Every once in a while, I come across one of those situations where the answer seems so obvious that I have to wonder if they already know the answer, but just want to know what you’re going to say.You know, like Perry Mason asking the question, but he already knows the answer?
Today Verizon announced a new customer service channel for its FiOS subscribers. Dubbed "Verizon In-Home Agent," it's a desktop application that gives customers access to the type of back-office functions that typically require a call to a customer service agent. Customers can use the tool to set up email accounts, configure a PC to work on a home network, upgrade TV channel packages, or modify phone or voice mail features, among other things.
When it comes to customer service, Verizon has just upped the ante on convenience. As noted in my recent Convenience Quotient report on customer service, Web self-service is a popular method for consumers to resolve customer service issues, but FAQs/search, email and online chat have their own drawbacks. Here, Verizon gives consumers the control and the content to resolve their own service issues without involving the company at all, if they wish. That's a huge benefit to some consumers -- not to mention Verizon -- although less tech-savvy consumers may be hesitant to use the In-Home Agent no matter how simple Verizon claims it to be.
The Media Meltdown of fragmented audiences and broken media company business models
is disrupting traditional marketing strategies and partnerships.
Marketing leaders must work with their teams, agencies, and media
partners to update their vision of integrated marketing in order to
counter the effects of the meltdown and to harness social media.
Tomorrow's integrated marketing:
Rhapsody announced today that it is submitting an app for iPhone.
If approved, it will be the first on-demand music streaming app
on phones in the U.S.
I won’t speculate about whether Apple will approve the app or not. Even if Apple
doesn’t, others such as Android, Palm Pre, or Blackberry might. This means that on-demand streaming to the phone is essentially here.
The question remains, however, whether on-demand
streaming apps such as Rhapsody’s will lead people to really use phones for music. Currently, only 10 percent of cell phone users in the U.S. listen to
music on their phones.
iPhone users are already more likely to use them to listen to music than users
of other phones (59% versus 8% respectively) . So Rhapsody may help move the dial only if it enrolls users
of other phones for this service.
Health insurance isn't cool, government agencies aren't hip and medical equipment isn't very social. However, many companies that pedal these products and services work with me on a regular basis to understand how they can make social media work for their marketing needs. Often they find excellent reasons to use sites like Twitter and Facebook, and typically the ideas are quite practical. For example, one company came up with the idea to tweet lab schedule changes back to doctor's offices so they can in turn reschedule patient appointments. Or this Facebook application from Quest Diagnostics, that they created to encourage their customers to live a healthy lifestyle. These social services are free and can create much more effective pathways for communication, so it's worth looking at social media no matter how un-sexy you think your company is.
I’m currently working on a piece of research we here at Forrester call the Wave, which is our vendor comparison methodology. I’m examining vendors in the Market Research Online Community (MROC) space and am very much looking forward to sharing my findings once the research is published.
In the meantime, I’ve been doing some soul searching on what differentiates a research community from a typical online panel. Vendors and clients alike generally have very specific views on the difference. Here’s a sampling of quotes from a recent survey I fielded on MROCs[i]:
“An online panel suggests that you'll be using it solely for survey research. While an online community is more involved - discussions, community building activities, as well as surveys.”
Today, Nokia announces its first netbook, called the Nokia Booklet 3G (press release, Nokia blog post). Like all netbooks, the Nokia Booklet 3G is essentially a miniature laptop PC and has more capability in common with the PC than with handheld devices like mobile phones. Despite misinformed advance speculation, the Booklet will run Windows and has an impressive claimed battery life of 12 hours.
In the flesh, the Booklet 3G has a neat modern design and a modern
metallic appearance case. The screen and keyboard are both relatively
large and well-proportioned.