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A look at Chatroulette

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently I read Rachel’s blog entry: “The new bizarre online fad” that talks about Chatroulette. This website that pairs random strangers for webcam-based conversations seems to me very interesting and scary at the same time. Even though I am not willing to give it a try yet I was wondering if Foursquare can work for both people and businesses, could Chatroulette also work for companies?

I found an article on Inc.com that talked about companies that were using Chatroulette to advertise their products. I am not sure how this exactly works or if it works for all products but I guess we have to know what is going on out there and how companies are using these new tools to communicate with their customers.

For example, Travelocity has entered the Chatroulette world with their iconic Roaming Gnome which appears  holding a variety of signs throughout the day with messages such as “This would be better if we were in Rio.”  The goal is to motivate video chatters to step away from their webcams and take vacations.

source: http://mashable.com/2010/03/31/travelocity-gnome-chatroulette/

It would be interesting if we could see some results from this campaign and if in fact it generated more sales due to its pressence on Chatroulette.

 

 

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Your table is ready!

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Who has not waited for a table at a crowded restaurant before? It can get really frustrating especially when you are hungry. In fact, nearly 75 percent of customers say that waiting times are the most stressful part of dining out which can ultimately lead to a bad dining experience. To improve the experience of having to wait for a table, Textaurant has developed a web-based waiting list management application that lets restaurants automatically inform customers via a text message when their table is ready.

The service is very straight forward. This is how it works:

  • First, a restaurant pays an installation fee of about $1,000 but it can be free for long-term subscribers.
  • Second, customers visiting the restaurant opt into the service when they arrive by giving the hostess their cell phone numbers.

While this service can’t change how long you wait, it does allow you to leave the restaurant and wait wherever you want without worrying of loosing your table. On the other hand, the service doesn’t seem to me to be such a big idea because you still have to wait…but perhaps we are seeing such technologically advances nowadays that a little improvement is not enough.  Another pitfall might be the privacy convern of giving away your cellphone number. But I think it is important to acknowledge the fact that restaurants and businesses in general are worrying about the customer experience. In this case, the experience begins waiting for a table.

 

Textaurant is not the only company that is trying to help customers avoid frustrating lines. Startups like QLess, FreshTxt and MobileWait all use web-to-text applications to do something similar.

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