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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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Track the Customer Journey with Cisco Context Service

I was on a weeklong business trip to London last month, and as I made my way to purchase a ticket for Heathrow Express train, I realized that I had left my corporate credit card at home. It was close to midnight in London, and Heathrow Express was the perfect option because I was going to stay at Hilton Paddington.

I reached the hotel rather quickly and, like always, thought to myself, “Why don’t we have something like Heathrow Express in New York?” At check-in, I offered my personal credit card and within seconds of the swipe, I received a text message from my bank:

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I responded in affirmative and received a confirmation. I was very impressed that my bank was looking after me. Read More »

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The Steely Dan Contact Center: When “Do It Again” Isn’t a Hit

In 1973, the group Steely Dan burst onto the music scene with two hits from their first album “Can’t Buy A Thrill.” Setting the standard for obscure lyrical references, a loyal following for the band endures even in 2015.

One of the hits, Do It Again raced up the charts as a pop-music rarity – a hit song in a minor key. Most Steely Dan fans have concluded that it’s about a gambler that must return to the tables. For a vintage rendition of the song, check out this link:

I had a recent experience that highlights just how much Do It Again resides in today’s contact centers. After being unable to locate the answer to my question on their web site, I engaged a long-time financial-service provider supplier for live help. Read More »

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Batman and the Customer Experience Center

The concept of the Customer Experience Center (CEC) is gaining attention in the customer care industry as the next logical step beyond the contact center.  Although a precise definition of the CEC is still under debate, a good starting point is to think of it as a set of technologies and business processes that deliver (hopefully superior) customer experience management, which Gartner defines as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

batman blog picIn the movie “Batman Begins“, Batman tells Rachel Dawes, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”  This statement offers an alternate way to think about the CEC–by considering what it does.  The emerging CEC encompasses Customer Collaboration by combining traditional contact center technology and processes with a range of collaboration technologies to empower businesses to forge deeper, more proactive relationships with their customers.  As such, the CEC moves beyond the traditional channels of interaction of the “contact center” to embrace new media and access methods desired by consumers, including video, mobile, and the social web.  Or the batphone.

The CEC has emerged because Read More »

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Customer Collaboration and the Internet of Everything

Those who read this blog regularly know that Customer Collaboration combines traditional contact center technology and processes with important innovations in social media, Web 2.0 agent workspaces, network-based recording and analytics, and video to empower businesses to forge deeper, proactive, more consistent relationships with their customers.  Three years ago, Cisco identified Customer Collaboration as a major market disruption, and our customers have benefitted from our leadership through this disruptive time.

More recently, Cisco identified another market disruption–the Internet of Everything (IoE)–which Cisco defines as the networked connection of people, processes, data, and things.  The true benefit of the IoE is derived from the compound impact of connecting all these elements–with a majority of the value derived by extending the connections of the IoE to people.

So what’s the relationship between Customer Collaboration and the IoE?  Simply put, Customer Collaboration connects the Internet of Everything to consumers.  Many of the touchpoints to the IoE run through businesses, and Customer Collaboration is what brings businesses and organizations closer to their customers–to us.  Let me provide some examples of how Customer Collaboration can connect consumers to the IoE:

Consider Amy, Read More »

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