Several years ago, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce asked me to speak at an event for about a hundred small business leaders at the Hilton to share tips on social media. That advice began with, "Don't do it."
I want to be an intern.
Actual jobs are for the birds. Working 60 hour weeks, having a job description, dealing with unruly clients, who would want that?
Interning is indeed where it’s at. In fact, I once had coffee with a colleague who told me if he were able he would, “Intern at two or three different places to make up a full-time job.” When I pressed him further on his weird yet intriguing desire, he convinced me that interning has it’s benefits. I’ve believed this for so long, that I wrote this blog post when I interned here.
This is our first blog post in six months.
My gosh, I said it.
We're a digital marketing firm that admits to not updating their own digital marketing. Yes, indeed – that would be us.
There's a story from a long time ago about a cobbler whose kid had no shoes. (For those of you born since medieval times, a cobbler is a shoe maker, not a pie with fruit in it.) While our employees all wear shoes, we can relate.
The cobbler's kid isn't without shoes because his dad can't make shoes – I'm sure he made many shoes quite well for his customers. But he was so focused on doing it for his customers, he didn't make time to do it for himself.
In short, that's where we've been. But – we think we've found a solution. We hired ourselves. That's right. We made Engenius a client of Engenius. (How ingenious!) A marketing firm still has to market itself. (Do you really trust a chef who doesn't appear to eat their own cooking or a car mechanic whose car screeches and clanks into his driveway each day?)
No matter your line of work: make sure you hire yourself. It's a lesson we've learned the hard way.
Great customer service is hard to come by. In today's world, we almost expect poor service. We order a burger in the drive thru, ask for no onions, and perhaps give ourselves a 50/50 shot of getting onions anyway. We call the phone company because the bill was incorrect and, no matter what options we select, we spend half an hour on hold - the phone company's way of telling us we're not as 'valued' of a client as they say.
What happened to the customer being right, business existing for the customer, and so forth?
Last year for my birthday, my wife and daughter (who was celebrating my birthday for the first time) bought me a watch. It was a nice watch and made me think about them every time I checked it. Within about ten months, the battery having been replaced twice already, the watch wasn't keeping up with time.
So, I took it back to the store they bought it at, explained my situation, and asked if there was a warranty of any kind. Without receipt, original packaging, or even the exact price paid, the lady at the jewelry counter asked me to pick out a new watch. I did. She exchanged them at no cost. No questions. No receipt policy. The watch didn't work, she trusted me that my wife bought it from there, and she replaced it because it didn't work.
You know what? Now I'll buy every watch I ever wear at this place. I'll also buy every watch I ever buy anyone else at this place. I'll probably also buy other things there.
It pains me that we take stories like this as the exception these days. We read books about companies with superior service and hail them as great successes (as opposed to it being expected as the norm).
Companies that give passionate service will be remembered. What is the lasting thought your people leave in your customer's eyes?
You've seen it before. You've likely experienced it before. The van wrapped in some company's logo driving 10 under in the far left lane causing traffic to back-up for a quarter mile.
On the flip side, you've probably also seen the little car with branding all over it driving like a maniac weaving between cars - as if they were trying to force you to notice the logo plastered all over their Mini.
Traffic causes frustrations and, as people, we need someone or something to blame. We can blame the government or the DOT - some faceless group for not having the competence to foresee traffic headaches. But the thing is, as I'm stuck behind the van for Guss' Window Repair* that's stalling traffic and oblivious to the world around it, I blame Guss for my woes. Trust me, I'll never do business with Guss. Not only is he slow, but he's the one causing my road rage.
Vehicles aren't the only things we paint our logos all over today, though. They're just the beginning. In fact, I have friends whose entire businesses are to plaster your logo on everything - from cups and pens to boxer briefs and, well, I won't go there. You get the point.
Your logo represents your brand, your company, your people, and whether or not I want to do business with you. Put an expletive in front of it because you irritate me on the way to work and, well... that tells you the chances of me (or anyone else stuck behind you) doing business with you in the future.
Where do you have your brand plastered? More importantly: what are people walking (or driving) away from it thinking?
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent... and the slow left lane driver.