Archive | October 1, 2012

Steve would be furious: Apple made a mistake, or didn’t they?

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Last week Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, made his apologies. And that’s the first time since Jobs had to make his apologies for the failing of the antenna of the Iphone 4. The new problem came with the introduction of iOS6, the new operating system voor the iPhone and iPad. The very populair Google Maps application has been removed from the standard applications and was replaced by Apple’s own maps app. The reactions went from bad to worse. Apple delivered an app that was worse than its predecessor. But why? Apple stands for quality, “it just works”. So why did it replace the very good Google Maps application for the really bad Apple Maps. So bad that the CEO had to make its apologies for it and now recommends users to use another maps application.

Olof Schybergson, from Fjord consultancy, wrote an article about it. He claims that Apple’s introduction of the new Maps app is evidence that Apple is betting on service platforms as strategic points in stead of having the best product. The strength of the App Store became less since Android caught up and all the popular apps are available for both operating systems. So Apple has to change its strategy to preserve the sales of iPhone and iPad sales.

The imperfect Apple maps can be the new strategy to make use of Siri and other new functions. Apple simply needs its own maps application to implement this new functions. They knew it had to come fast, but this was just too fast, it is not finished. But Apple can deal with one mistake. And the problems with the app are now placed online by the crowd, so Apple can use them and will soon come with a new version.

If you want to know more about it, and have a look into the new possibilities Apple can create with its own maps application, read the article below.

http://gigaom.com/2012/09/30/why-apple-took-the-risk-with-maps/

And for now, good luck with the SRS!

Trustworthiness of online reviews

Most of us would like to know the opinion and recommendations of other people, before you purchase the same products online.  I always read online reviews, when I’m indecisive about a product or when I’m in need of a confirmation for my decision. Online reviews can have a great influence in the decision-making-process of consumers. Companies can benefit from positive reviews, but will it do the same to consumers?  How trustworthy are online reviews?

The research of the German Computer Bild revealed how easy it was to publish fake customer’s reviews on reviews websites. In this research Computer Bild pretended to be a manufacturer (e.g. JVC and AVM) and contacted agencies to publish positive or negative reviews. It turns out that a third of the online reviews are fake. Computer Bild just simply googled the terms ‘social media agency’ and ‘product description’ to find some ‘illegal agencies’. Computer Bild contacted them per e-mail to do business with. On the website they described their activities as ‘text service’ and shopping- text’.  Eventually Computer Bild made a deal with two agencies.

So how does publishing fake online reviews works? The details used in online reviews are mostly retrieved from press releases and testimonials from the manufacturers. In order to publish reviews on the website of online stores, you usually have to sign up. For those agencies that will not be a problem at all, because they have a database with thousands of user accounts. The fakers usually posts one review per day per website. Fake online reviews are not written with all five star rating and extremely enthusiastic comments, but more discrete: ‘the delivery time was a bit longer than I expected, but the product is great’. In that way you may not even notice that it would be a fake review.

So what about the Netherlands? There has not been conducted a similar research yet in the Netherlands. Most review websites such as Zoover, Beslist.nl and Kieskeurig.nl receive over 1000 reviews a day. These reviews are being checked by the editors of the websites. Rude comments and privacy information of persons are being deleted by the websites.  Some review websites, such as Kieskeurig.nl removes reviews with only a high ranking without any valid motivation to it. Still it is hard for those websites to take measures against fake reviews.

I was a little bit surprised of how easy it was to publish fake reviews on such large scales. I don’t think we can do much about it as a consumer, other than report suspicious online reviews to the review site and use being alert while reading online reviews.  If you are interested in more information, the article is published here: http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/caution-fake-reviews-at-online-stores/ (only for Dutch students).

A new range of memory chips

I found this very interesting article on economist.com about new memory chips coming soon to market. These memory chips are faster, cheaper and physically smaller. A nice example is given by the economist on how this works: Imagine a messy and tidy bedroom. The number of items in the room may be exactly the same, but the difference between orderly and disorderly arrangements is immediately apparent. Now imagine a house with millions of rooms, each of which is either tidy or messy. A robot in the house can inspect each room to see which state it is in. It can also turn a tidy room into a messy one (by throwing things on the floor at random) and a messy room into a tidy one (by tidying it up)

 

This, in essence, is how a new class of memory chips work. It is called “phase-change memory” and, like the flash memory that provides storage in mobile phones, cameras and some laptops, it can retain information even when the power is switched off. But it promises to be smaller and faster than flash, and will probably be storing your photos, music and messages within a few years.

 

If you are interested in how this will affect information system and computers in the near future, I suggest you read the full article.

 

http://www.economist.com/node/21560981

The Nike Traini…

The Nike Training Club application

 In my opinion, it is great. The whole idea is that you have your personal trainer in your pocket and you can use it  anywhere. 

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Nike Training Club app was launched in January 2011. At the end of 2011 The Wall Street Journal ranked it as one of the best apps of the year. It also received Webby award in 2012.* Just on 15th of August, 2012 Kat Perriam** wrote an article for the Cosmopolitan fitness blog called “Nike Training Club – the Best free workout app”. The idea behind this application is to have a personal trainer in your pocket wherever you go. It consists of more than 60 training programs with different difficulty levels. You can choose your level and get a step-by-step description of each movement, illustrated by several photos. Furthermore, you can watch a short tutorial-video where  movements are performed by various athletes, all wearing Nike outfits. This application can be downloaded for free on ipads or iphones. However, I have not seen it on any other OS although it was supposed to have an android version.Unfortunately for men, it is a specialized training program for women. Despite that, I once came across a male commenting on NTC app – “ You are not gonna reject a Ferrari just because it’s pink.” 😉

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I looked up the application on November 2011 when my Canadian girlfriend told me how much she likes it. I came back home in December 2011 and downloaded the application on my sister’s phone. I really, really liked it. It inspired me to get an iphone instead of other phones in February 2012. There are several reasons why I like it. Firstly, it does not just list the movements you can do – it offers a fully revised program that is aimed at either “getting strong”, “getting lean”, “slimming down” or “getting focused”(e.g. working only on your abbs or arms). When I work out, I do not want to think what is going to be the next movement or look at the watch (or count). I really just like listening to music, relaxing and enjoying the process. NTC is doing it all for me. Furthermore, I can do a quick 30-minute workout before taking a shower or have 15-minute stretching-program when I wake up. In addition, I get instructions and countdowns when I work out along with motivational comments. Finally, when I complete the workout, I receive reward gadgets and supplementary workout programs from famous athletes or celebrities. Although intangible, those rewards are delighters. However, you have to remain disciplined to effectively use the program. Even though I really enjoy physical activities, there are days when I just do not click on that application, as other things seem to have higher priority. On top of that, the application lacks social benefits that you get when you go to fitness club and meet your friends in various dance and fitness classes.

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In this last section I wanted to discuss the benefits Nike gains from this application. In my opinion, there are two main benefits. First of all, Nike builds a strong presence in women community by providing them with something truly valuable (it is their choice to download and use the application). There have been already several live events for NTC community. Secondly, it is a great channel to promote its products, since all the athletes are dressed in Nike products. Furthermore, even famous athletes and celebrities that provide bonus content, always wear Nike outfits and shoes.

 

Here you can see how the application actually works:

To read more about the application and rankings use the following links:

http://www.nike.com/gb/en_gb/c/womens-training/apps/nike-training-club

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AKQA#Nike_Training_Club

http://mobithinking.com/mobile-awards/webbies

http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/lifestyle/cosmo-fitness-blog/nike-training-club-ntc-best-free-personal-trainer-fitness-iphone-exercise-app

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPARqScUCD4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj94IT4dQKc

Social media in customer service

My interest for this topic arose thanks to reading various articles related to how social media is (or is not) being employed in customer service. In this post I have given my opinion on these articles and added or revoked arguments and interpretations regarding the issue.

The social media revolution has led to many changes in the way business gets done and is still leading to more changes every day. The social landscape is continuously evolving and it is important for companies to keep up. As an increasing percentage of consumers move online (Gartner predicts one billion users will be on social networks by the end of 2012), they wish and expect to be catered to in this environment.  The problem is that companies aren’t recognizing this, or do recognize it and lack to act upon this. In the long run, not acting on these problems will lead to the company being driven out of business as there are currently good examples of company’s who are employing social media customer service in the right way, catering to their customer’s needs.

An example of the lack of social online interaction is that 62% of customers have already used social media to file an online complaint, and 55% of them expect a response the same day, but only 29% receive one. You don’t have to be a great mathematician to conclude that these numbers are bad. Even worse results came from a study by A.T. Kearney, who found that, of the top 50 brands, 56% did not respond to a single customer comment on their Facebook Page in 2011. However, companies are aiming to handle customers online as 80% plan to use social media for customer service. Here’s a newsflash for those companies: planning is not enough, you should get to doing so. Every day you are refraining from using social media in your customer service processes, you are creating and leaving behind an increased amount of unhappy customers. Even more so, you are giving your customers the impression that you don’t know how to handle them.

In core, it is customer’s services job to keep customers happy or make dissatisfied customers happy again. Social media has to be added to current customer service contact possibilities because more people are looking for answers online. Generally if customers post to Twitter or Facebook, it’s where they expect to be answered. Going socially online with customer service does require a different approach than the traditional one in customer service. For example, think about the consequences of handling a complaint on an open online social network has. If handled correctly, other customers will also appreciate the quick approach. If a wrong tone of voice or even no comment is issued, other customers will observe  the lack of interaction and think worse of the company. From this example follow important guidelines to keep in mind when using  online social customer service:

  1. Create an audience the customer can relate to. The tone of voice used for responses in line with customer service should be human. Assistance must be able to respond the exact content and tone of each message and thus requires human insight. Nothing is more horrid than a standardized response message on a social platform. A human voice will lead to the building of relationships with your customers and thus increased loyalty. 
  2. Ensure a timely response to each message. With near to continuous posting possibility, the customer’s willingness to wait has drastically decreased. By providing a fast response the company can leverage the power of the public platform and prove its willingness to be open and transparent with its clients. Even though in the world of social messages do need the attention of PR teams to make sure the right tone of voice is being kept up, a fast response outweighs this bureaucratic issue. Thus provide a flexible PR team or ensure that the customer service employees are well familiar with what they may and may not post. 
  3. Take sensitive issues offline. If there is a simple issue to resolve, it is fine to engage in general chatter with customers. However if there is a pressing issue, the team can deliver a better experience for the customer if they enter into a real conversation. 
  4. Serve customers first and foremost and monitor social interaction. This is already a step further in the online social customer service, but an essential one for more advanced companies. It is crucial that you serve your customers first. For example, a Facebook page for a certain campaign may contain questions about a product or service. Answer these questions before creating a new post for the campaign, so customers feel they are a company priority. The monitoring of social interaction takes this phenomenon to a higher level by recognizing and solving problems before they become a crisis.

If you are in search of great examples of social customer service, have a look at this article which presents 3 great cases. Or feel free to add to the proposed guidelines!

Coolblue defends against arrival Amazon

Almost one hundred webshops of Coolblue get a new option: Same day delivery by Dynalogic ! If you order before 15:00 and pay17.95 your new tv, laptop, camera etc. will be delivered the same day. And if you order something you would rather have  it the same day.

According to the CEO of Coolblue do the physical shops really have a problem if they are not distinctive on price and service. The advantagethat thephysical shop had of their supply is also fading away right now.

By offering thisservice Coolblue hopes to take an advantageon the new coming Amazon in the Dutch market.

 

http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/coolblue-bezorgt-dag-bestelling