Is Calendly customer focused?

Blake Morgan of Forbes just released his list of the top 100 most customer-centric companies of 2022. Why does he do it? Because he’s identified a benefit in a company having customer focus.

What is it they do? They make customers feel GOOD. That is why recent research shows that 89% of companies that lead with customer experience perform better financially than their peers.

From https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2022/05/01/the-top-100-most-customer-centric-companies-of-2022/?sh=244040502b38

If you want to initiate something at your company, it’s always good to note that it will help the company make money. Focusing on customers seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to learn how many companies focus on themselves rather than their customers.

I perused Morgan’s list of customer-centric companies and noticed that Calendly was on the list, in the B2B category. Since I use Calendly to set appointments for Bredemarket (more about that later, I promise), I thought I’d read further.

Calendly. Calendly was created to solve a common business problem: the hassle of scheduling meetings and appointments. The simple interface makes it easy for companies to schedule any type of meeting or appointment. Calendly saw huge growth during the pandemic as teams worked remotely.

From https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2022/05/01/the-top-100-most-customer-centric-companies-of-2022/?sh=244040502b38

Since Morgan was covering 100 companies, this three sentence description had to suffice. So I dug deeper and found a story (or, if you will, a case study) that showed how Calendly exhibits customer focus.

The problem with making connections at Conductor

Calendly’s website includes a case study page entitled “Enhanced customer support at Conductor adds value, boosts retention.” Conductor, one of Calendly’s clients, improves the organic marketing of its own customers.

As any good case study (casetimonial) does, the Calendly page begins by talking about Conductor’s problem. Here’s an excerpt:

Mergim Selimaj worried he had a problem. As the customer success manager at Conductor, he could see the company’s small accounts weren’t getting the personalized attention they really needed. As a SaaS company specializing in intelligent content and SEO improvement, Conductor helps companies customize marketing to fit their needs. Mergim needed to find ways of helping his reps deliver tailor-made service to match.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

Yes, a company that “helps companies customize marketing” faced a problem in customizing its own marketing for its small accounts. More importantly, it recognized the problem and realized that the problem needed attention.

So how was Selimaj going to focus on its smaller customers?

First, Selimaj had to identify the problem(s) to solve.

Reps spent hours just scheduling — not to mention re-scheduling — calls. A week of hectic service calls would come on the heels of months of limited activity.

Even when the service finally did connect with customers, they rarely had a clear picture of their individual needs. Some clients only needed to speak once per year, while others had hoped for many more touchpoints. There just had to be a way to spread meetings more evenly, Mergim thought. Meanwhile, the customer care team needed a way to know more about the needs of each client. If only there were a way for clients to specify the kind of help they needed, whenever they wanted.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

There’s at least three problems that Mergim identified:

  1. It was hard to schedule calls with Conductor’s small accounts.
  2. It was hard to know the customers’ desired frequency of contacts.
  3. It was hard to know the specific help that Conductor’s customers desired.

How would Conductor benefit by solving these problems?

Improved experience, and simpler ways of interfacing with customers, would only aid Conductor’s ability to deliver organic traffic and higher returns on customers’ tight marketing budgets.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

You probably noted that these were stated as benefits rather than features. If Calendly were to say, “We offer Scheduling Gizmo 2800,” Conductor could reply, “So what?” But when Calendly said that its solution delivers organic traffic and higher return on investment, Conductor paid attention.

The solution that Calendly provided to Conductor

So what three things did Selimaj do in an attempt to solve the problem?

He started by embedding a Calendly customer success scheduling page on the Help page of Conductor’s website.

From https://calendly.com/blog/customers/conductor

(Apparently you have to log in to see this page, because I couldn’t find it on any publicly available page. I’ll take Calendly’s word for it that this page exists.)

Second, Selimaj also created a scheduling link in Conductor’s app itself, to ensure that Conductor’s customers had easy access to meeting scheduling.

And third, he did one more thing: he instructed each of the company’s customer success reps to include a scheduling link in their email signatures.

I’d like to highlight two things:

  1. Now, rather than requiring the reps to spend huge amounts of time scheduling meetings, the scheduling process was now driven by the customers. When customers needed help, they could easily schedule meetings. When they didn’t need help, they wouldn’t schedule meetings.
  2. Also note that there were three ways for customers to access the scheduler: the web page, the app, and the email signature. Selimaj didn’t tell Conductor’s customers that there was only one approved way to schedule meetings. (And I’d be willing to bet that if a customer called a customer success rep on the phone, the rep would answer.)

So what happened?

The results

The article lists the benefits of Conductor’s Calendly implementation.

  • More tailored customer solutions via available information from integration with Salesforce, Slack and Trello.
  • Better service of large accounts as reps spent less time servicing small accounts.
  • Better engagement through quadrupling of customer contacts.
  • Maintenance of high customer quality, even as quantities increase.
  • Those quantities are increasing because of a 30% boost in renewals.

In short, Calendly’s focus on Conductor allowed Conductor to better focus on the needs of its own customers, thus letting Conductor make more money. And Conductor’s customers presumably made more money also. Customer focus benefits everyone in the B2B chain.

Can a customer focus benefit YOUR company?

Perhaps you own a business, large or small, that could use an increased customer focus and an elaboration of benefits that your company can provide to your customers. Part of this is the need to create customer focused content.

Maybe you, like Calendly and Conductor, have a story of your own you’d like to share with your customers. If so, consider working with Bredemarket (the Ontario, California content marketing expert) to create a case study.

Bredemarket uses a collaborative process with you to ensure that the final written product communicates your desired message. Bredemarket’s content creation process ensures that the final written content (a) answers the WHY/HOW/WHAT questions about you, (b) advances your GOAL, (c) communicates your BENEFITS, and (d) speaks to your TARGET AUDIENCE. It is both iterative and collaborative.

Often my clients provide specific feedback at certain stages of the process to ensure that the messaging is on track. I combine my client’s desires with my communications expertise to create a final written product that pleases both of us.

If you’d like Bredemarket to help you create a case study or other content, you can go to calendly.com/bredemarket to book a meeting with me. Or if you don’t like Calendly, there are two other ways to contact me:

Why the Toyota Arena’s square footage is unimportant in Zurdo vs. Boesel marketing…or YOUR marketing

There is a LOT going on in Ontario, California that escapes the attention of most of us. For example, only dedicated boxing fans may know what is happening here on May 14.

Former world champion and light heavyweight Mexican boxing star Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez (43-0, 29 KOs) of Mazatlán, Mexico, will face former WBA Interim Light Heavyweight World Champion Dominic Boesel (32-2, 12 KOs) of Freyburg, Germany on Saturday, May 14….The event will take place at Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA, and will stream live exclusively on DAZN.

From https://www.ringtv.com/638236-gilberto-ramirez-dominic-boesel-set-for-may-14-in-ontario-california/

So why didn’t I learn about the Ramirez-Boesel fight until a week after this April 22 announcement?

Because I’m not part of the target market for this fight.

The announcement that I quoted above was shared on The Ring website. Obviously people who visit that particular site are interested in boxing.

And the Toyota Arena is certainly promoting it. (“Zurdo” is Ramirez’s nickname.) Notice the prominent “BUY TICKETS” call to action. The Toyota Arena wants you to attend the event in-person.

And the DAZN streaming service is obviously talking about it and hoping that you sign up for the service. The yellow “SIGN UP NOW” buttons (two of them in this screen alone) are hard to miss. Unlike the Toyota Arena, DAZN doesn’t require you to be in person to view this fight.

DAZN website, Zurdo vs. Boesel streaming sign up.
From https://www.dazn.com/en-US/sport/Sport:2x2oqzx60orpoeugkd754ga17/abtjyjpn1btla7vxkzowzh5h5

What the Toyota Arena and the DAZN streaming service DIDN’T do when marketing the fight

Let’s look at one aspect of how the fight is being marketed.

Have you ever noticed that some companies believe that the best way to market themselves is to talk about themselves? They’re worse than a self-obsessed narcissist on a date.

Major Frank Burns (Larry Linville).
Major Frank Burns (portrayed by Larry Linville) of M*A*S*H fame. (Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan not pictured.) By CBS Television – eBayfrontbackeBayphoto front & release, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30082123

If the “my company is most important” people were promoting this fight, the Toyota Arena could have started its Zurdo vs. Boesel page with the text below.

Toyota Arena, built and owned by the City of Ontario, operated by ASM Global, can accommodate over 11,000 guests. The 225,000 square foot venue features 36 luxury suites located on two levels and a continuous concourse hosting a variety of concession and refreshment stands, merchandise kiosks, the VIP Club and other fan amenities. Toyota Arena hosts over 125 events annually including concerts, family shows, and sporting competitions. The Arena is home to several sport teams including: Ontario Reign (American Hockey League), Ontario Fury (Major Arena Soccer League), Aqua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (G League Basketball), and LA Temptation (Legends Football League).

From https://www.toyota-arena.com/arena-info/about

This text appears on the arena’s “About Us” page. Why not also put it on the page for the fight, to ensure that the readers see it and realize the sheer awesomeness of the arena, the City of Ontario, and ASM Global?

Why not talk about the arena at the beginning of the fight announcement? Because fight promoters are smart. Fight promoters know that to make a sale, they need to maintain a customer focus.

Let’s say that you’re a boxing promoter and YOU have to promote this fight. Which of the following two facts is more important?

  1. Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez has a boxing record of 43-0 with 29 knockouts.
  2. The Toyota Arena is a 225,000 square foot facility.

Now perhaps the janitorial staff that has to service the Toyota Arena is more concerned about item 2, but if you want boxing fans to buy tickets or streaming access, you’re going to aggressively promote item 1 and maintain your customer focus.

So what is MY call to action to YOU?

If I were to ask you, there is a high probability that you are not a boxing promoter. I know this because I’m not submitting this post to The Ring as a press release, but am instead sharing it in various Inland Empire West business channels.

However, there is a pretty good probability that you own or manage a local business, and you have your own news that you want to get out.

And this news must resonate with your customers.

  • Perhaps you want to share a customer success story, case study, or testimonial—a casetimonial, if you will. This document must appeal to your customers, speak to their needs, and ideally lead to them considering your company’s services or products.
  • Or perhaps you want to share a white paper that addresses your customers’ needs, but also drives them to consider your business. For example, you might distribute a white paper that lists seven critical criteria for customer success—and coincidentally, your company’s offering satisfies all seven critical criteria. (What an amazing coincidence!)

Regardless of your desired written content, you need the services of an Ontario, California content marketing expert who can work with you and maintain a customer focus in your content marketing.

Ontario Convention Center.
By Mack Male – originally posted to Flickr as Ontario Convention Center, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9512928

I, John E. Bredehoft, through my Ontario-based DBA Bredemarket, can write casetimonials, white papers, and other types of content, working with you to answer these and other critical questions BEFORE producing the content:

  • Why, how, and what do you do?
  • What is the topic of the content?
  • What is the goal that you want to achieve with the content?
  • What are the benefits (not features, but benefits) that your end customers can realize by using your product or service?
  • What is the target audience for the content?

After you’ve provided the relevant information to me, I’ll create the first iteration of the content, and we’ll work together to create your final content. The specifics of how we will work together depend upon whether you have elected the Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service, the Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service, or something else.

When we’re done, that final content is yours (a “work for hire” arrangement).

If I can help your business, or if you have further questions about Bredemarket’s B2B content creation services, please contact me.

Who pays you? Sarah Greesonbach knows

I could literally write between 2,800 and 3,200 words (geddit?) on this topic, but Sarah Greesonbach expressed the thought much more succinctly.

You’re not writing for whoever’s paying you. You’re writing for whoever’s paying THEM.

From https://twitter.com/AwYeahSarah/status/1519018665668132866

Actually, I did offer this comment when I reshared the tweet on various social media channels:

I like this perspective. $ (or € or whatever) always clarifies things.

From Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

And now my WordPress readers can see Sarah’s thoughts also.

Positioning a sole proprietorship

I shared something on the Bredemarket LinkedIn page, and I also shared it on the Bredemarket Facebook page, but there are billions of people who don’t subscribe to either, so I thought I’d share it here too to VASTLY increase its reach.

“It” is an Andrea Olson article published this morning entitled “Why Positioning Is More Important Than Ever.” Olson believes that company positioning is mostly a lost art, and that some attempts to establish a unique company marketing position don’t really work in practice. For example, a Company X claim that it is “customer-focused” will only be effective if Company Y says that it is “not customer-focused.” (This doesn’t happen.)

I’m going to advance the hypothesis that it’s easier for very large companies and very small companies to establish unique market positions, but harder for medium sized firms.

Medium sized firms often do not have an established presence in our minds. Let’s say that you’ve just moved to a new city and you’re deciding where you’re going to buy a car. How do you tell one car dealer from another? Does one of them have a better coffee machine in its customer lounge? Is one of them customer-focused?

The very large companies DO conjure images in our minds. On one level, there’s no huge difference between what Walmart sells, what Target sells, and what Kmart sells. But if you read the names “Walmart,” “Target,” and “Kmart,” positive and/or negative images immediately pop into your brain.

Which brings us to the very small companies, and the question that I asked on LinkedIn and Facebook—what is MY company’s unique market position?

This is something that I’m working on enunciating, both in public forums such as this one and in more private ones such as emails to potential clients. There are certain things about the Bredemarket offerings that are clearly NOT unique:

  • Many writing companies offer a specified number of review cycles to their clients.
  • Many writing companies offer experience in writing about biometric technology.
  • Many writing companies offer experience in writing proposals.

But there’s one advantage that very small companies (sole proprietorships) offer—the uniqueness of the sole proprietor. This uniqueness is sometimes difficult to convey, especially in the current pandemic environment. But it’s there.

Although it’s more difficult to convey if you’re one of a set of twins.