Indian rapper uses Nicki Minaj beat to call out Unilever | Dazed

Indian rapper uses Nicki Minaj beat to call out Unilever | Dazed.

Sofia Ashraf will not back down over the damage she alleges Unilever has done to her city, using Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda beat for a protest rap against the company.

Local activists from Kodaikanal, a city in the state of Tamil Nadu, have been campaigning for years over the company’s abandonment of a thermometer factory. Mercury is a poisonous metal and India has no way of processing it. Ashraf’s song urges the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, to compensate the former workers of the factory at the Indian unit, who were exposed to toxic mercury, allegedly causing 45 deaths after mercury poisoning.

Unilever denies responsibility, dismissing scientific papers and the experiences of people from the area. In a statement on their website they say: “The conclusions of the CEM report is in contrast to the results and conclusions of several site assessment and risk assessment studies that have been done by independent experts and institutes over the years and we stand by the reports of the past.”

Ashraf has rapped about social issues before, including for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, which some consider to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Greenpeace and other environmental groups have previously accused Unilever of failing to clean up the waste, which harmed the forests of Kodikan. The rap video urges people who watch it to sign a petition, to hold Unilever accountable and get the company to compensate the workers affected by the mercury.

#Infographie : Les applis mobiles, premier investissement des entreprises en marketing digital – Maddyness

#Infographie : Les applis mobiles, premier investissement des entreprises en marketing digital – Maddyness.

La dernière étude réalisée par Val­tech et Adobe auprès de plus de 300 directeurs et responsables marketing dresse un état des lieux des logiques d’investissements et des grands enjeux du marketing digital en 2015. Retour sur l’infographie qui dessine les tendances digitales de ces derniers mois.


Depuis quatre ans, Valtech et Adobe cherchent à retranscrire les préoccupations et les attentes des directions marketing, tout en identifiant les postes d’investissement des prochains mois dans un baromètre du marketing digital. Autant d’informations nécessaires pour dresser le panorama d’un écosystème qui évolue rapidement.

L’enquête, menée auprès plus de 300 directeurs et responsables marketing d’entreprises de toutes tailles confirme une tendance forte : les applications mobiles constituent le premier poste d’investissement devant l’e-commerce, le brand et content management, le social media et le data marketing. Autre information : la part du marketing digital gagne 3% entre 2014 et 2015 dans le budget marketing global.

Côté indicateurs, les clics semblent (pour 181 d’entre eux) importer plus que le nombre de visites (169) ou encore la conversion (155). Les initiatives mobiles mises en place concernent pour 41 des répondants le responsive design, les applications mobiles (32) et les sites mobile (27). Quant au parcours cross canal, il sera principalement optimisé grâce à des e-mailings performants et à des sms qualitatifs, principaux leviers d’acquisition, devant la publicité et le SEO.

Qui tient les rênes de l’investissement en marketing digital ? Le marketing se hisse à la première place du classement (50%) devant le digital (35%) et l’IT (15%).  La data récoltée est quant à elle majoritairement utilisée pour améliorer la connaissance client, pour mieux cibler et segmenter son audience et enfin pour mieux personnaliser ses communications.

« Ce baromètre confirme nos observations sur le terrain : la complexification croissante du digital s’accompagne d’une volonté de plus en plus importante de la part des marques de mieux le comprendre et de l’intégrer à leur stratégie globale. L’augmentation du ROI des stratégies digitales, et notamment des stratégies mobiles, nous renseigne quant à l’évolution des budgets marketing globaux en faveur du digital », développe Christophe Marée, Directeur Marketing Digital chez Adobe.

barometre marketing digital

Les résultats complets de cette étude sont disponibles sur le site de Valtech

Twitter est-il vraiment la « boule de cristal » des marchés financiers ? – Rue89 – L’Obs

Twitter est-il vraiment la « boule de cristal » des marchés financiers ? – Rue89 – L’Obs.

C’est un article des Echos qui a provoqué le courroux de Thomas Renault, doctorant en économie, qui anime le blog Captain Economics.

« Comment Twitter est devenu la boule de cristal des marchés financiers, » annonce tout de go, le 31 juillet, le quotidien de l’économie. S’ensuit une mignonne infographie sur les « tweets qui ont fait réagir les marchés » – comme celui posté par le compte piraté d’Associated Press annonçant une explosion à la Maison-Blanche – et un papier qui tend à montrer que le réseau social est « devenu la miss météo des marchés ».

A l’appui de la démonstration, Les Echos citent une étude de Bollen, Mao et Zeng, chercheurs à l’université de l’Indiana et de Manchester, qui, en 2010, ont montré que les données de Twitter pouvaient prédire l’évolution du Dow Jones avec 87,6% de fiabilité [PDF]. Autre étude, même effets : des économistes de l’université de Californie ont trouvé une « corrélation importante entre le nombre de transactions d’un titre et le nombre de “composants raccordés” – c’est à dire le nombre de posts liés à des sujets distincts concernant la même entreprise » [PDF].

Bref, tout cela a pour but de montrer qu’il est possible de « sentir » les états d’âme – irrationnels ou non – des investisseurs de toute farine à partir de l’analyse d’une masse de signes papillonnants (les tweets). Tout cela semble validé par une étude récente de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE) [PDF].

Sauf que.

Méthodo ?

Thomas Renault, qui prépare une thèse sur le sujet et dont les posts sont relayés par le très libéral site Contretemps ainsi que par divers organes de presse, appelle à la prudence.

En préalable, il donne un petit cadre conceptuel à sa critique : deux visions pourraient expliquer le rôle de Twitter sur l’évolution des marchés. La première se base sur la théorie informationnelle : l’idée que l’information publiée sur Twitter n’est pas encore intégrée dans la formation des prix. Elle est fondamentalement nouvelle. Ainsi, l’arrivée de Twitter modifie de manière permanente la formation de ces prix. La seconde se rapproche de la théorie « sentimentale » : le prix d’un actif peut dévier de son niveau d’équilibre en fonction du sentiment d’investisseurs « naïfs ». Twitter sert justement à mesurer ces craintes ou enthousiasmes.

Bon. Mais cela ne remet pas en question la pertinence des études citées plus haut. Cette critique constitue la deuxième partie de la note de Thomas Renault.

Argument numéro 1 : l’étude de Bollen, Mao et Zeng, qui prédit avec 87,6% de fiabilité l’évolution du Dow Jones n’est pas si béton que cela :

« La précision du modèle est testée “out-of-the-sample” sur une période allant du 1er décembre 2008 au 19 décembre 2008, soit 15 jours de trading ! 15 jours, en données daily (donc une étude sur 15 points) ! De plus cette étude ne s’intéresse pas au rendement d’une stratégie de trading basée sur Twitter, mais simplement à une prévision de la direction du marché (est-ce que le marché va monter ou bien est-ce qu’il va baisser). Pour finir, 6 modèles différents sont testés et le résultat mis en avant est celui du meilleur modèle, ce qui a tendance à clairement biaiser les résultats (en testant un grand nombre de stratégies purement aléatoires sur un nombre de points limités, la meilleur stratégie aura statistiquement une précision proche de 100%…). »

Argument numéro 2 : l’étude de la BCE n’est en réalité pas une étude de la BCE. C’est même précisé au début : « Ce papier ne représente pas les vues » etc. Il est signé par deux des auteurs (Bollen et Mao) de l’étude précédente.

Argument numéro 3 : corrélation n’est pas causalité.

« Dans l’article des Echos, il est par exemple écrit “A l’époque, Bloomberg en avait également profité pour sauter le pas en ajoutant les messages Twitter à son offre de services financiers quotidiens. Dans les semaines qui suivent, les ‘ flashs crashs ’ s’enchaînent.” Alors oui, le fait que des algos de trading haute-fréquence puissent analyser en temps réel le contenu des tweets (et tout autre flux d’information – articles, blogs, forums…) pour prendre des positions peut en effet déstabiliser les marchés en augmentant la volatilité… Le Captain’ n’a rien contre cette hypothèse, mais comme toute hypothèse, il va falloir prouver cela empiriquement en “contrôlant” le tout pour considérer l’ensemble des autres explications possibles. »

Conclusion de Thomas Renault, qui cite à son tour des études moins tranchéessur la question :

« Les résultats empiriques sont pour le moment très mitigés. […] Twitter n’est clairement pas une “boule de cristal” permettant de prévoir les marchés, mais plutôt “un bon miroir” reflétant la situation présente. »

Amazon offers nationwide discount on back of Havas Meaningful Brands survey, as it launches John Lewis-style ad | The Drum

Amazon offers nationwide discount on back of Havas Meaningful Brands survey, as it launches John Lewis-style ad | The Drum.

Amazon is offering Brits a £10 discount on any order over £50 on the back of a Havas Media survey, amid wider marketing activity to promote its Prime service which kicked off over the weekend (31 July).

The results of Havas’ ‘Meaningful Brands’ global study, which involved over 20,000 people in the UK, were revealed earlier this year but only recently received wider industry recognition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez3o7L0R3rg

The Meaningful Brands metric was related to how consumers’ quality of life and wellbeing connects with brands at both a human and business level. Specifically, it looked at the role brands play in communities, how they impact self-esteem, healthy lifestyles, connectivity with friends and family, making lives easier, fitness and happiness as well as marketplace factors such as quality and price of goods.

Amazon topped the list in the UK, with 64 per cent of people saying they would care if the retailer disappeared. M&S and John Lewis – viewed as ‘ethical’ heritage brands – followed Amazon, with discount retailer Aldi and Sainsbury’s rounding off the top five.

To say thank you, Amazon has rolled out the £10 off promotion.

“We are grateful to customers for ranking Amazon #1 across Britain’s retailers,” said Christopher North, managing director at Amazon UK.  “You can count on us to continue working hard to set ever-higher standards for customer experience.”

The ‘BIGTHANKS’ promotion coincides with the roll out of a UK marketing campaign to bolster uptake of its Prime service.

The ad takes a different approach to previous Amazon activity, which has previously relied on consumer testimoials to woo new shoppers. Instead, the brand has followed the likes of John Lewis and Nationwide in running more emotive led creative in order to showcase what their services mean to customers rather than focus on the more funcitonal benefits.

To that end, Amazon’s latest ad follows the story of a little boy on the first day of nursery.He is showen nervously trying to fit in, as his anxious father watches through a window. His dad is then seen buying something via the Amazon mobile app, before the ad cuts to the next day when the little boy arrives at nursery wearing a superman costume.

It ends on the line: ‘Millions of ways to save the day, delivered in one day’.

Prime is Amazon’s key asset in its ambitious plan to create an ecosystem where users will spend more time and money. Over the past six-months it has ramped up its strategy to sign up new members, namely with the launch of the Prime Day last month.

Open only to Prime members, it offered discounts across thousands of goods for 24 hours. Amazon has not yet offered data on how many new members it attracted, but claims that global order growth increased 18 per cent on Prime Day versus the same day last year

Internet of Wine: The Italian project using networked vineyards to make a better vintage | ZDNet

Internet of Wine: The Italian project using networked vineyards to make a better vintage | ZDNet.

wine-grapes-hand.jpg

Networking is bringing new efficiences to the wine-making industry. Image: iStock

There are many factors that could influence the quality of a good wine – but photo cameras and wireless networks have not traditionally been among them. Daniele Trinchero, founder of iXem Labs, part of the Politecnico of Torino in north-west Italy, knows how important they can be, however. For him, being able to monitor the grapes’ growth by having access to a stream of images could help farmers make better quality and more sustainable products.

Accordingly, for the last couple of years, the 46-year-old professor of engineering has been installing dozens of tiny cameras connected through a low-cost wireless network in some of the finest vineyards of the country – those where Barolo or Brunello di Montalcino wines are produced. Every hour, the devices take a picture of the grape and make it available online, where it can be seen in real-time or stored for an agronomist to inspect later.

Trinchero and the wine makers that allowed him access to their fields are persuaded that such a system could help make the Italian wine sector more efficient without affecting quality. “Organic grape-growing is expensive,” he told ZDNet. “The plants have to be constantly monitored in order to minimize the use of chemicals against pests – a process that means an agronomist always has to be on site. Not every producer can afford it.”

With iXem Labs’ hardware and networks, experts’ intervention can be scheduled or called upon only when needed. “We wanted to create tools that could help the development of a more sustainable agriculture,” Trinchero said. “There is no other solution like that on the market right now.”

According to iXem Labs, the system might help the farmers to save up to €650 per hectare per year, thanks to lower chemical use and less need for agronomists.

NO SMALL FEAT

Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and social networks, the idea of a device taking images and transmitting them over the internet may sound quite ordinary. The problem is that the conditions found in a vineyard are anything but. Besides rain and wind, heat can be hard on technological devices as in some fields of Italy — in Sicily, for example, the temperature can easily reach 50°C. What’s more, in the countryside, energy consumption must be kept at minimum as there may be no permanent or reliable power supply, while broadband connectivity tends to be less readily available than in urban areas.

To overcome these problems iXem Labs drew on the knowledge accumulated over the years spent in bringing the internet to remote areas of the world such as the Amazon in South America or the Comoro Islands in Africa. First, the team developed small ad hoc cameras (9cm long, 5cm large, 5cm deep) that could withstand the rigors of the weather. Then, they made the devices into the nodes of a low-energy wireless sensor network which can cover vast areas and still transmit high-resolution images to a base station.

Thanks to iXem Lab’s own technology, the network is built with the farmers’ needs in mind. “At one end of the spectrum, you could have up to 100 cameras per hectare, this is how granular our system can be. But I doubt anyone in real life situation would ever want anything like that,” Trinchero said.

On the other hand, he added, you can manage to efficiently cover a wide area with just a few nodes, even if your internet connectivity doesn’t stretch too far. Thanks to the fact that the nodes can use each other as bridges, Trinchero claims the network can go as far as 20km from the base station. “You can have just one node every 25 hectares if you want to, and the system will work fine. But what is important is that you can configure it according to your needs,” he said.

The image recording is one of the most distinctive features of the iXem Labs’ system, but not its only functionality. The way the network is designed allows for any camera-node to become the epicenter of second-level networks composed of up to 60 sensors each. Each sensor — able to collect data on factors such as the soil or leaves’ humidity level or the temperature of the site — is powered independently, and once every 60 minutes it wirelessly delivers the data to the camera-node which passes it on to the base station along with the images it has taken.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjWWhizNnIs

The result is an extremely flexible structure. “You can add sensors at will and configure them to collect the data whenever you want. The only rule is that the transmission from the sensors to the camera and from the camera to the base station should happen only once every 60 minutes,” Trinchero said.

This sort of organized anarchy is the key to minimizing power consumption, to make sure each component only uses the minimum power it needs to function. The sensors, iXem Labs says, can run for up to 10 years on a normal AA battery while collecting data every five minutes. Each camera-node can work practically forever if powered by a solar panel the size of an iPhone 4, or it can go on for about a month with an AA battery.

BACK TO ITS ROOTS

The partnership between networking and wine experts didn’t happen just by chance. Trinchero is a native of Monferrato, an area of the Piedmont region in north-western Italy considered one of the most important wine districts in the country. In 2012 he attended a conference where one of the speakers was Angelo Gaja, owner of the famous winery of the same name and producer of some of the best Barbaresco and Barolo wines from the Boot.

The engineer told the winemaker about his dream to one day use the technologies his lab was working on in vineyards the technologies. The two Piedmont natives clicked and one year later the first experiments with the connected cameras started on Gaja’s fields. In the meantime Trinchero had signed up other producers of high-end wines, such as Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montepulciano in Tuscany. “I grew up among grapes fields and to me working there is a way to live close to my roots,” he said.

The devices and the wireless sensor network have been refined over the past two years thanks to the experiments iXem Labs and the wine producers have been running. The system is now ready for the next step: commercialization. Last March, the university’s project was spun out, becoming a startup named iXem, founded with the mission of bringing the system to market.

The first two camera-nodes have already been sold to wine makers in Montalcino and Montepulciano, two areas in Tuscany were the wines of the same names are produced. The idea is to start with the cameras, which address a gap in the market, and then win customers round to the idea of a flexible, easily-configurable network.

“Images give you an idea of the health of the crop right away, it is just like a real-time alert and nobody offers that now,” Riccardo Stefanelli, one of the three co-founders of iXem, told ZDNet. The company’s aim is to begin with wine and then expand into other areas of agriculture. In the future the startup will add other technologies being developed at the university labs to its portfolio, such as innovative sensors that are able to detect the humidity of the soil up to a depth of 15 meters.

In the meantime, the market might find other uses for the products the engineers haven’t even thought of. “Some producers have already asked about the possibility of publishing the pictures online. They said it might be good for marketing,” Stefanelli said.

Confidence increases in native, but creative still a problem | The Drum

Confidence increases in native, but creative still a problem | The Drum.

Firm direction from the IAB means almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of media planners are now confident that native ad formats are a safe media channel to invest in, but contrasts in the business models of creative and media agencies make execution difficult, according to a report.

The findings were revealed today (15 July) in the second annual report from FaR Partners, commissioned by Adyoulike, which revealed the vast majority of “agencies are now confident that the native market is well regulated”, compared to just 33 per cent 12 months ago.

Controversies such as the ASA forcing Mondelez’s Oreo to remove several YouTube videos from its channel on the video sharing site for failing to adequately label the content as marketing communications, and other areas of uncertainty had apparently left media planners wary of including native ads on their media plans.

Guidelines offer assurances

However, since then the trade body has issued explicit guidelines on how to denote paid-for native ad units – which are purposely designed to replicate the look and feel of a media owner’s editorial content – from non-sponsored media for the first time.

For instance, marketers deploying native advertising must ensure that they provide “visual cues” that make it immediately clear the ads are paid-for content, plus such units must also be labelled using wording that “demonstrates a commercial arrangement is in place” according to the news rules, such as ‘brought to you by’.

As a result, media planners are now a lot more assured about using native advertising units to help raise awareness of their client’s brands among consumers, with respondents reporting that native ads will account for an average of 18 per cent of their total digital display spend this year.

Native creative poses problems

Elsewhere, the study also revealed that 65 per cent of respondents agree that native addresses the creativity challenge in the digital ad market, but media agency respondents also reported that clients’ sign-off processes were an issue when it comes to campaign execution.

In addition, media agency respondents also observed that creative agencies are still challenged when it comes to executing on the native opportunity. Some noted that creative agencies are often challenged by the remuneration model (which means they have less time and resource to deliver strong native executions).

 

Other observations recorded in the study were that creatives shops struggle with the collaborative element required for native executions, and that they also struggle with the contextual/environmental restrictions of native ad placement.

Francis Turner, managing director of Adyoulike UK, added: “A lot of the challenges that existed around native advertising last year, such as regulation and budget, have become less of an issue as brands and agencies fully grasp everything native can do for them.”

He went on to say: “There are still challenges around native ads, mainly in bringing the creative opportunities that everyone can see to actual fruition. However, what’s very clear is that it’s an incredibly exciting time for the market, with programmatic trading and mobile at the forefront, and things are only going to accelerate over the coming months.”

Turner further noted that native ad formats were seen as a potential to “creativity gap” on mobile devices, where traditional display ads simply ‘don’t work’, with 24 per cent of native ad spend predicted to be on mobile by the end of the year, according to the figures.

A further statistic unearthed by the study, which quizzed over 500 agency staff, was that 16 per cent of native advertising spend now comes from a dedicated budget, this is compared to 6 per cent last year.

ATDs eye programmatic native

The study also highlighted the prospects that exist for programmatic native, with Turner additionally identifying the recent publication of the OpenRTB 2.3 standard – which instructs advertisers on how to label their media assets when bidding on native ad units via an ad exchange – as buoying this confidence.

The survey found that 100 per cent of holding group entities such as WPP’s Xaxis and Publicis Groupe’s Vivaki (which are commonly referred to as agency trading desks, or ATDs) see programmatic native as a strong market opportunity. Although currently only an average of eight per cent of their budget goes on it (if they exclude social media spend).

The two key benefits of trading native ads programmatically were seen as reducing costs and scalability, though the main challenge highlighted by ATDs was the difficulty in making native content contextually relevant.

Turner added: “Programmatic native is a massive opportunity right now, thanks largely to the OpenRTB 2.3 standard that enables native ads to be delivered at scale. Once agencies are convinced that campaigns can offer both creativity and relevance, which they most certainly can, I’ve no doubt that programmatic trading budgets will skyrocket.”

SoftBank CEO: everyone will have 1,000 IoT devices by 2040

SoftBank CEO: everyone will have 1,000 IoT devices by 2040.

Source: https://www.techinasia.com/softbank-son-iot-1000-devices-2040/

J.T. Quigley
12:32 pm on Jul 31, 2015

SoftBank World IoT

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has high hopes for the burgeoning internet-of-things movement.

“Each individual, on average, will have more than 1,000 devices that are connected to the internet by 2040,” he told the audience at SoftBank World yesterday. “There will be no devices that aren’t connected.”

In Son’s world, the living room chair of the future will no longer be a simple piece of furniture. It will be a healthcare device, full of sensors that capture health-related data. Based on those readings, it will communicate with your refrigerator, which will then recommend what food to eat. The chair will share data with your shoes to determine if you’ve got a healthy balance between resting and moving around.

Masayoshi Son IoT

For those inclined to balk at Son’s prediction, he points to the history of smartphone adoption in Japan.

“I said that smartphones would dominate the world,” he explained. “Everyone told me, ‘we have NFC, we have IC chips […] in Japanese feature phones. The smartphone will never catch on here.’”

Son’s insistence on bringing the iPhone to Japan – a deal he struck with Steve Jobs personally, while the device was still in development – is what turned the firm into a global internet and telecommunications giant. He said that the decision to acquire Vodafone Japan for US$15 billion in 2006was made only after Jobs promised to provide the iPhone exclusively to SoftBank.

“In less than 10 years, we’ve seen the world realize that [the smartphone] would change the lives of people,” he added.

Even if IoT booms and the cost of such connected devices decreases drastically, it’s hard to imagine a world where everyone can afford to own1,000 devices – or 1,000 anything. Son’s vision of a global “information revolution” (see video below, which was also screened at the event) is deeply rooted in equal access to information, but unequal access toopportunity is unlikely to change within the next 30 years.

Editing by Steven Millward

The Most Important Customer Service KPI You Might Not Be Measuring

The Most Important Customer Service KPI You Might Not Be Measuring.

Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California. Real California cheese.

It was a marketing campaign that had a hold on Wisconsin. Plump, beautiful dairy cows roamed the sunny California hills joyously gossiping about the terrible conditions in far away, snow-ridden lands. How could a miserable cow — beaten down by harsh winds, berated by an unsupportive farmhand, trapped by the confines of cow-hood — be expected to produce delicious cheese?

The same question applies to customer service agents; how can miserable customer service agents be expected to produce great customer service? Sure, a harsh environment can produce tough skin, a desirable characteristic in the customer service industry, but tough skin is not the end goal. Having tough skin doesn’t make customer service better, friendlier or faster — it just ensures every day doesn’t end in a puddle of tears. Huh, what a goal.

Happy customer service agents make happy customers

Happy Cows Make Great Cheese

While cows are not the ideal spirit animal for most people, the analogy is simple. Happier customer service agents (cows) make happier customers (great cheese). In a digital age where everything can be measured to a T, agent satisfaction can often be surpassed for more easily quantifiable KPIs like first response time and resolution time. But are those really the metrics that matter the most? Does an agent who copies and pastes “sorry, please send an email to support@companyname.com” deserve a bonus just because they have the shortest first response time? Probably not. So how to do it then? Glance around the room to tally smiles and frowns? Not exactly.

— Recommended for YouWebcast: Build a Powerful Network and Accelerate your Growth

What’s Measured Improves

You can only know where you’re going if you know where you’ve come from. While measuring agent satisfaction is no easy task, companies noted for their excellent customer service like Zappos have set forth a series of standards. The famous “8 hour Zappos customer service call” demonstrates that customer journey time alone is not the most important KPI. Here are two measurable approaches to customer service KPIs that consider quality and happiness, not just speed.

  • Measure time spent with customer, not average resolution time

Customer service agents are the frontline of your business. They are the people who actually interact with customers and have the unique opportunity to deliver a brand promise and identity on a personal level. That means overall time spent with customers should be rewarded, not punished. If a customer has a back and forth conversation on Twitter that takes 15 tweets, not 1, and results in a happy customer – retweet at the ready – this is a success.

Define a benchmark for what percentage of an agent’s time is desirable to be spent working directly with customers (active chat window, time on a phone call, quality and length of a social thread) and encourage agents to go beyond a simple resolution. Emphasize that they won’t be penalized for a longer customer journey.

  • Define and reward “wow” moments  

Customer service is all too often viewed as a cost and not an opportunity. No customer raves about the average service they had. They rave about that time when Don went to the ends of the earth to make sure they got a hold of those blue suede shoes before they flew off the shelf. What did Don do differently to make this “wow” moment happen? It wasn’t just about him doing his job, it was about creating Personal Emotional Connections which Zappos defines with the following questions:

–> Did the agent try twice to make a personal emotional connection (PEC)?

–> Did they keep the rapport going after the customer responded to their attempt?

–> Did they address unstated needs?

–> Did they provide a “wow experience?”

How to Increase Agent Happiness

You’re off to a good start with these two approaches to measuring agent happiness, but how do you get happy agents in the first place? It’s not as simple as putting cows in the warm, grassy hills of California (remember, this was a 90s, pre-drought campaign), but it is as simple as empowering agents with choices and technology.

  • Build relationships over time

Flat white? *raises eyebrows and smiles*

I love a morning that starts off like this. I go to my regular coffee shop not only because they make the best coffee in town, but because they know me and we have a relationship. Sure, it’s a simple exchange, but my barista knows that I don’t like to shoot the shit before being properly caffeinated and I want a flat white 99% of the time.

The same thing applies to digital relationships. Being remembered makes customers feel good and remembering people makes agents’ work meaningful. They get to see progress overtime. The best relationships are built on shared experiences – moments you get to recall together. Using a CRM system that routes customer requests to the most relevant customer service agent allows for relationship building overtime.

  • Make work interesting

Most kids grow up dreaming of being an astronaut, actor, or in my case, professional card maker. Very few grow up thinking they want to work at a contact center. New customer service channels, like Facebook and Twitter, are changing this. Social customer care is an exciting opportunity with potential for a deeper understanding of the business. This function relates to marketing, public relations and process improvement.  Encourage agents to identify work that interests them and provide opportunities for them to develop in that area. Social customer service might be the secret to keeping agents on the verge of burnout – and recruiting a new wave of millennial talent.

  • Give them technology that works

Nothing kills my soul quite like slow technology. It induces those Office Space let-me-go-bash-my-computer-in-a-field moments that are more than just counter productive in a work environment. Customer service agents are usually the ones to get shafted on the technology front. Marketing has powerful analytics and publishing tools. Sales have CRM technology. Customer service? Do they need more than a headset? Yes!

Don’t add the frustration of bad technology to the already testing job of a customer service agent. Give agents the technology they need to do their job, and do it well. They gain valuable skills and return the favor with efficiency and sense of purpose.

Opportunity to Market, Not Overhead Cost

If you leave this article with one takeaway here it is: treat customer service like an opportunity to market your product or service, not as a necessary cost of doing business. This approach elevates the status of the customer service agent and moves them closer to becoming those happy California cows who produce great cheese. Sorry Wisconsin, we don’t want your sour milk.

Want to know more about developing happy customer service agents? Download this T-Mobile case study to learn why they  thinks it’s important to give agents room to be themselves.

Loon vs Aquila = Google vs Facebook. Who will win the global internet solution ? Everyone, we hope !

Social media company plans to start testing the craft, which is intended to provide internet access to remote areas, within months

Source: the guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/31/facebook-finishes-aquila-solar-powered-internet-drone-with-span-of-a-boeing-737

Facebook has revealed its first full-scale drone, which it plans to use to provide internet access in remote parts of the world.

Code-named “Aquila”, the solar-powered drone will be able to fly without landing for three months at a time, using a laser to beam data to a base station on the ground.

The company plans to use a linked network of the drones to provide internet access to large rural areas. However, as with its Internet.org project, Facebook will not be dealing with customers directly, instead partnering with local ISPs to offer the services.

Jay Parikh, Facebook’s vice-president of engineering, said: “Our mission is to connect everybody in the world. This is going to be a great opportunity for us to motivate the industry to move faster on this technology.”

Facebook said it would test the aircraft, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, in the US later this year.

Yael Maguire, the company’s engineering director of connectivity, said that the plane will operate between 60,000ft (18km) and 90,000ft (27km) – above the altitude of commercial airplanes – so it would not be affected by weather.

It will climb to its maximum height during the day, before gliding slowly down to its lowest ebb at night, to conserve power when its solar panels are not receiving charge.

Although Facebook does not immediately face policy or legal hurdles in testing its drone in the US, Maguire said, it was the first company to fly at such altitudes and had a team working with policymakers to help set guidelines.

The drone, which was built in 14 months, was able to fly in the air for 90 days at a time, Maguire said. Lacking wheels, or even the ability to climb from ground level to its cruising altitude without aid, it will be launched with the help of helium balloons, which will rise it to its preferred height.

The balloons will be easily capable of lifting the plane: even when fully laden with communications gear, it will weigh just 880lbs (400kg), less than a fifth of the recognisable Reaper drone used by the US military, even though the Aquila drone has a wingspan of 46 yards (42m), compared to the Reaper’s 16 yard (15m) breadth.

Because the planes must constantly move to stay aloft they would circle a two-mile (3km) radius, Parikh said.

The Aquila program, which was first tested in Britain in March this year, is geared towards bringing internet access to the 10% of the population who do not have it.

It faces competition from a similar programme developed by Google to bring wireless internet to rural communities using high-altitude helium balloons. The programme, called “Project Loon”, involves fitting transmitters to the balloons, which will fly at similar altitudes to Facebook’s drones.

Unlike the drones, the balloons cannot be directly steered, but Google claims that, with an accurate enough model of wind speeds and directions, it is possible to effectively direct the balloons simply by raising or lowering their altitude to ensure they blow in the desired direction. Project Loon was first tested in New Zealand in 2013.

Separately, Facebook a year ago launched Internet.org, an initiative to provide access to the two-thirds of the world without a reliable connection. The project, which partners with local mobile carriers to offer free internet access on basic smartphones across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But Internet.org has also been criticised by activists in both the developed and developing world for only linking users to a walled-garden version of the internet. Internet.org customers can access, for free, selected services such as Facebook, Wikipedia, weather, job listings and government info. But they cannot access the open web through the same service.

In May, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, suggested that users “just say no” to services such as Internet.org.

He told the Guardian: “In the particular case of somebody who’s offering … something which is branded internet, it’s not internet, then you just say no. No it isn’t free, no it isn’t in the public domain, there are other ways of reducing the price of internet connectivity and giving something … [only] giving people data connectivity to part of the network deliberately, I think is a step backwards.

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