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Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Kolabora - Robin Good
|What is kolabora?|
Continuing the exploration into online (i.e. virtual) work and collaboration, I found this site as one of Robin's.
It does have an RSS feed.
It has a great overview of Flock, the still in beta tool built upon FireFox.
She has an Online Guide To Web Conferencing And Live Presentation Tools
Lots of good stuff here. Come and explore!
Sunday, November 27, 2005
|From the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine comes this profile of one master behind the Sudoku puzzle. Wayne Gould did not create the puzzle itself but did write a software progam that creates the puzzle for publication.|
Interesting insights on how a jurist (yes, he started as a lawyer and worked as a judge) made the transition to programmer and puzzle maker.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
How to make a virtual 3-legged stool
|Let's start with a concept that I picked up at a HDI conference many years ago; the three legged stool is required for good business.|
People + Process + Technology = Good Business.
Of course, it is not as simple as that. You need the right people in the proper position. You need a fully documented process where everyone knows and works within their roles and responsibilities. You need all this enabled by appropriate technology. Assuming these three legs are in place and solid, then the stool will support good business. Try to put technology in place without training the people and adjusting the process (if necessary) and you will find disaster on some scale.
So time moves along and business teams become virtual. Folks on the same team are no longer located in the same building, some are no longer in the same state, nevermind the same country. But the team objectives have not changed, the project or product is still required on time and at or under budget.
How should teams work in this virtual space?
Ken Thompson and Robin Good are glad you asked that question. They have proposed a solution. They have gone so far to have created a manifesto for their proposal.
I highly recommend reviewing the manifesto on ChangeThis.
This manifesto will be fuel for some future postings. I spend a lot of time at work in virtual teams so this is something I will be attempting to use and will report back on how it goes.
If you have the need to work in virtual team and the opportunity to explore this area, I would like to hear what you have to say.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
|Jakob publishes the Alertbox weekly and it is always full of good insights. This week is no exception. It covers accessibility, particularly for disabled users.|
How can someone lacking in sight read this blog?
How would a screen reader work for them?
We assume everyone is wired with broadband cable and a powerful system.
But if they're not, what can we do to help them read this blog?
or search the web?
Read the Alertbox for some insights on what can be done.
Friday, November 18, 2005
|Maybe you saw this already. Maybe you caught it like I did via ?IC@TomorrowToday.Biz|
I mentioned earlier that the Good Experience Live dates were announced for GEL 2006.
Seth is one of the scheduled speakers.
Hmmm. Is Mark nervous?
No, I don't think he is anymore so than he normally would be.
After all, this is Good Experience Live and not just any conference!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
|Did you know that?|
I was being silly earlier and one thing lead to another, and I wondered if Beanie Babies were still around. And they are!
You can also purchase a special edition I "heart" Alabama, I "heart" Louisiana, and a I "heart" Mississippi in red, white, and blue to benefit the Katrina Relief effort.
Which reminds me, did you hear that more people were taken by Katrina than 9/11?
Note, this does not make 9/11 any less a tragedy, just makes Katrina and power of nature all the more respected. I hope!
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
|Evelyn Rodriguez at Crossroads Dispatches is hosting this week's Third Age Blog Carnival. She wraps the carnival around a tribute to Peter Drucker and the concept of legacy and does this very nicely.|
It is a good thing I have not yet started to podcast. While I can say there is a lot of good writing at this week's carnival, it probably would not come out sounding well with peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth.
Monday, November 14, 2005
|The dates for the 11th Geraldine R Dodge Poetry Festival have been set as September 28th to October 1, 2006. The festival returns to Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ.|
This is quite a bit of advance notice but I will be there (if at all possible) so there may be some light blogging during that time. Trust me, there will be plenty to write about upon my return.
For a recap of what I wrote about from the 2004 Festival, you can check this link.
Alas, I was not blogging in 2002!
BC/BS and Concierge Service Delivery
I took some quick notes directly from the presentation and then wrapped the bullet points in sentence form for readability in some cases. Hopefully by reading this, you will get an appreciation for this kind of approach to service. It is a kind of one-to-one service on a grander scale than I have heard of previously. Their results are quite impressive. The customers clearly like this concierge service delivery model.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS) has a pilot group operating separate from their service center
They have a business technology group separate from the central IT organization. This business group is focused on their business, ensuring that the appropriate technology is being used and any upgrades, new services are carefully implemented.
They refer to their group as a service center deliberately not referring to the group as a call center.
The service representatives are rewarded for specific business objectives.
The Concierge Service Delivery model takes the approach to answer the question:
BC/BS identified three components for concierge service delivery:
Generally the member calls fall into one of three categories:
“Take the member out of the loop” is the key value-add for the program. The service agent is empowered to either resolve the call on the first contact, or if it will take too long for them to resolve on their own, to hand it off to another group for research and follow up. This second group does have an individual that will stay with the issue until it is resolved and they keep the member apprised of status along the way. The origination service agent is freed up to return to the queue.
The service agents are measured for average handle time but only in the aggregate; i.e. monthly basis. It is more important for them to be in an acceptable range than to be hitting a particular number. BC/BS understands the nature of their business that a particular call tie can not handle all their member requests appropriately. They are also measured for quality with quality coaches monitoring their calls.
Hiring is important and they spend good time doing so. They structure a call scenario in the process of the interview. The interviewee is set up as a call agent for a cereal manufacturer. A mother calls in complaining that her child did not get the toy that was shown on the box cover. The agent is empowered to do whatever they feel is necessary to resolve the call. They test for the natural customer service nature of their candidates this way.
As part of the reward and recognition program they do “Praise bys”. A carefully coordinated drive by of the agents cube with senior executives in attendance: some applause and signs to minimize disruption in the service center, a brief presentation, including some refreshments.
They also schedule for shadow days with a real concierge from one of the major
The measure their customer satisfaction on a five point scale with two surveys, one transactional based approximately hundred a month and another mail based (send out 3,000 obtain usually a 1,000 response). The use a five point scale (1 low, 5 high) with the top two boxes are counted. They have been 90 or 91 percent top two box for the last five years while growing their member base from 1.6 M to 2.6 M. Quite impressive!
They are now getting into segmenting their market by health category instead of by member plan. Do folks with diabetes have needs that are different from those with a heart condition? Are there services unique to each patient condition? Can some service improvements and value add be delivered by the service center better to a segment by health rather than a segment by plan membership? These are some of the questions they are looking into as they try to evolve the Concierge Service Delivery to the next level.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
|Two days of refresher training on presentation skills, a dinner meeting, and work emails to catch up on while I was off training have shortened my evenings this week, hence the light blogging.|
The dinner meeting was the monthly event for the local Help Desk Institute chapter and a good presentation from Blue Cross/Blue Shield on their Concierge Service Delivery model. I have some notes from the presentation that I'll share soon (need to finish writing them up).
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
|Mark Hurst has announced the dates for GEL 2006.|
What is GEL? Good Experience Live. It is an incredible event.
I was fortunate to attend GEL 2005. You can read what I wrote about this past event using my summary posting.
I recommend making reservations to attend this next event in NYC in May, or in Copenhagen in September.
Monday, November 07, 2005
|We went to the Gala Fund Raiser Dinner for the Metrowest Symphony on Saturday night.|
Overture to Der Freischutz --- Weber
March to the Scaffold from Symphonie Fantastique --- Berlioz
Night on Bald Mountain --- Mussorgsky
Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkure --- Wagner
Sorcerers Apprentice --- DukasCarolyn plays the viola and joined the group back in March. She enjoys playing with them. It is a "real" orchestra and she is learning so much.
The conductor, Peter Cokkinias, is a class act. It is a delight watching him lead the group. He is energetic, real, fun-loving, a wonderful musician and leader.
Each piece of the program was introduced by a member of the orchestra. They were able to provide some insight into the piece, how it came to be, what it was about, what to listen for... Nice introductions from folks we would not normally hear from. By this simple device, he got the orchestra more involved and likewise, the audiance more involved in each piece.
When he stepped to the podium to raise his baton for the Sorcerers Apprentice, it was not a surprise to see him bend down and put on the Sorcerers hat. It was a totally fitting moment. And for all the times I have heard this piece (several times in Fantasia alone), this I believe is the first time I heard it played live. One I will remember for many years.
Friday, November 04, 2005
|Clarke Ching's I Think Not, Baby Puppy highlights this good article from HBR on Crap Circles.|
What are crap circles?
Even if you don't recognize the term, you probably have seen them somewhere along the way.
Crap circles are usually found in fancy PowerPoint presentations where a process is depicted in one continuous circle. The problem with them is that in some cases, the continuous circle simply does not make sense. The HBR article by Gardner Morse provides some nice examples of these errors.
Enjoy the reading. It is short and sweet.
Then be prepared to challenge the next crap circle you see!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
|Received the Holiday Gift Organizer in the snail mail today. I am impressed.|
Nice design. Compact. Colorful. Front inside pocket.
Sections for Younger Kids, Older Kids, The Men in Your Life, Friends and Family, and Your Own Wish List.
Inside the back cover, a holiday shopping planner. A couple of cards that can be punched out and used as shopping lists.
If you have a Best Buy in your neighborhood and get one of these, let me know what you think!
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
|I surprised myself this evening.|
For the first time in a long while, I lost my temper all so briefly with a phone call.
Well, it was the third phone call during the night.
From the same fund raising organization.
I contribute once per year and have been fortunate to increase my contribution a little bit over the years. They should have the records. They should make the records available to the phone people. The phone people should also update their contact management system with the record of each call. The second and third person should have known what I had already told the first one.
I feel sorry for the third caller.
She was probably in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It was not her fault. It was the organization's fault.
If they don't have a contact management system, they should.
If they don't make the records available to the callers, they should.
If they don't call again, they might get my normal contribution this year.