How Not To Handle Customer Service

I say it to every client that I work with — don’t make promises you can’t keep.  Better yet, if you want to say that you provide great a product and service and you could really care less about your customers — please don’t bother.  Eventually your customers are going to figure it out, and it will be ugly. Check out this exchange (well worth the read) between a company called Ocean Marketing and an unhappy customer.

via Penny Arcade

The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.

I think this idiot subscribes to the “any news, good or bad, is good for PR and SEO”.   Not when you screw the pooch like this though.  Impossible to win trust back after exchanges like this.

Capitalize On The Buzz

Read an article this morning from a well-trafficed and respected blogger calling into question the fact the had 11 Sidney Crosby stories on their front page today.   Saw a number of tweets echoing this statement.

The fact that I’m from Pittsburgh has nothing to do with the following opinions.  This is coming from a media guy perspective.

1.  You capitalize on the buzz when you can.  This was announced late last night and many of those outside the hockey world and fringe fans are probably just hearing the new this morning.  That means more traffic to, and they expect to read about Sidney Crosby when they visit the site today.

2. Put aside your home team loyalties and crusade to “promote all the other good players” for a day and recognize that when your most recognizable face comes back after a 10-month injury (which many feared he would never come back from) you run it for all it’s worth.

3. It’s a special day.  It’s not a normal Monday in November – and if it was and the NHL went overboard like this you’d have every reason to bitch – it’s an exceptional day.

4. I’d be fine if roles were reversed and Alex Ovechkin returned after a 10 month break and it got this much buzz.  It’s good for the overall PR of the game, and it’s a good story.

5. Your personal preferences on what you want to read are far eclipsed by what the majority of the sports world wants to read.  Get over it.

I expected to read articles like the one I did this morning.  However, I didn’t expected from people that have been in the business long enough that they should know better.

Happy Sid Day.




The Ride Home


Sometimes you just have to slow down, pull the car over or turn around, and go snap a couple pictures.  Just loved the sky and the light in this field on Route 956 in New Wilmington, PA.


Penguins “Anything Is Possible” Video

Great video.  Player personality stuff is always at a premium in the NHL, and this video is a great example.  While yes, some of it appears to be scripted there’s a lot of honesty in there which makes it a great watch – and re-watch.  Nice edit too – especially holding on to the Matt Cooke shot after he talks about riding the firetruck.  Nice work.

Your Customers Will Know

You’ve decided to be active and aggressive about your company/individual/organizational brand.

You’ve invested time and taken the steps to tell the public about what your brand is.  In essence, you’ve made promises.

If you don’t consistently deliver on those promises, your customers will know.  Especially when you tell them that their happiness is first and foremost on your list of priorities.

If they aren’t?  They’ll know.  And they won’t forget.  I think many consumers are willing to forgive within reason if you make a mistake here and there.  But when you publicly state your principles yet your actions run counter?  They’ll know.  They won’t be so quick to forgive but WILL be quick to let everyone else know about it.

So before you stick that brand out there, think deeply about whether you are prepared to deliver the promise.

Emotional Decisions

Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

Don’t go to a boat show drunk.

And don’t make decisions during elevated emotional states.

Why I Killed Backteching

So a couple weeks ago, I killed my blog. 

I was pretty short with the whole thing, and thought I gave enough detail.  From the number of emails and DM’s that I’ve got offering sympathies and “you had a good run” or “gave it your best” shot types of messages, I realized that maybe I wasn’t clear.

The blog is dead because I killed it, not because it died out.  The traffic was good on normal days, and really good on days that I posted.   Still got posts, emails, feedback, all that good stuff.

But it had served it’s purpose and was time to move on.  Let me back up and give some perspective on how I work.

When FSN produced Inside Penguins Hockey for us, it was a boring magazine show that we paid for them to produce.  I hated it.  It had the wrong feel.  I convinced my boss to let us take it over, and make it a live-audience show with our players.  He agreed, and we had 4 or 5 good years (although now it’s a pile of corporate horseshit splattered with logos and “sponsored” segments).  It got fixed and I moved on.

We did a web/in-house pregame show that was a simulcast of our radio pregame.  Bob Grove did a great job, but it was wrong since his half hour wasn’t focused on that game as much as around the league.  So we added 15 minutes of content at the head end, and it got fixed and had some really great stuff.

When we were building Consol Energy Center, the perpetually lazy guy that should have taken it and run with it did nothing but sit in his office and figure out how to do nothing and look good instead of covering an awesome story.  So I got permission to do Backteching.  Life was good.

Backteching was just another in a long line of things that I took high personal interest in because I felt that we weren’t getting the right message to the audience.

But now that’s done, and I feel BT served it’s purpose.  It was something that I did, because I felt what we were doing was lacking.  Just like the other stuff.  But it’s time has passed.  And my deep interest in that field has passed for the time being.  So many good posts that I didn’t write because I thought it didn’t fit the theme or brand of BT.  It affected how I used my Twitter account.  It just sucked.

Since getting chewed up and spit out by the Penguins my life has changed.  100x for the better, but it’s changed.  I’m a principal in a small agency that’s come out guns blazing, and I’m having a blast.  It’s been a long time since I went to bed each night excited to wake up and get to work.

I was always a creative person at the core.  Tech came naturally to me probably because of the creative approach to a problem.  Plus. working in the capacity I did at the Penguins all those years honed my business and strategic skills.  It’s fun that to the table with clients now.   I get to be a photography and a film maker again.  And it’s what I want to write about.  And whatever the hell else I feel like talking about.

When I get some time, I’ll move the stuff over here in some kind of archive format, because there is some good content there.  But unless something knocks me on my ass or it’s something I’m directly involved in, the stadium tech stuff is back burner.  I had asked a number of people (@peteshelly @TPBDerek @TheConfluence) about what do with the blog.  They pretty much said the same thing:  do what makes you happy.

The pressure to write on a topic that I didn’t have passion for anymore sucked.

So now we’re here, and it’s probably going to be a lot less exciting for the people that liked BT for what it was.  And I don’t expect them to stay.

But just like the departure from the Penguins,  killing Backteching and starting fresh here has given me something that I wanted for a while:  the freedom to do what I want.

The traffic will probably never reach what BT did — and the best part is that I could care less.


P.S. This post is dedicated to Tony, formerly of The Confluence as a tribute to his awesome, inspiring, life-changing, eloquent, groundbreaking breakup post from his blog.