Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Microsoft's Tellme Unveiling Upgrades In Speech Services

According to, Microsoft's Tellme service just had the operation's best quarter because its functionality saves businesses time and money when it comes to customer service. On Wednesday, the company announced new enhancements to the system including improvements to its speech recognition and customer assistance technologies. "There's lots of opportunity for better customer service and better caller experience, and that combined with decreasing costs is a very compelling value proposition," said Jamie Bertasi, senior director of Tellme business solutions.

How have you seen Tellme become a success? Does its implementation in a company's customer service infrastructure really save time and money? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Volunteers for customer service?

Verizon Wireless is finding help from customer service in one of the most unusual places....a volunteer. The New York Times recently wrote a report on how certain companies are looking to their super-users for help in customer service. Verizon Wireless found help from Justin McMurry, a user of the online communities, who, in turn, helps out other who have questions about Verizon Wireless and their services and enjoys participating. Read the full story here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cloud Computing and Customer Service

According to James Urquhart of CNET, cloud computing and customer service go hand in hand, for instance he feels:

In my mind's eye, it should be simple for the average Joe to:

  • collect data when a problem occurs
  • report the problem with a click of a button
  • have a "self-service" case created with fields where customers can track the progress they are making against issue resolution--and which can be "mined" by the vendor's support organization to discover trending bugs, etc.
  • search documentation for workarounds or solutions without having to jump through hoops
  • have the option to jump to a chat session or forum where he or she might get some help
  • have the option to select a one-time premium support option if a case warrants it

Has your organization implemented cloud computing for customer service? What benefits do you see with adding cloud computing to your existing customer service architecture?

Please click here for the original article referenced for this post.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Delighting your customers

We recently posted that Dell's number one goal is to delight their customers. Today I came across a post in the Good Customer Service Blog that that emphasizes that same ideal - to surprise and delight your customers! Here's a clip from that post that gives a lesson on how to surprise and delight. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where is the customer service?

Angie Larson of ABC News 4 in Utah recently wrote about her customer service experience when taking a vacation to Las Vegas. Even in a town that relies on tourists for much of its income, she found the service there was significantly less than she expected.

I spent $10 on shuttle service from the airport to the hotel only to listen to the driver cuss at the "idiots" (his word, not mine) on the road and use insulting profanity to complain about life in general. I get it, times are tough. But it might be a wiser decision to vent frustrations to friends and family instead of someone you expect a tip from. And expect, instead of earn is the mind-set I witnessed. (I hope I don't sound too hypocritical because I am, after all venting to you. But I'm not naming names, just giving examples to make a point.)

Read her full account here. Does this surprise you? What have your customer service experiences been like on your recent vacations?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Are you prepared for a PR disaster?

Thanks to the two former employees last week, Dominos has been in the midst of a PR and customer service firestorm. Following the incidents of JetBlue (snowstorm stranded passengers) and Motrin (mommy-gate). According to Emily Bryson York's article in AdWeek, companies have only 24 hours to respond to widespread online complaints.

York writes,

Are you prepared?Richard Levick, president of Levick Strategic Communications, isolates four steps every company should take to prepare for this kind of crisis.

1. Identify your crisis team: investor relations, government relations, public relations, crisis communications, outside lawyers, general counsel, digital communications, human resources, multimedia communications experts and an executive team.

2. Imagine your nightmare scenarios and prepare for them -- make sure you own all the search-engine-optimization keywords, and that lawyers who specialize in class-action suits against major companies don't.

3. Track the blogosphere and other social media. Be connected with the major players and be as responsive as possible.

4. Don't wait. Your response time is only 24 hours.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dell Delights Customers

I came across this video today on in which they recently interviewed Tim Griffin, the VP of Global SMB Services at Dell, about their outlook on customers and service. Dell's number one goal is to delight their customers, and because of this they offer a wide array of products and services to ensure that customers are happy. Take a look at the video below to see Tim speak about about the current strategy around Dell services.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Delta shifting away from call centers in India

Yesterday, we posted this podcast which looked at why customers are often treated badly. One company is starting to listen to their customers. According to Bloomberg, Delta has begun to shift their call centers out of India at request of their customers. They've moved these call center jobs back to the US.

Do you think the shift of call center jobs back to the United States is inevitable? Will American customers become more loyal if they reach someone on the other end of the phone from America?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Podcast: Why Customer Service Is So Bad

Kimberley Palmer of USNews and World Report, recently posted a podcast with author, Emily Yellin, a keynote speaker at this year's Customers 1st Conference and author of the book Your Call Is (not that) Important to Us: Customer Service and What It Reveals About Our World and Our Lives. It looks at the world of customer service. She explains to Ms. Palmer why companies force us to spend so much time on hold, or otherwise frustrated, when their products and services give us problems. She also tells us what to do about it. Its definitely an interesting listen and we encourage you to check it out.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Twitter Aids Customer Service... Yet again!

We've posted how companies like Dell and Southwest Airlines have used Twitter for customer service by listening to what customers were saying about their products. This article on MediaPost highlights how seven customer service reps at Qwest monitor their Twitter page around the clock to provide answers and support in real-time.

Qwest hopes that their Twitter page will help reps resolve issues on high-speed Internet, billing, pricing, technical support, just to name a few. So far, it was worked well for the company.

Businesses should dive into creating pages like the one Qwest has made, it can help reduce the call-time wait at call centers by simply sending a tweet whenever service outages are known.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is your customer service suffering?

Is your customer service suffering? DelMarva Now recently took a look at what the possibilities could be for your customer service: employees are not trained, some employees may not care about their job, and the employees may be burnt out. What would you suggest as a way to monitor these three things? What steps would you take to correct these actions that may be diminishing your customer service?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Customer service up in 2008 for airline industry

Tulsa World reports that all 17 airlines have improved their customer service ratings in 2008 from 2007, which was the worst-ever performance year for airlines. One reason for this is the reduced traffic and capacity cuts due to the deteriorating economy. However, this did lead to improved services such as better on time performance, baggage handling, denied boardings and fewer customer complaints. Hawaiian Airlines ranked #1 for customer service, and Southwest continued to have the fewest number of customer complaints.

Top 10 airlines in quality rankings:

2008 Airline ranks
  1. Hawaiian
  2. Air Tran
  3. JetBlue
  4. Northwest
  5. Alaska
  6. Southwest
  7. Frontier
  8. Continental
  9. American
  10. US Airways

Friday, April 3, 2009

Comcast, Twitter, and Customer Service

There has been quite a bit of buzz about how Comcast is reaching out and providing service for those customers who tweet about their problems with Comcast's services. However, and interesting article at The Industry Standard about how the program is still taking off, and some customer service reps aren't even aware there is a division of representatives that are contacting customers via Twitter.

"I spoke to an...employee who berated me for not contacting them sooner. I explained that I had done so, most recently via Twitter and that's when everything got bizarre," John told The Industry Standard. "He said he had never heard of it...I pointed out that I've gone through the cycle of reporting it...but because I had used Twitter...he indicated that they didn't really count!"

How would you take care of this problem in your company?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Practical eCommerce Podcast

Todd Jennings of Practical eCommerce recently recorded a customer service podcast that is a great way to get started building up the customer service within your business. The podcast, only a minute longer is a good reminder that customer's always come first with business and businesses must rely on good customer service in order to succeed. Take a moment and listen to the podcast here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Social Customer Service Representatives

This recent post in conversations matter details how many companies are now beginning to step away from the trend of hiring outsourced customer service reps, and instead are hiring agents who can speak the language and are familiar with social media tools. We are seeing a huge shift of customer service professionals moving online, as consumers have begun to utilize various points of contact via social media like forums, blogs, and even twitter. The most important social media job, according to Kelly Ferrer, are online customer service reps. Do you agree?