I am a font of trivial information.  At least that’s what a good friend of ours named me on New Year’s Eve, as my wife and I sat with a group of friends playing Trivial Pursuit while awaiting the arrival of 2011.  (After all, nobody else knew which museum in the U.S. boasts a set of wing-like structures over the front entrance made to resemble a bird. Answer: Milwaukee Art Museum; it sits on the lakefront).  So in the spirit of spotting and passing along more unique information, I’ll mention this.

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs released a stat saying that “A consumer who is dissatisfied will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. About 13% of customers who are dissatisfied will tell more than 20 people.”   With the explosion of social media we’ve seen this year, that should put any PR pro, or really any business owner, on high alert.  Customers are able to spread their complaints at a frightening speed, especially online.  I think we’ve all seen proof of this on our social networks by now. I’ve seen my fair share of complaints on Facebook.

Perhaps that’s why I’m noticing more and more how restaurant managers, online retailers and retail sales associates seem to be making more of a point in asking, “Everything okay?” or the even tougher question, “How are we doing?”

It is nice to see that customers’ online behavior is making a positive impact on brands’ offline behavior.

“How are we doing” is a question our CEO, David Chapman, encourages us to ask our clients.  It’s a humbling question and not an easy question to ask, because even if there’s no reason for a client to be unhappy, you’re still preparing yourself for the possibility of a bad answer.  It’s an important question to ask because from the answer, even a positive answer, you can learn valuable insight about the client and how you can meet their needs better.  You can also learn something about yourself from how you handle constructive criticism.

You can probably guess by now one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011.  I’m going to ask that question more often, not just to clients, but to friends as well.  After all, I could probably be a better friend.  And, of course,  I’ll be reading more trivial information too so I can live up to my new nickname.

So, folks, how are we doing? What do you like about our blog? What do we need to work on?