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Judith Aquino | August 25, 2016
How many photos are floating around the Internet? The answer is staggering. In 2014, people uploaded an average of 1.8 billion digital images every day, according to Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report. And according to data released by Google, in 2015, we uploaded 24 billion selfies on Google Photos alone, not counting photos shared on other sites like Facebook or Instagram. To put those numbers into perspective, there are about 7.4 billion people on earth. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 16, 2016
According to recent research released by Russell Reynolds Associates, turnover rates among Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are at their highest levels since the executive search firm began tracking marketing officer appointments four years ago. The good news for many CMOs is that 61 percent of CMOs left their companies in the second half of 2015 for new opportunities, with 75 percent of the departees remaining in the same industry. But as CMOs are under the gun to shift their focus Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 9, 2016
When company executives explore mergers and acquisitions (M&A), they typically focus their due diligence on key areas such as the strategic fit between the two companies, whether margins for the target company are growing or shrinking, liabilities held by the target company, whether there's an overlap between the respective customer bases, if there are any hidden dangers lurking with systems integration, etc. Ultimately, the goal of such deals is to increase shareholder value. Going forward, leaders from acquisition-minded companies may Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 2, 2016
There are multiple components that shape a customer's experience. The level of effort required on the part of a customer to interact with a company; whether a company recognizes a customer and can personalize the experience; the knowledge, engagement, and empathy shared by customer-facing employees, etc. As Temkin Group points out, emotion plays a critical part in a customer's experience and has a significant impact on customer loyalty. Yet it's an area where companies are often least adept and don't Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 26, 2016
As customers continue to increase their use of digital channels and self-service tools for customer service, it's only natural that the volume of calls hitting contact centers has been shrinking. Indeed, while volume in every digital channel continues to grow for customer service, contact centers have seen call volumes decrease by 12 percent, according to the 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report conducted by Dimension Data. What this also means is that a growing percentage of calls that are reaching Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 12, 2016
There's a goldmine of valuable data in the cross-channel interactions customers conduct. 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman recently met up with Jason Rose, Gigya Senior Vice President, Marketing, to discuss key trends in customer identity management and how information shared by customers in their omnichannel interactions can be used to deliver more personalized customer experiences. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 5, 2016
One of the most infuriating things for customers is when they are hit with hidden or unexpected fees. Prime examples include being slapped with a double ATM fee for a cash withdrawal (the fee charged when you use an out-of-network ATM and then the penalty that your own bank imposes). Or when a hotel charges separate WiFi fees for each device that's used. One of my favorites is the convenience fee that's levied when ordering concert or other types Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 28, 2016
Customers are increasing their use of digital channels such as mobile and social media to resolve product and service issues and receive support from companies. But does this mean that voice support will disappear altogether? 1to1 Media's Tom Hoffman recently explored these issues and what the future holds for customer service with Shep Hyken, customer service expert and Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations, at the Pegaworld 2016 conference in Las Vegas Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 21, 2016
Last week was the 8th grade formal for my daughter Caroline's class. Leading up to the dance, her friends informed her that a certain boy was planning to invite her. You know how these types of things can play out in Middle School. Anyway, with just a week to go before the big event and growing restless, Caroline, who tends to be a bit shy, decided to break out of her own comfort zone and ask the boy to the Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 14, 2016
When people think of next best action marketing, they often associate it with steps that marketers can take to apply everything that's known about a customer to try to sell him or her another product or service. But as two customer experience leaders at British Gas shared at Pegasystems' Pegaworld 2016 conference last week, next best action technologies and techniques can also be used to better understand each customer and to take the next steps that are best suited for Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 7, 2016
The Internet of Things is generating a mix of both excitement and apprehension around opportunities for transmitting data between connected devices and new services that can be delivered to customers along with fears about the security of the transmitted data. One of the industries where these emerging capabilities are offering tremendous promise is in healthcare, particularly as industry players are identifying ways to equip patients with personal medical devices that can be used to provide physicians and other medical practitioners Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 31, 2016
Earlier this month, I had the privilege of moderating an attendee discussion at Walker Information's B-to-B Customer Experience Summit in Denver on best practices and challenges around communicating customer experience initiatives across the enterprise. Constant communication to senior executives and employees is vital for ensuring that customer experience initiatives are visible, that they don't get lost amongst other corporate programs, and to safeguard that customer centricity is ingrained in the company culture. But crafting the right communications strategies can be Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 24, 2016
As the leader of the company, the CEO often sees himself or herself as the person who is ultimately responsible for the customer experience. While some past studies have revealed a disconnect between the quality of the customer experiences the CEO believes a company delivers to its customers and what customers' actual perceptions are, a recent survey of CEOs finds that many chief executives view customer experience as the most effective opportunity for obtaining a competitive advantage. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 17, 2016
I was recently reviewing a design of an e-book I'd written when the content jumped out at me. It wasn't the words I'd crafted, but rather the stunning images that had been selected by the graphic designer that made the package sparkle. The experience also served as a reminder, as Rod Stewart and Ron Wood penned back in 1971, that every picture tells a story and how important the use of images and design are to content marketing. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 10, 2016
These days, it seems as if all customers have heightened expectations for receiving consistent customer experiences. While customer expectations will vary based on each consumer's mindset going into an interaction and what they expect out of it, people who are paying for a high-end product or service typically have amplified expectations. I recently had a chance to discuss some of the components of delivering a luxury customer experience with Ana M. Brant, Director, Global Guest Experience & Innovation at Dorchester Read more »
Judith Aquino | May 5, 2016
Adblock Plus, the company that has built a business on helping readers avoid ads, has a new payment system in the works. Later this year, Adblock Plus will launch a new feature that allows users to tip the websites they visit. Its objective is to "revolutionize web monetization" by eliminating most ads and instead have readers pay publishers. Adblock Plus will take a cut of the profits, of course. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 3, 2016
When it comes to customer experience, companies across industries are at different stages in their levels of maturity. While some companies are just beginning to explore ways to improve their customer experience efforts, other organizations that have progressed to becoming customer experience leaders have developed formalized processes and systems for delivering experiences to customers. Read more »
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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | April 7, 2016
I remember where I was when the Jacksonville Jaguars were losing to the Buffalo Bills 3-27: in the kitchen, feeding the cats with one eye on my laptop. By the time Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw that crazy touchdown pass to wide receiver Allen Hurns and clinched the game at 34-31, I was watching the game from bed and heard my husband whoop as he watched the game in the laundry room. 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 »
Tom Hoffman | March 29, 2016
When we talk about the customer experience, it's important to remember that it's an end-to-end experience for customers. It's not just about the pre-sales experiences a customer may have viewing products on a company's website or the interactions a customer may have with a salesperson before deciding on a purchase. The post-purchase support a customer receives is also a critical component of overall satisfaction and loyalty. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 22, 2016
I recently took my mother to a community theater performance of "The Music Man." Since my mom is in her 80s and has some trouble getting around, I picked a theater close to where she lives that would be easy for her to navigate. We both enjoyed the show a lot and it was great spending the day with her. The story I'm about to share isn't really about the theater experience but a related customer experience that occurred earlier Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 15, 2016
Last week at Enterprise Connect, one of the most talked-about topics was video, especially as it can be used by customer care agents to communicate with customers. Depending on how companies go about deploying video communication technologies, some of the challenges that have impeded adoption is the high amount of bandwidth consumed by video as well as cost constraints. But thanks to the emergence of WebRTC, Skype for Business, and other developments, these barriers aren't nearly as formidable as they'd Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 8, 2016
This week, I'll be attending Enterprise Connect in Orlando where I expect to have a lot of discussions with people about communications trends involving the contact center and customers. Based on the content in the meeting invites I've received, I also expect a lot of chatter about WebRTC, Unified Communications, and the expanding use of video to strengthen the customer experience. While each of these represent important developments for connecting with today's omnichannel customer, consumer sentiment suggests that many companies Read more »
Judith Aquino | March 3, 2016
Get ready for an emoji tidal wave. I'm not referring to the image of a tidal wave, but an onslaught of emoji-fueled campaigns. Brands are increasingly embracing emojis in an effort to keep up with young audiences who are fluent in communicating through digital images. 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 »
Judith Aquino | February 18, 2016
Are targeted political ads creepy? Advertising agencies and political campaigns are equipped with an ever-growing trove of data that allows them to send voters highly targeted messages. As presidential candidates embrace data-driven digital marketing campaigns, the question of whether voters will respond to micro-targeting becomes more relevant than ever. 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 »
Judith Aquino | February 11, 2016
The shipping and delivery industry is ripe for disruption and the disruption is coming in the form of automated supply chains and driverless cars. FedEx and UPS's longtime hold on shipping and deliveries is being challenged by tech firms like Amazon, Google, and Uber. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | February 2, 2016
Last week, I received a nice surprise in my email inbox. To help celebrate its 50th anniversary, Mountain Creek, a ski resort in Northwest New Jersey, notified customers that it was offering $7.50 lift tickets after 3 p.m. that day (equivalent to the cost of a lift ticket there in 1965). As an avid skier who lives a short distance from the resort, I took advantage of the deal and skied for a few hours Friday night. It was a Read more »
Tom Hoffman | January 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 »
Judith Aquino | January 14, 2016
Auto companies are at the beginning of a major transition as they peer into a future where people may not want or need to own vehicles. In an increasingly on-demand and subscription-based economy, manufacturers are exploring a wider range of ownership models and rides-as-a-service programs to keep pace with changing customer behaviors and expectations. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | January 6, 2016
From graphics to storytelling, video games have evolved significantly since the good ol' days of Pong. But, for Xbox One users, The Mall promises to revolutionize the at-home shopping experience, as well. With the help of Von Bismarck, a Dublin-based television e-commerce company and veteran of Microsoft Venture, users can try clothes on from the comfort of their living room using the console's Kinect motion-tracking camera. 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 »
Judith Aquino | December 31, 2015
Walled gardens are good for business. Walled gardens are bad for business. The long-running debate on the value of closed platforms where a company maintains control over applications and content became even more relevant this year as walled gardens expanded across the Internet. 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 »
Judith Aquino | December 24, 2015
What a difference a year makes. While the 2014 holiday season was marked by the hashtag #snowmageddon with photos of cars buried under snow, this year's holiday season will be remembered as the warmest December on record. Temperatures on December 12 and 13 even broke a 142-year-old record across the eastern U.S., reports AccuWeather. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 22, 2015
My colleague Anna Papachristos recently wrote an insightful article about the findings in Accenture Strategy's 2015 B2B Customer Experience report. The report underscored how despite the understanding of executives about the value that B2B customer experience initiatives can generate, the vast majority of B2B companies are missing out on revenue growth opportunities due to poor performance. In a follow-up interview I conducted with Robert Wollan, senior managing director, sales and customer services, Accenture Strategy, Wollan noted that one of the Read more »
Tom Hoffman | December 15, 2015
One of the undisputed thought leaders in the customer experience space is Bruce Temkin, customer experience transformist and managing partner at Temkin Group as well as co-founder and initial chairman of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). In a blog post which lists the most important customer experience trends to watch out for next year, Temkin cites "the year of emotion" as the most important trend for customer experience professionals to track in 2016. Read more »
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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | November 26, 2015
Instead of visiting a shopping mall or website after Thanksgiving, imagine combining both experiences in a virtual mall. As virtual reality headsets become more affordable, virtual reality is becoming accessible to the average shopper. And while it's still in the nascent stage, VR stands to impact the way people shop and give new meaning to showrooming and e-commerce. 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Anna Papachristos | October 21, 2015
Happy Back to the Future Day, everyone! That's right. Today's the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive from the past to change the course of history once again. Yet, while we probably won't see Doc's DeLorean (or any other car, for that matter) zipping through the air any time soon, fans across the Internet can't stop comparing fictional 2015 with the real thing. Of course, when Universal Pictures released Back to the Future II in 1989, writers Robert Zemeckis Read more »
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