Study Reveals More than 2/3 of Marketing & IT Leaders Report Being “More Effective” Due to Collaboration
To meet the needs of today's evolving digital, mobile and social world, marketing and technology executives are finding collaboration across people, processes and technologies is leading to more effective business outcomes. To demonstrate how organizations are embracing collaboration, Oracle, in partnership with Leader Networks and Social Media Today, launched an executive study revealing opportunities and obstacles for senior marketing and technology leaders to more effectively collaborate and to deliver real-world business value. The results of the survey highlight how marketing and technology teams are working together, when they are working in silos, and the business value of becoming a socially enabled enterprise.
Marketing and technology roles are changing: Both marketers and IT leaders report seeing their roles evolve due to a greater emphasis on social business activities. Both groups indicate they now have the ability to collaborate more effectively. They also recognize the need to acquire new skills and hire new skillsets to meet the needs of today’s evolving digital, mobile and social landscape.
Marketers lead the collaboration charge: Marketing respondents were more likely to report a higher level of collaboration than their IT/technology counterparts.
Current collaboration leaves room for growth: Only 36 percent of marketing respondents and 26 percent of IT/technology respondents report collaborating with each other “frequently” on projects. Slightly more than half of marketing and IT/technology respondents classify their collaboration as “adequate.” Sixteen percent of IT/technology respondents reported that collaboration with marketing is “non-existent.”
Despite challenges, collaboration is better than before: Very few respondents reported collaborating less than they did a year ago. Moreover, 41 percent of marketing and 38 percent of IT/technology leaders indicate improved collaboration from last year.
Collaboration delivers business value: More than two thirds of both marketing and technology leaders stated that they are “more effective” professionally due to increased collaboration. Reported benefits included stronger and more compelling marketing messages, faster speed-to-market, greater product adoption, project cost reductions, and fewer defects in product and services.
Survey: Big Changes Coming For Future Contact Centers
Dimension Data, the $5.8 billion global information and communications technology (ICT) services and solutions provider, announced the results of its 2013/2014 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, which uncovers significant challenges and emerging trends indicating that the contact center of the future requires a new caliber of technology and resources to keep clients engaged and employees happy.
To extract this information, Dimension Data surveyed 817 participants covering 11 business sectors in 79 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Australia, and the Middle East & Africa. Participants of the survey revealed the following:
Customers are increasingly dissatisfied with their contact center experiences, especially Generation X and Y, who demand a choice of multiple interaction points beyond phone calls, including web chat, smartphone applications and social media.
As contact centers continue to transition their communications platforms, front-line customer service staff are leaving their positions at a growing rate.
Web chat communications systems may be the remedy for increasing end-user dissatisfaction, as customers increasingly expect seamless interaction transitions from one channel to the next.
Contact center workers, end users remain dissatisfied
Contact centers are on an evolutionary path to become highly responsive, cross-channel multimedia hubs. This transformation is creating increased complexity for contact center agents because they are not always hired or trained to communicate within these new channels. As a result, contact center agent absenteeism is three times higher than contact center management; agent attrition is up an alarming 26 percent over 2012 rates. The 2013/2014 Contact Center Benchmarking Report notes that organizations must revamp their operating models, starting with properly trained agents – or risk losing them.
Customer satisfaction is also down for the fourth year running. Contact resolution rates have dropped for a fourth consecutive year, leaving customers with a three-in-four chance of having their issue resolved when contacting a service provider.
Preparing for multichannel engagement starts with hanging up the telephone
The global report shows that for Generation Y – individuals born between 1980 and 2000 – the phone is now the third choice of engagement after electronic messaging and smartphone applications. In addition, the preference gaps for Generation X (individuals born between 1961 and 1989) between phone, messaging, and social media is also narrowing.
Almost one third (31.8%) of contact center advisers are now handling transactions across a variety of emerging channels, such as smartphone applications. Social media and/or web chat deployments are also on the rise: 50.6 percent of contact centers currently offer, or have plans to implement, a web chat solution. The number of planned deployments increased 27.2 percent over the past 12 months, with a further 13.7 percent of survey participants expecting to have a solution in place over the next two years.
The report shows that organizations are aiming to shift 32.6 percent of contacts typically handled by agents to self-service channels. However, organizations under pressure to meet multichannel demands have rushed the haphazard implementation of solutions that only address one channel. As a result, self-help options in the contact center are not catching on as expected, and isolated technology systems are hindering the multichannel consumer experience. Omnichannel is the way forward, and customers want to hop seamlessly across channels and experience true connectedness. Omnichannel interactions that start on one channel and then continue on another, such as web chat, are no longer a “nice to have” feature, but a necessity.
Study Shows Dramatic Growth In Use of Incentives for Employees and Customers
A new study conducted by the Incentive Federation confirms that the non-cash incentives market is thriving with 74 percent of U.S. businesses spending $76.9 billion annually on incentive travel, merchandise and gift cards. The study also reveals that half of this market is driven by smaller businesses (between $1 million and $10 million in annual revenue), whose budgets may be tighter, but whose total volume generates $39 billion annually.
The study found that overall, U.S. businesses spend $22.6 billion annually on incentive travel and over $53 billion on merchandise and gift cards to reward employees, partners and customers.
Conducted in partnership with the Aspect Market Intelligence, the purpose of the study was to collect data from a national sample of nearly 2,000 business executives in order to estimate the current size and characteristics of the non-cash incentives marketplace.
The study also revealed:
98 percent of businesses running non-cash incentive programs include merchandise or gift cards, spending $54.3 billion each year.
46 percent of businesses running non-cash programs include incentive travel, spending $22.6 billion per year.
Non-cash employee awards are the most prevalent, with 56 percent of U.S. businesses having programs, followed closely by corporate gift programs.
Non-cash sales incentive programs are present in almost half of U.S. businesses, and non-cash customer loyalty programs are used in one-third, while one-quarter of U.S. firms use non-cash channel programs.
Gift cards are more frequently used for employee programs (88 percent) than for corporate gifts (55 percent), while merchandise is used relatively evenly.
The incidence of all program types tends to increase with firm size.
New Study from CorvisaCloud Reveals Top Customer Service Complaints
A new study commissioned by cloud-based contact center provider, CorvisaCloud, confirms a direct correlation between customer service management and a company’s bottom line while offering insight on what components of a customer service program are most important to customer retention and acquisition.
In the survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted by Zogby Analytics, CorvisaCloud shows that one in six customers would rather see their dentist than talk with a customer service agent. Why? One in five (20%) consumers say they’re most aggravated about having to repeat the same information to multiple customer service reps on the same call. And nearly a third (31%) of respondents will wait only five minutes before they hang up the phone, meaning that businesses without efficient customer support processes are looking at a considerable number of angry or lost customers.
Consumers are quick to voice their displeasure. The survey found that after a negative customer service experience one-third (34%) of consumers complain or ask for a manager, further elevating a company’s cost. A bigger concern for the business is that 16 percent of disgruntled consumers tell their friends and family and more than one in 10 (13%) go so far as to say they will never shop with that company again.
Conversely, the moment a customer contacts the company, the opportunity exists to create a solid ongoing relationship. Three in 10 (31%) customers who have a positive experience say they give positive feedback to the company and twenty-nine percent will continue to shop with them, perhaps even more frequently. And, a positive customer service might be the best form of marketing. Fourteen percent of respondents said they sing the praises of the company to friends and family after a positive experience.
Gartner says Cloud Computing will Become the Bulk of New IT Spend by 2016
The use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend, according to Gartner, Inc. 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
Gartner describes cloud computing as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered “as a service” using Internet technologies. It heralds an evolution of business in positive and negative ways. It has also become a hot industry term that has been used in many contradictory ways.
As enterprises build their cloud computing strategy, the program should be broken down into two primary IT centric work streams, two supporting IT work streams and a strategic business work stream. The two primary work streams are: the enterprise as a consumer of cloud services, and the enterprise as a provider of cloud services. When the enterprise is a consumer, the focus is on the IT-related capabilities delivered as a service. The main goal is determining if, when, where, how and why cloud services should be used. The hardware and software used to implement the service are handled by the service provider and are not a concern of the consumer. When the enterprise is a provider (e.g., building a private cloud) the focus shifts. Now the hardware, software and processes used to implement a cloud service are a primary focus. Service consumption only enters the equation to the extent a cloud service is used as part of the supply chain to develop and deliver the cloud service.
The supporting enterprise work streams are: securing, managing and governing cloud services, and building solutions based on cloud services. There must be software, appliances or services in place to facilitate the consumption and use of cloud service (e.g., provisioning onto a cloud infrastructure service). Cloud solutions may use any combination of cloud infrastructure, platform, software, information or business process services.
A final work stream focuses on the business. Besides being a consumer of cloud services or a provider of cloud services to an internal audience there are opportunities to use the cloud delivery model to provide services to customers and business partners. This represents an evolution of the enterprise's market-facing website and B2B initiatives such as EDI. IT should partner with the business to explore where the service delivery model, agility and elasticity attributes of the cloud style of computing support business optimization and innovation.