Customer Service, How Do You Chalk Up?

I had a poor customer service experience recently which got me thinking about how important customer service is. Having worked in this industry for most of my life, I have certain expectations I have come to look for as a consumer, and I am fairly unrelenting on them. I’m certain I am not alone when I say I have walked away from making a purchase when I was ignored by the person behind the counter, or felt like my presence was a burden (sorry to interrupt your conversation about the party you went to on the weekend). 78% of customers have backed out of a purchase due to a poor customer experience. However, there is also a fine line in being overburdening of your customer too (no, for the 3rd time, I don’t need any help thank you). I feel the same rules apply in online and social media marketing. Especially since 80% of consumers aged 18 to 34 say social media is an effective customer service channel. I personally don’t like the chatbots that pop up on sites asking if there is anything they can help with. If I choose to seek help, just make it simple to find either via a phone number, live chat option, email, or knowledge database. The statistics still show the top three ways consumers seek help are through phone, email, or in person.

Word of mouth referrals is still the best form of compliment for a business.

Have you noticed that how people are searching for reviews and suggestions on products and services has never truly changed? What has changed is the number of people who can see those reviews, share them, and comment. Consumers still reach out to others for references or referrals in order to make an informed decision. Perhaps you see those posts on your social media accounts too from your friends and family? There is even a “looking for recommendations” option for posts on Facebook.

Startling statistics

In my research, I came across some statistics that echo my thoughts and opinions.

It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.

Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.

93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service.

Nearly three out of five consumers report that good customer service is vital for them to feel loyalty toward a brand.

70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated.

Only 1 in 26 customers will tell a business about their negative experience; according to customer service facts, the rest simply leave.

I firmly believe that every person should work in a customer service position at some point in their life. Not only does it build character, but it goes along with the old “walk a mile in my shoes” saying. It is easier to relate having experienced it from both ends of the spectrum. As for my recent experience, the issue was resolved in a timely manner, however I am uncertain if I will be returning at this point. I guess time will tell.

Is customer service as important to you? Who do you find you are telling about a bad experience, and where? Is it in conversation, on a social media account, google, or yelp reviews?

COM0014 Blog#7 – Personal Reflection

Looking Back

As I reflect back on the Digital Communications course I completed, I am pleased with how much I learned about finding your target audience and how storytelling is truly an important part of creating great digital content. A lot of the communication styles discussed for use in digital communication are common sense, in my mind, but maybe that comes with experience with dealing with a multitude of audiences throughout my career.

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

I conducted a great deal of research on target audiences and marketing strategies for the last assignment. The possibilities are truly endless for reaching your audience and promoting your brand. There are many I hadn’t considered such as using your competition to further define your target audience and find where they are hanging out. Thus, allowing you to ease into the conversations that are happening, or just do some social listening. It comes down to what you do when you get there, how you engage with people.

There are also countless ways to measure the success of your strategies including analytical tools built right into the platforms we are using. Social media monitoring programs such as Sprout and Hootsuite dig deeper into what is being said about your brand, your industry, and what is trending in conversation. A great reference when composing your next blog or email blast.

Messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just facts. People can connect with a story, relate and customers are much more apt to purchase a product or service based on how it makes them feel.

Photo by Timur Saglambilek from Pexels

The key to digital communication is about being unique, standing out from the crowd, and understanding how to engage your audience in the style and tone most suitable.

What did you learn from the course? Do you feel more confident in how to communicate in the digital world?

COM0014 – Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

COM0014 – Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?

How is my business special or unique?

We do have a unique business and one that is hard to explain in just a few words. It is an answer I struggle with whenever I am asked, what do you do? The short answer, I help patients who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents. To be frank, I don’t like the short answer, but how many people are going to listen for 10 minutes while I spurt out the long version, the version I am so proud of.

Photo by Saliha from Pexels

Yes, I assist patients who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents, but my role is actually much more complex. For example, a patient gets referred to us by their family doctor, let’s call him Sam. I call Sam, we have a good chat over the phone. I get to know his main areas of pain, the difficulties he is having at home, his inability to return to work. I am just scratching the surface of this gentleman’s issues. The truth is he already struggled with depression, and the financial strain is causing havoc in his relationship. He feels guilty, but he needs therapy to begin the healing process.

Now I am beginning to understand his situation, to connect with Sam. He feels my sympathy and is delighted with my genuine care and concern. We have a whole roster of various medical professionals in our back pocket that can help, but one step at a time.

I begin with getting him set up for physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care. After several months of therapy, the pain still hasn’t subsided, his psychological condition is worsening and he is still unable to work. I already know his lawyer well, his insurance adjuster (they are responsible for his claim) and have reached out to his family physician to request additional imaging.

The next stage in his recovery starts to fall into place. He is now seeing our psychologist, participating in driving rehabilitation therapy (he is terrified of driving on the highway), and has an upcoming appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. All arranged by….me.

Sam is just one example, one small but significant file in my caseload of 1000’s. Each with their own unique story, their own set of issues and concerns. Each one of our clients is provided with the same respect, the same attention, and the same concern. Mine. Every single one.

The next time someone asks me what I do, maybe I will just say dog trainer or newspaper editor, they seem a lot more self-explanatory.

Do you feel like your job title doesn’t quite capture the magnitude of what you do?

COM0014 – Blog #5 Wait, Who am I?

COM0014 – Blog #5 Wait, Who am I?

Like a bull in a teashop…

Anyone who knows me knows I am a go-getter. Once I put my mind to something there is no turning back, no stopping me. I would describe myself as honest, dedicated, enthusiastic, and love a challenge. Others you ask might include fun, giving, respectful, and determined (or maybe stubborn, haha). That is a good overview of the brand named me.

Being a gen-Xer, it was not uncommon for us to leave high school and begin a full-time job. Post-secondary education was on the rise, but not mandatory like I would say of today’s generation. I was one of the ones who was offered an opportunity once I finished high school, that is what hard work and dedication led me to. For 16 years I climbed the ladder in the retail world, eventually ending up at the competitor, and in the head office. It was a dream come true, I was finally nearing the top, I was in a role of significant authority and decision-making for an entire province. However, several personal life events happened and I found myself off work due to mental health issues. Once I was able to return, it was not long before I was let go, for an unjust reason. This was one of the most devastating situations for me. I was not in a position to be able to fight it so I accepted the severance and went home to begin a year of job searching, disappointment, and dismay.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

– Alexander Graham Bell

I am grateful for where I am today

All of that turmoil led me to where I am today. I went back to college for Medical Office Administration, graduated with honours, and landed a job from my co-op program. I absolutely love my new career, so sometimes, as the saying goes, things happen for a reason. It’s true, at least from my perspective. I am the manager and leader I am today because of persistence and perseverance. Perhaps I should have added those to my self-description list!

Do you think things happen for a reason? What events in your life influenced who you are today?

COM0014 – Blog #4: #AnythingForPets

Any pet lover, myself included, would agree, we would do anything for our pets. PetSmart recently went through a rebranding, moving from “Where Pets Are Family” to “Anything For Pets”. This move was to highlight the love customers have for their pets and the lengths PetSmart will go to support those pets.

Pet Smart is present across many social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. After reviewing all of these mediums, I would say they rely most heavily on Facebook. They post at the exact same time, 10:00 am, every day, I have to assume that one of their marketing geniuses did their homework to determine this time and that their audience would mainly be Gen-Xers like myself who spend most of their social media time on Facebook.

As you can see in the samples provided within this blog, PetSmart relies on eye-catching photos that capture your heart.

Although the YouTube page has 72.6k subscribers, the videos don’t seem to be very highly or consistently viewed, some as low as 140 views. They could definitely improve on this by including the videos in other posts and adding new material more consistently.

On Twitter, they have 219.9 k followers and are following 6,831. I peered into who they were following and although many were what I would consider typical; other contenders in the industry, @PetSmart Charities, one did catch my eye. They recently signed their first ever college athlete partnership deal with Trey Knox. While this may not seem big for the Canadian market, college football has an enormous following in the States (here’s hoping that may open the doors to some of our Canadian athletes!).

National Adoption Week is November 8 – 14

Overall, PetSmart is engaging with its audience throughout all of its posts, both positive and negative. They are offering guidance to customers with questions, initiating action when needed, and commenting on customers’ pictures calling pets by name when possible (“Luna is the cutest witch”).

What are your thoughts about PetSmart’s rebranding? If you have pets, can you relate?

Hitting the Target

COM0014 – Blog #3

In a previous post, I mentioned I was the longest standing executive member for our local minor softball league. Well, since then I have been elected to President. This has lead me to looking for ways to increase our registrations and participation in our fundraising campaigns, since suffering such a decline this past season due to the pandemic. Since my target audience is basically a 25km radius around the village center, and I am quite familiar with the biggest names in town, and our organization has a Facebook page, I used several of our Facebook followers profiles as a starting point. I reviewed their basic about information, friends, who they follow and what groups they belong to. I was actually surprised by how many other clubs are in our area that I was unaware of. This opened my eyes to a great opportunity to engage with others who support community in both large and small groups!

Define your target audience to ensure you’re creating the right content for the right people.

Even though our target audience could easily be defined as parents/guardians of minor children, for fundraising purposes we have to think outside the box. This audience could now include grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, neighbours and friends as long as the campaign appeals to a general audience.

Photo by Amy Jernejcic from Pexels

Next, I had a look at our competition, in our community this is soccer. Although they do have a Facebook page and respond quickly to comments, I don’t see a lot of additional engagement. This is one of the items I have vowed to improve on for our association. I have assigned specific goals for each executive member to create posts on a weekly rotational basis. As president, I will also be completing weekly posts and email blasts myself. During the season, I will ensure to drop in at games and talk to our parents, guardians, coaches and players face-to-face. This will ensure I am obtaining an actual sense of the environment, showing that I care about each any every part of the program.

Sport provides children with an outlet, a place to belong, character development opportunities and connection to community. That is why I do what I do, children are our future.

Picture your audience as you write for them. It serves as a tool to help you focus your content on the right message.

Do you have any children, nieces, nephews, neighbours that play sports? How do you feel about the engagement from the volunteers that run the program? Is there something you would like to see improved upon?

COM0014 – Blog #2 And the plot thickens

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Do you remember the days of either being read a story or reading a story to a child? Our tone of voice was how we engaged our audience and how they interpreted the meaning and feel of the story. The same can be said for online storytelling and communication styles.

Today’s customer doesn’t decide to buy based on what you are selling, but rather why you are selling it. They use emotions rather than information when making purchasing decisions. Emotional response has a far greater influence than the ad content.

A story is the biggest impact and the most emotion in the least amount of space. Stories stimulate imagination and can create a sense of community, bringing people together by the way they make us feel or can relate to.

What’s your communication style?

Your communication type can affect your message so it’s very important to know your audience. Analytical communicators favour data and hard numbers and can be perceived as cold and emotionless.

Functional communicators like process, detail, timelines and well thought out plans. They risk losing the attention of their audience.

Intuitive Communicators like the big picture, avoid getting bogged down in details and cuts right to the chase. They may not have enough patience in a situation that requires detail.

Personal communicators value emotional language and connection, however it is possible for them to become exasperated and upset.

Tips for becoming a successful storyteller

  • It’s important to begin the process by knowing your audience through active listening.
  • Decide what is your core message.
  • Decide what kind of story you are telling, how do you want your audience to react? Tell your story in the most memorable and impactful manner possible and be authentic.
  • Establish your call to action, what do you want your readers to do after reading?
  • Finally, choose your story medium, written, spoken, digital or a variety of media that will encourage interaction.

Our brains are always searching for stories and they are much easier to remember than cold hard facts. Good stories are entertaining, educational, universal, organized and memorable. We can only benefit from becoming a great storyteller.

Do you have any good story telling tips? How can we ensure we are being authentic?

COM0014 – Blog#1: Adventure Awaits

Sunscape Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I consider myself very fortunate I have been able to travel frequently throughout the past 15 years. It is a yearly getaway my husband and I look forward to in the middle of our harsh Canadian winters. A chance to unwind, relax, and soak up every ounce of sun we can. Prior to 2019, we had always veered away from visiting Mexico due to the many terrible stories and warnings we had either heard or read over the years.

Fun Facts..

Mexico’s name is not Mexico! Since 1824, when Mexico’s government ratified its first-ever constitution, the official name of the country has been “The United Mexican States”.

The most traditional way of drinking tequila in Mexico is neat — without lime and salt.

This particular year we decided on a girls trip. Myself, my daughter and two of my friends chose to venture outside the box and decided on Mexico. I should also mention my cousin is a travel agent whom we trust with our reservations and yearly suggestions. She convinced us to try it, and you can probably guess my husband wasn’t the happiest, but supported our decision nevertheless.

Adventure of a lifetime

We always book at least one excursion on our vacations. This one was by far my favourite of all time. Why you ask? I’m not entirely sure if it was because it was a trip my daughter and I shared, or because it was bursting with activities I had never tried before, but I had the time of my life. The day trip began with a speed boat ride across the Bahia de Banderas to a small fishing village. We then got on a unimog truck for a all-terrain ride into the forest to the adventure base camp. We then rode mules uphill into the sub-tropical forest, rappelled down a waterfall and hiked through the forest. Our next feat was riding 9 ziplines, including the roller-coaster zipline followed by a ride down a waterslide – the highest waterslide drop in Mexico. What a thrill!

Poolside relaxation is a definite on any vacation.

Where to next…

I remain hopeful we will be able to resume our getaway in 2022, but I guess time will tell. Is there somewhere you have been that you would recommend, and why? What was the most exciting adventure you have ever had?

History of Social Media

When did it all begin, the great debate

Credit: Zenesys

There seems to be a lot of debate online about when social media really began. Some say back in the day of mailing letters and sending telegrams (Samuel Morse’s first telegraph, which he sent in 1844 between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore) was a form of social media as it was a way of sharing information, ideas and messages.

However, if we refer to the definition of social media as per “websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts” there are two things that would stand out.

“1. Social media must include online communication, meaning the history of social media cannot begin before the invention and widespread adoption of the internet; and

2. Social media depends on user-generated content. This is why typical websites and blogs do not get included in the world of social media. Only certain people can post to these sites, and there are significant restrictions on the types of content that get uploaded.” (Jones, 2015, “History of Social Media“, para. 6)

So it had to begin after the internet…

Compuserve was founded in 1969 and was the first major commercial internet provider in the US and it was known for its revolutionary features it introduced including a chat system and forums for various topics.

Community Memory was the first public computer-based bulletin board. It was set up in 1973 as an experimental service and is thought of as a pre-Web social service. It was installed next to a traditional bulletin board which musicians and others in the community used to post their business cards, flyers and ads. It provided groups of people who had never used a computer with access to technology and information-sharing.

Usernet was created in 1979 and officially launched in 1980. It began with three networked computers as a way to exchange messages and files between computers and over time, grew to include thousands of discussion groups. Google has added more than 20 years of Usernet archives to its service Google groups.

So, which came first…

Six Degrees is considered the very first social networking site allowing users to sign up with their email addresses, make profiles and add friends to their personal network. It was launched in 1997 and lasted until 2001 and had about 3.5 million users at its peak.

In 2002 Friendster emerged, it was similar to Six Degrees, you signed up with your email address, made friends but you could also share videos, photos and send messages to other users as long as they were in your personal network. It ceased operation in 2015 although it had reached 100 million users.

MySpace was born in 2003 and quickly became the largest social media website in the world. In 2006 it surpassed Google as the top visited website. Eventually, in 2008, Facebook replaced it in popularity, although MySpace still exists today.

Ryze is considered to be the first business networking site, launched in 2001, however it was quickly taken over in popularity by LinkedIn which was launched in 2003.

In 2004, Orkut was launched by Google, however it was never able to succeed in its quest to overtake Friendster and MySpace.

Flickr was born in 2004 as a photo hosting service and is still going strong with millions of photos and groups.

In 2005 came Yahoo! 360 Degrees and Bebo, both of which could not compete with Facebook.

And well, I would consider the rest (Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat) where we are today. All of these networks were driven and created by their predecessors. Where will go next? Well, only time will tell.

Do you have other interesting information you have come across in the history of social media? Did you use any of the “original” networks? I didn’t, so I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the progression of social media.

Facebook: The History of Social Media

Twitter: #History #SocialMedia

Here a Site, There a Site

It seems like every week there is a new up and coming social media site, tie that in with daily posts about updates to the existing platforms and the options are endless. Yet the top sites (Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp), remain at the top because they are constantly updating functionality and features. In some of the latest news, Instagram is adding a new shop section to capitalize on the increase in online shopping. Facebook has added Facebook Pay which is used for one-click purchasing, sending money to friends or donating directly to fundraisers. Twitter will be launching emoji-style reactions to tweets and Pinterest is adding expanded shopping features.

That’s a lot of potential

On average, more than 1.3 million new users joined social media every day in 2020 equating to roughly 15.5 new users every second.

There are now 4.2 billion social media users around the world. The number of social media users is now equivalent to 53% of the world’s total population. That is huge potential to reach a massive and engaged audience.

New, Newer, Newest

I took a peak through the 103+ social media sites you need to know in 2021 just to see what else is out there. Many of them are similar to the top used platforms but here are some interesting sites I found that would have great personal branding potential.

Triller is a music video app that allows users to create professional-level videos in seconds and offers features similar to TikTok.

Peanut is a social network for mothers and potential mothers to make friends and establish strong networks.

Academia is a platform for academics and researchers to share academic research

Athlinks is a social networking site geared to competitive endurance athletics.

Meetup helps connect users with local groups to meet up with new people.

LiveJournal is a blog-based site where users create blogs and journals for other users to read.

With so many options to choose from, there is so much potential to promote our personal brands and expand our networks. It becomes a matter of trial and error.

Are there any other interesting uncommon social media sites you have found? How did you hear about it? Do you use them?

Facebook: Social Media Platforms, Is there an uncommon site you like?

Twitter: #NewSocialMediaSites, check out some of the up and coming platforms