At the Technology Services World conference last week in Las Vegas, the technology-company-stampede-to-the-cloud was on everyone’s lips. The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) calls this Consumption Economics: Customers will consume bits of products over time as opposed to buying the whole enchilada at once (In fact, JB Wood, who runs TSIA, has written a book on it).
Importantly, while this means a different financial model for most organizations (as I learned when running marketing for one of the first cloud-based companies, Taleo, from 2000-2005), it will also require an even greater focus on satisfying customers. Basically, with a cloud-based business—particularly if it is subscription-based—you are asking customers to trust that you will—at least over the course of the subscription—continue to deliver the quality, innovations and reliability that you deliver today. It takes great focus on customer service to a) keep that customer satisfied for the term of your relationship; and b) ensure that they re-up when the term has ended. Sometimes, that term is very short – I am using your product today; and sometimes it is long – I sign a three-year subscription.
Customers using cloud-based technologies are often social-media savvy and may indeed be more apt to mention issues on Twitter, for example, even in B2B. But, we also see this trend with non-cloud-based B2B companies—and we expect it to increase as companies move to the cloud. And of course customer and developer communities are becoming more important than ever as a means to collaborate, communicate with and support customers.
Integrating social media data with enterprise data is a wave for which we see a swelling need. That’s why we introduced a connector to Twitter with our v7.0 platform. Coveo customers, such as CA Technologies, index their community data along with their CRM(s), knowledge base(s) and defect database(s) and more—in fact, CA is indexing 70 different systems. Now, they can index what customers are saying about them on Twitter, as well.
It’s all about trust, and trust is an easy thing to lose. Particularly if a customer calling your contact center, or interacting via a chat session, knows more about your products and/or the issue they are facing, than does the contact center agent with whom they are interacting. Coveo’s Insight Consoles, built on top of our Unified Index of information from social media, enterprise systems, and yes, systems in the cloud, can help to ensure this never happens.