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Ginger Conlon | December 28, 2007
One of our 1to1 Customer Champions, Pete Winemiller, has this great thing his does to motivate his staff to improve their performance for each ensuing basketball season. Winemiller is the vice president of guest relations for the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Here’s what Winemiller asks his staff to do: Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | December 27, 2007
For over a month we’ve been hearing about how retail is struggling this holiday season and sales are lower than normal. The reports are still coming out with the numbers to show whether there really was a huge drop-off from last year (I’m sure it’s something we’ll be covering extensively for the next few weeks), but I have my own theory why the outlook has seemed negative when it may not be. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 26, 2007
It’s the most wonderful time of the year... or is it? In an effort to help restore the shortfall in sales projected by The International Council of Shopping Centers that said holiday spending only increased 3.6 percent this season, many retailers opened doors earlier than usual today (before 9 a.m.) and all this week, and are offering deeper price cuts than last year. But as shoppers rush in to make returns, redeem gift cards, and take advantage of stores' low Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 21, 2007
Ah, the joys of the holiday season: a bevy of percent-off coupons, free shipping offers, and more sent directly to my inbox at a dizzying pace. And in case I forget about the offers at hand, there are all those handy follow-up emails reminding me that I have a limited time to take advantage of the fabulous offer I just received. Then there’s the ultimate reminder that I only have one day left—or else I’ll miss out. Until the next Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | December 20, 2007
How close are we as a society to needing mobile addict anonymous programs? I’ve heard stories about “phantom vibrations” when people think their phone is ringing in their pocket when it isn’t, and statistics that say more than 1/3 of people are never more than an arm’s length away from their cell phone (even when asleep). I have to admit I fall into both groups, so when I read this story out of Korea it definitely caught my attention. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 19, 2007
We all know that these days, friendly and accommodating in-store customer service is often hard to come by. How many times are we left combing the aisles for assistance or encountering rude clerks who can’t be bothered? At Bed, Bath, & Beyond, though, that isn't the case. My experience there has been anything but exceptional, but lately it’s getting creepy. After getting married in October and registering for gifts there, I’ve spent some quality time in that store. That’s because Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | December 18, 2007
Anyone else getting a lot of e-mails lately from merchants determined to lure you into their stores or onto their websites for BIG BIG HOLIDAY SAVINGS!!!! ? If you’re like me, you may find yourself confronted with an annual greeting from an obscure store you once did business with five years ago. Nobody wants to be inundated with come-ons, of course, but chances are if I haven’t bought anything from you since 2002, I’m not going to suddenly realize a Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 17, 2007
It's a known fact -- Ford truck drivers hate Chevy people, and Chevy truck drivers hate Ford folks. Some people will only buy a Toyota or Honda, for example, even if other car companies have higher ratings or better prices. And in many cases, once you get a BMW or Mercedes, there's no other car for you. Why do people love their cars so much? How can other car companies tap into that loyalty to improve their customer relationships? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 13, 2007
Selling books is a hotly competitive business these days, with all of the major players and many of the local retailers creatively vying for customers. (Watch for an upcoming article about all the goings on in our January/February issue of 1to1 Magazine). We recently wrote an article in 1to1 Weekly on Borders' updated loyalty program, and then blogged on the topic of whether there's a reward in using reward programs. Interestingly, the article prompted a note from reader Bob Lang Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | December 13, 2007
If you’re in the market for a new computer, are you excited that you’ll get to try out Windows’ Vista operating system? If not, don’t worry you’re hardly alone. Lately those Mac/PC ads that Apple runs on television have focused on the fact that many people who did upgrade to Vista ran into big problems, and that the ones who didn’t upgrade are now scrambling to figure out how they can avoid doing so. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 12, 2007
Two of the longest-running, family owned amusement parks in the country announced today that they will be bought by a European hedge fund. Madrid-based Parques Reunidos, which owns 65 amusement, animal, and water parks in the U.S. and Europe, announced that it intends in March to complete its purchase of Kennywood Entertainment in Pittsburgh, PA, which operates 129-year-old Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh; and 161-year-old Lake Compounce in Bristol, CT. Although the current owners insist that the sale shouldn’t spur cutbacks Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | December 11, 2007
What is God? Not the kind of question that one usually finds himself addressing in the office, and certainly not with coworkers, but with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all in the air at this time of year, thoughts about God are perhaps natural. Is God an actual entity, or more of an abstraction of varying degrees of hypothetical reality? Is God, as John Lennon once put it, a concept by which we measure our pain? Is God dead, as Friedrich Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 10, 2007
If your stylist left the salon to go into private practice, would you follow her? If your financial planner called and said he was moving to another company, would you stick with him? If that Ann Taylor employee who always helps you find the right outfit moved to Banana Republic, would you start shopping there? Chances are the answer is yes, and it's a scary proposition for companies who want to build loyalty, but don't want to take it too Read more »
John Gaffney | December 7, 2007
A little customer acquisition never hurt anybody. Yet, you would think from the recent plethora of warnings (this blog included) about the importance of customer retention and the prohibitive costs of buying customers that acquisition is toxic. It's not. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | December 6, 2007
Every month I get dozens of emails from companies offering sales, exclusive deals, and rewards. At least 90 percent of them I delete immediately, and judging from some of the campaign numbers I’ve seen writing about marketing, the fact that I open even 10 percent of them is high. Why do I ignore so many marketers’ messages? I think the bigger question is, Why do they keep sending me irrelevant information that I’m likely to ignore, rather than communicating to Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 5, 2007
At SAP’s 5th annual Influencer Summit in Boston yesterday, the business software provider announced the launch of its next evolution CRM solution. With new capabilities, such as trade promotions management, business communications management, and pipeline performance management, SAP says the new release will give users easier access to information and the speed to go to market faster. The release is significant in that the product was co-developed with the company’s customers and partners with a focus to solve real business Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 3, 2007
Did you brave the stores this weekend in search of the perfect holiday gift? Did you go online? Chances are you did both. I did. Personally, I've noticed more of an integration between the offline and online experience this year compared to last. For example, Sears will have any online order ready in the store for pick-up within five minutes of placing the order. The customer experience is improving this holiday season, but have retailers gone far enough? Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | November 29, 2007
For customers, what’s the value of employees that offer great service? One man in Missouri thought it was $15,000. He left a grocery store employee that amount when he passed away as a thank you for years of helping him shop, and even visiting him when he was ill. As more companies turn to automation and phase out actual people, they could learn a lesson from this story: customers want someone there to help them. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 28, 2007
Tonight, viewers who tune in to the annual tree lighting at Rockefeller Center won’t only be treated to performances by Carrie Underwood or High School Musical crooner Ashley Tisdale. Viewers also will be witnessing the first-ever “green” tree lighting. The Norway Spruce is sharing center stage this year, not just with singing sensations, but with the energy saving environment in which it’s displayed. On the tree will hang 30,000 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) strung on the five miles of wire that Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | November 27, 2007
Here on Oxygen Tuesday (so named for its falling just after Cyber Monday and Black Friday, allowing frenzied holiday shoppers the opportunity to catch their breath), I’m taking the time to wade through the stack of loyalty cards I now have perched near my computer, as they’ve become too numerous to fit into my wallet. It seems like practically every company has a loyalty card these days. Barnes & Noble, Borders, Circuit City, Staples, and Virgin Megastore are my own Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | November 22, 2007
Next month in The Marketing X-Factor, we’ll be running a story about how wikis can create buzz, drive customer engagement, and encourage online participation. Like most of the other social media technology (blogs, social networks, and the like), interest from businesses in wikis is growing, but many companies don’t see the need for one. To demonstrate how wikis function, we’ve created one for 1to1 Media readers at 1to1media.wetpaint.com. Since our blog readers are already actively participating online, I’d like to Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 21, 2007
What is today besides the day-before-Thanksgiving day? It’s the 35th annual World Hello Day, which is observed by people in 180 countries and used as an opportunity to express their concern for world peace. Anyone can participate in World Hello Day simply by greeting 10 people. This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace. Aside from preserving world peace, I think that World Hello Day can serve to remind us about the importance of keeping communications open on Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | November 20, 2007
Everybody’s thankful for something this time of year: family, friends, health, a couple days off work, the news that there’s still eight episodes of Cavemen in the hopper, strike or no strike. But the 1to1 crew is particularly thankful for a different kind of turkey: those events of the past few months that revealed companies and/or individuals who forgot/ignored/actively worked against the whole concept of “service”…and sometimes of “customer” as well. But it’s not all one-sided. Sometimes, it may not Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 19, 2007
I don't know about you, but I get overwhelmed walking into Home Depot. To me it's a necessary evil. If I need a new extension cord or door hinge, I have to take a trip over there. Good luck finding anything that's not as big as your house. Many times I've gone there, the employees seem overwhelmed too. If you can find someone to help you, they may not know the answer, and usually have trouble finding an answer. Now Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 16, 2007
In a recent email conversation with reader Malcolm Wicks about whether companies can successfully “operationalize” word of mouth, Malcolm made a comment that caught my attention. He said: “I’ve been getting increasingly pragmatic about the impact of marketing recently as I’ve been doing more work in the area of customer and employee surveys. Discovering what customers and employees really think of you, rather than if they are 'satisfied' or not, can be a very salutary experience. I’ve even been thinking Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | November 15, 2007
Last week at the Sage Summit in Chicago, Sage announced they would be offering a service to employers in conjunction with Visa. Companies can now choose to pay their employees through debit cards instead of printing checks, and the PayCards, as they're known, integrates directly with payroll software. It's certainly an interesting idea, especially when you look at the benefits to both employees and the companies they work for. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 14, 2007
Mona Shaw, a 75-year-old woman from Bristow, VA, recently did something that many dissatisfied customers only dream of doing: She took a hammer to her local Comcast office and smashed customers service reps’ keyboards, monitors, and phones. This came after the cable company failed to show up on the appointed day to install its Triple Play service, then came two days later and left with the job half done, and in another two days, cut off all service. After Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | November 13, 2007
It’s a pretty good time to be Jack Noonan, president and CEO at predictive analytics software company SPSS. The company recently reported record third-quarter revenues of $72.3 million, a 12 percent increase from the $64.7 million announced for third-quarter 2006, with new license revenues up 15 percent and operating income up 29 percent. Revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2007 totaled $211.4 million, an 11 percent increase from $190.4 million in the same period last year. The financial Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 12, 2007
Much time is spent trying to sell the benefits of a rewards program to consumers. Earn points to get free or discounted products, or get treated to special sales or other events. On the flip side, the benefits to a company can be enormous. Understanding how individual customers shop at a store or experience a brand can completely change an organization's strategy. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | November 8, 2007
In September, Chase Grover wrote about Prince in The Marketing X-Factor because he chose to distribute his newest CD by including it in every copy of a London newspaper for free. Lately “his purpleness,” as he’s sometimes called, has been in the news for an entirely different reason, which may undo some of the good publicity he received for his earlier populist gesture. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 7, 2007
Most contact center professionals know and understand that customer satisfaction and customer engagement are critical components of effective customer service. And the way to improve upon them is to continuously anticipate and accommodate customers’ needs. But if a company’s communications channel is not integrated with the rest of the organization, then customer loyalty is at risk. Without integration, companies cannot deliver an experience to the customer that is tailored and one that they’ve come to expect. I’m currently attending Frost Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | November 6, 2007
“Business intelligence is usually about the past. We need more causal, predictive approaches.” So said management authority Thomas Davenport, author of Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning (Harvard Business School Press) during his keynote address last week at SPSS Directions in Orlando. A handy viewpoint, given that SPSS has built its reputation on predictive analytics, but Davenport takes a somewhat wider approach than what most of us think about when talk turns to PA. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 5, 2007
I love Frosted Flakes. It's one of the staples of my childhood, and I indulge myself every so often. But does that mean I love every other Kellogg's cereal? No. At the same time, I love what Apple does with all its products, and I'll be interested in just about any product it puts on the market, because it's Apple. For some companies, the idea is to create a loyalty strategy around certain products, while for others, it's about a Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 2, 2007
I spend probably too much of my spare time thinking about all things customer strategy. In fact, as I strolled home from a trip to the grocery store last weekend I got to thinking about spiffs. What I wondered was, is it possible to make spiffs customer-friendly? Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | November 1, 2007
When I was in San Francisco in September, I stayed at the W Hotel (a Starwood brand). I have nothing negative to say about the accommodations, service, and otherwise excellent treatment I received, but that’s not enough to warrant a blog posting. Like too many consumers, I ignored the questionnaire which accompanied my bill and asked me to rate my stay. A few days ago I happened to pick up the survey and take a look at it, and had Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 31, 2007
An increasing number of consumers are becoming bewitched with ghosts and goblins which is leading to greater spending. According to a new survey from the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch, consumers are spending much more on Halloween than they used to just five years ago. The National Retail Federation’s 2007 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey revealed that Americans now spend $5 billion on the holiday--up 58 percent since 2002. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 29, 2007
Who in their right mind would want to be an airline right now? That's my initial thought when I read about some of the new players entering the airspace race. But while some see the situation as terrible, others see opportunity. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 26, 2007
In my post yesterday on the CIM Forum blog I talked about my tribulations on a Halloween costume website. I needed information on what seemed to be erroneous sizing and didn't want to call the contact center. What I wanted--and what the site lacked--was chat. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | October 25, 2007
The New England Patriots are an undefeated 7-0 on the field and 1-0 so far off the field. The team sued online ticket seller StubHub.com last year, alleging that StubHub encouraged fans to sell tickets on the site at inflated prices, which is against team policy. StubHub lost the case and complied with a judge’s order to turn over information on more than 13,000 users who bought or sold Patriots’ home game tickets. Illegality aside, both the Patriots and StubHub Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 24, 2007
One panacea of CRM -- both the strategy and the technology -- is said to be the single view of the customer (though many companies are still working on achieving it...). No longer is there J Smith and Jon Smith and Jonathan Smith. They’re all one person, and you know all about the business he does with your company. The question I’ve come upon recently is, should you? Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | October 23, 2007
Renee Evenson is on a mission. A customer-service mission, that is. Evenson has worked in the customer service management field for three decades, and has published several books on the subject. Her latest, Award-Winning Customer Service: 101 Ways to Guarantee Great Performance (AMACOM Books), closely examines why customers might take their business elsewhere – often without even complaining – and offers up some timely and sometimes eye-opening solutions. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 22, 2007
Each September, Electronic Arts releases the latest video game in its Madden Football series. And a large majority of customers pay $59.95 for the new one every time. These gamers are dedicated to the game and loyal to the franchise. Why? Because they know that EA has taken the time to understand what a gamer wants in a video game. For the company, it's not technology first or cost first. The vision is simply, "customers first." Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 19, 2007
Earlier this week at The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) annual conference, the association announced its new Commitment to Consumer Choice (CCC) guidelines on using mail to communicate with consumers. This initiative is part of DMA’s efforts to get marketers to self-regulate, so government agencies won’t step in and create laws that could hinder marketing effectiveness. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | October 18, 2007
A few months ago I was in an editorial meeting and tried to pitch some new ideas for our 1to1 Media website. I suggested things like an updated blog, added user feedback features, wikis; essentially Web 2.0 technology. At the time, most of what I came up with was dismissed because I couldn’t answer the question “Why should we implement those, other than because everyone else is experimenting with them?” About a month later I was in another meeting, when Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 17, 2007
If you want to create a great customer experience, you have to know how to manage people’s energy. So says best-selling author and leadership guru Ken Blanchard. During his keynote presentation at the recent NACCM event, Blanchard discussed four elements integral to customer and employee engagement: setting the right target, treating customers right, treating employees right, and having the right leadership. Read more »
Don Peppers | October 17, 2007
A European colleague has asked me whether it isn’t possible to drive customers away by simply asking them to complete a survey about customer satisfaction. That is, can the act of soliciting for a survey actually be a turn-off for customers all by itself? Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | October 16, 2007
Pity the poor TV networks. An article in yesterday’s TV trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable notes that the increasing probability of a strike next month by the Writers Guild of America against the major TV and film studios means that the networks will probably stick longer with series that otherwise would have been canceled by now. The article quotes Fox head of program planning and research Preston Beckman saying, “If I cancel a show now and put something in its Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 15, 2007
According to a recent Nielsen Internet survey, 78 percent of consumers say they trust other consumer’s recommendation over all advertising/marketing avenues. Marketers these days seem to be chomping at the bit to encourage word of mouth and viral marketing. But do they work? So far, the answer is disappointing. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 12, 2007
Picture this: You enter a retail store and find a pair of pants perfect for those business casual days in the office. They’re an interesting color; like tan but not quite. Maybe beige or taupe or perhaps sand? So the challenge now is to find a shirt to match. No worries; you hold up the pants to the mirror on the display floor and not only does it give you the low-down on the trousers—fabric, size, designer, etc.—but it also Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | October 11, 2007
Every year, usually just before the Super Bowl, without fail you can turn on your television and see a countdown of the “world’s [insert superlative here] commercials.” I have no doubt every one of the Sony Bravia commercials made in the last two years would make the list of the most eye-catching, creative, and expensive. But in the end they’re advertisements, not pieces of art, because last time I checked Sony was a for-profit company. The spots grab viewers’ attention, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 10, 2007
Social networking is clearly on the minds of marketers these days, as an increasing number of vendors are launching solutions that offer brands the ability to send targeted advertising to sites. The niche audiences on social networking sites offer a wealth of potential for brand marketers. And vendors are looking to leverage that opportunity. Last week I spoke with two vendors—FAST and Inkriti—which both offer the ability to collect and analyze customer data from social media to either enhance products Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | October 9, 2007
“Bad customer service is like the weather. Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.” So Mark Twain never said. (Then again, he had to issue a denial that he was dead. The lesson, as always: Keep moving.) But my blog post of last week, detailing the waking nightmare of dealing with incompetent and/or apathetic customer service at a couple of drugstore chains, resulted in a great many online and offline comments, many revolving around similar horror stories. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 8, 2007
This summer our office decided not to have a company picnic. Instead, we all volunteered at a local community center to prepare it for the upcoming after-school program. I spent the day sweeping floors, painting walls, and cleaning bathrooms. I also spent some great quality time with my co-workers and ended the day feeling good about the work I'd done and the company I work for. A socially conscious workplace helps employees feel good, and it can also show customers Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 5, 2007
Earlier this week I attended NACCM in Orlando. I hosted a dinner for several of our 1to1 Customer Champions, who had joined me at the conference to participate on a panel about how creating customer engagement positively impacts the bottom line. How ironic. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | October 4, 2007
Earlier this year I wrote a story in the Best Practices section 1to1 Magazine about how iRobot’s (the company that manufactures the robots, which perform tasks from vacuuming to scrubbing kitchen floors to performing reconnaissance for the military in Iraq) contact center agents were “living the brand” by learning about how Roombas work and connecting with the customers who called with problems. A group of researchers at Georgia Tech studied the Roomba phenomenon and came up with a few more Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 3, 2007
Americans love getting a deal, and the renowned U.K. band Radiohead has taken unconventional steps to give them what they want. When the album In Rainbows is released on October 10, fans will be able to pay as little or as much for digitally downloading the album, telling fans “It’s up to you” what to pay. Radiohead can benefit from this tactic in two ways: The customers who pay nothing but will register their information will become targets of future Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | October 2, 2007
Does poor customer service drive you crazy? Yes, of course it does, why wouldn’t it? But what about customer service with an attitude? That’s been the issue for me and my family for a couple of years now, at least when it comes to getting prescriptions filled at our local CVS drugstore. When our son began attending daycare a couple of years ago, you can imagine how many trips we had to make to deal with the various viruses and Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 1, 2007
The role of CEO is evolving. What used to be a numbers-driven, locked in the corner office job now requires many hats -- brand steward, Wall Street maven, publicist, and customer advocate. While in the past the last one was usually the one pushed off to the lower ranks, there's a sense that customers are working their way into the boardroom agenda. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 27, 2007
Gartner’s CRM Excellence Awards was a major highlight of the recent Gartner CRM Summit. There were three finalists: Electronic Arts, Lennox International, and Shaklee. Each shared their success story, based on a winning customer strategy that gives customers choice and gives front-line staff the information and support they need to deliver a compelling customer experience. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | September 26, 2007
Last month I was in San Francisco for the Salesforce.com Dreamforce ’07 conference when I stopped in a small pizza shop for lunch. It looked just like any restaurant I’d visited on the East Coast, with one key difference: something on the checkout counter that caught my eye. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 26, 2007
Specialty retailer Pier 1’s elimination of its online store on September 1, seems like a flashback to a decade ago. The reason for the close? The company cited inventory concerns due to the uncertain nature of planning when making products by hand rather than on an assembly line. http://www.pier1.com/TheNewPier1com/tabid/198/Default.aspx. Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | September 25, 2007
The title of Tom Markert’s new book, You Can’t Win a Fight with Your Client (Collins), sounds like basic advice. After all, who would want to even find themselves in a combative position with an existing or potential client, much less an actual rumble? But Markert, the CEO of market research provider Ipsos Loyalty Worldwide, already knows that you already know that. Just as was the case with his previous tome, 2005’s You Can’t Win a Fight with Your Boss, Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | September 24, 2007
Customers are not equal. If you have ever read a Peppers and Rogers book or heard them speak, you know this is true. It's the basis of what we write about every day at 1to1 Media. So knowing that, how do you figure out their value? A new buzzword around the marketplace is "engagement." It's a great attribute of a customer's value to the company, but it's so vague. Companies talk in very broad strokes about the importance of engagement, Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 21, 2007
Earlier this week I attended the Gartner CRM Summit. The event kicked off with a keynote from distinguished analyst Scott Nelson, Gartner’s managing vice president, application strategy and governance. Nelson shared some expectations and predictions regarding customer strategy and technology for the coming year. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | September 20, 2007
We hear in the news all the time about people frustrated with long-term cell phone contracts, undisclosed fees, bad service, and the inability to switch providers. One remedy to nearly all consumer complaints against wireless carriers is a bill proposed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Jay Rockefeller, democrats from Minnesota and West Virginia, respectively. Though politicians often unveil proposed legislation as a public relations stunt knowing it will never get to a vote, the rules they’ve drafted are a great Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 19, 2007
Over the past few months, I’ve made a few gift purchases from Macy’s jewelry department. Each time, I received excellent service from the customer service reps. And each time, at the end of the purchase, they asked me to go online when I got home to take a survey about the quality service they delivered to me. Although my intention every time was to follow through and note the outstanding service I received, I have yet to take even one Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | September 18, 2007
"Business opportunities are like buses; there's always another one coming." So says Virgin Enterprises founder Richard Branson, someone who knows an entrepreneur when he sees one. (Ted Turner says an entrepreneur is “what you’re called when you don't have a job,” but let’s not get distracted.) While identifying entrepreneurs seems relatively simple – hello, Bill Gates! Roll over, Walt Disney, and tell Howard Hughes the news! – there’s also the very real possibility that there are entrepreneurs-in-the-making within your company. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | September 17, 2007
If you won the lottery, would you spend it all at once, or sock it all away to use later? Most people would try to do a combination of both, balancing their long- and short-term financial goals. The same should be true with how companies deal with customers. There has got to be a balance between getting as much money from customers as possible at once, and building loyalty and lifetime value over time. Move over too far in either Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 14, 2007
I was recently having a conversation with reader Miroslav Slodki and he posed the following question: If a brand is global, is it fair or wise to have isolated geographic pricing? He then answered the question using Oral B as an example. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | September 13, 2007
The best use for social networks from a marketing perspective is still very much up in the air. Some companies use profile pages to increase awareness, many advertise on MySpace and other sites in a more traditional manner, and others search blogs and profiles to gauge perception. The last of those three, using social networkers as a focus group by listening in on what’s being said, has created a lot of buzz lately because of what a few brand managers Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 12, 2007
Dave Duffield, the well-known beloved boss at former software company PeopleSoft, known for his camaraderie with his employees, became somewhat of a phenomenon for building a highly regarded employee culture ripe for fostering information sharing and fresh ideas. So it was my pleasure to have the opportunity to recently interview the former head of what was once the second largest software company in the world, at the RightNow user conference. Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | September 11, 2007
You gotta figure that Mattel’s Chief Executive, Robert Eckert, isn’t having much fun these days. In a little over a month, the world’s largest toy maker has announced three major recalls due to concerns about excessive lead paint in Chinese-made toys the company sold. Now comes word that Eckert is expected to testify in House and Senate hearings this week and next, centering on how adroit the company was in alerting federal regulators about major toy recalls. As a concerned Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | September 10, 2007
It's been 13 years since Amazon.com first started its online shop. Millions of merchants have followed suit, and now we're getting into the awkward stage. Sure, there are many sites (like Amazon) that have matured early, but unfortunately many still have a ways to go before they catch up. As these companies mature, many are looking at personalization as a must-have strategy for the future. At the recent eTail conference, eBay and Neiman Marcus in particular spoke of plans to Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 7, 2007
Last week I was catching up on my stack of BusinessWeek magazines while lying on the beach. I read with great interest “Fear and Loathing at the Airport,” by Chris Palmeri and Keith Epstein, which discusses the sad state of the U.S. air travel system. It’s a great article that covers lots of ground, but being that I obsess about all things customer service, I was especially struck by the following: Read more »
Don Peppers | September 6, 2007
I’m not really very technology-savvy, and I have always been very happy not to possess a PDA. Until my kids gave me one I didn’t even own an MP3 player. But I have to say that when I saw the new iPhone my 27-year-old son bought, I contracted a bad case of gadget envy. I mean this thing is very sexy. It is way way cool. Starship Enterprise cool. Now I know this is a terrible thing for any father Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | September 6, 2007
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this saying, "Give Em the Pickle" is the catch-phrase of motivational speaker Bob Farrell, who also sells a customer service-oriented training video. Before I began working at 1to1, my previous employer showed us his video every year to make us think about customer service in a different way and drive home the point that making customers happy now, even when slightly less profitable, will pay off in the long run. As Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | September 4, 2007
Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a situation similar to the one I found myself in the other day. My wife and I were in a local Honda dealer, finalizing our lease agreement on a new car. We’ve been driving Hondas for years, have always been impressed with their performance, and regularly receive courteous and helpful service. As the salesman handed me the keys, he noted that I could probably expect to receive a customer survey satisfaction survey by phone in Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | August 30, 2007
Do you trust your friends when they recommend a product to you? Research shows that most people trust that more than advertising and most other forms of marketing, but should they? A hot topic the last month on a number of customer and marketing blogs and publications has been Staples’ “Speak Easy” program, which I believe falls somewhere in the gray area of marketing ethics. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 29, 2007
Poor customer service seems to be getting worse, but it depends on where consumers live in the U.S. that determines how they react to bad service. Yesterday at the RightNow Summit, its user conference in Colorado Springs, CEO Greg Gianforte summarized the second annual joint Harris Interactive and RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report and revealed some surprising results. Of the North American consumers surveyed, Midwesterners are the most emotional of consumers, with many likely to swear and cry; Westerners are Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | August 28, 2007
Media buyers are the new rock stars, according to David Verklin, CEO of Carat Americas and Chairman of Carat Asia-Pacific. Being the head of the world's largest independent media buying operation, he would think so, but a perusal of his new book, "Watch This, Listen Up, Click Here: Inside the $300 Billion Business Behind the Media You Constantly Consume" (Wiley), co-written with the late New York magazine columnist Bernice Kanner, finds that he may well be onto something. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 27, 2007
There's lots of buzz around the business impact of virtual worlds like Second Life. Sure, it's great for fantasy gamers holed up in their basements, but how will it grow business? Companies like IBM, Xerox and others have jumped in, using its community features to hold virtual meetings and show clients product demonstrations. But it's not just for the big players. You see, in Second Life you can be whomever you want to be, shedding your real-life limitations. For individuals, Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | August 23, 2007
A colleague of mine at Carlson Marketing recently sent me an email detailing a horrible customer experience she had with Budget Car Rentals while traveling in Costa Rica. During her trip, her rental car’s tire went flat. While changing it, she was robbed on the side of the road, losing her passport, cell phone, cash, and credit cards. But the way she describes it, the customer service experience that followed was almost as bad as the roadside robbery. Read more »
Don Peppers | August 22, 2007
Martha and I both like Fred Reichheld’s Net Promoter Score, which we consider to be a convenient, quick way to get a handle on whether your company is building enough customer equity to sustain your growth and profit in the future. We think of it as a kind of leading indicator of lifetime value change. Most of you reading this blog will already be familiar with Reichheld’s concept, we’ve had a couple of conversations on it elsewhere in this blog, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 22, 2007
Yesterday, BusinessWeek featured an article in which the editors went directly to Wal-Mart managers—the employees closest to the customers—to ask them their ideas about how to fix the struggling behemoth. Many of the managers' ideas were simple and even obvious, but as the article pointed out, they’re ideas that were generated after talking with customers and listening to what they want. Take chocolate doughnuts. Wal-Mart has been cutting back on making fresh doughnuts because they don’t make much money for Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | August 21, 2007
When thumbing through the latest business books, coming upon the title "Why Is Everyone Smiling?" (Brown Books) might cause one to look around his or her office and reply, "Uh, everyone ISN'T smiling." But if that's true, your company might learn a lesson from the book's author, Paul Spiegelman, co-founder of healthcare-exclusive customer interaction center The Beryl Companies, who firmly believes that happy employees lead to happy customers -- and has the figures to back it up. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 20, 2007
More than clever advertising or price discounts, if you want more customers you should encourage positive word-of-mouth from your current customers. So many studies show that it's a successful strategy. But knowing and doing are two different things. How do you get customers to start talking? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 18, 2007
Is customer loyalty a marketing myth? Some say it is. I guess it depends on how you define loyalty. I’d have to say that, like love, there are many shades of loyalty. I love my daughter, and I love my dog, and I love chocolate. Is the love I have for each the same? Of course not. It’s the same with loyalty. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | August 16, 2007
Most people will now admit that the customer isn’t always right, but sometimes where to draw the line between giving in to and refusing a request can be very blurry. The New York Times ran an article yesterday on its website about Nova Rico, a cartography company that sells custom-designed globes and has received custom orders from some countries that pose an ethical dilemma. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 15, 2007
On magazine death prognosticator site Magazinedeathpool.com, the producer, or Grim Reaper as he or she calls himself, has been predicting the termination of specific magazines since early last year. Many magazines have passed on to its Death Pool Hall of Fame since launching. Even Business 2.0 and Fast Company are among the most recent business magazines that the Reaper predicts to get the axe. While there are many elements that can be attributed to a publication’s close, I want to Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | August 14, 2007
Most of you can doubtless recall Dr. Pepper's ubiquitous "Be a Pepper" ad campaign of the 1970s (All together now: "I'm a Pepper, He's a Pepper, She's a Pepper, We're a Pepper, Wouldn't You Like to be a Pepper, Too?"). Though the good Doctor officially retired the slogan in the mid-'80s, it's still a mainstay of life, popping up everywhere from sitcoms and movies to, er, blogs ... and the TV ads can, of course, still be viewed on YouTube. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 13, 2007
How much are your customers worth to your firm? It's a question many would like to answer, but few actually take the time to really understand. But if you look strategically, often times you've already got the information available to figure it out. A new study from Aberdeen Research we feature in this week's 1to1 Weekly newsletter picked out a few tactics for companies to analyze to learn which customers are MVCs and which are worth "firing." Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 10, 2007
FedEx is known for absolutely, positively getting packages to their appointed destination overnight. But its more recent focus is to absolutely, positively continue to raise the bar on its customer experience, according to Om Chokriwala, managing director of strategic marketing. During his presentation at the recent Customer Feedback Week, Chokriwala revealed how the company is doing so. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | August 9, 2007
In today’s issue of the Marketing X-Factor newsletter, I wrote the Hot List story about a study published by Pew Research that attempted to draw a portrait of “Generation Next.” The study defined the generation as 18-25 year olds, a group that has also been described using a number of other terms. As a member of the 18-25 demographic, I found the findings to be accurate based on my experience, but I disagreed with defining my generation using the term Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 8, 2007
With the movement toward new channels like social networks, virtual worlds, and mobile rapidly evolving, that brings up the question “How important is email to the future of marketing?” In light of these new technologies, marketers might consider bypassing email. But anyone who circumvents email is risking a still critical piece of their multichannel marketing and sales strategy. In fact the DMA estimates that commercial email in 2007 is forecast to generate $21.9 billion in U.S. sales. And each dollar Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | August 7, 2007
Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog. “On today’s Internet…amateurism, rather than expertise, is celebrated, even revered....The professional is being replaced by the amateur, the lexicographer by the layperson, the Harvard professor by the unschooled populace.” This, in case you’re wondering, is a bad thing, according to Andrew Keen’s new book “The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture” (Doubleday/Currency). And yes, most of it is just as apocalyptic as its subtitle Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 6, 2007
Teams win and lose. Players, even those revered by fans, sometimes get traded. There are so many variables in the professional sports business. But for the New Jersey Nets basketball team, the one constant is the customer experience. CEO Brett Yormark acts as host to as many fans and employees as possible during each game, ensuring that the experience is the utmost off the court. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | August 6, 2007
Every day there are millions of people watching sports, game shows, or just about anything on TV and thinking to themselves “I could do a better job than (insert quarterback, contestant, or cable TV show host’s name here).” That used to be the end of the conversation for the couch potato unhappy he never got the shot to live out his dreams. Today, however, some companies would like people to believe that through consumer-created content and the emphasis on user Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 2, 2007
I was back in Vegas this week, this time attending the content-packed Customer Feedback Week. Day one kicked off with a stellar presentation by Kip Knight, vice president of marketing for eBay North America. Knight warmed us up with his twist on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits: the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Customer-Centric Companies. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 1, 2007
This week I've seen the inside of FedEx Kinko's more times than I would have liked. The reason being is I needed to print labels for a large mailing but first needed to do a mail merge from an Excel spreadsheet. Not being well-versed in Excel, I assumed the people who do print for a living would surely know how it's done. They must get this request regulary, I thought. To my surprise (and dismay) no one at any of Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | July 31, 2007
We all know how important branding can be. A quick scan of the past weekend’s new movie box-office receipts finds the internationally-recognized “Simpsons” brand in fine fettle, raking in nearly $72 million (and umpteen puns of the “That’s a lotta d’oh!” variety), while “I Know Who Killed Me,” starring the rather tainted brand Lindsay Lohan, grossed a little under a buck seventy-five and a couple of stale Skittles. (Plans for a sequel, “I Know Who Killed My Career,” are currently Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 30, 2007
I have an identical twin sister named Anne. We are exactly the same age, live near each other, and work in similar occupations. We even bought our cars around the same time. According to the old rules of demographics, we should get similar marketing communications. But, she shops online much less frequently, and while I'm active on Myspace and LinkedIn, she doesn't have time for online communities. She can't live without her DVR, while I don't mind the commercial breaks Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 27, 2007
At 1to1 we write a great deal about how important a talented staff is to a compelling customer experience. Well, lucky me! I work with a wonderfully talented team who goes out of their way every day to deliver top-notch content, i.e., a great customer experience for our readers. In the past few weeks we received several awards that illustrate this. The awards are for editorial excellence, but what they are also judged on is how well the articles meet Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | July 26, 2007
Hoping that this doesn’t qualify as beating a dead horse, I’d like to offer a different angle to the Sprint-Nextel customer firing saga. Judging by what we’ve written about the story and the responses from people to previous blog postings, there’s a majority who think the company was justified in letting the 1,000 chronic complainers go. Most people said it was better to cut off a small, unprofitable few to benefit the many. I agree with that principle, but I’d Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 25, 2007
1to1 Media’s Senior Editor Kevin Zimmerman wrote yesterday in his blog about his interview with Paul Gillin, who recently authored the book “The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media.” Gillin says that many companies aren’t committed to their blogs, and don't devote the time and resources to managing it. Others start their blogs without a well-thought plan and as a result their blogs eventually die. At the Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange this week, I found Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | July 24, 2007
It seems as if blogs are like opinions these days: everybody has one. (Present company obviously included.) Blog search engine Technorati reported in late spring that it was tracking over 71 million blogs, not all of them having to do with Harry Potter. But is blogging right for your company? According to longtime marketing consultant Paul Gillin, who recently published the book The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media (Quill Driver Books), the answer is a Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 23, 2007
We've done articles about how some customers feel "trapped" with a company, either through a contract, lack of competition, or other factors. On the flip side, many companies feel "trapped" serving some of their customers. With the old adage "the customer is always right" running through their heads, companies tend to stick with customers who are beligerent, uncooperative, constantly unhappy, and a drain on company resources, with no hope of changing. So when Sprint Nextel decided to prune its customer Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 20, 2007
Contental Airlines may be one of the few airlines that still serve complimentary in-flight meals, but executives there know that without great service, there won't be anyone in the seats to eat them in the first place. During his speech at Call Center Week Jim Thistle, senior director, international reservations and revenue programs, for Continential, gave some insight into what service delivery was like at the airline before and after implementing workforce management. Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | July 19, 2007
Maintaining a customer relationship, or any relationship for that matter, takes personal interaction and support, right? That was the logic behind trying to save mom-and-pop stores from going under when big box retailers gained popularity. Many of those larger companies have since improved their service, largely due to knowledgeable and visible associates. A new study by IHL Consulting Group, which analyzes retail technology, however, seems to devalue personal interaction with customers. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 18, 2007
For some companies, letting their customers' voices be heard is critical for long-term success. A new study released today from online customer satisfaction firm Foresee Results, finds that the availability of online customer reviews on a retail Web site boosts overall satisfaction with the Web site, loyalty, and likelihood to buy online. Of the top 100 grossing retail Web sites, the ones that offer customer reviews experience better loyalty and conversion rates. Some highlights of the study include: * Customer Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | July 17, 2007
When you think of geniuses, you’re likely to come up with such names as Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Spider-Man. Hang on – the webbed wonder may be many things, but a genius? Well, yes, according to Dr. Alan S. Gregerman, author of the newly-published book "Surrounded By Geniuses: Unlocking the Brilliance in Yourself, Your Colleagues and Your Organization" (SourceBooks, Inc.). As indicated by the title, Gregerman’s approach is that “We all have the potential to be Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 16, 2007
Customers want what they want, when they want it. That's particularly true for the under-30 set. After all, they never had to wait in line on a Friday afternoon to cash a check at the bank, it's always been direct deposit. They haven't had to travel to the library reference section -- the Internet's pretty much always been there. And they probably never wrote fan mail to their favorite rock star -- they just became a "friend" on the band's Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | July 13, 2007
Google has been described as everything from “big brother” to “the evil empire” for the way it seemingly wants to participate in every aspect of our lives. Last week the Internet giant came a little closer to that goal by acquiring Grand Central, a service that allows users to sign up for one phone number they can keep for their entire life. That number would forward calls to any of their other phones (home, work, cell, etc…) and save their Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 12, 2007
Every company has its own central intelligence “agency.” That group: employees. Tapping into that inner intelligence can lead to valuable process and product improvements. An organization’s front line sees problems and opportunities their managers don’t, according to Alan Robinson, Ph.D., coauthor of Ideas Are Free and Corporate Creativity. To be truly excellent at customer service, Robinson said during his keynote at the recent Call Center Week conference, you have to be able to capture and implement large numbers of employees’ Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 11, 2007
Nielsen/NetRatings announced yesterday that it will scrap its longtime industry measurement of online page views for how long visitors spend on Web sites. Although Nielsen already measures average time spent and average number of sessions per visitor for each site, the company will start reporting total time spent and sessions for all visitors to give advertisers, investors, and analysts a broader picture of what sites are most popular. Why is this significant? The move demonstrates how page views are becoming Read more »
John Gaffney | July 10, 2007
By now you most likely have heard that SprintNextel has fired a few thorny customers. In a letter to about 1,000 of its 53 million customers the company "terminated" these subscribers, who apparenlty had SprintNextel customer service on speed dial. The customers called the SN contact center an average of 25 times a month, a rate 40 times higher than average customers, according to published reports. I think it's a great move, but let's not overstate it. Yes, it's an Read more »
Kevin Zimmerman | July 9, 2007
Video may have, in the immortal words of The Buggles, killed the radio star. But don’t try telling that to call centers managers who, although seemingly interested in video technologies, don’t see them as the next killer app. According to a new survey by contact center and IP telephony products and services firm Interactive Intelligence, video is the top new technology currently being evaluated among the 2,500-plus call centers surveyed, rating above decision support/data mart, e-learning, and a host of Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 9, 2007
There's a fine line executives have to ride between convenience and customer data privacy and security. On one hand, customers are demanding more personalized attention and don't like needing a million passwords. On the other hand, there are many undesirables out there just waiting to compromise personal information or attack data systems. In today's issue of 1to1 Weekly, we look at the aftermath of retailer TJX's data breach, in which almost 46 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 6, 2007
“Companies don’t have poor brand promises, they have problems delivering on the promises they’ve created.” During his Call Center Week keynote, ResponseTek Networks CEO Syed Hasan went on to say that instead of working to meet the original promise, many companies will keep adjusting their brand promise as necessary. Hmmm. Perhaps not the best option. Consistency, according to Hasan, is the better choice. He cited Southwest Airlines and Apple as two companies that consistently deliver on their brand promise, adding Read more »
Jeremy Nedelka | July 5, 2007
If you live in a major U.S. city, you may have noticed recently that your local 7-Eleven looks a little different. A dozen of the convenience stores were turned into “Kwik-E-Marts,” the fictional version of 7-Eleven from The Simpsons, to promote the long-running cartoon’s feature film debut later this month. Not only does the handful of locations resemble the cartoon store run by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, but most of 7-Eleven’s franchised stores will sell special products that until now could only Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 5, 2007
At last week’s Customer Service Week conference Andre Harris told a terrific story about a remarkable employee. Harris is the director of national customer service for Westfield LLC, which operates about 120 shopping centers in four countries (about half of which are in the United States). She was emphasizing how important it is to hire and train what the company calls “WOW people.” Here’s a digest version of her tale: Read more »
John Gaffney | July 3, 2007
I have a personal beef with Apple. I try to never let personal matters interfere with what I choose to write about. But hey, if Apple wants to offer me the same price (.30 per song) for upgrading the sound quality on the 3,500 songs I've purchased over the past three years as it does for someone who bought three songs over the past three years, go for it. They do, after all, have leverage. Leverage is a rare and Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 28, 2007
I spent the past two days at the Call Center Week conference, which you’ll hear more about over my next few blog posts. One highlight was IQPC’s 2007 Call Center Excellence Awards. The best part: Bath & Body Works’ Pati Crowley was honored with the award for Call Center Leader of the Year. Woo hoo! Read more »
John Gaffney | June 26, 2007
I like Dell's latest customer-centric approach, which looks to be balanced on design, quality improvements and retail expansion. Today it announced that it will customize its designs to include more colors and design tweaks to play to the WalMart audience (its newest account). In some ways it represents Dell's decision to bail on the direct sales market. In other, more important ways, it reflects what got the company to this point in time, which is listening to its customers and Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 25, 2007
I constantly see commercials for mobile phones or cable service that entice new customers with great discounts and special offers. If I'm already a customer, it makes me mad that only the "new" customers get the good deals. Why should I be treated worse because I'm already a customer? The acquisition frenzy in many of these industries can turn off current customers and make them switch to a competitor. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 22, 2007
One of our 1to1 magazine readers recently emailed me this question: “What are the skill sets of successful relationship marketing directors? I have already checked out the job sites but a majority of the descriptions display the immediate need rather than the responsibilities that will make a company a truly 1to1 organization.” It’s a great question, and the first thing that came to mind was our 1to1 Customer Champions, who are all highly skilled relationship managers. With those folks in Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 21, 2007
I don’t know about you, but I love online banking. I pay bills online, of course, but I’ve also opened accounts online; set up, changed, and cancelled recurring payments; researched account and mortgage options. The works. And in most cases it’s a better experience than the ones I’ve had in the branch. Not because the people aren’t friendly or helpful. It just significantly easier, more convenient, and less time consuming to self-serve. That said, I, like many other banking customers, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 20, 2007
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that he was dropping his Republican affiliation—a step which pundits believe will position him for the 2008 independent bid for the presidential campaign. Bloomberg for president may be the most logical idea I’ve heard yet to fix the mire in which the current tycoon president has embroiled us. Ross Perot tried it in 1992 and 1996 but this billionaire businessman has something over on Perot. Bloomberg has applied a new model for Read more »
John Gaffney | June 19, 2007
This is what blogs are for right? I should be able to throw some ideas around that might not be fully-baked. So here goes in the best spirit of Web 2.0, 3.0.....whatever. I read The Black Swan recenlty, a book that is as disturbing as any business book I've ever read. And beleive me, I've read too many. The book has many radical ideas. Basically, it relates the concept of Black Swans to life and business. A "Black Swan" actually Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 18, 2007
My local video store (Tommy K's) recently closed the branch near my house. After a few attempts to rent at the Blockbuster down the street, I decided that I would rather drive 15 minutes into the next town and rent from the Tommy K's there. The foregin/indie film selection is much better, they have new releases when Blockbuster runs out, and the staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. For me, loyalty isn't just about price or convenience when I want Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 15, 2007
Yesterday I had a terrific lunch with one of our Editorial Advisory Board members. We talked about how organizations are still challenged with data silos and fiefdoms, often maintained because C-level executives talk about change and reorganizing around the customer but don’t put the compensation, organizational structure, and commitment in place that’s necessary to actually make such a heady change stick. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 13, 2007
Among all the customer touchpoints, social media and mobile seem to be leading in cool factor – and marketing potential. Social media encourages consumers to engage with their favorite brands more often and for more time. It can spur and support word of mouth like no other medium. Mobile has an always-on ubiquity and presence/location capabilities that can give marketing more immediacy than ever. Both have unique benefits and challenges. And both have huge potential. What I wonder is this: Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 13, 2007
This week the CMO Council released a report that uncovers that chief marketing officers may be asleep in the C-suite. The report, assembled from five different surveys of marketers, executives, and CMOs aimed to find ways to define and align the position of CMO. What the report lay bare is a poorly articulated definition of the role of the CMO, unsuccessful alignment of the position within the organization, and continued high turnover rate for those who fill the position. Many Read more »
John Gaffney | June 12, 2007
It amazes me to see so much action in the financial news regarding car companies. Now Ford wants to offload Jaguar and Land Rover in the interest of generating the revenue that will find more solid financial footing. That's all good, but I don't hear much out of domestic automotive companies about reality. To be more exact, customer-centric reality. If you're going to play in the auto business for the long-term, you need to cop to the reality that customers Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 11, 2007
It's very rare to call a company and get an actual person. As customers, we've become accustomed to the automated messaging system. So for companies that look at it strategically, a human voice can actually become a competitive differentiator. In today's lead 1to1 Weekly article, that's what discount brokerage Scottrade did as part of its overall customer strategy. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 8, 2007
Chocolate and cash aside, often less truly is more – especially when it comes to quality versus quantity in marketing. We’ve said it many times at 1to1 regarding such messaging as direct mail and email: Don’t blast out every communication to every customer. Sometimes the blast is appropriate, but in most cases, targeted relevancy should prevail. It turns out that the rush for more in marketing is prevalent in another area that could perhaps be better served by a less-is-more Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 7, 2007
The American car industry has taken a beating over the past few years. Expectations for U.S. cars have been set pretty low, so it's big news that Ford yesterday led the pack in the latest initial quality study from J.D. Power. Five vehicles from Ford Motor Co. placed at the top of their categories in initial quality. Mustang fans can now tell their spouses that the red Cobra convertible is a good investment as a "mid-size sporty car," and not Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 6, 2007
This week BusinessWeek.com posted a story that spotlighted Six Sigma and how some companies like Home Depot and 3M are scaling back their Six Sigma and Lean efforts because their constant data measurement and paperwork can potentially drain quality time spent with customers and ultimately constrict innovation. Tom Davenport, Babson College management professor, who was quoted in the article, said “process management must be leavened with a focus on innovation and customer relationships.” Davenport is correct. Some companies have promoted Read more »
John Gaffney | June 5, 2007
Hey, it's business. Nothing personal, right? So I won't take the comment about my Hillary-loving lack of intelligence from last week's blog posting to heart. But I will return to last week's topic, which was about market orientation and who owns it. My point is this: No political party owns the concept of market orientation. In fact, I would go as far as to say that market orientation is irrelevant. It's customer orientation that counts. Market orientation, to me, means Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 4, 2007
"I don't trust him any farther than I can throw him," says Principal Ed Rooney about protagonist Ferris Bueller in the famous John Hughes movie. "With your back, Ed, you shouldn't throw anybody," Rooney's secretary Grace replies. And as the film ends, Rooney gets attacked by dogs, beat up by Jennifer Grey, his car gets towed, and he must ride the school bus home next to Joan Cusack, who offers him a warm gummy bear from her pocket. So it Read more »
John Gaffney | June 1, 2007
Let me start by saying I'm not a big Karl Rove fan. But the following quote in the most recent issue of The New Yorker completely floored me, and I'd love to get our reader's take on it. In the story titled "Party Unfaithful" Rove is quoted as saying: “There are two or three societal trends that are driving us in an increasingly deep center-right posture. One of them is the power of the computer chip. Do you know how Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 31, 2007
I recently read a terrific article about one journalist’s experience with Linked In. I’ll boil down the point of the article to this: There’s no point in signing up to be a part of a social networking website if you’re not actually going to be “social.” He makes a good point. Some business networking sites offer numerous benefit that are, of course, only beneficial if you use them. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 30, 2007
In today’s hyperconnected world, companies have little control of the information that moves around the Internet about their organization. One way to improve brand perception is by taking control of customers’ conversations and by making it easy for customers to talk in a public forum about an organization’s products. In her book Beyond Buzz. The Next Generation of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, Lois Kelly reminds us that marketing’s primary purpose is to help people understand organizations and products in ways that are Read more »
John Gaffney | May 29, 2007
I'm not too impressed with what I hear and see from new AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. First off, he places all his bets on a rebranding campaign to make Cingular go away and AT&T louder. This on the eve of introducing a potentially huge product, the iPhone. I don't know what the iPhone does yet. But I do know AT&T is not a draw for me. I would be a little more information and customer-centric in the approach to the Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 25, 2007
Today’s time-pressed consumers want speed with their service. Consider the following: Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 24, 2007
In most cases the last place employees who work weekdays want to be on Saturday is at a work-related function. Unless, of course, they work for a company whose culture creates employee loyalty and engagement -- the kind of engagement that spurs people, like Marty Peters of Detroit, to dedicate their life’s work as an employee (61 years, in Marty’s case). And spurs others, like Martin Joseph of New York, to give up their Saturday to volunteer at said company-hosted Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 23, 2007
A colleague of mine recently told me that she read about some well-known fast food restaurants serving “secret” menu items where customers can order off the menu at restaurants like Jamba Juice and In-N-Out Burger. When I researched this concept, I found that the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger is not only an entry in Wikipedia, but it’s also displayed on the company’s Web site. “The secret Menu: urban myth, or just plain excellent customer service,” the site reads. Read more »
John Gaffney | May 22, 2007
In case you missed it, direct marketing service firm InfoUSA was excoriated on the front page of The New York Times on Sunday. The story detailed how InfoUSA customer data was twisted into customer segments such as "Elderly Opportunity Seekers," "Suffering Seniors," or "Oldies But Goodies." As it turned out the story was based on an investigation that was three years old, and closed. InfoUSA posted a detailed and effective rebuttal on its website. In short, InfoUSA was victimized here. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | May 21, 2007
In today's issue of 1to1 Weekly, we discuss the strategy behind American Airlines' new Web site aimed at women. The company has also developed Web sites for the gay and hispanic communities. The idea is that the information is the same as on the standard American Airlines Web site, but the presentation makes all the difference to become more relevant and useful to customer groups. It's also interesting to note that differentiation online is a relatively new phenomenon. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 18, 2007
Yesterday one of my colleagues and I were commiserating with each other about our daughters high expectations. Interestingly, both girls – although different ages (one is nine, the other is 18) – share a common attitude: When they’re “busy,” they’re not so interested in switching gears to have a conversation with us. But, when they want to spend time with us, they expect us to drop everything at that very instant and do their bidding (hang out, give them a Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 17, 2007
One of my expectations—and hopefully yours too—is that CRM technology vendors practice what they preach, strategy-wise. Sure, they have cool CRM tools, but have they crafted a smart customer strategy, and are they using their applications to support it? They should be, and customers should expect it. I mean, hey, would you want your car repaired by a mechanic who doesn’t drive? Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 16, 2007
Last week, JetBlue’s board of directors replaced its founder and CEO David Neeleman with the company’s COO David Barger. The impassioned leader whose name is synonymous with the airline he started nine years ago, built an emotionally connected airline with a laser focus on the customer. The change follows the February 14th disruption of JetBlue operations at Kennedy International Airport during a snow storm that left hundreds of passengers stranded for hours on airplanes sitting on tarmacs. But customers' appreciation Read more »
John Gaffney | May 15, 2007
It's called "blogola." It's the practice of rewarding the right blogger at the right time for saying the right things about your product. According to a WSJ article today, it is the hot influence tactic at several TV networks. If you ask me it is the anti-customer strategy and the best way I've ever heard to stick an incendiary device into the whole concept of blogging. The beauty of blogs, from a customer strategy standpoint, is its unfiltered glimpse into Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 11, 2007
In an upcoming issue of 1to1 magazine we’re going to hold a microscope over the DNA of the customer-centric organization and dissect its leadership components. Through our various newsletter and magazine articles, we’ve seen some of these in action, like the ability to think strategically to build a win-win for company and customer, create consensus, and connect customer-focused metrics to hard-dollar metrics. We’ll be looking further into these and other areas. We’ll go out into the market and research what Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 10, 2007
Earlier this week I received an email newsletter from SubscriberMail about email marketing best practices. The fun thing about it was that, in honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, the column was titled, “Email Marketing Advice From Mom,” and suggested that “marketers would be wise to apply some of mom's lessons to their email marketing efforts.” Here’s a digest version of SubscriberMail's, er, “mom’s” 8 lessons: Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 9, 2007
In last week’s blog Got Brand Strategy, Tom West commented that companies can no longer force a brand on the marketplace—that they have to believe in their brands first. In another post, Graham Hill mentioned that in the old way of marketing, communications created brands. Experiences do create brands, but marketers still must figure out how to leverage those rich social experiences on the Interent and build effective communications strategies around their findings. In an interview this month in The Read more »
John Gaffney | May 8, 2007
If Microsoft does buy Yahoo!, which has been rumored, it will do so by overpaying on a scale matched only by the Yankees and Roger Clemens. For Microsoft, it's a big deal because it will acquire what it could not build on its own, which is a scalable search business. But from the customer point of view it doesn't mean much. If you're a BtoB customer that buys search keywords, Google will still own your budget. If you're an average Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | May 7, 2007
In my experience at 1to1 Media, when the words branding and customer centricity come up, they're usually on opposite sides of customer strategy. Branding is meant to build general awareness, while customer-centricity, when done right, focuses on the needs of customer groups or individuals. At the recent Forrester Marketing Forum, however, three companies representing three different industries talked about tying the two themes together. Is it just talk, or can it happen? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 4, 2007
A couple of weeks ago I rented a few (OK, well, five) movies from Blockbuster for a weekend movie marathon with my daughter (complete with popcorn, Coke, and Twizzlers, of course). They were all due the following week. Two days before the due date I received an automated call with a reminder to return the movies by that Thursday to avoid any charges. Wow. Blockbuster took proactive action to save me money – at the expense of the company adding Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 3, 2007
Last week I attended a gala printing plant opening, complete with a plant tour, wine tasting (that included customized bottles of wine for each attendee, of course…), hors d’oeuvres, and two speakers. The host company, GDS, is among those trying to spread the gospel of using variable data printing to create more relevant, personal, one-to-one marketing communications. So GDS invited me to speak on trends in custom communications, and Tom Glick, CMO of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, to speak Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 2, 2007
As Dick Martin says in his book Rebuilding Brand America, “Any cowboy with a hot iron can create a brand.” Martin refers to a time when brands started as a signal of ownership. But today, successful branding is tied to emotional values. Brand, Martin says “has to be easy to understand and flexible enough to modulate in a wide variety of interactions with a large number of different audiences. Most important, it can’t simply be something you stick at the Read more »
John Gaffney | May 1, 2007
If I ran a public company it would be deliciously tempting to chase the richest Wall Street market in history. In fact, you could argue that the CEO that doesn't chase this market isn't serving shareholders or the Board of Directors very well. But that temptation needs to be tempered by customer-centricity. Shareholders are people who stand to get rich from your company's share price. Customers are the people who will provide the value that pours the concrete for the Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 30, 2007
When I was a teenager, I got an allowance for doing weekly chores. After I quickly spent that money, I'd go back to my parents with stories of how the money wasn't enough to get the clothes, music, or other toys that I needed to survive the adolescent world. Most of the time they'd answer with, "when I was a kid, we didn't have...," which really meant NO. Today's issue of 1to1 Weekly shows how a similar dilemma plays out Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 27, 2007
Customers want to hear from you. Really. Earlier this week at the Genesys Telecom Lab’s G-Force customer conference, president and CEO Wes Hayden and Nicolas de Kouchkovsky, head of marketing and business development, revealed the results of the company’s 2006/7 Global Consumer Survey. According to the findings, customers are open to cross-sell, but using different media based on the context and if the offer is relevant. What percent of the 4,500 consumers surveyed said this? 95 percent. Wow. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 26, 2007
Software has versions. The Web has versions. And now customer service has versions too. During his keynote speech at Genesys Telecom Labs’ G-Force customer conference, CTO Brian Galvin explained to a rapt crowd that Customer Service 3.0 is where we all need to be. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 25, 2007
Every 3.5 minutes a new product is introduced, every second, 10 containers are shipped, and a merger and acquisition occurs every 20 minutes. Given these rates, companies require innovation and agility at a much faster pace. That was the message of SAP CEO Henning Kagermann at Sapphire, the company’s customer and partner conference held in Atlanta. Kagermann said in order to compete in this rapidly changing world, companies must effectively collaborate with their business networks including employees, suppliers, customers, partners, Read more »
John Gaffney | April 24, 2007
Had an email yesterday from a reader who asked a great question: Can a customer be loyal and unhappy at the same time? I say yes. But here's the qualifier. An unhappy loyalist is a short-term customer and not very valuable. When I was interviewing Cisco's Kirby Drysen for our Customer Champions issue he said something about loyalty that keeps resonating with me: "Loyalty is the natural willingness for customers to do business with you." A customer could be dissatisfied Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 22, 2007
The world may be flat, according to Thomas Friedman, but that doesn't mean it's all the same. Today's lead story in 1to1 Weekly, "Measuring Loyalty Around the World" discusses the cultural differences impacting customer satisfaction and loyalty scores. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 20, 2007
While attending the CRM Association’s inaugural National Conference earlier this week I got a speak peak at an interesting research study on marketing ROI. The study was jointly conducted by Raj Srivastava, director of the Zyman Brand Science Institute at Emory University, and Naveen Donthu, the Katherine S. Bernhardt research professor and professor of marketing at Georgia State University, working with Naras Eechambadi, Ph.D., CEO of Quaero. During their session they gave a brief preview of the results, which they’ll Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 19, 2007
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at the CRM Association’s inaugural National Conference. It was jam-packed with great content, but my very favorite quote of the event was this: “The voice of the customer isn’t in your head. It’s the actual voice of the customer.” Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 18, 2007
Your customers can then lead your company in new directions—if you let them. But that will require you to rethink the very nature of your organization. If you really want to listen to customers, give them personalized service, and reward them for loyalty, then you have to reorganize your entire company around customers. To do this requires an enterprisewide commitment to sharing customer data, and the reinvention of how every department in the company should interact with customers. This isn’t Read more »
John Gaffney | April 17, 2007
Sometimes customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, acquisition and all that cool stuff we like to measure and plan for gets washed out by pure emotional advertising that connects. The Imus incident allowed what I believe to be the best practitioner of mass media to show its true colors. Nike has hit with a print and online campaign that turns this whole mess into a positive conversation. If you haven't seen it, part of it reads: "Thank you, ignorance. Thank you for Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 16, 2007
This year's 1to1 Customer Champions represent a wide variety of companies, each with their own unique challenges. But these executives, representing companies such as Lexus, Ann Taylor, AT&T, Canada Post, NetBank and Loews Hotels, have very similar approaches to customer strategy. In today's issue of 1to1 Weekly, some of our champions open their playbook and share secrets to their success. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 13, 2007
Kerry Bodine, principal analyst at Forrester Research, says supporting your customers is easy to say but hard to do. At Forrester’s Marketing Forum, Bodine gave examples of companies that are delivering business expertise as well as channel expertise. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 12, 2007
What is customer centricity? That’s the recurrent question being asked at Forrester’s Marketing Forum being held yesterday and today in Miami. If the 600 attendees learned one thing it’s that customer centricity is easy to say and hard to do, as the session speakers repeatedly tackled this question. George Colony, chairman and CEO of Forrester, says when he talks to company executives about becoming customer centric, he always tells them six things: 1) Your company is inside out. Customers are Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 11, 2007
Random acts of good service do not make for a compelling customer strategy. That thought is borrowed from Martha Rogers, Ph.D., who uses it in her keynote speeches to make the point that occasionally friendly service isn’t enough to build the kind of customer relationships that boost wallet share, loyalty, and recommendations. I was reminded yet again of the truth in that statement last week during our weekly editorial meeting. Read more »
John Gaffney | April 10, 2007
If I wanted to, if I was a real technological and financial daredevil, I could go online right now and sign up for Vonage. Can you believe that? Just days after a judge said "you can't sign up any new customers" I can sign up for Vonage like nothing ever happened. Now, Vonage (as of this writing) is working under a temporary stay of that court order. And the court order was not based on a customer service issue. It Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 9, 2007
Every year around mid-June a tent goes up in one of the local business parking lots, and a guy sells fireworks for July 4th. Come July 5th, he packs up until the next year. The same is true for the rose vendor at Valentine's day. Is it possible for these merchants to create loyalty? In today's 1to1 Weekly lead article, "Building Loyalty in the Short Term," we discuss how companies with short customer lifecycles define loyalty, and how it may Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 6, 2007
I rented a car from Enterprise Rent-a-Car earlier this week. Something surprising happened when I did. When I stepped up to the counter, management assistant Mike White greeted me and extended his hand. Instinctively, I extended my hand toward his, holding my driver’s license and credit card to give to him. As I reached out I realized that he was holding his hand not to receive documents, but to shake hands. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 5, 2007
Everyone knows that gathering customer feedback is important. The question is, are you really listening to customers or just hearing what you want to hear? Earlier this week I spent quite a bit of time with three of our 2007 1to1 Customer Champions -- Bill Burris, Relationship Marketing Manager, Lexus; Kirby Drysen, Director of Customer Listening, Cisco Systems; Jane Judd, Senior Manager of Customer Loyalty, Zappos.com. We got together to tape an on-demand webcast on how to create a unique, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 4, 2007
The critical role of services has been recognized by many corporations for a number of years but is still not quite understood. In response to that gap, IBM and Oracle launched the Service Research & Innovation Initiative last week, a consortium that will aim to bring the concept of service innovation top of mind with executives and evolve it into a common business practice. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 2, 2007
At last year's THE Conference on Marketing, everyone seemed to be talking about the importance of the 1to1 connection, and how to reach individual customers. In the span of one year they've evolved the message to get into the hearts and souls of those customers. Marketing is now about storytelling, where consumers can come to their own conclusions and where their values drive engagement with a brand. In this week's lead 1to1 Weekly article, Steve Wynn and Home Depot's CMO Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 30, 2007
Job titles may or may not influence whether someone takes a job or stays with a company. According to a late 2006 study by Korn/Ferry, 85 percent of employees surveyed said that a bigger job title wouldn’t entice them to keep a job. So titles, it seems, aren’t an effective retention tool. But what about as a motivator? If your job title is Chief Customer Experience Officer are you more likely to drive the creation of compelling customer experiences in Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 28, 2007
Yesterday I spoke with Bill Rice, president of the Web Marketing Association, who talked about the organization’s annual WebAward competition, now in its 11th year and begins its official call for entries in April. The contest recognizes individual achievements behind the creation of today’s top Web sites. He talked about the seven criterion used in judging the competition which include design, content, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, and innovation. The last criteria, Rice said, is the hardest Read more »
Don Peppers | March 28, 2007
Big article in the Wall Street Journal today about Borders cutting back loyalty rewards in its very popular program. See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117504224198951153.html?mod=hpp_us_at_glance_mm for the story. (I believe non-subscribers can access this WSJ link only for a limited time period.) It seems to me that there are several things wrong with Borders' new approach. I don't begrudge them the need to contain costs, but the way this new program is configured doesn't sound like it's going to be very attractive at all Read more »
John Gaffney | March 27, 2007
In case you missed it the domestic auto makers had a meeting of the minds with the President yesterday to discuss goverment-funded alternative fuel development. I don't know why they bothered. The President isn't buying any cars these days, and if I was an executive at GM or Ford I would spend a lot more time in front of paying customers. I also wouldn't put too much faith in government intervention for domestic auto issues or flexible fuel alternatives. First Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 26, 2007
The days of "spray and pray" emails are over. At least that what customers keep telling companies, with their refusal to open irrelevant email messages and their upgraded spam blocking software. But unfortunately, many companies just aren't getting the hint. Volume rules in a lot of marketing departments, where cheap technology is the strategy behind blast emails that don't do anyone any good. In today's 1to1 Weekly lead article, Email Marketing Strategy at a Crossroads, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 22, 2007
I’ve met myriad customer advocates in my many years of covering CRM strategies. Fervent in their belief that customer centricity can make a significant impact on the bottom line, they are evangelists for the customer cause both inside their organizations and in the broader business landscape. Of course, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers are two you know well. Their one-to-one approach has transformed the customer strategies of countless organizations. There are many customer advocates whose voices may not have carried Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 22, 2007
Have you ever had the experience of calling into a contact center after gathering information online and feeling like you have more information than the agent does? It may be that the company’s Web group has launched a robust knowledge based while its contact center is using the same old disjointed information silos that require an excess of clicks into multiple systems. Besides the obvious need for those two groups to work in tandem, this is a case where customers Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 21, 2007
In February, dozens of plump, healthy-looking rats were caught on tape by news crews at a Greenwich Village, NY KFC-Taco Bell scurrying about after hours on tables, floors, and counters. For Yum! Brands, this incident can potentially damage the brand if not addressed now. While late-night comics spoofed the rat-infested restaurant nightly in comedy bits and news programs repeatedly replayed the video of the rodents invading consumers’ friendly eatery, Americans recoiled at the images. While Yum! Brands posted a video Read more »
John Gaffney | March 20, 2007
Interesting article in The Wall Street Journal today about Ford's BtoB relationships. Apparently the auto giant can't get its partners in the auto parts space to play nice when Ford desperately needs them to play nice in pricing. It's another lesson that companies should never underestimate their BtoB relationships. BtoB relationships need the same kind of short-term care and long-term vision that BtoC relationships demand. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 19, 2007
In today's 1to1 Weekly article, Virgin Atlantic's Paul Dickinson talks about how important it is to give customers choices. The company's approach to air travel and the customer's experience with it really makes it stand out. For a company known for its branding skills, it also has a very strategic outlook when it comes to customer choices. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 16, 2007
“If you tell customers what to expect from you, they won’t be surprised when get it.” This wise observation came from Gartner research director Esteban Kolsky, during his keynote at the Talisma Customer Conference earlier this week. Kolsky was discussing how to balance efficiency and effectiveness in the contact center. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 15, 2007
The CRM Association is all about helping organizations share insights and strategies on ways to improve the customer experience. In a twist of practicing what they preach, the CRMA is using new media to promote its National Conference, and having a bit of fun with it in the process. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 14, 2007
One of the best emotional brands in the world has done it again. Disney announced that it would launch its first line of wedding gowns this June. The “Fairy Tale Collection,” by Los Angeles bridal designer Kirstie Kelly, is moderately priced and draws inspiration from Disney characters like Belle, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. This new line of dresses is Disney's way of building lifetime value for its young female consumers who have grown up with the brand. The dresses Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 12, 2007
In today's lead 1to1 Weekly article, Forrester Research reports that many banks talk a good game when it comes to customer retention strategies, but as of now the money's still being spent on acquisition. Nearly all of the decision-makers polled by Forrester (95 percent) indicated that customer retention is "very important" or "critical." But they have a long way to go to actually make that happen. "Banks have not traditionally focused on loyalty," says report author Mary Pilecki. "In general Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 9, 2007
Forrester Research just released its report “Trends 2007: Customer Relationship Management,” which reveal six key trends impacting organizations attempting to improve their customer experience. Based on conversations with many of our readers, I have one to add. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 8, 2007
What do I think is the trend that will play out to be the Next Big Thing in marketing? No, it’s not Web 2.0. And it’s not experiential marketing. It’s not even social media. I think that the “trend” to watch is marketing strategists’ endless search for the Next Big Thing. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 7, 2007
What happened to service with a smile? McDonald’s recently reported that its accounting of guest satisfaction for 2006 shows that during a year in which the fast-food chain improved its financial performance on several fronts, the number of customer complaints also grew. Complaints per 100,000 guests totaled 20.1 at company-operated stores, compared with 18.5 in 2005. A recent article by Dow Jones Newswires' Richard Gibson, reports that the lack of transaction accuracy accounted for about one-fourth of the more than Read more »
John Gaffney | March 6, 2007
Yes, I'm serious. Although I think JetBlue had it covers yanked a little bit in terms of customer operations over the past few weeks, I think his attitude and approach could be copied in some other areas. How about the current mess at Walter Reed Hospital and the entire Veterans Administration disgrace? If Neeleman's management style and attitude could be copied no one would be yapping about new policy statements, subcommittees, and high-profile investigations. Neeleman's style would simply state that Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 5, 2007
It's pretty common sense -- customers who trust you are likely to be more loyal and ultimately more profitable than those who don't. But it's surprising how many companies treat their customers in ways that undermine trust. In today's 1to1 Weekly lead story, we discuss the state of customer loyalty in financial services, and what banks can do to improve loyalty and trust. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 2, 2007
Yesterday I had a long conversation with one of our Editorial Advisory Board members. I’ll have to keep who it was a secret so I can tell you the rest. He told me the stories of two C-level marketing executives. I bet you know people just like them. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 1, 2007
Earlier this week reader Ben Hill emailed me a question: “I have observed that companies that have a primarily B2B model are diminishing. The old B2Bers that are adapting to reach their B2C market segments are the ones that seem to be surviving. The companies that are strategically targeting the B2C as a part of their core business are actually growing. Am I wrong about this? If not, am I the last one on the planet to recognize this?” Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 28, 2007
Last weekend, I accompanied a newly pregnant friend as she shopped for maternity clothes. We hit Target, Old Navy…but it wasn’t until we stumbled upon Destination Maternity http://www.destinationmaternity.com/ when we were truly impressed. The 4,000 square-foot super store caters to the indulgences of mommies-to-be through a very interactive in-store, one-stop-shop approach with a wide range of products and services aimed to prep and pamper pregnant women. The mommy-mall concept store operated by the parent store Mothers Work, offers casual and Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 27, 2007
We as consumers have been conditioned to expect poor customer service. Just like we expect to have to haggle with car dealers over the price of a car, we don't have high expectations when it comes to contacting customer service. The IVR maze, the uninformed agent, and the lack of follow-up are things we don't enjoy, but it's so common these days. This should be great news for companies that have a commitment to customer service. With the bar set Read more »
John Gaffney | February 25, 2007
For me the most underplayed and underrated customer strategy is vision. Some executives have a knack for what customers will demand. That's not what the customer will need or want, mind you. It's knowing what the customer will demand. Vision is the difference between opening a new bookstore and starting Amazon.com. It's the difference between firing channel partners in favor of greater efficiency and empowering channel partners to open new kinds of product lines. I stole that last one from Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 23, 2007
One constant in the area of CRM -- customer relationship management -- is the ongoing discussion about a newer, more appropriate nomiker for this overarching, enterprisewide strategy. Some organizations have embraced CEM (customer experience management) or CMR (customer managed relationships); other organizations have their own unique name for customer relationship management. To me, CRM is a good fit; the rest is mostly semantics. (Although I do admit that using something like CMR can help rally a company’s staff around the Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 22, 2007
Verizon is trying to shake of its image as a “stodgy old phone company” and reinvent itself as a contemporary broadband company, according to Mark Studness, director of Verizon’s online center of excellence, whom I recently saw present at the Frost & Sullivan Sales and Marketing Executive MindXchange. To do so, the company is taking a multichannel approach to its marketing, especially when targeting 18- to 34-year-olds who are PC and broadband savvy. The company is using a mix of Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 21, 2007
The messy delays at JetBlue last week has made the airline the center of the media spotlight, and the negative experience has put the company's customers at risk. But sometimes making good on a mistake can have greater value in the long term. Last week’s events may have broken customer trust at JetBlue, but I believe Founder and CEO David Neeleman already put the mechanisms in place to repair the damage. Through the company’s openness, honesty, frequent communications, and confidence, Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 20, 2007
A week after New York's ice storm caused customer nightmares for JetBlue passengers, the airline is finally operating at 100%. For those who missed it, passengers remained on planes for as long as 10 hours, and hundreds of flights nationwide were canceled even days after the storm had passed. CEO David Neeleman vowed that such a debacle would never happen again, and announced that the company has created a Customer Bill of Rights. A customer bill of rights is a Read more »
John Gaffney | February 19, 2007
I think companies lull themselves into thinking they ask the right questions of customers when they really don't. And they think customer intelligence is informing business when it's not. As our 1to1 Weekly story points out, a company needs to ask relevant, tough questions of its customers and then have the guts to look at the results in the harsh light of reality. Customer survey results, whether via NetPromoter or anything else, should have an element of discomfort. If customers Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 16, 2007
Recently, several speakers I've seen at various events have noted the impending demise of marketing's 4 Ps -- product, price, place, and promotion. Curious to discover whether those were coincidence or a burgeoning point of view, I posed the question to several industry insiders. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 15, 2007
You have plenty of customer data. The million-dollar question is, how can you manage it in a way that delivers a return on the investment it took to acquire it? I attended a session on this topic at the recent Frost & Sullivan Sales and Marketing Mind Xchange event. Participants noted both challenges and opportunities for seeing ROI from customer data. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 14, 2007
For many executives it’s not all roses and chocolates this Valentine’s Day. That’s because for the fourth year in a row, the results of the 2006 Customer Experience Management study conducted by Strativity Group, suggest that the majority of companies’ relationships with customers are dysfunctional, lacking love and empathy. Overall, the study, with 309 participants, indicates the companies do not deliver the love required to maximize the value of their customer relationships. Lior Arussy, founder of Strativity Group, said this Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 13, 2007
Like everything else on the Internet, e-commerce businesses see just how useful the social networking tools on Myspace and YouTube have become, and they're, well, "borrowing" them. A recent story in BusinessWeek shows how companies like Macy's, Procter & Gamble, and Petco are kicking user reviews up a notch. It makes sense. It's what customers want. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 12, 2007
When we email friends or colleagues, we usually expect a response. We’re creating an electronic dialog. Some marketers and industry analysts think that the same should apply to email marketing. The thinking is that interaction creates opportunity – opportunity for information, sales, referrals, etc. But not all email communications offer the ability to interact. And that’s where opportunity is lost. Or is it? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 9, 2007
Marketers today at many companies are trying to take the focus off price and put it on value or customer experience or uniqueness or, well, just about anything else. The problem many of those same marketers then face are dealers or retailers who only want to focus on price. They don’t care about marketers efforts to connect with end customers by differentiating themselves in a way that ultimately should grow sales and margins. These “partners” only want to boost their Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 8, 2007
In today’s issue of The Marketing Xfactor Executive Editor John Gaffney writes about the strange turn some advertising has taken lately using what some call "creepy" mascots to pitch products. What’s interesting about these off-beat ads is the buzz they create, which John discusses in “The Art and Science of Creepy.” One question that comes to mind is whether that buzz is short lived, or whether it actually makes a long-term impact. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 7, 2007
Ford Motor will announce this week that it will rename its Five Hundred sedan the Taurus, the company’s popular-selling car in the 1980s. I don’t know about you, but resurrecting a car associated with a bulbous design and rental car agencies is probably not what the auto retail market demands. My memories of the Taurus are when I was 16. Every time I drove my Taurus on the highway, the car stalled and I skirted death. At the time, the Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 6, 2007
This will be the year that the Big Three automakers (Ford, GM, Chrysler) get overtaken by imports like Toyota and Honda. Imported auto brands have already reached a record high of 49.4 percent of U.S. sales in January, CNNMoney reports. It seems inevitable at this point. And for good reason -- Toyota and Honda make cars that people want to drive. The American behemoths are just that -- too big to operate efficiently, effectively, and with the customer focus needed Read more »
John Gaffney | February 5, 2007
We live in a business and personal culture of immediate gratification. What impresses me most about the six Impact Award winners featured in our JanFeb issue of 1to1 Magazine and called out in 1to1 Weekly, is the willingness among them to forego immediate gratification. If you check them out, you'll see that each of them embarked on an initiative that seemed to be subtle at first, and long-term in its payoff. Ingram Micro, for example, opened a new line of Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 2, 2007
A social and technology Perfect Storm is creating a one-to-one marketing ecosystem that companies cannot ignore, says Allen Johnson, worldwide leader, consumer goods customer segment, for Hewlett-Packard. During his presentation at CASCON, CAS Americas’ customer conference, Johnson explained that the combination of broadband content capabilities, the ubiquity of digital devices, the aging of the Net generation, the emergence of location-based services, and social networks equal a digital consumer. And that consumer is often open to receiving relevant marketing messages from Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 1, 2007
There is no such thing as the “average” consumer. So said John Rand, director of retail insights for Management Ventures, during his keynote yesterday at CASCON, CAS Americas’ customer conference. Rand explained that up to now the best data generally has been about the average, but that average is really about no one in particular – and that type of broad focus will no longer be useful in this world of increasing customer expectations of relevancy. His prediction: Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 31, 2007
Last week I spoke with Russell Kazeer, senior director of BPM marketing at Pegasystems. Earlier in the day he had called Sprint about a new product that was a result from the joint venture made in late 2005 between Sprint Nextel, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast. The agent had no knowledge of the product or the partnership, which was made to accelerate the convergence of video entertainment, wireless, and wireline data. Russell had to guide the agent through the deal. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 30, 2007
Microsoft released its new Vista operating system today, the first major release since Windows XP in 2001. For some, it's big news. A few stores had launch parties at midnight to celebrate, and lines of people (mostly in Silicon Valley) waited to be the first ones to buy it. Microsoft has a huge market share, but are its customers truly loyal, or just out of alternatives? Users, especially corporate users, have basically no choice. So the sales of Vista don't Read more »
John Gaffney | January 29, 2007
If I had to ID one element of the customer-centric company that really works, I would call out experience. Our 1to1 Weekly story asks this week, what is the secret for customer-centric companies? But I don't think there's an acutal secret. It's right out there for everyone to see. The companies that achieve consistent financial results have a unique customer experience. The reason Lexus outsells Lincoln is the customer experience from the dealer to the contact center to the TV Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 26, 2007
Where are the opportunities to encourage and improve sales and marketing collaboration? Massini Group CEO Kermit Yensen asked that question during a panel discussion on the topic at the Frost & Sullivan Sales & Marketing Executive MindXchange earlier this week in Tempe, AZ. He also responded to the question, citing three areas where sharing is the answer. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 25, 2007
Many companies are nervous to open up their products and services to customer comments. But a new study finds firms that allow unbiased user reviews actually build stronger customer relationships and make more money than those who keep information close to the vest. The Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index from ForeSee Results surveyed over 10,000 online shoppers that visited one or more of the top 40 online retailers. The sites that offer customer product reviews have a competitive advantage, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 24, 2007
In the early days of the recording industry, record labels were absolutely necessary for the success of any artist. Today, well-known artists are taking over their own brands and essentially owning their customer relationships. Over the years, record companies have added little value to the process of creating and distributing music. Their brands stand for nothing. These days, who knows or cares which label their favorite artists happen to have signed with? A full-service marketing solutions provider called Musictoday is Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 23, 2007
There are many different types of call centers, and many different strategies for running them. And recently, they've been judged. CRM Lowdown released its top 10 Hall of Fame call centers, and balanced it with a bottom 10 Hall of Shame list as well. Leading the pack is 1-800-Flowers, a business that survives on its call center. The worst of the worst is Dell -- a story of outsourcing gone wrong, and employees without empowerment. Read more »
John Gaffney | January 22, 2007
Like a lot of people today I am recovering from seven hours of football. It's not the football that I'm actually weary of, it's the commercials. Yes, I know the NFL is the last of the great male-dominated mass audiences. Yes, I know I need to have my 40-plus year old, Volvo-owning, insurance-buying, movie-watching brain tattooed incessantly by 30 second messages. It is America right? This is Our Country, I'm told. But why do so many companies neglect this opportunity Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 19, 2007
Yesterday during Genesys Telecom Labs’ Analyst Conference Joe Heinen, vice president of corporate marketing, polled the analysts about customer interaction channels. About 30 analysts, representing such firms as Datamonitor, Yankee Group, Forrester Research, and Frost & Sullivan, were attending the event. Heinen’s first question: Globally, what percent of customer service interaction will each channel have in 2008? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 18, 2007
Flying to San Francisco yesterday for the Genesys Telecom Labs’ Analyst Conference I was reading background information on companies nominated to Genesys' Customer Innovation Awards. One common thread was their use of dynamic skills-based routing. This made me consider whether most contact center executives consider skills-based routing as the best option, or do some prefer to have all their agents trained to handle any and every call type. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 17, 2007
I recently spoke with Rich Geraffo, senior vice president, Americas, at BEA Systems, who told me that everything begins and ends with the customers. How does he ensure this, I asked? Building teams of leaders, not followers, he said. In turn, those leaders build out additional teams of leaders. Gerrafo, who spent 15 years in a variety of sales leadership roles at IBM, brought this function to the table at BEA three years ago and has had great success—he has Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 16, 2007
When Apple unveiled its new iPhone at Macworld last week, everyone clamored to see it up close. Yet only a few journalists and gadget gurus actually got to play with the iPhone. The general public and most of the press could only watch a demo in the Apple theater or gawk at one of two iPhones in closed glass pedestal cases. One CNN reporter said it was presented as if it were the Hope diamond. Apple was very calculated about Read more »
John Gaffney | January 15, 2007
Sometimes companies need to focus on customer advocacy as a matter of crisis management. But the smarter strategy is to focus on it before it becomes a crisis. When I look at every big and even small crisis of trust or fraud in the business world over the past few years, that issue could have been avoided by simply playing advocate. If a company puts itself in the customers' place and acts in the customer's best interest, fraud will rarely Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 13, 2007
What are the most overused word and phrases in business today? Well, as much as everyone wants to be customer-centric and achieve a significant ROI from their marketing dollars, they're tired of hearing those terms. Stephen Fraser, senior vice president of Client Strategy & Insight for Carlson Canada, forwarded me this week's issue of the Canada Marketing Association's weekly e-newsletter. It cited a survey by Caifornia-based Creative Group that reveals what respondents (executives in advertising and marketing) think is "the Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 13, 2007
In our latest issue of the The Marketing Xfactor newsletter we discussed whether social media has a place in the loyalty mix, so I asked readers “Do you think social media is a flash in the pan, or will it grow as a sustainable and successful platform?” One of our readers got right back to me with insight that gets to the heart of why so many companies are frantically trying to find creative ways to capitalize on the opportunities Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 12, 2007
We talk a lot about empowering employees and giving them “policies” to work within that are guidelines, not cement walls. Giving employees the information, training, and flexibility to do what they know is right for the customer will go a long way toward creating loyalty-building customer experiences. Giving them policy “blinders” upsets and frustrates customers (not to mention the negative effect it can have on employee morale). Here’s one example: Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 11, 2007
Selling in the B2B arena has always been complex. But today that complexity is increasing as organizations flatten and push responsibility, authority, and accountability further down into the ranks. “There is a cultural shift in sales cycles and how deals are getting done,” Spoke Software CEO Frank Vaculin told me in a conversation we had earlier this week on sales trends. “There are significant changes in the decision processes in companies today.” Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 10, 2007
Last night, I stopped at my neighborhood market to pick up a last-minute item for dinner. When I put the product on the counter to check out, I realized that I only had $2 in my wallet, but the store requires a $15 minimum purchase for debit card use and my item totaled $4. When I told the clerk, who I assume is also the store owner, that I didn’t have enough cash, she said “Don’t worry, I trust you. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 9, 2007
I just caught an article from PC World showing how difficult it can be for a customer to cancel an online service. The author signed up for and then canceled 32 accounts, each at a different site. "About a third of the services in the sample made the seemingly simple goal of canceling very hard to achieve," wrote author Tom Spring. How's that for a parting shot? Read more »
John Gaffney | January 8, 2007
I think it's time to stop splitting hairs when it comes to the definition of loyalty. Our lead story in 1to1 Weekly details a loyalty program in the works at True Value hardware that focuses on share of wallet. Does share of wallet equal loyalty? Yep. For me, increasing share of wallet, regardless of what kind of company is behind the effort, passes the loyalty test. It encourages incremental spending. It generates more revenue for the company. It generates more Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 5, 2007
Like the ideas Robert Fulghum penned in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, we can learn the most important customer experience lesson from one simple axiom: The Golden Rule. Tony Alessandra, Ph.D., put a spin on it and created the Platinum Rule: Treat customers as they would like to be treated. But it all comes down to the simple of idea of walking in your customers’ shoes when you design your organization’s customer experience. The result Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 4, 2007
Yesterday I was on the other side of the interview table. A public relations representative for an enterprise feedback management (survey) vendor asked me whether I saw growth potential in that and in the broader CRM markets. Although some industry insiders feel that CRM has maxed out, I think there is significant opportunity for growth. And not just among organizations that have never implemented CRM technology. Many companies that already have a packaged or homegrown system in place plan to Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 3, 2007
This morning, Bob Nardelli, the chairman and CEO of The Home Depot, abruptly resigned after posting big profits, but poor stock performance. http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070103/home_depot_nardelli.html?.v=6 He recently came under fire for his hefty salary, which The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations listed as $37,862,312 in 2005. http://www.aflcio.org/corporatewatch/paywatch/ceou/database.cfm?tkr=HD&pg=1. His reward? A severance of $210 million. Nardelli’s severance and salary are indicative of the need for a reasonable and fair compensation system for executives and workers to create long-term corporate Read more »
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