Category: Books

Book Review : The Asocial Networking By Dhiraj Kumar

In the last couple of years, we have read enough about Social Networks. Some of us understood what it is all about and got in there with clear goals, many others went with the flow and became addicts. Few think it spoils their productivity and decide to keep it strictly controlled (or stop it altogether), Many others think it improves their productivity and give reasons / measures to prove it.

The reality is, none of us understood the impact Social Networking has made / is making as we speak. It is so huge, practically making it impossible to even visualize. We all look at small parts of it and make our judgement, without realizing it is incomplete.

This book (The Asocial Networking : Musings On The Real & Online Words By Dhiraj Kumar : Wordizen Books : 322 Pages : Price : Rs 195/-) approaches this from a different angle. The author asks us to think again about the ‘virtual network’ (or the ‘second world’) we all take for granted. Is there really another world? Are those really your friends? The constant updates you are making on the social media, does it really matter in the bigger scheme of things? Do those likes and follows and Retweets mean anything?

Now, this is not a book against online world or Social Media. In fact the author gives a wonderful background about various social networks people use and how they do it. Only catch is, he tries to break the myth around these by introducing logic and rational thinking to the table, Making us think, how social these networks are, really?

The book is actually a collection of 150 short articles written by Dhiraj Kumar. It talks about the Offline world, how it got impacted by the online networks, how we started sharing information, photos, videos and almost everything with our virtual “friends”, What is the psychology behind someone carefully designing their facebook homepage, how seriously privacy is viewed, what is our level or tolerance when it comes to social network related complications, how games affect our mindset, What “Likes” and “Comments” really mean, how we react differently in online / offline worlds and so on. If I list all the topics the book covers, this review will run into many pages.

Nowadays we assume social networks as a granted thing. If someone is not “Online”, for all practical purposes they don’t exist. We are more connected to these virtual worlds, we want to do business online, we want to complain in social media, instead of sending a private email to the brand or the store where we bought the product, we ask for opinions / reviews from these online friends and make decisions based on this. To cut a long story short, our dependency on these social networks becomes more and more every passing minute. So it makes sense for us to stop and think about these, understand the perspective and then take a call. It doesn’t mean you will delete your facebook profile etc., after reading this book, but you will take it differently if someone likes your post, or someone doesn’t like it. Huge improvement, isn’t it?

Lovely book for those addicted to Social Networks, Others will find is amusing to know that there is a world like this. Very good debut book by Dhiraj Kumar.

For details about the book : http://www.amazon.com/The-Asocial-Networking-Dhiraj-Kumar/dp/9381115877

Subtle Marketing

Today I was reading an eBook. It is released by a marketing company, specializing in Social Media. They have different monitoring tools to listen to what people are talking about you in various Social Channels, and act accordingly.

However, this eBook had nothing to do with Monitoring. Instead the book talks about how Pinterest, the newest ‘Social’ darling can be utilized by businesses. They were showing samples on how various companies are enjoying added traffic / eye balls because they decided to join Pinterest, or provide a way for their readers to ‘Pin’ their articles.

To prove that Pinterest is really useful, this eBook had lots and lots of screenshots. Very useful for someone new to this. I liked it.

But the best part is, all those screenshots had a text description like this : “This is a screenshot from our <<<>>>> monitoring tool”.

What a nice, simple, subtle, yet powerful way of marketing your product! The reader wants to know if Pinterest is really going to help them, the book provides proof that it is the case, at the same time also conveys an indirect message ‘If you want to confirm Pinterest is really working for you, go for our Monitoring tool. It works, here is the proof!’

Naga Chokkanathan

Director, Presales & Innovation, CRMIT

Support Without Scripts

Currently reading a book called “Delivering Happiness”. This is written by Tony Hsieh and it tells the story of Zappos.com, famous online shoe store which was acquired by Amazon sometime back.

Even though this book is supposed to be a business history, it gives so many examples of how an exceptional customer service should be. I recommend this book for anyone interested in knowing how to wow their customers. Eventhough it may sound like lot of work / unnecessary cost in the short term, it will help you in the long run. That’s what CRM is all about!

For example, take Zappos customer support. Typically call center people are given ‘scripts’ for various situations and trained on how to use them. Whenever a call is recieved, they select one of these scripts and strictly go by the books. This is the most effective way of handling repeated customer queries. It is fast, and hence cheap.

But what about Customer Satisfaction?

Ha, who cares?

Fortunately, Zappos cares. They doesn’t believe in call scripts. Their call center agents are trained to help customers, no matter what the issue is, and they don’t use any templatized answers. They don’t hesitate to go out of their way and assist in solving the customer’s (or prospect’s) current issue. Even if it means they don’t get any sales out of that particular call, they are not worried. Because they look at the experience that the person gets by contacting Zappos, not just the profit made in that call. Tony Hsieh explains this with a cute (and real) story:

Once, a lady from california called Zappos in very late hours, and this is what she told their call center agent: ‘I am staying in a Santa Monica hotel and very hungry. I want to eat a pepperoni pizza now, but my hotel’s room service is closed. I want to know if there is anything you could do to help me.’

Obviously, this is a strange request. Zappos is a shoe selling online retailer, not a pizza joint.

But fortunately, that call center agent didn’t get irritated or disconnect the call. She took couple of minutes to research on places around Santa Monica who deliver pizzas 24*7, and gave that lady not one, but five addresses.

Tony Hsieh concludes this story with a superb lesson: This is the benefit of having no call scripts, Just provide exceptional support, no matter what the client issue is, and they will be your customers for life.

Naga Chokkanathan,

Director, Innovation & Presales, CRMIT

Originally Published In : http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/why-not-support-without-scripts/