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Reference Point
a newsletter for customer reference professionals
JULY 2007
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Robert Scoble is famous for making a corporate blog work at his previous firm, Microsoft, while legions of better-funded big-PR-firm efforts failed. He points out a very interesting integration of references and a company blog. To read more, please see below. (Thanks to my buddy Jeremiah Owyang for bringing this to my attention.)

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HEADS UP:
We have lots of exciting announcements for you -- stay tuned for a followup email with "announcements" in the subject line. They include:
- A new event for people who run or work with Customer Advisory Boards
- Our next Customer Reference Forum
- An expanded jobs service
- A listing of best practice reports by experienced reference pros
- Information about our surveys on reference programs and reference careers.

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The company Robert profiled is a small new firm called CrossLoop. It's using its blog to tap into customer discussions about its services, as well as cleverly showcase its references.

CrossLoop's business is providing a free, secure screen sharing software used for tech support and collaboration. You can be anywhere in the world, as long as you have a PC and Internet access, and gain access to the screen of another PC with a simple interface that non-techies can easily use. Great for remote tech support, demos, training and other applications.

On its blog, left margin, the firm lists recent comments about its service from the blogosphere, using del.icio.us (which helps people bookmark and share web pages) along with Google. A full, Google-style list is kept here. Thus, if a customer or prospect wants to know what the blogosphere is saying about CrossLoop, they can go to CrossLoop's own blog and find out easily.

Then on the right side, the firm keeps a "WW User Coverage" link and a very cool "WW User Stories Mapped." Click the first link and you can see which countries use CrossLoop the most, and what countries those users are connecting to. Interested in reading testimonials? Click the second link and you get a map with virtual pins showing where the testimonials came from. And note, the testimonials are simply from the blog posts - as opposed to formal success stories. Whenever CrossLoops' VP of Sales and Business Development, Mrinal Desai, sees what amounts to a testimonial in one of the customer blogs, he contacts the blogger or customer and finds out where they are located. Then he uses Google's My Maps to enter their location.

The result: rather than a corporate looking list of one-way testimonials, CrossLoop presents a very lively interchange of dialogue with customers, organized in part by a visual map showing the increasingly global reach of CrossLoop's business.


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