By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first cup of coffee this morning, and the music is the underrated big band sounds of Jimmie Lunceford:
According to a new study from RightNow Technologies and Harris Interactive, the 2008 "Customer Experience Impact Report," customer service matters more than ever.
"A few years ago customers wanted good service, today they demand it," the study's authors say. "They are telling others about bad experiences more each year, and despite the economy, good service still tops product quality and low prices."
Among the study's findings are that 87 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company due to poor service -- up from 68 percent in 2006, and half of all customers will "always" or "often" pay more for a better customer experience, even in a down economy.
When recommending a company, the study found, customer service is more important (58 percent) than low prices (44 percent) and top quality products/services (43 percent).
And people are hearing about bad customer service: "Blogging about a negative customer experience is on the rise: 22 percent of consumers have posted negative feedback about a company, up from 13 percent last year."
This the third annual survey looked at "how more than 2,000 U.S. adults engage with companies, both online and via phone, what they find frustrating and how that affects them, and also what they would change about current customer service practices, including free-text responses," study officials said.
Fort Washington Investment Advisors, a money management and investment company, has adopted a hosted CRM product by Satuit Technologies designed specifically for investment advisors.
Prior to SatuitCRM, Fort Washington was using a CRM product that was designed for the manufacturing industry which required "significant customizations." Because it was difficult to use, firm officials say, they got "low adoption rates" and "incomplete customer information and data stored in disparate and disjointed repositories."
The firm wanted a CRM product that could provide enhanced reporting capabilities and synch with portfolio accounting and performance systems.
Firm officials say SatuitCRM will be used as the central repository for client reporting requirements and distribution lists, as well as the main source for institutional client billing information.
"Satuit is viewed as a mission critical system at Fort Washington," says Margaret C. Bell, managing director of business development for Fort Washington. "Being able to manage and access all of our data in an organized manner provides us with better decision-making tools, which allows us to be better marketers."
Bell said some of the systems they evaluated were "a blank canvas requiring extensive development, while others were designed generically for financial institutions, but would have required significant customization."
Fort Washington officials say they have been able to reduce client-centric mass mailings from two days to a couple of hours, replace numerous Excel spreadsheets stored throughout various departments, and eliminate manual reporting processes.
Open Solutions, a vendor of technologies for financial service providers, has announced that sales of the latest version of its relational core processing product, The Complete Banking Solution: DNA and The Complete Credit Union Solution: DNA, have increased 46 percent year-over-year (2007 to 2008) through the first two quarters of this year.
A total of 66 financial institutions are running the latest version of Open Solutions' popular core platform, company officials say, adding that 47 of which are "clients that have upgraded and 19 of which are new to the company's client roster... in addition, there are dozens of institutions that have selected TCBS: DNA/TCCUS: DNA and are preparing for implementation."
The growth is "a clear indication that the financial services industry was not only in need of this relational technology, but has also fully embraced it," said Louis Hernandez, Jr., chairman and CEO of Open Solutions.
The platform is a result of the collaborative approach used by Open Solutions during the product's design, company officials say, noting that in forums "both formal and informal," clients and non-clients provided "insight about their previous experiences with core products as well as input about the features they hoped to see in a new platform, and then they participated in usability tests to confirm that the final product met their needs."
"Customers have had a positive reaction to the new system," said Greg Spampinato, chief information officer for The Bank of Greene County (10 branches, $377-plus million in assets) headquartered in Catskill, N.Y. "They like the difference of the uptime of the new system compared to the old one."
Vendini has announced its support for entertainment ticket sales on the Apple iPhone. Organizations currently using Vendini box office products automatically get the update.
Patrons visiting an event's Web site can use their iPhone to select an event, choose their tickets, submit their credit card billing information and present electronic tickets for entry, Vendini officials say, adding that organizations can use Vendini's marketing tools "to send marketing messages to the iPhone e-mail to promote upcoming events."
Ticket inventory for sale through the iPhone automatically coordinates with box office inventory, Web site sales, and remote outlets. Each ticket has a unique barcode for security, which may be scanned at the venue using a hand-held scanner.
"Today, not only are we announcing support for purchasing tickets on the iPhone, we're claiming our commitment to bring Vendini's systems to the iPhone," said Mark Tacchi, President & CEO of Vendini. "Up until now, purchasing tickets from a cell phone was difficult and reserved for organizations willing to endure the complexity and cost involved in implementing a mobile system."
Autologica S.A., a dealer management system provider known in the auto industry as Dealer Management Systems or DMS, has announced the launching of its new Web site at www.autologica.com, which will focus on auto dealer best practices.
An increasing number of dealers are "moving towards professionalizing their business," according to the Autologicians, who add this is why Autologica decided to "focus its new Web site" on providing the current dealers with tools.
"Dealers will have access to industry best practices through timely articles which we hope will help them solve day-to-day problems," said Al McClymont, CEO of Autologica, giving as examples "how to maximize the efficiency of the different departments, or different ways to achieve a competitive advantage."
McClymont said there will also be a Client Area, a section of the Web site reserved exclusively area for Autologica clients, where "users will have access to personalized information to help them fully use their DMS system, through training videos, business processes, manuals, bulletins and news regarding the latest features."
Founded in 1994, Autologica has a presence in South Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
CDC Corporation, an enterprise software and new media company, has reiterated its second half guidance for 2008.
On September 16, 2008, CDC Corporation announced that based on preliminary financial projections and estimates, the company expects Adjusted EBITDA for the second half of 2008 to be in the range of approximately $10 million to $12.5 million, compared to approximately $1.4 million for the same period in 2007.
This previously issued guidance represented an increase of up to 25 percent over the amounts set forth in the company's earlier guidance issued on August 26, 2008, which estimated that adjusted EBITDA for the second half of 2008 would be approximately $8 million to $10 million.
Peter Yip, CEO of CDC Corporation, said the firm remains "cautiously optimistic with regard to our performance," and that the company "continues to have significant reserves of non-GAAP cash and cash equivalents."
On August 7, 2008, CDC Corporation finished Q2 2008 with non-GAAP cash and cash equivalents of more than $230 million and generated positive operating cash flow in both Q1 2008 and Q2 2008 of $5.3 million and $5.6 million, respectively.