Author Archive

Hootsuite University – A Special Offer

Posted by on Sunday, 21 September, 2014

HootSuite Certified ProfessionalIt looks like you’ve forgiven me for sharing so much Hootsuite content. That’s good because they’ve just released a promo code for Hootsuite University.

If you’ve been curious about Hootsuite University or are already certified, add GETAHEAD to the billing page to save 20% for the next six months. The certification is useful and a great thing to show you’re a knowledgeable social media manager, but the real value is in the additional resources. The ever-growing lecture series and social media courseware. The social media courseware gives an additional seven courses with exams to hone your skills. The lecture series includes 20-30 minute videos on a range of focused topics. Presenters include Mark Schaefer and Charlene Li. Eek, writing this makes me sound like I’m channelling Grammar Girl’s sponsorship spiel. The only payment I get is the love and adoration of you all to be able to save money, and the Hootsuite Community Managers for sharing the promo.

Seriously though, if you’ve been considering it, use the Hootsuite University code GETAHEAD by October 15, 2014. It’s billed in monthly increments, but works out to be $99 for six months of access to a brilliant educational resource. If you’re unsure, here’s my last post on my certification.

Hootsuite Ambassador Video

While we’re chatting Hootsuite, the new ambassador video was released yesterday, in time for next week’s Social Media Week, and it includes me! Check it out and I’d love for you to apply to join the team. It’s a lot of fun and I adore my fellow ambassadors around the globe.

If you have any questions about Hootsuite University or the ambassador program, ask in the comment or tweet me.

So you want to be a Social Media Manager

Posted by on Monday, 15 September, 2014

Social Media ManagerI know I post a lot referencing Hootsuite, but so much of their content is on topic. Plus, as an Ambassador I get sent blog posts and Slideshares. Very convenient for when I’m in the middle of a semester, like now.

Recently I’ve been asked by a few people how to start a career as a digital marketer. I am working on a larger post, but Hootsuite has just released How To Be A Social Media Manager And Excel At It on Slideshare and it covers many of the same skills. Or should I quote it as hats?

This guide is great because it details the main skills needed to be a social media manager. Some are obvious, like community management and content curation, but being an expert social media manager is more. It’s lots of listening, and coaching and math. Yes, there’s lots of math. Other aspects of digital marketing as similar, whether it’s email, or websites, or SEM.

So until I can write up a proper digital marketing manager post, check this out.

How to be a Social Media Manager from Hootsuite

Is Good Customer Service Good Enough?

Posted by on Sunday, 7 September, 2014

Good Customer ServiceIn the last week I’ve experienced two poor customer service experiences. Both were takeaway food purchases gone wrong, and both companies ticked all the boxes to turn it around. I’ll only go back to one.

The first was with a local Mexican restaurant near my new house. The yelp reviews were average to damning, but I really wanted it to be nice.

The food was horrid. Sloppy enchiladas, dry rice and stale corn chips. A few days later a Mileage Plus Dining Rewards email gave me the chance to give feedback, so I did. I was honest and fair. I chose not to share it on social, but did elect to keep it public on the rewards site.

A few days later the restaurant responded asking what they could do to make it better.

The restaurant did everything by the book. The responded nicely; they asked how to improve the situation. It was perfect, right?

Let’s look at another situation from the same week.

I often order my lunch online from a busy West Coast sandwich chain. They have a store across from a client’s office, so I can quickly duck downstairs, grab the lunch bag and be back working in 10 minutes. On this day they left an ingredient out of my sandwich. Of course I didn’t realize until I was back at my desk and I didn’t have time to go back to have it remade. So I logged on their site and sent a message letting them know. I also said that I would have gone back to get it fixed, but no time. I didn’t ask for anything and made it clear it was an FYI.

A couple of hours later I missed a call. The voicemail was from Specialty’s and they were sorry about the slip. They were speaking to the store, but also giving my a $10 credit. They’d follow up with via email.

Both places did the right thing. They acknowledged the issue, and offered restitution. However, I will never return to the Mexican restaurant, but I’ve ordered from Specialty’s many times since.

What is the difference? I don’t doubt either place was genuine with their offer, but Specialty’s made it tangible. I didn’t need to think about what would make it better, it just happened.

The customer service bar has been raised, and it will continue to do so. What you previously thought was good enough is no longer so. And what’s good enough now, won’t be in 12 months.

How can you keep up with good customer service?

The restitution has nothing to do with monetary value. Make the response personal. Do you have order history for that customer? What’s their favorite item? Did you mess up big time? Check their social media or website to see what they like. Gary Vaynerchuk is great with this and uses it to thank customers for large purchases. Think of the goodwill (and social mentions) you’ll get for nailing it. Even if it’s a little off, you’ll still get kudos for trying. If your customer is a business, this still works. Send snacks for the team, or a voucher for a team dinner.

No longer can you get away with checking the boxes for good customer service. It’s time to make it personal.

Book Review: Dataclysm

Posted by on Sunday, 31 August, 2014

DataclysmDid you hear? Dating site, OKCupid has lied to you; just to see what happens. This headline hit just days after Facebook tried publishing user behavior research in an academic journal. What the journalists seem to have missed was that OKCupid’s co-founder and President Christian Rudder wrote the blog post about some of their findings just before his book, Dataclysm was released. I actually suspect Christian wrote the blog post because of huge backlash Facebook received. After all, a blog post worth of user behavior data is easier to stomach than an entire book.

So what’s Dataclysm like?

It’s an informative, educational look at people and what they do. Is it a scandalous expose? Not really. Will you be surprised by the results? Probably.

Christian takes what comes across as a math nerd’s hobby and turns it into an insightful profile. He has access to gigabytes of offered and acquired data. I know I wouldn’t be able to resist.

I suspect this book has two aims. One, to show what data is available for analysis, and two, to research some behaviors that are difficult to accurately measure. For instance, do men search for gay porn more in liberal states? By the way, no they don’t. Search rates are equal across the country.

Other little snippets are reported from data that extends to Google, Twitter, a job site and more. Academic research also supplements the OKCupid sample, giving a more robust story than just that from a dating site. Some snippets are useful for marketers, such as the fact that people are more likely to reword a Tweet than use abbreviations. However, most of the data is general and an interesting anthropological view.

Christian’s story telling tends to be more pop sociology with simplified English. He does drop just enough research terminology to keep the data nerds happy, but always with translations. Chapter titles like, “Death by a Thousand Mehs” helps grab those who detest math.

The book could be tightened a little with some setting the scene paragraphs being dropped. I do especially like the “end of book philosophical chapter”* that explains how web data analysis is here and should be useful for consumers, but of course needs to be treated cautiously. He quotes the Target case where their data modeling was so accurate they predicted a pregnancy before the woman told her family. Unfortunately the woman was a teen. He’s right though, data analysis is here and really we should embrace it.

Who Is Dataclysm For?

Dataclysm is more of a sociology book than a marketing book. If you’re a marketer wanting to understand the applications of big data, then definitely read this. It won’t help a marketer do their job better. If you’re worried about online privacy and want to understand what is recorded, then definitely read this book. Finally, if you’re just a curious nerd, buy it. My copy was an unedited proof courtesy of NetGalley, without the graph formatting. I now have to wait until it’s released next week to buy a full copy.

What’s your customer service strategy?

Posted by on Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

Brian Solis - Customer ServiceWhen I started my first customer service job in 1994 it was easy. If a customer had a complaint they called or dropped by. Occasionally they wrote a letter. Sure the grumpy ones told their friends over the garden fence, but that was just the neighbor.

That was 1994. Now it’s 2014.

Brian Solis recently said that an unhappy customer tells 20 people. A happy customer will tell only one. I recall hearing similar numbers back in 1994.

But in 1994 telling 20 people about a poor customer service experience wasn’t a crisis. Social media has given a new customer service tool. It has also given customers a new, public voice.

Let’s look back at the 20 people who hear about the poor experience. Imagine if one of those tellings was a facebook post. The average facebook user has 338 friends, which instantly turns that 20 into 357. Add in a Twitter account and it’s 576. That’s a lot different than a gossip session over the fence.

What can you do about it?

If you’re already listening to your customers (including on social media) and offering great customer service to minimize any poor experiences, give yourself a pat on the back. Well done.

If you’re not there yet, it’s not too late. Look at your policies and your team. Is that how you’d want to be treated? Yes, it will mean some changes and probably cost you some money, but can you afford to lose 20 customers for each poor experience? To quote Brian Solis (again), “Customers have to be asked and rewarded. It’s something new. It’s proactive customer service.” This is from a social customer service video series that he’s doing with Hootsuite. There’s also his book, [What's the Future] of Business?

And you can always email or Tweet me.

Plugin by Social Author Bio