July 11 2007 Meeting notes

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Conference Call Notes

Drafted by Joe Andrieu, July 11, 2007

IRC

  1. vrm at chat.freenode.net

Other Calls

Category:conference call

Attendees

  • Joe Andrieu
  • Dean Landsman
  • Dan Miller
  • Iain Henderson
  • Drummond Reed
  • Mark Lizar

Notes

Vacations

Looks like we'll be light on attendance for the next month or so, as the summer vacation season starts up.

Sprint?

What we are exposing is the conflict between what companies might see as quality customer service and what customers see as customer service that solves their problems. With Spring, the customers were seen as a nuisance...

There are a lot of examples in telco industry of "subscriber abuse", which we may see as human nature and--in terms of VRM--... Term plans and pre-payment strategies and wierd bills which are sometimes the sole means of communications with customers, really illustrate that if the solution that the vendor is trying to establish is longer retention and don't bother me... and the goals of the subscriber are short term contracts and low prices... maybe it makes sense to launch a volley of customer service calls to try to force them to dump you (and hence let you out of your contract).

It was surprising to see this gratuitous booting of customers by a company that is so seeped in customer retention.

According to a Seattle times: ~1000 customers (out of 50 million) some of which had history of extremely high customer service interaction for over a year (40-50 calls per month). The fact that Sprint was axing its own customers generated the press.

For many large companies, much of the customer base is unprofitable. So, from a CRM perspective, the profitability of a customer is critical. But if that is exposed through VRM, it could have all sorts of unintended consequences.

Unintended? But what leverage does someone have?

The opportunity is to match the user with the best option.

Some customers, if exposed in a VRM fashion, some customers would change their behavior. For example, if a customer had five unprofitable accounts and could learn that consolidation gives them one profitable account--with better service... that is likely to lead to consolidation, more profits, and more satisfaction.

But how will people be exposed to their options?

Ideally, when using a VRM approach, users automagically get the options presented. However, that will also mean that those who are missing the "right" reputation don't get the offer.

Some of the more user-centric options will help users find more and better options.

The Sprint story is that some vendors will reject customers for certain reasons. They probably made several efforts to turn these users around, to make them profitable, and if you can't... you let them move on.

Interestingly, the move by Sprint was a publicly orchestrated maneuver. They made this publicly on purpose, perhaps to send a message.

One interesting aspect is that number portability is actually a VRM-style victory for the Sprint matter. If these users were being denied their phone numbers, it would be a much bigger problem, as phone #s are significant identifiers and linked intimately to identity.


But perhaps these people were calling just to have someone to talk to.


Rehumanizing

Mark Earls' 'Herd' touches on the importance of man as a social animal. One of the thing we've been missing has been the social, human aspects of VRM, enabling rich human relationships in contrast to the automated analysis and profit maximizing of CRM...

If we can re-humanize instead of de-humanize, we'll be creating a lot of value.

Who does need VRM? and Why do they need it?

Are there companies that are seemingly logical targets?

Are there obvious good, low hanging fruit out there?

Who are the early adopters? What are their trigger points?

On of the things we've seen through the information age explosion is that there is money to be made in them thar Geeky hills. Geeks used to be uncool, but the Internet made them rich and hip. So you can sell into the geek world today in a way you couldn't 20 years ago. There are perhaps companies in that loosely defined area that might want to be a part of these.

Folks who are more likely to be online today have created a whole new market for products. Perhaps it would behoove us to think about how we can work with this market.

An added benefit of this group is that they are tryers. They download stuff: plugins and browsers and new tech. If it weren't for them, Skype and Firefox and ICQ wouldn't exist.

It may be that the issue is less about which companies are good matches--there are hundreds if not thousands who want to reach this market. Rather, the leverage point could be who inside these companies are in the right place--both in terms of product development and their career--to take VRM and make a gamble on it. We are ready to move from hobbyists to early adopters--the traction with CardSpace and Higgins and OpenID indicate that we are ready to move to the next level. And early adopters are folks ready to bet their career to integrate a new technology that will lift their company to the next level. How do we find those guys.

One answer might be workshops. VRM workshops will flush out the early adopters.

We also probably need to more clearly communicate VRM before CRM folks will sign up.

VRM needs to be appealing to the "V" side to create the value for the "C" side.

Personal Health Care

One area where there are clear pains right now is in the personal health care space. Not only is there motivation to change it, but it also has true problems with disconnected data. Doc is already making progress with Johnson and Johnson and Revolution Healthcare. If we can identify a few additional large players who are ready to take action, we might be able to catalyze development in this area, much as in the same way as getting NPR involved in the public radio initiative energized a large force towards VRM goals.

Status

what who when status
---------- ---------- ---------- ----------
open id on wiki david no date
static website development doc, dean, joe, chris no date
group blog/RSS to wiki (venus) doc no date up, talk to doc if you want to author
project VRM definition doc 1 week still working on it
brainstorm Initiatives all ongoing

Action Items

what who when status

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