Recently, I had a bad customer experience with Fresh Direct. (Shocked? So was I.) A charge of $64 appeared on my charge card with no explanation (and needless to say, no groceries). When I called to complain, the person on the phone could not effectively explain the charge, insisting it was for “free” delivery. I pointed out that $64 is not, in fact, free. We went back and forth for quite a while, and although the customer service rep eventually agreed to refund my money, I felt ripped off. (I believe I used the word “fraud” at some point.)

So I turned to the contemporary venter’s platform of choice: Twitter. It’s a great way to let off steam; 140 characters of outrage sent out into the world, with an @ tag pointing a finger at the deserving target.

My first tweet went like this:

@FreshDirect charged a $64 “auto-renewal fee” — but no delivery! What a scam!

A few moments later, I added,

@FreshDirect has lost this customer for life with this ridiculous scam of a “recurring charge” for nothing! #fraud


I wondered if @FreshDirect would respond. It took a few days, but soon enough, I got a boilerplate message along the lines of “Let us make it right! Please DM us so we can help.”I ignored it.  My vitriol had been spent, I was over it, I was over them. I was done with @FreshDirect.


And then I got a phone call. Fresh Direct customer service called me to apologize. The woman I spoke to had apparently listened to the recordings of my conversations with their phone support person, and agreed with me that the representative had not done a good job communicating with me. She listened to me, apologized sincerely, and offered to make it up to me with a gift credit to my account.


I realized as we spoke that it was Twitter that had led to the phone call. The likelihood of my call being the one that was “monitored for training purposes” was slim; she picked me out to listen to because my angry Tweets had gotten someone’s attention. What is particularly interesting about this is that I don’t have any personal information other than my name attached to my Twitter account. That means someone looked at my Twitter account to find out my real name, and then looked up my phone number in their customer database, and then called me.


Big brother? Or good customer service? On the one hand, I am slightly creeped out that they tracked me down that way. On the other, I recognize that our digital lives become more integrated every day. I don’t try to hide my identity across my various channels; in fact, I make it a point to promote myself this way. So why should I be surprised that someone was able to connect the dots?


The truth is, in the end, it was a great customer experience. I felt validated, appeased, and appreciated. Two weeks after I vowed they’d lost a customer for life, I was placing an order, using the credit that soothed my irritation. And not only had they regained a customer, they regained my good will, and the word-of-mouth that comes with it.

@Freshdirect, thank you for making things right! Was really angry; customer svc reached out to me (!) and apologized for my bad experience.


We tell our stories now in the digital world, good and bad, but the smart company knows how to use the digital to make it personal.


Now I’m off to go  order some of that great half-baked bread…

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The average Facebook user creates 90 pieces of content each month. And more than 30 billion pieces of content — web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc. — are shared each month via Facebook.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use some of this content for your brand?

  1. Use their ideas. People who engage with a brand on Facebook, whether by responding to a wall post, posting on their own, or commenting on a photo or video, are people who are already excited about your brand. Take advantage of their good ideas and use them to generate new content, or even new products or campaigns. Every time a user writes “I wish you…” or “why don’t you…” on your wall, pay attention — it could be your next service offering or product idea.Example(s): B2B company could create a white paper around subjects being discussed on their Facebook wall, or a retailer could introduce a product in a new color that’s frequently requested.
  2. Crowd-source content. You can ask the people who like your brand to create content for you. Inviting participation from your fans will spur loyalty, engagement, and new ideas.Example: A food company introducing a new product might ask users to provide recipes using the product, or meal ideas.
  3. Continue the conversation. Every piece of content on your Facebook page is another opportunity to reach new fans and engage with your existing ones. Pay attention to what people are saying and respond — ask them to elaborate.Example: If someone says they love the shoes you’ve sold them, ask why. A discussion of the great colors and features of the shoe will only reinforce the positive post for others who see the discussion (and the additional feedback may provide you valuable customer insights as well).
  4. Boost your SEO. By engaging users on Facebook with relevant content, you’ll provide the impetus for users to generate new content using the relevant keyword search terms they use.Example(s): In a recent report, Forrester cited the example of Alberto-Culver’s hairstyle videos for Nexxus, which were distributed via social media web sites including Facebook. Nexxus’ content now dominates search results pages for a number of hairstyle-related keywords, and, according to Forrester, has increased the Nexxus brand’s online recognition by 600% since the beginning of the promotion.
  5. Use it in other channels. User-generated content can be leveraged both digital and offline.Example(s): Create a list of “top 10 tips” from users, or “Favorites from our community,” by asking users to provide them. Then compile them into a publication you can share, crediting the users. (Make sure if you’re soliciting content for your own use that you let users know you’ll be using their content and that by posting they are giving permission for you to do so.)

There is an abundance of content created by people who are your brand advocates. Use it!

Statistics courtesy of Facebook.com

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After the success of Content Strategy Applied last year, eBay and Red Lorry/Yellow Lorry again present the only conference that provides the tools and guidance for real-world application of content strategy. Featuring case studies and workshops, Content Strategy Applied 2012 gives attendees the “how-to” of Content Strategy, not just the “why.”

The conference features four tracks to address the needs of beginners and experienced content strategists alike. I will be leading the track (or “stream,” as the UK folks call it) for Content Strategy for Social Media and Mobile.

Developing a complete content strategy is no longer just about web content. With the explosion of social media as both a popular consumer choice and an invaluable business platform, it is critical to consider how your strategy works in these new channels. More and more, people are consuming content not on their computer but on mobile devices. And now, tablets are shifting the digital paradigm again.

How do you plan for something like Facebook, where the conversation changes and evolves daily? What’s the right content for a Facebook page, and what content would be better on YouTube, in an app, or on your web site? How do you know what is the right channel to distribute your content? Do you even need a Twitter account, and if you do, how can you use it strategically to distribute valuable content? And how can you measure your success?

In this track, we’ll explore key social media channels and how to integrate them into your overall Content Strategy. Learn how to develop effective content for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and more. Discover the value of social bookmarking and content sharing. Workshops, case studies and interactive sessions will explore the challenges of creating an effective and usable Content Strategy for these moving targets. You’ll come away with an understanding of best practices for social media and mobile, and the skills you need to develop effective, integrated Content Strategy across all of today’s dynamic digital media.

Please let me know if you have particular questions you’d like answered or topics you’d like to discuss at the conference. I would love to hear from you!

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Even though I hate the term “pillars,” I like this summary of 6 social influencers to consider by @brendanhughes http://bit.ly/dGieKI

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Snickers has introduced the Facebook button everyone has been waiting for: The LOVE button. http://bit.ly/eeFWVQ

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A Spam Poem

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Before you say ”Bull”, please read the following.
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I am finally moving all of Laskin.com to WordPress and getting serious about revamping the site.

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