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We’ve all seen them: Facebook posts written by someone at work, counting down the hours till the weekend and complaining about their boss/colleague/job/coffee facilities. Maybe next time we are out buying groceries we see the company’s name and the first thought that comes into our heads is that the coffee in the head office is undrinkable and some of the people who work there could have better personal hygiene.

It isn’t a great advert for the company, is it? It’s so easy for employees to spread negativity about their workplace, to share their lack of enthusiasm and to indirectly tell friends not to buy that brand – they never would themselves. No amount of print advertising or flashy commercials will ever change your opinion of that brand now: you know the inside story.

Contrast this with employees who work for companies like Zappos, Google, Apple, or any number of businesses with highly engaged employees who rave about what great products they make, what a talented team they work with, and how they feel so lucky to be working there because they have always been fans of the products. It’s not just about positivity: in one of their studies Gallup showed that companies with high employee engagement levels have 3.9 times the earning per share compared to their industry peers or competitors. Continue Reading »

Tweetables from the Article

  • Regular rank-and-file company employees have more credibility than executives  Buffer

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If you have ever felt little or powerless in your life (and I bet most of us have at some point), you know how deeply unsettling that feeling is. Some of us would do anything to never experience that feeling ever again.

The pursuit of excellence in customer service, as with most of our pursuits in life, is all about empowering people to feel opposite of powerless. Our brands, our services, and our products are all about empowering our customers: whether it is to be more efficient, or to be healthier / happier, the list goes on.

That’s why it continues to baffle me that companies have such hard time understanding such an important concept, let alone implementing it in their everyday operations. It seems that the 3 Cs (communication, common courtesy, common sense) of excellent customer service are consistently ignored by companies in serving their most important stakeholders – their customers. Continue Reading »

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3-D printed candy, flying cars, 3-D selfies, robots, and elaborate and fun marketing hoaxes that draw our attention: you can experience all that at South by Southwest (SXSW), one of the biggest and most intriguing tech events of the year.

For years SXSW was the event where companies like Twitter and Foursquare get their start. Now the event overflows with not only start-ups, but bigger brands, all vying for attention and coverage.

This year was no different. I was curious, though, which technologies dominated the online conversations. So I visited the Black Box Lounge to help me answer this question. A cool lounge run during SXSW Interactive, the FleishmanHillard Black Box Lounge is powered by FleishmanHillard’s intelligent monitoring system, an interactive, portable, human-powered technology platform and content studio that integrates business data – including traditional, digital and social conversations – into real-time insight dashboards and visualizations. The system is sifting through the vast amounts of data and conversation produced around the festival to surface the people, places and things most talked about and shared on social media.

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Telling stories is nothing new: we’ve been telling stories of where we come from, where we are going and who we are sharing that journey with since we sat around the flickering fires of our ancestors’ caves, millennia ago. The ability to tell stories is what sets humans apart; it helps us to bond, form communities and work together to achieve more than we could ever do on our own.

In a sense, communities are their shared stories and their shared experiences. So it stands to reason that if you want to build communities – strong communities that bond and celebrate together – you need to learn to become an effective storyteller. In the social era, great marketers are great storytellers.

These days we have many ways of telling stories, and social media has been a fantastic way to build communities all around the world. But as the amount of information shared on the web exponentially increases and people’s attention span drops every year, there is a need for our storytelling to become more visual. Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. And we decide in the split second whether we want to continue to consume more content from a company or brand based on how appealing the visuals are. Now that we can share images at the click of a button, and we have seen the rise of visual networks, visual storytelling has become central to our global communication.

We’ve now entered a phase in which visual communication is supplanting the written word,” says Bob Lisbonne, CEO of Luminate and former SVP of Netscape. “What some are now calling the dawn of the Imagesphere.” Continue Reading »

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Customer service excellence has always been and will always be one of the critical competitive advantages for any business. Here are 40 quotes supporting this premise.

Make a customer, not a sale. ~ Katherine Barchetti

The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary. ~ Sam Walton

You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn how to enjoy your work. ~ Laurie McIntosh

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