Michael Maoz

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

The CIO, a VP Marketing and a customer walk into a bar….

by Michael Maoz  |  October 5, 2014  |  2 Comments

Consumers are often frustrated for reasons that the CIO can neither see nor understand. Our consumers are frustrated for reasons that the VP of Marketing cannot see nor understand. If a customer of a business were to sit down with a CIO and give them their point of view, the CIO might find it interesting, though not conclude that it is their job to fix. If the consumer were to then sit down with the VP Marketing, they too would have a friendly conversation, notes would be taken, and little would change. If the CIO, VP Marketing and the consumer were to sit down together, there would be a lot of uncomfortable fidgeting, plenty of commiseration, and notes would be sent to the VP of Customer Service.

The big issue is that we as CIOs, or IT leaders, or Marketing leaders, cannot be everywhere. We need eyes and ears on the ground to tell us what is really happening. We need true feedback to come right at us. When we don’t have a close look at the customer, they stop believing in our slogans and mottoes and marketing hype. The feedback loop for most companies is broken. It is like in Van Morrison’s 1991 Hymns to the Silence album, and the consumer is saying, “I’m not feelin’ it no more, I’m tryin’ to give you the score, just like I did before.” But the lines of business and IT are saying that everything is fine. This is true whether your model is business-to-business or business-to-consumer.

Let’s look at, in pictures, three multinational companies that we interacted with over the past three weeks. Each of these has very high level marketing programs, Business Intelligence software, and high cost IT departments.

First, a car rental company. Returning a car to the airport at 22:46, none of the three shuttle bus drivers of this global company wanted to bring customers to the terminal because their shifts ended at 23:00 and they would only return to the depot a few minutes after 23:00. And the new shift of drivers would not begin until the top of the hour. So customers just stood enjoying the evening air while the employees drank coffee and smoked cigarettes:

Car company for blog

How will anyone in a position to institute change receive this feedback? You might say: complete the survey. Been there and done that: no response.

And then on the airplane moving from Asia to the USA, after intrepid traveler upgraded to Business Class in order to be fresh for work the following day, another global carrier could not be bothered refreshing the rest-rooms during the last hour of the flight. This airline has a massive IT project and Marketing program to win customers:

airplane WC

How about a place to leave feedback right away, or upon landing? (When asked why no WiFi, the crew answered: we can’t because we are over water…).

And the final example, a global bank with operations in over 100 countries. They are in the midst of an IT transformation, introducing Cloud computing for their business applications and using analytics to understand customer trends. But in the branch on any afternoon, over 50 customers mill about in multiple queues, holding onto chits of paper awaiting their turns to be called. Mountains of paper lie on every customer service desktop. It is basically like a liquidation sale right as the doors opened. Neither the CIO nor the VP of Marketing will know that the bad set of processes in the branch is a far more serious issue than IT modernization or the mobile banking campaign.

Bank for blog

The point? As we launch our Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando, FL (sold out: http://www.gartner.com/technology/symposium/orlando/ ),#GartnerSym this week, let’s look for ways for the CIO and the head of Marketing to reach all of the way down to where the consumer lives in their day to day interactions – at the moments of truth. Each of the businesses above have highly qualified IT leaders, as well as marketing leaders who are passionate about their brand, and have a concern for their customers. The fact that this passion does not manifest itself in the customer experience is understandable: these IT and Marketing leaders do not ‘own’ the customer experience. They own parts of the experience. Form follows function: IT does its best and Marketing does its best. Neither team has the brief, “Ensure that we are a customer centric company, and use direct feedback from the customer to inform our view. Let’s be transparent internally and externally to show where we stand, and how we have improved.” We need better feedback loops and a unified team including the CIO, VP of Customer Support, Customer Experience, and VP Marketing – a team that is measured and whose compensation is impacted by the resulting improvements or lack of improvements in customer experience.

So, the next time that the CIO, a VP Marketing and a customer walk into a bar, are you confident that they will toast one another…


Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud CRM Customer Centric Web Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Strategic Planning symposium Uncategorized     Tags:

As CIOs look out at Wearables, what is it that they see?

by Michael Maoz  |  September 9, 2014  |  1 Comment

 Think back over the past 20 years at the innovative technologies that you have absorbed into your life. That first Nokia 3210 back in 1999. Or that Motorola RAZR2 in 2006, or that dreamy iPhone that made you give up your Blackberry. No! Not the Blackberry, they’ll never pry it from my cold, dying hands. And then the next minute: who needs it. In Latin, ironically, one would say mobile vulgus – the public is fickle.  Regardless, add that mobile phone to ‘You’ve got mail,’ and then your first Facebook posts just ten years ago. And now it is Pinterest and Instagram and Snapchat.

What do they have in common? No one had to tell you that you wanted them. Without much fanfare, and with no convincing, you fell into them in an intoxicating stupor that you could hardly explain. Suddenly we were calling one another, and texting, messaging, poking, a lot of BFFs and LOLs, connections, links, infectious and inane games that caused the kids in the back seat to forget the traffic jam or the long plane ride.

And now ask yourself: is this the same feeling as wearables? Jawbone UP fitness trackers and Google Glass and a dozen other wearable devices usually land on the same Uber-wrists. The fit and the well-to-do and the educated on the US East and West Coasts, or I’m Right coast v the Best coast. As incredible as the new wearable technologies are, and without underestimating the enormous potential for monitoring health, is there the same fervor? Is there a mad rush to wearables, or is there a phenomenal amount of hype pushing people towards it?

A litmus test is to look at high school and university students. In the past, they were my early indicators. They don’t appear to want to have their lives run more efficiently. Was Angry Birds about efficiency and time saving? Hagel, Seely, Brown models might be great, but they aren’t the models younger demographics have in mind. The point is: as CIO or IT leader, trying to gauge the enthusiasm for wearables, the implications of turning employees and customers to ‘nodes on networks’ – versus other pressing initiatives like basic data about the state of the customer across multiple channels and their likelihood to buy your product or leave you for a competitor – where or where does a wearable go in the planning cycle?

NET: we have a period of IT euphoria for wearables ahead that taps into the overall Internet of Things. Eventually – and that eventually is more in line with IP telephony’s emergence than Facebook’s emergence – wearables will likely have a killer set of applications. In the meantime, now is the time to stage your investments in wearable technologies and applications, a time to build use cases, a time to measure a series of small tactical projects for specific users. Watch carefully for when that ‘eventually’ becomes today so that you are not caught flat footed (there’s an app for that), all of the while slotting in wearables in their proper place.

We may be way off on this – just speak up and say it! I have my Azumio and Strava set up, so I will know if you’ve rattled me.


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Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Cloud Customer Centric Web Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags:

The Selfie Marshall McLuhan anticipated 50 years ago, but as CIO you might miss.

by Michael Maoz  |  August 25, 2014  |  1 Comment

Here are five places where anyone could have observed a Selfie being taken or viewed in any major US city this week: Waiting in line at the DMV, driving a car, checking out at the supermarket, picking up tickets for a film, crossing a busy street. These were the more interesting answers given at a party Saturday night. Interesting in the sense that a sane person once might have asked: ‘isn’t that dangerous? Or silly?’ but today that same person would not ask, as posing the query would draw more of a stare than a Neanderthal on the East Green in Central Park.

Statistics that claim to tally channel usage by consumers are laughable. Dig into them and they are either focused on an industry, a geographic area, a specific demographic or market segment. The variety, depth, and style of using engagement channels and social media channels around the globe by people of various ages, educational and economic levels, and location make averages useless.

What is important is studying your own circumstance, aware of what is happening out there. What is 100% clear is that when Marshall McLuhan wrote Understanding Media – The extensions of man in 1964, he was onto something profound. This is not the first time his name comes up here. Re-read him. Try this line:

“Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man– the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media.”

We are deeply into the extension of consciousness into social media. Many of us no longer retain information, just a mental bookmark or social link to where the information can be retrieved – we are truly outsourcing our brains. To an extent we are also outsourcing our taste and judgment, preferring to let the crowd comment on an activity, a relationship, an idea, before we firm-up our own thought process. And all of the while we feel comfortable that each of us is in charge and acting entirely on our own. The only highly differentiated ‘me’ left is the me in social ‘me-‘dia.

What do we do with this eerie pattern? As IT professionals we admit that this is outside of our expertise. There are social scientists and evolutionary psychologists and ethnographers who we can tap into. There are universities around the world such as Stanford, MIT, Oxford, and Cambridge where cutting edge research is available. (well, not exactly today in England – another Bank Holiday)

Tapping into the Zeitgeist is harder than we think. Technologies are abundant, while understanding is in short supply. Ask for help, look for allies, and look for the logic and the data to support hypotheses. It is an ultra-exciting time, though by no means a simple time.

Most companies are holding onto more cash than ever before. Rather than pass it into a marketing fog, the CIO needs to be vocal about the need to run small experiments to understand the implications of the media-saturated customer. Just get started. Maybe hold off on taking that Selfie at your next staff meeting, though.

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Category: Analytics for Social CRM Business Intelligence CIO CRM Gamification Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags:

CIOs start to taste the meringue and unload those pesky humans.

by Michael Maoz  |  August 19, 2014  |  3 Comments

It has been three and a half years since IBM’s multi-billion dollar Watson, an array of  supercomputing power, won the US television show Jeapordy. Despite some really funny errors, it did manage the very clever response to the answer: “A long, tiresome speech delivered by a frothy pie topping.” Its question, which it was the first to give, is now famous: “What is meringue-harangue?” Well before Watson we began to see contextual, semantic search improve, and rapid information tagging and retrieval. and new big-data approaches, we began to automate. But with Google’s Spanner RDBMS, Snappy, BigTable,  and other tools dribbling down into commercial applications, the world of self service will explode.

Everyone has a million personal examples of why most human jobs have to go. In the 1990’s world of call center outsourcing, we used to tell clients that this was an interesting intermediate step, but the true end point for most interactions was self-service. Outsourcing was simply whistling past the graveyard and buying time. On Sunday I was in an office supply superstore, because it was the last minute and I needed many things for one of my children who is soon to leave for school, and, of course, I needed them right away. Who goes in these stores otherwise, unless you are caught in the rain or overheated? I had been sent an in-store promotion that gave me a very nice discount. The marketing image was cute: “fill this bag and get an x-percent discount on everything!”

Well, as the offer was sitting on my iPhone and was to be scanned at the counter, why worry about the silly bag? To the store we went, filled the shopping baskets, and got to the register. There we met Keith. Keith, it would appear, is a stoner. Or pretends to be. Yet here we are with Keith, in seeming slow-motion, scanning each and every item. And we are not talking about listening to The Band playing for Max Fischer and Miss Cross at the end of Rushmore. Then again, CIOs should listen to the words: “I wish I knew then what I know now.” And then at the end I present my coupon from my iPhone and Keith looks up. “I’m sorry sir, but we are all out of those bags, so we can’t honor the discount.”

My daughter, suddenly enlightened as to the meaning of my Zen koan “Stay in school!” is baffled and can’t help blurting out, “Keith, dude, it’s a metaphor, its symbolic, its just an idea – we don’t actually NEED the bag. We don’t want a bag, only a discount.”

“Michelle, can you come help me at the front,” Keith speaks into the mouthpiece around his neck.

“What is it, Keith?” And he blithely relates our story about the bag for the promotion.

“Keith, they don’t actually need the bag, just give them the promotion.”

More of this unfolded, but I will save you, except the final crescendo: Keith is out of cash-register paper. The receipt won’t print. I tell him it is OK, it comes directly to me by email. What he says next now sets us into uncontrolled laughter, though he was not joking. When he realizes he is out of paper, but feels he MUST print the receipt, he stops dead in his already-glacial tracks and says, “I am out of paper. I am not physically or emotionally prepared to go through this.”

So here is the deal: let us scan it. Let us pay for it. Let us find the items with a kiosk. Let’s talk about uptime: your old landline was available 99.999%. Cloud apps are usually available 99.9+%. Robots are available all but 4000+ hours per year. Human are unavailable 6,880 hours of every 8,760 hours. And some work 20 years and then collect pensions for another 30+ years or more. And we like computers, and kiosks, and Google+ and search, and swiping, gesturing, and all around being in charge.

So, yes, we have made a good start at transitioning from carbon-based (humans) to silicon-based (computers), yet there is still 75% of the savings and improvements ahead of us. Are you inventorying everything that you can digitize? Move to the Cloud? Move to self service? Are you measuring the benefit versus the threat? Are you sharing it from the CEO and board all of the way to your line-workers? Automation will happen at a faster pace, and you don’t want pie in your face when you are questioned about how you have readied the enterprise.

As always, share your examples. We love the examples of self service and automation that you have sent over the past two years.

By the way, if you are trying to engineer the next generation Customer Service Center, I just published (for Gartner clients) the “Gartner Customer Engagement Center RFP Toolkit” to make it easy for you to find the right tools and vendors. (if you are a client, it is here: http://www.gartner.com/document/2822321 )




Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Sales Force Automation Social CRM Strategic Planning     Tags:

Looking for the Demand-Side CIO

by Michael Maoz  |  August 6, 2014  |  1 Comment

The spectacular CIO you suss out in about 90 seconds. She/he comes into the room (and 85% of the time it is a ‘he’ with CIOs) and there is no condescending, no need to mark the trees and bushes before sitting down. The CIOs one usually meets have been around for a while, and 3/4 of the time do not have a business degree or MBA. The CIO that is devoted to making a difference in the business is inclusive and likes people in the room who are as smart or smarter than themselves. There is some easy joking. The others are not afraid of the arbitrary or rule by fiat.

Meetings start with the normal scuttlebutt*, but in a good way – what is happening? How are people feeling? What is working and not working? Where are we seeing roadblocks or potential problems?

Then the difference between the good CIO and spectacular CIO kicks in: the direction and tenure of the conversation. There will always be the conversations about security, outages, bandwidth, costs, urgent network and website and tools issues – and they are there on the table but they are not the order of the day. The true direction of the meetings and the agenda overall is around what an economist would think of as the ‘demand-side’ of the business. It would look at the CEOs core goals to grow the business, and it would look at the IT projects around people, process and technology that relate to these goals.

“How are we doing on our customer-facing initiatives?

How do you know?

Which customers?

Do we have the right people in place?

Looking at our key metrics for success in reaching a new audience, deepening profitable relationships and retaining customers, how are we doing with each of these?

What are the urgent technology initiatives that we have overlooked?

That we have not invested enough time or thought or money in?

How are our key competitors responding to these same opportunities and threats?”

Do these questions sound familiar? If they do, you are very fortunate, because this is IT harnessed to business success and you are at the center of great things. If instead you are sitting listening to a grumpy autocrat scrapping for turf, polish up your skills and LinkedIn connections. Unless you have closet masochistic tendencies, in which case consider yourself at home.

(* If you sail or are into nautical references, scuttlebutt is a term that came from sailors on larger ships who would put holes [they 'scuttled/cut holes in] in a cask [AKA a 'butt]of fresh water to access it more easily. The cask, or butt, was a logical place to gather and exchange gossip – like a watercooler in the ’60s-’70s)

CEOs and Boards of Director are looking to shift away from the old CIO type who has a ‘supply-side’ mentality and are actively recruiting for the ‘demand-side mindest’ in every key industry, including Government and Higher Education.

When you find one of these dynamic CIOs, talk them up! They are a part of the great things happening with CRM projects, Big Data initiatives, and the move to value-based relationships with customers and shareholders.

Thanks for sharing your insights about the great CIOs you are seeing!

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Category: CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership     Tags:

Data Analytics’ splendid isolation from the customer reality.

by Michael Maoz  |  August 3, 2014  |  4 Comments

Empirical data, AKA ‘stuff that happens to us as ordinary consumers’ is a decent way to capture the state of BI, Data Analytics and Predictive Analytics across industries and continents. In the past six months our team members have been on business trips and vacation on five continents and 18 countries and 12 US States. Some of us added a credit card, had a child prepare to leave home, rented cars, bought furniture, sporting equipment, electronics gear, entered the market for a new car, and had changes to our medical insurance. From hundreds of transactions there was zero perceived contribution from BI, Data Analytics and Predictive Analytics tools in any part of any process.

Some examples: While adding a Credit Card, one of us shifted about $3,600 in monthly spending from one card to another. This is after 12 years of consistent, and very frequent, use of the charge facility.  After eight months the original credit card company has failed to acknowledge in any way the 85% drop in monthly charges. Neither the retailer whose compromised security system, nor the Credit Card provider who failed to inform or advise in time and caused the move to another Credit Card made a move, sent a notification, attempted to explain/reach out/persuade in any way.

One of us reserved a car for a Sunday morning in Paris this July from a global Car Rental company, let us give them the name der Schmerz. Despite being high on their Loyalty Program and a 20 year customer, and despite confirmations by phone to their global office, they cancelled the reservation because we were not at their downtown site within two hours of the window allowed. A long, long story, but after renting at least 100 times previously, and despite a perfect record of picking up cars, there was no notification, no reminder of the 2 hour rule, no mention of the rule in the phone conversations or in the reservation reminder email. And despite having cars available would only provide a car at an 80% premium over the quoted rate. And the customer was to blame for being ‘late’ though they were unawares.

The automobile example is equally interesting: owning five cars from the same manufacturer over 15 years, we are again on the market. Multiple generic promotions are mailed to the house. None recognize what might be of interest NEXT. No pattern detected, no hints as to what might the next best approach: Lease? Purchase? Finance purchase? Features? Timing? Gornisht.

Whether it is financial advice for a student, retirement savings for an adult, government services, telephone/internet advice on best bundle, consumer electronics, pick an area and you will perceive as a consumer an absolute lack of understanding of customer intent. No traction, no engagement, no anticipation, no concierged service that rings of: “We are looking out for you!”

The reasons are legion – Marketing is interested in the ‘top of the funnel’ and the job of customer support is keeping you happy though you have a problem. Sales wants new money. BI wants to understand what is happening. But whose job is it to provide the actual mechanism to anticipate the customer’s needs, value, and corporate real-time response? We need a Dalai Lama of Business Execution, someone to enforce the coda: If you want your customer to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. I know his Holiness will excuse the mangling of ideas, but the message is: who is in the line of fire to guarantee that customers are treated correctly? That all of the rhetoric about customer experience and customer blah blah blah finally comes together in a systematic set of processes of mutual value exchange? (in simple words: the customer hands over their money because they really perceive the value at each step in the CRM process.)

The interlocking corporate team members from across BI, CIO, and Lines of Business either hang together or the customer relationships hang separately.

Do you know of any companies (and do NOT say Amazon or Nordstrom or Sephora again, please) that can carry out genuine, predictive and proactive analysis on behalf of the customer to offer them germane offers and services that engender trust? Let’s hear about them – name names! And tell us who is running the initiative!


Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications Business Intelligence CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership Strategic Planning     Tags:

Fooling ourselves with an Internet of Things.

by Michael Maoz  |  June 30, 2014  |  3 Comments

In the northern hemisphere it is summer, and vacation travel in the United States and Europe has gotten into mid-gear. It is a time when there is an accelerated feeling of just how out of synch the “Internet of Things” and “Social Media” and “Digital Enterprise” have gotten from many real issues. Roads are still crumbling. Highways are no different than they were in the 1950s. Over 99% of homes are about as primitive as they were when they were built. Airplanes still can’t take off or land in fog, and when they do take to the air, the overall travel time has not changed since the mid-1960s.

There has been a change in the nature of service. Now no one does anything for you. The job of customer service has been outsourced back to the customer. You want to find a product, YOU find the product. You want to pay, you establish your credentials, enter your information, and track the transaction. Want to fly? Stay in a hotel? Borrow an apartment? Rent a car? Book a place in a restaurant? (the list goes on and on and on) – don’t expect a human. And when you do, if you do, they will be less informed than you are, and not as commited or motivated to help.

What are CIOs working on? Are we, as IT leaders, finding ways to better engage customers, make their lives better, relate to them where they are, as they are, for whom they are? Even the term, “Internet of Things” focuses on the anonymity of the transaction: take in signal, compute signal, respond to signal. Antiseptic, clinical. If one were to say an ‘Internet of Engagement,’ then it might show that the intention is not to digitize everything, but to exploit the power of digitisation to drive better understanding of the customer, prospect, and partner to improve business results.

Internet of Things is not a bad start. Not a great start, but not a bad start. It is time to move past ‘things’ and into business outcomes, into deeper engagement with the customer or more intelligent work on behalf of the customer. Drones delivering pizza or gifts and driverless cars and a hundred other initiatives are wonderful academic experiments with serious potential to improve the supply chain. But for the average business, and the average customer, are you sure that you have found the best value in an internet of things, or is it time to look at an internet of engagement?


Category: Business Intelligence CIO Cloud Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags:

CIOs face choiceless choice for complicated CRM projects.

by Michael Maoz  |  June 19, 2014  |  4 Comments

Two of my colleagues just finished a tour of client visits in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore, Taiwan and parts of China (or other parts, depending on ones politics). Their observations are in line with what we are seeing in most parts of the world: when it comes to building a next-generation CRM desktop, mobile interface, or Customer-Centric web portal with strong capabilities for customer engagement, the choices are extremely limited.

To start off, the idea of deploying a product from a single software company to unify Web, mobile and Agent experience is unavailable for most companies and organizations in most parts of the world. Building a unified customer support interface with the right features (single view of the customer, including social media presence, business rules, next best action advise, multi-channel integration) for any but the most trivial of uses will reduce the “Choice” of vendor to one or none. Banking, medical insurance, airlines, universities, utilities – what do they get to choose from? Maybe one vendor. To build the solution that you really want requires a bit of the very new and a bit of re-animation of mostly dead matter, Victor Frankenstein-meets-IT, to get the system that is required.

What is the business owner, and the CIO, to do in order to get a project moving forward? For a large and complex customer support center, or a Customer Engagement Center, the best option can often be working on key, tactical issues that will have high value to the business without commiting IT to a new architectural choice. Amongst these are five high-power projects:

  1. the support of consumers/customers on mobile devices
  2. improving agent visibility into the true ‘state’ of the customer: emotion/sentiment, current projected lifetime value, past experience and likely intent for calling
  3. Better agent access to knowledge / information about the situation: articles, data, links, policies or answers
  4. A more responsive and intuitive web experience for the customer on your website via better customer search tools, better navigation, integrated chat features, video-based answers, and virtual assistants
  5. Agent connections into social media to ‘listen’ to customer experiences in social media, with an ability to engage

For each of these areas there are several excellent vendor choices, measurable benefit, and little impact on future IT direction.

So: the big projects may have to wait a bit as Cloud-based CRM software matures for complex customer engagement centers, but there are plenty of great reasons and software to excite a CIO to get something going on behalf of the customer.

Sometimes leadership and vision are best focused on small, tactical projects that collectively create a strategic position for great customer experience.

That is what we are seeing. And you?



Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud Contact Center CRM Customer Centric Web Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags:

Could your customer strategy make you as engaging as Cristiano Ronaldo?

by Michael Maoz  |  June 13, 2014  |  2 Comments

The digital marketing age that we are in poses more than a small challenge to the enterprise in that we want to be more engaging with fewer – far, far fewer – humans in the corporate ranks. Marketing is using more sophisticated algorighms to understand and target the right person at the right time in the right place with the right offer. And then Marketing finds out that the bean counters who really run the joint found the plan wanting. Just look at most airline or hotel chain scams: first you run after their credit card or loyalty program to get the free nights at the hotel, and then in year two they re-classify your favourite Category 4 hotel to a level 5 that does not accept points. By re-paving the parking lot, or adding a business lounge. And the airline that merges or sends you the offer RIGHT AFTER you purchase that ticket, because they know you bought the ticket and it is safe to dangle the offer in front of you when you cannot re-book to meet the terms because the availability and price have changed. Technology to destroy loyalty.

But the eradication of carbon-based life forms continues unabated at companies. The new smart business is hygenic and clever. Tablets built into surfaces, menues beckoning, wireless invisibly throbbing.  It is imperative to drive growth and improve margin.

But a strange thing about humans is that they love other humans. If you are watching the World Cup, you know Cristiano Ronaldo. Twice the number of people follow him on Twitter as Beyonce and six times more than the Pope and three times more than the Dalai Lama. And all of those folks are more important to people than your company. More people are concerned about tendinitis in his left knee than are thinking about your company – or will ever care about your company – ever. Ever. Compare that to the number of people following his Portugal national football team – he towers over the team as a team. It is #7 the forward, not the team that interests the fans. It is often, maybe usually, that your personnel, not your corporation, that are the make-or-break in a relationship.

For some of us this is OK. If you are Apple or Google or Alibaba. But beyond the 1%, a personal face to the customer is critical. The waiter, or receptionist before the MRI, the clerk at the courthouse, the surgeon, the shopkeeper. Small example: I was replacing a broken pane of glass for a very old light fixture, and I went into the only store in my area that actually cut glass to special size. It is a family-run business called Goody’s. I walked through the front door and a man immediately asked me how they might help. I told him, and he pointed to the back. As I walked, I heard a second man speak into an intercom, “John, I have a customer for cut glass.” When I got to the back, there was John ready to cut my glass. For $3.29…. Ready in four minutes.

I asked John, “Shouldn’t I buy a second pane in case I have another one break?” and he said, “No, I wouldn’t recommend that.”

I asked him, “Why not? It’s only $3.29!” His answer? “Well, I wouldn’t recommend it because we would love you to come back to the store.” So human. So engaging.

When your software can match John of Goody’s, make the switch. Until then, maybe a blended strategy and measure, measure, measure satisfaction and engagement.

By the way, maybe you watched to opening kick at the World Cup (ok, so I booked off a bit of work time!)? A young paraplegic man used an exo-skeleton to kick the ball that he used his MIND to operate. THAT is technology. Go Duke.


Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO CRM Gamification Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise Leadership Social CRM Strategic Planning Twitter     Tags:

CIOs never fail at Mobile CRM initiatives (because they don’t do customer strategy).

by Michael Maoz  |  June 12, 2014  |  3 Comments

Back after a month of quiet, mostly recovering from a mad quarter of travel, conferences and research on mobile CRM. It has been eye opening to see the complacency around most businesses around mobile. The view is: Digital Marketing is doing a fabulous job with customers. IT doesn’t consider customers customers in any case. They are just consumers of the products and services. The ones who pay us the money. But ‘my’ department heads and division heads – in HR, in Logistics, in Merchandising, in Support, in Sales – THOSE are real customers!

Here you cannot avoid recalling Steven Wright’s line, “If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.” And what makes this tough is that there is no “You” who is looking out for the customer who is transitioning to a mobile device for more and more of their needs. Who will design the mobile applications with customer support built in? To ensure that the same advanced search, or Chat option, or bi-modal capabilities (live Chat while doing an action in self-service, for example), or consistent process design, or analysis of mobile application usage – time in app, path to app, success with app function…..? Who is the “You” who owns the mobile customer experience?

I just finished a piece of research about this, and if you are a client you can access it at http://www.gartner.com/document/2759117 . It is called ‘Six best practices to deliver powerful mobile consumer-facing applications.’

In the next few weeks we will publish an overview of 18 research notes that take a comprehensive look at the Mobile Enterprise. For now, the key finding is that Marketing has done an awesome job, and still – Mobile is an island. Customer support is inconsistent with other channels. It is still a separate channel. Support agents are blind to who the mobile customer is – in real time – and what they are looking for, what they have looked for, and how to help them NOW.

Everyone points to the brilliant mobile applications, but there is little emphasis on the failure of the mobile applications in the hands of customers. Maybe it has to do with the expression, phrased many ways, that success has many fathers;  though failure has none. Under 1% of businesses we’ve spoken to Jan-May 2014 had an ‘owner’ for the overall mobile experience.

Great companies are getting the mobile metrics in place, understanding the ‘state of the mobile customer,’ and establishing the baseline measures of success. This is not something that the CIO is sometimes involved with, but increasingly the VP of Customer Experience or the like is ascendant.

Continue sharing your experiences with me – they have been very helpful and inspiring.


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