Execs In The Know- A Global Network of Customer Experience Professionals

Execs In The Know Blog

Customer Management Executives From Square, Amazon, and Petco Join Execs In The Know 2017 Corporate Advisory Board

PHOENIX, AZ. March 20, 2017 – Execs In The Know, advocates for the Customer Experience Executive, have announced three new additions to their 2017 Corporate Advisory Board. Nate Rosenthal, Head of Customer Support at Square, Tom Weiland, Vice President, Global Customer Service at Amazon, and Jodi Watson, SVP Petco Direct and acting Chief Marketing Officer at Petco will join the 9 Customer Service Leaders that currently sit on the Advisory Board.

“Putting customers first and continually improving customer experience is critical for any business’s success,” said Rosenthal. “I’m excited to serve alongside and learn from leaders who share Square’s commitment to customers as we work to move our industry forward.”

“As a company obsessed with understanding what our consumers’ needs are in order to be better pet parents, I’m excited to join this group of like-minded subject matter experts who all share a common goal to exceed our customer’s expectations and deliver outstanding experiences,” said Watson.

The Execs In The Know Advisory Board is a group of top executives in customer experience, from many of today’s prominent brands, across various industry verticals. The focus of the board is to provide measurable value to their businesses, by delivering customer experience improvements, in an efficient and effective manner. They leverage research, data, and the experience of a broad network of world class brands to develop leaders, advocate change, and transform the customer experience. They identify gaps, key strategies, and trends that ultimately enhance the Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summits, workshops, and content. They are the cornerstone of the Execs In The Know community and strengthen it through their involvement in various events, webinars, content pieces, philanthropic activities, and meetings. Continue reading

CRS Vegas – Customer Engagement LIVE! Executive Summary


The following is a guest blog post from Greg Sherry, Vice President Marketing at Verint. For more information about Verint, visit their website

Thank you for taking part in Verint’s interactive general session at Customer Response Summit Las Vegas called “Customer Engagement LIVE!”  where we broke into discussion groups for interactive discussions and summary read back presentations. Here are some of the recommendations we heard from the groups as part of the breakout group notes and read backs:

What’s Old Is New Again. When is the last time you received a handwritten note or personal email from a business you engage with? It was memorable, wasn’t it? Think of ways you can incorporate genuine, personalized touches with customers. The strategy can be scalable: one “wow” moment can generate genuine delight and powerful word-of-mouth amplification.

Think Mobile. Do you have a mobile strategy? The need is clear: provide information, customer support, “wow” moments via mobile channels. But be careful: consumers often have limited ability to “digest” content you are sharing with them (because they are at the airport, walking, at home, multi-tasking), so be sure your content and communications are as short and to-the-point as you can.

Establish a common knowledge base across all channels to ensure consistent response. One company recognized the need to consolidate contact center systems to a single agent desktop. Customer service agents had difficulty serving customers in a timely manner and providing accurate information because information resided in 13 disparate systems. By consolidating all the systems into one agent desktop view, the company quickly reduced agent average handle time (AHT) and saw increased customer engagement scores. The unified access to the applications and information also increased employee productivity and helped provide a personalized experience for customers. Continue reading

Intelligent Self-Service: Balancing Support Costs with CSAT

CSAT image_CoveoFeb2017

The following is a guest blog from Coveo

The overwhelming majority of support leaders have recognized that their organizations’ self-service channels are their customers’ most preferred method for getting support (and that assisted service has become something they want to avoid). Customers want to find the answers to their questions independently and conveniently. As such, 97% of companies are investing in improving their customers’ self-service experience in 2017.

Self-service is dramatically more cost effective than other service channels, both in cost per resolution, and because it reduces the overall case load on contact centers. According to TSIA, phone and email support are each well over 100x more expensive per incident than web self-service, while chat costs over 30x more. Read more about that here.

New technologies are making it possible to create an intelligent self-service experience – one that is easy, relevant, and intuitive – that can generate results quickly.

For example, WatchGuard Technologies created an intelligent self-service experience, that improved its case deflection rate from three to 11 percent within only four months.

Customer satisfaction is of utmost importance to WatchGuard. The company provides several customer support options, including a 24/7 call center, and a wide range of online technical resources such as a knowledge base, technical documentation, video tutorials, product datasheets and user forums. However, before implementing an intelligent self-service solution – and despite all their available resources – the self-service capabilities were still falling short. Results from a TSIA Benchmark Review helped them realize that their self-service site was not intuitive to their customers and there was no easy way to search and filter through all the information.

Watch Joanne Miller, Managing Director of Product Training and Publications at WatchGuard Technologies, explain her journey to intelligent self-service in this video.

Making self-service easy.

Your customers expect to be able to find the answers they need with minimal effort. Unifying your content and making it searchable allows them to do so. A unified index consolidates all of your organization’s information from across your entire ecosystem and creates a single hub that puts relevant information at your customer’s’ fingertips. Intelligent search taps into that index to find exactly what is being searched and delivers the answers your customers need, when they need them. Continue reading

The Contact Center of the Future: Everything Old is New Again


The following is a guest blog written by Evan Dobkin, Marketing Manager at Aspect Software.  

I entered the contact center market five years ago, working on self-service interaction and the potential for personalized, customized experiences made possible by smartphones. At the time, the industry was planning for a multi-channel world. The domination of the “archaic” voice channel was starting to give way to native apps, social channels and SMS as the tides that would lift all customer service ships. It was very easy for businesses to get caught up in the hype of what was on the horizon and become paralyzed, wondering what changes they needed to make to their business to become part of this modern customer service world.

However, over these last five years, I’ve come to understand that despite the bells and whistles of sleek, up-and-coming communication channels, brands looking to add self-service interaction must begin by perfecting their IVR. A modernized IVR can help to improve the customer experience while providing a solid foundation for additional contact channels.

IVR has been, and will continue to be, the workhorse of your customer service offering. Often regarded by consumers as “the channel of last resort,” because they expect resolution when taking the time to call directly, it’s actually critical for resolving many customer issues. Not convinced? Consider these modern IVR realities:

– IVR is one of many contact points

– Improved speech recognition and dynamic personalization have made navigation easier

– New interactive voice solutions (Amazon Echo, Siri, etc…) emerged that are redefining how we interact with and our expectations of today’s IVR

– It is all about customer experience, ease of use – and containing costs Continue reading

Optimizing your call center to provide excellent customer experience and make more money


The following is a guest blog written by Michael Cho at Next Caller. For more information on Next Caller, visit their website

“Say please and thank you”

“Smile while you dial”

“The customer is always right”

As a customer experience executive, more likely than not, you’ve trained your call center reps to assume these proverbial pieces of advice. After all, having friendlier reps translates into better experiences for your customers. Right?

Not always.

No less than a month ago, I was on the phone with a popular eCommerce brand, trying desperately to figure out why my Christmas gift to my parents had not shipped. The agent with whom I was speaking was delightful; he did everything right, asking me about my day and apologizing after every turn of the maze that my order was quickly becoming.

Alas, after nearly 10 minutes of hold time and countless questions, he figured out that my name had been improperly spelled in their system. Upon hanging up, I was annoyed: not enough to make me want to cancel my order, but enough to make me second-guess my loyalty to the brand.

It turns out. I’m not alone. According to a study conducted by American Express, “78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.” In addition, “59% would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.”

Clearly, there is enormous financial upside to providing exceptional customer service. But as having well-trained agents is not nearly enough, what steps can you take to transform your call center into a well-oiled machine?

1) Identify Your Callers

According to Contact Babel’s Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide, 61 percent of callers are unknown in real-time. For the call center agent, this means more time spent on gathering customer information.

“What’s your name, sir?”

“Benedict Cumberbatch.”

“Can you repeat that?”

“Benedict Cumberbatch. C as in cowboy, u as in umbrella, etc…”

On average, these cumbersome back-and-forths take call centers anywhere from 30-60 seconds per call. When you’re dealing with thousands of calls per day, the hard cost quickly accumulates. But more importantly, this cost transfers over to your customers, who more likely than not do not want to be spelling their names repeatedly just to find out the status of their orders.  Continue reading

Bringing stakeholders close to the customer experience

The following is a guest blog written by Simon Herd, Director of Design Research at Sutherland Labs.  

Traditionally, user-focused activities have been conducted by specialists who either move from research to design directly themselves, or who pass the baton to others. This is partly a factor of history, but with UX now in the business mainstream it’s increasingly important to bring others closer to customers and their lives. Collaboration with stakeholders is king, but how do you do this smartly when we all have too much to do and too little time to do it in?

Why is collaboration so important?

Often product managers and those responsible for success are primarily understanding their customers via metrics such as CSAT and NPS. These are deliberately simple, but create a challenge in understanding the why behind the what, which is crucial for identifying low-level change that makes a difference.

Involving users is the key to overcoming this, but techniques for doing so owe a huge debt to an academia and rigour in experimental design. Anything involving real users or customers is moderated by specialists, with stakeholders disconnected behind a one-way mirror or getting their understanding from an after-the-fact synthesis. There are very good reasons for this, as anyone who has seen stressed product managers observe their ideas being casually dismissed in a user session can testify.

However as UX moves out of labs and into mainstream business, UX activities can’t be solely conducted on this basis. There are too few UX professionals, who are in evermore demand as it becomes a mainstream concern. Also, an increasingly multi-touchpoint world means that knowledge needed to make products more effective for their users becomes increasingly diffuse.

So why doesn’t it happen more?

Continue reading

Customer Executives to Meet in Vegas to Enhance CX and Innovation in Their Omni-Channel Service Strategies

Speakers From Hilton Worldwide, Williams-Sonoma Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, and BaubleBar to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Las Vegas

PHOENIX, AZ. January 12, 2017 – Advocates for Customer Experience Professionals, Execs In The Know, have announced the speakers for their next executive gathering – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Las Vegas. CRS Vegas will take place February 6-8, 2017 at the ARIA Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, NV. Topics like digital transformation, channel optimization, employee engagement, culture, outsourcing, and more will be covered. The Summit will include keynotes from Hilton Worldwide, Williams-Sonoma Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, and BaubleBar.

CRS Vegas is a gathering of customer experience leaders, across many verticals, focused on working together to improve the customer care industry, and create innovative experiences for their brands. Highlights of the Summit include a behind-the-scenes tour of the customer care heart of Williams-Sonoma Inc. and the release of the CXMB Series 2016 Corporate Edition, a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.

“Customer Response Summit focuses on engagement, candid conversation, and one-to-one interaction with your peers,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “Our ‘Leaders Learning From Leaders’ approach allows our community members to work together to solve challenges, innovate their own customer experiences, and stay on top of the latest trends. CRS Vegas is the best event to attend if you want to achieve customer service greatness.”

Other brands that will be speaking include LinkedIn, Amazon, Square, Cigna, Barnes and Noble, Harry & David, Redbubble, Evernote, YouTube, UPS, lululemon and more. To see the full list of speakers, download the official agenda http://www.execsintheknow.com/crs-vegas-agenda/.

To learn more or to register, visit the event website http://www.execsintheknow.com/events/crs-las-vegas/.

About Execs In The Know

For over 15 years, Execs In The Know has built a reputation of excellence in the Customer Management Industry and a worldwide community of over 50,000 Customer Experience Professionals, dedicated to enhancing the customer service industry. Execs In The Know connects people to engaging industry content, thought leadership, current trends, peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and industry employment opportunities. Their largest event, Customer Response Summit, takes place twice a year, uniting executives from many of today’s leading brands, to create impactful connections and share actionable insights.

Learn more at www.execsintheknow.com.

Media Contact:

Alyssa Pitura

Understanding Your Customers: Nothing Beats Time in the Contact Center


The following is a guest post from Susan Hash, editor of Contact Center Pipeline.

How much time has your executive team spent on the contact center floor? Not simply a quick walk-through, but actually taking the time to plug in with an agent to listen to customer calls? If execs really want to know what a quality customer experience sounds and feels like, spending time in the contact center will allow them to experience what your customers are feeling and thinking about your organization, as well as what frontline customer service staff go through on a daily basis.

In addition to senior executives, encouraging department leaders across the organization to spend time in the center is a great way to provide them with first-hand knowledge of what goes on within this critical touchpoint on the customer journey—and often the only interface a customer will have with an organization.

Some customer-centric organizations make it an essential activity for new leaders. At ING Direct, department leaders spend a month in the contact center jacking in with agents and listening to calls—and even handling customer complaints. They not only develop a better understanding of the frontline agent’s job, they realize how their own processes impact the contact center, and ultimately, the customer experience.

It doesn’t need to be a month-long commitment to have an effect. The contact center leadership team at Unilever found that a well-planned open house could make a significant impact. Various brand teams were invited into the center for an afternoon. The teams were given an overview of the types of information the center collected and how the frontline agents interacted with callers. Each brand team was asked to discuss the new products being released with the frontline agents so that they could offer their suggestions and ideas (an incredibly valuable resource!).

After the open house, contact center leadership followed up with the various departments to reinforce the idea that the center was willing and able to do more to support each area in improving their performance through customized reports and customer data.

Encourage the Entire Organization to Walk in the Customer’s Shoes

At BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the Customer Experience team created a very unique activity designed to help non-customer-facing functions develop a better understanding of the customer service advocate’s role, and to understand how what they do impacts what happens in the contact center. They set up a call-listening room next to the employee cafeteria. Continue reading

CXMB Industry Insights: Travel & Hospitality Survey Results [INFOGRAPHIC]


To hear further discussion about CXMB Industry Insights: Travel and Hospitality, join Execs In The Know, COPC Inc. and guest speakers from Choice Hotels and Marriott International next Tuesday, December 6, at 1 p.m. ET for a webinar. To register, visit http://ow.ly/iGaO306Bmsy.

COPC Inc. and Execs In The Know Publish Travel and Hospitality Findings as Part of New Industry-Specific Customer Experience Research


PHOENIX, AZ — (November 21, 2016) — Execs In The Know, a global network of customer experience professionals, together with COPC Inc., announce the results from their first travel industry survey, CXMB Industry Insights: Travel & Hospitality. The survey focused on the customer care experience, the purchase experience, and customer loyalty.

The findings show that both leisure and business travelers are using multiple customer service channels to resolve issues. However, customer satisfaction is higher when travelers self-select a channel that they want to use rather than being forced into one. Furthermore, a consistent experience across channels is so important among travelers that it ranks higher than competitive pricing and a personalized experience.

Survey participants were U.S.-based individuals traveling for business only, leisure only or both. Here are some key travel and hospitality industry findings for both leisure and business travelers. See the infographic for more details.

– Business and leisure travelers still prefer to talk to someone in person or on the phone to resolve their issues. Both groups were equally open to using new channels of communications — social media, text, mobile chat and smartphone app — at 27 percent for business travelers and 30 percent for leisure travelers.

– When multichannel communication is a choice rather than a forced approach for issue resolution, customer satisfaction increases. Conversely, when forced into a multichannel approach to resolve an issue, both business and leisure travelers stated a dissatisfaction rate at nearly 50 percent.

– Both business and leisure travelers consider a consistent customer experience across communication channels significantly more important than competitive pricing. In particular, 60 percent of leisure travelers stated a consistent experience was important.

“We are pleased to provide the results of this survey, showing how a multichannel approach to meeting customer needs can affect the traveler’s experience. For companies focused on providing excellent customer care, our findings reveal a choice of communication options is the key to customer satisfaction. Travel and hospitality brands should not only be present in the channels their customers prefer, but also need to be capable of resolving their issues through these channels,” said Kathleen Jezierski, chief operating officer, COPC Inc.

“CXMB Industry Insights allows us to dive deeper into different industry segments and provide the important insights that our community members in each vertical are looking for,” said Chad McDaniel, president, Execs In The Know. “Our findings provide a better understanding of the customer landscape in the travel and hospitality sectors, and hopefully will spark some ideas for brands to improve the customer experience and enhance overall customer satisfaction.”

This travel survey is the first in the series of industry-specific research, and is part of the larger Customer Experience Management Benchmark (CXMB) Series, also published in partnership between COPC Inc. and Execs In The Know.

Download http://ow.ly/OxT3306onPG, or sign up to receive future survey results produced by COPC Inc. and Execs In The Know. Other industry-specific reports will follow in early 2017.

To hear a further discussion about CXMB Industry Insights: Travel and Hospitality, join COPC Inc. and Execs In The Know on Tuesday, December 6,at 1 p.m. ET for a webinar. To register, visit http://ow.ly/yYyY306onpY .


About Execs In The Know

For over 15 years, Execs In The Know has built a reputation of excellence in the Customer Management Industry and a worldwide community of over 50,000 Customer Experience Professionals. Execs In The Know connects people to engaging industry content, thought leadership, current trends, peer-to-peer collaboration, networking and industry employment opportunities. Examples of this can be seen at their Customer Response Summit events, roadshows, webinars, workshops, Blog Talk Radio segments, Industry Benchmarking Series, blogs, thought papers and social communities. For more information visit www.execsintheknow.com.

About COPC Inc.

COPC Inc. is an innovative global leader that empowers organizations to manage complex customer journeys. The company created the COPC Customer Experience (CX) Standard and provides consulting, training and certification for operations that support the customer experience. Founded in 1996, COPC Inc. began by helping call centers improve their performance. Today, the company works with leading brands worldwide to optimize key customer touchpoints and deliver a seamless experience across channels. COPC Inc. is privately held with headquarters in Winter Park, Florida, U.S. and has operations in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, India and Japan. www.copc.com


Customer Communities: A Starring Role in the Customer Journey


The following is a guest post from Susan Hash, Editor of Contact Center Pipeline.

Digital marketing experts say that it’s important to be in all the places where your customers are searching for information about your products and services. However, if your goal is to drive engagement and retention, cultivating your own branded community can offer more value for both customers and the business.

Online communities have been in use by the high-tech industry for decades—going as far back as 1980 with CompuServe’s CB Simulator online chat service. While, in the past, the primary goals for launching customer communities focused on marketing or reducing costs, today’s communities are closely linked to an organization’s business drivers. Vanessa DiMauro sees them becoming an essential function for businesses in the next few years.

“Up to 60% of inquiries and business decisions are made without first contacting the organization,” she says. “Customers use search, they Google, they talk to peers, they visit websites. Communities have an opportunity to play a starring role in the beginning of the customer journey. What is better from a prospective customer’s viewpoint than seeing how an organization interacts with its customers?” DiMauro is the CEO of Leader Networks (www.leadernetworks.com), a research and strategy consulting company that helps organizations succeed in social business and online community building.

Getting Started: Build on a Solid Foundation

As with any customer-centric initiative, launching an online community requires vision, planning, goals, resources and strategy. The following are a few key elements to create a strong foundation for long-term success.

Executive buy-in. Make sure that you have the support of the right internal stakeholders, says DiMauro. “A community is not an island. It not only touches customer support, marketing and product innovation, it reaches across all lines of the business,” she says. “You need crossfunctional buy-in—everyone has to have a little stake in the game.”

Clear success metrics that are aligned with business objectives. “Communities need to either accelerate a business process or make something possible that wasn’t easily possible in the past,” DiMauro explains. “When launching a community, you can ensure a positive outcome by aligning it around one or two meaningful business needs with very clear measures and metrics for success.” Once you’ve hit those objectives and developed best practices around those requirements, you can then scale to address other business needs, she adds.

A platform that integrates with other channel management tools. If customer service is one of your objectives, focus on delivering a seamless cross-channel experience, advises Joe Cothrel, chief community officer at Lithium Technologies (www.lithium.com). “You need a platform that can support your customers and that plays in a friendly way with other enterprise infrastructures,” he says.

A crossfunctional team. The size and makeup of your team will depend on how much you want to do in your community. Most community teams start with a relatively small team, Cothrel says, and then the team will scale as the community expands its functionality. For example, team expertise may include customer support, product managers, R&D, a content manager, analysts, etc.

An experienced community manager. Look for someone with a strong background in community facilitation or management. Keep in mind that there is a difference between social media professionals and community professionals. “Community professionals have a set of disciplines, best practices, frameworks and know-how to scale and align their work to the organization’s needs,” DiMauro says. “Good community professionals are able to ask the types of open-ended questions that help the subject-matter experts articulate why they’re doing something—and do it in a way that helps new customers and learners. When you introduce too much expertise into a community from the company, they make assumptions and use industry lingo. It can run the risk of becoming a dialog of experts to experts without taking into account all levels of education and support.”

Community guidelines and rules of engagement. Create a set of guidelines and rules that customers must observe, such as be respectful, don’t spam, respect other people’s privacy, don’t harass, etc. Make sure that customers agree to the guidelines when they join. “You also will need processes on the back end for what to do when a customer breaks the rules,” says Cothrel. “Successful communities think through all types of scenarios before launch.”

Continue reading

Meet The Board – Razia Richter – The Importance of Active Listening


“Listening is one of our greatest gifts”

Get to know: Razia Richter, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Petco

We’ve all heard this at some point in our lives, right? “Listen more, listen actively or be in the moment.” I am grateful to my parents, teachers and mentors who have reminded me of this along my life journey.

In my role as a customer service leader, I find this skill to be so critical, one that must always be a priority in everything we do. I believe the best customer service starts with listening to what our customers are saying. Whether it’s from their feedback, behaviors, observations or a simple chat. Actively listening will generally lead to the best outcomes and relationships.

For the past 25 years, I have had the amazing opportunity to work for Petco, a leading national pet specialty retailer with more than 1,470 locations across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico. Today, I am the Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for the company. In this role, I lead companywide efforts to build customer loyalty and continually improve Petco’s customer experience.  I oversee the company’s ongoing work to routinely embed customer and market intelligence and practices into Petco’s strategic planning and daily work.

I was thrilled to take on this role several years ago. It began with the implementation of the Net Promoter Customer feedback process, which has now been expanded to all lines of business. It then expanded to being the central point of contact as it relates to customer insights, and then finally owning the front-line closed loop aspect of our contact centers.

When I first joined Petco in the accounting department my favorite project was to work in our stores to learn firsthand about the customer and store partners. I spent days listening and observing, with the goal of bringing what I learned back to the corporate office to make a difference for our store teams.   Continue reading

Three Steps for Customer Service Excellence


The following is a guest blog by Jaime Bailey, Vice President Marketing at Virtual Hold Technology (VHT). For more information on VHT, please visit their website

Putting the customer first is nothing new, but service excellence is becoming more competitive than ever before. While reducing hold time for incoming calls was once a key differentiator for brands, today the growth of digital channels means every touchpoint between consumer and brand is a make or break opportunity.

A recent McKinsey Quarterly, The CEO guide to customer experience, focuses on the importance of molding customer interactions and providing high-level insight to improve customer interactions. But a good piece of advice needs specifics. So we’re taking an in-depth look at three tips for how a brand can start growing loyalty.

Simplify the move from touchpoints to a journey

According to McKinsey, customer loyalty isn’t created through individual touchpoints, but “the complete, end-to-end experience customers have with a company from their perspective.” We agree. It’s all about the customer journey!

Why? Well many times, touchpoints are the responsibility of a business silo. The focus is on providing the best experience on that channel, without communicating with the other channels.

If a consumer starts on social media and then jumps to a phone, they have to start the interaction from the beginning. After all, when a brand’s channels aren’t connected, the customer’s information doesn’t travel with them. So even when satisfaction with individual touchpoints is high, the overall satisfaction can be quite low. This is because the customer perceives a company as not centered on their interests or concerns.

Knowing key pieces of information about the customer helps transform disparate touchpoints into a connected journey. As outlined in our e-book, Navigating the Customer Journey, the following four questions are central to the transformation.

– How long have they been a customer?

– Through which channels has the customer navigated?

– What are the customers’ previous brand interactions?

– Is there additional contact information to piece a customer identity together?

The move from individual touchpoints to a customer journey is an important one. When responding to each question, including data and customer commentary will enhance your ability to navigate the customer journey seamlessly and effectively. Continue reading

10 signs your CX program needs to work harder

The following is a guest blog by Simon Herd, Director of Design Research at Sutherland Labs. For more information on Sutherland Labs, visit http://www.sutherlandlabs.com/

Many organizations have set up customer experience (CX) programs in the last 5 years, and they’re to be congratulated as it’s an important step to becoming an experience-led business.

CX programs don’t realize ultimate impact immediately, they have to prove themselves and earn trust within the organization and become true masters of their domain. Furthermore, the massive demand for talented CX professionals means that it can be difficult to get the right capability up and running quickly.

But once you have your team in place, how do you make sure resources are being directed in the right areas? Here are a few pointers for executives to watch for to help prioritize where CX capabilities should be directed to increase impact.

1. NPS/CSat scores but don’t have a clear sense of the why

NPS, CSat and other metrics are great as a warning signal of troubled waters, but they are limited in terms of understanding the ‘why’ – what’s motivating a positive or negative score? Engaging directly with customers to get to this ‘why’ – how people use services, when and where – gives context not only to negative scores, but also allows organizations to understand and build on positive experiences. Complementary activities such as social media analysis can add weight, but closer collaboration between CX and analytics teams is key to realizing a holistic view of the entire customer experience.


2. Journey maps that have been created without direct user engagement

Customer journey maps are an invaluable tool for aligning vision and road mapping the ideal customer experience. However, maps created only involving internal stakeholders, or using desk research and analytics can miss key insights and opportunities. If your organization has created maps in this way, they may not be in line with customer needs or priorities and there’s a need to get up close and personal with your customers.

3. Organization has too many customer journeys

If you have a journey map for your web experience, a journey map for your mobile experience, and yet another for your in-store experience you may be missing the bigger picture. It’s a common problem with internally focused CX teams and can be a symptom of being product (inside-out) rather than customer (outside-in) focused. Joining up all your customer experiences will help you frame your customer experience strategy and prioritize for impact.

4. Customer journeys are outdated

Remember that journey maps have a limited life span. Just as people’s behavior changes, and new products and services disrupt the competitive landscape, so too will your customer journeys. Journey maps don’t need to be constantly updated but setting realistic evaluation points will help capture the true current experience, and allow you to reframe and rethink your CX strategy.

5. CX teams lack staff who have a background in human behavior

New teams may be formed of members from product manager and marketing-related roles. These are great skills to have represented, but it’s crucial to go beyond this. The skills and mindset to understand human needs, motivations and behaviors are critical to identifying and prioritizing which design changes will have the biggest impact. For example, understanding ‘Motivation’ may not sound like it has a big business benefit, but motivation actually dictates how far customers will persist with a sub optimal product. Continue reading

Execs In The Know and COPC Inc. to Host 2016 CXMB Series Workshop in Toronto

Leaders Learning From Leaders in Exclusive, One-Day Event Focused on Customer Journey Insights

PHOENIX, AZ. October 24, 2016 – Following the recent release of the 2016 Customer Experience Management Benchmark (CXMB) Series Consumer Edition, Execs In The Know and COPC Inc. are headed to Toronto, Canada on November 29th for a CXMB Series Workshop. This exclusive, one-day event presents an excellent opportunity for customer experience professionals to gather and share their challenges, successes and insights, while also making lasting connections in their local area.

As with past CXMB Series Workshop events, great attention will be paid to the results of the 2016 CXMB Series Consumer Edition, which focuses on customer journey insights from the consumer’s perspective. The Consumer Edition of the CXMB Series brings a host of new content in 2016, while a number of topics from last year’s report are clarified and expanded further, including the consumer’s preference for live interactions over automated ones and the consumer’s perception of the multi-channel journey.

This year’s Consumer Edition report also features two new sections: The Millennial Consumer and The Alternative Channel Customer Journey.

A few highlights from the findings:

– While much work remains to be done, there was a measurable improvement in the consumer’s overall impression of the customer care they received in 2016

– While the preference for Traditional Care remains strong, there was a slight pullback in 2016

– Consumer preference for human assistance over automated/self-help systems remains strong

If you’re interested in attending this event, visit the CXMB Series Workshop section of the Execs In The Know website at execsintheknow.com/events/cxmb-workshop, or contact Chad McDaniel via email or phone at chad@execsintheknow.com or 623.234.2843.

If you can’t attend the event, but are interested in obtaining the CXMB Series 2016 Consumer Report, visit execsintheknow.com/cxmbseries/2016-consumer-edition/.

About Execs In The Know

For over 15 years, Execs In The Know has built a reputation of excellence in the Customer Management Industry and a worldwide community of over 50,000 Customer Experience Professionals. Execs In The Know connects people to engaging industry content, thought leadership, current trends, peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and industry employment opportunities. Examples of this can be seen at their Customer Response Summit events, roadshows, webinars, workshops, Blog Talk Radio segments, Industry Benchmarking Series, blogs, thought papers, and social communities.

To learn more about Execs In The Know, visit www.execsintheknow.com. For more information on their Customer Management Recruitment Solutions, visit www.justcareers.com.

 About COPC Inc.

COPC Inc. is an innovative global leader that empowers organizations to manage complex customer journeys.  The company created the COPC Customer Experience (CX) Standard and provides consulting, training and certification for operations that support the customer experience. Founded in 1996, COPC Inc. began by helping call centers improve their performance.  Today, the company works with leading brands worldwide to optimize key customer touchpoints and deliver a seamless experience across channels. COPC Inc. is privately held with headquarters in Winter Park, FL, U.S. and has operations in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, India and Japan.

For more information, please visit www.copc.com.

Media Contact

Alyssa Pitura
Director of Marketing and Brand Experience

Customer Journey Maps: A Tool When You Want Real Change – Webinar

PHOENIX, AZ. October 20, 2016 – Chad McDaniel, President of Execs In The Know, and Andrew Swartz, Director of Design Research at Sutherland Labs, will be hosting the webinar Customer Journey Maps: A Tool When You Want Real Change. The lively and interactive session will take place on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 from 12:00-1:00 ET.

In this hour long session, Andrew Swartz will provide a straightforward introduction to user-centered maps, and discuss real-life examples of how different kinds of organizations have used them to solve a variety of problems, from diagnosing and fixing a problem that was causing cancellations of orders; to how to improve the patient experience checking into hospitals.

“We’ve seen this same problem with numerous organizations – most want to improve their customer experience, but many struggle with where to start,” said Chad McDaniel. “Our November webinar, with longtime partner Sutherland Global Solutions, is really going to give you a feel for how to correctly build a journey map and hopefully be a catalyst for change within your own organization.”

To register for the webinar visit https://goo.gl/3m0bTo.

About Execs In The Know

For over 15 years, Execs In The Know has built a reputation of excellence in the Customer Management Industry and a worldwide community of over 50,000 Customer Experience Professionals. Execs In The Know connects people to engaging industry content, thought leadership, current trends, peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and industry employment opportunities. Examples of this can be seen at their Customer Response Summit events, roadshows, webinars, workshops, Blog Talk Radio segments, Industry Benchmarking Series, blogs, thought papers, and social communities.

To learn more about Execs In The Know, visit www.execsintheknow.com. For more information on their Customer Management Recruitment Solutions, visit www.justcareers.com.

 About Sutherland Global Solutions

 Established in 1986, Sutherland Global Services is a global provider of business process and technology management services. Sutherland offers an integrated portfolio of analytics-driven back-office and customer facing solutions that support the entire customer lifecycle. One of the largest, independent BPO companies in the world, it serves global leaders in major industry verticals. Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., Sutherland employs over 38,000 professionals and has locations across Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Slovakia, Sweden, UAE, UK, and the United States.

 For more information, visit www.sutherlandglobal.com

 Media Contact

Alyssa Pitura
Director of Marketing and Brand Experience

Disrupter 5: Contextualized Knowledge Bases for Personalization and Prediction


The following is a guest blog by Mandeep Singh Kwatra, VP, Solutions and Capabilities at Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS). For more information about HGS, visit their website

As companies gain a deeper understanding of customers through research and predictive analytics, they will use that information to develop more individualized customer experiences. Today, it’s not enough to have a knowledge base. The best, most insightful business intelligence is developed from a contextual knowledge base that can be used by both agents and customers to predict the right answer based on that particular customer’s data, situation, location, and needs. The end result is faster responses, increased issue resolution, reduced customer effort, and happier customers.

Internet and digital channels have shrunk the world of customer information, and now everything is available at the click of a button. Customer loyalty is as fragile as that button click. Customers want brands to understand what they really need. They want everything personalized for them, at every step of the customer journey—from prepurchase research to complaints or when they are contemplating whether to jump ship. Today’s customers want personalized sales cycle, service queues, and complaints management. This means a knowledge base that employs two key elements:

– First, brand knowledge cannot be dated. It cannot be robotic or a copy paste of a manual or process. Knowledge has to be contextual. It has to be natural and language driven. It has to be how customers like to talk.

– Second, today’s predictive analytics answer to contemporary customer expectations, which are: to get the right answer fast, while also meeting sophisticated personalization criteria.

Contextualized Knowledge Bases

This shift from “content” to “context” requires companies to understand and categorize customers in personalized slots. According to a recent survey by Adobe, more than 60% of online users wanted to know why, what, and how web sites select content personalized for them. Companies need to have their personalization strategies backed by solid, accurate customer data. This is made easy by customers leaving a virtual bread crumb trail on their online journeys for brands to follow. But, the first order of business is to build a contextual knowledge base template that can support personalized customer data. Because customer behavior changes from one situation to another, a contextual database should include customer reactions across a broad spectrum of situations to be comprehensive and accurate. A recent study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of EverString found that marketers most often face the two challenges of ensuring data quality and managing data from a variety of sources (both 47%) in attempting to gain greater insights about customers and prospects. Continue reading

Meet The Board – Michael Martin – The View Through the Client Lens

Michael and his family


For those that don’t know, CIBC is a leading Canadian-based financial institution that provides a full suite of financial products and services in Canada and around the world. The bank was founded in 1867 and we serve 11 million clients with a team of 40,000+ employees.

I’ve had the opportunity to work in many areas of CIBC throughout my 30+ year career, but my roots are in Customer Service. I started working part-time as a Customer Service Representative (aka Teller) while going to University. It was an amazing experience, and it taught me the importance of building relationships with clients.

I was fortunate to have a manager who got to know me well, and talked about what I wanted to do after graduation. He suggested that I apply to the Branch Manager Trainee program, and he was quick to provide a wonderful reference. I’ll come back to that later.

I’ve worked in a number of areas including Strategic Network Planning, Wealth Management, Finance, Governance and Controls, and I’ve had the opportunity to lead a number of client facing channels including Contact Centres, Online and Mobile Banking, along with our ATM network. One thing I did learn throughout my career was to be open to taking on new opportunities. It helped me build breadth, deeper knowledge, and wide networks!

The way clients interact with CIBC has changed dramatically since I started my career. But our Vision at CIBC is to be a leader in client relationships. It’s not about the mortgage or the investment product, it’s really about helping our clients buy the house they always wanted, or achieve retirement early, or help send their kids to school. Taking a client lens to what we do every day is very gratifying.

Being part of the Execs In The Know Advisory Board has been a rewarding experience. It’s a great forum to share and learn from others that all want to improve the client experience. With the pace of change it’s important to keep current on changing client behaviors, technologies and people practices. Each of us bring different perspectives, experiences, and approaches to the table and that’s the power of diversity! Continue reading

Leaders Speak on Digital Innovations for Customer Experience


The following is a guest blog from Ted Hunting, Vice President, North America Marketing at Genesys. For more information about Genesys, visit their website

During the Customer Response Summit (CRS) last week in Austin, I shared my perspective on customer expectations of seamless, personalized omnichannel journeys with customer service executives from some of the world’s greatest brands. It was a rare opportunity to exchange ideas on digital innovation in customer experience (CX) with such a group.

To set the stage for brainstorming sessions on digital innovation, I talked about the prediction that by 2020, more than 90% of customer engagements will begin online, and what that means to CX innovation.

Currently in many customer service environments, organizational silos remain across channels, including web, voice, callback, mobile app, text, email, social, and video. In spite of initial interactions occurring on the web, customers nonetheless expect the effortless, personalized omnichannel journey that results from integrated communication channels. We explored some examples of businesses successfully integrating voice and digital channels to improve CX.

We looked at CX from the business perspective, examining aspects of the Genesys Customer Experience Platform, including:

– An omnichannel desktop that displays every step in the customer journey, across every channel

– Enterprise-wide reporting and analytics dashboard for overall view of CX and NPS

What did this group identify as key future trends? The internet of things (IoT), personalization through big data, and emerging self-service models such as chat and voice bots, led to brainstorming on digital innovation in the CX world.

Here’s what this group of CX leaders expects to see emerging in digital innovation:

Personalized customer journeys

Customer journeys will be increasingly personalized, leveraging big data and business rules to predict customer needs and deliver better CX.

– Visibility into the customer journey will continue to evolve so companies can provide proactive recommendations and communications for front- and back-office functions across the company, not just for the contact center. Continue reading

Follow Up and Group Facilitator Notes: Customer Engagement LIVE!


This is a guest blog written by Greg Sherry, Vice President Marketing at Verint Systems.

One of the primary objectives of Customer Response Summit Austin was to “identify best practices and discuss innovative ideas on how to serve customer through emerging channels.” Verint’s contribution to this theme was an interactive general session called “Customer Engagement LIVE!” where we grouped executives into discussion groups of seven or eight participants. The groups engaged in conversations around the strategies and execution steps that can help define how customer-centric organizations can enrich interactions, improve business processes, and optimize the workforce.

One of the questions included on the breakout group handout, for example,  was “If you could provide your peers with one piece of advice as they create and execute their customer experience strategy and program, what would it be?”  There were also discussion questions around Customer Engagement and Enterprise Workforce Optimization.

Below are some of the highlights attendees shared during the breakout group read back presentations. Do you want access to group facilitator notes from all of the major discussion and engagement areas? If so, click here for the detailed Customer Engagement LIVE! notes.


Breakout Group Discussion Highlights

Employee Engagement- TED Talks! We want to hire and retain the best contact center agents that we can. So, we want to make sure we have a variety of internal programs around employee engagement as well as all our focus on customer engagement.  One thing we started was Ted Talks Tuesday’s where we find creative and inspirational Ted Talks videos that have themes around creativity, innovation, customers. We then have a discussion group after the video. Our executives, managers and agents love all the interactions we all have – and we are learning new ideas and ways of thinking at the same time! Continue reading

Wondering if you Need to Start Accounting for Smart Machines in Your CX?


This is a guest blog written by Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy & Development, West Interactive Services.

The answer is: Probably not just yet.

At CRS Phoenix back in February, I spoke about how crucial it is to leverage data to optimize your customer experience. Now, as certain emerging technologies begin to pique our interest, I’m expanding on that point to hopefully help some enterprises avoid putting the cart before the horse.

The smartphone is one of the greatest technological advances in human history – and its impact on what brands have had to consider in their customer experience (CX) strategies over the past five to 10 years is just the beginning.

Data continues to transform how humans interact as the lines blur between virtual and physical… device and appendage… human and machine.

The mix of physical devices, buildings and various technologies at the public’s disposal is poised to evolve and extend rapidly through 2021[i], and Gartner believes that data generated from the networking of these devices will create $14.4 trillion in value for organizations between now and 2022.[ii]

Many believe that advanced smart machine technology will become a staple in this shift. Brands trying to keep up with the demands of today’s mobile customer are at full attention.

A smart machine is a device that is equipped to make decisions and solve problems in a humanlike manner (think self-driving cars). Relying on data and metadata, or “the information of everything,” smart machines are expected to drive a higher level of quality and consistency in everyday customer interactions by relying on neural networks that dissect things like text, images and voice — all without human intervention. Continue reading

Better Customer Loyalty Through Personalization


The following is a guest blog written by Kathy Juve, SVP, Global Marketing and Product Development at Convergys. Learn more about Convergys by visiting their website.

Among CX professionals, interest in personalizing customer experiences is always a hot topic, but companies often invest too much time and too many resources in things that don’t matter much to customers.

Why? Because most companies lack the necessary research data and analytic insights to know with certainty when personalization works, when it doesn’t, and how to make it have the biggest payoff.

To help contribute to the industry’s understanding of personalization in customer care, Convergys has surveyed over 3,000 customers across a variety of industries. The results have given us an accurate picture of the current state of personalization today, and clear answers to the questions of how customers want their service experiences to be tailored to them.

We share some of the key discoveries here.

Most Personalization Attempts Miss the Mark

In customer care, personalization should be about making attempts to establish an authentic, timely, and mutually beneficial connection with a customer based on what is known about their individual needs and preferences.

Our research shows that most companies are struggling to do this.

When we surveyed customers about their most recent phone interaction, for example, the most commonly identified personalization attempt (47%) was that the agent mentioned the customer’s name. Unfortunately, we found that mentioning a customer’s name ranks near the very bottom in terms of importance to the customer.

So, how do you deliver personalization in ways that matter the most to customers? Our research points out that it’s not simply a matter of training the right agent behaviors or supporting agents with the right technology, but rather a strategic blending of the two.

Here are the top four components of both agent-owned and technology-enabled personalization factors, according to customers: Continue reading

The Customer Rage Study: What It Means To You and Your Bottom Line

The following is a guest blog written by Mary Murcott, President of the Customer Experience Institute at Dialog Direct. Learn more about Dialog Direct by visiting their website.

There are only two ways to build a business: retain existing customers and acquire new ones. Great customer service and satisfaction are the key to both because most customers are acquired through positive word of mouth. So you would expect most companies to be fully focused on providing exceptional customer service and experiences, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Every two years, Dialog Direct partners with CCMC (customer care measurement & consulting), the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and the Center for Services Leadership to conduct the Customer Rage Study to gauge how customers view companies and how retailers and etailers can address areas of weakness that cause them to lose customers. The study identifies customer problems and addresses the nagging question:

Why are customer service and satisfaction still declining, despite their paramount importance and bottom line impact?

The study revealed that, in 2015, $202 billion were at risk due to customer problems with products/services. Key takeaways:

66% of customers with problems experienced rage

60% identified wasted time as the biggest damage

Only 35% were satisfied with their first contact

Only 14% got problem resolved upon first contact

It takes an average of 4.2 contacts to satisfy the complainant

Nearly one in four wants revenge


If they become satisfied, 48% of customers would still recommend the brand

When providing both monetary and non-monetary remedies, satisfaction almost doubled from 37% to 73%

What are the implications? Continue reading

How Customer Experience Is Changing

Amit Shankardass

The following is a guest blog written by Amit Shankardass, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Teleperformance. Learn more about Teleperformance by visiting their website.

Sometimes the world moves so quickly that it is difficult to see which changes and developments are really important. Progress just happens and we often forget how things used to happen, even in the recent past. How customers relate to brands is just one example of an area of business that is moving faster now more than ever, especially in terms of how the customer experience shapes how customers feel about brands and companies.

In order to predict the future, it’s impossible to just extrapolate from the past, but it’s possible to step back from the rapid change, to take stock and evaluate just what has changed. With a deeper understanding of what has changed the customer experience and why, it is easier to understand how customer interactions may change in the coming years.

The industry analyst Gartner recently published a research paper suggesting that 89% of the companies surveyed are now competing with the customer experience as a key differentiator. Managing the customer experience has become the single most important task for executive managers, now with a higher priority than other traditional areas of focus, such as reducing costs or increasing revenue.

Why has this happened?

The simple answer to this is that the way customers communicate has changed in a short period of time. Two specific innovations arguably made the largest impact on mobile Internet access:  (1) launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007 and (2) rise in popularity of online social networks. Customers are now comfortable publishing their views on products and services for the consumption of friends, family members, and followers, and they have immediate access to prices, reviews, and the ability to make purchases 24/7.

How did this happen?
Continue reading

Why IVR? Why Now?

Abhay - Headshot

The following is a guest blog written by Abhay Prasad, Senior Director, Product Management, Self-Service, at Aspect. Learn more about Aspect by visiting their website.

Did you know your customers probably don’t want to talk to you?

This is one of the surprising discoveries we made while conducting primary consumer research on customer service preferences across generational groups, including Millennials. Instead of talking to an agent, 70% of Americans would rather solve product and service issues themselves and 91% would use self-service if it were available. And the demand for self-service is growing. This year, 42% of survey respondents told us they would rather do just about anything else (like clean a toilet) than talk to customer service – a 27% increase over last year’s survey results.

By tapping into consumer’s preferences for self-service options, businesses stand to save millions of dollars in operational costs, but only when self-service is convenient, appealing and customer-focused. IVRs, which have been considered a mainstay of customer self-service for years, are designed more to keep customers from reaching an agent than to help them resolve their issue in an efficient manner. As a result, most customers who find themselves in an IVR will do their best to find their way out again.

There IS a better way to meet customers’ self-service needs. In fact, we can think of at least eight better ways. Here are two of our favorites: Continue reading

Customer Experience Leaders Unite in Austin to Drive Service Innovation

Speakers From eBay, Hyatt, Verizon, and Electronic Arts to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Austin

PHOENIX, AZ. August 17, 2016 – Advocates for Customer Experience Professionals, Execs In The Know, have announced the speaker roster for their next executive gathering – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Austin. CRS Austin will take place September 18-20, 2016, at the JW Marriot Austin, in Austin, TX. Topics such as humanizing digital commerce, multichannel, holiday lessons, digital strategies, analytics, employee engagement, technology, and more will be discussed. The Summit will include keynote speakers from eBay, Hyatt, Verizon, and Electronic Arts.

CRS Austin is a gathering of customer experience leaders, across a broad spectrum, focused on working together to improve the customer care industry, and create innovative experiences for their respective brands. Highlights of the Summit include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Electronic Arts Austin location and the release of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series 2016 Consumer Report, a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.

“Customer Response Summit truly serves as a “think tank” for the corporate community of customer executives,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “Our “Leaders Learning From Leaders” approach emphasizes brand-to-brand mentorship and sharing around the best customer engagement strategies. We have one of our best speaker line-ups and collection of brands joining us and I can’t wait to see the real insights and discoveries made in Austin.”

Other brands that will be speaking include RCI, Target, Whataburger, Walmart, Express Scripts, Lands’ End, Dell, Shutterstock, SiriusXM, USAA, Costco Wholesale, and more. To see the full list of speakers, download the official agenda http://ow.ly/i9wt303jL5I.

To learn more about CRS Austin, or to register, visit the event website http://www.execsintheknow.com/events/crs-austin/. Continue reading

8 Great Questions Answered on Providing Text Message Customer Service


The following is a guest blog written by Lauren Kindzierski, VP of Solutions & Capabilities | Global Growth Strategy & Marketing Team, at Hinduja Global Solutions. Learn more about HGS by visiting their website.

Your customers are texting. Do you know how many are already texting to your company toll free line? At our March 23 webinar, How to Launch Text Message Customer Service, we provided some key insights into how to provide this customer service channel to meet, and exceed, the raised bar on today’s CX expectations.

For our poll regarding “What is the status of your brand launching text as a customer service channel,” we noted that 64% are thinking about launching text as a service channel.

The second poll, “How are you currently using text for your customer service?” revealed that 79% of respondents are considering options. A total of 15% of attendees are using one-way notification and alerts, while 3% are using two-way text to interact with customers and resolve issues, and 3% are using both.

According to our webinar attendees, a good sampling of companies across verticals, today’s businesses are increasingly turning to text as a channel to reduce customer effort and meet the demand for optimized CX. Here are some of the questions brand leaders from across North America had regarding launching a text solution:

Q1: What should the average response time for text be?

A: When a customer is texting a business, they are definitely going to want a response within seconds, if not faster. When texting friends and family, the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds. Therefore 90 seconds is a really good starting point, because that’s what consumers have come to expect.

Q2: If a customer is in the CRM and is marked as “opted-out,” can a rep still text the customer? Is there anything that stops the rep from texting an opted-out customer?

A: In our system, if a customer has opted-out, the rep cannot text the customer. The customer would have to re opt-in through the legal disclosure process. Continue reading

Rule for Robot Overlords: Trust and Robotics in Customer Experience


The following is a guest blog written by Benjamin Little, Director of Design Strategy, Sutherland Labs. Learn more about Sutherland Global Services by visiting their website.

The service environment is evolving. As technology becomes more intelligent we see consumer demand, competitive pressure, and economic sense all pressing us to bring robots into the customer experience. If you are an aspiring human handler of our robotic workforce, it is important to consider the tentative trusting relationship humans have with robots.

Before my smart phone, before my Roomba, there was my my first GPS navigation system. I happily followed its instructions and my wife made fun of how quickly I lost the ability to get anywhere on my own. I was very happy to shut off that part of my brain that used to visualize the system of streets and remember the requisite steps to reach my destination. I’d outsourced that cognitive process of navigating and could now focus my energy on something more fun. A generation later and my daughter will likely consider navigation by paper map akin to penmanship and butter churning: vintage skills that were once ubiquitous.

What happened to me relates to what experts call “transactive memory.”[1] Transactive memory is, in essence, the externalization of information. For anyone familiar with how software works, think of it as a pointer and then get a little creeped out by how memory allocation rules apply the same to both biology and silicon. Since the advent of Google, society has largely talked about outsourcing human memory to the internet, and transactive memory has begun dominating how the average consumer thinks. We are really good at remembering how to find information, but increasingly we are not storing that information in our brains quite as readily.

Which brings us to robots. Memory is one thing, but modern robotics is giving us new opportunities to outsource cognition. Navigating was one of the earliest versions of this, but recent research from Georgia Tech [2] shows that we over-trust our mechanical sidekicks for more than just memory. The study focused on human propensity to keep following a robot out of a burning building, even when it had proved itself unreliable. Despite repeated warnings from just about every science fiction story to do with robots, we still trust them. While this situation has more dire implications than my phone trying to send me the wrong way up a one-way street, we are seeing more and more service opportunities for robotic workers to merrily lead our customers in the undesirable outcomes.

The lesson for business about how we consumers think is that we consumers don’t necessarily care about how amazing the technology is behind the interface. From a UX perspective, asking Google to tell me the capital of Ecuador (Quito, by the way) is not tremendously different than asking a policy question about my healthcare coverage. It is a matter of adoption and comfort with robotics that takes us from there to walking into a SoftBank store and asking a robot which phone I should buy. Now, I individually care that the technology behind each of those interactions is different, impressive, and complex, but at the point of service there is an expectation that everything just work. Continue reading

The Power of Employee Advocates


The following is a guest post from Susan Hash, Editor of Contact Center Pipeline.

Social Media: Tap Into the Power of Employee Advocates

Businesses pour an incredible amount of time and budget into creating positive buzz on social media. While tweeting, liking and sharing has largely been the domain of marketing and social media teams, more companies are now encouraging their employees to become brand ambassadors using their personal social networks. It’s called employee advocacy. Although it’s not a new concept, adding a social media component has amplified the effects.

What makes the employee voice so powerful? Employees have more credibility than the CEO on social media when it comes to the company’s work environment (48% vs. 19%), business practices and crises (30% vs. 27%), according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, the global communications marketing firm’s annual trust and credibility survey. The survey respondents also stated that, on social media and content-sharing sites, they’re far more trusting of family and friends (78%) than a CEO (49%).

I recently had the opportunity to talk with employee advocacy expert Christopher Hannegan, Edelman’s executive vice president, U.S. Practice Chair, Employee Engagement. The idea behind employee advocacy, he says, is that employees are so impassioned and excited about their company’s products, culture and workplace, they will actively talk to others about it, encourage them to buy the company’s products, or apply for a job.

Naturally, employee advocacy is rooted in the culture. “You have to have an engaged workforce before you can expect employees to go outside of the company and start talking favorably about what it’s like to work there and how great the products are,” Hannegan says. “Employees need to understand and feel good about where the company is heading, their role within the company, what they can do to make a difference, and they need to have a good relationship with their manager.” Continue reading

Get Your Chat Fitness On

Chat Analytics Webinar Deck_MASTER

The following is a guest blog from Leslie Joseph, Senior Director, Product Marketing at [24]7. For more information about [24]7, visit http://www.247-inc.com/.

When was the last time you asked yourself “How can I improve the performance of my chat program?” No matter how optimized your chat program is, there is always room for improvement. As with any fitness program, simply following generic rules will only get you half way there. A customized workout for your chat is necessary to get the highest gains in performance. So how does one find the right routines, tools, and methods for getting chat-fit? The answer to all of these questions is in your data. It’s not just about what data you use, but how you use the data to make the biggest improvements.

Data is key. You don’t need to be a 1000-agent chat program before you start thinking about data. In fact, chances are, if you start thinking about data only after hitting a 1000, or even just 100, you probably have some catching-up to do. Smart execs can optimize even a fledgling chat program based on insights that can be gleaned from mashing up chat logs and reports with web data. But that’s just scratching the surface. Once you’re ready, chat transcript mining is the next frontier. Chat transcripts are a goldmine, rich with nuggets of insight that the performance-focused exec can arm to implement actions on the floor that enhance not just the efficiency, but also the effectiveness of agents. Chat mining is also a way to unlock other insights into customer sentiment and issue drivers that can lead to lower out-of-scopes, better customer engagement, smarter targeting, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction. These insights, either on their own or paired with predictive models, can trim and tone your chat program to top efficiency.

But it doesn’t end there. The most important part is getting started. Once you start building momentum and making traction, you will soon realize that data-driven improvements will put even the best performance enhancing drugs to shame.

Join me on July 19, 2016 at 1:00 P.M. EDT as I discuss how some of the most successful companies use data and analytics to turn their chat channel into lean, mean performance machines. Register today! 

How Data & Analytics Can Turbocharge Your Chat Program Webinar


PHOENIX, AZ. July 8, 2016 – Chad McDaniel, President of Execs In The Know, and Leslie Joseph, Senior Director, Product Marketing at [24]7, will be hosting the webinar “How Data and Analytics can Turbocharge Your Chat Program.” The action packed training session will take place on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 from 1:00-2:00 ET.

In this hour long session, Leslie Joseph will provide tangible tips on how to use web data, customer journey analytics, and text mined insights to improve chat results and become an engagement fitness expert. Three levels of chat fitness will be explored:

– Beginner: How to get started by utilizing basic operational analytics

– Intermediate: Ramp up your efforts by working text mining and predictive models into your routine.

– Expert: Progress to the next level through platform analytics that can transform the chat experience for visitors and drive maximum business outcomes.

“Findings from our recent CXMB Corporate Report show that online chat has undergone a notable year-over-year increase, growing by 27% among companies offering one or more Interactive Care solutions,” said Chad McDaniel. “This webinar will feature real, actionable tips that will be applicable to chat providers at every stage of the game.”

To register for the webinar visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5098092745822594819. Continue reading

Meet The Board – Lisa Oswald – Delivering Value

Lisa at a recent open studio weekend in Yonkers, NY


Second in our “Meet The Board” series is Lisa Oswald. We hope you’ll enjoy getting the chance to know our EITK Advisory Board members a bit better over the coming months! 

Get to Know: Lisa Oswald, Senior Vice President, Customer Service at Travelzoo Inc. 

My role leading customer strategy is all about growing our company by making it easier for customers to do business with us. My commitment to deliver service for a competitive advantage — a business imperative, really – drives everything we do. That’s because consumers demand more from companies today. And making smart decisions about what our customers want and need, and how to effectively deliver that drives revenue and loyalty.

My company is Travelzoo, a global media commerce company. You probably know us as the publisher of the Travelzoo Top 20®, the definitive list of the week’s best travel, entertainment and local deals. As Senior Vice President of Customer Service, I lead global customer strategy for our 28 million members across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, driving culture change and influencing the way my colleagues think and act in support of our members. That includes helping set the organization’s product roadmap for delivering member experience outcomes. My most important role, however, is the one I take most seriously…upholding our members’ trust in our brand. After all, there’s a reason why we’re called the Deal Experts! Continue reading

The Digital Tipping Point Webinar

PHOENIX, AZ. June 20, 2016 – Chad McDaniel, President of Execs In The Know, will be moderating the webinar, “The Digital Tipping Point: Balancing Digital Self-Service and the Human Touch With Knowledge.” The webinar, taking place Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 from 1:00-2:00 ET will be an interactive Q/A style featuring guest speaker, Forrester’s Kate Leggett, and Kelly Koelliker of Verint. The pair will be discussing the increasing importance of digital self-service knowledge and the trends driving customer expectations for service.

The one hour session will take a deeper look at how actionable knowledge management can address the increasing need for self-service, while support the need for traditional channels when self-service is not enough. The following key highlights will be shared:

Trends impacting effective customer engagement and self-service
The 3 E’s of customer experience: Effectiveness, Ease, and Emotion
Best practices for creating actionable knowledge
The digital tipping point and how to balance self-service and the human touch

“Findings from our recent CXMB Corporate Report show that 63% feel their company is beginning to divert focus away from traditional avenues of assistance into autonomous (self-help) options,” said Chad McDaniel. “While it’s crucial to still offer traditional channels, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only offer self-service, but to optimize it the right way.”

To register for the webinar visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9146439583075979009. Continue reading

The Digital Tipping Point: How to Balance Self-Service & The Human Touch


This is a guest blog written by Kelly Koelliker, Director, Solutions Marketing at Verint Systems. Learn more about Verint at http://www.verint.com/.

For the first time ever, self-service channels have surpassed the phone as the most popular channels for service. As a result, organizations are beginning to invest heavily in these channels, seeking to provide the user experience customers demand. Meanwhile, contact centers still field millions of phone calls every day. So while the self-service channels are growing, many interactions still require the human touch of a phone call.

Many customers prefer to find information on their own, searching and browsing on web and mobile devices. Self-service offers the convenience of anytime/anywhere access for customers, with an added benefit of lower cost for organizations. At the same time, assisted service channels like the phone offer the value of the human touch, which can be critical when dealing with sensitive or complex issues. Continue reading

Meet The Board – Ginna Sauerwein – The Power of Perspective

Ginna and her family.


The following is the first in our “Meet The Board” series. We hope you’ll enjoy getting the chance to know our EITK Advisory Board members a bit better over the coming months! 

Get to Know: Ginna Sauerwein, Managing Director, FedEx Services

My name is Ginna Sauerwein. My first name is pronounced like a bottle of “Gin” and then add “na”. My last name is pronounced like “Sour Wine”. I wanted to get that out of the way first because it is a constant opportunity! Thirty-two years ago, after working for good companies like J. C. Penney, Miller Brewery, and Delta Airlines, I was lucky enough to be hired by a young company named Federal Express – now grown up and called FedEx. I’ve worked in numerous capacities for FedEx over the years, and since 1993, I’ve served as a Managing Director in Customer Services. Based in Dallas, Texas, I oversee customer contact employees who provide multilingual customer information services for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, and FedEx Office. As a key member of the FedEx leadership team, I manage employees in customer contact centers and reps working remotely from home. I’m responsible for defining Premier Programs and implementing new customer contact channels including social media, chat, video-chat, and technical services support for fedex.com.

I believe customer experience is defined by every interaction. I think each interaction must end with a thoroughly delighted customer to ensure they will conduct business with FedEx again and again. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to interact with FedEx and to provide solutions that exceed their expectations.

My role on the Advisory Board is important to me and is best described by a two-part short story that began in 2000 and spanned two countries.

Part 1:  While living and working in Guadalajara, Mexico, I accompanied the FedEx couriers to an area of town that had lean-to houses made of cardboard and pallets, no running water or plumbing, and dirty, dusty roads. We were there to deliver toys and food we had collected for a Christmas Charity. My husband and four children went with us and we all passed out presents to the very thankful crowd. Later that year, my direct survey scores were 10 points higher than any Managing Director had ever received in Mexico. My curious boss asked how? What did I do?  Continue reading

Engage Frontline Staff in Delivering Customer-Centric Goals


The following is a guest post from Susan Hash, Editor of Contact Center Pipeline.

Every contact center leader understands the link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. In centers that pride themselves on maintaining high levels of engagement, common themes include clear, frequent communication from leaders about goals and expectations, active involvement in process changes and being empowered to do the job.

How do you cultivate a customer-centric mindset among frontline employees? The following are proven practices that have appeared in the pages of Contact Center Pipeline over the years.

Give Agents a Closer View of the Customer

Frontline contact center staff may be in contact with customers every day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they know what the customer is experiencing. Some companies help to provide agents with that perspective by allowing them to accompany sales staff on customer site visits. Agents get a chance to see what happens on the customer’s end—how customers are using the company’s products and what issues they might be experiencing—to gain a better understanding of their perspective.

This is a practice that can work for centers in a variety of sectors. As Jay Minnucci, founder of contact center consulting firm Service Agility, points out: “If you have retail stores, agents should have a chance to work in them. If you have focus groups with customers, agents should have the opportunity to be involved (even if only observing). If you have a product or service that a consumer can use, every agent should get it for free (or at least at reduced cost). For the relatively minor expense of some time off the phone, the payback is more compassion, greater understanding and a higher level of engagement.”

At Memorial Health System, employees attend empathy training that explains the different types of patients that staff will come into contact with, their specific health issues and what they may be experiencing. Managers reinforce the training by posting “empathy boards” in all of the backstage areas, like break rooms and storage areas. The empathy boards include photos of a patient type discussed in training (but not an actual patient), along with key points about their situations. It serves as an ongoing reminder of the patient’s voice.

Transparent Communication Builds Trust

Having open discussions about the organization’s goals and the ROI associated with the customer experience is an effective way to help frontline staff understand the impact their work has on the company’s success. Jon Koelling, director of customer care at Intuit, says that clear and meaningful communication is an essential activity in his center. The organization’s goals and progress toward those goals is discussed in quarterly touchpoint meetings, as well as in traditional team meetings, via email updates and during biweekly pre-shift meetings. Continue reading

The Mobile Shift Webinar

PHOENIX, AZ. May 9, 2016 – Chad McDaniel, President of Execs In The Know, and Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy and Development at West Interactive Services will be hosting the webinar “The Mobile Shift: How to Proactively Deliver a Better Customer Experience,” on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 from 1:00-2:00 ET. The speakers will explain the importance of switching from a reactive to proactive communication strategy, in order to better facilitate the mobile experience your customers’ desire.

The webinar will explore best practices in self-service, use case examples from leading brands, and how to determine the right data to meet consumers’ needs. Tips on how to infuse transparency and personalization into your organization, as well as key ways to incorporate proactive communication into your current customer experience strategy will also be shared.

“Customer expectations and technology are constantly evolving,” said Chad McDaniel. “More consumers than ever are reaching for their mobile phones, with twenty percent of shoppers making purchases via a mobile phone in 2015. It’s imperative that brands take a proactive approach with their customers and optimize this popular channel.”

To register for the webinar visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7554530363851655171. Continue reading

Mobile Disruption and the Future of Customer Care


This is a guest blog written by Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy and Development at West, Interactive Services. Learn more about West at West.com/Interactive.

It’s estimated that we spend 177 minutes (nearly one-fifth of our waking day) on our phones daily — habitually checking them for updates around 150 times.[i] Furthermore, it’s predicted that mobile commerce will account for almost half of all e-commerce by 2018.[ii] Seasoned Silicon Valley gurus have even asserted a probable P.C. extinction as a result of the increasing functionality of mobile devices.

Digital disruption is transforming our lives and the brands we touch. Organizations need to put more power in customers’ hands. We need to free consumers to interact on their own terms and treat every interaction as a piece of an ongoing conversation. We need to enact thoughtful strategies to… Get. More. Proactive.

This whitepaper on the mobile shift from West and Execs in the Know is a good place to get started.

We’re now living in a world where 87 percent of parents use texting — 72 percent of which hold a positive perception of companies that offer text messaging customer care.[iii] It’s estimated that in 2018, mobile search will generate 73 billion calls to businesses across every industry.[iv] Luckily, knowing this puts brands in control of their own destiny! Continue reading

Here’s What’s New In Social Media Customer Service

The following post is a guest blog from Jeff Toister, Author, Consultant and Trainer at Toister Performance Solutions. Click here to view the original post.  

Social media is still an immature customer service channel.

That’s apparent when reading the latest Customer Experience Benchmark report from Execs In The Know and COPC, Inc. This report is the 2015 Corporate Edition and was published in 2016.

I previously analyzed their 2013 report and their 2014 report and came to the same conclusion each year. Most companies still don’t get social media as a customer service channel.

Six years ago, I did my own tiny social media study. That’s back when the Starbucks Twitter profile said that some guy named Brad did the tweeting. Things are pretty much the same as even back then. (Except for Brad. I’m not sure what happened to him.)

In this year’s report, I did see a glimmer of hope that more companies are starting to catch on. Social media customer service is still far from maturity, but it might be entering it’s adolescent years.

Below are three of the more interesting trends revealed in the report. You can also purchase the full report from Execs In The Know. It’s full of intriguing insights on social media plus more traditional channels (phone, email, etc.) and emerging channels like self-service and chat.

Social media concept

Trend #1: Ownership

More customer service teams are getting involved, and they’re getting more resources to do it. It still isn’t great. Here’s the breakdown of who owns the social media function:

JT_April2016_2 Continue reading

The Future of Enterprise Chat Webinar


PHOENIX, AZ. April 15, 2016 – Chad McDaniel, President of Execs In The Know, and Leslie Joseph, Senior Director, Product Marketing at [24]7, will be hosting the webinar The Future of Enterprise Chat Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 from 1:00-2:00 P.M. ET. The speakers will explain the importance of having an established chat channel for customer service, as well as potential future improvements, due in large part to consumer demand for intelligent, high quality experiences, regardless of channel.

The webinar will explore how big data, omnichannel technologies, and rich media are delivering improvements in chat experiences, for both customers and agents. Key takeaways include: the key elements of chat success in an omnichannel world; specific use cases to extend and enrich the chat channel; and the business case to transform your chat customer experience, improve sales conversions, save costs, and lift NPS.

“Customers want to be able to contact you when and where they want, in their preferred channel, and know that they’ll still have that same consistent experience with your brand,” said Chad McDaniel. “[24]7 has great insights to share on best practices and improvements for the future for this interactive channel, which is a top priority for many of our community members.”

To register for the webinar visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7449194949962566660. Continue reading

The Future of Chat


The following is a guest blog from Leslie Joseph, Senior Director, Product Marketing at [24]7. For more information about [24]7, visit http://www.247-inc.com/.

Decades ago, the idea of putting a man on the moon seemed like an impossible dream. Yet, in 1969 Apollo 11 became the first manned mission to land on the moon. Fast forward to today, scientists at NASA have explored the surface of Mars and it won’t stop there with planned Mars landings in the 2030s. Technology has a tendency to evolve at neck-breaking speeds, which can make it challenging for businesses to keep up.

The future of enterprise chat is much the same. The technology has been around for years but its capabilities, both for the customer and for the agents, are evolving rapidly.

Forrester Research has stated that chat is quickly rising as the channel of choice among consumers to connect with companies, both in usage terms as well as overall satisfaction. However, consumers now know what qualifies as a great experience on the web, having been exposed to “best in class” experiences from tech giants like Apple and Google, and they expect the same level of service from every business. Consumers expect companies to be smart about addressing their needs, using data to provide intuitive experiences that are out of this world.

There are four key ways in which the chat channel can adapt to the continued advancements in technology and customer experience. Businesses should start preparing by examining four pillars that form the blueprint for the future. Continue reading

Uber-Channel Shifts: Lessons Learned From the 2015 Holiday Season – Part 2


The following is a guest blog written by Sara Wright, Marketing Director, at Dialog Direct.

Last week we shared the first post in this two part series “Uber-Channel Shifts: Lessons Learned From the 2015 Holiday Season.” Get all caught up on the first two “lessons learned” by reading the first post in the series!

At Customer Response Summit Phoenix a one-of-a-kind panel involving customer experience executives from three of retail’s biggest competitors came together on the stage.  The panelists shared their firsthand experience in retail’s hottest trends, innovations, wins and lessons learned.

Here is what we learned:

3. Social Media Brings Delight and In-Store Insight

The speed of growth and change in social media, and the way that it is transforming the expectations of the customer, will continue to revolutionize the way retailers market, sell and communicate with their customers.

The most common way that retailers are engaging with their customers on social media is through two-way social media communication. The debate, however, is about who to prioritize the communication strategy around – influencers, detractors, or do you proactively reach out to all to delight? It depends on who you talk to, but the majority seem to prioritize reactive communication to the detractors or those that have an issue to resolve. One large online retailer, however, spoke up at the Customer Response Summit and stated that they believe in using social media to surprise and delight, not just react. Use vines, photos and video, not just text, to engage with a customer to create an over-the-top experience. Many retailers rely on an outsourced customer engagement partner to help monitor, engage and delight customers, especially during peak times or after hours. It has also been found that social media predictive technology can increase operational efficiencies by nearly 41% by prioritizing the most impactful conversations. Continue reading

Uber-Channel Shifts: Lessons Learned from the 2015 Holiday Season – Part 1



The following is a guest blog written by Sara Wright, Marketing Director, at Dialog Direct.

The winter Customer Response Summit may have concluded, but the excitement generated by the event still lives on. Of course, when Execs In The Know is involved, we can all expect great connections, thought-provoking panels and lots of laughs, but it’s what we didn’t expect in Phoenix that is generating the most chatter – the convergence of three of retail’s biggest competitors together on one stage. This one-of-a-kind panel involving customer experience executives was full of energy, content and friendly, competitive jabs, as the panelists shared their firsthand experience in retail’s hottest trends, innovations, wins and lessons learned.

Here is what we learned:

1. “Click-and-Collect” Shopping Has Many Challenges and Opportunities

Appealing to the omnichannel shopper who bounces back and forth between online and in-store shopping, “click-and-collect” orders are enjoyed by 42% of online shoppers, according to Forrester Research. While the concept of buying online and picking up in-store seems easy, both retailers and consumers are experiencing both the joys and the pains that go along with this new initiative – especially during the 2015 holiday season.

The introduction of buying online and picking up in-store is very complex operationally, with one major retailer expressing challenges specifically around accuracy of available stock, customers buying the reserved item in-store before it is picked, and order queuing. While challenges are observed and expected, this new fulfillment model brings many exciting revenue growth opportunities. For one, this model brings online shoppers into the stores which, according to a survey by Deloitte, omnichannel shoppers were poised to spend about 75 percent more than store-only shoppers this season on gifts, entertaining and other purchases. Continue reading

Petco & RBC Royal Bank to Host 2016 CXMB Series Spring Workshops

Leaders Learning From Leaders in Exclusive One Day Events Focused on CX Data 

PHOENIX, AZ. March 16, 2016 – The 2016 CXMB Series Workshop, organized by Execs In The Know and COPC Inc., is headed to two cities this spring, with stops in San Diego, CA (May 4th) and Toronto, Canada (June 7th). These exclusive, one day events present an excellent opportunity for industry professionals to gather and share their customer experience challenges, successes and insights. This year the spring events will be hosted by two exceptional brands that are strongly committed to the concept of Customer First: Petco and RBC Royal Bank.

As with past CXMB Series Workshop events, great attention will be paid to the results of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark (CXMB) Series reports — 2015 Editions. The CXMB Series is a collaborative effort between Execs In The Know and research partner, COPC Inc. Published bi-annually, the CXMB series provides valuable customer experience insights from both the consumer and corporate perspectives. This year’s reports reveal intriguing discoveries in the areas of consumer preference, channel growth and the multi-channel experience. The CXMB Series proves especially insightful when viewed as a whole, directly comparing results between the two editions.

A few highlights from the findings:

• 79% of corporate survey participants believe they are meeting the needs and expectations of customers, while only 33% of consumers report having their needs and expectations met Continue reading

Digital Disruption And The Customer Experience


The following is a guest blog written by Amit Shankardass, EVP Marketing at Teleperformance. Learn more about Teleperformance by visiting their website.

Digital disruption is on many corporate agendas right now, but what is it? Put simply, it’s when an idea or technological process changes the way that things are done. If the change is radical enough it can affect companies and even entire industries. Think of how Kodak once led the market for photographic film, yet didn’t see how digital photographs would change their industry.

Digital disruption divides opinion in the boardroom. Some leaders see the opportunity and some see only threats. The very concept of your entire business model being challenged by disruptive market entrants can lead to decision paralysis because no strategies or options appear to be right.

However, if you plan well and create a vision to manage digital disruption it can be exciting and empowering in the way it can reshape your business. Digital disruption often creates opportunities for companies to engage in a deeper and more meaningful way with their customers.

It’s important to appreciate that in the 21st century business environment it is often your customer that dictates the rate of change – consumer technologies have created enterprise disruption. The growth of multichannel communication between customers and brands is a great example that shows just how quickly customer expectations changed. Any customer who asks a brand a question using Twitter or Facebook today will feel ignored if they don’t get a prompt answer, but a few years ago most brands were still ignoring social networks and expecting customers to call a dedicated customer support phone number.

This is an important dynamic that all executives should appreciate – you can no longer plan your customer engagement strategy entirely in the boardroom. You just need to be flexible enough to adapt to what your customers want. I believe there are a few key areas that all executives need to be thinking of if they want to stay on top of digital disruption: Continue reading

The Digital Strategy Sit Rep

The following is a guest blog written by Reagan Miller, Vice President of Chat Agent Services at [24]7. Learn more about [24]7 by visiting their website.

I was never an actual member of the armed forces, but my Father was a Lt. Colonel in the Army, so I was “sort of” in the Army too; let’s just say that by the age of 3, in knew what the words “attention” and “at ease” meant. Among the many colorful words and acronyms I needed to understand in order to survive, there was one in particular that proved to be highly valuable, it was “sit rep”. No, that’s not a description of an ab work out, it’s short for Situational Report. When my Dad asked for a sit rep, it meant I needed to state my objective, observe my surroundings, assess my location, determine my operational status, assess any threats, determine a recommended course of action, and communicate all of this as accurately and concisely as possible to my commander. This was particularly useful for a 3 year old when crossing the street.

But the idea of the sit rep is also useful for the savvy business person. In fact it’s something we do rather instinctively, although we sometimes do not deploy a disciplined approach to the task, and for my military Dad, that’s just not up to spec (specifications for you non-military types) and is likely to leave us with a “soup-sandwich”.

So how does all of this relate to my organization’s digital interaction strategy? Well, let’s take a moment and “sit rep” it. Before you start to conduct such an analysis, you’ll need a way to gauge your surroundings and look into the future, and for this purpose I’d like to propose a Digital Channels Maturity Framework.

Using this framework you can:

– understand the current consumer digital interactions landscape

– assess your current state relative to a defined maturity model

– gain insight into what the future holds for digital channels and how you can adapt, or perhaps lead among your competitors

– develop a forward looking capability roadmap

– build a business plan for future investment


Continue reading

Seven Ways To Ensure Your Customers Actually Use Your Self-Service System


Author: Cyndy Edwards, Senior Consultant, COPC Inc. Learn more about COPC Inc. at http://www.copc.com.

Today’s customer fully embraces technology and expects companies to do the same. This is especially true when it comes to providing customer service. Customers are still calling into the contact center to resolve many issues. However, two-thirds of consumers surveyed by Execs In The Know and COPC Inc. utilize multiple channels, including self-service options.

The use of multiple channels is not the whole story. Customers expect an effortless and seamless experience throughout their journey with your organization, with a convenient path to issue resolution. This means that customer engagement must be connected and relevant between your assisted and unassisted (or self-service) channels.

A key component of your self-service channel is having an effective knowledgebase, or the online library that stores and delivers your customer care content. Yes, your self-service program relies on technology to deliver information to your customers. But it is the content, organization, and search functionality within your knowledgebase that will make your self-service program a useful and reliable part of your omnichannel engagement.

Here are seven ways to design, build and maintain a knowledgebase that will meet expectations during any part of the customer journey:

1) Start by establishing a knowledgebase strategy.

If the goal of your knowledgebase is to answer customer questions and help resolve their issues, then you need to make sure you understand your customers’ needs. You can get this information by documenting questions that customers are asking when you are monitoring calls, emails or chats. Make sure to capture questions that customers escalate to Tier 2.

Also, structure your knowledgebase with “simple” in mind. Stick to fewer generalized categories so customers are not confused. Over time as more content is added, there may be opportunities to add section headings or categories. These will become clear as they are needed, so be prepared to grow your knowledgebase organically. Continue reading

Shep Hyken, CIBC, Porsche & Microsoft to Keynote Execs In The Know Customer Response Summit Phoenix

PHOENIX, AZ. February 16, 2016 – The 13th Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit will take place February 23-25, 2016, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, in Phoenix, AZ.  Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Speaker and Bestselling Author will be the opening keynote of the conference. Michael Martin, SVP Channel Optimization at CIBC, Andrew Pine, VP Customer Relations at Porsche Cars North America, and Maria Martinez, Senior Director WW Consumer Delivery & Advertiser Organization at Microsoft, will also be keynote speakers at the event.

Customer Response Summit Phoenix is an intimate, laser focused forum, providing outstanding opportunities to directly engage with some of the brightest senior executives in customer leadership. The strength of the forum lies within the innovative design of informative sessions, relevant industry tours, specialized networking opportunities, and dynamic extracurricular activities all centered on one thing – customer service excellence. The theme of this year’s Summit is Customer Driven. Continue reading

Mobile Customer Support and Engagement – Where to Start?

The following is a guest blog written by Jill Soley, VP Marketing at Freshdesk. Learn more about Freshdesk by visiting their website.

Today, our customers have everything they need to communicate in the palm of their hand. Mobile brings about a unique and powerful convergence of communication channels — voice, email, chat, social, SMS — in one very portable device. This has a profound impact on how our customers communicate with each other, with the world, and with brands. It creates new challenges for brands to adjust to the protocols, cadence and sheer scale for customer support.

We’ve learned, in the digital age, that it’s no longer enough to publish a toll free number and staff a call center during business hours to provide for the needs of our customers. There are many new communication channels we’ve had to embrace and new skills we’ve had to learn to provide for the needs of our customers, in a social, mobile, 24×7 global marketplace.

At Freshdesk, we look at customer engagement through the lens of what we call The Great Pyramid of Customer Support.

Freshdesk Support Pyamid

This framework, based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, provides a structure to help organizations assess their support capabilities and determine what to prioritize. It can be particularly useful for determining how to address a new channel. Here we will apply it to mobile support and engagement: Continue reading

The Power of Personalizing Your Customer Experience


The following is a guest blog written by Matt Wheatley, VP of Customer Experience at 24-7 Intouch. Learn more about 24-7 Intouch by visiting their website.

It is no surprise that an improvement in customer experience can easily translate into hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental annual revenues. One key component to making a lasting, positive impression on your customers is through the personalization of the consumer experience.

Customers are constantly contacted by brands in the hopes of gathering as much information as they possibly can to build out customer profiles. The more effectively a company uses customer information to understand and acknowledge both the differences and similarities, the easier it will be to provide a truly personalized, highly customized experience through relevant channels in ways that drive stronger, more profitable relationships. However, if nothing is done with this data, all you’re left with is an annoyed customer and a detached experience.

Here are a few ways you can drive immediate engagement and better serve your customers by giving them exactly what they want, when and how they want it: Continue reading

Cultivating CX Change: A Real-life Success Story


The following is a guest blog written by Lorraine Schumacher, Customer Experience Evangelist at Clarabridge. Learn more about Clarabridge by visiting their website.

Starting a Customer Experience (CX) program is no small feat. For Justin MacDonald, Customer Experience Manager at Infusionsoft, he eats, breathes, and sleeps CX and is a passionate champion and change agent within his business. A Software-as-a Service (SaaS) company that serves small businesses, Infusionsoft needs to earn their customers’ loyalty each month. To keep pulse on the customer experience—whether it’s calling the support center, using the product, or any other interaction—the business relies on customer feedback from multiple sources.

MacDonald shared some key principles that he’s identified as critical to understand when building a CX program.

CX Impacts Everything

It’s critical for a CX team to work cross-functionally because CX impacts all areas of the business, and all areas of the business impact CX. A true omni-source program gathers customer feedback from all sources, on all areas of the customer experience, and then makes that information actionable.

“With entrepreneurs and small businesses, business is personal, and their experience with every element of their journeys with our company and product impacts their business, their customers, and ultimately their vote to continue business with us each month,” said MacDonald. “Customer retention, cost of acquisition, and monthly recurring revenue are all majorly impacted by customer experience. We believe we will hit our business goals because we deliver a great customer experience.”

A true believer that a strong CX program is worth its weight in gold, MacDonald adds, “You don’t make experiences better for customers so that your company benefits; your company benefits because you make customer experiences better.” Continue reading

10 Stats You Need to Know About Customer Rage!


This is a guest blog written by Mary Murcott, President, Customer Experience Institute at Dialog Direct. Learn more about Dialog Direct on their website

Customers aren’t just frustrated, they are ENRAGED! In fact, 66% of people with a brand problem have experienced rage. How does Rage affect your business? What do customers expect to benefit from complaining, versus what they believe companies actually provide?  The 10 Customer Rage Study* stats below may surprise you.
Continue reading

Data Can Be Your Customer Experience MVP



This is a guest blog written by Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy & Development, West Interactive Services. Learn more about West on their website

You’re gearing up for Super Bowl 50 this weekend, right? Imagine if you were settling in with your Best Buds (“King of Beers,” pun definitely intended) and discovered that it was aired via Pay-Per-View (PPV)…

Okay, don’t fret—this isn’t the case—but there are plenty of big TV events that are PPV-only throughout the year.

One leading cable/satellite company seized the opportunity for PPV viewership using proactive communications to promote an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event that would likely pique the interest of many subscribers.

It worked.

This client’s goal was to increase self-service to improve the customer experience – and capitalize on automation to increase revenue. Our expert data analysts helped them achieve both by drawing parallels between customers’ behaviors and their likelihood to purchase UFC PPV fights. Informed by that data, subscribers received proactive notifications two days prior to the event that gave them the option to purchase the fight right then and there.   Continue reading

Execs In The Know and COPC Inc. Release the Executive Summary for the 2015 Corporate Edition of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series

Insights from Over 70 Brands, Including AT&T, Sony, Ford Motor Company and TXU Energy, Show An Ongoing Disconnect Between Consumers and Companies In Meeting Customer Care Expectations

PHOENIX, AZ and WINTER PARK, FL — January 22,  2016 – Execs In The Know, a global network of customer management professionals, and COPC Inc., a leader in customer experience operations, have announced an Executive Summary release for the 2015 Corporate Edition of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark (CXMB) Series.

The 2015 Corporate Edition is the seventh report in the CXMB Series and extends trend lines revealed in past editions, including specific data comparisons with the 2015 Consumer Edition.

“While the gulf between corporate and consumer perception has narrowed, the divide shows us that there’s still work to be done,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “The strength of our reports lie not only in the data points that trend year-over-year, but also in the direct comparison between the corporate and consumer perspective. We hope that the information can be used to assist corporations in identifying, prioritizing, and addressing the needs, wants and expectations of their consumers.”

The complete Corporate Edition of the CXMB survey will be released at the Execs In The Know Customer Response Summit Phoenix, February 23-25, 2016. COPC Inc. will lead a panel of executives who will explore the findings of the report in greater detail. Continue reading

The Missing Link Retailers Need to Turn a Cost Into a Revenue Generator



The following is a guest blog written by Edward Kowalski, Associate Vice President, Retail Marketing, at Sutherland Global Services. To download a free white paper on the topic, visit  http://www.sutherlandglobal.com/Retail/WP-20160104/Default.aspx

Most retailers are missing a key opportunity. It’s a way to take what’s now an expense and instead use it to build awareness, create loyalty and even grow profits.

It’s customer care.

Companies should combine customer care with customer experience, big data and predictive analytics. It’s a transformation that requires retailers to break down silos and start sharing information that’s widely available.

Consider the constant signals customers provide, based on multiple experiences, with brands across multiple touchpoints. Retail marketers use the information to develop a customer journey that’s seamless, relevant, authentic and omni-channel.

But it’s a missing link that needs to be shared with the customer care team.

Retailers should develop a new system that arms customer care agents with intelligence that spurs personalized engagements. This helps resolve complaints, increase Net Promoter Scores, improve customer satisfaction, create loyalty and, yes, generate revenue.

Here are the steps we recommend: Continue reading

6 Reasons Why Your Chat Business Model Could Fail


Chat Bubbles

The following is a guest blog written by Nicholas Klisht, Contact Center Strategist at Nielsen IT Consulting. To learn more about their solutions visit their website www.nielsenitconsulting.com.

If you are launching a chat initiative, then this short blog carries a big lesson. Uncover the six common traps that cause chat business models to fail.

Chat provides a mechanism for customers to obtain assistance online when browsing a website/mobile app. Based on experience with various chat implementations, and speaking with multiple businesses, it’s clear that the business case for chat is not simple.

The original theory was that chat would mirror an IVR/Automated Phone System and deflect calls. Because agents could service multiple customers concurrently, the model appeared to be a win-win. Customers are serviced in their channel of choice and agents are twice or three times as productive. WRONG! It’s been proven across multiple industries that if this is your sole objective, then your chat business model will fail.

Here are the six reasons why your chat business model could fail:

Reason #1: Lack of clarity on the value proposition
If the ultimate goal with chat is to reduce expenses by avoiding calls, take a hard look at this approach. This is not a valuable add to customers. Your value proposition should be focused on providing assistance in the customer’s channel of choice, possibly by making the sales and acquisition process more convenient for customers. Continue reading

Customer Experience Trends for 2016

The following is a guest blog written by Richard Shapiro, Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR). To learn more about their solutions visit their website at http://tcfcr.com/.


The most successful weapon to fight customer attrition is creating a personalized customer experience that is unique to your business and the individual customer. According to Accenture, the “Switching Economy” is up 29 percent since 2010 as companies struggle to keep up with the non-stop customer. Does the loyal customer still exist? The answer is yes. Companies with a customer centric culture coupled with a customer experience strategy can create loyalty. Loyalty in turn advances a higher percentage of repeat customers.

The Customer Experience trends for 2016 are:

1 – Self-Serve Help Will Be The First Choice

Consumers choose to find answers to their questions using an assortment of self-serve options. For 2016, companies should ensure their FAQ’s are completely up-to-date, featured prominently on their website and listed as a menu option on the IVR. Customer service associates are primarily answering questions based on data provided in a company reference guide; sharing the same information with consumers will help them find answers faster.

2 – Reliance on Community Forums

Companies and consumers are relying on community forums to find fixes. Super users frequently have more experience and insight than agents on the nuances of specific products and services. Companies have come to embrace third party experts as an expansion of their service offerings and in 2016 customers will rely on community forums more than ever. These forums will help support the trend towards self-serve.

3 – Consumers Find Social Media Posts Get Speedy Responses

Consumers have learned their issues are resolved almost instantaneously when they post complaints on social media. Why should consumers take the time to send an email voicing their frustrations when a response may take a week to receive? The good news for the consumer; they have the company’s attention. The bad news is the world now has a record of a quality defect or poor service delivery. Continue reading

Execs In The Know & COPC Inc. Release 2015 Consumer Edition in Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series

Findings Show That While Alternative Channels are Growing in Usage, Customers Still Rely on the Call Center for Issue Resolution

PHOENIX, ARIZONA and WINTER PARK, FL – November 6, 2015 – Global leaders in the customer experience industry, Execs In The Know and COPC Inc., have announced the release of the 2015 Consumer Edition in their Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series (CXMB). This year’s survey titled “Exploring Multi-Channel Customer Care” provides compelling insights into key areas of consumer expectations, opinions and experiences in using multiple channels for customer care. The full 64-page report is available here.

Key Insights from the 2015 Consumer Survey:

– The call center remains the most used channel for issue resolution, with a 13% increase in usage as compared to 2014

– Interactive Care, defined as online chat, video chat, online FAQs, and self-help tools came in as the leading alternative channel used most by consumers

– Similar to Traditional Care, Interactive Care is commonly used for issue resolution, with a 22% increase in usage from 2014

The Consumer Edition of the CXMB series is a resource for customer care professionals, looking to enhance their customer care program, improve brand opinion, and drive customer satisfaction. The 2015 version is the third consecutive year of reporting on findings of North American consumers, in all age groups and geographic regions. The survey findings provide both an overview of the entire customer care experience, as well as insights regarding specific channels, including traditional, interactive, social media and mobile.

The complete survey findings will be presented by Execs In The Know and COPC Inc. at two CXMB Workshops in Chicago and Tempe, AZ.

– Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 10 AM – 3 PM in Chicago, hosted by Groupon

– Thursday, November 19, 2015, from 10 AM – 2 PM in Tempe, hosted by Target

For more information or to register, visit http://www.execsintheknow.com/events/cxmb-workshop/.

“The goal of every report in the CXMB Series is to inform our readers about current trends and insights in the customer care space, but more importantly to inspire compelling conversations, and exciting transformations, in their own organizations and the customer experience industry as a whole,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “By partnering with COPC Inc., the CXMB 2015 Consumer Report is more robust than ever and a valuable resource for our corporate brand partners, hoping to anticipate the needs and wants of their customers.”

“Understanding consumer experiences and evolving expectations, opinions and preferences is more important than ever. This research provides valuable perspectives into the consumer’s multi-channel journey and what brands should consider when developing their ongoing customer experience management strategies,” said Cliff Moore, chairman and co-founder of COPC Inc.

The full 2015 Consumer report is available for purchase at http://www.execsintheknow.com/cxmbseries/2015-consumer-edition/. Continue reading

#CRSummit 2015: 6 Things We Learned


The following is a guest blog written by Sara Wright, Marketing Director at Dialog Direct. 

Seattle. The Emerald City – best known for its coffee, rain, grunge and … customer experiences? From September 28th through the 30th, the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle became the hub for connecting customer service professionals with their peers, creating engaging discussions around the trends, challenges and best practices related to the customer service industry. There was much to be gained at the Customer Response Summit, from conversations in the hallways to soaking in expertise at the panels and presentations. We combed through our notes to share our most valuable bits of information gained.

#1: Digital and Traditional Channels Need to Integrate Seamlessly

A strong and reoccurring theme throughout the Customer Response Summit was the consensus that a robust customer service strategy must assume a holistic online-offline perspective. With the proliferation of communication channels and devices, customers expect to be able to start an interaction in one channel and complete it in another.

In 2015, the customer service industry continues to think about ways to create customer-centric, omni-channel experiences. The end goal is to focus on the user experience and create one-to-one relationships with customers integrated across all their favorite channels – email, SMS, video, chat, social media, and phone, in-store and on desktops, mobiles, and tablets. For example, if a customer has been browsing your how-to videos on your FAQ page on topic A, and then turns to Facebook and asks a different question on topic B, the company should be able to bring together all that data and respond promptly with a concise and useful answer.

The customer expects you to know who they are, what they want, and how they last interacted with your brand. To help seamlessly integrate the multi-channel experience, allowing your brand to truly understand the customer, the use of a CRM was discussed. A CRM that captures data of all interactions will allow your phone agents to see social and online data and your social customer service agents to see phone dispositions, giving all of your team members access to the most up-to-date customer data. Continue reading

The Best of the Best – Customer Response Summit Seattle

The Empowered CX – Rethinking Service for Mobile & Self-Help Panel ft. HGS, Nintendo, Expedia, and Target.


The following is a guest blog written by Richard Shapiro, Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR). To learn more about their solutions visit their website at http://tcfcr.com/.

Once again, Chad and Susan McDaniel orchestrated a stimulating and educational Customer Response Summit, this time in beautiful Seattle. The keynotes were insightful, panel discussions enlightening and thought-provoking and the attendees were always engaged. Of course, Chad and Susan know how to throw a party and every social event was fun, especially the extravaganza on Tuesday evening at the Tap House Grill. The 80’s were a great era and all the trinkets, music and dancing brought us right back to that decade. Without fail, the opportunity to network peer-to-peer was the pièce de résistance.

The conference began with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Envisioning Center and Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft. Those of us fortunate enough to attend Monday’s afternoon event were appreciative of an inside look into this major corporation. A picture is worth a thousand words. Perfect way to begin.

Microsoft Tours During CR Summit Seattle


The 1980’s, the theme of the conference, highlighted where we were and how far we have come. Chad, our exemplary MC, began the symposium with several clips spoofing customer service, including one memorable scene from the Seinfeld TV series when Jerry was told there were no cars available even though he had a reservation. Apparently, car companies don’t always actually reserve a specific car; the request is only entered into the system; making Jerry extremely frustrated. The question to the audience: has service improved in the last 30 years? It depends!

The organizations participating in the Customer Response Summit are leaders in their industries. Every participant wanted to learn, share and brainstorm with the Best in Class so their company can improve and provide exceptional service across every channel.

The 80’s were a simpler time with two primary channels of communication: face-to-face and phone. Now, in addition, there is email, chat, text, apps, etc. Consumers are not only using various channels to communicate, they are vaulting between each one making it difficult, almost impossible, to track and serve consumers. It’s an especially laborious task when company budgets remain tight and the cost for technology increases exponentially. Continue reading

Ditch the Customer “Journey” & Navigate Quick Trips to Desired Outcomes




The following is a guest blog written by Monique Bozeman, Director of Product Marketing at Virtual Hold. To learn more about their solutions visit their website at www.virtualhold.com.

To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, September 28-30th, 2015.

Though customer experience continues to be a top priority and competitive differentiator for businesses, customer satisfaction has been on the decline for the last four years, according to a 2015 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report. In a similar vein, research in 2014 by American Express, a company often cited for their excellent service, found roughly thirty percent surveyed say organizations usually miss their expectations. Only five percent say companies exceed them.

As consumers, we know this. Though we’ve made strides with automation and today have the convenience of channel choice, all we have to do is think of our own recent experiences. We can quickly conjure up an arduous, long journey — scenarios of waiting on hold, inappropriate timing of offers, and repeat calling to get the right person on the phone. And then we have to start from the beginning with yet another uninformed agent, if we weren’t disconnected upon transfer. These journeys require great customer effort and result in frustration and a loss of valuable time — and likely customers and revenue opportunity.

Though we have more paths to purchase and service than ever before, contact centers, the hub for most customer interaction, continue to struggle to provide continuity of service across these channels. Increased customer mobility, and the growth of newer touchpoints such as the mobile channel, smart apps and Internet of Things (IoT) devices only add to the struggle. Continue reading

NextGen CX For The Digital Age – It’s Key to Business Survival



The following is a guest blog written by Ted Hunting, Senior Director, North America Marketing and Global Demand Generation, at Genesys. Learn more about Genesys by visiting their website.

To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, September 28-30th, 2015.

Gartner’s CEO has proclaimed that Digital Business is Upon Us. Companies that think they are not digital businesses will be out of business and the companies that will win in this era of digital transformation are those companies that make the most of every business moment. What Gartner is proclaiming is key to every company in every industry is essentially “customer care for the connected consumer” – the key topic of the Customer Response Summit Seattle. It’s also why I encourage customer care and CX leaders to attend what I have found in the past to be an extremely enlightening event, attended by smart, energized customer care executives and luminaries. From speakers, to networking, to innovative new ideas in the “Idea Lab”, it will be a fun few days of learning and “eureka” moments.

As CX and contact center leaders in our companies, we are now squarely in a position to help our companies make the most of every business moment and create the connected customer. The business moment occurs via customers hitting web chat, social channels, webpages, IVRs, mobile apps, text messages, and of course good old fashioned phones and email. These business moments, which historically started with the phone, have now changed 180 degrees with digital being the first and preferred communication channels for today’s connected consumer. Continue reading

Execs In The Know Announces Customer Response Summit Seattle

PHOENIX, AZ. September 10, 2015 – Execs In The Know, advocates for the Customer Service Professional, have announced their speaker line-up for Customer Response Summit Seattle, taking place September 28-30, 2015, at the Hyatt at Olive 8, in Seattle, WA.

Customer Response Summit Seattle is an intimate, laser focused forum, providing outstanding opportunities to directly engage with some of the brightest minds in customer leadership. The strength of the forum lies within the innovative design of informative sessions, relevant industry tours, specialized networking opportunities, and dynamic extracurricular activities all centered on one thing – customer service excellence.

Highlights of this Summit include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Microsoft Headquarters of the Envisioning Center and the Digital Crimes Unit, the release of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series 2015 Consumer Edition Report, and a Post Summit Workshop, hosted by Execs In The Know and COPC Inc. that will examine the findings of the CXMB 2015 Consumer Report in detail.

“We have an unbelievable line-up of speakers, content, and activities taking place at Customer Response Summit Seattle,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “I can’t wait for our executives, both new and returning, to experience the great discussion, brainstorming, and collaboration with their peers. I have no doubt that the innovative ideas for creating moments of customer success will have everyone in attendance excited to improve their own customer experience strategies, for the current year and beyond.” Continue reading

Omnichannel: Taking it From Vision to Reality



The following is a guest blog written by Daniel Hong, Senior Director of Product Marketing Strategy, at [24]7. Learn more about [24]7 by visiting their website.

To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, September 28-30th, 2015.

Show of hands…how many times have you heard the word ”omnichannel” in a meeting, and like reflex action, you let out a slightly muffled grunt, just loud enough for the person sitting next to you to hear and acknowledge your sentiment with a “we’re totally on the same page” eye roll. And then later on in the meeting, when the “how would we implement omnichannel” is discussed, a flurry of questions is posed, by multiple meeting attendees, with sharp tones of tactful skepticism accompanied with cocked eyebrows. This seems to be a common scene unfolding in conference rooms today.

While omnichannel has been wildly heralded by vendors as the ultimate panacea for broken customer journeys, it’s no secret that there’s a certain degree of incredulousness among enterprises when it comes to actually making omnichannel customer engagement a reality. At the same time, all enterprises are sold on the vision and promise of omnichannel.

After all, it makes perfect sense that customers should be able to start their journey in one channel on one device and continue their journey, in a seamless fashion, on another channel and on a different device. All the while, the customer’s experience is continuous because context is maintained, regardless of the touch point. Matias Duarte, the former lead designer of Android at Google, sums it up well “…but when services actually work seamlessly across all these screens that are available, you’re going to be like, OMG, obviously.” Continue reading

Addressing Customer Rage: Are You Doing The Right Things The Wrong Way?

DialogDirect_customer rage

The following post is a guest blog written by Sara Wright, Marketing Director at Dialog Direct. For more information about Dialog Direct visit their website

As customer service professionals, we experience it every day: the dreaded customer complaint. There is no way around it and no channel that is off limits. If someone is unhappy, you are going to hear about it – or are you? Statistics show that for every customer who complains directly to you, there are 26 more unhappy customers that are remaining silent (1). Silent to you, that is. You can be sure they are telling their friends, family, and social media networks at an alarming rate. And, with social media, there is no stopping the wildfire.

With all of our knowledge about the effects of online reviews and social media, and the damage they can do to a brand, it should be assumed that corporations are stepping up their efforts to improve customer service. Is it working? According to Mary Jo Bitney, Executive Director of the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University, it doesn’t appear to be.

She and a team of researchers have completed a study showing 56 million American households experienced at least one problem as customers during the past 12 months. What’s more, the rate of “customer rage” appears to be growing rapidly. In the same study, conducted from 2004-2007, 52% of those with customer rage felt unsatisfied with how their complaint was handled. Customer rage dropped by 5% in 2011, showing that companies were getting better at seeking out and understanding complaints. But, two short years later, the percentage of customers unsatisfied with how their complaints were handled skyrocketed to 56%. Bitney says many companies are throwing money at the problem without fixing it (2). So, the questions stands: do we truly understand how to solve our customer problems? Continue reading

One-on-One Text Conversations Make Customer Support Easier (And Cheaper)



This is a guest blog written by Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy & Development, West Interactive Services. Learn more about West on their website. To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, September 28-30th.

Picture this: You’re a frequent flyer, going from city to city every week, and spending hours in airports. You have your routine down to the letter and any substantial hitch has a domino effect on your schedule – not to mention work/life balance.

You roll with inevitable delays and gate changes better than most, but you have to be in-the-know. You don’t demand flawlessness, but you do expect communication at a rate that keeps up with the countless voice messages from your colleagues, emails from your boss, texts from your spouse, in-app bill-pay alerts, etc., that are hopefully punctuated by a few moments to catch your breath.

So, you opt-in to SMS/text alerts from your airline. When you land, your phone dings with a notification that your connecting flight is delayed due to plane maintenance. “Ok. Is there a gate change?” you naturally reply, knowing that it takes 20 minutes to trek from point A to point B.

The response: Radio silence or, perhaps worse, a plain old “Thank you for flying with us.” (Why? Because that alert was sent by a machine and there’s nobody manning it on the other end.) Continue reading

COPC Inc. and Execs In The Know Release Summary of Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series – 2015 Consumer Edition


Survey Reveals Majority of Consumers Utilize a Multi-Channel Approach, but Still Embrace Traditional Contact Channels for Issue Resolution

WINTER PARK, FL and PHOENIX, AZ — August 19,  2015 – Leaders in the customer experience management (CEM) industry, COPC Inc. and Execs In The Know, global network of Customer Management Professionals, have announced the release of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series (CXMB) – 2015 Consumer Edition Summary titled, “The Consumer’s Perspective:  Exploring Multi-Channel Customer Care”.

The summary presents a snapshot of the total survey results including the continued strength of traditional channels of customer contact by phone, email, and in person—if given a choice and assuming the customer’s issue would be resolved. The 2015 Consumer Edition is the sixth report of the CXMB Series.    Continue reading

Focus on the Firsts: Humanizing the Employee Experience

The following post is a guest blog written by Steve Muise, VP of Employee Experience at global contact center outsourcing company 24-7 Intouch. For more information about 24-7 Intouch visit their website

To hear more about this topic, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, where 24-7 Intouch and our other Idea Lab sponsors, will be sharing their leading ideas on how to improve the overall customer experience, for the connected consumer. To learn more about CR Summit Seattle, taking place September 28-30, 2015 click here.  

Psychology and Culture

Monitoring contact center retention and fostering well-performing agents is an ongoing battle companies face. Incentives, social activities and coaching sessions drive performance and help identify stars. The ideal is to develop these individuals, help them grow into Team Leaders and future Managers of your existing teams. This cycle continues with new agents joining your team, while existing ones grow or eventually depart.

The concept seems easy enough. Meeting KPI’s is always important, but focusing on motivators and the employee experience is where you’ll make the difference. Insert “Culture”. Yes, a term that’s cliché and not directly tied to your retention or performance numbers. That said, let’s forget about those metrics right now and look at it from another perspective.

We’re attacking the root of the issue here and focusing on the psychology of employees. What small gestures do we appreciate? What defines ‘professionalism’ in the contact center? How does recognition impact us?

Revisiting theories developed by psychologists Frederick Herzberg and Abraham Maslow, the Two-Factor Theory and Hierarchy of Needs, reminds us to meet peoples’ basic levels of needs to keep them engaged. Shift to humanizing your employees’ experiences, get them psychologically engaged and slowly create a culture that builds confidence to succeed, learn, and grow.






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2015 – The Year of the Customer

Customers today are well educated on your brand and have an expectation for how they want to be treated. Communication is key, both with your employees and your customers, to ensure a consistent experience, with the highest level of service quality, can take place. Whether you invest in a VoC program or another initiative, basing decisions on customer feedback is the way forward. How are you empowering your customers? Are you putting them at the center of all that you do?

Hear more in the video below from top executives from Hyatt, Porsche, Walmart, Travelzoo, and many more to discover what their priorities and areas of focus are for 2015.

Three Social Customer Care Trends You Need to Know

The following post is a guest blog written by Jeff Toister, President of Toister Performance Solutions which helps clients improve customer service through training, development, and consulting. The original post can be seen on Jeff’s blog

Social customer care should be entering an age of maturity.

The dominant social media channels have been around for awhile. Facebook is more than ten years old. Twitter is now nine.

In reality, best practices are still evolving.

Here are three trends from the 2014 Customer Experience Management Benchmark (CEMB) study that’s co-produced by Executives in the Know and Digital Roots. These trends all seem to indicate that companies are still trying to find their way.

Social media concept

Trend #1: Channel Priorities

You can tell a lot about a company’s social media priorities by who owns it.

The CEMB revealed that customer care is an owner or co-owner of social media channels in only 50 percent of companies.


Why is this happening? Continue reading

Identifying Gaps in Customer Service

The following post is a guest blog written by Errol Greene, Solutions Development Manager for Clear Harbor, LLC. Missed the first or second post in this series? Click these links to catch up: First Post – Innovative Strategies Companies Are using to Turn Customer Support Into a Powerful Profit Center…While Increasing Customer Satisfaction; Second Post – The Power of Empathy in Customer Service

In the last post, we discussed the importance of establishing an empathetic connection with your customers. Building a line of open dialogue and showing genuine interest and care in a customer interaction is key to establishing trust.

Today we will examine another innovative strategy that companies are using, to turn customer support into a powerful profit center, all while increasing customer satisfaction.

Identifying Gaps in Customer Services/Needs

Once empathy and trust have been established and a good rapport has been built, it’s time to look for gaps in products and services that will sincerely benefit the customer.

I can’t overemphasize how much sincerity matters here —people quickly realize when an agent is genuinely trying to help them or simply trying to push product and hit quota. All suggestions should be tied to benefits for that specific customer, based on previous product usage, cost-savings, improvements, new products and services, discounts they may be eligible for, etc.

These are all benefits that the majority of people are willing to listen to, and make common sense to pursue.


Continue reading

The Last Digital Mile

The following post is a guest blog from Daniel Hong, Senior Director of Product Marketing Strategy at [24]7.

There will be 45 billion customer service calls in 2015 . That’s over 123 million calls every day! Having agents handling calls is not a scalable and sustainable model for delivering customer service in an increasingly digital world. Customers are expressing a strong preference for self-serve in digital channels, and companies today need to go the “last digital mile” to deliver optimum customer service.

What is the last mile in digital and why is it important? Typically, the “last mile” refers to the final leg of the telecommunications network which delivers connectivity to a retail customer. But, in today’s digital world where between 50-60 percent of customers prefer self-service solutions , the last digital mile now represents the coming together of customer-facing touch points with back-end infrastructure to provide a personalized and friction-less self-service experience for customers. Achieving this requires the integration of data, design, and experience to achieve superior business outcomes that enable you to thrive in the digital world.

The last mile in digital means transitioning from analog channels to deliver optimal digital self-service – and augmenting with assisted service – to deliver rich media interactions across devices and utilizing predictive analytics to anticipate the customer’s needs.


Continue reading

The Power of Empathy in Customer Service


The following post is a guest blog written by Errol Greene, Solutions Development Manager for Clear Harbor, LLC. Missed the first post in this series? Click here to read it now.

In the last post, we discussed the importance of offering a customer service review. Presenting your customers with the opportunity to provide a review will allow customer advocates the chance to praise and highlight the good qualities of your customer experience. On the flip side of that, any criticism or feedback found in a review can be used to improve future interactions.

Today we will examine another innovative strategy that companies are using, to turn customer support into a powerful profit center, all while increasing customer satisfaction.

Establish an Empathetic Connection First

You’ve heard it before, but it remains true; no one cares what you know until they know that you care. Critical to establishing trust and building a line of open dialogue, is establishing empathy and trust early in the call. By demonstrating empathy, anger is diffused, and the call can transition from antagonism and complaints, to negotiation and resolution. Until this is done, and the caller feels that he or she is being heard and understood, there’s zero potential for upselling and cross-selling. “The agent has to earn the right to sell to the customer, and that comes first as a result of caring,” says Bob Davis, President and Founder of Bob Davis Associates, a training, coaching and inside sales consultation company based in Alpharetta, Ga.



Continue reading

Innovative Strategies Companies Are Using to Turn Customer Support Into a Powerful Profit Center…While Increasing Customer Satisfaction

The following post is a guest blog written by Errol Greene, Solutions Development Manager for Clear Harbor, LLC

It’s a given that customer service is currently experiencing a renaissance in many regards—ground-breaking companies are starting to realize that the CSR’s role has become far more than simple issue resolution. They are now recognized as a direct face of the company—critical brand ambassadors, vital to customer experience.

Innovative companies are realizing the benefits of having an existing customer reach back to them, and the resulting opportunity it provides to present an outstanding customer experience, as well as a chance to entrench the customer more deeply to the company.

As an upshot, service-based suggestive up-selling and cross-selling have become integral to many companies revenue plans, increasing them by as much as 10% annually. Some companies have become so effective at this that their customer support departments are no longer cost centers, but profit centers instead. So how do they do it—without angering the customer or being pushy, and causing customer satisfaction to suffer?

Continue reading

Execs In The Know Updated Advisory Board Announcement

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA. April 22, 2015 – Execs In The Know, advocates for the Customer Service Professional, have announced two new additions to their 2015 Advisory Board. LeAnne Crocker, Director – Global Reservation Operations Design and Learning Communications at Hyatt, and Scott Shute, Vice President of Global Customer Operations at LinkedIn, will join the 11 Customer Service Leaders that currently sit on the Advisory Board.


“Joining the Advisory Board of Execs In The Know was a conscious decision to be involved with likeminded senior executives, who have the same drive, determination and motivation that we have, in delivering authentic customer engagement through hospitality,” said LeAnne Crocker. “Both internal and external customer social communication connections help us do what is right, at the right time, in the right place.” Continue reading

Execs in the Know & Digital Roots Release 2014 Corporate Edition in Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series



WINNIPEG, MANITOBA. April 16, 2015 – Execs in the Know, global network of Customer Management Professionals, and Social CRM innovators, Digital Roots, have announced the release of the newest installment in their Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series (CXMB). The 2014 Corporate Edition is a resource for customer care professionals, looking to enhance their customer care program, improve brand opinion, and drive customer satisfaction. Continue reading

Multi-Channel Mayhem: Creating the Ultimate, Connected Customer Experience Webinar


WINNIPEG, MANITOBA. April 8, 2015 – Chad McDaniel, President at Execs In The Know, will be moderating the webinar, “Multi-Channel Mayhem: Creating the Ultimate, Connected Customer Experience,” Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 1:00-2:00 ET. Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy and Development at West Interactive, global leader of contact center transformation services, and Chris Toon, Product Manager, Customer e-Services at ADT, leading provider of home security and automation products and services, will also be speaking in the webinar. Continue reading

NEW WEBINAR: If it’s Broken, fix it. Mending Broken Customer Journeys Through Digital Transformation


Thursday, March 19th at 12:00 PM CDT. 

Experiences are connected.
Conversations are continuous.
Context must be persistent.

In a world where 90% of interactions cross devices during a single journey, and 81% use three channels to engage with customer service, how do we ensure our customers are experiencing a seamless transaction? In this session, we will explore how to identify and mend broken customer journeys, often caused by automation, escalation, and channel crossing.

Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States, supplying and delivering energy to approximately 7.2 million U.S. customers, will give insight into their strategic vision for digital customer engagement. You will learn how partnering with customer engagement software and services provider, [24]7 Inc., allowed them to optimize their customer journey, improve customer loyalty, increase customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive advantage.

Don’t miss the engaging discussion and best practices shared on the following topics:
– Next generation customer journeys
– Digital engagement solution technologies
– Virtual agents
– Intelligent chat
– Visual IVR
– Customer Effort
– Tracking Metrics & Analytics
– Deployment Models

Join speakers Chad McDaniel from Execs In The Know, Daniel Hong from [24]7 Inc., and Yogena Austin from Duke Energy for this live webinar.

Register today!

Execs In The Know – What You Should Know: An Interview with Richard Shapiro, President & Founder, The Center For Client Retention

In December 2014, Execs In The Know hosted a Customer Experience Management Benchmarking (CXMB) Workshop in New York. The one day session featured top industry experts, in a small intimate setting, examining the findings of the most recent CXMB Report, as well as the strategic and tactical implications. The unique workshop provided key insights into what today’s consumers want, need, and expect from their brand interactions.

The following interview features Richard Shapiro, President & Founder of The Center For Client Retention.


Richard, why did you decide to attend the New York Road Show?


I had participated in two Customer Response Summits; one in Bonita Springs in 2013 and another, in Memphis this past September. While I go to many conferences that focus on customer experience, the symposiums hosted by Execs In The Know are different. It’s not just the topics; it’s the speakers and the conversation. The forum brings together senior executives from Fortune 500 companies, who are willing to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Continue reading

Execs In The Know & Digital Roots Release Summary of Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series – 2014 Corporate Edition

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA. December 15, 2014 – Leaders in the Customer Experience Management space, Execs In The Know, and Social CRM innovators, Digital Roots, have announced the release of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series (CXMB) – 2014 Corporate Edition Summary. The Executive Summary titled, “Supporting the Connected Consumer in a Multi-Channel Environment: A Comprehensive Survey,” gives readers a preview into the results of the full 2014 Corporate Edition of the CXMB Series, to be released in February, at Customer Response Summit Miami.

Continue reading

Youth Villages CEO to speak at Customer Response Summit in Memphis

Connie Mills, public relations manager
901-233-1254 connie.mills@youthvillages.org
Kimberly Rossie, senior public relations coordinator
901-870-7757 kimberly.rossie@youthvillages.org

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 5, 2014) – Patrick Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children and their families live successfully, will speak at the Customer Response Summit in Memphis at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

The summit, presented by Execs In The Know, will take place at the Peabody Hotel from Sept. 22-24. The Customer Response Summit is a thought leadership forum that connects the best minds in customer care and customer experience.

“We purposely brought the national forum to Memphis to showcase the innovation of leading companies in the region and how they are reinventing customer success,” Chad McDaniel, president and founder of the forum, said. “There will be a significant number converging on Memphis to be part of the forum. We could not be more pleased with the level of corporate support shown from well-known Fortune 100 companies”

McDaniel said he wanted to include Youth Villages in the summit because of the connection he felt to Youth Villages’ mission of helping children and families.

“Having Patrick Lawler on stage with our executive community could not come at a better time,” McDaniel said. “Our corporate community is 100 percent committed to the social responsibility of how we can impact and make lives better. This gives us a real opportunity to take action to words, and Youth Villages has been a leader within the charitable organizations.”

“I’m honored that Execs in the Know chose to partner with Youth Villages for the Customer Response Summit,” Lawler said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to share the story of Youth Villages’ ground breaking work with youth aging out of foster care with leaders of some of the top companies in the country.”

Lawler founded Youth Villages in 1986 as a merger between two Memphis-area residential treatment facilities for youth, Memphis Boys Town and Dogwood Village. The organization now serves more than 22,000 children and families annually across 11 states and Washington, D.C., through a variety of programs including intensive in-home services, residential treatment, foster care, adoption, transitional living services for youth aging out of foster care, mentoring and specialized crisis services. For more information about Youth Villages, visit www.youthvillages.org.

For more information about the Customer Response Summit and the cost to attend the Summit in Memphis, please visit www.customerresponsesummit.com.

For over a decade, Execs In The Know has built a reputation of excellence in the customer experience industry and a worldwide community of over 40,000 customer experience professionals. They are recognized as a catalyst for driving critical thinking, knowledge sharing, training and networking for customer experience professionals and customer centric brands. The Customer Response Summit, Blog Talk Radio, Industry Benchmarking and blogs are a few of the ways that customer experience leaders take advantage of the knowledge and power in the Execs In The Know Community.

A Customer Service Serenade in the City of Blues

The post below was written by Ann Ruckstuhl and was originally posted on the LiveOps blog.

Customer Response Summit 2014

LiveOps has certainly been on the move lately! Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to the 10th annual Customer Response Summit in the heart of the “Blues City” – Memphis, Tennessee. While there, I found myself mingling with some of the most remarkable thought leaders in this industry, sharing experiences and advice on how to ensure a positive customer experience for the connected consumer – a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.

It is well known that our customers are and should be at the center of everything we do. During my time at the Customer Response Summit I was fortunate to moderate a session with Martin Hand, Chief Customer Officer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Alistair Firmin, Vice President of Customer Service at The Standard and John Jordan, Chief Customer Officer at Total Wine & More where we share our collective experiences and insights. Here are the 3 key takeaways from our session that are universally applicable to any brand looking to create exceptional customer experiences.

(1) Move from Reactive to Proactive Customer Experience Management

Instead of “driving by looking through the rear view mirror” and using historic metrics such as NPS, CSAT and DSAT to measure customer experience, brands are increasingly using real-time customer interaction patterns to prevent bad experiences from happening in the first place. Just like real-time fraud detection, we now have the right technology to aggregate customer experience data such as web visit, contact center interaction, transactional and social media activity data so that brand can detect negative customer experience patterns such as shopping cart abandonment, unsuccessful self-service journey and sub-SLA customer service in real time. Coupled with real-time contextual routing, brands can now react immediately to these negative CX patterns by triggering the next-best-action, utilizing concierge live service agents to “save” the customer journey before it escalates into complaints or worse yet, customer churn.

(2) Customer Experience Management Is Everybody’s Job

This was one of the hot topics during our panel discussion. In order to deliver exceptional customer experiences, it is critical for the entire organization to have equal participation, transparent reporting, common performance measurements and shared incentives. According to McKinsey, the customer journey has evolved from linear to circular. Brands no longer win customers just once; rather, they need to win their loyalty at every single touch point across the entire customer journey. This includes sales, marketing, services and back office interactions.

(3) Apply the “Curly Rule” and Prioritize Your Customer Journey Bottlenecks

There will always be many customer journey bottlenecks to fix. Find that “one thing” that has the biggest impact to your business and start there. For example, Bolt Insurance conducts research to determine a buyer’s purchase journey online, in-office and over the phone. With this information, they are able to find out where shoppers start their information gathering process, where they seek help and where they eventually make their final purchase. This provides invaluable insight into key journey bottlenecks that cause drop-offs and dissatisfaction so that Bolt can fix them accordingly to increase sales conversion.

The one thing that we all agreed on is that agents are not appropriately armed to service today’s multichannel, mobile, social customers. In order to deliver exceptional customer experiences, brands should look within and start with their own contact center agents for BAX=BCX=BCTLV.

Are you ready to listen, detect and engage with your customers in real time?

Key takeaways from Customer Response Summit Toronto

Customer Experience professionals from top brands like Sport Chek, Samsung, FedEx, Chrysler, GM, and Chapters Indigo met last week at the Execs in the Know Customer Response Summit in Toronto, Ontario. The Summit took place June 16-18th at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. Keep reading for more takeaways!

by Execs in the Know

The Aspirational Consumer and the Future of the Customer Experience

Brand-Huggers or Tree-Huggers:
The Aspirational Consumer and the Future of the Customer Experience

Guest Blog by Justin Gauvin, Executive Director of Verego

 Part 3 of 4 of Blog series from Verego

Who is the Aspirational Consumer?

The voice of the customer is transforming, and the resounding call from the “Aspirational Consumer” is here to stay. No longer can marketer’s think of the customer segment that wants to “do the right thing” tree-huggers because “doing the right thing” is now becoming the “cool thing to do.” The rise of this customer segment is redefining consumerism by blending style, status, and sustainability. The identity of the Aspirational Consumer is defined by their infatuation with shopping, their commitment for responsible consumption, and their loyalty to brands that work in the best interest of society. The reason this brand-hugging consumer segment is gaining the attention of marketers is because Aspirationals are some of the most materialistic consumers, yet at the same time are the most driven to purchase products that connect to their personal aspirations of creating a brighter future for society and future generations.
There is a profound opportunity for consumer brands to appeal to Aspirational Consumers, because market studies have estimated this group to make up over 1/3 of today’s market and have highlighted the fact that Aspirationals are some of the most brand loyal customers possible. Similar to how the car was once an external expression of your inner-self; aspirational consumers are expressing their interval values to the world through the brands they loyally love and frequently purchase. The companies that understand this opportunity the most are focused on creating a meaningful and authentic purpose for their companies that expands the customer experience to involve the customer in the collective achievement of the brand’s higher-purpose.

Aspirational Consumers – Socially Responsible Materialists
Source: The Aspirational Consumer Index Report- Globescan

Aspirational Consumers want to embrace brands creating a brighter future

Brands that have an aim to make a brighter future are winning the hearts of customers, and it’s hard to find a brand aiming to win over the hearts of socially minded customer’s more than Unilever. Embracing Unilever’s goals of social responsibility, the multinational company has launched Unilever’s Project Sunlight with the goal of creating a brighter future. Project Sunlight embodies Unilever’s purpose of building a #brightfuture for the world by creating an inspirationally engaging online and offline community where Unilever’s brand-hugging consumers can connect and be a part of the brand’s higher purpose.

The Future of the Customer Experience

The companies that are getting customers to love their brands the most are utilizing people’s natural inclination to reach towards being a part of something bigger than themselves, thus enabling the customer to be more engaged, inspired, connected, and proud while collectively achieving the brand’s higher-purpose during their customer experience. This new insight is expanding marketer’s view of what the customer experience is really all about, much more than customer service, pleasant store atmospheres, quality products, and user-friendly software, it is about meaningfully connecting with the values and ideals of the consumer. The brand’s higher-purpose is now an integral part of the process for designing the customer experience, and for up to 1/3 of the market, it is one of the only ways to get consumers to truly love your brand in today’s ever-increasing competitive environment.
When getting consumers to truly embrace your brand, the purpose and brand promise must be so authentic that it is embedded in the brand’s DNA. To do this, the brand promise and purpose must be baked into every level or people will smell it from a mile away. For example, if you think of the customer’s brand loyalty like a relationship, how can a customer truly love a brand that breaks the promise or lies to their face? If your brand is dependent on repeat customers, maintaining a strong brand promise that builds life-long customer relationships is critical to long-term business success, otherwise the customer may just purchase your product for a while as they keep an eye out for something better. This means that if you contribute to the design of the customer experience, your goal must be to transition brand-purchasers into brand-huggers because if you can do that, you have just found yourself a lifelong customer.

Making sense of Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Guest Blog by Justin Gauvin, Executive Director of Verego


From the surface, sustainability and social responsibility are synonymous terms, two sides of the same coin. It is only when one looks deeper into their meanings that the subtle differences raise to the surface. The idea of sustainability comes from the fundamental concept of sustainable development: meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The concept of sustainability looks through the lense of the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits. The notion of the triple bottom line aims at accounting for all the impacts of an organization into a common set of bottom-line metrics that determine the value of investments based the long-term sustainment of economic, social, and environmental capital. Aiming to sustain the long-term economic, social, and environmental capital over generations is a worthy and important objective for any organization to aspire to, yet many organizations are struggling to put this into action because for many people the concept is hard to grasp and the metrics these market-based organizations are using to make decisions are conflicting with each other.

Making it simple: Social Responsibility as the “how” and Sustainability as the “why”


At Verego, we believe looking at an organization as a living person with morals, ethics, values, and responsibilities is a more approachable and useful lense to look at an organization than a long-term development of economic, social, and environmental capital. At the end of the day, any organization is made of people and all people understand that acting responsibly is something all of us aim to do everyday. That is why at Verego, we have found many organizations resonate with the idea of Social Responsibility because it turns the language of sustainability into a something that is naturally intuitive for humans rather than a language that is based off of capital and long-term development. Everyone deals with responsibility everyday; it’s a fact of life. If we view organizations as human systems, instilling the values of acting responsibly in ways that benefit the lives of people, communities, and local environments, enables the human side of any enterprise to adopt an approachable roadmap for ethically conducting business and ultimately creating a better future. Most importantly, Social Responsibility transcends the conflict of balancing competing bottom lines by providing an easy to put into action, approachable mindset that emphasizes the commitment to responsibly lead, manage employees, communities, environmental impacts, as well as upholding a corporate ethic that addresses the interests of all stakeholders

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Social Media + Social Responsibility: A Source for #socialsquared Innovation


Guest post written by Justin Gauvin, Executive Director of Verego

What does Social Media have to do with Social Responsibility?

As more and more organizations aim to build purpose-driven and meaningful brands, there is a profound opportunity for brands to combine their social media efforts with their verego_logo_squareongoing efforts to become a more socially responsible and sustainable brand. The power of social media is continuing to become a critical engagement tool for monitoring conversations about the world’s largest brands, giving companies the ability to create a new channel for customer-driven innovation and online reputation management. Although brands are using social media to engage customers, are brands being proactive about improving their social responsibility in the eyes of the global customer?
This question drives us everyday at Verego, a Corporate Social Responsibility Solution Provider aiming to unite the global economy to promote the responsibility movement. Verego believes there is a massive opportunity for brands to improve their performance as responsible companies in order to proactively manage their reputations with customers and beyond. Continue reading

Pioneers Shaping a New Era of Customer Experience

Guest blog post by Brad Cleveland, founding partner and current Senior Advisor of ICMI.

HMS Agamemnon
Depiction of the H.M.S. Agamemnon, running cable in the Atlantic. Artist: Robert Dudley, 1866

A century and a half ago, the crew of the HMS Agamemnon pulled off what many thought was impossible. After enduring a year of storms and sickness, they finished installing the first transatlantic telegraph cable between the British Isles and North America. (Just imagine the coils of cable that filled the ship—1250 tons worth.) Queen Victoria sent the first message though the line in 1858. Unfortunately, the cable’s insulation failed several days later, and it never worked again—a heartbreaking, bitter end to an immense undertaking. The project, though viewed as a failure at the time, helped create an enduring vision of a more connected world.

Today, high capacity fiber optic cables crisscross oceans and continents, and satellites and wireless services reach the most remote parts of the globe. These networks, along with the most recent developments that have redefined how information is represented and stored (think mobile, social, cloud) have become powerful forces of change.

It’s in this context that customer interaction is changing so rapidly. And a new generation of pioneers are reinventing customer experience. I’d like for you to meet a few of them (shown here in San Diego at the Customer Response Summit, an event produced by Execs in the Know).

Continue reading

Olympic Parallels- The Future of Customer Experience

Guest Blog by our friends at 24-7 InTouch

Created by Alyssa Pitura- Marketing Coordinator, 24-7 InTouch

San Diego

The 22nd Winter Olympics opened Friday, February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. This year’s games features 2,900 athletes from 87 countries. Forty thousand people had the opportunity to watch the Opening Ceremony live, while 31.7 million watched the time delayed coverage in the U.S.A. on NBC alone. Millions more around the world will tune in over the course of the next two weeks to cheer on the athletes representing their home countries. This is an exciting time! For any country involved, the Olympics evoke a deep sense of pride for those competing or watching. It truly is a display of the best of the best athletes in winter sports, either working together on a team, or finding a way by themselves, to achieve their ultimate goals.

This theme of working to be the best you can be to achieve your goals is one that also resonated from last week’s Customer Response Summit in San Diego. The event, hosted by Execs in the Know, ran February 3rd to 5th and had over 200 attendees and top keynote speakers from brands like Nintendo, Sony, and Porsche. The interactive, thought-provoking show focused on themes such as using VoC data, customer mapping, mobile, multichannel, and omnichannel, but above all – how to prepare for the customer of the future.

San Diego General Session

One of the main messages that we took away from CRS is to strive to be the best. Numerous speakers touched on the idea, including the opening keynote speaker, Tom Weiland, Vice President of Global Customer Service at Amazon. Of course it is important to develop a multichannel/omnichannel strategy and to use VoC data to make adjustments to service accordingly. However, data alone will not give a complete picture of your organization. Before you can act on your findings, it is important to have the right people in place. Just like our Olympic athletes, there are certain skill sets and cultural traits suited for each role on your team – search out the best of the best. Once you filter and train the right people, and put them in a position to succeed under the right leaders and with the best technology, you can then start to focus on using daily metrics, root cause analysis, and any extra insight to improve service and strengthen strategy.

What works for one brand, may not work for another, and instead of constantly comparing ourselves to competitors, we should be focusing on what we can do internally to strengthen our organizations. Empower and trust employees; let them own their roles. Enforce the right principles and foster a positive environment; encourage everyone in the company to be passionate and really live and breathe the brand. Finally, listen to your customers and innovate accordingly.

The Olympic motto is made up of three Latin words, Citius- Altius – Fortius, which means Faster- Higher-Stronger. In order to achieve our goals faster, reach higher, and have a stronger business we need to be able to trust in our teammates. It’s important to empower our contact center agents so they can perform at the highest level. Let them know what an important role they play! Just as we all have pride for our countries and the athletes representing our countries at the Olympic games, we need to be proud of our brands and everything they represent – services, products, employees- and strive to ensure our customers feel the same way.

Perhaps the future of customer experience is not the latest greatest technology, but to rely on the experiences and skills of our internal organizations. To anticipate customer needs, by being present and connected, through an authentic customer experience.

Amazon, Mastercard Worldwide and Nationwide Insurance announced as Featured speakers for Customer Response Summit San Diego


Amazon, Mastercard and Nationwide Insurance announced as featured speakers for Customer Response Summit in San Diego.

Customer Care leaders to engage in a dynamic 2 day summit focused on the current state and evolution of the Customer Experience.

Execs in the Know is pleased to announce Tom Weiland, Vice-President of Global Customer Service -Amazon, Jasmine Green, Vice President, Chief Customer Advocate, Nationwide Insurance and Dan Balistierri Vice President, Global Service & Experience, MasterCard as the Featured Speakers for the Customer Response Summit -San Diego, February 3rd-5th, 2014.

Execs in the Know is once again proud to bring the Customer Response Summit, a thought leadership forum, to the Customer Care community. The Summit, one of three held annually, will take place February 3-5th in San Diego at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, California.

“We are just thrilled to have such a great lineup of speakers for CRS in San Diego” states Chad McDaniel, President at Execs in the Know. “The depth and experience of this group will provide great thought leadership and inspiration to our attendees.”

Our featured speakers join a speaking faculty of Brands that are committed to adopting emerging channels and providing a superior Customer experience for the Connected Consumer. The faculty includes:

HSN Starbucks Cengage Learning
SiriusXM McKesson Verizon
Wells Fargo Sony Hautelook
ADT Porsche Bank of the West
Expedia Nintendo


The summit will also feature the release of our 2013 Customer Experience Benchmark Study with our research partners at Digital Roots. This in-depth study will explore how Brands are adapting, implementing and planning for emerging channels in their Customer Care strategies.

In addition, the summit will feature a one day pre- conference training seminar developed and delivered by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) that will focus on the “Foundations for the Future Customer Experience Center.” The Customer Experience Management Training seminar will be facilitated by ICMI co-founder, Brad Cleveland.

For more information about the Customer Response Summit and the cost to attend the Summit in San Diego please visit www.customerresponsesummit.com or contact Susan McDaniel at susan@execsintheknow.com

About Execs in the Know

For over a decade, Execs in the Know has built a reputation of excellence in the Customer Experience Industry and a worldwide community of over 40,000 customer experience professionals. They are recognized as a catalyst for driving critical thinking, knowledge sharing, training and networking for Customer Experience professionals and Customer Centric Brands. The Customer Response Summit, Blog Talk Radio, Industry Benchmarking and blogs are a few of the ways that Customer Experience leaders take advantage of the knowledge and power in the Execs in the Know Community.

For more information, visit www.execsintheknow.com

Execs in the Know partners with ICMI to introduce new training offering to the Customer Response Summit Series

Customer Care leaders to engage in a dynamic pre-conference training seminar focused on the future of customer service with ICMI Co-Founder, Industry Expert and Author, Brad Cleveland

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, December 6, 2013 – Execs in the Know is once again proud to bring the Customer Response Summit, a thought leadership forum, to the Customer Care community. The Summit, one of three held annually, will take place February 3-5th in San Diego. For the first time, the event will feature the Customer Experience Management Training seminar which will be facilitated by ICMI co-founder, Brad Cleveland. This one day pre- conference training seminar developed and delivered by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) will focus on the “Foundations for the Future Customer Experience Center.” It will be held on the first day of the event, Monday, February 3rd, 2014, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, California. Continue reading

San Diego Keynote Speakers

Execs in the Know is pleased to announce Tom Weiland, Vice-President of Global Customer Service -Amazon, Jasmine Green, Vice President, Chief Customer Advocate, Nationwide Insurance and Dan Balistierri Vice President, Global Service & Experience, MasterCard as the Featured Speakers for the Customer Response Summit -San Diego, February 3rd-5th, 2014.
TomWeiland_80x80Tom Weiland
Vice-President of Global Customer Service
Speaker_JasmineGreen_150x127Jasmine Green
Vice-President, Chief Customer Advocate
Nationwide Insurance
Dan BalistierriDan Balistierri
Vice President- Global Service & Experience
MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Logo
Click here for bio

Tom, Jasmine and Dan join a speaking faculty of Brands that are committed to adopting emerging channels and providing a superior Customer Experience for the Connected Consumer. The faculty includes:

Cengage LearningSiriusXM
Wells Fargo
Home Shopping NetworkMcKesson
Bank of the West


The Summit will also feature the release of our 2013 Customer Experience Benchmark Study with our research partners at Digital Roots. This in-depth study will explore how Brands are adapting, implementing and planning for emerging channels in their Customer Care strategies.

In addition, the Summit will feature a one day pre- conference training seminar developed and delivered by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) that will focus on the “Foundations for the Future Customer Experience Center.” The Customer Experience Management Training seminar will be facilitated by ICMI co-founder, Brad Cleveland.

Additional Links:
ICMI Training
Download Agenda
View our speakers Link
Join The Conversation with Execs In The Know:
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Chad McDaniel
Execs In the Know – A Division of M.E.R. Inc.
866-991-3555 (toll-free)


Disney and Gartner – Into the Looking Glass at the Future Customer Experience?

Disney and Gartner – Into the Looking Glass at the Future Customer Experience?

Entry provided by Ted Hunting- Senior Director North
America and Asia Pacific Marketing and Global Demand Generaion for Genesys

After 10+ trips to Disneyworld over the years I remember when my kids were very young being left with the brand impression “they beat your customer experience expectation”.  Back then it was personal touches like the “princess breakfast” in the Cinderella Castle for my daughter or the special seating for a water show that accompanied a dinner reservation.  Another time at Disneyland, I was actually shocked and surprised to be approached by Walt Disney’s daughter at dinner as she sat down with us to see how I liked the wine from the winery she owns in Napa.  To paraphrase the Disney movie:  “Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test”. But now and going forward the great customer experience will be made possible via technology as the key enabler to let businesses win and grow – and I saw it recently at Gartner’s biggest CIO/IT summit.

Hearing from technology luminaries at the Gartner ITxpo at Disneyworld where technology trends were discussed among CIOs and IT leaders with keynotes from tech leaders such as Facebook’s co-founder, the #3 leader at Google, and Microsoft’s Steve Balmer, a new picture for the future of the customer experience emerged.  The future – like when I first visited Disneyworld many years ago – will be centered on one key business outcome:  “meet or beat your customer experience expectation”.  Technology is now central to the customer experience.  Let me share some observations from the past week to illustrate…

Gartner luminaries talked about all future businesses will be totally driven “digitally”, coupled with mobile technology.  Businesses will win by making the most of “business moments”.  From a customer experience standpoint we see this today from customer experience innovators like Genesys:   knowing who someone is when they reach a contact center (e.g. via a database dip via contact center software to existing CRM systems), servicing them according to their preferred channel (e.g. confirming an order via a text message), routing them to the agent or business worker who can best help them (e.g. a bank’s high net-worth client routed to her advisor bypassing the IVR – or as our customer UPMC does, routing a patient to their “Health Concierge”).  Gartner also predicts that in the near future wearable technology will be everywhere.  It started with fitness devices and GPS watches and now its Google Glass, iWatches from Apple or Samsung but headed soon to where even clothing has a chip.  Gartner predicts any item over $100 will someday have a chip in it, allowing the “Internet everywhere” world to make for better business moments.

Now let’s relate this to Disney and what they rolled out while I was at the Gartner event. It’s the future today.  Ironically, EPCOT which now looks a little dated compared to when it opened was meant originally to showcase what the future would like someday – it stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  While there I was shown the future of customer experience in the Disney “Magic Bands”.  Upon checking in to my hotel I was given wearable technology, a band with a RF chip.  So what was the magic and how did it illustrate Gartner’s “digital” and “business moments” from a customer experience standpoint?

  • The magic band opened my room door as a room key.
  • The magic band was programmed with my history –  it knew me.
  • The magic band let me make charges with it.
  • I went online or on my  smartphone and could make dinner reservations for myself and co-workers at  the conference – reservations were stored in the band and also accessible  via my smartphone.
  • One evening I had free and I  went to find a gift for my daughter in the Magic Kingdom with my magic band.  I went online to My Disney Experience and also downloaded the  “My Experience” app to test it out and was able to make my FastPasss  reservations for Space Mountain and Splash Mountain since I only had a few hours.  It was all stored in the band and I did more in 3 hours than I have ever done at Disney before.
  • At check-in I was invited to be in a test at their new “Be Our Guest” restaurant.  I ordered a dinner online, they knew me when I arrived from my band, and when I sat down they said “sit where you want well find you”.  The band even has geo location  in it.  They arrived minutes later with my sandwich.
  • When I used the band and bought  my now grown daughter a new Pooh animal for the one that she has on her bed that now looks very tired from many years ago, the cashier asked if  Pooh “needed a rest as he could be sent to my room or I could pick him up at the park later – or you can take him on an adventure today”.  I  smiled and headed off to Space Mountain and Splash Mountain before the  park closed with Pooh in hand.

Disney and Gartner together were a strange coincidence.  I found what Gartner was talking about during the keynotes was exactly what I was getting a glimpse of from Disney.  The future of the customer experience was seen today courtesy of Gartner and Disney.  Today, like 20 years ago, Disney “beat my expectations” when it came to the customer experience – only this time it was enabled via customer experience technology.  It’s why I love the technology industry and companies like Genesys that are at the forefront of leading the way toward great customer experiences, as are the customers we work with everyday.  “Digital” and making the most of  “business moments” are the future – starting now.