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Case studies from design industry professionals, from the smallest of firms to large, global organizations. Click on image - order your copy today!

Customers Deserve Our Thanks and Appreciation – It’s Thanksgiving

Designing Strategies  eNewsletter Volume 14                          Issue 80   Happy Thanksgiving  and the Coming Holiday Season Everyone! It's hard to believe that we are half way through Fall and that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Somehow these holidays have a habit of sneaking up on us.  Lots of cleaning to do.  Long grocery lists with ingredients for traditional family recipes are on refrigerator doors or in our digital To Do list.  Run the good china and silverware through the dish washer.  Pull out that special table cloth.  Time to celebrate and be thankful.  Thankful for our families, friends, health and home, of course.  But, should remember those less fortunate than we are at this [...]

Exceptional Customer Experiences:  7 Infallible Rules Not To Be Ignored

Every small business claims to have excellent customer service.  I’m not kidding.  Go out and do an informal survey of your own.  At your next association meeting, ask ten or twelve colleagues – read:  competitors – how they rate their own customer service.   I’d be willing to bet that 9 out of 10 will tell you they are just ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ when it comes to customer service and exceptional customer experiences. For those of you who prefer to speak in simpler terms, that very, very long word from Mary Poppins just means “exceptionally good”.  By claiming to have exceptionally good customer service, they claim their customer service is uncommon or unusual, at a uniquely higher level than anyone else provides.  The truth is: if that question was [...]

Does Your Firm Accept Credit Cards? Maybe You Should.

This week, we contracted with an award winning local landscape firm to do some stone and brick work on our property.  We met with the owner to sign the contract so work could begin.  When I asked if they would accept credit card payment for our deposit, we were told their company doesn't accept credit cards.  Interesting.  I thought most every small business today accepts credit cards for payment. Credit and debit cards have taken over the world.  Those, myself included, who still write the occasional check are looked at strangely.  Change takes time for most people.  Yes, I do pay bills and make purchases online, but I have become more and more cautious about who gets my credit card information.  Far too many hackers [...]

By | August 3rd, 2017|Customer Experience, Strategic Management|0 Comments

Influences on Small Businesses for 2017: Competition & Customer Behaviors

'Designing Strategies' eNewsletter July - August, 2017               Volume 14     Issue 78   Any small business owner or manager who has been operating over the past ten years has experienced big time changes coming at them.  It is no secret that changes and external  influences on small businesses are a constant we need to prepare for.   Any not willing to do necessary zig-zagging required to change strategies or pivot on a dime may well be gone now.  We have been facing more than a few significant external changes, trying to stay afloat.  Let’s limit this discussion to just two of the enormous influences on small business es and their success.  Two of those influencers and disruptors I [...]

Build Customer Loyalty to Grow Your Small Business

Acquiring new customers helps any small business grow.  Customers are known to come and go.  All customers that leave are not necessarily dissatisfied or disgruntled.  Customers may move out of your area for any number of reasons, or no longer need your products or services.  Worst case scenario would be that for some reason, you failed to build customer loyalty. To grow a small business,  former customers have to be replaced. Remember that current customers are the lifeblood of your business and keeping them satisfied should be your highest priority.  Their experience with your firm, your products or services and your staff needs to be exceptional.  For all of these reasons, it is imperative that you build customer loyalty. Statistics show that, on average, U.S. companies lose [...]

By | October 30th, 2016|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|2 Comments

Calls-to-Action: Essential for Small Business Websites

Did anyone else see these unsettling statistics about small business websites on the SCORE website ?  They created a clear and concise infographic on small business websites you might find interesting.  The statistics revealed here (12/2014) are probably even higher today in terms of the impact of online sales from mobile device access. Only 51% of small businesses have websites.  If that isn’t bad enough, the following statistics cover other weaknesses of the sites that do exist: 70% have no call to action. 27% don't provide a telephone number. 68% don't have an email address on the home page. 82% don't have social media accounts. 50% of online sales are lost when visitors can't find content. It’s hard to believe that any small business is not yet aware [...]

By | October 27th, 2016|Customer Experience, Marketing|0 Comments

Millennials – Quit Thinking About Them Coming – They’re he-re!

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter March - April 2016 Issue                       Volume 13 - Issue 70   Talk has been going on for the past ten years that 'soon' Millennials would become a major force in the marketplace and the workplace. In case you haven't notices, they're here. They are here in massive numbers – large and in charge. If you have not seriously worked on your marketing strategy for reaching them, you are way behind. They are here and in force. The leading edge of 76 million of them are now thirty-somethings with the ability to seriously flex their economic muscle on any industry. Millennials need your attention - now.  It doesn't matter if you are a [...]

How to Handle Negative Customer Feedback

Sometimes, as hard as we might try to provide exceptional service to every customer, one of them will be dissatisfied about something.  In an ideal world, every sale or project would run smoothly and result in a highly satisfied customer.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  But, reality means that sometimes things will go wrong.  When things go wrong, sometimes it will result in negative customer feedback if the problem is not handled promptly. It would be nice if the dissatisfied customer would give us a call, explain the problem and let us resolve it. But, that's not always the case. Sometimes they will just sit back and brood about it, wondering why we haven't figured out what the problem is via ESP or mental telepathy. Then, after they [...]

By | January 7th, 2016|Customer Experience, Customer Relationships|0 Comments

Today’s Customers Are NOT Your Father’s Customers

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter September – October 2015                     Volume 12 -- Issue 67 There have been various versions of the 'It's Not Your Father's (whatever)' on TV and in magazine and newspaper advertisements over the past few years. Ad Agencies must think we have yet to notice that things have changed and aren't the same as they were years ago. No surprises there. Of course things have changed. Almost everything has changed to some degree.  Today's customers are very different from those our parents dealt with in the past. Everything has changed.  Very few things are like they used to be.  Cars, clothing, homes, communication devices and the food we eat every day are not the [...]

Are You Selling Stuff or Providing Solutions – Very Valuable Solutions?

'Designing Strategies' Newsletter July - August, 2015                     Volume 12 -- Issue 66 "Do you really know what business you are in?"  I ask this question of small business clients on a regular basis. Often I get that 'deer in the headlights' look as they try to decide why I would ask such a question. There I am, sitting in their office or studio where their company name and identity is clearly posted. I know what they are thinking: "Is this a trick question?" or maybe: "Have I hired the right person?" "This one seems to know nothing about me, so how can they help improve my business?" I'm sure that a few even think: "What an [...]

By | July 18th, 2015|Customer Experience, Newsletter, Sales, Strategy|0 Comments