How GM Uses Social Media to Listen and Engage Customers

Having worked for GM years ago and lived in Detroit, the motor capital, it was really interesting to see how GM is using social media to listen and engage customers – in marketing as well as customer service. This new case study shows the depth and strength of how GM is taking advantage of what social media can provide to the business. What’s interesting – and if you follow me, you know I am an ROI gal – is that GM was able to trace their social interactions to actual car sales. And that’s really where the rubber meets the road. Social media has huge implications to business – many of them not obvious to many – but over the years I’ve spent a lot of time understanding how social media provides business value.

For more information on this report, you can find it here.

how GM listens in social media for marketing and customer service @drnatalie

For other reports on ROI of online communities, ROI of customer care, ROI of agile customer serviceNine Pillars of Successful Digital Customer Experience and Self-service, How General Motors Listens to Customers on Social Media, you can find more info to help your business understand why it’s important to take social and digital media very serious.

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Nine pillars of customer self-service natalie petouhoff @drnatalie

 

 

 

 

 

@Drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications that deliver amazing customer experiences.

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New Report: ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

This report looks at how companies, using the right software, can gain ROI from Customer Service and Customer Experience. Customer Care as a cost center is an unfounded paradigm. In fact, executives have long thought of customer service or customer care as a cost center. However, this paradigm is and has always been false. Executives and managers know their businesses thrive on happy, satisfied customers and they understand the value of great customer service and customer experiences.  This paper looks at the paradigm of “customer care as a cost center” and shows that it is false. It also focuses on the areas of a business that can not only help the business reduce costs, but can generate more revenue when agile customer care solutions are used. This research is based on in-depth customer interviews and field research.

Incorrect Assumptions Lead Executives to Believe Customer Service Is a Cost Center 
There are a number of ways in which poor customer care can cost the organization. Unfortunately, executives who believe customer service is a cost center fail to understand the increase in expenses that arises from poorly implemented and costly customer service solutions. Some of the implications of poorly implemented customer care are:  
  • Deficiencies in achieving First Contact Resolution (FCR) 
  • Increases in Average Handle Time (AHT) for phone, email, chat and social media  
  • Inefficiencies in self-service, call deflection, agent-assisted related support costs and knowledge base capabilities  
  • Requirements to add staff to handle more customer calls or call spikes
  • Insufficiencies in shopping cart or in-game customer service capabilities
  • Failures in using customer feedback to improve processes or products.

Agile Customer Care Delivers High Return on Investment

If companies deploy customer care systems that are agile, then will receive many benefits. These include:

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Recommendations and the Bottom Line: Agile Customer Care Delivers ROI 
Companies looking to reduce their customer service costs should look to agile customer care solutions. Savings can be found from increasing FCR and self-service as well as decreasing average handle time. In addition, if the solution is used proactively by the organization, it can help with process improvements, product improvements and even lead to revenue generation. Companies contemplating an agile customer care solution should consider the following three steps:  Review current costs of running the contact and customer care center. Look at critical metrics like FCR, AHT, as well as the opportunity to generate revenue, improve marketing and enhance employee engagement. 
 
Compare current costs of a traditional customer care solution with the costs and benefits of an agile customer care solution. You want to write a requirements definition document that will specify what your use cases are, explain what pain points you want the software to solve and then write an RFI (request for information) and or follow up with an RFP (request for proposal). 
 Build a business case and a return on the investment model to show the value of switching to an agile customer care solution. As you interview vendors, make sure that they answer all your questions and you understand how the software will solve your business issues.
It’s time the paradigm that customer care is a cost-center be done with. It’s only a cost center if the software is difficult to use, poorly implemented, isn’t agile, requires a lot of training… If you are not getting the benefits and turning your contact center into a profit center, you’ll want to download the rest of the report here.
@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Deliver Awesome Customer Experiences
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New Report: The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

The word “agile” has been part of may conversations when it comes to software. This new report looks at the importance of agile customer care. What exactly does agile customer care and agile customer experience mean?

Traditional Customer Care Solutions Require Resources from IT and Result in Low Agent Productivity and ROI

The costs for customer service, customer care or customer experience often come in when a company wants to add a channel, say email or chat or mobile. Often times, depending on the technology stack they already have, there is a lot of code that has been written to add something new – i.e., it requires that a major pow wow of IT, customer care, business leaders, etc..  to all get in a room and meet and discuss the benefits, risks and timeline of adding a new channel. that timeline could be weeks or months.

Often adding that new channel means that the code that has already be written in the customer service software has to be adjusted. This often means IT has to get involved and this change to the code needs to be added to IT’s agenda of an already long list of “asks” from the business as well as what IT is already tasked with (maintenance, system upgrades, compliance, security, etc…) Perhaps we are unrealistic and have always been unrealistic to expect that IT can and should handle everything IT specific as well as all of the needs of the business. Maybe IT should be split into two different departments, one focused on purely IT issues and the other being the IT business liaison?

Agile Customer Care Results in High ROI and Less Stressed, More Engaged Employees 

In our research we found several areas that contributed to ROI:

  1. Lower costs of implementation and maintenance of SaaS customer care and customer experience and
  2. Better customer care technology leads to improved employee/agent experience and customer experiences

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So agile customer care or customer experience software allows a company to add a channel very easily without affecting the code or requiring months and months of writing new code so the addition to the system doesn’t mess up what is already there.

In addition, when agile customer care is implemented, it is often so simple that customer service agents don’t need training. The use of the software is very intuitive. Agents are one, if not the most expensive re-occuring expense in a contact center. So anything that can reduce costs associated with customer service agents (without negatively affecting the service they provide) is extremely important.

It’s also important to look at the stress put on agents to learn new technology. Generally agile technology is more easily adapted because it is so much easy to use. Blame it on the consumerization of IT (CoIT) if you want, but people expect the technology they use to get their job done to be as easy as using a search engine like Google or Bing. (They forget that those types of softwares only have one function – to be a search engine and the software we use to service customers is far more complicated… Nonetheless, people still expect easy to use GUI interfaces that are intuitive. That you’ll only find in agile software. It was designed with the user in mind!
MY POV: Choose agile first. A company can’t be agile if the systems, infrastructure and technology it is using are not agile – meaning that they can’t be changed, added to or modified quickly, on the fly, without waiting in line for the IT department. IT should be supporting the business, customer care and customer experience by choosing agile solutions that allow for quick additions of new channels, workflows, fields and features. Agile should be part of the strategy, part of the process, part of the technology, and part of the culture. 

Design customer service into the customer experience, making sure that the complete customer journey includes an exceedingly better customer service experience. Because customer service needs to happen right where the customer is, it is key to use embeddable customer service tools, especially when it comes to mobile customer care. The key is to make the service experience more effortless.

All customer conversations (social, chat, email, messenger, Facebook, Twitter) should funnel into one place so nothing or no one is left behind. Help customers help themselves by providing amazing, agile self-service capabilities, with one customer portal and knowledge management base.

For more information you can download a courtesy copy of the report here.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Application that Make Awesome Customer Experiences

 

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ROI of Online Cloud Communities

I remember back in 2008-2009 being asked whether social / digital / communities had any business value. To me it was instinctively obvious, but I got that it was not obvious to others. In wanting others to see what I saw, I started down the road of creating ROI models for digital / social / online communities. Now many years later, I am hearing the same question so I revisited the topic in some new research, ROI of Online Cloud Communities. This report goes above and beyond what that early research I did discovered. Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 12.08.35 PM

I have interviewed at least 100 companies over the years and the stories all have had similar threads. While the actual use case might not have been exactly the same, they all had one similar component. That component? It was that there was a new level of open, honest, genuine and authentic communication. And note, ROI of online communities is NOT limited to customer service. That’s old news.

I remember reading about the predictions in the Cluetrain Manifesto. If you have not read that book, it is a must read. It was written in 1999-2000 time frame. It predicted where we are today in this digital / social / community oriented world. The ROI comes from better communication between all levels of employees, customers, partners – pretty much any stakeholder in a company and it’s customers. Whether B2B or B2C, B2B2C or whatever the business model is, what is true is those companies that are digitally enabled are more successful.

Percentage of Profit Rays BookFrom Ray Wang’s book, Disrupting Digital Business By Ray Wang, the figure about shows it’s clear that digital leaders have more of the overall marketshare and percentage of profits. Why is that? Think about customers talking to companies and giving honest feedback that helps:

  • Improve products and services and even helps the company innovate
  • Reduces unnecessary steps or processes
  • Helps executives understand what the trends are not only with their company but with others and provides that mission critical insight…

In the report, you will find 6 general areas that online communities can contribute to the two things that are very important to business – either reducing costs or increasing revenue. You can download the excerpt and learn more about what I discovered.

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If you have built a community or are a community manager and have seen similar results, I’d love to hear more about them! Maybe even make it into our case study library! (And don’t forget Constellation’s SuperNova Awards for 2016!!) If you’ve done something extraordinary, I’d love to hear about it and include it in my research. There will be info on how to apply to the 2016 SuperNova Awards soon!

May you find yourself building a community — if not now, soon! Those that have can attest to the amazing value it brings to a company. And not just in soft benefits- there are many, many that I put into the ROI model that are tangible, bottom and top-line business benefits.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-facing applications and their business results!

 

 

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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?

@DrNatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer-facing Applications to Create Amazing Customer Experiences

Don’t forget to submit a SuperNova Award if you are doing something amazing at your company: Deadline is extend to August 21st.

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#LiNC15 Conference Highlights – Customer Experience Rules the World

Customer Experience is ruling the world. At least parts of it. The conference began with Lithium’s CEO Rob Tarkoff talking about customer expectations. Today’s customers have extreme expectations and that brands are struggling to keep pace with new ways of marketing, bigger stakeholder voices, an explosion of consumer content across every dimension of the web and competition from new (and sometimes unlikely) places. What we don’t always discuss is the right approach to address those expectations and close the brand-customer divide. Using a total community approach can do that—restoring trust between brands and people, helping everyone share better experiences and offering powerful economic rewards.

Customer Experience From Brands

We then heard from radically different brands and how they are embracing digital to exceed customer expectations, create new market opportunities and transform their business. Senior executives from Brooks Running, Comcast, Google and Sky shared their approach to digital, business outcomes and their aspirations for the future. These four companies, digital disruptors, are achieving success and leading their industries into a new era of customer experience.

Business Results

The breakout sessions were wonderful. As an ROI gal, I went to the one on Results. If you’re still focused on clicks and likes, you’re leaving money on the table. Total Community drives revenue. Several top brands talked about how they are using social to recognize purchasing cues, route sales leads and other activities that contribute to your company’s top-line. That’s Total Community approach to achieve business objectives. These brands and their leaders included: Tim Lopez, Symantec, Jared Schultheis, Comcast, Lois Townsend, Autodesk,  Gregg Baker, giffgaff, Nico Henderijckx, Sony Europe, Catherine Kaiser, ‎Webroot and Jared Young, Barclaycard US.

Salman Khan, Khan Academy

And the day ended with a wonderful look into the future of education. Khan Academy is “providing free, high-quality education” to millions of students all over the world, each with their own unique story, learning at their own pace on Khan Academy every day. Sal and the Khan Academy take “Share the experience” to a global level. We heard the incredible story of Khan Academy’s evolution from his tutoring of a cousin using online videos, to a global community of teachers, students and parents, volunteers and donors who passionately believe in inspiring the world to learn.

Are you focused on the customer experience? If not, what are you waiting for? Are you focusing on doing good in the world? It’s about we, not me… Focus on a cause…. your life will change for the better!

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Great Customer Experiences

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2015 is the Year of the Customer’s Choice: Customer Experience Engagement

This post is about five ways to deliver exceptional customer care in 2015.

Customer service and support is shifting to a customer success management model. This is the ability to deliver great, consistent customer experiences across all channels that drive retention, revenue and margins. Without this, customer experiences will not meet expectations and customers will go elsewhere, resulting in decreased retention and, in return, revenue. As part of a trusted group of advisors that helps Customer Service Professionals, as well as people in other parts of the organization – like Marketing, Sales, CXOs- CEOs, CIOs, CTOs to CMOs- we help people understand what digital transformation and disruption really means for their business and their future. And there’s a lot of hype around digital disruption. But let’s but some of that to bed.

Because 2015 is the year of the customer’s choice – companies will need to pay attention to the following:

2015 is the Year of the Customers Choice

We are in an opt-in economy, where customers can easily find information about a company, its reputation, their products, their reputation online and they can find all this from sources other than a brands marketing and advertising. It’s not that those disciplines are not important, but we want to look and see if the brand is fracturing it’s brand promise, it’s reputation… by not delivering on the brand’s promise somewhere in the customer’s journey–i.e., within their interactions and engagement with the their customers. Is the brand delivering the products and services it’s marketing and advertising? Actually the sources most people trust the most are people like the themselves, which is providing a great challenge to those in marketing and advertising. Why spend the money there when you can develop online advocates? We’re not saying that advertising and marketing will ever go away, but this is something brands need to pay attention to, because there is a huge cost savings if brand advocacy is done well.

You’ll want to ask yourself, “Where are our customer talking about our products?”  Where are our customer sharing their thoughts and experiences?

Take this product for example:

Fitdesk example

This bike has 457 reviews:

  • 62% are 5 star
  • 24% are 4 star

(62 + 24 = 86% give it a 4 or 5 star) So what does that tell other customers? Most people think it’s a pretty good product! Those online comments leave an impression for other customers to see – and the content is permanent like cave paintings, there for millions of people to see. And in social media – because there is the 1-9-90 rule ~1% post, 9% respond and 90% read without posting, think of the number of people who looked at this review and never post. Most of the potential customers never post. But they do make buying decisions based on what is posted.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what people are thinking about your company. They could visit the site, and if the reviews were bad, they could get bad impression and leave and you’d never even know it. How many times a day does this happen to the millions of companies online today? A lot.

And this company actually answers customers questions. They have answered 141. And this tells you they are listening and responding to customer feedback. And customers actually vote on what the company said, i.e., on whether they think the answer the company gave was honest and truthful and helpful… So what the digital disruption means is that there’s no where to hide… We are truly in an opt-in economy, where customers can easily choose to either opt-in or just as easily opt-out of doing business with you.  Customers can more easily decide to buy from a competitor than ever before, especially if you loose their trust. Much of this change is due to software being delivered as a service (SaaS) where if the brand doesn’t like the service its easier to get out of the contract than it was in the days of on premise software and hardware. But also in the B2C world, customers can easily find information about a company, its reputation, their products, their reputation online and from sources other than a brands marketing and advertising.

bye shopping bags

 

Its time to rethink everything

It’s time to rethink everything and understand what the digital disruption means to your business.

The digital disruption means you have to be: Transparent — Authentic — Genuine — Honest — Respectful — Helpful — Kind — Trustworthy…. The digital disruption is changing business, especially because of CoIT = Consumerization of IT. That means that customers want it to be frictionless, easy and fun to deal with your company. They have grown accustom to wonderful user interfaces like Google and Facebook.  User interface design is extremely important. It is difficult or easy to do business with your company? Do you know? Have you shopped at your own store – on and offline?

Digital disruption means being customer-centric.

This means you need the strategy to change how the company approaches its customers: a customer-centric strategy, customer-centric processes, customer-centric technology and customer-centric people (employees, partners, stakeholders…) For many companies to get to a customer-centric place, it may require organizational change management.

A big part of the digital disruption? Mobile!

Mobile has changed the game. Mobile sales accounted for nearly a quarter of all online sales during the 2014 holiday season (November 1 – December 31), up 27.2% year-over-year. Mobile web visits were also at an all time high, with 45% of all online traffic stemming from mobile devices, up 25.5% from the 2013 holiday season. Some companies saw even higher mobile traffic during the busy shopping season, with Fanatics and Amazon reporting 55% and 60%, respectively.  And these numbers are only going to increase as mobile devices continue to dominate time spent online. People admit to sleeping with their phones at their bedside. Mobile is key to your business. Here’s an example of a business case for mobile: mobile traffic to the 26 retail clients for 1 month generated $180 million in web revenue in August 2014; 27.3% from smartphones and tablets. (sources: comscore, Internet Retailer, 2015, Internet Retailer, 2014)

Digital disruption means delivering ubiquitous customer care. What’s the difference?

  • Multichannel:–Is an operational view of how customer interact within each channel
  • Omnichannel:–It implies it’s the customer’s view of their interactions with the company,–Orchestrated across all channels in a seamless, integrated and consistent context- there’s a lot of hype about this – most companies may want to do this, but are they? Many software companies say they can provide all of this, but do they really?
  • Ubiquitous channels–Means providing support when and where ever customers are, 24/7 and customer’s obsession with mobile devices is driving what we calling the need for ubiquitous channel capabilities.

Another point around ubiquitous channels and devices is that there is little to no premeditation on the part of a customer about which channel or device they use when interacting with a brand and where a purchase is made. But there must be hyper-premeditation on the part of the brand to create ubiquitous channel loyalty with their customers. This is why it is so important that brands understand where their customers are – online and offline – and then make sure that the brand’s ubiquitous channel and devices activities are customer-centric.  This means that organizations need to be in the channel their customers are in, regardless of the customer’s age and digital proficiency . The company should cater to the customer’s choices of channels. Start there. And know that a customer may prefer to speak to an agent because they want to talk to a human. But because the phone experience is so frustrating, they may want to avoid the phone. That’s why something like chat is a good option! (If the chat actually is a great customer experience!)

So we’ve learned that customers have more choices than ever before. They also have specific preferences, needs, expectations, wants …with unboundless options; will they pick your company? They will if you recognize Customer Service as Customer Success Management. Don’t just care about the customer as a lead; Don’t just care about the customer as a sale; Don’t just care about the customer in service; Care about the customer in every interaction. And create great, continuous, consistent experiences. Why? It will drive retention and revenue and that equates to an increase customer lifetime value. Bad experiences: lost customers. No Customers, No Business™. It’s that simple. Customer success management is about customer lifetime value: i.e., How long a customer buys from you? How much do they buy each time? How much does their purchase amount goes up over time? You will want to continuously increase all of these for each and every customer and continuously, gain more customers and higher customer lifetime values.

Where is your company on the digital transformation of next generation customer service? Market Leaders will grow their revenue and reduce costs faster than any other segment.  Are you a fast followers? Or a Cautious Adopter? You can begin to tell by reading the questions in the boxes:

quadrant for fast followers So how does this change the way we work? As Ray Wang, Principal Analyst & CEO of Constellation Research would say, “We first we have to think about what’s changed. The old world was a world of CRUD – Systems of Record. We moved to a collaborative and social world – Systems of Engagement. But digital is causing us to shift to Systems of Experience. We’re ultimately moving to mass personalization at scale. In each phase we have to work differently to make it pay off in the end.”

What should you do next?

1. Understand what digital transformation entails:

Most companies are confused about what the digital disruption means to their business, both from an economic and operational standpoint. If businesses don’t understand the digital disruption, they will find it difficult to prepare for it. If we look back for a reference point, we can see the authors of the book “The ClueTrain Manifesto” predicted back in 1999 that there would be a point in time when customers, using the Internet, would be able to talk to each other freely, without the interference of a company. This would lead to a more transparent representation of a company’s products and services. Instead of being disguised in advertising and marketing messages, products and services from companies would be openly and honestly discussed by current, potential and past users. That prediction has come true. It’s happening right now.

2. Decide to deliver great digital customer experiences:

If a company decides it wants to deliver great digital customer experiences, then it must be prepared for the work. And in most cases, it is a tremendous amount of work. Many will think of it as putting more functionality into the website or adding a social network or adding mobile. However, it is more about understanding your customers and their needs and desires. The second part of the digital disruption is that we have more data than ever before to make better, more informed decisions about our business and about how we treat our customers. This idea to use customer and employee feedback and data is not new. It comes from Edward Deming, who wrote over 50 years ago about the necessity of listening to all your sources, especially those closest to your customer, and to incorporate that data into your products and services. If a company actually does this, its products and services will no doubt improve. Now consider other companies that don’t bother to listen and make changes. Customers are noticing and naturally gravitating to companies that are changing with the help of customer input. At the end of a couple of years, consider who you would like to do business with? The answer is obvious – companies who care enough to listen and change. And companies have never had this type of transparent representation of their reputation. Now they must be what they say they are – or they will be exposed.

3. Gain buy-in and support from all levels in the organization – top to bottom:

Everything that happens in a company at some point affects customers and their experiences with that company. So providing great digital customer experiences means that not only do senior executives have to support the goal with time, budget, resources and input, but so does every single person in the organization – in both the front and back offices. What digital transformation requires is that the customer experience be examined – and often redesigned. While digital transformation is made possible by the right technologies, digital transformation goes far beyond just technology, but instead extends into infrastructure, organizational structure, culture, and service-oriented leadership. A commitment from CxOs is needed along with internal change agents; it’s a change in the corporate DNA. Create customer journey maps and use the data from them to show how a customer-centric and digital-first approach is needed. With data projections of what could be accomplished, an organization will want to set goals and put a measurement system in place. A measurement system will show how the digital transformation produced results like increases in lead conversion rates, traffic, leads, engagement, first contact resolution and use of self-service. When executives see real business results, they are more likely to continue to support the initiative.

4. Evaluate where you with respect to providing ubiquitous channel and device experiences:

You’ll want to benchmark where you are with respect to 3 top competitors. Then see where your gaps are. It is also about understanding how your competitors deliver those products and services online and offline compared to your company. Once you have mapped out your customer journey (from the customer’s point of view – not the company’s), compare it to your top three competitors. Take screenshots of your competitors and put them in a powerpoint presentation and give it to someone in the company who has positional power to make change happen. Then redesign your customer engagement and digital strategy with the input from your customers and understanding what your competitors are doing better than you.

5. Once you know your gaps, create a roadmap to create next generation, ubiquitous channel and device, customer-centric experiences:

The gaps show you what’s missing and what you need to do next. It might be strategy; it might be technology; it might process and it might be people- who you have hired, their training, their attitude… And understand it’s all got to to be there to make customer service turn into customer success management.

Savvy Customer Service Professionals are leading their companies, not only to advance customer service, but they are leading  the whole company to new heights, by turning customer service into customer success management. Will you be the next hero?

@drnatalie

VP And Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Centric Experiences That Engage Customers and Retain them Through Ubiquitous Channel and Device Capabilities

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How A Start-up Grows and Becomes so Big They Need CRM To Increase Sales and Reduce Costs

Trek Bicycle began was founded in 1976 by Richard Burke, president of flooring and appliance distributor Roth, and Bevill Hogg, owner of a chain of bike stores. With $25,000 in seed money from Roth’s parent company, Intrepid, Trek started to build bikes by hand in a Waterloo, Wisconsin barnTrek Bicycle began was founded in 1976 by Richard Burke, president of flooring and appliance distributor Roth, and Bevill Hogg, owner of a chain of bike stores. With $25,000 in seed money from Roth’s parent company, Intrepid, Trek started to build bikes by hand in a Waterloo, Wisconsin barn.

Today, Trek designs and develops its bikes at its worldwide headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin or at its design facility in the Netherlands. The manufacturing of its bikes takes place in the U.S. and Asia (under Trek oversight), with select town bikes assembled in Hartmansdorff, Germany. Trek Bicycle sells its bikes around the world through about 1,700 retailers in North America, subsidiaries in Asia and Europe, and distributors in 90 countries. Trek’s 2011 sales totaled more than $800 million. The company sold 1.5 million bikes worldwide that year. Richard Burke’s son, John, runs the company as president.

From its beginning, Trek targeted the prestige bike market. The firm introduced its first mountain bike line in 1983 and the first bonded-aluminum road bike — the Trek 2000 — in 1985. The lightweight Trek 2000 was greeted enthusiastically by serious riders. This was followed by a carbon fiber road bike in 1986. Hogg departed from the company in 1986. And Burke, who had held an advisory role, took over day-to-day operations and presided over the company’s return to profitability.

Amid a U.S. bike industry slump in the early 1990’s, Trek focused on overseas sales and overcame European snobbery toward American bikes. It also moved into accessories and began manufacturing helmets in 1993. That year, the company bought Gary Fisher Mountain Bike, founded by the inventor of the mountain bike. Trek bought two more mountain biking competitors, Bontrager and Klein, in 1995.

“We wanted to spend less time managing servers and infrastructure and more time developing features which provide value to our customers.”Adam Salvo, Development Operations Manager, Trek Bicycle Corp.

Intrepid, Trek’s parent company, changed its name to Trek in the latter half of the 1990s as the company divested itself of its non-biking businesses. In 1997, Burke’s son, John, became president of the bike company. In around 1989 also Trek expanded into foreign markets, opening subsidiary offices in the UK and in Germany. To increase production efficiency, Trek stopped bonding its aluminum bikes in 1998, adopting the more common practice of welding .

In June 2002, the company’s president was appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Seeking to further boost its European presence, the company purchased the bike division of Villiger, a diversified Swiss company, later that year. The purchase included bicycle factories in Switzerland and Germany.

Although it’s a global leader in bicycles, Trek maintains the spirit of a small company. This includes its close-knit, collaborative staff and independent bike shops that sell Trek bikes and gear. These trusted partnerships are the backbone of Trek’s business model. When sales reps leave or retire, it can take years to rebuild the depth of knowledge and the rapport that the reps had established with the bike shops in their territory.

“In my job, there are always a couple of things I am trying to kill: bad process and hardware. Microsoft has helped us to do that. The less stuff I have to manage, the more time I have to focus on the important things in life.” David Peterson, Enterprise Collaboration Manager, Trek Bicycle Corp.

Ultimately, Trek’s success depends on close, supportive relationships between its sales reps and the owners of the stores it sells through. Trek is committed to its 5,000 independent bicycle retailers around the world. To support them, Trek offers an Ascend retail management system that manages inventory, places orders for parts, tracks work orders and processes customer’s purchases.

Trek worked with a data center provider to operate and support these services. As the company grew, supporting these services got more expensive and complicated, requiring more servers and IT staff at both Trek and the data center. This began increasing operating costs. And it could take from two to six weeks to install a new server at the data center, which was not fast enough to easily scale with demand for bikes.

But with so much information coming in, the bicycle maker realized it needed a more efficient and effective way to capture and manage the wealth of information its sales reps accumulated as well as to facilitate employee collaboration that would result in better customer experiences, loyalty, advocacy and referrals.

So Trek decided to make some changes to how they did business so they could have a more complete picture of customers and their data and as a result, they could provide better customer experiences and service.

Integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and other enterprise data sources, including Trek’s JDE ERP system, has helped develop a more complete picture of Trek’s retailers and customers, while the introduction of Yammer has enabled people to collaborate within Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online—replacing email and instant messaging for certain workgroups. And Microsoft Dynamics Integrated CRM Solution helped Trek to support sales reps in bringing all of their customer information into one place, standardizing workflows, and making it quicker and easier for its employees to find vital information.

Trek was also able to improve web sales and customer service by connecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to its public website, where the system captures customer inquiries from a Web form and routes them to the appropriate technical representative. The automated workflow attached to these forms has reduced response times from two weeks to only a few hours, increasing customer satisfaction.

There’s lot’s more that David Peterson’s team did… so make sure to get the full report!

@drnatalie

VP and Principle Analyst, Constellation Research, Connecting Marketing, Sales and Customer Service Through Great Customer Experiences

Join us for the Connected Enterprise Conference at Half Moon Bay – Oct 29-31st!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CEO’s Mandate: Make Customer Service / Customer Experience Top Priority

CEO’s Must Make Customer Experience the Number One Top Priority

The bottom-line? You know me. I get to it real quick. When you empower your customer service agents, you have the opportunity to delight your customers. Technology is key, but it actually takes more than technology to make that happen. It takes planning, people, process, strategy, and then understanding how the technology affects both the person giving service (customer service agent) as well as the person getting service (the customer.)

And with all these new technological innovations that are evolving, it is still critical to deliver great customer service. However, the bottle neck in most organizations is often the CEO-level, who may be operating under an old paradigm that customer service is a cost center. I’ve written dozens, upon dozens of ROI models for customer service, customer experience –traditional along with social and yet that message may still not have gotten to the CEO. Marketing and PR can acquire a ton of customers, but the question is, “Will they stay loyal?”

Who Cares About Customer Service / Customer Experience? Your CEO Should!

The issue with not understanding that Customer Service affects every aspect of the business – marketing, PR, sales, manufacturing, advertising, innovation, etc… is that customers are voting with their mouse and their feet. Whether it’s a brick and mortar store or an online presence, customers are sick and tired of bad service. And when it happens, while they know the devil they don’t know may be worse, they often want to make a point and switch to another company.  The question to ask yourself is, “Can you withstand to loose 20, 30, 40, 50% of your customers of the next few years?” If not, then the challenge is making sure that CEOs and CFOs as well as CTO / CIOs really understand the integral part Customer Service interactions and customer / company dynamics make to the bottom-line.

With many applications going to the cloud, it makes sense that having the contact center in the cloud companies can deliver excellent customer experiences. Some of the latest news that has unfolded is the integration of LiveOps’s CTI with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Unified Service Desk, which was released in the Spring of 2014.

This means that organizations will have a leading, multichannel cloud contact center solution that embodies the shared vision by both companies, i.e., to connect brands with customers via innovative technology and channels to deliver amazing customer experiences.

With most customers wanting to be able to interact with brands on any channel and receive the same level of quality of the interaction, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Unified Service Desk provides a unified experience for agents so that they can deliver efficient and effective interactions across all channels. So where does LiveOps come into the picture? The Unified Service Desk serves as a solid platform for vendors like LiveOps to showcase their customer service solutions.

In this release, LiveOps will offer voice and web chat capabilities to complement the advanced, multichannel, social cloud contact center capabilities delivered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM Unified Service Desk. This CTI integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM further enhances the solution’s customer service capabilities by giving agents access to integrated contact center applications, as well as empowers managers to monitor and optimize inbound and outbound customer interactions to improve key metrics for customer satisfaction and agent productivity. The whole point of the solution is to provide a complete, integrated contact center solution that enables agents to manage every customer interaction for faster and better resolution.

Managing Every Customer Interaction and Provide A Great Resolution For the Customer And the Company

How can agents manage every customer interaction and still keep the interaction fast and provide a positive resolution for both the customer and the company? Brands have to look at the whole technology landscape and decide which products allows their business to make changes quickly while remaining flexible in an ever changing environment. That means that brands need technology that can connect with customers across traditional and mobile voice channels. Features like screen pop (customer information popping up on the agent desktop when the customer interacts with the brand), an embedded phone and chat panel, on-screen click-to-dial, integrated call recording and multichannel routing—all allow brands to more easily connect with customers across traditional and mobile voice channels.

One of the reasons features like screen pop, while it seems simple enough, are so important is that it enables agents are able to deliver personalized customer experiences and first contact resolution, while increasing productivity, reducing costs and maximizing customer relationship management (CRM) investments. What this means in common language is – true screen pop – is when you put your information into the IVR, all those numbers and information you provided at the beginning of the call ends up on the agent’s desktop. But you know often the agents asks you to repeat all that. And you are thinking, “Really?” That’s when you know they don’t have truly integrated CTI (computer telephony integration – i.e., the computer and the phone is integrated together…)

Here’s Some Quotes from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Executives

Jujhar Singh, General Manager of Program Management at Microsoft Dynamics CRM said, “The majority of customers want to be able to interact with a brand on any channel and have the service quality remain consistent.” Microsoft Dynamics CRM Unified Service Desk is designed to provide an experience for the agent, which in turn directly affects the customer’s experience and their perception of the brand.

So if you want to learn more about the partnership between LiveOps for Microsoft Dynamics, check out this link: http://www.liveops.com/liveops-for-microsoft-dynamics.

And if you want to gain more customers and/or keep at least the ones you have, then its time to really reconsider how your company approaches Customer Experience and Customer Service. And that’s how I see it.

@drnatalie

How to work with Dr. Natalie  VP & Principal Analyst | Constellation Research, Inc

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Twitter: @drnatalie  Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+
Catch my latest:

• Thoughts at www.DrNatalieNews.com 

• Upcoming book series: “7 Steps To Digital Customer Experience Mastery” (working title)

• My Book: Like My Stuff: Tactics to Monetizing Facebook Engagement and

•  3rd Most Download ebook: Myths, Truths of Social Media ROI
SAVE THE DATE!
Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st

Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton

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Adobe Summit March 24-28, 2014 | Salt Lake City, UT

I’m looking forward to attending the Adobe Summit this year in Salt Lake City. Thinking about join me? Here are the top reasons why you should attend:

  1. Make the most of every opportunity

    Summit will give you the inspiration, tools, and know-how to find and maximize every marketing opportunity so you can increase your impact and your revenue.

  2. Learn from the experts.

    Summit sessions and labs are taught by some of the most innovative marketers from top companies around the world. This is your opportunity to learn from their years of real-world experience.

  3. Find solutions to your specific marketing issues.

    Learn how to tackle your own marketing and data issues as you see Adobe Marketing Cloud in action. You’ll leave with specific skills, best practices, and strategies you can put to work immediately.

  4. Be among the first to know.

    Summit is where we discuss the latest trends and news in digital marketing. Be the first to witness this year’s product announcements, news, and industry trends from the Adobe Marketing Cloud community.

  5. Network with leading marketers.

    Summit brings together the best marketers and advertisers from all industries, and we’ll showcase some of our most innovative partners in the Community Pavilion. Make time to stop by and learn about their new technologies.

  6. Spend face-to-face time with Adobe Training Services, Adobe Customer Care and Adobe Consulting.

    Upgrade your skills. When you register for Summit, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for Adobe Marketing Cloud classes delivered by Adobe Training Services. Add an extra day or two at Summit and receive hands-on training that will help you get even more value from your Adobe technology.

  7. Customize your learning.

    With eight content tracks, you can easily organize and customize your week to attend the breakout sessions you need, so you can learn the latest skills relevant to you and your company.

  8. Put yourself ahead of the pack.

    Time invested at Summit will pay dividends to you today, and for your continuing career, as you gain valuable knowledge and skills. You’ll already be where your peers and competition are trying to arrive.

  9. Enjoy evening parties and entertainment.

    Once you’ve soaked in all you can from the keynotes and breakouts, the day will be far from over. Use the evenings to meet other marketers, and enjoy big name performers have the Summit Bash. Previous Summit performers have included Maroon 5, the Killers, Lenny Kravitz, Foster the People, and the Black Keys.

  10. Unwind on the ski slopes.

    Your Summit registration allows you to request a complimentary lift ticket for Friday’s Ski Day. (Ski rental equipment can be added during registration for a nominal fee; however there are a limited number of rental packages available).

Decided to join me? Register here!

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff 

How to work with Dr. Natalie  VP & Principal Analyst | Constellation Research, Inc.

How to work with Dr. Natalie at the Executive Success Firm

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Voice:  +1.310.919.8467  | Twitter: @drnatalie |

Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

Catch my latest:

• Thoughts at www.DrNatalieNews.com 

• Upcoming book series: “7 Steps To Digital Customer Experience Mastery” (working title)

• My Book: Like My Stuff: Tactics to Monetizing Facebook Engagement and

• 3rd Most Download ebook: Myths, Truths of Social Media ROI

SAVE THE DATE!
Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton

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