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Customer Support News & Analysis

How Customer Communities Bolster Support Teams

2014-15-July-Contact-Center.jpgThe business benefits of customer communities are well known: call deflection, search engine optimization (SEO), product ideation and even revenue growth. While some of these benefits directly benefit customer support teams, others benefit the broader organization.

Customer engagement helps sales teams drive incremental revenue, ideation helps inform the product roadmap for product management and SEO helps the marketing team rank higher for particular keywords. Ask customer support managers and they’ll tell you how customer communities can make their teams more valuable.

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.

Note to Marketers: We're Not Waiting Any More

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The other evening, I found myself impatiently waiting on the supermarket checkout line. Although I waited just a few minutes while the clerk rang up the customers ahead of me, those minutes seemed to last much longer. Why?

Other customers seemed irritated, too, shifting from side to side, peering around one another, and making small noises when one woman pulled out her wallet after the clerk told her the total. How dare she waste five seconds? Didn't she know she'd have to pay?

It all made me realize that patience is wearing thin -- not just mine, but the patience of billions of Internet-empowered consumers who have grown used to instantaneous responses to such critical questions as "When will Earth be sucked into the sun?" or "What is Beyonce's shoe size?"

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.

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.

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.

Yes, the Marketing Funnel is Dead #PulseConf2014

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The marketing funnel, that venerable icon of converting prospects to customers, may not be a funnel at all. It may be more like an hourglass.

With some help from best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta called for a reinvention of the customer success movement at the Pulse2014 conference in San Francisco. The funnel, he said, "sucks" and represents an "old economy" business model.

His comments confirmed exactly what David Diamond told CMSWire readers yesterday: That it is time to do away with the antiquated notion of stuffing a sales funnel.

In Mehta's illustration of the funnel, the broad top of the funnel was marketing, the middle was sales and the narrow bottom was customer retention. He said that makes it look easy to retain those customers at the bottom, "like you should just outsource it," but that's far from what smart companies should be doing.

Taking CRM to the Next Level with the Internet of Things

With all of the talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s easy to get lost in the possibilities of the future. But right now, as you’re reading this article, you should already be devising a plan to integrate connected devices into your business processes.

5 Ways to Handle Real Time Content Demands

5 Ways to Handle Real Time Content DemandsBetween social channels, knowledge bases, blog comments, blog posts and the many other ways to interact with customers, how do you stay “on” in real time, even nights and weekends? Users are online all the time. Article comments, support questions and social posts appear around the clock. And as we have seen time and again, customers are more than willing to take action when companies don’t reply quickly enough.

7 Vendors Top the Forrester Wave for Customer Service Solutions

At a time when seven out of 10 online shoppers complain of unsatisfactory experiences, which vendors stand out as offering possible solutions? The authors of the latest Forrester Wave Customer Service Solutions for Enterprise Customers Q2 2014 (registration required) rated customer service vendors against 83 criteria and identified seven leaders.

According to the report, the vendors with the best strategy pursued excellence in a limited number of areas and avoided over diversified, Jack-of-All-Trade scenarios.

Make the Customer the Focus of Online Experiences

Nearly seven in 10 customers have had an unsatisfactory e-commerce experience in the past year, according to a new Forrester Wave on customer service solutions. That's a disturbing and eye-opening statistic, noted Kate Leggett, primary author of The Forrester Wave Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations Q2 2014 (registration required).

Leggett and co-authors Stephen Powers, Michael Facemire and Victoria Boutan identified the 11 most significant customer service solutions, but also warned that not all vendors are making the grade.

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