Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Monday, September 1, 2014
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
I saw him speak a number of years ago in Melbourne, Australia and the memory of that encounter remains clear in my mind to this day. This prompted me to think about what it was about him, Stephen Covey, the person, that made him so memorable to me - beyond the works he produced and the 'systems' he developed to enhance personal effectiveness.
And here's the thing, he spoke his truth and his light surely did shine.
Often when we attempt to embark on a programme of social media/online media/new media (whatever you want to call it) activity, we ask "how do I/we get people to take notice?" or "how do I/we stand out from the rest?".
The answer lies in understanding the simple fact that engagement - online or off - is personal; it's about people creating connections with people. Stephen Covey did this that day years ago in Melbourne, in an events centre with over 1,000 people present. He made a personal lasting connection with each and every person there, without moving from the stage.
Then what he did was he took that connection to the real world and created a business empire selling ideas, books, workshops, webinars, support groups, and so on. I bought his books. I attended his workshop. I joined his online community. I became a long-term customer and an advocate.
The point I want to make here is, when planning your online media strategy, don't get tied in knots focussing on "B2B", "B2C", etc., and the resulting drone of broadcasting and push marketing messages.
Take inspiration from the Stephen Covey (RIP) school of genuine, authentic engagement by developing real and lasting connections with your online audience - person to person "P2P" - then watch your customer base grow and oh how your light surely will shine!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Thursday, December 1, 2011
This morning I walked the children to school. It turned out not to be the most brilliant of my ideas, as I’m consumed by a cold which, having taken hold of my head, is now continuing its assault towards my chest. As I was labouring along on my way home, to lessen my suffering I turned my mind to what was around me and I noticed as I walked along that a number of hedges on this particular street had been trimmed with a bevelled edge finish, and I recognised immediately the “trademark” edging of a particular hedge trimmer in our area.
I knew this was his trademark edge because of a really important thing – he had told me it was.
About three years ago, a man came onto our property and asked if he could trim our hedges. We didn’t know him but he looked like he’d had a really bad day/week/month/year. He offered a heavily discounted rate for cash on the spot. We were on the verge of saying ‘no thanks’ as we had done to other hedge trimmers that had approached us over time, when a curious thing happened.
Mr Hedge Trimmer started to tell us about his work - what an excellent job he would do on our hedges, how ‘his’ hedges carry his trademark bevelled edges and how we would have seen his work in our local area. His whole demeanour changed as he spoke about his work with pride. You could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. Even his posture changed.
We changed with him. We said ‘yes’. He did an excellent job – just as he said he would. He trimmed our hedges to perfection, complete with bevelled edges – just as he said he would. Now, as I walk through my local area three years later, I recognise his work – just as he said I would.
Mr Hedge Trimmer did some things really right that all people offering a service or product should be aware of – he took the time to create a point of difference for himself and his business – the bevelled edge hedge –he perfected his craft, producing clearly distinguishable bevelled edge hedges (pretenders beware, I’m not sure how he does it but there are no others quite as good) – and just as important as the act itself, he spoke with pride when telling his customers about his point of difference, with the effect that it wasn’t easily forgotten (not for us anyway).
What sets you apart from others in your business sector? What’s your ‘trademark’ or ‘signature’ piece that is particular to you that others can easily identify? If you haven’t identified a point of difference for your business offering yet – do it – make it real – and tell everyone about it.
Mr Hedge Trimmer reinforced for me another important lesson in business that is too easily and too often overlooked – don’t forget to leave a business card – but that’s another blog entirely.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Disruption of travel is inevitable, aircraft are complicated mechanical things with safety having to take priority, and I get that. As the plane reversed out of the gate, we were confronted with an announcement that there had been a “computer malfunction” that required us to return to the gate.
This was approximately 7:15 in the evening, and to cut a long story short we ended up still standing in the airport at close to midnight attempting to find a solution to accommodation and alternative travel due to our flight being cancelled. The first indication of this cancellation was the sight of our flight crew heading en masse to the exit while we were left standing around in a now empty and closed Wellington terminal. When I asked where they were going one replied “listen for the announcement" without breaking his stride or looking back.
To give Jetstar their due we did eventually get a hotel and a flight out the next evening. What was hard to accept was how this was handled. After standing around for three hours in the hope they could repair the plane we were told that the flight was cancelled. At no point did anyone from Jetstar come and personally address the passengers - all we got was an occasional intercom announcement. We, as passengers, were left to console a girl sobbing her heart out that she was going to miss her connecting flight to Samoa. We foolishly promised her that Jetsar would be sure she was taken care of.
It was about 11pm, while still standing in what seemed to be an endless line of frustrated and tired people, that we saw a real person come along to address us for the first time. He was a representative of the airport apologising for our situation and ensuring we were aware it was Jetstar’s responsibility, not theirs. After numerous complaints about our basic needs he went away and returned with bottled water (at their expense, not Jetstar's as he was quick to point out).
What I can’t understand is why there were not more people to help out. This, so I have since been informed, is a common occurrence with Jetstar. Surely they should have a workable system in place by now? Is being a budget airline also justification for budget resourcing and service?
Why did we have to stand in a line for two hours to get an accommodation chit when someone could have walked the line and done the same thing in 30 minutes? At least visually it would have appeared that they were making an effort? Why did no-one come along and give us reassurance that things would be taken care of? How can any company that deals with people on a daily basis be so blatantly neglectful to the basic needs and comfort of their paying customer?
They left us wondering what was going on while the same crew who had announced on-board at 7pm that they were there to "help" had left to their meals and beds hours earlier.
Maybe I shouldn’t complain, I was informed that people who were booked on the Auckland flight back were simply told the flight was cancelled and to go away with a refund promised.
Now I’ve unloaded can I offer some solutions. Air NZ, so I’m told, on cancellation of a flight will immediately distribute taxi, meal and hotel vouchers before you even get off the plane. This says to the customer “We are looking after you and despite the inconvenience you have options”. If making your valued customers line up for hours and wait to be served by the only two check-in staff available is your thing then communicating to them costs nothing. You could have a team of on-call grumpy old tea ladies that could move up and down the line handing out stale biscuits and cold tea. At the very least customers would have someone to talk to and someone that could tell them that eventually everything will be OK.
It was OK in the end Jetstar, the shuttle driver was very helpful, the hotel staff very understanding – they even held the restaurant open till after midnight so we could eat… but your service sucked! It is embarrassing to think you are allowed to treat humans that way and still call yourself a service provider.
P.S. Jetsar, I did call your helpline to discuss my predicament. I was prompted that you had an unusually large call load and that I could leave my number and my place in the queue would not be lost, you would call me back. I’m still waiting for your call… that was four days ago.