What Does a 360-Degree View Mean to You?

I recently posted a poll on the Dreamforce Chatter Community to better understand what data points were most important to create a 360-degree of respondent’s clients: I was surprised by the answers.

Typically when we’re working with our Financial Services clients on a Salesforce.com implementation, a 360-degree view of the client is centered around financial data: account balances, historical sales, positions, households, etc.  As it turns out, Sales and Pipeline information blew away the other options. …

Healthcare Cost Cutting Initiatives on the Rise in 2015

The National Business Group on Health recently surveyed employers representing 7.5 million workers and the findings are in: higher deductibles and wellness programs are heavily on the rise.

Specifically, the survey found:

  • 81% of employers are planning to introduce high-deductible health plans (HDHP) to their benefits package offerings (a 9% rise from the previous year)
  • 32% of employers will only provide HDHP options (a 10% rise from the previous year)

Although, HDHPs (plans with deductibles >$1,250 per person) can reduce a company’s healthcare costs, they are not the only way to do so.…

ERP success during an M&A transaction

You are in the middle of a large ERP implementation when business leaders decide to acquire a large, similarly-sized business. You will need to task the current ERP project resources with facilitating design changes and handling change management, as well as other project deliverables across the newly integrated business.

Sound challenging? It may seem that way at first, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are a few key points to consider when implementing ERP in the midst of a large acquisition.…

Why are Utilities Surprised When Customer Service Becomes a Crisis?

As with any customer-facing organization, water utilities experience their share of customer dissatisfaction. In most cases, trained staff using established procedures can handle the normal volume of complaints. However, these coping mechanisms fail when the level of dissatisfaction spirals and grows louder – loud enough to produce serious political, media, and community consequences. Why are utilities surprised or caught unprepared for this type of resistance and why do their “normal” customer service mechanisms fail?

West Monroe suggests that there are natural internal barriers in the utility leadership approach that can lead to these negative political, media, and community outcomes.…

Improve Your Customer Experience and Grow Revenue

Most would agree that providing an excellent customer experience is a good thing.  Since it’s summertime, it may even rank up there with baseball, hot dogs and apple pie—but many have struggled to quantify the financial benefits of customer experience.  The ROI of an outstanding customer experience oftentimes seems highly qualitative, soft and squishy.

We in the Customer Experience practice at West Monroe Partners wanted to empirically test the relationship between improvements in customer experience and revenue growth. …

Four Things to Remember When Implementing a KPI Program for Utilities

“What gets measured gets done” has been attributed to Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, and Edward Deming. Regardless of who said it – it is correct – and metrics are the measures by which an organization assesses performance. An organization’s most important metrics are its Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs.

Utilities, like any other business, utilize KPIs extensively. They need the right information to keep their organization on track, and KPIs are the first line of defense.…

Delivering Premium Service Through Self-Service

In the consumer-driven world, things are a changing. As more businesses look for increased scale through digital investments (e.g. increased focus on ecommerce) it is becoming more difficult to maintain the high-touch feel of differentiated customer service. By proxy, many brands are becoming largely the same. They expect customer to take more “responsibility” for their actions and rely less on unique service to complete a task.  In chapter 7 of Darwinism In A Consumer-Driven World, we explore options to turn service from what is traditionally a cost-center into a competitive advantage.…

How to Beat the S&P 500… Lead at Customer Experience

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In the movie Wall Street, corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) interrogates young, upstart stock broker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), “Do you know why fund managers can’t beat the S&P 500? “Cause they’re sheep, and sheep get slaughtered!”  However, there appears to be an easy, fail-safe way to consistently outperform the S&P 500 Index without getting slaughtered…invest in a portfolio of firms that lead their industry in customer experience.  We found that these championing firms tend to have growth in stock price and market capitalization beyond market averages.…

The Hidden Gains from Effective Warehouse Slotting

As labor standards experts, we often see the same issues across all distribution centers that impact the benefit of the labor standard we are building. For example: order selectors having to rebuild their pallets because, halfway through the order, they are trying to find room for several 30 pound buckets. Or one aisle in the produce department is always a traffic jam as every order selector is trying to pick the item. And we often see forklift operators travel halfway down every aisle in the freezer department looking for an open reserve location for the pallet they are trying to put away.…

Let Your Labor Standards Drive Your Retail Labor Budget

For retailers, store labor expense is the largest, operationally controllable expense on the company P&L.  No other business expense is scrutinized as thoroughly or causes as much anxiety across operational management.  Varying levels of the operations management team can have entirely opposed perspectives on the current state of the labor spend.  Senior executives, who answer for the overall company financial performance, typically view the current labor spend as “too high.” Field operators, who have to ensure their store can achieve their local sales, customer service, and operational targets, view the current labor spend as “too little.”  In fact, the perceptions of labor spend are so traditionally extremist that rarely does a happy, mutually agreeable place exist for all stakeholders.…

Importance of “Hard Benefits” in AMI Business Cases

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology offers a multitude of new functionality for electric utilities and their customers.  Operational benefits for the utility include over-the-air meter reading, remote connect/disconnect, real-time outage detection and many others.  From a customer perspective, the benefits most often cited are the ability to take advantage of time-of-use incentive rate programs, monitoring energy use in real-time by installing an in-home device and the ability to track historical energy usage via the web.

While the benefits from all of these areas have the potential to be significant, the initial data from existing AMI deployments show that the level of customer interest in electric usage data, incentive rate programs leveraging interval data and in-home devices is generally low and still in the “early adopter” stage. …

Importing Contacts, Accounts and Leads in Dynamics CRM 2013: Fast & Simple

How often have you needed to update your contacts, accounts, or leads in CRM Dynamics and found the process to be daunting and complicated? If you have experienced this issue, I have provided a few simple steps and tips to guide you through the process and making importing easy, fast, and fun! For this scenario, we will work with contacts.

Ready your data for import into CRM.  Ensure that your data is complete, accurate, and free from spelling errors. …

What Makes an Effective Project Leader?

“Project Manager” oftentimes carries a negative connotation, one associated with unnecessary overhead, endless meetings and mundane status reports. Project managers should be viewed as key players in planning, leading and executing projects. Project management tools and techniques can be learned by reading the PMBoK and obtaining a PMP certification, but project leadership is typically learned in real-time on the job. An effective project leader becomes one by evolving through challenging engagements that result in a track record of success.…

Post-Mortems: They Can be a Real Lifesaver!

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Have you ever thought: “If I could talk to my 20 year old self, I would tell him/ her to ____!”? You fill in the blank. It could be save more money. It could be don’t date guys who want to be ski instructors. Maybe you would tell yourself to travel more. Maybe you would remind yourself, again, not to date guys who want to be ski instructors. You live and learn through those experiences in your life and you are left with a highly developed, experience- driven perspective that drives your actions based on experiences- lessons learned, we like to call them.…

Fun and Gains: Increasing Customer Engagement through Gamification

Gamification is the use of game design techniques, game thinking and game mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.  When executed properly, gamification creates value beyond added entertainment to mundane business processes or even data collection. In fact, the overarching goal of gamification is to provide incentive and therefore inspire change or adoption of behavior. As you may suspect, the idea of gamification is not a new one. For years, those of the civilized world have been incentivizing each other.…

 

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