Oct 19

How How to Use E-mail to Impress Your Customers



I’m in the middle of a run of pretty bad customer service experiences. I’ve bought two laptops, one DOA, that had to be returned immediately, then had a devastating Rent the Runway experience that had me running out the day before an event to buy a formal gown. Not cool.

Then, shopping for a gift for a family member on uncommongoods resulted in this:




I love the clarity of communication, the notice that there will be four e-mails from them, and what they’re telling me along the way. It was just what I needed to see to restore my faith in online retailing and customer service. Way to go, uncommongoods!

What can we learn from this? Be clear, be brief, and tell customers what to expect. I appreciate this and the no-nonsense approach to getting this done. Think about how you’re e-mailing customers. Are you telling them what to expect? How about how often they should hear from you? Making a promise like that, then keeping it, can go a long way toward brand loyalty. Now, if uncommongoods only sold laptops and formal gowns . . .


Oct 19

Five Lessons Learned from Dozens of Lunches, Hundreds of Coffees

When you’re building a new business, it’s necessary to meet a lot of new people. There are dozens of lunches and hundreds of coffees, some awkward and even a little painful. A lot of them go nowhere — it’s a new contact, likely someone who, it turns out, will never buy what you’re selling, but still, they now understand what it is that you do. The lessons:

  1. The coffees and lunches may seem fruitless, but it’s worth it, always. It often doesn’t seem so, in the moment! What a huge waste of time! But educating just one more person who may be a referral source, may just pay off one day.
  2. Writing a proposal for a potential new client, and delivering your pitch is another exercise that may seem pointless after many rejections. It’s not; it’s an opportunity to refine your approach, to practice how you talk about what it is that you do.
  3. Following up more than once with a potential client who isn’t even courteous enough to reply to a proposal they requested IS a huge waste of time. Kiss that one goodbye and move on.
  4. Confirm all appointments. I’ve had people show up at the wrong coffee shop. I narrowly missed a lunch, myself. I like to send a calendar appointment, now. It seems to work.
  5. If they’ve asked you to lunch to pick your brain, let them pick up the tab. And don’t give them more than a snippet of information. Brain Picking is not free.

Now it’s time to set up a few coffees and lunches!

Oct 05

Resisting the Distraction of Baby Goats

One of my favorite movie lines comes from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when the creepy, high-achieving mom says, “Eyes on the prize, Violet. Eyes on the prize.” There’s just something so delightfully disturbing about the way she delivers that line. What Violet’s mom knows, though, is that it’s important to stay focused. Clients and potential clients often get mired in discussion of one-off tactics. “How do we leverage Facebook?” for example. It’s our job to bring them back to a total strategy view, to remember that Facebook is a tool but not the overall strategy, that the content is the most important element to create, THEN we can determine where it goes and how.

But darn it, if I even mention baby goats in a meeting, I’ve lost them completely.

Jun 16

The Three Dead Friends You’ll Have on Facebook

I have three dead friends on Facebook. It’s hard; especially when their birthdays show up, or when well-meaning mutual friends post a message to their wall because they’re thinking of our deceased friend.  If you don’t already, you’ll have friends on Facebook who die, either expectedly or unexpectedly.

Dying in the digital era has new challenges. For the user, managing privacy and security is important while alive — having your information totally inaccessible can be a real pain for the friends and family you leave behind.

Enter the age of Credential Management: a new field that touches the legal issues, health care, banking, social media and more. If you have a will, it’s important to leave instructions for your family on how to access your bank accounts. Passwords for all manner of online-managed personal details should never be written down, but instructions for how to get them are going to be critical in the event that you become ill, hurt, incapacitated in some way, or even die.

I recently started using Dashlane for password management. I like it for a number of reasons but one big one is the Emergency Feature, which allows me to name a contact or contacts who will be allowed access in the event of an emergency. You can read how it works on the site, but it makes sense (waiting period that you set from two days to three months, and never a release of your master password) and gives me the peace of mind I need to conduct my life.

What are you doing to manage your credentials?

Mar 06

How to Use Your Network to Help a Friend in Transition

I heard from a friend who lives in my city. Her relationship has ended, and she’s moving to another city in another, far-away state for a fresh start. Let’s pretend that city is Boulder, Colorado. I’ve always wanted to visit Boulder. Anyway, I wasn’t entirely sure who I know in or from Boulder, but I was certain that there is someone or a few someones, my network being what it is (fairly large and varied), and the way people move about the country following relationships, jobs and other opportunities.

On LinkedIn I went to Advanced Search and typed in a Boulder ZIP code. That pulled up three people in my network who currently live and work in the area. Huzzah! I went to my friend’s profile, clicked the arrow next to Send a Message on her profile, scrolled down and selected “share profile” and sent a note to those contacts saying hello from their former city (coincidentally, they all formerly lived in Charlottesville), and introduced my friend, asking them to be kind and hook a sister up.

I don’t know how this will work out, ultimately, but it’s what you do, and how you do it.

Older posts «

» Newer posts