Salesforce Research Releases Its Third State of Service Report

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 20, 2019 by itnerd

Salesforce Research has released its third State of Service Report exploring the impact of artificial intelligence on the future of customer service.

Technology is drastically redefining customer standards and ultimately, the way brands hire, train, serve and sell. Customers are demanding faster, more personalized and connected experiences. It is more apparent now than ever before that customer service is the competitive differentiator for brands. In fact, 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is just as important as it product.

With new technology trends like chatbots, artificial intelligence, mobile workers, cross-functional engagement and the marriage of human expertise with AI augmentation (80% of service decision makers believe AI is most effective when deployed with – rather than in place of – humans), the future of customer service is complex, competitive and full of opportunity.

Below are some key highlights from Salesforce’s State of Service report, which takes a critical approach to analyzing key trends that employers should consider when it comes to service.

Canadian Specific Report Highlights:

  • AI’s Impact Takes Shape – 23% of businesses plan to use artificial intelligence within the next 18 months compared to the 15% that currently use it, a 153% projected growth rate.
  • Customer Engagement Goes Digital and Cross-Functional – 52% of service professionals say their organization is seeing increased case volume through digital channels.
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution Drives Service Transformation – 78% of service decision makers say their company’s customer service must transform in order to stay competitive.

Global Report Highlights:

  • AI’s Impact Takes Shape – 80% of service decision makers believe AI is most effective when deployed with – rather than in place of – humans.
  • Customer Service is on the Cusp of an AI Revolution – 56% of service decision makers say their organizations are actively looking for ways to use AI.
  • The Mobile Workforce Has Become the Face of Brands – Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) of service decision-makers say the experience a customer has with a mobile worker is a reflection of their brand. Given the level of importance of the mobile workforce, 71% of service decision-makers plan to be making significant investments in their mobile workforce.

The report provides a comprehensive analysis based on data provided from over 3,500 customer service decision makers and agents worldwide. Data is from a blind survey conducted from Nov. 27 through Dec. 15, 2018. Survey respondents are from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. All respondents are third-party panelists (not limited to Salesforce customers).

You can download the full report here. An infographic is also available below:

SOService_Infographic

Applause Announces the 2019 Retail Quality Report

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 20, 2019 by itnerd

Applause, the worldwide leader in digital quality and crowdsourced testing, today released its new report highlighting the digital and omnichannel mistakes that plagued some of the world’s top retailers during the holiday season. The report, titled The 2019 Retail Quality Report: Global Insights from the Holiday Shopping Season, provides retailers with six key recommendations and best practices to prepare for the 2019 season. 

The report leverages primary research from Applause’s industry-leading community of software testers and usability experts. Testing took place from Black Friday through December of 2018. Applause’s community completed functional and user experience testing on more than 50 top global retail ecommerce sites. In addition, the testers went through a specific omnichannel journey (buy online, return in store) in the US, UK, and Germany to compare the omnichannel experiences of each country.

Applause identified more than 3,000 software bugs and UX issues, many of which impacted retail revenues during peak shopping periods. In fact, just 65 bugs cost retailers more than $60 million in holiday sales.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • A single severe bug cost, on average, $915,240 when left in production for 14 days
  • Over half (53%) of all bugs found were classified as severe
  • Communication breakdowns threatened omnichannel experiences, and many shoppers weren’t able to find in-store areas to return items bought online
  • The most dangerous bugs were found in shopping carts, product pages, and account pages

Additional Resources:

BREAKING: Apple Releases New AirPods With Wireless Charging

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 20, 2019 by itnerd

The product release parade that Apple has been on over the last couple of days continues today as Apple just dropped a press release announcing new AirPods which will retail for an eye watering $269.00 CDN with a wireless charging case. Yes you read that correctly. Wireless charging which is Qi compatible has finally arrived for the AirPods. If that doesn’t interest you, $219.00 CDN gets you these AirPods without the wireless charging case, and $99.00 CDN gets you the wireless charging case alone.

So what’s different about these AirPods?

  • An Apple-designed H1 chip that enables hands-free “Hey Siri” functionality and up to 50 percent more talk time compared to the original AirPods. The H1 chip in the new AirPods makes switching between the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, or Mac up to two times faster, and enables up to a 1.5x faster connection time for phone calls and up to 30 percent lower gaming latency.
  • Hands-free Siri allows AirPods users to say “Hey Siri” to change songs, make phone calls, adjust the volume, get directions, and more.
  • Up to three hours of talk time per charge, compared to up to two hours with the previous generation.

The new AirPods will be available in store next week and they are available to order now.

I guess this means that the rumors of AirPower being released in the spring might actually be true.

Trend Micro Study Highlights Cybersecurity Threats In The Food Production Industry

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 20, 2019 by itnerd

In order to provide adequate food for the ever-increasing population without laying pressure on farmable land, high-tech tools and systems are being used by food production industries. Food production involves a gamut of functions – production of food items, storage, processing, waste management, and other tasks. IoT is used in most of these activities through connected devices for activities such as managing large tracts of land, track and feed large herds of animals, maintain specific storage environments, etc.

As we all know, new technology brings with itself new challenges and risks. Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats of this decade and while IoT in food production is beneficial, there are critical security concerns. IoT is fairly new to the industry, so many are not prepared for or even aware of the industry-specific risks.

To help combat this threat and offer unique insights and solutions, Trend Micro has issued a study identifying the cybersecurity threats among the food production industry.Major threats discovered include:

  • Exposed internet-connected systems
  • Exposed records for food safety compliance
  • Unsecured RTK base stations
  • Online farm management platforms
  • Other exposed supply chain operations

The study can be found here and is very much worth reading as security in general and specifically related to IoT should be top of mind

Canadians Want Meaning In Their Work, & They’re Willing To Sacrifice To Get It: ServiceNow

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 20, 2019 by itnerd

What would you be willing to sacrifice in your job if it meant that the work you do provided you with more meaning? When we think about what motivates us at work, money is usually the first thing that comes to mind, however that is not necessarily the case. A new survey from ServiceNow shows it may not be money, or a new title, or even the corner office that motivates us. In fact, it’s meaning.

A study of over 1,500 Canadian office workers, by workflow automation company ServiceNow, found that four in five Canadian office workers (81%) need the majority of their work to be meaningful. However, they’re spending on average 76 per cent more of their time on menial tasks than they would like. And when it comes to dealing with their menial tasks, Canadian office workers expect their employers to offer solutions.

Study findings uncovered key insights on the value Canadian office workers place on meaningful work, and how they feel about menial tasks:

  • Two in three (68%) agree that they would never take a job that was unrewarding or frustrating, even if the pay was higher;
  • Half say that menial tasks have made them feel bored (49%) or feel like they are wasting their time (48%); and
  • Sixty-two per cent feel happier and more productive when their company has solutions in place to help them deal with menial tasks.

Meaning means more for millennials

Millennials, who now make up the largest generation in Canada’s workforce, bring with them a change in how employers think about the employee experience, and the role that meaningful work plays in this.

The survey uncovered that:

  • Millennial office workers feel trapped by menial tasks. Half (48%) say menial tasks make them feel unmotivated, and they are more likely than Gen Xers or Boomers to say that menial tasks make them feel as though they are not living up to their potential (46% vs. 37% and 34%).
  • Millennial office workers will make sacrifices for more meaningful work. Close to half (47%) would give up a pay raise for more meaningful work and two-thirds (67%) would never take a job they knew would be unrewarding or frustrating, even if the pay was higher.
  • Millennial office workers really want to avoid frustrating office experiences. More than half (55%) would rather stand in line to renew their health card or driver’s license than troubleshoot an issue with IT, and one in three (33%) would prefer to give up a vacation day rather than experience frequent internet/service outages.

Download the full report here.

Google Slapped With $1.7 Billion Fine

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 20, 2019 by itnerd

European regulators have slapped Google with a $1.7 billion fine on charges that its advertising practices violated local antitrust laws:

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s top competition commissioner, announced the punishment at a news conference, accusing Google of engaging in “illegal practices” in a bid to “cement its dominant market position” in the search and advertising markets. The new penalty adds to Google’s costly headaches in Europe, where Vestager now has fined the tech giant more than $9 billion in total for a series of antitrust violations. Her actions stand in stark contrast to the United States, where regulators — facing a flood of complaints that big tech companies have become too big and powerful — have not brought a single antitrust case against Google or any of its peers in recent years, reflecting a widening transatlantic schism over Silicon Valley and its business practices.

For those keeping score at home, that’s the third time in three years that they’ve been hit by fines by the EU for bad behavior. At this point if you’re Google you have to wonder what you have to do to stop this from happening. If I were running the company, maybe I would start with altering the company’s behavior as it has to be clear to anyone that they are clearly doing something either wrong or something that goes against their meaningless mantra of “do no evil “.

Apple Vs Spotify Is A Fight That Nobody Needs To See

Posted in Commentary with tags , on March 20, 2019 by itnerd

Last week the news broke that Spotify, who are pretty much the leaders in music streaming is mad at Apple because of Apple’s control of the App Store. As in Spotify must bend to Apple’s will, use Apple’s payment system, and pay Apple a cut of whatever they sell. They think that’s not fair and they want it to stop. Of course the fact that Apple has it’s own competing streaming service likely doesn’t help to make things better. That’s likely why they filed a formal complaint with European regulators about Apple’s app rules. And then went on a press tour to say how bad Apple is. And created this video to sway your opinion:

Apple in turn shot back in typical Apple fashion. They put out a press release which basically turned this business dispute into some sort of moral crusade that Apple was leading on behalf of its valued users. Which to be clear this is not a moral crusade in any way shape or form despite what Apple may tell you.

But let’s be clear, this is a business dispute that has broken out into the public domain. Spotify wants to pay Apple less money and is also ticked that Apple has a competing service. Apple wants its share of the app store pie because it’s selling less iPhones and they’re shifting to “services” to make up the difference. Their respective business objectives clash with each other and here we are talking about it. Neither one of them have the moral high ground or can call themselves the Archangel Gabriel. What they really need to do is to either sue each other and get it over with, or get in a room and hash out their differences and get it over with. The world has better things to than to watch these two companies fight it out in public as the public really has nothing to gain from this.