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Monday, March 29, 2004

Nice or Nasty Anonymous Notes
Send Glowing Compliments or Cutting Criticisms
Although the Send A Tip website is meant for 'entertainment' purposes, I can't help thinking what a powerful tool this might be if used for good instead of evil.

In the article "Why Customers Leave, and What You Can Do About It" by Arthur Middleton Hughes, Mr. Hughes identifies the 5 reasons customers leave a source with whom they were doing business.
1. They die, or are no longer buying in your category
2. They are unhappy with the price
3. They are unhappy with the product
4. They are unhappy with the way that they are treated.

There's not a lot you can do about #1, businesses tend to focus too much on reason #2 (tip: there will ALWAYS be a lower price. Why chase customers that will toss you over for the next person who saves them a dime?) -- but to really focus on keeping customers and recapturing lost ones, you must concentrate on the last two reasons: improve your products and treat your customers like royalty.

For a lot of clients it's easier to simply leave or not call on you again if they feel they've purchased an inferior product or received bad service. They don't like to 'make a scene' or dislike confrontations. But as a business hoping to build relationships with long-term clients and increase business through word-of-mouth, YOU need to realize that this feedback from unhappy customers is more valuable than all the compliments from 'satisfied customers.'

A simple feedback tool on your website modeled after Send A Tip could allow compliments or criticisms to be emailed directly to someone in charge -- with the option of complete anonymity -- from unhappy customers. Better yet, a double-blind return feature or private posting area could allow the businesses to respond to the comments and let the interested initiators of the communication follow-up on your efforts.

Here are two books you must read if interested in keeping your customers loyal (not satisfied!) and recapturing customers who've slipped through your fumbling service fingers:
Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless by Jeffrey Gitomer
A Complaint Is A Gift by Janelle Barlow

Friday, March 26, 2004

Sad Paintings for Happy People
...or Hello (you sick, sick) Kitty
I always figured there was a dark side to the whole Hello Kitty - Badtz Maru - Corocoro craze. Some dark side of Sanrio Town where the not-so-cute Asian-style cartoon creations dwell in squalor. The wrong-side of the tracks bears, dogs, pigs, and bees deal with drug addition, live on unemployment and disability checks while watching the Sanrio equivalent of the Jerry Springer (Spaniel?) show.

My suspicions have been confirmed in the work of artist Luke Chueh -- he seems to have made it his mission to expose the dark side of these "cute wittle animals."

His art show opens today in Los Angeles at the Black Market L.A. Gallery. If you get a chance to attend, you'll see adorable bunnies, kitties, monkeys, and other Sanrio-esque creatures in sinister and/or deeply ironic situations. It's like a window onto the dark alleys and after-hours doings of Pokemon and his nefarious ilk.

The name of his show is called "Sad Paintings for Happy People." If you wonder why a show containing what are essentially paintings of cartoon animals could be called sad, It only takes a minute to see why -- all your questions will be answered after you see the painting of a chicken staring down at a plate of fried eggs.

You view Luke Chueh's online gallery at his website: www.lukechueh.com

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Don't talk about the weather
Ilise Benum shows us 'How to Make a Connection'
The following is taken from the Quick Online Marketing Tips email newsletter. You can sign-up for your free subscription by click here.

Ilise Benum noted upon her arrival to conduct a recent self promotion workshop for the New Jersey chapter of the Business Marketing Association, that everyone was busy chatting -- but the topics of the day were the Oscars and the weather -- not a great way to make a strong connection.

She then lead the group in an exercise called "How to Make a Connection." She gave everyone a list of 4 things to do during a 20 minute conversation with their partner. Here's the list they received:
1. Find something in common.
2. Learn something new from one another.
3. Offer an idea, a contact or some other resource. Hint: you have to first find out what they need.
4. Find a project to collaborate on.

At the end, participants raved about how much more productive their networking was when they had an agenda. This list is also a great way to create a real reason to follow up with new contacts after an initial meeting.

I suggest you print this out and bring it to your next networking event (business or personal) and see how much more productive your exchanges can be.

Ms. Benum is the author of Self Promotion Online and Designing Web Sites for Every Audience. Her articles have been featured in business media, including Working Woman, HOW Magazine and Nation's Business.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Strange little collection of pithy sayings, puns, and remarks
Bill Golden is a friend in Columbus, Ohio known as the "Facilitator Guy" (it's not as catchy as the "Idea Guy" -- but hey, it was already taken!)

Bill's wide range of interests and expertise include resume writing, landscaping, and piano tuning -- with the occasional organization of a sports pool (for entertainment purposes only!) Just as diverse is his Bill-osophy collection.

Billosophy is a page on Bill's website where he's amassed quite a library of puns, bizarre labels, jokes, and quotes. Flipping through his archive never fails to bring a smile (or the occasional groan) and I thought I'd share it with you. It's a perfect web destination for hump-day!


Sunday, March 21, 2004

Faster than a rolling O
Stronger than silent E, able to leap capital T in a single bound...
It's a word. It's a plan. It's LETTERMAN!

Letterman, Easy Reader, Spidey, and about a dozen other sketches, characters, and cartoons for the aging Sesame Street audience were featured on The Electric Company. Targeting kids 7- to 10-years-old, the show debuted on PBS in 1971. The series garnered many awards including several Emmys and a Grammy. How could any child of the 70's not look back with fondness upon this show?

Prepare for an attack of nostalgia! The Sesame Workshop announced plans in January for a new line of apparel and accessories manufactured by Junk Food featuring images and catchphrases from the show. The items should be hitting stores by now and I'd love to hear from anyone who has seen these items.

Can you dig it?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

2004 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest
National Challenge: Select, Mark, and Cast an Election Ballot in 20 or More Steps
I can't say it any better than this excerpt from the official website:

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest brings the ideas of Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Rube Goldberg's "Invention" cartoons to life. Named after, and inspired by the cartoonist Reuben Lucius Goldberg, this Olympics of Complexity is designed to pull students away from conventional problem-solving and push them into the endless chaos of imagination and intuitive thought

Learn more by visiting the Rube Goldberg contest page.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

It's been a week???
Really? I haven't updated in a WEEK??

It's not like I don't have really cool stuff to share with you, like this for example:

Or this...

Or even this...
Failure Magazine

So I'm really sorry about the delay, but now you have crunchy link goodness to enjoy -- Go forth and browse!

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Don't Shoot the Client
They can be a pain, but they also buy your FOOD.
A helpful article by logo guru Jeff Fisher appeared in a recent issue of HOW Design Magazine. In case you didn't pick it up on the newsstand -- you can read it online...

Jeff Fisher shares hard-learned advice on how to wrangle nitpicky, indecisive and flat-out boneheaded clients—before a showdown occurs.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Unleash Your Music
Full-service conversion from CD to MP3
The new RipDigital.com service converts your entire CD collection into a digital music library. They even offer archiving on portable hard drives to create a personal plug-n-play jukebox.

As of right now they only offer the service for Compact Discs, I'd be even more excited about their company if they added the ability to convert vinyl LPs and cassettes.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Waaay Too Much Time (and Money) on their Hands!
Paranoid idiots destroy $1,000 worth of $20 bills.
Can I just ask WHY?

Monday, March 01, 2004

What all the Cool People are Reading...
Or, as Elmer Fudd would say:
"World Wide Weading Wist... heh-heh-heh-heh-heh..."

Inspired by Book Watch, and using web services from Weblogs.com, Amazon.com, Technorati.com, and Alexa.com, AllConsuming.net is a website that visits recently updated weblogs every hour, checking them for links to books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Sense, and other book sites.

Every book on their site has a list of the weblogs that mentioned it. If you have a weblog, search for it on AllConsuming to see if they've referenced it.

The site seems to move very slowly at times, but it's still a great source to find great new books before all your friends do!

I wonder if they make anything like this for music?

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