Archive for the ‘customers’ Category

New media 2008

August 5, 2008

I accepted with great excitment to be one of the speakers at the New Media event 2008 organized mid december in Dubai. Among the speakers, I’ll have the pleasure to meet Robin Hamman, Magnus Nystedt, Philippe Borremans, David C Skul, Ammar Bakkar (MBC), Jonathan Woodier (Citi group) and acclaimed movie director Shekhar Kapur. Other speakers will soon be announced.

The headlines of my presentation as defined in the draft program are:

Engaging With Social Network To Maximise Your Reach But Also Manage Risks

  • Understanding the nature of networks
  • Recruit and unleash social network advocates
  • Assessing the potential return on using social networking website

The third bullet point is a tricky one, don’t you think? 🙂

Blowjobs included!

July 10, 2008

I recently posted a great Ben Stiller video on getinspiredhere.net. This post received a comment by Richard who states that “a lot of viral videos contain some form of depravity”. I don’t have stats about that but I think Richard is right.

Since a lot of marketers seem to believe in the power of depravity, Ryanair launched a new VIP program called “Beds and blowjobs”.

Who said “over promise”?

Nightmare at Sheraton – Episode 3 (awakening)

June 25, 2008

I replied to starwood with the following mail

” Thank you very much for your mail. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can use this solution since there is no Jean Deltenre living at my adress. It’s just an encoding mistake made by your services: They typed “Jean” and they should have typed “Philippe”. Is there a way to correct that at your side? I will stay at the Sheraton Hotel in Atlanta as from july 15th and I really would like to benefit from my points. “

and this time, I received the answer I expected from an “Assistant Manager, E-Communications Department”:

“Thank you for sending another email request, this time we will make it right.
 
In reviewing our email correspondence we failed to answer your question; on behalf of the E-communications department I sincerely apologize. I have corrected the first name on your Starwood Preferred Guest account to Philippe.
In your last email you mentioned that you will be staying at the Sheraton in Atlanta on July 15th; Please do not hesitate to contact a Starwood Preferred Guest representative for assistance in making your hotel reservation at (phone number). Thank you for your dedication to our Starwood properties and being a valued member of our Starwood Preferred Guest program.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require additional assistance.”

Seems that my problem is solved. I also really appreciate that the admitted their mistake. Nevertheless, If I could give starwood a piece of advice, it would be the following:

– Do not send a standard answer without reviewing it. Your first reply was beyond ridiculous.

– Use technorati and monitor your brand(s)

– All the mails you sent me were from the same email adress even if there were different senders.  It’s very difficult to interact in that case. Please consider personalized emails for your staff, I can’t even send a mail to thank Marcella who solved my problem.

Marcella, I hereby thank you

Nightmare at Sheraton – Episode 2 (the specialist)

June 24, 2008

I was very tempted to be sarcastic in my reply to starwood (see yesterday’s post), but I assumed they just sent me a standard answer based on some keywords they identified in my previous mail.

So, I made a short reply “Thanks for your reply but how could I show you documentation with my “former name”? You just made a mistake by calling me Jean Deltenre instead of Philippe Deltenre

I received an answer by a “Specialist, E-Communications Department, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide” (wow!)

Thank you for your email reply. I welcome this opportunity to assist you further.
 
“While we are unable to allow change the name on a Starwood Preferred Guest account without documentation. We do allow unlimited Starpoint transfers between accounts of members in the same household.
You may transfer your Starpoints to another member’s Starwood Preferred Guest account, or vice versa, as long as the following requirements are met:
1. Both members live at the same address.
2. The member from whose account the Starpoints are being deducted must advise us of his/her password.
3. Neither member is an employee of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
For further information on transferring Starpoints or to make a transfer, please contact your nearest Account Services Center, where one of our Associates will be happy to assist you. Within the United States and Canada you can contact us by calling toll free 1-888-625-4988 or visit our website for the telephone number of the office nearest you.
We appreciate your continued loyalty to the Starwood Preferred Guest program and welcome any further questions or concerns.”

OK, so, now we have a solution. I just have to ask to Jean Deltenre who lives in my house to transfer me his points… oh, but wait, there is no Jean Deltenre living with me (even if I sometimes hear strange noises coming from the attic)

Starwood, please hire John P. from Dell and pay the guy a million bucks. You really need a guy like him.

Nightmare at Sheraton – Episode 1 (Mulva)

June 23, 2008

Yes, it’s been a long time. I must admit that I lost the sparkle. I was more into swimming and brazilian jiu jitsu than into marketing readings the last months. It’s probably also because I’m not in a customer facing job today and I miss that badly.

Today, I’m back because I want to have conversations again, thanks to Geert who boosted me last week and also because I have something to tell you: Starwood hotels have a very poor customer service!

I went to Egypt in march in a nice Sheraton hotel (El Gouna), they proposed me the “Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Program” and I accepted it. I’m travelling to Atlanta next month and I will stay at the Sheraton. I received my SPG card last week… and I realized they made a mistake in my first name: instead of Philippe Deltenre, they refer to me as Jean Deltenre (the adress and other details are correct). I went to www.spg.com and found a customer service adress.

I wrote the following mail:

“SPG Number:******9082
Subject: General Comment
Dear,
I received my SPG card a few days ago. The first name mentionned on my card is not correct (JEAN instead of PHILIPPE). How can I proceed in order to have a card with my correct details? Thanks
First Name: Philippe
Last Name: Deltenre
Membership Level: A”

Here’s the reply I received one day later:

“Dear Jean Deltenre,
 
Thank you for your recent email concerning your Starwood Preferred Guest account. I welcome this opportunity to assist you.
We always want to be sure that you’re pleased with our service so we’ve included a link to a brief survey at the end of this email. I would very much appreciate it if you could take a minute or two to let us know how we’re doing.
 
We would be pleased to change the name on your account as requested. However, for security reasons we require legal documentation that shows both the former and current names. Please note that a driver’s license is not sufficient verification for a legal name change.
Please send a copy of your marriage certificate or certificate of name change to:
Email:
research@starwoodhotels.com

Errr, this looks like a bad start in our relation. They probably assumed I underwent a gender change or married another man (not that there is something wrong with that)… I save the next episode for tomorrow but I can tell you already that it looks like the fist minutes of the movie BRAZIL

No headquarters, no hierarchy

July 10, 2007

I had the chance today to hear a brilliant presentation by Charles Leadbeater. I wrote down a few key messages:
– Give people tools, see how they us them and only then, build your business model
– If you treat users as (just) consumers, you won’t be able to make them help you to innovate
– The most innovative organisations (based on free collaboration) today have no headquarters and no hierarchy, they are much quicker in innovation than any big fixed rigid organisation
– Succes may lead to conservatism. If you have a history of succes, you may tend to repeat what led you to succes.
– If you want to see your way into the future, act as you were a new entrant with low budgets

I don’t know anything (yet) about conversational marketing

May 25, 2007

ignorant1.jpgOf course, I understood the benefits of the conversation, I understood the value of the feedback, I understood that the conversation was not very risky and has a lot of potential benefits, I understood that the conversation monetizes itself

But there are so much things I didn’t figured out yet about conversational marketing:

– Can any brand enter conversational marketing? If I take myself as an example (I know you should never do that as a marketer), I can’t think about something to say to a household products brand or to a toilet paper brand (except maybe “be sweet”) or even clothing brands

– Should conversational marketing be part of the new marketing mix? this would mean that conversation would be managed by objectives which seems odd to me

– Is there an ideal balance between monitoring initiated conversation (monitor what is written about your brand on the participative web and join the conversation) and conversations initiated directly by the brands (ask a particular question to the surfers or invite them to join a previously defined conversation)?

– And of course, should you put a KPI in place for the conversations you have with your customers and target groups in order to evaluate the “efficiency” or the return of the conversation? If yes, which one?

I feel like I still don’t know very much about conversational marketing but Alfred North Whitehead once wrote “Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance is the death of knowledge.”

The audience is listening, HP isn’t

May 25, 2007

It took me 2 minutes to post the story of Laurent struggling with an HP keyboard and HP’s kafkaesque customer service. I was amazed to see the HP-post on the very top of the top posts of the week.

No reaction from HP so far… but a few hours after the publishing of the post, John P, a very helpful representative from Dell (!) tried to help us out and gave us some directions in the HP labyrinth. This must be superman’s Bizarro world.

Maarten was the first to blog about this oddity on Blogologie (in dutch). A few hours later, I see a pingback leading to an excellent post entitled “Dell Quells HP Hell” on Steven Phenix’ blog. The post is great and even offers us background information about John P.

So, HP is not listening while Dell learned to listen and monitor and understood that everyone is a customer. Laurent decided to buy a new laptop. It’s a Dell.

HP Hell

May 23, 2007

Here’s a mail I received from my colleague, friend (and soon my boss) Laurent. I hope HP is monitoring the blogosphere as efficiently as Dell does.

Computer : 2.5 years old HP Presario 2500 laptop, bought on Ebay when it was only 2y old
I bought this for my girlfriend during her maternity leave so she could stay connected, even while “emprisoned” home
I took the opportunity to initiate her to the joy of  instant Messaging and she pulled her mother and half her family – living far in the countryside – to it 😉 I also showed her how to use Ebay and she spend half my salary in baby clothes in a month

A few weeks ago, the “h” touch died. I checked the web and apparently it’s a common problem with this model (or at least, people have been vocal about the “h” touch)
But, ok, she could live wit tat, h is not tat important is it?
Yesterday night the whole keyboard stopped working. “e” gives “w”, backspace, delete and enter don’t work… She was really sad

Soooo, arriving at the office today, with all the references in my pocket, I surf to the HP website to find an after-sales/customer service number I could call to solve this asap. It’s not critical, she does not need the computer for work matters, but it has become really important in her life and I don’t want to let her without that.
Ok, number found..doh, a 0900 billed 0.74€/min…?? Ok, the computer is probably not guaranteed anymore, but still.
First call, robot voice spelling me a huuuuuuge (this is stupid by the way, who can possibly remember that?) url I could check to read about HP privacy policy, press 2 to get someone answering, wait wait wait, at least, a friendly human voice.
The guy asks for my postal code so he could give me phone numbers of companies that could repair my laptop.
I hung up the phone with 3 numbers.
1st number : number does not exist
2nd number : yess!! It rings!! Bad luck for me, that company works only in B2B
3rd number : number doesn’t exist

Hmmm, ok, I have an issue there. Back to my 0900 overtaxed number (again 2 minutes waiting time to get that humongous url spelled), press 2 to get someone answering, a lady now.
Postal code thing and she gives me a 03 phone number. I kindly ask her to give me a number close to my place (why asking for the postal code otherwise?) and she tells me that’s the only one she has (??) The number? : 03.382223366. For those of you who don’t know, Belgian phone numbers do not contain 8 digits. That’s what I told her of course. She puts me on hold “to check sir”… the line was cut after 10 minutes waiting time :-/

Back to the HP website, a bit angry and bored, I see a small link allowing to estimate what the repair price could be. If I can not get the contact of someone who can help me, maybe at least I could figure out how much it would cost. Click, click, click, my computer model? of course I have the reference, click click again : 389€ estimated repair price…but nowhere I could type what type of reparation I needed, so how can that estimation be right?

HP? Are you listening?

Bring the love back: What’s next?

May 18, 2007

It’s maybe too soon to do the aftermath of the Bring the love back action but I thought that 10.000 views on dailymotion was a good opportunity to talk about this case.

I won’t make a recap of the full genesis of the project (everything is on bringtheloveback.com). Geert, who carried the project from start to end also initiated the viral aspect of the campaign. Geert received the video wednesday at 7.30 PM CET and posted it immediatly on dailymotion and the movie was embedded on the bringtheloveback blog.

The first thing we did after the posting of the video was to send a mail to a limited number of contacts (about 15) of the blogosphere. Not only class-A bloggers but only good bloggers (some of them, despite an excellent blog have an authority 1 on technorati). The rule wasn’t their power of influence but the fact we had a real relation with them (I already have had online discussion or a mail discussions with all bloggers in my list).

For that kind of action, I guess you need a little piece of luck. In my blog post, I wrote that I was hoping that David Armano (who wasn’t in our short mailing list) would like the video. David is obviously a king of monitoring and reacted immediatly in my comments, posted the video on L+E and twittered about it. This was the real start of the virality. Thanks to David, the video was taken over by major blogs like Jaffejuice, Beyond Madison Avenue, futurelab, marketingfacts, successcreeations, whatsnext, servant of chaos and many others. Other major bloggers like CK, Craphammer or Technomarketer helped us big time.

But is it really a success? For the figures, I have not enough benchmarks in B2B viral actions and, honestly, I don’t really care and I don’t believe it’s a metric of success.

I care about the many conversations that are happening on all the blogs, the friendly confrontations between the enthusiasts, the surprised ones, the sceptics and the Microsoft-haters.

I care about what will happen next: How will we (Microsoft international) build on this, change our image, fullfil the promises, continue the conversation, draw and share conclusions.

Bringthelove back is allmost a one-man project. Geert worked on this with vision, method, creativity, guts and belief and managed to transform our Microsoft Belgium positioning in a worldwide conversation on advertising and the place of Microsoft in the online advertising landscape. Thumbs up, my friend!

Conversation economy: The movie

May 16, 2007

A while ago, I had lunch with Geert, our Belgian trade marketing guru and he explained me an ambitious project he developed together with Stef Selfslagh, from Openhere: Here’s the result:

The conversation economy already had its emblematic article, it now have its viral video. I hope David Armano will like it 🙂