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CRM must be Unified

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As data becomes ever more central to business operations, companies that market with disparate data sets and tools will fail to drive a superior customer experience, writes  JASON BALDWIN, Consulting Director at Acceleration.

In a world where the competition moves quickly and customers expect increasing levels of engagement and service, companies that do not have an aligned marketing technology and execution will reach a capability plateau and decline as the customer experience they deliver falls further and further below customer expectation.

The solution is simple, go to market, company-wide, with an aligned approach to customer experience and engagement driven by insightful data and supporting toolset. However it’s difficult to execute. The reality is that it’s not a single, delivered once solution, it must be seen as an ongoing capability evolution.

Developing a unified approach to customer engagement

Creating a successful CRM strategy using data at the core requires a balanced approach, the need to drive complex multichannel interactions leveraging value adding data (creating the best customer experience) and pragmatically delivering new capabilities to execute with the business.

Creating a successful CRM strategy

1.       Recognise the current reality

Assess your organisation’s current ability to deliver. Look realistically at the current multichannel execution capability; the data supporting campaign execution processes, skills and tools needed. A good test here is the ability for the organisation to adopt a new campaign strategy.

2.       Align business processes and data value with customer experience

Understand what data is valuable to your organisation. It’s crucial to apply the insights gained from your data to the way in which you operate. The focus must be constantly on the customer experience that you want to deliver. Success here depends on having access to the right data and insight at the right time to architect and orchestrate the customer experience. Supporting processes need to be flexible and scalable in order to adapt quickly to changing customer journeys.

3.       Build the business organisation, skills and tools

It’s important to determine and hone the campaign and channel execution processes, then properly align customer and business data with the CRM tools – this is imperative if you are to gain a holistic and informed view of your customers and how this translates to the engagement and experience delivered to them.

The benefits of a unified, data-driven CRM approach

Understanding the data driven engagement capability end to end, from insight and strategy, through configuration and delivery, to reporting, optimization and attribution will allow for the ongoing optimization of the customer experience. The ability to change the customer experience with full knowledge of what the upstream and downstream impacts are (people, process, data and system) will position your organization to adapt quickly. Optimization of multichannel campaigns can be achieved and an improved customer experience can be engineered. It also opens the opportunity to effectively apply machine learning, but that’s for another article!

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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