Bits & Pieces?
Ah, the subtleties of effective, warm, humanized customer communication versus ineffective, off-putting, robotic customer communication. There is such beautiful, simple power in having your service branding sound like a human being instead of a robot. At ALL touchpoints. This has been much talked-about in the realm of social media; your other brand communications should be just as humanized.
Case in point : Weight Watchers. Some time ago, I posted on my personal blog about some serious online communication faux pas I experienced with this brand. I subsequently cancelled my membership, but kept getting billed. When I inquired as to why this was occurring, I once again received a completely “stock”, non-human, cut-and-paste response. So, while it addressed me as “Susan”, it might as well have referred to “customer 182347659″ because that is how it made me feel. And while it is signed “sincerely” it certainly doesn’t READ sincerely. It should be signed “Robotically yours, Rance.” The truly beautiful thing about it (sarcasm, there) is that, like prior inquiries to them, nothing in the response answers the question AT ALL.
Thank you for contacting WeightWatchers.com. The cancellation policy for Weight Watchers Online is as follows:
If you cancel your Weight Watchers Online account, you will not be refunded your sign-up fee. As stated in the subscription agreement, which you agreed to prior to signing up for Weight Watchers Online, the sign-up fee is non-refundable. In addition your account will be cancelled at the end of the month in which you cancel and you will be charged for that month. If you subscribed to a three-month prepaid plan, your monthly fees will be pro-rated at the non-discounted price. If you are eligible for a refund, it will be calculated according to our cancellation policy and you will see this credit on your next credit card statement.
Customer Service Associate
Now contrast this with another example, a follow up e-mail that I received after taking a class at the Kanyakumari Ayurveda and Wellness Center:
Big difference, right? The interesting thing is that the second example is just as “canned” as the first. It even addresses “dear attendee”, but because the rest of the e-mail is written so warmly, and in the personality of the woman who taught the class, it simply FEELS SO MUCH MORE HUMAN. You know, like this service brand actual CARES. Unlike the Weight Watchers communication, in which it was blatantly clear that their only concern is the inquiry having “that done feeling”.
This simple difference – humanity – is the difference between a relationship-builder and a relationship-killer. So, define your brand personality, and write in it consistently. Not just in social media, but in everything you do. Because if you don’t take care to ensure that your service branding goes beyond “having that done feeling”, you might just be giving your customers that “I’m done with this brand” feeling.
While I haven’t been too vocal about it, it’s true—I got asked to judge the Clio Healthcare awards. What’s that? Well, it’s a newer awards competition, a sibling contest, similar to the long-standing Clio Awards, that is supposed to recognize the challenges that health care presents advertisers and agencies. Why me? Well mostly because we have won several statues in the three-year old competition. And given it’s an international competition, I’ll remain incredibly flattered. Especially since my peers include the likes of Helayne Spivak, former creative head at Hal Riney NY, Y&R New York, Ammirati Puris/Lintas, and JWT New York. And current CCO of Saatchi Wellness in NY. Winner of every creative award that matters to anyone who looks like me—CLIO’s, One Show, Art Director’s Club, and Cannes. Just to name a few. Among the others, there are impressive names from every corner of the globe. And then there’s me, from Jigsaw, in Milwaukee, WI.
Impressive jury, but that doesn’t change the way I approach my job. To me, a great idea is a great idea. And there are no excuses. not even in health care. Not legal resrtictions or any other excuse. Just because the lawyers require 15 seconds of a 30 second spot for pharmaceuticals be legalese, doesn’t give that spot a handicap.
There were entries from around the world. Humbling, quite frankly. And there were plenty of great ideas. And there were plenty of bad ideas. But like any good awards competition—judged by professionals, mostly creative-types—by round two, the “wheat was certainly separated from the chaff.” While I am sworn to secrecy about the judging, I can tell you the Clio Healthcare Awards is growing fast and in the right direction. Because it’s growing from a model set by a respected award show. The results are in tabulation and the show in October in NYC.
Thanks to all who run the competition, to my fellow judges and to the entrants. While I didn’t get a chance to go to NY to judge (it’s online), I doubt that getting the cast together that formed the jury would be possible any other way. I appreciate the chance to participate. I appreciate the recognition that we have accomplished in the short time Jigsaw have been in existence. I look forward to what we will accomplish in the future.
This week’s theme: Old
Last week’s winner: Ben
Get your vote on people, and don’t forget to share it with EVERYONE. Thanks!
Nielsen released its social media report and there are some interesting pieces of information.
- Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other website.
- Tumblr has nearly tripled its unique U.S. audience from a year ago. The platform recently reached another milestone: 10 billion posts. Is Tumblr the social network that most corporations ignore?
- Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social networking through mobile use.
- When compared to the average adult Internet user, active social media users are 47% more likely to be heavy spenders on clothing, shoes and accessories.
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