The year was 1969. It was Thanksgiving.
I was a little girl, preoccupied with showing off my pilgrim dress to the company that had arrived.
Suddenly, I felt a great disturbance in the universe. Mom, grandma and all of the aunts were gone. Disappeared! Eventually I found them. They were all in the kitchen whispering and looking around nervously. "Is something wrong?" I asked. Six pairs of eyes nervously rotated my way.
Although Apollo 13 was still months away, I remember thinking something like, "Houston, we have a problem."
The problem was the turkey. It wasn't performing up to snuff. It was, in fact, still frozen. The house was full of hungry people and the turkey wasn't going to make it's grand performance on time.
"What about the 1-800 phone number?" I asked. "Could we just call Butterball and ask them what to do?" Now the Force was with us. There was a solution! We'll call Butterball! However, no one knew the phone number. Calling information didn't help.
By now Dad, granddad and the uncles were involved. They were hungry and wanted to know what was going on. We informed them that we wanted to call Butterball to speed the whole thing up, but we couldn't find the phone number. A solution was found. The entire garbage can was heaved up and turned upside down. There was the turkey wrapper, buried under other traditional dinner items. "Let me call!" I said.
We all gathered in the kitchen where the phone was. Eagerly I dialed the number. It was busy. Again I called. Busy again. Now the stress was starting to build. Dial, busy signal. Dial, busy signal. How would we ever finish our turkey? One last dial and success! A lovely lady provided tips on how we could get our turkey to cook faster. We took her advice and talked about how innovative Butterball was. In fact, we talked about this for many years.
This year we are gathering at a new place. When my cousin offered to do Thanksgiving, I was elated. It would be great to have a change of venue, let the younger generation get more involved. But then I thought about the turkey. What if something goes wrong?
Unlike my childhood, there are now many ways to address a challenging turkey. I checked while at the grocery store the other day. Butterball still has a phone number you can call, but they also have a website, Facebook, email and other ways of reaching them. There are also hundreds of online videos to help cook your turkey.
Technology has made it possible to seek and receive information within seconds. Customers and clients expect multiple ways to reach businesses. They want to be informed and entertained. How does your business match up? Do you have information that could better be communicated through multiple channels? Most businesses have something that could be provided to customers that would enhance their buying experience. Think about how you might approach this to provide a fresh and fun perspective of your business. Videos, live chats, pod casts, social media and traditional web sites provide some of the means to more directly connect with those important to your business.
This Thanksgiving I don't anticipate contacting Butterball. However, if I need to, I'll know where to find them. I'm thinking about Thanksgivings past however. There was a lot of entertainment watching a dozen or so adults trying to figure out how to make one phone call about a turkey.
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.