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.

Learning a CX Lesson While Leaving Las Vegas

CX lesson

It’s amazing what you can learn in the back of a cab in Las Vegas. On my ride back to the airport after speaking at the recent LavaCon Conference on Digital Strategies the cab driver and I discussed all sorts of topics from robotics, and artificial intelligence, how our brains adapt and learn, to the life and times of Marilyn Monroe (the latter being the subject of a new musical the driver had written and was hoping to get produced in the next year.) But perhaps the most interesting learning moment was the one when we arrived at the airport and the cab’s credit card machine suddenly lost its connection and stopped working. “Don’t worry,” said my new best friend, “we have a process for when that happens. I can just call it in.” Well I’m glad that I’d left my hotel a little earlier than originally planned and I wasn’t in a rush to catch my flight. The first step in this process was for the driver to get out of the cab and look at the 1-800 phone number painted on the side of it, so he could call in. There was nothing inside the cab with the central booking number on it. Why would there be, if you’re in the cab, you’ve already booked a ride, why would you need the number? Unless you’re the driver with a credit card processing problem. Once back in the cab the driver reached central booking. “This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I’m at the airport and I need to run a passenger’s card.” “OK, let me pass you on to the people that can do that.” <click… wait..click> “Hello, how can I help you?” “This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I need to run a passenger’s card.” <click…. wait … click>> “Hello, how can I help you?” “This is cab # 1234 my credit card machine is down I need to run a passenger’s card.” “Not another ….. one. Geez, what are you idiots doing out there?” At which point, thanks to the driver rebooting the terminal a few times during the conversation, the machine came back online and I paid. So apart from the fact that as the customer I was hearing the whole conversation, including the colorful language, what got me was the fact that the driver was passed from department to department having to repeat the same information for each new agent. As for the “we have a process for that,” they apparently didn’t, or at least not one that was accessible, well documented, or efficient. And if any process needed to be efficient it is one for a cab passenger at the airport being able to pay quickly and easily, as the chances are that in most cases they are in something of a rush. Clearly context and customer needs hadn’t been considered. Back in June I blogged about how employees are customers too and that you should give them the same digital experience. The incident in the cab made me realize that there’s another aspect to that viewpoint. What about the systems that employees have to use when they are interfacing with a customer? How much will the customer judge their potential on-going experience with you based on how easy (or not) it is for your employees, agents, etc. to complete their tasks. Not every aspect of customer experience is a direct interaction; often it’s an observation rather than a transaction.

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OpenText Experience Suite Adds Functionality to Support the Customer Lifecycle

Experience Suite

The latest release of OpenText™ Experience Suite tackles the challenges of digital transformation to deliver a continuous real and effective digital customer lifecycle. OpenText is helping organizations to orchestrate data, media, interactions and transactions across a digital enterprise. The complexity of managing a consistent brand presence across media, languages, cultural expectations and governmental regulations requires a platform built for pervasive connectivity and new ways of interacting that go beyond a simple point and click. Experience Suite helps business leaders harmonize customer-centric technology applications across every department in the organization, whether the organization’s first priority is to get a handle on all of the rich media (video, audio, print, imagery, etc.) or to streamline its communications, invoices, or web presence. Experience Suite serves as a single platform of choice for delivering Continuous Customer Engagement. This market-leading set of capabilities addresses critical digital transformation initiatives within the realm of the customer experience and is comprised of leading applications from market categories in Customer Communications Management, Digital Asset Management, Marketing Optimization, Voice of the Customer, Web Content Management, and Workforce Optimization along with architecture to deeply integrate into the larger OpenText Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform. Consider the need for a company to launch and manage a campaign across multiple markets and different customer personas. With Experience Suite you can connect our industry leading Digital Asset Management platform to the Web Content Management and Optimization capabilities to design, test, optimize, and deliver the right content with the right message – all with brand approved imagery that ensures that the right message is being delivered to the right customers in a way that resonates with their needs and results in higher rates of engagement. Once a customer has executed the call to action from a campaign (such as clicking a link to request more information) their data can be passed to the Customer Communications Management system where responses and on-going communications can be delivered in a way that suits the customers’ needs from print, to text, email, etc. The communications can be designed to add value to the ongoing exchange, or even be interactive to promote further engagement through to purchase and beyond. As customers continue their ownership, use of product call center optimization and voice of the customer tools within the Experience Suite portfolio can track customer sentiment, and feedback to various parts of the company any need for changes in the overall customer experience. OpenText Experience Suite includes: Digital Asset Management with OpenText™ Media Management Web Content Management with OpenText™ TeamSite Customer Communications Management with OpenText™ Exstream + Communications Center Enterprise Call Center Workforce Optimization with OpenText™ Qfiniti Voice of the Customer analysis with OpenText™ Explore With the Experience Suite portfolio of tools it is possible to deliver a fully connected continuous customer experience that drives increased engagement and additional revenue.

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Developing a Culture of Assumption at 200mph

mapping customer journeys

Last weekend I attended the United States Grand Prix Formula One race at the magnificent Circuit of the Americas facility just outside Austin, Texas and had a fantastic time. It was the third time I’d been to an F1 race at the track and it’s always been a great experience. This year there was a record crowd of just over 269,000 people in attendance. I was also lucky enough to attend the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier in the year. They too had a record crowd of around 300,000 at the event, and it was also a great experience.  In both cases the facilities and promoters put on an exceptional show. With crowds that size there was inevitably a lot of first time attendees and thinking back I noticed many instances of regular race goers having to explain how things worked to other people. Things like how the shuttle bus service worked, how to identify drivers and cars, or the nuances of pit-stop strategies. It occurred to me that when you put on an event on a regular basis, you can easily develop an underlying culture of assumption that people just know how things are organized. The same could be said for providing content on a regular basis too. In the periodical publishing industry there is an axiom that any given issue of a magazine is someone’s first issue and that things should be laid out and presented accordingly. I believe the same guideline should be applied to any event where you are interacting with your customers, be it in person or online. Ever been to a trade show or conference vendor hall and had to ask at a booth “So what is it you do?”  Shouldn’t that be obvious from the branding, and booth copy? Again it’s a culture of assumption in play. How about your website or mobile applications, your call center? Do they reflect a culture of assumption? Any given interaction with your company could be someone’s first, so provide them with the information they need for a productive experience. Spell things out. Communicate the basics clearly and use good design to make the first journey intuitive. Help new prospects and customers get the answers they need easily. You also need to provide alternate paths for those repeat interactions where customers already have some product knowledge or experience of how your processes flow. It’s a delicate balancing act to cater for the new customer without irritating the repeat visitor, but it’s one that needs to be addressed. When developing and mapping customer journeys don’t just talk to your existing customers, talk to your sales prospects, or better yet have someone who has no experience of your company and knows nothing about you work their way through the various channels you use to tell your story. Don’t let your new customers be the confused race fan looking for the right shuttle bus, help them get to the track in the quickest and easiest way possible, and they may end up being first in line to buy a ticket for next year’s event.

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The Redefined Customer Journey – Remove System Friction

redefined customer journey

The customer journey is being redefined in the digital age from a linear process to an ongoing loop of BUY then OWN with the companies you choose to deal with becoming more and more engaged in every part of the cycle. So far in previous posts I’ve discussed what that on-going loop looks like from a customer perspective and how the loop model aligns the customer’s activities to those of the organization, and which departments need to work together to deliver the continuous connected experience. As we continue to dig deeper into the journey map the fourth layer (above) connects the departmental level activity to the typical enterprise systems that record, drive, and promote the various aspects of the customer’s journey. These processes and systems have to interact. Technology bridges need to be established to allow data to flow between them to ensure a consistent experience and to maintain a relevant, valued engagement. The platforms in use must promote a sufficient degree of interoperability that allows the multiple interactions to work together. But unfortunately the truth is that they rarely do. How many times have you transitioned from trying to do something on a website, had to call a help desk to get your goal completed and they already know your account details and what you want to accomplish? Rarely, if ever. It shouldn’t be that way. I recently moved house and needed to change my address on various accounts. Simple I thought; just go on the various companies’ websites, open my profile, and edit the details. In most cases that worked, but in a few cases I had additional questions and needed to make a call. With one credit card company I had a question about why my statements had stopped being delivered. The call went something like this: Automated System: Please state your name. Automated System: Say or input your account number. Automated system: What’s your account safeword?  (Note not the account password, but a separate “safeword” I set up when I opened the account years ago and have never needed to use since – of course I had no idea what it was). Me: I have no idea. The Automated System passed me on to a Call Center employee. Call center: How can I help you? Me: I need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Call center: What’s your account safeword? Me: I have no idea. Call center: I have to pass you on to our security team. Wait while call is transferred. Security team: How can I help you? Me: I need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Security team: What’s your account safeword? Me: I have no idea, that’s why I was passed to you. Security: OK I can help you with that. What’s your name and account number? (Information I had keyed in the automated system at the start of the call and which the first call center person had). After some back and forth we eventually got the “safeword” thing sorted out. Security: I’ll hand you back to the customer service so they can set up your payment plan? Me: Sorry? What payment plan? I just need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Security: Oh. Hang on. Wait while call is transferred. – Get a different customer service rep. Customer service: How can I help you? Me: I need to change my address and I have a question about my statements. Call center: What’s your account safeword? Me: You have got to be kidding me! To cut a very long story short I eventually got my address changed and asked about my statements not getting delivered. You guessed it, I got transferred yet again to a different department and went through the same run around. It turned out that when the account hit zero balance they stop sending statements. When I pointed out that it might be nice if they sent the account holder an email to let them know about that policy, or put something on the statements themselves, or even their website; I received a “oh that’s a good idea” response. An idea I doubt will get passed on as I’m sure billing and the website content are yet two more siloed operations. Ideally silos between systems such as the ones I encountered need to be broken down, but as a minimum they should be bridged by data sets that can be easily transferred. Such data sets should reflect the information to support the customer at any given point in their journey and grow incrementally in detail as the customer progresses through their series of interactions with the company. Ideally at no point should a customer have to provide information that they have already supplied earlier in the process. It’s all about removing the friction from the process. The processes and systems you employ shouldn’t define the customer experience, they should support it.

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Do You Know What You Don’t Know About Your Content?

content management

How can you read 174 Newspapers a day? Seems like an impossible task, yet according to one study that is the print equivalent of how much information we are exposed to each day across all media, both traditional and digital. So how can the actual news and information publishers compete and make their content stand out among such a data overload?  In previous posts I discussed the driving forces behind the changes in the publishing industry and how taking a content first hub based approach is the best strategy for underpinning the digital transformation needed to address the changing market. But what about the content itself? Placing content at the center of the new business model, it becomes possible to move towards an iterative workflow across the organization, providing a way to address the challenges of digital transformation by controlling, enhancing, tracking, and leveraging assets that can be delivered across multiple channels and platforms. However any content-centric architecture also raises several issues that must be addressed when considering what approach to take and what technology solutions to adopt. You need to know what you don’t know about your content so you can produce, manage, and distribute the most informative content via the right channels where it can deliver the most value. The following represents the most common content-related issue statements: Don’t know where all the content has come from: With today’s proliferation of information sources that lead to assets being copied and used without attached attribution, it is often difficult to track where an asset originated. Don’t know what content we have: It is not unusual for organizations to have digital asset management systems with as many as one million assets stored. In the news and information industry, this may be tens of millions, with daily uploads in the hundreds of thousands. Don’t know where all the content has gone: With a large number of assets, it is difficult to track what content has been used where, and what content assets are related to each other. When an asset is updated, it can also be costly and time consuming to ensure that out of date assets are replaced if needed. Don’t know what we have the rights to use or the cost of using it: With licensed imagery, and image and news wire subscription services, an organization needs to keep track of what it has already purchased the rights for, where they can be used, and how that relates to the costs of those subscriptions. Don’t know how to best leverage our content assets across platforms: In today’s multi-channel model, assets can be used multiple times across different delivery platforms. Often, they can be reused as-is, but sometimes they need editing, resizing, or combining to meet the needs of particular audiences and devices. It is essential to be able to track such reuse and the relationship between original and edited assets. The use of assets in external platforms could also be considered a potential additional revenue stream and as such, need to be tracked. Don’t know if we are allowed to use it or who we owe money to: Where assets are obtained from external services not covered by existing licensing or subscription services, it is essential that news and information services ensure that they have the rights to use those assets, and if a usage payment is due, be able to identify who owns that asset and the costs of using it. All of these “don’t knows” can be addressed with the OpenText™ Content Hub for Publishers platform. OpenText™ Content Hub for Publishers Content Hub for Publishers (CHP) is the platform for the receipt, enrichment, creation, packaging, delivery, archiving and syndication of all forms of publishable content. The platform is designed to handle the large volumes of content that newsrooms across the world are exposed to on a daily basis, and efficiently manages the repackaging and distribution of that content to multiple publishing channels, such as web, print, mobile and tablet.

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Luke Skywalker – Content Jedi or Joker?

Content

Mark Hamill is a good guy. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions in the past, and was looking forward to his closing keynote at the recent Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. But the keynote address from the man best known for playing the hero of the Star Wars movies never materialized, instead Mark sat down for a Q&A session with Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi that proved to be both highly entertaining and thought provoking. Hamill endeared himself to the audience straight away by referencing a blog post from content marketer Michael Brenner, which despite its provocative title sets out a coherent thesis on the connections between the hero’s journey that informs the Star Wars mythos and storytelling in marketing. And it was to storytelling that Hammill returned to several times during his conversation by reinforcing that the most effective form of communication, the one that we are all hardwired to understand, is storytelling. The basics of effective storytelling is key not just to marketing, but to all business communications. While “Luke Skywalker” was entertaining, it was another guest earlier in the day that proved to be the inspiration of the conference. When comedian Michael Jr. was introduced no-one really knew what to expect. His brand of observational stand-up humor soon had everyone laughing, not an easy thing to achieve on the last morning of an intensive conference, but it was his asides about how you tackle challenges that inspired. In particular he outlined the idea that in life and professionally, it’s not so much about what we do, it’s about why we do it. The ‘what’ can change many times (it’s the tactical aspect), but the ‘why’ (the strategy) should remain the constant. The same applies to any business transaction, and communication. What we do won’t matter and won’t achieve success unless we know why we are doing it. On the flight home after the conference I thought again about that last day. I’ve been to innumerable conferences in my career, and enjoyed most of them, I’ve listened to some great speakers, even some brilliant ones, deliver a wide variety of keynotes, but they all tended to be speakers that you would expect for any given conference topic. Yet here at a marketing conference was a comedian and a movie actor providing some of the most powerful insights, and judging by the Twitter stream for the conference hashtag, the most memorable moments. It made me think, how are we delivering our story? Are we using the usual line-up of experts and influencers? Maybe it’s good to consider bringing fresh eyes and voices that create as powerful an impact as a Jedi Knight and a joker did for me that week in Cleveland.

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Five Factors That Are Driving the Changing Publishing Landscape

changing publishing landscape

From scrolls to print, from hardback to paperbacks, from broadsheets to tabloids, and from print to digital, the world of publishing has always been one of change. What makes the current landscape different is the sheer rate of change. This time it’s not only the delivery model that’s changing, and changing fast, it’s also the combination of new technologies and the demand for information consumed across a variety of different media. While traditional print markets are at last showing slow recovery in some markets the demand for information via digital sources continue to grow (although it could be argued that this growth is slowing down), while other media, such as video and audio continue to gain in popularity. From my perspective I see five primary influences that are driving this change in the publishing landscape: Channel growth: The move from having a single delivery channel, i.e. print, to multiple digital mobile channels on the web and mobile is moving news and information delivery from a traditional, single stream publishing model towards a model closer to broadcasting, with subsequent pressures to create and deliver differentiated content for each channel while maintaining the core integrity and facts of the information being delivered. Speed of updates: It used to be sufficient to publish on a regular pre-determined cadence, be it quarterly, monthly, or weekly in the case of magazines; or weekly, daily, or in selected editions (morning, lunch, evening, and late) for newspapers. Today, a large proportion of the population gets its first notification of a newsworthy event via social media and expects updates to be in real time as events unfold. To compete with this, news organizations must deliver their own content via social media and back it up with deeper analysis via news websites and more traditional channels that take longer to deliver. Changing business model: The newspaper industry has traditionally been funded by revenue streams from print advertising, i.e. selling physical space alongside the content. In this scenario the content is secondary to the advertising, although it could be argued that good content drives up circulation, which allows the publication to charge higher rates for the associated space. In the digital world, while it is possible to sell advertising space, it is at lower price points and less effective than in print. As a result, advertising revenues have dropped significantly and news and information providers are looking at other revenue streams, such as leveraging their content through paywalls, and syndication. To date, no new single business model has emerged as the new baseline. Easy access to different media types: While print was once the predominate media for the dissemination and consumption of news and information, it is now just one of a number of choices. With the advent of digital mobile devices, most consumers now have ready and instant access to content in textual, visual (graphics and video), and audio format. While print is never likely to disappear completely, it is now supplemented by the steady growth of other media types. Impact of technology companies: The majority of digital advertising revenue is generated by five technology companies, four of which, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter include news content. The impact of these companies goes beyond such financial considerations, as more of them onboard editorial staff and start to change the way that news is delivered and tracked through a combination of more personalized storytelling techniques and trending topics. Digital transformation is key to survival in the publishing industry. However, any digital efforts must not only address the process of delivery, they must also address the new paradigm where content becomes the hub of the business model. It is no longer sufficient just to automate the original print process model using technology, it is now essential to leverage content assets to deliver compelling and engaging stories that can be accessed from any platform, from print to digital, to mobile, to social, at any time.

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Customer Journey Redefined – The Departmental View

customer journey

The customer journey is being redefined in the digital age from a linear process to an ongoing loop of BUY then OWN, with the companies you choose to deal with becoming more and more engaged in every part of the cycle. So far in previous posts I’ve discussed what that ongoing loop looks like from a customer perspective and how the loop model aligns the customer’s activities to those of the organization. As we dig deeper into the journey map it’s time to take a look at what parts of the organization are directly involved. The third layer highlights the various departments involved in the continuous customer engagement model. It is no longer sufficient to leave customer relations to the sales or support groups. Customer experience is now a mission-critical, cross-functional activity. As Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute says, “It is the totality of all the individual experi­ences that make up a Customer’s experience.” It can be argued that customer experience and responsibility for the customer journey is the remit of the company as a whole, and it’s a good axiom, but in actuality it tends to primarily fall within the following areas: Marketing, Sales, Finance, Distribution, Operations, Services, Support, and Customer Care. Delivering and supporting a positive customer experience is all about removing the friction from the process. The smoother the transition from department to department, the easier something is to do, the better the experience. This means that each department should invest in the overall customer experience, not only in terms of systems, but in terms of training, education, and a commitment to customer advocacy. As outlined in a previous post, serving your customers across a continuous digital experience journey maximizes Customer Lifecycle Value and increases revenue potential. The more other departments invest and buy in to the overall concept of a frictionless process, the greater the experience and the greater the customer’s investment. The benefits from committing to a combined, systematic approach to growing Customer Lifecycle Value across the enterprise include: Increased customer retention rates Increased customer satisfaction scores Increased revenue By taking this a step further, managing and delivering outstanding customer experiences, you will drive benefit for the customer, as well as sustainable growth across the enterprise.

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So What Exactly is OmniChannel?

Omnichannel experience

An angry man with a delivery van just redefined my understanding of omni-channel customer experience. Traditionally when I’ve referred to omni-channel delivery I’ve tended to think primarily in terms of content; it’s all about making sure that we deliver the right content or messaging across multiple digital platforms such as a website, tablet, or phone. Is it a consistent experience suitably tailored for each different device? Add in physical contact points through printed media, store-front, or call center interaction and then we might be talking about delivering an omni-channel customer experience. Does it go further than that? What do we actually mean by omni-channel? Let’s take a look at some of the formal definitions. The Oxford English Dictionary defines omni-channel as “denoting or relating to a type of retail that integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (e.g., online, in a physical store, or by phone).” While Wikipedia broadens the scope as “a cross-channel business model that companies use to increase customer experience.” Which seems to fit in with what I’ve been discussing above. But, let’s take a deeper look at the entomology, “omni” comes from the word omnis which can mean all or universal. If we say we are delivering an omni-channel experience are we really managing and delivering a good customer experience across EVERY channel that a customer can possibly interact with us? What about those channels outside our direct control that still add to the overall experience with our product, especially when it is sold, implemented, or supported through resellers, dealers, retail stores, third-parties, etc. And it’s a two way process. We might be using every conceivable channel we can think of to deliver our message or communicate with our customers; but are we aware of every single channel that they are using to communicate with us? Over the years I’ve written letters to companies, phoned them up, sent emails, and these days I’m more than likely to post something on Twitter when I want to communicate both good and bad experiences. Many companies monitor these obvious channels of communication, but are they catching everything? Which brings me back to the angry man with the van. What if one of your customers bought your product and was so unhappy with it that they painted their complaints on the side of it and used it as a mobile billboard to advertise their dissatisfaction and tell people not to buy your products? The man with the van did just that. He made his van into part of the omni-channel by using it as a literal vehicle of communication back to the manufacturer concerned. There is no way that we can anticipate this sort of outlier behavior, but such actions are usually a culmination of other interactions through monitored channels that have failed. Is it feasible to deliver a literal omni-channel experience? Probably not. But we can all strive to deliver the best continual connected customer experience across every channel, both outbound and inbound, that we manage. Find out more with this guide on how to optimize your omni-channel marketing.

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Developing a Content Hub Strategy for Publishers

content hub publishers

I’ll confess at heart I’m still a print guy. My house is full of books. But I also read a lot on digital platforms, and in fact I probably get most of my news from various digital channels. Yet I’ve noticed that while I may no longer read a daily newspaper a lot of people still do, and even I’m starting to once more pick up the weekly community papers. It seems in some ways that the paper/digital publishing model is starting to find a level. Although there were early expectations that digital publishing would totally replace paper, in truth it was never going to be an either/or decision rather it was a question of how would print and digital coexist. Despite this apparent leveling across publishing as a whole, the state of the news media industry in particular continues to be uncertain, with traditional print newspaper circulation showing slow recovery in some markets and continued decline in others. Meanwhile revenues from digital news sources continue to grow (although it could be argued that this growth is slowing down), while other medium, such as video and audio continue to gain in popularity as primary news sources. Digital transformation is key to survival in the news and information delivery industry. However, any digital efforts must not only address the process of delivery, they must also address the new paradigm where content has become the hub of the business model. It is no longer sufficient just to automate the original print process model using technology, it is now essential to leverage content assets to deliver compelling and engaging stories that can be accessed from any platform, from print to digital, to mobile, to social, at any time. By placing the content at the center of the new business model, it becomes possible to move towards an iterative workflow that flows across the organization and delivers a way to address the challenges of digital transformation by controlling, enhancing, tracking, and leveraging assets that can be delivered across multiple channels and platforms. OpenText™ Content Hub for Publishers OpenText Content Hub for Publishers (CHP) is the platform for the receipt, enrichment, creation, packaging, delivery, archiving and syndication of all forms of publishable content. The platform is designed to handle the large volumes of content that newsrooms across the world are exposed to on a daily basis, and efficiently manages the repackaging and distribution of that content to multiple publishing channels, such as web, print, mobile and tablet. Content Hub for Publishers also provides a Syndication portal, allowing packaged content to be made available to clients for licensing and syndication purposes. Content Hub for Publishers sits at the heart of publication workflows, controlling the receipt, management and delivery of all publishable content to multiple delivery platforms. Content Hub for Publishers is used by a number of large global news publishers, for: Filtering through vast quantities of incoming media Managing costs associated with publishing Managing rights associated with publishing Tracking what has been published, where and when. In future related blog posts I’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the challenges facing the news and information publishing industry, plus going into more detail around the concept of Content Hub workflow.

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The Questions you Should be Asking Along the Redefined Customer Journey

digital customer journey

Several blog posts ago I talked about the way that the customer journey is being redefined in the digital age from a linear process to an ongoing loop of BUY then OWN, with the companies you choose to deal with becoming more and more engaged in every part of the cycle. I’ve also posted on how that on-going loop looks like from a customer perspective. But how does this relate to the activities within a company to support that experience? The second layer of the Continuous Customer Journey loop (above) maps the customer’s activities to those of the organization as it attracts the customer, informs, teaches, and converts the customer so they will make a purchase that then needs to be followed up by logistical operations, onboarding and ongoing support. Winning organizations also use engagement assets, such as loyalty programs, to up-sell and cross-sell to the existing customer, thereby generating revenue at a lower cost of sales Although the overall experience is continuous it is made up of 11 distinct stages: Attract: Before any relationship with a customer can be built, it is essential to first make potential customers aware of the company and attract them to find out more. Do people in your potential market know you exist? Inform: The company should then inform any potential clients about the products and/or services they offer. It’s surprising how many companies miss this step, just relying on building brand awareness without actually telling you what they do. What is it that you do? Learn: Another step often overlooked is learning about the potential customer. In today’s digital world customers expect a more personalized experience and service that meets their particular needs and requirements. Do you know who your customers are, and why they need your products? Convert: Perhaps the key moment of the customer journey is the transition from prospect to customer. Ensuring that the previous three steps outlined above have been well executed can ease the conversion process. Unfortunately a lot of companies are focused on this stage of conversion and see it as the culmination of the process, when in fact it is the start of a potential on-going relationship that can drive more revenue. Transact: How easy is it to do business with your company?  Personally I’ve had too many dealings with companies that make it difficult for me to give them money – many of those companies lost my sale. The easier it is for the customer to complete a transaction the more likely they are to want to repeat the process. Logistics: Once your customer has paid for the product and/or service how do you deliver the goods that they just paid for? Is it a quick frictionless process, or is it along drawn out experience? Onboard: How do you make it easy for your customers to set up and start using your product? Do you welcome new customers to your company and community? Support: Supporting your product is not just about helping to fix problems, although that is an essential part of it. Do you make it easy for your customers to own and operate your product? Do you connect with them on a regular basis? In a digital world do you use analytics and trends to be proactive with your customers? You should be supporting the customer, not just the product. Loyalty: How do you make your good customers into great repeat customers? Loyalty programs can be a great way to do that, but they need to be proven to benefit your customers as well as the company. Up-sell: Do you understand your customer’s needs well enough to be able to anticipate when they need to upgrade to the latest iterations of your services? Cross-sell: Can you identify what other products from your portfolio will help your customers meet their business or personal needs? Do you know how to attract their attention and inform them about those other offerings? Have you built a solid ongoing relationship that means you can continue on the customer’s journey together? I believe that this layer of the customer journey is best summarized in a recent tweet from Mark Hurst, the Founder and CEO of Creative Good: “Did you know that your company has a team responsible for managing the customer experience? That team’s name is ‘the entire company’.”

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Nashville Notes – Impressions of my First Enterprise World

Enterprise World

I’ve been to Nashville several times before, but never for an event like this. It had everything from Country Singers to an Astronaut – and some great business and technology as well. Welcome to OpenText Enterprise World! On the second day of Enterprise World, someone described it to me as “overwhelming,” and so it was on some levels. There was simply so much to choose from. Over two hundred breakout sessions ranging from business strategy, to software practioner how-to tips,through to  developer sessions that got down to the code level. Alongside were six themed theaters on the main Expo floor each running fifteen minute presentations on an equally wide range of subjects. Plus an Innovation Lab, a Developers Lab, Customer Roundtables, and over forty demo stations; it was a lot to take in. Whether you are a long time OpenText customer, a recent customer going through systems implementation, or a prospective customer – there was something for everyone. And as a relatively new staff member there was a lot for me to take in too; but I couldn’t have asked for a better immersion on the company’s culture, customers, staff, solutions, and products. Everyone I spoke to had a good time. Despite its size and apparent complexity the event ran very smoothly, and all were happy with the experience. Experience was the framework around which my week at Enterprise World was structured as I was managing the Experience Theater for the Customer Experience Management team. We had a steady flow of visitors to the theater to discuss a variety of subjects, and to take a look at the various product demonstrations available. It was interesting to note that most of the conversations were about solving business problems, and how to move towards delivering a continuous customer experience driven by digital transformation initiatives and projects. The changing nature of business was also highlighted in the opening keynote from OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea as he described the journey from Engagement to Insight across the enterprise. Engagement | Capture | Content | Process | Collaboration | Discover | Exchange | Insight This concept clearly resonated with the audience at Enterprise World and is one I’ll be revisiting in future blog posts on how delivering an exceptional customer experience can drive the journey towards better customer and business insight. If you couldn’t make it to Nashville this year, make a note on your calendars for the week of July 10, 2017 and join us in Toronto next year for what promises to be another exceptional conference.

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Accelerate Your Customer Communications Strategy at Enterprise World

Enterprise World

Join us in Nashville this July at Enterprise World 2016 to learn, and share, the latest in Customer Communications and how to turn your regular customer communications into a powerful marketing asset. With OpenText™ Communications Center you can maximize the effectiveness of your communications, not only by providing a single, consistent look and feel across all devices, but also by creating a dialogue from the document. Also, because the channels are linked, a customer can, say, initiate an application from their email reader and complete it on their tablet at a later time or date. Communications Center provides the robust, enterprise-grade CCM solution that you need to effectively generate and manage communications that connect all of your business systems, while providing up-to-the-minute critical information to your customers, partners, vendors and personnel. You can find out more at the upcoming OpenText Enterprise World conference in Nashville the week of July 11th. The focus for Enterprise World 2016 is to provide more informative and detailed technical sessions alongside customer case studies, making it our most informative user conference to date. For example, the OpenText Communications Center specific sessions on offer in Nashville include: Fast tracking sales from Contract to Digital Signature Developing state of the art Dynamic Templates for Customer Communications Data Gathering Strategies for Customer Communications Management Integrating Customer Communications with Content Server What’s new and what’s upcoming for the OpenText Customer Communications offerings And that’s just a small selection of over 20 sessions around Experience Suite and 200 plus breakout sessions, roundtables, labs, and demos on offer across the whole OpenText portfolio. Enterprise World 2016 is a must attend event for anyone in the Customer Experience and Customer Communications world. If you haven’t yet registered for Enterprise World, now is the perfect time to do so. Come join us in Nashville!

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The Customer’s Perspective of the Redefined Customer Journey

digital customer journey

The digital customer journey is being redefined – it’s never been easier to buy stuff. All it takes is a few clicks of a button. But there are an almost infinite number of websites and online sources from which to make purchases. How do you choose? In today’s digital age do you simply buy something, or do you create ongoing relationships with the companies that meet your needs and provide a good experience? I’m guessing that it’s probably more of the latter. Several blog posts ago I talked about how the customer journey is being redefined in the digital age from a linear process to an ongoing loop of BUY then OWN with the companies you choose to deal with becoming more and more engaged in every part of the cycle. But how does that on-going loop look like from a customer perspective? Although the overall experience is continuous it is made up of 10 distinct stages: Awareness: Do you know what is available in the market place that relates to your activities, business, or lifestyle? Need: Why do you buy something? It is generally to fill a business or personal need. Is it something to solve a problem, make life easier, or just to provide pleasure? Defining a need is an essential part of the purchasing process. Research: Once a need is identified and you’ve matched that need to an awareness of what is available, you will often start to ask questions. What has anyone else used or purchased to meet a similar need? In the digital world research is playing a more and more important role with the majority of purchasers doing their own research rather than engage with a sales person to get answers to questions. Evaluate: How do various products and solutions compare? What are other people’s experiences in using those products and solutions? The collective experience of a peer groups are becoming a vital part of the evaluation process in an increasingly connected social world. Buy: Once a decision has been made the ideal purchase experience should be frictionless and consistent irrespective of which channel you use to make the purchase. Delivery: This is the point where the experience moves from the BUY to OWN part of the process, and is often the point where many companies step away from the relationship with the customer. Delivery, be it digital or physical, should be well documented, well communicated, and as fast, and as efficient as possible. Use: The everyday use of a product or solution is the longest part of the customer experience, and yet is often to most overlooked. How easy is it to actually use what you have purchased? Does it meet your needs and expectations? Does the company you purchased it from provide information on its continued use, or ways to connect with other customers to compare experiences? Maintain: What is something goes wrong? How easy is it to get help, or receive product updates? Advocate: Do you talk about products, services, and solutions that you enjoy? So will your customers. Customers who have a positive experience will become brand and product advocates. Recommend: And good advocates will recommend to others. Or they will self-recommend and make repeat purchases based on having been engaged as part of a well-designed and delivered continuous journey. The full engaged customer journey cannot be addressed by separate applications at different parts of the process. To be fully effective, it has to provide an exceptional continuous experience made up of a combination of the many different experiences and processes. In an upcoming blog post we’ll take a look at the next layer related to the company’s activities in providing a continuous connected customer experience. In the meantime this white paper “A Better Way to Engage – Redefining the Customer Journey for a Digital World” is worth a read.

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Employees are Customers too – Give Them the Same Digital Experience

digital experience

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but at some point in my career there was an inflexion point when the technology I used at home overtook the technology I used at work. When I started working, the only place I had access to a computer was at the office. That’s where technology lived. But, with the rapid explosive growth of personal computers and mobile technology, we now all walk around with more computing power in our pockets than we could have possibly imagined twenty years ago. With that change has come a change in behavior and our expectations of what our interactions with technology should be. We are no longer tolerant of the poor user experiences of old. We expect that interacting with the digital world should be intuitive, engaging, provide value, and deliver the right content consistently across the various channels we use. Yet, many company’s still expect their employees to use legacy systems that are anything but intuitive and engaging. But people’s behavior and expectations don’t change when they walk into the office – they look for the same digital experience when acting as an employee as they do as a customer. Remember that your employees are customers of other companies, so they should be yours too. Treat your internal customers like your external customers and deliver the same web experience and they will be better engaged, more productive, and brand loyal. To find out more about creating and managing a compelling web experience join us at this year’s Enterprise World where we’ll have sessions on topics such as: Responsive Design Templates Third Party Content Navigation on Demand And more… With over twenty sessions devoted to Customer Experience Management there will be lots of opportunities to learn, network, and engage in great conversations. Visit us at the Digital Experience Theater in the Expo Hall to see the latest demonstrations and also to setup 1:1 meetings to find out more about the OpenText Web Experience Management platform. If you haven’t yet registered for Enterprise World, now is the perfect time to do so. Come join us in Nashville.

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Accelerate Your Customer Experience Plans at Enterprise World

Enterprise World

Join us in Nashville this July at Enterprise World 2016 to learn, and share, the latest in Customer Experience Management and the keys to delivering a continuous connected experience for your customers. The new OpenText™ Experience Suite helps you deliver high impact digital content, interactive customer communications and gain analytical insight to continuously refine your customer’s experience, and we’re excited to have te opportunity to show you the benefits that come with the new Release 16. Included in the Enterprise Suite experience are : Communications Center Enterprise introduces Immersive Authoring with a new user interface and templates that make it easier to create correspondence that excites your audience Digital Asset Management is enhanced with Adaptive Media Delivery and the Media Hub to make sure your creative images and video look great on every device, every time. Web Content Management provides the latest in web publishing, marketing optimization and mobile marketing activities Workforce Optimization brings the customer contact center and voice of the customer programs front and center in the Digital Customer Journey With over twenty sessions devoted to Customer Experience Management there will be lots of opportunities to learn, network, and engage in great conversations. Breakout Sessions will include topics such as: Experience Suite Strategy and Product Direction: Designing a Continuous Digital Customer Experience Excellence in Customer Service: Marketing’s Secret Weapon Enhance OpenText Experience Analytics with custom insight Integration of Communications Center with Content Server Fast-track Sales from Contract to Digital Signature Responsive Design and Web Experience Management Media Management and Adaptive Delivery Visit us at the Digital Experience theater in the Expo Hall to see the latest demonstrations and also to setup 1:1 meetings for: OpenText™ Communications Center OpenText™ MediaBin OpenText™ Media Management OpenText™ Qfiniti OpenText™ TeamSite OpenText™ Web Experience Management If you haven’t yet registered for Enterprise World, now is the perfect time to do so. Come join us in Nashville.

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Turn Regular Customer Communications Into a Powerful Marketing Asset

customer communications

When you receive a bill or an invoice do you ever give it a second glance? Most bills that arrive at my house just get dropped on the desk in my wife’s office to get paid. All except one. The monthly bill for our power consumption is more than just a straight forward demand for payment, it’s a tool that we use to run our house. As well as telling me my consumption for the last month, it is personalized to show the last three months, and a comparison with the same three months last year matched against the average temperatures. It also shows me what time of day I’m hitting peak consumption. We check it each month and adjust our thermostats accordingly to make sure we are using the power we pay for in the most efficient manner, while keeping the house at the comfortable temperatures we want. As a customer I appreciate the information that matchs my personal needs against the larger data set that the power company has access to. It has made me more loyal, as we’ve stayed customers despite several opportunities to switch to other suppliers over the years. The invoice as a customer retention and sales tool is one aspect of the customer experience that many companies overlook. Yet by delivering a more personal and interactive document (be it in print, on mobile, web, or even a well-crafted text message) a company can deliver a better customer experience and accelerate the customer acquisition. This in turn, has shown to improve retention rates and total Customer Lifecycle Value as well as giving the company’s personnel more time to focus on fulfilling customer’s needs, addressing their questions and concerns, thus deepening the relationship and expanding sales opportunities. With OpenText™ Communications Center you can maximize the effectiveness of your communications, not only by providing a single, consistent look and feel across all devices, but also by creating a dialogue from the document. Also, because the channels are linked, a customer can, say, initiate an application from their email reader and complete it on their tablet at a later time or date. Communications Center provides the robust, enterprise-grade CCM solution that you need to effectively generate and manage communications that connect all your business systems, while providing up-to-the-minute critical information to your customers, partners, vendors and personnel. You can find out more about the benefits of using Communications Center here.

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A DAM Fine Time in New York – now on to Nashville

media management

Last week I got to spend time with Jon Snow, Mr. Peanut, and some monster trucks – thanks to spending a day at one of the regular OpenText™ Media Management User Group Meetings. This gathering of Digital Asset Management aficionados was kindly hosted by HBO at their building in mid-town New York. As well as the use of their impressive theater we also got to enjoy some great views of The Empire State Building from the top floor location. Customers like HBO, Kraft-Heinz, Monster Energy, and others, shared how they use the Open Text Media Management (OTMM) platform as the core of their digital marketing and content channel distribution (you can see us in the photo at the top of this blog). In these meetings each customer brings new perspectives and insights on building business cases, implementation, usage, and extending the use of DAM across the enterprise. Another highlight of the day was the opportunity for the customers and partners in attendance to hear, and see, what is in the recent Release 16 version of OTMM, and ask detailed questions of the product team. The session was highly interactive with great questions, observations, and some impressive feature demos. Overall everyone seemed very impressed by what they saw of the latest release. These single day User Groups are a great place to network with industry peers and find out what other people are doing with a technology solution; as well as get ‘under the covers’ with the folks who are developing the software. We’ll be taking this approach to a whole new level at the upcoming OpenText™ Enterprise World conference in Nashville the week of July 11. The focus for Enterprise World 2016 will be to provide more informative and detailed technical sessions, alongside customer case studies, making it the most informative user conference to date. For example, the OpenText Media Management specific sessions on offer in Nashville include: Best Practices and tips for a Scalable, Secure and Performance Tuned Media Management Platform Media Management – System Monitoring, Troubleshooting, and Logging. Creating custom widgets and transformers in Media Management How to Leverage the new Adaptive Media Delivery features in V16 to publish assets to your WCM And that’s just a small selection of more than 20 sessions around the Customer Experience Suite and the 200 plus breakout sessions, roundtables, labs, and demos on offer across the whole OpenText portfolio. Enterprise World 2016 is a must attend event for anyone in the Customer Experience and Media Management world. Check out all the details, and register at the Enterprise World website.

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Measuring Customer Lifecycle Value

customer lifecycle value

As the analysts have been telling us for a year or so now, digital business puts people right in the center of activity – they can get what they need, where, when and how they want today. The traditional model of finding a new customer, selling to them, and then moving on to the next opportunity has changed. Research has consistently shown that it costs less to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one, and that customers who feel engaged with a brand or product will spend more on repeat business through the lifetime of ownership. However traditional measurements like Net Promoter Scores or Customer Satisfaction scores are reactive, descriptive, and sentiment-based, while what is needed is something that is predictive and performance based – a measurement of the Customer’s Lifecycle Value (CLV) to the business. Customer Lifecycle Value is usually formally described as amount of revenue, or profit, that a customer, or defined group of customers, generates over their projected lifetime of interaction with a company. This could be argued to be a somewhat myopic viewpoint as it presupposes a traditional sales cycle and a finite predefined timeline of customer engagement. In today’s digital world, by delivering a continuous connected customer experience, it is possible to grow a customer’s interest and investment in a redefined relationship that delivers benefit to both the customer and the enterprise, resulting in a CLV model that measures interaction and investment at different stages of interaction. Digitally sophisticated customers and partners increasingly research products, make purchases, track orders, and manage their accounts or subscriptions online. Customers increasingly expect these transactions to seamlessly transition from one digital platform to another, while retaining a consistent personalized experience, with data, information, and assets moving seamlessly from one environment to another. Serving your customers across a continuous digital experience journey maximizes Customer Lifecycle Value and increases revenue potential If you invest in your customers they will invest in you with their time, information, brand loyalty, recommendations, and ongoing sales. Investment in customer experience means delivering a continuous connected digital experience that will increase a customer’s lifecycle value to you as a business. The CMO Council recently looked at how marketing executives quantify customer engagement success. More than a third of respondents said that revenue metrics, like Customer Lifecycle Value (CLV), revenues per customer, and overall revenue increases were the primary type of metric they used to measure consumer engagement. Mathematical models (Segmentation and Lifetime Value Models using SAS, Malthouse 2013) have shown that changes as small as a 5 percent increase in customer retention can bring increases as high as 80 percent or more in a CLV. In mathematical terms maximizing the Customer Life Cycle Value in a continuous connected digital engagement model can be expressed as: The more other departments invest and buy in to the overall direction, the greater the experience, the greater the customer’s investment. The benefits from committing to a combined, systematic approach to growing and measuring Customer Lifecycle Value across the enterprise include: Increased customer retention rates Increased customer satisfaction scores Increased revenue It has been proven that increases in Customer Lifecycle Value can drive revenue. By taking that a step further and managing on CLV to deliver outstanding customer experiences you can also drive sustainable growth across the enterprise To find out more, you can download the whitepaper “Drive More Revenue by Measuring and Managing Customer Lifecycle Value.”

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Using Synchronized Media Assets to Bridge Platform Silos

media assets

Positive customer experience is all about removing the friction from the process. The easier something is to do, the better the experience. Today’s customers increasingly expect these transactions to seamlessly transition from one digital platform to another while retaining a consistent, personalized, digital experience, with data, information, and media assets moving seamlessly from one environment to another. It is tempting to try to address this by breaking down as many operational and siloed business and technology platforms as possible. This is often an impractical approach that leads to mismanaged expectations, delays, and higher than expected costs. It is better to bridge the silos in a way that allows data to flow between them. Instead of trying to break down silos, bridge them into irrelevancy by delivering a customer experience solution that focuses on delivering high impact content (usually visual), and allows you to conduct meaningful analytical analysis to continuously refine the experience. With an exceptional digital experience in place, it is not only the customer, but also your supply chain, distributors, and even employees who can benefit as well. The most effective way to bridge content silos is by adopting a media management strategy that empowers your digital supply chain by drawing brand approved assets from a centralized repository to deliver a connected consistent experience to multiple destinations – web, kiosk, mobile, tablet, etc. – which are compatible with the end user’s device. But what happens once you’ve published a media asset and it’s been delivered to one or more devices? What if the asset (be it an image, video, PDF file etc.) needs updating? Do you need to trace it and update each siloed instance individually? How do you know that you’ve found all the possible uses of that asset? Managing a media asset’s lifecycle can often be a hidden cost that in real terms costs more than the original investment in producing the asset. With the OpenText™ Media Management (OTMM) you can control your assets even after they’ve been published outside of OTMM. Assets are updated automatically when the tethered version in OTMM changes so you don’t have to. Every web page or application with the asset’s embed code – even the forgotten ones – will have the latest, correct version to make sure you stay on brand with current media assets. No more chasing content across operational and technology silos. Find out more about OpenText Media Management and how it helps companies enhance their investment in brand value and digital media with technology to manage and control media assets across various departments and optimize resources, efforts and budgets in an organization-wide strategy that delivers on your brand promise.

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