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The Paradox of Outsourced Quality

Posted on  15 February 13  by 

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Copy (2) of IT money puzzle pieceToday, we’re seeing more and more service organizations adopt strategies to adapt to the “Era of Quality 2.0.”  Many members have described it to me as choosing “depth over breadth.”  But as we’ve seen this shift now to “better for the customer”, this raises the question – “What’s better for me (customer service leadership)?”  Traditionally, cost effectiveness has been the biggest strategic consideration for service leaders, particularly around the implementation of outsourcing.  So taking outsourcing as our example, how can service leaders reconcile both “better for the customer” and “better for the company”?  Is it possible to have both?  Or must service leaders have to choose one over the other?

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What Your Customers Are Doing Online

Posted on  13 February 13  by 

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online customer service habitsCCC recently asked a customer panel to tell us, based on the reason for contacting customer service, which areas of a website they visited in the course of seeking issue resolution.  And while a single blog post is not enough space to present all of the findings, I would like to spend some time telling you what your customers are trying to do via your FAQ page in particular.  I choose this one because it is an area of the web site that you can readily influence without a lot of effort—and, after all, everyone loves an easy win!

So, without further ado…who goes to your FAQ page?

  • 68% of those resolving an issue with a product or service
  • 65% of customers filing a complaint
  • 57% who were checking or changing the status of an account
  • 66% of those who wanted to obtain account information
  • 68% of those trying to return a product or service
  • 59% of customers making a purchase
  • 64% of customers with general inquiries Read More »

3 Customer Service Stories to Learn From

Posted on  12 February 13  by 

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Feb 12When my friends want to share with me their customer service experiences, they usually tend to be frustrating ones—but that’s not to say good service isn’t out there. Recently I came across an interesting article that featured 11 successful customer service stories.

I would like to briefly share with you some of those stories here:

Story 1: A 89-year-old man got snowed in and didn’t have much food in his house. His daughter called several markets in the area to see if any of them had grocery delivery services, but the only one that said they would deliver was Trader Joe’s. Trade Joe’s actually does not provide delivery services, but they decided to make an exception to help the old man – for free. Read More »

The Importance of Emailing Your Customers

Posted on  11 February 13  by 

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Email customersI was out of the office yesterday and returned to a slew of 65 emails that have flooded my inbox since. Sixty-five. But no surprise there. With how easy and quick email is, it’s little wonder that it has become a vital part of how we communicate. Scheduling meetings, reading the news, shopping for Groupons: email is a powerful way to exchange and push information.

Though this realization is not lost on service organizations, some are still hesitant to ask customers for their email contact information. Viewing it as an unnecessary time-spend, they opt out of gathering this form of contact. But our research shows outbound email hosts a range of benefits that don’t exist in other channels. For these reasons below, it is certainly worthwhile for organizations to take that couple of moments and collect email addresses from customers.

  • Email allows organizations to proactively alert customers of service issues. Email is one of the quickest ways to contact customers, so use this channel to push information that’s relevant for customers. Is there a new regulation that impacts the customers will be served? Are there company activities that will likely disrupt service for a period of time? Getting in front of your customers, before these issues arise, can help avoid spikes in inbound customer contacts down the line. Visit our section on smartly using proactive alerts to devise a good strategy for using email.

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Customer Service in the News | Week of February 11th

Customer Service News

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Humanizing the Customer Service Experience

Posted on  5 February 13  by 

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Thumanzing the customer experienceyping the title for this blog, I was struck by how odd it feels.  I mean, ‘humanizing’ the service experience?  For live experiences at least, service interactions are one person (typically our frontline) interacting with another person (the customer).  I mean, how much more human can you get?

But in reality, many of these interactions are far from the type of ‘human’ experiences our customers have come to expect. 

Although most service leaders have call center scripts a long time ago, customers tell us that reps still sound robotic – like they are just going through the motions without really listening to customers.  And after reflection, most service leaders tell us that their reps – after a few months of tenure – start to have their own internal ‘scripts’ running in their heads.  Basically, they hear a customer say ‘issue x’ and immediately go into auto-pilot based on how they’ve resolved issue x time and time before.

Today’s customers, though, demand more tailored, personalized service.  They wanted to be treated like an individual, not ‘the’ customer.  We first explored this with our Quality 2.0 era of service, and have seen it crop up in the real world recently – most notably with Discover Card’s latest ads for its new it card.

So how do most companies attempt to create these tailored interactions? Read More »

Coaching: What Are Your Peers Doing Right?

Posted on  4 February 13  by 

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CCoaching_graph1oaching effectiveness is a high priority for many organizations, and it’s no surprise given its effect on staff performance metrics and the subsequent influence on company culture. Coaching is one of the most powerful drivers of staff performance, and it’s also one of the top three drivers of staff retention.

Effective coaching is: Read More »

Customer Service in the News | Week of February 4th

customer service

Study reveals increased importance of issue resolution in the web [Brafton]

Bank of America CEO puts customer service back at top of priority list [InvestorPlace]

According to small business owners, thank you cards and doughnuts can go a long way in customer loyalty [Forbes]

6 reasons to really focus on delivering excellent customer service [Forbes]

How to Hire Reps Who Will Stay

interviewMany of us spend precious resources in finding the “perfect” rep, only to see him leave within the first few months on the job. The reason? While we do a good job of assessing if candidates have the right “skills,” it’s harder to identify if they are a good “fit.”

Commonly-used screens and interviews can successfully test for skills (such as speed, accuracy, and communication), but not behaviors that predict rep success and cultural fit (such as ownership, responsibility, and resilience). And if reps “game” these assessments and get hired, the inherent mismatch often causes them to quit within the first few months.

Faced with the challenge of high attrition among new-to-role reps, one CCC member in the telecom industry re-examined its traditional hiring practices to screen for better organizational fit. They began using a two-step screening process to hire the right rep for the job, focusing on behavioral interview questions (instead of situational questions)–and diligently prepared interviewers to conduct behavioral interviews.

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Hitting Delete (Again) on Email

Posted on  30 January 13  by 

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stop signA few years ago I wrote what I thought, at the time, was a pretty bold post about eliminating email from the customer service channel portfolio.

 Fast forward to today, and that idea seems a lot less edgy and lot more, well, obvious.  Just about every company that I have spoken with in the past twelve months is either:

-          Reducing the availability of email to resolve issues, or;

-          Eliminating email altogether.

Where do you and your organization land on this channel?

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