Customer experience excellence has and always will be the epitome of any business. That’s a no-brainer. But delivering consistent customer service is a herculean task. Here are few inspirational customer quotes that will drive you to push harder for the cause.
“Service, in short, is not what you do, but who you are. It is a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do, if you are to bring it to your customer interactions.” – Betsy Sanders
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing i know: the ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” - Albert Schweitzer
“Give trust and you’ll get it double in return.” – Kees Kamies
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”- Walt Disney
“Customer service is just a day in, day out ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate, type of activity.” - Leon Gorman
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“There is place in the world for any business that takes care of its customers – after the sale.”– Harvey Mackay
“Customers will want to talk to you if they believe you can solve their problems.”- Jeffrey Gitomer
“Make a customer, not a sale.” – Katherine Barchetti
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.” - Sam Walton
“You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn how to enjoy your work.” – Laurie Mcintosh
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” - Bill Gates
“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” -Ross Perot
“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”- Jerry Gregoire
“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” -Damon Richards
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” -Donald Porter
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve jobs
“One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”– Jim Rohn
“Most of your competition spend their days looking forward to those rare moments when everything goes right. Imagine how much leverage you have if you spend your time maximizing those common moments when it doesn’t.”– Seth Godin
“If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”- Anonymous
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The year is 1997. I am 16, and behind the wheel of my first automobile: a 1988 Toyota Camry in baby blue, courtesy of my grandmother. With a Pavarotti concerto inextricably tangled in the teeth of the ancient tape deck, I am firmly and completely at the mercy of Clear Channel. Clear Channel, that media conglomerate that still dominates a huge proportion of the United States’ many radio stations, purveyors of pop, pop-punk, pop-rock… you get the idea. They were the bane of my newly mobile teenage existence.
This month, Clear Channel made an unusual announcement: a total rebrand. From now on, the kings of the airwaves would be known as IHeartMedia, named after their very successful online streaming venture, IHeartRadio.
IHeartMedia execs say that the change is intended to belatedly reorient the country for the 21st century and bring its brand identity more in line with the major aspects of its business: online streaming. Indeed, this is where the future seems to be. IHeartRadio has more than 50 million subscribers.
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But there was more than that. As my teenage self would tell you, to say that Clear Channel suffered from an image problem would be somewhat of an understatement. They were resented for the dominance they exerted over radio and their role in determining what amounted to a “national playlist,” a group of approved songs and artists that dominated Top 40 Radio.
In many ways, Clear Channel defined Top 40 Radio: they existed within it, and it within them. With Clear Channel in your passenger seat, you could ride from sea to shining sea, stewarded past the amber waves of grain by this or that top radio hits, the playlist as unchanging as the landscape of America’s vast, cornrowed interior.
It appears that Clear Channel/IHeartMedia executives had two goals when rebranding themselves. First, they wanted to shed those last vestiges of their uptight, corporate, un-fun past. Teenagers everywhere would be appeased, or at least fooled. They also wanted to reveal their true identity as a closeted tech company, an honorary graduate of Silicon Valley U, a fresh, young, and interesting tech company specializing in online streaming.
According to some, the brand’s reputation was so bad that it was actively damaging their ability to conduct business, specifically B2B. CEO Robert Pittman referenced the shift in tone they experienced after the change.
For rebranding to be successful, it needs to be representative of a cultural shift that has already occurred or is at least under way. If it’s only intended as a way to disguise and obscure a company’s true identity, it will ultimately be unsuccessful. The change needs to be genuine and, crucially, already under way, otherwise the public will perceive the deception and ignore it.
The Clear Channel/IHeartMedia executives have argued that the change is necessary to signify a shift they say has already offered. They argue that Clear Channel has grown since the launch of IHeartRadio, and the entire nature of the company has changed so much that it no longer made sense to use the old name.
Rebranding is a risky strategy that can potentially pay off. But it can also be seen as the death rattle of a doomed brand, the Hail Mary play that fails to even the score. It’s too early to say what will happen to IHeartMedia, but as the online streaming game heats up, they’ve certainly got their work cut out for them.
Russel Cooke is a business writer and consultant who recently relocated to Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter @RusselCooke2. You can find more of his work here.
Conflicting thoughts are an inevitable part of corporate life. It is necessary to bring them to the surface, because they could be a significant contributor to the organizational effectiveness. Once the organization is aware about the conflicts at hand, they could strategize their next plan of action to curb these conflicts from blowing up. However, due to certain apprehensions, these thoughts are seldom brought to the management’s notice. Corporate should ensure that such apprehensions are removed and complainants are protected. Protection of the complainant is equally critical, because certain complaints could have an unexpected aftermath for the complainant. Corporate should ensure the anonymity of the complainant is well protected and never be disclosed under any circumstances; this will also motivate customers in registering their accusation.
Even the Government of India has acknowledged the necessity of it and has suggested guidelines in Whistle Blower’s Protection Act, 2011 which received President’s assent in May 2014. On the same lines, corporate shall also create a mechanism to address all complaints. Software providers should act fast in recognizing the need of corporate to come up with a prudent cost effective solution for addressing anonymous grievances. They should proactively analyze the business scenarios thoroughly and come up with a solution.
The complainants are often apprehensive about the repurcussions of registering a grievance. However, if their identity is kept secret and are allowed to register their grievance as anonymous, this apprehension could largely be addressed. An automated voice process could further strengthen the complainant’s confidence by reducing the human involvement.
When a complainant calls, s/he should be greeted by a welcome message and be redirected to menu. In the menu options, s/he chooses the relevant option. After selecting the relevant option, s/he will be asked to record the grievances through voicemail. The voicemail will be recorded and will be played for customer’s confirmation. Once the customer confirms the voicemail, a voicemail ID will be generated for customer’s reference. An email notification, confirming the complaint registration, will be sent to complain registering authority. The call will be closed by playing “Thank You” message.
Ameyo Distress Call Solution is such a technology that implements a dedicated automated process for managing anonymous grievances. Developed by the leading provider of Enterprise and Contact Center technology, Drishti-soft Solutions, received positive acclaims on the a solution.
Personalized customer engagement is not a one-time occurrence, it is a course of improvement and advancement that requires a tenacious workforce and infrastructure. Once you have a persistent workforce and infrastructure lined up, you can begin the journey of personalized customer engagement.
Organizations aim to deliver world-class, second to none service, to meet the increasingly demanding customer base, who are well aware of their alternatives. Technology has now empowered the customers more than ever. It has changed the game, and the customers have changed the rules.Customers are now digitally connected, socially networked, and always game for technology revolution. They have to access to social networks, mobile applications, technology devices where they are able to connect and access information on the move.
Once the commitment has been made to provide personalized customer engagement, start where the biggest impact can be made: Contact Center. Contact center is the face of your organization, so make sure it is presentable to your customers because this is where you interact most with them.
One of the challenge is the unpredictable nature in the mode of communication. Customers will decide when, and how to communicate with you, and they expect to be appropriately responded through the same with no delays. Another challenge is to gain a comprehensive view of the customer when handling queries and resolving complaints. Customers expect to be known, acknowledged, and respected for their queries. Customer dialogue is not a series of discrete, unique experiences, it is a part of an ongoing relationship. Violating this relationship will result in profound consequences.
Arm your agents with the right technology tools and customer information to provide them with a 360 degree view of the customers, thereby allowing them to instantaneously obtain customer information from multiple systems that typically exist in departmental silos.A contact center technology will seamlessly integrate information from multiple silos and creates comprehensive information without exhausting the time of agents toggling between multiple systems.
Developing such a paradigm of exceptional service with personalized customer engagement, might seem as an overwhelming and daunting task, but once the process has been initiated the goals of increased loyalty and long term revenues can be achieved.
“The key to any organisation achieving excellent customer satisfaction is having systems in place that engage your staff in delivering unprecedented service and ongoing self-improvement”
It might sound as an overstatement, but Agents are the heart and soul of contact centers, and engaging them in business process, especially, communication based business processes is critical for the quality of service delivered. To improve agent performance, contact center executives should make sure that agents are adequately engaged. Here are four ways to boost agent engagement.
Make Contact Center as a part of the Corporate Culture: Contact center should function as a part of the organization, that functions as per the corporate culture. Call centers are not be treated as an extension but as a crucial part of the system. Normally the culture followed at contact centers and the enterprise are different, discouraging the agents. Perpetuate a culture of agent ownership and autonomy.
Reward: Rewarding your contact center agents for the efforts they put in is essential for motivating the employees for self improvement. Establish reliable performance metrics, and incentivize agents according to their performance. Agents wish to be acknowledged and appreciated for the efforts they have put in satisfying the customers.
Equip the Right Technology: Finally, arm your agents with the right kind of technology that makes their life easier. Analyse the performance metrics, and identify venues that require structured and technological improvement. These opportunities should be viewed as a profit center rather than a cost center. There are technology solutions like call-back that will help your agents in enhancing their productivity by minimising abandon rates, smoothing call spikes, etc.
Focus on metrics that drive positive agent experience: Coveting on straight productivity metrics is one of the quickest ways to destroy employee morale and satisfaction. Contact centers might talk about how employee-focused and customer focused they are, but their real focus is on numbers. AHT and Call handled per hour metrics encourages the agents to focus on numbers rather than what actually matters; Customer satisfaction. Contact centers are to embrace customer-centric metrics like First Call Resolution, Contact Quality, and Customer Satisfaction.
It’s time for terms like “Average Handling Time”, “bottom line” and “ call handled” to move over and make room for “agent engagement”. Obsess over the first set of terms and you’ll end up with poor results and obsessing over the last term will boost your revenues and agent productivity.
The essence of contact centers lies in quality control. Quality control has been about identifying and establishing performance metrics and measuring whether they were achieved during the normal course of operations. On the other hand, six sigma focuses on the defect rates and the methods to reduce them.
In manufacturing environments, it is clearly possible to identify performance metrics and also to establish tolerance levels of defection at every stage of the process. Six sigma principles allows them to measure whether the defect rates are within acceptable levels, and if not, adjust the process until the measures fall within the ranges of acceptable defection.Continuous improvement is an important Six Sigma approach, wherein the tolerance requirements are gradually exacted until they reach defined SIx Sigma level of 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
This approach shall be a daunting task for contact centers, due to the lack of precision and replicability of manufacturing process. But this approach is fundamental for contact centers to improve on their customer service and to develop and establish competitive edge. Recent studies have clearly indicated that the main imperative for contact centers is cost control. Contact centers strive to identify opportunities to optimize on their cost structures by reducing the average call duration, minimize repeated calls, improve agent productivity and reduce head count and encourage the use of self-assisted service channels.
Transforming contact centers into profit centers have been proved theoretically, but practically, the number of unsuccessful stories have overshadowed the successful. The main barriers in this transformation are insufficient workforce training and investments. These barriers are deeply rooted into the contact center culture and management. Another major barrier would be process change, which will account for the major transformations in the operational activities.
Achieving successful improvements through process changes would require a clear and in depth understanding of every stage of the process. Examining the shortcomings and defects and establishing alterations that are capable to overcome them.
There are two obstacles to achieving this transformational improvement. One, is that contact centers rely heavily on manpower; agents are the most influential factors in contact centers, and, second being the difficulty in examining the end-to-end processes involved, both within the center and enterprise.
Looking across the enterprise is difficult for contact centers that discourage integration between multiple communication channels that harnesses seamless and synchronized communication. CRM approaches are to be inculcated into the culture, where a complete lifecycle of the customer is tracked and displayed.
There is a 3-step solution to this problem;
Understanding the strategic objectives of the organization, measuring the defects and establishing process improvements.
Optimizing processes, manpower and technologies to improve their suitability for process improvements and transformational changes.
Align the improvement program, by transforming the process, education people and improving the support technology.
Once the improvement program is carried out, the organization is to measure the performance metrics and the defect rates, and repeat the process continuously to gain more.