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Rethinking the Customer Journey Map
June 22, 2016
If you talk to marketers for any amount of time about what they do, you are bound to hear the term "customer journey" at some point. The go-to exercise for marketers looking to up their lead generation games today is "journey mapping," the exercise by which you try to understand how a potential buyer navigates through content and other offers on the way to a closed deal.
Oracle VP Des Cahill: Get in Tune With Your Customer
June 20, 2016
Oracle Vice President Des Cahill is the company's head CX evangelist. An expert in B2B software and marketing, Cahill has spent most of his career in Silicon Valley, helping companies develop, refine and tell their stories. One of the main CRM challenges businesses face today is adjusting to the era of the empowered consumer, suggested Cahill.
SugarCRM CTO Clint Oram: Make Every Customer Experience Extraordinary
June 8, 2016
SugarCRM cofounder Clint Oram is one of the original architects and developers of the Sugar application. As the company's CTO, he currently leads SugarCRM's corporate development strategy and alliances teams. The biggest CRM challenge right now is that "technology is changing the way customers work with companies," Oram said. "Technology has driven speed and relevancy expectations through the roof."
Creating the Right Business Culture for Success
June 6, 2016
In an era when technology is changing the ways people conduct every aspect of their lives, it's not a surprise that business leaders have come to depend on it as the lever that will elevate their sales and marketing performance to the next level. Productivity has increased because of technology, and the implementation of technological tools has had a direct effect on sales effectiveness.
Loyalty Failures
June 3, 2016
Software vendors and their business customers have tried many things to increase customer loyalty, but they have been disappointed more often than not. Rewards, delight, and daily deals were good ideas to help spur customer loyalty. Unfortunately, they weren't enough to move the loyalty needle in today's highly competitive markets. That's because rewards programs often reward the wrong thing.
Pay TV Firms Eke Out Tiny Gains in Customer Satisfaction
June 1, 2016
After two years of declining customer satisfaction, the telecommunications sector has halted the slide, according to the ACSI Telecommunications Report 2016, released Wednesday. There was a 1.9 percent gain -- to 70.1 on a 100-point scale -- in satisfaction with pay TV services, Internet service providers, fixed-line telephone services, wireless phone services and mobile phone makers.
New SF Store Showcases Apple's Trademark Creativity
May 24, 2016
Apple last week opened a San Francisco flagship store in the city's tony Union Square shopping district. The store has a 42-foot-tall sliding glass door and a 50-foot tall green wall and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy. "We have a deep commitment to the cities we work in and are aware of the importance that architecture plays in the community," Apple's Jonathan Ive said.
Selling Imagination in the IoT Era
May 19, 2016
If you love studying technology trends and imagining what they will do for your business, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that you have a vision of how things will be, while many of those you need to partner with to achieve that vision still are trying to master the reality of today. Congratulations -- you have a combination of curiosity, prescience and nerdiness that will serve you well.
Marketing and Loyalty
May 17, 2016
The CRM industry is shining a bright light on digital marketing, and it is a sign of how early we are in the digital marketing boom that few vendors are championing the idea of using marketing in any way other than for driving sales. Based on recent events by Oracle and Salesforce, it appears that the focus on driving more sales makes perfect sense for organizations just getting their feet wet.
The Why of Customers
May 13, 2016
SAS Institute introduced SAS Customer Intelligence 360 at its recent Global Forum meeting. Intelligence 360 has some good ideas baked in, though some of the messaging I heard wasn't up to the level of the product or at least its intention. I suspect that will come, and it's an easy fix. The product set is divided into two major components, Discover and Engage.
Warehouse Clubs Ignore Customer Relationships at Their Peril
May 13, 2016
Like many, I have a love-hate relationship with warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's. I've criticized them several times over the years, but it's worth noting that some of these clubs have been improving. Others not so much. I have some ideas about what these companies are doing right and wrong, and how they can fix things to improve customer relationships, sales and profits.
GetHuman Hacks Through Customer Service Maze for a Fee
May 9, 2016
GetHuman last week launched a service designed to help consumers with the tangle of customer service. For between $5 and $25, one of the eight-person company's five dedicated problem solvers, aided by bots, will call a customer service line on a client's behalf to sort things out. GetHuman also offers a company phone directory service.
Oracle Plunks Down $532M for Customer Engagement Firm Opower
May 3, 2016
Oracle on Monday announced that it has agreed to acquire Opower for $532 million in cash. More than 100 global utilities, including PG&E, Exelon and National Grid, use Opower's customer engagement and energy efficiency cloud services, Oracle said. Opower's big data platform stores and analyzes more than 600 billion meter reads from 60 million end customers of utilities.
The Customer Experience Tipping Point
May 2, 2016
Sometimes, it takes something drastic to change a business' behavior. Standard procedures can remain in place long after they've become detrimental, but sometimes it takes a tipping point to drive home the fact that failing to change is the surest way to fail. For example, the Ford Pinto's easily ruptured fuel tank could have been remedied with changes that ranged in price from $11 to $1.
The Successful B2B Relationship: It's About Time
April 25, 2016
Respect is a vital ingredient in any mutually beneficial relationship, and that's never truer than in the case of business-to-business buyers and sellers. The most elementary way a seller shows a commitment to a healthy customer relationship is through an ongoing display of respect. That means a relationship in which the seller shows an understanding of the buyer's needs.
Fusion Launches Enterprise Cloud Contact Center Solution
April 21, 2016
Fusion this week launched Contact360, an enterprise cloud contact center solution developed in collaboration with Technology for Business, the partner it acquired earlier this month. "Fusion will be offering a clear migration path to the cloud for TFB's Fortune 500 enterprise and government customers, and will sell into our own base of 13,000 business customers," said EVP Jan Sarro.
Chatbots Drive Shopify's Kit CRM Deal
April 15, 2016
Shopify on Wednesday announced that it has agreed to purchase Kit CRM, whose Kit chatbot automatically sends out marketing text messages for online stores. It also lets businesses run targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, make recommendations based on store activities, post on social media and use functionality provided by other social media apps, Shopify CMO Craig Miller said.
Fake Loyalty
April 13, 2016
There's an interesting connection between customer relationships in subscription businesses and loyalty, Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo wrote recently. His article had particular resonance for me, since I just wrote a book about customer loyalty myself. My research is full of old-style approaches to customer loyalty that aren't really about loyalty so much as they are about, shall we say, customer coercion.
Marketers Poised to Run the Customer Experience Show, Survey Says
April 12, 2016
Marketing will shape the customer experience by 2020, based on a recent Marketo study of nearly 500 chief marketing officers and senior marketing executives worldwide. The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted the research on behalf of Marketo. Eighty-percent of the respondents believed their departments would exercise significant influence over business strategy by 2020.
Please Hold the Music
April 6, 2016
Remember when your mother used to yell up the stairs to get you to turn your music down? Sometimes, in the age before sensitivity awareness, your dad would do the yelling and he'd substitute noise for music. Ah, the good old days. Too bad they aren't here right now yelling at vendors. ConsumerAffairs.com is the brainchild of James R. Hood, a former Washington, D.C., journalist.
The Sales Process Starts With Retention
April 5, 2016
Despite the numbers that show how lucrative retention is in an increasingly subscription-driven economy, the emphasis has been on new customer acquisition. That is still true, according to a recent study. Forty-two percent of the firms surveyed said they were increasing their budgets for customer acquisition, while only 33 percent said the budget for retention would increase.
Study: Enterprises Shift Analytics Focus to Back Office
March 30, 2016
Companies have shifted their analytics efforts from consumer-focused processes to operations, according to the results of a survey released last week by Capgemini. Seventy percent of 600 executives said they focused more on operational analysis, and more than 80 percent said analytics in operations plays a pivotal role in driving profits or creating competitive advantage, according to the survey.
IDC Offers Insurance Companies New CRM Vision
March 16, 2016
IDC Health Insights on Monday outlined best practices for customer engagement strategies to help health insurance companies adopt a semiretail approach to interacting with members or patients. Health insurers need an integrated customer engagement strategy enabling automated interactions, shared communications, and appropriate transaction and information transparency, IDC said.
LiveOps Launches Contact Center as a Service Platform
March 10, 2016
LiveOps Cloud on Tuesday unveiled its enterprise-level CxEngage Contact Center as a Service, or CCaaS, platform. The omnichannel open framework, which was built from the ground up, integrates with standard APIs. It essentially links applications such as CRM, workforce management and business intelligence to help agents make better customer service decisions, according to the company.
Through the CRM Lens
March 9, 2016
This is delicate and I will be scrupulously neutral in these paragraphs so as to offend no one, but I thought it would be fun to attempt an interpretation of the current political climate from the perspective and sensibilities of CRM. It will be different from any other analysis you might have come across because I do not wish to discuss candidates. I am all about the customer.
Generation Customer: Defined by Attitude, Not Age
March 7, 2016
I hate the idea of chopping our population into generations: the Greatest Generation, the baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, millennials and so on. The assumption is that everyone born during an arbitrarily selected time period shares certain traits. It also results in people projecting ideas -- often romantic ones -- onto huge groups of people.
Apple Geniuses Flock to Twitter
March 4, 2016
Apple on Thursday launched a Twitter channel to field support questions from users of its products, as well as to offer them tricks and tips. By Friday, the @AppleSupport account had 134,000 followers and had sent more than 3,000 tweets. Some of the tweets came from customers whose tech issues had been resolved. "I'm 99% sure my #iphone6s was just fixed from the cloud," Kate Cleveland wrote.
The Salesforce Health Cloud
March 2, 2016
Salesforce is opening a can of snakes with its new Health Cloud, which became generally available this week. Having worked in the healthcare software industry for many years in the last century, I have mixed feelings about the announcement. While I'm relieved that an innovative company is taking on healthcare software at last, part of me thinks it could be a long and expensive slog.
Twitter Puts Some Eggs in Customer Service Basket
February 22, 2016
Twitter last week announced two tools designed to help businesses improve their customer service capabilities. One product would allow users to move from sending companies tweets to using Direct Messages, according to product manager Ian Cairns. Companies will be able to embed on their sites a Direct Messages link that would allow customers to send information directly.
Pegasystems Takes Customer Service Far Afield
February 12, 2016
Pegasystems has launched Pega Field Service, an application designed expressly to streamline and automate critical components of field service operations. The software's key components are a customer service dashboard and a mobile application that enables organizations to centralize distributed field service work. Pega Field Service keeps track of all aspects of the field service process.
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