by Michael Maoz | May 15, 2013 | 2 Comments
Each April or May for the past 12 years we have published the Magic Quadrant for CRM Customer Service Contact Centers,” but this year we’ve dared to disturb the universe by replacing it with The Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center. (If you are a Gartner client you can find it at http://www.gartner.com/document/2482521. The question my colleagues are asking is: in a world where you are rated, in part, by how many people click on your research, WHY abandon a very highly read document for one that no one has ever heard of? Well, everyone from the Midrash to Karl Marx to Chaim Potok have written that all beginnings are difficult. Yes, but why begin at all?
The genesis of the Customer Engagement Center idea is evolutionary, and in no way revolutionary. Call Centers ruled the ’70s through 1990s, and Contact Centers have ruled ever since. Dinosaurs too ruled for a long time, and in the same way, Contact Centers are having their own asteroid collision theory now. Why? Because just responding to a customer’s immediate request for help is grossly insufficient. Phone, email, IVR, chat are all fab when designed properly. But that is reactive for the most part. Today, were we to drop our organizational handcuffs, we have the ability to extend our reach into Social Media. Is a customer or prospect who posts to Facebook, or to a community site, or out to Twitter, any less deserving of our attention?
The major transition is from “Contact” to “Engagement.” It will take most organizations a long time to relinquish the idea that the Digital Marketing group does the listening, but no one does responding – at least not systematically. It is not marketings job, but neither is it the job, in most organizations, for Customer Support to engage on social media. And what about consistent business rules? Today there is one set of rules for traditional contact, and another set of quasi-al fresco approach to social engagement.
The bottom line: sometimes it’s good to stretch ones field of vision. The phrase “Customer Engagement Center” may or may not ever enter the common vocabulary of IT or business buyers. Already there have been many nay-sayers (life Hem, Haw, Sniff and Scuffy from Who Moved My Cheese) who think the change is too big, or that it is much ado about nothing. And that might just be. Life has a way of self-healing, and the new term may be scabbed over and gone. OR, something else might happen: organizations will start to see that the concept of customer engagement – the act of treating customers with intent, integrity, consistency and gaining their trust – is a winning ticket.
What do you think? Flash in the pan, or an idea with legs?
(Thank you for an amazing Customer360 Conference in San Diego – just great attendees, providing such great feedback and asking wonderful questions!! Off to London in a couple of weeks to see how our EU clients – see http://gtnr.it/181SMyp )
Category: Applications CIO Contact Center CRM Gamification Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | April 26, 2013 | 1 Comment
The complexity of the the “No Software” challenge is overwhelming the line of business buyers in Sales, Marketing and Customer Support. The idea of subscribing to a cool new software package and building a complex sales force or customer service team on your own, with your own budget, and then Oliver-style coming to CIO and asking, “Please sir….” when the going gets tough… well it’s just not working out.
All of the old issues are the new issues: latency, integration techniques, consistency, security, compliance, availability, contracting and procurement: it’s like your kids realizing as they get older that you are smarter than you first appeared. Oh – six sales divisions procured six separate setups of an application? The social team has three separate tools and wants seamless integration? Oops, the Cloud vendor has no SLA for disaster recovery and doesn’t pass EU Data Privacy rules? And now you want the CIO to come help? Isn’t this rich?
As software as a service makes further inroads, especially multi-tenanted, there is a higher degree of urgency in synchronizing Cloud efforts currently disconnected from any central planning. What we were gaining on the roundabouts we are losing on the swings, and IT has great experience in straightening things out.
So how do ‘we’ begin, when the genesis of the entire problem of SaaS proliferation and disjointedness happened because there is no “we?” Well: the CEO needs to jump in. All of the pieces will fall into place. In the meantime, it is time for CIOs to map out the diverse SaaS application sets drifting around the enterprise and come up with a plan to harmonize the efforts.
What do you think?
Category: Applications CIO Cloud CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Sales Force Automation SFA Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | April 4, 2013 | Comments Off
I am at the Gartner BPM Summit down in Washington, DC. It has been a terrific experience. As a ‘first time’ speaker at the conference, my dance card started empty as the relevance of ‘The Customer Experience’ wasn’t intuitive to the BPMers in attendance. But a funny thing happened after I presented – my day filled with appointments to discuss the connection between BPM and CRM. We are on the National Harbor, not the Big Sandy River, and this is not a tale of Hatfield feuding with McCoy, but more Guinevere falling for Lancelot (or was it the other way round?). The role of King Arthur in this story is “End to End Process” that really means mid-office efficiency and process optimization/speed. Instead, a part of BPM’s passion and power will be unleashed on bringing consistency to customer touchpoints that it has not, to date, had as much success in.
Judging by the attendee reaction to the ideas, we can predict that the next 18 months will see significant research from Gartner pointing to the way that these extremely talented BPM experts in your organization can work together with Customer Support, with your Mobile team, with your digital media experts, and even with Marketing and Sales to make your current CRM efforts more pinpoint and impactful.
As for me – back to work! I have an 8AM meeting and more throughout the day – with really bright and dedicated BPM professionals.
Category: Applications CIO Cloud CRM Gamification Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Sales Force Automation Social CRM Social Networking Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | April 1, 2013 | Comments Off
March Madness for me wasn’t watching as Louisville and Michigan blew threw the field, but about creating five conference presentations. Tomorrow starts the Gartner Business Process Management Summit at the National Harbor in Maryland, where I will be speaking on Customer Experience Management. Over the next few months it will be DC, NYC, San Francisco (x2), London (x2), San Diego, and Tel Aviv. That meant that ten presentations had to be put together, and a lot of the material is completely new. Hence my March Madness was trying to weave all of the thoughts together.
There is so much exciting change happening in the world of Customer Strategies. If you are a Gartner client you can read a piece of research that I published yesterday, entitled, “Social Media for CRM Will Force a Shift From Contact Centers to Customer Engagement Centers ,” where I talk about how customer preference to be engaged on Social Media rather than calling up a business is reshaping the “contact center” into a customer engagement center.
But one thing that has struck me over the past few months has been the emergence of new Social Business Models. Great young services like manilla (www.manilla.com/) for aggragating all of your bills securely in the Cloud, or Mint (www.mint.com/) where you can see your finances, and the service observes patterns in your spending and points them out to you. Or the barclaycard ring (www.barclaycardring.com/) where the credit card functions, features, and customer support are all built either by the customer, or with customer input. Or, if you are in San Francisco and want to see an innovative alternative to the rare taxis, you can try SideCar (www.side.cr/).
Now, after taking a hard look at your own so-called ‘social processes’ that you have placed in front of the customer in comparison to these new innovators, how do you feel as the CIO? On the one hand, it is exciting. Like being in a lower berth on the Titanic exciting.
What to do to innovate your customer processes at the speed of the best around you? Steal the best ideas of others! It is a time-honoured approach, and it will do you well.
Maybe we’ll meet at the Gaylord Center this week, or at one of the other five conferences where I am fortunate to be meeting so many of our great clients. Thank you as always for the honour.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Cloud CRM Customer Centric Web eCommerce Gamification Gartner Customer 360 Summit Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | April 1, 2013 | Comments Off
Over the weekend I began reading Heda Margolius Kovaly’s book, Under a Cruel Star. My fingers have been burning across the Kindle with this almost unbelievable reminder of what life was like in Czechoslovakia during the post-war up until 1968. History books, especially one so recent, put everything – everything – in better perspective. Any of you who are old enough to have spoken with relatives from central or eastern Europe who have memories of 1939 and onward have an inner ‘reset’ button that kicks in whenever work, taxes, building permits – whatever absurdity that life throws at you – seems to become too much. You know that this is a picnic compared with life in many, many areas of the world, and many ages that have proceeded ours.
This book in particular is like a shot of Atropine to the thigh when dealing with processes like the Magic Quadrant. Aside from how much the subject takes one down-tempo, one also reads of the massive disinformation about the beauty of life in a socialist / Communist society that Czech’s returning to the county after the war disseminated to their friends and family. It was a lie told for complex reasons.
And the tie-in to the Gartner Magic Quadrant? As an analyst, I have lost count of the number of times that a businesss executive has moved from one software vendor over to a rival, and suddenly the floodgates of flaws and imperfections about the previous company’s software and management pour out. The tales of intentional sowing of misperception and misrepresentations just about numb the senses.
In 1958, for the Spring edition of the Paris Review, Ernest Hemingway was interviewed by George Plimpton, and they spoke about the art of writing, and about how to find the essential truths. Hemingway answered, “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.”
Whenever I’m asked why the “MQ Process” chews up so much time, I think of Hemingway. In order to get a position on a vendor and the product right, the analyst needs to listen to many sources. Integrators, consultants, sales execs, vendor management, end-users of the product and services, competitors, other analysts, more end-user customers, IT leaders from the inside who have the war-wounds from standing up a quality system. Somewhere in the interstices lies the truth, and we are grateful to all of you who participate so generously in providing us with the impressions, data, information that are needed to arrive at a quality assessment on a Gartner Magic Quadrant.
OK, this week we will hold our Gartner BPM Summit, and I hope to see some of you there!
Category: Applications CIO Cloud Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Tags:
by Michael Maoz | March 20, 2013 | 1 Comment
If I had to pick a time when the modern world began, it would be Holland in the 17th century. Back in 1987, Simon Schama wrote a brilliant history of the Dutch entitled, The Embarrassment of Riches, and in his work he describes how a combination of open immigration policy, open markets and industrious and well educated people allowed a tiny country to emerge a powerhouse.
Looking out over the categories of analytics tools that have emerged over the past five years, we seem to be entering a Golden Age of Information. The glut, overflow, surfeit, and/or your favourite way to classify our excess of data means that this Age comes not a moment too soon. Looking at the variety of data: embedded sensors in objects ranging from bridges to automobiles to mobile phones to clothing, and video feeds, audio, speech, text – in a wide range of formats and from an almost infinite array of devices – we have our work cut out for us.
Here is where many clients struggle: when listening to the vendors, the words bandied about overlap: Big Data, Analytics, Personalization, Presence, Contextual, Decision Support, Mining….,. The fact is: they are all right. But one of the disciplines that Larry Ellison instilled in his marketing folks has always been: if someone else could use the same term, then it’s not good enough for us.
I’m updating the list of analytics vendors who improve customer engagement – making it more intentional, more based on a complete view of the customer and his/her history with the enterprise. In each of the 12 major categories there can be three to 23 vendors for each area. An example? Social Analytics. I look at just a few of the vendors, but colleagues like Carol Rozwell would look at eight times that number.
So here is a suggestion: look at the opportunities where your business could do a much better job at driving higher revenue per customer, or helping drive their loyalty, and start there. Don’t ‘go big.’ Go small, go incremental, see what works and how the bits fit together. Big Data is just emerging, and we are entering a period where great things will be possible. Now we need a cartographer to map the solutions across all customer-facing interactions.
I guess that means it’s time to get to work – we encourage your ideas as well!
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Innovation and Customer Experience Social CRM Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | March 11, 2013 | 1 Comment
Anyone whose job it is to improve the customer experience (unless you are a Chief Customer Officer reporting to the CEO with Board approval and support) has a tough mission. Almost an impossible one. You are playing the Role of Roscoe Arbuckle in the Keystone Cops, running about with seeming authority, sycophants in tow, but ultimately failing. The reasons are well known by consumers, but appreciated less by most corporate officers outside of a few visionary businesses. It was pretty straightforward to understand the customer when they walked into the store. It is crazily difficult to understand them when 90 percent of the time they are outside of your control when talking about your goods and services.
Where are consumers going for help? Pinterest, Path, Twitter, Facebook, Communities/Forums, Google Search, Youtube, Howcast – for starters. This is the new Hydra, and you as CIO or Marketing leader are not going to be given the chance to complete the Twelve Labors that Heracles set to when he killed the Hydra. Where do you start? What is your core job? Customer Experience? No. To quote the American Marketing Association Board of Directors, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (http://www.marketingpower.com/aboutama/pages/definitionofmarketing.aspx). Not customer experience. And what is the CIO’s core job? It is to support whatever goals that the CEO sets out, through the application of information technology. The CEO is not going to tell the CIO to support, as a primary objective, a great customer experience. OK, unless your CEO is on a par with Tony Hsieh or Chip Conley.
What is the point here? The point is that currently leaders in Digital Marketing or Social Media or the office of the CIO are being given, as a side directive, to improve the customer experience, while they are still tasked with tactical goals that are inconsistent with an understanding of the overall customer experience. They lack a comprehensive view of the customer, or an inventory of the key “make or break” processes that drive loyalty and spending. Yet despite this, it is they who have the fabulous budgets, and not the Chief Customer Officer / Experience Officer – or whatever they might be called in some enlightened businesses.
Here is a homework assignment: go find the customer experience map by which all parts of your organization navigate the business of growing a loyal and profitable customer base. When you find it, send it to me. I have one – for a company I am quite attached to – and seeing another is always great. By the way, attendance for our upcoming Customer360 Conference in San Diego (1-3 May 2013 -http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/na/customer-360/) is great – and I look forward to speaking with a lot of you! Thanks for the support. As me about a customer experience roadmap and I’ll share one with you!
Category: CIO CRM Gartner Customer 360 Summit Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Twitter Tags:
by Michael Maoz | February 22, 2013 | 2 Comments
CRM SaaS business applications began with a wimper back in 1999 reminiscent of a litter of hungry puppies. Over 90 percent of the vendor products, and often the vendor them self, then called Application Service Providers, disappeared. Salesforce.com and RightNow Technologies were two that made the transition. It was the same time that the Distance Learning vendors were chasing a hot market, which then grew cold, only to re-ignite when they re-formed as the Social Software market. Suddenly the mundane was hot.
A few large software companies promoted the term Cloud loudly, while taking pains to avoid defining what, exactly, was meant by Cloud that made it any different than application outsourcing. In 2013 we are not much further along. By strenuously refusing to reveal the critical elements of Cloud application architecture, the market for Cloud, and the subset of software as a service (SaaS), is akin to the mystery meat served in your High School cafeteria when you were a kid. What, exactly, is that stuff?
And it matters. Maybe if your vendor’s data center (or the one where they lease space) is in the US, and you are running your applications in the US, you don’t really care. But if you are in South America or Central / Eastern Europe, Africa, or almost all of Asia, the laws of physics will catch up with you if you are integrating old legacy system data with data sitting in an ACD / IVR / CTI application in another country, and an application server and multi-tenant data server with you customer information sitting in yet another country.
Simple stuff is simple, but difficult computations, analytics, workflows - if reliant on backend data mixed with data sitting in a giant shared file server somwhere – that is tough, and no one is doing it well and no one is talking about it. Vendors are whistling past the graveyard and hoping you will whistle along rather than ask for references.
If the G-20 economies sputter after three years of cranking back from the abyss, we’ll see how much tolerance your CFO has for pushing the boundary of Cloud business applications. HCM? Easy. Sales automation for business people? Easy. Survey software, email, chat? All pretty easy. But many other functions are tough, and what you are getting is yesterday’s technologies repackaged as Cloud – not a new and more flexible platform to respond to growth and hard times alike. It’s not really like a utility in the end, is it?
It is early days, and for SaaS to live up to its promise in areas like complex consumer customer support centers, a lot of technology investment is going to have to happen that has not happened yet.
Category: Applications CIO Cloud CRM Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Sales Force Automation SFA Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Vendor Contracts Tags:
by Michael Maoz | February 11, 2013 | 1 Comment
Often when listening to a CIO talk about technology and top priorities, I have the feeling that I have been pulled through to the set of the wacky 1999 classic, Galaxy Quest. For those of you who might remember this bizarre but intoxicating film, a loopy bunch of over-the-hill sci-fi writers are abducted by aliens. The Aliens have watched the TV series about Outer Space written by the writers. The Aliens think the writers are brilliant, and they feel that with the help of the writers they can overcome their Space Nemesis, the Sarris.
About now you are wondering: are all of the wheels on the bus? You be the judge of that, but the point is, when I listen to a CIO who is convinced that Big Data and Mobile technologies, and Social Platforms are just the ticket to advancing business, at first it sounds compelling. Then, digging a bit further, one realizes that they are relying on a lot of technologists who have demonstrated over and over again that they have little empirical grasp of what a “Customer” or a “Prospect” or an “Influencer” is.
I was reminded of what great can look like reading an obituary today of John E. Karlin, the famous Human Factors engineer who did so much ground-breaking work on how to dial a telephone. We still use his basic layout when we dial a standard phone. He was just brilliant: a professional violinist, a doctorate in mathematical psychology, an electrical engineering. And more importantly, he was joined at the hip with the end consumer of technology. His teams always had real humans to probe and question and challenge them. He would watch them, listen to them, analyze their wants and needs and expectations.
Compare that to your CIO. Usually he/she has no respect for a term like customer relationship. Doesn’t think it can be managed. Doesn’t want to sit and talk to the customer. Well, hardly ever. Instead, 98% of the time is spent with folks removed from the day-to-day customer. And just as bad, cut off from prospects, or former customers who have defected. Or from the folks in Corporate Communications who listen and analyze the customer experience.
You know who the CIO’s frustrating CRM journey is most frustrating to? The end customer. And when you meet that exceptional CIO who really gets it, it is always the same: they are right there, rubbing elbows with customers. Like the great technologists at Fidelity Investments R&D centers, or at Starwood, or Amazon, or Tesco, Bank Leumi, and dozens of other places. They are bringing together ethnologists, psychologists, BI experts, Human Factors folks, and examining what makes a customer walk away with a feeling of satisfaction and trust.
Does this sound like you? And if you are not the CIO but the VP of Marketing, Customer Care or Social Media, are you working in tandem to create create processes? A ten minute conversation with a CEO basically answers that question: when she/he gets it, it happens. Otherwise? Otherwise it is Galaxy Quest.
By the way, after two years, we updated our research on creating a Social strategy for CRM: How to Establish a Social Strategy for CRM (if you are a Gartner client you can follow the link here: http://www.gartner.com/resId=2332115 ). Also, I hope to see some of you at the Gartner BPM Summit, 2 – 4 April 2013 at the National Harbor, in Maryland (http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/na/business-process/). I’ll be speaking, and so will many of my favorite colleagues.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | February 8, 2013 | 2 Comments
How do we like the productivity gains brought on by software and robotics so far? Whether it is retail, or manufacturing, or travel or hospitality, there is a lot of dislocation out there helped by automation. Put those together with cyclical economic pullbacks, and a segment like banking, for example, can really feel it: 150,000 fewer people receiving a paycheck in just 24 months. Examples: Bank of America said in September 2012 that it would eliminate 30,000 jobs by the end of 2013. Citigroup: 11,000 jobs wiped out. UBS AG: 10,000, Commerzbank: 6,000 jobs after cutting 9,000 after merging with Dresdner Bank in 2009, Lloyds Banking: 15,000 cut, Barclays lops off 9,000. But why stop there? We could go over to telecoms and find 5,000 at Alcatel, or Nokia Siemens Networks in the process of reducing 17,000, and last year T-Mobile let go over 3,000 folks in their contact centers. Automation is a thing of dreadful beauty, and good for the bottom line, if not employees.
How is social media impacting any employment trends? Aside from moving the deck chairs, are any of the new social processes for crowd-sourcing answers and advice adding or reducing jobs? Will it change in a positive and dramatic way? There does not appear to be data to indicate one way or the other if Social Networks and Media will create or destroy jobs, and which jobs would they impact if they do.
Maybe a more interesting question would be: do any of the new Cloud technologies do anything to enrich anyone other than investors and owners of the software companies themselves? What value is all of this collaboration unlocking for the participants inside of a business?
An interesting question for the long haul will be: how happy in the end will consumers be, depending on social networks to uncover answers and solve problems and receive advice, versus receiving great answers and advice directly from the manufacturer or provider of the product and/or service? Is there a best heuristic to predict how sentiment will shift? Something like the introduction of the IVR or Email was meant to lower costs and improve service – regardless of how it turned out. Now organizations are attempting to respond to the consumer desire to interact with one another to act on their own behalf. Will customers continue to love the Social Care and social media, or will there at some point be a backlash where they figure out that all of this was necessary because businesses were so pitifully inept at delivering good customer service or so focused on profit that they didn’t care?
At the moment just about no one is measuring the ROI of Social Engagement, and consumer sentiment remains in the Honeymoon-phase of the relationship.
Anyone care to bet? Will the chickens come home to roost on Social Media in the enterprise? Or is it all clear sailing ahead?
Category: Applications Contact Center CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Tags: