Monday, December 23, 2013

Customer Service: The Position that Deserves its own Department

Customer Service. The two words that usually depict an employee answering complaints about how something has gone wrong with a product or service. I, myself, happen to think of automated answering services or someone from the Philippines whom I can’t understand (though, they do their best!)  Even when America was mostly a manufacturing country, there were people you spoke with about your purchase. “Thanks, Milk Man! You are always on schedule!”

Whether your barista brings you a nice cappuccino with a cute leaf drawn in milk, or you have to return an item that doesn’t fit, it’s the customer first mentality that achieves the greatest results.

Interstack prides itself on the transparency and authenticity of its employees and its products. We are open and honest about all aspects of our products from performance to price. We create a good rapport with clients in order to maintain a good relationship over time, versus a strict business to business deal. The better connection we have with our clients, the more likely we are able to give them the best service. You have to be careful, however, when dealing with clients whose sense of humor is vastly different than your own. Be aware of insensitive topics and keep it light.

Let it be known, we do not have a customer service department. There is not someone responding to complaints through our CS hotline. Our business IS customer service. As I’ve said before in other blogs, Interstack is our company that is comprised of three main components: filelytics, our analytics repository, Share Your Experience- the customized comment card, wherein data can be transferred to our social sentiment dashboard, { loyal channel }, and then analyzed along with aggregate data from social media. These comments and feedback enable an organization to understand their customer, potential customer and an outsider’s perspective. On top of that, we provide a variety of amenities to ensure your customers receive the best experience. Our business is to help your business grow!

However, there are people, management in particular, who shun any type of negative feedback. We all know why this is not okay. Word Gets Out! According to American Express, the top reason for customers switching brands or companies is because of a rude customer service rep- 33%. It is also more likely that customers will tell their friends about bad experience more than a good one.

Here are some example customer experience tweets:

This gentleman says he will not purchase any up sell products because of poor customer service.

Thanks to the advice of this woman, I now know where to get a great Margarita.

Here are some things we’ve learned along the way as we’ve built our business.

11.)    Be Tablet Centric
a.      As of the past few years, people have been documenting their lives with as little as their mobile phone- linked to any and every social media outlet, to be shared with their friends or family. Androids and iPhones have new capabilities that don’t require you to phone a company’s CX hotline. With these devices able to take pictures, and record your thoughts accurately in real-time, the amount of data for one customer service rep is too much to sift through.

Our customized comment cards are able to be scanned with their QR code on your phone just as any barcode reader. Once scanned, people can then leave their feedback- and if to the company’s liking, may receive a discount or join a loyalty program. This data will be transferred to a simple to use dashboard where your marketing guru can easily search, refine and analyze trends in their industry.

22.)    Look Out For Employees
a.      These rules and tools not only pertain to customers, but to employees and your HR department as well. Want to know how your business will do after an angry employee writes about it on Twitter and links your company’s twitter handle? First, you might fire said employee. Yet, under different circumstances, it could take a turn for the worse if the employee’s experience warrants a lawsuit against the company.

33.)    Management Be Ready
a.      As stated above, management can sometimes turn a blind eye to negative criticism and blame the customer. We are no novice when it comes to dealing with management who seem to know it all. They seem to struggle when it comes to bringing in bad news and instead, want to reaffirm how great their company is doing. What management should expect is to be prepared for what you ask for and understand the consequences. Yes, sometimes the feedback can really sting; but it will help you understand what went wrong and how to solve the problem next time.

There you have it. Customer Service. A multi-faceted job that utilizes information given via customer feedback. Things to remember in order for your company to have the best reputation is to be transparent and authentic. Put out a quality product or service, and be honest about your company’s policies regarding it. Be aware that negative WOM travels faster and further than positive experiences. Stay modern with technology and create accessibility for different devices. Remember that your employees have just as much impact on the perception of your company as do your customers. A negative job experience for your employee can result in negative press or lawsuits. And lastly, management should take advantage of the information at hand. Feedback is everywhere; what gets put on the internet stays on the internet forever. Make sure you get to your customers before your customers get to you. 

Your Filelytics Team.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Social Media- What’s the Value?

As a technology startup, Interstack is always looking for ways to best achieve awareness, obtain the widest reach and promote the best brand image possible. From a marketing perspective, I test which marketing methods will achieve the best results. Marketers often have to wear a lot of different hats ranging from SEO to sending off a tweet. I am often testing which times of day a certain post will obtain the widest reach, which words will most likely be typed into the search engine and how frequently Interstack shows up in the search.

However, any company can fill a bunch of different marketing roles in order to hone in on specific goals the company hopes to achieve. You have your blogger (preferably an English major), SEO analyst, salesman, general marketing associate or social media manager. To me, SEO is all about finding out who’s paying attention and asks the question, “are they my target audience?” Blogs are all about perspective (such as this). Presentations and sales are all about facts coupled with charm.

But what does social media do? For starters, it does many things that essential marketing practices cannot do. It gets you in touch with the audience in real time. The social media manager can oversee a company’s Facebook, Yelp, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube accounts, etc. They must be able to communicate with their audience, in real-time, about their company’s specials or deals, create awareness of trends (fashion, food, culture), alert people of new job openings, and ultimately, generate brand awareness, website traffic, conversions and a positive brand identity. Customers who complain online can be assisted, in real-time, by thesocial media manager who can reply directly and help solve a problem for the general public to take advantage of.

So how do they do it? What is the best method for companies to use social media in their marketing strategy?
For those just figuring this all out- that’s exactly what you have to do. You have to figure out what works for YOU! Not all target markets will have a Twitter- but they might have a LinkedIn. Some people want to see upfront why you are relatable and what you can offer them. In which case, a link to a YouTube presentation or related articles about your business might be pertinent.

In order to learn the best methods, you must plan ahead of time. Managing multiple platforms can be time consuming. If you plan ahead of time when to send an email, or post a blog, or what tags you want associated with your videos, you free yourself up and have time to answer customers directly and immediately. 

Your Filelytics Team.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How Small Firms Should Deal With Data

As a tech startup based in Seattle, Interstack has been pondering the multitude of ways to deal with data. We have various sources from which we collect data- comment cards, social media, consumer reviews about clients, web traffic reports, etc. but what do we do when we finally have that data? What is the next step and how do we act on it?

Using a web-trafficking software, we are able to capture and analyze data such as how many visits there were to a particular page, how many actions were taken, what time of day, operating system, and whether the website was found through social networks, referrer websites or direct entries. Putting the data into graphs or charts each week allows us to view these trends over the long run and monitor when certain marketing techniques create a spike in activity. These are the stats you should look out for. After putting together a case study for a client, we looked at the data and found that radio wasn’t such a hit for this audience versus a twitter shoutout from the Seattle Seahawks.

Loyal Channel, our social sentiment dashboard, allows our clients to view their customers’ feedback via our customized comment cards, Share Your Experience (SYE) and social media networks. Clients can also create their own surveys on the comment cards, create a rewards program, and write newsletters to their loyal customers.

When deciding how to deal with the data at hand, don’t go by industry or national trends. They may not have the same variables to analyze as you do.

Go by the data that you receive, track it, analyze it and test it. Create tests to figure out if TV is better than social media. Test which time of day is best to send out a tweet. Create your own tests to figure out how to achieve the best results. Graphing these results weekly will allow you to see any patterns and how best to deal with your data.

How Small Firms Should Deal With Data 

It has never been easier for entrepreneurs to collect information about their businesses.
But how do entrepreneurs know what to collect—and how to act on it? For small-business owners strapped for time and resources, sorting through reams of information from social media, website analytics and customer surveys can lead to confusion or paralysis. We asked experts and entrepreneurs for their best advice about dealing with that torrent... Continue reading

Your Filelytics Team

Friday, September 20, 2013

Think Big Data is All Hype? You’re Not Alone

When new technologies take float, many people are ready to jump on board and call it the next big thing. Thus leading to an all-out craze in conversation about it until it is ready to drop dead. That craze is necessary to get it off the ground, and it’s what the market research firm, Gartner, is calling the “Hype Cycle”. As with any hype, Big Data, may have already reached its peak. How many articles or headlines contain the phrase “Big Data”? Have you had an immaterial meeting about your Big Data strategy and how it’s going to take you to the next level? And what does Big Data even mean?
I’m not one for catch-phrases or buzzwords of the moment. Call me a marketing “ninja” or a “rockstar” and I will ever so gently toss my throwing star at you.
If Big Data means that deep within the data of businesses are analytics to success, then what is the formula to extract it? Big data is everywhere- but how do you know what to do with it?
This article mentions to watch for companies selling and servicing Hadoop, the open-source computing environment that breaks Big Data problems down to manageable sizes.

This is one of our most notable services at Interstack. Via Filelytics, our repository, we are able to extrapolate data from thousands of Twitter users, Facebook accounts and our customized comment cards, cleverly titled, Share Your Experience. Within the thousands of tweets and comments, we are able to help our customers analyze the Big Data we have in our system by starting out with smaller data- customized comment cards. 

Think Big Data is All Hype? You’re Not Alone

When a phrase enters the tech industry lexicon in a big way, and has a good way of crystallizing a seemingly overarching trend, it’s usually not long before the very same phrase becomes a victim of its own overuse and is dismissed as “all hype.”
The phenomenon is common enough that the market research firm Gartner has a phrase and an official annual report summarizing it. It’s called the Hype Cycle... Continue reading

Your Filelytics Team

Monday, August 26, 2013

Social Media in the Healthcare Industry

Most people use social media to connect with friends, share photos, experiences and news. Some of those experiences now include a visit to the doctor’s office. People can converse about a quick and easy trip to the hospital, share before and after photos, or complain about a costly procedure.
Hospitals are becoming more aware of this and are trying to capitalize on feedback from social media. As hospitals look to parents via questionnaires and surveys to improve healthcare services, parents and patients become virtual advisers online; leaving healthcare professionals to “cast a wider net” to capture feedback.

This article highlights the exact idea which Interstack surrounds itself. We help businesses in the healthcare industry monitor social media and capture feedback via smartphones.  Share Your Experience, our customized comment cards, have helped our customers leave feedback from any location, via email or anonymously, in order to leave an honest response about their experience. This data is transferred to our repository where we are able to manage vast amounts of feedback, via customized comment cards and social media, and share it with our customers in an organized fashion.

Here you can view a sample comment card we came up with for the healthcare industry, which can be customized for specific locations.

More Hospitals Use Social Media to Gather Feedback from Patients' Families

Hospitals are turning to Facebook,Twitter and other forms of social media to recruit patients and their families as advisers. They are asking parents for input, via questionnaires and surveys, on improvements in care, new services and even new facility names... Continue Reading

Your Filelytics Team

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Small Data Vs Big Data

We keep hearing this over and over again, “Big data. Big data Big data.” The buzzword of the moment is what’s supposed to be able to capture information in order to make data driven business decisions. There is no doubt that big data will change the direction and efficiency of a business. However, in startup land, it’s small data that we deal with- first. 
This article compliments the idea we have of our business at Interstack. Filelytics, our repository, retrieval and analytics database is our big data component; while our small data component, Share Your Experience, retrieves information one comment card at a time. 

Why Small Data May Be Bigger Than Big Data

In start-up land, the hot buzzword is Big Data--those massive data sets that can't be handled with traditional database tools. The promise is that businesses can capture, curate, and synthesize big data to enable personalization in e-commerce, smarter business decisions, and greater efficiency.In the world of local businesses, we're not talking about big data. Instead we're dealing with Small Data... Continue reading

Your Filelytics Team

Friday, August 2, 2013

A little more on Small Data

Here's the second part of last week's article But what about Small Data?

What do we mean by Small Data?

Earlier this week we published the first in a series of posts on small data: "Forget Big Data, Small Data Is The Real Revolution". In this second in the series, we discuss small data in more detail providing a rough definition and drawing parallels with the history of computers and software.

What do we mean by "small data"? Let's define it crudely as:

"Small data is the amount of data you can conveniently store and process on a single machine, and in particular, a high-end laptop or server"... Continue reading

Your Filelytics Team

Thursday, July 25, 2013

But what about Small Data?

Here's a different and interesting approach on the way we see data.

Forget Big Data, Small Data is the Real Revolution

There is a lot of talk about “big data” at the moment. For example, this is Big Data Week, which will see events about big data in dozens of cities around the world. But the discussions around big data miss a much bigger and more important picture: the real opportunity is not big data, but small data... Continue reading

Your Filelytics Team

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Data = Money

Interesting perspective on poor quality data and its effect on our businesses.

Putting a Price on the Value of Poor Quality Data

When you start out learning about data quality management, you invariably have to get your head around the cost impact of bad data.
One of the most common scenarios is the mail order catalogue business case. If you have a 5% conversion rate on your catalogue orders and the average order price is £20 – and if you have 100,000 customer contacts – then you know that with perfect-quality data you should be netting about £100,000 per mail campaign... Continue reading

Your Filelytics Team.

Friday, July 12, 2013

What is "Big Data" and why does it matter?

Good information on what big data is.

Why 'Big Data' Is a Big Deal

In a world generating and storing tons of data every day, business owners need to learn how to harness it to get an edge.
There's a behavioral marketing concept that goes something like this: The act of observing behavior actually changes the behavior.
It's an easy concept to set aside, until you start to consider the enormity of the online behavior we are now able to observe–and therefore affect. All aspects of electronic data collection have led to reams and reams (or more aptly, terabytes and terabytes) of data to observe... Continue Reading

Your Filelytics Team.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let's talk about data.

We found this article to have good information and ideas.

Seize The Data: 5 Ways To Leverage Big Data for Social Media & Search

Carpe diem! Time is money and the clock is ticking in the race to acquire, decipher and leverage data. Despite the saturation of coverage over "big data" in recent months, many brands are struggling to figure out when and how, exactly, to ride the data wave.
Data is useful to every aspect of business. However, data is, and will increasingly become, especially powerful to those seeking to leverage search, social, mobile, local, video, marketing and emerging technology, to compete and earn more market share... Continue Reading

Your Filelytics Team.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Filelytics Solutions

We have added new features to our Filelytics Solutions. Now you can upload any text to our solutions and we will analyze it for you.

To learn how some of our customers are analyzing customer support emails and measuring their customer sentiment, contact us via email at: