18 July

5 Top Tips for Super Social Customer Service

Great customer service is the key to keeping everybody happy but in our changing world where customers are increasingly online, gone are the days of in store help desks, telephone helplines and even email assistance. Customers want their customer service online on social media and wise businesses know that wherever your customers go, you should follow. Enter social customer service.

Social customer service means transferring your customer help desk from your store to your social media profiles. A recent report by Accent Marketing revealed some staggering facts about social customer service – that nearly a third of customers use Facebook to contact a customer service representative, that half of those people believe Facebook is the fastest way to solve customer service issues and that nearly half of those expect to have their comment or query answered within an hour. With statistics like that, any business that does not consider social media a customer service tool should be changing their tune and getting on board with social customer service – fast. But how do you do that? (more…)

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02 June

Experimental ideas – The Future of Film industry

As featured on connector360, our little sister website, we will now bring you a collection of innovations from film industry.

1. What about keeping your smartphone switched on at cinema? That is the challenge of Cinime that developed an interactive app to “use your little screen to get more from the big screen”. Read More

2. Civil drone and helicopter use in cinema is offering new ways to shoot action and provide a significant change in film visuals. Here is an amazing example of what can be done:

3. Have you always dreamt of living in a movie? Thanks to virtual reality in cinema the gap between real and movie world will become so close that you will feel like being part of the film. Read more

4. This behind the scene video reveals the secrets of 7 Oscars winner film Gravity and the remarkable technological innovation created to shoot the movie.

5. A new concept inspired by the trend of Slow Food just shows up on TV and proposes a different and fun way to watch TV.

For more stories like this, follow us on Twitter @connector360

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20 May

iBeacon revolutionises the fashion retail world

iBeacon is a new technology created by Apple that is intended to replace the old Near Field Communication (NFC) system. NFC is used to exchange data between two mobile devices without contact. NFC allows your smartphone to act as a credit card, loyalty card and more besides.

iBeacon is a new improvement of this technology. It enables users to make payments without any network connection. The good news is that iBeacon comes with all devices that operate iOS 7.

iBeacon allows companies to push offers and promotions straight to the consumer (providing they have downloaded the company’s app first).
This opens the way to loads of innovation in digital marketing and has already been adopted by many companies.

Macy’s the famous US department store has been using iBeacons to alert customers of current special offers when they enter the store.

American Eagle Outfitters also uses iBeacon technology to send customers a welcome message as they enter the store and inform them of location specific rewards.

iBeacons may be the solution for retailers to finally bring the online offline.

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15 May

Trendy New York restaurant serves up tasty Instagram menus #ComodoMenu

We all love to take photos, with our friends, with our houses, with our favourite places, with flowers, animal, drinks but most of all, we like to take photos with our food. Because we need to communicate with each other and because we like to share things, some smart guys decided to develop Instagram. We all know the photo-sharing app and we like it. But a man still has to eat and Instagram can’t help you find food, right? What would you say if I told you that you can go into a restaurant and you can use your smartphone to decide what you want to have from the menu?

A couple from New York decided to make their dream come true and they opened a cozy restaurant in the Big Apple. They wanted to ease their clients’ lives when they have to decide what they want to have from the menu. Besides this, the owners wanted to be different. Mission accomplished. Comodo Restaurant from New York came up with a new and great idea – to use Instagram to make their restaurant menu. You can sit at the table and search through The Instagram Menu by using the #ComodoMenu hashtag. All the guests in the restaurant can add photos of Comodo’s courses and dishes. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Next time you can’t decide what to order you can search for #ComodoMenu and see what your friends recommend, simple as that.

by Anca Geangala

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12 May

connector360 Instagram Plan #Instaplan

So you want to use Instagram for business but don’t have a plan? Well as we are so generous, we are sharing our little sister connector360 Instagram research and plan aka our #Instaplan! We would like to present our planning for our new Instagram account. It shows marketing, art, music, entertainment and a bit of our lives into the office. We do everything thinking of you, clients, friends and Partners. We hope our content is engaging images, reviews, tips, tools and trends.

Follow us @connector360 and get to know more about this Irish based  family called connector360.

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31 March

Happy Mother’s day to all mums from connector360!

Our Mums are wonderful and next Sunday will be a special occasion to show them our affection – we hope all our readers have been making their plans to look after their mothers this Sunday!

If not, you still have a few days to buy a gift and even win tickets for a Garth Brooks concert for herby participating to a fantastic competition we helped organised for our new partner EuroGiant!

Click here to enter the competition

Think about your mum, tell us how lovely she is and get people to vote for her!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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29 March

3d printing – a creative dreamland or a counterfeiting nightmare?

The 2010s have seen the spread of a revolutionary concept: 3D printing. However the idea itself is not so new, as the invention of 3D printing dates back to the 1980s, but has only become available to the general public over the last few years ago.

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is based on a really simple idea. Once you are in possession of 3D blueprints of an object, you can use a 3D printer in order to build said object. You can even design an object’s blueprints yourself with the help of CAD software. The printer will then break up the digital file into layers of data, which will be printed on top of one another until the final object is formed.

The field of applications is endless. 3D printers can use a wide range of materials, and 3D printer owners and designers are continuously finding more creative and useful ways to exploit the true potential of this tool.

A few months ago Mark Ebeling, founder of Californian non-profit organization Not Impossible Labs, came up with a life-changing idea after hearing about the story of a Sudanese boy who had lost his arms in a bombing. Ebeling was so moved by the story – which is sadly only one among so many others – that he decided to bring 3D printing equipment to Sudan and print inexpensive prosthetic limbs for people who were left handicapped by the war, starting with the boy. Even though the limbs were cheap and only restored a small amount of motor functions for the patients, it changed the lives of those deeply wounded by the war and finally gave them a chance to lead a more normal life.

However, while 3D printing brings a lot of wonderful ideas to life, it also comes with a few drawbacks. 3D models are easily accessible via the Internet and an increase in counterfeit goods could quickly become a big problem. Potentially nothing could prevent someone from setting up a large-scale counterfeit production unit equipped with 3D printers, and the proliferation of such goods could lead to a dramatic fall in the market success of the genuine original items. Even with the best intentions in mind, the use of such tools may negatively impact the lives of those in the manufacturing industry and create financial difficulties for the industry as a whole.

3D printing has its advantages and drawbacks, but that can be said about almost anything. One of the most interesting emerging ideas within this sector is bioprinting. What if we were able to print replacement organs for those who urgently needed them? That’s what some companies are starting to think about, and if successful, could lead to a bigger revolution than 3D printing itself.

What do you think about 3D printing? Please let us know by commenting or getting in touch with us.

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08 November

Engaging Nonprofit Volunteers through Social Media

Volunteer Ireland are hosting the National Volunteer Management Conference today so naturally our interest spiked when they asked a member of our team to give a workshop on engaging volunteers through social media. We jumped at the chance, as here at connector360 we have a special place in our heart for nonprofit organizations and the great work they do.

Our whiz kid project manager Sarah was chosen for the task due to her background working with The Irish Cancer Society. She got the head down and immersed herself in research on how nonprofits use social channels successfully. What did she find? They are pretty darn good at it!

She packaged up her findings into a lovely presentation which you can find on Slideshare below:

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Some of the major insights she uncovered was the volunteers today are young, they’re generous and they are your online influencers. They share, share and keep on sharing the good work of the organizations they are involved with.
So, connector360 is sending a call out to all young people out there to get involved with a charity that is close to their heart. There’s no comparison to how rewarding the work is but more importantly you are helping others.

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15 May

Become a Monitoring Master and Generate Leads

Listen to your competitors customers, you might learn something! Getting honest and unsullied opinions from consumers regarding your competitors has never been easier.  In fact, you don’t even need to ask them!  Traditionally, surveys and focus groups have always been useful sources of measurement on customer sentiment. Neither, however, offer the currency and (arguably) the honesty of some discreet social media monitoring.

By now many businesses are using social media monitoring tools.  The most obvious application is what some call ‘Ego monitoring’.  ’Ego monitoring’ is listening for any mentions of your own company online, be it positive or negative. This style of monitoring can be useful, but instead, why not take things up a notch?!

listen-300x300-resized-600Become a Monitoring Master

If you read yesterday’s blog on determining your competitor’s KPI’s, then  you have a perfect framework for zoning in on their strengths and weaknesses. One example we enjoyed reading about was from Harley Manning’s book ‘Outside In’.  Accor Hotels (owners of the Novotel and Sofitel chains) prepare daily reports from head office for their individual managers, these reports contain up to the minute customer sentiment online.  This way they can detect potential problems, branch by branch, and can then act to nip them in the bud before they snowball.

A savvy social media manager would have the same reporting set up, except they’d report on other chains in their market, such as the Radisson Group, Best Western and Marriott Group.  The company can probe for weaknesses in the competition across different territories.  Now armed with this easily sourced, hugely insightful customer data they can base a marketing or ad campaign around highlighting these shortcomings.  Cheeky yet highly effective!  All from gold plated, freely sourced competitor information.

David Vs Goliath – smaller size equals nimble reaction

A 2012 study by Conversocial has shown that a mere 13% of customer complaints delivered to the door of America’s biggest brands (including Footlocker, GAP) are responded to. They receive so many @mentions per week (over 8000 in some cases) that even the largest brands are buckling under the weight of this volume.

At home, with high streets containing empty shop units like missing teeth, independent retailers that are determined to grow could use this to their advantage.  Maintain a laser focus on the big players in town for these type of complaints and service gaps, filtered by geography.  A clever, smaller retailer could jump into the conversation, offer to fill the gap in experience the customer has suffered and hey presto!  You’ve got yourself a lead.

Now, just ensure when they enter your store that you have the means to deliver on any promise you’ve made.  But that’s a project for another day.  One step at a time!

 

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09 May

Top 3 customer communities in action – SAP, Weightwatchers & beaut.ie

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Building and interacting with your customer community can be a challenge, but it can lead to massive pay-offs for your business. Regardless of your size, it’s possible to create a community that nurtures your client base and improves your business. Below are our top three examples of customer communities. Whether the business is large, medium or small, these communities provide real value to the business.

sapSAP Community Network (SCN)

The SCN has been around for nearly 10 years. It provides SAP users worldwide with a massive forum to offer advice, seek guidance and self-manage issues amongst themselves. SAP provides the framework and let their customers do the talking.  How successful is it? Have a look at these figures.

  • SCN contains over 2.5. million members
  • 3000 posts daily, 450 blogs monthly, over 230 countries have active users
  • 375 topics active for internal product managers to monitor with over 600 moderators!
  • Their IdeaPlace suggestion hub has seen over 9000 customer led product/service improvement ideas to date, with over 200 already implemented to their solutions (Forbes, 2012)

We consider SAP to be a best in class example of large scale community maintenance and management. Take a tour of their community at http://scn.sap.com/welcome  so you can get some inspiration.

Weight-WatchersWeightwatchers

The famous weight loss and dieting community. You’d think that they would naturally lend themselves to online communities, and you’d be right. Their US and UK sites have a massive, highly active communities.  The largest groups contain over 15,000 users where topics are opened by members, not the company. The site promotes their own branded food to a receptive audience, which happens to create a legion of brand evangelists along the way, not a bad result.

An interesting point to note is that the Irish site currently contains no community section.  We assume they think the Irish market’s size isn’t large enough to support a thriving community. Other Irish sites, such as rollercoaster.ie and mummypages.ie, however, both maintain large forums in part devoted to lifestyle issues such as dieting.

logo2Beaut.ie

This Irish site offers a friendly, accessible alternative to the more aloof magazine culture regarding beauty products.  Their posts are delivered in such a conversational tone that forums quickly became populated by thousands of fans. They use the forum to share tips and cement Beaut as the leading authority in the Irish market, far ahead of the traditional magazines.

We include this example to show you how disruptive even a small community can be to the market as a whole.

 

Communities take time to nurture, but they can be so rewarding for a company’s efforts to really connect to their client base for the long term.  If you’re playing for keeps, it’s worth the effort!

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