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Customer service has become a vital component of so many businesses these days. Where in the past it was simply a question of dealing with problems or concerns on a face to face basis, in the 21st century so many storefronts are being overtaken by their digital equivalents, with enormous amounts of shopping happening over the internet.

Back then it was a matter of finding the most presentable, nicely-spoken and well-mannered employees to handle in-store customer issues, now there is a requirement for the equivalent internet-based roles to be filled, and it can get pretty complicated.

A Bank Providing Digital Customer Support

Customer service online not only empowers customers to be more demanding in their interactions (since they aren’t face-to-face with another human being), it also requires more creative solutions and ought to be doubled down on as a marketing opportunity as well.

Putting the time and resources into training digital customer service representatives is costly in many ways, and presenting solutions to the customers’ demand is expected to be done quickly.

Here enters the chatbot – a prime solution to the problem of manpower, demand and customer relations. Let’s take a look at five things a chatbot will bring to your business.

#1. Round The Clock, Non-Stop Service

There are complicated ways of ensuring that human customer service representatives are available to your customers all night long. They usually involve outsourcing and division of workload, meaning that you have customer service representatives providing support from a country where it’s day time when it is already night for you. This is complex and potentially inconsistent. 

Chatbots, on the other hand, never stop. No matter if a customer is browsing to make a purchase at 4 am, they will always have ‘someone’ they can talk to with their questions.

Though it is ironic, this makes your customer feel more valued and much more catered for, as they perceive your company as being unique in the ability to meet their needs. This is one of the clearest advantages of using a chatbot as opposed to a real, sleepy, human being.

#2. Data Collection And Management

When a registered customer on your online store starts a chat with a query about a product or questions about your store as a whole, really what they are doing is feeding you data.

Data is a vital part of modern industry. It’s what sets apart companies that are able to think for the future from ones that are resting easy. It is vital that customer service is able to collect complete sets of data, on hours of operation, customer preference, demand, enquiries, sales rate and all of the rest of it.

Chatbots will far more efficiently store data for future analysis and use. A real customer service rep will most times either require further training or won’t have the requisite skills to identify useful information in the context of a sales conversation with a potential customer.

#3. Saves Money And Time

This is perhaps the most obvious of all of the benefits of engaging a chatbot to provide support to customers. Go to any company that has a physical storefront and talk to the owner about customer service.

They’ll explain to you that they have employees hired specifically for it, who are then trained across a period of time in how to handle customer service situations, when the majority of their job is dealing with simple requests. It’s clunky, expensive and ultimately inefficient.

However, a chatbot, whilst there will be a set-up fee naturally, offers you a non-stop customer service, with limitless hours without costing you further money. What’s more, the setup process is far simpler and far cheaper for your company. It doesn’t take a genius to see why having a chatbot is a no brainer for most companies who are looking to be competitive.

#4. Digital Solution For A Digital World

Chatbots are distinctly future facing. They represent a small cog in the giant machine that is overhauling industries – the Artificial Intelligence machine.

AI and all forms of automation are not only important as they represent a company that is up to date with trends, they are also indicative from a customer’s perspective, of a company which is fully optimized and that has invested in their customer service element. Despite the comparative ease of operation, chatbot use doesn’t come across as lazy, rather it comes across as invested and smart. 

The best chatbots reinforce those sentiments with real attention to the details, like smartphone optimization or even, in a few cases, options for virtual reality interactions between customer and assistant. It all amounts to a big contribution to a positive, modern and effective image of your brand in the eyes of a customer.

“Company perception in the modern era is half of the battle. It can be an uphill struggle for some companies, but the war is often won or lost in the details. Things like chatbots show vitality, something which customers are always happy to discover” writes Eleanor Pratt, marketing blogger at Boom Essays and UK Writings.

#5. Chatbots Are Better At Marketing

It would be highly implausible for you to get a real-life customer service representative to ingest your entire catalogue and understand in a complex, intuitive and immediate sense the links between all of the different items.

A chatbot can be programmed to do just that. When a customer has a question about a barbecue they want to purchase, a chatbot can instantly recognize the opportunity for a barbecue utensils sale and can even apply a unique discount to encourage that sale. Fast, efficient marketing, for maximum sales results.

Conclusion

When you step back and look at all of the benefits of chatbots, you start to wonder why not everyone has them. Chatbots are an opportunity to get involved with some technology which could lead to the positive changes in the company that will see customers happy, sales going up and costs plummeting.

The post 5 Things Your Business Can Expect To Get From A Chatbot – Chloe Bennet appeared first on .

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A survey presented on Pulse shows that companies are facing an employee burnout crisis. In a hyper-connected world, it’s very easy for employees to work longer hours. The rise of instant messaging makes work-life balance increasingly rare. In a recent U.S. study of 7,500 employees, 23% reported feeling burned out at work often, while 44% felt burned out sometimes. If not managed properly, employee burnout can lead to unproductive workers and even the loss of talent. It can also cause numerous health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and gastrointestinal issues.

This article will tackle the steps companies can take to avoid employee burnout.

#1. Get Regular Feedback

It’s important for managers to regularly get feedback from their employees. In our post ‘Are You Listening to the Voice of Employees?’, we suggested that through feedback sessions management will learn what their workers need to stay engaged and productive.

At the same time, it’s a way of saying that you value your employees enough to listen to them and adjust office policies to meet their needs. Studies have proven that getting honest feedback can do wonderful things, such as reduce turnover rates, create higher sales, and improve customer relations.

#2. Encourage Teamwork & Connections

Employees are less likely to burn out when they are able to lean on their officemates for support, and it is recommended that managers set collective team goals. When an office is working towards something together, it’s more likely to foster collaboration and strong employee relations.

Another way to encourage teamwork is to set out-of-office bonding sessions where employees are able to get to know their team members outside of a working environment.

#3. Support Employee Vacation Leaves

Encouraging your employees to take days off is important in keeping up good office morale. Holiday leaves help employees get the rest they need to come back to the office refreshed and ready to work. Some companies are apprehensive about encouraging employees to go on leave because of the pending work that gets left behind.

A solution to this is to hire temporary workers while the regular staff are away. An article by Special Counsel titled ‘5 Reasons to Hire Temporary Professionals’, outlines that temporary workers allow employees to enjoy their time off without the worry of missing deadlines or getting behind.

This is especially important if your employees are managing valuable clients who require regular coordination. Temp workers ensure that operations continue while your employees are getting the proper time off to avoid burning out.

#4. Set Realistic Goals

Computer World reminds office managers about the significance of setting realistic goals. This allows employees to work at a reasonable pace while still meeting the necessary deadlines. Unnecessary pressure will not do anything for your employees, and could actually be detrimental to them.

Remember that missed deadlines can be very stressful for employees. During times when management does need to push in order to get something accomplished, be transparent with your staff. Help them understand that the extra work is not normal, nor will it be an ongoing demand.

Workers who know that the intense grind won’t last forever will take on the task more efficiently than those who think the daily grind is never-ending

The post How to Avoid Employee Burnout – Janine Morgan appeared first on .

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Businesses across the world are overhauling existing hierarchies and power structures. New C-suite positions are being created to cater to specific business strategies. Among the most prominent C-suite positions is that of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO). Globally, more than 5000 organizations have a Chief Customer Experience officer, working directly with the CEO.

The CCO is entrusted with the responsibility of improving the quality of customer experience, and to inculcate a culture of customer obsession across the company. Therefore, measuring customer experience through the right channels, at the right time is of great importance to a CCO and the business. This blog gives you a quick sanity check on what to look at to measure customer experience in your company.

Importance of Measuring Customer Experience Right

When the quality of customer experience is measured with the right metrics, it helps the business establish the outcomes of previous investments that were made to improve customer experience. It also helps the business ascertain where they are heading with respect to their customer experience strategy and what improvements need to be made going forward.

Measuring Customer experience in the form of quantifiable metrics helps obtain unambiguous takeaways that can aid in informed decision making. As the Peter Drucker quote goes, “What gets measured, gets managed”.

5 Common Metrics and their value

Most organizations use a standard set of metrics to evaluate the customer experience. The number and types of metrics may vary from company to company, each aligned with the company’s customer experience strategy. On average, businesses use 2.5 metrics to measure the quality of their customer experience

Some of the most common metrics used to gauge the quality of customer experience are:

#1. Net Promoter Score:

Net promoter score (NPS) is a measure of how likely a business is to be recommended by its customers. It is usually measured as part of a survey where customers are asked to rate the brand, product or the service in general, on a scale of 0 to 10.

NPS is an absolute number which is arrived at by subtracting the percentage of the detractors from the percentage of the promoters. While the NPS is a good indicator to inform a business of how popular they are with their customers for their service, it needs to be measured at the right place and time.

#2. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT):

CSAT is used to measure the quality of customer service provided. It is a very simple survey of a few questions where the customer rates the quality of the service received. Typically, the CSAT is calculated immediately after the service is provided.

#3. Customer Effort Score (CES):
Image: tecnovoz.com

Customer Effort score is used to evaluate the effort that a customer had to put in to get their request resolved or a need satisfied. The score is usually calculated through the customer’s response to a question on how much effort they had to put in, with options ranging from ‘Very low effort’ to ‘Very high effort’.

#4. First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR):

This metric is used to measure the ability of the company to provide an immediate and final solution at the first interaction session with the customer. A high FCR means that customers typically don’t need to follow-up multiple times, spread over days, to get a solution.

FCR ideally needs to make allowances for issues that cannot be solved in the first contact. The Net FCR is calculated by taking such cases into account.

Net FCR = Number of cases that can be resolved at the first contact / (Total number of cases – Number of cases that cannot be resolved at the first contact).

#5. First Response Rate (FRR):

First response rate is the average amount of time taken by the support team to provide a resolution to a customer’s query. In other words, this metric measures the average time spent by the customer across channels to obtain the final solution from the point of contacting the company to getting the final solution to their issue or query.

In addition, businesses sometimes develop their own metrics which are tailored to suit their needs. Prudent decision making to determine the right metric is of paramount importance. Equally important is to measure the metrics at the right place and right time, while constantly monitoring the performance of the business across these metrics.

A business can then ensure a positive customer experience for its customers in an ever-changing world. The rules are changing, and customers expect businesses to cater to a multitude of needs. Being present across channels is the least that is expected from businesses. Providing a uniform and customer-oriented offering across these channels is a must.

Join us to discuss this and a lot more in our webinar on the new rules of customer engagement featuring industry experts Adrian Swinscoe, Angelica Reyes Froment and Kevin Knight. Register here for the webinar.

The post 5 Metrics To Shape Your Customer Experience – Varun Parthasarathy appeared first on .

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The 2019 Global State of Customer Experience report by the CX Network has been published. This year’s edition saw over 220 responses from CX practitioners in various functions across major industries all over the world. The participants share their insights into the trends, challenges & investment priorities that are shaping customer experience in 2019.

Images: Global State of Customer Experience 2019 Report

This article shares 3 key highlights from the report to help you stay up to date with the latest happenings in the CX community, this way you can easily benchmark the progress of your organization against that of peers and competitors, and prioritize your plans accordingly for the next 12 months. 

#1. 2019 Customer Experience Industry Trends

When respondents were asked for the biggest trends impacting the CX industry, the top three trends remained almost unchanged compared to last year, except that Digital customer experience dropped to second place, replaced by Data and Analytics in 2019.

Top Trends For 2019

Emotional engagement also took a huge leap holding the number 3 spot for CX solution providers in 2019. AI and chatbots are still a top trend for both Solution providers and industry commenters.

#2. Industry Challenges

Building a customer first culture remains a major challenge across board, especially for CX practitioners and solution providers.

Top Challenges 2019

Industry commenters fingered Siloed customer data the major challenge, followed by building a customer first culture. This is quite interesting considering siloed customer data is a new entry in the report.

#3. Investment Priorities

In 2019, Customer journey mapping made a comeback as a top investment priority for CX Practitioners, despite being knocked off the top position and dropping down five places in 2018.

Investment Priorities For 2019

Surprisingly, it didn’t feature among the top 3 investment priorities for industry analysts and solution providers. Digital customer experience is the top investment priority across board in 2019, taking the top spot from Data & analytics. 

It is also worth mentioning that the most popular budget size for CX initiatives in 2019 is between $0 – $50,000, very similar to that of 2018. 

As a Customer experience professional, it is important to stay up to date with the latest industry trends and technology. This enables you to benchmark your efforts against that of global peers and competitors and empowers you to make the necessary changes quickly.

The Global State of Customer Experience report contains insightful information and actionable data that helps you achieve this.
Download the full report here.

The post Highlights From The Global State of Customer Experience 2019 Report appeared first on .

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Organizational structure is what groups people in a certain way. This is designed by the owner, a manager or any other person in charge of a business and it’s specifically created to improve the productivity of the business. Ideally, this means that employees can work together, share resources and communicate without being unproductive. However, this is often not the case.

But business owners have to understand that all of this comes with some trade-offs. The decision on the organizational structure is an important one and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It will determine how people interact and how they work together.

Here are some structure examples and how they affect business productivity:

#1. Functional Structure

This is an efficient and strong structure. It groups employees based on their work speciality and features various departments. It also classifies employees into subgroups.

For instance, you would have a department like marketing and then a subgroup of that would be the sales. People are highly specialized and they work together, communicate and coordinate.

Image: Tutor2u.net

Management hierarchy also needs to be strong to ensure that the employees will adhere to all policies that were designed by the company. This type also ensures that there will be plenty of standardisation and mechanisation which means that there will be more efficiency and productivity.

However keep in mind that this also means less creativity, flexibility and adaptability to changes on the market. The specialisation can also reduce morale and lower productivity as well.

#2. Divisional Structure

The divisional structure is perfect for when there are more products and services than just one. Each product or service gets their own set of employees and this is exactly what divisional structure is.

The company is separated into divisions and then each division works like a separate business, a functional organisation that only reports to the owner. Every division is organized with a functional structure but with more adaptability because the divisions are highly specialised.

They aren’t as productive as they should be in theory because the economies of scale are lost. This structure can be used when a company has different locations or clients.

#3. Team Structure

Team structures are no match to the functional organizations in productivity but they far surpass it in the areas of innovation, flexibility, employee happiness and motivation, responsiveness and so on.

The teams are created from different professionals from different areas. These teams take on project and work on company goals or workflows. The owner will form teams as they need them and then give these teams the power to make decisions.

“However, these teams need to communicate and this means that they will spend a lot of time in meetings which are known to be unproductive. For unstable markets, this is the perfect structure because teams can react quickly and be creative,” says Steven Hals, a business blogger at Draftbeyond and Researchpapersuk.

#4. Virtual

This may not seem like a structure at first but it really is. Small business owner can only employ a small group of employees and outsource their work to virtual teams as they need help.

For instance, they might hire someone to do their books, production, shipping and other areas. This setup is great because you can expand this way, without hiring a huge team to be there all the time.

Virtual Organization Structure

You can simply not work with those teams when you don’t have a lot of work to do. There are no permanent employees or properties. This is where productivity stays with the company the business owner hires.

Organisation Structure - Line & staff, Functional, Committee - YouTube
More Elements That Affect The Productivity

The structure within an organisation creates different levels of productivity, depending on what type of structure it is. However, there is more to it than that. Here are 3 elements that you could increase in any structure to get more productivity:

#1. Influence of the managers

“If your managers are poor in efficiency and quality of work, then your entire teams will be too. This overflows everywhere. Luckily, the opposite is also true, so keep that in mind,” says Tina Almond, a project manager at Last Minute Writing and Writinity.

#2. Creativity

Getting your ideas from your employees is a crucial point in your success and the success of your company. The employee input can make your company stronger and better and make them more productive.

#3. Growth

When your company grows, but with a weak structure, then every line of communication becomes very strained. Make your structure adaptable and easy to work with when it comes to growth.

The post How Organizational Structure Affects Business Productivity appeared first on .

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cxservice360 by Kelechi Okeke - 3w ago

In the customer service industry, it’s sometimes difficult to differentiate between fact and myth. The industry is evolving so fast that the various players in the market sometimes struggle to keep up. This makes it fertile ground for false notions, fads and toxic myths.

It is important for professionals and business owners to balance these myths with reality in order to serve their customers effectively and also grow profitably.

To help ensure these false notions are not contributing detrimentally to your service delivery, this article is devoted to busting six more common customer service myths. 

#1. Satisfaction Equals Loyalty!

Here we dissect myths that impact on two aspects of satisfaction: Customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.

  • 1a. All Satisfied Customers Are Loyal.

Wrong, satisfaction is no longer enough. While loyal customers are probably satisfied, it doesn’t mean that all satisfied customers are 100% loyal!

Customer loyalty comes from the dynamics of two factors; Satisfaction “the positive experiences derived from the consumption of your products and services”, and Image “the perception that your brand creates voluntarily (communication, advertising, innovation) and involuntarily (word of mouth, the press, the web, your share price).

To nurture and retain loyal customers, your brand must rank above average on both factors. Merely satisfying customers is no longer enough!

  • 1b. Satisfied Employees Equals Loyal Customers.

This is not entirely true. While studies show that sometimes there is a link, in most companies this is not the case. Satisfied employees are likely to assist customers more pleasantly and a higher level of customer service, but they should not be confused with engaged employees.

It is important to distinguish between employee satisfaction and employee engagement. An employee can be satisfied with a job and yet remain unengaged. 

Employee satisfaction refers to the degree of contentment employees have with the terms & conditions of employment. This does not mean they will not go “above & beyond” their usual efforts. For instance, in the public sector, employees may be satisfied due to the lack of pressure on them; this does not mean they will make the effort to satisfy their customers.

An engaged employee is an employee who is passionate, deeply involved and willing to put in discretionary effort into their work – they are committed to their organizations. It is the engaged employees that contribute to the creation of competitive advantage and customer loyalty. 

#2. The Fastest Way To Get Customer Service Is Via Social Networks

Social media is the latest addition to customer support channels and it already changing how brands engage with customers. This does not necessarily make it the fastest way to get support, because the responsiveness of agents will depend directly on the company’s investments in this area.

For instance, if a brand has assigned just one customer service agent to manage its social media channels, and a hundred to answer the phone, customers are going to get faster support by using the voice channel.

Some brands are already investing big time in social media. LIDS built a social media command centre, equipped with eight 55-inch flat screen TVs that help in monitoring their social traffic and insights. This enables them to respond to customer interaction or industry news right away.

LIDS social media command center

Social media has the potential to be a real-time customer support channel only if a brand is willing to invest and allocate the right resources to make this possible. 

#3. Different Channels should Exist As Silos

Silos make it difficult to offer consistent customer experiences across different channels. Today’s customers will reach out to your company through whatever channel is most convenient or comfortable for them and expect that no matter their choice, they will receive the same quality of service.

In order to achieve consistent seamless experience across channels, a uniform omnichannel approach that takes into account the context and history of every customer on each channel should be considered. 

Many companies integrate data from their live chat, email and other channels into their customer relationship management (CRM) system to create this unified view of the customer.

This unified view provides deeper insight such as demographics about who the customer is, when the purchase was made, the channel purchased through, and the list goes on. Central access to these insights makes it possible for brands to consistently offer a seamless positive experience to customers across the channels.

#4 Human Agents Will Soon Disappear

Perhaps no human agent will exist in a thousand years…when the robots have taken control of the Earth. However, in the near future, fully automated and human-assisted service will continue to coexist.

In many cases, automated service is sufficient for high-issue resolution rates, but very complex customer requests will require human assistance to be resolved. This means human agents will become more productive as they no longer spend half their day collecting basic information or helping customers who could easily be assisted with AI.

Understanding this and implementing AI with the mindset of assisting human agents, and handing-off seamlessly when necessary is the best way to ensure that customers will have a positive customer support experience with AI in the future.  

#5. Customer Service Is A Cost Centre & Never Generates Revenue

This is another sad customer service myth managers struggle with when there is a need for major customer service investments in their organizations. In reality, customer service does offer revenue generating opportunities.

Ever heard of “up-sell” and cross-sell? Whenever customers interact with customer service and have their issues successfully resolved, it creates revenue opportunity through the recommendation of other products (or services) that can satisfy additional, complementary needs that are unfulfilled by the original product (or service). 

Image: neilpatel.com

In addition, customer service reps can encourage satisfied customers to post positive reviews on social media. This helps in building and promoting a positive brand image, as well as attracting new customers.

Some call centre managers create telemarketing teams as a means to further increase revenue generation. For e-commerce, some sites use special algorithms to determine whether a visitor on the website needs assistance in completing a purchase. The algorithm puts the customer in touch with a support agent, who assists in finalizing the purchase.

#6. No Need To Invest In Customer Service Technology

The reality is different, according to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research of 1,000 consumers in North America. 81% of respondents said they would like and would appreciate being offered smart technology solutions in several scenarios.

It is important to stay well informed of innovative customer service solutions in order to optimize service quality, gain competitive advantage, and retain more customers.

Brands need to invest in the latest innovative Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and customer support software. These empower support staff to assist the customers and solve problems more efficiently.

For businesses in the e-commerce space, Magento development or app development companies develop innovative solutions and apps that provide an enhanced customer experience.

Before investing in, or deploying a new customer service solution, you should ensure that the primary users (employees or customers) are involved throughout the development process, testing it and making recommendations before the solution is implemented organization-wide.

Most times, companies expect employees and customers to adapt to technology rather than the opposite. This results in aberrant systems that slow down responses, break individual initiative, and sometimes perform less well than “old” systems.

Smart professionals and entrepreneurs not only avoid buying into common customer service myths, they also understand that customer service is ever evolving, and even current best practices won’t work forever, or in every situation with the customers.

The post 6 More Customer Service Myths appeared first on .

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The bank’s customer service rep was distracted. He was responding to emails in between phone calls. The problem was he’d get halfway into an email and then the next call would come in. It took a second for him to shift his focus to the caller.

At the end of the call, he’d hurry back to the email. He’d skim the email as best as he could and then hurriedly type his response in hopes of finishing it before the next call came in.

One particular email was from a customer inquiring about his loan balance. The rep looked it up and saw the balance was $15,000. In his haste, he left off a zero. 

His email informed the customer that the loan balance was just $1,500

Distracted By Design

Customer service reps everywhere are chronically distracted.

They’re balancing multiple priorities. They often work in noisy office environments. The typical contact center rep must juggle five to seven different software programs on two or more computer monitors just to serve a customer. And they’re barraged by messages on email, chat, and even their personal devices in between.

To top it off, many contact center reps work like the bank employee in the story above. They are asked to respond to email or another written channel in between handling phone calls in an effort to eke out every last drop of productivity.

It’s thought to be efficient, but it isn’t. Customer service reps working in this setup are often less productive and are prone to costly mistakes. For example, the bank ultimately had to honor the erroneous loan balance and write off the $13,500 error.

Here’s a demonstration that can help you experience what’s happening to distracted employees. The image below contains a number of circles and squares. Try to count the number of each shape as quickly as possible.

Image: toistersolutions.com

Let’s try this again with a twist. 

Count the total number of circles and squares by alternating between counting each shape. In other words, count one circle and then count one square. Then count the next circle, count the next square, and so on.

Ready? Count.

Image: toistersolutions.com

How did it go?

Most people take longer to count the shapes and are more prone to making errors. Which is exactly what happens when you ask employees to switch back and forth between tasks all day.

The High Cost of Distraction

Distraction can cost a company far more than the few dollars saved by cramming in some extra work in between calls.

Another customer service leader told me about the cost of distraction at his company at the same time I heard about the $13,500 bank error. This one was even worse.

A telecom customer had emailed to ask if he had won a promotional contest. He had not won, so the customer service rep started typing an email to politely tell the customer he didn’t win.

But the customer service rep was answering emails in between calls. And the rep was distracted. So the rep’s actual email read, “You did win.”

There was a kerfuffle. The company tried to claim it was an honest mistake. The customer sued, and the company eventually agreed to a six-figure settlement.

You might be tempted to maximize productivity by having your agents juggle multiple assignments all day. Before you do, think about the potential costs:

  • Expensive errors caused by distraction.

  • Decreased productivity caused by constantly shifting attention.

  • Decreased service quality caused by a lack of customer focus.

Take Action With This Experiment

In my book, Getting Service Right, I constantly search for counter-intuitive solutions to vexing employee performance challenges. In Chapter Seven, the book explores reasons why employees often fail to pay attention.

Here’s one example:

I once worked with a medical device manufacturer that had its customer service reps answer emails in between phone calls. The stakes were pretty high—the company’s products were used in life-saving medical procedures.

We ran a simple experiment. Instead of having reps handle phones and email, we divided the reps into two teams. One team handled phones, the other handled email.

The number of reps on each team could easily be changed throughout the day. If phone volume was high, more reps could join the phone queue. When phone volume decreased, a few reps could be re-assigned to email.

This extra focus quickly had a big impact. Both phone and email quality increased because reps were able to give the customer in front of them their full attention.

But counter-intuitively, productivity increased in both channels!

You can test this yourself by running the same experiment for a week. Involve your agents—let them know what you’re testing. You can even run a test group and keep another group working the old way so you can compare the results.

This article was originally published on Inside Customer Service and has been republished here with full permission from the author.

Jeff has written three customer service books: The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Service, Customer Service Tip of the Week, and Getting Service Right: Overcoming the Hidden Obstacles to Outstanding Customer Service. More than 140,000 people from six continents have taken one of his video-based training courses on LinkedIn Learning.

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The post Could Distraction Be Costing Your Company Dearly? – Jeff Toister appeared first on .

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Amazon is a pioneer in the online retail industry. Since it was founded in 2004, it has set the standard for online deliveries. It’s currently the fastest company to earn over $100 billion in sales revenue, a feat that took just 20 years. What really differentiated Amazon from other companies was the introduction of features that capitalized on customers’ need for instant deliveries. 

Services like Amazon Prime guaranteed members free two-day shipping for any of their products, an industry game changer. When Amazon Prime was launched, its competitors struggled to keep up. Amazon made what would seem like a supply chain nightmare work to their advantage.

How did they do it you may ask? The Balance Small Business notes that one of the secrets to their success was outsourcing inventory management. 82% of Amazon’s sales came from third-party sellers. For them to get products to the doorsteps of their customers in two days, they needed to work closely with their partners. This was especially helpful for products that weren’t regularly bought by their customers. 

What Amazon didn’t completely outsource however was its logistics. The company understood that relying completely on third-party logistics would compromise their two-hour and same day delivery promises. This, plus their strategic positioning of warehouses near urban markets, was what allowed them to fulfil their customer promise. 

Despite new competitors cropping up left, right and centre, Investopedia explains how Amazon has kept their customer base engaged by providing perks. Just last year, Amazon launched a food delivery service exclusively for its Amazon Prime members who are paying an annual membership fee. This helps in retaining its customers in the face of other instant delivery services.

Amazon is continually looking for ways to use the latest supply chain management technology to offer fast deliveries. Business Insider reports that in the U.S., Amazon has patented the use of drones to help deliver parcels. Drones can travel up to 100 miles per hour carrying packages under five pounds. Using drones could be faster and cheaper than conventional delivery methods.

This need for faster service has already led to some advances in the delivery industry, with parcel services and fleets across the globe relying heavily on technology to improve drop off times. In the UK, fleet companies use tracking technology to provide greater transparency in the delivery of items. 

Verizon Connect details how fleet companies are using IoT technology to provide real-time updates on the delivery of packages. The site also notes how the technology can allow operators to “re-route drivers at a moment’s notice” in order to serve more customers in less time. These allow customers to know exactly where their parcels are and help companies like Amazon to provide the fast delivery services that the company promises.

Despite the efficiency of the Amazon supply chain, USA Today wrote a feature on their possible expansion to the delivery service industry, rivalling companies like UPS and FedEx. They started out by testing whether Amazon trucks could pick up products directly from their third-party retailers and deliver them to customers, instead of having products shipped to Amazon centres.

This quest for improvement and expansion is really what sets Amazon apart from other online delivery systems and what will set them apart for years to come. It is why they are the leading online retailer. 

The post How Amazon Perfected Online Delivery appeared first on .

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We’ve shared a number of inspiring customer service stories from brands in various industries from Airlines, to Hotels, to fast food chains and even ophthalmologists. This post is a customer service story about a watch brand that took proactive steps to ensure a customer’s experience ended positively.

In this story originally published on the watchuseek.com forum, watch enthusiast – Thrax narrates his experience in ordering for a Heimdallr watch, getting the wrong order and how the brand took steps to ensure he was satisfied.

On January 15th, I ordered a SharkMaster MM300 in green. A mere six days later on January 21, it was on my doorstep from Hong Kong via DHL (wow, fast shipping). Unfortunately, their shipping department had packed the wrong colour and I had received a unit with black bezel/dial.

Based on my experiences with other vendors in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan I was unfortunately prepared for a bit of a hassle in dealing with this, but I nevertheless emailed them hoping for the best.

I sent pictures of my order email and the watch that I received, and within 24 hours I heard back from Heimdallr Sales Manager Lily who was incredibly apologetic and offered free return shipping to make it right. Return shipping back to Hong Kong was $37 via DHL (with insurance), and I had a refund on the shipping cost to my PayPal account within 12 hours.

The replacement unit in the right colour arrived on January 29. So, now we’re at a total of 8 days to contact the manufacturer, arrange a free return, and get a replacement from halfway around the world. They even included a free Marine Nationale-style strap for the hassle! Pretty incredible thus far, but it gets even better.

The replacement unit I received had a misaligned dial and bezel (the “better” comes soon; I promise). I am not a person that gets bent out of shape about this kind of quality control (QC) issue unless it’s especially severe, but it was noticeable on my replacement when I switched to a striped NATO strap that makes it more obvious where the center of the case and the dial is supposed to be.

Aligning the dial and bezel to their relative centers made it clear that they were cocked a bit to the left of the case’s center. No big deal. I wasn’t even going to contact them about it, but Lily personally followed up with me on February 4 to ask how I liked the replacement. I thanked her profusely for her customer care and follow-up, but I did send her a picture of the issue with a vertical line drawn through the cannon pinion to show that things were a bit askew at the center.

I mentioned I was a bit disappointed but planned to keep the watch because I loved it so much. Now, here’s the kicker: Heimdallr fully refunded me the cost of the watch. I did not ask them to do it. Did not even hint that I wanted it. I fully intended to keep the watch at full price, and was happy to tell others about my positive experience with them despite my unit being a little crooked… But I got a full refund. All $219 of it. Even after getting a free strap. Even after $37 of free return shipping all the way back to Hong Kong.

Let me provide an anecdote to make this story clear: my most expensive watch is about $2100 (It’s a Longines Master Collection), purchased from an Authorized Dealer as a wedding gift from my wife. It’s nearly 10X the price of what I paid for my Heimdallr, and far beyond what I would ever pay out-of-pocket for my own collection.

Like my Heimdallr, we also had to return my first Longines unit due to some severe QC issues with the Chrono reset and crown stiffness. It was a gigantic pain in the ass to return my Longines for a replacement. The dealer was argumentative, required multiple rounds of proof, set obnoxious requirements and timetables for the return, and generally made our life a nuisance for two days. Just for the basic dignity of asking for good QC at $2100!

In every way, Heimdallr at 1/10th the cost has absolutely embarrassed the Longines customer service experience I received from that Authorized Dealer. Heimdallr was more communicative; more responsive; faster to ship; more accommodating in every way.

I had planned for Heimdallr to be a one-and-done brand addition to my collection, but now I will be absolutely returning. I know the closeness of their homages are not to everyone’s liking, but they offer a look and feel that would otherwise be way outside of my comfort zone. And, more importantly, they gave me one of the best customer service I’ve had in my life. Not just from a watch company, but from any category of product I’ve ever purchased. Long live Crooked Hulk!

Disclosure: I have absolutely no connection to Heimdallr, or any other company involved in the manufacture or sale of watches or watch

Thrax 

Even though Heimdallr got the order wrong the first time, they were able to set themselves apart by being very responsive and empathetic to the customer’s plight. The sales manager understood the importance of following up on customers after the resolution of complaints, and as a result, she has helped the brand win a customer for life.

The post Heimdallr Customer Service Story appeared first on .

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Customer experience (CX) has been on the front burner for organizations for a long time now. While it plays a very important role in winning & retaining customers, businesses must not miss out on what is happening within the organization.

Customer experience begins with the employee experience. Various studies have shown that having more engaged and happy employees will directly improve the experience for customers. This is because employees and customers are closely linked; as what one does affects the other, yet only a few companies are proactively working to improve the employee experience.

Get a head start on your competition, check out this infographic with ten actionable tips for improving employee experience in your organization

Bonus

Airbnb is a great example of a brand pioneering in employee experience. This video by Coorpacademy showcases the various ways Airbnb creates a great employee experience that helped them to reach the number one spot in Glassdoor’s 2016 “Best Place to Work” ranking

Airbnb, spearheading the employee experience (course extract) - YouTube

What steps has your organization taken to improve employee experience? Share them in the comments below and try out these tips to start improving employee experience in your workplace today.

The post 10 Things You Can Do To Improve Employee Experience [Infographic] appeared first on .

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