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

Customer Experience Before Social Care with Carol Borghesi

Chad McDaniel
(0:38): Welcome! Good morning, to all our listeners to Voice of the Customer Radio. This is Chad McDaniel with Execs In The Know. We’ve got an incredible guest today, Carol Borghesi from TELUS joining us and Carol, I know when you and I were talking a few weeks back, I was very excited about your story and it’s just a pleasure to have you on the show. I kind of looked at it. I was thinking about your sort of what we all as executives, want to be or look up to someday. So, Carol it’s great to have you.

Carol Borghesi
(1:09): Thank you.

Chad McDaniel
(1:11): What I would like to do before we get started, Carol is I want to, first of all, welcome all of our listeners to Voice of the Customer Radio and I’m going to throw out a mandate to our listeners to let’s engage during the show and we want to all ensure we get as much as we can out of today’s time. For all our live listeners who have called in, please press 1 on your telephone handset to be called in to the show to be able to ask your live questions. We also have our Twitter handle for Voice of the Customer Radio, that’s #VOCRadio. Julia Alena from Miami will be monitoring that and helping me out for all of our Twitter comments coming in. And also, we have the live chat on the URL. For those that are listening through their computer speakers, we can engage to a live chat but please, let’s get as much interaction as we can. We find that amount of dialogue works extremely well for everybody. You know, one of the things I get asked, I just remind the listeners today that what is Voice of the Customer Radio? Well, first of all, it’s very simple. It’s a unique format that we use to continue the engagement of conversation around service excellence and we know how difficult the service excellence can be. Our focus is like you, service executives, who are going to survive in the ever changing customer format we call it Customer Collaboration 3.0. It is a very changing environment and requires masters on all sites. We’ve also carry on the ongoing conversation when we’re not having a live show. We do have a LinkedIn group, Voice of the Customer Radio. You can simply go on LinkedIn, go under group search, type in Voice of the Customer Radio and you can join our group. This is where we carry ongoing dialogue in between shows.

(3:06): One other thing I want to throw out to our callers, if you have a compelling story, I want to hear about it. If you have a great customer service story like Carol and other of our previous show guest, we really would love to hear about it and you can feel free to reach out to me directly, mcdaniel@justcareers.com. We do have a large group of corporate gather — executives gathering today and if you want information, we’ve got information. All of our previous shows are on demand and can be listened anytime on the show URL. That’s www.blogtalkradio.com/execsintheknow. Including Carol today, her show, as soon as we conclude, the recording will be available and feel free to share with your community. You can simply retweet that link off the Blog Talk Radio platform or you can share with your LinkedIn group or other community followers. Also if you have not been aware of our KPI, key performance indicator report, we had published last November, we are offering as a free download to our listeners. It has some great metrics on the social experience in customer engagement. You can email me for that free report. That’s mcdaniel@justcareers.com. And before we get started, I have to take a moment. I’m still coming kind off cloud nine. We just finished the Customer Response Summit II this past week in Hollywood, Florida. And the Customer Response Summit is our live event that we do twice a year and what an incredible engagement we had of corporate people gathering. The type of dialogue was just amazing.

(4:56): For those that did not get out to the live event, we do have a YouTube channel. You can review some of the video clips of the speakers and gathering we had and that is www.youtube.com/user/justcareers. And again, if you would like that YouTube channel, if that did not come through, you can email me and I would be happy to send you the channel. You can look at some of the video clips. We also are going to be having the Customer Response Summit III coming sometime late fall, so stay tuned and what a great engagement. Carol, I was excited to have you. Before I introduce you, I just want to say a couple of things to our listeners. I was excited to have you on this show because we handed out the Advisory Board of Voice of the Customer. We handed out two distinguished awards, Voice of the Customer awards for merging customer response channels and we were fortunate that there were a number of organizations that had submitted. We were able to hand out two awards: One, went to Overstock.com for service excellence; and TELUS, Carol was a recipient of the award for Voice of the Customer service excellence and congratulations to you and the organization.

Carol Borghesi
(6:13): Thank you for that. We were delighted. I have to say.

Chad McDaniel
(6:18): Well, I’ll tell — I mean and people so, what did you guys do to win that award and we can definitely talk a little bit about that as we carry on the engagement, but it was really interesting to see what the business group has done and how you are separating through building your community, building your crowdsourcing, building your subject matter experts through the TELUS – – excuse me, the telustalksbusiness.com. We can talk a little bit about exactly what is that. But you guys have done some incredible stuff in how you are listening, how you are responding, supporting, promoting and engaging your conversations in your community, in your clients. I mean, it’s obviously I think a leading edge and we definitely we’ll get into that here shortly. But again, a big kudos to the entire organization for that award and by the way, we look forward to the Advisory Board handing out more of those at the Customer Response Summit III and if there’s a great story out there, again, we want to hear about it. But before we proceed on, let me introduce Carol for everybody so we know the type of powerful leader we’ve got on the show today. Carol Borghesi is the Senior Vice-President of Customers First Culture for TELUS. Carol, I know you’ve had 29 years of telecommunications experience, really in three continents between India, the UK and Canada. I know you joined TELUS in 2009 as Senior Vice-President, Client Experience in support of the consumer contact centres across Canada, and then recently this year, in 2011, you accepted the newly created role of Senior Vice-President of Customers First Culture. And I’m really interested to understand that title, Customers First Culture, because I think it does mean something that we’re going to be speaking in to the day.

(8:10): I know Carol, you’ve ignited passionate customer advocacy across TELUS with the launch of the Customers First in 2010 and now you’re driving the force behind the evolution of TELUS corporate culture to deliver on the future as friendly to your clients. One other thing that was interesting Carol about — not only to some of the things you won over the years, some of your background, I mean, you’ve spent a number of years in the UK with British Telecom. You actually spent time in India with Bharti Airtel. So, you’ve seen this thing from a far, you’ve seen it close, near shore all that stuff and I just want to say, I think you spent 18 months over in India. Is that correct somewhere in that timeframe?

Carol Borghesi
(8:50): Just about two years, yeah.

Chad McDaniel
(8:52): Excellent. You know, folks, Carol is a graduate of marketing management program with the British Columbia Institute of Technology and I know some of your careers, honors Carol has included Leadership awards with British Telecom. You were also back nominated in Canada as our one Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Marketing Executive of the Year. You’ve also been nominated and won Who’s Who of Canada Women and at TELUS, I know your passion is making customer experience as a competitive advantage. Enough said. Welcome Carol. Thank you for making time to being on this show and let’s get started.

Carol Borghesi
(9:28): Excellent. Well, I have to say your kind words really have landed on me very nicely. Thank you for that. I realized, however, as I listened to the introduction, Chad that what’s missing for me is having my own theme music. I really did like the flamenco guitar introduction that we had on the radio.

Chad McDaniel
(9:48): And that was my personal selection. Thank you. I like that Spanish guitar.

Carol Borghesi
(9:53): Excellent. Excellent. So, I need my own theme music and that I think I’ve truly arrived. So, good to be with you this morning!

Chad McDaniel
(10:02): Carol, first, to get started, let’s sort of set the stage. There are a number of things I want to talk to you about today and get engaged with. And tell me a little bit about what you’re doing today and your involvement? So, what are the mandates of the role?

Carol Borghesi
(10:21): The mandate of the Customers First Culture role which by the way, is a title that has resonated extremely positively with colleagues around the world. People I think in this part of the business are really understanding how important culture is as the biggest area of opportunity or conversely, the barrier to making meaningful change happen. I have often commented on the “Bummer of a Birthmark, Hal” using the Gary Larson cartoon analogy. When you have a title that’s related to customer service, customer service operation, customer experience, because it’s automatically I think labels you as being “responsible” for transformation and for improving the customer experience. The reality is, Chad, and a number of our listeners will know that that’s simply is not the case. If we’re focusing exclusively on customer service, even sales and marketing exclusively, we are really way too late in the overall value chain around what companies do. And our focus on Customers First Culture is really TELUS is taking a hold of the concept of making it a true, end-to-end, top-to-bottom, leave no stone unturned culture change. It’s not obviously just all about joining hands and deciding that we’re going to put the customers first. There’s a lot of hard work associated with culture change. It’s not unlike trying to change human behavior, it just happens to be in our case something like 30,000 of us. So, there’s discipline and metrics and listening to the voice of a customer, as well as listening to the voice of our people and a couple of other elements that I’m sure we’ll get into.

(12:18): But bottom line, culture is about leveraging the values and strengths of an organization and I’m happy to tell you that TELUS has an incredibly strong set of values, which make it very, very simple to reignite in the hearts and minds of the men and women that work for this company, the desire to do what’s right for the customers. In doing so and here’s the punch line in many instances for organization, you also do create a much better set of financials. So, that’s roughly what I’m up to and I’m happy to tell you more about that as we get into the subject.

Chad McDaniel
(13:02): Excellent and that’s fantastic. Carol, tell us a little bit about well, we talked about the Voice of the Customer award and the telusbusinesstalk.com. Tell us a bit about that initiative.

Carol Borghesi
(13:12): Well, amongst all of the other technologies that have bubbled up in the 30 years, I say 30 years that I’ve been doing this, one of the advantages that they have been around a long time of course is that, one gets to see a lot of change. In my industry, there is a tremendous pace of change which has accelerated over time and in many respect, Chad we are responsible for bringing these new types of communication media to the fore. What the company is really, I think, done extremely well, is understood the power of listening. And I think that’s really where TELUS Talks Business shown. We were delighted and honored to get this award and can I say that in being recognized this way, it’s really inspiring and motivating for us to carry on pushing the boundaries and creating new frontiers. While we would be the first to admit that there are lots more that we can do and we’ll be doing, well the successes that we’ve had through the response that TELUS Talks Business has garnered indicate that there is a pent up demand for our customers to be in touch with us in ways that is less formal, more spontaneous and lends itself to an exchange of information as oppose to a kind of a one-way transmission. The ability for our firm to learn about real customer needs, it cannot be understated and I think that’s the triple way of focusing on social media, which is that it is incredibly important to us to get closer to our customers and understand how to put them first. It means that we’ve got yet other ways that we can serve customers.

(15:08): Some of which, albeit emerging, in terms of social care, do become much more pleasant for both sides of the equation. And of course, the implication that that has on overall brand, reputation done well is incredibly helpful and of course, we’re quite mindful of the inverse of that, which is managing what is now a hugely democratized approach to customers exchanging views about what they think about a particular organization. So, there’s — for us this is a new frontier, personally, having been in this business for 30 years. This is singularly the most exciting development that I have seen come along and I can’t hardly wait, Chad to see how our part of the industry responds and uses this medium to best advantage.

Chad McDaniel
(16:08): Oh, that’s outstanding and we can definitely go further into all of that for sure. I’m going to — first of all, for our listeners, you’re listening to Carol Borghesi from TELUS Voice of the Customer Radio and I want to make sure that all our guests can hear correctly. I had a couple of notes coming in that there was some audio. Can I ask for people on live chat, just drop a quick note saying that everything is coming through okay and then also for our live callers, if we can have one of you maybe hit one of the handset just saying everything is okay, that would be great. But with that, Carol let’s continue. You’re in an interesting vertical, I mean the telecommunications industry as a whole, and we could probably talk a lot of legacy stuff to where that particular industry has been, where things are going. Give me a little bit of your perspective on that whole industry as just kind of state of the industry?

Carol Borghesi
(17:06): Well, I think that the telecommunications industry is not widely different from other industries, probably represented in the listenership. But I will say that one of the things that has really challenged our business is the pace of change. We are increasingly challenged to bring out new and different technologies and do that in a way which enables us to keep our promise to customers to basically do what we said we would do when we said we do it for the price we said we do it for. So, while I am not hiding behind the subject of complexity, I can’t say that in many respects, the telecommunications industry is the architect of our own destiny. It is a fact however, as you read the literature and survey material for the likes of Forrester and Accenture that when you look across industries, telecommunications isn’t exactly at the top of the league table. We tend to languish at the bottom. And that’s true for wireless, it’s true for cable companies, it’s true for our traditional Telcos, sometimes referred to as utilities. And I think that that’s really encompasses the challenge that our industry has, some of which, I believe, we create our own limitation. So, it’s pretty important for us to explore different ways to crack the code of great customer experience. Believe me, it is not rocket science. When you look at what our customers want, they’re pretty simple and straightforward things, reliable products. They want to be able to reach somebody that can provide them with health and assistance. They want quick response to issues, famously built that they can understand. And I think in fairness, that all of these are relatively fundamental and wouldn’t necessarily be labeled as delighters.

(19:06): The reality is that the products and services that we now deliver to our market are truly life changing and with that comes an awesome responsibility. That is that I am — to understand that these days, you are more likely to report the loss of your mobile phone or your smartphone before the loss of your wallet. So, that tells us that we are a mission critical service to customers and therefore expectations are really quite high about making sure that our customers are connected to their world. And I know that we’ve got a lot of similar challenges to other industries but high time that we, in telecommunications, really crack the code of customer experience. No one, in my estimation, has actually done that and as you pointed out I’ve borne witness to this in four continents. I did get to spend a little bit of time in Africa too, and it’s pretty consistent across the globe that telecommunications is challenged in really impressing customers. With that, however, I think that that’s we’re getting much more depths of understanding of the true end-toend processes that create customer delight, customer satisfaction and importantly, dissatisfaction. I think we’ll find that others on the call and other industries also struggle with, inevitably, the pressure of reducing cost envelopes coupled with that increased customer expectation. So, in other words, we’re trying to do more with less money and that the customer expectation, based on need as much as anything else, is exponentially higher because of the mission critical nature of what we sought.

Chad McDaniel
(21:08): Carol, I like to get things down to the ground for a level. I mean, we’re all human. We all can appreciate. I guess we like complexities. We all have to deal with our own complexities and different flavors or drinks or variations. For you right now, we’re going to talk about some of the things you’ve done to meet those complexities because I kind of — believe me attest to how difficult that must be what you just outlaid. What are some of the challenges that you’re facing right now and then let’s talk about what you’re kind of doing to address that?

Carol Borghesi
(21:40): Well, we’ve got inevitably, Chad, there is a number of pain areas that customers certainly would levy as black marks against us, but I’m not talking about anything that isn’t common to other industries. So, when you look at something like the Accenture Global Customer Satisfaction survey. You know the issues that customers side are being put on hold, being transferred, have to repeat information. So, we’re seeing that kind of challenge in our business, happily, one that we’re focused on and have a set of initiatives in place that are really focused on the overall customer contact element of customer experience. Our volumes are growing in some of the newer areas of our business. We are a full service telecommunications firm, meaning that, we provide wireline and wireless services, and just focusing on consumer for a minute, that would be mobile phones, smartphones, as well as our home phone service that we’ve been providing in this country for a long time. And the internet, which is equally mission critical these days, along with IPTV, our optic product which, by the way, is absolutely phenomenal. And I think for me, having been in telecommunications a long time, I though that telecommunications customers were demanding about their communication services, not a patch on how you feel about TV services. I am married to a sports fan and believe me, the importance of the quality of TV service is hugely, hugely important.

(23:33): So, as I said, we’ve got the challenges of the pace of change, increasing technological change, all of which have to be supported by our customer contact people in call centers as well as our field engineers, as well as those that serve our customers in stores, those that are sales people, either direct or indirect channel, such as our dealer channel. So, we’ve got the complexity and challenge of how do we ensure as the most experienced given all of the rate of change and the increasing complexity. How do we make that as the most experienced for customers? I have the experience of being on the end of the food chain and contact centers for a number of years. That’s really where I’ve concluded unambiguously that simply focusing on managing customer contact is really beside the point, that we’re looking now at the entire end-to-end process, which includes colleagues in our case, in our technology groups, our network build-design-operate-maintain, those in product development, as well as those that create marketing campaigns, pricing policies, terms and conditions and managed the bill experience as well as those of us in sales and service that ultimately are responsible for ensuring that customers get what we promised that they would get when we promise that they would get it. So, that’s the reason that we’ve taken the approach of Customers First Culture. We’re not zeroing in on specifically the usual suspects on the frontline. Rather, we’re focusing on how we support the frontline in the various functions that go behind that. (25:34): Including HR, including finance and in fact, everybody in the organization is engaged in this culture change.

Chad McDaniel
(25:46): You’ve talked a little bit about change complexity end-to-end and I definitely can appreciate that and Carol, you know, and I think a lot of my listeners know that I have been an absolute advocate of where this industry may be going and what we need to be thinking about as corporate North America. Do we put our head in the sand or do we proactively address this new, changing viable client? One that is much more engaged, who wants more demand and attention and you know, we’ve had a lot of conversation about where the emerging customer response channels are going to go such as Social Web 2.0, mobile, video and how we’re going to engage customers in these new channels. These are heavily on my mind and I am sure that they are on your mind. From where you said, tell me a little bit about your thoughts with that and kind of what you’re doing in your organization and I know you’re already doing stuff, but I mean, tell me a little bit about your perspective and how you’re kind of looking to address and tackle and focus or align priorities?

Carol Borghesi
(26:50): Well, the short answer to the question is that if there is any discussion and debate about embracing new media for interacting with customers, I would be very, very concerned about the longevity of the firms that are debating now. I think it’s fair to say that we are at the beginning of a tremendous change to how information has exchanged and valued and utilized. And I think that we need to run towards that and embrace it as TELUS has already done, but admittedly, at the very, very beginning of that journey. I think one of the areas that has been really vexing for organizations, ours included, is the interoperability of channels. So, I’ve seen us now where we move from distributed call handling in the olden days to the advent of call centers which centralized and vastly improved the responsiveness of organizations using the phone, to the inclusion of online services, web chat which has evolved itself through email to web present to now the emergence of Facebook, of Twitter and in every single instance, we have embraced the new channel although this is somehow separate from the other media that our customers used to interact with us. Big mistake. It becomes an adjunct to, in addition to the communications channels that already exist and frankly, the reasons that that customers will choose to migrate to a particular way of interacting with the company, is based on the level of responsiveness and resolution, and satisfaction that they get.

(28:51): It is still true that most people don’t leave out of their beds in the morning and saying “Gee, I want to phone my gas company” or you know, “I want to phone TELUS.” In the main, I think this industry needs to really understand that there is generally speaking, a reason, possibly an irritation behind the need for customers in a service contacts, they have to get in touch. And I believe our job ticket is to harness and use the best advantages new technologies as they emerge and by the way, keeping tabs on how they’re emerging as we’re doing, to understand how to integrate that into a truly integrated customer contact infrastructure. These days, people are little miffed at call centers. There’s plenty of evidence that suggest that you know you would rather have a root canal without anesthetic than call a call center because you still yourself for the inevitable way and so on. I think that also needs to be understood, Chad, in the context of what drives customers need to interact with a company. We’re seeing through social media, TELUS Talks Business and even at TELUS help, in a very different perspective on how customers are needing support from us, want to exchange information and so on. And I think with that, we’re really stepping up to a greater degree of integration in our channel and that is one of the most important areas that involved a considerable member of our executives and our operational people to get aligned on those common goals and ensure that we’re spending our money and supporting the right kinds of channels for interacting with customers.

Chad McDaniel
(30:48): So, we’re in the meat and potatoes of a very hot conversation and discussion, no question about that and Carol, I’m really hoping you’re going to be one of our speakers at the Response Summit III because of the relevancy and everything else that I know you can engage with us on. And by the way, for everyone, you’re listening to Voice of the Customer Radio. We have Carol Borghesi from TELUS. She’s the Senior Vice-President of the Customers First Culture. I’m sure there’s going to be callers out there with questions as we’re getting into this. If you do have a question…

Carol Borghesi
(31:22): I hope so.

Chad McDaniel
(31:24): Absolutely. If not, Carol, we’re going to ask them questions but all you have to do is press 1 on your handset. That will raise your hand and will bring you on the show to ask a question. It may be about technologies or about some predictions of where all this is going and some other complexities, but press 1 on the handset. And also for the live chat, all you have to do is type the question and we’ll be sure to try to include that into the show. So, going back to where we just left off, you know it’s interesting we had heard a lot of conversation about previously thinks being siloed. Marketing sales, operations and the new environment no longer can be siloed. And you mentioned that to that you know, it needs to be embraced. It can’t be separated. And if people — if I’m in an organization, sitting where you are Carol, and I’m not thinking in these emerging channels, you’ve mentioned this about, you know, got to get on that bandwagon to really start thinking about it. Are there certain and we’ve got a lot of questions starting to come in but before I go to live questions Carol, is there a certain gotcha or look out, or consider if I’m just starting this journey or because you guys have started to do this. You’ve had some more wounds. What would be some advice you would give on maybe the gotchas or think of this, “Don’t repeat this bad thing.” Anything come to mind?

Carol Borghesi
(32:43): Well, first of all, fabulous question. I think that that supports certainly a learning that I’ve had over the years that the very best lessons one can learn in life come from mistakes or oopses, or gotchas as you refer to them. I’m going to say that in the past, and I’ve certainly been party to enthusiastically embracing what, I would describe as being something more akin to bad types of communication media. There’s a lot of investment that’s been made in our industry, which I consider to be stranded. Voice recognition is one of the items that we have debated sometime ago as to whether do we need it, do we not need it, and I think history has borne out that speech recognition, implemented well is truly a benefit to efficiency. But it’s a disaster when you consider the complexities and subtleties of human speech, which it has had I think in its own right, created a tremendous amount of frustration. So, the salutary lesson I think that I would say in summing up is that, it’s important to really stand where your customers are standing and really understand the drivers of the need to interact with your organization. Chad, I know you and I have exchanged views on this before. I am an advocate of not putting the technology cart before the customer experience horse. And what I mean by that is that technology for technology sake is absolutely the wrong path to go down. I urge those that are starting on the path and frankly congratulations because there is an advantage from hanging back and going second so that you could get to learn from those above that went first.

(34:42): Piloting, experimenting, focus groups, leveraging as I’ve seen some organizations do the feedback that you get from customers and communities of interest is absolutely the way to go. But I think the bottom line for me in all the years that I’ve been doing this, I would say that understand that customer contact infrastructure has to be a consideration set in its entirety. We’ve seen initiatives that have cropped up in our organization that are one off or not linked to the overall customer contact strategy and that can create issues only because customers expect one department to know what the other department is doing hence, the advice to stand where your customers are standing. If you’re not already doing it, you should be phoning yourself and tweeting yourself and Facebooking yourself and visiting your stories as often as possible.

Chad McDaniel
(35:47): Well that’s, that’s I think a very honest, pure, straightforward commentary and thank you for that Carol and I’m sure our listeners got a lot from it. And now we’re going to go to live callers here, just one second. Please bear with me. I want to say though Carol, what’s interesting in the two-day summit we just have with all the executives gathering, about 130 corporate executives and really, it’s a forum more than anything else with the customers response summit is, but there were some key things we heard continuously over the two days to all the multitude of corporate speakers we had, you know, the word, the data, and the whole issue with data, transparency, there were things what we called where an organizations had a moments of truth or crisis that may got them to a certain state of collaboration. And then, there was discussion around standard operating procedures and having a standard operating procedure around some of the new social channels and customer engagement. I don’t know where your thoughts are in the whole standard operating procedure thing but there was, you know, it seemed to have resonated very well. You can’t just completely go blind at this. You’ve got to really put in the kind of protocols and things needed in any typical standard operating process when it comes to these new emerging channels.

Carol Borghesi
(37:04): However dull and…dull and boring…

Chad McDaniel
(37:06): Excuse me?

Carol Borghesi
(37:07): I said, however, dull and boring it might sound, that consistency is the hallmark of great customer experience. So I’m a huge advocate of standard operating procedure. In our vernacular here at TELUS, that would refer to a blue print approach to managing customer interaction processes and the intersection of those two things.

Chad McDaniel
(37:28): So that quote was “consistency is…

Carol Borghesi
(37:31): The hallmark of great customer experience.

Chad McDaniel
(37:35): Okay. All of our listeners tweet that, “Consistency is the hallmark of great customer experience.” That’s, I like that, very good. Let’s go to our caller here. You’re on the air. Please introduce yourself, 636575.

Caller 1 Mike
(37:50): Hello, my name Mike Ray. Good morning Carol. Thank you so much for doing this for us all today. You’ve mentioned the importance of integrating multiple channels. What is TELUS doing to make sure that when you do that, the business contact of the conversation is consistent? So when a customer moves from say, a web channel to an IDR channel, the contacts and/or agent knows exactly where that business conversation is at instead of having to do that all over again.

Carol Borghesi
(38:27): Mike, that is — probably, you hit the nail on the head of what is the most important enabler of being able to create seamlessness for people and media communication. What we are doing is, is leveraging and managing that data distribution across the various processes that we have, which is not simple to do. In Telco terms, I know it’s not an issue that’s exclusive to us. We have legacy infrastructure. In our particular case, our company has evolved over the last decade through some acquisitions and which add complexity, of course for creating that consistency. We have done some work around Mike which has enabled that to provide the information for agents that come from desperate data sources, not elegant but nonetheless in helping us in the, in the short run. And I think the most important development and my advice would be here is the alignment between those that are responsible for web channel and call centers. I know, in the past, you know, 10 to 15 years, firms have taken different approaches to this. Some on the call may have that responsibility for the call center operations as well as web presents that I think is, is great because it, to me, ensures that investment is balanced to cross those two channels. But in our case, we’ve got an integrated approach working with the teams that are accountable for the web interactions and, and have worked quite hard to ensure that the backend data sources, the backend support infrastructure to the front-end customer facing piece is using the same element and infrastructure platforms and applications.

Chad McDaniel
(40:34): Mike, my quick question is, do you mind if I ask what organization your web, if you don’t mind.

Caller 1 Mike
(40:40): I’m with _40:41_ Elusive Enterprise and Carol, a very good friend of ours just sent you an email a few minutes ago. I would love to have an opportunity to discuss this with you further.

Carol Borghesi
(40:51): Alright!

Chad McDaniel
(40:53): Well Mike, thank you for the question. Anything else before I put you back on mute?

Caller 1 Mike
(41:00): No just, Carol just, we have a very elegant simple solution that can keep the business contacts of the conversation across multiple jails including social media, so, I’m looking forward to talking with you further, maybe later on with Jim.

Carol Borghesi
(41:16): Yeah, I know that’s a favorite topic of our, of our friend, our mutual acquaintance.

Chad McDaniel
(41:23): Okay thank you.

Carol Borghesi
(41:24): Thank you Mike.

Chad McDaniel
(41:25): Thank you Mike. Let’s go caller 803667. You’re on the air. Please introduce yourself.

Caller 2 Carol Anne
(41:30): Yeah. Hi, my name is Carol Anne. I’m currently developing the new emerging social media response team here. And as part of a larger whole of the customer service group, Carol, how do you feel about customer care channels like on YouTube as an adjunct to other social media response forums?

Carol Borghesi
(41:51): I would say Carol Anne that’s, again, I would stand where my customers are standing. It’s contextual to the business that you’re in, the types of relationships that you have, the nature of transaction. So, I know it seems a little, you know, a little lofty but seriously, the technology for me is secondary to what is the enhancement, what’s the advantage, what goes on for customers that would be supplemented, enhanced, and improved by using YouTube. I mean, I have already said I’m just so excited to be still, you know, working in this area. I feel like we got a new lease on life because of the advent of new technology, so don’t get me wrong but very, very advocating that we understand customer needs first. And there is, there is contextual information that’s important. I mean I can give a very — kind of an obvious example but it actually happened. When I worked for British Telecom in the UK, 999 is the emergency service there which is the equivalent of 911 here and interestingly enough, the debate and discussion inevitably comes around to opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of those very high volume and inevitably short duration call. So it is technically the case that you can automate a 999 or 911 call. The reality is you wouldn’t do it and the reason that you wouldn’t do it is because you are literally dealing with life and death and of course, that is something that requires human sensitivity and reasoning that’s present in in the moment and probably not a perfect example, Carol Anne but trying to get something that really puts on the table.

(43:47): What I mean by contextual, it fits the requirements of the customer and it is really focused on what the customer needs are at the time.

Caller 2 Carol Anne
(43:58): Okay.

Carol Borghesi
(43:59): What, what business are you in?

Caller 2 Carol Anne
(44:01): I’m in manufacturing. We deal with major household appliances in North America and one of the, the issues that we’ve seen across the board is that a lot of customers do need some technical assistance, maybe it’s just getting something turned on or getting something adjusted and that’s why you see, you know, YouTube channel being the effective case to help clients who do purchase these products, so that they can have a visual to aid them even if they are on a __44:32__ with a customer care representative.

Carol Borghesi
(44:35): I completely agree.

Chad McDaniel
(44:38): Carol Anne, great question. I would encourage you if you’re not, become a member of the Execs In The Know __44:42__ as we start community. We’ve got great mind share, great forum, peer to peer, and there’s a lot of information, we could help you in your journey just as far as information sharing so, please stick with our community and thank you for that great question.

Caller 2 Carol Anne
(44:56): Thank you.

Chad McDaniel
(44:59): I think we’ve got Julia Alena. Is this 305254?

Caller 3 Julia Alena
(45:04): Yes. Hi Chad, how are you?

Chad McDaniel
(45:06): Hi Julie. How’s Miami?

Caller 3 Julia Alena
(45:07): Miami is very, very hot today.

Chad McDaniel
(45:12): What do we have on the Twitter channel? Anything come through?

Caller 3 Julia Alena
(45:15): Questions seem to center predominantly around, “How do you establish that sense of urgency or talk about return on investment when you are trying to suggest a new voice to the customer program or involvement in social media to the executive team that is perhaps, not yet completely signed on to the idea?”

Carol Borghesi
(45:35): Fabulous, fabulous question. I didn’t want to share a little bit more, Chad, with you about what we’re doing in TELUS because the benefit of, again, of being in the industry for as long as I have, I am at an age now where I believe that they have discontinued my blood type. That’s how long I’ve been doing this. [Cross talk]

(45:59): Yeah, you really do. You know, see, see it all happening and I’ve learned about, over years, that the engagement at senior leadership is probably, is not the only thing that you have to do in your firm, but you absolutely need to get that to happen. And in particular, the alignment with the financial leadership in an organization is really, really key. There’s a lot of complexity to putting together a business case based on introduction of a new channel, the introduction of improved technologies in customer infrastructure management, and I’m using a term customer infrastructure management, by the way, to reflect all of the contact management elements in call centers, for instance, but I’m equally reflecting on operating support systems and business support systems that, that support products and services right across all of the various channels that we’re discussing. On our part, customers’ first culture began for TELUS last year and where that really came from, was the realization that we were in an industry at which, it seems that the best that you can do is to be the least about it but not very good. And that was an important “Aha” because what I think that characterizes is it is facing the brutal facts. In our case, we have recognized 99% of other companies in the world that the game that we’re in is less about technology and more about delivering extraordinary customer experiences. So we’re, you know, it’s a crowded place to be.

(47:44): We also worked out that having made the declaration that we need to be more customer-focused, that we’ve found it kind of difficult to, then moved to the next stages which is in forming decision making in favor of the customer experience, not to the exclusion of it. Some relevance to the financials, of course, that would be kind of a dumb thing to do over the, over the long run. But in fact, putting on equal footing the importance of the customer experience and I think that that is based on the last 12 months the study that is singularly, the biggest ships that we’ve seen, not exclusively to those of us building business cases at the front end but in fact, the responsiveness of colleagues upstream and downstream to really help with our understanding and orienting investment requirements, development, and delivery timeline to the urgency around getting it right for customers. More often than not, industries, certainly ours is, is included in this, is very fast pace. So you’re needing to get things out on the, into the marketplace quickly and you know, not to suggest that you need to have everything perfect but there’s many car accident that’s occurred when a less than perfectly tested product hits the unsuspecting public, all of which washes back onto the customer contact people, wherever that maybe. So, TELUS I think has, has really stepped into a very different league in engaging our senior executive right across the company and evidence of that is, is I think importantly, a change that we made that we introduced last year. We have a very strong track record in senior leadership development forums. (49:42): In fact, we’ll have our 12th Annual Forum this year. Last year, we introduced a closer to the customer experience and had all of our senior leadership go and spent an entire shift with frontline people, and again, not just call centers, not just in, you know, the care area but as sure as well as technical support, business and consumer because we’re in all of those markets as well. Our frontline personnel in stores, been shipped in the store with field technician and we deliberately design this to be, first all, an entire day and secondly to be tailored to the needs of senior leadership. The response that we had going into that was I’d say some skepticism and potential reluctance. Coming out, the other end, the change that it has brought across our business cannot be understated. If I may, you know, bringing people to iWitness, you know, what it looks like when, when there is flooding occurring is very different from having those same people read it in the newspaper and I think that is singularly the biggest culture shifts that we have seen in the business and has made the climate and the support that we’re getting for investment in customer improvement, costumer management infrastructure very, very different here.

Chad McDaniel
(51:20): Julia, excellent again and Julia works and assists me on Voice of the Customer Radio and handles some of the question enquiry on our Twitterfeed, so Julia, thank you. Before I move on to the next question, Julia, is there anything else that we needed to share?

Caller 3 Julia Alena
(51:36): Not from the Twitterfeed but actually, I do have a question of my own, if that’s alright?

Chad McDaniel
(51:41): Please.

Caller 3 Julia Alena
(51:42): Okay, my, quickly, when you identify people who are going to be in, we’ll call them the more social media channels, are there particular training or qualities that you look for in those individuals or do you tend to find that your usual customer service folks are just as adept at handling the social media commentary?

Carol Borghesi
(52:01): I think that’s also a fabulous question. I believe that the best of your customer service team members are can and should be those that pioneer working with social care and interacting on social media. Why I say that is because I think that, you know, the profile tell me that’s really good and that’s helping customers tends to be people that like to problem solve, that enjoy turning chaos into order, who are, you know, extremely empathetic and highly, highly, highly responsive. What social media, of course, represents now is that you’ve got a 140 characters in a, in a tweet to be able to get your point across and/or to respond to a point and, which is one matter, that doesn’t necessarily mean that, you know, you’ve been able to solve the issue to its completion. And I also think that in Facebook, managing Facebook, where that can be a huge advantage. I personally have the opportunity, thanks to my husband being on Facebook to intervene with customer frustrations and that level of responsiveness, I tell you, it’s just been, it blows people away. It’s that kind of, you know very personal kind of reaction which I love about this medium. Now, I don’t think that there is a uniqueness to working with social media but I would say that you’d want to truly take the best of the best in those areas and enable them to learn to interact over those, over those medium.

Chad McDaniel
(53:56): Julia, thank you very much. We’re going to move to our chat board. And by the way, everyone your listening to Voice of the Customer Radio. We have Carol Borghesi from TELUS, Senior Vice-President on the show today. She’s doing a dynamic job and I appreciate Carol very much of your time. If you want to ask a live question on the show, press 1 on your handset. And Carol, I’m going to do something if I may I think the listeners are really enjoying your show today. If we can maybe, first time I’ve done this but maybe extend our show by 10 minutes.

Carol Borghesi
(54:26): That’s fine with me.

Chad McDaniel
(54:28): You’re the first in my history they extend the show on, so.kudos.

Carol Borghesi
(54:32): I’m so proud or so long-winded that you had to do this.

Chad McDaniel
(54:36): No, we’re, we’re enjoying the detail. So on our chatboard, and again, please continue the questions. A question came in, “Where do you think is the customer preferences for contact with Telcos for query resolution?” and it kind of goes on from here is “changing or moving towards incoming three to five years”. So the question is “where do you think is the customer preferences for contacts with Telco for query resolution? Is there change and moving towards incoming three to five years? And it goes on, “what is the customers preferred method of communication?” Do you want to take a stab at that, Carol?

Carol Borghesi
(55:16): I do. I mean, there’s two ways to answer that. The current tract record and I believe that we’re not alone in this is that call volumes in the call centers are not abating to any great degree despite the promises of the migration of customers to interacting with us online. Having said that, the research tells us that, that people would prefer to interact with organizations online and generally speaking, I think that’s because, you know, coming back to what are customers need, there is an asynchronous nature to that. The reality is that, you know, nobody really wants to spend their life sitting on hold, waiting to talk to a person. But today, that’s exactly what they’re doing. What that reflect is the degree to which we’ve been able to tailor the weaving the industry and main tailor the communications, the transactions, the end-to-end nature of the transaction online, such that we can handle exceptions. So coming back to the point I made, that where you want a human being is where there’s a need for sensitivity, empathy and reasoning. And generally speaking, people are coming back to call centers not necessarily because that’s their favorite way of interacting with your company, because they need to talk to a human being. That didn’t work, you know, the transaction didn’t work online, the question that I had wasn’t really answered, my situation doesn’t really fit in to any of your categories and/or perhaps, I even want to charm, persuade you to — company to give me a break on my late payment and/or, and give me a special deal, and that’s what you’re saying, human beings remaining steadfastly in fashion. (57:12): As it relates to what happens in the next three or five years, well, back to the point about, about business cases. Certainly for us in our industry and I’m positive we’re not alone in this, we are under increasing pressure to do more with less and I think it’s a strategic imperatives to find a way to make alternates forms of supporting customer so good that it does not require a human being quite at the rate that it does today. I think that is the answer by the way to ensuring that we migrate customers permanently to serving themselves, and the only way in my view that we can do that is to make it simple, complete, and highly, highly, highly reliable. That’s weaning customers off the need to speak to, to speak to a person. One other area that’s extremely exciting for me is the ability to put customer service on, on mobility handsets. That’s an area which we are also introducing in under several other industries that have or ahead of us, I must say, that are doing a terrific job in that. I would applaud the airline industry for having taken the laborious journey of getting a ticket, checking in, and that, that experience of getting on an airplane down to, it’s all there on your Blackberry or whatever handset that you happened to have. A fantastic example and I believe would have improve the experience or feedback from customers by taking human interaction out and that is kind of the paradoxes where you’re looking for customers to be delighted dealing with your people. In some respect, you’re far better off to let them do it for themselves because the control and choice and efficiency of that interaction is superior to anything a person could do.

Chad McDaniel
(59:18): You know I’m really glad that our shows are recorded. There is such a tremendous amount of information that’s shared and we all can go back and listen on demand post show which is great and listen to all the valuable insight Carol that you’ve been sharing. On the mobile conversation, that is something I absolutely will do a future show on. I really want to know where the whole mobile component of this is going with, you know, the customer response component to that. So anyone out there has got good ideas, I’d want to hear about it and maybe we can get you back, Carol, potentially. There was a follow-up to the question you just answered and maybe some has been answered but I’ll just read to you real quick. It’s said “With the advent of chat platforms on websites, do you think the call volumes will shift towards online query resolution or we have the call volume still remain the same? Any prediction there?

Carol Borghesi
(1:00:11): I’d answer that really in the same way. Let me be crystal clear. It is my fervent preference desire to see us earn the right to permanently transfer customer interactions to, on the web, be that chats, you know, tweeting, Facebook. And again, I think that that will earn that right by making it simple and complete and highly, highly reliable with the mechanism that enables my exceptions to be handled through a person. So I need to have a person there available to me but not so much that I have to wait in line to, to talk to them. So having said that, there are certainly packets set of evidence that say that that is drawing volumes away. Chat can be less economical than I think we all of us thought when it was introduced, the multiple chat sessions running, not withstanding. The strong advice here is, you know, chat really does give you a true transcript of what’s going on for your customers and again, that is probably the biggest source of opportunity to improve the experience and improve the medium through which customers prefer to interact with you by understanding what it is that they need to do. I’ll go on a limb here and say that whether or not you are calling us, tweeting us, sending us some message by carrier pigeon, if there is an irritation, if you need help, you really want the same kind of thing. You want responsiveness, you want efficiency and you want resolution.
(1:01:58): And so, I would just say that that’s the kind of guiding principles that I’ve strongly recommend or applied to all of the customer contact and touch points in your organizations and making that consistent, making that integrated as I know Mike had asked that question before is, I think the job ticket that we’re facing. Let’s not spend money on additional channels for the sake of, you know, “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Let’s spend additional money on channels that truly do meet customer requirements at first instance and support the needs of the company which is to become more efficient and effective.

Chad McDaniel
(1:02:39): I know and there’s another question that came in from Lee on the chatboard and I know TELUS is unique because you have your own global contacts and outsourcing business called TELUS International. And this is kind of — the question is “Now that call centers have migrated to contact centers to customer voice via all media, where do you see service providers concentrating their value and service in their client, these, you know, are your customer? So, any thoughts on the whole outsourcing component or I don’t know if I want to phrase that correctly, but I mean, where do you see some of that going with our outsource partners?

Carol Borghesi
(1:03:21): Yeah, I think it is an excellent point and it’s so topical. I remember when I was working in India, the model that the company uses to this day is entirely an outsourced model which is, is not least fueled by the fact that in that country, they’re adding about 8 million customers a month in the wireless base. So, it boggles the mind at that level of volume. But I bring it up because I remember meeting a colleague that was responsible for a particular territory in India referred to as the Deli Circle, as a matter of fact, and I was asking this individual about the level of customer satisfaction and service that his customer base was getting and through the contact centers to which he replied, “well, that’s not my area of responsibility.” So point number one, I think that the relationship between our partners in the outsourcing space, on-shore and off-shore, is a very, very critical partnership. The onuses is much on the client to make and formed intelligent decisions about partnering as it is on the vendor to be able to support those needs. Having said that, I know that, for reasons that I’ve or alluded to before, many organizations are under pressure to reduce costs and I can say that, from our perspective in TELUS International, we certainly are well-aware of that particular dimension, probably more so in the last two years as we’ve gone through the bumps of the economic downturn.

(1:05:07): Well, price has been and continuous to be one of the things that I would guess that the procurement department would be most interested in, in driving, certainly, operational people are well-aware of the fact that a partnership can only be as successful as the degree to which, those that are really accountable for customer experience can support it. In our case, TELUS International is a partner of mine, in addition to serving several, you know, international organizations in the locations in which we operate and I found the partnership to be extremely innovative. The reason for that is because we agreed upfront who owns the customer experience. We’ve also agreed upfront what I need to do to support my partner in having the information, the training, the tool and assistance that they need to do the best possible job that they can for me. We’ve gone through processes of experimenting and have landed on the right kind of work for TELUS International to provide to my customers, my customer base, and critically, because of the very close relationship that TELUS International and TELUS have, being the same family, we’ve really, really started to explore much, much more innovative and customer-based, outcome-based ways in which to set service agreements and contracts. I think what I would also say is that, this introduces the importance of employee engagement.

(1:06:51): The people that represent your company really are your company for that, for that individual at that moment in time. TELUS International is, for me anyway, the operations that we have in the Philippines and Guatemala and El Salvador are simply sites 13, 14, and 15 in our operation. They are very much our people and I’d say, for us, TELUS and TELUS International, both are extremely committed to giving where we live. I have seen and participated and an advance set has been hosted in the Philippines and in Guatemala, which engaged our employees in giving back to our communities, the communities that we serve, that live in there, in addition to exactly that same kind of commitment and focus that TELUS brings to that subject here in Canada. We have very engaged people in TELUS International and in the end, in the end, that is the thing that I think is the most predictive of success with an outsourcing partner. Many have told me that they’ve increased the amount of work that they’ve outsourced. There’s an opposite trend going on where a lot of work is being repatriated back. In my view, I think that again comes down to the degree to which the partnership, the business case was predicated on balancing cost and costumer experience and I can say that not every company took those decisions in a way that that balanced waste up, that to me is probably the reason we’re seeing that kind of dynamic.

Chad McDaniel
(1:08:31): Well, that, that’s just fantastic. Carol, are you going to come out and be one of our guests for Customer Response Summit III and we’ll put you on the spot?

Carol Borghesi
(1:08:38): You cannot hold me back. I’m already thinking about what I’ll wear for heaven sake.

Chad McDaniel
(1:08:43): Oh, my goodness. Well, we look forward to that. Folks, I’m going to ask Carol one last question before we close out here. If you enjoy Today Show, as soon as we disconnect, the recording is going to be available on the blogtalkradio.com Execs In The Know. You can easily retweet that out to your community, share with your colleagues, and share with your business partners. There has been some very valuable content in Today Show and I appreciate your support in helping get that out amongst the community. Last quick question, Carol, we’ve got just two minutes. Any final comments, predictions, anything you want to leave us with here as we head off to the weekend?

Carol Borghesi
(1:09:25): Yes, there is. I applaud you Chad and all of the community that’s gathered to engage in, in blog radio. I believe that we have an obligation to work together, to share best practices and good ideas. My concern around this is, is that I am, I am dismayed by the level of overall customer satisfaction with customer service in North America and I know that there is very similar issues in other countries in the world. Certainly, emerging countries like India, I’ve actually interacted with the most demanding customer-based I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, which had kept me on my toes, I have to say. I really would love to hear about other journeys and I’m very interested in your response to the approach that we’re taking, which is truly this end-to-end approach engaging right across the upstream and downstream functional groups instead of just the usual suspect at the front end. I’m very interested in hearing from listeners about where they see that, where they see that being workable within their own organizations and a big thank you Chad for having me today. I really enjoyed it.

Chad McDaniel
(1:10:43): You’re listening to the Voice of the Customer Radio,
Carol Borghesi
from TELUS. Carol thank you very much for your time. All our listeners will be logging in on who our next guest will be in the next couple of weeks. Thank you. Have a great day. Carol, thank you and I enjoyed your time.

Carol Borghesi
(1:10:57): Thank you.