Please Join Me For A CRM Webcast Today

Click here to enroll

On Monday, October 30th (which may be “today,” depending on when you read this), I’ll be presenting a webinar on “CRM and Web 2.0,” sponsored by the CRM Association (CRMA). (No, I didn’t title the session.)

I’ll be co-presenting with Charlene Li and Lisa Stone. Here’s the blurb:

“Join the CRMA as we discuss how marketers are incorporating blogs, podcasts, rss and other new technologies into their CRM initiatives to improve interaction with customers and prospects, and discuss how your company can use these tools and strategies to positively impact your relationships with customers.”

The details:

Upgrading Your CRM Strategy with Web 2.0
Date: Monday, October 30, 2006
Time: 12:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time / 9:00 am Pacific Standard Time
Event Number: 711280327
Event Entrance for Attendees:
Call in tollfree phone number: 866-469-3239
Alternate Call in phone number: 650-429-3300

Click here to enroll

My slides are embedded below, and also available here.

Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop Per Child

Nicholas Negroponte was the keynote this morning, discussing the One Laptop Per Child program.

Some points:

  • 1.2B worldwide children in primary/secondary schools
  • 50% w/o electricity
  • 50% in rural parts of the world
  • 50% in china & india
  • There is some overlap b/w above groups

OLPC is taking an interesting path. Some say more teachers, more schools are the keys to education…and those are good. And that will take a VERY long time.

What can we do in the meantime, to leverage the children themselves? Can we think about learning as “the things we know,” as opposed to learning equating to “teaching.” We learn via interacting with the environment and each other. That kind of learning … walking, talking, common sense… ends at age six. At that point, the process switches from “experience” to “teaching.” However…in addition to teaching, there are other forms of learning. This peer-to-peer learning is what can be enabled with this project.

It’s a laptop because it needs to be a part of their lives…there’s no “this is work, this is school, this is fun”…there should be no separation between the areas. It should just be there.

Kids love ’em. They charge them up at night at the school. Parents love ’em because they are the brightest light source in the house.

It’s about SCALE, SCALE, SCALE. 5-10 million in 2007, 50-100 million in 2008. Scale changes corporate strategy.

(Very cool tech note: each laptop is a node in a mesh network…even when the laptop is closed!)

Launch countries

Great insight: “If anyone in this room has a use for the CAPS LOCK key, please send me an email! Who put that thing there, right above the shift key?”

Funny exchange:

Forrester: Bill Gates said “The last thing you want for a shared use computer…”
Negroponte, interrupting: “Huh? Shared use? This is One.Laptop.Per.Child. Continue…”
Forrester: “…with a tiny little screen…”
Negroponte, interrupting: “Huh? Tiny little screen? The screen is 1/2″ LARGER than Bill’s ‘Origami’ computer.”

Interesting intellectual property note: OLPC is patenting the aspects of the machine as quickly as they can…the display, the charger, etc. are being patented in order to ensure the OLPC program will always be able to use the tech, and not get boxed out by other folks who might subsequently claim prior art.

Final quote: “We think of the kids as CREATORS, not recipients. They are makers of things. MAKE is a key word. SHARE is a key word.”

Oh, The Humanity!

(Continuing notes from today’s Forrester Consumer Forum. More here.)

Solid overview from Harley Manning on how “inhuman” technology-based connections can be, as well as some things that can be done to improve them. The highlights:

What’s Inhuman?
Inhuman examples:

  • Questions that are nonsensical in the real world: “What country are you in?” is a commonly-asked inquiry at many websites. Think about this in the real world…how many times have you been asked that when going into the store? “Hi, welcome to Bed, Bath and Beyond…what country are we in?”
  • Jargon, jargon, jargon: The Motorola only spec sheet for one of their phones states : “PIM funcationality”…when was the last time anyone ever used that phrase? (Goes back to the example from yesterday at the online shopping site for Bloomingdales, have you ever used the phrase “Casual China” in real conversation? “Honey, the Wilsons are coming over for dinner, can you please put out the Casual China?”)

Expectation setting in design is also key. Harley gave a great example of trying to make a deposit at a BofA automated teller machine. The website said he could make a deposit. The physical signage above the machine said “All Transactions”…yet, “deposit” was not an option on any of the ATM menus, despite the fact that the physical machine had a deposit slot!

How to humanize the interactions?
The suggestion is to adopt “human-centric” design practices:

  • Not “tech-centric”
  • Not “self-centric”
  • Not even “user-centric”…people are PEOPLE first, THEN users

Human centric design has three practices:

A) Enthographic research
Derived from cultural antrhopology. Interview and observe. Distill observations into “segmentation models.” Rep each “persona” as a vivid description.

Originally uploaded by christophercarfi.

[ed. – I had a little bit of issue with this point in particular…the granularity that is lost when coming up with what is, in effect, a stereotype seems a little bit contrived. We all have so many facets of our selves that putting any individual into a stereotypical segment seems a bit off to me.]

B) Scenarios
Donald Cho scenario

Originally uploaded by christophercarfi.

At each step note what things YOU (the system provider) are responsible for, define what is done at each step, and show how channels work together

C) Expert reviews

  • Start with expert-derived list of common user experience problems
  • Identify goals for each channel
  • Reviewers try to accomplish each goal, while looking for each problems on the list
  • Great for: giving a common checklist, find basic navigation flaws, shines a spotlight on presentation problems


  • Personas highlighted problems (marketing speak in the developers section)
  • Half of site received little or no usage
  • Redesigned site after reviews
  • Home page abandonment down 11%
  • Conversion up 297%
  • Units sold per visit went up 67%

Ex: Cellular One

  • Installed phone self-service: complaints up, transfers b/w reps up
  • Observed 300 callers
  • Customer satisfaction up after the redesign
  • Automation rates up, 76% of customer payments now handled
  • 100% ROI in < 3 mos.

Is it worth it for you?
Harley’s point on building an ROI model. Not rocket science; basic blocking and tackling.

1) List explicit business goals for the channel
E.g For a website: conversion rates, avg order size are common metrics

2) Document current channel performance
For the goals above, list current values of the agreed upon metrics (e.g. current conversion rate is 2.6%)

3) Agree on possible ranges of improvement
E.g. website conversion rate increase of 10%-25%, ATM transaction rate improvement of 1% to 2%

4) Estimate costs
Go internally, or get external expert model (e.g. $500K to improve website)

5) Run what if scenarios
This is where the “magic” happens, however. [ed. — One can say that an activity “will increase conversion rates by 2.6%…but the best-laid-plans, etc….Manning glossed over this point. It’s ultimately all about execution.)

Ex: Eddie Bauer redesign
Spent $124,150 on design and dev, estimated added $5.5MM in profit as a result of the redesign.

Charlene Li On Social Computing

(Continuing notes from today’s Forrester Consumer Forum. More here.)

Charlene: “Focus on the relationships, not the technologies.”

Who’s using social computing technologies?

Four levels of participation: “The Participation Pyramid”

  • Creators – bloggers, etc.
  • Critics – commenting, ratings, reviews
  • Collectors – bookmarking, “save to favorites” in youtube
  • Couch potatoes – passive

Social media: “It’s not about the media, it’s about getting people to participate.”

Key point: Build community. If community exists, then dissemination is easier, wider (yahudi video #1, not the mentos guys)

Burpee Seeds: “November sales increased by 4x because of RSS”

  • Changed twice-yearly experience to a daily experience
  • Adding reviews with BazaarVoice increased the clickthrough rate by 43%

Anecdote: BassPro used feedback to redesign poor product. One lure had poor ratings, BassPro noticed, connected with manufacturer, and now redesigned product is selling well.

Getting Started

  • Decide how involved you will be with social computing
  • Map out what relationship you want to build
  • Listen to what is being said to find unmet needs
  • Participate in the conversations

How to start

    Start with RSS because it’s easy and impactful

    • Put press releases in RSS

  • Use blogs when you have something to say
    • Anyone can have a recruitment blog
    • Anyone can have an internal blog

  • Deploy wikis where knowledge is needed
    • “Less frequently asked questions”

Test original podcasting sparingly
– Start with earnings calls and executive presentations

Best practices in social computing
– Be ready to act on feedback
– Relationships can be messy, be prepared to make mistakes
– Use existing marketing metrics to gauge your success

Key quote: “Markets may be conversations…and trust and relationships create marketplaces.”

How DiscoverCard Is Connecting With Customers

(Continuing notes from today’s Forrester Consumer Forum. More here.)

Picture_2A net-positive presentation from Roger C. Hochschild, President and COO, Discover Financial Services. Hochschild seems to get it. Two particular areas of focus of note, with respect to connecting with their customers: Clarity and Control.

  • Clarity: Cut our fine-print in half
  • Control: If an account in compromised, Discover will assign a ::dedicated:: representative for the duration of the issue…don’t need to keep explaining yourself to the rep each time your call. [ed. nice.]

Two promises they make to their customers:

  • Promise to answer phone calls in 60 seconds or less.
  • Promise to answer emails in two hours or less.

A few key quotes:

  • “We’re willing to forego short-term revenue, in order to help the customer” — Example was given that they will send email to a customer 3 days before due date if payment not yet received. Although this loses the late fee revenue for that month, it strengthens their relationships.
  • “Build long-term value by focusing on solving your customer’s problems.”
  • “Building customer loyalty pays for itself.”

One interesting question from the Q&A:

Audience member: Will you pursue blogs and podcasts?
Hochschild: Not sure that people come to our site to hear from our CEO or myself. However, we are experimenting with RSS, and it may replace some of the email communications we’ve been sending out.

Forrester: Digitizing the Human Experience

Am in Chicago today at the Forrester Consumer Forum.

Notes from the keynote by Henry Harteveldt, on Digitizing the Human Experience

Harteveldt poses three questions to ask about the state of the market:

1) How do today’s digital experiences fall short?

Ex: Bloomingdale’s has a distinguished in-store experience, but that experience is missing online
– Site set up in “industry-speak” (what the heck is “casual china?”)
– No photos
– What is a ” Portmeiron USA Botanic PL 8″ ” (apparently it’s some kind of plate, but you’d never know that unless you were a buyer for Bloomingdales)

Ex: Sheraton Hotels
– Looks great…gives options for “Instant Answers” and “Online Chat”….but clicking gives an error that says “Your inquiry is best handled by Live Assistance, but our offices are currently closed. Please try again at a later time.”

Henry gives a good anecdote about service. The question:
“When contacting a company’s customer service, were you satisfied with the experience?”

52% were satisfied using a retail location
29% were satisfied using a web site
21% were satisfied using live chat

Interesting: there’s a Flickr stream just for crashed customer service kiosks

2) What is a humanized digital experience?

“An interaction in which the human benefits are more visible than the technology”
– emotional
– tacticle
– “we feel part o the community”

Three building blocks of a humanized digital experience
– “Useful”…offers value
– Relevant
– Reliable
– Functional

Good example: VW online car configurator

– “Usable”…provides easy access to value
– Accessible
– Convenient
– Familiar

Good example: Netflix, desktop widgets

– “Desirable”…appeal to emotions
– “Empathetic”
– “Empowering”
– “Engaging”

Emotional…not antiseptic.

Ex: E*Trade … invites to chat, while they are applying for a mortgage “Thank you for visiting E*trade Mortgage. Would you like live assistance with a mortgage loan consultant? ”

Apparently..13% of those who chat go on to complete a mortgage application.

Engaging: Mentos example, shown from Revver (about 20% of the audience had seen the video previously)

“Social media allow people to engage with one another.”

3) What priorities should guide your digital experience creation?

– Give users control … “It’s not about how you want to sell, but how the customer wants to buy”
– Explore new technologies that give consumers more control
– Use an approachable tone of voice
– Don’t overlook the small things (e.g. allow users to dynamically adjust font size on web sites…it’s small, it’s useful, it’s usable)

Overall, a good baseline. However…didn’t hear a thing about actual relationships between individuals. There was almost an undertone of how can technology be used to replace, rather than augment actual experiences. (The one exception was the E*Trade live chat example). Based on the agenda (especially the Social Computing track this afternoon), I have a feeling this was an anomaly. Still, would think that concept would be much more strongly presented in the foundational session of the event.

A, Proximately

Kent Newsome: “The indisputable fact is that proximity has always mattered, and it always will. Why? Because every meaningful business deal depends, at least in part, on relationships. Granted, technology has significantly reduced the need to travel, but it has not reduced to need to look someone in the eyes.”