I walk this funny line between believing in stuff like “The Power of Positive Thinking” self-help ideals and thinking it’s pure bunk. I could go on and on about how that hits me and what it means for my clients, but instead I’ll wrap it in a simple package:
The “Do What You Promise” thing has appeared here several times, and it matters. Especially in a business change and customer service environment such as what exists when the only way you can differentiate yourself from thousands of other potential contractors and business partners, your word, and correctly setting expectations, is everything.
I’ve picked on Chris Brogan about this issue several times. Chris is one of those guys whose words are waited on, analyzed to death, and followed by thousands, and who, although incredibly smart, reached a point where he started sounding disingenuous. To be fair, Chris doesn’t sound disingenuous to me lately; he just sounds like a salesman. I say that with respect and approval, by the way; the world needs great salesmen, and now that Chris is being one and owning up to it, I’m back in his corner.
Another “business guru” who’s been the focus of my writing a few times is Gary Vaynerchuk. And Gary’s really pushed the envelope with the marketing campaign for his new book, The Thank You Economy. How hard? Gary’s put his cell phone number on billboards and is promising to answer you personally and thank you if you call him.
As this piece in TechCrunch points out, Mr. Vaynerchuk isn’t answering every call live. That’s fine, of course; there’s “Thank You”, and there’s “Thank You“, and nobody should feel compelled to say thank you to everyone who calls them at any hour of the day or night. And my guess is that the number Gary Vaynerchuk has set up for this campaign—646 401 0368—is a temporary one; once the billboards go down, Gary will stop using it.
But as the story at TechCrunch shows, Vaynerchuk is walking his talk—or at least he is when widely-read journalists and bloggers try to reach him. I actually texted Gary this morning instead of calling, and we’ll see
if he gets back to me how long it takes for him to get back to me via either voice or text.
Thank You Economy, indeed.
I’m not telling you to do what Gary Vaynerchuk has done to promote The Thank You Economy. But I’ll tell you this: if you don’t make your customers understand that going the extra mile in the pursuit of great customer service is your way of doing things, you won’t have those customers very long.
Just Do What You Promise. That’s real business change.
I couldn’t quite figure out how the title matched the post. Gary’s smarter than me because he put his cell phone number on billboards? Okay. You win.
You mention that setting expectations is important, but are you saying that I don’t live up to expectations? If so, I’m not getting that from the post.
Oh well. I’ll concede. Gary’s smarter than me because his phone number is on billboards. : )
Chris, I wasn’t looking to create any sort of consternation in you, and I appreciate that you took the time to respond!
The point of the “Vaynerchuk vs. Brogan” rhetoric (and it was just that) was both to compliment Gary on what I think was a brilliant PR idea and to point out to anyone who reads me that genuine-ness matters. It’s a point that I believe you’d lost for a while (until recently), and that I’ve pointed out as such before.
Is the logic through the Brogan/Vaynerchuk piece convoluted? Sure, but that’s part of the point too, and also part of what’s behind lots of what I write here. Take simple ideas such as yours and Gary’s and hold them up as important without thinking about the many things that they effect and are effected by, and you have nothing more than useless platitudes. Simple ideas have and require complex implementations.
I’d debate this openly and at any length you or anyone who wanted to. I’m thinking right now about the application this idea has for the way Google works, as a search/information technology and as an ever-more-complex company, and the disconnect between (for example), Eric Schmidt’s statements that Google will go right up to any barrier, push it and alter its shape, but try to avoid crossing it, and yet he himself walks right past barriers and then tries to cover his tracks (see recent news stories about references to political contributions he wanted pulled from the Google index).
I said that Gary Vaynerchuk was walking his walk with that phone number stunt, and that you felt to me as though you had lost your way until you put on your salesman hat. I’ll stand by both halves of that.
Raising the question, of course about why you would close membership to Third Tribe . . . unless that was a membership stunt?
Yep, I’m still all over the place. I guess the biggest question is this: Do You Know Why?