Online business blogging

Machine Learning Can Help B2B Firms Learn More About Their Customers
vincent tsui for hbr Much of the strategic focus in the digital economy thus far has revolved around getting better insights into consumers. B2C firms have been the leaders in customer analytics initiatives. E-commerce, mobile commerce, and social media platforms have enabled businesses to better sculpt marketing and customer support initiatives and customer services. Extensive data and advanced analytics for B2C have enabled strategists to better understand consumer behavior and corresponding propensities as visitors and purchasers conduct daily activities through online systems. But there [...]
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Here’s Why Strategy Chiefs Succeed or Fail
alicemoi/Getty Images Why is it that some companies have great heads of strategy who make an outstanding contribution to their companies, while others don’t? To answer this question, we evaluated 55 heads of strategy, and looked more closely at 11 who were particularly successful and 10 who were at the other end of the spectrum. The full findings are contained in this white paper. But here’s a synopsis of what we learned. The person’s capabilities should fit the challenges facing the organization. Consider Staples, the office supplies retailer, which tumbled from being the [...]
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6 Ways to Take Control of Your Career Development If Your Company Doesn’t Care About It
Drawn Ideas/Getty Images We are now in the era of do-it-yourself career development. Companies less frequently offer formal training — a trend that has been around for years. This may be because employees change jobs so frequently (job tenure now averages about four years) that firms don’t see the value in investing in people who are likely to leave. This is a sharp contrast with the investment that senior leaders used to make in employees. During my 11 years at PepsiCo, mostly during the 1990s, “personal development” was treated as a major company init [...]
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Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything
New ventures are searching for a business model, not executing one. [...]
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Does Wall Street Finally Care About Sustainability?
Neasden Control Centre for hbr “Wall Street doesn’t care.” I’ve been attending conferences on green or sustainable business for more than 15 years, and I’ve worked closely with senior executives at multinationals on sustainability strategy. Through it all, I hear a common refrain: Even though climate change is already creating material risks and opportunities for companies, and expectations from stakeholders about social responsibility are clearly rising, investors aren’t asking CEOs about their sustainability performance. But could that finally be changin [...]
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Stop Neglecting Remote Workers
Harry Haysom/Getty Images When we talk about the importance of building strong relationships with employees, there’s a growing contingent that we often neglect: those who don’t work in the main office. This means not just the 31% of Americans who work remotely four or five days a week but also the people in satellite locations, where workers can easily feel forgotten. I’ve experienced this problem both as a manager and as an employee. For instance, when I ran a startup in San Francisco that was acquired by a company based in Toronto, I went from overseeing on-site [...]
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For Better Customer Service, Offer Options, Not Apologies
Jagdip Singh, a professor of marketing at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, explains his research team’s new findings about customer satisfaction. He says apologizing is often counterproductive and that offering customers different possible solutions is usually more effective. He discusses what companies can do to help service representatives lead interactions that leave a customer satisfied—whether or not the problem has been solved. Singh’s research is featured in the article “‘Sorry’ Is Not Enough” in the Janua [...]
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Is Your Company’s Data Actually Valuable in the AI Era?
Carmen Martínez Torrón /Hayon Thapaliya/Getty Images AI is coming. That is what we heard throughout 2017 and will likely continue to hear throughout this year. For established businesses that are not Google or Facebook, a natural question to ask is: What have we got that is going to allow us to survive this transition? In our experience, when business leaders ask this with respect to AI, the answer they are given is “data.” This view is confirmed by the business press. There are hundreds of articles claiming that “data is the new oil” — by which t [...]
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Why an Activist Hedge Fund Cares Whether Apple’s Devices Are Bad for Kids
Tim Ellis/Getty Images On January 6, 2017, JANA Partners, a New York–based activist hedge fund, and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) sent a letter to Apple’s board of directors that may change the future of activist investing. Citing a substantial body of expert research, the letter stated, “We believe there is a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner.” Overuse of iPhones by children and teenagers, the letter p [...]
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How Customer Service Can Turn Angry Customers into Loyal Ones
hbr staff/csa images/Getty Images Good customer service seems like common sense for businesses. But how valuable is it really? Until now, this has not been rigorously quantified across different companies. Businesses are understandably reluctant to share their CRM and sales data, and most research in this field has been based on surveys. But as more Americans seek customer service online, social media offers a better platform for analyzing interactions between service reps and customers. Using data from Twitter (where one of us works), we designed an experiment to study customer service inte [...]
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Facebook, BlackRock, and the Case for Purpose-Driven Companies
Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his platform needs to change. Community feedback has shown that public content has been “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” according to Zuckerberg. As a result, the company says it will be focusing more on promoting posts from friends rather than from media outlets, thereby leading to more-meaningful social interactions. While the long-term consequences for users, journalists, media, friendships, Facebook itself, and the future of democracy (see [...]
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You Don’t Just Need One Leadership Voice — You Need Many
Gregor Schuster/Getty Images We often equate developing a leadership voice with finding ways to appear more confident. We assume that our success depends upon mimicking someone else, increasing our self-promotion, or saying things louder than others. But rather than living with imposter’s syndrome, or feeling exhausted by wearing your game face all day, you can build a truer confidence by more intentionally focusing on cultivating many different parts of your leadership voice each day. Ultimately, you should cultivate enough parts of your voice so that no matter the lead [...]
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