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ECommerceTimes.com
Are You Engineering the Customer Experience Out of Your Business?
February 20, 2018
Automation. Robots. Technology taking our jobs. I defy you to pick up a business magazine and avoid this topic -- it will be in there somewhere. Here's another theme you won't be able to avoid: the need to focus on the customer experience. These two trends are in tension much of the time. They don't have to be, but most businesses seem determined to focus on themselves instead of the customer.
The 3 Faces of Customer Care
February 8, 2018
Companies are run by people. Some do a great job of putting the customer first and growing, which ultimately rewards investors. Others don't. Some first focus on investors and numbers, simply not caring about or taking care of the customer. That approach can have a serious and long-term negative impact on the company. Following are several examples of what some companies are doing right and wrong.
Five9 President Dan Burkland: Leveraging Tech for Great Customer Experiences
February 7, 2018
"We're seeing a digital transformation take place, where companies are moving their contact centers to the cloud," noted Dan Burkland, president of Five9. "There are two key criteria for a contact center -- there's the CRM and the contact center infrastructure, and those two really go hand-in-hand. You bring a call, chat, text or email into the center, and you have to look for an agent who's available and properly skilled to handle such an interaction."
Resist: Don't Sign That AT&T Contract
February 1, 2018
This is a call for resistance that has nothing to do with politics. It's coming from someone who unwittingly walked into a virtual jail cell that was disguised as a DirecTV contract. I'll be behind bars for another 23 months, and I'm counting the days. Please don't take this as a rant or as an attempt to pressure AT&T, DirecTV's parent company, into appeasing me. That ship has sailed.
The Platform Wars of 2018
January 10, 2018
The new battleground in enterprise software is likely to be the software platform. This is not to say that analytics and security are not important, but they are being handled in different ways. Security is being handled in ways that address both hardware and software vulnerabilities, but these things aren't what customers or consumers spend their days thinking about.
5 Ways E-Commerce SMBs Can Cool Social Media Complaints
January 6, 2018
SMBs should "be proactive and ready to help [customers] right at the moment they need it," said Linda Crawford, CEO of Helpshift. Companies must streamline support systems to resolve issues faster and more efficiently, she said. An up-to-date knowledge base enables instant self-service, "but SMBs must also offer channels for customers to communicate directly with support agents."
AI Self-Service: Smile for Your Supper
December 21, 2017
Cali Group has announced a pilot program using kiosks equipped with facial recognition software and AI to ease the ordering process for regular customers at the Pasadena, California, location of its international CaliBurger restaurant chain. The kiosks use NEC's NeoFace facial recognition software to identify registered customers and pull up their order preferences and loyalty accounts.
Uber Is Great Until It Leaves You Out in the Cold
December 20, 2017
Uber works great -- until it stops working, leaving your kid walking home alone on a cold winter night. Wireless technology opens up new avenues for innovation and excitement, with companies like Uber and Lyft. Most of the time, their technologies work just fine, but don't let your guard down. Prepare for the moment when something goes wrong, because eventually something always goes wrong.
What Amazon's Abuse of Power Foreshadows for 2018
December 18, 2017
Given how many big names have fallen over the last few weeks due to sexual misconduct, abuse and harassment, you'd think I'd name 2017 as the year of power abuse. However, while I know a lot of folks think the issue is dying down, I don't see that at all. There are entire industries that have yet to be hit by this, and Congress hasn't even finished cleaning house or putting in place rules to prevent this activity.
New AI Tool Distinguishes Between What Customers Say and What They Mean
November 28, 2017
Genesys on Monday unveiled a new integration between its customer management solution, Genesys PureCloud, and Amazon Lex at the annual AWS re:Invent conference. The integration will help businesses build and maintain conversational IVR flows that route callers more efficiently, by using artificial intelligence to recognize not only what consumers are saying, but also their intent.
Real Human Interactions Beat Automation, Survey Says
November 13, 2017
Customers prefer human interactions to IVR systems or other automated customer service offerings, according to a new report from B2B ratings firm Clutch. Businesses need to move carefully when outsourcing customer service operations, the research also suggested, because there are big differences depending on a number of factors, including how familiar reps are with the local language.
Facebook Messenger Jumps to Business Websites
November 8, 2017
Facebook on Tuesday announced that it was preparing a plugin to its popular Messenger platform that will allow a website's visitors to chat with a human or bot without leaving the location. Customer Chat is one of a number of changes in the version 2.2 update of Messenger platform revealed at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. The chat plugin will be available on desktop and mobile devices.
6 Ways E-Commerce SMBs Can Offer Great Customer Service on a Tight Budget
November 1, 2017
Keeping customers satisfied is the No. 1 priority of any retail business. Technological advances such as interactive voice response systems, chatbots, omnichannel accessibility and robotics have helped many large e-commerce companies improve customer satisfaction rates. However, these options require financial and manpower resources that small and mid-sized firms often don't have.
With Gamification, CRM Is a Brand New Ball Game
October 27, 2017
Advances in technology -- including speech analytics, metrics, a wider array of scrabble data, and perhaps even big data -- are making gamification a must-have tool in customer relationship management, call centers, collections, sales and other business areas. Technological advances have enabled the design of games that offer employees incentives to make customers happy.
Amazon to Let Delivery Drivers Open Your Front Door
October 26, 2017
Amazon has announced a new service that will allow Prime members to receive in-home delivery of packages with the help of high-tech smart locks that allow drivers to open their front doors. Amazon Key will launch officially on Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding communities, with additional locations to be added over time. The service will be available at no extra cost to Prime members.
PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies
October 20, 2017
PayPal has announced the immediate availability of its peer-to-peer payment service on Facebook Messenger, making it easy to exchange money between friends and family. PayPal also introduced its first-ever customer service bot. Payments can be made in Messenger by pressing the blue plus icon when composing a message and then tapping the green payments button.
Accenture, SAP Plot One CX Platform for All
October 18, 2017
Accenture Interactive and SAP Hybris have partnered to create a new platform that will let users build and curate end-to-end contextual, personalized customer experiences -- from marketing, e-commerce and offline shopping to customer service and loyalty management. The joint platform will target B2C and B2B firms in retail, telecommunications and resources.
Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija: Not All Customers Will Help You Make Money
October 17, 2017
"As services are getting more and more mobile, service needs to get mobile as well," said Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija. "If you look at customer service over the last 10 to 15 years, first it was all about average handling time. If you grew quickly as a business, you needed to stack up a call center. The next five to six years were all about self-service, so technology started building up."
AI-Powered Mobile Chatbots Promise More Efficient Customer Service
October 9, 2017
Helpshift's new Web Chat application uses AI to help companies release scalable chatbots that can automate customer service through real-time interactions. The new AI-based tool, released last week, will boost Helpshift customers' ability to provide enterprise-grade support to their customers, according to Helpshift, which specializes in customer support for the gaming industry.
New Mobile App Promises Full B2B E-Commerce Experience
September 19, 2017
Insite Software has introduced the first fully configurable white label mobile app built for leading manufacturers and distributors, it said. The app supports everyone involved in the B2B e-commerce experience, from customers to channel partners, to field sales and support teams. Companies purchasing the app can tailor its functions to specific roles and responsibilities.
How Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Can Stand Up to E-Commerce
August 31, 2017
Brick-and-mortar retailers have been finding it difficult to offer pricing that's competitive with e-commerce sites, which have the advantage of massive scope and scale, according to a report Frost & Sullivan's Stratecast service released Wednesday. E-commerce will account for nearly 18 percent of the total retail market by 2025, the report projects.
Rise in Mobile Commerce Fuels Demand for Omnichannel Service
August 30, 2017
Omnichannel support and communications are becoming essential for brands, as consumers' increasing use of mobile devices to make purchases and access content fuels their demand to be able to connect with companies when and how they want. However, brands lack the necessary expertise and infrastructure, and are turning to mobile network operators, or MNOs, to acquire omnichannel capabilities.
Robots May Become Go-To Customer Service Reps
August 26, 2017
The customer service robot market will be worth $88 million by 2022, according to Tractica. Annual shipments are expected to increase from 2,730 units in 2016 to nearly 4,800 in 2022. The robots will be both humanoid and non-humanoid. However, telepresence robots, chatbots, and stationary customer interactive systems that don't have moving parts are not included in the count.
Survey: In-App Customer Support Is a Winner
August 23, 2017
Consumers want mobile apps with good in-app customer support, suggest results of a recent survey. Radius Global Market Research conducted the online poll of adults in the United States this spring. Among the survey's findings: Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they would recommend an app if a customer support agent proactively contacted them while they were experiencing problems.
Fulfilling the Omnichannel Shopping Imperative
August 16, 2017
The omnichannel approach has become a byword in customer service, but retailers need to do more to make it happen, based on a recent study. Researchers tested 57 metrics across desktop, mobile and in-store buying touchpoints to evaluate the end-to-end omnichannel experience at 30 popular and growing retailers. Here's the problem: E-commerce absolutely is killing brick-and-mortar stores.
Yes, and...
August 10, 2017
The further we go in the CRM adventure, the less our efforts seem to be about technology. That's because we're reaching a theoretical limit, or asymptote, on what technology can do in the vendor-customer relationship. Think of an asymptote as the ceiling that a graph never reaches. Increasingly, we're encountering situations where the best technology can do is assist humans.
Excellent Customer Service Requires Emotional Intelligence
August 4, 2017
Staff engagement is a key component in a telco's ability to positively impact customers, according to InMoment. The company recently conducted a survey of 11,000 North American customers of Internet, mobile and TV services and found that telecommunications companies' customers just plain hate them. Telcos should emphasize emotional IQ, or EQ, in hiring and training personnel, the study recommends.
3 Keys to Customer Satisfaction: Speed, Efficiency, Knowledge
July 20, 2017
Customers want fast service or support from knowledgeable people where, when and how they prefer to receive it, based on results of a study the CMO Council published Tuesday. Together with SAP Hybris, the CMO Council last year conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents, equally divided between men and women. Fifty percent were in the U.S., and 25 percent each resided in Canada and Europe.
A New Service Model
July 19, 2017
People concerned about automation killing jobs might look at Helpshift's strategy and similar automation approaches. By enabling businesses to build help or support into mobile apps, these new models are re-inventing support to get the job done. Sure, they provide automated support in lieu of conventional agents, but they do so at a level where it often can be uneconomic to position live agents.
New AI Assistant Digs Up Specialized Info for Makers
July 18, 2017
Avnet last week unveiled a beta version of Ask Avnet, an automated virtual assistant that combines artificial intelligence with on-demand access to industry experts. Ask Avnet targets "engineers, designers, hobbyists, makers and purchasing specialists across the electronics supply chain -- which includes the product manufacturing chain," said Kevin Yapp, SVP for digital transformation at Avnet.
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