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Education resource for the group travel supplier


Tuesday, 16 July 2013 09:36

Train Your Tired Brain

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If you're stressed out and tired, it's hard to learn new things. Exercise, sleep, and a good diet are all essential for keeping your brain in peak condition, but you can also do the following to perform at your cognitive and creative best: 

Change perspectives. Improve mental flexibility by rapidly trying on new points of view. This exercises your mind. For example, what would a potential customer think about this idea? Your boss? Your competitors? 

Reboot. Take a break from work every hour, or more often if you’re already frazzled. Get out of your chair, water a plant, or just let your mind wander. These breaks recharge your brain. 

Summon a positive thought. Negative emotions impair thinking, memory, creativity, and strategic thinking. Try to crowd out unconstructive thoughts with positive ones, which improve these capabilities.  

Adapted from “Prepare Your Brain for Change” by Margaret Moore. Harvard Business Review. 

Being in business means more than just selling your services or goods. In 2013, being in business means selling, monitoring, engaging, social sharing, online reviewing, reputation managing, generating, andmost importantlylistening. Almost all of these concepts, however, rely on the "-ing" to happen only once a customer or client is no longer in our presence. The exceptions are selling and listening. Every other thing we do in service of our businesses happens either before or after we come into contact with the customer. In the words of Gautama Buddha, "The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."

This is true for our businesses too. We should strive to listen and be present with our customersthese moments with them, whether hours or a few short minuteswill serve as the basis of every future experience. Remember that our customers are our biggest advocates and the largest source of referrals, which relates directly to profit. It makes sense to take the time, attention, and care needed to lay the groundwork for positive customer experiences and interactionsthe first time and every time.

If you focus your energy on listening to your customers and acknowledging their feedbackbe it positive or negative, you may find that managing, reviewing, sharing, and engaging naturally grow more easy as well. Positivity begets positivity, and after a good experience with your business, consumers will share this satisfying interaction with others.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs as reported by Return on Behavior magazine:

 • 78 percent of consumers have ended a transaction due to bad service.

 • Only 4 percent of dissatisfied customers actually speak up.

 • Loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase.

 • The probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20 percent, while selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent.

 • It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for a single bad experience.

 • Negative interactions with a business are spread to twice as many people as positive ones.

We need to be unafraid of bringing it back down to the basics. Customer service may just be the most proactive tool any business owner can plan to use as part of a marketing, advertising, or revenue-increasing plan. Through an organized system for handling customer feedback, social media commentary, and direct interaction with customers, the feedback provided by our patrons is one of the best tools we have for improving the work we're doing. Losing even a single customer can be very expensive, so it's worth it to extend the effort to listen to complaints from existing customers and turn them into positive experiences.

Source: Hulya Aksu, CEO of,

Have you ever noticed there are a few "tipping points" in any customer experience that have a disproportionate impact on its success?

It might be the moment you slip between the sheets of a heavenly bed at a Westin, or find yourself smiling and relaxed watching the safety video on an Air New Zealand flight. Or the moment you received all the charges for your son's broken arm in one easy-to-read and no-surprises bill from your health plan. (I made this last one up, but we can dream, right?)

If you get them right, tipping point moments seem to have a halo effect on everything else. And if you get them wrong, you're forever climbing out of a big hole of negative customer perceptions.

Do you know what the tipping point is for your customer experience? Finding it, and getting it right, can mean the difference between creating an army of brand advocates and loyal customers or an apathetic slog of customers who feel chained to your brand.

What has been a tipping point for you as a customer?

Adapted from: MarketingProfs

Are you watching your competitors' social media platforms? If you ask Stephanie Winans, a digital media strategist, consultant, and speaker on social media, there are at least two good reasons why you should be.

First, to find out if they're doing “better” than you and, if so, why.

Second, because you might be losing sales and not even realizing it.

“I like to see who the competition's new followers are,” said Winans, principal at Stephanie Winans Digital Media Strategy. “Then I can reach out to them and follow them. Every so often you can actually see a lead and competitor talking, and a lot of times they're in the beginning stages of research.”

Besides identifying leads a competitor is courting, the conversations can help refine your own marketing language for brand enhancement, Winans said.

As the number of social media platforms has grown, so have the opportunities that allow you to “eavesdrop” on social conversations across the Internet.

“While we know that clients love to see a huge Facebook fan base or a massive Twitter following, those metrics are so 2011,” said Lucas Vandenberg, CEO of Fifty & Five, a social media agency in Los Angeles. “The best way to understand a competitor's social media performance is to look at their engagement per post or engagement per tweet.”


To arrive at an engagement-per-post number on Facebook, for example, Vandenberg's group totals up the number of “Likes,” shares, and comments for one day, divides by the number of posts that day, divides that by the total number of Facebook followers, then multiplies that number by one hundred.

There is software available that allows users to track Twitter, Facebook, and blog data to help make the job easier. No matter how you track a competitor's social strategy, however, don't get lost in the details.

Here's where the human element comes in. According to Winans, even the most sophisticated social monitoring program can't by itself interpret the raw intelligence or help you see underlying opportunities and threats in your competitors' social media ecosystems.

“It's not just about stats,” she said. “It's about conversation and what's going on in their business. When you can see their content, you get a competitive edge by following their conversations.” 

What has been your experience with social "spying" on competitors?

Written by: Jon VanZile eNews photo: TungPhoto

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