Today a reminder of the importance of being consistent.
WANDERING THE NEW MEDIA UNIVERSE
Today a reminder of the importance of being consistent.
The comment on my post about Ann Murray Paige’s remarkable story from Ann herself reminded me of one of the things I was sad to give up in my move to digital media.
What can I say? I still see you telling me my script wasn’t good enough while at the same time smiling and wondering what time we were all going to meet at Boru’s for a drink after work.
I can still see that as well, and it reminded me of the satisfaction I got from editing other people’s writing as an Executive Producer. It was fine to go through the little 30-second stories we’d do throughout a newscast, but it was much more rewarding to work more closely with a reporter to help hone their story. [Read more…]
One of the business things I learned about at the recent Moby Dick Project event in Palo Alto last month was a concept that somehow I had missed called the ‘Valley of Death’ – the time in the life cycle of a research project where you’re caught between your early stage funding for research and the later-stage funding when your project/technology/research gets interest from investors. (Thanks to Nikita Bernstein at Boston-based Jove.com for the educational moment.)
I think the job search has a similar valley, at least for me in this economy. Right now, I have reached out and connected with job opportunities that are most closely related to my media background, but I need to tap into that next circle, of organizations that are related, but not directly, to my background. It’s a tougher sell for me, and in this economy, I have a feeling that it will be a tougher buy for many people in PR/marketing/policy to stretch beyond looking for people with PR/marketing/policy backgrounds. (If you’re one of those hiring people – it’s worth it. You want people who can deliver quickly, smartly, on time and under budget? Look hard at former journalists.)
But regardless, it’s a time of uncertainty. And there are times when I’m not quite sure how to fill the next fifteen minutes productively.
One strategy I started last night to turn this negative into a positive was to start drilling into the Facebook feeds of some old friends and colleagues, just to see what they have been up to. Their kids are all stunningly older than when I saw them last, their lives full of new things, and in a few cases, there are whole major chapters of their lives unfolding that I just hadn’t grasped.
So, Hurricane Irene becomes Tropical Storm Irene and doesn’t do her anticipated damage – at least not in the major media markets. First, I want to note that if you think Irene was a dud, there are millions without power and thousands dealing with flooding who would beg to differ. But that’s not what I am actually posting about today. I am about to defend the media (a little) and challenge you to make a difference.
First, a little secret. At most news organizations (and I won’t say all – but I will say at every one I have worked at), the folks you love to be mad at when a storm doesn’t live up to your expectations would like nothing more than in fact to give you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth… [Read more…]
The customer is always right.
It’s a nice idea, but I don’t actually believe it.
But whenever possible, the customer is someone you want to make it right with, and recently, I have witnessed a few scenarios where brands that might have the best of intentions fail to think through their options with customers in mind, and end up driving away people who they could have won with a little change.
Start today with the airlines. I know, it can be like shooting fish in a barrel, but to be fair, airlines do have a challenge moving people and their stuff together in a difficult security environment. But my wife today experienced the classic business traveler scenario on United, where she had to sit and wait as a flight headed to her destination left with plenty of empty seats, unless she wanted to pay an outlandish change fee. Moving her would have been a moment of effort, but it could have been done.
So she sits. She waits. And she and I think, “Gosh, the next time out I won’t be tempted to fly United.” If there was an actual reason – such as security, then fine. But there’s no security issue – or else a fee wouldn’t solve it. If it was that her checked bag couldn’t be moved, Ok. But she didn’t check a bag.
Nope, it’s just the way it is.
Different industry, similar issue. Went to the store yesterday to buy razor blades for my Turbo 37 blade monster of a razor. (Not really -just a Mach 3 turbo, from Gillette.) At our local CVS, they have one of those razor blade dispensers that looks like something out of the 1970s, where you push in the button, it shies like a child’s toy and you get your blades. It’s great, I guess, for keeping away thieves. Except that in this case, it didn’t work. 8 different slots didn’t work. I couldn’t buy a 12-pack, an 8-pack or a 5-pack. And it’s the second time in different stores that has happened to me.
I could have gone to the counter, gotten a clerk, and had them unlock the case, get me some blades and paid. But that’s asking a lot. So I bought some disposable razors from another company and moved on. I’m not sure if this is a CVS thing or a razor company thing, but as a customer, I don’t care.
Because the old broken technology there was the way it is.
So what’s my point? Here are two (actually 3) big companies that want to be customer-connected. But someone along the line isn’t looking at things from a customer perspective. And because of that, they may have lost customers it would have been easy to keep.
If you can’t see things (or don’t let your people) see things from the customer’s perspective, and do right by them, they won’t be customers for long.
Your customer service strategy is only as good as its weakest point, whether that is personnel, systems, or technology.
You may have great social media and other systems in place to address complaints, but in some cases, you may never get the complaint. You may just lose a customer.
Watching the markets right now is not a fun experience for anyone with money tied up in a 401(k). The markets dropped like a rock yesterday and things will likely feel uncertain in the economy for some time to come. But turn on the business channels, and a lot of experts are saying this is a far different time than the banking crisis of 2008.
The market is fundamentally sound, they say. So why are people selling? A lack of confidence.
I’ve been thinking about confidence a lot lately as I move into my own job search. I decided to make a change because I am confident – in my skills, my background, and my ability to find a job that will make me happy. “Fine,” people say. “So why did you have to effectively leave one job in order to look for another? Why not just stay in your position until the next one comes along?”
“A lack of confidence,” I reply.
But didn’t I just say I WAS confident in all the things that suggest I can find a new job? I did. I am confident that my fundamentals are sound. But I wasn’t confident that I was selling myself well. I was unhappy. I was worn down. And as I thought about convincing potential employers that I was the man for the job, I knew that I didn’t have the self-confidence and energy to put my best foot forward. That meant that the longer I stayed in my current place, the less likely I was to be able to get out of it. I couldn’t believe enough in myself to make a convincing case for myself.
So, I made a change. I took a risk.
So far, I’m confident it was the right thing for me.