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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.
Nice Systems Gives Customers Face Time With CSRs
August 12, 2013
Nice Systems has introduced a Contact Center Video Recording platform to its Nice Interaction Management suite. While not in great demand yet, this feature surely will draw more interest if customer service and regulatory trends continue on their current trajectory. The feature allows organizations to monitor and track customer service that is provided via video-enabled contact centers.
Zozi: It's All About the Experience
August 08, 2013
Zozi, which connects customers to activity-related adventures or trips -- say sailing lessons or rock-climbing tours -- rolled out a CRM system earlier this year that is an offshoot of an acquisition the startup made at the end of 2012. The name of the CRM system is "Zozi Advance," and it is a build-out from a system the company acquired when it purchased TripFlavor.
Sales Get the Glory but Retention Gets the Gold
August 02, 2013
If you want glamour, status and prestige within your company, go out and get new customers. If you want to stay in business, specialize in keeping the ones you have happy and loyal. Customer retention isn't flashy, and it doesn't earn extra pats on the back from executives or big promotions -- which is a shame, because it's usually more profitable over the long term than hauling in new accounts.
CBS, Time Warner Leave Customers Hanging in the Breeze
July 31, 2013
CBS viewers who get their broadcast TV service via Time Warner may have felt a little bit like the characters in summertime drama Under the Dome in the last 24 hours or so. Specifically, as part of a battle over retransmission fees, the cable giant on Monday briefly pulled CBS from its lineup in several key markets, effectively cutting off CBS for millions of viewers.
Where Customer Service Goes to Die
July 30, 2013
Social customer service has now become a key point of contact between brands and their customers. Consumers, particularly within the Millennial demographic, take to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks when they have a problem. Sixty percent of 18-24 year olds go to social media when they have an issue, and companies have been quick to respond to this shift in customer behavior.
The Mighty Amazon Is Swelling
July 29, 2013
Amazon is hiring more than 5,000 people to work in 17 of its U.S. fulfillment centers and 2,000 new employees to work in its customer service centers. The fulfillment center jobs, which are scattered throughout the country, are full-time opportunities that pay 30 percent more than workers earn in a traditional retail store, according to Amazon. The perks include stock grants, bonuses and benefits.
Zenmonics Lets Bankers Serve Customers on the Move
July 22, 2013
Zenmonics has announced mobileBanker, a tablet solution that lets bank staff interact with customers on the move. Among its benefits: customer identification and authentication; the ability to serve customers outside the teller line; paperless processing; and more personal service. MobileBanker is built on Zenmonics' highly secure mobileUnited middleware platform.
Ask Customers (Online) and Ye Could Receive
July 11, 2013
If ever there was a case for conducting online customer surveys, Adam Lasky, global social media coordinator at Spreadshirt, has lived it. "A week after a customer makes a purchase on the Spreadshirt platform, we follow up with a customer review survey," Lasky said. That's how the company learned that its customers usually had clear expectations about shipping times.
Pipeliner 5.2 Keeps CRM in Sync
July 08, 2013
After making its beta debut back in 2009, Pipeliner CRM software recently graduated to version 5.2, bringing with it the ability to automatically sync data in near real time -- for both Mac and PC computers -- locally or through the cloud. "This is key for salespeople that work globally," said Nikolas Kimla, founder and managing partner of Pipelinersales.
HP Targets Salesforce Users With New Document Tool
June 24, 2013
It's no secret that Salesforce.com has already inspired virtually countless ancillary products and services, including Thunderhead.com's ONE Correspond for Salesforce 2.0. Another example launched even more recently, however, is HP Relate, a cloud-based document management product that provides tools for creating interactive documents within the Salesforce environment.
Intercom Connections Aid $6M Funding Round
June 21, 2013
Intercom, which offers businesses a tool to create personalized communications with customers, has secured some $6 million in a Series A round of funding. The Social+Capital Partnership, founded by former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya, handled the fundraising. Some prominent tech players have attached their names to Intercom, including Twitter founder Biz Stone and Facebook exec Paul Adams.
5 Places Customer Relationships Go to Die
June 14, 2013
Building a customer relationship -- the kind that lasts a long time -- is a not an easy thing. There are lots of occasions where things can go awry, touch points where signals can get crossed and communications that can unwittingly turn a customer off. In a lot of cases, the conclusion is triggered by something the business does that brings the relationship to a premature end.
Where CRM and BPM Meet
June 13, 2013
Pegasystems held PegaWorld in "PegOrlando" this week, and a good show it was. I have always wondered about the difference between CRM (social and otherwise) and BPM, or business process management, so I was happy to attend. Both CRM and BPM deal with the interaction between the vendor and customer, and each is involved in doing the things that make customers come back.
Overdraft Protection May Do More Harm Than Good
June 12, 2013
Overdraft costs on consumer checking accounts vary widely across financial institutions and often result in more costs and more involuntary account closures for consumers who opt into such coverage, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported on Tuesday. "Consumers need to be able to anticipate and avoid unnecessary fees on their checking accounts," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
How's Your Mistake Process Management?
June 06, 2013
Perfection is elusive, if not impossible to achieve. Businesses are made up of people, and people are imperfect. They make mistakes -- mistakes involving internal operations and mistakes that affect customers. How many have planned for those inevitable instances when people prove fallible? Not many. We don't like to envision ourselves as vulnerable to making mistakes.
Through the Looking Glass Watson
May 29, 2013
I was recently discussing Watson -- the IBM super silicon brain that won Jeopardy! -- with a reporter writing an article. Around the same time, I was also looking into Google Glass, the wearable computer that enables people to record what they see and to see what they're recording through a teeny tiny screen mounted on a frame over their eyebrows.
Crowdsourced App Helps Otis Lift E-Service to Another Level
May 24, 2013
Mobile CRM is well entrenched in the sales and marketing spaces -- perhaps too entrenched in some cases. However, the third tier of traditional CRM -- service -- has barely been breached by mobile technologies. Some headway has been made, but for the most part it has been in fits and starts. Only a few vendors offer e-service applications for the mobile environment.

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