The Specialness of Jeff Pulver and his 140 Characters Conference

From a podium recently, I heard someone lament the fact that his email address was announced to a crowd of about 800.

The show wasn’t the 140 Characters Conference and the speaker wasn’t Jeff Pulver, who not only gives his contact information, he gives his soul – and countless hugs in a community that is quite extraordinary and grows everyday.

Having followed the community from afar (not recommended, by the way), I was introduced to Jeff by my friend Hank Wasiak (@hankwasiak), who has passion, friendship and inclusiveness in common with Jeff.

As a result of Hank’s recommendation, Jeff asked me to speak at the recently held conference at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. But this post isn’t about me (if you choose to, you can view my talk here /jeffhasen/video-of-my-140-characters-conference-talk-on.)

Regrettably, other commitments kept me from hearing and seeing some of the presentations over the two days, but what I experienced was unique, touching, and inspiring.

Jeff is a master curator so mentioning just a few of the talks doesn’t do the event or the community members justice.

But here’s some of what I’ll remember:

The Ladies of Lupus on Twitter who eloquently and passionately told us of the struggles with the disease, but also the power of one person reaching out to another in the middle of the night just to say on Twitter, “I’m here for you”.

Then there is Alon Nir, the funny and caring Israeli who receives prayers via @thekotel on Twitter from all over the world and for no cost places them between the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

“Who needs a business plan?” Alon asked from the stage. “Just don’t monetize.”

Instead, he said, “create meaning and affect change.”

Over the two days, I heard of the real-time web’s effect on struggling villages, the people rising up in Tunisia and Cairo, and of the changes to news coverage and what Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) called the 14,400-second news cycle.

To sum up the experience, I’ll remember a particular tweet that Alon shared.

“Selfless deeds inspire me,” she wrote. “Now I’m in a soup kitchen helping and so is my boyfriend.”

Words, thanks to Jeff Pulver, to not only remember but to live by.

Media Weighs In on Moments of Trust Survey Results

Mobile Marketer and sister online publication Mobile Commerce Daily covered the Moments of Trust survey findings. Reporter Rimma Kats asked me where I see the megaphone effect going in the next year.

“For 2012, I foresee richer and faster Moments of Trust experiences being sent to Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other channels,” I told her. “Devices are more capable – more photos are taken now by phone than dedicated camera and video usage on mobile is on the rise.

Rimma’s take on the results are included in her story -

My Proprietary Research On Influence of Mobile and Social on "Moments of Trust"

Mobile devices have become megaphones for a large portion of users with more than 40 percent telling those in their social networks about negative or positive experiences with brands, according to new research I commissioned and unveil today at Jeff Pulver’s stirring 140 Characters Conference

In a representative national survey of feature phone and smartphone owners, 46 percent reported that they communicated with friends, family and their social network following a positive in-store experience. In addition, 40 percent say they used their phone in a retail location to detail a negative interaction.

For more than 10 years, I have been a frequent analyst and commentator on what I call  “Moments of Trust”, consumer touch points with brands that influence trial, sales and loyalty. Mobile certainly now factors into the dynamic.

Of those who used their devices to communicate brand experiences, 18 percent used Facebook; 8 percent employed Twitter; and 32 percent communicated via text message.

In other findings: 

·      10 percent said that they had heard from a brand following a post about a retail interaction

·      35 percent said they would want to hear from a store or brand after a negative experience

·      34 percent said they had seen a post from someone in their network

·      48 percent said they would be influenced by a post

What does this all mean? 

In my view, nothing has changed while everything has changed. Since day one of commerce, it has been critical to serve the customer. That is, of course, still true today. What is dramatically different is the consumer’s ability to broadcast his or her experiences and to influence consideration and purchase patterns.

"Kinecting" With Microsoft

Steve Clayton is the first to tell you that he is Microsoft’s director of storytelling, not director of spin.

I was struck by Steve’s candor during a 30-minute presentation at an IABC Seattle meeting.

He said his job is often to convince people that Microsoft isn’t “boring”.

And that his job would become irrelevant if everyone understood Microsoft – and that he doesn’t see that happening.

And that the Xbox controller is a "barrier". Conversely "by waving at a TV with Kinnect, one billion more people can experience technology".

"Kinecting" With Microsoft
"Kinecting" With Microsoft

As background, Steve works with teams across Microsoft to highlight work of product groups, Microsoft Research, incubation teams and individuals–all with the aim of providing an insider’s view of Microsoft and showing people what’s next in technology.

Steve spends time with the company’s developers, researchers, ethnographers, sociologists, cinematographers–and even race-car drivers–and highlights their work through speaking engagements and the Next at Microsoft website.

One of Steve’s main assignments is to provide daily content for the site, which he says has seen days with 100,000 page views.

Of course, he isn’t going direct to the masses.

To provide the biggest impact, Steve is attempting to sway 50 bloggers and media members “because they can influence 50 million or 500 million”.

Steve is on Twitter @stevecla.

Revisiting Seattle Social Media Club Talk on Combining Mobile & Social

If you judge engagement purely on the number of tweets, the recent discussion of social and mobile at a Seattle Social Media Club event was a success.

I was honored to share the stage with Dan Anderson, Emerging Media Manager for T-Mobile USA (@dananderson); Paul Booth, Digital Marketing Manager, Web and Mobile, for the North America subsidiary of Microsoft (@paulboo); and Wyatt Lewin, Online Communities Coordinator at HTC (@wylew).

Much of the talk is captured here.

Paying Price For Customer Service

During the recession, shortsighted businesses competed on price rather than level of customer service. It turns out that the consumer noticed and in big numbers is reacting now by taking his or her business elsewhere.

According to the American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer, 78 percent of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Further, three in five Americans (59 percent) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. Most surprising and disturbing is the finding that consumers are willing to pay a premium for a good interaction.

According to the study, seven in ten Americans (70 percent) are willing to spend an average of 13 percent more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. This is up substantially from 2010, when six in ten Americans (58 percent) said they would spend an average of 9 percent more with companies that deliver great service.

As to whether “help” is enough, two in five (42 percent) said companies are helpful but don’t do anything extra to keep their business. Also, one in five (22%) think companies take their business for granted.

The survey is generally in line with global findings from Accenture which reported earlier this year that satisfaction with customer service has decreased since 2009 in each of 11 characteristics measured. Also, 64 percent of consumers have switched companies in the past year due to poor customer service. Accenture findings point to a high level of distrust. Only one in four respondents say they trust the companies with which they do business, according to the survey.

Missing from the survey is detail on what consumers do with their mistrust? Do they use their mobile phones to get on social networks or text when companies fail at so-called “Moments of Trust”? Do individual tweets, blog posts and Facebook postings influence sales and loyalty? I’ve commissioned a study and will release the findings in June when I speak on the subject at Jeff Pulver’s 140 Characters Conference in New York. (Article first published as Paying The Price For Customer Service on Technorati)

Getting Close To Legends

I’ve got the number 470 on my mind tonight.

Huh, you wonder? It’s not only the number of years since the saying “you’re known by the company you keep” was first uttered (according to Wiki answers), it is the number of times I smiled today since I got web close to legends Jeff Pulver and Craig Newmark.

Jeff graciously has given us his 140 Character Conference speakers a spot on his highly read blog My turn was today Hours later, I shared the page with Craig, the founder of Craigslist. I encourage you to read Craig’s post about giving voiceless people a voice.

And, if you’re so inclined, please read my preview of the new Moments of Trust presentation set for June 16.

I also suggest you smile 470 times before bed. I had my reason – I’m sure you have yours.

Mobile Wallet With Offers? That's Smart

Like many baby boomers, I have a love/not-ready-to-try-it relationship with technology. Personal technology is as much a part of my lifestyle as golf was earlier in life (talk about love/hate). Not only am I fascinated by the advances, I’m an eager participant with two smartphones, a Kindle, an iPad and two MacBooks.

If you think I’m “all in,” I’d have to say, “not quite.” You see, when it comes to my money and the technological products around it, I’m as careful as a crossing monitor. To this day I have always walked into a bank, waited in line and walked out with my deposit record delivered to me by a teller. So you now want me to adopt a behavior that has me bumping or scanning my money into my account?

On a panel at this month’s Boomer Summit in San Francisco, Intuit’s Omar Green made a case for me to be “smarter.” Intuit’s director of strategic mobile initiatives said his company is building a mobile wallet that guides you to the optimum purchase. Green spoke of a scenario where the wallet advises you on which credit card to use to get maximum return and the times when you should cash in loyalty points and save your money. That is a compelling concept for me, assuming I can get past the reluctance to hand to Intuit or anyone else details of my arrangements with American Express, the retailer in the mall and the like.

But unlike the ATM where I save time (admittedly no small thing) but nothing else, I conceivably would receive real monetary rewards from a “smart” mobile wallet. Are we ready?

In a KPMG study, U.S. respondents who said they were comfortable using their mobile devices for financial transactions grew only to 16 percent, a 6 percent increase from the last survey. Respondents not comfortable with such usage declined to 55 percent, an 11 percent drop from the last survey. Among all U.S. respondents who have not conducted banking through a mobile device, 52 percent cited security and privacy as the primary reason. Consistent with many technology advances, younger consumers are more likely to participate at least in the early days.

Why might a “smart” mobile wallet work? According to the Yankee Group, 73 percent of mobile subscribers want an offer. I’m in that category. So Intuit and the thousands of others chasing this opportunity have a shot. I’m willing to take a look. But the convincing stage has just begun.

(Post first appeared on Intuit Network