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Why Delight Doesn’t Last

Posted on  19 August 13  by 

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iStock_000001198921XSmallThis blog is the fourth part of a series focusing on behavioral economics and how research about human behavior and biases affect customers and employees in a call center context.

Read part one | Read part two | Read part three

A friend once told me about a customer experience he had.  Apparently, a mere two days after purchasing an electronic device, he accidently stepped on it, rendering the device useless.  Not feeling terribly optimistic, he took it back to the store to see if it could be fixed.  To his delight, the person working at the store offered to replace the product entirely.

Impressed by the customer service he received, my friend declared to the employee that he had just earned a “customer for life,” and that he would never shop anywhere else.  In that moment, my friend may have meant what he said.  However, untrue to his word, my friend purchased a similar product for his sister from a major competitor of the store just a few days ago.

I’m sure this has happened to all of us at some point.  But why does it happen?

Read More »

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: The Benefits of Network Incentives

Posted on  16 August 13  by 


social media customer service I recall a story from a few years ago about Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball player, where he scored 20+ straight points in the 4th quarter to win a game.  As he came back to the bench, his assistant coach Tex Winter said, “You know Michael?  There’s no ‘I’ in team.”  To which Jordan replied, “No, you’re right Tex.  There isn’t.  But there’s an ‘I’ in win.”  And I’m sure we all know someone that we work with that thinks they’re the Michael Jordan of their own teams.  In the context of the contact center, these are those frontline reps who like to go it on their own (we call them ‘lone wolves’ sometimes), sometimes hoarding knowledge and defining success according to individual accomplishments.

Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of August 12th

Posted on  12 August 13  by 



  • Airlines adopt a DIY approach to checking in bags to give customers greater control of their service experiences. [CNN]
  • 3 underutilized ways to retain customers [Business 2 Community]
  • What customers are hearing about using social media for service [Marketplace]
  • How billboards in Times Square encourage customers to interact with companies [Forbes]

NPS vs. CES – Are They Mutually Exclusive?

Posted on  9 August 13  by 

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picFor those of you who work in the customer service, I am sure the majority of you are familiar with NPS (Net Promoter Score). As a regular CEB blog reader, I also would guess that CES (Customer Effort Score) isn’t new to you either. However, as a service leader, have you ever wondered which is the right metric to measure? Which specific goal the service organization should focus on at the end of the day – to increase promoters or to reduce customer effort?

We are often asked by service leaders which metric is better—it seems it is natural to want to choose one metric over another. However, based on our findings from CEB Customer Effort Assessment – one of the most popular premium diagnostics offered by CEB Customer Contact, we can tell you affirmatively that NPS and CES are NOT mutually exclusive.

In fact, these two metrics complement each other because they answer different questions, which gives service leaders a holistic picture of the customer experience and its impact, and also because they are interconnected. Let’s take a deeper look into how exactly they complement each other. Read More »

Stop Strategic Planning

Posted on  7 August 13  by 


iStock_000006010119SmallEver feel like the time that elapses between writing strategic plans is a bit too much like summer break in school?  You work, and work (and work some more), on your strategic plan, and by the time you’ve dug out of the things that piled up while you were planning… it’s time to write another strategic plan.   Well that’s because the times of the 10 year, 5 year, and even 3 year plan are history; who knows what innovation is lurking around the corner that’ll render your carefully crafted plan obsolete.  Knock the dust off your 2009 (or earlier) 5 year strategic plan—did it account for the impact that tablet technology would have on everyday life?  Probably not.  And if you’d written that in January of 2009, you’d still have a year left in that plan.


So you can’t be wedded to a long term strategic plan, but you still need a strategy, and this Homer Simpson strategy can’t be it.   Read More »

Handling Schedule Interruptions

Posted on  6 August 13  by 


Rep breaksAs our members know, there are few things as frustrating for a rep as taking a long, complicated call just before a scheduled break. Even the most customer-oriented reps don’t necessarily prioritize the customer when they see the minutes of their lunch break ticking away.

A question posted recently in our Talent Management Forum prompted us to think about different approaches contact centers can take to calls that run into scheduled lunches or breaks.  It can be tricky to decide whether to give reps exceptions to extend delayed breaks or to adjust targets and goals to account for long calls. Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of August 5th

Posted on  6 August 13  by 



  • Comcast takes the “less is more” approach to customer service [Forbes]
  • House bill ensures better federal customer service [Washington Post]
  • A few customer service horror stories [The Guardian]
  • New tech company Helpshift can improve many customer service mobile apps [Venture Beat]

Top 10 Most Cringe-Inducing Rep Phrases

Posted on  31 July 13  by 

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Bayside Family PictureMy family and I just returned from a weeklong vacation in Bayside, Maine, a beautiful little community about 2 hours from Portland.  It was my first trip to Maine (45 states down, 5 to go), and my wife and I made the decision to drive the 10 hours from our home with our three young children in tow.

Well, it took approximately 9.6 seconds of traveling before our (just-turned) 3 year-old uttered for the first time, “How much longer ‘til we get there?”.


Needless to say, he had a very captive audience, and no trick in the book (“Do you want some gummy fruits?”) could prevent him from calling out these words.  And the reaction from my wife and I was to cringe, since we knew there was no escaping this line of questioning.

Guess what?  Your reps say things to your customers all the time that elicit the same reaction:



*bang head against wall*

Read More »

3 Twitter Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on  31 July 13  by 


Twitter IconGeneric pre-recorded hold statements like “Your issue is important to us. Please hold” have long irritated customers who would feel much more convinced of the company’s concern if they could actually have their problems resolved. Customers often look for ways to reach companies more directly, and social media is a popular way to do so. What’s a better way to feel like a valued customer than to receive a tailored response to a complaining tweet? Read More »

What Customer Effort and Murder Mysteries Have in Common

Posted on  30 July 13  by 


effortless experienceSo, what do renowned novelist Stephen King and our very own CEB team members Matt Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi have in common?  Well…besides the fact that they all wear glasses, I’m extremely excited and proud to say they also all have new books that are scheduled to be released in September 2013.  While Stephen King’s latest novel, Doctor Sleep will definitely be a thriller, I must say that after reading Matt, Nick, and Rick’s book,The Effortless Experience,  you’ll also find it to be a page-turner (albeit of a very different kind).

For those of you who have been on the low-effort journey with us for the past five years, it’s a familiar story.  Instead of trying to delight customers in service interactions (which – even if successful – brings no additional loyalty returns), the single most powerful thing the service organization can do to contribute to customer loyalty is to reduce customer effort and make it easy for customers to solve their service inquiry.

In fact, 96% of customers who put forth high effort to resolve their service issues are more disloyal, but only 9% of those with low effort interactions are more disloyal.  Data from tens of thousands of B2C and B2B customers around the world is clear – the directive of service leaders should be to create a low-effort service organization.

And this book provides a compelling and actionable introduction to customer effort for those who are new to the game, as well as a holistic view into an end-to-end successful customer effort strategy (and a few new tips!) for those well-versed in our customer effort research. Read More »