30 December 2007

Neutral Beta

"If you can react the same way to winning and losing, that's a big accomplishment. That quality is important because it stays with you the rest of your life, and there's going to be a life after tennis that's a lot longer than your tennis life." Chris Evert

Nobody is ever a loser, because everyone wins somehow. It's the thought that counts.

When a task is assigned, the immediate reaction is to complete the task flawlessly in order to guarantee success. Why people want success? There are two major reasons. First, people like to win. Win gives hope and saves face. Second, people are afraid of losing. Losing brings feelings of disappointment and embarrassment.

If the project succeeds, it is then seen as success. However, it is only a success in the result, but not necessarily in the process. It can produce positive deliverables experience ultimately, but if during the process, it is filled up with negative people experience, it is an unhappy win. Just like war. No country can win a war without suffering no casualties. Every game won comes at a cost, either to the player or the opponent. How difficult it is to win without fighting?

If the project fails, it of course does not lead to success, because a failure is a failure. Nobody welcomes failure because it is like the angel of death. There is no use crying over split milk. But, with death comes new life. It is at least a lesson learned, and helps prevent a repeat of similar errors, which then improve the probability of success in the future. Although it is a negative deliverables experience, if the process is filled with positive people experience, everyone in the project still enjoys a happy loss.

If won, be happy. Even if lost, stay happy.

Stay neutral to winning and losing.

25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." Calvin Coolidge

Merry Christmas.

Christmas is originally a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, but it is now the largest annual economic stimulus for many nations in the world. Christmas is no longer Christmas, but a season for gift exchange.

Is it because of Santa Claus? Or is it because of marketing? But then is there any relationship between Santa Claus and marketing? Is Santa Claus another marketing tool created by marketers?

Why consumers need an excuse to buy? Why everyone needs Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Easter and other festivals to show others that he/she cares about them?

Love does not need a reason.

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
I Corinthians 13:4-8


Happy New Year. May the best of your past be the worst of your future.
_________

The article is also available on www.customerthink.com/blog/merry_christmas.

21 December 2007

Do You Really Know How To Sell?

"Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman - not the attitude of the prospect." W Clement Stone

Everyone sells.

Leaders sell visions. Managers sell execution plans. Staff sell abilities.

But, does everyone know how to sell?

Sure everyone does. Selling happens every second in every part of the world. (Even this article is selling an idea to whoever is reading it now!)

But, what is selling?

Selling is an act of persuading someone that an idea is a good one and likely to be successful.

If selling is so important, how effective does everyone sell?

That is the key question.

Rudyard Kipling developed 5W1H to help trigger ideas and solve problems, and this method can also apply to sales approach. The trick is the sequence of 5W1H.

The first step of every sales cycle is to identify the right person, or WHO. It is a waste of resources to discover halfway that the contact person is not the person-in-charge, or decision maker.

The second step is WHY. Why the customer should listen to you, but not someone else given the fact that the functional aspects of all deliverables are actually homogenous. The differentiation lies only in the emotional side.

The third step is to evaluate the values that are being offered to the customer, or WHAT. Values can only be maximized by listening to and discovering customer’s needs.

The fourth step is to find a way to implement the solution effectively and efficiently, or HOW, which then includes WHEN, WHERE, and the lost honest serving man, HOW MUCH.

Although there is no best practice, "well begun, half done."
_________

The article is also available on www.customerthink.com/blog/do_you_really_know_how_sell.

20 December 2007

How Well Do You Listen?

"The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." Peter Drucker

Everything is about give and take. Takers cannot take forever without giving, because givers expect return. When takers take things for granted, and have no intention to produce any return, givers will quit. This is true in almost every situation, in particular, sales.

In every sale, salespeople usually talk more and listen less. But, talking is giving, and listening is taking. If people have the tendency to take rather than give, then salespeople should actually listen more and talk less. After all, everyone has two ears and one mouth; everyone should listen twice as much as he/she speaks. It goes against nature that salespeople talk more than they listen.

So, why salespeople have difficulties listening? First, people tend to think faster than they listen. Second, they believe that they are offering values to customers by doing 80% of the talking. However, without a thorough understanding of what the customers want, how is it possible for the salespeople to come up with solutions that cater to their actual needs, emotionally and rationally?

Top salespeople know how to control when and what to talk.

How to crack Drucker’s code? How to hear what isn’t being said?

Learn to listen, the vital and necessary skill for success.

When was the last time you listened, but not heard?
_________

The article is also available on www.customerthink.com/blog/how_well_do_you_listen.

19 December 2007

Personality Beta

"A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” Mahatma Gandhi

To identify yourself as right or left brain person:

1. Hold your hands together, as if you were praying. Look at your hands. If you see left thumb is below the right thumb, you are Left Brain. If your right thumb is below the left thumb, then you are Right Brain.

2. Fold your arms in front of you (as if you are angry)
If your right arm is above left arm, then you are Left Brain. If your left arm is above right arm, then you are Right Brain.

Based on 1+2 (order important), below is the interpretation of your personality:

Right-Left: Considerate, traditional, indirect type

Can instinctly read other's emotion, and respond friendly by natures. Although not very into taking intiatives in moving forward, but this person will always take a step back in supporting others. Stable personality and considerate, give others a being protected feeling. But the weakness is they cannot say no; regardless how unwilling they are, they will take care of others.

Right-Right: Loves Challenges Type

Straight forward. Once they decided on one thing, will take action right away. Very curious, and love challenges. Dare to face dangers without thinking through (sometimes foolishly). Their weakness is they don't listen to others, will filter in only what whey want to hear in a conversation, and very subjective. However, because of their straightforward attitude, they tend to be fairly popular.

Left-Left: Dedicated, Cold, Perfectionist

Very logical in all aspects. The only way to defeat (or win over) him/her is through reasons. Has a lot of prides, and feeling strongly about doing the right thing. If they are your friends, they are very trustworthy. However, if they are your opponets, they will be very tough to deal with. Because they can be very "anal" as a perfectionist, they usually leave a bad impression of being hard to deal with when first met.

Left-Right: Likes to Take Care of Others, Leader Type

Has a cool and keen observation ability to see through situations, yet still can be considerate in others needs. Because of their cool and calm nature, and strong sense of responsibility, they tend to become head of a group. Popular among people. However, they may not be able to help themselves in meddling because they want to take care of others too much. Very concerned about how others view them, and always on alert.

...

Forget about the combination. Reread Gandhi's quote.

17 November 2007

The Death of Relationship

What gets measured gets managed, but why? If something cannot be measured, then it cannot be managed? And if it cannot be managed, then how are results going to be measured? What about things that cannot be measured but still have to be managed, such as relationship?

Relationship is intangible, and therefore cannot be measured. Can it be managed? CRM says it can. But how? By software? Can something intangible be quantified? What exactly is relationship?

Positive relationship is a result of satisfaction, but satisfaction won't guarantee loyalty. Loyalty comes from consistent positive relationship. The major difference between satisfaction and loyalty is "consistency."

But still, knowing the difference between satisfaction and loyalty won't help any firm manage relationship. So again, what is relationship?

This relationship thing has been the talk of the town in the Western world for many years. In China, relationship has always been important, for many thousand years already. The Chinese has a different terminology for relationship, and it is known as Guanxi. But still, how is relationship measured?

Before trying to find out how relationship can possibly be measured, it is important to understand how relationship is developed.

Relationship is made up of touchpoints. The more the touchpoint, the stronger the relationship. Whether the relationship is positive or not depends on each touchpoint experience.

Managing relationship without managing the touchpoint is not managing relationship. Relationship is no longer the critical success factor.

Relationship is then, touchpoint is now.
_________

The article is also available on www.customerthink.com/blog/death_relationship.

12 November 2007

Away... Beta

"Life is all about timing... the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable... attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It's all about timing." Stacey Charter

What is the best way to write the "out of the office" message?

Sample #01

I am not in the office on November 12, and will not be reading my mail. Your mail will be dealt with when I return. For programme matters, please contact the following colleagues.

Experience: So when will the person return to the office? When will the mail be dealt with? However, it is good that someone will follow up on the matter during the person's absence.
___

Sample #02

Thank you for your message. Kindly note I will be away from the office today (Nov 9, 2007) and therefore there will be a delay in returning your messages. Thank you.

Experience: Again, when will the person be back? If it is urgent, who should be the contact person?
___

Sample #03

I will be out of the office starting 11/06/2007 and will not return until 11/10/2007. I will attend to your email on my return on Nov 12.

Experience: It is a clear message. Readers know when the person will be away and return to the office. But again, who will take care of urgent matters when the person is away? Lastly, the date format can pose a problem.
___

Suggested "out of the office" message

I will be out of the office starting 06 Nov 2007 and will not return until 10 Nov 2007. I will attend to your email upon my return on 12 Nov. If this is an urgent matter, my colleague Maggie can be reached at 8123-8123. Thank you.
___

Out of the office message is important. It set expectations. People won't expect immediate feedback when the message recipient is away. Setting up the out of the office message takes at max 3 minutes. If this is not set up, the negative information experience it may create will last longer than that.

Every little things count.

24 October 2007

Romance Beta

"All I really, really want our love to do is to bring out the best in me and in you too." Joni Mitchell

Romance is a personal feeling. It cannot be created. If the feeling is created, then it is not romance, but a well-planned act. When it is from the head but not from the heart, it is not romance.

Spending a night with the loved one... driving during midnight with no particular destination... beautiful night scenes... sharing history... listening to jazz... nothing is planned... everything just comes so natural. This is romance.

Doing things randomly without any planning is romance. Everything just goes with the heart. There is no right or wrong with romance, but whether the feeling is here or not.

However, romance doesn't last long, so those enchanting moments should be remembered by heart. They'll stay there forever. Pictures only hold images, but not the feeling at the moment. Images will be worn out, but memories that held deep within heart remain.

When the usual something is done unusually, it is romance.

Nowadays, almost everyone has a mobile phone. Who really needs a payphone? Isn't it more convenient to make a call with the mobile phone? The numbers are all there in the phone. Just search the name, press dial, and the person will be on the phone after several rings. Phone numbers? What are they for? Do people still bother to remember phone numbers?

However, calling someone with a payphone is not as easy as one might think.

"What is the number of that person? What's the number again please?"

If it's not there in the heart, then it's not there in the head.

Giving without asking anything in return is romance, because... that's love.

17 September 2007

ATM Beta



Below is the message posted by Hang Seng Bank nearby ATM located at 417 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
_________

For avoidance of pavement congestion, could customers please queue along the outer wall for ATM services.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused.
_________

This is an example of both negative information and deliverables experience.

If Hang Seng Bank realizes that the location of ATM will cause pavement congestion, why then in the first place they placed the ATM at such an inconvenient location, which inevitably causes troubles for everyone? That's negative deliverables experience.

Hang Seng Bank asks a very stupid question in the message: "could customers please queue along the outer wall for ATM services." What if the customer says no? Could Hang Seng Bank do anything to this negative no? If no, then why ask? Besides, where is the "question mark" for the question? This is definitely a negative information experience.

16 September 2007

2/F Part II



How can these people damage other people's property like this?!

That's negative deliverables experience as a result of negative people experience.

2/F Part I



This is the note the inhabitants (a couple) of the captioned address sticks to the door of the inhabitants living below when they are being complained for creating noises during the middle of the night.
_________

To My Dear lovely neighour,

Thanks for your remind!

Just want to let you know, we can always be considerate except to the people who need to pay respect. But not the people who like to switch on other neighbour lighting deliberately. (So Funny).

By the way, if I'm too noisy next time, you can call the police or talk to us directly !

2/F

PS: I like your Winnie the Pool memo pad. So cute!
_________

This is the behavior of a selfish couple, with poor English writing skills.

It is a classic example of negative information experience.

14 September 2007

Two Traveling Angels Part I

Thank you Onki for this inspiring article.
_________

Keep reading to the bottom of the page... don't stop at the feet (You'll see why).

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.

The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room.

Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.

As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.

When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied,

"Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.

After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest.

When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears.

Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen?

The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused.

The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older angel replied.

"When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it.

"Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead.

Things aren't always what they seem."

Sometimes that is exactly what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every out come is always to your advantage. You just might not know it until some time later...

13 September 2007

Two Traveling Angels Part II

Thank you Onki for this inspiring article.
_________


Some people
come into our lives
and quickly go...

Some people
become friends
and stay awhile...

leaving
beautiful
footprints
on our
hearts...

and we are
never
quite the same
because we'll
never be apart...

12 September 2007

Two Traveling Angels Part III

Thank you Onki for this inspiring article.
_________

Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present!

Live and savor every moment...

Right Now... someone is thinking of you.
... someone is caring about you.
... someone misses you
... someone wants to talk to you.
... someone wants to be with you.
... someone hopes you aren't in trouble.
... someone is thankful for the support you have provided
... someone wants to hold your hand.
... someone hopes everything turns out all right.
... someone wants you to be happy.
... someone wants you to find him/her.
... someone is celebrating your successes.
... someone wants to give you a gift.
... someone thinks that you ARE a gift.
... someone loves you.
... someone admires your strength.
... someone is thinking of you and smiling.
... someone wants to be your shoulder to cry on.

Never take away anyone's hope. That may be all they have!

Happiness and Peace! In Christ.

17 August 2007

A New Chapter

For the past 1.5 years, I've been writing something on Downside Up, and it is time to do something new. Starting next week, I'll try to prove one thing, that everything at the end of the day comes down to touchpoint experience. I'll do this by relating the books I'm reading to Downside Up.

Below gives the list of books I bought recently.

01) The Obivous by James Dale
02) Be Unreasonable by Paul Lemberg
03) Gut Feelings by Gerd Gigerenzer
04) Mind Set! by John Naisbitt
05) Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard
06) Ready for Anything by David Allen
07) Satisfaction by Chris Denove and James D Power IV
08) One Great Insight Is Worth a Thousand Good Ideas by Phil Dusenberry
09) The Assault on Reason by Al Gore
10) Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger
11) Influence without Authority by Allan R Cohen and David L Bradford

If there is any book that you would like me to glance through, let me know.

13 August 2007

90/10 Principle Beta

"Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education." Stephen Covey

10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.

What does this mean?

We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.

How? By your REACTION.

You cannot control a red light., but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react. Let's use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened. What happens next will be determined by how you react. You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus. Your spouse must leave immediately for work.

You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home. When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? Because of how you reacted in the morning. Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is D.

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day. Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "It's ok honey, you just need, to be more careful next time." Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different. Why?

Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle.

If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them?

WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive? Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job. The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.

Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle. The result? Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life!!!

...

Still reading... because of Covey's principle?

What Covey suggests is nothing new but positive attitude.

Mature Beta

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly." Henri Bergson

Wilson Learning, a pioneering enterprise that guides organization to success by inspiring, developing, and transforming people, identifies 12 attributes of a mature person.

Versatile
A person who bends... who is responsive to changing conditions and who is adaptable in the face of diversity or the unexpected.

Alert
A person who is aware of what is going on and is willing to learn from others... who can see merit in challenging traditional ways of doing ways.

Independent
A person who is able to make decisions and judgments... who is not unduly influenced by others.

Sensitive
A person with keen empathy... who strives to be aware of the unspoken thoughts, feelings, and needs of others and accepts individual differences.

Visionary
A person who focuses on goals... who has intense motivation to accomplish objectives, even in the face of obstacles... who is not easily discouraged.

Realistic
A person who is comfortable with the contracdictions of the real world... who rejects over-simplification, and isn't overwhelmed by complexity.

Future-thinking
A person who stretches ideas out into the future... who is not limited by the models of today.

Open
A person with a healthy, spontaneous zest for living... who is able to "let loose" and communicate real feelings when the situation is appropriate.

Courageous
A person who is willing to risk... who does not avoid anxiety and guilt, but uses them constructively... who acts with sustained initiative.

Curious
A person who likes to explore new ideas by asking questions and analyzing data... who is always on the lookout for new solutions to problems.

Self-accepting
A person who properly values his or her own honor and dignity... who is constantly striving to become as much as he or she can be.

Ethical
A person who is guided by principled thinking... who makes decisions that are fair and just.

What if a person who does not all 12 attributes but is ready to take responsibility, knows what he or she is speaking, takes good actions, has his or her goals set to accomplish the future ahead?

A person with all 12 attributes is way beyond mature, but a great leader instead!

09 August 2007

The Origin of Winning Part III

Experience is a personal and unique feeling that an individual senses at every touchpoint.

Experience is personal. Even the exact same event will deliver different experience to different individual due to different background. Experience is unique, because no experience is the same. It is like a river: "upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow." Heraclitus says that nobody can step into the same river twice. This applies to everything, especially experience.

Every touchpoint makes a difference, based on experience.

Positive experience is about consistent expectation breakthrough. It is not easy to deliver and maintain experience consistency due to expectation escalation. When the first touchpoint experience is positive, people expect better experience, if not the same, from the next touchpoint. If it cannot be maintained, then the next touchpoint experience will be negative, even when efforts put in second touchpoint is the same as that of first touchpoint. Consistent positive touchpoint experience leads to winning.

Neutral experience is about expectation breakeven. It happens when touchpoint does not yet exist, when expectation is just met, or when people have had enough negative touchpoint experience from the past and finally give up completely on the touchpoint chain. The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. When the experience is indifferent due to complete disappointment with past negative touchpoint experience, the touchpoint chain is already terminated. The chance of chain re-activation is minimal.

Negative experience is about expectation breakdown. One negative touchpoint experience can ruin all previous efforts in building positive touchpoint chain, especially in the world of information rich and time poor. People show no mercy to even mildly negative touchpoint experience.

Relevance is an indispensible ingredient in creating the first touchpoint. Without relevance, it is almost impossible to initiate anything. Commonality makes irrelevant relevant, and it is built by understanding needs and wants. Understanding requires communication and empathy, and one critical component of communication and empathy is active listening, but not just hearing.

Relationship, or touchpoint chain, is built on consistent positive touchpoint experience.
_________

The article is also available on www.customerthink.com/blog/the_origin_of_winning_part_iii.

08 August 2007

Geese Beta

Fact #1 – As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent greater flying range than if one bird flew alone.

Lesson Learned – People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the strength of one another.
_________

Fact #2 – Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

Lesson Learned – If we have as much sense as geese, we will stay in formation with those who are ahead of where we want to go and be willing to accept their help as well as give ours to others.
_________

Fact #3 – When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.

Lesson Learned – It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.
_________

Fact #4 – The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson Learned – We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging, and not something else.
_________

Fact #5 – When a goose gets sick or wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again, or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation, or they catch up with their flock.

Lesson Learned – If we have as much sense as geese do, we too, will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Crafting marketing strategies in the Internet era

This is an article posted in China Daily by Li Jing on 05 April 2007.
_________

When BMW put a selection of action movies featuring its cars on the Web six years ago, they became a big hit and boosted car sales. The auto giant might not have realized that the $10 million investment would lead to a brand new form of markting-digital marketing-with which companies can reach their target audience or manage their brands online.

Since then, digitization has typically been used a s driect medium in marketing.

People-or "users"-only log into a few key new portals for the latest news. Conversations about brands, products, or experiences are limited to newsgroups and mesage boards.

Search engine markeing meant adding a meta keyword tag to your homepage, submitting your site and hoping for the best. Knowing where target audiences congregated, what was being said, and how best to influence was, frankly, just easier.

But things have changed in the past few years. Today, the digital world has grown increasingly complex. While industry observers devote much attention to blogs, wikis, podcasts and other forms of personalized media, these trends merely symbolize the complexity of the digital landscape.

Digital challenges

In this new, complex digital environment, where anyone can be an influencer and we are all influenced in new ways, there are exponentially more users, there are more conversations and more places where users can congregate to converse.

"This environment allows for more opportunity to influence others and build brands, of course, but it also presents challenges," says John Bell, managing director and executive creative director of 360 Digital Influence at Ogilvy.

He says detecting that one rumor before it snowballs into a brand-damaging crisis is more difficult when there are 5,000 sites instead of five. Deciding where to seed a viral marketing campaign is harder when your target audience is dispersed across a larger number of channels online-or when those channels are in continuous change. As for bloggers, you can't control what they say and can't control what they do either.

To overcome these challenges and maximize benefits from the vast digital landscape, Bell suggests a company should first monitor what digital channels and websites are more effective at reaching target audiences, what is being said on these sites, and then develop a digitial marketing strategy.

Engagement

The next step is for a company to craft an engagement strategy. "Engagement is where we take action," Bell says. The digital spectrum includes not only personal media such as blogs and wikis, but also search marketing, content syndication, website design, online contests and more.

"Sometimes the engagement is defensive, such as if someone says bad things about your product or brand, and sometimes proactive, such as building relationships with some bloggers because they know all about the technology that you sell, and getting involved in the conservation."

He says there are different levels of an engagement strategy. Buzz, or word-of-mouth publicity, can help raise awareness for a brand or idea but does not often engage very deeply. And it does not last.

But active discussion, which involves people on a deper level, has a long-term effect. Bell cites Lenovo, a client of Oglivy as an example. Lenovo launched a series of blogs by its leading designers for carrying on active discussions with customers, influencers and even fans.

"These are ongoing discussions. Participants get to know and trust the authors of those blogs. That trust transfers to the brand," Bell says.

The most exciting idea is co-creation, which is at the deep end of the engagement pool, Bell explains. "A brand can invite its customers to help create part of its services, such as a new mp3 design or a new coffee flavor. The same can be true in business decisions. Say, when you open a store, you can invite people to talk about it," Bell says.

"If you listent to their suggestions and incorporate them like Samuel Adams did with Longshot Homebrew Challenge or LEGO did with Mindstorms NXT, you can build loyalty."

Active discussion and co-creation are powerful in dealing with Web criticism, Bell says.

"You should demonstrate quickly that you listen to them and know what they say. You should find ways to get into the conversation or even hold the conversation, rather than hiding behind public relations and legal departments.

"The key is that you should demostrate that you are willing to take their comments to heart and change the ways you do things. Then, criticism can be turned into a great opportunity for growth."

29 July 2007

Equilibrium Beta

"Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed." Albert Einstein

Relationship is all about demand and supply.

At the first level, it is simply about counting. If the number of men equals that of women, then everyone should be able to find his or her better half.

At the second level, it is about segmentation. People are classified into different categories. Charming? Smart? Handsome? Adorable? Ugly? Annoying? Because everyone has his or her own preference, even if the numbers are the same, those who are not being selected will be forever abandoned.

People have preferences because there are different choices available. If everything is the same, there would be no choices. When people do not have to make choices, life would be easier.

27 July 2007

Identification Beta

"A complete life may be one ending in so full an identification with the oneself that there is no self left to die." Bernard Berenson

Everyone is unique. Nobody is the same, even among twins. Why does anyone need identification then? Isn't that duplicated effort?

Identification, or ID, is an official document that shows or proves who the person is. But, why does someone need to prove who he or she is? I am what I am. The reason why someone exists is not because of someone else, but everyone lives and acts according to his or her vision. Living someone else's life is a waste of time. I am not what you are.

Sadly, everyone is given a tag, not long after his or her birth. The first ID number is used for many purposes. One of them is to apply for almost everything, except for web-based email account. The second ID number could be the username of an email account. In the new flat world, everyone has at least one ID.

Can the ID number really represent anyone? It is only a combination of the alphabet and numbers. How about words used to describe personality, such as bad-tempered, dull, trustworthy, two-faced, and weird? These adjectives are supposed to describe the person's personality best, aren't they? Why then the ID number, which only provides neutral information about the person? People are after all flesh and blood. Alphabet and numbers deliver only neutral information experience, and definitely won't help build anything positive.

If each ID number represents an identity, then a person with multiple ID numbers has many different identities. The world is not only flat, but it is also getting into mess. Who are you? Who am I? When is this you? When is that you?

Name is always more meaningful than a string of meaningless symbols. It at least tells what kinds of expectations the parents have on the children.

26 July 2007

Resignation Beta

"A sense of duty is useful in work but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not to be endured with patient resignation." Bertrand Russell

Nowadays, everyone works for at least one company. Those who expect to work for one single company lifelong will be seen as aliens from Mars. Who wants to stay with one company forever? There are many choices available everywhere. If company A does not have what employee X wants, then resignation is the obvious result.

It is difficult for anyone to make a long-term commitment to one company, because loyalty is seldom rewarded. Longevity is no longer a recognition but is perceived as the inability to change, an indispensible quality demanded by every organization.

It is trendy to job hop, but it is important to work out how and when to jump with grace. Good reasons for leaving a job include a higher salary, and flexible working hours. Bad reasons for leaving include peer pressure, and seduction (the potential employer who paints too rosy a picture).

Moving jobs regularly and meaningfully becomes acceptable with employers. They look on at as gathering experiences, therefore benefiting the company and making them more rounded employees.

What was negative in the past now becomes positive. There is always a chance for "downside up."

25 July 2007

Graduation Beta

"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

Below are the graduation requirements for MSc in Marketing of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

"To be awarded the MSc degree, candidtates must have satisfactorily completed the prescribed course-work with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.70 and have satisfied both of the following:

(i) no more than three grades below B-; and
(ii) no more than one grade of D or F.

Any student who has failed to meet the above requirements will be required to drop from the programme."

According to the grading system, C+ is pass, D failure, and F bad failure.

Students won't be able to graduate if they have three grades below B-, but why? What if the students have 3 C+. C+ is not failure. As long as it is not failure, they should still deserve to graduate. Why can't they graduate when they did not really fail?

Interestingly enough, the student can receive the post-graduate degree if he or she fails one course.

What actually is the definition of failure?

A failure is a failure. Why failure and bad failure? What is the difference between failure and bad failure? But success, there is vast difference between good and great. There is always only one champion, then followed up by 1st runner-up, and 2nd runner-up. Runner-up is a polite way of saying first place loser.

Graduation is about getting a degree. The degree itself is already a recognition. Winners are those who can graduate after years of hard work, but not those who graduate with first honors.

After all, it is not the marks that students should be after. Instead, learning cannot last and will not be effective without an element of fun.

29 June 2007

To be or not to be Beta

"Do or do not... there is no try." Yoda

Everyone faces crossroads at least once in his or her lifetime. Turn left or right? Go ahead or turn back? Sometimes the decision can be made in the blink of an eye, sometimes it can take hours, days, or even life...

Everyone only lives once. Nobody wants and affords to make a bad decision. If the decision is bad, the consequence can be irreversible. But, it is at least an action taken. At the end of the day, people will not live with the pain of not doing anything. Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in life is a special occasion. Life should be a source of experience to be lived up to, not survived through. Every touchpoint counts.

Although people are always advised to think twice before taking any action, conventional wisdom never suggests that people should think more than twice. Trying to see a clear picture of the future is a complete waste of time. As Peter Drucker put it, "the best way to predict the future is to create it." Act on something!

It is not about right or wrong, but to be or not to be. It is indeed difficult to define what is right, and what is wrong. To some, it may be right, but to others, it could be wrong. Who can judge? Lady Justice? But she is blindfolded. She simply cannot see. Although the purpose of blindfolding is to indicate that all are equals, it can also imply that Lady Justice chooses not to see since she knows better than anyone that inequality can never be eliminated. Right? Wrong? Who and how to define?

Live each day as if it were the last...

26 June 2007

In God we trust Beta

"God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages." Jacques Deval

Why do people trust God? Because they feel loneliness sometimes? Because they cannot trust anyone around? Because God never betrays them? Why? It is about "hope for the best, prepare for the worst." God always gives people the best. During the toughest times, God is always there to support. God is everywhere, and He knows everything. God is omnipotent, and therefore is totally reliable. But... really!?

Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift? Either God can create such a stone or he cannot. If he cannot, then there is something that God cannot do, and therefore He is not omnipotent. If He can, then there is also something cannot do, namely life the stone, and therefore He is also not omnipotent. Either way God is not omnipotent. A being that is not omnipotent is not God. God, therefore, does not exist.

That is the paradox of stone.

If God does not exist, then how do people trust something not even in existence?

...

"Then Jesus said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.' Thomas said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" John 20:27-29

Positive touchpoint experience is not about seeing is believing, but it is more about trust.

21 June 2007

Step Beta

"You don't leap a chasm in 2 bounds." Chinese proverb

The first step to success is to make the first step. Without the first step, nothing will ever happen. Although making the first step doesn't guarantee success, it is at least a start.

The step could be baby step, or quantum leap. Baby step is slow but safe. Quantum leap is fast but risky. Both can lead to success, or failure. But again, it is still about the first step. If there is no first step, there would be no baby step, nor quantum leap. Everything is on hold, and everyone is stuck.

It really does not matter whether the step takes one forward or backward. If it is a step forward, great, efforts made are not wasted. If backward, congratulations, it is a lesson learned.

It is more effective to take small steps during initial stage, then make a large jump at later stage. People are human beings, and have emotions. They resist changes, and always want to remain in their own comfort zone. Baby step introduces changes gradually, almost without anyone's notice. Big jump, however, attracts attention. Resistance is the greatest.

This is like long jump. One builds up speed during the run-up. The faster the speed at the time of the jump, the longer one jumps. Without the run-up, nobody can jump a distance. Even the fastest car in the world, Barabus TKR, cannot go from 0 to 100 km/h in 0 second, but 1.67 seconds.

The first step is the most important. The momentum one create by creating the first baby step will lead to the next and the next and the next. Before one knows it, one will be at the top of that mountain and achieving the goal.

Live life with regrets doing things shouldn't be done instead of with no regrets not doing anything.

Stop giving excuses, and make the move now!

20 June 2007

只有一個月亮

“堅持到底,就是勝利。”

何謂堅持?就是永不放棄。何謂到底?就是強調這份勇氣。勝利,並沒有真正的定義。不同的人,在不同的時侯,對勝利,都會有不同的感覺。為什麼堅持到底,就是勝利?因為勝利的定義隨著時間的推移而改變。一刻的失敗是短暫的。但很多時侯,人因缺乏耐性去等待最後的勝利,而失去繼續堅持的恒心。失敗乃成功之母。其實,只要堅持到最後,過程已經是勝利。

堅持,也就是已經接受失敗,所以才能永不放棄。接受失敗,是降低對成功的期望。如果對每次付出都存在回報的心態,在失敗以後要繼續堅持是很困難的。但如果把每一次嘗試都視為過程,儘管失敗了,也不會容易氣妥。

在求過於供的出版世界裏,這是現實。空間就是這麼的少,而希望用文字來發表意見的人,卻又這麼多。會寫的,很多時候都沒有機會。曲高和寡,懷才不遇,是這類人。這也是沒有品牌的原故。有機會但不會寫的,卻大有人在。品牌,或個人名氣,比什麼都重要。市場選擇多,讀者根本管不著文章內容,只要作者不是泛泛之輩,便會支持。既然銷量有保證,不管質素如何,文章都得以出版。

的確,市場是現實了。理論的價值遠低於實踐案例。更悲哀的是,市場對理論的需求幾乎是零。案例雖然重要,但若不能經歷時間的洗禮,這些案例也不能成為理論。所謂“理論主導實踐,實踐優化理論。”理論還是重要的。國外的《藍海策略》、《長尾》、《世界是平的》和《紫牛》等等,其實也不是些什麼新概念,但作者採用了一些讓人細味的書名,加快讀者對內容的興趣。作者用借喻方式起書名,讀者就算不閱讀內容,都能透過書名,迅速地瞭解理論的重點。這實在是營銷手法之一。

外國的月亮不一定是比較圓的。本地的一些研究,也有能登上大雅之堂之作。這些研究者對知識的堅持,是執著的。雖然他們的成果不一定得到認同,但在尋找真理的漫長而艱辛的過程中,已獲得勝利。

17 June 2007

Feedback to CustomerThink 02

Below is a comment I made for a blog written by Sampson Lee at www.customerthink.com. His blog can be viewed at www.customerthink.com/blog/the_paradox_of_happiness.
_________

Relationship is made up of touchpoints. Positive relationship is then made up of positive touchpoints along the touchpoint chain. One negative touchpoint experience can ruin all previous efforts in building positive relationship, especially in the world of information rich and time poor. People simply show no mercy to even little negative touchpoint experience. It is unrealistic to hope that creating negative now will deliver positive in the future. Fact is, negative now will usually result in zero immediately.

Daryl Choy, the founder of WisdomBoom and Touchpoint eXperience Management, helps firms make a difference at every touchpoint. Choy can be reached at http://wisdomboom.blogspot.com.

16 June 2007

The Origin of Winning Part II

Touchpoint is every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen. Although touchpoint is countless, it can be grouped under three categories: People (P), Information (I) and Deliverables (D). Why three, but neither less nor more? There is a natural relationship among people, information, and deliverables: people produce/hire deliverables based on information available.

Of the three core touchpoints, people are always the most important, but only if they have the right attitude. While positive attitude alone won't guarantee positive touchpoint experience, the absence of one will almost certainly turn every positive touchpoint experience into negative. When touchpoint experience is negative, it becomes difficult to turn everything downside up. Positive attitude is about WATER: water gives life to everything yet does not ask anything in return.

People make informed decisions based on relevant information, the lifeblood. Without it, there would be no touchpoint. When there is no touchpoint, there would be no deliverables. Although information is the enabler of competitive advantage, information overload becomes an impediment to producing deliverables. Too much information is just as bad as too little. Too many creates confusion, and too little hinders progress.

Deliverables are the end results. Deliverables without value deliver negative deliverables experience. Value is not about what the deliverables do but what they offer, which means value is only defined by people who hire the deliverables. Positive deliverables experience extends touchpoint chain.

Touchpoint is in the eye of the beholder. No touchpoint is more significant than others. It all depends on which touchpoint matters most to people who do the hiring.

In Overpromise and Overdeliver, Rick Barrera mentions three types of touchpoint: Human, System and Product. Barrera's touchpoint system is external-focus, and may not be able to apply to internal business settings. Since touchpoint is defined as every point of interaction, the touchpoint system should not only be external-focus but also internal-focus. Customer-centric initiative is necessary, but it should not be achieved without balancing internal experience.

In Service-Profit Chain, Heskett points out that "successful CEOs spend a great deal of time with customers and employees, experiencing their companies' service processes while listening to employees for suggestions for improvement." There is a direct relationship between internal quality and external result. The stronger the internal quality, the better the external result.

Balance, as in yin-yang, is the key to stability. With stability comes success. Without comes chaos. Chaos brings inefficiency, damages efforts, and eventually results in negative touchpoint experience.

In internal organization, people refer to staff, managers, and leaders. Deliverables are produced by informed people. People get informed through different communication channels. Effective communication should be 360-degree, meaning the communication flow should be top-down, side-side, and bottom-up. Since information directly affects execution quality, information collected should be relevant to producing the right deliverables which suit market needs. Information should be market-driven, as information serving only internal needs is junk. Without specific information, deliverables produced will be irrelevant to both internal and external needs. Lose-lose is the usual outcome.

In external market, people refer to customers, suppliers and competitors. Customers hire deliverables based on information made available to them through different communication channels. Information may not serve any purpose when there is no market need, however, it
has to be at least made available to facilitate hiring decision once need is being created.

The more the touchpoint, the deeper the relationship; or else, out of sight, out of mind. Relationship is positive if experience throughout touchpoint chain is positive; or else, negative.

_________

The article is also available on www.customerthink.com/blog/the_origin_of_winning_part_ii.

06 June 2007

Light Beta

"Am I the light bulb or the light?" Joseph Campbell

Light gives everyone the ability to see things clearly. When the road ahead is easily visible, people are more willing to take a big step forward. Nobody dares make any move if everything is uncertain. Uncertainty is about risk. Risk either forces people to bite the bullet, or hinders progress. After all, no risk, no gain.

Although light improves visibility, and makes execution possible, it does not tell people which direction to go.

Perfect execution at best only produces perfect deliverable. But what is perfect? Who defines perfect? Does something perfect guarantee demand? If not, who cares what that perfect means? Everyone has his or her own definition of perfect. Although execution is important, it is not the most important. So, what is the most important in the success formula? Direction!

Direction means more. Even if execution is not flawless, as long as the direction is right, there is still hope to achieve success at the end of the day. However, if direction leads to failure, perfect execution will not lead to success. Before putting anything into action, it pays to define the direction first.

Direction also helps shape the execution strategy.

Positive touchpoint experience is about perfect execution with right direction.

02 June 2007

The Origin of Winning Part I

Relationship rules – this is a simple fact that every firm knows but very few firms really act on it.

Profit-maximizing firm focuses on profit above all else, and always wants to win first and fast, even at the expense of positive relationship. Only when firm secures winning will market be given the opportunity to win second. Win-win is not fair, because the second win is controlled by firm. When empathy is absent in relationship, true win-win is unlikely.

Winning firm understands the importance of positive relationship, and is willing to do whatever is necessary to build and sustain this fundamental factor leading to success. But, relationship cannot be measured, how can it be managed? If it cannot be managed, how can firm measure success? To quantify or not to quantify, that is the question.

Relationship is made up of touchpoints. Point is countable, and therefore can be managed. In order to build positive relationship and loyalty effortlessly, winning firm manages touchpoint to deliver positive experience consistently. Managing touchpoint experience thus results in true win-win, where both market and firm get an equal share of the winning outcome. True win-win is not about the sequence, but mutual gain in the long-run.

Along the touchpoint chain, the first touchpoint, or better known as first impression, is usually the most important, as it sets expectations for subsequent touchpoints. However, first impression is usually wrong. In order to gain trust and not to let others down, people make more efforts to deliver positive experience during the first few touchpoints . Once relationship is built, they start to take things for granted, and lack motivation to maintain. They fail to realize that trust building is not a one-time activity, but rather a continuous process. Relationship that was positive in the past can turn negative when there is discrepancy between first impression and touchpoints thereafter. Consistency is therefore paramount to positive touchpoint experience.

Winning firm keeps negative touchpoint to a minimum in order to maximize the opportunity for positive relationship. One negative touchpoint experience can be very costly. All previous efforts in building positive touchpoint chain can go to waste. The old saying "once burned, twice shy" definitely applies.

Every touchpoint makes a difference, and that difference has significant impact on experience.
_________

The article is also available on www.customerthink.com/blog/the_origin_of_winning_part_i.

22 May 2007

Feedback to CustomerThink 01

Below is a comment I made for a blog written by Graham Hill at www.customerthink.com. His blog can be viewed at www.customerthink.com/blog/experience_mumbo_jumbo.
_________

Graham, I like your thinking.

Although touchpoint is usually "too short", it is always the little things that count. One simple touchpoint experience can have significant impact on an individual's total perception of an episode.

If finding a trolley is not an enjoyable experience, then the customer can have two choices. He or she can either continue finding the trolley, or just leave the premise and visit another shopping mall nearby. That "finding a trolley" process is then the little thing, and that little thing can already provide either positive or negative experience to customer.

Touchpoint is mutual, because it is an interaction. Persons involved can control where and when the touchpoint takes place. But experience is personal and unique. It is beyond everyone's control.

Berndt Schmitt's "Customer Experience Management" is a good book. He talks a lot about how to deliver experience, but it's more important to know what and where to deliver experience. I suggested earlier the idea of managing "People, Information and Deliverables" to deliver experience. That's the what.

Last but not least, in the HBR article "Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work," Heskett suggests that "profitability depends not only on placing hard values on soft measures but also on linking those individual measures together into a comprehensive service picture." Focusing on Customer Experience alone no longer ensures succuess. Winning requires an optimal balance between internal organization (yin) and external market (yang).

I've been studying touchpoint experience for almost 10 years. The more I read, the more I realize how little I know about touchpoint experience. I hope I am not in your list of confusing mumbo jumbo.

Daryl Choy, the founder of WisdomBoom and Touchpoint eXperience Management, helps firms make a difference at every touchpoint. Choy can be reached at http://wisdomboom.blogspot.com.

15 May 2007

eXperience Redefined Beta

Experience is defined as a personal and unique feeling that an individual senses at every touchpoint. There are three types of touchpoint, namely, People (P), Information (I), and Deliverables (D). Why PID? Because people hire/produce deliverables based on information available.

Process is not a touchpoint, nor is time. Touchpoint is defined as every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen. What is a process then? How people hire/produce deliverables is a process. Time is not a touchpoint either, but timely response definitely delights impatient people, thereby resulting in positive experience. Both process and time affect experience, but they are not touchpoints.

Managing touchpoint eXperience is managing the origin of winning. Why touchpoint eXperience? Touchpoint is the little thing, or detail. It is always the little things that move people. Touchpoint is therefore the critical success factor, but not relationship. Without touchpoint, there is no relationship. Even if there is touchpoint, when the experience is negative, the touchpoint chain, or relationship, will also be negative.

Every touchpoint makes a difference, depending on experience. Positive experience is about expectation breakthrough, neutral expectation breakeven, negative expectation breakdown.

There are 10+1 factors affecting PID experience. For People, it is WATER. For Information, it is 4S. For Deliverables, it is 4R.

WATER is an acronym for Wow, Alignment, Trust, Empathy and Relevance.

4S is Sync, Structure, Simple and Specific.

4R is Relevance, Risk, Return and Recurrence.

Why 10+1, when there are actually 13 practices? For each touchpoint, there is a common practice, or Relevance. Without relevance, people are not motivated. Without motivation, it is difficult to get right things right. Relevance is a key reason for starting anything.
_________

The original article is available on www.customerthink.com/blog/experience_redefined.

14 May 2007

How to Build Next Touchpoint 02

Below is a real life example of how to build next touchpoint using email. Use it as a starting place for building touchpoint chain.
_________

Since I haven't heard from you since last email, I'd follow up to make sure my previous email was brought to your attention.

I value the opportunity to meet and discuss how I can be of assistance to you.

Appreciate your response, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

10 May 2007

History Beta

"The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes." Adolf Hitler

People are contradictory. When everything is in a downturn, they either get panic and stay negative, or they recall the happy past to cheer themselves up. They seldom face up to the challenge and look ahead into the future, hoping for a better tomorrow. They try their very best to get rid of the present. When everything is booming, they become very forgetful. They only enjoy the present, but forget about both the past and future.

Past, present, future... it is only a matter of time. Every moment will give positive touchpoint experience when people live each day as if it were their last, and learn each day as if they'd live forever.

Perspective is everything. Attitude is everything.

Upside down is negative touchpoint experience; downside up, positive.

09 May 2007

How to Build First Touchpoint 01

Below is a real life example of how to build first touchpoint using email. Use it as a starting place for building touchpoint chain.
_________

Hope this message finds you well.

This is Daryl, and please allow me to introduce you WisdomBoom Limited. We have been, for more than 5 years, providing professional consultation and training services to major business partners for effectively enhancing their business performance.

As part of the consultant team, I would like to take this opportunity to work with you in becoming part of your company success solution. I'll be in touch with you via telephone shortly, and I look forward to further strengthening our partnership.

Wish you a wonderful day.

08 May 2007

How to Build Next Touchpoint 01

Below is a real life example of how to build next touchpoint using email. Use it as a starting place for building touchpoint chain.
_________

I hope this note finds you in the best of health and spirits. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support, and also for giving me the priviledge of being of service to you. It was a real pleasure to meet you, and please feel free to call if I can be of any assistance in the future.

I hope the star of happiness always shines upon your days.

06 May 2007

Touchpoint Redefined Beta

Touchpoint is every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen. Although touchpoint is countless, it can grouped under three categories: People (P), Information (I) and Deliverables (D). Why three, but neither less nor more? There is a natural relationship among people, information, and deliverables: people produce/hire deliverables based on information available.

In Overpromise and Overdeliver, Rick Barrera mentions three types of touchpoint: Human, System and Product. Barrera's touchpoint system is external-focus, and may not be able to apply to internal business settings. If touchpoint is every point of interaction, then there are both internal and external touchpoints.

In an internal organization, people refer to leaders, managers, and staff. Staff deliver results based on instructions given by superiors. Without such information, whatever staff produce will be irrelevant to both internal and external needs. When needs are not met, it will usually result in lose-lose outcome. Information also affects execution quality. People are always the most important asset. People without the right attitude will never get anything done. Even if the deliverables are produced, they are going to deliver negative experience.

In an external market, people refer to customers, suppliers and competitors. Customers hire deliverables based on information available to them, either via marcom or word-of-mouth. Of course, without needs, everything means nothing. The advertisement may not serve any purpose at all when there are no needs, but it has to be at least there to facilitate the hiring process. Needs can be created after all. Seller also has to be able to discover the needs. That is the most important piece of information.

The more the touchpoint, the deeper the relationship.
_________

The original article is available on www.customerthink.com/blog/touchpoint_is.

02 May 2007

Neighbor Beta

"Love thy neighbour as yourself, but choose your neighbourhood." Louise Beal

If relationship is an investment, then invest wisely. Otherwise, it will result in negative touchpoint experience, and eventually end up in touchpoint chain termination. The more the touchpoint, the deeper the relationship. When the chain is terminated, nothing much can be done.

First positive touchpoint experience should not be used as final judgment to determine whether the relationship is going to be short- or long-term. It is a wrong decision to commit everything based on the first few touchpoints. People usually are inconsistent overtime because of the need to adapt to change. They do not have the ability to wear the mask forever. When they are accepted, they tend to loosen up. Nothing can hide. The truth will be revealed.

Pause... before impossible is nothing. Act... when everything seems possible.

Positive touchpoint experience is really about doing right things right at the right time.

01 May 2007

Back to Touchpoint... Beta

Relationship dictates. There is nothing new about this simple fact. But every now and then firm forgets about it. If relationship is fair, then every situation will automatically result in win-win outcome. There is simply no need to craft win-win solutions. Firm and market will both win fairly. By fair, it is not 80-20, but 50-50. Is it possible though? In the win-win formula, firm always likes to win first before giving an opportunity for market to experience satisfaction. 50-50? It is only possible when market is not loyal to firm.

If market is already loyal to firm unconsciously, who will care about customer loyalty? Firm will take loyalty for granted. Customer loyalty becomes important because firm never really cares about loyalty. If firm cares, then every touchpoint provided to market since day one will be positive thereby resulting in loyalty. Winning firm never has the need to create loyalty, because the notion of loyalty is already on the mind of every staff within the organization.

For firm who does not know what loyalty is all about, competition serves as a reminder. Competition exists not because competitors want to provide better services to market, but because competitors want to reap profits from competition. If profits are not yet affected adversely due to competition, firm won't care about loyalty. When empathy is absent in the relationship, win-win is impossible. Only when all market players start to realize the impact of competition, firm will consider taking action to protect profitability. Market usually benefits when there is competition.

If positive relationship drives loyalty, and loyalty is the critical success factor in sustaining business growth, then firm should allocate resources to manage relationship. What can be measured can be managed. Relationship is invisible. If relationship cannot be measured, how is it going to be managed?

Relationship is the summation of a chain of touchpoints. What is touchpoint? Touchpoint is every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen. Point can be counted. Instead of managing relationship, it is more effective to manage touchpoint.

The first touchpoint is usually the most important, and is better known as "first impression." However, first impressions are usually wrong. People are good at covering up for the first few touchpoints. The truth will eventually be revealed. Managing touchpoint is about managing experience per touchpoint. Relationship will turn from positive to negative when there is discrepancy between first impression and the truth. Time proves. Consistency is the key word.
_________

The original article is available on http://www.customerthink.com/blog/back_to_touchpoint.

30 April 2007

Just Beta

"They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for." Tom Bodett

Just has a lot of meanings. It can be positive, neutral and negative.

Just means now, very soon, or very recently. It also means exactly, or equally. Sometimes, it is used to make a statement stronger, but it is also used to reduce the force of a statement in order to suggest that it is not very important. It means only, but it also means almost. It means fair, and morally correct.

When to use which just? It really depends, but the general rule of thumb is to use the Power Just!

What is the Power Just!?

JUST DO IT, as long as the bottom line is clearly defined. But again, how bottom should the bottom be? If it is not life or death, then why cares? Even if it goes beyond the bottom, so what? Death is inevitable. Everyone lives once. Opportunities are limited. If the opportunity is not cherished by the time it is given, then don't complain in the future that there are not enough opportunities.

Positive touchpoint experience is about improvement, and improvement comes after enough trial and error. Trial and error won't happen if nothing is being done... so don't think twice. Just do it!

27 April 2007

Impossible? Beta

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." George Bernard Shaw

Everything is possible, so nothing is impossible.

Everything is possible when people stop giving themselves excuses. People have to buy in before they can sell to others. If they do not believe themselves in anything, how can they convince others to believe? When there is no alignment, right things won't get done right. Even if they are forced to get things done, there is no passion. Without passion, possible becomes impossible. Excuses are the biggest obstacles in making impossible possible. Excuses are negative self-talk.

Everything is impossible when the word impossible is in the dictionary. Impossible is possible because there is possible. It is about relativity. Every coin has two sides. Each side is neither possible nor impossible. It is simply neutral. If one side of the coin is possible, then the flip side of the coin is usually impossible. However, every coin is still a coin.

When tossing a coin, what is the possibility that the coin will land on its circumferential edge? Is that impossible?

Just try. Try harder. That's all people need to do to make impossible nothing. It is always easy to make something impossible, but it is easier to say no to impossible by just doing it.

21 April 2007

Cheese Beta

"The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese." Jon Hammond

It is not always good to be the first. Wanting to be the first is the right attitude, but being there sometimes is not a good idea. Being there enjoys nothing but fame and only fame. Fame, in return, poses an unseen danger to those being high up above all in achievement. Everyone sees the first as his or her only enemy, and will do everything to surpass anyone ahead of himself or herself, so he or she will be the first instead. Conflicts arise between the first and the rest. The root of conflict is comparison. When everything is equal, comparison is impossible, and conflict won't exist.

However, winning brings praise, and praise brings laughter, and laughter brings happiness. Nobody wants tears on the pillow.

There are two types of smile. One is from the heart, and the other is from the head.

Cheese is related to fake smile, or smile from the head. When cheese is said, the cheeks tend to lift, the corners of the mouth tend to turn up, and the teeth tend to show. It is a smile put on the face! True smile does not require the use of "cheese!" It is laughing from the heart caused by a laughing heart.

People always look better when smiling. Cheese at least forces the face into a smile. Cheese also gives consistency, as everyone in the group will smile at the same time when taking photos.

Smile... smile... smile...

Say "cheese!"

19 April 2007

WIIFM I Beta

WIIFM stands for "What's In It For Me."

That is the one question everyone needs to answer in order to successfully deliver positive touchpoint experience. Nobody will proceed with anything if that something offers nothing to anyone. This is a simple fact, but almost everyone ignores. Everyone is too busy figuring out what-is-in-it-for-me instead of answering others' WIIFM. Win-win is the best solution, but the first win is win for oneself, then the second win is win for others. Nobody is willing to do anything if he or she has no benefits in the first place. That is the rule - I win first, then you win.

If people have the WIIFM mindset, so that the deliverables produced can answer WIIFM, then the deliverables will provide positive touchpoint experience. Else, they either deliver neutral or negative experience, which won't result in win-win outcome.

Salespeople usually sell for themselves. They have long forgotten that people like to buy, but don't like to be sold. Buying is actually a questioning process initiated by the buyer, whereas selling is a talking skill used by the seller. If buyer does not have the need to buy, no matter what the seller says, the buyer still won't buy. If the buyer has the need to buy, even if the seller does not know how to sell, it will still result in win-win outcome.

That's why managing the sales cycle is meaningless, but managing the buying cycle is meaningful. Although it won't guarantee success, it at least is the right direction.

How to answer WIIFM? Is there a winning formula? Try WCIDFY!

17 April 2007

Self-Talk Beta

"Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image." Denis Waitley

Two-way communication is always prefer to one-way. Two-way is about mutual respect. It is achieved by listening. Everyone can hear, but not everyone is willing to listen. Listening is actually the willingness to hear. When both parties are willing to listen, two-way communication is formed. Else, it is only one-way communication.

In one-way communication, the sender talks, and the receiver listens. This is not communication at all. The sender does not need to listen, because he or she does not want to listen. The sender enjoys talking so much that the receiver's feedback is usually being ignored. The sender can talk a lot without saying anything. Same applies to the receiver. He or she can hear everything but listen nothing. When there is no balance in communication, it produces negative touchpoint experience.

There is perhaps one kind of one-way talk that delivers positive touchpoint experience, and it is positive self-talk.

Self-talk is an internal dialogue, which influences one's touchpoints with others, thereby determining the quality of one's experience. Self-talk happens unconsciously. Nobody knows why and when it happens. If self-talk is negative, it drives negative thinking. When negative thinking dominates, everything delivered becomes negative. When negative touchpoint experience becomes routine, lose-lose outcome is inevitable. Positive self-talk helps people stay away from negative, and gear towards positive by giving them the power to handle adversity.

Life is and should be full of both ups and downs. Life without both is lifeless. People have no problems with ups. Positive self-talk is meaningless during ups. People are lost during downs. Positive self-talk neutralizes negative experience, and reverses pessimistic to optimistic.

Stay positive. Stay downside up.

13 April 2007

Cold War Beta

"The Cold War is over but Cold War thinking survives." Joseph Rotblat

War is an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities. In diplomatic terms, there are three types of war.

Hot War is about actual warfare. All talks have failed and the armies are fighting.

Warm War is where talks are still going on, and there would always be a chance of a peaceful outcome. However, armies are being fully mobilised, and war plans are being put into operation ready for the command to fight.

Cold War is when both sides are afraid of fighting each other directly. Instead, they fight each other indirectly. They support conflicts in different parts of the world. They use words as weapons. They threaten and denounce each other. They try to make each other look foolish.

War brings peace eventually. War itself is definitely negative touchpoint experience, but the aftermath of war is positive touchpoint experience. Everything is given the opportunity to start from scratch again. Both parties learn from mistakes, and strive to do better in the future.

In individual terms, cold war happens between family members, friends, and especially lovers. Hot war is unusual, and warm war is rare.

Cold war hurts personal relationships permanently. People are not like countries. Once they are hurt, it becomes difficult for them to start all over again. It is not about forgive and forget. It is about an emotional scar.

The heart is like a mirror, once broken it can never be mended to be the way it was before. Even after it is mended, the crack is still visible. A broken heart cannot be ever made anew...

War is never the answer, for only love can conquer hate.

Peace...

12 April 2007

Vocabulary Beta

"The two most misused words in the entire English vocabulary are love and friendship. A true friend would die for you, so when you start trying to count them on one hand, you don't need any fingers." Larry Flynt

Simple is good. However, if simple is good, then why vocabulary?

Embroil? Meaning to cause someone to become involved in an argument or a difficult situation. Example: The latest row is typical of how helmsmen of the board are suddenly embroiled in controversy.

Grandiose? Meaning larger and containing more detail than necessary, or intended to seem important or splendid. Example: Grandiose offices do not produce better governance.

Ostentatious? Meaning too obviously showing your money, possessions or power, in an attempt to make other people notice and admire you. Example: Ostentatious facilities are seldom a positive sign of modesty and efficiency.

Pallid? Meaning very pale, in a way that looks unattractive and unhealthy. Example: The local reaction was pallid.

Pompous? Meaning too serious and full of importance. Example: She can sometimes sound a bit pompous when she talks about music.

People like to use difficult words. Will that help understanding? No! Then why?

Information experience is negative when the message is difficult to understand.

Try this.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

27 March 2007

You... Beta

"If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were." Richard Bach

Wow is an experience, and can be both positive and negative.

Positive wow is all about empathy, or the ability to put oneself into other's shoes. Empathy is a translation of the German term Einfühlung, meaning to feel as one with. It implies sharing the load, or "walking a mile in other's shoes," in order to appropriately understand that person's perspective.

Empathy is different from sympathy. When one is sympathetic, one implies pity but maintains distance from another person's feelings. Empathy is more a sense that one can truly understand another person's feelings. It implies feeling with a person, rather than feeling sorry for a person. Empathy heals, builds trust, and connects people together.

There is no "I" in empathy, but only "you." However, you always rank higher than I in the most commonly used English words. This implies that most people lack empathy. Why is it?

Empathy is about patience and practice. People have unlimited patience for themselves, but zero tolerance for others. You? Forget about it!

Empathy is about listening, but people like to take rather than give. You? Give me more!

Empathy requires that people be willing to question their own opinions, but people are more willing to challenge others than themselves. You? Out of question!

Empathy requires trust and that people temporarily suspend judgment. However, people always enter into a judging mode and attempt to invalidate the experience shaping others' perspective. You? Not a chance!

The value of empathy comes not from understanding others' feelings, but what is done as a result of this.

When was the last time that you did something positive for others?

Effective today, be patience, listen more, and suspend own judgment.

Be YOU!

Zero Beta

"No man should think himself a zero, and think he can do nothing about the state of the world." Bernard Baruch

The number line is a line that starts at zero, and goes to negative infinity on the left and to positive infinity on the right. But why to the right is positive and left negative? Why can't it be the otherwise?

In Economics, the graphical presentation of demand is price on Y-axis, and quantity on X-axis. It is not right because dependant should be on X, and independent on Y.

People know it, but they still prefer to stick with what they are comfortable with. Comfort zone encourages people to stay lazy. It is actually a wall, or an obstacle to reaching success. Comfort zone then becomes a danger zone.

In this danger zone, nothing will be achieved, and everything simply ends up being zero.

The reason why people like to stay in comfort zone is twofold. First, nobody likes discomfort. Second, everyone enjoys comfort. It is no uncommon sense.

Achieving success requires one to move out of the comfort zone, and doing so does not require any planning. It is ineffective to put oneself in the wait-and-see mode to move out of comfort zone.

What one needs to do is shift+delete comfort zone, meaning forget about the existence of comfort.

When there is no concept of comfort zone, everywhere is the same. When there is no difference in zone type, people have to move around and try different things. That's going to be non-zero improvement, which ultimately delivers positive touchpoint experience.

Run away from zero, the smallest number. Run towards infinity, not defined as a very large number, but BEYOND any number! Infinity is about endlessness, reflecting the fact that the number line goes on forever.

Doing right thing at right time is knowledge. Knowing when to do right thing at right time is wisdom. However, knowing without doing delivers either neutral or negative touchpoint experience, while knowing then doing positive.

Reverse the sequence of "hope for the best, prepare for the worst." People will be better off to first prepare for the worst thus setting low expectation, then hope for the best to exceed expectation.

Zero is the origin. Every changes come from the same origin.

Ditto Beta

"'I love you Molly. I have always loved you,' says Sam.

'Ditto,' answers Molly.

'It's amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you. See you,' says Sam.

'See you,' says Molly." Ghost

Ditto means the same.

When everything remains the same, there is no change. Where there is no change, time becomes an irrelevant factor. Yesterday equals today, and today equals tomorrow. Everything becomes ditto.

If people stay the same throughout their lifetime, they will always deliver negative touchpoint experience.

Overtime, everyone expects improvement, but not degradation.

Improvement is the result of knowledge acquisition, but acquiring knowledge alone doesn't necessarily bring improvement. Knowledge is cumulated in terms of quantity, but improvement requires the quality of people to really bring forward the actual improvement. Quality here refers to the ability to walk the talk, and the willingness to stay humble, learn continously, and share freely.

People should acquire and cumulate knowledge day by day.

Knowledge acquisition is learning. Learning is a lifetime process. Learning is meaningless if it is not a lifelong exercise, because things change. Things learned yesterday are obsolete today, and will be dinosaur tomorrow.

People should not be motivated by others to learn, because knowledge acquired belong to the learner alone and only. Learning is definitely not doing a favor for others. Sharing knowledge actually reinforces the power of knowledge acquisition.

Motivation is a motive for action, and it is also the reason that a person chooses to do anything. If the action brings positive results, it is an improvement. Else, it is wasted effort.

People like to compare. By comparing, they can identify the best and the worst. Comparison is impossible when nothing is ever changed.

The world will be a better place when everyone share this same mindset.

26 March 2007

Vow Beta

"Vows made in storms are forgotten in calm." Thomas Fuller

Most people make at least one vow in life. It is not clear if they really want to make the marriage vow at the moment of truth, but below is the vow people usually make in front of their friends and relatives.

"I, (Name),
Take you, (Name),
To be my (wife/husband);
To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
'Till death do us part."

This is known as the responsive vow, which has a romantic elegance to it. It is more personal when compared to the traditional question and answer vow, where the groom/bride simply responds "I do" to "Do you, (Name), take (Name), to be your (wife/husband)?"

Although both vows deliver the same result, customization delivers positive touchpoint experience, and "I do" neutral. Why is that? Customization walks that extra mile.

The second type of vow is made in courtroom by those who are less fortunate.

"Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

What is the meaning of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

The truth is what the person experienced, the whole truth means nothing should be left out, and the nothing but the truth implies absolutely no lies.

Is it possible that in any human situation there is only black and white, and no emotions involved? In life, truth is actually a relative thing. There is no right or wrong, but to be or not to be.

Jesus says that we should hold ourselves to a high standard of truthfulness at all times: "yes" should mean "yes," "no" should mean "no," and there is no need for elaborate formal promises. The Apostle James also said, "Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned."

Positive touchpoint experience requires persistent commitment. As long as the commitment is persistent, pledge is meaningless.

20 March 2007

Okay Beta

"You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." Jim Rohn

Okay is neutral, and is different from want. Want is a positive desire.

Consider below 2 answers to the same question: "Shall we meet tonight?"

Answer 1: Yes, it's okay to meet.

Answer 2: Yes, I want to meet.

Which is more positive? Obviously, it is Answer 2. It tells the inviting party that he or she is needed. Everyone wants to be needed, because that means at least they are of value to others. They are important.

Although okay means it is not a no-go, there is no desire. It may still get done, but it is for the sake of getting it done. It is something from the head, but not from the heart. When it is not from the heart, then it is better not to initiate it in the first place.

Positive touchpoint experience goes beyond okay, just like customer loyalty goes way farther than customer satisfaction.

Everything can be okay. It is okay to do this and that, as long as it is not too disgusting. But there is no passion.

Positive relationship is built when the touchpoint chain delivers consistent positive touchpoint experience. Okay is neither positive nor negative; it is just neutral. Although okay still changes things, the change is only going to be temporary. It won't last. Once the thing is done, it goes back to square one. Want gives the desire to change permanently.

Next time, try not to use okay, but simply say "I'd like/love to..." without hesitation. The world would be a better place.

Okay?

Pause Beta

"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy." Guillaume Apollinaire

In order to reach success, everyone needs to act just a bit faster than everyone else. Time is a crucial factor in determining who is the winner, and who isn't.

Same applies to the learning ability. If A has a shorter learning curve than B, A will produce deliverables faster, and thus possess potentially higher ROI. Given that potential, A will be given more resources and opportunities in order to shorten the success cycle. Why would anyone invest in something that gives slower return, when there is something else which gives faster?

Everyone wants immediate deliverables. The quicker, the better. Nobody has the patience to wait. It almost becomes a sin to wait, particularly in the world of information-rich and time-poor.

That is very pathetic. Is it "better late than never" no longer true? Is it always "it's now or never?"

What is what now?

Pause... please wait a second...

Think twice... if it is never, there is no chance of ever producing the deliverables. It's done. It's totally over. But, late at least delivers... it is not always now or never. The idea of "now or never" basically put every potential positive touchpoint experience to an end.

When there is a negative touchpoint, pause! Right at that moment of pause, it actually delivers positive touchpoint experience to all parties immediately. It is an all-win situation. Why not pause?

It takes two hands to clap, and do pause before clapping.

The clapping could be positive after the pause, but negative before the pause.

11 March 2007

24x7 Beta

"In my view, what people really want is a time-sharing system of unlimited size and power, with very secure virtual firewalls, which can be available 25x8 (not just 24x7), and where backup and recovery are done automatically and with someone else's money." Jon 'maddog' Hall

24x7 means non-stop operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Then there is 24x7x365, meaning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

But 24x7x365 is redundant, because 365 already covers 7. Why 24x7x365 then?

People always like to exaggerate in order to create make-believe. They believe more is always better, and less is never enough. Interestingly enough, the opposite of their belief is what everyone wants. More is never better, and less is always more.

Positive touchpoint experience is about the willingness to compromise, and this requires mutual understanding. Mutual understanding is all about give-and-take. Give is about providing feedback. Take is about listening, but not hearing. Listening is different from hearing. Listening is something requires the use of heart, but not the use of head.

Hearing without listening results in termination of touchpoint chain.

24x365 means nothing if every second is filled with negative touchpoint experience. One second of positive touchpoint experience also means nothing if it is not sustainable.