Str8 Talk: Public Speaking, Google Tips and Customer Service

In an effort to be helpful and perhaps foster further discussion, I thought I would launch a weekly blog post that would share some articles on a host of topics I found interesting throughout the week. Typically this will be between three and five things I came across that could make for some good weekend reading. Hope you find this approach useful. Here we go for the week of April 6, 2015:

7 Powerful Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Talks Speakers

Even though the original post is from November, it showed up in my twitter feed this week. Simon Sinek is the author of great books like Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last. He is also a very inspiring speaker. Here he offers his approach to delivering powerful presentations. My favorite tip is: Show up to give, not to take!Continue reading

Find Your ‘Free Shipping’

Marketing has become trickier than ever and the same may be said for customer service. Why? I think the connectedness of the world has changed consumers expectations while widening the possibilities of brands and people to go beyond expectations when it comes to communications. A SlideShare presentation by Gary Vaynerchuk got me thinking about this topic and much of the data shared in it makes so much sense.

Consider that three out of four consumers choose a vendor based on free shipping alone (slide 47). I can relate to this stat as I have been pleasantly surprised numerous times when dealing with Amazon or Zappos and finding out at check out that my order qualifies for free shipping. I always pay attention to how much shipping will be so imagine the feeling when I find out it is going to be free!Continue reading

Long Island Digital Summit Recap

The 3rd Long Island Digital Summit took place on Tuesday April 15th presented by the folks at EGC Group. Here are just a handful of the many great points shared throughout the day along with my added thoughts.

Brands need to change and adapt to consumers wants and needs. (@shingy)

The connected society provides the ability for brands to be active in the very fluid discussions happening online. How brands approach this is critical. Users live in their newsfeeds and the discussions that are happening there have a certain tone. Become too pitchy or promotional you can count on people using the many filters at their disposal to mute you or just disconnect all together. Nurture and value online relationships and you are likely to do well in digital channels.

First screen is now mobile. No one walked in here with a TV today. (@shingy)

The line of the day if you ask me! What a visual this created, but think of how true this is. We spend so much time on our smart phones, it is said the average person unlocks their phone 150 times a day, how could we still consider a TV as the “first screen”?  As brands and organizations we need to figure out ways to be useful and blend in with the activities users perform on their mobile phones.

Mobile allows brands to be connected and present with users throughout every moment.  (@shingy)

We carry around so much computing power in our pockets these days that empowers us in so many ways. It is also very powerful for brands to be in the moment with users. A brands opportunity to becoming useful is not always within the framework of their business or product.  We often need to be in a SOLOMO state of mind in order to be useful. SO = social, LO = local, MO = mobile.

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Welcome to the Instant Feedback Society

It truly is amazing how much technology has turned our worlds upside down and I love it! Gone are the days where I have to depend on big media outlets for news as the information important to me just happens to find me through connections I value and trust. I really enjoy the science and psychology of social networks, but the human element is what really moves me. I would like to share some of my favorite thoughts from some brilliant folks and expand a bit on those thoughts. Hopefully this adds to how you approach and value social networks.

“Social media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing.” – Chris Brogan

The social community has access to the greatest source of information of all time, each other. The public is having discussions about all sorts of topics including a brand or organization you may care deeply about. If you want to have a voice in those conversations, as a brand or individual, you need to become a part of it and be prepared to be active and authentic in an effort to earn the communities trust.

What you feed your network or audience is directly related to what you can expect in return. Gone are the days of convince and convert, it has now shifted to converse and convert. The Internet has moved from a network of computers and machines to a network of people. The network has more to say about your reputation than you do.

The technology is nothing more than a vehicle for enhancing relationships. It is not the relationship and does not dismiss the need for real life, face to face relationships.

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Every Interaction Matters

I have been reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk (Amazon Affiliate Link) and have found it to be incredibly thought provoking. The book is filled with real life examples of how all of the technology that allows us to connect globally, may actually require that our behavior returns to the pre-automotive industry days. I’m not sure if the book has raised my awareness of such behaviors and that is the reason I am noticing more customer friendly behaviors, but I will tell you that I definitely have noticed some real life examples of businesses treating customers as if the business wants them to return. Here are some examples of face to face situations and how they happened to find their way to the Internet.

Sir, Your Car is Ready

My brother-in-law is a service manager for a local auto dealer, Rallye Lexus of Glen Cove. We have had numerous conversations about customer service as I know this is a core function of his job and with him being in the auto service industry for 20 years he has taken great pride in the experience he provides his customers. I was blown away when he told me of the approach his dealership took for those clients that put their car in for service and choose to wait on the premises for it to be complete. Rallye went out and bought some iPads that their clients have access to while waiting in what is already a pretty comfortable lounge. As is common I’m sure in many auto service departments across the country, they have a high def TV a coffee station and plenty of reading materials. The access to iPads really has been a hit, so much so that it is not uncommon for the service managers to see disappointed looks on the clients face that it is time to go. I see so much opportunity for Rallye to share their culture through social channels and build interactions for all to witness on sites like Facebook. Continue reading