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Friday, February 20, 2015

Modern Office Definition Evolves; TPS Reports Still Excluded

Modern offices...

...include "an office space without barriers that can also be private."
...include workspaces and technology that "need to reflect that increased desire for flexibility."
...should "enable collaboration without sacrificing a worker’s ability to really focus on the job at hand."

With clearly a plethora of ideas as to what a modern office should look like, feel like, include and exclude, we shouldn't expect a single, solid definition any time soon. And why would we? The one aspect we can most likely agree upon is that the definition is ever-evolving; what is modern today will be pass√© tomorrow. Maintaining cutting edge status is critical to the success of a business and its ability to attract the most qualified new talent. 

As we continue to refine and evolve the definition and reputation of a modern office, here are a few simple ideas to consider: 

1. A modern office should have options. Not everyone can be productive and creative in the same type of space, with the same types of technology and sitting in the same type of chair. We also all learn, communicate and schedule our workloads differently. A modern office should accommodate such things. Standing desks, laptops, exercise balls as chairs and flexible work schedules are just a few things that provide much needed (and much appreciated) options. Also, keeping meetings under 30 minutes, allowing team members to call in to meetings or view them via web conference and providing various types of consistent professional development opportunities show team members that their needs and differences have been considered. 

2. A modern office should inspire its team members. We spend a lot of time at work. A lot. And no one wants to spend all that time in a lifeless cubicle maze reminiscent of Office Space. An inspiring office doesn't have to include a slide like Google's office or a video game room like Facebook's office (although both would be nice). 

Groupon inspires with brightly painted walls and modern office furniture. 

Nike inspires with art on its walls and sleek designs throughout.

Inspiring a team is more than just what an office looks like. Modern office spaces create a culture that allows team members to connect with each other and connect with their work. Show team members that they were chosen for their positions because they have something meaningful to contribute, not because you needed a role filled. Talk with your team members about the brand's larger goals and explain how their expertise contributes. Spring for in-office chair massages each month to show your team members you care about their energy levels as well as a relaxing environment. (Every moment of the day CAN'T be focused on meeting deadlines.) Encourage team members to express their personalities in their workspaces and attire. Provide your team members with the time and space needed to complete tasks at their own pace without micromanaging. Share knowledge; don't hoard it. Oh, and have some cool gadgets like these around to liven up even the longest of days. 

(We all need to take a few moments to rest in the office from time to time, right?)

3. A modern office should have free food. Lots of it. If you work for Google, you'll never go hungry. The brand feeds its employees three times a day for free. And I don't mean square pizza, an orange and a box of chocolate mil√† la elementary school. I mean a variety of dishes made from fresh, organic food from menus around the world that fit several dietary needs. 

Of course every business can't provide perks of this magnitude, but with some creative budgeting, businesses can inspire a "the team who eats together works together" mentality. Provide breakfast or lunch once a week. Have a cupboard full of healthy snacks. Pass out water and juice to help team members stay creative and productive throughout the day. Acknowledge your team members' different dietary needs and provide options. 

Ask your team members what the modern office means to them and what they think it should include. I guarantee no one will say TPS reports. 

By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Make Your Customers Fall In Love Every Day

Oh, Valentine's Day. That doe-eyed darling of a holiday that evokes both swoons and shuns depending on how one feels about love and if one sees the day as mere commercialism. We here at RME360 are Team Swoon and have focused our social media content this week on things businesses love as a tribute to dear ol' Cupid.

Out of the many things we as a business love, our customers have planted the largest flag on our collective heart. As a consumer, don't you love when your favorite business appreciates you? When you feel valued and have no doubt that you'll receive tip-top customer service? Of course you do! We all want to spend our dollars with businesses that go above and beyond to show us that we matter to more than just their bottom lines. 

So how can we make our customers fall in love with us every day of the year? Here are some ideas. 

1. Interact with customers promptly and pleasantly on social media. 

I am Starbucks' #1 brand advocate. Well, at least in my mind I am. Besides my favorite drink there, I adore how the company interacts with its loyal fans. Here's an example: 

Nice, right? A fan felt compelled to not only pass the love for paying it forward but also to tell Starbucks about it. Within an hour (promptly), Starbucks tweeted the customer back their response (pleasantly). The company's Twitter page is full of such conversations as well as conversations with customers who are upset and Starbucks promptly and pleasantly addresses their concerns. 

Now, do I think every business has the social media team, power and presence that Starbucks does? Absolutely not. But it's easy to model your strategy around Starbucks' strategy when your business is ready to maintain a consistent connection with fans via social media. Why not learn from the best, right? 

2. Be there for your customers before, during and after their buying experiences. 


GE Capital Retail Bank's Major Purchase Shopper Study found that 81% of consumers go online to research products they are interested in before buying them. What does that mean? You need to be digitally present at the stroke of your customer's fingers. A website is a good start, but it isn't enough in 2015. Be consistently present on social media, post various types of content, including videos and images, start a blog, and use display ads as well as remarketing ads. Leave a digital trail for your customers to follow. 


Put yourself in your customer's shoes. What is excellent customer service to you? How would you want a company to earn your business and possibly a long-term connection with you? What would qualify as going above and beyond? What would inspire you to choose one business over another? Answer these questions and then do those things for your customers. 


One transaction does not equal a relationship. If you want to build a long-term connection with your customers, provide them with ongoing support. Call to check in with your customers after their purchase, provide online support chat, create multi-channel promotions targeting new customers and/or go old school and send them snail mail like thank you cards, birthday cards, etc. Recognize them as valuable to your business even after the transaction is over and they will remember you when it's time to buy again. 

3. Listen to your customers' suggestions. 

 "Wow, I wish they had..." is a phrase we've all finished with lengthy lists of our suggestions for businesses. Your prospects and customers may have that same phrase in their minds from time and time and may follow up by contacting you about their ideas. Listen to their ideas and implement them when you can. Don't be so in love with the way you do business that you ignore plausible suggestions that will satisfy customers. Starbucks has an additional Twitter profile and a website for the sole purpose of accepting such suggestions. Fans get to vote on ideas they like and get to take part in the discussion of changes with Starbucks leaders. 

4. Shine the spotlight on your customers. 

Has a customer given you an amazing testimonial? Have she said something thought provoking on social media? Does he have a success story that involves your business? Turn the spotlight over to customers with stories like these and give them the fame they deserve. You might highlight them on social media, in your newsletter or in your advertising. This will resonate not only with those customers but also with new prospects who are considering your business for their needs. 

What tips would you add to the list?

By: Susan Gail Taylor, Social Media Manager and Copywriter at RME360