It's about time.
Insights and musings about customer service and managing a SaaS software company


Archive for October, 2010


Android Rising!

October 17, 2010 by Yuval Brisker

The great moment of truth is here for RIM and Microsoft.

The masses are aligning themselves with the future of the mobile internet and it’s pretty clear that these two former leaders (Microsoft had a Windows Mobile operating system for many years before anyone even thought of a mobile OS…way before Apple and Google…and RIM….well…talk about losing your mojo…) both seem to be losing the battle:    When you give your employees the ability to freely choose which device they want to use for communicating on business matters (as we  have at TOA) – and an absolute majority of them choose either the iPhone or the Android (and to be honest – most have been choosing the iPhone ) and only a minute minority of them chooses the Blackberry (even the Torch was not able to generate excitement…) …then you KNOW something really big is happening.

In a post yesterday Fred Wilson gave a ringing endorsement to the Android OS and made some excellent points.  He is clearly long Android (and GOOG)  and so am I. I am not as critical as he is about Apple’s closed ecosystem, but I see and agree with his point here. Overall I think that both his post today and the subsequent related comments on his blog were totally in line with what I have been thinking for more than 6 months:

That the days of Blackberry are numbered (not by weeks, but by years, of course, but still…), and that I cannot fathom why anyone would be a proponent of Windows Phone 7, when there are so many great choices already in the marketplace and both Google and Apple are so clearly leading in innovation and execution on so many (and different) levels.

What’s astounding to me is just how fast this change has come. In fact, the tectonic shift in the mobile OS sphere has happened SO fast, it’s almost hard to believe that just a short 18 months ago there really was not much Android use to speak of and not much Android… And wasn’t it yesterday that RIM’s Blackberry ruled the business roost? (To be honest, it still does… but there is a clear downward trend…).

Let’s face it even the iPhone has been blindsided by the Android revolution, which really came out of nowhere with such speed to a threatening position of preeminence that almost no one saw it coming. Yet…here it is!  And why?

One word: OPEN…

Two words: OPEN and ADS

The brilliance of Android is that it is an open platform and can be many things to many people and that sparks creativity on more than the level of simple apps… For example, I have three different keyboards on my Android (that I chose and installed) and two different (interesting) browsers…what great freedom to choose, to decide on even which components you want to plug and use on your device…!!!

And the fact that it’s free in more than just the architectural sense is huge: “all” Google wants is to have so many devices on Android that it will assure people around the world have access to Google’s ad ecosystem, have new ways to directly access google ads and in that way they will continue to rule supreme over the next big thing, i.e. mobile ads.

And they are already beginning to see huge amounts of cash from this… I thought it was astonishing that they lifted the veil on Thursday to reveal that they are on track to produce over $1 Billon in revenue from mobile ads next year… So does anybody have any doubt what Google’s strategy to monetize Android is?  It’s called eyeballs on their free operating and app ecosystem by any device manufacturer and any carrier leading directly to the Google Mobile Ad Network! Not bad! And why is this a surprise? It’s really not a surprise. It’s just the elegance, the completeness and the speed at which they executed that is amazing to me!

And where does this leave the rest? With an antiquated business model of selling operating system software to device manufacturers or selling devices with proprietary operating systems…both seems so… so… yesterday compared to $1 Billion of mobile ad generated revenue. Even Apple, who also just bought a mobile ad delivery company, is going to be limited to the world of iPhone device users, where as Google will have access to anyone who uses an Android, whether it’s made by Motorola, HTC, Nokia, Samsung, etc. etc. and sold by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, America Movil, Vodafone, etc.

Android Rising?!…No doubt!

The Perilous Cost of Waiting

October 5, 2010 by Yuval Brisker

Today TOA Technologies released the 2010 Annual Cost of Waiting Survey. It’s a comprehensive look at the effects of the in-home appointment event on consumers and the businesses that serve them.

There are many interesting things that the survey uncovered  – and you can access them all here – but I want to focus on one aspect which I think is particularly fascinating and that’s the effects of waiting on brand equity and what is commonly called Net Promoter Score (NPS).  In other words, how people answer the question “How likely is it that you would recommend the company to a friend or colleague?”.

What the survey found is that there is a profound negative effect on brand equity when a company shows up just 15 minutes late. That’s all it takes to change the perception of the customer from a 60% satisfaction rate for on time arrival to only 19% satisfied when reps from your company arrive late. Even if you find a way to overcome the issue of momentary dissatisfaction – the real effect on your brand comes when people were asked the NPS question, i.e. the number of people who would recommend a company to their friends plummets when companies are late to arrive. In fact:

  • 58% of respondents said they would recommend a company with an on-time arrival.
  • However, if the company is just 15 minutes late the number of respondents who said they would recommend the company drops to just 10%.

What does that mean to you?

So much money is spent on acquiring new customers and so much money is spent on creating, maintaining and growing the brand. Yet all of that can go down the drain in one moment: The moment a customer feels disrespected. Especially with the ephemeral issue of time.

I know from my own experience (that instigated the creation of TOA) -  when my time is taken for granted, whether it’s waiting on the phone for more than 3 minutes for a customer service rep to answer or waiting at home for hours for an installation, service or delivery appointment  – I am unforgiving in my reaction. And I based on the survey results so are the majority of other consumers. And unforgiving means that these consumers will ultimately leave you when they find the first viable alternative. Even if that is not immediately – they will ultimately leave.

And not only will they leave – they will tell everyone about it. And THAT is the biggest problem of all – because telling people that the virus, and it’s contagious – especially in today’s social media driven world where every consumer has a voice. The consumer is your ultimate marketing machine and they can either work for you or against you. Not only will they take their business elsewhere and but they will spread the word and take many others with them.

What’s clear is that adhering to some very simple ideas and a relatively humble investment, can help keep a lot of customers loyal and help you assure a lot of future revenue for the long term.  All you need is make sure that you are focusing on what is most important to your customers – their time and their dignity – and you can win.

BTW – the BBC broadcast a witty report to day about TOA’s Cost of Waiting Survey. Worth a view.