System Development Case – Property and Customer Service Management System Isabella Chan -
Project Overview
A tailor-made all-in-one property and customer service management system was rollout to over 200 residential estates with ~4000 users to replace the many hard-copy hand-written daily log books for different case categories with different format and layout. Streamline the recording and follow-up processes among the estates on handling cases, scheduling of regular patrols or special events, generate notices and sharing of informative documents.
 
Challenge
The system operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It relies on security guard supervisors to input overnight reported/identified cases.  Since most security guard supervisors have low computer literacy and may find it difficult to use computer system, the UX design is very important. System should maximize the use of predefined case categories and follow-up actions selections, and minimize the need to input remarks.Tight timeframe, especially rollout period was 6 months for over 200 estates in 6 phases including hands-on coaching and shadowing for all users on site during deployment as part of the change program.
 
Solution
We tailor-made the system – both software and hardware.  The application system is easy to use and with low learning curve, even guard supervisors can capture cases and import photos which were taken on site without difficulty.
The industrial grade kiosk is big enough with simple icons to read clearly and select easily to capture case details.  A web based backend for office users to perform daily operations, monitoring and reporting.
Besides training classes before rollout, during deployment we provided on-site hands-on coaching and shadowing for users to handle real situations as part of the change program.
After rollout, we provide 7-day maintenance service to answer and provide support to frontend users in a timely manner.
 
Result
The easy to use system encourages users to input cases without burdening daily workload. Cases and follow-up actions are recorded systematically by front-end users. Back-office users can review most-frequent case types, long outstanding cases and abnormal cases. All records are traceable and to be reviewed regularly for operational improvements. Events calendar and documents sharing are centralized, easily accessible and become a common platform for all users of the same office.
 
Fixing the Pricing Problem with a Data Connectivity Platform Prince Kumar -
Pricing is always an evergreen challenge for the business leaders and it directly impacts the success of a product. The right pricing strategy should cover the development cost, profit objectives, ensure sales, and reflect market demand. Businesses need to evaluate the operational cost, overhead expenses, product demand, and relevant factors for building the right pricing strategy which ensures continued success. The biggest challenge in this process is collecting the information from disparate business systems, processes and technologies. Fixing this part requires necessary tooling, technical knowhow and sagacious wisdom. 

Today’s customers are smart and take informed decisions after comparing multiple products. Dealing with a highly informed customer is not easy as he carefully evaluates the price before making any move. That’s why, businesses are under a tremendous pressure to keep the prices competitive and using pricing engines for determining their pricing model. However, collecting and researching huge volumes of customer data is an intense challenge. Therefore, businesses should restructure their data connectivity approach for maneuvering relevant information across different endpoints without any disruption. 

Smart organizations are using ‘one to many data integration approach’ for gathering huge volumes of customer centric information and pushing it in their pricing engine. It helps organizations in establishing point-to-point connections for seamless data exchange. Such solutions enable even normal business users to build connections and pull data from business systems like Salesforce, NetSuite and BigCommerce.

It is important to restructure the pricing model during economic uncertainties, new product launches, respond to competition, and increase market demand. This process can be shortened with controls for ensuring flexibility and reusability of created connections across the IT architecture. Such a system will transform brittle IT systems into reusable services and help organizations in receiving the benefits of intelligible pricing data. To find the right price,  an organization can just pull data from anysource and map it to a pricing engine with few clicks.
Customer Success Needs To Be In Your SaaS DNA: 3 Reasons Why Ross Fulton -
As a SaaS company (and any subscription revenue business), Customer Success must flow through your business DNA. Customer Success is your economic lifeblood. It needs to infuse every single strategy in your recurring revenue model. 'Customer Success Science' as a domain is now needed.

Check out the link to learn 3 reasons why Customer Success needs to be in your SaaS business's DNA.
Sustainable Integration: Focus More on Collaboration Rather Than Consolidation Prince Kumar -
During the past few years, both technologies and management practices have been heavily impacted by considerable changes. Organizations are dumping their haphazard technologies to transformational tools which focus on specific areas of operation. Entities are selecting best of-breed and dedicated technologies for department centric functions like Human Resource (HR), Finance, Client Relationship Management (CRM), etc. To harness more value from the IT architecture, organizations must change the conventional strategy to integrate fragmented pieces of software and computer systems.
 
b2b integration
 
Looking at the exponential growth in the integration space, it can be safely said that (Extract, Transform, and Load) ETL and data connectivity tools are going to be a core area of investment in the coming areas for many companies. It will be a treacherously difficult task for organizations to identify and select the right ETL tool. Organizations should ensure that the data integration software just not focuses on collaboration but also consolidation and pervasive integration needs.
 
Organizations with complex assemblage of new and old systems face weighty integration challenges and resurrecting data errors. Because of this they fail to share information with their business partner network on time. An integrated solution with point-to-point integration solution is simply not enough to address the integration needs. A data integration solution should display cadence while connecting fragmented and siloed technologies to support and drive performance.
 
Facebook’s newly launched business application workplace can be taken as an example to explain this. It is a new age business solution that packs dedicated tools for document management, file storage, information exchange. Organization moving towards workplace will be having some information in their legacy applications. Therefore, a data integration solution should be built with components to combine newly emerging as well as old technologies for disruption free data exchange.

Smart and forward thinking organizations need to focus more on partner collaboration rather than consolidation. Amazon, Facebook and Google, and Apple are offering the next generation of software for work. To interoperate effectively and with fragmented suites of new age applications, organizations will require end-to-end B2B solutions that ensure IT management and collaboration from a single source view. An end-to-end solution will help organizations in bringing the live data and streamlining the entire process.
Differentiated Customer Experience: Focus on the End Game Jane Hiscock -
We often judge an experience by the most intense points and the ending experience. The peaks and valleys influence whether to repeat or avoid a similar situation in the future. This is called the peak-end rule and was popularized by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman in his paper “When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End.” His research shows that we often disregard the duration of the experience and are more influenced by the peak and final levels of comfort or discomfort.

This is perhaps most highly experienced with air travel. Most fliers have had an experience of going on a business or personal trip where the entire trip was tainted by a bag not arriving at the end, or a flight being rescheduled multiple times delaying the return home. The negative peak at the end of the trip ends up ruining the entire experience.

In our work with C-level leaders, there is a significant amount of focus on the customer experience and how to shape the most differentiated and meaningful experiences. This often gets deep into mapping of customer journeys and in some cases, can quickly become complicated as leaders try to imagine every possible turn on the path. What if we just focused on the end of the experience and tried to make that end point meaningful and differentiated?

In our work of facilitating Board meetings – the final session is the key peak point. We focus on giving the executives around the table the last word. While it can feel overwrought, it is amazing that the participants have a significantly better experience when we do this approach because they feel they were able to contribute from the beginning through to the close of the meeting.
Customer experience without engagement: A dead-end street Karen Steele -
At a recent company event, Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayan made the bold claim that “customer experience is all or nothing.” That’s certainly true, as far as it goes. But I want to suggest something equally bold, which is that this statement overlooks a crucial component of the customer experience equation: engagement.

Customer experience and engagement are the yin and yang of the new Engagement Economy, joined in a symbiotic union. As marketers, we own the relationship that forms the customer experience, which is the destination. But we also own customer engagement, which is the journey. And it is impossible to reach a destination without some kind of journey.

Done correctly, engagement is the glue that holds customers and fosters long-term relationships. Experience without engagement is not “sticky.” It does not create the lasting bonds that keep customers from drifting away. As the marketing landscape shifts towards maximizing lifetime customer value, the ability to personalize every journey and engage meaningfully at every step is paramount to delivering a consistently winning experience that brings buyers back again and again.

Let’s look more closely at how this works.

Engagement is binary: You have it, or you don’t. There are many ways for a business to engage meaningfully with customers: by knowing all about them, by standing for something personally meaningful to them, by anticipating their needs and making relevant suggestions… the list goes on. Regardless of how a business engages, it’s abundantly evident to customers if the effort is being made to engage meaningfully or not.
Customer Experience is the New Competitive Battleground Jim Tierney -
Loyalty360 routinely speaks with brands about the critical importance of customer experience as a key differentiator among today’s loyalty marketers.

Last month, Julie Pukas, head of U.S. Bankcard and Merchant Services at TD Bank, told Loyalty360 that she believes the customer experience is built around customer expectations.

“We know that customers want experiences that are better and faster–and it’s up to the industry to ensure we can do that without sacrificing security,” Pukas explained. “We also know that consistently positive customer experiences breed customer loyalty, so within the industry, we need to focus on how we can deliver that in all channels–brick and mortar, online, and mobile. Consumers’ desire for seamless transactions is permeating every industry and there are some game-changers who are really upping the ante when it comes to payments and customer experience. The companies that will win will do so by prioritizing seamless and frictionless customer experiences.”

According to Insightly CEO Anthony Smith, customer relationship management (CRM) is entering a new era. With an increasing number of purchasing alternatives and lower than ever switching costs, customers will abandon businesses in an instant if they fail to meet their heightened expectations for service and delivery. It costs eight times more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, yet legacy CRMs are designed around tracking leads and forecasting deals, not growing customer relationships or bringing their projects to completion.

The future of CRM lies in measuring, acting upon, and growing customer relationship intelligence using social, interactive peer-to-peer, and environmental signals.
Doing less with more: How to improve customer experience on a shrinking budget David Thornton -
How does an agency improve the customer experience while simultaneously dealing with a shrinking budget, a smaller workforce and maybe even a hiring freeze? It’s a classic federal Catch-22, and while no one has figured out a way to beat the system yet, some federal managers have developed strategies for survival.

The Internal Revenue Service has found itself battling severe budget cuts for years. Its funding is down by more than $1 billion since 2010, and it’s lost around 18,000 employees in that time. This has caused the agency to struggle with customer service in the past.

John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner, said in situations like that, it’s necessary to keep planning for the future, even at the cost of the present.

“If we keep guerrilla war fighting our way through the budget process and just try to stay afloat, three to five years down the road we’re just going to be three to five years farther behind,” Koskinen said during a July 12 Partnership for Public Service panel. “Even at the expense of some of the critical things we have to do day by day, we had to invest in what we called the ‘future state’ — what would the future state experience of taxpayers be, or should be, down the road?’ It’s been a balancing act. I get grumbled at once in awhile because we don’t do in the short term as well as we’d like to in answering phones or dealing with people in person.”
 
He said his current plan for three to five years in the future is that customers will be able to interact with the IRS like they do with their banks — everything digital and automated, no human involvement required.

But in order to reach that point, he has to divert resources to improving his IT systems, which currently aren’t up to the task. Those resources might be able to hire more employees and improve customer service metrics like call wait times in the short term, but Koskinen is playing the long game.

Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary for Passport Services at the State Department, said resources aren’t as much of a challenge for her agency.

“The best thing about our strategy is that we’re fee funded,” Sprague said during the panel. “So as our demand goes up, so does our resources, and that’s made a huge difference.”

She said what’s most important to her agency’s customer service is the culture.
Making the Most of the Omnichannel Customer Experience Maria Haggerty -
The lines between a digital and physical shopping experience have become blurred as brands adapt to changing consumer behavior. While bankruptcies, restructurings and the closing of underperforming brick-and-mortar stores are rampant across the industry, it can be seen as an opportunity to adjust to evolving customer needs and allow them to shop however they want to.

The most obvious lesson is that a strategy designed around the omnichannel customer experience is no longer optional. The secret sauce is figuring out how your customers want to shop. We’re seeing brands that were exclusively ecommerce now starting to explore physical locations such as showrooms and guide shops. We’re also seeing brick-and-mortar retailers utilize physical locations as mini distribution centers, offering in-store pickup and return of online purchases.

Here are three key areas to consider as you begin to rethink the omnichannel customer experience to survive and thrive in today’s brave new world of retail:

Optimizing the Shipping Experience
While many brands don’t consider Amazon a direct competitor, there is no escaping their impact. Among the reasons customers gravitate to Amazon are the breadth of its product assortment and free shipping. Even though Prime membership comes at a premium price, it has had profound effects on purchase behaviors, including the widespread expectation of free shipping.

While offering free shipping can certainly bump up purchases and topline, it can also be expensive and quickly erode margins. To remain competitive, you might consider offering promotional free shipping options at an order value threshold, or a free ship-to-store or pickup in-store option.

The key to success is determining what’s right for your brand, what’s consistent with your value proposition and what’s appropriate for your competitive realities. The idea of free shipping sounds wonderful, but it’s not the only way to build customer loyalty and increase lifetime value. If you plan to offer free shipping, make it part of your overall product pricing (pre-discounts/sales).

Optimizing the In-Store Experience
There are significant advantages to maintaining a physical retail presence, all of which can be leveraged by brands that understand their customers. However in today’s climate it’s imperative to make your physical locations a complement to your ecommerce presence.

A store affords brands the opportunity to engage with customers in ways that ecommerce alone cannot support. Instead of bigger and larger footprints, consider downsizing and optimizing the store to create a showroom, thus offering a more immersive brand experience. You might also consider a store-within-a-store model, which has grown in popularity.

Both approaches provide the ability to do more with less. RFID-powered showrooms only need to stock enough items for customers to touch, feel, and try on. RFID embedded product tags allow customers to approach a kiosk, select their size, color, etc., and have it delivered to their home. Alternatively, a store-within-a-store reduces overhead expenses like rent and electricity.

Optimizing Customer Engagement
One of the most critical components of rock-solid marketing is connecting the customer experience across every channel they engage with and sell through. Everything from messaging to creative must be aligned to provide a seamless experience at every touchpoint.

As more brands restructure and put more chips behind their online channels, creating an immersive omnichannel customer experience must remain top of mind. The same goes for “click to brick” players that open physical stores. This level of consistency will ultimately generate greater brand loyalty and trust. When these expectations are met and exceeded, the result is greater customer lifetime value whether they come through your door, click on a social media post or press the “add to cart” button.

Despite the drumbeat of store closings and restructurings, these are exciting times in retail. There is ample opportunity for brands to reimagine their engagement with customers while also rethinking the logistics that fuel their operations. No matter what you’re selling, where you’re selling it, or who you’re selling it to, a solid approach to logistics and fulfillment that puts the omnichannel customer experience front and center is a must if you want to compete and succeed in commerce.
The forgotten touch point in your customer experience Willemijn Schneyder -
When I unbox a new coffee machine I want to be able to make my first cappuccino and not learn how to clean the machine, right? You would think so, but I regularly come across manuals and instructions that fail to keep it simple.

“Put the customer first! Improve the customer experience!” is today’s corporate mantra, so why do so many overlook the fact that the product instruction manual is a key touchpoint in that customer’s experience? And that certainly doesn’t mean starting the manual with a flood of legal warnings, recycling information and other irrelevant stuff.

Unfortunately most manuals are just boring technical product descriptions and the first thing which people throw aside after getting a rough idea of how the product works. I think this is a missed opportunity to inspire and inform your customers.

Let’s think about ‘Outside-In Instructional Design’. Put the customer’s needs, issue and tasks at the core of your instruction design and adding a bit of empathy into the mix.

This certainly isn’t a guarantee for success, but it does structure the process from the customers’ point of view. Here’s a quick run-down of the method we use at SwipeGuide
Winning Customer Experience – Simple Matters of Trust Joseph Michelli -
Customer Experience and Trust…hmmm.

Here’s three quick questions to engage your brain.

1) How would you answer the following?  “Most people can be trusted” – True or False?

2) What percentage of Americans answered “True” to that question in 1964? and,

3) What percentage of Americans answered “True” to the same question in 2016?

If I were a betting man, I would guess you answered “No” to question 1, underestimated on question 2, and may have been close on question 3.

The Findings
So the answers are…. drumroll please… In 1964 77% of respondents said “most people can be trusted”  but only 31% viewed most others as worthy of trust in 2016 (thus causing my negativistic prediction about you today).

So where did those 46% points worth of trust go in that 52 year span?

My uneducated guesses include such things as the highly vitriolic and alarmist tone of political discourse, high profile cases of corporate greed, a 24 hour news cycle trolling for stories of human depravity, a level of social media viciousness fueled by people relishing in the anonymity and reach of their online posts, etc.  But I will let social scientists take a scholarly approach to understanding our ‘trust gap.”


5 Fresh Examples of Customer Experience Innovation Blake Morgan -
Serena Williams is a fiercely competitive tennis champion. Her record is 39 Grand Slam titles. She shows an ability to serve aces at critical moments — a tennis serve the opponent doesn’t touch. She's known for her aggressive play, a "high risk" style balanced in part by her serve, the greatest in women's tennis history. She consistently places powerful shots with accuracy. She isn’t thrown off by variation of circumstances. She won the Australian open while eight-weeks pregnant. If you've ever been pregnant then you know going for a long walk pregnant is hard. But Serena was not going to back down, even in her most vulnerable moment.

The best athletes in the world take thoughtful and bold risks in critical moments. Serena is a powerful reminder of how to be a leader in uncertain times. Like Serena's playing style, companies today must consistently make bold bets on customer experience even in uncertain times.

One area we need to do a better job of risk-taking is customer experience. Recent research shows that last year 75% of companies said their top objective for the year was improving customer experience. But how do companies know how to do that? There is a major role for innovation when it comes to improved customer experiences. 
6 Ways to Deliver an Unbeatable Customer Experience AJ Agrawal -
With the increasing integration of social media in our everyday lives, both people and businesses are becoming rapidly more connected to one another. It is because of this development that business models are now having to adapt to more personal spheres of communication, like marketing, social media engagement, and customer service. Engaging potential consumers has become much more involved as a process than plunking a few rotating advertisements in newspapers and television breaks.

Now, the producer-consumer dynamic has evolved to needing actual interaction, whether it be physical or digital. Although businesses may already have their hands full focusing on new product ideation and content curation, there are only a few considerations needed to succeed in the game of consumer interaction. Here are 7 ways to create a stellar customer engagement strategy.

Understand Your Customers
The number one concern when curating customer service is defining the needs of your specific consumer base. Understanding their characteristics and interests can go a long way when deciding what kind of experience they may respond well to. For example, while younger followers may want snappy dissemination of information, older consumers may need more of a helping hand with newer, more complex products and services.

In addition, being cognizant of those features unique to your consumer base can help in several other areas, like marketing, content curation, and even product design. Overall, taking a little time to list out the characteristics specific to your customers carries numerous benefits that go far beyond customer service.

Availability Trumps All
Once you have an ample understanding of your consumers, the most important habit you can form is being available at all times. Whether your service is online or in person, this rule still applies and can have a significant impact on the public perception of the customer experience you’re providing. To customers, having delayed or nonexistent service is not only a major annoyance, but it is also damning for your brand’s reputation.

Plus, availability means physical and mental engagement; being present but disinterested in the customer’s concerns defeats the whole purpose of having customer service at all. Brands who encourage and enforce availability and involvement on the part of its employees should have no problems in the eyes of their consumers.
How Mobile Technology Can Improve the Customer Experience for Even the Smallest Businesses Piyush Jain -
Small businesses such as retail shops and restaurants may not have the resources to create an exciting mobile app to increase their brand appeal or enhance customer satisfaction. But that doesn’t mean that these businesses cannot exploit the amazing convenience and efficiency that mobile technology offers.

Here are six ways business owners can use existing apps to enhance their business:

1. Use Keynote to engage, inform, and delight customers
Imagine if the customers browsing in your retail shop, or waiting for a table in your restaurant, could get a quick overview of what’s cool in your shop, or descriptions of the food and drink specials on your menu. Keynote is a powerful, easy-to-use presentation program that you can use to give customers personal, hands-on access to key information that will enhance their experience with your business. All you need is one or more iPads and an inexpensive iPad mounting frame. Now, customers that are waiting will become customers that are engaged in your business. Your Keynote presentation can easily be designed to reflect the brand image and personality you want for your business. Customers can even use it to sign-up for your email newsletter or for special email deals.

2. Use Twitter as an issue ticketing system
Stop worrying about negative comments on Twitter and start using Twitter to negate negative comments. The immediacy of Twitter makes it an excellent Customer Issue Ticketing System, because it gives your customers an easy way to voice concerns and gives you a fast and easy way to address those concerns.

Business can create a handle, such as #supportatABCInc, and customers can tweet their issues using that handle. If an issue is simple and easy to remedy, keep it public and demonstrate your commitment to customer service. If you’re confronted with a difficult or complex issue, respond to it quickly but take additional discussion off-line with an explanation that time is needed to correctly address it. Either way, you are showing your customers that you are reachable, responsive, and care about your customers.
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