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Predictions for Customer Care in 2013 and Beyond

In the past year, we’ve seen how social, mobile and video have presented new opportunities to deepen the way companies and customers interact for more efficient and intelligent customer care. As we begin 2013, I wanted to offer up a few predictions on how technology innovations will continue to help organizations build strong relationships and better consumer experiences in 2013 and beyond.

This year, mobile and video will come together to simplify customer service interactions– As video is becoming commonplace, we’re seeing companies look for ways to bring in the right customer service expert instantly. Cisco is currently trialing technology to connect consumers with video experts via mobile devices both in-store or on the road. By pulling intuitive information based on location and what detail the customer has recently looked at on the web or mobile device, this technology will route customers to the right expert to help them get the additional detail they need in a simpler and more efficient manner. Imagine, accessing a paint or decorating expert with just one click in the paint aisle at your neighborhood hardware store or even while you’re outside painting your house.

In the next few years, marketing and customer service responsibilities will merge – Consumers are talking about brands all over the web in places like Twitter and Facebook, sites which have over 500 million and one billion active users respectively. Traditionally, social media has been owned by marketing but with people asking service questions in new social channels, companies will need to merge some of these responsibilities between the call center and marketing. Read More »

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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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What Retailers should look for in 2012 – Happy Holidays

2011 is drawing to a close as I am writing this blog and Cisco is going on company holiday until after January3rd 2012. 

I will be taking time off myself to recharge after Christmas before heading off to National Retail Federation 2012 in New York. 

I thought I’d wrap up the year with what I think retailers will need to be looking at in 2012.

The Five Areas I think retailers need to pay attention to going forward are:

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HCS: Now bringing flexible customer collaboration to an SMB near you

I’m pleased to announce that customer collaboration solutions are becoming available in the cloud with the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution for Contact Center (HCS) in early 2012. These solutions are optimized for companies with 500-1,000 agents, with emphasis on scalability, simplicity, flexibility, and speed.

Scalability allows the technology to be deployed to a wide range of customers. Thus, powerful customer collaboration solutions can scale based on the specific size and makeup of the customer. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all contact center solutions; now if you’re a small to medium-sized business you can cater to your customers’ needs and concerns with the same tools as a large one, and at vastly accelerated speed.

Midsize businesses often do not have the resources to deal with complex IT systems, which is why simplicity is paramount. With the simplified management of a cloud-based contact center solution, SMB’s IT departments can focus their time on more urgent matters.

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Machine Builders in my Factory?

As you know there are many changes in manufacturing operations today. These certainly relate to Operations Excellence, Continuous Innovation, Energy Management, even the Supply Chain and Customer Service world. There are technology changes and personnel changes. There are Global impacts as manufacturing companies compete in new regions and those same new regions sprout new manufacturers. And at the end of the day (or maybe the beginning?) there is a need for someone to build a specialized machine.

We have already seen the power of a converged (technologically) network. Ethernet/IP helps the controls world provide information to the IT world. We see this every day, where older proprietary networks are replaced by standard Ethernet. Here are some thoughts as they relate to specialized machine builders:

So, we have this technology that can unify us, Ethernet. Who knew that years ago I sold against Ethernet? But that was a different version. Today is new, with managed switches, managed services, and tomorrow is your new today.

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