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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.
Community Action
November 13, 2013
I had an interesting conversation last week with Eric Berridge, CEO of Bluewolf, about a new report his company sponsored, "The State of Salesforce." This is the second year that Bluewolf has compiled this report. Researchers from MIT's Sloan School interviewed hundreds of Salesforce customers to learn about their attitudes, opinions and future demand.
Tablets and CRM, Part 1: A Plus for Productivity
November 12, 2013
The CRM case for tablets is quite clear: Workers are more mobile than ever and need to be able to access their systems on the go. Ditto customers and the workers who service them while on the go. Tablets are more robust tools than smartphones and allow for even greater functionality. Somehow overlooked in this business case, though, is the productivity factor.
ZipRealty Brings CRM to Real Estate Agents on the Go
November 04, 2013
ZipRealty recently released a mobile CRM app that complements its custom-built Zap online CRM system. While the mobile version, dubbed "mobile Zap," has the same functionality as its online desktop counterpart, it was designed with an eye to accommodating real estate agents' on-the-go schedules, said Jamie Wilson, the company's senior vice president of technology.
SalesAgility Sweetens CRM With Open Source Sugar
October 28, 2013
SalesAgility last week rolled out SuiteCRM, an application that's designed to offer a fully open source alternative to SugarCRM Professional Edition. Built upon the latest release of SugarCRM Community Edition, the software includes reporting, workflow, quotes, products, security and portal extensions designed to deliver functionality previously found only in the proprietary, paid-for editions of SugarCRM.
Shutl May Whisk eBay to Same-Day Delivery Success
October 23, 2013
eBay has announced a set of initiatives to speed deliveries and offer a more personalized shopping experience. Among them is the purchase of Shutl, which uses couriers to deliver goods within a few hours of their online purchase. It currently operates in Chicago, New York and throughout the UK. eBay has been experimenting with its same-day delivery service, eBay Now, in New York and San Francisco.
5 Traps to Avoid in Social CRM for Retail
October 17, 2013
It is difficult to overstate the importance of social CRM to retailers given the almost tailor-made suitability of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest et al. for reaching out and engaging with customers. What's less clear, however, is exactly how retailers should use social CRM to talk with those customers. Is it fair for customers to expect to conduct all of their business over social media?
The Holiday Shipping News
October 14, 2013
In retail, the holidays are the best of times and the worst of times. The trick to troubleshooting shipping issues is to manage for the best scenario but expect the worst, especially during peak intervals. Prime shopping season demands that deadlines and customer expectations are managed accordingly. Customers expect great service for a value that is reasonable.
Study: Topnotch Customer Service Yields Strong Returns
October 11, 2013
There is a significant performance gap between companies that fully apply best customer service practices and those that are inconsistent in their approach, according to a new report from the Miller Heiman Research Institute. There was a gap of 13 percent between the two groups of companies in performance metrics such as account acquisition, customer retention, account billing and revenue growth.
The CRM Commodity Crisis: Escaping the SFA Mold
September 20, 2013
There's always been a dichotomy between the promise of CRM and the reality of CRM. The promise is something like this: CRM can become the nucleus of your business, unifying sales, marketing and support around a shared set of data about your customers. Not only will it make your relationships with your customers better; it will make relationships among employees who connect with customers better.
Silverpop Promises a Personalized Web Page for Every Customer
September 03, 2013
It's no longer uncommon for marketers to customize the messages they send via email, but such personalization capabilities haven't typically been extended to Web content. Enter Silverpop, which last week released a beta version of Smart Content, a new product designed to enable just that. Smart Content leverages Silverpop's various modules in marketing and tracking and website design.
Car Makers Face an Increasingly Bumpy Road
August 30, 2013
There is something odd happening between Americans and their usually intense love relationships with their cars. One survey points to a slight, but still worrisome, drop in customer satisfaction with vehicles and light trucks this past year; another shows that Americans are driving less. Is there any overlap? That is, are Americans driving less because of their growing dissatisfaction with their vehicles?
The Customer Service Disaster Domino Theory
August 29, 2013
In examining airplane crashes, investigators often discover that it's not one thing that causes the disaster. It's a chain of interrelated things that go wrong: A mechanical failure or weather event can elicit the wrong reaction from the pilot, which worsens the initial problem and starts a sequence of events that can end very badly. The same is true of customer service meltdowns.
Delta Banks on 19,000 Windows Phones to Ramp Up Customer Service
August 26, 2013
Delta Air Lines has outfitted its more than 19,000 flight attendants with Windows Phone 8 mobile devices that it expects will further customer service and facilitate on-board transactions. Specifically, the flight attendants are now using Nokia Lumia 820 devices equipped with a Delta-specific application developed by Avanade on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of sale platform.
Echopass Revs Its Engines for Enterprise Contact Centers
August 26, 2013
Echopass recently unveiled a new enterprise edition of its software for corporations that use the cloud to manage their contact center operations. The offering consists of more than 40 applications and services aimed at centers that support between 500 to 20,000 agents. One early adopter typifies the type of company for which this application was developed, said the company's Rob Farris.
J.Crew Earns Top Marks on Retailer Report Cards
August 23, 2013
Top brands continue to push the envelope in customer service generally, but that's particularly true in the online sphere. So reports StellaService, which just this week published new data that ranks the top retailers in terms of customer service performance over the last month. "Some of these guys are consistently at the top of their category," said StellaService's Kevon Hills.
The Age of Asymmetrical CRM
August 21, 2013
Am I making up a term? Maybe. This column is inspired by the continuing dreadful news out of PC land. Last week Dell announced its profits for the just finished quarter dropped 72 percent year over year and Lenovo took over the No. 1 one spot in PC manufacturing from HP, though both companies saw declines. Even though the declines in PC shipments are serious, the numbers being produced are still prodigious.
Wireless Customers Warm Up to Online Buying
August 19, 2013
Wireless customers are generally much happier with the quality of service they receive from providers via the companies' self-service websites than through other outlets, a new survey from J.D. Power reveals. In addition, they're happiest with AT&T among service providers, the study found. The semiannual report was split into two parts, focusing on full-service and noncontract purchase experiences.
Is That Your Bot, or Are You Happy to See Me?
August 14, 2013
Oh, bother. "Only 35 percent of the average Twitter user's followers are real people," suggests a recent article in The New York Times. The rest? Bots or robots, of course. It seems that email bots, spam bots and other algorithmically driven software entities have been adjusted to hold conversations (too strong a word, really) -- to tweet and retweet with us mortals.

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