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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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Then and Now
April 26, 2017
A few years ago, when Oracle was busy buying companies to fill out its front-office cloud offering, RightNow developed a "day in the life" video that has stuck with me. It was shown at RightNow's last user meeting as an independent company. In fact, at the conference where it debuted, Oracle announced its acquisition of RightNow. The video's importance was as a harbinger of things to come.
Healthgrades' CareChats Aims to Tear Down Doctor-Patient Wall
April 21, 2017
Healthgrades, an online resource to provide consumers with information about physicians and hospitals, on Wednesday launched CareChats, a tool that allows encrypted text and email conversations between patients and their healthcare providers. Developed in partnership with Conversa, CareChats enables doctors and hospitals to communicate with patients outside of visits.
United Airlines Gives Appalling New Meaning to Customer Service
April 11, 2017
United Airlines' self-made firestorm spread on Tuesday, as a video showing a passenger being forcibly dragged off a plane continued to make the rounds on social media. The passenger had refused to comply after being told he'd been bumped off the Sunday flight. The incident sparked international outrage, including calls for a boycott of the airline and for CEO Oscar Munoz to step down.
AI Confusion Widespread Among Consumers
April 4, 2017
Most people think they know what the term "artificial intelligence" means, based on the results of a survey Pegasystems released Tuesday. However, their responses suggested that they probably don't fully understand how it's being used today, including in the customer service realm. Researchers polled 6,000 adult consumers in the United States, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
Reversing Net Neutrality
April 3, 2017
When one side or the other in a political debate refused to accept a decision, it used to be simply annoying, but lately it has become dangerous to business and to the economy. The current administration's wants "to jettison the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, which were intended to safeguard free expression online," Steve Lohrmarch wrote last week.
Salesforce Offers AI-Powered CRM for Financial Advisors
March 31, 2017
Salesforce this week announced Financial Services Cloud Einstein, an AI-based CRM tool for financial advisors. It gives users a holistic view of each client's household and wealth ecosystem and lets them leverage Salesforce's AI technology to seek out new business opportunities. Einstein Opportunity tracks clients' sentiments, competitor mentions, and overall engagement.
Amazon Strikes Contact Center Market
March 28, 2017
AWS on Tuesday announced Amazon Connect, a self-service contact center solution based on the same cloud technology used by Amazon customer service associates worldwide. It offers phone numbers throughout the U.S. and 18 countries in Europe. "The opportunity for cloud contact centers is significant," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.
McDonald's Puts Mobile Ordering to the Test
March 16, 2017
McDonald's has begun testing new mobile ordering and payment functionality at 29 of its restaurants in California. It will expand the pilot to another 51 restaurants in Washington on March 20. The company will run multiple pilots to gather customer feedback, work out any issues that arise, and streamline integration with its IT systems before rolling out its updated mobile app more broadly.
OpenMethods, Next Caller Join to Streamline Call Routing
March 14, 2017
OpenMethods has announced an integration with Next Caller's Advanced Caller ID database that will let contact centers on the Oracle Service Cloud use real-time contextual data for more than 500 million landline, mobile and VoIP numbers to personalize and simplify their agent and customer interactions. OpenMethods integrates IVR and telephony data into the CRM package call center agents use.
Ode to Sprint: Somebody Calls You, You Answer Quite Slowly
February 7, 2017
As I write this, I'm listening to twangy guitar music that calls up vague images of big spiny cactus, dust, and a riderless swaybacked horse. Lots of dust. I've been listening to the same few bars for 43 minutes and counting. Every few seconds, the music is interrupted by this: "We apologize for the wait. We are currently experiencing higher than normal volumes and long hold times. ..."
Calling Facebook Customer Service? Beware of Fraudsters
February 2, 2017
Googling for a Facebook customer support phone number may connect users with fraudsters. A fraudulent number reportedly appeared not only as top result in a Google search, but also as a featured snippet -- that is, highlighted in a box at the top of the search results. An investigator who called the number, posing as a Facebook customer who had been locked out of his account.
Banking Customer Satisfaction Barometer Inches Up
January 26, 2017
Customer satisfaction with banking institutions improved last year, based on the annual Bank Satisfaction Barometer CFI Group released Thursday. Customers were more likely to remain loyal to their bank and even recommend it to others, according to the annual survey of bank customers across the United States. Banks improved their standing with customers and maintained stronger relationships.
Top CRM Blogs of 2016: Countdown, Part 2
January 24, 2017
There's something to be said for consistency. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn hit over .300 19 years in a row. The swallows have returned to Mission San Juan Capistrano every year since 1812. Richard Belzer played Detective John Munch in nine different television series over 23 years. Doing things well for a long time should earn you some attention for your efforts.
Why Companies Botch Customer Care
January 19, 2017
Do your customers come first? Companies spend a fortune to win and keep their customers. They advertise and market their products and services like crazy. Because of that cost, you would think every company would want to keep its customers happy. It's more cost-effective to keep an existing customer than to win a new one. If that's the case, why do some companies screw up customer care so badly?
Clarabridge Delivers Retail Banking Package
January 17, 2017
Clarabridge, which offers SaaS and on-premises software products designed to help companies improve their customer experience management, on Tuesday announced a full-service solution for retail banking. Clarabridge's solutions use sentiment and text analytics to enable automatic collection, categorization and reporting on structured and unstructured data.
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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.