Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Your Document Is Calling

EuroTecloBlog usually focuses on the big issues facing the telecom industry. If you know that dark fibre stands for, then you probably read James. He gives a great example of where telecommunications services are added to document management as a collaborative capability. Sure you could send a call or sms to tell people that a document has just been released, but what then? why not invite them to book a time to speak with the analyst in question, or join a conference call that will discuss the issues broached in the report? Think Social, and Think Customer Context. If somebody invited me to a Voice 2.0 Conference Call and all I had to do is click an icon on a document, I know there are times when I'd do it.

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SMS Coupons: Yes, A Need....

JupiterResearch has found that consumer adoption of mobile coupons is minimal, but interest is high enough to justify adding them to the advertising mix. Among several findings detailed in a new report, "Mobile Coupons: Are Consumers Ready to Clip Coupons on Cell Phones?," JupiterResearch has also found that of advertisers utilizing mobile marketing, 37 percent are doing so to increase short-term product sales. "Twenty-four percent of cell phone owners are interested in receiving special offers and coupons on their cell phones, yet barely one percent of cell phone owners have used text messaging for the purposes of obtaining a coupon or discount," said Julie Ask, Research Director at JupiterResearch. "Cell phones offer advertisers the opportunity to serve highly targeted, just-in-time coupons to their customers, but opt-in requirements require a mindset that more closely resembles e-mail marketing than traditional coupons." Utilizing cell phones as a platform to reach consumers with mobile coupons offer many benefits to advertisers including notification of time-of-day and day-of-week redemption, instant delivery, geo-targeting, time-of-day targeting, forward-to-a-friend features, higher redemption rates due to stringent opt-in requirements, and a buzz factor given the newness of the medium.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Myth Busting Trends

Francois over at Emergence Marketing brings our attention to a new report referenced in the Harvard Business Review. Wow. Take a look. Its worth it. An example: influencers, those highly attractive early adopters, may play no significant role in global cascades. Think more of those "easy to influence middle of the roaders". It just illustrates how important it is to truly examine the assumptions underpinning your business model.

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Health Alerts

Paul Kedrosky over at Infectious Greed, is a fairly prestigious wall street commentator. In a post today he notes that his kid are always coming home from school having caught some kind of infection, and when he goes to the doctor he is told "oh, that's going round at the moment". So why isn't there some kind of web 2.0 thing to let him know that there is something going around? It should only be a matter of time that all "old school web presences" have a "2 Mobile" strategy that combines social software and social networking elements. For instance, would I want an official alert from my school or would I want the parents of kids that actually play with my kid to send the alert? and who creates the network etc. In China, a text went round which was allegedly leaked from the department of health. Pork sales fell by two thirds in one day. Clearly someone will have to stand into the breach here and release a "health notification service" for schools, that is potentially more twitter-like, but with governance of some kind.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Don't Interrupt Me! I'm Blogging!

As if to demonstrate the "power of interruptions"....uber cool. hat tip to Alec Saunders.

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Social-Texting/ PC - Mobile

From eMarketer: "It may be far from a mainstream activity as yet, but according to Telephia, 4% of UK mobile users have already uploaded content created on their mobile phones to social networking sites, video- and picture-sharing sites, blogs and personal Web pages". How often have you been in a store, or in your car, and wanted to take a picture on your mobile phone and upload it to your "things that stupid people do" zone, the one you share with your colleagues and friends. In Ireland, someone took a picture of the guy that had come to install the broadband, but who instead, decided to take a little kip on the couch. De facto we are in a surveillance society, and we, the crowd, are Big Brother. Services such as Twitter, and Swarm-it.com are truly set to benefit from this mobile-pc-mobile communications. But with in-video tagging capabilities now coming on line from multiple vendors surely its only a matter of time before such interaction sets find their business application?

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Managing Interruptions

The blog Creating Passionate Users have a lovely analysis on why some people seem to be able to manage interruptions efficiently, and others don't. Every task has a set up time to kinda, get started. If the interruptions are coming in so thick and fast that you can't even get your set up organised, then you don't have a hope of getting into the swing of things. Products and services developed to manage these interruptions more effectively could thus be very much more useful if they take cognisance of this "set up routine".

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Online Fraud Trends

According to the "8th Annual Online Fraud Report," released by CyberSource, losses from online fraud in the US and Canada in 2006 totaled $3 billion, a 7% increase over 2005. But the percentage of revenues lost to fraud improved slightly — dropping to 1.4% in 2006, down from 1.6% the year before. This is the third consecutive year to show a decline in the percentage rate of revenue loss, but because e-commerce sales continue to grow at more than 20% a year, the overall dollar-loss amount showed a rise. With only 1% of accepted orders ultimately turning out to be fraudulent, merchants are erring on the side of caution by rejecting roughly 4% of their incoming orders due to suspicion of fraud. That means about 3% of total e-commerce revenues may be lost each year as valid orders are turned down. For US and Canadian online merchants, overseas orders present the most risk. While 61% of online merchants accept orders from outside the US and Canada, and those orders represent 17% of their total order volume, respondents reported that in 2006 2.7% of those orders were fraudulent, a rate 2.5 times higher than the rate associated with US and Canadian orders. Not surprisingly, merchants report that they reject 12.7% of international orders, a rate three times higher than orders originating in the US or Canada. Sounds like a broken process to me:

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

People Talk: Who Would Have Guessed? :)

Talk Outweighs Advertising JANUARY 24, 2007 Being full of hot air may not be such a bad thing. First, a study released by BIGresearch, "Simultaneous Media Usage," confirmed what a number of earlier studies have found. More and more Americans are consuming media in bulk, not concentrating on any one medium at a time. The poll of 15,000 consumers discovered that 68% of them use other media while watching TV, 69% while reading newspapers and 71% while online. At 57%, radio has the least amount of simultaneous media usage, probably due to the fact that many people listen to the radio while driving. But when it comes to the question of which medium influences consumers most, the big advertising media all took a back seat to humble word-of-mouth (WOM), which may be far less manageable than conventional ad-supported media, but which also seems to be more effective. "New digital options make it easier to give and receive options on products and services and it's no longer confined to one-to-one conversations," said Joe Pilotta of BIGresearch. "Online search, blogging, email, texting, video, streaming and social networks such as MySpace and YouTube have expanded the word-of-mouth universe and made traditional advertising less relevant for many." WOM outperformed other media in two major product categories: electronics and automobiles. BIGresearch reports that 94% of consumers regularly or occasionally give advice about products and services they purchased and 91% regularly or occasionally seek advice about products and services before making a purchase. For information on WOM, read eMarketer's E-Mail and Word-of-Mouth: Connecting with Your Best Customers report.

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Wow Statistic on Trust

Small factoid via Cerado-Haystack and www.thesocialcustomer.com "The Edleman Trust Barometer trust in 'a person like me' has risen from 20% in 2003, to about 68% today". So where do you think your customers are going to go for information about how well your products and services perform? And how well do you think your CRM Package & Strategy is at adapting to this fact?

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Meebo: Instant Messaging Customer Service

I have been following meebo pretty much since its inception. At times its been like watching a group of grad students complete their thesis project. They allowed us all to "share the pain" when they found it hard to get the servers working properly, showed us what other customers wanted in the product (i.e. emotocons, sounds etc.) The result is that meebo punches well above its weight in terms of customer advocacy. There are other "IM Aggregators" out there but do you ever hear of them (i.e. do they get your attention?). Here is one example of advocacy. The person in question works in real estate and has put a meebo widget on their website so that if someone has a question about the property being displayed, they can "click through" to chat with Mike Simonsen. Interestingly Mike reports that he doesn't always work from the office so a Skype download doesn't suit him. But with only so much virtual real estate available, I've taken down the meebo widget and put up a renewed version of "MyBlogLog". This enables you to see who was here recently, and "implies" that you might be interested in the things that they are interested in. It also operates as a tacit "reputation system" because the "quality of these visitors" implies that there is something worth while reading here!. If meebo could leverage their 1m plus subs so that they could display similar reputation and social networking effects, I believe that they could extend their growth even further. Given what I've seen of http://me.dium.com this area would be slam dunk for them. For customer service people in general, how to encourage, and handle online chat, and online interactions, in the most appropriate manner, is something that will be engaging your attention very much in the coming 18 months.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Developing Niche Telecom Services:

There is a lot of money to be made in connecting people. The contexts in which people seek to be connected is an area that we will see spawning many new services that we couldn't even think of right now. But one Irish based company has taken a relatively simple idea and run with it. It seeks to ask the question "why do I have to pay roaming charges?". Its a simple and easy to understand proposition. Roam4Free is the brainchild of Pat Phelan. If you make or receive a lot of international calls why not drop over to his site and see if you can save money.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Right Person Contact and Predictive Dialling

Donna Fluss, Principle at DMG Consulting, the specialists in call centre efficiency, has stated that the new generation of outbound dialling services are going to completely change the way people think about customer contact. Blind Dialling is Dead! You need to concentrate on the relationship and Right Person Contacts. The restrictions of Do Not Call (DNC) legislation means that companies have to really sit back and think about when customers need, and want, to be called. Obviously DNC's (and the need for pretty good number suppression capability) will reduce the amount of people that you can call, but industry insiders are saying that "Although the size of the lists that companies have to call has decreased between 30 and 50 percent, the quality of the remaining prospects is better since the people who wouldn't buy anyway are no longer on the list." Telemarketing is stronger, but leaner.(Jim Mitchell, Aspect Software). Fluss goes onto to say that "Building and nurturing relationships with existing customers is a more rewarding use of a company's resources (and its predictive dialler) than the aggressive, shotgun-style outbound campaigns for new customers we were all so frustrated with a few years ago"

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Monday, January 15, 2007

So Much To Do!

Its been just a hectic few days out there, and there is much to report. Pat Phelan launched maybe Ireland's first true global Telco 2.0 service that enables you to make free calls. It's based on a little known US law that gives one US state money from a central fund when calls are made from that states telecoms network. Other companies like TalkPlus and FreeConferencing also use the "loophole" to finance their offerings. AllFreeCalls has certainly created a storm of interest in the blosphere with a slew of commentators reviewing it.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mobile Marketing Trends

Interesting report from eMarketer on mobile promotions and advertising. A survey of 50 leading brands in Europe by Vanson Bourne found that the top three categories for tactical responses that brands look to drive through mobile marketing included requests for more information, making a purchase or booking, and discovering new attributes about a brand. "Brands, agencies and carriers will need to cooperate in deeper, richer and more complicated and interrelated ways or risk losing out on the world's most prevalent interactive platform," says Mr. du Pre Gauntt. All players in the mobile space must be prepared for change — and they must get over the perception that mobile is a "premium" communications or media channel. This must be a massive opportunity for companies that develop a genuine understanding of when, and in what contexts, customers want to be communicated with, and by whom.

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Welcome To The Party: Me.Dium.

Me.dium is an innovative new way to see who is on a particular web page, story of interest etc. It is interesting because it is a form of Presence technology, that potentially enables customers to find commonalities, areas of mutual interest etc. etc. I can see this being interesting where customers might be hovering over an FAQ section and instead dropping an email to customer service, they ask another person "visiting the FAQ" do they know the answer! If they "got stuck" a Call Centre / Customer Service / Advocate might step in and take a lead by asking can they be of assistance. You can be sure that with Brad Feld behind this one, it will make an impact.

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NextAlarm: Rise of The Machines!

Another year, another advance in the world of customer and interactions. Alex Saunders reports that NextAlarm have announced that they have the next generation home alarm system. We said before that we believe that device-activated alerting will be important, well NextAlarm send you a notice (phone) as to the status of your alarm, and whether or not your alarm is in working order. So far, so much as you would expect. The "killer sales idea" for NextAlarm is that as people move from Plain Old Telephone Service (or POTS) to pure VoIP services such as Vonage, they lose a lot of the home based services they take for granted (i.e. your alarm system that operates on POTS!). But what really gets me, is that their CEO seems to get that "its not about the alarm stupid, but the exception reporting around the true status of the device".... "Loosely speaking, Broadband Alarm Monitoring ties in with “Web 2.0″ alarm monitoring. What the hell does that mean? It means we’re aggressive in pursuing standards like RSS, REST-based web services, and other means of allowing customers to stitch together the fabric of their alarm service into other applications, portals, etc. For example, we have over 1,000 customers using My Yahoo (which in turn uses RSS) to track their alarm history, never needing to log in to the NextAlarm portal at all (at least not for daily use)". For me, this is a very quite but significant change in the ecosystem. What next, your car status?

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