Companies have begun to worry that their automated call centers have left their customers frustrated, dissatisfied, even angry. In a slow-growth environment, where, one presumes, satisfying every customer is more important than ever, how are companies responding to the limits of these automated lines?
As oil continues to fill the waters off my wife’s home state, Louisiana, inventors around the world are surely scheming up new technologies to prevent such catastrophes from happening again. While I wish for their success and am thankful for their efforts, history says their energy would be better spent engineering a different kind of innovation. The kind of innovation we cannot see.
The innovations that have most impacted our world are invisible. We cannot touch, feel, or smell them. But they nonetheless exert a transformative force on the world.
Earlier in the week I started reviewing the insurance giant Aflac. In 2004 we start to see the growth rates of Aflac suddenly starting to climb and a new radical idea was starting to pay off for Aflac: the duck.
Over 2003 and 2004, Aflac started to enjoy the fruits of an uncommon bet it placed a few years earlier. Back in 1990, the company decided to launch a name recognition campaign. After a decade of running the campaign, name recognition was still less than 10%. CEO Dan Amos figured that "At that rate … I’d be retired before we reached 25%.
Pre-1992, even loyal customers struggled to recall the insurance company’s name - the "American Family Life Assurance Company." But today, customer and non-customers alike, indeed anyone in the U.S. or Japan who watches television, cannot take a summer stroll past a park pond without thinking "Aflac."
How did a small, family-owned, run-of-the-mill insurance company from Georgia evolve into a $20 billion icon, with a brand as infectious as Ronald McDonald or Mickey Mouse? I recently had the chance to sit down with Daniel P.