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Today's customers evaluate a company on the experience that they receive. Oftentimes, the entire sales cycle experience (pre-sales, purchase and post-purchase) is as important to them as the actual product or service. Today's multi-tasking customers are juggling multiple channels at one time, usually on multiple devices. Servicing these customers requires companies to be always alert, frequent the same channels as customers and be consistent in their customer service across channels. Due to the influence of digital channels and shifting customer loyalties, more and more companies are becoming "customer obsessed." There is a continuous strategizing about how to woo the customer, how to deliver a wow experience every time and how to win trust to gain a larger wallet share. There are five typical traits that customer-obsessed companies possess, according to Mandeep Singh Kwatra, VP of Solutions and Capabilities and CX Strategy Services Leader of HGS, a leader in business process management (BPM) and optimizing the customer experience lifecycle. 1. They reserve a seat at the boardroom table for a resident expert of customer intelligence. Many companies are bringing a customer experience leadership executive into their C-suite: either a chief customer officer (CCO) or customer experience officer (CXO). These team members will have the requisite knowledge and expertise to make use of customer data and lead transformational CX strategy. Companies talk about how important customer service is to them and are diligent about collecting data; however, the data may be meaningless without a sound strategy for interpretation and reporting. 2. They focus on customer retention over acquisition. According to Bain & Company research, increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. Most companies are single-mindedly focused on acquiring more customers and draw up their marketing plans specifically to attract more new customers. What's the cost of customer acquisition compared to retention? There's no definitive answer; however, most sources cite acquisition costs as between four and 10 times more than retention. It's usually less expensive to market to existing customers with a consistent, unified customer experience across channels. 3. They blend multiple sources of customer data. Today, your customers don't reach you by the phone or in person only. They prefer to use digital channels like social media, text, chat and apps, and that is only the beginning. This spectrum is going to grow, with new Internet of Things solutions coming out every year. With so many different communication channels, there are numerous sources where valuable customer information is available. Customer preferences vary with each channel, so it's essential to study and understand data from all sources before making changes. Using data from multiple sources helps you make better predictions about customer needs, predict purchase behavior, and above all, personalize customer experience. 4. They develop post-transaction interactions with customers. In a digital, customer-centric world, companies may forget to reach out to the customer after a successful sale is complete. It is important for a customer-centric organization to engage with their customers even after they make a purchase and continue to communicate over the longer term. Ongoing communication helps companies to continuously gather customer feedback and learn about changing customer preferences. 5. They make room for customer needs. Often companies try to solve problems of the past. In fact, the focus should be on how the future will shape tomorrow's optimized CX – how will customers communicate, engage, buy and live. Customer-obsessed companies keep a futuristic outlook to managing their customers not just today but with a view to maintaining the same standard or higher service in the future, too. They are always flexible in accommodating customer needs in their marketing and customer service plans. These companies understand that customer needs do not always align with their own goals. So they factor in room for customer needs when formulating their customer service plans. This may mean bringing in CX experts, such as business process management (BPM) companies, to provide digital roadmaps and customer journey maps, supported by technology implementation expertise. Ultimately, delighted customers are your greatest marketing, with the best ROI. Refine your CX approach, for a customer obsession that delivers. Article published by Anna Hill Image credit by Getty Images, DigitalVision Vectors, gobyg Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
One of the UK's leading universities has announced plans to appoint 30 highly prestigious Chancellor’s Fellowships in Data-Driven Innovation. The University of Edinburgh is aiming to attract academics across a range of disciplines who will focus on data-enabled research to drive innovation across eight industrial sectors, including: • Digital Technologies • Health & Social Care • Space & Satellite Analysis • Financial Services & Fintech • ‘Agritech’ initiative • Public Sector (‘Govtech’) • Robotics & Autonomous Systems • Creative Industries, Tourism & Festivals The broad sectoral scope of the Fellowships within a data innovation theme is believed to be a first for a UK university. The appointments are part of the University's commitment to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal’s Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) Programme, a partnership with Heriot-Watt University. Candidates will already have established a reputation for the high quality of their data-driven research and innovation and will have a commitment to developing their skills in on-line teaching at scale at a University level. Colleagues with translational-industrial, public and third sector linkages, international academics and those interested in interdisciplinary collaboration are particularly welcomed. Chancellor’s Fellows will initially concentrate on world class research and innovation working closely with the private, public and third sector in a data-enabled theme, with a focus on delivering high impact results. The University will provide a generous start-up package and training in contemporary on-line and blended education and industry engagement skills. Colleagues will be expected to progressively take up more of these core academic activities over time. It is anticipated that following a successful review the majority of Chancellor’s Fellows will transition to an open-ended post at an appropriate grade. The 15-year DDI Programme aims to establish the region as the data capital of Europe, attracting investment, fuelling entrepreneurship, and contributing to inclusive growth. Learn more and apply for a Chancellor's Fellowship > The University of Edinburgh’s achievements in informatics have been ranked as first in Research Power in the UK by the body that assesses the quality of research in higher education institutions. Professor Jonathan Seckl, Vice-Principal for Planning, Resources and Research Policy, commented: “This investment will contribute to a number of state-of-the-art facilities underpinned by the ethos of the ‘porous university’ in which research leaders, innovative educators, students, industry and public sector experts ‘breath the same air’ in interactive facilities to co-create the benefits to derive from our leading position in data sciences and artificial intelligence.” Announced in 2017, the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal is a £1.1bn ($1.5bn) investment from the UK and Scottish governments, local authorities, and universities and colleges. Relocation support and immigration fee assistance is available for colleagues who need to move to take up the Fellowship. This includes practical support for a spouse or partner. For more information about the assistance available, visit the website Relocation Support . For more information about the Chancellor’s Fellowships and the opportunities available, visit the website Chancellor's Fellowships Opportunities . Article published by Anna Hill Image credit by Chris Hepburn Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
As I continue my Blockchain Spotlight series , I find that the world still hasn’t found the killer app that the typical consumer will understand and enjoy, but in this column, I think we’ve come very close. In late January 2018, I attended the Crypto Funding Summit conference and was impressed with a few companies there, one of which was Ponder . Ponder is a decentralized matchmaking platform that already exists outside the blockchain with over 70,000 members. Their system isn’t a dating site per se, it is a game for playing matchmaker. For every match you make of people (you connect them to each other, and they mutually ‘like’ each other), you win $10. If they go on to get married, you will win $1,000. The financial aspect is managed within the system as “Ponder Dollars”. The focus is on human interaction and human referrals – the matchmaking for dating is just one implementation of it. The move to blockchain will be the Ponder Gold token which will be launched in parallel to the existing fiat-based Ponder Dollars. Ponder Gold tokens provide advantages for holders in the core matchmaking game. These people will be directed to the most successful Matchmakers in the game, thus improving their chances of a successful match. Matchmakers who hold the Gold token will be presented with the most active singles, thus increasing their odds that their matches will get accepted by the players and improve everyone's chance of earning more Ponder Dollars. I wonder, however, about the active singles as it would indicate a serial dater who isn’t necessarily going to be getting married anytime soon, but that’s another story. When a user joins, it is either as a Single or a Matchmaker, but singles can also play as matchmakers. You get $20 Ponder Dollars for free when you sign up. After you have made 10 matches, you can cash out to real dollars at a 1:1 conversion rate. The performance of a Matchmaker is based on their match rate, which is the percent of the suggestions that lead to a match and the number of matches created. Matchmaker levels range from 1 to 10 based on the quantity and quality. Each new level provides new rewards and abilities within the game to make the whole experience more interesting. What hasn’t been deployed yet, but will be part of the Gold Token-based game, is the notion of groups. In some way you can think of it like a Facebook group, or a “tribe”. This is where you can setup your vertical market interest group, maybe it is based on religion or activities like runners, hikers, or maybe it is fans of Star Wars or Twilight. It provides a way to group together like-minded people easily, and theoretically, this will increase the odds of good matches. A group is created by paying 100 Gold Tokens to set it up and then sets the rules for the group, such as cost to join or minimum viable number of members: I was pleased to see that Ponder requires all users to pass through the Civic secure identity management platform before holding the Ponder token. The online dating community is flooded with scammers and fake profiles. Having a cost to enter and the verification of identity makes a powerful disincentive for scammers to try and make fake profiles. Saving that validation on the blockchain will increase trust and improve security within their app ecosystem. In addition, each user’s activity in the app will generate information from the app and other members of the community that will be used to help in the matching process. Apart from background data collected from social networks and through Civic, each user will generate information from their activities on the app and from other members of the community. This multi-party data entry is important to the matching processes, and therefore, it is important that an auditable trail on the blockchain helps ensure that users are portrayed accurately and that conflicts are resolved easily. When I spoke with Ponder CEO Manshu Agarwal about their long-range goals, he said, “Most of your meaningful relationships develop from an introduction. Most of us spend a lot of our lives building social capital by doing favors or making useful introductions. What we are want to do is help people monetize those social interactions from jobs to babysitters to spouses; give people a reason to input their social capital to improve connections. Humans are better at putting people together than machines are. Those personal introductions tend to provide more weight and therefore better connections.” By no accident, the Ponder ERC-20 token sale starts on Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2018) and will run through April 20, 2018. The bigger objective of Ponder to find a way to monetize social capital and improve human connections at every level is quite interesting, and the use of blockchain to store that information will keep it visible in a single location, thus improving the efficacy. Read more from this Blockchain Spotlight series . Article written by Shawn Gordon Image credit by Ponder Want more? For Job Seekers | For Employers | For Influencers
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