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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Lithium Launches Study: Americans Torn Between Good Internet and Sex: Are Our Values Out of Wack?

Lithium Launches Inaugural Customer Expectations Survey. This study shows how online experiences are essential to American life.  Americans evenly split on whether to give up good sex or good Internet if forced to choose.

My POV: Are you kidding me? What happened to being human? Have we lost our way? Or is this the right way to go? The studies show that multi-tasking actually makes your brain overworked and foggy. Yet every single day we – I – do it. And this study is showing how we are valuing being connected online versus doing something that is so essential as part of basic life as we know the human experience. I’ve been part of the digital world for a long time, joining LinkedIn and YouTube in about 2006. I have been writing about the online customer experience for years. So I am as guilty and responsible as anyone as part of this evolution. But I wonder for my own personal life as well as those of my friends, family and colleagues — if we have gone too far and whether we are over connected?

There’s really no going back, but perhaps there is a balance. We got here, now. And so what are the next steps and where will this all take us? I think balance is key. But who decides what that balance is. If online customer experiences were more effective and efficient, perhaps we’d have more time to do basic human things- like relax, talk to people in person, enjoy a good afternoon at the pool, go on vacation and not look at email… But we have to be mindful about our choices. We have to wake-up and look at our lives and choices. And then make very, very important decisions as consumers / customers. We – customers – need to vote with our feet – and only buy from companies that provided a shared-value customer experience – which is being talked about at #LiNc conference #LiNc2014. That means an experience that provides value for both the customer and the company.

I know what you are thinking. Natalie, you’ve been writing about that very thing for 20 years. I guess I need to keep writing about it until more and more companies actually deliver on it. 

Brands needs to be aware that consumers are getting weary. How can they make the experience better so that they become a preferred destination and provider? If the customer gets too tired and weary, they won’t buy. They will put it off. So its never been more important to look at the online customer experience as a key to whether customers choose your business to interact with – and that will determine the customer lifetime value. And brands need to make sure that whatever PR and Marketing is promising, that Customer Service can deliver it. That is what Customer Experience is – that full customer lifecycle – that should be driving a continuos circle, repeated over and over and over… awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, loyalty, advocacy and referral and repeat continuously… 

The technology is now there that can deliver more than we have ever been able to provide. But does your company have the skills and human capital and leadership to deliver great next generation customer experiences? Here’s more on the study. I think you will find the results fascinating…

THE STUDY

The study has data from a survey conducted online on their behalf by Harris Poll in April among over 2,100 American adults who are online that sheds light on how the Internet may be changing the country’s expectations and behaviors. The survey covered a broad spectrum of online behaviors and attitudes, exposing what Americans want from their online experiences and the brands with which they do business online.

Some key findings of the study:

    • Americans overwhelmingly rely on the Web to research big purchases
      • 81% use an online source to research a big purchase
      • Two in three Americans (67%) use 2 or more online sources for their research
      • Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) of 18-34 year olds use 6 or more sources!
    • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) tend to call an “800” or toll free number for help as a last resort
    • Consumers are going online to request help on a product or service—and want responses fast
      • Almost 9 in 10 (87%) have ever requested help online
      • Two-thirds (66%) expect a same-day response to their online request
      • 43% expect a response within an hour
      • 14% expect a response in a lightning fast five minutes or less
    • People may be more likely to go online to praise than complain
      • 61% of Americans disagree that they are more likely to go online to complain about a product or service than to praise it
      • But younger Americans seem to complain at higher rates than older Americans
        • 35-44 year olds are more likely than those age 45+ to go online to complain than to praise (46% vs. 35%, respectively)
    • Americans give Internet a fundamental place in their lives–and are fairly evenly split on whether to give up good sex or good Internet if forced to choose
      • 48% of Americans would give up good sex; 52% would give up good Internet
      • But age and gender seem to play a role in how Americans responded to this question
        • 57% of US women would give up good sex versus only 40% of US men who would do so
      • 57% of US women would give up good sex versus only 40% of US men who would do so

Lithium has created an infographic that summarizes the key findings from this survey. The infographic is available for download here.

This Lithium Customer Expectations Survey from Nielsen reflects similar research findings Lithium uncovered in a Millward Brown study last October regarding customer expectations unique to their Twitter experiences. A summary of that study is available online athttp://www.lithium.com/company/news-room/press-releases/2013/consumers-will-punish-brands-that-fail-to-respond-on-twitter-quickly

Connect with me on Twitter at @DrNatalie and let me know what you think!
Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

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Lithium Technologies Positioned in the “Leaders” Quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for Social CRM

Lithium was recognized by Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders Quadrant of the Social CRM Magic Quadrant. Here’s the links to the press release: Lithium Press Release. The Gartner Social CRM Magic is an annual report tracks trends in the Social CRM market and analyzes key market qualities. Lithium’s inclusion in the Magic Quadrant is based on Gartner’s evaluation of the company’s ability to execute on social strategy and overarching vision. Lithium is the only non-public company among the leaders and contenders in this space. 

Rob Tarkoff, CEO of Lithium Technologies said, “We believe Lithium’s recognition in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Social CRM is exemplary of the exciting company momentum seen through providing competitive solutions for our clients and globally expanding our customer base. We consider the acknowledgment reflective of our leading commitment to make brands successful with the social customer experience to optimize Social CRM strategy and exceed business goals.”

Image representing Lithium Technologies as dep...

Image via CrunchBase

In addition, the Wall Street Journal named its third annual ranking of the top 50 start-ups in the U.S. backed by venture capitalists. http://on.wsj.com/ScG7ij Lithium was named part of the Next Big Thing.

In looking at the Gartner Magic Quadrant, I wonder how easy it is to use it to choose software to build a social enterprise. Having been an analyst, I know how difficult it is to keep track of all the regular vendors- for instance, I covered CRM – Marketing, Sales and Service software and then added social media software as applied to those disciplines. Covering 100 or more vendors is nearly impossible for any human being. On the other hand, I wonder how useful it is to have a report that has many software types that are not apples to apples comparisons.

The Gartner Social CRM Magic Quadrant has received criticism. My colleague, said it very well on his blog, “I have the highest respect for the authors and contributors to the recently released Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social CRM. I am disagreeing with the ideas and concepts, not people. I am more troubled that what was published is so off the mark, as it leads to further confusion in an already confused space. This is not to say that the companies included in various locations are right or wrong either, it is simply the apples to oranges comparison of ‘things’.

I don’t mean to say that Lithium’s placement in the Social CRM Magic Quadrant isn’t well deserved. It is.

For me, what I am wondering about and pondering questions around – is how to make sense of all the content and information- sometimes misinformation about software, especially when it comes to social software. Maybe one strategy is to write a software analysis document that is not very clear or one that does not completely covers the whole landscape (which is not possible) or one that doesn’t have apples to apples comparisons – with respect to building a social enterprise– so that people need to call you and get help? Could that be part of the reasoning?

What I do know is that there are so many vendors in social media software that my clients have a very tough time sorting through vendors – their features, functions and benefits and then making a short list and then choosing and implementing software — AND to then use the software to reach business results…

What’s your thoughts on figuring out the social media software landscape?

About Lithium

Lithium helps companies unlock the passion of their customers. Lithium software powers amazing Social Customer Experiences for more than 400 iconic brands including AT&T, BT, Best Buy, Sephora, Skype and Telstra.  Lithium helps companies grow brand advocacy, drive sales, reduce costs and accelerate innovation to create a brand nation that redefines the customer experience. For more information, visit lithium.com, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our own brand nation–the Lithosphere. Lithium is privately held with corporate headquarters in Emeryville, Calif. and offices in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Download Complimentary Copy
A complimentary copy of the Magic Quadrant report here.

The “Magic Quadrant for Social CRM” was written by Adam Sarner, Ed Thompson, Jenny Sussin, Nikos Drakos, Michael Maoz, Jim Davies, Jeffrey Mann — September 27, 2012.

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@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

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