Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali & Serena Williams: What They Can Teach You About Business

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I’m a big sports fan. In my day to day life, I tend to think about sports a lot. I’ve come to idolize and respect athletes from many different sports and walks of life; not just because of their actions on the field (or ice, diamond, court, course, take your pick), but because of their wisdom which can be translated to many other aspects of life. Sports are a medium to build teamwork, friendship and to learn the value of hard work, all while having fun. Often lessons learned during a game can translate wonderfully to the business world. Below, I’ve compiled my top 10 favorite sports quotes that can also be related to business.

 1. “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.” –Muhammad Ali (World HeavyWeight Champion Boxer)

Muhammad Ali, while being one of the greatest boxers ever, was also one of the best speakers of his era. This quote should hit home for anyone with a desire to make something of themselves, boxers and entrepreneurs alike.

 2. “The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals. I play not my 11 best, but my best 11.” –  Knute Rockne (College Football Hall of Fame Coach)

If you work with a team at your company, this quote holds true for you. If you manage a team of people this quote should hold especially true. Great teamwork will always get more accomplished, with a higher degree of quality than a skilled performer who doesn’t work well with others whether that be on the field or work environment. Nearly every job involves teamwork.  I (and many others) believe that team synergy is one of the most important aspects of success.Just because you can’t measure the ROI of teamwork directly, the value of good teamwork is certainly not to be ignored.

 3. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky (Hockey Great)

Wayne Gretzky definitely knows a thing or two about being a great hockey player, but this quote also holds true in any situation. Top performers are always ahead of the curve. That means being ready to adapt to the next shift in the market or the next challenge to overcome. The puck is a metaphor for your business. If you can stay on top of things that’s good, but if you can get ahead of the trends and be one step in front of your competitors, your business truly has the chance to be great.

 4. “Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them.” – Mia Hamm (U.S. Soccer Great)

I think Mia Hamm wanted to let others know that they should always be striving for greatness, no matter what field they’re in. If you just landed a big client, turned in an amazing project or just passed your sales goals, it’s important to continue to strive for the next big thing.

 5. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it” – Michael Jordan (6-time NBA Champion)

Michael Jordan, probably the greatest human being ever to play basketball, was a pretty competitive guy. So competitive, in fact, that when he said this he might have been talking about literally running through a brick wall because somebody said he couldn’t do it.  This quote, while it definitely applies to athletes (and people who need to get past a literal wall), it also applies to business. It’s important to keep moving forward, no matter what obstacle gets in your way, from a difficult client to a seemingly impossible engineering problem. It’s important to move forward, keep going and work around your obstacles.

  6. “It doesn’t matter what your background is and where you come from, if you have dreams and goals that’s all that matters” – Serena Williams (Tennis Superstar)

I’ll admit, this quote is a little bit of a cop-out. It can really apply to any part of your life but it applies fittingly to business as well. No matter what your goals are, it’s important to realize that nothing is impossible. Whether you want your own business to grow to become an industry giant or if you want to get a promotion, your goals can become a reality with some hard work!

 7. “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.” – Jackie Joyner-Kersey (Track and Field)

I think that this quote is very fitting in today’s rapidly changing technological landscape. While Jackie Joyner-Kersey (3-time gold medalist) was talking about competing in the Olympics against a field of much younger competition, this quote can apply to your everyday business needs as well. Adopting new technologies (for any purpose) can be beneficial to the growth of the company. That can mean anything from setting up a Snapchat or Instagram account to trying to engage the Millennials, or investing in robust ERP software, don’t let yourself fall too far behind in regards to technological trends. Be willing to innovate! Don’t let years of doing things a certain way stop you from adopting a new trend or technology, it just might help and make things easier.

 8. “As the leader, part of the job is to be visible and willing to communicate with everyone” – Bill Walsh (American Football Coach)

This quote goes out to all the leaders out there, whether you’re a team lead, manager or CEO. If you lead you should listen to the wise words of Bill Walsh. Communication is an essential part of team success. If you lead a team of people you need to be available and ready to listen to your team and ensure they are all working in tandem. This cannot be done without top of the line communication. While your team members may have very little in common with the NFL athletes Bill Walsh had on his teams, the job of a leader is the same, no matter the situation.

 9. “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath (NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback)

Throughout history, there are hundreds of variations of this quote, said by people from all different walks of life. It boils down to the idea of doing whatever you do to the best of your abilities, giving it your all and bringing everything you can to the table.

 10. “In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”  – Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame baseball player and manager

This quote needs no explanation. Which one of these types of people do you want to be? The choice is up to you!

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What do you think of our list of quotes? Let us know your favorite sports and business quotes. We’d love to hear from you on Twitter: @VeridayHQ #MotivationMonday

How can you improve your customers’ digital experience? [Infographic]

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Why is a digital customer experience strategy important for businesses? First of all, 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. In a real in-store shopping experience, customers tend to be more forgiving and far less quick to assign blame than in the digital world. In the digital world, the blame for a bad experience is immediately put on the organization and as a result of the digital revolution, customers ultimately have higher expectations for digital experiences.

Below is an infographic elaborating on why digital customer experience is important and 3 keys to ensure your business has an effective one.
3-keys-to-better-cx-1000w

An effective digital customer experience is centered around having a solid understanding of your customer, including knowing their age, what they value, challenges they face, their goals and so on.  Answering these questions and mapping your customer’s journey can help you identify what is missing from their perspective and experience.

A consumer’s impression of a brand is made up of many individual touch points; it is the sum of every experience a consumer has with your brand. With the number of different touch points on the rise, it is important that you take into account that each interaction with your brand is a piece of the overall experience.

Companies can continuously learn from the actions and behaviors of their consumers, and evolve the experience to match it. Use your customer data to anticipate the behavior of your customers, and plan for the future, instead of just reacting to what your customers are doing right now.

 

8 Reasons why Investing in an Extranet could be Beneficial for your Business

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8 Reasons to Invest in an Extranet

An extranet can help give your company an edge over the competition.  Extranets help streamline processes, workflows, and business functions, while cutting your overhead costs. Below is an infographic with 8 reasons to invest in an extranet to benefit your business.

Benefits of Extranet

Extranet Infographics

Should I consider an intranet for my business?

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In a constantly evolving and innovative digital world, you always want to be searching for the next best thing. If you want your business to gain a competitive edge and keep your employees engaged, an intranet may be for you. After all, a happy worker is a productive worker and that keeps your business moving forward.

Below is an infographic showing just some of the uses and benefits of an intranet for your business.

Intranet

If you like this infographic about benefits of an intranet let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ !

4 Key Takeaways as Financial Services Go Modular

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This post was authored by Martin Yan and originally appeared here on Liferay.com

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Since the late 90s, banks and other financial institutions have witnessed a steep decline in customer loyalty. With high fixed costs due to branches and personnel, the traditional options are no longer as appealing to consumers as they once were before.

The financial industry as a whole is becoming more modular, which means that in any major transaction, no single supplier will have sole ownership over a customer—clients will be able to pick and choose from multiple providers. Customers are taking advantage of digital technology to reduce costs of transactions while using mobile applications or platforms to achieve greater levels of familiarity and convenience. Already, some firms are having to make adjustments by settling for smaller roles in a customer’s purchasing journey.

So, what does this all mean for big banks, challenger start-ups and consumers? We offer 4 key takeaways for the financial sector.

1. Operating platforms must undergo transformation

Many large banks and insurers are operating with legacy systems that are costly and outdated. These old, inflexible processes will drive costs through ongoing maintenance and additional “add-ons,” ultimately proving to be unsustainable in the long run. Of course, some firms will attempt to outsource this work for standardized processes (e.g., loan payments processing), but the majority will be tasked with having to completely rebuild their internal systems from the ground up. The challenge is great, but there’s certainly great upside to this—everything from cost savings due to reduced IT maintenance costs to less operational risks moving forward. Either way, firms will need to find an answer for their platforms or risk becoming obsolete.

2. Organizational leadership needs to evolve, too

We’ve explored this point in other posts. A transformation doesn’t merely occur with a new product offering or IT implementation, as important as that is. But a real transformation involves a complete shift in business strategy, and it has to impact the organization from top to bottom, starting with the top executives. They’ll need to embrace a customer-centric mindset that puts a premium on customer experience over immediate ROI. This includes everything from rearranging teams and hiring the right talent, to rewiring business operations across the entire organization. It could also mean determining overall weaknesses and strengths, then seeking opportunities to invest, expand, and strategize with external partners to achieve greater revenues.

3. Modular markets won’t be immune to difficulty

Fintech start-ups and other challenger banks have been capitalizing on this movement, but the fact remains: big, traditional firms still hold an advantage. The barrier of entry for new entrants is high, especially when you consider having to deal with current regulatory compliance, existing customer bases, secure environments and proper distribution channels. The firms that are looking to stay one step ahead will need to manage their operations and invest in creative strategies that allow future flexibility. This could mean partnering with new capital and infrastructure suppliers, lowering overhead and operating costs, and discovering new ways to access more potential clients.

4. Customers are the clear-cut winners 

As the entire industry becomes modularized, it will also be more streamlined and accountable. Firms will become more transparent about their pricing, which will invite competition from both new entrants and old stalwarts. This means business will be driven towards those who simply offer the best overall product or service experience. With lower costs, faster operations, and better service in the horizon, consumers certainly stand to win the most.

Granted, it’s hard to predict just how much of an impact modular services will have on the financial sector. Factors such as consumer behavior, regulatory compliance and disruptive technology are key variables that must be considered.

But what’s for certain is that staying stagnant is no longer an option. Companies need to undergo a ground-up evaluation and reconstruction of their strategy, starting with their legacy systems and back office operations.

The industry is changing—the customers are no longer waiting.

What is the first step in a Website Design? The Customer comes first.

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So, you’ve decided that it is about time to change or re-brand your website. When redesigning your website, what comes to mind first? Do you start thinking about the content, what to showcase on the website, or do you start thinking of the layout and graphics? As tempting as those may sound, you’re ignoring one of the most important things – your customers. The most important step to a website design is understanding your target audience; how they want to use your website, and what they want to see. Or, as Steve Jobs put it, “you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”

Everything starts with the customer. It is difficult to create a website for a customer that you don’t fully understand. Building a website before getting to know the needs of your target audience can lead to a mismatch of experience. Are you targeting avid smartphone users but don’t keep in mind the variety of smartphone screen resolutions? Is the website able to showcase your product or service’s value proposition in 8 seconds (which is the average human’s attention span)? These questions are asked when building out your product so using the same type of steps seems logical when creating a website for your audience to discover your product or service.

So, where do you start?

  1. Assess the target market: This is very important, and commonly overlooked. What is the demographic that you’re trying to reach? What are their habits when it comes to researching online? Take the time to research everything about your buyer by interviewing current customers, ideal customers, and even prospects that haven’t purchased your product or service. As Bill Gates once said, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. Gathering this information will help to identify and understand who is visiting your site, what they are doing on your site, and what exactly they hope to accomplish from visiting your site. After all, if you don’t know what your customers want and need, then you won’t know how to give it to them. This will help you identify the main objective and goals of your website redesign. Fully understanding your customer gives each page of your website design a clear purpose and will guide every website decision that you make.
  2. Assess the competitors: What types of websites do your competitors have? Conducting a competitive analysis is an important part of a website design. This will give you a good idea of how to differentiate, how to beat them, or where you should focus your efforts. Understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses is necessary to improving your competitive edge. It is also helpful to assess your competitors’ websites through the eyes of your target market. This will help you to build a strategy on how to effectively design your website with the objective of guiding your target audience through the buyer’s journey.
  3. Focus on implementing your customer’s wants and needs: This is where you start implementing the wants and needs of your target audience. After all, your best salesperson (your website) needs to be equipped to support your buyer’s journey. Take the data you have and use that to guide the design of your website. First, start with the needs. Things like mobile functionality and a responsive design were wants a decade ago, but now they are a universal need. This means that it should be a seamless experience throughout your website when it is used on different platforms. During the initial website creation, think about the goals, questions and concerns your buyers may have along the way.
  4. Build the website, test, launch, then repeat every so often. Creating a website isn’t a static process. While understanding the target audience is definitely the first step in a website design, you can’t just forget about them after your website is launched. After your website has launched, test it with your audience, and use visitor data to constantly improve and evolve your website with the customer journey.

Is Digital Transformation in your Organization’s Future?

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Digital transformation has become an overused phrase in the workplace. According to Forbes, digital transformation is the use of technologies to radically improve the performance or reach of an enterprise. 78% of respondents across a wide range of industries said that achieving digital transformation is a priority for them within the next 2 years (MIT Center for Digital Business). But, what does this mean and how can you leverage digital transformation to your organization’s advantage?

In business, digital transformation can involve changes to the foundational components of an organization; from its operating model to its digital infrastructure. A transformation program touches every function of a business; from marketing and sales to operations. The process of digital transformation can be expensive and risky. Generally speaking, businesses that go through this transformation are the ones that have failed to evolve and keep up with their industry, and as a result, are playing catch up.

For large organizations, digital transformation takes a significant amount of resources and time, a cross-functional set of business skills, and a strong understanding of customer and employee needs in regards to their digital experiences with your organization. Putting your organization through digital transformation can be a risky process, although, if done right, it can produce great benefits for your employees, clients, and organization.

Keep in mind that digital transformation is not for every organization. Organizations that continue to foster a culture of constant evolution and cross-functional collaboration are always transforming. Organizations that aren’t constantly evolving and adapting are generally the ones that need digital transformation to be able to compete with competitors in their industry.

Employee productivity

In recent years, there has been a heavier focus on digital initiatives in most (if not all) industries. Businesses are starting to see digital initiatives as a means to help better engage customers externally and employees internally. 58% of businesses surveyed now look to digital to help sell profitably and 56% of businesses assess the impact of digital in relation to customer experience (Accenture).

On an internal level, digital transformation has the potential to empower your workforce. Implementing the right digital tools can help ease the collaboration process across departments and geography within your organization. Done right, digital transformation can help integrate and streamline entire business processes. A streamlined process means fewer unnecessary emails, errors and delays since workflows are being assigned to the correct employees. Through features like role-based workflows, you are able to assign tasks to specific individuals, which in turn will reduce the amount of work that falls through the cracks. With the ability to add, edit, share and collaborate on essential data, your teams can resolve problems more quickly and in real-time, which in turn can help your organization not only meet, but exceed client needs.

For more information on elevating employee engagement by going digital, click here.

Customer experience

Being productive, and efficient internally is important for an organization because a good customer experience starts with your internal team. With well-functioning internal processes, your customer experience has a significantly better chance of being successful.

A study done by Forrester Consulting concluded that 63% of organizations planned to improve their online customer experiences this year. Digital transformation is a customer-driven business transformation initiative rather than a strictly technical challenge. Throughout the customer journey, customers will interact with your organization across more than one channel within their journey. It’s important to ensure that the customer experience across all of your channels is consistent and positive, especially on the digital front.

Increase in sales

Companies that have embraced digital transformation are 26% more profitable than their average industry competitors and enjoy a 12% higher market valuation (MIT Center for Digital Business). While sales are important, what is more important is gaining the knowledge of how those sales are made. In today’s digital age, most consumers will almost exclusively interact with and learn about organizations through digital channels. With a better understanding of your customers, an increase in productivity and an improved overall customer experience, your organization will not only become more profitable but will have also build a stronger brand. By having a positive, well rounded brand reputation, your organization is more likely to succeed in retaining clients and converting prospects, especially when they are deciding between you and a competitor.

Promotes a positive and forward-thinking company culture

According to PA Consulting, only 26% of people think their firm has the right mindset to survive and thrive in the digital age. Across the three dimensions of digital transformation – organization, operational process, and technology – businesses are making strides, but they are still struggling with traditional silos and lack of alignment (Accenture). Many firms are stuck offering an “average” digital experience, meaning that they have a limited understanding of what to do next, how to do it, and how to measure the success of each digital experience. Embracing technology and using it to improve your organization’s business processes and engagement rates can create a company culture that encourages creativity and innovation.

Through the process of digital transformation (although it is different for every organization), you are working towards improving the way you run your business, how your employees interact within the organization, and how your external communication channels can improve. The process of planning how your organization will go through digital transformation and enhance business processes can promote out-of-the-box and creative thinking. By taking the initiative to innovate and change big things within your company, you are cultivating an environment that is open to change and improvement. Creating a company culture where development and creativity is encouraged can promote a positive, innovative, and forward-thinking company culture that you can be proud of.

Not one person alone can make digital transformation happen. It requires a company-wide buy in, strong collaboration, and executive advocacy. The motivation can’t come solely from the C-suite. The brainstorming and input on the transformation process must come from all levels of an organization. Take a look at the image below, courtesy of Bobby Albert. 96% of problems are not known to top managers. This statistic speaks to the importance of ensuring every individual in your organization has a say in regards to modifying processes, making improvements, and how to go about your organizations’ digital transformation.

Digital Transformation Iceberg
Now is the time for organizations to re-examine their businesses processes before they are left too far behind in the digital age. In a time where digital is transforming how we do things, it is more important than ever to ensure that your organization is evolving and reacting to the changing digital times.

 

The Business Case for Liferay DXP

4 Ways Technology Can Help Increase Customer Engagement

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Technology isn’t just changing the day to day of many companies by giving them the tools to be more efficient, it is also changing the way that companies engage with the customer. Prior to the Internet, customer engagement was fairly limited to the traditional forms of advertising and interaction. It used to be safe to assume that a customer made a purchase due to a flyer they received, or a referral from a friend or family.

Now, the definition of customer engagement isn’t static. It’s consistently evolving with the company and consumer due to new trends, technologies, and techniques. The broadest definition would be the interaction between the consumer and business through any channel that the business is on. Thanks to the Internet and technology, consumers can and do interact and engage with companies from anywhere and at anytime, 24/7.

Great customer engagement is not something you can just buy; it is a competitive advantage that can only be earned through continuous improvement and evolution. However, technology is one tool that can help you get there. Here are 4 ways technology can help to increase customer engagement:

1. Technology can help make customer experience more personalized. The new era of technology allows for ‘personalized marketing’. Personalized marketing is advertising to a consumer based on what their interests are – which are collected thanks to Internet cookies and browsing history. Take Amazon for example; if you’ve been searching for headphones for the past 5 minutes, the “recommended for you” section would most likely include headphones. This worked out well for the online retailer as it was able to generate an additional 10% to 30% more revenue. This is not only beneficial for the businesses’ bottom line, but it increases customer engagement. Due to this engagement strategy, 44% of consumers in 2015 started their product searches on Amazon.

Technologies, such as Liferay, allow you to tailor your website to the needs and preferences of each individual with targeted information and segment identification, giving your visitors exactly what they’re looking for. You are able to get a full view of your customers and personalize their experiences from start to finish.

2. Technology can help you to simplify processes. New technologies that compact and simplify complex functions are developed everyday. Implementing these new types of technology, such as a new portal technology, can help to make transactions, searches, or processes more efficient. A great example of this is the new ‘mobile cheque deposit’ feature that mobile banking offers. Prior to the widespread use of this feature, a customer had to deposit the physical cheque at one of the bank’s branches. The mobile cheque deposit feature simplifies the process of physically going to the bank to deposit a cheque to just taking a picture of it, regardless of your distance to the bank. This enhancement in customer experience will also lead to more engagement. Why? The customer is happier that a simple task is convenient and takes significantly less time. These processes could be anything from an online purchase to an email. Another example would be Amazon’s “one-click purchase” This simple improvement increases their engagement by drastically reducing the steps needed to order something which in turn improves the experience and simplifies the process.

The Liferay Digital Experience Platform’s modern interface, built-in features and easy integration helps you create portals that let your customers complete their transactions, access documents and get information online. For example, York University recently implemented Liferay technology to create a Portal for its students. It was flexible enough to implement many features in a fairly simple user interface such as financial account information, personalized exam schedules, and university news. The full case study can be found here.

3. Technology provides you with data to improve the customer experience. Most technology can be monitored in some way through some metric, such as time. Using just the time metric, you can assess what processes take the longest time and improve accordingly. These metrics can be extended to data showing a visitor’s complete journey through the portal or website, or where an individual spends most of their time, which can then provide insight into how to personalize the experience or make it more efficient (relating back to #2). Overall, it can help you improve and evolve the experience to match the buyer journey.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” The secret to customer engagement lies in the abilities to know your customers inside and out, predict their wants and needs, and build the entire customer experience around this information. With technologies such as Liferay, you can build a website that allows you to create and track highly targeted marketing campaigns that present the right message to your visitors at the right time, based on social profile, behaviour and browsing history. Taking advantage of this technology will help you to evolve and improve upon the customer experience based on the customer’s behaviour.

4. Technology can be a platform for you to help resolve customers’ problems, and provide convenience and control. Technology shouldn’t just be limited to assisting with the business’ day-to-day processes; it can be extended to help the business communicate with the customer. Recent statistics show that if you resolve a complaint in the customer’s favour, they’re 70% more likely to do business with you again. A online self-service portal keeps your customers engaged with your brand and website and allows you to manage customer relationships in a scalable way. Consider the facts below:

  • 91% of survey respondents said they would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs (zendesk)
  • 3 out of 4 consumers prefer to solve their customer service issue on their own (aspect)
  • 40% of consumers prefer self-service over human contact (The Self-Service Economy)

There is a noticeable shift in consumers’ behaviour, and thanks to this portal technology, you will be able to react. From Omnichannel support to tracking the customers journey throughout to ensure they don’t have to backtrack in support when switching channels.  Overall, self service portals can provide your customers service on their own terms, make online answers easy for customers to find, and provide Omnichannel support.

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Taking advantage of technology, in some of the ways mentioned above, can help lead to great customer engagement, loyalty and retention. If you need help sorting through the many technology options, in order to find the right fit for your business, feel free to contact us!

3 Keys to a Better Digital Customer Experience

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Every second, Google processes over 40,000 search queries, which translates to over 2.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion searches per year. Every minute of every day, nearly 700,000 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, and 571 new websites are created. Most importantly, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. The fact that consumers are going through the majority of the buyer’s journey online means that your corporate or brand’s digital customer experience is one of the most important assets in the marketing world today. In fact, it is predicted that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator (Source).

So, why is a digital customer experience strategy important for businesses? First of all, as many as 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Additionally, research by Forrester found that the revenue impact from a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion.

In a real in-store shopping experience, customers tend to be more forgiving and far less quick to assign blame than in the digital world. In the digital world, the blame for a bad experience is immediately put on the organization and as a result of the digital revolution, customers ultimately have higher expectations for digital experiences.

It is more important than ever that your organization delivers an online experience that supports and nurtures prospects along the entire customer journey. Being “digital” is no longer just about having a great website. Nowadays, businesses need to consider a range of touchpoints including mobile, tablets, social media, websites, apps and more.

So, how can you build a strong digital experience? Here are three of the most important keys to delivering consistently great online experiences.

Know Your Customers

Think about who your customers are:

  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they value?
  • What are their challenges?
  • What are their goals?
  • What do they care most about? What motivates them?
  • What engages them?
  • How do they want to connect with you?

Answering these questions, and mapping your customer’s journey can help you identify what is missing from their perspective and experience.

A good digital customer experience is centered on having a solid understanding of your customer, including knowing the answers to the questions above. Companies are finding that a better understanding of their customers and their journey can lead to significant business results. This means catering your customers throughout all of their interactions with your brand or organization – not just when they are ready to buy, or during and after a sale. After all, it is often the little details that your customers recall. Map your customer’s journey and cater to your customers’ touchpoints, individual problems, interests, needs, and wants. Delivering the best digital experience is ultimately about knowing your customers like the back of your hand; delivering the best experience at the right time, and through the right channels.

Keep the Experience Consistent

A consumer’s impression of a brand is made up of many individual touch points; it is the sum of every experience a consumer has with your brand. With the number of different touch points on the rise, it is important that you take into account that each interaction with your brand is a piece of the overall experience. When companies provide inconsistent digital experiences, the consumer ends up with a negative impression of the brand (…and it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience).

Ensure all of your channels work together to create one seamless experience. Will customers pull up your website on their mobile devices or tablets and be just as pleased if they were to pull it up on their desktop? 9 out of 10 consumers expect a consistent cross-channel experience, but 87% feel brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience (Source). Consistency is the key to making your customers happy, and turning them into loyal ambassadors.

Evolve the Experience

How do companies constantly redefine and evolve desired experiences to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations? The shift to digital has created a unique opportunity for companies to measure, analyze, experiment and tweak in real-time. By digging into digital analytics, you can tap into trends, and gain detailed data driven insights and perceptions to apply to your evolving digital experience.

Companies can continuously learn from the actions and behaviors of their consumers, and evolve the experience to match it. Use your customer data to anticipate the behavior of your customers, and plan for the future, instead of just reacting to what your customers are doing right now.

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By 2020, the demand for an omnichannel customer experience will be amplified by the need for nearly perfect execution (Source). Sure, it can be hard to deliver a consistent experience and redefine your digital experience in real time. Especially given that the underlying technology ecosystems have grown more complex due to new communication channels. But, if you take advantage of the platforms out there it can be much more doable. One example of a digital experience platform is Liferay. The Liferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is designed to help companies create and manage experiences that support the end-to-end customer relationship. With Liferay DXP, digital innovation leaders can enable every business unit in the enterprise to serve the customer consistently, by integrating deeply with business operations and continuously building a better understanding of the customer with every interaction.

The Future of Customer Service is Online Self-Service Portals

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We’ve all been there. We have all been on the receiving end of the frustrating “hold music” when you’ve called an organization to resolve an issue. “One moment please. Your call is important to us. A representative will be with you shortly”…repeated… again….and again. Being put on hold when you call a customer-service department has become a fact of life. In fact, according to a survey by ResearchNow, the average person will spend 43 days on hold with automated customer service in one lifetime. Unfortunately, when people think about calling a customer service line, it is usually accompanied by negative and unenthusiastic feelings.

Consider these scenarios as well: Have you ever waited in line for an ATM machine even though there is nobody in line for the teller inside the bank? Have you ever arrived at an airport and chose to use a kiosk, rather then going to a person at the desk, despite being no line? Often, as consumers, we try to avoid situations where we can’t help ourselves in some shape or form. A recent study by Zendesk confirmed that 67% of respondents prefer self-service to speaking to a company representative.

Online self-service is becoming one of the most popular channels by which customers are looking to resolve problems and learn more about organizations. Today’s digital customers are happier when they can manage and complete their tasks at any time they want, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Is your brand delivering on what customers want?

Consider these facts:

  • 3 out of 4 consumers prefer to solve their customer service issue on their own (aspect)
  • 90% of consumers expect an organization to offer self-service customer support portal; 60% of consumers have a more favorable view of the brand if the self-service offering is mobile responsive (parature)
  • 73% of consumers want the ability to solve product/service issues on their own; one-third say they’d rather ‘clean a toilet’ than speak with customer service (parature)
  • 91% of survey respondents said they would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs (zendesk)
  • 75% of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails, and Forrester estimates that unnecessary service costs to online retailers due to channel escalation are $22 million on average

Why self-service?

As consumers, we like to schedule appointments, troubleshoot problems, change a reservation, ask billing questions, get status updates, seek technical support, access FAQs, and ask our own questions, with minimal human interaction.

There are 3 underlying themes as to why consumers prefer online self-service:

  1. According to a survey done by zendesk, 75% of survey respondents said that self-service is a convenient way to address customer service issues. Customers can do it any time they want and take as long as they need.  Phone and email support can’t measure up to the timeliness of online self-service.
  2. Additionally, customers want online self-service for efficiency. Forrester found that 77% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do to provide them with good customer service. Customers do not long for conversation and don’t want to be waiting in a queue to talk to a person, only to be transferred to a different department after already waiting. They want to get online, find what they are looking for, click around, and be done – as painlessly as possible, so that they can get back to what they were doing before they had the issue.
  3. Lastly, customers want control. Customers are increasingly being empowered to do almost anything themselves online. They do not want to have to rely on other people to do what they can do themselves. The customer does not want to give up control to the company but would prefer to take it into their own hands. Give your customers service on their own terms, not yours. 

Why self-service is also great news for companies

Online self-service is not only a good thing for customers. The shift towards online self-service is hugely beneficial for companies as well:

  1. Online self-service keeps your customers engaged with your brand and website.  A self service portal allows you to manage your customer relationships in a scalable way, as your company grows.
  2. Centralizes information and tools so that customers will always know where to find the information that they need.
  3. Online self-service provides companies with insight that simple website analytics can’t provide. Companies can track what their customers are doing on their self-service portals to get a clearer picture of their customers and experience with the brand.  This allows companies to continuously improve the experience based on observing what their customers are doing.
  4. Online self service portals are the most cost-efficient customer service channel.  A well built self service centre has the potential to be huge cost-savings for organizations.  By allowing your customers to track information online, in one place, you can lower the number of calls coming into your customer support centre

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Customers are making it clear that they are eager for effective self-service. But, they have also made it clear that the self-service experience that they want must perform seamlessly. Online self-service is only convenient, efficient, and control granting if you are giving your customers a great experience. On the flip side, a negative self-service experience provides your customers with an inconvenient and frustrating experience, forcing them to switch channels to get their issue resolved, which can be quite costly for the company.

So, how can your organization create an online self-service experience that lives up to customer expectations? Stay tuned for a new post, coming soon, where we will discuss the keys to creating a self-service experience that supports your customers and brand.