Monday, September 29, 2008

Are Pirates to Blame?

As Democrats and Republicans were pointing fingers and blaming one another for the defeat of the "Wall Street Bail Out" bill, the Dow lost nearly 800 points and we're now left holding our breath for yet another day. While it's clear we need to take a big step here, the country finds itself feeling like former Enron employees - the parallels are eerily similar. Just so happens that while we can tolerate the demise of Enron, letting the country go by the wayside isn't a viable option regardless of how violated we feel. Even Andrew Shepherd, in the movie American President, finally had to say, "Make the deal." With any luck, we'll get one by week's end.

So where do the pirates fit in here? Well I can't blame the Democrats or the Republicans (as much as I'd like to) for my recent blog-cation, so since we're fresh off International Talk Like a Pirate Day, pirates are as good an excuse as any. Anyway, it's great to be back on the keyboard again. Avast! It should be a fascinating week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arrrrgh...September 19th Is The Big Day

Ahoy Matey! View this important instructional video t' help you make t' most o' International Talk (Blog) Like A Pirate Day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I AM A Pirate!

Before engaging in the particulars of how talking and blogging like a Pirate can help you in your quest for client service excellence, I should remind you that I AM a Pirate. As a graduate of Seton Hall University's MASCL program (Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership), I'm a proud Pirate and pleased to promote International Blog (Talk) Like A Pirate Day on September 19th.

In the meantime, I'm crafting my Pirate client service excellence post and have enlisted the fine people at Linkedin for their thoughts on the matter as well. I look forward to receiving more answers to my Linkedin question and any comments you may have about why you believe talking and blogging like a pirate are important client service skills. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Preparing For The Big Day!

Ahoy!

So what's blogging like a Pirate have to do with client service you ask? Well about two years ago, Todd Andrlik commented on a post I had written about what I once described as the pillars of client service excellence, and he pointed out correctly that I had left out the important skill of talking like a pirate. Ever since, I've always included talking like a pirate as necessary for anyone seeking to achieve true client service excellence. Over the course of the week, I'll explain. (Give me a day or two to come up with something!)

Avast! So if you learn to talk like a pirate, you should also learn to blog like one. But don't run before you can walk. Try this English to Pirate Translator on your Twitter posts this week. The goal is that with a little practice and some help from the E to P Translator, you'll be blogging like Edward Teach himself (aka Blackbeard) by Friday!

Please join Todd Andrlik and me along with countless others in spreading the word.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

9/11 Tribute

Join U2 for a few minutes of your day today in remembrance.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Phone Or E-Mail?

Another client service related post I've been saving for awhile is also from July by Rohit Bhargava titled: 37signals and Freshbooks Disagree On Customer Service 2.0.

I really enjoyed this post and hope you take the time to read through it and think about it as well - both from the perspective of a business owner and a customer/client. Rohit notes two persuasive, but conflicting opinions on the effectiveness and efficiency of e-mail versus phone when it comes to responding to customers. Have a read and let me offer the question Rohit asked in his original post:

"So here's an open question - which side of the debate do you fall on? In order to grow and be successful, can you really afford to take calls and have a human on the other side of the phone as Freshbooks does, or do you need to be hyper focused on efficiency like 37signals?"

Only 56 Days Until Election Day

What does this have to do with client service? In a tweet a week or two ago, Todd Defren stated that SHIFT Communications employees are being encouraged to vote before they come into work on election day. If they have to stand in line for 8 hours and don't make into the office, then so be it. Some things are more important. (I hope I've characterized this correctly).

Great client service can only come from satisfied employees, and part of keeping employees satisfied at the workplace is recognizing from time to time that life can be bigger than one's job. I've owned my own firm and have worked for others. The toughest part about working for others is having to live with their priorities. It's why identifying priorities is the first thing I look for when evaluating a company and its leadership.

Since election day isn't a national holiday (which I believe once every four years it should be), Todd is offering his people the next best thing. I believe his employees and clients are the big winners for it. With only 56 days to go before the culmination of the longest and most expensive presidential campaign in US history, consider offering your employees a similar consideration on this very important election day.

If Todd were running for office himself, he could easily claim that he made it easier for SHIFT workers to vote in presidential elections. Not bad.

Monday, September 8, 2008

More Than 35 Examples

In late July, Aaron Uhrmacher, posted 35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action at Mashable Social Networking News. I've been meaning to write about this post for awhile now.

This is an extremely valuable collection of stories you may find very helpful in sharing with clients and prospects. Most of us have few examples, if any that we can share, of how companies have used social media to their benefit. What's more, this post offers a wonderful range of ways companies used it to underscore their particular brand.

If you have clients who are hesitant about engaging in social media, send them the link. No pressure, just send it as an FYI and see how they respond. For the PR agency pros out there, read the examples, commit your favorites to memory, and use them to illustrate your point the next time you're speaking to a prospect or client about social media. Finally, and arguably most important of all, send this link to your colleagues and schedule a brown bag lunch to discuss the content, identify your favorites, and shape your own point of view.

What are your favorites?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Are You Smarter Than This 5th Grader?

Dalton Sherman is a 5th grader at the Charles Rice Learning Center in Dallas. He may not be smarter than you NOW, but he may already be a better presenter. Take the time to watch and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Convention(al) Wisdom on Leadership

Convention season in the US offers us a wonderful opportunity to watch some eloquent speakers wax poetic on their vision of the world; while admittedly, they also work to demonize the opposition as either un-American or out of touch. But if you love language, it's entertaining to listen to a speaker turn a phrase or paint a picture to make a point regardless of whether you may agree with it.

Of all the great passages I've heard over the past few weeks, (and I'm sure they'll be many more by Thursday night), I was particularly struck by a phrase Bill Clinton used last Wednesday night. It wasn't a partisan potshot, but a profound statement about leadership. And one that's as relevant to business as it is to politics. In speaking to the role of the United States as a world leader, he said (and I'm paraphrasing), the world has always been more impressed with the power of our example than by the example of our power.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, were likely beaming at such a remark. Among their five leadership practices, they advocate the importance of modeling the way. "Leaders set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values."

Everyone knows that staying true to one's values is easier during good times than during difficult times. For whoever becomes president, I hope he takes the concept of modeling the way to heart. Our standing in the world depends on it, and it will also serve as a model for the leaders with whom we work each and every day.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Keep Thanking It Forward

Welcome back from the long weekend!

For you bloggers out there, you know all too well that we not only depend on those we know in social media circles, but also on those we have yet to meet. That's what keeps writing a blog interesting!

Remember, a blog is only as strong as the conversation it inspires. I hope to inspire your continued participation in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you write a blog and don't do so already, thank those who contribute to your conversations at least once a month - thank it forward, and you'll likely meet some wonderful new people as a result.

The following people were generous enough to contribute to our conversation here at CSI/Season 2 this past month. As always, I'm grateful for your participation and hope you continue to offer your insights.

Todd Andrlik, Gavin Heaton, Gerry Riskin, Darryl Ohrt, Drew McClellan, Tom Kane, Becky Carroll, Karen Miller Russell, Doug Simon, Martin Lynch, Leanne Heller, Jonathan Yarmis, Ampatzis Panagiotis, Joseph Wilburn, John Koetsier, Ruth Seeley, Jason Whitmen, Luke, Eric Montague, Ben Waugh, Kiker, John, Katie Paine, David Alston, David Maister, Laurie Wilhelm, Rodger Johnson, Geoff Livingston, David Mullen, Chris Brogan, Jose Teixiera, Jeff Davis, Scott Baradell, Sherrilynne Starkie, Lara Kretler, Lynn Crymble, Heather Yaxley, Tyler Hurst, Kristen Smith, Terry Morawski, Phil Gomes, Richard Rinyai, Robert French, Josh Morgan, Barbara B. Nixon, Todd Defren, Paul Ritchie, Timothy Parcell, Boyd Neil, Claire Celsi, Laurent Pfertzel, Catharine Montgomery, Shannon Paul and Ed Lee.

Last month, CSI/Season 2 held a subscription drive. So if you didn't sign-up then, please do. You may elect to receive it by e-mail or use your favorite RSS reader. On to September!

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