Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
NACCM: Customers 1st speaker Curtis N. Bingham, President, Predictive Consulting Group, and Founder, Chief Customer Officer Council, was joined by Barbara Stinnett, President and CEO of SumTotal Systems.
Watch the web seminar here:
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
J.D. Power and Associates' latest survey of guests, out Tuesday, shows their satisfaction with four of six types of hotels increased in the last year: upscale, midscale full service, midscale limited service and economy/budget.
Microtel Inns & Suites ranked as the top economy/budget hotel for guest satisfaction in the J.D. Power survey for an eighth-consecutive year.
For more information about other hotel's ranking with the survey, please visit the original article referenced.
Customers say hotel service improves despite cost cuts
What can other hospitality industries learn from hotels during this economic climate?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
What the burger joint does is make a note of when optimal behavior is performed and then employees are compensated through bonuses and raises for quality of customer service. Employees are encouraged to give great customer service, and it proves that happy employees means happy customers.
Monday, July 27, 2009
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Question: This year’s NACCM is all about what companies must focus on now, so that when the dust settles, they will emerge on better, stronger, more relevant than ever. It’s about short term actions now for long-term sustainability. Why do you think this focus is on point with what business leaders need now?
Kathleen Peterson: I think really we’re about what we already know, what do we need to know, what are we learning more about, what are we going to do, how did it work and what actions are we taking.
The bottom line comes down to if we don’t do it now, it could be never for some organizations. Because there is no [time], the delay, the analysis, a lot of those things were luxuries that we’re going not necessarily abandon but we’re certainly going to have to look at what has the past five years taught us. In terms of the approach we take to business and to learning. I think one of the number one takeaways from this is what have we learned? Every single day, people should be asking themselves what do I know today that I didn’t know yesterday? What is that, where is that relevant in terms of our short terms action, and how will this impact us over the long term. What do we need to change?
I think the whole concept of bringing people, management and staff members, everyone into the corral so that the energy is being built around what do we all do, how do we all contribute, how do we make all of our jobs easier in some ways. Because I think what we’re learning here, people used to say that their businesses were so complex. And now they’ve realized they’re complicated. We not complex, we’ve just complicated it. As we start to take apart processes, and we learn more about the learning of technology will become infinitely important for anybody in a position looking at marketing or customer centricity, customer service or customer care. We have to be in the process improvement business. If we’re going to be in the pursuit of process improvement, and we’re going to be committed to the a quality experience for our customers while simultaneously doing more with less, then we really need to be partnering with our IT folks about what technologies makes sense for our business. There are enormous promises that will save you money, make you more productive, improve your customer experience I think people need to make sure in this market, a good thing in some ways because we’re not too loose with the pocketbook, we’ve got to really make a case and say an investment here in a particular kind of technology that will enhance process to allow us to better service at a higher level of quality is going to be an investment that will have a significant return to us but I think it takes multiple parties. The days of the learners of the customer contact continuum, everyone has to get their needs clear, and their technology questions answers so they partner with their technical experts within their enterprise to make that work.
When we talk about training in Powerhouse, we talk about learning. Training is an event, but learning is the experience we want people to leave with. So the approaches and techniques and technologies associated with the ability to keep people current, up to date, and consistent in the relationships cross functionally is going to be critical. Because it is so often knowledge errors or communication errors that cause failures within the customer experience that needs to be ironed out. And I think sometimes people look at those, it may be something simple at first, but you realize over the longer term, errors have been reduced, customers need to call has been reduced, subsequently cost has been reduced and contact with customers has a much higher value. Contact with customers because of problem loses value every time they have to call you on that.
Business leaders now are going to have to come to a conference like this to learn what the other are doing, what works, what doesn’t work, how do we improve process, people and communication. And especially how do we improve operations. For years, this has not been sexy. But now, I think it’s going to become a very worthy investment. It’s not the big bang things that people do to make a difference. Now, it’s turning the dials. Making sure that all the dials are turned up, and everyone is marching in the same direction and singing from the same song sheet.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Here is the copy of their revamped online customer support:
Online Customer Support
First, need help right now? To chat with or e-mail a customer service representative click here. It might just be the easiest and fastest way to get help, ask a question or wrestle a problem to the ground.
Another great way to ask questions and find help is right here on the Verizon Community Forums, where users help users get answers. We established the Forums last summer, and they’ve become an increasingly popular place for customers as The New York Times recently noted.
We have also a streamlined way for customers to get the help they need online. Our consumer support site, www.verizon.com/residentialhelp, provides customers with self-help procedures for an array of topics concerning broadband, television, telephone and wireless products and services. The Web site has earned praise from the Association of Support Professionals, and customers are using it to answer technical and product questions on their own.
What do you think of the procedures that Verizon has outlined with its customer support? What other changes can Verizon do?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
What are some of the experiences you've had lately when traveling? Has cut budgets affected the services you've received while you've been on vacation?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
1. To be greeted promptly — whether in person, on the phone or via a quick-loading Web site.
2. To have concerns addressed with sensitivity and efficiency — with eye contact if the exchange is person-to-person.
3. Clear communication from people who know what they’re talking about.
4. Individualized solutions rather than cookie-cutter responses that apply to one and all regardless of unique needs or circumstances.
Seems like a simple guideline to follow, customers need to feel appreciated and valued. What are some other aspects of customer service that customers expect to get each and every time?
Monday, July 20, 2009
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Question: On the bright side of a downturn, there’s always been innovation, new ideas and growth from strong companies. What do you think will be some of the lessons learned from this downturn?
Kathleen Peterson: I think it’s interesting because it relates to the question we just talked about, when you think about what are some of the lessons that are going to be learned when we come out of this downturn. Some are going to be harsher than others. Some people are going to have to look back and think this is what I could have done. But I think when we talk about looking at strong companies and looking at growth and that survivor instinct, we’re really looking at a situation where less is more has become a reality. When you look at innovation or new ideas, those are very often going to be very much part of the look at how we do things not just what do we do. But how do we do them. How can we do them better? How can we blow them up and change what we’ve done all together? I think innovation really speaks not to how we do things, but how can we do them differently. And that I think is something this conference is giving people an opportunity to look at how other have made improvements or changes so that you maximize your investments in people so that they’re not wasting their time pushing papers or having elements within a processes that don’t add to the quality or experience, they only the cost. So I really think that what we’re looking is becoming more involved, more knowledgeable, and move to a much more collaborative kind of infrastructure in the enterprise. The gap needs to close between strategy and execution, and lot of this is going to happen on an operational basis. I think what we have a chance to do here, I think that one of the realities about this conference that I’ve always experienced that these are senior people. These people who attend have a tolerance for risk. They’re not reckless but they have innovated and launched new ideas successfully so the opportunity to listen to someone the folks and have the balance, against what are the people side of these innovations and opportunities, and that sort of all combines into one experience here and I think it’s an brilliant time for people who need an outlet. They need other people at their level and their experience level, with the same growth issues and maintenance issues. It’s a great opportunity to test the waters and understand what else is going on to help look at how do I make sure that the business part of the operation is in the eyeball of the executive level as a strategic asset instead of a back office overhead cost that’s required to be maintained. Those are the elements on the balance sheet that can be cut, and they can be costing us. Cost can be a noun or a verb. And if your operation is costing more money than it’s delivering in value, then that’s where the ax starts to fall first. I think the ability to innovate, get new ideas, positivity contribute to growth and keep narrowing the gap from strategy to execution. There’s a lot to learn about at this conference from a lot of folks in this capacity.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Web Seminar: "Is LEADER spelled with an I?" Searching for Innovation in the World of Talent Development
About the webinar:
The success of leadership development, leadership transitions and leadership integration vary widely across industries, organizations and individuals. Why? In a recent research review, most executives expressed doubt that new leaders can step into new roles and deliver positive results. With all of the investments being made in talent management today, there are expectations that greater outcomes will be achieved. Please join Dr. David Yudis and explore some paths of possibility.
Dr. David Yudis, Director, Global Learning and Development, Disney
Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Find out more and register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/501492696
Use Priority Code: G1M118W1BLOG
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Today’s customers research their buying decisions on the internet, comparing prices and educating themselves about the products and services they use. They don’t see things from the antiquated “you’re the expert,” and “I am the grateful client” point-of-view. Instead, they are more likely to say, “Here’s how I want my service performed.” The internet has also brought online review websites like Yelp.com, who give computer-savvy customers a way to spread the word about their experiences at your business.
Preston Wynne Spa is one of ten companies featured in my upcoming book, “Who’s Your Gladys, How to Turn Even Your Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan,” which is slated for release in September 2009. Spa owner Peggy Wynne Borgman knows that with a quick internet search, anyone looking for a spa in a particular city can click onto a review site and see comments and a rating system. Reviewers use pseudonyms to protect their identities, so they feel free to reveal their strongest opinions.
Preston Wynne receives many glowing customer reviews, but they have had their share of unfavorable comments. The downside of the internet review sites is that some unhappy customers are quick to complain with an online review, while leaving the business owner in the dark. Some people even do it recreationally. Peggy believes that, in general, younger consumers know their power. They know that the companies want their business and they wield their power through online reviews – almost like consumer vigilantism.
Peggy appreciates all her reviewers, even the ones who complain. “If someone has taken the time to write a review, even if it isn’t good, they are more emotionally engaged with your company than someone who just walks away and never comes back,” she explained. “There is an emotional investment that the complainer has, so I always respond where I can.”
Yelp.com gives business owners a way to respond to reviewers while allowing them to remain anonymous. Peggy sends an online thank you to all her positive reviewers, though she gets in touch with the complainers, too. Peggy has never asked a “Yelper” to change a review, no matter how nasty. “I simply contact them and say, ‘I wish I’d known about this and now that I do, I would like to make it right for you. Come back in and have the experience you deserved to have in the first place.’” The vast majority of the online complainers appreciate her gesture and give the spa another chance. In every instance where she connected with the Yelper and got them to return to the spa, the reviewer modified or amended their online review on their own accord, expressing appreciation for management’s commitment to customer service.
Peggy sometimes asks her online critics if they would be willing to complete a detailed secret-shopper evaluation form. The people who review on Yelp tend to see themselves as opinion leaders so when they’re asked to evaluate the spa, they are usually thrilled. They also love getting a complimentary spa treatment for doing the evaluation.
“It helps us develop a really good relationship,” Peggy explained. “Another really good side effect is when you put an evaluation in someone’s hands, they see everything that you’ve done right.”
What do you think?
Do your customers write reviews about your business using sites like Yelp.com? How could you improve your customer relationships by responding skillfully to both the positive and negative reviews?
Monday, July 13, 2009
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Tell us why you feel this is THE year companies must focus on both their customer AND their people?
Kathleen: Well I think when you look at what’s going on from a strategic perspective, strategies at the senior level have become very customer centric. The strategic perspectives include both top and bottom line growth. The customer is obviously a central part to top line growth: increasing the number of customer we serve, increasing retention and increasing the share of wallet and they are all consideration in growing the top line. But the bottom line is in gaining efficiencies. So how do we contribute to revenue generating opportunities and the only way that has been proven is that we know people have execute strategies. We know in a lot of organizations, there are fewer people than there once were. So when we look at why it is important to both, you can’t focus on one and not the other. Because if you focus on efforts toward attracting and retaining your customers and you don’t allow for the requirements that your people have to execute that you know your efforts are for not. In some ways we were in sort of a “pretty” period, everyone was dancing in the woods and everything was wonderful. But now the excess is gone. And people come to work with brains. Everyone is really capable, I believe, of doing a good job and making a contribution. Our leaders in this business have to become really experts not only on the customer side but what do I need to do to inspire and motivate every single member of the team from top to bottom from cross functionally, cross departments, cross sites and enterprise how ever it’s going to work. From suppliers to customers to billing, everyone has to be on board and everyone has to understand it. Not that we can’t tolerate excesses but we can’t afford them anymore. We are going to look at the people processes in terms of how that supports the customer experiences that we’re committed to strategically.
Friday, July 10, 2009
CMO of Best Buy, Barry Judge decided to respond to the allegations by the team at Gizmodo by playing along. Judge posted an illustration of the Gizmodo blogger on his corporate blog in the same fashion. We encourage you to check out the exchange, to see another way that a big company is choosing to react to an intended smear on their image.
What do you think of Barry Judge's reaction to the Gizmodo piece? What would you have done differently?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
If you'd like to network with over 1,000 other customer service professionals and receive these email newsletters monthly, please join our Customers 1st LinkedIn Group!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Hard to believe that July is already here and the 9th annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference is taking place next week, July 14-17, 2009 at the Hilton Chicago. We’re excited to announce that the show is going to be a hit, with hundreds of best-in-class brands, retailers and industry thought-leaders attending.
The event producers are busy adding new speakers and sessions as well as developing new onsite elements that add value to your experience. It is our goal to ensure everyone who attends leaves with a plethora of contacts, insights and ideas.
We’re excited to announce 12 new speakers and 7 new sessions have been added to the program totaling over 50 educational sessions with 75+ speakers.
NEW SPEAKER HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
• Candace Adams, former Senior Director, In-Store Experience, WalMart joined the retail panel on Thursday afternoon. She will join fellow panelists Chris Borek, Manager, In-Store Digital Marketing for Target, Mark Heckman, Vice President of Marketing for Marsh Supermarkets and Ryan Mathews, Consultant for FedEx Kinko’s. As seasoned retailers, they will discuss their perspectives on how the in-store shopping environment will evolve in the next 5, 10 and 20 years to meet shopper needs. Candace recently left WalMart and has joined shopper-centric research consultancy, SmartRevenue.
• Candace Adams will also participate in a breakout session on Thursday afternoon featuring brand executives from Unilever, Sara Lee and Kimberly Clark. This session will feature how WalMart worked with their brand partners using virtual reality technology to improve the shopping experience of their SuperCenter stores.
• Stephen Day, Global Consumer Insights for Electronic Arts along with Brand Cruz, VP of Retail and eCommerce Practice Leader for Chadwick Martin Bailey will discuss “The Evolution of the “Gamer” Market and How Segmentation Helped EA Develop a Groundbreaking Strategy”
For a complete list of new speakers and updates, click here http://www.iirusa.com/upload/wysiwyg/2009-M-Div/M2115/PDFs/New_Sessions_Added_to_the_Program_6-29-09.pdf
To download the full event agenda, visit http://www.iirusa.com/insights/at-a-glance.xml .
Plus, Shopper Insights producers have added 3 NEW RESOURCES AVAILABLE to Attendees Only
• Everyone who attends will have access to the POST-CONFERENCE REPORT, written by Socratic Technologies. This report will synthesize key findings from the event.
• Attendees will also get access to a USER-GENERATED POST-CONFERENCE REPORT, a collection of key takeaways by various participants at the event. This report will be made available to all attendees 2 weeks following the event.
• Everyone who walks in will be given an ROA, Return on Attendance Toolkit to ensure they get the valuable information needed to prove their return on attendance.
If you haven’t already registered, don’t worry, it’s not too late! And because of how important you are to us, our LinkedIn group members receive a 20% discount to attend. Use my personal code AMANDASHOP09 when you register. To register visit www.shopperinsightsevent.com.
I hope to see you there!
All the best,
Shopper Insights in Action Conference Director
"Customer UNinterrupted is a cost effective way to get new ideas, access to other company's best practices (and some of their research) as well as their results and proven business cases of what works for project implementation."
- Lynn Holmgren, Vice President and General Manager, Customer Care, Whirlpool Corporation
"You're fired! That's what your customers are going to tell you if you ignore them in this economy. When the consumer dollar has to go further, the last thing consumers want to hear is 'sorry we can't help you with that'. Learning what others are doing right, and applying new ideas to improve your own business never ends for service professionals. Get busy sharing. Get busy learning. And get busy succeeding at Customer UNinterrupted!"
- Boyd Beasley, Senior Director, Customer Support, Electronic Arts
"With companies cutting costs it has an impact on the customer support and service you provide. How can you differentiate yourself in the market place unless you provide superior service? Join us at Customer UNinterrupted to learn how to improve Customer Service and Customer Treatment while controlling your costs."
- Dave Spedden, Director, CRM Services & Technology, United Parcel Service
"Times are tough and now more than ever you need to attend this conference. There will be practical tips of how you can improve customer service and your bottom line. Look forward to seeing you there."
- Tim Cook, Vice President of North American Operations, Hilton Reservations and Customer Care
"As economic factors weigh more heavily in consideration and managers are firmly scrutinizing budgets, engaging in customer centric discussions at a time customers are being more selective about where they spend their money is a clear choice. Customer experience and best practices in delivering service is time well spent that has an inherent ROI not just by driving satisfaction and loyalty, but by expanding potential on the efficiency front."
- Percy Hoffman, Director, Call Center Operations, Cricket Communications
"Your customers are having conversations across the social web right now deciding if brand loyalty matters, if your company isn't participating, you're not growing."
- Scott McIntyre, Director, Multi-Channel Development, Best Buy
"Unless you are USAA or Amazon, you still have a lot to learn. Why do some key names always appear on the top of independent evaluations of service experience? If you don't know, as Zappos who is giving these big boys a run for their money. Why does EA have an award winning CS team? Because we beg, borrow and steal ideas from those that are doing it right - then we iterate, innovate and make them our own! We dare you to keep up!"
- Boyd Beasley, Senior Director, Customer Support, Electronic Arts
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
In a program is believed to be one of the first of its type in the world for a retailer; Wal-Mart's Asda unit in the U.K. will start e-mailing customers images and details of products from the store's buyers in the Far East, asking whether they want to see them in stores.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "We're very keen on using the digital channel to enhance what we do and allow our customers into the business," said Asda corporate communications chief Dominic Burch. "This will give us more insight into what their current thinking is about what they want to see."
There are no current plans to launch the program in the U.S., but Wal-Mart is known for taking successful initiatives and greatly expanding them throughout its organization.
Asda will e-mail the pictures to its U.K. "Pulse of the Nation" group of roughly 18,000 customers, which it regularly queries on a variety of matters. Respondents will have the option of giving thumbs up or down, and Asda's decisions on whether to stock the items will be significantly influenced by what the shoppers are saying, Burch said. "
By having customer and community involvement with store items, will this present both the shopper and the retailer with a mutually beneficial retail environment?
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When you chaired NACCM last, NACCM has really grown up and evolved with the industry. Now it’s all about the attendee, creating a customizable, interactive experience. Tell us why you’re excited to return as chair this year and why you think this event is a MUST attend for all customer-centric leaders, particularly this year.
I’ve always felt that this conference was the most focused experience for customer management leaders. It’s always been about the customer experience across the board and I think that when we look at what this current state that we’re in, it’s become more important than ever for professionals to come together to experience not only the experts but the networking and the one another and the bouncing ideas off of each other. This is really the opportunity for leaders to develop themselves more. A lot of the training and the leadership that these folks provide is often not returned within the enterprise which forces them to seek that kind of learning and overall learning experience externally. And of any conference that anyone could ever go to if the mission is to learn not only what theories are out there, but what realities and what practices have yielded good solid results, this is the only conference to do it at in my experience, and I have seen plenty of them.
Monday, July 6, 2009
At the end of the article, they look at what a supercustomer is and how to become one:
I use "supercustomer" to describe those — the best! — who go beyond the call of customer duty (intriguing way of looking at it, hmm?) and don't just routinely consume, they actively participate in improving the people & products of the businesses they enjoy.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Check out the BusinessWeek's video with CEO Richard Braddock
What other companies are defying the odds in this economic climate by succeeding because of great customer service?