thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
How to engage for customer experience and success

How to engage for customer experience and success

It is time for a stake in the ground again. Of late, every vendor who used to play in the CRM arena positions itself as a „customer experience“ player and claims that its software “delivers customer experiences”. This is quite a claim. It also raises a lot of important questions. What is “customer experience”? And who is responsible for it? How does “customer experience” differ from “customer experiences”? What is the difference to customer engagement? How do they relate to customer expectations? And then there is “customer success”, too. What about customer satisfaction? Finally, how does CRM fit into the picture? As you can see, there is a lot of scope for confusion. And this confusion has definitely materialized. So, let’s start with some definitions Friend and industry luminary Paul Greenberg has ventured here already back in 2015 (and before). Still, as time moves, the industry evolves, and things tend to get forgotten, let me take another stab at it. The more fundamental concepts are perhaps engagement, followed by customer expectation and customer success. You can also watch my take on customer engagement vs. customer experience in this 90 second video. Customer engagement According to Merriam-Webster, engagement is “the act of engaging” or “the state of being engaged”. Well, let’s look at the verb, then. Amongst some other meanings, engage is defined as “attract and hold by influence or power” or “induce to participate”. So, engagement is essentially about interacting with each other. This is usually mutual, but mandatorily involves communication, reaching out, by the company. Importantly, this engagement can also happen the product or service itself, for instance...
How (and why) a marine consultancy made Zoho core of their business

How (and why) a marine consultancy made Zoho core of their business

During ZohoDay 2022, I had the chance to have a longer conversation with Graham Dallas, business development manager of the ABL Group. Graham was responsible for the implementation of ABL Group’s new CRM system. ABL Group is the result of a 2020 merger of AqualisBraemar ASA and the LOC Group. It is a 400+ person global energy and marine consultancy that helps companies around the world transition toward offshore renewable energy sources, clean shipping, and sustainable marine practices. Formerly Microsoft Dynamics users, ABL Group first began working with Zoho in 2021 via an implementation partner, and they collaborated on a design and build of a customized CRM solution for their business. Soon, the second phase of implementation will begin, which then includes integration with Oracle NetSuite. One of the main challenges facing ABL Group was the integration of two different businesses, one of them already using a “chunky” CRM solution and the other one not having a system. if you do not want to read too much but prefer watching the edited interview, you can do so here. The challenge to address was that ABL Group, also because of the recent merger has a lot of differing business structures that shall be supported via one single system. Luckily, the structures weren’t necessarily complex – the business just has a lot of different requirements due to the different regions and lines of business. ABL Group started with a small team of experienced persons who went into this implementation projects with open eyes and some ideas. They assembled a list of 6 candidates that they narrowed down into three with Zoho...
How to make Zoho a business’s operating system

How to make Zoho a business’s operating system

During ZohoDay 2022, I had the chance to have a longer conversation with Adi Mula, founder and CEO of Foodhub. If you do not want to read too much but prefer watching the edited interview, you can do so here. Similar to GrubHub and DoorDash, Foodhub allows residents of the UK, India, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia, the US and some more countries to order food to be delivered from a variety of local restaurants; unlike those other sites, Foodhub does not charge service fees. Foodhub currently has about 1,100 employees. Most of them are using Zoho products in one way or another and many use multiple Zoho products. Foodhub started its Zoho journey with the goal of simplifying processes and to be able to provide every team with simple and easy to use tools that will help them do their jobs.  Originally, Foodhub worked with a set of interconnected, yet overly complicated applications. This journey started with implementing Zoho CRM because this was where the pain was biggest in this area.  The sales teams in the various countries have different needs, yet the business needs them use a common foundation. The old solution did not support this. One of the problems that were caused by this was that Foodhub used huge Excel sheets to support its sales process. Besides the obvious complexity, this also caused a GDPR risk, as these sheets contained lots of personal data that could have easily be shared online. Moving to Zoho CRM immediately solved this problem by enabling model processes that solved the needs of the different regions while implementing an adequate security and permission model. Migrating...
CRMKonvos – Mitch Lieberman on CX, CDP and Conversational Excellence beyondCXM

CRMKonvos – Mitch Lieberman on CX, CDP and Conversational Excellence beyondCXM

During this episode we talked with Mitch Lieberman who has quite some experience in the CRM industry, on the vendor- and analyst side. He was with Epiphany, Sugar, and with G2, to name but a few.He has the insight and the sharp mind that makes this conversation particularly interesting, without me diminishing the other ones, though.Mitch certainly got our grey matter into high gear during our conversation that started with CX, went into a solid discussion of the value (what is it?) of Customer Data Platforms, CDP, on to conversational systems – and back. Btw, what is a CDP? Let Mitch provide his interesting view.We learned a lot.You can, too.This conversation is in English, apart from a few minutes at the beginning and the...
Customer Experience on Cruise Ships – It doesn’t always need AI to deliver

Customer Experience on Cruise Ships – It doesn’t always need AI to deliver

It is this time of the year. Both, my wife Nicole and I put in long hours throughout last year, and yes, the pre-Christmas-time was not exactly a vacation, too … So, we were looking forward to some downtime and a family cruise with the line that prides itself as being “the home of the smile”. But, hey, if you are in the customer experience business – you never really have full downtime. At the end of the day it is also impossible to not reflect your own experience. Hence, we also could not avoid to realise how simple things can turn something amazing into something mediocre – or even plain disappointing. The cruise industry is a highly competitive industry, too, with more and more customers having more and more choice. Cruise Market Watch predicts more than 27.6 million cruise customers in 2020. Ships are getting bigger and more comfortable – and the fleets are growing, too, with 25 more cruise ships being expected to enter service in 2020. At the same time, customer expectations are rising fast. And this does not only apply to the digital world, but also to the physical one. And a cruise is all about the customers’ experience, and nothing else. This is what they are selling with slogans like ‘premium all-inclusive’ (TUI Cruises). “After all, the best holiday feeling is: not being in the need to think of anything, but to be able to. Not needing to pay for it, but being able to try anything. Not needing to relinquish anything but being able to enjoy everything.” (original in German, translation by me)...