Tag Archives: Ramon Bello

Social Media as Customer Service

15 Jan

Companies have for sometime now realized the great potential of Social Media to help deliver remarkable customer service to their clients. The logic being that if it could well topple dictatorial governments or spread Bieber memes at lightning speed, it could well deliver their messages to customers in a positive light ever so easily, right?

Well, sorry they’re very WRONG.

For in a recent post on Social Media Today quoting a report from Javelin Strategy & Research, a study of  U.S. banks’ social media implementation, particularly, with Twitter programs, showed that most of  the same banks have  fared quite badly with their efforts.

Because besides being too slow to react to events and usual queries, the banks have run their Twitter programs like they have always done with their onground systems. Which is basically to pass on any problem to the next bucket down the line. Have you ever experienced these famous words:

” Dear customer, we do understand your situation and would like to do something about it very soon. But, could you fill in this form in triplicate and reach our customer service assistant for a resolution. But in the meantime, please listen to this lame elevator music while we try to attend to ten other people on the queue…”

Social Media Marketing and Twitter initiatives are in fact not easy to run. An enterprise must have an institutional commitment to them and back it up with actual people and resources to be effective at all. The most important element however is a  simple realization that “Social” is a different animal from the old, plain Customer Service Desk.

Twitter moreso, needs immediate response because of the thousand other tweets scrolling in your face. People who bring their problems to Twitter would like to get their answers on Twitter. They do not want to be asked to do another search, or step, or action. They do not want to talk to a logo. They want a real caring person on the other end.

Social media is about the ease and convenience of online communication. It’s about directness, that’s why we even have the 14o or so character limit. It’s about authentic, timely and real-time solutions that can make  customers either truly happy or supremely pissed.

So the next time, we dream of using Social Media as Customer Service, let’s ask ourselves if we are ready to walk the talk. To learn how people truly interact in these new platforms. With their shiny new tablets, with SOPA breathing down our necks, and with maybe even that  an old-fashioned enthusiasm  to serve hot and fresh content.

If we do, our customers will love us for it and become the raving fans we’ve all always wanted, but can for now only dream of.

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Beware of Geeks bearing gifts

21 Jul


No, I did not forget to do my spell-check . It really reads: beware of geeks, an allusion to Helen’s unforgettable love story. But I digress.

I wrote this today because the social media wave has brought with it the bad with the good. In the mad rush to cash in,we have been deluged with so many tools and apps on our favorite social networks that blithe the experience. Yes, apps are wonderful because they tend to make our lives easier but do I really need to have the “share” button at every turn. And please spare me from the request to accept a gift from your garden. Let’s not cram too much into that small desktop space. Give us more space to really exchange messages, ideas, responses and less of the multiple choice questions. Let’s keep the spirit of Steve Jobs when he asked not to see a single screw on the iPhone when it was being designed. Google+ looks clean but wait till they start to “monetize”. Grrrr.

I hate to rant in the middle of the week, but I really think we ought to not forget that social media is being social mainly, and having to play arcade games only an option.

Peace.

Social Media is a Two-Way Street

16 Apr

#SocialMedia is a two-way street. Media should flow from both ends, otherwise it’s just #broadcasting or worse, #narcissism.10:30 AM Apr 13th via web”

Can’t help but to twitter this one recently. I just felt frustrated that not very many still seem to understand, that Social Media need at least “two to tango”. It is not like broadcast media or the polished TV ad  that most marketers have played to perfection these past 50 or so years. It is new media that need to be  accepted in their own terms, warts and all.

Although I support that social media also need not take on one specific template that precludes all others; I believe strongly that we will not be utilizing to its utmost the true power source of the platform, if we turn it merely into a loudspeaker. Or in some cases, even worse, if some are allowed to make it into their instrument of narcissistic behavior. With their having discovered a captive audience, they must not be permitted to freely  insinuate themselves ever so aggressively into our lives. Just see those endless self- aggrandizing tweet streams to realize this.

So when we think of that next post, please remember that social media begins only after the first hello.

( Good or bad, let me know your thoughts here -https://twitter.com/rvbello, among others. I cannot commit to always agree, but I promise that I will always listen– B. )

Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape Reviewed

11 Mar

The Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape, on Youtube, is not what you think it is.

But you probably live under a rock if you have not come across the latest video created by Smartwater with movie goddess (yes, I can’t help it) Jen Aniston for the bottled water brand. It has gone viral on the net with close to 5 million views in three days. I know it’s manipulative s**t, but it’s also funny, features one of the more bankable names in Hollywood and if you got here, then I rest my case.

Most of all, it’s very instructive on how our search- engine- conditioned brains have been trained to filter information. We all know about advertising blah, blah, blah but then nothing beats the power a few emotionally-laden words to get your mind whirling. Do you still remember the infamous ” I Love You Virus”? Another formidable feat in social engineering made possible by our cultural programming and a Filipino computer whiz. Can we still rise above the sum of our socialization? Have we become web zombies? I guess the final arbiter will still be in the realm of social media, so you be the judge.

But I’m too in love with beautiful Jen Aniston to over- analyze a simply creative and funny ad for a water brand I will probably never even drink. But did those four magic words get my attention, you bet it did.  Partly because of my Catholic upbringing and mainly because people still believe in wishing upon a star.  If  this headline had  also caught yours, now you know the real power of  the Social Superhighway.

For my final word on the subject. Mr. John Mayer, let me see you beat this one.

Peace.

Memo to Esperanza Spalding

15 Feb

I had wanted to call this blog post, “Social Media Beats Radio S**t”, but was prevailed upon by my daughter from performing online seppuku from all the irate Justin Bieber fans who are bound to descend on this blog with their devastating loss at the Grammy Awards last night.

Yes, if you still don’t know yet; all-time favorite Justin Bieber lost to mega talented but virtually unknown jazz singer/ bassist, Esperanza Spalding for the much-coveted “Best New Artist” category at the Grammys. But while Esperanza truly deserved the recognition more than anything; this post is not really about arguing musical tastes or hair styles but about the immediacy and power (no matter how misplaced) of Social Media, particularly Twitter in this instance.

Here is a sampling from the MTV “Clutch” Blog just a few hours after the Grammys ended:

“For a little while last night, Esperanza Spalding was given the middle name “Quesadilla” on her Wikipedia page by, presumably, a disappointed Justin Bieber fan. To the surprise of many, Spalding won the Grammy award for Best New Artist at last night’s ceremony. Justin himself handled the loss gracefully, but not so for the angry Wikipedia updater who added this to Spalding’s entry: “Recently, she won the best new artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards JUSTIN BIEBER DESERVED IT GO DIE IN A HOLE. WHO THE HECK ARE YOU ANYWAY?”

Lovely, right? That person is not alone in his or her disappointment, though. Much of the outpouring of dismay has been a little less vulgar (not all), but equally insane. Here’s a sample:

+ “Wtf is a Esperanza Spalding?” @PoeticMotionsz

+ “Her name is Esperanza Spalding. That’s like…a Disney Princess and a basketball. But congrats to her.” @kingsleyy

+ who the hell its Esperanza Spalding? -.-. u dont deserve that award b**** -.- @EspeSpalding sucks -.- @Allyitshere

+ “Congratulations to Esperanza Spalding for winning Best New Artist, I will now google your name to find out who you are.” @BeliebInTheBest

+ “Esperanza Spalding shouldn’t have won no one knows her, another b**** we have to google. Drake or Justin should have won.” @Maryam_9

+ “Esperanza Spalding said she was surprised she won Best New Artist “‘because I’d never heard of me.'” @BorowitzReport

Whether you agree or not with the badly-vented spleens of Tweens who worship his Bieberness, social media is here to stay and Esperanza better have a platform of her own to present her case. The good news is today more people, who seem to recognize real talent, were on Twitter to defend our “Best New Artist”.

The only real problem is that Esperanza said, in a recent CNN interview, that she even does not have an email account yet because she prefers receiving “manually written” communication (notwithstanding the presence of a unverified @EspeSpalding twitter account). Well, somebody in the artist management department better do something fast, because Social Life is here to stay.

Special Sauce #3: Be Yourself

11 Feb

I remember having to take personality tests in school. They were quite long. Even if I wanted to skew the responses to my favor,  it was quite hard to try to fake it. The maze of ipsative questions,  somehow made sure that I would sooner or later expose my true self and give away my thoughts.

Flash forward to 2011, social media sometimes has the makings of a literally humongous personality test. Like the test I talked about before, we are in some ways led to make ” forced choices”, or similarly, instant responses to the tweets or facebook posts we receive. Although we try to put our game face on, something freudian slips out eventually.

We all know that there are “tools’ available today to aggregate data across contents and contexts, so that an almost accurate profile of the “persona’ can be extracted. Well,  we don’t even have to utilize  sophisticated software sometimes because  a lot can be gleaned even from mere choices of words and punctuations.  Like excessive use of  “… ”  perhaps to indicate someone who must have lived through the 70s (*wink*)

My best advise therefore if we  envision a life in Social Media, would be to simply just be ourselves. This will include putting our best game face on, for even that is truly part of  who we are. But remember… sooner or later, no matter how hard we even try… our slip will show.

Peace… man.

Special Sauce #2: Share Your Passions

5 Feb

They tell us that the best way to keep the conversation running on Social Media, is to be… engaging. I’ve tried a variety of ways, including flaunting my erudition to telling corny jokes about my grandpa’s exploits. But the one that always seemed to work best however, is to plainly share my passions.

Its actually the easiest and the most fun. Just be yourself, and share something about your many, many passions I’m sure you have a lot unless you happen to live  alone in a rock, somewhere in the mid-Pacific. You would be truly surprised at the number of people who actually share your likes too. Whether its some new food discovery at a little restaurant or the extreme joys of tattoo art, someone out there loves them too. We all know this from past interactions, except that we find that Social Media indeed  has made the process light years faster, and more intuitively.

So go ahead post your love for 19th Century Trobriand Islands art  and be amazed to see how many of your friends do actually share the same passion for it. By the way, if you really love things Trobriand , kindly drop me a line at http://facebook.com/rvbello. Then perhaps, we can keep that conversation running. Peace.

Special Sauce #1: Relevance

1 Feb

Social Media is a brutal game. Most of us come in with pristine intentions, trying hard to stay in the conversation. Yet, some of us leave bloodied when all we wanted was to get simply a pat on the back. We post, we tweet, we reach out to friends and faceless strangers alike. We bait, we cajole or worse, patronize. Then… nothing. It’s like that proverbial blue screen of death to battle-tested Windows veterans. No response.

Well, the usual advice has always been, get relevant. Okay, but what exactly is relevance?  Wiki says, pertinent, connected or applicable something is to a given matter. Umm, another one please… Definition: Something (A) is relevant to a task (T) if it increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal (G), which is implied by T. (Hjørland & Sejer Christensen,2002). They are actually all correct except, they don’t tell much “the how” of it all. Well today, I might have a few ideas of my own to share, after many, many blue screen experiences. Like…

To be relevant, be recognizable. There are millions of images passing before our audience each day, all vying for attention. And they tend to respond only to stimuli they recognize. People, it seems, disconnect if they cannot make sense or interpret information. So don’t  discuss Hilbert’s 16th Problem in Algebra to Pre-School children. They may see flowers for equations, or cut you off completely.

The media in social starts with “Me”. Yes, me, not actually you… but them your audience. It sounds so simple but we do often forget that it is a conversation and not  an oration. What do they hope to get out of it, what’s in it for them? Relevant comes from the Latin word relevare, which means “alleviate or unburden”. So aim to be helpful and expect more dividends.

Be ready for change. After all, relevance is a moving target. Context, as my good blogger friend Albert Borrero would always say… is everything. So keep updated with movements in people’s reference points. “Bad” is not always necessarily so. Keep scanning the horizon for shifting sands.

And finally, sometimes, staying relevant means staying healthy like getting enough sleep. It happens too often that the quest for a Social Life in Social Media leads to otherworldly ideas at 3′ o clock in the morning. Then again, find some time to smell the orange blossoms whenever you can.

The Scent We Leave Behind

1 Feb

We always leave behind something with every interaction. In the days when face-to-face was the only way to go, we would give away inner thoughts and feelings with our body language, personality quirks with a stroke of the pen, and if we were to believe even our romantic intentions with something like a scent.

Going online may have limited some access to these “sense data”, but it’s not too far-off that we just simply overlay our learnings from let’s say Graphology to do predictive matchings, based on interest or temperament for social networks.  Communities of like-minded individuals through a mere signature? 1984 redux?

We are who we are. Online or offline. Peace.

Welcome Friend!

31 Jan

Welcome to http://wherethesauce.wordpress.com. If you got here, you are indeed a friend. And I do not use that word lightly, for I know we do share some affinity. Online or offline friend, the difference these days has been somewhat blurred. (Although my longer-lasting associations, like with “Mr. C”  above, have been forged by a common interest and taste, pun intended). But then, it’s enough that you got here. Let me offer you some water to drink and a space to rest. To refresh, rejuvenate or simply to pick-up something you need on your way to your own journey. You are always welcome back anytime my friend. And I pray we meet again. Namaste!

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