Posted by: News Works Marketing | June 20, 2017

Can You Be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence?

Rhonda Hiltbrand…Stephen Hawking suggests that “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” to Elon Musk saying that “If I had to guess what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably artificial intelligence.”

I must admit to you all that I am a Star Trek fan. My favorites are Star Trek, Next Generation and Star Trek, Voyager.  When it comes to artificial intelligence interacting with humans I always picture Data and The Doctor.  I know a lot of Sci Fi shows (and even these showed the dark side of AI on an episode or two) have the AI’s wiping out humanity, unhappy at how they had been treated.

My inbox is full lately on the subject of AI. My Smartbriefs articles are all about AI and what it can do for businesses.  It has been seen as the way to get back good customer service.  I have been thinking a lot about that lately and think to myself…what a shame that customer service has become so poor that we need to create an artificial type.

I had the point driven home to me when I was exceptionally tired last week and in a moment of weakness drove through and ordered a diet coke.  (I try to just have my morning coffee and then water the rest of the day).  The person handed me a dripping cup.  I asked that it be wiped off please (who wants that on their clothes and in the cup holder?).  They did and I left and when I went to take a drink the lid came off, getting me wet anyway.  At that moment, I thought that an AI being couldn’t do any worse and perhaps could do a whole lot better!

The news was saying that in ten years banks will no longer have tellers as they will be replaced with AI.  I find that very sad. Other businesses are also preparing to replace humans with kiosks and other forms of AI.

Next time you are out and about notice the type of customer service you are receiving.  Then ask yourself if you are giving the best possible customer service to your customers.  It is something to consider.  I am sure no one wants to feel they can be replaced by AI.

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

Posted by: News Works Marketing | May 2, 2017

Never Be Too “Busy” to Help the Customer

Rhonda HiltbrandThis week I went, as usual, to our local farmer’s market.  They have many unique items, a wonderful array of Amish goods and local homemade items. I was at the deli counter and asked for a pound of shaved ham.  The counter person kept slicing and putting it up on the scale until it was short one quarter pound.  She sighed deeply and said if I must have a pound she would have to open a new package.  I was shocked at the attitude but said, “No, that is okay. I’ll try to get by with this amount.”

I think she then realized what she had done and asked me what I was going to use it for.  I told her and we chatted a bit about recipes and such and then she asked if I needed anything else.  Before I could answer she said, “I know, the rest of your order of ham!”  I told her it was okay and took my package and went about my shopping.

She was an employee at this small business and in my opinion basically cheated her employer out of a full sale (and this is always wrong no matter if it is a big box store or small independent) but I felt especially bad for this employer as it is a small, independent business and every sale counts!

I then thought about the Facebook post I had put on our News Works page (the one above) and thought…how very true!

Have a great month and treat those customers well!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

Posted by: News Works Marketing | April 25, 2017

Who Likes To Get Mail?

Rhonda HiltbrandWhat a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.  ~Author Unknown

I was going through my marketing smart briefs this week and ran across an article for marketers.  It said that many presume that only elderly people like to get direct mail but went on to say that, contrary to popular opinion, that assumption is just not true!  It turns out that all generations like to get mail.  I, of course, knew this as it is my job as a marketer to have all that information at my fingertips each and every day, just like it is your job to have your finger on the pulse of the automotive repair industry.

These days, when so many of us pay our bills online, our mailbox is less cluttered.  We pay more attention to the mail we do receive.  Online ads are always popping up and we have become so desensitized to these ads that we shut them down without even giving them a chance to be viewed.  We are focused on what we wanted to see online…and not allowing that ad(s) to interrupt our singlemindedness.

People will often look at something online and unless they print it out, will forget where they saw it.  A well put together printed piece of mail, on the other hand, is something people can hold on to and save until later.  They enjoy holding it, touching it, and retaining it (especially if it includes a coupon offer).

It seems that all generations, from Traditionalists (born 1945 – and before), Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), Generation X (born 1965 – 1976) and Millennials (born 1977 – 2000) trust direct mail more than any other marketing channel.

I thought that all my customers who currently do direct mail with my company would enjoy reading this, and those who aren’t might wish to explore this option! It is hard to beat direct mail for Business to Consumer!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

Posted by: News Works Marketing | March 21, 2017

Are You Inspiring Business To Come Your Way?

Rhonda Hiltbrand“Every sale has five basic obstacles:  no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” Zig Ziglar

How’s your business?  Are any of the above obstacles standing between you and business success?

It is a frantically busy time of year for many of my shop owners.  Why?  Each year in February they ask us to design and mail a newsletter/postcard that reminds their customers to think of their vehicle if they receive a tax refund.  The result?  They are busy out of their minds this time of year!  One person I know was in a breakdown situation and they called me and asked for a shop recommendation…the three I recommended were close by to where they were broken down…but each shop was too busy to act quickly enough to help.  In fact, they were so busy they didn’t even have room on their lot to take the vehicle in.  I then had to recommend a chain … and that still took four days to get the vehicle repaired…but they did have a big lot so the car could be there waiting its turn and the towing was free.

My son and I were talking business yesterday (he is in guitar repair) and he said he experiences the same thing this time of year.  When people get that tax refund, the guitar repair business spikes as does guitar sales…and then they want those new guitars modified.

My niece owns a florist on Paradise Island in Carolina Beach, NC.  She knows her busy times, too.  Valentine’s Days brings in a third of her business each year.

These businesses know their customers and their habits so they know when to expect busy sales.  That doesn’t mean they don’t have to “remind them” to spend that tax refund on car repair, or guitars or flowers.

A gentle reminder is always welcome.  If your business needs to “get busy” let us know and we’ll design and mail a great piece for you.  Spring is now officially here and we all know people drive more in spring and summer!  Let’s work together to remind them to get their vehicle ready to go.

We are always here to help you!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

Posted by: News Works Marketing | February 14, 2017

Why We Suggest a Little Humor (and Sometimes a Lot!)

Rhonda HiltbrandHumor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place. ~Mark Twain

My mother has been gradually declining in health for four years.  She was 81 years old and today (February 7th) the daily nurse came to my parent’s home and left some literature about what to expect during these final days of her life.  My sister and I were there, and of course, we were all feeling sad. (Mom passed around midnight).

Our dear Pastor Roberts came by and we discussed the funeral plans and he wanted some of my Mom’s history (where her and Dad met, where they got married and other facts) and Dad answered and told some stories.  The Pastor then asked us all to go to Mom’s beside where he prayed a beautiful, uplifting prayer.  He then asked us to join him in the living room.

Dad, my sister and I listened to him as he shared an experience he had as a chaplain for Hospice (he was a Hospice Chaplain for 30 years during much of his time as a pastor).  He went to a patient’s room that he had known for some time, and her two daughters were there.  He said he would like to pray with their Mom.  They said that was okay but that she had been totally unresponsive for two weeks.  He knelt and gently told the patient that he would like to pray with her, not expecting a response, when she said, “Okay, just keep it brief!”  He fell over and her daughters were shocked!  Those were the last words she spoke before she died.

We laughed, knowing that pastors frequently get teased about long sermons and prayers!  He spoke at her funeral and said that this woman told him exactly what she expected at her funeral.  The daughters started laughing thinking about it and when Reverend Roberts shared the story with those attending the funeral, they all laughed.

I know my Dad, sister and I felt so much better after he shared this with us.  It has been a very serious time in our lives, one which no one can ever really be prepared for, yet when he left our day had been brightened and our energy renewed!

We know some of our customers simply want “very serious” all the time and that is fine.  Our customers who allow us to include humor know it helps in so many ways, because humor transcends your audience. Do what works best for you, of course, but this is just an example of how humor always has a place! We shared this story with the funeral director as we finalized the plans for Mom and he enjoyed it as well. It got us through the tough times.

Hope you all have a great week and a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

PS:  Don’t forget about our referral program for 2017!  If you refer a shop to us and they become a customer, we will give you the following for free:

Newsletters – 250 free with your order or

Postcards – 500 free with your order

This special is good all year long!

Posted by: News Works Marketing | January 26, 2017

Are Your Team Members On The Same Page As You?

Rhonda HiltbrandThe trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. ~Bill Copeland

I have always been a very goal-oriented person. Every year I have a financial goal that I set for my company.  I was so excited as we went into December because we were on target to meet and exceed that goal.  Then things seemed to fall apart!  I won’t go into detail but I will say if not all your team members are on the same page as you, you may struggle to meet your goals.  We missed our goal by a small amount, but I am still in mourning over that!  It simply should not have happened! I know…I need to get over it and move on and make it happen this year!

  • Shop owners, have you set a goal for 2017? Is your team aware of it?  Do you feel they are on the “same page” as you?
  • Service advisors, do you know the goal for 2017 and are you working towards it?

I look forward to working with you in 2017 and let’s make it a great year!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

PS:  Here is a special offer for all our customers!  If you refer a shop to us and they become a customer, we will give you the following for free:

            Newsletters – 250 free with your order or

            Postcards – 500 free with your order

This special is good all year long!

Posted by: News Works Marketing | December 20, 2016

Thanks for a wonderful year!

Thanks for a wonderful year! All of us at News Works Marketing wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year!

I ran across these little “B’s” of wisdom and thought I would share it with you to wrap up the year!

 

B hopeful, B happy, B cheerful, B kind,
B busy of body, B modest of mind,
B earnest, B truthful, B firm and B fair…
B watchful, B ready, B open, B frank,
B manly to all men, whatever B their rank;
B just and B generous, B honest, B wise…
B temperate, B steadfast, to anger B slow.
B thoughtful, B thankful, whate’er may B tide…
B pleasant, B patient, B fervent to all,
B best if you can, but B humble withal.
B prompt and B dutiful, still B polite;
B reverent, B quiet, and B sure and B right…
B grateful, B cautious of those who B tray.
B tender, B loving, B good and B nign,
B loved thou shalt B, and all else B thine.
~”A Swarm of Bees,” The British Bee Journal, and Bee Keeper’s Adviser, 1882 February 1st

Talk to you in 2017!

Rhonda HiltbrandRhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

Posted by: News Works Marketing | November 15, 2016

Gratitude

Rhonda HiltbrandGratitude is the best attitude. ~Author unknown

It is that time again!  Time to pause and count our blessings.  It would benefit us all, of course, to count our blessings daily.

I know life gets crazy and sometimes it is difficult to stop and realize all the good we have in our lives.  Service advisors sometimes deal with difficult customers and of course, being a small business owner is a daily challenge all by itself.  I’m sure, like me, you sometimes wonder, “What was I thinking?”  LOL!

Speaking as a business owner, I know I have lots of people to thank each and every day for keeping the business going.  It seems seamless sometimes, but of course, that is just because my staff and my suppliers do their jobs so well that it seems to run on auto pilot.  Of course, if anything happened to any one of them, the business would feel it!

I am very thankful for all our wonderful customers! We talk about this at our Friday staff/lunch meetings.  We have such great customers and they seem more like friends as we truly care about them on a personal level and we feel they care about us in return.  Can it get any better than that?  The only way that can be improved on is to get more just like them!

Thanks for everything you do to help us make News Works Marketing a success! Our goal each day is to help you keep your business successful!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

Posted by: News Works Marketing | October 11, 2016

Certified

Rhonda HiltbrandA certificate does not make you certified. Attitude, performance, commitment to self and team — these and a certificate make you certified. ~Author Unknown

This quote pretty much says it all!

• Attitude – Come to work each day and do your best to put any troubles behind you and add a smile!
• Performance – Come to work each day ready to perform to the best of your ability!
• Commitment – Come to work each day ready to serve the customer and help your team!

A certification is really great…it shows you know how to pass a test. The real test each day is to put what you know into practice.

You can do it!!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

Posted by: News Works Marketing | September 13, 2016

Be Completely Honest

Rhonda HiltbrandA half truth is a whole lie. ~ Yiddish Proverb

Recently my son’s Jeep Wrangler had a “death wobble” and he was so excited that he found a shop on a Jeep forum that was getting rave reviews for fixing this problem.  When he told me what shop I said I was so surprised.  I had taken my Jeep there years ago and was less than pleased.  I also said at the time that they didn’t deal in tires at all…not even rotating them.

The guy ended up keeping the Jeep for over a week and I was getting concerned that he was a “parts replacer” and finally he told my son that he would only charge for the parts he replaced and not the labor if the problem wasn’t fixed.  Hmmmm…

My son called on a Friday morning to check the status, anxious to get his vehicle back after one full week…and the guy said it wasn’t ready yet.  The following Monday my son called again and the guy said, “Oh…sorry…did I forget to call you Friday and tell you your Jeep was ready to pick up?”  Argh…

My son then got his Jeep and called me right away…it was acting very strangely.  I said, “Call the guy and tell him.” Turns out the guy doesn’t do alignments…therefore…the Jeep was not really completely fixed.  Seems at some point this shop owner should have shared that very important piece of information.  I was completely disgusted.  We ended up going elsewhere for the alignment but if the guy had told the “whole truth” I’m sure my son wouldn’t have gone there at all!

I also told him not to believe every review online…sometimes the shop owner and his family and friends can build him up.  My son then visited the guy’s website and looked more closely and said it went on and on about how great they are…then it said, “fill in shop name here” in several spots.  WOW!

Moral of this story:

  • Always tell the whole truth!
  • Always listen to your mother! LOL!

Hoping you have a great September!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing

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