Archive for April, 2010

I Was Wrong…

…I admit it. I’ve been saying for years how stupid I think it’s been for such hoopla to be made over cameras in cell phones. It never seemed like a logical connection to me, and while I’ve understood it can occasionally be useful I didn’t get the impact it can have.

Until now.

I started digging through old photos recently to find some pics relating to a record I was remastering of a band I was in during the mid 80s. Of course to get to them I had to sift through everything else in an old box of stuff. Looking through the other photos to find what I wanted caused many old memories to flood back. Things and people I had completely forgotten about were refreshed. A few things I have photos of I still didn’t remember even as I sat there looking at them. I scanned a bunch of them to get them into the computer where I could have more ready access, and to hopefully prevent any further loss or deterioration (many of the negatives are long gone). These photos tell the story of my life in a way, and I find that some of what I remember is through these images. In other words, my vision in my mind’s eye of an event is really just the same snapshot of the picture I’ve seen a few dozen times over the years. There’s a fine line between really remembering something and only remembering a static image of it. But either is better than the alternative.

What really struck me during this process was all of the things I DON’T have pictures of. There were so many people and things that just never got captured. I have scads of pictures of people opening presents at Christmas, and quite a few of trips, but relatively few candid shots of us just living our lives. And I wonder what I don’t remember. As some of the memories kept coming back I realized that the majority of my life is lost to what I don’t remember and isn’t documented. That’s a shame because I really do value that stuff. I had fun and for the most part enjoyed growing up. So

much of it is lost, as in never captured in the first place. I recently posted a few on Facebook on a whim — some of them are kinda’ funny. Others are significant in other ways. People are already responding to many of them, and based on their responses in some cases it is obvious they were around and we had some interaction. We may have even been friends or did something together. In some cases I don’t know who they are. I feel like I should, but… There is so much of it I don’t remember.

So now I get it. The miniaturization of cameras and relative ease of making photos has revolutionized our ability to document our lives. I only wish I had photos of many of the other things I did. Even if they were crappy photos it would be something to help remember it. Not that you’d have to, but tell your kids to shoot away with their phones or digital cameras. Some of those captured instants in time will one day be meaningful to them.

Kudos to Kazumi Saburi at Kyocera for starting his work in 1997, which led to the release of the first phone with a built in camera in 1999.

I stand corrected.

Social Media 1.0

How to turn a very cool 2.0 collaborative into a lame 1.0 experience: only post to social media sites when you have something to promote.

Folks, when you never contribute anything beyond thinly veiled self promotion you’re taking advantage of people who are there for more interaction and to keep up with friends, etc. Sensitivity to this surely varies by the medium (twitter seems more promotion friendly than facebook, for example), but if that’s all you contribute then you’re just as bad as the people who shove commercials down our throat.

Surely you can bring more to the table than ads.

Super Bowl Team

Players on a team who honestly believe they are contending for the Super Bowl, or any championship likely have a subtly different mindset in how they approach their day to day activities. Is this mindset a result of contending or the cause of the contending? No doubt it’s the cause, but undoubtedly there are things that begin to be treated differently as one’s vision of what is about to happen becomes more concrete. If nothing else it becomes easier to keep your eye on the prize rather than your individual wants and wishes.

I play on a Super Bowl team where I work. The standards of quality and focus throughout the company are amazingly high. Surprisingly high when you factor in that we’re basically in the music/entertainment industry. It’s measurable. Palpable, day in and day out.

We get amazing love letters from customers every day. Below is a sampling of just one day’s letters. Nothing all that unique or compelling. Just an average day. This is not to imply we don’t have our problems, or ever get a bad letter. We do, occasionally, and we work to solve those issues. But our everyday standards, our culture if you will, promotes excellence. It’s the culture that causes some of the things indicated in the letters below to happen. What is the culture where you work or with the people you find yourself tied to? Do you elevate it, drive it, or just play along?

————————————————————————————–

Jason,
I thought you might find this interesting. I run a chain of Wireless Phones stores with about 20 full and part time Sales Associates. We are constantly working on improving our follow up and customer contact skills. I have used you over the past few years as an example of how a good company and a good Sales Associate reach out to their customers. You have provided me with yet another opportunity to do so and I wanted to thank you for that. I have attached an email that I sent out to the field to once again demonstrate your professionalism. I Thank you for your attention to my personal needs and the discipline it takes to do so. You have built a loyal customer and I will continue to purchase from you and Sweetwater in the future.
Josh Most

—–Original Message—–
From: Josh Most
Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 10:34 AM
Subject: FW: Happy Birthday!!

Team,
I wanted to forward you this email that I received from somebody that works for Sweetwater, an online source for music equipment etc. His name is Jason Koons. I have never met Jason face to face but he helped me with a couple orders I’ve made over the last 3-4 years totaling about $1000. He contacts me about every 6 months and knows exactly what I have purchased in the past and asks me how it is operating. He also inquires into any new products that I might be interested in. These contacts may come via email or phone call. He is always sure to leave a message if I do not answer. Not only is he friendly and knowledgeable, but his attention to my personal situation and the products that I am interested in keeps me loyal to his company. Sweetwater’s main competitor is Musicians Friend. The prices between the two companies are identical in most cases but Musicians Friend offers many no interest for 12-24 months promotions. Jason’s personal contact is what keeps me from using my Musicians Friend Credit Card (which I have in my wallet) to buy my products for no interest etc., and make my purchases from him even though Sweetwater does not offer that promotion as far as I know.

Now, do you think Jason has an excellent memory? Do you think that he really remembers me personally? Probably not, but he uses the tools available to him to keep the information he needs to make his contact with me a personal experience. He sets reminders that tell him that it is time to reach out to me and see how I am doing. The point I am trying to make is that he spends more time keeping me as a customer then he actually spent helping me buy from him. This is powerful. This constant effort insures that I will not think of anyone but him when it is time for me to buy more music equipment, and believe me I will. Also, it’s not just the tools that we have available but the people that use them. You should have 5-10 or your OWN customers a day to follow up with either by phone, email etc. And these aren’t necessarily direct sales calls, they can be “how are things going, can I do anything for you calls”. I am certain that Jason is one of the Top Sales People in his company. With his attention to detail, how could he be otherwise? But the real question is: If you were to apply that much ongoing attention to your customers how could you be otherwise?
Josh

—–Original Message—–

From: Jason Koons
Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 5:21 AM
To: Josh Most
Subject: Happy Birthday!!

Hi Josh,
Happy Birthday, buddy!  I realize it’s a couple of days late….but
Happy Birthday just the same!

-Jason Koons
Sweetwater
Senior Sales Engineer

——————————————-

Great job.Great customer service. An e-mail that was sent by Brian letting me know my order had shipped was put in my junk mail file.I didn’t notice it. I e-mailed to check status on my order and the next morning received a phone call ; not an email,letting me know it had shipped in the time frame originally stated. Very impressive personal customer service. I’ve worked in the automotive repair biz for 30 years and can appreciate what it takes to go that ‘little extra’. We always hear when we mess up but rarely when we do good. So here’s to a job well done.Great prices, great service and the candy and magazine is a very nice touch. Tony K.

——————————————-

Dear Chuck,
I would like to inform you my resent experience I had with Jake Huber and your company.I have been a drummer for over 20 years and have dealt with countless retail and online stores. In my history as a musician, I have spent thousands of dollars at versus locations and web sites but never found one outlet that I felt comfortable with for all my needs. I had recently be interested in getting an electronic drum kit and drum software. I had very little knowledge on E-Drums or software when I started shopping around and gathering info. I visited my local music stores (Guitar Center and Sam Ash) but got very little to no info on what I was interested in. I saw your company online and looked around but still had many questions. I submitted a question online and shortly received a call from Jake. I learned more useful and valuable information from Jake in the first 5 minutes of our conversation than I did in days of online researching and going to my local retail stores. He was full of personal and professional knowledge. He not only educated me but also built trust that I have found a creditable place to do business with.

I have over 15 years of customer service experience and currently manage over two thousand business customer’s telecom accounts. I know the importance of first impressions with clients and earning their trust. Jake did an outstanding job on selling me and educating me. I wanted you to know how well he represented your company and made me a customer for life with him and Sweetwater.In the very near future I am going to buy my electronic kit with speakers and other accessories. Due to the job Jake did, I will be making my purchases with him though Sweetwater.

——————————————-

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how satisfied I am with Alan Finkbeiner and with the Sweetwater experience. I am an international customer living in Costa Rica and over the past two years I’ve done around 4-5 purchases from Sweetwater. Every time, Alan and the rest of the wonderful Sweetwater team have made sure to meet my needs in terms of gear, technical advice and delivery deadlines. Every time I have made a purchase, I’ve done so with complete confidence and am always amazed by the incredible service I have been provided with. Alan is very passionate, knowledgable and truly represents the values Sweetwater stands for.

For years I’ve read the Sweetwater ads in magazines like Electronic Musician, Mix and Recording. I can guarantee to anyone that every word on those ads isn’t marketing hype. Sweetwater continues to excede my expectations and always blow me away. I am glad that Sweetwater has made it through these tough economic times. The company is definitely on the right path and has been able to create something worthwhile and sustainable for us the customers. I’ll definitely continue purchasing from Sweetwater whenever possible and look forward to what the future brings to both of us.

Cookie Cutter

Some chain stores and restaurants are trying so hard not to look like chains. It’s admirable to try to get out of that paradigm, but doing it this way breaks a trust with consumers. If you don’t want to be a chain then…truly make it so each entity is unique — it’s own, stand alone business. It’s okay for them to have a common ownership, but nobody is fooled when the formula is to try to look like there isn’t a formula.



%d bloggers like this: