Apple iBrains …

Smartphones, laptops, tablets, all “smart” tools.

My phone is indeed certainly smarter than me.

Welcome to the era of machines, finally.

I recently spoke about the need for an app but, for now, here is my very own version of … iBrains, powered by Apple.

Apple iBrains

Note : iBrain and iBrains are already registered names … not by Apple though.



Oscar Wilde

Entrepreneurs, workers, people; whatever your occupation strive everyday for an enjoyable life.

I do not mean wealth or success here. Just manage to make your day a good day and enjoy the life you built and are still building.

I am not a user of quotes but here is the one having inspired this short piece :

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

– Oscar Wilde

So, live!

(Picture : Wikimedia Commons)

When marketing is fun

Good #marketing – fun message

Published via Pressgram

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The Moto X and the sponsored customers

Old phone

Iphone, Galaxy S4, Experia Z and now Moto X.

In between reviews and rants, the new “Google phone” has been the hot topic these past days. Not that I would initially care much to be honest. But after coming across a piece from Robert Scoble in response to a TechCrunch post, I came to think that there is more to Moto X and this current debate than just basic technology.

Let us look into this actual technology bit quickly and move on. There are certainly some nice features, a few innovative additions, the always-on voice control, etc … . But, one thing sticks with me : everybody is comparing this phone to the other brands flagships (above-mentioned iPhone, S4 and Z). Yet, the first article I read about Moto X was stating that this phone’s positioning would rather be mid-level. And so do some pieces at the moment speaking of “phone for all”.

Well then, is the name of Google enough to get people so excited they start another gold rush ?

Coming back on track, the “customers” one, the one for which Scoble’s piece raised my level of interest.

He actually wrote a fair note to journos and tech reviewers mentioning the fact they have a “specs” approach and are not testing the devices for real life. In this regards, as he said, a normal user would not look deep into the features but rather make sure the thing … works. And that usually takes a week or two to get a good grip on the phone while adding apps and trying to unleash some added power from the device (“Oh la la, just discovered I could get an Evernote plugin in my Hootsuite dashboard!”).

I, however, have to not fully agree with him at some point. And that is when, in his speech about real customers, he would hint his review as being one to look at for “real” (standard, normal, me-like) customers.

Indeed, focusing on actual usage of the phone in real-life situations and taking the time to do so is more like a customer review.

But when that is done by a guy who gets his hands on Google Glass and on the yet unreleased Moto X, how normal a customer is that ? That is sure part of the game for brands to provide influencers with their gadgets in order to make some noise and spread the love (or hate but let us leave that to the likes of tech blogs). But at some point, it seems easier to get some love from the cat you are feeding.

So, rather than speaking about customers, I guess the proper terminology here would be “elite customers”, with a little bias in their relation to the brands.

I also retained a point about moving from iOs to Android and so loving it. But with the Moto X now being THE Android (… phone). As a real user and knowing various real users I do agree that chosing either the phone or the OS does have to do with personal preferences.

Yet, I did move from an initial Windows phone to an iPhone, switched to Android on Samsung, quickly followed by Sony and am now back to iPhone. And I actually love it just because I can actually use it.

That is what customer experience [I read “user experience” recently, must be the customer experience 2.0] is about. Trying out various devices and defining which is the best fit, out of experience and usage.

That is also what would prevent me from writing a rant against this or that brand regardless of how bad my experience has been. I do resent Samsung phones which for most users I know around me always performed poorly (when not burning out like mine) but, at the same time, a friend of mine has found his best device ever in the form of the Galaxy S4 … .

Regardless of reviews and reviewers, users experience is the key.

Until the next release, of course. Ready for the rant against the iPhone 6 ? :)


Phone picture from Flickr user robinkaspar (

The good, the bad (and ugly) use of Twitter for customer service

Social media. The word is everywhere and corporations are getting there little by little, for marketing, for engaging customers, driving sales Good, bad, uglybut also to provide customer service or support via Twitter.

This is a “new” trend and large companies are actually setting up accounts – or using some current ones – in order to provide an additional contact option for their customers and offer an extra level of service.

The adoption of Twitter by brands has been quite good so far but mainly in order to do content marketing, not necessarily answer customers.

Yet, with Twitter allowing people to easily give shouts at these company accounts, it does seem that the market itself has pushed – and still pushes – towards this use for customer service.

However, regardless of being top of the crowd and officially offering support via Twitter, companies do have to get their act together with a proper structure and a clear understanding that the level of service expected is no different from what customers may expect when entering a shop or an agency and facing actual employees.

Some companies tend to do it right and offer good service.

How good are they ?

From recent experience, HSBC, for example proves to be quite responsive (usually one of the pain points as these company accounts do face crowded timelines) and the “operators” behind the account do post a tweet to introduce themselves when taking over.

Not much of a difference but it does give a sense of humanity to the (Twitter) handle.

Airlines also are in my “good” ones with Air France and Easyjet. Slightly different positioning for these two yet a level of customer service quite on par with each other.

The second might struggle a little bit more with responsiveness, as seen by some people tweeting again to ask for answers but I still do like the fact that both accounts tend to follow their customers in order to provide answers through private messages as soon as it is not an easy fix.

Not only does it save some (to a lot) of timeline space but it also shows a sense a privacy that is enjoyable from a customer point of view. Reminder : tweets are public and while people following my account may know about me reaching out to an airline about an issue, I would appreciate that not every single person, bot, alien or whatever else out there follows my dialog with the company.

One last bit on the good usage of Twitter. I did mention earlier the companies with no specific support account but which people can still touch through their standard Twitter account. Good handling of Twitter requests on these accounts may depend on the community manager(s) and/or the company’s policy but how enjoyable and rewarding is it when a “message in a bottle” sent with little hope to a brand’s handle ends up being answered in the right way (e.g. not by a “go f**k yourself!” but rather a “how may I help you?”), quickly and efficiently enough.

Enough with congratulating big companies here, that is what most startups do everyday and even if their good handling of Twitter requests may stem from a need to gain visibility, fix beta product used by early adopters or just make sure they set the foundations right with their first customers, the quality of service offered is definitely something every company out there should look up to.

Evil Twitter How bad can it get ?

Well, this is where it does get nasty. Twitter being yet another means of communication, some may think it can be handled in the same way as phone or email.

That means sitting some people in front of the screen and providing them with recommendations on how to deal with customers (scripts … ) : expanding the call center to social media.

From personal experience, French telecom company SFR is now on my list of sworn enemies after I spent a week running through all their departments before trying to end the pain by making use of their Twitter handle (dedicated to customer support).

The sad bit here (apart from the fact that most of the other contact means are pretty unresponsive) is that this was a good example of call center Twitter.

The responsiveness while not being that bad showed that handling a busy timeline requires tools and/or added staff.

Yet, the understanding of requests definitely was nowhere near what people would expect. And that is a fact, any issue or request can only be a 140 characters one. Meaning customers have to ensure they can summarize the question but, also, that people doing the support on the other side must, at least, be able to understand the request and, further than that, be able to ask for clarifications if needed.

Which, when done in public, while facing a crowded timeline, does get nowhere but close to a mess.

This is where DMs are a must-use.

Another recent example shows how understanding (e.g. being able to not only understand the written sentence but also the context and who the customer is – or is not) is Bank of America’s handling of some rants in which their handle was used.

How is it even possible for the operator behind BofA’s Twitter to offer assistance with their account to the twitter of OccupyLa whose wording was rather about telling them how much they suck better than asking for details on savings accounts.

Customer service through Twitter is something truly new. It bears a new concept as this is basically a public square where everybody can shout at each other while wearing a mask.

The handling of that does not require call center skills (people at OccupyLA would surely not spend ten minutes on an expensive-as-hell support phone number, listening to brain-melting messages just to get a chance to hit at the company. On Twitter, it takes seconds and a few words) but a very different set of skills and mindset as well.

Twitter, a necessary tool at the moment ?

A dedicated user myself, I can only say yes, definitely. However, looking at the good and bad points, it does require some thinking and structuring before jumping in; whatever the use.

But as soon as a company does make the decision to make use of Twitter (and social media in general) for actual customer service and support (I leave aside marketing being slightly less crucial), they need to ensure getting things right and not consider it as part of their basic usual customer support framework.

That is basically the same as hiring a skilled social media marketer when it comes to developing online presence and content marketing.

I love Twitter as a tool, as a media and I definitely like customer support being handled through this means but companies have to ensure they have the right skill and mindset to make it successful.

It is not marketing as people see it but, as a reminder, any message getting out to customers is marketing.

Any bad message or usage is, in the end, bad marketing.

Customer service is marketing too. Make sure to use Twitter (and all social media) in the good way to deliver a good marketing message.

Everything corporate is marketing

Everything corporate is marketing

Google glass, a journey through the “Glass” World

Google Glass

Once upon a time I finally got my own Google Glass.
After days and weeks of reading through reports given by the very first lucky “customers” – e.g. the chosen ones on a mission to use “G-Glass” and shout their thoughts to the World – I did get my own one delivered.
Excitement on! That is Christmas in May.

So what ? At first, the thought of adding Glass to glass (being a wearer of real glasses and having been so for as long as I remember) is not that comfortable.
But then the thought of adding a crazy piece of technology to this mix of glass and plastic (plus the adrenaline still pumping) gets the job of overcoming any contra to only keep the pros.
Day 1, Hour 1, minute 1 of my Google Glass journey. Ready, set, switch on!
And a new world opens up. Almost unnoticed. Oh yes, the “screen”, this inches by inches square finds itself above the eye.
A good point to answer my initial concern about getting technology-stained glasses. Dust on glasses is enough of a pain not to have my whole mailing list impairing my view.
Fair enough here, concern number one is no more.

Step two. looking up at my wee screen it does appear the carpet, down at my feet, does not actually connect with the Glass. Walking around, watching my stuff with a certain sense of security (as, for once, I am not bent on a smartphone, focusing only on the screen and not the World around) I suddenly go back to roots while stumbling upon said carpet for a near-miss fall.
Indeed, looking up means I am not looking down; hence I would maybe rather sit and stand still; or just remember that, well, I might sometimes switch from virtual (screen) to real (feet & surroundings).

With my third option being training. I certainly can get my right eye to look up while the left one would cover my steps.

Now on to the best bit of the Google Glass. I can take a picture of what I am actually watching, no hands involved thanks to voice control, and this part does actually answers one of my long-lasting frustrations of always missing the capacity to take a picture of a special place or moment while randomly walking around.
Now Google Glass does fulfill my dream.
Let us then speak and shout about taking a picture and sharing it. That is so “übercool” that I now feel like glasses have been the best tool invented ever.
And I am not removing the G-Glass ever … .

Shall I mention this rockstar feeling when walking the streets with glasses – and Glass – on, drawing all kind of curious, tech-savvy, random people. They want to know everything.
How it works, how it feels, how to get them, when to get them and, above all, try them on too. Nevermind the fact that those people want my glasses more than they will ever care about the human me, having a crowd queuing for me is just enough fun added to the use of G-Glass to picture and share it.

So, I love Glass, I eat & drink Glass, I tweet Glass … I live with Glass all day and almost night long.
Whatever the voices in the background, the individuals not appealed by Google Glass, the people not liking it as a technology, etc … Let the haters hate.

And so is life with Glass.

That is until a recent buzz on the Web. When a fellow “follower of the Glass” appears on the Internet showering with Google Glass on.
All of sudden my eyes burned and my brain broke.

In the end, I have come to become some kind of sorely brain-washed addict to Glass. I find myself having eyes looking apart , speaking loud to my glasses in public places, living with technology rather than people, filling my tweet list with only Glass-related bits and just looking like the average freak to the population.
I have become a Google-Glass-addicted screwed-up person.
And now the perfect early adopter for Google’s next product : #Google_Rehab anyone ?

End of the nightmare.  Google Rehab

Oh yes, this post is indeed a small, very poorly written piece of fiction on my dream(ed) test of Google Glass which I did never get from Google and shall indeed never get.

I just tried, in the first place, to look at what usages it would bring and I could see the developments of the actual use of it by the real early-adopters (or receivers of Glass should I say) over the course of the past weeks.
Hence not finding this piece of technology that convincing apart from for very specific – and professional – use. A fair look into this matter (lovers and haters) by Glass users to be found on the BBC website.
I am far more interested, when it comes to connected objects, in the iWatch or the Google Watch which do tend to make more sense, bear a lot more opportunities in them, and which I will be glad to get and beta-test this time.

A last point on Google Glass, not on the actual product itself but on the new usages born out of technology. From a social point of view, I hate the part where this product is voice-controlled.
Mobile phones have brought an awful lot of noise and lack of politeness to the public space already and Google Glass would definitely go further on this path. And that is no innovation at all.

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