Tuesday, April 30, 2013

5 Steps to Successful Customer Experience Management

These days, customers expect companies to offer customer preferences in order to reduce the buying cycle time and increase the value. With the increasing number of channels and the need for consistent experience, we have been hearing about the ever-evolving ‘customer experience’ systems. This journey from CRM to CEM, marks a shift from an internally focused to externally focused solution to offer better customer experiences.

In the past, being internally focused gave more time for companies to adopt and evolve, but in the CEM era, companies don’t have the same time. The balance is between great customer experience that drives loyalty and ‘relevant preference’ that will drive commerce. According to a recent Business2Community article written by Ramesh Ramakrishnan, a marketing and organization culture enthusiast and author of www.futuristCMO.com, here are five steps to get the best out of CEM initiatives:

1. Build seamless interactions
Customers are expecting seamless interactions across traditional channels like in-store, call-center, online as well as new channels like mobile and social. Though technology can play a role in enabling this, employee (internal) based seamless interactions can really transform customer (external) based seamless interactions. 

2. Deliver consistent value
Consistent experience across channels due to end-to-end processes, functionality rich channel systems, de-centralization to harness channel incubation, management commitment offers a chance for customers to build trust. Flexible and functionality rich solutions across fast moving channels such as social, mobile will help companies deliver consistently in a fast paced environment.

3. Offer relevant preferences using real-time approaches
Connecting the customer transaction data, front line interaction information and non-enterprise data such as social, mobile can help companies to understand the current and future needs of the customer. Leveraging big data and analytics to come up with relevant preferences for customers will be a key differentiator considering the number of alternatives available. Real-time solutions through big data, analytics, In-memory and human intelligence will transform commerce and customer experience.

4. Develop a partner ecosystem that can collaborate
Customer experience management is a cluster of products that have to work together to offer a holistic solution. It’s critical to have the right set of partners who are innovators, have a good partner ecosystem, and are open to integration with other vendor products.

5. Implement Total Customer Experience (TCE)
In Total Quality Management (TQM), the quality of products is the responsibility of everyone involved in the creation and consumption ecosystem. So, TCE should be a philosophy across the entire organization. Customer experience is not just a front line issue as competition, delays across departments can badly impact customer experience. In the connected media age where customers immediately share more of their negative experiences than positive ones, such negative stories can impact commerce.

Overall, CEM will continue to evolve due to innovation and customer trends, so companies must create an agile ecosystem.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Insights Event You Cannot Afford to Miss is Only 2 Weeks Away

The Future of Consumer Intelligence is Less Than One Month Away (and we're right in your backyard!)

Here is what you will miss out on if you don't register today:

An EXCLUSIVE KEYNOTE from Nate Silver, World Renowned Statistician

Networking with MORE THAN 250 RESEARCH, INSIGHTS, DATABASE & CRM Professionals

LATEST TRENDS including Big Data, Data Visualization, Prediction Science & more

50+ Research & Insights Experts sharing their BEST PRACTICES, TECHNIQUES & LESSONS LEARNED

Full day symposia on NEW & EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES and how they'll impact your research teams


All new focus on RELATIONAL DATABASE STRATEGY - engage, build and deepen your customer relationships for more profitable outcomes

MARKET RESEARCH FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES is back, this time with a focus on game-changing technology

CULTURE TRACKING & HUMAN TECHNOLOGY from Coca-Cola, plus BIG DATA from Rick Smolan, creator Human Face of Big Data

Download the conference brochure for the full agenda.

Together, let's embrace new opportunities and new ways of thinking about our industry.

We hope to see you in San Francisco.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Difference Between CRM and CX is in the Customer

Customers are the most important people for any organization. They are the resource upon which the success of the business depends as customer satisfaction is at the heart of the selling process. The relationship between the customer and the organization is, therefore, an important one.

We have entered the age of the customer – an age where every company can tap into global factories and global supply chains. Brand, manufacturing, distribution, and IT are all table stakes. With online reviews, social networks, and mobile web access, it's easy for your customers to know as much about your products, services, competitors, and pricing as you do.

In this age, the only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption: an obsession with customer experience. As of late, customer experience has become an extremely hot topic. But, customer experience (CX) is very similar to customer relationship management (CRM). So, what exactly is the difference between the two?

CRM is a model for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. Although it had been around in many forms for a long time, the term CRM became popular in 1993 when Siebel entered the market. It was later coined by Gartner in 1995 as a way to describe ‘front office applications.’ Meanwhile, CX has also been around a very long time as well. CX is known as the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier over the duration of the customer-supplier relationship.

Both terms talk about managing customer interactions and experiences over time, but the difference comes down to perspective. Business2Communityrecently shared a good example of the difference between CX and CRM. Say someone is refinancing a home with a large national bank. It is a possibility that it may be easier to handle the monthly payments with a checking account with the same bank, so the customer opens up a new account.  Then, say the agent asks the customer to fill out an account application and the customer wants the agent to reference his or her personal information based on the load number, but the agent doesn’t have access to that information.

From a CRM perspective, this is a successful transaction because the mortgage fulfillment team knows your information, and after opening a checking account, the branch knew your information. However, the mortgage team and the deposit team didn’t know about each other, so they relied on the customer to bridge that gap.

Customer experience, on the other hand, would have taken a different approach – one based soley on the customer. The reasoning would including: where are you in your life journey now, what do you need now, what are you going to need along with that, and what can we do to serve all of this at the right times?
So, the difference between CRM and CX is that one looks at the world from the inside-out (CRM), the other from the outside-in (CX).

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Prepare for the Proactive CXM of the Future

Today, enterprises are struggling to keep up with the ways consumers are accessing their products, through physical and digital channels. CXM (Customer Experience Management) often remains siloed within the organization, in marketing and customer service. It tends to remain reactive — dealing with problems presented to them instead of identifying progressive strategies that create a positive experience. So, according to Jayakrishnan Sasidharan, vice president & Global Head, Business Collaboration, Content and Customer Experience, for Wipro Business Applications Services, enterprises must prepare for the next generation of CXM, which integrates consumers, retailers and suppliers

By 2018, the next generation CXM will be proactive and engage the entire organization. It will strive to understand what customers are thinking and provide a consistent brand experience in all available channels.  According to Sasidharan, CXM in the future is about “channel independence.” Customers will use the channel of their choice to interact with the brand.

CXM adoption has been siloed, on a single channel focusing on product-based interactions and with customers. Recently, it has evolved to incorporate multiple channels and mature from being transactional to being interactive. But, many organizations have not transformed their customer experience.

“The next generation CXM will put customers first to drive customer satisfaction. It will engage them proactively before the product is purchased, and long afterward, to understand what they are thinking and create market-relevant products,” he said.

In fact, Sasidharan sees four trends that global enterprises are grappling with and how digital advances will affect the next generation of CXM including:

Engaging the customer proactively. Enterprises want to move closer to the customer with interactions that occur before the product is consumed. Future CXM will make that engagement event-driven and pull from every aspect of the organization.

Context-aware customer interactions with geo-location intelligence built into devices. Instead of an enterprise partnering with a specific app or adopting a specific solution, future CXM solutions could call for a sustained interaction with context-aware solutions within every interaction.

Immersive interactions.  Users gain control over how content is delivered, whether through touch, gesture, 3D visualization, voice-enabled biometric, or something not yet invented. In the next five years, he expects immersive interactions to be incorporated in home entertainment devices, in-vehicle devices, and increasingly smart mobile devices.

The multi-channel of the future. Even as new channels have emerged or replaced traditional points of sale, customer interactions remain siloed. By 2018, multi-channel for enterprises will transition to an omni-channel experience, meaning customers can browse through product information on any medium while conversing with friends on social media.

By the next five years, Sasidharan envisions a repeatable CXM maturity model that implies that an enterprise has synchronized CXM and IT strategies with an integrated roadmap — supported by an integrated training and communication plan. The key to reaching this repeatable stage is to pursue a CXM strategy across the enterprise, not one for every channel. So, enterprises must create original products and services; ensure integration across all stakeholders; change business models beyond silo solutions to enhance customer experience; and invest in digital technologies that integrate digital marketing, operations and digital commerce.

These days, companies are recognizing that digitally savvy customers can become influencers in their own social media circles. An integrated CXM strategy will give enterprises the ability to create a repeatable customer experience that can be adapted to future digital evolutions.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Future of Market Research is Synthesis

These days, research departments are being bombarded with overwhelming amounts of data every day - from primary market research, syndicated data, transactional data, social media etc. The job of market researchers has become infinitely more complex with mountains of data to analyze and synthesize, and the need to inform multiple stakeholders.  So, synthesizing knowledge has become a necessity; a searchable repository and basic meta-analysis is just not good enough anymore.

Next week, special guest Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner of Cambiar Consulting, will set the stage in an upcoming webinar entitled, “Superior Insights Through Information Integration: Debunking Common Misconceptions and Myths ,” with an overview about the future of research and the evolution towards synthesis. 

Using real case studies, Kumar Mehta, CEO at blueocean market intelligence, will reveal how to apply a 360 approach to produce better insights and achieve greater business impact. In addition, he will discuss myths surrounding departmental challenges - time, money, access – when applying this integrated approach.

Kumar and Simon will share recommendations for creating a more collaborative exchange between clients and suppliers, and what traits make for a good synthesizer and thought partner on Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET.

To register for this webinar, click here!

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Protecting the Science of Understanding While Translating Insight into Business Decisions

Protecting the Science
We're researchers, but we're also trained scientists. Skeptical of the overnight DIY sensations, we're classically trained and we must ensure the integrity of data and insights. Yet, we also need to operate at the accelerated pace of change resulting in a balancing act of rigor and expediency.

Confident Business Decisions
TMRE was conceived on the notion that research deserved a seat at the table. Now, we focus on elevating the researcher to a strategic, consultative leader - at the forefront of setting strategy, exposing new opportunities and mitigating risk. This year, we couple best in class
business cases with professional development sessions focused on building the skills in highest demand for researchers today like storytelling, data visualization, business improve and sales techniques.

Only the Best

We’re thrilled to work with some of the longest standing leaders in the industry to bring this vision to life. Like Joan Lewis, the head of consumer and market knowledge at Procter & Gamble, who will interview Malcolm Gladwell to help tie his provocative thinking directly to industry. We’re also excited to bring you rising stars like Jane McGoingal, whose thinking is destined to revolutionize but modern consumer culture as we know it.

We're in This Together
There’s never been a more exciting time to be your partner in development and your connection to the best in insights from around the world. TMRE is the perfect blend of executive development and best practice sharing. It's the place where career researchers develop and advance into next generation leaders. See what TMRE 2013 is all about here.

TMRE connects the best in insights from around the world and is the #1 research and insights conference.

  • 1200+ attendees
  • 180+ rarely seen speakers
  • 130+ content driven sessions
  • 100+ cutting edge exhibitors
  • 60%+ client side participation
  • 9 breakout tracks
  • 8 symposia
  • 4 in depth professional development workshops
  • 0 commercialism from the platform. Our content review board ensures it.
  • New demands. New skillsets. Converged intelligence. More strategic guidance. 

TMRE: Your partner through change.

Download The TMRE 2012 Executive Summary and See for Yourself!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Using Key Insights to Optimize Your Marketing Campaign

Today, marketing optimization can be overwhelming. Marketers have to design a strategy and hit their lead gen goal, let alone optimize everything. As a marketer, it is important to focus your optimization efforts on the elements of your inbound strategy that will have the greatest impact. Here are six ways you can optimize to impact on your bottom line.

Landing Pages
Through your landing pages, you gather lead information so you can to market to them using personalized emails and web content. They are a key part of an effective inbound marketing strategy, and even small conversion improvements can impact the bottom line. In addition to the prospects and leads, repeat visitors will also come to your landing page, so optimizing landing pages will ensure that they engage with the content.

In order to begin uncovering opportunities for better optimization, ask yourself questions like: Can someone look at your landing page and after five seconds know what the offer is, why you're offering it, and why it’s valuable? Do you have an attention grabbing headline? Do you have a relevant image? Is your copy clear and compelling?

Conversion Path
The conversion path is the series of clicks that a visitor goes through on your website, from their first interaction with what you are trying to accomplish. It is very important to understand how all of your pages work together. Ask yourself: Which ones generate the most leads? Which ones are preventing your prospects from advancing?

The website is your primary online presence as all marketing channels, including PPC, SEO, and social media will all point back to the website. This is where you control the conversation about what makes your products unique, so optimizing your landing pages and conversion path is crucial to the success of your marketing campaign. Map out your site’s possible conversion paths. Then, look at the conversion metrics as visitors progress through these pages to see if any are over or under-performing.

Value Proposition
Your value proposition should power the messaging on every marketing channel. It should state why someone would make a purchase from your company among the others that do similar things. Online, the value proposition is the first sentence that your visitor will scan. It's important that with just one sentence, you can address why your company, products, and services are great.

Begin with defining your value proposition by asking yourself: Does everyone in your company agree with your one-sentence differentiator? Next, look at your competitors. How do your claims measure up against your competition? Once you have internal buy-in, run a test with different versions of your value proposition explanation on a high-traffic landing page. When you ask people that know nothing about your company, could they explain what value your company gives?

Your marketing content is made up of the words that populate your campaigns. But your content encompasses more than just the copy -- it's also the layout, the topics, the publishing strategy, etc. Great inbound marketing campaigns begin with great content -- you'll use this content to attract and convert customers, pulling people into your website, blog, and other online resources. The  language you use is the thread that ties all your channels together.

For online content optimization, you need to look at not only your copy, but your keyword strategy, topic selection, internal linking, SEO, etc. You need to understand not only what you're writing, but also why you're writing it, how to write it, where to add links and sharing buttons, and where to publish and promote it.

Your homepage is an ambassador for your brand. The homepage is a company’s most frequently-viewed digital asset. Optimizers need to pay attention to the design of and content on the homepage. In contrast with single purpose landing pages, company homepages are hard to design for one focused conversion goal.

Homepages are often burdened with the demands of multiple departments, which can make them hard to streamline. Step one in homepage optimization is to hone your messaging. Narrow down your goals to one target business outcome per web page. The purpose of a website is not to make your business units happy; it’s to accomplish your goals by addressing the customer’s concerns.

Email marketing plays a role in your lead nurturing efforts. Your email list is your most engaged audience -  the people who have opted to hear more from you. Email optimization is vital to converting your leads, and involves thinking about every aspect of your email campaigns, from headlines and design, and when you send your messages.

So to begin your optimization, start with a well-optimized list. When you design your email campaigns, it’s imperative to think from the prospect’s viewpoint. At the end of every template is a person who is going to get intrigued by your headline and open your message. Because your database includes people at different stages of the buying cycle, you must segment your list to align your content with your prospective buyers’ needs.

Optimization is one of the best ways to assess the success of your marketing efforts. By developing an optimization culture in your organization, you will develop a better understanding of your audience, better position your products and better execute your campaigns.

Want to learn more about the business impact of marketing insights? TMRE (The Market Research Event) is like attending seven events in one. TMRE will give you new skills to add to your departments like strategic decision making and insight integration. 

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Produce Better Insights and Achieve Greater Business Impact

In association with our event partners, IIR is pleased to invite you to participate in the following web seminars as a part of the 2013 Insights Webinar Series.

Superior Insights through Information Integration: Debunking Common Misconceptions and Myths
Thursday, April 25, 2013, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET
Kumar Mehta, Chief Executive Officer, blueocean market intelligence
Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner, Cambiar

Research departments are being hit with copious amounts of data every day -  from primary market research, syndicated data, transactional data, social media, etc. Synthesizing knowledge from the information river has become a necessity; a searchable repository and basic meta analysis is just not good enough. 
 Special guest, Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner of Cambiar Consulting, will set the stage with an insightful overview about the future of research and the evolution towards synthesis.

Using real case studies, Kumar Mehta, CEO at blueocean market intelligence, will reveal how to apply a holistic 360 approach to produce better insights and achieve greater business impact.  

He will also discuss common myths surrounding typical departmental challenges - time, money, access – when applying this integrated approach. Together, Kumar and Simon will share recommendations for creating a more collaborative exchange between clients and suppliers, and what traits make for a good synthesizer and thought partner.

Mention your priority code, MWJ0028-LINK, when registering.

A Step Toward Understanding Path to Purchase: How Shelf Placement Impacts Shoppers’ Attention at Shelf
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET
Rich Scamehorn, Chief Research Officer, InContext Solutions
Brendan Light, VP Research, InContext Solutions

There are many elements to each shopper’s Path to Purchase. This talk will share a framework for understanding how these in-store and out-of-store elements impact a shopper’s behavior when in-store. This focus on one specific area will show how virtual store technology can build knowledge about the impact of shelf placement on where shoppers look first and first purchase by category.

Mention your priority code, MWJ0029-LINK, when registering.

Capitalizing on the Power of Big Data: How to Effectively Leverage Big Data to Discover New Insights and Drive Revenue Growth
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET
Jerome Levadoux, Senior Vice President of Products, HP Autonomy

Are you getting everything you can out of your business data?

The rapid explosion of Big Data is changing the way we do business. 90% of data created in an organization is now unstructured—and inherently more difficult to manage—coming from sources like social media, video, texts, audio, email and documents.

And this data is becoming so important, as it contains customer insight and growth opportunities that have yet to be identified. But due to its volume, type and rate of change, most companies are unable to address this valuable data and act on it.

Join us on this webcast and learn how you can easily manage, understand and leverage all forms of Big Data in real time to discover new opportunities and increase revenue.

Mention your priority code, MWL0001-LINK, when registering. 

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Protecting the Science of Understanding While Translating Insight into Actionable Business Decisions

Connecting the Best in Insights from Around the World, The Market Research Event delivers more proven value than any other conference of its kind. That's why it's the #1 trusted event brand in the world and the annual meeting place for career researchers - uniting over one thousand consumer insights executives with more than 65% from client-side companies. Featuring more than 140 sessions and 175 speakers, this is the most comprehensive research learning and networking experience of the year.

Why TMRE? Why Now?


You believe in consumer insights as a catalyst for change and growth
You respect the science of market research
You recognize that the world is changing and end-users have increasingly rising expectations
You understand that the pace of business decision making will continue to accelerate
You are excited about the new opportunities disruptive technologies bring to the industry
You believe in the importance of scale, projectability and representative sample
You believe in your own role in helping to shape the future of consumer insights
You strive to embed insights in every corner of your organization
You seek new ways to package insights for impact to ensure action
You are eager to round out your skill set with strategies for storytelling, data visualization, sales techniques and more
You crave access to visionary information from hundreds of clients from the best companies in the world
You want to interact with top vendors on your terms

Then TMRE is for you.

TMRE has always been a place of best practice and discovery. Now, as our industry transforms and faces the most dramatic changes it has ever seen, TMRE will transform you into a hybrid researcher and strategic advisor. Download the TMRE 2012 Executive Summary and see what TMRE is all about.

We're curating an experience that will increase your value, your department's impact and your business' bottom line. Join us

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How to ask for ideas from your customers. The Top 20 Customer Experience Management (CEM) Software Technologies

It’s all well and good to work on ideas and innovation by collaborating internally.  But if we want ideas from our customers we have to deliver that message, along with all the other important messages we communicate outside of the company.  Even if the message is that “we’re an innovative company”.  

Customer Feedback Wanted.  Here’s a fact, in case you didn’t notice…Large companies are trying to figure out how to engage with their customers.  They are asking the public what they’re thinking by using Customer Feedback Management (I wrote about that a few weeks ago here).  And they’re carefully managing how they communicate with their customers.  Customers must be reached where they dwell and they live for the most part in social networks.

Marketing automation used to be simple.  The channels were email, direct mail and phone.  Companies used these simple channels to reach out to customers (and potential customers).  You would pick the most likely prospects, and the best way to reach them and fire away.  Fingers crossed for 1 to 3% response. 
Social networks, where people tend to dwell now, and can be reached, is not just another channel.  It’s a whole new ballgame, requiring an interactive, sometimes real time, conversation between the people who work at your company and your customers.  If you’re lucky you’ll get those customers to be loyal and advocate for you.  

Why is Customer Experience Management important to the innovation inclined?  Two main reasons: 

     1.      You want to find out what your customers are thinking.

     2.     You want to periodically challenge them to provide their ideas.

There are too many social network channels, too many customers and not enough time to communicate effectively (and track the results) without good software.

Customer Experience Management is a class of software on offer from big companies like IBM and Oracle as well as a slew of smaller companies.  Remarkably it’s somewhat of a level playing field.  No company owns the market and the slew of software options are difficult to compare.  It’s not that they’re virtually equal in competencies. It is just that so many have taken different steps to get there.

Some of these come from the email space, recently adding on software to communicate via the mobile channel, then tools to push out messages via Twitter and Facebook.  Other software vendors focus initially on the social channels and add on dashboards to give the bigger picture.  Still others take novel approaches, like providing technology to track contests or setup a social network.   With this blog post I’m endeavoring to take a look at what the choices are.

A List of the Top 20 Customer Experience Management Software Offerings.  Let’s take a look at the most well known, and widely installed Customer Experience Management (CEM) software offerings that can be used to manage the messages and calls to action you put out to your customers and the public. There's actually way more than 20 but that looked better in the headline :).   In all cases, I’m adding the company’s own description.

    1.     Empathica                  empowers employees and customers of leading brands to create places they love; turning transactions into great experiences, employees into owners and customers into advocates.

     2.     Satmetrix                   the leading provider of cloud-based customer experience software for companies worldwide.

     3.     Eloqua  (Oracle)         highly personalized and unified experience across channels 
     4.     Totango          combines big data analytics with powerful segmentation and engagement tools to allow online services to take the right actions with each customer, in realtime.

     5.     Shoutlet                      a social marketing platform.

     6.     SDL                             solutions for managing the global customer experience

     7.     Silverpop                    marketing technology provider with expertise in email marketing and marketing automation

     8.     ExactTarget                 a provider of on-demand email marketing software solutions.

     9.     Hootsuite                   social media management system for businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks

     10.     Hearsay                       bolster brands across all the major social networks

     11.     Wildfire/ Google         social media marketing software

     12.  Vitrue/Oracle                social marketing solution

     13.  Involver/ Oracle            social marketing platform

     14.  Sailthru                        helping brands deliver individual experiences to millions of unique users in real time.  
     15.  Hubspot                       All-In-One Marketing Software

     16.  Lyris                             data-driven interactive marketing campaigns that facilitate superior engagement, increase conversions, and deliver measurable business value.

     17.  Thismoment                 powers dynamic brand experiences - online social marketing campaigns comprising multimedia-rich content, creative design and social conversations

     18.  Brickfish                      engagement based social media programs through contests

     19.  Dynamic Signal           provides a white-label platform for brands to run high-reach word of mouth marketing campaigns in collaboration with a trusted circle of brand advocates.

     20.  Moxie                            the most complete and intuitive social networking software for the enterprise for employee and customer engagement

     21.  Tongal a social content development platform that helps global businesses connect with global creativity

     22.  Expion                           a social software company with a centralized platform that empowers global brands, agencies, and retailers to localize and manage their social marketing efforts. 

These are more CRM systems, than Customer Experience Management, although CEM is typically a subset of the offering:

21.  Neolane                      provides the only conversational marketing technology that empowers organizations to build and sustain one-to-one lifetime dialogues
22.  IBM(via Unica or their EMM offering) enterprise marketing management software
23.  Aprimo                        delivers technology and insight that accelerates marketing productivity and the ability of marketing to document performance.
24.  Loopfuse                     a sales and marketing automation software
25.  eTrigue                          easy-to-use marketing automation, demand generation and sales acceleration Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications
26.  TreeHouse Interactrive  a leading SaaS provider of marketing automation and partner relationship management (PRM) software for companies that sell B2B, B2C or through partners.
27.  Act-on                         allows business users to integrate their customer relationship management efforts across a variety of popular tools in one easy-to-use interface.

Summary:  Idea Management Solutions are perfect for internal collaboration focused on innovation.  Compelling portals with easily administered security can be configured using existing internal idea management software solutions.  Specialized software exists designed to Challenge customers (and the public) to provide solicited feedback including ideas.  And these software products are perfect to communicate both brand messages and the message that your company embraces innovation.
About the Author

Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60 .  Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) . You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.

Republished by Permission from The Front End of Innovation Blog.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Idea Gathering: Worst Company in America

Not just hearing but translating innovations and insights is a huge part of the value of the Total Customer Experience Leaders; Our unique idea gathering wrap-ups between sessions facilitate alignment of customer strategy inspirations with business relevant actions and have been one of our most highly rated features in the past

Here on the blog, we'll be presenting weekly idea gathering wrap ups of some of our favorite customer experience strategy, design and alignment news and views.
Consumerist worst companies in America

Consumerist.com performs an annual ranking of the worstcompany in America with the winner (or really the loser) taking home the “golden poo” award.  Companies are sorted into a March-Madness like bracket where they go head to head with another company. Whichever company receives more votes  advances to the next round, just to clarify: getting votes is a bad thing.

Many names on the list are somewhat predictable: Comcast, Carnival, and Bank of America just to name a few. Others are a little more surprising such as Apple, who was voted worse then Microsoft in the first round.

So who was voted by consumers to be the worst company? For the second year in a row, EA took the crown. EA, the massive video game producer, is known for suffering flop after flop due largely to a business plan that tries to squeeze every penny out of their customers.  EA has a reputation for rushing out incomplete games and then charging their customers for downloadable content that customers feel should’ve been a part of the game in the first place.

Their recent highly anticipated game “Sim City” performed such miserable sales and reviews that it had to be temporarily removed from Amazon and now ranks as one of the worst rated products from the retail giant.  The game performed so poorly because they designed it to be “always on” meaning that the only way to play the game was online.  This move made little sense as none  of the previous Sim City games required this, and in fact there very few games at all require this. Many speculate this move was strictly for DRM or digital rights management and a way for EA to have complete control over the game

However Paul Tassi of Forbes magazines speculates about EA’s ranking saying,  “Is it deserved? No. If we’re being honest, it’s not.” Tassi believes this rating is just a snapshot of “how annoyed the internet is with a certain brand at the moment”.  Tassi could certainly be right, but that doesn’t mean EA or Bank of America, Comcast, and Ticketmaster who rounded out the final four, shouldn’t all take it to heart.

The entire ranking is an example of why customer experience and customer experience management is such a crucial factor to all businesses. Tassi is correct in pointing out that there are certainly worse companies in the world. Some might argue that the environmental damage energy companies create or the borderline inhumane practices at many large food companies are far worse then what EA has ever done. But provide customers with a poor experience and this is the way you are going to be received by consumers, and this is what’s going to happen to your brand.

Jeffrey Marino is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Business Administration, Management Information Systems, and Tech Innovations. He blogs at Fordham Nights and can be reached at JMarino@iirusa.com.