Ross Mayfield’s Weblog: Service and the Fifty Percent Rule

This week, Ross Mayfield makes an interesting point about the level of service experience at the Apple Store. It’s a brilliant post and poses some great follow-on questions, but the thing I liked most was this point about support knowledge:

But I think Apple gets something more than the value of customer experience. According to the Consortium of Service Innovation, there is an iceberg effect for product knowledge. 90% of conversations about supporting products never touch the company. Only 10% touch the call center. And 1% of this service and product quality knowledge are assimilated.

Sometimes this distribution is purposeful. Support is viewed as a cost center. Time to resolution (which we’ve decreased by as much as 30%) often trumps customer satisfaction or capturing knowledge. Worst practices are often employed to incent contact center reps to avoid contact.

The problem is far worse with multi-vendor support. Multi-vendor issues take 3-4 times longer to resolve. So almost all vendors explicitly do not support these issues at all. There is some promise in Vendor Relationship Management, or communities that address systemic needs through the demand side supplying itself, but only the beginning of promise.

[From Ross Mayfield’s Weblog: Service and the Fifty Percent Rule]

How is your performance? Do you even measure knowledge creation rates? Do you know how many of your support center cases are already solved in the knowledge base, but customers aren’t finding it?

Perhaps more importantly, have you moved past “call avoidance” to embrace Customer Engagement the way Apple has in the Apple Store?

FriendFeed, value, and … on Gillmor Gang

The May 30th Gillmor Gang is all about FriendFeed and it’s one of the best I’ve heard.

http://gillmorgang.techcrunch.com/2008/05/31/gillmor-gang-053008/

Why FriendFeed Matters

Bret Taylor of FriendFeed makes the point that different people use different tools, and that’s one of the reasons he created FriendFeed. He says: “The union of all of your friend’s one or two services is a really diverse set of information and a really diverse array of services.”

For me, this is the key point. I shouldn’t have to use the same tool as my friends in order to see their photos, videos, favorite music or movies, recommended news articles or podcasts. The key is in how usable my view into all this information can be.

Following the conversation

Today we can search, but when the conversation is flying, I really want to see “who else is talking about this”. Within that view, I may want to be able to limit it to what my friends are saying, or maybe what their friends are saying, or just see the whole conversation.

This is not a trivial problem. The conversation isn’t a single thread; it doesn’t start from a single place. So bringing it all together in a coherent way is not easy. I shouldn’t have to be an expert at crafting a search string in order to find and follow the conversation. That search complexity should be hidden – It needs to be a usable, intuitive interface that lets me focus on the content, on the conversation.

Segmentation of content

I’m not very interested in Robert Scoble’s twitter feed or his shows on Qik, but I’m very interested in his events list on Upcoming, shared items from Google Reader and his detailed posts on technology. Can FriendFeed be the place where I follow just the parts of Scoble’s prodigious output that interests me? Can this kind of fussy control be provided without making the user experience so dense that it drives away users?

Take a Listen

The Gillmor Gang today covered all these questions and more. It was a fascinating hour, and the FriendFeed team handled it all thoughtfully and with great insight.

Hugh McLeod says “Being a nucleus is the money shot” for FriendFeed, and I think he’s right. The FriendFeed team seems poised to really make it work.

Why the Open will win

Why the Open will win

If only my friends who have accounts in the same service can see my photos or favorite music or restaurants, then I will put less energy into participating in that service. But with a mesh of services connected by common syndication formats and open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), my friends and I can share and converse amongst ourselves or with the connected world, independent of which tools we use.

For all the services using this open model, this network of tools brings audience. People who share photos, recommend an interesting article, or podcast, or coming event will pull more people into the conversation – a conversation tied to the open mesh of tools.

Any company that sticks to a silo strategy will fail. Instead of the silo communities locking in their users, they will be locked out of the conversation.

Obama on Veterans.

Barack Obama spoke a few weeks ago in West Virginia, and this is an excerpt of the speech where he addresses Veteran issues:

Personally, I lost an uncle to suicide largely stemming from his tour in Vietnam. I also watched the effects of PTSD on another uncle, of the WWII generation, grow worse as he slipped into dementia in the years before he passed in his 80’s. I feel very strongly that our service men and women are heroes, whether or not I agree with the policies of our civilian leadership who put them in the fight.

Obama’s speech in this podcast is worth listening to. For that matter, subscribe to the podcast series and listen to what he says on a variety of issues.

http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/podcast

Pescadero Garden tour, Saturday, May 19th

My friend Monique was instrumental in organizing this year’s tour. Details are on the HMB Review webite, at:

http://www.hmbreview.com/articles/2007/05/16/community/community_news/story4.txt

Come on down! let me know if you’ll be joining us!

Douse the controversy, or transform it?

Everyone has been making much of the Obama speech on race and racism in america. David S. Broder of the Washington Post has written well on the subject and why it will continue to be a controversy. But he suggests that Obama’s immediate objective was to “douse the controversy” surrounding his relationship with Reverend Wright.

I don’t believe that this was Obama’s objective. Most politicians seek to push away from controversy, but Obama seems to want to use it rather than to simple make the controversy go away.

This is one of the things I find impressive about Obama. I hope he continues to push us all to confront these difficult issues of race and class, so we can make America the place we all believe it can be.

Original Washington Post article

“Them” is very much ‘Us”

Shel Israel wrote a powerful post a couple days ago. I just saw it. It’s in the general theme of social networks, but really it’s about bigotry. A Must-Read:

http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2008/02/its-them.html

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Anti-Customer Update – WSJ Online

WSJ Online now has a policy that shuts down your account access if they detect you logging in from more than one computer at a time.

TechCrunch does a nice job telling the story behind this fiasco.

What I find really funny is that this sort of stupidity is now considered an “understandable, and classic reaction” from incumbent executives. Erick at TechCrunch is exactly right about this.

There’s hope for WSJ, of course. If Rupert Murdock has his way

 – but what about YOUR company?

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Danah Boyd on socialization in the digital world

In this video interview, Danah Boyd makes some great points about lack of socialization of kids. Lack of space for them to gather and be social even in with their own friends and some of the factors making this happen. Then she talks about how they DO socialize, online… OK, there’s a few asides regarding Scoble being different from normal users, but the rest is fascinating stuff.

Danah Boyd interview by Robert Scoble, at Davos:

[From QIK | Streaming video right from your phone]

Danah Boyd is a researcher who studies teens ad their online interactions. See more on Danah at her website.

You can also read about her on Wikipedia

What one thing did you do on your blog in 2007…

Well, the one and only thing that I did for my blog was start it up again…

[From What one thing did you do on your blog in 2007 that improved it the most? – The Last Answers]