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Social Media is Powered by Service

Posted on : 23-07-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Social Media


Forrester’s Dr. Natalie Petouhoff has a great post over at Forrester called Who Should Lead the Customer Social Media Interaction?.  This is a question I have thought about often.  All of us contemplate our future and what we want to be when we grow up.  I am the same way.  I always wondered which direction I should follow, social media or Customer Service.  As everyone knows my passion is Customer Service but social media brings a whole new realm into my career path decisions.  So I want to thank Natalie for helping shed some light on this for me.

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Natalie that Customer Service should lead the Customer social media interaction, but this does not mean I think that Customer Service should lead all interactions in social media.   Judging by some tweets, I think some took it that way.  It is my opinion that PR has a specific role regarding corporate messaging and policy, which may be on a corporate blog or on blogs throughout the internet.  Similar to discussions they may have with the press.  I do not run the corporate blog at Comcast, that is done by a great person, Scott McNulty.  He is part of the communications team.  Marketing has their own role in social media, specifically tying together marketing messaging through other channels to the ones used on the web.  They should also create unique messages for the web that relate to the spaces in which implemented.

But after all that, the social web is really about a conversations and relationships.  The best place for these conversations with Customers are the people that do it best, Customer Service.  They know how to help people in need and they also are trained in listening.  So in this world where companies are looking for leadership in the social media world, try first looking in the area that has been helping Customers for a long time.  They will know what to do.

The challenge is Customer Service departments everywhere are stretched thin and do not have the resources or the will to take on additional tasks.  This is something I think companies need to work on, because as we know the social web will hold companies accountable for poor service.  It is now time to really look upon good service as the right marketing for a company.  It can do so much more than ads.

It is funny, but as I was writing this, Pete Blackshaw sent me a link to an article he wrote for Ad Age about Zappos.  The article, titled “Is Customer Service a Media Channel? Ask Zappos,” fits so well into this post.  It is a look at the cult like following of Zappos, and specifically Tony Hsieh.  The reason for this is their slightly (okay a lot more than slightly) wacky culture, but more importantly their belief in the Customer experience.  That is what it is all about.

I do not expect companies to change overnight to create a culture like Zappos, although it would really be cool if they did.  I also do not expect Customer Service departments to gain the budgets they need to create these great experiences or build out new contact channels as the social web.  But I do have an easy way they can start.  Customer Service departments everywhere should consider removing some of the “web sense” blocks on social media websites.  Teach your employees how to use them.  Encourage them to assist Customers if they come across someone in need.  Provide the agents tools that allow them to forward social media links to other areas when they are unable to assist.  This could be a simple email address.  What will be fascinating is the employees will love it, they will help Customer (that is what service people like to do), and it will help start the social media efforts.  Zappos is the perfect example of that.  They teach and encourage all their employees to participate.  Look at the near billion dollar brand they created just by being powered by service.

Sorry, But It’s Not All About Jeff Jarvis

Posted on : 20-07-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Business, Customer Service

Tags: ,


Most of my readers know of Jeff Jarvis but for those that do not, he is author (latest is “What Would Google Do“), journalist, and a Customer evangelist (at least based on his Dell Hell example).  You can learn more about Jeff on Wikipedia.  I tend to agree with Jeff Jarvis on many things, and this will be another point that he and I will agree.  Yesterday on Twitter Jeff shared an experience he was having with his local cable provider (not Comcast!).  He followed it up with a post on his Buzz Machine blog.  During his experience with the cable company call center, a representative responded “I dont see you listed as a VIP.  Now I am not going to say something like companies do not have VIP Customer lists, because most I have ever worked for did.  When I worked for Vanguard investments I was a supervisor in their Voyager service, which was for household with $250,000 to $1 million invested (those levels may have changed today).  Since starting my work helping people in social media, someone inevitably steps in and says “you only helped them because they are an influencer.”  Even within Jeff’s comments Cody Brown stated the following:

“If I did this on my twitter, I dont think I would have gotten any response from Verizon or Comcast.

A big problem with going after corporate customer service with Twitter is that if you dont have the follower count, it often goes no where.

Its nepotism when you get better service because you are friends with the VP but what is it when you get better service for having 20K twitter followers?”

Well Cody, my belief is you are just as much an influencer as Jeff Jarvis, and so is every Customer a company interacts with.  I responded to Jeff, not because he is a VIP  Customer, in fact he is not a Customer of Comcast at all.  I responded because he directed a comment specifically to me, and it is only polite to respond.

Social media is making the world a smaller place and it is also providing a lot more control to Customers.  People are sharing their experiences to their new world within places like Facebook and Twitter.  Customers have always communicated bad experiences to others, but the scale is shifting.  The rule of thumb used to be a Customer with a bad experience will tell 10 others, but as Pete Blackshaw points out in the title of his book “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000,”  the scale is getting much larger for everyone.  This is a new world order and the Customer is gaining the upper hand.

Now think of it from your own perspective, what happens when you have a bad experience?  You tell as many as you can.  How many of us are influenced about a product by reading a review on Amazon.com?  I know I have been.  Today there are many influential websites serving Customers, such as the Consumerist, Planet Feedback, Get Satisfaction and many more.  Any person can influence things like search results or the perception of the brand.  You can even look at your Facebook page as having dramatic influence.  Updating your status goes out to all your friends, then others start to comment on it opening it up the influence to their friends and so on.

This is why, in this new world, companies are going to have to improve the Customer experience through all communication channels.  If they do not, they may not have Jeff Jarvis going on a rampage, but it could be someone as simple as “John Smith.”  The person who brings it to light on the internet may not even be the Customer at all.  Instead “John Smith” may share his story and a friend decides to tell so many others.

I have reviewed numerous software for managing social media and discussions on the web.  A feature I always see is “influencer” ratings or rankings.  I believe any company that focuses on the highest rankings is really going the wrong direction.  They are usually working from a PR or marketing perspective and not really striving to listen or help their Customers.  I am not going to say I have not helped people that would be ranked as “influencers,” because I have.  I strive to help all Customers in the same manner.  If you have not seen the ABC story, check out the video on this link.  One of my favorite stories was when I help Michael Arrington, many said it was because of who he was, but within the comments there were comments like these:

Siobhan said “Actually, they monitor a lot of blogging tools and sites. I have a friend who uses LiveJournal who got an email within about 24 hours of complaining about her Comcast service from a legitimate customer service rep, and they sent a tech out to help within a day. So theyre doing it whether youre Michael Arrington or the average Joe on the street.”

Even Michael added a comment “based on twitter messages Im receiving, they are monitoring services in general, not specific influencers. http://twitter.com/angelcitybl…../784144918

Since the Michael Arrington story, I am sure many others will recognize that my team and I strive to assist everyone to the best of our ability.  Some will say that service is not the same through other communications channels with my company, but I will let everyone know that we are working hard to change that.  In fact the cool part about our efforts is we can learn so much that can then be utilized in other communications channels.  It took us time to get to the level we are at, and it will take time to show these improvements.  I look forward to getting to that point.

I think all of this is why Forrester’s Dr. Natalie Petouhoff wrote a post that I will be discussing later this week about Customer Service leading the way for companies in social media.  Check it out.

I will end this note with a tweet I sent to Jeff Jarvis last night:

Its All About the Grill

Posted on : 13-07-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Personal

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I am probably not too different from most men, I really enjoy grilling.  But like most of my life there seems to be a story behind it.  So a number of years ago I purchased a grill.  It never really worked right.  When I noticed the trouble I played around with it but it never cooked properly.  I did not replace it because I did not feel like spending the money.  Believe it or not, the grill just sat unused for a a few years.  As we were doing some spring spruce up of the shrubs my wife noticed something.  There were a number of birds chirping.  After looking everywhere, she finally realized they were in the grill.  Yes a family of birds somehow set up their own condo inside the grill.  Needless to say we were not going to be cooking on that grill again.

When Father’s Day arrived I received some new grill equipment and I was told to go pick out my grill.  I really wanted to go out and buy a cool grill.  I love some of those big ones with stone side (I wish, as you read that, I could add sound effects from the show Home Improvement).  At the same time I could never justify the expense for a really cool grill.  Any chance to justify that was blown since I have not cooked on the grill for 5 or 6 years.   Last week one of my team members, George , told me about a grill that had charcoal and gas as part of the same grill.  I had to look into that.  Well on July 4 (yes I know a very strange day to buy a grill), I decided it was time to have a cookout.

I immediately went to the computer and read numerous reviews on the Char-Griller Duo, starting with Amazon and then shifting to many other review sites on the net.  I think I tend to shop like many people, first finding out what others think on a product.  I then started to compare prices.  I found Lowes had the grill for $299.  I was all set.  I then had to decide how to get it home.  So I drove over to Lowes and started to decide the best way to do it.  I decided not to take advantage of the free assembly, and I just picked up the grill.  Hey the box said easy assembly, I can do that.  Actually the assembly was easy, but time consuming for 1 person.  So that night we ate on the grill.  Now I did not pick up  a new gas tank because I had the one from the last grill, and it still had gas.  So I hooked it up and started to cook.  Just like the last grill it was taking a long time.  Based on this the next day I went to get a new tank.  What I did not realize was there was free tank exchange when you bought the grill.  Lowes was great about it and swapped a new tank.  While I was there I picked up the smoker attachment to add to my grill (insert Home Improvement noises here).  When I went home I attached the smoker attachment.  This was a little harder than the grill assembly and should have been done with multiple people.  Anyway once that was done I tried the new propane tank.  Wow now that is the way a gas grill should light up!  So that night I cooked on the charcoal side.  It was a first for me and I love the fact that I have the option.  Gas for ease and charcoal for taste.  What a fun concept for a grill.

The only trouble I had with this grill experience was the knob for the side burner was cracked.  It still worked, more of just a nuisance.  I shot off an email to Char-Griller, truthfully expecting them to ask for all kinds of info or refer me to call in.  I realized today I did not hear back, and I was wondering if I would have to call or something else to obtain the part.  Instead I came home to Fed-Ex package at the door.  I am always so appreciative of companies that make it easy.  Email is my preferred method to communicate and I had the part in a timely manner with no questions or verifications.  Very pleased Customer.  The grill is one of the best purchases I have had in the past few years.

The Capital ‘C’

Posted on : 10-07-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service



The english language has a lot of rules, especially regarding capitalizing a word.  Here are the rules:

  • The first words of a sentence
  • The pronoun “I”
  • Proper nouns (the names of specific people, places, etc)
  • Family relationships (when used as proper names)
  • The names of Gods (Exception: Do not capitalize the non-specific use of the word “god.”)
  • Titles preceding names, but not titles that follow names
  • Directions that are names (North, South, East, and West when used as sections of the country)
  • The days of the week, the months of the year, and holidays
  • The names of countries, nationalities, and specific languages
  • The first word in a sentence that is a direct quote
  • The major words in the titles of books, articles, and songs
  • Members of national, political, racial, social, civic, and athletic groups
  • Periods and events
  • Trademarks
  • Words and abbreviations of specific names (not those that are general)

Some of you may have noticed I always capitalize the word Customer.  At times some have questioned this as being improper english.  Well I have not always been a rule follower; I just strive to do what is right.  In my opinion capitalization places emphasis on important words, such as the name of people or companies.  Why would the name of a company be more important than the Customers that make that company possible?

So to me, the capitalizing the ‘C’ in Customer will always be my rule.

How Do You Define Customer Service 4.0?

Posted on : 01-07-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Customer Service


I know using something like Customer Service 4.0 is so 90’s, but it was the best way to show how service has changed over the years.  As I have discussed many times, Customer Service will be changing in many ways in the coming years (For reference check out this post “The Future of Customer Service“).  I think service will return to the basics and finding ways to help.  This will be influenced by many factors, including social media, but also changes within the work force.  There are other influences, such as the current economic environment.  I believe companies, who in the past viewed Customer Service as a cost center, are starting to realize that Customer Service is really a differentiator from their competitors.  Ultimately this has a greater impact on sales and retention than most other aspects of the experience.  I also believe companies are going to have to know their Customers much better and use this intelligence to build the relationship further.  Let’s take a quick look at the history of service:

  • Customer Service 1.0 – The One on One Era
    • The origination of service, it was really about personal interactions and relationships.
  • Customer Service 2.0 – Expanding Reach
    • Mail completely changed the relationship between businesses and their Customer.  Now there was a way to build relationships with Customer much further away.  The only negative was the lack of speed
    • As time moved on and the phone was invented service gained the necessary speed.  This can be referred to as Customer Service 2.5.  This truly was the golden age for service.  Companies now had the ability to help Customers anywhere and at anytime.
  • Customer Service 3.0 – Efficiency Era of Service
    • Most people think this began with email or chat, but it really started with everyone’s favorite interaction point, the IVR.  IVR stands for interactive voice response, but you probably know it better as press 1 for x and 2 for y…
    • The next enhancement in this era was email, a great easy way to assist Customers and offer support.  When this first came out as an option many companies were resistant due to fear of scalability and in many cases, legal fears of having interactions in writing (for those that discuss social CRM, does this sound familiar?).  We can refer to this as Customer Service 3.1
    • The biggest leap in efficiency was the implementation of web self service.  For many business this was a great way to reduce calls by allowing Customers to do that work themselves.  This would have to be Customer Service 3.5.
    • The next items seemed to come at the same time.  Starting in the later part of the 1990’s we began to see a large increase in outsourcing and the implementation of chat.  Chat was helpful because of the speed of interaction it offered and it is lower cost.  It is easy for an agent to have a few chat sessions open at the same time.  Outsourcing occurred because companies had a deep view that Customer Service is a cost center and in many cases they could offer the same level of support for less money.  We can refer to these as Customer Service 3.7 and 3.8.
  • Customer Service 4.0 – I am thinking the name for this will be the Customer Strikes Back, but it is really not defined yet.  Here are a few thoughts:
    • The social web will start to define companies and the everyday Customer will have the same influence, or in many ways greater, just by communicating their thoughts on a company
    • The internal workforce will demand improvements in creating the right experience
    • Intelligence offered through tools will bring the Customer story directly to the ‘C suite.”  Remember executives are Customers too and they want their Customer to have a good experience in the same manner they would expect if they were to call a company for service.  Examples of these tools are
      • Speech analytics from call recordings that convert calls to searchable text (example is Impact 360 from Verint)
      • Social media tools will bring Customer discussions direct from the web to the top executives (example is Radian 6)
    • Customers will want less interactions with companies, but when they require them they will want it to be more personal and less scripted
    • Crowd sourcing will be a way to build knowledge for Customers and help when products and service cross between many companies

As a Customer of many different companies, how would you define Customer Service 4.0?  I am not looking for comments on specific companies, but rather the service field in general.  For inspiration below is a panel interview from the Rockstars of Social CRM event put on last week by Radian 6.  It is 45 minutes, but for a short video I posted yesterday has some of the same thoughts.

You Heard it Before from Me But This is in Video Form

Posted on : 30-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Comcast, Customer Service, Social Media


The Story of ComcastCares

Posted on : 29-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Comcast, Customer Service, Social Media

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After seeing the USA Today story on Friday, I was shocked to be referenced as “something of a legend.”  I see everything I have done as really being Customer Service 101.

I started with Comcast in September, 2007 as a manager of Customer Service in Philadelphia.  On my fourth day with the company we were asked to locate a blogger and reach out to them to assist with a problem.  We called and assisted the Customer.  From that day forward, on occasion, we would reach out to bloggers when we had time.  Each and every time we did that the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.  In December I was asked why we did not write on blogs.  I did not realize we could (my background was in financial services and we were not allowed to write on the web regarding work).  This provided us the opportunity to reach out to many bloggers that were typically anonymous.  Reaction remained overwhelmingly positive.  In February, I became the manager of Digital Care (I later became Director of Digital Care), a new role to look at ways we can meet Customer where they already are.  At that time we started to review ways we can assist Customers in this digital world.  We outlined our goals, which were to listen to our Customer and help when we can.  It is very simplistic, but that remains the same goals we work from today.  Early on we learned from others regarding the space (my only experience in social media was a website for our daughter, and, later, our family website ).  We learned quickly that each space is its own community, and you have to treat it as such.  Forums, for example, are peers helping peers, and you do not want to take away from that.  Based on this, we typically private message within forums.  We were introduced to Twitter by a VP of our southwest region, Scott Westerman.  Like other spaces we watched for a long time, reaching out on occasion via phone.  At one point we reached out to Michael Arrington.  In fact it is a day that stands out for me.  I was procrastinating putting in ceiling fans and I was reviewing emails instead.  I was also reviewing RSS feeds that I had set up, including the one for Twitter.  I noticed Michael’s post, and I called him on the phone.  The next day he posted “Comcast, Twitter and the Chicken, Trust me I have a Point.  The neat part about that post was the first few comments were they reached out to you because you are Michael Arrington.  That was simply not true, we reached out because I saw it.  But other people started posting and telling Michael, “They reached out to me, and I am nobody.  That to me is what it is all about, helping anyone in need.

Anyway, that was the first day I actually tweeted.  My original intent behind ComcastCares, was this ID would be used by all members of my team as I learned how to engage in this space.  My original avatar was the Comcast logo and not my picture.  Well after Michael blogs about you, many follow.  Every post offered different types of feedback.  I read every one, and when possible, incorporated the feedback.  I realized the space was personal, and people wanted to interact with other individuals.  It was then I added my name and later my picture.  It is also why now each of my team members has their own ID.  They also decide background and avatar.  All of my tweets, 31,500 and 15,000 direct messages were done by me.  One of the more memorable blog posts discussed me using the word ‘perception and how it was not typically used.  At first I laughed, because I have always used that word, in writing and speaking to people.  What the post really was telling me to do was loosen up a bit.  So I did.  I also learned very quickly that when you are reaching out to someone, do not try to interfere in any way.  So instead of just providing an answer, we may open the conversation with “Can I help?  If they want assistance, they will respond.  I did learn to tweet about other things and loosen up a lot, but you still need to be careful.  I remember during the first Presidential debate I was following much of the discussion via Twitter search.  I really wanted to get involved in the conversation, but I know politics and religion can be difficult when you represent a company.  During that debate Jim Lehrer tried to control both candidates.  Not thinking it was political, I tweeted “Jim Lehrer for President.  I did not realize that some people view him leaning one way or the other, but responses I received made that clear.  So much for being too personal!  The fact is we are writing the book each day as we learn more and more through every social space.  I always enjoy learning and I love when I have the opportunity to learn even more.

One of the best learnings in this space was not so much the interaction, but the valuable feedback and the speed of information.  I now have so many people watching Twitter search, because it usually provides information even before calls come in.  We are then able to react to it and provide Customers the best information.

So that is enough of this after school special!

Facebook Shifting Power to the Consumer?

Posted on : 28-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Business, Customer Service, Social Media

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We have been watching the groundswell of Customers in social media, but a current beta for Facebook will completely change the game.  According to Facebook’s statistics there are over 200 million users, with many rumors topping that number well above 300 million.   Compare this to the rumors regarding the size of Twitter which is about 30 million or more.   We have all watched recent enhancements to Facebook that have more Twitterfied the experience.  Now they are adding the capability to share status with everyone, and potentially this information will be searchable.  But what does this all mean, and why are they doing it?

Rumors last fall were that Facebook was making a bid to buy Twitter, but talks never really took off.  Whether the rumor was true or not, there is no doubt that Facebook saw value in what Twitter has to offer.  We have seen many examples where news has taken off via Twitter.  Most recently the uprisings in Iran were broadcast live via Twitter directly from Iran.  This way of communicating is really making the world a smaller place.  We also watched recently has news of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett passing away.  Even fake news has the ability to spread like wildfire, such as the incorrect rumor of Jeff Goldblum dying.  Every piece of news over the past year or so really started via Twitter.  I am sure the same as true in Facebook, but because there was no central resource of this data, no one would know unless you were friends with those talking.  The top 10 Twitter search was a true game changer.

For those that want to get the most out of Twitter, search makes it really easy.  By entering a few key words you can quickly locate new friends that are talking about things of interest.  Facebook has search but it is limited to thing like people’s bio, groups or specific pages.  Not easy to connect with someone that may be talking about a unique musical interest or something like that.  So to me Facebook was always about existing friends.  Twitter has always been about meeting new friends.

So how is this shifting the power to the Consumer?  Today most people online have a megaphone, but the reach may be just within their reach of friends.  It is easier to spread your thoughts on any businesses that you deal with, but it is limited within Facebook.  By changing the status to be available for everyone, this will now provide a megaphone to speak to 100’s of millions of people at any given time.  How will a company respond?  It is time to think about that now.   Advertising on Facebook has not always had the best reach, especially since people tend not to click on the ads.  Ones that have been successful are typically very unique and very hit or miss.  One of my favorites was the Burger King Whopper giveaway.  But now business will have to find a way to harness the power of the Consumer voice, respond to it and create the right experience.  Of course all of this starts with creating the right experience for products and serviced offered to the Customer (and non-Customers for that matter), otherwise this potential groundswell can be much larger than anything we have seen before.  Also people will talk about a product or service, even if not seeking help through ordinary channels.  This will make it where companies will be forced into the conversation.  The one thing we know is in this Google world, information, right or wrong will always be available through Google.

Ready or not, here comes your Customer!

Mean People Suck

Posted on : 27-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Social Media

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Years ago my wife had this bumper sticker on her car.  It used to crack me up, but it is so true.  I know all too well that life is too short and we should live each day to the fullest.  I always strive to do what is best for everyone I come in contact with.  Maybe this is why I love serving Customers?  In recent weeks I have come across numerous examples of personal attacks, deeply angry people at relatively silly things, and just a lot of unpleasantness.  During that same time I have seen people going through hell and they are the most upbeat people around.   Why is there such a variance?  Why can’t people just learn to be nice and respectful to others?

I know what it is like to be angry, and I do get that way at times.  For those that have seen this, I want to apologize.  In fact today I read a blog post that was completely inaccurate and referred to me as an unbelievable creep, of course this was someone that references internet trouble as ‘ass rape.’  The actual trouble was wifi signal reaching all points in a home, particularly a wireless printer.  Which during last call was working when I was off the phone.  I have been deeply offended, as I am sure other men and women would be, with the terms being used.  Anyway  this made me angry to read and I was determined to figure out a response.  I was so angry it was taking me away from what is truly the most important aspect of life, my own family.  Those that know me also know the truth so at this point it was not worth letting an angry person destroy my weekend.

My wife made a good point, everything is relative.  Maybe individuals that are mean to others and angry have been so lucky in life that they find little things to be angry about because they have not dealt with worse.  How lucky are they?  I wish I had such luck in life.  But actually, I am happy that I am who I am.  Yes it sucks that some negative things have happened in my life, and I would do anything to have Gia back, but I would never want to live life as an angry person.  It is just too short and I would prefer to live life to the fullest.  You never know what may happen.  We sometimes joke that you can get hit by a bus, but the reality is you can be.

For me I am going to strive to be the best person to everyone I come in contact with.  If I ever was mean to anyone, I also want to take this time to apologize.  When I am, please point it out to me.

Personal Connections Are Always Important…

Posted on : 20-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Personal

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I wanted to share a recent exchange with a Customer we will refer to as Bob.  Today he sent a number of emails to my team with feedback centered around the web design of one of our websites.  I read the emails while I was at my aunt’s funeral.  They were colorful, but showed the passion this Customer has on the topic.  Although web design is not something I see changing immediately, the feedback was valuable.  Based on the specific content of the emails I chose to respond directly.  After his third email I responded with:

“I do want to thank you for all the feedback. We would be happy to share it.”

Customer’s response was:

“And I, in turn, want to thank you for your condesending attitude, which I too, will be very happy to share.  Oddly, you don’t seem to be such shit head on your blog.  Condescending, yes, but less of an asshole.”

Wow!  I really don’t get paid enough for this!  I was actually shocked  because this was certainly not the intent!  In addition, I never thought of myself as either condescending or an asshole.  I was stunned!  Okay, in retrospect, maybe I have been one of those when I received poor service.  You can decide which one.

There is no doubt that emails can easily be misinterpreted.  With the exception of SCREAMING emails, there is no way to clearly convey tone or emotion in print.  In today’s blackberry world, we are all emailing and texting as quickly as possible, aren’t we?  To avoid further miscommunication, there was only one thing to do.  I picked up the phone to speak with this Customer.

We had a productive conversation.  We discussed many aspects of the Customer experience, and how web design has an impact on this.  I explained my thoughts on sharing feedback and the manner companies respond to that feedback.  Occasionally decisions will be made that Customers will never like.  To me it then comes down to the way it is presented and discussed.  Bob’s feedback was regarding online ads.  There is always a delicate balance regarding revenue and impact to the Customer.  I explained that I was not sure the ads would go away, but what he was pointing to was more in design.  Hopefully as design is updated, something can be changed to make it less of a pinch point.  This is something that will take time.

At the start of the conversation he confessed that he was less angry with me and was developing a connection through reading this blog.  Specifically he connected to a story I related in a post “Frank, Where Are You.”  The story was about Lily pouring bleach all over my clothes.  I told him he should check out the Desitin story in the post “So is it Time to be Frank.”  In service the best interactions always have a personal touch.  I cannot tell you how often I hear, “How can you put yourself out there in social media?”  Many even say that they would use a different name.  People tend to be afraid of their Customers.  If you are afraid of Customer, how can you ever connect with them?  I have had strange things happen, including someone that bought my domain name as a “gift.”  He pointed it to the original Gia website, but since then he changed it to point to negative website about the company I work for.  Even with something like that, I still try to connect with Customers.  If my feeling ever changes, it will be time to look for a new career path.  That to me is what service is all about.