On three separate occasions, I “spoke” with four different people from Crate&Barrel. Five if you include the supervisor. I’m in wedding registry mode. It’s been interesting. But this is not a rant, I promise. It’s a reminder that people are awesome.
First impression: if you call the customer service number and there is a wait, they offer to call you back. They recognize your time is valuable. How considerate.
Anthony, my first C&B friend, was incredibly kind. He even called me back, twice, after he spoke with his IT team. “We have been dealing with issues online, but there’s a solve. We will try this first.”
Unfortunately, the issue arose again. The issue: can’t log into my account.
So I went the IM chat route. Immediate response from Laura. She reset my password and asked me to wait 15 minutes.
Back to Sherri via IM, who looked back through the call/chat log, and noted my issue would be best served by the registry team. She gave me the phone number and I called.
One minute later, JoReen answers. She, as well as everyone else I’ve communicated with, apologies for all the issues I’m experiencing. But together, we’re fixing this. New security features, questions, passwords, blah blah blah… she didn’t care about telling me the details. She was focused on a happy camper at Crate&Barrel.
Of note: I have not purchased ANYTHING here. I’m registering for gifts I hope other people will purchase for me. I’m not a customer. I’m a prospect. But they made me feel like family.
After the kind words, pleasant conversations, and effort to rectify my IT issues, I just had to chat with the supervisor. Marty graciously accepted my compliments, and he told me that each team member would receive a certificate for going the extra mile. My praise will be a part of each team member’s annual performance reviews. I am so happy because of these people. Whenever I have the chance, I will talk about, shop at and praise C&B. The people behind the brand are the reason for that.
Have our expectations been managed to anticipate shitty customer service? Should be we as surprised and delighted by awesome experiences like this? The least we can do is embrace them. The best thing we can do is take note and follow their awesome lead.
This is big day for us at Brains on Fire. Starting today, our book, Brains on Fire; Igniting Powerful Sustainable Word of Mouth movements is going to start showing up in Hudson Bookstores at airports all across the country.
You know, writing a book is hard work.
And this one was a particularly amazing journey. Starting with the first email from Dan Ambrosia from Wiley and Sons in August of 2009, to mailing out the final proofed draft to getting the advance copies to holding the real thing in our hands, it’s been quite a ride. And a labor of love. Geno, Cordell and I have personally met a ton of new people thanks to this book, people who have felt a desire to reach out after reading it.
And that feels great to all of us. We love hearing about how you are using the lessons we’ve learned to reach your goals.
So at the risk of overstating a point, I want to share a tiny little portion of an email from a reader that made my day just last week.
Robbin, it’s been a very long time since I sat down and honestly hashed out what I want to do with this life I have. In fact, I have probably never done it before as I just have above. I do believe, though, that that “SOMETHING” that I described earlier has led me directly to you. On the day that I found your organization and learned of your book (January 21st), I have to admit, tears streamed down my face at that instant. I knew in my heart that I had found a member of my “same tribe”. I read your book and took VERY METICULOUS NOTES from each and every page. You and your team have inspired me…not influenced…but INSPIRED ME!!!
MY BRAIN IS ON FIRE!
This was my instant, heartfelt reply:
Wow. Thank you for sharing this with me. What a cool story. I love to hear people’s stories. Its funny, when we first set out to write this book, I was talking to Dan Heath (co-author of Switch), asking for his advice on something and he said, “Robbin, I sense some tension about this book. Why are you writing it?” I told him that for me personally, I wanted to change lives. He then went on to say, “Whao. That’s asking a lot. Maybe it’s just a business book to help you get more business.” It was sort of an aha moment for me. Maybe that really was all it was going to be. Another business book. And have to say Dan’s words released some of the pressure we were feeling under a fast and hard deadline. But that original thought of changing lives NEVER left me.
Thank you for your letter. You made a little dream come true for me.
Let me know how things progress.
Geno also told me a great story just the other day of a man that approached him at a speaking gig. He told Geno he’d always had a desire to be public speaker and this book had helped him find his passion, his voice and follow his dream.
I am sharing this with you to let you know these books. All of them. Well, they feel like a part of us that we have sent out into the big wide world in the hopes of making positive change in the world. We love hearing your reactions. We really do.
We’ve had our share of naysayers and that makes us happy too. You can’t be on to something if no one disagrees with you.
So will you do us a personal favor? If you are out traveling, poke your head in a Hudson’s and take a picture of our books to share with us, will you?
We’ve invested a lot in this book and would love to see them in the airports (or your local bookstore or even on your desks for that matter). Some of you have done this already. But we’d love to collect a ton of pics on our facebookpage. (BTW, we have bad case of “cobbler’s shoes” when it comes to our own facebook page. We plan to pay this a bit more attention in the coming months, do stay tuned!)
AND if you post a picture and share your story, we might even send you a surprise. It’s something we think you’ll like.
Several months ago we received an email from a gentleman named Jeff Finley. Jeff is a multi-talented guy, a partner at the Cleveland design firm Go Media and the founder of a rockin’ music and art festival.
He had decided to reach out to us after reading the Brains on Fire Book, which he generously said that he felt was “written just for him.” That email turned in to several emails, and those messages into a phone call. After hearing his story about founding a gathering called Weapons of Mass Creation (1) and how the book influenced his work, we asked Jeff if he’d like to write a blog post for us. We tossed around several ideas, and landed on the idea that I would interview him. We talk about the book, but we also get to know a little bit more about Jeff, his journey of learning how to breakdance, his favorite ice-cream, and why he would multiply himself if he could.
If you want to reach out to him, head on over to his website and take a look around.
This post comes from Julie Turner, a healthcare-focused copywriter at The Adams Group in Columbia, SC. If you have something to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll make it happen!
Fortunately, the ignition was at just the right time: the day before I participated in a 24-hour creative marathon to benefit nonprofits.
Eric Dodds was the speaker at our local Ad Club and shared some of that good Brains on Fire ju-ju. That the missing ingredient in a lot of today’s marketing is passion. The thing that incites people to care about something.
So I left the meeting with my brain alight, determined my work would be more passionate. The next day at 8am, I walked into CreateAthon ready to do big things.
At our team meeting, we learned what our organization wanted (or thought they needed). Girls on the Run, a non-profit prevention program, encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. They simply wanted to recruit more volunteers to support their growing program. It seemed easy enough. Runner moms were a no-brainer. Even moms who didn’t run would volunteer and support their daughters. There’s a slew of volunteers right there.
But that didn’t seem like enough for something this special.
We realized there was a massive, empowered and invested group that we could tap into. It wasn’t just moms supporting daughters; it was women supporting the next generation of women. Moms, aunts, daughters, friends, runners, non-runners. Every woman was once an impressionable, growing girl. Not clueless, simply unaware of the power inside. To accomplish things. To grow strong. To nourish ourselves as we nourish others.
We delved into this insight, and worked through the night on it. When daylight came, we presented the recruitment poster they wanted. Then we pulled out extra boards and delivered something they were not expecting: an idea for a movement.
WE ARE SHE.
A simple insight that could inspire any and every kind of woman to hold up a girl, to see her fly. Three words we hope will fuel interest in and support for Girls on the Run groups across the country. They were speechless. Then everyone started excitedly talking at once about how much it spoke to them.
I did some of the best work of my life that night because it was rooted in generating passion. And passion is that extra ingredient that can make something better. Passion is what sets a brain on fire and sets creativity free. Find some and you’ll do better work.
Thanks to Bobby Rettew for this week’s Lesson Eleven. If you have something to share, contact me, email@example.com and we’ll make it happen!
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of having coffee and a bagel with Robbin. We were talking about NetworkBash. What is NetworkBash, you ask? Well, we’ll get to that in just a second. Our conversation made me think back to where it all began…it began by listening.
A few years ago, I was asked to teach a Business Writing at Clemson University. This class is based in the Department of English as a Advanced Writing course. My goal was to bring the business world to the classroom, teach more than just writing a proposal or a resume, but how to use this proposal or resume in a business situation. My goal in teaching is simple — I believe in investing in the next wave of entrepreneurs, the leaders that will have a deciding factor in our tomorrow.
One afternoon during class, we were working on elevator pitches. We were taking the rough drafts and putting them into real world scenarios. After writing the draft, each student used their pitch on another student in the class. We video-recorded each pitch to allow the students could critique themselves and each other. One student looked at me and said, “Yeah, this is great, but I really need to find a job. I need to figure out how to get in the position to use this pitch.” It was an excellent point that student made, because it all starts with relationships. During the next class, we talked about this concept and what they wanted to do about it. And NetworkBash was born.
Each semester students from Business Writing at Clemson plan a NetworkBash event as a part of the curriculum. They help create an event where students can use their communication skills to build career relationships with professionals. They want more than just a career fair where they walk up to a recruiter, hand over a resume, and wait to hear back. They want to have real conversations. They want to learn how to use tools to position themselves, how to start — and carry — a conversation.
For the last two semesters, students have worked with Clemson’s Michelin Career Center, corporate sponsors, and other students to put on events for students to engage in conversations. It is an opportunity to allow students to have an active role in their future, creating an event that puts them first. This semester, we are having three separate NetworkBash events at Clemson: Ignite, Excite, and Engage.
Listening can be tough. It’s not difficult to hear students…but listening is key. On page 96 the highlighted text reads: “Shared Ownership Starts At The Very Beginning Of A Movement.” This is so true. The students took ownership, a shared ownership and the movement has spread like wildfire.
“By their very definition, movements are born out of passion. Passion to unite and passion for change. There’s nothing dry and emotionally detached about something in which you believe deeply.” Brains on Fire, page xxii
I believe in my students because in their movement, their creation, I AM their student.