As the stories continue to roll in from Thursday all reports indicate year one was a success! A big thanks to everyone involved for taking a chance and letting your customers in. Of particular interest for me is the range of ways people have executed this concept. Much of the hesitation from potential participants came from people who were just not sure what to make of the idea — uncertain how it could work for their group. So it’s awesome to see how some parties got creative given their circumstances.
Examples of the different approaches: the Museum of Life + Science took members behind the scenes of exhibits, Steam Whistle Brewery held an “employee for a day” contest, and Vicki at ThreeWheels gave us a virtual tour of her home office (we heard a lot of “I’d love to participate, but I work from home”). As I mentioned leading up to the day, ‘there was no specific right way to Take Your Customer To Work – what was important was giving customers a behind the scenes glimpse of what you do’. I think it’s safe to say all our participants met this objective, and had some fun along the way!
Reports are in that the inaugural TYCTWD in Shiner was a hit! Turning their regular brewery tours up a notch for the day, it sounds like both the group of 30 or so fans and the brewery employees thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They’ve captured some of it on film and also have pictures which will be cut together and shared soon. In the meantime, here’s a preview shot of Brewmaster Jimmy Mauric (in white) with fans:
The brewery also ended up tweeting the tour so that @ShinerBeers 1,900 followers could play along – one person even coining the term TWITTOUR! A big congrats to all involved, and special thanks to Libby for bringing the idea to life. More stories to share soon!
Some great shots from the Museum of Life + Science :
Exhibit Tech, Peter, shows the Kandzias a (top secret) prototype of an idea he has for a new exhibit opening this summer.
Exhibit Tech, KJ, took longtime members of the Museum, the Kandzias behind the scenes of our exhibits -- how they get created, repaired and updated.
Gastown Companies Team up for Transparency
James Sherrett at AdHack has kindly been spreading the word about Take Your Customer To Work Day around Vancouver trying to get some companies together to partake. He’s created a map with the idea that customers of each company can see the other participants and potentially check out those responsible businesses too. He says most of the participating companies will likely be around Gastown (where AdHack is based) so the map will also provide a nice little walking tour. What an awesome concept! Check back closer to next Thursday for an updated company list.
Any other communities willing to give this shot?
UPDATE: More participants confirmed!
I’m excited to share that Shiner Beers, of Shiner Texas, will be participating next week. They plan to ‘take an already existing brewery tour and turn it up a notch – by inviting super fans, introducing the new summer beer & hosting a discussion/Q&A with the brewmaster.’ Sounds like it’ll be a great time for all involved. Big thanks to Libby and Jason for hooking it up.
So we’re under three weeks away from the big day, and just wanted to give a couple brief updates:
- The Museum of Life and Science is on board, which really excites me. Museums have the potential to offer such a compelling behind the scenes glimpse, so hopefully we can get some photo/ video coverage of the day. Many thanks to Beck Tench, their Director of Web Experience, for her interest in the project. The NCLMS has a great reputation for their hands-on experience, and their site nicely aligns. Next time your near Durham, NC, be sure to pay a visit. I know I will.
- Jackie Huba of Church of the Customer and the Society for Word of Mouth (SWOM) has been nice enough to feature a post about TYCTWD on SWOM. If you don’t know it, SWOM is a social network that ‘helps people build word of mouth into the DNA of their organizations using social media.’ I think they’re a natural partner, as both our concepts attempt to link on-line values with off-line interaction for better customer engagement. And just on a personal note, it’s awesome to get some support from a long-time customer champion I have much respect for.
As for other participants, I’m waiting on details from a few, and still working to confirm some other promising leads. As always, if you know of a company that might want to partake – please let us know. Otherwise, stay tuned – the updates are going to start coming a little more quickly now as we near May 28th.
UPDATE: If you will be in Las Vegas on May 28th and would like to visit Zappos please send me an email at hazell[dot]sean[at]gmail[dot]com
When I first considered trying to bring this idea to life, I began thinking of potential partners that would help to legitimize it. At the very top of that list was Zappos.com – probably the most transparent company in the world (with sales of over $ 1B).
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Zappos story. But if not, these two posts from CEO Tony Hsieh offer a good run-down of their commitment to transparency:
1) Your Culture is Your Brand
One of the great advantages of focusing on culture is when reporters come and visit our offices. Unlike most companies, we don’t give reporters a small list of people they’re allowed to talk to. Instead, we encourage them to wander around and talk to whoever they want. It’s our way of being as transparent as possible, which is part of our culture.
2) An Open Email Explaining Layoffs
I know that many tears were shed today, both by laid-off and non-laid-off employees alike. Given our family culture, our layoffs are much tougher emotionally than they would be at many other companies.
I’ve been asked by some employees whether it’s okay to twitter about what’s going on. Our Twitter policy remains the same as it’s always been: just be real, and use your best judgement.
Not surprisingly, Tony’s accessibility and openness made it very easy to connect with the company and share my idea.
As for how Zappos will implement Take Your Customer To Work Day, they already offer tours – so the concept itself is hardly a stretch. The finer details are still being worked out, but on May 28th it looks like they will augment public tours with an opportunity to sit down and spend some time with their famous Customer Loyalty Team (CSRs) as well.
All in all a very exciting initial partner here. I hope they inspire you to open up and get involved too!
Why a day of person-to-person transparency?
“The challenge of companies and brands building trust with their customers has never been greater now that the economy has tanked and budgets for 2009 are in flux.” – Future Lab
“Transparency is something that we, not only as consumers, but also as human beings, value in every facet of our lives. Whether it be financial transactions, politics, traditional media or online media” – Pronet
“Trust and transparency are two necessary ingredients for American consumers to return to their role of powering the economy” – Dallas Biz Journal
When I first wrote about this idea I was really encouraged by all the positive feedback. Below’s a small sample of the response – you can find a bunch more in the comment section of the original post.
I absolutely love the idea. So many companies have this insular approach to customers, that they “wouldn’t understand” or that the real grit of the daily business would just scare them away. We all work somewhere, & we all consume. This would help make the business-to-consumer relationship a lot more human-to-human. – Geoff
A clever idea about interacting with customers, particularly for b2b sellers. – Seth Godin (who delivered most of the traffic to the post).
This is fantastic. So much of what is done in the world seems to be behind the scenes, not really understood who is doing it. This would help build better teams – I figure my accountant, pizza shop, post office, etc. are all on my team. Currently they are invisible, but this would make the work they do visible. Nice. – Jacqueline