Monday Jan 06, 2014

5 Predictions for CX in Customer Service for 2014 by Brian Curran

Happy New Year to you! As we move into 2014, I spent some time thinking about the trends we’re seeing in customer experience and how they relate more specifically to customer service. Here are a few predictions I have for the coming year. Let me know what you think, too!

Easy & Accessible Trumps Delightful & Courteous

The usage of Customer Effort Score (CES), the measure of how much effort the customer has to put forth to resolve a customer service issue, will exceed the usage of the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) as the important measurement to determine effectiveness of your service delivery. Customers today expect service to be easy and accessible. And, even if you have the most courteous agents who are empowered to delight customers, if the process required a lot of effort from customers, they are more likely to turn to a competitor the next time they purchase. CES can also provide specific feedback into where to focus your improvement efforts, such as the time it takes to search for an accurate solution, or the effort it takes to return an item. It is a stronger predictor of customer loyalty. 

2.      Brand Equity and Trust is Built More During the Use Phase (Service and Support) of the Customer Lifecycle

Your brand’s promise is delivered when people use your product or service and it actually fulfills the need that drove them to your brand in the first place. The perception of the buying experience fades quickly but the perception of whether your product or service met my needs does not. We call this part of the customer lifecycle the “use” cycle, and a key part of this cycle is customer service. Customer Service is the #1 key mover of Net Promoter Score (NPS), the likelihood that a customer will recommend your product to someone else. This linkage between Customer Service and brand equity will drive higher investments in customer service as a key part of your organization’s marketing strategy.

3.       Service and Support Interactions Drive Higher Conversion Rates in the Buying Phase

When people research a product during the buying phase, they often research how others feel about the product or service they received from your brand. This feeling is garnered during the “Use” phase of the customer lifecycle, and it is driven by the value they received from your product. Knowledge of how that product works and interactions with your brand post-purchase to solve issues influences customer recommendations. These recommendations are the #1 driver of conversion rates during the buying cycle. 

Omni-Channel “Conversations” Differentiate in Customer Service

As customer expectations of anywhere, anytime service continue to rise, Omni-channel “conversations”-- the ability to switch channels but continue the conversation without repeating yourself--will become the differentiator in customer service. And, as the usage of mobile continues to explode, all “conversations” need to be able to be performed on a mobile device (Web Customer Service, Chat, Virtual Assistant, Collaboration, and Voice) and transition smoothly from the device to other channels when necessary. 

5.       “Big Data” Provides Real-Time Personalization and Actions

Big data has been the buzz for a few years now, along with the promise of personalizing interactions for increased conversions and customer loyalty. But, it’s more than just collecting massive amounts of data. It’s about the laser focus of analytics and decision tools for taking action on the specifics of it—for a specific customer. Predicting customer needs and being proactive in your engagement helps to drive a more effortless interaction. You should know why a customer is calling and the probability of an answer based on data you have about recent interactions across all channels. You should know where the customer is located and the availability of help in the area. And, all of this information shouldn’t “creep” the customer out, but should instead add value to the relationship with your brand. Your customers will be more likely to opt-in to reduced privacy if you can save them time and effort, helping them get back to fulfilling their needs. 

For more information, please visit our website.

Tuesday Mar 19, 2013

Differentiating Your Brand with Customer Service By JP Saunders

Can you imagine what the conversation with the venture capitalists must have sounded like when Tony Hsieh, co-founder of Zappos, told them that his business plan was to sell shoes over the Internet? We all know that you have to try on shoes before you buy them, and as good as the virtual experience can be, it can’t tell you if your toes will be cramped. But that didn’t stop Mr. Hsieh. As he says in an interview with his Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences alumni newsletter, “The goal is to ‘Deliver WOW Through Service’, so we don't have scripts, call times, or upselling the way most call centers do.”

Zappos teaches us something fundamental—to treat customers the way they want to be treated and apply great customer service practices to meet their expectations while achieving your business goals.

Bottom Line: Customer service matters. JD Powers published a study called, "Beyond Satisfaction: J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions—Brands That Deliver Service Excellence to Maximize Business Results.” In it they analyzed the feedback from hundreds of thousands of US consumers doing business with more than 800 companies. They found that remarkable companies use service excellence to drive superior business results. Included among the 50 companies recognized as all-stars, were Oracle RightNow customers: Bass Pro Shops, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Kohl’s, ING Direct and others that we aren’t at liberty to mention.

But how can we be sure that great customer service matters to the bottom line? 1to1 Media and Peppers & Rogers Group put it to the test in a fund created based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). According to the study, “the cumulative return of a $100 investment in the ACSI fund from April 2000 to April 2012 was $490, a gain of 390 percent. By comparison, the S&P 500 returned only $93, a 7-percent loss.”

So, what can your company do to differentiate its brand with customer service? Maybe it’s as easy as following the advice of Kate Leggett of Forrester. Leggett identifies the top 15 trends in customer service in her blog entry, and her categories are just what you’d expect: Personalize Customer Service, Empower Agents for Quality Service and Take Advantage of Maturing Customer Service Solutions.

What happens when you go onto your brand website?  

  • Do you have access to service where you need it, not just on the service page?
  • Does a live chat agent appear just when you’re about to give up on your search?
  • And, when that agent is chatting with you, do they know where you’ve been on the site in that session and what you’ve done historically with the brand? 
  •  Are you able to connect with a community of experts and hear from your peers?
  •  When you’re on the brand Facebook page, are you able to connect to customer service? And, if you are posting on social channels, does your customer service organization know just when to proactively reach out to help?
  • Have you ever ended a call with a customer service agent, just to call back to get connected to a different, more knowledgeable agent? I hope not, but if you have, what are you doing to ensure that everyone who contacts your brand from their preferred channel is getting a consistent and reliable service?

It’s not just about one of the bullets above. It’s a consistent and reliable focus on these points and others. What does your customer journey look like and what do you want the customer to take away from each experience? What happens when your customer Tweets they are looking for a way to refinance their mortgage and searches your brand site for an answer at the same time? Live Chat triggers a session and the chat agent sees where that customer has been on your website, as well as the customer’s Tweet. A quick cobrowse session allows your agent to guide the customer through the steps of filling out a re-financing form. And, a confirmation email is sent with relevant auto-generated links. This customer experience is a meaningful and successful customer journey where the next interaction continues to build the customer relationship.

How you serve your customers and what you do to elevate their experience is up to you. The next time you think your service experience can be better, rise to that challenge and demand an answer.

Learn more about Differentiating your Customer Service and Reducing your Costs on our website.

Monday Feb 11, 2013

I Am Leaving You for Someone Else…

Brandy,

I awoke this morning and decided to leave you. I have been thinking about this for a long time and I am just getting the courage to make the move. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate everything that you have done for me up to this moment. I appreciate your loyalty to our relationship. It’s just that I have found someone else.

[Read More]

Friday Feb 08, 2013

Turning Customer Self-Service into a Brand Differentiator

Nothing turns a customer off more than bad service—especially now that products are becoming commoditized. And with the digital generation, customers want to be able to connect with you anytime, anywhere, and from any device to resolve their own service issues.

So you are finding more and more of them going online to serve themselves, 72% according to Forrester. However, only 52% find the information they need. If you are one of the companies disappointing the 48%, watch out. Because 89% of customers will switch to a competitor after one bad service experience—up from 59% just four years ago!

Stand out from the crowd by Turning Customer Self-Service into a Brand Differentiator. When you do, you will benefit from the nearly 50% of customers who go online to praise your brand for outstanding service. That praise leads to sustainable business growth and profits by enhancing your ability to get and keep more customers at lower cost.

So how exactly do you turn your customer self-service into a brand differentiator?  Visit Oracle’s website to hear the Transform Your Brand Educast presented by The International Customer Management Institute and Oracle.

In the webcast, you will learn how Top-Ranked Customer Experience brands use Oracle Web self-service solutions to stand out from the crowd while saving millions on call and email deflection.

 

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