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Customer Service in the News | Week of April 8th

Posted on  8 April 13  by 


customer service in the news With digital service channels, how do you still offer customer experience “with a smile”? [B2C]

Bank of America makes physical branches destinations for customers needing advice, tailored service [CIO Today]

JC Penney rolls out iPod Touch for reps to offer service, support, and checkout [CITE World]

Apple CEO apologizes after Chinese consumers complain about poor customer service [Daily Telegraph]



Empowering the Once Powerless Customer Service Rep

Posted on  3 April 13  by 


empowering customer service repsI recently came across an article posted by Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp.  He spoke about “empowerment.”  Now, empowerment can imply many different things.  You may probably think of things like promotions or being tasked to lead a team on a new project.  But in the context of the customer service world, Thompson speaks about empowerment in relationship to frontline reps and how critical it is to meet the challenges of today.  He argues that empowerment of employees is contingent upon 3 critical elements.

  1. Authority to Make Decisions on Their Own
  2. Insights to Get the Job Done Quickly, on One Call
  3. Motivation to Delight Customers

Now, I (and a few other members of the CEB Customer Contact Leadership Council) may take issue with his last pillar around delight, but I would 100% agree with the value he places on the empowerment of employees through authority and insights. Read More »

Motivating Your Reps To Learn

Posted on  2 April 13  by 

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57444173 - silver medalYour employees go through training so that they can become assets to your company.  But how do you make learning accessible?  How do you get people to remember what they learned?  And how do you get people to want to learn in the first place?

Various factors make training of frontline staff and employee engagement increasingly important such as the fact that:

  • Customer issues that staff handle are more complex as customers handle easier issues through self-serve option
  • Turnover remains high at most call centers, which means training new staff is an ongoing effort

For these reasons, some companies have turned to gamification as a possible alternative to traditional training options, and its use is projected to rise.  Gamification is the process by which you take elements of traditional games – competition, rules, reward, and challenge – and apply them to other activities that are not typically thought of as games.  Its popularity continues in topics such as customer engagement, health and wellness, and employee training.


Read More »

Six Questions to Map the Customer Journey

Posted on  2 April 13  by 


Curvey Road SignA recent blog post from a service software company, 40 Stats Shaping the Future of Contact Centers, covered a numberof statistics across a broad range of categories including, Customer Experience, At-Home Agents  and Multi-Channel.

Among the Multi-Channel statistics cited is that “57% best in class companies measure support center success across email, chat, web, and voice”, but my question is this:

Do these companies (and does yours) measure cross-channel customer experience? In other words, do you measure the true customer journey?

Because if you’re not, you’re missing the boat.

Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of April 1st

Posted on  1 April 13  by 


Customer service in the newsCRM is an expensive investment- here are some tips to get your employees to use it effectively [CIO Magazine]

Apple is changing it’s in-store service model and introducing an approach the company calls “table selling” [Retail Customer Experience]

What do Oracle and Southwest Airlines have in common when it comes to managing the customer experience? Some thoughts from Oracle’s Chief Customer Officer [Forbes]

The solutions to your business problems may be in customer data [Destination CRM]

Two executives issue an appeal for simplicity in all facets of the customer experience [Wall Street Journal]

How to Avoid Knowledge Hoarding

Posted on  26 March 13  by 


customer service knowledge sharingKnowledge is power.  And so many of life’s relationships can often boil down to power struggles based on knowledge.  Politics.  Religion.  Parenting…Mommy is the only one who knows where the cookie jar is hidden.

This goes for the customer service world too.  Bob is the only one who knows how to fix that problem. Well, great for Bob…he’s feeling secure in his value to the company, but there are many problems when knowledge is solely owned by individuals in the service world:

  • What happens when Bob leaves the company?  How long will it take someone else to figure out the answer…and how many customers will we frustrate in the meantime?
  • What happens when Bob is on the other line?  Do we transfer and queue up customers, only to make them repeat themselves to Bob?

Unfortunately, however, Bob has no incentive to share his knowledge.  Nor does he really have the time.

What to do? Read More »

Don’t Let Frustrated Customers Burn Out Your Reps

Posted on  26 March 13  by 


Frustrated ConsumerIf I ask my friends whether they have yelled at a customer service agent before, most of them would say “yes”. Indeed, as customers, most folks take our frustration out on frontline reps and think it is legitimate because “it’s their job”. But rarely do those same customers think about it from the reps’ perspective — will they take those harsh words personally?

Consider this: companies love to put “nice” people in customer service. It’s obvious that this type of person genuinely wants to solve problems, and they are working really hard to make it happen for customers. However, the main problem of putting nice people on the frontline is that they tend to internalize the insults and absurd accusationsand take it all personally.

So, does that mean service organizations should not hire nice people? Definitely not. Instead, they should be looking for, and enabling, a set of skills which we call the Control Quotient (CQ). We’ve learned that one huge key to customer service performance is for reps to have the ability to bounce back from a negative or emotionally-challenging experience with one customer, and then be able to start fresh (just seconds later) with the next customer. Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of March 25th

Posted on  25 March 13  by 



Do-it-Yourself QA

Posted on  22 March 13  by 


Do it Yourself QA If you’re like me, you love creating new things out of simple items—and saving a lot of money doing it. Hangers that become cool shoe holders? Book ends that turn into hanging floating book shelves? All you need are the materials, some simple step-by-step directions, and voila, you’re on your way to completing your latest project.

That’s why we’ve turned QA – something that 88% of you care about but aren’t happy with – into something fun you can turn around with just a few quick tools. And it’s easy. Turning your QA into process that is focused on your customers and flexible for your reps is as easy as a simple DIY project. What you’ll need are:

  • One Competency Blueprint to determine what skills to measure your reps against. This mix-and-match list of 18 core competencies are the guidelines for measuring rep performance – not a checklist of items that handcuffs them to certain actions. Use this tool to find 6-8 core competencies that are most important to your organization and build your QA evaluation from there.

  Read More »

Keeping Customers Happy in a Social Media Era

Posted on  20 March 13  by 



With advances in technology and social media, how far do we have to go to be in the right place—at the right time—for our customers?

Some companies these days have a Facebook page, Twitter feed, LinkedIN profile, Pinterest page, YouTube channel, blog site, and website.  They have all the little buttons on the bottom of their “Contact Us” page next to the company phone number, email address, and fax.  The minute they hear about a new social media site, they scramble to find out how to get on it.

But is this the best way forward?

Read More »