How to Manage Customer Relationships on Social Media

Don’t get caught up in thinking that customer relationship management is just for those big box store brands. As it stands, managing the relationship you have with customers can make or break your business. If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or something in between, I’m willing to bet that you’re wanting your business to succeed–and customer relationship management is key. Sure you can invest in expensive CRM software, but remember that all the software in the word can’t take the place of YOU.

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How to Turn Around a Bad Customer Experience

You’ve really stepped in it, haven’t you? Forget the phrase “the customer is always right,” because this time there isn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that the customer WAS right…and you’ve made said customer angry. Very angry. Stop! Take a deep breath. Did you know that your brand can actually use a failure as an opportunity to build a better relationship with your customer?

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The Impact of The Hollywood Model on the Social Age Workplace

Guest post by co-author of “A World Gone Social” Ted Coiné:

Social Age employment is an entirely different animal from what we all grew up with: the Industrial Age myth of lifetime employment within very large corporations.

Specifically, we call that myth the “40-40-40 Plan” where we as employees work 40 hours a week for 40 years to retire at 40% pay through a pension. The reality is however, that model only really lasted from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Yet we still seem to think that is the way life works. We are wrong. Dead wrong.

Welcome to the Social Age

a world gone social book

In the Social Age, we’re already walking away from that shattered paradigm by the millions. And at least in a healthy economy, this can be a good thing for all concerned.

Instead of thinking of employment in terms of working one’s way up a corporate hierarchy, what we’re already seeing what we refer to in A World Gone Social as the “nano” business unit: small, self-forming teams of professionals who come together for a project, get the work done, then disassemble, individuals moving singly or in small groups to the next project.

Rather than lifetime employment within a large bureaucracy, nano means lifetime self-employment – very similar to the way work has been done in the movie industry for decades.

The Hollywood Model

Ever stick around at a movie to watch the closing credits? See all those names scrolling by? There’s a good reason for that…

Hundreds of team members come together for several months, or even years, to make the movies we watch. Then the film is “in the can”—and the teams who made the film are done, too. While the director, cinematographer, and members of the cast may go on to work together several more times, the crew for this particular film disassembles just as fast as it formed; individuals and small teams go off to their next project.

The Hollywood model—even when making blockbusters with budgets of $300 million—is all about nano.

What About Legacy Corporations?

How about our legacy enterprises? Can they do the same?

Can they assemble large project teams from individuals and small groups, create something for the enterprise to sell, and then disassemble just as fast? Can each team member move nimbly to the next project, with a new creative force driven by different passions; different motivations?

Nano Has Already Begun

Actually, we’re already well on our way there.

If you look at the history of the corporation, what you saw for much of the early years was the drive to employ every possible job function in-house. But as early as the 1970s, this acquisitive urge began to diminish, and the fringe role of consultants became more commonplace.

Look at how most companies operate today. Walk the halls of most workplaces, and it’s often hard to tell who is a full-time employee and who’s a contractor, a consultant, an intern, or an outsourced service provider. Where once the megacorporation existed, today numerous individuals and companies come together to get work done.

Is it so hard to extrapolate, to follow this trend to one possible conclusion, which is the existence of thousands of small companies, or at least independent business units, where once there was one?

Think about what that means—what needs to happen, to make that happen.

This workplace revolution would require a culture-wide entrepreneurial mindset. A way of thinking we haven’t seen since cottage weavers were forced to walk away from the loom. A way of doing business not witnessed since the farmer walked off his land to find factory work in the city.

Can we do it?

The Social Age is still very new. But as we see more and more organizations – from the smallest non-profit to the largest corporation embrace nano – and the Hollywood working model – we are optimistic!

Ted CoineAbout the Author: Ted Coiné is the Chairman and Founder of SwitchandShift.com, which works with leadership to focus on the human side of business, and he is host of The Human Side TV, where he interviews the most fascinating minds in business each week. One of the most influential business experts on the Web, Ted has been top-ranked by Forbes, Inc., SAP Business Innovation, and Huffington Post as a top mind in the fields of business leadership, customer experience, and social media. Ted is a three-time CEO and a popular keynote speaker with over 350,000 followers on Twitter – and growing rapidly.

Together with Mark Babbitt, they released their book A World Gone Social on September 22, 2014.

Editor’s Note: I received an advanced copy of A World Gone Social. I was proud to share the following review on Amazon:

We are living in a great time of change. There are two types of people in this world: those who thrive by adapting and those that get swept away by change. Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt provide a playbook on how to drive engagement. They’ll teach you how to leverage the collective creativity and passion from within your organization. Read A World Gone Social and you’ll be prepared to lead in the new social age.

Are You Treating Customers Like Family? Two Lessons From Red Lobster and Frontier Airlines

This post was originally featured on Forbes:

Are You Treating Customers Like Family? Two Lessons From Red Lobster and Frontier Airlines

Two acts of corporate kindness hit the news recently. The first involved a delayed flight on Frontier Airlines and the second a touching dinner at Red Lobster. Both resonated, quickly becoming viral online and hitting the mainstream news.

Captain Gerhard Brandner bought 38 pizzas for his passengers on Frontier Airlines. Their flight to Denver, already delayed one hour, was on the way from Washington Dulles Airport when it was forced to land in Cheyenne, Wyoming due to bad weather. After a couple hours on the tarmac, Brandner dialed up Dominos, met them outside airline security, and hand delivered the pies to the plane. According to the Captain, “I was getting hungry and we are kind of a big family here at Frontier; we take care of each other and I figured it was time to take care of my passengers.” Here’s Brandner in a CNN interview talking about the experience:

Taking care of customers like family, the captain put the $400 pizza tab on his credit card. Brandner mentioned he’s not the first Frontier pilot to feed passengers. It’s unclear whether he’ll be reimbursed for his act of kindness.

The second example involves Red Lobster in Columbia, Missouri. According to Reddit, a recent widow who had spent three decades of wedding anniversaries at Red Lobster had her check picked up by the restaurant. Her daughter had taken her to Red Lobster on the anniversary in order to keep the tradition alive. In lieu of a bill, the staff put this note in the folio:

Photo credit: DoSomething.org's Facebook Page
Photo credit: DoSomething.org’s Facebook Page

In an interview with Today.com, manager Chad Ward mentioned that he approached the customers as they were leaving. “I just let them know how important they are to us.” The 10-year Red Lobster veteran said, “I wanted to make sure they knew that we’d go over the top for them. Every guest that walks through our doors is very important to us.

Are you demonstrating that you care? Here are the two lessons we can learn from Red Lobster and Frontier Airlines:

#1. You can do well by doing good

Acts of kindness are powerful. They resonate with your customers and have the potential to create a huge ripple effect through social and mainstream media. There are three types of acts of kindness:

Photo credit: Stan Phelps
Photo credit: Stan Phelps

Version 1.0 – Random Act of Kindness. We’ve all seen these campaigns before. Activations designed to create surprise and delight. One-off good deeds or unexpected acts such as paying tolls, filling parking meters, buying gas for consumers or picking up the tab. Usually a one-off feel good activation. This type, which was prevalent at SXSWi this year, draws upon gift economy principles. Giving with no expectation of immediate return, except maybe for potential PR value.

Version 2.0 – Branded Act of Kindness. These are next level acts of kindness. Here the item given is usually tied closely with the brand and its positioning. It’s less random, more planned and potentially a series of activations/experiences. This was demonstrated by Red Lobster. Two of their core values are genuine caring and hospitality.

Version 3.0 – Lagniappe Acts of Kindness. Giving little unexpected extras everyday as part of your product or service. A concept I refer to as a Purple Goldfish or the idea of signature added value. The practice comes from New Orleans and is called lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap). The business does a little something extra to honor the relationship. It echoes the sentiment of my recent article in Forbes. It’s not a campaign focused on prospects, but an everyday practice that’s focused on current customers of your brand. This is kindness embedded into your brand DNA. These are the little things that demonstrate you truly care about your customers. They serve to differentiate your product or service, drive customer loyalty and promote positive word of mouth. Need some examples? How about Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Pick up / Drop-off Service, Southwest Airlines’ Bags Fly Free, Doubletree’s Chocolate Cookie, Five Guys’ Free Peanuts, Kimpton Hotel’s Afternoon Wine Reception, Zappos’ Overnight Shipping Upgrade or Red Lobster’s Complimentary Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

#2. Empower employees to do the little extra

Most employees care and want to do the little extra. But they can’t, typically because they are tied down by a corporate policy or rule. Great companies provide latitude for employees to solve a problem or demonstrate that they care. This involves providing limits on discretionary dollars for each employee. This is a page right out of the Ritz Carlton playbook. The legendary hotel empowers each and every employee to spend up to $2,000 on any single guest to insure their satisfaction. Similar to the Ritz, owner Chris Zane of Zane’s Cycles gives employees latitude to spend $100 to service a customer. To illustrate the effectiveness of this practice, Chris uses the metaphor of a bowl full of 400 quarters. During presentations he walks around with a bowl and encourages members of the audience to take quarters. Most take a few quarters, but no one ever takes the whole bowl. According to Chris, “The point is that when you as a customer are presented with more than what seems reasonable, like a bowl of 400 quarters, you will self-regulate….By providing more service than what folks consider reasonable we can build trust and loyalty and remind them how hard we’re working on their behalf.”Actions speak louder than words. Eighty percent of our judgements about people, companies and brands comes down to two factors: warmth and competence. Are you willing to go above and beyond the transaction to create a Human Brand? Are you ready like Red Lobster and Frontier to build warmth into your brand DNA and allow your employees to demonstrate that they care?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra added for good measure) – Here is Chris Zane in a television interview on Fox Business:

Stan Phelps is a popular keynote speaker, bestselling author and experience architect. Connect with him on Twitter @9inchmarketing.

A Spot-On Example Of Extending Advertising Into Customer Experience by Chick-fil-A

This story was originally published on Forbes:

This is the story of a renegade cow. Nearly two decades ago, paintbrush in mouth, a cow painted three words on a billboard… EAT MOR CHIKIN. It was an instant success.

Created by Dallas-based The Richards GroupEat Mor Chikin was introduced in 1995 as merely a three-dimensional outdoor advertising execution.  The campaign was so well received that The Richards Group and Chick-fil-A turned the billboard concept into an integrated campaign. Early extensions included  in-store point-of-purchase materials and a radio commercial. Two years later in 1997 the cows would make their TV debut. The following year an annual calendar was created. All mediums were leveraged. Rising to new heights in 2008, the cows covertly painted their first water tower. The Cows were not only popular, they were like-able. In 2011, their Facebook page was created and they now boast over 750,000 fans.

I’m a fan of the cows, yet I feel that traditional advertising (no matter how cute) tends to fall short because it only caters to the eyes and the ears. Great brands find ways to extend advertising to create experiences that reach their hearts of their customers. One extension of the Cows campaign creates an engaging experience. Enter Cow Appreciation Day every July. This year Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country celebrated the 10th anniversary of the chain-wide event honoring their beloved Cows.

Credit: chick-fil-a.com

According to Chick-fil-A, more than 900,000 cow-dressed customers hoofed out to Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide for Cow Appreciation Day last year. The chain now boasts a fully dedicated website for the event and expects to host more than one million cow-clad guests. They’ve provided incentives for fans. Dress partially as a cow and you receive a free entree. Dress head to toe and you receive an entire free combo meal.

Chick-fil-A has a nicknames for customers who dress up. They are called “raving fans.” Of the seven to 10 million people eating at its restaurant each week, this is a rabid subset, about 10 to 15 percent of its total audience. They typically visit Chick-fil-A four or more times each month.Chick-fil-A also captures stories of customers on their website. This story called “Year of the Cows” comes from mskripsky:

For the past six years, my friends and I have celebrated Cow Appreciation Day at our local Chick-fil-A. Although we’ve been getting older through the years, it has never stopped us from having a memorable night. We gather at my house, dress up like a cow, take a ton of silly pictures and head to Chick-fil-A.

Each year we have about 10 friends or so line up in a conga line and chant “moo moo moo moo moo” as we enter the restaurant. Of course every employee and customer just stares at us, but it’s nice to see everyone smile and some even join in. The best part is seeing the store managers face gleaming and saying that was the highlight of his night.

This year will be our last year together, as all of us have gotten married are going to med school or are moving away. However, we are still hoping our legacy of Cow Appreciation Day will carry on.

I love how Chick-fil-A celebrates it customers and encourages them to be creative. Need help to create your own costume? No problem, Chick-fil-A provides a starter kit of ideas and resources.

Fun events at Chick-fil-A are a staple for the brand. Daddy-Daughter Date Nights are an annual event. Not to leave Mom’s out, just last year the restaurant created a medieval-themed event called Mother-Son Date Knight.“One of Chick-fil-A’s goals is to promote community connections and enrich the lives of everyone we come in contact with,” says Erik Amick, a Chick-fil-A franchise operator. Even infants are given consideration. This is perhaps my favorite little extra at my localChick-fil-A in Cary, NC. It’s tiny cups of Cheerios for customers in training.

Photo Credit: Stan Phelps

Does your brand create opportunities to connect with consumers? Are you creating a legacy experience like Cow Appreciation Day?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – The Phelps family got into the act this year. Jenn did an awesome job on the costumes:

jenn and james chickfila cow appreciation day

This ONE Skill May Be Keeping You From Becoming a Leader

This post was originally featured on the MENG Blend blog:

What is the true definition of a leader?  My friend and author Bill Treasurer offers one definition.  It comes from his son Ian.  A preschooler, Ian came home one day and proudly proclaimed he had been the leader for the day.  When Bill asked what that meant, Ian proudly shared, “I got to open doors for people.”  Leaders open doors.  This simple definition speaks to the essence of servant leadership.

While supporting others is a key aspect of leadership, I’d argue there is a better definition of a leader.  A leader is someone who rallies others towards a defined future state that currently does not exist.  The rallying part of the definition is crucial.  A leader has to hone the skills of becoming an effective presenter.  Writing and speaking are paramount.  This was echoed by the 38th president of the United States,

“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience.  Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.” — Gerald R. Ford

Over the last two years, I’ve committed myself to becoming a student in the art of presenting. I knew speaking would be key to help shifting business towards a greater focus on the customer and their experience. Leveraging those leanings, I’ve created a presentation that contains 21 Rules of Thumb when speaking:

Here are four major themes and 10 of those rules of thumb by the numbers:

Less Is More with PowerPoint

1.  No font size smaller than 30.
2.  No more than 16 words on a slide.
3.  The number of bullets you should use in a presentation…ZERO.

Preparation Is Key

4.  Beware of #13.  Bad things will happen while speaking.  Be prepared.  If something happens, you have three choices: you can fix it, you can feature it, or you can forget it.
5.  Dress to the 9’s.  Appearance matters.  Your audience makes split-second judgments about you before the first word is spoken.  Eighty percent of their judgments are based upon two factors: warmth and competence.  Dress smartly to leverage both for a strong first impression.

Organization Matters

6.  Don’t play 20 questions.  Finishing with a Q & A session makes a dud.  Take questions and then finish with a strong call to action and close.
7.  The brain can only concentrate for 10 minutes before shutting off.  Plan in breaks. Use videos, role-plays, and group exercises to help reset your audience.
8.  People remember things in 3‘s.  Use this simple yet powerful fact to your advantage when organizing main points in your talk.

Beyond Words

9.   We all have two hands with 5 fingers.  Gestures are key.  Use your hands to emphasize points.  Don’t be afraid to go BIG.  Let your elbows fly, but be sure to reset after each gesture.
10.  Give your audience 2 seconds of pause.  When you make an important point of emphasis, pause and let your audience have the time to let it sink in.

There are no natural born speakers.  The best only get better by doing.  They seek out opportunities and continuously sharpen their saw.  To steal a famous joke:

Tourist to New Yorker:  “Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”
New Yorker:  “Practice, practice, practice.”

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here is a video about “Leaders Open Doors” by Bill Treasurer. In the spirit of opening doors, Bill is donating all of the proceeds from the book to organizations who support kids with special needs:

The ONE Thing You Need to Stop Doing to Become a Great Communicator

This post was originally posted on Forbes

The ONE Thing You Need to Stop Doing to Become a Great Communicator

Credit: Flickr David Berkowitz

Credit: Flickr David Berkowitz

Caroline Kennedy was making a run for the US Senate in 2008. The daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy was a front runner to represent New York. After being accused by the media of dodging questions, Kennedy agreed to a sit down interview. The result was disastrous. According to an article by Toastmasters, Caroline uttered 27 “ums” and 38 “you knows” in the space of five minutes. Three weeks after the interview, she withdrew from the campaign.

We expect great leaders to be great communicators. They need to present their ideas in a clear way that connects with the audience. According to authors Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, we can look to the late Steve Jobs for inspiration. Jobs did, “what a leader is supposed to do: provides a vision and makes sure everyone understands it.”

Over the last two years I’ve committed myself to improving my communication skills as a keynote speaker on the topics of customer experience and employee engagement. I’ve become a student in the art of presenting. Last week I distilled my learnings in a Slideshare entitled, 21 Rules to Help You Rock Your Next Presentation. 

The slide deck focuses on 21 rules of thumb when speaking. Each rule is based on a number. The lessons are distilled into the three areas of design, timing and speaking. Here are a couple examples of each:

Design – 1. Minimum size font should be 30. 2. The maximum number of words on any given slide is 16.

Timing – 1. For every 20 minutes of presentation, use no more than 15 slides. 2. Schedule in breaks every 10 minutes of your presentation. Our brains can only concentrate for 10 minutes without shutting off. Use exercises, role plays and videos to allow the audience to reset.

Speaking – 1. Don’t play 20 questions. Never finish with a standard q+a session. Budget in time to take questions, then finish with a story and a strong closing statement. 2. Go beyond words when communicating feelings. Words only account for 7% of the meaning, whereby body language accounts for 55% and tone 38%.

Out of the 21 rules, there is one that I believe has the great potential. It’s something you need to S.T.O.P. doing. STOP is an acronym for Single Thought, One Person. It was taught to me by speaking skills coach Alan Hoffler.

single thought one person

Coined by Andrew Gilman, here’s how S.T.O.P. works. You deliver a single thought to one person. You then think of your next thought while finding a new person in the audience. You not allowed to start delivering the thought until you establish eye contact. You deliver that single thought.

This one rule has three amazing benefits:

First, it eliminates filler words. This may be the biggest benefit for the listener. Filler words such as er, um and so automatically disappear. According to Susan Ward, “Using excessive fillers is the most irritating speech habit. They distract your listener often to the point that he or she doesn’t hear anything you say. Your message is entirely lost.”

Second, it allows you time to breathe by slowing you down. Breathing calms your nerves. It allows needed oxygen to your brain, making you smarter on your feet.

Lastly, the pauses allow you to create flow and tempo. The time also allows the audience to filter what you’ve just said. Our brains can’t effectively multitask. The gaps between thougths gives the listener needed time to process the information. A word of warning. Using the technique feels awkward at first. The pauses feel painfully long for the speaker, even though they are almost unnoticeable for the audience. You  feel mechanical, whereby the audience sees you as collected. As with any new habit, it need to be continuously practiced in order to be ingrained.

Are you ready to S.T.O.P. in order to start becoming a great communicator?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here is a video from my speaking coach Alan Hoffler. He has a whole series of videos of things you should also STOP doing:

Shifting the Marketing Paradigm

photo (38)[This post was taken from an article in the Spring 2014 edition of the The Diary of Alpha Kappa Psi. AKPsi is the oldest and largest professional business fraternity in the world]

A job connected to the New York Yankees. Going to work every day in Yankee Stadium. Good chance you’re thinking of a character in the a popular 1990’s TV show. “That was my George Constanza moment,” says Stan Phelps, Marist ’91-Life, referring to the “Seinfeld” character.

But the fictional George Costanza, who referred to himself as “slow-witted,” was famous for not actually doing any work while at work. Phelps, on the other hand, was busy representing Adidas in its relationship wih the Yankees. He had the good fortune to witness World Series victories during each of his three years at Yankee Stadium. “I actually got to ride in the ticker tape parade.”

Stan Phelps article in the DiaryPhelps got his start in business studying marketing and human resources at Marist College. “I spent a year in Australis and studied business there, and it was commonplace for professors and students to have social events and connections outside of the classroom,” he recalls. When he returned, he tried to find a similar experience at Marist.

He decided Alpha Kappa Psi could fill a similar role, but Marist College didn’t have a chapter. So Phelps set out to start a colony and, with the help of of a professor who had previously been an AKPsi advisor at another college (Herbert Sherman), the group obtained full chapter status in his senior year, with more than 50 students. After finishing Marist, he added a JD/MBA from Villanova University.

Phelps held a number of roles during his marketing career at Adidas, and his work with the Yankees wasn’t the only one that put him in the company of sports greats. He also spent time in The Netherlands managing the company’s global sports marketing for tennis, dealing with such stars as Anna Kournikova, Martina Hingis, Marat Safin and Bob/Mike Bryan. His resume also includes work with IMG, the PGA of America and the experiential marketing firm Synergy, where his title was Chief Solutions Officer.

These days Phelps has another unusual title: Chief Measurement Officer for the consultancy he founded, 9 INCH marketing – “That’s the distance between the stem of your brain and the top of your heart,” he explains. His goal is anything but modest: “My mission is to shift the marketing paradigm.”

Marketing, he believes, should be less about acquiring prospects and more about delighting existing customers. “I want companies to invest more in the experiences of the customers they have,” he says. Why? Because those existing customers, if they’re delighted by an experience that goes far beyond expectations, will tell others. “As a business, I tell people, it’s your responsibility to give your customers something to talk about, to tweet about, to blog about, to Yelp about.”

That kind of word-of-mouth marketing generates referrals – customers who walk in the door because someone else told them about the great experience. Customers gained by referral, Phelps say, spend up to twice as much money as ordinary customers do, and they’re also more likely to refer more customers.

“The idea is giving that little unexpected extra to exceed the expectations of your customers,” he says. “You differentiate your products and services, but more important, it gives customers a reason to talk about you.”

GOLDFISH BOOK COVERSYou could say Phelps wrote the book exceptional customer experiences. He crowd sourced to collect more than one thousand examples of companies that go above-and-beyond to delight customers, then analyzed what her learned. The result is a book called, What’s Your Purple Goldfish – 12 Ways to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth. Phelps followed that up with a similar exploration of the little extra things successful companies do to connect with and inspire their employees. That book is What’s Your Green Goldfish – 15 Ways to Drive Employee Engagement.

“I help companies capture the hearts of their customers and employees.” he says. “Companies that don’t exceed the expectations of their customers by doing the little things are going to resort to becoming commodities.”

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – I had the opportunity to be part of a brilliant advertising campaign during my days at the Yankees. It was called Only in New York. Here are three spots:

The ANSKY guys

Do the El Duque (featuring David Cone)

Man Down (R.I.P. Boss)

Lie Back and Think of England, But Do It For Denmark

Sex Sells…Vacations

Credit: Washington Post

Credit: Washington Post

Spies Rejser has caused a stir. The Danish travel agency has touched upon a major issue. Similar to many western nations, Denmark has a seriously low birth rate. With only 10 births per year / per 1,000 residents, something needs to be done. They believe a romantic holiday to London or other city destinations just might be the answer.

According to Spies website:

OUR MISSION – Let’s save the future of Denmark with romance

Denmark is facing a crisis. We have the lowest birth rate in 27 years. In Spies, we are concerned, the fewer Danes means less people to support the aging population – but sadly also fewer Spies travelers. Studies show that Danes have 46% more sex on city breaks, and then more sex increases the chance of more children, we ordain a romantic city break to save the future of Denmark.

do it for denmark

Well, it turns out that 10% of Danes are already conceived outside of the country (In case you’re interested, Brits top the list at 20% according to a report by NPR). Add in the fact that Danes also procreate more often when they are on holiday. The campaign is called  “Do It For Denmark.” Check out the two-minute YouTube video highlighting the cause:

A Little Something Extra

Enter the Ovulation Discount.

ovulation discount

Spies is offering an ovulation discount. Type in your cycle and their handy online planning tool will help you plan a fertile time to travel. In addition, there is grand prize for one lucky Danish couple who can prove they conceived a child while on vacation. I haven’t read the fine print, but I think they are looking for travel receipts and copies of birth certificates, not homemade videos.

do it for denmark prizes

Takeaway – This may be one of the best PR / Word of Mouth campaigns I’ve ever seen since Queensland Tourism’s, “The Greatest Job in the World.” Let’s break down the handful of ingredients:

1. Factual Data (about Travel)

2. A Social Issue (low birthrates)

3. Sex (our fascination with the amount of it)

4. A call to action (wink, wink)

5. Compelling Prize Package (for your little package)

One word: BRILLIANT. The video alone has already garnered 2.5 million views. Watch for this to become in the words of David Meerman Scott, “A World Wide Rave.”

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here’s another video from Spies. This one makes the case for sunlight and its positive effects. WARNING: The Test Dummies in this video end up doing something other than crashing:

A little something else:

Here is a fun mental game that’s relevant to this post: Here we go. Let me see if I can read your mind:

imgres-2Think of a number between 2 and 10.

Got it? OK, take that number and multiply it by 9. Now you should have a two digit number.

Add those two digits together and you should have a one digit number. Now take that one digit number and subtract it by 5. Now if A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on, you should have a letter that corresponds with your number.

Now think of a country that begins with that letter. Got the country?

Now take the second letter of the country you selected and think of an animal that begins with that letter.

Now think of a common color of that animal. Got it?”

Let me see if I can read your mind. Scroll down for my guess below:

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|
|
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|
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V

I’m sorry, but there are No Gray Elephants in Denmark (unless you are a company called Valtech Software)

Don’t Be Abominable: A Lesson in Customer Experience and Marketing From a Yeti

How do you handle mistakes?

Better yet if you are a start-up, how do you handle growing pains? The answer is two-fold:

  1. Do it promptly
  2. Do more than expected

As an added bonus, you make it fun and memorable.

Last November I had the opportunity to give a Purple Goldfish workshop at the Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead. One of the startups that attended was SherpaDesk.

sherpa desk

SherpaDesk is a customer service solution that tracks time, creates invoices and allows you to create service tickets from e-mail. They currently have over 300 companies who are using the beta version of their software solution.

Beta typically equals hiccups and plenty of 404 messages. The 404 page is what customer experience expert Jeannie Walters at 360 Connext calls a microinteraction opportunity. It’s a chance for a business to go beyond the ordinary error message, allowing them to demonstrate both understanding and creativity. It’s a small moment that can make a big difference.

SherpaDesk gets this. Their 404 page features a Yeti:

SherpaDesk 404 Yeti

Taking it One Snowshoe Further

Yesterday I received a tweet from Patrick Clements. Patrick is the CEO for bigWebApps, the parent of SherpaDesk. He shared the following picture:

yeti hat tweet

When I inquired as to the meaning of the hats, Patrick responded, “Our fail page is a yeti. We sent out the hats to 1st yr guys to say ‘Thanks for sticking with us.” pic.twitter.com/0HnRVDsmBL. The picture was from a SherpaDesk customer (Anna Ruth) skiing at Copper Mountain.

anna ruth pr tweet

TAKEAWAYS: First, don’t be abominable when it comes to your dreaded 404 pages. Have fun in those microinteractions. Secondly, follow up with your best customers in a signature way. Let them know you appreciated their patronage, especially if you’ve gone through some rough patches.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – What would the Yeti say? Here’s an up close look and listen to a Yeti. Beware… it may make your mustache tingle: