Marketing

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When Should You Nickel-and-Dime Your Customers?

When should a company “nickel-and-dime” customers by charging separately for various extras, and when is it better to combine all of the charges into one total price? It depends on a variety of factors, such as whether customers comparison shop, whether they are more sensitive to the prices of some components (delivery) than to others, whether the price of one component is small or large relative to the others, and whether the company controls the costs and quality of a particular component.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Kliefi.

Designing the Soft Side of Customer Service

This article examines how three factors—emotions, trust and control—shape customer assessments of service experiences and their overall view of service providers. Drawing on research conducted at companies including Dell, the Seattle Supersonics and McKinsey & Company, the article posits that organizations seeking to excel in customer service need to attack the “soft side” of customer management with the same type of intensity they have previously used to reengineer workflow and supply chains.

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Repeat Performance: Morphing the Web

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Winner! An article by MIT professors John Hauser, Glen Urban and Michael Braun on matching content and “look and feel” of websites to cognitive styles has been named one of the 50 best scholarly management articles of 2009, winning an Emerald Management Reviews Citation of Excellence.

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How to Save Your Brand In the Face of Crisis

When bad things happen, companies need the right strategy for talking their way out of a mess and avoiding a calamitous pummeling of their corporate image. Choosing the best response can spell the difference between a brand’s survival — even enhancement — and its irreversible tarnishing.

Courtesy of Procter & Gamble

Is Your Company As Customer-Focused As You Think?

To become a customer-focused organization requires senior executives to open up communication with people throughout the organization so they can hear what is actually going on — as opposed to a sanitized version. Few companies make this leap, even though not doing it can hurt long-term performance. However, managers can come to terms with their company’s weaknesses in the realm of customer focus by posing a set of five questions specifically designed to uncover their vulnerabilities.

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Don’t Fire Your Customers, Yet

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Times are tough. There’s too much work to go around and some days it seems like you’re spending all your time trying to please customers who never seem happy.

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Why the Highest Price Isn’t the Best Price

There are several questions an organization should ask to improve its pricing strategy, including: What is the marketing strategy in this segment? What is the differential value that is transparent to target customers? What is the price of the next best alternative offering? What is the customer’s expectation of a “fair” price?

By asking these questions and others, an organization can choose a price point that provides the largest long-term value to the supplier.

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Morphing the Web

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The new Summer 2009 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review includes an interesting article on websites that “morph” — by adjusting their content to the cognitive style of their visitors.

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Morph the Web To Build Empathy, Trust and Sales

We’ve long been able to personalize what information the Internet tells us — but now comes “Web site morphing,” and an Internet that personalizes how we like to be told. For companies, it means that communicating — and selling — will never be the same.

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Do-It-Yourself Brand Creation

Strong brands are often seen as an important corporate asset. But what happens when user communities—connected by the Internet—start to create their own brands? That question was explored in an intriguing August 2008 working paper, “Costless Creation of Strong Brands by User Communities: Implications for Producer-Owned Brands.” The paper suggests that companies with traditional brands would be wise to pay attention to this emerging arena.

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