Share your event – it’s fun and it helps!

In preparation for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s National Conference where I shall be talking and running a social media workshop, I am putting up a few blogs to show people the basics of social media. A few examples of how it is being used to support the charity and why.

So here’s my 1st example, our recent collection at a Rangers match.

A team of volunteers, with the support of our Scottish fundraising team, managed to collect over £1,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in about 1.5 hours. Great stuff! But Gary Kernahan, our Head of Volunteer Fundraising, also took the opportunity to share this on Twitter and let as many people know as possible what he and the volunteers were up to. He tweeted at the venue in advance and updated them with a photo on the day. Check out all those volunteers:

Volunteers at the Rangers match

Volunteers at the Rangers match

This in itself it quite a nice thing to do, it recognises all the volunteers and spreads the word about our fundraising, fortunately though the good people at Rangers also tweeted it out to their followers.

This has a massive effect on the number of people Gary could reach, it leapt up by over 8,000 according to tweet reach:

Tweet reach

Rangers boosted Gary's reach

As you can see, the Rangers tweet contributed 8,259 ‘impressions’. An impression means that it appeared in someones Twitter timeline and they could have read it.  (Tweet reach’s explanation of what this means is helpful)

And that’s it! Nothing clever or complex – share what you are up to and more people will know about it and who knows where that may lead? At the very least, it will make a good Facebook post:

I shared the good news again, it went down well

I hope to write a few more pre-conference blogs about social media, if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments below or tweet me.

Digital exclusion

Times are tough, right? So no business could afford to alienate 12% of its customer base could it? No sector could afford to overlook consumer spending in the region of £119 million a year could they? Well, we’ll see.

I’ve written lately about integration being something that consumers expect and that I certainly get pretty frustrated when the real world and the online world are not connected properly. As it turns out, there is quite a lot of this going on right under my nose!

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s young campaigner’s network, the Trailblazers, launched the campaign ‘Lights, Cameras Access’ on Monday. Following some very poor experiences at cinemas for Laura and Judith Merry and Chris Beaumont, the ball started rolling culminating in this campaign and report by 100 Trailblazers investigating the service for disabled customers at 125 cinema across the UK. They highlighted lots of issues, but what stood out to me was the way disabled customers were getting a 2nd class service online as much as in the real world. Surely it’s easy and cheap enough to allow disabled people to compete their booking online? Apparently not:

“I can choose my ticket and allocate a seat for myself, but I can’t seem to add the ‘Free Carer’, even though it is an option’

Mathy Selvakunaran, The Big Picture, page five

It seems that the only option to fully complete the booking is to do it the old fashion way, face to face. Now I pretty much do everything online, I don’t want to queue or talk to staff if I can go online and I don’t see why wheelchair users are not getting the same service I am – their ticket isn’t any cheaper than mine.

When people are managing to conduct their cinema booking online, they are sometimes having an experience a bit like mine with Currys, the real world and the web world are not connected properly and customer service is suffering as a result:

‘I once bought a ticket online where it said nothing on the website about the lift not working. When I got there. I found out it wasn’t working so I had to struggle up lots of steep stairs’

Alexandra Dorrington, The Big Picture, page eight

Another opportunity lost! Your website is there to distribute up to date information about your product, business or charity. So use it to! Please!

This blog is just focused on what stood out to me – the digital experience, but it’s a bigger issue than that. The Trailblazers have written a charter that they want cinemas to sign up to and are collecting signatures for a petition calling on cinema owners and operators to guarantee that disabled cinema-goers can expect the same quality of service as non-disabled customers. I’ve signed it and you can to.

If you want to know more, the Trailblazers have made a documentary to explain it all that will be released later this year, here’s the trailer:

Could your website ruin my weekend?

So a website ruined my weekend on Saturday. Well actually, a lack of integration between shopping in the real world, online customer service and product delivery ruined my weekend. Perhaps I could have been more forgiving if I really wanted the product, but the order was for my honorary father-in-law, so all I got were the problems and none of the product benefits. Here’s why:

I was babysitting my honorary niece (honorary because I’m not married but she still calls me Uncle Dave)) and was planning to find a local fair or something to take her to. She likes bouncy castles and balloons. Unfortunately these plans were scuppered by a broken dishwasher and a poor customer experience courtesy of Currys. My father in law purchased in store on Friday and was told to check that evening after 9pm for his delivery slot the next day. Putting aside the fact he doesn’t own a PC, can’t use one and doesn’t have broadband this wasn’t a problem because I’m happy to do it for him. But when I went online that evening, this happened:

Customer service fail!

At this stage it is clear that what is going on in real world at Currys carries on regardless of what is going on their fulfilment site, knowhow. I could get quite annoyed that they were not ‘at the end of the phone 24/7 or online with loads of useful hints, tips and guides.’ But instead I’m determined to learn something from a wasted Saturday.

One thing I learnt is that the pages you don’t want people to see on your website, the 404s or ‘we screwed up, sorry’ pages are pretty important. Because they are what represents you when you let someone down. So, on the knowhow ‘sorry’ page I could attempt to access their live support and I was told ‘Live representatives are online and standing by!’ but they weren’t! It wouldn’t work.

All of this could have been dramatically improved by a more integrated approach in store, if the person selling could have known what was going to happen and managed expectations appropriately. Also, this was real face to face contact so why just instruct people to go online, why not get personal? Capture some extra data about the delivery – could the courier have augmented their service to account for the fact that the product purchaser was not going to be at home and I was going to have to travel to meet the washing machine? In these circumstances, can a delivery ‘slot’ be improved beyond between one and five pm?

I think it could. I think your website should be part of a real world experience and information should flow both ways.

I’m not just pointing the finger at Currys/knowhow though, I’m pointing it at myself too. I think there’s a lot I could do to improve the integration between the real world experience and the online where I work (and wheels are in motion). There is an opportunity there though for charities; to deliver what big retail is failing to, a truly good experience.