FEATURES

COVER STORY

Touchdown! Data-Driven Interaction Changes Sports Marketing Game
When Stanford University kicked off its first-ever Sports Innovation Conference, its focus was as much on how data was driving sports performance as it was on the use of data to drive greater fan connection. Indeed, for marketers in the high-stakes world of sports, the need for data insight in this industry is critical. - 10/28/2016

NEWS

News Briefs
Inbenta Provides Chatbot Plugin There has been a lot of action lately on artificial intelligence/chatbot front lately, as a slew of companies have introduced new solutions and features on this front. For example, Inbenta in July announced the availability of its Chatbot Development Platform for Facebook Messenger, Skype, and websites. It's a plugin that integrated with Inbenta's semantic search technology, and it enables a company to leverage its existing knowledge base to create the chatbot experience. - 10/27/2016

ACCOLADES

CUSTOMER Announces TMC Labs Innovation Award Winners
It's been an exciting year in the contact center and CRM spaces. Our 2016 TMC Labs Customer Awards are designed to highlight the leading companies in the industry and their recent innovations. - 10/27/2016

ACCOLADES

TMC Announces CUSTOMER Contact Center Technology Award Winners
The contact center space is a dynamic and fluid one, with companies buying and selling other suppliers, and everybody working to provide organizations with solutions that address our new impatient, mobile-centric, and omnichannel world. Here's a list of some of the companies that CUSTOMER magazine and TMC believes are doing it right. - 10/27/2016

ROUNDUP

Intraday Solutions
With intraday solutions, businesses can optimize their contact center personnel and other resources based on the specific conditions at a given time - such as higher call volume, imbalances across interaction channels, overstaffing, understaffing, or other factors. - 10/27/2016

CASE STUDY

How MyPillow Reduced Call Answer Times & Rewards Top Agents
That's why MyPillow recently sought out a better contact center and customer relationship management solution so it could shake things up at its business and realize better results from its TV advertisements. The company - which sells special pillows that adjust to any sleep position and body shape, have a cooling feature, and promote faster and longer REM sleep - ultimately landed on a solution from Davco Technologies Inc. and SkySwitch. - 10/27/2016

DELIVER

Intangible Concrete: Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins and Constitutional Standing
In Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the United States Supreme Court provided guidance on, but no definitive answer to, the question of whether a plaintiff who suffered no tangible harm has sufficient standing to maintain a federal cause of action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. - 10/27/2016

DELIVER

Customer Service is Evolving. Are You Keeping Up?
Some companies might view customer service as an afterthought. They might realize it's important to provide decent customer service at the bare minimum, as long as their products and prices remain competitive because success is ultimately determined by the bottom line. - 10/27/2016

DELIVER

Breakthrough Tech vs. Status Quo: Overcoming Indecision with Platform-based Solutions
The telecommunications industry never gets tired of launching what it considers breakthrough technology. This continued innovation is the cornerstone of technological evolution. However, the never-ending wave of new offerings has severely shortened the lifecycle of currently available solutions, including those in the contact center. - 10/27/2016

ENGAGE

Countdown to Corporate Extinction: Why the Customer is Key for Survival???
The age of Netflix, Uber, and Twitter has brought with it a new type of customer - an empowered, well-informed, and demanding individual who knows what excellent customer service looks like - and how to gain attention if they don't receive it. The emergence of this new customer means that organizations are no longer in charge.??? - 10/27/2016

ENGAGE

Improving the Customer Experience Through Open Source Analytics
For years, best practices in customer support centers meant arming representatives with historical data about the person on the other end of the phone, so they could propose the right solutions or offers. Now customers are far more likely to interact in real time over the web or social channels like Twitter and Facebook. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human. - 10/27/2016

TARGET

How Consumers Feel about Social Media Customer Service, CX
Social media has long been a hotbed of dissatisfied customers, and many businesses have built and trained a staff to respond to any issues. But according to a recent study, customers who actually want to resolve their problems are harder to find on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. Since 2013, they've been turning away from social media and focusing on more traditional channels. - 10/27/2016

ENGAGE

The Long Reach of Reviews
Customer experience is what drives business, and nowhere is that more clear - painfully or otherwise - than when evaluating the power of customer and peer reviews, and their impact on your brand. That trend will continue as customers themselves take control of the messaging through social media and online review platforms, and the drumbeat of industry statistics on CX reflects it. Companies must leverage the power of customer reviews while planning tomorrow's products and services too; in fact, firms ahead of the curve are planning to compete on experience, rather than price and product detail. - 10/27/2016

TARGET

Building Better Mobile Apps for Sales
A recent Gallup survey shows that nearly three-quarters of Americans check their mobile phones at least once an hour, with 90 percent of that mobile-phone time devoted to using apps. With more than 2.2 million apps available for download, what are the best developers doing to keep these habituated smartphone users engaged? - 10/27/2016

TARGET

How Paychex is Employing Voice of the Customer
Paychex is among the world's largest business process services providers. The company provides solutions and services related to accounting and finance, employee benefits, human resources, and payroll and taxes. Recently CUSTOMER had the opportunity to interview Kathy Clark, voice of customer manager at Paychex, about VoC and customer loyalty. Here's what she had to say. - 10/27/2016

CUSTOMER, TMC Name CRM Excellence Award Winners
Delivering a positive customer experience has become an important call to action for many organizations. Customer relationship management solutions can help businesses get there. Here are some of the solutions in the CRM space that deliver on that promise. We congratulate these companies, which CUSTOMER and its parent company, TMC, have named our 2016 CRM Excellence Award winners. - 08/31/2016

COVER STORY

How Virtual Reality is Changing the Buying Experience
Organizations that can engage customers and prospects, the thinking goes, get more than a one-time purchase from those customers. They can win customer loyalty - meaning additional business in the long term both from those individuals and, potentially, from their friends and family members as those customers spread the word. - 08/25/2016

Accolades

CUSTOMER, TMC Reveal Speech Technology Excellence Award Winners
CUSTOMER magazine and its parent company, TMC, are happy to announce the winners of our annual Speech Technology Excellence awards. These awards recognize companies that offer innovative and cost-saving solutions for their clients. - 08/25/2016

ROUNDUP

Compliance Solutions
This month's Roundup features companies and products that address compliance related to the contact center. - 08/25/2016

DELIVER

How to Make the Build, Buy, or Outsource Decision
It's been said that the secret to company growth is customer service. Just look at the success of global companies such as Nordstrom and Amazon. - 08/25/2016

DELIVER

Partner Duo to Help Service Providers Deliver Contact Center Solutions
Communications services providers today are challenged with finding new revenue sources. Much of this discussion centers on tier 1 CSPs, but more medium-sized and small service providers are in the same boat. One new revenue source they may not have seriously considered is delivering contact center capabilities. But some of the CSPs that have already moved forward with cloud-based contact center solutions recommend taking the plunge. And three of them spoke recently about how Metaswitch and Telax have helped them do that. - 08/25/2016

ENGAGE

Jetlore Helps Companies Make Closer Connections with Customers
Amazon and Google today dominate transactional commerce, which makes it difficult for any other brand to succeed in this realm, says Jetlore's Vice President of Market Dan Buckstaff. That's why Jetlore, a startup founded in 2011, has turned its attentions to relationship commerce, he says. - 08/25/2016

ENGAGE

How to Reach High-Growth Customers with In-Depth Big Data
If marketers are not focused on finding consumer segments that offer the highest growth, they are doing something wrong. These segments offer not only the chance to increase profits, but also the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with customers whose value is rapidly increasing. Truth be told, it can be hard to find these fast-growing segments. What do you look for? How do you know that they are the right group? Are they worth the investment? - 08/25/2016

TARGET

How to Design Retail Experiences for the New Shopper Brain
Retail today is in flux. By 2017, Amazon will overtake Macy's as the largest clothing retailer in the U.S. Sears is sinking a half a billion dollars into its click and collect model to bring shoppers back to the store. It seems every day another traditional retailer declares bankruptcy. Brick and mortar is dying a not-so-slow death. Right? - 08/25/2016

CEO SPOTLIGHT

Calabrio CEO Emphasizes the Importance of Work & Play
CUSTOMER magazine has been reporting about workforce optimization company Calabrio for some time now, but we wanted to find out more about the company's leader, Tom Goodmanson. Below is an excerpt of our recent conversation with him, during which he opened up about his youth, shared his early work experiences, and reflected on his time at Calabrio. - 08/25/2016

ENGAGE

Putting Gamification into Play in the Contact Center
Contact center operations and gamification were meant for each other. Few other business environments bring so many people together to perform similar routines for a common set of business objectives with a similar set of pressures. Employee attendance, morale, disengagement, turnover, and overall performance are unique challenges for contact centers, in which wages and employee skill levels are often low (in many cases, due to very high turnover), and the work itself can be stressful and monotonous. - 08/22/2016

Real-Time Web Solutions Supplement

Creating a Great User Experience in the Real-Time Web
Indeed, technology can be changed. The user experience rapidly gains adherents as well as haters. How often is a company like Facebook or LinkedIn castigated when it changes an existing user experience, even if the new experience is much better? - 08/10/2016

Real-Time Web Solutions Supplement

The Internet Is Today's Real-Time Network
Today, nearly 3.4 billion people, 46 percent of the world's population, are connected to the internet, according to InternetStats, and enterprises of all sizes rely increasingly on the internet, as well as on their private IP networks, for every moment of their business activity. Interestingly, according to Ericsson's latest Mobility Report, there are also 3.4 billion smartphones in the world; that will grow to 6.4 billion over the next six years. - 08/10/2016

Real-Time Web Solutions Supplement

How Real-Time Communications Can Be Transformative for Business
Indeed, CRM giant Salesforce recently introduced Service Cloud Lightning Snap-ins to help companies provide connected, personalized service across any device. As a result, organizations can quickly deploy a contextual, modern service experience by just snapping in capabilities such as live chat and tap-to-call to their mobile and web apps. Additionally, the Salesforce SOS Snap-in now has two-way video chat, empowering agents to quickly see and resolve customer issues. - 08/10/2016

Real-Time Web Solutions Supplement

Communications Innovation: A Real-Time Balancing Act
Essentially, the RTC paradigm should be focused around getting the business to work faster, more efficiently, and less expensively - all while keeping the needs of the user firmly in mind. - 08/10/2016

Real-Time Web Solutions Supplement

Business Goals for the Real-Time Web
In talking with a range of website and mobile application owners, I often hear that real time is not part of their offer. This is often true even if they have a chat agent on their site. Part of the reason is that, today, much of human interaction is still in a call center, running on 100-year-old telephony solutions. In fact, even more websites see real time as something they do not need. - 08/10/2016

Real-Time Web Solutions Supplement

Introducing Real-Time Web Solutions
The challenge with real time is that it is not a simple area. There are challenges from inception through implementation, delivery, and operations. And a successful real-time integration needs to operate virtually flawlessly. So assuring that your solution is both well engineered and deployed is critical. - 08/10/2016

ROUNDUP

Surveys/Voice of the Customer
Customer experience has become an oft-repeated phrase in business in the past few years. One obvious way businesses can get a better handle on the customer experience they deliver is by asking customers for their feedback via surveys or employing other voice of the customer efforts. - 07/28/2016

DELIVER

Thrive in the Self-Service Era with Search
According to Forrester Research, 72 percent of U.S. online consumers would rather use a company's website to answer their questions than contact them via telephone or email. People of all ages (not just impatient millennials) want their answers fast - within four hours - and they want to solve their problems in one interaction without talking to another person. - 07/28/2016

DELIVER

How Understanding Regional Nuances Can Give Your Business an Edge
Customers from around the U.S. no doubt share common traits and preferences, including a universal interest in saving money when they shop. But an Excentus survey of 1,016 U.S. consumers about their loyalty program preferences and activities identifies unique regional differences that can help marketers, brand managers, customer service reps, and loyalty program professionals better target and communicate with their customers based on geography. - 07/28/2016

ENGAGE

Putting Gamification into Play in the Contact Center
Contact center operations and gamification were meant for each other. Few other business environments bring so many people together to perform similar routines for a common set of business objectives with a similar set of pressures. Employee attendance, morale, disengagement, turnover, and overall performance are unique challenges for contact centers, in which wages and employee skill levels are often low (in many cases, due to very high turnover), and the work itself can be stressful and monotonous. - 07/28/2016

Cover Story

Facebook's Plan to Take Over the World - Next Stop: Customer Service
For businesses, this means more options to reach out to their customers and prospects where they are - on Facebook (and on their mobile phones on Facebook). For those in customer service, meanwhile, the recent Facebook Platform announcement and some of the company's other recent news in this realm are a call to action. - 07/28/2016

ENGAGE

How Personal is Personalized Marketing?
Studies show that marketers who deploy marketing automation campaigns are finding it much more challenging to garner customer engagement. Email drip campaign statistics alone are scary. Of the 75 emails that hit the average person's inbox each day, more than 50 percent are promotional. In fact, the majority of those communications do not elicit any type of response at all. - 07/28/2016

TARGET

IOVOX Insights Delivers Google Analytics-Like Experience for Phone Calls
Phone calling traffic is going through the roof, but because over-the-top apps make phone calls free, telcos haven't benefitted from this growth, says IOVOX CEO and Co-founder Ryan Gallagher. His company aims to change that with the introduction of IOVOX Insights. - 07/28/2016

TARGET

Designing Winning Customer Experience in an Omnichannel World
The entire marketing world is talking about omnichannel, and for good reason. Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement, according to Aberdeen Group. - 07/28/2016

Executive Spotlight

Verint GM Talks About the Value of Engagement, Innovation & Teamwork
Verint is a recognized leader in the enterprise and security intelligence markets. Its solutions are used by more than 10,000 organizations around the globe, including more than 80 percent of the Fortune 100. - 07/28/2016

DELIVER

Ditch the Performance Review: Employee Assessments are No Longer the Sole Purview of HR
That's the beauty of the data-driven approach: It is fair, it is efficient, and it yields concrete results. It can be put to work in nearly every industry. It supports a range of proven methods that promote a dynamic team culture of continuous performance improvement. And the side benefit? You're unlikely to hear your organization's performance management system compared to dental surgery. - 07/08/2016

ROUNDUP

Call Recording
There are a wide variety of applications for call recording. It can be used for compliance, to capture agent conversations with customers in the call center and used later for coaching, to better understand customers, and to help people in all parts of a business to remember what was shared in conversations and meetings. Here's a quick rundown of what some of the companies that offer recording solutions and features are providing on this front. - 06/17/2016

DELIVER

The Human Touch: Why Artificial Intelligence Can't Replace the Customer Service Agent
Artificial intelligence has existed in some form for more than 20 years. But only recently has it taken on a more futuristic form, similar to what we tend to picture based on what we see in movies. As machines and robots become more intelligent, people are beginning to wonder if AI will take over certain jobs. - 06/17/2016

DELIVER

Making the Most of Digital-First Government Engagement: How to Go Beyond Critical Mass Adoption & Gain Real ROI
The past year was pivotal for digital customer engagement as government agencies exploited the power of the web to support channel-shifting services. However, most are not fully realizing the economic benefits of their digital strategies, as the focus has been on making content and services available online vs. finding actionable and innovative ways for citizens to engage digitally. - 06/17/2016

DELIVER

Workato Brings Enterprise Apps Together
Workato for the past two years has been offering a cloud automation service that bridges various enterprise applications. It enables different enterprise applications to sync data and prevents users from having to jump from one application to another to do their work. - 06/17/2016

ENGAGE

How to Resolve Complaints for Competitive Advantage
As e-commerce thrives and social media interaction has become the norm, businesses have been forced to dramatically change the way they interact with customers. The demand for speed, transparency, and convenience has never been more apparent, and companies have to deal with a higher level of customer complaints, making it an unavoidable part of business. - 06/17/2016

TARGET

How to Avoid Social Spamming
The inside sales profession is undergoing a massive shift. Once based largely upon cold calls and email, inside selling today is largely digital, and social networking has been a great enabler. Today's inside sales rep has unrestricted access to both the Internet and professional social media networks liked LinkedIn. This has made it easier than ever to find targeted prospects and reach out. The danger lies in reaching out too much. - 06/17/2016

ON THE COVER

How to Get Users for Your Mobile App
If you're like the most of us, the first thing that you do when you wake up is reach for your phone. Then you browse your phone for a bit again before going to sleep. That's not to mention that you rely on our phone throughout the day for everything from work, to organizing your social life, to navigating where you want to go. - 05/23/2016

ROUNDUP

Workforce Optimization
The workforce optimization market is a mature one for which organic growth is "sluggish," according to the 2015 Workforce Optimization Mid-Year Market Share Report from DMG Consulting LLC. - 05/23/2016

DELIVER

Four Steps to Improve Data Quality in the Call Center
New information flows constantly into the call center, feeding master data systems that run all sorts of business operations, call center modeling and analysis. The call center itself may even generate more data than any other corporate function, creating valuable information assets for the company. Yet according to industry analyst Gartner, the surprising truth is that at least 25 percent of an average company's data is likely inaccurate. This high level of bad data comes at a significant cost, resulting in increased call handling times, undeliverable shipments, low customer retention, and inefficient CRM initiatives. And the longer poor contact data remains in the system, the more difficult - and expensive - it is to correct. - 05/23/2016

DELIVER

Why Your Company Might Want to Consider Building a Knowledgebase
Self-service technology - whether in store or online - is a value-add today's connected customer has come to expect. With competition plentiful and differentiation difficult, one bad customer experience can be the difference between a loyal customer - that keeps spending with your brand - and a dissatisfied customer that takes his or her business elsewhere and never comes back. - 05/23/2016

ENGAGE

Turning on the Trust Filter: How the Internet Has Changed the Role of Influencers in the Buying Process
It is well recognized that consumer buying behavior has gone through a significant change over the past decade, mostly due to the availability of information and the ease of connecting to peers. We have all become hyper-connected, and the result is a new found freedom to control decision making, particularly in what, when, and from whom we purchase stuff. That's true in the business-to-consumer space, but does this change in individual behavior also impact business-to-business buying behavior? - 05/23/2016

ENGAGE

Strategic Marketing Automation: Not Just Wielding a Hammer, but Building a House
In the past, marketing has often been viewed as a series of unrelated or disjointed tasks. The focus was on the tasks: website done, product collateral created, trade shows scheduled, SEO goals achieved, pay-per-click programs in place. - 05/23/2016

TARGET

Getting Up to Speed with CPQ
Customers have changed a lot over the last 20 years. If you're a customer you can likely recognize that in your own life. Your expectations of the buying process have changed, and the companies you buy from are the ones that have adjusted to those changes most effectively. - 05/23/2016

TARGET

Enterprise Virtual Assistants: Bringing the Self-Service Experience to Contact Center Agents
Many of us have grown accustomed to, if not become reliant on, virtual assistants such as Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. They've redefined interactions in our daily lives, providing guidance and assistance, streamlining everyday activities, and even anticipating needed actions. While there is no shortage of ways to use them in our personal lives, have we made the best use of virtual assistants in our businesses? If they can draft and send an email to your mother, can't they draft and send one to your manager? If they can tell you where the closest French Market is, couldn't they also tell you what is going on in the stock market? - 05/23/2016

On the Cover

Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
Eighty percent of companies say they deliver outstanding customer service, but only eight percent of their customers agree. - 03/31/2016

Deliver

The Four Ps of Sales Acceleration
A lot has been written about best practices for effective lead follow-up and engagement. But if your company isn't doing it well - for example, if your emails aren't getting delivered or read - how would you ever know? - 03/31/2016

Engage

7 Predictions for the Future of Customer Engagement
The smart technology that revolutionized our cell phones is finding its way into just about everything: medical devices, baby monitors, smoke detectors, thermostats, running shoes, even cows. Yes, cows. - 03/31/2016

Target

The Role of Content in Marketing Automation
Product marketing content is all about your products and services. It is exactly the kind of stuff that you need to provide if your prospects already understand their own problem and that you use to offer a potential solution. - 03/31/2016

Text Analytics

New Predictive Analytics Tool Gives Better Insight to Spoken Word
Trying to derive meaning from a spoken word conversation can be difficult. - 03/31/2016

Roundup

CRM & Sales Acceleration
Here's a roundup of what some of the companies in the CRM and sales acceleration product categories offer. - 03/31/2016

Editorial Series

Communicator and Chief: How InfoCision is Assisting in Dr. Carson's Presidential Campaign
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a relative unknown outside of conservative circles until recently, last year moved into the spotlight in a big way. - 03/31/2016

On the Cover

With Automation, Scalability, Security, and Usability, Everybody Benefits
As companies around the world allocate budgets for the year ahead, a staggering 30 percent are planning to increase their spend on benefits technology. As a result, HR departments are combing through solutions to find the platform that best meets the needs of their organizations. They may find, however, some pushback from their counterparts in IT. While HR weighs the value of flexible benefits packages and intuitive interfaces as vital, IT will be clamoring if the software doesn't easily integrate into existing virtual foundations. So how do you reconcile the wants and needs of these different yet equally important departments? - 01/21/2016

On The Cover

HCM Shifts to an Employee-First Stance
It's said that happy employees make for happy customers. If that's true, new human capital management solutions should be a boon for businesses, especially as more people from the Millenial and younger generations - who tend to be very comfortable with technology and using self-service platforms - join the workforce. - 01/21/2016

Target

How CRM Solutions Are Expanding to Address Customer Journey & Personalization
Customer relationship management is a $23 billion-plus business, and has enabled Salesforce.com to become a software giant, generating sales of around $4.3 billion and growing at 20 percent. But despite all that, there's still much debate about what CRM actually is, and what it will become. - 01/21/2016

Engage

WebRTC - It's Everywhere, and Not Visible at All
The reality of WebRTC is that its success will, to a great degree, be totally hidden. Much as the browser hides HTML and the associated technology; while they are incredibly valuable, they are just part of the framework to most users. In the end, the webification of communications will result in the technology being hidden, resulting in an explosion of use. - 01/21/2016

Deliver

Marketing Automation: What It Is, and What It Is Not
As often happens with new technologies, marketing automation/technology has become the latest buzzword within the marketing space. Products that were once sold under such names as email marketing, content curation, list management, inbound marketing platforms, and outbound marketing platforms are all being sold as marketing automation. According to chiefmartec.com, the marketing technology landscape for 2015 included 1,876 vendors represented across 43 categories. That is almost twice the number of vendors that the landscape included in 2014. - 01/21/2016

Roundup

Marketing Automation
As Gartner noted in a new study released in November, digital marketing has become mainstream, blurring the lines between traditional and online marketing efforts, and making it increasingly difficult to discern between marketing and sales. That makes things more complicated in some ways, but it also has resulted in rising marketing budgets, and the expansion of marketing's responsibilities, Gartner says. - 01/21/2016

Roundup

CRM, Sales Acceleration & All That Kind of Thing
Is CRM done for or is it a multibillion-dollar business that continues to grow and expand? It depends upon with whom you're talking to. - 12/29/2015

Cover Story

How the Economy Will Impact the 2015 Holiday Shopping Season
Will the recent volatility in the stock market and the unpredictable state of the U.S. economy mean a subpar holiday shopping season for retailers this year? Spoiler alert: Most likely not. While the global economy as a whole is on a rocky path, U.S. consumers are emerging as a pillar of stability even while other sectors show signs of softness. - 12/29/2015

Q&A

Where Call Center Outsourcing Is, and Where It's Heading
The call center outsourcing industry is rapidly changing. Technology and locations are always evolving, which means that it can be hard to keep up with the right information. This interview with Corey Kotlarz, president of Outsource Consultants, explains some of the latest trends in call center technologies, the current most popular locations for outsourcing, and where the call center outsourcing hot spots will be in the near future. - 12/29/2015

Deliver

How to Maximize the ROI of Video in Digital Marketing
The use of video both as a marketing and entertainment tool has been rapidly increasing over the last few years. With the rise of YouTube stars, Vine celebrities, and Instagram video, it's clear that consumers are craving more and more interactive content. Even the sometimes slow-moving Facebook is making strides to become more of a video platform. As consumer engagement with video and rich media increases, brands are seeing an opportunity to jump on the trend and showcase their brand story, products, and personas in an entirely new way. - 12/29/2015

Deliver

Have a Cookie
Verizon's acquisition of AOL has yielded a blending of its mobile and online analytics capability to the point where it has enabled cookies for advertising customers on both platforms. Some people are calling it a Zombie Cookie because it stays aware of your activities at all times. Others have referred to it as a Super Cookie. Let's see where we end up. - 12/29/2015

Engage

Putting Together the Pieces of Personalization
With more than 2.8 billion Internet and 5.3 billion mobile users across the globe, effectively engaging with customers on a personal level is a huge challenge for businesses of all kinds. With hundreds of marketing messages all vying for attention from the same audience, marketing executives are constantly asking themselves how to create meaningful relationships in an increasingly dynamic digital community. - 12/29/2015

Target

Personalization Via CRM: The Right Prescription for Pharma's Move to More Individualized Treatments
Since the mapping of the human genome more than a decade ago, pharmaceutical companies have been working on innovative ways to apply genomics to drug development. A classic example of success is the blood thinner Warfarin. Patients vary widely in their required Warfarin dose, and in the past this meant that initial doses for some patients were too high or too low, which led to negative sideeffects. However, by reading individual genetic markers, physicians can now accurately determine the best starting dose for each patient, potentially saving lives. - 12/29/2015

Connecting with a Digital Strategy
Connecting the dots from the idea of adding digital engagement channels to the reality of delivering a true omnichannel experience can be complicated. But by closely examining customer needs, business impacts and priorities, the value of existing platforms, and an intuitive backend solution, a business can map out a simple path to a successful implementation. - 12/17/2015

ACCOLADES

CUSTOMER, TMC Reveal 2015 CUSTOMER Experience Excellence Award Winners
Customer experience remained in the spotlight in 2015, and a bevy of solutions suppliers on this front advanced and expanded their solutions in this realm. Here's a sampling of some of the best and brightest, which CUSTOMER magazine and its parent company TMC have recognized with 2015 CUSTOMER Experience Excellence Awards. - 12/14/2015

DELIVER

Survival of the Fittest: How to Help Your Apps Survive in the Wild
In many ways, when companies release customer-facing applications it's like releasing a gazelle bred in captivity into the wild Serengeti. You prepare the animal as best you can and eventually take a leap of faith and let it go - and hopefully it isn't immediately devoured by lions. However, even if it is, as long as you have the right data and insights at least you can learn valuable lessons and better prepare the next one to survive. - 12/14/2015

ENGAGE

Mexia Helps More Efficiently Engage with and Direct People and Resources
Large numbers of people pass through airports and malls around the world each day, and the organizations that manage and exist within these locations want to know where these individuals are when - both to allow for better flow-through and to create new revenue-generation possibilities. Mexia Interactive is helping make that happen via its sensors and location analytics services. - 12/14/2015

ROUNDUP

Call Recording
Advances in technology are making it possible to more easily capture and leverage voice interactions to meet regulatory requirements, and to get a better understanding of our employees, our customers, and our businesses. - 12/14/2015

DELIVER

How to Finance a Call Center
Financing a call center in growth mode is a tricky business. That's because when your call center is growing, you focus on all aspects of the business: making payroll, building out space, investing in people and new technologies, and training staff. There's a lot going on, all at the same time, and all of these efforts have costs associated with them. - 12/14/2015

ENGAGE

Three Marketing Benefits of Centralized Customer Data & Hybrid Email Marketing
How much insight do you have into the entire customer journey, from first touch to ongoing communication with loyal customers? Today's consumers expect personalized, relevant, and immediate messaging, which means that marketers need direct access to the freshest data from all touch points to create seamless integration. However, silos of customer data stored by various solutions have made it difficult for marketers to have a unified view of their customers. - 12/14/2015

CEO Spotlight

ZOOM's Vostry: Attitude Is Everything
Simon Vostry, the founder and CEO of ZOOM International, is a man who never gives up. He got his hands on his first computer as a kid and has been working diligently in software ever since. In the interview that follows, Vostry talks about his formative years, his approach to management, why he doesn't like the term workforce optimization, how ZOOM provides customers with actionable insight, and his thoughts on what's next for the company and the customer experience space at large. - 12/14/2015

TARGET

How to Implement a Digital Strategy
It's been said that we're in the age of the customer - what Forrester Research defines as a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. According to that same report, companies recognize this, with 92 percent of those surveyed citing customer experience as a top strategic priority. We can see from the evolution of how business is completed that the need to improve the customer experience is driving investment in contextualization, real-time actionable data and an omnichannel experience. - 12/14/2015

Editorial Series

Gamification Can Help Employees Find New Meaning in Work And Can Drive Productivity in the Process
Finding meaning in life and interacting with others are two keys to a happy and healthy existence both at home and at work. This is a message best-selling author and speaker Shawn Achor communicated in a recent HBO State of Play program. It would also seem to apply to the use of gamification to better engage employees and, in the process, improve workplace productivity. - 12/14/2015

Strategic Solution Series

How to Achieve Fewer Assisted Contacts and Improve Customer Satisfaction
CUSTOMER magazine recently spoke with Mark Miller, contact center practice leader for J.D. Power, a leading market research company. We asked Mark to offer guidance to executives who are challenged to deliver both high customer satisfaction and high containment rates. - 12/14/2015

Cover Story

Why You Can't Automate Customer Experience
It's also just as easy to pick up the phone, call someone and have a conversation to let them know you care and are invested in the relationship. By doing so, you're creating a customer experience that's unique, less automated, and more impactful. Automation can make individual interactions more efficient, but only human-to-human interactions strengthen the ongoing customer relationship. - 12/14/2015

How to Immediately Improve Customer Satisfaction and Save Money
CUSTOMER Magazine recently spoke with Mark Miller, contact center practice leader for J.D. Power, a leading market research company with data from more than 1,200 companies around the customer's experience with their contact centers. We asked Mark to talk with us about some keys to utilizing customer-based research to drive performance improvement. - 10/26/2015

Cover Story

Beacons Move Back into the Spotlight
Google's Eddystone has refueled interest in the technology. - 10/26/2015

Deliver

In-App Messaging Meets Customers Where They Are
In one of the latest examples of meeting customers where they are, Sparkcentral last month announced its In-App Messaging solution, which enables end users to access - and brands to provide - customer service via secure messaging via smartphone apps. - 10/26/2015

Deliver

Why Consumer Demand for Connected Home Products is on the Decline And What We Can Do About It
Amazon's Dash Button, Domino's emoji pizza ordering, and the widely lauded Nest home thermostat have the potential of making life easier for us. But some of the connected things in our homes seem to be having the opposite effect. - 10/26/2015

Deliver

Amazon's Dash Button Removes the Friction of Online Ordering
Amazon's Dash Button is a small, consumer product-branded thing about the size of two thumb drives that lets consumers easily reorder from Amazon popular items such as Clorox wipes, Cottonelle toilet tissue, Kraft macaroni and cheese, Gatorade, Gerber baby formula, and Tide laundry detergent. Just touch the Wi-Fi-connected Dash Button, and the product-specific order is placed; the goods arrive on your doorstep the following day - 10/26/2015

Engage

Amex's Plenti Could Help Popularize Coalition Rewards Programs in the U.S.
The more the merrier. Then again, too many cooks spoil the broth. - 10/26/2015

Engage

Three Simple Ways to Prevent Abandoned Carts
Research suggests that only 3 percent of online shoppers actually complete a purchase. What can a concerned online shopkeeper do to secure those sales? - 10/26/2015

Target

Lightning Strikes at Salesforce
CRM Giant Retools UI, Enables Responsive Design - 10/26/2015

Target

Salesforce Unveils Service Cloud Lightning Console, Service Wave Analytics App
Salesforce in September unveiled two news offerings for the contact center - the Service Cloud Lightning Console, and the Service Wave Analytics App, both of which will be generally available by the end of the year. - 10/26/2015

Target

CRM Giant Addresses the Internet of Things with Thunder IoT Cloud
Salesforce in September at Dreamforce also unveiled an Internet of Things solution called Thunder IoT Cloud. - 10/26/2015

Strategic Solutions Series

Four Key Points for Putting Customers First
How do you move from good intentions and partial solutions to the kind of company-wide customer experience foundation that produces meaningful results? It's an enormously complex question, but there are a few high-level principles and ideas that will help guide and inform your journey toward a more customer-centric business model. - 10/26/2015

DELIVER

Modernizing the Role of Contact Center Workers Through the Use of Virtual Agents
According to the 2013 Global Contact Center Survey by Deloitte, 62 percent of organizations said they view customer experience provided through the contact center as a competitive differentiator. Many understand that exceptional service breeds brand loyalty, which helps to ensure future purchases or patronage. At the front line of this battle is the customer service agent. - 09/09/2015

DELIVER

Data-Driven Marketing: Why Data Management Platforms Have Not Reached Their Full Potential
The constant evolution of digital devices, content, and channels is adding unprecedented complexity to the customer journey for marketers. Getting the right content to individual consumers on their laptops and smart devices at the right time has never been more critical to engage them in meaningful and lasting ways. This is why data management platforms have become key for marketing success. DMPs help marketers control and harness the increasing influx of data to keep pace with the non-stop digital customer and ensure messages stay relevant to consumers' daily lives. - 08/31/2015

ACCOLADES

CUSTOMER TMC Labs Innovation Awards: Here Are Some of the Latest and Greatest Solutions in the Customer Experience Arena
We have a diverse group of winners this year. Drishti-Soft wowed us with tech innovations, the RightAnswers Knowledge Hub supports seamless video, HP Qfiniti 10 boosted browser support and analytics, NICE Systems is making contact centers more efficient, SAP is really bringing it in the war on Salesforce, Five9 is taking design cues from Facebook, and there's so much more that's interesting here. This is perhaps one of the most diverse groups of winners we have had, and we especially were interested in the new category created by Cyara. Read to the end to learn more. - 08/31/2015

DELIVER

How to Get Your Head Around Data-Driven Marketing
Earlier this year, the 2015 edition of the Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic was released. At that time there were 1,876 marketing technology vendors represented across 43 categories. That means there is a lot of choice, but also a lot of confusion. What do you need? Do you need any of it? - 08/31/2015

DELIVER

Modernizing the Role of Contact Center Workers Through the Use of Virtual Agents
According to the 2013 Global Contact Center Survey by Deloitte, 62 percent of organizations said they view customer experience provided through the contact center as a competitive differentiator. Many understand that exceptional service breeds brand loyalty, which helps to ensure future purchases or patronage. At the front line of this battle is the customer service agent. - 08/31/2015

ENGAGE

Don't Leave New Opportunities on the Table: Machine Learning Lets You Branch Out with More Personalization
Data volumes are booming, right alongside customers' soaring expectations for more personalized engagement across your entire organization. You want to improve how you convert, segment, and continually delight customers, but how and where do you start? - 08/31/2015

TARGET

WebRTC Update: NY Times Creates Privacy Hubbub
Just in case you missed all of the commotion this summer, WebRTC was placed right at the center of an interesting privacy problem as a result of its use by the venerable New York Times on its Nytimes.com website to track the private IP address of visitors. While NYT apparently is not using the information gathered for nefarious purposes, unless you consider building better visitor profiles for marketing reasons nefarious, there are two obvious problems here. - 08/31/2015

ENGAGE

Why You Need More in Your Toolbox Than Cart Abandonment Emails
Of all the tools marketers use to rescue ecommerce sales, cart abandonment, emails have become the proverbial hammer. Study after study suggests that cart abandonment emails work, so marketers quickly implement these emails to remind shoppers about what they almost purchased. However, marketers that rely strictly on cart abandonment emails are ignoring many other digital behaviors, and thereby leaving money on the table. - 08/31/2015

TARGET

A Vote in D.C. is Stifling to Contact Centers
A party-line vote by the Federal Communications Commission in June means everything to contact centers and the employees who rely on them for jobs. The decision is exactly as the FCC's very own commissioner described it: a "farce," and rooted in one of the worst documents ever seen by industry professionals. - 08/31/2015

EDITORIAL SERIES

InfoCision Chief of Staff Talks About 'Taking Your Customer Care to the Next Level'
Nadji Tehrani, founder of Technology Marketing Corp., the parent company of CUSTOMER magazine, and Steve Brubaker, chief of staff at InfoCision, recently set out to publish a book. That effort resulted in the tome "Taking Your Customer CareTM to the Next Level". CUSTOMER spoke with Brubaker to learn more about how the book - and the relationship between its authors - came about, and what readers can learn from it. - 08/31/2015

Cover Story

Opening the Next Chapter on Customer Care: New Book Explores How to Elevate CX
Companies spend big money and significant resources to acquire new customers while they tend to give little thought about how to hold onto clients who are heading for the exits. That's a mistake. - 08/31/2015

ACCOLADES

TMC Announces 2015 CUSTOMER Contact Center Technology Award Winners
This year's CUSTOMER Contact Center Technology Award winners include a wide array of players and solutions, which address such varied solutions as analytics, coaching, recording, workforce optimization, and much more. - 08/17/2015

DELIVER

Train Your Reps Better with These Tips
You've hired a killer team of customer support professionals. Now what? If you don't take the right next steps, your support team will be a cost center - but it should actually be a profit center. - 08/17/2015

ENGAGE

Hung Up on Opt-Outs? Time to Opt In to a New Mobile Messaging Mindset
Here's a piece of advice for marketers who are either new to the mobile environment or eager to boost the engagement levels and success of their existing mobile marketing campaigns: Pay more attention to your customers who have already opted in, and worry less about those who might opt out. - 08/17/2015

TARGET

After Its Initial Crash Landing, Autopilot Floats New Solution
Despite the explosion of marketing automation tools, 61 percent of U.S. marketers still use basic solutions like ConstantContact and MailChimp to send emails to customers. HubSpot, Marketo and Salesforce marketing automation solutions only have 4 percent adoption in the U.S. And many companies are afraid to try more advanced tools, which tend to be expensive and for which it can be difficult to get C-level buy-in. - 08/17/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES

Callback with Lower Risk, Faster Implementation: Virtual Hold Technology Delivers Cloud-Based Solution
Callback - or the ability to offer customers the option of receiving a call back at a later time rather than waiting on hold - can benefit organizations and their customers in a variety of ways. And now businesses can enjoy the goodness of callback with less upfront investment and expedited implementation. - 08/17/2015

DELIVER

How Workforce Optimization Can Revitalize Beleaguered Contact Centers
Labor costs are on the rise in the United States and abroad. As recently reported by Reuters, the Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs for the United States, edged up 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, following steady nudges upward in the third and fourth quarters of 2014. Not only do these projections suggest a continued across-the-board rise, but also adding fuel to the fire, Congressional debates are drawing the country closer to a rise in the minimum wage. - 08/17/2015

ENGAGE

Mastering the Science of Sales: Defining Your Level of Sales Maturity
As organizations work to improve both top and bottom lines, shifts in buyer behavior continue to challenge organizations to increase productivity and effectiveness to meet revenue goals. - 08/17/2015

TARGET

MobileE2E Addresses Mobile Workforce with Apptrify
There's a new player on the mobile workforce automation front. The company is called MobileE2E and its solution is Apptrify. - 08/17/2015

Roundup

Human Capital Management
The product category termed human capital management, or talent management, is broad. It can include anything from tools and services that help businesses in recruitment to solutions that address employee motivation and productivity to software that assists in the management and information distribution relating to worker benefits such as health care insurance. - 08/17/2015

CEO Spotlight

MaritzCX CEO Emphasizes the Importance of Drive, Passion & a Plan
MaritzCX was established last year following the combination of Allegiance and Maritz Research, creating what the company said is the largest pure-play customer experience company by far. CUSTOMER recently caught up with MaritzCX CEO Carine Clark to learn about her and the newly expanded company she heads up. - 08/17/2015

Cover Story

The Importance of Reducing Customer Effort, and Maybe Even Choice
You don't need to "wow" customers. What people really want is for you to save them time. At least that's the message of a growing camp of customer service companies. - 08/17/2015

ACCOLADES

CUSTOMER, TMC Reveal Speech Technology Excellence Award Winners
CUSTOMER magazine and its parent company, TMC, are happy to announce the winners of our annual Speech Technology Excellence awards. These awards recognize companies that offer innovative and cost-saving solutions for their clients. - 06/24/2015

DELIVER

The Ultimate Question and the Net Promoter Score
One magical question - the so-called ultimate question - and one simple formula - the well-known Net Promoter Score - are the ultimate measures of customer satisfaction and the ultimate predictors of a company's future success. - 06/24/2015

TARGET

How to Better Understand Your Online Customer, and Improve Your Processes to Address Their Needs
According to the February 2015 Forrester Research Report called Use Customer-Centric Metrics to Benchmark Your Digital Success, "Digital customers use a range of touchpoints in their engagements with your brand, yet only 12 percent of ebusiness professionals feel that their cross-touchpoint measurement is ahead of their peers. Ebusiness professionals must work to prove the value of their digital strategy by benchmarking their success against deeper, customer-centric metrics if they are to drive continued investment in digital transformation." - 06/24/2015

ROUNDUP

Workforce Optimization
Workforce optimization solutions are considered essential, ResearchandMarkets says in a 2014 report, which notes there's a lengthy list of competitors in this space. WFO suites, according to DMG Consulting, come with recording and quality assurance/quality management applications and at least three of the following eight modules: coaching, elearning, performance management, surveying, speech analytics, workforce management, desktop analytics and text analytics. Gamification, DMG notes, is also an emerging WFO application. - 06/24/2015

EDITORIAL SERIES

The Simple Way to Realize Improved Contact Center Services ROI
Contact center managers spend a lot of time looking at metrics such as average handle time and first call resolution, and all that's important. But sometimes the path to better results is as plain as the nose on your face. In this case, it involves taking customer interests to heart, and installing the people and processes to address those interests. - 06/24/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES

Intelligent Virtual Queuing for the Health Care Industry: A Prescription for More Effective Customer Service
Consumers today have more choices than ever. Those choices extend beyond general consumer products like clothing, food, and electronics and also include health care. In fact, The Affordable Care Act recently opened the door for millions of U.S. citizens to access health care. That has led to a flurry of activity, as people get online to research plan options, fill out forms, and seek provider information. - 06/24/2015

Cover Story

Sales Acceleration: Using Automation, Big Data & Targeted Content to Drive Revenues
Marketing automation solutions are getting a lot of attention lately, as discussed in the last issue of CUSTOMER magazine. But marketing is not alone on this front. The idea of leveraging automation, big data, and software to allow for more personalized and timely responses is also now taking off in the sales arena - and money is pouring in to fund the companies that deliver what has become known as sales acceleration software. - 06/22/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES.

Leverage the Power of Top Performers to Drive Performance Improvement
CUSTOMER Magazine recently spoke with Mark Miller, contact center practice leader for J.D. Power, a leading market research company. We asked Mark to talk with us about some keys to utilizing customer-based research to drive performance improvement. - 05/06/2015

ACCOLADES.

CUSTOMER Magazine Announces the 2015 CRM Excellence Award Winners
The CRM market remains an important and crowded one. And, like so many areas of customer service, marketing, and sales - and our world in general - it's increasingly moving to the cloud. - 05/05/2015

TARGET.

MyDigitalClients Launches SaaS-Based Marketing and Team Sales Solution
Organizations that want but cannot afford CRM, marketing automation, and/or social media marketing solutions may now be able to find what they're looking for in MDC DOT. The software-as-a-service from Texas-based MyDigitalClients delivers all the above-mentioned functions through an affordable and easy to use online portal. - 05/05/2015

ROUNDUP.

Foreign Language Services
Here's a short list of some of the companies that offer translation services to help businesses engage with customers. - 05/05/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES.

Omni-channel Callback Solutions: A Today Way to Connect with Customers
Your customers are everywhere, and they are busy people with a low tolerance for waiting and a desire for immediate gratification and personalized service. An omni-channel callback solution can help you meet, or even exceed, their expectations, while increasing customer loyalty and driving new revenues. - 05/05/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES.

Telecom Testing & Monitoring: TelcoAlert Ensures Businesses Can Answer the Call
Every business seems to have a tale to tell about how its phone service or IVR system failed, and no one at the organization was aware of the problem for hours. Such outages might seem like a blip in the grand scheme of things, but the fact is that even a 30-minute failure can add up to big losses for a business. - 05/05/2015

Executive Spotlight

Verint Exec Explains How Actionable Intelligence Can Optimize Engagement
Verint delivers solutions that help businesses get the most out of their customer service employees and optimize customer engagement. Just as Verint's solutions focus on people, so too does the company itself. As Elan Moriah explains, Verint's core values include integrity, transparency, humility, innovation, and passion. And Moriah and the company's "stellar" team, he says, are passionate about making good things happen for Verint customers. - 05/05/2015

COVER STORY

The Rise of Martech: How Software is Eating the Marketing World
High-tech entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen in 2011 famously wrote that software is eating the world. Just recently marketing has become part of the smorgasbord. - 05/05/2015

DELIVER.

Personality Profile: How Contact Centers Are Using Voice Analysis to Improve CX
Question: What do Bill Clinton, state-of-the-art call centers, and NASA all have in common? Answer: They all understand the importance of language and personality. - 05/05/2015

DELIVER.

Product Development: Social Can Yield a Goldmine of Value to Build, Tweak Product
The always-on consumer has created new challenges for businesses, which can now be put on the hot seat with the whole world watching in an instant. The good news, however, is the tendency for online denizens to be very vocal in what they like and don't like about products creates a wealth of information that companies can use to their advantage. - 05/05/2015

ENGAGE.

The Great Enterprise Debate: When to Use a Mobile App vs. Mobile Messaging for Customer Engagement
There is an ongoing debate regarding which mobile channel is best for customer engagement: a mobile app or mobile messaging? Mobile apps are getting lots of press, but IDC predicts that 45 percent of mobile enterprise app initiatives will be delayed or go over budget in 2015. Meanwhile, the enterprise mobile messaging industry is booming due to the widespread use of application-to-person messaging, which is predicted to be worth $70 billion by 2020. - 05/05/2015

ENGAGE.

Needle Advocates Help Online Shoppers Find What They're Looking For
People are social animals. The success of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter attest to that fact. Unless you're the kind of person who likes to hang out at the mall with your girlfriends or sisters, however, shopping for most people tends to be a rather solitary experience for the most part. - 05/05/2015

ENGAGE.

Video Moves Into Marketing, Customer Care
Bringing video to the masses has long been the Holy Grail for the communications industry. The affordability, availability, and ease of use of tools and services like Apple's Facetime, Skype, and YouTube have allowed that to happen. - 05/05/2015

SIDEBAR.

How IoT Will Impact Product Design, Marketplace Expectations
The rise of the Internet of Things will require businesses to fundamentally rethink how they design, engineer, manage, and operate their products and organizations. - 04/14/2015

COVER STORY

What's Next in Customer Experience
The preoccupation with improving the customer experience by C-levels around the world has been a trend for several years. In fact, the fastest growing C-level position is customer experience management officer or some variation on the title. And, as CX becomes ever more important as the means to provide differentiated value, the preoccupation with this focus will only grow more intense in 2015, as so will the investments in technology that help enable organizations to move the needle on customer satisfaction. - 04/14/2015

ACCOLADES.

TMC Names CUSTOMER Top 50 Teleservices Outsourcing Award Winners
Each spring for three decades, TMC has delivered via CUSTOMER magazine rankings of teleservices and business process outsourcing providers. True to form, we now present the 30th anniversary edition of this program. - 04/14/2015

DELIVER.

Six Things Inside Sales Teams Can Learn from Call Centers
I have spent a large part of my career working in the call center industry. I started out working for Accenture in the early 90s implementing call center technology for Fortune 500s, then transitioning to a managerial role at Genesys before starting two successful businesses that provided software to contact centers. - 04/14/2015

ENGAGE.

Building the Best Contact Center Experience in 2015
Businesses are competing more than ever to achieve customer loyalty given the many options available to today's consumer. With increasing stakes and multiple channels available to reach a business, a sophisticated quality assurance program is essential to understanding customer preferences. - 04/14/2015

Roundup

Outsourced Call Center Solutions
Whether they ship them overseas or keep them onshore, many companies opt to outsource their call centers to other organizations that specialize in this kind of thing. Here's a sampling of what a few companies in the outsourced call center solutions space have to offer. - 04/14/2015

Product Review

TMC Labs Deems TeamSupport Enterprise a Solid Value
The goal of TeamSupport Enterprise is to allow organizations to holistically help customers by interconnecting support tickets in a manner that gives businesses high-level visibility with regards to customer interactions. The company believes this is the best way to ensure customer patterns can be recognized in order to speed resolution times and eliminate redundant support costs. - 04/14/2015

CEO Spotlight.

Amping Up Website Search: Inbenta Leader Says AI-Based Solution is in Tune with Market Needs
The words artificial intelligence send up red flags with some people, evoking images of robots gone haywire trying to take over the human race, Inbenta CEO Jordi Torras noted during a recent conversation with CUSTOMER magazine. That's not the case at all, he said, explaining that AI is just a computer technique to make life more efficient. And that's exactly how Torras set out to use it when he founded Inbenta. - 04/14/2015

Strategic Solutions Series.

How to Improve Your Net Promoter Score By Addressing Customer Effort
Net Promoter Score, one of the most closely watched and enduring measures of customer satisfaction, provides a strong indicator of customer loyalty by assessing customer willingness to recommend a company and its products to others. But there's another important metric businesses should consider as well: Customer Effort Score. - 04/14/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES.

Real-Time Results: Intraday Automation Reduces Costs and Keeps Customers Coming Back
Nobody likes to wait. Yet both customers and employees are frequently put "on hold" by businesses, which could eliminate these delays - and deliver better customer experience -if only they could take advantage of the many optimization opportunities that exist throughout the day. - 04/14/2015

Why Your Business Should Value Customer Service
Good customer service is the oil that allows your business to function properly. But delivering a consistently superior customer service experience does much more. It provides an unbeatable competitive advantage, no matter what industry you're in. To gain a better understanding of why customer experience management (CEM) is so essential, I've comprised a list of four reasons that will catapult customer service to the top of your to-do list. - 04/10/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES

WARNING: Benchmarking Can Be Hazardous to Your Operation's Health
CUSTOMER Magazine spoke recently to Mark Miller, Contact Center Solutions Practice Leader at J.D. Power, a leading marketing research company. We asked Mark to describe the benefits and pitfalls of benchmarking performance when building a world-class contact center. How can benchmarking be hazardous? - 03/18/2015

ACCOLADES

TMC Reveals 2015 CUSTOMER MVP Quality Award Winners
For a business to be successful, it must be able to create a satisfied customer base, which also means being able to provide high levels of engagement. The definition and implementation of engagement campaigns vary by business, by project, and by end customer - but the one common thread between them all is the simple formula: CS = $. - 03/18/2015

DELIVER

Measure These KPIs for a High-Performing Contact Center
Contact center managers are on a constant quest to find the right formula for measuring their center's value and functionality. Nearly every contact center executive uses key performance indicators, or KPIs, but which ones truly benefit the organization and which are clouding the ability to make good decisions or leading to analysis paralysis? This very question has fueled a longstanding debate within the industry that may never be conclusively answered. Ask 100 contact center managers and supervisors for their opinions, and chances are that each will answer differently. - 03/18/2015

ENGAGE

Social Customer Service: It's Changing, But Not Replacing, the Traditional Call Center Business
A few years ago, many companies faced what might be termed The Great Social Media Panic. Business analysts warned us that soon, we would have to throw out all our traditional customer care channels to replace them with new ones. These would be video, social media, mobile app, and whatever new and exciting channel was being used in Silicon Valley. (Digital smoke signals? Handshake-over-IP?) - 03/18/2015

ROUNDUP

TCPA Compliance
There's a lot of legal action these days related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which was created and signed into law in the 1990s in an effort to prevent people from getting calls and other communications that they have to pay for, but don't want to receive. And TCPA and FCC rules prohibit making auto dialed or prerecorded non-emergency calls to a wireless phone number for which the called party is charged a fee. - 03/18/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES

How to Get the Most from Your Callback Solution
The rise of the smartphone and the always-on consumer has created a sea change in customer service. Customers, once accustomed to patiently waiting for their turn, today expect quick responses and results, and most customers that actually make phone calls to businesses are unhappy or unwilling to wait on hold. - 03/18/2015

ON THE COVER

Friendly Fraud? Online Retailers Take a Hit from Chargebacks
Consumers' ability to dispute charges on their credit card bills and have them quickly and easily removed from their accounts is great for those individuals, especially in this day and age of identity theft. But it's creating problems for merchants, especially online businesses, which are losing money as a result. - 03/18/2015

ENGAGE

What Omni-Channel Means for your Contact Center
As an independent analyst, I wear many hats, and one of them involves speaking on webinars. I recently got to wear that hat on the topic of omni-channel, an ominous term that's getting a lot of traction in the contact center space. - 01/14/2015

COVER STORY

Taking the Lead: This Isn't Your Father's Lead Generation
While the old school methods of lead generation can certainly still be effective, today companies also frequently look for leads based on what people do and say online - including what products they browse and buy, what websites they visit, their connections and group affiliations on social networks, and other data that is attainable through public records or other sources. - 01/12/2015

ACCOLADES

TMC Announces CUSTOMER Product of the Year Award Winners
The top editors at CUSTOMER magazine and its parent company, TMC, have made their selections for the CUSTOMER Product of the Year Awards. Here's a list of the winners, and what each offering brings to the customer experience. - 01/12/2015

ROUNDUP

Marketing Automation
The benefits of automating marketing to more effectively reach a broader audience with more relevant messages are becoming better understood. And a growing number of companies are now leveraging these tools and processes to drive new revenues. - 01/12/2015

The Time is Now For Cloud - But Maybe Not for You
Is anyone else weary of the word cloud? It seems like the buzzword keeps gathering strength, in both business and consumer circles. Your great aunt and uncle are probably storing photos from their smartphones in the cloud. And it's hard to glance at a business publication these days without seeing more and more mission critical systems moving to the cloud. In January 2014, Forbes magazine reported businesses in the U.S. will spend more than $13 billion on cloud computing and managed hosting services during the calendar year. - 01/12/2015

ENGAGE

The Omni-Channel Contact Center: What It Is and How to Get There
Going back to the analog world, most households had a TV, a record player, and a radio. Each was used independently for home entertainment - they were separate, standalone experiences that nobody would ever think about mashing together. - 01/12/2015

TARGET

TeleTech's Humanify Enables Clients to Deliver Expert Customer Service
Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook have demonstrated that people are quite comfortable building online profiles and sharing them with the world, so Humanify is borrowing from that model to enable its business clients to deliver better customer service. And it's using that as a way to identify and differentiate service for the most high value customers. - 01/12/2015

TARGET

Americans Want Control, Relevancy in Mobile Advertising
Americans prefer that the ads they see on their mobile devices be relevant to their interests, but they want tools that provide transparency and control over how that relevancy is delivered. - 01/12/2015

CEO SPOTLIGHT

TeamSupport Leader Offers His Perspective on the Customer Experience
The November issue of CUSTOMER magazine explained how TeamSupport is about getting the focus back to the customer, and not just closing tickets. In this issue, we'll get to know Robert C. Johnson, TeamSupport's CEO, and learn more about what makes him - and his company - tick. - 01/12/2015

Product Review

AireContact by AireSpring is Powerful, But Does Have a Learning Curve
AireContact by AireSpring is designed to be a cloud-based contact center solution that allows multichannel, blended, cloud-based interactions for agents located anywhere. It is a very powerful product, and it's user interface helps simplify and make more accessible its enormous potential. - 01/12/2015

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES

The Business Benefits of Better Sound
Running a successful contact center is challenging, to say the least. What can you do to keep customers satisfied? How do you hold on to your best agents? And of course, what can be done to increase revenue? - 12/11/2014

ASK THE EXPERTS

What the Mobile Customer Service Experience Should Be
Smartphones and mobile applications have given consumers a whole new way to interact with businesses. Call it newfound freedom and convenience. For businesses themselves, the mobile approach provides a way to serve customers better and - if done correctly - to form stronger, more lasting relationships. But that's the problem. Many businesses are still struggling to determine how best to use tools such as mobile apps to their advantage. - 12/11/2014

ACCOLADES

TMC Announces Winners of the CUSTOMER Experience Innovation Awards
CUSTOMER magazine is happy to announce the winners, runners up, honorable mention recipients, and finalists of the CUSTOMER Experience Innovation Awards. - 12/11/2014

UP CLOSE

The IN Crowd: High Tech Grows in Indiana
Silicon Valley is the undisputed high tech hub of the world, but it's certainly not where all of the action is. The Indianapolis area also has a vibrant and growing tech scene. - 12/11/2014

DELIVER

Sales Amplification: Marrying CRM, Contact Centers & Potentially Other Systems Can Drive New Business
The idea of more closely integrating CRM and contact center solutions in an effort to increase sales conversion seems to be getting a lot of new energy of late. - 12/11/2014

ROUNDUP

Virtual Agents
The most widely available options on many companies' websites require customers to take extra steps - such as logging in to get customer service support or filling out a form that doesn't seem likely to deliver results - to find information, according to Deloitte Technology. - 12/11/2014

DELIVER

The Role of Inventory Visibility in the Customer Experience
A recent report by Capgemini Consulting titled "Are You Ready? How to Create an Always-On, Always-Open Shopping Experience" lays out what the firm considers four critical components required for a successful omnichannel strategy. Those four components include inventory visibility, web-ready products, predictive customer analytics, and a fulfillment strategy. - 12/11/2014

ENGAGE

Winning Online Strategies to Engage Customers & Employees
When was the last time you used your generic spreadsheet program to its maximum capabilities? Do you even know all it can do for you? Many of your clients have the same issues with the software you're providing. You need to get to know your customers better before you can help them know your product better. You need to determine what they most need to truly benefit from the services you provide. - 12/11/2014

ENGAGE

New Methods for Matching Customers and Agents Help Improve the Service Experience
The Internet and mobile devices - and the quick and easy access to communications and information they enable - have led to the rise of the empowered and always-on consumer. That has changed the game for organizations that want to sell to these individuals, and it's prompted smart companies to rethink how they do business. - 12/11/2014

EDIT SERIES

Making the Contact Center Pay Off: Big Data, CRM Increase Value for the Total Enterprise
Call centers used to be seen primarily as cost centers through which businesses could respond to customer concerns. But today's contact centers are multichannel hubs that can leverage analytics to put big data to work and drive new revenue opportunities for organizations. - 12/11/2014

EDIT SERIES

Enterprise SBCs - Secrets Revealed
During the early days of marketing eSBCs, most of the marketing messages and pitches we created would start with dire warnings of SIP security holes, what ifs, doom and gloom of what will happen if the enterprise was hacked by an intruder. Toll fraud, eavesdropping, theft of services, and even the boogeyman under your desk were lurking just around the corner, just waiting to ruin your IP PBX or contact center and destroy your career if you didn't do something now! - 12/11/2014

STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS SERIES

Critical Telecommunications Database could be Transitioned under FCC process: Risk to Consumers, Public Safety and National Security
Everybody from consumers, to emergency response, law enforcement and national security agencies, to state regulators, to carriers themselves rely on a routing database established as a result of the Telecom Act of 1996. This database, called the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC), is a critical part of our national infrastructure. - 12/11/2014

Cover Story

Getting Personal: The Value of Contextual & Experiential Communications
Facebook on Sept. 29 announced it has rebuilt Atlas and is leveraging the technology to enable advertisers to reach people with personalized messages across devices, and use information about both online impressions and offline purchases to figure out what ads and offers are the best match for each individual. This kind of personalized targeting and use of both online and offline information is the wave of the future. - 11/10/2014

Up Close

PGi Continues Expansion with Marketing Collaboration Acquisition
PGi seems to be positioned at the intersection of exactly where communications is, and where it seems to be going. The Atlanta-based public company is already a leader in the collaboration space, an area in which it continues to expand it's offerings, and is keenly interested in sales enablement, which has to do with getting the right information to the right place to reach the right buyers in an effort to drive higher conversion rates. - 11/10/2014

Ask The Experts

Omnichannel: The What, Why, and How
In the past year the contact center industry has embraced a new term, omnichannel, with some crowning this term as the successor to the now familiar term multichannel. What has changed to provoke this new term? Well, first, consumer habits have shifted. What began with handling e-mail and web chat, has now expanded to SMS, social media, mobile, and video. As consumer communications habits change, so does the way they expect to engage with businesses to resolve their problems. - 11/10/2014

Deliver

New Corporate Training Platforms Enable Improved Flexibility, Efficacy
We live in an incredible information age. We have smartphones more powerful than the computers NASA uses in the rovers and satellites sent into space. Virtually any type of content can be instantly accessed from the web, anywhere and anytime we choose. - 11/10/2014

Deliver

How Mobile Users are Impacting Emergency Services for Call Centers
Thanks to technology advances and a changing senior demographic, the Personal Emergency Response Systems industry is undergoing a transformation. The change is affecting users, who have more technology options than ever before. The transition also has implications for the call centers that respond to PERS calls and the emergency care specialists who directly interact with customers. - 11/10/2014

Target

Call Recording: It Pays to Know the Rules, But Rules Vary By State
When it is ok to call and/or record conversations with people has recently become a heightened area of debate in communications and legal circles. - 11/10/2014

Roundup

Digital Signage
The value of digital signage is large and growing. In terms of market size, digital signage is worth between $4 billion and $5 billion globally, and $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion in the U.S. And analysts expect the digital signage space in North America and Western Europe - which currently ship in the low tens of millions of units per year - to double annually in each of the next three years. - 11/10/2014

Strategic Solutions Series

Contact Center Performance: Taking Your Organization to the Next Level
You've invested in the best leadership, technologies, and human capital sourcing and development partners available to formulate and perfect the secret sauce that makes your enterprise exceptional and successful. Now you can gain even more value from these investments by consistently communicating your message and measuring the performance across your organization via contact center performance management. - 11/10/2014

Strategy Solutions Series

Understanding Your Customers to Differentiate & Grow Your Business
Customer experience is a hot topic these days. But ensuring a positive customer experience that fuses with the goals of your organization is about more than just pledging to be more customer focused. It requires employing processes and systems that enable your customer support staff to actually understand the needs of customers rather than just addressing their needs in a one-off fashion, and to be able to respond to those requirements in the most effective way possible. - 11/10/2014

STRATEGIC SOLUTION SERIES

Identifiers, Attributes & Network: Neustar Puts the Most Relevant & Current Data at Your Fingertips
The mass adoption of computers, smartphones and tablets means people have access to the information they want wherever they are. But what about the organizations that want to do business with these consumers? Are they taking advantage of the plentiful supply of data available to more successfully cater to and capture the business of these always-connected consumers? In many cases, the answer is no. The good news, however, is there's still ample opportunity for businesses to become more connected with customers and prospects by putting available information to work. - 11/10/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

Temasys is Working on Something Big
Temasys provides a complete WebRTC solution, including a full set of WebRTC-based developer APIs, mobile development frameworks, and other client-side tools. Supporting these frameworks it also provides telco-grade, enterprise-ready infrastructure for companies and developers to both create and manage products and services, which embed or support video, audio, chat and the exchange of data. - 11/05/2014

Vidyo Shares Views of WebRTC-Enabled Video
Vidyo has what it says is the most advanced, best-performing platform for ultra-low delay, ultra high-quality multi-point video, ranging from mobile screens to 4K. By choosing Vidyo, application developers can combine the benefits of WebRTC's open, free, browser-based endpoint architecture with those of a professional, rock-solid back-end that can easily scale to carrier-sized deployments. We recently interviewed Alex Eleftheriadis, Vidyo's chief scientist and co-founder, to learn more. - 11/05/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

GENBAND's WebRTC Evangelist Talks Real-World Implementations
GENBAND is a global company that has a heritage of building some of the finest communications tools that have ever been invented. We are using this experience and our strong financial backing to create advanced, easily accessible communications tools for service providers, enterprises, and consumers. - 11/05/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

WebRTC in the Criminal Justice System
JurisLink is demonstrating that and growing rapidly in solving a potential significant problem and opening a huge market. It is clear that the pervasive use of video in the criminal courts could save $2-5 billion per year. Assuming that 10 to 20 percent of that would be spent on the systems enabling the savings, the market is between $200 million and over $1 billion. It is easy to see why Slade is so excited about JurisLink's prospects. - 11/05/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

How WebRTC Can Serve the Enterprise
The enterprise has numerous uses for WebRTC, including expanding the bring-your-own-device model, allowing for next generation customer interaction through web integration, extending videoconferencing and collaboration systems, and establishing direct communications between employees and the outside world. Because WebRTC creates an experience that comes from the host web server, the experience the enterprise provides can be unique and tailored to deliver advantage. - 11/05/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

Wireless WebRTC: Everything You Were Afraid to Ask For and Why
WebRTC opens up the communications experience to web feature interactions. Companies can build an entire scripting tool for a web attendant that would be far more brilliant than the chat services currently offered. Developers can plug into a cloud speech recognition service. They can become more contextually aware than anything the carrier or the device manufacturer can connect to general social networks. In other words, whatever you can think you can do on the web you can expand with WebRTC. - 11/05/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

Dialogic Views WebRTC as Key Catalyst for Developers
Dialogic has a large portfolio of telephony infrastructure and developer enabling products that range from softswitches, gateways, SBCs, telephony and fax boards and media servers. These products are sold to service providers, enterprises, contact centers and developers. The company, which has a long history in enabling communications media processing for new development communities, sees WebRTC as a core catalyst for bringing real-time communications to the enormous web development community. WebRTC, the company notes, also is helping traditional telephony developers move into the larger web development world. We recently spoke with Chad Hart, senior director of product marketing at - 11/05/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

Plantronics Explains How Wearables Can Elevate the WebRTC Experience
For Plantronics, it is all about delivering devices and software that can easily integrate with WebRTC-enabled applications. We are diligently developing desktop and mobile WebRTC device integration solutions for our customers. Developers can download code at developer.plantronics.com. - 11/05/2014

WebRTC Feature Story

Talking with TokBox about WebRTC
TokBox was founded in 2007 as a consumer video chat service. In November 2010 it launched OpenTok, a cloud platform for adding live video, voice and messaging to websites and mobile applications and in 2012 became the first company to launch support for WebRTC. The company's scalable, customizable platform gives users the creative freedom to develop any real-time communication interaction, from one-to-one video chats to large-scale broadcasts. We recently interviewed TokBox CEO Scott Lomond - 11/05/2014