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Creating a Positive Client Experience

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Recently, we read an article on the Fast Company blog about an Uber driver who had a 4.99 star rating, despite a whopping 5000 rides given. We were pretty impressed. Usually even a really good driver gets bumped down in rating by a couple drunks who are causing trouble or not getting what they wanted (we’ve heard lots of Uber stories!), or maybe the driver had the wrong radio station playing when someone enters the car and the passenger just didn’t like it. There are lots of ways to lower that perfect score, so seeing a score this high was unique. Reading the article really got us thinking – how can we use this Uber driver’s approach to client service in our work? How can we all apply this driver’s model behavior in our lives and work?

“We Cannot All Do Great Things. But We Can Do Small Things With Great Love.”

This Mother Theresa quote can apply to many situations, and we thought it particularly fit this one. In this case, the driver left his country and career as a corporate businessman with an MBA to move to Toronto. As is often the case with immigrants who are highly educated professionals, he had a tough time accessing the same positions that he had filled in his native country, so Uber was a second choice. However, that did not mean that he lowered his standards of performance. He treated his job as an Uber driver the way he would treat a job as a high-level corporate exec. He kept his car exceptionally clean and fragrance-free, he treated his customers with utmost respect and attention, and he paid attention to every last detail to improve his customers’ experience.

Customers’ Happiness First

This driver put his customers above all else. He made personal sacrifices for the sake of their comfort, probably in ways that they didn’t even realize. For example, he would eat raw salads in order to keep his car scent-free. Ever ridden in an Uber in which the driver had just eaten a McDonald’s cheeseburger or even just smoked a cigarette? It can be downright offensive. When you get in a scent free car, you may not notice anything at all, but you’ll definitely notice when a car smells bad.

Other ways he showed respect and professionalism – using the customer’s name, asking what music they want to listen to rather than having the radio blaring when they entered the car, cleaning the car after each and every ride. All small things that can make a big difference.

Often, keeping a customer happy is much easier than you think. If you can always think in a way that the answer is yes, you can be agile enough to get your customer what they need, when they need it. For instance, they may have an extremely tight deadline on a particular project. Rally your team to work together, come up with a plan, be flexible and creative. Communicate well with your team and with the client. You may have to work late hours a couple nights to achieve this deadline, but you can make it up to yourself later if that’s what it takes. Be passionate about making your customer happy, and you will have a 5 star rating too.

Let’s Talk About Websites and the User Experience

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Over the past decade, we’ve experienced first-hand how building a website has become more complicated. This has been a journey for all designers and developers because it seems like something new happens every year to change the course of development. Yet, wireframes are still used to show the general layout of a site and user flow still describes where traffic tends to go. It’s good to know that some things are still the same, even though mobile apps and smartphone navigation have changed the way we create a positive user experience.

Do Some Homework

We have to do some homework before we can get started on those wireframes, because we need to see how potential clients will interact with your site. What is their goal when they get there? Are they searching for information or do they need help right away? Answering these questions can help us enhance their experience.

The site needs to be accessible and easy to use. Is it disability-friendly? How long will it take to load on-screen? It needs to connect immediately with the user and their motivations for being there. They should be able to quickly locate and navigate to areas of the site that are relevant to their needs.

From PC to Mobile

Five years ago, personal computers still dominated the market, but are losing traction quickly. Today, smartphones are now considered the gateway to the internet. Consumers access media and shop online more than ever. A company’s website has to be mobile responsive, or else it will lose potential business. Plus, Google lowers search results if the website is not optimized for mobile.

Visual Design

The best way to engage potential clients is through visual design. It communicates faster than words and solidifies the company’s brand through logos, icons, colors and texture. If this is their first impression of the company, it needs to consistently represent the brand while providing information.

Visual design should improve navigation, not hinder it. When a site is overtaken by too many visuals it gets bulky, especially on a smartphone. As a result users struggle to ignore the constant stream of images. Best thing to do is to strike a balance between recurring brand images and visuals for ease of navigation.

Be Intuitive – Be Engaging

A website needs to do more than just capture attention. It has to sell the brand. The best way to do this is through intuitive design, engaging visuals, and content that motivates. Website content needs to talk about solving problems. In some way, the site has to make visitors’ lives better, which means clearly identifying common challenges and how they get solved. Having a list of features and benefits doesn’t sell unless the “Why?” is there. Same goes for awards. These need to be explained in a way that makes people want to learn more or call.

To design a site from the user’s perspective takes time and some research, but it will increase engagement and funnel in more business. Connect with us if you have an upcoming web project and we’ll see how we can help!

Truth in Advertising: Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth

wonder woman lasso of truth marketing_news

Few things can heighten the suspense of a cop drama like a good ol’ fashioned lie detector scene. The machine has its tentacles on the perpetrator. A large needle jumps for every spike in their heart rate, confirming what was suspected all along.

William Marston, the co-inventor of the lie detector, went by the pen name Charles Moulton, and was the author of Wonder Woman. A bio-drama about Marston’s life, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, was released in 2017 and shows us how he invented the polygraph and why our favorite super hero uses a lasso of truth.

To Uphold the Law

She didn’t need a gun or a laser beam stare. An unassuming lasso was her weapon and one of the things we remember most about Wonder Woman. With her lariat, she could subdue anyone and force them to tell the truth. She even used it on the good guys, as we saw in the recent Gal Gadot film, because she needed the truth to understand more about what was going on in the world.

Seeking the truth is important for a crime fighter, like Wonder Woman, and it’s also important for marketing. We never want to mislead anyone, because that could have a negative effect on clients and customers. Plus, as an advertising agency, Pinstripe is held to the same laws and standards that dictate how companies are able to advertise their products and services.

Under the Florida Deceptive Trade Practices Laws, it’s illegal to make false claims. Things like bait-and-switch and spreading disinformation are also outlined in this law. Any company caught doing this can face extensive fines for each infraction. It’s best to tell the truth and follow the guidelines within your professional community. This is particularly true for the legal, financial and health care industries.

Just the Facts

Media outlets rely on truth and accuracy in their reporting. As you are probably well aware, they have been tested recently, so they’re getting better at snuffing out potential blowback from their audiences.

Because press releases are branding and credibility tools, it’s important for them to have verifiable facts. Any mistakes made could have the opposite effect. Reporters have an uncanny ability to find a different story than what had been intended, especially when the facts are misrepresented.

Nothing But the Truth

With blogs and social media, the delivery of content has been democratized. The messages we deliver to our audiences are a reflection of our brands and illustrate our knowledge, experience, and thought leadership. So obviously, it is critical that our missives are not only truthful, but unique. There are terabytes of content littered throughout the web, making it increasingly simple to cut and paste bits and pieces to make the job of blogging easier. However, plagiarism makes for a terrible brand image. Original work is truthful work. Think of these messages as having a lasso of truth, making your truth easier for others to see.

This article is part of a series on how Wonder Woman’s inspires our marketing philosophy. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic, so let us know how you feel about it in our comments section below.

Employees Are Also Brand Ambassadors, Not Just the Executives

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Pinstripe has seen, all too often, the mistakes people make when posting on social media. Everyone makes mistakes. We get it. Some mistakes are minor, like the usual typos and a forgotten word or two, while others take on a whole other dimension that can cause a firestorm of negative feedback. Then, even worse, it goes viral.

For the most part, these mistakes are somewhat ridiculous. However in some circumstances, they can have negative consequences for nearly everyone connected. Unfortunately, the individual’s employer could be attached to their profile, and in turn cause customer backlash.

Employee handbooks have whole sections devoted to these issues. Plus, more companies are adopting them. So, why don’t companies turn something that’s perceived as negative into a positive? Encouraging employees to post the great things about the company can have a huge advantage in the social media race.

In the Past…

Bad things said about a company or it’s employees were talked about among family and friends and were rarely found in the papers, which only had a regional effect. However, because of technology, the word-of-mouth systems of old have taken on a whole new meaning. So has the phrase “spreads like wildfire.” Anything posted on social media has the potential to do this. There are so many social media outlets today that monitoring them in order to defend a company’s reputation has turned into a growing industry.

Education and Training

The trick isn’t monitoring, it’s educating. This goes beyond company policies on proper etiquette. Think about creating a brand ambassador program to educate and train employees on how to accentuate the company’s marketing efforts. Instead of having a neutral social media policy with do’s and do not’s, you are creating a positive force of brand ambassadors.

Below are some very basic steps to setting up your employees as brand ambassadors. The possibility of a substantial return on this investment could exceed your expectations.

Communicate the Plan

Informing employees about expectations and repercussions will let them know exactly what the company’s vision is and how social media can highlight the company in positive ways. GE’s brand ambassador plan is a great example of how a company can increase customer engagement through employee engagement.

Provide Guidelines

Your employee handbook should already have social media policies against inappropriate posts. So, they need to know what they should post. Examples are an easy way to answer questions about content before they’re asked.

Permission and Content

You’ll need to reassure them that there are no repercussions for posting positive info and pictures. A little trust will go a long way. To help them along, you can have hashtags available and URLs for quick access on a company page.

Maintaining a Positive Reputation

When employees post good things about their workplace and services, people will take notice. This is especially true when bad things happen and the company goes into crisis management mode. If an overwhelming amount of positive information is out there, then that leaves very little for negativity to thrive on. A positive reputation is easier to uphold in the social arena, and employees as brand ambassadors are a great way to achieve and maintain it.

SMPS Emerging Trends in Technology Event

emerging trends in technology construction engineering architecture_newsa

Technology has advanced at a dizzying rate over the last decade and it shows no sign of slowing that pace. Feats that we could only imagine 20 years ago are a reality today thanks to tech like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Science fiction movies have been using holograms and mixed reality for years and now those technologies are upon us. The Society for Marketing Professional Services’ technology event, Emerging Technologies in the A/E/C Industry, is a testament to that fact. We learned some really interesting things at this comprehensive presentation and panel discussion from some of Tampa Bay’s leading techies and then we learned how these technologies are being applied to the architecture, engineering, and construction industries.

From Cool Game to Business Application

Just a few years ago, virtual reality goggles and holo-glasses were fun, experimental gadgets that offered games, travel experiences, and trips to outer space without leaving the comfort of your living room. Soon after these gadgets became more mainstream, many industries, with the help of tech-savvy staff and forward-thinking executives, started seeing the real-world business applications of this technology. In the A/E/C/ industries, the applications are vast – and important. Imagine being able to do walk-throughs of a new building with the use of virtual reality, before the contractors even start working on the foundation. Contractors, architects and engineers can communicate about the nuances of a space before construction begins. This is a huge step for eliminating costly errors and miscommunication. Virtual reality is a project manager’s dream come true.

Use Case – Atlanta Falcons

When the Atlanta Falcons decided to build their new stadium, they hired our friends at HD Interactive to create a virtual reality simulation of the stadium experience from all perspectives, including the various seating levels, the 50-yard line, and the end zones. HD Interactive rendered the simulation using the architectural and engineering plans and created an application that allowed the owners and investors to do a virtual walk-through of the stadium. They inspected the experience from a multitude of angles and discovered that the giant television screens were placed at an angle that was extremely uncomfortable to look at. They were up too high so extended viewing caused the viewer to have neck pain. As a result of this discovery, the team changed the plans and placed the screens at a level that was more comfortable to view. Having the ability to change the plans before they began construction saved a significant amount of money and time added to the project timeline.

Many industries are applying virtual reality and augmented reality. If you had the option, how would you apply this technology in your business?