Archive for the 'Companies' Category

08
Sep
08

Gift cards on-demand

Amazon.com, has announced the launch of Amazon Gift Codes On Demand™ (AGC On Demand), a real-time electronic gift-card distribution option available from the Amazon Corporate Gift Card program. According to the company, “AGC On Demand is a simple Web service API that integrates Amazon’s proprietary gift-card technology directly into customer loyalty, employee incentive and payment disbursement platforms. With AGC On Demand, companies are able to reduce physical gift-card fulfillment overhead while providing gift card recipients with a customized experience and instant gratification.

Previously, gift card values were fixed and management of inventory for active gift cards and gift codes purchased in bulk required secure facilities. With AGC On Demand, gift codes are created individually in virtually any denomination and can be immediately issued in almost any format — based on the client’s preference — including e-mail, HTML, customized/co-branded cards and paper receipts.

“This is a great solution for developers and incentive companies who are looking for a more cost-effective way to manage a gift card program,” said Marcell King, senior manager of corporate gift cards with ACI Gift Cards, Inc. “The AGC On Demand service offers a quick and secure way to deliver gift cards and stored value to program participants.”

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17
Aug
08

Customer-centric lead scoring

We have always seen that companies struggle to manage the leads that they generate. Either they are not followed-up effectively or there is a conflict of what is defined as a hot/warm lead by sales and marketing or there is no defined process of managing unconverted leads to extract more value out of the marketing investments made.

Tim Wilson has an interesting prespective on the same:

Old school lead-generating efforts often fail because Marketing and Sales initiatives are dependent on each other but disconnected. The image often associated with this relationship is a funnel. At the top of the funnel is Marketing, which finds and lures leads that are then pushed down to the lower portion of the funnel, which is Sales.

This funnel image is fundamentally flawed because it suggests a linear process. Rather, to succeed, the process must be ongoing and circular, like cogs that continue to rotate and engage each other. One cog is Marketing (tactics), and this must be in alignment with a Sales cog (engagement), both of which are driven by a third cog: the continuous process of lead marketing optimization.

Complaints from the Sales department often occur because Marketing prematurely hands over leads to Sales, which creates efficiency problems. First, some of the information that needs to be gathered could have been gathered automatically through a Marketing dialogue. Second, the lack of that information results in lead handoffs that have little or no near-term potential. Over time, these inefficiencies cause Sales representatives to lose trust in the value the Marketing department is providing. In the worst case, it results in the salesperson starting to cold call himself, which makes the level of inefficiency even greater. According to Anders Grondstedt:

“Non customer centric thinking organizations are organized to efficiently produce and distribute goods. They relegate customer management and brand building to marketing and communication departments and agencies that sequester themselves in separate offices, isolated both from each other and from the customer, churning out advertising and other communications material to an information overloaded world. They make a virtue of outspending and outshouting the competition. Run more ads. Maximize the numbers of impressions. Get more ‘ink.’ They are frittering away millions of dollars in “marketing.”

 

Read more

 

03
Aug
08

Sales & marketing silo syndrome: a real problem

The CMO council recently released the findings of the Sales & Marketing Silo syndrome in organizations. Since data between sales & marketing need to be fused for better returns on marketing investments. At Cequity, we too see this gap existing in companies as a part of our client assignments. Enterprises need to effectively harness this data for better ROI. Many companies have recently started to take steps in breaking this silo and ensuring there is better synergies between these two departments. Here are the survey findings:

  • Less than 20% of respondents said that their sales and marketing organisations were “extremely collaborative”, and most others felt that the two groups had “intermittent relations and interactions”.
  • Looking at the ways in which sales could add value to marketing messages and communications, survey participants felt that engaging strategically with customers to better understand their problems and needs was the most valuable contribution.
  • Two of the most important roles that marketing can play in optimising sales performance were cited as “fielding campaigns that generate and nurture leads and opportunities”, and “providing customised value-selling content and presentation materials”.
  • Only 12% of sales and marketing professionals said that they have a well-integrated, real-time view of all customer interactions, and only 37% reported good visibility into prospects, sales pipeline, deal flow and conversion rates. At the same time, 20% indicated that marketing currently hands leads to sales but has no insight into conversion and sales closures.
  • 13% said that most sales leads are never captured, qualified, or acted upon, while 11% reported that they have no on-premise or on-demand CRM system in place.
  • Among those who have CRM applications, only 13% viewed the application as “highly valued and widely deployed”, while 42% reported growing acceptance and adoption. And, while CRM systems tend to be mandated and adopted across the sales function, they tend to be more selectively embraced by marketing teams.
  • Data analytics, reporting, and forecasting tend to be the biggest deficiencies in optimising the functionality and usability of current CRM solutions. The top three areas highlighted by nearly 50% of respondents were: the ability to easily create analytical reports; customisation of the application; and forecasting capabilities.
  • While 50% said they had “pretty good” or “extensive” visibility in to customer accounts and business activity, the remaining 50% said that they often had trouble finding customer account data, did not have enough information, or had no information at all.
19
Jul
08

Cross-Selling & Up-selling in a contact centre

When millions of customers contact your contact centre, there is always an opportunity to interact with the customers once their primary request or query is addressed. Very often, this  customer interaction may not be used as a  “point of  leveraging the relationship”. Best-in-class organizations use this opportunity to the best.

According to research estimates:

  • Best-in-class companies, share several common characterstics.
  1. 62% utilize analytics solutions
  2. 57% of the agents are empowered to decide when is the right time to sell
  3. 57% have access to sales experts and knowledge for informal training
  • Best-in-class companies achieved
  1. 86% of the companies achieved a sale of $ greater than $20
  2. 84% of the companies have customer retention of 50% or greater
  3. 59% have a cost per contact of less than $10

Interestingly, only 40% of the best-in-class companies leverage their cross-selling & up-selling measurements to support their cross-selling & up-selling initiatives!

19
Jul
08

The Value of the Consumer’s Voice

It’s not often uncommon when clients tell us that customers are increasingly not filling-up application/enrollment and feedback forms completely, data about their customers & their profiles are not updated and also information about their behaviour is increasingly becoming scarce & difficult to get, how do companies handle an market environment like this?

We think organizations have to change way they capture or mine data. They need to look at where else can they ‘dialog’ with these customers – Twitter, Facebook, Google Chat etc.? How often have you seen companies even capture  such” Dialog Points” for a possible “information opportunity”?

There is an interesting point of view on the same on this issue. Take a look:

To stay on top of purchase trends or address dissatisfactions, marketing teams often administer surveys and comb through hundreds of thousands of responses to find needles of profundity in the customer service haystack. In reality, if today’s consumer has a gripe or suggestion, he or she no longer fills out a comment card or a survey. Instead, the customer takes it to the keyboard and posts comments online for the whole world to read. Given the influence of word of mouth (or more appropriately, word of “blog”), your business will feel the direct effects of online reviews – positively or negatively.

According to a 2007 Deloitte & Touche study, more than eight in 10 (82 percent) of consumers said their purchasing decisions have been directly influenced by online reviews.1 With the advent of the blogosphere and social-media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, there are more opportunities for customers to voice their opinions, and the circle of influence has grown much wider. Monitoring for these comments must be a core part of your business.

Organizations have a unique opportunity to connect with their customers just by letting them know they are being heard. JetBlue Airways created a Twitter account after learning customers were using this platform to voice their frustrations. Now, Twitter has become a key customer service portal where the airline offers discounts and responds to flyers in real time. Using Twitter, JetBlue has turned around its negative public perception, even in a struggling aviation market.

The Web’s reach is boundless and social-media text is quite unstructured making it impossible for a typical search to uncover everything of relevance. So, how can marketers and executives sift through all of the social-media noise – the ruminations, misfindings and the insignificant rants – to find the true opinions and reviews about their brands?

The answer is semantic search and analysis. Semantic search provides early identification of consumer concerns, suggestions, likes and dislikes and purchasing trends. It uncovers this information from the most unstructured corners of the Web. The retrieval of such information is not limited to recognizing key words as typical Web searches do. Instead, it uncovers the meaning the words express in their proper context and accepted meaning no matter the number (singular or plural), gender (masculine or feminine), verb tense (past, present or future) or mode (indicative or imperative).

12
Jul
08

Customer Engagement – Best Practices

Companies always talk about customer engagement but many a times there is always a gap between planning & execution. What really differentiates the best from the not so good are the ones that identify the key levers and practice this consistently. Allegiance shares some best practices on customer engagement:

It is important to be able to quantify engagement for a number of reasons. Most importantly is by understanding where you stand with your customers—i.e. how many are engaged, disengaged or on the fence (swing)—you will be able to focus your efforts on developing products, services and programs that will help move people off the fence into your engaged customer group or possibly reverse negative perceptions of disengaged customers and help them become loyal customers.

Four primary economic measurements of engaged customers are:

  1. Share of wallet—Engaged people buy more products/services
  2. Positive referral—Engaged customers convert potential customers to switch
  3. Churn—Engaged people stay longer
  4. Feedback Response—Engaged people give more feedback, which in turn gives you the opportunity to address issues and concerns and preserve potentially lost revenue
29
Jun
08

Intersection of Business, Science, and Technology: Business Analytics

The world of business, analytics and technology is converging. Today, it can be rarely separated since there is a close correlation between them, as it helps businesses get closer to their customers by understanding, predicting and delivering what they need. Atomai brings this trend & insight out very well. Read to know more:

Companies like GE, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, SAS Institute, Exxon, and Google are among the thousand of companies around the world that are working to unleash the power of the mind by intersecting business, technology, and science. Business analytics is the future, and the future is now.

Some time ago business, science, and technology were three distinct and separate disciplines. The advancements in these three disciplines during the last five years have created a quantum leap in how each directly affects the others. Businesses, large and small, make global transactions on a daily basis. Technology allows people from around the world to communicate internationally and storage large volumes of digital data. Science allows accurate predictions using large databases around the world.




At Cequity, we believe customer intelligence will be the biggest competitive advantage enterprises will have in the next decade or two. Successful enterprises of tomorrow will be the ones who can organize and leverage this information at speed to optimize their marketing performance, increase accountability, improve profit and deliver growth. Cequity insights will bring to you trends and insights in this area and it’s our way of sharing best practices so as to help you accelerate this culture and thinking in your organization.
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