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Marketing technology and Branding – free book

Originally published at http://chiefmartec.com/2014/03/new-brand-marketing-technology/

A NEW BRAND OF MARKETING – free book by Scott Brinker

A NEW BRAND OF MARKETING: The 7 Meta-Trends of Modern Marketing as a Technology-Powered Discipline

Click to Download PDF: A New Brand of Marketing: The 7 Meta-Trends of Modern Marketing as a Technology-Powered Discipline

“The modern CMO and marketer can no longer be just a brand ambassador, they must also have a deep understanding of marketing technology. Scott Brinker helps the reader to understand how technology can be used for both successful marketing strategy and execution.”
Jonathan Becher, CMO, SAP

I’ve written a very short book, A NEW BRAND OF MARKETING, that’s free to download and share.

It frames the epic collaboration underway between marketers and technologists, set against the backdrop of two seismic shifts in marketing today:

First, how marketing is taking over the business. We can debate functions and org charts. But in a hyper-connected digital world, everything that a business does — the entire customer experience that it delivers, from the very first touchpoint onward — is now the scope of marketing.

Second, how technology is taking over marketing. Marketing has more software entwined in its mission today than any other profession in the history of computing. Leveraging these capabilities requires new approaches to marketing strategy and management — as well as new kinds of talents within the marketing team, such as marketing technologists.

These two massive shifts are the result of 7 “meta-trends” — each of which has dramatically changed the nature of marketing. And collectively, they have created a whole new brand of marketing:

  1. From traditional to digital
  2. From media silos to converged media
  3. From outbound to inbound
  4. From communications to experiences
  5. From art and copy to code and data
  6. From rigid plans to agile iterations
  7. From agencies to in-house marketing

At only 40-pages, this is probably the shortest marketing book you will ever read. But if you want to understand the context in which marketing has become a technology-powered discipline, I hope it may be one of the most helpful.

Download your free copy now.

Reviews of A NEW BRAND OF MARKETING

As modern marketers, we have to embrace technology in order to stay relevant. But how? In A New Brand of Marketing, Brinker dives into the shifting digital landscape and illustrates how businesses can transform their marketing to be more inbound, and ultimately more effective, with tech-driven strategies.”
Mike Volpe, CMO, HubSpot

“Scott Brinker nails it with his articulation of the 7 meta-trends that have fundamentally altered — as well as empowered — marketing. Technology now fuels the marketing discipline, where science and art come together to build a brand based upon customer experiences, where the interactions are more inbound than outbound and truly global in nature.
Amy D. Love, CMO, Appirio

“Scott has penned a veritable treatise on the subject of marketing in the digital age of digital. In this pithy work, Scott captures the key meta-trends that will define how all marketing is done in a world of technology enablement and customer empowerment. The punch line: read it.
Terence Kawaja, CEO, LUMA Partners

“The leading meta-trends transforming and growing business at the convergence of marketing and technology by Scott Brinker. This short story is a simplified illustration of modern marketing, disrupted and transformed by the growing evolution and impact of technology, the modern the face of marketing.”
Mayur Gupta, Global Head, Marketing Technology, Kimberly-Clark

A New Brand of Marketing articulates the why of marketing’s fundamental changes over the past 20 years better than any book or blog post I’ve ever read. Scott, in his succinct and thoughtful voice, showcases the how necessary to navigate to a healthy and successful marketing organization as only a thought leader and expert marketing leader such as himself can. A must read for every marketer.”
Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO, Mindjet

With A New Brand of Marketing, Scott has put traditional agencies on notice. Clients are evolving faster than agencies and their organizational models. A New Breed of Agency is needed, with an operating system that has Scott’s meta trends at its kernel. Every marketer and marketing technologist should memorize this short read. Gold!
Sheldon Monteiro, CTO, SapientNitro

“Scott has provided a great overview of the trends that are driving the long-term changes in how marketers do their job and the role that technology plays. This book provides much-needed context to help marketers and marketing technologists build long-term strategies that will let them thrive regardless of what comes next. Better still, he does it in a clear, enjoyable writing style.”
David Raab, Principal, Raab Associates

“Scott has brilliantly framed the dimensions along which marketing has transformed — and where it is headed in the future. This should be required reading for everyone in the industry.”
Dharmesh Shah, CTO, HubSpot; Author, Inbound Marketing

“Anything is possible when marketing and technology collide. Brinker’s A New Brand of Marketing concisely captures the fundamental shifts driving the most transformative time in marketing history. Read it, share it, and use it to accelerate change within your organization.”
Paul Roetzer, CEO, PR 20/20; Author, The Marketing Agency Blueprint

One of the most important marketing books I’ve read in some time — short and concise, but intensely relevant for today’s marketers. This is a manifesto for math marketers out there, and perhaps a final warning and blueprint to those who haven’t yet are the transition (but will soon be extinct unless they do).”
Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing

“When asked, ‘What’s your biggest challenge?’ — most marketing executives reply that it is staying on top of the constant and rapid change that shapes the current environment of marketing. While I don’t know of any book that can solve that problem, Scott Brinker’s new book superbly sets the conversation in which that challenge can be met head-on and managed.”
Ric Dragon, CEO, DragonSearch; Author, Social Marketology

“Scott has put together 7 extraordinarily insightful trends that every CMO and CIO need to understand. He calls marketing a ‘technology-powered discipline.’ And while I might rather call today’s technology a ‘marketing-powered discipline’ — Scott would forgive me for fighting for top billing. It’s just a wonderful, insightful, and just plain entertaining read. This is one that every marketer and the technology teams they work with should read together.”
Robert Rose, Chief Strategist, CMI; Author, Managing Content Marketing

“Scott Brinker does a great job articulating a compelling and exciting opportunity for today’s marketers. The 7 meta-trends that Scott breaks out are accurate, digestible, and actionable. I suggest all marketers move this onto their must read list!”
Sam Melnick, Research Analyst, CMO Advisory Practice, IDC

“I love this book. It brilliantly and simply explains some of the most important drivers underlying marketing today. Scott lays out the facts, using data to explain what’s happening in the world of business as it touches marketing and technology.”
Michael Krigsman, Strategy Advisor & Analyst, Host of CxOTalk

Beyond HBR’s “truth about customer experience”

Harward Business Review just published a great article about Customer Experience and Journey. See here. The main point of the article is, that managing single touchpoint engagements doesn’t provide sufficient customer experience.

HBR - Truth about customer experience

My advice is: Don’t design just touchpoints – Design chain of events, proactive and reactive. Development and measurement is often done engagement by engagement. The service design approach also highlight such emphasis. I’ve done Customer Journey mapping and methodology development since 2004 and agree with the article, only it’s lacking tools and methods how you should approach the challenge. I can help with that.

I’ve written an article series about customer journey management and you can choose and pick, which areas you are interested in or read them as a series of articles:

  1. Customer Journey FLOW
  2. How to map and study Customer Journey
  3. Customer Journey stage 1: Brand as a platform
  4. Customer Journey stage 2: Initiation
  5. Customer Journey stag 3: Choosing and buying – cross-channel influence

In order to really do Service and CX design for the entire customer relationship, you need to understand that there are very different journeys to begin with.

  • Purchase journey (From awareness to consideration and transaction, Acquisition)
  • Service journeys post purchasing (Using the product or service, value-in-use)
  •  Planned (e.g. Address change, regular maintenance etc.)
  •  Unpredictable (e.g. Product failure, reclamation, insurance coverage, etc.)
  • Delivering a service as a customer journey (taking a cruise or flight, restaurant, using media, etc.)
  • Retail customer journeys (e.g. IKEA store experience)

Once you have both Insight and Topsight level understanding about customer journey in full, you need to take a look inside the company. What organisation bodies are involved with customers, what kind of technical environment direct their operation and what kind of data steers their actions. The reality is, that management reporting practices represent management understanding and decisions. The systems and technical infra on the other hand define how the corporate body acts. In case you need to change the way how the corporate body in total behave, you need to define required technical changes, change management and manage change. In my experience, creating Service Blueprints has been quite effective tool for both challenge recognition at current status mapping and Customer Experience planning.

The potential is absolutely amazing. The customer’s expectations are constantly growing harder to fulfill and companies that are agile enough to cure “Corporate Autism” and take the steps required to move from “inconsideration marketing” and mass mailings to service automation, Customer Experience and Journey design at total relationship level, can win marketshare and increase profits considerably. The business-as-usual approach is no longer sufficient, you need to free the full potential an organisation can offer and tear down silos in order to take advantage of synergies available.

In the big picture, your company must act professionally and fulfill minimum requirement perfectly. Failing these requirements cause criticism and decrease your NPS results. Acting human, being considerate, thoughtful and proactive on the other hand increase the number of people willing to recommend you and increase you NPS score. Succeeding in both cumulate earned trust, which is the foundation for long-lasting and profitable customer relationships and strong brand.

creating customer loyalty and trust_improving NPS

In case you do well, the process will enable you to design lean processes and define the best possible value your business processes can possibly deliver. In my opinion this is the Future for CMO’s position inside the company. It’s not the job for CMO’s to define business process management, but it’s the CMO’s responsibility to make certain that everything the company does, delivers maximum customer value and experience across all customer interfaces

Customer interface reach & effectiveness

In case you can capture customer contacts, you can start servicing and inspiring customers individually and simultaneously your capacity to influence increases. The bigger share of the customers buying in a certain category you have in your database, the more effective means you have to influence their behavior and market dynamics. The ultimate goal is to synchronize customer portfolio with product and service portfolio across all touchpoints and marketing interfaces.

customer portfolio_customer touchpoint & marketing portfolio_product and service portfolio

In my experience the only way to do successful customer journey and experience design and create sustainable management model for it is to do the work upside-down. You start from the actual interfaces, motives, contexts and people. From there you continue inside the company culture, practices and technology and design the strategy level after you understand everything else. Like this:

Bottom-up strategy and data analysis

The Holy Grail of customer value is Symbiosis. Check Symbiosis Strategy – creating the ultimate value  -article here.

This is a video by on Sep 12, 2013, It’s All About the Customer Journey

Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer, Toinen PHD

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Join The Future CMO Movement LinkedIn Group here

From Marketing Automation to Service Automation

I’ve come to the conclusion that the name “marketing automation” for new breed technologies is simply too narrow. In the projects I have been working, it has been evident that the core challenges companies have lie in their business processes. As a customer, you expect to know what is going on and understand what the company you are paying for is doing for you. Not knowing equals emotions of neglect, inconsideration and generally drive criticism towards the company. As an outcome the Net Promoter Score doesn’t look too good, even if the company would be very good in something. However, gaining great increase in NPS only require erasing the issues leading to critic path of customer experience.

I would suggest to consider marketing automation as a methodology for service automation and start service designing the entire customer relationship. Such an approach put the customer in to a spotlight and helps you analyse the internal processes and multi-channel encounters in a new way. When you do analyze the engagements, customers’ motivation and contexts driving customers you can mirror it with customer touch poits with sales, customer service, billing, purchase confirmation communications, online service etc. While studying these touch points and their impact, also consider what is the technical platform for that specific touch point. Having this mapped enable you to look at the entire IT infrastructure and recognize gaps between them. In case you don’t have the necessary data available for answering customers’ questions you will make your company look autistic.

Fixing the gaps in IT infrastructure enable you to fix the reasons why people have doubt and negative experiences along their customer relationship. This is when you can start automating the customer communications. In many cases you have the means to cure the reasons for eg. negative customer service contacts by keeping the customer updated, feeling secure and well served. Considering the full customer journey and relationship help you increase lean process efficiency and simultaneously increase NPS. In current economic environment you can squeeze a lot more efficiency and synergies delivering higher customer value with current or even lower resources (Check out HBR article about managing complexity).

The same tool allowing you to do segmented emailing and event based marketing can be used for process automation and customer care. This is why I think the marketing automation technology should also be leveraged as service automation solution.

The companies often have an existing CRM already in place, like Salesforce, MS Dynamics or such. These mainstream CRM’s are relatively easy to integrate with Marketo, Eloqua, Neolane, ISAS or Hubspot (the price variation between these technologies is huge – you really need to know what want to do when comparing options). BM’s Unica is a fullblown solution for CRM & Automation and a lot of these challenges can be solved with Salesforce and MS Dynamics too. In many cases the company infra already has  much more to offer than is being used. In a best case scenario you already have what it takes. You just need to make choices that work best in your existing systems and requirements. The only thing I’m saying is, it is well worth the effort.  In case you only really need triggered messaging, eg. Silverpop is an option.

Many of these technologies are associated with B2B markets and it’s true that they have been developed for B2B and high invenstment B2C categories. This is because the value of single customer is so high that you should really take great care of them and it’s worth the investment. However, in B2C business the sheer number of customers and transactions is so huge that the automation makes sense and the technology price goes down/customer too. The most applied position for these technologies has to do with lead management process. I think, such approach is only a tip of an iceberg.

Let’s look at this challenge from the CMO’s perspective. Majority of critics in NPS measurements are actually an outcome of poor operational experiences. However, these experiences have a major impact on brand perception. I would consider this to be an opportunity for CMO’s to enforce brand identity at experience level and really help driving the brand promise and it’s practical delivery in to all touchpoints accross the company. Marketing is a great influencer in corporate culture and I think these new opportunities only enhance the capability of CMO to make the company better.

creating customer loyalty and trust_improving NPSI’d really love to hear your experiences and opinions about marketing automation and service automation. Please, let’s learn together.

For more, check out online (others have training, but I haven’t found great tutorials online)

Eloqua University cource list

Hubspot Academy

Here’s also Marketo’s “Marketing RFP” that I find quite instructional although it has been done by a vendor who optimize the RFP for their technology 🙂 Marketing automation-RFP

Yes, Business Process Design is business owner’s responsibility, but CMO’s need to understand how to leverage BPM in customer engagements and their outcomes measured with Net Promoter Score. Here’s a brief video on Business Process Management

Here’s Gartner’s very informative evaluation of multichannel marketing  solutions: “CRM Vendor Landscape: Multichannel Customer Analytics Is a Critical CRM Capability” http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1FDDJZT&ct=130502&st=sg#!

Most companies approach CRM and marketing automation inside out, I prefer looking outside in. It’s the difference in perception, not in technology that matters. Here’s how Salesforce.com presents their approach as an infograph. It’s a valid approach, I’m just saying that there is more to discover than this:

Salesforce.com infograph

Toni Keskinen

Marketing Architect, Toinen PHD

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen/

Managing Social reputation – Brand is a verb

BRAND IS A VERB AND SOCIAL BY NATURE

Brands cannot be “created” one way – it’s the people’s perception of a company or product. Brand is no longer a noun; it has turned in to a verb. You could actually think brand as an agreement between a customer, customer’s peers (society) and company. Customers can agree or disagree with the agreement. As an outcome reputation and brand perception emerge, which could be good or bad. However, a brand cannot exist without the other parties. Brand is social by nature. However, a brand has never been as social as it has now become because of social media and online influence channels that customers are now very effectively and actively using. Customers have real power now that is global, not just local peers. No doubt that customer behavior has changed. It has completely changed in many areas and will continue doing so. Digital influence is the most important disruptive force along the customer journey.

Customers are actively using their power and they are getting more and more effective tools at their disposal to leverage this power to the most. For example WOT, Web Of Trust, crowd sourced rating of websites and brands has currently apr. 90 million people rating brands and websites. Any people who have WOT application in their browser has reputation score visually presented after every single link available online. WOT is a wonderful example of customers’ currencies becoming more and more influential. WOT is an ultimate rating tool. If some company acts unethically, spam, or in any way prove not to be trustworthy, apr. 90 million people in WOT start giving red to the brand. As an outcome, company’s online reputation score will become lower and eventually red. Red means, that if you try to enter the company’s website, you get a full-page size warning stating that other people have rated this site to be dangerous and not trust worthy. Would you do business with such a company?

WOT_trustworthy web page

Not only does WOT influence it’s users, but also everyone else online. WOT is also delivering reputation data to Google, which can then use it for any given purpose like Google AdWords or (safe) search. It’s not difficult to imagine, that Google might prefer to take people to brands and services that are trustworthy. Also, WOT made a deal with Facebook, which is using reputation data to make Facebook safer for it’s users. This picture will appear, if you are trying to enter un-trustworthy website from Facebook: Facebook It is quite remarkable how much people currently have ways and tools to influence brands business. WOT is just one of many tools available.

COMPANY’S REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

The mechanism of social reputation management has a strong emphasis on own touch points and encounters with customers. In case customer is dissatisfied, in every 1/10 cases the customer contacts call center and seek justice, making things right. The large majority apr. 9/10 doesn’t call, they are just silently dissatisfied. The more likely channel for making their point is customer satisfaction questionnaire, except companies only research small sample in order to get feedback suitable for their purposes – not all customers. However, the customer contacting actively is the fever meter and represent major urgency. The customer satisfaction questionnaire and especially customer’s open text answers represent confirmation to that urgency. These people are the most active social players because they have a personal story to tell and strong emotional commitment to the matter. In case they feel neglected they will become your brand destroyers and the 9/10 will join the choir. Here’s how the interfaces work:

Customer interfaces, touch points

What ever emerge from your own customer interface sources will spread all over social networks in case these matters are not taken seriously.

I’d love to hear about your social media analysis experiences. Which tools are you using? What kind of insights and phenomena have you observed?

I find Etuma to be an excellent tool for such analysis. Whitevector, Meltwater and other tools only help you analyze the outcome, what is already being discussed in public forums. Etuma enable you to analyze internal interfaces separately: call center logs, customer satisfaction questionnaires, customer forums & your own Facebook community. Looking at the fever meter results in own touch points and comparing that to the impact on discussions in public social mediums allow you to monitor the impact and velocity of change in the brand perception.

Toni Keskinen

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen/

Twitter: @toni_keskinen

Blog: http://futurecmo.org

Lost insights and corporate blind spots

This is a post about current state, corporate malpractices. Corporate standard is to use apr. 20% of the value their data assets provide.. well it could actually be even less. This post is about recognizing the needs for change and offer some ideas about how to get it done. These are just some learnings from searching insights while doing customer journey analysis and service blueprings for companies. More will be published in the book – Customer Journey Management  September 2012, which I’m co-authoring with Jarmo Lipiäinen

“Open mindness.. may be defined as freedom from prejudice, partisanship, and such other habits as close the mind and make it unwilling to consider new problems and entertain new ideas. (But) it is very different from empty-mindness. It includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us.” -John Dewey How We Think 1933

The above text came from Mrs. Madeline L. Van Hecke’s book, “Blind spots – Why smart people do dumb things”. Well, it’s not just people becoming blind in their own lives, but also at organisational level. When you are working in an organisation, it’s natural to start taking things for granted: what is impossible, what can be done, how is it done in general, etc. Gradually thinking some things are impossible or too difficult which leads to tunnelling – narrowing sight, dismissing things that should be reconsidered. Conventions are effectively blind spots. Being busy makes it difficult to take a wider look from must-have details, short cuts (best practices) that made you effective could make you blind. It’s all very human and natural. However, it’s also dangerous. All cases that have been described earlier are actually common sense customer behaviour. These cases were not very special in nature. Still, they could be hard to detect. After they have been detected they seem obvious. Why is that? The biggest reasons are the company practices that are fractured in silos and responsibilities making it difficult to see the big picture. Within a company different parts of organisation are also having different perspective in time. CEO and marketing are looking in to the future trying to reach goals and measure the progress toward it. Sales and customer service are experts in NOW. HR and CFO are looking in the mirror, which is past. Having this kind of variation in perspectives result challenges. Having fractured information spread around organisation just emphasizes the effect. Management teams are struggling with complexity and it’s especially difficult to combine Top sight with Insight.

Let’s take a look at commonly used practices, business as usual. I am simplifying a little bit in the following but I have seen bad use of money and poor practices and learned from them. Current conventions equal money spent anyway, and they also result assets. The value of these assets is higher when combined. Single asset does not tell a story as well as combined data and resources. Innovation is often found between disciplines, not inside one.

Marketing department is often using tracking tools for recording awareness, preference, advertising recall and also often buy data about competitors marketing spending for benchmark. In the current marketing landscape decision-making is concentrating and result smarter tools for decision-making. Previously marketing department was fractured in PR, dm, online, retail, tactical, events and brand advertising. Currently the structure of marketing department looks more like a single entity and is often combined to sales organisation. Different mediums and approaches are analyzed simultaneously and results are compared against each other. CRM, advertising, email marketing, in store promotions and other actions are planned as a whole resulting improvement in effect. All this data should result very much information that help recognizing customers needs, understand what drives value for them and how to deliver it. Lately the tools that analyze social media also enable tracking the company’s volume, share of voice and reputation in social media. Marketing department is actually drowning in research and data. The sad reality is, that very often, marketing management is not considered as a driving force for the company’s business development though. CMO’s have hard time justifying marketing investments and in down economy these investments are easiest to cut down. The insights and learning that could be used for overall performance development represent often only fraction of their potential value. CMO’s role is to make most of the company’s current state, justify higher margins by improving brand and increase awareness, preference and consequently sales. That is a valuable role but not optimal though. Customer relationships should be considered as strategic source of insight and improvement vehicles.

CFO. Financial departments tools for analyzing performance, costs, production efficiency has improved dramatically due to improved business intelligence tools and rapid access to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) data. Financial departments use this data to recognize cost cutting opportunities and improving over all profitability. That’s valuable information also and has natural position in the board of director’s decisions. However, the combination of CFO’s analysis, marketing research, CRM and operations offer so much deeper understanding. Data tells you what has happened, it doesn’t explain it and it doesn’t offer best possible insights for innovation. Very often innovation is invisible in CFO’s figures until it’s been implemented. If you were Nokia’s CFO, by the time iPhone effect shows in your data, you are already terribly late.Managing with knowledge does not mean managing with financial data, which is an outcome, not the cause.

Sales. In business-to-business and major single purchases the sale departments have effectively adapted sales funnel analysis with CRM tools and use those tools for analysing success and managing resources. In these businesses sales is often working quite closely with marketing because the whole process is designed around a funnel: prospects, leads, offers, closed deals. The challenge in this approach is that sales is considered as a-push action only; offer customer the products and services that the company has. Best sales organisations take a deep dive in customer’s situations; dig challenges and position products and services, as a solution for customers needs. These organisations thrive. Push sales don’t do very well in the current situation although most of the sales reps still meet customers to present their inventory and end up bargaining to close deals. If sales team stop to listen the customers and discuss about needs and optimal solutions, they hold very much information that can be used for business development. Listening customers also drives brand equity, trust. Customers could get imprinted at best.

Experienced sales manager can give input for new product or service value proposition, how they appeal customers, even at very first concept level. They can also give valuable insights for improvement. This resource is most often neglected and the new products are presented for sales when it is time to start selling them. Such practice neglect tremendous immaterial resource, which is also responsible for selling it to the client. If they were fully behind the new product and their opinion would have been heard, it would certainly have double effect: product improvement and winning spirit.

Human Resources. HR is an out-dated name for a unit in general. The business is about skills and culture; know how, education, change management and indeed, human capital. HR does analysis about internal employee satisfaction. This information is giving feedback about how employees feel about their employer, atmosphere, colleagues, management and company’s direction. This information is also valuable as such and helps recognizing improvement areas. However, unleashing employee capability is not best harnessed with that alone. In Customer Think blog Dr. Graham Hill presented case Toyota, that explained how the Toyota implements a million improvements in their processes in a year, which come from their employees. 95% of these ideas are implemented within ten days after submitting them. People adapt to what they are supposed to do and start following the procedure as directed unless the company purposefully start breaking habits and offer recognition for those who challenge the current ways with better ideas. Small ideas result major changes when there is enough of them. HR should be the aggregate of human capital within the organisation. First allowing and then aggregating these ideas and feedback has enormous power that is available at any time. Engaging employees like this also improve satisfaction, because company start paying attention to its employee insight assets.

Gary Hamel presented fantastic cases of harnessing employee capability for innovation in his book “Future of management”. In his book he explained in detail how for example Whole Foods Ltd. has given employees the freedom of developing their unit within a grocery store. The team also

choose manager among them selves and decide whether to hire a new person in the team or not. The new hire means sharing bonuses and makes people think whether the new resources really result value that is worth sharing the upside. Whole Foods and Toyota are great examples of employee power to drive excellence when a company decide to really take advantage of these opportunities.

Customer service. When customers hesitate, face challenges or feel disappointed they call to customer service. This is one of the most important moments of truths there are. Customer service is actually a fevermeter of the company’s situation. For every call there is at least 10 more people who feel the same way but don’t bother to call. Very often customer service is considered as a cost and measured in “cost to serve”. The goal is to have fewer calls and cut costs in person-to-person service needs. This approach is acceptable but should not entirely replace personal service with online. Dissatisfied customers should be thanked for their effort to contact and inform about their experience. The resulting data about customers’ feedback should directly feed product, service and process development. Customers who give feedback should be recorded in CRM and engage with them with ways to improve the performance of the company in the areas where the customer feels the company has failed. These people are assets, not cost. Customer service personnel learn very effectively how different value propositions, marketing and other actions will result feedback for them. One client of ours showed all offers and campaigns to customer service team before publishing them and got almost always good feedback for improvement. Customer service team recognized expressions that would result confusion and issues that would potentially result dissatisfaction. They need to know what goes out in order to prepare for feedback, but they can also help in improving the outcomes.

Online Analytics. The online environment offers a wealth of data. You can track anything in real-time. Online has become a major influence in sales and because of the data, it also has clearer goals and action points than brand advertising for example has in general. Companies that take most advantage of online potential use effective analytics tools that enable optimization of online service’s potential. Data driven online development is actually using very similar methodologies that have been developed earlier for direct mail testing. The golden rule in analytics is to “look at their hands, not their mouths”. Asking people’s opinion is secondary to testing. Direct marketing has taught, that for example stickers and other dumb feeling parts in the mailing should not be used because they increase the cost per mailing. The tests have shown that leaving them out result e.g. 20% decrease in sales. Even though no research ever has approved such tools they still work. Same apply in online analytics. Most companies only track visitor and conversion rate of their online service.

Those figures are important but represent only fraction of the opportunity. If a company has 100 000 visitors per month and 2,5% of them purchase 50€ worth in average, it means 125 000€ in sales per month. If the company uses analytics tools and multi variant testing effectively, they could increase the online services success in search engines resulting 20% increase in traffic and double the conversion rate. As an outcome company would sell 300 000€ per month.

Online environment is probably the fastest source of incremental sales growth that is also cost-effective to produce. Multivariant testing means testing for example alternative landing pages, home pages, headlines, triggering offers, value propositions etc. The goal is to continuously make improvements bit by bit increasing the overall success. This work does not mean re-designing and implementing the service but small bits of it. This kind of process is likely to result very high return on investment. Ainoa Helsinki, company concentrating on online marketing optimisation has developed Banner Suite called tool that enable using banner templates and creating variety of different headlines and pictures within the banner. Production of variation cost very little. Implementing such approach and optimizing the use based on resulting conversion has increased success incrementally. The same methodology represents multivariant testing when developing home pages and e-commerce services. Online analytics tools tell where the customers came from, which content did they use, for how long and where did they go next, which search terms did they use, which paid links or banners did they click and much more. All this data is used for online service development. All that available data would also offer food for insights about how that data could be used for business development, marketing in other channels and sales. Currently most of this data is only used for single channel development though.

Research function serves variety of needs of business units, marketing, product development, sales and management. Research departments make market research, buy mystery-shopping analysis, test products and benchmark the company against competitors. Voice of the customer researches also aim at understanding the value creation in detail compared to competitors. Customer satisfaction research is a must tool for all research departments. The challenge is that in order to create actionable insights, the best results are possible when analysing several of these studies simultaneously. The worst case scenario, that is all too common, is that single study does not create actionable insights and is indeed wasted money. Research practice has outdated practices also that must be recognized. Customer satisfaction research is a great example. When studying customer satisfaction customers are promised that their answers will be analyzed anonymously. That sounds good at first but downsize the potential upside effectively. There are two main reasons for it:

1. Anonymous responses. Anonymity means that if customer has had bad experiences the company has no way of fixing their failure. In the current media landscape, that is very much social media driven, even low percentage of customers who have been dissatisfied can result very bad publicity. Web does not forget and published bad experiences could have very long tail in effect. Anonymity also mean that the potential of actually recognising where the company has failed could have been turned in to asset. Most customer driven companies would be delighted to recognize dissatisfied customers and engage in dialogue for them and use these customers opinion for improvement with open innovation and user driven co-creation methodologies. Dissatisfaction should be recognized as an opportunity to create competitive advantage and customer satisfaction studies should be completely re-considered. Voice of the customer study is a step in to right direction but it could be improved even further. We are aware that this claim has certain level of conflict with ESOMAR rules and regulations for research. ESOMAR is a forum, which set standards for research agencies. However, it would also be accepted according to ESOMAR that people’s responses would be dealt with individually in case it’s told for the customers in the study and approved by the customer. This is rarely done though. The basic rule is that you only report results according to demographics and other quantifying factors. Looking at the same issue from customer perspective is completely different issue. When people know that they are giving information about them, they expect companies to act on that information. When they tell they were dissatisfied with something, they expect the company to pay attention and make it right. Currently used anonymity make it impossible.

2. Looking back in time. Customer satisfaction studies often concentrate on perceived value in the past. Looking in to past is fine and offer valuable information as customers can only comment on experiences they have actually engaged in. If company would concentrate in customer value creation, it would not be satisfied with past though. Customer satisfaction study should be re-positioned as customer service study that has a time span from past to future. People engage with the company by giving feedback.

Company could offer value for that engagement by promising better service in the future. Such value proposition justify questions about how customer would prefer to be serviced in the future, what interests him, in what kind of contexts the product or service use would take place, does the customer have more than one roles as a buyer. Great example of several roles is travel: Travelling with family, with a spouse, with friends, with colleagues in work related situation etc. One person could fit in several segments and offer much higher sales potential than the one segment the company has recognized earlier. Customer service questionnaire should be placed in the heart of personal communications planning and be used as revenue driving dialogue tool instead of just recording experiences in the past. The money spent in customer satisfaction study will not result much ROI, customer service approach will. One thing about research is that they can do research and report results, but they can’t give analysis based on the results in great depth. In order to create effective insights research results should be analysed against operations. This is actually why media agency Toinen is doing a lot of research and analysis for our clients. Research alone is knowledge, analysis of results, operations and effects as a combination result insights. Research agency cannot give the most valuable advice because they are most often completely external; research department does research and often is not well aware of what is going on in the market place. These things result blind spots. The more you know and the bigger picture you have of the whole, the better analysis you can do from research. Outsourcing research to research department completely is most often a bad decision. Outsourcing it to an external partner who is not actually involved in operations is even worse.

CRM. The CRM is no longer just taking care of your existing customers but has developed further, closer to open dialogue in social media resulting social halo effect which increases company’s transparency, trust and immaterial value stretching to potential customers. Taking care of your own customers is currently resulting endorsement and becoming a media on it’s own right. You can’t really run Social CRM according to real CRM ideology without capturing individual customer buying behaviour. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. However, you can create CRM for your own customers, which leverage Social mediums in the approach. You can create personalized emails to your customers, just as well you could publish in your customer’s wall on Facebook or use Twitter while taking care of your customers. Customer’s primary communications tools should be applied as your tools. Adapting to customer behaviour is becoming easier and you can exceed expectations by applying new ways of communicating.

Conclusions of Business as Usual defects

Companies are often blind to the assets they have at their disposal. The information is often fragmented in the organisation and does offer the management tools that would really drive excellence. It’s not about money though. Companies spend money in data collection as described above anyway. What is missing is the aggregation of this data that would combine different sources of information in to tools that would effectively drive development of the company. This is why Bigdata-idea is currently so popular. But let’s not forget that it’s more about mindset and recognition of these opportunities than about extra cost. Aggregated data would support business development, marketing, sales and improvement in people skills and at best, creativity and innovation. Dialogue instead of research would create relationship equity instead of just data. Considering what would give you the ultimate knowledge about your business isn’t rocket science. Your can and should break corporate habits and start capturing much higher return on current investments.

So, if CMO doesn’t take action, who does?

SEE ALSO:

Business Design with customer centricity

How to enable smart company and avoid corporate autism

“The CMO 2013 Study insights and what CMO’s should do now”

 

Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Join FutureCMO Movement LinkedIn Group here

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