Tricia’s Customer Service Success Blog

Pleased to Beat You: Customer Service Needs Better Rivalries

Football Victory“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” - Dr. Tony Alessandra, Author and Consultant

It’s football season people, and one of the best things about football season (college or pro) is the opportunity to compete against your rivals. Cowboys vs. Redskins, Raiders vs. Chiefs, Alabama vs. Auburn, Notre Dame vs. USC, Army vs. Navy, the list goes on and on….

Owners, coaches, staff, players and fans alike take rivalries personally, investing emotions, effort and dollars in the belief that their team is number one, and to make their team number one – or at the very least, better than their rivals.

While rivalries may be associated with brawls between teams on the field and brawls between fans in the parking lot, rivalries also bring out the best. They inspire:

  • Passion
  • Loyalty
  • Competition
  • Team Effort
  • Best Effort
  • An Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses
  • And a Desire to Keep Improving

Some brands overall have had competitive rivalries in sales and marketing (think of the great Cola Wars of the 1980s), but what if customer service teams, or better yet, customer-obsessed brands began engaging in this type of competitive rivalry? Read More

Making the Grade: Higher Ed Must Master Mobile to Recruit, Serve Students

Group of young people using digital tablet and smart phoneThe use of mobile devices for higher education doesn’t start when students get to college. It begins long before when students are considering which college or university to attend, confirms two recently-released reports. Now more than ever, higher education institutions must literally put information not only in the palms of their students’ hands, but in prospective students’ hands.

According to a Noel-Levitz 2014 E-Expectations Report which details the online preferences of college-bound high school seniors and their parents, 71% of high-school seniors have looked at college websites on their mobile devices and 51% said they wanted college websites to automatically adapt to their mobile screens.

However, according to a related report, only 43% of four-year institutions and 26% of two-year campuses said they currently use adaptive technology. Read More

From Promise through Post-Sales: Is Your Customer Experience Aligned?

Teamwork of businesspeopleAs product and service availability, as well as price, begin to fade as competitive differentiators, customer service and engagement have quickly risen to take their place. Early customer-centric leaders such as Amazon and Zappos paved the way for the Age of the Customer, creating a top-down, across-the-board focus on customer service and engagement that propelled their success. But what these brands have made look easy is actually very challenging to accomplish.

A recent study by Bain & Company confirms that while 80% of companies believe they are delivering a superior experience to their customers, only 8% of customers agree.

Brand Promise: Talking the Talk

Talking the talk is easy. Most any brand or organization can create a customer-centric brand promise. Walking the walk, and creating a customer-centric road that everyone in the company helps to build, travels on and maintains at every turn is where most companies lose their way. Read More

Knowledge: The Key to Empowering Employees & Serving Customers

customer-service-kmWhen it comes to service and support, customers don’t long for conversation. They want fast answers. 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 hopefully first contact) resolution is 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 internal or external customer-facing 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 or development of knowledge, but rather the single-source management of, access to and delivery of consistent, correct knowledge in real time. Says noted CRM analyst Esteban Kolsky in a new white paper for Parature, from Microsoft, “not having access to the right information is the most critical time-waste of preparing any answer for a customer. Read More

To Amplify Brand Loyalty, Give Customer Service a Bigger Voice

voice-of-customer-serviceIf sales, marketing and customer service were siblings, sales would typically be perceived as the outgoing one; marketing as the favorite that gets the biggest allowance, and customer service as the child that stays in his or her room most of the time doing homework, never really asking for much attention. If you’re old enough to have watched The Brady Bunch, sales equals Cindy; marketing equals Marcia, Marcia, Marcia and Jan is customer service.

But everyone knows that Jan is really smart. She has things she’d like to say and can hold her own in a conversation, but it just hasn’t been her place to take center stage. After all, Marcia’s the cheerleader and she wins all those trophies…. Read More

Location, Location, Location: Bing Maps, Parature Come Together on Spatially-enabled Customer Care

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.

customer-care-locationWhen 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

10 Top Customer Experience Takeaways from CRM Evolution

CRM Evolution TakeawaysWhile 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

Microsoft’s Fred Studer, Duke Chung Talk Top Trends in Customer Service

Following the Trend IndicatorIn 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 by Bain & Company reveals that while 80% of companies believe they are delivering a superior experience to their customers, only 8% of customers agree.   Read More

Microsoft, Parature, Discuss Customer Service Best Practices, Trends at CRM Evolution

CRMEvolution2014On 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 will be participating in. On August 18th,’s Global Customer Care Manager, Eric McKirdy presents Tips to Modernize Customer Service for Faster Response Times. Read More

INFOGRAPHIC: 2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service

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

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