Organizational Behaviour vs Organizational Theory

Organizational Behaviour (OB) is a study of people. While this could be likened to the famous Pavlov and his experiments with dogs, in this case, the study is specifically around the attitudes and performance of people in organizations.


OB tries to analyze how the work performed contributes to the effectiveness of a business and it specifically looks at it in three different ways. From the point of view of the individual, the group or team and then the larger organization itself. At the individual level, OB focuses on what makes an employee tick and looks at things like motivation, leadership and employee attitudes to work. This analysis is very specific and focused on the employee level. From the point of view of the larger organization, organizational theory (OT) becomes the tool of choice and its focus is targeted more towards structure and design at the organizational level.

Both disciplines are heavily guided by psychology (how people interact and work together), anthropology (the culture of different people) and economics (why and how people are incentivized with respect to motivation). 

Management & OB

Management is generally defined as the process of planning, organizing and leading the people and processes within an organization. Traditionally managers were responsible for supervising and motivating subordinates, but newer styles of management focus more on allowing a manager to be someone that enables and coaches an employee to succeed. The old-fashioned style of repetitive, activity-based management is changing to a more proactive method. Management and its definition is something that changes from organization to organization - there is no "one guiding principle" that all managers follow as it evolves naturally from the environment.

There is a strong relationship between OB and management where OB tries to explain how and why people act in certain ways due to current prevailing theories. These theories are often focused on many of the day-to-day responsibilities that managers face. OB in this context is the theory that managers use to put practical applications into effect to benefit the organization that they work for.





Why Managers Need To Understand Organizational Behavior

Regardless of if you spell it Behavior or Behaviour, Managers need to understand what makes their teams "tick". With the internet continually forcing businesses globally to become ever more innovative with little to no increase in resources or budgets, it's essential that companies embrace this challenge if they want to survive.



Over the course of the coming months, I shall be covering a key discipline of management - namely Organizational Behavior & How it Impacts Team Management. For some of you, this might seem a departure from a blog focused on customer service and operations, but I believe that if you want to have a successful team, you need to understand how to lead and grow that resource.

With the growth of the "gig economy" and freelancing taking an ever-larger proportion of the employment pie, understanding how to manage and lead teams is even more important. Now, the simple 9-5 office worker drone is frequently replaced by remote staff either working from home or performing a job in another country. Leading teams separated not only by geography but possibly time zone and culture has challenges that are quite distinct and finding a happy medium is key. 

However, Organizational Behaviour (OB) is not only about the teams and management. Key criteria that I've spoken about often is the requirement of understanding the importance of Quality within the organization. This could be through the use of tools like Six Sigma and ITIL, but those also are just a "symptom". It is important within the organization to realize that Quality matters and that it's only by continually striving to improve can true success be achieved.

Understanding NPS, How It Works & Whether it’s a Measurement that Makes Sense



Improving customer experience is one sure-fire way of expanding your business and establishing a credible brand name for yourself. After all, who doesn’t want their brand to be known for a great customer experience?! Great customer experience is essentially the key to a successful business. So why not use tools to help you improve your customer experience? There’s an abundance of tools available both online and offline that are designed to help you achieve the ideal you’ve envisioned for your clients. However, few can boast the power and usefulness that the NPS can provide you with.

So, What Is This “NPS”?


NPS stands for Net Promoter Score and it was developed by Fred Reichheld. It helps to create a clear and understandable customer satisfaction score which can then be used as a comparison between various businesses over even a single business across an extended period of time. This is done through surveys (we’ll get to that in a bit), and sometimes questionnaires, which are directly given to consumers so that accurate data can be collected. Of course, you’re probably wondering where this happens.

Well, think about any random time you ever got a pop up on your screen while you were visiting a website. Often times you will get questions like “would you recommend this product (or service) to a family or friend?”. Considering how little time it takes, you will probably answer and then continue your search. Well, that is the kind of surveys used to determine the NPS. They’re short, to-the-point and strategically placed by companies so that you answer them as honestly as you can as you’re doing your search.

Calculation


The NPS question given to the customer will generally include an 11 point scale from 0 to 10. Think of it as a rating with 0 meaning that you are not likely to recommend it at all to 10 meaning that you are extremely likely to.

According to the NPS guidelines, consumers can be broken down into three categories:

Category #1: Promoters


These are the people who will be giving your recommendation question a 9 or a 10. We call them promoters because they are very likely to spread the word about your product


These are the people who loved your customer service and will probably be advertising your brand to others through the word of mouth; never underestimate the power of word of mouth! It is a great, genuine and free advertisement for your business and as such makes promoters very valuable.

Category #2: Passives


Next up are the “passives”. These are the people who will give a score between 7 and 8. These are the most vulnerable of your clientele. Why? 


Because, unlike the promoters, they aren’t spreading the word about how great your brand is. They’re just there because. 

They don’t love your brand; they don’t hate it either, but they can be easily diverted elsewhere if the competition is offering the right price tag.



Category #3: Detractors


Detractors are the unhappy customers who’re giving you’re a score of 0 to 6. These are the people who can cause some serious damage to your brand. Like the promoters, they’re going to be spreading the word...of how bad your brand is. 

You need to make sure that you do not have a lot of detractors because they can seriously hinder the growth of your business.

In order to calculate your Net Promoter Score, you subtract the percentage of detractors from the promoters. The NPS is not expressed in terms of percentage. It needs to be an absolute number between -100 and +100. Generally, a positive NPS is considered good for businesses. In fact, many businesses aim to make sure that their NPS does not fall to zero or negative as zero shows that your business is stagnant while a negative NPS will show that your business’s customer experience is bad and that there are more detractors than promoters. This will, in turn, lead to a series of losses for you, so it is vital to make sure that your NPS is always positive.


By using this data, you can begin to plan a business strategy that improves your NPS.

Why Is It Important?


The biggest advantage of NPS is that it is able to provide a simple, yet holistic, understanding of your customer experience. This coupled with the fact that your customers are the ones directly answering questions without any filter, provides you with accurate data. 


The NPS is able to give you the real picture of how your clients perceive your business. Similarly, by comparing the NPS of other businesses, you can determine how well you’re doing. In some sectors, the NPS score rarely comes out to be more than +50 and even though this may not look good, if held up against the rest of the market, you will find that the NPS of +50 might actually be the score of the highest performing company in that industry. 

It’s relative yet it does not generalize or marginalize any competitor. You get a clear picture of what’s happening and that is great for business. There are many other benefits to the NPS which you can find here.

Does It Make Sense?


While it might initially take some time to wrap your head around it, once you get it you'll realize the NPS is actually really easy to use and understand. While other tools can be very complicated, the NPS is simple, and its effectiveness lies in its simplicity. 


The results are pretty clear: the promoters are your loyal customers, the passives may be deterred away and the detractors are leaving. As we’ve already said before, you can use this to your advantage and establish an order that helps to grow your business. It accurately shows how your client feels.

Consumer Trust (Part 2)

Customers’ Preference for Innovation 

In this world of ever-increasing change, companies have the chance to improve customer trust through innovative technological advances. Research has shown that customers have a preference for companies that have implemented innovative strategies of operation. Historically this innovation has taken the shape of improved efficiencies in business but today the provision of digital services is a key preference. 

Brands that use intelligent software like AI have a sharper impact on customers due to the user experience they have when engaging with these companies. Innovation in technology also offers brands a chance to engage customers in different ways while also providing customers with a variety of tools they can utilize to improve customer self-service

Customer expectations are being surpassed due to the multiple possibilities that have been brought about by the implementation of technological innovation. When customers realize that they can get digitized customer service and engaging artificial technology, they develop trust in the brand owing to the ease of engagement with brand services. Technological innovation has so far been a major driver in building customer loyalty and improving customer experience.


Data and Improving Customer Trust

Customers are sensitive about their personal data. Research findings have proven that more than 75 % of customers will not purchase services or products from a company that is not assured to protect their personal data. The pool of customer data collected is like an oil field-rich in possibilities. Aside from brand owners, customers have also come to understand this fact and since then have been protective of their personal data. 

With this in mind, companies have to maintain ethical and responsible data practices that will see them become more effective in handling customer data. Data practices within the organization can only be successful if the employees are correctly trained. From the management level down, employees should be able to maintain a high level of data integrity in a bid to protect customer data

Ethical practices in handling customer data will ensure that customers are satisfied with services which eventually improve customer trust. This commitment maintained in handling customer data with care goes a long way in drilling employees towards a positive culture of data integrity. Through a systemic operational framework in data management, a company can establish strong data principles that will ensure customer satisfaction and improved CX.

Engaging Customers

Most of the time, customers do not have a way of ascertaining whether the company they rely on preserves or misuses their private data. This can make them skeptical as to whether the brand is, in fact, protecting their personal data. 

A recent trend in customer service has been formulated to engage customers in data management practices. Here, customers are able to participate in data protection practices like authorizing the use or manipulation of their data by the company. In this way, brands can directly address customers in matters related to their personal data. As customers’ preference for ethical data practices increases, businesses need to take the initiative and provide ways through which they can provide customers with a chance to protect their private data from ill use.


Having a Competitive Edge

Every business is in a competition with others in their sector and they are all competing for a chance to show the customer who can best provide the service to their liking. 

True to the fact, customers are more receptive to companies that they think offer a differentiator when compared to the other companies. This matter of maintaining the top spot among your competition impacts heavily on customer perception and eventually customer trust. 

Customers will be automatically driven to your brand since they deduce that being the best, your brand offers most of the needed services in customer support and service provision. If a brand can maintain a high appeal from customers and relative brands as well, then they are in a better position to improve customer loyalty and customer trust in the brand. 

Customer Convenience 

As customers engage with business services whether online or offline, they have to enjoy an ease of operation. If the customer finds interaction with your brand representatives tedious or too long, they won't take long before they switch off and move to more promising brands. 

We live in a digital world where almost everything revolves around mobile phones and computers. Most people are usually stuck on their phones and computers for a large part of the day making it a concrete pathway for brands to engage with customers. 

Developing mobile-friendly websites and automated assistants can go a long way in improving customer experience. If a customer can receive brand assistance quickly as he navigates through social media and other similar sites, they are likely to enjoy the brand service and observe brand trust in the long run. Making operations customer friendly and easy to access for customers is very vital in maintaining your customer base while also providing good customer experience. 

Conclusion

Probably one of the most relevant points to make here is a simple recitation of a quote from Warren Buffett. Buffett stated that

 “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” 

For many of the companies that have been impacted by data breaches, hacks and security scandals the impact to the business is still only just being realized. Companies need to realize that their customers' matter and they need to put the necessary effort and systems into place to protect their most valuable commodity – you and I!

Employee Attrition - What Can YOU Do To Reduce It?

Employees usually come and go and at some point, you can expect to lose a few workers. The service sector is notorious for high employee turnover at 30% with the average for all industries standing at 13%. Millennials are also partly responsible for the increased employee turnover since they are more likely to switch jobs than their older counterparts. 

There are some costs attached to losing employees and an organization with high employee turnover can incur heavy losses including the time taken to find new workers. When the bounce rate for new hires gets too high, you cannot get a return on your investment especially when you factor in costs for training and recruitment. 

A high bounce rate for new employees is an indication of something wrong with your hiring process. Here are a few ways to reduce new hire bounce rate:


Formulate a Comprehensive and Competitive Benefits Package


One way to retain new employees is to compensate them handsomely. Apart from needing enough money to pay for living expenses like food, rent, and utilities, employees want to know they are compensated in other ways too. Moving to a better paying job is one of the major causes of employee turnover and paying well can prevent this. 

To get a feel for a fair salary, research on what competitors pay for similar jobs in your area e.g. how much do accountants make in your area. In addition to salaries, add some benefits like life insurance, disability insurance, 401K and pension plans to retain new hires. When dealing with millennials, keep in mind that they’ve witnessed the financial mistakes of their parents and are keen on additional benefits.

Hire the right person for the job


When interviewing new employees, make sure you hire the people who are most capable of doing the job. This way, you get a return on your investment. Do not hesitate to hire smart people or people with the ambition and potential to become stellar employees. 

Smart people are more flexible and their versatility will be of benefit. One major reason that people give for leaving a job is that it was not what they expected. To counter this, clearly, define the roles to the interviewee and ensure they are familiar with what will be done on the job. 

Another consideration for hiring is choosing someone who will fit with the company culture; that is if it’s important to you. Cohesion with other employees will encourage new employees to stick around and consequently reduce new hire bounce rate.

Reward employees and recognize their efforts


Employees are humans and will greatly appreciate if you recognize their efforts. When your workers go overboard and produce excellent work, complete a project well before the deadline or perform any other notable action, congratulate them. Doing this in front of colleagues is more effective as they will feel motivated by your acknowledgment. 

You don’t have to shower them with praise for everyday tasks, only for notable achievements. Another effective way to reward employees is to tie tangible, financial rewards to certain feats. Giving bonuses to high performing employees in front of the colleagues will encourage new employees to work towards the preset goals and reduce employee turnover. 

Additionally, you can create a career path for your employees so that they don’t feel like they landed in a dead-end job. Although it may seem obvious, most companies do not offer opportunities for growth like raises and promotions. When career advancement options look bleak and a new hire finds the other employees looking miserable and downtrodden, they won’t think twice about leaving for greener pastures.

Create a positive working environment


To create a positive work environment you have to factor in a good work/life balance. This involves flexible starting and ending times so that they have enough time for other activities. Many a new employee is put off by inflexible working hours and swaps jobs for more flexible hours. 

A study by a Boston organization concluded that 80% of workers and 76% of managers agree that flexible hours contribute to employee retention. Remember that workers spend close to half of their day at work and a positive environment will go a long way to increase engagement. 

Additionally, a conducive environment will improve the worker’s performance and boost productivity which works in the company’s favor. A good example of a superb work environment is Google, whose Googleplex building looks more like an adult playground than an office complex. Google also offers free food, health benefits, massages and haircuts, video games, gym and swimming pools to employees. Although this increases the running costs, it effectively cut down employee turnover and dissatisfaction.



Here’s Seven Great CX Blogs from the Month of August

Customer service blogs are a unique genre in the blog writing community. This is mainly because they’re the kind of non-fiction piece of literature that one can only write after extensive research and experience. Furthermore, they’re also quite helpful to those looking to improve their customer service as they offer great advice to all those who’re willing to listen as well as provide a voice for business owners to share their experiences in the community so that certain topics can be discussed.

For the month of August, we’re back with some great customer service blog posts written by talented individuals wishing to share their experience and knowledge with the rest of the world. As you will see throughout this entry, the topics under discussion are vast from mental health to the blame game that we often see in businesses where there’s- to quote the writer- an “I” in teamwork to advise on how to make customers talk about your business.

This month there’s an entire treasure chest full of great information on offer, so, without further ado, let’s begin to talk about the seven most impressive customer service blogs for the month of August.


1. Mental and Physical Well-Being In the Service Sector

The very first article that’s made our list comes from the CX Accelerator website itself, where writers Nate Brown and Jenny Dempsey talk about mental and physical health promotion in the service sector. In their article, they talk about how- by taking care of one’s employees, one can actually accelerate great customer service and increase efficiency in the workplace

Several suggestions for this are given through the course of the article. It starts off with simple tips that don’t really ask for drastic changes. Many leaders complain about a lot of investment (which they do not necessarily have) into well-being programs, but in this article, the writers have successfully mentioned the simplest and most effective methods of making sure that your customer service providers’ health is not compromised. 

This article definitely warrants a read. You can pick up any one of the many suggestions provided to ensure that the health of your staff is not neglected. As the two writers point out, there is a correlation between the health of your staff and their performance. So, don’t neglect it!

2. The Fault In Our “Staff”


On the opposite side of the spectrum, Steve Gioia, his blog post called But the Other Guy is Really at Fault, talks about common problems faced by teams in the service sector, particularly those in the hotel and restaurant businesses. 

Here he sheds light on the problems between the kitchen and the wait staff and how lack of understanding of ‘teamwork’ often leads to both sides not really accepting their responsibility. He gives an example of how a colleague of his received a bad service at a high end restaurant, thereby, establishing that no matter who’s fault it is, bad customer service and bad staff relations ultimately reflects badly upon the restaurant itself and customers don’t really care who’s fault it is- they’ll see it as a failure of the all the staff. 

This is an important lesson in customer service and reflects a side of customer service which we’ve often seen in restaurants, but don’t really comment on it and chalk it out as bad service. Gioia talks about how this badly affects the business. Give it a read, there are important lessons to learn from here.


3. Lessons From Amazon


In his article, writer Dan Gingiss presents the case for Amazon (and everyone else really) and how in today’s globalized world, you- as a business owner in the service sector- are actually in competition with Amazon and a lot of other online (and big) retailers. The reason behind this is investigated by the writer. 

He talks about how today’s market is very, very competitive compared to the “older days” where competition only extended towards local markets. Now, because of the advent of technology and social media, your competition is everyone, everywhere. Therefore, the importance of customer experience should not be underestimated. 

By taking note from big firms like Amazon and Netflix, we should try to improve upon our customer experience and really understand why a lot of people prefer these platforms and maybe take a leaf out of their books. After all, these corporations don’t simply exist because they’re great just like that- people prefer them over the others. So, what makes them so great? You’ll have to find out because, in today’s world, they’re your competition as well. No matter how big or small your business is.

4. Breaking Boundaries


This one’s a little different. In the article, writer and co-founder of CX Accelerator talks about surveys, their accessibility and how likely customers are to answer them in today’s time. He presents his case by highlighting that, contrary to popular belief, it might actually be more difficult to get customers to talk about their preferences through surveys. In fact, many industries are actually struggling with the lack of data available. But this is mostly because companies- not all but some and that’s still a significant amount- take the voice of the customer for granted, and probably still look to surveys to make a decision. 

Brown disagrees with this method as the only one in the business and suggests that there are other ways one can capture data. After all, customers haven’t gotten quiet in today’s world. There’s plenty of other ways they’re letting their voice be heard. Companies just have to tap into this oilfield of wealth in order to collect this valuable data, and maybe along the way, they’ll also end their dependence on surveys.


5. The Power of The Word of Mouth (150-200)


This one’s an interesting read in particular. Author Dan Gingiss once more finds himself on our list for his article. The reason behind this is simple: this article holds key advice for those looking to get their customers to do a bit of promotion for them. Of course, the main aim here is to get your customers to talk. 

Word of mouth is single-handedly one of the most powerful promotion platforms out there and it can also be used to your advantage. Of course, a lot of people struggle with it in their businesses- but you don’t have to be one of those people. In his article, Gingiss talks with various experts in the field and how they would do the job. There’s an abundance of advice from a number of people in a variety of different fields. Their tips aren’t very hard to pull off either. 

If you read through all of the advice given, you’ll notice it is the attention to detail the customer likes and they’ll recommend you for it. Customers want a personalized experience where they feel comfortable and at home- do this and they’re sure to talk about your business with their friends and colleagues. You can find more great advice from the article as well, so do check it out!

6. The ‘Peak-end’ Factor


This is a great read by Mary Drumond. The article, Understanding How The Peak-end Defines Customers’ Experiences the writer talks about the ‘peak-end rule’, a psychological heuristic developed by two professors called Kahneman and Tversky and is described as a phenomena where people remember a particular experience- it can be good or bad- based on how they felt at the ‘peak’ and the ‘end’ rather than judging the whole experience. 

This is an interesting phenomenon and Drumond has delved deeper into this phenomenon. She’s talked about how companies can use this to their advantage and thus, enhance customer experience. We can further look at it as a way of understanding the mindset of a customer and thus eliminate any cognitive bias or something along those lines and make them like your product. That, or you can simply research into this to just understand your customers better. 

After all, understanding the mindset of one’s customers is one of the most important pillars in customer service. 


7. A Study For Coffee Lovers Everywhere


And lastly, we end up with another Dan Gingiss article, and it’s quite literally a case study and look into a neighborhood coffee shop in New York and how it stands out in a world full of Starbucks. Gingiss uses this case study to show how this coffee shop is back to basics to attract new clientele. It’s not the “anti-Starbucks”, he lets us know that early in the blog post. But it’s good; it’s different. And sometimes that’s what customers want. 

He talks about his own experience with Birch Coffee and how we can use that as a lesson in customer service. This company doesn’t just serve ‘drinks’ like Starbucks has taken to doing. In fact, it’s really not just Starbucks- it’s a lot of coffee shops these days. Birch Coffee goes back to basics- we’re talking simple coffee. Nothing fancy. In fact, this is how they’ve advertised their business on their website as well. I think it’s a pretty good case study to look into, so do check it out!

Conclusion


There you have it- this month’s list of the best customer service blog posts on the Slack CX Accelerator community. These articles are truly great in the wealth of information that they provide us with. From tips to case studies to pointing out key factors that may change a company’s entire relationship with their customers, these blogs are for those who are all ears and want to improve their businesses. 

Read them and discover key information about the world of customer service and how you, a business owner, can benefit from the extensive and meticulous planning that goes into customer service to make it the face of your company and, in return, to make people come back to your business over and over again. We hope you found these articles hopeful!

Consumer Trust is at an All Time Low


In recent years, customer dynamics has become a very sensitive topic to brands and service providers in particular. The customers’ preferences and likes have slowly and gradually taken on greater importance as businesses work to provide and maintain an excellent customer experience.

With the increased number of brands in the market, the issue of customer loyalty is no longer the only factor to be considered for customer-oriented services. Today’s consumer has to worry about their data, how information is shared across sites and even the threat of cyber-attacks on a regular basis. In 2017, several massive breaches of personal data were observed after a series of cyber-attacks that saw many brands lose customer trust. The brands impacted ran the gamut from technology companies (Sony, Yahoo & Uber) to Home Renovation (Home Depot). 

More than two billion people were affected by different issues, and in addition to cyber-attacks, issues related to ransomware were prevalent. On the political front, it’s now been proven that foreign governments have influenced voters. Customer trust is very sensitive and when it comes to products and services, its something that companies need to keep in mind if they expect to maintain customer loyalty.

Poor Engagement by Employers as a Cause of Customer Distrust

Before any customer decides to purchase a product from a specific brand for the first time, they are always skeptical about the quality of the service and the product that will be provided. 

Customer trust is not usually an automatic switch that can be turned on when needed. Customer trust has to be nurtured and allowed to grow in order for customers to be fully comfortable transacting with a specific brand.
The level of employee engagement with customers usually determines how well the customer will trust the brand and the possibility of staying loyal to the brand. Most brands focus on providing quality services to customers and neglect the important aspect of engaging the customer in order to make them assured and comfortable during purchase. 

This engagement ensures rapport building which improves the relationship between the customer and the brand. With high customer engagement, brands provide customers with an enjoyable CX through customer support and assistance. 

With the development of technological methods of customer support like AI technology, brands can easily engage with customers directly and in so doing develop and maintain customer trust in the brand.

Customer Concerns over Personal Data

After the recent cyber-attacks in this and the previous year, customers have become very wary concerning the safety of their personal data when transacting with any brand. 

Recently, we observed Facebook facing lawsuits due to their inappropriate use of personal data to influence poll research that was unrelated to the customer expectations of the brand. Such incidences spiked the customers’ concern over how brands treat and utilize personal customer data. 


Most customers have now developed the preference of brands that are more customer-oriented and focused on responding to customer likes before using their personal data to determine the best solution for on-going problems. 

Privacy practices need to be maintained and regularly observed by any brand if they want to maintain customer trust. Today, customers are more knowledgeable about how their private information is used to improve customer service and in protecting their individual identity. If a brand breaches this set of privacy practices, then they are very likely to lose customer trust and eventually observe a drop in customer retention.

Personalization and Customer Trust

As customers interact with your support team, they are usually more responsive to an empathetic conversation versus one that only makes them feel like a statistic. 

For instance, simple interactions like addressing the client by name and not through a default system of salutations can greatly improve customer trust. A personalized experience on the customer’s side relays the impression that they are important to the company thus making them more likely to stick with the company. 

Brands can use customer data from previous interactions to improve personalized customer service and product promotion that will give the impression of a customer-based brand.

Everyone likes being treated like they matter and this often helps ensure that customers, respond better to personalized services. With an improved customer experience, the customer also increases the trust they have for the brand ensuring customer retention for the company.

Continue to Part 2

Top Seven Great CX Blogs from May to July ‘18

In this post, we will be talking about some of the best CX blog posts written between May and July.

1.   The Importance of Customer Service

We’re going to start off by talking about serious topics before moving on to more entertaining one. Therefore, the first post we’ll be sharing is called Why Customer Success is the Future of Customer Service by author Michael Pace. 

In this post, the author tells us about how customer service is very important to companies how businesses should focus on this in order to come out on top and succeed. But that’s not all that he talked about. Pace gives us real, hard numbers to back his statements. He analyses the importance of churn and how it can help you with your next conversation both as a customer service representative to your next customer as well as the senior management.

We particularly liked this post as it does not simply state things but also backs them with statistics as well as showing how successful businesses like Microsoft and Amazon have used such method to their advantage to generate greater revenues. One particular piece of information that we would like to point out is the chart he made showing the critical customer success period that can render a purchase. This, he states, is only possible if customer service is able to convince the customer to, well, actually buy the product by overcoming any problems they’ve been trying to resolve.

2.   Dealing With Difficult Patients

Continuing our trend with customer service blog posts, next we will be discussing the question that a lot of customer service professionals would love to have an answer to how to deal with difficult customers. It is probably one of the worst experiences that anyone can have for a difficult customer not only makes their own life miserable but also the representatives. It can be particularly difficult to maintain control when the customer is yelling at you and not letting you help them.

However, in her piece on difficult customers, Elizabeth Wellington not only describes the situation we all know about but also talks about how customer service agents can get a hang of the situation and, well, turn it all around in their favor. This usually comes in various stages, but the first stage obviously is to control yourself and then do as Wellington suggestions. Primarily, her suggestions include the following stages:

1.    Preparation
2.    Recognizing the opportunity in failure
3.    Changing channels
4.    Adapting your approach to the customer’s personality
5.    A balance between empathy and boundaries
6.    Sincerely apologize
7.    Don’t lie to customers

Of course, she’s explained it all in great detail. You can read her post here.


3.   One for the Team
Like the previous post, this post by Steve DiGoia also focuses on customers that are upset and frustrated and how best one can deal with it. Like Wellington in the previous post, he talks about how customer service employees can use his acronym and can, therefore, remember the way to deal with the problem of difficult customers. 

What we really liked about this post was that it was very informative. The topics he talked about were very clear and the method he used is actually pretty simple and understandable. In fact, if you were to implement this method on your customer service team then we’re pretty sure that you wouldn’t have any problem with dealing with upset customers.

4.    Traits Successful Companies Share

Michael Pace makes it on our list once more with another fantastic post on his blog the Pace of Service. This time Michael informs of us some of the common things that most successful companies have in regards to their customer service. The companies mentioned in this post are specifically well known for their customer service. We won’t spoil any of it by mentioning them here (trust us, the post is worth a read on your own), here’s the link to his post.

A bit of warning though as Michael clarifies that while these characteristics are shared by the associations he's evaluated, they are not the sure fire way to become a successful business- that’s all on you. You can, however, use this as a great reference point as you work on the customer care service of your company.

5.   On Airlines and The Blame, We Put On Them

Moving a little away from our central customer service theme, this post by Dan Gingiss is a particular favourite of ours as it not only does it talk about how Airlines use their customer support units but also how sometimes, it’s really not the airlines fault that there are delays in flights- this is due to the uncontrollable factors such as weather which airlines cannot control. 

What we like about this post is the fact that the writer actively mentions and recognizes the importance of customer service and how “every customer experience matters”. 

Immediately after that, he lists a whole bunch of scenarios where the airline is responsible, and this includes overbooking and maintenance and things like that. He also recognizes that it is the airline’s responsibility to make sure that customer service is excellent for things that it can control in order to establish customer loyalty. But then he starts to talk about the things most people are not fond of airlines (and air travel in general) for. This comes with weather and flight delays that come with it because these are simply something that an airline can’t control, and people often complain about this. 

By giving us this insight, the writer does a great job at showing both sides of the industry and we commend him for doing his research well.


6.   Of Heroes & Villains

Another one by Steve DiGioia is featured on our list and there’s a reason behind that. His interesting take on customer service agents and their behavior is an interesting read. Not only does it connect with just about anyone who has read a comic book (and in today’s time's comic book movies) and has thus, categorized agents into three categories: the hero, the villain and the problem solver. 

By doing so, he presents the case of how companies can use these examples as a way of training their customer representative staff. No one wants to be a villain in the customer service business as that can lead to your client being driven away. What people want is a hero- but is that really all that people want? What about a problem solver? Someone who is, not just really nice to talk to, but also can actually solve a customer’s problem without delaying them for too long. These skills can be especially essential if you’re trying to enhance customer service experience for your clients and we definitely recommend you to give this a read.

7.   Stories of Ourselves

This final post is probably one of the greatest pieces of advice anyone can offer a company looking to make its customer service better. Kaye is a member of the CXAccelerator community and she’s written a blog post on how a company can use storytelling as a way to create “customer heroes”.

By using storytelling as a primary tool to gather information on your customers, you can make their experience a lot better than most would have thought. Storytelling is almost never used in call centers, so it will very smart business move on your part and we strongly suggest you go with it. Why? Because through this you’re essentially making both the customer and your agent feel better about themselves and by making your agents a customer’s superhero, you’re making their job more enjoyable as well. We strongly recommend that you give this one a read.

Conclusion


As you can see, these blog posts covered a wide range of variety. Some of them were merely informative, offering readers with an overview of many products; others were more specific, focusing on only one matter at hand. The most important thing about these blog posts was their ability to connect with their audience, causing readers to comment or share the blog posts with people they know. Indeed, a good blog post is one that connects with its audience on a personal level, causing them to be ‘touched’ by it. This, in turn, leads them to consider the opinions they read online as well as influencing their choices later on in real life. As said before, blogs can be powerful tools and these blog posts certainly do show that. Hope you liked this post, we’d love to hear your opinions on this one!

How to Land the Perfect Job - Part 4 (Resume & Cover Letter)

Continuing our Job Search posts

Part 1 - Job Boards & Recruiters
Part 2 - Networking & Other Job Search Methods
Part 3 - LinkedIn & Tips for Senior Job Searchers




Writing a Resume for a Senior Level Position 

Despite being in senior management positions, most people do not know how to write a winning resume. When it comes to executive positions, crafting a resume requires a bit more prowess in order to convince the employer that you are good enough for the C-Suite. 

One of the things that you should tweak from your old resume are the resume objectives at the top. In an interview, you want the employers to look at your executive professionalism that claims you suit the role before they can view your personal goals and aspirations. 


  • A five-bullet summary of your value propositions will act brilliantly in convincing the employers of your qualified status. 
  • For your executive objectives, you can include a section on the resume to highlight your core executive principles. This section should display some of your areas of expertise in senior level management. 
  • If you intend on posting the resume online, you can use keywords which will make it simpler to be found in an online search.
 In writing a resume, you have to update your current skills and achievements in order to be most appealing to the employer. For most people, they don’t find it necessary to change their resume when applying for a new job and this can negatively affect their hiring. 

In the case of senior-level positions, most employers will expect you to fit the role of an executive profile and your resume will help in building this. One of the things you can do to boost your resume is getting a professional to review it. This can help you see what your resume may be missing to awe the employers. 

In your resume, you should have valid numbers and data that supports your credentials. Numbers speak a lot in a resume and they can easily convince the employers instead of having to explain every single executive achievement. Your relevance to the job position should also reflect on your resume. Having a current and updated resume will make it less tedious to convince the employers and land a job. 


Creating a Cover Letter 


For top-level executives in Customer Service, writing a cover letter may prove to be quite hard. This is because the cover letter is the first impression you will have on the employers. 

First of all, your cover letter should be well suited for the specific role you want to get. Ensure that you are the exact fit for the job you want when writing the resume. 

A brief and detailed cover letter is more inviting than one which is crowded. Always make your cover letter short and to the point so that the employer can have the entire scope of what you can do in a moment. You can use bullet points to list down executive prowess in a simple and reliable manner. 

It is important to always leave your contact information on your cover letter because this is what the employers will use to determine whether you are fit to hire.  Employers will always want to see the team building and leadership experience skills that a top-level executive has to offer and this is what you should provide on the resume. 

Sharing statistics can be more compelling than simply writing the task you had undertaken although it is important to keep the cover letter as brief as possible. It may add you some points if you choose to start the cover letter with a salutation that is directly aimed at the employing board. This will show that you have done your research and know what you want. 

Is the Terminator our Eventual Fate? AI in the Contact Center

Artificial intelligence is the future of customer service and the CX world is excited to grab the opportunity by the scruff of the neck. As many analysts and professionals have already deduced, AI will change the way contact centers work. 



AI like many other new technologies has a lot of misconceptions since it is in its infancy stages. So it would be important to expound on what artificial intelligence is at its core. While humans and other animals use “natural intelligence”, machines use artificial intelligence where every data input makes it smarter; like learning new chess moves after a match. This is called “machine learning” and is combined with “natural language processing” where AI analyzes written language to maximize its abilities. This is how AI can categorize queries from chatbots and answer accurately or transfer the customer to the right agent.


How AI can be Used in Contact Centers

CX managers will be delighted to hear that speech technology has evolved and virtual assistants can now communicate with customers. There is an increased adoption of virtual assistants that are backed by AI-powered speech technology according to a speech by Jon Arnold of J Arnold and Associates at Enterprise Connect 2018.

Google, for instance, have developed speech recognition AI that is 95% accurate. At such high accuracy rates, we can confidently say that speech recognition AI is ready for the market and CX managers can take advantage of this. Another advantage of speech recognition is that it converts large sets of unstructured data into structured data that can be enforced in sentiment analysis where new customer trends can be identified. Other benefits of this conversion of data include quality monitoring, compliance with internal procedures, boosting the efficiency of call centers and recording calls.

Contrary to popular opinion that AI will replace call center agents, AI can actually help the agents. First off customer facing AI, be it chatbots or speech bots, will handle routine tasks and free up the agents’ time to handle more complex queries. This makes call centers more efficient and it is easier to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) for call centers.

Another reason to employ AI is that it can accurately give customers the right information negating the need to call in the first place. Agent facing AI can also supply call center agents with enough information to sort out complex issues. Additionally, the AI can listen to calls and analyze the impact on the customer i.e. how well the issue has been resolved and the effect on customer loyalty.


The Maturity of Current AI

Right now, we are in an era where customer expectations are rising by the day which has forced CX managers to use AI to fill the void. However, AI hasn’t matured as such and most companies are only dipping their toes in. Most companies are trying their hand at chatbots and there are currently more than 100,000 Facebook Messenger chatbots in operation today. A recent report by Gartner revealed 55% of companies have already started investing in AI or have plans to adopt the technology by 2020. A new trend has emerged where companies are rushing to promote their brands on social media.

This has led to the adoption of real-time chatbots (like Facebook Messenger chatbots) to communicate with new and existing customers. We can now see AI rapidly changing customer service through automation where the AI can respond to customer queries with greater speed and accuracy than humans can achieve. AI has matured to the point where it is used to identify customer issues, behaviors and patterns and process this data. This, in turn, enables the company to identify customer preferences, resolve issues before they appear and offer alerts of personalized offers and promotions.


The Future of AI

When contemplating the future of AI, the sky is literally the limit. This can be evidenced by advanced digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. Users like them so much that CX managers are forced to integrate such virtual assistants in their customer journey.

At the same time, other benefits are accrued such as cost reduction, a boost in productivity and streamlining processes. Customer facing AI is increasingly being used to take control of repetitive tasks that previously took up the majority of agents’ time. Nowadays, chatbots can resolve 10 – 35% of customer queries without the assistance of a human agent and this number is expected to rise.

CX managers can attribute higher accuracy of issue resolution to AI and chatbots; call center agents are left with time for more complex issues which boost their confidence and sharpens their skills. As of now, AI is reactive but in the future, chatbots can be expected to predict customer questions and give accurate answers by analyzing the conversation. This leads to a higher personalization of the customer journey leading to increased customer retention.