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I just discovered the Customer Interaction Management Forum. It appears to be just a few weeks old - at least late July was when the press started talking about it.

I am not really sure what it is or what it is about, but with a tagline "Sharing best practices for an exceptional customer experience" and sponsorship by IBM, I felt obligated to join. (^: Their description:

Combining extensive Customer Interaction Management (CIM) experience with knowledge and insight gleaned from millions of customer interaction sessions, The CIM Forum explores thought leading topics, proven best practices, technical infrastructure, and key performance indicators associated with creating consistently positive customer experiences.

It looks like the IBM Content Discovery people are behind this, since that is the IBM product mentioned on the site.

After I joined the site, I got access to additional resources. The one that popped out at me was "How Findability Can Drive Business Growth: IBM WebSphere Content Discovery Server and the IBM Content Discovery Foundation" by Susan E. Aldrich, Sr. VP and Sr. Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, April 2006. It has some intro sections on "What Terrific Search Does for the Business" and their search evaluation framework. Then a lot on Content Discovery Server (because the report was prepared for IBM).

Good report overall, but PSG missed the boat on findability - using the term in the title but otherwise ignoring it, in essence equating "findability" with "search technology".

By the way, you can get this white paper from lots of different places, including on ibm.com. Registration appears to be required most places.

Anyway, I will track this CIM forum and see where user experience, information architecture and user-centered design come into play.

Comments

After posting my blog entry, I poked around the CIM forum some more and found the Customer self service conference which includes a panel session "It All Comes Down to Usability":

Recent research has confirmed if it is not easily understandable and easy to use, customers are quick to jump to another channel to solve their problem, or even worse, jump to your competitor. As more and more companies try to shift their customers to self service channels they find usability is the key to getting customer acceptance.

With key issues to be addressed by the panel:

  • How to profit from competitor's mistakes
  • Ethnographic research vs. customer satisfaction surveys
  • When and how often to test
  • When and how often to offer human support
  • Sharing best practices

Good to see some coverage of the basics of user-centered design at this "self-service" event. The phrase "recent research" did make me chuckle, however - I wonder what research they are referring to and how recent is "recent".