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September 27, 2013

Managing customer satisfaction and generating additional revenue using professional networking sites

Managing and retaining customers is one of the important KPIs for marketing and strategy people at service provider organizations like telcos. With large number of players in the market and meager variation between the services provided by different service providers, it has become essential to keep an eye on customer retention and also thrive to acquire new customers. Evolving and Innovating with time is the way to differentiate one's offerings from competitors. In this post, I will explicate how e-Billing integration with professional networking sites can help service providers evolve, innovate and beat competition by managing customer satisfaction, acquiring new customers and generating additional revenue.

Social media and networking is the buzzword these days. Apart from typical social media platforms like Facebook, there are number of professional communities/blogs on the web wherein like-minded people share their thoughts and discuss. LinkedIn and Twitter are two such destinations. Can these professional networking sites help service providers maintain customer satisfaction, keep their customers happy and at the same time win new customers?

e-Billing integration with these professional networking sites and Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services available as VAS (Value added service) by telcos can help benefit customers in more than one way. With people willing to share contacts with others over the networking sites and people preferring to call directly via internet through VOIP, e-Billing integration may come to benefit customers and also help the telco differentiate their offerings. People may wish to purchase such services and call directly via internet. So this integration may also help telcos achieve additional revenues. Thinking on these lines, e-Billing solutions may also prove beneficial in communication oriented social networking sites like Skype, Viber where one can buy credit and make calls all over the world. blog 3_small.png
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Telcos can also promote their products and offerings on these professional networking pages like providing Closed User Group (CUG) packages for members of some online community/group.

Telcos can also make use of these professional networking pages like LinkedIn and Twitter to keep their customers informed of the upcoming offers, discount rates not applicable on some days and also about network outages (if any). With e-Billing integrated, customers would also be able to 'View, Analyze and Pay Bills' directly through these professional networking sites. With Single Sign On (SSO) feature available, there wouldn't be any need to login separately. Telco customer service representative (CSR) can be made available on these pages to resolve customer issues on the spot and avoid calls to Call Centre. 

Thus with these benefits, e-billing integration will make it easier for the Service Providers to manage customer satisfaction, acquire new customers and promote cross-selling.

September 20, 2013

iCXM - Enhance your internal customer experience through Siebel Open UI: Part-1

 By Alpesh Chauhan, CRM Lead Consultant, Oracle Practice, Manufacturing Unit, Infosys Ltd.

Internal Customers - Who are they?
Customer Experience Management (CXM/CEM) is a buzz word nowadays and enterprises are focusing on improving overall customer interactions to gain customer loyalty. But in this process, are they concentrating on what their internal customers need to deliver better customer experience?  If not, enterprises are not going to succeed in enhancing customer experience as their internal customers are not satisfied. So questions are: who internal customers are and why they matter?

As per definition - 'Internal customers are unit or resources within your enterprise, which utilizes your products or services". For example: employees are key internal customers in delivering customer service excellence.

iCXM - What is it?
Enterprises started focusing on CRM in mid 80s by stressing on improving processes engaging customers namely sales, service and marketing related processes. Key objectives of CRM were to enhance customer satisfaction and cost reduction of customer facing operations.

Now CRM is being substituted by CXM. As per Gartner, CXM is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and thus increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. Through CXM, enterprises are aiming to make each customer interaction positive. CXM provides proactive approach for managing customer expectations.

So what is iCXM? It stands for "Internal Customer Experience Management". It can be defined as "Process of empowering your internal customers through enhanced interaction competencies (with the end users) to deliver customer service excellence"ICXM-Journey.png

Objective of iCXM is to empower your internal customers to achieve CXM objectives. CXM is a journey which passes through iCXM.

Challenges for Internal Customers:
No organization can achieve CXM goals without empowering their internal customers. Key challenges faced by internal customers during end customer interactions are listed below:

ICXM - challenges.png

1. Enterprise mobility constraints:
Most of the enterprise applications (CRM or ERP applications) are not accessible on smart phones or tablets. Few of the applications work on specific handheld devices only. Consumerization of IT is compelling organizations to go for enterprise mobility but non-compatibility of enterprise applications on mobile devices and expensive upgrade costs are creating road blocks in enterprise mobility implementation.

Especially for field workforce, Non-availability of enterprise applications, while on the move, is preventing them from accessing required information to respond to service the customer faster.

2. Information overload but absence of Holistic view of customer:  
Enterprises are already capturing enormous information through various channels and they actually have problem of plenty and they are finding it difficult to utilize these fragmented information. In absence of data consolidation or unified view, internal customers are not able to access valuable information like customer preferences, trends, history or other behavioral insights. This information can play important role in customizing deals or it can also provide insights on upsell or cross sell opportunities in real time during customer interactions.

Enterprises need to define data strategy and develop applications which can provide holistic view of customer data.

3. Unavailability of required data at time of customer interaction:
Right data at the right time is a key enabler for the high performance of internal customer. Unavailability of required data is hampering internal customers from providing optimize solutions to end customers at first attempt, which eventually leads to customer dissatisfaction.

I will cover key drivers for iCXM implementation and how Siebel Open UI can address issues faced by internal customers in part-2 of this blog.


September 5, 2013

Single org Vs Multi org on your cloud CRM...


Only constant is "change"...Organizations are constantly acquiring and merging other organizations or spun off into smaller and more manageable organizations. These mergers and acquisitions always give raise to a persisting dilemma whether all the lines of business, business divisions, branches, locations, etc. should have a common instance of the CRM (single) or each one should have a separate instance (multi-org) - Single Org Vs Multi-Org Cloud based CRM?






A few years ago, the Cloud based CRM was branded for SMB, but today as the cloud CRM has evolved better, more and more larger organizations are embracing cloud based CRMs like Salesforce, MS CRM, Sugar CRM, etc.. The most common business problem observed with cloud based CRM is what I call the "merger - acquisition" problem.


Only constant is "change"...Organizations are constantly acquiring and merging other organizations or spun off into smaller and more manageable organizations. These mergers and acquisitions always give raise to a persisting dilemma whether all the lines of business, business divisions, branches, locations, etc. should have a common instance of the CRM (single) or each one should have a separate instance (multi-org) - Single Org Vs Multi-Org Cloud based CRM?


The key to solve this dilemma is to have a comprehensive Org strategy. The org strategy is a plan of action which helps you plan how best the cloud based CRM (for e.g. Salesforce or MS CRM) can utilized to the fullest extent for your business across a single instance or split into multiple smaller instances.


We can build the org strategy through analyzing all of these 4 critical dimensions:

1.     Business model - What is the type of business model used for the Sales or service? There should be a complete analysis done for the type of business model which could be centralized leadership model vs autonomous leadership model vs distributed leadership.

·         Centralized leadership - This could have a central management which could have common business processes which is more viable for a single org structure

·         Autonomous leadership - each line of business with its own leadership unit and will work when the CRM is organized around multiple organizations.

·         Distributed leadership - This is an extended hub and spoke model which has decision making units across the distributed flat organization structure

2.     Data model - The data volumes and the complexity of the data model is very vital consideration in the org strategy. The data model determines the security access model, reports to be generated, data to be exported and the complexity of the data migration. Sometimes it could be easier to keep data in a single org rather than keeping it across multiple smaller orgs as it helps to achieve efficiency in maintenance, support and re-use. But, there could be legal and technical considerations for physical and logical separation of data across multiple orgs.

3.     Technology considerations - There are quite of technology constraints which come into play while deciding the org strategy. Some of them could be  Governor limits (multi-tenant system), GUI design, performance standards, capacity, administration complexity etc. It is wise to check each of these consideration before deciding the single or multi org option.

4.     Organization culture - This is a key aspect of the org strategy and often ignored or overlooked. It should be thoroughly analyzed if the organization's culture suits the org strategy. Is the culture allow natural collaboration and a consensus based decision making across teams which can be leverage through a single org? Is your culture help in drive autonomy so that business units can drive their own decisions?


It is imperative to have a solid org strategy as it impacts across quite a few key areas would have a significant impact on the Cloud based CRM...


·         Integration across the stack: Integrations always cost money. These costs are due to design, build and deployment of integration across different systems.  It becomes simpler and relatively less expensive to integrate the CRM instance with the various upstream and downstream systems if the org strategy is well planned. It helps to rationalize the data across different integration points.

·         Data import / export: In a cloud CRM, there is a very limited scope of avoiding data import / export. When the org strategy is well defined, there is a better scope to plan the import / export operations.

·         Global vs local settings: It is easier to plan the Global settings and process which can be re-used can be separated well in advance. Also any geographic specific localization can be applied based on the org strategy.

·         Governance: The governance involves a set of policies, roles and processes which help the organization to effectively use the CRM to meet the business objective. It is easy to set up the governance structure for the CRM instance as it could vary to a significant degree across a single and a multi org set up. A well planned governance set up will help the organization avoid deployment errors and optimize the maintenance cost of the instance.

·         Administration limits: Administration of the CRM is a key role. In a multi org set up, there could be efficiencies achieved by having a common administration layer. This is an occurring operating expenditure which can be optimized when there i

·         Reporting: The data to be reported across the organization hierarchy can be better organized and reported to the various stakeholder. If the senior management requires global reporting (single source of truth), then a single instance could make life easier. But for optimized performance across multiple geographies, a single instance is always not possible, a multi org could be present, then data has to be aggregated for an holistic reporting

·         Collaboration:  There could be a need to share information across various functions or geographies. The information could be shared across the various functions - sales, marketing, service for instance. The org strategy determines the level of collaboration and determines if the information would be contained in silos or a spread across the organization for better collaboration.


The org-strategy is the key in designing the cloud based eco system. There should be a balanced analysis of all of the critical dimensions after understanding the cost of the impact of org strategy on the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of the implementation of the cloud based CRM.


 Further reading: