Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Most came to us live from NACCM. Even if you weren't in Anaheim to experience the Customers 1st event, you could still be in touch with everything that was going on at the event. Enjoy the top posts of the year!
NACCM 2008: We Are All Storytellers
NACCM 2008: What's Your Red Ball
Day 1 Keynotes - It's all about people!
Speaker Profile: Frank Capek
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Service innovation: Save your customers time. Save them hassle. Take the service to them. Result: Induce loyalty. Provide a new service that makes money. Earn unpaid media.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
He related several ways you can do this for your customers:
- Relate: Relate with your customers through regular and meaningful contact, observations, and ongoing interactions.
- Retain: Retain your customers by creating barriers to switching to a competitor and create an atmosphere of exclusivity.
- Expand: Expand your relationship with your customers by offering complimentary products and services on an ongoing basis.
- Innovate: Keep your customers excited and engaged by surprising them with new product innovations or special bundles that are tailored just for them.
- Analyze: Analyze your customer behaviors and cultivation activities to predict and anticipate future wants and needs.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
What do you think about this? Don Reisinger shared his opinion here. Should consumers have to pay for customer service? Or is Dell defining the line between technical support and customer service?
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
What do you think about moves like this? Although Sprint has improved their service, do you think taking away their customer care continue to affect the reality of the situation in a positive light?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
1) Emergence of the social customer
2) The imperative that CRM strategies deliver business value
3) The requirement to fully cost justify CRM investments
4) The necessity to reduce risk of CRM initiatives
5) The need to get more value from customer information
6) The battle to redefine vendor pricing and licensing agreements
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
What do you think? Have you come across this in your customer base?
Friday, December 5, 2008
Do you see this as the customer service of the future? PNC Bank has created a system where the only way they interact with their customer is through a website, but it's very popular with the young consumer, who will domoinate the market in 20 years. What do you think?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Last week I had the honor to chair the North American Conference on Customer Management’s Customer First conference in Anaheim, CA at Disneyland. What a treat. (You can read more about it in this week’s tip)
One of the several speakers I had the honor to introduce was Robert Stephens, the founder of the Geek Squad.
I was so happy to have a chance to spend a few quiet moments with Stephen in the ballroom before the sessions began. I’ve been talking about Robert for years in my speeches and retelling a story I heard a famous speaker tell years ago. I wanted to hear Robert tell the story and add a few details.
I was shocked (not to mention embarrassed) to find out that I have been “lying” about the origins of the Geek Squad for years. Robert was gracious about it and shared a few moments with me before it was time to introduce him. I was thrilled to talk to him personally, so I didn’t read the printed introduction that was given to me in my chairperson pack.
Up I go to the stage with my printed introduction in hand. He’s an impressive guy and so I decided to read some of his interesting credentials before adding in my personal thoughts. Right there on the paper it said, “In 2002, The Geek Squad acquired Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores.”
I saw it on the page, but before opening my mouth, my mind decided this could not be so and so I said, “Best Buy acquired the Geek Squad” instead, figuring it must be wrong. Nope, it was right and I was wrong.
Later in the day, after I had made a personal apology to Robert, I apologized to the entire audience, explaining what I thought happened.
Because it seemed so impossible to me that a midsize service company could possibly buy a “big box” store, I assumed that what I saw on the page was incorrect. Talk about the old adage - when we assume it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. I’m still embarrased.
Because I wondered if this was happening to others as well as me, I asked the audience how many of them thought that Best Buy had bought the Geek Squad rather than the other way around - half the audience did.
It’s a great example of seeing what we want to see. When our belief system is strong it simply won’t let in information to the contrary.
I am truly humbled by the experience.
Robert taught us that what we need to create today is an “Authentic Experience” and I’ll tell you - my embarrassment was an authentic as it gets. Yikes.
Robert, I learned so many valuable lessons from you last week - the most important of which were those I learned about myself.If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi was a keynote speaker and conference chair at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Some companies realize the value of keeping customers, and are reponsible for such statistics as increasing customer loyalty by 5% can increase your profits by 25%. These stores include Best Buy, Nordstrom, Amazon, and LL Bean.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Even though the company is going out of business, they're still not treating their customers with much respect. What other ways have you seen customer service falter due to the current economic situation?
Monday, December 1, 2008
-They may be failing to understand the customer. Who is your customer? Do you realize that 20% of your customer base generates 80% of your profit?
-They may be failing to support an external customer centric strategy by not having an internal customer centric strategy. It's important to have your employees at the center of your company first so they can then turn into the face of your customer-centric company.
- They may be failing to identify the moment of truth. Companies may have problems measuring their customer service strategies.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
They provided three strategies:
- Refresh and update content constantly. Changing content frequently and updating feature page elements on a regular basis give users a reason to return over time.
- Expose value immediately. Delivering clear calls to action and interactive cues help draw young visitors into experiences right away.
- Provide frequent feedback. Presenting notifications, rewards, and other feedback to users throughout an experience keeps them alert and engaged.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
A lot of those sparks this week were about Service Design.
As customer management professionals we are obsessed with perfecting the services we support:
- Getting our people psyched to best represent our company to the customer
- Getting the right metrics in place to drive the right behaviors,
- Getting the variation out assuring an experience that is repeatable
- Getting the cost of servicing down while keeping the quality up.
But is that all there is?
From the buzz this week at the Customer 1st Conference - things are changing.
A thread running through many conversations this week has been about Service Design.
Don't just make the service better, remake the service. We are talking scary but cool – the infamous blank slate. And this conference was charged with the possibilities.
Of course improvement and redesign are related, but the change in emphasis is on what we are improving. We are more focused now on improving the customer experience than on the processes we currently use to deliver service. That great customer experience may not require ANY of the processes we currently spend a lot of time and money to make just a little bit better.
And yet, that great experience may be the key to the loyalty we almost mystically seek even while we argue a lot on how it can really be measured.
From Bill Price's opening thoughts on Sunday that maybe "the best service is no service," to a talk I heard yesterday on GSK's approach to semi-automating internal IT service delivery (I highly recommend you download this talk) - to a dinner table conversation last night about what's next in service - the possibilities for re-inventing service seem endless and the results for the customer can be what Tom Peters taught us to call WOW.
As I chatted with others this week on this topic I heard a lot of excitement, but also a bit of fear. Are the teams we lead a part of this brave new world? How do we as leaders get out in front before this wave (whatever it is) overtakes us. And there was a recurrent counterpoint in these discussions - the mantra from Day 1 - "Remember, it's all about the people."
In each of these conversations the paradoxes and the possibilities seemed to resolve towards the end. As with most problems, the answer lay within a clear statement thereof.
We weren't talking about one thing. We were talking about many things, many types of customer experiences - too often all mixed up together and measured with averages we know in our gut don't mean much.
Some experiences are and need to be very people intensive - those Disney magic moments. For others, like the GSK IT Service Catalog we just need to put the power into the customer's hands and let them do the driving.
The key, many said this week, was dreaming big about the customer experience, wondering what it could be...and then asking if you had the best service design to deliver it.
Keith Ferrazzi, author of "Never Eat Alone," followed and he focused on the importance of relationships in order to help us achieve our goals in our career. Keith had been good enough to host a web seminar with us over the summer to share some of these ideas. Here is just a small portion of that discussion:
Keith was followed by Joe Torre. I had the chance to meet Joe before his presentation. He is a very warm, welcoming, and friendly individual. During his discussion, he answered many questions from the audience. He was quite frank, not only about the actual details of his remarkable career, but he also reminded everyone that in the end, no matter the figures, or the expectations, it all comes down to people and their own personal responses. Everyone in attendance appreciated not only his insights in baseball but also his management experience, handling difficult bosses, temperamental staff, and the expectations of customers. His ability to manage all of these elements clearly has led to his success on and off the field.
Joe was followed by Peter Guber, Chairman & Founder of Mandalay Entertainment. I've had the opportunity to hear Peter speak before. He discusses the importance of storytelling to achieve those goals we have. Great storytellers are able to engage their listeners and create an emotional connection. Storytelling is such a fundamental aspect of our emotional makeup, we all can be storytellers, but its understanding the power of storytelling that will help us to become great storytellers. Here is a small portion of that presentation:
As we come into our final day of the conference, we have several corporate practitioners who will be sharing their own experiences in dealing with the daily challenges so many face in customer-facing organizations. I won 't have the opportunity to post immediately after but in the coming days and weeks I will certainly add more material from the event. If you haven't been by the site, be sure and check all of the great material we have been posting including photos from the conference.
Finally, I want to send a 'shout-out' to my colleagues. The team who produces and puts together this great event, works very hard to create an experience attendees will not forget. Even for those of you not here can see how much effort and work goes into creating this remarkable conference. You can be sure they appreciate your feedback in order to ensure you have the best possible time here.
By Becky Carroll, Customers Rock!
At the NACCM Customers 1st Conference today, we had the opportunity to listen to some fabulous keynotes as well as start to dig-in to the sessions. Along the way, we may have even gotten a little Goofy! Lots of nuggets, video, and photos, including Keith Ferrazzi, Joe Torre, and Peter Guber. Keep reading!
The theme across all of the keynotes today was one of community, relationship building, and emotions. (Customers Rock! note - many of these themes work very well with the social media tools that are available to connect with customers, and with each other.)
JoAnna Brandi kicked off the day with an energetic discussion of being leaders that inspire customers to be more engaged at work, which, in turn, leads to better customer engagement. As leaders, we need to use more positive emotion; this will affect our employees and our customers. Keep your employees out of the fear we are seeing, and start focusing on the positive. What is right? What is possible? What is the next solution we can find?
She also challenged attendees to stop focusing exclusively on customer satisfaction, as customers don’t want things that are just “satisfactory”. They want something better than that! While important, satisfaction is not the end game. The pot of gold at the other side of the rainbow is joy, happiness, Wow, and Magic. We have to start creating emotional relationships with our customers. This is done by showing up at work with emotion, not checking it at the door! It is the leader's job to make sure everyone around them uses Magic – Make a Great Impression on the Customer.
Never Eat Alone
The first keynote was Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone.He turned this into a working session to give people a personal relationship action plan for the upcoming year. Who do you need to work with to get you where you want to go? People are critical to your success, and relationships are the core. We discussed which words describe business relationships: Trust, human, feedback, fun, candor, collaborative. Which words add for most personal relationships? Laughter, love, listening, intimacy, reliable, trust, passion.
The shift – a business relationship is a personal relationship in a business environment. Make it purposeful; strategically guide your relationships. It is not about waiting for someone else to start the relationship; it is about you being proactive with others.
If you have strong personal relationships, you will be more easily forgiven when you mess it up!
Video of Keith: you can't get there alone.
Keith had the group go through a series of exercises to help crystallize thinking around this. Our job in this world is to create an environment around ourselves that invites people in to have a better relationship with us. It is all about what we do – it is our responsibility. Lower our guard, invite people in. As we talk to people, we ought to be having the following internal conversation:
- Is there something I can care about with this person? A way to connect and remember?
- Is there a way I can help? “How can I help you? Who can I introduce you to?” How powerful is that?!
Keith also discussed the “Fluffy” factor. This was referring to a phone conversation where the service rep could hear a dog barking in the background – ‘Fluffy’. "What is the name of your dog," this rep might ask, as a way to connect with the other person and see them as a human being (not just an irritating caller). We need to show up as the human and empathetic individual they want to see. If all call center folks projected a wonderful positive outcome, in their own minds, it would begin to manifest itself.
How are your customer service people seeing your customers? As a pain, or as a real person with real issues?
Keith also shared about the importance of being real, authentic, and human to others. He stated that others can tell right away if we are not being truthful or transparent with them, even over the phone! We need to have the following mindset, with customers or with those we want to build relationships with: We really care. We want to hear you (people need to be heard). When we have this mindset, we begin to empathize.
I will wrap up this section on Keith with a video of him telling the story about someone who cared about another human being and how it changed lives.
We then had the pleasure of listening to Joe Torre, manager of the LA Dodgers, share nuggets from his many years in baseball. Here are some highlights:
- You only get better (at whatever you do) when you have to deal with setbacks. Tough times don't last; tough people do.
- It's the little things in a game that help you win. Concentrate on the little things; big things will happen.
- Be loyal to each other on the team, and have respect for that other guy who is out there, perhaps where you want to be.
- You can't assume your customers are yours forever.
- What can I help us do to win today?
- Whatever line of work you are in, it is all about the people.
Making Connections Through Storytelling
The morning ended with a fascinating speech by Peter Guber, Chairman and Founder, Mandalay Entertainment. Peter has quite a line of Hollywood successes, including his role as producer for such films as Gorillas in the Mist, The Deep, The Color Purple, and Rain Man, to name a few.
"Coping with failure in uncertain times is a necessity; it has always been a partner in my journey."
He shared three navigational states for these times and how to get through them - fear, uncertainty, and change. Peter also shared that the game changer, the secret sauce, is the story we tell ourselves and the story we tell our customers and clients.
Oral storytelling. It is in all of us. We need to connect our story to the emotions of our customers and employees to help them propel themselves through all of this. We are all wired to do oral storytelling. When we do it, it changes the word from "customer/client/patron" to "audience". One thing to keep in mind about an audience: they expect experiences and to be engaged emotionally. They want to be moved.
Here is a video of Peter talking about how human beings are "wired" to tell oral stories.
Peter encouraged us to unleash our story for our benefit, and do it by MAGIC.
MAGIC – like a hand, each of the following concepts works independently, but they work better together.
Motivating your Audience to your Goal Interactively with great Content
Are you motivated about your story? Yes – you can craft a powerful story. You can tell, before someone says a word, whether they are authentic. Be calm; be coherent with it. Then tell it. Demonstrate you are authentic with your story. This engages people.
Audience – everybody you talk with (not to) is an audience. How do I get their attention? If it’s not a good time to do it, don’t tell your story! Know what is interesting. Try to be interested in them, create an emotional connection. The context makes the story different for everyone. What are they interested in? Find out then connect it to that. Aim for the heart, not the head. Feelings. Often times a story, elegantly presented, can change the results.
Here is another video of Peter discussing how he convinced the head of the studio to let him make the film Gorillas in the Mist. In this video, Peter was just talking about how he had come to realize that he was not connecting with his audience (the studio head). So, he became a wounded gorilla in order to help explain why it was important to tell the story of saving gorillas:
Goal – specifically direct someone to a call to action. We have to have authentic goals that are generous; then, we both win. Virally-advocated stories are authentic; they have to be real.
Interactively – it has to be a conversation. The more senses you engage in your story, the more likely you are to own it. They feel they are participating in the story – let your audience own it so they can tell it for you. It’s the way we are wired. Interactivity – think about it before you start. You have to surrender control. Why do you think you control the customer or your brand? When you relinquish control, it allows them to come forward and own the information in a unique way.
Content – The actual story is the Holy Grail. Look to your own experience – true story, inspired by story. Use observation – retell other people’s stories. Use them for emotional transportation. Look at history and use artifacts; make emotional connections today from it. Use metaphor and analogy; he became a gorilla for the studio head to get him to connect with the story and make the movie.
Think of your customers as an audience, interact with them with really great content, and enjoy the front row seat to your success.
The afternoon consisted of 4 main tracks of sessions. I attended the session on Disney presented by Maritz and The Disney Institute. Bruce Kimbrell was again the presenter, along with Kathy Oughton from Maritz.
Bruce told a great story about how serious Disney is about surveying customers in the theme park. He shared that some days, the survey at the entrance gate to the park might only ask for your zip code. On other days, the conversation might go like this:
Disney: "Hi, do you have a some time to take our guest survey? We would need about 2 hours of your time."
Guest: "Uh, no, that would take up a big chunk of my time here."
Disney: "Well, how about if we take care of you for tomorrow?"
Guest: "No, I would have to change my flights, my hotel..."
Disney: "What if we took care of that? Would you be willing to give us your time?"
Now that is serious focus on getting the voice of the customer!
I also had the opportunity to sit in on JoAnna Brandi's session/discussion about what makes people feel good at work. Here were some of the attendee responses -
- Liking the people I work with
- Making a difference
- Being recognized by others, especially when you find out about it later
JoAnna is trying to understand these motivators so she can help coach others on how to improve employee retention and loyalty.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Relationships between you and other people as the key to your personal and professional success.
Managing by knowing your people, really knowing them, not just by the numbers.
And telling stories to people as a way to achieve your goals - starting off with your own.
This last point brings me full circle back to last night at Kevin Carroll's talk. What made that so powerful was the simple truth that his story is his life's work. Telling it is what he does and in so doing he motivates others to pursue their passions.
There is clearly a theme running here in our keynotes!
Now back to today this morning.
First off was Keith Ferrazi, author of Never Eat Alone (which based on the line after his talk we now all have a copy) who found in a way to get us all talking to total intimately to total strangers. Sure we were only practicing, but he drove home through these exercises how superficial our interactions often are and how we need a different way of being in the world if we are to build mutually beneficial lasting relationships. As you really don't get anything done in this world alone, everything requires other people to help you do it. Keith smashed our paradigm of the business relationship helping us to see we need personal relationships at work.
Keys to building those relationships?
- Don't wait for relationships to happen - be intentional about building them
- Get out of your own way - letting go of behaviors that are barriers to true intimacy
- Be authentic - be present for others - not just for the sake of connecting
- Be vulnerable - encouraging others to tell it like it us, not just what we want to hear
By the way, I was a circle (other choices were triangle, squares and z's). Which were you? And was that a bunch of Z's I saw partying late last night in Downtown Disney?
Next up was Joe Torre, known to anyone who knows anything about baseball as one of its most winning managers and known to Boston Red Sox fans (like me) as one scary dude. What was always so scary about Joe was the calm way he sat in the dugout, nothing ever seeming to phase him, as if he knew his team would find a way to win. And they usually did.
Joe kept his message simple - It's about people. Managing by the numbers has become all the rage in Baseball, but in the end it comes down to people. A hitter facing a pitcher. An outfielder going for a ball. Baseball is a stange sport that features team play - one player at a time.
Torre emphasized how over the years he worked to make this paradox clear to his players - that if they wanted to to win they need to ignore their individual stats and focus on the only numbers that matter - wins and losses. Each day he urged his players to think of what they needed to do better to help the team. Little things, he noted, like getting high paid stars to run faster to first place - can make the difference in a tight ball game. And that means every player has to come to play every single day - you win or lose as a team.
Then we heard from Peter Guber - one of Holllywood's most successful producers (my favorite Guber flick was the Tim Burton production of Batman) - telling us the simple truth that people were born to tell stories - that throughout our prehistory that is all we could do - no writing, just orally conveyed information. This ability Guber explained is in us and is ready to be tapped as a tool we can use to accomplish our goals.
Telling great stories - important - got it. But how you do that?
Well, Peter explained, it's MAGIC:
Audience to achieve your
Interactively with great
Echoing strains we heard from Carroll and Ferrazzi, Guber suggested we start by connecting better with our own stories, learning to tell them, connecting them to what we passionately want to achieve, using them as a motivating force for others. We also should take care to let negative aspects of our personal story get in the way of us achieving our goals.
He challenged us to think of our customers as an audience. Our job is not just to satisfy them or handle their complaints - it is to provide them with a great experience, to engage them emotionally. This reminded me of Disney's mantra - "we make magic happen every day."
Guber urged us to bring the audience into the production, use artificacts passed around the circle to engage them in the telling of the story. What story? Whatever story we need to tell to close the deal, win the case, make change happen in our company, convey to customers what our brand really means. He closed imploring us to think of the story at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. "It's the holy grail."
A great morning - many stories to tell - and they're all about people!!!
I have here a snippet of his presentation. He discusses the inspirational moment that he describes "saved his life."
Afterwards, we sat down with Kevin and JoAnna who discuss some of their shared perspectives:
After seeing these videos, I'm sure you'll want to learn more, so be sure and visit his website and blog and his own social network related to his books.
Then I sat down with Becky Carroll, from CustomersRock! who has already been participating in many great sessions and will be here posting her thoughts during the conference. Here she discusses the Disney experience
If you haven't subscribed to our feed, be sure and do so, you don't want to miss more of her great insights and thoughts during the next few days.
Next, I met Fred Broce, Program Manager of Request IT for GSK. He's here presenting later today on the IT Service Catalog: Opening New Customer Channels While Driving Service. I asked him to share some highlights on what attendees can expect during his presentation:
Finally, last night, the CSIA and ICCSO who hosted the International Service Excellence Awards that honored companies large and small, and individuals in customer service positions based on the highest industry standards. I actually had a chance to record a great deal of material, but I'm going to need a little more time than one night to edit it all. But I will share this clip from the opening remarks from Brett Whitford, Secretary-General of the ICCSO, as he tells a rather extraordinary story of individuals going that extra step of customer service.
We have two more days of great experiences and presentations we'll be sharing. Gregory North has joined us and is also blogging his experiences. So be sure and check back here and our event website to see the many updates including photos and videos we'll be posting.
Today was my second day here at the NACCM Customers 1st Conference, and it was filled with pre-conference summits and the official kick-off to the event by Kevin Carroll, author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. Here is an overview and some nuggets from Disney Institute, nGenera, JetBlue, and of course, Kevin. (Note - if you follow me on Twitter, you already have a taste of what went on at the summit!)
The day started with Bruce Kimbrell from The Disney Institute who keynoted with a great speech on Disney and their keys to customer loyalty. Bruce asked a great question: Who are you loyal to and why? Some of the answers included the following:
- Nordstrom - they treat you like you matter
- Keen shoes - high quality product, and solid customer service if there is a problem
- Sports team - get a sense of community
- State Farm Insurance - they are there before the police!
- Kroger Foods - great customer service experience
Each responder had their own reason for being loyal. Bruce shared that at Disney, they believe the greater the connection, the greater the loyalty! Relationships are built when two things happen:
- Customers want to associate with your brand beyond the transaction
- Your customers and employees interact positively with each other
Disney gets 80,000 people at their parks in one day. How do you positively interact with all of them? On average, each guest (Disney speak for customer) has 60 interactions with Disney cast members (employees) per day. This is 60 opportunities to make or break the experience; they are the face of Disney! If 59 are great, but number 60 is a jerk, what do I go home and talk about? Disney uses experience mapping to identify all points of contact with customers, look at the experience through the customers' eyes, and then align Disney strengths to "moments of magic". Key takeaway: plan it out! Identify and prioritize key opportunties in the customer experience, match specific tools to each opportunity, select partners to involve, then go make it happen! Thank you, Bruce, for all of your Disney insight.
Swarming the Magic Kingdom
I spent most of my day in this highly interactive activity, led by Frank Capek of nGenera (Don Tapscott's company). He laid the foundation for the day by discussing the next generation customer experience. In other words, with the potential for collaboration found in social media (such as blogs, wikis, social networks, YouTube, etc), how can we enable customers to actively co-create their own experiences? This isn't experience by intent (improving service levels) or experience by design (creating based on customer needs and priorities) but experience on demand (engage and co-create).
After talking about this for awhile, Frank set us loose in Disneyland to take a closer look at what customer experiences are taking place there - down to the smallest detail. We rode rides, analyzed Main Street USA, and listened to Christmas music being aired in the park. We observed what it felt like to be a first-timer, what it felt like to stand in line, and how easy/difficult it was to get around the park. At the end of the day, we came back together and used our collective thinking to brainstorm ideas around not just improved customer experiences, but specifically how customer experiences could be different for those who are "digitally connected" (especially young people who live on social networks). Ideas included the following:
- "Log in" at the park to learn about wait times in lines, get a personalized experience
- Have Disney "follow you" around the park (opt-in, of course) via your mobile phone or simply your park ticket (inserted at various attractions) to log your activities and create a "storybook" of your day that could be emailed/link sent to you. You could even opt to have your log update your Facebook or MySpace status throughout the day, sharing your experience with your friends.
- Using texting/Twitter to share issues with Disney in real-time
It was a great session to get out in the sunshine, look at things from a different perspective, then take and apply it back to our own companies: Walk in your customers' shoes. Innovate the customer experience. Don't forget social media!
JetBlue and "Jetitude"
Rob Maruster, Senior VP of Customer Service at JetBlue held a great session to share how they are bringing humanity back to air travel through servant leadership. Here are some tidbits:
- JetBlue administers 35 customer surveys each flight (regardless of how full they are); 8% of customers give their feedback (a decent response rate)
- They use Net Promoter Score (NPS), rather than just customer satisfaction, to gauge how well they are performing and look for opportunities for improvement. It seems to be directly correlated to whether they are running flights on time in a particular month!
- If something doesn't go as planned, JetBlue invokes their Customer Bill of Rights and, within 7 days of the flight, they send out flight vouchers to help make up for the inconvenience. "Please, let us try again!"
- You have to be relevant to customers in order to drive customer loyalty.
I liked the way Rob shared about JetBlue's customer-focused thinking as he discussed one of the key inputs to their Balanced Scorecard: Drive a Low Cost Culture. He was quick to point out that it is important to be smart about costs, but not to be cheap! "Don't touch the things that touch the customer." Great motto, Rob!
Rob also talked about their JetBlue attitude, or "jetitude". They have five "Be's":
- Be in Blue always (you are always on stage - see my related post!)
- Be personal
- Be the answer (don't pass the buck; execs, please walk the talk)
- Be engaging (reach out to customers; don't wait for them to come to you)
- Be thankful to every customer (actually thank them for their business)
Finally, Rob talked about the importance of "servant leadership". Leadership brings all of the above together to serve the employee and, in turn, the customer. They need total transparency, and they need to be willing to get their hands dirty in order to help make it happen. Great talk, Rob!
Oh, by the way, JetBlue collected business cards from everyone in the summit and gave away 2 JetBlue travel vouchers! Wow! Great way to show appreciation.
The Red Rubber Ball
Kevin Carroll opened the official conference at day's end with his inspiring speech on the importance of play. Per Kevin,
"Play is serious business!"
Kevin encouraged all of us to harness the power of sport and play in everything we do - including our jobs. What inspires you? For Kevin, a simple red, rubber ball (like a playground ball) inspired him to live differently, with purpose, passion, and intention. In fact, he has an amazing life story that took him from a difficult childhood to the military, the NBA, to Nike, and ultimately to being a speaker/author who helps others reach for their dreams. He is a life-long learner, and he shared his "lessons from the playground":
- Commit to it (find what you are passionate about and commit to it)
- Seek out encouragers (surround yourself with people who give you permission to dream big)
- Work out your creative muscle (need to reawaken our creative side)
- Prepare to shine (create your vision, make it clear)
- Speak up (stand up for something, what you believe in)
- Expect the unexpected (be forever curious, you never know where you will end up!)
- Maximize the day (live each day to the fullest - don't try to get to tomorrow too soon)
Kevin was inspiring, entertaining, and unpredictable. He even tossed out balls into the audience and shared a video of playing "tag" at Nike - with 4,000 coworkers! He challenged us to get the most we can out of each day, as well as out of this conference.
After his talk, Yemil Martinez (Director of New Media for the conference) and I had the opportunity to video Kevin's discussion with Joanna Brandi, conference co-chair, as they discussed the future of this country and how play can help. I will upload that video later this week. Kevin then freely gave me a nice gift for my older son to encourage him to find his passion in life. Thank you, Kevin!
Kevin was also nice enough to give me two minutes of his time to share his thoughts with my Customers Rock! readers (and you) on the importance of building community with customers. Thank you so much for your time and energy, Kevin! We will be following you.
(Photo credit: nruboc)
Monday, November 17, 2008
Why do they go the virtual route?
- quality problems
-costs were spiraling out of control
- problems with attendance
-trouble with training
- "superagents" were training, even though they were not trained as trainers
They tried adding call centers, but then they quickly decided to outsource as they are NOT an expert in call center management. They looked at many different potential partners.
They selected a firm, VIP Desk, known for their virtual approach to customer service and their hosting support for luxury brands
Now Bluefly has people who, because they are virtual, have a much better worl/life situation. And they don't have to fill up their tank on the way to their office! So, Bluefly has a 95% retention rate. They are several KPI's the Blue "Brand Ambassodors" are assesed on and the better they do the more flexibility they have.
1st six months. Cost per contact down by 18%.
Year to date: cost per contact down 32%
Year to date, sales conversion has doubled.
Scale is now easy and fast.
Set up of new of new queues for promotions in days.
Team structure? Service leaders are responsible for quality and training only and they have a defined team.
Keys to managing outstouced virtual teams?
- Doing all of the training material in house
- Great service leaders in the outsourcer
- A communication strategy that enables agile knowledge transfer like Daily Huddles and IM, weekly business reviews and forecasting
- Online training in Webrooms allowing two way conversations led by professional trainers
word of caution: virtual training takes 150% to make sure people are engaged
- Online materials like Bluefly's "Flashionista U"
- A passionate desire to assure people on the front line have the information they need to answer the question
- Motiving teams by incentivizing with your products on which they are now more knowledgable
All in all an exciting window into the virtual contact center world!
Bell is moving from a more fragmented business, built through acquisition, towards a more integrated , optimized environment for the customer. One way to optimize is through mining existing data, including call data.
Here was Bell's wish list of what they wanted to learn from their call data:
- Root causes to why customers call
- What value add vs. non value add
- Get at the true Voice of the Customer
- Reduce what Price called earlier dumb contacts and increase time for value adding contacts
- Customer intelligence (preferences, drivers of behaviors, etc.)
In response to these and other questions, one approach to data mining is speech analytics.
"Speech Analytics, Erika explained, " does not mean you never have to listen to customer call again. Only if you don't care about your customers." But through speech analytics Bell has learned a lot about process, products and service, more than they could have learned from traditional call monitoring, including:
Benefits of speech analytics?
- Root cause analysis
- Real time feedback
- Positive impact on FCR
- Reduced low value calls
- Opportunities for cross selling
And this is using the superset of all calls, not a sample, something you just can't do with traditional call monitoring.
An analytics tree - how Bell looks at each call
- a call we want?
- routed correctly?
- resolved well?
- a church opportunity?
Speech Analytics: What Bell does
- take all calls
- break them down by reasons why customers call
- look at trends and outliers
- get at root causes
- identify real time call back opportunities
Results were great: FCR up, Sat. up, escalations down, productivity up, revenue way up
And employee feedback was very positive. "At last you have realized a dish that goes at 2Am is not my fault."
Making the wins real:
- 1 customer event took 3 and 1/2 months.
- 6 customer calls and transfers
- 1 hour and a half of call time
- Cost? $400
Now multiply that by all the repeat calls and you are talking real money!
Understanding length of call by call type enables Bell to set thresholds for talk time based on what is really needed to get the customer's work done right the first time.
Finally, this information drives changes to process, product and service design based on a systematic analysis of true voice of the customer. And this VOC is used at the highest levels of the company.
Dr. Susan Reisinger of the US Navy's Global Distance Support Center
"If you don't give them the opportunity to fail, you won't give them the opportunity to succeed."
With these words, Susan explained how management just has to get over the risks that empowered service agents might make mistakes, might go too far...because this is the best way to get FCR up, employee morale up and turnover down. In her talk she described how the Distance Support Center gets the job done well often in complex circumstances connecting elements of the Navy family around the globe.
The cornerstone of their success in empowering their agents? Use of Tacit Knowldge.
What is tacit knowledge? "It's our agents know, but don't know they know," explained Susan.
The Support Center systemtically captures and shares cases describing how tacit knowledge is used...but does not try to turn these cases into cookie cutter scripts. The goal is to expand the scope of what an agent can and knows how to do.
Results are clear -
Their customer sat ratings range between 92 and 95% every month and
FCR averages 96%!
And agent satisfaction is up and turnover down.
Keys to this approach:
- Go beyond a scripted, procedural approach -Use cases for training - real-life scenarios
- Use a WIKI to share these in real time -Goal is to share what works
- Consider peer review as a way to evaluate what works and what does not
- Delineate when it is okay to go outside the box and when it is not, and how far they can go.
- You can get to these guardrails through trial and error
First up "The Best Service is no Service." - with Bill Price, formerly of Amazon.Com
- "The best service is no service," was Bill's response to Jeff Bezos' question about his philosophy of customer service when interviewing for a job leading Customer Satisfaction for Amazon. Bill gives voice to something many of us have been thinking about for years - think of a call to a contact center as a breakdown in the service model.
Bill calls non value adding calls "dumb contacts."
• Dumb contacts are ones that are not valuable to the customer or the business.
• If a contact is dumb it should be automated.
Companies that get this are measuring there % of Self Service. Many target as high as 90%, but Bill suggests using 80% as a workable goal. % Service provides a much better focus for service program than FCR or other traditional contact center metrics.
Bill relayed great examples of how self-service adds value based on knowing the customer's needs: Two struck me as wow:
- The Autobahn breaking into your FM radio program with an automated message warning off raffic ahead and then activating your GPS to show you where to get off
- MM's allowing online requests of personalized candies for special occasions.
Here is a real gem about dealing with an age old challenge at call centers - How to melt "snowballs." Yes, snowballs. Snowballs are repeat contacts because once they start rolling each call comes in with a bigger and bigger AHT Key to "melting them?" Unlimited Handle Time allowed for specific question types to do as much research as required, as long as it takes...to get to a First Call resolution.
Bottom line on Bill's talk:
Great service is table stakes.
Value comes from innovating ways to take the service call out of the equation.
Yep. But the way Bruce talks about service makes it infinitely fascinating and fun!
We got the basics on loyalty you would expect. Lifetime value. Know your markets. The relation of the employee's satisfaction with the experience of the customer. But there was so much more...
Some takeaways from Bruce's delightful talk:
- "I just work here." The enemy of customer loyalty is the company where "the rules" are a disincentive to customer satisfaction and the culture is "we just follow the rules."
- "What little bump does it take to notice service?" Disney pays attention to the details.
- Loyal customers feel ownership of the brand, "it becomes part of how they send messages about themselves."
- "Seamless process - start to finish." This is a favorite of mine. Thinking about what happens before, during, and after each individual transaction gets at the whole customer experience.
- Why do customers leave? Bruce's answer. It's the "Yeah, what?"...the "you're bothering me" look from a service person communicates "I don't care."
- Then there was a real life letter from a customer with accompanying pictures of their stay in Disney World. "Thank you for adding magic to our stay." Wow. A housekeeper moves Mickey around, posing him differently each day when she cleans the room and a grandchild experiences a vacation she will remember fondly - forever. You could hear the "awww's" fromt he audience at the last photo of Mickey at the window...waiting for the family to return to the room.
- The challenge? "Once you have bumped it, that becomes the new level, the new expectation."
- Identity - Value- Relationships...these in balance build great loyalty.
- Experience Mapping - way cool. Disney uses these to break down the elements of value and see what drives the quality of every experience. For each they define what would meet and what would exceed expectations. The goal is to exceed.
- "What do you want to be known for, then make that connection at every point."
- And there was that clip at the end with the girl dancing with a cast member. I teared up, more than just a bit. “We have the opportunity to make magic every day.” Yep.
Thanks, Bruce, for an inspiring journey into the magic of Disney service.
Blogging will be a great way to share best observations and insights from sessions throughout the conference. Amanda just kicked us off so we are off and running...
We're off to a fast start with posts by our chairperson, JoAnna Brandi, CEO & Publisher, The Customer Care Coach, who has been regularly blogging in the weeks leading up to our conference. She joins us with a few early posts as she prepares for the conference to begin. And this morning she has some early thoughts for everyone getting ready to network and participate in some great presentations from a wide-range of companies and presentors.
Also, Becky Carroll of Customers Rock! is on hand and will be posting her own experiences during the conference. She gives us this great perspective to begin with. She will be actively updating everyone on twitter so be sure and follow her here.
Now I had the chance to quickly catch up with Amanda Powers, Conference Director of NACCM: Customers 1st. She had a few minutes to stop and share with us a little about what has gone into this year's event as well as some details of what to expect during the next few days.
Finally, we are very proud to have The International Service Excellence Awards at this year's conference. I had the opportunity to speak with Brett Whitford, Secretary-General, of the International Council of Customer Service Organizations and Christine Churchill, Executive Director of The Customer Service Institute of America who will be hosting the awards ceremony tonight. Hear from them as they tell us about these renowned service awards. Remember, if you are here, you can still purchase tickets to this great event.
Over these next few days there are so many people to meet, and great presentations to watch. We'll be updating you throughout the conference, so be sure and subscribe to our feed to get our updates and check our website for even more detail from the conference.
I once had a boyfriend who used to end every phone conversation and every email with the phrase, “Stay beautiful.” At first I was delighted by it, but as time went on, I have to admit, occasionally it annoyed me. At that time in my life I was certainly not used to taking compliments gracefully (I’ve gotten over that) and there were many days where I felt far from anything that resembled beautiful.
So one day I talked to him about it. I explained that it made me uncomfortable – that I didn’t feel beautiful all the time (in fact I felt it rarely) and his saying it so often had the effect of me feeling “less than.”
Oh, I was so off base.
“Beautiful,” he explained from his perspective, was a state of being. It was a graceful way of interacting with the world. It was a consciousness, rather than a thing. The phrase, “Stay beautiful,” was a reminder to put myself into that way of being and operate from there.
Oh, that’s different.
Time has gone by since he was here to remind me, but that phrase often comes to me as a reminder that I do have a choice how I show up in the world. I ask myself if I am creating beauty in my relationships, my work, my attitude. I think about my clients and the people I teach – am I encouraging them to create a vision of what beauty, caring, and positive interaction can be in their organizations? What does it take, especially in tough times, to stay beautiful in the eyes of your customers?
Today I’m in Disneyland, just hours away from premiering my latest workshop, The Positive Leader, at the NACCM Customer’s First conference. I’m in a restaurant surrounded by pictures of Walt Disney. Before sitting down I had a delightful conversation with 5 year old Tara who was dressed up as Cinderella. She’s been here for three days, and I suspect been wearing the dress just as long. The excitement in her voice and the twinkle in her eyes lead me to believe that Walt knew how to teach his “cast members” the quality I know as “Stay Beautiful.”
Stay tuned this week to the NACCM website where we will be broadcasting live podcasts, and interviews with speakers and guests. http://www.iirusa.com/naccm/event-home.xml
I’m the conference chairperson this year – I’d love to know that all of you are getting to share in the excitement and the learning – even if you can’t be here in person with us.
Remember, stay beautiful.
I was schlepping myself and my luggage through the airport this week feeling tired and old when I heard my friend and teacher Scotty’s voice in my head. “Walk like a dancer JoAnna, walk like a dancer.”
I have to tell you that at that very moment I felt myself grow taller, I felt my gaze rise from the moving sidewalk to what passes for a horizon in an airport, I took a deeper breath, I lifted my head and heart and then exhaled. I thought of how a dancer might move her body through an airport pulling luggage. I figured it had to be different than the way I’d been doing it. So I made up, in my mind, a vision of how I thought a trained and graceful dancer would be moving herself through the tunnel between terminals A and B – a mighty distance.
Scotty, tries to teach me to dance, and once in a while succeeds. (That is, if I’m in town when he’s in town and there’s space in our schedules.) I’m a tough student. And if I never learn to dance that’s okay. Scotty taught me how to walk – forward and backward – across a stage, down the aisle forwards and backwards with confidence, poise and grace. I’m not sure of the score he would give me if he actually saw me work with an audience, but I know that I can continue to improve if I allow myself to keep hearing Scott’s voice in my head. “Walk like a dancer, JoAnna, walk like a dancer.”
What a beautiful reminder for me of a principle I teach (and sometimes forget to practice myself) Act “As if.” I wrote about it in my first book “Winning at Customer Retention, 101 Ways to Keep ‘em Happy, Keep ‘em Loyal and Keep ‘em Coming Back”
Here’s an excerpt on that wonderful practice.
“Service providers can’t be expected to be nice all the time, to be polite all the time, to care all the time, can they? No —not human ones, anyway. However, there’s a skill that’s easy to apply that can bridge the gap between the times you feel genuinely, positively involved in your interactions and those you don’t. I call it acting “as if.”
What if you’ve had a tough day? Can you act “as if’ you haven’t? Or, if you feel confused about solving a customer’s problem, ask yourself how you’d act if you weren’t confused. Suppose you’ve just heard some not-so-encouraging words from a supervisor about the status of your big project, and now you have to get on the phone with a customer. Can you act “as if’ the interaction with your supervisor didn’t take place, muster faith in your ability to overcome adversity, and go on to help the customer? You have a headache; can you act “as if’ you don’t?
As a performer, [and you ARE] you’ll be called on to perform when you simply don’t feel like it. Skilled performers — actors, speakers, service reps, and salespeople — have developed great confidence in their ability to “do what they have to do.” Many know the act “as if’ secret.
As a performer and frequent traveler, I can assure you there are many times when a delayed flight, a night of fitful sleep in a hotel room, overwork, or a cold threatens my ability to do my best in front of an audience. But what are my options? Cancel the performance? Resign myself to giving a bad show? Beg the audience for forgiveness? I’ve never considered any of these acceptable alternatives. With faith in my ability to rise to the occasion, I act “as if” — as if I had a good night’s sleep, as if I were feeling terrific. Very often, I find myself starting to feel just that way.
When I’m nervous, I remind myself how it feels to be at ease —how my voice sounds, how my face looks, how I stand. I try whatever I can to affect that other feeling. Very often, by changing something in my body, by acting “as if,” my mood changes and then my attitude and state of mind follow suit.
Begin right now to act “as if’ you have faith in your ability to succeed as a performance specialist and relationship expert. (Of course, this includes taking action, not just harboring positive thoughts.) Remember, if you act helpless, you’ll be helpless.
If you act creatively, on the other hand, you’ll be creative. Acting resourcefully can make you resourceful. Cultivate the habit of acting like a first-rate, best-in-your-class customer-care expert, and it will be so.”
Well said, even if I say so myself. So there I was standing tall, breathing deeply, pulling my luggage through the strangely psychedelic underground tunnel in the Detroit airport, acting “as if” I was one of those people on “Dancing with the Stars.” The experience was fun. It gave me energy, It stretched the muscles in my body and it put a smile on my face. It simply had to be healthier then schlepping through the airport with my head down and my shoulders bend. .
“Act as if,” is a simple and powerful concept used by people in all walks of life. When Billy Joel is struggling with writers block he puts on a particular set of clothing – relaxed and easy – goes down to the coffee shop where he has successfully written things before, buys the same kind of beverage, and takes out his old familiar notebook and pen. He puts himself in the same spot – “as if” the words and music were flowing from his fingertips. Because the body and the mind are so connected, he knows that when he puts his body in the same place, his mind will follow.
Where will you find the opportunity this week to “Walk like a Dancer” and act “As if?”
May you have many opportunities to excel!