How did you like our Customer Experience Forum? Did you come participate in person at the event in New York? Or did you see some of the presentations that we offered as a live stream?
On my way home from New York, I met a friend at LaGuardia airport for a coffee and I enthused about the event to him. He leant forward as if to let me in on a secret: "There's a company that I deal with, that always delivers an excellent customer experience - and you've probably never heard of it."
He proceeded to tell me that three generations of his family rely on USAA for all their financial needs. Boy, was he surprised when I told him who I'd been speaking with earlier... :
One of the great crimes of Twitter is the way Twitter users put "TW" at the start of perfectly good words and think it's cool, or ironic, or some combination of the two ...
My colleague: We're having a Tweetup before the Customer Experience Forum in NYC.
Me: Really? I thought that was frowned upon in New York. Haven't you seen The French Connection?
My colleague: Eh? Don't be so obtuse. I said "Tweet Up". It's like "Meet Up" for people who use Twitter and created an entire lingo of words with "TW" at the start, like "Tweeple" for "People" and that sort of thing.
We've been teaching our 25-criteria methodology for ten years (we've updated it six times during that period) to cliients who want a method for identifying problems in value, navigation, presentation and trust on their sites. But during this recession, clients told us they wanted something even more focused - shorter, quicker, cheaper, easier to do.
Welcome to Forrester's newest blog - My colleagues and I will use this space to share our thoughts and engage in dialogue with you about customer experience. We want you to participate by posting comments, challenging our ideas and sharing your opinions.
Warning - This may be the most trivial thing I've ever blogged. Stop reading now if you're looking for insights into customer experience, business strategy or anything of value really.
A few months back I started to use Twitter in earnest. (Before that, I only ever tweeted that I was updating Twitter, but some serious people started to follow my tweets and the joke wore thin).
I have to confess, I still don't know why I should Tweet. I do it because I feel a need to be involved with new media and it's there and it doesn't take up much time. However, I don't derive great pleasure from it and it hasn't altered the way I behave... at least, nothing like as much as Digg, Facebook, Delicious, iGoogle and other social media did. Things got easier when I started to use Tweetdeck instead of Twitter's web interface. Pretty soon I intend to download a solution to my mobile device, so that I can take snaps, post them to Twitpic or Flickr and I guess it would be easier still if I used some software to automate Tweets like Guy Kawasaki and other ueber-Twitterers seem to, but that doesn't feel right to me.
More experienced Twitterers, like my colleague Jeremiah, have spent time to work out how firms can use the medium to engage with customers and promote their brands.
Please excuse this impersonal message: It seems to be the most efficient way to inform everyone that I am transferring to the Forrester Research London Research Centre. In London I will continue to work as a member of Forrester's Customer Experience research team, supporting Customer Experience professionals. I will be writing research with a European perspective, while keeping an eye on some Customer Experience trends in Japan.
Regarding my schedule - I'm traveling to London next week to find a place to live and set myself up in Forrester's London office. I'll return to Tokyo briefly in early April. And I'll be in London full time from late April. I apologize for not making an earlier announcement of this move.
I want to thank you for your support since I've been working in Japan. From establishing Forrester's presence in Tokyo to becoming an analyst and helping to introduce personas to Japanese companies, the last eight years have been filled with wonderful experiences and opportunities, I feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with so many brilliant and inspiring clients and partners in Japan.
The Japanese system is radically different from the system in my home country. Back in the UK, we take a test at the age of 17 and then the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) lets us drive until we're well past retirement age with no further testing or hoops to jump through. The Japanese system of periodic checks always seemed more sensible to me.
Since I've avoided any accidents or offenses in the last two years, I qualify for a "GOLD" license, which is valid for five years. It wasn't terribly hard for me to avoid prangs and misdemeanors -- I don't think I've driven a car on more than a dozen occasions in the last two years.
The latest generation Japanese driver's license features an IC chip that contains some personal data (the family register location). By encoding this information and not displaying it, the Japanese authorities hope to protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of identity theft. If you want to see the data that's stored on your card, you can view it by using a special kiosk at the license renewal center. However, you will need to remember your 8 digit PIN. (Good luck with that).
I need to read the Synovate report for myself, and I will look at the next results from Forrester's surveys of Japanese consumers to see if I see the same thing... Can't do that right now, I'm afraid.
I think Jeff is spot on with his view that Japanese Social Computing is often Web1.0 at heart. In particular, I agree with his observation that anonymity and lack of segmentation (trying to cater for the "general population") hold back the possibilities for Social Computing.
Could Japan's fickle consumers decide that SNS was just another fad and "move on"?
Somehow I cannot imagine it. (Move on to what? Long socks and tiramisu?). Is it possible to have a "camel" shaped adoption curve...?
Chang makes the point that social media need a more robust system of identity and reputation to support online interaction -- so that communities have ways to freeze out irresponsible and hateful individuals.
I think this is a particularly serious issue in countries like Korea and Japan. In these countries, where "real life" society is quite buttoned up, people turn to online forums to let off steam anonymously. For example, Japan's social networks (such as Mixi) tend to be anonymous and the most famous bulletin board, 2-channel is full of posts under the identity "No Name". Many Japanese people feel that this anonymity protects their privacy and liberates them to say what they really think.
I remember a conversation that I had a few months ago with a Japanese technology blogger who hides his "real life" identity. His technology blogging struck me as inoffensive (and brilliant), so I couldn't understand why he asks people to refrain from taking his photograph and why he dons a disguise before making a speech in public. (It sounds like a comedy about the mafia... right?) He told me that he feels a need to stay anonymous, even for his politically neutral blog.
I wonder if it will always be this way? I hope that more people in Japan will see the value of social media where online identities are associated with offline identities. That seems to be the surest way to ensure that people behave responsibly.
[On an unrelated note - I have heard that the email subscription software on this blog has been sending out multiple emails with the same information. I'm trying to get that fixed as soon as possible].