Posts tagged ‘Sustainability’

December 31, 2009

2010 Is About Meaningful Content

Written for and cross-posted on FohBoh.com. I’m one of ten front-page contributors to FohBoh – the largest social network for the restaurant industry with over 13,000 members.

There’s been tens of thousands of conversations this past year about social media:

  • what is it,
  • how do you quantify ROI,
  • how can you compare it to traditional marketing/advertising,
  • what is the role of traditional PR/Marketing/Ad agencies with it,
  • how do you use it, and,
  • what is the most effective strategy?

Have you figured it all out?

I haven’t – social media is extremely dynamic, fluid and changing all the time. I read the leading social media theorists (Mashable.com, Paul Barron, Amanda Hite, Chris Brogan and numerous others) constantly; every day. While I’m not an expert and never want to be called a guru, I am most definitely a proponent, a social media evangelist and power user, both for my business and on behalf of some of my clients.

There’s been a number of pronouncements in the past few weeks – predictions – of what 2010 will bring for marketing, public relations, advertising and social media. I’m here on the last day of 2009 to share my distillation of these predictions with you.

The End of Traditional Marketing & Advertising (Static Announcements)

Let’s face it – have the marketing/advertising/PR strategies of the last forty years worked for you over the last two years?

  • Is running a newspaper ad every week with a coupon really working for you?
  • Is running a thirty second radio ad like a used car salesman begging people to “come on down” really working for you?
  • Is the static “brochure” of a website really working for you?
  • Is getting listed on the restaurant page of the newspaper working for you?
  • Are the menu pages in the Yellow Book working for you?
  • Is your direct email campaign really working?
  • How results-satisfied are you with text messaging the special on hot wings and draft beer?
  • Did placing an ad in the State Visitors Guide really work for you?
  • Did making that 60 second video ad for the local cable network really pay off?
  • Are static messages (think: flyers/coupons/etc) on Facebook and Twitter working for you?
  • [for the major multiunits] Did that 30 or 60 second major network ad really build relationships in your local communities?

I could go on. It seems there’s countless means to market and advertise a static announcement to the public. Is it really working for you?

2010 Equals Content

Your customers want to believe you are in community with them – for their needs, desires and wishes. Are the traditional strategies listed above really demonstrating how much you value your customer?

So how can you communicate with your customer dynamically, meeting their needs and desires?

  • Listen to them
  • Comment on their messages – sincerely
  • Let them produce content toward you
  • Don’t get defensive
  • Keep the mantra simple: It’s Not About You : It’s About Your Customer

Paul Barron and I had a conversation last week about the landscape of marketing, advertising and the social web. In an excellent post titled “Real Time Search could impact restaurants – big time!” on his blog Social Coco, Paul states “The point is that real-time is consuming the web in terms of new content that was not there just a few short years ago. This new content will impact restaurants in a big way as consumers not brands post videos, blogs, tweets, wall posts and podcasts more about their restaurant experience. And guess what all this will come up in: real-time search!”

John Jantz, in an article titled “Small Businesses Will Simply Become More Naturally Social” (cross-posted on Social Media Today and Duck Tape Marketing), states: “Social media activity and behavior can help facilitate communication and connection with your entire collaboration universe: prospects, customers, suppliers, partners, and employees and as such should be freed from the limited thinking.”

Free Stuff

We all like free stuff in this industry – free samples from the sales rep, free food and goodies from the tradeshows, etc. The old saying “free is a very good price” is part of our weekly vernacular. How many of you like free positive publicity?

Why not encourage your customers to share their life-stories with you through social media? Maybe a customer’s son or daughter videotaped the parents wedding anniversary dinner at your place. Perhaps a kid on the local baseball team is a regular customer – ask him for an interview that you can share. Take a couple pictures of your favorite businesspeople around town – share them through social media:

“My friend Joe at Zeke’s Auto knows more about foreign cars than anyone else I know. (picture link on web of Joe)”

What I’m suggesting is to use your marketing/advertising efforts to build community instead of standing on the street corner bull-horning the nightly special.

The 24 to 48 Hour News Cycle

I’m not saying never talk about your business – I’m saying make the community needs of your customers take priority in your marketing/advertising. I’m saying that even large multi-units can do this – by being meaningfully engaged in local community through social media.

You have the opportunity to create a localized 24 to 48 hour news channel that benefits and build community. And when you talk mostly about others, when you put others first, when you give to the community – it will reward you.

People will respond – and they will love the occasional story from your crew! You – as restaurant owner, as chef or line cook, as general manager, bartender or waiter, hostess or dishwasher – have the opportunity; the right even… or perhaps responsibility, to connect community together – just as much as the minister, town council member or fireman.

Tell your community’s stories first through your messages and your stories last. People will notice. Make your message revolve around your customers, not you.

Blogpost Fluff: Top 2009 Facebook Statistics

Facebook currently boasts over 350 million users

50 percent of Facebook users log on in any given day

Each day, 35 million users update their status

55 million status updates are posted each day

2.5 billion photos are uploaded to the site each month

3.5 million events are created each month

There are more than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook

Over 700,000 local businesses maintain active Pages on Facebook

Users

The average user has 130 friends on the site

On average, users spend more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook

The Like button is used on 9 pieces of content on average each month

25 comments are written by users on Facebook content each month

Most users are member of at least 12 groups

International

About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States

Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application

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December 31, 2009

custserv 02 :: Customer Service Follow-Ups

#custserv 02 :: Customer Service Follow-Ups

Transcript from The Customer Service Dialogue on Twitter

Please join us weekly every Tuesday at 9pm EST by following #custserv

:::::::::::::

JeffreyJKingman Starting Now: Customer Service Follow-ups Discussion on Twitter w/@MarshaCollier: come share your experiences at #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier are you here? #custserv

JeffreyJKingman The Customer Service Dialogue. Every Tuesday night at 9pm EST w/best-selling author @MarshaCollier on hashtag #custserv

MarshaCollier RT @JeffreyJKingman: Now: Customer Service Follow-ups Discussion on Twitter w/@MarshaCollier: come share your experiences at #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon RT @JeffreyJKingman: The Customer Service Dialogue. Every Tuesday night at 9pm EST w/best­selling author @MarshaCollier on hashtag #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Customer Service Dialoge: Tonights topic for 12/29: Customer Service Follow Up #custserv #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Welcome everyone.. Marsha, could you just give a quick intro of yourself? #custserv

MarshaCollier Thanks if you’ve come by for our #custserv chat tonight @JeffreyJKingman – whats tha first question..?

JeffreyJKingman I’m Jeff: CEO of Chalkboarder.com. We do relationship engineering B2B and B2C both on/offline; former Exec Chef 9X across USA #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Q1: What industry do you think is the worst/best in customer service followup? #custserv

HRMargo #custserv is there a radio feed that goes along with this chat or is it mere twitter stream convo?

awakeningaimee RT @MarshaCollier: RT @JeffreyJKingman: Now: Customer Service Discussion on Twitter w/@MarshaCollier: share your experiences at #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @HRMargo It’s a twitter-dialogue. Welcome in! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman CustServ Q1: What industry do you think is the worst/best in customer service followup? #custserv

MarshaCollier @HRMargo you can follow along in a search for #custserv

JeffreyJKingman All are welcome to participate in Twitter-dialogues – feel free to shoutout. #custserv

MarshaCollier Q1: also, follow up with food vendors. Ever notice supermarkets & drug stores just try to sell and don’t care about you? #custserv

MarshaCollier Q1: Tee hee, auto repair! I drove for a couple of months with no oil cap! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Marsha, was there a first part to your tweet? #custserv

MarshaCollier @Shennee_Rutt Hi there, join in! to #custserv

MarshaCollier @ToddDavidMehl We’d love your comments, please hashtag #custserv at the end so everyone can see them

JeffreyJKingman Q2: What is the worst example of customer service followup you have experienced? Everyone can chime in on questions.. :)) #custserv

MarshaCollier OK, whoever made the comment about Virgin America needing a bar and deleted.. very funny #custserv

awakeningaimee RT @MarshaCollier: Q1: mobile phone providers & I hate automated systems. Calling insurance companies is up there. #custserv

MarshaCollier @awakeningaimee I’ve found I get better service with mobile phone providers when I go into their store. Like night and day #custserv

awakeningaimee Q1: mobile phone providers & I hate automated systems. Calling insurance companies is up there. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Q2 What is the worst example of customer service followup you have experienced? Everyone can chime in on questions.. :)) #custserv

awakeningaimee @MarshaCollier agreed #custserv I think healthcare & medical insurance is pretty bad from a insider view.

Shennee_Rutt @MarshaCollier If a company you had a bad customer service experience with righted the wrong, I would say that is a good thing! #custserv

MarshaCollier Q2: I’m with @awakeningaimee in insurance companies. They make you stay on hold F O R E V E R #custserv

MarshaCollier Seriously, are you being shy? I know you’re there – you al DM’d me #custserv

MarshaCollier @awakeningaimee DOctors can be lousy customer service people too.. not keeping a schedule by booking too many patients #custserv

awakeningaimee Q2 I would say doctor’s office that cared more about verifying insurance than taking an emergency patient #custserv

MarshaCollier @Shennee_Rutt Exactly, a bad customer experience gives a company the chance to shine by correcting #custserv

rewardfeedback #custserv – Q1 – Restaurant, mechanic shops, hotels, spas… in that order…LOL

MarshaCollier @awakeningaimee DOn’t you think doctors should do that before your appointment? Good point! #custserv

Shennee_Rutt @MarshaCollier My trick to avoid being on hold for long periods of time is to keep hitting 0, until I talk to a human beiing. #custserv

wrw_usa Q2 yup agree on insurance companies and most doctors (non boutique) offices #custserv

JeffreyJKingman My worst experience was a pizza shop at an OH airport #custserv

MarshaCollier @rewardfeedback Can you gice specifics? You’re right though. Most retail establishments don’t care once you walk out the door #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon @MarshaCollier Some biz make it hard 2 really Rave abt Awsum Service when all u get is a touchtone phone survey on receipt #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Q2 When I got home I emailed a complaint to the company and copied to entire city council. #custserv

MarshaCollier @wrw_usa I HATE my insurance company. But I’ve found if you have a good agent, they can smooth thing a bit #custserv

MarshaCollier @Shennee_Rutt Hitting 0 doesn’t always work .. its all about disrespecting the customer’s time #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman Would love to see you discuss #custserv best practices.

awakeningaimee RT @MarshaCollier: @awakeningaimee Our office is pedi-cardiology. We refer out sometimes. Unfortunatley a lot of docs r about $$ #custserv

anniesgoathill RT @MarshaCollier: @Shennee_Rutt Exactly, a bad customer experience gives a company the chance to shine by correcting #custserv

rewardfeedback Being at a Denny’s for breakfast – the server forgot my toast. I asked for it & he yelled “need toast for the cow at 14” #custserv

wrw_usa @MarshaCollier indeed; let them work a little for that commission #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Q3: What could companies customer service dept discussed have done differently? #custserv

MarshaCollier @awakeningaimee I’m addressing doctors in my new book, interviewed a few. Got some good tips for making patients feel more cared #custserv

awakeningaimee @Shennee_Rutt I do that too #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @SeattleTallPopp: @JeffreyJKingman Would love to see you discuss #custserv best practices. ::: Future topic in next couple weeks 🙂 Hiya!

MarshaCollier @JeffreyJKingman LOL, Dominos always burns a thing crustr pizza – they never get it right #custserv

MarshaCollier @wrw_usa Exactly, that is what insurance agents are for – let them EARN their money #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman What’s the topic this week? #custserv

LindaSherman Q1 best/worst industries for #custserv follow up. I think “worst” industries are where companies have a chance to distinguish themselves.

MarshaCollier RT @rewardfeedback Denny’s for breakfast – the server forgot my toast. I asked for it & he yelled need toast for the cow at 14 #custserv

MarshaCollier @rewardfeedback Lovely – restaurant people take note what goes on with the customers! #custserv

awakeningaimee @MarshaCollier excellent. Let me know if you want talk to Andrew or I can help In any way. I do my best to see to the patients. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier This was not a Dominos, but much smaller chain. On-site mgmt #fail. Got a gift cert in the mail for $25 #custserv

wrw_usa @JeffreyJKingman if they don’t have a blog, participate in Twitter or FaceBook, or monitor Yelp ratings; let em RIP! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @SeattleTallPopp: @JeffreyJKingman What’s the topic this week? #custserv :: This week is Customer Service Follow-ups

MarshaCollier @anniesgoathill But how many actually follow up and make things right? I will tell you that #FedEx does! they listen #custserv

rewardfeedback There needs to be more measurement of service activities and tangible benefits to customers for giving feedback #custserv

MarshaCollier @LindaSherman Thanks for joining, you must have some horror stories considering all your travels #custserv

MarshaCollier BTW @LindaSherman was the CEO of Club Med Japan #custserv

SkagitIMS #custserv to me is when you call the Ning Corporate office you get at least an answering machine to report a TOS violation (cont’d)

SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman I got new tires a couple years ago. Firestone called TWICE to make sure I was happy. #custserv

Rieva Providing stand-out customer service is a great way for small business owners to stand out. #custserv

MarshaCollier @wrw_usa Yelp has become a significant force. If a restaurant isn’t following the posts they loose ­big time #custserv

wordsdonewrite I had a bad experience at Baskin-Robbins when I went 4 my free bday ice-cream. Manager yelled at me. Called corporate to complain. #custserv

MarshaCollier @awakeningaimee Let’s DM afterwards and we can talk about it! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Let’s repeat Q2: What is the worst example of customer service followup you have experienced? #custserv

MarshaCollier @Rieva absolutely – and that means ALL BUSINESSES. Anyone who takes $ in exchange for anything #custserv

SkagitIMS #custserv cont’d – like the one of a nasty website on Ning calling for more Lakewood & #eatonville terror attacks on heroic cops. (END)

MarshaCollier I have found that most businesses use Facebook in a pretty self serving manner, @wrw_usa do you have good examples? #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @wordsdonewrite How did corporate respond? #BaskinRobbins #custserv

wrw_usa ClubMed could teach most companies about customer service #custserv

MarshaCollier @SeattleTallPopp Have you been let down by a business? #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman Publishers send me books. Most memorable? Handwritten note w/ book & a follow up e-mail. Much appreciated. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @SkagitIMS Did Ning.com reply? #custserv #eatonville

MarshaCollier @SeattleTallPopp That’s an amazing tribute to Firestone tire – was it a local store? #custserv

rewardfeedback I don’t understand why any customer is willing to wait until after they’ve left to be contacted. Real-time solutions are best. #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon @Rieva I call it ‘Deliver the WOW’ #custserv

MarshaCollier @wordsdonewrite Are you serious? that’s outrageous. No more Baskin Robbins (at least at that location) #custserv

Rieva Just had a horrible Christmas shopping experience ordering from Sears’ Web site. Completely unsatisfactory response. #custserv

wordsdonewrite Listened to my story. Said they’d tell owner (it was a franchise). RT @JeffreyJKingman How did corporate respond? #BaskinRobbins #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Q4: How many people did you tell about the negative experience and how (face2face, email, socialweb)? #custserv

wrw_usa @rewardfeedback agree which is why if brands aren’t monitoring real time customer experience (Twitter) they’re not doing it right #custserv

awakeningaimee @MarshaCollier Boston Market, had a bug in creamed spinach. Called & they acted like I wanted a handout. Worst #custserv

MarshaCollier @SkagitIMS If a web business waits too long on on TOS violations, they will end up in total disrepute #custserv

MarshaCollier @wrw_usa How so? #custserv

wordsdonewrite I blogged about it 2 feel better! RT @MarshaCollier R U serious? Outrageous. No more Baskin Robbins (at least at that location) #custserv

wrw_usa @MarshaCollier Agree; Yelp is a growing local market force to watch #custserv

MarshaCollier RT @brooksbayne: @MarshaCollier PF changs does a good job with facebook, imo.

JeffreyJKingman @Rieva Let’s talk after; I can point you to Sears customer fix-it dude. Ever seen blog on ‘Sears Killed My Dog’? #custserv

Rieva @Ramon_DeLeon not enough businesses know how to or care about “delivering the Wow” it’s a shame #custserv

awakeningaimee RT @JeffreyJKingman: Q4: Probably 1 to 5 #custserv

wrw_usa @awakeningaimee sad commentary on Boston Market #fail #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @MarshaCollier Biz books tout Dell’s legendary service. Bought my laptop & proceeded to spend HOURS on their help line. #custserv

MarshaCollier @Ramon_DeLeon Delivering the WOW had its day – customers demand more than WOW. They need to be respected #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @SkagitIMS: @JeffreyJKingman No they haven’t to TWO e-mails #custserv DM me for an e-mail to send details. (ning.com)

MarshaCollier @Rieva What happened with #Sears? #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @MarshaCollier Definitely a disconnect between Dell’s reputation and the actual customer experience. #custserv

RayJGordon Q2 Lufthansa at Frankfurt Airport – they wouldn’t let me make an emergency collect call to American Express to get new flight #custserv

MarshaCollier If you can’t keep up, @JeffreyJKingman posts the chat feed in a couple of days – look for the link­#custserv

Rieva @JeffreyJKingman I haven’t seen it. That would be great, I am still really annoyed. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @RayJGordon Did you complain to Lufthansa? #custserv

rewardfeedback I don’t want vendors to have my personal info to reply to my experiences. Anonymity is king in my book! #custserv

SeattleTallPopp RT @MarshaCollier @SeattleTallPopp That’s an amazing tribute to Firestone tire -was it a local store? #custserv Yes, local.

wordsdonewrite Here’s the full story of my Baskin-Robbins experience. Blogging can be therapeutic! http://tinyurl.com/y8oh48c #custserv

MarshaCollier @wrw_usa #FedEx saw my pain, responded on Twitter immediately, but I was too annoyed to repeat, they followed up 2 days later! #custserv

awakeningaimee @JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier seen the new Domino’s ad where the address customer feedback? Even the CEO kinda brilliant. #custserv

wrw_usa @MarshaCollier can direct you to a physician that built his practice exclusively via Yelp & social media #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @MarshaCollier: @Ramon_DeLeon Delivering the WOW had its day – customers demand more than WOW. They need to be respected #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @MarshaCollier RE: Firestone. Their customer service was stellar from the moment I walked in the door to their follow up. #custserv

wrw_usa @MarshaCollier you can also use TweetChat or Twazzup http://bit.ly/8eOjxV for feeds #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @awakeningaimee I saw that this morning via @paulbarron: It’s a good move on Dominoes part #custserv

awakeningaimee @wrw_usa I’d like more info on building doc practice thru social media #custserv

rewardfeedback what if you received a valuable coupon for giving a business your thoughts anonymously DURING the experience? Rocks, right? #custserv

MarshaCollier RT @awakeningaimee: #BostonMarket, had a bug in creamed spinach. Called & they acted like I wanted a handout. Worst #custserv <hope they see

RayJGordon @JeffreyJKingman vehement complaints to supervisors at airport face2face – alas, to no avail! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman I will post a transcript of the Customer Service dialogue late tomorrow on hashtag #custserv

MarshaCollier @SeattleTallPopp That’s good to hear. I’ve heard that lately they’ve improved their service #custserv

awakeningaimee @MarshaCollier never got take out from there again #custserv

MarshaCollier @Rieva Did you see @JeffreyJKingman’s tweet? He’ll hook you up w #sears #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier @Ramon_DeLeon Delivering WOW isn’t the challenge-­delivering WOW throughout your organization is. #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon @Rieva What a Biz needs 2 do is educate it’s customers on it’s products and make it FUN ordering it. This can help prempt issues #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Portland OR had a customer service #fail when e-coli discovered in public water (communications) #custserv cc: @MayorSamAdams

Rieva @MarshaCollier it just didn’t seem to matter to them, even when I said there’d be one very unhappy 10 yr old #custserv

awakeningaimee RT @JeffreyJKingman: @awakeningaimee I saw that this morning via @paulbarron: It’s a good move on Dominoes part #custserv ((totally agree))

MarshaCollier @RayJGordon Wonder if Lufthansa is on Twitter. That’s outrageous! #custserv #fail

JeffreyJKingman @RayJGordon Did you contact Lufthansa corporate after? #custserv

Rieva @MarshaCollier yes, thanks, saw it #custserv, very appreciative

MarshaCollier We only get what we stand up for. If we don’t insist on quality service, as consumers we won’t get it #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Q5: What is the best example of customer service followup you have experienced? #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @MarshaCollier I have had outstanding customer service at Sears auto service as well. Drive 10 miles out of my way to go there. #custserv

awakeningaimee RT @MarshaCollier: We only get what we stand up for. If we don’t insist on quality service, as consumers we won’t get it #custserv ((agreed)

Ramon_DeLeon @Rieva @garyvee Makes Ordering Wine Fun…I make ordering Pizza Fun. I will b in LA for #Gravsum in Feb. #custserv

Rieva @Ramon_DeLeon But Ramon, not enough businesses have owners like you, who really care about customer happiness #custserv

MarshaCollier @Ramon_DeLeon I might suggest quality content and engagement. #custserv about

wordsdonewrite I don’t think gov’t thinks it has customers! RT @JeffreyJKingman Portland had #custserv fail when e-coli was discovered in public water.

LindaSherman @JeffreyJKingman Would love to give examples of excellent #custserv. I found Q1,2 and 4 but can’t find Q3. Could you please repeat?

SkagitIMS RT @MarshaCollier: We only get what we stand up for. If we don’t insist on quality service, as consumers we won’t get it #custserv

karla_porter when companies start 2 c negative trends they must act rather than waiting for chickens 2 fall from the sky #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @LindaSherman Q3: What could the companies discussed have done differently? #custserv

LindaSherman Sorry – there it is RT @JeffreyJKingman: Q5: What is the best example of customer service followup you have experienced? #custserv

awakeningaimee RT @JeffreyJKingman: Q5: What is the best example of customer service followup you have experienced? #custserv ((AAA after I got right peep

Rieva @Ramon_DeLeon oh maybe I’ll meet you there #custserv

hackmanj RT @MarshaCollier: We only get what we stand up for. If we don’t insist on quality service, as consumers we won’t get it #custserv

Shennee_Rutt @MarshaCollier I agree! Speak now, or forever hold your peace. #custserv

MarshaCollier @fail_watch I think public utilities are often some of the worst offenders. They really DO own their custoemrs #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @wordsdonewrite I think some govt agencies “get” #custserv: others don’t or stick head in sand.

MarshaCollier @Ramon_DeLeon Will you teach my local Dominos how to make the thin crust – pretty please? #custserv

TheJackB RT @MarshaCollier: We only get what we stand up for. If we don’t insist on quality service, as consumers we won’t get it #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @karla_porter: when companies start 2 c negative trends they must act rather than waiting for chickens 2 fall from the sky #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @Shennee_Rutt: @MarshaCollier I agree! Speak now, or forever hold your peace. #custserv

MarshaCollier @hackmanj What’s your biggest complaint? #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @karla_porter too many organizations have fear of negative feedback; it’s time to embrace your fear, C-Levels on down #custserv

wordsdonewrite Yes. Some do. RT @JeffreyJKingman: I think some govt agencies “get” #custserv: others don’t or stick head in sand.

awakeningaimee @JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier I tend to get what I want. Realizing that u might need to speak to someone else helps. #custserv

Ranker_com So true. RT @MarshaCollier: We only get what we stand up for. If we don’t insist on quality service, as consumers we won’t get it #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @SeattleMaven: @JeffreyJKingman Hotel called me to tell me I’d left an item – and shipped it w/ no charge! #custserv

wordsdonewrite I know, right? Don’t offer a promotion if you can’t honor it with a smile! RT @SkagitIMS: 😦 that’s mean of people #custserv

MarshaCollier Good employee relations: RT @KFIAM640 news anchor Aron Bender got married ithis afternoon. It was webcast. We webcasted his gift. #custserv

karla_porter @JeffreyJKingman very true! If you don’t manage your reputation the public will.. #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon @Rieva Checkout what we are doing at a National Level to address quality concerns http://www.pizzaturnaround.com #custserv

JeffreyJKingman (RT) Q5: What is the best example of customer service followup you have experienced? #custserv

MarshaCollier @SeattleMaven That’s awesome #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @Shennee_Rutt: what I mean is if you are a unhappy customer, and never speak up, You will not have resolution to said issue. #custserv

MarshaCollier @JeffreyJKingman In this country we have gotten used to being abused, and to accept less than we deserve for our money #custserv

karla_porter @JeffreyJKingman Q5: Intuit -15 min after an online purchase they called to offer me walk through instructions/answer Q’s. #custserv

MarshaCollier RT @Ramon_DeLeon: @Rieva Checkout what we are doing at a National Level to address quality concerns http://www.pizzaturnaround.com #custserv

kenmoir Top-notch post from @Seiden on what makes truly great #custserv – why it’s rare & what each of us can do about it: http://bit.ly/7Rj5oq

JeffreyJKingman So recognizing that emcee-ing this dialogue has me why out in front, I’ll ask our last question of the night #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Q7: What best-practice suggestion do you have for any customer service department? #custserv

rewardfeedback But many people fear repercussions – if a business knows you can twitter, they can too. The embarrassment keeps them quiet #custserv

wrw_usa @awakeningaimee see http://bit.ly/8iU2pL & Yelp ratings http://bit.ly/65AUyl #custserv *DM me for more

JeffreyJKingman RT @karla_porter: @JeffreyJKingman very true! If you don’t manage your reputation the public will.. #custserv

Rieva @JeffreyJKingman 1of the best: Nordstroms. When I lost my $20 Nordstrom bucks & didn’t use it, they sent new certificate #custserv

LindaSherman Q5 My fave #custserv for ’09: Allen Edward Appliance Repair; My Plumbing Doctor; Ed Little Auto Service: professional, prompt, right price

JeffreyJKingman RT @karla_porter: Q5: Intuit -15 min after an online purchase they called to offer me walk through instructions/answer Q’s. #custserv

MarshaCollier @karla_porter #Intuit FTW! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @Rieva: 1of the best: Nordstroms. When I lost my $20 Nordstrom bucks & didn’t use it, they sent new certificate #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @MarshaCollier: In this country we have gotten used to being abused, and to accept less than we deserve for our money #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman I was dining at the Herbfarm & my camera died! @Herbguy (owner) loaned me his & then uploaded the photos for me. #custserv

rewardfeedback Best advice is constant touch points with the consumer and consistent measurement to ensure quality across all segments #custserv

awakeningaimee @wrw_usa Ty #custserv

MarshaCollier @Rieva Major stores should keep serial numbers on those. Good to hear #custserv

SkagitIMS I got good #custserv when an indented collectable by an eBayer got a full refund before it was shipped.

karla_porter @MarshaCollier oh yeah. thought it was my mom, I was pleasantly surprised! Said, “If you ever need us we’re here for you”. Whoa.. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @rewardfeedback: But many people fear repercussions – embarrassment keeps them quiet. Meaning customer embaressment? #custserv

wrw_usa RT @JeffreyJKingman: @karla_porter 2many organizations have fear of negative feedback; time to embrace your fear, C-Levels on down #custserv

MarshaCollier RT @rewardfeedback Best advice is constant touch pts w the consumer & consistent measurement 2 ensure quality across all segmnts #custserv

rewardfeedback and make customers feels appreciated and encouraged to provide feedback whether good or bad #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @SeattleTallPopp Dining at the Herbfarm & my camera died! @Herbguy (owner) loaned me his & then uploaded the photos for me. #custserv

LindaSherman Q7 As with the Ritz Carlton give every employee the authority to do what it takes to take care of the problem. #custserv

Rieva RT @MarshaCollier: In this country we have gotten used to being abused, and to accept less than we deserve for our money #custserv

wrw_usa YES!! RT @karla_porter: @JeffreyJKingman very true! If you don’t manage your reputation the public will.. #custserv

MarshaCollier @SeattleTallPopp Good to hear good service from @Herbguy – is he very active on Twitter? #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @rewardfeedback: Constant touch points with the consumer and consistent measurement to ensure quality across all segments #custserv

awakeningaimee RT @JeffreyJKingman: Q7: What best-practice suggestion do you have for any customer service department? #custserv (try to be them)

MarshaCollier @SkagitIMS That’s what eBay should be about #custserv

SeattleMaven @SeattleTallPopp No where near the fanciest I’ve stayed at, but stellar lost-and-found service!! #CustServ

SeattleTallPopp RT @MarshaCollier @SeattleTallPopp Good to hear good service from @Herbguy – is he very active on Twitter? #custserv –> Yes, very active.

rewardfeedback @JeffreyJKingman Absolutely. Sears calculates for every one customer that complains 26 others do not. That is scary. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @LindaSherman I worked for old Boston Ritz in mid 90s – so true. They ‘get’ it. #custserv

MarshaCollier @JeffreyJKingman I think we are often afraid to speak up. (like the waiter will spit in my food) #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @MarshaCollier: I think we are often afraid to speak up. (like the waiter will spit in my food) #custserv

MarshaCollier Q7: Best practice for Customer service? be human, respect everyone who walks in your door. DO that every day! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @rewardfeedback: Absolutely. Sears calculates for every one customer that complains 26 others do not. That is scary. #custserv

MarshaCollier @JeffreyJKingman The Ritz employee may be more devoted than at Dennys? #custserv

SeattleTallPopp RT @TheGourmetGirl In this country we have gotten used to being abused & to accept I disagree.

SkagitIMS RT @MarshaCollier: @SkagitIMS That is what eBay should be about #custserv 🙂

MarshaCollier RT @rewardfeedback Sears calculates for every one customer that complains 26 others do not. That is scary. #custserv

LindaSherman @MarshaCollier It’s always easy for me to dig up where I have had good #custserv because I yelp them. http://lindasherman.yelp.com

rewardfeedback @JeffreyJKingman RT – now imagine the middle aged and seniors who do not have technology avail to use and are fearful #custserv

karla_porter Q7: custserv reps in dept shuld b on the same page & attend customers w/ uniformity quality shudnt vary shud always b excellent #custserv

cbruemmer RT @MarshaCollier: RT @rewardfeedback Sears calculates for every one customer that complains 26 others do not. That is scary. #custserv

MarshaCollier @LEXXtech99 Wouldn’t it be nice if everything worked that way? #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @TheGourmetGirl Of the hundreds of transactions you encounter on a regular basis, how many are truly bad? I bet..not many. #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon While Tweeting #Custserv I got a Surprised FREE Cookie with my @dunkindonuts coffee….Good Karma

Desdemona_ @MarshaCollier: @LindaSherman @JeffreyJKingman Fun list you guys have going! .. #custserv

PrixFixeOnline @JeffreyJKingman I used to be afraid to speak up – now not so much. 😉 #custserv

MarshaCollier If humanity is taken into account, perhaps some employees can think out of the box to give good service? @karla_porter #custserv

wrw_usa @MarshaCollier and must read ‘the Cluetrain Manifesto’ http://bit.ly/4vanYq #custserv

rewardfeedback @SeattleTallPopp but sadly so few excite me. I’m a valuable marketer just waiting to sell your product for u #custserv

MarshaCollier @Ramon_DeLeon Wonderful! So is the service in a @DunkinDonuts retail location? I’ve never been #custserv

wrw_usa RT @Ramon_DeLeon: While Tweeting #Custserv I got a Surprised FREE Cookie with my @dunkindonuts coffee….Good Karma **SWEET!!

JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier RitzCarlton told new hires (1995) that they spend $30K & 6 mos to train. They empower employees to fix NEthing #custserv

karla_porter @MarshaCollier training is key – scripts are guidelines but reading them like robots is awful! #custserv

MarshaCollier @PrixFixeOnline Has speaking up worked for you with businesses? #custserv

MichelFalcon You know it! RT @Rieva: Providing stand-out customer service is a great way for small business owners to stand out. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @rewardfeedback: RT – now imagine the middle aged and seniors who do not have technology avail to use and are fearful #custserv

TheGourmetGirl RE http://bit.ly/5mFcxa @SeattleTallPopp Now THAT is customer service! #custserv

MarshaCollier @JeffreyJKingman Yes, The Ritz lets their employees have leverage, go the extra mile? think out of the box! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @SeattleTallPopp For me? ~5 to 10% of all my transactions could be much better customer service #custserv

SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman Of the hundreds of transactions you encounter on a regular basis, how many are truly bad? I bet..not many. #custserv

awakeningaimee @JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier thanks 4 the #custserv tweet chat

JeffreyJKingman RT @_Desdemona_: @MarshaCollier: @LindaSherman @JeffreyJKingman Fun list you guys have going! .. #custserv ::: Thank you! Every week 🙂

JeffreyJKingman RT @PrixFixeOnline: @JeffreyJKingman I used to be afraid to speak up – now not so much. 😉 #custserv

MarshaCollier I hope you’ll all join in again next week – we’ll have a different topic! #custserv

wrw_usa @JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier Thanks for TweetChat! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @MarshaCollier: I hope you’ll all join in again next week – we’ll have a different topic! #custserv

karla_porter @SeattleTallPopp @JeffreyJKingman most of my custser interactions are acceptable few are exceptional =) #custserv

LindaSherman @Rieva So agree. Nordstroms has firmly held on to outstanding #custserv for years. It really feels good to shop there.

MarshaCollier I can’t wait to read the entire stream. So many good comments on #custserv this week

MichelFalcon Exceptional #custserv provided from your “front lines” MUST be celebrated. If not, it’s like winning the Stanley Cup w/o the trophy or ring

PrixFixeOnline @MarshaCollier It’s been hit and miss really, works well when at a restauraunt at least in my case. Retail…it’s a crap shoot. #custserv

karla_porter Ditto! RT @wrw_usa: @JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier Thanks for TweetChat! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Thank you all for joining in #custserv this week! I’ll post the transcript by tomorrow night and message the url on #custserv

SeattleTallPopp RT @TheGourmetGirl RE http://bit.ly/5mFcxa @SeattleTallPopp Now THAT is customer service! #custserv cc @herbguy

SmallBizMuse RT @MarshaCollier @rewardfeedback Sears calculates for every one customer that complains 26 others do not. That is scary. #custserv

MarshaCollier Also thanks to @PrixFixeOnline @_Desdemona_ @SeattleTallPopp @cbruemmer @SkagitIMS #custserv @TheGourmetGirl @SeattleMaven @Rieva #custserv

Rieva @JeffreyJKingman Thanks you and @marshacollier #custserv

LindaSherman @mollierosev Many Yelpers write long detailed reviews. I yelp only when I’m delighted or mad, I make my point and I’m done. #custserv

karla_porter @JeffreyJKingman it would be fantastic if you included Twitter user names to so we can follow others ­thanks! #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @MichelFalcon That’s an excellent statement too long to RT :))) #custserv

MichelFalcon When companies like @zappos and @amazon say there is a direct correlation between #custserv and revenue growth we should all listen!

SeattleTallPopp @karla_porter I agree, few are exceptional. Think most fab #custserv experiences are due to an individual rather than the organization, no?

hackmanj @MarshaCollier Definitely over-promising and under delivering. I much prefer the opposite. #custserv

Rieva @LindaSherman Yes @Nordstrom has figured out that taking care of its customers keeps us coming back #custserv

dadekian Really outstanding: RT @SeattleTallPopp RT @TheGourmetGirl RE http://bit.ly/5mFcxa Now THAT is customer service! #custserv cc @herbguy

karla_porter @SeattleTallPopp most def! Regardless of exceptional policies if the employee doesn’t deliver well it doesn’t reflect #custserv

wrw_usa Twazzup feed for #custserv chat 2nite: http://bit.ly/8eOjxV

Ramon_DeLeon @MarshaCollier I am a regular there and it was thru the Drive Thru…She said Happy New Year @dunkindonuts #custserv

JeffreyJKingman The transcript includes names of those sending the message during the dialogue (removing date/time and reversing the chronology) #custserv

MarshaCollier Sorry if I missed anyone CU next week? #custserv TY @kenmoir @wordsdonewrite @TheJackB @hackmanj @Shennee_Rutt @fail_watch @RayJGordon

TheGourmetGirl @MarshaCollier Enjoyed jumping in on your #custserv topic tonight, thanks to @SeattleTallPopp for the intro.

wordsdonewrite @MarshaCollier Really enjoyed your weekly #custserv Twitter chat! Until next week…

JeffreyJKingman @Ramon_DeLeon Dunkins is good coffee; excellent brand development – but I learned I had to be specific in ordering #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon @JeffreyJKingman Goes back 2 my earlier comment-Biz needs 2 educate clients on products and How 2 order #custserv

PrixFixeOnline @MarshaCollier Wish I hadn’t been so late to the discussion. 🙂 #custserv

JacobNahin RT @MarshaCollier: Q7: Best practice for Customer service? be human, respect everyone who walks in your door. DO that every day! #custserv

LindaSherman Fun chatting with you tonight @MarshaCollier @JeffreyJKingman @rieva @_Desdemona_ @mollierosev @kjonesphd @karla_porter @wrw_usa #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon @JeffreyJKingman I am such a @dunkindonuts regular that via Drive Thru all I have to do is say “YES”

Rieva @JeffreyJKingman thank you Jeffrey, it was quite informative & really fast-moving #custserv

karla_porter @JeffreyJKingman on the contrary, it was very well done, thank you! #custserv

Ramon_DeLeon When @needgraphics get AWESOME #custserv he Video Blogs it. I have held the camera on occassion for him. http://bit.ly/73Pini

PrixFixeOnline @JeffreyJKingman No problem, to bad I was a tad late to the party. Forgot 9 meant EST. llol #custserv

SEONOW RT@MarshaCollier RT @rewardfeedback Sears calculates for every one customer that complains 26 others do not. That is scary. #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @kjonesphdNice to meet you! Here’s a transcript of last week’s #custserv : http://wp.me/pARSa-7I

awakeningaimee @JeffreyJKingman @MarshaCollier loved the tweetchat on #custserv

LaurelKaufman RT@MarshaCollier: Q7: Best practice for Customer service? be human, respect everyone who walks in your door. DO that every day! #custserv

davemammen RT @MarshaCollier: Q7: Best practice for Customer service? be human, respect everyone who walks in your door. DO that every day! #custserv

ToddDavidMehl @MarshaCollier – very simple – Treat people they way you would like to be treated…

JeffreyJKingman RT @ToddDavidMehl: @MarshaCollier – very simple – Treat people they way you would like to be treated… #custserv

Partyaficionado Gr8 #custserv @fourseasons RT @Twitter_Tips The Greatest Twitter Hotel Service Story Yet: http://j.mp/73kbhQ #eventprofs #hotel

paulbarron RT @JeffreyJKingman: RT @ToddDavidMehl: @MarshaCollier – very simple – Treat people they way you would like to be treated… #custserv

Rieva @LindaSherman yes it was. thanks for the conversation #custserv

JeffreyJKingman @Rieva I just emailed the author of http://bit.ly/5cALh3 w/partial transcript of our #custserv & asked him to forward to his SEARS contact

msgatoradr Chatting online with #custserv is so much easier than calling and waiting on hold. I can multi-task!

hackmanj @JeffreyJKingman Happy to participate in #custserv

brandondud @THE_REAL_AG best part is I was calling them back over account fraud. They took my call second time but damn. #custserv

SkagitIMS Well @NING did the right thing. The site in question is now down. Thanks @MarshaCollier & #custserv :-). Job well done. #eatonville

SearsHTS @Rieva Sorry re: your Xmas Sears.com Pls DM with your contact info We can help you. #custserv @JeffreyJKingman @Steveology @chalkboarder

MarshaCollier @SkagitIMS Very good to hear about @NING perhaps the #custserv chat helped a little

MarshaCollier @LEXXtech99 We could only hope. Pls join us next Tues 9pEST for #custserv – love 2 have your insights during the chat

SkagitIMS @MarshaCollier Sure did, hero :-). #custserv

JeffreyJKingman RT @JeffreyJKingman: @Rieva Sears just tweeted you! :))) #custserv cc:@SearsHTS

Rieva @SearsHTS @JeffreyJKingman Thanks, impressive turnaround time #custserv

JeffreyJKingman Sorting out the results from last night’s #custserv: Sears replied in 10 hours to one story. That’s what I’m talking about: resolution!

September 21, 2009

Increased Barista Sales through Social Media

Are Your Baristas Rock Stars?

With Coffee Fest Seattle approaching this week, we wanted to share some ideas on how to drive sales in coffee houses using social media.

The explosion of independent espresso and coffee houses across North America in the last ten years is phenomenal. Over the last few years we’ve seen top barista competitions at not only coffee business conventions, but also at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago.

image001

Most independent coffee shops have relied on word-of-mouth, traditional advertising and the ubiquitous buy-ten cards to build their business over the years. There’s a huge opportunity now to jump on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and increase sales.

How can you use social media to build your coffee business?

We’ve got several ideas. But first, we want to direct you to this article on the ROI and Best Practices of Social Media in Hospitality.

Okay, how do you increase business by making Barista Rock Stars?

  • First, set up your own social network accounts, if you haven’t already. We can email you good advice on that if you need it – just click here.
  • Market to your customers that you are online in social networks. Use a poster at the counter and get it on your website. Invite them to follow you by saying you’ll announce special deals once a week. By the way – customers should have it easy to enter your virtual door.
  • Introduce your talented staff both online and in-store. Ask your staff if they are willing to have a work-related Twitter account, and if they are, share that with your customers.
  • Turn your baristas into online Rock Stars. Every customer of yours has a favorite employee on your staff. Encourage your staff that is participating, to build online relationships (using their work Twitter) with their fans. This is all about leverage and we’re going to the next step.
  • During the week, take pictures of each baristas specialty drinks and share them online – with the work-Twitter account of the maker. Ask followers to rate them.
  • Set up a competition with your customers to vote for the best barista at your shop online – by offering them something valuable. Maybe it’s a week or two of free beverages. But here’s how you have them vote – they vote by bringing their friends who aren’t customers in to sign up for your buy-ten cards (you can keep track by using a pen and paper grid). Post the results daily on your social networks. Make the contest run for a month – as new customers join, they’ll refer their friends! You know the baristas will be encouraging the customers to vote for them and you should offer the winning barista something of value too.
Barista David Sarah Jane Zeke
Wed 10 7 12 5
Thu 6 0 9 7

.

Sound like a crazy idea? Sure, you bet. But it’s crazy ideas that create change. We’ve got other suggestions too, like what Starbucks did a few months ago with their free pastry/buy a beverage coupon, shared only on social media. By the way, that promo only cost Starbucks $12,000 and it grossed them $500,000 in one day.

Use your staff – they’re likely young and highly creative. Have a sit-down and ask them for ideas on how to use social media to drive up sales. I’m pretty sure you’ll see positive results.

We’d love your feedback. After all, social media is all about engagement and dialogue. Do you have any great experiences using social media? We’d love to hear about it.

Still not convinced that social media can change your business for the better? Watch this.

Chalkboarder.com offers clients digital community management consulting and services across North America.

September 17, 2009

Twittering a Berkshires Dinner at the James Beard House

Yesterday we noticed that a team of talented chefs were driving down from the Berkshires to put a dinner featuring local resources on at the venerable James Beard House in New York City. On a whim, we offered to semi-live, and from 3000 miles away, share the experience with over 1000 followers in Twitter.

Put together over two hours by cell phone and Facebook, Brian Butterworth – Director of Sales for The Red Lion Inn, arranged for iPhone photography from Bruce Finn, General Manager of The Red Lion Inn. As the main courses were presented to the dining room, Bruce snapped photos and emailed them to Chalkboarder.com. We then posted to Flickr and micro-blogged them into Twitter. You can see the micro-blog stream by visiting Twitter and searching the hashtag #berkshirechef.

The James Beard House in NYC is a testament to the vision of American cuisine and one of America’s best known and loved chefs, James Beard. As a former chef, I have a vast admiration not only for James Beard, but for the organization that bears his name. It is a distinct honor to be invited to cook at the James Beard House.

The Berkshire Team, led by Chef Brian Alberg (his seventh event at JBH), was joined by Joseph Carr Wine of Calistoga, California. The culinary crew included:

Chef Brian Alberg The Red Lion Inn/ Stockbridge, MA
Chef Peter Platt The Old Inn on the Green/ New Marlborough, MA
Chef Daire Rooney Brix Wine Bar/ Pittsfield, MA
Chef Joji Sumi Mezze Bistro + Bar/ Williamstown, MA
Chef/Owner Adam Zieminski Cafe Adam/ Great Barrington, MA
Chocolatier Joshua Needleman Chocolate Springs Café/ Lenox, MA
Director Joseph Carr Joseph Carr Wine/ Calistoga, CA

We’ll share more information on the menu in a bit – we wish to describe our experience in providing semi-live, long-distance coverage of the event.

While we feel that this was a successful micro-enterprise, we’ve learned some things that we at Chalkboarder.com would do differently in the future.

  • First, we needed better planning. Finding a mobile camera that could transmit was done at the last minute.
  • A logistical step could have been eliminated by posting the pictures directly into a web-based photo sharing site (Flickr). We experienced a delay of several hours waiting for the pictures to arrive through email.
  • Finally, a much more intriguing story could have occurred with photography of the chef team transporting down to NYC, unloading and preparing the dinner. Action shots of these activities would have engaged a much broader audience in Twitter, especially pictures of the chefs actually preparing the meals. And of course – the chefs, staff and diners eating and drinking! Images of Joseph Carr talking about his wine with the diners, the chefs interacting with serving staff and the after-meal salute would have rounded out a deeper integration of social media and live culinary event at the nation’s top dining room.

We think it would have been extremely intriguing to involve the staff of The James Beard House and the diners present. How much fun would it have been to see tweets from diners “oooh-ing and aaahh-ing” as they munched on the appetizers and courses? How much interest would there have been by fans of Joseph Carr Wines in Twitter-land had they known of this fantastic dinner being given? Would there have been a few hundred Twitter-people suddenly following and expressing jealousy about not being there? Would there be Twitter-people clueing their friends into the online and real-time dialogue about the event? Would this lead to increased interest in not only Joseph Carr Wines, but the Chefs on the Berkshire Team, their establishments and the James Beard House?

This is cutting edge social media for hospitality – involving people in the fun and exciting things we in hospitality do. Sharing our stories and lives with current customers and potential customers on a real-time basis. The days of marketing through a mega-phone in a blanket distribution and static message are waning. Daily engagement is the standard and norm that will be best-practice. What can your restaurant or hotel use social media for?

Berkshire Chefs at The James Beard House Menu

Hors d’Oeuvre

Maple Polenta Cakes with Cumin-Braised Pulled Pork

Roasted Beet Napoleons with Rawson Brook Farm Chèvre

Hidden Pasture Farm Chicken Liver Mousse with Bill Stinson’s Sweet Onions

Berkshire Lambs’ Tongue with Pickled Ramps and Creole Mustard

Rabbit Terrine with Berkshire Mountain Distillers Eau de Vie and Clover Town Bread

Chocolate-Covered Windy Hill Farm Blueberries

Joseph Carr Sauvignon Blanc 2008

The Last Word > Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, and Fresh Lime

Berkshire Bitter > Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ice Glen Vodka and Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon Tonic

Dinner

Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Berkshire Chicken Ballotine with Locally Foraged Wild Mushrooms
Joseph Carr Pinot Noir 2007

Seared Lila’s Lamb with Garlic–Zucchini Flan, Equinox Farm Tomatoes, and Shallot Fondue
Josh Cellars Santa Cruz Mt. Pinot Noir 2007

Dungeness Crab with Dave’s Melon Pavé, Farm Girl Farm Heirloom Tomatoes, Lime, and Lemon Verbena Vinaigrette
Joseph Carr Chardonnay 2007

Hidden Pasture Farm Milk–Fed Veal with Peace Valley Farm Fingerling Potatoes and Mighty Food Farm Greens
Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Grilled Bacon on the Side Pork Loin with Roasted Kimbi
Carrot Purée, Roasted Farm Girl Farm Beets, and Blue Moon Shrooms Ragoût
Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Lavender, Blueberry, and Chocolate Mousse Cake with Sidehill Farm Yogurt Sauce
Joseph Carr Merlot 2006

Chalkboarder.com welcomes comment, critique and dialogue with all content we publish. It’s about connecting.

September 15, 2009

Rock the Kasbah!

Yesterday, Chalkboarder.com negotiated with Club Kasbah – a virtual music venue and club in Second Life, to plan and execute social media and strategic brand development in building their business.

Second Life has been around since 1999 and lists economic activity of $35US million per month in transactions. Both global and smaller businesses, in addition to major universities (Univ. of Texas, for example) are using Second Life as a communications and connection platform.

We’re very excited to land this opportunity assisting a small family-run business with their virtual (and real) growth!

August 15, 2009

SUSTAINABLE RESTAURANTS – CAN YOURS BECOME SUSTAINABLE?

Earlier this week I was fortunate to participate in the Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour – a conference in Portland Oregon for industry leaders in hospitality, scientists and researchers, journalists and bloggers. Attended by 80-some people (and double the size of last year), the conference educated, provoked, challenged and fed us well.

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Full Sail brew tasting on day two on the Sustainability Tour

So here’s a question for you, restaurateur:

What does sustainability mean to you?

The dictionary gives several definitions – let me pick a few you might agree with.

  1. to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure
  2. to bear (a burden, charge, etc.)
  3. to undergo, experience, or suffer (injury, loss, etc.); endure without giving way or yielding
  4. to keep (a person, the mind, the spirits, etc.) from giving way
  5. to keep up or keep going, as an action or process
  6. to supply with food, drink, and other necessities of life
  7. to provide for (an institution or the like) by furnishing means or funds
  8. to support (a cause or the like) by aid or approval
  9. to uphold as valid, just, or correct, as a claim or the person making it

While there are numerous definitions, this one strikes me as most appropriate.

Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs is the key principle behind the concept of sustainability.

This conference covered way too much to address in one blog. It’s a good thing there were several bloggers present; I’m looking forward to the combined reading as a result.

Perhaps the largest example of sustainability at the conference was that of the host – Truitt Brothers, a food processor/packer headquartered in Oregon. With hundreds of employees, Truitt Bros. made a conscious decision years ago to become sustainable in all aspects:

  • with its employees
  • with its farmers
  • with its manufacturing process
  • in ecological sustainability
  • in financial sustainability

If companies this size can top-down and bottom-up effect organizational change to sustainable practices that generate consistent returns – why can’t the rest of the commercial foodservice industry?

The Herb Farm (Woodinville, WA)

Located thirty miles east of Seattle, The Herb Farm Restaurant was founded on a small family farm in 1985. Their philosophy has always been on locally sourced foods. For August of 2009, Chef/Owners Ron and Carrie have created a sold-out dining experience titled 100 Mile Dinners, where all the ingredients are sourced within 100 miles. Please understand, Ron and Carrie have been at this for twenty-four years! Their staff is deeply into it with total creativity. Customers are telling all their friends! Contact: Ron Zimmerman on Twitter at @HerbGuy

The Red Lion Inn (Albany, NY)

Chef Brian Alberg has maintained a locally sourced purchasing philosophy for his entire career. Completely supported by the owner and working in a historic hotel, he’s busy training young cooks and educating customers on how a restaurant can sustainably purchase and operate – in an agricultural area that has a very short season. If Brian can do it in Albany, rural restaurants across the country can too. Contact: Chef Brian Alberg at balberg@redlioninn.com

Scotty’s Table (Missoula, MT)

Owner Scott Gill has been passionate about sustainability for some time. His Chef de Cuisine Ben Freemole, while admitting that sustainability takes a little more work (the inconvenience factor), states that the customer response is fantastic. On Friday night, August 14, 2009, Scotty’s Table hosted a Sustainability Menu for the après-theater crowd watching the movie Food Inc. Sourcing local ingredients in Montana is a definite challenge – the growing season there is measured in weeks – not months. Contact: Ben Freemole at bcfreemole@yahoo.com

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Sustainable sourcing at Full Sail Brewing

You’re Neighborhood Restaurant

There’s exciting opportunity for your local restaurant to adopt sustainable practices. Let’s take a look.

Sustaining Employees

  • Treating employees with respect, both inter-personally and financially
  • Involve employees in sustainable planning/execution
  • Listen to their creativity

Purchasing

  • Purchase materials with low ecological footprint
  • Purchase locally grown
  • Purchase what’s ripe in season – best quality at lowest price
  • Don’t over-purchase – if you do, preserve or can it before it goes bad

Customers

  • Build relationships one on one – they’ll keep coming back
  • Use social media to engage customers; make them feel special
  • Choose customers passionate about sustainable relationship for extra attention – they’ll spread the word
  • Charge fair prices; not the maximum you think you can get

Production

  • Design menu to avoid packaging, use seasonality and local, and efficiency of resources (fuel, movement, etc)
  • Design recipes for maximum efficiency (old rule about cross-utilization)
  • Research and implement pre-consumer waste practices
  • Research and implement post-consumer waste practices

Communicate

  • Communicate your sustainable practices with your stake-holders
  • Customers want to know you are “moving in” the direction of sustainability

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The important thing is to be authentic. You don’t have to be completely sustainable to market it – just communicate the steps you are taking. Listen to your stake-holders suggestions and inquiries. Respond to them. Incorporate your most vocal stake-holders into the process.

Here at Chalkboarder.com, we’ve implemented our Statement of Sustainability into our operations. You can find that Statement on this blog.

Moving down the road of sustainability is becoming increasingly important today. Examining the sustainability of your operation through Life Cycle Assessments, employee/team driven creativity and customer feedback will not only strengthen your business – it will also grow it.

For further information and links to sustainability counselors and practioners, please feel free to contact me.

Jeffrey Kingman

President

Chalkboarder.com

www.chalkboarder.com

Twitter me: @JeffreyJKingman

(800) 409-8144

August 12, 2009

Chalkboarder.com Sustainability Statement:

Chalkboarder.com Sustainability Statement

We made some strategic sustainability decisions at Chalkboarder.com in the past couple days. Here they are:

  1. Business model: increased focus on personal relationships. We paid serious attention to lessons learned from Truitt Brothers, Country Natural Beef and Duke Marketing about growing a business through long-term sustainable relationships. We’ve replaced our focus on rapid-growth with a focus on sustainable growth. While this may mean less revenue generation – it does mean we are in truly personal relationships with our clients.
  2. Eco-Sensitivity: taking responsibility for how we impact the environment. This decision is a reinforcement and deepening of some philosophies we already had in place. Strategies we’ve revised:
  1. Travel – using mass transit as much as possible. Long-distance trains vs. airlines, renting only alternative fuel vehicles and using public transit. Encouraging staff to commute using public transit or human-power.
  2. Digital Media – using digital means to communicate. Two immediate examples:

i. Printing – we’re only printing business cards. We decided to not use printed sales literature (this also has a benefit in reducing expenses).

ii. Advertising – our original business plan structured a portion of marketing on traditional print advertising through FoodARTS and Nation’s Restaurant News. We will only use personal networking and digital mediums to market our services (this has an expense-reduction benefit as well, saving us over $170,000 in planned expenses first year).

iii. Tradeshows – Chalkboarder.com will exhibit at tradeshows with a minimum of “take-away” materials. We will structure exhibitor presence with a maximum amount of digital media and less emphasis on printed “take-aways”.

  1. Office-space – our plan was to use short-term office leasing in the beginning; we’re not changing that. Our plan also included adaptive reuse of a quasi-industrial loft space at a future time. When we get to that milestone, we’ve identified a local architect with a long-history in Eco-Office design.

Sustainability Promotion: being an active proponent of sustainability. We’re in discussion right now on how best to pursue this. Questions we’re asking ourselves include:

  1. Do we take on clients that have zero belief in sustainability?
  2. What other areas of sustainability assessment, philosophy and practice can we implement?
  3. How can Chalkboarder.com help others to learn about, develop and practice sustainability?

As you can see, this conference was eye-opening for Chalkboarder.com. It will restructure us. It will empower us to grow carefully and in deeper consideration of the relationships we build – of the legacy we develop. We welcome any comments or suggestions you may have for us.

Best,

Jeffrey