How-To: Targeted Routing with Custom ACD

I was teaching a Customer Interaction Center handler developer class recently when one of my students gave me a scenario that had been causing them some head-scratching. The call center in question is not a typical one. In this case, when people call in they are prompted for an identifier (customer/case number). The requirement was that the system should look up the number in a database, retrieve the identity of the agent that “owns” the particular customer and route the call appropriately.

So far so good. If the agent concerned is not available, then the call should be directed to another […]

What Do Consumers Value Most in a Service Experience?

As a customer experience professional, I am always interested in what customers value the most. If we get it right, we can successfully manage our resources, priorities and engagements to ensure we are providing the expected value to our customers and ultimately achieve our respective goals.

To that end, we conducted a study with consumers around the world earlier this year, “Customer Service Experience Study, Wave II“, and in it asked two key questions: “What do customers want in a great service experience?” and “What do companies and customers want from the technology behind that great customer experience?” The respondents […]

The Future of Customer Engagement Will Look Much More Like This

Earlier this summer, Amazon turned a service failure into a genuine feel-good moment. It was a great illustration of how the art of customer engagement is changing, for the better.

My family had gathered together to watch a movie while away for the weekend in wine country. The choice was finally made (after much debate), seats negotiated, licorice distributed and play button pushed. Suddenly the dreaded “death spiral” appeared on screen as the movie continued to buffer. After putting the room back in order, my family begrudgingly retreated to bed. Before my head hit the pillow, I decided to check […]

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 […]

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 […]

My Multichannel Customer Experience Experiment – Part 2

I outlined my experiment design in my post 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 “compliment” interaction:

Email: Not offered on the Delta.com website

Webchat: Not offered on the Delta.com website

Online web form: The form was easy to find and had four demographic/ID questions and nine “tell us about your experience questions.” I filled out the form, listed the gate-agent by name, wrote a brief compliment and explanation about my […]

How to Put Serve Back into Customer Service

Two of my passions outside of work are baseball and ministry. Nine years ago these two worlds collided as a youth baseball ministry formed to train young athletes to lead and play differently than the example set for them in the media.  Serving at the annual leadership and skills training camp has been one of the greatest joys in my life. Camp is one week away and I can’t wait!

I was just reading Joe Staples’ call to empower agents to deliver a great customer experience and it really struck a chord. Common sense but so uncommon in practice.

Reflecting, […]

Should the Size of your Company Determine the Quality of your Service?

Small businesses have many disadvantages when going up against larger competitors – smaller budgets, less name recognition, smaller customer base, fewer resources – and that is just the start. But enter in the great equalizer – the ability to deliver a better customer experience.

Maybe your bigger competitor has 5,000 support people in their contact center and you have 12. Any given customer, at any given time, is a one-to-one relationship. Your agent helping your customer. And as a smaller business, you actually have some advantages – less bureaucracy, increased flexibility, more personalized relationship with your customers, shorter paths to […]

Smart is More Important Than Nice – Defining What Matters Most in a Customer Experience

Smart is more important than nice – Defining what matters most in a customer experience

In our recent study defining what customers want in a great service experience, respondents said that the item they value most in a customer service experience is “a knowledgeable representative.” Interestingly, when we asked the professionals behind delivering those customer experiences, what they thought was most important, they ranked “a timely response” as their number one answer. Now in full disclosure, the scores showed that both are important, but given the choice between the two, which is right?

Clearly, it is the response of the […]

The Answer to the Contact Center Debate Over Efficiency vs. Customer Satisfaction

Okay, I admit up front that this isn’t an either/or discussion – efficiency OR customer satisfaction. That said, I’ve found that most contact centers swing one way or the other. They are either primarily focused on improving efficiency and driving down costs (oh yea, we want to satisfy our customers too); or they are all about the customer experience (oh yea, we try and be as efficient as possible too). One of the two is usually the primary objective and the other an after-thought. An experience I had recently helped me better understand the cross-over point between the two – […]