Archive for category Service

HootSuite Extends Google+ Pages to All Users


This is a big deal for anyone that manages multiple pages across several social media platforms.  Up until now, adding content to your client’s Google Plus pages was an large extra step.  You couldn’t schedule them, so you had to use your calendar to remind you to update a campaign post.  Well that all changes now!

HootSuite Extends Google+ Pages to All Users

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HootSuite is pleased to announce that Google+ Pages is now available to nearly 5 million users worldwide!

Whether you’re on a Free, a Pro or an Enterprise plan, you’ll be able to efficiently manage Google+ Pages alongside other social channels, providing brands a better way to capitalize on the social power of this rapidly expanding social network.

To add Google+ Pages: Access your Profile from the side menu, then select + Add a Social Networkunder My Social Networks.

I know the HootSuite Pro account had this already, but it’s a nice add for the smaller companies still using the Free version of the tool.    Good Job HootSuite!

Good Hunting!

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foursquare Social Media Ignorance


Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

So tell me what’s wrong with this picture.  I got this email today:

Hi Tim,

If you’ve opened up foursquare in the last couple weeks you’ve probably noticed that we made a ton of changes. We re-imagined the entire app, Extreme Makeover style, to make it even easier for you and your friends to share and save your experiences and find new places to go. We also gave it plenty of design love and under-the-hood tweaks, so it’s not only prettier but faster than ever – hurrah!

Usage Ignorance

Anyone who has me as a friend in foursquare or see’s my Facebook stream knows I use foursquare a lot.  The question is, why doesn’t foursquare know this?  How can I get an email making it seem like I need to be reminded that the screens have changed, the navigation is different, more map features added, and more?  So why is a social media company incapable of using their own data to enhance my relationship?  Why not make me feel special rather then a member of their junk mail list?

Lessons for  Small Business

Even the big boys don’t get it right.  So don’t ever think that you should not try because some major player in your space can always do it better and faster then you.  Often, small business has more chances to beat the larger players at their own game because small business can be more nimble.

So my advice, don’t count out social media in your marketing plan!

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Make it Easy for Customers


The other day I was helping a new client plan out marketing materials for an upcoming event and asked if he was using QR Codes on all of his materials.  I explained that many people are now scanning them and then using them to do research or deal with retention issues associated with information overload.

The items in your QR Code should be:

  1. Direct link to the landing page for the event or product promoted at that event so the visitor doesn’t have to hunt down what they were interested in.
  2. Your phone number
  3. Your Email Address
  4. other pertinent information that you wanted stored in their contact list
    1. hours of operation
    2. Your name
    3. Your Address
    4. Other web sites you want them to know about (blogs, product micro sites, etc.)

Oh, and if the back of your business card isn’t already in use, put a QR Code there.  It shows you respect their time by having them avoid manually typing the data into their contact database.

Is It Important?

Well if  you don’t think this is important enough to add to your marketing material, maybe this article might change your mind:

Half of U.S. shoppers rely on phones for in-store research

Good Hunting!

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Facebook’s Unfriendly Competition Subscriptions


We all, deep down in our souls,  know that Facebook has destroyed the concept of friendship.   Facebook has cheapened the meaning of the word friend, and yet, unwittingly …  somehow, elevated the concept of  “BFF” (best friend foreveeeeer!!!!)

Just the other day, a long time friend came to me apologizing that she had just recently accepted a long forgotten sent Facebook friend request.  She took five minutes explaining how and why she accepts friends in Facebook and said that my friends invitation was simply an oversight and begged for my forgiveness.  My response: “Oh OK, so how you been this week?”

New Competition: Google+ Circles

Not even out of BETA, Google+ has caused some irritation to Facebook.  You can’t help but seeing reviews on the concept of “Google+ Circles” and your ability to project your information to specific circle of people rather then having it pasted to your entire ‘friend list’ in Facebook.  After all, we segment our lives differently then all or nothing.

Google+ calls them “People”, Facebook calls them “Friends”   I can subscribe to people’s feeds in Google+, and yes even narrow that down by creating a sub-set call Circles.  Now in Facebook I can subscribe to ‘someone’ without being a being a friend.

Facebook has introduced a new look to ‘Lists’.  You could always create friend lists, but most people never used them because they were not the easiest to create or maintain.  Now they are more predominant on the screen and they include showing the number of new updates since last time on.  I will post more on this later.

Facebook’s Unfriendly Subscribe Option

Finally, I can follow a person without giving them the false hope that we have somehow become anything other then an non-friend acquaintance, if that.  My casual hook-up with them is simply a matter of convenience to satisfy my natural curiosity of what they have to offer.    Our relationship simply lasts as long as they provide me what I need, and I can drop them as quickly as I met them.  No emotional strings attached!  How nice of Facebook for finally allow such unfriendly relationships.

Subscription Button Info

Here are some things to remember about this new Facebook capability:

  • a person must turn this feather on to allow someone to subscribe to them.
  • you get to decide how much you want to see from your subscriptions, photo’s only, or how about ‘no more game messages!’ – that’s actually a good thing.
  • If you can’t subscribe to someone, just remember “It’s not you, it’s them” and you don’t have to feel left out, no one can then subscribe to that person.
  • Facebook Pages have gone through a lot of changes expect more changes to come that way as well.
Good Hunting

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Empty Carts Go Here


Prior to reading the sign below, posted in the parking lot of a local super-store, I could only image how many fully loaded carts were left standing at the cart return areas by the patrons of this establishment.  In fact,  if I had not looked up and read the sign I might have done just that.    Thank goodness this company went out of their way to educate me, their slow and stupid customer,  on this critical step in the process … empty the cart first before returning the cart.

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Imagine the full carts left in the lot before this sign was put up!

Doubly perplexed were the gas station operators of this establishment.   Having their customers show up with full gas tanks, only to top off the tank with a few pennies worth of gas, caused them to jump into action and ask for some verbiage on these educational signs for their dimwitted customers.  Obviously, the educational campaign of letting people know that you go to a gas station to fill your car when the tank is near empty was a great public service to the community.

Maybe I’m being to hard on the gas station operators.  Possibly, this was simply a kind paternal attempt to avoid seeing their idiot customers in long lines of vehicles, with bone dry gas tanks, waiting to be filled at the empty cart return areas.  I guess we’ll never really know.

Words Matter – Silly Signs

OK, I’m having some fun with a poorly worded sign.  I had to get it out of me.  After all, we are not talking about a street sign with missing punctuation for brevity being let loose on a unsuspecting neighborhood.  The sign that comes to mind is “Slow Children Playing”.  What a difference a little comma makes.  This sign has often created an instant and deep sensation of pity towards the parents of these slow children, in which the city went out of their way to let everyone know that retarded children can found playing in the upcoming neighborhood.

The words we use matter to some.   I think we don’t spend enough time evaluating how our  statements shape the  opinions of others and assume that everyone has the same point of view or intention as we do.

Sending Messages

So what messages are we sending to our customers?    Does your company have any phrases, tag lines, signs, etc., that could cause a customer to think they are ignorant and  ill-informed persons,  and would remain so if it weren’t for your existence on this planet?

If you have any other examples, please share these examples with me in a comment below.  These (word) pictures make for great presentation fodder when speaking in public engagements.  I would love to hear from you.

Good Hunting!

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Flickr improves sharing options


In my weekly review of feeds concerning Web 2.0 and Web 3.0  I ran across the news that Flickr has improved their ability to share content with other sites.  As I continue to collect material for my “WEB 2.0 for Students” class that I’ll be teaching at our local college, this one hit home.  I use Flickr for my photo repository.  So it is nice to see new feature showing up in this service since I haven’t seen to many in the last year.

Flickr adds to sharing options, now easier to share photos across the Web

by Erez Zukerman on March 31, 2011 at 03:30 AM

It sure is nice to see some new developer action over at Flickr. The relatively slow-moving photo-sharing service has just announced a new sharing update, which consists of several new and easy ways to embed or link to your photos:

via Flickr adds to sharing options, now easier to share photos across the Web.

So the thought came to me that this is nice but what could be implemented to improve the experience:

  1. Photo comments made on Flickr would also be shown on the shared item in Facebook.
  2. Post comments made on the shared item would also be available on Flickr.
  3. Multiple authors – One pool.  One of the biggest problems I have with my clients.  Many photographers, one common pool to associate them with.

Either way, Flickr is a great tool to use to keep all your photos.  It’s worth a good look at if your in the market to implement such a capability.

Good Hunting.

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Ditch the Office: Next Week is National Telework Week


More than 35,000 companies and organizations have pledged to participate in the event. According to the official Telework Week Website, this would save an estimated $2,451,069 and more than 1,600 tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere. Where these numbers come from is not entirely clear, but it stands to reason that fewer people commuting would help save money and reduce pollution to some extent.

National Telework Week is sponsored by Telework Exchange and Cisco, which makes telepresence and communication products, as well as other tools to facilate remote working.

via Ditch the Office: Next Week is National Telework Week.

To: Non-Teleworkers

I would suggest you spend some time understanding what it would take to perform your work outside the office.  As I would explain to past staffs, just because a weather day or some unplanned disaster occurred, project deadlines remain the same.  If you and your manager, or if you are the manager, haven’t spent enough time creating a work force that is flexible enough to handle the unique demands of performing all department requirements outside of the normal office space, you will find yourself in the awkward situation of losing value to the company.

Disaster Recovery Planning

OK, maybe it’s because my first job in a large IT organization was helping implement the annual remote disaster recovery test plans that I seem to gravitate to this fact.  I ask all my clients, if your office burned down this weekend, what you do on Monday.  Close shop?  Declare bankruptcy? Put everything on hold until you get a new office leased?  What about your paper records?  How about your leads?  How about your contracts in progress? Are you’re files stored off-site, and if so how long would it take to get them back and running at the new location?

These are all questions that should bring a leader or manager to the point of understanding how important teleworking can be to this scenario and their organization.

Improved Productivity

An important factor in improving your productivity is to design a work environment that helps you accomplish your work faster and smarter then your competition.  Well how about all the time you are not in the office?  Are you tied to a paper filing system … how could you change that? (Evernote.com)  Can your assistant and team members update file and get them to your quickly? (DropBox.com) Can your team, partners, and client see your calendar and plan accordingly?  (Google Calendar)  Can you conduct training sessions without having to be on-prem at the client’s location? (WebEx) Can you brainstorm with your team, partners, and clients regardless of their geographical location? (MindMeister.com)  Can you manage your To-Do list, or better yet, can your assistant manage your list for you? (Remember the Milk).

My guess the most difficult thing to change in your work space is the paper trails you live with.  You probably have become so accustomed to getting something in paper, working on it, then passing it on.  Reguardless, it is possible to go paperless.  It’s worth the time to implement also.

My Office

Over the past 10 years I have moved to a paperless process.  That is how I had to look at it.  I focused on the process, not the piece of paper or some other physical object.  Many of the web based applications I mentioned above I use today.  It allows me to complete my client requests while knowing that all the items I need are right at my fingertips.

So what have you done to make it possible to telework or telecomute?  I’d love to compare notes some time.

Good Hunting.

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Customer Experience Investment Opportunities (Revisited)


[Note: this is an older post but the “Ill Advised Investments” example came up in a recent meeting and brought a smile back to my face so I’m recycling the post.  I’ve also added another great quote from Godin as well]

I love the way Seth Godin’s mind works. In a resent post, “How much extra for nice?” brings up the critical point of how much we are willing to pay for better service but reminds companies that creating this environment costs a fraction of what people are willing to pay. The benefits can last longer.

I also read another great thought from Seth Godin as well:

No matter what your job is, no matter where you work, there’s a way to create a project (on your own, on weekends if necessary), where the excitement is palpable, where something that might make a difference is right around the corner.

Hurry, go do that.

Godin in “What are you working on?

Beneficial Investments

In a recent post, I identified three example of customer service excellence. How much money was budgeted to create this customer service environment? These types of examples have a lasting benefit that far outweighs the cost of implementing them. If companies can recognize this before dismissing these opportunities, the rewards have an exponential effect.

Some examples:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Having the right people perform jobs they love to do best.
  • Continuous improvement of the customer experience at all levels of the company
  • Reward excellence and avoid promoting people out of their natural strengths.

Ill Advised Investments

Although I agree with Seth’s premise, as consumers, here are some examples in which we should avoid paying extra to have someone be nice to us!

  • $100 to the Police Officer at a traffic stop – will only produce untold number of stories for your grandchildren around the campfire, sometime in the distant future.
  • $100 to $10,000 to the triage attendant at the local Emergency Room – will get you absolutely nothing at all except a lighter wallet.
  • $100 turned in with your exam – results may vary, but don’t expect them to be positive.

So do you have any beneficial or ill advised investments to share?

Good Hunting!

See also:

Great Customer Service and Peer Recognition

Customer Service Excellence Examples

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Social Media: Reducing Customer Support Costs?


OK, there is an item in this chart that caught me off guard.  57% responded that Social Media is effective tool for reducing support costs.  I would love to know more about this item.  I can understand the others.   We help help clients achieve many if not all of these claims, but reducing support costs is a shocker to me.

In many cases, Social Media is another skill set and talent set that needs to be created and matured and thus takes time and energy to grow into excellence.  This time and energy is usually a new cost to any organization.

New Chart: Rating the Effectiveness of Social Media in Terms of Objectives Achieved

MarketingSherpa.com Chart of the Week

Source: New Chart: How Effective is Social Media in Achieving Target Business Objectives?

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Ban All Mirrors!


We handed out our traditional Christmas gifts to the contracted cleaning crew today. Nothing special, just some home made cookies my wife worked on for several days. One of the ladies, now a regular we have come to know and appreciate, made some funny statement like “Great, that’s all I need is some more pounds!” We all laughed.  She explained she walked by a mirror in her house the other day and her reflection shocked her. My response – “Ban all mirrors! That would solve the problem!”

The Real Problem – Not Enough Mirrors.

In truth, we don’t have enough mirrors in our lives. In business, we become so focused on the next deal, the next deadline, the next pay period, the next ….. OK you pick. We lose sight of our reflection in the mirror.  We don’t even bother to look most times.

Mind you, everyone else still sees us. Our employees. Our family. Our friends. Our Vendors. Our clients.  They don’t see us as a reflection in the mirror.  They have the luxury of simply watching us in our daily struggle to focus on the next thing.

Difficult Solution – Put up more Mirrors!

The strategy is simple, create an accountability network.  The tactic is difficult to implement.  There is a reason why peer accountability groups work.  Left to ourselves, we are our own worst enemies.  Finding a peer to trust is hard enough, finding someone you look up to is very bold.

Customer Service Mirror – find someone, maybe a trusted client, and review your company’s performance.  What’s working, what’s not.  What are they seeing your competitors doing.  What do they wish you would do

Leadership Mirror – are you creating bold audacious goals for you and your teams?  Who is reviewing them with you before you make your presentations.    Who is raising the bar, making you think of options outside your comfort zone?  Who laughs at you when you come up with a real stinker but you think it the next revolutionary idea?

Management Mirror – who is helping you improve you systems, processes, and staff?  Who’s helping you develop a performance model that fits your team’s talents and abilities?

For the sake of this post leadership and management are defined this way.  If a ladder was leaning against a wall, management would be focused on the most efficient and productive use of that ladder where it stands, leadership would be responsible for making sure it’s leaning on the right wall.

Social Media Mirror – it’s not just the people around you any more folks.  As Matt Hames states in his Web 2.0 posts, now it’s also your digital presence that is being looked at.  What you do on the internet, but also equally important, what is said about you on the internet becomes the new dimension to the mirror’s reflection.  Do you have someone helping you with your global perception?

Conclusion

Wow, all this from a bunch of home made cookies for Christmas.  I hope this post has a longer lasting quality then my wife’s baked goods.

I hope in the future when you walk by one of the mirrors in your life you are not shocked by what you see.  And I hope, for your sake, that it’s not too late to correct what you see.

Good Hunting,

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    2012 Reading Challenge

    2012 Reading Challenge
    Tim has read 7 books toward his goal of 24 books.
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