"We are all in this humans race together and it's our job to make sure we all cross the finish line as one."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great “Friends” Tour '11- A Humorous Look at Who Our Friends & Followers Are in New Media

**Note to Reader: Read in a slight British Accent**
Nice word. Positive word.
Webster defines it in the following ways; 1:one attached to another by affection or esteem; 2:one that favors or promotes something.

Let me start by saying I really do like the word ‘friend’. I use it daily when I address people whom I know. “Hello friend”, “How are you friend?” etc.

It always struck me as strangely humorous and in some ways creepy though the way that Facebook and Myspace call everybody ‘friend’.
Make Me Your Friend.
Add To Your Friend List.
69 Friend Requests.

Now, whether they are on your personal or professional sites, you really have to step back here and wonder; How many of these people really are your friends? Do they fall under Webster’s definition #1? Well, how can we tell?

So, in order to better know, love and appreciate the demographic of those that are “my friends” I have decided to do a Marketing Research Project and go and visit each and every individual person signed up to both my personal and business Facebook and Myspace accounts, go to their homes knock on their doors and say, “Hello! According to my Facebook and Myspace we, you and I, are friends. I would there for enjoy coming into your home, sitting on your couch for afternoon tea and see how much we really have in common.”

Now should the visit go smashingly, I will of course maintain them as “friends” perhaps even elevating them to a “favorites” category. However, if the visit should not go brilliantly and I find their response to my unprompted visit to be somewhat course and abrupt, then I shall remove them as my friend. Of course if they are from my business social media account and they have a lot of followers, I may have to reconsider.

Again, this is Marketing research so pie charts, graphs and Power Point presentations must and will display this data to make it all so very official looking. Also, I may need to stay in touch with you, my FohBoh contacts, in case I need a couch to crash on for the night or hit you up for a hot meal at your restaurants while traveling for this project…All in the name of research for our businesses of course.

Then there of course are “Followers” as in “follow me on Twitter” or “your followers”. A rather pretentious and egotistical expression really.
“My followers”.
If you’re a restaurant using Twitter it makes the hospitality biz sound a bit like a cult.
“Come in This Week For All U Can Eat Wings & Our Secret Recipe Lemon-Aid!”
Offer Good Only Until The Mother Ship Arrives or Our Ascension into Godhood.

Now, if you should rather go with Webster’s definition #2, just ignore all the gibberish above as is #2 does pertain more to what you (we) are trying to accomplish through Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, or as I like to call it, MyTwitFace.

So, my friends, have a wonderful day, we have all worked hard so enjoy it with the ones you truly call your friends and be safe.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I could begin to feel the circuits overheating. 

I had been very active with several different chat groups, creating a new one, researching Social Media related issues for work as well as running and responding to all the Social Media there and making new followers and friends at a rate that would have The Flash look like he was moving at the speed of a Presidential campaign push for Dan Quail.

It needed to slow down or stop for a few hours. I thought, “oh what a lovely little article this would make with me taking the day off from all Social Media”. But, what I thought would be even more effective and challenging would be to take others that I knew who were also Social Media Junkies on the journey with me. So I went into two of the Twitter chat forums I live in, #CustServ and #UsGuys and put forth my quest: I NEED SEVERAL VOLUNTEERS TO GO A WHOLE DAY WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA. WHO’S WITH ME!?

The response was overwhelmingly silent and the roar of the crickets and tumbleweeds was deafening. So I asked several more times and got a small trickle of responses and enlistees. Funny part was, they were all female! Not one guy! Where were my dudes in Twitterville? Where was my Band of Brothers? It was an experiment with all females and only me as the solo male.

The experiment hadn’t even begun and I already had my most interesting statistic so far. Only females volunteered and when I asked 10 different males why they would not join this merry little band, they all had the same answer. “I can’t go a day without it.” Period. Only 2 said it would compromise their work.

Here’s what the rules were: NO Twitter, Facebook,  Four Square, MySpace (as if anyone under the age of 12 has a page there anymore) LinkedIn, Skype, Google Chat, IM’s, Blogging or even texting.

Yes, that’s right texting. I researched other experiments of this nature and 3 out of the 5 I reviewed all categorized ‘texting’ as a Social Media outlet.  According to a Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report in April of 2010, text messaging has become the primary way that people reach their friends, besting face-to-face contact, email, instant messaging and voice calling as the go-to daily communication tool.

They were allowed to email as is it’s not considered ‘social media’ but rather a regular at work and at home source of communication.

With all my lab rats (and myself) set to run through the maze for a full day I reached out to them via email with their mission and the following 4 questions for them to answer upon the completion of  the day;

 1. Did you snap like a twig, collapse and start using Social Media before the day ended? If so, why?
2. What did you find the biggest challenge or hurdle in this experiment?
3. Do you feel there are TOO MANY SM sites and it causes you distractions throughout the day?
4. Of all the SM sites you are on, which one did you miss the least and feel you could do without?

The votes have been counted. The results…After this commercial break. OK, couldn’t resist the dig at Ryan Seacrest…OK, here we go:

Snap, Twitch and Drool:
Zero out of the 10 people had a Lindsey Lohan style relapse. Everyone stayed the course.  Ellie, a Twitter fanatic reported “a terrible longing for my iphone and kept looking at it and caressing it as if it were a chocolate bar”, while @CaiPalmiter from Twitter said she suffered from paranoia and dreamt of Skyping. Only one person slipped slightly, Sherree (@starry_girl on Twitter), with a texting volley with her husband regarding their dog. You’re off the hook Sherree, I’m a sucker for dogs!

Oh the pain, the pain…
As far as challenges and hurdles an overwhelming 80% said the voyeuristic urge to “peek” and see what others were conversing about in their absence was unbearable. Sherree, stated “It was hard first thing in the morning and when I got home in the evening. Thankfully, my day was full of meetings and deadlines; I didn't have time to want to check things. “I suffered the same day as our friend Sherree as is I actually worked that faithful day.

This One Goes to 11
Are there too many Social Media sites out there creating too much noise and distractions? YES! It seems every time a newer and shinier one comes along we all herald it as the “second coming”. But do we need anymore? According to 90% of the test subjects, no, we don’t.  Ellie informed me “I was definitely less distracted, more focused at work.” Dina, said “it made me realize, I don’t really need half of these sites.”

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
When it came time to say “good morning” to the Social Media sights again the #1 site that was not missed at all by 80% was Four Square! It seemed people just don’t care about being the Mayor of anything or wanting to know where @droolmarks is eating at that very moment.  Very interesting statistic was the #2 least missed site: Facebook! This one floored me. Don’t people check their Facebook more times a day than the time? The one that was missed the most by a staggering 100% was Twitter. As L.J so eloquently phrased it; “I couldn’t live without Twitter. I would die not knowing what to do under my desk all day.” ‘Nuff said.

Feelings, Nothing more than Feelings…
Some key words to note here as well that got tossed around by the majority; “isolated” “lost” “habitual” “slacking” “weird” and the number one word used, “addicted”.

A Jerry Springer Style Final Thought
Social Media is an extraordinary option to commune with our world, learn new things and expand our horizons and meet those we may not be afforded the luxury of doing so in the real world!  But isn’t Social Media now an element of The Real World?

During this little experiment, I learned that I can participate in my social media “neighborhood” without living in it. I can't imagine life without my social media community of friends, followers, business acquaintances and clients. I have a friend or “family” to chat with anytime I want! But I have another life beyond social media.  I have a wife and daughter that don’t chat, IM, Tweet, RT, follow or Skype. At the end of the day, it’s just the three of us in our own world.

I like it there. Think I’ll stay awhile.

Friday, January 7, 2011

More of The Beatles take on Customer Service: BECAUSE

Yeah I was the 5th Beatle until they got tired of me screaming
"WOW! Your The Beatles" in recording sessions.

We hear the expressions “Authentic You” and “Be Authentic” used a lot lately. Personally, I don’t get bothered by its use or as some feel, over use. It’s a philosophy I subscribe to the best I can in my personal life.

You can just tell when someone has it and when they don’t especially in the field of Customer Service.  We choose our friends based on their being authenticity and a bond based on a foundation, a feeling of trust and joy. The same can be said about the customer service representatives we deal with on a constant bases.

I constantly tell CSR’s at speaking engagements that people can go anywhere to get a product like the ones they sell, be it down the block or on the internet. But what keeps the consumer coming back are them. The individual.  The CSR’s the “get it”. The guests are there daily or frequent to see their “friends “where they know it’s safe and the customer service is great! Make that exceptional!

I deal with retail businesses where their CSR’s interact daily face to face with guests and yes, they have an easier time of it because they can learn guests names etc. But the philosophy applies to CSR’s online and via phone activity as well. It’s what I call the BECAUSE factor.

Centered &

By following the BECAUSE factor it simply benefits the CSR, the guest and the company as a whole. All it takes is a person who “gets it” as far as how to deal with humans on a genuine level to make a difference all around. That CSR may not have all the answers, but if they stay focused on the customer, if they stay concerned and engaging with the guest, problems will dissipate in their severity at a much faster pace than an with an “auto response”.

Let me give you an example. We have a Starbucks near our house (go figure) that we go to as it’s the only one near us (go figure that one too).  Even if there was a Tim Horton or CafĂ© De Spend Tu Dinero Here within reach, I would still choose to go to Starbucks. The CSR’s there are friendly, polite, accommodating and more importantly they know me. 

There is one CSR, Jasmine, who I saw once when my 2 year old daughter and I went there for coffee and juice after a grueling music class. When I saw her again 2 weeks while on a solo visit she asked me, “So where is that adorable little one today?”

WOW! One meeting. One time serving me and she remembered! Guess who I look for when I’m there? Jasmine! She gets BECAUSE. But it’s not just her. It’s Tanim who always knows I have a Half Decaf-Half Regular Black so I don’t leap out of my skin and send my ADD into overdrive with regular high octane coffee! It’s also the dude whose name I don’t know with the goatee (looked for him for a pic with him but not working) who knows what my wife drinks and makes it a point to play with my 2 year old when we are on line.

These are the people I like to reward with my business and my time BECAUSE…!

Customers who feel they have been treated well and in an authentic manner have a 70% chance of returning to a business they have developed a relationship with even after just one positive visit.

BIGresearch, an Ohio-based market intelligence firm, asked thousands of shoppers what kind of customer service they expected. Customers said they sought friendly, authentically polite service and wanted to feel that a company valued them more than the sale. They look for value, but define it as more than the price of a product; it also includes the service they receive. According to the survey, 71 percent said they stopped doing business with a company due to bad customer service.

So, before you have to go chasing down unhappy guests asking why they left and they just tell you, BECAUSE, train your staff in the Beatle version of BECAUSE. It will HELP you in THE END during the Customer Service REVOLUTION.

Peace and Happy New Year!