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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 »
Tom Hoffman | April 12, 2016
I was reading a blog post the other day from Travers Clarke-Walker, CMO at Fiserv - International Group, that got my attention. Clarke-Walker mentioned that Tandem Bank founder Ricky Knox is inviting consumers to become "co-founders" in this U.K. 'challenger' bank and receive a share in the bank and early access to new products in exchange for sharing their feedback on the customer experience. For the unacquainted, a 'challenger' bank is a relatively small retail bank that's designed to compete Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 8, 2016
Engaging with customers today has never been so convoluted. With multiple paths to purchase across myriad channels and devices, understanding the 'when,' 'how,' and 'why' of moving customers from point A to point B has become ever so critical. 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 »
Mila D'Antonio | March 18, 2016
Today's businesses find that happy employees are productive employees. All that happiness and productivity leads to satisfied customers too. 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 »
Mila D'Antonio | March 11, 2016
Today's consumers are constantly connected to the Internet, with millions of people doing more and more from their smartphones. These mobile users increasingly expect seamless communications with companies from their devices. 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 »
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 »
Mila D'Antonio | February 1, 2016
In today's connected world, it's important for organizations and their leaders to adopt a social networking and collaboration mindset. CEOs, in particular, play an important role in telling their companies' stories via social. The very act of telling them influences their organizations' discussions and engages both employees and customers. With the exception of some influential social players (Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson), it's no secret that there is a shortage of "big name" CEOs blogging, tweeting and facebooking. 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 »
Tom Hoffman | January 19, 2016
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 represent a breach of antitrust rules. While no competition issues have been found in this area, the EU's Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, said at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich that the EU will continue to look carefully at the matter. 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 »
Tom Hoffman | January 12, 2016
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an extensive report summarizing a number of areas that businesses need to consider when making use of Big Data to ensure that outcomes with consumers aren't discriminatory. The report, entitled Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? Understanding the Issues, takes a careful look at how Big Data is used after it has been collected and analyzed. This includes some of the potential risks that can result from biases or inaccuracies about 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 »
Anna Papachristos | December 30, 2015
Countless ethnic and racial groups go unnoticed despite the growth of an increasingly diverse society. Marketers cater to the supposed majority, ignoring cultural differences to garner the greatest returns possible. For many, this inability to expand such outreach derives itself from an insurmountable lack of CMO support. But, as engagement methods continue to multiply, allowing marketers to target consumers as both groups and individuals, executive buy-in may soon be the only missing link between marketers and millions on untapped prospects. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | December 16, 2015
Last week, I saw bags of apples with 'Star Wars' images all over the package. Well, at least I think they were apples. The promotional imagery consumed every single bag, so I suppose they could've been oranges, or grapefruits--or miniature, edible Death Stars. I don't sincerely know. Regardless, the drastic visual made quite an impact. No, I was not inspired to wait in line for movie tickets two weeks in advance. Instead, I was pushed to the breaking point. I'd 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 »
Judith Aquino | December 10, 2015
Consumers are overwhelmed by choices. The moment we wake up, we're confronted by decisions and the list just gets longer throughout the day. Savvy companies are simplifying the task of making choices by doing it for us. They're offering us curated options. Retailers in particular are combining data insights with a human touch to help consumers find the items that best match their preferences and needs. Here are three examples of innovative ways retailers are embracing curated e-commerce. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 9, 2015
While companies are constantly looking for ways to engage and connect with their customer base, the greatest gap in strategic development often stems from the lack of communication and understanding between frontline staff and organizational leaders. For sales teams, in particular, this rift becomes especially obvious when leaders purchase and implement tools without the frontline user's perspective in mind. 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 »
Judith Aquino | December 3, 2015
Few of my friends own a car in New York City. Parking is expensive and you're navigating streets clogged with pedestrians staring at their phones. Self-driving cars are a potential solution. However, I doubt many of my fellow New Yorkers would buy a driverless car--there simply isn't enough room. Other major cities face a similar situation when it comes to cars. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 2, 2015
As job functions continue to evolve, employees have come to expect more from the training programs designed to advance their skills. While these programs provide employees with the knowledge necessary to fulfill their roles, employees also crave engaging lessons that empower them to grow and develop along their personal career path. By establishing programs that sustain individual improvement, leaders demonstrate their investment in both the business and their employees, for they understand that each staff member supports the company's overall 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 »
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 »
Anna Papachristos | November 18, 2015
Every successful executive understands that, ultimately, their employees reflect their leadership skills. Because they set the example, each employee subsequently embodies the strengths and flaws of those who govern their position. For our 2015 1to1 Media Customer Champions, this notion acts as their guiding principle, as they recognize that, every employee must be engaged in order to deliver optimal customer experiences. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | November 4, 2015
Gone are the days of black cats and witch hats. Instead, consumers have redirected their attention toward twinkle lights and velvet bows. Yes, the holiday shopping season has officially begun. (What's Thanksgiving, again?) But, as retailers dive into this increasingly complicated, nuanced time of year, leaders must recognize that the busy season presents critical lessons that are the true gifts that keep on giving. 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 »
Judith Aquino | October 29, 2015
REI, the Seattle-based outdoor recreation and sporting goods retailer, generated some buzz by announcing that it will be closed on Black Friday. While the company portrayed its decision in an altruistic light, it also underscores the fact that the day after Thanksgiving isn't as critical for driving sales as it used to be. Read more »
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