Communicating with Customers

Earlier this week, I was in Austin, Texas, for SXSW Interactive. It was a wonderful conference, and I learned a lot. I also reconnected with a lot of people — and made some new friends and business connections.

So last night, I went through all of the business cards I'd accumulated over the last few days in order to email people a follow up to our conversations and discussions while in Austin.

One of those cards was for the Iron Works Barbecue, where I ate lunch one day. Whenever I travel, I pick up business cards for the restaurants I try in order to keep track of where I ate. Iron Works's card didn't just include a URL for their Web site, it included an email address for a man named Roland.

So I emailed Roland to tell him I enjoyed my meal there — and to thank them for carrying Big Red, a tasty regional soft drink that's basically red cream soda.

You know what? Roland emailed me back. His email was short and to the point: He hopes I'll come back, and they'll be sure to keep a lot of Big Red on hand.

He didn't have to do that, but I'm glad he did. And I think even more highly of the Iron Works. Right on, Roland.

P.S. If you'd like to see some reports from SXSW, check out this roundup of my coverage.

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  • Bill Ricardi

    It's funny, the reward for personal attention seems to be regional.

    For example, when I was doing business in New England, and I made a personal reply to someone who made a comment, it was generally received in a very positive light.

    In the Silicon Valley though, the trend is much the opposite. People will make comments, you'll take the time to pick some out and personally reply to them, and as often as not you'll get YELLED at. "Why are you spamming / calling me, take me off your list!!" List, what list?! Some people in this area are so jaded, they assume your personal reply is some sort of clever bot.

    It's a sad statement when, in certain regions, the only canned reply you actually have says: 'I'm sorry, I'm not a bot, and you aren't on any list. I was personally replying to your comment. Please don't hurt me.' Even though I've stepped back to a leadership role, I still like doing personal replies to E-mail. But it gets harder and harder every time it backfires.

  • Ktg AustinLocal

    That the Southern Hospitality. Although SxSW crowds our streets, fills our clubs and packs our restaurants...we couldn't be happier to host one of the coolest conferences in the US. Between the people you meet and the food you eat, there isnt a bad review about Austin that can compare to the goodness here. Sx Interactive is becoming such a hot topic and gaining popularity each year bringing the latest innovations in digital media and recognizing the names behind the urls and email addresses of the world.
    Thanks so much for enjoying your time here. Do make a point to come back!