How useful are Customer Services?

Are we more likely to get a sensible answer from within our own circle of friends than from a customer service team?

Does anyone remember a play called “6 Degrees of Separation”?

I watched it in the West End years before Facebook launched and all through the growing popularity of social media have often recalled the theory which, according to Wikipedia, is “the existential premise that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else in the world by a chain of no more than six acquaintances, thus, “six degrees of separation””.

A few weeks ago, we posed a question to Tesco about getting that sticky glue off their jars so we could re-use them for homemade jam and chutney. We never got a sensible answer from them on either Twitter or Facebook but we did get several answers from friends as well as from helpful people who we don’t know. I tried one of the suggestions from a relative and bingo – job done.

It makes me wonder whether the Tesco customer service team is just a PR exercise, poorly resourced, unknowledgeable or whether they are just less likely to know the answer to something I need because they have less in common with me than my own connections do. Mark Zuckerberg recently described this phenomenon as living in a bubble – he was talking about fake news and how it proliferates because people trust posts from people they know. In that case it had a negative impact but in ours it’s positive and it also shows just how powerful social media can be.

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Why ‘The Best Time to Tweet’ isn’t necessarily the best time

The question ‘when is the best time to tweet?’ will occur to anyone who is looking to engage an increasing numbers of followers.  There are a number of apps that claim to tell you – but the truth is they only tell you part of the answer, often being when the majority of your followers, or your community, is online.

For a new account this probably is a good time to tweet, as it will help you to get in front of the most people with the least effort.  In the long term, and for established accounts, we don’t think this represents a sound strategy. Continue reading

Tell us a story…

I found a new author – which is a really just another good reason to browse the second-hand book shelves.

We all like a good story.  A recent article from Hootsuite argued that choosing to market products with data, facts and figures is counter to human nature, and an approach based on telling stories is more likely to hit the right buttons.  The fundamental point they make is that “we are not ‘businesses’ connecting with ‘consumers’; we are people connecting with other people”.

Some people are not natural storytellers, but we all have stories to tell within us.  Part of the knack is finding the right way to tell them.  Same with businesses – there are always stories to tell – new things, old histories, people things.

So if you’ve got a blog page on your website, tell a story about your business.  And if you haven’t got a blog, perhaps it’s time for us to help you start one.

By the way, the author was William Haggard, someone I’d never heard of before who wrote thriller-type books from the 50’s up to 1990, so there’s a lot of catching up to do.  Variously described as “the adult Ian Fleming”, and “CP Snow with action”.
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