Thursday, September 30, 2010

Restaurants using Twitter for customer engagement

In an effort to connect with their patrons, restaurants are turning to Twitter. Restaurants have adopted the micro-blogging platform to promote their offerings and specials; but only recently have they started using Twitter to fully engage with their customers. The Associated Press reports that chains like Chipotle and Pei Wei even have full-time social media employees. Previously corporate-sounding restaurant Twitter feeds now are filled with streams of replies directly to diners, in some cases performing nearly instantaneous customer service.

Geoff Alexander, managing partner of Wow Bao in Chicago explained his company's Twitter commitment like this: "If somebody has 1,000 followers and writes a negative Tweet about Wow Bao, then 1,000 people could think the restaurant is bad. But if Wow Bao publicly responds to that Tweet, 1,000 people may see the issue is being handled."
If you work within the restaurant or hospitality industry, have you adopted Twitter as not only a advertising platform but an engagement tool? We'd love to hear your thoughts! DM us on Twitter @customerworld 

Photo: Courtesy of Vidafine 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kmart to post customer reviews on store shelves

According to Kmart's blog, the retailer will now put customer reviews directly on the shelves of their games department.

In order for the review to be displayed on shelves they must be:

* Helpful and constructive
* Unique and well-written
* Written for an audience that may be made up of non-gamers; your review will be read by gamers and non-gamers of all ages
* About a title released in the last month or so, or a more "evergreen" title (Example: Red Dead Redemption or NCAA Football 11) that will be prominently featured on store shelves for several months.
* Abide by the MyKmart terms of service
* We won't post reviews that simply say whether a game is good or bad. Reviews that describe gameplay, graphics and storyline are more likely to be featured. (This way, we can cut down on any potential abuse of our program.)

What do you think of Kmart's move to put customer reviews directly on store shelves? Will this help to improve the customer's experience while in store?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Register for NACCM by this Friday and Save $100

There's still time to Save $100 off the registration fee - Register by THIS FRIDAY, October 1st.

We're so excited about the 2010 NACCM storytellers and their amazing customer initiatives, that we just couldn't wait until the event to give you a sneak peek! This week we're highlighting Gina from Best Buy (who will be taking part in the Breakfast of Champions at 9:00 on Wednesday, October 27th). For the full list of speakers, click here.

Gina Debogovich
Best Buy
Under Gina's leadership as the Senior Manager of Communities and Social Media Strategies, Best Buy has positioned itself as the leader in the technology retail space in part because the company isn't afraid to take risks with new customer support platforms.

That means making social media a priority as a customer experience tool, instead of considering it an afterthought for someone to do in their spare time.

The company's original goal for its online activities was to decrease customer support calls into the call center and reduce expenses. But new benefits soon emerged. More than 60% of forum posts are product discussions, something Gina saw as an opportunity to increase and influence customer spending. In addition, social media platforms help build retention and loyalty, and the user comments help Best Buy gain new insight into the customer experience. "Every contact is an idea", she says.

Download the brochure for full conference details.
Register Today & Save!

Customize your Experience - Mix and match sessions geared to Leadership, Company Culture & Employee Engagement or Crowdservicing & Customer Experience. View the agenda-at-a-glance for an overview of everything NACCM.

Second-to-None Customer Service! Making the conference a success for you is the goal of the entire team at NACCM. Not sure where to start? Simply the download the conference brochure and review the sessions - still have questions? Contact our event concierge, Alexandra Pagano at

Friday, September 24, 2010

Relax! How to handle angry customers without losing your cool

Sue Shellenbarger's post on the blog, Work & Family outlines tips that customer service representatives can use to help keep their cool in the midst of an angry wave of customer complains. The post notes that customer service takes a heavy toll. Turnover ranges from 25% to 300% a year. Part of the problem is having to fake happiness, according to a German study. Call-center workers who were instructed to remain polite and friendly with angry, rude customers had elevated blood pressure long after ending a call, researchers found. Those allowed to react naturally and defend themselves were far less stressed.

Shellenbarger's tips include eye exercises, keeping calm, keeping a vacation photo nearby, and exercising to alleviate some of the stress from the job.

In your work, what tips help you to keep your cool while staying focused on the customer's needs?

How to Keep Your Cool in Angry Times

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Evolution of Self-Service at Continental Airlines: Customer, UNinterrupted Spotlight

Jared Miller, Managing
Director, Self-Service & Emerging Technology

Join us for the presentation "Enhancing the Customer Experience through Seamless Self-Service Interactions: Evolution of Self-Service at Continental Airlines" with Jared Miller, Continental Airlines' Managing Director, Self-Service & Emerging Technology on Monday, October 25th at 1:4opm. This presentation is part of Customer, UNinterrputed where you will learn to develop a consistent strategy for delivery seamless service interactions across multiple channels, with a focus on self-service, online experience, and technology.

Customer, UNinterrupted

October 25, 2010
Walt Disney World Dolphin
Orlando, FL

Download the brochure
Register today!

About the presentation:
Having provided self-service options to customer for 15 years, Continental Airlines and its customers have embraced self-service technologies and processes. This session will give an overview of the evolution of self-service at Continental Airlines with specific emphasis on the multi-channel approach adopted in the past few years. In particular, the session will explore the many ways in which the various channels work together to provide a seamless experience to the customer while recognizing the unique strengths of each channel.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three ways to build customer loyalty and your reputation

Sue Painter of writes that it is as easy as 1-2-3 to deliver great customer service that is guaranteed to increase customer loyalty and your business reputation. Painter offers an example of a shopper who is looking for batteries. After approaching the battery display, she doesn't find what she needs and then leaves the store. The potential customer spoke to no one and was not spoken to during her trip to the store. The store lost a customer and they lost the opportunity to build their reputation with her; and if the customer shares her experience, the store has lost many potential customers and sales. So what can a business do to ensure that she finds what she needs?

Painter shares three tips that drive money your way and build customer loyalty that is fierce and unwavering:

1. Carrying inventory in stock. If you are going to sell batteries, sell them fully.
2. Shorten the time it takes to make a purchase.
3. Make your item extremely easy to find.

Check out the original article for Painter's explanation of her tips.

Customer Service - 3 Ways To Win Loyalty and Build A Reputation for Customer Service

Monday, September 20, 2010

Social media is working better for retention not acquisition reports that in a July 2010 study of US marketers by the Direct Marketing Association and COLLOQUY found that brand awareness was the most popular objective of social media efforts, followed by customer growth and loyalty. Even as this is their objective, the outcome has been far different. According to to the report, smaller companies may spend more on customer acquisition through social media; however, larger corporations are winning with social media by focusing on customer loyalty. Find out more about the study (and some nifty graphs) over at the EMarketer article.

How can you win with social media? Find out how 1-800-Flowers works customer engagement into their social CRM. Join Lewis Goldman, Former Chief Marketing Officer of 1-800-Flowers as he presents, "1-800-Flowers Shows Customer Engagement through Social CRM: You Can't Fake It" on Monday, October 25th at 9:40am during NACCM 2010.

About the session: What does it mean to have an engaged customer? It's more than just having Facebook fans or an online presence. It's investing in the customer experience and becoming an authentic part of the interactions. You will learn how loyalty programs can increase customer engagement and transaction frequency, turning around bad customer experiences and creating advocates, social networking and participatory commerce including Facebook, Twitter, blogging and surveys.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Excellent customer service is marketing

Great article today from MediaPost's Engage: GenY blogger, Morgan Stewart. Stewart discusses a recent issue with a large cable company resulting in Stewart's decision to stop service through the company. Instead of providing excellent customer service at the beginning, the cable company only provided customer service when Stewart was ready to stop the service contract. Too little, too late. This company didn't follow the old adage that it's much better to keep a customer than to acquire a new one; the company assumed that another customer would soon follow Stewart. So what gives? Stewart writes, "On one hand, marketers' focus on acquisition makes perfect sense. Growth is the primary goal of any company -- and new customers are required in order to grow. However, there is a point of diminishing returns where acquisition efforts are simply replacing customers that have already left -- the classic leaking bucket."

Stewart goes on to discuss the larger companies with excellent customer service and by being excellent they let their loyal (and very happy) customers spread their love for the company to their friends and family. This customer service prowess leads to awesome viral marketing.

Does your company think this way? How are you using excellent customer service to market your company?

Learn more:
Customer Service IS Marketing

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Join us TOMORROW for the complimentary webinar, CCOs Reveal Their Secret Killer Customer Strategies for Long-Term Profitability

Space is filling quickly for our complimentary webinar with Curtis Bingham, who is the leading authority on CCOs, having worked with more than 70 CCOs over the last decade. Curtis shares some of the most profound strategies and tactics that these elite CCOs have used to attract, retain and grow profitable, long-term customer relationships also create a powerful competitive advantage for their organizations.

Thu, September 16, 2010
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST
Register today:
Priority code: M2300W1Blog

Lessons shared include:

* Winning executive support for loyalty initiatives
* Creating an unstoppable customer culture—so you aren’t the only customer advocate
* Letting data tell you which customers to keep happy, and which ones to let go
* Giving more to customers counter intuitively generates MORE revenue

We hope that you join us!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Apple speeds customer service with Express Lane

Express lanes are no longer for those with less than 12 items in their shopping basket. Apple device users can now access the company's new Express Lane service if and when they have difficulties with an Apple product. The streamlined interface allows users to see their registered devices alongside any customer service complaints. Customers can stay on top of their requests and track requests that they've previously sent in to Apple.

What do you think of the new service offered by Apple? How can other companies use this functionality to streamline their customer support?

Learn more: Apple speeds up its device support site with Express Lane

Monday, September 13, 2010

Taking Client Satisfaction to the Next Level - Linkage Strategies 2010 Spotlight

Understanding the importance of acting on customer feedback and data points, key decision makers within can access client satisfaction results - in close to real time - to drive organizational changes. The goal? To help make unhappy customers happy, reward/train sales people, determine which ares of the business to invest in and which ares to conduct more research on, monitor upcoming threats and opportunities by sales regions, understand loyalty by type of products customers use, and ultimately understand what truly drives loyalty.

Join Joe Richards, Senior Manager, Research at in his presentation, "Taking Client Satisfaction to the Next Level: Drives Sales, Retains Business, and Shapes Key Company Objectives with Their Client Loyalty Program" on Tuesday, October 26th at 12:30pm during the 2010 Linkage Strategies Conference.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Free Webinar - The Economics of Customer Experience: New Study Reveals The Secrets

Date/Time: Thu, Sep 16, 2010 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Delivering an exceptional customer experience is key to creating differentiation and driving greater profitability. Yet, despite the obvious benefits, it can be challenging to justify investments in improving customer experience. In this session, Lior Arussy, customer experience expert and President of Strativity Group, and Justin Schuster, VP of Enterprise Products at MarketTools, will outline the economics of the customer experience model and discuss how leading organizations are driving profitability through differentiated customer experience. Mr. Arussy will also reveal for the first time the results of the 2010 Consumer Experience Study and describe the key drivers to increase profitability through customer experience.

Participants will learn:
• The results of the 2010 customer experience study
• Would customers pay more for a better experience?
• Business at growth and business at risk – understanding the financial impact
• Formula to define the economics of customer experience
• Telecom case study – The financial impact of customer experience
• Financial Services case study – Maximizing revenues from existing customers

Additionally, all webinar *attendees* will receive a copy of the 2010 Consumer Experience Study at the conclusion of the live event.

Featured Speakers
Justin Schuster, Vice President, Enterprise Products at MarketTools
Lior Arussy, President, Strativity Group

Register below

When should extra charges be discussed with the customer?

When dealing with extra charges that may be unexpected to the customer or client, when is the best time to disclose them? Who's Your Gladys invited Rebecca Morgan to tell their readers and we'd like to share it with our Customer 1st readers as well. Morgan shares a personal story of being charged extra when she visited her doctor's office. After being miffed at the extra charges, Morgan decided to find out how customer service professionals can avoid angering their customers while still making extra charges. She writes, that common sense says that any unexpected charges should be discussed before the service is provided or the product delivered. Morgan's bottom line? If the customer is upset by the increased bill, they will be unhappy, not only with the rep but with your organization for not making sure that discussing increased charges is a standard before the service or product is provided.

We encourage you to read the post, Guest Blogger Rebecca Morgan Asks, “When Should Extra Charges Be Disclosed?” in it's entirety and share with your team.

Let us know - have you dealt with this issue in your work?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reminder: Complimentary Webinar, CCOs Reveal Their Secret Killer Customer Strategies for Long-Term Profitability

Space is filling quickly for our complimentary webinar with Curtis Bingham, who is the leading authority on CCOs, having worked with more than 70 CCOs over the last decade. Curtis shares some of the most profound strategies and tactics that these elite CCOs have used to attract, retain and grow profitable, long-term customer relationships also create a powerful competitive advantage for their organizations.

Thu, September 16, 2010
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST
Register today:
Priority code: M2300W1Blog

Lessons shared include:
  • Winning executive support for loyalty initiatives
  • Creating an unstoppable customer culture—so you aren’t the only customer advocate
  • Letting data tell you which customers to keep happy, and which ones to let go
  • Giving more to customers counter intuitively generates MORE revenue
We hope that you join us!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

U.S. companies Social Media spending tied to customer loyalty reports that a new study finds U.S. companies that use social media to deepen customer loyalty spend nearly twice as much on the marketing tactic as those that use it for other reasons. Further, marketing budgets related to social media are growing, with loyalty initiatives growing the fastest in terms of dollars spent. The amount of marketers’ social media budget allocated to loyalty increased by 293% from 2009 to 2010, while brand awareness and customer acquisition budgets increased by 189% and 214%, respectively. Social media budgets for driving loyalty have experienced the most growth for the past three years, the report says.

As customer loyalty continues to be the major push within social media use; how can customer loyalty professionals leverage this toward actionable results?

Learn more: U.S. companies spend for social media tied to customer loyalty

Enhance your customer loyalty and engagement skills with Robyn Tippins, Community Lead at Yahoo! Developer Network as she presents, "From Ordinary Customer to Fervent Fans: Yahoo! Helps Customer Take the Leap" at NACCM 2010 - October 25-27, 2010 in Orlando. Visit the NACCM 2010 event page to download the brochure.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Has customer service become collective suffering?

The New Yorker's James Surowiecki writes about the mounting frustration of American consumers, who are “fed up with inept service, indifferent employees, and customer-service departments that are harder to negotiate than Kafka’s Castle.” He writes that tensions are mounting thanks to the American demand for cheap goods with luxury service and a lack of focus among executives on how to use their customer service department correctly. Together, both parties on the customer service line suffer causing discontent on the phone, corner office, tarmac, and on the web.

Surowiecki writes, "For a start, most companies have a split personality when it comes to customers. On the one hand, C.E.O.s routinely describe service as essential to success, and they are well aware that, thanks to the Internet, bad service can now inflict far more damage than before; the old maxim was that someone who had a bad experience in your store would tell ten people, but these days it’s more like thousands... On the other hand, customer service is a classic example of what businessmen call a “cost center”—a division that piles up expenses without bringing in revenue—and most companies see it as tangential to their core business, something they have to do rather than something they want to do."

Is your customer service something that you truly want to do or do you feel pressured into it to keep customers?
What is the solution for customers and for customer service departments? We'd like to hear your thoughts, DM us on Twitter @customerworld