I’m a big fan of Amazon. I trust Amazon, I believe in Amazon, I love Amazon. I know with absolute certainty that when I order from their website I will be pleased with the outcome. And, to be fair, I have given them a fair share of chances to upset me. I order coffee, shampoo, dog food, clothes and even dishes from them. It’s the place I visit first when I’m in need of something.
The fact is, it isn’t necessarily because of the wide range of products they offer. I keep coming back because their customer service is second to none. I buy with confidence because I know they work to make me happy.
Customer service is tricky. There are many intricacies and factors involved and it’s hard to get it right 100 percent of the time. But, it doesn’t mean that shouldn’t be your goal. In many ways, media relations is a lot like customer service. Let’s look at just a few of the ways:
Find a way to get it done
There isn’t much room for excuses when you work in customer service. There is either a problem that needs to be resolved, or an obstacle that needs to be overcome. What it comes down to is the fact that you may need to get creative and figure out how to make the person on the other end of that phone happy.
In media relations the same holds true. Your boss or your client doesn’t want to hear an excuse as to why you haven’t gotten coverage, and the journalist you’re working with doesn’t want to hear why an interview has been put off yet again. Step up and find a way to get the job done or work to develop a different option.
Keep many people happy
In both professions, there are always multiple balls in the air. And, unfortunately, there are many different agendas. The quicker you figure out how to keep all parties happy, the easier your job will be. There may be a necessary compromise for one or another side, but convincing them as to why compromise is in their best interest is a craft and it must be viewed as one.
Kill them with kindness
This one can be tough. If we’re all being honest, we probably haven’t always been sunshine and rainbows with every customer service rep we’ve been in contact with. It’s not something to be proud of, but we are most likely calling with a problem, so we’re already frustrated, annoyed… mad.
The media cycle is immediate and expectations for that immediacy are at an all-time high, and so are tensions. With that said, a deep breath, a kind word and a level head can make all the difference in the world. It may take practice and a concerted effort, but it makes you valuable if you can solve problems and calm people at the same time.
Anyone can pretend to be kind, but it takes a special person to have true empathy for another person who is causing them grief. As we are currently seeing from tensions across the nation, people are desperate to be heard.
When we ignore the signs of what is truly causing pain and inconvenience simply because of the noise, we miss an opportunity. Listen to both sides, work to understand them, then work to move forward. Which brings me to my final point…
Keeping people happy and accomplishing goals for both sides is hard work. Sometimes you get lucky and the partnership is amicable and even encouraging. But sometimes you have to put in the time and effort to appease everyone. Don’t shy away from that work.
If you’re looking for a partner to help your organization build relationships with the media, give Infinity Concepts a call at 724.733.1200 or contact Darrell Law, VP of Client Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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