• @CustomerService

    Posted August 25, 2013 By in Personal, Technology With | Comments Off on @CustomerService @CustomerService

    Social Media is the New Customer Service Help Desk

    I am convinced that the way we interact with companies has forever changed due to social media. There are more ways for them to reach us and for customers to interact with their favorite brands. But what about when something goes wrong?

    I recently moved apartments and needed to set up internet service. Time Warner Cable is the cheapest option for what I need in this area so I scheduled an appointment online for them to come out and activate my service. I was even able to pick up my modem for free from a local TWC store instead of paying $30 for an install that amounts to plugging a cord into the wall.

    Install day comes around and I receive an automated message saying that my service has installed. InstalledHooray! That is until I get home that night and try to connect to the internet…”No Internet Access.” After trying fruitlessly to solve the issue on my end I called it quits and let it sit until the next morning.

    When I called the number for TWC it put me through their automated system until I could finally be put on hold to speak with a “Customer Care Representative.” So I waited on hold. And I waited. And I waited some more. The song they were playing changed 5 times and I still waited. Finally I was able to speak to someone. I have to give her credit for being courteous and nice, but she had no idea what to do.

    At some point in the conversation she tells me to hang on because she needs to look up something. “Oh good!” I thought, “I was hoping to listen to that hold music again!” But instead of the music, all I got was a click as the rep on the other end of the line hangs up on me…

    Now I’m pissed.

    Not only have I gotten nowhere in all this time but now I have to call back again and do this entire process all over! But I really need to figure out why my internet isn’t set up so I called back. And I waited on hold for a representative. And I waited.

    When I get through to a new representative this time we go through the same process I’ve just done. The only difference is this time he’s accusing me of not setting it up properly on my end and it’ll be a $30 charge if they have to send out a technician to come to my apartment and fix it. At this point I don’t even care that he’s belittling me, I just want my internet to work. He offers to transfer me to technical service instead so that they can walk me through steps to get it working on my end. That’s just fine with me!

    The phone transfer goes through and I give the technician on the other end of the line my info so he can look me up. Except that it turns out the lovely Customer Care Rep has transferred me to the Texas Technical Service branch. I live in North Carolina so he can’t help me. He offers to transfer me to the right branch, and I’m just waiting for this nightmare to end at this point. The transfer goes through…right back to the automated system where I started off originally.

    I’m not even that mad anymore, I’m just feeling hopeless about the situation. So I did what any good Generation Y kid would do and tweeted at Time Warner.

    Tweet2

    And miraculously (In 2 minutes!!) I got a response

    Tweet3

    I sent the account a direct message with my information and got an instantaneous response and more importantly a solution!

    DM

    A technician arrived the next day, fixed the install error, and now I’m up and running!

     

    What is most important to me though, is the kind of service I received from Time Warner Cable. The phone system was a complete nightmare and an utter waste of my morning. I spent over an hour on the phone with them, was hung up on, incorrectly transferred, and was left thoroughly irritated.

    phone

    On the other hand, the help I received via Twitter was instant, courteous, and it solved what I needed to get done. That kind of response is exactly what customer service should be like. That experience is what social media allows us to do and it should be the way companies handle service requests.

     

     

     

  • Numi: The Throne of Champions

    Posted April 22, 2013 By in Personal With | Comments Off on Numi: The Throne of Champions Numi: The Throne of Champions

    A foot warmer, a heated seat that automatically goes up and down, a built-in music system, a Bluetooth receiver for users to stream audio from their mobile devices, an SD card to access custom playlists or personalized welcome messages, a USB port for software updates, and ambient lighting that features seven different colors to choose from.”

    All of these specifications sound like the list of accessories you’d expect to find in the latest and greatest luxury car about to burst upon the automotive scene.

    But it’s not. It’s a…toilet?

    It’s hard to believe but these features are everything that comes with the most recent innovation from Kohler- The Numi Toilet.

    Priced at a measly $6,390, you too can enjoy the luxury of a toilet the will greet you with a personalized message, glow whatever color you like, and play you a victory song as the built-in bidet washes you clean.

    To me, the Numi raises several questions in my mind. In a world where technology is becoming native to everything we do and embedded in everything we touch, are there some areas where certain technology should never exist? Like the toilet?

    Will we ever reach a point in time where it is commonplace for your toilet to need monthly updates? More importantly, is your bathroom experience truly enhanced by ambient lights and custom playlists streaming  from beneath you? And really, what are the consequences of having built-in slots for USB and SD cards in a toilet?

    So will the Numi set the standard for commode culture or is it a just an over-priced gimmick?

    What has Kholer done to  Wall-E?!

    What has Kohler done to
    Wall-E?!

  • Fancy Box

    Posted April 12, 2013 By in Personal With | Comments Off on Fancy Box Fancy Box

    A couple of weeks ago I decided to check out Fancy. I had gotten a free $15 code to use on the site so I thought I’d see what it was all about.

    “What is Fancy?” you ask? Well Fancy describes itself in the following way:

    Fancy is the place to discover, collect and buy from a crowd-curated catalog of amazing goods, wonderful places and great stores.

    Part store, magazine and wish list, Fancy is the best place to buy great things.

    www.thefancy.com

    Similar to how Pinterest operates as a social photo sharing website, the ultimate objective is to find objects that you would be interested in purchasing. The website takes the items you “fancy’d” and shows you more based on that taste preference.

    My first foray into Fancy left me with one overwhelming conclusion: “Fancy” means expensive.

    But as I delved deeper into Fancy I found that the expensive tastes are not all there is to the site. There is in fact a wide range of low to medium priced products that are very interesting and unique. But what really drew my attention was the Fancy Box.  

    The Fancy Box is a monthly subscription service featuring a collection of some of the most fancy’d items, curated by the fancy community. Each box includes $80.00+ of products in the categories of your choice. And it only costs $39.

    So I decided to take the plunge and ordered the Fancy box. Here’s what came in the box this month!

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    So here’s the breakdown for how I came out ahead financially with the Fancy Box:

    1. Nanda Home Clocky Runaway Alarm Clock: $39
    2. Kikkerland Head Massager: $15
    3. Pilot and Captain JFK New York T-Shirt: $38
    4. Music Branch Headphone Splitter: $15
    5. “Stuff Every Man Should Know”  by Brett Cohen: $15

    Total value of my Fancy Box: $122. I paid $24 for it plus the $15 gift card!

    Given, a lot of these things are really random items. Do I need a clock that rolls away on wheels when it goes off so I have to chase it down to turn it off? No, but it’s pretty cool all the same.

    For me opening the Fancy Box was like having an early Christmas present. I had no idea what to expect from it, but it definitely invokes that childlike glee of opening a gift when it arrived. If you’ve got a couple of dollars to spare this month, I’d highly suggest trying out the Fancy Box!

    fancy-icon

    Try Fancy Today!

     

  • Oh Oh Oreo!

    Posted March 25, 2013 By in Personal, Twist, Lick, Dunk: The Oreo Experience With | 1 Comment Oh Oh Oreo!

    This is the third post in my series “Twist, Lick, Dunk: The Oreo Experience.” In this series I plan to explore the ways that Oreo (both the brand and product) is captivating consumers.

    For my final post in this series on Oreo I wanted to touch on the social media presence of Oreo. Oreo has a massive following on Facebook, but I believe the work that its social media agency 360i is doing on Twitter is truly incredible. 360i has been creating several daily images that relate to current events and major topics of conversation.

    dunkinthedark

    In fact, their quick work during the Super Bowl  produced the famous “Dunk in the Dark” image that was, “shared on Twitter and Facebook more than 20,000 times and garnered 430 million earned media impressions- that’s 4x the number of people who tuned in to watch the game. Wired magazine declared Oreo as the Super Bowl winner, and Adweek even ranked the tweet as one of the top five ‘ads’ of the night.”

    As I’ve talked about in my previous posts, Oreo is dominating its market. So why are they putting out so much creative material?

    The answer is that 360i is creating a brand personality and is bringing it to life via social media. Simply put, they have found a way to express the brand’s characteristics and values in a conversational way. By continuously releasing humorous and creative media, Oreo has associated itself with playfulness and witty commentary.

    To read more on how Oreo is playing out its brand personality you can check out these excellent articles:

    • From the 360i blog about their back and forth with AMC theaters: Corporate Twitter Wars
    • Great article from AdAge about the latest Twitter war between Oreo and Kit-Kat: Tic-Tac-Toe

     

     

     

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Oreo or its parent companies Nabisco and Mondelez International Inc. All images and trademarked property belong to Mondelez International and/or its affiliates

  • To Boldly Go Where No Quadrocopter Has Gone Before

    Posted By in Technology With | Comments Off on To Boldly Go Where No Quadrocopter Has Gone Before To Boldly Go Where No Quadrocopter Has Gone Before

    I am very excited about the upcoming release of Star Trek Into Darkness (May 9th premiere). I have really enjoyed the direction these Star Trek movies have taken under the direction of J.J. Abrams so I have high hopes for Into Darkness. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of J.J. Abrams‘ work (Lost, Super 8, Fringe, Revolution, Person of Interest, Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol) so I basically watch everything he makes. Also Benedict Cumberbatch was immensely captivating in Sherlock and if you haven’t watched it go right now and do so.

    But what really excites me is when studios and projects do awesome event promotions! And this video is a great example:

    30 LED-illuminated quadrocopters creating a 308-foot-tall Starfleet emblem rotating in place 118 feet above ground! Amazing!

    Props to Ars Electronica Futurelab & Ascending Technologies for putting this together.

  • Free Tacos

    Posted March 20, 2013 By in Personal With | Comments Off on Free Tacos Free Tacos

    The Flaw Behind Facebook Graph Search

    We had a class session today where we discussed SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and what is leading the charge for dominating your search results. Naturally, the conversation included the soon to be released Facebook Graph Search and how it will affect the way we look at reviews, search results, and our Facebook friends.

    Graph Search is a new way to search Facebook’s massive amount of photos, people, and connections. It is important to note that this is not a web search, but instead is a reinvention of the Facebook search we’re all used to. In order to provide answers, Graph Search will essentially use an advanced tagging system, thereby allowing it to sort things like relationships, interests, and location to better refine search results.

    Graph Search has been hailed by many to be a revitalization of search relevancy, and if I had to guess I’d say my professor would echo a similar sentiment to PC World:

    Facebook’s Graph Search is the future of search…The hyper-personal search race has already been sparked and Facebook’s Graph Search ignites the revolution.”PC World

    Quite frankly, I think Graph Search will be useful for finding people or photos, but when it comes it finding anything else it will fall miserably short. I do not believe Graph search can succeed because it relies on a tainted system: Likes

    There used to be a time when pages were run by fans who purely had an interest in a brand, restaurant, or movie. But that has long since changed. Like any organization, Facebook is dependent upon profit (Especially now that it is a publicly traded on the stock market). Facebook understood that by allowing brands to own their unique pages, they could work with them to drive fans to their pages and to increase ad revenue. In return for brands getting fans to like their pages, Facebook began incorporating these likes into the News Feed and into the sidebar ads. So brands began to run campaigns where users had to “like to enter” a contest. Contests and sweepstakes paid out to relatively few people and in return got millions of “fans” to like their page. This meant that every fan who liked it was a new source of advertising on their friends’ News Feeds.

    This brings us back to today. Graph Search relies upon likes to help determine what suggestions to make when you search for “Mexican restaurants nearby that John likes.” How accurate of a result are you getting if John liked Taco Bell’s page because they offered him free tacos for clicking a button?

    The missing factor is intent. How are we to know if John actually likes Taco Bell and thinks you should too, or if he thought free tacos was just a great deal? Intent is what makes user reviews on sites like Yelp trustworthy. The intent of Yelp is to provide reviews and recommendations of local establishments; not to draw in advertising revenue.

    For Graph Search to be truly effective, it will take a change in attitude by Facebook users, and how easily do you expect that to happen?

    Facebook Graph Search

     

     

  • Milk’s Favorite Cookie

    Posted March 6, 2013 By in Personal, Twist, Lick, Dunk: The Oreo Experience With | 2 Comments Milk’s Favorite Cookie

    This is the second post in my series “Twist, Lick, Dunk: The Oreo Experience.” In this series I plan to explore the ways that Oreo (both the brand and product) is captivating consumers.

    800px-Oreo-Size-VariationsThe Oreo Cookie- Mini, Regular, & Double Stuffed

     

    Today is the 101st birthday of Oreos! As if you needed another reason to enjoy a delicious Oreo today.

    Health food may be good for the conscience, but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better.Robert Redford

    In my previous post (Twist, Lick, Dunk) I mentioned that since its creation 1912, the Oreo has remained the #1 selling cookie in America. Talk about unbeatable records!

    During that time, the Oreo has seen several changes though.

    1920's Oreo Ad

    1920’s Oreo

    The original “Oreo Biscuit” was first developed and produced by the National Biscuit Company (Now known as Nabisco). What many people don’t realize is that Oreo is actually an imitation cookie. Say it isn’t so! Oreo was an imitation of the Hydrox cookie which had been created almost 4 years earlier. Unfortunately for Hydrox, its cookie was mistakenly assumed to be the knockoff due to its tangy, less-sweet filling.

    In 1921 the Oreo biscuit was renamed to “Oreo Sandwich”, and in 1948 it was renamed again to the “Oreo Creme Sandwich.” It made its final name change to the “Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie” in 1974. Let’s do ourselves a favor and just call it Oreo from now on.

    But the chocolate cookie and the delicious creme are not the sole factors in what makes Oreo such a captivating product. Oreo is what I would call an “interactive food.” Oreos allow- rather, they encourage- consumers to be creative when eating them. From dunking them in milk, twisting them apart, eating the creme first or eating cookie first, or even gobbling a handful whole there’s no end to the ways you can eat an Oreo. This makes the way you eat an Oreo a thought out decision, and it makes the process personal to you.

    You don’t even think about it, but everyone has their own exact process for an Oreo. I can distinctly remember as a kid making sure that I separated and ate the creme from the cookies and then ate the cookies. It has been and always will be the way I eat an Oreo.

    regvsmega

    Regular vs. Mega Stuf

    Oreo has also expanded its options. From the mini Oreo to the newly released Mega Stuf, there are a plethora of options to partake in the Oreo experience. Whether you’re enjoying Chocolate, Birthday Cake, Peanut Butter, Mint, or even Berry Burst you always know you’re going to enjoy an Oreo.

    0022 grocery_colr_1951

     Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Oreo or its parent companies Nabisco and Mondelez International Inc.

  • Best Away Game Ever

    Posted March 2, 2013 By in Projects, Writing Samples With | Comments Off on Best Away Game Ever Best Away Game Ever

    The Best Away Game Ever was part of a new media competition intended to see which team could create an event on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus and then garner the most media coverage, social media attention, and participants at the event.

    Our event was a viewing party of the annual UNC/UVA football game where our participants took part in a digital scavenger hunt in order to win prizes.

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    We partnered with Google+ as the event’s social media hub, and were mentored by Google representatives to recruit Carolina students as new users to the social media platform.

    Highlights (3 weeks time):

    • Over 1.75 million impressions on Google+; 150,000+ impressions on Twitter; 5,000+ impressions on Facebook; 2,200+ YouTube views
    • Featured on Google+ homepage as an example of the future of online education which attracted 1.3 million Google+ views, 1037 “+1’s,” 370 shares, and 94 comments (Link)
    • Drew the attention of Natalie Villalobos (Community Manager for Google+) & Dori Storbeck (Community Manager for Hangouts/Chat)
    • Over 400 people participated at the event in Chapel Hill.

    Personally, this event was an awesome experience. It was exhausting at some points but it was definitely worth it in the end. It was truly amazing to me to see how our group worked together to create this event. I will always be thankful for the ups and downs that this project threw my way. More importantly it taught me to take setbacks in stride and to turn them into learning experiences rather than an impediment. Countless hours were spent trying to optimize our concept with the set-backs, time constraints, and no budget. It was a great experience and I know it will be one of the most valuable and unique projects of my UNC career.

    If you would like to view all of the finer details of this project  I have made our final report available to download below.

     

  • Twist, Lick, Dunk

    Posted March 1, 2013 By in Personal, Twist, Lick, Dunk: The Oreo Experience With | 3 Comments Twist, Lick, Dunk

    This is the first post in my series “Twist, Lick, Dunk: The Oreo Experience.” In this series I plan to explore the ways that Oreo (both the brand and product) is captivating consumers.

    Today I’m talking about Oreos and Oreos are unquestionably delicious. Admit it; just the thought of an Oreo right now has you salivating.

    Look at the cookie!!!

    Look at that cookie!!!

    Since its creation 1912, this simple food has remained the #1 selling cookie in America, and a staple of households and pantries worldwide. In fact, Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the entire 20th Century! And let’s be honest, it’d take a miracle for another cookie to unseat the Oreo in the 21st.

    But Nabisco has made their scrumptious little cookie more than just a treat. Oreo has an identity and an extraordinary community behind that identity.

    Oreo has a Facebook community of more than 25 million Oreo lovers around the globe, representing 200+ countries and dozens of different languages. Oreo ranks among the top five brand Facebook pages in the world!Oreo 100th Birthday Fact Sheet

    There are two main components that I believe have led to Oreo becoming such a success.

    I will dive deeper into both of these components in following posts. Join me as we delve into what exactly makes up the Oreo experience.

     

     

    Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Oreo or its parent companies Nabisco and Mondelez International Inc.

  • Learning Environments

    Posted February 19, 2013 By in Personal With | Comments Off on Learning Environments Learning Environments

    As my senior year rapidly continues to pass, I’ve looked back at several things from my college career that have helped me understand who I am and how I learn.

    A big factor for me is my learning environment. I have not done as well in classes that are massive lecture halls, but have tended to excel in a smaller classroom where the lesson is more discussion based and there is an active engagement with the professor rather than a passive relationship between the professor and myself.

    I think this is why I’ve loved my time in the UNC Journalism and Mass Communication school’s advertising and public relations courses. I constantly feel engaged with the material and am interested in coming to class every day.

    In regards to this, I was really struck by a concept development technique that I participated in the other day for my Advertising Workroom course.

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    In this panorama you can see that, while brainstorming for a brand identity, we were instructed to use multicolored post-it notes to write down our ideas and place them on the wall. The system seems very haphazard but I was amazed how the physical action of placing an idea on the wall allowed me to mentally register it and then move on to a different concept. I didn’t feel like I was constantly riffing off my most recent idea. I was also able to move around the room, and be further influenced by the ideas that other students had posted.

    I really believe that this brainstorming technique helps your mind open up and become more efficient. In fact, I would expect that many more office spaces begin to feature this style of collaborative idea generation using products like IdeaPaint that turn walls into giant whiteboards.

    Image via http://www.ideapaint.com/spaces/work/

     

     

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