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Fulfilling the Omnichannel Shopping Imperative
August 16, 2017
The omnichannel approach has become a byword in customer service, but retailers need to do more to make it happen, based on a recent study. Researchers tested 57 metrics across desktop, mobile and in-store buying touchpoints to evaluate the end-to-end omnichannel experience at 30 popular and growing retailers. Here's the problem: E-commerce absolutely is killing brick-and-mortar stores.
Yes, and...
August 10, 2017
The further we go in the CRM adventure, the less our efforts seem to be about technology. That's because we're reaching a theoretical limit, or asymptote, on what technology can do in the vendor-customer relationship. Think of an asymptote as the ceiling that a graph never reaches. Increasingly, we're encountering situations where the best technology can do is assist humans.
It's a Whole New World With Alexa
August 7, 2017
Voice computing is replacing the graphical user interface, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said early this year at CES. Digital assistants will be integrated into many household objects, he noted. About 5 million voice-activated digital voice products had been sold as of January, and Bravac estimated 5 million more would be sold this year.
Excellent Customer Service Requires Emotional Intelligence
August 4, 2017
Staff engagement is a key component in a telco's ability to positively impact customers, according to InMoment. The company recently conducted a survey of 11,000 North American customers of Internet, mobile and TV services and found that telecommunications companies' customers just plain hate them. Telcos should emphasize emotional IQ, or EQ, in hiring and training personnel, the study recommends.
Spanning Front and Back Offices
August 2, 2017
CPQ -- that is, configure, price, quote -- is one of the most transitional apps, because it spans front and back offices, and because its very existence has changed these functions. Another app in this category is sales compensation management. Both of their stories are about front-office processes needing back-office data. Once the data is made available, the process evolves to be far more useful.
InsideView Launches Expert Consulting Service for B2B Marketers
July 31, 2017
InsideView has announced a consulting service to help B2B marketers implement account-based marketing. Expert Service, the first in the firm's planned series of InsideView Expert Services, delivers target market analytics and helps customers build a view of their total addressable market using a data visualization console. InsideView's TAM service is a blend of consulting, technology and data.
3 Keys to Customer Satisfaction: Speed, Efficiency, Knowledge
July 20, 2017
Customers want fast service or support from knowledgeable people where, when and how they prefer to receive it, based on results of a study the CMO Council published Tuesday. Together with SAP Hybris, the CMO Council last year conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents, equally divided between men and women. Fifty percent were in the U.S., and 25 percent each resided in Canada and Europe.
A New Service Model
July 19, 2017
People concerned about automation killing jobs might look at Helpshift's strategy and similar automation approaches. By enabling businesses to build help or support into mobile apps, these new models are re-inventing support to get the job done. Sure, they provide automated support in lieu of conventional agents, but they do so at a level where it often can be uneconomic to position live agents.
New AI Assistant Digs Up Specialized Info for Makers
July 18, 2017
Avnet last week unveiled a beta version of Ask Avnet, an automated virtual assistant that combines artificial intelligence with on-demand access to industry experts. Ask Avnet targets "engineers, designers, hobbyists, makers and purchasing specialists across the electronics supply chain -- which includes the product manufacturing chain," said Kevin Yapp, SVP for digital transformation at Avnet.
Free AI Chatbot Goes to Bat for Beleaguered Consumers
July 17, 2017
DoNotPay, an AI-based chatbot app created to help fight parking tickets in the UK, now addresses roughly 1,000 consumer concerns and is available throughout the U.S. as well as across the pond. The app's creator, Stanford student Joshua Browder, announced the expansion last week. Powered by IBM Watson, DoNotPay has about 1,000 bots capable of tackling a variety of legal and service issues.
Vendor Exposes Millions of Verizon Customers on Amazon Cloud
July 17, 2017
Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., has confirmed that data belonging to about six million of its wireless customers was exposed after the information mistakenly was allowed to remain unprotected on an Amazon cloud server. The disclosure follows reports that an engineer at Nice Systems allowed the data of 14 million Verizon customers to reside on an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket.
Consumers Are Ready to Embrace 'Futuristic' Payment Tech
July 14, 2017
As many as 80 percent of U.S. residents support frictionless payment methods and technologies, suggests a survey of 1,000 consumers Viewpost published this week. Among its other findings: Nearly 51 percent of survey participants were paid electronically through direct deposit, and 83 percent of respondents believed paper checks would be eliminated completely within the next 20 years.
Nanorep CTO Amit Ben: Chatbots Should Be Useful, Not Human
July 12, 2017
"When you provide service, it can be either completely general, or contextual -- which means it's different for different demographics," said Nanorep CTO Amit Ben. "Personalized service means that you get to the most fine-grained resolution possible. It's self-service that can be catered and adjusted dynamically to each person experiencing that service."
Growth for Customer Loyalty Programs Slowing: Census
July 10, 2017
Membership in loyalty programs grew at 15 percent this year to total 3.8 billion, according to the recently published 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census Report. The growth rate recorded in the 2015 loyalty census, when membership stood at 3.3 billion, was 26 percent. Growth has slowed because the United States is a maturing market, said Melissa Fruend, author of the report.
Consumers Will Pay to Be Pleased: Survey
July 6, 2017
Eighty percent of participants in a recent Capgemini survey said they would pay more for a better customer experience, and 9 percent were willing to pay up to 50 percent more. Researchers polled 3,300 customers of 125 companies in the utilities, consumer products, retail, retail banking, and Internet-based services sectors. Among the respondents were 450 senior executives from 150 companies.
SugarCRM Launches Hint, 1st in Relationship Intelligence Line
June 28, 2017
SugarCRM has launched Hint, the first in its new line of relationship intelligence products. Hint users can enter a few contact details about a person with whom they want to connect, and Hint automatically will search social sources on the Web for information. That data, along with other details from a company's internal files, will be served up to the user in a side-panel view.
Can Amazon Reinvent the Shopping Experience?
June 27, 2017
There is little doubt that the Internet has altered the way U.S. consumers think about shopping. E-commerce sales grew 15.6 percent in 2016 and now account for 11.7 percent of all retail sales, according to recent reports. Amazon accounts for a whopping 43 percent of those e-commerce sales. Amazon, in particular, has changed the way consumers think about e-commerce sales, or etail.
Savvy Marketers Don't Ditch the Non-Digital
June 20, 2017
A good motto for modern marketing would be, "When in doubt, check the data." Perhaps an even better one would be, "When not in doubt, check the data to see if you should be." There's never been a time when we've had such an ability to compile, collate, analyze and understand marketing data. It's not possible to get by on intuition -- even if it's rooted in deep experience and personal knowledge.
LogMeIn Makes Bold360 Entrance at CRM Party
June 9, 2017
LogMeIn on Thursday unveiled Bold360, a customer engagement platform that evolved from Boldchat -- the live website chat software it acquired five years ago. Bold360 has an intuitive interface that consolidates data from different systems to present a unified view of all customer interactions. Among its features are easy integration of Salesforce and Zendesk data; and omnichannel support.
Pegasystems Nestles in AWS, Azure Clouds
June 8, 2017
Pegasystems has deepened its 7-year-old relationship with Amazon AWS, and also has teamed up with Microsoft Azure, company officials told Pegaworld attendees on Tuesday. The deals are part of a series of planned partnerships aimed at giving Pega's clients choice in their cloud environment and avoiding lock-in. Pega last month inked an agreement to deliver Pega software on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.
Zuora VP Matt Darrow: The Intelligence of the Subscription Model
June 2, 2017
"We think of 'subscription' broadly," said Matt Darrow, VP and general manager of product at Zuora. "It's when companies do business with customers with whom they have a known relationship, and those relationships are sticky. The subscription model is great for engagement because companies know that in order to be successful they need to deliver ongoing services that keep providing value."
Salesforce Offers Alternative to Old-School Partner Portals
June 1, 2017
Salesforce on Wednesday announced the Sales Cloud Lightning Partner Relationship Management app as a replacement for partner portals and electronic data interchanges that lack modern features such as built-in mobile, social analytics and AI capabilities. The PRM app has an interactive Guided Setup Wizard that lets channel managers configure, customize and deploy the app in days.
Building a Sales Team by the Numbers
May 30, 2017
I don't know why more subscription vendors don't do this. Subscription companies collect mountains of data from their customers, and analyzing the aggregations can deliver profound insights virtually for free. Yet too often subscribers are reluctant to let their data be stripped of identifying characteristics and used for research. Too bad, because there's gold in that big data.
Helpshift Integrates With Salesforce
May 25, 2017
Mobile technology has delivered a lot of useful functionality that enables vendors and their customers to be on the same page more frequently. However, the screen size has an inherent drawback: It shows a very narrow slice of a reality -- typically one idea at a time. The problem is especially acute in the key areas of sales and service. A mobile "help" app should deliver help the customer values.
Genesys Launches G-Nine CX Framework
May 24, 2017
Genesys on Monday introduced G-Nine. "Think of G-Nine as the Genesys innovation framework that guides many aspects of our business -- product strategy being one of those," said Genesys CMO Merijn te Booij. "Within the G-Nine innovation framework, we have defined our themes related to technology and consumer trends that we'll focus on in the next two years."
Verizon Aims to Help Firms Get Up Close and Personal With Customers
May 22, 2017
Verizon Enterprise Solutions has released Visual Interactive Calling, an SDK and platform designed to enable banks, retailers, airlines, travel and hospitality companies, and other firms to communicate visually with their customers. "The sweet spot for this solution is enterprises that have deep mobile app penetration into their customer base," said Tom Smith, a CX manager at Verizon.
Walmart Delivers E-Commerce Stunner
May 19, 2017
Walmart on Thursday reported soaring e-commerce growth during its fiscal first quarter, along with strong organic sales figures -- results that suggest rival Amazon may have a fight on its hands. Online sales grew a stunning 63 percent during the quarter, perhaps in response to the company's newly introduced free two-day shipping and its upgraded mobile app.
E-Commerce Gets the Einstein Treatment
May 17, 2017
E-commerce brings together several themes that relate to our current fascination with artificial intelligence, machine learning, bots, mobile technology and the like. It's actually more than that, because it represents an underserved part of CRM. Until fairly recently, there were few tools that retailers could use to reach online customers for marketing and sales.
Veeva Offers Cross-Stack Customer Insights
May 12, 2017
Veeva Systems earlier this week announced Veeva CRM MyInsights, a new cloud-based data visualization capability producing tailored insights within Veeva CRM. MyInsights lets users of tablets or other mobile devices access, analyze and visualize information in real time. It includes fixed reporting for sales and activity data and a new, customizable HTML5/JavaScript framework.
Congress Probes United Airlines' Customer Mishandling
May 3, 2017
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday apologized to the United States Congress for his company causing a passenger to be dragged off a UA flight last month. United failed its customers and failed as a company in that incident, and this has to be a turning point for the airline, Munoz told the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee at a hearing into airline industry practices.
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The Entrepreneur's Phone System
How do you feel about flying on a pilotless plane?
No way -- if there's a screw-up, you can't just jump out.
I'd do it -- flights are pretty much entirely automated anyway.
I'm skeptical but open minded, especially if fares would be much less.
I would try it if there were *someone* on board to take over in a pinch.
It's the wave of the future -- I'm resigned to it.