Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

100 Mobile Product Ideas...#20...
...Follow-up texts protocol...

Driving on the motorway yesterday was frustrating. There was insufficient precipitation to keep the windscreen clear of all the muck that tends to come off the roads whenever snow, sleet or yucky rain falls.

Technically, I don't know what yucky rain is, despite studying climatology at one point, but it's a condition. The one that means the windscreen gets all sticky and messy and the wiper blades are guaranteed to smear.

I confess...worn out wiper blades are probably part of the condition. So I decided to get the driver's one changed. I visited Halfords, a well known car-parts merchant in the UK. To my great delight [well done Halfords!] shop assistants are now trained to fit such parts, so I opted for the fit.

Driving back home, with a clear windscreen, I realised that the already great Halfords customer care could go further...with the aid of mobile of course. The idea just popped in my head that if they now sent me a text saying to take care and that they hope the part is working fine, I would be a customer for life and probably tell others about the great service. It's those little things....

I admit that the fitting service had already put me in a good mood. Afterall, I didn't have to get black grime all over my hands, which, as an eczema sufferer, was a welcome relief.

Euphoria aside, follow-up texts do have all kinds of applications. One problem is how to automate the process. We can come back to this problem. Mobile payment, or associating mobiles with payment (two different topics), is a key theme for the 3G era and needs much debate.

Follow-up texts are useful for all kinds of reasons. Useful enough that I might just agree to opt-in to receive them automatically. In other words, I agree that by using my loyalty card, debit card, or mobile to make a payment, the merchant is allowed to text me.

BUT.....

I don't want to be spammed.

So, what about a protocol? I opt-in for the "follow-up text scheme" and you, Mr Merchant, agree to send me only one text per transaction....and NO MORE. If I'm in the scheme, then it applies to all transactions with all merchants, unless I opt-out from any of them.

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