Category Archives: Sales and Marketing
We’ve all heard the expression “necessity is the mother of invention.” In today’s day and age of digital engagement and the rapid pace of change in which we all live, this statement couldn’t be more true. Today’s consumers do not want to wait. There is a need for immediate satisfaction which means proprietors need to not only react to requests faster – they must have all of the necessary information to answers any number of requests at their fingertips, in an instant.
This information immediacy issue is playing out every day in many industries in multiple formats – whether it’s a customer on the phone with his or her mobile phone provider trying to straighten out a bill, a product engineer working to determine the next phase of a development cycle and needing to tap into a side project for research data, or a sales force leader determining an appropriate engagement strategy for his or her organization. The problem is, as common as these scenarios are, the access to all of the information necessary to make insightful decisions is not as prevalent as one may think.
This is why Coveo and its customers are paving the way – truly leading the charge as innovators – bringing together vast amounts of data on our unified indexing platform across enterprise systems and social channels and making it available with contextual relevance to each and every user—we term this one-to-one, end-to-end. With a single, unified view of information across channels (think an information mash-up like you’d get on Yahoo! Finance), customer service teams discover information relationships within diverse data sources to better know and serve their customers and enable better decision making – all aimed at building a truly customer-centric organization.
As an example, one of Coveo’s customers has taken the need to be innovative to a whole new level. Priding itself on its customer service capabilities, the SaaS provider of talent management solutions with more than 5,000 customers has been recognized with several awards for its industry-leading customer service and support. In fact, it is the only company in its category that was recognized by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) for Excellence in Service Operations.
The customer boasts an impressive 94 percent customer satisfaction rating from independent studies – in part because of its innovative abilities to bring together information and analyze it in a cohesive manner, thereby better serving its customers. Within three months of its implementation of Coveo, the customer had improved its first-call resolution by 32 percent and cut case resolution time by nearly 13 percent.
As we continue to innovate alongside our customers, we are pleased to also be recognized by the TSIA for its innovation as a finalist for the 2012 Recognized Innovator Awards. Regarding our Insight Solution for Customer Service, judges have noted that:
• “Innovation is clearly seen in this excellent application. Solid business impact can clearly be seen.”
• “Excellent cases and the insight console is unique approach to providing contextual data to agents.”
As we strive to stay innovative in the solutions we offer to our customers and the community at large, we’re also exhibiting at the Technology Services World (TSW) Best Practices conference in Santa Clara, CA, this week. This event is packed with bleeding-edge organizations that are focused on providing innovative solutions to the necessities of life. It is an opportunity for us to share information with our peers and best practices to help our customers continue to bring innovative solutions to the forefront of their businesses.
Like many busy professionals, I shop online. Recently I’ve noticed those items I’ve looked at on, for example, the Neiman Marcus website follow me around the internet as I surf for information related to my work. This doesn’t work for me. The context is all wrong. I am not shopping for shoes while I am reading a blog about the new category of insight software. The relationship between me and the shoes may be right – Google has correlated my action, though not interpreted it. I actually did not like that pair of shoes and not only is the context wrong, the shoes are no longer relevant to me. They now irritate me, following me around the web for a couple of days. Now I have a not-so-good feeling about Neiman Marcus.
Clearly we all know that the customer experience runs across all channels and all front-line employees; however the website is arguably the most important channel for many organizations—and not just for ecommerce, but for complex, B2B products and services as well.
Your website is your best brand representation and should reflect your knowledge of your customers and adjust quickly to each and every customer (and it goes without saying about your own products and services, as well as how the customer is using them and whether or not he or she is satisfied). After all, as we see with my Neiman Marcus example, consumers – who are often times also B2B buyers—are beginning to experience the correlation of their actions with the information served up to them on the internet. Customers expect the same experience on your website that they may get on the internet at large—only better, because they know you, and you should know them. And yet, both experience and research shows that companies are struggling to provide that personalized, one-to-one experience on their website.
Luckily, Insight technology can “know” much more about your customer than the Neiman Marcus website knows about me. It can understand the customer or prospect’s history, their level of knowledge about your company’s products and services, level of satisfaction (do I like that pair of shoes I looked at?), the customer’s interactions on social media sites and communities, and their interactions with all front-line employees at your company, in customer service, sales, marketing, etc. It can also correlate this information with other similar customers and more, helping customers to learn from each other.
Why is this important? So that the technology can instantly assemble contextually relevant information from all sources, and provide it in a meaningful “conversation” with the customer or prospect via the website. (And by the way, this is the same information, though perhaps abridged, that your sales person or customer service agent will see when interacting with the customer or prospect, providing that consistent, end-to-end brand experience which is so elusive to marketers.)
What about you? Have you been “stalked” by items you didn’t want, on the internet? How did it impact your perception of that brand? How do you provide a more contextually relevant experience for your B2B customers?
Is your organization suffering from Enterprise Insight Deficit Disorder? There’s a good chance it is, and there’s an even better chance that lack of insight is hurting your company’s performance.
Enterprise Insight Deficit is caused primarily by hoards of information distributed among multiple IT and organizational silos and in social media, making actionable Insight challenging to attain. It’s a significant obstacle across the customer and product lifecycle—from R&D to customer service. Lack of insight negatively impacts customer service, engineering and sales teams from better serving customers, selling to their customers, and quickly innovating products and services.
In customer service, you might have noticed certain issues coming to light. Are customer service costs growing? Is customer satisfaction declining? Is customer self-service not deflecting as many issues from the call center as it should? Do your customers feel that your company doesn’t really “know” them and all their interactions with you and prior product/service purchases?
Your product development or engineering group might be struggling with different issues. Are products not making it to market fast enough? Is customer input being excluded from product development because it takes too long to access the information or isn’t shared among teams? Are engineers not leveraging the collective knowledge of your organization well?
And what about your sales and marketing teams? Are sales professionals lacking information about customers in order to better understand and upsell these accounts? Are sales cycles longer than they should be due to the amount of time it takes to discover and correlate account information? Is marketing spending money on tactics that don’t produce results?
These are symptoms of Enterprise Insight Deficit Disorder, and they can inflict significant damage on an organization. To bring much greater Insight to your organization the best approach is to begin with the area that suffers most from Insight Deficit, make this your proving ground, and expand from there. Once you have determined which area most needs help, you can focus your efforts there.
CA Technologies provides a showcase example on how better Insight has generated significant value in its customer service operations. CA Technologies consolidates customer information from 74 systems and sources including customer communities, providing much greater insight into its customers, issues resolutions, and more. With this level of insight, CA Technologies has increased overall satisfaction by 40 basis points, decreased time to resolution by 15%, and more. You can watch the full CA Technologies success story here.
Another Coveo customer, IBM Netezza, increased Insight across its operations by creating a single-screen view of all customer support and engineering repositories. Within 30 days of implementation, the company reduced the time needed to identify known customer issues by 67% and reduced duplicate bug submissions to the development team by 50 %. Forrester analyst Kate Leggett fully documented IBM Netezza’s success in a case study.
If you’re interested in finding out how customer service, engineering/product development and sales & marketing departments can overcome these obstacles, you may want to view an eBook we recently published on making 2012 the year of insight for your organization. Please take a look, and share how you’re dealing with these issues. We welcome the discussion.