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Adding Channels Won't Fix Broken Customer Service
March 07, 2014
Technology allows businesses to take care of customers in new and different ways. Think of the multiple options we have for customer service with many businesses today: phone, chat, text, email and sometimes social media channels. They all have their own nuances, and they all place specific demands on your staff. The problem is that a new channel won't fix what's causing other channels to fail.
The Order to Cash Subscription Process
March 05, 2014
Subscription companies face many of the same challenges that more conventional companies face, but the nature of these businesses puts an entirely different spin on the challenges. All companies have to acquire new customers, make products and price them attractively without leaving money on the table. Once a product is purchased, a company needs to get the cash in house as quickly as possible.
Microsoft Beats the Customer-Centricity Drum at Convergence
March 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday kicked off its Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 conference with a keynote address by Executive Vice President Kirill Tatarinov, whose running theme was the need for the companies to be customer-centric to stay competitive. "Technology has changed the social fabric, transforming how we engage, connect and interact with one another," Tatarinov said.
4 Ways to Waste Great Marketing Opportunities
February 28, 2014
CRM has always purported to be about relationships, but it's often used primarily for sales. That's kind of a good news, bad news situation. The bad news first: CRM got a bad rap when it didn't become a sales panacea (mostly for adoption issues). The good news: It exposed a void in the mix that marketing automation rushed to fill. The key to successful relationships is communication.
Big Data and the Process Revolution
February 26, 2014
A wave of change is now making its way through the front office with uneven results. CRM is moving from a data capture and retrieval solution to something that supports end-to-end processes -- and as with ERP, data analysis is helping to improve what once were purely manual processes. The trick is in producing knowledge from data. Alone, data is useless.
Target Reels From Customer Data Breach
February 26, 2014
Target reported financial results for the quarter during which it suffered a high-profile data breach, revealing how badly the company was stung by the security lapses. In the three months ending Feb. 1, net earnings dropped by 46 percent compared with the year-ago fourth quarter, from $961 million to $520 million. Profit dropped by more than 40 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The Travel Battle Rages On: May the Most Relevant Brand Win
February 25, 2014
The travel industry will increase 41 percent by 2016, making it worth $143 billion. With that much revenue on the line, booking sites are taking significant steps to ensure that they get their piece of the traveler pie. Brands no longer can offer experiences that are irrelevant to the end-user. Travel has become a user-centric industry, and the brand that serves up the most relevant content wins.
Clarus Offers Etailers a Prime-ish Loyalty Platform
February 24, 2014
If you were to administer truth serum and ask a retailer how it really felt about Amazon Prime, chances are the response would be that it's pure genius -- or pure evil genius, perhaps. Why? Because Amazon Prime encourages shoppers to come back and back again to browse and buy, and it's all based on an incentive that online consumers hold very dear: free shipping.
The Customer Experience Jury Is In
February 21, 2014
There are lots of purchases we make because we're forced to make them -- something we need breaks, or an outside entity requires us to buy something. We're not buying because we want to, or even because the purchase will make our business run better -- we have to buy. A lot of providers of these absolute must-have products and services don't emphasize the experience aspect of what they do.
Amazon and Apple's 'Tough Slog' on Madison Avenue
February 21, 2014
Amazon and Apple just can't seem to catch a break with the advertising elite on Madison Avenue. In fact, advertising sales are a "tough slog" for both companies, mourns a feature published this week. The problem? Apple and Amazon won't reveal enough information about their customers. This is the best news I've heard all year. In fact, it just reinforces my loyalty to both companies.
Transition State
February 20, 2014
The CRM market appears to be experiencing a transition state -- something betwixt and between, a time of high energy and great possibility, above all a time of change. A ball bouncing around a spinning roulette wheel is in a transition state; chemical reactions go through transition states as reactants become products. The key concept is indeterminacy.
Comcast-TWC Customers: Be Afraid, Very Afraid
February 19, 2014
While federal regulators mull the possible antitrust ramifications of the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the companies' customers also are considering the fallout from this deal. Both companies have a reputation for poor customer service, and the fear is that a combination of the conglomerates may result in the achievement of a new low.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
Customers' Comings and Goings Not Always Linked to Satisfaction
February 14, 2014
Which comes first -- a sector in which consumers have a lot of choices and can easily switch providers, or companies that are rigorous in their customer service policies and attitudes? A recent survey on customer service attitudes raises that question but doesn't exactly answer it. However, it does suggest there is a strong link between customer choice and customer service policies.
Completeness Is the New Black
February 12, 2014
Are we collecting enough data? It seems like a weird question given the glut of it at most companies, and perhaps it is. Perhaps a better question is, are we collecting the right data? We could get into a long philosophical discussion of just what the right data is, but that would only happen if we made the mistake of thinking all data was the same.
Looking for Customer Love in All the Right Places
February 07, 2014
If you're a vendor, the idea of providing visibility is a winning notion. It's what's driven social CRM-related software tools and analytics to their current prominence within the market, and it's why the "Internet of Things" is so alluring. The problem that these technologies purportedly solve is a lack of visibility -- that is, the inability to understand what's going on with customers.
Google Glass Could Bring CRM Into Focus
February 06, 2014
Google last week debuted several trendy eyeglass frames for Glass, shedding its dorky look while accommodating prescription lenses. The more natural look means consumers likely will be more accepting of Glass once it becomes generally available -- assuming the price is right. The new Glass frames and support for corrective lenses are also a boon for CRM.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 04, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
An SMB's Guide to PCI 3.0 Penetration Testing
February 04, 2014
By now, if you're an IT professional and you're in an organization that has PCI-DSS in your scope -- that is, you store, process or transmit credit card data -- you probably already know that an update to the standard, Version 3.0, was released late last year. With this update come a few changes to the technical measures that organizations handling credit card information must implement.
Give Customers a Buying Experience They Can't Resist
January 31, 2014
When people talk about the customer experience, the thinking gets lofty quickly. The word "delight" is dropped a lot, people cite things like the American Girl Store or Nordstrom -- and soon over-the-top seems like what the norm should be. The experiences provided by the very best at creating experiences are great because they fit their product, their customers, and the objectives of both groups.

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