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Salesforce Adds App Hub to Centralize Customer Service on Desk.com
November 25, 2014
Salesforce.com on Monday launched App Hub, an upgrade to its Desk.com customer service platform. App Hub features more than 50 apps for a wide range of functions including e-commerce, email marketing, telephony and text messaging. Partner apps available with Desk.com include Harvest, JIRA, MailChimp, Olark, Shopify, Twilio, Five9, NewVoiceMedia, OneReach, RingCentral and TalkDesk.
Another Bleak Black Friday for Apple Fans
November 21, 2014
Apple is a company that bucks trends, that does things its own way, that manages its business through highly tuned cycles. One thing Apple barely does at all, though, is offer any sort of special deal or sale price. Not even on Black Friday. Or Cyber Monday. Or just because. Heck, when Apple celebrated 25 billion App Store downloads, it gave one person a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.
SMS: It's Not Just for Marketing Any More
November 20, 2014
There appears to be a new trend emerging in the enterprise mobile engagement space, according to OpenMarket. Increasingly, its enterprise customers are adapting its platform to use SMS in new ways, said Tim Fujita Yuhas, the company's director of product management. Sometimes those uses are obvious CRM plays; sometimes they fall more under the rubric of Internet of Things.
Platform Native
November 19, 2014
The idea of an omnipotent software platform and the evolution of customer science go hand in hand. Customer science is the upshot of my idea that we're in the process of converting from random acts of CRM in the front office to a more structured, efficient and predictable approach to conducting front-office business. Platforms make customer science possible.
Picture This: Instagram for CRM
November 18, 2014
With millions of active monthly users, Instagram is a prolific, lively social media community. Businesses want to get in on the Instagram game in order to boost marketing and enhance customer relations. It might not be immediately obvious to some businesses, however, just how they can get involved with Instagram and make it work for them. One way is to invite customers behind the scenes.
Kana Burnishes Omnichannel Customer Engagement Tools
November 11, 2014
Kana has announced the first major upgrade of its flagship enterprise product following its acquisition earlier this year by Verint. Kana Enterprise Customer Engagement Optimization platform has been available since Oct. 31. At its core, the platform is the same, said Director of Product Marketing Kana Kelly Koelliker. It provides tools to facilitate customer engagement across multiple channels.
Bringing Luxury Online
November 11, 2014
More shoppers are turning to websites as a way to connect with brands and make purchases, and companies are investing heavily in their online presence to ensure that they are delivering a top-notch experience. While the majority of retailers recognize the power of e-commerce, there remains a specific subset of sellers that are hesitant to hop on the online bandwagon: luxury brands.
5 Promises CRM Can't Keep
November 10, 2014
Don't get me wrong -- I think very highly of CRM. I've been making a living writing about it for almost a decade, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Still, covering CRM is a little bit like writing an honest biography of a complex person. Yes, there were moments when your subject achieved great things and was covered in glory, but there were also times when he didn't behave so well.
Webrooming Takes the Sting Out of Showrooming
November 07, 2014
Showrooming, the bane of retailers, is the consumer practice of visiting a brick-and-mortar store to test out merchandise and then buying the same model online at a cheaper price. Now there's "webrooming" -- a new buzzword for a trend that's been gaining momentum. Webrooming is the consumer practice of using the Internet to research a purchase and then going to a physical store to buy it.
Amazon Adds Unlimited Photo Storage to Prime Goodie Bag
November 05, 2014
Amazon on Tuesday announced the addition of free unlimited cloud photo storage for members of its Prime premium shopping service. The new storage feature, Prime Photos, works with Amazon Cloud Drive, the company's free storage offering comparable to iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. Prime Photos initially will be available for U.S. members only.
Starwood's Keyless Entry Streamlines Hotel Check-In
November 04, 2014
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide -- which owns and manages a number of high-end hotel brands including the St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element -- has announced the rollout of SPG Keyless, a tech offering that allows guests to use their smartphone as a room key. Hilton introduced similar technology earlier this year.
Pegasystems Glides Through Social, Mobile Channels
November 03, 2014
Pegasystems has unveiled a major upgrade to its customer service application, offering new functionality both for consumers and customer service reps. Pegasystems seeded the mobile version of Pega Customer Service with new functionality as well, said Steve Kraus, senior director of product marketing for CRM Solutions at Pega. The end goal was to assist users offering omnichannel customer service.
A Customer Experience Secret Weapon
October 31, 2014
There aren't many areas in business where processes used to save money and maximize deal sizes also result in a better customer experience. The exact opposite is usually the case -- the drive to save money by making an internal process more productive or to increase the amount being sold to the customer usually impacts the customer experience for the worse. A notable exception is CPQ software.
Apple Pay May Leave CurrentC in the Dust
October 30, 2014
Apple's debut of Apple Pay has been more than a little bumpy, and the company may be in for some additional negative press about its competitive position before the dust settles. However, there is one major factor in Apple's favor that could help it win the mobile payments tug-of-war in the end: time. It's chief competition, CurrentC, won't launch for another few months.
Apple Pay vs. CurrentC: Prelude to the Beacon Wars
October 30, 2014
The current dustup between Apple Pay and CurrentC is a stark, bleak mess. That's not because Apple promises an easier, more secure way of making a smartphone-based retail transaction. Nor is it because CurrentC wants to harvest data on you and provide behavior-bending coupons, incentives and special deals, while cutting out the middleman credit card processing industry. It gets worse.
Lowe's Gives Robotic Customer Service a Good Name
October 28, 2014
Lowe's soon will add two robots to the customer-service staff at one of its San Jose, California, stores. Called "OSHbot," the robots will assist customers at the Lowe's-owned Orchard Supply Hardware store by directing them to specific products and providing real-time information about promotions and inventory. The OSHbot was developed through a partnership with Fellow Robots.
The Customer Science Revolution
October 23, 2014
Bluewolf, the consultancy that was founded to assist customers implementing and deploying Salesforce.com, has released its annual State of Salesforce report. There is very little that's controversial. Salesforce is a juggernaut at this point, growing at an exceptional and exponential pace. My only quibble with the account is that it does not look very far beneath the surface of the statistics.
Some Apple Pay Users Get Double-Billing and Double-Talk
October 22, 2014
Shortly after Apple Pay's Monday launch, some eager early users were unsettled to see duplicate charges on their accounts. Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus users store credit card information on their devices and then pay for products using tap-to-pay terminals in stores, or via apps when shopping online. However, in some cases, it appears to be dinging consumers' accounts twice.
Mea Culpa: Social Media Apology Do's and Don'ts
October 21, 2014
When DiGiorno tweeted, "You had pizza. #WhyIStayed," Twitter lit up with criticism of the brand. The hashtag "WhyIStayed" is associated with domestic violence. In response to the firestorm its tweet unleashed, DiGiorno peppered its Twitter feed with apology after apology, all of them essentially like this: "A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting."
Jottings on Dreamforce 2014
October 16, 2014
Dreamforce has always been about many things happening at once -- a three-ring circus, in a good way. There are announcements about applications, platforms, philanthropy, entertainment and, importantly, parties. This year there was all of that and then some -- I was a guest with a ringside seat. Perhaps the worst-kept secret of the event was the company's announcement of Wave, its analytics cloud.
One Way Around the Mobile Net Neutrality Conundrum
October 09, 2014
Verizon Wireless may be bitterly regretting the challenge Verizon made to the FCC's Net neutrality rules. There's little doubt competing wireless providers are. Verizon in 2010 sued the FCC over its mandate that ISPs treat all Internet data the same. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this year agreed with Verizon and struck down the rules. Now the FCC is putting it all back on the table.
AT&T Will Fork Over $80M for Mobile Cramming
October 09, 2014
AT&T Mobility will pay $80 million for refunds to consumers who were unlawfully billed for unauthorized third-party charges in a practice known as "mobile cramming," the Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday. AT&T billed customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in subscription charges -- typically in increments of $9.99 per month -- levied by other companies.
Salesforce.com Debuts Faster, Smarter Social and Mobile Tools
October 07, 2014
Salesforce.com on Tuesday unveiled two new products: Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1. The company has a long history of product offerings in these areas, but these new iterations have been designed to address the radical changes in the sales and service space -- namely, the emergence of social and mobile. They also are primed for action when the Internet of Things goes mainstream.
5 Ways Data Denial Hurts Marketing and Sales
October 06, 2014
Other parts of business have reoriented around data, but sales and marketing have been allowed to function as though they're black arts, with their practitioners going about their trades mysteriously, doing things for reasons only they know. Sometimes the result is a great quarter. Other times, not so much. Sales and marketing generate metrics, but many managers rely on instinct and experience.

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