Guest Post: Keys for Preventing Multi-Platform Duplicate Content Problems

Duplicate content has long been a concern for marketers looking to improve their Google rankings, but now Twitter has announced new restrictions on how users may automate tweets as well. Users can no longer tweet the same content from multiple accounts, but can only tweet from one account and have other accounts retweet it, and must avoid bulk tweeting or tweeting that is aggressive or high volume. The new policy applies both to duplicate tweets sent at once or scheduled in advance. Apps are still allowed to post content from other platforms to Twitter, but can only do so to one account.

These changes underscore how duplicate content has become an issue for companies that use multiple platforms to distribute marketing material. Here are some keys to avoid running into duplicate content issues when doing cross-platform marketing.

Understand What Duplicate Content Is and Isn’t

Google defines duplicate content as significant content chunks distributed across one or multiple websites that either totally copy other content or significantly resemble it. Twitter’s new rules similarly define duplicate tweets as being either identical or essentially similar.

Google draws a distinction between duplicate content that is malicious versus non-malicious. Google sees malicious duplicate content as designed to game search engine results or generate higher traffic by copying the same content on more than one page or site. Tactics Google considers malicious include scraping content, auto-generating content, duplicating content that has already been published on another page or site, link schemes, use of irrelevant keywords, hiding text, and sneaky redirects.

Google sees this type of malicious duplicate content as distinct from non-malicious duplicate content that has a legitimate purpose. For example, some sites have different versions for mobile and desktop readers. Some news sites and blogs provide a printer-only version of their site that includes an entire article on one page without ads. E-commerce sites may post multiple URLs that lead to the same product page.

Know How Search Engines and Social Media Handle Duplicate Content

Google and other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing handle malicious duplicate content differently than non-malicious content. When Google reviews a report about malicious duplicate content, Google’s reviewers may demote the content, remove it, or take other actions. Upon taking action, Google sends a notice to the site’s webmaster, who is then given an opportunity to fix the problem and submit a reconsideration request. Twitter appears to be following a similar procedure.

Google takes a different approach to duplicate content deemed non-malicious. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of content is actually duplicate, which is normal and does not draw a penalty from Google. But if Google’s robots detect multiple versions of the same content on a site or on different sites, they must still determine which one to prioritize when listing search results. They do this by following an algorithm that compares different versions of the content, indexes the first version crawled, and removes other versions from results listings. Other search engines use a similar practice to filter results. Presumably Twitter will take a similar approach.

Follow Best Practices to Avoid Duplicate Content

You can avoid most duplicate content issues by following best practices. Most fundamentally, avoid any SEO tactics that Google, Twitter, or other platforms define as malicious, as elaborated above. If your receive a duplicate content notice, instruct your webmaster to take appropriate measures to fix it so you can submit a request for reconsideration.

For non-malicious content, focus on developing original content. If you use content from other sites, include something extra that adds unique value, such as your own commentary or a top 10 listing. If you have product descriptions, instead of borrowing the manufacturer’s description as most sites do, modify descriptions to make them unique to you. If you syndicate some of your content to other platforms, publish it on your own platform first so that you get indexed first.

For content that is featured on multiple places on your site, you can tell search engines not to index secondary versions by using your robots.txt file. For blogs, select your settings to avoid indexing archives for dates and categories. For pages that have been moved from their original URL, use 301 redirects to let search engines know which version to index.

If you host product pages on multiple platforms, you should use ecommerce product page best practices to avoid duplicate content issues. Create unique versions of your landing pages and product pages instead of using the same version everywhere. To save time logging into each of your online profiles, use a content management platform that allows you to manage all your online properties from a single interface. A content management interface also makes it easier to track your content’s performance across multiple platforms so you can track and correct duplicate content issues.

Knowing how search engines and social sites handle duplicate content can help you avoid running into issues. Following these guidelines for avoiding malicious content and managing non-malicious content will help you keep your online properties from getting flagged and keep you competitive in search engine results.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.
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What’s One of the Best Ways To Reach Your Audience to Avoid “Content Shock”?

Content Shock” coined by Mark Schaefer, refers to the rising amount of content posted on the internet on the various channels vs. the finite ability of people to consume all that content. In talking with Mike Barrett, he shared with me a infographic on video content. What’s important to note is that if you want to reach an audience, then video can be the most effective method. And YouTube has a large number of viewers. But it isn’t just about the numbers. YouTube also creates unique relationships with viewers that few other sites can claim.
Here’s more of Mike’s thoughts on the topic and important reasons why YouTube can’t be ignored by anyone who is creating content. With the expansion of channels to reach an audience and the volume of content, whether you are a Marketer, an entrepreneur, a content creator, or simply an entertainer, it is difficult to succeed in a competitive online landscape without video in 2018.
Where Blogs Once Ruled
Video is now the expectation among people online who are seeking interesting content or valuable information.  There is a lot of evidence to suggest that not only is video more popular, but it is also more effective in delivering your message. For example, people remember as much as 80% of what they watch as opposed to merely 20% of what they read.
Top Video Platform
With improved bandwidth more video/ vlog content created every day, YouTube has maintained its position as the top video platform, even as other massive sites like Facebook have started leaning into video heavily.  YouTube has cleared an astonishing 1.5 Billion users and has over 5 million independent channels regularly contributing new content. There is more content than any one person could hope to consume – as many as 400 of hours of new video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!
Here’s some stats to get your wheels turning:
And this where the whole infographic from Mike Barrett – with many more statistic from Vlogging Guides – can be found.
YouTube is Trusted
 Since it was formed in 2006, YouTube has come a long way since funny cat videos.  It is now a credible source of information for many in both their personal and professional lives. YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world behind only Google which means that a startling number of people are actually turning to YouTube first when they have a question that they need help answering.
That is significant – if you can produce videos that answer those questions and solve those problems, then you can build an engaged audience who will trust your brand and your voice.
Video as a medium has proven that it is effective. Forty-four percent of people report that they have taken action specifically due to an online video, and videos have shown that they improve conversion rates on sales pages, or within emails.
High Engagement
 YouTube is not a site that people use to skim headlines. In fact, an average YouTube user watches 1 hour of video per day on the site. Much of this is due to the many high-quality content producers, but the engineers at YouTube deserve some credit as well.
The site is intelligently designed to maximize use viewing time by promoting videos that perform well in user satisfaction metrics. It uses a sophisticated search algorithm that helps surface the videos that fit exactly what a user is looking for. This is supported by personalized recommendations that give users a number of suggested videos that are related to content that they have engaged with in the past.
The Platform Is Growing
 YouTube’s total view time increase 10x between 2012 and 2017, and it is showing no signs of slowing.  One of the main reasons this upward trend is likely to continue is that younger people have shown that they use the platform that most. 95% of 13-17-year-olds in the US are regular YouTube users, the most of any age bracket.
As more young viewers enter prime YouTubing age, and the platform grows in international markets, YouTube likely still has a long way to go before it reaches its ceiling. This is one of many reasons why it is not too late to establish yourself on this platform now, and why it is critical to do so in 2018.
Thanks Mike for gathering the stats on YouTube! Appreciate you sharing them with me and giving me the opportunity to share them with everyone!
@DrNatalie, VP, Success Cloud, Business Transformation
Salesforce
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Guest Post: Increase Your Social Media Engagement with These Proven Strategies

How-to-Create-a-Brand-Identity-Using-Social-Media-04

There is no question that social media has earned its spot in every business’ digital marketing strategy. The rise of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn have forever shaped the way users express themselves online.

Nowadays, almost every business has some type of social media account. 83% of fortune 500 companies have a presence on Twitter and over 3 million companies have LinkedIn profiles. However, simply having a social media account and posting content is not enough. What makes the difference between good brands and great brands on social is not only the quality of content, but also the level of interaction and engagement they devote to their audience. Are you replying back to users who comment on your photos? Do you regularly like trending posts within your industry? Have you developed an online personality for your brand?

Follow these guaranteed strategies and you’ll be well on your way to connecting with your target audience and increasing engagement on all of your social media platforms.

Facebook

4 million likes are generated by Facebook users every minute.

Liking is one of the most important aspects of social media. So hop on the bandwagon and click the thumbs up button! It’s important to like something when you see that it pertains to your business because you’re not only engaging with your industry, but you’re also connecting with accounts who share similar interests. Over time, social media platforms will start to see patterns in the content you’re liking and expose you to more related items. The great thing about Facebook is that if you have a particular reaction to a post, you can choose that instead of just thumbs up. Choose the laughing emoji when something is funny or the angry face when you’re upset. The important thing is when you react to a post, you begin to get filtered into a particular niche. What you discover in that niche is other users who belong there as well.

Those users are your target audience. So be friendly and say hi! Put a huge emphasis on liking content in your social media marketing strategy. Give users a like on their posts and explore what you have in common. These users will start to recognize your name and become familiar with your online presence. With one click and some curiosity, they could end up on your page! Don’t be stingy with likes, spread the love and watch it return back to you.

Instagram

Instagram generates over 3.5 billion likes a day and its usage has doubled in the last two years.

Much like Facebook, the way you’re able to connect with people through Instagram is by liking photos. Some users will exercise proper etiquette and like one of your photos in return for your like, but other times it just might not happen. That’s okay though, there’s no limit on the amount of posts you can like, so go ahead and double tap on posts that are relevant to your industry!

YouTube

100 million people take social action on YouTube every week in the form of likes, shares, or comments.

Commenting is just as important as liking for the same reason that you get to interact with your target audience and engage in your community. The difference with a comment versus a like is that you have the opportunity to communicate your unique perspective on a topic.

You can answer questions on trending posts, offer insight, or type something reactionary. This will help increase your engagement because users can actually see what you’re thinking.  They can go off on your ideas or like your comment in agreement with what you’ve said. Comments provide another opportunity for users to engage with your brand. Be social and leave a comment!

Twitter

500 million Tweets are sent every day, which translates, to 6,000 Tweets a second.

Twitter is all about the short and the sweet. Essentially, Twitter is a string of comments. The way you get your brand to increase engagement on Twitter is by participating in the never-ending dialogue. You can do this by liking, commenting, and most importantly, retweeting.

Twitter is a little different from other social platforms because it has a higher frequency of posts. According to Neil Patel (social media marketing maven and co-founder of KISSmetrics) the optimal amount to post on Twitter to increase engagement is 1 – 5 posts a day. Plan your posts beforehand or retweet other authorities within your industry. Keep up with the pace of Twitter so users can recognize your effort.

LinkedIn

The 14 most popular posts on LinkedIn are all about advice in the workplace.

LinkedIn is the platform business professionals go to in order to apply for an internship, look for a job, or expand the range of their professional network. What users are looking for on LinkedIn is the means to gain a better standing in their career. This can be in the form of acquiring a job or the knowledge to gain better skills. Your posts on LinkedIn should be about interesting water cooler topics professionals can read in their downtime. It’s perfectly acceptable to be on LinkedIn during work, so keep your content related to the workplace if you want to see engagement from this audience!

A Quick Recap

Social media marketing is genuinely about being social on the screen. If your brand is

participating in the social aspect of each platform, you will begin to see engagement rise because your account is active. It’s important to keep that part of social media in mind because it shows your followers you understand how to use their media! Let’s Recap:

  • Facebook – Like posts that are related to your industry
  • Instagram – Double tap appropriate photos in your niche
  • YouTube – Provide insight, leave a comment
  • Twitter – Keep up with the pace of tweets
  • LinkedIn – Make it about the workplace

 

About Author:

therese

Therese Palmere is a passionate content writer at Aumcore. Aumcore is a New York based digital marketing agency offering solutions from creative social media campaigns to SEO and web design driven by results.

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Facebook Video Ads: What’s the ROI?

With the variety of common products available, often customers want to learn how a product or service works before purchasing. With more and more buyers using mobile devices to shop, 4 out of 5 shoppers say a video showing how a product or service works is important in their decision to purchase or not purchase a product or service. In fact, shoppers report research on mobile devices with visual content helps inform their product selection. As a result, Marketers who use video grow revenue ~49% faster than non-video users. But if a brand is going to use video, understand that shoppers of shoppers expect a consistent set of visual content across desktop and mobile devices.

Where does Facebook come into this equation? Over 100 million hours of video per day are watched on Facebook. (Techcrunch) It is reported that shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers and more than half of the marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.

With over 1.5 billion users, ~1 billion users visit Facebook on their mobile device, so brands considering must think mobile first. What sets Facebook apart from its competitors is its unique ability to harvest vast amounts of customer information to create custom audiences, generate leads and build brands. The advantage is that it’s all within a platform that is already known for its engagement opportunity.

Facebook also  rewards advertisers for shares with cheaper views, cheaper clicks, and more impressions. This combination leads to an overall better ROI. The net-net is that retailers & brands should be seriously considering video advertising because advertisers cite a 40 percent increase in purchases as a result of video – specifically in the categories of apparel, home goods, and electronics.

While there seem to be many advantages, some businesses are holding back on video advertising because they feel video is too hard to make, or doesn’t produce conversions the way other ads do. But video content does not need to be difficult to create. There are vendors that make it easy, like Animoto. And attribution to video ads is easier often than TV ads because of the digital footprint.

Brands should also use the analytics Facebook provides and make sure to not waste budget by not segmenting your audience. Segmenting audiences can be done by looking at jobs, life events, relationship status, purchasing behaviors and additional segmenting can be done beyond this, for example geo-location targeting. Without segmenting an audience, marketing risk wasting their ad budget on the wrong audience and not generate the conversions expected.

In addition, as in any advertising, it’s important to include a call-to-action. A call-to-action can be as simple as Book Now for travel, Learn More for addition features on a product, Contact us for more information or Shop Now to be taken to the actual online store or landing page or a click-to-call button. But be careful – a call-to-action without engagement can result in consumers feeling “pushed” vs “pulled” into taking action. Include special offers and time sensitive, last minute deal to motivate consumer to come to a store, call or click.

If Marketers use a click to call button, make sure the contact center is ready to take the calls and knows what the special offers are. Consumers seem to prefer to call than fill out a web form and call convert to revenue 10X more than web leads. That is only true if there is someone at the other end of the phone to take the call intelligently. This means Marketers must ensure the ad copy and landing pages are optimized to drive calls and that they can attribute calls and the outcome to the right ad campaign so you can do more of the right thing and optimize the video marketing.

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Applications

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Guest Post: Prospering in the E-Commerce Market

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There are many e-commerce stores popping up right, left and center. The online market is like “Perfect Competition” described in economic studies; in perfect competition, there are no barriers toand exit and no single player can influence price. It is very easy to set-up an e-commerce store but with thin margins and cut-throat margins it is very difficult to survive and prosper in this segment. Many e-commerce stores are closing down, and yet at the same time, new big players like Walmart are entering into the market by purchasing websites like Jet.com in multi-dollar deals! Amazon is continuously expanding and is now currently pushing to capture a greater market share in India. The market has potential but only for the most determined. For the small players right now, it is especially a daunting challenge, as the market is in consolidation stage and most of the big players are combing and pushing slower businesses out or buying them out.

So the point comes what can you do for success in the e-commerce world?

  • Digital advertising is the key to success

You need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in online advertising, for it may look easy but it is actually quite challenging. Thanks to the advent of traditional Google ads will no longer cut it. Also charging your credit card on Facebook is also quite the expensive option and you cannot just rely on Facebook alone. So what do you do? You keep abreast of latest trends, for example right now Video ads are one way of getting around ad blockers.

Besides ad-blockers, video ads make more sense. Video consumption across devices has increased thanks to falling data charges in most countries and increasing smartphone and internet penetration.

  • Look inwards

Right now the e-commerce market is cut-throat. You can only maximize margins to a certain level. To stay competitive against giants you need to cut every possible cost. You need to look inwards and see where you can save money. Find a cheaper toll-free number, a cheaper shipping service or find ways to save on packaging. Negotiate better credit periods and see your bank charges and negotiate for each and every cent you can. It is difficult but every cent saved helps to add towards the bottom line.

This is especially a must for start-ups, often being helmed by fresh graduates who also have to worry about paying off their student loans. Every strive and profit you make out of your business not only helps you scale but also helps to get your personal finances in order avoid problems like delayed student loans.

  • Keep track of customer satisfaction rates

Customer satisfaction rates are often treated like a fire putting exercise. They often come into the limelight once sales start to fall. By then, restoring customer satisfaction and restoring goodwill lost becomes an uphill task. All businesses heavily rely on customer satisfaction thus one should keep a constant track it. Monitor your total sales and then draw up a meaningful sample that represents the whole population. Follow up with this sample and understand the customer satisfaction levels. Also keep a good track on customer reviews. Pacify disgruntled customers fast because they are the ones who are more active at commenting on public pages.

 

About the Author

Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student who loves to write on the topics related business, finance, technology and education. Follow @RachaelEverly for further updates

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Video Advertising: Key to Getting Customers Attention As Ad Blocking is Increasing

Searches for Influencer Marketing have grown 5x in 2015 according to a study from Google Trends from January 2016. Nearly 40% of Millennials are using ad block applications and their use is growing fast according to a study by PageFair & Adobe. So how does a company get their target customer’s attention? And with content marketing a #1 priority for most CMOs as more and more sales are decided upon before even talking to a sales person. And sometimes a salesperson is never contacted, so getting the customer’s undivided attention has never been so important. Perhaps the answer is video marketing. Video consumption has exploded across all devices and is one of the fastest growing advertising category.

Adobe, a the leader in video content creation and delivery, announced it’s acquisition of TubeMogul which will enable brands to capitalize on the huge shift to online video. The acquisition of TubeMogul  strengthens Adobe’s leadership in digital marketing and advertising technology. The addition of TubeMogul will enable Adobe’s customers to maximize their video advertising investments across desktop, mobile, streaming devices and TV. TubeMogul’s video advertising platform. In addition, this allows their customers to build upon their capabilities in search, display and social advertising planning and delivery using Adobe Media Optimizer with Adobe Marketing Cloud. This combination will give customers access to first-party data and measurement capabilities from Adobe Audience Manager (Adobe’s data management platform) and by using Adobe Analytics.

Why is video advertising so important? Brad Rencher, executive vice president and general manager, digital marketing, Adobe gave this statement, “Whether it’s episodic TV, indie films or Hollywood blockbusters, video consumption is exploding across every device and brands are following those eyeballs.” Adobe feels the acquisition of TubeMogul, will give customers a ‘one-stop shop’ for video advertising, providing even more strategic value for the use of the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

TubeMogul is a video demand-side platform (DSP) leader. Brett Wilson, CEO and co-founder, TubeMogul said, “The combination of Adobe Marketing Cloud with TubeMogul’s software creates a uniquely comprehensive platform that will help marketers always know what’s working — and act on it.” And what’s key is measurement – to know what is working and not working, and obviously do more of what is getting a result.

There are so many choices for Marketers today, as far as software and it is only getting more confusing with all the choices. When a software company can show you how to get results, you know you are going in the right direction. Education and learning to use all the features and functions of what the various software platforms provide is of growing concern for most companies to obtain the highest ROI possible for the investment they have made.

It’s key that Marketers are clear on what their strategy, goals, objectives and tactics are and have a strong measurement program to be able to show that the software purchase enhanced the brands ability to drive more awareness, increase customer acquisition and turn more leads into sales. And with ad blocking increasing, there’s got to be another way to get customer’s attention. Video seems to be a prime candidate. This is just one example of how early adopters and innovators are taking hold of the market place and making their competition irrelevant. And like the BlueOcean authors said, that’s the key to financial success in today’s marketplace. Cross the chasm, join the digital transformation and digital disruption evolution or expect to be disrupted. Disrupt or be disrupted. Those are the choices to being innovative leaders and using design thinking to transform your business revenue model.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, www.ConstellationResearch.com

Covering Customer-facing Applications to Create Great Customer Experiences

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Congratulations to the Constellation Super Nova Award Winners in Customer Experience!

The reason we at Constellation Research created the SuperNova Awards is because we know advancing the adoption of disruptive technology is not easy. Technology adoption faces resistance from budget constraints, hurdles to adoption, and myopia. All the finalists here today have successfully implemented technologies that will lead their organizations into the future. These people have vision. These people are leaders. These people understand the value of disruptive technology. All of the SuperNova Award applications are on the Constellation website.

Today’s customer demands a personalized experience during every stage of the buying process. Customers demand to be treated like royalty before, during, and after purchase. Customers want this same level of service across social, mobile, and analog channelsFinalists in the Next Generation Customer Experience category understand today’s demanding customers. They have implemented technologies and programs to boost brand loyalty and customer engagement. The finalists for Next Generation Customer Experience:

  • Amihai Zeltzer from Stanley Healthcare
  • Martin Marcinczyk from Comcast
  • Murray Swartzberg from the ATP World Tour
  • Roshan Koonja from Constance Hotels and Resorts
  • Scott Strickland and Jim Flatt from Denon + Marantz Electronics.

And the winner of the SuperNova Award for Next Generation Customer Experience is…. Murray Swartzberg from the ATP World Tour! Murray and his team won the SuperNova Award for enhancing the tennis experience for fans and players.  The ATP partnered with Infosys to produce Game-Stats that are based on the real-time in-memory paradigm aligned with IIP Tooling & Apache Spark. The project revolutionized how tennis analysts and fans receive statistics about professional tennis players

Make sure to apply next year!

Congratulations to all the executives and their teams who are truly making a difference in creating great customer experiences.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering customer-facing applications that deliver excellent customer service and customer experience!

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The Business Phone System Reinvented: The Next-Generation Cloud Communications and Collaboration Tool

The only way to build a truly innovative and collaborative culture is to give everyone a voice. In working with Dialed, I just completed some ROI research to understand how quickly, easy and affordable it is today to plug every employee into your business with a very innovative phone system. They way it works is that Dialpad turns all of your devices into your business phone, letting you make high-definition calls over Wi-Fi or your carrier network from anywhere. And businesses can let their  remote workers and global offices feel like a part of HQ with peer-to-peer HD video. This is especially great for field service, where video often can solve the problem like no other solution because you can SEE the issue. In these new systems, modern business communications integrate seamlessly with the productivity apps that employees use every day, making it easier than ever for them to collaborate with docs, emails, and calendar invites.

With this system, a brand can move a phone call from their WiFi to their carrier or from a desktop to a mobile device very easily, so in essence it is very easy to switch calls from device to device (phone, tablet, desktop…) It is also easy to transfer calls between colleagues or departments simply by looking up a name in the directory.

In the ROI research we interviewed two companies, Vivant Solar and a large communication services provider to see how they transformed their on-premises telephony systems to a purely cloud-based communications solution using Dialpad. The change, depending on the situation, resulted in six- to seven- figure cost savings. Both companies previously had legacy, on-premises PBX (Private Branch Exchange) technology, which is a private telephone network used within a company.

Dialpad provides a secure, enterprise communications cloud solution that incorporates traditional PBX features into a modern cloud-based, business communications VoIP system. The solution integrates with Google Apps for Work and with Office 365, with a user interface built to satisfy the needs of a modern workplace but without the typical costs of traditional enterprise, on-premise telephony systems.

The platform offers messaging, voice, video, conference calling in the cloud, attributed call transfer, auto-attendant, IVR, business SMS, MMS, and group messaging, call recording, live-call device switching, international outbound calling, local telephone numbers, multi-device functionality, toll-free numbers, visual voicemail, contact profiles, a company directory and fax support as well as core social profile applications, such as LinkedIn and Twitter for context about the caller. In case you are wondering, has anyone else discovered this service, Dialpad’s customers include 60 percent of the Fortune 500, high-growth enterprises, and forward thinking organizations and start-ups. The service is built on the WebRTC framework and runs on a redundant global network of nine data centers on four continents.

CUSTOMER ROI CASE STUDY: VIVINT SOLAR 

In the evaluation of various technology infrastructure systems, Mike Hincks, Director, IT Infrastructure at Vivint Solar, found that traditional IT voice systems come with hundreds of thousands of dollars of yearly infrastructure and hosting costs, all designed around employees using desk phones. The catalyst for change was to use a system not tied to a desk phone. One of the many interesting features was that Dialpad had no upfront capital expenditures or maintenance costs, which made it easier to get the technology approved by senior leaders at Vivint Solar.

In addition, Hincks looked at the money the sister company was spending on long-distance contracts. With Dialpad, there were no long-distance carrier costs. Hincks also looked at the cost of the team he would need to hire in order to maintain an on premise, hosted solution. The sister company had had a five-person team to manage voice applications. In addition, Hincks would have needed to schedule the IT team’s time to provision a new phone for each employee, with at least one hour of training per employee and some additional time from the IT team for troubleshooting. Dialpad required less than one full-time equivalent employee.

Another one of the biggest conveniences was that Dialpad integrated with Google for Work without any authentication process. “I found the Millennial workforce wants technology to work right away. They don’t want to set up an application, have to go through training or troubleshoot it. They want to click on an app and see it work immediately,” said Hincks.

The positive feedback about Dialed from Vivint Solar’s more than 4,000 mobile workers includes:

  • Improving the ease of signing up and using the communications technology
  • Increasing agility to work anytime and anywhere on any device with technology that doesn’t get in the way of productivity
  • Increasing productivity by being able to use a simple user interface
  • Boosting the ability to make bigger sales at a faster rate.

The ROI: Costs were reduced by several hundred thousand dollars, year over year. Savings came from:

  • No upfront capital expenditure and maintenance costs
  • No long-distance carrier costs
  • No need to hire a team to manage the cloud based communications
  • No need to train employees or engage the training department
  • High user adoption rate because of the simple user interface
  • Improved ability to attract talent by reducing recruiting costs and increasing retention of top talent

A GLOBAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS AND SERVICES COMPANY

In the second company, the Director of Digital Workplace Technologies set up a proof of concept (POC) with Dialpad. He found that the best way to meet the needs of workers in the modern enterprise was using cloud technology. He wanted to re-conceptualize how communications services could be presented to users and to eliminate deterrents to productivity, especially for the geographically distributed workforce that used telephony systems. The Director of Digital Workplace Technologies said, “It was important to look at an IT project as an organizational change management project. We learned this lesson when we moved our users to Google Apps for Work. Technology changes that affect how productive workers are should be seen as organizational change projects. If you can’t find something you are looking for, it makes you less productive and frustrated. So we always overlay organization change management with our IT rollouts.”

DON’T FORGET ORGANIZATION CHANGE MANAGEMENT

The company needed to have a new communications system that could be completely up and running in minutes, compared to months or even years required for deploying global on-premises systems. Applications built in the cloud reduce costs because they are more flexible, extensible, and easier to work with while making collaboration intuitive. And this company found organizational change management was a key element for a successful implementation of this new communications system.

The ROI

Using Dialpad, the company was able to retire several of its old telephony systems and realize millions of dollars in cost savings by reducing:

  • Maintenance agreements
  • Infrastructure
  • Service and support for the infrastructure
  • Phone lines from service providers.

Today, the company has deployed about 6,000 VoIP lines on Dialpad, which cover about 40 percent of its global employee base. It is looking to expand coverage every quarter. The company’s savings were several million dollars, year over year. Savings came from:

  • No upfront capital expenditure
  • No maintenance costs
  • Reduced reliance on IT helpdesk
  • No long-distance carrier costs.

GIVING EMPLOYEES MORE CHOICE, RESULTING IN HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

After implementing Dialpad at just one large site, the global company reduced the site’s cost per minute of call time by double digits. In addition, the new system offered features that the old telephony systems could not. For instance, the PBX system had been tied to a particular device – the desk office phone. However, most people are now mobile, working from various devices and remote locations. Clearly, workers could not take their desk phones outside of their offices. When workers were away from their desks, they had to use cell phones or other alternatives – from multiple phone numbers – that created additional costs for the company.

Dialpad, however, allows employees use to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony. When the company moved to Dialpad, employees could use their computers to place calls, essentially replacing desk phones. They could also use the Dialpad application on their Android or iOS mobile devices. To the person receiving the call, it all comes from the same phone number, whether the VoIP call is made from a computer or from a mobile device.

Employees could also become more productive. With the ability to communicate from any place, using any device, while still being accessible from a single phone number, people could connect with each other more easily. As collaboration was made easier, the ability for teams to work more effectively with remote employees was also improved. In essence, the company had a new potential to increase the agility and adaptability of its workforce. Employees could be more productive, collaborative and feel more connected to each other using Dialpad.

MODERNIZING THE WORKPLACE 

The new technology enabled the company to modernize its workplace. The company realized that it needed to give employees – as well as new hires and interns – technology tools that are modern, intuitive and easy to use, unlike traditional enterprise tools. The company found employees could easily pick up how to use Dialpad because they were familiar with Google Apps for Work. While moving to Dialpad, the company was also able to shift a portion of its traditional help desk activity to a self-service and community-supported model. In the community, users can ask influencers an guides questions.

WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IN CHOOSING NEW TECHNOLOGY

Hardware costs and desk phones traditionally have driven the voice communications industry. While struggling for decades to bring down hardware costs, providers attempted to shift to a software model that yielded some feature and cost improvements. However, these changes have not significantly reduced costs, improved scalability, boosted agility or simplified use. In contrast, a revolutionary, exponential change occurs in the telephony industry from using a 100 percent cloud based system designed with the user in mind that is extremely easy to deploy and use while slashing operating costs, eliminating call charges, and offering rapid, unlimited and affordable scalability.

GIVING EMPLOYEES THE RIGHT TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY RESULTS IN BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES

At the end of the day, it’s really the employees that create the customer experience. And employees can’t do that unless they are given the right technology. It’s up to companies to evaluate the technology they are using and to provide them the latest technology that allows them to be their best. For information about this research study, you can find it here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Creating Great Customer Experiences By Empowering Employees

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What You Don’t Know About Millennials Will Hurt Your Bottom-line

This research that I just completed is about how to use customer experience to turn Millennials into brand advocates. Why does it matter? They are different than other generations that have come before then. If you are in the Boomer Generation and are running a contact center there are some changes on the horizon that are key to know about and start preparing for now.

Let’s look at some of the stats. There are >2 billion people in the world. Two billion are active on social media and 1 in 3 consumers prefer social to phones for service. Who’s leading the way? Those that were born into the world with nearly a device in their hand, well almost. And while this post is about customer service, we can’t really separate marketing, customer service and other disciplines. We’ll see why in a minute.

Millennials are the largest, most diverse, educated & influential shoppers on the planet. They are positioned to be the wealthiest generation to date and have influence over their Baby Boomer parent’s choices & will inherent their money / real estate. In fact, by 2018 in US, projected income = $3.4 Trillion/year & surpassing Baby Boomer income.

They are different than The Boomer Generation in that social networks & technology are their LIVES! Here’s some stats:

  • 75% created a profile on a social networking site
  • 55% visit those sites once/day
  • 60% connect to the Internet wirelessly when they are away from work or home
  • 88% text each other
  • 74% new technology makes their life easier
  • 50% use it to be closer to their friends
  • 65% are disconnected one hour or less a day

And millennials take online action all the time!

  • 70% recommend their favorite brands to family & friends
  • 47% write about good online experiences
  • 40% have criticized a brand on a social network
  • 70% would create a video and post it online or write a review about their experience with a company

This post is about customer service, but the initial engagement of Millennials is typically through efforts that tend to fall into marketing – though can also be done in customer service. You want to asknormal-customer-text yourself are you really ready for the Millennials generation? Do you understand how different theunder-20-customer-texty are?

 

 

 

 

 

So if you are wondering where to start here’s some tips:

Map Your Generational Customer Journeys. This is Maya. She is 22 and social is her life. She may do some research using google and find your website. They she may decide to buy something from  Facebook ad, then one the she’s using the product and finds it not up to her standards, she complains on twitter and then leaves critical feed back you your website.

customer-journey

Learn Why Millennials Trust Your Company Enough to Buy from Them

While 55% said “price” was most important reason, however, price is the least important in building their trust

  • 30% cared more about product quality & quick service
  • 20% cared more about the range of products offered
  • Brand switching is common (least loyal of all generations)

Learn How Do Millennials Decide To Buy From You

A company’s reputation can matter as much as the performance of its products

  • 34% bought from a brand because of the social or political values of the company
  • 89% intentionally visit showroom to see product; then price compare & buy online at best price
  • 90% tell their family & friends NOT to purchase the company’s products when they lose trust or respect for a brand

Engage Millennials Around Life Events

  • They care about things that affect their life
  • Graduating, getting married, buying a house, having children, getting a job, getting divorce, dating…
  • That’s the type of content they are looking for from you – help them with their life events and they will reward you with their loyalty

But Know As You Engage Millennials, Don’t Separate Marketing and Customer Service!

Millennials don’t see the company from separate silos. They see the company as one large department and they expect that you know them and that you treat them the same in all channels, on all devices and from all interaction aspects – from marketing, to service to…. If a Millennial has a problem with a company, instead of calling customer service… 

  • They text 5 friends & share frustration on Facebook
  • Friends share the story with peer groups
  • Result: Friends comment on the incident & share their own stories of disappointment
  • A single event can spread like wildfire
  • When seeking customer service <1% will call customer!

Empower WORD-OF-MOUTH Millennial From All Departments and Share Data About Customers Across All Departments

Know what Marketing said to the customer about a product and service. Know what the brand promise was and make sure the product lives up to it. And that customer service knows what that promised was so they can help transform a bad situation into a good one. Millennials want to trust your brand.

  • Millennials are looking for great products and brands to share with their friends
  • Focus on making an excellent product
  • If you do, then your marketing efforts can be authentic
  • As a result, WOM marketing will be done by Millennials.

So here’s some take aways and look forward to a new report with much more details soon! I am speaking at OpenWorld on Tuesday Sept 20 at 11 AM in Moscone West. Come say hi! I want to hear your stories!

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@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Constellation Research Covering All Customer Facing Applications to Create Great Customer Experiences!

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*Sources: Pew Research,  Javelin Strategy & Research Study  &  IRI study

 

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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 http://bit.ly/2bvWzgJ #custserv #CX

(Here’s the report: http://www.drnatalienews.com/blog/roi-of-social-customer-service-how-to-calculate-it-and-create-a-strong-business-case )

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2. Think ROI of Social #custserv can’t be calculated? Think again! Webinar Sept 13th @clarabridge http://bit.ly/2bSN0vj

(Here’s the report: http://www.drnatalienews.com/blog/roi-of-social-customer-service-how-to-calculate-it-and-create-a-strong-business-case )

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3. Digital Transformation: the Digital Blindspot – don’t let it happen to your co #ITRATL Sept 14th @constellationr (Here’s the report: https://www.constellationr.com/research/digital-disruption-blind-spot-could-sink-your-iot-initiatives )

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

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5. Webinar: How #DPM is the new #CX Sept 28th @dynatrace http://bit.ly/2bDQq2X @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 http://buff.ly/2b2yjpW )

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6. Digital Performance Management #DPM #DXS16 November 14 – make your #customerexperience #CX really powerful http://bit.ly/2bCLNrE

(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 http://buff.ly/2b2yjpW )

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Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

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

 

 

 
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