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

Tag Archives: Employee Engagement

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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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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2018 Predictions for the Service Leader: Part 3 – Operations

We surveyed a number of customer service/experience leaders, from many of today’s leading brands, in our community to get their predictions for 2018. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing their thoughts on specific CX topics including customer expectations, channels, operations, technology, use case studies/data, and security/risk.

Click here to catch up on Part 1 – Customer Expectations and Part 2 – Channels.

The third installment of this series focuses on thoughts on operations.

•Further advancements in the area of personalization of the experience. The ability to leverage “big data” sources to create a more personalized experience. Driving demand for analytic platforms, as well as analytic resources (both offshore and onshore).
• Expansion of the work at home (work anywhere) models for care support for cost savings. Advancements of tools and technology to support this.
• ‘Employee engagement’ truly changing culture.
• Customer service must be able to show ROI to adopt messaging channels and chatbots for customer interactions.
• Companies will begin to focus more on the entire customer lifecycle from acquisition, to sales, to service/support. The lines will blur between organizational siloes that focus on acquisition and those that focus on customer care, as businesses embrace a more holistic approach.
• Business leaders will get better at overcoming common, but large, digital transformation challenges (e.g., data silos, governance, systems integration, executive buy-in, acquisitions, technologies, security, etc). This will enable them to develop better customer insights that are actionable, to improve the customer experience, as well as optimize business operations.
• Businesses will drastically adopt and improve how they apply predictive analytics across the enterprise.
• Businesses will further embrace outsource service providers as strategic partners vs. traditional labor arbitrage.
• The usage of behavior profiles will go mainstream in marketing and customer service.
• Companies realizing that they need to center operations, technologies and practices around people and customers, not case numbers and ticketing systems. Leveraging modern technology to replace legacy systems will take time, but brands realize they need to start now to execute on their 3-5 year vision.

Stay tuned next week for Part 4 – Technology.

Corporate Journey Mapping & The Importance of Internal Advocates

We all know the importance of a raving fan or brand ambassador. Those loyal followers that purchase your product or service time and again. They are willing to recommend you to others and share their experience with their friends. These individuals are pure gold to any business, but what about your internal advocates? Taking care of your own and growing a tribe from within will help to make your business a better place to work and help to spread your message organically through your employees.

Your employees, everyone from customer service representatives who may be the first point of contact, to individuals in HR or Finance, play integral roles in your business. They keep things running smoothly and ensure your customers have pleasant experiences. They can be happy and excited about their job and your brand – or the opposite – which could have a negative effect on other employees, your customers, and ultimately the success of your brand.

Corporate Journey Mapping

We’ve all heard of Customer Journey Mapping – tracking the journey or steps your customer takes to interact with your brand, make a purchase, submit an inquiry, etc. It’s often used as a means to discover what is working and where improvements can be made, to create a more convenient and pleasant customer experience. What not do the same thing internally in your organization and its various departments?

There are a number of areas you should examine to see if there is room for improvement. Start with taking a good hard look at your departments and try to understand the journey your employees have to take. Understanding department gaps can help you avoid disconnect, bottleneck, and save time and frustration for everyone involved. Next move on to the employee experience. Does everyone seem informed and on the same page? Do you have the proper training and technology? Are you creating a positive atmosphere, providing incentives, or providing encouragement and opportunity for growth? Do your employees seem happy and excited to come to work? This brainstorm session can help you identify what you currently have in place and where you’re falling short.

Here are a few main areas you might look to improve:

1) Culture & Transparency

It’s important, especially as your company grows, to try to maintain a consistent company culture across all sites or locations. You must first understand your company mission and values, and then be able to concisely communicate that to employees. Whether it be through a company document, video, or sit down meeting. Find a way for this education and on-boarding process to be fun and memorable. Continue reading

Follow Up and Group Facilitator Notes: Customer Engagement LIVE!


This is a guest blog written by Greg Sherry, Vice President Marketing at Verint Systems.

One of the primary objectives of Customer Response Summit Austin was to “identify best practices and discuss innovative ideas on how to serve customer through emerging channels.” Verint’s contribution to this theme was an interactive general session called “Customer Engagement LIVE!” where we grouped executives into discussion groups of seven or eight participants. The groups engaged in conversations around the strategies and execution steps that can help define how customer-centric organizations can enrich interactions, improve business processes, and optimize the workforce.

One of the questions included on the breakout group handout, for example,  was “If you could provide your peers with one piece of advice as they create and execute their customer experience strategy and program, what would it be?”  There were also discussion questions around Customer Engagement and Enterprise Workforce Optimization.

Below are some of the highlights attendees shared during the breakout group read back presentations. Do you want access to group facilitator notes from all of the major discussion and engagement areas? If so, click here for the detailed Customer Engagement LIVE! notes.


Breakout Group Discussion Highlights

Employee Engagement- TED Talks! We want to hire and retain the best contact center agents that we can. So, we want to make sure we have a variety of internal programs around employee engagement as well as all our focus on customer engagement.  One thing we started was Ted Talks Tuesday’s where we find creative and inspirational Ted Talks videos that have themes around creativity, innovation, customers. We then have a discussion group after the video. Our executives, managers and agents love all the interactions we all have – and we are learning new ideas and ways of thinking at the same time! Continue reading

The Power of Employee Advocates


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

Engage Frontline Staff in Delivering Customer-Centric Goals


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

Every contact center leader understands the link between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. In centers that pride themselves on maintaining high levels of engagement, common themes include clear, frequent communication from leaders about goals and expectations, active involvement in process changes and being empowered to do the job.

How do you cultivate a customer-centric mindset among frontline employees? The following are proven practices that have appeared in the pages of Contact Center Pipeline over the years.

Give Agents a Closer View of the Customer

Frontline contact center staff may be in contact with customers every day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they know what the customer is experiencing. Some companies help to provide agents with that perspective by allowing them to accompany sales staff on customer site visits. Agents get a chance to see what happens on the customer’s end—how customers are using the company’s products and what issues they might be experiencing—to gain a better understanding of their perspective.

This is a practice that can work for centers in a variety of sectors. As Jay Minnucci, founder of contact center consulting firm Service Agility, points out: “If you have retail stores, agents should have a chance to work in them. If you have focus groups with customers, agents should have the opportunity to be involved (even if only observing). If you have a product or service that a consumer can use, every agent should get it for free (or at least at reduced cost). For the relatively minor expense of some time off the phone, the payback is more compassion, greater understanding and a higher level of engagement.”

At Memorial Health System, employees attend empathy training that explains the different types of patients that staff will come into contact with, their specific health issues and what they may be experiencing. Managers reinforce the training by posting “empathy boards” in all of the backstage areas, like break rooms and storage areas. The empathy boards include photos of a patient type discussed in training (but not an actual patient), along with key points about their situations. It serves as an ongoing reminder of the patient’s voice.

Transparent Communication Builds Trust

Having open discussions about the organization’s goals and the ROI associated with the customer experience is an effective way to help frontline staff understand the impact their work has on the company’s success. Jon Koelling, director of customer care at Intuit, says that clear and meaningful communication is an essential activity in his center. The organization’s goals and progress toward those goals is discussed in quarterly touchpoint meetings, as well as in traditional team meetings, via email updates and during biweekly pre-shift meetings. Continue reading

The Best of the Best – Customer Response Summit Seattle

The Empowered CX – Rethinking Service for Mobile & Self-Help Panel ft. HGS, Nintendo, Expedia, and Target.


The following is a guest blog written by Richard Shapiro, Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR). To learn more about their solutions visit their website at http://tcfcr.com/.

Once again, Chad and Susan McDaniel orchestrated a stimulating and educational Customer Response Summit, this time in beautiful Seattle. The keynotes were insightful, panel discussions enlightening and thought-provoking and the attendees were always engaged. Of course, Chad and Susan know how to throw a party and every social event was fun, especially the extravaganza on Tuesday evening at the Tap House Grill. The 80’s were a great era and all the trinkets, music and dancing brought us right back to that decade. Without fail, the opportunity to network peer-to-peer was the pièce de résistance.

The conference began with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Envisioning Center and Digital Crimes Unit at Microsoft. Those of us fortunate enough to attend Monday’s afternoon event were appreciative of an inside look into this major corporation. A picture is worth a thousand words. Perfect way to begin.

Microsoft Tours During CR Summit Seattle


The 1980’s, the theme of the conference, highlighted where we were and how far we have come. Chad, our exemplary MC, began the symposium with several clips spoofing customer service, including one memorable scene from the Seinfeld TV series when Jerry was told there were no cars available even though he had a reservation. Apparently, car companies don’t always actually reserve a specific car; the request is only entered into the system; making Jerry extremely frustrated. The question to the audience: has service improved in the last 30 years? It depends!

The organizations participating in the Customer Response Summit are leaders in their industries. Every participant wanted to learn, share and brainstorm with the Best in Class so their company can improve and provide exceptional service across every channel.

The 80’s were a simpler time with two primary channels of communication: face-to-face and phone. Now, in addition, there is email, chat, text, apps, etc. Consumers are not only using various channels to communicate, they are vaulting between each one making it difficult, almost impossible, to track and serve consumers. It’s an especially laborious task when company budgets remain tight and the cost for technology increases exponentially. Continue reading

Focus on the Firsts: Humanizing the Employee Experience

The following post is a guest blog written by Steve Muise, VP of Employee Experience at global contact center outsourcing company 24-7 Intouch. For more information about 24-7 Intouch visit their website

To hear more about this topic, join us at Customer Response Summit Seattle, where 24-7 Intouch and our other Idea Lab sponsors, will be sharing their leading ideas on how to improve the overall customer experience, for the connected consumer. To learn more about CR Summit Seattle, taking place September 28-30, 2015 click here.  

Psychology and Culture

Monitoring contact center retention and fostering well-performing agents is an ongoing battle companies face. Incentives, social activities and coaching sessions drive performance and help identify stars. The ideal is to develop these individuals, help them grow into Team Leaders and future Managers of your existing teams. This cycle continues with new agents joining your team, while existing ones grow or eventually depart.

The concept seems easy enough. Meeting KPI’s is always important, but focusing on motivators and the employee experience is where you’ll make the difference. Insert “Culture”. Yes, a term that’s cliché and not directly tied to your retention or performance numbers. That said, let’s forget about those metrics right now and look at it from another perspective.

We’re attacking the root of the issue here and focusing on the psychology of employees. What small gestures do we appreciate? What defines ‘professionalism’ in the contact center? How does recognition impact us?

Revisiting theories developed by psychologists Frederick Herzberg and Abraham Maslow, the Two-Factor Theory and Hierarchy of Needs, reminds us to meet peoples’ basic levels of needs to keep them engaged. Shift to humanizing your employees’ experiences, get them psychologically engaged and slowly create a culture that builds confidence to succeed, learn, and grow.






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2015 – The Year of the Customer

Customers today are well educated on your brand and have an expectation for how they want to be treated. Communication is key, both with your employees and your customers, to ensure a consistent experience, with the highest level of service quality, can take place. Whether you invest in a VoC program or another initiative, basing decisions on customer feedback is the way forward. How are you empowering your customers? Are you putting them at the center of all that you do?

Hear more in the video below from top executives from Hyatt, Porsche, Walmart, Travelzoo, and many more to discover what their priorities and areas of focus are for 2015.