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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.
The Crystallization of Salesforce's IoT Strategy
January 12, 2017
While the general public's fascination with technology largely has been focused on the latest connected products unveiled at the recent CES conference in Las Vegas, many companies are trying to figure out where the real business opportunities lie in the long-awaited rise of the Internet of Things. One of the early proponents of IoT's unprecedented potential was Salesforce.com.
Eagle Creek CRM Director Sandeep Kadam: What Today's Customers Want
January 10, 2017
Twenty years ago, CRM "was more of an inside-out technology," recalled Sandeep Kadam, director of CRM at Eagle Creek Software Services. "It was about making sales calls more efficient, and giving salespeople all the tools they needed so they could achieve their numbers. From there it has become more of an outside-in technology, where the customer is impacting how CRM is going to evolve."
Customer Service Takes a Turn
January 4, 2017
It's widely understood that new customer service channels such as social, email, knowledge bases and the like have left the service agent with harder problems to solve. Those channels are here to stay, because when they work well, they solve problems for pennies. It can cost many dollars to resolve an issue through the efforts of conventional agents. So there's a decided bias for self-service.
Salesforce Releases Texting Customer Service Chatbot
December 14, 2016
Salesforce has released LiveMessage, a chatbot that lets enterprises users engage customers through messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, SMS or MMS directly within its Service Cloud. Service agents can respond to customers on Facebook Messenger after accessing their records, for example, and the conversation automatically is appended and can be resumed later if necessary.
Looking Forward
December 13, 2016
Traditionally in this year-end piece, I peer into my cloudy crystal ball and forecast the year ahead in CRM. Sometimes I'm close, other times not, but either way, my predictions quickly are forgotten. This year, I've decided just to say what I want rather than what realistically might happen. Since my vote has all of the authority of yesterday's news, it will follow past prognostications.
Beware of Wildly Inconsistent Online Shopping Rules
December 1, 2016
Before you sit down at your kitchen table and lose money shopping for Christmas and holiday gifts, you'd be well advised to learn the rules of the online shopping road. They can be very different from one vendor to another, so shop carefully. Some companies do a great job with customer care. Others don't. I have been both delighted and burned several times, and I'd like to share some of my personal experiences to help you shop more safely.
Service in the IoT Era
November 29, 2016
Oracle recently announced a new connection between its Service and IoT clouds. That makes total sense to me. I bet a lot of folks think of the Internet of Things as those machines that do things directed by algorithms -- and if so, they might wonder why they need to be connected to customer service, such an obviously human channel. It's not off base, however.
Many Customers Aren't on Board With Self-Service Trend
November 1, 2016
Enterprises have been warming to digital transformation, but it's crucial that they maintain a human element in their customer interactions, according to a study Verint published last week. Researchers surveyed more than 24,000 consumers and 1,000 businesses across 12 countries for the study. Organizations have to balance digital and human customer engagement to thrive and survive.
IBM's Watson Smartens Up iOS Enterprise Apps
October 27, 2016
IBM has announced that it will incorporate its IBM Watson cognitive capabilities into the MobileFirst for iOS ecosystem to help boost the productivity of the global workforce. It was a little more than two years ago that the company entered a groundbreaking partnership with Apple to enhance the mobile enterprise space. The move is part of an overall rollout of enhancements to IBM's Watson tech.
Big Data and Analytics: Creating New Value
October 14, 2016
The massive amount of data available from connected devices creates an unprecedented opportunity for increased optimization of products and services -- and, consequently, revenue. The deep investment in big data gathering and analytics is fueled by an ability to create added value for companies based on actionable business insights, and for consumers by providing lifestyle benefits.
FCC Slaps Comcast With $2.3M Overbilling Fine
October 13, 2016
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Comcast would pay a record $2.3 million fine to settle its investigation into whether the cable operator improperly charged customers for services and equipment they never approved, a practice known as "zero billing option." Federal law bans cable operators from charging customers for unauthorized equipment or services.
Dreamforce Redux
October 12, 2016
Dreamforce for many years has been too big for a single person to cover. While I participate in covering events like this, inevitably I am reduced to the story of the three blind people and the elephant. You can't experience enough of the elephant to describe it unless you can see it. Using your hands leaves you frustrated. In the case of Dreamforce, you can't go to all of the sessions.
Bring Back the CIO
October 10, 2016
The cloud revolution has made an enormous contribution to the evolution of sales and marketing software, as well as to business software of all types. There's a long list of benefits it's conferred on users -- from the ability to outsource security and maintenance tasks to the avoidance of manual upgrade processes, to the switch in payment modes, to a model more affordable for more businesses.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud Hits the Streets
October 5, 2016
Salesforce last week unveiled the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, billing it as the fastest path to unified commerce. It's built on technology from Demandware; Salesforce completed its acquisition of the company this summer. Commerce Cloud enables brands to provide personalized experiences for shoppers across the Web, mobile devices, social networks and in stores.
Incentives-Driven Disaster: Wells Fargo's Ethical Implosion
September 21, 2016
Anyone who works with sales people knows that their ultimate incentive is their commission check. Since the first time that "sales" was identified as a profession, we've been paying the people who sell based primarily on their results. This has worked well -- but things are starting to change. The drive for results at the expense of all other considerations is running smack dab into new realities.
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