Archive for ‘Reputation Management’

October 17, 2012

Not sure I endorse LinkedIn’s new “endorsements” feature

Over the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a few emails about people “endorsing” you on LinkedIn.  I got a few of them too, so I thought I’d check it out. I logged into my account and viewed who has endorsed me, and started endorsing people.

LinkedIn’s blog announcement says “We are introducing Endorsements, a new feature that makes it easier to recognize them for their skills and expertise. With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!”

And with this, LinkedIn is trying to join the game of online influence. Essentially, they’ve created their own version of Klout, or PeerIndex, or Kred.  Just take a quick look at the profiles on these services below…

…LinkedIn “endorsements”…

 

…kind of looks like…Klout Topics…

…which kind of looks like…the Kred Dashboard…

….which kind of looks like…PeerIndex…

In a world saturated with “topic influence” services, I fear that this isn’t the right move for LinkedIn. Besides competing with an already crowded marketplace, the “endorsements” feature has the potential to harm the LinkedIn experience itself by detracting from the “recommendations” feature. In short, I think people will opt to endorse somebody rather then recommend them, and here’s why that matters: “recommendations” are written explanations about why an employee is valued. They usually refer to specific  experiences, work projects, or professional attributes, and the relationship of the author to the person they are recommending is disclosed. An “endorsement”, on the other hand, is a quick “+1” on the user’s self-proclaimed skills. One can simply scroll down a user’s profile and click on each of their skills. No explanation, no disclosure of relationship, no details.  This quick “+1” ability may also leave the door open to “I’ll endorse you if you endorse me back”  behaviour.

Trying to measure online influence isn’t a bad thing. In the past, I must admit, I’ve tried to boost my Klout score. I made sure my content was focused, interacted with others regularly, pushed out a lot of updates, etc. But there have also been times when I just didn’t care about it and I completely ignored my social media accounts. Neither of these actions seemed to have influenced my score much, so I can’t see myself continuing to be active in the “endorsement” game.

The Project Management LinkedIn group has a decent discussion this week about “endorsements”. A few good points were made:

What do you think? Are “endorsements” a welcome way to give kudos to colleagues, or a wasteful exercise in meaningless rewards?

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August 15, 2012

I challenge you to Google yourself! [Infographic]

A simple Google search to see what results come up when your name is punched into the worlds biggest search engine – It’s just a smart thing to do. Feel free to head over to Google now to do a quick search…I’ll wait…Did you like what you found?

You may be surprised to know that you are not the only one searching for information about you online. It turns out that just about everybody wants to know more about you, and it’s not just your family and friends:

  • 79% of HR recruiters and hiring managers screen job candidates by reviewing online information about them.
  • 86% of hiring managers have told candidates that they were rejected based on what was found online about them.
  • Even 12% of College admissions officers said that posts which include photos of alcohol consumption, illegal activity, and the use of vulgar language have negatively impacted a potential student’s chances in being granted admission.

Sometimes I think that too much of the “Google yourself often” conversation is framed around the fear of having bad things appear online about you. This fear approach may motivate some, but I prefer to remind people of the opportunity angle. Yes, I firmly agree that it’s a good idea to keep your questionable behaviour offline as much as possible, but it’s also good to remember that hiring managers are looking to find out good things about you too…so they can hire you. This infographic from 2011 says that 68% of recruiters have hired a candidate because of what they saw about their potential hire on social media. Some of these reasons were because the candidates profile:

  • Gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
  • Supported their professional qualifications
  • Showed the candidate was creative
  • Showed solid communications skills
  • Demonstrated the candidate’s awards and accolades
  • etc.

Googling yourself isn’t about vanity, egotism, or a sense of self-importance. It’s about ensuring your online presence is an accurate representation of who you are personally and professionally. You wouldn’t submit a resume without proofreading it, so it just makes sense to take a few moments each month to Google yourself and “proofread” the information available about you online. If you don’t like what you see, you can take steps to remove questionable posts/photos and change your online behaviour going forward. It’s better to start now than to wait until you are actively looking for a job.

For some additional facts, stats, and tips to help you find out what the internet is saying about you, check out the infographic below from www.backgroundcheck.org.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This infographic asks you to log out of Google to get “unbiased results”. It is true that this will disconnect the search results from any information Google has stored about your Google Account. But Google also uses third-party cookies that your browser has stored to customize your results as well. To turn off both of these customizations at the same time, all you have to do is add the simple “&pws=0” URL parameter to the end of your search URL, hit enter, and you will see the results most people on the web will see. The URL should then look something like this https://www.google.com/search?q=Your+Name&pws=0. Big thanks to colleague @erichollebone for sharing the URL parameter tip.

The Google Yourself Challenge
From: BackgroundCheck.org

…And, on a lighter note, a final thought on “Googling yourself” from 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan…

May 10, 2012

Do you do “Social Media Spring Cleaning”? Here’s how I’m polishing up my accounts…

Ensuring that my social media profiles are up-to-date is something I think about often, and speaking with other communications professionals, I know that I’m not alone. The trap that I fall into is that I know I have to update my profiles, but I procrastinate, work on more “pressing issues”, and never get around to it. But this year is different. I’ve decided to put an annually-reoccurring event in my calendar titled “Social Media Spring Cleaning” to force myself to take the time I need to make sure all of my information is clean and current. Here’s what I’m suggesting:

Start by visiting all of the social media profiles you have signed up for. First, you want to get an idea of what you signed up for, and second, you want to see how they look. Read all of the content to make sure that you’re pleased with it. Identify what needs to be changed/updated. Start with the networks you use most often, then start looking for other ones that are less active or you just plain forgot about.

Update your profiles. Make sure your information is consistent. Be sure to add new information from the year past. This is also a good time to take a peak back at what you’ve been posting to see what you have been up to the past few months. You may feel the need to remove some postings that you made that are no longer relevant or are completely off topic.

Delete any old accounts. Consider deleting (or disabling) any accounts that you haven’t used in the past 6 months, or don’t intend on using in the future.

Google yourself. But spend some time and go deeper. Take a full hour to search google images, videos, YouTube. Then go to other sites such as Peekyou.com, pipl.com, wink.compeople.yahoo.com, or zuula.com to search for your online presence. If you can’t find yourself, try including other things people may know about you when searching, like your city, place of employment, previous schools you attended, or friends/family connections. All this can be done for you personally, and/or the brand that you manage.

And I’m happy to report that I do take my own advice. Here’s what I’ve been able to do:

…It took me between 2-3 hours to complete it all.

If you have any other suggestions about what to include in a “social media spring cleaning” exercise, leave a comment and let me know.

April 12, 2012

How your Facebook account can help you land a job [Infographic]

Earlier this year plenty of coverage was given to the new trend of employers  asking job candidates for Facebook passwords as part of the interview process. Obviously, this raised questions about the legality of the request, rights of internet users, and job recruiting ethics.

While I am firmly against sharing social media usernames and passwords with anybody (including employers), I completely support granting hiring managers the same level of access to your accounts as your “ordinary” friends and followers – because if you have something to hide, you shouldn’t post it to your social media accounts, right? This access gives you the opportunity, among other things, to demonstrate to employers how you may be a good fit for their company, something that is often difficult to communicate in your resume.

Curating your social media profiles to be “employer friendly” isn’t just for people with “personal brands” or those looking for a job in the near future – it’s something that we all should be thinking about. But it’s more than just avoiding posting pictures of you partying or doing irresponsible things (Duff Man!). It’s more important to include, highlight, and promote all the good (personal and professional) things that you have to offer. Last year I wrote a post about keeping your social media profiles employer safe. It contains the basics of online reputation management, such as:

  • Never post anything that you would feel uncomfortable discussing in the lunchroom at work
  • Promote the good
  • Don’t brag about, or admit to, anything even close to a crime
  • Monitor your information
  • Remove postings by others that may get you in trouble
  • Etc.

The infographic below tells a story of recruiters using social media to find out good things about potential hires. They actually want to FIND and HIRE applicants, rather than disqualify them due to a questionable photo/comment. In 2012, companies are expected to use social media to recruit for 80% of their openings. This data contradicts the traditional narrative of “social media will get you fired” or “using facebook will make getting a job more difficult.”


Courtesy of: Online Degrees

February 22, 2012

9 ways Rogers Communications delivers terrible customer service through social media

It took 5 days, 43 tweets, 2 direct messages, 1 blog post comment, and Rogers Communications (Canadian Internet, Mobile,  and Cable TV provider) determined that my OnDemand service outage was my fault and I was NOT to be compensated for the blackout in service. Any social media community manager would agree that this is not the ideal customer experience.

Regular www.davidhallsocialmedia.com readers know that I take customer service very seriously; whether I’m the service provider or service recipient.  Social media is great way to engage with customers to deliver customer service and eventually turn these “complainers” into “brand advocates”. But my latest experience with Rogers leads me to believe they just don’t get it.

It all started when I tweeted @RogersHelps when my OnDemand TV service wasn’t working properly.

Without getting into all the mundane details of my Rogers service outage (you can read all of the tweets at the end of this post), I was shocked by way Rogers “Customer Care” team was mishandling my issue using social media. Instead of satisfying me as a customer, each interaction made me increasingly more frustrated and dissatisfied. When you establish a Twitter account specifically for customer care, you establish the expectation that your employees will actually help customers in a useful and timely manner, so you better step up.

After this experience, I thought I would try to help Rogers out by sharing a few details on where they could improve their social media customer care program. Here’s what Rogers is doing, or not doing, while delivering customer service using social media:

1. Not fixing the problem. At the end of the whole process, they were not able to offer a solution. I had to troubleshoot and trial-and-error through the service outage to resolve the problem. Employees need to know the product inside and out to be able to troubleshoot on the fly. Some of the poor troubleshooting tips provided by Rogers during this experience were “Are you signed in?” followed later by “You’re positive you singed in?”

2. Not asking for the solution. After I fixed the problem myself, and told them so, at no point did they ask me what went wrong, even though they had “never experienced this sort of problem before”. They missed a great opportunity to learn a bit more about their product and how to better deliver customer service, but they didn’t care to ask. I’d be happy to share.

3. Not apologizing for the issue.  At no point did they apologize for the service outage.  Eventually, after 2 days of tweeting, they apologized for “how frustrating this has been for me,” but never for the initial issue.

4. Saying the outage was my fault. Aside from this not being true, it’s not a good idea to imply that it is the customer’s own fault for a service outage.

5. Not offering any compensation. Sometimes you need to show the customer that you are sorry, and that you value their business. I’m not asking for a year of free Internet service (although that would be nice). Just a token to say “sorry” and we really appreciate you as a customer goes a long way. Rogers could consider a free on demand movie rental, a month free service, or even give me access to the promotional deals that are for NEW customers only (another sore point for many Rogers customers).

6. Being non-responsive. I give them credit for responding relatively quickly to my initial tweet, but once we got into the conversation, they were very, very slow to respond. I often had to re-ask, and follow up with them on the outstanding issue. As a customer service experience, they were not very helpful.

7. Bouncing me around to several representatives. I interacted with 5 Rogers employees, each time having to re-explain my issue. Once the lines of communication were open, they should have had one person own this file.

8. Not knowing the user. When you are delivering customer service through social media, it’s very fast and easy to get a snapshot of who you are talking with by  doing a quick scan of their profile. Knowing just a bit of information about their user can help the customer service representative tailor his/her service to each client’s needs. My complaints are in no way more important than the next Rogers customer, but a quick review of my blog and tweets would let them know that I take this stuff very seriously, and they could reasonably assume that I wouldn’t “just go away” if I was ignored.

9. Trying to take the conversation offline…5 times.  There are several reasons why a company would want to solve a customer service issue in the public sphere of twitter. For example, they would then have a documented solution to the problem others could source, it would be a demonstration of the great customer service, and the online resolution would enable ReTweets and “thank you’s” from satisfied customers. I agree that there is time and a place to take the conversation offline, especially when dealing with confidential information, but Rogers attempt to get my service outage complaints off of my public Twitter timeline 5 times. They asked me to call them twice, and switch over to DM three times. The only DMs I sent them were to share my phone numbers.

I understand that it’s impossible to satisfy 100% of your customers 100% of the time, especially for a big business. Companies are made up of people, and people make mistakes, I understand that.  Often times, however, customers are not overly upset with the initial mistake, they get  more upset with the way it was handled. In this case, each time Rogers apologized for my “frustration” made me more frustrated.

Are my expectations too high? I know that Rogers is not known for their attention to customer care in the first place. Do a quick search for Rogers customer service issues, and you’ll wind up with pages and pages of complaint like:

Rogers: I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this whole situation and why it was handled so poorly, please feel free to leave a comment…

Now for the tweets:

February 6, 2012

February 7, 2012

February 8, 2012

February 10, 2012

November 16, 2011

6 Tricks for providing great customer service through social media

SocialMediaCustomerServiceSocial media networks are rapidly becoming the go-to place for customer service complaints to be aired and resolved.  People turn to social media because it often provides a more direct connection with an employee from the offending company, not just a conversation with a telephone-answering robot.

Recently, I received some bad customer service. Instead of calling the company and arguing with the sales representative who was rude to me, I turned to social media to see what the company’s reaction would be.

As a community manager, I know what it’s like to receive complaints from dissatisfied customers through social media. It’s important to approach each complaint with a level head and respect for the dissatisfied customer. It is the community manager’s job to have the issue resolved with a win-win outcome. Here’s my list of tips to consider when delivering customer service through social media.

1. Find the complaints and problems

You don’t know what you don’t know. Step one to solving any problem is identifying it. To do this, start by setting up Google Alerts for your organization and it’s products. Each time your organization is mentioned online, Google Alerts will send you an email with a link to the sites containing your keywords so you don’t have to be out there looking for every mention. Next, set-up your social media management tool (TweetDeck, Seesmic, Hootsuite, Sysomos, Radian6, etc.) to alert you (through push-alerts) of every tweet, facebook post, youtube video, blog post, etc. Now you can see the questions, comments, and complaints shared using social media as they happen and you are poised to react.

2. Response time is key

Be fast to acknowledge the complaint and assure the customer you are looking into it. This will often help extinguish the fire before it begins. Continue to converse with the customer by being open, accountable, and focusing on the solution. The last thing an angry customer wants is excuses.

3. Keep a friendly tone

The internet is often a sarcastic place, but when providing customer service remain friendly and sincere. Customers want to be taken seriously and have their concerns addressed. If they don’t get the validation they want from the company, they’ll continue to spread their negative message online. If you are looking for tips on responding to negative comments, check out these tips from the US Air Force.

4. Find the learning moment

Start by focusing on the facts. Reach out to the customer and find out as much as you can about the situation, why they are upset, and what you can do to resolve the matter. Constructive criticism is often masked by angry complaints from customers who truly love your business. These complaints are actually a great opportunity to learn from what they have to say. I have been in this exact situation as a community manager for Algonquin College. In one instance, a student who held the college in such high regard was shocked when he was treated disrespectfully by an employee. He expressed his displeasure on Twitter. I saw his tweet, reached out to him, and we eventually sat down for a coffee to chat it out. Fast-forward to today, and he continues to be one of the College’s biggest supporters (on and offline).

5. Solve the problem and give a reason for the customer to stay with your company

After you have resolved the initial problem, now it’s time to turn that customer into a brand advocate. By giving the formerly angry customer an incentive, you may be able to earn their return business and recommendation. The reward could be a discount, free service or product, behind the scenes access to your company, a meeting with a company leader, etc. Getting free stuff always works for me. On the flip-side, if customer service is a large part of your brand promise, you may want to consider an internal rewards program for employees who deliver the best customer service.

6. Amplify the praise

Most customers are appreciative of the work done by the social media community manager to resolve the situation. These satisfied customers often share their thanks online as well. Now you have a great opportunity to further amplify their endorsement; don’t just say “you’re welcome” be sure to retweet (or reshare) the message of praise with your own audience/community.

I expect to receive adequate customer service when I am doing business with a company. When the customer service is bad, I complain using social media; if the service is great, I share using social media as well- it goes both ways.

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