Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Catch Up on Customer Care Tips

NACCM 2011 may be behind us, but that doesn't mean we've run out of insights from the event.

NACCM speaker JoAnna Brandi (who's session our guest bloggers covered here and here) is releasing her insights today via her "Return on Happiness" email list as well as the PowerPoint slides from her session "The Spillover Effect: How Positive Work Cultures Enable."

Subscribe to her list to get access.

And as always, you can follow us throughout the year for more insights and industry information. Join our LinkedIn group to become a member of a worldwide community of customer care professionals, follow us on twitter @NACCMevent or become a fan on Facebook here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Click It with Pete Winemiller

Definitions of Click: To be a great success; to function well together; to hit it off; to become clear; to interact with another or others; to communicate; to connect; to be on the same wavelength.

Well, I clicked with Pete Winemiller, Senior VP of Guest Relations for the Thunder OKC - franchise of the NBA. His message at the NACCM Conference on How Strong Leaders Facilitate Moments that Matter gave the audience of customer service managers and other consultants a powerful reminder that we are in the people business. I circled in red the statement that people do not remember days, they remember moments. Moments matter.

Pete asked the question - who is your most important customer? Many answers were given - the one in front of you at the moment, the one creating the greatest revenue, and the longest relationship. The answer - YOURSELF. You cannot provide consistent customer service unless you take care of the most important person. Business also need to recognize that employees will never treat their customers better than the employees are treated. The Harvard Business Review has a study called the Service-Profit-Chain that proves that when leadership invests in the frontline employees through recruiting, training and technology and other ways to keep team happy and empowered will influence employee behavior. The results is creation of loyal customers that result in profit.

Click is soon to be a book by Pete Winemiller and I know that I will definitely purchase this book for my customer service library. His values align with the practices and principles that I have held for over 30 years of working with teams and customers.

C Communicate Clearly
L Listen to Learn
I Initiate Immediately
C Create Connections
K Know your stuff

On each table was a CLICK badge to wear around our neck - with a blank space to write the way you could to something small in a better way. Pete says that is is not doing 1 thing 100% better that makes a difference, it is doing 100 things 1% better. During the rest of the day, attendees compared badges and what each would improve. I read many: believe in myself; no complaining; listen more; connect.

During lunch, I sat with Pete and asked him about the NBA lock-out. He stated that he had more time for speaking and training. If you have a need for an excellent presenter with amazing experience in serving his 18,000 guests at each NBA basketball game, give him a call. He will click with your team.

Guest Blogger, Customer Service & Sales Trainer & Speaker
Connie Brubaker

Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Disney World Delivers – Literally - All the Way to the Airport!

Discovering that my coin purse was missing on the final morning of the NACCM Conference was not a great way to start the day. A few dollars and credit cards were concerns, but my Texas Driver’s License was needed for identification to board the airplane that afternoon. I started retracing my steps to no avail. You know the scene, patting down your pockets, looking in your purse, checking under the bed, tearing the room apart and then starting all over again. I went to the front desk and Marva was extremely helpful as she offered to check lost-and-found and call me within the hour.

Long story short, nothing showed up but Southwest Airlines consoled me with the information that I could make the flight but to allow extra time to go through security. While waiting for the Magic Express to the airport, I checked the front desk one more time and Joey listened carefully to my plight. He began filling out a form and handed it to me – a complimentary taxi to the airport so I could arrive without any delays. This generous gesture and comfortable ride calmed down my flustered demeanor and first-hand showed me the exemplary customer service for which Disney is known.

Disney Institute facilitator, Jack Santiago, shared how symbols such as the Big Ears and the Magic Castle represent the heritage, culture and values of Disney. The quality excellence of their cast of stars is demonstrated in all the gift stores, restaurants, hotel front desks, grounds, and rides. The selection and training process really works. From the onset, Disney’s applicants are informed about the culture and the non-negotiable standards. Disney's intent on hiring for attitude and not aptitude is common advice that I give my clients. Disney also state that regardless of the level of schooling, Disney can train for 90% of the jobs but cannot train to have a good attitude.

By the time I made a smooth taxi trip to the airport, navigated through Southwest and security with little disruption, I knew that a little Disney Magic had worked. I applaud Disney because a fairy Godmother and Prince Charming are needed in everyone’s life during difficulties. Thank you, Marva Davis and Joey Lel.

Connie Brubaker

Integrity Training Solutions


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NACCM Live: Disney Institute in Photos

Yesterday NACCM joined ProjectWorld® & World Congress for Business Analysts® for a joint session from The Disney Institute on "The “Magic” Behind Great Teamwork: Disney’s Approach to People Management."

In this session we discussed some of the ways that Disney provides great service by starting with dedicated cast members who feel like part of a team. Walt Disney created the structure of "first name basis business" - everyone in the organization is important. With some collaborative activities we got a taste of the Disney hiring experience.

View the slide show below for some pictures from the session:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

But what do I do without my cell phone? Go outside and play?

We're through the second day of the 2011 NACCM conference and a major sticking point came during lunch through candid conversation. Now at our table, whilst picking over our salads, fellow attendees were discussing our "Generation Z", the people who will be handed the reigns, describing them as possibly apathetic (in so many words). When I say "apathetic" I may be too harsh in translating their words. But when they look at this generation they see young people with their noses, and 90% of their attention, stuck in their hand-held devices. The concern related to customer support is that they won't have that classic smile, hand shake, greeting, etc. that's been so intregal to the customer experience. What we see is customer experience changing forms.

Judy Ferrell from Verizon expressed at yesterday's loyalty summit the importance of making an online support presence highly available and easy to use. A vital aspect of her site is a forum, with a great deal of material and assistance that's provided by users themselves. Of course not all users are contributors to this type of resource. But to search a forum for help on issues, or Google a product for user-submitted reviews, is proof that our younger generation does care. They just show it differently. So should these technological dependencies bring about a need for us to worry about the future of support? Or should we embrace these transformations and harness what it offers? Or both?

Your friendly guest blogger,

Chris Black
Director, Customer Support and Rollout

Happiness Continues into the Afternoon

The sessions for the NACCM continue in the afternoon to inform, inspire and entertain. My notebook was full with insights, strategies, new stories and examples to share with my audiences and clients. Attendees will return to their offices and present a new approach to an old idea or remind all about the intrinsic value of company philosophy on culture, loyalty and the customer experience.

Judith Ferrell of Verizon gave a stellar presentation about the path her company utilizes to create customer advocates. She stated that customers can be Verizon's advocates and Verizon advocates for their customers. One interesting slide showed the 4 behavior approaches to getting online support. They are the Guidance Seeker, the Researcher, the Busy Multi-Tasker and the Problem Solver. I recognized myself quickly as the Multi-tasker - I don't care about the process - just solve my problem and do it quickly! Which are you? The goal of their online customer support is by not just improving but being innovating.

An authentic and experienced leader in the automobile industry, Mike Sachs of Volkswagon of America, shared about creating customer loyalty. A favorite moment of mine was as Mike read from The Last Lecture written by RandyPausch about the $ 100,000 salt and pepper shaker. One of my speeches is about the value of a lifetime customer and I will definitely include this story in future presentations. Mike shared that brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room and culture is what your employees say when you're not in the room. Vision of the leaders creates culture.

Melinda Parks from Sprint gave a presentation on Employee Engagement Through the Customer Experience. She also shared about how to drive loyalty with taking the time to experience what customers are experience and understanding what they value. Customers want to be known and greeted by name. They want to be protected and helped to save money. A personal thumbs up for me was to treat the customer better for staying loyal. Thank You Thursdays was an activity that grew at Sprint where employees take 90 minutes to write personal thank you notes to customers with a huge positive response by employees and the customers.

We wrapped up the day with an engaging and energetic keynote from Jasmine Y. Green, Chief Customer Advocate with Nationwide Insurance Company. A story-teller extraordinaire and a no-holds bar approach with her Board of Directors all the way down to front-line employees, Jasmine is all about the customer. She shared that the culture of her organization moved from be careful to be full of care with heart, mind and soul. One of the success methods contributed by Jasmine was a recognition program that includes peer-to-peer, boss selection and the CEO award. Recognition of employees created amazing and record-breaking Gallop Polls increases in employee engagement.

The first day of the NACCM Conference did not disappoint. I never left the hotel grounds to venture out to the park for adventures with Mickey Mouse and his crew. I had been totally entertained and amused all day.

Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Monday, November 14, 2011

Got Happiness? NACCM Provides Solutions!

The North American Conference on Customer Management began with great speakers with informative and entertaining messages about Managing Customer Satisfaction. The attendees shared about their objective to return to their workplace with new ideas, renewed commitment, and inspiration to lead their teams. You could see heads nodding in the room as these managers agreed on principles, challenges, programs, dedication to the customer experience and most importantly a determination for new approaches to continue and improve processes to delight our customers.

We began the day with JoAnna Brandi, Customer Care Coach, that shared the science on how happiness can not only create endorphins and serotonin, along with a long list of other benefits, that improve our problem solving abilities, focus, creativity, and resilience to name a few. The formula for happy customers included the AAA Feedback - Acknowledge & Affirm, Amplify it, and Anchor it. Statistics was also a part of equation in understanding the 60% spread in performance when employees are praised, supported, and show strengths versus emphasizing weakness. An enthusiastic and well-documented presentation on the subject of positivity was enjoyed by all.

Kate Feather, People Metrics, gave a presentation on Brand Ambassadors and improving customer engagement. One of the most powerful measures for investment in customer service programs was that a 5 point increase in customer engagement could improve average stock price by as much as 26% while a 5 point decrease caused stock performance to be below the industry average. Julie Broderick of Signature Flight Support gave a case study of their Voice of the Customer Feedback Program. The program includes action alerts and accountability that maintains momentum.

The final morning speaker was Randall Brandt of Maritz. He shared about setting the bar for customer satisfaction by determining and evaluating the goal whether judgement, benchmarking, or linkage-based targets are used. The objective is to drive continuous improvement to realize desired results.

As a speaker, trainer, and writer, I feel validated, encouraged, and inspired by a room full of advocates that share my passion and unwavering commitment to outstanding customer service. I enjoyed my conversations with other attendees like David Fischer of John Deere, C.J. Muniz of Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Faith Williams, Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Yes, happiness rules here in Orlando and I haven't even enjoyed a lunch yet.

Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Stretching Customer Feedback

We've made it through the first half of the Pre-Conference Loyalty Summit. All our speakers at least touched on the importance of customer feedback, and it got me wondering if I'm not utilizing what I have as well as I could be. Because my user base is more niche, we depend a lot more on having individual powerful advocates and their praise. To collect this information on a regular basis I previously developed a program for users to share their successes with our tools. When chatting with a happy customer this is usually easy to collect. What we've been doing with these stories is #1 capturing advocates for our brand and #2 using the kind words to justify ROI for new customers, or at renewal time.

JoAnna Brandi, Customer Care Coach, did a great presentation showing, with actual research and numbers, how happiness can effect others positively, not just with customers but in the workplace. Happy employees can add to the bottom line. At SalesQuest we have a team of analysts hard at work each day developing intelligence reports to be published and used by sales and marketing teams. Now when those users come back and tell me how helpful the report was, how much time it saved them, or how much progress they made with their job by using our reports, imagine how much satisfaction our analysts could get out of it. A designer sees their outfit on the red carpet and that is the drive that gets them to say, "I love my job." So for a (apologies team!) not-so-glamorous job, why can't our analysts get that same swell of pride that allows them the same benefit? That pride makes it easier to get up in the morning, and can bring you into to work wanting to accomplish more. This is just one way that I can take customer loyalty into a new realm, get others involved.

The possibilities seem expansive and bring to light that this resource can be stretched further than previously perceived. How else can we stretch customer feedback?

Your friendly guest blogger,

Chris Black
Director, Customer Support and Rollout

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hello, my name is...

Chris Black here, your friendly guest blogger giving you the inside scoop from NACCM 2011. As a newbie to NACCM, I’m hoping to not only give insight to the great content I’ll be viewing, but to also give future attendees a good idea of what they can expect in coming years.

A little about me – As a director of customer support and rollout at my company, I love my customers! Who reading this blog wouldn’t, right? In fact I’m so attached that my three days attending the conference will be one of the longest times I’ve spent away from work since being with my company, SalesQuest.

A little about what I do – I’m in what I consider to be a very lucky situation. Our company offers a subscription service that makes people’s lives easier. So, my job is to make people happy. Since our customer base is concentrated, and our tools are used in certain individuals’ jobs on a daily basis, it gives me room to develop relationships with my users.

Now let’s keep this short and save the good stuff for next week. Stay tuned!

Chris Black

Director, Customer Support and Rollout


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Red Carpet? Not exactly . . .

My appointment is made for the hair stylist, clothing is selected for a great first impression, flight and hotel reservations are made, and the celebrity list is out-of-sight. Just in case you are thinking that I am headed to Nashville to attend the Country Music Awards on Wednesday night, that is not the reason for my state of mind. Next week, I am attending the 2011 NACCM Conference in Orlando on November 13 - 16. I love to speak, write, train and think about customer service and the opportunity to learn from experts in a wide array of industries fills me with delight. I look forward to hearing the stories of creating magical moments for customers from this high-profile celebrity list and many more:
Peter Guber, Author of Tell to Win
Jamie Noughton, Zappos
Jasmine Green, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
Pete Winemiller, NBA Oklahoma City Thunder
Fred Taylor, Jr. Southwest Airlines
Mike Sachs, Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Gina Debogovich, Best Buy
Kelly N. Cook, DSW Designer Show Warehouse
Okay, so I'm not talking about singing stars like Taylor Swift & Toby Keith that entertain audiences with musical notes. I am talking about experts that can teach companies how to keep from hitting a sour note with a client that can impact customer satisfaction, loyalty and the bottom line.
Even with 32 years of customer service experience, I always look forward to hearing fresh ideas and renewing commitment to give my clients the latest and greatest information.
Who do you think will be the entertainer of the year, I mean conference? Please share with me your favorite performances. I hope to see you in Orlando.
Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270
Building People, Productivity and Profits with Integrity

Pre-Event Preview: NACCM 2010 in Photos

Headed to NACCM next week? Take a look at these photos from our 2010 event to preview your experience:

Be it inspirational keynotes, networking or stunning stories from 1to1 Media Customer Champion award winners NACCM is sure to be an exciting experience!

Not to be missed: Our top rated session of last year's event with Bill Greenwald, Director, Performance Coaching and Advisory Practice (PCAP) at Humana, Inc is coming back this year as a full day workshop, check out my exclusive interview with Bill here.

Interested? It's not too late to register. Not able to make it this year? Follow along here or on twitter at hashtag #NACCM for live coverage and make sure to Opt In to get updates on future events!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hear what your peers are saying about NACCM

Time is running out! 

The North American Conference on Customer Management is in 2 weeks! We think it's our best NACCM yet- with keynotes from Peter Guber, Author of Tell to Win and Jamie Noughton, Chief Culture Ambassador at Zappos.

But don't just take our word for it! Hear from your peers why NACCM is the event to attend:

"I've attended and spoken to many conferences over the years and NACCM is by far one of the best. The selection of keynotes is amazing - they really capture your attention. You bring in folks speaking on such relevant and cutting-edge topics that cut across the industry. Extremely well done!"
- Glenn Ross, Director, Constituent Relationship Management, American Cancer Society, High Plains Division, Inc.

"Typically, I hate conferences because I feel that not a lot gets accomplished. But, I loved NACCM. You have real-world companies talking about what they are doing. It was a refreshing change from the norm. I talked to partners and told them they have to go." 
- Jason Clement, Director, NIKE Consumer Services, NIKE, Inc.

"Its still the best conference out there."
- Andre Harris, National Customer Service Executive, Westfield LLC

"My Favorite conference. The speakers with real work experience sharing their knowledge and experience is invaluable! I leave feeling inspired, renewed, refreshed and ready to conquer!!"
- Shannon Ray, Customer Experience Project Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric.

"I felt like a got my money's worth after the first day. I am leading the new social media pilot for Southern California Edison, so the Social Media Summit was particularly valuable. I connected with wonderful people, and look forward to continuing the interaction."
- Kendall Reichley

Don't miss out on this extraordinarily experience! Make this your best investment this year and register now. Save 15% off the standard registration rate at NACCM with code NACCMBlog.

We look forward to welcoming you to Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team

Follow us on Twitter, http://twitter.com/naccmevent or become a Fan on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/oAOFil.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Storyteller Spotlight Series: Pete Winemiller of NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder

In this, the final episode of our 2011 Storyteller Spotlight podcast series before we arrive at the 2011 NACCM event, I spoke with Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President, Guest Relations of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pete will be presenting "How Strong Leaders Facilitate Moments that Matter" on Tuesday, November 15th at NACCM.

People do not remember days, they remember moments – Moments Matter! Your verbal and nonverbal communication with customers can make or break consumer loyalty in a split second. Customers think more about their experiences with people than they do about products and services. David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA, recognized Pete “for setting the gold standard for the NBA fan experience.” Learn why at this session, where the key takeaway will be "Feel the power of thinking big & ACTING
SMALL to really CLICK!TM with your Guests."

In this podcast we discussed how Pete helps to make 18,000 sports fans feel at home on a regular basis, and the ways we can stay connected to our customers in this increasingly high-tech world. Listen to the podcast here.

To hear more from Pete, join us this month at NACCM! Remember, readers of the Customer's 1st blog and save 15% off the standard registration rate at NACCM with code NACCMBlog.

For more event news, follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

See Who's Attending NACCM!

The North American Conference on Customer Management is less than 3 weeks away. The industry's leading companies will be attending - don't get left behind - gain the skills, insights and techniques you need to be more valuable to yourself, your team and your organization.

Take a look at the companies who've already signed on to attend:
1to1 Media, ABS-CBN International, American Cancer Society, ASD Healthcare, Aviva USA, Best Buy, Bi Lo, Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas, Bridgewater Bank, Broward County Aviation, Canadian Blood Services, Cancer Treatment Center of America, Customer Care Coach, Customer Skills LLC, Dell, DSM Chemicals North America Inc., DSW, Dunkin' Brands Inc., EMC, Freeman, GlaxoSmithKline, Harrison Interactive Loyalty, Humana, JetBlue Airways, John Deere Company, Kaplan University, Key Bank, Lighting New York, Marriott Vacation Club International, Metropolitan Health Networks, Microsoft Corporation, National Guardian Life Insurance, National Initiative for Service Excellence, Nationwide Insurance, OC Tanner Company, People Metrics Inc., Premiere Response, Safelite AutoGlass, Sask Central, Sears, Southwest Airlines, Sprint, Strategic Feedback, Symantec, Telerx, Thomas Betts, TJX Companies, TNS, Travelers Insurance, Verizon, Volkswagon of America, West Nassau High School, Woolrich, Inc., and Zappos

Hear from a speaking roster filled with customer service practitioners, as well as industry leading executives sharing stories from the trenches. Keynotes include:

Jasmine Y. Green, Chief Customer Advocate, NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY

Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President, Guest Relations, NBA'S OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

The "Magic" Behind Great Teamwork: Disney's Approach to People Management, THE DISNEY INSTITUTE

Jamie Noughton, Speaker of the House, Chief Culture Ambassador, ZAPPOS.COM


Becky Carroll, Author, THE HIDDEN POWER OF YOUR CUSTOMERS, Community Program Manager, VERIZON

Michael Hoffman, Author, CUSTOMER WORTHY

And more, download the conference brochure for the full speaker line-up and session descriptions.

Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog, so join us at NACCM. Register here.

We look forward to welcoming you next month at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team

Visit the event website.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/naccmevent
Become a Fan on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/oAOFil

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Earn a complimentary pass to this year's NACCM event! (Call for Guest Bloggers)

Earn a complimentary All-Access pass to NACCM by serving as a guest-blogger!

As a guest blogger, you’ll have access to NACCM's comprehensive agenda attracting the best in insights from around the world. For the past 9 years, NACCM: the North American Conference on Customer Management has been your most trusted partner for peer-to-peer sharing. Welcome to an all new journey through the personal and professional moments that matter most as told by an all-star cast of storytellers.

By participating as a guest blogger leading up to and at the event, you’ll receive an all access pass for the entire event, taking place November 14-16, 2011 at Disney's Contemporary Resort in Orlando, FL. Responsibilities will include attending specifically assigned sessions and blogging live or same day.

In exchange for guest blogging, you will receive an all-access pass to the event – a $3,000+ value. Guest bloggers are responsible for their travel and lodging.

Apply today by sending your name, company, short biography and links to your blog or writing samples if applicable to Michelle LeBlanc at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Storyteller Spotlight Series: Bill Greenwald

In the most recent episode of the 2011 NACCM Storyteller Spotlight Series I had the pleasure of chatting with Bill Greenwald, Director, Performance Coaching and Advisory Practice at Humana, Inc.

Bill will be leading a full day leadership workshop at NACCM this year that will be a deep dive into the well-received 45 minute session he lead in 2010. To learn more about the session, listen to the podcast here.

I left my chat with Bill with one piece of all-important advice for those interested in the foundations of leadership workshop and that is "walk a mile in your customer's shoes." Be it staying a night in the hotel you manage or calling in to a call center, you can't truly connect with the customer experience (good and bad) until you live it.

Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog, so join us at the workshop on Monday, November 14th at NACCM. Register here.

Stay in touch with NACCM, follow us on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook or join our LinkedIn Community for event updates, discounts and industry news and information

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com.

Monday, October 24, 2011

NACCM Storyteller honored as Customer Champion

1to1media has released the latest list of the 2011 1to1 Customer Champions and unsurprisingly, NACCM speaker Tom Feeney, President and CEO of Safelite AutoGlass has been honored for his commitment to increasing employee engagement to drive customer delight. Read the full report and list of new 1to1 Customer Champions here.

At this year's NACCM, Tom will be presenting  "Creating a Customer-Focused Culture." Learn from this first-hand case study how one company transformed its workplace culture to improve customer satisfaction to an all-time high of 84 percent Net Promoter Scores through a “people first” focus.

On key takeaway of this session will be "A positive outward-facing brand begins from inside the corporate walls. A well-planned and well-executive HR and internal communications strategy can drive customer delight."

To see all of the 1to1 Media Customer Champion award winners on our speaker list, click here, or download our brochure for more detail. Remember, readers of the Customer's 1st blog and save 15% off the standard registration rate at NACCM with code NACCMBlog. Register today!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learn the Ins and Outs of How Zappos Treats its Customers at NACCM

Want to hear a truly extraordinary customer service story?

Zaz Lamarr meant to return some shoes to Zappos, but her mom passed away and, naturally, she just didn't have time. Zappos arranged to have UPS come pick up the shoes - and then send her flowers:

"When I came home this last time, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn't received them. I was just back and ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died, but I'd send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn't have to take the time to do it myself. I was touched. That's going against corporate policy.

Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I'm a sucker for kindness, and if that wasn't one of the nicest things I've ever had happen to me, I don't know what is."

This is just one of the many, many, many heart-warming, happy, touching, funny Zappos' customer service stories, and the reason why you can't have a conversation about customer service without eventually mentioning (or even opening the conversation) with Zappos.

So how does Zappos do it? What is their secret of great customer service?

The North American Conference on Customer Management (NACCM) is pleased to have Jamie Naughton, Speaker of the House, Chief Culture Ambassador, Zappos.com as one of the keynote speakers, on Tuesday, November 15th, Jamie will present:

Delivering Happiness:
As speaker of the House, Jamie works directly with CEO Tony Hsieh, focusing on the culture for which the company has become known. Her role is essential in creating and driving the architecture of the dynamic culture as well as focusing on culture R&D to ensure Zappos.com always stays relevant to both the employees and their customers. Learn the different ingredients used by Zappos.com to build a long-lasting enduring brand, including the importance of customer service and company culture.

Listen to our podcast with Jamie here for a sneak peek.

Plus, hear professional and personal stories from:
Dunkin' Brands, GfK Customer Loyalty, Dell, The Disney Institute, Hilton Worldwide, Southwest Airlines, Verizon , Humana, Spring, American Cancer Society, JetBlue Airways, Symantec, Best Buy, Kaplan University, Volkswagon America, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Safelite Autoglass, Sears, Customer Care Coach, Mandalay Bay Entertainment, NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, Peoplemetrics, Microsoft Bing, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse,and more!

Download the brochure to see why you can't miss the year's NACCM.

NACCM is less than a month away, register now to secure your spot. Register today as a reader of the Customer's 1st blog and save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog.
We look forward to welcoming you this November 14-16 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team
Visit the event website.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/naccmevent
Become a Fan on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/oAOFil

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do You Have Customer Experience Assassins?

On October 12th, Dave Fish of Maritz Research presented our webinar "Do You Have Customer Experience Assassins?"

Customer Experience Angels and Assassins. They're out there ...lurking... but who are they and where are they? Organizations measuring customer satisfaction need to know who they are and where they are. Researchers need to understand them. This Web cast explains who they are, where they are and how to manage both when it comes to customer experience measurement.

Hard to please " Assassins" frequently take aim at your brand with unfavorable shots at your products and services while "Angels" consistently evaluate services across industries positively. This Web cast utilizes Maritz Research's CEBenchmarks study which helps identify Angels and Assassins and explores who they are, where they live, and how they can be managed.

In this webinar we learned:

  • How Assassins and Angels differ demographically from the population as a whole
  • What industries suffer from a higher and lower proportion of each
  • What areas of the country are associated with higher or lower customer experience
  • What you can do about Assassins and Angels from both a practitioners and metric strategy standpoint

If you missed the webinar, but are interested in learning more on this topic, visit http://maritzresearch.com/iirwebcast where you can download the recording or slide deck.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Curt Carlson on Customer Experience: #4: A New Framework for Business Growth through Customer Experience Management.

In this new series of posts, we are joined by guest blogger Curt Carlson, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience Management – TNS North America. Read the full series here.

Hi! This is the last of four posts leading up to the NACCM conference. Over the past three weeks, I’ve talked about how Customer Experience Management (CXM) is challenged as never before: it is not driving improvement in either scores or financials for most companies today; it is not customer-focused; and it is not taking into account how customers make decisions. We now know that a more comprehensive view of measuring Customer Experience is needed. It is not just about measuring overall customer experience and key drivers; we also need to factor in the varied needs (drivers) and states (emotions) of different customers. Doing this creates a vastly improved measurement system. What gets measured gets done, right?

Not so fast. Back in the day, CXM (aka, CSAT) was easy…identify the key drivers, make the case for low-cost process changes and watch the scores go up. What got measured got done because we knew what needed to be done. Now that we’ve tried everything we can think of, we need new ways of managing business performance improvement. Today, we need a Customer Experience Management framework.

A CXM framework requires understanding the customer from three perspectives: Loyalty Relationships, which are essential to accomplishing strategic objectives; Transactional (touch-point) Experiences, which strengthen or weaken those relationships; and Employee Engagement levels, which are ultimately responsible for performance on the first two. Many companies have programs to measure all three. Unfortunately, most of those programs are left in their Marketing, Operations, and HR silos. This means most companies are failing to get the full return on the significant investments they are making in these programs. For example, if Customer Service performance is low in a call center, do you spend behind additional training and monitoring on low performing attributes? The Customer Experience data might suggest that. But if you also knew that the CSRs in this particular center had very low engagement due to lack of trust and empathy from managers, you would make very different decisions. This potential for misallocation of resources is unacceptable in business today. Managing customer experience to drive business performance requires measuring and managing within an integrated CXM framework.

Measuring and managing is good, but still not enough. I’ve seen too many companies use information from their Customer Experience programs to develop and implement action plans only to then cross their fingers until the next measurement cycle. It is absolutely necessary to monitor your company’s implementation of its action plans, your customers’ responses to those actions, and the business performance outcomes that result.

In summary, whether you say “Integrated,” “Connected,” or “Holistic,” it is all about a comprehensive, customer-focused view of needs/drivers and states/emotions within the framework of Measuring customer relationships, transactional experiences, and employee engagement levels; Managing action planning and implementation; and Monitoring the response. We haven’t even touched on brand promise and its relationship to CXM (Authenticity)…or Social Media…or Innovation. Those will have to wait. Enjoy the conference.

I’ll be continuing to post every week at http://tns-us.com/blog/. Hope to see you there. Let me know what you think of the conference by posting your comments below.

If you enjoyed this series, join TNS this November at NACCM for a session on Best-in-class Customer Experience Management.

To learn more about NACCM,
click here. To register, click here. Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Curt Carlson on Customer Experience: #3: How do your customers feel about doing business with you?

In this new series of posts, we are joined by guest blogger Curt Carlson, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience Management – TNS North America. Read the full series here.

Hi! This is the third of four posts leading up to the NACCM conference. In my last one, I discussed a way to begin to unlock some of the strategic value inherent in all Customer Experience Management (CXM) programs. That approach required becoming truly customer-centric…understanding individual customer’s needs and taking action at that level. We also, however, need to take into account how customers make decisions regarding the companies they do business with. Science is telling us that decision making is not very rational. It is, in fact, mostly emotional.

The earth is flat. The sun moves around the earth. We use our powers of reason to make decisions. All were strongly held beliefs…once upon a time. Today, neuroscience reveals that the emotional regions of the brain are very active when making a decision. Once a decision is made, however, the rational areas take over. It sure looks like we make decisions emotionally and then rationalize them. Like Plato’s Cave, our current process-based survey approach is a shadow, a reflection of the rationalization process, but not necessarily of the decision process itself. Understanding customers’ emotional states is as important as understanding their needs. This is where Dynamic Loyalty comes in.

Most relationships are habitual. You shop at the same grocery stores; you buy business supplies from the same providers; you’re wedded to your mobile device. Eventually, however, disruption strikes. You see on the 11:00 news your grocery store has been charging more at check-out than the posted price (anger). Your business supplier stops carrying the printer cartridges for your older printer (irritation). You try your wife’s new iPhone (“wow” – my own emotional response). Each of these experiences and the emotions they produce disrupts the steady state and influences decisions that will weaken or strengthen current business (or other) relationships. This perspective explains a phenomenon we’re all too familiar with: Customers are loyal until they’re not.

They tell you... “We really like doing business with you.” “Just focus on doing what you’re doing.” “Don’t take this the wrong way, but we’re putting our business up for competitive bid – you can expect an RFP in the next few weeks.” THEY LIED! No, they didn’t. They really believed what they told you in your steady state relationship, but there was a disruptive event. (Management fed up with flat customer experience scores? New information found in a competitor’s blog?) Either you create and manage disruption, or someone else will.

So if you’re going to improve customer experience to drive your company’s business performance, you have to find ways to meet customers’ individual needs (drivers) and manage the emotional states (disruptions) that impact decision-making. That will require strong relationships, excellent performance, and engaged employees. Your CXM framework must reflect these components. I'll have more about that in the next post.
Until next time…Tell me what you think: Does this wider perspective reflect fundamental change in thinking about CXM…or is it just another dress on the CSAT mannequin?

If you enjoyed this post, join TNS this November at NACCM for a session on Best-in-class Customer Experience Management.

To learn more about NACCM,
click here. To register, click here. Readers of the Customer's 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

John Cushman of AT&T spoke Tuesday at the Total Customer Experience Leadership Conference about creating a company culture centered around the customer. His steps for finding how to best serve your customer: watch your customers, understand their differences, set the foundation to building a roadmap to customer-centric success, make each player’s role clear, encourage employees to work together toward a common goal, rethink empowerment, track diverse success metrics, and prepare for the unexpected.

Pay attention to feedback and market analysis. This will show you what your customers truly want. Divide your customers into segments and find what requirements each needs. Make sure employees know what part they have in ensuring the right experience and encourage them to work together. Give authority to the right people in the right situations. Compile systems-provided data, structured feedback, and unstructured feedback to assess your current situation, then improve it. And always prepare for the unexpected.

Build for the end user. Sweat the little details of the user experience to solve pain points. All this will help you know your customers and discover what they want and what they don’t know they want.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Customer Experience Assassins and Customer Care for Gen X and Y

The North American Conference on Customer Management (NACCM) would like to invite you to enjoy two complimentary resources in the six weeks leading up to the event. First, join us for a complimentary one-hour web seminar: Do You Have Customer Experience Assassins? Investigating geo-demographic differences across sectors.

Are there customers out there who are just impossible to satisfy? That is, those customers who consistently evaluate products and services unfavorably regardless of industry. Response style explanations notwithstanding, this type of so-called, “Customer Experience Assassin” lurks out there and could be damaging not just your brand but others in their path. But who are they, how do we avoid their ire, and what, if anything, should we do about them?

Likewise, there are “Customer Experience Angels”, individuals who float through life blissfully unaware of the poor service and products they endure. They won’t complain about cold soup or the unkempt hotel room. They won’t return things, don’t complain much or at all, and they are generally happy people. Or maybe they just generally get better service for a variety reasons. Either way, as an organization you would want to know, “who are they and how do we get them to have an even greater influence on others?"

To answer these questions, Dave Fish, VP of Client Solutions, Maritz Research, guides you through discoveries found using Maritz Research’s CEBenchmarks study. In this study we track 34 customer experiences in 16 different industries among 263 different brands. Join us for the webinar on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT.

Register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/992023681

Please mention code MWS0042SM when registering

Secondly, NACCM's partner, GfK Custom Research North America, has recently published "The Generational Effect", a white paper that explores the concept of generation and the extent to which various generations are both similar and different in their degree of loyalty, and the drivers of loyalty to companies in the various sectors. GfK compares key loyalty metrics from the benchmark surveys in the banking, automotive, credit card and cell phone sectors to reveal insights associated with this conjecture. To read the paper, click here.

Want to hear more from GfK? Join us at NACCM for the session "Become a Better Leader in Customer Loyalty: Customer Loyalty and Experiences Across the Generations" on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011.

Drawing on GfK Customer Loyalty cross-industry benchmark surveys, this session compares the generations in terms of the delighters that drive customer loyalty and dissatisfiers that drive customers crazy and lead to defection. Explore the similarities and differences between generational cohorts, such as Millenials (GenX) and GenYers, Boomers, Traditionals and emerging GenZ. To learn more, download the brochure.

Plus, you won't want to miss out on this year's keynotes:
Janice Green, Chief Customer Advocate, NATIONWIDE INSURANCE
John Costello, Chief Global Marketing & Innovation Officer, DUNKIN BRANDS
Jamie Noughton, Speaker of the House, Chief Culture Ambassador, ZAPPOS.COM
Michael Hoffman, Author, CUSTOMER WORTHY
Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President, Guest Relations, NBA'S OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Register today.

We look forward to welcoming you this November 14-16 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Setting Targets for Measures of Customer Satisfaction: Comparing Results Based on Benchmarking vs. Linkage Analysis

Every company wants to know how they add up against the competition. But how do you measure customer satisfaction and loyalty?

Dr. D. Randall Brandt spoke about three ways to set target loyalty goals: judgment-based metrics, benchmark-based, and linkage analysis.

Judgment-based choosing is when management simply picks a target based on personal judgment. This works best in tandem with benchmarking or linkage. It can be difficult for management to articulate the rationale, and it may not be realistic.

When companies use benchmark-based targets, they define their targets in comparison to some benchmark, be it time, inter- or intra-organizational. These targets are easier to explain and take into account the company’s current state. However, this may promote a false sense of confidence since you don’t know if achieving the target will yield desired business results.

Linkage Analysis is based on strength and creates a relationship between satisfaction and business outcome of interest. It is easier for management to explain, which increases the odds of achieving the desired business result

The objectives of this analysis is to determine and evaluate the similarities and differences among targets based upon benchmarks vs. linkage analysis, then use the results to develop a framework. Frameworks should:

- 1. Drive continuous improvement

- 2. Achieve customer experience leadership

- 3. Realize desired business results

Use these criteria for setting targets for key customer metrics on the basis of business strategies and objectives. Evaluate scores on these metrics using the selected multiple criteria and targets to find out just where your company sits against others in the industry.