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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Of Superman and Authentic Customer Service on Twitter

The staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there is the alter ego. Batman in reality is Bruce Wayne, Green Lantern is Hal Jordan, Spider-Man is really Peter Parker. When that character wakes up every morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man.

And it is in that attribute that Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman (Kal-El to the true geeks reading this). When Superman wakes up in the morning, has his coffee and showers he’s still Superman. His alter ego, his costume, is Clark Kent.

If you are one of the many companies that is dipping your toe into the Social Media stream to see if it’s something you want to utilize as a customer service outlet then listen closely true believers; If you do take this heroic path make sure you build a Justice League style support team! Whoever your voice is, especially if you utilize Twitter, make sure they are a Superman at customer service. What do I mean by SUPERMAN? Funny you should ask:

Negative Into a Positive!

By having someone at the helm of your guest relations social media who is authentic and doesn’t don a “costume” to fulfill a role, makes the greatest difference in the world! People can smell a scripted person who is just going through the motions and “sounding” polite while on the other end they are reading the horoscopes and eyeing the clock.

Especially on Twitter! If you are making the effort and investment to use Twitter as a customer service outlet to achieve real-time results,  then you have to make sure that person has a “voice” that is going to be engaging, authentic and personable.  If you are going to go through all this trouble to build a customer response presence in social media then make sure you are dedicating real heroes to upholding your companies truth, justice and philosophies way.

Ted Coine just wrote a great piece on his “21st century Leaders” blog about automated messages and what an impersonal thing they are in a world called “SOCIAL” media. The same, if not more importantly, must be said of, real-time customer service social media engagement.  If you hit them with a “you matter to us” auto response message when they Tweet your business, guess what? They will RT (re-tweet) what a villainous maneuver you just pulled and the Breck Effect takes place. They tell two friends, and so on, and so on… 

As I tell my customer service trainees/trainers for phone and online support at seminars, you MUST smile as you would if you were face to face with the guest. Believe me; they can “hear” it! A smile is not just a facial expression; it’s a tone of voice.

How your representatives “sound” can quell an irate customer just by “snake charming” them with their voice. Calm, friendly and sympathetic to the dilemma at hand saves the company time fixing an issue that could have been handled by the right and or well trained hero.

Now where is my cape? Anyone seen my cape? How about my boots? They’re red…Anyone?
How about my tights?

Check out these great posts on Social Media!
Don’t SPAM Me Bro!” by Ted Coine

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Social Media 4 Social Good: A Tsunami of Care

This weekend as the media and music savvy minds gathered in Austin Texas for the South By Southwest Conference to marvel at the advancements we have made with our technical evolution, Mother Nature gave us a reminder of who is really in charge of this planet and how frail we are as humans.

For all our Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and whatever shiny new toy it is of the moment, at the end of the day it means nothing in the wake of the devastation that has been brought down upon Japan. As the waves of Mother Nature’s fury paint a canvas of chaos across Japan one must wonder what it all means at the end of the day.

Is it the one who dies with the most toys wins?
Will this Tsunami affect the Klout scores of the dead and missing?
How many friends lost on the Facebook pages of Japans population?
Will those affected ever rebuild the number of their Twitter followers?

Who cares.

We are so enchanted by how clever we are that we sometimes forget that in ONE second none of what we THINK is important IS. What is important is what we can do with the technology and knowledge we have at our disposal to make a difference in times of crisis. I have written in a previous post of how social media can help make a difference in times of change. We must remember to harness its outreach capabilities to help raise money, awareness and connecting people to sources of where and how they can assist.

If we are going to sit around on our iphones, laptops, BlackBerry’s all day, instead of updating our social media sights with what marvelous things we think are important, do something that IS important.

Be the change. Make the difference. Remember: We are a billion children rolled into one.

Here are some ways you can make a difference through social media:

The American Red Cross has launched a texting campaign to raise money for assistance efforts in the Pacific region. Last year, they were able to raise over $20 million for Haiti relief through simple text donations. If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake Relief, just text REDCROSS to 90999. Each text will provide $10 towards the Red Cross’s humanitarian efforts.

The Red Cross has also launched a Campaign on Causes to raise at least $25,000 for relief efforts. By logging in to Facebook, you can donate anywhere from $10 to $500 to help Tsunami victims and their families.

The folks over at are donating $1 for every “Like” of the “Dog Bless You” Facebook page, up to $100,000. founder Charlie Weingarten delivered the challenge at South by Southwest this weekend. “Search and rescue dogs are a critical resource for emergency situations,” he told the audience.

Harness the power of your Twitter account to do some good for the people of Japan. Twitter published a blog post detailing ways you can help with the relief efforts. Not only have they updated Japan’s mobile website with the latest information on the disaster, but they have also published a list of hashtags to tweet and/or follow related to the crisis. Here are some key hashtags to remember:
• #Jishin: focuses around general earthquake information
• #Anpi: a hashtag for the confirmation of the safety of individuals or places
• #Hinan: Evacuation information
• #311care: a hashtag regarding medical information for the victims
• #PrayforJapan: A general hashtag for support and best wishes for victims of the crisis

The great people at South By Southwest Conference along with the amazing Natalie Petouhoff stepped into action while in Austin during the event. Go to and make a donation via the website. It goes directly 2 Red Cross and you get an email receipt from red cross.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teach Your Children Well: Business Mentoring

Two weeks ago my Marketing and Social Media Mini-Me, Christina, came to me before my first cup of coffee on a Monday morning and informed me she was leaving the company. Her reasons were solid. She is involved in the art world and we were a restaurant group. Her passion job came up and she needed to strike while the irons were hot. I was both thrilled and greatly saddened at the same time.

Let me take a second to just tell you about this 19 year old Supergirl. She is NOT from this time. It’s as if she stepped through a temporal distortion. Her music tastes were early Elton John, Beatles, Leon Russell and Neil Young. She is a vegan with a great knowledge for food of all sorts and a vocabulary and writing style that would make most writers stop and wonder what they were doing wrong. She could also talk at a mile a minute with the enthusiasm of a school girl that would be the only hint to her true age.

While working with me I trusted her with all the Social Media, blogging, Tweeting and brand building for our entire concept for Fresh & Co. here in NYC. What she did with it was short of sensational for someone her age as she created her own voice for the brand. I called her Kent, as in Clark Kent for her newsletter reporting and heroic results.

On her final day as we stood at the elevator to say our “see you later” 
(I never say good-bye) she buried her head into my chest cried and said, “you have been like a father to me”. At that moment I felt terribly old and proud all at the same time. I had always looked at her as a daughter figure as is we got along on so many levels and I mentored her the best way I knew how.

Two minutes after the elevator door had closed and she had spread her wings to leave this nest I texted her three simple words. “You Are Awesome!” What I got back was this:

“You’re one of the most beautiful and inspiring people I have ever met. I’ve learned so much from you and you are one of the people I can truly call a friend. From boyfriend issues and more you’ve been with me at one of the pivotal points in my life. I’m growing up and becoming an adult and because of you I will continue to become an even better person. You showed me the way- and you’ve provided the next chapter of my life with a phenomenal soundtrack”

WOW! I felt like the teacher who watched his students graduate or the parent who witnessed their child leave for school for the very first time. I felt like a father. I felt like a teacher and mentor.

Here’s the point: If you have the chance to mentor someone, do it. Take them under your wing and show them everything you know and fill them with as much as information that their heads can accumulate. We are all teachers. It’s what we do with the knowledge on a personal and educational level that makes the true difference. We can dazzle clients and big business all we like. We can walk the walk and go on all the golf meetings and Martini lunches we like and make a difference. But the real payback for your knowledge is what you pass on to the next generation.

Christina was with me for 9 months. The same time it takes to bring any child into this world and prepare them for what awaits and prepare them to take flight.

Here are some resources you can connect with to find your own Clark Kent

Or reach out to your local universities to find that young person to guide!