I need to start with an acknowledgment of David Cooperstein of Forrester for sparking this idea with me. David wrote:
“Lock-in mechanisms — mobile phone contracts, proprietary technology, and frequent-flier programs, for example — don’t create loyalty; they just create barriers to leaving. Forcing customers to comply with one set of rules designed for the masses makes your offer a commodity over time.”
David is exactly right. These “loyalty” branded practices, don’t create loyalty at all. I then considered this same thought for the manner in which we service customers in the contact center. Are customers doing business with the [...]
In a white paper that I co-authored with Paul Stockford of Saddletree Research on contact center metrics, ” Contact Center Metrics that Matter,” we included a focus on including the voice of the customer as a key measurement. We talked about net promoter scores and the challenges with getting a large enough sample size to make the results relevant. However, this week I was reminded of the core fundamental that while you might get the surveying process correct, if you aren’t asking the right questions, you’re missing the mark.
I presented at the Society of Telecommunications Consultants (STC) conference this week. [...]
Small businesses have many disadvantages when going up against larger competitors – smaller budgets, less name recognition, smaller customer base, fewer resources – and that is just the start. But enter in the great equalizer – the ability to deliver a better customer experience.
Maybe your bigger competitor has 5,000 support people in their contact center and you have 12. Any given customer, at any given time, is a one-to-one relationship. Your agent helping your customer. And as a smaller business, you actually have some advantages – less bureaucracy, increased flexibility, more personalized relationship with your customers, shorter paths to [...]
I had a terrible web chat experience last week that set my thinking in motion (BTW I’m looking for a new home alarm system).
After getting a not-too-intrusive invitation to chat, I accepted and the conversation went like this:
Joe: Can you tell me if you carry 2GIG products?
Agent: In case we get disconnected, can you give me your name and email address?
Joe: Nope, just looking for the answer to my question.
Agent: Have you contacted us previously?
Joe: Seems like you don’t have an interest in answering my simple question. Thanks. Bye.
I guess I could have [...]
I was having lunch with a call center executive and the conversation drifted to contact center metrics, and more importantly, how she was measured by her boss. Since a great deal of her job was centered on workforce optimization, I expected her to speak of service levels or service consistency. But she didn’t. She told us that her performance and her bonus were tied mostly to customer satisfaction scores and other customer feedback metrics. Of course service levels and service delivery were important, and she would certainly hear it whenever there was a service delivery failure, but her main goal [...]
In my last blog I talked about defining, documenting and communicating your customer experience strategy. This time I’m going to give you my top ten questions that I believe you must answer as you focus on creating a better customer experience.
As you work to develop a well-structured plan for designing your customer experience, spending time defining, documenting and communicating your current customer experience is step one. Step two is answering these ten questions listed below. These questions represent my years of experience helping clients design and implement solid customer experience strategies.
Use the answers from this checklist to help [...]
Organizations are rightfully focused on best practices within the contact center to ensure they provide a positive customer experience and enhance customer loyalty. We quality monitor, we survey, and we coach. Unfortunately, while we rigorously work to connect customers to a knowledgeable and friendly contact center agent, we sometimes forget to ensure that the customer’s product order or service is actually being handled properly. If you think about it, one of the guaranteed ways to lose a customer is to botch their order, or deliver a service incorrectly, and not be able to rectify the problem in a timely manner. [...]
Smart is more important than nice – Defining what matters most in a customer experience
In our recent study defining what customers want in a great service experience, respondents said that the item they value most in a customer service experience is “a knowledgeable representative.” Interestingly, when we asked the professionals behind delivering those customer experiences, what they thought was most important, they ranked “a timely response” as their number one answer. Now in full disclosure, the scores showed that both are important, but given the choice between the two, which is right?
Clearly, it is the response of the [...]
The customer experience is getting a lot of attention these days and as Martha Stewart would say, “that is a good thing.” Where would your business be without customers? Not a pleasant question to ponder, right? But like it or not, your customers are having an experience so ponder this question:
Do you have a defined, focused strategy around what you want your customer’s experience to be and how will you provide it?
If you don’t have a customer experience strategy, you should. Your customers are too important to leave it to chance. And, it is not the burden of [...]
Okay, I admit up front that this isn’t an either/or discussion – efficiency OR customer satisfaction. That said, I’ve found that most contact centers swing one way or the other. They are either primarily focused on improving efficiency and driving down costs (oh yea, we want to satisfy our customers too); or they are all about the customer experience (oh yea, we try and be as efficient as possible too). One of the two is usually the primary objective and the other an after-thought. An experience I had recently helped me better understand the cross-over point between the two – [...]