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Tom Hoffman | April 26, 2016
When companies make mistakes - and, inevitably, they will - the first thing they should do is apologize to their customers for any inconveniences it may have caused them. Unfortunately, apologies from senior management don't happen often enough, whether as a result of pride, fear of how it may impact the company's stock price, or simply that it doesn't occur to company leaders to admit when the company has erred. Following outbreaks of foodborne illnesses linked to its restaurants across Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 25, 2016
Doing what's right for customers is an easy concept to understand but fairly difficult to implement. Listening to them, anticipating their needs, and providing tailored service where and when they need it can be challenging to put into practice. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 19, 2016
Until recently, money-back or customer satisfaction guarantees were traditionally associated with retail purchases. But now, at least one healthcare company is jumping into the fray. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 18, 2016
The Internet has been buzzing ever since Facebook introduced bots for its Messenger Platform last week at its F8 developer conference. These bots marry artificial intelligence with text messaging programs to understand requests and provide answers or execute tasks via messenger. They can provide simple automated subscription content like weather and news updates to customized requests like shipping notifications all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them. Read more »
Judith Aquino | April 14, 2016
Along with "next guest, please" the phrase consumers most likely hear at a store is, "are you part of our loyalty program?" But while most companies have a loyalty program, many still struggle to pull actionable insights from the mountain of loyalty data they've collected. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 5, 2016
More flights are arriving on time while airlines are losing fewer bags and fewer passengers are getting bumped from flights. Yet customer complaints are at their highest levels since 2001, according to the 2016 Airline Quality Rating report. The report, released on April 4, found that while the percentage of flights that arrived on time in 2015 rose from 76.2 percent in 2014 to 79.9 percent last year, customers were most frustrated with problem flights, including cancellations and delays. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 4, 2016
The customer journey today follows a winding path across devices, channels, and between the physical and digital realms, making the job of customer experience leaders tough. Following a customer's path is one thing. Predicting it is yet another. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 29, 2016
When we talk about the customer experience, it's important to remember that it's an end-to-end experience for customers. It's not just about the pre-sales experiences a customer may have viewing products on a company's website or the interactions a customer may have with a salesperson before deciding on a purchase. The post-purchase support a customer receives is also a critical component of overall satisfaction and loyalty. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 22, 2016
I recently took my mother to a community theater performance of "The Music Man." Since my mom is in her 80s and has some trouble getting around, I picked a theater close to where she lives that would be easy for her to navigate. We both enjoyed the show a lot and it was great spending the day with her. The story I'm about to share isn't really about the theater experience but a related customer experience that occurred earlier Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 15, 2016
Last week at Enterprise Connect, one of the most talked-about topics was video, especially as it can be used by customer care agents to communicate with customers. Depending on how companies go about deploying video communication technologies, some of the challenges that have impeded adoption is the high amount of bandwidth consumed by video as well as cost constraints. But thanks to the emergence of WebRTC, Skype for Business, and other developments, these barriers aren't nearly as formidable as they'd Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 8, 2016
This week, I'll be attending Enterprise Connect in Orlando where I expect to have a lot of discussions with people about communications trends involving the contact center and customers. Based on the content in the meeting invites I've received, I also expect a lot of chatter about WebRTC, Unified Communications, and the expanding use of video to strengthen the customer experience. While each of these represent important developments for connecting with today's omnichannel customer, consumer sentiment suggests that many companies Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 7, 2016
These days the news of retailers closing stores is becoming as common and uncomfortable as a Trump insult, a baffling Kanye Tweet, or a Kardashian photo opp. They seem to happen every time we turn on the TV or open a Web page but there's no way to stop them. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 4, 2016
Customer experience today means everything. With retailers announcing seemingly on a weekly basis of store closings, experience is more important than ever before. Many companies think of customer experience, however, as a flashy marketing campaign, a cool social media outreach effort, or putting associates through a one-time training program. To do customer experience right, everyone might be responsible for delivering on it and be held accountable for its success or failure. Experience must be woven through the culture and delivered Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 1, 2016
One of the things I like most about LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (and Google Alerts, for that matter) is the access these channels provide to thought leadership on so many different topics. I enjoy being able to pick up insights from recognized industry and topic experts and from everyday practitioners that are in the trenches. In many cases, the articles and blogs that people post serve as a useful reminder of best practices in marketing, customer service, and other disciplines. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 29, 2016
The weeks leading up to this year's 88th Academy Awards felt like more of a study in cultural diversity and societal problems than a celebration of Hollywood's creative achievements. In his role as host, Chris Rock tackled the #OscarsSoWhite with an unforgettable opening monologue that will surely keep the Hollywood elite talking for weeks. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 23, 2016
A couple of weeks ago, my son was involved in a car accident. Most importantly, no one was hurt but the car suffered extensive damage. Because the accident was caused by a mechanical failure, I've been trying to get a response from the warranty company to determine whether they will cover any of the repair costs. I'm still waiting to hear back, which is pretty pathetic in an age when customers expect to receive prompt support. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 16, 2016
A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about how the European Union is taking a closer look at how big companies such as Google and Facebook are collecting customer data and whether these practices violate antitrust rules. The EU's Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, has expressed concerns that if just a handful of companies control customer data, they could have the power to drive rivals out of the market. More recently, a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, Terrell Read more »
Anna Papachristos | February 10, 2016
Employees at our local pizza place refer to us as 'legends' because my family and I have literally been ordering from their restaurant my entire life. (That's right--even before I had teeth.) Yet, while our order has fluctuated over the years, our loyalty has never faltered, for it's the smallest gestures that always keep us craving more. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 2, 2016
Last week, I received a nice surprise in my email inbox. To help celebrate its 50th anniversary, Mountain Creek, a ski resort in Northwest New Jersey, notified customers that it was offering $7.50 lift tickets after 3 p.m. that day (equivalent to the cost of a lift ticket there in 1965). As an avid skier who lives a short distance from the resort, I took advantage of the deal and skied for a few hours Friday night. It was a Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 26, 2016
As one of the world's most iconic brands, McDonald's has fallen on some hard times in recent years. The world's largest restaurant company has suffered disappointing sales growth and declining margins. Certainly one of the big trends behind McDonald's business challenges is an American consumer base that's increasingly opting for healthier foods over fast and convenient foods. But that hasn't stopped other burger-themed restaurant chains such as Shake Shack from expanding. Even Burger King has been posting impressive same-store sales Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 25, 2016
The NRF's Big Show last week served as retail's playground for cutting-edge technology. From robot associates to wearable computers, technology will serve as a driving force in how retailers will deliver the customer experience. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 18, 2016
For retailers, strategies for engaging with customers continuously change. Today, at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York City, some strategies and trends like enabling mobility, using data to engage in real time, and seamlessly linking the customer experience, remain top of mind for many of the 34,000 attendees. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | January 13, 2016
Christmas trees have begun to collect on the curb outside our window--including one of the pre-lit, artificial variety, oddly enough--indicating that the holiday season has officially come to an end. Yet, while stockings may no longer hang by the chimney with care, brands can still use the lessons learned over the last few months to develop new strategies for the year ahead. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 11, 2016
It's the time of the year again when customer experience leaders everywhere are planning their strategies for 2016. Separating their organizations from their competition is no longer about price; instead it's about providing experiences that are in tune with customers' needs. As leaders analyze their objectives for 2016, here are five key customer experience trends to focus on. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 5, 2016
Companies in the private sector continue to adopt customer experience metrics such as customer effort score and Net Promoter Score to get a better handle on how satisfied customers are and to help determine whether customer experience investments are paying off. As government agencies become more citizen-centric, the public sector is also beginning to apply greater focus to applying customer experience measurements. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 3, 2016
As we embark on a new year, we can't forget the dominant trends of 2015. From virtual reality to the rise of the digital world, the past year saw emerging technologies that will likely help to elevate the customer experience throughout 2016. 1to1 Media covered numerous trends that influenced the customer experience. Let's revisit our top 10 articles based on the number of page views. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 29, 2015
Consumers' use of mobile devices continues to surge. Year-over-year global mobile data traffic is expected to rise 59 percent in 2015, according to Gartner. But even as consumers become increasingly reliant upon their mobile devices to communicate and interact with businesses, this doesn't necessarily translate into a satisfactory mobile experience. Just 45 percent of consumers are satisfied with retail mobile applications while just 47 percent say they're satisfied with retail websites, according to a 2015 study by Adobe. Meanwhile, mobile Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 28, 2015
As we near the end of 2015, it's time to look back at the year's customer experience successes and failures in the hope that companies don't disregard them and that true learning develops from these mistakes. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 22, 2015
My colleague Anna Papachristos recently wrote an insightful article about the findings in Accenture Strategy's 2015 B2B Customer Experience report. The report underscored how despite the understanding of executives about the value that B2B customer experience initiatives can generate, the vast majority of B2B companies are missing out on revenue growth opportunities due to poor performance. In a follow-up interview I conducted with Robert Wollan, senior managing director, sales and customer services, Accenture Strategy, Wollan noted that one of the Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 15, 2015
One of the undisputed thought leaders in the customer experience space is Bruce Temkin, customer experience transformist and managing partner at Temkin Group as well as co-founder and initial chairman of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). In a blog post which lists the most important customer experience trends to watch out for next year, Temkin cites "the year of emotion" as the most important trend for customer experience professionals to track in 2016. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 14, 2015
When the New York Times published an article in August shining a spotlight on Amazon's bizarre company culture, it triggered a barrage of comments and articles about the importance of culture in engendering engagement. Personal accounts of 1 a.m. conference calls, strongly encouraged 60-hour work weeks, and a culture that appears to throw people under the bus to advance in the organizational hierarchy are just a few of the strange experiences employees at Amazon reported and which also fly in Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 8, 2015
As we race towards 2016 and the U.S. labor market continues to gain strength, industry observers are forecasting an upsurge among employees who jump ship from their workplaces. Strictly from a compensation standpoint, an increase in employee turnover is understandable. According to Mercer, Towers Watson, and other human resources firms, salary increases for employees are expected to rise 3.0 percent or less next year. By comparison, the average wage increase for workers who leave for new jobs is typically in Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 6, 2015
We've all seen the post-Black Friday weekend shopping statistics: 103 million Americans shopped online, slightly more than the 102 million who shopped in the stores, according to the National Retail Federation. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 1, 2015
Every day there's more information available to marketers about consumers, including their transaction histories, social media comments, mobile and website behaviors, etc. But there's far less data available about B2B buyers, including information about their preferences and interests, making it challenging for B2B sales and marketing teams to understand their clients' interests and needs in what is typically a more complex and extended sales cycle. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 30, 2015
Sales reports from Black Friday weekend and forecasts for today indicate a shift in consumers' holiday shopping preferences. Black Friday weekend sales fell to $10.4 billion, down from $11.6 billion this time last year, while online sales are expected to jump more than 11.7 percent. The National Retail Federation reported that 103 people shopped online over the weekend and it expects another 121 million people to shop online today. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | November 25, 2015
Size shouldn't matter, but for small businesses, size often indicates an unavoidable disadvantage. By nature, big box stores have the ability to slash prices and advertise deals in ways that small businesses simply can't afford. Yet, these smaller shops commonly serve as the backbone for many prosperous communities, providing jobs to local citizens and giving back to those in need. Thus, in 2010, American Express launched its Small Business Saturday event to garner consumer awareness and support for these local Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 24, 2015
One of the conveniences that consumers look for heading into the holiday shopping season is the ability to order products online and then pick them up at a store. In fact, nearly one-third of U.S. shoppers say they plan to purchase gifts online and pick these items up in-store, according to a recent Shopatron study. That's great news for retailers, since 40 percent of consumers make additional purchases when they come to a store to pick up a purchase. Meanwhile, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 23, 2015
"Imagine a world where the only thing you have to wrestle for on Thanksgiving is the last piece of pumpkin pie." That voice-over to the opening of the new TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods commercial promoting the stores' closure on Thursday. The spot asks viewers to hearken back to a time when Thanksgiving meant eating too much and falling asleep on the couch with your family rather than fighting shoppers in crowded stores for a 40-inch smart TV that's on Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 17, 2015
This week, as we recognize and celebrate the 2015 1to1Media Customer Champions, it's a reminder of the communal characteristics that are shared by customer advocates. They place customers at the center of their strategic efforts. They also listen to and act on customer feedback. In addition, Customer Champions also gather customer insights from a variety of sources in order to better understand what customers want and to continually improve upon the customer experience. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 16, 2015
Stephen R. Covey said, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." The 2015 1to1 Media Customer Champions are doing the former and proving that listening to understand leads to big results. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 10, 2015
Most business leaders would be thrilled to have their companies be able to deliver a differentiated customer experience. But many organizations are often hamstrung by a lack of insights about individual customers and process gaps that are needed to provide personalized, smooth, and tailored experiences. This can manifest itself in customer service interactions when a poor customer experience can result in desertion. Brands that consistently deliver strong customer service continually monitor and refine their processes. But in too many cases, Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 9, 2015
Have you ever tried contacting customer service only to hit roadblock after roadblock? Last week my multiple attempts to contact a couple different companies did just that, as an online chat attempt with a telecom provider went unanswered and calls to a medical facility fell into voicemail. According to a new study, I'm not alone in my failed attempts to reach service in real time and also get quick answers to my inquiries or issues. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | November 3, 2015
For too many years, contact center measurements have been focused on efficiency instead of customer experience. Metrics such as average handle time (AHT), number of contacts handled, average wait time, and average speed of answer have all been heavily used and tracked. And while a couple of customer-centric metrics - customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score - have become entrenched among contact center measurements, only recently have other customer-focused measurements such as Customer Effort Score and First Contact Resolution risen Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 2, 2015
In 2003 author Fred Reichheld introduced 'the ultimate question in his Harvard Business Review article "One Number You Need to Grow." Answers to the question, "What is the likelihood that you would recommend company X to a friend or colleague?" proved to be so powerful in predicting customer behavior and customer loyalty that the question became known as Net Promoter Score and served as a key growth indicator for leaders. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | October 28, 2015
Consumers have countless options at their fingertips in today's competitive market. From tables to tablets, the choices are endless across industries. Such possibilities, however, put the consumer in control, giving them the power to drive (or harm) long-term loyalty and retention in the end. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 27, 2015
Unless you've been living under a rock, it's pretty obvious that marketing has become incredibly technology-focused. Instead of sending out batch and blast emails and conducting other random acts of marketing, marketers are increasingly exploiting the value of data-driven decision making to deliver more personalized communications and engage more effectively with customers. Heading into 2015, 65 percent of marketing executives planned to up their spending on marketing technology this year, with nearly a third planning to increase their spending by Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 26, 2015
In recent months, companies like Netflix and Google have set the standard for maternity and paternity leave policies by launching generous packages and lengthy leaves. Domo, a 5-year-old startup, is proving that small brands can stand up to the big boys when it comes to offering competitive policies and benefits. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 20, 2015
One of the best pieces of advice that's offered by customer experience professionals is that when it comes to designing a customer experience, be sure to approach it from the customer's point of view. This axiom is especially applicable when crafting mobile customer experiences. Think about what it's like to be a customer using a smartphone. The screen is small, so the font for a company's mobile app or mobile website should be easy to read. Because of those small Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 19, 2015
After nearly two years since their initial merger, American Airlines and US Airways officially became one airline on Saturday. And after a million hours of training and more than 9,000 tests of kiosks, the airline is facing the last remaining hurdle where mergers are concerned: going live with their combined reservations system. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 13, 2015
Big Data can provide marketers and customer experience professionals with a wealth of information about customers such as web pages they've visited, sentiments they've shared about brands on social media sites, and other information that can provide insights about customers' preferences, needs, and behaviors. But in some cases, opportunities to engage with a customer or to improve a customer's experience occur at a particular moment when marketers, customer care associates, and other customer-facing professionals require access to real-time customer data. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 12, 2015
How should marketers change their thinking? That was the question I repeatedly asked myself while attending &Then, the Direct Marketing Association's 2015 conference last week. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | October 6, 2015
As we celebrate CX Day to recognize the companies and people that create great experiences for their customers, it's a great opportunity to remember why senior management's commitment to customer experience is so critical. As Peppers & Rogers Group founding partners Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. have often noted, customers are a company's sole revenue source. Not its products. Not its services. By understanding and delivering on customers' needs and preferences, companies can deliver the types of experiences that Read more »
Anna Papachristos | October 6, 2015
Childhood memories may become fuzzy, but the vibe often persists. No matter how many moments fade from the conscious mind, some remain vivid, untouched by time. For instance, while I cannot recall every trip to the store with my grandpa, one particular visit holds strong. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 5, 2015
It's no secret among Customer Experience (CX) professionals that CX efforts often fall flat if they don't get adequate executive buy-in. So what gains executive attention best? Financials. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | October 5, 2015
Last month, the 7-Eleven convenience store chain announced a partnership with DoorDash to provide on-demand delivery service in five major U.S. markets, including New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The move expands the customer value proposition and allows the chain to compete in an evolving market and stay relevant in an "Uberfied" society. Read more »
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