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'Different Strokes' Approach Can Damage a Brand
February 23, 2018
One fundamental element of building a brand relationship with customers is consistency. Widely franchised companies like Starbucks compromise consistency, however. They employ several different business models instead of sticking to one. This approach confuses customers and hurts the master brand, since customers never really know what to expect.
Keeping It Simple
February 22, 2018
Disruptive innovations expose longstanding needs and signal that there's a solution at hand -- one that usually is less expensive than the status quo. The lower-cost aspect makes adoption inevitable and disruptive. Document management is like that. Decades ago, many enterprises found that the cost of capturing documents as electronic images vastly improved on costly file cabinet systems.
Broken Corporate Processes Degrade Customer Experience: Survey
February 21, 2018
Broken corporate processes have been contributing to negative customer experiences, a recent survey suggests. One thousand employees in U.S. companies with a workforce of 500 or more who work on a computer or mobile device for more than five hours a day responded to the online survey conducted by Nintex. Overall, 54 percent observed broken administrative processes within their organization.
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.
Apple's HomePod Could Leave a Lasting Mark With Customers
February 15, 2018
Apple's new $350 HomePod could make an impact in several ways. In addition to providing listeners with highly praised sound quality, the smart speaker literally could make an impression on some of the wood surfaces it touches -- in the form of white rings. The HomePod can stream music to those who have an Apple Music subscription. It has a few other capabilities too.
Are Smart TV Designs Taking Home Security for Granted?
February 15, 2018
Millions of smart TVs from Samsung and some streaming devices from Roku recently were found to be vulnerable to cyberattacks, allowing intruders to take control and remotely change channels and volume settings, among other things, according to Consumer Reports research. Vulnerabilities were discovered not only in Samsung televisions, but also in TVs from TCL and other Roku-compatible brands.
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."
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan Aim to Untangle Employee Healthcare Knot
February 1, 2018
Three corporate giants on Tuesday announced they were banding together to provide healthcare for their 1.1 million employees. The companies -- Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase -- plan to form a company "free from profit-making incentives and constraints" in order to improve employee satisfaction with their healthcare coverage as well as reduce costs.
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 Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2017: Countdown, Part 2
January 31, 2018
Where does the discipline of CRM begin? We have a good idea where the software fits, but where does its impact end? With a sale? With a customer saying good things about your company to other customers? With a repeat purchase? And does CRM contribute to these events alone, or is there a web of other activities that help drive these relationships -- and do we ever consider these things to be CRM?
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2017: Countdown, Part 1
January 22, 2018
Something very interesting is happening in the world of CRM blogs: CRM is becoming less and less of a subject. Oh, it's in there -- it's just being elbowed to the back of the stage by a whole host of other related disciplines and technologies. Customer experience, customer engagement and content marketing are vying with artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and bots to elbow ahead of CRM.
Namogoo CEO Chemi Katz: Malware Can Ruin the Customer Journey
January 12, 2018
When all goes well, the customer journey "ends with buying a product," said Chemi Katz, CEO of Namogoo. "Hijacking interferes with the customer's journey. It can be a pop-up that the company didn't put there, or something that will lead a customer out of the website. It's any interference that doesn't come from the e-commerce business itself, but from a third party."
Cloud Training to Boost Competitive Advantage Strategies
January 11, 2018
One of the biggest challenges facing organizations of all sizes trying to move to the cloud is finding and retaining the skilled workers necessary to implement today's rapidly expanding assortment of on-demand services. This skills gap cost companies more than $250 million in lost business opportunities in just one year, according to a recent survey conducted by the London School of Economics.
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.
3 Critical Things Sales Can Learn From IT
January 9, 2018
If you're in sales, it's likely there are people you want to talk to, and others you may go out of your way to avoid. You might be excited to talk to the CMO -- or not so excited -- based on the leads you recently worked. You might avoid the people from finance, but you might enjoy conversing with your comp plan administrator. However, there's one group of people you may never even consider.
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."
CRM in 2018
January 3, 2018
Figuring out the year ahead in CRM is tricky and getting more so. Making predictions has been more challenging for the last several years. We've seen an array of new technologies take root and blossom, but managers have had trouble figuring out how to adopt them. Those innovations have fueled a lot of anxiety in the C-suite about digital disruption, but each company's disruption is different.
Globant CTO Diego Tartara: Building Trust Moment by Moment
December 29, 2017
A digital customer journey "starts from the actual need and goes all the way to the usage of the product or brand," said Globant CTO Diego Tartara. "The journey is not only the touchpoints with the digital tool. It has to do with the end-to-end relationship between a specific user and a brand or product." There are several components that go into an effective and innovative digital journey.
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.
Data Modeling Is Key in New Customer Insight Platform
December 15, 2017
Heap has introduced a new feature set for its autonomous customer insight platform. Non-destructive data modeling allows users to define and model new insights without touching the raw data structure, resulting in faster iteration and speeding up productivity. Virtual event definitions let users retroactively update metrics on the fly wherever they are used.
Machines Could Become Driving Force Behind CX
December 6, 2017
Customer experience improvements have become an important part of companies' digital transformations, according to survey results Mitel released Tuesday. More than 2,500 senior IT decision makers across North America, the UK, France, Germany and Australia responded to the survey. The participants represented businesses ranging from 250 to 10,000-plus employees in a wide range of industries.
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.
Everybody Talks About CX, but Nobody Does Anything About It
November 21, 2017
Customer experience quality didn't improve in the retail industry this year, despite keen competition among online retailers, according to Forrester's U.S. 2017 Customer Experience Index. The three top-ranked etailers came within fractions of a point of each other. Among the industries Forrester examined, online retail was the only one in which no brands kept the same position as last year.
Content Analytics' VP Kenji Gjovig: There's Chum in the E-Commerce Waters
November 15, 2017
Content management is all about making sure that a product item page "has all of the information that a customer needs to buy an item or have a good experience with it afterwards," said Content Analytics VP Kenji Gjovig. "A content management system has the ability to set up new items, post images and video, and create a robust title and detailed item description."
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.
Dreamforce Pivot
November 9, 2017
Dreamforce 2017 is in full swing this week in San Francisco, which means that Salesforce is changing, shedding a skin to reveal a new and improved creature. This time, rather than announcing a new cloud or a mountain of technology, the company seems focused on improving what it has and delivering a tighter and more powerful solution set for a future that's just emerging.
5 Ways Etailers Can Make Online Shoppers Feel Safe
November 8, 2017
At least 145 million Americans were impacted by a data breach at Equifax that netted thieves personal information such as names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security Numbers and driver's license numbers. That pales in comparison to the earlier Yahoo breaches, which affected more than 1 billion accounts. However, those incidents may be just the tip of a very large iceberg.
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What do you think of commercial spaceflight?
It's the best hope for advancing space exploration.
It's little more than a hobby for billionaires.
It will result in highly profitable new industries, like space mining.
It will dramatically increase space junk and pollution.
It will offer the opportunity to establish a new way of life in space colonies.
It should be heavily regulated by governments.
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