How to make your hotel guests feel extra valued with great customer service

We are so quick to complain and slow to praise – But sometimes we get customer service above and beyond the job description which warrants a broader mention thank just a thank you face to face.

I want skiing in Whistler, B.C. Canada earlier this month. I love everything about Whistler, the mountains and slopes, the après ski, the location, the hotels, restaurants, spas and bars. it is my ideal ski resort. This year I returned to the Crystal Lodge. I like this place   — it’s close to the ski hire place, close to the lifts and on the main village stroll. I don’t like to trek around too much in my ski boots.

I was welcomed back to the hotel when I checked in — there was a Welcome Back card in my room when I arrived. A nice touch from the staff.

Whistler March 2014 (10)

I collected my skis and went to find somewhere to eat.

The snow was amazing the next morning. There was about 9” of snow overnight and everything looked lovely.

I wanted to ski a couple of easy runs to get into the swing of skiing. I stopped to take this picture and skied down the start of this slope – an easy run on my first morning there.

Whistler March 2014 (4)

I turned, hit a churned up patch of snow. I fell – slowly and twisted my knee. My skis didn’t come off and I pulled all of the ligaments (I found out later). Miserably I picked my way down to the nearest chair (in the image), went back to the room in the hotel and sat there feeling sorry for myself with ice packs on my knee trying to reduce the swelling.

The Manager at the Crystal Lodge called to welcome me back and ask me if I’d had a good day.  I told him of my injury and how miserable I was. An hour later there was a knock at the door – a delivery from the Manager for me.

He had sent some sprain removing Gel to my room along with another note:

Whistler March 2014

I was touched.What a great example of customer service. I was really impressed. Now I’m on the hotel’s files as an injured guest.  Smile

When I checked out of the Lodge 6 days later, staff reception enquired how my knee was doing (I’d skied all week on the easy slopes as I did not want to waste such a lovely trip). My knee would have been better if I’d have rested it a bit more but (skiers) needs must!

I flew home to the UK and noticed this tweet.

This was the icing on the cake for customer service going the extra mile in my opinion. Although I only visit Whistler for a week each year – and have only stayed in the Crystal Lodge three times, the staff thought that my business was worth keeping. The hotel does not have an automated social media / customer relationship management system – nor were these cards printed out as they sometimes are in other hotels.

Real people hand wrote the cards for the real people that stay at the hotel.

That’s important.

The staff at the hotel went the extra mile to show customer care to an infrequent guest.

That matters.

And because the staff went the extra mile for one of their customers, I will make sure I return to the Crystal Lodge every time I return to Whistler – and hopefully will not make the stupid mistake that left me face down in the snow…

Whistler March 2014 (31)

(And the knee is recovering well too Smile )

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Important changes to the way Facebook shows you Pages updates

Page Admins  might have been concerned recently as their text posts have not been getting as much engagement as their posts with links, images, or Videos. Facebook has been running a variety of tests to encourage engagement and it has noticed that when it shows users text based posts in the news feed, other users post more updates themselves.

Facebook also noticed that users reacted differently to text only updates from Pages. When shown to users, users did not feel compelled to write more texts themselves. On Its blog Facebook said that “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types”.

So why is Facebook playing around with what it shows you from brands and your friends? currently to get a post guaranteed to appear in another users feed, you need to promote the post.

Facebook recommends that we share links differently.  Usually we add the link to the post update in the text -  like this:

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But Facebook wants us to use the share button feature embedded in many websites. So the same link using the share button looks like this:

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Both options allow me to add my own text to the share, and both options give me the same link. But there is a fundamental difference between the two.

The share button gives Facebook much more detailed analytics that it can then use to sell on to businesses that want it.  Facebook has much greater difficulty tracking the links that we embed in our posts. Our own embeds do not give Facebook such rich information that It can share with its paying customers.

Facebook says  “We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds”.

It also recommends that you use the share button to share to give the followers of your page the best possible experience.

The challenge is, if your page does not have a Facebook Share button – then there is the risk that your carefully crafter message will not be seen by your intended audience – at all…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and   or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

6 of the most awesome attention grabbing words for your Kickstarter project pitch

Buzzfeed often creates headlines that compel us to click on them. Have a look at these headlines from the last few weeks on the site:

A Mountain Biker Had A Seven-Week-Long Erection After Injuring His Penis

The Couple Who Asked The Internet To Name Their Daughter May Be Regretting It About Now

There Is An App Which Will Quit Your Job For You

15 Whimsically Surreal GIFs To Get Lost In

Stunning Ice Sculptures Grow In The Coldest Weather

What Does Your Favorite Breakfast Food Say About You?

We feel compelled to click the link and discover why mountain biking is related to penis injuries. We really want to know what the daughter has been named. WHICH app will quit my job?  Why are the GIF’s surreal or the ice sculptures stunning? And how is my personality related to breakfast foods?

Compelling headlines grab our attention. Numbers in headlines pique our curiosity. Strange multiples of numbers are more attractive to us than ‘normal’ numbers. A title containing the number 11 titles with 5, 10 or even 15.

We want to discover what the extra number gives us (or, in the case of 9 whimsically surreal items, what the missing item might be).

Superlatives are also useful. The use of ‘best, worst, most, least, awesome, dreadful, surreal, stunning, favourite, hated etc.’ will get more clicks than titles and subtitles that are missing these words.

Clever body text is important too

Use of the right compelling phrases within the body text will also determine whether success eludes you. Researchers Tanushree Mitra and Eric Gilbert at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta looked at the way that pitches for kickstarter funding.

The team looked at a list of 45,815 Kickstarter projects, scraped the data and found that some phrases really helped to get funding. These are the top 14 phrases likely to receive funds:

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The phrases least likely to receive funding are:

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Images are screenshots from the paper Phrases that Predict Success on Kickstarter

The phrase “even a dollar” throws up some interesting options according to the paper. It appears in the dataset where projects were not funded.

The visualization shows that the most likely phrases are even a dollar short, even a dollar will, even a dollar can, perhaps be perceived as “grovelling for money”.

On the positive side, the phrase “pledgers will receive” and variations on this theme appear most often in projects that are successful in receiving enough money to complete their kickstarter project.

The team also noted that forward looking phrases were more likely to be successful at getting funding than non forward looking phrases.

We like to think we will get something in returns for our pledge, we want to think that the object we covert is rare, exclusive, special, one-off or time limited offer.

People asking for funding just need to tap into that desire…

PS – 6 was not the number of attention grabbing words – it was just a better number than 10 Smile

Image: By Tkgd2007 (Made by myself in Illustrator) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Twitter rolls out analytics for its users

Twitter has rolled out the ability to see a deeper level of interaction and analytics for your Twitter stream. Not only for brands, anyone can now see what is happening with their Twitter account.

If you are curious about the activity on your Twitter feed and wonder why your follower count fluctuates regularly, you can see graphically what is happening with your followers.

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The information has been quietly rolled out by Twitter is well hidden for users not familiar with Twitters Ad Manager.  Users need to sign in to Ad Manager at http://ads.twitter.com and select the Analytics tab in the tool.

In this tab you can see your mentions, followers and unfollowers and match the increase or decrease in followers to blog posts and tweets. Often users will follow you in the hope of you following them back. They then unfollow you again after their follower count has increased.

You can see the tweets which have received the most faves, retweets, replies and clicks. Tweets with extra reach are highlighted in the list.

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The tool also shows locations of your followers, interests and locations of your followers. It also shows the gender split of your followers and your mutual followers.

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Conversion tracking enables you to measure your return on investment by tracking the actions a user takes after viewing or engaging with your ads on Twitter. Twitter’s conversion tracking lets you attribute conversions beyond last URL-click, to include actions driven by all types of ad engagements (like clicks, retweets, or favorites) and impressions.

You should set up conversion tracking on your website if your want to analyze, compare, and optimize your direct response campaigns on Twitter.

Go to Conversion tracking tab in Twitter Ads to  generate the code snippet for your conversion tags.  You need to place the conversion tag on your website where it will begin measuring conversions from Twitter users.

You can specify a time window after a campaign runs to determine what happens after a user has engaged with your ad and discover whether users have seen your promoted content, did not click on it – but later visited your web site

A nice tool – and worth a look…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Being happier on social media and make everyone around you feel good

Users take to social media to vent their spleen as soon as a brand stumbles online. There are thousands of examples of complaining users. Last month a blind passenger and his guide dog were removed from a US Airways flight – and the passengers complained across all media channels.

Users took to complain about the behaviour of the restaurant owners at Amys Baking Company’s social media meltdown after appearing on Remsays Kitchen Nightmares TV show.

We seem to complain about anything on social channels – hoping that the brand will listen to us. Angry tweets get retweeted more often. Sina Weibo analysed over 70million posts from 200,000 users and found that anger elicits faster responses from the largest number of people.

But wouldn’t it be be great if we had an opportunity to be nice from time to time? Good news spreads. Happy, funny items are more likely to get shared – especially if they are about ourselves, a study has found.

Social networking site Happier aims to change our attitude to the negative side of life. The site is filled with things to make you smile and make you feel a little bit better about your day.

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Happier is a Boston based company with “a mission to inspire millions of people to be happier in their everyday lives”. Based on research Happier focuses on making people happy. Circuits in our brains light up when we are happy and when we are happy, folks around us become happy too.

Nataly Kogan spent the first 13 years of her life in soviet Russia. The family escaped to Vienna before taking the train to Italy to spend months in a refugee centre. On getting to the US, she tried to “chase the big happy” but found that after 20 years of doing this she wasn’t happy at all. 

Her nirvana moment was realising she was “chasing the non-existent impossible state of happy” and was missing the “small happy moments” that made up her day. Collecting your own positive moments will make you happy.

Stop saying “I’ll be happy when” and start saying “I’m happy now because”.

Focusing on small positive moments have been scientifically proven to make you feel happier. It seems like a really small principle to capture these moments – but you can capture this “emotional bookshelf in your pocket” with an iPhone app that reminds you to collect your small moments every day.

Sometimes a moment can be as simple as enjoying a giggle with a friend – or as simple as “getting to go to the bathroom after needing to go all day” Smile

Smiling releases endorphins and you have the ability to impact others’ happiness. Making someone’s day will make them feel great – and make you feel happier too.

  • People who write down three positive things about their day report feeling happier, less, anxious and more optimistic. People who continued to do that for a period of three weeks reported feeling more optimistic and positive for up to six months afterwards.
  • People who think more positively are 50 percent less likely to have a heart attack, catch a cold or the flu.
  • Functional MRI shows that focusing on a few positive things every day can permanently alter the chemistry of the brain to become more positive.
  • Being happier is contagious: If you have a friend who is positive, you’re 25 percent more likely to be positive.
  • People who express thanks to others feel better about their lives, exercise more, and go to the doctor less.

So what does Happier recommend that we do to become – and stay happier?

If you feel that your Facebook feed is full of people complaining and moaning – then trying to be a little bit happier might be just the tonic you need. Write down some happy moments and share them with yourself – or  your friends. Paying it forward – and sharing your happiness will make everyone around us all feel better today…

Eileen Brown is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Connect with Eileen on Twitter and or contact her to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.