Articles & Reports

Customer Service Pop Quiz: Be Your Own Customer

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" April 30, 2012

When it comes to customer service, it's easy to assume that if there aren't any complaints, there's no need to improve it. Big mistake.

Here's an idea: Call your own company's phone line to see how it's answered. Have a live online chat with your competition and your own company during the workday. Send an email requesting more information and see what you get back. Fill out a form on your website to see what happens afterward.

Why You Should Be Geeked About Data

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" April 23, 2012

We ran three marketing tests-with surprising results. Here's what our data revealed about the clicking habits of customers.

For me, measurability is very important when it comes to marketing. I keep a close eye on how much money we're spending on our marketing efforts and make sure that we recoup our spend-and then some-in return. If the math isn't right, we adjust. I also want to know which leads aren't converting into customers and why, so that we can optimize our performance.

5 Leadership Lessons From the Business Trenches

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" April 16, 2012

In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, 11 years in business seems like a long time. Here's what longevity has taught me.

Forget five things; I could probably write an entire book about all the successes and failures I've encountered since I opened the doors of my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, in 2001. How we did business back then was vastly different than the way things are now. (For one, this little thing called Facebook didn't even exist!). Customer expectations have changed, and the technology we have available to us is certainly more advanced now.

Business Meeting Etiquette: 8 Pet Peeves

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" April 9, 2012

Do your days consist of meeting after meeting? Master these eight don'ts to stay focused and distraction-free.

Meetings. I'm not a fan. Look, I know they're necessary for progress, but in my opinion too many people get caught in the "let's take that offline and not really chat about it and make a decision, but let's schedule a time in the future and block out an hour and not make a decision" mode. I believe that most meetings (not all) could be done with a quick stand-up conversation.

Marketing Lessons From the ‘Little Guys’

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" April 2, 2012

Big businesses need to lighten up, get creative and take a few cues from small business owners.

It's usually assumed that when it comes to marketing, small businesses can always learn from their larger counterparts, right? Chances are, the big guys have survived their fair share of marketing campaigns, whether good, bad or downright ugly. Factor in an ample marketing budget and a well-paid marketing team and they're probably light years ahead of smaller businesses. But is that really the case? I beg to differ.

Teen Entrepreneurs Win Big

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" March 22, 2012

A growing number of young entrepreneurs are launching serious businesses with great potential--and many of them aren't even old enough to drive.

"People at other jobs treated me as a kid. Here, people treat us as professionals," says 17-year-old Austin Bergeron on why he wanted to start his own business. Austin is co-founder of StudioVictus, a multimedia company that counts the New Orleans Hornets as an official client. (StudioVictus created the team's first mobile app.) He started the company late last year with three friends–all seniors at Destrehan High, near New Orleans–who have similar career interests.

All-Hands Meetings: Friend or Foe?

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" March 14, 2012

The last thing we need are more meetings, but having a company-wide gathering will allow you to make sure that everyone is marching toward the same goals.

I admit it, all-hands meetings are a tough one, especially if you've got a larger small business. At my company, VerticalResponse, we were once split between two floors in a building and didn't have the luxury of space to get everyone together. Once we had a webinar because it got cost prohibitive to get everyone into a local hotel meeting room. Not to mention, I'm not a fan of huge meetings. (My team will tell you that!) I want to talk to everyone about the future of the company and get them as jazzed as I am about it, but I also know it takes a ton of people away from their jobs, and some might look at it as a PITA (pain in the a**).

7 Free Apps That Will Make Life Better

Column by VerticalResponse CEO/Founder Janine Popick, Inc.com "Basement to Boardroom" March 6, 2012

These free (or next to free) apps promise to make your life easier.

Who doesn’t like the word free? I know I sure do. The great thing about being an entrepreneur these days is the huge variety of free or low-cost online business tools out there to help keep everything organized and your company running smoothly. It seems like every day I hear or read about a shiny new app or service promising to save me time and money. It’s hard to resist saying, “Sign me up!” … Especially if it’s free.

5 Ways You Are Turning Your Customers Away

Column by Janine Popick, Inc.com "Girl Power Female CEOs" February 27, 2012

Are you losing customers without even knowing it? Make sure your business and employees aren't suffering from these easy setbacks.

When it comes to running your company, it's normal to get into a rut from time to time. One big rut is not having enough time in the day to really assess all of the ways your customers are interacting with your business, whether it’s digital or good old face-to-face. With all the access customers have to products and services other than your own, it’s extremely easy to lose opportunities to make them happy.

The Customer Is Not Always Right

Column by Janine Popick, Inc.com "Girl Power Female CEOs" February 22, 2012

In some rare cases it may become necessary to fire a customer that disrespects your team. In those cases, show your team that you have their backs.

I know some of you who just read this headline are clutching your proverbial pearls, especially if you’re in the business of serving customers. And really, we’re all in the business of serving our customers, so I don’t really believe this headline, either … for the most part. Let me explain.

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