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

Tag Archives: Customer Response Summit

5 Key Customer Experience Factors to Fix within your Business

The following is a guest post by West Corporation, a leader in CX solutions. To learn more about West Corporation, visit their website.

Exceptional customer experiences don’t just happen. They don’t happen when someone finds their favorite movie on cable or gets a good deal on a blender. Those moments excite us, sure. But they’re just touch points in the relationship.

Real customer experience is not defined by a single moment. It’s made up of the person’s view of the total sum of interactions with a brand. The good, the bad and the utterly forgettable.

A top customer experience can’t be found with the flip of a switch. It must be earned. And there are five key customer experience factors to fix to make that happen. These factors already exist in your organization. But with a few tweaks, these customer experience factors will become a source of loyalty and ROI for years to come.

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5 Ways Leaders Can Model High-CX Behaviors

The following is a guest post by Melissa Pollock of AmplifAI. To learn more about AmplifAI, visit the company’s website.

Despite all our collective emphasis on customer experience, culturally, and via systems that drive more customer intel to Customer Service Reps (CSRs) so they can deliver improved Customer Experience (CX), I’m still having challenges when I contact my own service providers. For example, I’m either explaining something a third time, being told something by one agent and something different by another, or my all-time least favorite, hearing ‘I’m sorry for the inconvenience’ with a tone that tells me otherwise!

What’s missing in our service exchanges?!

Humanity!  Connection!  Warmth!  I remember a CSAT turnaround project that was wildly successful because we taught associates how to better connect with people – how to just be real instead of sounding so ‘official,’ how to inject their personality into their conversations, how to demonstrate interest and caring, and generally how to have more fun!

 

It’s not technical proficiency, but ‘professionalism’ burdening our CX!

I’ve listened to thousands of calls and read hundreds of emails and texts through the course of consulting for contact centers – and in them I rarely heard or saw a CSR that didn’t know the technical aspects of handling inquiries regarding their products and services, instead, it was almost always that they sounded impersonal and uninvolved, overly ‘professional’.  The major thing those interactions had in common was that representatives went straight to servicing the customer’s needs but spent little to no time reacting to the customer’s emotion!  In talking with them about it, it was as if they avoided connecting because the people they were interacting with were customers, not someone they knew.

How do we help CSRs better connect? Practice what we teach!

To help CSRs better connect with humans, we need to teach, expect, and measure the use of interpersonal communication and influence behaviors (aka, soft skills!) like warmth, personalization, informality, interest, and caring (aka, empathy!).  The simplest and fastest way to help them understand how to demonstrate those behaviors with customers, and ensure they actually take time to do so, is for our leaders to model these personal connection behaviors with our CSRs!

It’s ironic, but so simply true that the behaviors we want and expect CSRs to use to connect with customers, the ones that we know drive high CX, those are the same behaviors we need our frontline leaders to employ to better connect with our CSRs!

Employee Experience (EX) is a huge driver for higher CX, and that means frontline leaders and trainers have to use similar skills with team members that we teach team members to use with customers!   We have to better develop our leaders, so they model right-way connection behaviors with our customer-facing employees, so they, in turn, know in our culture that that relationships matter – internally, and externally.

5 ways leaders can model high-CX behaviors with their team members

Here are five communication behaviors that frontline leaders can easily use to better connect with their team members, which are ironically parallel to what we ask team members to use with our customers:

The Bottom Line

I love this from Shep Hyken; he said, “a brand is defined by the customers’ experience… the experience is delivered by the employees.”  And who delivers the employees’ experience?  We all do.  But, who’s got time to always do everything the right or best way?  There are platforms available now that can give us that time – augmenting frontline leaders’ performance management workflows and tracking so they can be more consistent, more efficient, more organized, and more effective – as teachers, as coaches, and as motivators and celebrators.

If we intentionally work to ensure our frontline leader behaviors demonstrate value in creating interpersonal relationships with customer-facing employees, then we’re not only delivering higher EX and boosting retention. We’re also building a culture where those employees are MUCH more likely to place importance on and engage in those connection behaviors with our customers, which in turn means we’re delivering a better CX and improved business results!

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Messaging Customer Care Business Case

The following is a guest post by Abhay Prasad, Vice President, Product Management for Sparkcentral. To learn more about Sparkcentral visit their website. 

Messaging Customer Care: Real-World Deployments, Real Results

The goal of this blog post is to clearly identify the business value of implementing messaging customer care alongside traditional care channels such as phone, email, and live-chat. In my role as Head of Product, I have the privilege of meeting customer service and customer experience leaders on a weekly basis. Over the last several years of my career, I have racked up several hundred such conversations.

These conversations are a part of my role that I love and value immensely because they help me understand our customers’ priorities. While every organization has its own way of articulating their customer service priorities, they generally fall into three main buckets: improving customer experience, controlling customer service costs, and improving agent satisfaction. Agent productivity impacts all three of these commonly held priorities.

Improving agent productivity means conversations are being resolved faster which is a key component of customer satisfaction. It also impacts agent satisfaction because higher productivity is achieved by eliminating repetitive, mundane or wasteful actions that agents are required to do for issue resolution. Finally, and most significantly, agent productivity is directly tied to cost control since its presence enables organizations to handle higher volumes of customer service requests.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about how messaging customer care provides superior CX for consumers. What’s often overlooked is that customer care over messaging channels is also significantly cheaper compared to other, more traditional channels including voice and textual channels such as email and live chat. This is largely because messaging enables agents to dramatically increase productivity.

Voice vs. Messaging

To understand how much more productive, we analyzed a representative sample of our customer base. We found that agents on our platform are able to resolve between 5.7 to 14.5 conversations per hour. This resolution rate is about 25-65% higher than that of voice teams. The median messaging customer care team resolves 7.2 conversations per hour. This is about 42% higher than the benchmark of 4.2-5.2 resolutions per hour for a voice agent. This does not include conversations that did not require a response (e.g., conversations resolved by bots and automation, or a “Thank you” from a customer after a conversation was already marked resolved by an agent). Also excluded are additional conversations conducted by agents that were never resolved.

This disparity in productivity is driven by a messaging agent’s ability to handle many more simultaneous conversations than a voice agent is able to. Agents on our platform often have more than 10 conversations being actively handled at once without jeopardizing the quality of service.

Email vs. Messaging

Messaging provides an even higher productivity gain over email. Email, like messaging, is an asynchronous channel. This means that conversations don’t have to happen in real time and can span minutes, hours, or even days. However, from a consumer’s point of view, email is a highly dissatisfying channel, associated with high response times (often a day, sometimes several days) and high friction. Continue reading

How AI Automation Has Changed Customer Service Operations

The following is a guest blog by Charles Schrier, Director of Marketing  at SmartAction.

As a lifelong customer service professional, you’ve watched the customer service function change from necessary evil to cornerstone of business success. For so long, businesses found ways to cut costs and increase efficiency in the call center because it was always viewed as a “cost” center. But with today’s customer demands for experiences that are easy and effective, and with more contact channels than ever before, it is getting near impossible to forecast and staff the call center, train agents in the proper skills, and offer consistency across channels and touchpoints.

Companies have an amazing opportunity to meet customer demands and create a strategic advantage over the competition by incorporating AI automation into their customer service operation. Forrester research tells us that 2/3 of consumers said that valuing their time is the most important thing to them, which helps to explain the rise in self-service adoption. With conversational AI automation, businesses are offering self-service for many of the simple and complex repetitive tasks that their call center agents had always been doing. Thanks to consumer tech products like Siri and Cortana, customers are actually very adept and comfortable interacting with conversational AI, whether through voice or digital media. Therefore, companies with AI automation are outpacing competitors by offering the effortless experience their customers want while migrating their operations towards sustainable growth.

AI automation’s most impactful ROI promise is in helping call centers conquer headcount challenges. As contact volumes explode through more and more channels, it has become increasingly difficult to forecast and accurately staff the call center. Even when volume spikes are predictable, they are still expensive to manage using live agents alone. The answer to higher volumes is no longer to hire more people, but rather to use AI agents mixed with live agents in order to automate more and make the live agents more effective for the inquiries that require the human touch. Many companies have found success using an AI virtual assistant service to:

    1. 1. Automate repetitive calls, chats, and texts with live agent failover. This helps agents focus on the top priority customer conversations because the routine tasks, like checking order status or making payments, are taken care of by AI.
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    3. 2. Gather customer data upfront before passing to live agent for assistance. An example is customer account authentication with screen pops for agents so that customers do not need to repeat information.
    4.  

    5. 3. Automate outbound calls and SMS texts for appointment confirmations, delivery reminders, reorders, or other alerts. This is normally a huge cost and time-suck for live agents.
    6.  

    7. 4. Offer a conversational AI Front Door, which uses a natural language greeting like, “How can I help you?” to capture intent. Conversations then get routed either to the IVR, a live agent, or additional AI self-service.

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  • Execs In The Know CX Leadership Event – Customer Response Summit – Coming to Marina del Rey

    Leading CX Leaders From Microsoft, Upwork, LinkedIn, and Chick-fil-A to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Marina del Rey

    PHOENIXJuly 12, 2018 — Execs In The Know, a community of Customer Experience Professionals, has announced the details of their national event – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Marina del Rey. CRS Marina del Rey will be held September 10th-12th, 2018, at The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, in Marina del Rey, CA. Culture, customer engagement, AI, the millennial workforce, mindfulness, digital transformation, and more will be featured topics of discussion. The customer experience conference will include keynotes from Chick-fil-A, LinkedIn, Upwork, and Microsoft.

    CRS is a gathering of customer service leaders, across many verticals, focused on creating innovative experiences for their brands. Highlights of the CX leadership event include an exclusive tour of the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles, evening networking opportunities, and numerous case studies. The newest version of the CXMB Series – 2018 Consumer Edition, will also be released (a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.).

    “Our EITK community is a dynamic, collaborative group of customer experience executives who are constantly inspiring us and leading the charge in their own organizations,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “There’s nothing quite like the sharing, networking, and learning at our live events and I would urge anyone who hasn’t been part of one to join us in Marina del Rey to experience it for themselves.”

    Other leading corporate brands that will speak at the customer care event include Humana, Uber, GoDaddy, Southwest Airlines, Slack, Electrolux, and more.

    To learn more or to register, visit the event website https://www.execsintheknow.com/events/marina-del-rey/.

    About Execs In The Know

    Execs In The Know is a global community of customer experience professionals focused on excellence in customer experience. Execs In The Know gives brands a platform to share and gain insights, benchmark their brand, stay on top of the latest trends in CX, and create lasting relationships with their peers – “Leaders Learning From Leaders.”

    Execs In The Know holds numerous live events each year including Customer Response Summit, Subject Matter Briefings, Lunch & Learns, and Dinners. They also offer industry content and thought leadership, webinars, reports, and various social communities.

    Learn more at www.execsintheknow.com.

    Media Contact:
    Alyssa Pitura
    info@execsintheknow.com

    Top 10 Best Things About CRS Charleston

    Charleston was our most successful Customer Response Summit yet, and we’ll be pondering the ideas it sparked and reliving the memories we created for a long time to come. Narrowing it down to just 10 was tough, but here’s our take on the top highlights of the event.

    10. The 5 Minutes of Brilliance Presentations

    These bite-sized presentations were so beloved, many attendees asked for more at future events (we’re working on it!).

    Andy Yasutake of LinkedIn and Mark Killick of Grubhub did an excellent job of breaking down their respective topics—Andy spoke about how LinkedIn worked on customer service request surges, and Mark spoke about using business intelligence to improve operations. We’re still thinking about their talks.

    9. The Case Studies

    One thing we’ve heard again and again is that our community craves presentations on what real companies do to move the customer service needle. At CRS Charleston, there were many breakout sessions to choose from. The topics represented leaned to digital and AI concerns, but they were varied enough to make the sessions useful to everyone:

    • -BOTs, Speech, and Humans – Seamlessly Balanced
    • -CX Measurement for the Ever-Connected Customer
    • -Are You Ready? This is the Year of Consumer Messaging & Bots
    • -Scaling True to Yourself
    • -The Future of Customer Service is Here. Are you Ready?
    • -Expanding Customer Conversations Over Digital Channels
    • -University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan Delivers A High Touch, High Tech Customer Experience

    8. The “Networking” Event

    There’s no better way to make new connections than at our social events. The evening at Prohibition combined a 1920s-themed party with networking. Friendships and business relationships were formed—or cemented—by the night’s end.

    7. The CXMB 2017 Corporate Edition Results

    Every CRS Charleston attendee received a copy of the full report in their welcome packet, and COPC Inc.’s Judi Brenstein, Balsam Brands’ Caroline Tuan, Sweetwater Sound’s Salena Scardina, and Grubhub’s Mark Killick explored the real-world implications of the CXMB 2017 Corporate Edition.

    Here are some highlights:

    • -82% of corporate leaders feel their organization meets the customer service needs of its customers, while only 40% of consumers do
    • -Just 61% of executives believe their company offers support in all the channels their customers want to use
    • -Metrics CX senior leaders are using to measure success include CSAT (77%). NPS (67%), Customer Effort (28%), and Other (10%)

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    5 Minutes of Brilliance – How LinkedIn Handles Surges

    At our Customer Response Summit events, we love to offer use case examples of how providers are helping the brands they work with to provide better customer experiences. Our 5 Minutes of Brilliance sessions during the event are quick snippets of best practices used to solve a specific issue or challenge.

    For those of you that were unable to join us last week in Charleston, we hope that you enjoy the recap of one of our 5 Minutes of Brilliance sessions below.

    The following is a guest blog by Joey Greenwald, Director, Demand Gen & Operations at Directly. 

    At the bi-annual Execs In The Know Customer Response Summit,  March 12-14, 2018, Andy Yasutake, Senior Director of Global Technology and Solutions & Operations at LinkedIn, spoke about using Directly’s unique customer care model to manage customer service surges. Here are the key takeaways:

    How does LinkedIn leverage the gig economy?

    “There is this marketplace of people out there . . . very engaged members who are already active on LinkedIn hosting and helping other members. What if we could tap into that in some way? We partnered with Directly. Directly offers an expert-based solution. We already had a significant amount of members engaging in our community forums, in our help centers . . . What if we picked a few members and offered them a monetary reward?”

    How did Directly help with a significant surge in customer service requests?

    “Surge protection was built in. In 2012 when we had an issue . . .  it took us 16 weeks to recover. We had to hire a bunch of people that didn’t know how to use our tools. [In 2016]  it was [re] exposed, but a lot of members started contacting us. We had a 1300% increase. [This time] we engaged experts . . . and leveraging the power of the Directly platform with our tools and our brand of LinkedIn, we were able to improve performance.”

    What has Directly done for LinkedIn overall?

    “We were getting incredible response times. An email that would take twenty four, seventeen hours . . . we were getting response times in six minutes, so the customer satisfaction went through the roof. They’re going, ‘This is like a real time channel, except it’s email.’ Directly’s solution helped us identify members . . . offer them a Directly/LinkedIn co-branded message . . . but it offers [the service request] up first to [Directly] experts before it goes to an internal [representative].”

    It was an incredible solution that was just offering general support. The impact has been significant cost savings. . . . [and] we’re averaging 3 to 5 minutes on response times for emails that would have taken 24 hours. . . . Our internal employees . . . are actually working on higher value channels.”

    If you want to watch Andy’s entire presentation (it’s not long, we promise), click here.

    Join the CX conversation with Directly on Twitter @Directly, and if you want to find out how Directly can transform your customer service, visit their website or schedule a demo today.

    How We Built the Wine Bot Margot for Lidl

    The following is a guest blog by Tobias Goebel, Director of Emerging Technologies at Aspect. For more information on Aspect, visit their website. 

    It was mid-July 2017 when I got an email from a sales colleague about a potential chatbot opportunity with a short window to respond. The prospective customer was the UK branch of supermarket chain Lidl. The Lidl digital marketing director and his team had already looked at a variety of vendors and were ready to make a selection, but they were still open to listening to us. It was a long shot, we thought, but we still wanted to give it our best effort.

    Fast forward 5 months, and we’re seeing tweets like this from the Daily Mail and The Sun:

    Wow, what had happened? Well, a fantastic team effort is what had happened.

    Winning Team Lidl Over

    Lidl saw value in:

    – our expertise around all things Customer Experience

    – our unique approach to Natural Language Understanding with support for many languages

    – our “cloud clout” and the resulting time-to-market

    – our design-once-deploy-anywhere framework that allows taking one bot and deploying it on channels like FB Messenger, SMS, Amazon Echo, IVR, etc. with minimal additional effort

    – our experience in building and hosting enterprise-grade, transactional customer self-service solutions that integrate into the larger marketing and contact center ecosystem of a multi-national corporation, including the ability to expand into eCommerce

    From our Press Release: https://www.aspect.com/company/news/press-releases/lidl-uk-launches-ai-wine-chatbot-to-uk-customers-with-aspect-software

    How does a conversation with Margot look like? Have a look here:

    When implementing the application, we decided to work with one of our long-time application development partners, 2-steps-ahead, who has been building voicebots on our IVR and chatbot platform, Aspect CXP™, for over a decade. Internally, we had all of the right people in place and ready to take on this project: Aspect Professional Services provided the project management and architectural support, R&D provided support by our on-staff linguists. With the combined forces of our team and 2-steps-ahead we were ready to embark on the buildout of the solution. Continue reading

    Chat vs. Messaging for Customer Support: Why Messaging Wins

    The following is a guest blog by Krysta Gahagen, Product Marketing Manager at Sparkcentral. For more information on Sparkcentral, visit their website

    Many brands ask us about the differences between using live chat versus digital messaging (ie. Messenger, WeChat, in-app/in-web messaging, etc.) for customer support. That’s right, chat and messaging are NOT the same. Although chat was loved by brands in the past, we believe its final days, as it currently exists, are near. To explain why it’s important to first clearly distinguish how the two are different.

    Take a look at the examples below to see the difference between a messaging interaction versus that of a chat interaction.

     

     The example above is one of messaging.

    In this interaction, I had reached out to one of my favorite brands, Nordstrom, to get some help finding a jacket.  Here is what was great about using messaging for customer support:

    – This conversation was asynchronous, meaning the agent and I could communicate without being available at the same time.

    – It was extremely convenient – I received a push notification on my phone’s home screen when the agent responded (rather than staring at my phone waiting for a response).

    – It was contextual, so if I ever forgot which jacket I was looking at, I could just open up the app and go directly to the link the agent had sent me. Also, if I ever reached out again, the agent would know exactly what that previous interaction looked like.

    – It felt personal and human. I was able to share just how genuinely excited I was by simply adding emoji to the message. With messaging, agents and customers can share and express emotions via emoji and gifs. 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