Facebook Messenger: The Future Of Customer Service?

Ian Jacobs

This a guest post by Meredith Cain, a Research Associate on the Application Development & Delivery (AD&D) team.

As Francis Bacon wrote in 1625, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” Although he did not write this with Facebook Messenger or customer service in mind, the meaning still applies. If customers will not come to your business, your business must go to the customers. In 2016, customer service application professionals struggle to find common ground where businesses can fulfill as many customers’ needs as possible in a seamless and timely manner. With one out of every nine people on the planet already using Facebook Messenger, businesses should start to capitalize on this consolidation of customers by adopting Messenger, rather than attempting to move the “mountain.”

In our recent report, we argue that customer service application professionals should make plans to incorporate Messenger into their service arsenal. Facebook’s recent announcement of new Messenger tools that include business-friendly innovations, as well as Facebook’s already ubiquitous user base, positions Messenger to serve as the bridge between Muhammad and the mountain. As this metaphorical bridge, Messenger provides customer service pros with:

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Who Would’ve Thought GameStop Has One Of Retail’s Best Innovation Playbooks?

Sucharita  Mulpuru

Because it has over 4,000 physical retail stores but more than 60% of video game sales are projected to move online by 2020, GameStop is in the midst of major disruption.  The steps it has taken to maintain growth and margin are nontraditional and  compelling.  In fact, we featured many of these tactics in last year’s Future of Shopping report.  Among GameStop’s key approaches to driving growth now are:

  • Diversification. GameStop has launched two new store formats in recent years.  The first new format is mobile device stores in partnership with AT&T.  In fact, outside of AT&T’s own company stores, GameStop is the 2nd biggest owner of AT&T stores, selling not only smartphones but tablets, home security systems and internet connectivity. GameStop also acquired the cult brand ThinkGeek last year.  GameStop has plans to open 50 new ThinkGeek stores in the coming year and that gives GameStop an opportunity to take share in entirely new categories like apparel and soft goods.
  • Loyalty marketing. GameStop has developed one of the most innovative and successful loyalty programs in the retail industry.  Currently, it has over 49MM members in its PowerUp Rewards program and 9MM of them even pay for enhanced rewards.  Collectively this group drives 75% of the company’s GameStop store revenue. One of the benefits those paying customers receive is a video game magazine called Game Informer which now, because of its affiliation with GameStop’s rewards program, has one of the biggest circulations of any magazine in America, even greater than magazine industry stalwarts like People and Sports Illustrated.
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Forrester’s New Breakout Vendor Series: Stay On Top Of Disruptive Technology

Carrie Johnson

Have you heard of Hubba? Coupa? What about APX Labs? Forrester features these technology vendors, alongside 19 others, in our new Breakout Vendor reports. To keep pace with the expectations of digitally empowered customers and clients, firms must stay on top of disruptive and emerging technologies. Keeping up with new providers of potentially game-changing technologies is overwhelming, which is why we're introducing this new Breakout Vendor research. In these reports, we give you insight into the most promising innovations — and the companies behind them — that will accelerate growth in the age of the customer.

Forrester's Breakout Vendor reports provide insight into:

  • Offering: What are the capabilities of the products and the technology?

  • Scenarios: What are the scenarios and environments in which the company excels?

  • Maturity: What is the company's go-to-market approach, channel strategy, and viability?

  • Challenges: What are the potential pitfalls and areas for improvement?

  • Road map: What's next for the business and its products?

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Could Your Next Security Analyst Be A Computer?

Joseph Blankenship

Cybersecurity requires a specialized skillset and a lot of manual work. We depend on the knowledge of our security analysts to recognize and stop threats. To do their work, they need information. Some of that information can be found internally in device logs, network metadata or scan results. Analysts may also look outside the organization at threat intelligence feeds, security blogs, social media sites, threat reports and other resources for information.

This takes a lot of time.

Security analysts are expensive resources. In many organizations, they are overwhelmed with work. Alerts are triaged, so that only the most serious get worked. Many alerts don’t get worked at all. That means that some security incidents are never investigated, leaving gaps in threat detection.

This is not new information for security pros. They get reminded of this every time they read an industry news article, attend a security conference or listen to a vendor presentation. We know there are not enough trained security professionals available to fill the open positions.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, we have strived to find technical answers to our labor problems. Much manual labor was replaced with machines, making production faster and more efficient.

Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics are now making it possible for humans and machines to work side-by-side. This is happening now on factory floors all over the world. Now, it’s coming to a new production facility, the security operations center (SOC).

Today, IBM announced a new initiative to use their cognitive computing technology, Watson, for cybersecurity. Watson for Cyber Security promises to give security analysts a new resource for detecting, investigating and responding to security threats.

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Don't Wait; Rethink Your ITIL Journey Now!

Robert Stroud

Over the past 25 years, many organizations have modelled their support – and in some cases their delivery organization – after the ITIL frameworks and processes. For many, ITIL has been helpful in establishing the rigor and governance that they needed to bring their infrastructure under control in an era where quality and consistency of service was critical and technology was sometimes fragile.

Today, we are 5 years into “The age of the customer” – an era where customer obsession is driving technology and which demands a culture of speed and collaboration to differentiate and deliver extraordinary customer experience to drive business growth. In this era, the rise of mobility and the race to deliver differentiated business processes is critical to success. Your development teams are driving velocity and elasticity with increased quality and availability, leveraging DevOps practices and often driving change directly to production.

This transition has led some organizations to experience friction between the competing priorities, velocity and control, especially for those who continue to execute on the traditional model of ITIL.

ITIL is starting to show signs of age. That does not mean it is on the verge of demise. ITIL must adapt. To understand the relevance of ITIL and IT Service Management practices in this era of Modern Service Delivery, Eveline Oehrlich and Elinor Klavens and I have embarked on a review of ITIL and the use of IT Service Management practices supporting todays BT agenda.

Our key findings include:

ITIL must pivot to support digital transformation

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Containers - there really is substance behind the hype

Paul Miller

Containers. One of those nasty terms, like metadata (ok - maybe you had to move in the odd circles I did for that one to resonate), cloud, or big data. To some, the solution to every problem. To others, yet another unforgivable explosion of over-exuberant hype that should be ignored at all costs. And, like so many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Containers are an important component in broader efforts to transform the way in which an enterprise builds, tests, deploys, and scales its applications. Particularly, today, its customer-facing systems of engagement. But they're not the answer to every problem, and they don't replace all your virtual machines, mainframes, and other infrastructure.

Most enterprise CIOs, today, have probably heard of containers... or Docker. And, for most of you, there will be a group or individual inside your organisation loudly singing containers' praises. There will be an equally vocal group or individual, pointing to every factoid supporting their view that the container emperor has nothing on.

My latest Brief takes a look at some of the ways containers are being used, and argues that CIOs need to pay attention - now. That's not to say you should wholeheartedly embrace containers in everything you do. But you do need to ensure you're aware of their strengths, and track the rapid evolution in the underlying technologies. Some pieces are even beginnint to be standardised, between competing companies.

And, just to see if the metadata crowd are still reading... Z39.50! 

Forrester’s Security & Risk Spotlight – Joseph Blankenship

Stephanie Balaouras

A lifelong Atlanta Braves fan, Forrester Senior Analyst Joseph Blankenship longs for the mid-1990's with respect to his baseball team, but we promise that he looks to the future as he advises his clients on current and emerging security technologies. He covers security infrastructure and operations, including security information management (SIM), security analytics, and network security, and his research currently focuses on security monitoring, threat detection, operations, and management. Joseph has presented at industry events, been quoted in the media, and has written on a variety of security topics.

Joseph Blankenship Image

Joseph's over 10 years of security experience includes marketing leadership and product marketing roles at Solutionary (NTT), McAfee (Intel Security), Vigilar, and IBM (ISS), where he focused on managed security services, consulting services, email security, compliance and network security. As a marketing leader, Joseph helped to align client needs with marketing strategy, messaging, and go-to-market activities while educating users about security strategy. His background also includes extensive experience in the IT, telecommunications, and consulting industries with Nextel, IBM, Philips Electronics, and KPMG.

Listen to Joseph's conversation with VP, Research Director Stephanie Balaouras to hear about Joseph's biggest surprises since starting as a Forrester analyst, his most frequent client inquiries, and the topics he's excited to research in the coming year:

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Just Don't Call It Native Advertising

Ryan Skinner

In the context of writing a report on the native advertising technology landscape, I was looking at many publishers' native advertising products when it occurred to me:

Nobody uses the same damn name for native ads, no one calls it 'advertising', and almost no one calls it 'native'.

Here's a word cloud of all the names used for native advertising products by 20 leading publishing houses (full list of the publishers below).

Not a single name for this product was repeated publisher to publisher.

Let me repeat that:

Not a single name for this product was repeated publisher to publisher.

Now, I get branding. Ford's not going to name their new car Chevy. But this isn't branding. Chevy and Ford can both agree that the Mustang and the Camaro are, in fact, cars. Ford doesn't call its cars Frisbees, and Chevy doesn't call them PersonTransporters, and think they're competing in wildly different markets.

Further, here's the hall of native ad product naming fame (or shame, if you will):

Top Prize For Most Orwellian-Named Native Ad Product: Mashable's 'BrandSpeak'
(apparently, this is a dialect invented on Madison Avenue, spoken only by a gaggle of editorial primates and consists entirely of CamelCase AdjectiveNames)

Top Prize For Advertising Not-Advertising But-Still-Advertising: Vox's 'Vox Creative'
It sits under the 'Advertising' category of the site, next to another offering called...'Advertising'. I don't even.

Top Prize For 'Let's Admit It, This Could Be Just About Any Old Thing': Economist's 'Content'

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Your Customers Have Abandonment Issues

Brendan Witcher

Omnichannel fulfillment services have indubitably piqued the interest of today’s retail leaders; nearly one-third of the retail organizations we surveyed already support “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) functionality or have plans to implement the technology by the end of next month.  However, proponents of omnichannel fulfillment are starting to recognize that simply offering services like BOPIS does not in itself lift the bottom line. eBusiness professionals must actively ensure that these initiatives are driving real profits for their business, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to maximize conversion and minimize costs.

In our new report Abolish Abandon Rates For In-Store Pickup, Forrester explores how BOPIS order abandonment—or situations in which BOPIS users cancel or fail to collect their purchase from the store—threatens the success of these programs due to lost sales, unnecessary layaway of inventory, wasted associate time, and sunk interchange fees. We provide insights into why and how frequently customers abandon their orders, as well as the actions you can take to increase BOPIS profitability. Our research indicates that:

  • "Buy online, pick up in store" no-shows are more common than you think. BOPIS users canceling or failing to collect their online purchases from the store is a shockingly frequent occurrence. Indeed, 29% of US online adults who have used “buy online, pick up in store” services in the past three months have abandoned at least one BOPIS purchase in this time frame. And if your company targets Millenials, the prognosis is even worse: 38% of BOPIS users ages 18-24 and 48% of users ages 25-34 have failed to collect at least one BOPIS purchase within the past three months.  
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The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs

Nigel Fenwick

By 2020, every company that exists today will have become a digital predator or digital prey. This isn't news to you if you follow my research or blog posts. In fact I've been saying that since 2014. But why is it that some companies seem to understand digital business more than others? Is their a difference in the leadership in digital predators compared to digital dinosaurs?

These are the questions I dig into in my latest research "The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, and Dinosaurs." To get at the answers, we analyzed the results from the digital business survey to tease apart companies that are already digital, those that are transforming to become more digital, and those that are remaining less digital. Examining the perspectives of business executives in each group, we reveal how the digital business DNA differes between predators, transformers and dinosaurs.

Executives At Digital Predators Are Really, Really Customer Obsessed

While all companies profess to put customers first, it’s clear from the data that executives at digital Predators care more passionately about the customer across multiple dimensions: In every customer metric we measured, these executives rated the importance of the customer higher than peers in transformers and dinosaurs – in short, they are not just customer obsessed, they are really, really customer obsessed. Nowhere is this clearer than in the perception of how to apply digital thinking to the business:

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