of all managers and professionals were working 49 or more hours per week. Another decade has come and gone, and professional and personal demands still leave today's maxed-out workers with too much to do and too little time to do it.

Workforce Segmentation of Enabled EmployeesWhen your employees are enabled and empowered to do their job, the sky's the limit! And, employees who don't feel they have the most efficient tools to do their job can become frustrated. To help lessen the frustration felt by employees and increase their effectiveness, give them the tools to do their job more efficiently, and ultimately, show you respect their time.

Given that time available for work is finite and work demands are unlikely to decrease anytime soon, long-term solutions to work-life balance issues also need to focus on helping employees work more productively. By adopting a workplace culture of employee enablement, organizations can help employees accomplish work tasks as efficiently as possible, leaving more time to attend to personal responsibilities.

You can also help employees by giving them the autonomy to decide when and how to react to customer feedback based on their workload and the severity of the issue. It's okay if you don't respond to every customer complaint the same way and in the same time frame. You do need to make sure that the employees that are handling the correction of the mistake and communication with the customer are always in-the-loop and know immediately when a breakdown in service has occurred. The sooner your employees know about a problem, the more time they have to resolve the concern for good, and recover the customer relationship in the most effective and meaningful way possible.

Sources: ASAE The Center for Association Leadership

 

IT Project Failure Statistic GraphicGet the right people involved from the start for higher R.O.I.

What should I do if I'm spending more time and resources to manage our mobile strategy than our business strategy? Breathe! And, take some time to collaborate with colleagues and peers to brainstorm a better way to approach managing your mobile initiatives.

It’s not uncommon to find yourself to be drawn to the ‘biggest and the best’ goliath with the most features, because ‘hey, you never know when you might need to do that’. Don't we all feel like our company deserves the best?

If you go with the goliath vendor, you can end up spending your time, money and energy trying to wrangle the beast and keep your projects on track. Ensure that doesn't happen by including all appropriate core and satellite members of the project team in your project kickoff and initial collaboration planning. Make sure you can clearly define unified objectives and goals that everyone agrees are factors in the project success.

Putting theory into practice: As the owner and founder of a successful restaurant, Tomasso Trattoria, Tom Prince stands out from the crowd because of the way he approaches projects that take advantage of mobile technology in foodservice. When looking at mobile vendors, Tom focused on the final objectives he wanted to achieve and found vendors that wouldn't over-complicate his project. On The Spot Systems offered Tomasso Trattoria a mobile solution for guest satisfaction and email marketing list building that would do exactly what he needed, whenever he needed it, with minimal time and capital investment. Seem short and sweet? With the right strategy in place, your projects will be!

Morale of the story: Defining and sticking to the project scope agreed upon by all parties will allow you to run smart, clever, and virtually administrative-free mobile programs that are as effective as they are efficient, and therefore, worth the investment.

Sources: Graphic: University of Missouri - St. Louis, Project Success and Failure

 

Know when bigger stops being better - just more complicated.

When it comes to customer-centric mobile technology platforms, sometimes bigger isn’t better -- it’s just more complicated. If you’re taking time away from running your business to run another company’s mobile system, that's a big red flag that you and your vendor may not be a match made in heaven.

Millennials Value Corporate SustainabilityEven though it seems like mobile is taking over the way you run every aspect of your business, remember that we all turned to mobile in the first place because it is supposed to make everything easier, quicker, simpler and more fun. Ultimately, it's a process improvement opportunity that will allow you to be more sustainable and eco-friendly for the long haul.

When I'm looking for mobile vendors, how do I find the right balance between 'everything you could ever want' and 'exactly what you need right now'?  Set some ground rules for how much time and energy you can spend managing the project before before you begin evaluating new or current vendors.

Get together the appropriate individuals in your organization that will be impacted by this mobile initiative. Ask each person to realistically estimate how much time they could commit to managing the project each week. When talking to vendors, refer to the list of your team members' estimated time allowance for this project so that you can be honest and upfront with the vendor about how much you're able and willing to invest in managing their platform.

Sources: Graphic: PWC, Managing tomorrow’s people: Millennials at work – perspectives from a new generation

 


Show your customers your forward-thinking side. 

Does our company message need to focus on technology all the time in order to be seen as a forward-thinking business? Not necessarily! Remember, there are many forward-thinking bi-products of continuously improving business practices by using technology- especially mobile.

Corporate Social Responsibility Generates Media CoverageCommunity involvement in environmentally friendly initiatives are an important cornerstone for many companies, and green practices enhance public image, community relations and good will. According to a report by DS Simon Productions, "media initiatives with a corporate social responsibility focus generates 35-50% more positive media coverage on television, radio, web and social media than comparable programs without the CSR hook".

For example, if you're using mobile technology instead of paper for a process, you can also remind your customers that you're thinking ahead for the good of the planet. Engage consumers by sharing a message of corporate social responsibility that will make them aware of all the ways you're taking initiative to protect the future of our planet.

Other than attracting customer segments, what are some other ways that my business can benefit from embracing a corporate social responsibility messaging strategy? Leverage any projects or initiatives at your company that are beneficial to social and environmental causes to attract top talent to your organization. Environmentally-conscious business practices help attract and retain the best employees by increasing employee satisfaction and pride in the workplace. According to a MonsterTRAK poll on green employment, 92% of young professionals would be more inclined to work for an environmentally-friendly company. Engagement programs that empower employees by giving them easy ways to support causes they care about are also proven morale boosters.

Sources: *Earthshare.org, 2013 http://www.earthshare.org/greening-business.html

 


Understand big data's role in your business. 

Will data-driven insights fuel a shift in the center of gravity in decision-making? Yes, and experts insist that decisions of all kinds will increasingly be made on the basis of data and analysis rather than experience and intuition — more science and less gut feel.

Big Data Future GraphicAccording to a New York Times article, data-driven decision making will be the next big trend in management. Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, cites the familiar business truism, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” As it opens new horizons in measurement, the modern data era, Mr. Brynjolfsson said, it will transform the practice of management.

I've heard that I need big data to run my business on a daily basis; is that true? Not exactly, remember that your business is unique and big data doesn't have the flexibility to predict or improve your specific challenges.Big Data is really just a catchall phrase with three different definitions. First, it is a bundle of technologies. Second, it is a potential revolution in measurement. And third, it is a philosophy about how decisions can and will be made in the future.

Where does all that big data come from? The bundle of technologies is partly all the old and new sources of data — Web pages, browsing habits, sensor signals, social media, GPS location data from smartphones, genomic information and videos. The data surge keeps rising, doubling in volume every two years.

Yet the importance of the sheer volume of data — and its exponential growth path — can be overstated. As the New York Times aptly describes it, "There’s a lot of water in the ocean, but you can't drink it." Beyond advances in computer processing and storage, the other essential technology is the clever software to make sense of all that data.

Source: New York Times, 2013 Infographic: The Future of Big Data, 2013

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