CBM News: This Just In… Customers Like Free Stuff, and the Companies That Give It Out


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And a top o’ the morning to you too, thank you for tuning your radio dial to Radio CBM 98.6, the pride of East Slingshot County, all Metallica all the time:

Tired of all that features upgrade rigmarole? SAP sure was, so for Business Suite 7, announced this week, no more of the same old-same old upgrade process for software apps — “Once upgraded, customers won’t have to do a full upgrade for five years,” according to industry observer Mary Hayes Weier.

Instead, SAP will synchronize improvements to its applications to be available at the same time: Customers will then be able to pick and choose from this “enhancement package” as little or as much as they want, according to Weier.

The way she explains it, customers upgrading to Business Suite 7 won’t have to do a full resource-intensive upgrade to SCM one month and a full upgrade to CRM several months later, but just choose only the enhancements they want for SCM and CRM from a single enhancement package.

In politics, it appears that Gertrude P. Schmidt, President Obama’s nominee for Vice-Assistant Deputy to the Director of the Southern North Dakota Federal Fisheries and Wildlife Oversight Panel does not, in fact, have any unpaid taxes or any ethical improprieties at all. Red-faced administration members are scrambling to determine how she slipped through the cracks.

On February 23rd Salesgenie.com will introduce what proud parents say is a product combining the father’s lead generation, designed for sales people, with the mother’s management tool for sales managers.

Named Salesgenie Enterprise after a distant relative, the cute li’l tyke is expected to give sales intelligence and tracking from the top of the sales-lead funnel down to sales close pretty much straight out of the womb. “We went to the, uh, doctors, and, well, said we were interested in a baby able to track targeted leads so the rest of the sales team family, the managers and sales people on the street, would work better as a family, you know? It’s so hard for families these days.”

President Obama defended the economic stimulus portion of his $900 billion U.S.D.A. Grade A pork spending bill, saying “We’re gonna need a lot of barbecue sauce for this sucker, I can see at least ten, twenty jobs in North Carolina alone.”

And the winner in the How Much Is Retail Going To Shrink pool is… Alvin in the mail room here at Radio CBM, who guessed $115 billion. That’s right, better luck next year for the rest of you, Datamonitor has just published a report, “Using Business Intelligence and CCTV to Reduce Shrink in Retail (Strategic Focus),” predicting global retail shrinkage will climb to almost $115 billion by the end of 2009.

No doubt you remember The Global Retail Theft Barometer by the Centre for Retail Research’s barn-burner of a study finding over $100 billion worldwide overall retail shrink from theft, crime and waste. Over half the losses can be attributed to point of sale shrink, which means either “cashier error,” wink wink nudge nudge, or just plain ol’ outright theft and fraudulent POS transactions, the study found.

What do to about it? Friends, we’ll let you in on a little secret: Our exclusive crack economic forecasting team is keeping their dollar bills buried in mason jars in the back yard, so our guess is that global retail sales growth isn’t going to be the strongest it’s ever been this year. Some companies of our acquaintance are using data mining used in conjunction with CCTV to try to, ah, combat shrink and improve the bottom line. “Loss prevention,” it’s called around here.

So smile, you’re on Candid Camera.

In sports, in an effort to boost attendance at its irrelevant Pro Bowl showcase, the NFL is abducting sports bar patrons wearing any sort of NFL attire at gunpoint and flying them to Hawaii to attend the game which, rumor has it, is actually played by a couple Honolulu high school teams.

Hope you’re sitting down for this next one, it’ll shock the socks offa ya, but a Colloquy study titled “The New Champion Customers: Measuring Word-of-Mouth Activity Among Reward Program Members” finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, consumers who are loyalty reward program members are “far more likely” to be word of mouth champions for their favorite brands than non-members.

I know, I know, and you thought mailing fish heads to customers instead of getting ’em signed up for the loyalty program was going to boost the buzz.

Where are the numbers to back up such a crazy idea? Colloquy’s study finds that reward program members are 70 percent more likely to be “WOM champions,” a.k.a. “customers who are actively recommending a product, service or brand,” than the general population. And evidently 55 percent of reward program members are self-described WOM champions, while only 32 percent of non-reward program members are self-described WOM champions.

Fully 68 percent of WOM champions in reward programs will recommend a program sponsor’s brand within a year, Colloquy maintains, adding that reward program members who have redeemed for experiential rewards are “30 percent more likely to be WOM champions than those who have redeemed for discounts.”

So what is it that separates the WOM champions from the everyday schlumps? Colloquy asked around and found that the top five motivations of WOM champions, in order, are to “tell manufacturers what I think, to get smart about products and services, to be the first to discover new items, to get free product samples and to share my opinion with others.”

In tech news, London-based Privacy International is protesting as overly invasive and dangerous Google’s Latitude application, which lets users determine the exact location of friends or family through their mobile devices. In other London news, sixteen houses were reportedly “leveled” with what eyewitnesses say was “pinpoint accuracy” hours after the group’s announcement.

Those of you who woke up this morning and said to yourself in the shower “y’know, I’d really like to get me an on-demand, multi-channel platform for customer feedback, employee feedback and market research applications,” prepare to be pleasantly surprised, as Confirmit has announced the launch of Confirmit Horizons, just such a puppy.

The product lets you conduct multi-channel feedback programs both on and offline, using the Web, telephone, paper, IVR, mobile, and other data collection methods. Pat Molloy, Chief Strategy Officer at Confirmit, says it’s particularly of interest “among those responsible for Customer Experience Management.”

It’s got a module for reporting and analysis to gussy up your reporting productivity and opportunities for collaboration, and aggregate feedback from a variety of sources for analysis. In fact, there’s an “analyst role to whip out some adhoc analysis and a Reporting API to do report tables. And it lets you use the phone to get on the horn to patch up poor customer and employee experiences.

Because as the good folk over at Gartner remind us, if you ask the right questions to the right customer at the right time on the right channel and follow up, this lets them think that “their voice is being acted on and not just disappearing into a black hole.” Unless your customers are into that sort of thing.

That’s the show for today, we’re off to apply to work at Wal-Mart.

David Sims
David Sims Writing
David Sims, a professional CRM writer since the last century, is an American living in New Zealand because "it's fun calling New Yorkers to tell them what tomorrow looks like."


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