Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lifecasting goes Broadcast....

Wow. lifecasting, i.e. telling everyone whatzup, has just crossed the chasm: It forms part of the story line at CSI, America's most popular programme. Now watch every mom and dad check out the service. Lets see if 18 months of attention to ease of use pays off. This is where customer interaction is taking place; this is where people are talking about your products; this is where somebody says "and that guy at the counter was really rude...."

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Business is A Social Network

Christopher Carfi has a note on the role of social networks within the enterprise: Key point is that they won't be advertising based. The point should be obvious to everyone, I don't understand how people could not understand this: organisations are networks of people, skills, information/knowledge and resources. Most of the benefits will not be reaped within any one function or application, it will be reaping the space between applications and processes. It won't be just a forklift upgrade from using the phone on your table with the Direct Dialling capability to using a softphone on your computer; it won't be a clever way of using/not using email. It will be in more granular sensing of what actitives are linked, and what needs to happen in the case of that event. To post a blunt example, I leave a comment on the recent Service Untitled post about a poor experience he had with Toyota. How does Toyota sense this? who should get a call, what "interaction opportunity should be offered"? Could they "sense" that this particular post was about the fact that a particular part did not function well, or that a particular dealer wasn't all that friendly? How could Enterprise2.0 solutions re-design how this is handled? It will be about giving people more power at the point closest to their task so they can define how they get the job done better. Sounding a bit fluffy? Well, its not. In the Service Untitled example, it would have been easy enough to have an automated system that knew which tow trucks were nearest the caller location, and patch them through so the driver and the customer could give each other directions and assurances. It should have been easy for the customer service person to give the customer an experience that had some kind of "relationship content". The fall-downs in the example are based on not knowing what is happening in other parts of your service network, or not being able to follow the conversation. For maybe twenty years some people have thought about the organisation as an inverted pyramid, with management and resources there to enable the front line person to deliver more effectively. One of the ways VoiceSage is built for these principles is that we allow you to customise the outbound contact campaign as much as possible, and we put you in total control around how you want this to happen. And hopefully, we've made it pretty easy to build flows that integate with other processes or triggers in your business. That's all pretty good, when you dig into other solutions, you might find some surprises in there. But we also allow the user to share their work with others in the company, so you can build a pretty damn good contact campaign, and share it with another worker, maybe on the other side of the world. We allow them to adapt that campaign and re-save it. Thinking about processes as something that can be shared, adopted, and adapted is part of what will enable companies to reap benefits from Enterprise2.0 initatives. And because it delivers real, measurable, and fast benefits, enterprises are happy to pay for the service. And that's why everything isn't about advertising models.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

LouderVoice Reviews: They Get It.

I just signed on to the LouderVoice review site enabling me to manage my commenting, and make reviews of everything from the wine I drink to the films I see. One thing I can say very positively about the service is the complete ease of use, sign up, and registration. It was seamless, painless, and I saw an instant benefit (i.e. I wrote a review and it appeared on the specified location).Then they allow you to add a firefox extension to write reviews from where ever you are when browsing, and now also you can SMS in your reviews from the very place you are right now. Customer Reviews are becoming an incredibly powerful reference tool, (see Adweek) and the regular user is searching to find real and authentic others, that can help guide their decisions and purchases. Enabling you to make your reviews on the fly, and publish them where you will, is an attractive proposition. I haven't dug very deep into the service yet, so I am curious to know how these reviews are shared socially (i.e. on social network) and what benefit the poster of reviews is seen as getting. I am sure all will be revealed in due time.

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Review of Die Hard 4.0

Die Hard 4.0
"In the style of Die Hard movies, and if you liked them, you will probably like this."
Pretty much a run of the mill story line, computer hackers and such (write your own story line from there), with lots of guns, cars, and one woman in the entire film. I think the genre has moved on and it was time for Die Hard to re-invent itself to regain the original appeal. Casino Royale did it, time for DH to Die and be Re-bourne.
Rated 3/5 on Nov 19 2007
Vote on Paul Sweeney's Reviews at LouderVoice
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When you try to change, you learn things....

I wanted to upgrade by Blogger template to the new template. The new template was going to clean things up a bit for me and offered me the opportunity to add new widgets to my blog from other 3rd party services "at the touch of a button". I value simplicity, so I was willing to do this. New Blogger gave me the ability to add modules into my side bar etc. I thought, that will be neat. Then I realised that: (1)It only offered a few limited module choices, (2)It had actually made it harder to add outside modules that I wanted to add, and (3)I couldn't add the "recent readers" widget from mybloglog. Besides the fact that I don't like being hemmed in with no way out, I was totally unwilling to give up my "recent readers" Mybloglog widget, which shows what other people have recently visited this particular blog. Why? because that's often the first thing I look at when visiting other blogs. Its like a virtual watercooler, it validates that this is still an interesting place to visit, it points me towards people that have a similar interest to me. The people that come to the blog, and leave a trace like this, are a "social object", and a valuable one to me. Think "enabling communities" and not "providing content", and I think that there are a whole range of customer service and customer interactions that could be radically redefined.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

3 Months of Happy

A neat video from TED Conference on leading thinkers, (here) tells us some interesting things about happiness. In general. Like, we tend to forget anything good or bad that happened more than three months ago; that we are actually happier if we live with a definite decision rather than keeping it infinitely open ended. People are comfortable and are happy with "bounded offers" where the trade offs are known. Coupled with some recent thinking about consumer choice, and product scope choice in particular, companies are finding customers gravitate towards services where decision making is a bit easier. If you think about Google search, you hit a search term, and are presented with a page of possible answers destinations, and usually, you will pick one of the top three. The underlying assumption on your part is that Google does a pretty good job of understanding what you are trying to find, and presenting the more reputable ones higher on the list (implied perhaps, but still there). When even customers that have said they are happy with your service churn, what can we learn from this? Well, when you think about making customers happy, perhaps it doesn't count unless it happened in the last three months? Perhaps you shouldn't give them 10 upgrade options, just the one "do you want it or not".

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Logistics API's

Listing of Logistics API's so you can track your deliveries.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Trendspotting Spoof

Looks like my "reaction" to Trendspotting pieces was more of a test of my moral reflexes than I had guessed: Dear Paul, We hope you enjoyed the very special trend briefing we sent you yesterday. If you didn't, then please pour yourself a strong cup of coffee and take another close look. It's a SPOOF. Fake. Not to be taken at face value. Even most of the sites we referred to are, well, ours—and entirely fictitious. We thought it would be fun, just for once, to mock overzealous marketers, crass consumerism and—above all—ourselves. :-) So please don't ditch your pet, stay in ugly hotels, pollute the earth, paint your walls turquoise or start marketing to unborn babies, OK? Rest assured that we'll back with 'real' trends in December, the kind of trends you've been getting from us since 2002. If you can't wait that long, check out our Trend Database or our 2008 Trend Report. All real, all authentic, all useful. ;-) Best, Reinier Evers Founder,

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Apple Appointment Genius

Bruce Temkin over at Customer Experience Matters posts about his recent experience at the Apple Genius Bar when his apple laptop broke down. The great thing was he could find out online where an in-store customer service bar was open, book an appointment at that bar right there and then, and when he was in store it told him where he was in line. Pretty basic stuff you'd think. But perhaps not so: people in call centres have long known that the caller likes to know how long they will be waiting and where in the queue they are, but in-store solutions tend to be pretty poor at this. Also, the staff member that delt with Bruce's problem knew what they were doing, again, something you would expect online, but maybe you don't see in store an awful lot any more. Finally, this was a neat example of using online applications to manage your commitments in the physical world. With more and more customers performing their product and services searches online, and THEN going to their local store to inspect the product physically, the boundaries are blurring between strictly online and off-line in terms of the buying and consumption process. Simple "click-2-book an appointment" with some one that knows what they are doing, is clearly as simple but powerful idea. Having met that person, why not rate them and your experience, so that others can choose to book an appointment with them or with another in-store person? One of the take aways for me is again, "customer like to know where they are in a process and the major opportunity is to meld online and mobile interactions".

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Ethics? Hello? Ethics?

This is a personal opinion piece, but I feel strongly about it. When I was in college we did this course called "business ethics". It was because big corporations were pretty much ripping everyone off, acting illegally, and the culture of these companies at the time, encouraged it! Things were cleaned up a little after the big "enron" type scandals but perhaps signs are that people have lost their way again? In The Big Five Trends that you should watch, Trendwatching calls one GenerationZ, i.e. below 3 years of age, and into the womb. Perhaps not so bad an example where their is a social network helping people "bond with their bumps", or get to know other mum's with a view to sharing experience and tips. ( (note: in private beta, link not live). But to say that the opportunity is to create "lasting brand tags" through creating songs, and entertainment for children, in the womb, is just plain wrong. If you don't know why, perhaps the legislation on marketing to children might point you in the right direction.

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