Back to
Guest Blogger | December 30, 2010
The volume of social conversation is exploding. Hundreds of millions of blogs, millions of forums, and hundreds of thousands of online communities are supporting instantaneous conversations worldwide. And every day, new channels, forums, communities, and topics are emerging, opening the door for even more conversation and information exchange. Consider the numbers: Facebook users collectively spend more than 6 billion minutes in the online community every day. Microblogging site Twitter is on pace to process almost 10 billion tweets this year. Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 28, 2010
For years contact centers have operated as islands within the enterprise. Customer complaints about everything from broken products to dirty restrooms have typically been trapped in the call center like the marooned characters on Lost. Valuable information that could be used to improve products and services, drive marketing, and shape new programs has rarely been shared outside the four walls of the call center facility. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 24, 2010
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, but it's not always as available as organizations would like. Consider the U.S. Army: Less than 1 percent of the population has served, according to CMO Bruce Jasurda. "The onus is on us to tell the story," he said during a session at the recent Conference Board Senior Marketing Executive Conference. "We have to overcome perception issues. We're a misunderstood brand." Additionally, the organization receives a plethora of routinely asked questions. Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 23, 2010
I remember thinking that the Greek and Roman mythology unit in my Junior High Social Studies class was really boring. But in the past few years several movies have come out (Troy, Clash of the Titans, and even Percy Jackson) that have made those ancient legends seem cool. Pure fantasy, but cool nonetheless. The term "myth," according to the dictionary, can refer to a traditional story about the history of a people group (e.g., the ancient gods). Or it can Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 22, 2010
At this point during the holiday season, most Americans have the majority of their holiday shopping crossed off their lists. But there are some stragglers out there and most of them will be hitting the stores on Christmas Eve. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 21, 2010
Companies that make the sales process easy for customers and respond quickly and effectively to customers' needs have a better chance of converting sales leads when times are tough, says BigMachines Co-Founder and CEO Godard Abel. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | December 20, 2010
It's hard to find a firm that says: 1) we don't care about customers; and 2) we don't care about being good corporate citizens. That said, it's astounding to see companies on a daily basis act in ways that show complete disregard for customers and their general well-being. For anyone within companies who cares about brand, this ought to sound alarm bells, particularly as customers become more empowered with global platforms to let others know about their dissatisfaction and as Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 20, 2010
Some of this year's hottest holiday gifts include smartphones and iPads. These mobile devices can do what many other mobile phones can't. With new technology and information access also bring with them new privacy concerns. As a result, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is taking proactive steps to address privacy with the creation of new mobile privacy guidelines. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 17, 2010
While many companies still bury their toll-free numbers--or any contact phone number, for that matter--deep within their websites, is one firm using phones calls to build customer relationships. During his keynote presentation at the recent Conference Board Senior Marketing Executive Conference, CEO Tony Hsieh talked about the various ways the retailers works to wow customers. Along with free shipping and a 365-day return policy, Zappos makes is easy for customers and prospective customers to contact the company by Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 14, 2010
When J.D. Power & Associates came out with its eighth annual customer loyalty ratings for the automotive industry last week, I was heartened by the relatively strong performance of two automakers - Ford and Toyota. It's not because I'm a customer of either carmaker. But as a casual observer, I have been impressed with some of the approaches that each company has taken to become more customer-centric. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | December 14, 2010
Two Finnish service designers recently unveiled a prototype for a social media toy that's constructed out of a classic Brio shape sorting box outfitted with magnets and LEDs. Called the IOBR (the first few letters of its Iobridge tech backbone and an anagram of Brio), a small child can use the toy to let her friends know what she's up to. Yup, it's a toddler-sized status update. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 13, 2010
Sales and marketing strategy is changing, and changing fast. It can be hard to keep up. And the B2B space, with its long sales cycles and complex products and services, tends to lag behind the consumer space when it comes to evolving sales and marketing strategy. Yet in 2011, many B2B companies will recognize that 'business as usual' doesn't exist, and will change how they operate to be more collaborative and transparent with customers while keeping a tight rein on Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 9, 2010
Here's a surefire way to send a powerful signal to someone we are with that he or she is not very important to us: Release eye contact, stop listening, and look at our cell phones to take or send a text message. Oh I know...everybody is doing it. Right? Check again. I have never, ever, been with a major CEO, company owner, or any other highly successful person who constantly interrupted the flow of conversation or intimacy while they were Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 8, 2010
Many marketers have watched dumbfounded over the past week as the saga of Vitaly Borker (a.k.a Tony Russo), owner of, played out. The New York Times first reported the story on November 28 in "A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web," revealing how Borker used his eyewear site to cyberbully his customers with the goal of getting negative reviews to boost his company's search results. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 7, 2010
Social CRM is here to stay. Is your company prepared? CDC Front Office President Jason Rushforth discusses best practices for organizations to blend social media strategies with CRM techniques and technologies. Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 6, 2010
Most customer experience efforts focus on doing bad things less and doing good things more. That's a reasonable approach. But, realistically, customers will run into problems no matter how hard companies try to eliminate them. Albert Einstein described this well when he said, "Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things, and every day, nature is making bigger and better fools." Even without foolish customers or incompetent companies, customer problems will persist because customers are constantly changing - Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 6, 2010
Last week Peppers & Rogers Group held a Healthcare Executive Summit to discuss how customer centricity will become more important in the changing health industry. To deliver on those customer-centric principles, new technologies will need to adapt as well. A new study from CSC predicts some of those emerging technologies within the healthcare space. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | December 3, 2010
Hopefully you're already developing customer experience plans for 2011. If not, it's time to get going. In a Temkin Group survey earlier in the year, we found that 63 percent of large companies have ambitions to be customer experience leaders over the next few years. We also found that two thirds of customer experience "laggards" identified the lack of a customer experience strategy as a major obstacle -- more than twice the level of customer experience "leaders." There's no way Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 3, 2010
There are so many moving parts to the total customer experience it seems unlikely that one thing can make a difference. I think it can. That one thing: the details. Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 2, 2010
I couldn't agree more with Denis Pombriant. No, really. The guy talks a lot of sense. In a recent post, "Engagement is a Contact Sport," he expresses frustration at the "old think" that prevents companies from recognizing social media as a valid marketing and sales tool. Denis writes, "It's a new world, so stop treating it like the old world." I want to stand up and give someone a fist-bump. My boss, SAS CMO Jim Davis, says that one of Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 1, 2010
This holiday season, shoppers are returning to the stores and to the Web. According to the National Retail Federation, the number of people who shop on Thanksgiving has doubled over the past five years, from 10.3 million in 2005 to 22.3 million in 2010, and the number of people shopping on Black Friday at midnight tripled this year from 3.3 percent last year to 9.5 percent this year. In fact, by 4 a.m. nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of Black Friday Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 30, 2010
Sales of smartphones may be on the rise but brand loyalty isn't necessarily following suit. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | November 29, 2010
Customer experience improvements can be worth billions -- yeah, "billions" with a "B." Forrester recently published a report by my colleague Megan Burns that models the business impact of an improved customer experience. I'm proud of this report because it: Quantifies the correlation between a rise in a company's Customer Experience Index score and the corresponding increase in three loyalty metrics that every company cares about: purchase intent, likelihood to switch business to a competitor, and likelihood to recommend Makes Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 29, 2010
First of all, thank you for taking time away from your online shopping today to read this post. Cyber Monday is a great day for deals online. But, not everyone is organized and ready to make holiday purchases today. So what happens after Cyber Monday? Are retailers prepared to deal with last-minute shoppers? How can they make the most of this important customer group? Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 25, 2010
Anyone can sell a product online. But a successful company does more than just sell products -- they provide customers with the information and support they need to be effective with those products. Doing so will keep customers coming back and will inspire referrals. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 24, 2010
As the busy shopping season ramps up this Friday (and on Thursday this year in some retail chains), it's important to keep your customer service and frontline staff motivated to provide quality customer experiences. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 23, 2010
Customers hate getting stuck in IVR purgatory. Virtual Hold Technology CEO Kevin Sjodin discusses how companies can leverage automation in the contact center to help improve the customer experience. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | November 22, 2010
Most companies have the intention of providing excellent customer experiences. However, most find it difficult to translate those intentions into the cultural fabric of their companies. I like to give companies feedback on how they're doing -- and to see how customer service people deal with feedback. Three recent incidents with employees made me question how well these firms were making this translation: Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 22, 2010
The mobile channel continues to grow as a valuable customer experience touchpoint. Nielsen reports that smartphone penetration in the U.S. is at least 28 percent and rising, accounting for 41 percent of new phone purchases in Q3 2010. As customers do more with their phones, the mobile app market grows as well. Companies are clamoring to develop apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and iPad devices. But while the desire to keep up with technology is strong, there needs to Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 18, 2010
In a tough economy, a path of least resistance is the belief we can save our way back to profitability with savings from, among other so-called cost centers, call centers. Thinking fewer calls are better, we drive customers away from personal contact and toward website technology that lets them resolve issues for themselves. Thinking shorter calls are better, we link customer service representative performance to faster average handling times. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 17, 2010
My sister was telling me that last week the manager of her department in her office was about to make an offer to a candidate for an open position. The day before, a couple colleagues decided to check the candidate's Facebook page. What they found surprised them. Not only was her profile picture lewd, but she listed her interests as "using expletives, causing chaos, and drinking until 5 a.m." Because the manager didn't want to find out what type of Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 16, 2010
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg helped introduce the company's new "modern messaging system" on Nov. 15, he was careful not to call it an email service. Because it's not. Instead, it's more of a compilation of email, SMS and instant messaging. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 15, 2010
I don't normally like to use this blog to complain about poor customer service. But sometimes the situation is so blatant that I can't hold back. I hope the following story encourages any automaker or auto dealer to take an honest look at how they may be alienating their customers. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 12, 2010
"Companies have to take social to the next level and create measurable impact." Katy Keim, CMO of Lithium, noted when we spoke earlier today. Many companies are trying to do just that as they expand and integrate their social strategies across customer service, marketing, product development, and sales. Keim offered some advice on three types of metrics that organizations can use along the way. Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 11, 2010
The scenario unravels in rapid fire incompetence: A call center agent stumbles through a script, struggling to comprehend All-American novelties like Green Bay Packers "Cheese Heads." Lunchtime mercifully arrives, and leaves behind an empty call center as every agent heads to the cafeteria while the phones ring off the hook. The afternoon concludes with the staff playing a silly "True or False" game about American culture. All these scenes came from NBC's new "Outsourced" series - which, while attempting to Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 10, 2010
A recent report from eMarketer shows that ecommerce spending this quarter is expected to jump 13.7 percent over the same period last year. But are organizations prepared for the influx of shoppers? Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 9, 2010
Ali Hedayati, President and COO at Coradiant, discusses steps that online retailers can take to prepare their websites for an influx of traffic and transaction volumes on Cyber Monday. He speaks with Tom Hoffman of 1to1 Media about what retailers can do ahead of the biggest online shopping day of the year. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 8, 2010
Social media efforts tend to impact intangibles like goodwill, brand awareness, and affinity, which are tough to measure. But companies are increasingly thinking of social media as part of a coordinated, multichannel effort, connecting specific online and mobile initiatives to offline sales. Marketers are finally starting to answer the question, "how does social media impact my bottom line?" Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 5, 2010
Whether customers comment on a blog post, join a conversation thread on Facebook or Twitter, or respond to an online promotion, the goal is more, more, more. Earlier this week at the "10 Ways to Screw-Up Your Social Media Marketing" event hosted by New York Social Media Meetup, Offerpop cofounder Mark Cooper shared six strategies companies can use to encourage customers' participation in social settings. Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 4, 2010
Social media's skyrocketing adoption, along with "Generation Me's" coming of age and buying power, is drastically changing customer service and its best practices. Companies that don't figure out how to leverage social media while catering to the newly empowered Generation Me consumer will suffer lost customers, brand damage, and failed new customer acquisition strategies. "Generation Me" is a term loosely described as Gen X combined with Gen Y, meaning anyone from age 10 to 40 years old. Usually defined as Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 3, 2010
On Monday when I went to the grocery store, I was surprised to see Christmas and other holiday items already in place of the Halloween aisle--only a day after trick or treating. But a new study from ATG of more than 1,000 consumers called "Consumer Shopping Experiences, Preferences, and Behaviors," reveals that most consumers will start their holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving, with only 22 percent waiting until Black Friday to shop. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 2, 2010
Over this past weekend, Cablevision and Fox ended a two-week squabble over transmission fees that had left some 3 million viewers without Fox programming, including the first two games of the World Series and episodes of Glee and The Simpsons. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 1, 2010
Not to brag, but I have a lot of friends on Facebook. 421 to be exact. Some are good friends with whom I spend a lot of time, some are family members I keep up with, some are old elementary school acquaintances that I reconnected with, etc. I have different relationships with each of them. One giant social network to treat them in the same way makes it hard to manage. Understanding this, Facebook created a new tool called "Friendship Read more »
Guest Blogger | October 29, 2010
Imagine how different the healthcare debate would have been if trips to the Registry of Motor Vehicles were a breeze. Here in the U.S., mid-term elections are in full swing. The themes feel familiar: voters dislike various social and economic situations; candidates promise change. Across parties, many people seem to agree that the current government can't do what's necessary, a belief crystallized in comments about "politics as usual" and "Washington insiders." Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 29, 2010
If you're from the New York Metro area, you've likely heard of Stew Leonard's. It's a grocery store fully stocked with a reputation for outstanding service -- and a clear commitment to delivering that level of service every day. Consider the huge rock outside its stores with the following engraved on it: Our Policy Rule 1. The customer is always right. Rule 2. If the customer is ever wrong, see rule number one. President and CEO Stew Leonard Jr. shared Read more »
Guest Blogger | October 28, 2010
An interesting question was asked during Email Radio when I was discussing mobile marketing with mobileStorm's Jared Reitzen and Jim Ducharme: "Can mobile be used to do acquisition?" At the time of the show I answered that mobile wasn't a good source for acquisition. I've given this a bit more thought, and although I don't think it is an ideal channel for acquisition, I do think there are growth opportunities. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 27, 2010
Don Peppers & Martha Rogers say that trust is built on combination of intent and competence. It's so true. Misfire on either of these, and it's hard to win customer trust. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 27, 2010
"Analytics turn uncertainty about the future into usable probability." James Taylor, CEO of Decision Management Solutions, at SAS, said this yesterday at SAS Media Day in Cary, N.C.This quote resonates because I believe that companies have finally reached the point where they are applying analytics to improve business processes rather than to gain efficiencies. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 26, 2010
Customers often welcome assistance from companies when they're having trouble finding product information or completing a checkout online. eGain Chairman and CEO Ashutosh Roy discusses how companies are able to use co-browsing to assist customers during online interactions. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 25, 2010
Marketing can be a very siloed business. Email marketers may be doing their thing, while social media folks play on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites. Elsewhere traditional direct marketers are planning direct mail campaigns and website folks might be working on lead generation programs with the sales team. Mobile marketers are finding short codes and promotions to use. All of this activity is important, but without a common thread, it can get pretty confusing to the customer. It's time for Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 22, 2010
Actions in today's business world are driven by what consumers are doing, Clickatell CEO Pieter de Villiers noted during a recent conversation. And what they're doing more than ever, he said, is using their mobile devices. "We firmly believe that mobile becoming the primary means of customer engagement, especially in many emerging markets," de Villiers said. "The mobile device is the first thing switched on in morning and last thing switched off before bed. From a footprint perspective, it dwarfs Read more »
Guest Blogger | October 21, 2010
As marketers, we know that our customers are evolving and we must evolve with them. The question, of course, is "How?" To reach today's buyers, whether they are in B2B or B2C, we must engage them. Customers want to be connected with on an individual level and made to feel like they are a part of the buying process. We can't simply abandon traditional marketing tactics, but we must leverage social marketing channels, as they enable levels of engagement never Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 20, 2010
It's no secret. The effects of a bad customer experience can be far reaching. With dissatisfied customers telling up to 10 people about their bad experiences, such negative word of mouth can be devastating. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 19, 2010
Many companies gather demographic information about their customers, including location data. But for smaller companies or those that might be resource-constrained, it often makes sense to utilize additional customer data services from third-party providers. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 18, 2010
Last week I attended the Direct Marketing Association's annual conference in San Francisco. You can always count on the show to be a mix of old school and new, but this year the new media had a much larger presence than traditional direct marketing strategies. Of particular note was the prominence of analytics discussions among just about everyone. I took note of some of the hot trends in analytics being discussed at the show. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 15, 2010
"One percent isn't a 'success' rate," author Ernan Roman stated emphatically when we talked about marketing strategies last week. "Ninety-nine percent of direct marketing recipients basically saying, 'No thanks,' isn't OK." According to Roman, founder and principal of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing and author of Voice-of-the-Customer Marketing, today's wasteful marketing practices are a statement of marketers' lack of social responsibility and respect for customers. "A 99 percent waste factor is unsustainable, he said. "We have to wake up as an Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 15, 2010
When customers spend money on your services, that's a good thing. When they lose money because of poor service--not so good. According to TOA Technologies' recent Cost of Waiting Survey, consumers lose both time value and real dollars waiting for in-home appointments. Nearly 70 percent of adults in the United States have waited for deliveries, cable or Internet technicians, utilities, and the like in the past year; waiting on average for about four and a half hours, four times per Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | October 14, 2010
For several years I've seen company after company jump on the customer experience bandwagon. In a Temkin Group survey earlier in the year, two thirds of large North American companies said that they had ambitions to provide the best customer experience in their industry within three years. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 13, 2010
When Gap Inc. swapped its 20-year-old blue and white logo last week for a new black one with a tiny blue box without first consulting or notifying its customers, the company received a barrage of complaints and criticism from customers who demanded the return of the old design, as well as from the graphic arts community who just didn't like it. Thousands took to social media channels to demand the company return to the classic blue box with the white Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 12, 2010
This week at the DMA annual conference, new CEO Larry Kimmel was introduced to the DMA community. He's nine weeks on the job, and takes the reigns in the midst of an evolution in the direct marketing space. He seemed to welcome the challenge. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 12, 2010
I often wonder if the moment some executives get to their office, they forget that they're customers, too. Do they ever shop, call a contact center, wait for a cable technician? They must. And in doing so they must realize how essential frontline employees are to the customer experience and to the brand. Or maybe they don't. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 11, 2010
A growing number of companies are leveraging social media connections such as Facebook and Twitter to generate more buzz about their brands. ShopVisible CEO Sean Cook shares his views on steps that marketing leaders can take to maximize their social media connections to drive higher sales. He speaks with 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 11, 2010
No matter what you think, how you spend your resources, or what your agency tells you, the honest truth is that you don't control your brand anymore. Consumers do. They have the ability to make it whatever they want, and share that definition with their sphere of influence. Companies need to participate in this new era of branding. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 8, 2010
"The majority of what we do every day appeals to our non-conscious brain," Martin Lindstrom told attendees earlier this week at the HSM World Business Forum. Lindstrom, author of Buy-ology, shared insight into reaching the non-conscious brain using branding. He asked attendees, can you "smash your brand" and still have customers and prospects recognize it? That is, are there components besides the logo that are identifiers for your brand like color, sound, touch, taste, shape or traditions? He cited several Read more »
Guest Blogger | October 7, 2010
"I want to buy from you, but you don't make it very easy." What would your reaction be if a potential customer said that to you? Most of us would probably be in shock--and wonder if our sales process is as effective as it could be--or as it should be. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 6, 2010
A.G. Lafley, former president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, focused his remarks at the World Business Forum on innovation and growth. And customer centricity is what drives innovation. "If you don't really understand who your customer is and what they need and want, you can't serve them," he said. "I'm a classic [Peter] Drucker aficionado. The primary purpose of a business is to create a customer and serve them throughout their life. And you can't create a customer if Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 6, 2010
A report released this week by the CMO Council and Accenture reveals a divide between IT and marketing in many companies. The study, "The CMO-CIO Alignment Imperative: Driving Revenue Through Customer Relevance," surveyed more than 320 global marketing executives and 300 global IT executives. The results show that marketing and IT don't believe they are effective partners. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 6, 2010
Steve Levitt, author of the best-seller Freakonomics, took the stage this morning at the World Business Forum to share stories of tax fraud, flatulence, and prostitution. Not a typical economics discussion. A great storyteller, he talked about how some of the best ideas in business today are also the simplest ones. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 5, 2010
Today at the HSM World Business Forum Charlene Li, cofounder of Altimeter Group, sounded off on the value of social technologies. "Social technologies are all about the relationships you can form," she said. Here are a few pieces of Li's advice: Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 5, 2010
Today at the HSM World Business Forum Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, revealed his three elements of a performance culture: dream, people, culture. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 5, 2010
This morning at HSM's World Business Forum Jim Collins, leadership expert and author of Built to Last and Good to Great shared a list of 10 to-dos for successful leadership: Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 4, 2010
Brand Keys recently released its 2010 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index. It's an interesting list that got me thinking about emotional loyalty versus loyalty based on price or convenience. Brand Keys polled 35,000 consumers about their affinity toward 501 brands in 71 detailed categories (not just breakfast cereal, children's breakfast cereal, for example). A quick examination of the top 100 showed that customers love their tech toys, their cosmetics, their favorite retailers, and they have a real affinity for their preferred Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 4, 2010
What social media was last year mobile is today. User adoption of mobile devices is more than 95 percent, and consumers are using them for more activities every day. Smartphones are getting more popular. Mobile commerce, mobile marketing, and mobile customer service are now realities. Consumers are expecting the companies they do business with to provide a strong mobile customer experience. Can you meet their expectations? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 1, 2010
Verizon's familiar jibe at competitors' network quality may be a hearkening call to contact centers, as well. A recent study by Empirix finds that voice quality is affecting the customer experience at many contact centers. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 30, 2010
John Wanamaker's quip about half of his advertising budget being wasted could be coming back to haunt email marketers. Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 30, 2010
You may have heard, "Assign a 20-something to monitor your brand mentions on social media sites." This generalization could be highly damaging to a company's customer relationship experience, marketing effectiveness, and its bottom line. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 29, 2010
One of the primary benefits of all the conversations happening online is the insight available as a result. Companies can "listen in" to what customers, prospects, analysts, and others are saying about their products or services, their competitors, trends, and more. The catch is figuring out what to track and who in the company should track it. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 29, 2010
Anyone who tuned in last Thursday for the premiere of NBC's comedy Outsourced about an American company that outsourced its call center to India, was treated not only to some Indian stereotypes, but to some contact center misconceptions as well. Ben Rappaport is Todd Dempsy, who returns from management training to find that the entire call center at Mid America Novelties has been laid off. He moves to India to manage the new contact center where he encounters a group Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 28, 2010
Companies considering whether to advertise on social networks face a mixed market: Some consumers are leery of ads within social networks; others think social networks are the perfect place to advertise. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 28, 2010
Legislative, technological and market forces have dramatically altered the direct marketing landscape. Larry Kimmel, the recently-named CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, shares his views on the key challenges and opportunities faced by direct marketing leaders. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 27, 2010
A superior customer experience motivates most customers to buy more, stay longer, and refer friends or associates. So, yes, customer experience not only matters, it can provide a significant competitive advantage. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | September 27, 2010
In the marketing world, many people are focusing on how their brands and companies can take advantage of emerging social media channels. While that is important, email is still a dominant channel and should be given as much attention. The two platforms complement one another, and marketers need to think of email and social media as part of a holistic interaction strategy. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 24, 2010
"The voice of the customer is an untapped asset," Bruce Temkin said during his keynote as the 2010 Allegiance Engage Summit. According to Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, not many companies are using true voice of the customer programs, but those that do are at the forefront of customer engagement. He shared three essential elements for harnessing voice of the customer to help improve the customer experience: keep the big picture, master best practices, and make a difference. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | September 23, 2010
Companies deliver a defaulted, unplanned customers experience, then wonder: Why don't customers like us? The truth is, the experience many of you are delivering to your customers today is likely a blueprint of your organization chart. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 22, 2010
In the new book "Coolfarming," author Peter Gloor likens leaders of the past to race car drivers, controlling every aspect of the group they lead, setting the precise speed, and steering the corporate car to where they thought it should go. Creative leaders, on the other hand, are like hot air balloon pilots, mapping a direction, assembling a team to help chart the course, and then enjoying whichever direction the course takes. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 21, 2010
Today may only be the first day of fall, and Halloween paraphernalia may be hogging some store shelves, but it's the holiday season that's already on the minds of email marketers everywhere. The question is, what's your holiday email strategy? Perhaps it's a daily deluge. Or targeted trigger campaigns. Something else? Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 21, 2010
To get a sense of just how frenzied the M&A market has been recently for analytics and business intelligence software companies, consider the following statistic that was posted in a story about the trend on on Sept. 20: IBM alone has spent $12 billion on 23 analytics-related acquisitions over the past four years. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | September 20, 2010
Today we're happy to announce the newest group of 1to1 Customer Champions. These 15 executives embrace customer centricity and advocate for customers both internally and externally. Part of what makes them stand out is how they encourage their colleagues and co-workers to do the same. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 17, 2010
Hiring has to be one of the toughest jobs out there. Consider the retail store: Most employees are part-time workers, often teenagers--and the ambassadors of the brand. It can a huge challenge to ensure that all of them are equally engaged. But if they're not, can the great service from some offset the poor service from one? Consider this example: Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 15, 2010
In a recent conversation with a local real estate agent about her business, I heard her utter a familiar line: "It's all about location! location! location!" Only, she wasn't talking about my future housing needs. Rather, she was commenting on all the changes within digital marketing that are affecting her business. She emphasized how consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones for Internet information, whether to find a new Thai restaurant, a local plumber or, in her case, checking the Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 15, 2010
The fate of brands is a topic of heated discussion these days. Some pundits say marketers need to relinquish control of their company's brand to their engaged consumers. They claim that consumers already have taken control through their use of social media, so why fight it? Others suggest that consumers can influence brand perception, but a company will always control its brand. I say the truth lies somewhere in between. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 14, 2010
Brian Curran, recently-named as Vice President of Web Customer Experience Solutions at RightNow, shares how he's drawing upon his background as a customer experience officer at Best Buy and other companies and applying that to his current role. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | September 13, 2010
The social advantages of the Web have brought companies and customers closer than ever before. Many companies use online communities, contests, and other activities to encourage users to share their opinions about products, services, and brands in general. Some have extended this strategy to product design and even marketing and advertising campaigns. Mountain Dew is the latest company to see the benefits of customer involvement in every step of the product lifecycle. Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 12, 2010
We continue to talk about how the marketing landscape is constantly evolving. While all this change offers exciting opportunities, it is also accompanied by tremendous fear. Perhaps the most profound and provocative is the fear of losing control of the brand. It's a reasonable fear. Organizations spend millions of dollars building strong brands and, traditionally, marketers have been the ones in direct command of managing customer touchpoints and shepherding the message. Now, the voice of the consumer is being amplified Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 10, 2010
Every time a new something comes along, many rush to proclaim the demise of the old thing. It still happens today. You'd think that by now people would realize that the old thing is more likely to change than become extinct. TV didn't replace radio; radio's role in entertainment changed. Video didn't replace photography. Heck, the incandescent light didn't even wipe out candles. And there are still people who use the horse and buggy for transportation. Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 9, 2010
Once upon a time there was certain symmetry to the flow of information between a buyer and a seller. There were, if you like, steps to the dance that were intrinsically understood and accepted by both parties. This symmetry endured even through transformative business cycles such as the dot com period. Sure, email and other technology-driven capabilities allowed new ways of enabling this interaction, but they still did not fundamentally disrupt the equilibrium of this age-old process. The advent, however, Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 8, 2010
Sure, there's plenty of chatter online these days, but there's also some great information being shared face to face and at events. Here are a handful of thoughts on customer strategy gathered from the road: Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 8, 2010
Location-based marketing might not be a game-changer for companies, but it can definitely enhance organizations' social media marketing efforts. With marketing budgets still tight, companies might not be willing to invest in location-based advertising. A new study from ABI Research, however, indicates that may change in the coming years. The study reveals that businesses will commit $1.8 billion on location-based advertising in 2015 as part of their overall marketing budgets. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 7, 2010
I've always been fascinated by cultural differences in people's attitudes and behaviors. A prime example of this is the differences between how business meetings are approached in the U.S. versus Japan. Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 6, 2010
This summer, our family vacationed in Italy and Austria. Travel, as I'm sure you will agree, is a very high-involvement experience -- exhilarating when things go well and pretty awful when things go wrong, particularly when you are traveling with family. In preparing for the trip, we relied on traditional guidebooks, as well as customer feedback from a variety of travel sites. In doing so, it struck me that the guidebook companies have diversified and leveraged multiple media types to Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 3, 2010
One sentiment I've heard repeatedly is that delivering customer service via social sites is hard to scale. Some companies are trying to overcome that challenge by using a customer service capability they already have: dynamic routing in the contact center. Today a call comes in to the contact center and in most cases it's routed to the next available agent based on the issue, the agent's skill level or type, customer value, etc. Many companies also use dynamic routing for Read more »
Guest Blogger: Allen Bonde | September 2, 2010
Social media marketing means many things to many people. And as social channels like Facebook and Twitter continue to transform the way people relate to the brands, retailers, and service providers they love (or love to hate), marketers need to look at what social media approaches deliver the biggest bang for the buck. Fans and followers have a value, and engaged happy fans may spread the word and even buy more or renew at a higher rate. But as marketers Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 1, 2010
Recent research shows that organizations are leveraging social media to retain loyal customers. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 31, 2010
Consumers say a lot about companies and their brands in social media channels. CoTweet Co-Founder and CEO Jesse Engle shares his insights on steps that companies can take to leverage Twitter to forge tighter connections with customers. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 30, 2010
Customer loyalty is a term that gets bandied around among executives with customer-based responsibilities. For many, loyalty is synonymous with a points or rewards program. But as customer savvy evolves, companies need to rethink how they define and build customer loyalty. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 27, 2010
"There is a massive amount of information bouncing around online," Richard Hanks emphasized during a recent conversation we had. Hanks, president of Mindshare Technologies, was referring specifically to the many comments, complaints, and opinions voiced through such social channels as blogs, online communities and social networks. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | August 25, 2010
A few months ago I tweeted about one of my posts post called XFINITY Is (Unfortunately) More of the Same. Immediately afterwards, a nice woman from Comcast replied to my tweet and tried to change my opinion. This type of social media outreach is not unusual for Comcast, which has made a name for itself over the last few years with an active presence on Twitter. Comcast, however, continues to receive less-than-stellar (I'm being nice) feedback on its customer service. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 25, 2010
With the news this week that the direct marketing job market is worsening (indicative of the state of the overall industry), it's no wonder that companies are turning to new channels to engage with customers. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 24, 2010
The Federal Trade Commission is planning to propose voluntary measures to curtail online privacy abuses that may also allow consumers to opt out of online behavioral tracking. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 22, 2010
Social engagement may not be easy, but for the majority of companies today it's essential. Often the most difficult part is just getting started. During Alterian's Engaging Times Summit 2010, executives from American Greetings Interactive, Dave & Buster's, and Western Union provided a glimpse into their social engagement strategies: Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 22, 2010
Companies have long aimed to increase their market share or wallet share. Today organizations also need to consider their share of friends, Engauge Chairman Stan Rapp told attendees during his keynote at Alterian's Engaging Times Summit 2010. Businesses not using social media to engage customers risk losing those customers to competitors that are making the most of social channels. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 22, 2010
"Consumers are in the driver's seat," Alterian CEO David Eldridge told attendees of Alterian's Engaging Times Summit 2010, "and they want interaction, not interruption." During his opening remarks Eldridge also revealed several findings from the company's report "Your Brand: At Risk or Ready for Growth," based primarily on a study of about 1,000 consumers. According to the report, he said, customer trust is low and companies need to focus on rebuilding that trust. Other key findings he noted include: Read more »
Guest Blogger: Mark Klein | August 19, 2010
Different companies have followed different paths to reach the goal of high customer loyalty. IBM was known for being safe, for product reliability. "No one was ever fired for buying IBM" went the popular saying. Their products were not exciting, but IBM made sure they always worked. Customers followed them in lockstep loyalty, a slavishness that Apple parodied in the famous "1984" commercial. Microsoft became a very big company through persistence. Their goal was product functionality, and they have been Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 18, 2010
Those of us in media and marketing have been feeling the effects of shrinking marketing budgets for some time. However, a new Accenture report "Onward and Up--How Marketers are Refocusing the Front Office for Growth," found that in addition to budget decreases, marketing organizations are also experiencing a shortage of skills and inadequate tools. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 17, 2010
Suburban Propane has been in the news a lot recently in my corner of the world and the coverage has been anything but favorable. Read more »
Guest Blogger | August 12, 2010
You may think that studying cultural anthropology in South Africa is a far cry from working in digital marketing; however, there are parallels between both practices that you can recognize and use when creating effective web strategies and online communities. As a former cultural anthropologist I had the privilege of studying how social groups defined themselves in a hotly contested political, racial, and geographic environment. Among the Rastafarians living in the Cape Province of South Africa I mapped out an Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 11, 2010
Customer loyalty is becoming volatile. Companies are growing more concerned about losing customers and the cost of replacing them is the highest it's ever been. Many companies, however, think that if their customers are satisfied, then they will be loyal. Wrong. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 10, 2010
Managing the complexities of customer relationships can be fraught with challenges. Udi Ziv, Chief Product Officer and President of NICE Systems' Enterprise Products Group, shares his views on steps that marketing leaders can take in tending to customer interactions effectively. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 9, 2010
Yesterday opened up football's preseason. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Cincinnati Bengals 16-7 in a game designed to shake the rust off after a long off-season. There were no spectacular plays or memorable moments, just a slow-pace game led by second string players. What happens on the field is in the hands of the coach and the players, but the organization is working to make sure that it can influence fan relationships by improving the fan experience to match the Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 6, 2010
One sales tactic I recently fell pray to is the half truth. I think the reason this approach works so well is that the customer wants to believe that half truth (I certainly did). You know, the "Those shoes will stretch as you wear them" or the "It's paint and primer in one, so you'll 'probably' only need one coat. The problem with this strategy, however, is that once buyer's remorse kicks in, it has the potential to hit big. Read more »
Guest Blogger | August 5, 2010
The marketing industry is undergoing a transformational change in the heart of a revolution that questions its relevancy. This revolution challenges the definition and future of the marketing function. It is a revolution long overdue and offers an exciting opportunity to restore marketing to the art of driving business results based on the science of understanding and adding value to current and future customers. To successfully achieve the potential of this revolution, the CMO must be a powerful change agent, Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 3, 2010
Within the span of a week, I had two dramatically divergent customer experiences, each with different companies. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 2, 2010
A personal touch can go a long way to building customer loyalty. And as more companies look to capture and maintain strong relationships with high-value customers, they are embracing the use of personal concierge services in unique industries. For many companies, the long-term benefits far exceed the costs. Is it right for your business? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 30, 2010
When you have 98 percent brand recognition, what do you do? Thrive. Montblanc currently commands 70 percent of the world market in fine writing instruments, according to Jan-Patrick Schmitz, president and CEO of Montblanc N.A. The company has achieved this by focusing on creating "deep positioning and meaning" in the luxury market instead of targeting everyone who writes, Schmitz said during his keynote at the Argyle Executive Forum's 2010 CMO Spotlight Forum: Retail and Consumer Goods & Services. Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 30, 2010
There are rare moments in technology when everything changes. When the entire framework defining how we interact with machines (and consequently, each other) shifts perceptibly. That happened when the TV was invented, it happened when the computer mouse was made available commercially. These kinds of changes forever alter our economics, our social life, and our individual experiences. It's now about to happen again. Only this time, the shift that is coming is on such a large scale that not only Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 29, 2010
Attempts to monitor what customers are saying about your company in social media can often be a hit-or-miss approach. Vovici's Vice President of Research Brian Koma shares his recommendations for using enterprise feedback management tools to help gauge and react to customer sentiment in the social media atmosphere. Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 28, 2010
For years, companies have pursued loyalty programs that cater to their most valued customers. However, in a tough economic environment, where every dime of revenue matters, it is now essential to promote loyalty among a broader base of customers. Expanding loyalty requires that companies ensure a satisfying experience that moves high-potential customers up the value chain. En route, however, companies can find that loyalty comes in many shades. Depending on the duration of the relationship and other factors, customers have Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 28, 2010
Self-service can definitely enhance the customer experience, but it can also hurt it too. On Sunday my husband and I went to Lowe's to purchase some items that we needed for home improvement projects. After about an hour in the store, we approached the check-out to find our choices limited. There were only four self-service kiosks open--both with two winding lines. Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 27, 2010
After Facebook's big open graph announcement and Project Titan murmurs, it seems likely that email marketing will take a hit. If Facebook could bring down Google and turn SEO on its head in its reorganization of the Web, it's just a matter of time before email goes the way of the carrier pigeon, right? With 500 million people reachable on Facebook, 125 million on Twitter and millions more siphoned off by any number of mobile and other digital distractions, what Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 26, 2010
The financial crisis has forced many governments to enact rules to rein in financial processes and procedures. The United States earlier this year passed credit card reform, and just last week passed its financial reform bill, which creates a federal consumer protection agency and puts limits on fast and loose financial activity. Not to be outdone, the British government last year enacted its own set of mandates. The Financial Services Authority (FSA), which regulates banks, building societies, and credit unions, Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 26, 2010
Companies can learn a lot about customer behaviors, attitudes and preferences by listening to what they have to say in social media channels. Erick Brethenoux, Predictive Analytics Strategist for SPSS, an IBM Company, shares his views on how companies can apply analytics to learn more about the social customer. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 23, 2010
There's a huge amount of buzz around social CRM but a limited amount of action that marketers are actually taking. Larry Ritter, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Sage CRM Solutions, shares his insights on opportunities for marketing leaders to engage with customers through a variety of social CRM platforms. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 23, 2010
"The best strategy is nothing without engagement and accountability," Allstate Insurance Chief Customer Experience Officer Patty VanLammeren told attendees of the Forrester Research Customer Experience Forum 2010. Those two elements were essential to Allstate's recent customer experience revamp. "We changed the way we measure success," VanLammeren said, explaining that success is now measured across the enterprise, not just within one business unit. VanLammeren was appointed to lead the customer experience journey in 2008, when Allstate's management team made improving customer Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 22, 2010
A few years ago it became nearly cliché to say, "This is the year for mobile." That notion is now a reality. At the recent Internet Week New York, the Mobile Marketing Forum (MMA Forum) showcased the mobile channel's global reach and local relevance. Here are some examples of mobile marketing success happening today, cited during MMA Forum: Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 21, 2010
A Facebook friend wrote a status update yesterday that caught my eye. He was ranting about an interaction he had with a customer service rep, saying "Does 'customer service rep' mean liar nowadays? They B.S. so much they should be in politics. And returning phone calls? Forget it." Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 20, 2010
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome--more commonly known as SARS--hit Southeast Asia in 2003, infecting more 8,000 people, killing nearly 800. Very quickly, 80 percent of business travel and tourism to Vietnam evaporated. Our colleague Binh Nguyen was working at the time at the Duxton Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. His boss, the hotel manager, faced some tough choices and spent a few days agonizing over what to do. Finally, he brought all of his employees together in the hotel's grand Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 19, 2010
McDonald's is one of the most ubiquitous brands in the world, and customers can find a fairly consistent experience no matter which store they visit, anywhere in the world. But aside from the temperature of the french fries and famous golden arches, one franchisee take his approach to customer service a step further than corporate asks for. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 16, 2010
Understanding the mobile channel is a must for marketers today. "It's increasingly becoming an essential part of the marketing mix," Michael Becker, Mobile Marketing Association's managing director for North America, told me during a recent conversation. "Companies need to provide value through and with mobile in a unique way." According to Becker, we've hit a critical inflection point in smart phone adoption, about 24 percent of the market. MMA expects a rapid uptake in the use of text, MMS, email, Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 15, 2010
Companies are spending a dwindling amount of face time with customers as consumers become increasingly selective and utilize a plethora of communications channels. Mark Smith, Executive Vice President at Portrait Software, shares his insights on some of the opportunities decision-makers can seize upon to maximize their interactions with customers across various channels. Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 13, 2010
Having lived in Asia for the past eight years, I have learnt much about the respective cultures of this unique part of the world. It only takes a single phone call to an Indonesian, Vietnamese, or Thai contact center, for one to realize, like Wizard of Oz's Dorothy, that you are no longer in Kansas anymore. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 12, 2010
It makes sense that a company should listen to what its customers are saying, then take action based on the feedback it receives. The idea is simple, but putting it into practice can be an arduous task. It requires departmental integration, technology, training, and a culture driven by customer focus. Forrester Research understands the challenges and recently awarded three companies for their commitment to not just voice of the customer, but true enterprise customer feedback. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 9, 2010
A growing number of companies are discovering they can exert greater control in online interactions with customers by creating their own online communities. Lithium Chief Marketing Officer Katy Keim describes how companies can use online communities to engage with customers and develop tribal knowledge centers. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 9, 2010
If you're not investing in customer experience improvements across your organization, now is the time. According to Victoria Bough, vice president and practice leader, customer experience, at Forrester Research, customer experience has become a top strategic priority. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 8, 2010
There's a lot that companies can learn about what consumers are saying about them in social media. Clarabridge President, Co-Founder and CTO Justin Langseth shares his recommendations for using text analytics and sentiment analysis to learn more about customer attitudes and preferences in social media. Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 7, 2010
Love it or hate it, interactive voice response (IVR) has defined telephony self-service for nearly three decades. Whether a customer is looking for store hours, refilling a prescription, ordering a taxi, or simply trying to get routed to the right department, the find-it-yourself option has long taken the form of a 'Press 1 for X, Press 2 for Y' message. But the script is about to change. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 7, 2010
Customer service can make a big difference in a down economy, yet many companies are missing out by not providing quality service. According to findings released today in the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer of 1,000 U.S. consumers interviewed in April, 28 percent said that companies are now paying less attention to good service. And with 61 percent of those consumers indicating that quality customer service is more important to them than ever, it's apparent that organizations need to Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 1, 2010
Despite years of practical experience with customer relationship management, marketing leaders can still encounter challenges in executing these strategies effectively. Pegasystems Chief Marketing Officer Grant Johnson shares his advice for leveraging business process management tools and techniques to help drive successful CRM outcomes. Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 1, 2010
Price, Promotion, Product, and Place have been among the traditional marketing instruments for decades. However, "Four Ps" marketing has been criticized by professionals and academics in the direct marketing/database marketing and CRM space. These experts correctly point out that 4P conspicuously lacks any meaningful consideration of customers. In fact, many in the CRM industry dismiss the usefulness of these old concepts and argue that customer-centric analysis and marketing is the only way to go. Some even call such change a Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 30, 2010
In a new study by GlobalSpec, 70 percent of manufacturers reported that their sales will increase this year. However, with growth comes complexity. Growing demands placed on manufacturers requires a clear eye on what is needed to deliver on customer expectations. and that requires an investment in marketing. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 29, 2010
Most companies today, 62 percent according to Forrester Research, have a voice of the customer (VOC) program. Some of those organizations are getting increasingly sophisticated in their approach to enterprise customer feedback and translating the customer voice into action. Earlier today at the Forrester's Customer Experience Forum 2010, Forrester's Victoria Bough and Andrew McInnes announced the winners of its 2010 Voice of the Customer Awards--companies that excel in how they collect and act on customer insight. According to Harley Manning, Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 29, 2010
Proving the business value of marketing is getting harder, Dave Frankland principal analyst, customer intelligence, noted during his presentation at Forrester Research's Customer Experience Forum 2010. Numerous challenges affect this. Channel proliferation, for example, makes attribution more difficult. Some marketers have difficulty gaining agreement on a definition of marketing accountability; others say that measure marketing ROI is tricky. Frankland cited four areas--alignment, process, metrics, and communication--that lead to breakthrough accountability in marketing. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 29, 2010
Since Dan Hesse joined Sprint Nextel as CEO in 2008 the company has seen increases in its share of new customers, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction. The reason: An intense focus on improving every aspect of the customer experience. At the core, Hesse said during his keynote presentation this morning at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum 2010, problems the company faced prior to 2008 stemmed from poor customer experience. In fact, the number of calls to customer care was two times Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 29, 2010
Why are today's websites so boring? Ron Rogowski, principal analyst of Forrester Research, asked this question during his keynote this morning at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum 2010. "Today's web experiences leave an emotional void," Rogowski said. Fortunately, however, 67 percent of companies want their website experience to be a competitive differentiator, and are taking steps like improving web design and navigation, according to Forrester. So, how can a website be emotionally engaging? Through emotional experience design; that is, by interacting Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 24, 2010
Marketers are wrestling with effective ways to help their companies lift sales in a tight economy. Market Force CMO Janet Eden-Harris shares her insights on how to leverage customer intelligence to help drive new sales. Read more »
Guest Blogger | June 24, 2010
Employees rarely pay attention to--and invest effort to align with--any new strategy or initiative they believe is the "flavor of the month" and will soon be forgotten. Unfortunately, that is the default assumption employees in many organizations hold any time leaders introduce something new. "I've learned from experience," employees will sometimes say, "that this too shall pass." Leaders can complain that this is a cynical point of view for their employees to hold--but most of the employees who hold it Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | June 23, 2010
In a Temkin Group Insight Report called "The Current State of Customer Experience," we surveyed more than 140 large North American firms. It turns out that 11 percent of those companies think they are customer experience leaders today, but 65 percent want to lead within three years. That's a lot of ambition! Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 23, 2010
Social media adoption is happening at an extraordinary rate, and I believe most companies will have some sort of social media presence within the next 18 months. But social media isn't about quickly building flimsy connections between a company and its customer base; it's about slowly building strong affiliations between an organization and an engaged portion of its customers and fans. Read more »
Guest Blogger | June 22, 2010
Social CRM is a hot topic with businesses these days--not only with all the usual suspects, but also with some new ones that are trying to enhance the customer experience using social tools. And there are signs that it's working. Before you put the cart before the horse, however, it's important to realize that if you are simply responding to customers' tweets, posts, and reviews in the social sphere and doing nothing else you are leaving major value on the Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 21, 2010
Social CRM is a hot topic these days, and many companies are looking to create a strong social CRM strategy. And as more organizations dip their toe into the social waters, best practices are beginning to emerge. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 18, 2010
Some consumers who complain about a product or brand experience on Facebook or other social media sites often welcome offers by a company's agents to help resolve their issues. But in some instances, consumers feel like their privacy has been invaded and that the company that's reached out to them has crossed the line. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 17, 2010
The growing adoption of smartphones by consumers is creating additional opportunities for marketers to connect with prospects. SpeechCycle Chairman and CEO Zor Gorelov discusses some best practices for utilizing so-called rich phone applications to engage with customers and enrich their interactions. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 16, 2010
What frustrates customers? That's a loaded question, depending on in which industry you're asking the question. If companies can get at that valuable information and decipher customers' needs and concerns, they can increase customer retention and improve sales. Read more »
Guest Blogger | June 15, 2010
Forrester Research recently reported that the web "is now a pervasive part of consumers' lives, embedded into their shopping experiences overall. By 2012 approximately one third of all retail sales will be influenced by the Web." As more consumers conduct everyday transactions like refilling a prescription or purchasing beauty products online, organizations' web support and presence has to evolve to provide exceptional ecommerce experiences whether contacted on Twitter or during an online chat session. Even though consumers are moving online Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 14, 2010
It seems like new drugstores are popping up almost daily. Whether it be CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Duane Reade or others, the chain drugstore market is fiercely competitive. While many companies look to compete on price, some drugstore chains are turning to customer centricity as a competitive advantage. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 10, 2010
Customers ultimately decide which channel or channels they use to connect with companies. Responsys CMO Scott Olrich shares his recommendations on how to execute cross-channel campaign marketing effectively. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 9, 2010
Xerox CEO Ursula Burns talked at today's World Innovation Forum about how her company innovates. I was impressed at how often she mentioned customers. It's uncommon for a CEO, let alone one with an engineering background, have such a customer focus rather than lean on technology during an innovation discussion. Xerox, which came back from the brink of bankruptcy in 2000, innovates by dreaming along with its customers. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 9, 2010
So far today at the World Innovation Forum we have heard from marketing expert Seth Godin, venture capitalist Brian Cohen, and Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for America. They represent three very different industries, but each sector share common qualities of leadership and innovation. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 9, 2010
"Innovation means doing something that's impossible," said author Seth Godin at today's World Innovation Forum opening session. "Because if it wasn't impossible, someone would've done it already." What marketing has been about for a long time is advertising -- yelling at people about stuff that you make, he said. You want people to buy more. You make average stuff for average people. There are more average people than anyone else. The mass is average, and average people want average stuff. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 9, 2010
Social media is rapidly changing the way consumers and companies interact. Consumers are more empowered and companies have greater opportunities to interact with customers on a more personal level. However, a lack of organizational change, integrated technology, and staffing skills prohibit such opportunities from becoming reality. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 8, 2010
At the 2010 World Innovation Forum in New York today, Pfizer Chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler was asked what healthcare companies need to do to effectively serve different generations of customers. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 8, 2010
One of the keynote speakers at the 2010 World Innovation Forum in New York today is Michael Howe, the former CEO of MinuteClinic, the retail healthcare division of CVS/Caremark Corp. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 7, 2010
Are you reading this blog post from a mobile device? I bet some of you are. It just shows that people are doing more and more on their iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, iPad, or other mobile devices. As customers get more mobile, customer service needs to follow suit. Read more »
Guest Blogger | June 4, 2010
From the day of advertising's mad men to the era of the Internet, the relationship between marketers and customers has continued to evolve. And this era is no different. Consumers are no longer content with the marketing status quo. They're calling the shots, and what they want are experiences -- not messages. Today's consumer wants to engage with a brand on all levels and at the time that they prefer, not the other way around. For a meaningful interaction to Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 3, 2010
Marketers are wrestling with effective ways to reach customers using social media. Greg Nelson, Director of Customer Engagement at agencyQ, discusses best practices for devising global social CRM strategies that engage customers across geographies. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 2, 2010
We hear and read so much today about bad customer experiences, resulting in negative word of mouth that spreads like gossip at a ladies luncheon. In contrast, I would like to highlight an impressive customer experience that I recently had in April after I flew on Delta. The return leg of my trip was delayed a couple hours, and a week after the trip, I received a letter in the mail from Elizabeth Reed, the general manager of customer care. Read more »
Guest Blogger | June 1, 2010
As leaders we should always be looking for ways to improve our business and increase bottom line results. Building customer engagement by delivering an outstanding customer experience is one way to do so. But this will only happen if employees are engaged. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 28, 2010
The customer/salesperson relationship has always been a bit dysfunctional. Customers often feel ignored and agents feel pressured to make a sale and follow the "script." But in my own personal and professional CRM experience, I've found that relating and knowing more about the customer could be all that's necessary to improve this "tense" relationship. My own personal experiences can help explain this a little more. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 27, 2010
As mobile marketing continues to blossom, a growing number of firms are throwing viral marketing into the mix. Oddcast President and CEO Adi Sideman discusses trends with social media and viral marketing, and shares examples of companies that are reaping the rewards. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 26, 2010
As the senior marketer for a global business-to-business firm, I get so many solicitations through direct marketing channels that it's tough for potential vendors to break through the clutter. It's not that I don't care about unsolicited offers -- really I do. It's just that the volume is large and time is short. But, one recent campaign captured my imagination and, then, my attention. I received an express envelope that contained two pieces: a blue striped conductor's hat and a Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 26, 2010
Today's wave of social media venues--YouTube, Twitter, the "blogosphere", Yelp, Yammer, Facebook, comments on Facebook and beyond--have become, with their multithreaded, ungoverned, one-to-one and one-to-many interactions, the IP-powered equivalent of the ancient Commons. The Public Commons was the riot and roar of the medieval city center; antedated by the rumor-driven, mob-centric ant-hills that we now understand the Forums of the Roman Empire to have been; and is rooted yet farther back in time when ill-informed, distracted individuals gathered in front Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 25, 2010
List(S)entimonics is the art of listening effectively to your social audience -- anyone a company depends on for its success who is having online conversations about its brand -- to direct your Social CRM strategy. Sure, I made up "List(S)entimonics," but if online conversations are not in a company's direct control, then it is vital to listen to know how and when to leverage the sentiment of those conversations to align your Social CRM strategy. Using a careful blend of Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | May 24, 2010
Many companies focus on managing data as a key strategy, but it can be a challenge. Bridging the gap between raw data and profitable insight is an arduous task. Arduous, but not impossible. In this month's 1to1 Magazine feature article, three companies share how they connected customer data to profit. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 20, 2010
Net Promoter Score is used to determine customers' likelihood to recommend a brand or company. Deborah Eastman, Chief Marketing Officer at Satmetrix, discusses how NPS has evolved and how companies are applying it to improve the customer experience. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 20, 2010
To win with your loyal customers, you need to be equally in tune with the elements that cultivate loyalty and those that detract from it. Marketers tend to think about the customer experience and the customer journey, both important, but often the difference between winning and losing with your most valued customers is determined in the moment. Seize the moment and, ultimately, you seize the day and the customer. The promise of mobile marketing is it affords you the ability Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 19, 2010
Social media, SEO, multichannel marketing, mobile campaigns, email communications...Traditional marketing is becoming a thing of the past. Marketing, for the most part, is moving to the digital arena, which means your internal organization has to evolve too. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 18, 2010
Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was first published in 1989, and has since sold millions of copies and spawned a multitude of "lookalike" self-help guides -- all created with the common purpose of helping people and businesses become more effective and efficient. Before Covey, there was the mother and daughter team Katherine and Isabel Myers who created the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), based on the typological theories originated by Carl Gustav Jung, to help people understand their Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | May 17, 2010
New customers are great, but sometimes they can cause new challenges. Can your company handle an influx of 2 million customers in six weeks? Not many can, but mobile provider Nedjma in Algeria turned its focus to retention after gaining so many new customers in such a short period of time. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 14, 2010
Over the next three years there will be a major shift in business as an increasing number of companies transform their operations from product centric to customer centric. J. Patrick Bewley made this prediction during his presentation at the Building a Differentiated Customer Marketing Strategy event, presented by ARF and Acxiom. Bewley, vice president, global marketing strategy, for Acxiom, went on to describe the five phases organizations will need to travel through on their journey to customer centricity: Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 13, 2010
A growing number of colleges and universities are making use of CRM systems to help them manage the student enrollment process and other key elements of onboarding and retaining students. Hobsons' Sasha Peterson discusses trends that are impacting the use of CRM in higher education. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 12, 2010
Much has changed in the field of data since George G. Moore, the CEO of TargusInfo, started working as a data analysis professional in 1976. Since that time, data security, data privacy, and the fight over intellectual property have become key growth areas. Last week at TargusInfo's Scoring Summit in New Orleans, Moore spoke about these evolutions and focused, not surprisingly, on the rising interest in building analytical scoring models within enterprises. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 10, 2010
Unrelenting budget and revenue pressures are forcing CMOs to work harder than ever to maximize their marketing strategies. Aprimo CMO Lisa Arthur offers her recommendations on effective ways for marketers to succeed in a challenging environment. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | May 10, 2010
Data is more important than ever to a company's business strategy. And while there are plenty of software packages and IT resources to help a company manage data, most important are the people who work with the data. Companies that employ "data rock stars" will have an edge over the competition. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 7, 2010
Recently, I've noticed an interesting "evolution" in how some leading B2B companies are leveraging their CRM systems to enhance performance and productivity in sales. Now, like many of us, these companies initially bought in to the notion that with access to more and better data, salespeople could--and would--make more-profitable decisions. In fact, for many of these companies, this "better decisions through better data" concept was the basic justification for investing in a CRM platform in the first place. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 5, 2010
Did Mom invent social media? Some say she did. And there is no arguing that she is driving it and helping it to evolve. There are 82 million moms across the U.S. of all ages. That's right, 82 million. And 26 million of them are mommy bloggers. And they are grassroots, Oprah-like brand advocates with loyal followers who can change the trajectory of a brand and its products. Identifying Mom is the easy part -- who she is, where she Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 4, 2010
You don't have to be Dr. Phil to understand the importance of "listening" to maintain a healthy relationship, but is this a courtesy you apply to the relationships with your customers? More than a third of them don't think so. According to the 2010 Convergys Consumer Scorecard research, 39 percent of customers surveyed said they do not believe that "companies generally listen to and act on customer feedback." Add to that another 45 percent who feel that companies do not Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | May 3, 2010
Customers have always been a great resource for companies looking to improve upon or create new products and services. And now that social media has been widely adopted, many customers actually expect to participate in the process. What started as a growth in user-generated content has expanded into the product world as companies like Aflac, Dunkin Donuts, and LG Mobile letting customers drive their product innovation. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 30, 2010
Consumers today are maneuvering a maze of messaging across multiple channels. The most commonly cited number of daily marketing messages bombarding the typical American consumer is 600. Cutting through that cacophony represents an awe-inspiring challenge for marketers today. Compounding the problems we face is the increasing power of the consumer to tune out, turning instead to peers for information and using social media channels to engage with brands on their own terms. The answer isn't to simply switch channels. The Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 30, 2010
"Everything that touches the customer defines our brand," John Costello said to a packed house yesterday at Argyle Executive Forum's 2010 CMO Spotlight Forum: Retail and Consumer Goods & Services. This includes customer service, media, signage, product, events, advertising, public relations, the website, and the in-store experience, of course. Costello, chief global customer and marketing officer for Dunkin' Brands, asserted that keeping the retailer's brand as fresh as its coffee requires a consumer-centric strategy. "We need to recognize what's important Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 29, 2010
Customers today have high expectations, as well as easy access to social tools to voice opinions or ask for company and product recommendations. Organizations can no longer only focus on establishing a customer relationship with a friendly handshake at the department store. While ensuring a positive customer interaction in person is still important to build loyalty, the experiences that customers receive online are just as critical, and even more imperative are the interactions customers have with other customers. Organizations looking Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 29, 2010
As companies dive deeper into using social media to connect with customers, these interactions are providing decision-makers with huge opportunities to examine and apply customer feedback to improve products and support. SAS Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis talks about the trends he's seeing around the use of social media analytics and best practices for harnessing the data for competitive advantage. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 28, 2010
Recently, I spent a few days on a cruise ship in the Bahamas with some of the top business experts and stage presenters in the world. I was excited by the opportunity to join them and pick their brains. Out of curiosity, I decided to ask them about their close rates. When they can talk to someone one-on-one they all agreed that 50 to 75 percent isn't too outrageous. These guys are good! Then I asked them about their close Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 28, 2010
When I had a vehicular accident last year, I fully expected my auto insurance to increase. But when I called Progressive to report the damage, the customer service rep informed me that because I'm a loyal customer, my rates will stay the same. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 27, 2010
Customers are more mobile, choosier, more adorned with options, more judicious with time, more demanding of simplicity, and less tolerant with business-driven organizational procedures and policies. They also talk more about experiences. What used to be transactional, "I'll never return" disappointed customers now become petulant gossips on a mission to make sure that businesses are held accountable. On trip advisor: "The waitress was rude"; on Twitter: "I lost my credit card and it's taken the bank a month to send Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 26, 2010
Voice of the Customer is an important strategy for any company looking to innovate and evolve. What used to be the job of one department to manually capture customer calls to measure satisfaction has become an enterprisewide initiative that includes not just listening, but participating and acting on insight. Advancements in technology and strategy have created Voice of the Customer 2.0. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 23, 2010
One thing I always emphasize is the importance of providing feedback on the feedback you receive. Leading IT research firm Gartner feels the same way. They've reported research that shows that while as many as 95 percent of companies gather feedback in one form or another, only half of those companies bother to tell their staff. Even fewer change processes and make improvements. Want to guess how many actually tell their customers? Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 22, 2010
Most business meetings where strategic and tactical plans are developed generally focus on efficiencies. Being efficient is without a doubt a good practice and one that can be easily measured when we review our financial statements. A problem occurs, though, when we place too much focus on being efficient and not enough focus on being effective--and here's why. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 22, 2010
As companies become more active in connecting with customers using social media, they also need to effectively integrate the use of these tools with traditional communications vehicles such as voice and email. Tim Kopp, ExactTarget's Chief Marketing Officer, explains how to combine email marketing with social media. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 21, 2010
Tomorrow I will be in Los Angeles attending Forrester's "Marketing Forum 2010. Adaptive Marketing: How to Design a Flexible Organization to Thrive on Change." I'm looking forward to hearing about how companies like Intercontinental Hotels and Walt Disney leverage consumer intelligence to improve their organizations and better serve customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 20, 2010
The other day I found myself with writers block. My goal was to write about effective leadership and how it translates into organizational customer service success. Then two things happened: I heard on the news that Spirit Airlines was going to start charging customers for carryon luggage, and I read Mila D'Antonio's blog post "Will Spirit Airlines' Passengers Sacrifice Service for Cheap Flights"? Suddenly the writer's block went away; it became clear how to explain that effective leadership does directly Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 19, 2010
Credit card companies in general get a bad rap, and in most cases it is justified. But not all of them have predatory business models that consider customers a burden. Three years ago American Express set out on a mission to become "the most respected service brand in the world." How successful has the journey been so far? 1to1 Magazine peeks inside its customer service organization to find out. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 16, 2010
As we all know, an increasing number of customers today are complaining about poor service, product issues, and the like in online communities or social networks. Many of those customers are, in effect, jumping the queue, getting their issues resolved ahead of customers who contact an organization via email, and sometimes, faster than those who call a company's contact center. The question is, do these customers deserve priority treatment? Is it a case of "the squeaky wheel gets service first," Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 16, 2010
Gregory Perrault of Long Beach, California grabbed headlines this February when he sued review website Yelp -- claiming that the company "extorts" customers by promising to hide or remove negative reviews if companies purchase advertising subscriptions. And while Perrault's suit garnered the most attention, this incident is far from isolated and raises a series of interesting questions around companies, the vast importance of their Web presences, and lengths they are willing to go to maintain these reputations. In the era Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 15, 2010
Everybody's thinking about social media these days, and what their company should be doing about it. For some, it seems like a huge and risky unknown. For others, it's more like a natural extension of what they're already doing. How do you move from that risky, unknown place towards a more natural extension of existing activities? That's what we'll explore in this post. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 15, 2010
One of the chief barriers to developing a unified view of customer behaviors and sentiments is largely cultural. Many line of business leaders are unwilling to share customer data gathered by their divisions with other parts of the business. It's unfortunate because it inhibits organizations from developing a comprehensive view of customer needs and preferences and then utilized to drive cross-sell or upsell opportunities. But it's not an insurmountable problem. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 15, 2010
Social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter are opening up new opportunities for companies to learn more about customer preferences and to forge tighter relationships with consumers. Viviana Padilla, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at, shares some recommendations for utilizing social networks to create exceptional customer service. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 14, 2010
The economy, the proliferation of data, and emerging customer channels all have challenged marketers over the past year. A recent study reveals that despite their difficulties, marketers are showing increasing optimism toward 2010 marketing and advertising spending. The results also show a definitive move toward leveraging online audience marketing measurement tools, and a focus on emerging digital and social channels for reaching target audiences. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 13, 2010
I recently returned from a week-long trip to Orlando with my wife and three kids, spending a couple of days at local theme parks before attending a conference there. From a customer experience standpoint, the trip was a mix of highs and lows. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 13, 2010
These days your customers can listen to each other and share experiences as never before, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and countless review sites and online forums. A quick Google search and your prospects will have multiple opinions of your products and services at their fingertips. Unfortunately, when mistakes are made, it is often the detractors who seem to be the most vocal in these online forums. Empowering your fans to make themselves heard in the online conversation starts with strategic Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 12, 2010
Twitter has made a name for itself as a viable business tool. It has evolved from a status update tool to a direct, real-time interaction touchpoint. Many companies are using Twitter for customer service initiatives. But with all the great buzz about Twitter's potential, there are limitations to its usefulness. It takes a multichannel, coordinated approach if you want to succeed in a 140-character world. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 9, 2010
Customer experience is a broad term. Depending on the conversation it may refer to customer service, an in-store experience, the experience with the product itself...and the list goes on. Sometimes one customer experience is itself multifaceted. One part of the experience might be great; another aspect might be awful. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 8, 2010
What a difference a year makes, especially when it comes to the ever-changing attitudes of consumers toward the service experience. We at Convergys just released the results of our second annual Consumer Scorecard Research study, and there are some dramatic adjustments to what consumers expect in the way of service from companies in 2010. As we all know, consumers (myself included) are a tough lot. But many of the trends we are currently seeing in our customers' service preferences can Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 8, 2010
Delivering consistent experiences to customers across all channels can be a big challenge for many business leaders. Merced Systems President Mark Selcow shares his views on effective approaches that customer-facing organizations can take to generate optimal customer experiences. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 7, 2010
In an effort to create efficiencies and speed the boarding and deplaning of planes, Spirit Airlines announced this week that it will start charging for carry-on bags. Domestic passengers who check-in online will pay $20 for their carry-on luggage, versus $45 if they check in at the gate. Members of Spirit's $9 Fare Club who pre-reserve their carry-on bag in advance online will only pay $10. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 6, 2010
The average elevator ride is 30 seconds. Even in the Empire State Building it is possible to ride from the lobby to the 80th floor in 45 seconds. That's plenty of time to send a quick message on your iPhone or finish half of the overpriced, large nonfat, no whip, caramel latte. But is it enough time to deliver a strong, concise brand pitch to a potential business partner? It should be. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 5, 2010
Like Don Peppers, I get steamed when companies intentionally profit from customers' mistakes. Banks and credit card companies draw a lot of fire for the high fees they charge, and we're beginning to hear about passengers slapped with checked baggage fees that can be higher than the airfare for a trip. But practically any company that offers a rebate on a purchase benefits from "breakage"--another word for customers failing to claim a rebate. Read more »
Don Peppers | April 2, 2010
Those of you who have followed my rants about the credit card business and retail banking, or about stupid-company tricks in social media, know just how angry I can get when it comes to businesses making profits from customer mistakes and pushing their own interests to the exclusion of their customers' interests. (Some business models actually appear to be designed precisely for that purpose!) Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 1, 2010
Several market dynamics are influencing the kind of functionality that decision-makers are seeking in customer experience management tools, including capabilities to generate ROI on software expenditures more quickly. Gary Schwartz, senior vice president, marketing at Confirmit, shares his views on these and other trends that are affecting the kinds of CEM capabilities being sought by end users. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 31, 2010
Think you can't put a dollar amount on great customer service? Think again. StellaService, a provider of customer service ratings for online businesses, announced last week that the value of great online service in the U.S. is $17.3 billion and across all consumer categories it soars to $268 billion per year. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 30, 2010
Oracle Corp. Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Jeb Dasteel discusses how the software giant goes about collecting, analyzing and acting on information it gathers from its customers. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 29, 2010
Social CRM is quite the hot topic lately. With all the articles written about it, many companies feel they are lagging behind. But don't worry if you don't have a specific strategy in place yet. Even with the fast pace of social media, rushing into a social CRM strategy could have negative effects. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 26, 2010
In the world of social media your voice is your brand. Do your employees parlez sociale media? Some companies today leave their online branding to chance. Their employees are blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking on their behalf without guidelines or training on how to best do so. Every comment these employees keystroke has the potential to improve or destroy the customer experience, customer engagement, and brand reputation. In a time when trust is paramount to success, when customers increasingly expect that Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 25, 2010
In this age of data explosion, marketing and data are becoming synonymous. A perfect storm of technology, data, and the new consumer, are coming together to finally demand and achieve true one-to-one relationship marketing. First, personalization; then, mass customization; and now, real-time marketing. It truly is a great time to be a marketer. But how do we harness the power of real-time engagement? More important, what does real-time marketing even mean? Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 25, 2010
Although many organizations continue to gain a growing number of followers on Twitter and Facebook, CMOs continue to wrestle with how best to engage customers to meet their product and support needs using social media. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 24, 2010
We all know that marketing must be targeted, focused, and personal in order to appeal to existing customers and to attract new ones as well. To emphasize the importance of targeted marketing, Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, created 10 key advertising principles for the next century under a new Marketer's Constitution. He discussed the principles last week at the NexTargeting Summit in New York City hosted by X+1. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 23, 2010
Let's face it. We're all tired. We are tired of getting so much spam. We are tired of having to throw out so much useless direct mail. We are tired of having to hang up on a telemarketer. We, justifiably, have communication fatigue. And at today's Varolii's Interaction '10 user conference, executives offered some remedies to liven up customer communications for both the company and customer. Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 23, 2010
Tough times call for drastic measures. A natural reaction to the current economic downswing was for companies to counter a drop in revenues by cutting costs wherever possible. The result meant that many companies' marketing budgets were substantially cut and their staff was reduced to a skeletal crew. Personally, I have seen a significant drop in direct mail and catalogs in my mailbox, and many of the companies that used to regularly market to me and my household have completely Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 22, 2010
One-to-one marketing: the ability to reach an individual rather than a segment, and the ultimate goal of every marketer. Marketing to a segment of one is such a difficult feat to attain that there are entire magazines, conferences, websites, and blogs dedicated to it. And thanks to the age of the Internet, reaching a consumer directly and personalizing that experience has had a major revitalization. However, all that is changing rapidly. It would seem the Internet has been the best Read more »
Don Peppers | March 22, 2010
My philosophy professor used to say: everyone serves a purpose in life, even if they only serve as a horrible example for others. A more accurate description of Nestle's mishandling of a big fracas in social media could hardly be written. It started with an initiative by Greenpeace to get Nestle to stop using palm oil in its products, contending that the harvesting of palm oil was damaging the environment. The organization created a faux Nestle Kit Kat logo, Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 20, 2010
Most every executive wants to move the needle: more awareness, more customers, more interaction. But pushing metrics up doesn't always mean success, if the cost is too high, said Robert Shaw, Ph.D., professor of marketing metrics, Cass Business School, and founding director of Value Based Marketing Forum, during his keynote at 2010 Gartner CRM Summit UK. Sometimes, what drives the most value is to narrow your focus and use analytics to target the right customers at the right time. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 19, 2010
Launching and sustaining a customer relationship management initiative can be as challenging as reaching level four in the video game "Top Gun." During a presentation at the 2010 Gartner CRM Summit UK Michael Dunne, a Gartner research vice president, cited 13 reasons many CRM projects are handicapped or lose momentum. Business leaders or project leaders... Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 19, 2010
What are you going to do to help your company sell more? This the question Stephen Prentice posed to attendees at the 2010 Gartner CRM Summit UK. Prentice, a vice president and Gartner Fellow, advised attendees that their companies must engage customers today to get mindshare and wallet share. The current environment, however, presents a significant challenge to doing so: The reality, Prentice said, is that things are changing much more quickly than we think. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 18, 2010
Companies are making more extensive use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to engage their customers. But because many organizations are just becoming involved with social CRM, most executives are still figuring out how best to measure the returns from these initiatives. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman spoke with Brad Wilson, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM about different approaches for CMOs to consider. Read more »
Don Peppers | March 17, 2010
The old credit card business model, in which companies make money off of consumer error, is finished. With new regulations taking effect, the credit card industry needs to shift its strategy to be more customer focused. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 17, 2010
When it comes to customer loyalty, benchmarks provide a gauge for companies to determine how they are delivering customer experience. Today Satmetrix released its 2010 Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks for the insurance, financial services, airlines, telecommunications, technology, retail, and online services industries based on survey responses from 19,500 U.S. consumers. John Abraham, general manager of Net Promoter programs at Satmetrix, said that the scores serve as an indicator of how companies are performing. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 15, 2010
Yesterday British soccer superstar David Beckham tore his Achilles tendon during a match. The L.A. Galaxy player was on loan to A.C. Milan for the winter, keeping fit for the upcoming World Cup in June. Doctors say the injury will keep him out of soccer for up to eight months. That means no World Cup, and possibly the end of his storied soccer career. While the impact on England's team won't be too severe (he is not considered an automatic Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 11, 2010
Many decision-makers are struggling to strike a balance between efforts to reduce their organization's contact center costs with the need to maintain quality for a consistent customer experience. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman spoke with Nicolas de Kouchkovsky, Chief Marketing Officer at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Applications about actionable steps business leaders can take to optimize their call center operations. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 10, 2010
Few companies truly understand the importance of investing in their employees. But fewer still realize how critical it is to routinely listen to employees to know exactly where to make their investments in their companies. A new television show "Undercover Boss" on Sundays on CBS reveals how some executives are in the dark about their companies' employees and policies. Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 9, 2010
2009 was the year many companies became aware of the potential impact of social media and began experimenting. 2010 needs to be the year we make it an integrated part of our activities, not just a standalone novelty. I hope by now you've come to terms with the fact that your customers -- and your employees -- are talking about you and your industry in social media, whether you're out there or not. One of the most important steps in Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 8, 2010
Last week I moderated a panel of loyalty experts who discussed distinctions between emotional and behavioral loyalty. During the roundtable, Prof. John Daly of the University of Texas added a new type of loyalty into the mix -- profitable loyalty. A profitably loyal customer helps the company make money. The key is knowing who these customers are and taking action. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 5, 2010
I know what you're thinking. Delivering a one-to-one customer experience shouldn't have to be a choice over branding; it should be an essential part of branding. I agree. But when your brand isn't fully established, can taking a one-to-one approach help a company win over established competitors? Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 4, 2010
If you ask someone to name a social media tool, they would probably say Facebook or Twitter. These get the most attention and are familiar to the masses. Now ask them how they use either service and you are likely to hear that they post a message for others to read. This misses 80 percent of the opportunity. Where is the dialogue, the engagement that drives traffic and loyalty? Sadly, it is mostly absent. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 4, 2010
A growing number of companies are launching Voice of the Customer programs to help gather customer feedback across multiple channels. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman spoke with Roderick Morris, Vice President of Marketing at Vovici to discuss some of the inherent challenges of making these programs succeed, including data integration issues. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 3, 2010
Over the past couple weeks, I've interviewed a couple handfuls of data analytics experts for an article that I'm working on which will highlight the new data economy. Each expert seems to concur: Data silos still remain the main reason that keep many companies from integrating their analytics efforts into multiple channels or layering indepth predictive analytics. Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 2, 2010
How is it that so many people think they know what I need? They haven't asked, nor have I met them. Yet they fill my inbox with information they assume I need. It's rude. Is it possible that senders of this "stuff" think they're the only ones pitching information? Have they considered that they'll end up in my junk folder? I guess they don't care, because the next transmission is on the way. It's all about them, what they're selling, Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 26, 2010
Teaching is a struggle. Teachers would be paid like rock stars if I were our country's benevolent dictator. (Full disclosure: my mother, sisters, and much of my family are all teachers. Further full disclosure: I'd love to be the country's Benevolent Dictator.) Consider this situation: I was helping a young man with a speech the other day as he is in the finals for the "Outstanding Young Man" in the state of Wisconsin. And indeed he is an outstanding young Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 25, 2010
Emulating best practices is one approach to achieving marketing success. But often the true learning comes from mistakes. The following horror stories, shared by clients, illustrate that your best laid marketing plans may be doomed without fierce attention to detail. You can't make this stuff up. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 25, 2010
Many marketers struggle to obtain a clear picture of who their organization's best sales prospects are. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman spoke with TARGUSinfo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Moore about demand for real-time lead scoring analytics and the challenges that marketers face in utilizing this information effectively. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 24, 2010
I got a pleasant surprise yesterday when I opened the mail--a letter from the Stamford Ford Lincoln Mercury dealership where I purchased my Lincoln MKX a year ago. The simple letter was from my sales rep, wishing me a happy one-year anniversary, adding that she hopes that I'm enjoying my car and that she and the dealership value my business. Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 23, 2010
Have you recently called a company to resolve an issue, only to get conflicting answers as they pass you from one department to another? In the past few weeks I've had that experience with Comcast, American Airlines, and Citibank. And the sad part is that I'm not alone. You've probably had something similar. The customer experience that companies like these offers is an "external" sign of an "internal" dysfunction. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 22, 2010
Yesterday I flew from Barcelona, Spain, to New York , returning from my vacation. The flight landed 90 minutes EARLY, something I've never experienced before as an airline passenger. Thanks to Delta for surpassing my expectations and creating a great experience. I wanted to mention it because it's rare to hear someone discuss a great customer experience around airline travel. Most news you hear is bad news. Take JetBlue's Valentine's Day Ice Storm three years ago. People were stranded on Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 19, 2010
Customer service, in its many forms, can be an effective sales tool. Sometimes, however, when the experience is self-serving for the provider, a service opportunity can become a way to lose business. Consider these two examples: Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 18, 2010
C-level executives are hungry for fresh sales, inventory and other data that they can use to make more knowledgeable decisions quickly. But once executives are provided with these business intelligence dashboards, these systems often sit dormant or are under-utilized. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman spoke with Infor Director of CRM Product Marketing Tony Compton to explore steps for gaining dashboard adoption and to help make these tools succeed. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 17, 2010
Customer ratings and reviews, online communities, and social media have become critical components in influencing customers in the online experience. A September 2009 study from "Internet Retailer" demonstrates the power of customer recommendations when it revealed that 67 percent of shoppers spend more online after recommendations from their online community of friends. Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 16, 2010
Does your organization have a soul? Does it matter? Some organizations constantly show passion, commitment, and the ability to achieve sustained success. These organizations have a "soulful" quality about them; there is a feel or a buzz that is noticeable and memorable. Conversely, many companies seem disorganized, unfocused, and unproductive. These organizations have less soul and, often, less market share. Soulful organizations consistently outperform soulless organizations. Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 12, 2010
In my new book, Flip the Funnel, I talk about better being S.A.F.E. than sorry. The acronym stands for: Satisfy curiosity Address concerns Avoid festering Prevent escalation Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 11, 2010
As a growing number of organizations are creating the role of Chief Customer Officers, they're also working harder on designing more granular customer experience programs that are aimed at improving the business performance of their companies. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman spoke with Sage North America's Chief Customer Officer Doug Meyer about the importance of incorporating business process and culture change as part of this evolution. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 10, 2010
Marketers today are pondering their social media strategies, questioning the best tools, how much to invest, and the real benefits. This week ForeSee Results attempts to answer some of those questions in a newly released study, "The Key to Driving Retail Success With Social Media: Focus on Facebook." Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 8, 2010
Remember Super Bowls ads that were truly memorable? Like Apple's `1984' spot for the Macintosh? The Budweiser frogs?'s 'When I grow up'? Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 5, 2010
The ability to innovate is an entrepreneurial quality that is essential for companies to succeed in today's fiercely competitive retail markets. However many companies may be locked in an inertia of change dictated by industry norms. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 4, 2010
CIOs have expressed some trepidation about managing different types of customer data in public and private cloud environments. Security, loss of control over data and regulatory/compliance issues top the list of worries. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman spoke with RightNow Technologies CIO Laef Olson about these concerns and steps that can be taken to address them. Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 3, 2010
New technologies follow a pattern. They start by imitating older technologies before they evolve to their true forms. The first automobiles looked like horseless carriages. It wasn't until the Vintage Era of the 1920s that cars evolved to a form that we'd recognize today with features like front-engines, enclosed cabs, and electric starters. Televisions started off copying radios -- they looked more like an armoire with a small screen stuck on the front. In the process of working on my Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 2, 2010
Motivation as a topic is quite popular. Whether in sports or in business, we talk about motivating others to perform better, to work better, or to help us accomplish our goals. But the best way to motivate can be quite elusive. We try all sorts of different programs and philosophies to get others motivated, but in the end, we are right back where we started. There is a very simple reason why this happens. The reality of motivation is this: Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 1, 2010
Online customer communities used to be just a message board where customers could ask questions or more likely, complain about products. But as social tools become more available and user adoption increases, online communities should advance with them. Read more »
Guest Blogger | January 28, 2010
To say that marketing today is fast paced is an understatement. Consumers want information quickly and have little patience for slow-loading Web pages, interruptions in streaming videos and ads, or off-target marketing as they browse a brand's site. According to a December 2009 survey by Pew Internet & American Life Project, nearly three quarters (74 percent) of American adults use the Internet. This high Internet usage by everyday Americans further validates that consumers are tuning in online for information, product Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 28, 2010
As mobile phone and Smartphone adoption rates continue to soar, a growing number of organizations are taking advantage of mobile marketing and messaging campaigns to help tighten the customer experience. As part of these trends, companies are also beginning to increase their use of mobile feedback systems to gauge and react to customer experiences. I spoke recently with Allegiance Vice President of Marketing Chris Cottle to determine whether mobile feedback systems make sense from an ROI perspective. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 27, 2010
In my new favorite movie "Up in the Air," the George Clooney and Vera Farmiga characters, both frequent fliers who met for the first time, sit in an airport lounge, impressing each other with the amount of loyalty cards they carry in their wallets and how many frequent flier miles they've accumulated. At one point, the Farmiga character says to the Clooney character "We're two people who get turned on by elite status. I think we're starting at cheap," to Read more »
Guest Blogger | January 26, 2010
The other night on the way home from work I stopped to pick up my dry cleaning at the drive-up window. I'm not making this up. A nice young woman opens the window and says, "I'm sorry we are closed." And promptly closes the window. I'm usually up for a robust discussion about the quality of service, but she closed the window so quickly and I was so surprised by her action that I did not have time to mount Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 25, 2010
Tax season is upon us, and almost no company is as synonymous with tax preparation and accounting activities as Intuit. The makers of Turbo Tax, QuickBooks, and Quicken software are preparing for its busy time by gathering and acting on customer insight from the web. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 22, 2010
A colleague of mine was angry about the way Orbitz handled a service issue, so she tweeted about it. She also sent a complaint via the company's website customer support page. Orbitz responded to the Twitter posts via email, and resolved the issue; the company only ever sent a generic "we're reviewing your inquiry" email in response to the complaint sent via the website. This made me wonder whether Orbitz's service channels are actually connected on the back end. Many Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 21, 2010
Driving to work the other morning, I heard a news report about how Burberry PLC's third-quarter sales beat market expectations. Same-store sales from the company's own retail outlets, which generated two-thirds of Burberry's overall sales in the third quarter, were up 10% for the period. What really caught my attention in the report was a comment about how the effectiveness of the company's Internet marketing efforts have helped this 154 year-old maker of trench coats and outerwear to drive additional Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 20, 2010
Taking cues from customers is difficult in the rapidly shifting social landscape. This week Forrester has updated its Social Technographics Ladder to help marketers determine the categories of social behavior that customers exhibit to help them analyze their target audiences. A new one has emerged and marketers should take note. Read more »
Guest Blogger | January 19, 2010
Amid all of the excitement around new media and predictions that this will be "the year of" mobile, social media, or augmented reality, the reality is that most companies will still only spend a fraction of their marketing budgets on these new alternatives in 2010. I have heard one consistent question that inhibits spending in new media: "Where's the scale?" It is a question that goes to the heart of how the basic model of marketing has fundamentally changed, and Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 18, 2010
Many companies talk a good game when it comes to the customer experience. It's very easy to speak in broad strokes when it comes to a company's efforts to provide a consistent, positive experience from any channel. Yet when it comes to taking action, it can be confusing to know where to begin. There are two tactics that may serve as good starting points. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 15, 2010
Succeeding in today's hypercompetitive, fast-changing environment is no easy task. Qualities like perseverance, resourcefulness, and consideration are musts. Two that are especially important today are optimism and enthusiasm. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 14, 2010
As a ski buff, I'm fortunate to live in an area where there are a handful of small resorts located within a half-hour's drive of my home. What I like most about the proximity is that I can take a few runs on a weeknight or on weekends and not have to make a huge time commitment. I buy passes in advance so I don't have to waste time waiting on a ticket line. Just park the car, strap on Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 13, 2010
With the media constantly inundating us with negative messages, it was refreshing to listen to someone like Bert Jacobs speak on Monday. The cofounder and chief executive optimist of Life is Good, a $100 million privately held t-shirt and apparel company, talked to an audience at the National Retail Federation to provide life lessons that we can all translate into business lessons. "Your life isn't there to grow your business; your business is here to serve your life," he explained. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | January 12, 2010
This is our third year publishing the CxPi. The 2007 CxPi and the 2008 CxPi rankings were published in Q4. We decided to publish this year's CxPi in Q1 2010, so we don't have a 2009 CxPi. The 2010 CxPi ranks 133 organizations across 14 industries: Airlines, Banks, Credit Card Providers, Health Plans, Hotels, Insurance Firms, Internet Service Providers, Investment Firms, Parcel Shipping Services (new this year), PC Manufacturers, Retailers, TV Service Providers, Utilities (new this year), and Wireless Carriers. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 11, 2010
Brand value improves as customer loyalty to that brand improves. It makes sense, but many companies still don't connect the dots between customer value and brand value. But which are the companies that do it best, and what can we learn from them? Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 8, 2010
I once was fired as a customer. It's true. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Allstate Insurance decided that potential hurricane damage was a significant risk for many of its customers in the New York City area. So, the company notified us that it was cancelling our homeowners insurance--with plenty of time to find a new carrier. Initially, it seemed absurd to me (I live in the city and the extremely rare times any hurricane has made landfall in New York, it's Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 7, 2010
The IRS doesn't have a very good reputation for customer service or helpfulness. With the bar set so low, it would take something extraordinary to get people to be upset about a lack of service. And here it is: the customer service goal is to answer only 7 out of every 10 calls that come in. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 6, 2010
As it becomes clear that social networks provide a real opportunity for performance advertisers, I'm nevertheless surprised about PepsiCo's announcement in December to sit out Super Bowl XLIV and not purchase an advertising spot, instead investing $20 million in a social marketing campaign. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 4, 2010
The New Year always brings with it predictions about what to expect over the next 12 months. The consensus among our group of leading business thinker is that this year will be the year that social media actually gets operationalized into business. Companies now realize that it's no fad, and they should dedicate resources and strategies to incorporate social media into everyday business, say Don Peppers, Martha Rogers, and others. What do you think? Read more »