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Five9 Adds Social, Mobile to Its Cloud Call Center Repertoire
June 23, 2014
Five9 has introduced Summer Release 2014, the latest version of its cloud contact center software. The company's first major release since its 8.1 launch last year, it follows Five9's acquisition of SoCoCare, a social engagement and mobile customer care provider. SoCoCare's feature set is part of the basis for the new release. As a result, Summer Release 2014 is now a multichannel desktop app.
Path Adds Another Avenue for Mobile Gabfest
June 23, 2014
Path has hived off its mobile-only messaging service as a standalone app named "Talk," it announced Friday. It also ended limits on the number of friends users can communicate with, and announced its purchase of place messaging pioneer TalkTo as it sets itself for growth. The Talk app has a new feature, Ambient Status, that shows users' current status at a glance.
How Amazon's Fire Phone Will Beat the iPhone in 3 Years
June 23, 2014
Amazon launched its rather impressive Fire Phone last week, and it has a number of things that make it interesting -- but just as the iPhone improved massively by the third version, I expect this phone will as well, as a result of users providing feedback on what they want. Ironically, if the iPhone fails against the Fire Phone, it will be because Jeff Bezos is executing Steve Jobs' old strategy.
The Amazon Fire Phone's Mayday Effect
June 20, 2014
Amazon unveiled its Fire Phone this week, sparking wide interest, if not acclaim. The Fire Phone comes with some innovative features: a dynamic perspective display made possible by six cameras that track the user's head and eye movements; and Firefly, an intelligent assistant that can give Apple's Siri a serious run for its money. Then there is Mayday, a support service feature.
Break the Language Barrier by Learning Your Customers' Native Tongues
June 19, 2014
If you live in the English-speaking world, you've been exposed to the stereotype of the snotty Parisian who refuses to speak English. The idea is that Parisians know how -- but they won't -- and they turn up their noses at anyone who won't speak French. In my experience, that stereotype is largely wrong -- if you make an effort to communicate in any way, most Parisians are perfectly friendly.
Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.
Target Customers Broadcast Epic Checkout Fail
June 16, 2014
Target's customers jumped en masse onto social media Sunday night after technical malfunctions at its stores around the country resulted in long checkout lines and, in some cases, inability to make purchases with store-branded credit cards. The episode struck a nerve with customers, not only because of the inconvenience, but because it was a reminder of another Target point-of-sale glitch.
Conspiracy of Culture: 5 Contributors to CRM Failure
June 12, 2014
Most companies of any size have a CRM application. Every company says it wants to build great relationships with its customers. Almost as many businesses say they want to be "customer-centric." However, as any customer can tell you, the companies that attain these goals are few and far between. What is it that's keeping businesses from doing what they know they need to do? It's not one thing.
New Treehouse Tools Gauge Marketing Campaign Success
June 09, 2014
TreeHouse Interactive has rolled out an enhanced version of its Marketing View application, infusing it with advanced reporting and analytics features and a spruced-upped user interface. The point of the upgrades, said Erich Flynn, CEO of TreeHouse Interactive, was to provide and display all the necessary campaign-related statistics a marketer would need to judge the performance of a campaign.
Why Mobile Providers Will Have to Give a Little on Privacy
June 06, 2014
Apple has tossed out some hints that its App Store may soon accept apps that handle digital currencies such as bitcoin. Though there are many possible reasons for the move, one stands out: PornHub last month released an analysis of its 38 million daily visitors, which included the interesting observation that more than half were using mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
Subscription Economy Gold: Retention
June 05, 2014
The idea of the subscription economy is not new -- at least not to anyone who's familiar with the idea of software as a service -- but it's an idea that can sneak up on businesses. Many in the SaaS space started as more traditional vendors that saw subscriptions as simply a different delivery mechanism and a way to reach customers who couldn't afford massive upfront cash layouts.
SAP Seeds the Cloud With Industry-Specific CRM Applications
June 02, 2014
SAP has updated its cloud-based CRM portfolio with the rollout of three industry-specific applications. These applications, designed for the insurance, utilities and retail sectors, are the first cloud-based verticals for CRM, aside from a broader-based application with functionality tailored for consumer goods. In addition, SAP has introduced a cloud-based marketing performance dashboard.
Poor Mistake Management: 3 Model Lessons
May 29, 2014
I am a nerd with a goofy hobby -- I build plastic model airplanes. However, that hobby affords me a view of customer relationship issues in an interesting and intimate way. Most of the time, the vendors in this space get things right, realizing theirs is a niche industry and their customers really are in charge, especially since all spending in this sector is discretionary.
SuiteWorld's Vision
May 22, 2014
Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, talked a lot about CRM in his recent keynote at SuiteWorld. You might not think that's unusual, given that the company has a whole suite of cloud-based ERP-CRM-E-Commerce, but it represents a departure -- and I don't know if even Nelson is fully aware of it. NetSuite built its reputation and a half-billion dollar business around front- to back-office integration.
eBay's In With the Breached Crowd
May 21, 2014
If there's a list of retailers that have not exposed their customers' data to a security breach, it just got shorter. The most recent company to confess to being hacked is eBay, which on Wednesday began sending emails urging customers to change their passwords. eBay announced that a cyberattack had compromised a database containing encrypted passwords and other nonfinancial data.
Zero Patience, Zero Wait: The New Customer Reality
May 19, 2014
Gone in half the blink of an eye. Online customers, that is. Visitors are less likely to return to a site that is even 250 milliseconds slower than a competing site, according to Harry Shum, a Microsoft executive who led research and development efforts for the Bing search engine. That's an increment of time equal to about half the amount of time it takes a human to blink. Milliseconds matter.
Going Off-Script to Delight Customers
May 16, 2014
I had an exciting moment while grocery shopping last week. After 10 years of going to the same market and seeing the same checkers, one of them actually pronounced my name right. I know my last name's a bit hard to pronounce, and clerks have spent the better part of the 21st century asking me how to say it. I also know that, at the market where I shop, clerks are instructed to thank customers.
Report: CRM Is Going Strong
May 09, 2014
CRM software had a good year in 2013 with the category totaling $20.4 billion, a 13.7 percent increase from $18 billion the previous year, according to a report released this week by Gartner. Furthermore, the next few years are likely to be just as positive, if not more, the firm predicted. "CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years," said Gartner Research VP Joanne Correia.
Snapchat Makes FTC Privacy Charges Disappear
May 09, 2014
Snapchat has agreed to a settlement with the United States Federal Trade Commission to resolve privacy issues resulting from a hacker's publication in January of data associated with 4.6 million of its users. The company has not admitted any wrongdoing, but it has agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program that will be audited by a third party for the next 20 years.
Is a Poor Portal Ruining Your Partners' Experience?
May 08, 2014
Selling direct is a breeze -- kind of. You control everything -- you choose the salesperson, you provide the training, you establish the payment structure, and you decide on the marketing message used to reach customers, among other things. When you sell through the channel, howevr, things get complicated. You need to depend on your partners to hire, train and motivate sales people.
Mobile Apps, Beacons and the Coming Retail Revival
May 07, 2014
Internet companies are showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to innovation, specifically in the area of physical retail. Smartphones and tablets are the new darlings of e-commerce companies, and they now are being used to provide immersive and entertaining shopping experiences. Many of the characteristics of online retail shopping are being replicated in the physical shopping aisle.
Mobile CRM May Widen the Big Data/Privacy Divide
May 06, 2014
The White House last week added to the ongoing national discussion about online privacy and tracking with the release of a review counselor John Podesta conducted on Big Data and privacy issues. Among other things, privacy advocates hope the findings will spotlight the role of mobile in the gathering of consumer data by companies. Mobile technologies have a particularly voracious appetite.

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