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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 »
Judith Aquino | November 12, 2015
LinkedIn sends a lot of emails. It's common for members to receive email notifications about everything from work anniversaries to contact requests and new posts. But the company seems to have realized that quality is better than quantity when it comes to messages. LinkedIn is finally tailoring the rate in which it communicates with members to better match user behavior. In other words, instead of bombarding members with emails, LinkedIn is trying to be more considerate. 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 »
Judith Aquino | November 5, 2015
It's no secret that presidential candidates spend massive amounts of money on political advertising. But TV commercials and billboards are no longer enough. Next year's presidential hopefuls will be facing off on a highly digital stage, giving candidates new opportunities--and challenges--to engage voters. 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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | October 15, 2015
Last week, Facebook unveiled new ways to respond to posts or comments with additional emoticons that allow users to express other emotions besides the generic "like" or thumbs-up button. The new feature could potentially give marketers greater insight into consumer sentiments. 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 »
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 »
Mila D'Antonio | September 28, 2015
This week marks the 12th year that Advertising Week will be held in New York City. The week-long event, which combines thought leadership with special events, brings together thousands of people from brands, agencies, and technology companies to focus on key topics influencing the marketing and advertising industry. As I attend a small handful of some of the 300 or so planned events, I'll be looking out for any developments on these three key trends: 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | June 11, 2015
The way we communicate is rapidly changing. Texting is becoming the preferred means of mobile conversation and some companies are abandoning voice mail. Organizations are under pressure to keep up with these changes while also providing fast and reliable service across multiple channels. And while progress is being made in understanding customer needs through speech analytics and other solutions, many organizations still struggle to close the gap between consumer expectations and services. 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 »
Guest Blogger: Anjali Lai | May 22, 2015
In the past week, I have booked a flight using a travel voucher, questioned a charge on my credit card bill, and bought an electric toothbrush. What do these experiences have in common? In each case, I had a relatively complex question and I received a helpful answer - without talking to anyone in person or by phone. Instead, with a little online research, I was able to identify which blackout dates applied to my travel voucher, clear the charge Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 19, 2015
There are a lot of ways that marketing automation helps marketers to connect more effectively with customers. Technology enables marketers to gather more insights than ever about customers, including information about their behaviors, preferences, and needs. Marketing automation helps companies achieve deeper engagement and higher conversion rates through more personalized messaging. And while each of these capabilities are critical for helping marketers to succeed in today's fast-paced world, some of the greatest opportunities for driving effective and efficient marketing are Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 12, 2015
Periodically, a big brand will announce plans to invest millions of dollars in its customer service activities. In some cases, the same company continues to stumble a year or two later. We've all seen it before. Improving customer service isn't simply about throwing money at the problem or adding agents. Because customer care is multidimensional, organizational leaders also need to evaluate their customer care processes, the technologies they have in place, the criteria used to recruit and train agents, the Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 28, 2015
As companies continue to gain deeper proficiency using the Internet of Things for a range of applications (to monitor a patient's vital signs in a hospital, for enhanced connectivity between automobiles, drivers, and automakers, etc.), decision-makers will need to pay careful attention to how IoT influences the customer experience. Because as Fusion92 Founder and CEO Matt Murphy recently shared with me, "if there's not a benefit to consumers, you're probably not going to be successful." Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 27, 2015
Last week, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd announce the company's plans to make almost all of its services--95 percent of its products--available via the cloud by its OpenWorld conference in mid-October. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 22, 2015
For today's data-driven marketer, more advanced omnichannel campaigns have become standard. But, as companies begin to crave more data in an effort to gain deeper understanding of their customers, many are beginning to recognize that Big Data isn't about volume--it's about what's actionable. SMBs, however, are uniquely positioned to use data to develop closer customer relationships and obtain insights that bigger brands can't, as the explosion of cloud-based technologies has put these companies on equal footing with their larger counterparts. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 21, 2015
In case you hadn't heard, Google is introducing big changes to its algorithmic formula beginning today that will place increased weight on the mobile friendliness of a company's website. If a company's website isn't deemed mobile friendly by Google (you can take the test here to find out), this will adversely affect the website's ranking by Google and, as a result, the volume of traffic headed to the website along with the potential leads being generated. The good news for Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 7, 2015
As companies strive to cater more effectively to the omnichannel customer, many organizations find themselves struggling to find and hire marketers with required technology skills. For instance, while many marketing organizations have a voracious demand for people with analytics skills, just 26 percent of respondents to a global survey conducted by the American Management Association believe they have the ability to meet these requirements. Meanwhile, a study conducted by the Online Marketing Institute reveals that just 8 percent of respondents Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 10, 2015
It's common for big, multinational companies to generate a sizeable share of their revenue from outside the U.S. International expansion remains a key growth area for many U.S. companies. According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 CFO Outlook survey of 603 financial executives, 54 percent of companies have some foreign market involvement. As some marketing leaders have discovered, it can be extremely challenging to obtain good quality customer or prospect data in emerging geographies where their companies are Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 3, 2015
Consumer data breaches seem to have become a regular occurrence among enterprise companies. 1to1 Media Editor-in-Chief Mila D'Antonio recently wrote about how 80 million customer records at health insurer Anthem were exposed. While it's encouraging that The White House has drafted a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, critics argue that the bill doesn't go far enough in protecting consumer privacy. Clearly, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to protect customer data. This includes setting aside Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 9, 2015
Last week's data breach of 80 million records at Anthem offers further proof that we live in the age of the data breach. This latest occurrence-one of the largest in the past 12 months--underscores the lack of security measures in healthcare and the need for mandatory standards. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 19, 2015
Last week President Obama called for federal legislation that would aim to safeguard consumer data and require retailers to be more forthcoming about data breaches when they occur. Obama will announce his legislation, The Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, in his State of the Union Address tomorrow night and the administration expects bipartisan support. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 22, 2014
In his book, The Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies: ...And How to Break Them, author Jagdish N. Sheth offers sage advice: "shine a light on the dark places in your business. Uncover self-destructive habits before they destroy you." Understandably it's hard to kick a bad habit, but with dedication and self-observation you can successfully break the most common bad business habits. Here are four to eliminate in 2015: Read more »
Judith Aquino | November 13, 2014
Marketers frequently complain that they're sick of Big Data and it is because they're not leveraging it correctly, claims Russell Glass, head of B2B products at LinkedIn and former CEO of the display ad platform Bizo (acquired by LinkedIn). Companies like Optimizely and Eloqua, though, harnessed Big Data to turn the 2008 Obama campaign into a fundraising juggernaut and reap automated customer insights, respectively. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 22, 2014
In the 1970's when Larry Ellison worked at Amdahl, an IT company that specialized in IBM mainframe, he came across a paper that would serve as the catalyst that would alter the course of his entire life."A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks," by Edgar F. Codd described the concept of Structured Query Language (SQL) he had developed at IBM. Codd's employers saw no commercial potential in the SQL concept, but Ellison did. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | September 8, 2014
The Home Depot last week confirmed it's investigating "unusual activity" concerning its customer data after an investigative report revealed possible fraudulent activity on the company's payment systems. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | August 11, 2014
For a growing number of companies, the effective use of customer data is like winning the lottery. Through proper collection and analysis of Big Data, as well as workable action plans, organizations can literally transform their businesses. Companies like Tesco and AT&T, for instance, have revolutionized their customer experiences by putting data at the center of their business strategies. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 9, 2014
Consumers currently share more personal data than ever before. However, in many instances, the companies that collect said information fail to integrate this insight in ways that improve the customer experience. Though they actively apply consumer preferences to boost personalization, they neglect to move beyond the general everyman, thereby focusing on the average customer, not the individual. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 23, 2014
When I started out at my first job as a journalist at a local daily newspaper in Pittsburgh nearly 20 years ago, we wrote our articles on a PC with a green screen using a DOS prompt. The Internet was only in its infancy so we relied on a combination of microfiche, the Yellow Pages, and knocking on doors to conduct our research and to track down sources. By the time I landed my second job at a newspaper journalist Read more »
Judith Aquino | June 12, 2014
Devices are beginning to learn more about us by passively "listening" to our activities to offer personalized, automatic services. But as privacy advocates voice concerns about these new capabilities, the ability to opt in becomes even more crucial as a product feature. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | June 11, 2014
Big Data may present dilemma after dilemma, but collecting too much information may be the greatest faux pas of all. Businesses across industries constantly struggle to develop an effective Big Data strategy, yet many fail to recognize that gathering every possible morsel of customer information will only leave them bogged down, drowning in an unyielding data deluge with no way to bring this insight to action. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | May 21, 2014
Consumer data stands as an essential building block for creating a solid customer experience. With the constant influx of insight, companies now have the ability to tap into behavioral data, thereby using this information to boost relevance and segmentation. However, to succeed in this space, brands must implement strong analytics systems that allow the entire organization to take advantage of this insight and improve enterprisewide performance. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 23, 2014
Since its inception, social media has evolved to become one of the greatest tools in the modern marketer's arsenal. But, while companies use this emerging medium to disseminate brand messaging and conduct customer service, individual consumers use social media as their personal mouthpiece, sounding off about whatever's on their mind. Yet, while predictive analytics have become the ideal companion tool for marketers looking to gain granular insights into their social consumer base, such technologies have begun to bleed into other Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 25, 2014
As B2C marketers continue to gain experience engaging with customers in digital channels, a growing number of practitioners are striving to become more adept at segmenting customers by psychographics and demographics as part of their efforts to deliver relevant content, messaging, and experiences for specific target audiences. Some marketers are taking this a step further by creating buyer personas that represent the different customer types that are represented within a targeted demographic, psychographic profile (lifestyle, interests, and preferences), behavioral makeup, Read more »
Guest Blogger: Vanessa Saulsberry | March 21, 2014
What a wondrous world in which we live - one of infinite choice and possibility. I can buy a pair of the skinniest jeans (well, maybe not that skinny) from an Old Navy store, grab a new sweater for my hairless kitty on, and deposit a check with my Chase mobile app. Mostly all of these tasks can be done in the comfort of my footy pajamas. I'd say that seven out of 10 of my interactions with companies Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 18, 2014
Business leaders use a variety of metrics to gauge the financial health and performance of a company. One of the most popular metrics used by marketers is Net Promoter Score (NPS), a simple loyalty measurement to gauge customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. Last week, I had a chance to speak with Satmetrix data scientist Brendan Rocks about the results from the company's 2014 Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks reports. The findings offer a glimpse into some of the aspects of Read more »
Anna Papachristos | March 12, 2014
Once upon a time, there was no such thing as the Facebook News Feed. There was no stalker sidebar and the homepage existed primarily to display the names of friends who'd "poked" you back. But, fast forward 10 years to the present day, and you'll see that much has changed throughout Facebook's lifetime. Though it still serves as an incredible tool for reconnecting with old buddies and staying in touch with new friends, advertisements and outside influencers continue to creep Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 20, 2014
While investigators sort through just how thieves compromised about 40 million payment cards and the information about 70 million Target customers, businesses must use this latest breach as a reminder to reinforce their standards that ensure their data stays safe. As important, they must develop communications preparedness plans to alert customers of potential threats. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 18, 2013
While many consumers are scrambling to purchase last-minute gifts, others are plotting and planning their holiday travel itinerary. But travelers aren't the only ones preparing for the rush at the airport. Many travel businesses are now using Big Data, behavioral trends, and text analytics to adjust their operations accordingly. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 11, 2013
Marketers readily believe that Big Data is a key enabler of personalization. However, according to a recent report conducted by the CMO Council, personalization of interactions is only happening at the marketing campaign level with email, direct mail, the Web, and social media engagements. In fact, some 65 percent say frontline resources do not have access to social media intelligence to leverage in personalized outreach. This has resulted in deficiencies in the delivery of real-time, account-specific customer insight that can Read more »