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.

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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Redefining The Customer Journey

customer journey

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 that statement to the detriment of the latter part. It could be argued that keeping a customer is more important than finding a new one – for a repeat customer is often an engaged customer. As OpenText CEO & CTO Mark J. Barrenechea points out in his book, On Digital, the digital world helps you by giving you more ways to know your customer better. “Know Your Customer isn’t just a regulatory obligation, it’s a key competitive differentiator. The best way to satisfy your customer is to truly understand them. You can do this by mapping your customer journeys.” But customer journeys are changing. The old traditional models of a singular pre-determined linear path or funnel from awareness to purchase no longer apply in a digital world where flowcharts have given way to multiple interactions at whatever point the customer wants it to be. The customer is not only driving the decision on when and how interactions are made, they are also demanding a more personalized experience. In a recent article, CMSWire columnist John Zimmerman outlined a vision of a digital experience platform that delivers “individualized content presentation for each customer interaction.”  To achieve this vision, organizations need a better way of engaging with the customer. This requires an enhanced understanding of the customer’s journey, one that is an infinite engagement rather than a linear process. The process can be viewed from two different perspectives: The Customer’s Perspective is one of a continuous experience where they BUY, then OWN (or use) a product (or service) throughout its lifecycle before repurchasing. The Enterprise Perspective is one of a continuous process where they ACQUIRE and then SERVE a customer to lead to a level of engagement where they will acquire additional revenue from that same customer and/or more customers “through recommendation”. 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 many different experiences, processes and systems that all have to interact. These different aspects of the journey can be grouped into five separate, but interdependent, layers: The customer’s activity, The company’s activity, The departments involved, The related business process, The associated metrics used to measure and manage the engagement. I’ll be examining each of these layers in more detail in upcoming blog posts.

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Eight Seconds! Your Deadline to Deliver an Engaging Web Experience

web experience management

Eight seconds! Research has shown that’s all the time you have to capture the attention, and engage with, the average user on the web. Eight seconds! To meet this challenge, it isn’t enough to create great web content and deliver it through a traditional web content management system. To really capture attention you need a compelling web experience management strategy. Today’s web users expect a higher level of engagement and sophistication when it comes to their online experience. These elevated expectations have led to a more contextual, meaningful and compelling conversation between website, brand and user – across multiple devices and platforms. Rather than simply pushing static content to web properties, businesses now need to exceed customer expectations with tools that dynamically deliver adaptive and content-centric experiences across any, and every, channel where the customer may be interacting with them. There needs to be a bi-directional flow that runs from consumer to the organization and back again. Web content management is no longer a single point solution for website management because businesses are looking to integrate other enterprise systems that can bring greater value to their web content. Integration into these touch points allows for a greater 360-degree view and three-dimensional understanding of your customers. Omni-channel touch points must also take into consideration multilingual content, translation services and engines, and translation dashboards, which ensures that content pages are translated and localized for global visitors. Omni-channel touch points need to be available 24/7, which means that more self-service applications have to support consumers’ behaviors. Website management has been transformed from a static publishing process to a highly engaging web experience that compels audiences to interact and engage. As businesses try to find the balance between outbound and inbound marketing, the website is still at the forefront of every conversation with the customer. Using your website to create fresh, relevant, targeted content specifically designed to reach a distinct audience segments is key. Inbound marketing, significantly less expensive than outbound marketing, includes strategies such as social media marketing, blogging and content marketing, podcasts, white papers, eBooks, infographics, etc., and can be used to personalize the experience of customers, engage with them and let your brand shine. With a web experience management strategy and supporting platform in place, Digital-First enterprises can report and analyze the usage of pages, content and other relevant objects to increase the visibility of any information delivered in a personalized way and to optimize their knowledge regarding consumers’ expectations through any related business process, business partner and enterprise application. This will help to drive a higher customer lifecycle value and increase upsell revenue. Find out more about the OpenText™ Web Experience Management platform, and how you can use it to deliver compelling, and adaptive experiences across multi-channel touch points, to transform everyday online transactions into actionable, strategic insight.

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Creating Interactive Dialog With Your Customers

interactive dialog

What if each customer felt that every communication with you was not only well managed, but a meaningful, interactive dialog? What if every employee engaging with your customers could generate communications that not only inform but engage? Imagine using your customer communications to turn documents into dialog, communications into conversations. Every touchpoint with your customer is an opportunity to engage in a meaningful and relevant exchange. In today’s digital market place, the customer is empowered like never before. As a result businesses need to exploit every opportunity to communicate as clearly and consistently as possible across every channel and medium; whether online or offline, on paper or electronically. Most companies have yet to exploit the potential for driving additional business through customer-facing communications. These communications, the data that feeds them, and the exchanges between a customer and a company are critical assets for strengthening relationships and fueling sales. Tailoring each customer’s correspondence with personally relevant information, informing and engaging customers with every communication, deepens the relationship. The ability to work more personally with customers, even in regular mass-distributed communications such as bills, invoices, statements, notifications etc., is a strong competitive edge. Acquiring new customers can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers, and a two percent increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by ten percent. Yet research has shown that 68 percent of customers who break away from a relationship with a company and go elsewhere do so because they feel unknown and unwanted. This alone justifies efforts to connect more personally at every touchpoint of the customer’s journey and to create easy, frictionless, ways for customers to initiate and manage their own contact. Smarter Communications Improve Revenue and Streamline Costs: Enable business managers to drive business: Direct, hands-on connections to customer communications remove the lag time between seeing a business opportunity or necessity and acting on it. Business managers create and manage marketing messages and campaigns and the rules that deliver them to the right customer at the right time. Match the message to the customer: Whether it’s welcome packs, order confirmations, delivery notices, invoices, or statements, personalized documents build customer loyalty. Even at high volumes and processing speeds, personalizing every document, including cross/up-sell offers or other notices can be tuned to each customer. Let the customer control the conversation: Through simple self-service, customers can specify their preferred channels; print, fax, email, mobile, web, and other electronic channels. This variety of choice empowers customers and also gives you multiple channels for new services or business development initiatives. Interactive content presentment: Rich media, dynamic charts and graphs on communications not only provide better information, they create dialogues between supplier and client. Each touchpoint brings you closer to your customer, providing valuable insight and a better customer experience. Find out more about how you can use OpenText™ Communications Center to establish a modern communication processing environment in your enterprise. Using data from your existing business systems (without requiring any changes to those systems) to dynamically generate the communications you use to run your business and correspond with your customers, partners, suppliers, and employees.

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Media Management is Now Mission Critical to Providing an Engaging Customer Experience

digital media management

In today’s customer-centric environment, digital media management is an imperative. The customer experience is becoming more visual every day with the rapid growth in the consumption of videos, the use of photography, infographics, and other rich media assets that provide your customers with an engaging experience. A well-defined media asset strategy and associated technology platform is essential to help companies enhance their investment in brand value while maximizing the ability to manage and control media assets across various departments and optimizing resources, efforts and budgets. Digital Asset Management is a core technology and a critical infrastructure component for creating that engaging customer experience. From creation to consumption, a Media Management platform provides a “single source of truth” and consolidated asset repository for marketing, branding, commerce, video and global distribution. It becomes the focal point of an ecosystem with interconnected and interdependent contributors and production environments (such as agencies, photo, video, audio, graphics, layout) provisioning digital media content for the multi-channel digital supply chain, digital operations, marketing and brand management, and more. In every organization, the quantity of rich media assets is exploding. And, the investment in acquiring, creating, managing and using all those assets is significant. OpenText™ Media Management: Reduces spend by managing assets for re-purposing and reuse – not re-purchase or replicate. Increases productivity with a simple yet powerful user experience to search and find media assets in an enterprise-wide, centralized repository. Increases revenue with faster time to market, transforming and publishing your content with adaptive delivery and multiple renditions for multi-channel, multi-device experiences. Energizes your media supply chain with secure and controlled access for internal and externals users, partners and groups. Protects your valuable assets from costly misuse with flexible and granular user and asset security policies and integrated rights management. Media Management consolidates all your digital media and video into a single managed, controlled and centralized repository with rich metadata to accelerate publishing and distribution to multiple channels and devices for better customer engagement. Eliminates multiple systems, shared drives and local storage for media assets. Provides metadata capabilities to personalize, profile and manage assets for more relevant and engaging customer interactions. Offers localization and multi-language capabilities to support global operations. Embeds rich media analytics using data and predictive capabilities to provide understanding and smarter decisions about customers, the business landscape and market trends for better insight. Media Management supports the entire media content lifecycle with integrated processes and functionality for planning, creation, production, collaboration, approvals, delivery, asset /usage performance and archive disposition. 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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Why You Should Be Delivering a Continuous Digital Experience

digital experience

Are you delivering a consistent, continuous digital experience for your customers as they interact with your brand? Is that experience continuous as they move from mobile device, to desktop website, to eCommerce platform, or even a physical interaction? Remember that your customer’s digital experience is the sum of the perception of each interaction they have with your brand, and any single below par interaction can diminish that experience. Today most customers are engaged with brands through a variety of digital means. The digital world is driving a disrupt-or-die transformation. Allied with these trends is an increasing shift for as many physical and virtual assets in the value chain to become digitized, intelligent, and incorporated into the end-to-end business process. One way to address this need to transform is to look across the organization for opportunities to infuse great digital experiences into mission critical processes. Managing the way you engage with your customers ensures better customer experiences and helps build ongoing relationships. The customer is at the center of every business transaction and keeping the customer engaged has never been more vital than it is now in a digital world. Traditionally, a new customer initiates a relationship at the recommend or awareness stage and cycles through defining a need, researching a product, evaluation, making a purchase, taking delivery, using and maintaining a product. More and more of this type of behavior and interaction is happening online with the customer only choosing to engage with a business late in the sales cycle, if at all. If the customer has had little, or no follow-up from the company they purchased from, or had a bad customer experience, they will generally move on to a new supplier for any subsequent purchase and the opportunity for additional revenue has been lost. Investment in a strong customer engagement strategy and technology will result in a customer becoming a brand and product advocate who will recommend the product or brand to others, as well as wishing to continue to build on the existing relationship through additional purchases and interactions. Instead of leaving the sales cycle, the engaged customer loops back into it. Positive customer experience is all about removing the friction from the process. The easier something is to do, the better the experience. 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. 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 and to build on a suite that can work with tools. Instead of trying to break down silos, bridge them into irrelevancy by delivering a Customer Experience Management solution that focuses on delivering high impact content (usually visual), strong transactional integration, interactive customer communications, 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 your employees, who will benefit.

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