Microsoft Dynamic’s Strategic Alliance with Lithium

It’s true – to deliver on a brand promise of excellent customer experience, it takes a village.  And it makes perfect sense that Microsoft Dynamics has created a strategic alliance with Lithium, a community platform vendor. What does this mean? Microsoft Dynamics will integrate Lithium’s social interactions and community data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This partnership will allow Microsoft Dynamic’s customers to nurture better relationships with their customers, especially because and peer-to-peer communities are critical to building customer loyalty. With this additional visibility into what’s happening through their CRM application, businesses have a more complete, 360 degree view of the customer.

Lithium and Microsoft Dynamics Form Strategic Partnership

What’s interesting is that in the old days, product development used to be done by a vendor themselves. Today, the market is moving so fast, smart vendors are realizing that product development is really more about partnering with partners who specialize in a particular aspect of technology vs build it themselves. These specialized capabilities can complement what a vendor is already offering without the headaches of building from scratch.

Looking forward to some case studies and the successes from this strategic alliance!

@drnatalie, Covering Marketing, Commerce, Customer Service, Communities, Digital and Social Media to Create Better Customer Experiences

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The Year of the Customer: Research Points to the New Focus Must Be The Customer

Over the years I’ve covered Marketing, Sales, Customer Service and Support, Customer Success Management – all of which end up providing the brand or company the ability to deliver on a promise and make good on that promise or somewhere along that customer journey or do something that creates an unpleasant experience and drives the customer away from the company and to a competitor. We’ve known for over 25 years, its less expensive to keep current customers happy and continuously buying from a brand, yet companies are still not getting the value in perpetual customer experience. What I mean by that is that – it’s not just one experience that matters. Its every single interaction – and from the customer’s point of view. But it’s not that simple. It’s every single interaction from every single customer – perpetually.

Often people have argued with me whether social / digital makes a difference in customer service and customer loyalty. If you consider the 1-9-90 rule — which means that 1% of the population posts, 9% respond and 90% just lurk or read what the 10% posted — there are literally millions, if not billions of people who have read posts by that 10%. And even though that 10% is the tip of the iceberg of the total customer population, they are very influential. Consider that a good percentage of that 90% reads what the 10% writes. They could read about how horrible a brand’s products and services are, and without even engaging with them, a brand could make the decision to never buy from them. And consider if this is the case, there will be companies that look up one day and their customer base is gone and they will wonder where it went. It went to your competitors.

I thought I would provide a list of the research I’ve been working on – just to give you an idea of the various things I think about and where I see the world going. One of the best things about being an analyst is that you get to see the world from a collected set of experiences – from vendor briefings, conferences, speaking engagements and advisory – and you start to see patterns and that helps to shape your point of view on the world. Truthfully, while there’s some things changing, it’s still should be a customer-focused world. No Customers, no business. It’s that simple.

Here’s some of my thoughts on these topics below. @drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service and Customer Success Management to Create Great Customer Experiences

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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.

@drnatalie

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

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How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 13) & Increase Revenue & Decrease Costs

The Socially-Enabled Customer Service Increases Revenue and Reduces Costs

For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on…

I’ve been writing about many force multipliers that are currently present within Customer Service organizations using social media. Socially-enabled Customer Service can affect every aspect of your business when leveraged as a force multiplier.

There are multiple benefits from social throughout the buyer-seller relationship. It can be used to generate leads and build customer interest. It can be used in the sales and marketing process. It can be used to monitor customer satisfaction. It can be used to ensure that customers have their support issues addressed and new product functionality requested. It can help PR by helping to protect the brand. And it can be used to understand when an existing customer is influencing potential new customers.

However, if you pull the socially-enabled service aspect out, the force multiplier effect does not exist. A break in the process leaves an opportunity for social media (or the failure to use it) to broadcast your shortcomings in the relationship with your customer. It is important you understand the force multiplier advantages— starting with the Customer Service aspects of your business.

Take a note from a famous pilot, John Boyd and his OODA process and make sure to use social media to observe, orient yourself to the new information you observed, make decisions on that real-time social media data and take the actions that will forward your business, exponentially!

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
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

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

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How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 10) – Affect on PR And Customer Loyalty

Force Multiplier #5: Proactive Monitoring Of PR Events And Leaks, Leverage Customer Feedback And Customer Data To Facilitate Customer Loyalty

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceFor the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service and PR, download the white paper here. Or read on…  Social Media for Customer Service affects Public Relations. Public relations departments might be considered at a slight disadvantage with the advent of social media. They have been able to craft and control the branding and key messages, which is very important to the brand equity. With social media, while they can release information to broader audiences quickly, negative information can spread just as fast.

What if an overzealous blogger gets wind of your new product and blogs about it before the launch? On one hand this could be called a “sneak peek.” On the other hand, if leaked too soon, it might end up tipping your hand to the competition and even the stock market. In today’s social media environment, there is no way to protect the company 100 percent of the time from info leaks.

But having crisis mitigation strategies in place for when it might occur is necessary. On many occasions, it is the Customer Service personnel who have alerted Public Relations about “sneak peek” news first. It is also known that some PR strategists give first news of new products or offerings to the most loyal customers as a reward or to get feedback pre-release. The customer database and its metrics are used for selection of those customers.

Conclusion? Force Multiplier #5: Proactive monitoring of PR events and leaks, leverage customer feedback and customer data to facilitate customer loyalty.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
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

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

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@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
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How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 9) & Get Better Business Insights

Force Multiplier #4:  Less Missed Trends, More Cross-Department Input, More Business Insight And Foresight

For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on…  Social Media for Customer Service affects Marketing. to who owns the company’s social media presence. Studies show that Public Relations, Communications, Marketing, Customer Service and even Product Development will make claims to own this territory. It only makes sense to have alignment in the organization as to who will manage the various functions of social media, and create a common voice and governance rules over the communication policies.

Also, cross-functional training is required to have all departments understand each other’s role. For most companies this would be a first! From social Customer Service perspective, they are fundamentally looking for potential problems and solving them. But because Customer Service is the place that a company can learn about the real-time use of their products and offerings, it’s the best pace to suffer information that can be used in other departments like PR, Marketing, Product Development and even Billing. Sometimes customer’s contact customer service because their bill is confusing. If that information is conveyed to Billing, they can work on making the bill more understandable.

Perhaps an inordinate amount of customers are dissatisfied with the pricing of a product. That information can be shared with Marketing and Sales, especially if trends are developing. Because of the fast pace and ever-changing landscape of social media you can never have too many eyes watching for trends that may go unnoticed by busier internal groups. If Customer Service aggregates data from all communication channels to gives it to the various functional departments, they can provide the company with mission critical, competitive business insight.

Conclusion? Force Multiplier #4: Less missed trends, more cross-department input, more business insight and foresight

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
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

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
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@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
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How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 8) & Reduce Churn & Increase Sales

Force Multiplier #3: Lessen Customer Churn, Lessen Lost Sales, Lessen Brand Damage

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceFor the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on… Everyone knows that a customer most likely will not buy from you if they are angry with you. So if customers are complaining about your product or service within social media and no one is available to address those complaints quickly, others will read the complaints. These complaints might be in the form of an online review, often on a third party site where you can’t take the content down. (Note: its generally not a good idea to take negative content down, even if its on your site and you could. Doing so makes the company look like they are trying to hide something and thus not being transparent or honest. If that happens, a firestorm of comments can result and be worse than the initial set of comments.

Just know that if you are a company in business, there is probably someone who has said something negative about you online. That’s going to happen. What matters is what you do with the comments. Best practices are to go and address customer’s issues. Say you are sorry they had an issue and ask them how you can help.

Some customer may have moved on and there is nothing you can do. Other’s will respond and at that point, take the interaction offline- to a phone call. Resolve the issue and you’ll see that customers are so completely caught off guard by a company being nice and doing the “right” thing, they will often go back and repost a comment about how they were wrong about the company and how great they really are. Now imagine your online posts. If you haven’t addressed them, sales will suffer. Customers will see the comments and not want to deal with you and look for products/solutions elsewhere—and even buy from another company. And what’s worse is your brand name could be damaged. In today’s real-time social media response environment, excellent Customer Service and rapid response to complaints is a huge differentiator over the competition.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
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

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

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How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 7) And Reduce Call Volume

Force Multiplier #2: Reduce The Impact Of Customer Service Call Volume Explosions By Utilizing Social Customer Service

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceYour Customer Service organization is highly trained to interact with customers via all channels of communication and from a common knowledge base. Therefore, using Customer Service to oversee social media activity is not a stretch. For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on… In fact, in some companies, staff is already out there doing it. You’ll want to consider creating social media governance policies and social media Customer Service training required. Using a search engine, search on “social media policies” and you’ll see that hundreds of companies have put their social media policies online. This is a great resource for you and can provide you with a benchmark of what companies are actually doing.

The idea here is to leverage some of the highly skilled individuals from your existing Customer Service team to use social media to identify brewing service problems. Studies show that companies who use social customer service can head off an disaster that would have resulted in

Customer services

Customer services (Photo credit: gordon2208)

hundreds if not thousands of calls to the call center. It can be as easy as putting out a post in Twitter and/or on Facebook to say you know there’s an issue and you are working to resolve it. And companies also place links to solutions, where customers can go and get self-service or updates. What customers want to know is that you are paying attention and you have their back.

Conclusion? Adding social media is a natural extension of what customer service agents already do. Force Multiplier #2: reduce the impact of customer service call volume explosions by utilizing Social Customer Service.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
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

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

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How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 6) & Reduce Customer Service Costs

Force Multiplier #1: Use Social Customer Service To Reduce Customer Service Costs

Customer Service is in an “always on” state and is available to your customers.

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceIn social media there is a ratio people who interact. That ratio is about 1% post, 10% interact and 90% who read. That ratio can vary depending on your type of company, the industry you are in and the type of products you sell. The main thing to know is that the ~1% or brand evangelist are already talking about your company online. They love your products and their hobby is often to know as much or more about your products than even some of your best thought leaders or engineers. They get street cred with their followers (the 10 and 90%) by being the “expert” and “go-to” resource in their field. For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on…

When the 1% engage them, they are more than happy to provide answers—and great answers—sometimes better answers than your own staff. Some companies are worried about interacting with evangelists because they might not give the right answers. In communities that are strategically set-up, the customers can vote on whether an answer actually helped them. When you have hundreds of people voting on an answer, you don’t have to worry about accuracy of the answers. The crowd tends to allow the right things to float to the top! Using brand advocates can help to reduce the calls to the contact center, provide better information for your knowledge bases and thereby make your agents smarter and able to handle questions faster.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
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

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

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How to Improve Customer Service by Dr. Natalie (Part 5) – Why It’s a Force Multiplier for Your Business

Customer Service Your Guide to Integrating Social Media to the Customer ExperienceWhy OODAing so Important to Social Customer Service?

Social Customer Service As a Force Multiplier

In keeping with the military theme, integrating Customer Service with social media can become the force multiplier for your business. First, let’s define the term “force multiplier.” Its pretty much what it sounds like.

In military terms, a force multiplier multiplies the effect of the existing forces. It ascribes a greater value to the same number of assets. This brings new math principles into play, where 1+1 provides a higher value than 2.

For the whole story on how to use the OODA Loop as a unique way to use Social Media to improve Customer Service, download the white paper here. Or read on… A force multiplier is also a factor that dramatically increases or “multiplies” the effectiveness of an item or group—in this case, Customer Service. It is the way social media is used in Customer Service that extends its benefits to all parts of the business. Imagine having the know-how and tools in your service organization that can propel your whole business forward exponentially

While many departments touch the customer experience, studies show that the place where customers end up the most angry with a company are the experiences they have with Customer Service. And because Customer Service interactions are where the company learns about its products and services, meaning it’s the one place where customers call the company to give it feedback, it is the department most suited to following an OODA process.

This is true whether the feedback comes from phone calls, chats, emails or social channels.

For the whole story on OODA Loop and How to Use Social Media For Business download the white paper here.

Learn. Share. Grow!
@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

For more info on my work:
Ebook
:Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI YouTube Videos:
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

Book on Monetizing Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Let’s Connect here:
Twitter:
@drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

Setting an OODA Loop strategy puts Customer Service as the key to innovation, change, competitive advantage… Customer Service becomes the reality check for PR brand promises, the ability to deliver key marketing messages and sale promises as well as to provide feedback to back-office functions like billing, engineering, manufacturing, shipping, etc.

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