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Posts from March 2012

How to Win over Your Support Page

Posted on  30 March 12  by 

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This is the second in a two-part series about the importance of web ownership…earlier we explored WHY your support page is important, and here we will tell you HOW you can get that ownership…

I recently blogged about the importance of your support page, and gave you three reasons why you should be showing it a little love. (As a brief recap, the page is important because your customers love online service, there are huge cost savings, and poorly designed pages drive disloyalty.)

We noticed though, in 2009, that the “love” for these pages seemed to be missing, and service teams suffered from a lack of web ownership. But we are wondering now if that trend has changed over the years, and so we asked you about your relationship with the web page today.

And the results seem fairly encouraging. The vast majority (over 70% of our members) say that they have at least a modest level of ownership over the support page, with 31% saying that they have gained that control within the past few years. Only 29% of members said they had little to no ownership over that page because another team is in charge of content and design changes.

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“Green” Customer Experiences Are Win-Win-Win

Posted on  28 March 12  by 

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A recent Iconoculture insight about a new “green” initiative underway at Starwood Sheraton Hotels caught my eye.  In a nutshell, Sheraton is offering rewards to guests who decline overnight maid service during multi-night stays.  In doing so, guests are enabling the hotel chain to be more “green” by saving water and electricity.  But this is more than a win for the environment: customers win with loyalty points and the hotel is certainly saving money, if nothing more than through lower utility consumption.  This is one of those unique win-win-win situations.

And the idea of making “green” strategies into win-win-win got me thinking about how customer service organizations can create similar opportunities within their daily operations.  So I asked the CCC team to brainstorm some ideas. Read More »

Let Us Help You Save Some Time

Posted on  28 March 12  by 

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One of the ways in which CCC has expanded its services to our members in recent years is our growing set of training materials.  Covering an array of topics, these resources are based on some of our most popular best practice research—converted into materials that can be deployed as-is, complete with speaking points for trainers and suggested questions for classroom discussion. And to tailor the information to your environment, all of the included practice exercises can be modified as you see fit.

And while this is probably not new news for everyone (our first set of training materials that teach frontline personality-driven service skills was published in 2008), what may be new for most of our readers is that these materials are now easier than ever to access on our site.  Based on feedback that they were sometimes hard to locate, we listened to you and have created a new central “tab” within our member site that is dedicated to all of our training resources.  Specifically, you’ll be able to quickly find: Read More »

What Your Customers REALLY Think About Social Media as a Service Channel

Posted on  27 March 12  by 

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Here at CCC, we have written many a blog post on social media.  (and, no…we aren’t alone.  Just Google ‘customer service and social media’ if you have some time to kill).

We’ve wondered if the VOC from social media channels represents true customer sentiment or a ‘squeaky wheel’.  We’ve talked about your social media game plan.  And we’ve discussed ways to more effectively listen in social media channels.

But, what do customers think?  Do they expect you to provide customer service via Twitter and Facebook?

The answer is:

Not really. Read More »

Stop Overpromising to Your Customers!

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog over the past few months, then you’re likely to have read about the focus of this year’s research at CCC, which aims to take a closer look at customer expectations and what service organizations can do to better understand and deliver against them.

While there are many different expectations that customers have coming into a service interaction, one of the key areas that members are trying to better understand is the impact of turnaround time on the customer experience. There’s certainly anecdotal evidence to suggest that customers today are demanding faster, almost immediate responses from service, which only makes sense given the increasingly fast-paced, mobile-ready world we live in.

But the reality is that while customers may be expecting faster turnaround, service organizations can’t always deliver it. And when this is the case, organizations face a fundamental tradeoff. They can either:

A)     Be truthful with the customer about how fast the organization can realistically respond   OR

B)      Stretch the truth on how fast the organization can likely respond and strive to deliver on that promise.

E-mail is a great example of this kind of tradeoff in action, as it’s certainly a channel where the pressure to deliver quickly has only grown over time. In the pursuit of improving their e-mail response times, organizations typically set general guidelines for expected turnaround and then strive to deliver on these promises—but this becomes a dangerous game and oftentimes leads companies to overpromise and under-deliver for some customers. Read More »

How to Hire Frontline Reps Without Reading Their Resumes

Posted on  21 March 12  by 

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A candidate’s job search is fairly straight-forward: send a resume, attend an interview, and provide references. In today’s digital age, however, employers are relying on new and creative methods to gauge candidate fit.

In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, some companies have completely stopped asking candidates for their resumes. Instead, they rely on social networks such as LinkedIn, video profiles, and online tests to better understand employees’ skills and measure cultural fit. For example, Union Square Ventures, a New York-based venture capital firm, asks candidates to submit videos demonstrating interest in an open role. Colorado-based StickerGiant.com makes resume submission optional, and instead uses online tests to determine whether an applicant would be a good fit.

Companies that have embraced these new hiring processes claim that resumes are not a good way to identify best-fit candidates.

Contact centers are not immune to the challenge of finding best-fit applicants for frontline roles. In fact, as rep jobs have become more complex in recent years, identifying “best-fits” has become more difficult than ever.  Customers are demanding more personalized interactions, and agents have much more to learn thanks to new channels and more complex offerings. As a result, new hires must be able to adapt easily to evolving job demands. Read More »

Easy Design Principles that Boost Knowledge Management Usage

Posted on  20 March 12  by 

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Last week my colleague Lara blogged on the topic of embedding knowledge management tools in your staff’s workflow by changing staff behaviors.   And while her guidance was spot on, it did leave the question of how to get your staff to simply try out and use the technology itself, unanswered.

Quite simply, if you want your staff to use the knowledge management tool then – make it easy to use.

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The Key to Your Success: Humor?

Posted on  20 March 12  by 

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This post was originally published on the MREB Outliers and Observations.  MREB is our sister program for heads of market research.

A recent article on Forbes.com examines whether funny people are more successful in business.  And research seems to show that well-placed humor not only lifts the mood in the office, but can make you more successful in your own career.

As former president of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor Steven Sultanoff, Ph.D., puts it, “If someone is using humor then they are connecting with people and building relationships, which creates opportunities that other people may not have.”  [by the way, the AATH is an actual organization; it's the home for humor and laughter professionals.  And I love their logo!]

Studies show that humor can facilitate trust and establish a sense of group cohesion.  And as we’ve blogged about recently, any method you can use to build rapport and influence with your business partners will help improve overall impact on the firm.

But you can’t just throw humor around all willy-nilly (just ask your friends in HR).  To help you in your quest for funny, check out these office humor dos and the don’ts: Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of March 19th

Posted on  19 March 12  by 

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How Skullcandy augments its in-house service center team with “brand experts”—customers hired part time to handle chat lines [Computer World]

Companies are failing to manage an increasing number of social media accounts – running the risk of inconsistent customer experience and untrained employees [My Customer]

Successful customer service is not just about handling complaints but also about handling different types of people [Customer Think]

Customer service emerges as a top priority for retailers in 2012 [SFGate]

UK Retail giant Tesco will create 20,000 extra jobs to increase focus on higher level of customer service. At the same time, Strategic Five Marketing’s increased focus on customer service led to sales increase of 13% [Digital Journal]

Research Update: Service and Support Organizational Design

Posted on  13 March 12  by 

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A few weeks back, Lauren blogged about our latest research initiative on Organizational Design Methods. Since then, we have been speaking to members across industries and business segments to gather insights on certain organizational design challenges that companies often struggle with, specifically, managing global operations, overseeing multichannel contacts, and evolving support functions.

While we continue to work on this piece of research, I wanted to share some of our initial thoughts and findings here: Read More »