Tricia’s Customer Service Success Blog

The Most Important Job for KM in Customer Service

esteban-kolskyNote: The following is a guest post from ThinkJar Founder and Principal, Esteban Kolsky, and the second in a series from him around knowledge management for customer service.

Continuing the publication of my insights on Knowledge Management (KM) made possible by my friends at Parature, I want to focus on maintenance as what is likely the biggest problem of, and most important job in, KM for customer service today.

In research I conducted on adoption and usage of Knowledge Management, some of the findings on budgeting and maintenance were concerning, to say the least…  Read More

3 Reasons Not to Dwell on Delighting Customers Every Time

internet security

Stories of customer delight have become the media darlings of the new decade, from Joshie the Giraffe’s pampered stay at the Ritz-Carlton after being separated from his family, to a Ninjago-inspired letter from a LEGO customer care representative, to the steak delivery story read round-the-world.

While hero stories like this really do represent the very best in customer service and engagement, let’s face it: they’re fairy tales. Things like this don’t happen every hour or every day, nor should they from a business perspective. Here’s why: Read More

Does Knowledge Management Even Matter Anymore?

esteban-kolskyNote: The following is a guest post from ThinkJar Founder and Principal, Esteban Kolsky, and the first in a series from him around knowledge management for customer service.

The story for the demise of Knowledge Management has been told many ways.

Too complex. Too expensive to maintain. Not enough results. Users don’t, well, use it.  Over the years, and since knowledge management was conceived in the mid-1960s, we have been looking for ways to either use it right, or kill it. Read More

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.
Read More

The Customer Wish List for Holiday Service and Support

customer-wishlistThe holiday shopping season is upon us, and do you know what that means? Someone is inevitably going to be injured 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.

Read More

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

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