Friday, January 30, 2009

Will you be attending NACCM?

If you're planning on attending, speaking or sponsoring in Phoenix November 2-5 for NACCM, we invite you to add NACCM to your Events on LinkedIn. Join us here:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Car dealerships focusing on service

With the plummeting sales of new cars, car dealerships are being forced to find other ways to bring customers into their stores. They're turning their attention to their service operations and replace the lost revenue of new cars sold with that of customer loyalty. A study by JD Power and Associates shows that this trend is across the industry, the article stating overall satisfaction with dealer service averaged 866 on a 1,000-point scale, an increase of three points since 2007. For more on this new trend, read the article at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Help Shape the Customers 1st 2009 Conference Agenda

I am the producer of the NACCM Customers 1st Conference- the evolved North American Conference on Customer Management. With all the changes happening in the world, I are trying to get a clear sense of how customer focused executives are responding to change to address key issues and solve customer and business challenges in order to shape the 2009 program. If you have 10 minutes to spare this week or next, please let me know a date and time that work for you and the best number to reach you and I will follow up then. Thanks in advance and I am hopeful we can connect soon. As I know budgets are tight, I am pleased to offer you a 15% discount for participating in this research should you like to attend the event this year!

Amanda Powers
Senior Conference Producer NACCM's Customer's 1st

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Face-to-Face Customer Service

Yesterday we posted that Columbia, which is based on BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, opened up a new strip mall that will sell policies and answer any customer service questions. To add to that story Spokeswoman Lauralee Shapiro mentions:

"I just think with the confusion in the marketplace, it gives an opportunity for people to come in and actually get information for their health care plan."

Do you think that with the current economic situation we will be seeing more personal face-to-face customer service interactions?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Health Insurer Opens up Shop

Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina has opened up a strip mall store in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Relatively new to the health insurance industry, this store will provide a way for customers to buy individual, group and children's insurance. It will also provide an alternative to calling help numbers, as employees in the stores will answer questions about insurance program benefits.

This type of customer care is new to the health insurance industry. Do you think this will catch on beyond Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Source: AP

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bank of America Using Twitter to Solve Customer Problems

Bank of America has taken a new approach to customer service--Twitter. The banking giant, now in a bit of hot water thanks to Merrill Lynch, has decided to reach out to the masses in with help in only "140 characters." Many readers on have reported quick help with the website, refunds in fees and cancellations. Check out the Twitter helper at:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Virgin Media Improves Customer Service

According to this post on Virgin Media, the UK telecommunications company that is not known for its customer service, has completed a data migration and customer relationship management software project that is intended optimize technology and operational performance.

Virgin teamed up with Convergys to launch a customer care and billing system to improve customer service. Riki Allon, senior vice president and general manager for Convergys in EMEA mentioned:

"With ICOMS in place, Virgin Media can now execute more innovative product launches across the entirety of its customer base and reduce time to market to maintain its competitive advantage."

What companies have you partnered with to improve on customer service?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

City council focuses on customer service

The city of Janesville, Wisconsin is making customer service top priority for their citizens. City Council President Amy Loasching has realized that a lot of the complaints coming into the city have to do with poor customer service about departments in the city. It's important that employees of the city improve their services skills so that everyone is happier, including the citizens and those who work for the city council.

Hear the podcast report here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Recession can improve customer centricity

Graham Hill recently wrote a post at Customer Think about how, even though the current rough times, companies can focus on and build customer centricity. Should companies are following his five ideals to build customer centricity, they should have a customer base to carry them through the recession. Are you?

1. Having a deep understanding of customer needs (based on customer jobs and outcomes)
2. Mass customisation of products, services & experiences
3. Dynamically reconfigurable delivery system
4. Lean business support systems
5. Customer value management across the customer portfolio

Monday, January 19, 2009

We're all Twittering (Everyone's Doing It)

In July, we posted about the role of “digital care manager,” a position Mr. Eliason from Comcast Cable filled in order to proactively search for complaints and problems in twitter. Since that time, several other companies have joined the bandwagon and are now doing the same. The brightkit blog has posted a huge list of all the companies that now use twitter to track what their customers are saying about them in real time. Here are companies that already have their own twitter pages Southwest Airlines, Dell Computers, Comcast, Starbucks, Jet Blue, Home Depot, Whole Foods, H&R Block, Zappos, Kodak, General Motors, Pandora. And the list goes on for companies that have also responded to problems and complaints on twitter.

Has your company joined the revolution?

Friday, January 16, 2009

An interesting case for customer service

I recently found this article at TMC News. Recently, two brothers from Australia were in New Zealand on a glacier, and died when buried under a landslide of falling ice chunks. Their parents were contacted a few days later by the rental car service the boys had used, letting them know they had late fees to pay because they hadn't received the the car back that the brothers had rented. The keys to the rental car were in the pockets of one of the brothers. They did not purchase insurance for the car, and the company claims that they've lost at least $390.

The Minister of Tourism of New Zealand has told the company they are "crass at best" for trying to collect the money, and Edwin Chen, the director of the rental company, had this to say about the 'unfortunate' situation: "We feel for them. If there are things that are going to cost the company, we have no choice but to recover the costs. They should ... travel with insurance. It's not up to us as a company to pay for the costs."

What would you do in a situation like this? Travel insurance was created for emergencies. These brothers did not buy it. There's a business to run. However, your public image may decrease if you pursue the matter too closely. What would your service business do in this situation?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Customer Service and Cloud Computing Make Service Cloud

According to, has unveiled its Service Cloud, a customer service application that’s designed for cloud computing and plugged into conversations that occur on Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Customers can use the Service Cloud as a community on these websites and social networking sites to talk about specific products--a more 2.0 version of the message board. The goal of the Service Cloud is to "absorb information into a corporate knowledge base," i.e., find out when and what people are talking about and use that to enhance their customer service and understanding of consumers.

Also, promises that Service Cloud results will be ranked near the top of Google results and multi-channel–phone, email and chat–support hosted in the cloud.

It seems that these online retailers are looking to be a "friend" with the consumers online and will try to engage the consumer about products on a candid level.

Post your thoughts on Service Cloud here or on our LinkedIn group.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Enhanced Customer Service through Text Messages

The worst part of taking a car to a service center in my experience is the time you wait for a call back on the status of the job, price of repairs, or whether or not the mechanics even got a chance to look at the car. According to this post, many auto dealers are looking to improve on the customer experience by delivering text messages to customers during the service appointment lifecycle.

The amount of text messages sent and received on a daily basis exceeds the total population of this planet. Astounding numbers! This is a great way to get quicker response times and avoid wasted time on approvals and chasing voicemails all day long.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Customer service classes now in session

KTUU of Anchorage, Alaska recently ran a report on a customer service course being offered by the Cook Inlet Tribal School. This two week course teaches students how to learn how to effectively deal with customers and manage their employees properly. As noted in the video below, there is a lack of workforce in Anchorage, so it shows when employers put their employees directly to work with out first training them on the basics of customer service. Watch the news report here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

With Customer Service, Email is #1

Charlie Gaffney's article in CIO Today talks about the measures that companies must take to survive in this economic climate. One of the most cost-effective ways that companies can save money is to use email. He claims that email has now surpassed telephone service and its a valuable tool to reach the customer. What do you think? Should customer service be more, if not all email driven? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nintendo's great customer service

Recently at The Consumerist, Alex Jarvis wrote in about the exceptional customer experience some had with Nintendo and their broken Wii. The customer had the game consult for two years, and green artifacts starting popping up on the screen when he was playing two specific games. Upon checking on the internet, his warranty was out, but called customer service, and they told him to send his Wii back in with the UPS packaging label they emailed him. When he received the Wii back, he not only had a new motherboard in his consult, but the two games that were malfunctioning as well, at no cost to the customer.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

FreshDirect caters to customers wants

FreshDirect knows it has to keep up with its customers in this economy. As the largest online grocer in New York, they must keep up with the fast paced consumer base. So after a summer spent doing market research, they've now changed a few of their business practices and seen it pay off with larger orders and more repeat customers.

They've initiated a new system that can tell their consumers how fresh their produce is. Since customers ordering food online can't judge the freshness of the vegetables and fruit, a new five star system allows customers to see the quality of the next days produce as judged by the managers at FreshDirect. They've also changed their packaging, eliminating Styrofoam containers for 50% of their orders, and better packing their cardboard boxes so that a box doesn't arrive with just one or two items. They've also opened up more delivery slots for most popular time slots such as Saturdays.

Fresh Direct has made it a point to focus on the needs of their customers. Have you made changes recently that your customers have responded to? What were they?

Source: Internet Retailer

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Customer Retention and Satisfaction Named Top Priorities

According to, customer retention and satisfaction have been named the top priorities for marketers in 2009. This stems from the understanding that companies are looking for ways to keep their customer's coming back and keeping consumer confidence in the product high during this tough fiscal times.


The Marketing Executives Networking Group (Meng) and Anderson Analytics released their Top Marketing Trends for 2009 survey this week, which found that out of 62 identifiable marketing concepts, customer retention and customer satisfaction came out on top.

As a customer service professional how do you feel this will affect your business in the coming year? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please share with us here or on LinkedIn!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 Remains a Customer Service Rock Star

It’s no surprise that comes in the Becky Carroll’s list of top customer service rock stars of 2008 in her latest post in Customers Rock! Tony Hsieh, the CEO of once mentioned to Becky that they are a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes. Their main focus is keeping customers happy, as Becky explains when a customer service rep recommended a competitor’s website to her when they told Becky that she would not have her sandals in time for Christmas. Few companies do this, and this is what makes them stand out from the rest. Is your company focused on keeping customers happy?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Go local for customer service

Recently at Business Week, Charlie Gaffney recognized the fact that levels of customer service are falling as companies are reducing their workforce. He brings up two ideas that are good for both a customer service perspective and your local workforce.

As the use of email has surpassed the use of phones, so it's a great time to turn to email for your customer service. It's also something worth investing in, because good customer service is a great way to advertise. Invest in your local community, and hire locals to work the inbox. Customers will recognize the easy and quick communication and great service they'll receive. You'll also be providing jobs for your community.

What do you think? Is your customer service located locally? How have you seen this affect your business?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Alaska Airlines focuses on customer service

Although Alaska Airlines is facing turmoil along with the rest of the airline industry, they're determined to maintain their high level of customer service. They recognize that they need to maintain and grow their customer base to stay ahead in the future. Information Week has the story. That's why they've come up with a new system to keep their customers informed as to their airline delays and a new innovative way to help customers reschedule their flights using Oracle's Siebel Loyalty Management. Their first test was on December 20, when a bad weather along the west coast, an automated service emailed their frequent fliers who had flights canceled, and allowed customers to alter their travel plans online, instead of waiting in line to deal with a customer service representative. They're looking to make the flying experience less stressful for their customers, and have developed this innovative service which will appeal to frequent fliers.