Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 Star Customer Experience: Delighted, Overjoyed, Amazed, Thrilled

Today is the age of the consumer. So, what does the consumer expect? Great customer experience.
The customer service industry has been buzzing about customer experience for quite a while now, and many companies have adopted it into their business strategies. It doesn’t matter how big or small your contact center is, what industry you’re in, or whether your company is B2C or B2B. Customer experience is critical for all companies. 

Today, customer experience also involves listening to the Voice of the Customer through listening posts, analyzing customer feedback to create a basis for acting on better business decisions and measuring the impact of those decisions to drive greater operational performance and customer loyalty.

Through this process a company can strategically organize itself to manage a customer's experience with its product or company, and tap into cost savings and revenue drivers that can deliver profitability in all aspects of business operations.

Check out this cool video below about what makes a “5 star” customer experience

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Great Customer Experience Stands Out from the Crowd

Greeting customers when they enter your business is good customer service, but it won’t make yours stand out. Creating a unique customer experience (CX) is the best way to make a lasting impression. For a truly memorable experience, companies must find new ways to create innovative CXs.  Recently, Forbes shared four ways some companies are doing just that.

Rethink Everything. For ages, restaurants everywhere in the world have worked the same way. When developing new ideas for CX, restaurateurs aren’t apt to consider upsetting that basic structure. But, Rajat Suri is seeking to change that with the Presto tablet, a touch-screen gadget that allows customers to skip the waiting part of dining in.

“Suri demonstrated the gadget over dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant, where the only interaction with waiters came when they delivered the falafel,” reported Bloomberg Businessweek. “Presto lets diners order by scrolling through pictures of entrĂ©es and pay swiping a card through Presto’s built-in reader.”

Confound Expectations. Another type of business that has stuck to the same procedure is the bank. John Wynn of Universal Mind explained how one bank is innovating around customers’ expectations in a way that doesn’t require high-tech gadgets.

“Branches are referred to as ‘stores’ with a greater emphasis on retail operations and atmosphere,” said Wynn. “Those ‘stores’ are considered destinations, where a customer can not only handle banking needs but also take a few minutes to learn more about financial products and services. The concept was created to empower all associates with the ability to work in all areas of a traditionally specialized banking environment.”

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Consider Soft Innovation. Even companies that peddle product instead of services can innovate without inventing new hardware. In “The Method Method,” Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry refer to the concept as “soft innovation.” Soft innovation means highlighting small things about a product in a way that alters the CX.

“Soft innovators establish new standards for quality, experience, and sales in their categories without doing anything profoundly innovative,” they wrote in an excerpt of the book. “Think Ben & Jerry’s, which introduced the ice cream pint to the world as a more personal alternative to the half-gallon or gallon tub.”

Treat Them Like V.I.P. Threadflip has made reselling clothes easier with White Glove Service, a fashion website that eliminated the hassle of listing and shipping used items. Sellers must first apply to take advantage of the free service, but those who participate receive prepaid labels, and then send it back to the company. 
Staff will then suggest prices, post the items, and ship them when they’re purchased.

There are countless ways a business can create a unique CX. It means that no matter how many brilliant customer experiences other companies implement, there’s always another idea out there to transform the CX.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Welcome to the World of the Ever-Connected Customer

Today’s customer understands they now have power. They now expect more than just a product or a service from you. They expect a relationship that is on equal term and they expect to be at the center of your world. And your company needs to put them there.

As the marketplace becomes more crowded with products and services, it is becoming much more difficult for companies to stand out amidst the clutter. In the past, how you packaged your product was extremely important, as well as the messaging around it. These elements are still critical, but now you also need to offer the customer a positive, unique experience.

The customer experience is a blend of a company's physical performance and the emotions evoked, intuitively measured against customer expectations across all touch-points. This means that every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company that will strengthen or weaken the future relationship - and with that - the customer's desire to return, spend and recommend.

Check out this cool video by about how in this day in age, your company needs to become a “customer company” to be successful.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The top 3 methods to make certain your customer is getting your message.

Here's a "How To" designed to get your message noticed, read and acted upon. 

This article is about how to optimize your chances that someone will get your message.

We’re not writing this down for our health.  We want our message heard. 
1.      We all want our the messages we send to customers to be heard. 
2.      We want our selling message to a potential customer to be persuasive. 
3.      We want our message to customers acted on. 
There are some clear steps you can take to increase the chances your message will get processed in the manner you're hoping for.

Of course your message has to have merit.  This blog entry is not discussing content.  But let’s at least say, you should be trying your best to say something important.  Time is short and we’re all busy so let’s not waste people’s time.

Statistics tell us the odds of being heard are against you.  Consider that we receive 5x as much information today as we did in 1986. We consume about 100,500 words on an average day.  We’re overloaded. 

We’re consuming most of these words on line but it’s tough to get people to interact.  Up by ½ hour each year, people spend over three hours a day on social networks while TV, Radio, newspaper and magazine reading/watching is down year after year.  Your chances of getting someone to interact with your posting are low…consider that people average 36 posts per month on FB and spend 20 minutes per FB visit. 

People are spending their time on social networks more than any other medium.  They have a lot of information to choose from.  This is why it’s important to make sure your message counts.
Most of these suggestions are things you probably either know, or thought you knew.  But I think in our haste we forget how important these persuasive steps can be to help us be successful.

Be Concise
We’re humanly no better at reading this overload of information than we were 30 years ago.  When you put your message in front of your audience, they take in about 20% of the words.  Think about that.  That means you have to keep your message short.  Concise. 

Be Aware of the Medium
Don’t forget your audience may encounter your message via a variety of media.  They can look at it:
·       on paper,
·       on their desktop computer,
·       on their laptop,
·       on their tablet,
·       on the screen in a meeting,
·       on their smart phone. 

Make sure your message has a self adapting component.  In other words, it works in any format.

Use Color
Color increases readers’ attention spans and recall by 82%. Researchers found that color visuals increase the willingness to read by 80%.  Color gains readership by 80%. It’s 39% more memorable. Color increases comprehension by as much as 73%. And increases retention even more.  It increases sales results and brand recognition.  Are you getting this?

Use Pictures
People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.  In fact this works for in person presentations and in tests 67% of the audience were persuaded by the verbal presentation that had accompanying visuals.  Think about it…when you’re looking at a news-feed, aren’t you more likely to click on the entry with a picture?
Brain Scans?
Adding pictures of brain scans and mentioning cognitive neuroscience make people more inclined to believe what they are reading.  It’s kind of hard to sneak it into your message, but it does fit into this story so what the heck.

We’re inundated with information.  Yet we all want OUR message to be heard.  Maximize your chances for successful communication by being Concise, by using Pictures and Pictographs.  Of course make certain you’re writing something worthy of being read.


Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here .  Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here). You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Maritz Research Helps American Family Insurance Create a Customer Experience Action Plan

It’s a question that so many people in the customer experience measurement business are asking:  They are collecting feedback from their customers, but what’s next?

Action planning is part of the evolution of how American Family Insurance does business when it comes to customer experience. The insurer isn’t just there for their customers during accidents and catastrophes, they’re listening to the voice of their customer every day.

Maritz Research recently partnered with American Family to help them take their customer satisfaction data to the next level. Brian O’Connor of Maritz Research and Katie Churches of American Family Insurance shared their success story at the Total Customer Experience Leader’s (TCEL) Summit. The goal was to provide agents and other employees at American Family Insurance with information to help them proactively notify customers about rate changes to their premiums.

Check out the full video below to see highlights from the TCEL presentation and hear more about how action planning is making a difference.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Personalize Your Customers’ Experience without Getting Too Personal

Nowadays, organizations are using technology to create a personalized customer experience (CX). But, they must remember that when it comes to collecting customer information, it isn’t just business, it’s personal. These days, customers are becoming much more comfortable with providing personal information in exchange for an improved CX.

In fact, in the recent Cisco Customer Experience Report which surveyed over 1,500 customers across the globe:
  • 49 percent would allow retailers to collect personal shopping data in exchange for a more personalized experience.
  • 54 percent are comfortable with retailers storing purchase history in exchange for increased personalized value.
  • 65 percent are comfortable receiving mobile retail advice based on current location as detected through their mobile device.

When it comes to providing personal information, there is an increased level of trust between the customer and the organization. In the report, 69 percent of customers said they would be willing to give their bank personal information if it meant they could receive more personalized services, but 57 percent said they don’t want their bank to share any of the personal information.  

There is such a thing as too much information, and organizations must be cautious to keep customers happy. According to Business2Community, here are three ways to begin personalizing the CX without getting too personal:
  1. Call the Customer by Name – Saying a person’s name is one of the best things a brand can do to improve the CX. While incorporating a name into the CX may seem simple, you must use correct spelling, pronunciation and never ask the customer to repeat it.
  2. Deliver Custom Content - If you know what your customers are searching for, give it to them. Whether its product or service related content based on past or recent purchases, or customer service content based on frequently asked questions, personalized content is proven to improve the CX.
  3. Ask the Right Questions - Increase the completion rate of customer surveys, as well as customer satisfaction, by personalizing feedback requests by tailoring the questions. Consumers lose motivation for completing surveys with numerous questions, when only some of the questions matter to them. 

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10 Key Customer Experience Stats for 2013

Today, a better customer experience can contribute to greater customer loyalty. But how do you define a great customer experience (CX)? Steven Woods, Group Vice President and Software Development at Oracle, says it is based on two things: understanding a buyer well enough to know what they are interested in and then delivering this message. The CX should be a reflection of everything that makes up your brand – not just the products or services, but its attitudes, values and differentiation.

In addition, Vice President of Customer Experience at Forrester Research Harley Manning says we can prove that CX correlates to loyalty. A CX correlates to willingness to consider for another purchase, willingness to recommend, and reluctance to switch providers. If you want good word-of-mouth, and if you want to keep your customers, it’s unlikely that anything else you do matters more than delivering a superior experience.

Today’s consumers are more likely to choose a company that offers a superior and personalized CX. Personalization is becoming a mandatory component of the CX. That being said, according to Technically Marketing, here are 10 important CX stats to keep in mind for 2013:

Eighty-six percent of buyers will pay more for a better CX, but only 1 percent of customers feel that vendors meet their expectations.  

  • Forty percent of organizations cite ‘complexity’ as the greatest barrier to improving multichannel CX. 
  • Only 37 percent of brands received “good” or “excellent” CX scores this year.  Sixty-four percent of brands got a rating of “OK,” “poor,” or “very poor.”  
  • Eighty-nine percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor CX. 
  • Customer power has grown as 73 percent of businesses trust recommendations, while only 19 percent trust direct mail.   
  • Eighty-six percent of customers will pay more for a better CX.  
  • Only 26 percent of companies have a developed strategy in place for improving CX.  
  • When asked what were the key drivers for a customer to spend more with a company 40 percent said improvement in the overall CX, and 35 percent said provide quick access to information and make it easier for customers to answer questions.  
  • CX is a high priority for consumers in a negative economy as 60 percent say they often pay more for a better experience. 
  • About 13 per cent of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. 

The moral of these stats is the better the CX a company provides, the more likely customers are to purchase again and to recommend your company– and the less likely to go to a competitor.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Who’s Job is it to Manage Customer Experience?

No matter what size, all businesses need to stay on top of their customers' experience. So, who is in charge?  Some say it’s the Chief Customer Officer’s job, while the CMO is currently considered to represent the voice of the customer at 18 percent of organizations, behind sales at 31 percent. These days, customer experience management (CEM) is becoming more and more of a priority, so businesses must get on the same page in order to move forward.

According to a recent study, “Voice of the Customer: Whose Job Is It, Anyway?" by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist, in the next three years, global organizations will make customer experience (CX) a top priority. However, the study shows that only 56 percent of respondents believe their companies understand customers. But, many companies find it challenging to restructure their businesses around the customer since they have traditionally focused it around product lines. In fact, only six in 10 people view their companies as customer-centric, and half report an understanding of customers' needs.

"A growing shift to digital marketing also provides a rich foundation for data-driven customer insight," Wilson Raj, Global Customer Intelligence Director for SAS sad. "CMOs are in a prime position to be champions for the voice of the customer -- if they shore up digital and customer analytics skills across the marketing organization."

The survey concludes whoever aspires to represent the voice of the customer must draw on customer insights to create an exceptional experience spanning physical and digital channels. The key to the CMO delivering an evolving customer-centric mandate is in the rise of Web, social and mobile channels that will take on greater significance in customer engagement.

Arjun Mitra, executive vice president at Firstsource, says it is critical for businesses to be on the front line of understanding CX in order to stay relevant in today's marketplace. "Differentiated CX builds confidence in the brand and strengthens the emotional connections with customers," he explained. "Companies that make the necessary investment in CEM will gain the strategic blueprint they need to help boost their bottom line."
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trends in Customer Experience Management

Customer Experience Management (CEM) is all about bringing the customer into the center of the organization. A big challenge operators will have is to break down the silos inside the organization. How you integrate different departments into the single view of the customer is very important.

Check out this insightful video featuring Julio Puschel, Principal Analyst, Head of Operator Strategy, Informa Telecoms & Media. 

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