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

Social Media Support Channel with John Bowden

Good morning and welcome to Execs In The Know “Voice of the Customer Professional” Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio. It’s a pleasure to have everybody here today and thank you for joining us today. We have a very special guest. I’m so excited to have John Bowden join us today from Time Warner Cable. John, good morning.

John Bowden
(0:29): Good morning Chad, thank you.

Chad McDaniel
(0:31): I just want to take a minute John and just send our thoughts and prayers out to the citizens of Japan and what’s taking place over in that region of the world, and also the folks in Hawaii in the west coast region of the United States. So, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by today’s events. But with that said, John, I’m just really thrilled to have you here. You and I have talked many times over the years here and it’s a pleasure to get some of your time. Before we start with the show, welcome to all of our listeners. There is a number of ways post radio show that this can be re-podcast or shared or twitted through your social networks, and I will give more instruction on that here shortly. We also do our radio show for Execs In The Know every other week and our next show is scheduled for Friday, March 25, at 12:00 eastern. I will post on the BlogTalkRadio channel for Execs In The Know who our upcoming guests are going to be and as our listeners are aware that we always host interesting subjects and topics, and we have great industry leaders that joined us that honed the Voice of the Customer Channel and they’re doing great things within their organizations. So, please mark your calendar for the next show on Friday, March 25, at 12 o’clock eastern. So, welcome and thank you for joining us for our live listeners, most of you have called in on the number here, 323-679-0913. We also have a number of live listeners who have not dialed in but are listening via the internet. What we are going to do is for those that have called in live, there are ways if you have a question you want to ask during the show, on your screen there, just raise your hand, we’ll unmute you and you can ask John a question directly.

(2:30): For those on the internet that have not dialed in directly, we have live chat. I’ll open up the chat session and on your dashboard there or if you’re logged into the URL for this radio show, you can ask live chat questions. That URL, if you’re sitting at your computer, is www.blogtalkradio.com/execsintheknow.com. So, all the listeners today either live call in or via the internet have the ability to share with their followers on Twitter and Facebook to the dashboard. I really would encourage all listeners today if you’ve enjoyed the show, you’ve enjoyed John’s perspective and the engagement here today that you follow our radio show but you also re-tweet that and share that across your listeners. The show is being recorded and can be listened 24/7. Finally, the show sponsor today is Customer Response Summit. John, actually that’s our live event coming up on May 10 and 11 in Hollywood, Florida. John, you’re one of our keynote speakers there and we’re so excited to see you in Florida. For those that are not aware of our live events, we do usually two a year, typically in the May and November timeframe and this is where we really engage the Voice of the Customer Channel. That is customerresponsesummit.com if you like to see our live shows. So, with that said, John, it’s amazing when I think of the things that you do and have done it’s quite amazing, and before I have you joined in, I just want to give a little bit of background for our guest here on what you’ve got responsibility for. I think as most people know, John is the Senior Vice President of the Enterprise Customer Care for Time Warner Cable. He’s responsible for all the customer care interactions for over $19 billion in revenue, and that’s a large footprint.

(4:34): In this capacity, John, I know you lead the enterprise level strategy and executive team to associate it with technical support, customer service contacts and that has a huge footprint which you can tell our guest about a little bit here. But prior to joining Time Warner Cable, John was SVP of customer support at EarthLink and then prior to that, you’ve done lots of independent consulting for both US based and Indian based companies. I think at one point, you were with the APAC Customer Services, Ameritech and also MCI. So, with that said, John, there is so much that we are interested and excited to talk to you about, and without further ado, John, I’ll have to say welcome to the show.

John Bowden
(5:17): Well, thank you very much, Chad, and good morning to everybody. Yeah, it’s interesting. I look forward to seeing some of you, hopefully, many of you in Florida. For those of you who do know me, you’ll understand that I look a lot better on radio than I do in person. So, you’re going to get my best shot today. I’ll start by telling you a little bit about Time Warner Cable. We’re about $19 billion in revenue as Chad said. We operate in these areas – we are obviously a cable television company and internet service provider. We provide telephone service. We do about a billion dollars a year in commercial services. We have a small but soon to be growing home security presence and we do some wireless business as well. The cable companies are generally regionalized and we at Time Warner Cable are, so I share responsibility for service with my counterparts out in the regions who do just an excellent job. But a bit of a disclaimer first, we at Time Warner Cable, if you are to look at J.D. Power or Forrester or any of the companies that do ratings, you’ll see that the cable industry and internet service providers are generally pretty low rated when it comes to customer satisfaction and we at Time Warner Cable play in the upper quadrants of the cable companies and internet service providers for satisfaction but we know we’ve got to do better, and so we are on a mission. We’ve developed a three-year plan to significantly improve our services and so with that, the 12,000 or so Time Warner Cable service agents, we are, like I said, on a mission to improve.

(7:27): So, what I’d like to talk today about is the emerging channels but I apologize because there are no visuals. You’ll have to kind of follow this. Think of a grid where you have your called reason codes down the left-hand side. So, for us, it would be things like billing, television repair, internet outages, picture quality, voice quality, etc. So, down the left-hand side, you’ve got all of your called reason codes and across the top, you have what we refer to as our care channels. Obviously, you have the phone centers, right? But we have web, IBR, set-top boxes for us. Remember, we have basically a computer in every customer’s home that we can offer self-help from, chat, customer forums, social media, mobile devices, etc., and what we’re trying to do is develop a plan or meeting our customers in each of those channels. So, if you have a billing question and you’re on the web, how do we make that service connection? Or if you’re on the IBR or if you’re hitting us in Twitter – wherever you are, we want to be there so that you are serviced at your convenience as opposed to our convenience. The good news is also that our alternative channels generally have a higher customer satisfaction and generally at a lower cost and so it’s a great thing for our customer and it’s a great thing for our company to meet the customers where they want us to serve them. I’m going to get into social media now just a bit.

(9:24): It’s interesting if you look at social media, you think “okay, so what’s the return on investment?” and its very difficult right now to determine that for a couple of reasons. Number one, we don’t have good measurement of our call resolution. We know how many people – let’s take a walk through Twitter. We know that in the month of February, about 3,500 people mentioned Time Warner Cable help in Twitter and we were able to reach out to about half of those people and resolve whatever issues they were raising. It doesn’t seem like a very big number, right? But think about this, those 3,000 people who mentioned us in Twitter in that month were followed by over a million of their people. So, obviously, not all one million would be interested to stop and read through what the tweet was about Time Warner Cable but the return on investment is much bigger than just the fact that we helped those 3,000 customers. Over a million people saw how we responded, saw what we did for that customer and so the impact is much bigger than just the fact that we helped the individuals who were reaching out to us. Again, as we look through this, Chad, has actually done some work on the – he has got a survey that he sent out KPIs for social media response and you can see that companies like us are struggling with how – what should the KPIs before social media. Almost everybody has had response time and we’ve measured that obviously. But then, there is the typical.

(11:23): You’ve got your first car resolution, customer churn, net promoter score, all those kinds of things, but those are much harder to get to because we don’t have a very good mechanism and certainly not an automated mechanism to reach back out to that customer to get their survey information. So, that’s one of the weaknesses that we have but one of the things that we’re working on and…

Chad McDaniel
(11:49): John, let me jump in here and thank you and just to – I mean, it’s such a massive enterprise and to give all the listeners an appreciation of a day and a life. Before we even get into the emerging stuff, I got a couple of quick questions here. Can you clarify today how many call centres – the typical voice or how many phone calls you guys take on an annual basis or how do you look at some of those metrics? I mean, it’s daunting in itself, just to think of the massive volume you deal with on a daily basis?

John Bowden
(12:24): So, we do some outsourcing and if you are to include those centres, we have about 50 call centers. We take about 12 million contacts per month.

Chad McDaniel
(12:37): Now, is contacts defined as voice, chat, email, all of that?

John Bowden
(12:43): Yes. All of those. We do not know yet our web contacts. We do not – we have not yet determined how to report that and the problem there is the problem that everyone has. The only way that we can count them accurately is to have them register but if we have them registered, they’re less likely to go through and try to help themselves. So, that’s the issue we face there. And by the way…

Chad McDaniel
(13:17): You go ahead, John. Sorry.

John Bowden
(13:19): In any of the areas where I mentioned, “Gosh, we don’t know how to count – accurately count the contacts in the web”, in any of the areas where I say, “Gosh, we just don’t know how to do that”, please feel free to send me an email if you have ideas on how to help us. That’s the benefit I get out of speaking today is I have a lot of people who will hear the issues that we’re wrestling with and may have ideas on how we can get better.

Chad McDaniel
(13:51): John, when you shared those kind of numbers, to me it’s mind boggling and I’m sure to some of our listeners, it’s also mind boggling to think 12 million contacts per month that you guys have to deal on a traditional basis, and part of the reason we’re gathering in Florida coming this May, you and many other executives and what I call really Think Tank peer-to-peer forum is that when you look at the traditional channels of customer response, take phone, take web, chat, whatever, it can be very difficult to engage the customer in that channel and do it seamlessly and provide the right overall customer experience. But when you start to layer in some of these emerging customer channels such as social, such as web 2.0 stuff, mobile, video, it becomes inherently complex for Corporate America as an example to say, “Okay, our customer now is – typically the customer is more savvy.” They’re smarter, internet, their expectations are typically very much immediate and tremendous. So, your customers want to engage at their channel of choice so to speak. So, when you layer all that in, John, as an overall enterprise service later, I mean, how do you just not put your head in the sand in the sense that it has become very challenging, and the listeners today and everyone else were all trying to say, “Okay, we don’t necessarily – it’s not about the growth of social media or do we like social media, but it’s more the conversation John is about. As Corporate America, what are we going to do to address this? Are we going to stick our head in the sand or are we going to go out there proactively? How are we going to identify, fix, engage or learn the stuff? So, anyhow, my question is they just get overwhelmed just thinking what you have to deliver in their life?

John Bowden
(15:46): Yeah. Think about – it’s actually the agents that are really feeling the pain, right? Think about the life of an agent. If you – I love showing us live obviously I came today but picture this, on the left-hand side, you have all of the different issues that a customer could have. In that number, the complexity of the services that we deliver is growing exponentially, right? As new devices come online, as new applications come out there, you could get a question on so many different things that’s mind boggling. Then, you look at the right-hand side and you got the different types of customers that are calling you. Think about you’ve got my brother-in-law who is somebody who is an expert at all things internet and he is a computer-savvy person who works in the industry, though he might be your first caller. Your next caller could be my daughter or your next contact could be my daughter who is trying to text you because she has no desire to pick up the phone and call, and then the third caller might be my dad who uses the internet in certain ways but does he really know it? And so, you have this proliferation of products in this very different customer set, and the agent wondering which adventure will be his next or her next. What we really grapple with, Chad, is, sure, a guy like me gets the grey hair but those poor agents, we have to have them the training done, the tools necessary so that they can get the answers quickly.

(17:49): The days of being able to memorize everything that you need to know are long gone, right? We’ve got to put the right tools in the hands of these agents so that they can address the different people and the different problems in a pleasant, cheerful way and resolve the issue.

Chad McDaniel
(18:11): John, the questions are pouring in and I do not want to trump you as far as where you were at and I can definitely throw in some questions at this moment that will continue but we only have 45 minutes left. For example, on our chat session, JW7 has asked, what tools does Time Warner Cable use to improve your customer care processes today? Now, JW, we could expand that. Are you talking in the traditional channels? Are you talking with the emerging channels, maybe a combination of both? But, John, do you want to take a crack at that?

John Bowden
(18:51): Sure. Obviously, the question wasn’t singular, right? There’s a lot of…

Chad McDaniel
(18:56): Yes, exactly.

John Bowden
(19:00): I’ve come to think of it, the best tool that we have to improve service is our survey mechanisms, right? We survey, we now get about 18 customers satisfaction surveys per agent per month and so if you think about it at the company level that gives us a great indication as to which problems we have the most difficulty handling and we put fix-it plans together at the agent level, it’s what problems do they have the most trouble fixing and we put again fix-it plans at the agent level to try and get those folks the extra education they need to be successful. So, I always like to think of it as survey tools are our best tool but then we have the CRM systems for the social media, Radian6, it’s probably our best tool. One of the issues that we struggle with is we have fantastic reporting RIT team. I can tell you down to the agent level, first call resolution, disconnect rate, all of those kinds of things. So, we do a lot of work on identifying agents with issues and intercepting them, making sure they have the right training. I don’t get as good a reporting on the social network side yet. Those reports are just immature right now, so that’s one of our areas of weakness.

Chad McDaniel
(20:47): John, it’s interesting you mentioned Radian6. I know they are one of the many emerging providers out there. When we did Customer Response Summit 1 this past November in Scottsdale, the community of executives like you and many others that we gather to kind of do this strategic think tank, there was a significant thirst from the community to say, “Now, what? Okay, I understand it. I get it. Okay, I understand some of the KPIs. I understand some of the ROI, but now what? How do I get started? Where do I go?” And one of things we’re going to really think about probably in our November is some sort of vendor form that can really help the executives like yourself, John, that can identify the many different kinds of monitoring engagement reputation, emerging tools or services that are out there, and from what you said, I can imagine this is a daily changing evolution and trying to stay on top of all that is tough enough for long to manage day-to-day business. Any comment about that?

John Bowden
(21:54): I have a significant advantage and that’s just a lot of bright people working this organization. They’re just enthusiastic for the customer. They know we’ve got to get better and they’re just damn good on what they do. So, we have a process for trying to learn about and evaluate all of the different tools that are out there. So, for instance, every one of us gets five calls a day from different vendors for different services. There’s no way that I could take the time to understand each one and I couldn’t do it, right? So, we have a process of evaluation when something is interesting to one of our folks, we give it to an individual whose in charge of determining “hey, is that something we should be looking at?” It’s kind of a triage approach. And those things that he determined we should look at, we take a little bit deeper look on that. So, for instance, we’ve got a speech analytics is huge for us right now. We’re just about to start implementing that tool. I used speech analytics extensively at EarthLink and I think that it’s a game changer as far as tools go.

Chad McDaniel
(23:25): That’s excellent. I want to say that for all our live-in callers that if you have a question you like me to add you on the air to ask a direct question either on the dashboard, please identify that or join the live chat and tell me the phone number you’re calling from and then I can add you on as a live caller. Let’s go back to – we talked a little bit about where you are at existing but as you’re looking at the new emerging channels, John, such as the social and all these other stuff, kind of tell us a little bit about that journey, kind of really some trials, tribulations, some ideas about if you are going to be thinking of this or doing this, kind of early adoption ways to maybe approach these and just any ideas you may have around that.

John Bowden
(24:18): Alright. A good example is one that we’re grappling with right now and that’s the peerto- peer support networks. You think about Dell, HP, Best Buy have pretty robust, pretty mature peer-to-peer supports and for those of you who don’t recognize the term it’s a customer writing a question and other customers answering on behalf of the company. It’s unpaid but people enjoy being helpful and so it’s a wonderful opportunity. We haven’t started that yet. We know we’re going to put our toe on the water and some of the things that we’re taking through are, for instance, Best Buy and as I understand it, any Best Buy employee can answer any customer’s question on their support community. That doesn’t seem like a good idea to us only because in our regional world, it would be tough to make sure that a person from Los Angeles who might have a Motorola set-top box would need a different answer than somebody in New York City who has a Scientific Atlanta set-top box. So, we think there’s probably some degree of control that we want there, not just allowing anybody to answer. We also have to think through how do we make sure that the answers are accurate, right? The customers over time, as these mechanisms, as these communities mature, a lot of companies are reading people that answer questions and giving them kudos, stars whatever recognition for having answered frequently and answered accurately.

(26:20): In that way, a customer with a question knows that they can trust this source of answer. So, we have to figure out how to do that but we also want to make that the customer’s questions do get answered so that there’s nothing lagging out there. We want to make sure that the answers are accurate. What happens if a wrong answer is posted first? We don’t want to disappoint the customers but it also can grow so big, so fast that it will outgrow our ability to keep up with it. So, we know it’s a viable channel. We’ve seen companies make it work well. Apple by the way is another one that has a great support community. We know we will put our toe in the water this year. We just haven’t quite figured it out yet.

Chad McDaniel
(27:17): That’s excellent. John, one of things I hear a lot from the community, professionals of our execsintheknow.com which is our community for voice of the customer professionals, but what are the KPIs that we should be looking at or considering that may have to start there but a lot of it is what is the ROI? Is this just a cost thing that we’ve got to absorb or can there be no ROI? I guess it depends on what chat you are in and what type of organization you sit in depending if it’s more acquisition based or whatever. If we could go to the first component, it would be in your world, if you had to pick two or three – kind of here is the very key performance indicator KPI stuff that you would look to measure and monitor with these new emerging channels.

John Bowden
(28:10): Easy for me. Its first call resolution, return on investment and customer satisfaction, pardon me, so three of them. Here is the thing, Chad. I’m an accountant by education and so the numbers are really important to me. You’ve got to show me that social media is going to be viable in terms of return on investment of viable channel, right? But then you – wait a second – think about it from the customer’s standpoint, I don’t know the manners, I think I have to find a way to make it pay for itself, but I have no choice but to be in the social media our customers expected, right? Certainly, the younger customers, the Gen X/Gen Y kind of people, they expect us to be there. It will be – it’s no longer going to be a choice, we have to be there. So, it’s not whether or not it can be positive return on investment, we have to make it one. We have to find the right tools and the right ways of doing things to make sure it’s a positive return on investment. The other important factor, something I mentioned earlier, is that number of eyeballs that you have out there in the social media world. Again, the traditional, the number of calls divided by number of customers is your contact rate, right? And from that, you get cost of support per customer, cost of support per revenue dollar, all of the normal things that we look at. But in the social world, it’s going to be just a little bit different because so many people are seeing and getting a sense of the company from your responses but not directly contacting you and so if there’s an aspect of this, it’s going to be very difficult for us to measure, much likes advertising.

(30:23): I’m not an advertising guy obviously, but you wonder sometimes how they justify the dollars that they spend because so much of what they do is indirect in its benefit. So, the bottom line, we have to have the KPIs that enable us to measure first call resolution, satisfaction and return, but we have to also understand that our customers expect us there, will demand that we’re there and so we have to find a way to be there in a way that is affordable and generating high satisfaction.

Chad McDaniel
(31:02): You know I’m still trying to swallow the fact that you do 12 million contacts per month and the daunting component of that – John, I’m going to jump to the questions, they’re again pouring in, and for our live call in folks, if you want to join the chat session, BlogTalkRadio/Execs In The Know, go to the chat function and you can jump on, we’ll get your questions asked. If you have a live question, for our callers, please hit the dashboard that allows that, I’ll bring you in to the show. A question came in. How do you balance the business need to control cost, i.e., handle times and ensuring that the customer is cared for properly?

John Bowden
(31:48): I think balance is one of the most important words in customer service because that’s exactly right. You’re balancing your cost with the satisfaction that you drive. A couple of things, in all the worked I’ve done, I’ve never seen a correlation between satisfaction and talk time. So, this notion that you need to talk longer to drive satisfaction, I think is just incorrect. What you have to do though is you really – the best way to attack the cost side of customer support is driving down the need to call. Think about this, customers don’t want to call you, right? No one’s calling us to say, “Hey, thanks for a good job or boy, yesterday, I sure was able to make a great clear telephone call.” They’re calling us with problems and so the money spent on deflecting – the money spent on removing call reasons is money well spent. Then, like I said, the good news is a lot of the new things that we’re working on are higher satisfiers and cheaper. For us at least, if you look at the chat, we participate in 3 different J.D. Power reports. We’re in their report for internet service providers, for telephone providers and for cable television, and in each of those, if you look at us and our competition as well, you’ll see that the satisfaction generated from a chat session is usually higher than the satisfaction from a telephone call and because with chat you can do many concurrent sessions, our chat costs are less than our phone costs.

(33:53): So, the things that we can do to make it easier for our customers to chat with us are saving us money and driving higher satisfaction. In a recent study by the Contact Center Council, the CCC, they showed that across the US, across different industries, 58% of customers go to the web before they call customer service. So, it’s important for us – we’ve got to make sure that when they’re on the web, they can self surf. It’s a lot cheaper than calling us, right? And think about it, if you’re on the web and you can satisfy your question there, you’re probably pretty happy. You don’t have to take the time to telephone and so I’m guessing though we can’t measure it, intuitively, I think our satisfaction rates are higher in the self surf world than they are on the phone. It happens to be just good for everybody, right? It’s a cheaper way of doing business and helps drive our satisfaction.

Chad McDaniel
(35:02): Well, John, I’m so excited you’re going to be down in Florida on May 10th and 11th with our team panel of industry experts. We’ve got so many high powered executives gathering and it’s just phenomenal and I know a lot of our audience is quite excited to see your presentation. I’m going to go to our on-the-air callers and I’m going to open this up right now. You should be on-theair. This is caller in area code 404. Please identify yourself and please ask the question.

Caller 1
(35:32): Hello.

Chad McDaniel
(35:34): Hello.

Caller 1
(35:34): Hello. How are you today?

Chad McDaniel
(35:37): Yes, who’s calling? And can you please ask the question?

Caller 1
(35:41): I’m _35:42_. Hello?

Chad McDaniel
(35:45): Okay. Yes, we can hear you. Can you ask the question please?

Caller 1
(35:50): Good day, _35:52_. Alright, _35:54_ question you have, feel free. Hello?

Chad McDaniel
(35:59): Okay. I’m going to put the caller on hold for right know and we are having some audio difficulties. My apologies for any of our live callers. Raise your hand on dashboard and we’ll try to get you on the air here with John. John, I’m going to go to another question that’s come up in our chat function and again, please use the chat or the live calling to ask the question. So, we’ve got about 20 minutes left with John. John, here’s the question from Itessa. It says from a measurement voice of the customer perspective, can you speak to the user of net promoter score that’s in PS or other survey tools with touch points or maps to spot physical or emotional gaps in performance. I’m not as familiar with this as I’m not a user of that kind of tool or technology. Have you seen or done anything in that regard, John?

John Bowden
(36:51): Yeah, we sure do. Net Promoter Score has gained popularity what maybe 4 or 5 years ago. At that time, it was shown that Harvard Business reviewed somebody with, but anyway, it is a measure, it is the closest correlation to customer churn of any of the measures out there. Now, recently, I contact Center Council has done some work around a score that they, I’ll be darn I can’t remember exactly the term they used, but it has to do with measuring how easy it is for customers to do business with you. And then there’s also, there’s J.D. Power and Forrester and those kinds of things. We like NPS for a couple reasons. J.D. Power and Forrester, their great information but they only come out once a year and I certainly can’t get that information by location of by agent. Whereas Net Promoter Score, I can actually measure that monthly and I can measure it down to the agent level and when you think about it, now we think of we have several different cues, many different cues and many different types of reps. But if you’re, if you have a hundred reps who are in the same cue and one has a net promoter score of 50 and the other has a net promoter score of 20, it doesn’t tell you why but it sure tells you that those two agents are behaving differently, right? And you want to find out what the net promoter score of 50 with that agent is doing differently than the net promoter score of 20 so that you can educate the one on the lower end and help them solve more customer problems. So we like NPS a lot because it is closely correlated to churn, it is a measure that we can do ourselves and therefore we can do it frequently and we can do it at the level of detail necessary to give agent feedback.

Chad McDaniel
(39:08): Excellent. You definitely are an expert in that area, John, so thank you. We’re going to back to our live callers. I’m going to go to one of our callers in area code 602. Hello. You should be on the air now. Please identify your name and the question for John.

Caller 2 Mark
(39:24): Hi! This is Mark. John, do you have any method for understanding how many people that call in or to reach you? Start out on one media type, for example they may send an email or they have a chat session and they don’t get the answer they want or they don’t get the answer in a timely way or it doesn’t necessarily…the answer they get doesn’t solve their problem, it has settop box problem, it’s not doing what I’m supposed to do. I call in or I text in or something, I get an answer back and I try the fix, it doesn’t work, so then I call back in again and do you know a way at all to sort of keep track of those people. I mean it sounds like SCS as a stat but as people change media types, can you follow them through the process to be able to sort of figure out the patterns of what kind of media people start on but where they end and where does the actual conclusion occur?

John Bowden
(40:25): What a great question, Mark.

Chad McDaniel
(40:27): Mark, thank you, great question.

John Bowden
(40:30): Yeah. Good morning by the way. The answer or the simple answer is yes and no. We can track it but it is absolutely manual and it is just a horrible process so we are working on that. We measure and aggregate those who have called us back on the phone and called us back. We can track chat to phone but we cannot yet track what we think is a result in the IVR and we certainly aren’t able yet to track what this what we think is solved in the web or solved on a set-top box if they call us back. We’re just not there yet. That’s when our best scenario where if somebody on the phone or listening to this has some great ideas on how to do that, we’d actually like to hear them. Right now, we measure it in the aggregate but we cannot, for instance, if you are doing something in the IVR, we can’t note that in the CRM system and allow the agent to know that for instance Mark called and try to make a payment in the IVR and couldn’t be that so now he’s on the phone. We do not have that capability today.

Chad McDaniel
(42:03): Mark, I’m going to — is there anything followup before I put you on mute?

Caller 2 Mark
(42:08): I have seen the answer to the question so I mean there is technology now that can do this and I don’t want to actually necessarily promote a specific item but what’s the best way to reach you, John, and the bill that sort of give you the details of what this technology is?

John Bowden
(42:27): No problem. The best able to reach me at…

Chad McDaniel
(42:31): John, why don’t we have Mark reach me directly and then we’ll pass Mark view onto John, okay? Mark my email address is McDaniel@careers.com or my direct phone 204 953 3930, and again, this will be on the recorded air. Mark, please send that to me. One other thing I want to say Mark to you and everyone else out there is we have really been trying to outreach to emerging vendors and people that can help our community and some of these ways to solve somebody’s complex service issues, so we are very much open to hearing from you folks, is we’re trying to solve this through our community. So Mark, excellent question. We’re going to go, John, to another live caller here. Hello. You’re on the air, area code 540. Could you please identify your name and your question to John?

Caller 3
(43:29): Good morning.

Chad McDaniel
(43:32): Good morning. We need you speak up. Could you speak up a little bit louder and again please identify your name and question?

Caller 3
(43:41): Are you?

Chad McDaniel
(43:42): Yes we can hear you.

Caller 3
(43:44): Good morning.

Chad McDaniel
(43:51): Okay. Can you please ask your question?

Caller 3
(43:56): I cannot [unintelligible].

Chad McDaniel
(43:59): Okay. We’re having difficulty and again I apologized with the audio for that particular caller. Folks, for all the people on the live call-in show, if you like to ask a question on the air of John, you should have on the dashboard of Execs In The Know Blog Talk Radio. There is a way to raise your hand and I can identify if you would like ask John a question so please use that, and again, we appreciate your calls in today. John, I’m going to ask a question as far as I know we talked a bit about KPI and you gave some great examples there, and again I guess how do we know some of that’s cost effective and then kind of where maybe things are going to be going in your perspective as far as this whole emerging, and I know it’s here to stay, it’s not going away so to speak but would there be anything — we will go back to the KPI — is how you would know some of this is cost affective or how you had really looked at some of of efficiencies?

John Bowden
(44:58): Sure. When you look at it, it’s easy, oh gosh, a good example, IVR. We track in the IVR the number of calls that we think are deflected. We have a pretty rigorous definition of…in order to be counted as deflected, the person has to have maybe they changed to their customer record or listened to a complete leg of the IVR so for instance they heard what their balance due was and then hang up. And we can track the percentage of people that are deflecting at that point in time and so we know that for every call that we — this is a great stat — for every 1% of calls that I can reduce, we save the company over $7,000,000, so little…it doesn’t take much to save a whole lot of money and so we track IVR deflection, we track that rigorously. We will track web deflection, we just haven’t figured it out yet. For social media — because of a new and growing area, it is a pretty high cost for contact right now. But as it grows, just like anything else, we built the infrastructure for servicing our customers there and the incremental cost will not be very high so as…think of it like a sports stadium. Once you filled it up, it’s a lot less expensive than that very first customer who walks in through the door. And so that’s…we try to…our overall is what it does it costs us to service per customer and what does it cost to service per revenue dollar, and those who are the biggest measures that we have.

(47:00): So from that, you are measuring your ability to reduce calls through fixing your problems, deflect the calls to self-service, deflect calls to a lower price channel like a chat, and that the combined impact to all of that is helping reduce our contact rate and helping reduce the cost of support per revenue dollar.

Chad McDaniel
(47:31): That’s excellent. I know we only got about 10 minutes left, John, and boy we sure could use more time with you but I know that just won’t afford itself, but where do you — from what you said today is you kind of look go forward division of the future. Where do you kind of see either social media going in regards to customer response channel or other emerging kind of channel, customer engagement channels? Any ideas around that?

John Bowden
(48:01): Oh yeah. Think about this: Everybody, not everybody, so many people have a smart phone or an iPad whatever and video chat is here now, right? It is a method of contacting one another that is going to find its way ultimately to the customer support world. Think of the implications of that. Your customer service agent being able to see and being seen by the customer. Now, there’s a lot of good news there, right? The contact or the empathy will improve the connection with the company because there’s an actual face there will improve. Your agents will be certainly better focused because they’ll be seen there, right? And eventually, that customer will actually be able to see the screen that the agent is looking at so errors will be reduced and all those kinds of things. But that also means that the agents will be seen and that means that they’re going to have to sit up straight and wear a nice shirt, they can wear shorts because they won’t be able to see below the waist, right, but it just opens up so many opportunities for us but yet will cause a wonderful change in how we think about the agents in the call center, and I don’t think if that’s far away. Think — Forrester, I thin it was Forrester, in the year 2015, so what, four years from now, 60% of all homes will have an internet enabled television. Now, think of four years from today, that customer sitting on the coach will — they encounter a problem or they have a question, they’ll click on the screen and they will want to talk to somebody without getting up from the coach. They’ll want to talk to somebody in a customer support role and they might be able to see them and be seen. It’s a tremendously different world than what we live in today. And I don’t think it’s that far in the future.

Chad McDaniel
(50:35): That’s amazing, John. That is absolutely, when you think about that, I couldn’t agree more and it’s astonishing. It’s an excellent prediction, I agree with that, no question. John, I’m going to try. I’ve got so many people wanting to ask you a question and I’m trying to squeeze these all in. I’m going to go to again a live caller. Please, this is area code 515, you’re on the air. Please quickly identify your name and question.

Caller 4 Douglas
(51:01): Hi.

Chad McDaniel
(51:03): Yes, good morning, we can hear you. We can hear you. Please identify your name and question.

Caller 4 Douglas
(51:10): Douglas Quinn. Who’s your daddy and what does he do? Hi.

Chad McDaniel
(51:17): Yes, we can — I can hear. Are you calling from a cell phone?

Caller 4 Douglas
(51:25): That’s right, I am.

Chad McDaniel
(51:27): Okay. Please try your question one more time and unfortunately we seem to be having audio difficulties with callers from cell phones, those calling from landlines seem to be getting through clearly. One more time on your question.

Caller 4 Douglas
(51:41): I want to ask you about a question and I want them answered immediately. Who is your daddy and what does he do?

Chad McDaniel
(51:50): Okay. Anyhow, that caller probably is not appropriate for the call here, John, but long story short, let me keep going to other questions here. A couple of questions come in. What about chatbots or virtual agents video chat? Is there a huge increased cost per contact, cost per solution or resolution, those types of things?

John Bowden
(52:13): Yeah. So, video chat, we’re not there yet. I’m not aware of anyone who is if there are people who have experienced with that. We used to get in touch with chat so I can learn about it. I know it’s coming, I don’t think it’s here yet. On the virtual agents, I am aware of the technology. Remember I described the process we go through. That’s one of the areas that we’ve decided. Yes, we need to learn more about that and so we’re kind of in the process of trying to educate ourselves on the possibilities. I know that there are services that offer that. There are also companies that would allow you to do it yourself. So we’re just in the learning stage there. I think it has some real — some very good, if nothing else, it will serve to reduce the amount of time of that a chat takes for a live agent but I haven’t tried it yet, we will.

Chad McDaniel
(53:27): Very fair and thank you John and a real quick one more, I try to click a quick caller in here. Is this Mark, 602?

Caller 2 Mark
(53:33): It is. I had one other question. John, you brought up video and my experience has been that probably the first real functional use of video, especially in the cue market, would be to push instructional or some sort of set of guides so if somebody is having problem with installing a box or fixing a set-top box or their router and the internet connection and the ability for that customer to be pushed a video that shows them sort of the YouTube style thing where you watch this, this will show what I’m talking about so you can see where the connectors are and how to do that. You see that preceding the fact that your agents have a bad hair day and I don’t really want to see your agents on the phone. I just want to get my answer.

John Bowden
(54:18): No question. In fact, that exists today. We have people who are making videos, both for YouTube and for us to push out the customers though they can self-help, how do I program my DVR, how do I program my — how do I set up my wireless internet, how do I connect various devices and those kinds of things. Those are all great questions and you know that, again, back to my earlier example of very different customers. That’s the kind of question that some segments of our customer base will ask us monthly and so that’s the perfect thing that have out there on YouTube or a — we have the advantage of being a cable television provider. We can actually have a channel that can allow you to do those kinds of things so that you could video on demand, how do I program my DVR video on demand, how do I set up a wireless network. So yeah, we’re babes in the woods right now, we haven’t done a lot with it but we have concerted effort to get there, to take advantage because we think that’s a fast growing and great way to reduce calls.

Chad McDaniel
(55:49): Thank you again, Mark, and everyone that has called in to the show today, thank you. John, I’m going to wrap up but I want a couple of things to say to our listeners and a couple more comments quickly for you and closing here. First of all, our community, Execs In The Know, is a group of about 40,000 professionals that all have some sort of mandate or responsibility for the voice of the customer. They live that, they own that passion. John, you’re a part of the advisory board amongst with many others so it’s great to have you. And there are other ways to connect with our community. If you’re on Linkedln, Worldwide Contact Center Professionals is one of the largest groups on Linkedln that we run in control on that for Linkedln members. We also have vice presidents and only above Linkedln group so those are considerations for it. Of course, you can find us on Twitter, you can find us on Linkedln, Facebook, and then in our live events. One thing we do say for the live events that we do twice a year for the Customer Response Summit, John, is really to allow people to validate their thinking. It’s more of an educational form than anything. It’s a chance to listen and engage on early pilot ideas, what’s working, what’s not working, and really kind of a two-day think-think if you want to call it that. John, I know you have some very specific things you’re going to look to carry out during the live show coming up May 10th and 11th down in Hollywood, Florida, so it is great to have you. Anything you want to say with the last couple of minutes we have or just leave us all on a parting journey or thought or encouragement as we’re all trying to tackle these new realms.

John Bowden
(57:39): I will just end it with a simple thanks for the opportunity and thanks in advance to any of you who have information that can help me. You’ve seen that we are doing some things new and different but there are plenty of ideas out there and plenty of opportunities for us to get better and I thank you in advance for any of those ideas that you share with us. We’re all in this — everyday, we ask each other around here what have you done today to help make that conversation easier and better between the agent and the customer, and now, we have to think more broadly about the various channels of contact. The question is the same: What are you doing differently today to make that contact better between the agent and the customer and that’s the mission we all share.

Chad McDaniel
(58:37): John, thank you so much. We’re going to lose the show here. Please, everyone, join us again March 25th, 3:25, at 12 o’clock Eastern for our next show. We’ll look forward to our new guest. Please stay tuned on Blog Talk Radio Execs In The Know. Thank you so much for your time, and John, thank you.

John Bowden
(58:54): Your welcome, thank you. Have a good day.

Chad McDaniel
(58:55): Bye-bye.