By Lois K. Geller It started with a phone call. A pleasant female voice asked, in delightfully accented English, did I want to speak about direct marketing in Istanbul? The next thing I knew, Mike McCormick, our creative director, and I were relaxing in the business-class section of Turkish airlines. Nine hours later, we met the wonderful Meltem Karateke, president of IMI Conferences and the greatest hostess in the world. Until then, I had only a vague idea of where Turkey is. I wasn't at all sure I wanted to go there, but it was a new and exotic place, and I'm a

By Lois K. Geller A little effort and a personal touch go a long way. For the last year or so, I've been noodling about different ideas for creative in relationship marketing. I included customer service in this realm, too. So much of what I see and hear in both areas is blatantly self-serving, artificial and sometimes just flat out nonsense. How is it supposed to work? Then, last month, I got an interesting perspective on a speaking tour. All while hopping on one foot because I'd broken the other one. Everywhere I went, people stopped to talk about this

By Bud Michael Today's consumers are savvy and independent. They seek reliable and speedy customer service, but don't want to be bombarded with superfluous information, or overloaded with unnecessary content. By adopting CRM technologies and practices, the most adept businesses can find an even balance that solidifies long-lasting customer relationships. Here are 10 ways businesses can develop loyal customers. 1. Two-way Communication While providing prompt response, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and knowledgeable customer service representatives (CSRs) is important, outgoing contact is just as crucial. Targeted direct mail and e-mail campaigns are an excellent way to establish two-way communication. Alerting loyal shoppers

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