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Archive for September 15, 2013

Do You Work With Millennials? What You Need to Know

 

 

The Millennials are full force in the workplace, and are putting a new spin on things. I’m sure you’ve read many articles talking about the differences in these employees versus older staff, and their work ethic and way they do things has been under great scrutiny.

 

In working with this generation, I have noticed many differences in the way they work, take on tasks, and view employment. I see even more of a shift with the teenage set as they prepare to join the workforce, and wonder how things will change. It can be challenging to get used to working with the younger set, but an article was recently published to discuss 10 myths surrounding the Millennials. You can read the article in its entirety, but below I wanted to point out some of the highlights:

 

1. “Social media is not a career”: If any generation understands the power and importance of social media, it’s this one. Their lives have been consumed by technology, and that’s what they know. This myth is busted – social media is an important part of business, and this group will be the ones to make it a long term, relevant part of any company.

 

2. “We should get our butts kicked”: I agree with this article in that this generation, for the most part, has grown up under the “everyone’s a winner” umbrella. With that seems to come a sense of entitlement or lack of concern for going the extra mile. I’ve seen it in many cases – employees who do what they have to do and nothing more, and when a problem arises, not always being completely resourceful in trying to find a solution on their own. While the article states that performance reviews are important to this generation, they are not the be all, end all. Not that they should be, but if they get a lower than expected review, it may rock their world if they’re not used to criticism, and they may not have the ability to look at it as “Hey, what can I do to do better?”

 

3. “We should pick up the phone”: I agree with this one. The article suggests that this generation is more comfortable engaging with others online, whether it’s via email or social media. They also feel like they can get more done in less time. I agree with this, perhaps because our company is very internet based and the majority of our communication is via email. That being said, it’s always nice to pick up a phone and connect with colleagues and clients from time to time. Finding a good balance will help the generations work toward the same goal.

 

You can read the 10 Millennial Myths to see what else they are thinking with regard to employment, careers, etc. If you’re a Millennial, we’d love to hear from you! If you’re from a previous generation, please share your thoughts on working with this generation and what your experience has been. They are taking the workplace by storm, so the quicker we can all understand each other and work side by side, the better it will be!

 

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Give Your Website The A/B Test

 

Now that we’re approaching the holiday season (Halloween is in full swing, and I heard my first Christmas advertisement the other day, even though Labor Day was just last week), it’s a good time to review your website to make sure it’s ready for the holiday rush.

 

If you look at some of your web pages and think, “We could probably do this better” but aren’t sure if changes will draw more customers and keep them engaged, it’s time to test your ideas. This can be achieved through simple A/B testing.

 

If you’re not familiar, this relates to testing a new web page design against the current one and track visitors, engagement, and visibility over a set period of time. A simplistic example is making one change on a web page to find out if it is more effective – in our example, we’ll use a difference in the “buy now” button on a webpage. Maybe the current button on your website to start the purchase transaction is small and gray. On the new design, you may want to try making it more prominent, both in size and color.

 

You can create this new page and then set up an A/B test. As customers reach this page on your site, they will be evenly distributed between your original page and the new test page. Over time, you will be able to see which page leads to more customers clicking on the “buy now” button and making a purchase. The one with the most clicks is the winner. Very simple.

 

You can play around with content, images vs no images, or any other aspect of the page that you and your team may think isn’t driving the traffic you’d like. You also need to keep in mind that you’ll need to choose a page (or pages) of your site that have a call to action or some other way to measure success. It could be clicking on a link to reach another page you’d like customers to get to, download a whitepaper, or fill out a form.

 

Once you have a goal and web page in mind, you can easily set up A/B testing through a variety of sites. This article outlines some of the most popular sites to conduct A/B testing. Google Analytics is free once you set up an analytics account for your website. We have used it in the past – it’s user friendly and easy to implement with a basic understanding of creating web content and inserting code into the pages. If you’re not familiar with this, you may need the help of your IT Department.

 

If you’re interested in testing your site, here are some things to remember:

 

1. Start small: when creating a new page, there should be only one element that is different from the original content. Otherwise, you may not know which change is the one that is driving more traffic or call to action.

 

2. Take it one page at a time: identify which page on your site is most relevant to your goal, and start there, especially if you see it’s not driving the results you want. Start with this page and work on others one at a time until your most relevant and important pages have been tested.

 

3. Have patience: depending on website traffic, you may have results with in as little as a few weeks, or a month. If you’re website doesn’t see a lot of traffic, it may be longer. Wait it out and see what happens before making any decisions.

 

If you sell products online, it will be important to make sure your site is ready for the holidays. If A/B testing seems too complex or you just don’t have time, you may want to invest in usability studies. Mystery shoppers can easily be deployed for this task, and it is a cost effective service. Shoppers can be instructed to make a purchase, whether it’s a specific item or items that interest them. They will then provide a play by play narrative (or voice recording if you’d like) that walks you through their experience, noting what is easy to find and do and where they get tripped up. This can give you valuable insight into areas of the website that need improvement as well.

 

With online shopping more competitive than ever, it’s a good idea to continually review your website to make sure it’s the best it can be to provide an easy, relevant, and positive experience for your customers.

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Zappos Takes A Trip To The Mall

 

Zappos has always been a leader in innovation when it comes to online shopping. Remember the days where “Timmy” was in the news? If you’ve forgotten, you can read about it here. Basically, Zappos believes that customers should take the lead when it comes to customer service – at the time, an exchange between a customer and Zappos rep went viral, as the customer tested this theory by insisting on being referred to in the third person, and the rep obliged without missing a beat.

 

Now they’ve taken to the mall – no, they’re not planning to open a retail location. Instead, they spent time people watching to learn more about the shopping experience, hoping to find the key elements to bring to the online world. Of course they are interested in taking people from brick and mortar stores and swaying them to shop online.

 

Zappos sets the bar high, and taking on this task is no surprise. However, the jury is still out on whether or not the company can identify and recreate those key aspects that make shopping enjoyable. I think the one area that will be a challenge is the social aspect, as well as appealing to the senses. Part of the allure of shopping is in the environment – a bright, clean store with music in the background. Another aspect is the actual look and feel of the items people shop for – being able to touch items, try them on, and show them to others is something that will be very difficult to replicate online.

 

I give credit to Zappos for taking this initiative and am excited to see what they come up with. While online shopping has grown significantly since its inception, I don’t see it replacing brick and mortar shopping completely, or at a rate to hurt those brick and mortar businesses. You never know though, and if anyone can raise the bar, it’s Zappos.

 

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