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.

Ontario, California Fast Business Facts

The U.S. Census provides “quick facts” about U.S. jurisdictions, including business facts. While the business facts are ten years old, they still provide an indication of business health.

For Ontario, the U.S. Census Bureau has documented over 14,000 firms, over $4 billion in manufacturers shipments, and over $4 billion in retail sales. These figures have presumably increased in the last ten years.

If you own or manage one of these thousands of businesses, and you need to let other businesses know about your offerings, perhaps you should turn to the Ontario, California content marketing expert. Bredemarket can assist your firm with the following:

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

Bredemarket content marketing services for small businesses in and around Ontario, California (the April 8, 2022 iteration)

A minor refresh to what I wrote on March 31, including an updated brochure.

Here’s the text I recently added to my home page.

Bredemarket presently offers its services to identity/biometrics, technology, and general business firms, as well as to nonprofits. I offer my services to firms in my hometown of Ontario, California, as well as firms in EastvaleFontanaMontclairRancho CucamongaUpland, other cities of the Inland Empire West, and throughout the United States.

From https://bredemarket.com/

This post concentrates on the services that Bredemarket can provide to businesses in my local area. Read on if you own a small, arty business in the Emporia Arts District of Ontario…

Ontario, California Emporia Arts District.

…or perhaps a larger, less arty business north of Holt in Ontario, or perhaps even a business in one of the other cities that I mentioned, or one of the ones I didn’t (sorry Narod).

There are a lot of local businesses out there

Even if you don’t count sole proprietors (such as myself) or freelancers, there are somewhere around 7.7 million businesses in the United States. (This figure is from 2016; I’m not sure if it’s gone up or gone down in the last five years.) Now if you include sole proprietors in the total, then you’re talking about 32 million businesses. (This particular number may have actually increased over time.)

Obviously I can’t target them all. Well, I could try, but it would be a little ridiculous.

So what if I took a subset of those 32 million businesses and tried to see if Bredemarket could serve that subset?

The local small business persona

When you want to market to a particular group, you develop a persona that represents that group. You can then develop a profile of that persona: the persona’s needs, aspirations, and expectations; the persona’s underlying goals and values; and perhaps some other elements. The persona may be developed via extensive research, or perhaps via…a little less quantification.

When I initially looked at this topic last September, I concentrated on a particular persona, but my thoughts on this topic have evolved over time. While I will still serve artists as I initially proposed last September, I’m now thinking of other businesses that can best use the type of content that I provide.

For example, the business may be an incorporated business that is based on the Inland Empire West, provides its products or services to customers in the local area, provides excellent service that is loved by its existing customers, and needs to get the word out to new potential customers by creating content that can be downloaded from a company website, shared via a company social media account, or handed out at a trade show or other in-person event.

Regarding the values of this particular persona, you can probably already deduce some of them based upon the customer love for the company.

  • The business puts the customer first and strives to provide services that satisfy its customers.
  • However, the business also prioritizes the well-being of its employees.
  • While the business may not have explicitly articulated a vision, its actions testify to a vision of excellent service, customer satisfaction, and care for employees.

But what does this business need in terms of types of content? For my example, these businesses are ones that need customer-facing content such as the following:

  • A document (online or printed) that explains the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides, and that discusses the benefits that the product(s)/service(s) offers to the customers. This document may take the form of a product/service description, or it may take the form of a white paper. For example, your business might issue a white paper entitled “Seven Mandatory Requirements for a Green Widget,” and the white paper just might happen to mention at the end that your green widget just happens to meet all seven mandatory requirements. (Coincidence? I think not.)
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
Portion of the concluding section of a white paper in which Bredemarket provided the text.
  • A document (online or printed) that tells a story about how an individual customer benefited from the product(s) or service(s) that the business provides. You could call such a document a case study, or you could call it a testimonial. Or you could call it a casetimonial.

These types of documents are more valuable to some businesses than to others. Your average convenience store has little need for a 3,000 word white paper. But perhaps your business has this sort of need.

How many words should your content contain?

When I originally wrote this last September, I started off by discussing my two standard packages, based on word length. But now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, there are some questions that you need to ask BEFORE deciding on the content length. (We’ll get to content length later.)

(Owen Lovejoy) How long should a man’s legs be in proportion to his body?”

(Abraham Lincoln) “I have not given the matter much consideration, but on first blush I should judge they ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground.”

Thomas Lowery, quoted at https://thelogcabinsage.com/how-long-should-a-mans-legs-be-and-2-other-lincoln-stories/
Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln. (Legs not shown.) By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895 – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3a36988.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18705107

So how far away is the ground? Let’s ask some other questions first before we determine the answer to content length.

Bredemarket’s initial questions for you

Before I create a single word, I start by asking you some questions about your content to make sure our project starts on the right foot. (Even though I am left-footed.)

Bredemarket Kickoff Guide header.

  • 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?

Once I’ve asked you these and other questions (such as a potential outline), we will both have a good idea of how long the final piece needs to be.

The length of the content also dictates the length and complexity of the review process.

Returning to the content length question

Once we have a good idea of the content length, there are three options that we can pursue to actually create the content.

If your content consists of 400 to 600 words, then I create the content using the process detailed in my Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-400-short-writing-service/

This has two review cycles with up to three days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 400 Short Writing Service
If your content is longer, say 2800 to 3200 words, then I create the content using a similar (but more detailed) process through my Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service.

https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/

This has three review cycles with up to seven days per review cycle.

Bredemarket 2800 Medium Writing Service
If your content falls between these two lengths, or is longer than 3200 words, or needs a more rapid delivery time, we’ll talk and come up with a solution. (And we’ll even come up with a spiffy name if you like)
For more services, see https://bredemarket.com/what-i-do/

If you can use my services, what are the next steps?

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

Coffee and hair styling in Ontario, California

My local area is undergoing a transformation, with a number of new businesses appearing in the area. Oddly enough, I keep on seeing two distinctly different types of businesses appearing here.

Over the last couple of years, a number of coffee shops have opened in downtown Ontario (California, not Canada). I’m unintentionally going to leave many of them off this list, but a few of the new coffee shops include Mestiza Cakehouse and Cafe, Special Needz Coffee (with a second location inside 4th Sector Innovations), and Starbucks.

At the same time, a number of new hair stylists and barber shops have opened in downtown Ontario. Trust me, there’s a bunch of them.

I don’t know if this is public knowledge (it’s been discussed at the Ontario IDEA Exchange and other B2B forums), but downtown Ontario is even on track to have an establishment that combines the two business types. (Of course, a few of you have already figured out who I’m talking about.)

I guess that’s real life.

If you have a business and need to stand out from the crowd:

Also see https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-2800-medium-writing-service/.