U.S. Utility Execs Concede Need for More Innovation (or Better Messaging)

first_imgU.S. Utility Execs Concede Need for More Innovation (or Better Messaging) FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Glen Boshart for SNL:Top officials with the Edison Electric Institute wrapped up the group’s annual convention June 15 in Chicago by discussing what they must do to prosper in a rapidly changing industry environment.Tom Fanning, EEI’s newly elected chairman who also serves as chairman, president & CEO of Southern Co.: “We are innovative, we are in the customer interest, we are constantly looking for ways to create the future,” Fanning maintained, suggesting that the problem has been more one of messaging.Christopher Crane, president and CEO of Exelon Corp. and EEI vice chairman sees storage as something utilities need to embrace by working with the labs and universities “to help advance that along.”But the officials acknowledged that the traditional utility culture may be holding them back. Patricia Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president & CEO of PNM Resources Inc. and EEI vice chairman, stressed the need for utilities to hire people from the younger generation who are more adept at using new technologies in innovative ways.“You have to walk the talk, you have to bring in people from the outside, you have to protect them from the internal immune system of the utility” that wants to quickly “kill off anything that’s different,” Vincent-Collawn said.Picking up on that theme, Fanning noted that the culture and employees at his company can be represented by a pie chart, only a tiny slice of which is composed of “the revolutionaries, the creative disruptors.”“The people in the big pie slice want to murder the people in the little pie slice,” Fanning acknowledged. Thus, he said companies need to keep from living on their past successes and instead embrace innovation and new technology.Full article ($): EI officials debate how to keep up with rapidly changing timeslast_img read more


first_imgFinn Harps can hold their heads up high as they gave it their all in their FAI Cup replay tonight.A craftier Drogheda Utd side proved to have a little more in the tank for Harps as they ended their cup dreams for yet another season winning 2-0.The Donegal side were forced to a replay at Hunky Dorys Park after a late equaliser at Finn Park last Friday night saw the game end 1-1 after a late eualiser from Drogheda. Harps tried to match their Premier League opposition in every department tonight and did so for the first half which ended scoreless.But Drogheda threw what proved to be the decisive punch in the 50th minute when Declan O’Brien finished Shane Grimes’ cross from close range to beat Ciaran Gallagher.Harps were living on half chances with both Kevin McHugh and Tommy McMonagle going close.Harps were dealt a major blow when they were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Damien McNulty in the 75th minute. Drogheda, with the numerical advantage, had the chance to finish off Harps in the 79th minute through Peter Hynes.Through on goal on a one-on-one with Harps ‘keeper Gallagher, Hynes tried a cheeky lob but was foiled well by the Harps number one.Peter Hutton’s side threw everything at Drogheda in the last ten minutes but Drogheda were happy to soak up the pressure with the extra man.Harps were given some glimmer of hope when the referee announced six minutes of injury time in the 90th minute.But whatever slight hope they had soon disappeared when Drogheda added a second in the 92nd minute through David Cassidy. Cassidy linked up with Ryan Brennan to ‘round Gallagher and apply a simple tap-in to make it 2-0.It was a cruel end to Harps gallant cup efforts this season.CRAFTY DROGHEDA END HEROIC HARPS’ CUP DREAMS was last modified: September 17th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Drogheda Utdfai cupfinn harpslast_img read more

What They Really Think About You How to Structure and Conduct Customer

first_imgThe best way to gain buyer insights is by conducting customer interviews. That’s certainly easier said than done. In this post, we’ll show you how to design a comprehensive customer interview guide that will help you conduct interviews as smoothly — and productively — as possible.What’s the secret to conducting a insightful customer interview? Thoughtful preparation. Designing a comprehensive customer interview guide will help you organize all the insights to hope to gain from your customer and ensure you ask all the right questions.3 Types of Must-Ask Customer Interview Questions1) Validation QuestionsMake sure you ask a few quick questions to verify the person as an appropriate interview subject. These questions will identify whether the company is a reasonable target and unearth what the interviewee’s involvement was in the buying process. However, keep in mind that validation questions are probably the most boring part of the interview for your subject. If you can gain the information you need through other open-ended questions throughout the interview, you do not need to ask them. If the questions have not been answered by the end of the conversation, ask them at that time.2) Open-ended QuestionsOpen-ended questions encourage your subject to tell the story of their buying process for your product (or a competitor’s). For example, Adele Revella of the Buyer Persona Institute recommends opening the interview with, “Take me back to the first time you started looking for a solution to this problem. What happened?” This question is an engaging way to start the conversation, and it gives the subject an opportunity to surprise you with insights that may not have been revealed in a direct line of questioning.3) Hypothesis TestingYour company likely has a lot of organizational knowledge and assumptions about how your buyers operate. If these ideas are not directly covered by the interviewee during their open-ended responses, it’s important to address them directly. Typically, we list these questions after open-ended ones and will only ask them if they haven’t been answered, or if we seek a more detailed answer. For example, if all of your stakeholders listed cost as a key objection buyers typically have to your solution, but that hasn’t yet come up, you may want to interject a prompt such as, “How about cost? Is that a meaningful obstacle?”How to Structure Your Customer InterviewsIt’s important to keep in mind that very few phone interviews go exactly as planned. Inexperienced interviewers tend to overestimate the number of questions they will be able to complete in their allotted time. As a result, they may rush the subject, cutting the time for follow-up questions or open-ended responses. This may result in missing crucial information that was intended to be captured at the end of the guide.Where to look for even more customer data?Hint: It’s Closer Than You Think It’s best to include no more than 10 questions per half-hour interview, most of which are fairly open-ended, while including optional follow-ups and prompts if the interviewee prefers to give short responses. You may want to add a few quantitative questions using a 1-5 or 1-10 scale just for reference purposes. When presenting results, it makes for a more interesting story when you can present some statistics or quantitative insights. In many interviews, the most relevant or surprising information comes from the buyer simply telling his or her story. Don’t feel you have to cover every specific question in your guide or offer a prompt for every question unless the subject hasn’t offered a satisfactory response during the open-ended questions. Think of the guide more as a reminder of the essential information that needs to be gathered, rather than a literal script.Conducting Customer Interviews: When to Reach OutWhether by phone or email, you want to catch your target at a time when they are at their desk but not too busy. Below are some tips:Most experts consider late morning (approximately 10 a.m.) or mid-afternoon (approximately 3 p.m.) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to be the best bet for reaching target interviewees. Also, remember to pay attention to your target interviewee’s time zone.Monday and Friday mornings tend to be the busiest times of the week because most planning and wrap-up meetings taking place then.Avoid reaching out to people during their busy time of year, as this can drastically affect response rates. For example, tax consultants are going to be next to impossible to reach during tax season. Salespeople can be equally difficult to reach at the end of a quarter when they are trying to close out their numbers. 4 Tips to Conduct the Best Interview PossibleNow that you actually have your interviewee on the line, what comes next? Follow these four tips for the most productive interview possible.Data Collection: Generally, it isn’t necessary to record calls if you take clear enough notes. The best way to do this is by hand or in a word processor for conversational, free-form interviews, or by entering them directly into your survey software for more structured engagements. Inputting directly into the software will make the standardization and analysis stage easier, in contrast to paper notes, which will require transcribing and are often hard to decipher. However, if you do choose to input directly into survey software, make sure to leave space for notes that don’t fit neatly into your question format.Ask for References: If the interviewees agreed to take your call, it means they either saw value in your compensation or just wanted to help out. Either way, they will probably be happy to pass you along to a peer.Follow-up Questions: For longer calls where you are offering compensation, it is usually okay to ask several follow-up questions by email if necessary. Let your interviewees know at the end of the call that you might be following up.Thanking the Interviewee: Be sure to thank them by email for their participation. This is also the time to provide a gift code or any other digital compensation. If you are offering a physical gift, be sure to get their address at the end of your call, and in your thank you e-mail let them know that you have mailed the gift.Ready to Take the Next Step? Download our Free eBookBuyer Insights Research: How to Understand Your Buyers So You can Eliminate the Guesswork outlines a step-by-step approach to conducting the kind of research your company needs to:Introduce a more customer-centric way of thinking across the organizationbuyer insights researchImprove customer acquisition effectivenessFocus on the decision-makers within a target company and their key influencersUnderstand the subtle distinctions between different roles in the buying processBuild a pipeline with more targeted and effective messagingCreate compelling product packaging and pricing schemesEnhance customer success and retention with improved product and service deliveryDownload Photo by: OberazziAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis2last_img read more