23 January 2006

CU - ITSC Visit

The ITSC visit was to learn about how the Chinese University employed ERP.

Although the presentation lasted for about half day, I did not really understand how the Chinese University benefits from the use of ERP. I am not interested in the implementation process, because execution is only practice, and practice usually makes perfect under evaluation. More importantly, execution cannot be planned ahead, because it is easily affected by the environment. I am more interested in seeing the before-and-after impact, which could help explain the importance of ERP in today’s business world, if ERP is really that important.

ERP is definitely nothing new, but what is it all about. Is it about saving costs? Is it about improving operational efficiency? Is it about maximizing return on investment?

Everything should have a reason to exist, so what is the reason for ERP?

ERP is an acronym for Enterprise Resources Planning. If we play around with the words, it is simply to plan enterprise resources.

By its name, it is simply a planning process. Planning itself does not guarantee optimization.

And how about enterprise resources? How to define enterprise resources? Basically, they include everything, from production to sales and marketing, from human resources to finance. Can an enterprise really rely the resources planning on a system? Can a rigid system really help the enterprise to achieve optimal allocation of resources, if optimal should be the ultimate result? And can the system help identify the optimal allocation?

I am always curious. In the old days where technology did not even exist, how did those companies survive?

The influence of technology cannot be undermined, but it cannot be overstated.

After all, what is the value of technology? Making everything faster? More efficient? More effective?

Who really cares?


Really? Do nowadays’ customers care about which systems an enterprise adopts? They are more concerned about what value an enterprise can deliver to them.

If technology does not help an enterprise deliver convenience and value, then who cares if it really means anything.

And for ERP, if what it does is only about planning, and that planning process does not even guarantee value to the market, then why should an enterprise make huge investment in systems that promise mostly on concepts but seldom in practice?

And even if ERP can really help an enterprise save costs, would that cost saving results benefit customers?

I doubt it, as most enterprises only care about profits, so will those profit-making enterprises share the benefits earned from ERP with the market? Not a chance.

If the implementation of ERP does not benefit the market in the end, then why still ERP?

And why CRM?

And also SCM?

And all those other TLAs…?


When will the TLA be put to an end?

06 January 2006

Touchpoint eXperience Management (TXM)

Relationship is made possible only by a chain of positive touchpoints.

Without touchpoint, relationship hardly exists.

In other words, touchpoint is the DNA of relationships.

But what is a touchpoint?

A touchpoint is interaction between individuals, seen and unseen.

If managing relationship is important, then it's more important to manage touchpoint experience.

A positive touchpoint, or simply put, an enjoyable experience, is always preferred to a bad one.

There are two types of touchpoint: external and internal.

External touchpoint is related to the demand and supply chains, or the market, including both suppliers, customers, and consumers.

Internal is related to human relations within an organization.

It's always believed that happy employees create happy customers.

03 January 2006

Building Great Customer Experiences - P23

Stages of customer experience

01) Expectation setting
Your view of a customer experience is set before you walk through the door. It is built from the brand image of the company, advertising, word of mouth, your experience of dealing with it in the past or with similar companies, and your experience in other markets where you believe the functional aspects are the same.

02) Pre-purchase interactions
This phase encompasses all the activities that lead to your decision to buy, to the point at which you say, "I'll have one," and enter a purchase. In the consumer world, people are increasingly gathering information prior to purchase.

03) Purchase interactions
This phase starts when you have decided to buy. You are now in the heart of your customer experience. You will witness the activities of the companies.

04) Product or service consumption
This occurs when you are actually using the product or service that you have purchased.

05) Post-experience review
At the end of your customer experience you intuitively review the performance against your expectations and then reset them. You also determine whether next time you need to deploy a 'coping strategy' to deal with any inefficiencies.

These 5 stages actually represent the buying cycle.

There are many versions of buying cycle.

Huthwaite (http://www.huthwaite.com/)
01) Recognition of Needs
02) Evaluation of Options
03) Resolution of Concerns
04) Decision
05) Implementation
06) Changes over Time

Lysis (http://www.salesandmanagement.com/)
01) Recognize the problem or need
02) Identify possible solutions to problem
03) Search for potential sources to solve the problem or fill the need
04) Decision - Evaluate solutions and resources
05) Implementation
06) Evaluate and provide feedback

Short Cycle Selling
01) Problem recognition and identification
02) Search for solutions
03) Evaluation of alternatives
04) Purchase
05) Assessment of purchase satisfaction
06) Alleviation of postpurchase dissonance (eliminate buyer's remorse)

01) Discover
02) Evaluate
03) Acquire
04) Integrate
05) Extend

AIUAPR - Buying Decision Model
01) Awareness
02) Interest
03) Understanding
04) Attitudes
05) Purchase
06) Repeat Purchase

In the TXM model, this buying cycle is presented in a much systematic approach.
1.1) Enquiry / RFI
2.1) Consideration
3.1) Negotiation
4.1) Commit / Purchase
5.1) Payment
6.1) Delivery
7.1) Post-Sales Service Request
8.1) Objection - Soft
8.2) Objection - Hard
0.1) Complaint
0.2) Unavailable - Short Term / Long Term
0.3) Referral

Building Great Customer Experiences - P21

Customer experience definition

The cuustomer experience is a blend of a company's physical performance and the emotions evoked, intuitively measured against customer expectations across all moments of contact.

The customer experience is a blend. It is therefore not just the physical or the emotional; it is both combined, blended. During a customer experience consumers 'intuitively measure' their experience against their expectations. They do this at whatever point they are in contact with the company, hence 'across all moments of contact'. This means the customer does not know and does not care about your organizational structure or the problems you may have. This builds on 'moments of truth', which recognize that there is moment of truth whenever a customer is in contact with your organization.

Moments of contact are a chain of touchpoints.

What is a touchpoint?

There are many definitions.

Touchpoint Metrics - Every point of contact is a touchpoint – online and off; each communication, human resource, branding, marketing and sales process initiative creates touchpoints. The quality of touchpoint experiences drives perceptions, actions and relationships. All of the physical, communication and human interactions your company’s audiences experience over their relationship lifecycle with your company.

Touchpoint Experience - Every point in time the customer “touches” or connects with your company throughout the entire product/service delivery; pre-, during and post-purchase.

Teradata - Customer interaction channels such as call centers, web sites, automated teller machines and web kiosks.

The Brand Gap - Any place where people come in contact with a brand, including product use, packaging, advertising, editorial, movies, store environments, company employees, and causal conversation.

Getting to YES

Without communication there is no negotiation. Negotiation is a process of communicating back and forth for the purpose of reaching a joint decision.

- This is true.

There are three big problems in communication.

First, negotiators may not be talking to each other, or at least not in such a way as to be understood.

This consitutes the second problem in communication. Note how often people don't seem to pay enough attention to what you say. But if you are not hearing what the other side is saying, there is no communication.

The third communication problem is misunderstanding. What one says, the other may misinterpret.

- Problems in communication imply miscommunication. Ego and selfish are the root causes of miscommunication.

Building Great Customer Experiences - P16

Our research shows 71 per cent of senior business leaders say the customer experience is the new competitive battleground and is a source of sustainable differentiation.

Be clear, the physical elements of the customer experience will continue to be important and innovation will continue to provide a lead. However, this will be at huge cost and the lead enjoyed before imitation will be minimal. The physical will no longer be the primary differentiator, as it has been over the centuries. The new differentiators will be the customer experience and the emotions that the physical elements evoke.

Physical refers to things that can be seen, and emotional unseen.

It is always easier to manage things that are tangible. What gets measured gets managed.

Experience? Emotion? These are things unseen, and therefore are difficult, or even impossible, to measure.

How does enterprise manage experience?

Building Great Customer Experiences - P13

The Towel of Babel

In those days everyone in the world spoke the same language. In a place called Babel, they decided to build a tower to reach God. God was not very pleased with this and struck the tower down. As a punishment, from that day forth, mankind was given the handicap of speaking in different languages.

Everyone is talking a slightly different language to the customer depending on whether he or she is in customer service, sales or marketing.

The Babel is a good example to show how difficult it is to establish objective alignment within an enterprise. According to Boyd, business activities are most valuable when they are aligned with specific and clearly formulated objectives. (http://www.educery.com/papers/rhetoric/quality/alignment.htm)