thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Social media is dead – long live social media

Social media is dead – long live social media

Rest in peace, Social Media! Yes, I know, you have been pronounced dead numerous times already, and that as early as 2011 by the Sillicon Valley Watcher, if not earlier. You lived on. Still, now you really need to admit that you are a dead thing walking. You had a short, yet exhilarating life. And you, admittedly, developed astonishingly fast and far from your humble beginnings in the early 1970s and the first bulletin board systems around 1980. These have been the glory days of FidoNet, CompuServe, or AOL. SixDegrees.com followed later. The early noughts gave us a flurry of messaging systems, LinkedIn and XING, not to forget the infamous 4chan. Anno domini 2004 brought us Facebook, 2005 brought us YouTube, Twitter followed in 2006. Google attempted repeatedly to get the hang of you (Orkut, Google+, anyone?) and still has some messaging services up and running. All of these platforms have in common that they started up with the claim, some of them even with the objective, to make the Internet more social, to foster user generated content and to, ultimately, shift the power balance from corporations to their customers. Who does not remember the war cry “the customer is in control”. This referred to the idea that the customer could get more information that is not controlled by brands, so that they can be better informed, instead of being forced to rely on corporate broadcasts. This should have been achieved by giving customers a voice that is as strong as the corporate one, albeit without the (marketing) budget behind. In line with the definition of social, it enabled...
Three CX predictions and how to get some value from them

Three CX predictions and how to get some value from them

At the end of a year and the beginning of the following year all kinds of research organizations and pundits make their predictions. So could I but then, this year I choose to have a look at some predictions and comment on them. After all, there are predictions for all sorts of areas, including CX. So, what I’ll do instead is having a look at some them. I’ll analyse their rationale and give brief recommendations on what can be done to help work with them. This should be far more beneficial for you than me adding my own – probably redundant – predictions for 2023.  So, here we go! These are my top three, along with some recommendations for enterprise software vendors and their customers. One in five CX programs will disappear One of the predictions of Forrester Research is that “one in five CX programs will disappear”. The good news is that at the same time one in ten will get stronger. This is largely, because businesses have not yet embedded CX into their business strategy. A second reason is that CX professionals still struggle with calculating and defending the ROI of a CX initiative. Sadly, Forrester is right. I agree and am actually a bit more pessimistic. Many business’s haven’t yet managed to tie the outcome of CX initiatives to business results. And at the end of the day, an expense needs to have a monetary consequence. This means, more revenue or less cost, more profitability. Being able to establish and defend this link is even more important in times where general uncertainty tightens budget strings.  What to do as...
How to improve CX in times of a downturn

How to improve CX in times of a downturn

Finally, it happened. We lived in our blissful world of an abundance of money that fuelled the illusion of eternal and unlimited growth. The stock markets knew only one direction for a decade. They were rising and rising. Venture capital was readily available. Valuations of all sorts of companies, profitable or not, skyrocketed. Growth at all cost over profitability has been the war cry. Acquisitions have been extremely expensive up to the end of 2021. Logic never supported this illusion, the signs have been on the wall, yet we closed our eyes.  Then, in 2022, reality knocked at our doors, and none too subtle. In the “CX industry”, examples for this quite rude awakening include Zendesk. Zendesk went  private in June 2022 for $10.2 bn after refusing a $16+ bn offer in February 2022. Another one is Freshworks shares starting a steep decline in October 2021 after a very successful IPO in September 2021. These are only two examples and I by no means want to single out these great companies. Other signs included an increasing number of major layoffs throughout the first half of 2022, culminating in Salesforce announcing more focus on profitability due to a subdued outlook and subsequently laying off 8 thousand employees. Oracle already laid off more than 10 thousand employees of its CX division in August 2022. Amazon fired 18 thousand employees since November, 2022. Especially companies in the tech industry increasingly implemented hiring freezes throughout 2022. This is to quite an extent a consequence of their optimism (or should we say hubris?) but also of companies across industries keeping their budgets in tighter control than before. Another problem is that the definition of customer experience...
It is this time of the year again – your favourite articles of 2022

It is this time of the year again – your favourite articles of 2022

Happy New Year to everyone! Apart from all the political suff that I do not want to dive into, the year 2022 has seen a lot of exciting events and topics, from the rise and fall of the Metaverse, to lots of defaulting crypto companies. Towards the end of the year, chatGPt stirred up quite some waves. Not to forget the long story of Elon Musk taking over and handling Twitter … In more conventional areas, we have seen more of a renewed interest in affordable CX suites. Earlier in the year, also CDPs have been a big topic. Tips for good engagement to achieve customers having a positive experience is also always a topic. (Nearly) all of this is reflected in the 2022 top ten of my blog, which has seen a good number of visits.  A big and heartfelt thank you to all my readers! Here are your top ten articles of 2022. #10 How to engage for customer experience and success #9 How to create value with a CDP #8 The impact of the supply chain on the customer experience #7 A great human – bot conversation with lots to learn #6 How (and why) a marine consultancy made Zoho core of their business #5 The almighty Metaverse – its Rise and Fate #4 How to make Zoho a business’s operating system #3 How to Zoho’matize a business #2 Don’t mess with Zoho – A Zohoday 2022 recap #1  Metaverse – the return of the Undead All of these are well worth revisiting. Thank you again for your readership. I wish you all the best for 2023. Exciting times are lying ahead of...
CRM, CX and Customer Engagement – three humble wishes to better the industry

CRM, CX and Customer Engagement – three humble wishes to better the industry

The CRM Playaz asked me about my take on CRM for 2023. Of course, I happily supplied an answer … So, here we are. CRM in terms of concept and software is quite mature, after all it is around for quite some time. It went through some iterations and spun out into other areas, being more transactionally focused, instead of engagement focused. This led to the creation of more software categories, termed customer engagement management or, more recently, customer experience management. This had the potential to create misconceptions and ambiguities, especially when all three categories, customer relationship management, customer engagement and customer experience are looked at. There is confusion across these terms – as there are no generally accepted definitions around – and there is even confusion when looking at the terms individually.  That made me express three wishes and advice, one for customer relationship management, one for customer experience, and one for customer engagement. TL;DR – if you do not want to read, here is the video that I created. Let’s start with CRM CRM stands for customer relationship management. I do not want to dive into the discussion about whether there is too much focus on the M and not enough on the R. This is certainly worth a discussion of its own. Instead, let me share the observation that, sadly, CRM is far too often used when actually SFA – sales force automation is meant. This is a limited view on CRM that has been introduced mainly by vendors that focus on enabling sales forces and that has gained far too much traction. Customer relationship management, as a...
a great human – bot conversation with lots to learn

a great human – bot conversation with lots to learn

Inspired by a recent panel discussion as part of the In the Hot Seat podcast that I am involved in, I opened a chat with chatGPT3. ChatGPT is a language model by OpenAI that interacts in a conversational way. This way, it shall be able to follow a conversation, answer follow up questions or even admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises or reject inappropriate requests. Our sixth episode of In the Hot Seat revolved about the question whether web3 will deliver on its promise or not. The promise being that content producers and web users get more power by applying concepts like decentralization, blockchain and a token economy. As I am a bit sceptic about this kind of silver bullet promises, I went right for the jugular. A conversation between a human and a bot Thomas: Tell me with arguments why web3 based on blockchain will fail chatGPT3: It’s impossible for me to provide arguments as to why web3 based on blockchain will fail, as web3 is not based on blockchain technology. Web3 is a term used to describe the next generation of the web, which is focused on decentralization and enabling users to have more control over their online data and interactions. Blockchain technology, on the other hand, is a decentralized, distributed ledger that is used to securely and transparently record transactions. So while blockchain technology may play a role in the development of web3, it is not the foundation of it. Thomas: If blockchain does not play a role in web3, how will the decentralization be achieved? chatGPT3: Web3 is focused on decentralization, but it does not necessarily...