Thursday, December 13, 2007

Best Customer Service Letter Ever

Couldn't resist posting this: hat-tip Damien Mulley "Best Customer Service Letter Ever"

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Cost Savings Go To The Bottom Line: Fast

Interesting Stat: “It takes at least $5 in new sales to equal the same impact as a $1 reduction in procurement or supply chain costs.” So if you saved 100,000 pounds in delivery-to-the-door efficiencies that would take £500,000 in new revenue wins?

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The Plasticity of Customer Interaction Strategy

A bit of a nerd-out point today, "unintended consequences of ad targeting" by way Seamus. Seamus's insight is (in my opinion) dramatic:
"Last year I commented that some friends and I had found the easiest way to be alerted when ski chalets became available at the resort we wanted to visit was to knock up a wiki page with the name of the resort and a few words about skiing, run AdSense over the page and then wait for the relevant ads to be brought to us. As ad targeting gets more precise (and accurate) it becomes trivial to simply design a page so that the right ads come to you. AdWords are not just commercial messages: manipulated the right way, they're a tailored newsfeed about things you want to buy".
Now, that's a pretty neat way to use an intelligent alerting service. How long before we start writing up "Asks" by setting up contexts on our own blogs and websites, and waiting to see what offers "ad sense" makes? but Seamus also used the service in a very, very unusual way:
"Yesterday I found what I'm confident will become another use for ad targeting. Pondering attending a pub quiz, I had a look at some web pages that talked about the pub in question. The ads alongside those pages were all for distressed-credit services such as LogBookLoans, debt consolidation and other financial services clearly designed for what marketers would euphemistically call the C2-D/E audience. This gave me pause. If the ads were targeted correctly (and increasingly they are), perhaps this wasn't the event or the venue for me".
Of course the context here might have been that the "page" Seamus was visiting only related tangential to the pub in question, or maybe there just were not many links elsewhere on the web to that pub, so that page had an "unrepresentative weighting", but the overall architecture of the argument holds, surely. How long before posting something like "Paul Sweeney" is going to "Pub DC1", in "Location ABC" begins to affect the offers that are made to me in ad sense and how long before this "event publishing" begins to effect my own credit rating? Seamus's points show that a lead user can re-purpose your service to deliver even more value. Your challenge is to enable them to do it, potentially by being as open as you possibly can. Would Google allow you to "hack" such a solution together for alerting purposes? You bet! why? because it would increase the value of their ad sense platform, and make it stronger. At VoiceSage one of our customers took the capability of having a postal address confirmed by a respondent and turned it into a completely new type of service offer for the company. Other customers have "hacked together" business continuity alerting solutions, and potential fraud alerts.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

VoiceSage In The Financial Times:

VoiceSage has been picking up a bit of mainstream coverage as of late, and today saw us covered in the London based Financial Times, with some neat points made about the break down that sometimes occurs between ordering things online, and actually getting them on your doorstep: (hint! you have to be actually there to receive them!)

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Bond of Trust: The Sword Is Forged In The Fire

Neville Hobson has an interesting post today on what he perceives as a service failure by Virgin Media. The nub of the problem is that trust has broken down between Mr. Hobson and his service provider. Psychologically, after a service failure, and a perceived lack of customer support in and around a service outage, Virgin does really have to be exceptional in its support. A number of things stood out to me in Mr. Hobson's description of his experience: (1) An outbound phone call to him had a strong positive impact on his attitude. If the company phones you it is an explicit statement that your problem IS important, so important that we are contacting you, not the other way around. The fact that they charge you for your technical support (in reality) indicates that you are nothing but a commodity, and we do not want to interact with you, because you have no future value add to us. How hard would it be to email customers in low broadband performance areas and give them the statistics PLUS the applied discount PLUS a click to call option if they want to know more? (2) The concept of “Knowing” is important to customers; in this case, knowing was evidence of measurable broadband performance. Customers tend to like knowing that they are in a logical problem solving process, because this is more likely to result in a resolution. Good problem definition, based on measurables, preferably visually represented, give you the feeling of a “common ground” from which this resolution can be built. (3) Levels of “perceived professionalism” in employee performance leaves a strong impact. In this example it was the professionalism of the field engineers. I don’t think its a mistake that it was the engineers. Many engineers have a high level of identity with the profession as opposed to the company. As an engineer, they believe that they have some kind of 'competence responsibility'. Finally, companies that successfully address a product or service failure through great customer service, tend to end up with customers that are actually MORE satisfied with your company, that are MORE loyal. That's because the worst has already happened and you were there, you delivered, there is nothing more to fear. I trust you know. "The Sword is Forged In The Fire"...... (update: hat tip to Tom Raftery's Shared Items Google Feed which was distributed via his Jaiku stream)

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