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How to Map the B2B Customer Experience

Posted on  13 November 12  by 


A multi-faceted customer experience where the customer is interacting across multiple channels and products is a reality. In such a scenario where customers are going through multiple touchpoints, we hear many of our B2B members struggling to improve customer experience.

Wondering why? Because most service organizations do not know what those touchpoints are and how they affect the customer experience and customer loyalty, in turn. Without a clear understanding of customer interactions at the different touchpoints (and service failures that happen at each of the touchpoints), service organizations cannot target the right opportunities for service improvement.

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Customer Service in the News | Week of November 12th

  • In-store customer service a crucial component of driving consumer holiday shopping behavior [DSN]
  • Best Western tops UK customer service for the travel industry [Travel Weekly]
  • Businesses should have customer service focus that is more than just short-term [B2C Community]
  • Customers expect greater service in social media channels [Time]

Getting Personal with Customers

A recent CEB Iconoculture observation highlighted the Fairmont Hotel’s Presidents Club rewards program for their personalized treatment. Upon enrollment, club members select their preferred amenities, services, interests, and regions from a list.

Fairmont puts this list to use by personalizing their President’s Club rewards with travel preferences, passion points, and interests, thereby providing a unique experience that feels more personal and exclusive for the recipient. The tailored approach gives the customer confidence that they have not wasted their time or money with a brand that does not appreciate them.

An alternative benefit of the custom-made approach is showcasing the brand’s potential and available services. This value-added perspective provides insight into the possibilities for service organizations to follow a similar formula, especially in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.

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My Supervisor Knows My Development Areas: Agree or Disagree?

Posted on  7 November 12  by 


One of the most popular diagnostic tools available through CCC membership is our Coaching Pulse Survey, which helps member companies gauge the effectiveness of the current coaching taking place within their service and support organizations. Using this tool, companies can:

  • measure the overall coaching culture
  • identify strong (and weak) coaches
  • understand the effectiveness of different types of coaching topics and coaching activities

And after the diagnostic is completed, the CCC team reviews results with members to discuss the implications and plan for next steps. I’ve had quite a few of these conversations lately, and one of the most common themes that is emerging is lower scores for questions that relate to how well supervisors know the specific development areas of their individual staff members. And this feeling bleeds over into other questions in the diagnostic, including overall effectiveness of scheduled sessions and diagnosing true root causes of performance issues.

It seems to me that this is one of those moments of difficult truth…if your reps answered this question, what would they say? More importantly—how are you equipping supervisors within your organization to truly know root cause development needs for their staff members?

The startling fact is that poor coaching harms rep performance almost two times as much as good coaching helps performance. Read More »

The Path Less Taken: How to Invest and Divest to Win “The Customer Expectations Race”

We asked CCC members, “Are your customers more demanding of customer service today as compared to a few years ago?” A resounding 80% said “Absolutely, yes!” As the customer service world becomes a much smaller one and the competitive environment intensifies, customers feel more empowered and possess greater expectations for more tools, more channels, and more options to contact companies for their issues.


This “Customer Expectations Race” has almost become an impossible race to win.

Or maybe… companies are just not running the right race.

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Improving Offshore Vendor Relations: See How Panasonic Did It

Posted on  6 November 12  by 



A few months ago, my colleague revealed the number one trend we’re seeing in contact center outsourcing: increasing collaboration between call centers and their offshore vendors.

This new goal, despite political rhetoric and industry pressures to insource, reflects the changes in service and outsourced delivery landscapes. With increased customer expectations and renewed focus on customer experience, companies realize they can’t just tell their vendors to simply take calls. Instead, outsourced vendors are expected to deliver personalized, low-effort experiences– and companies must collaborate with them to ensure that this level of service is met.

But this type of relationship may be difficult to achieve. One barrier that many companies face is the reality of misaligned goals. While companies want to drive down live contact volume to reduce costs, outsourced vendors want to take calls to make profits. What companies need to do, then, is to identify results that they and the vendors can agree on.

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Customer Service in the News | Week of November 5th

Posted on  6 November 12  by 


How customer service can use the new iPad mini [Tech Crunch]

Zappos counters traditional KPIs to develop its own set of metrics that influence performance and outcomes [Customer Think]

Effective communication, rep empowerment, and openness to feedback are some of the keys to managing outsourced contact center operations effectively [1to1 Media]

Traditional contact center metrics are uncoordinated with the current shift from a business-centric approach to customer-centric one [Destination CRM]

Two tales of customer service during the East Coast storm in the U.S. last week [Wall Street & Technology]

What is Your Social Media Response Strategy?

There are many reasons why companies should engage in social media tools for their businesses — provide more relevant product information, keep strong brand recognition, and even build an emotional connection with their customers. However, with the development of multiple platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn) and staff from different internal business partners (e.g., sales, marketing, and customer service) interacting with customers via social media, it is often challenging to maintain a consistent voice to serve customers.

Moreover, responding to customer posts takes constant attention (if you strive to respond to every comment), making it nearly impossible for staff to take their minds off social media even briefly to complete other tasks. Therefore, it is important for companies to provide guidelines to reps on how and when to respond to customers via social media tools, or if they should respond at all.

How to respond to customers via social media tools? Read More »

How Two Companies Targeted Their Customer Effort Reduction Projects

Posted on  30 October 12  by 


Over the summer we introduced the Customer Effort Assessment - CCC’s newest premium diagnostic offering. In response to your peers’ requests to better understand how to effectively reduce effort in their service organizations, the Customer Effort Assessment helps you:

  1. Get a view into your customers‘ service journey by channel to understand customer channel behaviors and channel-hopping behaviors
  2. Deep dive into each channel to hear directly from customers what is causing them high effort
  3. Benchmark yourself against your peers (shortly other data cuts that you can use to track your progress over time).

The response to this offering has been overwhelming – more than 25 member organizations are participating and the first cohort has gotten the first crack at reviewing their custom report results.

I’ve had the privilege of reviewing these first few reports and working with several of the companies to interpret their findings. Their feedback has been constructive and positive – we’ve made changes to survey questions and presentation of the results, with some members calling the results ‘insightful’ and ‘actionable.’

Take the example of two companies – it’s a bit of a tale of two cities if you will. Both took the Customer Effort Assessment, but came to some very different insights: Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of October 29th

Should your CEOs provide customer service via social media? Rupert Murdoch does! [HBR Blog]

On the other hand, does responding more quickly over social media channels encourage customers to publicly complain? [B2C]

A study finds that customers are more likely to be difficult to deal with when they encounter problems that they caused [DailyFinance]

New software makes accessing big data easier for companies [The New York Times]

Hurricane Sandy is likely to create a surge in customer service problems and traffic for utilities companies.We hope everyone in affected areas is staying safe! [The New York Times]