Tricia’s Customer Service Success Blog

5 Customer Service Best Practices to Take to the Bank

bankingcustomerservice2From an industry that’s seeing some of its most satisfying service statistics ever, as well as some of the least, making an investment in consistently satisfying service and information delivery will be key to the banking industry, and a differentiator for leading institutions, going into 2015.

In 2014, customer satisfaction with banks was all over the place, from being called out by Money magazine as “one of three industries that desperately need customer service makeovers” to showing record-high satisfaction scores in a J.D. Power survey.
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The Customer Wish List for Holiday Service and Support

customer-wishlistThe holiday shopping season is just around the corner, and do you know what that means? Someone is inevitably going to be injured right after Thanksgiving dinner fighting for a sweet deal on an Xbox One, or worse, a $10 blender. And that folks, is why more and more people are shopping online…

The latest figures from the National Retail Federation’s (NRF’s) site project that holiday e-commerce sales in the U.S. will rise between 8 and 11% this year. For November and December 2014, U.S. retail e-commerce sales alone are expected to total as much as $105 billion of a projected $617 billion holiday haul. Read More

Customer Service is Everyone’s Job

customer-centricityA continuing problem with customer service today is that many view it as a job for the few (the customer service department), when in fact it is a role for all. Whether or not the word “customer” is in your job title, at the end of the day, it’s the customer who determines your job, affecting your organization’s success, reputation, revenue, product and service development, staff size and retention – the list goes on and on.

More and more brands are embracing the all for one (the customer) strategy. Notes David Cooperstein in the Forrester report, Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Customer, “a customer-obsessed enterprise focuses its strategy, its energy and its budget on processes that enhance knowledge of and engagement with customers and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.”

Brands like Zappos have laid the groundwork for this and continue to stand out as leaders. Affirms CEO Tony Hsieh, “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Read More

3 Traits of a Great Customer Service Representative

customer service greatness

Your brand may have the best products, the best pricing and the most data, but if you aren’t engaging and empowering your people, you’re still operating at a competitive loss.

According to the most recent Gallup State of the American Workplace report, “when organizations successfully engage both their employees and their customers they experience a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes compared to an organization with neither engaged employees, nor engaged customers.” Gallup notes that the moment an engaged employee connects emotionally with a customer, “it’s a source of untapped power that has profound implications for a company’s productivity and profitability.”
But unfortunately, according to the same report, 70% of American workers say they’re either “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” at work, and the cost is extremely high. Median differences between brands in the top quarter of employee engagement versus the bottom quarter showed a:

  • 10% difference in customer satisfaction ratings
  • 21% difference in productivity
  • and 22% difference in organization profitability.

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13 Startling Customer Service Statistics

startling-customer-serviceIn October, with 2015 lurking just around the corner, it’s frightening to think just how much customer service and the customer experience are impacting the reputation and bottom lines of brands and organizations. While satisfying customer experiences can have scary-good results (increasing customer acquisition, retention, brand loyalty and advocacy), just a single poor customer experience can lead to the unexpected demise of even the longest customer relationship.

According to a recent Customers 2020 Report, by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Customers “will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.”

With this prediction, brands and organizations should be a little scared if they haven’t already planned for improvements in customer service and engagement heading into 2015. But there’s still time…. Here are 13 startling statistics to encourage a bigger and better buy-in for customer service and customer-centric marketing initiatives:

1. Brands in the U.K. are currently losing nearly £15 billion annually due to poor customer service. ~Harris/ClickSoftware Survey

2. U.S. brands are losing approximately $41 billion each year due to poor customer service. ~NewVoiceMedia Study

3. 65% of 1,000 consumers surveyed said they’ve cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience. 2014 Parature State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey

4. Only 14% of respondents in a 2014 CMO survey rated the customer-centricity of their organization as high; and only 11% believe their customers would say the same. ~ 2014 CMO Council Mastering Adaptive Customer Engagements Report Read More

Esteban Kolsky, Parature, Tell Why Knowledge is Key in Customer Service

knowledge-managementWhen it comes to service and support, customers don’t long for conversation. They want answers – fast. According to Parature’s 2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey, customers rank the top two aspects of a satisfying customer service experience as:

  • Getting my issue resolved quickly (41%)
  • Getting my issue resolved in a single interaction (26%)

So, what is the key to delivering on the above? At the heart of every efficient and effective customer service resolution is the right knowledge. It is a simple foundation that, if developed and managed correctly, can be used both internally and externally – and distributed from a single source across almost every channel including phone, IVR, email, live chat, mobile, social, support portal and more.

Knowing How to Make Knowledge Work

The challenge for most brands is not the lack of knowledge, but rather the single-source management of, access to and delivery of consistent, correct knowledge in real time. Notes CRM analyst Esteban Kolsky in a new white paper, “not having access to the right information is the most critical time-waste of preparing any answer for a customer. If the information is not available quickly, it is nearly impossible to deliver against expectations.” Read More

The 80s Called. They Want Their Customer Service Back…

The80sCalledI’ve read a lot of customer service reports lately that show, in 2014, the telephone still remains the preferred customer service channel. The NICE Global Customer Experience Survey shows that 88% of more than 1,000 respondents still rate the telephone as their most-preferred channel. A 2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey commissioned by Parature found a lesser, but similar bias, with 43% of 1,000 respondents favoring the phone.

Forrester Research polling also supports the same, with more than 7,000 respondents saying telephoning a live agent was their most-used customer service channel (73%), with self-service FAQs on a brand’s website coming in second at 67% followed by email, chat, click-to-call, communities, screen sharing, virtual agent, texting and social media.

Hold the Phone

So while we are left to read here that one of the oldest, most high-cost, high-touch channels available still rules the roost for customer service in the 21st century, we also need to read into this. Read More

No Small Change: Rethinking the Retail Customer Experience

retail-customer-experienceToday’s retail customer is always shopping around, but while price, quality and brand name consistently bring customers to the table, it’s increasingly the customer experience (in store, online, via mobile and social) that keeps the customer and makes all the difference between buy, buy, buy and bye, bye, bye.

While it’s becoming harder for retailers to differentiate based on price and product availability, it’s becoming easier to differentiate based on the customer experience. Personalization, ease of experience, availability of information, seamless service across channels, customer-centric engagement; some retailers have it; some don’t. But those who don’t must if they are going to compete in the rapidly-evolving retail space.

The Near-Future of Retail

At the recent 214 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, vice president and Gartner fellow, Daryl Plummer, gave attendees a sneak peek of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Predictions for 2015 and Beyond, emphasizing how digital business is driving big change. The list makes clear that an investment in customer experience, and increasingly the mobile one, is a best bet for the near future of retail (and every industry):

  • “By 2017, more than half of consumer product and service R&D investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations.”
  • “By 2017, US customers’ mobile engagement behavior will drive US mobile commerce revenue to 50 percent of US digital commerce revenue.”

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10 Quintessential Quotes for National Customer Service Week

NationalCustomerServiceWeekIt’s National Customer Service Week, a week dedicated to raising the awareness of customer service and its pivotal role in improving a brand or organization’s success, retaining customers and securing a positive reputation and increased advocacy.

This year’s National Customer Service Week features daily themes that focus on some of the key elements of customer service. So for inspiration, here is a quote-a-day sampling to share with your customer service team – or, if you’re a brand or organization focusing on customer-centricity, share these with every department:

Theme: Understanding Your Customer

“The customer’s perception is your reality.” ~ Kate Zabriskie

“When you’re trying to make an important decision, and you’re sort of divided on the issue, ask yourself: ‘If the customer were here, what would she or he say?’” ~ Dharmesh Shah
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Learn How Quark Doubled its Net Promoter Score with Customer Care, Knowledge Management

quark-customer-success-storyMany software companies come and go, but Quark is an example of a brand that has stood the test of time via continuous reinvention and innovation based upon its customers’ evolving needs.

In the 1980s, Quark revolutionized publishing with QuarkExpress, making any individual or business a publisher via their desktop computer. In the 1990s, the brand solidified its hold in the software industry as the world’s most widely-used professional page layout solution.

With the meteoric rise of digital media in the 2000s and 2010s, Quark has once again risen to the challenge of revolutionizing its software and its brand to serve a continuously changing global medium and an ever-expanding set of connected customers.

For Quark, development and growth are part of its name. The brand takes its appellation from the subatomic particle that is the building block for all matter. And now for customer support, Quark has utilized this building block structure to arrive at a cohesive multichannel service strategy that, now in place, has helped double the brand’s Net Promoter Score in under two years. Read More

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