The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Thursday
Oct022014

Three Things Traditional Retailers Still Need to Nail

At the Shop.org Summit in Seattle this week, retailers focused on the issues that they face as they continue to defend against threats to their growth from online-only etailers and the changing environment and behaviors of their digital consumer.  One keynote, which included CEOs from Birchbox, Houzz and Zulily, highlighted the success these online retail disruptors have had as they attack the traditional brick and mortar business model.

Walking around the show floor, and listening to these disruptors, certain themes emerge, reflecting the ongoing struggle traditional retailers have as they try to keep up with the digital age. While it is clear some are thinking about building leading technology products, others continue to treat digital as an IT function that follows the general course of business.

1. Mobile - With the amazing amount of time consumers are spending on mobile devices, it's clear that retailers are still trying to figure out how to best leverage the millions of devices that customers own. From mobile payments to omni-channel campaigns to apps, the strategies for capturing mindshare and purchases from a consumer's phone are emerging. For some attending, monumental changes will be required to adopt the technologies that connect phones to the shopping and checkout process in-store.

2. Social - While the Expo floor had a number of vendors that claim to socially enable ecommerce, most of them focused around analytics and personalization, as opposed to purchasing from social platforms. The notion of social selling was practically non-existent in keynotes and in the exhibit hall. The introduction of Twiiter's and Facebook's Buy buttons seemed to be barely a whisper in the crowd, while "omni-channel" selling was all the rage.

3. Analytics -  While most retailers would tell you they live and breathe their analytics, and are highly advanced in their capacity to analyze customer data, the one thing that is clear is that the knowledge is still not being applied to enhance consumers' online and mobile shopping experiences to the degree it is with native digital retailers. Zulily's CEO stated that every day they publish a new site, and each visitor sees a home page that's customized for them.  I am pretty certain that I have never gotten a customized home page when visiting Nordstrom.com or jcrew.com, despite the fact I shop there often. 

Friday
Sep192014

UPDATE: Three Reasons Why Twitter's Buy Button May Not Fly With Retailers and Consumers 

Twitter's recently announced launch into the online commerce space has gotten a lot of buzz, as practically any move Twitter makes these days does. The ability to buy directly from a tweet seems to be the natural extension of Twitter's card capability, and a clear response to the pressure to monetize social conversations.  However, on closer inspection, the Twitter experience may not ultimately create fans among retailers and their customers.  Why? Just look at the answers to these three questions:

1. Who owns the customer?  The customer will purchase an item from a retailer, but give their credit card to Twitter. That likely means a customer can't use the retailers own credit card, that often earns them loyalty points. Twitter's action to capture the customer data will fall under the Twitter Terms of Service, not the merchant's. Be careful to watch for updates to the privacy policy and Terms of Service agreements once credit cards are used. Will Twitter be permitted to provide my Macy's purchase history to Nordstrom's?

2. Who services the customer? Everyone knows that buying online inevitably leads to a return or exchange. In fact, sometimes when my friends purchase shoes they buy two sizes to ensure they get the one that fits properly. Will Twitter process the returns and credit? Occasionally, a merchant mixes up my order and sends me the wrong goods, or bills me for something I didn't receive. If I buy from Twitter, who will I call to make things right? The merchant? Twitter? My credit card company?  The lack of transparency around how Twitter plans to handle problems with fulfillment and returns could create hurdles to purchase for consumers, especially in the wake of credit card theft with more trusted merchants like Target and Home Depot.

3. Who bills the credit card? Recently, Squarespace, the platform behind this site, switched to billing through Stripe, the processor now working with Twitter. One day my Amex bill showed a monthly charge under the name "Stripe", prompting me to call Amex about the potential fraud for a charge I didn't recognize, only to discover it was placed on behalf of Squarespace.  As far as the credit card company is concerned, Stripe was the merchant who billed. As a customer, though, I thought I purchased from Squarespace. If I  have a dispute as a consumer, it is always telling who my credit card company communicates with on my behalf. Will the merchant brand, Twitter, or Stripe protect my credit interests best? 

Online shopping depends on a trusted relationship between the consumer and the merchant.  However, with the introduction of the Twitter Buy button, there are now a number of platforms involved in disintermediating that relationship when purchasing through Twitter. Consequently, it is hard to imagine that this trusted relationship will remain unaffected by the social giant participating in - and actually managing - these transactions on behalf of well-loved retail brands.

September 22, 2014 UPDATE:

Having just received a Burberry tweet with a BuyNow button embedded in it, I was able to test the end to end process and easily access a link to Twitter's new Commerce Terms. 

A few interesting things to notice about their approach to the above questions...

1. Who Owns the Customer? Twitter indicates that the transfer of title and liability for the product arriving in good condition rests with the merchant. "The transfer of title and risk of loss for any Product you purchase using Buy Now is solely between you and the Merchant. Twitter is not responsible or liable for any Product loss, destruction or other damage, whether during delivery or otherwise."  This indicates the Merchant remains the owner of the customer, and although Twitter is also storing all valid customer data they are not providing any consumer service for the benefit except facilitating repeat purchases.

2. Who Services the Customer? The language around Twitter's role in a consumer dispute related to a transcation that happens on Twitter is quite clear - Twitter is not involved. Go to the merchant, and please don't contact us if your order doesn't go through as you might have expected.

a. Customer Service. You agree that you will direct all customer service inquiries, complaints, problems and other issues, including disputes, to the Merchant who sold the Product you purchased.

b. Merchant Disputes. Twitter does not handle disputes on behalf of the Merchant. If you report any customer service issues relating to a purchase made through Buy Now Features to Twitter, we may forward that communication to the appropriate Merchant.

One way to avoid handling customer disputes is to indicate that a product bought through this method are not eligible for return (let alone a free return.) So read the return policy carefully.

3. Who Bills the Credit Card? It matters who bills your credit card, especially when unauthorized charges might appear on your statement. So it is important to note Twitter's position on this as I stated above. Once again, Twitter indicates they are not to be held accountable for unauthorized charges, despite the fact they are storing your credit data.

a. Unauthorized Charges. You agree that the applicable Merchant, not Twitter, will be solely responsible for resolving any unauthorized transaction claims or any other transaction disputes, and you will need to contact such Merchant directly to resolve any transaction claims or concerns.
b. Notification of Unauthorized Charge. You agree to notify Twitter immediately (for Twitter’s informational purposes only) if you believe an unauthorized transaction has occurred under your Twitter account using the Buy Now Features.

 

The thing to understand as a consumer is that Twitter's Commerce Terms are crafted solely to position their platform as a service with virtually no accountability for its role in handling the purchase transaction. "Twitter only provides the platform for facilitating the transaction and user services" and "assumes no responsibility or liability for the Product Listing, Products, order fulfillment (including shipping and returns), the actions or inaction of Merchants, or any dispute or communications you have with the Merchant."

Buyer beware.

 

 

Monday
Jul212014

Three Informative Reports on Digital Content Trends

I get a lot of interesting white papers, blog posts, and ebooks merchandised to me from all of the sites and lists and groups I subscribe to across the web, as I am sure you do, too. Who has time to read them all? Well, fortunately for you, I have had a little more time on my hands this past week to read, since I am in the process of moving and have lost my my cable subscription. So as a public service, I have curated links to three of the most interesting ones I uncovered.

1. Newstex's blog often has a few pearls and insights whch I find brief and helpful, like this one they recently posted about the 2014 Reuters Institute Digital News Report, which is also summarized in this video. Participants in the study by YouGov, which served as the basis for the report, were from 10 different countries, and "according to the report, 37% of consumers access news from a smartphone each week, and 20% access news from a tablet each week." 

2. On a similar track, eMarketer posted an article on the trend in mobile consumption of media based on data released earlier this month by GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research, and based on May 2014 polling by IDG Global Solutions. "The research found that among smartphone and tablet users worldwide whose devices had replaced other media, print newspapers saw the most abandonment, with 50% of tablet owners switching over to mobile news, and 41% of smartphone users doing the same."

3) Over on GigaOm, Carmel DeAmicis wrote about Facebook's new Save feature, which is a help to Facebook's media partners, since the feature is not accessible when it comes to saving social content from friends. "The only content you can revisit is that of Facebook groups or external articles, music and videos. In other words, Facebook’s Save feature is only for saving media, not for saving social activity." This feature is one I have often wanted as a consumer, and it will be interesting to see if content publishers see a change in consumer behavior as a a result of Facebook adding it. Clearly the consumpion of media from social streams is increasing, and the source of news is often our friends, who are sharing as I am with you.

 

Friday
Jul112014

Does Your Brand Have A Zingy Feeling?

One of my favorite mail order businesses is Zingerman's, a world famous deli based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Recently, the New York Times did a wonderful profile of the company's incredible business model, which encourages employees to grow with the business and pitch new business ideas to expand the Zingerman's portfolio of enterprises.  
Zingerman's catalog is filled with wonderful illustrations and creative copyPart community college, part incubator, part retail operation, Zingerman's promise is based on an assumption that the staff has drunk the Kool Aid, or rather, Ann Arbor's own Clancy Fancy Hot Sauce.

Another employee, Tess Eastment, who was starting work in the catering business, said, “I was pretty cynical when I started working here but have to admit, I am drinking the Kool-Aid now.”

“I hate that analogy,” Mr. Weinzweig said to her. “That Kool-Aid killed people and cults imply being secretive. We are totally open.”

Not surprisingly, there are reams of research studies exploring the connection between a customer's experience and the service they receive from employees of the businesses they frequent.  In the September 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review called the Truth About Customer Experience, the authors spell out that tight connection.

In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. They also discover more-effective ways to collaborate across functions and levels, a process that delivers gains throughout the company.

Tuesday
Jul082014

Five Great Product Management Books

1. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products is a great book that delves into the relationship between behavior and product adoption.

Nir Eyal distilled years of research, consulting and practical experience to write Hooked. Who doesn't want to design a product that becomes part of the daily fabric of consumers' lives? Businesses know that habits are hard to give up, and marketing alone can not convince people to take up a new one.

Nir's model to create the "hook" is simple enough to understand, even though the psychology of human behavior is not.

2. Creativity, Inc Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way of True Inspiration  is not strictly a product management book in the traditional sense. However, the book hits on some of the key traits that product managers need to be successful, including inspiring creativity in others, the importance of storytelling, and the value of a candid, yet sensitive culture. Written by Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, this book will help most product managers elevate their leadership game.

3. The Four Steps to the Epiphany launched the Lean Startup approach to new ventures. Author Steve Blank currently teaches entrepreneurship and customer development at Stanford University School of Engineering and at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Often spoken about in the same breadth as another product management classic, Geoffrey Moore's Crossing the Chasm, The Four Steps to the Epiphany  introduces the notion of customer development as a critical component of the product development process, encouraging entrepreneurs to go to market with minimally featured products, to attract early customers, and to validate market theories. The iterative process is an essential part of agile product development.

4. Making Things Happen, Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun is an essential book for product managers, not just program or project management leads. Are you a product leader who labors without a strong PMO to support them? Making Things Happen covers the fundamentals of planning, tracking and managing teams to deliver enterprise class technology projects, and provides a framework for handling the communications and relationships across a complex matrixed organization. 

5. Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience  helps product designers and product managers rapidly experiment with design ideas, validate them with real users, and continually adjust your design based on what you learn. Keeping designers engaged in the agile development process can be a challenge, but this books helps bring the designers toolkit into the process of defining the Minimum Viable Product.

In the late 1990's while at Visio Corp, the Visio Enterprise product team I led won a Jolt Award from Dr. Dobbs. Lean UX received the 2013 Jolt Award from Dr. Dobb's Journal as the best book of the year, so maybe that's my bias towards this quick and easy guidebook. At a brief 152 pages, it can easily be read on a cross country flight, which is just what I did. 

Wednesday
Jul022014

The McKinsey Seven Traits of Effective Digital Organizations (Excerpt)

1. Be unreasonably aspirational.

2. Acquire capabiltiies.

3. Ring fence and cultivate talent.

4. Challenge everything.

5. Be quick and data driven.

6. Follow the money.

7. Be obssessed with the customer.

"The age of experimentation with digital is over. In an often bleak landscape of slow economic recovery, digital continues to show healthy growth. E-commerce is growing at double-digit rates in the United States and most European countries, and it is booming across Asia. To take advantage of this momentum, companies need to move beyond experiments with digital and transform themselves into digital businesses. Yet many companies are stumbling as they try to turn their digital agendas into new business and operating models. The reason, we believe, is that digital transformation is uniquely challenging, touching every function and business unit while also demanding the rapid development of new skills and investments that are very different from business as usual. To succeed, management teams need to move beyond vague statements of intent and focus on “hard wiring” digital into their organization’s structures, processes, systems, and incentives."

READ MORE

Tuesday
Jul012014

Has Facebook Gone Too Far? New Consumer Research Tests Ethical Boundaries

In case you missed yesterday's headlines about Facebook's effort to redefine the relationship it has with their consumers - and the product they assume they are using - here is a sampling for you to review.

Facebook Tinkers With Users' Emotions in News Feed

Academics Question The Value Of Facebook’s Controversial Research

Facebook emotion study breached ethical guidelines

Facebook made users depressed in secret research: Site deleted positive comments from friends

These headlines about a previous year's research study sit eerily next to stories like this one from last winter.

Facebook used by cops to thwart George Washington Bridge suicide

And this one from around the same time, when the short days of winter and the holidays loom large.

Coroner warns of dangers of Facebook after student, 19, targeted by young women bullies online hanged himself.

In addition to the ethics questions this research raises, these stories made me want to go back and see what other things I have allowed Facebook to do in that ridiculous terms of service agreement I consented to before using the site. And it's not just the Facebook ToS, I want to go back and read the ToS of every cloud based service I use. The trouble is that even if I do read them, I still won't understand what defines some of the most essential terms, like "research" or "promotion", within them. Why? Because it is up to the individual brands to fill them with meaning, based upon how they are executed.

Another Facebook brand, Instagram, had its own controversy about its terms of service in late 2012 and early 2013, not long after Facebook researchers manipulated the feeds to test their theories on positive and negative posts. (Although Facebook's study occured in 2012, the results did not make it to a broadly published forum at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in June of this year.)  Instagram's new policies, reported by the NY Times Bits Blog, state:

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you,” the new terms say. This means that photographs uploaded to Instagram could end up in an advertisement on the service or on Facebook.

The key takeaway here is that a brand chooses to define itself by accepting some boundaries and ignoring others.  The more we use a brand's products or services, even in the wake of this kind of revelation, the more we provide them our tacit approval to continue to gerrymander our relationship.

 

UPDATE on 7/1/14:

Watch this related NBC Nightly News Report on the topic of Terms of Service policies across our online services.

 

More Related Links:

Important lessons from the Instagram controversy

New figures reveal the photo sharing service Instagram has lost almost 50 per cent of its daily users in less than a month   

On Facebook, Likes Become Ads.

 

Monday
Jun302014

The State of US Internet Access: Mobile Connections Exploding

Twice a year, in June and December, the FCC publishes a report about the state of Internet access in the US. The report, which summarizes data collected by FCC Form 477 about connections in the United States (over 200 kilobits per second in at least one direction), creates a visual picture of the speed and access rates across the country in a series of detailed graphs, charts and maps. And while it does not provide a great deal of analysis (ok, none really, at all), it does offer a strong view of the trends in digital consumption. The introduction summarizes a few key takeaways:

Notable developments between June 2012 and June 2013 include:

Internet connections overall are growing. The number of connections over 200 kbps in at least one direction increased by 13% year-over-year to 276 million.

In June 2013, there were 70 million fixed and 93 million mobile connections with download speeds at or above 3 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds at or above 768 kbps as compared to 57 million fixed and 43 million mobile connections a year earlier. 

The report details a number of interesting data points around mobile, notably that fact that many consumers are able to experience reasonable broadband speeds from their mobile devices, leading to a whopping 62.5% of residential connections via mobile wireless.

U.S. Federal Communications Commission Internet Access Services: Status as of June 30, 2013As a product designer,  I see this as a huge proof point for the importance of a mobile-first design strategy for any digital brand.  

Wednesday
Jun252014

My Top 5 Product Management Blogs

As a community service, I thought it might be time to re-run the bases on product management blogs I check in on. Here's an update on ones you might also find valuable. 

1. MindTheProduct is an international product community. Started in 2010 with the very first ProductTank meetup in London and followed by the Mind the Product Conference in 2012 it has now grown to consist of 5,000 members and sold out events in 21 cities around the world.

2. Jeremy Horn is an award-winning,  product management veteran with fifteen years of experience leading and managing product teams.  His blog is The Product Guy.  As founder of The Product Group, he has created the largest product management meetup in the world and hosts the annual awarding of The Best Product Person.

3. The Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG) was created to share senior level experience and best practices with technology companies. Our Partners all come from industry, where each has held senior level executive positions delivering industry-leading products. We are not career consultants.  Our Partners are all experienced and successful company executives with both startup and Fortune 500 experience.

4. I came upon Jackie Bavaro's Quora blog and found it had some good nuggets for a drive by viewing. She posts her thoughts and discussion on how to be a great Product Manager. Jackie is a Product Manager at Asana and co-author of Cracking the PM Interview.

5. And the meta product management blog can be found here at Alltop's PM site.

 

 

Monday
Jun232014

Do Your Company Values Include Valuing Your Customers' Business?

I recently read this post on USA Today, "Has Jet Blue Lost Its Heart?" and was struck by the notion that an airline, which has prided itself on being of the people and for the people, may actually be a part of an industry that makes it impossible for its employees to uphold this corporate position. While it may seem like a wise marketing strategy to attract customers as the "un-airline" (reference also T-Mobile's Uncarrier positioning), the article suggests that the reason many airlines don't occupy this customer-friendly position is because it is just plain unsafe or impractical, given what is at stake.  In a steel tube, propelling at hundreds of miles per hour at altitudes of tens of thousands of feet above the ground, giving the customer exactly what they want or need may be a dangerous proposition.

Further complicating the risk that not everyone will be able to thoughtfully apply the company values in stressful situations is the reality that every employee may simply not be onboard with the scope or intent of the company's values.  The article cites "Randy Pennington, author Results Rule! Build a Culture that Blows the Competition Away, [who] says it comes down to numbers. With 13,000 full- and part-time workers, and assuming that 5% are not completely aligned with the company's values, 'that's 650 opportunities for something to go wrong.'"

So what happens when something goes wrong? The author returns to the importance of company values as the touchstone for front line employees who struggle with how to handle these trying situations. The experts maintain that a well-trained employee feels empowered and supported by the company to act in a way that both values the customer and protects the business interests.


 

Monday
May262014

DIY Brand Design - A Simple Primer

If you are an entrepreneur starting out, or a small business owner trying to build a loyal customer base, you will benefit from reading this brief book that will teach you basic principles of brand design. Do It Yourself Brand Design is a simple primer that doesn't rise to the level of business school text book, but which still provides enough fundamental tips to build your brand IQ.

 

Monday
May262014

Managing Expectations May Be The Most Important Part Of Your Customers' Experience 

Wikipedia notes, "Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest."

Are you good at setting expectations? Do your expectations and your customers' expectations align? Managing expectations may be the most important part of your customers' experience.

How many times have you been disappointed with your own experience as a consumer? At the root of a bad customer experience is often a failure to meet a core expectation. Common expectations consumers have across products and services often concern reliability, durability, cleanliness, safety or ease of use.

However, when a customer's expectations are missed, which can often happen due to unanticipated events like weather, staffing shortages or missed deliveries, is the loyalty game over? It really shouldn't be, as this is often where the rubber meets the road, and many brands forget this critical point: with failure brings the opportunity to recover. And how a brand recovers, is what matters at these moments of truth.

During a recent visit to a 4 star hotel, I noticed long brown hairs plastered on the back of the bathroom door, right after I had checked in. I mentioned them to the front desk staff, who appeared dutifully upset, and assured me that housekeeping would re-inspect and clean the room. I mentioned that while I certainly understood that other people have used the room before me, in a 4 star property it was my expectation that I should see no physical evidence that they had. They wholeheartedly agreed.

We returned to the room later that day after the regular cleaning time and found the hair still there, evidence my complaint had not been addressed. (This is why I didn't remove it when I initially reported the problem.) When we checked out of our room the next day, I told the front desk manager, who was not there when I made the first report, that the cleaning crew had not been informed or had not acted on the complaint, but as a result, I was disappointed in either event with my stay.

At this point, seeing how badly my expectations had been serviced, the man behind the front desk recognized the moment of truth he faced on behalf of his employer. There was little to indicate I would return, and even more to fear that I might write a bad review on TripAdvisor or tweet a picture of the offending hair and door. So he acted decisively, removing the second room night from my bill, and in the process he communicated ample indignation at the failure of his colleagues to materialize results. The next day, a personal note from the head of housekeeping landed in my inbox, indicating that my picture and experience will be part of employee training going forward. I was impressed with the follow through and grateful for the acknowledgement I had been heard.

Now contrast that response with another hotel experience at a high end luxury chain. Our room at this hotel was blessed with an Eco friendly lighting system that was intended to shut down AC and lights when the room was vacant. During our stay, however, the system failed often in properly detecting our presence, frequently shutting down when we remained in the room but were quietly settled in to read or watch TV. The lack of motion tricked the system into thinking the room was empty. So to recover the AC or lights we had to constantly wave our arms to wake the system.

Upon checking out, the front desk attendant mechanically asked how we enjoyed our stay. We informed him things were ok, but the nuisance of the faulty system would probably keep us from considering a return visit. His reply? "Sorry about that! I'll take off the valet parking charge for your inconvenience." And that was that.

Whether it is a free dessert, a discount off a future purchase, a complementary meal, or a free room night, the act of recovery should be more compelling than a simple mea culpa, and it must deftly communicate that the brand understands the importance of those customer expectations which have been missed. Brands must also train and empower employees to recognize these moments of truth and act upon them with authority.

Wednesday
May212014

The Internet Of Things - A Look At The Good And The Bad 

Pew Research Center just pubished their May 2014 report The Internet of Things Will Thrive by 2025, and it provides a balanced perspective on the benefits and risks of our increasing acceptance of the connected homes we live in and the connected cars we drive. Our increasingly networked lives will potentially be healthier and more convenient, but there will be unintended consequences beyond the obvious privacy implications, Pew warns. So it's worth a read.

Credit: SatizTPM

Tuesday
May202014

Does a Product Designer Need To Be A Great Storyteller?

It's an interesting question - is a product's story the invention of a marketeer providing its position, or the product's designer giving a product its voice?

Over at Medium, which bills itself as "a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends," I found an interesting "musing" on this topic, which clearly suggests that a product's story must truly be embedded into a product's design to be effective in engaging its users to the max. Thanks to Apple, the author maintains, it's not enough to launch a product simply supported by messages in the marketplace. The product itself must communicate its value, its role, and its intent in how a user experiences it.

Worth the 5 min read (an estimate provided by Medium.)

https://medium.com/design-of-a-technology-business/21e841927513

 

 

Monday
May192014

Digital Innovation and The Media

Amidst all of the reporting about the Jill Abramson departure from the New York Times were several mentions of this killer digital report that was recently made public and analyzed the state of digital at the Gray Lady.  Some analysis of this report has been made, mostly in the context of the NY Times drama. However, the report stands firmly on its own, even without the journalistic Game of Thrones that has given it even greater meaning.

Notably, the report rehashes the meaning of disruptive innovation, gives more responsibility for audience development to players outside the marketing department, and promotes the notion of practicing and testing, seems to indicate just how slowly and begrudgingly the New York Times company (along with many other media giants) has faced the digital age. Meanwhile companies born in the digital age and driven by digital technology innovations have already stipulated these facts years ago, and built brands and media platforms that assume the world is changing.

 

Here is The Full New York Times Innovation Report

 

Thursday
May152014

Have You Lost Your Customer Focus?

Dilbert Copyright Scott Adams

Wednesday
Apr232014

This May Be My Favorite Quora Thread Ever

What are some awesome examples of simple yet innovative designs?
Click here to see the awesomeness.
designed by Aakash Dewan of DSK ISD (International School of Design ,India)
Tuesday
Apr222014

Need Creates Opportunity

"New York City prohibits students from carrying cellphones in public schools, but many are reluctant to leave their phones behind. As a result, the rule has created a modest side business for shops near some schools that allow students to store their phones for a fee...The phone storage business has transformed the storefront economy around the bustling intersection, producing such a strong business incentive that local owners say they must take part in order to avoid losing foot traffic." Read more from the NY Times.
Monday
Apr072014

5 Mobile Companies That Are 2014 Customer Champions

Every year, JD Powers publishes the results of the surveys it receives from consumers about which brands delight them with their service. More than 600 brands are evaluated in many categories from airlines to banks to automotive manufacturers.  

"The 50 companies we've recognized as Customer Champions demonstrate the highest levels of service excellence, not just compared with their direct competitors, but also across all facets of the customer experience. Not only does satisfaction encourage customer loyalty, but happy customers also become advocates of the brand to others. Particularly given the ability of today's consumers to easily communicate their experiences far and wide through social media and online reviews, customer advocacy can be critical to a company's bottom line," the JD Power Customer Champion announcement states.

 This year, I was struck by the selection of mobile companies that made it to the list.

  1. Boost Mobile
  2. Straight Talk
  3. TracFone
  4. US Cellular
  5. Metro PCS

The positive experience customers have with non-contract carriers is important, and the timing of this announcement no doubt played a huge role in the T-Mobile announcement around the same time to end contracts.