CRMI Salutes Companies Fighting Spread of Coronavirus

CRMI Salutes Companies Fighting Spread of Coronavirus
NorthFace ScoreBoard Award℠ (NFSB) Certificates issued to companies
that have performed extraordinarily in the fight against COVID-19

by Bill Bradley
VP Marketing, CXDNA Stakeholder Communications

The Customer Relationship Management Institute LLC (CRMI), an independent third party and an expert in the field of CX (customer experience), has announced a special honorary certification – the NFSB COVID-19 Service Certificate – to recognize companies and their supply chain partners that have been acknowledged by President Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force and/or Forbes Magazine for exceptional service in helping to defeat the coronavirus.

“It’s inconceivable how much our world has changed since March 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Maraganis, president & CEO of CRMI. “Scores of companies have either stepped up their traditional work in life sciences and related fields to focus on the pandemic or retooled their businesses to focus on this global challenge. We felt it was important to salute these firms with an honorary COVID-19 NFSB Service Certificate and to provide the opportunity to earn recognition for achieving world-class customer service-” based on their actual CSAT survey results.

All companies engaged in fighting COVID-19, and their supply chain partners, shall receive a NFSB COVID-19 Service Certificate confirming their voluntary contribution to fighting the virus. They may also apply for the NFSB Award for customer service excellence and receive a special COVID-19 NFSB discount.

Now in its 20th year, the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award is presented annually to companies who, as rated solely by their own customers, achieved excellence in customer service during a full calendar year. Further, all NFSB recipients who have met the criteria for five (5) consecutive years shall receive special SUMMIT category – status denoted on their award and in their NFSB certification letter/deliverables.


COVID-19 NFSB Honorary 2020 Recipients:
(View Forbes Grace Chung and Giacomo Tognini business tracker article)



Abbott Laboratories Carbon Ipsum Diagnostics
Alphabet Cellex Mammoth Biosciences
Amazon Cepheid Mesa Biotech
Aytu BioScience Copan Diagnostics Puritan Medical Products
Ava Credo Diagnostics QIAGEN
BioIQ DiaSorin Siemens Healthineers
BioMérieux Henry Schein



AbbVie CytoDyn Merck KGaA
AIM Immunotech Eiger Biopharmaceuticals Mesoblast
Aldeyra Therapeutics Eli Lilly Mylan
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Emergent BioSolutions OncoImmune
AlloVir EUSA Pharma Panoptes Pharma
Amgen Faron Pharmaceuticals Partner Therapeutics
Ampio Pharmaceuticals Fujifilm Pfizer
Apeiron Biologics Gilead PharmaMar
Apeptico Green Cross Pluristem Therapeutics
Applied Therapeutics Grifols Pulmotect
ARMS Pharmaceutical Harbour BioMed Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Ascletis Hope Biosciences Relief Therapeutics
AstraZeneca Humanigen Ridgeback Therapeutics
Bausch Health I-Mab Biopharma Roche
BeiGene Incyte Roivant Sciences
Belleron Therapeutics InflaRx Synairgen
Biohaven Pharmaceuticals Innovation Pharmaceuticals Takeda
CalciMedica ISR Immune System Regulation Teva Pharmaceuticals
Can-Fite Kamada Union Therapeutics
Capricor Therapeutics Karyopharm Therapeutics Vault Health
Celltrion KD Pharma Group Vir Biotechnology
Celularity Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals XBiotech
Cocrystal Pharma Laurent Pharmaceuticals Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals
CSL Behring Livongo Mateon Therapeutics



Advent-Irbm ExpreS2ion Moderna
AJ Vaccines FluGen Novavax
Altimmune GeneOne Life Science Sanofi
Arcturus Therapeutics GeoVax Sinovac Biotech
Biocad GlaxoSmithKline SK Group
BioNTech Greffex Sorrento Therapeutics
CanSino Biologics Heat Biologics Takis Biotech
Cel-Sci Corp. Hoth Therapeutics Themis Bioscience
Codagenix iBio Tonix Pharmaceuticals
CureVac IMV Vaxart
Dyadic Inovio Vaxil
Dynavax Johnson & Johnson Vaxine Pty Ltd
EpiVax Medicago VBI Vaccines


Protective Equipment and Sanitizer:

Anheuser-Busch InBev Dickies
Ansell ExxonMobil Menarini
Aria Designs Fanatics Miroglio Group
Armani Fiat Chrysler Automobiles O.C. Tanner
Bacardi Fippi Pernod Ricard
Barbour GelPro Prada
Bauer Hockey Gojo Industries Procter & Gamble
BrewDog González Byass Quicken Loans
Bulgari GVS Reliance Industries
Calzedonia Group HP San Miguel Corporation
Canada Goose IKEA Seamus Golf
Cantabria Labs Ineos Siemens
Charoen Popkhand Group Jockey Stanley Black & Decker
Colgate L’Oréal Starkey Hearing Technologies
Consomed LVMH Top Glove
Decathlon Massaflex Volkswagen
Diageo Medline Voodoo Manufacturing


Ventilators and Beds:

Airbus Inspiration Healthcare SIARE Engineering
BAE Systems Mahindra Group Smiths Group
Bloom Energy Malvestio SpaceX
BreathDirect Medtronic Tesla
Dyson Meggitt Thales Group
Ford Penlon Ultra Electronics
General Motors Philips Vyaire Medical
GKN Aerospace ResMed Xerox
Hill-Rom Rolls-Royce


Supporting Healthcare Workers and First Responders:

Airbnb First Due NeuroFlow
Alibaba GlobeKeeper Palantir
Anaplan GoPuff Rave Mobile Safety
Apple Headspace Speetar
Byju’s Hyundai Tencent
Carbyne Inditex Uber
EverBlock Systems Intel UiPath
Facebook Manna Aero Vista Land Group
Faculty Medallia Zoom



Asia Coatings MetroResidences Yili Group
Enterprises Suncity Group


Asia Private Sector:

Ansell GeneOne Life Science Ping An
Ascletis Green Cross Seegene
Biolidics HDFC Bank Shiseido
CanSino Biologics Healthmatch Takeda
DBS Bank I-Mab Biopharma Yuchengco Group
Envision Group JN Medsys Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals
FPT Group Mesoblast
Fujifilm Pan Brothers


About CRMI:
Since 1999, the Customer Relationship Management Institute LLC (CRMI) has promoted that CX is the most critical component of company’s DNA. Further, that consistently exceeding customer expectations builds customer loyalty and requires competent-engaged employees. As a membership-based resource, we provide “One-Stop Shop” for “everything CX.” Whether you are new to CX strategies or a veteran practitioner, you will join thousands of like-minded professionals eager to share their CX experiences.

For more information on how to qualify for the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award, visit or call (978) 710-3269 and ask for Diane Rivera,

Groundbreaking Customer Satisfaction Award Marks 20th Anniversary

Groundbreaking Customer Satisfaction Award Marks 20th Anniversary

NorthFace ScoreBoard Award℠ Established Defining SBI Metrics for
Creating World-Class Excellence in Customer Service and Support


By Bill Moore

VP Client Services CXDNA Playbook Strategy

Customer Relationship
Management Institute LLC (CRMI)

By Bill Bradley

VP Marketing, CXDNA Stakeholder Strategy

Customer Relationship Management Institute LLC (CRMI)


In 1984, IBM’s annual report was dedicated to the “Year of the Customer,” the first recognition that superior customer service/support (CX) is the company’s true competitive differentiator.  Over the years, IBM would be joined by many other service thought leaders: Lexus, Ritz-Carlton, Walt Disney, L.L. Bean, Nordstrom, et. al. who made the transition making customer service/support their strongest and most critical competitive advantage.

This vision was counter to George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” that imagined a society where individualism and independent thinking were regarded as “thought crimes” instead of “thought leadership.”

This turnaround towards service thought leadership would continue with the impact of an award that was the first (2000) to recognize organizations that consistently exceeded customer expectations for service/support – and that CX must be the most critical component of a company’s DNA, (CXDNA).  That award –NorthFace ScoreBoard Award℠ — marks its 20th anniversary in 2020 (NFSB Recipients Press Release).

The NorthFace ScoreBoard (NFSB) Award created the structure necessary to objectively measure and validate the quality of the customer experience in all interactions with a company.  Before the NFSB Award, measuring customer satisfaction was largely an ad hoc, reactive activity performed periodically by service organizations.

But the NFSB Award contributed to changing the subjectivity and marginal importance of the customer experience.  Since 2000, the award has been presented annually to organizations that — based solely on survey responses from a company’s own customers — consistently exceeded customer expectations for service/support for a full calendar year.  To ensure objectivity and absence of bias, the survey and results are audited by Customer Relationship Management Institute, LLC (CRMI), an independent third party and an expert in the field of CX.


NFSB Award Delivers a Clear Competitive Edge for Recipients (above Haemonetics)

The business world has come to understand that customers – not products and services – are the source of all revenue and profits.  This means that companies cannot afford to turn a blind eye to CX and just rely on product features and benefits, which had been the standard before the NFSB Award helped in the transition to CXDNA culture.  In truth, while there are clear differences in product performance among direct competitors, no vendor has a distinct advantage for a long period of time, and consistent problems with product installation, usage and service/support will quickly prompt a customer to choose another supplier.  In other words, customer loyalty must be earned – not just assumed by product performance and technology vision.

The NFSB Award was innovative in establishing universal survey measurement standards’ (SBI – 1992) that use a five-point weighted average scale to measure both customer satisfaction and customer loyalty by using Level 1 as the lowest rating and level 5 as the highest rating.


Customer Satisfaction:

  1. Failed all customer expectations
  2. Performed below customer expectations
  3. Met customer expectations
  4. Performed above customer expectations
  5. Exceeded customer expectations

Customer Loyalty:

  1. Definitely would not recommend
  2. Highly unlikely to recommend
  3. Maybe recommend
  4. Highly likely to recommend
  5. Definitely would recommend


The weighted average formula, referred as the ScoreBoard Index (SBI), provided a much more accurate measurement of customer sentiment (clear customer intelligence) than the traditional percent satisfied /loyal metrics.  For the first time, the service executive could clearly see customer metrics that directed priorities for critical corrective action and which overtime could be re-measured to see the impact of the corrective action taken. The five-point scale made survey responses more accurate/ easy to understand and the weighted average calculation resulted in any ratings below 4.0 as simply not good enough to retain / grow customers, rather, over time would lead to customers defections. The NFSB Award five-point criteria was extended to include other rating scales (such as 3-6-7-8-9-10 point / Net Promoter Score NPS).

Example: SBI Formula (based on weighted average):

Assumption: satisfaction and recommend responses were identical

Please rate your overall satisfaction with our customer service?

  1. Failed all customer expectations
  2. Perform below customer expectations
  3. Met customer expectations
  4. Perform above customer expectations
  5. Exceeded customer expectations


Level 5 (18 responses) x 5 points Subtotal A / 90
Level 4 (14 responses) x 4 points Subtotal B / 64
Level 3 (3 responses) x 3 points Subtotal C / 9
Level 2 (3 responses) x 2 points Subtotal D / 6
Level 1 (2 responses) x 1 point Subtotal E / 2
Total (40) responses divided by Total point value (171)= 4.28 SBI


Please rate your overall willingness to recommend our customer service?

  1. Definitely not recommend
  2. Highly unlikely to recommend
  3. Maybe recommend
  4. Highly likely to recommend
  5. Definitely would recommend
Level 5 (18 responses) x 5 points Subtotal A / 90
Level 4 (14 responses) x 4 points Subtotal B / 64
Level 3 (3 responses) x 3 points Subtotal C / 9
Level 2 (3 responses) x 2 points Subtotal D / 6
Level 1 (2 response) x 1 point Subtotal E / 2
Total (40) responses divided by Total point value (171) = 4.28 SBI


SBI Formula:

Select each question and multiply each level responses (5-4-3-2-1) by their associated point values (5-4-3-2-1) = subtotals (90-64-9-6-2) then divide sum of all subtotals (171) by the total responses (40) = SBI 4.28 rounded 2 decimal. When viewing the above results over a minimum three (3) month window, market research shows that continuous superior customer service is the key metric in retaining / upgrading customers. Also, that 4.0 and above rating for service and loyalty is clear customer intelligence evidence that the competitor barrier has dramatically increased to win these accounts. Further, these accounts are excellent candidates for marketing testimonials to be used to acquire new accounts and / or winback lost accounts. Lastly, SBI measurement is key to providing clear customer intelligence data to conduct the critical corrective action necessary to provide continuous superior customer service that results in long term customer loyalty.

To receive the NFSB Award, a company must achieve a minimum 4.0 rating (or equivalent) over a full calendar year.  Again, the survey instrument and the customer responses are audited for accuracy and absence of bias by CRMI.  For this reason, earning the NFSB Award is objective proof that a company consistently provides superior customer service / support that competitors who have not received the award simply cannot match.

“NFSB Award recipients have proven that excellence in customer service /support has delivered measurable CX ‘Big 4’ bottom line results,” said John Maraganis, president & CEO of CRMI.  The CX “Big 4” includes: 1) attracting new customers; 2) retaining customers; 3) growing wallet share; 4) winning-back lost customers.


NFSB Award is Powered by CXDNA Playbook StrategySM

CRMI’s revolutionary CXDNA Playbook Strategy (launched in 1994) acts as a roadmap for companies to maximize the value of their products/services to customers by accurately measuring the impact to their customers.  CXDNA strategy makes it possible, for the first time, for organizations to measure, analyze, act on and assess their efforts to establish a CX culture as a business strategy just as they’d always done for sales, engineering, manufacturing, finance and other traditional operating areas.  There are four phases to the Playbook: Measure, Analyze, Act, Assess with 12 component practices within those phases.

  • Measure: CX Governance, CX Account Management, CX Technologies
  • Analyze: CX Business Intelligence, CX Analytics, CX Benchmarking
  • Act: CX Corrective Action, CX Employee Engagement, CX Change Management
  • Assess: CX Stakeholders Communications, CX Win-back Strategy CX Return on Investment (ROI)

The CXDNA Playbook strategy continues to evolve over the years including leveraging social media and communicating CX results thru a comprehensive stakeholders communication campaign (press release – annual report – report card – webcasts – etc.) targeted to customers, partners, employees and prospects.

NFSB Award Background and Evolution

The award was created by CRMI’s founder and first presented in 2000.  CRMI’s founder was a pioneer in the field service industry, introducing the first automated service management software (fieldwatch) that improved customer experiences in the field service marketplace.  From this pioneer came the CXDNA Playbook Strategy that embraces employee engagement as its founding principle.

The Playbook provides the knowledge and strategy to create a customer-centric culture that includes overall CX governance and employee engagement to raise the awareness of, commitment to, and competence in, continuously delivering superior customer experiences.

Since 2000, more than 500 recipients have earned the NFSB Award — many have done so multiple times and often in many consecutive years.  Prominent recipients include Avaya, Boston Scientific, CA Technologies (now part of Broadcom), Citrix, Fresenius-Kabi, Haemonetics, Hologic, Kronos, NETSCOUT, Oracle, Pitney Bowes, Sony, Wolters Kluwer and many others.

CRMI added a new Summit category presented to organizations that that have truly transformed into CXDNA culture. The Summit CXDNA criteria includes organizations that have received the award for five consecutive years, implemented customer relationship training focused on engaging employees to provide consistent superior customer experiences, and have an annual CX strategy review process.  The new physical NFSB Award includes a Summit classification with a gold circle of stars surrounding the number of years the company has earned the award along with “World Class Excellence” exclusive classification.

In 2020, CRMI added a special NFSB COVID-19 Service Award to recognize companies and their supply chain partners who have been recognized by President Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force and/or Forbes magazine for exceptional service in fighting the deadly pandemic. “We choose to recognize these companies as the volunteer army for the battle against COVID-19 via our NorthFace ScoreBoard Customer Service Excellence Award with an honorary NFSB COVID-19 certificate that will memorialize their contribution,” Maraganis said.  Not since World War II has the United States and other countries seen a shift to produce hand sanitizers, masks, ventilators and other critical healthcare items. This is a time that will live in the history books, and the NFSB COVID-19 Honorary Certificate will record those companies who contributed to winning this epic battle.  These companies may also submit their customer survey results for customer service/support to see if they qualify for the actual NFSB Award.

Since implementing effective CX principles is vital to sustaining consistent growth in revenue and profits, sharing stories of companies’ CX successes is crucial.  The stories should allow the company to provide a review of its CXDNA strategy and measurable results, include customer testimonials and case studies.  The vehicle to tell this story is a powerful webcast that clearly communicates the company’s journey to making CX the most critical component of the company’s DNA.  Companies invite their customers, prospects, business partners and employees to the webcasts and post the content on their websites as well as using it in other marketing activities.

The CXDNA Playbook Partner program extends the NFSB award criteria to 3rd party vendors (EFM – CRM – CX Consultant – CX Educational training – CX Market Research) with the opportunity to bundle the NFSB Award with their products / services.) To qualify for the partner program, these organizations must be identified as an significant contributor to improving CX as described in the CXDNA Playbook Strategy. Partners receive NFSB co-brand license that includes their logo and the specific Playbook component (s) on the physical NFSB award delivered to their customers who meet the NFSB criteria. The NFSB co-brand award provides an “added value service” to their products / services (above – Marketii CXDNA Analytics).



Twenty years is not a very long time in the business world.  But since the introduction of the innovative NFSB Award in 2000, the very substance of a successful business model has changed.  Rather than being product/technology driven, today’s successful companies have embraced the wisdom and logic of putting customers at the center of everything they do.  Having a proven, verifiable reputation and culture for providing excellence in CX is key to customer acquisition, retention, growth and win-back for any company.

Moreover, as companies move increasingly to online/virtual business models, achieving and sustaining optimal levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty have become even more critical factors of success.  Physical and voice contact with a company’s customers and other key external stakeholders has largely been replaced by electronic and other web-based interactions.  This means that, increasingly, while companies conduct heavy email and web marketing programs to attract new accounts, potential customers often find you before you identify them.

This trend has made it even more important to measure and understand the true “voice of the customer.”  Since the NFSB Award criteria is unique in both measurement metrics (SBI rating or equivalent rating system) and that only customer survey responses are used to determine the level of CX excellence a company provides, the NFSB Award is the ultimate VoC measurement.  That’s why recipients are so proud to earn the award and take full advantage of the service, sales and marketing opportunities they have to deliver a clear competitive advantage to the marketplace.


To learn more about the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award, the CXDNA Playbook Strategy and other programs mentioned here, contact Diane Rivera, CRMI’s director of corporate membership and sponsorship services.  She can be reached at 978/710-3269 or via  Also please visit CRMI’s website:


Want to Capitalize on Customer Service Excellence? These 14 Key CX Marketing Activities Can Help.

Of the three primary disciplines in business—marketing, sales, and service—customer service has the power to make your company stand out amongst the competition. After all, a recent American Express survey stresses that seven out of 10 U.S. consumers say they have spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service. Yet, while countless companies offer excellent service, few take the time to tout their CX strategy, thereby leaving them to blend with their competitors.

“Customer service is of critical importance to your business because it’s key to retaining the customers you close and extracting more value from them,” Swetha Amaresan writes for HubSpot. “By providing top-notch customer service, businesses can recoup customer acquisition costs and cultivate a loyal customer base that will refer friends and colleagues, serve as case studies and testimonials, and write customer reviews.”

Amaresan adds that, not only are happy customers more understanding and less sensitive, but they’re also your brand’s best advocates, as they can convince prospective new customers of your company’s merits more effectively that your own marketing materials and salespeople ever possibly could.

Customer service, therefore, plays an increasingly pivotal role in your company’s continued success, as today’s saturated, fast-paced market leaves little room for error (or modesty).

“With consumers facing so many choices with who to do business with, you need to set yourself apart from the rest,” R.L. Adams explains for Entrepreneur. “What makes you different? What added value do you bring to the table? Why should a customer work with you rather than your competitor? We’ve all heard the horror stories of people dealing with poor customer service. Yet, we seldom hear the raving-fan stories.”

But your brand has the power to highlight these stories and share its successes. By embracing these 14 key CX marketing activities, your team can use its own history of superior service to support its legacy of satisfaction and loyalty


 1.  Customer Satisfaction Annual Report

Much like your company’s annual fiscal report, this summary allows you to convey the results of your customer experience strategy with your stakeholders and customers.


2.  Voice of the Customer Video

Interview your top executives to provide the public with high-level insight into your CX strategy and what you are doing to sustain customer loyalty.


3.  Case Studies & Customer Testimonials

Allow your stakeholders and customers to shine the light on your success by sharing their own stories and experiences with your brand and expertise.


4.  CX Certified Report Card

By partnering with an outside analytics organization, your brand can provide customers and prospects with a third-party audit of your company’s exceptional customer satisfaction data.


5.  Intelligent Visual Communications

Project your CX content in real time via dynamic, multimedia LED dashboard displays and handheld devices to promote and improve transparency.


6.  CX Infographic

Share the story behind your CX strategy and how you serve your customers through engaging graphics that clearly highlight your brand’s continued efforts to satisfy and delight.


7.  Public Relations

Make sure customers and prospects are sufficiently informed by sharing your successes through news releases, newsletters, white papers, and other such collateral.


8.  Social Media

Connect with your customers and prospects where they live by tapping into social networks, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to share your wins and announcements.


9.  Live Video Streaming

Create an online event that captures your CX story as it happens and reach your customers and prospects by embracing today’s most engaging, fastest growing medium.


10.  CX Podcasts

Participate in or develop a branded podcast that highlights your CX story so customers and prospects can listen to at their convenience.


11.  CX Webcasts

Join an established webcast or develop your own series so your company can tout its successes and your top executives can demonstrate their expertise in their industry.


12.  Competitive Satisfaction/Loyalty Analytics

Demonstrate your CX strategy’s effectiveness by illustrating its measurable business impact through competitive satisfaction and loyalty analytics that reinforce your success.


13.  Customer Events

Invite customers and prospects to come together so you can simultaneously show your appreciation and highlight your company’s countless CX success stories.


14.  CX Awards

Leverage industry awards, such as CRMI’s NorthFace Scoreboard and CEMPRO, to demonstrate and reinforce your brand’s customer service excellence within its industry.

Not sure where to begin? Reach out to CRMI directly for quickstart tips and successful hints that will help your brand stand out amongst the fiercest competitors in your industry.

Top 5 Customer experience trends in Retail

Customer experience has gained respect from various verticals as findings signal that experience will soon be the key decision-maker for consumers, above product and price.

Here we look at five customer experience trends in retail highlighted in our recent research.

1. Customer experience is a good revival strategy

Retailers are finding themselves in the position of having to do more with less. Many are reacting by making cuts.  Closing stores, reducing staffing levels or hours according to store size projected sales and ignoring location surrounding facilities and competitors and turning to tech to deliver services at scale.

However, a recent Wharton University study looking at the relationship between staff levels and store performance has shown that it’s a big mistake to react this way to the retail apocalypse. Their study states that well-trained staff are the long-term solution for stable profits. “Understaffing stores and undertraining workers was never a good idea, but it’s especially bad now, because it takes away the biggest advantage traditional stores have over e-tailers: a live person a customer can talk with face-to-face”, said the study’s authors.

In the study after boosting staffing levels at certain outlets over six months, the stores in question made over $8.9m in extra profit even after accounting for additional labour costs. Around 6% more revenue was provided by staff who had received an hour per month in training that empowered them to solve problems for the customer.

Customers are utilising stores now as experiences, Steve Kato-Spyrou – UX Manager, John Lewis notes: “They visit to do fun things and spend the whole day out, not just to simply purchase something. So that’s where we’ve got to head in the next 12 months with in-store: the experience.”

2. Utility is key 

Serious investment into CRM, customer insight and analytics represents investment into a robust CX framework for a brand to provide value to clients.

In regards to adding value for customers, Steve Szymczyk, Director Digital Marketing, Adidas (Retail) says: “[A CX trailblazer is] anyone that can capture a consumer’s imagination and use data to combine the two to provide a great consumer experience.”

“What Nordstrom Men’s is doing in the US with the virtual store, that’s a really interesting model. Obviously it’s one store, so we don’t know if it’s working yet.

“There are so many things happening in this space and we’re going to see a lot of ‘trailblazers’ that will have some phenomenal successes and some will have pretty spectacular failures. What is important is to test things, listen to the consumer and they will vote with their wallet, they will tell us what they want.

“As brands, it is our job to provide new levels of comfort, convenience and be thinking about things that the consumer doesn’t know they want yet. In reality, the things that will work are the ones that will be edgy enough for the consumer to have fun with and add value to them in a real way.

“If you’re not adding value and not looking at it from a consumer-centric point of view, then it’s probably not going to work, no matter how much you want to make it happen.

“The one piece of advice is to really put yourself in the shoes (pun intended…) of a consumer to see how they experience your brand, spot where their touchpoints are and work out whether you control them or not. Because let’s face it, a viral video from a 16-year-old on YouTube giving an opinion on your brand counts as a brand interaction, whether you like it or not.”

3. Customer-first culture 

Highlighted as the main challenge for CX practitioners in retail, a customer centric or CX centric culture is fundamental to creating an organisation that embeds customer experience into all of its decisions and activities. CX must be a framework for business activity, just as profitability, efficiency and marketability have been embedded previously.

Steve Kato-Spyrou, UX Manager of John Lewis notes that the key retailer battles with breaking down business silos. “We have the knowledge in the building; it’s getting every human into the right place at the right time to disseminate that knowledge and talk to each other to come up with the product or service or experience that works.”

There is no such thing as stand-alone product development, marketing, or digital strategy. Those disciplines are all, essentially, feed into the same purpose; they are the customer’s interaction with the brand or organisation.

4. More consistency needed with actioning customer data

Data and analytics dominate as the most important, impactful trend for retailers. Although they recognise actionable insights as a challenge, research from CX Network indicates that many in retail are indeed actioning customer feedback in someway. This has had strategic benefits for the research group involved regarding customising products or packaging and new tactics to improve delivery speed.

However, the research did signal that there is a need for more consistency as many insights fall through the cracks and aren’t fed back to relevant business units.

Retailers should continue to aim to consistently close the loop with the voice of the customer. In a sector increasingly reliant upon social proof it is logical that consumers need to recognise the power of their feedback and contributions. This closure will also encourage the customer to keep the channels of communication open with retail firms, thereby helping the brand to improve their products and processes.

5. Omnichannel 

Businesses are struggling to make the omnichannel ecosystem a reality. Minor progression has been made year-on-year according to these stats.

However, businesses must press on in this journey, as omnichannel customers are thought to have more lifetime value than single channel customers. Also, the more your competition progresses with omnichannel the higher expectations will rise from your prospects.

Steve Kato-Spyrou – UX Manager, John Lewis said: “We heard today there are infinite touchpoints. So as far as omnichannel: you should be everywhere your customer is. If you’re saying: ‘we need to look into mobile or we need to look into in-store’, that’s correct, you need to go where the customer is.

“As far as the baseline, I would say look at your strongest competitor – that’s the expectation. It’s a case of: ‘Amazon do X, Y and Z – so, why don’t you do it?’.”


Is Your Communications Customer Experience Digital Enough for Young Consumers?

Is Your Communications Customer Experience Digital Enough for Young Consumers?

Millennial and Gen Zers expects businesses to be responsive and relevant, according to “The Digital Lives of Millennials and Gen Z.” The study, conducted by LivePerson, surveyed more than 4,000 people ages 18 to 34 from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the United States.

The study found that, on average globally, 65% of respondents communicate more digitally (e.g., via text, social, and email) than they do in person. In the U.S., it jumps to 73.7%. This is the case whether they’re interacting with friends and family or with businesses. For many of the respondents, a call to customer service is often a last resort when they’re looking for information or have a service issue. Using a company’s app or visiting its website it the number one way respondents try to get a question answered from a brand. This is followed by live chat/messaging, social media, and then calling a toll-free number.

Rank how you typically like to get a question answered from a brand


Even so, when the 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed for the study need assistance from a business, many trust human interactions over technology-driven ones. According to the study, 84.9% of respondents globally would trust a human over a bot for accuracy in responding to an inquiry.

And, when it comes to communicating with businesses, those surveyed expect responsiveness. For example, when inquiring about an item priced at up to $20, 73% of respondents will give up on the purchase if they don’t receive a response in 10 minutes or less; 12% will wait up to 15 minutes, and only 14.6% have the patience to wait more than 15 minutes.

They also prefer relevant communications or no outreach at all when it comes to hearing from brands. About a quarter of respondents globally (25.1%) are open to receiving whatever text messages/SMS a company may send for sales or retention. Most (39.5%), however, are open to receiving messages only if they’re relevant. And 35.4% don’t want to receive text messages/SMS from brands at all that are sending them for sales or retention.

What kind of communications experience do your 18- to 34-year-old customers expect? Now is the time to use your voice of the customer strategy to find out—before your customers click away, hang up, or opt out.


Ginger Conlon, MKTGinsightAbout the Author
Ginger Conlon, chief editor and marketing alchemist at MKTGinsight, catalyzes change in marketing organizations. Previously, she served as chief editor of Direct Marketing News, 1to1, and CRM magazines. She was honored with a Silver Apple lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the marketing industry, and was cited as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter” and one of the “Top 25 CRM Influencers You Should Be Following.”

Focus on Outcomes to Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience

Focus on the Outcomes to Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience

Customer experience. It’s the key to any successful business, and that’s not changing anytime soon. Putting the customer first and providing seamless service are table stakes across industries, but nowhere are they more prevalent than among businesses with field service organizations. Customers depend on the men and women who service their machines — from HVACs to oil rigs — to keep their homes, jobs, and communities running. Delays in service can result in frustration so great it can devastate your bottom line.

So, what’s a field service team to do? Luckily, technology is evolving every day with customers as the focus. As industries and field service organizations transform and embrace a more technologically connected future, field service organizations are poised to deliver outstanding customer experience in innovative ways. Here are three approaches that you can adapt to enhance your company’s field service experience.


Be proactive with service delivery

Field service organizations were once pen-and-paper operations. They were reactive, and often slow. The companies that were quickest to get on the proactive trend thrived, and years later we see that the demand for responsive, painless service hasn’t changed at all.

What has changed? Service organizations’ ability to offer proactive service. Realizing the potential for the Internet of Things to transform their business, field service providers can now monitor their equipment and collect better data to predict and prevent failures. In other words, they can eliminate issues before a customer even thinks to ask. As a result, better technology and proactive service have ushered in a new industry standard for efficiency and productivity, saving customers precious costs and time.

Take, for example medical device company Elekta, responsible for radiation machines and medical equipment in hospitals across the country. The danger of an outage is massive in this industry — it could be the difference between life and death. So, Elekta orchestrated a proactive service model, monitoring data streaming in from its connected devices to discover patterns, anticipate outages, and, ultimately, lower downtime.


Focus on the outcome
Stemming from this transition towards proactive service is a novel focus on what we call outcomes-based service. In this model, manufacturers sell a business outcome rather than simply a product that includes service. It makes sense — a company doesn’t buy wind turbines because they make for beautiful landscapes (though, many would argue they do!). They invest in the equipment because they want to use the energy that it generates. They invest in the outcomes.

By aligning service delivery with signals and data around how well the system is performing, technicians can be on hand to proactively service the wind turbines before they break down, and ensure that there is no down period for what their customer ultimately wants: energy. When technicians focus on the outcome, their customers are less likely to face the frustration and loss of business that would otherwise result from their machines breaking down and their outcomes being delayed. The result of this shift in strategy for field service teams is that the customer relationship is strengthened, and everyone wins.


Remember to be human
Technology is evolving and transforming field service for the better. But when it comes to building lasting customer relationships, data will never replace human-to-human interactions. For field service organizations, the technician is the first point of contact between the customer and the brand. The best, most proactive service should fade into the background — the more seamless the experience, the more invisible it is to the customer because it’s so painless.

Field service has never lost this human touch, and no amount of technology — be it mobile apps, AI, or automated data collection — will ever replace the human connection and trust on which this industry is built. At their core, field service teams are human teams. These are the relationships that grow and scale a business, and these are the faces that will continue delivering outstanding customer experiences into the future.


Patrice EberlineAbout the Author
Patrice Eberline is Vice President of Global Customer Transformation at ServiceMax, from GE Digital, where she uses her years of service delivery experience working with prospects and customers to fully leverage the value of ServiceMax to their field service organizations. Previously, Patrice was with SuccessFactors, serving as Global Director of SMB Professional Services, as well as SuccessFactors University. Prior to SuccessFactors, she was VP of Professional Services at Infor, where she led a global staff of consultants across four discrete Corporate Performance Management practices and hosted operations.

Paving the Way for Omnichannel Customer Service

Paving the Way for Omnichannel Customer Service

Customers will contact you for service based on how it best suits them, so you need to be ready to respond in their preferred channel—or set of channels. And, you need to be ready to respond with consistency across all your service channels.

This doesn’t mean simply providing top-notch service in siloed channels—calls, online chat, email, etc.). It also means having the ability to provide that excellent customer service within those individual channels and seamlessly across them. So, if a customer begins a service interaction via chat, and then escalates to a call, those touches aren’t two discreet interactions, but instead is one interaction that bridges the two channels.

This level of service requires process and technology changes. Here are five ways to begin the move from the multichannel service most companies provide today to the omnichannel service customers prefer today and will expect tomorrow.

Be a good listener – Knowing what customers expect when it comes to customer service starts by asking them. Gather input through activities such as surveys and social listening. Also, track customers’ behaviors to surface the differences between stated and implied preferences. This combination of data will help you to determine the ideal mix of service channels for your organization. That insight will then lay the foundation for the people, process, and technology changes you may need to make to best meet customers’ service expectations in a way that makes the most business sense for your company.

Be where your customers are – Where do your customers expect to be able to contact you for service? Make sure that you’re present and available in those channels. For example, if most customers prefer to call you, have your toll-free number clearly available on your website, in your email, and in other communications channel—even on your social pages. If your customers expect service via social media, ensure you have a meaningful presence there.

Whenever possible, make service available where customers spend their time that isn’t a typical touchpoint. For instance, providing in-app service instead of forcing customers to interrupt their activity or switch channels.

Be proactive – Use alerts to inform customers of potential service disruptions, schedule changes, and the like—and be sure to do so in their channel(s) of choice. This may vary based on the urgency of the communication, and customers may want notifications via more than one channel, so be sure to provide multiple options. You can ask customers for this information during a registration or purchase process, or you can provide a preference center.

Be connected – Technologies are available to create a holistic view of customer data that allows companies to respond with greater relevance and have insight into customers’ service journeys. Consider investing in systems that allow you, for example, to know what actions a registered customer took on your website before calling the contact center, so the agent who takes the call can seamlessly handle the issue without requiring the customer to explain everything she’s done up to that point.

Be flexible – Train your service agents to handle interactions across multiple touchpoints. This allows for more leeway in scheduling and helps improves your organization’s ability to be responsive as interactions across various channels ebb and flow. It’s also an effective way to engage agents by diversifying their job and broadening their skills.

Most organizations are at the beginning of their journey toward delivering true omnichannel customer service. Businesses further down the road can use that better customer experience as a competitive advantage.

These five approaches can help pave the way for your organization to make omnichannel customer service an integral part of your successful customer experience management strategy—and give your company the winning edge.

65% of Tech Firms Consider Service as a Profit Center

When service excels, it drives business.

This is evident from the results cited in the “Service Industry Outlook: 2017 Research Report,” by Service Strategies. The report highlights finding from surveys and interviews with executives from 50 technology firms.

Many of the executives interviewed are bullish on the benefits of providing stellar service. Sixty-five percent say their service business is run as a profit center, and 5 percent note plans to shift to that approach; only 35% say their service operation is run as a cost center.

In fact, for a majority of respondents, service revenues are increasing. More than half (57 percent) have seen an increase in service revenue over the past 12 months, and 49 percent cite an increase in profitability; 31 percent say service revenue has remained consistent, while 37% note that profitability has stayed the same. Only 12% say they experienced a decline in service revenue over the past year; 14% saw a decrease in profitability.

Most of the study’s respondents also share a positive economic outlook over the next 12 months. Fifty-one percent say the economic outlook for their business will improve over the next year, and 7 percent agree that it will significantly improve. Similarly, 59 percent of respondents predict that their maintenance and support revenues will improve over the next 12 months, with 5 percent expecting that revenue to improve significantly. About a third of those polled (37 percent) predict no change to the economic outlook for their business over the next year; while 29% expect their maintenance and support revenues to stay the same in that time frame. Only 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, expect a decline.

All this positivity is leading some respondents’ companies to invest in their service operations. Sixty-one percent is planning to invest in service training and in quality improvement over the next 12 months; and 60 percent plans to invest in service technology. Nearly half (45 percent) of executive polled say their company will invest in staffing over the next year, and 35% plan to increase compensation.

Other reasons for these investments? Strategic priorities, of course. Respondents’ top priorities for the coming year are:

> Service quality – Improving process quality and consistency

> Customer experience – Driving improvements to the customer experience

> Increased revenue – Offering value-added services to grow revenue

View the full report here.


Ginger Conlon, MKTGinsightAbout the Author
Ginger Conlon, chief editor and marketing alchemist at MKTGinsight, catalyzes change in marketing organizations. Previously, she served as chief editor of Direct Marketing News, 1to1, and CRM magazines. She was honored with a Silver Apple lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the marketing industry, and was cited as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter” and one of the “Top 25 CRM Influencers You Should Be Following.”