Connect with us

Business

Do customers really want to talk to robots?

Published

on

SugarCRM embeds more data privacy controls in its products for GDPR compliance The new innovation within the company’s Cloud, Relationship Management, and Relationship Intelligence offerings will help companies implement best practices for data privacy SugarCRM Inc., the company that helps organisations build better business relationships, today announced new features for its entire cloud and product portfolio that will enable financial businesses to implement best practices for data privacy. These capabilities mean organisations can confidently deploy SugarCRM products as a key part of their GDPR compliance plans. Data privacy-related functionality is now available as part of the company’s Spring ‘18 Cloud update as well as the Sugar 8 release for on-premise customers. “SugarCRM has a reputation as a trustworthy CRM provider, so it’s not a surprise they took the GDPR challenge head on,” said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research. “What SugarCRM has done with this investment is accelerate time-to-compliance for customers and reduce the time and effort they need to ensure they’re managing GDPR compliance on an ongoing basis." SugarCRM’s new features will ensure financial institutions are better prepared for whatever comes next. New privacy-related features include: A “command centre” for data privacy –Sugar now includes a new module to address and log all customer requests related to data privacy. The advent of the data privacy manager (DPM) –SugarCRM added a new role within Sugar to review requests and mark records for erasure. Easy access to stored customer data– Sugar introduces a Personal Information Log (PI Log) feature that captures the sources of customer data input and modifications. Companies can send the personal data within the PI Log to data subjects upon request. Flagging Customers who object to data processing– Sugar users can “flag” anyone who requests that their personal data is not used in profiling or automated business processes. This is then used as a filter in campaigns and reports. Email Communications – A new global setting specifies if new email addresses should default to “opted-out” or “opted-in” for customer communications. If an email address is set to opt-out, a clear visual indicator is next to wherever Sugar displays the email address. Managing Consent – Organisations now manage within Sugar the process of a person providing “consent” to the storing and processing of their personal data. If the customer withdraws consent, Sugar records the request within the data privacy management module. Limiting data collection to only what is necessary– Data privacy regulations dictate that businesses should only process relevant personal data, and all other personal data may be inappropriate. Admins can easily remove unneeded fields via Studio (Sugar’s configuration console for admins). SugarCRM HintⓇ – Customers and prospects can request that any personal data not relevant to doing business be removed from all systems. Companies can now control what data is provided via a Hint search. Sugar Cloud– SugarCRM has put internal policies in place to protect our customers’ data in our cloud and to perform our obligations as a data processor. “SugarCRM has a reputation as a trustworthy CRM provider, so it’s not a surprise they took the GDPR challenge head on,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP Research at Nucleus Research. “I’ve seen an early demo of the new features coming in Sugar and I’m excited to see how they will help organisations implement best practices for data privacy.”   The latest version of Sugar is available for both cloud and on-premise customers today. For more information and to sign up for a free trial, please visit www.SugarCRM.com.

By Anne de Kerckhove, CEO, Freespee

No matter which sector you are currently operating in, it’s more than likely that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will soon completely change the way you do business. Consumer-facing organisations in the retail, energy, finance, insurance and automotive sectors are embracing automation – not just to keep up with competitors, but also to keep pace with increasing expectations. However, with so much hype around AI in today’s media landscape, knowing the true value of what it can offer organisations – and how it can truly improve the customer experience – is increasingly difficult.

We have all been surprised at how quickly long-standing, established high-street retailers such as WHSmith, House of Fraser and M&S came under existential threat by the rise of more agile e-commerce players. At the heart of their woes lies a failure to provide customers with the experience they want – and need. And that is just as much a threat to online businesses as it is to their bricks-and-mortar counterparts.

E-commerce faces many of the same threats

The Internet is no longer young, and e-commerce has matured to a point where the market is not merely full but overcrowded. As these digital business models evolve, so do consumers’ expectations.

Thus, online operators who don’t keep pace with changing attitudes are beginning to stagnate – and feel the adverse effects of this upon their business. In this way, the digital marketplace shares the woes of bricks and mortar, at a different point in its lifecycle. Savvy businesses must therefore act now — traditional retail has shown us the likely results of any failure to adapt.

What do consumers want?

Anne de Kerckhove

Anne de Kerckhove

Where businesses are falling short is on customer experience. Consumers, in an increasingly digital and saturated marketplace, have an increasing expectation for their transactions to be instantaneous, immersive and entirely seamless.

As this becomes the norm, consumers’ needs will continue to evolve – the next holy grail is great customer service that not only meets, but also predicts, their needs and responds accordingly. Only data-driven insights will be able to facilitate this process, with AI and machine-learning moving in tandem with purchasing habits, and instantly identifying – better yet, anticipating – and meeting consumers’ needs.

Who wants to talk to robots?

According to PwC’s Global Insights Survey 2018, which surveyed more than 22,000 consumers worldwide, customers are happy to talk to robots. Brands must convince customers that they are authentic and caring in order to thrive – and though it may seem counterintuitive, AI could lie at the heart of this. AI can increase the human element to customer service – allowing businesses to offer the very best of human one-to-one service, in an online space. In fact, 60% of respondents in the survey agreed that AI can reduce the time it takes to get answers while being highly tailored to their preferences. [1]

In many cases, AI provides a great solution, and there is clear evidence in the PwC survey that not only are customers perfectly happy ‘talking to robots’ – hence the rise of apps like Siri and Cortana, and devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home – but they actually plan to do so more often. PwC found that while just 10% of respondents owned an AI device at the time of response, nearly one in three had plans to purchase one, and 18% of AI device owners associated ownership of that device with shopping behaviours.[2]

However, despite consumers’ likelihood of adopting AI in the near future, some businesses seem less keen on the technology. Of course, the fundamental problem here is that if organisations cannot meet their customers’ needs – in the way they prefer – those potential buyers will go elsewhere — as we have seen with high street brands. Here, the benefits of AI are clear; it offers far more than just customer service and client retention.

AI does human things, super-humanly

Interaction and conversations between humans and brands become more productive for both parties with AI-enabled technologies. This is because they combine artificial intelligence and data to provide analytics – learning from and responding to a slew of data points in a way that no human ever could. With this analytical insight available, a call centre agent can provide the empathetic, responsive service that customers appreciate – and, increasingly, require.

For example, it is relatively straightforward for a good AI application to analyse the past and recent purchasing behaviours of individual clients, combine this understanding with wider machine learning in various data sets, and come up with rational predictions of future behaviours. This lets businesses plan, make investment decisions, build marketing plans and generally arrange their business in response to these insights.

It’s a win-win: consumers get a customised service, and the business gets a healthy bottom line. The business can quickly and easily customise special offers and promotions to the individual, and clients will be happy and ready to spread the good news on social media and elsewhere — at which point AI can analyse that, too!

Another strength is the power of AI to analyse, more or less instantly, processes and behaviour paths and identify areas of weakness or failure, so that vendors can eliminate these and refine processes to better suit the customer.

Which sectors?

Currently, AI offers so many forms and applications, it is difficult to imagine a sector that can’t benefit from it. However, if we take a slightly more prosaic definition of AI as ‘technology doing things that humans do, in apparently human ways’, then any business that conducts substantial sales or marketing online has much to gain from the more widespread applications of AI. That’s because it effectively makes (super)human customer service available 24/7.

As technology develops, it seems inevitable that AI will become part of everyday business in much the same way as the telephone or the desktop computer. Now that we have seen the evidence of what happens to businesses that fail to meet evolving customer expectations, the pressure is on for organisations to embrace the power of AI. That’s why savvy companies are already deploying new technologies that incorporate AI — and are likely to see an expanding customer base as a result.

Business

Overcoming Barriers That Threaten Your Creative Output

Published

on

Overcoming Barriers That Threaten Your Creative Output 1

By Charlie Worrall, Digital Marketing Executive, Imaginaire

Working in a creative field doesn’t happen by chance. Years of study and research – not to mention a distinct disdain for formal attire – help you climb the ladder one rung at a time. But what happens when the creative tap runs dry? Amazing ideas you came up with at the drop of the hat are now replaced with crumpled pieces of paper being directed towards the bin. All while the clock is ticking as your client drums their fingers on the desk, waiting for the brilliance that you simply cannot give them.

Many barriers exist that can threaten your creative output. They are out to get us all, regardless of how many years you’ve spent working in the industry. Even if you have a really successful project, that doesn’t mean the next will follow suit. The only solution is to knock your creative barriers down as if you were playing a game of skittles.

It’s your turn to bowl and you’re required to aim the ball at the following…

Your Stress Levels

A recent survey undertaken by YouGov found that 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Given this survey was conducted pre-pandemic, it would be little surprise if that number isn’t more like 100% now.

Constant uncertainty and restrictions on how we carry out our everyday lives can soon affect your creativity too. After all, how can you let your imagination run wild while you are essentially being held captive in your living room, only dressed appropriately from the waist up on a Zoom call?

Stress of any origin isn’t a friend of creativity, because your brain goes into fight or flight mode and literally shuts off any non-essential processes. Then your sleep suffers and so does your diet. You don’t exercise which causes a lack of dopamine, etc. Therefore, finding a healthy output for your stress is the only way to truly rid yourself from it. Even a quick walk in the park will give you a change of scenery and will help your brain to relax, thus relieving some stress in the process.

A Lack Of Inspiration

Often, a lack of inspiration originates from playing it safe. It’s not a coincidence that ‘sameness’ and ‘lameness’ rhyme either. The likes of waking up at the same time and eating the same thing for dinner is terrible for fostering creativity. As Albert Einstein put it: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” That’s why you need to be switching things up now more than ever.

While all of us might be experiencing physical restrictions right now, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t tap into the wealth of content that’s out there. Films, virtual gallery tours and books all exist waiting to be discovered. Just like a footballer is required to train to stay on top of their game, you are required to do the same within a creative sense too.

Mental Blocks

Sometimes no matter how much you try; the ideas just don’t flow. Anything you do come up with lacks gravitas or has been done before by someone bigger and better. The irony in this situation is that the more you try and force the idea, the worse the mental block becomes. In such a case the only thing you can do is stop. Even though it’s the very opposite of what your inclination tells you to do.

Creativity in itself is a free-flowing entity. Once you try to constrict it to some kind of production line most of us inevitably find ourselves a part of, the wheels are going to stop turning. The problem isn’t helped by the fact most of us are constantly wired to emails, notifications and bad news popping up on our phones. These in themselves can all create the mental block to begin with. That’s why restoring the balance is key and this starts by going back to the drawing board. You need to find exactly what it is that makes you tick to get the power switched back on.

Your Inability To Say No

No is such a finite word and one that Jim Carrey went to great lengths to tell us to avoid in Yes Man. Though in the end, his character realised that you just can’t say yes to everything and retain your sanity at the same time. Rather, it’s about learning to embrace when not to turn great opportunities down. Many people could do with channelling this ethos, especially as if you try and please everyone all of the time this ultimately comes at a cost to you.

How can your creativity thrive when you are constantly feeling stifled? Whether you picture a work or personal scenario here, you can’t be all things to all people all of the time. The more you continue to take from yourself the less you have to give. If anything, your creativity switches itself off as a warning sign in response to being overloaded. No is a powerful word though is one you shouldn’t be afraid to use when warranted.

The Bottom Line

Creativity has never been about following the rules or sticking to the same patterns. Yet that’s often what those who struggle with generating new or brilliant ideas often find themselves doing. The only way you can truly break out of a creative rut is to challenge yourself. It might seem like an impossible task in the current climate, but it’s one that is essential to be able to give yourself and your clients the best version of what you can do.

Continue Reading

Business

Seven easy ways to maximise online sales by expanding your marketplaces

Published

on

Seven easy ways to maximise online sales by expanding your marketplaces 2

By Nate Burke, CEO and Founder of Diginius, a UK provider of proprietary software for digital marketing and ecommerce solutions, shares seven ways ecommerce businesses can leverage tools and platforms to quickly expand their marketplaces to maximise sales opportunities.

By now, the rise of ecommerce due to shifting consumer habits in recent months is no secret to anyone. But as an increasing number of businesses experience rapid growth and traffic on the digital channel, scaling-up practices to keep up with demand is key.

  1. Raise awareness

With an increasing number of retailers joining or expanding into online marketplaces, businesses can expect to face greater competition. With this in mind, online advertising should form part of any brand’s digital marketing strategy.

Pay per click (PPC) advertising in particular is a useful way to raise brand awareness and drive traffic, conversions and sales regardless of whether the brand has a new or an established online presence.

But the advertising mediums you choose to use must align with the business’s commercial objectives and operational capabilities in order to generate a return on investment. For instance, ads should be placed in channels that will reach the target audience, whether that be Google search results or in the display network, for example, as well as in languages the website supports and the company couriers can fulfil to.

And with an effective management and monitoring tool, you will be able to maximise the performance of your digital advertising activity to drive the best sales results.

  1. Integration

Volume management is essential to any business looking to expand its marketplace operations, but it can be difficult to identify early on when ecommerce integration is needed. However, issues such as keeping up with sales levels, inventory counts or even hours upon hours spent on manual data shifting should start ringing alarm bells for any business owner.

And by integrating your website to your other online sales channels and back-end systems, you will start to gain a number of noticeable benefits. Reduction in human errors, accurate inventory management and increased sales channels, without losing operational efficiency are just some of the topline benefits business owners will begin to experience.

In fact, without integrating stock and price data, you will not be able to expand to multiple marketplaces, as those such as Amazon require very high levels of accuracy which without, your account will be suspended. With orders coming in from multiple sales channels, it is generally not feasible to keep accurate counts in the different channels without automation.

  1. Automation

As your ecommerce grows, there will no doubt become a time when current systems and processes become highly inefficient to your operations. Manual, repetitive tasks become laborious and can lead to disaster with overworked and unenthused employees tapping away at keys when they’d rather be strategising or working new leads.

Automation can churn things like inventory management, lead generation and strategy and decision making into self-fulfilling automated tasks. As you automate basic items like price updates, order inputting, returns and stock updates, you can then move into the second phase – automation of updated advertising algorithms based on margins, stock levels, competitor pricing and related factors, all of which drive efficiency and a competitive edge. Invoicing and financial data can be moved paperless and customer service processes can be automated or streamlined in a variety of ways.

The key in the automation process, is to start with a solid foundation of your website and finance system to fully automate order flows and marketing information. Following this, you can then continue a relentless cycle of manual testing, which will determine what works and what is truly repetitive on a daily or hourly basis, rather than trying to automate tasks that you may only perform from time to time.

  1. Own website/marketplaces?

While some businesses only focus on their website and others sell solely on Amazon/Ebay, a robust approach across the major channels that customers use tends to drive more value and be a more sustainable approach for any business.

For example, if a company only sells in the marketplaces, it is common for Amazon to suspend an account for not hitting performance metrics, which causes a major disruption in cash flow and sales. Additionally, the marketplaces tend to restrict access to the customer, so it is not possible to market directly to your customers.

Consumers that come and purchase from your website develop a relationship with your brand, are easier to communicate with in the sales and delivery process, and you can continue to market with email and other methods for a higher lifetime value per customer. Additionally, the larger buyers will tend to prefer to deal with you directly rather than through a marketplace.

Nate Burke

Nate Burke

However, particularly as you expand out of your home country, digital marketing can be costly to run and cultural differences, languages and currencies difficult to manage at small scales.

Therefore a blended approach of digital marketing to your website and marketplace expansion tends to reach more customers efficiently and faster, which you can adjust as you grow and master different areas of digital sales.

  1. Multi-channel approach

One of the best ways to scale-up a retail business is to adopt a multi-channel approach. This may include a mix of various ecommerce sales channels as well as a physical in-store offering, for example.

However, the channels you choose to use must align with the business’s ethos and goals in order for them to be effective in maximising sales. If not, they could end up creating a greater cost than return.

For instance, a downloadable software provider may see more value in investing in online routes than in a bricks and mortar store offering. In this case, the multi-channel mix may include different marketplaces or use of various marketing and communications methods instead.

But either way, a multi-channel approach maximises the amount of touchpoints between a brand and customer and in doing so, the likelihood of the brand sticking in the mind of the consumer is increased.

  1. Streamlined management processes

When expanding into different marketplaces, a common problem businesses encounter is effectively managing the ramped-up level of activity. But with an insights platform, businesses can manage and monitor their digital activity across various channels on a single centralised dashboard, as well as automatically update prices, stock levels and order management.

This provides a more transparent and holistic view of performance, with data and insights that can be used for reporting and informing future decisions.

Not only does this create greater efficiency, but it also reduces a lot of the admin burden placed on employees, allowing them to focus on other business-critical tasks.

  1. Customer service

Due to the distance and physical detachment between customers and brands in the online realm, customer service is often overlooked. But, providing high quality customer support should in fact, be a core business activity, especially as the brand and consequently, the customer base, grow.

In doing this, you will keep both new and existing customers satisfied. This can encourage loyalty, repeat purchases and positive word of mouth, which can then be spread through customers’ personal social media networks to generate greater traffic and sales for the business.

So, remote customer service providers must be responsive, helpful and well-informed in order to have the desired effect. And to make their jobs that much easier, CRM tools can equip providers with the data and insights required to offer an efficient and effective service every time.

Continue Reading

Business

Online retailers to accelerate growth plans to combat the COVID-19 crisis

Published

on

Online retailers to accelerate growth plans to combat the COVID-19 crisis 3

New Paysafe study reveals that despite the impact of COVID-19, businesses are still innovating to maintain plans for future growth

Three quarters (75%) of online UK businesses are experiencing a negative impact on their business due to COVID-19 and even in the long term, the number that say the pandemic will have a negative effect on them (45%) outweighs those that believe it will have a positive impact on their business (31%). That’s according to new research out today from specialist payments platform Paysafe as part of its ‘Lost in Transaction’ report series, in which 1,100 small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) globally which operate online were asked about the effects of COVID-19 on their business. 

However, despite the negative forecasting, overall more businesses remain optimistic about opportunities as a result of changes to their business model following the pandemic. 30% of businesses have seen an increase in profit margin (versus 26% which saw a decrease), 36% have seen an uptick in customers (versus 27% which saw a decline), and just over a quarter (26%) believe they are better positioned to enter new geographical markets, as opposed to 20% which say they aren’t.

Businesses have had no choice but to welcome change with over a third (36%) suggesting that COVID-19 has increased their ability to innovate. Around 84% of organisations have had to alter their operations to appeal to a broader target market with adapting digital strategies forming a core part of this. Of the businesses that made changes, 78% specifically diversified their payment offerings and as a direct result, 66% saw an increase in sales.

The importance of a seamless online checkout has been reinforced with the introduction of new consumer payment preferences. Some 37% of online brands have already integrated at least one new payment method into the checkout whereas 55% plan to introduce at least one more in the near future. With an increase in the variety of different payment methods used by consumers since the outbreak of COVID-19 — 37% of businesses have noticed an increase in the percentage of consumers using digital wallets and 20% have observed customers using crypto more often —  over half of businesses (57%) now view their payment offerings as a priority.

As with all shifts, consumers are also thinking differently about how they make payments and what they use them for. Over a quarter of businesses surveyed (32%) think consumers are using new methods to track their spending more accurately, while 27% believe consumers are re-evaluating the role technology plays in their lives. As people are becoming more familiar with digital payments, according to businesses almost a third (29%) of consumers are valuing a more seamless experience online.

Paulette Rowe, CEO, Integrated and E-commerce Solutions, Paysafe Group, comments: “The shift to online has forced retailers to take a fresh look at the checkout experience and assess whether it is user friendly as well as secure. Though many SMBs believe the future is less than positive, there is still hope, as we have seen that some of the simplest innovations can spark growth. Now that customers are more willing to use different payment methods there is an opportunity to innovate at the checkout. Creating a seamless digital experience will help eCommerce services appeal to all generations and give businesses that all-important competitive edge.”

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2020
2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards now open. Click Here

Latest Articles

The Future of Software Supply Chain Security: A focus on open source management 4 The Future of Software Supply Chain Security: A focus on open source management 5
Top Stories2 hours ago

The Future of Software Supply Chain Security: A focus on open source management

By Emile Monette, Director of Value Chain Security at Synopsys Software Supply Chain Security: change is needed Attacks on the...

Overcoming Barriers That Threaten Your Creative Output 6 Overcoming Barriers That Threaten Your Creative Output 7
Business3 hours ago

Overcoming Barriers That Threaten Your Creative Output

By Charlie Worrall, Digital Marketing Executive, Imaginaire Working in a creative field doesn’t happen by chance. Years of study and...

Seven easy ways to maximise online sales by expanding your marketplaces 8 Seven easy ways to maximise online sales by expanding your marketplaces 9
Business3 hours ago

Seven easy ways to maximise online sales by expanding your marketplaces

By Nate Burke, CEO and Founder of Diginius, a UK provider of proprietary software for digital marketing and ecommerce solutions, shares...

The future of offshore banking 10 The future of offshore banking 11
Banking3 hours ago

The future of offshore banking

By Granville Turner, Director at Turner Little. Despite its misconceptions, the popularity of offshore banking is growing. Not only is...

On the Frontlines of Fraud: Tactics for Merchants to Protect Their Businesses 12 On the Frontlines of Fraud: Tactics for Merchants to Protect Their Businesses 13
Top Stories3 hours ago

On the Frontlines of Fraud: Tactics for Merchants to Protect Their Businesses

By Nicole Jass, Senior Vice President of Small Business and Fraud Products at FIS Fraud isn’t new, but the new...

Online retailers to accelerate growth plans to combat the COVID-19 crisis 14 Online retailers to accelerate growth plans to combat the COVID-19 crisis 15
Business5 hours ago

Online retailers to accelerate growth plans to combat the COVID-19 crisis

New Paysafe study reveals that despite the impact of COVID-19, businesses are still innovating to maintain plans for future growth...

Online networking is crucial to the future of small business growth 16 Online networking is crucial to the future of small business growth 17
Business5 hours ago

Online networking is crucial to the future of small business growth

By Trudy Simmons, business and clarity coach We have all had to find a lot of new ways of being...

Hong Kong’s First Multi-Cloud Challenger Bank Goes Live with Temenos 18 Hong Kong’s First Multi-Cloud Challenger Bank Goes Live with Temenos 19
Banking5 hours ago

Hong Kong’s First Multi-Cloud Challenger Bank Goes Live with Temenos

WeLab Bank designed, built and launched using cloud-native Temenos Transact in less than 10 months WeLab offers next generational digital...

Reconnecting the retail brain: learning from the octopus 20 Reconnecting the retail brain: learning from the octopus 21
Business1 day ago

Reconnecting the retail brain: learning from the octopus

By John Malpass, Retail Consultancy Practice Lead at Teradata An octopus has nine brains: one for each tentacle and plus one at...

How robotic technology will disrupt the manufacturing industry 22 How robotic technology will disrupt the manufacturing industry 23
Technology1 day ago

How robotic technology will disrupt the manufacturing industry

By Marga Hoek, author of The Trillion Dollar Shift Robotics technology has the potential to disrupt industries across all sectors...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now