Constellation ShortList™ for Field Service Management

Constellation has announced the Constellation ShortList vendors in Field Service Management which provides the best capabilities to help employees serve customers. Field customer service occurs when resources or services are deployed onsite at a client. Field service management software enables companies to be flexible and nimble when providing service. These offerings are great at detecting problems before having to send someone to repair or fix a customer’s issue. In the event they must send someone, they can communicate in real-time with customers, provide on-site information about products and repair issues while offering relevant and timely service.

These offerings help companies improve their operational efficiencies by optimizing work-order routing and technician scheduling, which results in quicker resolution of issues. Analytics used in field services often optimize when services are deployed and how assets are tied to deployment of resources. They have advanced scheduling systems that let the customer know when the technician or field-service employee will arrive within a reasonable window of time. Helping provide an excellent customer experience is the most important aspect of field service management solutions.

The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research.  This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Constellation considers the following criteria for these solutions:

  • Good diagnostics prior to rolling out the truck
  • Resource management
  • Case management
  • Communication with the customer on the status of the technician’s arrival
  • Scheduling
  • Resource allocation
  • Inventory optimization
  • Mobile enablement.

Constellation evaluates over 25 solutions categorized in this market. This Constellation ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide applications and services without bundling into another platform:

  • IFS
  • Oracle Field Service Cloud (formerly TOA Technologies)
  •  ServiceMax
  • ClickSoftware
  • PTC
  • SAP
  • Vertical Solutions.

For more information on the short lists, please see the Constellation Research site.

@Drnatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer-Facing Applications


Where I am Speaking This Fall! Come Say Hello!

It’s a busy fall and I hope to see you all out there, whether in person or on a webinar. Here’s some of the places I will be:

1. Webinar: ROI of Social Customer Care Sept 6th @clarabridge #custserv #CX

(Here’s the report: )


2. Think ROI of Social #custserv can’t be calculated? Think again! Webinar Sept 13th @clarabridge

(Here’s the report: )


3. Digital Transformation: the Digital Blindspot – don’t let it happen to your co #ITRATL Sept 14th @constellationr (Here’s the report: )


4. Modern survival guide: Speaking on #custserv for Millennials #OOW16 Tues 11AM Sept 20th @constellationr


5. Webinar: How #DPM is the new #CX Sept 28th @dynatrace @constellationr

(If you’re not actively managing digital #CX you’re not doing it right. check out the report on how to make #CX the best in the biz )


6. Digital Performance Management #DPM #DXS16 November 14 – make your #customerexperience #CX really powerful

(If you’re not actively managing digital #CX you’re not doing it right. check out the report on how to make #CX the best in the biz )


Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Covering Customer Experience and Customer Service, Digital Performance Management and Digital Transformation




The Need for Customer Experience is Based on Science Not Myth

The need for customer experience to improve is not a myth. In fact, here’s why. Noted psychology researcher and writer Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi observed in 1998 that people who perform seamless, sequence-based activities on a regular basis are happier than people who don’t[i]. He coined the term “flow” to describe this behavior. With the advent of CoIT, we’ve actually imposed a new set of demands on our customer’s brains. But instead of offering a series of smoothly sequential flows, websites and mobile applications are characterized by lag, downtime, and restarts. And at the same time customer’s flow-oriented brains simply aren’t wired to deal with poor digital experience interactions. Science has shown the business need for great customer experiences is a fact, not a myth.

And it can be tempting to label customers picky and impatient. But there’s a wealth of research on what happens to customers at a neurological level when they are forced to deal with slow or interrupted processes.[i] Their impatience is an indelible part of their human circuitry. Brands must recognize that customers’ hardwiring of the brain’s and their neurological desire for flow and easy of use as part of the cost of doing business. Companies must come to terms with the economic imperative of the customer experience or drive customers to their competitors because of their poor focus on customer experiences.

Fast websites and mobile experience create happier users. Those happier users are more likely to follow “calls to action” to register, download, subscribe, request information, or purchase. Unhappy users, which could include those who experience a mere two-second slowdown in how a web page loads, make almost two percent fewer queries, three point seven-five percent click less often, and report being significantly less satisfied with their overall experience[i]. Worse, they tell their friends about their negative experience. With the word-of-mouth social networks provide, brands need to heed the seriousness of differentiating their brand’s customer experience or be left in the dust.

Response Times have been consistent for 45 years. Based on neuroscience, the facts about human perception and response times have been consistent for more than forty-five years[i]. In fact, these numbers are hard-wired in human brains. And they are consistent regardless of the type of device, application, or connection a customer is using. In fact, that’s key to where customer expectations come from thus important to capitalize on. And what’s critical is determining where a brand’ web / mobile sites compare to customer expectations as well as benchmarking against CoIT applications or competitors or even non-competitors who have a great customer experience.

Response Time Has Not changed Much. In Robert B. Miller’s 1968 paper, “Response Time in Man-Computer Conversational Transactions[ii]“, found people have always been most comfortable, most efficient and most productive with response times of less than two seconds. Since 2006, what has changed slightly is the average online shopper expects pages to load in four seconds or less. Today, forty-nine percent expect page load times of two seconds or less, and eighteen percent expect pages to load instantly[iii]. And while optimizing every aspect of a brand’s digital assets to meet an “instant” expectation is a laudable goal, organizations simply may not have initially budgeted the resources to achieve these goals. Digital experience maturity, however, provides teams the ability to identify the interaction points in the digital customer journey most sensitive to improvement so they can maximize return on performance investment and include this in the budget and resource planning activities. Here’s the results of the Walmart study on page load times and conversion rates:

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 10.11.29 AM

Businesses can keep arguing that customer experience doesn’t matter, it’s a touchy-feely construct or get it directly affects the bottom-line and start by designing and measuring customer experience performance management. For more on this see my report, here.

@drnatalie petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Covering Customer-Facing Applications


[ii]Robert B. Miller’s 1968 paper, “Response Time in Man-Computer Conversational Transactions,



[i]Dual-task interference in simple tasks: Data and theory. Pashler, Harold Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 116(2), Sep 1994, 220-244.

[i] The Concept of Flow: Handbook of Positive Psychology, Nakamura, J. and Csikszentmihayi, M. 2002.


Implementing Customer Experience, Cloud, IOT or Any Technology Project? Why Will it Fail?

Obviously no one plans on implementing a project that will fail. However, statistics show that over the past 20 years a very large percentage of technology projects do fail to result in the business outcomes that they were expected to meet. The real issue is that leading change (implementing new technology, whether it be CX, transitioning to the cloud, IoT, etc…) is different than the role of leading in general. But this point is often overlooked or some leaders don’t realize how big a difference there is in leading change compared to their every day leadership job.

The reasons projects often fail and the need for orchestrating customer experience projects using organizational change management range from:

  1. Projects ran over budget, were late, or never completed.
  2. Projects were attempted more than once because initial efforts failed.
  3. Only a small part of the organization adopted the new processes or systems.
  4. When the project went live, critical business systems halted, causing loss of revenue, increased costs, dissatisfied customers and frustrated employees.
  5. Parts of the business (or possibly the entire organization) eventually reverted to the old way of doing things.
  6. The return on investment (ROI) and/or stated benefits were never realized.
  7. The project cost the business more money than it saved or generated.


Our research shows that there are seven steps for leaders of change leaders can use to be more successful.

Practice #1 – Understand the Business Case for Change

Practice #2 – Start with the Executive Team: Move It from Involved to Engaged

Practice #3 – Engage All Leaders and Prepare Them for the Journey

Practice #4 – Build a Broad Understanding of the Change Process

Practice #5 – Evaluate and Tailor the Change Effort

Practice #6 – Develop Adaptive Leadership Skills in Change Leaders

Practice #7 – Create Change Leadership Plans

Don’t become one of the statistics of failed projects. There are best practices that work.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications to Create Awesome Customer Experiences


Local Motor’s Self-Driving Vehicle Taps the Power of IBM Watson

There’s been a lot of talk around self-driving cars and Local Motors, a leading vehicle technology integrator and creator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, introduced the first self-driving vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. Local Motors is a technology company that designs, builds and sells vehicles. The Local Motors platform is a combination of a global co-creation with local micro-manufacturing to bring hardware innovations quickly to market. Local Motors in National Harbor, Maryland is a public place where co-creation is the focus for advancement of vehicle technologies.

What can you see if you visit the Maryland facility? On display are 3D-printed cars and a large-scale 3D printer. There visitors can have an interactive co-creative experience that showcases what the future of 3D printing, sustainability, autonomous technology will be. Visitors can get involved with Local Motors engineers and the company’s co-creation community.

The automobile has a name and it’s called “Olli.” At its debut it was carrying the CEO of Local Motors and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. and vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento. The vehicle took them from the Local Motors co-creation community into the new facility. While there are already self-driving action in Washington, DC, soon there will be vehicles on the road in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas. The cars can carry up to 12 people. More details can be seen in this video:

Source: IBM Watson

What’s the Big Innovation? The electric vehicle is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology, including IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive. Passengers can interact conversationally with Olli and ask about:

  • Destinations, for example, “Olli, can you take me downtown?”
  • Specific vehicle functions  like: “How does this feature work?”
  • Time related questions like, “Are we there yet?”

In addition, Olli can make recommendations on local restaurants or historical sites. Olli is essentially designed to deliver interesting, entertaining, intuitive and interactive experiences for riders. How is IBM Watson is being used to improve the passenger experience? It is enabling the natural interaction with the vehicle via the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson IoT to analyze and learn from high volumes of transportation data produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. As the vehicle gets used, Local Motors plans to install more sensors and adjust them continuously as passenger needs and local preferences are identified.

The platform leverages four Watson developer APIs:

  • Speech to Text
  • Natural Language Classifier
  • Entity Extraction and
  • Text to Speech.

Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education commented that, “Cognitive computing provides incredible opportunities to create unparalleled, customized experiences for customers, taking advantage of the massive amounts of streaming data from all devices connected to the Internet of Things, including an automobile’s myriad sensors and systems. IBM is excited to work with Local Motors to infuse IBM Watson IoT cognitive computing capabilities into Olli, exploring the art of what’s possible in a world of self-driving vehicles and providing a unique, personalized experience for every passenger while helping to revolutionize the future of transportation for years to come.”

Having worked in the automotive industry in Detroit, it’s exciting to see new develops like this. It’s also exciting to see the application of cognitive computing in a real world situation. Using it for something like empowering self-driving vehicle is probably the best way to advance not only the self-driving cars but also the ability to deploy cognitive computing in a real world application. This looks to be the start of something very interesting that other brands in this space should be taking note of. Competition in the automotive is rapidly changing, from the provision of Cars-As-A-Service, with GM investing $500M in Lyft to cars that drive themselves. The Future is here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications that create amazing customer experiences.


From the Field: Lithium Technologies and Microsoft Dynamics Partner To Create A Total Community Digital Strategy

Is social CRM dead? Depends on what you consider social CRM to be. With the partnering of Lithium Technologies and Microsoft Dynamics, we will see yet a new and more extensive version of intelligent customer engagements. The partnership includes Microsoft Dynamics and Lithium’s community data, social customer intelligence and analytics.

The expectation of the value of an online community is often associated with cost savings – just as call deflections can reduce the costs of customer service. While many cost savings are possible, there also are six major areas that my research has found through which an online community can contribute to a company’s revenue, profits and margins. The six areas are: increased revenue through new products and services; enhanced communications, marketing and public relations; improved employee engagement; better business cost efficiencies; expanded business value in customer service; and heightened senior leadership and board member business guidance. With this paper, leaders can create a basic blueprint to embark on a discussion about whether to create an online community, the value the community can provide, and how best to lead this key strategic initiative in their organization.

Back to the conference, @jasonlsilva gave a wonderful talk on perception, change and our ability to redefine the meaning of a billionaire to one that helps a billion people. That I think is quite different than most of the start-up wanna-be billionaire’s who are in tech to become the next billionaire. You can see more of the videos from Jason’s show BrainGames on youtube called Shots of Awe. He talked about how the smart phone is the most powerful tool to get people out of poverty. And that it’s important to step back and understand where we are in time with respect to technology. 100 years ago we were electrifying the world – today we are cognifying the world via technology. In cognitive psychology, after a signal reaches the brain, the instant when we are aware of a change in our environment, but it is before the brain is able to identify and codify what the change is. The key is to not only not be afraid of change, but to embrace it with a positive mindset. The book Mindset was recommended by Lithium’s CEO Rob Tarkoff @rtarkoff by Carol Dweck. And lucky me – got a selfie with @jasonlsilva – @jasonlsilva and @drnatalie

Speaking of great customer service, I got this note from Claudia Kardzair & Nena Gadingan who are Guest Care Managers at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis:

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.11.04 AM

The days of loyalty driven by customer care are here. Some analysts think companies will be competing on customer experience in the future. I believe they always have been. It may not have been as measured as it is now, it may not have been as obvious as now — but customers have been making mental note of their experiences. If it is bad, they will take themselves out of your marketing funnel, regardless of the number of emails, tweets or other communications a brand sends. It is the era of customer experience being the number one metric all CEOs and CFOs need to pay attention to.

And at the conference we got to hear about the wonderful total community results from customers like @USAA and Renee Horne and Mark Nichols from Skype.

Skype Community Results Renee Horne USAA Results






The keynote on the future of CRM and intelligent customer engagement by Jujhar Singh, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, provided a deeper understanding of what the partnership means to customers.  He shared key insights into how businesses can maximize customer data to create more personalized brand experiences. The combination of online communities and the power of CRM is an amazing capability. Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of Lithium Technologies, explained that with the partnership Lithium will be able to expand what they now offer, the power of Total Community across Microsoft’s intelligence and data infrastructures.

Microsoft Dynamics Integration with Lithium Technologies

By working closely with Microsoft, they together bring a much broader solution to their our customers. The strategic alliance will allow the integration of Lithium social interactions and community data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Dynamics customers now have a community platform that offers businesses greater insights from the wealth of customer signals embedded in communities.

What does the future of CRM hold? Perhaps it will finally go from it’s former capabilities – a customer contact management system to actually become the more aspirational customer RELATIONSHIP engagement system that enrolls a brand’s customers and never looses sight of what is important to THEM and is always there when their customers need them with the things that are important to them. When companies do this they become truly customer-centric.

@drnatalie petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications



Dr. Natalie’s Research Agenda and Published Research

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I thought I would put all the research I have published  into one place. Here’s a list of Dr. Natalie’s completed and published research and soon to be published content! It ranges from IOT, Analytics, Big Data, Customer Experience, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Storytelling, Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Social Selling, Social Media, the Cloud, Marketing, Sales, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, AI, Machine Learning, Innovation, Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Mobile, Customer Service and Customer Success Management….and a few things in-between…

IOT (The Internet of Things), Innovation, AI, Machine Learning, Analytics and the Cloud

• The Algorithm of You: How IoT Transforms and Differentiates Customer Experience: Using the Internet of Things to Boost Revenue and Deliver a Brand’s Personalized Promise

• Digital Disruption: The Blind Spot That Could Sink Your IoT and CX Initiatives

• The Internet of Things Improves Customer Experience in Retail Supply Chain

• The As-a-Service Economy: CX and IOT Mean You Have to Deliver Great Experiences- Upcoming

• Customer Experience IOT in the Automotive Industry-Upcoming


Digital Transformation: Customer Engagement, CRM, Innovation, Customer Experience, Customer Service, The Cloud and Analytics

• ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

• How to Measure Customer Experience: Performance Management Maturity-Upcoming

• Case Study: Elaine Turner® Brand and Oracle Commerce, Marketing and Customer Service-Upcoming

• The Need for Inspiring Leaders to Orchestrate Customer Experience Initiatives-Upcoming

• Experience Management: How to Deliver Integrated Customer Experiences

• How Rackspace Creates the Next-Generation Customer Experience

• The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

• Digital Imperatives for Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experiences

• Nine Pillar Of Successful Self-Service for Digital Customer Engagement

• 6 Pillars of e-commerce Customer Engagement

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Delivery and Communication Styles: Channels, Content and Cadence

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – People Centric Values: External & Internal Culture, Community, Credibility

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalysts, Currency

• How Delta Uses Microsoft Dynamics and Avanade to Create Next-Generation Customer Experiences

• How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Improves Productivity at Trek Bicycle

• Delta Uses Microsoft to Transform Flight Operations and the Customer Experience

• New Belgium Brewing Creates Great Customer Experiences Using Microsoft Dynamics

• Beyond Journey Maps, Delivering Mass Personalization at Scale

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 


Social Media, Customer Service, CRM, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• How General Motors Using Social Media To Listen To Customers and Sell Cars and Deliver Service

• The ROI of Online Communities: Online Communities Provide Value Beyond Call Deflection

• Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

• ROI of Social Customer Service- Upcoming

• The Customer Service Playbook for Integration of Traditional, Digital, Social and Mobile Customer Service Strategies and Technologies-Upcoming

• Mobile Customer Service-Upcoming


Digital Marketing, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

• Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

• VentureBeat: Should the CMO Run the Whole Customer Experience?

• Executive Brief: Can Brands Keep Their Promise?

• Oracle Moves Its Focus from the CIO to the CMO

• How to Staff the Team for Effective Content Marketing

• The State of Marketing 

• Marketing Funnels Are Dead, What’s Next?


Digital and Social Sales; Commerce, Innovation, Analytics and the Cloud

• How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization: Convert Average Sales Teams into Top Performers Using Social Networks

• Five Approaches to Drive Customer Loyalty in a Digital World

• The Modern Sales Experience

• Continuity of Customer Experiences Drives the Future of Commerce


Customer Success Management, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• The State of Customer Success Management

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

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

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

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


If you are interested in learning about any of these reports or research, a speech or webinar on any of these or related topics, please reach out to me here!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Innovative, Customer-Facing Applications that Create Great Customer Experiences








From the Field: Capgemini Analyst Conference #capgemniAD16

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks: It’s never too late to transform yourself. Having been a system’s integrator many years ago, I found the transformations happening at Capgemni very inspiring. There was a period where many system’s integrators avoided the conversation about going to cloud and for good reason. Their business and revenue model was not shaped for the cloud. They were based for on-premise installations. Enter the cloud and everything changed. With the integration of IGATE and Capgemini, outstanding changes are definitely clear. Replacing McKinsey and Accenture in many digital transformation projects, they are looking to lead the digital transformation. Net new customers are over 200 and a 35% increase in the client base in North America. Though under NDA, the brands were very impressive.

What did Capgemini learn from IGATE? And I have to say I really appreciated all of the executives transparency and honesty in their process of becoming a digital transformation system’s integrator – including but not limited to Fernando Alvarez, Paul Hermelin, Srikanth Iyengar, Bill Ruh, Lanny Cohen, Tim Bridges, John Mullen, Dee Burger, Todd Rovak, Jean Pierre Petit, Frank Greverie, Doug Mills, Mathieu Colas and Andre Cichowlas. IGATE was known for the great client relationship capabilities. A client’s CIO had said, “I’ve never had a company pay more attention to my culture and my people and company that what we have experienced with IGATE.” IGATE is a new breed of company infusing it’s culture into Capgemini, with the key themes of speed, agility and imagination. And Capgemini vowed to learn from IGATE.

Capgemni’s Digital Business Model: It includes not only the “what” but the “how” of customer experience, including digital customer experience, digital organizational and people and digital operations. In terms of the “how”–  what digital seems to mean are areas like social & mobile, data, IoT, cyber security and cloud. There was a large focus on cyber security, as more and more customers are putting their data in the cloud. There is a focus on digital innovation as well as a digital ecosystem of partners and start-ups in the mix. There key digital capabilities include: innovation, digital customer experience, digital manufacturing and insights and data.

Fahrenheit212 Innovation Strategy and Design Company: They believe that innovation can be inherently reliable and have spent the last decade designing the method, building the model, and assembling the minds to make innovation a predictable driver of growth for our clients’ businesses. They believe most great innovations don’t come from consultants—they come from entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organizations. Entrepreneurs are driven by a powerful force that counter-balances their challenger mentality. Namely, they have skin in the game. They don’t obsess over the process of innovation; they care only about the outcomes. And it’s why they make a good addition to Capgemini.

Since their inception, Fahrenheit 212 has harnessed this entrepreneurial approach through a performance-based compensation model that aligns our risk and reward with that of our clients. They offer their clients the option of putting a significant portion of our potential compensation at risk, contingent on their solutions hitting pre-determined success milestones. This means their ideas can’t just be interesting; they actually have to deliver actual business results.

Digital Manufacturing Is Hot: The digital manufacturing value proposition includes a comprehensive enterprise offer of smart product and plants, Capgemni IP and an extended ecosystem of subject matter experts and highly skilled resources. With a 180,000 Capgemini employees, they are looking not only to re-skill some folks as well as hiring new people.

Cloud Is the New Normal: Their cloud value proposition is that cloud first is the new normal. Of their North American clients, 80% want their applications in the cloud in some way- some pure cloud, others a hybrid model.

Competitive Roadmap For Capgemini: Capgemini’s competitive roadmap is one of quality of service  where they want to work with some of the most demanding clients on the most challenging projects with the most talented people in the world. Capgemini’s entry into the world of IoT, though under NDA, was very impressive and spot on. I look forward to see what comes of their partnerships and their vision.

@drnatalie petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Applications, including the customer experience of IOT


From the Field: Salesforce Unveils Marketing Cloud Lightening

Customer Service is the New Marketing. As the lines between sales, service and marketing continue to blur, marketers are taking a leadership role in delivering a unified customer experience. Salesforce conducted a recent survey report, reporting that the majority of high-performing marketing teams (58 percent) are driving customer experience initiatives across the business, compared to 8 percent of under-performers. But to do this, whether marketing, sales or customer service leads the process, the brands need to not only to crush the silos between those departments but also have a new platform that enables them to deliver a consistent brand experience across every touch point, regardless of channel or device.

Channel Ubiquity: At Constellation, we have coined a term called channel ubiquity – meaning using any channel, any device any time, any place, any where… that’s what the customer expects and brand’s must deliver or be left behind. Why is customer service is the new marketing? Because customers don’t view a brand from each department, they view the overall experience they have with the brand. And where the experience usually misses the mark is customer service. Companies spend millions or billions of dollars in customer acquisition and then don’t follow through with great customer service and rather provide bad service that only leading customers to their competitors. So those customers are automatically taken out of the marketing funnel, even if the company doesn’t realize it.

What’s Special About the Lightening Announcement? The Marketing Cloud Lightning Platform vision is to bring the power of Lightning to digital marketers so they can create more intelligent and personalized customer experiences. What are the possible benefits?

  • A consistent user experience across s customer success platform
  • Lightning components to extend and build new apps
  • Leverage data science to analyze information from the web and data throughout marketing, sales and service to predict customer behavior
  • Build and automate journeys for the entire customer experience.

Delivering on Channel Ubiquity: Whoever is in charge of offering the ubiquitous customer experience, brands need to be able to offer a modern and intelligent user experience across any device, enabling marketers to work faster and smarter, and deliver better results. With a platform that has common customer identity and navigation, brands could work seamlessly across the entire customer experience platform or hub to streamline processes that span marketing, sales, service or back office departments to enable more comprehensive, integrated customer journeys. This is the promise of the Marketing Cloud Lightning Platform.

Easily Building Apps: Another promise for Marketing Cloud Lightning includes new Lightning Components or the idea of reusable, drag-and-drop building blocks to easily assemble apps. This would enable companies to develop and customize new business apps for sales, customer service and marketing. Salesforce will deliver Lightning Components ranging from core email functionality, like previewing emails and tracking email open rates, to journey capabilities. This also includes options like automatically adding a lead or contact to a journey and reviewing the journey history of a specific lead or contact. In addition, customers will be able to use third-party components built by Salesforce partners and available from the Salesforce AppExchange.

The Power Lies With the Budget: Often because the CMO, of all the lines of business, is controlling a lot of a brand’s budget for new software, targeting the CMO is a great idea. However, because the place where customer experience generally falls through the cracks is customer service, I’d like to challenge customer service professionals to stand-up and demand that they also control and equal or larger portion of this type of budget.

It would be a major transformation of that role, but it is necessary to drive better customer service and overall customer experiences. Without this transformation, the front end- marketing and sales customer experience can be great, but unless marketing really understands what is happening in customer service and the challenges the contact centers face, the customer experience has the potential to fall apart there. I caution brands that do not heed this vision to not be surprised if they loose their market base. In my humble opinion, customer service is the key differentiator in the overall customer experience. And it’s time for it to change. NOW.

@drnatalie petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Application that Deliver Awesome Customer Experiences Across Marketing, Sales and Customer Service.




From The Field: Oracle CX Conference 2016 Report

What we saw at the conference was a full suite for customer experience. As point solutions turn to suites, Constellation Research predicts organizations that want to keep all the information about customers flowing in one place will most likely turn to platforms, suites and hubs for customer experience.

Oracle Cloud Suite

With suites there is the opportunity to know your customers better, via shared data, shared knowledge across lines of business for personalized and relevant offers, products and services. Instead of having silos trying to each engage with the customer, suites provide the opportunity for employees to collaborate when engaging with customers (especially when the organization change management issues are dealt with from a leadership point of view.) Suites also provide the opportunity to drive new workflows, products and services that meet customer needs better. If companies are able to take advantage of what suites offer, they can sell more, innovate faster and increase shareholder value.

As we listened to Mark V. Hurd’s (Co-CEO or Oracle) keynote, he talked about the issues in IT spending. He estimated, worldwide IT spending is down over the last five years and down 5.1% in 2015. He also talked about revenue growth being stalled because companies are focusing on cost cutting to make their numbers for Wall Street. However, the focus needs to be on choosing the right software to grow the company’s revenue. One of the big drivers for software is getting the customer experience right. With all other things being equal, Constellation Research believes customer experience is the number one differentiator.

World IT spending decreased Mark V Hurd @drnatalie

Why? People expect that when they buy something, the experience will be at least positive if not really “wow” them. Otherwise, they will choose to go to a competitor. Mark spoke about the reality that most revenue growth will need to come from share shift as opposed to market growth. What this means for software companies is that they need to provide better software so that companies can provide better experiences so customer choose to move from their competitors to them. This also goes for software companies. The best way to grow revenue is to increase customer satisfaction. It’s interesting that this focus on customer experience seems to be the topic of the day. It’s something that I’ve been writing about for years. Customer Service and satisfaction perhaps has come into it’s own, finally.

Drivers for Customer Experience and Revenue Mark V Hurd @drnatalie

Often times companies don’t realize they are taking themselves out of the running when a customer sees (in forums, ratings, review sites, social media…) that the company is not responding, doesn’t show it cares and isn’t there to work with the customer to make things right. In fact, 67% of a decision on what to buy in B2B sales is completed before the customer even talks to a sales person. The customer is getting what they need from reading what is in digital and social media. And that customer automatically looks whether the company is participating in digital and social media, and even though they may not be aware, the company who is not participating make take themselves out of the marketing funnel, because customers realize that if they bought from that company and had an issue, they too would fall into the “no customer service zone” and be stuck with an issue. Nobody wants that and customers, after years of pretty bad service in many industries, are choosing to leave companies they have tried to be loyal to, but just can’t be loyal to any more.

And smart data is a huge opportunity for companies. Why? When companies put their data in the cloud they are able to aggregate more data in a single location creating convenience for marketing, sales and customer service in a very data-driven world.

Mark spoke about his own frustration with the financial institution he banks with and their calls to him about his account. He explains every time they call him, in detail, what the issue is, yet the bank still calls him with the same question. It’s as though the bank is on autoplay. It’s important to know your customers, understand who they are and what they need to keep them loyal.

Troy Carter, from Atomic Factory, spoke about the importance of engaging fans and his traverse of the start-up world. His words were very inspiring and really emphasized the idea that companies need to think about their customers as fans. With that mentality, how they are served, could change quite a bit. It was great to see someone who has arrived at a lot of fame, remember his beginnings and be humble about his amazing accomplishments in innovating in the music industry.

The conference was also graced by a number of customers who are on the journey with Oracle to provide not only better UX for their employees to use the software but also to develop the best in class suites to better service their customers. Look forward to an up coming case study on a brand called Elaine Turner. And here’s a case study on how GM listens to their customers in digital and social media and drives better marketing, sales and service.

Better UX Design

@drnatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Applications that Drive Great Customer Experiences and Revenue Growth

Troy Carter Will Smith @drnatalie

Troy Carter Lady GaGa

Troy Carter, Atomic Factory, Keynote at Oracle CX Conference