The Great Contact Center Role Reversal: Social Customer Service

Even since the dawn of the call center, and through to the morphed version of today’s modern-day contact center, the roles of the service provider and the customer have been pretty clearly defined. The customer needed answers. The agents have the answers (at least that is the hope). And the provider of the service determined the rules of how a customer would get to an agent, which agent he or she would be routed to, and how fast that routing would take place. Machines, like sophisticated automatic call distributors (ACDs) automated this process…but still the rules of how all the […]

Measuring the Value of a Customer

I’m as big of an advocate for improving the customer experience as you will find. That said, one thing that bothers me is that too often companies don’t know the value of a customer to their business. When I ask, “What is the value of a customer to you?” Often the answer is, “A lot!” That’s akin to an exchange of, “How does this rocket engine work?” And the response comes back, “It works really well.”

Sure, that customer is valuable to you, but what specifically is the value of that customer? It’s pretty easy to calculate. Essentially, you need to […]

Customer Experience Makeover – Contact Center Edition

Makeovers come in all shapes and sizes. New hair and makeup, new body curves, even a house transformation that makes those tired three bedrooms and 1800 square feet look shiny and new.

What if you took that same concept – out with the old and in with the new – and applied it to the experience you deliver your customers? And how about if that makeover goes right to the core of the customer experience — the contact center? Together with our friends from TMC we hatched the idea. Our plan is to do a complete, no-charge, makeover of the […]

Learning Web Chat Lessons From Dell

Depending on the research report you read, chat looks to be the second most popular service communication channel, behind the ubiquitous telephone – and yes, ahead of email.

If that is the case, its no surprise that businesses are trying to figure out how to do chat well! Do I blend chat with my agents who also take phone calls? How many chats should an agent handle at once? What are the hiring criteria for a good chat agent? What tools do chat agents need in addition to what their phone counterparts have? What are the best KPIs to apply […]

My Multichannel Customer Experience Experiment – Post Script

If you’ve followed my posts tracking my experience with Delta airlines (latest post, My Multichannel Customer Experience Part 3), you’ll know that the airline didn’t do too well relative to delivering a great customer experience. However, I think I might have been critical of Delta for the wrong reason. What I’ve now learned is, they’re not bad, they’re just slow!

All my comments about Delta not responding to my tweets, online posts, and phone calls were a bit premature. This weekend, I got two calls from the Delta customer care people following up on my complaint. I then received a […]

My Multichannel Customer Experience Experiment – Part 3

So here are the results of the last part of my experiment, which in case you missed the overview, is set up in my blog post from last week, My Multichannel Customer Experience Experiment. Essentially, my experiment was designed to see how Delta Airlines would respond to a service compliment and a service complaint delivered over several channels. Here are the results of my “complaint” interaction:

Phone: Let’s start with the phone, since it proved to be the most interesting. I called the phone number listed below the comment/complaint tag on the Delta website. The speech-driven interactive voice response (IVR) prompted […]

Self-Service and Customer Satisfaction – Do They Need to be Opposing Forces?

For years (and I suppose still for many a CFO), moving customers to self-service options was a cost savings measure, not a way to improve customer satisfaction scores. But it doesn’t have to be that way… if you do it correctly!

Let me start with a couple tips from the writers at www.softwareadvice.com in an article they published on the subject important features your self-service portals should include.

Couple their ideas about reducing customer effort and making the search bar the centerpiece of your self-service support, with a multichannel view of customer interactions and you’re off to a good start.


Flexibility in the Cloud… What Does it Really Mean?

Anytime a vendor speaks of their cloud solution as “flexible.” It usually stops with not much more than a blanket statement that is seldom challenged, “Our cloud solution is flexible,” says the vendor. The customer might think, “It should be flexible. It’s cloud-based.” When in reality, that concept of flexibility isn’t that well understood. So what does flexibility in this context really mean and how beneficial is it to the customer?

I believe flexibility as it relates to the cloud has five main components:

Consumption flexibility – You’re not buying software licenses in the cloud world. Instead, you are paying […]

Do Our Contact Center Actions Create Customer Loyalty or Just Barriers to Leaving?

I need to start with an acknowledgment of David Cooperstein of Forrester for sparking this idea with me. David wrote:

“Lock-in mechanisms — mobile phone contracts, proprietary technology, and frequent-flier programs, for example — don’t create loyalty; they just create barriers to leaving. Forcing customers to comply with one set of rules designed for the masses makes your offer a commodity over time.”

David is exactly right. These “loyalty” branded practices, don’t create loyalty at all. I then considered this same thought for the manner in which we service customers in the contact center. Are customers doing business with the […]

Voice of the Customer – Are You Asking the Right Questions?

In a white paper that I co-authored with Paul Stockford of Saddletree Research on contact center metrics, ” Contact Center Metrics that Matter,” we included a focus on including the voice of the customer as a key measurement. We talked about net promoter scores and the challenges with getting a large enough sample size to make the results relevant. However, this week I was reminded of the core fundamental that while you might get the surveying process correct, if you aren’t asking the right questions, you’re missing the mark.

I presented at the Society of Telecommunications Consultants (STC) conference this week. […]