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Solving Customer Problems with Flexible Solutions

I recently flew from Heathrow to San Diego to attend Cisco Live. About an hour in and the cabin crew started serving dinner. It was a full flight and, unfortunately for me, I was seated right in the middle of the economy section. As the cabin crew converged on my row it became clear they didn’t have enough food.

“Not a problem”, I thought to myself, “maybe they’ll get me some of the nicer food from the front of the plane!”

Nearly 45 minutes later, as my fellow passengers finished their meals and settled into a movie, there was still no food. But perhaps more frustrating – no one from the crew had talked to me about what was happening. If this had been a restaurant, I’d have got up and left. But at 35,000 feet I had nowhere to go.*

Fast forward about 72 hours…

I’m in a session at Cisco Live about how Cisco Midsize Business Solutions can power growing businesses. Seth Corriveau from SickKids Foundation was talking about how critical communication is to his organization. The SickKids Foundation is a midsized organization doing great work raising funds for SickKids hospital in Toronto.  They had been having real problems with poor-quality audio and dropped telephone calls. This was an issue for donors who call in to donate their own hard-earned cash to support the treatment of very ill children. Complaints were escalated to senior VPs at the Foundation weekly. Read More »

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Cisco Collaboration at Tech on Deck

This week I had a great opportunity to participate in the first ever Tech on Deck with Robert Scoble and Scott Jordan.

Tech on Deck is being broadcast from SCOTTeVEST’s headquarters in Ketchum, Idaho, which happens to be a mile away from Sun Valley where the annual Allen & Co. Conference is taking place. This event boasts an impressive list of the who’s who in technology and media so Robert and Scott thought what better time to do a live broadcast exploring many different topics ranging from technology, to startups, to music and more. We provided the video collaboration and wireless network technology to help make Robert and Scott’s vision become reality.

During our discussion, we talked about what I am doing at Cisco, our vision for collaboration and dug deep into video and a hot new category called business messaging, Cisco Spark and our cloud platform. I am glad to have supported this inaugural event and check out the full interview here.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Congratulations to the entire Tech on Deck team for a successful event!

For more information, visit:

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“Seeing is Hearing” – Where Video Really Makes the Difference

I love hearing customers talk how they’ve conquered communications challenges using our technology. It’s exciting to be a key part of their journeys and successes. A recent conversation with such a customer affected me in a powerful and personal way that I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

It was late afternoon at a recent technology trade show. Booth traffic was lighter as attendees headed toward a reception to wrap up a long, information-packed day. I was mentally massaging my aching “trade-show” feet and thinking about a research-paper topic for the American Sign Language (ASL) class that my daughter and I are taking at our local community college. A customer strolled up to ask about our latest portfolio enhancements, and thus began our extraordinary conversation.

He shared how his organization comprises a group of companies that deliver network-based interpretation services for different types of clients. His team provides “in-person” ASL interpretation through a video-relay-service (VRS) using Cisco collaboration technologies.

The organization offers the service to registered deaf and hard of hearing clients across North America. It uses Cisco video conferencing solutions. Read More »

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Provide Service at Your Customer’s Convenience

107718_NW Infographic_04-27-15As consumers, we have many options in how we browse, research, and purchase products today.  We expect more freedom and flexibility in how we work with retail companies. Forward-looking companies strive to improve their customers’ experiences and provide flexibility without compromising quality.

However, some industries are considered conservative and rigid. Financial institutions are often seen this way. It’s ironic. Financial institutions brought us ATMs, online banking, bill payer, and generally made us more self-sufficient with our funds.

Unfortunately, areas such as mortgage lending remain high-touch and require a face-to-face meetings with customers. For banks, the challenge is that it doesn’t make sense to have an expert in every branch, which means mortgage experts typically travel among branches.  Customers may have access to a lending expert only once a week, or even every two weeks.  It’s difficult to do business that way.

Now, look at what Nationwide has accomplished in the area of mortgage lending.  Nationwide prides itself on customer service: It’s the world’s largest building society and services 1 of every 4 U.K. homes.  In order to grow and provide exceptional service to more households, Nationwide realized it would be better to
bring its mortgage experts to the customer.  They did this with video conferencing and the results have been spectacular.

Most impressive is the increase in customer satisfaction from meeting with consultants over video.  The experience and expertise remain the same, but providing experts at the customer’s convenience led to a significant improvement in ratings. And, additional business for Nationwide at lower cost.

I applaud Nationwide for not over-rotating on video.  They have successfully taken advantage of video to serve more members and bring home ownership to reality for those members on their terms.  They did this by continuing to provide “white glove” treatment to their members.

Upon arrival, customers are greeted by an employee who escorts them to the meeting room. The employee begins the video session, makes introductions, provides refreshments, and supports the process by managing documents, copies, signatures, and other branch-based tasks.

Video doesn’t replace the experience, it augments it.

There’s a saying that Read More »

Small Business – Make it Big with Positive Customer Experience

Last week, I had an opportunity to attend an event for small and medium-sized businesses. It was an amazing experience. The business leaders there shared a passion for their solutions and a desire to take their companies to the next level and “make it big”. In a technology-enabled world, the features and functionalities of a product or service typically do not provide a sustainable competitive advantage. It’s certainly possible to grow a company if planned well. So why do only a few small businesses succeed in “making it big”?  What differentiates companies and how do certain small companies become large enterprises?

The answer lies in understanding the end-customer behavior of such businesses. Typically, small companies expand based on their initial customers, who become their “brand ambassadors”. This is especially true with social media. Typical buying behavior no longer depends only on a supplier’s marketing activity. It’s largely driven by word-of-mouth from happy or unhappy customers.

Total Customer Experience                                                                  

Customers engage your business at multiple touchpoints – far more than ever before. And in the end, the total customer experiences across those touchpoints makes them happy or unhappy (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Connecting the customer journey

Figure 1 – Connecting the customer journey

The “Total Customer Experience” for a particular customer becomes Read More »

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