Friday, May 10, 2013

When CSR drops the acronym and becomes "just good business"

During a week when people are talking about the recent accidents in Bangladesh, and what that means for companies sourcing from the developing world, I have been thinking about another subject that has great social impact potential, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR in the US came of age in the 90s when companies like Nike and the Gap were called out for using supply chains that had questionable sources, including sweatshops. Companies began to focus more on improving the image of their social impact, and CSR was one way they have tried to do that.

CSR comes from well-meaning companies, but is often of limited impact on society. Sure, you can recruit star employees who care about working for a company with “heart,” and customers might view you more favorably if you can show a social concern. But unless you are a social enterprise that incorporates social impact into your business model, your CSR program is probably not making the most of your company’s potential impact.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lifecycles, metrics, and presentations, oh my!

I was recently a guest lecturer for an MBA class, where I presented on using customer experience in a social enterprise. You can watch the full video here, but you can consider this the highlight reel!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Voice of Customer Feedback in Frontier Markets (Part 2)

Yesterday I identified a few ways to engage your customers to listen to their opinions, wants and needs. But in some frontier markets, customers are not very accessible for face to face focus groups. At the same time, companies have a tendency to focus on customer feedback from the capital city where they are based, and do not sufficiently gather insights from more rural populations. Although it is not always a preferable solution, technology such as SMS and social media can provide other ways of engaging the remote customer.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Voice of Customer Feedback in Frontier Markets (Part 1)

Customer Experience relies on an ongoing conversation with your customer, and there are many ways that this can be done. Ideally, voice of customer (VOC) feedback should provide both quantitative and qualitative insights to improve the customer experience as engagement takes place. You use this as part of customer experience design, and then also plug it into ongoing VOC monitoring that can serve as a source of metrics. You can use qualitative feedback to identify new solutions to ongoing customer issues, and can also go back to that customer to ask further questions. In emerging and frontier markets, this is just as important. Some methods need to be altered for these markets, and there also exist specific approaches that work well in these markets.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Citizen engagement in government and customer experience may have more in common than you think

At today's Technology Salon at IREX, I heard many ways Customer experience (CX) and citizen engagement practitioners could learn from one another. The focus of the Salon was empowering developing world citizens to define what a government should do, see it enacted, and rate the result. And by the way, how can ICT's facilitate and accelerate it? Change the word “government” to company, and it sounds like CX practitioners focused on customer loyalty.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Local solutions are only part of the answer

Ken Banks has a great write up in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the most recent Mobile for Good Conference. In it he talks about the tendency of Western development to throw technological solutions at problems in the developing world without knowing the environment. This isn’t only a problem of development organizations. Most Fortune 500 businesses have had very expensive failures where a technology solution was applied to solve a problem without first considering the real problems stakeholders face. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Customer journey mapping for the BoP, or Amadou Hates his Pump

In my last post, I explained how to develop the customer experience lifecycle, the touch points inside of each lifecycle, and the need for clearly assigned responsibilities. In this post, I will explain how to explore each touchpoint from a customer’s perspective.  We do this through journey mapping. Ideally, you should have a workshop made up of a mix of customers and employees. You also want the functional areas that will be responsible for a given touchpoint to be represented so you can insure you have buy-in during the design process.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Customer lifecycle mapping helps deliver on promises made

Think about a company you like to do business with. Have you ever thought of what your lifecycle as a customer is with that company? First, you probably identified a need for something, and you investigated your options for addressing that need. Once you found a company you think could fulfill that need, you started a conversation with them, found their features and benefits they offered satisfied your need, and you bought from them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

NextBillion and the agenda for this week

I have a guest post this week on NextBillion. It’s a website that focuses on enterprises targeting the base of the economic pyramid (BoP), a concept that first became discussed in academic and business circles through C.K. Prahalad’s book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.

Reprint of Glen's post from 1/14/2013

The post below is a reprint of the recent article I wrote for To see the orginial post, please click here.

Base of the pyramid (BoP) organizations may arguably have some of the best intentions the private sector has to offer. But even they don’t always get it right. As the Grameen Foundation’s Leo Tobias pointed out on NextBillion recently, Grameen has long used mobile phones as a point of access for the BoP. But the organization has learned that 22 percent of their customers may not even own their own handsets, so they’re either shut out of Grameen’s mobile money solution or vulnerable to security risks if they use someone else’s handset to transfer funds.