Is Email Dead Or Very Much Alive in Our Work and Play?

Some people say email is dead. Other’s know it’s not because they spend over half their day checking and responding to email. To find out how prevalent email is in our work and play life, Adobe did a study to explore how present email is in our “always on” world and to understand the opportunity their is to take this proven channel to the next level with digital marketing. To read more about the study, click hereScreen Shot 2015-09-01 at 3.29.40 PM.Who Did Adobe Survey? Adobe surveyed of 400 U.S. white-collar workers and asked about their use of personal and work email. They complemented this by surveying marketers and using Adobe Digital Index (ADI) resources to answer questions about email marketing and its impact in the cross-channel environment. Adobe surveyed marketers to answer the question about email marketing and its impact in the cross-channel environment, the following reveals some of those preliminary findings.

What Did the Study Reveal?

  • 9 out of 10 consumers constantly check their personal email from work and their work email at home; on average they spend nearly six and a half hours each weekday on email.
  • Respondents reported commonly checking their email while engaging in other tasks such as watching TV/movies (70%), while in bed (52%), vacationing (50%), talking on the phone (43%), using the bathroom (42%), while driving (18%).
  • 58% of respondents say that email is their preferred way to be contacted by a brand, however, consumers want fewer emails (39%) and fewer repetitive emails from brands to make email offers less annoying/intrusive (32%).  This suggests the customer experiences – especially on mobile – ought to be top-of-mind for marketers.
  • More than one-third of respondents (34%) said they have created new email addresses to get away from spam messages, so relevance and personalization are increasingly important.
  • Almost half of the respondents said they think their use of email in both work and personal communications will increase over the next two years.
  • Surprisingly, Millennial consumers are even more email-dependent than the average adult. This is likely due to their mobile use; 88% of Millennials check email on smartphones, compared to 76% who use desktop or laptop computers.

MY POV: eMail is not dead. These results suggest that there is an opportunity for email as a key channel in a cross channel strategy – with relevance and personalization as guiding principles for effective email marketers.  Email marketing is at its maximum effectiveness when it’s fully integrated across all phases of the campaign strategy.

It may seem as though marketers generally play down the significance of email early in the campaigns, but the data needed to mount an effective email campaign is being collected during research and consideration phases of customer engagement. Then, as marketers follow the customer through acquisition, conversion and retention, email can kick into action to exercise its impact and power. While it can be very confusing to keep up with all the various channels, email still seems to be a very relevant one, when used wisely.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research


IOT: Salesforce Introduces New Service Cloud Lightning Console and Wave Analytics App

By 2020 it is estimated that there will be over 50 billion connected devices. And that means that consumers will be more connected than ever before, across mobile phones, wearables and other devices and the field of IOT will continue to expand. So if consumers are more connected, what does this mean for companies? If customers expect to be able to interact, engage, purchase and get service through any channel, companies need to step up to this challenge.

What Companies Need To Consider With the Expansion of IOT:  While we have been talking about a seamless customer experience for years, companies that want to keep their business and gain market share will have to really examine their ability to deliver a seamless experience to these ultra-connected consumers during each and every interaction, across every channel. That’s the case for customers interacting with the company. But what about when customer wants to get help from an customer service agent?

customer service wave analytics salesforceIOT and Customer Service Agents: For customer service agents to be able to support all the new channels as well as make sense of all the data being generated from all these channels, they need new, smarter solutions that allow them to better respond to customers. Customer Service agents need to know the history of the customer’s visits to various channels, purchases, customer service requests, etc.. However, often time agents don’t have access to any of that historical data or consumer behavior data to predict the next best actions.

Why Are Companies Struggling with The Seamless Customer Experience? Companies struggle to deliver on these expectations because their company and contact centers are filled with technology from 20 years ago. These legacy technologies are not connected to the products they sell or the channels their customers are now interacting win.

Bottom-line, many companies are well not equipped with the tools they need to deliver answers quickly. So when companies come to me and ask, “How do I succeed in this world where the seamless customer experience can no longer be ignored?” My simple answer (which is really a complex answer when you look under the hood) is that companies need to transform their customer service strategy, and enable agents to deliver smart and fast customer service across every channel. And we all know it is easier said than done. The great thing is the technology can deliver on these promises, but it takes people to lead and integrate the strategy and technology into their organization.

Agent Productivity Gains: New Service Cloud Lightning Console Sets a New Standard for Agent Productivity  As part of helping to solve the issues companies are facing, Salesforce’s Service Cloud is bringing to market the new Service Cloud Lightning Console. It has been reimagined with a modern, efficient and intelligent experience for agents. And the the Lightning Console is built on the Salesforce1 Platform. Lightning Console includes:

  • Optimized Lightning Console: The new Lightning Console gives agents a highly-productive experience that provides everything they need at their fingertips. Agents can dramatically speed up common actions like creating new contacts, registering products and processing returns—all without losing the context of the interaction or needing to switch screens.

  • Smart Productivity Tools: The new Lightning Console also enables agents to be more productive by allowing them to apply more intelligence to every case to resolve them quickly. Recommended Tools use algorithms to help agents by suggesting relevant knowledge articles, macros and recommended actions from similar cases, and are presented proactively right in the console.

  • Intelligent Routing and Presence: The Lightning Console includes omni-channel routing and presence so the right work is dynamically routed to the right agent at the right time, resolving customer issues faster. Managers have transparency into what work has been assigned to which agents, each agent’s capacity and can push specific work to the most appropriate agents.

  • Service Lightning Components and the Lightning Design System: With Salesforce Lightning, service teams have a platform for innovation that enables agents to connect with customers in entirely new ways. Salesforce Lightning combines Lightning Experience, Design System, Components and App Builder, extending the Salesforce1 Platform to empower anyone to easily create modern, service-specific apps. And companies can use Salesforce Lightning and Components from the AppExchange to extend Service Cloud with any app.

If you remember, (I know it’s difficult to keep up with all the new software!) last year, Salesforce launched Analytics Cloud, powered by the Wave Platform, to reimagine the entire analytics process end-to-end, and empower business users to explore any data and uncover new insights on any device. And earlier this year, Salesforce expanded its Analytics Cloud portfolio with Wave Analytics Apps. So what’s new?

Today, Salesforce is announcing its latest Wave Analytics App—Service Wave AnalyticsIt is the first analytics app built for Service Cloud. It arms service teams with deeper, more actionable insights that help service agents and leaders instantly optimize channels, improve agent efficiency and spot or address emerging trends. Service Wave Analytics will deliver:

  • Analytics for Service Leaders: Key performance indicators—including average handling time, customer satisfaction and first call resolution—can be instantly explored through pre-configured templates developed to give service leaders with the metrics they need to take the pulse of their team’s performance. The insights can lead to a decisions so service leaders will be able to act instantly. Service Wave seamlessly connects to Service Cloud workflows and records, so managers can instantly assign a task, escalate a case, update a ticket or share best practices—right within the Service Wave App. For example, a service team leader can conduct a real-time review of each agent’s performance metrics across channels or against service cases across products to instantly improve case management, agent efficiency and channel optimization—from anywhere, on any device.

  • Analytics for Service Agents: Analytics dashboards from Service Wave can be embedded directly into the Lightning Console, giving every service agent an instant 360 degree view of the customer right where they work, taking agent productivity to new heights. For example, an agent who is talking to a customer and reviewing their service case in the Lightning Console will have both traditional customer and case history data alongside Wave insights on similar cases right at their fingertips, enabling them to deliver smarter service faster than ever. In addition, each agent can have a personal scorecard to track their performance in comparison to their peers, as well as identify top performing colleagues who can share best practices.

  • Native to Service Cloud: Service Wave’s native integration with Salesforce enables every service professional to be up and running in minutes to instantly explore Service Cloud data. In addition, operational data from other customer service systems​ such as call logs, chat history, CTI data and web clicks can be surfaced. Now, teams can create custom dashboards and lenses to explore this data alongside traditional performance metrics to quickly diagnose problems, alleviate bottlenecks or proactively re-allocate service resources. For example, a service leader no longer has to wait for an analyst to deliver insights on operational data, or spend time cross-referencing static spreadsheets to determine the correlation between an outdated knowledge article and lengthy case resolution times for a specific product.

To learn more about this announcement, you can find more information here:

Your Next Steps: Every individual has to take a hard look at whether they and their organization is prepared for a seamless, customer experience, especially in Customer Service. It’s even more important now than ever, because, Customer Service IS THE NEW MARKETING.

Brands can’t sell to customers that are mad. Customer Service issues have to be dealt with and studies show that a customer with a problem that got solved is more loyal than a customer who never had an issue with a company.

Why is this the case? Because the customer knows the brand has their back. And that’s pretty much all customers want. They don’t want brands to be perfect, they want them to be human, responsive, relevant, helpful, concerned and fix their issues. That’s what creates loyalty.

You have to ask yourself, if your company’s Customer Service capabilities are up to speed or will your brand be left behind? And if it’s not up to speed, what can you do to change that paradigm?

@Drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research


Stitch Labs: Democratizing Commerce and Empowering Retailers

Stitch Lab’s mission is to democratize commerce and empower retailers by Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.18.33 PMproviding resources to improve their businesses as well as their employee’s lives. Stitch is an online inventory control solution that simplifies multichannel retail business. It automatically syncs inventory, orders, and sales across channels, providing retailers with operational efficiencies and a holistic understanding of their businesses. This enables retailers to save time, make better decisions, and grow. They are a VC backed company, with VCs: True Ventures and Constanoa.

Stitch Labs creates a central command for a business and bring all a business’s solutions together in Stitch. A business can save time by automating inventory and order information across their sales channels, shipping solutions and accounting systems. A company can know what’s in stock in real-time, track inventory quantities across their channels and warehouses from one location. And business can use various views to quickly see what products are available, running low, or awaiting to be replenished.

Businesses can managing multiple sales channels without increasing their workload. And they can save time by automatically syncing inventory availability across their webstore, marketplace and POS channels in one inventory management system. Businesses can even create and publish new listings in a snap.

Stitch Labs has many integrations, including those with sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Big Commerce, Esty, Magento, StoreNVY, Vend, Square, Shopify, SparkPay, WooCommerce as well as shipping and accounting capabilities with Shipstation, ShippingEasy, Xero, Quickbooks, Stripe,, Google Analytics, PayPal, Stripe, etc..

Stitch Lab’s product includes inventory, multichannel, orders, operations, reporting and pricing.  If you are not sure this is the right solution for you, they offer a free trial, which is great — so you can try before you buy!

 They also have earned a number of awards, including:

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 11.54.15 AM

MY POV: Retail effectiveness and efficiency is key to making a business run well. And being able to know what inventory is where and having the ability to switch it to a channel that has orders versus keeping it a channel that is not performing as well, doesn’t make sense. What does make sense is to automate that process and that is what Stitch Labs does and more!

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research




Gainsight: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

Buyer’s Guide for Customer Success Management: Gainsight I’m in the process of writing profiles of vendors in the customer success management industry. These vendor profiles are a tool for buyers to evaluate their customer success management options before selecting a vendor. In addition to an overview of the vendor, these documents identify key differentiators, product offerings, and provide a number of features that should help a client create short list when determining which vendor to put on out an RFI or RFP.  So far, I have also covered ServiceSource® and Totango

This post is about Gainsight. If you’d like a peek at the table of contents for this report and an excerpt, along with the full report, you can find it here.

What Does Gainsight Do? Gainsight is one of the leading vendors of Customer Success Management (CSM) software. Founded in St. Louis, Missouri in 2009, Gainsight’s headquarters are now in Redwood City, California. Nick Mehta is the chief executive officer (CEO). As a customer success technology company, Gainsight helps companies manage their customer relationships while driving retention, upsell opportunities and organizational efficiency. The company has nearly $6 million in annual revenue and has raised $54 million in venture funding.

How Does Gainsight Help Companies? Gainsight helps businesses grow faster by reducing customer churn, increasing upsell opportunities, and driving customer advocacy. Gainsight’s cloud-based product helps its clients track customers effectively throughout the customer lifecycle, monitors customer health consistently and makes companies truly customer-centric. Gainsight does this by providing a 360-degree view of customers to people in customer success, sales, marketing, product management and executive offices.

Today, cloud businesses have unprecedented visibility and data on customers that can be harnessed with a customer success management platform. This opens up new opportunities and smarter ways to connect and engage with customers to maximize revenue and to determine what customers need and want so they remain loyal and provide high customer lifetime values.

Why has Customer Success Management Become So Important?

Before the opt-in economy, many businesses were focused on the initial sale. A great deal of money was spent advertising and marketing to potential prospects, enticing them to convert from a lead to a sale. However, little attention was paid to the after-sale experience and financial longevity of the client, even though poor customer experiences and churn still exist today after decades of research showing that after-sales service directly affects the financial stability of a company. In fact, it never made sense for companies to spend millions, or in some cases, billions of dollars in advertising, marketing and sales to then drive the customer to a competitor when the after-sales service experience is horrible. Yet poor after-sales service occurs every single day in many, many companies.

How Does Customer Success Management Affect the Customer Experience? Customer Success Management (CSM) is based on the ability to deliver a consistent customer experience process – before, during, and in particular, after the sale – which results in maximized customer lifetime value and enhanced revenue that leads to increased margins and profits.

A shift to CSM happened because we live in a continuous, opt-in economy, where the value of customers is determined by how long they stay customers and if they continue to increase their purchase amounts over time. Because of our opt-in economy, companies must prepare themselves to deliver great, continuous and consistent customer experiences. Here’s five things to consider when looking at master Customer Success Management:

5 Areas for Customer Success Management

This seismic shift to a post-sale, on demand, attention economy transforms the value exchange among customers, partners, suppliers, and brands. And as organizations move to digital business models, CSM plays a critical role in enabling brands and organizations to keep and deliver their brand promise as well as enhance their bottom line.

My POV: How To Know When Vendor To Choose for Customer Success Management? When choosing the best option for CSM software for your organization, the choice will depend on the business goals of CSM initiatives, the degree to which CSM has been integrated into your culture and how well employees have adopted this mindset. It may be that some organizations will be further along the adoption cycle, while others will need internal champions to encourage and enforce the use of customer success software, processes and best practices.

Are you considering customer success management? It’s time to make sure the customer is happy with the product they buy, after the sales process.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research


Totango: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy (Part 1)

Buyer’s Guide for Customer Success Management: Totango I’m in the process of writing profiles of vendors in the customer success management industry. These vendor profiles are a tool for buyers to evaluate their customer success management options before selecting a vendor. In addition to an overview of the vendor, these documents identify key differentiators, product offerings, and provide a number of features that should help a client create short list when determining which vendor to put on out an RFI or RFP.  The first vendor I profiled is ServiceSource®.

totango logoThis post is about Totango. If you’d like a peek at the table of contents for this report and an excerpt, along with the full report, you can find it here.

Executive Overview: Totango Customer Success Management
Totango, a vendor of cloud software for Customer Success Management (CSM), was founded in Israel and later moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley. Today, it maintains two offices, one in San Mateo, California and one in Tel Aviv, Israel. Guy Nirpaz leads the company as CEO and co-founder. Prior to starting Totango, he worked in the area of real-time Big Data as executive vice president of engineering at GigaSpaces Technologies, a middleware provider. He also worked as chief architect at Mercury Interactive, part of the Hewlett Packard software division.

What Does Totango Do? With subscription and recurring revenue models on the rise in software, Totango helps clients improve product adoption and advocacy, reduce customer churn, and maximize customer lifetime revenue. Today’s cloud businesses have unprecedented data and visibility into user behavior and the business results achieved by their customers. Totango monitors this data to eliminate the guesswork when it comes to understanding customer health and engagement.

What Are the Benefits of Using Totango? Using Totango, companies can pinpoint at-risk accounts that need attention; spot opportunities to increase user engagement and boost revenue; and then formalize and implement customer success best practices to scale up customer success operations across a growing customer base.

What Companies Currently Use Totango? Totango is used by some of the fastest-growing technology companies, including public companies like Zendesk and Autodesk; mid-stage companies like BigCommerce and Jobvite; and innovative startups like Optimizely and Mixpanel.

Category Overview of Customer Success Management

Before the opt-in economy, many businesses focused on the initial sale. Organizations spent a significant amount of money on advertising and marketing to potential prospects. The goal – enticing them to convert from a lead to a sale. Despite decades of research showing that after-sales service directly affects the financial stability of a company, organizations paid little attention to the after-sale experience and financial longevity of the client. Consequently, organizations never should have spent millions, or in some cases, billions of dollars in advertising, marketing and sales to then drive the customer to a competitor when the after-sales service experience was horrible. Yet, poor after-sales service occurs every single day in many, many companies.

What is Customer Success Management? Customer Success Management (CSM) is based on the ability to deliver a consistent customer experience process – before, during, and in particular, after the sale – which results in maximized customer lifetime value and enhanced revenue that leads to increased margins and profits. A shift to CSM happened because we live in a continuous, opt-in economy, where the value of customers is determined by how long they stay customers and if they continue to increase their purchase amounts over time. Because of our opt-in economy, companies must prepare themselves to deliver great, continuous and consistent customer experiences.

Why Has Customer Success Management Become Such a Big Deal? This seismic shift to a post-sale, on demand, attention economy transforms the value exchange among customers, partners, suppliers, and brands. And as organizations move to digital business models, CSM plays a critical role in enabling brands and organizations to keep and deliver their brand promise as well as enhance their bottom line.

My POV: How to Choose a Customer Success Management Vendor: When choosing the best option for CSM software for your organization, the choice will depend on the business goals of CSM initiatives, the degree to which CSM has been integrated into your culture and how well employees have adopted this mindset. It may be that some organizations will be further along the adoption cycle, while others will need internal champions to encourage and enforce the use of customer success software, processes and best practices. It’s never been more important make sure that customers are happy not only when they buy the software, but also after they have bought it. Otherwise, in this opt-in economy, clients may opt out of using a vendor, to look for a vendor that can deliver on their promise of great customer experience, increased revenue and decreased costs.

@DrNatalie, VP and Analyst Principal Analyst


Mintigo: Advanced Predictive Analytics for Marketers

Being able to make better use of your MarketinMintigog leads is the difference between closing deals and not. One of the most important aspects of  marketing is to be able to have better discernment around the leads. And one way to understand which leads are really important and which would lead to more realistic conversion requires more than traditional lead scoring. And that’s where Mintigo comes in.

Not Your Grandfather’s Predictive Analytics: Using the power of predictive analytics, Mintigo discovers your ideal customer profile, targets the prospects with the highest propensity to buy, and engages them with the right message through the right channels. Mintigo predictively scores and segments all potential prospects, even the ones a company hasn’t engaged yet. There’s no faster way to prioritize a company’s leads, tackle new markets, and cross-sell new products.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Lead Scoring and Mintigo? Mintigo provides predictive analytics for both Marketo and Eloqua. So that leads one to question, “What is different between traditional lead scoring and the lead scoring that Montigo provides?” The difference? Mintigo improves lead scoring and enriching lead records with insightful intelligence derived from the public web, social networks, and third-party databases.

Data includes thousands of attributes such as technologies in use, social influences, department sizes, and firmographic data. Most traditional lead scoring is just based on firmographic data. But with Mintigo, each lead is scored using predictive lead scoring to identify prospects with the highest propensity to buy. Companies need to know what is the profile of their ideal buyer? Who are the prospects most likely to buy? Which messages will get their attention?

Knowing More Accurately Who Will Buy: Mintigo Predictive Lead Scores and the attributes that make up your CustomerDNA flow seamlessly into your marketing automation and CRM software such as Eloqua, Marketo and As a result, a company’s sales team will always know which leads are most likely to buy and why.

Mintigo’s Predictive Marketing Platform analyzes a company’s marketing automation and CRM data to discover a distinct customer profile for each product. Mintigo then assigns a predictive lead score to each prospect in that business’s marketing funnel for each product. As a result, the company knows which products fit which customers and so they can provide the most relevant offers and messages in their campaigns. Here’s what Mintigo’s customers are saying.

What type of lead scoring does your company use? Traditional? Or one that brings more than firmographic data to the sales team? For more resources from Mintigo, check these out.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research


Maximizing Personalization to Differentiate Brands While Increasing ROI, & Loyalty Customer Experiences

Is Personalization At Scale Possible? Personalization at scale has long been a desired capability of many Marketers. Being able to deliver personalized messages would not only differentiate a brand from all the others that are trying to do this, but miss terribly. (i.e., I am a MAC fan – never bought a PC in my life, but I still get print PC catalogs… it’s a waste of that company’s money because I’m am not the right target demographic.) So getting personalization right not only makes the customer feel like you know them, you care about what they care about, but also you are paying attention. Of course this can be difficult with large customer bases.

If a brand was able to do this, they would not only increase their ROI on their marketing campaigns, but also increase the customer experience, and as a result increase customer loyalty. Customers buy from those who make it easy to buy from them and easy to find what they need and want. And when it is served up to them, it’s even easier for customer to say yes. While there are some Marketers that are able to do personalization at scale, most would like to do it better. Intact, without a data-driven approach to optimizing the customer experience, marketers are left with:

  • Lower conversion rates
  • Un-optimal customer experiences
  • lost revenue and lower ROI for campaigns and creative.

Software to Help Get to Personalization: Oracle today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Maxymiser, a leading provider of cloud-based software that enables marketers to test, target and personalize what a customer sees on a Web page or mobile app, substantially increasing engagement and revenue.

Who Has Maxymiser Helped To Date with Mass Personalization At Scale? Maxymiser optimizes over 20 billion customer experiences per month for brands such as Allianz, HSBC, Lufthansa, Tommy Hilfiger and Wyndham.

How Does Maxymiser Work? This acquisition that will strengthen Oracle’s solution to manage marketing programs across all digital channels and across the customer lifecycle.  Tim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Maxymiser said, “Our mission is to empower enterprises to use data science to systematically test, discover, and predict what customers want and deliver uniquely tailored experiences. We are excited to join Oracle and bring these capabilities to help extend Oracle Marketing Cloud.” Below is more information about how the testing, insights and personalization works.

Maxymiser How it Works Oracle


Truth is Marketing Requires Testing: While many executives would want Marketing to alway hit the market, the truth is that testing is required. With Oracle’s acquisition, modern marketers can  systematically use customer data to test, discover and predict the experiences customers want online.

Testing by Modern Marketers to Systematically Use Customer Data to Test, Discover and Predict the Experiences Customers Want Online

What Should You Take From This Acquisition? 

  • The combination of Oracle and Maxymiser extends Oracle Marketing Cloud’s capabilities for customer experience optimization into Web, mobile Web, and mobile apps
  • An optimized customer experience is one that has been systematically tested for effectiveness and personalized to interests and behaviors
  • Optimizing each customer experience increases revenue and enhances marketing ROI because customers who get what they want are more likely to click, purchase, and return more often
  • Maxymiser enables this optimization with data science technologies covering multivariate testing, audience-segment discovery, and predictive personalization—all made marketer-friendly
  • Maxymiser’s management team and employees are expected to join Oracle as part of Oracle Marketing Cloud
  • And the pieces that Oracle has acquired are integrating or has already integrated into their solution.

MY POV: If you are a Marketer that wants to increase the customer experience by targeting the right customer, with the right offer, at the right time, this is a very important move for Oracle.

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research





Mobile Customer Relationship Management: Mobile is the New CRM

Will The Mobile Device Ever Live Up to It’s Potential? Everyone in mobile commerce has been waiting to see mobile commerce take off. While individuals report it’s the one device they always have with them, the change in mobile commerce and CRM has not grown as fast at most experts expected – at least until now. There is a mobile customer relationship management company that is scaling fast. Intact, it has increased its revenues by 500% since their series A funding of $10M last  year. In addition they have added a new Chief Revenue Officer. The compHelpshift Logoany is call Helpshift. They are the first CRM solution built specifically for mobile applications.

HelpShift Is Adding New Team Members To Help It’s Growth: In addition, Helpshift also announced the appointment of Kevin Grant, seasoned enterprise and mobile executive from AT&T and Boku, as chief revenue officer, to advance Helpshift’s efforts in enterprise sales. Abinash Tripathy, founder and CEO of Helpshift was quoted saying, “I am extremely proud of Helpshift’s success thus far, and am excited about our future. The sky’s the limit and we have big plans for the rest of the year. Our focus is to keep growing the product and our position in the market. We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin to the executive team; his extensive client list and wealth of experience in the mobile space will only increase our current rate of success.”

With the addition of Kevin Grant to the Helpshift roster, the company is poised to continue its rapid growth. Grant’s experience working with Enterprise and Mobile industries will help solidify Helpshift’s customer base and triumphs in the market. Kevin Grant was quoted saying “Helpshift’s approach to mobile CRM is truly revolutionizing the customer service industry. It’s a great opportunity for me to work with such a smart group of leaders and engineers who are changing how merchants think about mobile customer care. I’m enthusiastic about the future of Helpshift, and look forward to helping our clients prioritize an amazing customer experience for their consumers. I love win-wins!

What is Helpshift? Helpshift is an in-app customer engagement platform that enables businesses with mobile apps to improve customer experience, drive higher ratings, and increase retention. Helpshift’s SDK allows companies of any size to have a direct in-app conversation with their customers. To date, Helpshift is installed on more than one billion devices and serves 300+ million mobile customers monthly, resulting in 70 percent faster resolution times. Just two years ago, Helpshift began as a small group of engineers in India and a small sales team in San Francisco. Helpshift now has a team of more than 50 engineers in India, and well-established account management, finance, customer success, sales, and marketing teams in San Francisco.

Why Is Helpshift so Important?  The companies that are making a fortune in the new mobile economy have sewed an exceptional customer experience into the very fabric of their company. Support doesn’t just add value — an exceptional customer experience is the value. But the current support solutions were never intended to support the mobile experience – you can’t pour motor oil into a jet engine and expect it to fly, and CRMs and helpdesks just don’t meet the needs of mobile users. Which is an issue, since there are more apps competing for a brand’s customer’s homescreen every day. The world is moving to mobile and shoving a web view into a native app isn’t good enough. Helpshift wants to offer businesses the ability to provide that unparalleled experience wherever their customers are. Helpshift makes it easy to create that exceptional experience in native mobile apps, transforming customers into the most passionate sales team you could hope for, and loyal for life.
Who Are Some of HelpfShift’s Customers? Helpshift has built applications for Target, DoubleDutch, Clash of Clans, Outlook, Family Guy and Mercari.

What Does Pricing Look Like? Helpshift has everything from the freemium model, with 10,000 users and 1 team members to 300,000 users and 3 team members to custom pricing.

With the mobile device being the one we all carry with us, it makes sense that increasing that customer experience would be key. Looks like Helpshift is out to make that a reality!

@DrNatalie VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Don’t forget to enter the Super Nova Awards!



Verint® Acquires Telligent® to Extend Online Community Customer Experience

As you might recall, Telligent®, acquired Zimbra, whose purpose was to help organizations enhance support, drive digital transformation and to ensure brand consistency. Today, Verint acquired Telligent®.

The reason for the acquisition? Verint wants to extended its customer engagement optimization portfolio with the addition of a market-leading, enterprise-class community solution. As a result, organizations can uniquely provide actionable intelligence across customers’ omnichannel experiences to include voice, chat, email, web self-service, and now customer and employee communities.

Was This Acquisition a Good Move For Verint? MY POV: This seems like a very good move for Verint, as having a community offering is key to customer care. Communities are a critical part of customer service as well as customer engagement. With the combination of Verint and Telligent, customers will be uniquely positioned to use the actionable intelligence that flows through their communities to help achieve important strategic objectives, including the ability to gain a holistic view of customer service effectiveness, integrate social experiences on the web and support digital transformation initiatives.

How Is Having An Option for Online Communities Useful To Brands? By integrating communities into their customer support and marketing strategies, organizations can lower their service costs, redirecting routine customer queries to their communities for quick answers to frequently asked questions. Through powerful analytics, they also can gain critical insights into buying trends and patterns; evaluate marketing content and campaign effectiveness; enhance social selling; take action on voice of the customer feedback about products, services and overall experiences; and heighten loyalty.

How Do Communities Play a Role In OmniChannel Customer Engagement? As consumers continue to self-serve and seek insights and perspectives from peers, the importance of social communities has grown. With increasing demand for more real-time engagement and personalized service, communities are becoming sought-after and valued sources for customer support. Likewise, marketers are turning to social communities to infuse new digital content, advance social experiences in their online properties, and take action by tracking and analyzing buyer behavior and site activity. There’s not one department that can’t benefit from an online community. And, while that is true, not all departments know the business case. There are huge business reasons for every single department  – customer facing or employee facing – that can benefit from an online community.

Does Your Brand Have a Community?  If not why? What are you waiting for? Want the ROI of online communities beyond customer service? I’m your ROI gal!

@drNatalie VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Don’t forget to submit your case study to the Super Nova Awards!!!! NOW!! 


A Great Place for Customer Service? Twitter: Oracle’s Social Roll-Out of A Twitter Enhanced Customer Solution

Customer Service Has Changed
There was a time when customers wrote a letter to customer service- ok that was a really long time ago. But not long ago, the phone was what a majority of people used to contact customer service. And then along comes social media. As the author’s of the Cluetrain Manifesto said, “Markets are conversations” and many of the new marketplace conversations are happening in social networks.

Markets are Conversations

One of the reasons that more and more marketplace conversations are happening in social and digital networks is that it’s the first time customers have been able to talk to each other directly in ways that surpass the bulletin boards of yester year. Another reason is that when customers tried to get service by dialing the customer service 1-800 number, they were often met with long wait times, agents that didn’t have all their information in front of them (the company didn’t have the type of computer telephony were all you info was pulled up from the phone number and delivered to the agent) or when the customer finally got a customer service agent on the phone, the service experience was rushed (over 4 minute mark many contact center agents would get dinged for a long average handle time) and some of the agents just weren’t prepared to help, had an attitude, didn’t fix the issue so the customer had to call back in and retell their story all over again… The bottom line: customers have been tired of poor service.

Customer Service is the New Marketing

It’s never made sense to me to provide bad service. Customer Service is the new Marketing. How someone is treated in a customer service situation stays with them. That customer might be loyal for a while, at least until there’s a better deal from another company. It’s part of why there is so much customer churn. One of the biggest issues is NOT that Customer Service Professionals are not aware of the issues in their contact centers. They know what they would like to do. They just suffer from the Rodney Dangerfield Affect: They just don’t get enough respect. What I mean by that is they are often not allocated enough budget to make the customer service experience what it should and could be. Customer Service should be a CEO level decision. In companies where it is, the service is great. In companies where it is not respected as a mission critical part of the business, the service is just “so so” to really bad.

A Change in Corporate Culture Needs to Happen NOW

What is important about social and digital media is not necessarily the channel. It’s really about a philosophical corporate culture issue. Because customers couldn’t get the service they wanted in a phone call or email, they realized that social networks were the perfect place to get a company’s attention. Why does it work so well? In comparison to a call or an email or chat, social networks are a public medium. It’s a medium where everyone can see what’s happening. And one of the biggest issues – whether its Twitter, Facebook, an online community – is that the conversations between customers and between customers and companies are public. And not only are they public, they are often permanent digital footprints that last a long time (think cave painting that last millions of years.)

If You Think Social Media Isn’t Affecting Your Company, Stop Doing the Ostrich

Some people would argue that there’s not that many people on social networks. In fact, there are There are 7.2 billion people on earth and more than 2 billion of them are active on social media. And take into consideration the 1-9-90 rule, most customers are lurking or reading what other customers are writing about companies. (The 1% refers to customers who post, 9% refer to those who respond to those who post and 90% refers to those that read what the 10% posted. Of course that ratio changes depending on the industry, but it’s roughly 80-90% of the customers who just read what other customers think. So should companies be worried about what is said about them in social and digital media. I think so. I think there will be some companies, because of the bad word of mouth and their lack of attention to it or changing the issues with their products and services will just go out of business and never know what hit them.

Operationalizing Social Customer Care on Twitter

Oracle SocialOne way to operationalize a brand’s ability to track and interact with Customer Service and Twitter is to consider Twitter’s new data and functionality to create improved and transformative customer service solutions for brands. Oracle Social Cloud was part of the announcement and is extending this enriched Twitter data to our customers.  Oracle Social Cloud will be rolling out this new social service solution in a managed release to select customers. The product will be available to additional customers in the fall.

Exceptional Social Responsiveness is A Necessity of Great Customer Service

According to Nielsen, more than 1 in 3 consumers prefer social customer service to phone. A recent McKinsey study stated that companies that improve their customer service can see a 30-50% improvement in key measurements including “likelihood to recommend” and “make repeat purchases.” Social service is more than just resolving issues.

Meg Bear, Group Vice President, Oracle Social Cloud, said, “In today’s digital landscape, modern customer care is social and mobile, and increasingly the platform of choice for consumers is Twitter.  Working with Twitter data allows customers to better integrate enriched social data more deeply within their customer service process to capture, learn, and act on insights to match consumer expectations.

An Example of a Company That is Taking Social Customer Care to Heart

Rebecca Harris, Global Head of Social Center of Expertise at General Motors, commented that, “General Motors continues to strive for excellence with our customer care capabilities, providing new ways to understand and engage with our customers like never before—and it’s a winning strategy for both our customers and our business. The importance of social service is echoed by our customers, too. We interact daily with our customers on Twitter, allowing for a quicker, more personal engagement, enabling General Motors to put its customers at the center of everything we do.” I grew up in Detroit and worked for GM many, many years ago. It’s an interesting industry that is critical to the stability of the American economy and great to see they understand the fundamental importance of not only customer service, but also social customer care.

Wondering How The Oracle Twitter Solution Can Help Your Company?  

The new social customer care solution is an upgradeable option for Oracle customers that want to provide the most advanced and innovative solutions to meet the rising expectations of mobile and social consumers. The solution captures Twitter impressions and aggregated engagement metrics, coupled with their advanced listening algorithm, and delivers a next-generation solution that allows customers to better identify influencers, understand social impact, and prioritize service issues.

How It Will Work – Real-World Superior Social Service:

Let’s say you are an airline organization or a hotel chain monitoring millions of Tweets across the globe. You could leverage Oracle Social’s advanced listening, filtering and categorizing capabilities to quickly identify “customer service” topics from other conversations. Your agents could respond and resolve customer service and customer care issues with speed. That’s good – but it can be done better.  How do agents easily identify who to respond to given the potential volume of service complaints?  How does one Tweet stand out from the next in a blurry sea of Tweets?  Those are all good questions and need answers.

For starters, with the new Twitter-enriched data, the airline or hotel chain now has more insights and rich context into each message through an algorithm that weighs impressions and engagement metrics and then color-codes each based on highest impact and priority. This proactive solution allows agents to visually identify messages as they trend based on views, clicks and aggregate engagement metrics. Counting favorites and retweets as the only indicators misses the mark on critical service scenarios that are quickly going viral.

Of course, every customer issue is important, but now airline or hotel agents can prioritize and resolve the frustrated customer whose Tweet about lost luggage or lack of air conditioning in the room was actually seen by 5.5 million people (…and counting re the 1-9-90 rule).

The new customer care solution will be surfaced in Oracle SRM’s new column-based Engage UI.  The new column-based Engage UI will be available to all customers whether or not they upgrade to the advanced Twitter customer care solution.

What’s your take on Social Customer Care? Here’s some quick tips to consider:

  1. Do you have the ability to operationalize listening and responding in social and digital networks?
  2. Do you have the staff that understands not only the strategy but also how to operationalize social customer care real-time?
  3. Do you have executive management buy-in, a business case and a strategic and tactical plan that shows how your approach to social customer care is going to reduce costs, but also increase revenue?


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