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Customer Service News & Analysis

Omnichannel Service Takes the Whole Company

When we look to a company for answers, what do we want?

We want a seamless experience and answers tailored to our needs, no matter how we reach out. Whether we visit a store, check a website, send an email, call customer service or all of the above, we want the source or person on the other end to understand our relevant history and quickly provide answers. We want omnichannel service, and so do our customers.

Here's How to Measure Customer Health

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The colorful new customer success tent is filling up quickly with marketers — despite lingering doubt about what customer success means or how exactly to measure it.

As it turns out, Forrester Research has been looking into the latter question. It interviewed 13 US-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies to get ideas on how "customer health scores" are measured. 

The study was commissioned by Gainsight, one of a number of companies in the nascent customer success segment  along with Amity, Totango, Bluenose Analytics, Evergage, FrontLeaf, Intercom.io, Preact.io, Scout by ServiceSource, Sparked.com and Woopra.

Meet the New 'Multimodal' Customer Service

2014-02-July-Fortune.jpgOrganizations have been gearing up over the past few years to support the needs of today’s omnichannel customer service enterprise, with the goal of offering a seamless consumer experience through available shopping channels.

Excellent work.

Now it’s time to change. Again.

A Man, a Blouse and an Awesome Customer Experience

customer experience, One Man, One Blouse and One Awesome Customer Experience

You never know where you'll find a great customer experience.

I found it today when I ran out to do an errand for my wife — a day late as usual.

Husband duty this time involved bringing a blouse/top/wrap (whatever you call those things -- I usually go with "shirt") to the local tailor.

This Tiny Restaurant Knows More than You About Customer Experience

Thumbnail image for 2014-18-june-Joe's-HomemadeIf you want to learn about customer experience, forget the next overhyped, overcrowded, tech-focused conference. Just eat at Joe's in Savannah, Ga.

Joe's Homemade Café, Catering and Bakery is the best of 750 restaurants in Savannah, at least according to TripAdvisor, a travel site that offers "trusted advice from real travelers." The 510-square foot gem of a restaurant is known for its sandwiches, salads, desserts and exceptionally warm and friendly service.

And while the food is delicious, it begs a customer to ask a question: "How did this tiny space with eight employees in a city of landmarked, exotic restaurants win the hearts of more travelers than any other?"

Don Holland, shown left, who co-owns the business with Ted Paskevich, shown right, doesn't have to think long when asked. "We believe that a strong commitment and delivery of quality food and exceptional service makes us appreciated by our customers," he said.

Oh, and one other thing. "We're big believers in social media."

Here are the 4 Steps to Customer Success

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The hottest job title in marketing right now may be "Customer Success Officer," though there remains some debate about exactly what that means.

For example, it's fair to ask: Is customer success management  different from customer support or  customer relationship management?

Obligingly, Forrester's consulting arm  issued a paper entitled "How to Get Started with Customer Success Management." It should serve as a handy primer for those who want a state-of-the-art interpretation of this emerging marketing strategy.

The paper, sponsored by Gainsight -- a big fish in this still-small pond -- even provides a nifty, four-step process for building a customer success program that will be a revenue-generation operation instead of an extension to existing cost centers.

It's This Simple - and This Hard: Know Your Customer

2014-10-June-Hello.jpgAs someone who’s been deeply involved in using, implementing and analyzing various technologies that support Customer Experience Management strategies, I take CXM seriously – both professionally and personally. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how little most organizations actually know (or care to know) about their customers … and how annoying that can be for the said customers.

If you know me, you know I'm a frequent flyer of one of the major airlines in the world. I’ve spent many years and many miles flying with it. The company should know a lot about me, right? At the most minimalistic level, it should know my name and my phone number. And sometimes it does. But when it doesn’t, it’s the most confusing and baffling thing.

What 2 Companies Rate Best in Customer Service?

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Financial services company USSA and uber-retailer Amazon took the top spots in the customer service ratings released by The Temkin Group, a detailed survey that evaluated 233 companies.

Chick-fil-A, Publix, H-E-B, credit unions, Starbucks, Costco, QVC and Trader Joe’s were among the companies with the best customer satisfaction, the survey found.

8 Things You Can Learn About CX on Your Summer Vacation

2014-4-June-Austin-Handshake.jpgI fell in love with traveling when I ran away from home at the age of five. (You would have run, too, if you were forced to eat my sister's creamed chicken.)

Years later, when I made a trip across the United States in a 1975 VW Super Beetle, I fell in love with technology, too.

There's nothing like a car without air conditioning to prove that simplicity has its limits — and that innovation is essential. 

Travel is one of the few things I suspect I won't regret on my death bed, at least now that I drive a car with all-season climate control — as well as GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and a 120-volt power outlet. (Did I mention it's also Internet ready?)

And here's the thing: You can learn a lot about customer experience by traveling, regardless of whether you go by car or air. 

Managing Services Requires Different Success Metrics

Customers are not as locked into services as they are to products. Therefore, we need a continuous process to ensure that the customer is satisfied.

Cloud Disruption in the Call Center

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The $22-billion call center market — dominated by legacy solutions from Avaya, Cisco Systems and Genesys — is ripe for disruption. Of the estimated 14.5 million call center agents worldwide, 95 percent of them still sign into on-premise offerings.

However, thanks to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) total cost of ownership (TCO) savings of as much as 40 percent and relatively easy implementations, the transition to the cloud has already begun: It’s estimated that within two years the cloud penetration rate in call centers will reach 13 percent.

At this month’s JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Mike Burkland, CEO of Five9, an emerging provider of on-demand software for contact centers, explained that the migration to the cloud is tied to the refresh cycle for on-premise solutions. Instead of spending big bucks to upgrade to the latest legacy offerings, the refresh often acts as a trigger opportunity to bring call centers to the cloud.

Men Want Products, Women Want Help and No One Wants to Wait

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No one has time for patience when it comes to customer service. But beyond that universal truth, there are significant gender differences between men and women when it comes to customer service.

According to a new survey from Kana, a provider of customer service solutions, both sexes are frustrated by wait times and slow response.

Beyond that, men are most annoyed by out-of-stock inventory, unknowledgeable or incompetent employees, lack of assistance and the bad attitude of customer service representatives. Women rate their frustrations, in order, as lack of assistance, bad attitudes, out of stock inventory and unknowledgeable or incompetent employees.

Busted: 5 Common Myths Of Customer Service

2014-22-May-Big-Fella.jpgThere are dozens of misconceptions about working in customer service commonly assumed by businesses. Whether a fresh young start-up or established conglomerate, mistakes like limited thinking or an overemphasis on one particular aspect of a customer strategy has the potential to weaken a business from the inside. And it’s amazing how many companies continue to make the same mistakes, resting on the appeal of their renowned brand name whilst they fail to address gaps in their service structure.

Bad Time for an IPO? Don't Tell Zendesk

2014-16-May-Zendesk-IPO.jpgIf anyone tried to convince Zendesk cofounder and CEO Mikkel Svane that now was the wrong time for an enterprise, SaaS company to go public, it’s good he didn’t listen.

Yesterday the company’s shares opened for trade on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol ZEN, at $9 each -- directly in the middle of its projected $8 to $10 range -- and ended the day at $13.43, more than 49 percent above where they started.

It’s estimated that the cloud help desk provider raised $100 million which it will use to build on its success and accelerate its growth.

Guess What 3 Countries Offer the Best Customer Service

The three top countries for customer service may not be the ones you expect. According to a new report from Zendesk, a cloud-based customer service platform provider, New Zealand, Canada and Norway know how to keep customers satisfied.

The just released Zendesk Benchmark Q1 report is one in a series since March of 2012. The previous report ranked Norway, Canada and Denmark as the top countries for customer service.

Sam Boonin, vice president of products at Zendesk, told CMSWire the report is based on 40,000 companies that use Zendesk for customer service. The data focuses on customer support efficiency, self-service behavior and levels of customer engagement.

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