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T-Mobile Kisses Up to BlackBerry Customers
April 04, 2014
After racking up a number of successes, T-Mobile clearly made a misstep earlier this year, when it promoted Apple's iPhone 5 to its BlackBerry customers. BlackBerry this week announced it would not renew T-Mobile's license to sell its products, which expires at the end of April. Now T-Mobile is now scrambling to keep its BlackBerry customers with an offer of a $100 credit.
Telecom Customer Service: The Wrong Things Stay the Same
March 27, 2014
I started writing about service as a magazine editor back in the last century -- well, 1996, if you want to be specific -- but it might as well have been in the days of hula hoops and big fins on Fords. Service practices for telephone companies -- and for all utilities -- were still rudimentary, and they weren't getting any better. The telecom act of 1996 opened up competition.
New Avaya Platform Defrags Customer Experience
March 20, 2014
Avaya has rolled out an upgraded CEM platform with two new major components: the proactive outreach manager and intelligent customer routing. The common theme in this product's enhancement is the unification of inbound and outbound customer engagement with self service across any media, explained Avaya's Cory Glover, senior manager in the customer experience solutions marketing team.
4 Sharp Tools for Honing Reseller Loyalty
March 17, 2014
As tricky as CRM seems, it's nothing compared to managing relationships with indirect channel partners. I often joke that it's CRM to the second power: You must not only manage the CRM tasks you always needed to do to create a relationship with end customers, but also enable partners to sell, service and support on your behalf. When it comes to selling, reseller partners are motivated.
Marketers, Start Your Engines
March 13, 2014
The connected car may be zooming into the mainstream: Apple has officially entered the market. The debut of CarPlay comes nearly a year after Apple first previewed iOS in the car, tweaking the platform to move Siri, Maps and other services to the dashboard. Apple showed off CarPlay and announced new partners Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo early last week at the Geneva International Motor Show.
Amazon Hits Up Prime Members for Another 20 Bucks
March 13, 2014
Amazon is hiking the price of the Amazon Prime subscription service for the first time since it launched nine years ago. Members will have to pay $99 for their subscription instead of $79. Amazon Student members will pay $49 for the service. Those who subscribe to Amazon Prime get unlimited two-day shipping on eligible items, as well as streaming video and book-borrowing privileges.
6 Easily Remedied E-Commerce Shipping Bungles
March 11, 2014
Too many e-commerce companies treat shipping as a commodity. The ones that don't, win. Amazon and Zappos are prime examples of companies that care about fast fulfillment, and they have millions of loyal customers because of it. The good news is that you don't have to offer free next-day shipping to delight customers. Just nailing the basics can set you apart.
Adding Channels Won't Fix Broken Customer Service
March 07, 2014
Technology allows businesses to take care of customers in new and different ways. Think of the multiple options we have for customer service with many businesses today: phone, chat, text, email and sometimes social media channels. They all have their own nuances, and they all place specific demands on your staff. The problem is that a new channel won't fix what's causing other channels to fail.
Clarus Offers Etailers a Prime-ish Loyalty Platform
February 24, 2014
If you were to administer truth serum and ask a retailer how it really felt about Amazon Prime, chances are the response would be that it's pure genius -- or pure evil genius, perhaps. Why? Because Amazon Prime encourages shoppers to come back and back again to browse and buy, and it's all based on an incentive that online consumers hold very dear: free shipping.
The Customer Experience Jury Is In
February 21, 2014
There are lots of purchases we make because we're forced to make them -- something we need breaks, or an outside entity requires us to buy something. We're not buying because we want to, or even because the purchase will make our business run better -- we have to buy. A lot of providers of these absolute must-have products and services don't emphasize the experience aspect of what they do.
Comcast-TWC Customers: Be Afraid, Very Afraid
February 19, 2014
While federal regulators mull the possible antitrust ramifications of the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the companies' customers also are considering the fallout from this deal. Both companies have a reputation for poor customer service, and the fear is that a combination of the conglomerates may result in the achievement of a new low.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
Customers' Comings and Goings Not Always Linked to Satisfaction
February 14, 2014
Which comes first -- a sector in which consumers have a lot of choices and can easily switch providers, or companies that are rigorous in their customer service policies and attitudes? A recent survey on customer service attitudes raises that question but doesn't exactly answer it. However, it does suggest there is a strong link between customer choice and customer service policies.
Google Glass Could Bring CRM Into Focus
February 06, 2014
Google last week debuted several trendy eyeglass frames for Glass, shedding its dorky look while accommodating prescription lenses. The more natural look means consumers likely will be more accepting of Glass once it becomes generally available -- assuming the price is right. The new Glass frames and support for corrective lenses are also a boon for CRM.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 04, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
4 Processes for Turning Customer Ire Into Loyalty
January 24, 2014
If you're in business, you're going to face a customer relationship issue that's your fault. It happens. We're human -- and though we may strive for perfection, the best we can do is get close to that goal. When your business errs, the first people who are likely to hear it are your customer service reps. Customer service reps end up apologizing a lot in these situations.
T-Mobile Gives Customers No-fee Checking
January 23, 2014
T-Mobile USA on Wednesday launched Mobile Money, a money management application for smartphones that is meant to be used in conjunction with a reloadable T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card. There is no charge for activation, monthly maintenance, in-network ATM withdrawals, or for replacing lost or stolen cards. There are also no minimum balance requirements.
Nextbee Gives B2Bs CRM Integration Links
January 20, 2014
NextBee has spent the last several months developing integration links to connect its referral and customer service products to the major CRM applications, including Salesforce, NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics. The general idea of the integration is to combine NextBee's ability to track activities and provide incentives with the CRM system's customer service touchpoints.
Amazon, LLBean Tie at the Top for Customer Satisfaction
January 09, 2014
Retailers performed well this holiday season in terms of customer satisfaction across multiple channels, according to the ForeSee Experience Index: 2013 U.S. Retail Edition, which was released this week. The report focuses on customer satisfaction at the company level and queried consumers about every applicable sales channel, ranging from the brick-and-mortar store to the contact center to mobile.
Microsoft Buys Cloud Customer-Service Firm
January 07, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it will acquire Parature, which provides customer engagement solutions as a service. Parature's technology will add self-service, support ticketing and other capabilities to Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft reportedly will pay $100 million for the company. "Once the deal closes, Parature will become part of Microsoft," said Parature cofounder and CMO Duke Chung.
KlearGear Admitted to Social CRM Hall of Shame
December 13, 2013
Technology and social media give businesses new ways to interact with customers, to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships, and to create two-way conversations that lead to better products and happier people at both ends of the conversation. They also allow dumb businesses to expose their incompetence faster and to a wider audience than ever before.
Banks Get a Little Less Hate in Latest Satisfaction Rankings
December 12, 2013
Consumers seem to be softening their hate-hate relationship with the banking industry, according to a new report released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. In fact, customer satisfaction with financial services in general reached a new high in the third quarter of 2013, the report found. The index is up 0.3 percent to 76.7 on a 0 to 100 scale.
Consistency Is the Key to Amazing Customer Service
December 05, 2013
Seeking a competitive edge? In any economy and any market, customer service is the key. No matter what your business, if you have one competitor or 100 selling the same product or service, you can tip the scales in your favor by offering a higher level of service. Customers will drive farther, wait longer and even spend more for better service.
9 Ways to Stay Up and Running on Cyber Monday
November 16, 2013
The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and that means e-commerce companies are now in the midst of the great run-up to the holidays -- an all-out sprint to get every possible new feature, bug fix and version tested and released in time for the big crush. This year, the stakes have been raised even higher with one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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