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.

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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