Daily Archives: March 4, 2017
Last week, I wrote about horses who are The Strong Silent Type. This horse is the opposite.
Describing him sounds like reading the judge’s comments on a marginal dressage test: Tense in the back. Tight in the poll. Hollow. Too quick. It doesn’t stop there. He has twitchy eyes, a furrowed brow, and he clenches his jaw. Sometimes his head is so high you almost unable to see around it and the muscle under his neck is stronger than the one on top. His flank feels rock hard and his breath is as shallow as yours.
“We all go a little mad sometimes.” -Norman Bates, Psycho
And it isn’t just physical. It’s the way his mind works, as well. He reacts; when a different horse might reason it out, he jumps to conclusions, usually the worst. Everything seems like it’s on the big screen; he’s dramatic and impulsive. Sometimes he gets sullen, almost pouting, and a minute later, he’s hysterical, jigging as if his hooves were on hot coals.
People cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, oh, so very delicately!” -Norman Bates, Psycho
He’s just really sensitive, they say. Really? I consider most horses on a continuum; one end being stoic and the other end being reactive or demonstrative. It isn’t that some horses are more sensitive than others; they just express their emotions differently.
My horse acts this way because he’s hot-blooded, they say. Sure, some breeds are more energetic and athletic than others, but to my eye, many of these reactive horses look frightened or in pain. Can the rider truly tell the difference between personality and behavior? Are they certain he is sound?
Does your horse make strange faces? Maybe he twists his neck and chews his tongue. He paws with impatience and pins his ears when it’s suppertime. Or he grinds his teeth, or flips his head, or you can routinely see white around his eyes.
Could your horse have ulcers? They are ridiculously common and practically all the behaviors I’ve listed so far could be symptoms. Think about it; no one denies the connection between ulcers and colic, still horse’s number one killer. On the high side, we didn’t always know as much as we do now; it’s actually a great time to have ulcers. There’s so much help available. (Just to clarify, stoic horses have as many ulcers as reactive horses do, but worse, they just keep it to themselves.)
What if these behaviors that we correct or punish are actually calls for help?
She’s just mare-y, they say. No, mares aren’t just naturally cranky. Their hormones make them more like stallions than geldings… and ovarian cysts are one of the most under-diagnosed conditions. On top of that, the discomfort of that situation could cause a secondary condition of ulcers. So, lighten up on name-calling mares already.
He’s an alpha horse, they say. But just like humans, leadership isn’t the same as dominance. The herd hierarchy has much more nuance than that. In my experience, alphas like a break from trying to control the universe and enjoy the peace that comes from positive training.
He’s never quite mean, they say. It’s almost like he tries too hard. Exactly! Reactive horses are responsive, intuitive, and connected. They have contagious enthusiasm, backed by intellect. They are radiant and intense and luminous. And yes, they have hearts that burst with try. Don’t believe me? Watch a thoroughbred run in slow motion.
More often, it’s us that fails them. We think it takes courage to ride a reactive horse, but what if compassion is really what’s needed?
Disclaimer: Horses are fully dimensional sentient creatures. The continuum between stoic and reactive is meant to help understand that horses are not brain-dead plow-horses or ditzy hotheads. They are individuals with complicated combinations of temperament, training, and past experience.
Anxiety is a different thing entirely, not necessary, or permanent. There are positive solutions that will build partnership, and from that place of security, allow the horse to give you his most brilliant work. Essential point: A good rider listens to every horse with wide-open ears, accepts who the horse is, and then begins the conversation right there.
How to best partner with a reactive horse? First, don’t minimize his intelligence. And you might want to sharpen your own attention a bit. Now, if you want to dominate something, control your own self; make your seat soft. Breathe slowly, deep into your lungs. Require your cues to him to be invisibly small. Most of all, don’t pull on his face. Why make him feel claustrophobic when the responsibility for elastic, soft contact belongs with the rider?
Horses and humans both tend to speed up when they get nervous or think they’re losing control. Resist the urge. Go slow. Runaways happen one step at a time and if it seems like the energy builds stride by stride, perhaps he’s never been taught the joy of a downward transition. (Stoic horses excel at this.) Reward him for doing less.
Walk a lot, then ask for a trot, but in just a few strides, before he accelerates, exhale back to the walk. Repeat, and for now, always bring him back before the anxiety grows. (Neanderthal training methods would say that you’re teaching your horse to quit by cuing a short trot, but nothing could be farther than the truth. Running a horse until he’s tired and submits doesn’t train him; it institutionalizes anxiety.) Downward transitions allow his trot will be more relaxed because he knows how it ends. Teach half-halts and halts from your leg. Leave his face alone.
School lots of downward transitions, with immense praise. Breathe. Let it be a slow dance.
Reward the least thing, so he understands that less is more. Let your mind be slow; he’ll take the cue from you. Give him the confidence to let go of his fear and know he doesn’t need to try so hard. Then, when his poll is its softest, shut-up, jump down, and step a few feet away from him. Watch him bask in the glow of being anxiety-free. See him stand quiet and still, let his eyes go soft, and droop that bottom lip.
Confidence is the greatest gift any rider can give their horse. Period.
The ultimate goal is riding well enough to help each horse find the center of this stoic/reactive continuum. So, with trust and contentment, the horse is free to feel the dynamic strength and power of his own body. Relaxed and forward.
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
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Snapchat IPO Day One Facts, Figures, & What’s To Come
Following its first day of trading, the Snapchat IPO has far exceeded expectations. Opening the day at $24 per share and closing at $24.48 per share, Snap’s market capitalization is $33 billion, much higher than the anticipated $22 million it had been chasing with an estimated share price of $14-16. Snap seems to be alive and well from a financial perspective, signaling that despite slowing growth numbers, Snapchat is sticking around. For now, anyway.
Snapchat IPO Day 1 Closing Stats:
via Yahoo! Finance
- Date: March 2, 2017
- Opening share price: $24
- Closing share price: $24.48
- Highest share price: $26.05
- Lowest share price: $23.50
- Market capitalization: ~$33B
Additional Snapchat IPO Day One Posts:
- WSJ’s minute-by-minute live recap of Snapchat’s IPO
- CNBC’s Notable Snapchat IPO Stats
- NYT chronicles Snap’s 44% share leap doubting company’s value will vanish
- NYT’s data visualization of tech IPOs from AOL to Snapchat
- USAToday details who got rich off of Snapchat’s IPO
- Fortune shares why Snapchat’s IPO was a bad deal and disaster
Snap Inc. Leading Up To Its IPO
Prior to the IPO, there was plenty of talk about Snap’s health as a company. It reported a $515 million net loss last year and it’s growth numbers stagnated in the fourth quarter thanks, in large part, to the introduction of Instagram Stories. By some measures, Snap looked to be in trouble, quickly losing its hold on the core pillar of its business: ephemeral messaging.
But Snap rebranded, calling itself a camera company. Though Snapchat is still at the core of Snap, that may not always be the case. Over the last several weeks, rumors have swirled about other products that Snap might be building and developing, chief among them being a Snapchat Phone and a drone. It’s impossible to say for sure whether or not Snap’s it decision to look ahead and beyond Snapchat that bolstered investor confidence, but it seems likely.
One thing seems eminently clear: The days of Snap being just Snapchat feel numbered. In order to survive post-IPO, Snap is going to have to innovate, and all signs point to that innovation happening in hardware.
Snapchat IPO Day 1 vs. Facebook’s vs. Twitter’s
It’s worth noting that even in light of a wildly successful IPO, Snap’s outlook isn’t purely sunny from here on out. In fact, Twitter had a very similar IPO, opening at prices way above the target share price and closing with a $24 billion valuation that was a full $10 billion higher than expected. Here’s how Snapchat’s forecasted IPO stacked up against Facebook’s and Twitter’s:
Though opening so high above its estimated share price sounds impressive (and it is), it’s not necessarily a great indicator for what’s coming next. Since its IPO, Twitter’s struggled to grow and monetize.
Facebook opened at its estimated share price, met its estimated valuation, and has since enjoyed a relatively steady climb, ending 2016 with 1.2 billion daily active users, $26.7 billion in revenue, and $10.2 billion in net income. In many ways, Snap’s IPO is, on paper, much more Twitter than Facebook. We’d suspected that it might be, but now that the numbers are in, they look awfully similar.
This isn’t to say that Snap’s headed down the same path. Tech can be deeply unpredictable. A new feature set or piece of hardware could quickly upset the current balance, swinging the pendulum back in Snap’s direction. It could see new users and more astronomical growth in 2017. But without some degree of reinvention, it’s difficult to see where Snap might be able to claw it’s way from Twitter to Facebook status in the tech IPO world.
What’s Next For Snapchat Post-IPO?
The implications of Snap’s IPO extend beyond the company itself, though. It extends to the social media landscape at large and to the influencers who depend on social media.
If Snap can raise a pretty staggering amount of money with a smashing success of an IPO despite not being profitable and less-than-encouraging growth numbers, it likely speaks to confidence in Snap’s ability to become more than it is now. And that’s the new world order in social media. Every platform is beginning to becoming everything. Twitter’s added live streaming, Moments, better photo sharing, and more nuanced Direct Messaging abilities. Facebook’s also added live streaming, along with robust photo sharing capabilities like 360-degree photos and videos. Instagram’s added Stories, Live, and Galleries, all within a relatively short period of time.
Snap, meanwhile, has a lot less going on, which will either be seen as a strength or as an opportunity to expand.
Influencers build followings, which means that they invest a lot of time in platforms. Which means that for the most part, they don’t take jumping from one platform to another lightly. But some influencers are jumping ship for Instagram because it provides a bigger audience, better chances for discovery, and more features and options for sharing. This could’ve been read as the death knell of Snapchat, but investors didn’t seem to think so.
Snap is going to do something new. That much is abundantly clear with its rebranding efforts and recent hires. And reports and rumors seem to suggest that it’s going to be big. Whether or not whatever Snap has up its ghostly sleeve is successful remains to be seen, but it will almost definitely have a substantial impact on its share prices, its users, and on the social media landscape as a whole.
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Awful feeling, isn’t it?
You’re struggling to find new opportunities to increase growth this quarter.
But no worries. The solution to your problem is staring you in the face.
Customer support data holds the answer to earning more revenue. It’s an effective tool for identifying gaps in your customer service and uncovering when to upsell in the sales cycle.
“Every support team answers customers. Great support teams use data to discover trends, make the business case for fixing big problems, and improve the customer experience,” writes Simon Ouderkirk, support team lead and happiness engineer at WordPress.com.
Don’t stay in a growth rut. Here’s how customer support data helps the bottom line.
Learn More About Your Buyers
Analytics is useful for understanding your consumers’ behaviors and interests. And with support data, your team can learn what matters the most.
Support tickets reveal the inner thoughts of your customers. Based on their questions, you’ll grasp not only what they need, but also their expectations for your service.
For example, customer support data may show that buyers prefer finding a solution via a knowledge base rather than sending an email and waiting 24 hours for a response. And that’s likely, because 76% of US online adults used FAQs on a company’s website in 2014.
If a knowledge base improves customer success, your team must take action to provide consumers with quality answers to their questions. Create a step-by-step instructional guide or produce short video tutorials to walk them through the process.
Support emails also can tell you more about a customer’s level of frustration regarding a specific issue. In the email below, you’ll notice my direct tone. This message was my fourth interaction with the company in three weeks about the same problem.
Studying customers equips your team to aggressively cater to their needs. Happy customers are more likely to continue purchasing from your brand than disappointed buyers who never got their issues resolved.
Business growth happens when your team is vigilant about customer satisfaction. Using signature happiness ratings in emails is one way to gauge your audience.
A happiness rating encourages immediate feedback to help you fine-tune your service. Plus, it allows you to connect with customers on a human level.
Strive to learn more about your customers. Support data can lead to satisfied customers.
Identify Critical Issues
Customer support is a practical channel for spotting issues affecting your business systems. Without analyzing the data, you’ll remain stagnant and won’t know how to grow your internal processes.
For instance, how many conversations do you have with your customers every month? The total may indicate consumer growth and the need to hire new team members. Or it may highlight ongoing problems with your product.
Also, what’s your average response time? It’s important to know when customers are receiving replies from your team. A high response time may pinpoint gaps in your support staff’s efficiency. Or it may be an indicator of greater tech issues.
Support data offers relevant information to tweak product features and change your brand messaging. Collecting data helps your predict future behavior and notice shifts in consumer interests.
Analytics is powerful for anticipating when customers may need product assistance. It also gives you insight on when to contact future buyers before they even communicate with your team.
In-app messaging makes it easier for your brand to talk directly with customers. No more guessing how consumers think about your services. Instead, send them a message to gather their insights.
In the example above, the social promotion tool Quuu uses in-app messaging to ask customers questions about a possible change in their service. What’s great is that it doesn’t involve typing out a long answer. Rather, the customer can simply give a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
Customer support data helps your staff detect internal challenges. Conduct your own analysis to improve your revenue growth.
Shape Your Content Resources
Content marketing continues to serve as a strategy to generate brand awareness and funnel qualified leads. However, failing to create the right content might stall potential revenue.
From customer questions and complaints, develop relevant content that addresses buyers’ concerns and offers a solution. It’s not enough to just post a generic blog post on your site, hoping that the audience gets value from it.
Create an editorial workflow that allows your customer success team to provide suggestions for future content. Do consumers need more details about a specific product feature? Are buyers struggling to understand how you compare to a particular competitor?
Content opens the doors to reducing buyers’ fears and quelling any hesitations hindering consumers from purchasing your product. Moreover, during the onboarding process, content reassures customers that they made the right decision.
Wistia provides a catalog of resources for its customers. Their team offers video tutorials on everything about video marketing, from selecting the music to choosing a microphone.
Also, consider updating content that receives a steady flow of traffic. Observe what’s attracting customers to the resource and brainstorm how your team can optimize the experience.
“If you see that one help page is being accessed far more than others, you should strongly consider optimizing that content so that you’re effectively guiding a user through this certain experience or even break the content into additional sections to address more specific issues,” states Kelli Simpson, marketing manager at DataHero.
Data leads to better content, and better content steers the sales funnel in the right direction.
Connect With Customers
Diving deeper into support data is an opportunity to connect with customers. In today’s market, consumers demand brand relationships that aren’t superficial.
Customers desire to build authentic relationships with their favorite brands. And because products are extensions of a buyer’s lifestyle, consumers want to feel comfortable about supporting brands.
Support data exposes what type of relationships consumers prefer. Similar to a friendship, some will only want occasional updates, while others will make an effort to talk to you on a regular basis.
But it all boils down to treating your customer with respect. In the Facebook thread below, notice how the Zappos support agent responds to the customer. The company wants to delight the buyer despite the unfortunate circumstances.
Earn brand loyalty by using support data to develop personalized services. Customize the experience at every stage of the sales journey.
Segment your support tickets with specific tags to identify patterns. Then, incorporate that data into your services.
“A crucial part of customer service is being proactive and anticipating what people might need so they can use your product successfully. Would you rather have your customers think of you as a sommelier or a clerk at a quick mart?” says Jim Belosic, CEO and co-founder of ShortStack.
Build a bridge between your brand and the customer, and use data as a guide to strengthen the relationship.
Data to the Rescue
Growth is a priority for your business. To attain your sales goals, focus on customer support data as a solution.
Monitor customer interactions to learn their interests and needs. Use data to spot gaps in your sales cycle, and transform your content resources with customer insight.
Customer support isn’t just for the customer. Take advantage of data to grow your business.
About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.
Classy Move By A Classy Organization, Golden State Warriors Still Paid Jose Calderon $415,000 After Waiving Him
After clearing waivers, Jose Calderon was signed by the Golden State Warriors and just after less than two hours, the Golden State Warriors waived Jose Calderon, with the free agent point guard earning $415,000 for his brief stint with the team