Tag Archives: twitter

Are you applying as fast as you are learning?

A few weeks go, Bill Taylor (@practicallyrad) asked: Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?

Next question is: Are you applying as fast as you are learning?

Here’s what I’ve noticed for awhile since I’ve been on Twitter, but became a little more obvious to me in the last few weeks: Those of us who spend time on Twitter, are a lot more cognitively accelerated than those who are not.

Case in point: My Mix group I told you about. They are interesting people, and have a lot of things to talk about. But none of them have a Twitter account. Or a blog. And it dawned on me that by only meeting once per month, that this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

For example, One of the Co-Founders of Serena Healthcare, who also in the group, provided me with another insight. Here’s a guy who takes mindmap notes on his iPad as you are speaking. And if he doesn’t have his iPad, he takes notes on his laptop as you are explaining things to him. But you know what? For all his note taking abilities, he doesn’t have or want a Twitter account because he feels overwhelmed by its fast paced nature.


This guy’s mind moves fast. But apparently not fast enough.

So does that mean that we, ‘The Twitterati’, are a special bunch? I know some people who think so. They tell me that Twitter is for intellectuals, not for the lazy minded. Twitter is a fire-hose of knowledge no doubt (if you filter it becomes even more apparent), but that’s not where the discussion should stop.

How are you connecting the dots?

Connecting the dots. It’s all about connecting the dots. And it’s never been more important and more relevant than it is today in this information overload world we live in. Or is it?

I don’t claim to have all the answers on how to connect the dots but I recently received an interesting comment regarding this unknown activity and it got me thinking about it. My buddy basically says that those of us who engage in curation/filtering are crazy.


Because since we curate information that we find useful for others, we’ve got ideas to spare. We’ve got ideas about how to have ideas and then some.  And if you curate information about diverse topics, we have ideas about stuff that doesn’t make sense to the majority of people. And this makes others feel overwhelmed because we can criss-cross from one topic to another.

On that last point is where a lot of ‘dot connecting’ happens.

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.

Sure, we should be 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:

 –  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+

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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?

Fast response is the new normal in customer service

Do you know what kind of service drives people crazy? Poor attention.

According to research from Zendesk 82% of people stop doing business with a company because of poor customer service. And poor attention is in my opinion is where it all starts because nobody likes being ignored.

Here are a few things that happened to me last week…

This morning I received an email from Sxipper, a password management program for Firefox that I used, replying to a ticket I submitted over a month ago. Yes, that’s right. It’s been over a month and they just answered.

But get this, it’s just a reply that they’ve seen my email. Not a solution. Well guess what, they’re too late.

Since I submitted my inquiry and didn’t get a fast answer I changed to another provider, LastPass.

Result: Ni modo, you lost out. If you would have answered quickly I would still be using your product.

Earlier in the week I noticed that bit.ly was not functioning when clicking on links through Tweetdeck. So I asked if anybody else was having the same issue and two minutes later I got a response from the folks at bit.ly:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/bitly/statuses/38689020481372160″]

Result: Now I know what’s going on. Great! It wasn’t that hard.

Another example, this past week I switched the ‘share buttons’ on this blog to AddThis. Not everything went smoothly, the buttons were not showing up initially. I checked with them on Twitter but they don’t seem to use it as a customer service channel, so I went over to their forums and posted my inquiry and got a response within a few hours. They pointed out that I was missing some code for it to work, told me what I needed to do and they fixed it for me. This wasn’t their problem, it was my themes problem.

Yes, AddThis fixed a problem that wasn’t theirs so that I could use their plugin. BEA-utiful!

Result: I post about how cool their plugin is and recommend you use it too.

Worst is not responding

When you don’t respond, people are going take it as a ‘‘we don’t care about you’ signal. The result is they’re going to tell their friends about how much you suck and will switch products to someone ‘who does care’ about their needs. It’s that simple!

Even if you have a high cost to switch (telcos), people will put their money down to switch because in the long run they much prefer not to deal with you. High switching costs are no longer an excuse for ignoring people. Get over it.

Getting it right

Customer Service is the new marketing because your customers don’t live on your time, they live on theirs. You have to acknowledge that they have control to tell others if you’re the best or the worst. And if you have a web presence (which you should), customers expect you to be there for them if an issue arises. There are countless ways to provide support and answers such as forums, Twitter, phone and email but still, in most cases people still prefer to talk to a live person for customer service.

Do you really want to talk to them? How committed are you? Do you see customer service as an added cost or as a difference maker?

While fast response is not a new idea, it’s execution is. The world has changed and so has customer service. People are on social networks talking to their friends about either what a great or bad service they got with you. One of them can win you loyal customers, the other one can make you look like the worst business on the face of the planet. Which one do you want to be? The balls on your court.

Fast response when we have a problem. Today and tomorrow, that’s what we expect from companies who’s products or services we use.

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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.

Remove the associative barriers that hinder new ideas

Model of hydogen bonds in water in English.

Image via Wikipedia

Last week I mentioned that the is the ability to free associate, to make connections between dissimilar things. I just stumbled into post on the where she probes further into the concept to which I left a comment: