Tricia’s Customer Service Success Blog

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.”

Read More

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
Read More

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

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

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

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