Just in case you were wondering…
Just in case you were wondering…
Today I decided to do something I haven’t done in a while. Google myself. Now while that sounds like it might be something you do behind closed doors, it really isn’t. Everyone should Google themselves. Simply type your name in the search bar of your browser to see the results of your online activity aka digital footprint. Due to my active online posting style I usually occupy most of the front page. with the exception of 1 result, that was also true today.
However, this time instead of only reviewing the top search results in Google, I decided to let my curiosity run wild by going past page one. (Gasp!) I’ve been online for a good long bit so going back into search results was almost like going back through time. My old podcasts that were hosted on the Internet Archive, past partnerships, accounts on old social networks. There were some surprises waiting to be discovered. One of which was an interview I did for RISE Austin in 2011. I remember being interviewed but had never seen the finished product. I am sharing it with you here. Would appreciate comments on your “googling self” practices and if you’ve been surprised by what you have discovered.
We all know that testimonials can be powerful tools for our business. So what are you doing with them after the first excitement wears off? One of the techniques I encourage folks to use when creating their Editorial Calendar is to share testimonials from satisfied clients. Your clients who have taken the time to let you know they appreciate your service can become part of your brand ambassador team.
Testimonials are easy to share when they are in the form of an email or letter. However, with all of today’s tools at our fingertips why limit the variety of your reach? With smartphones and apps it is also very easy to do this through audio and video.Â Think about asking your happy client to share an audio or video testimonial about the service or products your business provides. Hearing the energy and excitement of someone who is “in the moment” can really drive home the point of how well your business does it’s job.
Of course, there is more than one way to capture customer testimonials. Thanks to a recent Twitter update, we can embed some of those testimonials into our website. Here is an example of some kudos that Susan Price and myself received from one of our workshop attendees:
Be creative with the different platforms you can use to capture those testimonials. You might be surprised to discover exactly how many folks have said great things about your business. Your employees, existing and potential clients will be happy to hear about all the wonderful things your company is doing when seen through the eyes of a happy client testimonial.
Want to know the other creative ways Twitter embed posts can be used in your business? Then head over to HubSpot to discover 7 Epic Uses of Twitter’s New Embeddable Tweets Feature.
One of the things I enjoy about all of our connectivity is the ability to be anywhere on the globe……virtually. Many of you know I am a big fan of the LeWeb conferences that Loic Le Meur puts on in ParisÂ every year. I may not make it to Paris, but thanks to live video streaming I can be part of each event live or catch all the recorded action later. For the first time in it’s history LeWeb was also held in London this year.
There are always plenty of big announcements from web/tech/social network companies. There are also many big ideas being shared. This year the one session I was surprised by was by Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation, Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. What really took me was his statement that, “The 21st Century is a terrible time to be a control freak.” The fact that he works for government and had this understanding of just how much the world has changed was refreshing to say the least.
Please note this is not a pro or con political post. I am private when it comes to polarizing topics like politics and as such tend to keep my views to myself.
I do hope you will watch and share your thoughts on the drastic change “control freaks” in the workplace and government are undergoing in the 21st Century.
Last week I did something that happens across coffee shops all across America. I had a meeting at a Starbucks. This isn’t groundbreaking news or really worth discussing except for what happened for the 2+ hours I sat inside this particular Starbucks.
Let me set the stage: It was 4pm on a cold winter afternoon. Seating inside was at a premium while outdoor seating was abandoned for the warmer interior. There was really nothing that would set this Starbucks apart from any of the others around town. Several tables had folks holding meetings while others were occupied by solo laptop folks. Once our group found a corner to occupy for our meeting, it was time to get a cup of coffee….or so I thought. Turns out this particular Starbucks water heating system was not working. This means that there were no hot drinks to be had on this day. No regular coffee, no lattes, no espresso drinks not even a hot tea could be had by patrons. The only drinks being offered were Frappuccinos and iced drinks. This is what was available on a cold day.
When it comes to coffee or lack thereof you would expect folks to be frustrated, upset or even angry. You can probably envision folks grumbling and complaining about a coffee shop that is unable to provide it’s core product. So, what do you think the reactions are by the people coming in to order a hot drink on a cold day? Let me share with you the encounters I overheard:
Barista: “Ma’am, all we have are Frappuccinos.”
Elderly Woman:Â “Oh, I’ve never tried aÂ Frappuccino before. Let me give it a try.”
Barista: “Ma’am, we are out of non-fat milk. Are you ok with whole milk?”
Young Lady: “That’ll be fine.”
Barista: “Oh, I’m sorry sir. Turns out we are out of that flavor. Would you like to try something else?”
Older Man: “No, not really.”
Barista: “Ok, would you like your money back?”
Man: “No, why don’t you keep it as a tip. You guys always work so hard.”
Barista: “Really? Thank you very much, sir.”
Are you as stunned as I am? I can tell you that in my time there, I did not hear a single complaint. I heard surprise, “You’re out of coffee?” and “Oh wow, must be tough for you guys right now” type comments. Not a single person raised their voice or stormed out in disgust.
In case you missed it in #2 & #3, this Starbucks was out of certain milk and flavors as well as no wifi and bathrooms that needed toilet paper refilling. Yet, everyone who came in took it all in stride. I was perplexed by this until it occurred to me that the people who frequent this Starbucks are regulars. They have probably been coming here for some time, know the folks behind the counter and have had excellent customer service and been on the receiving end of their expected quality coffee drinks. Because of this patrons were understanding about something going wrong. They were willing to overlook a coffee shop with no coffee. But only because this Starbucks had built up a bank of trust with these customers. So that when everything went wrong, they could draw upon that trust to see them through their temporary crisis.Â It was quite the epiphany and had me thinking about how every business could learn from this story.
I did eventually get a hot coffee before leaving but only because another Starbucks sent over two of their large carafes full of Pikes Peek drip coffee. Which was another learning moment. Be there for your partners when they need it. You never know when the tables will turn and it will you in crisis mode.
So, on this day a Starbucks with no coffee, no wifi that was running out of ingredients taught me about building a bank of trust with customers and the importance of having partners to support you in times of crisis.
By now we all know that social should be a part of your overall awareness/research/customer service plan. We also know that increasingly customers are discovering your business through apps on their mobile devices. Local search has always been important and is enhanced when tied into Social and Mobile.
When you tie all the aspects of Social, Local and Mobile aka SoLoMo together you get the trifecta of visibility, discoverability and engagement.
For your entertainment, here is the theme song for SoLoMo:
Image by Rachael Towne
The Mayans said the world was going to end in 2012. What did they know? I don’t know and I really don’t care. Call me the Ebenezer Scrooge of the New Year. Except instead of “Bah-humbug!” I say, “Meh”.Â As in, who knows if that ancient civilization was right? Who knows if it will happen at all? What can we do about it?
I have an answer for that: Absolutely nothing.
There isn’t a thing we can do if the world is going to stop for humanity. If a dinosaur killing meteorite comes plummeting to our planet or if Aliens decide to go postal on us or if Mother Nature decides it has had enough and we suffer through another dark age. The fact is there just isn’t a thing we can do about it. So why worry?
Go about your business. Pursue the work that makes your heart sing. Let the people you care about know it.Â Take the time to look up and see the beauty around you. Appreciate the wonder that is life. Smell those roses and all that jazz. In other words, live your life like you do every year but maybe with a little more kindness.
My viewpoint on the 22 mile Bike Tour portion of the Rock â€˜nâ€™ Roll San Antonio Marathon & Â½ Marathon. Our group was the first out of the gate at 6:45am. The weather was foggy but still cool. I am relatively new to biking and had never done a bike tour before. The energy and support along the route was fantastic. I’ve run three 1/2 Marathons before (2 being RnR-Pheonix 2004 & SA in 2008). My perspective of the event was that there was a lot of support along the route. Many Medical tents/staff, drink stations, emergency personnel and of course folks cheering us on.
I was saddened to hear about the death of Jorge Fernandez. Aside from that tragedy, I have also read some of the complaints from folks on the RnR Facebook page and inside this Express-News article. One of the things that comes to mind is that perhaps a staggered volunteer and supply schedule should be considered for next year’s event. That way folks who are in the last portion of the event can still receive the same kind of attention as the folks who are in the first half of finishers.
I am by no means a fast runner or biker. I’m more of a slow and steady gal. However, I have always found support at the RnR events to be outstanding. It is my hope that we can all learn from this experience to make an even better event next year.
Congratulations to everyone who got up early to personally challenge themselves on a warm Sunday in November. Pat yourselves on the back for running/walking/biking to raise money for a worthy cause.
UPDATE: Here are my notes to the organizers of the event from their survey request of my Bike Tour experience.
Really enjoyed my first ever Bike Tour. Your event has motivated me to participate in other bike tours.
â€¢Fantastic support by volunteers and emergency crews Thanks.
â€¢Really liked being able to Bike Valet. What an awesome experience with the folks from Bike World. Smiling and joking around with us at both drop off and pick up. 2 Thumbs up on Bike Valet service.
â€¢More announcer mentions of Bike Tour (we felt like the proverbial “red-headed step-children” to the Full & 1/2 Marathon.
â€¢Have all bands on stage for event. It was a bit disappointing to ride by stages that were empty.
* Have a bit of a longer exit area at the finish line. As soon as we crossed the finish there was a lady yelling at us to ” SLOW DOWN AND GET OFF YOUR BIKES!” <- A big buzz kill to the euphoria you are feeling for completing the 22 mile course. A longer exit area would allow us time to slow down without having someone yelling at us.
â€¢ More photographers at the finish. There was only 1 shot of me during the race and none of me crossing the finish line. I hammed it up by raising both my arms up as my sign of accomplishment. Imagine my disappointment when the photographer who was taking the finish pics didn’t capture that moment.
On a side note, I did hear from lots of folks where were in “last to finish” groups of both bikers and runners who did not receive the same level of support as the folks that finished in the first half. Here is a suggestion: Why not stagger your volunteers and supplies? That way everyone gets the full experience from start to finish?
Overall I am thrilled with my Bike Tour experience. I’ve run 2 of your 1/2 Marathon’s before (Pheonix 04 and SA in 08) and have been very happy with the RnR experience.”
Today marks the beginning of the audio marathon I call NaPodPoMo or National Podcast Post Month. Over the course of the next 30 days podcasters from around the globe will be podcasting daily with the goal of having 30 podcasts completed by November 30th.
This is the 5th year we have done NaPodPoMo. I use this monthly long audio recording frenzy as an opportunity to try new things. From platforms to tools to style to shows I call it my experimentation time. Some experiments work out beautifully and continue on such as Tech in Twenty from year 2 while others go the way of the dodo like my effort in year 3. Regardless of the success rate of my experiments the one thing that holds true is that I learn something new each time.
For many folks who have been curious about podcasting this is a great opportunity to learn. With a podcast due each and everyday the learning curve is fast. No time to freak out about a less than stellar performance. Chalk it up to experience and put your game face on for the next day’s show. One thing that is always true is that your 30th podcast will be markedly improved from your day 1 podcast.
For veteran podcasters, NaPodPomo is the opportunity to recapture the love of the audio medium. There is no doubt that folks who started podcasting in the early days 2004-2006 love audio. Recording a podcast has never been easier with all the mobile apps and online services at our fingertips. Discovering new tools to do recording, editing and posting is exciting and fun.
Whatever the reason you are joining us for this year’s NaPodPoMo challenge, I welcome you into the fold. My advice is to forgive yourself quickly and enjoy the journey.
When I ran over a giant bolt in the road on a hot 103Â°F Summer afternoon I had no idea I was about to learn that customer service is alive and well. We all moan and grown that customer service is a thing of the past. I just had an experience that caused me to rethink my own pessimism.
Driving on a hot summer day I noticed a large bolt in the road. I made attempts to avoid it however, it was all in vain as I pull over with a flat tire. Luckily I was able to park in a strip center with large shady oak trees. Being a long time subscriber of AT&T Road Side Assistance I immediately called them. For $2.99/month I am able to call upon them up to 4x a year for towing up to 10 miles. I scheduled a pick up with a tow to Discount Tires. The tires were covered under road hazard warranty which meant other than time, there wouldn’t be any out of pocket expenses on my part.
I surfed the web at the strip center Starbucks while enjoying a Mocha Frappucino. A nice way to spend the 40 minute-1 hour anticipated wait. Imagine my surprise when the tow truck arrived in less than 30 minutes. He was a nice fellow who was a football fan which meant a fun andÂ lively discussion-filled drive to Discount Tires.
Once at Discount Tires, I was met by a friendly staff member who was so nice he made me feel like I was part of their family. Sitting in the waiting room allowed me to see that they treated everyone in the same manner. I have spent time in waiting rooms before but have never enjoyed it so much. I was able to see that the jovial staff take care of both entering customers and answer phone calls. They smiled, were nice and professional. When they came around and offered us all bottled water for being so patient while we waited for our cars, I had to shake my head in amazement. Who were these people?Â Why wasn’t every other business studying this company and using it as a customer service model?
I left there with an appreciation for what a difference fantastic customer service can do. A giant bolt in my tire could have ruined my day. Instead I was actually glad it happened. This experience restored my faith in customer service. Something I thought was long gone in the modern age.
Shout out to AT&T Roadside Assistance, the fast towing company (wish I could remember your name) and Discount Tires at 2707 NW Loop 410Â San Antonio, TX 78230 (210) 341-7752. Your excellent service made a believer in me. Thank you.