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Are Call Centers Ready for the Internet of Things?
February 17, 2015
The IoT represents a wealth of untapped riches -- and there's no shortage of data highlighting the potential this technology has for the economy. The demand is there, as is the supply. However, there's one piece that may or may not be missing, depending on whom you ask: the back end capacity to handle the information these devices will generate.
How Eroding Trust Hurts Companies
February 12, 2015
I love all the innovation and trends in the wireless, telecom, television, Internet and tech space. However there is also a big warning light flashing ahead that no one is paying attention to...trust is eroding. Trust is a delicate thing and is being ignored. Innovation is great, but if we don't protect the privacy and personal information of users, they will lose trust and that will bite us in the end.
Parature from Microsoft Caters to Customer Service Pros
February 10, 2015
Roughly a year after it acquired Parature, Microsoft last month unveiled the Spring '15 release of Parature from Microsoft. The new application, the first major release since the acquisition, adds to Parature's self-service and knowledge management functionality. The feature set focuses on increasing the productivity of customer service teams as well as giving them additional above-the-queue insights.
Anthem Mega-Breach Jeopardizes 80 Million Consumers
February 5, 2015
Hackers broke into the databases of Anthem Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the U.S., and stole up to 80 million customers' personal information. The data includes current and former customers' names, birthdays, medical IDs, social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, Anthem president and CEO Joseph Swedish wrote in a note sent to customers.
Verizon Addresses Supercookie Conundrum
February 3, 2015
Users of Verizon Wireless' network and products will find it will be easier to opt out of the carrier's tracking activities. The carrier has been using a "supercookie" identifier to follow smartphone users' mobile Web activity. Verizon has given consumers ways to opt out of various marketing programs, but escaping the reach of supercookies has proven to be elusive for consumers.
A Little Dab of Credit Card Data Can ID Customers
February 2, 2015
Credit card users may be dismayed by findings MIT Researchers reported last week in the journal Science: Just four pieces of vague non-identifying information were enough to identify 90 percent of people in a data set of 1.1 million credit card users. When the researchers went to work with three pieces of less vague information, they achieved 94 percent success.
Customer Science
January 28, 2015
Part of my new year routine has been ordering new business cards. In this electronic age, they are the only things I actually print, and I'm a writer! In a few weeks I'll publish a book, Solve for the Customer, in paperback, and the two are related. I made a discovery while writing the book that fundamentally changes what I do for a living and the title I use, hence my need to reprint.
Engage.cx Makes Customers an Offer They Can't Lose
January 27, 2015
Engage.cx just secured $2.9 million in Series A financing. The round of participating investors is noteworthy, but for the CRM industry the real intrigue lays in Engage.cx's premise -- or rather, promise: how to present a unified cohesive customer service operationr, no matter which channel is used. Other vendors claim they can do this, but Engage.cx is taking a novel approach.
T-Mobile Courts Credit-Challenged Customers
January 26, 2015
T-Mobile last week announced Smartphone Equality, a new credit program aimed at existing T-mobile customers with less-than-sterling credit who have paid their wireless bill on time for 12 straight months. Under the new plan, this group qualifies for the best pricing and offers on devices and tablets available to T-Mobile customers -- including those with the best credit ratings.
Time to Drill Deeper
January 21, 2015
This is not an article about fracking -- drilling for gas and oil in shale. This is about "drilling down" into big data. We've been using the term for a long time and it provides a useful metaphor for data analysis. However, we've conditioned ourselves to think of drilling down only to a superficial degree, and that needs a rethink. When data wasn't big, we were only able to scratch the surface.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 2
January 20, 2015
The second half of the Top 20 Bloggers list is the half that holds the most surprises and fresh faces. This year, it also has the most variety -- from non-English speakers to blogs targeted at small businesses -- as well as plenty of marketing-oriented content. There also are some re-entries to the list who have rediscovered their blogs and come roaring back.
Data Breach Law Tops Obama Privacy Initiatives
January 12, 2015
A proposed national data breach reporting law, aimed primarily at protecting consumer privacy, headlined several initiatives the Obama administration announced Monday. The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act clarifies the obligations of companies when there's been a data breach. It includes a requirement to notify customers within 30 days of the discovery of a breach.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 1
January 12, 2015
The field of CRM bloggers is like the start of a marathon: There may be thousands of entrants, but there are only a few elite runners. Spotting them in the rest of the pack is not always easy -- especially as their enthusiasm for blogging waxes and wanes, or as they move into other formats, like becoming regular columnists in publications. However, there are a few things that identify the elite.
The Way to a Customer's Heart Is Through Your Employees
January 8, 2015
Companies need to understand that their employees are key to keeping customers satisfied, said Bruce Temkin, managing partner of the Temkin Group. Temkin identified eight customer experience trends for 2015 and advised companies to train their staff in those areas. However, "all the training in the world ... will fall short if the leadership team is not on board," he said.
Better and Better
January 7, 2015
James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds and business and finance columnist for The New Yorker, published an article in the magazine's Nov. 10, 2014, issue entitled, "Better All The Time." The piece connects the importance of culture-wide continuous incremental improvement using data and analytics -- what the Japanese call kaizen -- to business and employees.
Surviving 4 Inescapably Unfair Aspects of CX Delivery
December 19, 2014
Ever built a house of cards? It's critical to start with a sound foundation to support your later efforts. No matter how sturdy your start is, however, a wrong move anywhere along the way can bring down the house and cause all your work to be for naught. Delivering good customer experiences is like that: You can do extraordinary work in planning the basics and even get customers to buy from you.
Zendesk Crystallizes Mobile Customer Service
December 16, 2014
Zendesk has launched a new platform, Zendesk Embeddables, that allows companies to incorporate certain elements of the Zendesk product suite in mobile and Web apps, as well as games and other online mobile experiences. Zendesk Embeddables includes a mobile software development kit and Web Widget. Using these, a company can offer Zendesk's self-service functionality through a mobile app.
Sales and Marketing Aren't Aligned - but Their Problems Are
December 8, 2014
The numbers prove it: Sales and marketing just aren't playing well together in most organizations. A not-so-small industry has sprung up to attack the issue of sales/marketing alignment, but the problem is so deeply entrenched that it may never be fully eradicated. That's a little weird when you think about it. The two sides are confronting problems that parallel each other.
Things Not to Say to an Irate Customer, or Anthem's Epic Fail
December 4, 2014
I have sympathy for customer service representatives. I know that customers can be ignorant, demanding and ill-mannered. Still, CSRs should be trained to deal with bad-tempered customers. Also, CSRs should be trained to avoid provoking pleasant and agreeable customers to the edge of meltdown -- or beyond. If your ears are burning, Elizabeth at Anthem Blue Cross, yes, I'm talking about you.
Customers Speak
December 3, 2014
Several news stories have provided interesting insights into the Black Friday phenomenon and into customer behavior. One indicates sales slipped by 0.5 percent from the same period last year, despite sharp discounting and stores opening on Thanksgiving. Another story shows how the Black Friday phenomenon is catching on in the UK. It looks like the mania is spreading even as it cools in the U.S.
Cyber Monday Reveals New Customer Spending Patterns
December 2, 2014
Despite a ho-hum level of sales volume over the past four days, online sales this Cyber Monday were up 8.7 percent over the same period in 2013 by late afternoon, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Continuing a trend that has been growing for the last few years, mobile sales accounted for 21.3 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday, an increase of 29.3 percent year over year.
AgilOne Bends Over Backwards to Understand Customers
December 1, 2014
AgilOne has rolled out an enhanced version of its predictive marketing platform with new tools, as well as improvements to fine-tune its forecasting capabilities, said CMO Dominique Levin. The focus of the upgrade was to automate even more of the analytics and subsequent decision-making by users. One of the new tools uses predictive analytics to uncover underserved customer segments.
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.

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Is native advertising good for journalism?
Yes -- It's a reasonable source of additional revenue for media outlets to support their traditional editorial efforts.
Yes -- Paid-for articles can contain useful information, but readers might bypass them if they look too much like ads.
Maybe -- But only if it's clearly labeled as paid-for content.
No -- I don't trust any information from media outlets that cloak paid-for content as objective journalism.
No -- Native advertising is confusing and devious, and it threatens the fabric of traditional journalism.
I Don't Know -- I don't understand what native advertising is.
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