ROI of Social Customer Service: How to Calculate It and Create a Strong Business Case

The phrase “customer service is the new marketing” has gained popularity with brands realizing that poor customer service takes current, and even potential customers, out of the marketing funnel. Why? If a customer doesn’t get the help she needs, she often will not remain loyal – or worse, she will take to social media and tarnish the brand. Think about it. If a consumer’s flight gets delayed or she receives terrible food brought to the table, she might post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Yelp within minutes of the incident. From one mistake, a company’s reputation can be smeared all over the internet. The report goes into a lot of detail so it’s clear how to calculate the ROI of social customer service:

Economic Imperative of The ROI of Social Customer Service

Many brands have experienced incidents where not taking care of an issue turned into a social media nightmare. These include brands like Domino’s Pizza[i], the Red Cross[ii], McDonald’s[iii], and Cisco and extends to people’s personal brands such as comedian Gilbert Gottfried[iv] and hockey player Tyler Sequin.[v]

Customer care extends far beyond the traditional call center. Every touch point or interaction with the company (or even content about the company) can affect the customer’s satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. While it’s not always a positive experience, brands need to hear opinions expressed online to enable them to create the necessary corrections, drive strategy, and improve operations for making great customer experiences.

To gain buy-in for this type of interaction in a social customer service program, executives need to show senior leaders a viable business case. Once everyone is on board, it’s time to create some baseline metrics and goals and then determine what the ROI needs to be based on the program qualifications being set in place. The components of a business case include:

  • Goals and objectives for the social customer care initiative
  • A strategy to meet the social customer care goals and objectives
  • Metrics/Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the goals and objectives
  • The business results (cost savings or revenue generation) or the return on investment (ROI) for the social customer care initiative.

How to Calculate Social Customer Care ROI

Constellation often hears comments such as “the ROI of social media can’t be calculated because there are too many unknowns” or “don’t worry about the ROI – social media is very tactical – just start doing it – get a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a Pinterest account.” Some people may quote metrics and/or KPIs, but few know how to convert them into ROI.

An ROI calculation offers a way to put the business strategy and metrics into a formula to show, in numbers, how the strategy is, for instance, increasing revenue or decreasing costs. ROI calculations can also provide perspective on the potential strengths or weaknesses of the strategy. Examples in this report will show how correctly calculating ROI will help in the evaluation and improvement of your strategies. The formula to calculate ROI is:


Return on Investment
= (Gains from Investment) – (Costs of Investment) x 100

Costs of Investment

Calculating the ROI of social media involves three variables:

  • Traditional customer care business metrics
  • Social media metrics
  • Changes to traditional business processes and metrics when social media is applied to a business initiative.

Here’s an Example: Social Customer Care Increases Revenue and Customer Lifetime Value

An international airline that services over 280 destinations worldwide uses a social media tool for monitoring all its social channels, engaging back with its online communities, doing in-depth reporting, and tracking KPI metrics and agent performance. Most importantly, the platform the airline uses supports its global consumer base, enabling the airline to monitor the 30,000 social mentions received in more than nine languages each month.

A company’s revenue is based on the number of customers and the average purchase value in a period of time. When companies use a social media platform, they can increase their revenue from existing customers. By engaging and listening, they can retain them as customers and increase the amount and frequency of purchases over a longer period of time. When the company is truly listening and integrating the feedback, like the airline above, it will be able to meet the needs of the customer and increase not only the amount that the customer spends, but also the number of years the customer spends with that company.

Calculating Costs

To calculate costs, we look at the cost of the technology and implementation (see Figure 1). Then we also look at the cost of the employees or customer service professionals providing the social customer care. The payroll costs include the expenses of a manager part-time as well as the cost of 10 part-time customer service agents with 40 percent of their time spent on social customer care and 50 full-time customer care social media professionals. The total of the costs for both technology ($30,000) and payroll ($2,720,400) is $2,750,400.

Figure 1. Airline Example of Customer Social Media Cost CalculationCost of Social Customer Care

Calculating Gains

The benefit calculation is created by determining the extra revenue generated from more loyal customers who spend more with the airline. The annual number of customers or passengers per year is 22,000,000 with an average spend per customer of $250. With the increased responsiveness and better social customer service, we estimate that 10 percent of the customers will spend 10 percent more per year. The ROI is calculated by taking the $55,000,000 minus $2,750,400 x 100 divided by $2,750,400. This total increase in revenue is approximately $55,000,000 (see Figure 2), and the ROI is 1899 percent. This means that the airline made $18.99 for every dollar that it invested in social customer care.

Figure 2. Airline Example of Customer Social Media Gain Calculation

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 11.55.17 AM

In the report, we go over many different examples of how companies have calculated ROI. Though there are nearly dozens of ways that social adds to the value of not only Customer Service, Marketing, Product Innovation, Supply Chain, ERP as well as Internal Operations – like acquiring recruiting and retaining top talent. If you want more help on these types of calculations, we are here to help!

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications and how Social, IOT, Machine Learning and AI Transform Customer Experience

[i] “Managing Bad News in Social Media: A Case Study on Domino’s Pizza Crisis”, Jaram Park, Meeyoung Cha, Hoh Kim, Jaeseung Jeong, Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST, from Proceedings of the Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 2012, https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM12/paper/download/4672/4994‪.

[ii] “Red Cross Does PR Disaster Recovery on Rogue Tweet”, Todd Wasserman, Mashable, February 16, 2011,http://mashable.com/2011/02/16/red-cross-tweet/#q0MtRnonuSqN

[iii] “#McDStories: When a Hashtag Becomes a Bashtag”, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, January 24, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/24/mcdstories-when-a-hashtag-becomes-a-bashtag/#2b511f55193f

[iv] “Gilbert Gottfried Fired as Aflac Duck after Japanese Tsunami Tweets”, Huffington Post, March 14, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/gilbert-gottfried-fired-aflac_n_835692.html.

[v] “Tyler Seguin’s Account Tweets ‘Only Steers and Queers in Texas’; New Stars Center Says He Was Hacked”, SportsDay, July 2013, http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/starsheadlines/2013/07/07/tyler-seguin-s-account-tweets-only-steers-and-queers-in-texas-new-stars-center-say-he-was-hacked.

 

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Privacy vs. Protection: What Type of Customer Experience Do Consumers Want?

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and author of  of the ENCRYPT ACT of 2016, said of statement regarding the APPLE court order:

“The terrorist attack in San Bernardino was horrific and the tragic loss of innocent lives demands a strong response.  I have several deep concerns, however, about the unprecedented court order that forces Apple to create software it does not have in order to provide a “back door” way to weaken its smartphone encryption system.

This FBI court order, by compelling a private sector company to write new software, is essentially making that company an arm of law-enforcement.   Private sector companies are not—and should not be—an arm of government or law enforcement.

This court order also begs the question: Where does this kind of coercion stop?  Can the government force Facebook to create software that provides analytic data on who is likely to be a criminal?  Can the government force Google to provide the names of all people who searched for the term ISIL?  Can the government force Amazon to write software that identifies who might be suspicious based on the books they ordered?

Forcing Apple to weaken its encryption system in this one case means the government can force Apple—or any other private sector company—to weaken encryption systems in all future cases.  This precedent-setting action will both weaken the privacy of Americans and hurt American businesses.  And how can the FBI ensure the software that it is forcing Apple to create won’t fall into the wrong hands?  Given the number of cyberbreaches in the federal government—including at the Department of Justice—the FBI cannot guarantee this back door software will not end up in the hands of hackers or other criminals.

The San Bernardino massacre was tragic but weakening our cyber security is not the answer – terrorism succeeds when it gets us to give up our liberties and change our way of life.  We can take common sense security measures without trampling on privacy rights.”

MY POV: As consumers we have to decide what is more important to our customer experience: privacy and / or protection. Is it possible to have both? It’s unfortunate that there exists in the world people who would mis-use information for evil.

Knowing that is so, what do you think companies like Apple or Google or Facebook should do? And how would their actions to allow the FBI to have the software they are requesting, affect your ability to trust that brand, to want to continue to buy from that brand and recommend the brand to others.

These are the things that make up customer lifetime value. Without CLTV, a company has no long-term value. These are not easy times or easy questions. It would be so much better if people with evil intent just knocked it off. Enough is enough. But that’s my point of view.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Applications that Deliver Awesome Customer Experiences, While Protecting the Privacy and Security of Consumers and Businesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why has Customer Success Management Become So Important?

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

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

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

5 Areas for Customer Success Management

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

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

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

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Category Overview of Customer Success Management

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

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

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

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

@DrNatalie, VP and Analyst Principal Analyst

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ServiceSource®: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy (Part 2)

 

Welcome back to Part 2 of my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. If you’d like the full report, just scroll to the bottom of this post!

Customer Success Management Field Sees Tremendous Growth

Through conversations with clients, prospective buyers, system integrators, partners, and vendors, Constellation sees five big themes in customer success management (see Figure 1)[1]:

  1. Delivering a brand promise instead of a product or service requires new approaches. The onus of delivering on the brand promise – providing great experiences with a company no matter when the customer interacts with it – is putting new pressures on brands and software vendors. This means the business model of both must shift. A company’s business model must move post-sales care to a more mature level. This evolution requires a different mindset and approach to customer lifetime value.

Figure 1. Four Areas Needed to Master Customer Success Management

4trends

 

 

 

 

 

[1] See “The State of Customer Success Management 2015” by Natalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research, December 22, 2014.

  1. Companies who believe in customer experience build CSM organizations. Not all CSM organizations are created equally. In an opt-in economy, the economic value of a customer is realized over time, instead of in the upfront sale. This means that organizations that want to become CSM-oriented are looking at three main areas:
  • Hiring, training and rewards for employees
  • Becoming a center of excellence for CSM
  • Strategy combined with data
  1. CSM cultivates more customers, lowers churn, and improves margins. The reason many companies have adopted the opt-in business model is that they realize, when they consistently deliver great experiences, they have loyal customers who advocate for the brand and often will make referrals. Advocating for the brand can be in the form of a post in a social network or offline in telling friends or family of their experiences.
  2. Predictive analytics identify known attributes and reveal previously unknown attributes that drive customer success. The only way to preserve a company’s revenue stream is to keep customers opting in. To become a CSM organization, a company has to actively manage customer relationships to ensure the customer is getting value. This critical step requires data in the form of real-time and predictive analytics.
  3. Integration of the Internet of Things and predictive analytics improves precision of decisions. The amount of data and analytics that CSM platforms provide is important, especially when data from sensors and other sources (that make up the Internet of Things) is integrated into the solution to provide a company with predictive analytics and actionable insights that drive better and more precise decision making throughout an organization.

Be sure to check out my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. An excerpt of the profile including the table of contents is available to download.

DOWNLOAD EXCERPT 

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Success Management, IOT, Analytics and Customer-facing Applications that Deliver Enhanced, Trust-building Customer Experiences via Customer Service, Sales and Marketing

    

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

I’m in the process of writing profiles of vendors in the customer success management industry. These vendor profiles are a tool for buyers to evaluate their customer success management options before selecting a vendor. In addition to an overview of the vendor, these documents identify key differentiators, product offerings, and provide a short list guide for buyers.  The first vendor I profiled is ServiceSource®. Stay tuned, as more profiles will be published in the weeks to come.

Customer Success Management: ServiceSource® provides B2B companies with technology-enabled services, cloud software and best-practice processes to improve customer success, drive revenue growth and decrease churn from existing customers. It began as a managed services firm and evolved by adding a software platform. ServiceSource had $272.2 million in revenue in 2014.

salessourceWhat Does ServiceSource Do? ServiceSource’s solutions help companies manage the end-to-end customer revenue lifecycle, including onboarding and adoption, upsell and cross-sell, retention and renewals. With more than 15 years of experience focusing on customer success and revenue growth, ServiceSource has the depth of expertise companies need to manage their revenue lifecycle. With deployments across 40 languages and 150 countries and a recurring revenue technology platform, ServiceSource manages billions of dollars of recurring revenue for clients annually.

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

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

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

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

What’s the Best Option for Your Company? When choosing the best option for CSM software for your organization, the choice will depend on the business goals of CSM initiatives, the degree to which CSM has been integrated into your culture and how well employees have adopted this mindset. It may be that some organizations will be further along the adoption cycle, while others will need internal champions to encourage and enforce the use of customer success software, processes and best practices.

Data to Decisions Drives the Democratization of Insight: The CSM field has been spurred on by the need to provide after-sales service intelligence that can be turned into actionable insights and decisions. Holistic, data-driven decisions require a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates performance monitoring with traditional business intelligence technologies.

A multitude of data sources can be transformed into information streams guided by business process. As context is applied to information streams, patterns emerge that provide nuggets of insight. That insight then drives the ability to take action and make better decisions. This shift to using insight not only can serve high-margin, “luxury” brands, but also should be considered for all businesses through an investment in CSM. By transforming business models to include processes that immediately turn data into decisions, brands and organizations gain the ability to provide great, loyalty inspiring experiences that reduce churn and increase revenue.

Make sure to stay tuned for the next part of the mutli-part study!

Check out my vendor profile of ServiceSource®. An excerpt of the profile including the table of contents is available to download.

DOWNLOAD EXCERPT 

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Success Management, IOT, Analytics and Customer-facing Applications that Deliver Enhanced, Trust-building Customer Experiences via Customer Service, Sales and Marketing

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Four Steps in the Creation of a Customer e-Commerce Engagement Organization

In our new research on customer e-commerce engagement and driving revenue, we found four steps that are necessary for the creation of a fully engagement customer experience. Here’s a link to the snapshot of the report. And here’s what we found those four steps to be:

Four Steps in the Creation of a Customer e-Commerce Engagement Organization

Step 1. Choose the technology that enables top e-commerce customer engagement.

  • It must be easy to start the buying process in one channel and finish in another.
  • And customers must able be able to switch from one device to another and not lose the context of where they are in the purchasing process.
  • Make sure the technology you choose allows you to proactively deliver contextual agent assistance during the purchase process.
  • And in addition, the technology must have the ability to detect if customers need pre-purchase help and support.
  • And then you must be able to send help to any channel and any device.
  • Lastly, make sure that the technology has the capability to create performance reports viewable as a dashboard or downloadable as a report for analysis.

Step 2. Create content that delivers high closure rates.

  • Whether you are creating knowledge base articles or marketing and advertising content, make sure that you know what works and what doesn’t work.
  • This information will help to inform you so that you continually improve the content so that it drives purchases as well as self-service.
  • Make sure you have the staff to deliver on this capability.

Step 3. Train staff to use the technology’s capabilities to proactively assist customers.

  • While it is important to obtain technology that can assist customers in any channel and on any device, when human assistance is needed, make sure to train your agents or marketers so that they know how to use the technology and seamlessly provide the proactive help customers need to make purchasing decisions.
  • This will not only help increase the lead conversion rates but also help increase customer loyalty, advocacy and long-term customer lifetime value and referrals.
  • You want to be known as the company that provides help anytime, anywhere.

Step 4. Design self-service that delivers on the promise.

  • Often, customers can help themselves if the technology or content is designed to anticipate customer issues and help solve them before the customer needs to reach out to the brand.
  • Focusing on self-service capabilities is always a must for 80 percent of requests.

MYPOV: Does your organization follow at least some of these four steps in creating great online customer experiences that drive revenue? Which ones do you follow and which ones do you need to improve on?

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences

References:
Harris Poll Research and Primary Constellation Research

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Customer Experience Just Keeps Getting Better: Plantronics Announcement

Create a Better Customer Experience By Treating Customer Service Agents Better

Plantronics today announced a new family of contact center headset solutions designed for the future and built on experience. Most people who have worked in call / contact centers know how difficult the job of a customer service agent can be. And that there is direct correlation between how the agents feels and the service they provide a company. Part of how they feel is determined by the culture a company creates. It is determined by what types of behaviors get rewarded. And remembering that what gets rewarded, gets repeated.

The Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series is an all-new generation of headsets for customer service centers and offices that deliver greater comfort for all-day wearing, superior noise-canceling for clearer calls, and increased reliability to help manage costs. In addition, the company announced their next-generation DA Series USB digital audio processors for Plantronics headsets that deliver a more complete audio experience by providing context for every call. With these new Plantronics customer service solutions, organizations improve metrics, attract and retain Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) and create a better customer experience.

Smart Phones and Self-service Have Shifted the Balance of Power in the Customer Service Center

When a customer reaches a CSR, they have likely attempted self-service and have much more information than the agent. In these situations, customers want to reach someone immediately and have the issue resolved quickly. They consider their call an escalation putting extraordinary pressure on the agent to perform, even while the customer is likely in a mobile environment with questionable audio quality. Furthermore, businesses are using over-the-phone routes for complex, high-value transactions. In these situations, center managers need to ensure that every call sounds high-quality and customers don’t overhear other callers’ confidential information.

The combination of the Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series, Plantronics digital audio adapters, and Plantronics Hub means that events and metrics occurring during the interaction with the customer are actionable; they are exposed in real-time through the API and made available through an SDK to call routing systems and third party applications.

This makes possible new efficiencies in a range of areas, such as automation of agent status updates, screen-locking for security when a headset is disconnected, dashboard management of headset inventory and warranty status, tracking of agent use of physical call controls and supervisor alerts to conversational conflict between agent and caller. Alliance partner integrations with vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Aspect, Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence and additional third-party software application vendors are expected to enter market during 2015

Comprehensive Solutions for Customer Service Superheroes Make Better Experiences for Both the Agent and the Customer

With customer expectations rising, the CSR needs to effectively communicate with the customer to solve their problems. The Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series was built with the CSR in mind. It features a forward-looking, professional grade industrial design that uses new materials and technologies that yield an ergonomic fit that is extraordinarily durable, lightweight, and comfortable for all-day wearing. With fewer reasons to remove the headset throughout the day, CSRs are ready for each call, with the boom being in the right place for a better customer conversation. The noise-canceling technology ensures more focused and private calls, so conversations will be heard clearly with fewer misunderstood words and with reduced background noise from keyboards and close talkers.

The series includes the following models: EncorePro 510/520 (dedicated over-the-head), EncorePro 530 (over-the-ear) and EncorePro 540 (convertible), the latter is unique in its simple design and high-performance audio no matter what the preferred wearing style. All models support wideband audio.

The new Plantronics digital audio processors are designed to connect Plantronics quick disconnect headsets to computers through a USB port. Some incorporate user controls like the ability to answer a call, mute the call and adjust volume. All support Noise @ Work, based on Plantronics SoundGuard® digital technology. Not only are CSRs protected from sounds above 118 dBA, but anti-startle protection detects and eliminates sudden increase in sound and Time Weighted Average (TWA) measurement which manages average daily sound exposure for CSRs.

Smart Headphones Make Smarter Customer Service Agents 

What’s more, these new devices are smart. All are support by Plantronics Hub, and each contains firmware that can generate notifications based on hardware state changes. Some models can also generate notifications based on acoustic events or other telemetry that is important to the service center, but has been previously unavailable. For example, the Plantronics DA-90 will offer acoustic event logging so that customers can be compliant with initiatives like Australia’s G.616 recommendation. These events are exposed through API’s within the Plantronics Spokes suite of software solutions.

We are building on the world’s most successful professional grade headset, the SupraPlus, and this is a challenge we did not take lightly. Our deep understanding of the new business needs and role of Customer Service, and the availability of new materials, design philosophies, manufacturing techniques and core technologies resulted in a new portfolio that is not only state-of-the-art by today’s standards, but also future-proofed to adapt as the landscape changes,” said Bill Loewenthal, vice president, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Plantronics. “It’s no longer just about a first-class audio experience. With our new portfolio, organizations will immediately see the value that we bring by providing equipment and intelligence which enable operations to be more effective, and create a positive experience for both the CSR and the customer.”

The all-new Plantronic’s Customer Service Solutions include:

Cutting-Edge Design

  • Brand new, stylish, and ergonomic design

 Custom Noise Canceling Microphones

  • Next-generation, noise-canceling microphone
  • Flexible boom with positioning guides 

Superb Audio

  • Wideband audio with SoundGuard® technology

 Comfort and Convenience

  • Adjustable fit with all-day comfort
  • Quick Disconnect™ feature provides walkaway convenience

Robust and Reliable

  • Proprietary material and construction for unparalleled robustness

Integration with Softphones

  • Plantronics technology that captures and reports on key call events

Call Control

  • Easy, at-your-fingertips access to call functions (Plantronics DA-80, DA-90 only)

Noise @ Work and antistartle, G616 Compliance

  • Help achieve compliance with legislated regulations to protect your CSRs 

Firmware Updates

  • Firmware updates that aid in inventory management through Plantronics Hub or in early 2015 through Plantronics Manager Pro

 Extraordinary Service

  • Industry-leading global service and support

@drnatalie

VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Great Customer Experience

Constellation Research

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Tealium Announces Record First Quarter Results and $20 Million in Additional Growth Financing 



Are the cloud wars over? Many companies are or have choosen a marketing stack. The issue can be that whatever capabilities that marketing stack has, the CMO is stuck with. And it may be that the stack has every thing they need, but maybe it doesn’t. That may mean that a marketer ends up choosing a number of different solutions, which generally don’t talk to each other or update the customer profile. That could be a competitive disadvantage.

But what if those various marketing solutions could talk to each other and be informed by data from other systems? It could mean that those solutions could actually be more valuable. And this is the topic at hand and is on the real-time futurescape of Tealium®, the market leader in enterprise tag management and solutions who announced not only record first quarter results, but also an additional $20 million in growth financing led by Silver Lake Waterman. The funding will be used to accelerate global expansion across all business segments, including engineering, sales, customer service and marketing.

Jeff Lunsford, Tealium CEO said, “An estimated $1.5 trillion is spent annually on global marketing and communications and approximately $130 billion of this is spent on marketing technology. The rapid adoption of Tealium’s award-winning solutions can help enterprises get much higher returns from their marketing investments.” Why? It doesn’t matter which marketing clouds or point solutions companies are using, Tealium creates a data foundation that allows the marketers to control, own and act on their data stream. But wait, there’s more… The part that really caught my eye is the ability to make those applications work better together to help drive more profitable, real-time customer interactions across all digital channels.

In the age of collaboration (personal / company) for which my colleague Alan Lepofsky at Constelation is known for, the idea that software vendors could really live in an ecosystem that makes them individually and also separately more successful seems like where the future should take us. However, the competitive nature of the vendor scape has made the idea of collaboration where the individual and the collective become more valuable is not always the first thing on everyone’s mind.

My point of view is that every software solution has some sort of historical technological footprint – meaning that they started out doing one thing really well. And then as customers requested more features and functionality or engineers / developers saw new opportunities to expand the product, they added more capabilities. And as time goes by those point solutions grow into suites – either by developing their own features and functions, but also often by acquiring companies.

Now let’s look at the model of collaboration Tealium is proposing as future picture of how software vendors can become more successful. Providing software vendor collaboration to make the parts and the whole more successful is a different way to look at expanding the features, functions and capabilities as well as benefits of any one “point solution” or “software package suite.” Perhaps I grew up idealistically hoping that the world would see that when each of us wins, we all win. That was the point in the movie, A Beautiful Mind. But it’s not really how many CEOs think – yet. Perhaps this type of thinking, and the ability to execute on it, will create that shift.

Tealium’s $20 million in growth financing, led by Silver Lake Waterman, brings the total the company has raised since January 2012 to $47.5 million, with Battery Ventures and Tenaya Capital leading earlier financings. Shawn O’Neill, Managing Director and Co-Head of Silver Lake Waterman said, “We are pleased to be supporting Tealium’s global expansion efforts. Enterprises will continue to invest heavily in technologies that improve their customers’ experiences across all digital touch points, and we see Tealium as the market leader in the space.” What I like about what O’Neill said was that we may now be able to transform that customer experience. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart; as a customer advocate I’ve been writing about this topic for a good 20 years. It seems now the technology is starting to catch up with the ideals we in the customer service and customer experience world have been writing about. And do it at scale.  More to come soon. 

Tealium®'s Enterprise Tag Management Capabilities

Tealium®’s Enterprise Tag Management Capabilities

If you want to catch Tealium’s social media conversations, you can find them here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tealium

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tealium

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tealium

And here’s Tealium’s Q1 operating highlights, in case you don’t know much about them:

·   120% revenue growth, buoyed by strong global demand for its market-leading solutions.

·   100% growth in enterprise customers worldwide, with select new customer wins and expanded strategic relationships, including Calendars.com, Carhartt, Kabbage, Kimberly-Clark, Mason Companies, Solstice Sunglasses, Wet Seal, Wine.com, the world’s largest toy retailer, and one of the industry’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturers.

·  Tealium continued its strong growth in e-commerce and now has 68 clients listed in the prestigious Internet RetailerTop 500.

·  120% revenue renewal rate during the first quarter, resulting from a total commitment to customer success and the industry’s most comprehensive training and education program.

· Management team expansion, adding technology veterans Tracy Hansen, formerly of CA Technologies and NetApp, as CMO, and Doug Lindroth, previously with Limelight Networks and Memec, as CFO.

·  Tealium AudienceStream, the company’s new audience segmentation and data distribution solution, was namedNew Technology of the Year by the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) as part of its Awards for Excellence Program in March.

·  Recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Most Promising Companies for 2014.

·   Tealium’s global user conference, Digital Velocity, drawing hundreds of customers, strategic partners and digital marketing thought leaders from around the globe. Customer speakers included Ancestry.com, Lenovo, Lincoln Financial Group, Citrix and many more. The event concluded with Tealium University, a formalized training program for tag management and real-time unified marketing initiatives.

I’m very curious to see how this all pans out. Will vendors see the value in using a vendor like Tealium to make their software better and create better customer experiences? Or will they go into hoarding mode and be short sited?
@DrNatalie

About Silver Lake Waterman

Silver Lake Waterman is part of Silver Lake, the global leader in technology investing with over $23 billion in combined assets under management and committed capital and a team of approximately 110 investment and value creation professionals located around the world.  Silver Lake Waterman focuses on providing growth capital, via its FLEX Capital product, to later-stage growth companies in the technology and technology-enabled industries. FLEX Capital is a proprietary, hybrid instrument created by Silver Lake to provide a flexible solution for companies in the technology industry ecosystem seeking to finance expansion.  For more information about Silver Lake Waterman and Silver Lake, please visit www.silverlake.com.

About Tealium

Tealium helps savvy brands bring order to marketing chaos and engage customers in innovative ways. Using Tealium as the foundation for their digital marketing operations, smart marketers can fuel real-time unified marketing initiatives and drive more profitable customer interactions across all digital touch points. Tealium is the recognized leader in enterprise tag management, and was recently named one of Forbes‘ Most Promising Companies in America for 2014. Each quarter, Tealium serves 1.2 trillion tags on behalf of its global clients, representing an estimated $75 billion in annual online transactions. For more information, please visit http://www.tealium.com.

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Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

My report is about how CMOs can use big data and analytics to transform marketing decision-making and advance corporate innovation by using big data to optimize your marketing efforts.  The way I went about writing this report was I interviewed both vendors and CMOs to understand where the market place is with respect to actually using marketing automation software / platforms.

 

There is a lot of software that delivers on the promise, unlike 25 years ago when CRM- Marketing, Sales and Customer Service vendors (either point or suites) had the right ideas and desire to provide this type of business impact, but the software really wasn’t not as advanced as the marketing brochureware (sales pitch and slides) was.

 

In addition, from working with CMOs when I was in the agency world and throughout my career, the story has been very similar. Software has the potential to create and drive revenue when it’s attached to the right strategy. Technology without the right strategy just means we do more of the wrong things faster. That’s not such a good idea, though it happens every day.

 

Level Self-Identification Leads to Marketing Transformation

You can’t change what you “don’t know, you don’t know.” In the report, I provide a picture for Marketers so that they can self identify where they are in the various levels of using marketing automation and then to identify what they’d like to be doing. In consulting or advisory work, this is often known as a “gap analysis.” It helps people see the present as well as the possible future state.

 

What we found in the research is that many Marketers learned that the way they were using marketing automation software as at Level 1 &2. They do not realize there’s more they could do. Others found that they have not chosen software that help them advance their Marketing capabilities to Levels 3, 4, and 5. In the report, I describe some ideas on what those other levels are and what it might look like.

 

The Five Levels Seek To Drive Marketers To Become Chief Intelligence And Revenue Officers

In theory, let’s say that Marketing really drove revenue in your company. The idea I’m really aiming for in this report is to provoke CMOs and Marketers to think about becoming chief intelligence and revenue officers.

 

When they are able to show that they can repeatedly and consistently contribute to bottom-line, the senior leadership team will give them respect they want. Long gone will be the days of suffering from what I lovingly call the “Rodney Dangerfield Affect” – i.e., the day of “they just don’t get enough respect” won’t exist anymore. And that would only be a good thing.

 

Because Marketing software has changed over the last 25 years and can deliver on may more of the promises it aspired to, Marketers must also change. But there is a gap in the talent pool of CMO’s and Marketers that understand how to use marketing automation and customer experience platforms to get to Level 4 and Level 5 activity (see the report). And that’s what I really want to see happen and why I wrote the report. It’s time that we use all this big data revolution and new technology and transform old roles into new roles where respect for the contribution is earned and acknowledged.

 

What This Means to You

What may not be obvious is the “so what?” What does this mean to you? Here’s some brain candy to think about, As a CMO or Marketer, you need to:

  • Understand how marketing automation platforms have transformed and how big data plays a larger part in today’s CMO role
  • Know where your personal skill level are as well as those of people in your organization
  • Be able to pick technology that can provide these more advanced capabilities; often times buying technology was the role of IT, now CMOs are responsible for this
  • Understand requirements definition documents, capability lists (features and functions), business case justification along with bottom-line benefits — when it comes to choosing technology
  • Fill the skill sets in your organization so that you are able to truly justify to your senior leadership team why you want a larger budget and new technology.

 

I don’t think you can wait to do this. I think it will only going to get worse, not easier to pick the right technology for today’s CMO and Marketer. Make sure you are prepared by educating yourself on your options and learn how to choose technology so that you can show your contribution to the bottom-line.

 

I’d love to hear from some folks who have mastered some or all of :choosing technology and business justification capabilities”— how you did it! You never know, you might become part of my disruptive case studies library!

@DrNatalie

Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

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

SAVE THE DATE!
Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st 

Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton
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