Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Facebook Folly

Folly: Lack of good sense or normal prudence and foresight; a foolish act or idea.

I often post articles or blogs about using social media. I advise against posting inappropriate content, using foul language, linking to information or sites which are not a good fit with your brand…..all of the above. I know that social media can be a good thing and a terrible thing and that the user must take responsibility for what he or she posts.

Because…..there are consequences.

One such consequence occurs when a potential employer takes into account what they read and see on facebook. I recently spoke to a gentleman who said that he actually asks his employees for facebook username and information. Now……a little part of me was suspicious when he said that. It was said with an undertone of bravado and I wonder if he was simply telling me this because he knew that it would sound controversial and keep the conversation moving. Regardless of whether his statement was fact or fiction, it raises an interesting point.

I asked why…..”why does he ask for that information and what type of content would he be looking for?” The answer was simple: He wanted to know what type of character his employee demonstrated. A facebook page filled with endless party photos and foul language speaks volumes to their character, and raises a potential red flag. This wasn’t the type of individual he wanted working for him.

This particular person with whom I was speaking was very “anti-facebook” and social media in general. I asked him, “why not simply have a social media policy and have new hires sign off on the policy?”. For someone who felt that strongly, he should have a policy in place so that he had recourse in the event that an employee coloured outside the lines of decorum.

After having the conversation with this Negative Nelly, I realized that he was a bit of a blowhard and not tech savvy enough to seek out the damning information even with the user identification. He didn’t want to entertain the notion that a social media policy would be helpful and frankly, I don’t think he even knew what I was talking about. He shouldn’t be playing in the Social Media Sandbox.

But apparently he was………and his assumption that facebook was the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse had made him determined to be the judge and jury of content.

So who is right? Should the employer have the right to check out employees? I don’t know the answer to that and probably the legal system will be tested many, many times in the future as it tries to answer that very question.

I do know that you must be careful and aware of what you post on a social networking site, that it may come back to haunt you. If you are in doubt about whether or not something is appropriate, then do the “would my Grandma like it if she saw this?” test. It works every time!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pricing Disappointment

Bigstock Image

Sorry for the “glass half empty” headline…..but it is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. What prompted it? I guess it began last Sunday as I was starting out on my journey to Las Vegas. I made my way to Grande Prairie to catch my flight to Edmonton so that I could attend IMEX12 in Las Vegas that began the next morning. I checked in early, made my way through security without a hitch and then sat comfortably waiting for my flight to depart. Boarding began promptly on time and the pre-board passengers formed a line out the long glass enclosed walk way, ready to make their way on board the aircraft.

At this point I noticed that no one was moving. Everyone was just standing in the walk way waiting. After a few moments, one of the airline staff ushered everyone back inside with the news that there was a mechanical issue that was going to necessitate a mechanic taking a look, and that he would be there in about 20 minutes. Knowing that I only had 1 hour and 30 minutes between connections, I grew concerned that my time had now been reduced. Of course, I completely understood that safety is paramount and that it was necessary to make certain that the aircraft was repaired, but deep down I felt a little bit of anxiety. Not long after, another announcement was made that it was going to take a wee bit longer. Sadly, at this point I knew that I probably would not make my connection to Las Vegas that night.

I had no control over the situation and I was disappointed.

Thankfully, the aircraft did get repaired and we did depart for Edmonton, however it wasn’t in time to make my Las Vegas connection. Upon arrival in Edmonton, staff provided vouchers for a hotel, taxi shuttles and meal vouchers and we (there were about 7 of us that were en route to Vegas) were booked on the next flight to Las Vegas that was departing the following morning.

I was completely looked after but….I still couldn’t shake my disappointment. I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be able to meet my friends for dinner that evening; I was disappointed that I was going to lose one entire evening in Vegas; I was disappointed that I was going to miss a whole morning of sessions that I had counted on attending.

It made me realize something: You cannot put a price-tag on disappointment especially if it is a disappointing experience. When emotions and expectations are involved, it can become a customer service nightmare to try to make someone happy.

This revelation is important for those of us in the event or customer service industry. Having empathy for your attendee or customer is paramount in understanding what they are feeling when their expectations are not met. Realizing that even when you have provided everything you can during a negative situation, disappointment is a powerful emotion that will remain.

Some helpful tips for dealing with a customer service crisis:

Have Empathy: Defined as - Understanding and acknowledging feelings and needs.

Engage Empathetic Listening: Listening with your ears and eyes (expressions, body language)

Sincerely respond with empathetic statements: “I would be unhappy too if I missed my connection. I can understand your frustration”.

Giving front line staff the power to be creative with problem solving: When you can enable front line staff with the ability to create unique customer service crisis management strategies, it illustrates that the customer is unique, is special.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What happens in Vegas.....

Next week I am off to Las Vegas for IMEX America! Not only will I get to visit one of my favourite places (yes.....I love to play the penny slots), but I get to see many #eventprof friends that so far, I have only connected with on twitter.

If you are going to IMEX next week, I would love to meet you :)

You can tweet me @judylaine or come look for me at the GMIC Sustainability Hub where I will be spending some time hanging out with Amanda.

See you there!

The entrance to IMEX Frankfurt

IMEX Frankfurt Tweet-up with many #eventprof friends