About Kristen Bassick

Kristen is the Director of Customer Experience for myGreenlight. She’s been working with Ferrazzi Greenlight since 2010, helping with social media and marketing efforts. Now she cracks the (metaphorical) whip to make sure myGreenlight participants have an amazing experience.

Cool New Apps to Fuel Your Job Hunt

One of the places where past investments in social capital pay back major dividends is when you are in the market for a new job. Having an inside connection at any company can up your chances of finding out about new opportunities early, and making sure your credentials get in front of the right people. Luckily, there are an array of tools emerging to make the entire process more efficient, and yes, even enjoyable.

You are probably already familiar with the ways that LinkedIn can help uncover connections you didn’t even realize existed. Whether you find job postings right on the LinkedIn site or elsewhere, a quick search to see if you have someone on the inside at your dream company should be part of your application process.

To take your LinkedIn profile to the next level, check out Re.Vu - a cool way to create a visually appealing storyboard of your past experience. To see what I mean, check out my Re.Vu page. Their site pulls your history from the LinkedIn site and gives you lots of options to add more information to flesh out and portray your past in an engaging way. My favorite part? The time graph of employment history – my past has never seemed so exciting. Sharing your Re.Vu site is more efficient than carrying around paper resumes and easy for friends to pass along on your behalf. Continue reading

Does An Action-Oriented Guarantee Guarantee Action?

Here at myG we’ve seen that our program has the potential to move you toward your goals at top speed. But success is ultimately a factor of how much participants engage with and execute the program. As with any service-oriented offering: education, consultation, coaching, even nutrition, the magic secret sauce happens when content and tools meet with execution.

So many times the question becomes, how to ensure the kind of engagement that makes the magic happen?

I was intrigued this week by the introduction of an engagement-inducing money-back guarantee offered by premium job-hunting site TheLadders. If members don’t land a job within 6 months they will receive a full refund of the $2,495 (!) price tag for their Premium service.

So far, fairly vanilla.

But the action-inducing spin is this - the guarantee is only effective if the job-seeker holds up his/her end of the bargain.

“TheLadders guarantees that you will receive a job offer within six months or less if you participate fully in all components of the Program at the level indicated below. In order to be eligible for this Guarantee, within the first sixty (60) days of your six month subscription period, you must complete:

  • Attend 7 scheduled sessions
  • Complete Steps 1-5 of the Roadmap
  • Apply to 6 well-fitted positions (as described in the Program Roadmap)
  • Complete all follow-up activities assigned

In addition, in order to continue to be eligible for the money back guarantee after the initial sixty (60) days of your six month subscription period, you must attend a minimum of 75% of your scheduled sessions per month and apply to 6 well-fitted positions per month…” Continue reading

An Unlikely, and Enjoyable, Networking Guide

I am currently reading the book MWF Seeking BFF, by Rachel Bertsche. I originally picked it up because it was getting a great deal of buzz, and also because, as an aspiring blogger myself, I am intrigued by the 52 Something in a Year genre.

But as I began to read, it became clear that what I expected to be a fluffy retelling of 52 wine-soaked girl nights was actually chock full of the same kind of relationship research that we used to build myGreenlight.

Chicago-based Bertsche sets out to try every possible channel to make new adult friends. While her ultimate goal is to meet a new, geographically-appropriate BFF (“best friend forever”, for anyone unfamiliar with the lingo) to augment her college and childhood friends in New York, what she effectively does is build a broad and diverse network of friends, acquaintances, and possible future resources.

By the midpoint of the book, she has a social schedule to rival Keith Ferrazzi himself.

In the process, she meets many people who share her desire to connect with more friends, but who are unsure of how to make it happen.

For so much of our lives, we depend on fate to deliver friends to us. When you are in elementary school, the boy next door is your best friend because he’s most convenient. The girl who sits next to you in English class becomes your confidant because you are working on the same projects. Sororities and fraternities provide a steady pipeline of social comrades during our college years.

Once we get to “real” life we are so comfortable with taking the friends who happen across our paths, that taking explicit steps to meet the people we want to spend time with feels artificial and contrived. But through Bertsche’s experience, it is clear that relationships built from purposeful outreach are just as genuine, and significantly more abundant, than the ones that happen by accident.

One long, slow dinner, coffee date, and yoga class at a time, she builds true friendships with a significant number of her prospective girlfriends. And along the way she makes frequent reference to the research that backs up the key success factors in growing real relationships – self-disclosure, supportiveness, interaction, and positivity.

The key takeaway is that purposefully seeking out connection is an effective way to expand your social circle, and real relationships are worth investing some effort.

Have you ever had to start over with building your social circle? How did you do it?

Take Control of Your Inbox – What Deserves your Attention?

This morning I woke up and checked my email, as I generally do. And in my personal email inbox I found exactly 4 new notes. And they were all from actual people.

Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? Like going to the mail box at the curb and finding only handwritten letters. The stuff of fairy tales.

But this was real. The side effect of a New Year-inspired effort to rid my inbox of all of the various unread subscriptions that have been cluttering the scenery for far too long. Fifteen (15!) versions of Living Social, daily sale flyers from every store I have ever visited, LinkedIn updates from groups I visited once – all gone.

It was cleansing, to say the least.

It was hard to cut the cord on some of them. Several of the newsletters contained some excellent content. Some of the reminders are truly valid and useful. I do enjoy a good sale, or half-price rock climbing expedition (not that I’ve ever been on one – but the idea is attractive.)

The problem is that in the midst of the cluttered heap of spam and bacn (better than spam, not as good as personal email), it was impossible to focus on anything at all.

Things feel strangely empty in my mailbox – like the living room now that the holiday decorations are put away. But the space makes it so much easier to focus on actually reading the things that made the cut.

I am vowing to be more judicious about what I sign up for going forward, although it is challenging to control my desire to know everything all the time. But as with most things, it’s better to focus on a few things that matter instead of being distracted by endless options clouding the scene.

How do you manage information overload and decide what gets your attention?

How You Communicate Matters – So for Pete’s Sake, Let the Customer Choose

I had a roommate in graduate school who ate her food one thing at a time, and it couldn’t touch on the plate. All the peas. Then all the rice. Never the two shall meet.

This struck me as a little strange – mixing things up is part of the excitement! Life should not be lived in little separated boxes.

Yet, when it comes to communication, I think I am a partitioned plate kinda person.

If I contact you via email. I want to be emailed back. Don’t call me.

Actually, don’t call me ever, unless my child is dangling by her toe from a chandelier or some other emergency situation is going on. I am not a phone person.

Pet peeve: online forms that require my phone number. If I came online to contact you, that’s where I want our conversation to remain. In little black words on a screen.

If I reach out on Facebook and then the reply comes via text, I am confused. Media crossover = neurons misfiring.

I actively use a variety of communication media, of course.

I text (a lot).

I gChat.

I Skype (a lot).

I email.

I FB.

I talk on the phone – to my Mom.

There is a time and a place for online chat – but please don’t tell me every 10 seconds that someone is waiting to talk to me. If I want to chat, I will. The reminders make me feel like someone is standing with their nose pressed against the storm door waiting to come in.

I don’t like that either.

It is critical to pay attention and honor the ways that others like to interact. Here at myG we are working on finding the right ways to be accessible to you without crowding you or creeping you out.

So what I want to know is – how do YOU like to interact with a company when you are interested in more information?

The Customer Service MUST that Even the Best Companies (cough, Amazon) Sometimes Mess Up

I think I am probably not alone in believing that I am special. What I mean is, we all want to believe we are special. And we want to be treated as if we are.

And it hurts a tiny bit when we aren’t. Right?

So, when I went to Amazon the day before the launch of the Kindle Fire to check on the status of my order (which I was super excited about), and saw this graphic – I thought “Woo! They are shipping them early!”

Then I went and checked my order status, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but…an unshipped Kindle Fire. A still-cancelable because it wasn’t in the shipping process yet Kindle Fire.

What?

I am an Amazon Prime member. I pre-ordered my shiny new gadget on October 11th. I am SPECIAL. Yet, apparently I am not.

Now, I know that they probably had people who ordered before me.  And they are special, too. Or at least THEY think so. But my “Woo!” faded away pretty quickly. And then I was disappointed. Why were they advertising that they were shipping when my order was not yet shipping?

Around 11PM that night I received a message that my Kindle Fire was shipped. If I hadn’t checked the site earlier, I would have been psyched that it shipped the day before the launch date. But I was already feeling oh so un-special – so the “early” notice was a little too late.

All Amazon would have had to do to avert my evening of un-special-feeling-ness would have been to hold off on posting that “Shipping Now” graphic until the next day. One day.

I am sure they wanted to start capturing the crowd that doesn’t like to wait-list. I get that. And they probably sold a ton of low-priced tablet hybrid thingamajigs that night.

I received my package right when I originally thought I would. All commitments were met.

But as shiny and fun as my brand-new toy is, it is still a little tarnished with disappointment.

How do you manage your relationships with customers so that you never make them feel un-special?

Do You Know it When You See it?

This isn’t going to be part of the great education debate.  It could be, but it won’t.

Back when I decided to attend business school, one of the concerns that crossed my mind was whether my limited attention span could withstand two straight years of all business all the time.  I am marketing minded, for sure.  But I like to believe there is more to life than balance sheets and creative briefs.

So, I was hugely excited when we were given a business ethics class pre-reading assignment of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Zen, in business school? How awesome is that?

I spent much of that summer working my way through the book.  If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s immensely philosophical and talks a great deal about perception and reality. What is true and what is up for debate. It was fascinating. By August I was ready for our deep ethical philosophical discussion. Continue reading

Oh Netflix, why?

So first, on July 12th,  there was this.

And then…oh so much anger.  And people leaving – deciding to share their memberships, or go to the Red Box, or use Pay Per View.

(Price increase + increased complexity) * Reduced value +

Semi-condescending communication =

Unhappy Ex-customers

Over the weekend, remaining members were sent a message from Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix.  Many didn’t realize it was from Netflix and deleted it as spam.  Those who opened it were treated to this.  Certainly, this was intended as a display of vulnerable transparency.  A mea culpa.

However, it was received more along the lines of too little, too late.

In the words of one of our myGreenlight staffers:

I was annoyed about the change in prices. I changed my subscription because of it but I didn’t lose sleep over it. I didn’t need an apology. I think it is weird that they announced the company split in an apology email.

I don’t understand why they have to split into two companies. Lots of companies have different departments that do very different things. I feel like this change will be very annoying if I have to go to two different websites to manage my account. I probably feel worse than I did initially.

My favorite insight into the current situation is here, at The Oatmeal.

What do you think? How could Netflix have communicated the changes without alienating customers?