Thursday, 27 January 2011

Mary Portas, Customer Service, Banks

It's been a while since I last posted. That sounds very familiar.

Quickly brushing past that, I wanted to talk about Mary Portas' new C4 program on customer service. I am a great believer in us Brit's beginning to complain to get what we want (within reason). We aren't a nation to stick up for what we believe in and are a lot of the time terribly embarrassed by... almost anything.

I am not afraid to complain, especially when my customer rights have been breached. Take my most recent encounter with Santander, the bank which turned sour (for me anyway) when they changed from Abbey and 'went big'.

When I started University in Bristol 4 and a half years ago, I asked them to send my new debit card to my local branch in Clifton to collect rather than being sent to my parents address. After which, I asked them to change it back to my home address for the next card. My debit card is expiring next month, so in November I went into the branch to ensure the new card was being sent home. 'Yes sir, your card is definitely being sent home to your home address'. Job done... so I thought.

January arrives and I get a letter from Santander informing me the card is being sent to 'my local branch in Clifton'. I immediately phoned Santander explaining the situation and that I didn't want to travel to get my card. They said they could cancel the card in Clifton and issue me with a new one sent to my home address. Great! Only have to wait 7-10 days, but still great.

After 10 days and being sent TWO pin numbers in the post, I then get a letter saying my card is ready for collection... in Clifton!

I'd had enough. I phoned Santander, apologising to the customer service assistant and preparing her for an earful I was about to give her. I should also mention that in the confusion, they also cancelled my current card so I can't use the card I currently have!

I asked her for compensation, not expecting anything. Anyway she bit! She asked what I was looking for? I told her I wanted to eliminate the problem by me driving to Bristol to collect the bloody card, helping Santander and me!

Asking for £20 for petrol, which wasn't greedy and would've just covered my costs. She authorised it. I was in shock. I didn't complain exactly, I told her firmly but politely that I'd had enough.

The reason I'm telling you this is that you shouldn't be afraid to ask for what you want. Bank's are hard to get away from. You can't just 'shut your wallet and walk out' like Mary Portas recommends. But it shows that you the customer can win, if you go about it the right way.

'til next time, tweetme.


Friday, 11 June 2010

Facebook, Twitter

So... I haven't updated this for ages and the guilt just got too much!

I have been very busy finishing my Masters exams/dissertation proposal/moving home/starting new job.

I am pleased to be able to have 'ticked' all of these. The new job as PR & Social Media intern is working out well. I have been given several tasks to do, some are challenging and some are comfortable and do not take long.

I am learning so many new things about Facebook in particular. I heavily engage in the likes of facebook and twitter, but up until now have only done so in a personal way. I'm now managing my client's facebook business page and the twitter page. I say managing, but really it's starting them. My client had accounts on both Social Media platforms, but had not engaged with their audience with them. I have found this countless times with small, medium and large organisations. People are clicking on 'create account' without considering the management of, abilities and inabilities of both and simply doing it 'because everyone else is'. Social Media can only be successful if and when they are being used as a means to create dialogue and engagement between organisation and user.

The role of these platforms is to drive the consumer to go to the website and act, or to create dialogue with other similar individuals to share views, and pass information on.

Facebook and Twitter can be a great asset to an organisation, especially to not for profit companies with a low budget, but they should never be viewed as a replacement for a website.

Until next time... tweetme

Friday, 14 May 2010

Activism and Social Media

So I've been doing my research on Nestlé and their recent negative publicity. Blimey, what a storm they have faced (and are still facing). They have got PR Week reporting every move from GreenPeace, Nestlé and the Indonesian organisations sourcing Palm Oil.

For those that don't know what I'm talking about, just Google Nestle, Greenpeace and palm oil and you will quickly be updated (and witness a disturbing Greenpeace KitKat ad)

My point to all this is the Social Media surge with regards to this latest 'PR Crisis'. Facebook groups have been created hailing their anti- Nestlé campaigns, the Nestlé facebook page has been hijacked with negative comments, and Twitter and the blogosphere have gone nuts on this.

This story, which involves more parties than just Nestlé has spread like wildfire, within hours and days it has gone global. What this has resulted in is activism. Like-minded thinkers and activists have quickly gathered together to protest and ensure their views are witnessed. At a Nestlé HQ, protesters gathered dressed as Orangutans exclaiming 'Give us a break' on posters and signs (I'm sure you know which chocolate bar they're talking about)

This is extraordinary. Social Media (Facebook, twitter, blogs) have enabled groups to come together and discuss their grievances before going further with them.

This is Social Media in 2010, I wonder what Activism will look like in 10 years time?

Any thoughts?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A graduate on his first PR job...


So I've always wanted to write a blog. Ever since seeing Julie and Julia I have felt inspired: 'I could write a blog... I have thoughts'.

Cliché as it may seem, but nevertheless I want to share my experiences with whoever is out there on my journey in the PR industry.

Technically my first job was a week's work experience at a small PR agency in Bristol, England. I then went on to do my Masters in Marketing Communications, which for all the American's out there I am almost at the point where I can say ABD (All but dissertation).

I start my new position on 24th May 2010, exactly 2 days after my final exam. I have been appointed as 'Social Media and PR intern'. I can't wait... I just wish I could knock off the 'intern' part there!

Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere fascinate me; hence the reason I am blogging about it. It will be my diary, and to share experiences on how Social Media is used: the good points and the bad points.

You may be thinking: this has already been done. But I want to add a 'fresh meat' to the industry approach.

This is just me introducing myself. I can't wait to start on May 24th and embarking on this journey and sharing it.