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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 »
Tom Hoffman | September 29, 2015
Customer churn is a big problem for companies, especially in industries such as telecommunications where annual churn rates average between 10 percent to as much as 67 percent, according to the Database Marketing Institute. And while technological advances have made it easier for marketers and other decision-makers to better identify and respond to the triggers for churn, most customer churn programs are reactive and don't leave marketers adequate time to deliver messaging or offers that might change a customer's actions. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 22, 2015
Invariably, customer-facing employees will have to deal with a difficult customer. In some cases, a customer is upset about a bad experience they had with a company. In other instances, a customer may be lashing out at an employee due to angujish in his or her personal life. Regardless of the circumstances, it's vital for customer-facing employees to allow customers to communicate their frustrations, listen closely as to why a customer is upset, be empathetic, responsive, and considerate, and try Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 21, 2015
As tomorrow ushers out summer, I'll look back with fondness, as I gave birth to my daughter Evelyn in July. While on maternity leave, I took note of some customer experiences that caught my attention--some that I praised and others that left me scratching my head. Here's my list of the most noteworthy customer experiences from the summer of 2015. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Vanessa Saulsberry | September 18, 2015
As a tightly-knit family of editors, marketers, and tech junkies, we absolutely love what we do. Every day, we find new ways to explore and share relevant news about good customer strategies. We can only hope that what we write about helps our readers get smarter about the customer experience, work more efficiently, and foster more engaging interactions with customers. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 16, 2015
October may be mere weeks away, but Major League Baseball (MLB) fans still have one riveting post-season ahead of them. Thus, it's not surprising that audiences are taking to social media to express loyalty to their favorite team. For marketers, however, amplified data may also serve as an opportunity to knock their engagement strategies out of the park. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 15, 2015
In April, I posted a blog about the difficulties that sales, marketing, and customer care leaders face in obtaining a truly comprehensive view of customers. This view includes the full stream of transactions that a customer has had with a company, the most recent touchpoints she used to interact with the company, feedback she shared about her experiences in social media or in the contact center, etc. Without question, a big part of this disconnect is the result of the Read more »
Judith Aquino | September 3, 2015
Giving consumers recommendations or directions to a restaurant is no longer enough--personalized recommendations have become the new standard. Tech companies from startups to huge enterprises are rolling out personalized recommendations tools in the race to deliver the most relevant content to consumers. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 1, 2015
The calendar might read September 1, but retailers are already busy planning for the holidays. As 1to1 Media Senior Writer Judith Aquino points out in this week's feature, "How to Overhaul Your Holiday Retail Strategy," although holiday spending is projected to jump by as much as 5.7 percent this year thanks to lower gas prices and declining unemployment rates, retailers will continue to remain under pressure to distinguish themselves from competitors and to find creative ways to engage with shoppers. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 26, 2015
Pepsi and Coca-Cola are notorious for their polarizing effect on the general public, as consumers typically love one and despise the other. However, this summer, both brands moved beyond the taste bud battle, instead competing for fans through promotions designed to enhance perception and loyalty. By embracing the fun-loving spirit of the season, both brands aimed to increase engagement during the time when consumers were most likely to seek cold refreshments. But which brand saw the greatest success? Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 25, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about "The Rise of the Customer-Centric CIO" and the role that IT leaders are playing in helping organizations to differentiate the customer experience. In many organizations, the role of the CIO has evolved in recent years from reactive order taker to proactive business partner in helping business leaders to recognize and act on opportunities to leverage technology, people, and processes in new ways, thanks to their unique view of various functions and business Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 19, 2015
Personalization has become one of those buzzwords you can't escape. Yet, while brands often regard this term as an integral 'tactic' that's now instrumental in elevating the customer experience, they frequently lose sight of its core meaning. Many marketers become fixated on the process, not the person, therefore missing the opportunity to genuinely engage and interact with their target audience. Read more »
Judith Aquino | August 13, 2015
It's often the details that elevate a customer experience from average to impressive. I experienced this firsthand during a vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My husband and I dropped in for a four-day vacation in the island of enchantment and it was easy to see where Puerto Rico got its nickname. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 11, 2015
The role of the CIO has evolved in recent years from a focus on helping the organization to reduce costs to enabling the enterprise to grow revenue and become more agile in responding to changing customer behaviors and market shifts. And while there are a number of components that factor into this metamorphosis, including the threats and opportunities posed by disruptive innovation, one of the greatest sea-changes for CIOs is reflected in their shift from a focus on supporting internal Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 5, 2015
With renewed fitness goals in mind, my mother and I searched for an exercise game that would jumpstart our efforts. We shopped around for something that'd be both fun and compatible with our Nintendo Wii. While the system may be older--I haven't really kept up with video games since college--we were able to find a Zumba game that was seemingly entertaining. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 4, 2015
Customer relationship management (CRM) has come a long way since ACT! burst onto the business scene with contact management software in 1986. Companies continue to invest heavily in CRM systems to deepen their understanding of customers and to better engage with them. But as 1to1 Media senior writer Judith Aquino points out in this week's feature story, "6 Misconceptions That Will Drag Down Your CRM Strategy," inaccurate data, data silos, and fragmented technology implementations are among the challenges companies continue Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 28, 2015
I read a Wired article over this past weekend that really struck a chord. The article referenced a recent speech given by U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at New York University's Stern School of Business who argued that undue earnings pressures on executives at public companies are suppressing wages and having a detrimental effect on innovation and long-term growth opportunities among U.S. companies. While this blog post isn't intended as an endorsement for any particular political candidate, the Wired article Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 22, 2015
For years, consumers have been vulnerable to one-sided marketing messages that fail to resonate. But, as behaviors evolve, it's not hard to see that it takes more than catchy taglines and celebrity endorsements to engage today's customers. Instead of turning to big brands, consumers are looking to local retailers for the goods and services they truly desire. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 21, 2015
Each customer is unique. As Don Peppers, founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group notes, "customers differ from each other, in terms of both their value to your business, and what they need from your business." Customer differentiation also applies to the various ways customers can access a company's products and services - whether they purchase from a physical location or, as 1to1 Media Senior Writer Judith Aquino points out in this week's feature story, through their use on-demand services. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian | July 17, 2015
You might have seen a recent blog by Tony Cosentino on how "Big Data Analytics Will Displace Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Measuring Customer Experience" because "NPS is prone to error, lacks a causal link with financial metrics, and lacks actionable data." And while Tony's blog highlights a critical issue in CX measurement, it only tells part of the story. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 14, 2015
One of the mantras echoing across businesses these days is the need for organizations to become data-driven. And for good reasons. Senior executives and other knowledge workers who use analytics tools against a wide range of data sources can gain deeper insights into customer behaviors and preferences as well as operational and market trends - and not simply rely on their gut instincts for decision making. These benefits can also extend to the contact center where customer sentiment and performance Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 13, 2015
With Millennials and Generation Z increasingly turning to social and digital channels to engage with companies, marketers must up their digital marketing game. So many, however, are just trying to keep pace with their current programs and initiatives that they don't often find time to introduce new strategies or improve upon what's in place. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 7, 2015
In June, I posted a blog about how customer journey mapping has come a long way since its roots. And while customer journey maps have certainly evolved and become more detailed in recent years, customer personas don't appear to have advanced at nearly the same pace. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 6, 2015
The promise of a Big Data enterprise is enticing. For companies that have successfully implemented Big Data strategies are seeing big payoffs. Despite its promise of enabling seamless customer views and creating tangible business results, many marketers and customer experience leaders today are stymied by their data. Rather than quickly acting on data across all business units, numerous leaders have information overload when it comes to capturing, analyzing, and acting on Big Data. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | July 3, 2015
Customer experience teams cannot own CX outcomes by themselves. Now don't get me wrong, CX pros rightfully shoulder the most responsibility, including ownership of the six CX disciplines, from customer understanding to culture transformation. But the fact is that all employees at an organization have at least some impact on their firms' customer experience. And with impact comes responsibility. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 30, 2015
One of the biggest challenges that telecom industry executives face is customer churn. While churn rates vary by country and by provider, annual churn rates for telecom companies average between 10 percent and 67 percent, according to the Database Marketing Institute. And while there are a variety of reasons that customers disconnect from wireless providers in particular - dissatisfaction with the quality of service, cost, poor customer support - the use of customer data and analytics is providing decision-makers with Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 23, 2015
Organizations that deliver exceptional customer support typically have at least a few things in common. They listen closely to what customers are asking for and not only act on customer feedback but they also communicate back to customers how and whether their requests were acted on. They align their customer service processes and practices with customer-centric goals and objectives. These organizations also strive to make it easy for customer-facing employees to provide customers with seamless support to ensure that both Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 22, 2015
Delivering great customer experiences is hard to do. If it was easy everyone would do it. Sustained success comes with patience, commitment and plenty of failure along the way. Making that commitment to deliver a superior customer experience can turn a laggard into a fierce competitor, or a failure into an industry leader. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kara Hoisington | June 19, 2015
While kicking off a project last October, a client showed us slide after slide of reports, architectures, and data flows. Overwhelmed by information, the client looked at us and asked, "what do I do with all this data?" A plea for help I have heard on almost every engagement since. Due to this trend, I am starting a blog series answering the question from a multitude of perspectives. Each blog will dig deeper into a particular dimension including organizational communication, Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 16, 2015
The healthcare industry is undergoing dramatic changes, not the least of which is an increased focus among payers (healthcare insurers) and providers (physicians, hospitals, clinics, etc.) on customer centricity. Payers who historically had customers funneled to them by employers are now beginning to market to individual customers. But payers aren't the only healthcare industry participants that are blazing new trails in customer centricity. As last week's PegaWORLD 2015 conference indicates, life sciences and other healthcare companies are also getting into Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 15, 2015
The IKEA brand epitomizes innovation. In the exploration and creation of its flat box packaging and self-assembly in the 1950s, the Swedish retailer reinvented the way consumers purchase and receive furniture. But IKEA and other innovators can't stop with their one lightening idea. They must continuously evolve. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 9, 2015
When companies first began attempts to map the customer journey, it often involved a rudimentary arrangement of Post-it notes or other unsophisticated steps to chart the customer's end-to-end path to purchase or mission to resolve a product or service issue. Customer journey mapping efforts have become considerably more mature over the past year or two as decision-makers are placing greater focus on understanding the types of experiences customers want as a means of attracting and retaining customers. Progress on customer Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 8, 2015
In a world where consumers are being bombarded with thousands of marketing messages each year, it's easy for consumers to fall victim to information overload and for marketers to confuse the decision-making process for consumers. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | June 5, 2015
No one disputes that treating customers well is the right thing to do: Virtually all respondents in a Forrester Research survey of CX professionals said that executives at their companies consider customer impact to be at least somewhat important when making business decisions. But compared with hard return on investment (ROI) numbers in business cases for other initiatives, CX projects won't get needed funding if their estimated returns are limited to benefits like improved satisfaction or higher Net Promoter Score Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 2, 2015
It's pretty easy to see how pervasive the use of mobile devices has become with consumers. People are tethered to their smartphones just about everywhere - at work, at home, at ballgames, shopping malls, airports, and cafes. As of January 2014, consumers now spend more time on their mobile devices for Internet usage than on desktop PCs, according to comScore. Yet despite how "mobile" we've become as consumers, many companies continue to struggle to develop comprehensive mobile marketing strategies or Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 1, 2015
Competing with Amazon can be daunting. The company has a number of obvious advantages: scale, resources, aggressively low prices, cheap shipping, and a diverse product line. Read more »