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Customer Service News & Analysis

Why Your Business Needs Seamless Return Processes

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How well your business handles those returns may have a big effect on your bottom line.

“The customer's default mindset is that a return in any form is already an inconvenience, so a failed attempt can inflate the annoyance to the point where the shopper will seriously consider no longer shopping at a particular store," said Dennis Armbruster, a consulting managing partner at LoyaltyOne, a provider of loyalty marketing and programs.

Modern Customer Service: Are You There Yet?

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Although most executives think they’re doing a good job in delivering the best service to their customers, there is plenty of room for improvement.

A new Forbes Insight study reveals many executives are missing the mark on just how valuable customer service can be for strategic initiatives such as brand differentiation, competitive positioning, new customer acquisition, improving their product offerings and even employee satisfaction.

In fact, only 38 percent of those surveyed named customer service as an organization-wide strategic goal.

Sponsored by Oracle, the report, Modern Customer Service: Are You Outpacing Your Executive Peers? (registration required), includes 38 pages of insight from 415 executives about the focus of their customer service organizations, their use of knowledge management tools and channels, and their customer service challenges.

Jadu Claims Its Latest Update Will Disrupt the CRM Space

A Leicester, UK, web experience management provider has launched a cloud-based case management system that its CEO claims will disrupt the "the large IT CRM space with a secure cloud platform that is built around users and people.”

Jadu, founded in 2001 on the Jadu CMS platform, just released Jadu Q, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), multi-tenant product for managing the customer experience. Company officials said it includes strong collaboration capabilities with a focus on customer retention. It also includes a full messaging system and time-based ticket and enquiry management functions.

The new offering "provides the end user of a service with the ability to manage and present their case proactively," Jadu CEO Suraj Kika told CMSWire. "When customers make complaints, applications or 
requests online it is normally a ‘fire and forget’ exercise. Q gives the customer access to a portal where they can requests updates, upload ‘evidence’ and see the case unfolding."

How to Get Customers to Not Hate Self-Service

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Self-service portals are springing up everywhere.

Some customers love them, while others shudder at the thought of involving a database in their problems. At the same time many companies are doing a poor job of implementing self-service or avoiding it altogether for fear of driving customers away.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By understanding the potential benefits of a well-integrated self-service portal, you’ll be able to make sure yours doesn’t suck (and even pick up some new customers in the process).

So why consider a self-service portal?

Retail, Travel Customer Satisfaction Dropped in Q4

Holiday shopping and travel took a toll on customer satisfaction in late 2014. According to the latest Zendesk Benchmark report, overall global customer satisfaction was down in the fourth quarter — especially in travel and retail.

Global Customer Satisfaction dropped to 94.71 percent in the last three months of the year, down 0.26 points from the previous quarter. Customer satisfaction in travel and retail both dropped 0.9 percent from the previous quarter to 90.9 percent and 89.1 percent, respectively.

Asia showed the greatest improvement in customer satisfaction over the previous quarter: China, Singapore and Vietnam posted the largest gains, but could not unseat Belgium, New Zealand or Ireland from the top spots, which posted the highest scores for the second quarter in a row.

On the industry side, marketing and advertising, web hosting and real estate posted the greatest improvements, but were still unable to unseat government and non-profit, IT services and consultancy, and healthcare from the top spots.

The 3 C's of Personalized Customer Service

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Customer service is a key differentiator for many companies. But as the number of communication channels and devices increases, so do the challenges of delivering personalized service across those channels.

A unified view of the customer is needed for omnichannel customer service -- something that can't be achieved with siloed systems and disconnected information. Channels can't merely coexist, but must inform one another to provide the needed context that makes each customer experience better and more personal. To succeed at customer engagement you must meet three fundamental requirements: being consistent, complete and contextual.

The Year Emotional Intelligence Meets Customer Experience

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Despite the fact that we are in an age where everything seems to be computerized and automated, this is the year that businesses will start to feel more human. Customers will feel more and more like businesses are listening to their individual wants and needs.

 

A Look Back: Still Searching for Optimal Customer Experience

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You couldn't escape talk about awesome, amazing, remarkable customer experience (CX) in 2014 — or, for that matter, related terms like customer satisfaction, customer focus, customer service or customer-centricity. It is, after all, the Age of the Customer — a reality that has caused businesses everywhere to embrace CX as a business goal.

But like the mythical 10 pounds we collectively vow to lose on New Year's Day, the customer centricity of most companies, as evidenced by their delivery of memorable customer experience, rarely evolved from a concept to a practice this year.

And no matter how hard companies tried — with new technologies, new programs and even new names ("customer success," anyone?), the dream of seamless, engaging, excellent cross-channel customer experiences often remained an illusion.

  • Why is it cheaper if I order online for in-store pick-up than if I just buy it off the shelf at the store?
  • Why do so many companies make me wait more than 30 minutes to speak to someone who might have the authority to resolve my problem?
  • Why are call center representatives unable or unwilling to understand when you plead "I cannot hear you – please adjust your headset?"
  • Why can't anyone listen to what I am saying?
  • Why are so many of my interactions with companies simply frustraneous?

Why, indeed?

Shep Hyken: A Guy Who Embraced Customers Before It Was Popular

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Anyone who knows anything about customer experience (CX) knows Shep Hyken.

Hyken is a go-to source for anything related to CX. He's also a professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build lasting relationships with their customers and employees.

In addition to writing in hundreds of publications, he is the bestselling author of "Moments of Magic," "The Loyal Customer," "The Cult of the Customer," "The Amazement Revolution" and, most recently, "Amaze Every Customer Every Time." He is also the creator of The Customer Focus program, which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

Did we mention he's the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations — a company he founded in 1983?

The Psychology of Personalization

2014-26-November-Personality.jpgLet's get right to the punchline, and then back it up with some facts. Automated personalization and the human touch are complementary, but systems will improve and automated personalization will handle more and more of the personalized interactions with customers. It’s not only because automated personalization is more efficient. Sometimes the results are better when human-to-human psychological baggage is subtracted from the equation.

Personality Matters in Customer Service

Mike Ashe has a philosophy about CRM: “If we’re right more often than we’re wrong then we’re going to beat random.”

By that, he’s referring to the analytics behind his company Mattersight's Predictive Behavioral Routing which “predicts which (customer service) agent is best-suited to handle the next call based on individual customer behavioral data and agent performance data.”

Organizational Ego and The Trust Crisis

You get the website you deserve. Your website instantly tells your customer about your brand and culture.

Customer Service Isn't Personal if it Isn't Based on Trust

2014-21-November-Trust.jpgOnline business is fast paced and at times chaotic. Before making purchasing decisions, consumers draw from extensive touch points, such as previous experiences, recommendations from peers, personal research and brand marketing. While brands work hard to win customers over with complex marketing strategies and last-minute deals, the customer experience itself can often fade into the background. But businesses that take the time to personalize customer engagement and respond individually to support inquiries can encourage a customer’s trust throughout his or her relationship with the company, which establishes an invaluable connection between brand and consumer.

3 Messages to Personalize, 3 to Automate

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Customers not only expect outstanding support, they deserve it. In this digital age, client inquiries should receive a response within 24 hours. If you fail to do so, chances are your customer is moving onto another company that can.

To provide the quickest, most efficient and most helpful support, a combination of personalized and automated messages promises the best results. The challenge lies in deciding when to take the time, energy and effort to customize a personal response and when to provide a quicker, more efficient automated response.

What the French Taught Me About Customer Service

2014-10-November-Bread-Shopping.jpgBefore moving to Paris, I heard horror stories about how rude the French were and readied my family for the difficulties we would experience. But during my four years there, I came to see the French as the purveyors of the best and worst customer service I ever experienced.

France is a country where customer service is an economic imperative as they claim title to being the most visited country in the world with more than 85 million annual visitors and with tourism representing 10 percent of GDP. The French government has tried several campaigns to promote great customer service to increase tourism.

That's only half the battle. Being the right customer and adjusting expectations is what transformed my customer experience in France, and created new levels of loyalty for me with companies large and small alike.

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