Thursday, February 28, 2008

Micro-Channel: CommuterFeeds

Know someone that takes the same route to work as you do? Try CommuterFeed powered by Twitter. (hat-tip RWW) This might be a "mirco-channel" with only 10 people in it, and only updated twice a day. But it is a channel, and people are going to create more and more of these things. They will be called "comment channels", "IM Sessions", etc. etc. They will not be launched by your IT department, they will be Enterprise Edge Services (Seriously thinking of patenting that phrase:)

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Technology Populism or Enterprise Edge?

Edge Enterprise: ReadWriteWeb has a piece today on the rise of "consumer-employee" adopted software as services and the strategic integrity of in-house IT technology stack. So you want to find out if anyone knows someone working in Adobe, you check your LinkedIn or Facebook not your internal directory; you want to call long distance to the states and china you use skype, not your inhouse telephony system. Need to find out something in relation to your product, chances are you will consult a wiki not the official FAQ pages. The RWW article says that maybe people would not feel the need to use these technologies if they had better training and understood the features of enterprise softwares a bit better. Instead of a hosted wiki use sharepoint, from Microsoft. MMmmm. Perhaps its time to teach people "responsible adoption", or "how to understand potential implications" such as Data Privacy, Application Security, so they can make better decisions at their own level of the business. If circa 14% of your employees are early adopters perhaps you should be thinking more about how to harness the power of these collective experimenters. VoiceSage has literally Dozens of examples where someone adopted the service to do something relatively simple like stock availability updates and then found a few other things in their immediate environment that could also benefit from pro-active communications. Doing moves you towards knowing. The faster you Get Doing the faster you learn what works and doesn't work. What we have found is that people that understand how to pilot early, and often, inevitably get the better results. The people that can spin a problem on its side, and look at it a different way (i.e. innovators), and then craft a meaningful test of benefits, are a key part of any innovation competence. And that's the problem with lengthy cycles of adoption, learning, deployment and learning. It just takes too long to see what works. One final spin of the wheel on this topic: Its called "environmental fit". Where your external environment exhibits constant change and unpredictability the "edges" of your company need to exhibit some "porousness" and "flexibility". This was traditionally termed "organicity". And that's why inability to adopt, experiment and learn leads to lack of fitness at the edges of your company. I.e. the customer interface.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Google Talkback: Click-Cool :)

When Google bring out a new product, sometimes it sucks. This does not suck. Google Talkback enables you to put your TalkBack button on your blog or website. Since I have Google Talk already, and Google Talk on my Blackberry, it now means that as I change my mobile status, this will be reflected on my blogsite. Suddenly, I have very real mobile-internet presence. Now, before everyone goes APE (API) on me, I know that Twitter and Jaiku badges update my presence from my mobile all the time. Where Google Talk is different is that Talk is Integrated with Mail, and Mail is being sold instead of MS Exchange Server. So, how long before I can have a very low cost domain hosting, email hosting, and click to call service that can give me great stats on where my customers are coming from and who they are talking to? When Grand Central eventually enters the mix, well what can I say: Fred Wilson is already buying stock.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

The Future Of Credit Scoring ?

Well, I have to hand it to Jim Bruene over at NetBanker, todays roundup of disruptive credit scoring services is a show stopper. You should stop over and have a look.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ah, Forget to Pay Your Credit Card Bill?

Paul Kedrosky (PK) posted a link to this study on credit card late payment penalties. The bottom line is that people who forget to pay their credit card bills on time, and become subject to the pain of late payment fees, initially change their behaviour, but over time forget the effects of that late payment fee at a rage of 10% per month!. If you have to pay a late payment fee this month you are not very likely to forget to pay your bill next month. BUT: in 10 months time you will be back to exactly the same behaviour pattern as you were exhibiting a before any fee was applied to you. Late Fees Do Not Change Inherent Customer Behaviour, but they do adjust it in the short term. It might be a very useful experiment to pattern a series of Reminders to such late paying customers, in two or three month cycles to remind them that they paid a fee before, and to avoid doing so again they might want to take actions x, y, and z. With an interim messaging strategy it might be possible to stretch out the reinforcement effects of the original late fee, without damaging the customer relationship by applying another late payment fee, thus encouraging potential switching behaviour.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Just Three Points on A Friday

Confused of Calcutta has such a nice saying that I thought I'd bring it to you: " First Law of Benchmarks: If gains are so low that you need benchmarks to prove the existence of the gains, they’re probably not worth having in the first place". GetSatisfaction guys bring out a Full API (soon!). Marshall from ReadWriteWeb covers them here. I think these guys are going to radically change how customers manage their reputation: think "epinions for companies". These guys will end up with widgets on your home page publishing out to your audience the good, the bad, and the ugly. Mick Butcher over on Techcrunchuk has a nice piece that points out that not only are advertising only models in serious danger, but that what is needed is better ad targeting, and measures other than click through rates. Mobile phones and social newtworks might be better ways of collecting data at higher levels of granularity. The take away? Be better at collecting data and know how you can use that data to deliver better interactions with your customer base. How you interact with your customers, and well you manage those interactions, will be published. It will be published on Twitter, Jaiku, blog feeds, it will turn up on Techcunch. So get in front of the problem.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Letting People Innovate with Telecommunications

Helsingin Sanomat via Gizmodo Finnish public toilet opens when you send it a Text Message. Why? Because then we know your phone number if you vandalise this toilet. Brilliant. Oh but what if I am on pre-paid etc. etc. Yes, but there might be some psychology at work here as well. Would you "mindfully" weigh up the options of the likelihood of being caught vandalising with your pre-paid phone number, or would you just move on? I think you'd just move on.

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Leaving Voice Messages

Conversationware makes a great point today about leaving voicemail. Matt makes the point that if you think about it before hand, write a few notes down, you can leave a message that has some real impact. He follows up by saying "I hate it when people leave a message that just says, Call me". Exactly, it says "hey guess what, my time is more valuable than yours, so why don't you waste more of your time ringing me back, trying to find me, and then finding out what I wanted to talk to you about in the first place. So, I have to agree with you there Matt. Here are a few rules I picked up a while ago about leaving good voicemail: - Start by saying who you are (no, I don't recognise your voice!) - Tell me what the message is in relation to (need to organise a meeting time) - Tell me what I am expected to do (decide, ring someone, suggest) One of the things VoiceSage does really well is to automatically detect whether you are about to leave a message with a live person or a machine. If you are getting through to a machine, we recommend that you leave a different message, structured as per points above. You don't have to leave a "teaser", leave a valuable message. If you are wondering how you might measure the effectiveness of your message, leave a different contact number or email address for the return enquiry. That way, you can track would called you back. Simple.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Billing, Billed, Bill: You Have To Get It Right.

Only yesterday I was speaking with an Analyst saying you know, Telco billing isn't easy to do. We were talking about how used strategically, the ability to create unique tariff structures, particularised the needs of each company, and person, creates powerful competitive advantages. We were building the metaphor out into Software-as-Service examples, seeing how some providers were emerging to provide this layer to other software-as-services on the platform. Well, Pat Phelan at MaxRoam bounced me over an email to give me an update on their progress and what was the first thing on the agenda, yip, Live Billing. Being able to see what you are spending, in real time, is a real comfort. In other posts I've talked about the importance of "getting the bill right", and more importantly "the check out". Studies by McKinsey show that its the variability in the telecoms bill that causes customers to look around for other providers, and my guess is that people who made a lot of calls on their Christmas holidays are looking around. Maybe they should check out MAXroam at their nearest Maplin?

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