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The Missed Marketing Opportunity: Your Customers

Why would you let as much as one-third of your revenue walk out the door every year? And knowing it will, why include it in your forecast, and consider it a “success” as long as it’s no more than one-third?

This is exactly what many companies with subscription-based business models are doing.

The move to subscription-based business models has accelerated in the past decade, led by technology-services companies moving to cloud-based offerings. Most companies that have made this shift have benefited from having a recurring revenue stream and the ability (generally) for more automated sign-up and service options for prospects and customers.

But we missed something.

Recurring revenue means it’s critical to ensure that customers who walk in the front door this year don’t walk out the back door next year. Put another way, it means the value of renewing your customer’s subscription is just as high as starting the subscription in the first place.

A few of you who are doing this right may take exception to this, but in most of the organizations with which I’ve worked, the effort devoted to renewing customer subscriptions is not even close to the effort put into acquiring the customer in the first place. Ask yourself this: In your organization, how much of your budget and staff are devoted to ensuring customers renew? I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at the answer.

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Occupy Customer Experience: #OccupyCX @MicrosoftHelps #Fail



So today I had an interesting customer service experience. Not only was it a waste of more than an hour, but I still didn't get my issue resolved.

Where to begin? A few months back, we purchased a copy of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac from Staples. The computer we originally installed it on was for an intern and once the intern left, we uninstalled Office from the computer. The box that Office came in tells us that we could install the software on 3 separate computers. Well, today, we tried to install it on computer #2. Of course, the product key didn't work when installing on our new computer. What do we do? Go to Microsoft customer support, expecting some kind of help. Once there, I first look through the FAQ's. Nothing there really helps. They provide a number to call for help with your product key. So, I call the number. Concurrently, Rini, our CEO, starts an online chat with a customer service rep. After a 10-15 minute back and forth through chat, Rini was unsuccessful at getting any help. Keep in mind, I'm still on hold on the phone. 35 minutes goes by...and I still haven't talked to a human being. Finally, the person on the live chat gave us a different number to call. We call the number and finally talk to a human! Only to be transferred to a different department. After the transfer, the operator tells me I need to contact the store I purchased it from to get any kind of help since we purchased it retail and the license is through the store.

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Conversations with Marianne Curran, EVP of Go Daddy, discussing Social Media as a channel to provide Customer Care

Given our latest Occupy Customer Experience blog piece last week, I felt it was appropriate to post to the following conversation we had with Marianne Curran, EVP of Go Daddy, way back in December of 2010. The piece does a great job of displaying exactly how Go Daddy uses social media to provide quality customer care and how it fits in with the company's overall customer experience strategy.

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Occupy Customer Experience: #OccupyCX @GoDaddy

GoDaddy_Tweets employs more than 3,300 employees with 8 locations, including Arizona, Iowa and India, and provides "follow-the-sun" 24x7x365 sales and support commitments.

In this series, we test the operational maturity of companies and organizations in how they leverage social media channels for sales and service processes.

For Go Daddy, we asked one simple question: How well does Go Daddy retain and upsell its customers when these customers reach out to them and bring their concerns via Twitter?

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Occupy Customer Experience: #OccupyCX @Delta #Fail





Delta Airlines employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and has a fleet of more than 700 aircrafts and has 160 million customers.

It has a reputable social-media operation. Or so we have read...

In an article written by Dennis Schaal, Inside Social Media at Delta Air Lines - A Behind The Scenes Look on June 10, 2011, he mentions that they have a control room just for social media at their headquarters, and that they knowingly don't respond to all tweets, stating: "The social media staff doesn't respond to every tweet about the airline, and does its share of apologizing to customers."

At PAKRA, we decided to dive a little deeper and experiment with the Twittersphere for Delta Airlines and see exactly what is going on. We wanted to get few questions answered:

(1.) Since Delta knowingly doesn’t respond to every tweet about the brand, would they be more likely to respond to tweets that areincluded in the “Dreaded” hash-tag #Fail search? As you know, if this hash-tag is included in a tweet about your brand, the customer is probably quite upset with your brand and you are at risk to lose them as a customer. Surely, Delta will respond to all of “these” tweets. Right?

(2.) Why does Delta not respond to all tweets? As we see from the article by Dennis Schaal, Delta has about a dozen "Social Assist Agents" on a 24x7 follow-the-sun support schedule. What stops them from handling more tweets, especially potentially harmful ones like those that include "#Fail" in their tweet?

We analyzed all tweets in a randomly selected time period that included the name "Delta" with the hash-tag #Fail in the tweet text.

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Why it is time to Occupy Customer Experience? #occupycx

You must have read this recent article, “Three Months in Customer Service Limbo”, by David Segal in the New York Times. The article discusses the fate of a customer at the hands of customer service, customer's trials and small successes, and well! spoiler alert -- "Still! Unresolved issues". Oh! What drama. I suggest you read it too.

It is time for us to Occupy Customer Experience.

You, the (B2B or B2C) Customer

As you searched, vetted, purchased, used and reviewed products/services that will help you, you too experienced some degree of failure or had instances where your expectations were not met (if not to this extreme degree in the Times article). Some of you also use social-media channels such as Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and Yelp to communicate your frustrations and delights. Some of you will also agree with me that Revenue and Operational Margins are the two KPIs that your company/organization/institution closely manages.

You, the Manager

Given that you and your team deliver products/services, you are always looking for ways to increase your revenue while reducing operating costs. Among all channels of customer interaction (voice, chat, web, face-to-face and social media), social media is still the cheapest way to find and manage customers who reach out to you via social media.  Also, let’s not forget the amplification effect on your brand. Who can forget the Alec Baldwin tweet on American Airlines, or the Komen Foundation fiasco with Planned Parenthood?

"Customer Experience" is why companies/organizations/institutions exist. Customer experience drives both revenue and operational costs. Your customers are just like you; they want to do business with you using these channels. What is stopping you from delivering exceptional customer experience?

Coming Soon at a PAKRA channel near to you – "Thought-provoking Discussions". Please join the discussion.


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Occupy Customer Experience: We wish you a fabulous 2012

Thanks to our customers, users, game-players, partners, advisers, employees, we met and surpassed all our goals and milestones that we set for ourselves in 2011.

Being a Remarkable Learning Company®, we ourselves learned a lot in 2011. Some of the key learnings were:
1. The value of "failure" from Jeff Stibel's blog post "Why I hire people who fail?"
2. The value you get from continuously experimenting, measuring and adjusting
3. The value of using social media channels effectively for sales and customer service
4. Helping businesses and organizations understand the buyer, especially millennial end-user and mindset
5. According to Horses for Sources and recent purchases of SuccessFactors and Rypple, Business platforms like PAKRA are the future of outsourcing
6. One can bootstrap and with a little ingenuity create immersive learning experiences and data that provide insight. These videos from inspired us in 2011.
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