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Ginger Conlon | December 30, 2011
Looking to lose a few good customers? The quickest way to send them on their way to the nearest competitor is to not provide your employees with the training and information they need to handle customer inquiries. Let's look at two recent examples: Read more »
Cynthia Clark | December 29, 2011
Last week I was rushing to a restaurant for a dinner that I was already late for when I realized that I'd forgotten my phone at home. Without any considering for how long it would take me, I turned back and went to pick it up. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 28, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Deepak Advani, Vice President of Predictive Analytics at IBM, about different ways that companies can apply predictive analytics to customer insights shared in social channels. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 28, 2011
As organizations continue to become increasingly overwhelmed with data files, the elephant in the room is unstructured data. And the problem seems to be getting out of hand. Read more »
Don Peppers | December 27, 2011
The word envy comes from the Latin invidere, literally to "cast an evil eye." The same root gives us the word invidious. In evolutionary terms, being envious of someone else could be explained as nature's way of encouraging us to study the traits and habits of other, more successful people, which could contribute to our own success, as well. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 26, 2011
It's the day after Christmas -- Boxing Day in some countries. That gift card or dollar bill from Aunt Edna is burning a hole in your pocket. The sweater you got from Cousin Larry isn't going to fit. And the thought of hanging with relatives eating more food for another day is too much to handle. So let's hit the mall! Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 23, 2011
Forget baubles and gadgets. Here's what I really want for the holidays: Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | December 22, 2011
Companies that have grown in this economic downturn did so because their customers became an army of advocates who grew their business for them. They earned the right to their customers' raves, and the growth that ensued, because they deliberately made decisions that moved their operations in the direction of their customers and employees. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | December 22, 2011
The holidays bring with them a feeling of generosity. Many of us search high and low for the perfect gift for our loved ones, sometimes spending weeks pondering what to get for that difficult-to-shop-for relative that everyone seems to have. Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 21, 2011
You can't avoid the noise generated by holiday shopping this year; whether it's because of a slow news day or because people are tired of hearing about a somber economy and dizzying coverage of the presidential campaign, there has been definite momentum for a deep dive into consumer's shopping habits this year. This past Black Friday I was invited to speak on Fox News Channel to offer tips to consumers who might be worrying that they missed the best deals Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 21, 2011
Don Peppers, founding partner, Peppers & Rogers Group, asserted in Fast Company's blog last Friday that companies must leverage social media to harness the diverse opinions of their customers in order to evolve and innovate. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 20, 2011
I've been a loyal Nissan customer for the past 20 years. Not because I've been "wowed" by their vehicles or had exceptional experiences but primarily because I've come to trust the quality and value of the product. However, if my recent customer service experiences with Nissan are any indication of what's to come, they may have landed me as a customer for life. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 19, 2011
There are only six days left until Christmas, which is just about the time most men begin their holiday shopping. Stereotypes aside, those who waited until the last minute will be pleased to find that many retailers are prepared with special offers, free shipping, and other relevant and timely incentives for procrastinating purchasers. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 16, 2011
"Customers are taking real service issues to social media and expect a response," Conversocial President Joshua March told me during a recent discussion about social trends. "When companies don't respond, it upsets customers. In a public setting like social, this situation can become a massive PR disaster." Poor customer experiences used to be "private," March said. Now they're public. "Consumers can read reviews and comments and discussions and see exactly what kinds of customer experiences other people are having," he Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 15, 2011
Business moves quickly, leaving no time to waste. Technology has hastened our pace, providing easy access to a plethora of information wherever we go. But for all the data we receive, we give back to marketers ten-fold. Every click, every scroll, every check-in point is another morsel of data that tells marketers who we are, where we go, and what we want. Whether B2B or B2C, all interactions mark a plot point on the roadmap to future relationships. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | December 15, 2011
Using social media is the hot trend in marketing. However, while effective use of social media is important for companies, they should not forget about the power of email, which remains a very important tool for reaching out to customers and prospects. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 14, 2011
American consumers may be turning to their smart phones more and more to make purchases and for seeking customer service. A new study, however, shows that the contact center still remains people's "go-to" source for service. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 13, 2011
This is a story about the last mile in customer service and why it's so important for companies to ensure that they are delivering great end-to-end customer service. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | December 12, 2011
Like many of you, I'm doing a lot of my holiday shopping online this season. Last week I found a great item on eBay for someone on my list (who shall remain nameless in case they read this blog). I made the purchase, which was an eBay store located in the U.K. The seller had a 100% positive feedback rating, which was encouraging for what could otherwise be a risky purchase. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 9, 2011
Victoria's Secret recently invited me to its "invitation only" holiday event. Why the quotation marks around invitation only? The holiday event turned about to be as exclusive as a free concert in Central Park. I received my invitation via email and called to RSVP for myself and a guest (my daughter, Claudia). I printed the invitation as instructed: "Must present invitation for entry." And on Sunday, December 4, off we went to the Victoria's Secret store in Herald Square in Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 8, 2011
Business leaders don't have to look very far to see consumer outrage at companies like Netflix and Bank of America for inadvisably boosting prices and adding new fees. Before increasing prices, companies would be well served by taking the time and care needed to understand which customers value which products and services, their price sensitivity especially given the current economic conditions, and the competitive landscape. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | December 8, 2011
This year, on Black Friday, I had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Since the one in Manhattan is situated right across the street from Macy's, I couldn't help but pop in. But the crowds of people quickly made me do a 180-degree turn out of the store and I made my purchases on my phone while in a cab. I wasn't the only one using my mobile to clinch some Black Friday deals. According to an IBM Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 7, 2011
With a little more than two shopping weeks left until Christmas, retailers are pulling out all the stops in the hope of getting customers through the door. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 6, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Jim Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at SAS Institute, about steps that marketing leaders can take to connect with the empowered customer. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | December 2, 2011
One aspect of customer experience that's often overlooked is intention. If, for example, a company advertises its support of a charitable organization, is its intention to truly help that organization by getting customers involved, or is it simply looking for an "easy" sales boost from socially conscious customers? If the company doesn't make clear that it's the former--a customer experience plus--their flawed intention will potentially damage customer relationships instead of improve them. Read more »
Guest Blogger | December 1, 2011
Social customer service is no longer a nice-to-have. It's a must. Successful social marketing has opened up the social customer service route, and there's no turning back. Consumers have responded to calls to interact with the companies they purchase from and are using social channels comprehensively. In fact, consumers and companies alike have embrace Facebook and Twitter as mainstream communication channels; anything your customers have to say to you, they'll do so in public. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | December 1, 2011
The benefits of patronizing local retailers were first shown to me as a young girl when I went to the grocery store to shop for my mother. The shopping list included a pound of sliced ham, but when I asked the shopkeeper for the cold cuts, he simply pointed to a display of different hams and asked me: "Which one?" I didn't know the answer and was already preparing to go back later when the shopkeeper came to my rescue. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 29, 2011
Numerous research reports point to customer centricity as a key objective for many companies as they head into 2012. However, this will be a difficult path for many companies that still need to make their corporate cultures more customer centric, says Brian Solis, author of The End Of Business As Usual, a new book that examines the changing consumer landscape, its impact on business, and what companies can do to adapt to and lead the consumer revolution. Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 28, 2011
Net Promoter is both popular and controversial, so naturally we in Forrester's customer experience (CX) research practice get lots of questions about it from CX leaders whose companies have adopted it or plan to adopt it in the future. Overall, we know that Net Promoter can effectively support CX efforts when companies implement it correctly. But we also know that correct implementation from a CX perspective is in no way a given. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | November 24, 2011
Imagine this scenario: A woman buys a dress from a department store and leaves it for some alterations. When she goes to pick it up some time later she is told that the dress has been resold to someone else and is offered another outfit and compensation. Many people would find this situation completely unacceptable. They would argue that a company cannot sell something that another person had already bought and would consider it the embodiment of bad customer service. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 23, 2011
This week "Consumer Reports" unveiled its 2011 Naughty & Nice Holiday List. First introduced in 2010 as part of a public-education campaign, the Naughty & Nice Holiday List examines the good and not-so-good shopping policies and the companies behind them. In doing so, Consumer Reports calls out untrustworthy practices, such as Liberty Travel's hidden fees, and praises Costco's generous return policy. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | November 23, 2011
With only one retail location, Zane's Cycles of Connecticut is one of the three largest bike shops in the United States. It sells $15 million each year in bicycles and bike supplies, with a relationship grounded in customer trust. For example, on any given day you might see a $6,000 bike go out the door for a test drive without any one of Zane's folks asking to collect the customer's identification or any type of collateral. "Do you want my Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 22, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Thunderhead President and COO John McGee about recommendations for communicating with customers in the channels they prefer cost effectively Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 21, 2011
The real-time Web is an increasingly powerful tool for customers to get the word out when out when they feel a company has wronged them. In fact, a recent study by loyalty marketing company Colloquy revealed that 26 percent of those surveyed said they were far more likely to raise hell about a negative experience than they were to sing the praises about a positive one. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 21, 2011
It was bound to happen. Black Friday has moved beyond its brick-and-mortar beginnings to penetrate anywhere potential customers are. So it's obvious that Facebook is now ground zero for Black Friday deals and retailer outreach this holiday season. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 18, 2011
Far too many business leaders think they can make a few one-off improvements to their organization's customer experience, and voilà, customer engagement will follow. If it was only that easy. "Customer experience is a journey, not a destination," Sophie Vlessing reminded attendees during her session at NACCM earlier this week. Vlessing, senior vice president of strategic marketing and student experience at Kaplan University, shared her roadmap for taking a customer experience journey that leads to ongoing innovation: Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 17, 2011
For most of my career I've been obsessed with delivering an exceptional service experience, creating advocates, and coaching others to do the same. And, after nearly two decades in customer facing and operational roles, I think I'm pretty good at it. Recently, I had an opportunity to sit in the "buyers" chair. My subpar experience helped crystallize some things in my mind, specifically the behavioral attributes required of your people to create a true customer-centric culture: empathy, impeccable listening skills, Read more »
Cynthia Clark | November 17, 2011
With just a week until Thanksgiving my main concern is whether the 16-pound turkey I've ordered will fit in my apartment-sized oven. Stores, on the other hand, are thinking beyond the bird, the stuffing, and the cranberry sauce and focusing more on the following day, the much anticipated Black Friday. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 16, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Dr. Jim Goodnight, Co-founder and CEO of SAS Institute, about best practices for gaining buy-in to apply analytics strategically in business. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 16, 2011
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it involves no commerce--no stress of purchasing gifts, no frenzied search for sales, no glitzy décor, and no marketing. The holiday involves the simple pleasures in life: food, family, and football. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 16, 2011
The best way to engage customers: Tell stories. Stories connect people on an emotional level, and emotion is what drives people to action. "Stories define us and give meaning to our lives," Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO, Mandalay Entertainment Group, and author Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, said during his keynote this morning at NACCM. "Stories break down barriers. They work." Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 15, 2011
Zappos.com is well-known for its culture and customer focus. What makes Zappos.com a service company? During her keynote this afternoon at NACCM, Jamie Naughton, speaker of the house, chief culture ambassador, for Zappos.com explained: Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 15, 2011
The power has shifted to the consumer in terms of driving change, Scott Hudler, vice president, brand marketing, Dunkin Brands, said during his keynote this afternoon. "It's not about your strategy; it's about are you meeting customers' needs." Retaining customers is more challenging than ever in today's customer-led market. "Even our best customers are not monogamous; they're very promiscuous," Hudler said, adding that customers will go to competitors more often if Dunkin's not meeting their expectations. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 15, 2011
Do you have raving fans? Do you have employees that are as engaged as those raving fans? Companies will rarely have the former without the latter. "The number one law of customer loyalty is employee satisfaction," Pete Winemiller, senior vice president, guest relations, NBA's Oklahoma Thunder, said during his keynote at NACCM this morning. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 15, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Dave King, Executive Vice President of Confirmit Mobile Solutions, about the role of mobile in crafting a successful multichannel customer engagement strategy. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 14, 2011
Tales of passenger woe at the hands of airlines are unfortunately too common. Even with in-depth media coverage and widespread customer complaints, airlines continue to leave customers on the tarmac in adverse situations. They haven't had incentive to consider customers ahead of standard operating procedure. But today's news from the Department of Transportation may signal a wake up call, hitting airlines where it hurts -- their pocketbooks. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 11, 2011
When was the last time you sent or received a hand-written thank-you note? It was probably longer ago than you care to remember. Unfortunately, the written thank-you note seems to be a dying art. Fortunately, however, for those who use them, the power is unmatched. Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 10, 2011
My friend Sasha has been facing some tough personal and financial challenges, and has threatened many times to close her business. After years watching my business advice fall on deaf ears due to her indecisiveness and inertia, I finally stopped giving it. We recently surveyed our B2B community, and it felt like Sasha influenced the results. Inertia was a recurring theme. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | November 10, 2011
As a kid, the highlight of any flight would be visiting the cockpit to see the pilots at work and look out through the panoramic windows. That was pre-9/11 and today's high security makes it highly unlikely that airlines will allow anyone into the cockpit. While the visits to the cockpit are something of the past, I have often wondered what else happens behind the scenes in the airline world. How is food prepared? How many people handle my luggage? Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 9, 2011
A protestor participating in Occupy Seattle recently was photographed lighting a Bank of America debit card on fire. The photo of the card going up in flames represents the sentiment among consumers right now and the power they hold. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 8, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Tina Valdez, Vice President, Technology Innovation at TeleTech about using technology tools to help create great customer experiences. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 7, 2011
Last week the 1to1 Media staff provided in-depth coverage of the upcoming holiday season. Articles ranged from sharing new mobile initiatives and gift card best practices to e-marketing campaign tips and research such as holiday consumer spending predictions. Even with coverage of the many facets of the industry, a few themes shown through. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | November 4, 2011
Consumers are making their gift lists and checking them twice. On most consumers' lists: gift cards. According to the National Retail Federation, nearly 60 percent of shoppers polled said they would like to receive gift cards this holiday season. And about 50 percent of consumers surveyed for First Data's 2010 U.S. Gift Card Consumer Insights Study purchased gift cards as holiday gifts in 2010. Gift cards, however, aren't always perceived as the most personal gift--unless the recipient has specifically requested Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 4, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Coveo Chairman and CEO Louis Tetu about ways that contact center agents can use enterprise search tools and techniques to help customers resolve issues quickly. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Don Drews | November 3, 2011
One thing we all understand as marketers is that no matter how brilliant our strategies are, how intriguing our brand stories and compelling our promotions are, they must reach the market in order to have any effect. And one of the main pathways to the market in any business is through the sales force. Salespeople carry our stories and our programs out into the world. Yet there is a lot of "heat loss" between our office and the point of Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 3, 2011
With consumer holiday spending projected to be flat compared to last year, it's become ever-more important for retailers to deliver memorable, consistent experiences to customers across all of the channels they use, whether it's for product research, purchases, or support. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | November 3, 2011
The holiday season is rushing towards us quicker than a harried Santa on Christmas Eve. Many stores have already stocked their shelves with greeting cards and decorations, putting their customers in the mood to fill their shopping carts with gifts for their loved ones. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | November 2, 2011
No holiday season is complete without the toy catalog. Every year, kids the world over study each page carefully, pondering which holiday gifts to add to their wish lists. This year Toys R Us is giving its holiday catalog a new twist, adding mobile quick response (QR) codes to its pages. Select products in the 80-page book will have accompanying QR codes, which customers can scanned with a mobile QR reader to access additional multimedia content including videos, product reviews, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 2, 2011
Promotions and hassle-free shopping are top of mind for consumers as they begin to think about the holiday shopping season. According to a number of studies, an increasing number of savvy holiday shoppers with limited budgets and a lack of time, plan to maximize discounts and deals this holiday season, as well as take to the Internet to conduct their shopping. Read more »
Guest Blogger | November 1, 2011
I recently had a discussion with my colleague Richard Evensen about how customer experience (CX) pros draw on the work done by market insights (MI) departments. Our conclusion: In most cases, they don't. Instead, we often find CX teams doing their own research to understand and improve the experience. This represents a broader phenomenon that we call shadow MI: research commissioned or executed inside a company without the approval or involvement of MI professionals. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | November 1, 2011
With the tune of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "Shop Around" pulsating throughout their collective subconscious, the majority of consumers plan to hunt for deals this holiday season. Dwindling household incomes and the stagnant unemployment rate have left many consumers clinging to every coin, deliberating every dollar spent-and heading to the social sphere to search for seasonal sales. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 1, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Bluewolf Managing Director Randy Rodriguez about the importance for financial services firms to become more trustworthy in the eyes of their customers. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 28, 2011
It's just days before Halloween. And while chocoholics like myself are thinking, "Candy!" most everyone in business is thinking, "Let the holiday rush begin." This year's "rush," however, will be primarily about wallet share. National Retail Federation is predicting a moderate 2.8 percent growth in overall retail sales this year, despite also forecasting that consumers will spend about $704.18 on "holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise," down from $718.98 in 2010. Retailers, it seems, will need to focus heavily on slicing Read more »
1to1 Editorial Team | October 28, 2011
Even inspirational leaders have people who inspire them to succeed in business; to work hard, take on challenges, think of customers and employees first. That inspirational person may be a colleague, customer, or a family member. During interviews with the 1to1 editorial team, several of the 2011 1to1 Customer Champions shared who inspires them and why: Read more »
Guest Blogger | October 27, 2011
If there is one acronym that marketers live and die by its KPI. Any marketer worth his or her salt knows that measuring key performance indicators is essential to show progress and improvement when it comes to shoring up the company's bottom line. Without KPIs, marketers may have a difficult time proving to their boss that they're doing something other than playing Angry Birds all day long. Read more »
1to1 Editorial Team | October 27, 2011
At times, getting colleagues to embrace customer centricity is no easy feat. In fact, a lack of employee buy-in is often the biggest roadblock in customer experience initiative. During interviews with the 1to1 editorial team, several of the 2011 1to1 Customer Champions shared how they overcame that roadblock and successfully encouraged colleagues to embrace customer centricity: Read more »
Cynthia Clark | October 27, 2011
Female power has been transformed from a cliché to a reality for businesses. With women believed to make a staggering 80 percent of buying decisions, females represent a very important sector for marketers and the companies they represent. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 26, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Glen Manchester, Founder and CEO of Thunderhead, about how the empowered customer is shaping the direction of customer communications management. Read more »
1to1 Editorial Team | October 26, 2011
Everyone in business has that hot-button issue that can keep them up at night. Whether it's adjusting to how the economy is impacting business or gaining buy-in for an important initiative or keeping momentum going for a successful strategy, these challenges can be even more complex when they involve customers. During interviews with the 1to1 editorial team, several of the 2011 1to1 Customer Champions shared their current hot-button issue: Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 26, 2011
When Oracle announced on Monday that it entered into an agreement to acquire RightNow Technologies for approximately $1.5 billion net of RightNow's cash and debt, some analysts and experts in the service industry had some immediate misgivings. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | October 25, 2011
Trust is reciprocated by customers in referrals, word of mouth, and repeat business. Consider, as an example, Griffin Hospital. Entrusting patients with their own records grew patients' belief in the hospital and contributed to its growth. Read more »
1to1 Editorial Team | October 25, 2011
What's the best thing a customer's ever said to you? Whether it's a simple "thank you" or a success story or asking for advice, customers' expressions of gratitude can speak volumes. During interviews with the 1to1 editorial team, several of the 2011 1to1 Customer Champions shared the best thing a customer ever said to them: Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | October 24, 2011
Many customer experience initiatives don't meet their full potential--or worse, fail completely--because companies don't have a complete picture of the dynamics that go into creating it. In order to break from their tunnel vision, companies need to understand their customer experience ecosystem: the complex set of relationships among a company's employees, partners, and customers that determine the quality of all customer interactions. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 24, 2011
Channel proliferation, data overload, and privacy concerns are just some of the issues that direct marketers across the globe are dealing with today. In a conversation with me after the DMA's annual conference, Australian Direct Marketing Association CEO Jodie Sangster shared her insights on the three biggest trends facing marketers in Australia and around the globe today, as well as how they can better handle customers' growing privacy concerns. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 21, 2011
Customer experience comes in many packages. Literally. Last night, while flying home from the CXPA's Member Insight Exchange, I was reminded how powerful packaging can be as part of the customer experience. And it happened with my eyes closed. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 20, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Ralf VonSosen, Vice President, Marketing at InsideView, about the steps that decision-makers can take to collect and act on intelligence about B2B customers. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | October 20, 2011
When something doesn't go our way the first time around, it's easy to throw in the towel and move on to something else. But according to Peter Shankman, CEO of The Geek Factory, this is the wrong approach, especially when it comes to social media. "Ninety-nine percent of time social media doesn't work and there will be people who will tell you you're wrong. But if you believe in what you're doing, don't give up," was Shankman's advice when he Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 19, 2011
The importance of providing a multichannel customer experience in marketing and service is paramount today for companies to keep and grow their customers. But in this race to have a presence on every new channel that emerges, I feel that we often ignore the basics: phone and email. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 18, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Marketo Founder and CEO Phil Fernandez about steps that companies can take to use technology to drive revenue performance management. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | October 17, 2011
"Customer experience (CX) maturity" was the topic of Forrester's recent Chief Customer Officer (CCO) roundtable meeting. The customer experience leaders present took a self-test of key CX practices (based on a recent report by Megan Burns called "Customer Experience Maturity Defined"), discussed their own company's strengths and weaknesses, and shared successes and challenges they faced at their companies in interactive discussions throughout the day. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 17, 2011
One issue companies have when it comes to social media investment is that it's hard to measure the return on that investment. It may be inexpensive to set up a Facebook or Twitter account, but it takes a lot of time, effort, and sweat equity to keep it active and build a community around it. Many companies ask the question, "is it worth it?" Some companies like KFC and others are able to measure, at least to an extent, the Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 14, 2011
A common theme in many sales organizations these days is rethinking the sales process to make it easier for customers to buy. That evolution, of course, includes providing the training and support salespeople need to improve their customer interactions. One company focused on how sales impacts the customer experience is Arrow Electronics. During a panel discussion at AchieveGlobal's The Future of Sales Effectiveness briefing earlier this week, Joe Cataldo, senior director of talent management and development at Arrow Electronics, shared Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 14, 2011
Huntington National Bank Executive Vice President and CIO Zahid Afzal discusses the customer and business benefits of merging multiple CRM systems onto a single platform. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | October 13, 2011
We live in an age when every nanosecond matters. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, keeping marketers on their toes, trying to catch up with the rapidly evolving trends. When I caught up with Alan Moss, Google's vice president of online sales for the Americas, at the DMA conference, he insisted that speed beats perfection when it comes to marketing. He explains that in the "old days" marketers built their marketing plan for the year and executed Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 12, 2011
Apple's release today of its iCloud service will not only set the company apart from its competition yet again, but it will also help to foster a loyal customer base. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 11, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Brian Kardon, Chief Marketing Officer at Eloqua, about the need for companies to move beyond monitoring customers' social comments to integrating social into your organization's marketing strategy. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | October 10, 2011
For decades companies have been promising to delight customers, while simultaneously disappointing them in nearly every channel. That tactic won't cut it anymore. Why not? We've entered a new era that Forrester calls the age of the customer--a time when focus on the customer matters more than any other strategic imperative. In the age of the customer, companies find that: Read more »
Ginger Conlon | October 7, 2011
How's this for personalized service? Renaming a restaurant in customers' honor. This is the approach the iconic steakhouse Smith & Wollensky is taking during the month of October. From the 3rd to the 31st, the restaurant is changing half of the name of its 49th Street and Lexington Avenue location in New York each day in honor of one customer who takes a "pledge" online "to make Smith & Wollensky their exclusive steakhouse." Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 6, 2011
During his presentation on management innovation at the World Business Forum in New York, London Business School Professor Gary Hamel mentioned that one of the biggest problems plaguing many companies nowadays is the sheer number of organizations that are "emotionally uninspired." Read more »
Anna Papachristos | October 6, 2011
Customers may not always be right, but they always deserve a timely response to their queries. Companies that today ignore their customers will find it's a practice fewer and fewer consumers will tolerate--especially in the age of social customer, where consumers will not only share information with scores of other consumers, but they can also more and more easily find who to contact to get their issues resolved. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 6, 2011
There are multiple factors that influence the success--or failure--of work teams, including the chemistry between people and a group's commitment to achieving shared goals. But one of the most important attributes of great teams is vulnerability, says author and consultant Patrick Lencioni. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | October 6, 2011
Anyone who has ever wasted precious minutes trying to contact a call center knows how frustrating the experience can be. It is even worse when, once you get through, you're faced with an agent who either can't communicate effectively or is unable to help you for a number of other reasons. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 5, 2011
Ben Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, is more than just a musician; he has the ability to inspire. Co-author of the book The Art of Possibility, Zander claims that art and music can energize our personal connections and lead to innovation and adoption to new practices. Today, he spoke at the World Business Forum in New York City. Below are some of the inspirational quotes from his speech. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 5, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with TeleTech CMO Mark Grindeland about the business benefits of providing customers with unique support experiences. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 5, 2011
In 2007, Howard Shultz wrote a memo to then Starbucks CEO Jim Donald about how the company needed to get back to its core values and mission and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion for which Starbucks was known. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 5, 2011
In a down economy, delivering exceptional customer service is the difference between profiting and shuttering your doors. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | October 4, 2011
Customer service is one area where being a small organization has its advantages. For some reason, the smaller establishments tend to treat their customers better. Read more »
Guest Blogger | October 3, 2011
I just added up the time that I spent last week having frustrating interactions with companies as a customer: 1 hour and 10 minutes (roughly). I owe most of that to my wireless carrier, but a few other companies also made generous contributions. In each case, I ended the interaction feeling worse than when I'd started--edgier, tenser, more negative in general. It's not as if I could turn those emotions off, either. Petty though they were, they lasted a while. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 3, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Ken Osborn, Vice President of Marketing at Five9, about how telephone-based customer support is fusing with social media. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 30, 2011
As much as customers complain about contact centers, there are plenty of great experiences with caring, engaged agents, too. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | September 30, 2011
The proliferation of online stores is giving customers more choices, but at the same time having a negative impact on some brick-and-mortar shops that depend on foot traffic to make their bottom line. Moreover, in their bid to attract more customers to shop with them, an increasing number of online stores are offering free shipping and free returns, making the experience even more pain-free. Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 29, 2011
Most every seminar on contact center best practices I've attended in the past few years has preached the gospel of nurturing long-term customer value. The importance of establishing trust, building loyalty, and developing customers for life has been drummed into us like a Sunday school lesson. In theory, at least, businesses are beginning to heed the call. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 28, 2011
Some of you may have heard about or have downloaded the latest app called "Buzzword Bingo." The game allows people to challenge coworkers during conferences or meetings to see who can get five of the latest marketing catchphrases, technical jargon, or corporate buzzwords in a row to get Bingo. Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 27, 2011
As I was writing an article for 1to1 Magazine--a piece about sales strategies that make price irrelevant--writer's block struck. The source of my difficulty derived from a nagging customer service issue; nothing major, but one of those sort of surprising service experiences: "Hmmm, I really didn't expect this company to behave that way..." Happily, the moment I eventually got off the phone with the company's customer service representative, one of the most colorful comments from a source I spoke to Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 27, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Carol Kline, CIO at TeleTech, about steps that chief information officers can take to forge tighter relationships with other corporate executives. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | September 26, 2011
The customer experience for companies doing business with other companies stinks. Three independent studies that Forrester Research has conducted over the past year indicate that the business-to-business (B2B) experience is perceived worse than the bottom-of-the-barrel consumer industries, such as TV service providers and health insurance plans in Forrester's 2011 Customer Experience Index. This is not surprising for several reasons. Many B2B firms believe that customer experience is something that only consumer-focused firms like Disney, Zappos, and Ritz Carlton need to Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 26, 2011
Does your frontline staff feel important, respected, valued? If not, your customer experience will suffer--even if those employees are empowered. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | September 22, 2011
The day Borders announced its liquidation I was distraught. Not because I was ever a regular Borders customer; because, as a book lover I hated seeing yet more stores disappear. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | September 21, 2011
Steve Jobs has said: "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new." Wow! Apple has an amazingly strong brand, yet the visionary leader of the company seems to say that listening to customers isn't valuable. Should companies eliminate their customer insight groups and abandon their voice of the customer (VoC) programs? You'll have to read a bit more to see my Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 21, 2011
The age of customer empowerment has arrived, as evident at IBM's Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2011. The aim of the conference, being held this week in San Diego, is to drive home the importance for companies to successfully optimize their networks, organizations, and strategies on what IBM refers to as the "Buy, Market, Sell, and Service" commerce lifecycle. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 20, 2011
One of the comments that stuck with me after attending Dreamforce '11 in San Francisco last month came from a meeting with Jason Alley, a solutions marketing manager at Interactive Intelligence. During my discussion with Jason and his colleague, Debbie Thornburg, about cloud-based contact services, Jason mentioned how dramatic changes in terms of how companies are reshaping their contact center operations are being driven by customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | September 19, 2011
I'm a Dropbox customer. I originally signed up for the basic plan--2GB for free--but ran out of space quickly and decided to upgrade to 50MB of storage. So I forked over my $99 and got the following confirmation page: Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | September 19, 2011
I got an email today from Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO. He began his message with "I messed up." That's a good place to start. Netflix has been a roller coaster of ups and downs lately. The company, trying to expand its business, acted like a teenager rebelling against his supportive parents, not realizing that its actions hurt the ones it needs the most -- loyal customers. What it does next will be a lesson in trust and customer strategy. As Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 16, 2011
Ah, yes, it's that time of year once again: The time when some of my favorite brands send "Happy Birthday" cards and gift certificates. OK, I admit it. I excitedly anticipate this annual stuffing of my mailbox. It's my favorite aspect of my loyalty program memberships. The reason: It's actually personal. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Don Drews | September 15, 2011
Recently I gathered four of the most talented new business salespeople I know around a table for a conversation. The main reason for bringing them together was to see if we could help some friends grow their business. But my secret second main reason for the meeting was to learn how to go out and bring in new customers and new revenue. It's one of the hardest and most-feared things to do in business, but it's also a golden ticket Read more »
Cynthia Clark | September 15, 2011
A few years ago, as I sat at the airport waiting for a plane to London, I received a call from my bank informing me that they needed to cancel my credit card because it had been compromised. Despite the shock, I was glad that the bank had taken preemptive measures to stop me from becoming the victim of fraud. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 14, 2011
Some have compared Target shoppers' rush for its limited Missoni line yesterday to Black Friday. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 13, 2011
While attending the Dreamforce `11 conference in San Francisco late last month, I had an opportunity to speak with a variety of CMOs, CIOs, and other executives about the divide that has historically existed between CMOs and CIOs. And while there are multiple factors that contribute to this rift between the two camps - including ownership battles over digital marketing efforts and a regular misalignment of goals - it seems that trust - or lack thereof - plays a significant Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | September 12, 2011
My colleague Andrew McInnes recently wrote a post about the tunnel vision that results when companies rely solely on analytics for understanding customers. By neglecting qualitative research methods like ethnography and related tools like personas and customer journey maps, firms run the risk of thinking they know what customers want and need but in reality not having a clue. And that's the root cause of some of the worst customer experience problems--issues that can drag down a business. Take the Read more »
Ginger Conlon | September 9, 2011
"Listening is the infrastructure behind customer centricity," Maribel Sierra said during her keynote at Social Customer 2011. "It can inform and drive every aspect of a business." Sierra, Dell's director of global social media and communities, is a passionate advocate of customer listening and the benefits it provides. "Listening works," she said, adding that even if you can't resolve every issue, customers appreciate that you listen to their ideas and concerns. Listening positively impacts NPS, brand, and more. Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 8, 2011
Sometimes you make an investment that turns out to have more value than you expected. You buy a baby monitor and realize it can double as a way to hear family members summon you from the house when you're in the backyard. You purchase a smartphone and discover that it's also a voice recorder, compass, and tool to identify birds or track your daily jogging performance. In a sense, the same thing is happening with home agents. We can all Read more »
Cynthia Clark | September 8, 2011
Technology has disposed of several links in the chain of communication between the man in the street and some of the world's biggest corporations. Today, anybody with basic computer literacy can let the rest of the world know what he thinks about anything that crosses his mind. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 7, 2011
Earlier this week, I wrote an article "Putting Customer Service in Charge of Social," in which experts agree that marketing-led social initiatives tends to create silos and block visibility into customer concerns by customer service. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 6, 2011
In July, I blogged about how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was proposing new rules intended to make it tougher for communications carriers and other companies to slip mystery fees onto customers' phone bills. As a Verizon Wireless customer for the past few years, I've encountered what I have perceived as a few instances of this practice of "cramming" first hand, including a particularly aggravating recent occurrence which is leading my wife and I to shop around for a new Read more »
Guest Blogger | September 5, 2011
Voice of the customer (VoC) leaders are constantly on the hunt for better analytics to identify what customers are saying and doing and, in turn, where companies should focus their attention. For the most part, the hunt is worthwhile. Just think about the value that text mining has delivered during the past few years. However, this focus becomes a problem when it turns into tunnel vision, leading VoC pros to ignore other research tools that yield deep customer understanding. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Curtis Bingham | September 1, 2011
Demanding customers, intense pressure from the CEO, and relentless competition. How can you, as a loyalty executive or chief customer officer (CCO), hope to satisfy the first two and outsmart the third? Cutting through the noise of the C-suite is a challenge for CCOs and it can often be too little too late if steps are not taken quickly. The average tenure of the CCO is only 29.6 months, often falling casualty to the "Results right now!" syndrome that ignores Read more »
Cynthia Clark | September 1, 2011
Consumers expect consistency from the companies they do business with, and that includes the brand image being reflected in the service they receive. If they are dealing with a luxury brand, for example, they expect the agent who takes their call to spend time understanding their issue and helping them out. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 31, 2011
One day last week when I emptied my mailbox, I got an interesting surprise: the fall 2011 catalog for retailer Restoration Hardware. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 30, 2011
As many sales and marketing executives have learned, search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for driving customers to a company's website. And while there are varying approaches to SEO, such as services offered by third-party providers, some companies, particularly smaller ones with limited resources, have discovered that a do-it-yourself strategy can pay big dividends. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 29, 2011
When sales reps are in front of customers, or when service reps are on the phone with them, do those reps have all the information they need for the circumstances? Often they don't. They have to derail the conversation at hand to search for what they need. That information is often housed in siloed systems that require a new sign-in, a call to a colleague, or even escalation. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 26, 2011
Customer experience is a hot topic. There's no doubt about that. There are, however, many perspectives on the vast topic of customer experience. Here are 12 from conversations I had and sessions I attended at several recent industry conferences: Read more »
Cynthia Clark | August 25, 2011
One of the worst things that can happen to a customer who is distraught for one reason or another is to have to communicate with an employee who is just going through the motions in a robotic fashion and does not show an ounce of emotion or empathy. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 24, 2011
In today's economy, the importance of customer service is the bedrock for a sustainable business--and quite possibly paramount for survival. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 23, 2011
I've been a YMCA member for the past several years and have generally had very good experiences with the organization. Most of the facilities I visit are relatively up-to-date and I enjoy the convenience of being able to use different locations when I'm traveling. However, a recent experience with my "home Y" left me a bit disenchanted and has led me to question its approach to providing its members with a consistent multichannel customer experience. Read more »
Guest Blogger | August 22, 2011
Every year the Voice of the Customer (VoC) Awards process gives my fellow judges and me the opportunity to explore the inner workings of the day's best VoC programs. I've already documented many of the best practices we've uncovered on my blog and in Forrester reports. Now I want to let you behind the curtain. Here are the pieces of advice that this year's nominees provided for other organizations to learn from, grouped into common themes. Straight from the horses' Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 19, 2011
There seem to be two types of brands these days: ones that continue to deliver on their promises despite the turbulent economy and pricing pressures; and ones that use their brand equity to sell products that aren't nearly the level of quality that the brand originally promised and delivered. That group of brands is likely boosting their margins, but how long can the fun last before consumers catch on and lose trust. Read more »
Cynthia Clark | August 18, 2011
Last Saturday I had a memorable dinner at Craft, in New York. It wasn't just that the food was delicious and the staff attentive, but the restaurant created memories that will ensure a return visit. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Allen Bonde | August 18, 2011
For the past several years many businesses have scrambled to jump on the content marketing bandwagon to differentiate as thought leaders, gain more Google "juice" in the SEO wars, and feed their emerging social channels. Today, as consumers increasingly demand entertaining and informative content whether they are online, on their iPhone, or even in Facebook, and business buyers look to influencers and communities for insight and advice, content marketing has become an essential technique for both consumer and B2B brands. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 17, 2011
On a recent visit to the beauty salon, my hairdresser, and owner of the store, lamented on how the business had been slow in recent weeks. As she rinsed my hair under the sink, she talked about the reason for the decrease in business, equating the slowdown with the lunar phases. She said that she noticed an uptick in business during full moon cycles. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 17, 2011
The sales cycle is evolving more and more to become a purchasing cycle. Increasingly, customers today--both B2B and B2C--are researching products and services, seeking insight and advice from their social networks, and inviting salespeople into their purchase process when the decision is very nearly made. With customers taking charge of the conversation, data is developing into a sellers' best productivity tool. Read more »
Guest Blogger | August 16, 2011
With pressure mounting on the marketing function to more clearly identify the return on various investments, attribution modeling may seem like the Holy Grail to some marketers. To others, attribution modeling--or attribution management, as it's often called--is as much an enigma as the concept of marketing ROI. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 15, 2011
Today Google announced that it will purchase Motorola Mobility, the makers of the Droid smartphone and other mobile devices, for about $12.5 billion. Many in the industry note the move was done to resolve patent issues and provide more intense competition with Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's Windows mobile operating system. But it's also a sign that the industry, a fiercely competitive space revolving around innovation and leading technology, needs a shift toward customer centricity. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 12, 2011
As turbulent as the economy has been recently, and is now, there are still customers out there with money to spend. The important question is will they spend it with you? One place consumers are spending: Godiva. Yes, upscale chocolate. In fact, in June the company's year-to-date sales had increased 19 percent globally and 12 percent in North America, according to Mahender Nathan, vice president, direct, for Godiva. The reason for this growth, in my opinion: customer-driven innovation. Read more »
Guest Blogger | August 11, 2011
Traditionally, within B2B transactions, buyers were dependent on sellers to provide expert advice. This often led to courtship, evaluation, and acquisition. Of course buyers could pay consultants or purchase analyst research, but ultimately all roads led back to the seller. Even in the Google era, search results usually returned vendor-authored content. Vendors were essentially in control of what information was released to buyers, and when. Conversely, social networks promote a free and open exchange of information that continues to drastically Read more »
Cynthia Clark | August 11, 2011
It was 1960. Elvis Presley recorded the song Are You Lonesome Tonight. The FDA approved the pill for contraceptive use. Hawaii was recognized as the 50th state of the U.S. And on September 26, about 70 million people tuned in to watch Presidential hopefuls John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon square off in the first televised political debate. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 10, 2011
Corporate leadership today is under scrutiny. And rightly so. Corporate bailouts, high profits, and big bonuses have shaken public confidence in many companies' leaders. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 9, 2011
Lately, I've had a number of conversations with industry executives where the topic of "right-channeling" has come up, referring to the practice of guiding or directing customers to use lower-cost channels such as online or mobile for support or other needs. While there might appear to be a business rationale for trying to shift customers to use economical channels, ultimately, customers are going to use the channels they want to use, depending on their needs and preferences. When companies take Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 8, 2011
Today's lead article in 1to1 Magazine is an interview with Deeanne King, vice president of customer care at Sprint. In it, she discusses how the company used a laser focus on customer experience to generate revenues, improve customer service, and grow its subscriber base. Customer experience has been noted as one of three goals for the entire company to work to improve (along with strengthening the brand and generating cash). King's message emphasizes how important the customer experience is to Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 6, 2011
Though the age-old conundrum has had millions fighting an inconclusive battle for decades, we may never figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg. All we can truly agree upon is that, without one, the other simply could not exist. Much like their notorious counterparts, companies and customers have developed a cyclical codependence that makes it hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | August 5, 2011
Converging forces like increasingly demanding customers and harsh market conditions have made the competitive landscape tougher than ever. It can be a challenge to stay positive and to continue to focus on customer experience when the pressure to grow is so intense. Lisa Nirell, author of Energize Growth Now: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company, shared some insight with me recently about ways to do both (stay positive and customer focused) and to create growth as a result. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Curtis Bingham | August 4, 2011
A number of years ago I was creating customer strategy for a credit card processing company and as a result of some intensive customer analytics, I found a rather large customer segment that would gladly pay two, three, even five times their current rates because they valued the company's product and service so highly. I recommended the company charge one to two times more, which translated into $20 million annual incremental revenue. However, the CEO focused on one other finding Read more »
Cynthia Clark | August 4, 2011
Consumer reviews have revolutionized the way we make choices: Rather than take a leap of faith before spending our money, we painstakingly read other people's experiences, eager to learn from their mistakes rather than risk following in their footsteps and down the hill of buyers' remorse. This phenomenon has become such a routine in our lives that we barely even stop to think about it. Instead, we just scroll through pages of reviews and click on photos, keen to learn Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 3, 2011
As mobile usage continues to accelerate across the globe, new McKinsey research that tracked consumers' digital habits through a series of surveys covering more than 100,000 respondents, highlights the increase, with results showing nearly 50 percent of U.S. online consumers are now advanced users of smart phones, social networks, and other emerging tools--up from 32 percent in 2008. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | August 3, 2011
To get a grip on your customer experience ecosystem, you need to map it, co-create it, and socialize it. In a previous post, I talked about how Fidelity Investments co-creates its customer experience ecosystem. Through co-creation exercises and workshops, you can engage a fairly large number of internal employees, external partners, and customers in the design of your company's customer experience. But for most large companies, this group will still only represent a small fraction of the people in your Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 3, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Martin Hayward, Director of Marketing at Mirror Image Internet, about the importance for marketers and advertisers to understand the link between customer brand preferences and the types of devices they use. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | August 1, 2011
The calendar has turned to August, which means that school will be starting sooner rather than later (sorry kids). As families begin their back-to-school shopping, many will go online. And those companies that provide the best overall experience will come out on top during this busy shopping season. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 29, 2011
I recently read that companies want customers to spend the loyalty points they earn. Really? I'm not so sure about that. There are nearly as many ways to earn and spend loyalty points as there are companies that offer them. But some businesses definitely make redemption easier than others do. Many airlines, for example, have a terrible reputation for an overabundance of blackout dates when customers can't use their frequent flyer points to purchase tickets. Conversely, there are companies like Read more »
Guest Blogger | July 28, 2011
Fear is that ever-present nagging voice in the back of our minds; it's the one that tells us to stay close to the shore and to avoid risk at a certain cost. Now, more than ever, fear has become a daily constant in our lives -- fear of losing your job, fear of losing a client, or worse, fear of not being "good enough" to offer value. In a constant stream of seemingly petty anxiety and uneasiness, I have to Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 27, 2011
A new Accenture survey: "The 7 Things Your Health Insurance Providers are not Telling You," reveals seven surprises about customer service. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 26, 2011
Last week, Verint announced plans to acquire Vovici for about $60 million. I rarely write about industry deals in this space, but this one is worth noting for several reasons. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 25, 2011
The demise of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated. Ever since social media burst onto the scene, experts have predicted email's death on an almost weekly basis. But as we all know from experience, email still plays a vital role for both business and consumer use. But this is no time for email marketing to rest on its laurels. Social media has changed the game, and customer expectations have also changed as a result. Companies need to evolve their email Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | July 25, 2011
To get a grip on your customer experience ecosystem -- the complex set of relationships among your company's employees, partners, and customers that determines the quality of all customer interactions -- you need to map it, co-create it, and socialize it. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 22, 2011
When asking customers what they want, the trick is to ask the right questions. Henry Ford was quoted as saying, "If I had asked customers what they wanted they'd have said, 'A faster horse.'" I'm sure that's the case. I'm also sure that if Apple had asked customers the same, no one would have said, "A wallet-size device to carry around my music." Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | July 21, 2011
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a polarizing topic; some people love it and some people hate it. So I'll share my thoughts on the topic, which fall somewhere between love and hate. If you're not familiar with NPS, it's based on asking customers a question like this: How likely are you to recommend to a friend or colleague? Respondents are categorized as "Promoters," "Detractors," or "Passives" based on their answers. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is calculated by subtracting the Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 20, 2011
Customer service is even more important in a down economy and the new American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor shows that global finance executives are increasingly willing to invest in customer service to support their growth. In fact, nearly half (46 percent) of senior finance executives plan to invest more in customer service over the next year. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 19, 2011
I was disheartened - albeit not altogether surprised - when news reports surfaced last week that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing new rules designed to make it more difficult for telephone carriers and other companies to tack mystery fees onto customers' phone bills. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 18, 2011
Netflix has had a rough July so far. The company, which built up a glowing reputation among customers, took its customers' loyalty for granted and may wind up an example of how not to treat loyal customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | July 18, 2011
I recently had dinner during Forrester's Customer Experience Forum 2011 with two senior executives who work at companies that use Net Promoter Score. Both companies have been recognized as customer experience leaders in their respective industries. When a third guest (Forrester's CEO) asked them why and how they use Net Promoter Score (NPS) they gave remarkably consistent answers. In brief, they use it as a simple, easy to understand metric -- one number -- for aligning the business. Its main Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 15, 2011
If you think of customer experience broadly, it encompasses every interaction point a customer has with an organization. That includes far more than customer service. Also in the customer experience ensemble are products, billing, shipping, mobile apps, marketing communications, the website, social interactions, and more. Each of these areas tends to have its own "owner." In fact, if you consider the vast number of disparate customer touchpoints, it seems impossible that any one person could oversee it all in a Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | July 14, 2011
In traditional retailing, customer experiences can become stilted when the frontline staff has a list of do's and don'ts regarding how far they can go to serve their customers. At Wegmans Food Markets there is no rule book. There is simply this: No customer is allowed to leave unhappy. Wegmans is a privately held grocery store chain with 41,000 employees. The company generated an estimated $5.6 billion in revenue in 2010. What fuels Wegmans's growth are passion, training, and trust. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 13, 2011
Love them or loathe them, self-service check-out lanes have become a necessary evil in many grocery chains. This week, Albertson's, LLC, a grocery chain which owns and operates 217 stores in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, announced that it will remove its self-help devices from all of its stores starting this month. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 12, 2011
As companies find it increasingly difficult to separate themselves by their products, top-notch customer support will help distinguish the leaders and laggards, inContact CMO Mariann McDonagh tells 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | July 11, 2011
Google + launched last week to rival Facebook. Its "circles" feature represents a shift toward more relevant, timely, and valuable communications to different segments. What implications will such a shift will have on business use of social media? Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | July 11, 2011
Companies that want to improve their customer experience need to understand the intertwined and ever evolving relationships among their internal employees, external partners, and customers. Forrester calls this complex set of relationships the customer experience ecosystem. As I said in a previous post, to get a grip on your own ecosystem, you need to map it, co-create it, and socialize it. And when I say "map it," I mean that you need to systematically uncover and document the ecosystem's hidden Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 8, 2011
"What's in the black box?" Nick Primola asked during his presentation at Forrester's 2011 Customer Experience Forum. "The customer relationship. It's not the next shiny object or product models to sell. It's a relationship founded in mutual trust and mutual value." Read more »
Guest Blogger: Don Drews | July 7, 2011
One of the hot debates in the marketing world for the past few years has been how to measure--and demonstrate--return on marketing spending. Part of the urgency to prove payback on marketing spending is healthy, ongoing pressure to improve efficiency across all areas of the business. Another contributing factor is the accelerating shift from traditional mass marketing tactics to personalized, context-sensitive, data-driven marketing. And of course at a primitive, law-of-the-jungle level, marketing people need to justify their existence. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | July 6, 2011
Many customer experience initiatives don't meet their full potential -- or worse, fail completely -- because companies don't have a comprehensive picture of what the customer experience actually entails or the dynamics that go into creating it. In order to break from their tunnel vision, companies need to understand their customer experience ecosystem: the complex set of relationships among a company's employees, partners, and customers that determines the quality of all customer interactions. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 6, 2011
At 1to1 Media, we've written a sufficient number of articles about the dangers of ignoring what your customers are saying about your brand in social channels. So when my friend, who works at one of the largest global business enterprise management software providers, told me about a meeting that he and his colleagues had last week with a U.S. government-owned transportation company to discuss social sentiment, the outcome was too humorous not to share. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 5, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Patrick James, Vice President and Global Head of Marketing, Sales, and Service Consulting at Capgemini, about the trends that are shaping CRM and the top challenges facing CRM decision-makers. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | July 1, 2011
As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. But customers shouting for service on social media aren't the only consumers getting a quick response--though it may seem that way. It also happens in brick-and-mortar settings, when a frustrated customer gets loud. For example... Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 30, 2011
Customers are looking for service and information online, that's a given. Companies' response plans...that's often unknown. Organizations are responding to customers' complaints and inquiries in myriad ways, including hiring interns or agencies, creating a social taskforce, or taking an ad hoc approach where they may have marketing or customer service staffers track online interactions as their schedules allow. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 29, 2011
According to a new Forrester Research report, "The Customer Experience Ecosystem," customer experiences currently range from OK to bad. The report's author Kerry Bodine gathered the data from Forrester's Customer Experience Index, which includes scores for 153 brands in 13 industries based on ratings from more than 7,700 U.S. consumers. The results were surprising. Only 7 percent of the brands in the study earned "excellent" customer experience scores. Thirty-five percent of the brands received scores of "OK," 18 percent received Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 28, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman talks with Jeff Pedowitz, Founder of The Pedowitz Group, about the key trends in the marketing automation software arena and steps that decision-makers can take to use these platforms effectively. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 27, 2011
Does hiring right matter? You bet. Yesterday I went to Starbucks for a lemonade iced tea. Not surprisingly, the store was busy. The barista was pouring, mixing, and blending with expert proficiency. Until my drink. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 22, 2011
A new global contact center benchmarking report reveals some positive trends toward improving the customer experience. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 21, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Steve Kraus, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Pegasystems, about opportunities for using business process management tools to enhance the measurement of customer-related metrics. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 20, 2011
Would you wait more than eight minutes to speak to a customer service representative on the phone? How good would you feel about a retailer if it took almost four days for the company to answer your email? If you are a customer of Barnes & Noble or Crate & Barrel, you will likely find out. Companies are always discussing the importance of customer service across channels, but how well do they deliver? A new study of the top 100 Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 17, 2011
"Like little kids begging mom for a treat after a skinned knee, the newly empowered consumer feels compelled to share every slight, no matter how small or how imagined," Seth Godin wrote in his blog post "Giving umbrage" earlier this week. That got me thinking about the challenges companies face in their attempts to consistently deliver a satisfactory customer experience--and that customers should give credit to companies for the good stuff when it happens. Take Time Warner Cable as an Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | June 16, 2011
In my eBook, The 6 Laws of Customer Experience, the 5th law states "employees do what is measured, incented, and celebrated." So if you are measuring the wrong things or looking at the metrics in the wrong way, then it will be nearly impossible to build alignment around the right customer-centric activities and behaviors. Based on conversations I've had with customer experience professionals over the past several months, it seems like there's an epidemic of poor metrics. What's going on Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 15, 2011
My local news yesterday reported a story about an employee in a barber shop who stabbed his boss with his scissors because he didn't want to wait on the next customer. The employer is fine and recovering, but the story is an extreme example of lackadaisical service. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 14, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Pegasystems Founder and CEO Alan Trefler about the barriers and opportunities to becoming a customer-centric organization. Read more »
Guest Blogger | June 13, 2011
Teams perform better when they have more positive interactions than negative interactions. Why? Some might assume that teams that perform well have more to be positive about, so they end up having more positive interactions. But psychologists find that it's actually the other way around: positivity drives performance. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 10, 2011
Companies build trust and goodwill through positive customer experiences and delivering on their promises. They build something else, too: the likelihood that customers will forgive their mistakes and stick with them. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 8, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Mogreet CEO James Citron about the opportunities companies have to connect with customers using mobile video marketing and advertising campaigns. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 8, 2011
Last week the coupon site Groupon announced it plans to raise $750 million to go public--six months after refusing Google's colossal $ 6 billion offer to buy the daily deals site. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 7, 2011
Lifestyle brands today need all of their marketing components in real time: insights, response to those insights, content creation, customer co-creation, distribution, and customer engagement, according to Shiv Singh, head of digital at PepsiCo Beverages. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | June 7, 2011
At today's World Innovation Forum presentation, Harvard Business Professor and author Clayton Christensen discussed his perspective on disruptive innovation. He defines disruptive innovation as "a driver of leadership failure and the source of new growth opportunities." Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | June 6, 2011
There are a lot of vendors pitching their social media listening capabilities. And, the more that I hear these pitches, the more it has made me think that a bunch of companies jumping on the social media bandwagon are going down a dangerous road of using it as an customer service escalation strategy-- which is a horrible idea. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 6, 2011
"Companies are poor at listening," Frank Eliason, senior vice president of social media at Citibank, told the audience at RealtimeNY11 this morning. "People will disagree with me because [statistics say that] 90 percent of companies are listening...but only 17 percent do anything with the information. So they're not listening." Read more »
Ginger Conlon | June 3, 2011
Customer experience management is gaining traction. The impact of the economy, uncompromising customer expectations, and social media as a megaphone of customer experiences good and bad has organizations shifting from talking about customer centricity to acting on it. "Over the past 18 months companies have started to focus on getting [customer experience] right again," Enkata Founder Ron Hildebrandt told me earlier this week. "I hate to say that social media has companies concerned about getting customer experience wrong; that they're Read more »
Guest Blogger | June 2, 2011
Many executives will say they believe that having loyal customers is critical to business success. But what are they really doing about it? Most will point to their customer care training or CRM system and say, "That's how we take care of loyalty here." Some will point to their monthly newsletter or discount program to demonstrate their efforts. All of these are good attempts. However, they are not enough. Companies need to take a more holistic approach to creating greater Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 1, 2011
In light of companies' recent cost-cutting efforts, today's employees have been tasked with working the equivalent of three, four, or five employees. Add to that long commutes and no raises and you have a recipe for an uninspired and unhappy workforce. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | May 31, 2011
My research director Harley Manning has a lot of quips that we affectionately call Harleyisms. One of them goes like this: All ads promise one of three things -- you're gonna get rich, you're gonna live forever, or you're gonna get (um, I'll be polite here) some nookie. While this might have been somewhat true during the golden age of advertising, I've noticed a new ad trend over the past several years: More marketers are advertising the customer experiences that Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 27, 2011
There's no such this as a social media "campaign," according to Gary Vaynerchuk, cofounder of Veyner Media. One-off campaigns in social media are like "a one-night stand in a world where we're trying to be Beyoncé and 'put a ring on it,'" he said recently. Vaynerchuk asserts that even individual campaigns should fit with an overarching social media strategy designed to build customer loyalty and engagement over time. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 26, 2011
"There's never been a more interesting or challenging time in the customer service business," inContact CMO Mariann McDonagh told attendees of the company's Problem Solved tour in New York yesterday. McDonagh warned that it will only get more difficult to differentiate brands based on product attributes; driving sustainable growth more and more requires a superior service experience. "The next five years will bring more changes to the customer service market than the past 15." What's driving those major changes? A Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 25, 2011
Everyone organization wants it: the ability to deliver unique, authentic, memorable, wow customer experiences across the enterprise. But saying it and doing it are two separate things. Getting it done requires companywide commitment, understanding, and a willingness to consistently deliver optimal customer experiences. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 24, 2011
Analysts and pundits like to talk about the importance of providing customers with personalized experiences. On paper, it sounds great. But in the real world, it's easier said than done, particularly for enterprise organizations that have tens of thousands of customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | May 23, 2011
Over the past few weeks I've been part of a group that selected the winners of Forrester's Voice of the Customer Awards for 2011. I can't yet tell you the names of the three winners -- the companies will be announced on June 21 at our Customer Experience Forum in New York, along with the other seven entrants who made up our top 10. But I can share some insight into what separated the winners from the contenders. At one Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 20, 2011
"A lot of life is about enchanting people," Guy Kawasaki told a rapt audience at the Allegiance Engage Summit 2011 earlier this week. In business, enchantment is part of building a mutually beneficial relationship. Kawasaki, cofounder of Alltop and author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, shared three essential elements of enchantment. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | May 19, 2011
By understanding what motivates its "fashionista" customers, Zara has changed the definition of success in fashion retail. Customers make an average 17 annual store visits, compared to four visits for other retailers. The Zara "habit" that keeps customers coming through their door results in more products sold at full retail: nearly 85 percent of Zara's inventory sells at full price, compared to a retail average of 40 percent. Most important, because customers are Zara's "sales force," advertising is hardly necessary--it's Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 18, 2011
The increasing usage of social media is forcing companies to think about how to incorporate social into their contact centers--something that companies and contact centers haven't had a need to think about until recently. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 17, 2011
Marketers continue to strive to make greater use of analytics in order to better understand customers and craft more relevant offers for them. But while many marketers believe their use of analytics to enhance customer experiences is working effectively, consumers don't necessarily share the same views. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 16, 2011
A few weeks ago I described the sobering fact that most voice of the customer (VoC) programs don't deliver business results. I recently dug into the responses to Forrester's Q1 2011 Global Customer Experience Peer Research Panel Survey to find out why. Here's some of what I found (full results will be available in my new report titled, "Voice Of The Customer Programs Don't Deliver Enough Value," due out later this week): Read more »
Guest Blogger: Don Drews | May 12, 2011
If you lead a business unit--a team, a department or a corporation--you've thought about corporate culture. You've read about how having the right culture drives exceptional results. Get the culture right, the gurus say, and the rest will magically take care of itself. And you believe it if you've ever been part of a high-performing team. Everything just clicks, it's fun, and the results flow. The problem comes when you try to take your current, not-too-bad-but-nothing-special team and change the Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 11, 2011
Even though consumers today use a barrage of social technologies, including SMS, email, Facebook, Twitter, ratings and reviews sites, and blogs, a new study shows that they are less inclined to share word-of-mouth (WOM) experiences than they were three years ago. Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 11, 2011
As a reporter, writer, and synthesizer of insights (a more accurate title these days), I've long wrestled with the question of whether I should clean up my source's quotes. If a CMO describes "averse" economic conditions when she clearly means "adverse," can I change her quote for her benefit (as well as the benefit of the reader)? Zappos kicked a similar question into the realm of marketing ethics, according to this nifty article on Slate, "Awsum Shoes!," that asks whether Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 10, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Craig Hayman, General Manager of Industry Solutions at IBM, about best practices that marketing leaders can apply to demonstrate improvements to the business. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | May 9, 2011
I recently read a story about the butterflies in Zion National Park. Apparently, there aren't as many of them as there use to be. And after decades of research, scientists have finally figured out why. Zion National Park was developed in the early 1900s -- and with that development came an influx of tourists. Scared off by human foot traffic, cougars retreated from certain areas of park. And with no natural predators, the deer population exploded. These cute (but ravenous) Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | May 9, 2011
Shop.org and Forrester Research last week announced results of its annual online retailing study in the The State Of Retailing Online 2011: Marketing, Social, and Mobile. Of course, social and mobile are hot trends that retailers are beginning to experiment with, though financial results of such initiatives tend to be vague. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 6, 2011
When was the last time you personally thanked a customer? Sent a hand-written note? Last year Jack Mitchell wrote 1,793 personal notes to customers of his retail stores. That's about five notes a day, every day. Mitchell is CEO of The Mitchells Family of Stores, which owns several high-end retail stores, including Marsh, Mitchells, and Richards--and is author of Hug Your Customers. He spoke at the Conference Board Customer Experience Leadership Conference about connecting with customers on a more personal Read more »
Guest Blogger | May 5, 2011
Challenges are mounting for sales teams: higher quotas, changing metrics, and new channels in which to sell. The problem is that these changes can get in the way of salespeople doing what they do best, which is selling. To better understand this conundrum, BigMachines recently conducted a benchmark survey, identifying the key factors that drive sales teams, as well as the roadblocks they encounter. The results uncovered widespread, inefficient processes and the fact that few organizations actually take the steps Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 4, 2011
At IBM/Unica's Marketing Innovation Summit in Boston this week, it's more apparent than ever that marketers are facing increasing pressures and evolving challenges. IBM's global "State of Marketing" survey released yesterday offers more proof of the changing landscape. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | May 3, 2011
Good customer experience doesn't happen by accident. Behind every good customer experience is a set of professionals working hard to make sure that their company fulfills the needs and desires of their customers. So who are these people leading the customer experience charge? Customer experience professionals. To better understand these individuals, Temkin Group recently completed a research report on behalf of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) called Customer Experience Professionals Benchmark Report. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | May 3, 2011
Customers are willing to spend more with businesses that deliver quality customer service. So says the 2011 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, a survey American Express conducts annually to uncover customers' attitudes and preferences toward service. This year's U.S. survey polled more than 1,000 American consumers. According to the survey findings, 70 percent of Americans are willing to spend 13 percent more on average with companies that provide outstanding customer service. This is a significant increase from 2010 when Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 3, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Christopher Morace, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Jive Software about different ways that companies can use social business software to engage both their customers as well as their employees. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | May 2, 2011
Well-intentioned customer relationship management (CRM) efforts that focus on internal processes and objectives have largely failed to serve the most important stakeholder: the customer. Business process professionals characterize CRM as "the business processes for targeting, acquiring, retaining, understanding, and collaborating with customers." Although CRM leaders and customer experience professionals share goals like extensive customer knowledge and increased service quality, the fundamental approaches of these two disciplines differ vastly. Typical CRM efforts take an inside-out approach that serves specific business needs Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 29, 2011
What comes first, loyalty or engagement? The answer, it seems, is: It depends. During a conversation this morning with Laura Hewitt, director of marketing and communications for Carlson Marketing, we talked about the issue. Some marketers think that you need to build loyalty before you can create engagement; others think it's quite the opposite--build engagement to foster loyalty. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 28, 2011
Meeting and satisfying consumer expectations today is no easy feat. The speed of technology and the proliferation and convenience of mobile, social, and digital have turned customers into critics when they don't get the answers or service they expect. In today's cutthroat competition for loyal customers, companies need to deliver services that not only meet customers' expectations, but exceed them. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 27, 2011
I am not generally a user of social media. I don't Tweet, I don't blog on my own blog. LinkedIn is a bother now that I have a job. When I signed up for Facebook a few years ago, I did so only because my thriller-writer friends insisted. My profile photo was my book cover jacket. Over the course of 3 years I amassed 38 friends on Facebook. I have not seen the movie The Social Network. I am not Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 26, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Nikhil Govindaraj, Vice President of Products at Moxie Software, about the challenges and opportunities of providing customers with proactive service. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | April 25, 2011
Every year in January Forrester publishes its Customer Experience Index (CxPI), which reports how customers rate their interactions with major companies. We learn a lot from studying leaders in various industries -- like USAA, which was the top credit card provider, top bank, and top insurance provider this year. Last week we published a follow-up report, which examined companies that raised their CxPi scores by at least 5 points year over year. Among others, these brands included Aetna (up 6 Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 25, 2011
This weekend my husband and I bought a new car. The experience was pretty painless, though there were a few hiccups. However, what caught my attention was my salesman's parting words as we drove off the lot. He told us we would be getting a call from corporate asking us to rate our purchase experience. Then he played the guilt-trip card...if he didn't score all 10's on the survey he might get fired. So we need to be sure to Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 22, 2011
I recently heard an interesting statement from Gary Vaynerchuk, cofounder of Veyner Media: The skill set required for marketers is changing. It's shifting from "presentations" -- in other words, pushing information out to consumers -- to interactions, like working the room at a cocktail party. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 21, 2011
To get my child to join me at the dog park in the mornings, I had resorted to bribing him with a stop at Starbucks. With my "mom" hat on, it proved to be an effective enticement. As a frequent customer and loyalty practitioner, I cannot help but question why it was so much work (on my part) to reap my deserved recognition and rewards. We've all talked about how Starbucks has changed us. We now talk in terms of Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 19, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with IBM Executive Product Manager Erick Brethenoux about some of the changes in the ways that companies are now applying analytics to customer data. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 18, 2011
Using game dynamics to increase customer engagement, very cool. The sudden and growing whirlwind, let's make that hurricane, of hype surrounding "gamification," not so much. In fact, since all of the hullaballoo about this "hot, new marketing must" at and following the recent South By Southwest (SXSW) event in Austin, I've heard so many "gurus" declare an urgency for the adoption of gamification that I want to hurl. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 18, 2011
According to contemporary wisdom (in other words, according to what I hear), customers who experience service failures followed by effective service recoveries actually become more satisfied and loyal than customers who experience no failures at all. This is called the service recovery paradox, and academic research suggests that it's not as common or consistent as we might think. Many customers who experience solid service recoveries still end up less happy than their problem-free counterparts. Service failures are bad, after all. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 15, 2011
We're all awash in data and running at a breakneck pace to make sense of it all. Sometimes that intense focus can cause us to forget the source of that data: customers. In other words, human beings--who often (in fact, almost always) make purchase decisions based on emotions first, rational thought second. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 14, 2011
An exciting new movement that calls for combining Voice of Customer (VOC) data with operational data (CRM, financial, etc.) is happening now. This new opportunity is Voice of Customer Intelligence or VOCi. The ultimate goal of VOCi is to provide actionable business intelligence derived primarily from VOC data sets, but integrated with other related customer data to tell a powerful story that company executives buy in to and rely on to make decisions. VOCi requires a shift from data gathering Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 13, 2011
Marketers today seem to be crippled by fear. Just as they master marketing and communicating to customers through a new channel, another one emerges. Things are moving so fast that sometimes marketers don't know where to start. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 12, 2011
1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman speaks with Dave Capuano, Vice President of Marketing at Vovici, regarding steps that marketers can take to gauge the progress of their organizations' customer loyalty programs. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | April 12, 2011
Like it or not, government services face many of the same pressures that companies face. Companies like Amazon, Disney, USAA, and Zappos raise customer expectations when they deliver stellar service. As they raise the bar, other companies and government agencies risk getting fired when they fail to deliver the value that customers expect, or make customers jump through hoops to access it, or begrudgingly deliver it through unengaged employees. Customers and citizens simply chose to take their money elsewhere. It's Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 11, 2011
Corporate policies are put in place to maintain consistency and drive efficiency within an organization. But sometimes they work to undermine the customer experience, which can leave both employees and customers unsatisfied. With all the lip service given to the importance of the customer experience, it's unfortunate that when it comes down to practice, some companies rely more on strict policies than on solving customer problems. Read more »
Guest Blogger | April 8, 2011
It's imperative for companies today more than ever to focus on supporting and growing relationships with their core customers and turning those customers into their best salespeople. When people get really excited about a company with which they do business, they share their love with colleagues, friends, and family; they brag about how great it is to work with your company, and how clever they were to find you. Most important, they will passionately recommend your company to everyone who Read more »
Ginger Conlon | April 8, 2011
Engaging customers online is no easy task. It requires not only ongoing interaction within individual channels, but also integration between those touchpoints. Jeremy Thum, director of marketing for the NBA's Chicago Bulls, knows these challenges firsthand. In preparation for our participation at the upcoming Social Customer 2011 conference, Thum shared some insight via email into the Bulls' full-court press approach to engaging customers within and across digital touchpoints. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | April 7, 2011
We recently published the 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings, which evaluates the customer experience of 143 U.S. companies across 12 industries. Let's start with kudos to the top 10 companies in the ratings: 1. Amazon.com 2. Kohl's 3. Costco 4. (tie) Lowe's 4. (tie)Sam's Club 6. BJs Wholesale Club 7. Walgreens 8. Old Navy 9. Target 10. Rite Aid Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 6, 2011
In 1999 Forrester proclaimed the proceeding 10 years the digital decade. Today at Forrester's Marketing Forum in San Francisco, that decade-old proclamation is crystallized in conversations in keynote addresses and among marketers on the conference floor. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 5, 2011
Companies can develop a broader view of their customers' needs, preferences, and behaviors by drawing on customer feedback, operational information and other data, says Clarabridge CEO and Co-Founder Sid Banerjee. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | April 4, 2011
We use mobile devices throughout the day to communicate with each other, get timely information, and entertain ourselves. And, because they're almost always within a few feet of us, these devices offer myriad opportunities for brands to insert themselves into our lives in meaningful ways. But brands have been slow to realize this opportunity. Whenever I browse the Apple app store, I'm always shocked by the small number of apps that have been commissioned by big brands -- and this Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | April 4, 2011
Budget airline AirTrain topped the Airline Quality Rating for 2011, beating out fellow low-cost carriers JetBlue, Southwest, as well as the big dogs like American, Delta, and United. The rankings show that inexpensive doesn't equal less quality. With a commitment to customers, efficiency, and effectiveness, it is possible to provide a fantastic customer experience without crippling customers' wallets. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Curtis Bingham | March 31, 2011
The CCO role is a lonely place. There are fewer than 400 people in the world with this title, and the average tenure is a mere 26 months. Yet the impact CCOs can have on a company's bottom line can be profound. Successful CCOs have mastered three key elements of corporate survival, and these strategies are applicable to anyone responsible for strengthening customer relationships within an organization: Drive profitable customer behavior Create a customer-centric culture Demonstrate your value Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 30, 2011
According to ABI Research, U.S. mobile commerce sales will reach $4.9 billion this year, and will account for $163 billion in sales worldwide by 2015. Additionally IDC reports that the U.S. smart phone market will increase 50 percent this year. Despite the growing number of consumers conducting mobile transactions, a new study conducted by Tealeaf shows that the medium is laden with issues that impede customers' ability to complete transactions and prevent them from returning. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 29, 2011
Most marketing leaders recognize the value for their companies to have a social media presence, even if the financial returns on those efforts aren't easily quantifiable. It's table stakes for companies to have a Facebook or Twitter page nowadays to further engage with customers, including providing customers with another channel to interact with them and share their experiences, good or bad. But as common as it might be for most companies to have a corporate social media imprint, many CMOs Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | March 28, 2011
As my colleague Andrew McInnes pointed out in his report Ten Major Voice of the Customer Trends, more companies are closing the loop with their customers. During Forrester's 2009 Voice of the Customer Awards, entrants with closed-loop processes were the exception. In 2010 they were the rule, with many top finalists integrating closed-loop processes with their sales and marketing efforts. For this year's awards we expect to see a new crop of innovative closed-loop applications. But just like any well-intentioned Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 28, 2011
"Customer satisfaction is not a differentiator, it's a lagging indicator," said Leigh Benatar of Brand Keys at last week's Loyalty Expo trade show. Customers expect to be delighted these days. So instead of focusing on satisfying customers, companies need to look at new ways to build true loyalty and advocacy. During the show Loyalty 360 CEO Mark Johnson highlighted seven trends he sees in customer loyalty. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 25, 2011
Ah, to know whether customers are truly loyal, will actually repurchase and recommend, will increase their wallet share. It's the Holy Grail. And like the Holy Grail, the quest will inform you, challenge you, and keep you ever hopeful. But, ultimately, it's unreachable. So, you may ask, why bother trying to measure loyalty? Because current measures are valuable; they provide useful, actionable insight. But it's not a complete picture. The problem is what's not being measured, according to Jannie Hofmeyr, Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 24, 2011
The term social intelligence is being used to describe the next big thing in social media monitoring and analysis. Zach Hofer-Shall of Forrester Research deserves credit for popularizing the term. Several leading technology solution providers have come to embrace it. So, too, have a growing number of industry practitioners and observers. I count myself among the latter. Social intelligence is a terrific way to describe the next rung on this evolutionary ladder. That rung maps to some key technology innovations. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 23, 2011
Last week, Wachovia officially transferred all of its customer accounts and information over to Wells Fargo. In the days leading up to the switchover, Wachovia mailed large packets of information to its customers regarding the details of the changes and notifying them of the steps that customers needed to take to ensure their accounts were intact. During this period, my husband and I received no less than five packets containing the same information. Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 22, 2011
The digital research company eMarketer has just released its latest report on social media usage in the United States, "U.S. Social Network Usage: 2011 Demographic and Behavioral Trends," and the data is remarkable. The report is notable for three reasons. First, we have hit the two thirds majority of U.S. Internet population for social network use -- 63.7 percent of U.S. Internet users actively use a social network. Second, social networks' rapid growth rate is slowing, which seems to be Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 22, 2011
In light of the current crises playing out on the world stage, namely the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the civil unrest that's gripping the Middle East and North Africa, the squabbles between billionaire National Football League owners and millionaire players don't evoke much sympathy. Still, the collateral impact on affected team employees demonstrates lousy decision-making on the part of management and its potential repercussions on future employee engagement and customer satisfaction. Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 21, 2011
More than half of companies say that they have voice of the customer (VoC) programs in place today, and many others say they're planning to establish programs within the next year. That's a good thing, because collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback is a recipe for success in financial as well as customer experience terms. The firms recognized in Forrester's 2010 Voice of the Customer Awards attributed impressive business results to their VoC efforts, ranging from increases in customer Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 21, 2011
Think about all the ways you communicate digitally today: You email via computer, probably via smartphone, and perhaps even via netbook or tablet. You send and receive text messages. If you have a smartphone, you may use QR codes to get product information. If you're a gamer, marketers may reach you via in-game messaging. You may have a Mac, BlackBerry, iPad, and Xbox. Or perhaps you have an HP EliteBook, an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy Tab. You may have Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 18, 2011
SMS is a bit Jekyll and Hyde; it's among the most private forms of communication available, yet is extremely social. Therein lays the intrigue. My question is this: "If someone hands you a business card, there is implied permission to call or email. What about texting?" I started an exploration with a query on Twitter. As responses began to come in, my curiosity was piqued. I began to wonder about where this peculiar channel fits into customer service and social Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 18, 2011
Customer experience excellence is not a compilation of random acts of customer service. It is coordinated, deliberate, and consistent. "Great experiences are planned," said Garry Marsh, director of THM Business Simulations, during his keynote at the Gartner CRM Summit 2011 earlier this week in London. "They don't just happen." Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 17, 2011
I've just had one of those maddening IVR experiences that consumers love to hate. I called a local Internet service provider and got caught in IVR purgatory when the system kept asking me for an account number that I didn't have. By the time I gave up -- dozens of unproductive buttons later -- I was ready to launch an IHateDell.net-style campaign to let the world know not to do business with the cable company. In today's environment, where brand Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 16, 2011
While loyalty is a strategic imperative for many companies, others still view it as a one-time approach rather than a journey that spans customers' lifecycles and takes into account their preferences and purchasing histories. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 15, 2011
Nina Simosko, Senior Vice President of SAP's Premier Customer Network in North America, describes the joint benefits of engaging and collaborating with customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | March 15, 2011
Michael Porter famously wrote that companies differentiate themselves by performing a unique set of activities that are different than their competitors, or by performing the same activities differently. Here are some numbers: 86 percent of companies say customer experience is a top strategic priority for 2011; 76 percent seek to differentiate based on customer experience; 46 percent have a company-wide program for improving customer experience currently in place and another 30 percent are actively considering it; and 52 percent have Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 14, 2011
Even though software companies and agencies create content for the mobile phone, mobile providers need to take ownership of their subscribers' experiences. New research shows that nearly half of smartphone users blame mobile providers for service issues. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 11, 2011
Truly customer-centric organizations have customers' best interests at heart at all times. They often show this by taking a proactive approach to meeting, or surpassing, customers' needs and expectations throughout the customer lifecycle. One company that embraces this tack is Polygon Northwest. According to Steve Martorano, director of customer services, the real estate developer does this not only to satisfy customers today, but also to build long-term engagement that will encourage referrals and repurchase. Unlike most competitors, for example, Polygon Read more »
Guest Blogger | March 10, 2011
The term social demand generation has been kicked around for at least a year among social CRM types. And it's definitely not a "geeks-only" phrase. I've heard social demand generation used by both veteran markers of the hardcore Michael Porter school (writer of Competitive Advantage) and by "new-school" social media marketers alike. That said, should social demand generation be called social revenue marketing? No! Social revenue marketing is simply a subset of social demand generation. Here are five reasons why Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 8, 2011
Jim Somers, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Antenna Software, offers recommendations for creating electrifying mobile applications that resonate with business customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | March 7, 2011
Call centers sit on the frontline of customer experience where they provide sales, support, and customer service functions. They're often customers' first -- and sometimes their only -- human interaction with a company. Even with conservative estimates, it's easy to make the case that large call centers have customer influence on par with, if not greater than, that of mass advertising campaigns. (Assuming a call center with 3,000 agents and an average of only 50 calls per agent per day, Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | March 7, 2011
The role of "social strategist" in the business world is gaining steam. Many companies realize they can't relegate social media efforts to a tactical level, and instead need someone to formulate strategy, planning, and execution in this important customer channel. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | March 4, 2011
Ever get a bad haircut? It's likely that you have. But the real question isn't whether you have; it's, how much of it was your fault. Customers today expect great experiences. And that's OK, as long as they also do their part. If you want courteous service, you need to be courteous. If you want relevant messages, you need to provide some details on your preferences. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Allen Bonde | March 3, 2011
While still very much emerging channels, social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have quickly become part of the marketer's everyday toolbox for attracting, interacting, and engaging with customers online. This is particularly the case for Facebook, as that property now accounts for 11 percent of the time spent online in the U.S, double a year ago according to comScore, and relaxed rules and a wider array of third-party apps and services make it easier for businesses of all sizes Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 2, 2011
It's no secret: It definitely pays when companies monitor social media for consumers' negative comments about their brands. In many cases dissatisfied customers can be won back. However, recent research from RightNow Technologies indicates the possibility that organizations might be rushing into the social realm without a strategy in place. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 1, 2011
Companies have been gathering Voice of the Customer (VoC) and behavioral information about their customers for years. But historically, at least within most organizations, these buckets of customer insights have largely been maintained separately from one another. But that's expected to change. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | February 28, 2011
We recently published the results of our annual survey of the members of our customer experience professionals peer research group. The group is interesting in that they're pros: They all work to improve the customer experience delivered by their organizations. This year their responses are encouraging -- but also very sobering. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 28, 2011
An article in today's 1to1 Magazine discusses the burgeoning field of social commerce. Companies are beginning to use the advantages of social media tools to conduct transactions and make sales. Yet most companies are still struggling to define their overall social media strategy, let alone add sales to it. In his upcoming book, The Social Customer, author Adam Metz highlights the four phases of social customer engagement within companies. Firms are more likely to conduct social commerce as they move Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 25, 2011
Imagine being inside a pinball game: You ricochet right and score big, then bounce left and just miss a chance at tripling your points; you careen down the center but veer to the side just enough that a paddle catches you and catapults you back into the fray where you hit a bell and send the scoreboard reeling. It's surprise and delight and disappointment and relief and happiness and... It's just like the many experiences we have with the organizations Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 24, 2011
When Christi McNeill describes her social strategist role at Southwest Airlines as the "cheerleader and advocate for social media," she may be embracing her organizational culture's flair for humor. McNeill's hard work and effort has helped lift Southwest's social media presence to the top of the class in the airlines industry. McNeill describes her role's largest challenge as "Doing it all," which a quick look at her company's "Nuts about Southwest" blog confirms. In addition to writing posts and manages Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 23, 2011
Companies are increasingly relying upon digital asset management tools and rich media such as pictures, video, and audio to provide customers with more compelling marketing campaigns, says Joshua Duhl, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management at North Plains Systems. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 22, 2011
For Valentine's Day this year, I decided to use an online floral delivery service I hadn't tried before. I had heard about the service and a promotional offer they were making while listening to a talk radio program I often tune into. Although the flowers arrived on time and made my wife happy, the subsequent emails I've received from the service have left me discontented. Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 21, 2011
I waited until the last minute to get my car inspected this year. It was a Sunday, so my usual service station was closed. Luckily, the Firestone near my house was open and had availability. I was happy just to find a place, but the folks at Firestone made me happier by delivering a positive experience from end to end -- clean store, polite service guy, clear expectations about timing, a call to make sure I wanted to replace a Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 18, 2011
How likely are you to recommend your favorite brand? On a scale of 1-10, where 10 means you would definitely recommend it, I'm guessing that the likelihood is a 9 or 10. Now consider, how much more likely are you to recommend that product, service, restaurant, hotel, airline, etc., than its competitor? You may like more than one brand in a category, but odds are, one of them is the standout and the other is a backup. One would get Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | February 17, 2011
Netflix, the DVD-by-mail service with over 10 million subscribers experienced a severe technology glitch in August 2008 that interrupted and halted shipping of DVDs to subscribers. Netflix confessed immediately on its website, saying, "IMPORTANT: Your DVD Shipments Have Likely Been Delayed." They didn't sweep the problem under the rug and didn't try to hide from the blame. Netflix followed up with emails to make sure all customers heard the news. Not all customers even knew that there was a delay. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 16, 2011
E-commerce has come a long way from static online billboards, to personalized guided shopping experiences, and now mobile commerce. While the larger retailers have a handle on their e-commerce initiatives, smaller retailers still struggle. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index's annual E-commerce report, produced in partnership with ForeSee Results and released yesterday, satisfaction with e-commerce dipped 3 percent last year to 79.3, the lowest level since 2004. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 15, 2011
When used effectively, web content management software can be used by companies to provide more engaging social media experiences for customers, says Loren Weinberg, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management at FatWire Software. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | February 14, 2011
Building a customer-centric culture is occupying the minds and activities of a lot of companies that I'm talking with lately. This is great, because culture is the difference between going through the motions of a script and internalizing a set of values that dictate actions beyond the script. Let me give an example: I recently was on the phone with an incredibly chipper call center rep at a telecommunications company. He didn't answer either of the two questions that I Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 14, 2011
Roses are red, violets are blue, Do you love your customer, and does your customer love you? Happy Valentine's Day from 1to1 Media! It's a day for those who may have lost sight of what's truly important in their relationship to step back and take the time to show their appreciation of what they have. This is just as true for businesses as it is for people. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 11, 2011
When was the last time someone asked you to name a roach in honor of a loved one? Most likely, never. Which is why, when the Wildlife Conservation Society proposed the idea as a Valentine's Day alternative, I couldn't resist. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Jeanne Bliss | February 10, 2011
"A customer is not an interruption of our work...he is the purpose of it. We are not doing a favor by serving him...he is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so." Those are the words of Leon Leonwood Bean, declared on L.L. Bean's customer service website. It's no secret why the retailer topped Businessweek's Customer Service Champs 2010 -- but how do you make customer service work for you? It starts with establishing your own Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 9, 2011
Last week my friends Jeff and Gillian went to Target to buy their two children some new Dora the Explorer DVD's. Jeff has an iPhone barcode scanner, which allows shoppers to comparison price shop while in stores. Consumers simply scan the product with their iPhone and the app searches from the Web for the best price at other retailers. After scanning the DVD, Jeff and Gillian discovered that Wal-Mart was selling the same one for much less so they hopped Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 8, 2011
To date, many e-marketers have focused on obtaining as many email addresses for consumers as possible and blasting out messages and promotions in the hopes of generating a decent percentage of opens, click-throughs and responses to offers. However, the recent introduction of Google's Priority Inbox has dramatically altered the landscape for e-marketers who will need to employ more customer-centric strategies to succeed. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | February 7, 2011
Yes, Apple is amazing. In no uncertain terms, the company has had a seismic impact on our society. Apple has changed everything from what we buy to how we work, and awakened both corporate executives and the general public to the value of good design. Apple has raised our awareness of the value of simplicity (and the rejection of feature overload); the importance of paying attention to every little detail (down to the layout and typography on product manuals); and Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | February 7, 2011
It's the Monday morning after the Super Bowl and we at 1to1 Media cover the marketing space. Does this mean we have to discuss the Super Bowl commercials? Yes. Personally my fav's were the Darth Vader kid Volkswagen spot and the Bridgestone "Reply All" ad. And while I like babies and dogs, the E*Trade and Doritos pug commercials didn't stand out with me, though they topped USA Today's Ad Meter. Here are a few observations about this year's crop of Read more »
Ginger Conlon | February 4, 2011
1to1 Customer Champion Pete Winemiller often says that companies shouldn't aim to deliver an outstanding customer experience until they get the basics right. Winemiller, senior vice president of guest relations at NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, focuses heavily on the basics--and his strategy has won several awards. I agree with Winemiller's philosophy. Consider your own experiences as a customer. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Bruce Temkin | February 3, 2011
In Temkin Group's recent research report, "Customer Experience Accelerates In 2011," we found that 80 percent of companies plan to focus more on building a customer-centric culture in 2011 than they did in 2010. Companies are planning to increase their effort in this area more than in any other customer experience activity. But, what the heck is customer-centric culture? Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 2, 2011
Last year, Pepsi decided to watch Super Bowl XLIV from the sidelines, investing instead in a social media campaign called the Pepsi Refresh Project. I cautioned in my blog at that time that Pepsi shouldn't isolate its social media marketing and that all media and marketing must work together. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 1, 2011
Amanda Sachs, Senior Director, Worldwide Customer & Partner Experience at Microsoft, shares some of the practices and metrics the company has put into place to develop tighter relationships with its customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger | February 1, 2011
If you called American Express a few years ago to report a lost credit card, you got the card cancelled right on the spot. If it appeared under the couch a few minutes later, you were out of luck. You still had to wait several days for a new card to arrive. It was bad for you. It was bad for Amex. Luckily, a customer care professional (CCP) noticed this phenomenon. And, luckily, Amex had a formal program for CCPs Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 31, 2011
For all the grief the auto industry has gotten, many automakers strive to build long-term loyalty with customers. At the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month, Ford and Kia stood out for their ability to generate repurchases. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 28, 2011
Clothing retailers looking to sell more stuff have, for a while now, taken to a tactic that I find offensive: let's call it vanity sizing. Not to get too far into the "too much information" territory, but at 5'5" and 124 pounds I'm currently a size 4 in many women's brands. Really? Funny, because for years I was a size 6, sometimes even an 8, at that exact height and weight. Recently, I bought a pair of jeans at Gap: Read more »
Guest Blogger: Mark Klein | January 27, 2011
Customer loyalty is more precarious than ever. As a result, marketers must rethink their approach to customer interaction and engagement by finding new ways to get closer to their customers. Here are six predictions for the evolution of one-to-one marketing over the next year, and why marketers should pay close attention to each. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 26, 2011
If you haven't realized by now, you are not in control of you brand; consumers are. The new Media Value Report: Brand Exposure Analysis by General Sentiment reveals how true this is. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 25, 2011
In the latest sign of a strengthening economy, U.S. companies say they plan to hire more workers this year, according to a new study that was released on Jan. 24 by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). Although marketing leaders likely have their own specific priorities for the near-term (i.e. recruiting direct marketing professionals or people with email marketing expertise), there are three hot skills where hiring should be particularly strong this year: social marketing, mobile development and analytics. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Paul Hagen | January 24, 2011
Over the past five years Forrester has observed an increase in the number of companies that have a single executive leading customer experience efforts across a business unit or an entire company. Whether firms call them a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or give them some other label, these leaders sit at high levels of power at companies as diverse as Allstate, Dunkin' Brands, Oracle, and USAA. We define the CCO as: "A top executive with the mandate and power to Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 24, 2011
In the call center, self-service tools are considered valuable to help improve the customer experience while also boosting efficiency. But a study of more than 400 call center professionals finds that there is still much work to be done to understand how to make the most of self-service tools. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 21, 2011
Mobile telephony drives me a bit crazy. If I need a phone for my house, I can go to Target or Radio Shack or wherever and buy a phone and plug it in and it works. I don't have to buy a new phone if I want to switch from, say, Verizon to Time Warner Cable as my home service provider. And I don't have to switch providers--nor do I have to wait two years--if I decide that I want Read more »
Guest Blogger | January 20, 2011
A few weeks ago I called a local chimney-cleaning company and set up an appointment for a cleaning. When the workmen arrived, I asked them to remove their sooty shoes when walking around the house. Despite this request, the workers left an ugly trail of black soot stains on our basement carpeting. So began a fascinating opportunity to experience how some companies are mastering the integration of marketing and customer service. My problem was turned into a marketing opportunity by Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 19, 2011
Depending on who you talk to today, some industry experts proclaim the death of email while others say it remains king. According to recent statistics that were announced yesterday on CBS News, it appears as though email is king, however it is in disrepair. In 2010, more than 100 trillion messages were sent over the Internet but 90 percent were spam. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 18, 2011
Using predictive analytics to analyze customer data, including customer preferences, behaviors and purchasing histories, can help companies to better understand customers, tailor products and offers to them and establish tighter relationships, says Colin Shearer, Worldwide Industry Solutions Leader for the SPSS brand at IBM. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | January 17, 2011
Customer experience transformation efforts don't happen overnight. It can take years to develop the right customer experience strategy and roll out improvements across interaction points. But the screaming pace of technology innovation over the past year has sparked major changes in customer behavior and expectations. The net result? 2011 will be a pivotal year for the customer experience field. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 17, 2011
Email's demise has been greatly exaggerated. Some have predicted that as smartphone usage grows, email use will decline. That's just not the case. In fact, people are combining their email and smartphone use to enhance both activities. And data around how people use mobile email sheds light on some interesting customer experience opportunities. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 14, 2011
How often have you wished that the hold time when you call customer support was shorter, or that a retailer would add more cashiers so the line wouldn't be so long, or that it didn't take so much time to unpack and set up a new gadget? Your customers are thinking the same thing. Therein lies the opportunity. The organization that considers time when designing or improving its customer experience is the one that will win with today's time-starved customers. Read more »
Guest Blogger | January 13, 2011
"Don't waste your time!" This is a phrase we hear all the time. People have even written songs about it. And for a businessperson especially, time wasted is usually equated with time lost -- which further translates into lost customers. If you ask most people, a time-waster most often conjures up the image of a lazy, non-productive person; in other words, a non-achiever. But are there situations where "wasted time" can actually be a good thing? Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 12, 2011
In 1993, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers described in The One to One Future life after mass marketing, focusing on one customer at a time, nurturing those relationships, and collaborating with customers. At the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York City yesterday, it appears as though 2011 may finally see many of Peppers' and Rogers' predictions getting a greater foothold in companies. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | January 11, 2011
How should you measure customer experience? Is it even possible to measure something that feels as squishy as customer experience? As it turns out you can measure it, you should measure it, and you even have some decent options for measuring it. Your alternatives range from monitoring the real world interactions your customers have with your firm (like clicks on a site or the length of a call) to asking your customers for their perceptions of those interactions (the real Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 11, 2011
One of the great side benefits of social networks for companies is how they can be used to collaborate with customers and business partners on new product ideas, suggestions for product design improvements or enhancements to customer service or support. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 10, 2011
Today's issue of 1to1 Magazine's Weekly Digest tackles two hot issues among social media strategists: the role of influencers and the difficulty in achieving measurable ROI. Both topics are on the forefront of any social media discussion. Read more »
Ginger Conlon | January 7, 2011
It's great to say that your organization wants to be more customer-centric; putting those words into action is where the challenge lies. Hartford Insurance uses a Customer Connections Framework to ensure that its service specialists "are supported to create connections and build engagement with customers," Sue Brinker explained during a session at NACCM. Brinker, assistant vice president, property and casualty learning, for Hartford Insurance, shared that framework: Read more »
Guest Blogger | January 6, 2011
All of my favorite restaurants have at least two things in common: amazing service and great food--and yes, in that order. No matter how delicious the dishes, it's always the people--and how welcome, happy, and just plain "good" I feel around them--that keeps me coming back. The enthusiasm of an engaged employee is infectious--to both coworkers and to customers. We've all felt it. That's why no matter what business you're in, the people who work for you can help be Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 5, 2011
Some companies like American Express, CDW, and Dell understand the benefits of customer feedback, and as a result, have established formal enterprisewide voice of the customer programs around that initiative. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 4, 2011
As companies became more involved in leveraging social media tools in 2010 to connect with customers, one of the most popular uses has been to use social media to help provide customers with proactive support. For instance, a growing number of organizations are scanning for mentions about their companies and brands on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks, in part to identify potential customer issues and address those before they reach the contact center. Read more »
Elizabeth Glagowski | January 3, 2011
As each year begins anew, there is much hope for how the year will play out. For customer strategists, the hope renews that companies will bring customer focus to the forefront of their business practices. We asked experts in customer service, mobile, multichannel marketing, social media, and voice of the customer to weigh in on their thoughts for the coming year. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kerry Bodine | January 3, 2011
Back in October I traveled to Berlin and Cambridge, MA, to attend the annual conferences of the Service Design Network, an international organization for professionals and academics working in the field of service design. Um... What's service design? Great question! Service designers broadly define what they do as a collaborative process of researching, envisioning, and then orchestrating experiences that happen over time and across multiple touchpoints. Unlike traditional design disciplines, service designers typically examine -- and often reengineer -- the Read more »
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