Archive for June, 2010

The BP Spin Doctors are in RARE form!

British Petroleum is reeling from the focus, anger and costs of their latest oil disaster.  The term ‘oil spill’ doesn’t begin to cover what BP has done in the Gulf of Mexico.   But, BP’s marketing spin doctors have actually purchased the Google search term ‘oil spill’ to help control the damage they are seeing:

  • How bright is this?  BP’s own ad running at the top of the Google ‘oil spill’ page dares to say “www.BP.com/OilSpillNews Info about the Gulf of Mexico Spill Learn More about How BP is Helping.”  Helping?  You caused it!
  • Nearly a half million Facebook users have joined ‘Boycott BP’ pages.  Also, Facebookers are commenting NOT to boycott BP stations, as that will only hurt the owners of the local outlet.
  • A ‘fake’ Twitter page is mocking BP’s PR efforts, and a new BP logo is online with the letters BP replaced with WTF.
  • There is a new plugin for Google Chrome that blots out any mentions of BP with an oil stain!

BP’s PR problems are severe. U.S. President Barack Obama said this morning that he’s talking to experts so he can determine “whose ass to kick.”

~ Mashable

The worst part is this is just the LATEST in BP’d horrific track record.  Jon Stewart has a great, satitical video that shows that BP had 760 willful, egregious safety violations in the US in the past 3 years based on OSHA’s data!  In the video you see that Sunoco, Conoco, Citgo and Exxon had between 1 and 8 violations in the same 3 years.  We don’t need to boycott BP stations.  The US government should BAN BP from any drilling or refining of oil in the US.

BP’s created their own mess to deal with.  But, buying Google ads to link themselves to the term Oil Spill does not seem a good ad placement, does it?  That’s like a handgun maker buying ads under suicides or homicides!

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Customer Service or Dis-service

Most companies have very little real differentiation from their competitors.  For many who sell ‘commodity’ products, they can only vary on price and service.  Tony Hseih has helped build Zappos from a startup selling shoes over the internet to a powerhouse!  A few steps on the path, a bigger summary is here :

  • In 1998, Tony invested $500K with Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn to start the company.  They had almost no sales to start!
  • The decision was made early on to focus on service.  In 2004, Zappos moved to Las Vegas to hire more customer service oriented people.  Two examples: Zappos has a 1 YEAR return policy, and pay shipping BOTH ways!  It often ranks in the Fortune 500 Best Companies to Work For list!
  • By 2005 sales had hit $252M a year, and now has crossed the $1B in annual sales mark.
  • In Nov 2009, Amazon bought Zappos for stock that valued the purchase at $1.2 BILLION!

Amazing what can be done with a better customer service model.  Tony and Zappos focus on the end to end customer experience.  That is what is making Zappos grow, their customer’s loyal and well worth the $1.2B Amazon paid.

Also, Tony is personally very active as the company spokesman.  You can reach him easily by Twitter, his blog and many other means.  At Zappos, there is no place to hide bad customer service because the top person is always available to help.  So, the service just HAS to be great.

Compare that with AT&T:  A customer was sent a cease and desist letter to after emailing suggested improvements TWICE to Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s CEO.  Last we checked, AT&T doesn’t even HAVE a Twitter account.  They don’t want to hear the complaints.  Amazingly when I googled the title of this article, AT&T came up at the top with a PAID ad.  Don’t you love the irony?

I had the good fortune to learn real customer service from a master: Bob Weirauch.  Every single customer was offered Bob’s office and home phone numbers.  You can only imagine the impact that had in many ways, big and small!

Customers love being treated for what they are: The REAL Boss.  Because they pay everyone’s salary, including the owners.  Walking the walk is the hard part.

What do YOU think about that?

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How much oil has BP dumped in the gulf?

Over the weekend, BP and the US government implimented ‘Top Kill’ to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  But, it did not hold.  Have you wondered just how much oil really has been spilled?  Same here!  Apparently the brightest minds of our scientists are struggling to shut it off, find clean up solutions and even just estimate the amount spilled.

Initially, BP estimated 1,000 barrels (42,000 gallons) per day were spilling.  The US Government estimated 5,000 barrels a day (210,000 gallons).  The latest estimates posted by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Boston.com are in the 500,000 to 3,500,000 MILLION gallons per day.  Mulitply that by the 42 days SO FAR and you get an idea of the totals.

Enough oil to surpass the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, which dumped 10.8 million gallons off the coast of Alaska in the worst spill in US history,three times over.

~ Boston.com

Based NRDC and Boston.com estimates, the BP spill is 3.6 to 6.4 TIMES larger than the Exxon Valdez already!

And, its increasing by 10% of the Valdez’s spill EACH DAY.  You can see the real damage in more photos like this one of a young heron dying on an oil covered estuary:

For those into the math, it is shown below, along with the links to the source articles are above.

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