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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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | October 22, 2015
More and more companies recognize customer experience as a competitive differentiator as traditional markers like price and product features fade. Consumers are demanding better experiences, control, and choice across industries. In response, companies are investing in tools and technologies to give them insights into customer behavior and prioritizing customer experience initiatives in pursuit of their goals. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | October 14, 2015
Customer experience varies from company to company. Service that may appear subpar at one establishment may seem top-notch at another store. Ultimately, it's all relative. However, there are numerous factors that hinder CX no matter how high or low customers' expectations are. Though not always obvious, these elements undermine all other CX efforts because they slowly undo progress, causing satisfaction and loyalty to come apart at the seams. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | October 7, 2015
Much has changed over the last 28 years. But on this, the anniversary of my reluctant birth, I can't help but dwell on the fact that my people (a.k.a. narcissistic, lazy, screen-obsessed Millennials) are no longer the new kids on the block. That's right! Soon we'll be as irrelevant and useless as Generation X or whatever they're called. (Honestly, when's the last time you heard researchers analyze anyone other than Baby Boomers and Millennials? I rest my case.) 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 »
Anna Papachristos | September 30, 2015
Halloween candy typically appears by late summer, ushering in the holiday season earlier each time. Candy corn returns by late July, emerging from storage to serve as shelf liner all autumn long. (They've just been recycling the same bags for the last 10 years, right?) Eventually, fun-size chocolate bars and gummy body parts join the current crop, barely budging until just days before the event itself. But it seems these tasty treats have already been demoted to make room for 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 »
Judith Aquino | September 17, 2015
Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick shared his vision of the ride-hailing service's future and it doesn't include human drivers. After disrupting the taxi industry, Uber is gearing up for greater changes, including automated vehicles. 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 10, 2015
Yesterday, I did something I haven't done in years: I picked up my phone and called a store to ask a question. A friend told me about a farm that sells lavender but she wasn't sure whether customers could pick their own flowers. Since the information wasn't on the farm's website or Facebook page, I called the farm. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 9, 2015
Over the years, we at 1to1 Media have attended countless conferences and industry events as part of our promise to bring our readers the latest trends within the customer experience strategy space. But, after attending multiple events this summer, I've come to realize that said conferences might not be as beneficial as leaders believe. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 8, 2015
As the parent of now two college students, I've had a front row seat in viewing the approaches taken by two schools in facilitating the transition for incoming freshmen to campus life. The shift to college can be both exhilarating and terrifying for many young students, so making this passage as smooth and as welcoming as possible is critical for shaping a successful college experience. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 2, 2015
Now that schools are back in session, students are frantically trying to collect their assigned course materials for the present semester. Undergraduates, in particular, always struggle to find the right books at the cheapest price because college campus bookstores fail to empathize with their wallet woes. Thrift Books, however, taps into this need by offering high-quality used books at affordable prices that anyone can enjoy. 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 »
Judith Aquino | August 20, 2015
In today's hyperconnected, always-on world, the value of a simplified experience can't be overstated. People are busier than ever and demand products and services that deliver pain-free experiences. Most businesses understand the impetus behind this trend, however many still struggle to meet their customers' expectations. 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 »
Tom Hoffman | August 18, 2015
Author Anne Wilson Schaef once wrote that "we are always surrounded by the doors of opportunity" but that because we're often so focused on a goal, we don't see what's right in front of us. I think there's a lot of truth to what Schaef says and that her musing is applicable for a lot of organizational leaders who are usually so pressed to meet short-term business or operational goals that it's hard for them to see the bigger picture. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 12, 2015
With each passing day, data protection becomes increasingly critical, for the more insight shoppers share online, the more they're at risk. Yet, while companies and consumers continuously work to safeguard this sensitive information, many still haven't adopted the best practice procedures necessary to prevent these attacks in the first place. 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 »
Judith Aquino | July 30, 2015
Facebook knows who you are. LinkedIn knows where you work. It's increasingly difficult though to tell the difference between LinkedIn and Facebook with both sites offering many of the same functions. This is a problem for LinkedIn in particular as it alienates its core user group of professionals and undermines the site's value. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 29, 2015
Everywhere you turn, it seems there's another "connected" device that promises to make your life easier. But, while these gadgets continue to breathe life into the Internet of Things (IoT) movement, consumers are increasingly wary of how widespread adoption will impact their daily lives. 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 »
Judith Aquino | July 16, 2015
Measuring the return on investment of any campaign, tool, or strategy is crucial, but it can be a murky endeavor. Consider customer experience initiatives. Delivering outstanding customer service is one of the few ways businesses can win loyal customers and increase their bottom line, according to customer experience professionals. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 15, 2015
Customer experience has always served as the primary foundation for customer success. However, as this key differentiator becomes increasingly critical throughout today's competitive market, many brands have begun to establish dedicated customer success teams that are specifically tasked with creating the most engaging experiences possible. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | July 8, 2015
Though I'm not opposed to the occasional selfie--What? If you want to immortalize your good hair day, sometimes you've got no other choice--I'm the first to admit that our society has become consumed by nauseating narcissism. (I also believe the selfie stick's true purpose is to whack public selfie-takers upside the head, but that's beside the point.) Regardless, MasterCard sees such behaviors as an opportunity to engage and protect consumers of all ages with its latest innovation. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | July 1, 2015
By 2020, the U.S. Treasury expects to replace Alexander Hamilton's spot on the $10 bill with the face of an unidentified woman. But, as The Daily Show correspondent, Jessica Williams, recently highlighted during an episode of the Comedy Central news program, this gesture seems like an ineffective, and relatively pathetic, attempt to appease female critics. "Honestly, at the end of the day, I don't [care] about who's on the bill. What I do care about is getting an equal share Read more »