Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Social Media Is For The Dogs!

I finally get social media.  No, I didn’t just acquire 500 linkedin connections, or get my twitter account up and running. Like 3/4ths of the human population, I have been a user of social media for years. It is only now that I finally get it. Like most facebook users over thirty, I segment my friends into those I went to high school with, college buddies, professional acquaintances, local friends, and cyber hookers with 46 friends who slip through the cracks undetected. I usually post witty remarks, photos, or videos about my life, business, kids, accomplishments, or challenges. I send it out into the universe hoping that my thousands of friends find me as interesting as I do. I am all things to all people.
      Yesterday I had a pure social media experience that gave me my AHA! Moment. My three year old was standing at the door yelling goggy, goggy. I was working in my office placating her with “that’s right dear, doggy, good doggy”. She became more animated so I got up and walked to the glass door. She was nose to nose with a black, wolfish looking dog that had wandered onto our porch. It turned out that the dog was very friendly, very thirsty, and very lost. Its tag had fallen off, so after giving it water and explaining to my daughter why we don’t put our face next to strange dogs, I took a picture with my Iphone and posted on my facebook page. My post simply said “lost dog. If you live in Burlington and recognize this dog, get in touch…before my kids get too attached”.  Within ½ hour, the dog was back home safe and sound with its grateful owners thanks to one of my facebook peeps who live next door to them. I now realize that this is what social media is all about. It is certainly what the 25 year old twitter users with 150,000 followers have understood from the start. Social media is about more than connection, it is about connecting on common ground.  It is about having a conversation with like minded souls on a specific topic. Did my 1500 plus facebook friends who do not live in my town respond to my post? No! because I wasn’t talking to them and they knew it. Most of us are like the guy on the off ramp with the sign that says “will work for food…God bless”. His message is generic and displayed without purpose. Thousands pass him daily with little interest in his message. When we start joining conversations based on topic, geography, ideology, brand loyalty etc., we can then make connections with individuals on a personal level. They will buy our products, align with our beliefs, and drink our kool-aid. By the way, if you happen to pay someone to tweet, post, or manage your social media, you have missed the point. In order to effectively use social media, you must be authentic and be willing to participate in a conversation. If you are the only one who is doing the talking, you are talking to yourself.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Is your phone menu screwing you?

I finally have it. The idea that will make me my first million. A pad that affixes to the side of my computer screen that I can punch repeatedly when I encounter an idiot by phone, web, or mail. It would not only be a great stress reliever, but a wonderful way to protect my computer screen.
      I would have punched it into tatters today after my dealings with a cd manufacturer that I was hoping to use to make my next batch of cds. Poor price point? nope, bad attitude by the sales rep? nope, inferior product? nope. What, you ask, could have set you off and down the road to senseless violence?... a crappy phone menu. We have all trudged through the maze of press 1 for accounting, press 2 for sales, press 3 for I am pissing my customers off by wasting their time with this attempt to avoid serving them with a live person, but this one takes the "Press 4 for cake". It took me over two minutes to finally reach the menu option that allowed me to enter the name of the person with whom I needed to speak, and only after I was given the number for maintenance. So what's the point? I teach that one of the 5 traction points in an effective customer relationship is empathy. Customers want their supplier to identify with their pains, problems, concerns or fears. This traction point can be avoided altogether if companies would stop causing the pain before the transaction even takes place.
         Like most married men with children, I look for opportunities to take a vacation with my wife AWAY from the kids. Do I need to explain? Ironically, it was a couple of those "little vacations" that were responsible for the kids in the first place. Those opportunities don't happen as often as we would like, so we take them when we can. Like most married men who are slipping away for a weekend with his wife, I like to set myself up for success. I make a reservation at a nice restaurant and hotel. I may even have a bottle of champagne chilling in the room when we arrive. Flowers always set the tone for a lovely evening. My chances for success would be significantly diminished, however,  if I called ahead to the hotel and had housekeeping mess up the bed, throw a wet towel on the bathroom floor and scatter the room with my dirty underwear. "Oh, while you're at it housekeeping, use the toilet and don't flush".
     When you set the tone for a customer interaction with a drawn out phone menu, uncomfortable waiting rooms, unclean facility, or laborious administrative processes, you are defying one of the most basic traction points for an extraordinary customer relationship, CONVENIENCE. Stop making it hard for me to give you my money. If you want to understand how your customers feel when doing business with you, call your own voicemail, or phone system.  Mystery shop your business and you will discover what it is like to do business with you. Walk a mile in your customers shoes.
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About Me

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Patrick Henry is a professional speaker, humorist, author, and songwriter who delivers funny and entertaining keynote speeches. Patrick shows audiences how to create IMPACT! by creating extraordinary customer, client and co-worker experiences. He is what happens when Keynotes, Comedy and Concerts...Collide!