Liz Kislik

By Noelle Skodzinski Direct marketing prides itself on its penchant for analyzing, modeling, tracking, testing ... and a whole other slew of gerunds that help marketers develop aggregate customer profiles. "Marketers all know who their average customer is," says customer service and management consultant Liz Kislik, "but the truth is, this person doesn't exist." The customer profile based on compiled and analyzed data is essential, she says, but if it's where you're putting all your eggs, you're missing out. "You need the data, you've got to have it. But if you're relying only on the data, you're going to develop a very flat

Turn customer service calls into customer research connections Today’s consumers complain about being overmarketed to and about the frustration of broad-brush, undifferentiated or manipulative marketing techniques. Simultaneously, your competitors seem to be waging an ever-escalating battle to gobble up your market share. So minimizing customer attrition and gaining more of your customers’ wallets and loyalty takes smarts, not to mention every tool at your disposal. The more you can learn about your customers’ views and preferences, the more targeted your shot at providing desirable products, offers and services. You can gain some incremental value out of your current transactions by using the contact as

By Brian Howard When Anthrax Crashed SunGard's Direct Mail Lead-qualification Efforts, the Data Services Company Picked up the Phone and Hasn't Looked Back. Of all that was lost in the wreckage of September 11, 2001, there was, miraculously, very little data on the casualty list. Cold comfort, that. In the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks, you'd have been hard pressed to find a soul, pundit or otherwise, willing to suggest any sort of silver lining, much less a financial data-related one. But allowed a little distance, it feels OK to look back and

Customer service can make or break a company. What's the old saying, "Once bitten, twice shy"? Many customers simply won't give you a second chance if you screw up an order or don't treat them right in the first place. Provide them with the tender loving care they think they deserve, or they'll simply take their business elsewhere. That's the bad news. The good news is that the reverse is also true in many cases. Treat your customers well, and you'll have their business for life. So what does it mean to take good care of customers in the high-tech high-touch environment

It's not beginning to look a lot like Christmas just yet, but retailers know the importance of preparing early. With 1999 holiday shoppers spending an average of $1,080 on gift purchases, the sheer numbers can be daunting. Now is the time to gear up. "Gearing up" can mean lots of different things, from accepting orders on the Web; to dealing with customers over the phone; to delivering packages on time. There are several details to tend to long before you hear the first Christmas carol. Have a look inside some successful operations to learn how to begin. Christmas is Its Business Collin Street

by Liz Kislik A telemarketing rep just hung up on me—literally disconnected me while I was speaking, probably because I asked too many questions about an offer that sounded too good to be true. It was quite clear that she felt I should order now or stop wasting her time. This particular business-to-business call from a large and reputable supplier of digital phone service reminded me of everything I hate about outbound telemarketing and prompted me to ask a few other people what they hate about the calls they receive. Because I believe in the immediacy and persuasiveness of the medium, I took this

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