4 ❱6 ❱ 17 Enhancing Geolocation Contact Management customer changes experience marketing with AI ❱
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vol. 31 • No. 6 • June 2018
The Authority on Data-Driven Engagement & Operations
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Getting the most from mail ❱8
How to maximize mail’s value in growing your business From Marketing Potential To Marketing Performance
// 3 Cover story Vol. 31 | No. 6 | June 2018
EDITOR Brendan Read - firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting the most from direct mail campaigns
PRESIDENT Steve Lloyd - email@example.com DESIGN / PRODUCTION Jennifer O’Neill - firstname.lastname@example.org
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Advertising Sales Mark Henry - email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Leonard John Amrhein Elka Popova Yishay Carmiel Cynthia Reynolds Jim Green Robert Szyngiel Shelbi Grove Colin Taylor Art Hall
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Enhancing the customer contact experience with AI
How a security system supplier maximized its mail marketing programme Excellent Execution
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Geolocation changes marketing
Home, now more than ever, for the call centres
Mass Mail ❯❯10
How to do direct mail right
Conjoint analysis: The next generation of direct mail testing
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10 steps to achieve contact centre technology RFP success
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Cloud providers now delivering one-stop contact centre and UC services
New Canada Post vision must find right balance June 2018
How a versatile system supports McDougall’s programmes DMN.ca ❰
Enhancing the customer contact experience with AI T
Yishay Carmiel is founder of IntelligentWire—an Avaya company—which develops and implements industry-leading deep learning and AI technologies for automatic speech recognition, natural language processing and advanced voice data extraction. Yishay is also the head of Spoken Labs, the strategic artificial intelligence and machine learning research arm of Spoken Communications, also an Avaya company.
he federal government is betting big on artificial intelligence (AI), with the goal of making Canada a world-leading destination for companies seeking to invest in AI and innovation. Last year it announced that it was spending $125 million on launching the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, delivered through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). The strategy, according to a press release dated March 22, 2017 is to “attract and retain top academic talent in Canada, increase the number of post-graduate trainees and researchers studying artificial intelligence and promote collaboration between Canada’s main centres of expertise.1” With the market for AI-related ideas and products expected to reach $47 billion in Canada by 2020, according to the CIFAR release, many Canadian businesses are eager to use new machine learning technologies to improve customer experience. And, when it comes to the contact centre specifically, the focus of AI is squarely on supporting and assisting live agents to help them deliver more helpful and engaging customer interactions. Today’s leading AI solutions are being integrated into businesses’ contact centre solutions to support the complete customer journey. One that allows the full context of an interaction to be visible to contact centre agents. This way, the agents become extensions of the automated experience, thereby helping to increase customer satisfaction. Here are three ways AI is helping customer service agents enhance the overall customer experience: 1. Less paperwork, more focus. When speaking with customers, agents are tasked with filling out many forms. This means they’re often more focused on paperwork than they are on providing great customer experiences. However, by incorporating AI technology to listen into conversations and assist with relevant forms, businesses can help their agents save time and focus on delivering the highest level of customer engagement. 2. Smart routing and improved interactions. Many mid-sized and large enterprises are now using Big Data to provide pinpoint customer routing strategies, matching agents and callers based on history and behaviours, and then providing those agents with real-time feedback. Increasingly, businesses are also giving agents instant access to proactive guidance and next-best-action suggestions consistently across voice, video, chat, email and messaging channels.
By incorporating these AI technologies, there is no more waiting on hold for customers while agents look up information. Rather than manually searching databases and other internal sources for reference materials, agents now have all the information and resources they need to bring customer interactions to positive conclusions. The results are increased upsells, higher customer retention and improved customer satisfaction metrics. 3. Trend spotting and sentiment analysis. Using trend spotting and analysis, businesses can get real-time feedback to their agents as to how receptive callers may be to the overall tone and tenor of the conversations. This leads to deeper, more personal and positive interactions through agents now having deeper understanding of what customers are saying and knowing how to better relate to them. Sentiment analysis can also be used in the agent/supervisor relationship. It allows contact centre managers to recognize when agents need more coaching and therefore positively impacting customer relationship metrics. How companies can get started with AI For businesses that have yet to incorporate AI in their customer service model, the first step is to understand the business problem you are trying to solve. Too many companies are purchasing new solutions and then asking, “What can it do?” You need to identify your specific challenge and then select an AI tool that can solve it. Secondly, businesses must understand the ecosystem they’re living in. AI is not a magic box that plugs into the wall and makes everything better. Your customer experience is not going to improve overnight, so you need to be patient as the AI solution adapts to your data environment. To continuously improve the key metrics for customer satisfaction, you need to create a feedback loop from first contact through subsequent interactions across any and all channels. And, through analytics, you also need to feed the outcomes of the customer journey back into the AI engines so that smart technology can grow even smarter for the next iteration of contact by customers. While AI is still relatively new to the contact centre environment, it will soon be impossible for Canadian businesses to provide a great customer experience without it. 1 Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, “Canada funds $125 million Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy”, press release, March 22,2017.
Geolocation changes marketing By Robert Szyngiel
hat do Starbucks, Whole Foods, Taco Bell and L’Oreal have in common? They are among the first wave of brands to dip their toes into the geolocation pool. By recognizing the power of location as a strategic marketing tool, these companies have demonstrated that it can be leveraged to successfully boost customer acquisition and retention. So, what is geolocation-based marketing? It refers to using individuals’ exact physical locations—which are received via their GPS-enabled mobile or wearable devices—to push out highly relevant and personalized messaging, including advertisements, discount coupons and promotions. A core direct marketing technique, geolocation is all about building intent-based relationships. If you are aware of the location of a prospect you can use other known parameters, such as their occupation, age and interests to determine what they are doing at that location and send out messaging to drive them toward your business. Not surprisingly, one of the key requirements for geolocation to work as an effective marketing strategy is the willingness of consumers to share their personal information with businesses. So as long as businesses supply genuine value-addition to their customers there is no good reason for them to ignore the vast and untapped potential of geolocation. After all, geolocation-based marketing helps companies to not only recognize their customers but it also equips them to interact with those customers in real time. Geolocation is transforming the marketing landscape Marketers are no stranger to location-targeting offered by major ad platforms like Google AdWords or Bing Ads. But this feature only skims the surface of what geolocation can do for businesses. ❱ DMN.ca
Here are several ways in which you can expect geolocation to change marketing: ❯❯ Data-driven marketing. Customers like brands that “get” them. They stay loyal to businesses that understand their exact requirements: which cannot be achieved without continued access to accurate data. The need for building precise customer profiles means more companies are going to invest in data-driven marketing. A location-based framework is an ideal way to map existing customers in relation to your own stores or that of your competitors. Having reliable data also comes in handy while identifying potential customers located in the proximity of the existing client base. And when you are looking for important trends and patterns to help with your marketing strategy, having correct addresses guarantees direct mail cost savings. For example, if you know which communities have French-speaking customers you can channel French-language messages to them and drive them to your nearest store; ❯❯ Improved app engagement. Many businesses have their own apps, providing a quick and convenient way to access the geolocation of any customer who has consented to location datasharing. By erecting virtual fences (a.k.a. geofencing) around stores or sites companies can push out highly personal and relevant messages to the customers who are present within those specified areas. Starbucks uses this technique to distribute discount coupons to its patrons for use at nearby stores. Similarly, companies can also use geolocation to enhance the customer experience. For example Taco Bell allows customers to place their orders via the mobile app and then tracks their locations to ensure that when the customers arrive at the stores their food is hot
and ready; Predictive alerts. What happens when you give geolocation a booster shot of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)? You get predictive alerts that take personalization to an awesome new level. By studying a customer’s in-app behaviour or analyzing their historical shopping data, predictive algorithms can determine when a patron is most likely to be near the location of a store and send out offer alerts accordingly. Since this marketing technique is most effective when the customer has not decided to buy but is likely to, companies can fuse it with a “remind me” element, wherein a customer can ask the app to remind them of the offer at a particular time. For example, a brewery can push out a deal in the morning if it notices a trend of customers visiting pubs on Fridays. And to solidify the intent, the app can also offer to remind customers of the discount deal again at 5 pm, when they are most likely to be leaving from work; Geo-conquesting. An offshoot of geofencing, geoconquesting refers to attracting customers away from the competition when they are near a competitor’s location. Whole Foods has effectively deployed this technique to lure customers away from competing supermarkets. By strategically offering customers better deals in exchange for travelling to a nearby Whole Foods store, it is able to influence patrons’ buying decisions in its favour. There are no reasons why other businesses will not be seen replicating this success in the near future; Managing micro-moments. According to Google, micromoments are intent-rich moments that occur “when people reflexively turn to a device —increasingly a smartphone —to act on a need to learn something, do something,
discover something, watch something, or buy something.” This kind of customer behaviour has made it imperative for businesses to be ready with the most relevant information when the “moment” strikes. Geolocation plays an indispensable part in managing this on-demand economy, for when people look for a restaurant, a convenience store or any other business, they want one that is “near” them. Expect to see successful companies leverage geolocation in novel ways to get in front of their customers during these moments and knock out the competition; and Augmented Reality. Augmented reality (AR) is a new geolocation technology trend that leaves an indelible impact on customers. AR refers to the overlaying of technology-based elements on real, physical surroundings of a person to create a virtual world of sorts. L’Oreal has been an early AR adopter, with one of its events showcasing virtual artworks to customers depending on their physical locations at the event’s site. Expect AR to create new waves in marketing as more companies realize how they can use location technology to give incomparable product demos to patrons. For example, a furniture store can show you exactly how a new table would look inside your living room.
There is no doubt that geolocation is all set to revolutionize the way companies market. But companies will need a solid hold on the geolocation business, arming themselves with the right data and tools that would allow them to implement an effective geolocationbased marketing strategy. Robert Szyngiel leads product management at
DMTI Spatial, a Digital Map Products company. For more information on DMTI Spatial, visit www.dmtispatial.com, and for information on Digital Map Products, visit www.digmap.com. June 2018
Do you make decisions about your marketing operations? Are you responsible for customer acquisition, retention or loyalty? Is your department in charge of fulfilling orders or customer service?
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Getting the most from direct mail campaigns
Courtesy Canada Post
ost marketers know that direct mail is a powerful driver of customer action. But how do you get the most out of it? How do you ensure that you are maximizing its value so that it is working hard to lift your in-store traffic, drive online sales and boost ROI? In short, what’s the key to unlocking the power of direct mail? Well, there’s three keys actually. You need to adhere to best practices, seamlessly integrate it into your overall marketing mix and embrace the power of data. By following these basic rules, businesses across Canada are seeing the benefits of the physical channel. While some of them are testing out direct mail for the first time, others are returning to it and incorporating new ROI-boosting features: like Structube. Based in Montreal, Quebec, Structube is a family business that
offers innovative contemporary home furniture online and through its 55 stores across the country. For three years it had marketed exclusively through digital channels. Last year, to drive more in-store traffic, Structube decided to incorporate the physical channel back into its digital marketing mix. It returned to flyers, which were once its primary means of building awareness with customers—but in a much bigger way—literally. Using Canada Post’s Neighbourhood Mail service, Structube took advantage of a new format that could make a bigger impact: an 8” x 10” oversized catalogue. The format helped its catalogue stand out in a consumer’s mailbox. The result? Up to 70% lift in store traffic and improved ROI of its digital marketing. To achieve these desired results, Structube adhered to direct mail
Courtesy Canada Post
By Cynthia Reynolds
Quick tip: Larger mailers like a jumbo postcard stand out in the mailbox and typically get higher response rates. ❱ DMN.ca
Structube adhered to direct mail best practices, which can help ensure any business’s campaign are best positioned for top results. best practices, which can help ensure any business’s campaign are best positioned for top results.
also served as a good reminder for online shoppers to return to the retailer’s website.
7 key direct mail best practices 1. Incorporate a strong call to action (CTA). Focus on one that encourages a lead or prospect to perform a specific task: just make sure you know your audience so the action you include is appropriate and relevant. 2. Simplify your key messages, which will help you clearly convey your value proposition to the customers. 3. Include an offer and make sure it is easy for customers to redeem. 4. Use clear and concise language as well as simple imagery. Remember, less is more. 5. Show images of people interacting with your product or service. 6. Focus on action-oriented words in your copy. 7. Embed tracking mechanisms into your piece, such as a unique tollfree number or a marketing URL.
The data difference Also key to Structube’s success was embracing the power of data. The company used income targeting and Canada Post geographical data within a radius around its locations, which drove more traffic in-store. Implementing a data-driven strategy for a campaign is critical for today’s marketers: even beyond targeting. It gives you a direct view into how your programs affect customer life cycle development and revenue generation. It also allows you to gather valuable learnings for future programs, empowering you to improve your campaign effectiveness over time and deliver maximum ROI against your marketing efforts. How do you achieve this? This is where it can get complicated: but given the benefits, it’s worth spending the time to break it down. Here’s what you need to know:
The magic of physical and digital Beyond applying the best practices of direct mail, Structube also fully embraced the integration of its physical and digital channels to find its best customers. The catalogue, printed on high quality offset, was created with the same look and feel as its website, which is key to successfully integrating your marketing mix. Integrating physical marketing improved the ROI of its digital marketing spend thanks to the awareness created by the catalogue. Store managers reported that the catalogues not only drove customers to their Structube locations, but also contained information that they could discuss with them. Managers said that when the customer came into the store with the flyer, they already knew about specific products: they were more qualified customers. The catalogue June 2018
1. Set up for success (a) Have your data provider split your data 80/20 to enable champion versus challenger tests. 80% is your proven results group (based on prior successes) and 20% is your test group. Setting up data this way provides minimal risk with the greatest learnings; (b) Ensure sample size is large enough to be statistically significant. We recommend ~250 responses to be able to profile the respondent group and draw campaign insights; (c) Set up a control group. This cell will not receive any communications or offers. By measuring the difference between your control and test cells you will be able to gauge the success of your campaign; and (d) Gather response data from every customer touchpoint to ensure
you get a full picture of who is responding to your message. This can include your toll-free number, unique landing page/ webpage, coupons, promo codes, address capture (online and off-line), white paper download and postal code capture at point of sale. Use this information to get a better understanding of your customers’ journeys and to get more intelligent about where you reach them and with what message. 2. Test (a) Change only one element so you can identify what caused the shift in results. We recommend testing only the variable that will have the most positive impact on your results; and (b) Here are examples of where you can change the elements. ❯❯ Creative: Outer envelope (OE)/
the success of one program over another. For example, if a measured metric is to drive to a landing page, repeat testing of this metric throughout all your programs so you can establish benchmarks and measure effectiveness; (c) Hold back a random sample to determine if marketing made an impact: 5%-10% of your base, which is your control group, should receive no marketing material to determine if there was a lift over this control group; (d) Build your response curve to understand when to expect the majority of people to respond to your campaign and then track this information after your direct mail piece has been deployed; (e) Profile responders versus non-responders. This is a standard metric that will give
Gather response data from every customer touchpoint to ensure you get a full picture of who is responding to your message.
craft envelope versus plain white envelope, teaser messaging on the outside of the envelope versus no teaser messaging or different teaser messages. Format: plain #10 envelope versus a more creative format like a self-mailer. Imagery: show the outside of the house versus interior, people versus places and real people versus cartoon images. Offer: test a dollar offer against a percent offer, free gift versus dollar off and offer versus no offer. Segmentation: for example, lifestyle and/or demographic targeted message versus generic.
3. Measure (a) Measure what’s important. Find the success metrics that align to your objective, establish your benchmarks and measure progress; (b) Measure consistently and use uniform metrics to determine
an indication of your campaign success based on how many and who responded out of your total direct mail distribution; and (f) Run custom analysis that measures life cycle success, such as customer renewal rates and lifetime value. This will provide additional and valuable insights as to how various channels perform beyond immediate campaign response and how particular segments are behaving year over year. Knowing how to unleash the power of direct mail can help businesses like Structube—and businesses of any size—get the most out of their campaigns. Which means more customer action and ultimately more sales. To find out more about the power of direct mail, visit canadapost.ca/smartmailmarketing. Cynthia Reynolds is a senior writer with
Canada Post. DMN.ca ❰
How to do direct mail right By Shelbi Grove
rends come and go, like vine videos and bell bottom jeans. But some trends hold strong; a prime example of this is direct mail marketing, now known as Smartmail Marketing from Canada Post. In fact, according to recent studies, direct mail could be considered a superior form of advertising in comparison with other marketing channels. For example, in the U.S. the Data and Marketing Association’s 2017 DMA Response Rate Report found that direct mail (including catalogues) drove in excess of 5% response as compared with less than 1% from all digital methods1. This is due in part to digital marketing campaigns having become flooded with noise and media, taking away from consumers’ abilities to engage with the messages. Meanwhile, direct mail has a much stronger perceived value. Consumers touch and feel a tangible and often personalized piece delivered straight to them and for them. The physicality of direct mail is something digital media channels simply cannot compete with. Teamed with the connectivity and data capabilities of direct mail it allows an experience that is far more effective at triggering emotions and action, resulting in 79% of consumers acting on direct mail immediately compared to 45% who claim they deal with email right away according to Canada Post2. Targeting customers We all know that earning and maintaining our customer data base is an integral part to successful campaigns. But where do you start if you don’t have that data? How do you grow and attain new prospects? Direct mail has the answer: target marketing and demographic profiling. A Smartmail Marketing Expert partner, such as Burke Group, can work with you to develop a demographic profile to give you a 360-degree view of your current customers’ lifestyles, ❱ DMN.ca
geographic locations, hobbies and preferred medias. This will ensure that your marketing materials not only reflect your audience’s interests but will give you valuable insight into your target market and what sort of prospective customers you should be targeting when purchasing new data/mailing lists. Direct mail can no longer rely on the “spray and pray” mentality. By targeting your mail, you will send out fewer pieces to the right customers. Once you have this information, here are four tips that your team and your Smartmail Expert Partner can use to help build a targeted campaign that delivers results: 1. Identify important customer group. What characteristics differentiate your customers from non-customers (marital status, lifestyle, age)? 2. Create target groups of similar segments: demographic, behavioural and geographic. 3. Search for prospective customers in your own customer database. Analyze your database and find geographic clusters
of top customers: those neighbourhoods may hold valuable new customers. 4. Create segmented lists based on customer lifestyle groups and develop different messages to appeal to your top customer groups. Cross-media marketing: balancing direct mail and digital In saying this, we cannot solely depend on direct mail. An entirely analogue existence is unattainable and unattractive. But so is an exclusively digital one. What is ideal is striking a balance between the two, i.e. cross-media marketing, and partnering with a vendor that can provide you with both media formats. Cross-media marketing is exactly what it sounds like: taking your marketing message and implementing it in a variety of mediums. After all, the more places that people see your message, the more it will stick with them and increase the likelihood they will engage with your brand. This “combination effect” means that integrated campaigns that
include direct mail elicit greater consumer attention according to Canada Post’s neuroscience study. When you integrate direct mail with digital, the mix will drive more action. When combined, campaigns receive 57% more attention, 46% higher brand recall and 8% more arousal. Overall, integrated campaigns drive 39% more attention and multichannel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers do3. In order to take full advantage of cross-media marketing, the sequencing of media matters. For example, utilizing an email deployment service, prior to outputting a direct mail campaign, will result in maximized brand recall. Always remember, direct mail makes the most impact when it follows a digital message. Here are a couple of global real-world scenarios, courtesy of Canada Post’s INCITE magazine, Volume 7: ❯❯ Kao Australia: wanted to engage hair stylists, as well as the end users of their products. They mailed key influencers a shaggy-haired doll, encouraging receivers to restyle the doll’s hair with Kao Australia products and share the results on Instagram. Result: 60% response rate; and ❯❯ Swedish Armed Forces: wanted to focus on the abilities of potential recruits to be both mentally agile and physically coordinated. Direct mail was central to the execution in driving traffic to the website, where visitors could try a series of tests designed to challenge them. Result: 5,600 applicants. The goal was 3,600. Give direct mail a shot and work with one of Canada Post’s Smartmail Marketing Expert Partners to develop a campaign that will truly drive success. Shelbi Grove is marketing manager, Burke
Group www. Burkegroup.ca 1 Data and Marketing Association, “2017 Response Rate Report”, report, June 20, 2017. 2 Canada Post Corporation, “A Bias for Action”, report, July 31, 2015. 3 “A Bias for Action”, ibid.
Conjoint analysis: The next generation of direct mail testing Pros and Cons of Traditional Methods By Art Hall
y volume is shrinking, my response is eroding and my resources are dwindling with each passing year. How do I keep the test pipeline producing winners against the headwinds of all these economic pressures?” All too often I hear marketers raise these concerns and ask this question. Every year marketers are asked to improve results with less resources. For direct mail marketers, the challenges are even more daunting with rising postal and paper costs reducing the number of tests performed each year. Testing is the lifeblood of any successful direct marketing program. To produce the next winner, it may take up to 10 unsuccessful attempts: consuming valuable time, money and resources in the process. With rapidly changing consumer preferences, traditional A/B and even multivariate testing are becoming less viable solutions. Follow the leader Most marketers apply the Warren Buffett axiom when testing, “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” Instead of investing to uncover new control packages, marketers often take the path of least resistance by riding the coattails of their competitors. But there is a better way to become the leader of the pack without using brute force and risking your career on a string of unsuccessful tests, which I discuss later on. The key is to discover that breakout creative before your competitors. Yet testing for the breakout package is risky business when only two out of 10 tests are successful. Marketers error on the side of traditionalism by making conservative improvements to the control, which yields only incremental results. June 2018
Break from the past Unfortunately, the success of the past has trapped many talented direct marketers in decades-old testing strategies. They are: ❯❯ A/B testing, the most common strategy, involves changing one or more elements of a direct mail package and creating multiple versions for testing. For example, you can take the control package and change the outer envelope, along with the copy while keeping all the components inside the same; ❯❯ Multivariate testing allows multiple elements to change at one time. For example, you might test three envelopes, two offers and two inserts all within the same direct mail campaign. Each element requires a test cell for each version in the test; and ❯❯ Focus group testing is a form of qualitative research consisting of interviews in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes toward a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea or packaging. Removing testing guesswork Since traditional testing is difficult and costly, finding an inexpensive and reliable alternative seems next to impossible. When marketers are introduced to scientific testing that is up to 98% accurate
without incurring production or postage costs, it sounds too good to be true. But the experience of marketers with it demonstrate its effectiveness. Diagnostic testing allows many parts of a mail package to interact through a simulation to produce a hybrid solution that is more than or different from the combination of its parts. Using conjoint analysis—the next generation of predictive analytics—a panel representing the target audience is asked to rate and rank a controlled number of direct mail components, e.g. envelope, offer and letter format. The beauty is that anything can be tested without expending valuable resources when using diagnostic testing. As one marketer said, “Instead of guessing at what makes my tests work, this solution will show which cannons are firing and which ones are not.” For marketers, understanding exactly what and how different direct mail attributes increase lift means package development can be optimized for consumer preference in days rather than months at a fraction of the cost. The nirvana of direct mail has arrived. The days of subjective creative development is becoming a distant past. Direct mail “title testing,” where the person in the room with the highest title makes
the final decision, is fading away. Powerful results The ability to run direct mail diagnostics through a virtual lab has finally arrived. Conjoint analysis typically used for product development has now emerged into direct mail testing. This new technology allows marketers to test over a thousand permutations of 20 cells in a single test, even before entering into the mail. Instead of a 20% success rate, direct marketers are now achieving 90% (+) results. Most mailers need test cells of 100,000 or more to ensure reliable results. At an average cost of $0.45 per piece with conjoint analysis, marketers are realizing significant savings and generating a pipeline of statistically reliable tests. Through conjoint analysis and diagnostic testing, the data has the last word and valuable resources that focus on those attributes make a difference. Art Hall, Ph.D. is senior marketing consultant,
Quad/Graphics. Art is a direct marketing veteran with expertise in marketing, technology and finance. He educates and encourages Quad’s direct marketing clients to leverage the power of their customer data into highly personalized life-stage and personal marketing solutions. For more information about connecting qualitative with quantitative data to create better direct marketing results, visit www.accelerated-insights.com. DMN.ca ❰
New Canada Post vision must find right balance By John Leonard
arlier this year, the federal government put forth some admirable concepts around Canada Post: ❯❯ A new vision focused on serving Canadians; ❯❯ Concrete actions in five areas that provide a new foundation for renewal; and ❯❯ Priorities for implementing renewal. The government review identified various areas of opportunity and has asked Canada Post to undertake the following measures: ❯❯ Consider the applicability in Canada of best practices and successful innovations in other countries, particularly various models of alternate day delivery; ❯❯ Examine options for innovative parcel delivery models, including expanded use of parcel lockers and weekend delivery; and ❯❯ Explore partnership opportunities with other federal departments and agencies, other jurisdictions and communities to improve public services to Canadians, especially in rural and remote areas by leveraging Canada Post’s extensive retail network and presence across Canada. ❱ DMN.ca
This new vision is that of a renewed Canada Post that will provide highquality service at a reasonable price to Canadians, no matter where they live. Canada Post’s leadership and its employees will work in partnership to adapt, meet challenges and take advantage of opportunities created by, among other things, new technologies and the evolving expectations of its customers and the communities it serves. What fundamental value does Canada Post offer? Before we can conclude whether the proposed measures will achieve the new vision, let’s take a look at the fundamental value that Canada Post offers. Canada Post allows a mailer to send a communication across the country for a standard price. In today’s world, the cost-benefit of this is unparalleled. Yes, you can e-mail or send a social media message, but this will be received in a cluster of other messages. A written letter is often times more trusted and perceived as being more valuable than electronic media. I still make a point of handwriting letters or notes for what I think are important situations, as I believe they carry more weight. However, the world is changing and communication through
mail is in decline at the hands of electronic communications. It is no secret that social media and e-mail are growing at a steady pace. Despite the hurdles and setbacks surrounding these channels, they will continue to grow. According to my clients, the driving factors for electronic communications are cost and, to a lesser degree, expediency. A campaign’s format, creative and strategy can certainly make a difference, but at the end of the day, clients tell me that the outlay for an e-mail or social media campaign versus a physical mail campaign are night and day: particularly when the cost of printing is considered. (Interestingly, purveyors of social media marketing have told me “it’s free” while charging me $1,000/month for their services but I digress). My point is that while the return on investment (ROI) of mail remains valid, the price of admission to mail is quite high compared to electronic channels and it continues to grow every year. Balancing voices There are many voices to be considered in developing policy for Canada Post, most notably businesses, employees and
individual Canadians who rely on postal services for many of their communications needs. Finding the balance among these voices is not an easy task. While much has been written about the perspectives of other parties, I would like to focus on the voice of business. Why is the voice of business so important? Every astute company puts the needs of its customers at the centre of any decision. Through many decades, the primary customers of Canada Post were individual Canadians. But over time, this has shifted significantly. Today, businesses are critically important customers of Canada Post. It is business customers that are sustaining Canada Post through the costs of major mail campaigns, legislated mail communications and courier charges. And this is increasingly so under a mandate that Canada Post become self-sustaining. In 2013 Canada Post contracted with the Conference Board of Canada to prepare a report and plan for the future of Canada Post. The Conference Board examined trends and costs and developed a “Five-Point Action Plan”. The intent of the Five-Point Action Plan was to reduce costs that would allow Canada Post to June 2018
Mass Mail become financially self-sustaining. Overall, the Plan targeted $700 to $900 million in savings by 2023. The five points identified in the plan were: 1. Convert five million urban Canadian households to less costly community mailboxes. 2. Introduce tiered pricing for stamps and postage of mail pieces. 3. Strengthen the retail network by opening more franchise postal outlets that cost less to operate. 4. Streamline operations to leverage investments in automation. 5. Address the cost of labour through attrition and collective bargaining. In 2016, subsequent to the last postal labour dispute, I was privileged to have the opportunity to participate, as part of a delegation from the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA), in consultations conducted by a fourmember panel set up by Canada Post to review its operations. Our delegation represented marketers and, to a lesser degree, the industry that services those marketers.
every day) in relation to projecting and delivering machineable mail, this might be an area that can be overcome.
We focused on the need to listen to the industry, and to mailers in particular, given that they are major clients of Canada Post. Unfortunately, these perspectives are not significantly reflected in the most recent report. For example, the report concludes that direct mail is an irritant and will be less accepted by Canadians over time. This feedback is anecdotal and does not consider the reason that companies still utilize mail, which is that it generates response and revenues. Alternate day delivery is a viable option to consider saving money. Some companies have expressed concern that alternative day delivery may make it more difficult to target messaging and more challenging to set delivery dates. Planning would be much more complex and there would be a risk of delivering before or after a special sale/promotion date, possibly leading to situations in which a product is not available. Careful planning and coordination will be critical in this environment. As Canada Post continues to improve accuracy (as it is doing
Will the new vision succeed? A recent Toronto Star opinion article by business columnist David Olive (“Latest results show Canada Post can deliver - Canada Post beats the U.S. Postal Service”, May 7, 2018) notes that the efforts put forth over the last few years have begun to yield some benefits and that Canada Post has turned another quarterly profit. This is great news and should give us room for optimism, but not complacency. Businesses are the major source of revenue and, as costs increase, the ROI for businesses will decrease. This would, in turn, significantly raise the costs to individual Canadians and impede Canada Post’s goal of becoming financially self-sustaining. I am hopeful that the new team at Canada Post appreciates that if the revenue stream is squeezed too tightly, it will decline faster than adjustments can be made and the
The 2018 DM
CONGRESS for Data Driven Marketers
objectives will all be in jeopardy as mailers seek out less costly alternatives. Canada Post has a difficult job. As with so many things this situation requires a delicate balance. Solutions will arrive from a collaborative effort by all the parties, with every one of them coming to the table with concessions to get near those goals: Canada Post, the union, the public and industry. I, along with many esteemed colleagues in the industry are at the ready for consultation and dialogue on the subject. John Leonard is vice president sales and marketing, Cover-All. John has an extensive background developing, acquiring, on-boarding and servicing clients in data-driven environments. He also has a long history of involvement on education, having authored books and developed and administered seminars on mail for the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) www.the-cma.org; he has also served on the CMA’s Postal Relations Committee.
Legends. Disruptors. Free Thinkers. Data. Science. Art. Response. Analytics. The proven meets the provable in marketing.
July 12, 2018
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For a full list of speakers and to register go to www.dmn.ca June 2018
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How a security system supplier maximized its mail marketing programme Customer segmentation and market sector mapping are key By Jim Green
o matter how safe your community is families are always willing to do a little more to get some extra peace of mind. That’s why so many families install alarm systems in their homes, but while they want to feel safe, they don’t all feel they need—or want—to live in a fortress. For providers of such systems looking to capture their share of this growing $4 billion market, getting the right message to the right prospects is imperative. Suppliers want a clear understanding of their prospective markets, answering questions like who needs the basics, who wants full automation and what is the market for personal emergency devices. Accessing objective, quantitative information can not only help companies size up the market and match the right offers to prospects, it can help determine the best channels to reach them.
By linking a variety of data sets to six-digit consumer postal codes (a total of 750,000 in Canada), all of the market sectors could be mapped, which enabled the company to see where they had high market penetration and where they might be able to grow their market share. This initial work broke down the company’s current customers into seven segments, capturing 90% of their customer base. Each segment represented a different sales opportunity in terms of what services they might need. There were segments like: ❯❯ Upmarket Families, defined as wealthy middle-aged families living in urban and exurban communities that were open to all of the company’s services; ❯❯ Watchful Households, which were typically blue-collar families, who were content with more basic security systems; ❯❯ Compassionate Kin were more interested in getting personal alert devices in the hands of
Seekers presented the best growth potential. Armed with these data the company began to understand who their core consumers were. It also revealed what several other segments might want, while informing the company what their market penetration was for each segment. Through this work they also gained additional insights that they wouldn’t have known otherwise. Not only did the segmentation analysis tell the company where its customers and prospects lived, it revealed what media they consumed and whether they would respond positively to in-person sales pitches or if direct mail offers were more efficient. When the profile came back for their best prospects, the optimal communications strategy became obvious: “Members of this group are favourable to certain types of direct mail. They frequently use flyers inserted in the community and daily newspaper and ones
Getting the right message to the right prospects is imperative. Suppliers want a clear understanding of their prospective markets. Understanding the customers To help one security company connect with its prospects, Environics Analytics started by helping it understand its core consumers. By using a combination of the company’s own historical information and combining it with rich third-party data, the company was able to identify, define and target its best customers and use that as a template to find more customers like them. ❱ DMN.ca
their aging parents in the event of a bad fall; and Security Seekers, which captured upscale families living in the suburbs who have kids and likely own a vacation home, who saw the value of getting some added assurance that their properties were secure while they were off at work during the week and away on weekends.
Of these segments, Security
delivered to the door or by mail.” Several of the other key segments were highly receptive to direct mail as well. Targeting mailing Typically a company wanting to launch a national direct mail campaign would have to blanket much of the country with a few hundred thousands of pieces of mail and hope for the best. It’s a costly exercise that may not yield
the results they want. But by having a clearer idea of what services customers wanted, how they preferred to be contacted, as well as where they live, this company was able to dramatically narrow down the universe of people to contact. While a company might still mail out the same volume of messages it could be confident that those pieces were going to consumers who were mostly likely to be interested in their service, boosting their response rates. But that wasn’t all. By narrowing down the target market to smaller areas they were able to direct a sales team to follow up on the mailing either in-person and by phone. They also had the insights to help them adjust their sales approach to suit the values and needs of each segment. For instance, when they reached out to someone with a high concentration of Compassionate Kin they would know that while they wouldn’t be much interest in an alarm system, they might want a personal emergency pendant for their parents. Whereas when they visited a Security Seekers neighbourhood they would know this segment were more concerned about violence and would feel more secure with a brand name security system installed in their home. Households get a lot of flyers. But without proper targeting many of those messages fail to get much more than a passing glance. By segmenting and understanding their customers this security company got results they were looking for—and in the direct mailing business, that’s peace of mind. Jim Green is a vice president at Environics Analytics working with telecommunication companies, agencies and media. June 2018
THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 • 2018
Operations Issue ❯❯How to achieve technology RFP success ❯❯Delivering one-stop contact centre and UC services ❯❯Versatile system supports McDougall
The Operations Issue
to achieve contact centre technology RFP success By Colin Taylor
he process of implementing any new technology in your contact centre can often be daunting. So what is the best process for establishing which technologies are best aligned with your organizational goals and needs? The first or “pre-step” is to establish whether to sole source or issue a request for proposal (RFP). A sole source procurement process can be defined as any contract entered into without a competitive process. An RFP, in contrast, solicits proposals from qualified vendors who you believe can meet the requirements of the organization. But sole sourcing can be perceived to be a risky proposition. What if you have missed some detail or neglected to reach out to a leading provider? The RFP process is a safer approach. Although more time consuming it allows you to assess all the major players in the market. Here are the five reasons to issue an RFP: 1. Improve decision making, including getting more options before narrowing down to what works, avoiding jumping to conclusions without evidence and performing due diligence on major purchases and contracts. 2. Reduce overt bias both internal and external. 3. Increase the transparency of decision making, reasoning and clarity. 4. Ensure that all people and management involved are complying with steps, rules and regulations and reviews and have the authority to commit the organization to a contract. 5. For infrequent purchases RFPs reduce the issues risk of poor purchase and allows the decision to be broadly accepted.
The 10 RFP process steps
Determine what are you seeking. What will you ask for, who will you send the RFP to and how will you evaluate the responses? Unclear goals will produce unclear results. So ask yourself the following: • Why do we want this technology?; and 2 | Contact management
• What will this technology allow us to do? Once you confirm what you want to do and/or achieve with the new technology you can begin to define your requirements. Building use cases provides granularity and will allow you to specifically see the opportunities and benefits of the new technology, namely: • Where you will use it?; • How it will be employed?; and • What benefits are expected.
• What is mandatory? - those required capabilities you can’t live without; • What is a nice to have? - features or functions that would be nice to have, but not mandatory; and • What is informational- interesting, but not required today? - capabilities that you would like to know more about, which could be desirable in the future.
Research solution providers Next, you need to identify the providers that you believe can deliver the solution(s) to help you achieve your goals. Here are the first steps: • Ask you peers in similar organizations; • Reach out to your network for recommendations and guidance; and • Look online for solution providers, including checking out analyst groups like Gartner and Forrester.
In defining your requirements, it is important to weight the value of each function and capability. Examine if all the requirements are of equal value or importance. This will help you determine how to assign weighting value. You can use the “Mandatory”, “Nice to Have” and “Informational” with defined values, of 3, 2, 1 or you can add separate weights based on each requirement. Ask the vendors to explain how they will meet your requirements: don’t just ask for confirmation. As there can be many ways to comply, a simple “Yes”, will not communicate as much information as requesting the detail on “How”.
Define and weight the value of your requirements The next step is to create a list of the desired features and functionality you want to see in the technology solution. It is important to determine if all the requirements are equally important or if some should be weighted as more important than others. Be sure to ask vendors for details on how they can meet the requirements. Sort them out as follows:
Define rules of engagement Defining the “rules of engagement” is crucial. One of the objectives of any RFP process is to eliminate bias and ensure that all vendors have the same opportunity to win the business. You will want to mandate the vendor communication to only take place in writing, by email. This facilitates information sharing with all parties and provides an audit trail supporting the process. Do not allow
Issue 2 • 2018
The Operations Issue vendors to communicate with anyone except as authorised in the RFP.
Allow vendors to ask questions It is impossible to identify and answer all of the possible questions that could arise from reading an RFP. Vendors will have questions and you will need to understand and answer each of them. Many of the questions asked are likely answered in the RFP but vendors want to ensure a correct understanding. Therefore, plan on a question period following the release of the RFP. Share the questions and answers with all vendors to eliminate any confusion or ambiguity that may exist regarding what you are seeking or how you intend to use the solution. Scoring and evaluation The biggest mistake we see organizations make is that they have not defined how they will score and evaluate responses until after they have begun reviewing the responses. This can be dangerous as it creates a risk that the scoring and evaluation becomes influenced by one or more of the responses, possibly providing an advantage to one vendor over another. Therefore, be detailed and specific when developing your evaluation scorecard: • Know how you will evaluate the RFP responses before you receive any; and • Define your scoring approach in detail, be specific. Common evaluations elements include functional requirements, pricing, reputation and references, ease of use and support. Caution: If you over-weigh one of these elements, the others become less important.
When establishing your scorecard: • Don’t be influenced by the responses, to change your weighting; • Ask vendors clarification questions e.g. what are the set up and recurring charges?; • Ask vendors to provide a total cost of ownership (TCO), and calculate TCO yourself; and • Have more than one person evaluate the RFPs. It is easy to be influenced by vendor responses to cause you to want to add, remove or change requirements. But if we allow this, once we start reviewing the responses, we compromise the entire process. If there are great points you wish were included in the RFP, note it, and look for the same in the other responses or add it to your vendor clarification questions but don’t change the scoring criteria. Evaluations should be completed by multiple individuals as not everyone brings the same experience, knowledge or attention span to the reviewing process. By enlisting multiple stakeholders in the review process, you will increase your odds of a good outcome. It is the dichotomy of scores that can add value to process, as the team will discuss why they awarded X or Y to a particular response which may present a different perspective than another person saw. All this discussion improves the rigor in the process. Here are some sample requirements you may wish to include in your RFPs: • Security protocol; • Current and future language requirements; • Data ownership; and • System application programming interfaces (APIs). Issue 2 • 2018
In the contact centre world we tend to focus on what we can do with the solution to improve contact centre and customer outcomes, but not so much on what risks a new technology may present from security or IT perspectives. But with the heightening dangers of cybercrime that could hurt customers and companies security is critical for contact centre technologies. Therefore, be sure to engage these departments of your requirements. Also, make sure the data is yours. And that you know how you will extract it if you ever choose to migrate to another solution. Reputation and references Checking references is commonly not completed as this can be a time-consuming process and we assume that any reference will only say positive things about the vendor, but, this is not always the case. Reference checks may yield responses like, “I wish we had never selected this vendor” and “we signed the contract 2 years ago, but haven’t implemented, as the vendor still can’t get the solution to work as promised”. When checking references, ask about: • The implementation process and team; • The cost and any variance or surprises; • The timeline; was there any slippage?; • Any surprises in the process; and • How well the solution met their needs.
Research the vendors and to understand how have others rated them. Look for high-quality research and rankings such as from the analyst firms. Look for credible awards received and reviews of the solutions on websites, in discussion groups and online communities. See if the reviews are positive.
Ease of use and support You will want to assess how easy the solution is to operate and manage and that you can make the changes yourself. Most organizations don’t want to acquire a solution that incurs a professional service charge each time they make a change. Ask about training and background required to manage and employ the solution. Ask if additional or advanced administrator training is offered by the vendor.
No matter the solution or vendor you will need to reach to support at some point in time. It’s important to understand how this will work and what it costs. Most vendors offer a multi-tier support models and the cost of each will vary with the speed of response and accessibility to the support team. • How do you get technical support e.g. portal, email, phone; • Are hours of support limited?; and • How are on-going professional services charged? I advise over-spend on support in the first year. This is when we will be least knowledgeable and will have the highest degree of change thus assistance and support will be desired.
Shortlist and vendor demos At this point you will want to down-select by creating a short-list. To carry too many vendors forward is time consuming and generally yields very little in terms of changing the overall ranking. Shortlisting the top two or three vendors can make a great deal of sense. With each short-listed firm, you will want to set up demos of their solution, typically with web-based collaboration and conferencing applications. You will want to see how the solution operates, the different dashboards available to differing classes of users and assess its ease of use and flexibility. Get the entire team to attend the demo and ask the vendor to record the demo so it can later be shared with those who didn’t attend. You will then score then demos, employing you scoring model. Final scoring The final step is to combine the scores from the RFP and demo to generate a final score or ranking. Then reach out to the highest scoring vendor and begin the negotiation.
Colin Taylor is CEO and Chief Chaos Officer, the Taylor Reach Group www.taylorreachgroup.com. Colin has assisted companies including Aldo, Mercedes Benz, Reader’s Digest, Republic Services, National Bank of Australia and TD Waterhouse. Recognized as one of Canada’s leading contact centre experts, Colin has received 27 RSVP Awards for excellence in Contact Center Management from the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA). Recently Colin was Ranked #5 in The Customer Service 100 globally.
Contact management | 3
The Operations Issue
Cloud providers now delivering one-stop contact centre and UC services By Elka Popova
he compelling benefits of cloud architectures: more flexible capacity adjustment, more cost-effective support of remote agents and faster access to advanced features have led to more businesses moving their communications, customer care and other software workloads to the cloud. Frost & Sullivan research reports that the market revenue in North America for hosted/cloud contact centre solutions expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7% from 2016 to 2021. But businesses are now looking for providers that can offer a one-stop shop for a broader scope of their needs. An integrated set of cloud communications and contact centre solutions from a single provider delivers operational efficiencies and helps ensure greater usability. More specifically, businesses can reduce vendor management costs, ensure tighter interoperability and integration among different tools and better synchronize their technology upgrade cycles. To address these market trends, many cloud communications providers are launching contact centre as a service (CCaaS) solutions, either through partnerships or technologies that have been developed internally or acquired from third parties. In turn, CCaaS solutions help providers differentiate themselves, generate additional revenues and create stickier services. Several recent announcements from the unified communications (UC) as a service (UCaaS) provider community demonstrate increasing provider focus on delivering advanced and more tightly integrated contact centre capabilities as part of their cloud solutions sets. UCaaS services include network-based services such as call control, voice switching, PBX, voicemail and unified messaging, instant messaging and presence, audio, web and video conferencing, and team collaboration and mobility. They also include the network infrastructure related to service provisioning. The integration of UCaaS and CCaaS benefits both enterprise and contact centre users. UCaaS services can help augment the contact centre agent experience and deliver greater value to end customers (i.e., those interacting with a business contact centre) by enabling faster and more effective issue resolution via shared presence and use of more advanced collaboration tools.
8x8 Acknowledging growing customer demand for integrated, cost-effective UCaaS and contact centre (CC) solutions 8x8 announced a new series of service packages at Enterprise Connect 2018 that will be available in summer 4 | Contact management
2018. Including a lobby seat license, as well as a range of seat licenses, the new mix-and-match packages combine different telephony, UC and customer care features on one platform to address varying needs within organizations. The most comprehensive package will include the full set of UC and CC features. 8x8 will be enhancing its intelligent call routing, weave in contextual personalization for omnichannel services and provide speech analytics. It recently acquired MarianaIQ(MIQ), which brings deep learning capabilities and is part of the strategic investments it has been making in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Avaya Avaya launched a new contact centre cloud solution recently to boost the supplier’s value proposition in this market. The CC solution leverages Avaya’s acquired Spoken technology to enable a smoother transition for existing Avaya premises-based customers to the cloud. A new Avaya IP Office Cloud solution will also be launched in the near future that will expand IP Office consumption options. In a surprising move, Avaya launched the Avaya Mobile Experience in the U.S. Through a partnership with a cellular provider, Avaya will operate as an MNO (mobile network operator) and will be delivering highly differentiated services to contact centres and enterprises. By porting their toll-free numbers to Avaya’s cellular service and leveraging advanced Avaya routing technologies, enterprises and contact centres will be able to receive more reliable caller ID and geolocation data. Avaya presently does not service Canadian numbers, but they are discussing it.
CoreDial CoreDial recently acquired Voice4Net, a cloud contact centre provider, to further enhance its portfolio and deliver greater value to partners and customers alike. The acquisition has culminated with CoreDial releasing the CoreNexa Contact Center. It offers omni-channel inbound and outbound, multimedia functionality including IVR, email ACD, chat, SMS and call back in queue. CoreNexa also provides call recording and workforce management.
Dialpad At Enterprise Connect 2018, Dialpad launched a CC solution built on Google Cloud Platform. Dialpad Call Center provides analytics tools to monitor agent productivity and customer data. It also delivers customized email or SMS alerts on key metrics such as wait times, queue length and abandonment rates. Dialpad will be adding sentiment analysis, call transcription, automated note taking and coaching. It recently acquired TalkIQ, which provides real-time speech recognition and natural language processing technologies.
Fuze In March 2018, Fuze announced an expanded partnership with NICE inContact and a new partnership with Five9. The provider believes that possessing a broader selection of CC solutions will allow it to better address specific customer needs. These partnerships complement Fuze’s existing, internally developed CC offering. Fuze Contact Centre is a voiceonly solution providing an integrated experience for businesses deploying Fuze’s suite of applications. For larger or more complex environments, Fuze has been offering customers NICE inContact through a strategic partnership established in 2015. Issue 2 • 2018
The Operations Issue Nextiva Announced in late 2016 and rolling out through 2018, Nextiva is building service CRM, customer-to-business chat, surveys and email marketing tools directly into the NextOS platform. Based on the pricing and business model of its analytics tools, Nextiva will allow customers to add these new pre-integrated capabilities individually, based on their specific needs at competitive pricing.
RingCentral At Enterprise Connect 2018, RingCentral announced enhancements to its CC offerings. More specifically, the company announced integration of RingCentral Contact Centre with RingCentral Glip team messaging and collaboration as well as a new RingCentral Pulse service. Contact centre agents can use existing RingCentral Glip teams or create new ones to access a broader pool of subject matter experts and leverage multiple channels—voice, video, messaging and screen share—to interact with them. RingCentral Pulse uses intelligent bots to monitor important contact centre metrics in real time and provide automated alerts and notifications to key stakeholders via RingCentral Glip.
Star2Star Star2Star currently has a new multi-channel contact centre solution in beta testing that will be launched in the coming months. Internally developed and based on the same underlying technology as Star2Star’s hybrid and pre-cloud communications solutions, the new offering will allow tight integration and improved collaboration
across contact centre agents and enterprise experts. The new offering will integrate with both Star2Star’s hybrid UCaaS solution and its new pure hosted solution.
Combined with Nexmo APIs, these solutions can be used standalone or integrated with Vonage’s CC solutions.
To increase revenues industry providers must capitalize on the growth opportunities in cloud contact centre market by addressing existing demand for end-to-end, single-vendor communications and customer care solutions by launching cloud contact centre services. Providers can acquire cloud CC companies or partner with third-party providers in order to bring such capabilities to market quickly. Alternatively, providers can develop these capabilities internally.
At Enterprise Connect 2018, Twilio further diversified its portfolio and disrupted the market with the launch of a full-fledged CC solution. Twilio Flex combines the capabilities of Twilio’s network and platform with a contact centre graphical user interface. Out of the box, Twilio Flex supports multiple customer-care channels including voice (including WebRTC-enabled in-browser voice), video, text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LINE and WeChat.
Vonage Vonage launched two new differentiated customer-care offerings at Enterprise Connect 2018. It introduced skills-based routing and sentiment analysis tools that provide building blocks for businesses to create their own routing plans and analytical views of customer interactions and agent performance.
Elka Popova is vice president and senior fellow, Digital Transformation at Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com). Elka’s focus is with enterprise communication and next-generation technologies. Her expertise spans a broad range of industry sectors including enterprise telephony and messaging, unified communications and collaboration, hosted/cloud-based communications and SaaS, and SIP trunking and VoIP access services.
Reach marketers & financial executives Our magazines are must-reads for key executives in core corporate competencies.
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Issue 2 • 2018
Contact management | 5
The Operations Issue
How a versatile system supports McDougall’s programmes By John Amrhein
s one of Canada’s most experienced and leading contract research organizations (CROs) for over 30 years, Toronto-Ontario based McDougall Scientific delivers valuable insight to biotech and pharmaceutical clients across all phases of their clinical trials. With timely, accurate data and analytics, McDougall helps them expedite their time to market while decreasing development costs. Known for delivering exacting insights, we work closely with companies to understand their business requirements, aligns with their regulatory strategies and mitigates risks to deliver a vital statistical strategy for their product development. Every successful clinical trial relies on expertly managed data operations. McDougall’s intelligent system ensures consistency and regulatory compliance while providing expertly managed data collection and validation. Our innovative technology ensures efficient statistical designs that expedites workflow and mitigates risks, resulting in a smooth, efficient and trusted operation from start to finish.
Business need and challenge McDougall designs the clinical trial study and data collection instruments, executes the trial, cleans the data, analyzes it and finally reports the study and results to the Health Canada’s Therapeutic Products Directorate, the 6 | Contact management
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or to the European Medicines Agency. A portion of each clinical trial is conducted blindly where one algorithm randomly assigns a placebo or test drug to a patient/test subject. McDougall also works with supply management. For example, a specific hospital may go through six drug kits and need to order more. We will prevent these inefficiencies by programming unique algorithms into the system to measure and track kits at each stage: shipping, delivery and integration. In 2011, McDougall conducted an online search of interactive voice response (IVR) systems. We selected several vendors to receive a formal request for proposal (RFP). First and foremost, we sought a system that had to be validated and could be implemented in a regulated environment. We needed a system with continuous availability for clients via fail-over, high availability
or another suitable technology. McDougall is a growing business, so we also sought technology that allows for multiple IVR applications as well as additional telephony features that could be used by our offices. Second, the IVR project plan called for professional services. McDougall needed a vendor with comprehensive developer and system manager training that would guide users through the implementation process as well as ongoing training. We had other requirements including: 1. Compatibility with our virtualized IT infrastructure. 2. Application development not requiring unique or rare developer skills, but instead using a “modern” or common language or graphical user interface. 3. Integration with McDougall’s MS SQL Server database system and with web applications Issue 2 • 2018
The Operations Issue including (interactive web response (IWR) and electronic data capture (EDC). 4. Support for four to 10 simultaneous calls from clients via one or two incoming telephone lines. 5. Supports outgoing faxes and emails.
The Enghouse solution Enghouse Interactive’s Communications Portal (CP) met McDougall’s high-level requirements at a reasonable price. The Enghouse CP is an open, standards-based platform with integrated application development and management components that significantly reduces the time, cost and complexity of deploying voice and Internet Protocol (IP) communications solutions. The CP system empowers business communication through voice self-service solutions, including: • IVR and interactive video and video response (IVVR); • Outbound dialing; and • Speech-enabled self-service systems. In addition, the system also offers: • SMS and email; • Standards-based voicemail; • Contact centre solutions, including intelligent routing applications and screen pop applications; • Unified communications solutions, including standards-based voicemail systems and applications. They combine traditional voice, IP telephony, video messaging, SMS, email and fax communications; and • Visual self-service solutions via web browser, smartphone, mobile or other connected devices. Prior to CP, McDougall was using a Nortel system reliant on a PBX that was no longer supported by the vendor, which raised concern about service continuity. The new CP system, with a cold stand-by, has improved our business continuity and the service level agreements the company can offer their clients. At the time of the RFP, McDougall was migrating office phones to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) via session initiation protocol (SIP) and the new IVR had to be compatible with it. We also required a vendor with solid support, including training along with an extensive quality software development and maintenance process and schedule. Randomization and drug supply management at McDougall is automated via IVR and IWR. It provides client value by delivering just-in-time enrollment-driven supplies to study sites, thereby lowering costs and optimizing supply inventory. Enghouse Interactive’s IVR and IWR has a global reach and is eminently flexible. It has allowed us to customize applications to meet such unique client needs as: • Facilitating adaptive designs including dose escalation; • Implementing complex randomization allocation and trial supplies management schemes; • Capturing Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO); • Conducting surveys; • Recording patient trial status such as reasons for failing screening; • Executing emergency code break procedures; • Sending automatic notifications and confirmations triggered by specific actions or events; and • Email confirmation of subject randomization.
Benefits and results Since the system’s implementation in 2013, McDougall Issue 2 • 2018
has seen several positive results. For example, when sponsors of studies needed to set up new clinical sites, we would only need to supply them with phone numbers. In addition, McDougall has developed key business metrics in time and on budget. We have more efficiently addressed complex randomization schemes and drug inventory management, as well as system availability. For randomization research participants, McDougall clients have called the IVR application to randomize: • Cardiac patients on the operating tables waiting to receive stents; • Pediatric dental patients in the dentists’ chairs awaiting treatment; and • Patients with diabetic foot ulcers. The system retrieves information stored in the EDC by using web application programming interfaces (APIs) and web services. When the data originates in the IVR the system also pushes data to the EDC from the IVR. For drug supply management, the IVR has alerted clients when supplies were: • Due to expire and had to be replaced; • Below supply thresholds and had to be replenished; and • Coming from multiple depots and requiring tracking from those sources.
The new system also ensures scalability. This includes auditing trials, securing access, the ability to adhere to requirements, testing and confidence in the system’s development lifecycle. In conclusion, Enghouse Interactive has helped us differentiate ourselves from our competitors by providing an innovative technology solution that resolves important business issues of our clients. Enghouse Interactive’s Communication Portal automates manually intensive procedures and eliminates risks to data integrity, the foundation of clinical research. John Amrhein is vice president, McDougall Scientific. He joined McDougall in April 2008 and functions in several capacities, including: managing employees and service delivery, supervising IT service providers responsible for maintaining McDougall’s computing infrastructure and running McDougall’s business development and sales activities. Prior to joining McDougall, John was Senior Statistician at SAS Institute (Canada) where he taught statistics and programming and consulted with clients in health care, pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing, finance and government. Prior to joining SAS, John was a mathematical statistician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he designed probability-based surveys of the U.S. agri-business sector.
New Gold Line hosted contact centre solution generating results GL CloudConnect (GLCC), the enterprise division of the Group of Gold Line of Markham, Ontario has deployed the Enghouse Interactive Contact Centre: Service Provider (CCSP) as the platform for its new cloud contact centre offering, GLCCaaS. CCSP is a multi-tenant hosted cloud contact centre platform. The solution has been integrated with Gold Line’s GLSIP trunking and its GLPBX hosted PBX offerings. And it has enabled Gold Line to meet increasing client demand for enterprise cloud solutions. “This new cloud service, through partnering with Enghouse Interactive, affords Gold Line the opportunity to extend existing relationships and be the single-source partner for all of our customers’ needs,” said Essie Nouraee, GL CloudConnect vice president, VoIP technology and services. One such customer, Global Mentoring Solutions, Inc., (GMS) a leading provider of outsourced IT help desk managed services, sought GL’s assistance after its existing cloud contact centre provider failed to deliver the flexibility and commercial model it required. Since deploying GLCCaaS in November 2017 the company has realized greater flexibility and cost savings that has enabled the company to reinvest in expanding operations into new markets. “The GMS contact centre operation is not a static environment and the cloud platform we were using impacted every touchpoint of our ever-evolving customer care and call treatment processes,” said Wayne Goldstein, GMS president and CEO. “GLCCaaS’ value proposition was clear and compelling, as it offered the scalability we needed and the agility to adapt and effectively manage our business.”
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Home, now more than ever, for the call centres By Brendan Read
irect marketers looking for ways to cut call centre costs and improve performance may find the answer is right at home, with home-based call centre agents as in-house employees or outsourced. I wrote that opening sentence in “Home for the call centres” published in the August 2005 Direct Marketing News (today’s Direct Marketing Magazine). And those words are truer today than when I authored them. Rising property and wage costs The prime business case for home agents (and telework in general) was and continues to be cost savings. They are derived from reducing real estate expenses followed by greater agent retention and higher productivity. Both property and labour costs risk climbing because of the stronger economy. CBRE Canada’s 2018 Real Estate Market Outlook Report “predicts strong tenant demand, coupled with declining vacancy rates which are at, or near, all-time lows in multiple Canadian markets will lead to strong increases in rental rates”1. Consequently, contact centres may likely find greater competition and pay more for high-quality, easily adaptable and conveniently located space. Meanwhile The Globe and Mail reported earlier this year that Canada’s jobless rate has been falling while wages are increasing2. Accordingly contact centres may risk agents leaving for higher paying jobs that offer more advancement opportunities and sociable hours, which escalates recruiting and training costs while productivity suffers until new agents come up to speed and which may force wages to climb in order to lower agent churn. To cope with these costs many companies have been locating their contact centres to smaller, less expensive high-unemployment communities. But too often they face labour force saturation, resulting in higher quality agent churn and costs, along with limited suitable property options. Productivity critical in an on-demand economy Home/teleworking enables contact centres to tap a higher quality and more productive Canadian workforce thanks to being freed from commuting distance that limits labour pool size. And the stronger the labour market, the higher the transportation costs and the lower the wages the smaller it is. There are many excellent potential contact centre agents who cannot afford or who do not want to commute but who would gladly login and stay loyal to their employers if they can work from home. They include those who have mobility difficulties, who are over 40, have caretaking responsibilities and those who live in smaller communities (without the aforementioned issues of locating in them) and in remote and rural areas, provided they have reliable broadband connections. Home working also improves productivity by eliminating weather, congestion, accident and breakdowns-cased commuting delays. It is safer and healthier, thereby lowering costly absenteeism. It ❱ DMN.ca
limits exposure and spread of communicable diseases in the workplace. My article reported that the federal government recommended telework to limit the SARS outbreak. It also avoids injuries and fatalities from accidents and criminal acts, whether road rage or assaults (or worse) in parking lots and transit stops: whose risks climb for evening shifts. The economy is moving to a just-in-time on-demand model in order to increase productivity and profits and returns. Customers also want to improve their personal productivity by insisting on low or no waits for personalized products, services and service. Home agents answer the call by being able to work on demand and on short notice, such as for call spikes. And when disaster strikes having a dispersed network of home agents enables customers to be served. Enabling home agents The customer contact environment has rapidly been evolving in such a way that home agents have become a necessity. Automated multichannel self-service solutions, popularized by chatbots/virtual assistants, are making basic live-agent customer care increasingly redundant. At the other end of the scale unified communications as a service (UCaaS) tools enable subject matter experts to connect with customers on complex issues and sales matters from their offices, branches and stores, while mobile, and yes, from their homes. Home agents meet the need for mid-range higher quality service and sales. They are now more easily and affordably supported and managed with versatile, reliable, secure and flexible on-demand hosted routing, CRM, collaboration, recruiting, training and workforce management and optimization solutions. Agents can login from home with browser-based applications and engage with customers and team members and supervisors by voice through USB headsets. There are best practices to ensure home agent productivity, including home office setup, while noise-cancelling headsets dampen outside sounds and computer screen protectors provides additional security. Even so and even today many executives and outsourcer clients may not be convinced that agents (or employees in general) can work successfully from home. Home agent advocates must thoroughly research and make the business case with the C-suite and get their buy-in and leadership. They must also prove to line managers that they can readily supervise home workers as part of agent teams. Finally, advocates should propose to test home agent programmes such as for billing, IT support or for a specific product’s customer service that would evaluate the results and refine them before rolling them out. Only by taking these steps will call/contact centres finally go home. 1 CBRE Canada, “With Commercial Real Estate Transactions Topping $43 Billion in 2017, CBRE Forecasts 2018 could break Investment Record for Third Consecutive Year”, press release, February 28, 2018. 2 Rachelle Younglai, “Falling jobless rate, rising wages unlikely to sway Bank of Canada, economists say”, Globe and Mail, March 9, 2018.
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