by Michael Maoz | March 4, 2014 | 1 Comment
Ten years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to be a Gartner Fellow. What I did during that fecund two-year period was develop a concept that I termed, The Intent-Driven Enterprise. I began to talk to my colleagues, talk to IT managers, heads of customer support, sales leaders, and software vendors about the idea. Some really got it, but most didn’t see the value. In 2005 I published my first papers on the topic, and created the first presentations. Here was the opening of the first paper (which is still archived on Gartner.com as http://www.gartner.com/document/485578 , The Next Phase of CRM Is a Customer-Intent-Driven Organization)
“Building an intent-driven organization requires more than just matching the intent of the customer during an interaction with the intent of the organization. It requires integrating the organization into the customer’s life so that the intent of the organization (typically revenue and profit growth) is met, while pleasing the customer. Understanding the context of the relationship and each interaction within that relationship is critical to redesigning the organization’s processes. Move beyond standard business processes into the mass-customization of organizational processes to align with the needs of the customer.”
Looking at the great trends in Smart Machines, Personal Virtual Assistants, Haptics, Internet of Things, Big Data analytics, personalization technologies, social media analytics and Digital Marketing technologies, we might be on the edge of returning to the concept of the Intent-Driven Enterprise – of aligning corporate / enterprise (even governments and higher ed – heck: all Education!) processes such that they maximize serving the customer in line with revenue goals.
What we suggested then seems to resonate today:
“The necessary change is not to replace product centricity with customer centricity, but to recognize that customer-facing aspects of operations require different approaches than core back-office functions. Test whether the approach that has been taken toward the customer and customer-facing processes is correct, based on customer feedback. Ask customers and yourself, “Do we consistently identify the intent of the customer (their need) and then build processes that match these intents in a way that meets the needs of the organization?” This is the challenge organizations must meet if they wish to sustain customer centricity.”
So, ten years later, are you ready to build an Intent-Driven Organization? Who will run it? Marketing? Maybe a collaboration between the CIO or Chief Digital Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer?
How do you see this playing out?
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Business Intelligence CIO CRM Customer Centric Web Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | February 27, 2014 | 2 Comments
We just published our 2014 Social for CRM Vendor Guide (if you are a Gartner client you can view it at http://gtnr.it/1ft8B8o ), and among the interesting insights is our survey that shows that Marketing controls Social strategy in 41% of enterprises, compared to 8% IT and 7% Customer Service. The more interesting evolution of social media strategy is the tactical transition that is going on wherein Marketing is reaching over to Customer Service and asking them for a hand.
What is behind the phenomenon? Marketing has done a good job of seeing the power of Social Media, and ran fast to seize the initiative and engage customers in new ways. Amazing things are happening with keyword analysis and crowdsourced reviews and recommendations, and plain old engaging in conversation. Kudos to marketing. And now something else is happening. As marketing engages more deeply with customers, you move beyond the ‘dating phase’ and sort of settle into a relationship. Who picks up the laundry, and did you take the dog to the vet?
In the case of social media engagement, this is: “I told you that I was unhappy with your service on Twitter, but when I called in, or logged in, there was no knowledge of my Tweet. What’s up? Or, you saw my post on Facebook (or in a forum, or in a community), and you said how sorry you were, but the same problem is still there. What are you doing about it?”
Marketing does not have the trouble ticketing systems, or case management systems, or problem resolution software, to capture an issue, associate the issue from Facebook with an existing customer record, generate a case, solve or escalate the case, split it in two, route it, close it, reopen it, join two cases, set triggers or attach support links, documents or videos (oy, you’re saying, enough of the details on customer support!).
Who does have the systems, processes, and skills to manage customer issues? Customer Service and Support. What has been seen as the lowly cost center by the majority of businesses, but viewed as the gem by the small visionary and enlightened companies, is now stepping up to advise marketing on best practices, and expanding resources and tools to handle social media engagement as part of the processes traditionally handled by the contact center.
The expansion of the brief / mandate of the customer service area is what is driving interest in our newest research on the Customer Engagement Center – the next generation of Contact Center. We have had overwhelming interest in the research, though we know that it will take time for the concept and term to catch hold. But the expansion of the contact center into a center that reaches our on social media, or detects issues from a vehicle, or the home, or equipment, and reaches out to advise and assist, will drive the transformation of contact center into Customer Engagement Center.
Marketing’s increasing partnership with Customer Service to engage customers more systematically and holistically across all channels – social or other, is opening up new opportunities for the business (or government or university!), and creating new challenges for IT, Marketing and Customer Service.
We are only in the first phases of this transition, and your insights have been helpful – so keep them coming!
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications Business Intelligence Cloud Contact Center CRM Customer Centric Web Gamification Gartner Customer 360 Summit Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Twitter Tags:
by Michael Maoz | February 11, 2014 | 1 Comment
One of the most prescient lines I have ever heard came from a Financial Services firm’s head of customer experience. It is a line I have repeated numerous times over the years. We were discussing how it was that I could be three different answers from the same company. They have a travel group, a rewards points team, a billing team, and a fraud team and general customer service team. They never seemed to know what one another was up to or had said to me. Then came her answer: “Yes, they are they, and we are we, and though they and we are us, there is no us.”
I was visiting a young couple in San Francisco last week. They are a part of a demographic / psychographic that is very successful, well educated, and tech-savvy. They also are a new breed who, though they have high incomes relative to the overall US population, could never afford a place to live in San Francisco, and instead rent. They also do not own a car. Who needs a car when you have Uber and Zipcars?
One of the couple was just getting off of a phone call, looking very flustered and slightly apoplectic. I could hear the torrent of words, and there tone became increasingly frustrated. The issue: returning a Cisco cable box to the cable provider. The box was perfect, just that they consolidated from two apartments to one, and now they needed only one box and one service. Simple, eh?
Simple in the same way that neural brain connections are simple. Only with the human brain there are 100,000,000,000,000 connections, while with the cable company, they just want to return the silly box.
Said Cable Provider spends tens of millions of dollars on social media each year. It employees hundreds of people listening to Tweets and posts. It does social network analysis. It hosts a community. It surveys. It has a blog. But what it does not have is a basic understanding of one of the new consumers. Essentially, they have engineered today’s customer service processes for yesterday’s challenge.
For example, this couple made nine calls to ‘the company.’ In saying ‘the company’ it is to capture the discovery that, in fact, it is two companies: the Cable Provider and the third party that retrieves the boxes. And that company does not ‘get’ that a significant urban population is mobile, but may not have cars, or time to waste, or an understanding of your Kafkaesque bureaucracy.
How do you return a cable box in San Francisco? You can have it picked up (for a fee), or you can deliver it to a return office, or you can ship it. Simple, right? Except you cannot have it picked up from any place other than where it was installed. But you don’t live there anymore. And if you go back there, you can have a four hour time window. So: kill six hours of your work life. And you don’t want to schlep a 20 pound piece of hardware in a taxi eight miles through traffic. So you will ship it! You call and ask for a carton and a shipping label. You get the carton and a shipping label for a 2 pound item. But yours is 20 pounds, and they knew that. So you call again. This time they ship you more cartons, but no label. You call again. This time they send you more boxes and two more shipping labels for two pounds each.
This time you call and ask if they couldn’t just PLEASE pick it up at your office. Then they tell you that “They” can’t make exceptions. Why not? Because ‘they’ are not the cable provider. Could you transfer me to the Cable Provider? Sure. Now you start explaining everything from scratch because the two ‘theys’ do not share context of calls. Can you enter the issue on line? No.
Back and forth this went, and you need not know the outcome (unresolved). But the company has no flexibility because it does not want to. The third party is just that. Their only interest is following orders at the customer’s peril. Is there follow up? Not so far. Was there a satisfaction survey? No.
Who will detect the problem? Had they Tweeted and added their lonely voices to the digital cesspool of fetid complainers, many authentic, many malicious, some genuine, differing in type and kind, what would have happened?
Social Media has become the Star Wars Space Based Defensive Shield – invest enough and all problems will be solved, while the real enemy of great customer service has shifted. Now it is time, convenience, agility. Not the right to complain. Who wants it to come to that?
Rather than focus on the Cable Provider, we need to look at ourselves and our organisations and ask how our customers are truly experiencing our marketing process and sales process and on boarding and billing and customer service – across the partner ecosystem and across all of our engagement channels. And not “The” customer, but across different age groups, or economic, or education – a breakdown on the level of specific customer personae.
How are you doing at this?
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Business Intelligence CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Twitter Tags:
by Michael Maoz | February 6, 2014 | Comments Off
I mentioned that for the past many years I have sat as a judge in the Gartner CRM Excellence Awards. This takes an enoromous amount of time, but the reward is that, in reviewing the 22 entrants for great customer service and support, there is such insight into the range and variety of approaches to the topic. The role of the software supplier is almost an afterthought. What is separating this group of companies (and governments, universities and hospitals…) is a deeply held belief that the well-being of the employee, and a focus on understanding the true state of the customer’s situation are the foundation of enterprise success.
It is humbling to read the submissions, just as it is humbling every day to listen our clients search for solutions, search for processes and technologies to better reach customers, assist customers, guide customers, and measure the outcomes in KPIs. The position of judge is not new to me as an analyst: I am doing that currently in the evaluation process for my CRM Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant. So much data is required, and so much analysis. It brings me back all of the time to Pope’s, An Essay on Criticism where he opens with:
‘Tis hard to say, if greater Want of Skill
Appear in Writing or in Judging ill,
But, of the two, less dang’rous is th’ Offence,
To tire our Patience, than mis-lead our Sense:
Some few in that, but Numbers err in this,
Ten Censure wrong for one who Writes amiss;
A Fool might once himself alone expose,
Now One in Verse makes many more in Prose.
In retrospect, the fact that I would have studied this in the dark days of my High School years at the age of 15 makes apparent the enormous shift in the world, language and interests. It would likely be fair to say that not one in a hundred English speakers under the age of 25 reading those words today would have even the slightest notion of how to parse the meaning (which is: most critics are borderline incompetent, but regardless of that risk, we still need standards and for critics to weigh in on those standards… [why didn't he just say that, right?]). In the same way, the leaders designing customer support processes today are applying thinking that, though it may have been leading edge when they started out on the customer excellence journey, no longer holds and the customer has changed. From Pope to Beyonce. Which is why the best entrants are reaching across the enterprise to Marketing, IT, Consumer Affairs, Digital Media, and Customer Support – to keep the vision fresh.
To understand Alexander Pope in 2014, as opposed to 300 years ago when it was written, requires a combination of education, desire, and patience. And that, to return to the point, is what sets great businesses apart: IT and business leaders with the combination of customer knowledge, passion, and patience. In an age of the business executive and employee and customer always-immersed in variably-refined information sludge, a great many experiences are based on hair-trigger thinking and reacting. Projects should be sprints! Change should be quick! Feedback should be instant!
Well, sometimes projects should be quick, but not all. Change takes time. Sometimes many years – just think of hygeine in hospitals or the use of pain reduction during childbirth.
The winners of the CRM Excellence Awards won’t be announced, or even finalised, for many months, but for this analyst, they are all winners – amazing CIOs, Chief Customer Officers, rank-and-file customer support agents – working with small budgests and under great pressure for less than royal compensation – and delivering value on behalf of the customer every day. Thoughtful, measured, sedulous, evolving initiatives. Pretty cool stuff.
Thank you for sharing your examples of customer excellence, now and throughout the year.
Category: CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | February 3, 2014 | 2 Comments
As a lead up to our Customer Strategies and CRM Conferences* in April and May, we are beginning to receive and review entries for our 2014 CRM Excellence Awards. I first suggested the idea of an award for the businesses that best represent excellent customer service almost 12 years ago, based on what we saw the amazing Don Peppers and Martha Rogers doing around 1-1 Marketing. They were so far ahead of everyone, and they were instrumental in our move away from calling our practice “Technology enabled Relationship Management” (TERM) to CRM. Looking at what was really going on back in 1998 – 2002, it was all about changing the CIOs focus away from technology and vendors and TO the end customer who buys a business’ goods and services.
What is so great about the CRM Excellence Awards is the focus on business leaders who marshall their corporate (or government, or educational staff) resources to better understand customer wants and needs, and to address them through technology and process change, while keeping an eye on profitability and growth. These are not questions of business ethics, or morals, but about common sense: what makes a customer choose you? Choose you even if something has gone wrong in the past? How do you move them into a position of trusting you? Recommending you? Recommending you to another and for that other to make a buying decision the next time they consider a purchase? How do you get a customer, once they have made a purchase, stay with you?
As we have built our conference presentations, we struggle with calling any of the presentations by the name, “Customer Service.” That is so yesterday in terms of hype, while so ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ in practical terms. Today the mantra is Digital. Digital Media and Digital Commerce and the Digital Industrial Revolution and Digital Marketing. These are all important concepts that encapsulate the transformation and aggragation of sound, images, movement, position, disposition, temperament and connections into digits that can be combined and analyzed. Anyone who compares the 2000+ employees of NetFlix and compares their product to what Blockbuster delivered just ten years ago – with maybe 50,000+ employees in 8,000 or more locations. Poof – digitized! Billions in corporate valuations and tens of thousands of jobs vaporised.
At the same time that so much is undergoing digitization, the way that we treat customers, recognising them, understanding their status and situation and expectations, and the service we provide them, is still vastly more important than an ad about a happy puppy or a gamified app or offer. There is only so much Bread and Circus before they catch on that it is a gimmic.
Back, then, to the best CIOs: they know that technology is a differentiator, and they know that it is how technology is harnessed to provide a terrific product and customer experience that counts in the long term. And that is why we don’t focus on “Vendor Excellence Awards” but Customer Excellence Awards. We don’t gush effusively about vendors in our blogs or our presentations or our printed research, but we do gush about businesses that have done a great job for their customers. It would be great if one day the two merged: that we had a fantastic software vendor that was providing such a great customer experience that they end up on the short list for the CRM Excellence Awards! Who knows: it could happen.
Thanks to all of you who helped us locate the great businesses we are evaluating for the CRM Excellence Awards – keep your suggestions coming!
* As a reminder, our US conference, Gartner Customer360 Summit, is 19-21 May in Orlando and the EU conference, Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit London is a few weeks earlier, 28/29 April, in London.
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by Michael Maoz | January 28, 2014 | 2 Comments
Every winter for the past 12 I have begun researching the ideas that will go into my presentations for our Spring CRM-focused conferences. This year we have the Gartner Customer360 Summit, 19-21 May in Orlando and the Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit London 28/29 April in London. I love these events because they are intimate gatherings – 600 or so participants instead of 100,000 – and highly focused on how we as businesses, governments, schools, or non-profits can better engage customers. We look at the technologies and the processes and ask: where is greatness happening, and why does it happen there and not in other places? It helps others find a way forward.
All of the theoretical claptrap is fine, but uncovering the ‘why’ of what goes right when it does or what inhibits organizations from greater success is the ultimate goal of my talks. There are always going to be fabulous technologies and business applications, but like the best surgical equipment, it is only as good as the best surgeon. Usually I begin my research by reviewing the client calls that I have taken. There are clues to how the CIO and IT staff, or CMO or VP of Customer Experience think. After that I look at the cutting edge startup companies, and the best business consulting practices, and what is happening at the university labs. I also read gobs of what my amazing colleagues write – I am never finished being awed by my cohorts here at Gartner and their insights.
This time around I am struck by the vast chasm between the CMO and the marketing department, on the one side, and the VP of Customer Care/Service/Support on the other. The CMO has the funds, the power, and most of the glitter surrounding digital marketing, digital transformation and a dozen other very hot and in demand enterprise projects. The VP of Customer Care, etc., is fairly limited, with little access to innovative tools and budget. Lacking a direct budget of their own, they depend on an enlightened CIO, VP of Operations, or visionary CEO to help cut through the clutter and break through departmental silos.
If you don’t see this deep divide, search the latest slideware or podcasts or seminars on marketing. I recently spent two days reading the latest and greatest (external!) research on the future of marketing, and, behold, customer service and customer support and care rarely (and often never) show up in even the most thorough presentation on ‘the future of marketing.’
The two organizations have never had an equilibrium of power. Customer Support is always boxed into a corner as a ‘cost center.’ Remarkably, the most enormous cost center could be seen as Marketing, as sales does the selling, while marketing does the ‘make aware/spark engagement/make offers,’ without strict P&L accountability. Sales is accountable. Customer Service is a line item expense.
There are many remarkable companies where the CIO has emerged as the bridge-builder joining the largely disconnected marketing domain to the under-powered Customer Care / Customer Experience domain. Some have even merged them, but they are still a rarity. In honour of the passing of the US national treasure Pete Seeger, I will use his song, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” where he deals with exactly this issue of responding to changing times. The song tells of the army leader who drowns, having been unable to listen to the voices and advice from his underlings in the field. The ‘big fool’ was….
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn’t know that the water was deeper
Then the place he’d once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
About a half mile from where we’d gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.
It is time for all of us to change direction, to forge links between Marketing and Customer Service, and for the CIO to assert his/her authority and wisdom to see that the streams are merging and that it is time to move on.
Thanks for sharing your examples of success with me! They are great to read.
Category: Business Intelligence CIO CRM Gartner Customer 360 Summit Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership Strategic Planning Tags:
by Michael Maoz | January 23, 2014 | 3 Comments
Close your eyes and think about the Apps you enjoy the most.
Now open your eyes and write them down. They are going to be Pinterest and Twitter and Dropbox and Waze and Facebook (well, for some of us) and Instagram and Proust and Vine and Google and WhatsApp, or some similar list.
What will not be on the list are 99% of the business applications that you are forced to sit in front of at work. What will not be on the list are 99% of the mobile applications that businesses lobbed out there. What will not be on the list are 99% of the websites that you are forced to sit in front of when you do your banking or insurance or flight planning or income taxes or anything at all to do with the US Government or just about any other government on the planet. Maybe with the exception of the City of Cape Town, South Africa.
What is going on? Have all of the great minds fled corporate IT? Are they all in a narrow strip between San Jose and San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Herzliah? Or is it that our precious IT staff is underfunded, our CIO tasked with too many projects with too few resources, and turning to large software vendors focused on the status quo?
I get around quite a bit, visiting businesses. There are also the nearly 600 phone calls that I had with clients in 2013 alone. And the 1-1s at Symposia and conferences. We all meet superb talent at all levels of IT. Brains and passion are not the problem. The issue is, and will remain, that innovation and investment in innovative ideas follows the money. Nobody believes that the next multi-billion dollar valuation is going to go to the company that builds a better customer-centric website application, or a brand new desktop for our dedicated and under-compensated customer support agents.
Corporate IT needs a shot in the arm from the CEO, and a bit more support, to take more risks that might be really cool, but not immediately translate into revenue. In the amazing 1994 film Don Juan de Marco, where Don Juan is telling Dr. Jack Mickler, the aging burnout played by a brilliant Marlon Brando, “You need me! For a transfusion, because your own blood has turned to dust and clogged your heart.” And Brando/Mickler stumbles for a moment and admits, in a moment of dawning awareness, “You’re right, my, er, my world is not perfect.”
Has the CEO asked the rank and file employee, or the customer, lately: do you love the tools and applications that we have put in front of you? Or has he/she been so beholden to shareholders that it is all about profit margins, squeezing the employee, and lip service to the customer? Rather than ask them, ask the employees, and ask the customers, and ask prospective customers – and then display the results on your corporate facebook page or website. (Please do not try this unless you a) like Siberia, b) are ready for retirement, c) have another job offer in hand.)
So: How can you become as great an app provider to your customer and employee as Pinterest or Uber?
Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud CRM Customer Centric Web Gamification Innovation and Customer Experience Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning symposium Twitter Tags:
by Michael Maoz | January 21, 2014 | 4 Comments
If you are a CIO at a large corporation, you feel the pain of national governments that attempt to direct funds on behalf of the citizens of the country in new and innovative ways, only to find that almost all funds are mandated to existing programs. Maybe a few percentage points are up for real discussion.
A new wave of R&D is hitting industry in the form of sensors, monitors, networks, presence and location detection embedded in vehicles, equipment, structures, everyday objects and on humans. Triangulate these with ubiquitous smart phones and wireless connectivity and amazing things happen. Increasing R&D to leverage the technology is not necessarily the right answer. Take GM as an example, which cut its core R&D team by 25% about 18 months ago. Ask them why and they might tell you what you are experiencing yourself – innovation can be sourced from anywhere on the planet, and what does it matter if it is Detroit or Tel Aviv? Kansas or Kiev?
In the business software world, most profound innovations are not developed in the R&D labs of the major business software firms. Instead they buy. Just looking at a few vendors like IBM, Oracle and Salesforce.com illustrates the point. Collectively they have purchased nearly 100 software companies in the past seven years alone, and these are savvy tactics.
But as a CIO you look to the core for as much as you can as a way of developing the best systems of record for basic, essential processes. How do you marry that approach with the need to respond to the many innovations that are rarely the hallmark of the large application vendors? Just like enterprise knowledge that is easy to accumulate but difficult to purge, even when it is no longer relevant and likely a distraction, so is it difficult to unwind expensive home-grown software solutions or inflexible business application suites.
There is a good reason for innovation to come from outside of the large suites, in the same way that great art and literature come from the wild upstarts respectful of but not beholden to the established masters. It is as another outsider, Bob Dylan, sang in 1965 on the Highway 61 Revisited song, Like a rolling Stone: “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” When you have no track record, no core to maintain, no maintenance license to distract you, or a sales force that knows what it knows, and no consulting companies driving you to repeat the past until you run out of the present, you can innovate quickly.
There are phenomenal young technology companies and new ideas popping up all of the time. In the CRM space there are companies like Eudata and FacilityLive and Earnix and Personetics and dozens of others that look at every emerging technology like natural language, correlation of buying behavior and location, connectedness with others, affinity towards a brand – and mix those with connection to your mobile device – and help support the new consumer in a myriad of ways.
But here is the rub: how to free up IT budget to innovate, and one key might be cutting out parts of your current spend and targeting at the new. It is not easy. We’ll have to rethink the impossible: return to our core software suppliers and re-open contracts, and replatform some applications in the Cloud, and get the Marketing department to lean-in.
The first step is to inventory the application portfolio and keeping a bright red line under the components that could be considered of lower value and what bits are missing. Get someone in Marketing to work with someone on your team to scout out the leading edge new technologies that could help the company differentiate products and services, and map out how to shift a small bit of investment over to these innovative technologies. To succeed you will need a CEO that allows you to think like the wild upstart, not beholden to the status quo, as though you were doing this for the first time, with nothing to lose.
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud CRM Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Social Software Strategic Planning Uncategorized Tags:
by Michael Maoz | January 10, 2014 | 3 Comments
It is hard to comprehend, but tomorrow it will be just ten years exactly since Mark Zukerberg registered his domain, THEFACEBOOK.COM. There was just about nothing of a social network before that. And smart phones? Even seven years ago we were tied to our laptops and desktops and non-smart mobile phones, and there was not much to do on social networks. Only in 2007 did most smartphone technology begin to emerge. But very much like an avalanche triggered by nothing more than a rifle shot gains momentum and speed and mass with incredible swiftness and devastating force, so has the power of networks buried most of our CRM strategies. Today as never before in history, the closer we get to the customer, the more cutting edge the processes and technologies must be.
The simplicity of this is empirically shown in a way that David Hume would appreciate. Look at the connectedness of the average consumer and/or business person: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Waze, Pinterest, text messaging, Facetime – and we haven’t gotten to telephone or email or chat or self service interactions.
Given the dauntingly complex skein in customer communication and engagement, how can an organization hope to create a meaningful path through the business or enterprise or department for the customer? How can contextual communication happen when so few of the threads are understood or owned by the business?
And how can any sense of a CRM Application Suite emerge to ‘manage’ the seamingly unmanageable? How can we begin to understand where in the experience journey our customer is at at any given place, time, or channel? Or what mode they are in? Not mood: MODE. Are they on business or not, stressed and hurried or relaxed, shopping or just looking, loyal or on the fence or upset and untrusting? Do they prefer to do everything themselves on their mobile device, or are there parts of the process where they want your help? Where are they failing?
Can any supposed ”CRM Suite” map the customer experience, the touchpoints used, for which process, the success of the engagement/interaction, and create, analyze and store these as metrics used to generate profit and launch the next step in the process?
The customer processes will only continue to splinter across more channels, and no software vendor will succeed in the next four years to deliver the technologies to support the key customer processes. The vendors can try – and they are trying: just think of the dozens of acquisitions in the CRM software space that have happened in the past three years. Just this week there were several more, including Microsoft’s acquisition of Parature (if you are a client you can see that here http://gtnr.it/KMV6n8 ) and Verint’s intended purchase of Kana Software.
For the CIO, the concept of ‘buying’ a ‘CRM Suite’ will be, to reference the character Pierre in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, a cauchemar, a nightmare. The alternative? Look at the best of the applications to handle core sales, marketing and customer support, while looking to best of breed applications and custom tools and processes for the customer engagement bits that are changing fastest, such as customer communication, knowledge management, analytics, and social media engagement.
What do you see happening? As always – thank you for your emails and insights!
Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications Business Intelligence CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership Sales Force Automation SFA Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning Twitter Tags:
by Michael Maoz | January 2, 2014 | 2 Comments
About 90% of my overall shopping experience is online. I imagine it might never go higher, as I was reminded this week shopping for a new Carry-on flight bag. There are hundreds of sizes, colours, styles, pouches, attachments, wheels, and prices, and running the endless combinations on the internet is less than efficient. Especially as I found myself on the east side of Manhattan, not far from the most popular retail shopping mecca in New York City. It was a great experience, replete with lugubrious commissioned sales people plying the latest and greatest luggage.
It did not take long to sort through the myriad choices to the one or two bags that fit my needs, including eight-wheels and upright. And the most fun of all: what would I pay? There was the price tag to guide the conversation – and a 40% holiday discount. But there was tax and there was shipping, and one of them had to go. Haggling with a sales person in the Cairo’s Khan Al-Khalili souk off of al-Azhar street is one thing (entertaining and romantic), but on Lexington and 59th in 2014 we do things differently to shift the conversation: remove the iPhone and start to tap in words……
Suddenly I am Lex Luthor holding Kryptonite in Metropolis, and the salespeople look to one another and huddle together for a moment. (“Maybe he’s not a hayseed, Doug…”).
“Sir, (now I am sir, nice.) we can ship this from our supplier free of charge, and we have an additional 15% discount that we can apply to the purchase today.”
All great, and I got the luggage, delivered to the house, at the price that I wanted, and used the retailer for more than a showroom. But why the drama? Why not cut to the chase and provide me with the best deal. Here is the deal: in the original formulation of caveat emptor, ‘let him beware,’ it was translated as ‘let the buyer beware’ because it reflected a time when the one selling a product knew more than did the one purchasing. But the tables have turned, and now let the seller beware: the buyer knows as much, and often far more, than the seller.
To get to an enterprise that respects the buyers expectation to buy with trust, the enterprise will need to preempt the haggling and preying on buyer ignorance, as, sooner or later, the customer will figure out that they are not getting the best deal. Not only will they sulk and shop elsewhere, but they will take untold shoppers with them.
Let’s get ahead of the trend and sell differently – as partner with the buyer. For the times they are ‘achanging.
Are you there yet?
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