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We continue the sometimes joyful and sometimes painful path to try to be better human beings - this is only possible because we can rise above logic, that we find the wonder and hope, the language and words to inspire us and keep us going. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Rise of the Social Customer

With a tip of the hat to Paul Greenberg (PGreenblog) and Chris Carfi (Social Customer) for a brilliant workshop on Social Media and the Age of the Customer held in San Francisco this week.

The huge take-away: The Social Customer is here.

Imagine what your worse nightmare customer might say if they had an audience of millions.

Well, they do, thanks to the Internet.

Take 3.5 minutes to view a song video which has been downloaded over 1 million times since it was published late February 2006 (updated April 10) : a proud Brand with millions of loyal customers (and thousands of employees) stunningly devastated by a song The lyrics for the song are adapted from the original song Save a Life by The Fray

A powerful 3 minutes that will change any illusion of control we might have over customers.

Who is the social customer? Chris nailed his manifesto up on the Internet portal August 2004:

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Consumers as Creators - Crowdsourcing

From Business Week July 2006

"Crowdsourcing is a subset of what (MIT professor) Eric von Hippel calls "user-centered innovation," in which manufacturers rely on customers not just to define their needs, but to define the products or enhancements to meet them. But unlike the bottom-up, ad-hoc communities that develop open-source software or better windsurfing gear, crowdsourced work is managed and owned by a single company that sells the results.

To paraphrase von Hippel, it relies on would-be customers' willingness to hand over their ideas to the company, either cheaply or for free, in order to see them go into production."

Check out www.crowdspirit.org for more examples

Friday, March 16, 2007

Inspired by Martin Luther King

I want to thank the participants with whom I'm travelling on a Service Transformation Leadership Journey for telling me about their heroes. Martin Luther King was the top hero named by many of you and I wanted to learn more about him. I did not grow up in this country, so it was a wonder to me what MLK achieved. I visited the center and was moved to tears, and inspired anew!

In Atlanta on March 3, I was privileged to visit the Martin Luther King Center.

Here are the quotes that said something to me. Then I paraphrased some of them for the task we face ahead of us in connecting with customers in a way that is at the Level 7 of the Relationship Model - where we want the best for our customers and our customers want the best for us.

Here goes - MLF's riff on MLK

Original MLK quote:

“This is no day to pay lipservice to integration,

we must pay life service to it.”

Paraphrase by Mei Lin for the 21st century

“This is no day to pay lipservice to customer service,

we will transform our service leadership model and give and receive life service from our performance of customer service.”

Original MLK quote:

“ We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy form the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”

Paraphrase by Mei Lin for the 21st century

“We must learn to use time creatively in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of business in a democracy and transform our pending economic elegy into a joyful song of thriving community. Now is the time to lift ourselves from the quicksand of greed to the solid rock of trustful, value-filled relations between business, employees and customers”.

Then straight from the master himself:

“There is nothing that expressed massive civil disobedience any more than the Boston Tea Party, and yet we give this to our young people and our studnets as part of the great tradition of our nation. So I think we are in good company when we break unjust laws and I think those whyo are willing to do it and accept the penalty are those who are part of the saving of the nation.”

“I think the greatest victory of this period was…. something internal. ….. The greatness of this period was that we armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect. The greatness of this period was that we straightened our backs up. And a man can’t ride your back unless its bent.”

“Our hope for creative living in this world house that we have inherited lies in our ability to reestablish the moral ends of our lives in personal character and social justice. Without this spiritual and moral awakening we shall destroy ourselves in the misuse of our own instruments.”

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals…….This is no time for apathy and complacenty. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. “

“We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientifc and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.

“Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realms of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the end for which we live.”