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Beyond Basics: Building the Best Budget for 2014


For Tom Feeney and Greg Rhoads, past 1to1 Media Customer Champions, 2014's budget enables the opportunity to cultivate strong relationships and further enhance the customer experience.

With an overabundance of consumer information flowing into any given organization, companies across the globe now have the ability to explore customer habits and sentiment in order to adequately gauge future spend. Such insights allow decision makers to align their brands’ budgets and allocate spend according to where customers are now and where they will be in the coming year.

In the case of Safelite AutoGlass and Bentley Systems, each company’s 2014 budget promises to focus on enhancing the overall customer service experience. As former 1to1 Media Customer Champions, both Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Safelite AutoGlass; and Greg Rhoads, worldwide vice president of user experience at Bentley Systems, are vastly familiar with the ups and downs attached to both the customer experience and overall customer satisfaction. But, as each year offers new opportunities to embrace consumers across channels, both must adjust spend to address the underlying needs of their customer bases. For Feeney’s team, this means directing dollars toward Safelite’s transition from an operationally-focused business to a customer-focused organization. For Rhoad’s team at Bentley Systems, much of the budget will be used to enhance the company’s social communities.

Safelite AutoGlass Brings Customer Feedback to the Fore

Feeney’s team at Safelite AutoGlass continuously searches for ways to enhance the customer experience based on consumer feedback. To do so effectively, the brand expects to devote portions of its 2014 budget to being everywhere the customer wishes to interact, thereby assuming an omnichannel approach to customer relationship development. By investing in cutting edge research and analytics, Safelite AutoGlass also plans to enhance customer feedback with text analysis software in order to gain a better understanding of what customers truly want from the brand and develop methods for identifying consumer wants and needs before they surface.

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“We are continuously gaining a better understanding of customers’ needs based on a variety of feedback forms—surveys, social media, focus groups, and data analytics,” says Feeney. By understanding what customers want and what customers think, Safelite AutoGlass can better align its strategies to cultivate brand advocacy in the process. “Because we have a desire to differentiate ourselves from our competition, we plan to invest in meeting customer demands.”

Though Safelite AutoGlass has focused on delighting its customers for the past five years, the company expects to take its first steps toward another transformation in 2014. The brand plans to evolve from an operationally-focused business into a customer-driven organization that listens, focuses, creates, and delights. Feeney notes that the team expects to achieve extraordinary results by looking at the business through the eyes of the consumer and providing employees with the training and tools necessary to deliver Safelite’s brand promise. Using Sparkscore, a program from Satmetrix that measures customer sentiment, both good and bad, on popular social media channels, Safelite AutoGlass will be able to analyze social customer data and calculate social media NPS. Safelite’s new dashboard will also allow the company to observe competitor brands via social so it may compare sentiment by channel and look for ways to adapt its own social media strategy. By listening, Feeney and his team expect to learn how consumers perceive the brand and what they can do to ensure satisfaction during every interaction. Investing in the company’s workforce will also ensure that every customer experience is powerful and memorable in ways that will drive brand advocacy and uphold the company's promise of superior service.

Bentley Systems Embraces the Benefits of Self-Service

For Bentley Systems, customer service and satisfaction have always been the team’s top priorities. In recent years, the brand has taken steps to ensure customer service interactions encompass the consumer’s entire interaction, offering employees a 360-degree view of any given case so that they can have the information they need to act on the issue. Such techniques enabled Bentley System’s workforce to provide superior, well-informed guidance for consumers across all stages of the customer lifecycle. However, in 2014, Bentley Systems plans to invest in developing the company’s social communities and Web 2.0 support site in an effort to engage customers and enhance the overall customer experience.

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In previous years, Rhoads adds, Bentley Systems spent time, money, and effort focused on improving quality and efficiency across the company’s contact center. But, by allocating the 2014 budget to include social community development, the brand hopes to extend its reach and bring added value to its user experience. Moving portions of the brand’s standard support business to its online communities, as well as its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn channels, will garner much attention throughout the remaining months of 2013 and 2014, as the team works to optimize its support processes across all social channels. In doing so, these efforts will create efficiencies for Bentley System’s support team, as the goal of investing in consumer-directed social support communities to answer routine questions should ultimately free up agents’ time to dedicate to valuable customers with more in-depth issues. “Our efforts to move portions of our support business to communities…will drive additional revenue to the support organization,” says Rhoads.

Additionally, through said social communities, customers will be able to tap the other community members to share their ideas, seek advice, and get help with any technical problems. The other members can offer solutions based upon their own knowledge and experience. These crowdsourced social communities will inevitably allow users to self-serve and assist one another before elevating the issue to an actual customer service representative. While Bentley Systems employs agents who execute support within these social communities, the primary reason driving these innovations lies with the company’s desire to build its knowledgebase on the Web within freely searchable communities. This will allow Bentley Systems to streamline its operations and serve all those in need of assistance efficiently and effectively while reducing operational costs across the entire organization.