Gets Better

If you could write a note to your younger selfI saw this post on Linkedin today asking, “If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in only two words?” The comments were filled with the usual pithy and silly responses like “bless you,” “enjoy life,” “go ahead,” and even “buy Apple.”

But among all that, one comment stood out to me as the thing I would say to my younger self: “gets better.” Boom! Kudos to whomever wrote that. We all go through seasons where we don’t believe that’s possible, but then in time it happens.

Sometimes my older self needs to hear that too.

Men’s Wearhouse gets it right in social media following email snafu

On the Sunday after Christmas Men’s Wearhouse sent an email blast to its customers announcing the last day of of its After-Christmas Deals promotion. But due to an unfortunate glitch in its email system, customers received the same email dozens of times. I counted 64 in my inbox. I was slightly annoyed.

But I’m also in marketing and I understand that automated systems can sometimes go sideways. It sucks, but it happens. As the old saying goes, the true test isn’t whether you make a mistake – it’s how you respond to the mistake that really defines you. I fired off a tweet:

I was curious to see what their response, if any, would be. We’ve all seen examples of companies mishandling screw-ups, either becoming defensive, not responding at all, or worse – attacking the complainer. I wanted to see how savvy Men’s Wearhouse is with social media. Their response would determine whether I unsubscribed from their emails or not.

Now, I’m hardly one of their bigger customers. I do like their products but with two family members’ college tuition to pay, I don’t exactly have a lot of discretionary income left for frivolous things like clothing. If I never spent another dollar in their stores they’d never miss it. It would have been easy for them to ignore me. But to their credit, my answer came 3 and a half hours later:

Short, to the point, and effective: an apology, a brief statement about the cause of the problem, and assurance that action was being taken. No excuses, no phony falling on their sword – just a swift, positive response. That’s all I needed. I didn’t unsubscribe.

My response let Men’s Wearhouse know I was rooting for them to resolve their issue:

I think they were relieved to see I wasn’t going to be a troll – they even favorited my tweet. You can almost hear the relief in their final tweet to me:

What Men’s Wearhouse understands is that social media for business is no different from face-to-face engagement – except that the whole world can eavesdrop. They knew they weren’t replying just to me, they were telling everybody in the Twitterverse that they appreciate customer feedback and they are responsive to us. Well done.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have an example of customer engagement in social media, good or bad, to share? What was your experience?

Remembering the Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Remains of the Berlin Wall, June 2013

November 9, 2013 marks the 24th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

My first visit to Europe in June 2013 brought me to Berlin and face to face with remnants of the wall I’d heard and read about for as long as I can remember. Once an ominous physical and symbolic barrier between East and West Berlin, the wall met its demise with radical political changes in the late 1980s. The East German government announced on November 9, 1989 that its citizens could visit West Berlin and West Germany.

It may sound trite, but I was awestruck standing on the very ground where the infamous wall stood, where so many would-be defectors lost their lives trying to escape their oppressors. Where 5,000 others succeeded in reaching the other side.

I snapped the photo above from atop a double decker tour bus Continue reading

An exquisite moment in time

Autumn yellow and red - large

First weekend in November – that exquisite moment in time when you know without doubt you’re in the home stretch toward the holiday season. Summer a distant memory, your world is now painted autumn yellow and red. Halloween is history and Thanksgiving really will be here soon. You can almost feel your spirits lift, just a little, in anticipation.

Then, as if that weren’t enough to put a smile on your face, you remember you’re getting an extra hour of sleep tonight as the clocks fall back to standard time.

Savor it. These moments are free – and priceless.

ConvergeSouth 2013 Notes, Afternoon Sessions

In my previous post ConvergeSouth 2013 Notes, Morning Sessions, i shared some of the notes I took in the morning.  As promised, notes from the rest of the day are below.

A few reminders from the previous post:

  1. These are notes, so don’t expect a lot of complete sentences
  2. They don’t include everything, so if you attended or presented please, please add a comment with your takeaways and/or corrections. No slight intended on my part by any omissions!
  3. Wish I had pics of all the afternoon presenters but wasn’t able to shoot everybody.

10 Principles of Social Media Relationship  Building

Teddy Burriss

Teddy Burriss @TLBurriss

Everything you do in social media must be TRUHE: transparent, relevant, useful, honest, engaging  Continue reading

ConvergeSouth 2013 Notes, Morning Sessions

ConvergeSouth BannerConvergeSouth 2013 has come and gone and once again was a fantastic learning experience. If you’ve never attended, I encourage you to make plans now to attend in 2014. Watch for announcements.

As I did last year, I’m posting my notes for a couple of reasons.

  1. I need to capture them in a single place for my own benefit and to show my boss what he paid for.
  2. If you can benefit from my takeaways, go for it.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. These are notes, so most of it isn’t in complete sentences. English majors, get over it.
  2. Where I could, I included links to presentations that you can click for more info.
  3. If you attended (or if you were a presenter), post a comment and share your takeaways or fill in any holes or errors in my recollection. I wasn’t able to attend every session (bummer) and I didn’t take complete notes even on the sessions I did attend. (My mobile device battery couldn’t keep up through the day, partly because I tweeted a lot of the memorable moments; apologies for blowing up your Twitter feed. Check me out at @ChipStudebaker if you’re curious.)
  4. I’m breaking my notes into a few posts to keep it from going on forever.  Continue reading