Tag Archives: word of mouth

We tried to make it work, you in a cocktail skirt…

26 Aug
say hello goodbye.

say hello, wave goodbye.

Last week, a friend and I were engaged in a conversation after a long anticipated wait for a table at a new-ish coffee spot in the burbs of Melbourne.
Now, I don’t normally trek that far away to find decent coffee, I know my sources, stick to them and enjoy them as they are. But this time, I was up for a challenge, and could no longer fight the rave reviews of this new little hot spot.

So open mind, empty cup and a sure a 25 minute wait (not necessarily a bad thing), we sat down.

The context was minimal and warming; the staff polite enough and the coffee? Fantastic, fresh and accompanied with swift delivery.

-But-

And there seems to usually be a ‘but’ lately.

The ambience took a plunge; the sound around us seemed to drop to a silent whisper as the waitress abruptly requested for the two women sitting adjacent to leave.

“Can you please clear up your bill and leave, we have got customers waiting for this table and you’ve had it long enough.”

And as she snatched the cash from the unwilling and embarrassed patron, she flicked her neck towards us and said, “We don’t usually ask our customers to leave, its just they’ve been there for 2.5hours on 2 coffees. You know?”

No. I don’t know.

Are we all on a timer here?

Now I have done my fair share of customer service, worked in a few cafes around the city. Never have I seen this form of customer service. I mean, we’ve all seen the soup Nazi on Seinfeld and laughed, but this was just plain ‘real life’ ignominy.

Which draws me back to a point Seth Godin makes about value of customer service:

“If you treat a customer like he’s wrong, he’s going to leave, and probably tell a bunch of other people.”

Calling new businesses.
One irrefutable way to market yourself is by word of mouth.

People trust personal experience. If my friends tell me it was a good coffee, I’ll bank on that, they tell me it was a horrible experience – I won’t waste a minute of my time. And I’ll be sure to pass that on for them as well.

Basic knowledge. These women were offended. Hell, I was offended. And they sure as hell won’t be returning with friends anytime soon.

And for those of you still unsure about the value of customer service?
Please. Do us all a favour and look at this.

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You woo me, but can you really win me?

24 Aug
So... Where are we going?

So... Where are we going?

Media has always been inherently social.

A few different blog spaces over the last week have me reflecting on the issue of ‘Social Media’ – where it’s come from, going to and the whole aspect or intent of it in the first place.

Stripped bare of its fundamental essence, media is quite simply a form of information communication.

With traditional media offerings, however, that communication process is typically one way. Product to person.

Nonetheless, it achieves a social dimension by providing a conversational context for audiences, and in this sense media is not only able to shape aspects of society, it becomes part of the social processes and norms too.
I mean, a leading headline for the day becomes a topic of gossip over breakfast. Popular dramas and movies spark discussion amongst the water cooler. Documentaries, events and books are topic for discussion and debate over dinner now.
Many a social acquaintance, friendship or relationship were even created through mutual interests in music, art, theatre, entertainment or topics of discussion that then became a mutual interest.

Media is social.
In a world which consumers have millions of content options, we are increasingly reliant on friends and associates to help us idenify and choose the media we consume. Our social interactions from this are playing a key role in our selection of entertainment choices; what we do, where we visit and what we use from then on. We want what we trust, naturally.

Secondly, socialisation is becoming an inherent feature of the entertainment product itself. A YouTube video becomes more valuable when a work colleague passes it on with a comment about how funny they found it. – A cancer awareness email campaign is more solemn when a friend of a friend adds a note about how the disease affected their life. – And then videos about social media and objects of discussion resonate more when you watch it on the blog of a friend who unravels the topic and identifies it throughout their own social experience.

Entertainment media has always relied on word-of-mouth promotion, which is something i find intrinsically valuable. Uncontrollable and interesting though, content has always been influenced by the manner it was selected for consumption.
What is different is that it is becoming increasingly rare to consume entertainment content in the absence of any social interaction. This, in turn, is changing our perception of entertainment; if my friends aren’t doing it, I’m not going to either – right?
Or more to the point; if you don’t draw me in enough to experience, talk about and share with my friends, you’re going nowhere fast.
This poses some real issues for those entertainment options which remain locked with dim, brassbound distribution channels, impervious to an audiences’ attempt to socialise them. …So what happens next?

Ideas anyone?

Image thanks to Matthew Strong and Flickr Storm