Dr. Natalie’s Research Agenda and Published Research

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I thought I would put all the research I have published  into one place. Here’s a list of Dr. Natalie’s completed and published research and soon to be published content! It ranges from IOT, Analytics, Big Data, Customer Experience, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Storytelling, Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Social Selling, Social Media, the Cloud, Marketing, Sales, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, AI, Machine Learning, Innovation, Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Mobile, Customer Service and Customer Success Management….and a few things in-between…

IOT (The Internet of Things), Innovation, AI, Machine Learning, Analytics and the Cloud

• The Algorithm of You: How IoT Transforms and Differentiates Customer Experience: Using the Internet of Things to Boost Revenue and Deliver a Brand’s Personalized Promise

• Digital Disruption: The Blind Spot That Could Sink Your IoT and CX Initiatives

• The Internet of Things Improves Customer Experience in Retail Supply Chain

• The As-a-Service Economy: CX and IOT Mean You Have to Deliver Great Experiences- Upcoming

• Customer Experience IOT in the Automotive Industry-Upcoming

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Digital Transformation: Customer Engagement, CRM, Innovation, Customer Experience, Customer Service, The Cloud and Analytics

• ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

• How to Measure Customer Experience: Performance Management Maturity-Upcoming

• Case Study: Elaine Turner® Brand and Oracle Commerce, Marketing and Customer Service-Upcoming

• The Need for Inspiring Leaders to Orchestrate Customer Experience Initiatives-Upcoming

• Experience Management: How to Deliver Integrated Customer Experiences

• How Rackspace Creates the Next-Generation Customer Experience

• The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

• Digital Imperatives for Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experiences

• Nine Pillar Of Successful Self-Service for Digital Customer Engagement

• 6 Pillars of e-commerce Customer Engagement

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Delivery and Communication Styles: Channels, Content and Cadence

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – People Centric Values: External & Internal Culture, Community, Credibility

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalysts, Currency

• How Delta Uses Microsoft Dynamics and Avanade to Create Next-Generation Customer Experiences

• How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Improves Productivity at Trek Bicycle

• Delta Uses Microsoft to Transform Flight Operations and the Customer Experience

• New Belgium Brewing Creates Great Customer Experiences Using Microsoft Dynamics

• Beyond Journey Maps, Delivering Mass Personalization at Scale

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

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Social Media, Customer Service, CRM, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• How General Motors Using Social Media To Listen To Customers and Sell Cars and Deliver Service

• The ROI of Online Communities: Online Communities Provide Value Beyond Call Deflection

• Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

• ROI of Social Customer Service- Upcoming

• The Customer Service Playbook for Integration of Traditional, Digital, Social and Mobile Customer Service Strategies and Technologies-Upcoming

• Mobile Customer Service-Upcoming

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Digital Marketing, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

• Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

• VentureBeat: Should the CMO Run the Whole Customer Experience?

• Executive Brief: Can Brands Keep Their Promise?

• Oracle Moves Its Focus from the CIO to the CMO

• How to Staff the Team for Effective Content Marketing

• The State of Marketing 

• Marketing Funnels Are Dead, What’s Next?

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Digital and Social Sales; Commerce, Innovation, Analytics and the Cloud

• How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization: Convert Average Sales Teams into Top Performers Using Social Networks

• Five Approaches to Drive Customer Loyalty in a Digital World

• The Modern Sales Experience

• Continuity of Customer Experiences Drives the Future of Commerce

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Customer Success Management, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• The State of Customer Success Management

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

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

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

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

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If you are interested in learning about any of these reports or research, a speech or webinar on any of these or related topics, please reach out to me here!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Innovative, Customer-Facing Applications that Create Great Customer Experiences

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

In the next part of my series, I’d like to feature Bluenose. Bluenose Analytics offers a customer success platform that allows SaaS businesses to manage customers with complete visibility, a robust early warning system, and built-in playbooks.

Bluenose’s co-founders were both born in Halifax, Canada. They named the company for something they had in common. The Bluenose is a well-known racing sailboat from Halifax, a schooner with three masts that competed around 1900. The Bluenose was virtually undefeated in competition.

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 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.

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.

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.

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]:5 Areas for Customer Success Management

  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. Five Areas Needed to Master Customer Success Management

  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.

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

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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 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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Delivering Superb Customer Experience Management Across the Web, Mobile and Commerce

In this research, we look at trends to take ordinary experiences and deliver superb experiences that keep brand promises by delivering superb customer experience management across the web, mobile and commerce. Clients should use this document as a source for planning and work closely with both the business and technical teams to ensure success to deliver on the brand’s promise. This report offers insights into four of Constellation’s primary business research themes, Next-Generation Customer Experience, Digital Marketing Transformation, Matrix Commerce and Data to Decisions.

Digital Disruption Changes How Brands Engage Customers

The shift to digital marketing and commerce as well as mobile interactions brings a massive transformation to how brands and organizations engage prospects and customers. Customer experience management is a major pillar in many organization’s efforts to engage and retain their customers and partners. Customers, depending on the vertical market, might be patients (healthcare industry), members (financial services industry) or students (higher education).

Organizations are realizing there is more to the job of engaging and retaining these customers because there are so many opportunities along the customer experience journey to have something “fall through the cracks” and not meet expectations. Market leaders realize the future requires proactive digital enablement of the business to support the future strategy of their organizations. Constellation has identified key attributes required for success at experience management and using them, leaders can expect to have a basic blueprint to embark on this key strategic initiative.

Six Approaches Brands Must Adopt to Drive Customer Experience Management

Six Approaches Brands Must Adopt to Drive Experience Management

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

Unfortunately, in almost every segment, Constellation estimates that the top three competitors control from 43 percent to 71 percent of market share and 53 percent to 77 percent of the profits. In the technology space, only 80 companies since 2000 have made the billionaire’s club in annual revenue. Meanwhile, intense competition, short-term shareholder and management thinking, and minimal investment hamper the pace of investment and innovation required by business leaders to survive today’s competitive landscape.

While many brands have not been complacent about addressing change, the past five years have shown the difference between those who invested in digital transformation and those who have not. The corporate digital chasm is massive among market leaders/fast followers and everyone else. Astute brands realize they must invest in transformational change or face a vicious Digital Darwinism.

Is your brand ready for digital disruption or are they a “wait and see” brand”?

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

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2015 Teradata Influencer Summit

One of the best ways to really try to keep up with everything that is happening in the digital space is to attend conferences. It’s difficult to attend them all, but it’s important to try to attend as many as you can so you are up to speed. The Teradata Influencer Summit will cover Teradata products and services updates and customer presentations.

teradata natalie petouhoff

In addition, topics will range from Big Data, UDA to Aster strategy and customer successes. As big data is becoming an integral part of Marketing, Sales and Customer Service and especially Customer Success Management, it’s important to connect the dots between how data is gathered, sorted, stored, retrieved, used and how it can be applied to business use cases. I’ll be attending as an industry analyst. Look forward to seeing you there!

@drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service and Customer Success Management Using Big Data to Deliver Amazing Customer Experiences.

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The Digital Disruption Tour: A Brand’s Challenges to Meet Customer Experience

Fresh off the first of the digital disruption tour events, I am reflecting on the wonderful conversation that Ray Wang lead with his keynote speech, really defining this new era of business. If you want to really understand what he’s talking about, you not only must see him speak — he draws such a clear picture of the future, but to really allow what’s happening to infiltrate your department or functional area or your own leadership, his book, Disrupting Digital Business, is very helpful — with examples and details.

For customer experience professionals, that was my roundtable discussion, we talked about not only this new era of business, but the requirement of company’s to change their business models to be able to deliver on the promise of whatever customer experience they are offering. Doesn’t matter if it’s B2B or B2C or B2B2C- customer’s have expectations. Why is it so different today than its ever been? For many of us at the roundtable discussion– we’ve been talking about customer experience, customer service, customer success management for most of our professional lives. It’s not new. And it’s not really a new topic inside of companies.

What is new and what does require something different of organizations is the transparency of how the customer experience affects a business’s customers. In the old days, the customer experience might have been between a contact center agent and a customer. And depending on how empowered that agent was (which generally they were not) that empowerment or lack there of, generated a certain customer experience. It was also dependent on technology as well as processes that were either well defined and implemented or not. If it was a bad experience, that customer would often tell 10-20 people within their circle of influence.

Today, customer loyalty and advocacy is different. Why? Because today the world can see, in an instant, what a brand’s customer experience is and because customers can easily speak to other customers, often going around the brand, brand’s have to walk their talk. And while the Directors of Corporate Communication, PR, the CMO and marketing spend tireless hours and hundreds if not millions or more in budget to create a “brand” — whether that “brand” ends up living up to expectations is dependent on so many things; it now requires we change how we do business so nothing falls through the cracks.  It requires collaboration between all functional departments and the back office.

Ultimately, a brand ends up being expressed as the experience a customer has with that brand. And because there are so many people, departments, touch-points — at any point in that customer’s interaction with that brand, the brand may not uphold its promise. And because of the nature of social networks, that “good or bad” experience, can be expressed for millions to see, in a nano-second, often lasting a long time (think of “online posts” like cave paintings – they last millions of years…) The expression of a brand from a customer can be very personal and emotional. And often times the expression from the brand’s side is through content. And the number of people and budget, just for content marketing, has really shifted how we must think about how we do business. Business has changed. Period.

I really want to thank each and every person who participated in the customer experience roundtable. What our roundtable discussion concluded where several things:

1. Good customer experience starts with strategy. It’s not just about implementing the technology. It’s about looking at your business processes from the customer’s point of view and making changes to what does not make sense. It’s about examining the commitment from the senior leadership team to allow for budget so that the people, process and technology required for great customer experiences can be delivered.

2. Good customer experience also requires something new of the internal aspects of a company – culture, leadership, employees, training, attitude… and while most of what I write about is that “external” customer-facing experience, the truth is that – that customer experience can’t be good if the internal capabilities of an organization are not optimized. It is something that is often underestimated and rarely spoken about, but at the end of the day, it’s employees who are driving the customer experience in one shape or form. So it’s my feeling that this part of the conversation can no longer can be ignored. And in some cases, it maybe the first step in generating great, external-facing customer experiences.

The Panel Discussion One of the panels was on the customer experiences created in the financial services area. Financial service companies often think of themselves as limited to change things because of all the regulations they face. When Ray was asked about this he explained, “While there are many regulations, smart companies are looking at those regulations, often written years ago and asking if they make sense today. If they don’t, smart companies and governments are taking the time to question them and transform whatever it takes to make things work better.”

Wipro (who sponsored this SF part of the tour) talked about the ideas behind banking 1:1. Even in a highly regulated and competitive marketplace, banks must examine every possible idea and strategize about the advantages it can use to meet and to exceed customer expectations. This is truly, for all industries, where companies will differentiate themselves from the pack, now and in the future. Banks can’t offer simple and automated banking services. To build loyalty and drive profitability, banks need to offer a non-stop interactive banking environment and to increase their business agility by anticipating customer needs and offer an engaging user experience.

I vowed to keep writing about customer experience and customer service / success management – the ability to use data to understand our customers better to provide better experiences – as well as technology, people and processes. But I also asked that each one of the people in my roundtable take it upon themselves to hold the torch to generate excellent customer experiences. That’s because transforming businesses today, to provide great customer experiences, takes a village; it’s not a one person job. It takes collaboration across functional departments and strong leadership from all of us.

So as you read this, I ask you to also hold the torch for great customer experiences and for what the “transparency and digital disruption” means and requires of each of us – i.e., that what we are really talking about is that we all have  to change our business models (or how we do business.) And together, I believe we can transform business. It’s something that has been a long time in coming. It’s here. It’s now. It’s something I want to see in my lifetime. How about you?

@drnatalie

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

Dedicated to the people, process, technology and data, to provide great customer experiences.

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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:

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst

Covering Customer Service and Customer Success Management

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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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