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

Tag Archives: Call Center

Execs In The Know & COPC Inc. Publish 2017 Corporate Edition in Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series

Findings Show That Only About One-Third of Respondents Felt Their Company Offered Support in All The Channels Their Customers Want to Use — A Slight Increase Over 2016 Results.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – April 3, 2018 – Advocates for customer experience professionals, Execs In The Know and COPC Inc., have announced the release of the 2017 Corporate Edition of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark (CXMB) Series. The 11th volume in the series, titled The CX Journey: Strategic and Operational Insights, provides an understanding of the current CX landscape. Specific areas of expanded exploration include channel consistency, quality programs, and CX priorities for corporate professionals. Traditional Care (phone, email, and in-person), Interactive Care (online/video chat, FAQ, and self-help), Social Media Care (Twitter, Facebook, forums, etc.), and Mobile Care (apps, text/SMS, and mobile chat) are all explored.

Key Insights from the 2017 Corporate Survey:

– Only 50% of respondents answered “Yes” when asked, “Is your company’s leadership fully committed to a customer-first strategy?”

– Thirty-four percent of respondents didn’t believe their company had a good understanding of which channels their customers preferred, nor how these preferences differed from current channel offerings.

– Interest and investment in chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) exploded in 2017, with more than a threefold increase in the percentage of brands naming chatbots and AI as the technology of most interest and/or investment.

– Only 14% of respondents felt their brands were doing a good job of providing a consistent customer experience across channels and solutions, while only half of brands (51%) had any initiatives to create greater consistency.

The CXMB Series is a resource for customer care professionals, looking to enhance their customer care program, improve brand opinion, and drive customer satisfaction. Brands such as Marriott, Blue Rock Energy, The Mine, The Home Depot, LinkedIn, Hyatt, Desjardins, CIBC, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., and more participated in this year’s survey. Continue reading

Top 3 Benefits and Best Practices of Contact Center Modernization

The following is a guest blog by Jil Fisher, Vice President of Product Management at West Interactive. For more information on West, visit their website

Some things never go out of style, like The Beatles, evenings by the fireplace and homemade apple pie.

Unfortunately, your contact center isn’t one of them, and if you haven’t replaced or upgraded your solutions recently, there’s a good chance your customers have noticed. In that case, it’s probably time for a little contact center modernization.

A good contact center makes an impact for three important stakeholders:

1) Your customers
2) Your agents
3) And your business

Contact center modernization can make your solution better for them all. Customer care has made huge advances over the last several years. Texting is now a common communication track for businesses, and AI and chatbots continue to forge new ground.

Amid all this change, customer expectations have responded. Today’s customers demand the flexibility to communicate in their preferred channel, at their preferred time. And they no longer accept long wait times and impersonal service as the norm.

You need to keep up in order to keep your customers.

In the past, updating or replacing your system to provide a higher level of service was cost-prohibitive. But today, that’s not necessarily the case. With a cloud-based system and an experienced partner, you can take your customer experience to new heights without doing the same for your expenditures. If you haven’t done so yet, going to the cloud is the number one step in contact center modernization.

But even if you do have a cloud-based solution, there are a few best practices to find even more value. So with that in mind, here are the top three benefits and best practices to guide you through your contact center modernization.

Save big money over time

Obviously, one massive incentive of contact center modernization is cost savings. So as you begin this process, consider future adaptations for even greater efficiency and customer experience.

As new technology develops, you need to have a process to incorporate it into your contact center plan. Customers may want to connect through traditional voice channels, but the preference is quickly changing to other channels, including email, chat, mobile and social.

That means your contact center needs expanded capabilities around these channels. On the one hand, you’ll have a few more expenses up front to ensure all those channels are supported, even if you’re not currently using them. But these channels are also easily automated, which can drastically cut customer service costs and agent workload.

Best Practice #1: Update the systems you need today and prepare for the growing customer service channels of the future.

Of course, upgrading your premise-based system to accommodate all of these channels can get very expensive very fast. But by moving to the cloud, you can cut many up-front costs and prepare for quick changes down the road.

These solutions could completely replace your current technology, but they’re more likely to run alongside existing systems. Cloud-based solutions let you pick upgrades you need without the expense of replacing all your current equipment right away. Plus, your customers can start using the channels they love, giving an instant boost to loyalty and retention. Continue reading

Intelligent Self-Service: Balancing Support Costs with CSAT

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The following is a guest blog from Coveo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making self-service easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

– IVR is one of many contact points

– Improved speech recognition and dynamic personalization have made navigation easier

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

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

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

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

“Say please and thank you”

“Smile while you dial”

“The customer is always right”

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

Not always.

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

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

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

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

1) Identify Your Callers

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

“What’s your name, sir?”

“Benedict Cumberbatch.”

“Can you repeat that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Execs In The Know

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

Learn more at www.execsintheknow.com.

Media Contact:

Alyssa Pitura
info@execsintheknow.com

Understanding Your Customers: Nothing Beats Time in the Contact Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Power of Employee Advocates

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

Social Media: Tap Into the Power of Employee Advocates

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

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

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

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

Get Your Chat Fitness On

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

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

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

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

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

How Data & Analytics Can Turbocharge Your Chat Program Webinar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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