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Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

Sitting In The Front Row – An Attitude For LifeWhere Do You Sit?

Have you noticed that people will choose their seats depending on the situation?

In a concert or sporting event who wouldn’t want to be in the front row . . . and yet if we’re talking about a class or conference, more often than not the front row (and usually the 2nd and 3rd rows) are avoided like the plague.

The reason is usually fear. Fear of being in the spotlight, of being called upon to answer a question, of having nowhere to hide.

The back row is ‘safe’, the front row, terrifying for many.

My Experience With The Front Row

Last month I attended the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco. The room was reasonably full when I arrived but the first few rows were completely empty. I chose to sit in the 4th row, about a ¼ of the way from the front. Not the front row, but definitely visible.

I hadn’t attended many conferences and this was my first to attend solo. While I’m reasonably chatty I don’t usually make a habbit of wandering straight up to strangers and striking up a conversaion, but this was a 2 day conference so I would need to talk to some people. My plan was to become active on the twitter hashtag #ims11, get involved in the conversation and then go seek those people out.

Shortly before our first break I noticed a woman, Jackie Shelley, tweeting about how all the fabulous people were in the front row, I tweeted back to see if the 4th row counted, Jackie agreed that I could be fabulous in the 4th row although Brandon Yanofsky was informed point blank that the back row was no good! However post lunch I had been recruited to the ‘fabulous front row’ to join both Jackie and Lois Ardito, and then Brandon joined us a few sessions later.

Sitting in the front row for the conference was great for a lot of reasons. Not only is it easier to see the slides and give each session your full attention (without the distractions of ‘people watching’) but I met some great people!

Life After The Front Row

One month later and Jackie, Lois, Brandon and myself are all still in contact and have even started our own podcast, discussing all things marketing, business and life related.

By our second podcast Jackie had a new business venture, her own company, appropriately called, Front Row Antics!

Today was our fourth podcast and Lois mentioned that she now uses the idea of the ‘front row’ as a positive mentality, deciding that today will be a ‘front row day’, meaning all engines are firing and the day will be met head on. I absolutely love this idea and will try to make most days front row days!

So there you have it, sitting in the front row resulted in friendship, a podcast, a new business and a new mentality. Remember that the next time you have to choose your seat…!

 

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Excellence Road SignAt the weekend myself and my husband decided to take advantage of being so close to LA and took a trip to Disneyland. We had looked online a couple of weeks ago to try and see if we could get a reasonable deal, although we weren’t sure we would be able to during the holiday season, but we were delighted to find Southwest Vacations and booked a great package that included flights, hotel, shuttle bus tickets and park passes. The website was easy to navigate and book through, and the tickets arrived in the post within the week.

 

Being from Ireland we had never flown with Southwest before, but had heard that they were a low fares airline similar to Ryanair, an Irish budget airline. We discovered that like Ryanair, Southwest had free seating onboard, however that seems to be where the similarities ended. The staff were unbelievably friendly from check in – which took a grand total of about 2 minutes – to onboard service – the air steward whispered over my sleeping husband’s head, so as not to wake him, when asking me for my drink order. Our flight arrived on time and our bag came out quickly. All in all a pleasant experience.

 

But it was nothing compared to our return journey . . .

 

In order to get a full day in the park, we had booked a 9.40pm return flight on Sunday, however flights were being delayed due to bad weather on the west coast that evening and our flight was going to be delayed by a minimum of 1 hour, with a high likelihood of it being delayed further. However, an earlier flight which had been delayed was now due to leave a 9.45pm, so we went up to the desk to see if there was any availability on that flight. The woman at the desk was extremely friendly and said she’d put us on the standby list. About 10 minutes later her colleague handed us new boarding passes and we boarded the flight, arriving into San Francisco without any fuss . . . and (!) . . . our bag was waiting for us on the conveyor belt in SFO . . . we were unbelievably impressed given how little time the baggage handlers must have had to move our bag.

 

Overall we were extremely impressed by the service, especially given the ‘low fares airline’ tag, as we had been expecting a ‘low fares airline’ service. We will without question fly with Southwest again.

 

It goes to show that just because you are offering an economy service, doesn’t mean you can’t provide first class customer service. And, if all your employees work together to provide a consistently good experience for your customers, then you can’t fail to make a good impression.

 

All businesses should put customer service at the top of their 2011 priority list. Making your customers your number one priority will help keep your business going through the hard times.

 

Have you had a great customer service experience? Are you providing a great customer service experience? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

 

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On Monday 1st November the Giants won the Baseball World* Series. The last time they won was in 1954, so to say that fans were a little excited would be putting it mildly!

As fans took to the streets all over the city problems inevitably broke out, with one particular incident in the Mission involving a Fire Truck that needed a police escort to get through the crowds.

The most unexpected and unusual thing was not the win itself, or even people’s overzealous celebrations afterwards … it was the use of social media at the riots.

People were using Twitter, Ustream, Flickr, and yes, even FourSquare.

Tweets were being posted from all over the city using the hashtag #sfriot with links to video and pictures of what was going on in the hot zones, and some were even listening to the SF Police Department radio scanner online and tweeting the updates for those who were having difficulty connecting to the over-capacitated stream.

Twitter became a more up-to-date information source than official news channels.

The most incredulous occurrence of all however was the use of FourSquare during the riots. Several people created checkpoints and tweeted them out all over the twittersphere … it was hard to tell whether people were more excited about the Giants’ win or the fact that they might get their swarm badge!

Riots Check Points On Four Square

It’s hard to tell whether this ‘on-the-ground, as-it-happens’ stream of information is for better or for worse. As the masses cut news teams and journalists out of the equation, people ask if the information is reliable and can be trusted? … but we ask that of mainstream media sources all the time, media such as news channels, which are, at the end of the day, businesses which need to be able to turn a profit.

Either way it seems a trend that is here to stay, at least for now, and so … it looks like the revolution will in fact be tweeted.

* As a non-American I find the use of the work ‘world’ for a league that only includes the US and Canada to be a little strange …

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