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Translating Customer Service to Social

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“Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer.” Macy’s Motto

I am amazed at how many companies still don’t understand how to effectively utilize social media platforms, especially in regards to customer service. Times are changing and it is no longer enough to simply offer customer service through a hotline. Everything you do as a company should be translated to all of your social media platforms- communication, customer relationship management, promotion, and often the most important of all… customer service.

I recently had a very positive experience with social media customer service, which seems to be a rare service among most companies. The company that gets customer service? Fossil, Inc.

Recently, I had my watch strap connector break for the third time in the past year. Usually in the past, I would drive 40 mins to a Fossil outlet and they would replace the connectors free of charge. However, I did not have the time to make that trek this time around. I called the outlet store and needless to say, they told me to buy a strap or a new watch and there was nothing that they could do.

My next step? Test their social media customer service. I tweeted my frustration right to Fossil, Inc.

Image I did not expect much of a solution, however I was pleasantly surprised.

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Not only did I receive a response FOURTEEN minutes after my post, they placed an order for a new watch strap to get sent to my house all within an hour. This, my fellow readers, is a company that gets it. Customer service is one of the biggest drivers of brand loyalty- you only have a small window of opportunity to turn a bad experience and possible lost customer into a meaningful opportunity to make a relationship and connection.

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As a company, you have to go out of your way to not only meet customer’s needs and desires, but you have to ASTONISH customers. That is what makes the difference between an ordinary company and an extraordinary company. You can bet that I will be a Fossil customer for a long time and all it took was one hour.

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#GetUp4GameDay

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ESPN is the leader in all things sports and social. It is a company that is finally using social media to create a brand community and makes it a point to engage consistently with their fans. They understand the importance of variety in social.

With 1,282,897 likes, ESPN gets it. Fostering and increasing engagement with the audience is essential in the success of any social media strategies. Let’s see how they manage to do this…

Fill-in-the-blank statements.

These are so simple and quick, yet they allow fans to come together and state their opinions publicly.

In just 5 hours after posting, College GameDay received 1,834 comments and 21 shares. It is easy to simply “Like” a page, so this is not a metric that is truly a measurement of engagement. However, shares and comments expand the reach of the audience and provides fans an opportunity to create a conversation not only with the brand, but also with other people.

Results/Statistics 

ESPN is a sports network (to state the obvious). So they align their business model with their social media strategies and channels. It is not all chatter with ESPN- it is a channel to communicate what is going on and what their fans are interested in reading.

Again… the engagement is there. They have a perfect trifecta of likes, comments, and shares.

Campaigns and contests 

Social media is not a platform to simply sell your product or communicate information. No one is going to spend a lot of time on your social media site if there is nothing they can participate in or nothing that excites them.

Yesterday marked an important day in the year… the start of the College Football Season. ESPN has utilized Facebook to promote their #GetUp4GameDay campaign. College GameDay officially begins tomorrow at 9AM. To encourage people to view and participate as much as possible, they are motivating people to wake up early and spend their entire day surrounding themselves in all things college football related. The hashtag will most definitely be found anywhere on the ESPN channel tomorrow and throughout the day, you will see conversations about College GameDay increase exponentially.

For example, ESPN created an entire album on Facebook with each football team and a graphic to share entitled with the “Get up. It’s GameDay” headline. This is a great way to have people talking about a campaign by personalizing it for every fan, not simply just posting a status about the campaign and telling fans to “like” it or “share” it…that’s been done. Innovation is the key to success.

Anticipation, and so much more. 

ESPN fosters a sense of excitement on their Facebook page. Whether it be through countdowns, inspirational pictures or results of a voting competition (such as the new logo for College Football Playoffs), ESPN continually keeps fans engaged with new content that actually makes you want to check back every day to see what they posted. Exclusive content on social media sites really entices people to check back on a more regular basis.

RIght Picture: Notice the amount of engagement that a simple countdown to GameDay caused…people are passionate about things- figure out who those people are and they will engage.

ESPN knows social.

Let me know what you think, I would love to hear it!

Social Media…it’s here to stay

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 Photo Credit: http://www.mattkinshella.com/2013/01/social-media-is-evolutionary/

 

Everywhere I go, I can’t help but hear someone say that social media and marketing is subpar to everything else in business and it’s just a fad that will soon pass. I wonder where these perceptions of marketing come from. Marketing is not a new concept, it’s been around from the very beginning. The very essence of marketing is communication and relationships…all of which existed at the beginning of time starting with Adam and Eve. 

People yearn  to be connected and know what’s going on in order to be “in the loop.” The Pony Express came about as a medium to meet the needs of consumers. “The ten-day delivery time of the Pony Express was a revolution in its day bringing political and social news to a hungry readership” (http://officialponyexpress.org/pony-express-history.html). It was the social media of its time and it spread like wildfire, only increasing people’s insatiable thirst for networking and communication. 

Social Media and communications have improved and developed exponentially since the time of the Pony Express. We are in the age of instantaneous communication and a need for quick gratification. This is the core purpose of us as human beings, to communicate and to have relationships with the people around us. What is marketing and social media? The avenues and actions we take to satisfy these basic human needs. Marketing is ever changing with the society we live in and it molds to the audience it’s targeting. Unless we all become solitary beings with no desire to know anything, social media is staying. The mediums and channels may change, but it’s here to stay. So buckle up and enjoy the ride. 

Putting the “study” in studying abroad

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Hey guys
So I have discovered that traveling in Europe and studying has really taken up all the time that I have. Considering that I do not have access to a computer, this may be my last post for now. I am taking Europe and the culture in as much as I can without tainting the experience with so much technology.

With that said, I have to tell you guys about my adventures in Cinque Terre this past weekend while I take a much needed break from my studies.

Cinque Terre is a region consisting of five cities that are located pretty close to eachother (about a 9-11 hour hike from the first town to the last). We stayed in a quaint town called Riomaggiore. It is the town furthest south and definitely had a small town feel. We stayed in an apartment that was rented out by an old Italian couple who lived upstairs. It had two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, and a random room with chairs. This place proved to be the best place to experience the locality and essence of Italy at its best.
We arrived pretty late the first day and so we settled in and got ready to go get some dinner. It didn’t take long before we realized that the town essentially just spans off of one main street and within the first hour, we already felt at home. We decided to eat at this small restaurant on the main road and all I can say is, good choice. I had the best meal of spaghetti and clam, oysters, shrimp, and octopus. I am always on the lookout for the best seafood and jump on every opportunity to enjoy some fresh seafood. Without a doubt, the entire weekends’ seafood meals were some of the best I have ever tried and I am so thankful that I can say I’ve truly experienced Mediterranean cuisine at its finest. I highly recommend it for all the seafood seekers out there.

After dinner, we ran into what appeared to be the “hangout spot” in Riomaggiore. We decided to hang out there and ended up meeting some very sweet Italian people and a girl from San Diego (what a small world). These people pretty much sparked our adventures the rest of the weekend and without them, we would never have seen the magnificent things we saw. We made plans to meet up with them in the morning and ended home, quite exhausted around 1AM.

The next morning we walked past our hang out spot from the night before all to find that they served breakfast as well (essentially it became our home for the weekend). Although I was desperately craving eggs and bacon, I was very hesitant to order eggs because I am not one to simply eat a runny egg. In fact, it has to be overly cooked to the point that no liquid will ever come from that egg. At the end, I decided to take a risk and I ordered an omelette…best decision. The eggs and omelettes at this place are not like our eggs, they were thoroughly cooked and really thin. It was served with fresh tomatoes (of course…there’s never a course here without fresh tomatoes and basil), bacon that is not cooked to the crisp which I love, and bread (another definite part of every meal in Italy). The cappuccino that accompanied my meal proved to be the cherry on top of another phenomenal meal.

At the end of breakfast, we decided to head up to Montereso al mare, which is the main tourist and beach town furthest from where we stayed. We paid 2 euros for an 8 minute train ride to Montereso and proceeded to explore the town in search of the beaches. We soon came upon them and I was in awe. There was only one main sandy beach followed by very rocky sand, but it was simply breathtaking. I get simply moved by any beach anywhere, the plethora of all colors of umbrellas, people, buildings, rocks and incredible waves, left me utterly satisfied and blessed that I was able to be in that place. We found some of our girls from our trip and decided to walk along the beach, which proved to be a lot more painful and time consuming than we had expected. We came upon a few topless women and men wearing speedos, truly getting a feel of European culture.

After a little more exploring, we discovered our stomachs were again, in need of more food (I am constantly hungry and its getting a wee bit ridiculous). We decided to stay simple and eat at a restaurant right on the beach since it randomly decided to start raining on us, but only lasted five minutes (typical unpredictable beach weather…thats always the same). I ordered a lasagna and devoured it. This lasagna is not like the Stouffers oven lasagna I am used to, no this was 100x better. I’m telling you, food in general is so much better, I am really going to struggle shifting back to American processed food.

I just have to leave you guys with one thought, never take for granted the places you’ve been and the things you’ve seen. At the time, you may not think much of it because you are thinking about whats next but don’t. Stop and take in all facets of every place you go, whether its the absolutely beautiful sight of the Mediterranean or simply a beautiful park or lake. It’s amazing how much you can get from life from simply being in its presence.

“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell

Ciao and buona sera!

Here a few random pictures ranging throughout the country of Italy

St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) about to feed the pigeons :)
St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) about to feed the pigeons 🙂
Riding in the infamous gondolas
Riding in the infamous gondolas

Fireworks on the night that Italy won the semi-finals for the World Cup soccer. What an incredible experience to see that

 

 

Standing in front of the ancient Roman Ruins
Standing in front of the ancient Roman Ruins

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A dream come true…finally in Italy

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Ciao!
So like I said before, I started this blog a few days ago… Two weeks into my travels. So I thought I would back track and catch yall up to speed with where I am currently. I have found it really hard to update frequently because I barely have enough time in the day already. Having four and a half hours of class Monday-Thursday for a month has proved to be much more intense than I imagined. Although I must say, my classes have been really interesting lately.

Italy is has been so great so far. It is incredible to think that people actually wake up every morning and live here. It is truly another world and I am falling in love with every aspect of the country. It is absolutely beautiful and everything that you would imagine. Every apartment place has its own balcony and the flowers… they are EVERYWHERE. Flower boxes adorn the buildings and the relaxed lifestyle of the Italians resonate throughout the city. We are living in Verona, Italy. For those of you who don’t know, Verona is a town that many tourists visit only for a day and then tend to go back to other cities to spend the night. This turned out to be such a blessing because it is more local and annoying tourists (yes, we are now beyond simply “tourists” in Verona) aren’t standing on every corner.

So far, we have mostly just explored around and enjoyed the locality of the area…getting used to the “siesta” from about 1-5 every afternooon when most stores are closed and to be spent with families eating (nice right?). The hussle and bussle of the American lifestyle is nowhere to be found, and I have to say it is refreshing. Stress seems to be vacant from the lives of the Italians and we are getting used to an hour dinner being “fast food.” While I am on the subject of food, I have to say that it is simply amazing. The pizza here is like nothing I have ever tasted, it’s a lot more rich in flavor but light. Everyone gets their own pizzes and finishes it without feeling bloated. Wine of course is included in many meals and often times in Europe is way cheaper than water. Another amazing treat is gelato. Yepp, it is something that I need to use self-control on to not eat every single day. There are so many flavors and is NOTHING like American gelato.. but hey, everything tastes better and more authentic here.

Best Gelato in town
Best Gelato in town

 

Gelato

I am traveling to Cinque Terre this weekend with a group of friends. It is five cities that are close to eachother on the Mediterranean coast. I will have updates on that as soon as I get back.. as well as my trip to Venice and my true experience of European travel from last weekend.

Ciao!

 

 

Remembrance of my travels

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Buona giornata!

I have finally caved into starting my own blog, mainly due to the fact that when asked about my adventures, I cannot remember what I had done merely a few days ago. This realization made me come to the conclusion that this is a once in a lifetime trip and to simply forget the details would be tragic.

I have been in Europe for two weeks now and have already experienced an array of new cultures and lifestyles. Because of this, I cannot say specifically what I did each day, but I will provide a summary to catch you up on where I am in my travels currently.

We started our travels on May 19. This day proved to be a bit of challenge due to the fact that I absolutely can’t say goodbyes. It was all so new at first coming into the program really knowing no one to the point where a conversation could be easily started. The plane ride was fairly easy, with the exception of attempting to get any sort of continuous sleep. We landed in Frankfurt, Germany where we took another plane to Warsaw, Poland.

Poland. I never in my wildest dreams would’ve imagined that I would walk the streets and take in the sights of places such as Warsaw, Krakow, Auschwitz, and other small towns. Needless to say, I am so blessed for the opportunity to have gone to a beautiful country that I never would have included in my travel itinerary.

Warsaw was an interesting city, filled with so much rich history and strife. Most of the city had been restored and reconstructed due to the fact that it was destroyed by the Germans and many of the most beautiful landmarks of Warsaw were gone. Although most of the city is urbanized and McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and KFC have taken over, I could still feel the history around me and see the pain of it all in the people’s eyes. It’s incredible how much people can take away, but how strong a city becomes by banning together and restoring their precious city. There was one building that stood out, right across from our hotel actually, beautifully lit in an array of colors at night, a sight that took your breath away. Unfortunately, we eventually learned that the Polish people hate that building and call it many names such as Stalin’s Syringe..why? Stalin gave Poland this building to the city as a  “gift”. It stands right in the middle and supposedly it was built higher because Stalin wasn’t satisfied until it rose above all the rest to signify his superiority. Now we really looked like tourists, admiring a building that is hated by the natives. Ooops.

We traveled to Krakow one day, which I must say, I wish we had more than simply a few hours to spend in that city. It was absolutely stunning in history and beauty. Unlike Warsaw, everything was original, dating back into the 11th century for some buildings. The beauty and culture of the city is something that I know I will have in the back of my memory for a long time.

Another highlight of the Poland excursion was our trips to Aushwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. I could spend another day explaining my experience here and may write about it in the next week. This was an experience that changed my life in my ways and being there made everything so much more real. I can’t explain the feelings you go through as you walk along a place that so much suffering and wrongdoing was committed. My heart broke for every single soul and I became aware of the incredible, overflowing blessings in my life. It is an experience that I would recommend to everyone at some point in  your life. It is truly eye-opening.

That is a very very very brief summary of my first part of my journey and I am sorry for that. Had I realized my incredibly weak memory, I would have began this as soon as I set foot in Europe. But I promise, I will do my best to keep up with my travels (although, being the only one without a computer here, it’s more difficult than you would thing).

Do zobaczenia (until we meet again/goodbye in Polish..which by the way, is such a beautiful and extremely different language from English and Romance languages).

Quick note: This is my first time doing this, so I am just trying to get a hang of it, so just stick with me!

Beautiful Polish infrastructure
Beautiful Polish infrastructure

Muzeum Pałac w Wilanowie
Muzeum Pałac w Wilanowie

Josef Stalin's Palace of Culture and Science, or "an unfinished dream of a Russian cake," and "Stalin's Syringe" as paraphrased from our guide
Josef Stalin’s Palace of Culture and Science, or “an unfinished dream of a Russian cake,” and “Stalin’s Syringe” as paraphrased from our guide