Future of Work – Is AI being over-hyped?


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Axios reports that we are in a robot-and-artificial intelligence bubble, and experts are starting to push back. Among their gripes: over-the-top hype of AI’s capabilities and its near-term danger to society.

One of those grumbling is Rodney Brooks, a father of modern robotics. He tells Axios that we are not near an age of super-human machines — robots are here, but not about to take over:

  • “AI is not inherently powerful. In hundreds of years, it could be different. But we aren’t on the cusp of this.”
  • Some companies are making exaggerated claims of AI capability in their products.
  • “AI washing is very, very prevalent,” Brooks says, forecasting “some disappointments ahead — a bubble that bursts.”

Where we are now: In terms of commercial products, we are in an age of simple robots doing the simplest of tasks again and again, mainly because no one has yet invented one that reliably does something more complicated that is actually in demand. We are talking machines like the Roomba, the robot vacuum cleaner of which Brooks is a co-inventor. “Customers want something that out of the box will just work, at a price they want to pay,” he says. “And they don’t want to read a manual.”

Where we’re going: The greatest near-term need is robots that will help the elderly stay in their homes, he says. “We will be lucky if we have enough robots to fill the gaps needed for the aging population. They will be dumb robots.”

Source: Future of Work –

Employees are more engaged when you ask for their feedback and act upon what they say.



There are a couple of things that really create un-engaged employees.

The first one isn’t that difficult to do. That is to ask employees for their feedback. Of course, if you don’t want to know, please don’t ask.

The second, and this takes courage, is to act on what they say. Maybe this isn’t possible 100% of the time because of culture issues or perhaps cost.

Could it be 90% of the time? What is it today?

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Brian Solis on Innovation and Perspective 


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Brian Solis takes a break from his X book tour to share his thoughts on innovation and why we need to shift our perspective to see and do things differently. In this video, he shares some of his favorite, recent innovations to show us that there are no limits to our imagination and capabilities. http://www.briansolis.com/speaking/SHOW MORE

Is your Sales Process Still Out of Step with the Buyer’s Journey?


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With this wealth of online information at their disposal, buyers have the opportunity to research vendors and solutions long before ever talking to sales.

“Today’s modern and tech-savvy customers are likely to have conducted major research on specific products and services before even once speaking with a sales rep,” says Jamie Anderson, senior vice president, marketing, customer engagement, and commerce solutions at SAP.

“In order to deliver the ‘tell me, don’t sell me’ approach buyers prefer, sales professionals must create unique and personalized interactions that keep customers focused and engaged throughout the entire sales process.”

Therefore, despite the suppliers’ potential unwillingness to change, salespeople must evolve into trusted advisors if they wish to remain relevant and valuable to prospects and customers.

Personalization allows vendors to demonstrate their understanding of customer needs, transparency facilitates strong partnerships, and seamless service enhances experience, ultimately laying the foundation for long-term trust.

And, trust is the key if you really want me to buy from you.

via Market Pulse | Sales Still Out of Step with the Buyer’s Journey. Continue reading

Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017. Does it make a difference?


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As executives, we are always faced with the question of will improving the Customer Experience make a difference? A number analysis continues to point in the direction of “yes, it does”. Forrester Research has some great data to demonstrate this.

In addition toe the Forrester data, the Temkin Group just published their annual report, Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017.

Here’s the executive summary:

“Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) is a popular metric that companies use to analyze their customer experience efforts. But how does this metric actually relate to loyalty? To uncover the relationship between NPS and loyalty, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to give an NPS to 331 companies across 20 industries, and we then looked at how this score correlated with four key loyalty behaviors. Here are some highlights from this research:

Compared to detractors, promoters are over four times more likely to repurchase from a company, over five times more likely to forgive a company if it makes a mistake, over seven times more likely to try new offerings from a company, and almost five times more likely to trust a company.

We performed a detailed analysis of the loyalty data for promoters, passives, and detractors across 20 different industries: airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer and tablet makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, health plans, hotels and rooms, insurance carriers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, rental car and transport agencies, retailers, software firms, streaming media services, supermarkets, TV and Internet service providers, TVs and appliance makers, utilities, and wireless carriers.

Ultimately, if a company wants to benefit from using NPS as a key metric, it must focus on improving customer experience, not obsessing over the metric itself.

Source: Report: Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017 | Customer Experience Matters®

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates


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The pain of a collision with the expectations of a customer gets my attention. I can’t afford to lose anyone. Can you?

It happens and I have to learn.

To do otherwise is disastrous.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates Continue reading

The Importance of Culture in Digital Transformation and “the human quotient”


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Two of the most promising drivers in digital transformation are EX and CX (employee experience and customer experience). At Oracle’s Modern Business Experience in Paris, world renowned digital analyst, futurist and author Brian Solis, shared his views on what he calls, “the human quotient” and why companies must take a human-centered approach to digital transformation and customer and employee engagement. In his presentation, he explores the need for innovation in corporate culture.

Brian shows how shifts in perspective will allow executives, HR, CX strategists to introduce new engagement models, roles and processes, and develop purposeful technology roadmaps to more effectively understand and engage a new generation of employees and customers. This work becomes the blueprint for creating modern businesses through modern experiences.

Lead your Digital Transformation – No Fancy, Schmancy Job Title Required!


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We all have a chance to lead. Every business, nonprofit, department, government agency, and school must transform to the new digital reality. We don’t have a lack of talent to rise to the challenge across the board.

It is everyone’s job. It is my job. It is your job.

Do I need a title? Do I need a job description?

There is no doubt about it. Or is there?

“What is your company doing about digital transformation?  What are you doing about digital transformation? Digital transformation is not a question of “if”.”

Source: Lead your Digital Transformation – No Fancy, Schmancy Job Title Required!

Most CEOs Can’t Lead A Digital Transformation


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I am a big fan of Jim Collins. It is nice to hear again about his influence.

It is also sad to hear about CEO’s that don’t seem “to get it” when it comes our new digital world. It is also sad for the stock holders.

It is not a question of “if they will get it” but when, if at all. The velocity of digital transformations is stunning.

Years ago, Jim Collins wrote the best-selling book, Good to Great, praised by business leaders and academics alike. Collins noted seven characteristics common to firms that go from “good to great,” one of which was their ability to get the right people “on the bus.” This obviously includes the bus driver as well—the executives who guide their organizations. Unfortunately, more and more companies are concluding that they don’t have the right leadership. Significant CEO departures like Jeffrey Immelt leaving General Electric and Mark Fields stepping down at Ford highlight the struggle many companies face to find the right leadership in the digital age. As Michael Useem, professor at the Wharton School, said to the NY Times, “Who ever thought Ford would be competing with Google? But they are, and Mark Fields wasn’t moving fast enough.”

Speed is a serious concern for incumbent organizations. While their leaders are “driving the bus,” Jeff Bezos is flying past in a Prime-branded rocket ship. What has changed in the past sixteen years? The evolution of new, more profitable business models using new technologies like social, mobile, cloud, analytics, and platforms. The underlying technologies and rapid speed of evolution required to succeed with newer business models are real challenges for the average executive. Incumbent companies and traditional boards need new thinking and skills to succeed.

Source: Most CEOs Can’t Lead A Digital Transformation

The US government’s requirements for passwords has changed


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This makes sense. Password security needs an overhaul. Let’s see if this takes off.

It might be getting easier to remember all of your passwords. The standards organization of the United States, NIST, has concluded that many common requirements for passwords, like forcing you to use special characters, are misguided.

Instead, NIST recommends the use of lengthy passwords, and instructs administrators to allow passwords to run at least 64 characters long. It also says people should only be forced to change their passwords if there is evidence of tampering, rather than at an arbitrary interval.

Source: The US government’s requirements for passwords has changed — Quartz

Corporate Culture Dictates the Success or Failure of Digital Transformation


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We know it is all about the culture. Am I willing to tackle the issue? Am I will to put a stake in the ground with the CEO? Will I focus my team on transforming if the rest of the organization isn’t on board?

I can find all kinds of scapegoats for lack of traction or failure.

Am I willing to address the elephant in the room?

62 percent of employees consider culture as the number 1 hurdle to digital transformation. This is one of the many startling statistics uncovered in my latest culture research report with Jerome Buvat at CapGemini, “The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap.

Corporate culture is one of the most important and misunderstood pillars of any organization. This isn’t news. What is news however is the extent of which companies need to but can’t fully invest in digital transformation to compete in an era of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Said another way, digital transformation is critical to the survival of incumbents and their ability to digitally transform is greatly hindered by the lack of a digital culture, digital literacy and digital vision. Yes, that’s a lot of “digital” in one sentence, but each element in its own right requires understanding, empathy and mastery to navigate complicated and often counter-intuitive paths.

Source: Corporate Culture Dictates the Success or Failure of Digital Transformation | Brian Solis | Pulse | LinkedIn

“You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling.” ~Peter Thiel

Return on Mission


That is the big question to answer and then shout it at the top of our lungs to everyone.

Employees love to know why but then is it compelling? Can I get passionate about it? Will I be devoted? Will I become an evangelist?

You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling: not why it’s important in general, but why you’re doing something important that no one else is going to get done. Peter Thiel

Why did I start this journey in the first place?


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Transformation isn’t easy. We all know that most transformation initiatives, of any kind, fail. The reasons are well known. Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.

If transformation in general is difficult, then it must be known that Customer Experience transformation is really, really difficult. Why can it fail? Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.

It will help to stay positive. It is always way too easy to become discouraged. There are many speed bumps in the way and it easy for the wheels to come off if we don’t slow down sometimes. I must remember why I started the journey in the first place.

It is imperative that we celebrate success along the way. Little benchmarks offers the opportunity to celebrate frequently. Celebrations engages the team members and energizes leadership.

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Building a Strong Voice of the Customer Program (Video)


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Customer connectedness is one of Temkin Group’s four CX core competencies. A key capability in this area is a strong voice of the customer (VoC) program. This video highlights their model for creating a VoC program, called the 6D’s: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy.

via Building a Strong Voice of the Customer Program (Video) | Customer Experience Matters.

Understanding your Digital Business Model by its Business Functional Requirements for Operational Technology


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Digital Transformation

Am I focused on making this goal or process or people issue supported by a digital component?

Am I thinking digital in terms of potential solutions to my daily challenges?

Am I a digital champion?

Digital Business Transformation must, by definition, mean a wider consideration of exactly how an enterprise does functional operate when its business model becomes based not only on Technology, but also on external Technology and Services provided by new deployment models.

This is not an argument for the chaos of Enterprise wide transformation in response to the introduction of IT, and PCs and ERP technologies as in the past. Instead it is an argument for managing a graceful change by letting go of non-core activities and re focusing on what will increase competitive differentiation in support of Digital Business.

via Understanding your Digital Business Model by its Business Functional Requirements for Operational Technology | Constellation Research Inc..

What is really important around here?


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Senior management gets behind lots of things. There are plenty of culture change initiatives. Some of them are real. A few of them actually happen.

What is really important?

Look at the agendas for last 12 months of executive team meetings. If you a member of the C-Suite, take a hard look and say … Yes! That is what we want.

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” ~Timothy R. Clark


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Do I believe that highly engaged employees make a difference in the customer experience?

There is plenty of evidence and facts to demonstrate if facts move me.

Or … do I believe in my heart and soul that passionate employees who want to serve customers are the key?

It makes sense to invest in my and my employees heart. Passion for service is a key.

Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” ~Timothy R. Clark

How are nonprofit’s measuring multi-channel campaigns?


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Return on Investment

We hear so much about the importance of sending multi-channel campaigns and integrating direct mail, email, social and website messaging. And I see more nonprofits doing this the past few years.

Where I see nonprofits often still coming up short, though, is measuring multi-channel results, especially beyond email conversions. If these other channels are now part of your campaigns, then you have to be able to measure them, too.

What are the metrics?

  1. Revenue
  2. Expense
  3. ROI
  4. Multi-channel engagement
  5. Conversion from expensive channels to cheaper channels
  6. Net Promoter score


Cvent reports that on average, customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged.


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Highly engaged employees lead to loyal customers. Study after study reveal this simple fact.

So … Cvent reports that on average, customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged.

Question: Am I building a culture of highly engaged employees? How do I measure it?

Source: How Company Culture Impacts Customer Experience | CustomerThink

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” –Betty Bender


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Work and success is about passion for what we do. We get up and go to work for a reason. It could be just for the paycheck. It could be for the satisfaction of contributing to something important.

Emotional connection to our company’s mission is critical. Engagement is real. Engagement makes a difference. Engaged employees lead to engaged customers.

When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home. –Betty Bender

Am I willing to prioritize customer experience investments to keep my promise?


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We have made promises to our customers. They may not have been well thought out but we have made them. If our promises are not the ones that add value, we should think about changing them.

Is our promise clear to us and our customers? Do we know what it will cost us to keep it? It is important to plan our customer experiences around our promises.

Making the customer experience, relative to the promise, a priority will help keep us all focused.

What investments am I willing to make to keep our customer experience promise?

The C-Suite and IT Need to Get on the Same Page on Cybersecurity


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A recently published global survey of C-Suite level executives and IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) revealed a large gap in assessments of cyber threats, costs and areas of responsibilities. Among the most significant disconnects:

  • 80% of the executives surveyed in the U.S. believe cybersecurity to be a significant challenge facing their business, while only 50% of ITDMs agree.
  • ITDMs estimated the average cost of a cyber breach at $27.2 million, much higher than the average $5.9 million cited by executives.
  • 50% of the executives surveyed believe the reason why an attack on their organization would succeed would be due to human error of employees, compared to 31% of ITDMs.

The research shows there is a lack of understanding when it comes to the cost of a successful breach, which many underestimate. It isn’t just about what the thieves get away with. A successful cyber attack can have far reaching implications such as impacting share price, lost business, fines — even a failed strategic investment or merger.

Source: The C-Suite and IT Need to Get on the Same Page on Cybersecurity

"The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’" ~~Jeffrey Bezos


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Golden Circle – Why, How and What

It is all about the question most days. As leaders, we get to ask the questions and help everyone focus.

Why not should be a big one we ask a lot.

The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’ ~Jeffrey Bezos

Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet. When, not if, will you change your strategy?


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Some days the message comes through load and clear. If my company is “digital” yet, I am way behind things and getting “behinder”.

Yesterday was too late for a strategy.

So … when will you abandon the “non digital” approach? When will you adopt a new strategy? This is not a question of if, but when.

All the talk of digital disruption turning incumbents into dinosaurs and unicorns into masters of entirely new domains might lead you to think this is already an old narrative—so 2016. In fact, digitization has barely started, and so has the accompanying upheaval.

Digital technologies and processes have penetrated only about 35% of the way into the average industry, meaning that merely a third of a typical company’s products and operations that could be digitized have been. Yet the impact has already been dramatic: Globally, digital disruption is shaving 45% off incumbent companies’ revenue growth and 35% off their earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). As digitization accelerates, the hit to revenues and profits of digital laggards will grow significantly, even as the digital leaders capture disproportionate gains.

These findings emerge from a research effort my McKinsey colleagues and I undertook to examine the nature, extent, and implications of digitization’s spread. We wanted to understand how economic performance will change as digital technology continues its advance, and what strategies are most likely to win the game.

Source: Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet | Strategy & Corporate Finance | McKinsey & Company

Converting Crowdfunding Donors: Using Data and Testing to Drive Long-Term Engagement


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There are days I ask myself, what happened to the annual campaign and a core of loyal donors?

There aren’t any easy answers. Nonprofits need money and they need it now. There doesn’t seem to be time to build and sustain growth. But is it a case of “easy come” and “easy go”?

As organizations develop and successfully implement crowdfunding events, many are and should be asking themselves what to do with all those new crowdfunding donors.

Questions like “Can these donors become long-term valuable supporters to the organization, and if so, how?” are certainly on the minds of fundraisers as we see an influx of these “new” type of constituents.

via Converting Crowdfunding Donors: Using Data and Testing to Drive Long-Term Engagement.

An “Omni-Channel” Donor approach will make a difference


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Omni Channel

Unified donor data and a unified experience is supported by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels all of your donor channels like direct marketing, advertising, donating, digital like the web /  mobile and donor service (call center). All channels need to be fused into a single approach for our donors.

At its core, Omni-channel is about the donor and being obsessed with the experience they have with you. Anything that is disjointed will throw them off. The focus here is on seamless and consistency.

Many times, off line is forgotten about in this approach. It may be first thing you want to tackle. How can your off line marketing support your online approach and vice versa? Are you spurring engagement with your nonprofit? Are you creating evangelists for your products and services?

Your donors are now interacting with you in many ways. They may see your ad at night on TV. They may search for you on the web in the morning on a desk top before leaving for work. They may go to your site during the day on a smartphone or tablet while on the go during the day. While on Facebook, they may look for your page. They may search Twitter to see what others are saying about you.  Do they experience the same thing in all those interactions?

A great example of this approach is Progressive Insurance. Check out their web site and see if you don’t recognize the approach. http://www.progressive.com/

Because their journey is dynamic, accessible and continuous, today’s donors increasingly expect a seamless, integrated, consistent and personalized experience with their service providers which current multi-channel models—with their multiple silos of donor contact—are unable to provide. Instead, a fully integrated response to these new donor requirements will need to be both donor-driven and omni-channel in nature.

Source: Accenture: The new Omni-Channel Approach to Serving Donors

Here are some important things to know about the complexity of the connected donor.

  1. They are more knowledgeable than you may think. It is just too easy to search and research a nonprofit.
  2. Donors are becoming very demanding. Donors are under a crunch and value convenience highly.
  3. Donors are very empowered. They can easily find an alternative to what you are offering and don’t hesitate to if they aren’t engaged with you.
  4. Donors are increasingly social and collaborative in their approach.
  5. Donors are extremely diverse and may not fit your traditional market segments.
  6. Donors are very interactive in their approach. They may ask you a question on Facebook or Twitter and actually expect you will answer very fast.
  7. Donors on the go and mobile is very important to them. They may consume your content and purchase your services anytime / anywhere.

You might think that this sounds very difficult. There are of course some major challenges. But take a very difficult challenge of retail. How would you approach this? These examples may be helpful in seeing how it can be done in a very difficult industry. Check out these five:

  1. Crate & Barrel – The nonprofit recognizes that many shoppers switch from web to smartphone to tablet when conducting research and completing purchases, so when donors are signed in, the C&B app saves their shopping cart so they can access their information across multiple devices and browsers. This enables them to pick up where they left off no matter where they are in the shopping process.
  2. Oasis – UK fashion retailer Oasis has an ecommerce site, a mobile app, and several brick-and-mortar locations and it does a pretty good job in fusing those channels to give people a great shopping experience.
  3. Starbucks – The Starbucks rewards app is frequently mentioned in “top” lists of omnichannel efforts and for good reason: the coffee nonprofit does an excellent job in providing a seamless user experience across all channels.
  4. Sephora – Through its “My Beauty Bag” program, cosmetics retailer Sephora makes it easy for its loyal donors to manage their “loved” products and purchase history from any device.
  5. Chipotle – Chipotle Mexican Grill is utilizing multiple channels to enable donors to place orders wherever they are. People can place an order online for pick-up at the nearest Chipotle location, and they can also use its official mobile app to order on the go.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with understanding what omni-channel means your donor.
  2. Create the strategy to integrate your approach for all channels.
  3. Identify gaps and easy / quick fixes.
  4. Begin with a few simple but quickly executable initiatives. Don’t try to rebuild everything.
  5. Form an Omni-channel donor engagement team to discuss how to get traction and be ambassadors for the approach.
  6. Encourage offline and online integration quickly.
  7. Don’t forget about your donor service (call center) operations.
  8. Create an integrated content calendar and repurpose content across channels.

Temkin Well-Being Index for U.S. Consumers Jumps To Highest Levels


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The Temkin Group has been doing large-scale consumer research for several years. As part of our ongoing studies, they  track many consumer attitudes. To gauge the overall quality of life for the U.S. population, they created the Temkin Well-Being Index (TWBi) based on a few of those attitudinal elements.

The TWBi is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January. The overall index is an average of three measurements representing the percentage of U.S. adults (18 and older) who agree with these statements:

  • I am typically happy
  • I am healthy
  • I am financially secure

They’ve been tracking it since 2012.  As you can see in the figure below:

  • After the TWBi reached 65.9%, the highest over the six years we’ve been tracking the metric.
  • The increase of 4 %-points between 2016 and 2017 is the largest single-year increase.
  • All three areas of the TWBi are at their highest levels, and increased since last year. The largest increase is in financial security, which gained 5.5 %-points between 2016 and 2017.

Source: Temkin Well-Being Index for U.S. Consumers Jumps To Highest Levels | Customer Experience Matters®

6 Reasons Why Most Fundraisers Don’t Know Their Donor Retention Rate


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Donor retention is the key to successful fund raising at non-profits. It is essential to being cost effective. Acquiring new donors is very expensive.

So … what is your donor retention rate?

Over the last six years I have had the privilege of speaking to large gatherings of nonprofit professional fundraisers on an average of 2.5 times per month. At the beginning of each presentation, I typically ask the audience by a show of hands how many in the room know their donor retention rate.

Each time, very few hands go in the air.

I keep thinking that the percentage of people raising their hands will go up by at least a small percent each year, yet it remains a very dismal small percentage.

However, if I ask them any of the following questions, the answers are readily known:

  • What is your fundraising dollar goal for this year?
  • How much did you raise last year?
  • How many donors do you have?
  • How many new donors do you have in the last year?
  • What is your best campaign or appeal?

Why isn’t donor retention on this list?

Source: 6 Reasons Why Most Fundraisers Don’t Know Their Donor Retention Rate

How to Create Successful Customer Feedback Surveys


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We all know how to carry on a conversation.

The challenge in getting feedback from customers is to approach our surveys that way.

Picture this scene: your manager stops by your desk and begins to speak. You wait for a chance to break in and contribute to the conversation. In fact, you welcome it since you have a couple of ideas you think could really improve your team’s productivity. But your manager keeps talking… and talking… and talking… and then walks away without even saying good-bye.

In this scenario, most of us would probably feel offended, slighted, or any one of a dozen other negative emotions.

Sadly, many companies approach their customer relationships in exactly this way. They send newsletters, direct mail, and email blasts, but never invite or allow the customer to join the conversation. They miss the essential truth that communication is a two-way street. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re not communicating with them. You’re not conversing with them. And you’re probably not keeping them.

Feedback surveys can be a great way to give your customer a seat at the table. Has your organization tried implementing a survey or two, but found them to be less than successful? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the metrics and KPIs and statistics around surveys that we lose sight of what makes a survey successful. Organizations should take a step back, and apply the principles of successful conversation to your surveys instead.

Source: How to Create Successful Customer Feedback Surveys | CustomerThink

Your Customer Experience Measurement Guide – CX – perience


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The customer experience

We know the customer experience is important.

We struggle with how to measure it.

At the end of the day, there probably isn’t one “right answer” about what the important metrics are. Having the right culture will lead to the right metrics.

The growth, development and profitability of any customer service company depends on its customers and it’s important to track this growth through customer experience measurement. Companies with many satisfied customers will undoubtedly be more prosperous than companies with few dissatisfied customers. A satisfied customer is one who is most likely to purchase from you, rarely shops around, refer other customers to your company and scores high when it comes to advocating for your company.

via Your Customer Experience Measurement Guide – CX – perience.

Creating a donor value framework


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Not all data is of equal value and not every donor is either. Part of the framework that leads from insight to action is understanding which donors are of more value and those that will lead to greater levels of renewal.

Donor Value Framework

Basic value segmentation looks at low actual value and low potential value. The focus is to mine the data and watch for changes from other data.

A second cohort to segment is high current value but low potential value. The focus is to maintain the relationship to renew commitments.

Third, segment those who are low actual value and high potential value. The focus is cultivate the relationship and upgrade the commitment.

The final segment are the donors with high actual and high potential value. The focus here is to invest in the relationship.

It is critical to recognize that not all donors have the same value long term and to invest in the ones that have a high potential. This type of segmentation requires high levels of insight. Standard business processes can be enabled in lots of systems via workflow.

The digital executive has a specific responsibility to insist that this is core to your marketing, donation and digital strategies. An unfocused approach to engaging with donors can be disastrous. If you are a marketing or donation executive, organize a group to help formulate the strategy and become ambassadors for its execution.

One requirement could be to enhance your data with external sources to assist in process of segmenting. Tools like Dunn and Bradstreet data for corporations and wealth screening for individuals may be useful. In some cases it may be as simple as enhancing data based on zip codes and census tracts to get started.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start now to create a framework to segment your donors.
  2. Begin to formulate a strategy of how gain enough insights to move donors through the framework.
  3. Encourage investments in building relationships with high potential value donors.
  4. Consider enhancing your data to assist in this type of segmentation.
  5. This may not be easy, insist on finding a way to make it happen.

Don’t let a lack of resources hold you back.

Do you have a content curation strategy? Do you have an eye for the awesome?


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Do you have a content curation strategy?

Do you have a content curation strategy?

Do you have a content curation strategy? If not, now is the time to think about it. Original content is great.

But … knowing what others are saying and amplifying it is very helpful. That is the importance of a librarian at the library. It is not so much knowing everything as knowing where to find it.

One of the keys, however, is organization. That leads to a tagging and categorization approach. Is there a logical way you organize what you produce?

Of course, the ability to spot the awesome helps.

Content curation – the process of finding, organizing, and  sharing topical, relevant content for your audience that supports your nonprofit’s engagement or campaign goals (or your professional learning) begins with “Spotting the Awesome.”   I love that phrase coined by my friends at Upwell.   Do you or your organization have formal guidelines for “spotting the awesome”  like Upwell (see below) or is it more of  ”we know it when we see it?”

via Content Curation: The Art and Science of Spotting Awesome | Beth’s Blog.


Doing something about the data, insight and donor experience gaps


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Knowing you have a gap in the data and the experience is one thing. Doing something that improves the experience is another. Insight is very useful but it must lead to action.


Much of our effort should be in understanding where we are today, where we want to go, what the gaps are and what we can do move ahead. This is both short term with quick wins and the overall long term strategy.

Accurately identifying the gaps gets you on the road to improvement. This should be seen as a continuous process with huge incremental results. Lots of quick experiments and tests can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Senior executives should help create a culture of gap analysis and continuous improvement. Without the focus and support of the digital executive, we can all fall into “analysis paralysis”.

Gap analysis and continuous improvement is something that can be done at all levels of the organization. The closer it is to the donor, the better. Donor champions, evangelist and advocates are best position to have great energy around this.

Basic training in facilitating the process doesn’t require huge budgets. Creating performance expectations for improving the experience in a tangible way is very important.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with simple approaches to encourage identifying gaps and plans to improve the experience.
  2. Begin setting expectations that it is important to measure the results of the improvement initiatives.
  3. Encourage a culture of continuous improvement.
  4. Be sure to set clear goals for gains.
  5. Clearly articulate why gap identification and improvement is important.
  6. Identify evangelists and champions of continuous improvement.
  7. Focus on staff closest to the donor. Listen to them first rather than a senior executive 5 levels removed.

Unifying the experience for the donor


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Donor Experience

This is not all about data. At the end of the day, donors will expect a great (unified) experience across multiple channels. While it takes data to know the donor and systems to remember them, only great experiences lead to amazing service.

If I call you, I reasonable expect you have a history of my transactions regardless of channel and how long I have been your donor. I also probable expect for you to remember other issues and challenges I’ve had and how they were resolved. A breakdown in that at any point creates painful experiences.

This speaks to having worked through the donor journey, what is working and what isn’t, and improving the experience for the donor. This journey should identify data that is useful to know and insights that can create for you in delivering stunning service.

While journey maps are about much more than data, it is important to look at what data you have, what data you could use and what insight that could create in improving the whole experience.

Pay particular attention to data (structure and unstructured) that you already have from donors via your call center, web site, social media comments and email responses. There is a richness here that can inform the donor journey and the data that can used to improve it.

Improving the experience for the donor by providing front line staff better insights is foundational to the digital executive obsessed with the donor.  Journey maps without great data and insight could just be someone’s opinion.

Staff who are closest to the donor usually have a handle on what data and insight would be most useful to the journey mapping process. Be sure to engage them regularly.

Journey maps can be tedious and budgets may be constrained to bring in external resources to help. Consider an investment in training at least one of your staff who be the subject matter expert and facilitate the process, even if it just part time.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with one segment or persona and develop a simple journey map.
  2. Begin by identify data that you have or gaps that exist in providing great insight.
  3. Encourage a focus on insight and improving the journey.
  4. See this as a holistic process integral to your ecosystem.

Involve staff closest to the donor.

Unifying donor data and creating actionable insight


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Smart Data

Smart Data

Even 2 pieces of unified data is more powerful than one. Having a plan for the most valuable sources and at least integrating some of the data will move insight ahead.

Let’s be honest. This is just plain difficult. I’m a small business. I believe in the value of integrated data. But it is painful and difficult. I use one tool a lot. It is call email. I have another tool for managing Customer Relationships. If I send an email, I can also get it in the CRM tool just by sending it as a bcc. So far so good. But then I use a different tool for eMarketing. I then have to export it from CRM and import it to the eMarketing tool. And on and on it goes from there.

Imagine the challenge for a mid-size nonprofit. It gets worse for large corporations. It just isn’t easy.

That said, it is worth doing as best you can. So that is what I do. And you should consider the same.

First, we need a strategy. Pick at least two systems that will give you a better level of insight. Integrate the core data needed for that insight. Don’t get carried away. If it doesn’t give you insight and you can’t act on it to move the relationship ahead then it isn’t useful.

Second, we need to execute the strategy and evaluate its effectiveness. If it isn’t effective consider stopping. Why waste the energy and resources.

Third, while data integration is generally very complex and difficult, the focus needs to be on simplicity. If a business unit cannot make a case for the insight that the data will bring and the action / results that it will accomplish, I say “move on”. That takes courage and great support from the executive level.

Knowing more than one thing generally leads to greater insight. Our everyday experience teaches us that. The insight I gain by knowing a decision maker at a target nonprofit is opening my emails leads me to see if I can schedule a call to discover more about their challenges. Simply integrating CRM and eMarketing tools can lead to that insight.

As more data is integrated about donors, the biggest issue is data quality and duplicates. If left unchecked, the insights and action will be suspect. It is important to keep the data integrated as simple as possible and pay attention to “master data” and the “golden record” early on. Investing in some level of Master Data Management (MDM) will make sense. Better to make this decision early and enforce integrity to the data.

There are several ways to approach analytics. Simple and easy to use Excel spreadsheets is one level. Data warehouses and data marts takes it to another level. Within systems themselves (think CRM), dashboards are very powerful at providing insight and action (via workflow).

All of this leads to an issue of executive oversight. Someone needs to make the tough decisions in the best interest of the donor. The CEO needs to empower someone to make those decisions. Otherwise your technology team will be chasing its tail on a regular basis with unclear direction and expensive solutions to meet the great demand for integration.

There is clearly a role for oversight for this function. It should be led by a high level business executive who focuses on insight.

Many of the advanced solutions and systems can be very expensive. Senior executives will clearly experience sticker shock when looking at investment decisions. Out of many technology investments to be made, this is one that cries out for clear ROI and a total economic benefit to spell out.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with simple integrations that focus early on data quality.
  2. Begin with integrations that lead to clear insight and action.
  3. Encourage oversight and accountability for results.
  4. Early on, default to system dashboards and workflow rather than other complicated systems.
  5. Insights that lead to next steps along the donor journey will have high payoffs for renewal, cross-selling and up-selling.
  6. Senior business executives must be engaged early and often.
  7. Enforce clear budget boundaries with clear ROI.

Social Media & Content Are Top Priorities for Marketers in 2017


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Social Media & Content Are Top Priorities for Marketers in 2017 – “Marketing in the digital world has come a long way from the ugly banner ads that made our eyes bleed in the early days of the internet. Whether it’s paying to show up in search results, sharing content on social media or having a YouTube star use your product in one of his/her videos – these days there are countless ways to promote products, services and brands online.

“Over the past few years, social networks in particular have risen in significance from a marketing point of view, as hardly any other channel can match Facebook & co. in targeting a specific group of people. According to a study from Econsultancy and Adobe, who surveyed almost 3,500 international marketers on how their spending on various digital marketing channels would change this year, social media marketing remains a top priority for brands in 2017.

“56 percent of the respondents plan to increase their social media spending while just 5 percent plan to do the opposite. Content marketing and personalization are also high on marketers’ agenda this year, while spending on display and search advertising won’t be further increased by the majority of marketing professionals.”

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~Steve Jobs


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Am I on a mission? I need focus and purpose to what I am doing. Without that, I am just showing up.

Do I have passion for what I am doing? Passion “gets me through the day”. It essential to what I do.

If there is no purpose and passion, why not? I need to fall in love again. I need that spark.

Do I surround myself with others who have passion and purpose? This is not a “go it alone” exercise. I need others on the same road.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~Steve Jobs

Donor data is all about insight leading to action


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Customer Insight

Customer Insight

Data is very useful if it allows us to understand our donors better. Collecting data is of no value if it doesn’t lead to insight. Think data, insight and action.

There are all kind of insights that will lead to further action.  Here are several:

  1. The value and potential of the donor
  2. The next step in building the relationship based on other similar donors
  3. Channels they may prefer
  4. What is the level of engagement
  5. Nonprofits and organizations they may have a relationship with.
  6. Summaries of how recent and frequently of buying and engagement.
  7. What kind of experience they are having. How satisfied they are.
  8. What they are interested in. What type of content should be sent to them? How to render the content via static content, graphics or video.
  9. Who is in their network and who influences them?
  10. What kind of referrals do they make?
  11. Real time data from Smart devices

The list goes on and on. In thinking about what data to gather, always think through what insight that it will give and where it will lead the relationship.

The intent is to develop a deep understanding of donors, using a disciplined approach, which can be leveraged across the organization to improve the experience for the donor and profitability for the corporation. Deeper knowledge of donors assists in uncovering and clarifying opportunities. In addition to data you may already have, there may need to be in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys and industry analyst sources.

There could be several types of insight to look at:

  1. A predictive model
  2. Attitudinal understanding
  3. Product behavior

The digital executive should also consider leading the charge to go beyond traditional quantitative and qualitative approaches. A new model is emerging know as real-time experience tracking (RET).

Real-time experience tracking was born of two insights. First, while a market researcher can’t easily follow customers around 24 hours a day, those donors’ cell phones can, and unlike human observers, they don’t sway people’s perceptions of experiences. The second insight was that although customers may interact with a company in thousands of ways, you really need to know only four things about each encounter: the brand involved, the type of touchpoint (TV ad, say, or call to the service center), how the participant felt about the experience, and how persuasive it was. (Did it make the customer more inclined to choose the brand next time?)

Source: Harvard Business Review Article

The digital executive has to be obsessive in understanding the donor. Without that passion and commitment, the voice of the donor may not be heard. This, at its core, is not about collecting data just because we can. It is all about understanding the donor, improving the experience and increasing the top line for the corporation.

Gaining the type of insight that brings real results may require investing in getting the right kind of data, different tools to analyze the data and staff that can accurately understand the data. Looking at the total economic benefit will be useful.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with a clear commitment to understanding the donor with deeper levels of insight.
  2. Begin with some questions that need to be answered with the eye toward action to improve results.
  3. Encourage a collaborative approach that cuts across departmental silos.
  4. Obsess about understand the donor.
  5. Create a culture that always looks at what we know from our donors before proceeding with an initiative.

Assess the total economic benefit of understanding the donor

Should We Have This Meeting? (Infographic Decision Tree)


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So many corporate employees spend their workday bouncing from meeting to meeting. In many organizations, the de facto method of getting anything done has been: “Let’s meet about it.”

In the spirit of eliminating unnecessary activities to increase productivity, use this handy meeting “go vs. no go” decision tree. And please share it with your manager or overly-dependent-on-meetings colleagues!

Source: Should We Have This Meeting? (Infographic Decision Tree)

Will your company be customer experience driven?


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Growth in Customer Experience (Forrester Research)

Growth in Customer Experience (Forrester Research)

There is no denying that companies are embracing the whole “customer experience” phenomena. This year even more companies will adopt approaches to transform their business. The trend will only continue to accelerate.

What does this mean to you? Why should you not ignore what is going on with your competitors?

Disruption is around the corner. Others may be about to overtake you. Now is not the time to to ignore what is vital to your digital transformation efforts.

Some key areas for focus are:

  1. Understand your customers
  2. Measure the experience they are having with you
  3. Set up a governance or oversight team
  4. Create and execute a clear strategy
  5. Build better design into your processes
  6. Accurately assess where you are from a “culture” point of view

The value of offline donor data


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Smart Data

Smart Data

Not all data is as valuable as others. The human resources to manually enter offline donor data can be daunting and so many times it is the last priority. There are great services that automate the collection of offline data at a reasonable cost. The first step in the automation process is to create a data value strategy. That will help justify the cost of capturing the offline donor data and integrating it into your donor systems.

The opportunity to collect offline data for most nonprofits is huge. We tend to underestimate how much of it we really have. For some retail oriented businesses it is close to 100 percent. Think about what you know about donors online and what you know about them offline.

Offline can include knowledge gained in the call center, by donation staff, from surveys, point of sale transactions and retail interactions from service personnel. It may be helpful to do a quick audit of all that you really have. If may be more than you think. And it may lead to great insight than online data which leads to action and engagement.  It also getting easier and more cost effective to get the data via scanning / OCR technology.

Digital executives are passionate about getting insight on what is important to donors. Think about a world where you could act on the insights gained from your offline data. The cost of integrating may be worth its weight in gold.

The other side of this is that when donors give us information and tell us something, they expect us to remember it to provide them better service. The point of integrating offline data is to gain insight into donors that can’t be gained otherwise and to be able to act for better service.

Everyone can be involved in the effort. Imagine having a simple card that service personnel fill out with the answers to 3 questions what will give you great insight. They ask the questions and write down the answers. You have a service scan it and integrate it with your other donor data. What if you could get their email address? It may not be as difficult as you think. You can get everyone involved in the effort.

There is always the constraint of the budget. It is just too costly you think. Creating a value framework is not that difficult. A simple table can help you assess what offline data you have, what it would cost to get it into your systems and what insight it will give you to build relationships (leading to greater donation).

Alert!! Do you have a privacy policy? Is it up to date? How good is your data security? Has someone independent from your technical team assessed risks in your donor data security? Not having a budget to look at this is a high risk. The damage to your credibility is at stake.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is the value of the offline data you have about your donors? How much of it do you have? What would it cost to get it integrated with your other data?
  2. If you have that additional insight, what could you do with it to increase engagement, cross-sell, and up-sell?
  3. What don’t you know, that if you started asking and integrating the data, would be hugely valuable?

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start by creating a strategy based on your offline data value framework.
  2. Begin by testing high insight data integration. Have a plan of what action you will take based on that insight.
  3. Encourage frontline staff to gather critical data that provides a high level of insight you can act on.
  4. Focus on insight and action.
  5. Create a team to oversee the effort and serve as ambassadors.
  6. Establish a budget to do something to get started.
  7. Pay attention to privacy and security.

How did I feel about that experience? Was it fun?


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The customer experience

The customer experience

Many things make up the customer experience. Three that many agree on are achieving a goal, the effort it takes and how I feel about the experience.

Am I successful in achieving my goal? When I interact with a company, I have a goal in mind. Maybe I am just doing some research. Maybe I am ready to buy. Successful companies understand the goals of their customers and design the journey to meet the goal.

What kind of effort do I have to put into this? Is it easy? How many times do we go to do something and it is so difficult. We have a problem with our bill and we want it straightened out. 2 hours later after talking with 5 different customer reps and it still isn’t straight. It is more common than not that by understanding the goal a customer has in mind, we make it difficult to achieve it.

How did I feel? Was it fun and enjoyable? We are all creatures of how we feel about an experience. It may be the most ignored driver of amazing experiences.

All of these items have an impact on loyalty. So where do we focus?

The most impactful and overlooked is the emotion of it all; how I feel about the experience. Since most companies over look the emotional connection customers have with a company, starting there maybe the most impactful thing I can do. Competitors may never, ever get there.


What donor data should we collect?


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Donor Relations

Donor Relations

We probably shouldn’t try to collect everything. We also should be collecting the “right” donor data. We should consider enhancing the data we collect to make it more valuable. Several suggested priorities are all online transaction detail and insight, most offline transaction detail and insight, social media data and insights and finally, call center transactions and insights.

There has been a lot said and written about the 360 degree view of the donor. A quick Google search will bring up 13.7 million results. Many in favor and some questioning the strategy.

I believe donor data is important. One thing to think about, however, is how much data do you need to know to make actionable decisions? Perhaps more than you have and perhaps less than you plan to gather which could be holding you back from acting today.

Most of us have a ton of online data. It is easy to gather and relatively inexpensive to integrate. That said, many of us have no to very little offline data. Another gap can also be unstructured data.

A core question is how important is a 360 degree view anyway? No human can see 360 degrees. Here is something interesting to think about.

To draw an analogy from the physical realm, out of 360 potential degrees, what’s our actual field of vision? Approximately a 120-degree arc. But even most of that is peripheral. In fact, when it comes to seeing in high resolution — say for reading purposes — our actual field of view is only about 6 degrees.

What happens if something important happens in our peripheral vision? We move our eyes to look at it. In other words, we’re not primed to look at everything at once. Rather, we focus on the essentials and filter out the rest so we don’t experience information overload.

Source: The Cloud Sherpa

In thinking about data integration, it will be helpful to suspend any discussion of what data can we integrate. Any data can be integrated. The real issue is what results you want for your business and what data do you need to improve the donor experience. From a planning point of view it is helpful to start with the end in mind and not the details of how we integrate everything. It is critical to know what data will give you actionable insight.

Donors are using many channels to engage with your nonprofit. They expect a seamless experience across those channels. At a core level, that will involve collecting and integrating the data that donors expect to see across those channels. The important issue to think through is what does the donor expect you to know about what they have told on the mobile app and what you know about them when they make a purchase. It is all about the donor expectation.

If you ask for information from a donor and they are willing to give it to you, then they probably expect that you will use it across channels to create a seamless experience. Donors also expect that you remember them. They get very upset when you don’t. They love you when you do. Know and remember is key to service.

Alert!! Do you have a privacy policy? Is it up to date? How good is your data security? Has someone independent from your technical team assessed risks in your donor data security? Not having a budget to look at this is a high risk. The damage to your credibility is at stake.

Ask yourself:

  1. Do you need a deeper understanding of donor sentiment from both internal and external sources?
  2. Do you want to increase donor loyalty and satisfaction by understanding what meaningful actions are needed?
  3. Are you challenged to get the right information to the right people to provide donors what they need to solve problems, cross-sell, and up-sell?

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start simple and don’t get carried away with all the possibilities.
  2. Begin creating a strategy now.
  3. Encourage collaboration and create a team to “oversee” your efforts.
  4. Decide, up front, what data is worth
  5. Commit to not collecting everything and be ok with that.
  6. Focus on key channels like online, offline checks / credit card transactions, and direct response.
  7. Create a data value framework to help set priorities.
  8. Pay attention to privacy and security. Your reputation is at stake.