Jeanne Bliss

Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of IER Partners, which has guided and strengthened brands of all sizes with savvy best practices for creating customers for life. Combining her passion of adventurous listening and working across diverse industries, her "outsider-insider" creative branding and merchandising expertise and objectivity has been valued by companies as diverse as Spanx, Ben & Jerry's, Celestial Seasonings, CHEFS and Boston Proper.  She holds an MBA and has dedicated more than 20 years to providing clients both domestic and international with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She is the author of  two books in which she shares her hands-on approach for both brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators, and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants. You may reach her at asyverson@ierpartners.com.

Have you ever thought about where and how your brand story begins and ends? What emotional feelings are being conveyed as your customers enter and exit your brand experience? These beginnings and endings are important impression makers. It pays to take some "stop and think" time to evaluate how graciously and memorably you are saying hello and goodbye to your customers.

Once upon a time, making the sale was an art—one that counted house calls, chummy inquiries about the wife and kids and a hearty handshake as the stuff deals were made of. While the product and offer were (and still are) the driving melodies behind the ol’ salesmanship rag, it was a decidedly different tune that struck a chord with prospects: the honest-to-goodness investment in satisfaction. The relationship-builders of yore, so integral in making customers for life, might be borderline hackneyed by today’s click-’em-and-leave-’em business environment. The nurtured segment that once was born out of such tactics, however, still is thriving. Who, now, is

How can you make your customers love you? First you have to respect them. Jeanne Bliss, managing partner of Customer Bliss, offers up some tips to get started. They’re far from easy, she says, but they’re absolutely necessary. Be persistent to keep customers happily enamored ... er ... shopping with you. 1. Eliminate the customer obstacle course. If you asked customers, they’d say that the obstacle course for figuring out who to talk to and how and when to get service is over-complicated, conflicting and just plain out of whack. Simplify the roadmap for customers. Make it clear how they can do business with

“There is a growing case of corporate memory loss that annoys and aggravates customers every day. A customer calls in a product return and is promised a mailing label that never arrives. An appointment is made for home repair and the workman shows up without the right parts. A promise is made for exceptional extended warranty service, yet the process is sloppy and unwieldy. The customer has to strong-arm his/her way through the corporate maze just to get basic things accomplished. They’re exhausted from the wrestling match, they’re annoyed, and they’re telling everyone they know. And, oh, by the way, when they get the

Let’s consider two scenarios: In the first one, which takes place in the Stone Age, a customer has a problem with your widget. She dials your toll-free number on her stone phone, and the call center rep (who’s wearing a loincloth because it’s casual Friday) spends valuable time walking the customer through the process of hooking up the widget. In the second scenario, you have a customer who has a problem with your widget. She surfs over to your Web site and clicks on the FAQ section located in a prominent place on your home-page. The first few FAQs in the list are the most

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