Archive for the ‘Customer Care’ Category

Simple Courtesies and your Reputation

August 8, 2017

thank youMany thanks Greg,

Thank you for your time today and for all of this information. I’ll discuss with a colleague early next week and will be back in touch afterwards.

Warm regards,

 

You are so nice and you must work for a great place I thought …

This was an email I received today from a prospect I had chatted to on the phone – after our chat I put a brief proposal together and emailed it to her.

You might think there was nothing special about her email that warranted me feeling so positive about it?

I did spend time assessing what their business needed and giving her advice and I did spend time working on a proposal – surely, this warranted some acknowledgement?

Of course it did!

Unfortunately, I find this basic level of courtesy has disappeared from business. In extreme cases we have met a client, spent a lot of time with them to get a firm grasp of their requirements, spent the best part of a day writing a plan, spent a few hours presenting to them and then….nothing.

It drives me bonkers – reply to my email, return a phone call. If you don’t want to want to work with us for whatever reason, that’s fine, but at least respect the amount of time, enthusiasm and work that we have done by replying and being courteous.

This speaks volumes about you and your organisation and it can be turned really easily with a tiny “thank you, we appreciated the effort but…

Your reputation can often be about the small things as much as the big things!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

Some eggs are gold

July 11, 2017

Golden opportunity

Do you serve any eggs?” my buddy asked

Were they even serving food I wondered at this stage? It was 3:30 in the afternoon but he was starving and needed something before he hopped in the car to drive to Dublin.

I had recommended the place so I hoped he would be looked after.

The waitress in the bar/restaurant assured us that the kitchen was still open and handed us the menu.

We can’t do eggs, you can only order from the menu” she explained.

Oh no I thought – here was a golden opportunity for the outlet to shine, go on grab it.

My buddy glanced through the menu and I reckon for dietary reasons he didn’t want to order anything that was on offer.

I suggested that he ordered a steak sandwich – he didn’t want the fries that came with it so he asked could he get the steak sandwich with an egg?

No sorry, you can only order what’s on the menu” she emphasised again.

Hmmm, the place was really quiet. There was a chef on duty – how difficult could it be to put on an egg to go with the steak?

It was clear that there was no flexibility so the steak sandwich was ordered. It duly arrived with the chips that he didn’t want, which he pushed towards me to eat – they were really tasty and he scoffed down his steak sambo.

What was so difficult about doing an egg?

– were there no eggs in the kitchen?
– is the chef only able to make what’s on the menu?
– is there no button on the till to handle a deviation from the menu?
– was any deviation just too much for the staff to handle?
– could the team that were working that day just not care
– was there a fear that if you actually gave the customer what they wanted, they could be asking for anything next??!!

Whatever the motivation for the lack of flexibility the result was really poor for the outlet.

My buddy won’t be back there and while I like the place I won’t be back there in a hurry either as my recommendation left me a little red faced.

A simple egg and the outlet would have had two happy customers.

That was a very costly egg…

Are you rigid with your product and service offering to the extent that it is costing you customers?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The most important person to health in Ireland is an IT man!

May 21, 2017

Richard Corbridge, HSE, EHealth Ireland

There was huge interest in the Dublin Chamber, morning event hosted by solicitors Mason Hayes Curran because the speaker was Englishman, Richard Corbridge who is the Chief Information Officer with the HSE and CEO of eHealth Ireland.

The very public hacking of the computers of the NHS in the UK brought the Cyber Security topic into focus and this fed an even greater interest than usual in this Dublin Chamber event.

While I was expecting a big talk about Cyber Security from the affable and very engaging Richard I ended up hearing something much more important, I heard about ‘First Dates‘.

Richard used this fantastic ‘first dates‘ analogy to describe how essential it is that the health system in Ireland needs to wake up in 2017 because quite frankly, first dates are no longer acceptable.

This simple point struck a huge chord with me.

Very recently I attended a ‘huge’ and incredibly serious consultation with a senior doctor with a close relative. At this consultation, the topic was of the gravest nature and literally half of the session was spent with the doctor flicking through various papers and asking the most basic of questions in an attempt to bring himself fully up to speed so he could deliver the best medical advice.

As I sat there I couldn’t help thinking that not only was a lot of valuable time wasted by this ‘paper’ system but the margin for error is just colossal.

When you meet a doctor for the first time (when you are born?) this should be the only first date you ever have to experience. Everyone else along the way should have your full medical history at their fingertips so that they have the full story and all of their valuable time and energy should go into the best possible diagnosis.

Richard spoke about many things including the huge positive changes that have been experienced in some of the maternity hospitals where this IT vision has begun and also some incredible improvements with certain medical conditions such as Epilepsy directly as a result of technology.

He also spoke about his committed team, who pulled out all stops to make sure we didn’t suffer the same fate as the NHS. He needs to bring this team with him and expand it to achieve what is needed.

Richard’s enthusiasm for his vision is infectious but it is clear that he is trying to achieve this vision in a mammoth, understandably slow-moving public sector organisation. My sincere hope is that he receives all the support that he needs and that he digs deep and stays the course because it will be frustrating.

To achieve this vision Richard needs to communicate it over and over as eloquently as he did last week both internally and externally and he must not stop until his vision has been achieved.

The irony in all of this is that the health of Ireland rests in the hands of an Englishman who isn’t even a medical doctor!

Richard…thank you, but please, please, don’t give up, we won’t allow you to!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

VIP and not so VIP

April 26, 2017

VIP Parking

We arrived at the car park that we normally use as were about to start our working day.

They operate a simple system whereby you buy a parking ‘pass’ for the year and even though they don’t operate a dedicated reserved parking space you park in whatever spaces are free. It also operates as a public car park whereby people can park and pay.

From a business point of view it doesn’t sound ideal as you might worry that you won’t get a parking space when you need it (such as in the lead up to Christmas) but this is never an issue.

When you arrive early for work there is an extra bonus because at that time you can get a parking space on the lower floors.

This Monday we arrived early to find four of the very best parking spots empty but marked up with very clear signage “VIP – Reserved“.

I found myself getting really angry… (oh Greg, that’s unlike you !!) 

Now they had two customer types: VIPs and VPOs (Very p**sed off!)

Obviously, the car park has done a deal with some new customers but instead of offering them the package that they were operating with everyone else they offered a new package whereby someone could reserve their own space.

Let’s assume for a moment that the new customers have agreed to pay super premium for these reserved spaces in prime location – fair enough.

First as an existing customer for the last two years (we pay for 3 spaces) I would have liked to have been offered this package that was not available before – this was a lack of courtesy.

Secondly if you do operate reserved places please don’t call them “VIP” as this makes the rest of us existing customers (99%) feeling not quite so important. “Reserved” is enough.

If you introduce any mechanism for categorising new customers be careful how you make the existing ones feel.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

United Airlines and the Costly Culture

April 16, 2017

United Airlines protests.

When you hear the company name “United Airlines” what comes to mind?

When you hear the company name “Volkswagen” what comes to mind?

In both cases, you probably think of the well publicised and very damaging situations that have occurred, which have caused untold damage to these monstrous brands.

At the time of writing United Airline shares had dropped significantly resulting in a market capitalisation collapse of $570 Million.

While United Airlines was a very specific incident and Volkswagen was a very deliberate campaign of deception what they both have in common is that what occurred was not something that you could blame on “a” culprit in each company.

With United Airlines could you point the finger at the security guards who removed the passenger?

With Volkswagen could you point the finger at the engineers who were able to rig the emissions performance?

In each case, the individuals involved knew that what they did was okay with their bosses – why would they do such a thing otherwise?

In each case, their bosses knew that this was what they were expected to instruct their subordinates to do – why else would they give guidance like this?

In each case, their bosses, bosses had jobs to do and targets to meet and the expectation was that these must be achieved as a priority beyond all other objectives.

And so on up the chain of command.

The huge problem in large organisations is that very often something rotten is allowed to creep into the culture resulting in management and employees behaving really badly and eventually it just bursts through and shows its ugly face in a way that is quite extraordinarily shocking to everyone.

Oscar Munoz - United Airlines

For example with United Airlines the initial reaction of Chairman Oscar Munoz was to apologise to other passengers for the “upsetting event” but went on to push the blame onto the 69-year-old victim Dr.Dao for being “disruptive and belligerent“!

If you ever wanted someone to confirm the rotten culture at the airline, Mr.Munoz did it in his next communication to his staff where he praised them and stood behind them:

Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right

In a strange way, he was 100% correct – they did what was expected of them in these situations and as a result, he applauded them!!

At this point in time, the airline’s reputation was in tatters and Oscar and his team started to frantically backpaddle and within three days their tone had changed and fresh press statements included grovelling apologies to Dr.Dao for the appalling treatment and a full refund to all passengers on the flight (what difference was this ridiculous gesture going to do for anyone?).

The best PR advice when something like this occurs is to come clean and apologise immediately with complete sincerity. The word “Sorry” if people genuinely believe those that are delivering the apology can go a long way to reducing the damage caused.

However, just like in the United Airlines scenario a genuine “sorry” was not possible because the culture was too rotten to even contemplate doing such a thing – the expression ‘not being able to see the wood from the trees‘ comes to mind here.

Your reputation ultimately comes from what you do and how you behave and while good PR professionals can help to lessen the damage from a bad situation, it cannot change the culture, which can often be the reason why these things ended up happening in the first place.

Could your culture end up costing you?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Crisis PR consultancy from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Calls to action and the impatient customer

March 28, 2017

Cork City FC

The match was on Saturday, a top of the table clash, I had nothing on so how about it?

I hadn’t been to a game in such a long time, which is incredible considering that there was a time when we wouldn’t miss a single match. Regardless of who they were playing we were there; me, my dad, my son, my nephew and from time to time we even dragged my daughter Ellen along!

Was this the time to start a new habit?

I rang my dad – “If I can get tickets are you up for it?“. It would be a nice excuse for us to do something together and get him out from under mum’s feet for a while.

Thumbs up, he was up for it..as long as we can get tickets of course. We could take the risk of going there and hope to get them at the gate but there was a chance it would be a sell out.

Give me a few minutes pops“.

I went onto the club website – where was the button that said ‘tickets’?

There was no such button. I scrolled up and scrolled down – nothing.

I clicked on ‘fixtures’ and the match in question and eventually there was some information about tickets. I could buy them on Ticketmaster (lining those boys pockets with ridiculous booking fees isn’t my idea of a good time but it was an option) but I didn’t have a printer in the house and wasn’t in the mood for popping into the office on my day off.

I could buy them at the club shop but that wasn’t at the ground and was at the other side of the city. Not an option.

There was a phone number that I could ring – I got a pointless message that told me about “opening hours”. I just wanted someone to tell me that I could get tickets at the ground.

Back to Ticketmaster – okay, I’d buy them online and put up with the visit to the office to print them. I guessed they wouldn’t accept something on my phone as a valid ticket. Ticketmaster had no option for OAP tickets. Damn..

Just as I was about to pull my hair out my dad called me back.

I’m not really up to it today if you don’t mind

Not to worry pops“.

I was really upset that our afternoon together didn’t materialise but I do know that if I had managed to buy those tickets when I was in the mood I wouldn’t have given him a choice and both of us would have had a great time. We won 2-1!

In a time poor world, when everything is instant, click, click, click, you need to move fast to convert a customer when they are in the mood, which can change in the blink of an eye.

When we talk about the importance of having “Call to actions” on your website we mean having those buttons at every juncture that make it easy for the person to do business with you when they are in the mood. If you don’t you will just lose out..

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a managing partner of Fuzion Communications who provide website design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Sad songs, dirty lovers and technology abandoning consumers

March 26, 2017

Johnson & Perrott

The call came through that my new car was ready to be collected – as it was a weekday I didn’t want to spoil the very special occasion by collecting it, driving back to work, parking up and driving home later.

I asked if it was possible to collect the car on Saturday when I would have a chance to properly enjoy it. That was fine so a new plan was born.

On Saturday morning I woke up excited as a child on Christmas morning and the first thing I did was go through my CD’s to pick something suitably rocky to put the superb sound system through its paces. If you haven’t heard the album, “Sad songs for dirty lovers” by The National then check it out quick. There are a few hard, driving rock songs that will get you in the mood!

I thought my dad might like to come with me and enjoy the buzz so I collected him on the way to Johnson & Perrott in Mahonpoint.

I didn’t see the car parked outside as I was expecting

When we got there it’s as if they were waiting for us. They were treating the occasion of handing over a new car to a customer with the same reverence and sense of occasion as it was for the customer. I was however wondering where the new car was?

Ah Greg, we were waiting for you. Let’s get you your new car“.

In the middle of the showroom there was a car that was under a sexy black cloth cover. I was curious and wondered if a new model of a car was going to be unveiled later to the media or if there was some embargo whereby they weren’t allowed to show it to the public until a certain date and time.

The cloth created a sense of theatre and intrigue.

Dan O’Neill, the wonderful sales guy that I have been dealing with for many years caught my curiosity and asked me if I was ready to see my new car.

He brought me over and theatrically pulled the cloth away from the car and unveiled my new, gorgeous Jaguar XF to both me and my dad.

Jaguar XF

Oh my God, what a moment – buying a new car is special but this rewrote the rule book on how your new car should be presented to you.

The car was driven out of the showroom, I quickly completed some paperwork. Dan showed me some of the new features and the keys were finally handed over to me.

It was time to hit the road in this beauty that I was privileged to be driving (I work my socks off but I don’t for one second appreciate how lucky I am) except there was one last thing to do before I pressed on the accelerator.

Sad songs for dirty lovers” was removed from the case and ….

A moments confusion – where do I put the CD?

There was no slot where you would expect it. Was there a button to press somewhere that would slide open a panel on the dashboard where the CD would go? Was there a multi-CD option in the boot (I never liked that idea but okay if that was the case)? Was there some place in the console next to the driver where you placed the CD?

Feeling rather stupid that I wasn’t able to figure out this basic thing I went looking for Dan and asked him the embarrassing question, “Dan, where do I put the CD?

They’ve done away with a CD player in this new model, it’s all by bluetooth now” he explained.

I was staggered and disappointed. We switched on the radio and heard Bobby Kerr doing his business show, I flicked the channels to find some decent music but nothing was what I wanted to hear on my first journey in this fantastic machine. Instead we drove away and just listened to the gorgeous purr of the engine.

Someone somewhere made a decision on behalf of all new Jaguar XF drivers that any music listened to while driving would be on the radio or via something pre-loaded on a phone or an iPod.

I love my music more than most, I love my CD’s and I love the idea of being able to grab something from my collection or buy something in the music store and just play!

I probably sound like a dinosaur (the dinosaur who was buying the car!) but this boy is thinking that technology is now driving a lot of behaviour in a way that maybe the customer just doesn’t want?

Get your hands on that National album (CD or Vinyl) and put it in a decent sound system, crank it up as loud as you can bear and celebrate how things should be..

Note – I bought the car at the beginning of 2016 and a few irritations with technology recently have prompted me to finally write the piece.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you bring to work? – the Gospel according to The Boss

February 18, 2017

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

I always tell the fantastic team that work with me and Dee at Fuzion Communications, that they don’t work for an entity, they actually work for themselves.

Fuzion isn’t the place where they work, it is them, it is us.

Together we turn up, we ply our trade and we give of ourselves and the result of this is Fuzion.

The place where we work is what we collectively make of it, and it is up to us together, to make it a special place that we can all enjoy.

When we get this right and we enjoy doing great work together for our clients we call it Win Happy.

When anyone new starts I explain our simple work philosophy to them and I am sure they think I am a total crackpot because sadly it doesn’t normally operate like this in the workplace.

I am in the middle of a fantastic book and the following powerful excerpt really resonated with me as it describes our philosophy better than I ever can:

There is love and respect in the centre of everything that we do together.

It’s not just business, it’s personal.

When you come to work with me, I had to be assured that you’d bring your heart

Heart sealed the deal.

We are more than an idea, an aesthetic. We are a philosophy, a collective, with a professional code of honour.

It is based on the principle that we bring our best, everything we have, to remind you of everything you have, your best.

That it’s a privilege to exchange smiles, soul and heart directly with the people in front of you.

That it’s an honour and great fun to join in concert with those whom you’ve invested so much of yourself in and they in you, your fans, the stars above, this moment, and apply your trade humbly (or not so!) as a piece of a long, spirited chain you’re thankful to be a small link in.  

Bruce Springsteen

Excerpt from his book ‘Born to Run’

#WinHappy

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agencu that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

I’m not telling you where it is..

February 5, 2017

Fireside

You can feel everything heating up again..

We spend at least half our working week doing business in Dublin and our home has been a particular hotel, which was located close to the office.

It became a home from home of sorts for years with most of the staff recognising us as we trooped in with our bags week after week. They looked after us really well and we left them lots of business. We had our corporate rate and our bonus nights and they had a regular customer, often at times of the year when Dublin was quiet.

The first sign of things changing was an email last year notifying us that our corporate rate wouldn’t apply on peak weeks. Okay, but wasn’t that the whole point of a corporate rate – a good average rate in exchange for lots of regular business?

The second big sign, which came along a few months later was an email informing us that the corporate rates in 2017 were increasing by 40%. Thank you… it seems that the whole loyalty thing doesn’t quite cut the mustard when things get busier!

So we went shopping for an alternative.

We did find a place, a little further out that gave us a good corporate rate and they assured us that they had a complimentary shuttle service to alleviate the slightly inconvenient location.

On the first day using the new hotel I enquired about the shuttle service – unfortunately the driver was on leave this week so there would be no shuttle service. Okay – Mr Shuttle driver could not be relied on!

I headed on foot to the office and just as I was nearly there I passed a gorgeous little place, an old Georgian house with a sign outside declaring it to be a “hotel”.

I marched up the steps of this beautiful property and pushed the door open to be greeted by a really nice, friendly guy. I asked about rates and asked to see a typical room.

I was so impressed with the package he offered me and the gorgeous rooms and homely atmosphere that I immediately booked us in for a number of weeks ahead. The guy I was dealing with was the owner – the place had been in his family for decades and somehow you knew it had.

Our first stay didn’t disappoint – “Would you like a tea or a coffee?” was just one part of the warm welcome, the room was homely and impeccable and our breakfast was delicious and made to order.

I’m guessing the friendly woman, Agnes who served us was part of the family that owned this special place.

We walked to work, just a few minutes away and there was an extra skip in my step because in all the years that we have been staying overnight in Dublin I have never felt so at home.

So, unfortunately I’m not going to tell you where it is!!

I’ll resist tweeting about it because selfishly I want to keep this place a secret so that there is always a room there for us.

Dublin is booming ..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Microsoft, LinkedIn and the Personal Touch?

December 8, 2016

Microsoft buys LinkedIn

Today I received a really nice personalised email from Mike.

Mike is an important guy in LinkedIn (I’m guessing) and clearly he and his communications team felt it would be appropriate to reach out ‘personally’ to communicate some messages about some rather important news.

The problem is I don’t know Mike, I’ve never had correspondence from him and in truth he is attempting to communicate to an audience (me and God knows how many others) who are cynical and probably won’t connect with his message because we know it is a giant company who just don’t communicate like that to customers.

I totally get why the email was sent and all of the logic behind the “personal” touch BUT when you do this you must be tuned into your audience and what they are thinking so that your message will connect instead of having the opposite effect.

I’m not sure if you think like me about these things but I’ll try to share my thoughts (I’ll put these in brackets) to highlight what happens when you get the communication wrong..

Mikes email:

Dear Greg, (do I know you?)

Today, Microsoft completed its acquisition of LinkedIn.

This is a major milestone for the technology industry and for our two companies (good for you!), and I wanted to reach out to you, (that’s lovely!) a valued customer of LinkedIn, (quite honestly I’ve never quite felt like that) to reaffirm our commitment to you and your business. (Yeah right..)

As we said in June, when Microsoft announced its intent to acquire LinkedIn, LinkedIn’s vision — to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce (what workshop came up with his one – are you taking the p#ss?) — is not changing (I can now sleep at night).

Additionally, LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and autonomy as a company (how long will this last?).

Finally, we remain committed to innovating with our partners to ensure LinkedIn’s products work with the tools and systems you use every day, from Applicant Tracking Systems, to Customer Relationship Management platforms, to Learning Management Systems, and more. (I’m breaking out the champagne!)

With the completion of this acquisition, you can continue to expect the great products and service to which you’re accustomed from LinkedIn. (if you say so yourself!)

You can find more details about today’s news here. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account team or a representative here at LinkedIn. (Seeing as you emailed me Mike maybe I could email you directly? …nah, I know it doesn’t work like that)

We sincerely appreciate our partnership (hmmm- when did that happen?) with you and look forward to the successes we will share in the future. (this makes no sense whatsoever – even more champagne?)

Thanks,
Mike (from one first name to another)
Mike Gamson
Senior Vice President, Global Solutions (I bet you have a nice car!!)

Communication Breakdown..

I apologise for the sarcasm and maybe its just my mood today but was that email a whole pile of self serving me, me me rubbish?

You have to wonder if there is any point when communicating trying to pretend you have a relationship that you clearly don’t have and then smother this with cliche, marketing jargon that has been spat out of meaningless workshops where there wasn’t a genuine ‘customer’ in sight.

The purchase price was supposed to be in the region of $26 Billion – what happened with the communications plan?

Maybe just keep it easy? – issue a simple press release that says the sale has gone through

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland