Alan Porter

Alan Porter
Alan J. Porter is the Senior Product Marketing Manager for the OpenText Customer Experience Suite. He is a regular writer and industry speaker on various aspects of Customer Experience and Content Strategy.

Where Have all the Millennials Gone? Adapting the Customer Experience

adapting customer experience

My wife and I recently stopped at the local branch of a chain restaurant that was a regular family eating spot when our girls still lived at home. The food was just as good as we remembered it, and reasonably priced. The staff were engaged, fun, and friendly. But, there was something missing – other customers. The restaurant was about quarter-full during prime dining hours. We remembered the place as always being full of families and having a bustling atmosphere, but those days seemed to have passed. As it happens, we had both independently read a couple of articles earlier in the day about how Millennials were abandoning the traditional family-dining restaurants their parents had taken them to. Although neither article had mentioned this particular chain, it definitely fit the description, and what we were seeing seemed to confirm the articles’ supposition. We spent a fair amount of time over our meal discussing the articles, and why we thought the change had happened. Was it bad customer experience? As far as my wife and I were concerned nothing had changed, the in-restaurant experience and service was just as we expected, and in fact I’d say it had improved slightly. So we asked our own “millennials” – our eldest daughter (a small business owner), and her husband (a copywriter) if they ever ate out at our former family favorite. The answer was an interesting one. They don’t eat out the way we did (or still do). They don’t go out just for a meal anymore. They, and most of their friends, eat out as part of an overall evening when they will grab something to eat before heading to a concert or event. They prefer to eat at places close to the venue that will be their final destination for the evening, and they prefer to be able to eat quickly and move on. When they do want a restaurant style meal, they prefer to have a date at home and have the food delivered. Their first choice will be restaurants affiliated with delivery services like UberEATS, where they can look at menus, create meals, order and pay online and have it turn up at their doorstep. So it was a customer experience issue, but not a tactical micro-experience one, such as the level of service in the restaurant itself, but more of a strategic macro-level one. The behaviors of a sector of the customer demographics has changed, and any restaurant that isn’t either physically located near other entertainment venues, or offers a delivery service, isn’t even considered. Within Customer Experience Management we use tools such as website optimization, analytics, surveys, and more to capture the voice of the customers so we can deliver better more engaging experiences. However, these are based on the activities and experiences of the customers we have. Can we use these same tools to capture information about the experiences we don’t supply that potential customers may be looking for? How do we track the changes in behavior for a target demographic and how do we use that to make strategic decisions about the evolving customer experience? I don’t have any immediate answers, but it makes for an interesting discussion; and it’s a topic I’ll be returning to during my session on “Ten Trends in Customer Experience for 2017” at the upcoming OpenText™ Enterprise World conference.

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Energize Your Customer Experience Strategy at Enterprise World

customer experience strategy

Are you looking to re-energize your Customer Experience strategy? Do you want to know how other companies are approaching it? Are you interested in the latest customer experience trends and how they may impact your business? Do you want to catch up on the full suite of technology solutions that can help you from customer engagement, to business insights, all the way through to capturing customer sentiment? If so, come join us at what will be Canada’s largest technical conference of 2017 – OpenText Enterprise World, taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. As part of Enterprise World we will have a wide range of activities specifically catering to attendees interested in Customer Experience. With 40 breakout sessions, that coverage a wide range of topics designed for strategic planners, customer experience practitioners, and solutions developers. These are supplemented by a series of presentations in a dedicated Customer Experience theater on the Expo floor. Close to the theater, you will find dedicated demonstration pods where you can view the latest enhancements in the OpenText Customer Experience Suite portfolio of products and chat with OpenText’s own experts. Better than listening to our experts, is the chance to listen to others who are driving the digital transformation of Customer Experience within their own companies. On Tuesday, July 11 at 4:10pm we are pleased to host one of our customer speakers, from an internationally recognized brand, on the event’s main stage to share their story or how implementing a customer experience strategy helped further promote the brand, encourage customer engagement and retention, and bring real, measurable, business benefit. Throughout the event will also have other customers presenting in various breakout sessions and on customer panels. These are great opportunities for you to learn from your peers, and ask insightful questions that will help you along your own digital transformation journey. Equally, the various breakout sessions presented by the OpenText industry and product experts will help you get the most from solutions implementations, do deeper dives into product features if you want, or just gain a good overall understanding of industry trends and best practices. Add in opportunities to participate in the Innovation and Developer Labs, means there is a lot to choose from. To help you gain the most from your time at Enterprise World we will be sharing a series Map Your Path outlines that recommend the best CEM and related sessions for you whether prime interest is in Digital Asset Management, Web Content Management, Customer Communications Management, or Contact Center Workforce Optimization and Surveys. If this all sounds like a great reason to spend July 10th to the 13th in Toronto, then make sure to register and we’ll see you there.

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Lead the Customer Experience Revolution – Webinar

customer experience webinar

Traditional marketing no longer works. Broadcasting a message and hoping that someone will see and respond to it is now lost in the overload of information, and changed expectations of today’s customer. If you are not delivering an engaging customer experience that adds value to the customer journey, then you are going to be left behind. The customer experience is now far more than the marketing experience. To be effective in today’s competitive environment marketing needs to move from being about simply delivering a message, to adding value to a customer’s interaction with the brand. It also needs to move from being tailored for the context of a single interaction towards making sure that there is continuity across every touch point From a marketing systems point of view this means improved productivity, and open innovation. Making the existing systems better, faster, and building bridges for data to flow across systems is a good first step. Innovation can take that good first step and make it great when you start to gather insights into how your customer behaves during those interactions, and then act on those insights to deliver truly engaging moments during the customer journey. Customer experience is the new source of competitive advantage for marketers. Customers now expect you to know them, understand where they are in the buying cycle and serve their needs accordingly. Brands that do this best will be preferred over those that don’t. But traditional organizational structures, an overwhelming assortment of applications, and disconnected processes often get in the way. Creating innovative customer experiences requires new approaches to connecting customer data and interactions across systems and functions. Register for the webinar and lead the Customer Experience revolution

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Want to Know What Your Peers are up to? – Join the Customer Conversations at Enterprise World

Enterprise World

Attending conferences like OpenText™ Enterprise World provide some of the best opportunities for you, and your company, to take your game to the next level. While we can do lots of research online and keep up with our peers via social media, there’s nothing like being in a room of like-minded people. People who are willing to take time away from the office to learn something new. People who are happy to disconnect from being online and network in person. Attending conferences can provide unique opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else. At Enterprise World you’ll be able to network with people who know what’s going on in your particular space, not just OpenText staff – although there will be plenty of opportunity to meet with our experts – but other customers who know things you need to know, and can answer your questions too. Whether you attend some of our forty Customer Experience Management focused breakout sessions, or sit in on a Theater presentation, catch a product demo on the Expo floor, or just start a conversation over a cup of coffee you’ll discover that you are not alone in wanting to improve your skills and bring back something of value to your organization. Talking and listening is a great way to get ideas and feedback from others who may be facing the same business and technical challenges that you are. To help with this we are lining up a great roster of customer speakers who want to share their stories, in sessions, panels, and socially. In fact, we will be kicking off the whole CEM track with a track-keynote from a customer. What a better way to start than with a real-life example of how implementing a CEM strategy and solution can bring you and your company real benefits? As with all good conferences, Enterprise World will have many opportunities for attendees to mix and mingle, form new relationships, and strengthen existing ones. Over coffee, lunch, or cocktails, you may make a connection with the just the right person to help answer some of your questions. At a breakout session you may find yourself sitting next to someone who can provide advice or suggest new approaches. Customer presentations may spark new ideas or open up solutions that you hadn’t even thought of yet. Personally, I always return from a conference with new ideas and approaches that make me more effective. Enterprise World will provide a unique convergence of networking, learning, and fun into a single package; and like all good conferences force you to grow and challenge yourself. If this all sounds like a great reason to spend July 10th to the 13th in Toronto, then make sure to register and we’ll see you there.

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OpenText Experience Suite EP2 Release Brings Powerful Features to Build Compelling Customer Interactions

Experience Suite

The existing set of OpenText™ Customer Experience Management solutions across Web Content Management, Digital Asset Management, Customer Communications Management, Workforce Optimizations, and Analytics, plus the talented people behind them, provide a strong offering in Customer Experience Management (CEM), a critical component of customer engagement. Overall the Customer Experience Management portfolio of solutions already raises the bar for dynamic and personal customer engagement with industry-led solutions designed to make it easier to engage with customers using multiple channels and devices. The new OpenText CEM Suite Enhancement Pack 2 release, brings together many new innovations across the product portfolio linked around the central themes of: Better customer engagement Improved product integration Evolution of content management and delivery Improved usability EP2 Highlights by Product To continue improving your customers’ experiences, we’re excited to announce the following new features: With EP2 we introduce the new Exstream release 16 platform, a unified Customer Communications Management solution for ultra-personalized communications that allows business users to optimize customer engagement through the design and delivery of omni-channel, consistent, compliant, communications — delivered anytime, anywhere. OpenText™ Media Management is seeing some updates as well. To add to its best-in-class rich media management capabilities, we’re introducing enhanced marketing collaboration tools to accelerate and simplify marketing and agency collaboration, as well as a new “frictionless” integration with the Adobe Creative Suite, and improved dynamic media delivery services. These will assist with the integration and publishing of assets and ensure adaptive and responsive multi-channel experiences. With the Teamsite EP2 update  you can easily preview personalized digital experiences. Now, you can compare how digital content looks for different target audiences in a single view.  For instance, you can preview two versions of a web page – one that targets a high earners segment and another that targets students. You can pull up and compare the content each audience sees, side by side. OpenText™ Qfiniti allows you to capture the voice of the customer with new web and phone based surveys. The OpenText Qfiniti Outbound Voice Survey and Outbound Web Survey cloud service can automatically generate surveys in real-time based on triggers assigned to a contact center call. EP2 Updates for other products in the portfolio include: Content Hub for Publishers – New dashboards, and story editor enhancements MediaBin – Portal client enhancements, and access to the image-editing tool directly in the user interface Optimost – multi audience testing, and content targeting Web Experience Management – Richer user profiles, and an Audience Manager Web Site Management – improved analytics reporting, and Dynamic Groups Teleform – Integration with Content Server, and OTDS LiquidOffice –Integration with Sharepoint, and OTDS Experience Suite is dedicated to maximizing the power of your brand through your customer’s interactions with it, and with EP2’s updates we’ve created even more powerful and compelling ways for those interactions to happen.

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Are you on Track to Deliver the Right Picture?

digital asset management

I’ll admit it, I’m a total motorsports nut. If it has wheels and an engine I’ll happily watch it race. The number of wheels doesn’t particularly matter, two or four I’ll be trackside. So when I see a link to a work-related article online with a picture of a race car in the header, it’s pretty much a given that I’ll click through. Such was the case last week when a picture of a particularly lovely vintage Ferrari race car caught my attention. The article itself went one better by describing the challenges of systems implementation by using running the Indianapolis 500 race as a metaphor. You would think that would be the perfect post for me – yet it annoyed me. The reason? That Ferrari, the same one that had caught my attention in the first place. The problem was that while the article had consistently referenced the race at Indianapolis the picture was that of a Formula One race car. F1 and IndyCar are two distinctly different branches of the sport with very different cars. That Ferrari would never have raced in the Indy500. As much as I found the article interesting, the racing and content pursuit in me was irritated. Why didn’t they use an appropriate picture? OK I’ll accept the vast majority of people reading the article didn’t even notice the incongruity; a race car is just a race car isn’t it. Imagine instead that the article had been about Star Wars, and they’d used a Star Trek image, or about the Marvel movies and they’d used a picture of Batman (yes, I’m a geek too); or it had been about an industry you work in and they’d put up something related to one of your competitors. I’ve seen that happen when I worked in both aerospace and equipment manufacturing. Incidents like that immediate undermine your message’s credibility for those who have a degree of knowledge of the subject matter. Getting the right image on your message is important. I recently hosted a webinar on using social media and one of the areas we discussed was the use of images to accompany posts, blogs, articles etc. We talked about how images need to be: Relevant, Eye-catching, Symbolic, Thematic, and ideally original. The problems, like the Ferrari one, arise with an over reliance on search and stock art. That over reliance can lead to what I call the curse of The Millennial Man, where the same stock image is used over and over again by everyone. The Millennial Man refers to a photo that seems to accompany nearly every article that has the word “millennial” in the title. You know the one, the bearded guy walking down the street with a coffee in one hand, looking at his smart phone in the other hand. So how do you ensure that you are using the right images?  Don’t just search the web for something that might work. Use a Digital Asset Management platform that contains only brand approved art and images, or those that the company has licensed from an image library. Make sure that those images are correctly tagged with accurate and comprehensive metadata that makes searching easier and more accurate. It’s worth remembering that often the content about the content (i.e. the metadata) is more important than the content itself. Stay on track by considering the importance of metadata up front. Don’t just describe what is in the image, but think about what that image could be used to illustrate, what markets it might be appropriate for ( and just as importantly markets or circumstances where it may be inappropriate.) Defining a meta data strategy and managing it is a winning strategy.

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Get up Close With the Latest in Customer Experience Management at Enterprise World

Customer Experience Management

Think you know all about the range of OpenText Customer Experience offerings? Think you’ve seen it all at recent shows, or even at last year’s Enterprise World conference in Nashville? Think again. OpenText™ Experience Suite continues to grow and evolve with new products, and exciting innovative new features for the existing products. Join us at this year’s Enterprise World in Toronto to get up close and personal with all the latest CEM developments. There will be more opportunities to see the products, talk with experts, and network with your peers than ever before. Plans for the expanded CEM demonstration area in the Expo hall include: Experience Suite CEM Lab where you can see the various CEM products working together to help deliver a continuous connected customer experience from engagement to customer insights. Digital Asset Management area where you can examine top flight DAM platforms such as OpenText™ Media Management, and MediaBin, as well as industry specific solutions like Content Hub for Publishers. Web Content Management solutions to create and optimize the web experience for your customers with tools such as OpenText™ TeamSite, Optimost, Web Experience Management and Web Site Management. Customer Communications Management will highlight the new Exstream 16 release offering a unified solution for ultra-personalized communications. WorkForce Optimization that enables you to capture the true voice of the customer with products such as Qfiniti and Explore. The CEM Extensions demo area will introduce you to other products and solutions such as Experience Analytics and more to further enhance your CEM capabilities. It’s not only the product demo area that’s been extended, there will be a greater number of CEM-related breakout sessions and presentations than ever before. There will be more opportunities to learn and discuss industry trends, listen to others tell how implementing a CEM strategy impacted their business, or do a deep dive into the technical aspects of implementing solutions. It’s your choice. Whatever your level of interest and expertise, there will be something for you. If this all sounds like a great reason to spend July 10th to the 13th in Toronto, then make sure to register and we’ll look forward to seeing you there.

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Are you Delivering a Sunshine Experience?

experience

It’s amazing how even the brightest ray of sunlight can ruin months of work. Several years ago I was part of an industry team working on developing a set of standards for a defined group of symbols and colors to be used in the way that automotive service information was to delivered. We worked diligently for several months to come up with the right experience. Then we built a prototype and showed it to several service technicians who all liked what we had done. Then we visited one technician to proudly show of our work, but he didn’t want to meet us in his office. He wanted to use the prototype in a real-life scenario. Outside, next to a big greasy machine! It was all going well until the sun came out from behind a cloud, hit the laptop screen and promptly made everything we had done unreadable; the color palette we had selected washed out and everything looked the same. Back to square one on designing the experience! I was reminded of this after stopping to get gas on the way into the office yesterday morning. My local gas station has pumps with a nice big digital screen front and center. Once you have selected your gas and started pumping it plays a mix of short TV news and entertainment clips, along with some marketing messaging. Yesterday the rising sun was at just the right angle to make the screen almost unusable for both delivering the step by step instructions for purchasing and pumping gas, and for any of the digital marketing designed to engage and entertain me for the few minutes it took to fill the car. A simple lip across the top of the screen that would provide some shade would have probably fixed the problem. Recently a friend of mine tweeted that it’s a mistake to only test your marketing content on giant monitors. You should review content on the mobile devices your users will use. Excellent advice, but based on experiences like the ones outlined above I believe that to ensure the sort of customer experience that we believe we are designing and delivering we should also test indoors and outdoors as sun glare and lighting conditions can impact the experience. And not just the mobile devices either; as the customer experience moves beyond the browser, we should also be thinking about embedded screens in “Internet of Things” connected products, or seat backs, digital signage, or other outdoor static screens. The list is growing and so are the environmental factors that will impact the customer experience. Find out more about OpenText™ Experience Suite.

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Discover the Latest Customer Experience Management Trends and Innovations at Enterprise World in July

Is there anything good happening in Toronto in July this year? Sure there is. How about joining us for the biggest and best OpenText Enterprise World event yet? There will be a lot of different activities and events to choose from for anyone involved in planning and delivering exceptional connected customer experiences at this year’s event, with a strong focus on delivering exceptional, valued content for customer experience management professionals; be they strategists, practitioners, or solution developers. Enterprise World will be your chance to get a first look at product roadmaps, innovations, and new features in: Digital Asset Management Customer Communications Management Web Content Management Work Force Optimization As well as associated technologies such as analytics, web site optimization and for capturing the voice of the customer, business, and employees. Topics under discussion will range from industry trends, to product roadmaps, to deep dive technical sessions, and everything in between. As an example, just a few of the CEM topics already scheduled include: Ten Customer Experience Management Trends for 2017 OpenText CEM Strategy and Roadmaps for the Experience Suite products Build the Right Foundation for Future Digital Experiences Migrating and Upgrading to the latest Experience Suite products Adding to the mix will be customer panels, access to special product demo areas, as well as the Innovation and Developer Labs where you’ll have access to a wide range of CEM experts. This is your chance to provide direct feedback and ask for those product enhancements you’ve always wanted. Enterprise World will also give you the ideal opportunity to network with your industry peers and hear their stories. Share your story too, and learn from each other. If this all sounds like a great reason to spend July 10th to the 13th in Toronto, then make sure to register and we’ll see you there.

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Time-Based Digital Assets are now Mission Critical

video

How much video are you watching online? I’m pretty confident it’s more than last year, or the year before. It seems that every website now features video in some form or other. Video is also becoming increasingly prevalent across the various social media platforms too. There’s a good reason, studies have shown that video is more engaging than text or still imagery. A video with a well told story that provides value or entertainment (or better yet, both) is often commented on and shared. Video is everywhere in the digital world. In fact a report by Cisco suggests that this year (2017) video will account for 69% of all consumer driven traffic on the web. Having video assets has also become important for findability with YouTube now ranked as the second largest search engine, processing three billion searches a month. Video has become mission critical The rise in voice-activated applications and devices means audio is not far behind as voice driven search is rapidly growing with some estimates suggesting that 50% of search queries will be done by voice by 2020. Audio is becoming mission critical Both Video and audio can be considered as time-based digital assets, and need to be managed, tagged, and produced in a controlled workflow just like more traditional media assets such as photography. The OpenText™ Media Management (OTMM) platform is perfectly positioned to handle traditional media and provide the functionality needed to manage and deliver the growing demand for time-based media. OpenText™ Media Management now offers an optional Advanced Video Workflow that extends OTMM functionality into the editing suite specifically to meet the needs of dealing with time-based media assets in three specific areas: more detailed metadata, more control over the asset, and improved integration with preferred editing suites and workflow. OTMM now automatically pulls additional metadata from time-based assets to improve search results and asset handling. New Logging functionality means you can now add annotations and metadata over single scenes, or even single frames, or sound-bites. The meta-data selection buttons are totally configurable and can be driven by controlled language, domain knowledge terminology, or other defined terminology sets to provide intuitive tagging. Ranges of frames can also be tagged to create defined sub-clips. The editing tool integration allows frame-by-frame broadcast quality interactions, frame search, and the support of multiple audio channels all within a browser environment. One-button toggling between low-res editing streams and a hi-res preview makes the editing workflow more efficient. Once the tagging and editing work is complete, the finalized assets are sent back to OTMM for storage and retrieval from a single digital asset platform that provides the single source for all your brand-approved assets. The Advanced Video Workflow option for OpenText™ Media Management provides key video tools so your teams can provide compelling and attention-getting content.

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Digital Plants and Conveyor Belts – a Different Approach to DAM

DAM

The world’s largest museum complex is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about who are the natural users of a leading edge Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. After all isn’t Digital Asset Management all about managing your online brand assets like photography and videos so that your website and apps look consistent and only use approved imagery? Not really. As I wrote recently DAM isn’t just for pretty pictures any more, as many companies are finding new uses for the technology. However most of those new uses are still centered on managing current content. Some companies have begun to use DAM technology to leverage the value of corporate archives, but these tend to be limited to the reuse of old photographs and documents. But the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC is using the OpenText™ Media Management (OTMM) DAM platform in a whole new way; to catalog millions of plant specimens, some of which are over 300 years old. The Washington Post recently reported on this fascinating project, and the innovative conveyer belt process that has been developed to enable the team to handle the sheer volume of data they are digitizing. The specimens are pulled out of the cabinets and placed in the moving conveyor belt that automatically clicks high resolution photos at the rate of roughly one every 4 seconds. The image files are created, automatically cropped via a tool and then ingested into OTMM after a metadata tagging process. Prior to the OTMM-based digital transformation project the museum faced two major challenges: New specimens were arriving in the collection at a rate of 20,000 to 30,000 a year, and as a result the collection was growing quicker than they could catalog it. At the start of the new project it was estimated that the overall collection numbered around 5 million specimens. The traditional digitization process was too slow. It had taken 40 years to catalog the first 1.5 million specimens. The new OTMM-based project initiated by the Smithsonian’s Digital Program Office is on track to have cataloged the next 1 million objects in just eighteen months. The Natural History Museum project isn’t the only part of the Smithsonian that is using OTMM. They have 12 museums that are contributing content to the DAM and currently have millions of assets in their OTMM system and that number is increasing rapidly each day. Most or all of these images are made available to public & researchers free of cost online at the Collections Search Center site.

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OpenText WFO Video Series: Why Should Customer Experience be a top Enterprise Goal?

WFO Video Series

When faced with a choice of products, or suppliers, how to decide which one to use? Is it simply price, or like most people does your previous experience with the company or product factor into your decision? In today’s fast-paced world no one really has the marketplace to themselves anymore. New innovations quickly give rise to competitors. As a result everything is a commodity, making it ever more difficult to achieve market share based on product alone. Customer experience has become the key business differentiator. Management consultant and author Peter Drucker once wrote that “the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” This may seem to be an obvious statement, but many companies traditionally focus on the first half of the statement to the detriment of the latter part. It can be argued that keeping a customer is more important than finding a new one – for a repeat customer is often an engaged customer. According to a 2015 article from McKinsey & Company, developing a customer experience strategy is now one of the top 3 initiatives for 90% of CEOs.  And as stated by analyst Brian Solis in “The 2016 State of Digital Transformation,” of 500 participating digital strategists who were responsible for digital transformation, 55% cited “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as the primary catalyst for change. In today’s digital world the customer is not only driving the decision on when and how interactions are made, they are also demanding a more personalized experience. But simply improving individual transactions with the customer at specific points in the process is not enough: to make a real difference the customer experience should be a continuous connected journey that allows data to flow across every step of the customer lifecycle, leaving the customer with a “they really know me” feeling. One of the most commonly overlooked areas of the customer journey is post sales when the greatest value is to be obtained. A well-defined post sales process aligned with a foundational customer experience strategy can increase the customer’s lifecycle value and often deliver overall revenue multiple times that of an initial product order. The companies that are focused on delivering exceptional customer service are demonstrably winning more business and are on faster growth paths. Customer-centric brands generate more loyalty and find that their customers become their strongest brand advocates. Think about the brands and companies that you like to deal with. Shouldn’t you be delivering a similar, or even better, experience to your customers at every interaction? For a real life example of why customer experience should be a top enterprise goal, Aflac’s Jason Goodroe discusses how customer experience has been defined as one of the four key pillars of the business. Listen to Jason explain why customers, irrespective of technology or process, want to build loyal relationships with companies that provide value and trust. And don’t forget to hear how the other Video Series speakers explain why customer experience is a top enterprise goal in 2017. In all, our speakers answer eight important questions about driving awareness of the contact center within your organization and explain why this should be of interest to every contact center agent, supervisor, manager and executive. So when you have a few moments be sure to hear how our panel of experts answered all of these questions: What defines a positive customer experience? Why should customer experience be a top enterprise goal? How can the contact center be positioned as a leader in customer experience? How can the contact center align with the top priorities of executive leadership? What’s the best way to coordinate contact center goals with other business units? What performance goals resonate most with executive leadership? What other tools demonstrate contact center impact to the executive team? What are some lessons learned about reporting to the executive team? Continue the conversation by commenting on our blog posts, check out Steve Graff’s blog to read his take on the first question in the series, What defines a positive customer experience?

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Sending the Wrong Email can be an Opportunity to do the Right Thing

customer communications management

We all get them every day. Emails that we delete without reading. Yet companies invest countless hours in developing email campaigns and messaging to try and catch our attention or interest just for us to ignore them. My wife and I were discussing last night the top email subject headers that means we will automatically delete a marketing email. My wife’s top flag was anything that gave her an order to do something. Yesterday’s winner in that category was an email she received from a company that shouted “This is important information you need – Don’t Delete!” – The first thing she did? Deleted that email. My pet peeve is over friendly emails from people I’ve never met, like this example from yesterday, “Reminder – Hey Alan, did you have a chance to review my email?” My response, check the company on the email address, not someone I do business with, then hit the Delete button. Then there’s the emails from companies that you do interact with on a regular basis, but when you read it you think “How did I end up on that mailing list?” You delete it and don’t give it much thought beyond it ramping up an annoyance factor with the company that can eventually impact your overall customer experience. But great brands and customer-aware companies can use a well-defined customer communications management strategy to turn that “How did I end up on this list?” moment into a positive experience rather than a negative one. A case in point. My car. Although my family changes cars on a pretty regular basis we are pretty brand loyal. At any given time you can bet that someone in the family is driving an example from this particular brand’s line up. At the moment it’s me, and I am driving a fully tricked out version of the company’s sportiest offering. It’s the tenth example of the brand we’ve owned. So imagine my surprise to receive an email from the company that was headed “We’re sorry to see you go.” It continued along the lines that the company had heard we had sold the car and wanted to ask a few questions of our experience with the brand, and why we’d moved on. Looking out the window I could still see my car sitting on the driveway. Yep, definitely on the wrong mailing list. I deleted the note, and didn’t think any more of it. Until two days later. A follow-up email arrived from the car company apologizing for the wrong email being sent. There was a well- worded message along the lines of “we know that you still own your car, and thanks for being a loyal customer.” This was followed with a note that by way of apology a small gift was in the mail (which arrived the next day). There was also an additional follow-up that laid out my ownership of the current car, and a note that as a token of thanks for my loyalty if I headed to my local dealer within the next thirty days they would upgrade me from my 2015 model to the equivalent 2017 model at a stated lower APR rate. One mistake = good follow up + bonus gift + acknowledgement of my customer loyalty + upsell offer. That’s good customer communications management, it helps strengthen relationships, develops good customer experience, and promotes more value and revenue across the customer lifecycle. While I’m not ready to take up that trade-in offer just yet, but when it does come time to change my car again, guess which company will once again be top of my list?

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Why DAM Isn’t Just Pretty Pictures on the Web Any More

DAM webinar

Why do you purchase and implement a Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform in the first place? If you’re like me when I ran the content management team at another company, it was originally to control the flow of approved images to the company’s online presence. We were revamping the website and eCommerce platform and a key part of the project was to improve the images used, and to make sure that they were both brand and safety compliant. It didn’t take long for the word to spread that we now had a single safe source for brand approved images. Soon we were talking to other groups in the company, and even our dealer network about how they could contribute to, and access, the DAM. Instead of just storing the images selected for use on the website we were soon storing every picture from a product photo shoot, then came interest from the company archives. In the space of eighteen months we had passed one million assets and over eight-thousand users accessing them. But the most interesting part was the way that the DAM became the source for applications and use cases that we had never considered. We had developed a way to create lightweight 3D models of our products, and started storing the source files for those on the DAM too. Suddenly the DAM was the source driving Augmented Reality proof-of-concept innovations, being used to populate digital signage at dealer showrooms, as well as training, facilities planning, trade shows, coffee table art books, calendars, licensed merchandise, and more. At the point where I left the company we had recorded sixteen different use cases for the content stored in the DAM, and I’m sure there’s even more now. The thing is, I was far from alone in witnessing how a good DAM platform can be used in different. powerful ways. Since joining OpenText I’ve seen other uses, such as: Media companies who use their DAM to deliver DVD packaging and advertising banners that automatically resize and place the correct logos and text based on the intended markets and distribution channels. Drinks companies where the DAM is a central component of their high-profile sports sponsorships programs A rail company that uses the DAM to manage rail inspection videos from cameras mounted on the front of locomotives An aerospace engine company that uses its DAM to store and analyze images of parts from any engine involved in an accident So how are you using your DAM platform? Join us on Wednesday February 15th for a webinar on how to Unlock New Potential (and ROI) From Your DAM. Click here to register

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100,000 Pieces of Content a Day

content

It often feels like we are being deluged by content, we are exposed to more stories, images, video, and audio than ever before. Yet most of that content (social media aside) has been sorted, indexed, written, edited, managed, and gone through a publication process before it even gets to us, the consumer. How do those who produce the content deal the vast amounts of raw information, text, and images etc., that go to make up the stories that we see? And how do they make their publishing efficient enough to keep up with the unedited real time content streaming across the various social media platforms? These were the sort of problems facing News UK the publisher of some of the biggest and most popular British newspapers. The Times, Britain’s oldest daily national, and The Sunday Times are the world’s best-known quality newspapers. The Sun is the most read British newspaper, with more than four million readers each day. News UK also operates a number of digital channels, including Sun Bingo, Sunday Times Wine Club, and Riviera Travel. News UK receives and generates more than 100,000 new digital assets each day, and manages in excess of 25 million assets in total. The assets including text, images, pages, video, graphics, and audio needed to be captured, indexed, and quickly made available to users across the business. Their existing digital asset management system (DAM) had served the business well, but was more suited to print media, with limited options for moving towards a converged, multichannel solution. It also lacked the ability to be easily integrated to its chosen editorial system. “We need to drive a greater responsiveness for global news coverage, rapidly publishing articles that provide a consistent, rich multimedia experience for readers across all channels and publication brands,” says Simon Pumphrey, Systems Manager at News UK.” Against a backdrop of technical change, we have to ensure we remain at the forefront of how news is delivered, across all channels.” In looking for a replacement for their legacy system the new DAM solution had to be faster, easier to use, and be more cost-effective than our existing system. It should also help us ensure compliance with usage rights of the assets we use, with comprehensive tracking, audit, and reporting. We wanted a browser-based solution, based on open standards, which would be straightforward to integrate to our editorial system. OpenText™ Content Hub for Publishers (CHP) meets all of these criteria and more,” says Pumphrey. CHP has been introduced as part of a large-scale transformation project to increase collaboration across editorial teams. “The business critical deployment of OpenText CHP allows News UK to collect as many as 100,000 or more new digital assets and news feeds submitted each day by multiple journalists, photographers, and agencies into a single system. The OpenText content Analytics engine automatically tags these assets, ensuring content can be quickly found and retrieved across the various editorial desks.” Not only can the assets be easily repurposed across The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun, but the solution ensures the correct rights are associated with each asset, helping to mitigate the risk of digital rights infringement. “In today’s connected world, customers are choosing to engage with our newspapers across a growing number of devices and, increasingly, we need to manage the growing types of digital content to create a richer digital experience. We chose OpenText CHP as the scalability of the platform has enabled us to move from a print-centric process to one where journalists can associate multimedia content directly into different channels.”

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Is Your Website a Reflection of You or Your Customers?

web content management solutions

“Hey Dad, did you have any feedback?” That text from my daughter last week was part of an ongoing discussion around the website that she was designing for a new business venture that she and a partner will be launching in a few months. It was the third iteration of the site, and this was the first version that was fully mobile friendly. My feedback was that with just a few minor tweaks, this iteration was very close to where they needed to be for the launch. It told a good story and provided the basic information their customers would be looking for. It wasn’t always the case. Early in the process of them developing a business case I asked my daughter and her business partner what they wanted the website to communicate. The immediate response was “We want it to let people know what we do.” A logical answer, but my response was something along the lines of “That’s great, but other people do what you do. What makes you special?” “We are focused on people with a particular problem area.” “Great. So think about the people who need help solving that problem. What are they going to be looking for?” As these sort of discussions continued, the website design and prototypes evolved from their description of what the new company did, to a series of short articles that addressed the potential customer’s problems, and how my daughter and her partner can help. They also looked at the list of services they were offering and decided to focus on the three where they have had the most interest. Now instead of a webpage with a shopping list of things to pick from, each solution article has information about the relevant service, with pricing and contact information. But it’s not only small businesses or start-ups that need to be switching their thinking from a website that, no matter how slick it’s presented, is little more than a digital brochure. Often these sort of “inside-out” websites end up being a reflection of the corporate structure accompanied by a list of products. Switching the mind set to a customer driven “outside-in” view can pay dividends, not only in an improved experience that can help customer’s solve their problems, but they can also have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line. I once worked on a project for a large company whose website was a perfect reflection of their corporate and business unit structure. You had to know what part of the company was responsible for a particular product to be able to find it; even the employees had a hard time figuring out where to find information. But a customer focused analysis showed that 80% of the traffic went to the website for just four things: to look up product specifications, pricing, buy spare parts, or get support. Once we rebuilt the website around making those tasks as easy as possible, traffic, leads, and online parts sales revenue all increased, and support costs decreased. Improving the customer experience is now regularly cited as a top strategic imperative for many companies, and the website is the always-on global showcase for that. Delivering a customer-driven web experience means not only changing the mind-set and the content, but also delivering a more engaging relevant and engaging experience that delivers value to the individual customer. It can rapidly become a complex process and needs the right sort of management tools to enable and support an effective web presence. OpenText™ Web Content Management (WCM) solutions are an open, flexible, and connected platform to solve the next generation of digital experience challenges faced by marketers and business managers. OpenText WCM brings together content, process, and applications to create and deliver optimized and personalized multi-channel interactions across the full customer journey.

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An Account Number by any Other Name

online customer experience

All I wanted to do was give a business some money. Yet they seemed determined to make it as difficult as possible for me to pay my bill. We had received our first invoice from them as a paper bill in the mail (how 20th century!), but as we pay all of our regular bills digitally we decided to go online and pay that way. Two steps into the website process it asked for our Account Number; which was not printed anywhere on the paper bill, nor on the covering letter. A few clicks and we managed to find our account profile online. Still nothing labeled as “Account Number” anywhere. Ok we’ll pay by check this time around just to make sure it gets there. Then we saw the following note on the payment instructions: “Please include your account number on the check.” – You mean the “Account Number” that you haven’t told us? A few more clicks around the website and we eventually found an email address to send a question about how we could find this elusive number. The response was “Oh we get asked that a lot. You just go to your account profile and combine the abbreviation from Box 3 with the number from Box 5 so the account number looks something like ABC1245.” As I ran this frustrating scenario back through my mind (after I had managed to pay the bill) it raised several Customer Experience questions: If you have customers repeatedly asking the same question about a part of your process, then that part of your process is broken. You need to fix it. And not in a way that makes it easier for you, but in a way that it makes it easier for the customer to complete their task, like giving you money on time! If there’s a vital identifying piece of information that customers need to be able to interact with your business processes, then make sure it’s included on any, and all, customer correspondence or interaction, be it physical or digital. Names are important. Think about what you call something. Don’t expect the customer to know the terms you use internally. Pick names that the customer will recognize and use it consistently. As a further example of this last point, I once worked with a company where one of the product lines was known internally by its engineering name. No-one outside the company used the term to describe that sort of product. No-one in the industry, and certainly none of the company’s customers or prospects did. But the engineering name was embedded throughout the company’s processes and even used on the website. No-one ever searched for that name and as a result it never came up in search engine results and online lead generation for that product line was almost non-existence. After a lot of discussion we eventually got the product people to agree to using the more common name on the website – i.e. the term that customers and prospects used when searching. In a week the relevant webpages started popping up in the top 10 search results. In a year the lead generation increased exponentially with a resultant growth in product revenue. The customers were also happier, and support costs dropped, because they could now find the information they needed quickly and easily. All because the name was changed to the one that the customers used.

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Media Management – A “Rosetta Stone” for Rosetta Stone

media management

The Rosetta Stone the famous tablet, found in 1799, that displayed the same text in three ancient languages: Greek, Demotic (Egyptian script), and hieroglyphics, provided the key to enable deeper understanding and more accurate translation of those languages. In doing so it gave us a broader view of the ancient world and enabled other discoveries to be put into context. Sometimes the various different aspects of a large corporation can feel like they are using different languages to describe the same thing. What we need is a digital “rosetta stone” that can help facilitate conversation around shared assets from marketing, through sales, support, finance, legal, and other lines of business. One company that has successfully addressed that issue is the company named after the aforementioned archeological find – Rosetta Stone.  Rosetta Stone provides cloud-based learning for more than 30 languages in close to 150 countries. It serves schools, businesses, governments, and millions of individual learners across the globe. It’s an often repeated truism by those of us in the content industry that every company is a publisher, and this view is reinforced by Donna Bible, the Senior Digital Asset Manager for Rosetta Stone. Everything that Rosetta Stone does starts with content, and Bible and her team manage more than a million images, videos, and audio components used by professionals across the world to develop interactive lessons. “My role is to use the right system to collect all that content, catalog it, and enable the creative services teams who make videos for our end users, as well as the product and the images within it.” “We work with our creative and legal teams to harness the most recent videos and licensed imagery,” Bible states. “Using OpenText™ Media Management, I am able to gather the latest versions and final published documents and ensure that people see something that is out to press or published on the web and approved.” Media Management enlivens creativity and productivity, according to Bible. “If you are able to harness content, relocate it and reuse it, you are at a completely different scalable level of work,” she says. “You save your creative team time and you save the legal team time from having to contest rights.” OpenText Media Management meets the company’s expanding needs while maintaining a rich collection for its growth across borders. “Having a consistent vision of retaining knowledge and content … and integrating the different departments has brought and kept a lot of people together,” Bible states. “It’s also allowed us to on-board people more easily by giving them insight … Media Management has become more than just a work tool. It’s really an archive of history for the company.” For organizations implementing digital asset management, Bible offers this advice. “At first, involve as many people as you can,” she says. “Then, when you implement, focus on one group: get that right and use it as a service model.” Results compound quickly, Bible notes. “Trust that there is a snowball effect of value you’re building. After some years, it can be very satisfying.” Check out the video and download the white paper for more on the Rosetta Stone story. Or view this on-demand webinar to learn how another Media Management customer, Monster Energy, benefited from their  asset management initiative.

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Lower the Drawbridge and let the Data Flow

customer experience

It’s not often that Game of Thrones provides a moment of insight into data exchange, but that’s what happened this week. I am just catching up with season six of the top rated HBO series; and when the “Kingslayer” Jamie Lannister walked back across a drawbridge, having failed to persuade the leader of the forces under siege in the castle to surrender, it made me think about permeable data. In my last blog post I presented the idea that rather than trying to break down and remove the invisible walls that keep core customer data siloed and isolated in different parts and layers of the organization, we should let each group keep the keys to their (data) kingdoms, and benevolently grant access to the data to other groups and departments. In the world of Game of Thrones, with its ever shifting alliances and loyalties, the one thing that remains constant is the need for information. That information is often delivered via messenger ravens, and occasionally through personal contact as the various characters meet and interact. On the face of it, Jamie Lannister’s interaction on the drawbridge may have been seen as a failure. Yet, the more I thought about it, the lowering of the drawbridge allowed some significant “permeable data” to flow between the two systems in play. Each commander shared a little about their intentions and reacted to information that the other one shared. While Lannister may not have persuaded the besieged commander to surrender, he walked away with enough information to develop a way to later end the siege with relatively minimal casualties. And the commander of the castle knew more about his opponent, his strengths, and his thinking – even if he chose not to act on that information. Once that drawbridge came down, it was inevitable that data would be exchanged. We need to lower our system drawbridges. By making the data silo walls permeable, allowing the data to flow freely to and from the different repositories, a company can make the most out of its investment in the technology being used to garner that information, and keep the kingdom’s (data) monarchs happy at the same time. Data bridges allow the flow of information. Once enabled, the company can collect a piece of data once and share between systems, in a way that respects system ownership and allows each repository to use the data in the best possible way to fulfill its own line of business needs and tasks. OpenText™ Experience Suite builds on this concept. It lets data flow between the various products in the Customer Experience Management portfolio, so vital information and assets can be connected from Digital Asset Management tools through to the Web Content Management and Optimization tools and on to Customer Communications and even the Call Center, where data around sentiment analysis can be fed back to the Web Content design team. Each product can stand alone and address the needs of a particular line of business, or be an Enterprise content single source of truth. Yet by passing data between them, with other OpenText tools, or existing enterprise business systems etc., they can be the foundation of a fully connected continuous customer experience.

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Removing the Data Barriers to get the Bigger Picture

Data barriers

Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result is EITHER practice, or insanity.  The difference is simply in how long you’re willing to wait until things start to change. Similarly, treating all customers the same and simply doing the same things over again in new channels, is equally unproductive. To successfully meet the experience expectations of today’s customer demands removing data barriers and agility in how companies leverage their customers’ data in order to deliver individualized experiences in preferred channels. This kind of agility requires connectivity and fluidity within an organization. Customer Experience takes a village It takes a collection of divisions and departments within an organization to deliver goods, services, and the desired brand experience, to customers. Similarly, customers interact with organizations via multiple touchpoints spread across multiple departments. So why would any company think a single source of data from any one department or division could provide the multi-faceted, let alone complete, picture of the customer it needs? To develop and implement a truly omnichannel and customer-centric customer experience strategy, companies need to gather insights from multiple data points to connect those experiences together. But even that is not enough. That data, all that data, also needs to be accessible by the myriad teams that contribute to delivering the customer experience for their own analysis and interpretation. Limited by data fiefdoms We’ve all heard the rhetoric of “breaking down the silos”. Many gasp and shudder at the thought of having to share the proverbial access code to the vault that contains THEIR data. Over the span of their careers employees develop areas of knowledge expertise, and maybe even fiefdoms, around particular systems and associated data. They develop a sense of ownership. The angst of now having to share their domain is brought on by many fears; What if they (the other departments) mess up my data? What if their findings contradict my own? What if …? What if …? What if …? This individual apprehension is compounded by the larger picture of company priorities and culture. Companies invest large amounts of money in existing systems, and with those systems adoption come established, good or bad, procedures and policies. Once these become intrinsic to the way a company does business they are difficult to adjust. Nobody likes change, and it isn’t realistic to expect these things to change, or as some cases may deem, disappear, overnight. But who says they have to? Permeable data silos Rather than trying to break down and remove the invisible walls that keep core customer data siloed and isolated in different parts and layers of the organization, let each group keep the keys to their (data) kingdoms, and benevolently grant access to the data to other groups and departments. By making the data silo walls permeable, allowing the data to flow freely to, and from, the different repositories, the company can make the most out of its investment in the technology being used to garner that information, and keep the kingdom’s (data) monarchs happy at the same time. By building these data bridges the flow of information from one system to the other is enabled, and subsequently encouraged. And instead of collecting the same data over and over again – a better experience for the customer already – companies can collect it once and share between systems, in a way that respects system ownership and allows each repository to use the data in the best possible way to fulfill its own line of business needs and tasks. Internal systems shouldn’t drive the Customer Experience; it should be the other way around Some might think that to solve this problem companies have to first look at the systems in place for collecting and storing the data. At some point, yes, there are likely redundant repositories that can be sunsetted once the data landscape is better understood. For a bigger, transformational impact, companies should turn to their teams and data-related activities. Understanding by whom, and how the data is used, agreeing to what it means across the organization, as well as in different teams and departments, is how the true value of data is extracted. By creating a customer-centric perspective internally around customer-related data, organizations enable the different parts of their business to consume and analyze data in a way that makes most sense for them, thus allowing them to have more insight into the customer, and therefore are better able to contribute to delivering a more customer-centric experience. Data driven companies that take a holistic view of their data, develop “data journeys” that transcend internal company borders and boundaries, and mirror their customers’ journeys, are winning the customer experience race. (This blog post was co-authored with Cathy McKnight of the Digital Clarity Group).

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