How Poor Customer Technical Communication Hurts Business

How Poor Technical Communication Hurts Business reveals that firms regularly increase their customer service and marketing costs by sending inept letters, emails, technical instructions, and other communications to their customers and employees. It shows how they can increase profit by making these communications more user-centric.

Poor Technical Communication Hurts BusinessBanks, physicians, retailers, and many others routinely send poor instructional technical communications to their customers, resulting in high customer service costs, high return costs, high customer churn, and many related costs. These letters, emails, web pages, and other communications are produced by writers who show little insight into customers’ journeys that include the product or service.

The same problem occurs when firms communicate to their employees, and this results in employees’ anxiety and lost productivity (think about choosing your “benefits”) as well as HR staff time, IT staff time, management time, and employee dissatisfaction. It hurts the relationship that most employers try to develop with their employees.

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Improving the Business Impact of Technical Writing and UX Writing

Improving Business Impact Technical WritingImproving business impact of technical writing and UX writing outlines how to increase the business value of two writing disciplines that directly affect customer experience.

Before diving into that, the backstory shares how I developed an unusual point of view while practicing service design and experiential social media—and how this led me to technical writing and UX writing.

Then the main event: I offer five ways organizations can substantially improve the business impact of technical writing and UX writing.

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CSRA Milestones: Ten Years of Experiential Social Media

CSRA Milestones: The First Ten YearsCSRA milestones reflects on my first ten years of experiential social media, seen through the eyes of clients I’ve served. I’ll share what I learned about what outcomes we got in each engagement as well as how it happened that I developed and pioneered experiential, which if a repeatable process for developing trust and profit at scale.

If you’d like to watch this post instead, just click the thumbnail button.

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Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media: de-risk innovationEthnographic research for business innovation shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing controlled disruption within organizations. Ethnographic research of social media can transform the entire innovation process because it’s a very efficient way to study the behavior and motivations of the people that the innovation proposes to serve. Unlike traditional innovation and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

Ethnographic research for business innovation can dramatically improve the depth and breadth of business and corporate strategy, business design and service design research since it allows teams to consider more users and to assess their behavior and motivations, which can improve the value of more costly research.

This post outlines the business innovation use case of ethnographic research of social media, and it includes examples in banking, professional services, consumer products, and B2B marketing. For more on ethnographic research, see More Resources below.

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Why Probability Is the Key to Profit in the Digital Social Big-Data Age

10 Detailed Case Studies + Big Data & Analytics’ New Digital Divide + How to Think Like a Data Scientist Book Review: Numbers Rule Your World/Kaiser Fung

Why Probability Is the Key to Profit in the Digital Big-Data Age[UPDATED] Step inside a data scientist’s mind, and learn why probability is the key to profit and how it’s the key to understanding and using big data for better decision making. This fascinating and useful book clearly shows how people misunderstand probability and misuse statistics—and therefore big data—and how the knowledge gap leads to faulty models, thinking and decisions. New winners and losers are emerging in the digital social and big-data age. A new digital divide, people who think like data scientists and use probability to support decision making—and everyone else. The data science group will outperform, and Fung shows how creative, fun and useful data science is.

This book is a perfect twin to Duncan Watts’ Everything Is Obvious* Once You Know the Answer, which exposes how common sense pervades management decisions and failure. I shall refer to several specific connections between the […]

Digital Transformation's Personal Issue: It's the Key to Customer Experience

Digital Transformation’s Personal Issue reveals personal treatment to be the key to breakthrough customer experience, and it shows how digital social spaces enable Chief Digital Officers to use personal treatment to create more profit. Before they arrive, though, they need to lead their organizations through the Personal Issue. Digital Transformation's Personal Issue

The Personal Issue refers to a perceived conflict between empowered customers and profit-starved companies. Digital social technologies are enabling customers to “re-personalize” business and society because their online interactions among themselves are personal, which is changing their expectations of all interactions.

However, businesses resist treating customers personally because they fear cost and inefficiency. They don’t understand the digital social economics of treating customers personally online, at scale.

Meanwhile, the missions of chief digital officers (CDOs) and chief customer officers (CCOs) are creating bold new “customer experience” and profits by using digital technologies to transform organizations, brands and businesses. They will fulfill their missions far more quickly and completely by using the key.

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Catch Social Media Leaders [Social Business Team Building]

Catch Social Media Leaders [Social Business Team Building] case3[UPDATED] Catch Social Media Leaders applies to organizations with very conservative cultures—banks, insurers, healthcare, governments, B2B firms, and professional services to name a few—that have sat on the sidelines and now feel nervous because they are so far behind. In 2013, digital marketing and firm executives are thinking about building their internal teams to provide more continuity and scale, so here I’ll show how firms can use strategy and best practices to outperform rivals across the social business life cycle.

Catch Social Media Leaders is the third of the five-part social business team building series The series describes team building in the context of various scenarios in which firms build social business capability, step by step, while investing wisely. Social Business Strategy Use Cases outlines and compares all five use cases while Social Business Team Building gives general guidance for how to create social business teams as well as recommendations for what characteristics leaders have, so I recommend reading them, too.

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Bank Branch Disruption Enables Unusual Opportunity

Branch disruption enables unusual opportunity for bank executives who consider transforming their relationships with clients. More generally, retail banking provides an excellent example of an Industrial Economy industry whose services are facing commoditization and weakening profits due to the waning of the Productized Channel of Value. In 2013, bank branch networks are under intense scrutiny because they are expensive, and client visits have been falling steadily for several years as e-banking and m-banking adoption have accelerated. Astute banks will use branches to transform their client relationships by leveraging the Social Channel. Here’s how they will do it.

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Social Business in Insurance: State Farm's Chicago Coworking Space

social business in insurance: State Farm's Next Door taps The Social Channel to engage millennials/Gen YNext Door Chicago is a newish concept for State Farm Insurance that’s a great example of social business in insurance. It differentiates the firm by interacting in the Social Channel. The Lincoln Park/Lakeview community center and coworking space is notable because its DNA is empowering people to improve their lives through financial education. Next Door offers free coworking space and wifi, classes on financial management that are free of product pitches, free events (some financial, some art showings and other diverse events), free conference rooms and an energetic environment. Only the optional coffee bar is paid.

Next Door’s main online presence is oriented toward free membership. Members can book space, sign up for classes and hold events. Here’s IDEO’s case study on the concept and design process.

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Size and Value of Bank Branch Networks

Banks are under intensifying profit pressure, so all are reexamining the size and value of bank branch networks. In How Many Bank Branches Do We Need in the U.S., posted in Celent Banking Blog, Bob Meara offers a brief discussion of the concept of “branch flexing,” as coined by Oliver Wyman to describe optimization. It’s no surprise that banks are questioning their massive branch expansions during the 2000s, especially in light of increased capital requirements and regulatory costs, which increase cost of operations. Moreover, margins are razor thin as interest rates are at historic lows.

What does this mean for branches? I’ll offer a surprising alternative.

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