…so watch this space. After starting the blog, we had a series of family and very dear friend events that took all of our extra time and emotional energy.
I understand that relationships are built on trust. I felt bad that I didn’t have the time or emotional energy to keep things going here. It was not a lack of passion or topics. I hope you understand and join the conversation as I start things back up!
Wondering why I’m doing this on my blog? Actions like this prove Google’s not about people. I’ll add a bit more on this at the end of the “instructions.”
Step 1: Sign into your Google account
Step 2: Go to you Web History
The web history is at https://www.google.com/history. I made sure I had something in my history.
Step 3: Click the button “remove all Web History”
Easy. It will bring you to the following page:
Step 4: Click “OK”
That’s it. Remember, do this for each of your Google accounts.
This is an example of where customers are ignored; even in the face of public and government outcry. I’m not naive. I understand the financial potential of Google’s direction. I understand Google’s responsibility to their shareholders. But it violates trust.
Naill Cook’s (@niallcook) infographic and research on “The social brand value of the world’s leading brands” makes the point. By their method, Google is “the most arrogant” brand. They measure “receptiveness” which means a brand is listening and not just broadcasting. The gap in popularity and receptiveness is the “arrogance.”
What do you think?
Our people are our brand- Jon Iwata, IBM CMO, Conference Presentation in 2001
Before a business can humanize its brand, it is imperative that it humanizes its business first. This process involves more than just meetings, lunches, phone calls, emails, golf outings or office parties. Instead, such an evolution requires the adoption of social behaviors and communication in every facet of the organization. People don’t think of a brand as a series of departments. Rather, they think of a brand as a whole entity. Businesses must live up to this perception and restructure both internally and externally in order to function as a cohesive unit.
During the December 2010 snowstorm that disabled the US airline industry for almost a week, I had one of those experiences that reset my expectations. By tweeting to fulfill a complicated change of flights:
What happened? I was in Phoenix, AZ with my family to celebrate a “big” birthday for my father-in-law. The 1:30am night/morning of departure, I received a notification from one of my most valuable iPhone apps, Flight Tracker, that our JetBlue canceled the return flight. Their website wasn’t very helpful. I could tell there was another flight at 7am the next morning through NYC, but I was not allowed change a canceled flight.
When I called customer service, a cheery recording informed me the wait would be over an hour. I was not as cheery, but I understood. JetBlue didn’t want the snow. I waited. And it was more than an hour.
At 3:15am (almost 2 hours later), my wife wakes up, finds me on the phone, and asks, “isn’t there another way to reach them?” Searching the web didn’t lead to much until I saw twitter streams that showed success in getting information.
As a very experienced traveler, I didn’t really need just information, I needed to change the flights. And soon as seats would be limited at best.
While BustBuy, Zappos and others were servicing with twitter, this was different. I needed someone to make decisions and change 4 airline tickets and keep the family together. In December 2010, it was one thing to tweet a coffee order; it was another to change how you get home before New Year’s day.
Or so I thought. Unfortunately, the New York Times article on airlines and twitter came out later on the day we were flying.
I tweeted @JetBlue. 12 minutes later, they asked for my record locator in a DM. I responded adding the flights I wanted. We were confirmed. I was speechless. Miraculously, a JetBlue agent picked up the phone (almost 2 hours later). I finished seating with the person on the phone, but I could have tweeted it.
I’ll save you the agony of how they delayed the flight from 7am until 2:30pm, how I tweeted @JetBlue to find out if we had to be there for the 7am flight, how they responded they pilots were not going to be there before the 2:30pm flight, how everyone on JetBlue only received the cancellation 2 hour before the flight, and how I listened to scores of people who were in line that could not get back to the east coast before New Years. All while we flew home (a day late) with twitter.
What made this successful?
Jetblue was one of the 28% of companies who respond to inquiries on twitter. While they didn’t publicize it at the time, they had added social to their customer service process which allowed agents to help many stranded travelers at one.
They made it work. They exceeded my expectations — even after waiting on the phone for 2 hours. When the DM confirmed the new flight, I experienced a dramatic sense of relief that was almost euphoric.
I was grateful to JetBlue. And in spite of many things they do that irritate me, I still am grateful and tell this story. The way their people acted across channels is my view of their brand.
What comes next?
We move to some “hows.” My next entry will focus on “process” and ROI. While process is still very important, we found you have to use a different lens than the process flow which has been the foundation of analysis for at least half a decade. This new lens can be a repeatable framework to model ROI.
And remember, it’s all about people!
…than to start my blog? Here we go.
In conversations on Social Business, terms like engagement, trust, and experience are used freely. Like many of you, my disappointment is all too often, the conversation goes immediately to technology. Now, technology is critical to social business success; it enables us to extend relationships to unprecedented scale. It shrinks the world.
But relationships are about people. Social is about people. This blog will focus on facts, stories, and best practices on adoption, culture, audiences, etc. in the social world (which includes technology).
I know these ideas are not new, but let’s start with stories that highlight the issues.
Fail #1: Ignore the ringing when the customer calls
I get a great response in strategy sessions by asking:
Would you be surprised if only 29% of complaints made on twitter to company accounts are responded to?
That’s a finding fromMaritz Research and evolve24 - Twitter Studyfrom September 2011. What company would consider setting up a customer service center and only answering 29% of the calls? Yet, in many companies enamored with the social technology, people are ignored.
Interestingly, when customers are engaged, 83% of customers either “loved” or “liked” the response. Those are pretty positive results for 140 character conversations. In a future post, I will share my personal example that saved a vacation.
Fail #2: Do we really understand what they want?
That’s interesting when you consider over 50% of the companies haven’t even asked customers what they want!
Steven Jobs was pretty good at understanding what customers wanted without asking, but I think he’s more the exception than the rule!
Fail #3: Why isn’t anyone talking to me? or Culture trumps good intent!
I can’t tell you the number of times when running a strategy session, and a senior executive says:
“I started a blog and it’s not working. No one says anything other than ‘great job.’ I wanted to get a debate going, and the tools don’t work.”
Sound familiar? When this happened recently with a client, I asked:
“If you were at a table with employees from different parts of the organization, would you expect them to debate your ideas? If they did, how would you react?”
Culture trumps good intent. The COO admitted he wouldn’t expect much debate.
The exciting part was to show the team how a culture can become more open by using social techniques. For example, in preparing for the next blog entry, they interviewed a few employees to understand their views. They encouraged employees with divergent opinions to post.
When posted, the COO responded to the by asking questions about the idea. He didn’t artificially agree with the position — that wouldn’t be honest. However, he was interested, wanted more detail, and effectively gave permission to the organization to start talking. The conversation was highlighted through other internal channels to amplify the “permission to talk.” These simple actions engaged the employees and started a flow that was reinforced and grew over time.
So, I’ve started. I’m committed to a conversation here. Please join.
I’m also starting a cooking and food blog. I’m starting with a delicious recipe for a melted brie, spinach, caramelized onion (what isn’t made better with caramelized onions) sandwich on ciabatta bread. As soon as I think of a good name for the blog, I’ll let you know. As a Texan living in Massachusetts with 1.5 vegetarians, 1 “meatararian,” and 1.5 generalists in the family, there’s a lot of culinary experimentation in our kitchen (and outside in one of my 3 smokers).