Is This Future Shock?

musings on how technology is changing my business environment

Archive for September, 2008

How to change someone's view with customer service

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I have a house with 4 dogs running about the place; now while I love them dearly, they do leave hair and sand everywhere. You need a good vacuum cleaner.

Following some recommendations on an internal newsgroup, I winced and bought a Mìele Cat & Dog TT550. They aren’t cheap. But wow, they work really, really well.

Over the last year or so, the vacuum hose started developing kinks. As you moved across the room, suddenly the suction would cut off. I duct taped the biggest kink point. Helpfully, it then started kinking elsewhere. I tried to find a spares supplier and couldn’t identify the part I needed.

Last night inspiration struck. I guessed the website as miele.co.uk – it was – and found an awful web contact form there. Raised my concern and sighed as I saw “We aim to reply within 72 hours”.

They replied by a personalised email within 30 minutes, and told me to ring the service department, giving me the right number to ring. I rang this morning; an easy call gate “Press 1 for vacuum parts”, and I was talking to a helpful named individual. “Yes, this type of failure is unusual. Your vacuum serial number was sent into the retail chain a little over 2 years ago, so you may well have had it less than 2 years. Give me your address, I’ll send you a free replacement hose.”

The vacuum is great. I liked the service attitude and response even better. Would I recommend a Mìele vacuum? I just have.

Written by SteveEllwood

September 17th, 2008 at 10:58 am

Is Yammer really a Twitter in the Enterprise?

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I don’t think it is.

Having seen a posting from @pistachio about Yammer, I wittered on our internal blogging sytem about this – and was astonished and delighted to get a ping from @richarddennison saying there was a BT group on yammer.

I joined it. Nice sign up, requires a corporate address, a confirmatory email is sent to the address. There’s a nice web interface, and a cute little AIR desktop client.

There’s a familiar ability to follow people, see “All” – basically a corporate public timeline, and  an in-built tagging and search facility.

I really quite like it.

But – and there’s always going to be a but – their monetisation model seems to be that you can have a network free; it’ll cost you $1 per person, per month if you want to admin it.

That includes removing people, setting session details, branding. Note, some later experimentation confirms that any member of the network can block another by going to the admin section and saying the user is no longer part of the network. This forces a reconfirmation of the email address; if the blocked individual no longer  has an email address then they won’t get back in. That addressed one of my larger concerns.

I don’t anticipate a huge signup from within BT. Say 100k employees, 2% signed up… that would require $24k a year; and a huge control overhead, given that there’s free signup. As we have people retire, leave for other contracts they’d all need to be excluded.

We have some internal tools, that link to our HR system (so low admin costs for us) which might be easier, though the interface isn’t as fancy.

I’d add that I miss the “broad church” of Twitter. I wish it luck, but I don’t see it taking over my microblogging.  It may, perhaps, give people new to blogging/microblogging a quasi-safe environment to try in. I think if it gets taken up for that we’ll need to remind folk that it isn’t really a controlled environment.

Of course, the easy sign up process means that anyone with a domain could use it. I could set up an Ellwood Family group.  But why wouldn’t I use Twitter instead, where I can choose to follow my family – and whoever else I’m interested in?

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Written by SteveEllwood

September 16th, 2008 at 9:36 am

Posted in blogging,Twitter