A Customer-first approach to Job Titles

Does your organization design job titles and specifications to place emphasis on the customer?  When considering the ability of different parts of your team to impact the experience of your customer, where are the points of pressure?

A commercial transaction is an experience, wrapped around a promise.  The value which is exchanged (monetary, utility, emotional) and the extent to which the transfer is well-balanced, affects the experience of the promise.  Over time, a brand's meaning is the sum of the promises made and kept.

People and organizations can make promises in different ways.  What levels of people your firm, or people on your team, have influence on the consumer experience?  Do they:

  • Greet or interact with customers in person
  • Answer inquiries on the phone or those that come in by email?
  • On-board new team members?
  • Decide on employee compensation, perks, or benefits?


The people who do any of the above are not just employees; these people can make, keep, and break promises.   Now think about the number of those people whose job title is coordinator, specialist, or assistant?  How many of them receive instruction from managers, directors, or VPs?

I recently came across a posting for a "Director of First Impressions."  Here's the line I liked best from the requisition:

"Candidates should only apply if they can provide the highest level of customer service, with a smile on their face, no matter what the position throws their way." 

To handle the unexpected, to be sure about your motivation and commitment to customer success?    It's not always easy to keep your promises - having people who take that seriously, and who know they are empowered and expected to do so, can make all the difference.  Don't waste an opporuntiy to think about how your next "Assistant" will delight a customer, and maybe even lead by example.



Don't let your SEO strategy get away from you

My dad sent me a link to a story on the SF BUsiness times site, and after logging in and seeing the story, I found myself wandering.  I saw side by side ads for Verizon and AT&T careers, and I was curious about how these ads were related to the destination content.  My, was I surprised.  The sites both linked to the homepage of the respective career pages.  I'll show AT&T and then Verizon's.  Both companies are so large, and nationwide employers, it is interesting that they approach things so differently.

With AT&T, I felt welcomed by a gallery of faces of actual humans, and there's enough happening on the site that everyone from recruiters, to college students, to experienced professionals should be able to find what they are looking for.  You have to hand it to the company for using the .jobs TLD (the site is yet the branding feels spot on for what I expect to see from the other touchpoints I regularly use as a customer.


By contrast, I found Verizon's careers site mystifying, wit so many links to so many things, and so many groupings.  

Remember, no matter how much your site's success depends on organic search, and regarless of the desperation of your target audience to "convert" (whether a job application, tshirt purchase, or other action)  someone will actually, eventually, with human eyes, look at your site.  

I'm seeing more and more the paradox of organic search and the site design below, which seems to put everything but the kitchen sink as a text link on the homepage.  This won't last forever, and the increasedinfluence  of social content and participation on link relevance will hopefully limit the impact of these usability-killing visual mazes.

UPDATE: In fairness to Verizon, it seems like the page I landed on wasn't the home page.  The home page, below, shows off more of the corporate identity that I saw on AT&T's page.  I'll stick to the point about the SEO contrast, but I also think the landing page choice for Verizon was not the best.  Choosing the right campaign landing page is a question for another day.  


On Being an NWC Backer

About a year ago, for a period of around 3-4 months, I was a paying member of New Work City.  I have always been interested in the evolution of the workforce around new technologies, and so I was a spectator of this project for a long time.  When my professional needs aligned with the NWC model, I thoguht, this makes sense for me, as more than an experiment.

Having known Tony via nextNY I suppose I had less of a need to be SOLD on the experience actively, but I will say that if anything, the community under-promises and over-delivers.

It's subtle, but Peter Chislett and Tony and great folks like Frederic Guarino and Mark Bursteiner were fun to be around, full of optmism, and showed how working from the Library or the Cornell Club (some of my favs at the time) were missing something.  Those venues didn't offer stimulating conversation, beta invites to cool projects, or a sense that no matter how f#cked the economy seemed in those days, that we could make it better by our own bootstraps.

This blog is hosted on Squarespace largely as a result of meeting Dane Atkinson at New Work City one day.  NWC will find you business partners, customers, friends, and drinking buddies.  Some of them might like Iced coffee as much as you do (cheers Peter!)

My professional needs changed a bit at the end of the summer and I ended my membership, but I remain supportive of Tony and New Work City's way of discovering the best way to do things with smart and dedicated experimentation.

I pledged my support to NWC, and I'm letting you know I support NWC on Kickstarter not only because it sure looks like Tony is going to do some crazy stuff, but if you believe in something, helping is better than watching.

You keep using that word, Targeting- I do not think it means what you think it means

Dear, ad team,



I know you didn't mean to target me with your ad.  You did?  Hmmmm.

Ok, I'll play along.  I have read Rainbow Six (the BOOK) twice.  I have two legs and all my fingers. I am not averse to wearing riot gear and breaking up WTO protests.

Is it just me or is a Facebook ad for law enforcement taking the wrong approach by luring people in with the SWAT Team - literally enticing people to apply for law enforcement positions with all the cool weapons you can only get with lots of virtual gold in Mafia Wars or at that level of Doom II I could never reach? If this is really best accomplished THROUGH FACEBOOK then their ad inventory must be even cheaper than I thought.

The the kind of law enforcement assitance you're likely to get from Facebook is more along the lines of an SNL Sketch than anything else.

You know what, this ad is  hell of a lot better than a credit score ad or something from, so I take it all back.


Benjamin Bloom