Customers Rock!

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Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Bungie Rocks! Fixing (someone else’s) Customer Service Error

Posted by Becky Carroll on March 12, 2008

nathaniels-xbox-360.jpg When a person sends in a device to customer service for a repair, there is a certain amount of trust that is given by the customer. They trust it will be fixed.  They trust it will come back in one piece.  And in the case of a loyal Halo video game fanatic, he trusted it would be returned to him will all his memorabilia still intact! (Hat tip to bs angel at Hawty McBloggy , who gets full credit for the info on the story details and these images.)

The Problem

Nathaniel is a fan of the Halo video game franchise created by Bungie.  When he purchased his XBox 360 (pre-ordered it!), he started taking it with him to get autographs from the folks involved with creating his favorite game.  He had accumulated quite a few autographs from the gaming studio and the XBox 360 team, in addition to some artwork from notable gaming artists, which were written in black permanent ink directly onto his gaming console (see photo at top for a view of some of the goodies he had on there).  Notice I keep using the word “had”.  Nathaniel’s beloved XBox 360 console stopped working, and although he debated about it, Nathaniel sent it in to Microsoft to have it repaired. 

To ensure his valuable console would be returned unscathed, he called customer support at Microsoft to see if they could promise to protect this decorated casing.  They said they wouldn’t harm it and would return it the same way it came to them.  Not convinced, Nathaniel also included a letter with his XBox 360 when he sent it in asking that the technicians be careful not to smudge the artwork.  He additionally requested that if the inside of the console needed to be replaced, would they please be so kind as to return his original case with new innards.

Crushed! 

Well, Nathaniel did get back his original case (the serial numbers match his original one), but it was wiped completely clean.  No autographs.  No cool artwork.  Only a few hints of permanent marker remained where previously there had been treasured memorabilia.  To read the full story, you can go over to Hawty McBloggy, who documented the letter that Nathaniel sent and the results in this first post on the subject.

Now hang in there with me, Customers Rock! readers, because even though this story took a negative turn, the ending totally rocks!

Nathaniel was crushed, as you can imagine.  The Hawty McBloggy blog decided to help him share his story with the gaming community to make sure none of them got stuck like he did.   At the time, all of Nathaniel’s questions to Microsoft were going unanswered.  The gaming community, however, rallied around Nathaniel – there are over 700 comments to bs angel’s original story on this!

Heroes to the Rescue

halo-helmet.jpg Bungie Studios, the creators of Halo (and their most recent version, Halo 3), also heard about what happened.  Even though they weren’t remotely responsible for this error made in console tech support, they wanted to do something about it to help make it right.  Only a few days later, a huge box arrived on Nathaniel’s doorstep – absolutely stuffed with cool Bungie “swag”.   Bungie is well known by the gaming community for treating their fans like royalty, but this one must be a record, even for them!  Here is a list of what he received (documented by bs angel):

Included in the Halo swag bag were :

  • Legendary Edition Helmet signed by most–if not all–of the studio staff (see photo)
  • Halo 3 Soundtrack (two disc) signed by Marty O’Donnel (with “DO NOT ERASE!” written under his name)
  • Bungie Jacket
  • Bungie T-Shirt
  • Halo 3 Messenger Bag
  • Two Halo 3 Limited Edition Wireless Controllers (one covenant, one human)
  • Halo 3 Faceplate and Skins for Xbox 360
  • Four McFarlane Action Figures (MC, EVA Spartan, Brute Chieftan, Jackal Sniper)
  • Halo Actionclix Preview pack (Target exclusive sticker on the front)
  • Halo Actionclix Game Pack 4
  • Halo 3 Wall Graffix
  • Halo 3: Ghosts of Onyx Novel
  • Halo Graphic Novel
  • Halo 3 Wristband
  • Halo 3 Hackeysack

Nathaniel was overwhelmed by their generosity and the support of the whole gaming community.  Here is his reaction:

“And finally, to the staff of Bungie Studios: I cannot thank you enough for the outpouring of support that you have lavished upon me in the aftermath of the release of my story. Long have I known of your dedication to your fans and community, but I find this single act of kindness mind boggling. Apart from the fact that a few of you had signatures adorning my console, you had no involvement in what occurred. As such, you have far surpassed any response I could have anticipated. I don’t think I could ever repay you for this.”

This unexpected response from Bungie totally rocks!

The Community’s Response

Yes, Bungie Studios now has a fan for life in Nathaniel, and in his friends I’m sure, as he will be spreading the word far and wide.  bs angel’s blog has also helped to spread the word – both the sad saga as well as the happy ending.  There are over 200 comments to the second post detailing the “swag” sent by Bungie, and most of them are Bungie fans saying how cool the company is for doing this!  Here are some sample (verbatim) comments:

  • bungie rocks. i’ve never seen a company so in touch with their fan-base before.
  • Just more confirmation why we all love Bungie so much.
  • It would be a massive boon to society as a whole, if somehow most of the corporate world would follow Bungie’s lead. They seem to always give back that huge amount of extra.
  • Good Job Bungie.
    Handled like a company that appreciates its customers.
  • Class all the way.
    It’s little gestures like this that make a good business truly great.
  • More companies need to do more things like this. The world is losing sight that back in the day “mom and pop” shops would do things like this all the time.

And these comments, folks, are only a few from this gaming community.  Bungie just created a huge list of raving fans by how they responded to this incident. 

How did Bungie do it?

– They were listening to their customers, using social media.

– They had previously built up a strong community (see their website for forums, insider information, and an open and honest attitude including Bungie podcasts, photos, and webcams!)

– They decided to “do the right thing”, even though they were not the ones in the wrong (the console manufacturer made the error, not the video game studio)

– Bungie has prioritized customers as a critical success factor for their business – and has acted on it.

Clearly, Customers Rock! for Bungie Studios.  Way to go, Bungie!

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Posted in Community, Customer loyalty, Customer service, Customers Rock!, Gaming, social media | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

New eBook on Social Media

Posted by Becky Carroll on March 7, 2008

ebook-solis.jpg Last month, I got a chance to meet another blogger, Brian Solis of PR 2.0, face to face in San Francisco.  We had a great conversation, and the next day he asked me if I would be willing to collaborate on his upcoming eBook on, what else, social media. 

Here we are one month later, and Brian just launched his eBook today!  It is titled, “Customer Service: The Art of Listening and Engagement Through Social Media.”  Brian was nice enough to give me billing right on the front cover – thanks, Brian!

If you haven’t read any of Brian’s writings, then you should definitely pick up this eBook.  He and I come from a very similar perspective on many things, and his thinking is simply brilliant.  If you have read Brian before, then you need to pick this up, as you know what you will be getting – lots of good information!  It relates very well to my three key points from my post earlier this week on social media and relationships:

  • Social media is one tool in the toolbox for interacting with customers.  It will work well if customers are willing to engage in that medium!
  • Social media is a great tool to help create and strengthen relationships.
  • It is all about the people.

You can download the eBook from Brian’s site or from right here at Customers Rock!

PDF version

Word version

Let us know what you think, and if you have any other examples of using social media to engage and interact with customers, please send them along.

Posted in Customer experience, Customer loyalty, Customer service, Customer strategy, eBooks, social media | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Social Media Live!

Posted by Becky Carroll on March 4, 2008

dsc_0326-medium.jpgbloggers-medium.jpg 

The more I talk about and use social media, the more I have been stressing a few key points.

  • Social media is one tool in the toolbox for interacting with customers.  It will work well if customers are willing to engage in that medium!
  • Social media is a great tool to help create and strengthen relationships.
  • It is all about the people.

In my recent talk on Social Media and Customer Loyalty for the Direct Marketing Association, I used the case study of the Washington Humane Society.  Tara de Nicolas is their director of marketing, primary author of their blog, and director of their social media strategy – which includes FacebookMySpace, flickr, and YouTube, for the moment.  (For more info on their blog, see Geoff Livingston’s post where he interviewed Tara – thanks for the info, Geoff!)  Tara and her team use their social media channels to connect with potential adopters, families that have already adopted, and donors.  Quite a community has developed, with the photos of the WHS staff being one of the areas that are most widely viewed.  As Tara told me in my interview with her, it is all about connecting with the people and putting a face on the Society.  Way to go, Tara and team!

Blogging is also about connecting with others, mostly online.  Recently, I have had the opportunity to connect live with two wonderful blogging friends: Doug Hanna of ServiceUntitled and Toby Bloomberg of Diva Marketing Blog: see the photos at the top of the blog post!

As much fun as it is to send emails and connect via blogs, there is nothing like a good ole fashioned face-to-face meeting to strengthen relationships.  Doug and I had the opportunity to connect in San Francisco for the Customer Service is the New Marketing conference, put on by Get Satisfaction, where we both gave workshops.  Toby and I met up for dinner when she came to San Diego to give a workshop for the American Marketing Association.  Both meet-ups were great fun, and I could see the blog personalities in the person, very clearly.  Toby even sent me a nice thank-you note afterwards, with a small toss of her trademark pink boa.  Thanks, Toby!!

A whole group of marketing and PR bloggers is getting together next month in New York City for a Blogger Social, put on by CK and Drew McLellan – wish I could be there!  Steve Woodruff is even profiling all the bloggers who are attending to help them get to know each other better.  You guys all rock!

Social media is indeed about building relationships and making existing bonds stronger.  It is a great way to get to know customers, as well as to make your organization seem more personal and authentic.  Use it as part of your marketing strategy, but be sure to complement it with the old-fashioned way of building relationships – face time – where you can.

Posted in Blogging, social media | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Social Media and Customer Retention

Posted by Becky Carroll on February 12, 2008

ducks.jpg There is a lot of conversation going on about social media.  Companies are asking questions – should I create a corporate blog?  What can I do to get more people to our MySpace/Facebook page?  What works, and what doesn’t?

Matt Dickman has a great post on how to use social media in customer service using Twitter.   I met someone from Twitter at the Customer Service is the New Marketing conference last week, and many companies are starting to use it in their customer service.  Here is the overview of Matt’s take on it for anyone considering the use of this tool:

“Twitter is the ultimate customer service tool. It’s live, instantaneous, community driven, open, two-way and multi-way, unfiltered and predictive. This is, however, only for the most advanced, customer-forward companies to attempt to use. You definitely need a black belt in customer service ninja techniques to do this well.”

Should companies use social media as a marketing tool for customers?  Greg Verdino, in his blog post called “Is your brand a social media loozr?”, shares an insightful quote from Seana Mulcahy

“Social media marketing is not just throwing up a page on MySpace, Facebook or any other social media site for that matter. You’ve seen some of the biggest U.S. agencies do that for their clients over the past year or so. These folks have patted themselves on the back for being trailblazers.

Newsflash: That is not trailblazing, that is ignorant.”

Like Greg, I have also long stated that social media should be one more way in which a company reaches out to engage with its customers.  It should not necessarily replace current communication channels, but it should be incorporated into them based on how your customers like to respond.  If they are online a lot, social media might be a good way to interact with them, especially if they are already using it in their personal lives.  How do you know?  Ask them! 

Have Any Good Examples?

Along those lines, I am asking you, my readers, for some input.  I am preparing a talk (unpaid) for my local chapter of the DMA, and I am looking for some examples of companies who have successfully used social media/marketing techniques to keep customers engaged.  I would like to know the name of the company, whether it’s customers are businesses or consumers, a link or screenshot of the social media used, and how it is helping customer retention.  If you are a customer of a company who does a great job with this, or a company that is seeing good results, please either email me, becky at petraconsultinggroup.com, or leave me a comment on this post.

Thanks – I will report back what I find out to all of you!

(Photo credit: duck to duck to duck… originally uploaded by A Different Perspective)

Posted in Customer loyalty, Customer service, Marketing, social media | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

How Teens Shop Online

Posted by Becky Carroll on December 12, 2007

ipod.jpg Customers Rock! focuses on companies with the attitude that their customers are important, no, critical to their business success.  A big part of this is communicating with customers, and potential customers, in the way they prefer.  If your company is reaching out to teens, their preference may well be YouTube over your company website.

According to a new survey by Online Testing eXchange, in conjunction with the eCrush social networking website, most teens do their actual purchasing in stores. However, 65 percent of teens say they learn about cool new products on the Internet, compared to 62 percent from friends, 54 percent from TV ads and 48 percent from magazines. (Thank you to bizreport for the survey info.)

About that online research.  I had an interesting conversation with my teen yesterday.  He is in the market for a new iPod (he already has an older-version Nano).  Interested in the iPod Touch (which he is buying with his own money, BTW), he is ready to move towards purchase but wanted to learn more about it. 

Here are the steps of his experience.

  • “I wanted to see what the iPod Touch was like, so I went to Apple‘s website.”  He went to the iPod section from the toolbar at the top.   From there, he saw what looked very promising: “iPod Touch – A Guided Tour”, so he clicked to watch the video.

This is where the Apple website fell down.  Instead of making the video easily viewable, my son was required to download Apple’s QuickTime in order to see it.  He tried this, but he couldn’t get it to work properly.  At that point, he gave up on the Apple site.

  • Next stop: YouTube.  Why?  “I knew that a lot of people make videos of the things they buy and how they work.”  My son quickly found a video tour of the iPod Touch (it looked like it could have been put out by Apple) and spent the next 14 minutes glued to the PC screen.  “Wow, this is so cool!  I really want one now, and I already know how to use it just by watching the video.”
  • His comment about how he intends to proceed next time: “From now on, I am just going to go to YouTube first!”

To recap: A potential teen buyer wanted to spend big bucks on new electronics, but he wasn’t sure yet.  He went to the company website but ran into problems trying to get the information he needed to make the decision.  He went to his trusted source for information, YouTube, and found exactly what he needed to make his decision.

Where are your customers doing their research?  Does your company’s website make the grade?  Should you put together a cool YouTube video about your product to reach out to your customers?  The answer lies in knowing your customers, their preferences, and their trusted sources.

One more thought.  As my son is already an Apple customer, Apple could have reached out to him, through his email or through iTunes, to let him know about their new products.  This would have made him feel special and “in the know”, and it could have moved him to purchase sooner – that is, if he had saved up enough money!

(Photo credit: ronen)

Posted in Customer experience, Marketing, social media, Videos | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Be My Guest: Red Sox Beat Angels

Posted by Becky Carroll on October 3, 2007

baseball.jpg Today, I welcome a guest blogger, Lewis Green.  Lewis is a great example of building strong friendships and connections through blogs.  Although I have not met Lewis in person, we have spoken by phone and exchanged comments on each other’s blogs.  Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t!  That’s what makes an interesting conversation.  I asked Lewis if he would be so kind as to write a guest post for me, which he has done today.  

As the baseball playoffs are starting up here in the USA, Lewis writes about which team he feels will win – from a social media and marketing perspective!  Thank you, Lewis.  You rock!!

Red Sox Beat Angels

by Lewis Green, bizsolutionsplus and L&G Business Solutions

Baseball, like all businesses, depends on marketing for growth and for product sales. And nobody does it better than the Boston Red Sox. So while we Sox and Angels fans watch a battle of equals on the field in the first round of the playoffs, there is no contest when it comes to marketing. The Sox win in a rout over the Angels. Their secret weapon: they turn control of much of their marketing over to the fans.

Both Boston and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have fine web sites, featuring fan forums, players photos, videos and great souvenirs, and of course both teams invest a lot of money and marketing effort in season ticket sales. But that’s where any comparison ends. From that point on, the Sox put the hammer down on the Angels as well as most of MLB.

Sell-outs are not an issue in Boston, so marketing efforts for brand building and souvenir sales are turned over to the fans, who are made to feel a part of the team, whether or not they can get tickets to a game. It all begins with Red Sox Nation.  And if you have ever seen a Sox away game, including against the Angels, you cannot help but notice the impact Red Sox Nation has on baseball. It is not unusual for thousands of Red Sox fans to be in the seats of away games. In some places, notably Toronto, Detroit, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay, Red Sox fans frequently outnumber the home team’s fans. Even in evil Yankee Stadium, Sox fans are easy to find and even easier to hear.

Red Sox Nation is a social media site for the fans. Anyone can become a member, choosing from four tiers of membership, from free to the most expensive, the Ultimate Fan Pack, which along with Monster Memberships quickly sold out, leaving late-comers to choose either the free tier or the least expensive Fan Pack for $14.95.

Depending on the level of membership, fans receive newsletters, membership cards, bumper stickers, publications, free game-day audios,  free access to the weekly Red Sox Video Report, discounts at the team store, their own exclusive gate at Fenway Park, member’s-only pages on redsox.com, and special offers throughout the season for everything from team gear to away-game travel packages, to home-game tickets.

This year’s highlight featured the election of a new President to lead Red Sox Nation. It included a candidates debate televised on NESN, the New England Sports Network, moderated by Tim Russert of “Meet the Press,”  and held at Boston University’s George Sherman Union. Candidates included fans such as Cheryl Boyd, Great-niece of Elizabeth “Lib” Dooley, a long-time, well-known follower of the team; Cindy Brown, Head of Boston Duck Tours; Jared Carrabis, who has worn a Red Sox shirt 1,400 days in a row ; and Rob Crawford. who raises funds for education. Candidates also included legendary baseball Hall of Famer journalist Peter Gammons; former Red Sox relief pitcher Rich Garces; former Red Sox left-handed slugger Sam Horn; and Red Sox Hall of Famer and NESN analyst Jerry Remy. At the time of this writing, fans have finished voting and we now await the results.

The election has been a marketing coup. Because of Red Sox Nation, ESPN and ESPN2 have adopted the phrase to describe Sox fans, and the press, local and national, covered the Presidential race. Fans and Members love it, members come from all over the world, they buy tickets well in advance when the Sox come to their neck of the woods, and they brag on their membership to anyone who listens. You can’t buy this kind of marketing. It is social media at its best and an example for all businesses and consultants to study and mimic, if they can.

In addition to Red Sox Nation, Jerry Remy created Rem Dawg Nation.  Remy’s members receive the very popular Remy report and are the beneficiaries of freebies ranging from tee-shirts to box seats. And because Remy is on the air for nearly every Red Sox game, he markets the heck out of both Nations, adding to the appeal of membership, especially to kids who make up the team’s future customers.

In the Conversation Age of Web 2.0, the Boston baseball team’s marketing model is one we all need to pay attention to. It demonstrates the power of giving up at least some marketing control to your customers and clients. Red Sox and Rem Dawg Nation have sparked an interest in the Boston team and their products that exceed most marketing efforts, whether at multi-national companies, sports franchises, or small businesses. It demonstrates the power of Social Media as a marketing tool.

(Photo: cmillc22)

Posted in Community, Customer loyalty, Customer strategy, Guest bloggers, Marketing, social media | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »