Wednesday, June 22, 2011

8 blogging tips from my blogging friends

Part of my role as Online Community Manager at the Global CCS Institute is to help guide and support those staff and industry contacts who help us create great content for our online community.

They are all super smart people in the industry and have heaps of great information and insights to share. Like lots of industry people, however, blogging doesn’t necessarily come easily to all of them.

As part of the support I have drawn up a cool ‘Blog Writing Blueprint’ (a step-by-step guide which I will share here in the future) and developed a list of 44 blog ideas. I have also set up a ‘Bloggers Anonymous’ blog that kind of acts as a place for myself and Brenda Somich, the other Online Community Manager at the Institute, to share ideas and thoughts to help our bloggers.

One thing I have recently done is to go out to some of my favourite bloggers and marketing industry contacts and asked them to shoot a short video giving their top blogging tip or two.

A big thanks to @nathbush @juliancole @scott_drummond @leehopkins @joshstraw84 @zacmartin @jymmysim and @brendasomich

Enjoy and feel free leave  comment and add your own blog tip that these guys forgot ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The best customer service ever

Charles Tyrwhitt We in the blogosphere are often quick to use our blogs to have a whinge about poor customer service we have received. I am guilty of it myself with blogging Is A Great Product/Service an Excuse for Bad Customer Service? and A Pure Unadulterated Rant.

We all come across instances of good and bad customer service every week but most of it is what I would call ‘acceptable’. I often muse that we get so used to ‘acceptable’ customer service, the type that is good but not memorable, that there are great opportunities for brands to easily stand out through exceptional customer service.

I experienced exceptional customer service the other week from a company by the name of Charles Tyrwhitt which was born in 1986 because the founder, Nicholas Wheeler, believed he could make a shirt better than anybody else. Since then, the business has worked to make “the finest menswear in the world, as well as a big dollop of good old-fashioned values including outstanding value for money and unbeatable service.”

I first came across the brand on a rainy day in Dublin, back in 2001, when I was in the city to see Ireland play the Wallabies. I was just killing time for the day and wandered into one of their stores. I didn’t really want anything, I was just browsing, but was so impressed by the store, the range and the customer service that I left with 3 shirts and 2 ties. They were beautifully packaged in gift boxes and I felt just a little bit posh walking around with my shopping bags. For a while after I always bought shirts from them.

But then I moved back to Australia and for one reason or another stopped buying them. Probably because there are no retail stores here in Australia. Then a friend was telling me he orders shirts online from the store.

So I jumped on and ordered a complete set of new business shirts (I was due anyway). They turned up from the UK in a week-and-a-half but unfortunately they fitted like a tent. Whoops.

I jumped online to chat with a customer service rep and that’s when the exceptional customer service started. Below is a transcript that was emailed to me as a follow up of our online conversation:

clip_image002 Andrew Blair: Hi, you’re speaking to Andrew Blair at Charles Tyrwhitt. How can I help you today?
clip_image004Daniel Oyston: Hi Andrew, just had some shirts delivered to Australia but unfortunately they are too big. What do I need to do to exchange?
clip_image004[1]Daniel Oyston:
My order number was w36217982
clip_image006Andrew Blair: Please return the shirts to us including a completed returns form and we will exchange them and send you a fresh order once we receive them back. Alternatively, you can place a new order for the correct size shirts now and then return the original order to us for a full refund.
clip_image004[2]Daniel Oyston:
Thanks Andrew. Think I will place a new order for the same shirt but diff sizes ... that way they will arrive quicker.
clip_image006[1]Andrew Blair: That's a good idea as this will speed up the process considerably.
clip_image004[3]Daniel Oyston:
Do you have a link for the returns form? I just had a quick look on the returns page of the site and couldn't see it
clip_image006[2]Andrew Blair: I don't have a scanned copy of a returns form anywhere. If there isn't one included with your order, just enclose a brief letter or note with your return detailing your name, address, customer number, contact number and the reason for return.
clip_image004[4]Daniel Oyston:
oh, oops, sorry, it is on the back of the form that's in the box.
clip_image004[5]Daniel Oyston:
Thanks for your help. Appreciate it.
clip_image006[3]Andrew Blair: My pleasure. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
clip_image004[6]Daniel Oyston: Yes there is. I notice on the form one of the options for return says "2 sizes ordered - one kept". I don’t want to be a smart arse but is that acceptable if you are unsure of sizing? Just order 2 and send the one back that didn't fit?
clip_image006[4]Andrew Blair: Yes, that's something that we'd encourage our customers to do if they're unsure about sizing.
clip_image004[7]Daniel Oyston: awesome. sounds good then. I'll do that. Thanks again. That's everything sorted. Good work mate - keep it up
clip_image006[5]Andrew Blair: My pleasure! Many thanks for contacting us at Charles Tyrwhitt and enjoy the rest of your day. Goodbye.
clip_image004[8]Daniel Oyston:
Actually, one more thing - how the hell do you pronounce Tyrwhitt?
clip_image006[6]Andrew Blair: I know it doesn't look that way but it's pronounced 'tirrit' to rhyme with 'spirit'!

So I did exactly that and got 2 sizes of new shirts promptly delivered and returned the others for a refund.

Nicholas, if you read this post then you need to go and give Andrew a massive pat on the back, employee of the month, case of beer or free shirt or whatever you do there to reward employees because the way he easily looked after my problem, let alone made me feel like a valuable customer, was outstanding.

The brand also has a great presence on Facebook including some great video tips for men's dressing and they also make good use of Facebook as a customer service channel by engaging with customers.

You too should buy all your shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt because as the website says you will get “the finest menswear in the world, as well as a big dollop of good old-fashioned values including outstanding value for money and unbeatable service.”

Trust Oyster, you won’t be disappointed.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Community Manager Round Table – Brisbane, June 2011

Last Friday I attended the Community Manager Round Table organised by Greg Lexiphanic (@lexiphanic) #acmrt

It was a great opportunity to meet some new people and hang out with like minded individuals (something some of us don’t get to do at work all that often). The format was pretty causal with everyone having the opportunity to submit topics for discussion. We spent about 30 mins a time discussing topics such as building a community from scratch, engaging difficult/fragmented communities, metrics and just the general lie of the land.

We all have our unique challenges with some of us building communities around climate change, credit unions, government initiatives, large corporations and two of us building communities around the inevitable fact of life … death. While we all had unique challenges I think we also face many of the same challenges. It was a bit of a support group at times :)

One little project that came out of the day is on engagement. We were discussing engagement when Russell Allert (@RussellAllert) mentioned that in his role he started down the path of creating a scoring system for measuring engagement e.g. +1 for a like, +3 for a share, +5 for a comment etc. He said that it all got caught up in the detail a bit, so he shelved it, but with a promise to help the group has taken on the project of the engagement measurement framework finished.

Others involved in the day were @corza @alisonmichalk @joolliee @amandaolsson (in spirit) .. BTW – is Bob on Twitter?

A big thanks to Greg for organising. He did an outstanding job with wifi organised, coffees on arrival, lunch ordered before we got to the pub and even the offer of a lift to the airport. All that and great conversation for $40.

The next one is being slated for Melbourne later in the year with @venessapaech looking likely to coordinate? If you work in community management, or know someone who does, then I highly recommend you get along to this day. It certainly got my mind ticking. You might also be interested in Swarm Sydney being organised by Quiip which will “connect Community Managers with the aim of sharing resources, best practices, information and ideas, alongside creating a dialogue around the future of online engagement.”

We will be sure to share the results of the engagement framework in due time.










Image by Jyri (via Quiip)