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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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Digital technologies today evolve faster than we can adapt. If you consider this to be a huge hassle for your business, take a breather to think from the POV of your customers. They are constantly coming across new technologies that they cannot easily comprehend. The result? Businesses taking this as an opportunity to reshape their customer experiences with tools that smoothen their customer journeys.

But why is it important to effectively manage customer experiences in the first place? As Jeff Bezos perfectly articulated;

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friend

Jeff Bezos

So, what is great customer experience defined as? One that effectively understands varying user personalities, segregates their digital behaviours and grasps the motives behind their interactions in the online world.

Let’s delve into the mix and check out the hottest innovations in online customer experience that should already be on your radar:

1. Co-Browsing

Co-browsing is one of the latest customer support technologies that is redefining how you walk your online customers through their digital journeys. Companies such as Acquire are making it possible for their clients to extend real-time support to their customers.

Co-browsing helps support agents to see and interact with their customer’s screen in real-time, while also eliminating the need to download any additional tools. They can interact with customer screens to browse any website on the Internet.

The best part about Acquire’s co-browsing is that it works seamlessly on mobile devices. Hence, customers can reach you on the go and their issues can be easily resolved in a single session, warranting minimal effort on their end.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

By the year 2020, the world is projected to have 200 billion smart objects, which translates to 26 objects for every human being. Introduce IoT into the scenario and it becomes a goldmine of customer data. One can only imagine the far-reaching implications in customer experience.

IoT allows companies to go beyond traditional models and double down on customer needs even before they arise. Sensors can work round the clock to collect performance data and fix issues accordingly. For instance, Tesla once identified charger plugs in its cars to be potential fire hazards and resolved the issue without calling them to the dealership.

Such capabilities not only delight customers but can also make you win their trust for life.

3. AI Agents

So, why not leverage it already?

AI has only gotten more intelligent as years have passed, to the point that it can power chatbots to have human-like conversations today. Imagine chatbots that can replace up to 60% of the conversations that your agents have. Not only this, they can even automatically update databases based on their interaction with the customers, taking care of background processes.

Such futuristic AI agents can even make sense of the copious amounts of customer data you have today, leveraging it at the right time and place. Based on the results of such an analysis, they can tweak the user experience of each customer to make it more personalized.

This can drive conversions through the roof and leave your customers wanting for more. For example, the AI arm of an e-commerce website can spot a returning customer and utilize his/her past shopping experience to suggest products that he/she is more likely to buy.

4. Voice-of-Customer (VoC) programs

Voice of Customer is a concept that describes the experience of the customer with your brand. It focuses on their needs, expectations, product understanding, and the like. This makes VoC programs a natural entity in the customer experience space. They make use of closed-loop processes and survey consumers personally to understand what would improve their experiences.

Different VoC programs can give priority to varying aspects of customer experience. For instance, a program can measure customer experience by asking how the interaction with the employee made the customer feel.

On the other hand, another might ask customers to rate the overall shopping experience. Your choice of a relevant tool depends on the business problems that you are trying to solve.

5. Verifiable Genuine Reviews

With so many fake reviews floating around the internet, it was only a matter of when (and not if) this caught up. Inc reports that as many as 84% of the customers trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends.

To top this, about 91% of them read online reviews either occasionally or regularly. It is impossible to put more emphasis on how important genuine reviews are to boost customer experience.

Image: BostonGlobe.com

Consumers today can easily verify whether a review is genuine or not. E-commerce giants such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Alibaba are actively leveraging this by allowing only verified and actual buyers to post reviews. Even the search giant Google is leveraging them today to unearth only the genuine ones from a pool of user reviews.

6. Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms

Yeah, it is a mouthful. Let’s call it a DCED platform.

This is a software that is used to create and manage structured content. Their sole goal is to support omnichannel marketing efforts. This means that marketers are armed with the ability to view marketing, sales, and service metrics from a single viewpoint.

Hence, such a platform can be used to integrate customer experiences across varying channels, managing customer relationships more effectively. Channels here can include email, chat, social media, phone, and even chatbots. How is it possible to integrate so many channels? By using APIs to aggregate customer information that is spread across the board.

7. Digital Assistants

No, this is not even close to chatbots. You need to think way beyond that. If you caught Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivering a keynote on the upcoming version of Google Assistant in 2018, you know what we are talking about.

Digital assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant will be soon packed with capabilities that we can only imagine today. Be ready to witness a digitalized version of the sales agent which will be able to talk to customers on the phone, note their woes, and address their queries.

It will even be able to upsell, cross-sell, or issue refunds. This will probably be the biggest customer experience innovation yet.

Conclusion

So, if you are aiming to make the digital experiences of your customers a breeze, consider leveraging these technologies to improve their experiences. Not only will this help you to lower customer service costs, but it will also boost their lifetime values!

The post Top 7 Innovations in Online Customer Experience appeared first on .

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The other day, I was attending a class for a diploma in Human Resource Management. The facilitator was teaching us about motivational theories and their applications. He talked about Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation and the hierarchy of needs, then he made emphasis on how to motivate people who are at the self-actualization need level.

He went on mentioning many names; Nelson Mandela, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and a host of other names which almost got me into an argument with him. Self-actualization is not something you can measure. I am certain the facilitator mentioned those names because they were successful. Back to the subject matter, so we do not derail too much.

People tend to see the success without really taking a look at the engine (effort) that makes it possible. I will be using Jeff Bezos’s success story to talk about the efforts of creating a successful enterprise.

Image by © Michael Prince/Forbes Collection/Corbis Outline

I will not bore you by writing his life story here. Instead, I will take parts of his story, analyze them using different headings to highlight 6 lessons for creating a successful enterprise.

#1. Know What Is Missing

Jeff was able to start up an enterprise because he saw a need people have that needs to be fulfilled. At the point when Jeff conceived the idea, there were no online shopping platforms despite the growth in the number of internet users.

We can say that He is one of the pioneers of e-commerce development. He started his own e-commerce development company with no one in existence. You may want to identify what is missing and look for a way to solve it.

#2. Your Certification Matters as Does Your Experience

A lot of entrepreneurs are quick to jump on something new without considering what they studied in school. Jeff was into computer science for Fitel at wall street before he started his business. It was during his time working with Fitel that he came across that valuable information.

So you may want to rethink your decision if you are one of those who is always in a hurry to jump off their area of specialization in the name of becoming an entrepreneur. You need the experience especially in this time when competition is very high.

#3. Get Creative and Innovative

One reason why Amazon was and is a favourite of most people is because of how they make things much easier. Jeff kept records of a customer once he made purchases on Amazon.

This information was comprehensive and for good reasons. With this information available, the customer will not have to go through the whole process of making purchases over again. Jeff introduced the “one-click buying” process for returning customers.

All you need to do is click on an item and you have bought it. You do not need to fill in your address again unless you are receiving it in a new address.

#4. Cut down cost

When Jeff started Amazon, he did not pay a penny on tax. As at then, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that mail-order catalogues did not have to pay taxes in states where they did not have a physical presence.

Another means Jeff used in cutting down cost was the use of one warehouse instead of multiple stores. This way it will reduce the cost and time of taking inventory of sales.

Amazon worked with distributors who will attend to customers after the product has been paid for and get settled on an agreed basis.

#5. Start Small, But Be Ready to Expand & Diversify

This is a very important part, especially for those overzealous individuals. The best way to start is small. This is because you can easily manage it that way. Starting small will also give space for diversification when the time comes.

Jeff was able to see out competition because he managed his venture very well. When asked about expansion, Jeff replied that he will be settling with just books. His first office was his two-bedroom apartment. Now, he owns one of the largest e-commerce firms as that sells more than books.

#6. Be Customer Oriented

This is probably the reason Amazon survived for so long. He always has his customer in mind, despite matter what he is working on. His utmost priority is making the needs of his customers available and easily accessible.

The use of the one-click purchase system is proof of that. The production of the Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire is also another indication of how much Jeff has his customers at heart.

The customer service of Amazon is one thing that makes them stand out. The manner in which they always tailor their service to suit the needs of their customers is extraordinary. Something any up and coming CEO can learn from.

The post Lessons From The Interesting Success Story Of Amazon – appeared first on .

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Before any business can satisfy customers’ needs or exceed their expectations, good knowledge of what the customers truly want is needed. This entails having an end-to-end understanding of the customers’ journey from the awareness to loyalty stage of the buying cycle.

The customer journey can be defined as the total sum of experiences that the customer goes through when interacting with your brand; from the moment he/she becomes aware of your brand, to their post-purchase experience, and ultimately advocacy (or detraction).

All customers will go through a series of steps and have varying experiences at each step before they make the decision to use your product or service. The customers’ experience during this journey determines whether or not the customer buys from a particular brand or its competitor.

Zach from vendasta, gives an awesome explanation of the modern customer journey in the video below

The Modern Customer Journey Explained - YouTube
Your Customers’ Journey Determines A lot

To improve customer experience significantly, your customer journey must be well understood by the entire organization. If this isn’t happening already, then you’re missing out on opportunities you can leverage on to increase loyalty and profit.

Image: Vendasta.com

A lot of businesses still believe the customer journey ends at the point where he/she buys a product (or service). This is completely wrong – A customer buying your product is only at one step of a long journey, made possible by all the moments leading up to the purchase.

The customer journey continues well after the point of purchase, and a negative experience at any stage could lead to a lost customer. This makes it important to pay attention to how customers experience your brand every step of the way. 

7 Steps To Understanding Your Customer Journey

One of the most popular and effective tools for understanding the customer journey is the Customer Journey Map. A Customer journey map is a strategic tool that follows the journey customers have with an organization and describes all the experiences they have at every touch-point. 

Here are 7 keys steps for creating journey maps that unlock valuable insights on your customers journey with your brand. 

#1. Profile Your Personas

Knowing your ideal customer is important, hence the need to build personas of your key customer segments. Customer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

Image: Neilpatel.com

The best customer personas are born from market research (surveys and interviews of your target audience) and insights from actual customers. Some examples of good questions to ask during such research include:

  • How did you first hear about us?
  • What are the goals you want to achieve with us?
  • What was the deciding factor that made you make your first purchase with us? 

If you already have such insights regarding your customers check out Hubspot’s free Make My Persona Tool for creating personas. 

#4. Identify Potential Obstacles

After you have identified the various touch-points, try to identify what roadblocks could prevent customers from achieving their desired goal.

You might be surprised to discover seemingly trivial things like a lack of detailed product information, slow website, return policy or car park space are pushing your customers and prospects to competition.

Knowing what these obstacles are, is the first step toward eliminating them or mitigating their impact on the customers’ experience during their journey with your brand.

#5. Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

Put yourself on the customer’s journey, go through it and consider all the touch-points at each stage; from viewing ads to searching online, to filling out registration forms.

Compliment your findings with feedback from customers, ask them to walk you through their experience with your brand to ensure the scenario you’re building aligns with customers’ actual experiences

Walking yourself through the customer’s journey stage-by-stage will give you a new perspective and help you see areas where you can improve the customer’s experience at the various touch-points. 

#6. Visualize The Customer Journey

Using data obtained in the steps above, create a visual map of your customer journey outlining the key touch-points, actions and obstacles at each stage of the journey. 

The customer journey map should capture all the insights you gathered from your customer research – the steps customers take, their emotional states at each touch-point and areas where you identify opportunities to improve the experience. 

Check out UXPressia for free customer journey mapping templates. 

An example of a customer journey map

#7. Implement Changes

By now you have uncovered a lot of insights and opportunities to improve the customer experience during the course of your typical customer journey.

Now is the time to take action and implement any changes (no matter how big or small) that would make the customer journey faster, easier or more pleasant.

I recommend you check out this in-depth article by Paul Boag on customer journey maps and how you can create them.

Understanding your customer journey helps you identify those areas where you can make improvements that ensure your business is offering customers the best possible experience at each stage of their relationship with your brand.

The post 7 Important Steps To Understanding Your Customers’ Journey appeared first on .

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Without customers, you have no business. That’s common sense, but it is not enough to have customers, you need to earn their loyalty. Today’s customer now has the option of doing business with a brand a few blocks down the road or halfway around the world, thanks to the internet.

Tons of similar businesses are vying for the customers’ attention and they’re making a lot of promises in exchange for their patronage. As a result of this, brands need to work harder to stand out from competition and stay ‘top of mind’ when the customers need a product or service.

One way of making this happen requires that you capitalize on opportunities to pleasantly delight your customers in a manner that shows forethought and some attention to detail.

The following slideshow highlights 7 simple ways you can wow your customers.

Note: There is a widget embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's widget.

The more valued your customers feel, the more likely they are to become loyal advocates who make referrals to your brand.
Are you currently doing any of these in your organization? Please drop a comment!


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The call centre isn’t just about picking up the phone 24/7, it plays a pivotal role in supporting customers and managing their relationship with businesses. If customer interactions are handled poorly at the call centre, it would drive customers away, turn off prospects and weaken the reputation of any brand.

Ensuring a positive customer experience over the phone leads to satisfied and loyal customers who recommend the brand to others. This makes it important to ensure your call centre is effectively supporting customers and leaving them satisfied and confident in your brand.

How Do You Measure Your Call Center Performance?

Calling for support is one of the main ways customers will interact with your business. Since a single experience can make or break a customer’s relationship with your company, it is important to know whether or not your call centre is consistently delivering excellent service.

Your call centre metrics can be a direct reflection of the kind of customer experience you provide. Below are important metrics you should track in your call centre: 

#1. First Contact Resolution (FCR)

First Contact resolution (FCR) is an important call centre metric which measures the ability to resolve a customer’s problem, questions or needs the first time they call, thereby eliminating the need for the customer to follow up with a second call. 

The better a call centre’s FCR is, the more successful and efficient it is in providing meaningful solutions and satisfying customers. Calculating First Contact Resolution (FCR) can be straightforward, once you have the required information. 

FCR is measured by dividing the number of cases resolved in a single call to the total number of issues that have been resolved. It sounds easy, but collecting the data is the tricky part when formulating it.

Check out this in-depth article on how to use this basic formula and the five ways to collect the data required for it. 

#2. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is another important metric, and it is pretty straightforward. CSAT measures customer satisfaction with a business, purchase, or interaction. This metric is calculated by getting customer feedback on a particular interaction with an agent.

The simplest way to gather this information is through surveys (avoid these survey mistakes). These surveys are to be administered at the end of the interaction, while the experience is still fresh in their mind. Email is a good way to get this feedback from customers, but you can also send SMS surveys or even contact customers on social media. 

You can easily calculate CSAT percentage, i.e. the total percentage of satisfied customers. All you have to do is divide the number of positive ratings by the number of ratings and multiply it by 100.

#3. Cost Per Contact

This metric measures how much each customer contact costs your call centre and it is a key part of cost-benefit analyses. Whenever an agent picks up the phone, it costs a call centre money—salary, software, hardware, electricity, etc.

Cost per contact is defined as the sum of all costs associated with running a call centre (e.g., salaries, facilities, software, hardware, etc.) divided by the number of contacts handled. It is calculated by dividing the total number of calls in a particular period by the total operating cost in the same period. 

Cost per contact = (Operating cost + labour) / Totals calls

For example, if Company X had $50,000 in costs for the year and answered 100,000 calls in that time, $50,000 divided by 100,000 calls equals $0.50 per call.

#4. Abandoned Call Rate

Abandonment Rate is the number of callers that hang up before being connected to a live agent in the call centre. It is one of the most widely tracked metrics in the call centre industry. When the abandonment rate increases above eight per cent, customer satisfaction begins to drop off significantly.

Interestingly reducing abandonment rate will increase cost as more agent headcount is required to lower abandonment rates. This suggests that there is an optimal range for call abandonment rate. If you go much above this range, customer satisfaction will drop off fairly quickly; if you go much below it, support costs will increase rapidly.

The accepted industry standard on average abandonment rate is between 5 – 8%.

#5. Average Handling Time (AHT)

Average handling time (AHT) is the average time spent by an agent in handling customer issues or transactions, from when an agent answers a call until the agent disconnects.

This also includes the amount of time a customer is placed on hold within the duration of the call and the after-call work time which the agent spends doing back-office tasks. It is a commonly tracked metric in the call centre industry as it is directly related to caller satisfaction.

It tells you how much time agents spend working on a task and when they are unable to deal with a new work item. It is the bedrock for all call centre planning systems

AHT is calculated by adding together; the agent’s total talk time, total hold time and total after-call work time. This is then divided by the total number of calls handled.

#6. Average Hold-time

Hold time is the amount of time that elapses from when a customer is put on hold until the moment an agent becomes available (or the customer hangs up). This does not include the time required to initially answer the call or the time the customer spends in the interactive voice response (IVR) menu.

Two values are necessary to calculate hold time; the total number of seconds that customers wait on hold during the course of a call during a certain period of time, and the total number of calls handled by call centre agents over the same period of time. 

Average hold time = Number of Seconds Customers Spend on Hold  /  Total Number of Calls Handled

#7. Attrition Rate

Attrition rate is a measure of staff turnover annually, expressed as a percentage. This is the percentage of agents who leave the call centre to work elsewhere. Attrition significantly impacts customer satisfaction, call centre planning and team morale.

Depending on who you ask, call centres have a turnover rate of between 30 and 45 per cent. By comparison, the 2013 average employee turnover rate for all industries in the United States was 15.1%.

High attrition also leads to higher operating costs as resources will be constantly invested in recruiting and training new agents. Research by Incontact revealed that every 10 per cent of attrition has been shown to lead to one per cent of customer churn.

Attrition also impacts on customer satisfaction – The more experienced your agents are, the more efficiently they will be able to answer customer enquiries, manage callers, and solve problems. 

Monthly attrition = Total agents lost during the month / Total employees during the month

Annual attrition = Total agents lost during the year / Total employees during the year

Check out: how to Measure Contact Center Turnover to learn more about measuring call centre attrition. 

#8. Peak Hour Traffic Image: klipfolio.com

Peak hour is the time of the day when there are maximum calls to be handled by agents. Knowing what time this usually happens can be determined with the help of real-time monitoring.

This allows you to plan your agent allocation in a way that allows the call centre to handle the workload during the busiest hour of the day effectively. 

Bonus Infographic

This infographic by salesforce differentiates between human and robotic customer service, their “measure of success” in the call centre & the proper approach for investing in agent training. 

Click To Enlarge

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We have all heard the phrase “walk in the customer’s shoes”, but what does it mean to really do this? Let me give my thoughts on this all too well-known phrase. Picture if you will, going into a shoe store and trying on a pair of shoes a size or two bigger than your actual shoe size. What might you experience when you attempt to walk in them?

You’re likely to experience slipping up and down, tripping, maybe hitting objects with the shoes that you wouldn’t normally hit due to the size or worse blisters on the heels of your feet because the shoe is not fitting properly. it will be downright uncomfortable.

Now imagine the reverse – Trying a shoe that is a size or two smaller than your actual size. You’re likely to experience a squeezing sensation, cramping, some pain, possible corns or bunions if you were to continue wearing them (maybe even surgery).

In both scenarios, the outcome is not a pretty or pleasant one. You want your shoes to fit just right. No issues, no problems. Would you agree? After all, your feet are a really important necessity for walking.  If you have been into a shoe store and tried this you can probably relate to what I am saying. Now that you have the visual. Let’s relate this to the customer.

Every customer you encounter will have different needs and concerns. How you handle them will set the tone for how the customer service experience will go during that interaction. In some cases, it can set a mindset of positivity or negativity based on how you treat the customer.

You will meet and interact with customers who come in a variety of personalities, moods, emotions and thought processes. As the customer service professional you have to be able to switch hats at a moments notice so that you can meet the customer at their needs.

When that customer is describing to you their pain points for how they experienced a particular product or service of yours, at that moment what they are saying to you is that the shoe they received from you is either too small or too big for their foot and they need some kind of fix.

Now, the shoe mentioned here is relative. You could replace that with any of the products/services your business sells. The point is, it is not a proper fit for the customer, and the pain they are feeling could be anger, frustration, sadness, mislead etc,

How do you turn this around for the customer?

I have a couple of points that will help save the day and relationship.

I call this getting the right shoe. Think about my shoe examples earlier and how that would make you feel if you did this. By the way, if you have an opportunity to visit a shoe store and do this. Try it so you get the real feel experience.

Getting the right shoe.  In getting the right shoe for the customer you accomplish a few things.

  • No more discomfort – By having a fitting product/service for the customer they will have a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure.
  • Happiness – When the product/service is on the shelf and the customer is able to get what they came for it entices the customer to come back again.
  • Understanding – When the customer knows that you understand them. They can feel confident that you as the service person will advocate for them.
  • Care –  This is a key element for establishing a feeling of protection whereby the customer knows they are in good hands.
  • Longevity – Because you treat your customer with dignity and respect. You show that it’s a pleasure to do business with them. The relationship is bound to prosper and grow.

So, there it is. If you are truly walking in your customers’ shoes you get to understand how the customer really feels. With a few tweaks, kind words, empathic concern and a smile you will have that customer running back into your establishment (bringing a few friends too) to buy more, telling stories about how great your business is.

Your customers will feel confident and pleased that their customer service experience is going to be more than just average.  And it’s all because you were able to get the right shoe.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you have found the information is customer service important please share.

The post Walking In The Customer’s Shoes – Really appeared first on .

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