Archive for the ‘relationship building’ Category

Three Ways to Keep Your Swag Fresh

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Don’t worry, it happens to everyone at one point or another.

You don’t need to be ashamed.

Your swag just got a little boring. Really, it happens.

Fortunately, we know ways to fix it.
(more…)

Don’t Ask Me, I Just Work Here

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
i give decaf to customers who are rude to me

Frank Warren of PostSecret at TED - Photo: James Duncan Davidson

About a month ago, my spouse and I headed out to purchase new swimwear.  We’d signed up for a parent and tot swimming class and the only suit I had was one I wore while pregnant so it was stretched and sagging in all of the wrong places.  We loaded everyone into the car and drove to the nearest big-box sport retailer to look for replacements.

We wandered around the two storey store until we discovered the swimwear section. Looking over my options, I muttered a few choice words at the lack of selection in the womens’ suits – especially as compared to the mens’. There were easily 3-times more options for men than for women.  Perhaps, I thought, there are suits somewhere else.  After several minutes I was able to hunt down a store employee to ask.  Nope, I was looking at it all.

The exchange between the store employee and me, went something like this.

Me: Hm. That sucks.

Employee: Well, but it’s not summer yet.

Me:  Then why do you have so many mens’ suits?

Employee: (walking away) I don’t know it’s not my department.

Admittedly, I didn’t start the exchange off on great footing.  However, that meant the employee had so much more opportunity to impress me.  Instead, he basically told me that he didn’t care.

Three Alternate Answers The Employee Could Have Given

  1. Super-Hero Answer: I’m sorry you’re frustrated.  Unfortunately, this isn’t my department so I don’t know a lot about stock.  I’ll go and find an employee who works in this department and maybe they can tell you when new stock is arriving or help locate a store that has more stock.
  2. Hero Answer: I’m sorry you’re frustrated.  I can give you a list of our other stores and you can see if they have better stock there.
  3. Regular Joe Answer: I’m sorry you’re frustrated. There are other stores in the mall that carry suits.  If you stop by the mall information desk, I’m sure they can direct you to some.

Any one of those exchanges would have left me feeling more valued because they would have

  1. Acknowledged my frustration.
  2. Pointed me in the direction of a solution to my problem.

We are all representatives of our employers – whether we like it or not.  From the highest ranking CEO to the unpaid summer intern.  Every employee has an obligation to help customers – whether it’s explicitly in your job description or not.  And, helping  a customer doesn’t mean you have to solve their issue for them.  Just acknowledge their challenge and get them on the right path.

It’s simple.  But can be so easy to lose sight of.

When we the last time you were wowed or disappointed by customer service? 

When was the last time you did the wowing?

What I Learned From My SMWTO Session

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK

RIGHTSLEEVE loves social media. We love to share and create.

We also love to participate and were proud to be on board as a sponsor again this year for Social Media Week Toronto. In addition to being involved in the sponsorship, I trucked out to some events and have been thinking a lot about what I learned from my session, ‘Storyselling: How to use great digital content to help make the sale.’

What I learned might not be what you think.

Sure, Lisa Horvat of Strategic Storytellers used great examples of stories that educated me, made me smile and, made me tear up. But, looking back, I learned a lot by watching what Lisa did with the session, not what she did at it.

Homework
Before the event, Lisa sent an event reminder to me, but it was more than your typical calendar reminder. She personalized it, kept true to my company brand by capitalizing RIGHTSLEEVE in her message, thanked us for sponsoring, and opened the door for me to speak to her at the event. Chatting with a friend who also attended the session, Lisa some online sleuthing and also personalized her contact. Eyeballing the full room of attendees at the seminar, I was impressed that Lisa would take the time to reach out to people on such a personal level.

Connection
Because she did her homework (see above) Lisa knew a sponsor (me) was in the audience and gave a personal shout-out to RIGHTSLEEVE. She also knew other attendees by name and commented on interaction she’d had with them prior to the event. Such engagement helps to tear down the wall that sometimes exists between presenter and audience and creates a personal connection…something fundamental to story telling.

The Extra Mile
They provided coffee and treats – score! There was also someone greeting me as I entered the room and getting me set-up with a name tag, which was nice when chatting with other attendees. There was good lighting and sound. It might seem like the small things don’t matter for free events, but they do. The small things always matter. Oh, and the bathrooms were clean. I totally judge events based on their bathroom facilities. And now you may judge me based on my bathroom prejudices.

Availability
Lisa made herself available. After the event she chatted with attendees. She also pointed out other members of the Digital Storytelling crew so that guests could speak to them. And, because she reached out to me with that personalized event reminder, I felt comfortable emailing her so I could ask for help while I was writing this blog post. An email she replied to within minutes.

I learned a lot from my session, but it went beyond story telling.

When was the last time you were surprised by what you learned?

What Grandparents Can Teach You About Client Management

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Let’s pretend you’re at a birthday party for a one-year old. There are lots of people chatting, a few kids toddling around, and a parent or two pulling their hair out. There’s also a grandparent or two in the group. And if you’re a parent, they’re the ones you have to watch out for.

A Grandparents’ Birthday Party Checklist

Feeding the kids candy and cake? Check.
Tossing them on the bed and teaching them how to get the highest jump? Check.
Gifting them the most annoyingly loud and flashy toy ever invented? Check.

Welcome to relationship building grandpa-style.

Grandparents get limited time with their grandchildren so they make it count. When the kids are over, grandma and grandpa don’t spend the time washing laundry or taking the car to get the oil changed. They drop everything and focus entirely on their grandkids. The errands can wait.

To build stronger relationships with your clients, give them your full attention. When you are with your client put the smartphone away. Don’t makes notes about that email that you really need to get out and don’t pick at the food from lunch that dripped onto your shirt. Devote all of that energy to your client. Listen to what they are telling you and what they aren’t telling you. You only get a limited amount of time to wow your client, so when you have an audience with them make it count.

When I was 10 years old “Nan” called my mom to ask if I could spend the day at her house with some cousins who were visiting from out of town. My mom said no because I had to help rake the leaves in the yard (my parents live on an acre with lots of trees). Nan loaded the out-of-towners into her car and drove over to our house. Everyone pitched in, the leaves were raked in record time, and I spent the rest of the day with my cousins. Nan was not about to tell my cousins no, so she found a way to make it happen.

When your client calls you asking for something that sounds impossible, you first reaction is probably going to be a head smack and a list of reasons why their request is crazy. Next time, instead of ticking off reasons their request can’t happen, jot down what you would need to do to make it happen. Then figure out a way to make it work. Nan never says no, and neither should you.

I overheard a father and son talking about a grandchild one time. It went something like this:

Parent: Dad, he’s not allowed to have that.
Grandparent: I know.
Parent: Then why did you give it to him.
Grandparent: Because it made him happy.

And there you have it. Your job is to make your client happy. It’s easy to say and hard to do, but that’s what it all comes down to.

The next time you pick up your phone and your client is on the other end of the line,  proceed like a grandparent would and you’ll be the one your competitors have to watch out for.

Give them your full attention. Check.
Never say no. Check
Make them happy. Check.

What has a business done to make you happy?  Let us know in the comments.

Thinking Outside the Heart-Shaped Box

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Using a product to create a connection is powerful, personal, and in this case, viral.

Two reasons we love this.

1 – It’s just a notebook. Agreed. And Einstein was just a guy.  Take an everyday object, throw a little  creativity (or maybe relativity) at it, and that common item becomes ground breaking.  It’s not the item itself, it’s what you do with it that counts.

2 – Digital can never replace tactile.  I’m sure Bryan could’ve put together a sweet flickr series for his wife, but you can’t smell flickr.  You can’t touch flickr.  You can’t pass flickr onto your children.  There’s an intimacy created by the tactile experience that digital is always going to be hard-pressed to replicate.

Field Notes: Red Blooded from Coudal Partners on Vimeo.