Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bill of Attainder - not just for civics class anymore

he needs to be prosecuted to the, the fullest extent of the law; and if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law

Friday, October 29, 2010

Social Commerce SEO Benefits

Lots of buzzwords there in the title - but in a nutshell, putting customer generated content on your product pages helps people find your stuff in search engines.  Bazzarvoice hosted a webinar last week featuring Cabelas.  Cabelas has always had a great online catalog, but hasn?t always had great placement in the search engines.  They?ve started featuring the latest 4 or 5 customer reviews directly on the product page.  Many other sites (Sprint included) tend to keep the reviews hidden behind a tab or a sub-modal somewhere.http://www.bazaarvoice.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/cs_covario_background1.jpg

By placing the customer reviews right on the product page, the search engines index the product and the words real customers use to describe the product.  Instead of having to manually (and often disingenuously) seed your page with the words you think your customers may use to describe your product, you let the customers do it for you.  By putting real world customer words right on the product page you end up with multiple benefits:

  • Better search driven traffic - north of double the organic traffic
  • Fresher content - the page is updated frequently with customer reviews.  Search engines like fresh content 
  • More transparency - you show you aren?t afraid of customer opinions of your product.
  • And the above should lead to increased sales and more revenue.

Win - win situation.  You get more traffic and sales, your customers feel more trust in your product and brand.

Where are you using your online product reviews in your site?

What tools or tactics do you use to encourage your customers to contribute reviews and user generated content for your social commerce platform?

Originally posted on the Sprint /meta discussion Community

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Adding Value

You can add value in two ways:
  • You can know the answers.
  • You can offer the questions.
Relentlessly asking the right questions is a long term career, mostly because no one ever knows the right answer on a regular basis.
Via Seth Godin

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Designing for Social Media

clean.pngJason Falls writes an insightful article on the design of social  media websites on Social Media Explorer.  Great quote (emphasis mine):
There’s a really good reason people love apps, and in particular applications from brands. They are often streamlined and simple versions of a company’s website or serve a specific purpose. There’s no annoying copy in marketing speak, no flash banners slowing down the page load, no pop-ups and, often, no confusion on where to go to get what you want. Why? Because mobile or tablet/iPad apps are supposed to be simple, serve 1-2 purposes and get out of the way.

Which is precisely what most users want from a corporate website.
Want to make your website kick-***? Build it like you’d build an app. Think of the 1-2-or-3 things your main audience wants from your website, or cool stuff you can give them. Then just deliver that.

[image courtesy Electrolux Design Lab
http://www.flickr.com/photos/electrolux-design-lab/4730081230/ ]

Friday, August 13, 2010

Complaint Handling in Social Media

Megan Berry writes an interesting article on Mashable listing five strategies for dealing with complaints on Twitter.  Her strategies are targeted at the short, realtime medium of Twitter, but they can be expanded for use with any social media customer service channel -- like this site!

Megan writes:
"It’s all too easy to get frustrated and respond with something that will just make the situation worse (“I’ll give you a refund right away… oh wait, you didn’t actually pay for this!”) or to take it personally and get upset. While there is no magic formula for dealing with complaints in social media, I do have a few tips that have helped me.

1. A Quick Response Goes a Long Way
- many situations can be defused by a quick reply to clarify the problem

2. You May Have To Respond As You, Not Your Company
- Posting from a personal account brings humanity back into the equation, not a person vs. a faceless corporation.

3. Give Yourself More Than 140 Characters To Respond
- Using email or even a phone call can help to turn around a problem

4. Let Someone Else Respond For You
- This one is touchy; if you have a following and fans who can provide a counterpoint, you can bring the issue to their attention.  But done wrong it will appear you are ganging up on the negative commenter.  This is where having a robust community is most helpful - you will find that the long term helpful problem solvers will automatically step in to try to resolve the issue.

5. Know When To Let It Go
- Sometimes, there's people you just can't help.  Examples for Sprint: Customers who just don't have coverage.  Products priced out of their budget.  Features that are discontinued.  The best you can hope for in some situations is a neutral agreement to disagree.  Then step back.  There are some people that just want to feed the flames or stir the pot, and continued dialog with them isn't productive.

There's no magic formula for defusing problem situations in social media, but these steps can help.  Be sure to check out the original article for some interesting comments!

via Rich Pesce from Sprint

(original post on Sprint Community /meta blog)

Netbook Restored!

While waiting for the interminable weekly software update to complete on the work laptop, I unboxed and fired up some new parts for my Asus EEEPC 1005HA.  Somewhere over the summer I lost the power adapter for it, and it's been battery dead for a couple of weeks.  I finally got around to buying a new eee PC power adapter off Amazon from Battery1Inc.   I've read a lot of reviews about aftermarket adapters, and they universally warn that none of them fit right.  For $17 I figured I couldn't go too wrong - and surprisingly  it works perfectly!  Right voltage (19v), right pin-size *and* pin-length.  It snaps in place just like the factory adapter.  Appears to be very similar to the factory adapter, too.

Now that the battery was recharged, I upgraded the RAM.  I know that's spooky for some people, but Asus made it as easy as possible.  Unscrew battery door.  Pop up.  Press the retaining arms out of the way.  Use a plastic spudger (or plastic fork) to pop the installed 1GB memory module out.  Carefully seat the new 2GB module on the pins and press down.  Reboot, holding F2 down to get the BIOS to re-check the installed memory.  Done!

Now I've got the one with more Gee Bees!

Anyway - the Netbook is now rebooting and installing a months worth of Windows updates, and the work PC is back online. so back to Omniture report trolling!

Have a great weekend!


(original post at 'on the geek side', my work blog)

Friday, June 04, 2010

My Values for a Content-Centric CMS-driven Website:

So, you want to design a content centric CMS website.  Here's a few tips for you.

1) As small a page size as practical for fast download times.

2) Minimal design elements - the focus is on content, communication and participation.  Whitespace is good.

3) Flexible design using repeating elements
    a) flexible for us to modify layout using CMS admin tools
    b) flexible for various browsers -- media driven CSS for smallscreen viewing
    c) Graphical elements that resize from small to wide, short to tall (lines, corners, etc)
    d) Text for all variable items

4) Focus on What's Important.  People-centric story-driven site?  People should be front and center.  Content?  Content front and center. 

5) Use familiar navigation structures to enable rapid discoverability of content

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Social Media Notes from T-Mobile UK

I just attended a webinar from T-Mobile UK about "Using Social Networks and Knowledge to Deliver a Better Customer Experience". Took some notes. Follows is the notes. Errors are mine.

* Social Media is Fast growing
* Poorly documented with few 'best practices'
* 45% of companies have zero FTE dedicated to social media.
* Reports show nearly 10% of support incidents handled via social media across all businesses.
* Social Media channels change - 'second life' --> 'twitter' --> 'facebook' --> ???

* 53% of customers for TMUK want to use web for first point of contact

* Content delta confuses customers - need unified content system / strategy. Content delta decreases first call resolution. TMUK uses Inqira for content management to present a unified set of information. Everyone has the same answer regardless of channel. Content ownership / authorship is distributed among the lanes in the company, not restricted to an authorship group.

* TMUK Integrates direct customer feedback into change efforts - feedback from the community on how they are doing.

* TMUK Forums have 3 moderators (FTE 8a - 6p). They remove personal attacks, spam, profanity. Encourages negative views of company. "Allows us to identify, react to negative perceptions". Takes problems into company (firmware foulup in this example) and changes processes for communication, execution.

* TMUK measures ROI on call deflection - shows 5% call deflection, relates that to the 3 FTE. Notes that the same level of call handling would take 22 call center reps.

* TMUK uses Inqira forums - because the content workflow / content management tools keep a consistent message.

* Online 120 days. 1.4 million page views. Not fully launched. Working on customer recognition / reward scheme for customers that answer questions - how helpful they are.

* Beginning to use Twitter for customer service. Immediate use for customer support. Listen, respond, build oppty to sell.

* Trial with video content. Phase 1) TMUK generated. Phase 2) User Generated Video content. Unsure of how they'll do it or what form it will take.

* With single content management system, they have created 'single version of the truth'. Having consistent, clear, accurate and transparent answers, being accountable to the customers and reacting to customer concerns is their key to success.