4 Takeaways on Modern Customer Service from CloudWorld
By Christina McKeon on Feb 03, 2014
Oracle held CloudWorld last week in San Francisco. While there were many ideas and themes being discussed in the Customer Service track, several stood out as key differentiators for any company interested in a modern approach to delighting customers.
1. Prepare for a culture marathon, not a sprint. Alex Marxer, President of ResortCom International, discussed how his organization had to modernize for the timeshare market. The business model and culture no longer worked in a post-recession economy. That meant making significant changes, including taking a call center outsourced in Mexico City and moving it to Las Vegas. What was so impressive about this move is the fact that ResortCom stuck with it over a multi-year period. It’s easy to recognize that your organization needs fundamental change, but it’s difficult to make that change happen and see it through to success even during the low points. With such perseverance, it probably doesn’t surprise you that ResortCom improved its results with a 27% increase in reservations made and a 58% increase in revenue per call.
2. You can balance quality customer care and profits. Barry Lieberman, Chief Customer Care Officer at Q-See, touched on a topic that challenges many Customer Service executives—how to offer quality customer care and still remain profitable. In its surveillance business, Q-See offers peace of mind to customers, which comes at a cost especially when customers have to call to get an answer. Q-See modernized its customer care with a multi-channel approach. It launched a new high quality customer portal where customers could self-serve using how-to videos, pictures with step-by-step instructions, and wizards and configurators. Q-See also introduced smart human support. It built online communities and facilitated social support, offered interactive email conversations, and provided chat capabilities. By offering help that is just a click away, more customers received quality answers without having to make a phone call. And Q-See was able to find the right balance between quality customer care and profits.
3. Rethink your customer portal design. While user-focused design is a foundational element of most web design, HOSTING moved to a more modern approach for its customer portal. Sean Bruton, VP of Product Management at HOSTING, and Rob Clark, UX Director at Aspenware, shared details on how HOSTING evolved its customer portal to focus on customer activities instead of the user. This approach makes sense for a cloud-hosting provider. Its B2B model requires strong, personal customer relationships. An outdated portal that delivered a large volume of lists and links and disconnected alerts was no longer serving those relationships. HOSTING moved to object-based design where customers now have a dashboard entry into their portal. Simple color-coding using green, yellow and red for the hosted servers alerts customers to any issues with their servers. Customers that see yellow or red know to click through to understand the issue with the server and get answers that turn that server back to green. They no longer have to search through documentation hoping to find the right answer. Answers are provided based on the context of the situation.
4. Account for the impact of employees on customer outcomes. If you have ever spoken to a Customer Service agent, then you know how much a difference one employee can make for better or worse. According to Jon Kaufman, Partner at Bain & Company, many organizations are still missing an opportunity to connect employee engagement with customer outcomes. He recommends moving away from traditional HR-led employee engagement to a modern business-led approach. Engagement leaders do things differently. They are oriented around dialogue and taking action, give supervisors the support they need, give employees an active role in figuring out how to delight customers, and recognize that drivers of engagement vary by different employee groups. While many organizations are using customer Net Promoter Scores (cNPS), it also important to measure employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS) and correlate eNPS to the overall customer experience. This modern approach to engagement does lead to better results—engagement leaders have stronger customer loyalty and deliver superior financial results.
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