Digital Banking During COVID-19 Surged. Will It Stick?

Posted on October 21, 2020October 26, 2020Categories Article  Leave a comment on Digital Banking During COVID-19 Surged. Will It Stick?
Digital banking during COVID-19 was unprecedented. What does the future hold?
Digital banking during COVID-19 was unprecedented. What does the future hold?

Before the onset of the pandemic, digital banking during COVID-19 surged, which in turn drove financial institutions to seek to create better consumer experiences. However, COVID-19 created an urgency by banking customers and left financial institutions struggling to understand how to serve their customer segments going forward.

A PWC study, completed before 2020, found almost 73% of respondents consider the customer experience an important factor in their purchasing decisions but particularly influential in healthcare (78%), banking (75%), restaurants (74%) and hotels (74%). The same survey found only 49% of U.S. consumers said companies provide a good customer experience at the moment. It found closing any customer experience gap requires finding that sweet spot — where technology complements the human element of customer experience without creating new frustrations. That perfect balance is still the goal.

Digital Banking During COVID-19 and After

The Digital Banking Post COVID-19: Digital CX Banking Report surveyed more than 500 banking customers in June, more than 135 days after the first documented COVID-19 case in the U.S., to explore and describe the mindset and behaviors of banking customers. We wanted to learn whether the pandemic changed customer needs and wants. What did they expect before COVID-19 hit and what are their expectations currently? Have customers changed their perceptions of digital banking since the lockdown?

We uncovered customer perception and behaviors and categorized them into three segments:

  • Traditionalists: Customers who prefer interpersonal contact at the branch and will likely return as branches re-open.
  • Transformers: Customers who used to prefer branch interactions but are willing to go digital now when “forced” to go digital during the pandemic.
  • Trailblazers: Customers who always preferred digital banking interactions and will continue to use online and mobile service and products.

Expectedly all three groups have displayed amplified use of digital banking during COVID-19, as all consumers had to rely on digital services with branch activity disrupted. All these segments represent some of your banking customers, which makes serving them all an ongoing challenge.

However, we found the Transformers, the most dynamic group. While most Traditionalists and Trailblazers enjoy a steady financial institution relationship, most Transformers do not.

Transformers (44% are 25-44 years old) are open to new experiences in banking but feel ignored at times and do not believe their institutions provides them with enough financial advice, which they sorely need and want, especially now. They will use online and mobile banking but are more likely to go into the branch to make a deposit or withdrawal, get cash or cash checks.

Financial institutions have a great opportunity with Transformers. For example, they favor a mix of digital and in-person interaction with their bank or credit union, which might make them receptive to a web chat or video teller meeting.

For banks and credit unions, Transformers seem well prepared, more enthusiastic and adept enough to move to more digital and self-service channels post-COVID-19, having out of necessity already used those channels.

For a more in-depth look at the Transformers click here for a free report preview; and click here to stay up to date with the latest consumer behavior in digital banking every quarter.

How Search Engine Optimization Really Works

Posted on June 11, 2020May 24, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on How Search Engine Optimization Really Works

If you build your SaaS product with these goals in mind, you can reduce customer churn and create a much better program.

What is it and Why Should I Care?

Search engine optimization, simply put, is the process of growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. The organic results (results that come from following rules the algorithm sets to get higher on the list), versus the paid search results (paying search engines for ad space at the top of all relevant searches), are the primary purpose of search engine optimization, but paid results are also included as a part of this almost 95 billion dollar industry.

This is important for a variety of reasons, but the most important use of mastering search engine optimization is the opportunity to grow your business and gain more traffic to your website and products. Statistics show that over 60 percent of all clicks are from the first five top results from search engines, meaning if your website is found in those first results it can drastically improve your website traffic and click-through rate, leaving those who do not prioritize search engine optimization behind.

How Search Engine Optimization Works

Agencies and service-based companies in this multi billion-dollar industry are notorious for leaving wakes of dissatisfied customers at every turn. They do not understand the fundamentals of search engine optimization, as the agencies employ marketers and advertisers to help businesses improve their click-through rates without even knowing the basics or how to. However, the solution to the problems that these agencies have caused lay with technology and software developers, people that are engineers who understand the search engines’ algorithms, which are the most important mechanism that determines top search results.

Where the Industry Fails

Companies within the search engine optimization industry have continually reinforced the belief that if a website just has “really good content” and uses a certain keyword over and over again, they can effectively ignore the search engine’s algorithms, leaving their clients’ success up to mere chance. However, Google and other search engines algorithms are much more sophisticated than just simple solutions, and they require software developers and computer engineers to explain and market how to understand and work with these algorithms.

Search engine optimization should not be about trying to escape or even “beat” these powerful algorithms, at its core it is about working with and developing tools to more effectively help businesses and customers understand and predict where their products and websites will end up in the results pages. Once you understand what you are up against, then you can more effectively shape and change your model and content to become more marketable. You do not need an advertiser or a marketing specialist to “spruce up” or “revamp” your products only to leave the most important way to grow your business–the click-through rate–to luck.

Solutions to Search Engine Optimization

Simply put, this industry can be saved by software-based tech developers like Geoff Atkinson and his company Huckabuy. As we talked with him, he let us in on some of the things that sets his company apart from all of the others who claim to do the same thing

One of the most important things is that his company relies on actual scalable products to improve their customers’ website optimization. They have two main software products: SEOCloud and Structured Data, which in an average of two weeks delivers their clients a fully optimized website that aligns with Google’s algorithm.

 Not only that, but Huckabuy’s products are also reliable as they are predictive, not reactive. Google and similar search engines’ algorithms have constant updates, which leaves many other agencies behind in how they understand what they are selling. However, Huckabuy predicts the macrotrends that Google follows, allowing themselves and their customers smooth transitions as the platforms constantly develop.

Customer-wise, Atkinson acknowledges the shortcomings of this industry, that countless agencies have left many clients feeling burned and dissatisfied with how they were treated. Huckabuy, however, pledges to be transparent and communicative throughout the process of helping their clients build optimized websites and grow their businesses.

We talk about search engine optimization and so much more in our episode of the SaaS CX podcast show, which you can listen to here. If interested you can also learn more about Geoff Atkinson and Huckabuy at Huckabuy.com.

Taking a Great Forward-Thinking Approach to Project Management

Posted on June 4, 2020May 18, 2020Categories ArticleTags , ,   Leave a comment on Taking a Great Forward-Thinking Approach to Project Management

All too often, businesses take a catch-up approach to project management and analysis. Rather than planning ahead and anticipating needs, these companies perform autopsies after the fact. Unfortunately, this method can lead to high customer churn rates.

Here’s the scenario – a major client just booked a profitable project with your company. You’re super excited to get started, and your teams are working hard to complete it on time. Unfortunately, midway through, you realize that you’re burning through staff-hours and not getting the results that your client wanted through the applied project management. Once the project is over, you look back and see what went wrong. However, before you have a chance to make changes, a new client signs up, and the cycle starts again.

Does this sound familiar? If you’re like most SaaS customer service companies, it should. All too often, businesses take a catch-up approach to project management and analysis. Rather than planning ahead and anticipating needs, these companies perform autopsies after the fact. Unfortunately, this method can lead to high customer churn rates.

Instead, it’s better to look forward, not backward. Instead of looking at the rearview mirror, start looking through the windshield. To help us understand the value of this approach, we’re talking with Mark Robinson, CEO of Kimble Applications. Kimble helps SaaS companies create automated processes to streamline operations and deliver better results. Here are some pointers.

Processes Dictate Systems, Not Vice Versa

Project Automation
Once you understand the steps each team member should be taking, you can find the right tools to accommodate them.

Because SaaS companies are all about technology, it’s tempting to want to use the latest and greatest programs and tools. However, while they may seem appealing at first, are they really solving a problem or a need? If not, then what’s the point?

Part of Mark’s work at Kimble is helping companies understand the movements behind each system. Yes, you have a high-tech CRM, but what good is it if the sales team doesn’t use it efficiently? So, rather than throwing technology at the problem, you have to take a process-focused approach first. Once you understand the steps each team member should be taking, you can find the right tools and project management to accommodate them.

Change Management Happens at the Top

Another reason so many SaaS companies experience high customer churn rates is that, even when adjustments are implemented, they don’t take hold for very long. This is because the people who champion these changes aren’t the ones influencing everyone else.

So, if you want your company to adopt better processes and streamlined operations, the management team has to be the first to onboard and activate. From there, it’s much easier to keep everyone else on track and avoid falling back into old habits.

Analysis and Adaptation Don’t Stop After Launch

Finally, too many SaaS companies view the going live date as the endpoint of a project management. However, that’s only one component of a much larger picture. If your churn rate is high after six months or a year, that’s an indication of low activation and something is wrong on the project management. Yes, you onboarded your clients and helped them master the software, but they’re still not achieving their goals.

One of the issues here is measuring the wrong metrics. Rather than focusing on user interactions, you want to get to the core of your delivery. For example, if your software is meant to save time on invoicing, how is that coming along? How many hours were your clients spending before compared to now? If the difference is negligible, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

Overall, you should view each project management as an ongoing part of your business. By doing so, you can improve your customer service experience and reduce churn. If you want to find out more about these elements, check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here. You can also learn more about Kimble Applications at www.kimbleapps.com.

Creating Better Enterprise-Level SaaS Product

Posted on May 14, 2020April 19, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Creating Better Enterprise-Level SaaS Product

If you build your SaaS product with these goals in mind, you can reduce customer churn and create a much better program.

Usually, the process of building a new app or software product is pretty straightforward. A company is founded, a development team will work on validation, the product goes live, fixes and patches come out, and it grows from there.

However, what if you’re trying to create a SaaS product for an enterprise-level business? Because the brand has such a broad scope, both in terms of marketing and user base, the standard development process won’t necessarily work.

In this article, we want to discuss the best practices for creating software for big companies. Think Microsoft, Facebook, and Comcast. To help us understand what it takes to achieve success, we’re talking with Wolf Ruzicka. Wolf is the chairman of Eastbanc Technologies, which incubates new programs before selling them to massive corporations. He has some valuable insight to share for building SaaS products and learning how to reduce customer churn.

Understand the Enterprise Challenges

As a startup, the company has much more flexibility during development. Because the user base is so small, the primary pain points are just getting the product to work correctly. Typically, the mantra of a small SaaS company is to launch with an MVP and little else.

With enterprise software, however, the challenges are much different. You have to go way beyond the MVP. Simply put, good enough isn’t good enough. Additionally, as Wolf puts it, you have to consider the following hurdles:

-Security – An enterprise-level business has high-value assets and executives. This data has to be protected from day one. Patches aren’t a viable solution.

-Scalability – A startup may launch with a handful of users. An enterprise company may have thousands or hundreds of thousands ready to use the software. Scaling has to be baked in from the get-go, including customer retention strategies.

-Durability – With so many people relying on software, delays, and downtime are not an option. The program has to be reliable enough to work smoothly and consistently. While bugs are sometimes inevitable, they can’t be detrimental to operational success.

So, if you build your SaaS product with these goals in mind, you can reduce customer churn and create a much better program. However, these components are just the beginning.

Incorporate the Various Layers of the Customer Experience

If you want to improve the SaaS customer experience, you have to recognize the value of different technology. Today’s user is much savvier than years past, which means that the same person can use a smartphone, tablet, or computer to work on the same software. Rather than focusing your attention on one element, you need to build a multifaceted SaaS product.

The layers of the customer experience can include:

-Cloud – Cloud-based technology is more vital than ever, with more people working from home and remote workers logging in from around the world.

-Mobile – Smartphones are only getting more sophisticated, and users are relying on smartphones and other mobile devices to handle more data and transactions. For example, more people shopped via mobile during the 2019 holiday season than on a desktop.

-Design – It’s not enough for your software to be functional; it has to be user-friendly as well. Design elements help your users get more out of the program and can help reduce churn.

-AI – while machine-learning isn’t that commonplace today, it’s a growing industry. So, you have to plan accordingly. If you build your software without AI capabilities, you’ll fall behind during the next tech boom. Wolf admits that AI is going to change the game in the next few years, particularly with how we interact with technology.

Bottom Line: You Have to Be Prepared

Eastbanc Technologies can produce enterprise-level SaaS products because the team understands innovation and high-functioning customer experience. Overall, as long as you’re prepared to handle the challenges that come with the terrain, there’s no reason you can’t do the same. You can find out more about Wolf and Eastbanc Tech by listening to the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here. You can also learn more at www.eastbanctech.com.

How to Make SMS Marketing Work

Posted on May 12, 2020April 19, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on How to Make SMS Marketing Work

While the engagement rate for SMS marketing is high on the user end, many sales reps have a hard time incorporating it into their daily habits

If you’re looking for new ways to reach your customers and enhance their experience with your brand, SMS marketing is a valuable tool. However, although the technology has been around for over a decade, many companies are hesitant to make texting a core component of their marketing strategy.

So, in this article, we want to show you how to make SMS work for your SaaS business. Not only is texting ideal for reducing customer churn, but it can give your brand a leg up over the competition. Also, considering that SMS marketing is just a few years from becoming the norm, now is the perfect time to adopt it. Here’s how.

Understand Your Audience

If you’ve already built up a marketing strategy, then you understand the value of creating customer profiles and personas. By focusing your attention on a specific need or problem, you can improve your SaaS customer service immensely.

The same approach works well for texting. However, because the tool is relatively limited, you need to get a little more creative when approaching your ideal user. For example, it’s not usually best to send pictures and videos via text unsolicited. So, rather than crafting the perfect message, it’s all about timing and engagement.

An excellent way to approach this strategy is to ask how and when you would appreciate getting texts from companies you like. If there’s a new sale going on, what kind of message would get you in the door? As we’ll discuss later, authenticity is better than a sales pitch, so sending an ad isn’t the best option. Instead, a simple notification about the sale or a query asking if the customer is interested might be better.

Because the methods are still relatively new, feel free to experiment and gather feedback. Over time, you can craft more engaging messages based on these responses to push your marketing even further.

Make It Easy For Your Sales Team

While the engagement rate for SMS marketing is high on the user end, many sales reps have a hard time incorporating it into their daily habits. Part of the reason is that many programs are independent, so reps have to log out of a CRM to send a text. This also means that the data doesn’t integrate.

Fortunately, new programs are coming out regularly that alleviate that problem. However, you have to take things a step further and help your sales team get used to the idea of texting a prospective or returning customer. In many cases, once a rep sees the potential of SMS marketing, including how easy it is to close a sale, he or she will adopt it immediately.

Overall, just as you’re making it simpler for your customers to buy products from you via text, you have to make the process easier for your sales team.

Start a Conversation, Not a Sales Pitch

SMS Marketing Changing the Face of Sales

Finally, if you want SMS marketing to help decrease customer churn, you have to know what to say. Users are far more likely to open and respond to a text for several reasons, but nothing will turn a customer off faster than spam. We’ve all grown accustomed to seeing marketing emails, but a text feels too personal for it to be “salesy.”

So, the best way to ensure engagement is to start a conversation. Enabling user responses beyond “stop” or “more info” can go a long way toward building loyalty. When customers can ask questions and even start a dialog, they are much more invested. As long as it stays professional and relatively casual, you’ll see better results.

If you want to find out more about SMS marketing, check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here. We talk with Brandon O’Halloran, CEO of Reply By. His company specializes in SMS integration, and he offers some valuable insight into what makes this platform work so well.

Building a Plan for Disaster Recovery for Your Business

Posted on May 7, 2020April 19, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Building a Plan for Disaster Recovery for Your Business

A disaster doesn’t have to spell the end for your company. No matter how long you’ve been around, the right planning can make all the difference. If you want to learn more about how to protect your business.

For most entrepreneurs, the prospect of having their business fail seems somewhat abstract, particularly when they’ve been operating for several years. However, so many companies are just one or two disasters away from shutting down for good. As we’ve seen time and time again, a business can collapse without warning.

So, if you want to avoid sleepless nights and high levels of anxiety, you need to prepare for the inevitable. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways a disaster could impact your business. We’ll also discuss how to formulate a strategy of survival.

Disaster Can Come Anytime, From Anywhere

Unexpected Disaster
Disaster can happen at any time.

As 2020 proves, events beyond anyone’s comprehension can strike, catapulting the world into uncharted territory. However, while the COVID pandemic does illustrate the need for disaster planning, the fact is that there are plenty of other ways your business can go under. Here are a few examples that may not come to mind immediately.

-SEO Blacklisting – Google is notorious about how it manages its algorithms, and the tech giant isn’t afraid to throw its weight around. If you’re using third-party ad software, a single bad apple could blacklist you from showing up in searches. When that happens, you’re left holding the bag.

-Platform Updates and Rule Changes – If your company relies on third-party software to exist (i.e., Facebook ads, YouTube, etc.), then you’re assuming that platform will remain steady forever. However, because another company runs it, they can drop you or change the rules without warning. Suddenly, you could be left without a substantial revenue stream, all without doing anything to warrant it.

-Customer Churn – All SaaS companies have a customer churn rate, but you want to learn how to reduce it for your big clients. Many variables can cause a client to drop your service, and if they were a significant chunk of your bottom line, you have to replace them ASAP.

As you can see, disaster doesn’t always have to be of Hollywood-level proportions. Now that we’ve gotten your attention, let’s discuss some tips for handling a downturn and how to move forward with customer retention strategies.

Learning to Prioritize Costs and Expenses

When a company is hit with a massive setback, two priorities come into play – reduce costs and increase revenue. However, while the first part may seem easy, it’s actually quite tricky. All too often, CEOs and founders will cut away the low-hanging fruit, such as snacks and drinks in the break room. However, saving a few hundred here and there isn’t going to salvage your business.

Instead, you have to make a list of priorities and chip away at the most considerable costs for your business. For a SaaS company, these can be labor, cloud hosting, and vendor relationships. Assuming that you weren’t wasting thousands of dollars each month on unnecessary tools, you’ll have to make some hard choices.

Also, when talking about cutting down on “perks,” you have to evaluate the value that they bring to your staff. During a downturn, your employees are the lifeblood of your business. If they’re hurting, a small perk or reward can make a huge difference. Cutting these elements can lend a sense of “profits over people” mentality, which will permeate the workplace.

Setting a Path for Moving Forward

Once you’ve established where you can make cuts, it’s time to focus on building a healthier and more resilient revenue stream. Here are some tips to help you weather the storm and come out better off when things return to normal.

Focus on Your Current and Past Customers

As a rule, it’s easier and cheaper to market and upsell your current customers than to attract new ones. During a global crisis like COVID, your clients are probably hurting as well. Now is the time to reach out and see how they’re doing and what they can use from you. While we don’t advise raising prices immediately to compensate, perhaps you can add more value to the software and charge more accordingly.

Use Downtime to Create a Better Product

Moving forward in a downturn

No matter what, people are willing to buy items that have value. So, as long as your software delivers on quality, you can build a loyal audience. If you find yourself with downtime suddenly, work on fixing any issues or making the customer experience better. Then, as things start to improve, you can rebound that much faster.

Bottom Line: Preparation Can Enable Your Business to Weather Any Storm

A disaster doesn’t have to spell the end for your company. No matter how long you’ve been around, the right planning can make all the difference. If you want to learn more about how to protect your business, check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here. We talk with James Avery of Adzerk, who went through this exact situation himself.

How to Maximize Your Contact Center

Posted on May 5, 2020April 19, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on How to Maximize Your Contact Center

Companies big and small will generate hundreds or thousands of data points from a wide array of programs and systems.
Unfortunately, while all of this information is crucial, it’s worthless if we can’t digest it. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is here to help. In this article, we want to discuss how an AI customer experience can provide the analytics possible to build a better sales team and a streamlined customer experience.

Now that we’re living in the age of technology, it’s never been easier to create and cultivate data. How does an AI customer experience play into that contact center? Companies big and small will generate hundreds or thousands of data points from a wide array of programs and systems.

Unfortunately, while all of this information is crucial, it’s worthless if we can’t digest it. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is here to help. In this article, we want to discuss how an AI customer experience can provide the analytics possible to build a better sales team and a streamlined customer experience.

To help us understand the possibilities, we’re talking with Todd Abbot, COO of InsightSquared. His software compiles data and makes it easy to understand with customizable dashboards. Here’s where the future is headed with CX and AI.

Improving Productivity With Machine Learning

When it comes to customer retention, most companies assume that the primary selling point is the quality of the product itself. While that does have a significant impact, one element you might be overlooking is the contact center. How easily can a customer get a hold of someone when he or she has a question? How many channels do you offer, and what’s the satisfaction rating for each? If you’re not paying attention here, you could have a hard time reducing customer churn.

In this article, we want to discuss the best ways to improve your contact center operations. To help us out, we’ve enlisted the help of Patrick Dennis. Patrick is the CEO and founder of Aspect Software, a SaaS company that focuses on building better contact centers for businesses. Let’s go over his customer retention strategies in SaaS.

Step One: Understand Your Customer’s Needs

OLD WAY – NEW WAY – how a good contact center helps you and your customers better communicate

In many cases, the problem that companies have is that they are too focused on product development and marketing to recognize the value of a contact center. Yes, the business might have multiple channels, but it doesn’t utilize them as effectively as it could.

Rather than adding new communication methods, you need to focus on how your customer will want to use them. Patrick outlines this as the “coffee and car” model. On some days, Patrick wants a fast cup of coffee – the quicker, the better. On other days, he prefers quality over speed, even if that means waiting half an hour for a quality cup. Your customers likely have preferences that shift based on a variety of factors.

So, as a business, you need to understand how these interactions and touchpoints will differ for your customers. Are they in a rush and need quick service, or do they have questions and need additional help? You can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.

Step Two: Look at Your End-to-End Customer Experience

These days, most companies are getting better about analyzing specific interactions. Data analysis and machine learning make it easy to gather insight into various channels individually. However, you need to take a step back and see how they flow into each other to get a sense of how satisfied your customer is from end-to-end.

Patrick puts it like this. Let’s say there are four interactions on average with a customer. That customer has a 90-percent satisfaction rating for the first two, but only 85-percent with the last two. Individually, those ratings seem high. However, when taken together, it results in 58-percent satisfaction.

Overall, by taking a macro-level look at your contact center, you can begin to see where you can boost interactions. Remember that they don’t exist in a vacuum. The same customer can reach out via email, chat, and a phone call, so each touchpoint has to be consistent and high-quality.

Step Three: Let Your Customers Determine the Channels, Not the Other Way Around

Because technology is developing so rapidly, there’s a tendency for companies to adapt to specific channels, believing that it will improve interactions. However, that can be a mistake. For example, what’s the good of building a system around SMS messaging if your customers have no interest in using it?

While some channels have stood the test of time (i.e., phone calls), various apps and new technology will drop off and get replaced. Yes, Facebook Messenger might be big now, but what about in 10 years?

Because channels will continue to evolve, and considering that your customer’s preferences will change, your contact center has to be adaptable. Rather than focusing on one or two communication methods, focus on the priorities of your customers and let them choose the channel that works best. Overall, you should have a cluster of channels available for each customer, not the other way around.

If you want to hear more about how to reduce customer churn with the contact center, check out the SaaS CX Show here. You can also find out more about Patrick and Aspect Software at www.aspect.com.

How an AI Customer Experience Drives Success

Posted on April 28, 2020April 2, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on How an AI Customer Experience Drives Success

Companies big and small will generate hundreds or thousands of data points from a wide array of programs and systems.
Unfortunately, while all of this information is crucial, it’s worthless if we can’t digest it. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is here to help. In this article, we want to discuss how an AI customer experience can provide the analytics possible to build a better sales team and a streamlined customer experience.

Now that we’re living in the age of technology, it’s never been easier to create and cultivate data. How does an AI customer experience play into that data store? Companies big and small will generate hundreds or thousands of data points from a wide array of programs and systems.

Unfortunately, while all of this information is crucial, it’s worthless if we can’t digest it. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is here to help. In this article, we want to discuss how an AI customer experience can provide the analytics possible to build a better sales team and a streamlined customer experience.

To help us understand the possibilities, we’re talking with Todd Abbot, COO of InsightSquared. His software compiles data and makes it easy to understand with customizable dashboards. Here’s where the future is headed with CX and AI.

Improving Productivity With Machine Learning

Machine Learning can be a powerful tool towards building an AI customer experience.
Machine Learning can be a powerful tool towards building an AI customer experience.

Overall, technology is meant to save time and energy. However, when we’re talking about vast amounts of information, we can wind up spending more time compiling it and making it easy to read. So many programs generate data, but few of them have intuitive analytics to help managers and CEOs understand it.

But it doesn’t always have to be like that. Machine learning can not only distill information into bite-sized chunks, but it can be the engine behind a solid AI customer experience. With software like InsightSquared, executives and managers can pull data automatically from various points in the sales process and get a breakdown of what it all means. Before, these high-level employees would have to spend so much time aggregating and entering information that it was more costly than beneficial.

Removing the Noise and Achieving Better Focus

When talking about a sales team, the difference between an A-level salesperson and a B-level one is that the former knows which leads to focus on the most. All too often, salespeople will spend so much time and energy on customers that won’t add too much to the bottom line.

Fortunately, an AI customer experience can help remove a lot of that noise and distraction. When the system learns the core components of a lucrative lead, it can help the sales team focus their energy better. For example, if the average time it takes to convert a lead is two weeks, the system will notify an employee when that window has passed so that they aren’t wasting energy on someone who won’t commit.

Using AI Customer Experience as a Coaching Tool

Although the program can reduce distractions, it’s not a miracle worker. Instead, management and high-performing salespeople can use the data to teach others what to do. Again, here is where a time-consuming process can be streamlined. Rather than an executive or manager spending hours qualifying each lead, they can refer to data to know who is lucrative and who isn’t. Then, the manager can coach the salesperson accordingly.

Overall, the system does the hard work of qualifying leads, so it’s management’s job to ensure that the sales team is focusing on high-value customers. Over time, B-level salespeople can improve their tactics, which will boost the revenue for the business.

Replacing Talent With Processes

Ultimately, what AI systems like InsightSquared can do is eliminate the need for companies to hire rockstar salespeople. Now that the program can do much of the heavy lifting, a business can get the benefits of someone with years of insight and experience, but without the high price tag.

Essentially, managers can be more efficient in training the sales team, and individual salespeople can do better about closing deals and making money for themselves and the company. While AI can’t replace gut instinct (yet), it’s reducing the leverage that A-level salespeople have. By building processes, a company won’t live and die based on a specific employee.

If you want to find out more about how AI is transforming the world of CX, check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here. You can also find out more about InsightSquared at www.insightsquared.com

CRM Software: 3 Principles to Get Value Fast

Posted on April 24, 2020April 2, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on CRM Software: 3 Principles to Get Value Fast

Companies big and small will generate hundreds or thousands of data points from a wide array of programs and systems.
Unfortunately, while all of this information is crucial, it’s worthless if we can’t digest it. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is here to help. In this article, we want to discuss how an AI customer experience can provide the analytics possible to build a better sales team and a streamlined customer experience.

As a business owner, a big struggle can be building a more substantial customer base and using it to propel long-term success. Managing it with CRM software, can be an even bigger struggle.

Fortunately, we’re living in a golden age of technology, which means that you can theoretically be one app away from reaching that goal. However, just because there are a plethora of options doesn’t mean that they will all work. In many cases, even though the technology is powerful, it might not be well-suited for your business.

So, with that in mind, we want to discuss the best ways to utilize your CRM solution for your company. To help us understand the value of a good customer relationship management system, we enlisted the help of Thomas Kattnig. Thomas is the CEO of Sellsation, a company that specializes in CRM software for small and medium-sized businesses. Here are 3 principles that will get you value fast.

The Problem Isn’t CRM Software – It’s How You Use It

When it comes to CRM software, one of the biggest and most widely used in the industry is SalesForce. However, this software is designed for enterprise-level companies, which can make a powerful tool, but out of the reach of smaller businesses.

A significant reason for that disconnect is the level of skill and understanding that has to come with Salesforce. Yes, you can deploy the software for your medium-sized business, but then you have to hire consultants to help you use it efficiently.

Instead, you need to start by focusing your attention on the business model. What does success mean to you? Where are you trying to go? What solutions are you offering your customers? Finally, and most importantly, how is CRM software going to facilitate these goals?

All too often, businesses use a tech-first approach. This means that they think that buying a high-tech solution will alleviate their problems, but since they don’t know what those problems are to begin with, the software falls short.

Overall, before picking a CRM software solution, you need to outline where your business is headed and write down specific elements that the software has to address. From there, you can choose the right option for your needs. Thomas and his team have an excellent customer retention rate because they assist their clients with this process before onboarding them. By pointing yourself in the right direction, choosing technology is much simpler.

Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Team

CRM Software works best when you've aligned your sales and marketing team around its use.
CRM Software works best when you’ve aligned your sales and marketing team around its use.

Salespeople and marketers typically use customer relationship management systems. Unfortunately, these departments don’t usually talk to each other, so there is a significant disconnect that can cause problems.

If you want your CRM software to succeed, you need to make sure that it can facilitate communication between marketing and sales so that they can work as a cohesive unit. This way, salespeople don’t over-promise on a product, and marketing doesn’t have issues with setting up accounts and following up with clients.

Part of Sellsation’s success comes from the fact that they outline how each department works individually so that they can align themselves. When marketing does one thing, how does it affect sales and vice versa? By visualizing their relationship with each other, the business can create a better network of cooperation and coordination.

An amendment to that is how you incorporate your support team as well. If sales and marketing don’t provide the right tools for the client, then he or she will need much more help and support on the back end. That kind of system will lead to higher churn and less customer satisfaction. Overall, the CRM software needs to bring everyone together to move in the same direction.

Bottom Line: CRM Software Is a Tool, Not a Magic Wand

If you want to get more from your CRM software, you need to know how to use it first. Tons of features and benefits are great, but not if you have no use for them. Let your business model be the guide, and let your customers dictate which elements are most necessary.

If you want to find out more about Sellsation, you can check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here, or you can find them at www.sellsation.com.

Mapping Out the End-to-End Customer Experience

Posted on April 21, 2020April 2, 2020Categories ArticleTags , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Mapping Out the End-to-End Customer Experience

Companies big and small will generate hundreds or thousands of data points from a wide array of programs and systems.
Unfortunately, while all of this information is crucial, it’s worthless if we can’t digest it. Thankfully, artificial intelligence is here to help. In this article, we want to discuss how an AI customer experience can provide the analytics possible to build a better sales team and a streamlined customer experience.

If you want to build a better solution for your clients, you need to map out the end-to-end customer experience that touches on their entire problem. In most cases, software companies take a niche approach to their work. What is the one problem we’re trying to solve, and how can we solve it better?

While this strategy isn’t flawed, it can be a little misguided, particularly in the B2B world. When dealing with customers, it’s easier to focus your attention on a single problem. For example, individuals want an easier way to communicate with their friends and family. For businesses, however, issues rarely exist in a vacuum.

Because each problem is part of a larger whole, software developers should take a more comprehensive approach to their systems. While it’s not feasible for every company to create an all-in-one package, it’s still helpful to understand what the end-to-end customer experience should look like.

In this article, we want to share the benefits of taking a holistic look at the end-to-end customer experience and see how it can transform your business model.

Your Client’s Ideal End-to-End Customer Experience

Your client's success comes through your capture of their ideal end-to-end customer experience in your software.
Your client’s success comes through your capture of their ideal end-to-end customer experience in your software.

To help us see why this tactic is so valuable, we’ll look at a specific industry – contracting. On the surface, contracting companies can be relatively small operations, but once you get into the minutiae of it, the business incorporates so many different elements. A contractor has to source materials from various places, organize staff to work on different sites, manage invoices and proposals, along with a dozen other things.

From a software standpoint, you can’t zoom in and look at one part of that equation only. If your software helps make invoicing easier, then what are the steps your clients are taking before and after sending that invoice? What should the end-to-end customer experience be?

What data needs to be entered to ensure that the invoice is accurate? What processes have to be in place to verify that the invoice was sent, money was received, and that the client was happy?

By looking at the elements surrounding the individual problem, you can understand your client’s needs much better. In the end, you can develop software that makes the transition easier from step to the next, which will make your brand more valuable.

Getting Feedback Along the Way

There is a prevalent problem in the world of software startups where the people in development aren’t reaching out to the end-user. So, they have ideas of what the user will want or need, but doesn’t validate those ideas until the product launches.

Instead, you need to get client feedback at every step of the development timeline, as well as after your product goes live. The benefit of this action is that you may start by focusing on one problem, but over time, you add more and more features that create value for your clients. After a while, you can have a much more comprehensive system that will ensure success for both your customers and your business.

Overall, the customer experience is multi-faceted, so your software needs to be as well. If you want to find out more about how this approach works in the real world, check out the SaaS CX Show here. We talk with Tom Coffin, CEO of Simply Reliable, a company that makes Smart Office. His team has created a holistic program for contractors that has changed the game in a lot of ways.