A Prescription for Strong Client/Agency Relationships

Advice for a strong client/agency relationshipWhether you’re the old pro bringing in a new client or you’re the newbie at your agency, you quickly realize how important relationships are. How do you build trust quickly? And how do you sustain and strengthen the client/agency relationship? Who better to ask than ab+c’s CEO John Hawkins and Director of Client Services Mike Gallagher? John and Mike have been working in the wonderful world of advertising for more than 60 years combined. Together they prescribed four simple steps to build strong, long-lasting client relationships:Read full post...

Weathering our business

Now at ab+c we are blessed with some of the most talented employees in the industry, but this weather makes our job harder.

Now at ab+c we are blessed with some of the most talented employees in the industry, but this weather makes our job harder.

Breaking news: This has been one horrible winter for any one living in the eastern third of the country. Let’s be honest, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois — even parts of Ohio and New York — you expect to get hit like this. But the South is wholly unprepared (according to my friends in Atlanta), and those of us in the mid-Atlantic region have been … caught off guard. Just talk to any school-aged kid who is losing most of spring break to make up for snow days!

Beyond the emotional frustration caused by this endless onslaught of nasty weather, there’s also the devastating impact on business. Don’t worry; I’m not going to bulldoze you with a lengthy lecture about market trends and impacts — although if you read this blog to its conclusion, you should get one marketing tip. But rather I’d like to focus on one very specific business segment — mine. Advertising and public relations.Read full post...

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Oh, the humanity!

Bottom line: I feel better about the Walgreens brand based simply on this seemingly minor customer service tweak.

Bottom line: I feel better about the Walgreens brand based simply on this seemingly minor customer service tweak.

I’m about to place a national brand in a positive light. But in the interest of full disclosure, our agency has not, and never has had, any relationship with this brand. In other words, we have nothing to gain by pumping up this brand within the hallowed halls of the ab+c blog-a-teria. So now that we have that straight, let the games begin!

The other night, I visited my local Walgreen’s pharmacy. I bought two greeting cards and a gallon of 2% milk. As the clerk handed me my receipt she said, “Thanks — and be well.” On my way out I thought, “Did she just say ‘be well’?” Suddenly, a warm, life-affirming feeling washed over me — just as it does when those cute little yorkies scamper across the floor at the Westminster dog show. What happened to the standard “Have a nice day,” I thought. Or even the beloved “Take ‘er easy”?Read full post...

Imma let you finish: How not to respond to complaints online

Don't be known for having a short temper and being unprofessional.

Don’t be known for having a short temper and being unprofessional.

The Internet has made it easy to complain about anything at the drop of a hat. Whether or not the complaints are justified, it’s important to know how to handle them without offending the complainer or the rest of your customer base. So here’s what not to do:

1. Make the person feel like an idiot.

I recently participated in a company’s event that was very poorly run. After hearing several complaints, a friend of mine sent the organizer an email relaying the group’s frustration. The organizer responded by posting the message on the company’s Facebook page and picking it apart line by line. He essentially tore my friend a new one. What a great way to alienate a paying customer and anyone with similar opinions.Read full post...

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Customer service — does anyone really get it anymore?

For every 10,000 companies that claim they offer superior customer service, only 100 or so are actually delivering it.

For every 10,000 companies that claim they offer superior customer service, only 100 or so are actually delivering it.

Recently, while I was on hold with Comcast for more time than it would have taken to buy a new TV, I was reminded of the “old days” when you spoke with a person — a real person.

A new website, GetHuman.com, has become quite popular. On it, you can find tips on how to talk to real people, not recordings, shorten your wait time, and do live chats and get call-backs.

Back in the day when I was still at the Outlets doing marketing, we created campaigns to ensure the store personnel delivered exceptional customer service. We tried cash awards and recognition campaigns, and staged a good deal of “secret shopping.” Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.Read full post...

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The (social) media is the message

Being proactive and using a different approach for each platform are key to social media crisis communication.

A powerful new weapon has been added to your crisis communications arsenal: social media.

Like all weapons, it can be used for good or evil. It can assure you of a swift victory over those who would defame your reputation. Or it can blow up in your face. Because social media can change public opinion — for better or worse.

In the old days, companies relied on traditional media to handle a crisis. In 1982, for example, Johnson & Johnson executed its revered Tylenol crisis communications plan, calling for a comprehensive recall of potentially poisonous product. J&J (and its PR agency) used traditional media outlets to spread the word. With the 24-hour news cycle was still in its infancy, the company reclaimed 70% of its market share within a few short months. Crisis averted.

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Dear Netflix:

netflix

Ball’s in your court, Netflix.

I remember when you first came out. You sent me unlimited DVDs in the mail each month, three at a time. Then you offered cheaper plans with fewer DVDs. Then came streaming videos — for free! — to compete with Redbox, free online streaming websites like Hulu and Fancast, On Demand content that comes with cable, and other streaming video rental applications like Vudu and Blockbuster On Demand. Life was sweet.Read full post...

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Social Media Marketing (Part 2)

Domino's - an example of social media success

Domino's - an example of social media success

If you missed the first part, check it out here.

Now for the good: a coworker in our PR department had an experience in which FedEx missed a next-day delivery. She decided to voice her frustration by tweeting, “FedEx really expletive deleted on me today.” Within 30 minutes, she got a retweet from FedexAl asking if he could help. This small effort from FedEx customer service immediately turned her from disgruntled to impressed.

An even better example would be Domino’s Pizza.Read full post...