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Zendesk Crystallizes Mobile Customer Service
December 16, 2014
Zendesk has launched a new platform, Zendesk Embeddables, that allows companies to incorporate certain elements of the Zendesk product suite in mobile and Web apps, as well as games and other online mobile experiences. Zendesk Embeddables includes a mobile software development kit and Web Widget. Using these, a company can offer Zendesk's self-service functionality through a mobile app.
Sales and Marketing Aren't Aligned - but Their Problems Are
December 08, 2014
The numbers prove it: Sales and marketing just aren't playing well together in most organizations. A not-so-small industry has sprung up to attack the issue of sales/marketing alignment, but the problem is so deeply entrenched that it may never be fully eradicated. That's a little weird when you think about it. The two sides are confronting problems that parallel each other.
Things Not to Say to an Irate Customer, or Anthem's Epic Fail
December 04, 2014
I have sympathy for customer service representatives. I know that customers can be ignorant, demanding and ill-mannered. Still, CSRs should be trained to deal with bad-tempered customers. Also, CSRs should be trained to avoid provoking pleasant and agreeable customers to the edge of meltdown -- or beyond. If your ears are burning, Elizabeth at Anthem Blue Cross, yes, I'm talking about you.
Customers Speak
December 03, 2014
Several news stories have provided interesting insights into the Black Friday phenomenon and into customer behavior. One indicates sales slipped by 0.5 percent from the same period last year, despite sharp discounting and stores opening on Thanksgiving. Another story shows how the Black Friday phenomenon is catching on in the UK. It looks like the mania is spreading even as it cools in the U.S.
Cyber Monday Reveals New Customer Spending Patterns
December 02, 2014
Despite a ho-hum level of sales volume over the past four days, online sales this Cyber Monday were up 8.7 percent over the same period in 2013 by late afternoon, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Continuing a trend that has been growing for the last few years, mobile sales accounted for 21.3 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday, an increase of 29.3 percent year over year.
AgilOne Bends Over Backwards to Understand Customers
December 01, 2014
AgilOne has rolled out an enhanced version of its predictive marketing platform with new tools, as well as improvements to fine-tune its forecasting capabilities, said CMO Dominique Levin. The focus of the upgrade was to automate even more of the analytics and subsequent decision-making by users. One of the new tools uses predictive analytics to uncover underserved customer segments.
Salesforce Adds App Hub to Centralize Customer Service on Desk.com
November 25, 2014
Salesforce.com on Monday launched App Hub, an upgrade to its Desk.com customer service platform. App Hub features more than 50 apps for a wide range of functions including e-commerce, email marketing, telephony and text messaging. Partner apps available with Desk.com include Harvest, JIRA, MailChimp, Olark, Shopify, Twilio, Five9, NewVoiceMedia, OneReach, RingCentral and TalkDesk.
Another Bleak Black Friday for Apple Fans
November 21, 2014
Apple is a company that bucks trends, that does things its own way, that manages its business through highly tuned cycles. One thing Apple barely does at all, though, is offer any sort of special deal or sale price. Not even on Black Friday. Or Cyber Monday. Or just because. Heck, when Apple celebrated 25 billion App Store downloads, it gave one person a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.
SMS: It's Not Just for Marketing Any More
November 20, 2014
There appears to be a new trend emerging in the enterprise mobile engagement space, according to OpenMarket. Increasingly, its enterprise customers are adapting its platform to use SMS in new ways, said Tim Fujita Yuhas, the company's director of product management. Sometimes those uses are obvious CRM plays; sometimes they fall more under the rubric of Internet of Things.
Platform Native
November 19, 2014
The idea of an omnipotent software platform and the evolution of customer science go hand in hand. Customer science is the upshot of my idea that we're in the process of converting from random acts of CRM in the front office to a more structured, efficient and predictable approach to conducting front-office business. Platforms make customer science possible.
Picture This: Instagram for CRM
November 18, 2014
With millions of active monthly users, Instagram is a prolific, lively social media community. Businesses want to get in on the Instagram game in order to boost marketing and enhance customer relations. It might not be immediately obvious to some businesses, however, just how they can get involved with Instagram and make it work for them. One way is to invite customers behind the scenes.
Kana Burnishes Omnichannel Customer Engagement Tools
November 11, 2014
Kana has announced the first major upgrade of its flagship enterprise product following its acquisition earlier this year by Verint. Kana Enterprise Customer Engagement Optimization platform has been available since Oct. 31. At its core, the platform is the same, said Director of Product Marketing Kana Kelly Koelliker. It provides tools to facilitate customer engagement across multiple channels.
Bringing Luxury Online
November 11, 2014
More shoppers are turning to websites as a way to connect with brands and make purchases, and companies are investing heavily in their online presence to ensure that they are delivering a top-notch experience. While the majority of retailers recognize the power of e-commerce, there remains a specific subset of sellers that are hesitant to hop on the online bandwagon: luxury brands.
5 Promises CRM Can't Keep
November 10, 2014
Don't get me wrong -- I think very highly of CRM. I've been making a living writing about it for almost a decade, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Still, covering CRM is a little bit like writing an honest biography of a complex person. Yes, there were moments when your subject achieved great things and was covered in glory, but there were also times when he didn't behave so well.
Webrooming Takes the Sting Out of Showrooming
November 07, 2014
Showrooming, the bane of retailers, is the consumer practice of visiting a brick-and-mortar store to test out merchandise and then buying the same model online at a cheaper price. Now there's "webrooming" -- a new buzzword for a trend that's been gaining momentum. Webrooming is the consumer practice of using the Internet to research a purchase and then going to a physical store to buy it.
Amazon Adds Unlimited Photo Storage to Prime Goodie Bag
November 05, 2014
Amazon on Tuesday announced the addition of free unlimited cloud photo storage for members of its Prime premium shopping service. The new storage feature, Prime Photos, works with Amazon Cloud Drive, the company's free storage offering comparable to iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. Prime Photos initially will be available for U.S. members only.
Starwood's Keyless Entry Streamlines Hotel Check-In
November 04, 2014
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide -- which owns and manages a number of high-end hotel brands including the St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element -- has announced the rollout of SPG Keyless, a tech offering that allows guests to use their smartphone as a room key. Hilton introduced similar technology earlier this year.
Pegasystems Glides Through Social, Mobile Channels
November 03, 2014
Pegasystems has unveiled a major upgrade to its customer service application, offering new functionality both for consumers and customer service reps. Pegasystems seeded the mobile version of Pega Customer Service with new functionality as well, said Steve Kraus, senior director of product marketing for CRM Solutions at Pega. The end goal was to assist users offering omnichannel customer service.
A Customer Experience Secret Weapon
October 31, 2014
There aren't many areas in business where processes used to save money and maximize deal sizes also result in a better customer experience. The exact opposite is usually the case -- the drive to save money by making an internal process more productive or to increase the amount being sold to the customer usually impacts the customer experience for the worse. A notable exception is CPQ software.
Apple Pay May Leave CurrentC in the Dust
October 30, 2014
Apple's debut of Apple Pay has been more than a little bumpy, and the company may be in for some additional negative press about its competitive position before the dust settles. However, there is one major factor in Apple's favor that could help it win the mobile payments tug-of-war in the end: time. It's chief competition, CurrentC, won't launch for another few months.
Apple Pay vs. CurrentC: Prelude to the Beacon Wars
October 30, 2014
The current dustup between Apple Pay and CurrentC is a stark, bleak mess. That's not because Apple promises an easier, more secure way of making a smartphone-based retail transaction. Nor is it because CurrentC wants to harvest data on you and provide behavior-bending coupons, incentives and special deals, while cutting out the middleman credit card processing industry. It gets worse.
Lowe's Gives Robotic Customer Service a Good Name
October 28, 2014
Lowe's soon will add two robots to the customer-service staff at one of its San Jose, California, stores. Called "OSHbot," the robots will assist customers at the Lowe's-owned Orchard Supply Hardware store by directing them to specific products and providing real-time information about promotions and inventory. The OSHbot was developed through a partnership with Fellow Robots.
The Customer Science Revolution
October 23, 2014
Bluewolf, the consultancy that was founded to assist customers implementing and deploying Salesforce.com, has released its annual State of Salesforce report. There is very little that's controversial. Salesforce is a juggernaut at this point, growing at an exceptional and exponential pace. My only quibble with the account is that it does not look very far beneath the surface of the statistics.
Some Apple Pay Users Get Double-Billing and Double-Talk
October 22, 2014
Shortly after Apple Pay's Monday launch, some eager early users were unsettled to see duplicate charges on their accounts. Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus users store credit card information on their devices and then pay for products using tap-to-pay terminals in stores, or via apps when shopping online. However, in some cases, it appears to be dinging consumers' accounts twice.

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