Sunday, April 29, 2007

Twittering Politics

On the day that Ireland announces a General Election, Stowe Boyd in the US receives an invitation from presidential candidate Obama. Yes, Stowe Boyd will now be receiving Twitter updates from the presidential candidate. It makes sense. If Bertie was on Television and his PR people felt that maybe some of the points didn't come across well enough, he could Twitter his "friends" or "campaigners" with some statistics, or a link to the updated information on the website. With a response capability, candidates could take live polls through a broadcast, or immediately afterwords. If you were to "walk up to the podium" and know that 80% of the "sms or voice responders" in your panel or network thought that the other candidate made some good points about the state of our Transportation infrastructure, this would surely give you some tips on how to handle your presentation. I think the US very clearly sees the role that internet and related techologies are playing in opinion formation and are learning the lessons very very fast.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shift Happens:

Just saw this over at Don Thornson's Marketing 2.0 blog. What was interesting to me (right now) about this video clip is that the inherent world view is national. What about "all these smart people are now educated and available for work?", what about "the number of human resources we can put against problem solving is rising exponentially", how about "these are the top 10 intractable scientific issues that could be predictably solved with more resources?". Such thinking insists that you "invert the pyramid" and look to markets that you may not have thought about serving before. Messaging in India has risen with the exponential rise of mobile phone sales; India's outsourcing industry is now reaching a kind of tipping point where it will be at the same level in the value chain as any other IT service provider globally. I think that businesses that meld social change with technology will make dramatic impacts.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Great Service is Semi-Permiable

Agit Jaoker at Open Gardens is always interesting to read when it comes to the future of mobile communications. He has a great article on a conversation he had with a Vodafone executive. While their service were great, and he had no problem with them, Agit realised that the service was so great in fact that Vodafone had no real reasons to contact him. Yes, when travelling he received an announcement welcoming him to the new geography, but that's about it. This is one of the real challenges facing every virtual service:
If they (and by that – I mean any Operator) can work this out i.e. the ability to work with the best customers, interact with bloggers, be human, be open to feedback etc etc .. they have a good chance of succeeding in the next wave of Mobile data apps
I've always thought about this from a networked organisation perspective. It was called "having a semi-permeable membrane", i.e. people/ water could get in or out, but the boundary still had integrity. In a way, this is a useful way to think about click to call functionality and presence technology. Of course, being available on your desktop and IM is one thing, but to be really useful it has to extend to the mobile phone, and this is why Agit argues that "mobile 2.0" must be considered in tandom with and in the context of, Web 2.0.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

E-Mail Bankruptcy?:

It's happening. People are declaring themselves "e-mail bankrupt". They are so behind in answering emails that they issue a statement (yes, often an email!) just telling people that if they sent an email in the last month, call me, because I haven't read it. The latest, Jeff Nolan. You know Jeff, you could just mash your contacts into VoiceSage and send a voice message to everyone. At least you'll know that they received it, and listened to it.:) On a serious note though, communications 2.0 has to do something about this. E-mail is broken. Raise your voice.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Customer Contact Has To Be Exceptional

Aspect Software and Lee Shapiro & Associates released an interesting vendor report today. It would seem that customer experience of call centers is still falling short. To put a number on that, about 19% of all customer interactions with the call center. For me that headline here is that companies need to deliver "exceptionally good experiences", only truly exceptional experiences deliver the wow that drives increased loyalty to the company. Even the competently delivered service now results in 1 in 6 customers looking elsewhere. It reminds me of the McKinsey report a few years ago that showed that if a customer called a customer service department for any reason at all, they showed similar patterns of switching behaviors. Some of the Reports Findings:
Customers that have an exceptional experience are more likely to do business with that company; 75% Customers that have a bad experience are less likely to do business with the company, with 60% of these saying they would do much less business with the company. In terms of modality, 73% of all interactions with the call center are still over the telephone, 24% via email, and 3% via chat.
Now for some of the stunners:
only 57% of the exceptional experiences begin with an automated system. Consumers who reach an automated system, rather than a live person, say they will do less business with the company. Sixty-six percent of consumers who had an exceptional experience are more likely to do more business with that company in the future. One in six consumers who had a typical customer experience is likely to switch companies
Many of these concerns play straight into the VoiceSage Click To Call product set. One of the neat things it does is that when a customer clicks, the system only connects you to the relevant operator when they and you are available. Result, zero waiting time, right person contact, live person interaction. Seems to me to be a combination to deliver exceptional performance, as long as the Customer Service person has the information, authority, and empathy required to close the call off on first contact.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Great Ideas for Using Twitter for Marketing Rohit Bhargava of Ogivly Interactive points out a few innovative ways of using Twitter. 1. Capture the live pulse of an event 2. Deepen a static experience through live commentary - Hey, how about tying this one into an episode of 24! Now that would be compelling 3. Facilitate collaborative watching - When it comes to watching video content online or on television, Twitter can allow you to sharing feedback and ideas 4. Add a new dimension to promotions - Scavenger hunts, user generated content campaigns, and other reality based marketing promotions are growing popularity as ways to encourage interaction from customers. I think these are pretty neat ideas and in a few months you will wonder why you didn't just do it.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Monday, April 23, 2007

Politics and Social Networks

Paul Greenberg is a passionate guy, and you have to love that. When he looks at Politics, Marketing, and Strategy you should pay some attention. When he shows you some figures such as the fact that Obama is using Social Networks much more effectively than his rivals, its time to sit up. Obama has circa 100,000 doners, Clinton has 50,000 paying twice as much. Importantly, Obama is providing his base with the tools they need to be active advocates. Paul then goes on to comment about Romney (pity that's not Rooney). He is a member of the The Church of the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons. They have a very tight community, and they are active. And where do they get their campaign kit?'s "CampaignForce". A commentator on Paul's site says that Obama has 900k plus friends on mySpace. The next nearest candidate has 20k. Perhaps this will be an example of "network based competition" as outlined by John Hagel III Creation Nets.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CrowdSourcing Technical Capability ?

Tim O'Reilly makes an interesting point when he notes that TellMe took a huge leap in voice recognition capability when it launched into directory services. Nothing changed from a technical point of view but they had a larger data set to work from. And there is that term again, DATA. Ditto now with Google Translation services. So perhaps "Crowdsourcing" and "datasourcing" are now coalescing.... Another way of looking at this is "what is your distribution channel to customer data?". If you make directory enquiries through TellMe or Google, you will also probably hand on your mobile phone number (hey, so we can text you back the information!), which of course is linked to your account information (on google, or MS), and when the Telco's go all Adserving friendly (as per Telco 2.0) then your GPS data gets handed over. So the questions I have for every service provider I can think of is "do you know what data underpins your competitive advantage and what is your data acquisition strategy" For the simple start up company perhaps the question is "what makes your data sets interesting to GYM?(Google, Yahoo, Microsoft); what is your data acquisition strategy, and what is the time value of this data acquisition path?"

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Monday, April 16, 2007

Who Is Sick In Your Area, Family, Work?

I was saying a while ago, that IrishHealth should think about building out its community of users capability. Via VentureBeat I read that a site called "who is sick" lets you post who is sick, and to list symptoms. Could this become an for over the counter medications? Interesting to see that concerns of spoofing are being looked at by logging the IP addresses. Why this area is interesting to customer service and to company strategy, is future success will depend on your ability to become a honey-pot for customer data today. If you could track symptoms by area, then you could send warning messages to registered users, and even advice on where to get the most highly customer-rated flu remedy, from the nearest available pharmacy that stocks that product. If I were Proctor and Gamble I'd get right behind this king of thinking. Thinking about it some more, wouldn't I want to be pro-actively notified if "symptoms such as X, Y, or Z" were showing up at my postal code? or if "x number of people registered with my office, or my kids school" caught the flu? This isn't "out there semantic web" stuff, most of this could be delivered with a mash up of Google Maps, Me.dium, Rapleaf, and VoiceSage.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Short Note On Trust

You don't negotiate with someone that want to kill themselves, you listen. That's the trade off, you listen to them, and then they have to listen to you
. Businesses often look to other arena's of expertise to learn how to do things better. Dealing with the very distressed on a suicide line is one of those areas where you just have to know what you are doing. So when your customer service staff are "negotiating" with a late payer, or with someone with a real gripe, perhaps an interesting statistic might be what percentage of the first 10 minutes your customer service person was speaking in relation to how long the customer was speaking. What is the a correct ratio for this in your business process? Paraphrased From Trusted Advisor Associates.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

SpotScout : Parking As Customer Interaction

Via Alarm:Clock we find a number of interesting new ventures. This is a great example of a zero-infrastructure solution with a clear value proposition. Boston's SpotScout has launched an online marketplace where drivers use their mobile phones to reserve private spaces in garages and driveways, as well as to swap public parking spots in real time, with vacant spaces going to the highest bidder. The service is young but already has some smarts built-in. For example, bidders can avoid doing business with laggards through a feature that will allow users to rate their experiences with other users. Those with bad reputations are shunned. SpotScout is free to join and it is also free to browse the network for spaces. When you users make a reservation or choose a spot it take a percentage of the transaction which are made via Paypal. There are other solution vendors out there like in the UK. If you can imagine that the technology underlying was made available to someone like ParkAtMyHouse you would also immediately see how long it was going to take you to reach that parking spot, that will become available in 20 minutes. THEN, when it actually works as a marketplace, the guys in, and and even will be able to post up on their sites the relevant areas for parking around a particular event, and people going to the event will sign up for the parking service, book in advance, and manage in real-time. And these are all "Customer Interactions" deployed through "Business Mesh Applications" to create New Service Propositions. The difference is zero-infrastructure build; edge not centrally controlled; network effects.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

GPS and Goofy Phones:

GigaOm reports that Disney Mobile, a MVNO, which has been in business for a year, says nearly 30% of its subscribers use GPS location-tracking services once every other day, and about 70% come from the handset. 56 percent of Disney Mobile subscribers are adults. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before parents get SMS updates when their kids leave a certain area, when they are "near" kids they are banned from meeting, or places they are banned from going? It could all turn very strange. For the enterprise though, the exact same processes could be used for tracking delivery staff and ensuring that they stay within their zones? Geo location developments like GeoRSS when meshed in with Mapping Applications could even give you a Live feed of what business colleagues are in your area right now and presence applications like iotum talk-now could tell you whether they are interruptible for coffee!

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Contacting Older Customers

TomBomb reports that Unlike their Bubble Generation counterparts, Baby Boomers tend to get online insight from offline sources: 79% would respond to promotional e-mails about products and services 92% have read about a Web site in a print article (magazine, newspaper) and then visited online 89% have seen a print ad and later visited the online site 83% have seen a Web site advertised on television and later visited it online 65% will visit a Web site address after hearing it on a radio commercial Tom makes the point that there is no real additional technical or cultural barriers to their use of 2.0 applications, so what explains the surprising latency?. For me, the point, is that to reach the older consumer you still have to go through trusted media, i.e. old fashioned newspapers, magazines etc. Yet, most of these comments relate to the first stage of the process, i.e. awareness and search. I think it would be realy useful to know how many older people read blogs? have ever downloaded a widget? etc. At VoiceSage we know from experience that when contacting an older demographic, their is nothing to beat a phone call.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Official Google Blog: Flying high with Google SMS

Official Google Blog: Flying high with Google SMS

Get RealTime SMS Alerts From Google?

Google are going to do more and more of this kind of linking to the mobile phone, because they know that customers will use it. No doubt they will move to other alert types. For the enterprise, it will actually turn into a challenge. Think about it. If every one starts to get their SMS alert from Google, then you lose your opportunity to hook the customer back into a customer service conversation in order to manage their expectations. SMS alerts via Twitter API will also enable this kind of alerting. It would seem the time has come to really think about closing the interaction loop so that what I get alerted about, is actionable. Flying high with Google SMS from Official Google Blog by Molly Graham Posted by Deepak Sethi, Software Engineer, Mobile Team Ever spent 15 minutes on the phone shouting answers at the automated airline attendant while rushing to the airport? How cool would it be to get real-time flight info just by sending a quick text message? Well, now you can, using Google SMS. Simply text your flight number to 466453 (‘GOOGLE’ on most mobile devices), and the status information will be sent back to you. Or text a specific airline name, and Google will send back the main phone number to call. Google SMS is available for flights departing or arriving in the U.S., and all of the information is provided by And as always, it’s free. Give it a try, and let us know what you think.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Friday, April 06, 2007

Marshall Kirkpatrick Knows His RSS

Marshall Kirkpatrick Knows His RSS. How we get alerted, and how news gets noticed, will involve, at its core, RSS. Some people, right now the technorati, want to know right now when something happens. Its their business, first off the blogs gets the early traffic, and the google juice. See, some technorati-talk. But for the everyday business executive, knowing what is important to know now, and what can wait is all a part of time and priority management in general. I don't generally re-produce lists without generating some value add, so here is Marshall's list first : 1. IM me if I’m online, if I’m not then SMS *and* email me the URL of the feed item if I’m not online (Rasasa and zaptxt each fill different halves of this request) 2. Let me set the hours I want to recieve SMS alerts, outside those hours email me. (rasasa does that) 3. Send me the first 25 characters or however much is possible from the feed item, not just its title ( does that by Skype IM but no SMS is avail) 4. let me unsubscribe from alerts for a particular feed by responding to a text msg 5. don’t send me alerts an hour or two after the item was available - if I select “as soon as it’s available” then send it to me within 15 minutes every time. I hate getting an alert for something only to find that it’s already got 5 comments and 3 trackbacks on it. Experiences like that really mitigate my trust in the service. 6. filter for duplicate URLs, titles or both at my request. (feeddigest can be folded in to existing services if you want to do the leg work) 7. let me exclude particular feeds from my search results. i want to know when my name is used online, for example, but not when it’s in the author field of my own blog. 8. easy integration with Dapper, Yahoo Pipes or some other feed creation tool so I can get alerts from feeds that don’t exist yet would be nice. 9. easy import and export of OPML files. So, (1) ASAP has timeframes for Marshall, within 14 minutes of hitting the wires, after that pretty much don't bother (2) Send the alert to the appropriate channel and mode, ie. after hours sms me. (3) Use Smart Clipping, not just the whole header (Give me the gyst, like Snap-for-RSS (3) For Gods sake, some smart filtering people! (nobody likes repetition and duplication) (4) Integration with feed management tools like Pipes, Dapper, and Teqlo. Marshall is clearly a lead user in this area, and I for one look forward to what his company Spashcast are launching.

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,

Get your twitter mosaic here.