Blue Ribbon Bloggers: Customer Experience/Customer Service

Continuing our celebration of the Iowa State Fair, today’s Blue Ribbon comes from my file on Customer Experience/Customer Service.

Blueribbon_3 The team at Creating Passionate Users leads the way here. Unique and confident voices, graphics that help tell the stories, involves their community in the discussion…and they do so without posting every day. Think the blog is a winner? The Head First books travel the same path.

Honorable mention to QAQnA, Church of the Customer, CustomersAreAlways, Experience Planner and Customer Experience Crossroads.

Since we’re at the fair – and we’ve dished up lots of fried foods already, it’s appropriate we take a stroll through the 4H area…and visit HorsePigCow.

Okay, maybe it’s more marketing site than customer experience – but Tara is a community architect in every sense. Pinko Marketing? It’s about the Community!

Patience is a Song

Patience. That’s the tune we should be humming in customer service situations.

The relationship between a customer and a customer servant is one often taken for granted – by both parties. Interesting when you think about it. We all play both roles at various times.

I’ve stood behind retail counters and beside a dining table. Served on the sales floor and on the phone. Hopefully, the service was outstanding. Sometimes, the customers were a nightmare.

I’ve also been a customer of each situation. Hopefully, I was an outstanding customer. Sometimes, the service was a nightmare.

Patience. That’s the music that should play when we do the customer service dance – and if you don’t mind, I’ll take the lead each time. Whether in service or being served, I’m positive I can set the tone. Do you do the same? And is the one your dancing with in rhythm with you?

One thing we forget is that each customer service situation is brand new. Never been faced in this particular setting, on this particular day. This may be the first time you’ve danced with this partner.

Yet, too many times, we bring previous experience to the mix. We rush to judgment about how this exchange will go, quickly script out our conversation and…oops…forget to give our partner their copy of the script.

The only time impatience works is at the florist – but then, that would be impatiens, wouldn’t it?

Servers wait on customers. Customers wait for service. Bloggers wait on comments. Set the tone. Be with the one you’re with. One at a time. Like it’s the very first time. With patience.

Related Posts at CustomerAreAlways Hostess of the Carnivale of Customer Service:
Thank You for Your Patience
How to Handle a Long Line

An IHOP Experience

Dave Taylor on Business Blogging

Dave Taylor’s talk at the Affiliate Summit is available for your viewing and thinking pleasure.

Before you think about skipping this because you don’t do affiliate marketing, let me encourage you to transfer some of the basic business practices Dave discusses so they fit your model.

Also know that while Dave is big on blogging, he’s not a blogging clone. Watch this. It’s an hour, but it’s time well invested. If you’d rather, you can read a transcript.

Blue Ribbon Bloggers: Writing/Journalism

This one is going to be tougher than Teriyaki Steak on a Stick…

The Right Conversation, Meryl’s Notes, Below the Fold and Rough Type each deserve a mention. So does Jurgen Wolff’s Time to Write.

Blueribbon_2 However, this Blue Ribbon goes to Brian Clark at Copyblogger. He writes great headlines – and shows you how too (though I’ll stick to the Blog Posting Mantra for most of my folks – more on that another day). Love the design (by Peasonified)!

Briian’s What the Heck is RSS? is one I share in workshops and seminars – and have published it elsewhere (He said it’s okay – you can too). This is a blogger worth copying.

Pic_friedtwinkies As a concession, we’ll honor today’s Deep Fried Twinkie to Hall-of-Fame copywriting guru, Bob Bly. If you want to get better at writing copy that sells, The Copywriter’s Handbook is still king. Reading his blog can sometimes be like watching a television evangelist preach against TV, though.

Previous Blue Ribbons:
- Entrepreneurial Spirit
- PR/Communications

Blogging School: At the Bookstore

Growing up, one of my favorite times of year was "Back to School" – not necessarily going back, but getting a bunch of new stuff. Books. Clothes, School Supplies. Loved it!

With our Blog Workshop set for Thursday – and the launch of our Get Started Blogging webinars just on the horizon (September 7th – details to come) – I thought it appropriate to share thoughts on the growing number of Business Blogging Books available.

Blog Wild: A Guide for Small Business Blogging by Andy Wibbels: I often recommend this book for the DIY-types. It’s a handy guide that answers your basic theoretical questions (Are Blogs Like Discussion Forums?) and uses TypePad as its preferred platform. The home run line can be found on page 75.

Publishprosper Publish & Prosper Blogging for your Business by DL Byron and Steve Broback: In natural progression, this book covers the basics in detail and goes a bit deeper – especially when considering design and which blogging platform is right for you. Chapter 4 is worth the price all by itself.

Blog4biz_1 Blogging for Business by Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos: I recommend this to business people who have either been publishing or monitoring blogs for a short time. Going deeper into the thought process of launching a blog, monitoring other blogs and measuring your success. Every business approaching blogging should read Pages 81-83. Ted’s got a new book coming out mid-term (November).

Corporate_1 The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil: More corporate and organizations I work with are starting to leverage the power of blogs and feeds internally. Moving forward, I plan on bringing a copy of Debbie’s book to each "corporate" client I work with. Chapter 9 is worth the price of admission alone (Though I could say the same for Chapters 3 & 4).

Blogmktg Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright: It wouldn’t surprise me if this tome is already being used as a text book in some universities. Chapter 9′s "Dealing With Negativity" is one I’d like to be able to email to prospects, for that seems to remain a big fear (Is the alternative "Ignoring Negativity"?)

While the books above include a lot of the "how-to" – and choosing any one or combination will put you on the right track, there are two other books that should be within reach:

Nakedconv Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel: Those I have recommended this book to often come back with "Now I get it."  Good enough for me. Your turn.


Cluetrain Manifesto by Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger: I first read this when I was building online communities at the turn of the century. The shift from a "sense" of ownership to actual ownership was about to take place. Now it’s hear. The Cluetrain continues its trek. Hop aboard.

Additional Note: Darren Rowse’s community of ProBloggers are compiling a list of Essential Books for Bloggers. Good stuff.

technorati tags: Blog Wild Publish and Prosper Corporate Blogging Book Naked Conversations Cluetrain Manifesto

Blue Ribbon Bloggers: Entrepreneurial Spirit

Continuing with our Blue Ribbon Bloggers, today’s award honors a few that I have in a folder, Entrepreneurial Spirit.

While many of the feeds/bloggers I read have this spirit, the blogs I put in this folder focus on this subject – and there are many to choose from.

Blueribbon_1 With just one Blue Ribbon per category, (I almost gave out two here): Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pam Slim is today’s winner.

Pam’s Open Letter… posts (to the bosses and to the peeps) are Hall-of-Fame worthy, and she packs a huge punch in seven focused categories.

Honorable Mention: Entrepreneur’s Life by Michael Gage (aka Aggressive Marketing + Subversive Entrepreneurship); Pothole on the Infobahn by Scott Burkett; SportsLizard by Adam MacFarland.

Since we’re honoring the Iowa State Fair…and there’s so much food to choose from, we’ll go with Funnel Cake today. A good concessionaire will fill your plate full…

Funnelcake Guy Kawasaki may have come to the blogging party late, but he sure has made an impact. If you’re in SIFE or EO or NFIB, you should be reading this daily. Here’s the feed, watch out for clumps of powdered sugar.

Lessons learned? Until you read these blogs – the lessons haven’t been delivered yet.

Extreme Leadership Teleconference

Steve Farber, author of The Radical Leap and The Radical Edge is offering a FREE teleconference on Monday, August 14th at Noon Eastern/9:00 a.m. Pacific. Details on how to join can be found at Steve’s Extreme Leadership blogsite.

If you haven’t had the experience of hearing Steve present his ideas, you’re in for a treat.

I have an appointment during the conference (though I’m thinking about bringing a speaker phone so we can all listen in), so let me know how it goes.  Can you live blog a teleconference?

Blue Ribbon Bloggers: PR/Communications

To help celebrate the Iowa State Fair this week, I’m going to dish out a few Blue Ribbons and Corn Dogs, recognizing a few blogs I favor. I’ll be using the folders in my GreatNews feed aggregator for categories.

Today’s category is Public Relations/Communications:

There are so many great PR/Comm sites (Constantin Basturea offers a comprehensive listing using Grazr) it’s hard to choose one as the Blue Ribbon (the Corn Dog is much easier in this category).

So many great choices, but this Blue Ribbon Award goes to:

Blueribbon On Message from Wagner CommunicationsJohn Wagner consistently provides a fresh and necessary perspective on things, generates great conversation, and always answers his comments. However, it’s his comments on other blogs that stand out in my eye. If often look for new blogs to comment on – and often I see that John has already engaged with the "blogling" with a warm welcome and comment.

It was hard not to choose Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion. I’ve learned so much (good and not-so-good) watching and reading his site. Even on a super-busy day, It’s one I make sure to read.

Kami Huyse, Joseph Thornley, and Todd Defren are others I considered for this category.

Corndog The Corn Dog Award wasn’t as difficult. To qualify for the Corn Dog Award, a blog should be able to consistently cut the mustard, no matter how deep in the fryer they get themselves into.

It’s probably no surprise that Scott Baradell wins this award out of the gate with Media Orchard. Though I don’t always agree with what Scott posts, his blog is one I relish.

Don’t go away empty-handed here. What are the business blogging lessons you can learn?

  • John Wagner’s habit of reaching out to new blogs and extending a warm welcome (and enlarging his audience)?
  • Scott Baradell’s ability to deliver a serious message with humor?

Each of their audience continues to grow and engage. Each brings a different (and sometimes daring) voice – but it’s their voice. In turn, their audience speaks up.

I’m going to go get something to eat…

Sometimes I Wonder about (Business) People

Sometimes I wonder about business people…

Three times in the last two days, I’ve had leading professionals tell me they (their company) don’t have time or desire to blog. Mind you, this is NOT after a presentation on my part – just in casual, introductory conversation.

They almost seem to be laughing at the whole blogging "craze" as something that’s about to pass. Maybe it’s their Perception of Bloggers. I make a quick attempt to remind them that Blogging has Two Roles – talking and listening (writing and reading, author and audience…)

Like a doctor trying to bandage a wound, I quickly share stories about the impact that blog and feed reading has made on business, and how it provides more knowledge in less time.

If every business leader used the Search Once and Subscribe prescription and Get Started Reading Feeds, in fact – Make it a Habit – they would find that blogging and the conversations taking place is a blessing to them – not a something to whistle away as a fad.

(psst – it’s human nature that we can only listen for so long. if business leaders listen to the conversations – they’ll soon want to join in. either by comments or by publishing a blog. introduce the idea of feed reading, the blogging will sell itself)

The Battles Hymn of the Blogger

If your blogging becomes a chore,
Something you dread to do.
Be slow to blame the blog
Because maybe it’s just you.

This doesn’t happen to everyone
But maybe you’re battling Blogger’s Block
Stop trying to strike gold with each post
or you’ll find yourself losing to the clock.

Maybe you fear nobody’s reading your stuff,
They’re there – if not today in the morrow
Write as if you’ll always touch someone
Stop wallowing in self-sorrow.

The best way to Manage Your Writing
Is pen to paper, finger to keys
Once you get a rhythm
You’ll find yourself posting with ease

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