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Riding the 3 Waves Through the Holidays

As many of you know, the term “Black Friday” is commonly used to describe the Friday immediately after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday–the busy shopping day when many retailers begin to turn a profit for the year. Black Friday signals the start of the holiday shopping season, with its accompanying surge in the need for customer support. We can all think of examples of the latter: the frantic web searches to get our childrens’ gifts working properly, the calls to return a sweater that was the wrong size–sound familiar?

The holiday season is the acid-test of customer care in many industries. Businesses that fail the test will lose customers–often in droves–while those who delight their customers can surge ahead of the competition.

So how can businesses succeed–and excel–in providing world-class customer service even during this most challenging of seasons? The answer lies in properly leveraging the 3 Waves of Customer Care:  Cost, Relationship, and Experience. You can read about the details in this Read More »

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Evolving from Customer Service to Customer Collaboration

Like many people, I’ve raised my expectations of the products I use and the companies with which I do business, both personally and professionally. As my choices of vendors have expanded, so have the criteria by which I measure them.

At one point, the smallest price tag won the battle. I didn’t always get the best result, but I saved some money. I can get a whole lot more store-brand ice cream for my dollar, but it’s never as good as Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. Never.

Product quality, convenience, brand reputation, price, previous experience, are all in the mix. Increasingly, customer service is taking a greater role. I want to work with companies that want to work with me.

Collaboration technology gives you more avenues to interact with and serve your customers. Make it easy to be your customers. The efforts are worth it. In a new white paper, titled “Turning Customer Service into Customer Collaboration,” ZK Research says “the time is now for companies to use collaboration tools to evolve customer service.” Read More »

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Cisco Wins Big in CRM Magazine Awards

The March 2012 issue of Customer Relationship Management Magazine presents the editors’ annual Service Leader awards.  Building on our success in previous contests, Cisco customer care products received awards in two categories this year.

For the first time ever, Cisco claimed the top spot among Interactive Voice Response vendors, standing out in particular for our “company direction and depth of functionality” in IVR.  This award underscores Cisco’s continued success in this market, where we were recognized last summer as the world’s leading IVR vendor.

Cisco was also applauded by CRM Magazine as a “Leader” in Contact Center Infrastructure.  Noted industry analyst Paul Stockford commented that, “In the past couple of years, Cisco has rocketed past the competition with a sharp focus on the future of the contact center and the demonstrated ability to deliver on its vision.”

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“What If” Could Be Now: A New Retail Experience

Consider me a weekend warrior of the DIY home-improvement world. My projects are likely laughable (in scope and outcome) in the eyes of the professionals, but if that’s the case, they’re not invited to my next barbeque. So there.

Granted, I sometimes experience delusions of grandeur as I envision transforming my fixer-upper into a quaint Sunset magazine-worthy before/after feature. Norm Abram will never worry about me usurping his reputation, but I like fixing things when they break and looking at something I’ve improved and knowing I did it.

I can swing a hammer and even use a tile saw, but most projects involve a lot of learning and asking questions along the way. Sometimes that’s a bit of a process – finding the answers I need or the people who have them. Read More »

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2012 Predictions: These I Like

It took me awhile to go through all the random Top 10 of 2011 lists for various topics, so now I’m ready to look ahead to 2012’s preponderance of pundit predictions. Or maybe I’m just fashionably late. I’ve tripped over a few reports here and there – some quite possibly developed by caffeinated squirrels on a treadmill.

Not me, but she looks like she's predicting something...

On the technology front, I found one more interesting than others. Instead of putting a small group of experts in a room and not letting them out until they agree on a list, Baseline Magazine annually surveys business and technology managers at companies with 100+ employees to ask about their organizations’ investments, plans, and strategies. Across several hundred respondents, patterns evolve.

Whoever these people are, coming from the desk I use, I like the way they (and their companies) think. Following – their predictions and my two cents (maybe three or four).

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