Tag: CXM

DXP Series, Part II: DXP and the Customer Experience

Posted by on November 28, 2017

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Introduction

In Part I of our DXP Series, Is a Digital Experience Platform Right for My business, we highlighted how a digital experience platform (DXP) is a set of tools to manage the customer’s online experience.  According to Liferay, the obsession with customer experience is at the confluence of the following factors:

  • Customers interact with companies on a wide variety of digital channels (web, mobile, social media)
  • Customers demand and expect the same experiences they get from digital leaders like Google, Apple, and Facebook.
  • Social media has become the cheer- (and jeer-) leader as an unstructured way to talk as customers provide feedback and influence public sentiment.
  • Mobile devices are on the scene and immediate. They give companies additional ways to stay in touch with customers.
  • The ability to get deep customer insights provides targeting information for a single person and give that person an highly personalized experience. Those insights come through everything from analytics to scooping up big data on social media.
  • Digital technology evens the playing field. Startups can disrupt traditional industries. Think: Uber and Airbnd. Those upstarts can deliver a better customer experience. Those startups have easy access to a tool kit that becomes a platform, not just dispersed ad hoc applications.

9 pieces in the DXP toolkit

The DXP toolkit can be a platform based on a software bundle, suite, or a single piece of software.  We listed the most common platforms as follows:

  1. Content management—allowing non-technical users to fill and maintain your DXP
  2. Social media—going into the wilds and deeper into the user realm
  3. Mobile website integration—fitting your DXP to the small screens viewed by millions
  4. Portal or gateway—passage and security without the latter inhibiting the former
  5. Search functionality—finding what users are looking for so they will stick around
  6. Rich Internet Application tools (RIA)—enriching the user experience through motion and interactivity
  7. Collaboration and meetings—working together face-to-face where many heads are better than one
  8. Analytics—getting feedback and breaching the gateway to AI
  9. Backend management—maintaining the DXP behind the scenes

In this post we describe those platforms and explore ways in which DXP integrates its technologies, components, processes, data, and people. That integration explains why DXP is keeping up with the push for customer and employee engagement.

1. Content is king, but users must rule

A content management system (CMS) is an application or set of related applications used to create and manage digital content. Think of CMS as a kind of digital word processor or publisher that dumps content into your website. It is more than that, of course.

CMS makes it simpler for content creators—the people who really know the business–to manage a website without developer assistance. In larger enterprises with multiple users adding content on a regular basis, a CMS is the easiest way to keep the site content up-to-date and responsive to search engines. Your platform is only as good as its content and you need a user-friendly way to keep content current.

2. Social Media is a vast channel for exploitation

Plug in social media to a DXP and open your web portal to the data- (and customer-) rich world of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Social media plays a vital part in any migration to DXP. Users want the option to configure their own social media sharing. In addition to the out-of-the-box social media capabilities that often come with modern DXP platforms, there are also a variety of plug-ins available that can further extend and customize these capabilities.

3. Mobile channels reach millions

Your DXP product may look good on the desktop computer screen, but without a mobile platform you are missing out on millions of mobile users. Mobile phones have migrated from voice communication devices to ubiquitous pocket computers. According to Statista, by 2020 there will be nearly 258 million smartphones in the U.S.

Add a mobile version of your DXP platform to fit the small screen and expand your marketing base exponentially. Again, customers expect their mobile applications to be as excellent and friendly as the hardware they use.

4. Portal or gateway access gives users a passport and the warm feeling of security

Web portal software can create the following interface points for DXP:

  • Customer portals to create transactions and access documents and information online
  • Partner/agent portals to help field agents, partners, and franchises become more effective by accessing proprietary and personalized information
  • Business process portals to access and track complex business processes

A cloud-based DXP needs a web portal that both locks out hackers and performs the handshaking crypto-rituals to open the locks.

5. Search functionality adds power to DXP web pages and applications

Pathways to built-in search functions handling customer queries are tools to win the race between customer engagement and the impatience of today’s users. Adding a search application to a DXP portal allows drill down. The drill down must go through content types, tags, as well as categories the user specifies to refine the search. The search application can be placed on a page or be a link to allow users to do a web page content search.

6. Rich Internet Application Tools supercharge DXP

RIAs are web applications having similar characteristics of desktop application software. They add functionality to DXP with tools like Adobe Flash, Java and Microsoft Silverlight. As the name implies, these tools provide a “richer” experience for DXP. RIAs provide movement, user interactivity, and more natural experiences for everyone accessing the DXP. Add a sense of time, motion, and interaction to a DXP, and the users will stick around and enjoy the experience.

7. Collaboration and meetings make the enterprise go ‘round

Collaboration suites can resonate with other DXP apps to promote excellence in communication. They are message boards for team discussions, blog platforms and meeting software to add to your inventory of rich content.

Use document management to collaborate, brainstorm, and produce quality content.  Plug in meeting software for worldwide, real-time worldwide, face-to-meetings and conferences with real colleagues and customers at a fraction of travel costs.

8. Analytics software provides an eagle-eyed view

The best way to improve user experience is to know who, how many, and the characteristics of those who visit your DXP.  You want to know how your site or service is performing, who is back-linking to you, and to be able to dig into gathered statistics for visitor regions.

Analytics also provides a dashboard view to do the business intelligence magic of process measurement and customer behavior. A DXP partnered with analytics is the foundation for moving to artificial intelligence.

9. Backend management is your behind-the-scenes DXP management tool

Backend technologies help you manage your DXP or web application, site server, and an associated database. Backend developers need to understand programming languages and databases. They also need to understand server architecture.

On the other hand, as they say, “There’s an app for that.” DXP users can access backend manager technology in the cloud through MBaaS offerings. 

Conclusion: DXP is not just an eclectic collection of software

The platforms described above can work together to solve the biggest challenge enterprises face in the digital age: customer obsession. Companies are undergoing digital transformation in every area from business process to customer analytics. DXPs can bring all that together and re-engineer business practices to be totally customer oriented.

Digital transformation is the challenge. DXP is the solution.

Streamline Customer Engagement with Digital Experiences That Deliver “Wow!”

Posted by on October 25, 2017

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Creating a “Wow!” customer experience may be the Holy Grail for marketers, but it truly is achievable when you have the right strategy and tools in place. Customers and employees today have incredibly high expectations, and if your digital marketing isn’t living up to their standards then it’s time to make a shift. The first step in exceeding your customer’s dreams is to work on internal functionality and ensure that your digital strategy and platforms are in alignment. You’re much more likely to have delighted customers when your employees are able to be effective at their daily tasks — something that can be difficult with a variety of disparate systems and legacy technology. See how pulling everything together will help you get to “Wow!” experiences for every customer.

Digital Customer Experience

How can you create an exceptional digital customer experience if you’re not aware of the various facets involved in customer satisfaction? Each time a customer interacts with your brand, they expect consistency of message, offer and interaction. This means that someone visiting your Facebook page, Twitter account and website should all see an offer that’s logical for that particular delivery method — and the same goes for customers calling your establishment. Imagine the confusion if you’re a customer who clicks through a Facebook ad that has a specific offer, yet the link sends the customer to the website homepage and the offer they wanted is nowhere in sight. This is a simple example of a poor digital experience, and one that customers are likely to repeat to their friends and family. In some instances, customers will even take to Google, Yelp, your Facebook page or tag your Twitter account in an effort to get the offer that they wanted. If the individuals responding on each channel are inconsistent in their followup messaging, it’s not inconceivable that you could lose a customer for life. There are simply too many alternatives for most businesses to take a chance on providing a poor customer experience.

Customer Experience Strategy

When you assign a strategic focus at a high level of the organization, you’re more likely to raise awareness of executives and mid-level managers or directions. When you engage at all levels of the business, it’s clear that leadership is serious about improving the overall experience for customers. With a mashup of legacy systems that may or may not work well together, IT leaders need to have a firm understanding of where the business needs to go at a strategic level before introducing additional systems. No digital strategies are the same, but many consultants recommend starting with what you can sunset: perhaps there are systems that only serve a small subset of employees or customers, or systems that are taking more time and effort to maintain with each patch that is applied. These are the low-hanging fruit that can be identified for deprecation while you look for other logical opportunities for consolidation.

Critical Execution

Even the best strategy cannot create remarkable customer experiences if execution is not there. It takes the right people in the right places — and the right partnerships — to take full advantage of the benefits that digital strategy can bring to your organization. While there may be a movement within the business to take things slowly and bring on only a small adjustment at a time, change leaders argue that transformational change happens when the organization as a whole is onboard and focused on how to drive improvements in each customer interaction. As you move through execution, monitor the change through effective monitoring of quality and remediation of any deficits.

Measuring Success

A key challenge that many customers face is ensuring that they’re using the right yardstick to measure success. With the plethora of metrics and data points available, it’s more important than ever to select actionable metrics that will improve customer engagement and happiness when they’re shifted. These analytical measures are different for each organization, but many companies find that metrics such as bounce rates, time on site and pages viewed are effective measures to optimize a website, while time on call or purchase size are good measures for call centers. However, it’s important to note that a low time on a call isn’t necessarily a good thing — this could indicate that customers are not being nurtured in the way that they could be. Each metric should be considered along with others instead of in a vacuum. It may surprise you how many organizations find that different business units are using completely different measures of success for essentially the same metric.

A trusted vendor partner can help you stay accountable to your strategy, maintaining execution timelines and helping solve for the unexpected complexities that will occur throughout the life of the project. At Rivet Logic Corporation, we target all steps leading up to customer experience to help define excellence in each interaction. Contact us to learn more.

How Digital Experience Management Differs from Content Management

Posted by on October 12, 2017

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When considering Digital Experience Management and Content Management, it’s best to have a concrete definition of both terms to fully understand how they differ.

What is digital experience?

Digital experience includes a number of things, including communications, processes and products from every digital aspect that engages an audience. This includes wearables, use of the web and mobile devices, beacons and recognition. The information gathered is analyzed to provide insight into customer relationships, identity, and intentions as they interact with businesses and organizations. This helps determine how companies deliver these digital experiences for their customers for future success.

What is content management?

Content management is also known as CM or CMS. It involves the collection, acquisition, editing, tracking, access and delivery of both structured and unstructured digital information. This content includes business records, financial data, customer service data, images, video, marketing information and other digital information.

With content management, you create and manage content, finding ways to generate awareness across multiple channels to reach more people. While having content is good, it’s more about offering the entire “experience” to the user that will give them more enhanced, enriched engagement. Content Management Systems have continuously evolved, integrating contextual digital experiences. This requires a comprehensive and effective strategy, the right tools, the right approach, and most of all, the right technology. An optimal digital experience embraces all these elements to provide personalized, responsive, and consistent experiences for every user you engage.

How is this done?

Digital experience (DX) management works in conjunction with content management, but is more comprehensive and fulfilling to the user. Think about the different outlets that engage customers – websites, social media, microsites, text messages, mobile apps and more. All these elements offer a complete digital experience. The processes and technology that provide these customized, consistent experiences is the management of it all.

One of the best ways they differ is that in digital experience management, the distribution channels all have objectives to follow and limitations. These help drive specific requirements for content and how to manage it. For instance, your tone and CTA will be different based on the digital platform you use. Additionally, when interacting with content, users want personalized experiences based on analytics you have determined appropriate for that channel. This allows them to seamlessly interact within that experience.

Web publishing used to be the first line of engagement, but not anymore There are too many channels users interact with that require ways in which publishers can gather feedback to quickly adjust their content. Without this management model in place, the system will not work.

Tools of the trade

There are a number of tools and systems to manage the digital experience. There are options for advanced analytics, to enhanced marketing tools that manage content based on channel. There’s also an emerging breed of Digital Experience Platforms (DXP), which provide businesses with an architecture for delivering consistent and connected customer experiences across channels, while gathering valuable insight and digitizing business operations.

When you have systems that work well together, being able to track successes becomes easier. When determining which tools will work best, you may want to start with product mapping. As a basis, the digital experience tool should include a combination of inbound marketing automation, analytics, and content management. Getting a system developed to meet all your needs is key.

As different avenues of engagement now drive the customer experience rather than the web, delivering a comprehensive and holistic experience is key. The digital experience is more complete, diverse and authentic – future thinking, while integrating content is how it should be done.

Machine Learning is State-of-the-Art AI, and It Can Help Enhance the Customer Experience

Posted by on October 05, 2017

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Is artificial intelligence the same as machine learning? Machine learning is really a subset of artificial intelligence, and a more precise way to view it is that it is state-of-the-art AI. Machine learning is a “current application of AI” and is centered around the notion that “we should…give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.” There is no limit to that data (or Big Data).  The challenge is harnessing it for useful purposes.

In his Forbes Magazine piece, contributor Bernard Marr, describes AI as the “broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way we would consider ‘smart.’” So, AI is any technique that allows computers to imitate human intelligence through logic, “if-then” rules, decisions trees and its crucial component, machine learning.  Machine learning, as an application of AI, employs abstruse (i.e., difficult to understand) statistical techniques, which improve machine performance through exposure to Big Data.

AI has broad applications…

Companies around the world use AI in information technology, marketing, finance and accounting, and customer service. According to  a Harvard Business Review article, IT garners the lion’s share of popularity in AI activities, ranging in applications that detect and deflect security intrusions, to automating production management work. Beyond security and industry, AI has broad applications in improving customer experiences with automatic ticketing, voice- and face-activated chat bots, and much more.

Machine learning is data analysis on steroids…

AI’s subset, machine learning, automates its own model building. Programmers design and use algorithms that are iterative, in that the models learn by repeated exposure to data. As the models encounter new data, they adapt and learn from previous computations. The repeatable decisions and results are based on experience, and the learning grows exponentially.

The return of machine learning

Having experienced somewhat of a slump in popularity, AI and machine learning have, according to one software industry commentator, Jnan Dash, seen “a sudden rise” in their deployment. Dash points to an acceleration in AI/machine learning technology and a market value jump “from $8B this year to $47B by 2020.”

Machine learning, according to one Baidu scientist will be the “new electricity,” which will transform technology. In other words, AI and machine learning will be to our future economy what electricity was to 20th century industry.

The big players are pushing AI and machine learning. Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft and social media giants Facebook and Twitter are accelerating promoting machine learning. One Google spokesman, for example, recognizes machine learning as “a core transformative way in which we are rethinking everything we are doing.”

How Machine learning has transformed General Electric…

A striking example of how AI and machine learning are transforming one of the oldest American industries, General Electric, is highlighted in this Forbes piece. Fueled by the power of Big Data, GE has leveraged AI and machine learning in a remarkable—and ongoing—migration from an industrial, consumer products, and financial services firm “to a ‘digital industrial’ company” focusing on the “Industrial Internet.” As a result, GE realized $7 billion in software sales in 2016.

GE cashed in on data analytics and AI “to make sense of the massive volumes of Big Data” captured by its own industrial devices.  Their insights on how the “Internet of Things” and machine connectivity were only the first steps in digital transformation led them to the realization that “making machines smarter required embedding AI into the machines and devices.”

After acquiring the necessary start-up expertise, GE figured out the best ways to collect all that data, analyze it, and generate the insights to make equipment run more efficiently. That, in turn, optimized every operation from supply chain to consumers.

5 ways machine learning can also enhance the customer experience…

Machine learning can integrate business data to achieve big savings and efficiency to enhance customer experiences, by:

  1. Reading a customer’s note and figure out whether the note is a complaint or a compliment
  2. Aggregating the customer’s personal and census information to predict buying preferences
  3. Evaluating a customer’s online shopping history or social media participation and place a new product offering in an email, webpage visit, or social media activity
  4. Intuitively segmenting customers through mass customer data gathering, grouping, and targeting ads for each customer segment
  5. Automating customer contact points with voice- or face-activated “chat bots”

How Rivet Logic can make you future-ready and customer friendly

Your business may be nowhere near the size of General Electric. You do, however, have a level playing field when it comes to leveraging Big Data and machine learning products to a winning strategy. What we do is help you plan that strategy by:

  • Aligning your business goals with technology—What are the sources of your own data and how can they harness the power of NoSQL databases, for example?
  • Designing your user experience—What do you need? A custom user interface, or a mobile app with intuitively simple user interfaces?

We can do that and much more. Contact us and we’ll help make your business future-ready to collect, harvest, and leverage all the great things you are doing now.

Building Brand Advocates: Customer Experience Strategies that Work

Posted by on September 19, 2017

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Simply providing customers with reasonable access to your information and a way to purchase your products or services is no longer “good enough”. Today’s consumer is incredibly savvy and has high expectations, so if you’re expecting them to become brand advocates without some optimization on your part to create a superior customer experience you are in for a nasty shock. Think about the brands that you recommend to your friends and family members. Are they the brands that put barriers between you and the product, or do they provide an intuitive and friendly experience that leaves you with a good feeling about the brand? If you’ve wondered what that special sauce is that keeps customers coming back for more, keep reading to see how you can empower your fans and turn them into raving brand advocates.

Know Your Audience (and Target Your Message)

The first step in building brand advocates is fully understanding your audience. Do you know who your best customers are — those that come back repeatedly even when you’re not having a sale? The one-off buyers that only come around when you’re having a sale are not your target market, as they’re likely shopping around your competitors looking for sales as well. However, the individuals who are willing to purchase at full price are the ones who should be your first market. Offer them incentives to spread the word about your brand by providing them with VIP status: early access to new offerings or sales, make them part of an elite focus group or other non-monetary incentives. Targeting a specific message to these loyal customers can help them turn the corner into true brand advocates who amplify your marketing message.

Empower Your Service Team

No one likes being put on hold to be transferred to another department, especially because you’re generally a bit upset already at having to make a phone call for service. The situation becomes worse when a customer is required to repeat their needs . . . each time they’re transferred! Ensure that your customer service staff is fully empowered to solve customer problems the first time whenever possible and within set parameters. However, there are times that they’ll need to pull in a colleague. When this happens, be sure that the customer does not have to repeat their story — this causes a negative feeling and doesn’t build customer loyalty because of the disconnected feel of their experience.

Put a Face to Your Brand

This could mean a variety of things, but be sure that your brand has personality. Whenever possible, respond to requests as a human, with a name and face attached, instead of responding as a remote brand. Humans crave relationships and engagements with other people, and providing that type of interaction ensures your customer has a memorable experience. Take a cue from the CEO of Zappos who treats long call times as a benefit that cannot be overstated, and a useful tool in building brand loyalty. Treat people like individuals, and make marketing emails and interactions more of a personal experience instead of a stuffy, remote corporate response.

. . . But Don’t be Creepy

Overdoing personalization can be much worse than not addressing your audience as individuals, so always be aware that there’s a fine line between friendly and creepy. If you want to know more about your customers to enhance their experience, simply ask them for details! This can often be the best way to determine which of your products and services is the ideal fit for their needs. Few organizations have the deep pockets of Amazon or Netflix to form the type of recommendation engines that seem to know what you need before you even need it (and deliver that information to you regardless of where you’re browsing!), but asking a few simple questions and tailoring your responses doesn’t have to be expensive. Numerous personal goods companies request your favorite colors, design choices, and sizes to offer you the options that will interest you the most.

Add Value to Your Conversations

Some brands seem to be reading a marketing manual that states they must put out a certain number of content pieces per day, regardless of the value of that content. Don’t waste your audience’s time by sifting through low-quality information. Instead, strive to provide unique value when you offer information. Re-posting great content from the past isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. With the cyclical nature of social media, you’re unlikely to hit the same people in your audience twice — even if you try!

While measuring engagement can be important, be sure you’re measuring the right pieces of data to determine the impact of your customer experience strategies. There’s a mental shift to be made from impressions to engagements for ads, for instance. While impressions are great and help build brand awareness, true advocacy comes from customers sharing the ideas and resources that you put forth.

At Rivet Logic, we help brands understand their audiences and deliver riveting digital experiences that surprise and delight customers. Learn more about our Customer Experience Management solutions.

Improving Customer Relationships Through Mobile Strategy

Posted by on August 29, 2017

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As more consumers move towards using their mobile devices as their first and often only method of interaction, it becomes necessary for businesses to engage in a clear and comprehensive mobile strategy. Mobile strategies encompass new, innovative ways of engaging with customers, in addition to ways of measuring mobile accessibility and the success of a mobile campaign. Customer relationships can be vastly improved through the heightened connectivity of the mobile age — and companies that aren’t paying attention to this could easily be left behind.

Choosing Between Native and Web Applications

The first decision your business is likely to make is whether it’s going to invest in either native or web-based applications. Native applications are applications directly installed on a user’s device. It requires further engagement to convince a user to install a native application, but the native application is more likely to be effective — the user is going to see and interact with it more often, and it will have advanced engagement features such as push notifications. Web applications, on the other hand, are really just responsively designed websites, and though they can be accessed through a mobile device, they do not give additional functionality on the device itself. On the other hand, web applications are more affordable and more likely to be accessed.

Understanding the Customer Benefits to Mobile Accessibility

Customers today are looking for certain features through mobile devices. It is these features that a company will need to provide if they are to develop a solid and successful mobile strategy:

  • Self-servicing through a mobile app. Most customers today prefer to be able to find information themselves rather than having to work through a customer service representative — and this is advantageous both to the business and its customers.
  • Fast purchasing and check out. Being able to complete an e-commerce transaction on-the-fly is what draws many customers to purchasing apps. Companies need to be aware that the faster the ordering is, the more likely the customer is to commit; this is why “one-click” ordering features have become so successful.
  • Ease of contact through multiple channels. Customers want to be able to email, instant message, or call a company quickly through their mobile application. Different customers and different situations require different venues of contact, so having these choices is important.

Of course, mobile strategies are also changing and customers are starting to desire even more from their devices. Leading companies are creating instant mobile chats run by artificially intelligent bots, for example, which can offer even better self service. Companies need to keep on top of these changes to remain competitive.

Developing Your Metrics for Success

The goal of a mobile strategy is to increase engagement, customer acquisition, customer retention, and overall sales. In order to track the success of a mobile strategy, a business must fist settle on identifiable metrics that will define whether or not the mobile strategy is truly working. Metrics may include metrics on the strategy itself, such as how many installations a corporate app has achieved, or metrics on the overall performance of the business, such as improved ROI since the mobile strategy was first conceived. Regardless, the metrics must remain consistent across reporting to identify any potential strategies for optimization.

Improving customer relationships through a comprehensive mobile strategy is about more than simply providing mobile features — it’s about developing these features in a way that they are attractive to customers and that they ultimately fulfill the customer’s needs. With that in mind, it becomes exceptionally important to test out these features and optimize them over time. Mobile strategies are accelerating and evolving as they become more important to the core operations of many businesses.

Optimizing Your Customer Experience Management

Posted by on August 15, 2017

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A customer’s experience with your organization may, in fact, be more important than the quality of either your products or your services. Customers today want to feel valued — they want to be able to have their needs both anticipated and fulfilled. Improving upon and optimizing your customer’s experiences is called customer experience management. Through new technologies, there are many ways that you can improve upon your customer experience management and, additionally, your ROI.

Integrate Your CRM, Marketing Automation, and Media Solutions Into a Single Infrastructure

Optimizing customer experience begins with consolidating and analyzing your data. To that end, integrating your CRM and marketing solutions can be an incredibly effective first step. Comprehensive CRM and marketing automation solutions — such as Salesforce, Marketo and HubSpot — almost universally come with third-party integrations out-of-the-box. For more distinct infrastructures, APIs, importing and exporting, or custom programming may be required. Regardless, this will create a single infrastructure that contains all of your customer information.

Not only does this improve analytics, but it also improves customer care overall. Both customer service representatives and sales personnel will have all of the information they need to quickly service the customers and get them the information that they need. Marketing campaigns will be able to target customers based on their prior behaviors — and will be able to prompt them towards purchasing more effectively.

Develop an Omni-Channel Approach through Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems (CMS) make it easier to push content directly to a multitude of different channels. Social media, email marketing, and websites can all be consolidated under a single content system — so that a single push of the button can update customers on a variety of platforms. Omni-channel approaches make it easier to scale your organization upwards and to reach out to individuals across multiple demographics and interests. Through regular content distribution, companies can achieve better organic growth and improve upon their inbound marketing.

A CMS is particularly useful for lead procurement and demand generation. With the use of a CMS, a strong and strategic digital marketing campaign can ensure that leads come to the business rather than the business having to procure leads. Organizations are thus able to improve upon their ROI, extend their marketing reach, and refocus their budget to additional areas of advertising and support.

Explore Big Data, Such as Emotional Analytics and Predictive Intelligence

Emotional analytics and big data can work together to develop new strategies for customer acquisition and retention. Algorithms are now available that are substantially advanced that they can look at patterns of customer behavior and determine the best way to service that customer. At its most complex, emotional analytics can involve motion capture and facial analysis, in order to detect micro-expressions that may aid in detecting the customer’s emotional state. But this isn’t the type of analytics that would most commonly be used by a business. Businesses, instead, would most likely use text-based analysis or verbal analysis, to detect the best leads based on their word usage and the amount of emotive statements they have made.

Not all big data is so complex. Predictive intelligence can also be much simpler, such as looking at a customer’s past purchases and predicting when they will need to make further purchases. Predictive intelligence is used to fantastic effect on many e-commerce marketplaces, to suggest items that may be relevant to the consumer based on the items that they have either purchased or browsed. Predictive intelligence can also be used to detect and identify certain patterns, such as whether a customer may have abandoned a shopping cart due to high shipping charges.

Create Knowledge Management Systems for Superior Customer Service

Customers today often prefer to self-service. A solid customer service experience is, thus, often one in which the customer does not need to contact the organization at all. New help desk and support solutions can be nearly entirely automated, so that customers can get the answers they need out of a knowledge management system. This management system may take the form of a helper website or even a live chat with a bot. When self-service fails, customers prefer a variety of ways to communicate: through email, phone, instant messaging, or even text message.

By providing these additional resources for customers, organizations not only assist the customer in getting what they want, but also reduce their own administrative overhead. The more customer service can be automated, the less time and money the organization has to sink into technical support and customer service personnel.

It’s an exciting time for organizations looking to improve upon their customer experience. Through better customer experience management, companies can fine-tune their operations and ensure that their customers keep coming back.

Recap of Liferay Symposium North America 2016

Posted by on October 03, 2016

The annual Liferay Symposium North America was held in Chicago recently, where the trending topic was getting to the heart of the customer experience. In two session-packed days, Liferay Symposium brought together the brightest thought leaders to share why they’re succeeding at deeply personalized customer experiences, where digital transformation is going next and how Liferay is taking them there.

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s event, Liferay’s Live Blog provides a great recap of both Monday and Tuesday.

Here are some of our highlights from the event…

Our booth is set up and ready to go!

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We sponsored this year’s After-Party and decided to do something different by taking it off site. It turned out to be a huge hit, as attendees got to enjoy a relaxing cruise along the historic Chicago River.

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We’re honored to receive a Community Excellence Award that recognizes our commitment and ongoing contributions to the Liferay community. Congrats to all the Pulse Award winners!

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And last, but not least, one lucky raffle winner got to walk away with this autographed Jim McMahon jersey!

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Creating Better Employee and Customer Experiences with Liferay and Crafter

Posted by on June 21, 2016

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The modern customer’s needs are ever increasing as they want information combined with the convenience of interacting with your brand whenever and wherever from various digital touchpoints and devices. Meanwhile, employees are demanding digital experiences that facilitate rapid information access, communication and enterprise collaboration.

To meet these demands, organizations are leveraging Web Content Management (WCM) solutions such as Crafter CMS to help deliver consistent and personalized experiences throughout the customer journey. And internally, portal solutions such as Liferay Portal are being used to address a variety of social business and collaboration needs.

But what happens when you want to share the same content across both internal and external sites? Is integration the key? While many organizations are realizing the business benefits of an integrated solution, it’s important to keep in mind that integration isn’t always the answer, and when it is, the approach taken can determine your implementation’s success.

Understanding Platform Differences

Gaining a clear understanding of how each technology can be used for addressing various business needs means recognizing what each technology is under the hood.

At a high level, Liferay Portal is a multi-tenant, site-based platform, allowing the creation of multiple sites — including websites, portals, social collaboration environments, e-commerce, big data solutions, and mobile apps. The sites are built with Liferay’s portlets, all of which sit under the Liferay umbrella, meaning these sites are being published to the web by Liferay.

Crafter CMS, on the other hand, is an enterprise WCM tool with robust content management features — including user-friendly content authoring, in-context preview, workflow, multi-channel publishing, versioning, and content delivery.

Architecturally, Crafter is very different from Liferay in the way content is delivered. Crafter employs a decoupled architecture, where content authoring and delivery occur separately. Crafter’s authoring component, Crafter Studio, is where all the authoring takes place, along with content being managed in an Alfresco repository.

Unlike Liferay, where publishing occurs within itself, Crafter publishes to a completely different environment through Crafter Engine, the delivery component. Crafter Engine is able to serve content to virtually any channel, whether it’s a website using any front-end framework (PHP, .NET, Java, etc.), mobile app, or other third party system. This is the fundamental difference between Crafter and Liferay, and understanding this is a vital part of knowing when to integrate or not.

Perspective Differences

Liferay and Crafter are both powerful platforms that can be used to address a variety of business needs, including many similar, overlapping use cases. This overlap creates confusion around when to use each of these tools and if they should be used together. We’ve seen organizations integrate these products for the wrong reasons, which result in a lot of wasted effort to correct those mistakes.

Determining if your business will benefit from using these two products together requires you to think about perspective. Based on your business needs, if you see a lot of overlap between the two products, then one platform should suffice and it’s probably not a good idea to integrate. However, if there isn’t much overlap, then integration makes much more sense as it allows you to leverage each solution’s strengths.

The amount of overlap really depends on your unique requirements and what you’re trying to accomplish with your website(s). Keep in mind that much of this is attributed to how websites and content management has evolved over the years and its affect on marketing’s needs. Today’s organizational websites have grown to become much more complex, often involving multiple sites that are then integrated with other enterprise systems, such as marketing automation, CRM’s, e-commerce, and analytics to provide a richer end user experience.

The key consideration here is the total number of web assets your organization has. Are you a small organization with just one website, or a large enterprise with a global presence with hundreds of web properties to maintain?

For smaller organizations with only one website, then either Liferay or Crafter on its own is fully capable of addressing most, if not all, content management needs. However, it becomes more complicated when it comes to larger organizations with more sophisticated digital experience needs that typically involve many different sites and touch points.

In the latter case, an example of an integration pattern that doesn’t work is when Crafter is being used solely for managing all web content, where the entire site is then published through Liferay as the front end. This pattern fails because Liferay controls its own look and feel, so trying to control it outside of Liferay breaks its architecture.

When there are multiple sites involved, it only makes sense to use both Liferay and Crafter when Liferay is just one of many delivery channels. An example would be an organization using Liferay for its employee intranet and Crafter to manage its global and regional websites. When the organization wants to publish content that needs to be delivered across all websites along with the intranet, that’s when it makes the most sense to integrate.

In this use case, Liferay manages its own intranet page. Within the page is an area that’s managed by Crafter that enables access to enterprise content while still adapting to the look and feel of the intranet.

 integration-patterns

This decoupled architecture, where content is separate from delivery, also makes it easy to expand and add additional delivery channels (mobile, social, etc.) for true multi-channel publishing. We’ve found this to be a great integration pattern for organizations that desire the flexibility to scale.

crafter-publishing-reference-arch

 

To summarize, Liferay and Crafter are both very powerful at the platform level. If you’re thinking about integrating the two, it’s counter productive to perform a feature by feature comparison. Instead, design your solution based on your use case and not by focusing on features, as many different technologies will have the same features, but address each use case differently. And remember that integration isn’t always the answer, so do your research to understand the pros and cons. When done right, integrations can yield tremendous long-term benefits.

 

Customer Highlight: LifeCare – Delivering Dynamic Customer Experiences With Liferay Portal

Posted by on April 15, 2016

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Every customer project comes with its own set of challenges, but at the end of it, when everything’s running smoothly in production, it’s always exciting and rewarding to look at the finished product and see the positive impact it’s making for each customer.

Our latest case study tells the story of how we helped LifeCare, an industry leader in providing employer-sponsored work-life benefits to over 61,000 enterprise customers, improve overall customer experiences using a solution built on Liferay Portal.

As an industry recognized leader and innovator in Work-Life, LifeCare was the first in the industry to launch a work-life balance website. However, the existing Work-Life site was running on a 10+ year old homegrown legacy system that presented a slew of challenges, including a cumbersome site updating process and outdated design.

To maintain itself as an industry leader, LifeCare performed a complete overhaul of their Work-Life site, and chose to build the new site on the Liferay Portal platform. Liferay not only supports a modern responsive design on the front end, but also content management capabilities, effective delivery of LifeCare’s content and services, along with easy integration on the back end.

Working closely with LifeCare, Rivet Logic helped architect an innovative solution that supports sophisticated white labeling capabilities for LifeCare’s customers, allowing delivery of heavily personalized content without compromising on site performance requirements.

The new Work-Life site now offers a customized experience for LifeCare’s enterprise clients with improved functionality. And for LifeCare, giving control of the content publishing process to the business users meant more frequent updates and fresher content, while freeing up valuable time for IT to focus on other strategic initiatives.

Read the full case study to learn more!