Tag Archives: Customer Relationship Management

How Research Teams Can Stay Relevant in the Digital Age

‘Embrace
consumers in a transparent fashion. The people are the heroes now’
Is your research operations team ready for the new face of consumer insights? Today,
it’s key for research teams to remain relevant in the midst of changing digital
age and be able to create a roadmap to success to stay relevant.
That’s why we sat down with Robert
Moran
, Partner, Brunswick Group Global Head of Insight, who knows
this well and offers fellow industry professional some advice on the subject.
How are research
operations teams changing in the digital age?
Moran: Many
aren’t and that’s a problem for them and their organizations.  The short
answer is that they need to invest heavily in social media and traditional
media listening skills, become much faster and more agile and act as futurists
‘ anticipating trends based on a wide array of inputs.
What is your advice
to traditional researchers trying to stay relevant in the fast changing market
research and consumer insights space?
Moran: Strengthen
your synthesis skills, drawing insights from a number of data streams.  
Focus on speed and time to insight. The political polling
community may be a source of inspiration here.
Work to dramatically improve your communications to
management. Most market research is poorly communicated.
What is the best way
to build a high performance team in today’s MRX world?
Moran: Hire for
curiosity, energy and communications ability. The field has traditionally
over-focused on hiring for managers of the research process. That was rational
when the objective was gathering data, but is less helpful when data is
ubiquitous.
Why is it important
to be an agile market research today?
Moran: A
significant portion of market research is locked up in brand trackers that cost
too much to answer basic, 20th century questions about the business. Budgets
need to be dramatically reworked to answer critical, in-the-moment questions
that management has at the strategic level.
How can a company
create a research innovation culture?
Want to hear more from Robert? Hear his presentation ‘An Insider Look: Deconstructing the Current Paradigms’ at TMRE in
Focus: The New Face of Consumer Insights later this month.

From the producers of TMRE: The Market Research Event, The New Face of
Consumer Insights explores how companies are redefining their structures,
processes, skillsets and team composition to ensure future relevance in this
fast changing environment. To learn more about the conference and to
register, click here: http://bit.ly/1NwN299

Growing planned store visits for increased wallet share

By: Sam
Elphinstone, Group Head, the numbers lab, Firefish’s quantitative
business

Researching retail is fascinating.  Whilst always a dynamic and exciting category
it has recently become even more so, as brands seek to seamlessly join their
digital and non-digital offers.  The ultimate
aim is to present customers with a slick and enjoyable experience, minimising
the opportunities for customers to disengage and maximising share of wallet.
Whilst preventing people from leaving the
purchase funnel is of huge importance, there are some other considerations
identified from research carried out specifically around fashion retail that
can play a significant role in whether or not a sale is achieved.
Chief amongst these considerations is increasing
the likelihood that shoppers will plan a visit. 
Across both digital and physical stores, if a visit is planned, a sale
is 2??x more likely.  Furthermore, planned
visitors are 2 times as likely to visit again in future.  Interestingly, this is irrespective of how
close the shopper is to the brand initially.
Planned visits tend to be in the minority
(around 20% of shoppers), with the majority of decisions around visiting a
particular store or site made on an ad hoc basis, whilst browsing online or
wandering through the mall.  Obviously,
converting these ‘floating’ shoppers with a clever media strategy that
interrupts them at the most opportune time is essential, especially as there is
probably a limit to the number of planned visits that can be achieved.  However, given the role they play in maximising
the aforementioned share of wallet, growing the 20% of planned visits is a
proven way of achieving growth.
So how can we drive shopper planning?  Some of it comes down to old-fashioned top of
mind awareness and saliency in what can be (especially in the world of fashion
retail) a very crowded landscape.  How we
drive those metrics should come as no surprise; traditional ATL and BTL
communications designed to hit a broad audience allied with more tailored
digital and social media campaigns with a more emotional connection in
mind.  CRM can also play a crucial part,
tailoring the engagement and rewarding loyalty.
What may come as a surprise is the extent
to which the ‘basics’ mentioned above aren’t done correctly or often enough,
meaning that awareness is subject to peaks and troughs which, in turn, affect
the extent to which visits are planned. 
In recent conversations with clients, we are also seeing marketing spend
diverted from those ‘basics’ into other areas, such as the blending of digital
and non-digital customer experience mentioned earlier in this article. 
The former issue can be addressed by taking
a slightly more radical view of brand impact marketing, perhaps by adopting an
‘always on’ strategy which substitutes big, infrequent and expensive campaigns
with a cheaper more agile alternative that maintains a more consistent
presence.
The latter is
about understanding priorities.  Getting
the customer experience right across all of your properties is essential,
however, it should not come at the cost of driving planned visits impacted by
more traditional metrics like awareness and saliency.  For the health and wellbeing of retail there
needs to be room for both.
Sam Elphinstone is Head of Research at the numbers lab, Firefish’s quantitative
business. His expertise focuses on
understanding how brands
interact with consumers. He is a specialist in consumer experiences, how people
react to them and their subsequent impacts on behavior.

How to Create a Customer Experience that Sells

Today, businesses of all types and sizes must provide high quality products, but customers tend to remember the details of their experience with the product or the company better than the product itself.
So now it is more important than ever for businesses to focus on developing customer experiences that enables them to grow and retain their customer base. Here are a few ways businesses can create a customer experience that truly sells the product.
Recognize Your Customer. A key step you can take to enhance your customer experiences is to personally recognize your customer when they return to make a purchase. It’s the personalized treatment that adds value to a purchase, makes the customer feel special, and injects loyalty into your customer base. Evaluate your business operations to for areas where you can ensure that your customers know you are paying attention to their purchases.
Provide a Personalized Experience. It is also important to focus on providing your customers with personalized shopping experiences. Integrating interactive experiences along with in-store shopping is an excellent way to do this. Customers expect VIP treatment from brands in both online and in-person experiences. Providing customers with the same personalized experience when shopping online as they receive when they are in the store can go a long way toward encouraging repeat business.

Tapping into the Customer’s Emotions. For many consumers, shopping is an emotionally driven experience. No matter what they are shopping for, consumers are seeking opportunities to connect those events with their experiences with products. So, provide consumers with the option to build shopping lists and share with friends. Along with seeing what people close them are shopping for, these lists also make it possible for consumers to save the products they like for future reference, increasing the chance of making a sale.

Businesses Reimagine Customer Experience with Microsoft Dynamics

Software giant Microsoft is helping businesses differentiate themselves in the market with its Microsoft Dynamics technology. According to Microsoft Business Solutions executive vice president Kirill Tatarinov and Microsoft International president Jean-Philippe Courtois, people and businesses can reimagine the way they engage with customers, build brand relevance, and collaborate to stay ahead of the ever-changing market and business environments.
“This is truly the era of the customer where people are more informed and better connected than ever. Businesses urgently need solutions to unite and empower their people so they can best serve and nurture their customers,” Tatarinov said. “Microsoft is positioned to deliver agile, integrated business solutions that will help organizations in this new era by delivering amazing customer experiences.”
Microsoft Dynamics designs modern business solutions that empower individuals with intuitive tools that allow them to do their best work. Our proactive, easy-to-use business applications adapt to the way people and systems work, enabling businesses to rapidly deploy and be forward-looking in an ever-changing world.
The company also recently unveiled 18 new predefined and configurable process templates that include sports management, healthcare, government and nonprofit, and more. Delivering on the promise of giving customers access to their CRM information on any device, Microsoft confirmed the availability of new touch-optimized experiences on Windows Phones, iPhones and Android phones that give customers powerful functionality and analytics on the go, without a separate license fee.
To make it easy for businesses to buy Microsoft Dynamics CRM to use with Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft is introducing a global pricing promotion that lets eligible existing and new Microsoft Office 365 customers purchase professional licenses of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and get up to a 40 percent discount on the price of the CRM license, giving them significant value for their technology investment.
In fact, Metro Bank, Great Britain’s first new high street bank in more than a century and an early adopter of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, is using the new solution as the foundation of its customer-first strategy.
“Metro Bank is driving a revolution in banking. We aim to create fans, not customers, and we have a culture that is all about surprise and delight,” said Paul Marriott-Clarke, commercial director, Metro Bank, in a statement. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM is our platform to engage with customers and along with Yammer, SharePoint, Office 365 and Lync is helping us to deliver our promise to offer customers the very best in service and convenience.”

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

7 Tools You Need to Make it in the Customer Engagement Era

Did you know that the majority of customers expect you to go the extra mile to keep their business, but a whopping 71 percent of customers don’t think companies are doing enough?  This is because as of late, the rules of customer engagement have changed drastically
Simply acquiring customers is not enough for today’s businesses – the goal now is to deliver an amazing customer experience (CX) at every interaction so that you not only acquire customers, but they become your loyal fans. You must engage customers like never before, along the entire journey from awareness to lead. 
So, here are some tools, according to Business2Commity, that you should use to boost your company’s CX.
Relevant customer insight. Relevant insight enables employees to anticipate and solve customer needs. Make sure you are tracking social and online information to understand opinions and attitudes.
Flexible applications.Happy, empowered employees deliver better customer experiences.
More than CRM. Your CRM strategy must expand and be able to embrace social listening, social engagement, e-commerce, and cross-organization customer analytics.

How to Create Made-to-Order Customer Experience

Welcome to the world that will not wait, where each customer service interaction is driven by the “me” mentality.
According to Google’s “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior,” the average consumer moves among three screens per day to search for information and perform tasks. In addition to potentially being multiscreen, customer service transactions are also often multichannel, performed across a varying combination of platforms including but not limited to phone, email, chat, social media, smartphone, or tablet.
An Ovum study of more than 8,000 consumers shows that 74 percent now use at least three channels when interacting with an enterprise for customer-related issues’and this approach to resolution is completely changing the way support communicates with customers. The consumer is now in control, demanding service anytime, anywhere, via the channel of his or her choice.
Therefore, many big brands have brought back the structure of single-file service by making certain customer support contact information less accessible and siphoning customers through one or two more cost-effective channels like email or live chat. But between the bloggers, the media, and the public outcry on social media, these could not contain consumers who demanded a made-to-order customer experience based on expectations.
So, how does a brand master all the combinations? Destination CRM has shared some insightful answers:
Offer as many customer service channels as possible. Expectations of today’s customer are for service at least via phone, email, and online support portal. Additional channels that prove to be customer service differentiators include live chat, self-service knowledge base, mobile, social media, and video.
Embrace agile channeling. While an organization may offer a variety of customer service channels, you’ll increasingly frustrate customers if they’re not connected.
More and more customers are expecting service and support to be agile. They want service to start an interaction at one point, whether that’s phone or email or help desk, and the brand should be able to carry over that information and continue the conversation as the customer arrives at the next touch point.
Know thy customer. Locked hand in hand with agile channeling is the personalized customer experience. Without aggregated data, information, and feedback from across all channels, you will never have a true 360-degree view of the customer to create a made-to-order customer experience.
With a new generation of customers demanding more and reaching out and voicing their opinions across more channels, brands can only contain the empowered consumer with siloed channels for so long. Customers have figured out their own way to put themselves first.
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Combining Digital Data with Traditional CRM to Enhance Customer Experience

Putting the customer at the heart of your business strategy has been the key to success. It seems obvious, however, data & CRM specialists agree it is still an aspiration for many. CRM systems that combined digital, mobile and social data alongside traditional touch-points are outstripping those that don’t.  In fact, brands like Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks have cracked the customer service game thanks to their combined approach.
‘The art of CRM doesn’t change, but the channel has. It’s all about talking to customer in relevant way, at the right time, on the right channel and adding value to the customer’s life. Combining the digital alongside offline data has enabled companies such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s, to identify individuals rather than just households,’ said Celerity’s Managing Director Jason Lark.
According to Econsultancy.com, the benefits of joining up digital, mobile, social and offline CRM data include:
No Duplication
Businesses that have integrated all touch points into a single view CRM system are outperforming those that aren’t because they don’t duplicate messages.
1-2-1 Conversations
Data drawn from Facebook, email and other social media channels means large multinationals have an opportunity to have a 1-2-1 conversation with customers.
Real-time Relevance
Using mobile as a channel to collect and harness data has allowed companies to create targeted, personalized offerings.
Agile Customer Service
Companies that have embraced social media, now respond to conversations with customers instantly, demonstrating agile customer service.
Personalization
By tracking offline and online activity organizations can personalize content to reward to the customer.
Tracking Former Customers  
Data created from the digital wallet allows you to track the consumer once they’ve left your site. 

5 Steps to Successful Customer Experience Management

These days, customers expect companies to offer customer preferences in order to reduce the buying cycle time and increase the value. With the increasing number of channels and the need for consistent experience, we have been hearing about the ever-evolving ‘customer experience’ systems. This journey from CRM to CEM, marks a shift from an internally focused to externally focused solution to offer better customer experiences.
In the past, being internally focused gave more time for companies to adopt and evolve, but in the CEM era, companies don’t have the same time. The balance is between great customer experience that drives loyalty and ‘relevant preference’ that will drive commerce. According to a recent Business2Community article written by Ramesh Ramakrishnan, a marketing and organization culture enthusiast and author of www.futuristCMO.com, here are five steps to get the best out of CEM initiatives:

1. Build seamless interactions
Customers are expecting seamless interactions across traditional channels like in-store, call-center, online as well as new channels like mobile and social. Though technology can play a role in enabling this, employee (internal) based seamless interactions can really transform customer (external) based seamless interactions. 

2. Deliver consistent value
Consistent experience across channels due to end-to-end processes, functionality rich channel systems, de-centralization to harness channel incubation, management commitment offers a chance for customers to build trust. Flexible and functionality rich solutions across fast moving channels such as social, mobile will help companies deliver consistently in a fast paced environment.
3. Offer relevant preferences using real-time approaches
Connecting the customer transaction data, front line interaction information and non-enterprise data such as social, mobile can help companies to understand the current and future needs of the customer. Leveraging big data and analytics to come up with relevant preferences for customers will be a key differentiator considering the number of alternatives available. Real-time solutions through big data, analytics, In-memory and human intelligence will transform commerce and customer experience.
4. Develop a partner ecosystem that can collaborate
Customer experience management is a cluster of products that have to work together to offer a holistic solution. It’s critical to have the right set of partners who are innovators, have a good partner ecosystem, and are open to integration with other vendor products.
5. Implement Total Customer Experience (TCE)
In Total Quality Management (TQM), the quality of products is the responsibility of everyone involved in the creation and consumption ecosystem. So, TCE should be a philosophy across the entire organization. Customer experience is not just a front line issue as competition, delays across departments can badly impact customer experience. In the connected media age where customers immediately share more of their negative experiences than positive ones, such negative stories can impact commerce.
Overall, CEM will continue to evolve due to innovation and customer trends, so companies must create an agile ecosystem.

Steps to Driving Action on the Front Line in a B2B Environment

Tim Berry from Microsoft spoke of driving your sales force to enhance the customer experience. Every company should try to become a trusted partner with its customers. Microsoft has gone on a journey toward deeper customer satisfaction. When Microsoft was being perceived less positively, Bill Gates made a decision to start listening to customers. Since then, the company has received more and more positive feedback as it shifted to the Web, and now through the transition to the Cloud. Understand what your moment of truth is: It’s when a customer is most focused on you and when they make their assessment of how satisfied they are with you. The goal is to drive change. Use customer feedback to find out how to make the experience better. This can be measure by the Relationship Management Score (RMS). Have a consistent and predictable customer engagement model. This information can be used to create tools and resources to optimize the sales force. Listen to customers to find how they define success. Create actionable Customer Satisfaction Metrics to hold people accountable ‘ all the way down to the individual level. ‘What gets measured gets done.’ Make sure the data is being used. Here are Tim’s tips to drive relationship health: 1. Consistent Sales Methodology 2. Listening Methods 3. Drive Execution Excellence 4. Close the Loop You must know the value proposition for all your constituents, whether they be external or internal. The sales force needs to be funneled toward execution excellence. Start with a Strategic Relationship Map. Define which roles and relationships are needed and who can fill them. Be sure to communicate the results to customers and to employees. Create an action plan to improve upon what you learned. Focus on having CPE information stay close to the sales team. Formalize Corrective Action Plans ‘ if an issue comes up, be transparent and open. Create a conversation Start this movement from the top down. If the CEO isn’t behind it, others won’t come together either. Create a central group that supports the vision ‘ they will drive the overall strategy. Remember that CSAT is a long-term strategy and every internal and external factor has an impact. Tailor the process to each segment. Create actionable CSAT metrics to drive change. Then measure, and do it all again.