NOTE: The following is a guest post by Parature, from Microsoft Technical Specialist, Geoff Innis. Geoff came to Microsoft with the acquisition of Multimap in 2007, and enjoys helping organizations optimize customer engagement and make smarter business decisions with cloud solutions. He is based in Bellevue, WA.
When interacting with a customer, knowing where they are located can enable a customer service representative to provide them with personalized, real-time, location-specific insight and information. Further, by visualizing larger groupings of customers, interactions, or social media events on a map, customer service and related teams can identify trends by location, and use these location-based trends to optimize customer care strategies and behaviors, as well as proactively address and provide information. Read More
While there were more than 100, perhaps more than 1000, top takeaways from the recent 2014 CRM Evolution conference (and the adjoining Customer Service Experience conference), here are 10 terrific customer service and customer experience insights shared by key speakers and analysts at the event including Kate Leggett of Forrester Research, Ray Wang of Constellation Research, Brian Vellmure, Denis Pombriant and more: Read More
In an age where globalization and online access have practically erased price, product characteristics and availability as competitive differentiators, it’s customer service that now stands out as a key reason why consumers will favor one brand, product or service over another. According to a recent Customers 2020 Report, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Many say it already has.
Talking the Customer Experience Talk
While it’s easy for many brands today to talk the talk when it comes to being customer-centric or offering an exceptional customer experience, walking the walk is a story that currently can only be truly told by the few. In fact, a recent study byBain & Companyreveals that while 80% of companies believe they are delivering a superior experience to their customers, only 8% of customers agree. Read More
On August 18 – 20, the Big Apple will play host to CRM Evolution, accompanied by the Customer Service Experience and SpeechTEK conferences running concurrently. Sessions at the conference will run the gamut from digital transformation and social strategies for customer service, to the future of CRM and customer service as discussed by top industry analysts such as Forrester Research’s Kate Leggett, Constellation Research’s Ray Wang and Natalie Petouhoff, and Esteban Kolsky of ThinkJar.
Microsoft, along with Parature, from Microsoft, is pleased to be a platinum sponsor at CRM Evolution. If you’re going to CRM Evolution or the accompanying Customer Service Experience or SpeechTEK conferences, be sure to stop by Microsoft’s booth (#202) at the Customer Solutions Expo, where we will be showcasing our solutions and look forward to talking with you about best practices and trends in customer service and engagement.
We also invite you to listen in on the CRM Evolution speaking sessions and panels that Microsoft, Parature, and Parature customer Ask.com will be participating in. On August 18th, Ask.com’s Global Customer Care Manager, Eric McKirdy presents Tips to Modernize Customer Service for Faster Response Times. Read More
A new 2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey commissioned by Parature, from Microsoft shows that old customer service channels certainly aren’t going away, but new ones like social are creating both greater and faster service expectations across the board.
The survey, which gauged the responses of 1,000 U.S. consumers, shows that time and effectiveness are of the essence when it comes to a satisfying customer experience. Key findings are summarized in the accompanying infographic. To download and read the full survey report, click here. Read More
Consumer expectations for 24/7 service and support are growing. Many brands cannot tell their customers that service and support is only available from 9am through 5pm on weekdays, because for many brands, regular business hours do not apply.
An example of this is Tagged.com. An incredibly popular social network with more than 300 million members worldwide, Tagged faces an imposing customer service challenge. Their members are constantly connected and using Tagged’s website 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and therefore, need to engage Tagged for support at any time of the day, and typically on weekends or after normal business hours.
Therefore, round-the-clock customer self-service and full-service options available on the Tagged site are incredibly important to the company that has been ranked on the Inc. 500 and named to the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies, among other awards.
The Power of Online Self-Service
A self-service knowledgebase and support ticketing on the site’s customer service portal were key support additions for Tagged.com, but it was the continued development of the brand’s self-service knowledgebase, and more importantly, continued improvements to its functionality and organization that proved the most beneficial in improving customer convenience, support and satisfaction. Read More
Whether it’s answering the phone, an email, a chat, a ticket or a tweet, what you say and how you say it makes a big difference. Satisfactorily handled customer service interactions are associated with high levels of brand loyalty, but while it’s easy to ask customer service representatives to walk the walk and talk the talk, when it comes to customer care, consistent delivery just doesn’t seem to be happening.
The most recent Customer Rage Study conducted by CCMC, in collaboration with the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Center for Services Leadership, shows a great divide between what customers want and what they receive when they complain or request assistance: Read More
With the heightened customer expectations of today, investments in customer service (both assisted and self-service) must be made to keep up with demands. Backing this notion is a recent study by Bain & Company that reveals 80% of companies believe they are delivering a superior experience to their customers, while only 8% of customers agree.
Self-service to the Rescue
Self-service is an important component in improving overall customer satisfaction. Not only does it empower customers with 24/7 answers, information and updates – but for organizations, it also serves to deflect a high volume of frequently-asked-questions from high-cost, high-effort channels such as phone, email and support ticketing, so that customer service teams can focus on both improving service and information, and delivering superior customer experiences.
And customers are perfectly fine with getting their own answers. In a 2014 report titled The Real Self-Service Economy, 40% of approximately 3,000 consumers in a global survey said they prefer self-service to human contact for their future contact with companies; 70% expect a company website to include a self-service application. Read More
According to the latest COLLOQUY Loyalty Census, the average number of loyalty program memberships per U.S. household stands at 21.9, yet less than ten of those memberships are active ones, and this number has been decreasing since 2010.
And while U.S. brands can collectively boast 2.5 billion loyalty program members, the numbers above show that loyalty programs do not necessarily a loyal customer make.
The Quest for Customer Loyalty
What brands must begin to increasingly accept is that while delivering a single delightful experience or a reward to a customer is in the moment delightful, it typically does not earn a customer’s long-term loyalty. Instead, it’s multiple and consistent satisfying experiences that pay off in the long run. Delighting once is easy; delivering a satisfying customer experience multiple times over multiple channels including the phone, web, chat, social and mobile to name a few, is a quest few brands, it seems, can fulfill.
According to eMarketer, annual ad spending in the U.S. alone is projected to top $175 billion this year and reach nearly $200 billion by 2017. But if you look for similar numbers around customer engagement, they’re currently hard to find. The majority of brands say in general that customer engagement is a top priority, yet putting their money where their mouth is with planned, actual-number spending projections seems yet to have broadly materialized.
A new report from Gallup, however, shows that planned investments for customer engagement deserve just as much budgeting attention as advertising. The State of the American Consumer Report shows that customers who are fully engaged with a brand represent an average 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth compared to the average customer. In contrast, actively disengaged customers represent a 13% negative in those same areas. Read More