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Business/Customer Sweet Spots: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 2
January 16, 2020
If you're a small business owner or a key member of an enterprise executive team, you want your firm to succeed. If you're a customer, you want to be treated well. Those goals are not diametrically opposed, but very often it seems that companies and customers are at cross-purposes. ECT News Network recently gathered together five technology experts who did some hard thinking on the subject.
It's Crunch Time for California Consumer Privacy Act Compliance
January 15, 2020
The CCPA -- widely considered to be the toughest law in the U.S. regulating the collection, storage and use of personal information -- went into effect on Jan. 1. Rather than preparing for it, however, many businesses have taken a wait-and-see approach. This could be a serious mistake. The new law is similar in many respects to the EU's GDPR, which went into effect last spring.
Adobe Offers Experience Manager as Cloud Service
January 15, 2020
Adobe has announced the availability of Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service for B2B and B2C companies of all sizes. The service provides "a globally scalable, agile and secure digital foundation that optimizes marketer and developer workflows across the entire content lifecycle," said Haresh Kumar, director of product marketing for Adobe Experience Manager.
Building E-Commerce Wave: Social Media Shopping
January 13, 2020
Consumers are on social media constantly, scrolling through posts. Many have begun clicking on brand posts and making purchases. "Social commerce is becoming increasingly popular for brands," noted Darin Archer, chief strategy officer at Elastic Path. "Even when the transaction itself may be happening outside the app, there's a much smaller gap between discovery and purchase."
Designing a Winning E-Commerce Customer Experience
January 11, 2020
An optimized customer experience can tip the balance toward gaining a purchase instead of losing a customer. Excellent CX has transitioned firmly from something nice to have to a business requirement. No matter how good a product or service is, the e-commerce Web and mobile design surrounding it will play a key role in maintaining engagement and ensuring consumers complete their shopping journey.
Chatbot or Human? Combine Both to Achieve Customer Service Success
January 7, 2020
Companies across industries are shifting toward an automated approach to customer relations. With the help of chatbots, businesses can reduce their customer service costs by up to 30 percent and save both employees' and customers' valuable time. In fact, many customers welcome chatbots in the customer service process. So, if chatbots offer all of these advantages, why not automate everything?
4 Keys to a Winning Amazon Marketing Strategy
December 30, 2019
Research indicates that 66 percent of online shoppers start their product searches on Amazon, and Amazon shoppers behave differently than buyers on other online platforms and at brick-and-mortar stores. Amazon has set up its listings so that it is simple to "window shop" and compare competitive products. A brand must make sure to position its products in a way that shows how it is different from competitors in the marketplace.
5 Transformational Customer Support Trends to Watch in 2020
December 28, 2019
"Digital transformation" has taken on multiple definitions, but one thing is for sure: Companies view it as a top priority, so much so that enterprises are projected to spend in excess of $2 trillion through 2019, according to IDC. This insurgence of digital transformation investments and prioritization has led many organizations to reshape their use of technology.
Is Privacy Possible in 2020?
December 27, 2019
The California Consumer Protection Act goes into effect in 2020, and other state and federal laws are on the horizon -- but is it possible that these state laws will really provide us privacy? How many readers take the time to read the privacy policy, or click agreement, when they download a new version of an app on their smartphone or tablet? Probably none. What are the consequences?
Shield Healthcare: Serving the Poor, Poorly
December 23, 2019
Sometimes when you tug on the thread of a small customer service failure, you unravel a big skein of much knottier problems. That happened when Shield Healthcare didn't send "Great Aunt Nelly" her shipment of medical supplies on time. There are many people like Nelly in the U.S. -- elderly and disabled folks who depend in part or entirely on government assistance to get by.
Paving the Way for the Next Generation of CX Services
December 16, 2019
In order to deliver superior customer experience, companies should combine human talent with technology, including much-needed digital expertise, to turn their current revenue and growth strategies into customer satisfaction. The companies that truly succeed engage their customers and strengthen their brands. Technology has changed consumer and business needs and expectations.
6 Customer Service Trends to Watch in 2020
December 12, 2019
The era of messaging and automation is upon us! The fundamentals of delivering a good customer service experience in 2020 will be much the same as in 2019: Customers will expect convenient in-channel resolutions that take little effort on their behalf. With the rise of friction-free, asynchronous and personalized private messaging channels, contact centers must adapt.
The Ever-Changing Face of E-Commerce: 1995-2020
December 12, 2019
E-commerce doesn't look the same today as it did in 1995. A company called "eBay" burst onto the scene that year, and Jeff Bezos shipped Amazon's first book order. That unleashed a flood of online shopping, and businesses and consumers never looked back. In the past two and a half decades, e-commerce revolutionized industries such as retail and supply chain.
How to Turn First-Time Holiday Shoppers Into Repeat Buyers
December 10, 2019
More shoppers. Increased sales. Larger orders. This year's five-day stretch between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday left echoing "cha-chings" ringing through the retail atmosphere. A record 190 million Americans shopped during Thanksgiving weekend, and they're not done yet. This will be the first year that every day in November and December will surpass $1 billion in online sales.
The New Era of Account-Based Marketing
December 7, 2019
B2B marketing is evolving -- and it's not just the industry itself. Vendor marketing efforts with customers can and should evolve as well. When you see a vendor selected repeatedly, or it officially earns a designation as a preferred vendor, it's a sign of marketing evolution. Most B2B marketing efforts begin from a cold start. Either a vendor is new or it is entering a new market.
For Some Sellers, Black Friday Was Beige
December 6, 2019
If Black Friday is the biggest sales day of the year, is it necessarily the best? For many small merchants, it seemed Black Friday was more beige than black. Black Friday is the biggest sales day of the year, but it's often dominated by massive merchants. For smaller businesses, there are other peak sales days that might be better suited to their unique positioning.
SMBs Enjoy Online Surge on Small Business Saturday
December 3, 2019
While many retailers mull the takeaway from this year's Black Friday Cyber Monday shopping event, others may be more interested in the action that took place on Saturday. Online shoppers on Saturday spent $3.6 billion dollars at both large and small retailers, reflecting 18 percent year-over-year growth and setting a new sales record for the day, according to Adobe Analytics.
Crowdsourcing, Drones, and Why I'll Never Buy a Bugatti
December 2, 2019
Amazon has taught me I don't have to wait for my next two-pack of ravioli cutter stamps, so if you can't get them to me in under two hours, I know someone else who can. It's 2019, and customers want what they want, when they want it. The global last-mile market is expected to hit $55.2 billion by 2025, up from the current $30.2 billion, and it's no wonder.
Why a Single Source of Truth Often Isn't
November 21, 2019
This week, Salesforce used its annual Dreamforce mega-show to make a host of announcements, ranging from contact center partnership with Amazon to a smart speaker tool for sales. For the most part, the keynote featured practical applications of Salesforce technology. Some Dreamforces focus on the highly aspirational; others focus on the ways to attain those aspirations. This year is the latter.
Keeping the 'Service' in SaaS
November 20, 2019
In today's highly competitive B2B software industry, it's not enough to staff a call center and sit back and wait for customers to reach out when they need you -- it's imperative that you take the initiative. When customers have so many solution vendors to choose from, service becomes a strategic differentiator to set your company apart from the crowd.
The Rise of D2C
November 18, 2019
Direct-to-consumer commerce, or D2C, is on the rise. Increasingly, consumers are expecting to interact directly with the companies that market and manufacture products. "Direct-to-consumer commerce has been enhanced by the explosion of the Internet. E-commerce provides a more convenient and frictionless buying experience," said Peter Edlund, chief solutions evangelist at DiCentral.
Google to Offer 'Smart' Checking Accounts
November 14, 2019
Google plans to launch checking accounts next year. "We're exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the United States to offer smart checking accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools," a spokesperson said. "Our lead partners today are Citibank and the Stanford Federal Credit Union."
The Information Utility, Continued
November 13, 2019
I've been sharing my theory on the formation of an information utility for some time now. Various big vendors have announced alliances with that kind of aim. For instance, Oracle and Microsoft announced an effort to make their cloud databases interoperate, and Microsoft and others have announced common data model projects. Now Salesforce, AWS and Genesys have teamed up with The Linux Foundation.
The Rise of Technology in Scaled Event Marketing Programs
November 11, 2019
The amount of data we create each day is astronomical. The digital universe likely will reach 44 zettabytes in 2020 -- 40 times more bytes than there are stars existing in the observable universe. To say that's a lot of data is a colossal understatement -- but is this truly surprising? After all, we can take phone calls from watches and stream music from refrigerators.
Calling All Retailers - Ready or Not, CCPA Is on Its Way
November 9, 2019
We're just a few short months away from the California Consumer Privacy Act going into effect. The regulation brings privacy rights to residents in California and gives them control of their personal information and how companies can use it. Any business that sells to a California resident needs to be CCPA-compliant. Nearly every brick-and-mortar store nowadays has an e-commerce site.
Google Pays $2.1 Billion to Get Fit(bit)
November 7, 2019
Google has inked a deal to buy wearable fitness device maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion. The acquisition will give Google an immediate leading position in the wearables market, able to compete against the likes of Apple and Samsung rather than having to build up market share from scratch. Fitbit's products are carried in approximately 39,000 retail stores in more than 100 countries around the world.
The CRM-ization of Healthcare
November 6, 2019
We've been watching the CRM-ization of healthcare for a while. Salesforce recently embarked on parallel paths. The obvious option was to build tools that enabled users to craft systems of engagement. The second started when the company also began reaching out to various industrial sectors with its technology and those of some partners. The result has been a vibrant vertical industry approach.
Data Brokers' Secret Scores Can Cripple Consumers
November 6, 2019
Many businesses have been using secret scores created by data brokers to determine how much to charge consumers, whether to allow purchase returns, and what level of service to offer, among other things. "Most consumers will never know when they are the victim of a secret surveillance score," noted Laura Antonini, policy director at the Consumer Education Foundation.
Retailers: Prepare Now for Holiday Outages
November 4, 2019
In the age of fast shipping and one-click ordering, a single technical glitch can be detrimental to retail sales. A server outage during the holiday season could be a critical issue. Target is a prime example. Its in-store registers and online services were down for a few hours as recently as September. Target's payment-processing system was down for more than a day in June.
Do Your Customer Journeys Have Dead Ends or Dead Spots?
October 29, 2019
It's easy to take things you see every day for granted. We take the sun rising and setting for granted, for instance, and that's a good thing, because it helps us organize our lives. However, in business taking things for granted is a hazard. Change is everything these days, and that means the concepts you take as constants may not be as constant as they seem.
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How do you feel about digital immortality through an artificial intelligence avatar?
I'd like to have my own mind uploaded to an avatar after death.
I'd like to interact with avatars of dead relatives and friends.
Avatars should be created for important historic figures only.
I'd be interested in seeing avatars of dead entertainers perform.
I'm concerned about the ethics -- legal limits should be in place.
The idea is creepy, and I don't approve at all.