The State of Customer Service and Support in 2015

This report is about how Customer Service and Support is evolving into Customer Success Management as top differentiator by companies and brands that understand the importance of the digital disruption and how it is affecting their business and their customers.

This is one of Constellation’s research team delivers its inaugural series on the state of the state. The state of the state research explores the impact of digital transformation, next-generation customer experience and matrix commerce from a systems perspective. It takes into account the political, economic, societal, technological, environmental, and legislative points of view. This research report explores a key area – customer service and support.

Next-Generation Customer Experience Guides Organizations toward Customer Segments of One

The theme of Next-Generation Customer Experience analyzes how organizations are making the shift from systems of engagement to systems of experience and mass personalization at scale.  Traditional viewpoints of the customer via marketing, sales, service and support, and commerce are collapsing. In fact, customers don’t care what department they talk to for marketing, sales, and service. Customers expect an organization to act as one entity and their front office experiences to match other experiences regardless of touch point.

This customer-centric cohesion requires new paradigms in user experience fueled by the backbone of digital business, including social, mobile, cloud, Big Data, and unified communications. Technology provides a catalyst for new experiences as organizations move from selling products and delivering on brand promise via customer experiences which require a change in organizational DNA and leadership from both the top and from the empowered bottom.

The themes of the paper are:

  • Everything that needs to be said about customer service and support has been said
  • Customer service is still the new marketing
  • Customer service evolves into customer success management
  • Customers deserve the bad service they receive today
  • From multi-channel to ubiquitous channels, the death of omni-channel has happened
  • Hype trumps reality in ubiquitous channel capabiliites among the vendors
  • Vendors continue to co-opt each other’s messaging

Get ready to make the shift as the front office becomes the back office, and marketing, sales, customer service, and loyalty form the basis of the new engagement strategy.  Will you be ready for the next generation of customer experience?

You can find a snapshot of the paper here:


VP and Principal Analyst

Covering Customer Service and Customer Success Management


The State of Customer Success Management in 2015

This report is about the The State of Customer Success Management in 2015. Constellation’s research team delivers its inaugural series on the state of the state. The state of the state research explores the impact of digital transformation, next generation customer experience and matrix commerce from a systems perspective considering the political, economical, societal, technological, environmental, and legislative point of view. This research report explores a key area – Customer Success Management (CSM).

It goes into detail about how next generation customer experience is guiding the success of Customer Success Management.  A shift to Customer Success Management is emanate because we live in the world of a continuous, opt-in economy, where the value of a customer is determined by how long they stay a customer and if they continue to increase their purchase amounts over time. As a result, companies must prepare themselves to deliver great, continuous and consistent customer experiences. Before the opt-in economy, businesses were focused on the initial sale. A great deal of money was spent advertising and marketing to potential prospects, enticing them to convert from a lead to a sale.

However, little attention was paid to the after sale experience, even though the ubiquitous poor customer experiences still exist today after decades of research showing that after sales service directly affects the financial stability of a company. It makes absolutely no sense to spend millions or in some cases billions of dollars in advertising, marketing and sales to then drive the customer to the competitor because the after sales service experience is horrible. Yet this occurs every single day in many, many companies. Customer Success Management is based on the ability to deliver consistent customer experience process, before, during and— in particular, after the sale which continuous loops into increase customer lifetime value, enhanced revenue, increased margins and profits.

The main themes in the paper are:

  • Delivering a brand promise instead of a product or service requires new approaches.
  • Clients who believe in customer experience build CSM organizations.
  • CSM delivers more customers, less churn, and higher margins, really!
  • Predictive analytics identify known and reveal unknown attributes that drive customer success and
  • Expect larger customer experience vendors to incorporate these principles or acquire in this space.
 The reason some companies like Zappos, Nordstorm, Lexus, which are all considered “luxury” brands can offer excellent service is that their business model is built with enough margin to provide the people, process and technology that can deliver great experiences. Businesses must move away from the thinking that this type of service is limited to only luxury brands and they themselves must stop cutting corners on CSM. All businesses that expect to make it through the next several years must begin to change their business models immediately so that they have the margin to provide great, loyalty creating experiences.

Is your company ready to transform how it treats its customers? For information on this report you can find a snapshot here.


VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer Success Management and Customer Service


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?


VP And Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

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


Medallia Releases Next-Generation Module to Help Companies Systematically Eliminate Recurring Customer Issues

Medallia® Customer Experience Management (CEM) provider announced the release of Medallia Resolve, an advanced customer experience capability that helps companies quickly find the root causes of recurring customer pain points so they can be addressed at the source of the problem.One of the biggest issues is that companies don’t keep track of what reoccurring issues their customers have and use that feedback to correct things in their company. As a result, the same problems happen over and over and over again, waisting thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. Closing the ‘inner loop’ with customers has become standard practice for some companies resolve individual customer issues. And even more difficult is the challenge is to increase the strategic impact of customer feedback by closing the ‘outer loop,’ or aggregating feedback to uncover business improvement opportunities that provide tangible value for large groups of customers.

To assist companies in figuring out what those reoccuring issues are, Medallia Resolve’s new features include:

  • Best-practice-tailored case management tools that help companies engage in a productive dialogue with customers when things go wrong: by alerting the employee who is closest to the problem to close the loop with the customer, helping them better understand the issue, and letting them record findings for systemic learning and analysis.
  • Enhanced internal collaboration tools: which aggregate historical data from all touchpoints to give employees the context they need to solve customer problems — and allow them to pull in teammates for help.
  • An upgraded reporting dashboard: which opens the ‘outer loop’ by identifying root causes of recurring customer pain points — includingbroken processes, common misunderstandings, and training gaps.
  • A real-time mobile app: which alerts employees about customer issues on the go and provides the ability for them to respond directly even if they’re away from their desk.

In a time where margins are thin and customer expectations are higher than ever, it only makes sense to learn from a brand’s mistake, fix time and try best not to repeat them. Having this process automated can accelerate the ability of the company to better meet the needs of their customers and provide better customer experiences and engagement. How does your company find and resolve reoccurring issues?


VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Service, Customer Experience and Customer Engagement


Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

This report is about Marketers can create social networks to deliver better engagement and business results with branded, owned online communities. n the business environment that dominated the past few decades, successful marketers helped drive business value by demonstrating proficiency in customer acquisition and lead conversion.

In the digital era, however, top marketers help their brands reap the business value of using branded social networks to drive enhanced customer engagement/experience. The business value of branded social networks comes from the simple idea that forward-looking brands should reimagine their businesses as social networks of customers, fans, partners and many stakeholders who share an enthusiasm for the brand and thus provide the essential elements of a top-performing, revenue-generating brand.

This report explores how smart marketers can apply investments in social networks to drive business results. Constellation provides key criteria for marketing leaders to evaluate when selecting a brand-owned social network technology. In addition, Constellation shares six best practices for successful deployment of brand-owned social networks.

For more information about this report, you con find it here.


VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Social Networking and Online Communities


Racksapce Wins SuperNova Award For Next Generation Customer Experience With Zimbra Community

Each year at our conference, Constellation’s Connected Enterprise, companies submit case studies in several categories, including next generation customer experiences.

This post is about how Rackspace, who was a SuperNova Award Winner for Next Gen Customer Experiences, used a Zimbra Community, along with Rackspaces’s Knowgedge Center and Support Drawer to provide a global online community that provides its customers with a central place to share questions, discuss challenges, rate content and provide feedback.

Overall, the Rackspace community focuses on scaling the delivery of Fanatical Support, educating core customers, increasing customer engagement and sharing Racker knowledge.

A few standouts about the community include:

  • Previously, there was no mechanism available to provide assistance with non-supported products being used by customers. With the Rackspace community, the ability to share experiences about non-supported products now exists.
  • Customers now have direct access to Rackspace-produced content and information obtained in conversations with other customers about issues that may be applicable to all customers. Prior to the community, this was not readily available to customers.
  • Customers now have access to transparent communication with Rackspace leadership around important issues.

The results and benefits?

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!


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!








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:

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.


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 

• 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
Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st

Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton

Submit a Case Study for CCE



IBM Watson and Genesys Partner to Power Smarter Customer Experiences

IBM and Genesys (, a leading provider of customer experience and contact center solutions, today announced a partnership that will transform how organizations of all sizes differentiate their customer experience by tapping the power of IBM Watson to transform the way brands engage clients across customer service, marketing and sales through data-driven insights and automated actions.


The combination of the Watson Engagement Advisor with the Genesys Customer Experience Platform to is reportedly positioned to transform how organizations worldwide engage with their customers across customer experience touchpoints and channels of communication. This partnerships will allow Genesys to develop a learning system that can better serve consumers in their self-service applications and contact centers because The Watson Engagement Advisor enables natural language solution learning and adapts and understands market and organizational data quickly and easily, and gets progressively smarter with use, outcomes, and new pieces of information.


The partnership will aid and assist a brand’s customer service agents to provide fast, data-driven answers, or simply sit directly in the hands of consumers via mobile device, chat session or online interaction. In one simple click, the solution’s “Ask Watson” feature can quickly help address customers’ questions, offer feedback to guide their purchase decisions, and troubleshoot their problems.

Because today’s consumers are a tweet, post, phone call, email or web chat away from reporting an issue or asking a question, and nearly half expect a response from businesses within a span of minutes, according to Edison Research, companies need to get a lot smarter about how they operationalize real-time customer service. Brand customer representatives who field these inquiries are often backlogged with time-consuming issues or questions that require detailed, accurate responses not often readily available to them – which can lead to an inconsistent customer experience. We’ve all been there – called a contact center and knew more about what we were asking than the company did. Perhaps this will help agents become closer to being able to provide real-time customer service.


Contact center agents can gain access to a cloud-based Watson advisor that reads and uncover insights from millions of pages of data-driven content within seconds, from product guides to call transcripts. The result: cognitive computing that will augment a contact center agent’s knowledge and shift their time from searching for answers to discovering timely insights that solve problems, facilitate new opportunities, and improve the customer experience.  


Genesys customers will gain the additional value of a Watson cloud-based advisor that thinks, learns and provides expert insights, while combing through millions of pages of data within seconds for customers and the contact center agents who serve them. As a result, Genesys customers can tap into the body of data that Watson understands and puts to work and use that knowledge to deliver more actionable and satisfying responses to customer inquiries in their self-service applications and contact centers.


Imagine yourself as a bank customer, home from work and doing late night research on mortgage loans after your children are in bed. You may see a feature or rate that you like, but you have detailed questions that require expert advice. You can call, email or tweet the brand, but it’s after-hours. Many brands dont even pay attention to tweets much less have someone answering questions at night. Often that customer would not have access to a customer service agent until the next day.

Now envision the following experience: at any time of night, you can access a web chat advisor that has access to the bank’s data-driven content around mortgages, and through a natural language interface, understands your questions and history interacting with the bank. Not only will the application educate you on all things mortgage shopping, but it will also provide a formal offer that can be presented by a mortgage expert at a convenient time scheduled by you.

The idea is that with the Watson Ecosystem, Genesys customers will gain access to a cloud-based advisor that, within seconds, can read and uncover insights from millions of pages of data-driven content, from product guides to call transcripts to deliver exceptional customer experiences. The result: cognitive computing will augment agents’ knowledge and free their bandwidth from searching for answers, to creatively thinking of how they can further help a customer or even make a sale. This, in turn, will allow Genesys clients to deliver on their brand’s promise to the nearly 80 percent of consumers who say that the contact center is involved in defining the customer experience. SOURCE (IQPC)


Leveraging its experience and deep domain expertise across industries including banking, insurance, and retail, Genesys will integrate access to the cloud-based Watson to its Customer Experience Platform empowering their customers with the ability to interact through a natural dialog leveraging Watson’s understanding and intelligent natural language response. Now consumers can tap into Watson to gain insight and answers faster than possible with knowledge management solutions.


The desire for self-service is there – both from the company’s point of view (reduce call volume, etc…) and customers are tired of calling into a contact center only to be disappointed. But while self-service has been a leading “idea” it rarely delivers an experience that doesn’t garner the customer to try to get help in another channel, often the phone channel. This defeats the purpose of self-service and reduces the first contact resolution — one of the most important indicators of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The IBM Watson and Genesys solution provides organizations with the ability to identify when a customer needs to speak with a customer experience representative, rather than continuing in a self-service application. For example, if a customer reaches a point in conversation during a self-service interaction that could prompt either customer churn or a timely sales opportunity, Watson’s knowledge of pre-defined business guidelines allows the solution to signal when it is time to transfer the conversation to an agent.

The customer is not arbitrarily transferred to just any agent among the potentially hundreds who work at a call center. The solution pinpoints the exact agent to handle a customer’s inquiry, based on specific factors such as an agent’s experience, channel used, training and even license to discuss or sell a given product and then transfers the customer with the accompanying detail of the self-service interaction. This could mean a shift to reducing call volume and increasing first contact resolution – if it works as indicated. Case studies will be interesting to hear how brands are actually putting it to use.


Paul Segre, President and CEO, Genesys says, “This combined solution delivers sophisticated yet simple to manage knowledge capabilities to transform self-service systems and human interactions into positive brand impressions. With Watson, our new solution provides a transformational customer experience with a natural and informed transition from self service to agent assistance to yield better business outcomes.


Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group says, “By tapping into IBM Watson’s cognitive intelligence, Genesys is infusing a personalized assistant into every customer interaction. Customer engagement is a natural fit for Watson, empowering brands with information driven insights. This is a key example of how a new era of cognitive computing applications will transform industries and professions and revolutionize how decisions are made.”

About Genesys

Genesys is the market leader in multi-channel customer experience (CX) and contact center solutions in the cloud and on-premises. We help brands of all sizes make great CX great business. The Genesys Customer Experience Platform powers optimal customer journeys consistently across all touchpoints, channels and interactions to turn customers into brand advocates. Genesys is trusted by over 4,500 customers in 80 countries to orchestrate more than 100 million digital and voice interactions each day. Visit us at or call us at +1.888.436.3797.


IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

Three years after its victory on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, IBM Watson has evolved to represent a new era of computing, where by 2017 it is predicted that 10 percent of computers will be able to learn as Watson does. Today, Watson is no longer just the world’s most famous game-playing computer. IBM has put Watson to work in various industries. In healthcare, IBM is co-developing an application with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and partnering with WellPoint, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Additionally, IBM has partnered with numerous colleges and universities across the country to teach Watson capabilities and cognitive computing technology to the next generation workforce. In 2013, IBM announced the introduction of the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor, the first Watson offering designed to improve customer experience, putting the power of Watson within reach of everyone.

IBM’s mission to spark a new generation of Watson-powered apps is just the latest milestone in developing cognitive system offerings that help its clients and partners succeed.

For more information on IBM Watson, please visit


Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

Catch my latest:
• Thoughts at 
• Upcoming book series: “7 Steps To Digital Customer Experience Mastery” (working title) 

Webinar: 11/26 How Visual Self-Service Drives Great Customer Experiences

Join me for the upcoming webinar, “How Visual Self-Service Drives Great Customer Experience.

This is a must-not-miss for brands and businesses looking to up their Customer Experience strategy. If you’re a regular follower of my work, you already know how valuable fantastic customer service is, and if you’re not familiar with my work, this webinar is a perfect place to start!

Main topics will include:

  • The evolution of self-service over 125 years from a mere concept to the development of speech recognition and IVRs.
  • The rising need to meet the real-time, on-the-go demands of the connected consumer
  • The transition from Push Button IVR to Visual IVR.
  • Practical solutions for narrowing the gap between agent assistance and automated
    self service.
  • Valuable tips on how you can transform self service in your organization,
    quickly and profitably.
  • Find out how companies are creating win-win solutions for both the connected customer and the organization with a visual IVR that works on all digital properties.

Need more details? Here you go:

Event status: Not started (Register)
Date and time: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:00 am
Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Panelist(s) Info:
Dr. Natalie Petouhoff – Customer Service & Social Media ROI expert
Duration: 45 minutes


Looking forward to “seeing” you on the 26th, and look forward to your comments and feedback!

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
G+ :
Google Plus posts
DrNatalie Petouhof


Enhanced by Zemanta