Doing what works versus the customer experience

Every so often, I hear a story which makes no sense. “We put a huge popup banner on our website, and our sales increased by 15%”, “we slowed down our website, and our sales funnel converted 2% better”. While these sentences may make technical sense, they’re odd to wrap one’s brain around, as they shouldn’t make sense. To me, this comes down to a delta between doing what works and the customer’s experience overall with your store, brand, and/or product.

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Being more direct

I’ve heard semi-regularly that, as South Africans, we tend to not be very direct in our communications. For example, we may say something like “you may not want to do that”, when what we really mean is “don’t do that”. This sounds small, yet has a definite snowball effect. Changing this approach is something I’ve committed to changing in late 2017 and now in 2018. It’s a little trickier than I originally thought, and takes constant management, yet the rewards are significant.

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Understanding and managing expectations, based on who your customer is

“Jobs to be Done” is a framework often used for making effective product decisions. The intention is to understand what your customer is “hiring” your product to do. For example, we hire our email client (Outlook, Gmail, etc) to provide clear and easy access to our email. If that ever stops happening, we’d hire a different app to do the same job. I like to equate the “job to be done” with the “expectation of an outcome”. In many cases, performing service successfully hinges itself on a specific expectation and outcome.

Getting this right, to me, is the key to successful customer relations, and gives a nice amount of free public relations benefits in the process (tl;dr: customers love your company).

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Evaluating and optimising my time while learning

I’m someone who enjoys gathering as much information as possible on a topic, as I enjoy the context. Practically, this often translates to picking up a new podcast (for example) and starting right at the beginning (even if there are hundreds of episodes). I feel this helps to provide context for where the podcast began, how it has evolved, and the knowledge and experiences gained along the way.

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There’s always room for one more; thoughts on competition

In many spheres of life, we often spend a lot of time analyzing and focusing on who/what we perceive as “our competition”. This can be in business, in social circles, and almost anywhere. I believe there’s always room for one more, and competition can actually be very healthy for everyone involved.

As I write this, I’m sitting at a Bootlegger Coffee Company in Cape Town. Bootlegger opened up almost out of nowhere, with a few stores across Cape Town, in a style reminiscent of a Starbucks (dark leather, good coffee, free WiFi, and a food menu). This is not too dissimilar to other coffee companies in Cape Town; Seattle Coffee Company (I wonder how they came up with that name), Mugg ‘n Bean, and Vida e Caffe. When Bootlegger first opened, I heard two main schools of thought; “how are they going to survive as a business” and “this looks really exciting, yet it’s nothing new”.

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Acknowledging what we already know, when making decisions

When making decisions, I’ve found it can be quite easy to get into a “bikeshedding” scenario, where the deciding parties lose track of the actual decision to be made. This can be internal, or within a group. Something I’ve found particularly useful and interesting recently is to acknowledge what we already know and how we already feel, as a way of helping the decision to progress to the next step (towards ultimately deciding). Continue reading “Acknowledging what we already know, when making decisions”

Measuring your online store’s performance

I spend a somewhat regular portion of my time answering questions around scalability with WooCommerce. Questions such as “I have a catalog of 600k products, can WooCommerce handle that” and “how many orders can WooCommerce handle” are not uncommon. That said, an interesting post by Chris Lema around scaling WooCommerce brought to light a metric I’ve long felt to be a worthwhile metric for measuring overall performance of any online store; “add to cart” events. This metric is great for measuring not only how well your store performs as you receive more traffic, but how well your store is performing overall as well. Continue reading “Measuring your online store’s performance”

Why transparency wins customers

You know, I so often experience small moments of gratitude, in which I then attempt to remind myself to blog about those moments “at some point in the future”. Today, I’m rectifying that by blogging about two such moments right away.

I worked this morning at The Hatch, a small local coffee shop by the beach nearby to me. The staff there are friendly and attentive, and always go above and beyond to assist, despite the establishment not being very busy, which could easily result in a dip in motivation. They’re open and honest, and always friendly. Continue reading “Why transparency wins customers”

Scaling your product offering after launch

You’ve launched your product. Customers are purchasing and everything is going really well. You’ve reached the point where your product contains all of the features you feel are necessary in the core offering, yet you want to expand. Today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how to expand once having reached this perceived plateau. Continue reading “Scaling your product offering after launch”

Allowing yourself to switch gears

You’ve found a customer segment who really needs your product, developed a minimum viable version of your product and have launched to your market. Your customers are purchasing your product with roars of cheer and glee. What you do next is what you’ll be doing for the foreseeable future of your business; maintaining your product. While extremely important, maintenance of a single product can sometimes become repetitive. It can be great to switch gears from time to time.

Today, I’ll run through a few ideas on how to avoid the repetition as much as possible. Continue reading “Allowing yourself to switch gears”