Good afternoon. Good morning. Welcome to Voice of the Customer Radio as we start out the New Year 2012. This is our first show and great to be back with all of our listeners as we start a New Year in 2012. What an incredible gathering we’ve got today and I wanna first of all thank everyone. My name is Chad McDaniel. I’m the president of Execs In the Know and founder of the Customer Response Summit Series. Today, we’ve got a power packed panel that I’ll be introducing here very shortly and we’re gonna talk a little about what is the future of the new Customer On Voice or the Customer Radio. And there has been a tremendous amount of suggestions and ideas shared for this episode, I’m going to do my best to cover up as most of them I can, but really focusing on the main points that we’re looking to get covered here today. A couple of pre-shows stop, before we get started. Again, thank you for all of our listeners dialing in right now. Execs In the Know, you can find us at www.execsintheknow.com, the bottom line is folks we are advocates of service leadership executives. We really want to reward, recognize and promote service excellence and customer experience, and we’re doing a lot of things to push the envelope to ensure service is at the front of the conversation amongst the C-suite and including the CFOs. Voice of the Customer Radio is just our outreach. It’s our voice to all service professionals. We highlight throughout the year excellence and service leadership and thought provoking discussions, 100% conversation and 100% raw results. The episodes in 2011 have been a hit with a lot of our listeners. In fact, all episodes are archived and can be listened on demand 24/7 on the URL and I’ll give you some suggestions how to do that here. Finally, if you have a compelling story, service leadership story, we’d love to hear from you and it’s what we’re about is promoting customer excellence.
Let’s go to some logistics here real quick. There are ways that you, the listeners can engage in this show. We’ve hit our capacity by the way, so if you’re having difficulty calling in to the 323 number, please try to access the show via your computer in the URL link that was provided when you registered. Just make sure you have your speakers on, so you can hear us if you are listening through the computer. Again, this show is being recorded. It will be available as soon as we complete today’s show. Feel free to share with your strategic leadership. You can download the recording of this show through your favorite RS reader of choice items, etc. The instructions are very straightforward. For our live callers on today, you can press 1 on your handset during the show and we can look to bring you in to ask your question and of course we have a number of people listening through the computer link. You can ask questions on the live chat board of the show URL. So finally, as I said there has been a number of great, great suggestions provided. We’ll cover the main points that we can capture within our time period today and I wanna say that this show is sponsored by the Customer Response Summit Series. You can find details of this incredible gathering of service leader executives at www.customerresponsesummit.com. In fact, we’re very excited about all the executives who are gathering in Austin for our next form, which is May 9 and 11 for the Customer Response Summit 4. And I really want to personally thank and recognize some of our sponsors of the form as we could not do it without them. Genesys, Lisa Wolff, Lisa Abbott had been wonderful and I greatly appreciate. Genesys as our platinum sponsor for the next gathering in Austin. Greg Sherry from Verint. Verint has done a great job and they are doing an incredible session on Thought Leadership, West Interactive and Mattersight are also strategic sponsors at the show and you can find details of all these companies again at the www.customerresponsesummit.com.
One final note on that, if you are considering attending the early bird raise to end on Wednesday, February 15, to take advantage of that. Okay, let’s get started with the show. We had a couple of line up changes; however, we’ve got some five incredible service leader executives who are really making a change in this industry. Jeff Russakow, who is the former Chief Customer Officer, most recently with Yahoo. Jim Moloney, who is the General Director, Customer and Relationship Services for General Motors Customer Care and Aftersales for General Motors, and Jeannie Diefenderfer as the Social Global Enterprise Customer Care with Verizon. Kath McGavick is the Corporate Vice President Customer Support, Coinstar. Carol Borghesi, the Senior Vice President of Customer First Culture, TELUS. And folks, the dynamic group five. I really want to sincerely thank the panel for their time to join Voice of the Customer Radio, as we can all appreciate how busy their schedules are. I also want to thank the panel today for their involvement in the advisory board with Execs In The Know. Their direct involvement is a true testament of their passion for moving the service leadership industry forward. Your unselfishness to share is greatly appreciated by our community in providing mentorship guidance and coaching to the industry. So Jeff, we’re gonna start with you. You’re what I call my Chief Customer Officer extraordinaire, and we have got a big game this week, any predictions on who is gonna take the Super Bowl?
There you go. Let’s set the stage in some of the framing for the conversation? And we’ll work across the panel here, if you want panel members, before you answer the question, if you want to take a couple of minutes and just quickly for the purpose of our listeners, tell them a little bit about your mandate and just sort of metrics and sizing. I know you have all got tremendous responsibilities to what you do. But Jeff, let’s start the stage of this discussion. A number of callers have stated, they want to learn from other service leaders to what and how they are approaching a consistent customer experience across multiple channels. A truly integrated enterprise wide customer experience and engagement is difficult easy to say, hard to do and I’m sure you can appreciate that from your own experiences. I wanna give just a couple of trends food for thought neither just a few. There is many of amounts there, but you know, Gardner predicts that at least 35% of customer service centers will integrate some sort of social capability by 2013. Forrester Research in 2010, Jeff said 90% of executives tell customer experience is very important or critical to their business. What’s interesting is many companies lack a customer experience strategy including, how do you use social media to support customers? Obviously, we all feel that there are real opportunities that exist for customer support to lead the overall brands and to meet scores for their company. So Jeff, start us out here in some of the thinking, I know we’re kind of doing some high level discussion and prediction at the moment, but when we think about you know, this multichannel truly integrated enterprise wide customer engagement experience, what are the things that come to mind for you?
I’ll start with meat and potatoes kind of approach to it. Because my belief is a lot of people in customer experience have been talking about this integration need for years in the making progress. So what I see now is people really focused on three fronts. The first is, do I have all the channels available for service and support letter available? And so you have seen in the last year certainly social media as the newest baby on the block channel and trying to get that connected. And then from a hardware point of view increasingly as users are using their mobile devices or their tablets or other things than a PC or a phone to make sure that all of their service offerings are available through that device. So area 1 is, do I have coverage of all available channels out there in some way? The second thing I’m seeing is a continuation of the effort to be able to offer for all of those channels in an integrated way, and so what we’ve seen in the last couple of years, may be you have an “integrated serum software offering” supporting your center. But then as Chad came along that was a different vendor or is social comes along that’s a different vendor, as mobile comes along that’s a different implementation. A lot of people you know, may be now in 2012 versus 2011, are trying to digest those best of great point solutions and get them back into a common platform so that you know the same agent is able or service profession is able to see the customer across all the different channels. And that’s nothing new, I just think we have been doing that for years as each channel comes on now social and also virtual agents. That’s just the way this seems to be integrated and it’s helpful that a lot of the big software providers you know such as an Oracle, such as an SOP continue to acquire these companies and integrate them making it easier for us. I think the third front which prior the newest one, when I think about integrated channels is the rest of the company.
You know, we, as supporter services professionals, have a lot more direct control over adding a channel or integrating them from a service point of view. But there is the actual discussion about how do you have an integrated company approach that involve marketing and product and things like that. And I think you know one thing that a lot of people seeing now is with things like social media you know, the marketing department seems to be getting a lot more interested in these channels and there are additional new ways merging about how to integrate your company’s functions to be more consistent thinking about customer loyalty than they have in the past. Not a new trend, but I think an accelerating one.
Very good Jeff and very complicated. It feels like at times and that’s the reason why we have the form and the gathering and the today leadership form down in Austin coming up. I wanna bring in the rest of the panel to kind of jump into some of their thoughts to what we’re discussing. Carol Borghesi, I know you have had some ideas and thoughts from TELUS and tell us a little bit about your comments to what Jeff stated and also kind of my opening remarks. Yeah. I’m responsible for Customer First Culture at TELUS, which is in fact an enterprisewide transformation program. I say transformation with a qualifier because I believe that we have simply reinvigorated something that’s been truly important to the people that work for TELUS. My belief is that this discussion about integration across channels is kind of like, so there is a lot of talking going on about that, but probably not very much actual action. But here is what I think are the three things that we need to really consider. First of all, picking up on what Jeff said, do you have all the channels? One of the things I know that happens in organizations is that we jump on the proverbial bandwagon to add channels. And whereas Jeff experiences that service professionals very often control that, I am not so sure if that’s really what happened in the practice. The reality is for certainly TELCOs is that back-end automation is really the biggest issue that we have got. Our organizations struggle with legacy, infrastructure operating in business support systems and they really, really heavy left in integration of channels is truly in the back-end. So what we’re doing is we’re adding the front door for customers, but making that a very complex, probably making it more complex to be honest by doing that in an incremental way I suppose to having an overarching technology road map and strategy that support integrated customer experience. Our business is really moving ahead long into converged customer support as well because the notion of broadband, which is really the game changer, has been managed separately in a wire line context and in the wireless context and that of course is quickly coming together.
The second thing, I would suggest that needs doing is to ensure that the Voice of Customer Program that you have actually does measure all of the customer touch points and why I say that is, we discovered in developing our likelihood to recommend framework which is our own approach to understanding all of the drivers and subdrivers that go into whether the customer would recommend us or not. We found that we had gaps. We also found that we had different ways of measuring customer experience and in the channels notably on the web a little different in how we do that for the call centers. And that how we got was well, we made things that we’ve got a complete understanding of customer journeys when the reality is that we don’t. So that I think is quite important to us and I would strongly recommend that if you haven’t done it to have a look at Voice of the Customer coverage. And third and I think that the piece that was really an eye opener for me. I have been in this business for 30 years and it actually does come down to culture. And hence, I think the creativity of TELUS to take an approach like Customers First Culture, because the consistency is critically important in the attitudes, beliefs, judgments and behaviors of the people that within your __14:59__ customer’s everyday. And that’s not just a training program that really is changing the culture. In our case we have taken a very, very disciplined approach to HR policies and practices. Most importantly, people’s personal performance objective and now 50% of everybody’s personal performance subjective are influencing and impacting Customers First. And that’s regulatory accounting to facilities management to field tax, call center agents, the vice president of product marketing, I really mean everybody.
Well Carol, you have done — a lot to talk about here. I want to get the rest of the panel into some of their opening discussion with this. You’ve done some tremendous stuff over at TELUS. I really applaud what you’ve been doing over there and may be some point we get you back on the show and share some of other specific examples of how you are leading the charge there. So thank you for those comments. Jim Moloney at General Motors talked about a complex world, Jim has got. Jim, take a minute and tell us a little bit about your complex world and you’re always a good friend Jim and I really appreciate you’re making some time here.
Thank you Chad. Hello everyone. Yeah. I am responsible for our US-based contact centers. We handle both the consumer and dealers side of our activities and as Chad mentioned, it’s kind of large, it’s kind of complicated. The refreshing thing that’s taken place within GM obviously are the challenge is of the past few years had been well documented. But I’m really excited about the cultural change that’s taking place and Carol used some of those same words in the transformation. It is truly happening. It’s ultimately happening at the top of our organization and we’re having to reexamine just how important the customer experience is to us as a company and to our future success, and there I say lots of calibration going on internally to do that and to really frankly get our organization much more aligned and including our dealer bodies. So that’s kind of one big change. You know, there is no amount of time that we could spend reexamining and talking about the tools and the processes and the metrics. If you don’t have the culture lined up in the right direction, I am not sure if there is any silver bullets that’s gonna save your way to your customer base. I leave with that and save some other comments for later, Chad.
Well, thank you Jim. By the way, you’re listening to Voice of the Customer Radio, Service Leadership Speaks Out. We have got an incredible panel here today. My board is lit up with questions right now, so again, we will get to some of our callers. So press 1 on your telephone handset if you want to come onto the show and ask a question of our esteemed panel. Kathryn McGavick at Coinstar Redbox. Kath, it was amazing in Scottsdale this past November. You were quite the star with the form. I think people really resignated with your story. You have been with us since the start of your journey and some of these emerging channels of social response in other areas. It really was quite inspiring to see where you have taken in and how you have done it and a lot of the how-to. In fact, you’re gonna be speaking again in Austin. But Kath, thank you and I would love to get your comments to some of this discussion.
Thank you Chad. It’s a pleasure to be here on the radio show today. So for Redbox in particular, which is where the majority of our social response is happening, we really are looking at process and how you keep that consistent across all of these different channels. So I’m gonna keep it pretty simple with this opening comment which is that regardless of which channel the customer comes into, they really expect one thing and that’s to get their problem resolved. So our focus has been on really ensuring that the procedures we have in place empower, our customer service representative to be able to solve the problem and to be able to do that regardless of whether they are in an outsource center, whether they are in an internal center, whether they are part of the social media team or part of the chat team. And I think that’s led us to success in just really staying focused on those things that our service leaders we all know are the most important which is satisfying the customer.
Thank you so much on the add in. Jeannie, I think you just got in from overseas and just landed back to New Jersey and maybe you could tell something about it. But I have an announcement that I want to make with Jeannie Diefenderfer. She is the SVP Global Enterprise Customer Care for Verizon and Jeannie is just joining the advisory board of Execs In The Know with the rest of these team members here. Jeannie, you’re also gonna be sticking in the Austin at the form. So great to have you. Where did you just get in from? Were you overseas or?
I was. I was in Hong Kong and Philippines.
Oh, that’s quite a travel. Are you time zoned okay, right now?
I’m doing so far so good. Good thing it wasn’t at 5 p.m., right?
Exactly. So share some…
Thank you Chad so much and thank you very much for having me on. This is such a privilege for me and just listening to Carol and Jeff and Jim and Kath, I really appreciate the opportunity to be part of this esteemed group. I resonate with so much of what’s already been said. So as somebody who owns particularly through the customer care in its entirety for our enterprise customers around the world, one of the things that we did first is to really look at the entire experience from the customer’s eyes in like you all have right? And part of our transformation is what we called the life cycle of the customer experience and truly looking at that from a 360-degree view. So we, too, like many others have started to really hone in on how do you treat customer coming in to you regardless of channel, so that it’s seamless and integrated. And also in the enterprise space what we are finding more and more is that customers want to talk to you in the means and the manners, they want to talk to you. Some of them depending on their setup priorities within their large companies, want to e-bond with me on a sort of a interface basis with their systems. Other customers don’t wanna go through five steps through the IVR to get to the right person, they know exactly who they want to contact or talk to or chat with. So it’s very important for them to have that direct interface right away with the technical expert and yet others want to do everything online. So what we have done is to really do the what I call the life cycle of the engagement and understanding depending on which segment of that customer hierarchy you come in having one enough knowledge of that customer at the fingertips of our employees so that they are empowered to address whatever question that may come in the first time.
And then have all of — I appreciated Carol, your comments about the back office systems and operations. They really need to be able to sort of Lego style plug and play, so that whoever is touching that customer for the first time has all the enablement and tools in one night at their fingertips to satisfy and please the customer at that point. A lot going on in the entire life cycle for us, but frankly very focused on that customer contact strategy understanding truly what each customer, it’s preferences in wanting to interface with our company and just making sure that the cultural piece that I also heard around Customer First Culture. We are very, very focused right now and we will continue to be so around the whole culture of customer service is a philosophy rather than a department. So although I sort of own the department, I have to say that the entire Verizon as a corporation is very much found this journey of customer service as a philosophy.
Well, we’re really excited to have you down in Austin, May 9th and 10th with the rest of the advisory panel. All of you will be there by the way providing coaching, mentorship, guidance and just inspiration I would say and all of that. And by the way, we have a lot of fans of John Bowden, who owns the Enterprise Customer Care for Time Warner. John was supposed to be on the show. Unfortunately, he got pulled over to the Philippines. He had to go overseas. John, we’re thinking of you and we’ll definitely look forward to have you on next time. Before we move on, and this is to any panel members, it’s just based on everything we just said or heard. What is the one thing we really should resignate home to some of the listeners or the one idea or concept?
Obviously, I want to keep encouragement. It is not easy stuff, but what’s the couple of things that we really want to reinforce to the listeners from what we stated so far? Well, I would jump in to say Chad that I think there is some commonality of theme amongst the surround culture. My answer that would be that until we’ve got to the point where we could declare absolutely that everybody and I literally mean everybody in the company how to have 50% of their personal performance objective related to Customers First. We probably-we’re towing around the edges with getting the culture change. In my three years of doing this, I’ve never seen an organization move as quickly. And TELUS has to truly embrace customers first, I met our sales conference right now and I’m blown away by the amount of airtime that Customers First and likelihood to recommend has got. So it really is — I think it is very critical that people in this industry influence and work with the human resources team to get to that level of true measurement and metrics that make behaviors and actions follow the strategy which is to put customers first.
I want to echo that too, this is Jeannie again and I would say it may be a couple of things, Chad and one is that I believe the best and most effective service culture and leadership and employees comes from those who have a larger global context of the whole culture of serving customers. So it is going beyond the traditional definition of I take a call, I answer the question, I pleased the customer for the questions and asked at that time or rather this is whole thing about what are the kind of things that we want our marketing information to help us sort of be much more responsive to what the customers not only asking at the moment, but they could potentially ask later. So the connection to tools like SelfForce.com, which would just launched in our sales organization for enterprise sales and having that visibility into sort of the funnel of what our sales leaders are discussing with our customers. It just gives the service people a lot of information then frankly give some lot of tool sets to have the right kind of conversation with our customers when they do have the contact and second piece is this incredible consumerization of enterprise from where I sit with a social media and we are very much excited and working hard to actually make lots of headway here in 2012 or on what are those forums and means and methods and channels by which we can really take advantage of the two-way dialogue with all of our customers and potential customers and anybody else connected to that in the entire food chain so that the life sort of dynamic conversation around customer service can be much more richer than what were used to today.
This is Jeff. I love to add some additional points. I agree with all the points to just trigger on culture. I actually wanted to brought and all of it which is I think they have been some tectonic shifts in the economy and the most are industries which has changed the understanding of both people within this companies and our customers which is you know, historically we’ve talked about support and support of a product and we’ve been in most industries set of the product way you know I would buy banking products. I want the savings account or this investment account or I’m buying this computer or I’m buying whatever it might be this furniture. The couple of things that happened, you know the economy has been pretty flat you know in Eastern US, Western Europe, which were for a long time and so I think a lot of people realizing that it is the economics of customer acquisition and retention and therefore service is really becoming more meaningful to them versus being in this high growth product with type of a model where support or something that you just bundled to the product. So it is forcing people to lead from a service point of view and then for customers in a lot of cases, you know their expectations are they’re not buying you know different things or buying the same things, but they are coming to expect that services are more important part of their value proposition. So I just think in everyone’s everyday life as a provider or as a consumer you know service, not support but Service and by that I mean don’t just solve the problem, but you know take over the whole need of the customer and serve the customer don’t support the device or the product is becoming more prevalent just mindset and so we are now starting to see that and ripple through in that. Our fellow employees and marketing or products or where have you are becoming more open to that message internally and our consumers are definitely looking for us to have more that mindset more explicitly and that start the ripple through the sales kick offs and the incentive programs that everyone has been talking about, but it is tectonically shifted a bit under our feet.
Maybe, this is Jim, just to build on all the comments and Jeff in particular. We’re looking for the change agents within our company to then lead and drive all of those activities and that’s having been somewhat of an outsider coming into the context and their role and then now I can say with personal experience. It was beneficial to have a customer orientation, but not necessarily be so head stronged by there I say the traditional context and their operation upbringing and I would just challenge people to look into their organizations for those change agents, those that possess the kind of skills and broad business acumen to really drive the innovation that’s gonna delight the customer experience.
This is Kath. I just like to add on as well. So for us, we’re an automated retail company, which is a little bit different perspective than some of the other panelists and it’s really important to ensure that we are collecting all of the info, we have incredible amounts of data based on the contacts that come into us and we need to be using that data to inform and create insight in other parts of the organization and that is also a part of serving the customer well and being customer focused because when you have that insight, you can prevent problems from happening. You can improve your products, you can prevent defects and then the customer has a better experience the next time around.
Fantastic guys and I’ve got a lot more great questions I need to ask to sustain panel because there is so much mind chair and power here which you gather it’s just incredible. I’m going to go to the phones now. I know we’ve got a number of callers that are trying to ask questions. I am not forgotten about you also on our chat blog. I want to start with caller 704360, you’re on the air. Please identify yourself 704360. Did we lose you from holding too long? Okay, I will go to our next caller 270782, did you have a question you’d like to ask? 270782? Okay, we’ll try you back in a little bit. Let’s go to the chat board, there was a question that came up. Do we need the panelist see social media, Facebook, Twitter, as an intended primary contact point of service or is service be a social media and an intended outcome that needs to be addressed? Good question, thank you.
This is Jeff, I’ll jump it now. I think the chat question kind of paints to extreme ends of spectrum, which is either you know an absolute gutter and absolute panacea or an absolute on attend the consequence. I think it’s somewhere in the middle. I don’t know if a lot of people really set out thinking of social media to be a support channel, but you know it’s natural that we have an entire generation that’s growing up you know thinking of social media and general sharing with a large number of people as a natural way in which they like to communicate and interact and so it’s only natural that you know when they want service or support that would be one of the way in which they would wish to be served just as maybe earlier generations you know preferred email over phone or phone over writing a letter. I think there is challenge in this and opportunity with social media as a channel that the challenge is unstructured so it is an unstructured interaction. We have all grown up basically building highly __34:47__ on your systems to be very efficient, you have the call center phone system and your Serum system and then we’ve created tools to take emails and we have forms that people fill out with all the information that’s complete so you have less interactions with the customer iterations to get to a resolution and we measure these things and then you’ve kind of got this amorphous amoeba of social media, where people just shut out in an unstructured channel that’s not designed for support. You know anything from good to bad with see pointer of 50,000 there are close as friends. There is no question about it that if you put people on and listening agents on finding what people saying about your company and the cloud and need to respond to it at least today the acts of triaging it and figuring out to respond, not respond, to respond to one listener, to respond to 50,000 people and blast it out. It is less efficient than the models that we are used to with the tools today.
There is a host of companies out there trying to do a better job of creating these platforms or do a better job of slotting things out in the social media into more efficient ways it and take them into our normal ways of handling support. The opportunity is if you can do a good job of finding a complaint from a person or suggesting from the person and you can be quick to realize that something affecting a lot of people and then turn around and use that social media to broadcast it out to 50,000 other people who then will call. Then, your economics pack of the inefficiency of doing with an initial inquiry because you can get leverage on it and one might say “Hey was and that what self services for” if you get some great inquiry just turn it into a tech note and put it out there and that should hit the 50,000 people there, but to my initial point. We have a generation of people where they have yet the next form of interaction they prefer, social media over reading tech notes and maybe on the multiple device with the screen so we can just call and it’s hard to read tech notes like reading to a periscope. I think I don’t see it as it is either an intended support channel or the ban of support, but I do think its necessary to embrace the unique nature of the channel except the inefficiencies on the intake, but you know leverage the broadcast value on the outtake as the benefit of the channel.
Any other quick comments from the panelist, before I move on to another question?
Yeah, it’s Carol. I wanted to add to what to Jeff have said by the observation that in the most recent research that I’ve seen call centers remain the single biggest contact medium and the promise that self service rescuing those of us that run call centers. Well, let’s just say we’ve have hearts broken year after year after year because we are not seeing a mass migration of call volumes not just in my industry, but I know public sectors as well as banking and perhaps so others on the call. What I think that we kind of don’t get is that the reasons that customers are in touch with the firm aren’t different based on the medium through which they want to talk to you and social media I think shame on us if we didn’t get it that people were going to talk about whether they’d loved us or hated us and I do think that we didn’t see that coming because we generally don’t see that kind of thing coming. We don’t stand where customers stand and really get at that. Doing the right thing for the customer actually is the cheapest and most efficient saying in the long run to do because you avoid the need for customers to be in touch with you at all. Very important point that Jeff made around the structure because in the end, there is a human being that needs to interact with the customer through social media, through the phone, chat and email and that’s really the key that you want to be able to use the medium through that customers choose, but I think customers are telling us something when they Tweet. We certainly see that in a number of instances where customers are frustrated and finally Tweet about it because they couldn’t get no satisfaction through the existing channel so we have to integrate this. I think by repeating history and assuming that the web was completely different from the call centers which we really did do in the 90s and at the time of the century that we’re going to make the same mistake and my advice is do what you said you do when you said you do it for the price you said you do it for and you would be amazed how happy your customers are.
Yeah. I think — Jeff again, sorry. I just agree with Carol’s point. I can even had further I think that a lot of the growth have seen of people expressing themselves in a social media is in many cases in direct response to the push of people towards self service and you know this other lower cost models. It is almost the repudiation of it. Customers want to be served, they wanted to be served more not less and so what I don’t get is in a world where we say “Hey”, where not putting tech notes out there telling people, “This is how to change your oil in your car.” You know the car in this figured it out. People want service. You just take in; you got it taking care of. There is so many industries out there that are dedicated to providing better service and yet here we are almost with the financial control or mindsets saying, “Well I can keep lowering my cost and I keep push people to serve themselves.” They don’t want to serve themselves. They want to be served and so they are getting frustrated with these models and reaching out to models in the ways in which they wish to be expressed and interacted with because they are chasing at the structure being put on them by this “higher leverage models.”
So what interesting in the enterprise base and may be some see this as well is that the self served channel has become true differentiator in the way we serve customers so because lot of the customers that we serve happened to be other infrastructure providers within companies that could be IT, that could be network, that could be others. What they are telling us often is I don’t have the time to be sort of sending you emails or calling you so what will be really good is that if you could automate the way we collaborate together to solve problems, sometimes even complex ones in any creative way you can help me through innovation and through your technology leadership so that I don’t have to spend my time trying to get my question answered would be a value at. So one of the things were doing quite a bit with customers is to really listen to that deeply and say “what is the best way we can serve those kind of customers with the tool set through the online self serve method?”, so that we save their time in essence which sort of improves their ability to serve their customers which happened to be their employees in the company. I’m going to add, excellent comments and we’ve got some tremendous questions still coming in. You’re listening to the Voice of the Customer Radio. If you are on the telephone 323 number dial in press 1 in your telephone handset. We will try to bring you in to the discussion. I’m going to throw a couple more questions that are being asked of us here. Tuning when they answer on the panels and then I’ve got a feel that I want to make sure we get in to the call here. A question is on the chat room is, what do panelist think personal assistant application as like Siri will have on mobile customer carry outs or even on IVR? Any ideas, predictions, any scan about you’ve through your circles or?
So one of the things that were — this is Jeannie again — trialing and continue to do push for with technology advancement is the whole idea of intelligent voice portals and its starts with that particular contact coming in and looking for again ways to add value through the conversations in a seamless way and also utilizing our a bust database, overall we call the customer knowledge based where we host customer specific information in terms of the products they buy from me. How long they’d been with us? What is their sort of preference in terms of a contact method and how was all that so when the conversation occurs with the portal, it has that intelligence behind it so we can have a much better experience from a customer end. I would say that, that requires frankly additional work and reassignment, particularly when it comes to integration of that data for future contact, but I do believe that particularly on the mobile device as that technology improves, I believe that for many customers it will become an important method. Carol. Just to comment on that, these kinds of technology is thinking back to standing where customers stand. Actually voice activated IVR systems where I think it is something of a bust and I think the reason for that was because the technology itself was not idiot proof nor bulletproof nor complete. So well I completely agree that this is going to be important in the future. I know that we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got that kind of simplicity built in to voice activated assistance and make sure that it actually does work because the unintended consequences and frustrations that people run into when they cannot get the voice activated system to be hay heaved is not fun. I’d also add that there are things that will remain sensitive enough to require human sensitivity and reasoning and what we need is service leader is to understand those distinction and make sure that we’ve got human beings that can rescue situations on hand. The examples I will use is 911, so you can automate 911 you absolutely could do it and as part of it is actually, but at the reality is that in a matter of life or death literally you still need human sensitivity and reasoning.
This is Jeff. There is a funny YouTube video that’s gone viral. I saw it on my Facebook page today. I have a fellow with a really, really deep Scottish accent trying to talk with Siri to figure out where to go for a sandwich and a coffee, which is, if you haven’t seen it, it’s just hilarious, but the Scottish amongst aside I think several of the previous comments is. The foreign factor, the customers are moving much more to mobile devices or other forms of devices and so I just think the value of voice as they can be perfected as people need to have an efficient way to interact on different types of devices that tech notes and traditional web browsers don’t let themselves to this small screens. So I think it is imperative as people were walking around with things in the pocket as there are communicator. I just think it is a natural extension, the second thing is they are less likely to be inclined to search and therefore things I could do a better job, a superior job of searching for them and on the third issue, which I think we all deal with this we getting to more complicated businesses as the biggest problem a lot of us have is a misrouted call and so if you have a system that could do a better job of iterating for two or three quick questions with the customer even if get routed to the right human for the right care. It saves a lot a redirect and frustration repeating the story for the customers so I agree with Carol that there still work to do to improve the technology, but I do believe given the changing foreign factors as well as the need from improved enterprise search capability and reducing redirects that technologies are kind to hear the status improve.
I want to ask the panel, all of you have great spans of control and really great influence on how you’re shaping customer experience in your respective organizations. You really are setting the tone, the leadership and all of that. What is the one thing or that keeps you up at night about service experience in trying to or concerns us I guess where you said despite a number of different things and I would talk about some of the backed in legacy issues and the systems on the data, but I just want to go ask around the panels real quick. What is the one thing that kind of worries you or keeps you up at night about the whole driving service excellence? Pressure to reduce cost without underpinning enabler in technology process improvements and volume reduction.
Thank you Carol, Jeannie?
I would say having a large organization around the globe. My probably one focus is how every one of my employees of the 12,000 behave as if they are a single customer service person repeatedly consistently no matter what the question. It’s the repeatability of consistent customer experience.
Yes. I got to build right on that and the consistency of execution whether it would be at the agent level or at dealership level, the alignment around the direction not changing as big companies are prone around the focus on the customer. We talked about of behaving the competition in every case has a phase, how we can live that every single experience. Kath or Jeff, you want to add anything there?
Sure. This is Kath. I would echo everything that was said before it. I think that where I spend a lot of thought time is really on trying to come up with, how do we move away from that focus on cost to becoming a true value center for our organization. And so, that has to do with consistency, it has to do with the insight, it has to do with clear execution and the light and so that’s really were my mind is at and is on. How do we transform from cost to value. This is Jeff. I guess so — I agree with moving from cost to value. I’m little bit tainted by the tax sector that I had been in, but my biggest concern is that the very concept of service and support, as we think of it, is reaching the end of its life and diminishing returns and the business models have to change. So, like in tech, I mean come on we have gone from you know phone to the near shored, to offshore to, you know future increasing the remote locations around the world where privately seeking context centers in Antarctica. Were pushing the sell service etc. and we have a business models where we bundle service to the product as the way they sell it and then the cost of the products is going to zero dragging services down to the bottom of the pool with it. Now we are talking about social channels and automated talk aid. They are all great tactically don’t get me wrong, but would basically hitting the end of the road of low cost support models bundled to a product to value proposition that’s commoditizing. And, you know at some point, we will have to wake up and realize we’re in an 80% services economy. Most of his businesses that we are in making most of their money out of services and we need to actually re-think the business models of the companies we are in to be services business models and lead with service and think of the service as the value proposition serving customers not supporting products. So, my biggest concern is that we as a service community are too slow with the kind of talk a little bit revolution here and get people to rethink the business models they were in. And, we are continuing to get dragged to the bottom of the pool by product models that are commoditizing. And that we need to probably rethink the model we grew up in.
And by the way, we will have transcripts of the show available for anybody would like to get a copy of this transcript, you can also email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. I wanna ask the panel, what about our vendor community folks? From where you said and this is big discussions that we have been having where have they have been telling us or helping us or where is the vendor community need to be this as we go forward. Would I represented by any vendor? I’m just trying to understand what do we need to be push in our vendor community to be really out of the box or thinking, and what do we need at service leadership as we move forward in 2012?
I think (Crosstalk) to the outcome focus and when we talk outcome the only — in my mind, the only kind you can declare victory is when the customers says that you can, as it relates to service and vendors. In my experience, it don’t bring a lot of depths and understanding to truly the outcomes that we are needing to drive so that would be an asked of those in the vendor community to really help service leaders to support outcome focused decision making. I was just gonna say Carol, this is Jeannie, instead of what Jeff ended with to, vendors as well in focusing on the outcomes have to move away from sort of the food chain. I am selling a commodity. I’m selling a widget versus really understanding. I am selling a solution, which requires the vendor community to then creative about what is the end objective of the customer I’m trying to serve right. So, it is a real partnership around thinking innovation as to what is the problem that we’re trying to solve? What is the innovation we are trying to drive, which then put some in a different mentality around, what is it that I am trying to provision or sell or partner with?
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I think that was Jeannie speaking.
The Keywords partnership. I mean the thing is, I think we’re all failing each other. I have been — I don’t know how many conferences were it’s basically all those “customers” talking about the vendors, but then the vendors in many cases are not invited for the period of taking away to a big sells meeting. And then I go to NASCA meeting who has something or conclaves out in India and I am talking with all the BPO providers and then the customers are not there. And I can’t remember the last time that really we got everyone providing service given that 90% of our people are their people in a room and talked about these shifts together. I think it would be a great start because you know, they always come to us saying “what are your strict issues that would gonna be helpful” we are not always as good at that as we could be in taking leadership for them. We all would benefit from actually probably getting less concerned about customer and seller and realize that we all kind of have to rethink the services model together, otherwise they are gonna lose all
their seats and we are continuing to lose leverage in our companies.
Thank you very much and I know we got a couple of callers 954-895. We will be getting to you here very shortly. I want to ask couple or quick questions at the panel and we will go to the caller here. Not to pick on marketing, but where is marketing yet with this whole? Why is it felt difficult to get marketing and service in Camden? What do we need to do as service leaders to force that? How do we get at the front of the conversation with CFOs? How do we take service from an in thought to the front of the conversation? A lot of different thoughts and comments in there, I apologize to the panel, but I think you know what I am getting that. Your thoughts?
This is Jeannie, Chad. I have quickly mentioned the fact that I think it’s a legacy, right? Because it is what I think it was Carol, who may have said, you know going from sought of the cost model to value and marketing traditionally look the services of cost, cost of good sold, right? So, now also need to sort of push the envelope and list from behind, so to speak, right and say “No, no” services are differentiator. It can be product type, it can be monotype, and how you do that is by all of the staff that we talked about on this call. And I believe it is getting there actually, right? So we are having those conversations certainly within my company in making sure that we don’t think of service as a cost center, we think of it as an enabler to increase the sort of the innovation and all the goodness around the product or service are trying to sell to our customers. So I feel good about really putting the stick in the ground and moving in that directions are only in my business.
Historically, as many companies and industries have been more product lead. It is only natural that the marketing folks would gravitate towards the product and value proposition message and they organize most of the marketing department and spend around product groups and product offerings and I mean the biggest companies among us will have services marketing people, but it is like one person to a 100 on the product side so, I think that as the service value proposition comes stronger and as to gravitate over, one thing that I think has been a helpful tactical thing is all the marketing folks have kind of wised up to the whole social media thing and how they can be getting all kinds of neat data off as that . A lot of times are not necessarily that technically or and you know IT you know are most savvy and so a lot of times I find that as a service organization if you can use that tactically as a way to offer some help to the marketing department and provide some of your analytical skills and tools to help them with their needs, it depends to be a way to build a tactical bridge where they see you as a source of customer insight differently than they did when you were give them stuff out of the CRM system. Because the difference is you are helping and find that customer’s sentiments on the product not just the customer complaints about natural problem. So that is it much more valuable data to them.
I think the… Sorry go ahead Jim.
I’m struck by the irony you know when you think about it both let say the customer care and marketing organization that are supposed to be focused on the customer and so our inability to do that is kind of a poor reflection on our organizations, but fairly typical, we have started moving people around. We are building on marketers that bring good brand experience and you know that the understanding of brand management and advertising in the digital, but we are moving also people from the customer care side of the house and to some of those marketing roles where they can let’s say reinforce the care aspect, the customer service aspect and, to someone’s point, their knowledge of techniques like social and others.
Yup. One of the distinction besides, I agree, besides just product versus service orientation. The others point of service is post sale. Marketing has always been focused on converting a sale of an offering and then supporter service on taking care of you afterwards and as you are moving more from products with sales to service models and customer life cycle models. You know there is a kind of prior be more you know a healthy collision between marketing and support, than there was in the past.
We have used to great advantage like we had to recommend the framework that we developed in Harrison. Why that has worked for us as it enabled us to show those functional groups up and down stream of customer support. The impact that they have on overall likelihood to recommend. So not only are we focused on marketing, but in our business focused on tech strategy as well as network design to build up, operate, maintain and our IT support colleagues and have been able to isolate what it is in terms of product and services to just point that it matters most to customers so that they concede directly the implications that they have on overall likelihood to recommend. And by putting those targets into their personal performance objective that is probably the fastest way to get people to start to behave in aligned fashion. Understanding that we are actually in service to one another and we need to take that very, very seriously so what happens upstream end ups downstream or as a colleague of mine once said in the directory of the organization customer care, which is such a fabulous expression. So I would say that alignment of objectives is the very, very key.
Thank you and I am wanna — I promise to give a couple of callers on to this and I know we are few minutes over so panel thank you if you could just we go maybe quarter after we’ll rapid up if possibly, but great topic, great conversation. Caller, lets try caller 954895 are you there?
Yeah. Hey Chad, this is Steve Probert, how are you?
So, I had a question for the panel. Actually I had, I represent the vendor community so I’ve been on that side for about 16 years with outsource contact centers. So I have a basic question, but I could not help account you know they shall hear their conversation about focusing on outcomes and just one comment and that, I agree with you completely that vendors need to do that and I would also say that by listening to the panel today that I think that we have a rare subsection of clients that you know may outsource certain services from a standpoint of focusing and outcomes I think a lot of companies in your position, they may stay to their focusing and outcomes, but you know during an actual negotiation or you know we gonna setting something up it kind of takes time, a little bit licensed of the tone and I think that you know vendors really need to I think have the courage to stay true to that obligation of you know making sure that you focus on the outcome. So just a little comment there, which — I don’t want to get you know too far, but I had to act on the vendor discussion.
Thank you very much.
I agree a 100% to Steve. In my mind, when I answered the question, I was thinking of not just BPO vendors. So we are thinking of technology vendors. So actually we think of technology vendors first to be on it, but I completely agreed the thing you want in your business is intelligent informed customer oriented clients and I’m 1000% with you that we sometimes — will in fact we have created that the raise to the bottom in cost. Generally speaking, there is deranged CFO or CPO behind that I got to tell you, but you know and I can put my money where my mouth is because TELUS International is our BPO organization and let me say, they have been so integral to our customer’s first success. It is a fabulous example of an organization that really truly is outcome focused. So, you are totally right Steve, and I think that’s a very important point to make that this is a two-way street.
Yes, Steve I agree. Most BPOs that I know would be to wided to go in an outcomes basis and my experiences been the failing is been that failing it has been on a clinical client side in two ways. One is to Carol’s point around the sooner or later the Finance Department gets in and they are much more happy to take a fix known for __1:04:52__ cost over basically going to a model where the cost may vary even if it is getting better and so or they wanted to get better and take it all for savings and give it some other private companies. So the practical exigencies of dealing with a finance budget, it actually has been one of the things we almost need to work to be able to accept the flexibility of outcome based on prices like I said, you know that could be good. I think the second thing is a lot of times we all tend to have not been willing to give all the different channels to the BPOs. So, maybe if you give yourself help as well as you contact center to them if they can do a better job of crafting self help solutions and diverting more customer resolutions to the web and reduced volumes, that would be good, it reduces cost and the BPO can save some of that money, but a lot of times we are all tend to not do that. We want to retain control over the automated channels and we are taking a way a lot of the levers that a BPO might be able to pull by closing a little bit more tightly between this channels to be able to really do that and then really have benefit from an outcome based approach and we need to you know kind of let go of some channels.
Jeff, I’m gonna take one more question from our live caller and then we’re gonna conclude on a couple of things. Caller 770-587, are you there? 770-587? Okay. What I want to say first of all is that this has been an incredible gathering today. Thank you. We will have transcripts for everybody that would like to get them you can email me directly. My email address is on our website execsintheknow.com. One last question in closing to the panel and thank you graciously so much for your time. For the form in Austin, that’s taking place on the 9th and 10th that’s advanced conversation period appears service leadership really asking the service leaders to bring their marketing counterparts for the advisory board that’s going to be there and those that have experienced the form. Why should the folks potentially considering coming out or listening today from your prospective think about joining us in Austin on the 9th of May.
Well Chad, its Carol, I just wanted to add one more thing if I could. One of the things that invite the vendor community to think through is where I’d run into pushback on the outcome based cut type model. If vendor say to me, I don’t have control over the entire chains, therefore you know if I go for an outcome and this is technology vendors as well as BPOs. Therefore to go for an outcome, it’s disproportionately too risky for me. And I think that is actually one of the reasons that this particular summit as well were attending. Bringing this kind of the caliber and the quality of thought leadership that I experienced when I was in Arizona in November was really exhilarating. I am really passionate that we as a community I think Jeff and others have alluded to this have an obligation to transform the service and really I think by working together, we can raise the overall standards perceptions and an authority and voice in the board room if we work together so I think that the summit is a perfect opportunity to get great insight as well to do good for this industry.
Chad, this is Kath, I would say since I have attended three of the summits so far so and then will be attending the one in Austin, and speaking at the one in Austin is that it’s a really unique time and history for service with this new town of social media coming up to speed and what social media is doing is its really changing the conversation that we have with our customers since making it much more public and we’re all kind of learning together on that journey of what social media could be, what it could be become and within companies, we are seeing a convergence of different disciplines. You talked about marketing and service and I know with our company, I am connected very closely with the marketing department and I think it has changed the conversation. So what people can get out of the service summit is an opportunity to really learn from many different sizes of company, types of industries, wonderful people who are going through a lot of the same challenges and coming up with new ideas on how to be prepared for that future of social media.
Thank you and thank you for all those comments and I just want to say, Jim, you’ve offered up also that we can go visit your facility down in Austin? Potentially, you want to say a little bit about that?
Yeah. We have about 500 feet sight of 10 minutes outside of the Austin airport. We have love to host any of your attendees, the conferences that I have been to in the past, it have been so inspirational and motivational. They rejuvenated me and I couldn’t agree more that you know we are the leaders of this transformation and we are gonna have to do it together. It is difficult. There is no doubt about it and complicated, but if you come down to Austin, I would be happy to show you and we’re trying to do this to move the bar forward and would equally like to learn from you.
Well, panel thank you so much. You’ve been a tremendous inspiration to this community to us. You’ve been providing great coaching leadership insight. It has been terrific to have you and the leadership roles that you are taking collectively individually nature of your organizations. You have been listening to the Voice of the Customer Radio. I hope you have enjoyed today’s episode. As soon as we conclude today’s show, the recorded episode is available on the URL, that’s www.blogtalkradio.com/execsintheknow, you can download the recorded episode at your leisure. Please share with your service leadership organization and really again panel we have run out of time, but thank you so much for your time and everyone have a great weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl.
Thank you Chad.