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Customer Experience News & Analysis

A Fresh Pair of Eyes Keeps Customer Experience From Going Flat

2014-10-December-Flat.jpg“Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes.” -- Thomas W. Higginson

We all know the importance of a fresh pair of eyes. They can catch mistakes and spark inspiration when you're too close to your work. While the term usually refers to visuals, it can also apply to a more universal sentiment: the power of perspective.

Perspective impacts what we produce when it comes to customer experience. While we work to deliver top-notch experiences, most are designed with a certain time, audience and goal in mind. But if we approach this with a single unexamined perspective it will quickly become outdated. Just as the thrill of a new car fades over time, when a company does little to innovate or inspire, its customer experience can become stale and flat.

Q4/Q1 Planning: Top Marketing Technology, Social Business Conferences & Events (10-Dec-14)

Our industry event planner gives you the heads-up on what key industry events are coming around the corner. If we've missed something, don't hesitate to add your event to the list. (You can also view the full calendar here.)

You're Invited: Website Redesign - Strategy First, Tactics Second

Join CMSWire and Ektron on December 16th for a one-hour webinar on defining your brand and retaining customers through your web presence.


> Register Now

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Emotions and Ecosystems Drive Customer Experience in 2015

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Companies that provide good customer experience (CX) will miss the mark in 2015, states a new Forrester report.

Instead, as companies strive to differentiate themselves based on the quality of their customer experience, only those that deliver great customer experience will come out ahead, according to "Predictions 2015: The Race From Good To Great Customer Experience Heats Up" ($499 fee).

Wizeline Partners with Salesforce to Deliver Intelligent Product Data

The two-second product pitch for the year-old Wizeline data intelligence platform would be "a new way of thinking about product development."

That's how Adam Sewall, director of marketing and partnerships at the San Francisco-based tech company, sees it.

To boost its data-driven approach to enhancing products, Wizeline yesterday became part of the Salesforce Partner Program and announced the availability of its new Product Tracker application on the Salesforce AppExchange.

Discussion Point: To Cross-Post or Not to Cross-Post on Social Channels

Discussion-Point-640x480.jpgMarketers are falling short when it comes to building real social relationships with their customers.

This from the recent Forrester report, "Social Relationship Strategies That Work," which suggests that more often than not, the carefully crafted messages they post on social media essentially go off into space. Customers either miss them or ignore them. “Top brands Facebook and Twitter posts reach only about 2 percent of their fans and followers, and less than 0.1 percent of fans and followers interact with each post,” according to the report.

It's a crowded field and businesses are looking for effective strategies to engage with customers on social media.

This means answering more detailed questions about how, when and what to post. To save time, some marketers cross-post content on social channels -- is this a good or a bad idea?

IBM Security: Beware the Social Login Hacker

2014-9-December-IBM social login security.jpgIBM security officials have detected a malicious attacker who intrudes into user accounts of those who log in to third-party websites via a social login.

We've all seen it -- "log in via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc."

Makes things easier.

But that, according to IBM, is the point where a recent attacker penetrates a relying website -- a website that relies on authentication assertions passed to it by the identity provider -- and abuses the social login mechanism.

IBM's security group -- called the IBM X-Force Application Security Research Team -- identified the vulnerability last week in LinkedIn, Amazon and MYDIGIPASS.COM login tools offered on vulnerable websites such as Slashdot, Spiceworks and NASDAQ, according to Diana Kelley, executive security advisor for IBM Security.

"We do not know how many websites are vulnerable to this attack," Kelley told CMSWire, "but given the size of the internet, it's hard for us to determine which are."

One-Size Fits All Selling Backfires with Small Businesses

2014-09-December-Too-Big.jpgThe sales process most B2B enterprise sales people follow is loosely based on a generic model of the customer decision journey for medium to large companies. The problem with that approach is this: Small businesses have their own purchase journeys and behaviors. To lump them together with larger businesses mean missed sales opportunities and increased churn.

While some small business purchase behavior is similar to their larger brethren, most B2B sales people don’t recognize they differentiations between how the “S” of SMBs purchase. That translates into frustration for the small to medium business owners, which means lost sales opportunities or a longer sales process with stops and starts for vendors.

Not a Rumor: Accel-KKR Invests in EPiServer

Say what you will, but sometimes the scuttlebutt that emerges through Twitter (and that we report on) happens to be the truth, or pretty close to it anyways. We can now confirm that Accel-KKR has made a “majority investment” in (and may very well own -- read on) EPiServer. This news comes to us direct from EPiServer, which says that it can’t provide further comment right now.

Hats-off to Martin Henricson, CEO of EPiServer, for letting his customers, partners, employees and anyone else who might be affected by the news know that there’s something significant going on.

Ektron: Good or Bad Software? Depends On Who You Ask

2014-08-December-Coin-Toss.jpgSale. Investment. No sale. No investment. Merger with EpiServer. No merger with EpiServer.

Whatever the heck's happening at Ektron, this is a technology company.

And the future of the Nashua, NH-based .NET Web CMS provider comes down to a simple question: Do people like its software?

The answer depends on who you ask. Some say its usability is poor. Others think the product's never been stronger. Some think its lifetime support model is its sweet spot. Others say that support's inconsistent.

"My take is that the product has never been stronger compared to older versions but that the competition in the CMS market is full of strong players that are rapidly expanding into the ‘content marketing’ world," said Chris Chodnicki, co-founder and executive director of strategic partnerships and alliances at R2integrated, a Baltimore-based Ektron partner. "If the funding means Ektron can integrate their product to meet the challenges we are seeing with clients and what other platforms are bringing -- and at a very accelerated pace -- then this will be welcomed news."

Content and Commerce: Where Do We Go From Here?

2014-08-December-Weather-Vane.jpgForrester said it best in the title of a report: "Content and Commerce: The Odd Couple or The Power Couple?" According to the report, companies need cohesive digital customer experiences, but marketing and e-commerce groups often operate in silos with differing objectives, leading to a poorly integrated digital presence that confuses the customer, is difficult to manage and leaves revenue on the table.

IDC's Look at the Future of Social Technologies

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It’s that time of year when everyone is looking back to see how they've done and looking forward to see how much more they can do. And according to Framingham, Mass.-based IDC (International Data Corporation), social technologies can be a major driver of organizational transformation in 2015.

Shep Hyken: A Guy Who Embraced Customers Before It Was Popular

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Anyone who knows anything about customer experience (CX) knows Shep Hyken.

Hyken is a go-to source for anything related to CX. He's also a professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build lasting relationships with their customers and employees.

In addition to writing in hundreds of publications, he is the bestselling author of "Moments of Magic," "The Loyal Customer," "The Cult of the Customer," "The Amazement Revolution" and, most recently, "Amaze Every Customer Every Time." He is also the creator of The Customer Focus program, which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

Did we mention he's the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations — a company he founded in 1983?

Organizational Ego is Eating Trust

I had reason to visit the International Monetary Fund website recently. Based on its content, the IMF is an organization overflowing with ego. Dominating the homepage was IMF chief Christine Lagarde with a very large picture of herself. In imperious language we are told that Lagarde “welcomes the pledge by the G-20 group of advanced and emerging economies to step up efforts to boost growth and create jobs.” 

Is Newly Sold Ektron Merging with EPiServer?

It's hard to separate fact from fiction in the continuing saga of Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

But we wanted to share the newest rumor this morning — namely, that the company that just bought Ektron is also buying EPiServer and has plans to combine the technologies.

Company President Tim McKinnon, the guy who runs the day-to-day operations at the web content management firm, told CMSWire today that he doesn't know anything about the alleged merger.

But McKinnon also told us yesterday that Ektron's minority investor — a private equity firm called Accel-KKR was not buying the company — just before a document that refutes that statement surfaced online. You can view it in the story here.

Once Red Hot Ektron Reportedly Sells for Paltry Sum

Privately held companies have it easy: they can vaguely boast of double-digit growth, record profits, strong cash balances and bright futures even when reality seems to suggest otherwise. At least that seems to be the case with Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

The web content management firm, which was consistently ranked one of the fastest growing tech companies in New England in the early 2000s, seems to have come to a stunningly disappointing end.

(UPDATE: Ektron confirmed to CMSWire this afternoon that it closed a second round of equity funding with Accel-KKR, but stopped short of acknowledging a sale.

In a conversation with CMSWire's Virginia Backaitis, Ektron President Tim McKinnon claimed the company is profitable and growing — and contended that rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

In a press release issued mid-afternoon today, McKinnon stated that the Accel-KKR investment "provides strong support for Ektron as it delivers upon its vision and mission to provide solutions to customers," and adding that the company is "well positioned for continued growth in 2015."

Greg Williams, managing director at Accel-KKR and a member of the Ektron board, noted in the statement that the private equity firm has been "more than impressed by the momentum, profitable growth in the business and the results the team at Ektron have been achieving."

The press release contains no comments from — or makes any mention of — Ektron CEO and co-founder Bill Rogers.)

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