Self-service is the predecessor of Drone Delivery: McDonald’s

In several countries McDonald’s is adding self-service modules (big touch screens) to it restaurants. Of course self-service isn’t spectaculair and new, there are complete chains of self-service restaurants on the globe. However it is interesting how McDonald’s is introducing these additional screens, and what might be more interesting in the next steps.

Introduce new technology in a human way

McDonald’s doesn’t introduce the self-service touch screen by just putting it there and hoping that you will be using it. They have some hostesses walking around and when things get busy they pick people from the queue with the question if they would like to try something new. So these hostesses are not just introducing something new to get your meal, they introduce you to something new that saves you time. Creating a very positive first interaction with the self-service screen, increasing chances that you will be using it for a second time.

Also the process is done without exchanging any physical cash, so it reduces the risk on robberies for the McDonald’s also big time.

Next step, more self-service, though what’s next after that.

Of course it is clear that more self-service is the way McDonald’s is going. Not only will people get their order faster, they have to assign fewer people to cash registers and can assign more people on the assembling of orders. Which basically means that they can pay people less because works is getting simpler.

However that is the obvious, which is in some McDonald’s already the case (I happen to visit a small McDonald’s in France and they were already 100% self-service and 100% cashless. Though what is really next. I think the following items are next:

From their screen to your screen

It would make sense for McDonald’s to transition from their touch screens to your touch screen (phone, tablet etc). This way you don’t have to wait for the self-service screen (which would be just moving the queue to a different place in their restaurant) and you can order on the screen that is most comfortable for you. Also you can pay directly via your device instead of inserting your debit or credit card into another machine. Making the process more friction free than it was before.

From up-sell to social recommendations (and beyond)

If you are allowed to use your own device for ordering, why not make it a more personalised experience and make it even more frictionless. Obvious is a login combined with a credit or debit card (or a PayPal like service) so you don’t have to enter this data over and over.

Another clear step is to add some more data to your profile, preferably using something like Facebook connect since it gives McDonald’s the most data. Based on this data they can give you suggestions to eat (since you like Mars why not take a Mc Flurry Mars as a desert) and give you suggestions to eat with friends who are in the neighbourhood or to try out that new burger since people like you (or better: your friends) tried it and rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

From self-service to drone service

Of course the limiting factor for the number of meals that can be served by McDonald’s is in the end the capacity of its restaurants for now. So why only offer the service via your personal devices in their restaurants? Why not go home delivery. No longer it is a requirement to invest in cars, scooters or drivers for these vehicles. Today you just invest in a small swarm of drones.Amazon plans to do ita pizzeria in Mumbai is already doing it.

So why not leverage drones in combination with the GPS position of your mobile device to get your meal to you, instead of having to move yourself to a restaurant.

Change is never stand alone.

Even though it seems to be just a small change to move towards more self-service within McDonald’s restaurants, it could be a small step to a lot a big change in operating model. However change done right, could make it easier for future changes to be implemented.

As long as the changes are small enough and easy to accept and delivers a clear added value. In McDonald’s case I suggested the following: save time, create more convenience, offer better recommendations and provide independence of location.

Why the C-suite don’t ‘get’ social media marketing – and why this is perfectly fine

I am not a big fan of the suggestion that everybody has to be to be on social media and fully understand social media before you can do anything with social media as a big enterprise. Basically it is a big lie, since how many within the enterprise really understand the inner workings or your DWH (Data Ware House) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), probably very little people. Does it mean it doesn’t bring any benefit because nobody understands? No, everybody understands the benefits it brings

And that is exactly what is important: the C-suite needs to get the benefits of something, they don’t ned to know all the details of everything, that is not their job.

The Guardian has a tear-jerking article on this topic, blaming the C-suite for not understanding social media and giving some arguments and tips that will ensure you that they will never invest in social media at all.

Arguments to hide the incompetence of the CMO or social media expert

“I have run out of fingers and toes on which to count the times a bright-eyed marketing manager within a big organisation has brought us in to pitch only to then hear the words “our CEO does not ‘do’ social” and this ignorance shows no sign of slowing,“ says Andy Barr, owner of 10Yetis social media and PR agency.

To be honest if your CEO doesn’t do social, what is the problem? How many companies will be bankrupt in the upcoming five years because of their CEO not being active on Twitter and LinkedIn? Of course this is just a wild guess, though I would say: none.

Jamie Riddell said: “Social media is not seen to be as measurable as other forms of media such as TV. In order for any media channel to be taken seriously at board level, it’s impact on hard criteria such as reach and ultimately sales, needs to be understood. Your average C-suite executive will be focused on business results that are more than brand mentions or sentiment analysis.”

Which is completely true, however if they understand the added value of TV (which is a correlation at best in most cases), than it is just a matter of thoroughly presenting your case with social media. Since with social media you can measure everything and focus on causations instead of correlations. You don’t have to assume what happens,you can show it.

“In some cases, execs are demanding a million Likes on Facebook or a million Twitter followers after they realise they need to be involved. This lack of understanding causes issues with agencies and staff who despair,” he said.

This is not a lack of understanding. This is like blaming your customer for using your products wrong. It is a lack of clear explanation. Don’t blame others for your own incompetence of explaining the added value of social media.

According to Hunt, the repercussion is that some agencies are still buying social media followers on behalf of these brands, despite the folly in doing so. This misunderstanding of social media could in part be explained by the lack of the C-suite’s personal involvement with it.

Of course the C-suite playing farmville on Facebook would have prevented this? No, it wouldn’t. Would a personal Twitter account of a C-level exec prevented this demand of being followers? Most likely not. Just for the simple reason that most people on C-level are not social media experts and given that social media is an area in which expertise is required they are hiring people with that expertise to explain it to them. If that ends up in a fan-buying game it is not the C-level not understand social media, it is C-level hiring the wrong experts (or people that present themselves as experts).

The tips from the Guardian to ensure absolute failure

1: Get them on social. Whether it’s posting from their own personal account or a corporate account, encourage your CFOs, CEOs and CMOs to participate themselves and provide support and training to avoid any faux pas.

Ok, they don’t get Social Media, that was the first thing in the article that was mentioned. So they will absolutely see the value of getting active on this? No if you still suck at explaining, you won’t be able to get them on board.

If you cannot explain the value, they won’t be onboard, no matter what you ask them to do.

2: Simulate a crisis. By simulating a potential crisis that could hit the brand, you enlighten the C-suite to the power of social media and also the potential damage it can wreak if you haven’t invested in social media listening and community management.

The science of fear, always a very positive way of getting the C-suite onboard: if you don’t this you will loose your company. The thing that could happen is an absolute lock down of social media in your company, including a heavy censorship on social media itself by throwing around take down notices. Y

You shouldn’t stimulate a crisis, maybe you should show them the added value of social media (how much additional revenue can be generated, how much money can be saved on call centers).

3: Identify the balance of your website traffic sources. Highlighting the traffic sources to the company website will demonstrate where it is over-reliant and hence vulnerable. For example, if the bulk of your web traffic comes from search, then growing your social traffic to diversify your traffic sources will be an asset when search positions fluctuate or if the company is hit by a Google penalty or algorithm update. Social media is also a significant contributor to search engine optimisation.

Given that most people in the C-suite are fully up to speed on web analytics this is a great tip. Only, most of the C-suite aren’t experts on Web Analytics, don’t know anything about search algorithm updates and most likely do’t care where traffic is coming from on the website (if they were aware of what the website is doing at all beyond being a brochure website).

Besides the direct benefits, explain the C-suite the indirect added value of social media. You can drive more traffic to your website for less costs (since for example you spend less on advertising).

Get the C-suite onboard

Don’t worry about the C-suite, start low profile with a project that doesn’t require the stamp of approval of the C-suite. Proof the value, present the business outcomes, present the required investment. Make it a highly rational decision with a clear investment and a clear return. That is how a C-suite works most of the time. They don’t need (or want) to know all the details, they want to have enough insights to make a good decision supported by real arguments and real data.

60% of the visitors of your Website are not human, now what?

Humans account for less than 40% of all web traffic. Which means that there are more robot ‘eyes’ watching your website than humans are browsing it, clicking it and touching the web interface you have created.

Why bother about robots and semantic markup?

Practical example: if Google (or any other search engine) cannot read your website correctly it won’t be able to display it in its search results. When Facebook cannot find the correct image to show next to your link on Facebook it will just take the first alternative it can find.

So if you want to be 100% sure how things are being displayed (or are displayed at all), make sure to use the correct (semantic) mark up.

You got visual

Of course you are surfing the trend of the visual web and you are making sure your website is an absolute visual tastemaker. You are working your h1 tags for SEO, however what about the rest of your markup? Have you considered that the average non human visitor on your website won’t notice that something is an address because of the lack of semantic markup? The bot might see the term ‘address’ caught within h2 tags, though it doesn’t know what in the next couple of lines is the address. So how do you make sure your non-human visitors will find the address you want them to find.

Don’t start worrying now, you don’t have choose between your nice visual style and semantic markup. It is about how you can use semantic markup together with your visual style to give your web page the right structure for robots to understand.

Pick your semantic markup

To right type of semantic depends on the robots visiting your site. So besides your human audiences, which of your robot audiences do you like to serve, since there are many different types of self-proclaimed standards (schema.org, microformats, opencyc etc) for in page optimisation of semantic mark up.

Besides that there are also some channel specific markup for the non human visitors from a specific channel such as Facebook (for its so-called open graph) and Twitter (for Twitter Cards)

Schema.org is the one that is supported by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Yandex, which could therefore be your semantic mark up basis of choice if you mainly target search engines and want to use their unique functionalities to display and list certain content.

The big benefit doing it right

If you do your semantics right you are not only controlling how your website is being displayed in general, but also how and what is displayed by other services that use a robot to visit your site and digest your content.

Get in five minutes the news you want with Twitter, combining these two filters

For a while I have tried to figure out what I can do with Twitter, to be honest I am trying to figure it since I joined Twitter more than 5 years ago. Now I finally found a way that provides me with more value and makes me more productive by saving time. Let me explain me what I am doing now.

Always start with an experiment

First all you should pay to much attention to what other people think about what you do on Twitter. Since if you do, your experiments are likely not reaching the outcome you were hoping for, unless you are striving for mediocrity.

Pick a metric to improve

When you are experimenting you have to pick a metric you would like to influence. For example to gain more followers (tried it, reached the number though the experience isn’t worth it) or try to increase the number of messages you post (tried and succeeded at that one as well, even got a nice peak in engagement). However given that Twitter has become more crowded and the impact of single tweet has decreased for me, and what I hear it happens to others too (just anecdotally, haven’t seen the data). Therefore it is not interesting for me to focus on direct Twitter metrics anymore, so I decided to go for an indirect one.

Content discovery the other way around

My indirect metric is time saved. Since my issue is that, just as many of you are experiencing, I have only limited time to spend on each activity. Therefore I wanted to save time on discovering great content. I took the following steps to do this: 1. I downloaded the new app ‘Daily’ from Buffer that provides daily content suggestions. 2. I changed my schedule on buffer to make sure I could schedule more messages  daily. 3. I go through ‘Daily’ for five minutes and schedule somewhere between 50-70 messages. Just by pressing the green button, without screening the messages. 4. At the end of the day I check which messages got the same traction and those are the articles I will be reading.

Winning with two filters

I trust Buffer to offer me brilliant content, though I only want to read the best of the best provided by them. To filter that out I use my network on Twitter :). This way I only have to spend 5 minutes each day to get to the content that really matters to me by combining two very powerful sources of recommendations: my followers and Buffer.

How to Super Charge Yourself During the Summer Holidays

Holidays are nearing (or for some of you holidays is already there). I wanted to share with you how you could make sure you are super charged after your holidays. Or maybe I should nuance this already a bit, let me share with you how I make sure I am super charged after my holidays and how this could work for you:

Do Something You Actually Love

First all of make sure you are always doing something you want to do more often. Even though my work is quite flexible, I cannot play soccer with my son full time during workdays. So my holidays will be all about playing soccer with him and doing all other sorts of fun things with my family such as visiting places, having a wonderful meal and enjoy that we can spend a few weeks together without interruption from the outside world.

Stop outside interruptions

You don’t want to be distracted during your holidays. Therefore I will do exactly the same thing as last year: remove corporate email from phone for a weeks. Also I will disable most notifications on my phone. When I am on holiday I want to be on holiday, I don’t want to spent time on my phone doing work related items or be distracted by its notifications. Really disconnect. Every year I am considering to buy a feature phone just for the holidays, however I guess I am not brave enough yet to really take that step.

Get inspired

Holidays are for me opportunities of catching up on books I want to read and to get inspired. Some of these topics are work related, however given that I am very lucky that my work is based on my passion, I don’t see these books as work. The books I will be reading are:

Learn something new

Another book I am reading is about Swift, the new programming language from Apple. I like to learn new stuff, and the holidays is great, since most likely I have got a couple of hours to spare to learn a new skill. It is not the top priority, though I like my brains to remain active and learn something new.

Exercise

Besides keeping my brains on a certain level activity I prefer to keep my body also active and most like I will go on some long walks or will do something cycling. Doing no exercise at all would make me very restless, I need to feel the burn in my muscles every few days. This is what works for me: being with the people I love, doing things I like, without being interrupted by things I don’t want at that very moment is my ideal holidays which makes me supercharged and ready to go back work with renewed energy.

Disconnect to charge

Sometimes you have to really disconnect to charge yourself: it at least helps me to provide myself with a fresh perspective on things. How are you supercharging yourself?

Create a Zen of Flow

I have removed almost everything from my site, my wife warned me that I would end up with a plain text file if I would push it any further. Maybe that is even a better idea: no distraction. Though I would miss the structure that font-sizes are offering in headers. The reason for removing almost everything is because every click is a distraction. Scrolling doesn’t interfere with what you are doing, a click is deliberate friction, it is a moment for somebody to get distracted.

Driven to distraction

Even though we assume we are great multi-taskers: we aren’t. We cannot read one thing and at the same time process something else with our brains. We can do only one thing well, therefore I removed everything that was distraction so you only can do one thing: reading the article. I don’t need you to read something about me, see the latest articles or start with sharing before you finished the article. To be honest, I don’t want you to do anything else than just reading the article an experience the serenity of scrolling instead of the aggression of clicks.

Each click is a dilemma, scroll is flow

A click is  deliberate action and therefore a distraction. At the moment you are on the page, you have to move your cursor on top of the link and press or tap a button. It is breaking your flow, since it forces you to do many things which creates this single dilemma: will I continue reading the article, will I go somewhere else, shall I preload something else for later reading, or will go and play Angry Birds. With scrolling there is none of this friction. Basically you are reading the article and to keep reading you have to move your screen, just like you need to turn a page. You don’t decide if you want to do the action, you decide if you want to read on. The decision you have to make is more subconscious than clicking to go somewhere else.

Flow through content

So flow through content and remove any clicks. The easier you can make the consumption of the content, the more it will be consumed.

Remove the aggression of clicks and introduce the Zen of Flow.

Success is Not a Number, it is Perspective

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics – Mark Twain (and others)

Numbers on itself never tell a story, it is the perspective they are put in that tells the story. However in the end the story might be beautiful, though numbers always have a certain truth in them.

One side of the story

Let’s take for example this article about the KLM (it could have been any other company, however I just ran into this one because it is prominent in my Twitter feed).

This article is, in my personal opinion, about huge accomplishments that, when you interpret the numbers differently, are not really accomplishments but small failures presented as accomplishments by presenting numbers in a certain perspective.

Let’s just go through the numbers quickly that are mentioned in the article and show how these numbers could also tell a different story:

KLM transports 26 million passengers each week, these passengers tend to ask questions via social media nowadays and they do that increasingly every year (each year 250% increase is reported). Currently they 35 thousand questions per week that is answered by a team of 130 person 24/7 in 10 languages (and since KLM operates in 65 countries I assume they cannot answer the queries that are in a different language). Social payment is enabled and earned KLM an additional 100 thousand euros in the first two weeks of its launch.

This is where perspective kicks in

Each week KLM has on average 500 thousand passengers (26 million divided by 52 weeks) and that results in 35 thousand questions. Which mean that one in on average one on every 14 passengers (7%) has a question, assuming that customers only have to ask one question and not multiple questions during the week.

Given that KLM has 130 people working on social media questions (assuming they are all full time), they each answer on average 270 questions per week, given the typical dutch workweek is 40 hours, they answer almost 7 questions per hour or close to one every nine minutes.

The additional revenue reported because of social payment is approximately 10 euros cents per passenger. Though if these passengers are all chair fillers it is 100% additional margin which is what KLM should be looking for.

This is where issues occur with these numbers

It is impressive that so many questions are asked and answered in such a timely manner. However what is wrong with your product if so many questions arise that have to be taken care of by separate agents? If 35.000 questions are asked, it means that 35.000 times insufficient information was available for the customer to take action by him or herself.

Given that the volume increases 250% year over year, it means that next year (assuming KLM keeps their numbers for supporting languages still on ten and won’t increase on that) 87.500 questions will be asked, the year after 218.750 and the year after 546 thousand (which means that are more questions asked than there are passengers, unless KLM in parallel grows it numbers of passengers of course. Though than the year after it will be more questions than passengers since a 200% increase in passengers in 4 years for an established airline is not the current trend for KLM).

However does this mean for KLM that they should grow their team with 250% per year as well? Which means to 325 next year, 813 the next year and 2032 the year after? Since this would result in an increase of salary costs from 4.3 million euros (assuming agents at KLM get paid the so called Modal income of 33.5 thousand euros) to more than 68 million euros.

Coming back to the additional revenue with social payment: it would be 0.0003% of the total revenue of the Air France KLM group, or if revenue stayed constant for the rest of the year the percentage would increase to 0.01% of the annual revenue. Which needless to say would provide KLM with a highly limited impact and even if there would be a steep increase week over week, it would be difficult to reach 1% given the numbers we now have.

With a different perspective the numbers present a different case

Of course KLM will take its measures, since spending 17 times more on salaries alone would be unthinkable in such a low margin business. It will be a slow death sentence or perhaps better phrased as a death by a thousand cuts / tweets.

Of course the growth won’t be a hyper growth of constantly 250%, it will flatten, though it might still reach 100k-200k messages per week. Which is still a big threat, given that handling a question now takes 9 minutes.

Of course automation can help, however why automate drying out a flooded room without turning off the taps. The basic problem that KLM shares with us in this article implicitly (according to my personal interpretation of the numbers) is that there is an information gap, which is currently bridged (or if one would be a cynic: hidden) via web care. A gap that costs them at least around 4 million each year in salary costs alone.

Though it might still give them a good return, not necessarily from a service perspective but from a marketing perspective. Since many people are applauding them for their activities, while all they are doing is mopping the floor under a leaking sink, without fixing the sink.

Lies, damned lies or statistics

I leave the final judgement to you on what the actual truth is, but as you can see numbers put in a different perspective tell a whole different story.

This article was published first on LinkedIn.

Why You Need to Develop that Scarce Skill

The digitisation of our world creates a huge shift in how we do our jobs. The shift is even so big that some of the jobs we do will be completely commoditized and replaced by digital solutions. For a long time we assumed that craftsman were just fine, since working with your hands is enormously specialised work that no robot could replace. However with the emergence of 3D printing, craftsman such as the goldsmith might just be years away of being replaced by a 3D printer and a designer with 3D design program. And even the 3D designer could be replaced by an algorithm.

All competences are being digitised

The skill of working with gold and turning it into something beautiful is becoming something that can be done via technology. Though when you are creating stuff, what is your next skill to learn? Is it becoming a better craftsman by improving the old, or will you become a different craftsman by adopting the new?

If you are a parcel company (or perhaps less abstract: a truck driver for such a company), you know the end is neigh for your job. Amazon considers drones for delivery, and even though that might be futuristic it should make you think: do we need people and trucks to move stuff from A to B? The answer is clear: no you don’t, drones most likely will be more efficient. So what is your next skill as a truck driver?

Though not only in the physical world this ongoing replacement is going on. The digital world is reinventing itself just as hard. Front-end development used to be a no brainer, we need front-end developers because there is no tool that could replace them. We need to rephrase that statement: there was no tool yet. A tool like Macaw is coming very close and it will be just a matter of years before the front-end developer is obsolete. What will the front end developer do, what will his speciality become in the upcoming years.

Machines outperform the strategists

And it might be clear that when you make something you can be replaced by a robot, that is the old scary picture being painted by the industrial revolution. However when your job is thinking, such as you are a strategist of some sort, your job is dead wood. What you do is draw up different strategies for your company or customers based on your insights and sometimes based on a bit of data.

However what you cannot do is comparing 400 million different scenarios with 1000 parameters to show what is most likely to work in the end. In the age of big data the machine has become the faster thinker with more capacity to create the best strategy based on data. You as an individual can only do so much, but not comparing million of scenarios in a couple of minutes. So what is the strategy for the strategist to be of added value, will he become a button pusher on the big data machine; a typical blue-collar worker?

Move where the added value shifts to

As with everything the added value shifts from time of time and skills that are scarce will be commoditized. End 19th centuries we had computers, people who did really complex mathematical computations, they got replace by… yes computers as we know it. When you watch Mad Men you’ll see typists, a skill that is completely commoditized. Work changes, however most of us never realised that this change was so constant and moved so quickly with digital.

If you want to be sure you’ll make the right next step for your next job make sure you become the expert in a scarce skill in a field that is suffering from abundance. Such as becoming a data scientist in the world of big data or a growth hacker in the world of digital. However do not consider those as the jobs you’ll keep till your pension, already think about your next step after this new role. Since also these jobs will be completely commoditized and digitized.

Social Business Needs Social IT

This article was first published on CIO of the Future

Social Business is not just changing what the marketing department worries about. It’s changing how we run our businesses, and changing what we consider to be a well-managed business. Social Business can make your business more flexible, more agile, more open, and more future proof for the next revolution in technology. This is a revolution that is already taking place.

If the future of business is social, then the future of the IT department is social too.

Social Business

We need to stop thinking about the technology – the social tools – being something that we implement for others. The change that is currently happening in the marketing departments is working its way through business, and will hit the IT department eventually. It is the choice of the IT department to be part of this change, or to be outpaced by somebody who serves the business better. Price is not the competition, it is about value delivered.

Shift from thinking about Social Business as a new communication channel to implement, to seeing social as the starting point for that will lead to a big change in how you design and manage your operations, and it will lead to big benefits.

The future of business – and of the IT department – is more flexible, responsive, and more open. It is not about being more social, whatever that might imply; we never worried about being more SOA or more ITIL . Social is a design principle that leads you to these goals. It is not the goal itself, nor was SOA or ITIL.

Design Principles

The concept of Social Business, associated as it is with Social Media, is often treated as something isolated from other activities within organizations. It’s confused with channels – email, instant messaging, phone… – since it’s the channels that are the most obvious aspect of social, with their manifestation in the form of Facebook and Twitter.

Social Business, however, is changing how we manage and run our businesses. If you want to get the full benefits from Social Business you should not see it as a collection of tools or as something that is only concerned with customer service. Getting the most from Social Business goes beyond ‘being great’ on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It is a fundamental change in how businesses are being run, organized around how businesses and their stakeholders interact and think.

Social Business is a design principle. It is a logical design principle if you compare it to other design principles we use, such as open architectures, service orientation, and cloud. While Twitter and others might be the most obvious manifestations of social, they are only channels. Though these channels are not Social Business, they are designed with the design principles of Social Business.

What are the top four aspects of the social design principle?

  1. Privacy and trust
  2. Simple, flexible tools
  3. Flexible policies over detailed processes/rules
  4. Data driven ROI

Social IT

We all like change when change is something we do to others. However, if IT wants a role in the new social businesses then IT needs to apply the social design principles to itself.

1. Privacy and trust

With the rise of a PRISM society who can you trust? Is the CIO reading my email? To design for Social IT you have to ensure that there is complete trust between all stakeholders inside and outside.  This means that office politics have no place in social environments, and openness, connectedness and delivered value are valued over utilization and old boy’s networks. Participation is something that is valued, not something that is held against somebody.

2. Simple flexible tools

Open architectures, service orientation, and cloud are things you keep in mind while designing your processes and your applications. However Social Business is most often forgotten, it is added afterwards or it is introduced as a separate silo next to existing solutions.

3. Flexible policies over detailed processes and rules

IT cannot control every bit of IT a Social Business uses. It needs to move from detailed rule-based policies built on the assumption that IT owns the technology, and focus on flex policies that provide the business with the flexibility it needs to get things done.

Who knows what’s best for everybody? Most likely everybody knows what is best for everybody and with consumerization being a standard phenomenon in the enterprise you cannot enforce rigid policies anymore, since the ROI of enforcing would be so little compared to the ROI of letting go. People are not stupid by default, they don’t need lengthy rule books, they need guidance in the right direction.

4. Data driven ROI

What is the ROI of measuring ROI? What is the ROI of not changing? The beauty of social design is that it creates so many more data points that it is easier than ever to optimize ways of workings than it was before. Optimizing doesn’t mean making it more efficient, it is making it more value-adding for the company.

The assembly line is completely optimized, however what is the retention level of the people working on that line, what do they think, what is the cost per new hire?

Efficiency is a model that works in scarcity, not in the abundance driven world we experience in the 21st century. Information and knowledge workers aren’t scarce anymore, they don’t need to be utilized more as the precious steam engines in the 19th century did. They need to mobilized better so they can, will, and want to deliver a better ROI, an ROI that can be measured in absolute detail since every action they take is willingly and intentionally shared with everybody.

Conclusion

Thinking of Social Business beyond the implementation of a channel and treating it as a design principle will help you in designing different kind of solutions. This provides the advantage that the social transformation is coming from the start of the design, instead of after the introduction. This helps you and your organization to move the traditional enterprise to a more social business.

If you start designing your processes and applications as social by default, you’ll see that solutions are likely to become more flexible and connected. It will create more value than in the traditional silo approach and it will help to connect the dots between people, processes and systems. This is because social is not only about human interaction but also about the interaction between humans and systems and even between systems themselves.

You unleash the power of outside by thinking outside-in. However keep an eye on privacy, trust and mobilizing the social network around you, since those are important elements to create tangible value for your organization and for your customers. Social by design is two-way street, a street owned by your customer.

This article was first published on CIO of the Future

7 Common Pitfalls of Web care

What is holding you back in creating your Web care activities into a money machine? You have the latest tools, you have a team, however still you are not living up to your expectations or even worse: to the expectations of the people who give you the budget for your work. Small changes can make a big difference in improving your Web care activities. Here are seven ways you can improve your existing Web care and make a bigger impact on your business.

1. You have a Web care team

Creating a team might sounds like that you are taking Web care really seriously, at least more seriously than the organisations who use interns for their social media efforts. However did you create a fax team 20 years ago, or a paper time before that? Probably not. You should not isolate your efforts in a team or in a department, you should add this skills to the skill set of people who are already doing similar work on other channels.

2. You have a reactive approach

If you have to respond to a complaint, you are too late. Your customer already had a poor experience and with Social Media they already have shared with their friends and basically with the world. Even though the reactive approach is the easiest one to adopt, since you type in a few key words to monitor the Web and wait, it is also the most deadly. It is like watching your car crashing into a wall and pushing the brakes instead of trying to avoid the wall in the first place. Use the content that people are sharing on social media as your strategic advantage you can find issues before they become real problems, which means that you reach out to your customers before they experience the problem and solve it on time and prevent it next time.

3. On Social Media you are more willing to go the extra mile

Similar customer interaction different rules. Phrased this way it might sound weird, however this is what most organisation do on Social Media: complaining on social media will get your problems to be solved faster and your refunds will be likely bigger than if you tried the traditional route.  Customers talk with each other and they know if they can get more on one channel they will demand more everywhere, not just on the channel you are differentiating on. Leaving you robbed blind by your own fault. And if you don’t want to give more on other channels you already can predict what the next deluge of complaints will be…

4. You are the channel switcher

Not every issue can be handled and solved via social media, however why do organisation ask their customers to take the effort to make the switch. Too often you’ll see an organisation ask a customer to call a certain phone number for further help. To reiterate this: your customer has a question or a complaint doesn’t throw away your product in anger and decides to go out on social media and ask you a question. Instead you are asking your customer to even invest more time and effort by asking him to go to yet another channel with his question.

5. Sample size is n=1

Klout, the standard on influence. It couldn’t get any worse than that if you assume that tagline is actually the truth. The worst decisions you make while doing Web care are probably based on a lack of data. Whether it is by prioritising customers on Klout score, or by ignoring people with less than 100 followers on Twitter. It is never about these numbers, it is about the context, whether it is followers, Klout scores or problem statements, you need the context to know what you should do with it and how fast you should act on it. It might be obvious that a security exploit reported by a information technology student could be rather urgent, however if you filter him out based on his Klout score you might leave your business exposed by ignoring something really important.

6. Web care is a goal on itself

We are handling X messages per hour/day/week/unit of time. To be honest: nobody cares. Web care is no goal on itself, the goal that Web care should have to make sure there is as little Web care necessary as possible. Since the less complaints you have to solve the most likely it is that your product is rather good. Web care is (just like most service activities to solve issues) wasteful, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place and you should make sure there is a feedback loop that ensures that the issue won’t occur in the future. Not having Web care on the other hand could be something you want to do in the end, however not as a goal on itself, but as a byproduct of having a big amount of loyal customers doing Web care for you.

7. You listen to your customers

The worst thing you could do is to just listen to your customers and act upon their demands. It is not bad to listen to your customers in general, however if they dictate what you are doing, you will find yourself in limbo. You should be flexible on the details, however stubborn on vision. You don’t have to be the popular kid in the class, though you can allow yourself to give in on certain items. However as soon you as you treat customer as king and let him give orders to you, you are nothing more than just a peon on the road to bankruptcy.