Tag Archives: customer-centric

Turn Consumer Trends into Innovations

Photo: Watch tower of the dam, Embalse de los Bermejales, Arenas del Rey, Andalusia, Spain, by Jebulon. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

‘Just as a fish doesn’t know it is wet, so companies often can’t see or feel the very opportunities where they are swimming.” – Pam Henderson, author of Killing Ideas

Watching and applying consumer trends can help brands and businesses capitalize on opportunities in their own backyards.

According to Maxwell Luthy, Director of Trends & Insights, Trendwatching.com, a consumer trend is “an emerging pattern of consumer behavior, attitude or expectation.” At Trendwatching.com, they look for “clusters of innovations that have unlocked or newly serviced an existing consumer need, desire, want or value. Tracking trends helps you meet and surpass customers’ rapidly changing expectations.”

During the Total CX Leaders Conference last month, Maxwell described these six key consumer trends and how to apply them to enhance the customer experience:

1. Sympathetic pricing: Consumers love imaginative, targeted discounts that relieve lifestyle pain points, offer a helping hand in difficult times or support a shared value.

2.  Video valets: Consumers are coming to expect instant, video-based exchanges with brand reps when they need them.

3. Deliver (more than) goods: Truly customer-centric brands – established or new – will understand that delivery is just the start. Make customer experiences effortless, personal and surprising.

4. Politeness pays: Beyond two-way ratings, smart brands are realizing they can foster a better customer experience by rewarding good behavior – and even punishing the impolite!

5. Beneficial intelligence: Consumers will embrace services that use data and contextual understanding to make intelligent decisions, automatically sort daily tasks and offer the right advice at the right moment.

6. Post-demographic consumerism: Consumers are freer than ever before to construct their lifestyles according to their own ideals and tastes, with little regard for tradition.

Let’s keep the Total CX Leaders Conference conversations going! Stay connected with TCXL15 at:
- twitter.com/#TCXL15
- linkedin.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders
- facebook.com/Total Customer Experience Leaders

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Customer Experience Conversations: Janet LeBlanc

Today, the customer experience (CX)
landscape is drastically changing with the explosion of new and emerging
technologies affecting the customer journey. With all of this change, it is now
more important than ever to understand what it takes to create a strategic
customer experience program.
That’s why we recently sat down with Janet
LeBlanc, president, Janet LeBlanc + Associates Inc., to discuss the state of CX
today and what’s in store for the future. She is speaking at the
upcoming Total CX Leaders Conference 2015 this
spring in Miami. 
This year, the two-day conference brings
together thought-leadership to focus on higher level thinking around the
strategic alignment of customer strategy, technology and business aspirations.
Linking data driven behavior to business results, designing next generation
customer experiences and measuring the impact of your customer programs is the
difference between great and greater.
Here’s
what LeBlanc had to say:
IIR: What is the best customer experience you’ve had?
LeBlanc: The best customer experiences’the type of interactions that make me
shout-out and tell everyone about how a company has made me feel’are those interactions
where I know a company has paid attention to every detail. They have created moments
for employees to make memorable connections with me and recognize that the
‘devil is in the details.’ It is the little things, micro-moments that stand
out and speak so loudly about a company. Customer-centric organizations define
the moments that matter most to customers and design an experience that shows it
makes every effort to exceed expectations.
IIR: What is top of mind for you regarding customer experience in 2015?
LeBlanc: Teaching senior leaders how to build a customer-centric culture is
what’s top of mind for me in 2015. The senior leader is fundamental to the
success of any customer experience transformation. Our North American Study on
Customer Centricity shows that less than half of those surveyed consider
customer experience a recurring leadership agenda, and 67 percent don’t
consider their companies’ leaders to be customer centric. Our goal is to
educate the senior leader on how to be a role model for customer-centric
behaviors. Customer-centric leaders channel the voice of the customer and build
strategic alignment across the enterprise that creates a company-wide focus on
the customer.
IIR: What is your prediction for where customer experience is going this
year and beyond?
LeBlanc: We predict more organizations will embrace customer experience as a
cultural imperative and recognize it as a competitive differentiator. Almost
three quarters of business leaders who took part in our North American Study on
Customer Centricity are in the early stages of transformation towards a customer-centric
organization. Those organizations that have achieved customer centricity have
the commitment of the entire organization. They understand the ideal customer
experience and how to consistently deliver it across multiple channels.

Want
to hear more from LeBlanc? Don’t miss her keynote session, ‘From Lip-Service to
Measurable Change: How to Drive Customer-Centricity’ at Total CX Leaders
Conference 2015 this June in Miami. For more information about the event or to
register, click here: http://bit.ly/1GHBTO1

How sales professionals can use social networks to best serve the customer

When we think of putting the customer first we should think about the initial, and most consistent, contact they have for their purchase:  the sales person.  Today’s sales professional must use his or her social network to be successful.  And that success will come from using their social network to take a ‘customer-centric’ approach.  Certainly the marketing department is hip deep in the social media milieu…It’s not to be ignored.  But, I’m speaking to the sales professional in this thesis.
A Sales Professional Is Many Things
The best sales people must follow a disciplined process.  Customers have gained power and gone global, channels have proliferated, more product companies are selling services, and customers expect a single point of contact.  The sales person has to play a number of roles in this relationship:

  •  Company leader. The best sales people actively help formulate and execute a territory strategy, and they collaborate with all functions of the business to deliver value to customers.
  • Customer champion. Customers want senior level relationships with their supplier.  Customers expect an inside peek at their offering to be sure their buying decision is sustainable over time.  They need to understand product strategy, see future offerings in advance, and participate in decisions made about future products.
  • Process guru. Although sales professionals must look beyond the sales and customer processes they have honed over time, they can’t abandon them. The focus on process has become more important because buying decisions are being thrust on some users without buying experience. 
  • Organization architect. Good sales leaders spend a lot of timeevaluating and occasionally redesigning the sales organization’s structure to ensure that it supports corporate strategy.
  • Course corrector. Sales leaders must pay attention to what’s coming, because the business world changes constantly.  On the other hand they have to pay attention to the situation on the ground right now; to thrive in ambiguous environments and to respond when quick adjustments in priorities are needed.

The Best Sales Pros Have Powerful Social Networks
Social networks are critical.   It’s an oversimplification to say the more contacts you have, the more leads you’ll generate, and, ultimately, the more sales you’ll make. Different configurations of networks produce different results, and a nuanced understanding of social networks will help the best sales people outshine competitors.

 Different social networking abilities are required in each stage of the sale:
  • When we’re identifying prospects, we need our networks to help us acquire precise and timely information about opportunities from contacts in the marketplace
  • As we meet many people in the prospect’s organization our network helps us gain buy-in from all levels, titles, locations & disciplines
  • As we create solutions we need specialists with knowledge outside of our purview so we can bring value to the table
  • And when we’re closing the deal we need to mobilize our contacts from prior sales to act as references

A sales professional’s network often pays off most handsomely through all of these social, and sometimes indirect, contacts.   But we have to ask ourselves do our contacts know all the same people, or are their associates widely dispersed?
What Is The ‘Right’ Social Network For A Sales Executive?
The right social network can have a huge impact on the sales professional’s success. It’s misguided to believe the key is having a large circle filled with high-powered contacts.   It’s better to cultivate a different kind of network: select but diverse, made up of high-quality relationships with people who come from varying spheres and from up and down the corporate ladder. This diverse crowd can help those in sales learn, make decisions with less bias, and grow personally.
Six critical kinds of social network connections:
People who provide information, ideas, or expertise;
Formally and informally powerful people, who offer mentoring and political support;
People who give developmental feedback;
People who lend personal support;
People who increase your sense of purpose or worth;
People who promote work/life balance.
The best kinds of connections are “energizers”–positive, trustworthy individuals who enjoy other people and always see opportunities, even in challenging situations.
Four Simple Steps To Keep A Sales Professional’s Social Network On Track
If you’re a salesperson and you want to improve your social network, here is a four-step process you might want to consider to improve it.

  1. Identify who your connections are and what they offer you,
  2. Back away from redundant and energy-draining connections,
  3. Fill holes in your network with the right kind of people,
  4. Work to make the most of your contacts.

Today’s world of sales is all about the customer.  Today’s social network is a gift to sales people, allowing us to best serve our customers with the best information, the best relationships and the best thinking.  A sales person’s social network allows them to keep their fingers on the pulse of the marketplace, readying them to make course corrections on an ongoing basis in an ever changing buying environment.  

And, of course, the very best use of social networks for a sales professional is to use them to listen to their customers.

 
Harvard Bus Rev. 2011 Jul-Aug;89(7-8):149-53, 167., A smarter way to network. Cross R, Thomas R.
Harvard Bus Rev. 2006 Jul-Aug;84(7-8):102-12, 188., Better sales networks. Ust??ner T, Godes D.
Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web site:www.shulkin.net. You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.  
Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer??, an innovation ecosystem. CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60 . Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).

Flashback Friday: Podcast: Janet LeBlanc on Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

Earlier this month, we learned that a substantial portion of our audience does not believe their companies have a customer centric-culture. Janet LeBlanc, President, JANET LEBLANC + ASSOCIATES  has been a perennial favorite at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. Let’s take a look back to 2012, where we spoke to her about creating a customer centric culture for some tips:

One building a customer centric culture  LeBlanc says, “it’s one of the most challenging transformational change initiatives for any senior executive to undertake.” For more on the process and the types of culture you may currently be operating under, listen to the podcast. 

If you’d like to hear more from Janet LeBlanc, join us at the Total Customer Experience Leader’s Summit in April.

Register as a reader of our blog with code TCEL13BLOG to save 15% off the standard registration rates. Visit the webpage to register today.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She is the voice behind the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com 

Complimentary Webinar: Driving Best-In-Class Customer Experience: Beyond Social Media Listening

In association with EmPower Research, a Genpact company, The Institute for International Research invites you to join us for a one hour complimentary Web Seminar:

Driving Best-In-Class Customer Experience: Beyond Social Media Listening
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
12:00PM – 1:00PM ET

Presenter:

‘ Sangita Joshi, Managing Partner, EmPower Research, a Genpact company

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://cc.readytalk.com/r/ivporydm5oxu
Please mention your priority code: MWY0001BL

Today the rise in customer participation in Social Media is pushing marketers and researchers to listen and learn from Social Media conversations. While numerous applications of Social Media research are taking shape, understanding customer experience through the new media is gaining tremendous mind-share.

Social Media provides an excellent platform to listen to customer concerns, criticisms, and feedback, and address issues through one-to-one engagement. Social Media listening helps brand managers and marketers in not only differentiating their service quality but also aligning them with customer expectations, thus, driving greater satisfaction and better experience. In this session, you learn how Social Media can provide holistic insights on the ‘voice of consumer’.

Participants will learn:
‘ Understanding and measuring customer experience through Social Media ‘ the possibilities today
‘ Beyond listening- Tracking voice of the consumer across the relationship cycle
‘ Social engagement- The path to improving Net Promoter Score/Customer Satisfaction Index

Sangita Joshi is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of EmPower Research – a Genpact company. She has over 20 years of experience in research of which the last eight years have been at the executive level. At EmPower, Sangita leads social media research and delivery to global clients, and closely works with the innovation team to continuously evolve solutions that aid decision-making in a dynamic business environment. She regularly writes for leading industry publications and speaks on topics related to social media-led insights.

About EmPower Research:
EmPower Research, a Genpact company (NYSE:G) provides integrated media and business research services. We help our clients understand stakeholder perception and needs, empowering them to service better. We use proprietary methodologies to listen and learn about conversations in the customer ecosystem, deriving real insights for active stakeholder engagement.
For more information, visit http://www.empowerresearch.com

About IIR:
The Institute for International Research (IIR) is the world’s largest conference company and has been the leader in the provision of business information for over 25 years. IIR produces over 5,000 events annually through its network of offices in over 35 countries.

Total Customer Experience Leaders Speaker Spotlight: John Cushman of AT&T

In the weeks leading up to the 2011 Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit we’re going to be hearing from some of the speakers.

Today we have an interview with John M. Cushman of AT&T. John will be presenting “Creating a Customer Centric Culture” on Oct. 4th 2011 at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. This session will highlight the myriad of reasons why creating a customer centric culture is essential to businesses of all sizes today. Attendees will be provided with a behind the scenes view of how AT&T is blending people processes and new technologies like social media, to improve its own B2B Customer experiences. Tips on ways to link various touch points in the LEARN-BUY-GET-USE-PAY-SERVICE Customer Continuum will be shared. Learn how to:
‘ Create a Customer Centric Culture
‘ Identify areas of opportunity
‘ Track ROI and measure success

To learn more about the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, download the brochure here.

In our interview, Cushman said “what keeps me challenged is the rate of change.” Hear more about the changing customer experience world, by listening to the podcast here.

To hear more from and network with customer experience leaders, join us this October in Phoenix, AZ for the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. Register for the event here. Please use priority code TCEL11BLOG when registering.

Total Customer Experience Leaders: Lowest Early Bird Discount Expires Today

Creating a customer centric culture is essential to businesses of all sizes today. And being customer centric means the entire organization must be aligned. The challenge and opportunity to leverage disparate sets of information into strategic action is a shared responsibility and priority across the board. That is why creating a customer centric culture should be on top of everyone’s priority list across the organization. Join John Cushman, Vice President of Business Marketing, AT&T at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit, taking place October 3-5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona as he delivers his keynote presentation: Creating a Customer Centric Culture In this presentation, John will provide attendees with a behind the scenes view of how AT&T is blending people, processes and new technologies like social media, to improve its own B2B customer experiences. Tips on ways to link various touch points in the LEARN-BUY-GET-USE-PAY-SERVICE Customer Continuum will be shared. You will also learn how to: ‘ Create a Customer Centric Culture ‘ Identify areas of opportunity ‘ Track ROI and measure success In addition to AT&T, the following companies will also share their inside stories on Measurement & ROI, Data Performance, Operational Metrics and Social Media CRM. Kelley Blue Book, CVS Caremark, Verizon, AAA Northern California, Rockwell Automation, J.D. Power & Associates, Maritz Research, CPI Card Group, Customer Experience Partners, Customer Bliss, EMC, Forrester, Expedia, Allstate Financial, Peppers & Rogers Group, Pfizer, FedEx Corporation, GE Healthcare, Microsoft Corporation, and more.

Download the brochure to see the full program.
The Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit will enable you to effectively measure, align and communicate your customer strategy to ensure business relevance.

Save $500 off the standard & onsite rate. Register with code TCEL11BLOG here:

We look forward to seeing you this October in Phoenix!
The Total Customer Experience Leaders Event Team Visit the event webpage.
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Creating a Customer-Centric Social Media Strategy that Works

Here’s a guest post from Norma Huibregtse on the Customers 1st blog that I thought might be of interest to our community readers. NACCM is currently taking place so make sure to subscribe to the NACCM blog for live updates from the event. Check the post out below.

Business owners want to jump on the social media bandwagon but just don’t know where to begin. Becky Carroll, founder of Customers Rock!, believes you must have a strategy to engage in social media today. In her presentation today, “Putting Together a Customer-Centric Social Media Strategy that Works: Deciphering the Hype from Reality”, she discusses how to put together a customer centeric social media strategy that works.

Why consider social media? Carroll says because your customers want it or management wants it. She reminds us that 60% of Americans are using social media, 93% believe a company should have a presence in social media and 85% believe a company should interact via social media. Using social media helps to remove the ‘faceless veil’ so that customers can get to know you on a personal level says Carroll.

According to Carroll, hitting the Social media sweet spot allows us to:
‘ build trust with customers
‘ build community
‘ WOM maximizer
‘ two-way conversations

Based on the book Groundswell, Carroll shares several reasons to use social media: to listen, talk, energize, help and embrace your customers. Ask your customers which social media venues work best for them.

How do you create a social media strategy? Carroll says you should participate by first listening, deciding what you want to do with your customers and choose the right tools. Establish social media goals. What do you want to do? Share your expertise, build relationships, create a conversation, customer service, or be more human?

Carroll shared several company examples which are successfully using social media. She mentioned the top three brands with the deepest brand engagement using social media Starbucks, Dell and Ebay. Other examples include Coca Cola, JetBlue and Cisco. Coca Cola’s Fan Page was developed by two loyal customers. JetBlue Airways uses Twitter for customer service and has over 1.4 million followers. Cisco CEO John Chambers was captured on video in his office doing duck calls. The video was posted on their blog and allowed customers to see his human side.

The key to social media is in the planning. Decide who is in charge of social media. Many are outsourcing to marketing companies and PR firms. Carroll believes you should not outsource this to someone outside of the company. Find someone in your organization who would love the opportunity to create conversations about your company. Everyone needs to be involved in strategy: marketing, customer service, R&D, C-level, and employees.

Decide which metrics are the most critical. Start with small, focused pilots. Remember, you must be consistent as it is a relationship-building activity for the long term according to Carroll. Ask for customer feedback and revise your strategy as needed.

You can engage in social media in a planned way. Set up the plan and get your organization involved. According to Carroll, it takes a little nurture and care. Little things like ‘thank you’ matter to your customers. Begin by listening is Carroll’s strongest advice.

NACCM 2009: Creating a Customer-Centric Social Media Strategy that Works

Business owners want to jump on the social media bandwagon but just don’t know where to begin. Becky Carroll, founder of Customers Rock!, believes you must have a strategy to engage in social media today. In her presentation today, “Putting Together a Customer-Centric Social Media Strategy that Works: Deciphering the Hype from Reality“, she discusses how to put together a customer centeric social media strategy that works.
Why consider social media? Carroll says because your customers want it or management wants it. She reminds us that 60% of Americans are using social media, 93% believe a company should have a presence in social media and 85% believe a company should interact via social media. Using social media helps to remove the ‘faceless veil’ so that customers can get to know you on a personal level says Carroll.

According to Carroll, hitting the Social media sweet spot allows us to:
‘ build trust with customers
‘ build community
‘ WOM maximizer
‘ two-way conversations

Based on the book Groundswell, Carroll shares several reasons to use social media: to listen, talk, energize, help and embrace your customers. Ask your customers which social media venues work best for them.

How do you create a social media strategy? Carroll says you should participate by first listening, deciding what you want to do with your customers and choose the right tools. Establish social media goals. What do you want to do? Share your expertise, build relationships, create a conversation, customer service, or be more human?

Carroll shared several company examples which are successfully using social media. She mentioned the top three brands with the deepest brand engagement using social media Starbucks, Dell and Ebay. Other examples include Coca Cola, JetBlue and Cisco. Coca Cola’s Fan Page was developed by two loyal customers. JetBlue Airways uses Twitter for customer service and has over 1.4 million followers. Cisco CEO John Chambers was captured on video in his office doing duck calls. The video was posted on their blog and allowed customers to see his human side.

The key to social media is in the planning. Decide who is in charge of social media. Many are outsourcing to marketing companies and PR firms. Carroll believes you should not outsource this to someone outside of the company. Find someone in your organization who would love the opportunity to create conversations about your company. Everyone needs to be involved in strategy: marketing, customer service, R&D, C-level, and employees.

Decide which metrics are the most critical. Start with small, focused pilots. Remember, you must be consistent as it is a relationship-building activity for the long term according to Carroll. Ask for customer feedback and revise your strategy as needed.

You can engage in social media in a planned way. Set up the plan and get your organization involved. According to Carroll, it takes a little nurture and care. Little things like ‘thank you’ matter to your customers. Begin by listening is Carroll’s strongest advice.

Customer loyatly goes a long way

In a recent article at The Motley Fool, they look at how some stores have made it their goal to focus on the customer, and as a result are having an easier time with the current recession. They also state that over the course of five years, companies lose 1/2 their customers, and of those 2/3 claim that customer service is their reason for leaving.

Some companies realize the value of keeping customers, and are reponsible for such statistics as increasing customer loyalty by 5% can increase your profits by 25%. These stores include Best Buy, Nordstrom, Amazon, and LL Bean.