How to Manage Customer Relationships on Social Media

Don’t get caught up in thinking that customer relationship management is just for those big box store brands. As it stands, managing the relationship you have with customers can make or break your business. If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or something in between, I’m willing to bet that you’re wanting your business to succeed–and customer relationship management is key. Sure you can invest in expensive CRM software, but remember that all the software in the word can’t take the place of YOU.

Amazing Technological Advances Part IV

The series continues! There have been some amazing technological advances over the last sixty years. Today, we take a look at some of the biggest tech advances since 1995.

1995 – Google begins as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Both are Ph.D. students at Stanford University.

1999 – Kevin Ashton coins the term “the Internet of Things” (IoT) while working at Auto-ID Labs.Oracle executive Marc Benioff invites three friends to his San Francisco apartment. His business idea gets a lukewarm response. Cofounder Dave Moellenhoff doesn’t sugarcoat it, “You’re an idiot. That’s the stupidest thing. This is never going to work.” The group presses forward and launches Salesforce, one of the first enterprise cloud software services in the world. The company pioneered the concept of delivering enterprise applications via a simple website.

Customer Service: Improving Your Online Reputation

It’s no secret that customers appreciate good service. Naturally, in order to get them through your doors, you first have to market to them. There are the traditional channels, of course– television, online, and even printed ads may do the trick. Of course, the latest trend is marketing a business doesn’t rely much on marketing that we the business owners create–it relies on customers who have given us a chance to impress them.

Influencing Behavior and Improving Customer Experience Through Personal Data

This is the third blog post in a nine post series for IBM by Evan Carroll and I focused on the intersection of customer experience and technology, data and analytics. This post covers the First R of relationship and the concept of personal data and its impact on behavior change.

Some might argue that technology is making us less human. Others would argue just the opposite. No matter which opinion you share, you can’t dispute the rising trend of personal data collection and its effect on behavior change.

TrendWatching.com coined the term ‘data myning’ in 2010 and included it in their 2013 trend report. The intentional misspelling highlighted how individuals, not just companies, are impacted by the awareness and ownership of their own data.

Data myning, as it pertains to customer experience, is about empowerment. Companies who use personal data to empower their customers have the opportunity to create transformative change for those customers.

Case Study: Dollar Bank

Dollar Bank is the largest mutual savings bank in the United States. Today, the bank delivers a comprehensive range of retail and commercial banking services to customers across Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The challenge: With the popularity of its digital services booming, Dollar Bank wanted to drive customer retention and acquisition by ensuring seamless customer journeys online.

The solution: The bank implemented IBM Customer Experience Analytics solutions, enabling its contact center to replay digital customer journeys, identify any sticking points and resolve customer queries quickly and effectively.

The benefits: The bank can now identify and implement experience improvements online – boosting first-call resolution by 30 percent and lifting customer satisfaction.

Blue Goldfish Case Study: Southern California Edison

Southern California Edison saw the opportunity to provide customers with additional insight into their utility bills following their rollout of smart meters. In one test, the company identified 30,000 customers whose bills were on track to be significantly higher than expected. Ten days into the billing cycle, the system sent an email with the header, “Your bill is going to be higher than you expect and we’re concerned.” More than 50 percent of customers opened the email. Compared to a control group, satisfaction rose by double digits, energy usage fell and customer calls decreased.

Takeaway: The lesson here is that customers love to learn more about themselves and especially through data. This empowers them to change behaviors that may be costing them money or making them less healthy. Companies who offer this type of empowerment are in a great position to improve customer satisfaction and their bottom line.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Check out this slideshare on the concept of the Blue Goldfish:

Amazing Technological Advances Part III

Today offers us a lot of technology. Of course, before today’s tech existed, there were an awful lot of technological advances that had to be made. Here are some of the more prominent ones from the last forty years.

1983 – Motorola releases its first commercial mobile phone, known as the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. The handset offered 30 minutes of talk-time, six hours standby, and could store 30 phone numbers. It cost nearly $4,000.10

1989 – Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invents the World Wide Web. The Web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world. The first website at CERN – was dedicated to the World Wide Web project itself and was hosted on Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer. The website described the basic features of the Web; how to access other people’s documents and how to set up your own server.

Good Customer Service Doesn’t Always Depend on Data Models

On the backside of marketing and customer service, you probably come across a lot of data and models. Maybe that is why when it comes to offering good customer service; we can often get caught up in what the numbers say we should do. That’s because we feel that if someone has taken the time to measure what qualifies “good customer service” or a “good experience” we should listen to him or her.

Personalization is the Key to Enhancing Customer Experience

This is the second blog post in a nine post series for IBM focused on the intersection of customer experience and technology, data and analytics. This post covers the First “R” of relationship and the concept of personalization.

Personalization is a popular term in business today. Before we go any further, we’d like to point out the irony. Business has always been personal. In the old world where individual artisans or merchants owned their own shops, they knew each and every customer who walked through the doors. Recommendations and personal touches were commonplace. Somewhere along the road to mass marketing…the concept was lost.

Today, we use the word personalization to describe our desire to go back to doing business on a personal level, but often forget it’s not about segments or cohorts. To personalize is to design or produce something to meet someone’s individual requirements. The key is the individual.

In our current landscape, focusing on the individual can be almost impossible for companies. Hindered by legacy technology and distributed workforces, personalization is difficult. But it’s the companies who overtake these barriers who tend to see impressive results.

Connecting the Dots

To accurately understand your customers, you must bridge the gap between online history and offline behavior. You need a view into the behaviors of your customer that goes beyond demographics and purchase history. This requires the ability to collect and present thorough and accurate information about individual customer interactions…and connect the customer context dots. The final step is delivering the data and insight – on demand and in context – to drive specific actions.

IBM Case Study: Fresh Direct

Founded in 2002 and employing more than 1,000 people, FreshDirect is one of the leading online grocers in the United States. With more than 600,000 customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the company has fulfilled 12 million orders since its inception.

The challenge: To drive sales and nurture loyalty, FreshDirect wanted to make its marketing communications more relevant and engaging – but first, the organization needed a better way to segment its customers.

The solution: FreshDirect implemented IBM solutions, enabling it to identify customer preferences on the digital channel and perform accurate customer segmentation.

The benefits: Today, FreshDirect reaches out with optimal promotions that are personalized for each customer, incentivizing incremental purchases and encouraging repeat business.

Read the full FreshDirect case study here.

Blue Goldfish Case Study: Erste Bank

Erste Bank is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The bank uses analytics to determine the next best action for customers and analyze existing data that can recommend next best actions to customers via outbound and inbound touch-points.

Next best action analytics is driving impressive results for the bank. Erste makes these personalized offers through its call centers and online channels. They report a 95% success rate in determining the next best product for a customer using their data-driven approach. Getting this offer right is moving the needle for Erste as purchases for the next best product are up to 16 times above the average sale ratio.

Takeaway: The possibilities for enhanced customer experience are endless when you combine big data and little data into personalized offers.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – here’s a video from IBM’s Amplify, an Ignite talk on infosense:

How to be Successful Online in 2017

Customer service is an interesting beast. Every time you think you have it figured out, it changes. It used to be that when people had a problem or a complaint about a service or product, they had to call a store and speak with a manager. Prior to that, they physically had to go back to the store where they made their initial purchase. Nowadays, many customers prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of stores–they enjoy the ease of being able to go online. In 2017, the shopping path that customers use will continue to change, so it’s best to make sure you’re moving the same direction as they are.

Amazing Technological Advances Since the 60’s

We are entering a new era driven by technology.  That being said, we didn’t get to this inflection point without innovation over the last 50+ years. Here are just a handful of the major breakthroughs over that time:

1961 – The silicon chip was invented by two American electrical engineers, Jack Kilby, and Robert Noyce. Their creation revolutionized and miniaturized technology and paved the way for the development of the modern computer. Until the chip was invented, most electrical devices were constructed using large, power-hungry vacuum tube technology. The development of transistors partially solved the problem, but these still had to be wired to circuit boards. Kilby and Noyce hit on the solution almost simultaneously, combining separate components in an integrated circuit made of a semiconductor material. Intel founder Noyce, working in Palo Alto, California, favored silicon and can thus be credited as the man who put the silicon in “Silicon valley.”