Tag Archives: Facebook

Adoption: The hardest part about innovation

Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats. – Howard Aiken

If there’s one things that rarely gets talked about innovation, it’s that you will have to work hard to get people to adopt your ideas. Two weeks ago I was talking to a few of the participants of Startup Weekend Tijuana. Among other things, we talked about the hard part about innovation.

Mainly I told them about my own experience, and how coming up with ideas isn’t a problem. The key, is influencing people to adopt your ideas. And as far as I’m concerned, this is where the rubber meets the road

People and organizations rarely understand, just like I did a few years back, that ideas by themselves are worthless. Just because your ideas sounds cool, and everyone tells you the same, it doesn’t mean it will be adopted. You have to nudge people to adopt your ideas.

There just isn’t any way around it.

Being the guy or company that changes the game is really being the one who gets people to change the behavior.

Case in point: Facebook.

Engage in sci-fi thinking to understand what makes people tick

Shock diamond

Image via Wikipedia

Last week I gave a workshop on how to mine social networks for insights. I used Facebook’s Fan Pages as a use case. Many of the participants were surprised as they didn’t visit Fan Pages and thought most were spammy. They also said they didn’t like it when brands suddenly went off topic because businesses should be serious, not fun (dominant assumption calling to be turned upside down).

And boy were they surprised with what I told them next…

Why every customer service “success” on social media is really a customer service failure

One of the main benefits of social media is to provide instant customer service. While this might be true, I think we’re seeing it from the wrong angle. Companies are looking at it as a way to put out fires, to delay an customers eventual frustration.

Simplr’s blog post exploring how social technologies might change customer service. But first, we should look at how we actually conduct customer service away from social media.

A few weeks ago, as soon as Google+ was unleashed, Michael Dell asked people if they would like to connect with Dell Service teams via Google Hangout. Lots of people thought it was a great idea, but one comment in particular caught my attention:

Danny Sullivan  –  Jul 18, 2011  –  Public
No +Michael DellI don’t want to use Hangouts to connect with Dell customer service. What I want, from you or any company, is to ensure I actually get the best customer service experience possible when I actually use your “normal” customer service channels.Eventually, I’ll finish my long-planned blog post on how every customer service “success” on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ is really a customer service failure. In short, consider this.If I walked into a store and started yelling about how bad the store was, to get my problem resolved, who would consider that a successful customer service model? But that’s basically what we are encouraged to do through social media, yell there as an attempt to get problems solved as a last resort.OK, it’s more nuanced than that. I have have great respect for the people who do perform huge customer service through social media channels. But these shouldn’t be end runs your customers need to use because your regular customer service channels are so convoluted and so often backed by people who aren’t enabled to just solve problems.That’s where I’d like to see you or any company put your energies, before we get more social media candy.

And that (in bold), is the point.

People are using social media as a last resort to vent their frustrations. And businesses are reacting to it by asking customers to post positive reviews online to counter the hate. Sure, businesses will react positively after an unhappy customer (who is well connected) posts his frustrations on Twitter and Facebook. It’s common sense. But this doesn’t help things, it just creates a never ending loop of reaction.

They’re not delighting customers, they’re merely delaying frustration.

What we really need to do is look at social media as another way to win the hearts of customers. To delight them. Not as a way to put out fires.

While you may see Zappos using social media for customer service, they don’t really see it that way. For them it’s another way to connect with their customers and as an opportunity to win their hearts. One more way to ‘Deliver Happiness’.

Problems will arise no doubt because no company worth mentioning never makes a mistake. Just don’t keep on making the same ones over and over again because that is what frustrates customers.

Bottom line is delivering customers service through social channels should not be seen as a silver bullet solution, simply adding more touch points to your mix but not solving the customers problem isn’t going to to save you. The customer doesn’t care if you experiment on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Google+, what they care about is being treated with respect and getting their issues resolved.

And lastly, don’t ignore them. I repeat, don’t ignore them. If you’re on these channels, they expect you to be there for them.

P.S. I’ll leave with a few more comments to reinforce the point:

customer service dell google+

  • Is social media marketing causing you to lose money? (smartblogs.com)
  • Yes, Customers Are Willing to Use Social Media for Customer Service [Infographic] (readwriteweb.com)
  • How social media can save your business from a customer riot (smartblogs.com)

‘Better’ is the more practical approach to innovation in general

It all starts with the question: How can I make this better?

Framing is important and when talking about innovation that usually means deciding between incremental and radical change. Yet for most businesses, they don’t want to hear about change. They want the world they exist in just the way it is, especially if they’ve had some level of success.

But which is the more practical approach? Better or different?

break out

Why you need to break out of your network to innovate

break out

Yesterday @JuhaLipponen shared his post on how gathering people from diverse backgrounds to brainstorm breeds new and fresh insights. This idea of bringing in outsiders to shake things up isn’t new, but it’s definitely one that you don’t find being practiced more widely.

And this brings me to an important point about innovation: Where all think alike no one thinks very much.

You can start seeing this on the web where the tools we use to communicate and find information (Facebook, Google, Twitter) play into our biases of familiarity. The more we use them, the more they know us and become personalized for us.

If in the past you hadn’t thought about this, today it’s even more imperative that you do. Why?

To innovate: Steal don’t imitate

When no one knows what’s going to happen we’ll naturally look at other people for clues on how to behave. This is the basis of imitation, and it’s a survival tactic. Simply said, in an environment where the world is changing, the best strategy is lots of imitation. The problem with this is we’re rarely aware of how ‘much imitation’ is necessary and plain and simple. It’s a balancing act to decide what to copy and what not.

Practice ‘Smart Stealing’

The best strategy is to ‘steal’ from different sources, ideally ‘the best’ sources outside your industry.

Examples abound of companies who have ‘stolen’ from others. Apple stole Xerox’s musical interface and mouse ideas. Facebook and MySpace stole Friendster’s social network idea. Microsoft stole Netscape’s browser idea. . It’s even happening in the Venture Capital Industry where one .

Useful and valuable

An innovation happens when an idea is both useful and valuable to the customer.

One of the things that stuck with me from reading Braden Kelley’s book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire is something that is rarely mentioned when deciding on an idea to execute: the distinction between useful and valuable.

Usually we have products and services that are useful but not valuable. But then again what’s useful and valuable to you is not the same for me. For example, Evernote is both useful and valuable to me because I can write, save, edit, clip notes and access them from wherever I am. Evernote is a tool for the information obsessed like me. I’m on the fanatic end of their users where I can’t imagine going back to not using Evernote.

On the other hand, an opposite example is Facebook,while useful is not really valuable to me. I could care less if Facebook disappears tomorrow. But if Twitter disappeared tomorrow I would feel empty. Twitter is both useful and valuable to me for many reasons.

Like I said, this might not be the same for you.