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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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | September 3, 2015
Giving consumers recommendations or directions to a restaurant is no longer enough--personalized recommendations have become the new standard. Tech companies from startups to huge enterprises are rolling out personalized recommendations tools in the race to deliver the most relevant content to consumers. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | September 1, 2015
The calendar might read September 1, but retailers are already busy planning for the holidays. As 1to1 Media Senior Writer Judith Aquino points out in this week's feature, "How to Overhaul Your Holiday Retail Strategy," although holiday spending is projected to jump by as much as 5.7 percent this year thanks to lower gas prices and declining unemployment rates, retailers will continue to remain under pressure to distinguish themselves from competitors and to find creative ways to engage with shoppers. Read more »
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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | August 6, 2015
In what will hopefully become a trend, some companies are extending their maternity and paternity leave policies in the U.S. On Tuesday, Netflix announced that new mothers and fathers will get unlimited (full) paid leave for the first year of their newborn's life. And yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its own new parental leave policy. 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | June 4, 2015
It's not a secret that Pinterest, Google, Facebook and other companies don't want users to leave their platforms. Pinterest is adding "buyable pins" that enable shoppers to purchase items directly on its site; Google announced a similar feature with buy buttons on its ads, and Facebook increasingly offers features that encourage users to check in and never leave. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 2, 2015
It's pretty easy to see how pervasive the use of mobile devices has become with consumers. People are tethered to their smartphones just about everywhere - at work, at home, at ballgames, shopping malls, airports, and cafes. As of January 2014, consumers now spend more time on their mobile devices for Internet usage than on desktop PCs, according to comScore. Yet despite how "mobile" we've become as consumers, many companies continue to struggle to develop comprehensive mobile marketing strategies or Read more »
Anna Papachristos | May 20, 2015
Digital and mobile technologies allow employees to remain connected no matter their physical location. Thus, the traditional office no longer exists in its original form, for workers have the ability to operate remotely. But, as the future of the average workplace shifts to accommodate these evolving standards, leaders must also realign their mindset to provide these employees with all they need to conduct business like their in-office counterparts. Read more »
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