Academic Management

In this first blog on the subject of using Web 2.0 tools and applications, I take a look the relationship between Web 2.0 applications and the needs of a networked company.

The other day I was sent a link to a website entitled How to use Twitter for marketing and PR a hot topic if ever there was one that, from its title, sounded like an interesting read. Frankly, it was both more prescient and a great deal more full of insight than one can imagine – it simply said ‘Don’t’. This places it directly at odds with the enthusiasts and supporters of Web 2.0 applications as marketing tools: something they like to call Enterprise 2.0 as though, somehow, this made it different. But Web 2.0 applications are much much more than communication tools for marketing. Read the rest of this entry »

In this final blog on ‘customerization’, we take a look at the third major industry that has opted for this approach – the airlines

On a recent trip to South Africa, I had a very ‘customerized’ travelling experience. Instead of going to a travel agent, I surfed the web and found a site that provided an overview of all the airlines, their routing, and the schedules. This is, of course, what a travel agent would have done for me. Having selected a specific airline, British Airways in this case for ease of connections and the directness of the routing (only three flights in each direction), I surfed to their website to compare prices – again, a service previously provided by the travel agent. I then booked my tickets on-line, paid on-line and was sent an email that contained my electronic ‘eTicket’.

I then rang the travel agent and asked for their best price for the same route and found that it was exactly the same – I had, therefore, done all the work and received no financial benefit whatsoever. The airline, on the other hand, had received a benefit in that they did not now have to pay a commission to the travel agent. Read the rest of this entry »

In this second blog on ‘customerization’ we take a look at the banks, another industry that is seeking to make their customers responsible for transactional activity that was previously done by the business.

The ubiquitous ‘hole-in-the-wall’ cash machine – or, more correctly, the automated teller machine or ATM – is a product of the 1960s with the first machines appearing on the high street in the mid to late 1960s. The raison d’être for their existence was the idea that customers could be given 24/7 access to their cash deposits through the use of networked computerised machines that would read a magnetic card and allow the user to withdrawn money. In theory, this is an excellent idea and a genuine benefit to the customer at a time when there was more money around and being spent and banking hours were, to put it mildly, restrictive.

Like most things in the ‘customerization’ field, the idea was not conceived as a benefit to the customer but as a benefit to the bank. Traditionally, banks had ‘tellers’ who sat behind glass screens or metal grills and manually checked customers’ balances and then cashed their cheques so that they could withdraw money. Given that this was the only way of withdrawing money at the time, banks had to employ growing numbers of tellers (or cashiers as they were known in the USA) to cope with the lengthening queues of customers wishing to make withdrawals. The efficiency experts watched and checked these queues and the estimated waiting time – they also checked the speed with which the teller could conduct the transaction (estimated at 90 seconds to 2.5 minutes) and thus how many they could process in an hour (usually around 30). With banking hours restricted to 09h30 – 16h00, a total of six and half hours, it soon became obvious that one teller could deal with a maximum of 195 customers in a day providing each only wanted to conduct one cash withdrawal transaction. Read the rest of this entry »