Archives for July 2011

The Consistency of Inconsistency

A thought occurred to me as I was doing some research today.  Why is it so hard to do something consistently over a long period of time?  Then I had a second thought.  Hey, I have a blog.  I’ll throw this chum out to all of you and see who bites.

So, the first question came from research I was doing on Trip Advisor about a hotel I’m staying at this weekend. Overall the customer reviews of the property were good.  49% rated it “very good” or better; where 26% rated it “poor” or worse.  And for a budget “motel” style property, I thought that was respectable.  So, after reading all the positive reviews, I click over to the “terrible” comments.

Of the 8 comments left between 2007 and 2010, exactly one had a response from the property General Manager; the most recent.  So, then I started trying to analyze the pattern of timing and dates around the complaints.  They did seem to be clustered by complaint type and date.  But, the point is, I shouldn’t have had to think that hard in order to determine the value of those comments in making my decision.

While it’s admirable that the GM responded to one customer, he left 7 others, and everyone like me who read them, dangling out there, open to assume the most wildest of scenarios.  Even if management or in fact ownership of the property had changed hands, there was an opportunity to go back to these other comments and offer the Trip Advisor visitor some sort of explanation; to tell the other side of the story.

So, whether its Twitter, Facebook, your blog, your church, local community organization or your customers (oh yea…or your marriage!), relationships take a dedication and commitment to consistent engagement; consistent nurturing, care and feeding.  No, not because if you don’t, your Klout score will drop.  But, because consistency is the only real path to success in anything.

Baseball and The Customer Experience

First, let me state that I possess none of the talent of Frank Difford, George Will or Ken Burns when it comes to waxing about America’s favorite past time.  But, despite rumors about it being suplanted by the NFL, baseball still is America’s game; its favorite past time.

So, what does this have to do with customer experience?  In his book Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi talks about our migration from the Information Age to the Relationship Age.  Trust and conversation are crucial in this new economy.  I’ll say it a slightly different way.  Its the experience age, driving an experience economy. 

It hit me while watching the MLB All Star Game.  The pace of baseball creates the foundation for conversation and emotional connection that are at the heart of engagement.  At one point during the t.v. broadcast, the cameras found Steve Bell sitting on the wall chatting with a couple of young fans in between innings.  He had a bag of goodies he gave out including signed balls and baseball cards.  I thought “there is no other sport where you would ever see that happen“.  Why?  Because the pace at which other sports play just doesn’t permit it.

I see it when I take my son to ball games.  He hangs out by the dug out in between innings with his glove.  Players trotting or walking off the field look up and make eye contact with young fans, shake hands, toss warm up balls to wide-eyed little leaguers.  They make a connection.  They engage.  And those are the kind of experiences that create life-long relationships and indeed love affairs with baseball.

So if there’s one key lesson that baseball can teach about engagement and relationships that all businesses should heed, it is this. Slow it down.