New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist if You Are Not Looking at It | Health

physicists at the Australian National University have found further evidence for the illusory nature of reality. They recreated the John Wheeler’s delayed-choice experiment and confirmed that reality doesn’t exist until it is measured, at least on the atomic scale.

Source: New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist if You Are Not Looking at It | Health

New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It | The Mind Unleashed

physicists at the Australian National University have found further evidence for the illusory nature of reality. They recreated the John Wheeler’s delayed-choice experiment and confirmed that reality doesn’t exist until it is measured, at least on the atomic scale.

Source: New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It | The Mind Unleashed

Risk Management:  The importance readiness planning |

With the recent closure of the Forth Road bridge, commutes from Fife to Edinburgh by car have just dramatically increased by 30 miles each way, causing significant disruption for local residents.It is fortunate, in some ways, this has happened in the run up to and over the Christmas period. Many businesses slow down a little and hopefully many people will be able to work from home more often during the 4 weeks the bridge is out of action. (although looking at the crack, there are concerns this could be much longer)However this incident, and other recent examples such as the Talk Talk hack and the floods in Cumbria, really do highlight the need for all businesses to have solid readiness planning. These events, although unlikely, when they occur have significant impacts on customers, employees, businesses and their brand. (… does it feel they are becoming more common too?).The challenge for planners is that unfortunately focusing on the worst that could happen is not very popular in most companies.Although standard practise for some (NASA being a good example), in most organisations, being a ‘negative nelly’ is not seen as a compliment. In the drive to cut costs and focus on business growth, these small probability, high impact scenarios are often considered low priority or even overlooked. However even a small amount of scenario planning can make a huge difference. Planning allows the business to present a solid, coordinated response to the incident and the public. It provides quick guidance for employees, often in what can be a very chaotic environment. It allows you to control the response to the situation rather that the situation controlling you.Although this may not change timelines or accelerate any fix (it is worth having contingency plans for these too), building a readiness plan is a great first step to help you and your customers operationally deal with the situation. Focus on the situation you are responding too, rather that individual event itself….. (in this case, bridge closure rather than structural failure). This will reduce the number of plans you need and there will be some common themes. Include events with low probabilty but high impact…. It is not necessarily have a second bridge in place in case the first one fails (almost the case here in Scotland), but do have a plan, be able to communicate this and the timelines. Also think through other situations that may impact your customers (e.g. Floods). How can you respond to help them, do you have a role to play in their recovery? Think about short, medium, long term duration impacts….. What would happen if this was 24 hours, 1 week, 1 month or a year. Your response will need to change as the situation evolves. Build a checklist…. Checklists are invaluable in emergency situations. A pre-thought through checklist is invaluable in providing guidance, structure and coordination to the team. Pre-think through crisis performance measures…. How do you know if the situation in improving? Can you measure the customer impact? Review on a regular basis, and occasionally run simulations…. these are great to familiarise the team with the plan and what to do. Trust your team…. you no doubt have a great team that already knows the business well and can react to situations. However some initial planning can really help keep things fresh.In many cases, for many businesses, having full scale redundancy in place is very expensive and just not realistic. However planning for the situation and having a coordinated response is possible. It helps protect your brand and reduces the cost of recovery….. an investment worth considering over the long term.

Source: Risk Management:  The importance readiness planning |

Speak customer, not contact channel |

I caught an interesting news story last week.The chairman of John Lewis, Sir Charlie Mayfield, was speaking at the National Retail Federation in New York, explaining how he thought ‘the age of multi-channel is over’. His argument: Thinking in terms of online and offline channels is dangerous. This whole concept of ‘the channel’ is retailer speak not customer speak… customers really just don’t care too much about the exact channel they use. Even ‘omnichannel’ is a term to be avoided.I agree with his thinking. This is also true in the customer contact centre world.Contact Centre StrategiesChannel performance, cost and effectiveness is of course important. It is the lifeblood of running a successful and profitable business. We have all have spent many hours talking contact channels, relative effectiveness vs costs, strategies and even launching new ones… video chat anyone… and yes there has been plenty of talk of omnichannel.Whilst this is all great discussion, it is still internal contact centre speak and there is the danger this dialogue can seep through to impact the customer and change their view of your product.Paper statement fees, premium rate call numbers, self serve websites, all spring to mind. Financially sound decisions – for sure. A difficult customer message to communicate – certainly. However were each of these developments ones the customers appreciated, understood or just tolerated? Which did you want and was this expected?In the current, increasingly socially connected world, comparisons are ever more easily made and missteps quickly magnified. The importance of ‘speaking customer’ at every point is growing.Speaking Fluent CustomerSo in the hubbub of daily activity it is important to make the time to step back and think about the larger picture. Do we really think about the customer’s process or are we really focused on improving our own? Do we speak the customers language or are we mainly focused on training them to understand ours?At the end of the day customers really focus on getting their question or problem resolved. They do not care how much it costs the company or whether it offers incremental cross sell opportunity. It just needs to be easy, quick and as painless as possible… oh and by the way, everything needs to be seamless and link together..!Easy to say, difficult to doTo Sir Charlie’s point, this transformation can be subtle and not is not necessarily easy. Afterall investment in IT, process design and data analytics can all be required.However of arguably greater importance is the change in mindset of the team itself. The good news is this is something that can cost very little and something we can all start to change today.Whilst I would be the first to argue all processes are linked, ‘speaking customer’ does enable default decisions to be based on a customer centric approach. Any deviations are then conscious, quantified, deliberate decision, where the consequences are known and understood.A First StepIt is said ‘every journey happens one step at a time’. But it also doesn’t start until you recognize the need to move and decide to take the first step.So although we may all say we run ‘customer centric’ and ‘customer experience focused’ teams today, it maybe a good day to step back and quietly ask do you really fluently ‘speak customer’?

Source: Speak customer, not contact channel |

Why does no one read my blog – when is comment too much comment? |

Last year I decided to publish articles on LinkedIn. I had seen some great articles and wanted to share my insights too.Not being a natural writer (I always preferred maths/science at school) this felt a bit daunting. I already had my own blog, but admittedly it lives in what I would describe as the ‘cul-de-sac’ of the ‘information superhighway’.Publishing on LinkedIn felt like going mainstream, easily found and visible to the world. However, I hoped it would help me explore some interests, share some of my ideas and hopefully find my writing style. Putting myself out there a bit more seemed like a good idea.So I wrote my first piece. Taking inspiration from the women’s world cup on at the time, it highlighted leadership qualities which are also relevant in the modern office. Everything was written, re-written, edited, re-edited. I attached a photo and with a nervous finger pressed PUBLISH.As the little red icons started to appear in the top right hand corner of people’s screens, I quickly turned to see the stats: 10, 20, 50 people, it was being read… what a buzz! I even had some nice comments (thank you).And so I have been hooked, trying to publish something new, thought provoking and relevant each month.However as I gained experience and the articles have started building I have also noticed something interesting. After an initial burst of interest, the number of views of each subsequent article have flatlined or decreased. I was not alone. As I published more I noticed other people were starting to publish too. It was as if we had all discovered it together – at the same time. It felt like there was more comment out there, all looking for visibility…. it was getting a tougher market, harder to get new readers.This got me thinking.Is this really a trend? When is comment too much comment? Is too much content being posted, are readers losing interest? If so, just how do you maintain or increase your readership?Whilst readership is important, (how do people know what you are saying if they don’t read your blog), this should not be the sole goal for publishing. I believe you need to decide your own reasons and objectives. For example, is it to explain new ideas, engage in discussion or just reach a new set of contacts?Without this, it is a quick race to the bottom, with funny pictures, pop quizzes and one liners. They are extremely popular, but add little value and people see through them, not remembering who or what was posted.Once your reason for writing are clear, it is also worth setting out your own set of publishing guidelines. There is plenty out there on writing great articles, however here are a few of my own thoughts on guidelines. Think carefully about the headline. Just like any newspaper: great headline, summarise the points early, explain the points and summarise again. Keep it positive. Explain even negative points in positive terms, not critical. Have an engaging point or non conventional view. Readers are better engaged, even if they don’t agree with your point of view. Be personal and authentic. The audience wants to hear from you, not from an imaginary persona, especially in a blog article. Don’t make it verbose or too long. Short, snappy to the point is more popular… (I struggle with this one!). Link and reference well. View, like and engage with other bloggers. Likes, comments, shares, all spread blog posts to your network.Lastly: caution with kittens… I accept the line is blurring and pictures of cute kittens are fun, but try to stay focused on your objective and message, use with caution, only to re-enforce your point.Why does no one read your blog, is there too much comment? There has been an explosion of ideas and the interaction is undoubtably a positive thing. As a reader it can be harder to filter out the noise and as a writer harder to reach the reader. However I am not sure that number of views really matters in the long term. Engage the audience and they will return.After all, an engaged reader is always many times more valuable than one which is not.

Source: Why does no one read my blog – when is comment too much comment? |

The end of outbound calls as we know it? |

This week I was chatting with a couple of folks in Canada, as part of my new role at a new company.Inevitably our conversation turned to contact strategy and in particular reflections on the use of predictive dialers in the UK.Now, in Canada we were always careful with making calls, cautious with mobile phones, respecting times and timezones. However the dialer still remained a big part of the day.It was therefore initially surprising when I returned to the UK and observed just how the how little the dialer was being used. Legislation I discovered, backed by high fines (up to £2mm) had really changed the industry and the outbound call was on the decline.UK Rules: Ahead of the curve?For those not in the UK, these are the rules that generated the change. The ‘abandoned call’ rate shall be no more than three per cent of ‘live calls’ over a 24 hour period In the event of an ‘abandoned call’, a very brief recorded information message must be played within 2 seconds Calls which are not answered must ring for a minimum of 15 seconds before being terminated When an ‘abandoned call’ has been made, any repeat calls to that number in the following 72 hours may only be made with the guaranteed presence of a live operator (the ‘72 hour policy’) For each outbound call a Caller Line Identification (CLI) number needs to be presented Any call made to the CLI number cannot not be used as an opportunity to market to that person, without consent. Records are to be kept for a minimum period of six months that demonstrate compliance with the above Additionally, if your dialer thinks it has connected to an Answer Machine, then any extra calls made that day must guarantee an agentImpact on Collection OperationsOther markets of course have similar rules. However with the high prevalence of answer machines and tough compliance requirements in place, the efficiency of dialers became limited.And, it has had an impact on efficiency and staff morale. Afterall staff who were used to talking with people and solving issues were now left listening to answer machines.Alternatives have been sort and volumes have dwindled.Customer centricThe regulatory focus in this particular case has been on reducing silent calls, and their impact on society.Undoubtedly it has benefited many customers, the industry has innovated and the world has not fallen apart.There are now more self serve options, rapport building and relationship based, focused conversations going on. In many ways, for many companies this has been an opportunity, a way to offer a competitive advantage, to reboot relationships with customers, and it works.Broader customer changesHowever this also broadly reflects a wider trend of increasing customer influence and this is being seen across the various markets. In Canada: Customer focused collections is a current topic, nicely expressed in the article “The collections world is changing are you keeping up“ In the UK: A similar discussion and we have not just seen this trend, but also have this enshrined in regulatory legislation (eg FCA CONC handbook)Customers are in control, demanding choices and influence. It is important for us to react and react positively. Something many leading players are doing already.So what’s nextFor the UK, we are now waiting for the output from the next OFCOM consultation. Probably more change and it is important to be prepared. There could be more capacity and strategy changes required. Are these understood, anticipated should the changes come to pass? Is there a plan of action or a checklist ready for when they are published? Are potential impacts calculated and have they been clearly communicated (upwards) in your organisation… avoiding nasty surprises?For other markets such as Canada, preparing for similar changes is also prudent. Are you being proactive and introducing customer centric processes in the organisation? Are you close to legislation and common practice in other markets? Would you be ready if similar legislation was introduced in your market?Ideas sharingWe all like to talk across markets and hear about the best ideas from the best people. It should be no suprise if we see similar regulatory frameworks in a market near you soon.So are outbound calls finished? Not quite, there is still a lot of value, but fundamental change is afoot and the nature of the process will significantly evolve.Time to hold onto our hats and get out in front of that change.

Source: The end of outbound calls as we know it? |

Scientists just detected gravitational waves. We’ve entered a whole new world for astronomy. – Vox

About 1.3 billion years ago, two black holes in a remote part of the universe collided with one another. The two objects were so massive that the interaction of their gravities distorted the space and time around them. If you could witness the event up close, it would be like living in a funhouse mirror.One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein predicted that the distortion of spacetime caused by such a collision wouldn’t stop at the site of the collision. Like a ripple on a pond, it would propagate outward in gravitational waves.Today, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced, for the very first time, that they’ve directly observed a gravitational wave — proving Einstein right yet again.

Source: Scientists just detected gravitational waves. We’ve entered a whole new world for astronomy. – Vox

Millennials prefer new media over the TV and radio

While millennials spend around as much time as the older generations consuming media, the kinds of media consumed is changing, a recent L.E.K. Consulting report finds. The radio and traditional TV are being replaced by on demand services, while video games and social media are taking time away from other mediums. Across the millennial generation, not a great deal changes as they move through life stages, highlighting that traditional media players need to change their strategy or risk losing market share for good.

Source: Millennials prefer new media over the TV and radio