Friday, March 26, 2010

I want to speak to a real person!

Sometimes, in the course of daily business, we learn important lessons. Recently the Kearley team learned a valuable lesson about our corporate culture through a poor decision we collectively made.

For years the phone would ring at EVERY desk when someone would call, and any one of us would answer the phone. The clients might get the part-time intern, or they might get the agency president, depending on who was available to answer the phone when it rang.

After the first of the year, we decided that we should change our phone system to a phone tree with an automated message that would answer and the caller would then enter an extension to reach one of the team members directly. We thought this new process would be a welcome change to many as it would save time for the caller - they could go directly to the desk of the person they are trying to reach.

We were clearly not seeing the forest through the trees.

I was sensing some negative response from the switch, and I did an informal pole of all my twitter and Facebook contacts, and 99.9% said they want to speak to a real person when then make a phone call. I was kinda surprised, but I still left the automated system in place.

Finally. A long-term client gently complained, and we switched the phones back immediately. We're back to the phone ringing at everyone's desk, and whoever is available will answer the phone. It's what we've done forever, and it's really not a problem for us, but it seems to make callers to Kearley much happier.

I recently attended a conference and one of the sessions discussed the need to have robust, interactive online tools for your consumers. But the point was also made in that session that you also can't neglect your high touch areas.

Direct contact is really a great opportunity to grow your relationships. (DUH!)

People expect a robust online experience - particularly your younger clients and potential clients. But you also have to be there - face-to-face or via phone - when they need you.

I think we've learned from our mistake, and hopefully you will too. Don't invest all your resources in electronic and online communications and neglect your high touch opportunities.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

AAF-Fort Worth honors TCU Football with this years Dateline Award

This year, AAF-Fort Worth will be presenting the TCU Football Program with their annual Dateline Award for bringing positive media attention to the Fort Worth Area.

As the 2009 season wore on, TCU garnered more attention for the Mountain West Conference and the Fort Worth community than any season since 1938 when Sammy Baugh led the HOrned Frogs to a National Championship win. Lee Corso, an ESPN College Gameday host, donned the HOrned Frog mask twice on national TV last fall, and names like Jerry Hughes and Andy Dalton were familiar to any well-versed college football fan. The Horned Frogs topped off their undefeated season with a first-ever invitation to a BCS bowl game, Tostito's Fiesta Bowl. Though it was a loss to Boise State, they finished the season ranked sixth in the nation.

TCU's MWC schedule won't be released until later this spring, but Head Coach Gary Patterson just announced the Horned Frogs' nonconference schedule on Monday. Two of the games will be againsts teams from BCS automatic-qualifying conferences. Also, the Horned Frogs will keep Fort Worth in the spotlight next year, as two of the four nonconference games will be syndicated nationally by ESPN.

Here is just one of the many highlights of TCU on ESPN last season:

About AAF-Fort Worth's Dateline Award:
The Dateline Award is given to a person, organization, or event that was successful in bringing positive national media attention to Fort Worth during the previous year. Previous Dateline Award recipients include celebrity the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Chef Tim Love, the North Texas Speedway, the Van Cliburn Competition and Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.