All posts by Hutch Morzaria

I am an ITIL Expert and extremely passionate about customer service, customer experience, best practices and process improvement. I have led support, service, help desk and IT teams as well as quality and call center teams in Canada and the UK. I know how to motivate my teams to ensure that they are putting the customer first.

Cultivate a Customer-Centric Culture

As organizations become more customer-centric, a culture that fosters the best experience for both parties is key to success. But what does it take? Experts have been scratching their heads ever since this aspect of marketing gained precedence over all other aspects in terms of importance and priority–how can you cultivate an environment where employees are inspired by your company’s values so they can provide stellar service day after day without fail? 

As part of my job as Director of Client Support at Q4 and similar roles within other organizations, I’ve had the opportunity to directly influence this within my services and support team and I’ve learned some secrets along the way which I think you might find valuable.

So what’s the magic formula? Let me start off by saying it’s not some hyper-complicated system. You don’t need to be a marketing specialist or an expensive consultant to achieve this. It doesn’t require a restructuring of your company or the hiring of massive teams of people. 

It can get you tremendously far if you just do one thing–and it starts with getting closer to the client within your immediate circle of influence, whether that be colleagues, agents under your supervision, or support desk staff whose responsibility is directly related to the client satisfaction.

As I’ve said before, it’s not always about the new customer. If your goal is to build a sustainable business, your primary focus needs to be on nurturing existing relationships and making sure you treat every client like THEIR satisfaction is the most important thing in the world (because it really IS).

Being closer to clients won’t offer any considerable new business that isn’t already on your current radar–because they’re usually yours for a reason! Being effective at developing new business opportunities comes with time, but there are things you can do today that will ensure better loyalty and retention rates for tomorrow.

Your clients are your babies…because, without them, you don’t have a business. That means taking care of them should be at the top of your priority list every single day. Here are a few things you can do NOW if you want to offer better customer service:

Define Your Mission

You need to know about the destination so that you can plan for the journey. You can refer to your established CX mission as the cultural bible because it is super important. This mission statement will be your light in the tunnel- guiding you and helping you devise the right actions and behaviors to reach your goal.

Without this defined goal, you will certainly be lost. 

Communication is the Key

There is no such thing as over-communication when it comes to manifesting the desired customer-centric culture. If the communication channel is blocked somewhere the messages, or data is not being delivered across all the floor, to the respective departments, you can expect to be in a real conundrum.

There is no wrong or correct way to communicate- just make sure you are articulate, you are consistent, and are engaging constantly without being annoying. It is imperative to maintain a degree of fun so that it does not become a boring work chore that employees often ignore.  

Educate and Preach Your Staff

Who is going to implement the culture? Your people, your staff.

No matter how professionally you design your management style to advocate for customer-centricity, you still would not be able to foster a whole culture without properly educating and training your staff. When it comes to cultivating a whole new culture, you need to make sure that everybody in the organization understands the purpose of the change and supports it.

A great CX professional must be able to inspire and educate all working levels to focus greatly on the customer.   

Hire a Good Cultural Fit

The recruitment process is also a determinant of how fast your organization will adapt to the new culture and champion it for the coming years. Effective recruitment strategies will help you attract people who understand the norms and cultural standards established in your workplace. They will support your organization’s vision and filter those people out who may be technically qualified by their purpose does not align with the spirit of your organization.

Reframe your job description and emphasize more on people skills; do not give the impression that you prioritize task-oriented behavior over the attitude and expectations of your employees. Advertise your culture and reflect it in your interaction with the applicants. 

Keep Customers in the Loop

Since your whole effort is directed towards improving customer relations and understanding customers’ perceptions, you must involve customers as much as you can.

Set up customer focus groups, keep them updated on the changes you are about to introduce in your organization. This will help you understand how they perceive risk and reward.

For example, if you are introducing a new and unique product and the customers feel there is some component of risk involved in buying your product, let them know that they can return the product anytime if it fails to meet their expectations.

This will improve customer relations as well as enhance employee satisfaction as employees believe that management has considered their concerns before introducing any changes.

Increase Employee Satisfaction

A happy employee who is satisfied with his or her job also helps in building better relationships with the customers because the customer’s problem becomes an employee’s problem too. This kind of understanding between employees and management increases motivation among workers which enables them to contribute further towards improving productivity levels.

As far as possible, reduce conflicts between departments instead of allowing them to escalate into conflicts between managers.

Employee satisfaction is not about paying more or less but providing employees the opportunity to perform their duties without any interference. When employees are satisfied with their job, they are able to complete it efficiently which helps in making good profits for the company.

No matter how you are rewarding your employees – and whether the rewards are intrinsic or tangible – you must ensure that you are recognizing the efforts and achievements of your employees. Intrinsic awards have a more lasting impact on employees as it particularly acknowledges a group’s way of working. Tolerating risk and imposing penalties can also help keep culture aligned with practices.

Offering incentives, prizes, deserved promotions, acknowledgments, and praises converge towards employee motivation and hence contribute to greater service results. 

Keeping all these things in mind shall help you build a happy and satisfied workforce that will lead your company towards growth.

Leaders Must Lead

The power of leadership is so significant that it can shift the entire course of the functionality of an organization. Altering a culture that is deep-rooted in a workspace can be a hell of an exhausting challenge. So, only people who are capable and have a strong heart must be up for it.

Visible and active involvement by executives and senior leaders is integral in the strategic building of a customer-centric culture. Everyone is responsible for fostering a new culture but ensuring that the roles are conducted with more vigor and clarity is solely the job of the leaders.

From prioritizing resources to incorporating customer experience metrics into decisional reforms, is all part of the job description. 

Wrapping it Up

Businesses are offering a merely different version of the same product to their audiences. Winning at customer services is the competitive edge that can separate them from the noise. A prevalent customer-centric culture in an organization is the rock and stones that form a robust foundation of a compelling customer experience.

If you cultivate the right values and inculcate the correct sense of customer-centricity in your organization, you will reap your rewards in the form of consistent profitability, increased sales, and higher customer retention.

Customers these days have an insane amount of power and a comprehensive set of choices; you have to devise appropriate strategies to trigger a continual impact. CX programs fail all the time, but an improved disciplined approach to serving your customers can help you build a strong customer relationship.

So, change behaviors to change the culture!  

7 Ways to Guarantee Your Team Will Be Highly Engaged

Highly engaged teams are the gold standard of business success. The advantages are numerous and varied, including greater sales and profits, decreased expenses, fewer sick days, and fewer defects. All of which have a significant influence on your company’s bottom line.

Unfortunately, far too many businesses are unwilling to provide adequate resources for fostering highly engaged teams, yet developing highly engaged teams does not need much more work and the return on investment is worth it. Here are seven easy methods to increase your income by enhancing team engagement.

Step 1: Make it easy to understand.

The one thing that always surprises me is how many initiatives and departments I am involved with turning around that lack a clear goal. How can people possibly be engaged, much alone be highly engaged, if they do not understand the goals and objectives?

The clarity of direction and a clear understanding of what success looks like are required for teams. This implies your company cannot have too many objectives since when everything is a priority, nothing is prioritized, and your employees don’t know where to focus.

 Step 2: Allow them enough space.

High-performing teams require a lot of freedom in order to succeed. When your teams have the tools they need to succeed, the greatest thing you can do is get out of their way and let them succeed. Micromanagement is one of the most disempowering things I’ve ever seen; it destroys trust and confidence at an alarming rate. It indicates a lack of confidence, which is critical for any success. It doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t check up on them from time to time; instead, do it depending on the length of the project. 

Step 3: Create a secure environment

People are more likely to take risks and try new things when they feel secure in their surroundings. To encourage this behavior, you must first establish a safe environment in which mistakes are accepted and anticipated. It doesn’t imply that people are free to do whatever they want; rather, it encourages them to make intelligent risks where the probability of success is high and the consequences of failure are minimal.

Step 4: Allow them to be successful.

While engagement is wonderful, even the most enthusiastic employees will become dissatisfied, irritated, and demotivated if they don’t have the tools to succeed. Check to see if your teams have everything they need to be successful, and if they don’t, give it to them or change the goal or objective. Humans are afraid of hard work rather than failure; as leaders, it’s our duty to place them in a position where success is possible.

Step 5: Make your objectives seem desirable.

Tell your teams what’s in it for them and how they will benefit if you can’t make your objectives aspirational. When asked to define their company’s purpose, leaders who are committed to the long-term future of their organization have a lot more to say than those who aren’t.

The greater the cause you can attach to your goals, the more engaged your people will be.

It might be due to working for a more powerful, more resilient organization that will develop and provide greater possibilities in the future. If it’s just about making your investors richer unless they’re shareholders as well, no one will be really engaged.

Step 6: Give assistance.

Let your staff know that you’re available if they need assistance. They should feel safe asking for your help, and just knowing it is there will increase their confidence. Perhaps they won’t utilize it; but just having it there will assist them a lot.

Step 7: Reward them for their efforts.

One of the keys to encouraging continuous performance improvement is to offer praise and recognition. What gets recognized tends to be repeated, and when we notice highly engaged teams and give them positive feedback, this encourages them to stay engaged and become even more so.

When individuals believe that their efforts are acknowledged, they tend to have a greater sense of momentum and motivation. Also, keep in mind that appreciation begins at the bottom with actions rather than waiting for people to achieve success before telling them you appreciate them.

If you follow these seven easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to forming highly engaged teams that will significantly raise the quality and quantity of your outputs, as well as provide a path to improved profitability, expansion, and customer satisfaction.

Leadership and Management: Micromanagers vs. Leaders

What is the difference between micromanagers and leaders? Micromanagers are people who try to control everything that their employees do. They have a “my way or the highway” mentality, which makes them difficult to work for. On the other hand, good leaders know how to let go of control and give others opportunities to grow and develop.

As someone that’s made a career out of client experience and operations, this wasn’t a lesson I immediately understood. Historically, I was so focused on fixing the issue that I didn’t really pay as much attention to how I could enable my teams to have this skill themself.

However, while this skill was helpful in getting me to the manager level, I needed to understand and gain new skills to get to the next stage in my career. One of the toughest decisions I had to make when transitioning into management and then leadership, was how much responsibility should be delegated. Control, which was a necessity in my previous roles was now a limitation with the greater scope of responsibilities I now had to carry.

While it didn’t really comfort me, I realized that a lot of people struggled with this transition and many other leaders in other organizations had the same concerns. I also realized that it was important to keep in mind that when a manager delegates responsibility, this doesn’t mean they are relinquishing their authority or power over the task at hand. It’s about sharing and delegating certain areas so you can focus on others.

Understanding the levels of leadership

Micromanagers are people who think they know everything about a subject, and so make decisions for everyone. They often have their way because they’re great at taking care of detail work, but they don’t allow others to grow into management positions. This causes an inability in companies to adjust quickly when there’s turnover or change on leadership level – it also can cause employees to feel unheard and frustrated with their jobs.

Leaders are team builders that want success not just for themselves but for those around them. They recognize the strengths in others and empower them by letting go of some control over specific parts of projects or tasks…however, must still hold tight enough to keep things moving along nicely (or else risk losing control over the product or project). I’d learned this lesson earlier in Organizational Behavior, where it was called “locus of control” however, that program might have overly complicated the lesson. Hopefully, the explanation below is a little bit less wordy.

Leaders empower their employees by giving them a sense of autonomy in various tasks, but there isn’t just one way of leading people or teams.

  • Level one – The informal leader is the unofficial person who steps in and offers some direction. The label of “boss” doesn’t necessarily apply to this type of leader.
  • Level two – The hands-on leader is a type of leader that contributes directly to the success of their team and typically takes on an active role in producing the desired results.
  • Level three – is the leadership expert. This type of leader still gets hands-on in guiding the project and offering their expertise, but this leader helps to guide subordinates rather than take control
  • Level four – The type of leadership you need changes here. It’s not just about meeting deadlines and delivering the results as it was back when your team members were followers; instead, it’s about making sure that you are working with them to achieve the objectives they’ve been set up for.
  • Level five – the highest level of leadership, is aspirational. The focus here’s on incubating a culture and creating an environment for sustainable success.

Leaders and managers come in many shapes and sizes, but the transition from expert leader to good team player is one of the most challenging. The skills that got you up to Level Three won’t work as well for Level Four: You’ll need a new skill set entirely if you ever hope to make it past Level Five.

In short, forget about micromanaging; step aside so that your people can grow and develop.

  • Leaders inspire people with vision, give them something greater than themselves to believe in when they’re feeling down or lost, show empathy for employees’ struggles without overtaxing their limited resources by giving too much personal attention. Managers administer policies set forth by senior executives but do not have any authority over day-to-day operations within an organization’s departments (they don’t really lead).
  • Good leaders create environments where people grow and develop through stretching expectations while also letting go of control which creates more opportunities for influence.
  • Micromanagers, on the other hand, tend to be more controlling. They try to maintain control by consistently monitoring and assessing employees’ work according to their own rigid standards without giving much insight or guidance into how they should do it better next time.
  • Leaders share knowledge with others so that people can continually learn from each other while micromanagers withhold information which creates a dependent relationship where followers need to seek direction for any decision.
  • Good leaders delegate authority meaningfully within an organization’s hierarchy and empower subordinates through visibility in decision-making processes but don’t give away power themselves (because no one is indispensable). Micromanagers hoard power by doing everything themselves, making decisions arbitrarily rather than consulting trusted advisors when needed because they’re afraid someone will take credit.

The starting point for effective leadership is to understand who you are and what strengths you bring. Your value resides in your personal skillset, beyond the knowledge it takes to execute a specific job. A good leader will identify talent in their team members and provide them with the opportunity to grow and develop those talents while operating within their mandates. This starts by letting go any need for perfectionism or mastery, focusing instead on empathy skills like listening, feedback and coaching that allow people around you to feel valued and understood before trying to change them or fix them.

For many, the reality of today’s work is that you just don’t have the time to be a micro-manager. Good leaders are those who know their organizational skills and let team members learn from each other as well as grow in their own ways.

You don’t need to be a superhero to be a good leader.

Poor leaders can’t bring themselves to let people grow and develop. They keep them in a state of dependency, give them little responsibility, and focus on their shortcomings rather than acknowledging their strengths. It’s no wonder that those who work for these managers either become frustrated or leave the organization altogether.

The good news is your team deserves better! You don’t have to be perfect or superhuman; you just need to learn how to lead and manage with intentionality so everyone can do what they are best at while feeling valued along the way.”

9 Crucial Metrics to Measure Customer Support Team Performance

Have you ever had a bad-tasting dish that caused you an aversion to that food altogether? But quite often, you can’t put your finger on that one ingredient that ruined the taste of the whole dish. It becomes nearly impossible to figure out what caused that food aversion. 

Just like that, a well-set plate of an exquisite-looking dish cannot be credited as delectable if all ingredients don’t compliment each other well. Even if one of them is bad tasting, the customer will lose his appetite for the dish. Your Customer Support (CS) team is just like that. All of the individual ingredients must be flavorful so that, in the end, a delicious dish could be presented. 

But don’t worry! There are several metrics to measure your team and assess the overall performance of everyone in the team. You can detect where there’s a need for improvement or which individual is putting in a complete effort and is dedicated to offering exceptional customer service. 

But first, you must create certain standards by employing performance metrics. So, take the help of the following nine metrics to measure customer support team performance and then enhance it to make your customers’ experience a memorable one. 

Average Resolution Time

One method of evaluating how well the customer service representatives are performing is to record the average time it takes for them to resolve a customer complaint permanently. 

This is an accurate measure of productivity, as this metric determines whether the agent is good at resolving customer complaints and can deal with them quicker rather than building on to the problem and dragging it for longer. 

Just follow this formula to reckon the Average Resolution Time (ART)

ART = (Total Reply Time) / (Total Number of Requests)  

The volume of Requests Handled

First, you would want to know the total of some of the requests that were addressed to your agents in a given period. This way, you can assess the workload and work performance of the organization itself. Sadly, its very rare for clients to call to simply say how good everything is, rather, they call when they have an issue or complaint that needs to be addressed so having an idea of the volume of calls being handled by each agent is critical in resource planning.

So, to appraise the performance of the customer service agents, you must keep track of how many requests are correctly addressed and how productive your agents have been. The higher this number, the more efficient and diligent your agents will be. 

Conversation Reply Speed

Ask yourself this question: after how long did my agent respond to the follow-up questions raised by the customer? The speed at which the customer service representative responds to any sequential concerns presented by the customer after the initial response determines the productivity and performance of the agent. 

If you take too long to respond, the customer would get annoyed and probably leave a bad review or would no longer engage in business with you. 

Requests escalated to Higher-Ups.

This is an important metric that you keep track of. If a request is escalated to a superior, then it means that the agent has failed to address the concerns of the customer. You may believe that this is the endpoint that every customer service agent should dread and avoid at all costs. 

So, this metric precisely determines if a representative is good at his job or not. The higher the number of these requests, the more probable it is that the agent isn’t qualified or competent enough to cater to customers’ requests or needs. 

Number of Complaints Regarding a Customer Service Representative

It is highly likely that a single individual is unable to entertain the concern of customers. Some people are just not naturally drawn towards resolving customers’ issues, and this can gravely affect their performance. Look to your customer satisfaction surveys for this information and then make a plan.

So, by evaluating this metric, you can judge whether an individual is cut out for this job and is he/she is able to address customers’ issues properly or not. 

Time Taken to Offer Initial Response

If you aim to offer the best customer service, you must keep a meticulous record of your initial response time. The higher this number goes, the more irritated the customers will get. 

Representatives must be on their toes when it comes to addressing customers’ concerns. The customers must be instantly put through to the right person or the respective department through tools like skill-based routing, so they don’t have to wait unnecessarily. 

Customer Service Rating

This metric is the best indicator of how well your individual customer rep’s performance has been. This number shows how the customers viewed and marked the performance of the agent. This rating can be garnered by customer feedback, comments, or the star rating. 

Sales made after Contact

The objective of the customer service team should be to address customers’ concerns so they are satisfied with the product or service and continue to increase the sales of the organization. 

So, if the agents are performing well, or are providing related cross-sells or upsells of the product, then the sales would increase, and more revenue will be generated. So, this metric takes effective customer service as a determinant that affects sales. Consider these sales as a good indicator or tool to measure your customer success team.

Rate of Successful Resolutions

This rate is a major defining factor in the performance of each customer service agent. This rate shows how well individuals have performed and how successful they have been in resolving customer complaints and issues. Having an agent who doesn’t handle many requests but has a significantly high successful resolution rate is worth having in the team. 

You can calculate it by employing the formula:

Resolution Rate= (Resolved requests) / (Support Requests) 

Conclusion 

You can only deliver exceptional customer service if you know exactly what your customers are expecting from you, and you don’t have to be a mind-reader for that. Stay close to your customers and make them feel heard and valued. Just track the above-mentioned metrics periodically, and this way, you’d be able to appraise the performance of your customer service agents and the experience offered to your customers. 

Why Your Company Needs a CRM System: Benefits for Customer Success

After a long day at work, the last thing that you want to do is spend hours on the phone with your customers. This is where CRM systems can come in handy! But what exactly does CRM stand for? And why should every business have one on their team?

A customer relationship management system (CRM) can help a company manage all of its customers in relation to the different stages they’re at with your organization – whether it be lead generation, prospecting, retention, or upselling/cross-selling products based on previous purchases. A CRM will provide information about each person’s interaction history so that interactions are more personalized and timely responses are given accordingly.

With a CRM system, you’ll be able to manage the customer experience from start to finish and provide better service for them each time they contact you. It’s not just about customer service, though; these systems also allow businesses of all sizes access to valuable reporting and data insights that help strengthen business processes.

A CRM system can help you keep track of customer preferences, deal with any problems that may arise, and provide better service in general. You can use these systems to see how well employees are performing as well! It’s a win-win for everyone involved – your customers get exceptional customer experience and you also have more accurate reporting on the performance of your team.

CRM Systems and Data

A CRM system can also help you with data insights that go beyond customer service. You’ll be able to see how your employees are performing and if they’re meeting the goals for their position or not. If an employee needs more training, then it’ll show in the reports! It’s a great way to keep track of performance across all areas of the business.

The data is also a great way to measure how well your marketing efforts are working. If you see that customers have reduced the number of times they’ve contacted customer service, then this means that either your product has improved or you’re doing better at providing information on social media and through emails. However, when customers don’t contact you, it could also be viewed negatively, as it could mean they’re frustrated and no longer wish to speak to you.

There is also a lot of data that CRMs can provide with reports. For example, from a sales and marketing point of view, you can see how many customers have opened your emails and clicked on links or visited websites recommended in the email. You’ll be able to measure if these efforts are successful and it will give insight into what type of content should be included in future marketing campaigns. Conversely, from a support and operations point of view, you can track response rates and key KPIs like First Call Resolution (FCR) and more using a CRM.

A CRM system also helps to keep track of your employees. You’ll be able to measure how much time is spent on what tasks, which will ultimately help you make decisions about where resources need to go for increased efficiency and productivity. This data can also provide insight into who the best customer service reps are and if there’s a problem with any individual on your team. The CRM can help you understand what areas you need to focus on with your training and where they’re strong or weak.

Using a CRM to Manage Your Team

It’s not always easy for managers or supervisors to be able to track what employees are doing when they’re on the phone, emailing customers, or talking about how things went at an appointment. A CRM system can help by providing reports that show you exactly who did what and whether it was successful (or not). You’ll know if your team members need any additional training or coaching so you can address this as soon as possible before anything goes too far awry.

The CRM is typically the primary tool for customer service reps and managers. You’ll be able to see what they’re working on, how long it’s taking them to respond or close cases, if a client has complained about something in particular, etc. It can also help you with succession planning as well since you’ll have access to performance data over time.

A CRM system can provide insights into where training needs are needed so that employees know exactly what they should focus on when going through various iterations of tasks/modules during training sessions. However, a key area where a CRM shines is strategic planning.

You’ll be able to see trends where the company needs to invest more in certain aspects of their business and also find out about what customers are saying. This is a great tool for creating reports that show how effective your team has been so you can plan accordingly on improving different areas which may not have succeeded as well as others.

Using a CRM to Improve Retention

A CRM system helps with customer retention by providing insights into what it takes for them to get back in touch, how they found out about your company’s product or service, etc. You’ll know if there are any issues or concerns from past cases that need attention, since this will all be cataloged and stored for future reference. This is important in order to maintain a strong customer base and build upon previous successes.

Investing in a CRM

If you’re thinking about using a CRM system, then there are a few things you need to consider. The first is how much time do you have to invest in using the system? If you have a large customer service team, then you’ll need to set aside a lot of time to learn the system and get it up and running. You’ll also need to invest in training your employees on how to use the system and what they should be doing.

Next, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to use software or a cloud-based system. Software-based CRM systems are typically more expensive than cloud-based CRMs. That being said, you’ll also have the ability to personalize the software solution to a greater degree, since you’ll be able to add in features that are specific to your business.

If you’re in the business of selling products and services, then you’ll need a system that helps you manage your business operations – in this instance I’d recommend a solution like HubSpot. They offer functionality that’s a lot closer to more expensive SaaS solutions like SalesForce, but are simpler to use and configure, especially for a smaller team.

However, if you’re in the business of customer service, then you’ll need a system that helps you manage your customer relationships and improve customer service. In this instance, I’d point you in the direction of Freshdesk. While you could use HubSpot for this, Freshdesk is better and more focused.

A CRM is an essential tool for any company, no matter how big or small. It’s also instrumental in helping companies improve customer experience with better service and reporting tools to measure success.

Top 5 Customer Service Blog Posts of June 2021

Businesses have begun to resume their operations normally and in many countries, lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted. The month of June has proven to be blissful as it feels like the pandemic has been controlled to a commendable extent. The improvement and progress of CX during the month also caught my eye.

Analysts and experienced professionals shared their insights regarding the future of CX and how it could be improved further. So, for me, the reads for June were very interesting. I was hooked to my laptop as I could not decide which top 5 CX blog posts of June 2021 I should choose.

These are my top favorite 5 picks; I am attaching the link for each so you can explore all these further. Happy Reading!

The Only Terrible Business; Poor Customer Service

Many companies squander money on product management and brand identity but what they fail to realize is that running a successful business is a multi-faceted job and perfecting the product is just one part of it.

Eivind Jonassen pens down an insightful post explaining how many companies ignore the significance of customer service and therefore fail in delivering a seamless customer experience. A recent study has revealed that in the United States alone, businesses lose around $700 billion in revenue due to substandard customer service.

The paradox is that 80% of companies believe that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of customers believe the same. While a chatbot can help, it has not proven to be a revolutionary weapon in solving the customer service crisis. This significant discrepancy in customer satisfaction and customer perspective has been a major reason for collapsing figures of customer retention.

The consequences imposed by not delivering the expected customer service can be immensely expensive. Attracting new customers can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing loyal customer. Only a 5% increase in customer loyalty can make existing customers 95% more profitable. These figures reveal how crucial it is for businesses to turn their dissatisfied customers into happy ones by investing wisely in delivering superior customer experiences.

80% of a company’s future sales come from 20% of the existing customers. Today customers covet a more personalized experience; they do not want to communicate with a robot or have a scripted dialogue with a CX representative. Establishing a contact center can significantly improve customer’s dialogue and channel seamless communication.

The Futuristic Approach to Ideal Customer Service- Conversation

Now, this may seem awfully ordinary to say that future of customer service is conversational, but Paul Adams explains in this post, a summarized edition of Blake Morgan’s podcast, business communication will now follow this path. Earlier, experts identified the significance of transforming customer service into conversational but they failed to execute it.

Paul Adams explains his theory well in this post and explicitly discusses the path on which customer service is steering. Adams mentioned how platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, and WeChat have become the preferred channel for people to communicate at. This fundamental change has revolutionized the business world.

Many companies are still stuck on conventional modes of communication like phones and emails. But applications like messenger are more accessible, cost-effective, and they offer customers the convenience of self-service. This makes them more independent and in control of how they communicate with your brand.

Adams proposed his model of future customer support that consists of the following three layers:

  • Human Support – This support is offered when issues are more complicated and a personalized service needs to be offered.
  • Proactive Support – This gravitates around checking up on customers and addressing any concerns or issues before they even arise. This outbound messaging falls under the category of being cautious or one step ahead.
  • Automated Self-Service Support – This option allows customers to reach out to businesses at their convenience. They do not have to wait long hours before they could get in touch with brands and they can communicate easily.

Customer Confidence- A Holy Grail for Customer Service

Annette Franz frequently talks about customer confidence and customer trust. She believes that restoring a customer’s confidence can help companies win at customer service. In her compelling post, she constantly talks about earning customers’ trust, because that is the key to unlocking customer success. If customers trust a brand, they will remain forever loyal to it.

Annette defines confidence as a belief in being able to rely and depend on someone. Loosely translated, confidence stems from trust. She then defines trust as

a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something”.

Therefore, it is safe to assume that these two sentiments are insanely similar.

She forms a link that a brand’s promise sets customer’s expectations, and these expectations are aligned with trust. So, trust and confidence are restored when brands make a genuine commitment to customers and deliver that promise.

She even adds pointers from her previous posts that streamline to the same concept:

  • Be transparent with all your customers; not just with your shareholders. Customers drive your business not the company owners.
  • Trust is earned only through transparency and integrity
  • Be authentic. Be True. Be real
  • Act with integrity and not only in financial matters but in all dealings pertaining to customers and employees.
  • Always have the best interest of employees and customers at heart, ahead of shareholders
  • Do not compromise your integrity; be fair, be just, and make sure all your practices are reliable and ethically correct.
  • Do not take advantage of customer vulnerabilities or act opportunistically.
  • Make sure that deviations in customer experiences are low, at a minimum. Be predictable and consistent in delivering good and honest customer service.

Create a Better Customer Experience Via Reducing Complexity

Initially, if you begin reading this post, it may seem a little generic. Although, when you start reading about the 10 practical suggestions, how to realize how insightful and wise Ricardo Saltz Gulko is. This detailed, yet accurate post is the perfect guide for any customer service representative. It offers companies the top 10 tips to follow to fashion a seamless customer experience.

And the ideal experience stems from reduced complexity. So, to eradicate complexity, all companies have to do is:

  1. Employ the WSJF Prioritization Model – the Weighted Shortest Job First model from Agile helps in assessing the associated risks, customer and business value, and cost of delay expended on each designed feature.
  2. Integrate KPIs when experimenting with different functionalities – It is always better to play safe with proven empirical results. Attaching a KPI metric with a feature to monitor its progress, adoption, and usage is always smarter and better.
  3. Review Budget – It is important to keep costs and budgets under constant review to ensure no financial imbalance occurs. A regularly revised budget allocation helps in dismissing features that have high costs and low returns.
  4. No Overloading – Overwhelming customers when they are already under stress, like during pandemics, is always a major red flag in customer service. The department exists to make things easier for customers and reducing the infuriating complexity.
  5. Connect Emotionally with Customers – Companies should often collaborate with teams and customers and keep them engaged in the decisions of the company. This makes them feel valued and included.
  6. Prioritize VoC and VoE – Voice of employee and customer are both integral in keeping the brand functional. Incorporating their feedback in designing prototypes can help improve customer service.

These are the top points discussed in the posts; explore the post further to read the rest.

Collaboration is the Secret Weapon to Accelerating CX Transformation

Posts by Forrester are always loaded with information and shrewd vision from highly educated and experienced analysts from around the globe. Their perspectives on improving CX are truly inspiring and highly effective.

This riveting post by Su Doyle also offers compelling insights on how CX transformation can be expedited via collaboration. Su studied several high-functioning companies and teams to see what is that they do differently that earn them a lot of recognition and admiration from customers.

She deduced that such companies implement certain collaboration strategies like:

  • Creating an insights engine – Collaborate with marketing teams and acquire relevant data to monitor even minor changes in customer behaviors. This way you could transform your insights into a competitive advantage by acting accordingly on changing customer behavior.
  • Incorporate CX vision into daily activities – Try to embed CX into everyday behaviors on the frontline service as well as the back office. This way it will become a vital part of the company’s culture and will etch to the brand identity.
  • End Silos – Partner with cross-functional shareholders and keep everyone in the loop. This will result in win-win opportunities for both, customers and the company. This emerges from the foundation of believing in creating a better life for the customers.
  • Customer-Centric Improvement – Team up with operations and Lean Six Sigma teams to optimize the processes and stimulate a continuous improvement loop.
  • Attract New Customers – Let innovation fuel the company’s growth; do not be afraid to incorporate your creativity. Partner with all internal departments and perfect the purchase and customer experience journeys. Let the sales be your Holy grail.

Conclusion

I hope you all enjoyed my favorite picks for the top 5 CX blog posts for June 2021. I would love to know which one was your favorite so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. If you want to get featured, share the link to your posts and I will share it with our audience.

I cannot wait to witness the future of CX because the rate at which it is growing is truly awesome. Let us see what CX has in the store for us next. I will bring some more riveting, juicy CX posts for you next month too. Till then, enjoy reading these.

Recent CX Blog Posts Worth Reading

We are witnessing history being made. In this age where a pandemic has taken over almost all functional units of the world, it is truly remarkable to see how well companies are managing their affairs. I have browsed through a healthy portion of CX blogs to shortlist the top 5 CX blog posts from April 2021, and I can confidently claim that almost all of them were packed with savvy information.

But, to keep you interested in the CX arena without boring you, I have picked out my five favorite posts. I have discussed the gist of each post. I have also attached a link so you can further explore each post in depth. So, let us get started!

1.    Learning from the Customer Experience Gurus Themselves

Over the course of years, I have come across many CX blog posts that are structured on the mere understanding of the overarching concept of delivering seamless customer service. But what caught my eye while I was reading this riveting post, written remarkably by the expert herself, Jeanne Bliss, was that it was a compilation of the most insightful advice of well-reputed customer experience leaders.

Firstly, she shares the lesson taught by Chip R. Bell. He emphasized how crucial the element of truthfulness is in building trust between the organization and the customers. He talked about how cultivating a transparent environment in the organization exudes safety and fairness. It develops a culture where customers can easily depend on the organization.

Next, she mentioned how Joseph Michelli harnesses change. She quoted Joseph on how change is an irrevocable and inevitable constant that will happen. The appetite of customers will change, and they will crave something new, and more delicious. And that is where the CX leaders need to learn, how to harness the power of technology and use it to their benefit.

Then she discusses the insights of Jay Baer. Jay explores a very rare but crucial perspective that precludes prospective customers from delving into a long-term commitment with firms. He outlines how companies only reward their loyal customers by giving rewards and engaging them in clubs. But people who are not their customers yet, are blatantly ignored.

Finally, she discusses Adrian Swinscoe’s views. He compares customer service to a sports team and referred to customers as players. He said that a good and considerate coach keeps a check on all players and makes sure that everyone is interested in playing the game.

2.    Are Emotional Metrics the Best Measure of Actual Customer Loyalty?

Many brands have laid great focus on the conventional behavioral metric, they have spent ages trying to perfect these metrics to comprehend, track, and analyze the behavior of customers to deliver precisely what they seek.

But in this post, Mary Pilecki proposes a thought-provoking question; can emotional loyalty metrics be used to measure customers’ actual loyalty? She also discusses the convincing reasons to answer this question.

She raises an important point that both the metrics: behavioral and emotional, must be dealt with together to measure true customer loyalty more accurately. Loyalty is more vastly concerned with how the consumer feels about a particular brand. But marketers find those metrics more useful that offer information regarding purchase behavior, the effectiveness of sales strategies, and retention. And this is elaborated on by behavioral metrics.

But these metrics do not help us in understanding why customers are drawn to a certain brand and why they continue to shop there. So, when the combination of both metrics is studied, the growth of CX is accelerated and this helps customer experience leaders to perfect their customer services. It is pertinent to delivering an impeccable customer service experience that one has a complete understanding of why a consumer is loyal and how their loyalty can be retained.

Emotional metrics are more profound and diverse than a single NPS score. The mere results of a customer satisfaction survey cannot determine how satisfied and happy the customers are with the brand’s services.

Brands should often conduct sentiment analysis, obtain feedback via call centers, and widen the breadth of data used to make important customer experience decisions.

3.    Why Customers Behave like Chameleons?

This interesting post is entirely based on the interview with the customer experience legend, Michael Solomon. It is conducted by Adrian Swinscoe and the complete post is a condensed version of the chat.

Michael is not in the favor of the broad idea that is market segmentation. He believes that it is a traditional strategy that is obsolete in modern market dynamics. He has introduced this metaphor where he related customers to chameleons. He capitalizes on the fact that customers change their behavior as they are exposed to new environments.

Customers have this wide variety of brands in front of them, and from that tray, they pick and choose the brands that speak to them, the brands that offer personalized and empathetic experiences. These inherent attributes of the brands resonate with the personalities of the people and based on those mutual interests and qualities; customers stick to certain brands.

He quotes a wonderful saying, “each customer is actually many customers.” This quotation perfectly encapsulates the analogy that is discussed in this post. Customer experience is a tricky game; you have to reach an inflection point; here you are giving customers sufficient options to choose from, but the number is not crazy large that you are unable to accommodate the desires of consumers.

He also added another dimension to his conversation. Adrian talked about perfecting the online experience for customers. He elaborated on how we are heading in a modern, and technologically structured age and digitalizing all departments is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

4.    CX Leaders Are Invincible

Forrester is one of my favorite sites. I always love to explore what new they have cooked up on customer experiences; this site always manages to deliver insightful and compelling CX strategies that can help every organization grow. Similar to their agenda, this succinct and brilliant post by Su Doyle is another great example of how Forrester is leading all CX professionals to the right path.

In her post, Su Doyle discusses how CX leaders have the opportunity and the responsibility to instigate the company’s growth. She highlights a major and awfully common issue: the vision of the CX leaders and CEO does not often align. This can have a grave impact on budgets, staffing, and the overall culture of the organization.

But we have to realize that CX leaders are the greatest asset, they bring in the customers. CX leaders can even leverage their impeccable empathy and communication skills to interact with the C-suites. This way a more wholesome and seamless customer experience can be crafted, as the entire team will be on board.

The C-suites benefit greatly from the deep customer research conducted by the CX leaders. This way, they can connect with the audience better. Together these two teams can map prospect journeys and can integrate the customers’ feedback in the designing process. This well-lubricated process ensures that customers get along with both, CX leaders and the C-suites. This is vital to the growth of the business.

This is an exciting time to prioritize CX. Many brands are using CX as a weapon to accelerate their growth. Kroger made effective use of the consumer data they obtained and used it to achieve 15% growth in sales in their third quarter.

5.    A Guide to Building a Customer-Centric Culture

This excellent post by Ganesh Mukundan explicitly talks about how all brand around the globe is gravitating towards an ideology; customer-centricity. This popular concept has made its eminent place in the vision and mission of all brands.

Ganesh defines customer-centricity as not just a closely bounded idea that is concerned with delighting customers. It is a more profound and wider concept. It means that the customer is in the center of all the operations and matters of the business. It is long-term and it hints towards a strong relationship between customers and the organization.

Customer centricity is a way of life, it is a culture; not a technique that could be integrated at convenience. Ganesh mentions some strategies via which the brand can become more customer-centric.

  • Begin from the top – This means that the top management should be educated about how to deal and communicate with the customers. They should be aware of which decisions are to be made and which strategies are to be implemented that make the organization’s culture customer-centric.
  • Channel Empathy Across the Company – Empathy is the key to customer-centricity. If all employers, irrespective of their department, exercise empathy, the customer experience will itself transform into the best one. If everyone is motivated to be kind to customers and understand their issues with patience, customer centricity can be established.

This whole post talks about different strategies and which in which customer centricity can be cultivated.

Conclusion

The top 5 CX blog posts from April 2021 contribute to our understanding of the quickly changing scenario. The way all brands, all companies, and all CX experts are managing to drive the businesses in these tough times is truly awe-inspiring. These people are tenacious and resilient, they did not let a global pandemic, that initially wreaked havoc on the markets, does much damage to the customer experiences arena. Customers are more satisfied than ever as they see CX leaders connect with them emotionally.

In these crises, people are standing right beside each other and are supporting one another endlessly. These were my favorite picks from April, but it was challenging to narrow my recommendations to just five as I came across many riveting posts.

If you have any of your post to share, or any views and comments, please share with the audience. If you want to be featured, just drop a link below and I would love to read your views on the CX strategies. Till next month, I hope these exemplary posts will keep you busy!

Why Your Company Needs a Tech Support Scorecard

For leaders of technical support teams, a tech support scorecard is a great way to evaluate how your tech support team is performing. If you’re not familiar with a tech support scorecard, I hope that this post will provide you with the knowledge you’re missing, but simply put, it’s a tool that helps you measure your team’s performance against the metrics that are most important to your organization.

A tech support scorecard can be useful for a wide variety of teams and isn’t just restricted to technical support teams (although you might want to change the name). You can use the principles provided here with help desk teams, customer service and support teams and even internal IT support teams.

With a tech support scorecard, you can quickly assess your team’s performance and identify opportunities for improvement. When you’re evaluating your tech support scorecard, here are some metrics that can be helpful:

Support Scorecard – Quality

Measures the quality of the customer experience. Quality metrics include customer satisfaction, NPS scores, customer complaints, and other metrics that indicate how well your team is meeting your customers’ needs. Quality metrics that are non-numerical are harder to come by as they require more manual work. However, they can be extremely powerful in improving the underlying customer experience being provided.

  • Training – an area that I like to include in the quality section is the training and skills that an employee has gained or has demonstrated. If your tools allow you to use skill-based routing capabilities, having this understanding is essential.
  • First Call Resolution (FCR) – Another metric that should be considered under quality is First Call Resolution (FCR). This metric measures the percentage of calls that are resolved during the first call. In some ways this measurement feeds into the training measurement as having an understanding of FCR can help to identify gaps or deficiencies within the team.

Support Scorecard – Quantity

Measures the amount of work your team is doing. Quantity metrics include the number of calls, tickets, or requests your team is handling, as well as the amount of time your team is spending on each call, ticket, or request.

Quantity measurements are generally easier to compile using most case management and telephony systems. However, it is important with quantity measures to ensure that you do not simply look at the number of cases being handled, but how many of these are “returned” and require rework. If your support team is a revolving door where the team is constantly redoing work, your efficiency will plummet as will your response times.

  • Mean Time to Resolve (MTR) – MTR measures the average amount of time it takes to resolve a specific case. This measurement can be useful in identifying your team’s efficiency, as well as in identifying specific individuals who may be taking too much time resolving cases.
  • Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) – MTTR measures the average amount of time it takes to resolve a recurring issue. This is especially useful in identifying any patterns that may be causing problems for your customers.

Quality vs. Quantity

It’s important to measure both quality and quantity. While measuring quality is more difficult, it allows you to ensure that your team is providing the best customer experience possible.

By measuring both quantity and quality, you can ensure that your team is providing the best support possible while also identifying opportunities for improvement and training.

Creating a Balanced Scorecard – Looking at the team

Gathering all of the data is great, but what happens next? This is where a balanced scorecard comes into play. In creating a balanced scorecard for your tech support team, you should focus on metrics that are most important to your organization.

Many leaders have copious amounts of data, but they do not put that information into context. They understand the average speed of answer but aren’t really able to talk about how well the team is performing from the point of view of the customer and the business.

A balanced scorecard helps provide an integrated picture across the organization. It helps talk about how your teams performance impacts the bottom line and gives you a quick snapshot view on whether or not your team is improving, remaining static or degrading.

This is an excellent tool to help give the SLT an understanding of what is working well, so we’ll explore this topic in more depth in the future – from the point of view of leading teams, a balanced scorecard is less useful.

Creating a Scorecard for the Employee

While building a scorecard from the team point of view can give you a large, holistic view of the support department as a whole, how do you manage your individual employees?

This is where the employee scorecard comes into play. Hopefully, your leaders and managers are already providing regular feedback to the people within your organization? If they aren’t doing that yet, then that absolutely needs to change.

Those feedback sessions should not just be a touchpoint and a discussion about the weather. Rather, they need to provide useful, actionable information to the employee that they can use to improve and grow.

  • With an employee scorecard, you can tell your employees how they are doing, where they are excelling, and where they need to improve.
  • Regular feedback sessions help you keep employees motivated and engaged, as well as provide an opportunity for you to identify and address any issues that may be impacting performance.
  • Employee scorecards should be specific to the individual employee and should include information about how they are doing against specific measures that are relevant to the employee or to their role.
  • Team measurements should be included from the point of view of comparative analysis. as that can help motivate and inspire the employee.

Measurements within your team are essential in ensuring that you are doing a good job. However, if these measurements are not shared with your employees, they won’t know what they need to focus on to get better.

Having individual employee scorecards that are discussed regularly are an excellent tool for aligning performance with annual reviews and salary improvements too! If regular sessions are held to discuss performance, these conversations tend to be a lot simpler as there are no surprises.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan and why Does Your Organization Need One?

Disaster recovery plans are an important part of any organization’s risk management process. A disaster recovery plan helps ensure that your organization will be able to continue functioning in the event of a disaster, reducing downtime and the resulting loss.

Disaster recovery planning is a process that requires careful consideration of the risks your organization faces and the likelihood of those risks materializing. It also requires that you think about the consequences of those risks coming to fruition.

Disaster recovery plans are flexible, and they can be put into place in a variety of ways. No two organizations have the same needs or the same capabilities, so a disaster recovery plan is something that you’ll need to think long and hard about before you can come up with a solution that’s right for your organization.

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The first step is to identify the risks that your organization faces and then the likelihood of those risks coming to fruition. This will help you to determine what your disaster recovery plan needs to cover. Some of the risks that most organizations face are:

  • Natural disasters (such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes)
  • Man-made disasters (such as building fires or explosions)
  • Human error (such as power outages)
  • Internal and external security breaches
  • Technical problems (such as electrical surges)

Once you’ve identified the risks and potential consequences, you’ll be able to determine what your disaster recovery plan needs to cover. This is a two-step process, since you’ll need to figure out how to prevent the disaster and then what to do if the disaster does occur.

Step one is to prevent the disaster from occurring, which is best done by conducting a risk assessment. This will help you to determine what you can do to prevent the disaster from happening.

Step two is to develop a plan of action for if the disaster does occur. This means figuring out what you need to do to minimize the damage and get back to a normal business operation as quickly as possible.

A disaster recovery plan helps an organization to recover quickly from a disaster. It also helps an organization to minimize the impact of the disaster, which reduces the resulting downtime and loss.

The key to creating a successful disaster recovery plan is to identify the risks your organization faces and to conduct a thorough risk assessment. This will help you to create a plan that will minimize the impact of any future disasters.

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Disaster recovery in the real world

Recently, many organizations around the world were impacted by a SalesForce outage that lasted close to 4 hours. During this time, users were unable to access the tool and many of SalesForce’s own websites (including its status page) were offline or inaccessible.

If your organization depends on SalesForce to communicate with its clients like mine does, this outage was nothing short of catastrophic. While we were able to “get by” through alternative methods and could continue working, our efficiency was significantly impacted.

We were fortunately able to inform our clients of the disruption so there was some understanding but in the early stages of the outage, no-one really knew what to do. Some key takeaways for us were:

  • Explore backup communication channels to inform clients. This includes our own internal status pages as well as distribution lists and other in-app communication tools.
  • Launch internal triage channels faster with specific teams/individuals to ensure that mitigation steps are being taken faster. Consider creating a cross-company “emergency task force”.
  • Provide alternative access to systems (we found during the outage that SalesForce classic was still accessible while Lighting was not) to key teams and individuals. We were also able to continue communicating directly via email but this wasn’t ideal as multiple agents could access the same message.
  • Have an easily accessible list of names and numbers for key members of the team. This should be in a shared location in multiple systems (SalesForce Knowledge, Google Drive, Confluence etc.) as well as printed as a hard copy in case network access is an issue also.

With the recent Canada-wide Roger’s network outage in April still fresh, this new SalesForce outage makes it clear how dependent we’ve all become on technology. Perhaps more importantly, it also highlights the importance of not ignoring disaster recovery planning as the next outage could come at you out of nowhere.

ITIL 4 Foundation an Introduction to a New Way of Thinking

I’ve long been a proponent of ITIL and the best practices it engenders within organizations. The concepts of change management and release management are ideas I’ve eagerly grasped and implemented to help me solve real-world problems. I’ve used the basic information and guidance provided in the foundation modules to help grow and mature my incident and problem management team, helping improve resolution times and quality, directly impacting the overall customer experience. To say I’m a fan of ITIL doesn’t give my feelings justice.

With the advent of ITIL 4 and its revisions to the ITSM service model, I was curious to find out what changed and what stayed the same. While the world has changed radically since ITIL 3 was released, how have these changes impacted how we work?

Digital Transformation

ITIL v3 was released in 2007 and updated in 2011. As you can well imagine, a decade in the technology industry is an enormous span of time. Over that period, an area that’s come to have significant prominence is digital transformation.

Digital transformation involves using digital technology within a business, changing how the organization operates and delivers value to its clients. Digital technology is not simply limited to technology — it also impacts a company’s culture and underlying procedures and processes. This shift requires companies to continually experiment and challenge the status quo. Failure is acceptable if it helps teach and lead to eventual success.

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The pace of digital transformation is not uniform around the world. According to the McKinsey Global Institute‘s Industry Digitization Index, Europe is currently operating at 12% of its digital potential, while the United States is operating at 18%.

An excellent example of digital transformation is the growth of SaaS and cloud computing. For businesses, using cloud hardware and software removes the reliance and upfront cost of purchasing. The businesses providing SaaS solutions guarantee uptime and regular maintenance, further reducing internal IT expenses.

Digital transformation lets companies leverage the changes made available through modern technology to work more efficiently and effectively. ITIL 4 talks about this new way of working and helps detail practices for IT service management that place an emphasis on aligning IT services with an organization’s business needs.

IT Service Management

Within the context of ITIL, the phrase service management has a specific definition and discusses how organizations use their capabilities to provide value to customers through using services. The keyword here is – value, but the word itself has many different meanings based on the individual.

To some, it is the cost of an item, while for others it is the quality of the item itself or the benefits it provides. There is no one simple definition of value as to a large extent it varies based on the needs and expectations of the customer. One way that this has been seen is the increasing “value” organizations are placing on customer experience and how a more personalized journey can drive growth.

It is important to understand that the value of something varies based on an individual’s needs and requirements. ITSM or IT Service Management is how service management and value generation are applied to IT service. Improving efficiencies and removing risks, as well as the creation of new opportunities, can increase value.

Understanding Value

In life, it isn’t always possible to have everything despite the best of intentions. You might have heard the phrase – “Fast, Cheap or Good? Pick Two.”? If this seems at all familiar to you’ll understand that doing it all requires sacrifice and choices. It’s essential to pick the two that are most critical and to be flexible with the third.

  • Quick + Cheap = Inferior Quality or Less Features
  • Quick + High Quality = Not Cheap
  • High Quality + Cheap = Not Quick or Not Possible

From the point of view of value, the criteria are Quality, Cost and Speed.

  • Quality is built around the customer’s expectations and requirements. Quality is about the service that the business delivers to its customers and includes how the customer uses the service and its overall performance.
  • Cost is not always a matter of how much something is. It also encompasses time and resources and is measured by how much the customer is willing to pay.
  • Speed is all about how fast a service needs to be delivered to customers. The speed at which customers expect to receive their service is only increasing, adding pressure to businesses.

Cost, Speed, and Quality need to be weighed equally based on an organization’s capabilities and the customer’s needs. Cost may be a crucial dimension during an economic recession or to a customer experiencing financial hardship. In contrast, quality may matter more to a financially stable customer or when the economy is good. Value is something that has customers at its core. 

Service management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for enabling customer value in the form of services. ITSM applies service management… and involves an understanding of the nature of value, the nature and scope of the stakeholders involved, and the approaches that enable value creation through services

ITIL has always emphasized the importance of the customer, but they now give the customer even more weight. I’ve long believed that customers and customer experience are a key differentiator for businesses, so it’s really nice to see that this is being reflected and acted upon in a more concrete manner.

How an investment in CX can help your bottom line

If you ask me, I’d say that currently, COVID-19 is ruling the entire business world. Every move and every strategy played by organizations is heavily influenced and structured by the pandemic. Though the graph of different departments and sectors in a business has declined, the customer service graph continues to soar high on improvement and effectiveness and I’m not surprised. Many businesses have realized that an investment in CX is one that pays major dividends in the long run.

I’ve shortlisted here some websites that you can use as great references to improve your CX. With this new year, I’ve seen considerable changes in the CX industry and I can say without a shred of doubt that the future of customer service seems to be very successful.

1.   What returns should you expect on your investment in CX?

Forrester has been one of our loyal partners throughout this series of reviewing top CX blog posts. And it didn’t fail to educate us again about the significance of transforming CX and investing our resources in it.

Principal Analyst Maxie Schmidt discusses the benefits of CX transformation in her post and capitalizes on the fact that they contribute towards a positive ROI.

The following numbers were reckoned via the analysis of data (benefits of investing in customer experience) obtained through the Customer Experience Index (CX Index) consumer survey:

  • Customers are 10 times more likely to recommend your company and be your ambassadors if customer service employees present in physical location vigilantly answer all customer queries.
  • Customers are 2.4 times more inclined towards staying in business with companies when their problems are resolved quickly.
  • Customers are 2.7 times more likely to invest and spend more in companies that communicate well with them.

All the data obtained was highly reliable and was an accurate representation of what customers felt as the survey was conducted on a large-scale. Such researches help companies in improving their CX and compel them to invest more in perfecting the customer experience.

Maxie also comes up with a few real-life examples that companies can incorporate into their own customer service sector. She stated that investing in training employees, upgrading technology, and improving professional services can prove to be a game-changer. We should learn from the behavior of Lloyds Banking Group, Target, Ping An, and Scottish Power.

2.   How to use data to create an impeccable customer experience?

Throughout this entire journey, I have seldom recommended a podcast to you or an interview; our favorite picks for blog posts have always been different reads. But this incredible piece written by Gabe Larsen summarizes his podcast where he talks to Steven Maskell and entertains his views on perfecting the customer experience.

In this riveting post, the main theme of discussion is how a personalized customer experience can be created and how it guarantees a customer service win for the company. The gist of the entire post is boiled down into three major points:

  • Using data to your advantage – Steven Maskell has been leading customer service teams for 30 years and he condensed his wisdom into a key pointer; creating a data-driven customer experience. In this post, Steven’s insights about how data must be integrated and analyzed allow us to better understand what customer wants. Steven’s emphasis on collecting data and fusing it with our knowledge allows us to shape the ideal customer experience that caters to every need of a customer.
  • Ripples together create a wave – After the data has been obtained, it is essential to determine the best way of storing and organizing it. Steven empathized with different companies and suggested that they should start somewhere small. One should learn about different relational databases and other tools so that the data is structured, right into the systems.
  • Bring in the big guns – I am referring to Artificial Intelligence (AI) here. It is like a godsend for every CX expert. AI has been normalized to a great extent and almost all organizations’ customer service departments benefit from it. But even with this miracle of technology, one must set up realistic expectations.

3.   Predicting CX Trends for 2021

Steve Davies captures our attention through this post about what the future of 2021 holds for Customer Experience. After a lot of meticulous research and comparisons with 2020 trends, Steve was able to come up with a compelling piece of writing.

In this post, five major trends in messaging are listed and explicitly discussed. These trends are expected to be seen in the CX world for the year 2021.

  • Widening Messaging Channels – It goes without saying that one of the most effective CX strategies is to improve the communication channels between customers and customer service employees. And the best way to do so is to offer a convenient solution, like messaging. It was deduced through research that more than 68% of customers preferred communicating to brands via private messages.
  • Customer Experience will outweigh price and quality – Through a study, it was found that customers valued Customer experience at 25%, which was nearly as important as the quality of product and service, which was valued at 29%. The price was below both factors, valued at 22%.  
  • Automate the Interactions – A study proved that around 67% of customers were more satisfied with the AI and automated interactions as compared to engaging with human customer service representatives.
  • Digitalize Interaction – Steve has talked about how the customer experiences can retain the personalized touch even if all interactions are shifted to digital forums. Though he covered all perspectives by stating that not everyone approves of digital customer relationships as personalized, but after months of the pandemic, it is the most effective and convenient option.
  • Only a few CX interactions are Proactive – Steve encouraged the brand to reach out more as only a handful of customer experiences are proactive and lead to something fruitful.

4.   What should you steer clear of when it comes to good customer service?

By now, we must have read a hundred articles, all talking about different strategies that a company must incorporate in order to perfect their customer experiences. However, this engrossing blog post by ASTUTE helps us identify the five practices that businesses should instantly give up as they are harming their customer service.

This post begins by highlighting the determining factor of an excellent customer experience: time. No one likes to wait, certainly not customers. And they measure the effectiveness of customer service and regard it as a great one based on the length of time taken to resolve the customer’s issue.

Next, this post outlines the benefits of providing efficient customer support. These were as follows:

  • Highly cost-effective as it reduces cost-per-contact
  • Contributes greatly towards a higher profit and revenue
  • Ensures customer utility and satisfaction
  • It builds customer loyalty

Then the main crux of the post revolves around the 5 major things that hinder the execution of efficient customer service. These five pointers were:

  • Avoid using key metrics and failing to measure customer service efficiency
  • Having human representatives handling every stage of customer service and not maximizing efficiency by automating customer service.
  • Having disconnected tools which waste a lot of time in keeping all platforms updated separately.
  • Having customer service agents work hard to find answers and not giving them complete knowledge about the arising of all possible issues.
  • Using tools that are in no way useful or related to the contact center.

5.   Co-Creating Customer Experiences with Customers

How could have we forgotten Annette Franz? Her posts have always been my favorite; they are so informative and refreshing that they always offer a new, bright perspective on improving the customer experience.  

The main focus of Annette throughout this post is to introduce a modern and more effective relationship between customers and organizations; she defines it as participative. She formed a connection between her previous posts and her recent ones to make the concept clearer. However, if you aren’t as big of a fan of her as I am, and you haven’t followed her posts, that is completely okay too. You will catch on to her perspective very easily.

Annette focuses largely on including customers in building a customer experience. She mentions that customers too are looking for a participative role in the relationship. Like all other relationships, this one too is two-way. Though companies are in the business of nurturing customers, but they are fulfilling the needs of customers through their services and products. And customers too want to include their input; so, the control should be shifted to co-creating.

Annette also mentioned a few co-creation tools that will lubricate the process of establishing a participative customer relationship:

  • Collecting customer feedback and data to understand them
  • Involve the customer in journey mapping
  • Ideation: gathering ideas from customers and prioritizing them based on customer votes
  • Form online communities to keep customers engaged
  • Build prototypes and test ideas with customers
  • Try crowdsource ideas

Conclusion

These were the top 5 CX blog posts from recent months, though I have to be completely honest, it was quite challenging to choose just the top 5 because, with the new year, the trends in CX transformation have also changed rapidly.

But it is truly commendable to see how smartly our CX experts are battling all issues put forward by the pandemic. I’ve come across hundreds of stories where customers are praising the customer service for empathizing with them and creating personalized experiences via digital platforms.

Comment below if you would like to share your insights. We can also feature a post written by you; just share the link below. I will meet you all next month with some new, exciting posts!

These are the Top 5 CX Posts of December 2020

I have to apologize for the lateness of this post. Suffice it to say that the challenges of a new job impacted my free time for January. However, let us pick from where we left off last; reviewing the top customer experience posts of November 2020. I have picked up the top CX posts of December 2020 for you, but it was quite challenging as I came across a compelling and interesting pool of CX posts. After studying all those posts, I realized that the CX experts out there continue to amaze us even as this unpredictable year wraps up.

Like all the previous posts, I will offer a detailed analysis of the gist of the top five posts and share with you the CX journey of companies worldwide. I will not be following a particular theme, so you can expect to be bedazzled by different stories. But one focal point will be the deliverance of impeccable and unprecedented customer experiences online. I will be attaching the link to each post so you can individually check them out. Let us get started!

Can you measure CX in dollars?

Forrester has been our top consistent partner in these blog posts. I don’t remember a single month where we didn’t quote a remarkable post from this site. This month too, Maxie Schmidt, a Principal Analyst, shared her insights on Forrester’s platform. In this post, she defines the dollar value of improving customer experience.

She reckoned the relationship between business growth and improvement in CX. A numeric value was assigned to this association so the significance of improving CX could be known. 14 industries were studied under the Customer Experience Index Survey.

The condensed version of the results is:

  • The benefits associated with improving CX are massive. It was deduced for mass-market auto manufacturers, that by improving CX by 1 point, more than $1B can be generated in revenue.
  • The advantages of improving CX rise exponentially when happy customers are made happier. So, the focus must be shifted here rather than from making unhappy customers less unhappy.
  • The impact of recommendations on the business upside of CX is small and nearly negligible. Gaining new customers through recommendations makes up for less than 7% of the total business benefit gained from the improved customer experience.

Here is how you can calculate and measure the impact of improving CX and relate it to your company:

  • Assess the business impact of every individual customer’s loyalty. Study the intentions of customers who stay, who buy more, and those who eventually recommend you.
  • Build models that display how CX is stimulating growth. Make sure these models are specific to the market and industry.

Use the model to calculate the benefit of improving CX by 1 point and its consequent impact on business growth.

Is great customer experience your intention?

What’s the secret to a great customer experience? Isn’t that a million-dollar question that we have been looking for the answer to? Anette Franz has made it easier for us to understand how we can nearly perfect the customer experience.

In this post, she talks about the famous quote of Bob Farell, the founder of Farell’s ice cream parlors, “Give em’ a pickle!”. Bob said this after he received a disappointing letter from a customer who complained about his services. Bob makes this golden rule that serving others should be the top priority of businesses.

One must not be opportunistic, rather one should look for delivering a personal and good experience to customers. Business is not all about earning an extra dollar or a few dimes, but it is connecting with customers and fulfilling their needs and wants.

Even in her book, she dedicated a large portion of it to why brands fail to retain customers or keep customers satisfied and happy. One of the major reasons is that shareholders are more focused on filling their pockets rather than nurturing customers and creating customer value. So the magical rule that one shall abide by is: Do what’s right for and by the customer. This is how Anette describes the secret to delivering a memorable customer experience. This is a short and brief post, but it teaches us so much about delivering customer value.

Trends to follow to reshape CX in 2021

We now know that there is no going back to the normal, brands must reshape their vision of how they imagine and execute a strong customer experience. John Aves shares his wisdom in this post and introduces the 6 major trends that will shape the CX redesign in 2021. Let us review them:

  • You must not look back – Companies that believe that everything will return to the old normal will not survive in the coming times. They will collapse and will be unable to thrive. Leaders would have to be bold and daring so they can impose changes required to revitalize the customer experience.
  • You would have to take a stand – Customers will look to side with businesses that care about prevailing issues and take a stand. They will offer their loyalty to businesses who assess their brand purpose and align it with customer values.
  • No more consumerism – Consumers are no longer looking for meaningless connections. After a month of being quarantined, they’ll covet social connection. And businesses should offer meaningful customer experiences.
  • Customers want to be in the driving seat – For far too long, customers have been anxious because they are no longer in control. To make sure that they feel secure, CX leaders should make customers feel in control of their experience.
  • Digital Balance – This is a tough time for all and as we move on next year, CX leaders have to be more empathetic and kinder towards customers. They must take their hand and together travel on key digital journeys.
  • Consistency is the Key – CX consistency is the holy grail. No matter where employees or customers are if the vaccination is introduced or not, a consistent customer experience must be delivered.

How can you improve your companies CX strategies?

The expert panel of Forbes drafted this post and they educate businesses about how they can improve their CX strategies. The top CX leaders at Forbes each shared a piece of advice that will help businesses grow and develop a remarkable customer experience.

  1. Focus more on customer journey mapping: the most crucial source of data is search, as it can help marketers to map their customers’ decision journey. This results in more touchpoints and hence, increased sales.
  2. A well-planned execution process: Incorporate feedback and suggestions from your customer and draft a well written CX plan.
  3. Extend the customer experience and adapt to the changes to reach a wider range of customers.
  4. Build a client-centric culture: be more focused on what your clients want and what their needs are.
  5. Make your customer experience informative and delightful.
  6. Make effective use of key metrics and keep on checking them to assess the growth.
  7. Leverage the surveys conducted and record the reviews and study them meticulously.
  8. Make sure that you respond efficiently and take minimum time.
  9. Make sure you deliver the perfect blend of human expertise and complex technology.
  10. You cannot and must not define customer success on your terms
  11. You must deliver a personal experience by being relatable and human.
  12. Incorporate conversational AI as customers tend to leave the brand after one or two bad customer experiences.
  13. Focus greatly on digital experience and try to perfect it.
  14. A personalized experience is the best one.
  15. Have an effective and strong customer retention program where you can receive customer feedback and reviews.

The year of CX Data

If you enjoy a little bit of wit with tons of resourceful and informative posts, then you are going to love this piece eloquently written by Jim Tincher. In this post, he talks about digital hygiene and how crucial it is for us to clean the bad data.

We can view 2020 as the year of digital transformation. And though for many years, CX leaders were thriving to make customer experiences digital, this year transformed this desire into a need of the time. And we had to amplify our works to make sure that seamless customer experiences are delivered online.

The one limitation that held us back and continues to limit our growth is bad data. It limits the organizations’ abilities to meet customers’ needs and satiate them. The dirty, disconnected, and unmatched data makes it almost impossible for organizations to implement digital transformation and get the operating systems running. Lack of clean and good data results in the wrong and incorrect information being delivered to customers and that can put your whole organization and business in jeopardy.

It is safe to assume that bad data is the underlying cause that triggers bad customer experience. There is no time for organizations to waste. We must make sure that we clean the data often and regularly. So, our predictions for 2020 are, that this year will be the year of empathy, technology, and executive engagement.

Conclusion

This is a wrap for us. As we’ve bid adieu to the year 2020, we hope and pray for positive news in the upcoming year and though the previous year brought a lot of pain, it also showed how resilient and adaptive our companies are.

Let’s hope this global crisis soon ends and we all adjust to the new normal. Comment below and share with us your views and thoughts. If you want to get featured on our blog, share the link of your post in the comment section and we’ll share it with our audience. Will meet you next time with some more new and exciting CX posts!

How to Use Job Hunting Sites to Find Jobs during COVID-19

I wrote a series of posts several years ago about job hunting, but let’s be honest, this year, everything has changed.

Since COVID-19 has introduced new normal on a massive scale across the globe, millions are searching for remote jobs to make both ends meets.

Knowing exactly what to do is most important since scores of online platforms claim to help job seekers but most of them mainly advertise jobs redirecting the visitors to the companies’ page.

It doesn’t suffice since you are looking for something effective than a mere ad posting service. If you want to know how to find jobs during COVID-19 keep reading this till the end.

Use the Right Job Hunting sites for your career

If you also are among those thousands of professionals who lost jobs during the lockdown you need not panic.

Finding remote jobs online isn’t a tough ask however you need to know the right place where you can find the most suitable vacancies. Indeed.com, monster.com, workopolis.com, glassdoor.com, and LinkedIn.com are some of the most credible platforms for you to find the right job in these critical times.

Before using these sites, the following are the important preparatory steps as homework to optimize the chances of success:

1. Self-Assessment

Some governments are offering unemployment benefits to anybody who lost his or her job during the pandemic. If you haven’t filed for your locally allowed unemployment benefits, do it right now!

It is important to assess the situation carefully and see if the jobs in your industry are still open in other countries. If the lockdown impact has hit your industry hard, for instance, the hospitality and travel industry, widen the scope of the search to look for a job in a different industry not heavily hurt by the lockdown.

Your skill set and experience aren’t necessarily limited to one industry so make sure to shortlist other industries where you can translate your expertise without much effort.

For instance, if you worked as a tourist guide, you may now target the jobs for which communication skills, adaptability, and customer service skills are required.

2. Analyze the Situation by Browsing Careers

Perceptions can be wrong especially under critical circumstances. Don’t rely on the guesswork!

It is a good idea to first browse through different major industries to see if new positions are still available. This will give you a better idea of the ground realities.

Once you spend sufficient time browsing through industries and careers, shortlist the industries you think are suitable depending on your expertise and experience.

3. Try a Variety of Relevant Tags and Keywords

Websites and social media platforms heavily depend on tags and keywords. Make sure to try a variety of well-targeted keywords to get the most relevant search results.

You can also search for jobs by inserting hard and soft skills, for instance, Social Media Marketing, Virtual Assistant, Customer Service, etc.

4. Remote Jobs and Area-Specified Jobs

Now move on to prioritize the location or region if you are not interested in remote jobs. However, amid COVID-19, I feel safe to say that remote jobs are more suitable until you don’t find a job in your area.

Obviously, the hiring process for remote jobs is quicker as compared to in-office jobs. Most job-hunting sites offer a Remote Job or Work from Home tab to filter search results.

Popular job-hunting sites let you create your account and profile making it easier for you to save and track the status of jobs and applications.

5. Be More Specific

After browsing through careers and available vacancies, you can afford to be more specific by using job titles instead of a bunch of tags and keywords. Don’t forget to make the most of all available filters. The best way is to hit the Search tab without filters and then try applying filters one by one.

6. Enable Job Alerts

After losing your job, you must not mind receiving email alerts since these are exceptional circumstances and you can’t afford to neglect apparently minor things because you never know when a job alert introduces you to your next job when you desperately need it.

Popular job-hunting websites offer job alerts you can enable to keep receiving the latest updates in your inbox.

7. Proofread Your Resume before Uploading

We all keep digital copies of CVs and resumes and it is natural to forget updating these documents. Make sure to proofread your CV and resume before you upload.

See if the dates are correct, the cover letter is up to date, and the objectives are not off the mark. You might have last updated your resume before the COVID-19 breakout.

Things were different then, and today, you may have to shift the industry to update the cover letter accordingly otherwise things might look silly since the entire situation is different now.

8. Don’t Lose Momentum

It may take longer than you want to find the right job or get an interview call. Signs of frustration in such unprecedented times are obvious but don’t let frustration break your momentum.

Be consistent with job hunting efforts, try multiple platforms, and spend sufficient time without skipping days. In addition, make sure to keep everything ready in an anticipation of an interview call on short notice.

9. Stay Positive and Ready

“I’ll start preparing for the interview as soon as I receive a call”, is what you MUST NOT tell yourself.

Instead, always anticipate the positive scenario and keep practicing for the interview, check Zoom or other virtual meeting platforms if they are working alright, make sure that the internet connection stays stable, and keep practicing in front of the mirror or by recording video sessions to identify and overcome the mistakes you must avoid during the real interview.

Conclusion

In some countries, governments are helping jobless professionals with virtual career coaching programs. Get the information about such positive steps from the federal or local government and make the most of these facilities to effectively search for jobs during COVID-19.

Top CX Posts November 2020

Let’s pick up from where we left off last month in our list of Top CX posts for October.

Over the course of this month, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and compiling a post of top cx blog posts for November 2020 that I wanted to share with you.

I read some very interesting blog posts that showed me how so many companies are thriving even though the COVID-19 has limited them physically.

I am sharing my favorite picks and attaching a link along so that you can explore them further. They do not follow a specific theme, but I believe they merit applaud and acknowledgment. So, let’s get started.

1. Customer Empowerment Amid a Global Pandemic

This post by Blake Morgan was an unusual one and riveted my interest right at the beginning. If you ask yourself which aspect influenced the market dynamics the most. Without hesitation, you will answer the highly feared and prevalent, COVID-19.

NICE inContact CEO Paul Jarman shares his insights in this post and changes our perspective about the outbreak of the global pandemic and its ramifications. He mentioned how the pandemic paved a way for customers where they can share their voices and opinions.

He emphasized the key takeaways that we should learn from to shape our customer experiences in 2021. Because of the democratization of opinion, customers have more power than ever. They are sharing their experiences overtly and are utilizing the online platforms excessively.

The following four major takeaways are discussed explicitly in this post:

  • Shifting to the Cloud – A survey revealed that around 66% of contact decision-makers were moving their data and activities to the cloud. There will be more agility and room for innovation in the cloud. This will ensure seamless and uniform customer service all across.
  • Increased Use of Digital Channels – Since the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 62% of contact centers have gone digital and used online platforms to communicate. Considering the situation doesn’t diffuse, customers will seek a digital customer experience. So, improvements and amendments shall be made accordingly.
  • More Mobile Applications – Companies using mobile apps grew from 8% to 56% since the pandemic. People are relying heavily on apps and so effective mobile apps must be developed to keep up with the demand.
  • Improving Chatbots – Many marketers believe that the future of customer experience relies greatly on the use of chatbots. In a study, it was deduced that around 90% of CX practitioners have claimed that the chatbots need to be more user-friendly and digitally smart. The incorporation of modern features will help enhance its use.

2. Trust is everything

The Senior Analyst at Forrester, Anjali Lai, eloquently describes the unmatched significance of building trust in the relationship with consumers in her post.

She defined consumer trust as “Trust is confidence in the high probability that a person or organization will spark a certain outcome in a relationship.”.

She described how humans are inherently trusting and how we can track the logical and chemical stimulants that trigger trust and similar feelings. She also explains a few key points that are:

  • Trust is Confidence – The trust you pour in your kids that they will clean up after you is solely based on hope and optimism. Just like that, you have to instill this level of trust in consumers so that they become your loyal customers.
  • Trust is About a Particular Outcome – Marketers are always scratching their heads because they are in the race of earning the “most-trusted brand” title. The ranking is not a defining determinant for the consumers. They constantly assess the outcomes in relation to their expectation.
  • A Relationship is Structured on Trust – Like every other relationship in this world, a relationship between an employee and consumer is also based on trust. If consumers fail to trust these services, products, and the company, you will not be able to achieve customer value or deliver an exceptional customer experience.

3. How to Make Fans for Your Business?

If you think that tons of customers will get out of their way to engage in a business with you just because you are delivering exceptional customer service, then you are mistaken. The price of earning true customer loyalty goes beyond fashioning just an experience.

Jim Tincher makes a point in his post that just creating an effortless experience for the customers wouldn’t suffice to make them your loyal and most valued customers. He is also aware that his stance is wildly unpopular, but he supports his reasoning with compelling arguments.

He perfectly encapsulates his theory that loyalty can’t be built by resolving issues, rather it just prevents disloyalty. Loyalty is when customers are swimming in a pool of options, but they willingly choose you. And the culminating point is when the customers have a cheaper and more convenient alternative, yet they continue to choose you; that is the real determinant of loyalty.

So, this proves that it’s not the ease of engaging in business but the emotional connection that compels customers to stay connected with you. That is what customer experience is all about; building emotional and meaningful relationships with the customers.

Though this is a short piece of writing, it caught my eye because it was eccentric and was centered around an unpopular opinion. This post overtly talks about the fallacy that customers need to be wowed. However, they just want to be done.

4. Efficiency and Empathy in Harmony

The aftermath of the pandemic is still unknown and inexplicable. The prevailing uncertainty has put the analysts and company leaders in a conundrum as they cannot assess which strategy, they must opt for to survive in the post-pandemic world. We all are suffering through the adverse effects of COVID-19 and these times have not just been challenging for the companies but also for customers.

Blair Pleasant talks openly in this post about how we have to cope up with the long-term changes of the pandemic and make our place in the virtual world. She capitalized on how the increasing dependence on online working or work from home has led people to come up with creative and innovative solutions to deliver exceptional customer service. She also mentions the new strategies that companies have come up with to meet the growing customer demands and expectations.

The best thing to come out of the lockdown is the newfound respect for the concept of empathy. People locked up at home and having the crippling fear of the pandemic has made everyone empathetic and consequently humanized customer experiences. People are more invested in offering a personal experience to the customers.

Agents are trained to listen to the issues of customers and address them willingly, with utmost concern. It is now a challenge for companies to find the right balance between efficiency and empathy because, in these tough times, businesses should prioritize solving customer complaints rather than generating profits.

She also laid great emphasis on how video interactions and visual connections can add a personalized touch and help in creating a stronger employee-customer relationship.

5. Timeless Customer Experience Trends

The fast-changing environment of the world always keeps us in uncertainty. There are many obvious challenges and very few opportunities that await us. But after decades of learning the trends and patterns, analysts have deduced a set of standard rules that significantly affect the customer experience.

Though COVID-19 has greatly changed the market dynamics, there is a set of trends that remains timeless and is even applicable in these unprecedented times. Michael Hinshaw discusses these trends in this post and guides companies about the direction they shall pursue to deliver impeccable customer service.

  • Advancement in Digital Transformation – With the outbreak of a global pandemic, the shift to digital platforms and media has been at its peak. And from here the curve will rise as dependence on digital channels is increasing substantially.
  • Determining the ROI of CX – More accurate and precise metric modes, analytical tools, and decision frameworks are employed so that customers’ experiences could be understood better. These tools are constantly improving as they help in delivering a memorable customer experience.
  • Customer Understanding – It is always important to know how customers truly feel and what do they genuinely desire. Without understanding the underlying needs of customers, it becomes nearly impossible to deliver a great customer experience.
  • An Adaptive and Agile Approach – Linear approaches become redundant quickly and do not match the changing market flow. However, a more agile approach helps the companies to resonate with the changing trends. With better data and customer understanding attained via an adaptive approach, customer value is achieved.
  • Prioritizing Employee Experience – A great customer experience cannot be delivered without creating a good employee experience. The workplace environment and relationship between the company and employees are improving greatly. Leaders are bridging the professional gap, refining systems, and are encouraging collaboration. Companies are redefining the employee experience as the organization’s success depends greatly on it.

Conclusion

It was quite difficult to find my picks for this month. All articles I came across were so fascinating and riveting. Isn’t it amazing to see how businesses are not just surviving but flourishing in these times?

Though the initial months of the pandemic outbreak were challenging but just as the companies have adapted to the new conditions, they are coming up with innovative ways to avail opportunities and perform optimally.

Comment below and share your thoughts and reviews. If you want to share your posts with us, you can share the link in the comments, and we will feature your post in the next session. This was all for November 2020!

The Metrics You Need To Use To Produce Good CX

Have you ever had a bad tasting dish that caused you an aversion from that food altogether? While you might know the food you don’t like, you probably don’t know the specific ingredient that ruined the taste of the whole dish. It becomes nearly impossible to figure out what caused that food aversion and might lead to additional issues in the future if unexplained.

To put this analogy into customer experience terms, a well-set plate of an exquisite looking dish cannot be credited as delectable if all ingredients do not compliment each other well. Even if only one of them tastes bad, the whole dish suffers and a customer will lose his appetite. Customer Support Teams are just like that. All the individual ingredients must be flavorful so that in the end a delicious dish could be presented.

Trying to figure out a specific issue might be very difficult, but don’t worry! There are several ways to assess the performance of each individual in your team. With the right CX Metrics and KPIs, you can detect where there is a need for improvement or which individual is putting in a complete effort and is dedicated to offering exceptional customer service. In addition, by using tools like journey maps, you can analyze and understand other customer pain points that need resolution.

However, before you get started, it’s important to understand which CX metrics are right for you. Check out this list of some of the most popular customer support metrics and select the ones that make the most sense for your business.

1. Average Resolution Time

One method of evaluating how well the customer service representatives are performing is to record the average time it takes for them to resolve a customer complaint permanently.

This is an accurate measure of productivity as this metric determines whether the agent is good at resolving customer complaints and can deal with them quicker rather than building on to the problem and dragging it for longer.

Just follow this formula to calcuate the Average Resolution Time (ART)

ART = (Total Reply Time) / (Total Number of Requests) 

2. The volume of Requests Handled

First, you would want to know the total of some of the requests that were addressed to your agents in a given period. This way you can assess the workload and work performance of the organization itself. Seldom customers call to praise the product or service. More often they contact the agents to complain.

So, to appraise the performance of the customer service agents, you must keep a track of how many requests are correctly addressed and how productive your agents have been. The higher this number, the more efficient and diligent your agents will be.

While it is possible to calculate this without a CRM, using the right CRM system can make this calculation significantly easier.

3. Conversation Reply Speed

Ask yourself this question: after how long did my agent take to respond to the follow-up questions raised by the customer?  The speed at which the customer service representative responds to any sequential concerns presented by the customer after the initial response determines the productivity and performance of the agent.

If you take too long to respond, the customer would get annoyed and probably leave a bad review or would no longer engage in business with you.

4. Requests escalated

Escalated requests are important for a couple of reasons.

Employee Training – This is an important metric that you keep a track of. If a request is escalated to a superior, then it means that the agent has failed to address the concerns of the customer. You may believe that this is the endpoint that every customer service agent should dread and avoid at all costs.

So, this metric precisely determines if a representative is good at his job or not. The higher the number of these requests, the more probable it is that the agent is not qualified or competent enough to cater to customers’ requests or needs.

Product Gap – multiple issues of the same type that get escalated often point to a product gap. In this case, the issue is not with the CSR but potentially with the sales or customer success function. Here, the customer was promised certain functionality and the product simply did not deliver.

Options here include retraining other departments or depending on the gap, working with the product team to understand what the client actually needs and coming up with a solution that works. The latter will definitely drive an increase in a clients customer experience.

5. Number of Complaints Regarding a Customer Service Representative

It is highly likely that a single individual is unable to entertain the concern of all customers. Some people are just not naturally drawn towards resolving customers’ issues and this can gravely affect their performance.

So, by evaluating this metric you can judge whether an individual is cut out for this job and is he/she able to address customers’ issues properly or not. We talked a bit about empathy in my round-up of the top CX posts in September and I’d urge you to read that post for more information and detail.

It is important to understand that a single complaint is sometimes not relevant. Rather, what leaders need to look for is a pattern of behavior.

6. Time Taken to Offer Initial Response

If you aim to offer the best customer service, you must keep a meticulous record of your initial response time. The higher this number goes, the more irritated the customers will get.

Representatives must be on their toes when it comes to addressing customers’ concerns. The customers must be instantly put through to the right person or the respective department, so they don’t have to wait unnecessarily. Measuring first call resolution is one of the most important KPIs for customer service teams.

7. Customer Service Rating

This metric is the best indicator of how well your individual customer rep’s performance has been. This number shows how the customers viewed and marked the performance of the agent.

This rating can be garnered by customer feedback, comments, or a star-rating. Companies generally use customer surveys to understand how customers perceive their teams. Another great indicator for companies that continues to gain in popularity is the NPS score.

8. Sales made after Contact

The objective of the customer service team should be to address customers’ concerns, so they are satisfied with the product or service and continue to increase the sales of the organization.

So, if the agents are performing well, or are providing related cross-sells or upsells of the product then the sales would increase, and more revenue will be generated. So, this metric takes effective customer service as a determinant that affects sales.

9. Rate of Successful Resolutions

This rate is a major defining factor in the performance of each customer service agent. This rate shows how well individuals have performed and how successful they have been in resolving customer complaints and issues.

Having an agent who doesn’t handle many requests but has a significantly high successful resolution rate is worth having in the team.

You can calculate it by employing the formula:

Resolution Rate= (Resolved requests) / (Support Requests)

Conclusion

You can only deliver exceptional customer service if you know exactly what your customers are expecting from you and you don’t have to be a mind-reader for that. Stay close to your customers and make them feel heard and valued. Just track the above-mentioned metrics periodically and this way you would be able to appraise the performance of your customer service agents and the experience offered to your customers.

Why B2B Customer Support Matters

Not all businesses are about the delivery of products directly to consumers. Often, companies create products and services that are used by other businesses as a means of delivering services. While you might be determined to surpass your customers’ expectations by offering a feature-rich and loaded product, it is just as imperative that you deliver exceptional customer service too. That is the real “money-maker”!

Great customer service can really put your product in an elevated position in the eyes of your client. This added benefit optimizes the performance of the business and enhances the product use. Customers will be drawn to you like a moth to the flame if you build strong relationships with them. Remember this golden rule:

Productive B2B customer support helps to create a long-term healthy relationship with your customers.

Existing Customers Matter

Research stated that a huge fraction of technology companies generate more than 70% of their total revenue from their existing customers. This more then demonstrates the value of repeat business on the bottom line.

A key point to note is that if a customer does not fully use the product, they are much less likely to consider renewal. Keeping this in mind, the sooner they use and employ your product, the faster they’ll put in an order for another one. And you can generate sales from their use or need to renew their subscription.

Understand Product Usage

Circling the above-discussed analogy, your aim after delivering a suitable and flawless product should be to encourage users to deploy your product faster so they can invest in purchasing it again. And let the cycle continue from there. This way you will establish a wide, loyal, and satisfied customer base.

But the million-dollar question arises: how do you make customers deploy the product?

If everyone knew the answer to it, there wouldn’t be just a handful of successfully run and appreciated businesses worldwide. But the companies who have figured the answer to it are in luck because it has greatly helped their businesses.

Where are your B2B Customer Support calls coming from?

You will observe that a major chunk of your B2B customer requests is related to the “how-to” questions and queries. They will usually have an ambiguity regarding operating the technology, product or will ask how to avail of the service or explore all the aspects of it.

You have to train your agents or your managers to answer this “how-to” question well. By offering the right support you’ll help customers deploy the product sooner and invest more into obtaining the product or service again.

Your post-sale customer interactions will mainly revolve around such questions. So, if you answer these questions for the customers and lend support to the operations and functionality of your tech, you’ll be making them self-sufficient and will be encouraging them to increase the use of the product.

Though you must make sure that your customer support team is aware of opportunities and advantages that could be unlocked by helping customers reach the full potential of deploying the product. While this sounds like a sales function it isn’t. By making sure that clients know how to use the product to its fullest, you’re actually helping create advocates of your technology within your client base. This helps to increase overall loyalty and if you ever create a customer community, improves the perception of all of your clients.

Improving your tools helps make you more efficient

Improving customer support tools is just as important. You must invest in opportunities for automation and self-help so that the customer service system’s working could be made optimal.

Such opportunities can be a major deciding factor that transforms one-to-one sales transactions into one-to-many sales transactions. Customers will be satisfied and satiated. They will adopt more of your product and will engage in a long-term relationship with your company.

Automated Response

Many people are using a chatbot and other software to schedule sessions with respective agents. This way precious resources are saved and customers can easily contact that concerned party that can resolve their query or processes their request.

These responses either solve the customer complaint completely or shift them to the most qualified person. This helps in expediting the case’s resolution.

Self-Help

First meticulously and thoroughly review the support requests and queries launched by the customers. Look at the problem areas and the departments where the issues are recurring. This way you can identify which problems occur more and where you need to invest.

Form this study as a basis to update your FAQs and other blogs and reviews. Shoot tutorial or document training videos and offer knowledge base tools that your clients can access themselves. This can help customers figure out a solution on their own. This way they could avoid the hassle of contacting you or dragging the resolution time.

Routing and Workflow

You must establish ground rules and concrete workflow regulations that can direct the customer issue or request to the related person or the concerned department. This will save a lot of response time. And the customer wouldn’t have to waste time and effort by engaging with unauthorized or unrelated professionals.
The most qualified agents and resources will be directed towards resolving the issue and this will accelerate the rate at which the query is resolved.

No matter how fast your initial response time is, how high your resolution rate is or how low the number of queries or requests you receive is, none of these can define success for your business if these don’t translate into an increase in your sales or customer base. All these efforts must offer some unmatched benefit to your company, otherwise, all this is vain.

No matter what triggered the support, either it is customer retention, improving operational functionality, widening customer base, delivering customer satisfaction, or just because of financial reasons, the important factor is to define your goals and achieve high business results. Your aim to offer exceptional support shall be to attain positive business results. And this will only be possible when you would align your support operation strategies to observable and calculatable customer support metrics.

Top 5 Customer Experience Blog Posts from October 2020

I solemnly welcome you all back again to our quarantine edition of the best Customer Experience (CX) blog posts. Though it is deeply saddening to see how rampant the pandemic is around the world, you will certainly be amazed at the strategic planning of organizations that continue to focus on offering exceptional customer service.

If you remember the amazing CX posts batch from September that I shared previously, you would know that you are in for a treat this month too. I have gathered the top five CX posts for October 2020. As the world is impacted by the ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak, a shift in the pattern of customer support service was discovered. So, let’s see how major businesses surmounted these obstacles and what pearls of wisdom they have shared.

As I’ll be discussing the gist and the condensed version of each blog post, if you want to read the post in its entirety, just follow the link.

1) Now Customer Support Entails Being a Mind-Reader

Adrian Swinscoe interviewed the well-reputed Paul Adams, the SVP of Product at Intercom. In his blog post, he discussed the crux of the interview and jotted it in pointers. This unconventional blog post highlighted an integral aspect of customer support: proactive service.  He mentioned how this term may be perceived as ambiguous, but it captures the essence of impeccable customer support service.

Paul outlined the proactive approach as anticipating the questions of customers before they even ask them. This predictive behavior is the holy grail of customer support. Paul also stated the statistics of a study that claimed that 78% of support managers wanted to incorporate the proactive approach and remove reactive service. But, only 26% of such leaders carried the knowledge, skills, and equipment to do so.

Paul categorized proactive support into the following three major types:

  • Planned: this refers to supporting customers based on their usage history, behavioral patterns, and other data. In this approach, predictive analysis is conducted.
  • Situational: the support team opts for this approach when they are aware of a fault or an issue in either the product or service, but they appraise the customers beforehand. This way they avoid an influx of complaints and calls.
  • V.I.P Proactive Support: this approach is slightly complex and not so common. In this approach, the clients’ needs are under constant spotlight and undisturbed attention is granted. Their behavior is seen and even minor changes in their usage or behavioral patterns are noted and then meticulously analyzed.

2) Don’t Let the Pandemic Stop You

Francine Johnson shared her insights in this educative blog post that guides the audience about how they can fashion a congenial customer experience. She termed CX as an essential part of the customer’s end-to-end journey with the product.

She used the F5, a B2B cyber-security company, as a reference and explained how businesses can continue to deliver exemplary customer service despite the hindrances posited by COVID-19.

Francine discussed how crucial it is to support leaders to identify the friction points and then address them by making improvements and amends accordingly. A fruitful CX program is structured on customer engagements, smooth communication, effective advocacy, and prudent insights. She explicitly talked about three essential ways in which an organization could build a successful customer experience. These ways are:

  • Finding the Right Balance – Striking the balance refers to communicating a particular kind of information to customers. For the F5 company, Francine talks about creating a balance between notifying customers of threats and creating cherished memories. Such a balance can only be achieved through effective communication.
  • Profits are Secondary – Francine recommended that as employees we should empathize with the customers as their lives to are gravely affected by the pandemic. So, instead of focusing on the money-making strategies, the support team should genuinely be concerned for the customers. It is important to lead with a human-first mindset.
  • The Internal Strength – It is imperative to build a customer-first mindset that not only prevails in the support team but is backed up by the executive leadership. Francine claimed that a team of professionals and experts is not enough to execute productive customer support. It would require executive support and assistance too.

3) Does Losing a Customer Sting? Now no more!

This post is written by Jim Tincher and it truly encapsulates the raw emotions felts by a B2B company when they lose a sale, they worked hard for. But it also shows them a light at the end of the tunnel so that they can improve their customer service and avoid any such loss in the future. He introduces us to the Voice of the Last Lost Customer. Then he signifies how businesses can manage the VoLLC. The guidelines were:

  • Frequently talk to salespeople – As a CX leader make sure that you take the feedback of salespeople under review. If the salespeople don’t feel safe sharing their opinion, you may expect trouble. It will become difficult for you to manage and improve your customer service.
  • Go on account calls – You can obtain a holistic view of what your customers need as salespeople talk directly to customer executives and VoC channels are majorly concerned with the users.
  • It can be a blessing in disguise – Though sometimes the sales’ VoLLC is not on the mark. They may not target your major customers but the sales they bring in can be considered significant.

As a CX leader, most people would target customer loyalty. But it is beneficial to focus on VoLLC too.

4) Can You Measure Value for Customers?

In her post, Maxie Schmidt talks about her latest report, “How to measure value for customers?”. She starts by stating that most organizations fail to determine whether customers gain value from engaging in business with them or not.

She explains that customers acquire value from a business when they get more than what they are giving up. Value for customers does not stay constant, rather it changes frequently like needs. Maxie however, encircled the value for customers in the following four major dimensions:

  • Functional: defines the purpose
  • Experiential: takes into account the interactions
  • Symbolic: refers to the meaning
  • Economic: discusses the financial aspect
(Image Source)

She capitalizes on the major incompetence of businesses and how they fail to measure value for customers. This usually happens because they are either making use of unreliable and inaccurate metrics, or they have limited knowledge about how customers gain value and which value drivers are most important.

Then she suggests effective ways in which businesses can overcome the factors that inhibit the measuring of value for customers. These tips are:

  • Integrate quantitative research and locate the key drivers of value: She explains how the feedback and data alone cannot determine customer value. We need to make use of research tools and understanding the four dimensions.
  • Define a practical measurement per value driver: In this approach, the CX professional either needs to come up with new data sources and metrics or they can make use of existing data sources. Their aim should be to not pose a burden on customers.
  • Reckoning a competitive value gap: By acquiring competitive data CX analysts can focus on the key drivers and draw a comparison of their performance and their competitor’s performance.

5) Customers are Humans, not Consumers

Jim Tincher shares his unique and compelling perspective regarding the prevailing customer experience strategies opted by businesses. He begins his blog post with a riveting quote that read: “A consumer is a statistic. A customer is a person.” This quotation inspires his entire post as he staunchly believes that businesses should offer a more personalized experience rather than focusing on the profits.

In his blog post, he shares some insightful tips on how businesses can please their customers. These are as follows:

  • Being specific is not always the smartest option
    Sometimes choosing a highly specific term or label can get you in great trouble. So, maybe sometimes sits prudent to generalize.
  • Treat customers as normal people
    Customers are not some consumers who prey on your product. Treat them with empathy and be genuinely concerned for them.
  • Perspective is important
    It is very important to change the perspective of the audience based on the strategies we incorporate and the labels we choose.
  • Look out for unintentional bias
    Under this heading, Jim mentioned an example of how the term producer was replaced with a financial professional based on the connotation associated with the two.
  • Choose your words wisely
    Jim laid great emphasis on how we label, and term things, and people can change the entire narrative of the situation.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my favorite picks of Top CX Blog Posts for October 2020. For me, all of these posts were very fascinating and riveting. To see businesses, stay headstrong, and continuously improve to offer impeccable customer service and experience is truly amazing. Mostly all companies are being customer-centric and are trying to stay tenacious in these difficult times.

If you have a story or an experience to share with our audience, please feel free to contact us. Comment below or just the link of your blog post and we will feature you in our upcoming sessions.

Will meet you all next month with another enthralling batch of top CX posts. Till then stay healthy and safe!

Top 5 Customer Experience Blog Posts of September 2020

Let’s mark tick on another month’s top cx blog posts’ review! We last discussed and evaluated the most interesting customer experiences posts of August 2020. But our September reads were also quite riveting and intriguing. The insights and expert advice shared by professionals on how to offer an impeccable customer experience, especially in times where the world is terror-struck due to the COVID-19 pandemic were useful and informative for me, and I hope for you also.

So, keeping up with the theme of our monthly posts, in this blog post I will appraise the top cx blog posts of September 2020 that caught my eye and compelled me to share them with you. Let’s dig into different articles and if you want to explore them further, I will be attaching a link for your convenience.

1.   The Focal Point of any Business: The Customers

Many businesses believe that it’s the product, or meticulous market research that will help them penetrate the industry and establish a monopoly over the market, but they are wrong. It’s always the customers that should be at the center of concern for the companies. All decisions, policies, and strategies shall revolve around them to serve their needs and offer maximum customer satisfaction. Don’t confuse it with agreeing to every request and demand of the customer, regardless of how unethical or inappropriate it is, but to impose a business plan that serves the purpose of achieving the highest levels of customers’ utility.

To guide you in the right direction, Annette Franz, in her blog post, discusses the eight principles encapsulating the concept of customer centricity and then respective practices to implement them. The gist of those principles was:

Culture

She emphasized that culture shall be drawn in which the core values are operationalized and supportive of the social link between the company and the customer. The culture of customer centricity shall be promoted.

Employee Experience

Employees are on the frontline, who deliver customer experience, and making sure that their experience at the company is pleasurable is very imperative. If they are dissatisfied, they will not be able to exhibit customer-centric behavior.

People Before Products, Profits, and Metrics

The companies that structure their decisions on the customer-centricity concept tend to prioritize customers over everything else. So, let your profits, products, and metrics, all be secondary.

Understanding Customers

You must know what the customers want and desire. You should have the knowledge and data to help you achieve customer understanding.

There is no Golden Rule in Customer Centricity

Just negate the rule: treat others the way you want to be treated and replace it with treat others the way they want to be treated.

Be Accepting

Incorporating customer voice in all that you do is essential to introduce customer-centricity.

2. Being Empathetic is Always the Correct Choice!

Many recent studies have proven through the numerical evidence that if businesses are empathetic towards customers and put them in their shoes, they are likely to earn their loyalty and support. It is no secret that the fear and stress prevalent globally due to COVID-19 has affected the masses. In these difficult times, we have to hold each other’s hands and support one another unconditionally. In his post, Adrian Swinscoe highlights this point and recommends businesses to develop empathy if they intend to offer memorable customer experiences.

After exploring a study classified about various age groups, it was deduced that 63% of Gen Z’ers and 56% of Millennials claimed that their customer issues were resolved more effectively with empathy. So, to construct and empathetic musculature, it is vital to change the strategy, design, use of tech, improvement in process, redefining of leadership, and change in the training of employees.

Attribution of empathy is not a one-day job. It will require commitment and dedication. And Adrian has capitalized on that point but has also presented the unmatched significance of this concept.

3.   Is Effective Customer Experience the Secret Ingredient of Successful Businesses?

A Gartner Trend Report suggested that as opposed to 36% in 2010, almost 80% of the companies have begun to compete based on providing effective customer services. This increase in statistics has shown that companies have changed the rudimentary concepts of running businesses and have made serving-the-customers the fundamental point of concern. It has been calculated that enhancing customer experiences and directing resources and efforts to that department can help increase the revenue by 4% to 8%. A popular report proposed that improving customer services has helped around 84% of businesses to establish a respectable place in the market and earn a decent amount of revenue.

Nithin Rakesh capitalizes on the significance of CX and its deep-rooted impact on the flourishment of business in his blog post. He mentioned that simply offering an impeccable product or service is not enough. The companies have to think outside the box. They must invest time in studying the needs of customers and shift focus from earning profits and launching the perfect product. They must invest in knowing what the customer wants and should then act on it accordingly.

 Nithin also explicitly talks about how to completely transform customer’s dissatisfaction or annoyance into delight. The employees must be trained and empowered so that even if an issue arises with the product or delivery, the damage can be salvaged by offering helpful assistance to customers. It is important to resolve their issues in an optimal way.

Finally, he wrapped up by mentioning that the customers may not remember the product or its price, but a significant customer experience will be memorable.

4. Building a Personalized Relationship with Customers

In this era where businesses primarily compete based on offering a better CX experience, it becomes really difficult to draw a line where the companies should intrude in the lives of customers. This is quite challenging for businesses to fully comprehend. In the race to offer a more personalized customer experience, companies often forget if they are crossing the social and ethical line. Many customers are private about their lives and data being evaluated publicly. So, you must respect these boundaries and offer CX experience solely based on the belief to bring value to customers and earn their loyalty.

This point has been raised in the blog post, eloquently written by Sarah-Nicole LeFlore. She clearly outlines how personalization can be strategically integrated with customer experience.

  • It is Important to Reduce Efforts – Customers want to make their lives easy and this means that this must be your priority too. Don’t make customers walk through fires while they are engaged in business with you. They would want to do the minimum work and receive maximum benefit. So, personalize customer experiences to such an extent that they can reach you quickly and you can respond effectively whenever they are in a predicament that pertains to your product.
  • Collection of Data – You wouldn’t want to seem creepy and a stalker to the customer. So, make sure you are obtaining data that is strictly related to the business and your research to improve the customer experience. Don’t gather data through inappropriate means or ask for too personalized information, as this will portray a wrong image of yours to the customers.

5. The Digital CX Transformation

As we all are well aware of the global situation, we know that we have shifted a large percentage of business activities and operations on the digital platforms. It is estimated that this pandemic has instigated a 5x times increase in digitization. Businesses interact with customers via online media platforms. As managing activities digitally seems quicker and feasible, therefore, customers anticipate fast responses and effective interactions.

Nandkishor Tripathi talks about this rising issue in his blog post and recommends companies to get a stronger grip on the digital world as it is the need of time and possibly the future of running businesses. He also proposed some strategies that companies could follow and resort to so that they can keep up with the increasing demand for digitization. These were as follows:

Conclusion

We have reached the end now. Hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite picks of top cx blog posts of September 2020. It is amazing how companies are striving amidst COVID-19 to offer the best services to customers and be even more responsive and considerate of their feelings. Kudos to all the businesses and employees! Share your thoughts and reviews with our audience in the comments below. If you want your post to be featured on this site, feel free to share the link in the comments section. We’ll be back soon with some new and fascinating posts!

Trends that Will Change the Way You Do Business

The world witnessed a paradigm shift in reliance of the global economy on emerging technology due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Imagine people sitting at home hoping if they could purchase something they need but the local markets are closed. Businesses that served people well during the past few months are going to make the most of it is in the future. They managed to establish their brand as the whole world shifted to contactless payments and online shopping. The future trend has been set and even after the COVID-19 lockdown, people will find it convenient to use mobile applications for most of the products and services.

The expert study of Statista claimed that by 2020 $581.9 billion will be generated in revenue by mobile applications. And in this tech realm, you can just expect the numbers to grow. So, if you want to boost up your business you must invest in the digitalization of your business to attract a larger market.

It isn’t that the COVID-19 has changed the world, it just stimulated the ongoing process. It drove public closer to mobile apps. As a businessperson, you need to realize the big impact on the way you do business. If you are able to anticipate and make the most of the quickly changing trends, you can have an edge over your competitors within months.

Here are the top trends that will change the way you do business. So, are you ready to revolutionize your business and keep up with the dominant business trends of 2020?

1. Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Incorporation of Machine Learning

AI and Machine Learning are going to help mobile apps become smarter than ever before. The anticipation of the Artificial Intelligence market is worth $191 billion by 2024 has provided a great incentive to businessmen and provoked them to combine AI with Human Intelligence.

The identification of critical issues, instantaneous troubleshooting, quick response, and building of applications based on prior data has been feasible due to the contributions of these systems.

The AI sphere continues to expand and evolve especially when you look at the way the apps are anticipated users’ preferences and buying behaviors. Apps continue to improve thanks to the use of the latest automation techniques allowing businesses to engage the app users in a better way.

2. Instant Mobile Applications; A Preview

Aren’t you able to judge the movie and your peaking interest in it just by the trailer? Mobile Apps also help the decision making process in many ways. The app demos give you a taste of what the app may be like and then you can decide for yourself. This trend helps users save time and resources on apps that they are not interested in.

3. Introduction of Wireless 5G Networks

The 5G wireless service has been under fine sights and immense works as the world anticipate the launch of this technology. The speed of the 5G network will supersede that of 4G by 100 times and will be one of the most highly acknowledged transitions in the history of networking.

Enhanced speed, improved cybersecurity, fast and uninterrupted 3D gaming, and boosted speed are the salient features of the 5G network. The web developers are delved into the making of appropriate applications that can allow users to avail of the endless opportunities granted by the 5G network. Like you, we can’t wait for it either!

4. Virtual & Augmented Reality Integration

The integration of AR and VR is no longer restricted to gaming and entertainment but has extended its functionality in fields of science, travel, education, business, and even automobiles. If you are crazy about Pokémon Go, you will observe how this epitome of an AR app has taken the Play store and App Store by storm.

The improved conversion rates and enhanced user experiences are the cogent examples of how the integration of AR in apps has been very advantageous for globally recognized and emerging brands. These technologies are still evolving and are being improved to optimize the operations of all applications.

5. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

As the name suggests, this page is a version of HTML that enhances and boosts the speed of mobile pages. The AMP is in collaboration with the widely used app, Twitter.

Through AMP, web developers can improve the performance of heavy mobile pages and enhance the buffering speed and keep the bounce rates low across all mobile phones and devices. Google has also incorporated the AMP Listings in the mobile search results to decrease the loading time of web pages.

6. Internet of Things (IoT) App

You are mistaken if you think there is an existential crisis or a worldly issue that the internet cannot resolve. The installation of the Internet of Things’ Application will be compelling evidence for our claim. As we are approaching the inevitable future, you will observe how with the help of intricate IoT systems, you will be able to control nearly everything around you. 

This application will launch a platform from which you could control many non-IT instruments just through the app irrespective of your location and many other conventional constraints.

7. Cross-Platform Mobile Application Development

This term refers to the advancement made in mobile applications so that they can operate on different and multiple mobile platforms at a given time. The Bring Your Device trend has been circulating in the workplace for quite long now. It implies that employees can bring their mobile devices and use them instead of their regular desktops’ computers.

This meant that businesses had to figure out a way to develop corporate mobile apps in such a way that the corporate data and necessary software could be made accessible. So, cross-platform mobile application development came into existence that is compatible with different networks and mobile operating systems.

Conclusion

The mobile application market is expanding pretty fast. The innovations and technologies introduced are unimaginable. As we read about what the future holds for the evolution of apps, we begin to realize that it transcends all technological bounds and will be unlike ever before.

If you are currently working on the development of an app, keep these trends in mind and know that users are expecting the integration of these technologies.

The rapidly growing app industry wasn’t obstructed by the pandemic and we believe that 2020 is just the beginning, the coming years will completely blow our minds!

 

Top CX Blog Posts August 2020

The whole COVOD-19 situation has really impacted people’s businesses and their personal lives. It has been months now that we have been talking about the paradigm shift that was experienced by the customer services in terms of conforming to the protocols of surviving in a global pandemic. But it is awe-inspiring to witness how amazingly organizations have dealt with the implications COVID-19 imposed on business activities and kept making their customer experiences a focus.

So, let’s pick up from where we left off last; in this post, we will review the best cx blog posts of August 2020. There won’t be one focal theme so we will assess articles structured on diverse themes and we will see how they best relate to current circumstances.

1. How to Please Your Customers?

If you would have researched the nature of customers years ago, you would be shocked by the disparity that stands between customer interests and knowledge of products then and now. Customers now are more engaging and interactive with the firm. They have a depth of knowledge today that was simply unavailable in years gone by. With access to the internet and social media, they ask cogent and relevant questions and companies need to ensure that the information they make public is useful and informative. They want to know more about a product and provide helpful feedback that widens the prospect of the company. They want more than a mere transaction; they are looking for personalized solutions and guidance. An obliging attitude will make customers our brand advocates but if we play our cards wrong, they will shift to our competitors.

Beth Worthy, in her blog post, explicitly discusses the importance of providing remarkable customer experiences. She also proposes the following six strategies that can make the customers experience seamless:

Survey Customers and Acquire Feedback

Garnering the comments of customers can do wonders for your business. Their input and feedback can help you locate where you are doing wrong. And if you rectify your mistakes on the suggestion of customers, they will feel respected, which should be your sole aim.

Build Brand Trust

Global Consumer Insights Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers stated that 35% of customers purchase the products from a certain brand because they trust the name. Work hard to build an honest relationship with them.

Create Personalized Videos

Nothing sells better than a captivating advertisement or a compelling video. Create videos that concern particular selling points or issues faced by the customers. And make it seem like it is directed towards a particular group and a handful of customers; don’t generalize the videos.

Live Chat and Online Support

In this time of a global pandemic, contact customers through live chat and converse with them amicably and resolve their problems over a video chat. This way they will feel connected and cherished. Chat is a fast and effective way of connecting with customers and can often mitigate the filing of cases and tickets. In addition, chat can also be used for sales activities helping drive new revenue into a business.

Localize Brand Messaging

If you want to pave your way in the international market, do so by resonating with the local community. Learn about their culture and community and then incorporate it into your product and marketing techniques.

Customized Offers and Personalized Content

As customers, you won’t appreciate receiving a standard email that by the looks of it is a send-to-all email with the names changed. A Salesforce study concluded that 59% of customers believe that brands that engage with customers via personalized offers are more likely to win their loyalty. You want to feel valued and this can only happen if brands propose customized offers special for each customer.

2. Evolution or Revolution of Customer Experience

We may never know if COVID-19 reached its culmination or when the next peak will arrive. However, the whole outbreak led to a considerable change in the dynamics of customer relations. Maybe this will be the new normal for us now.

Tom Mouhsian and Riccardo Pasto, correctly pointed out in their blog post that in this dire time of need, customers are expecting the trust and support of companies they are in business with. This pandemic is steering the business activities and is manifesting a new way of conducting business. But Forrester has meticulously analyzed the patterns and prudently predicted the prospects and has identified 5 key shifts that concern the impact of:

  • Hybrid experiences created because of digitalization
  • Future of work and governmental policies
  • Coping with technological disturbances
  • The tenacity of businesses in competitive markets
  • Expectations of customers concerning safety

It is no secret that many firms are struggling to conform to the new normal; the challenges of a second COVID-19 outbreak have really put many businesses in jeopardy. Many failed CX experiences are coming into the limelight but companies should stay hopeful and resilient. To rectify this, the authors laid great emphasis on how to incorporate the expert advice of CX professionals and marketers. It is vital to infuse their insights so we can establish a healthy relationship with customers.

3. The CX Power Team

This blog post includes the interview of Anastasia Zdoroviak, a senior manager of the customer experience team at Door Dash, conducted by Angelina Gennis. In this interview, Anastasia Zdoroviak shares her experience with customer services and the issues she confronted. She talks about how the root causes are communication, merchant behavior, and the attitude of delivery professionals. But she can’t go against the Dahser’s as they engage directly with customers and getting into a conflict with them could compromise the whole customer experience.

She also revealed her strategy of using the qualitative data and incorporating it with the works of the analytical team and then devising an apt solution with the engineering and product team. She also shared the example of Dasher onboard experience and elicited how she and her team tackled that issue; she reviewed customer feedback, analyzed the issue, identified the root cause, and corrected it. She also encapsulated her insights into 5 major recommendations:

  • Efficiently analyze the data; review customers’ feedback on all platforms
  • Assess the quality and sources of data
  • Make use of an omnichannel analytical tool
  • Study qualitative feedback with quantitative data collected
  • Engage with customers personally

4. Need for Customer Experience More Than Ever

We have seen more innovation and creativity circulating in the field of customer experience in the past few months than we have witnessed in decades. Mohanbir Sawhney talks about how the customer experience model has completely changed, and it will probably remain the same for the next generation at the least. He explains how companies have adapted to the new normal and how they are making amends to make sure that the customer’s experience remains seamless and memorable.

The author takes into account the work ethics of Jio, India’s largest digital services company, and the second-largest mobile services operator in the world. Right after the retailer sector shut down. Jio began perfecting their customer experiences to make sure the consumers didn’t feel left out or too affected due to the adverse effects of the pandemic.

The workers worked diligently from home, the employees at call centers were on their toes to serve customers and shifted their customer care operations on mobile so the employees could easily resolve customer issues from anywhere. Jio’s zero-touch customer experience was inspired by the precautions taken for the global pandemic and was highly appreciated globally. The goal set by this company and achieved in this lockdown without compromising performance and reliability is really inspiring. At this time customers need the support of brands to accommodate their needs optimally and Jio has really given us all something to think about.

5. A Statement Defining Your Promised Customer Experience

In his blog post, Annette Franz talks about devising a customer experience intent statement. Don’t confuse this with the vision statement of your organization as that only pertains to the corporate vision. But the customer experience intent statement talks about designing personalized and engaging customer interactions and relationships.

This statement helps firms fashion a decision and then perfect its execution. These actions and decisions are strictly related to making customer experience amicable and significant. This statement is worth a lot as it will show customers what your intentions and promises are. This may seem like a mundane task and another statement in your brochure or marketing platforms, but the magnitude of impact this statement will impose is measurable. Customers do not need elaborate stories or fancy ads to convince them to engage in business with you. They need an abridged version of what you intend to deliver them. And a succinct statement will do that. So, review the guidelines mentioned by Annette Franz to come up with a catchy and compelling customer experience intent statement.

If you are struggling to deliver a consistent customer experience, formulate this reference and take into consideration the limitations of your organization, cooperation of the employees, and dedication of the customer services team. Don’t lead on the customers based on hollow promises and inaccurate statements.

Conclusion

So, we have wrapped up the top CX blog posts for August 2020. Hope you enjoyed reading about how companies are coping with the global pandemic and adjusting their strategies to make sure that the customer experience remains undisturbed. I would like to praise the companies who are going beyond their ways and our imaginations to make sure that customers remain satisfied. Comment below and let us know about an interesting customer experience that you were a part of. If you want to share something with our audience, please feel free to reach out to us. We’ll get back to you guys with a fresh batch of amazing CX blog posts next month.

 

How Angry Customers Can Help Your Business

A successfully run business and unhappy clients are inherently indivisible. This may shock you but if there are several complaints piled up at your customer services’ desks, then this may just be a fortunate stroke of serendipity for you! Everything has its pros and cons and angry customers can help your business if you are willing to see the other side of the picture.

No matter how dutiful and dedicated you are, negative responses will always exceed the positive feedback you and your teams receive. Customers are more inclined towards highlighting your minor incompetencies than admiring and praising your stellar services. Inbox inundated with emails, voice mail flooded with customer complaints, and even face to face disapproval and objection on your services are a few aspects that come as a package deal with your business. It may seem chaotic and disadvantageous to the optimum functionality of your business, but angry customers can actually help you a lot.

Don’t Want Angry Customers?

Avoiding unhappy customers is not really a possibility, but reducing their number is quite likely if you act rationally and strategically.

If you are available for your customers and can give them your undivided attention and uninterrupted time, then it will do wonders for your customer service and business’s marketing. This will be worth the dollars that they are expending on your business.  

Reach out to your customers regularly and develop an amicable relationship with, but don’t compromise in professionalism. Try to resolve their issues at your earliest convenience and assure them that you will devote yourself to their service.

Utilize tools like social media platforms to connect with customers outside the boundaries of business and take an interest in their likes and dislikes. This will minimize the disparity between the customer’s expectations and what you are delivering and offering.

Make sure you maintain a balance in this critical relationship. Just to please the customers you cannot make unachievable promises that will disappoint the customers greatly when not fulfilled. It is always smarter to over-deliver than to over-promise.

How Should You Handle and Respond to Customer Complaints?

Let’s explore how you can effectively deal with angry customers and please them:

Keep Calm:

If the customer starts yelling or transcends the boundaries of professionalism and respect, make sure you remain calm and don’t respond in a similar attitude. Your aim should be to eliminate the element of hostility and animosity amongst each other.

Emphasize on Why:

As a worker, your initial instinct would be to get defensive and delve into a realm of denial. You probably wouldn’t digest the fact that there is an issue or inadequacy on your part. But this is the defining moment of the whole process that can either salvage your relationship with the customer of completely dissolve it.

Make sure you identify the root cause and investigate why there was an issue in the first place. This overarching question will solve half of your problem and you can begin taking indispensable actions.

Sympathize and Listen Keenly:

The basic skill of active listening can save you a lot of trouble in this challenging time. The reflective listening approach can also be very beneficial if exercised in this regard. This practice urges you to closely understand the context of what the customer is conveying and interpret his words to derive a meaning out of them. Then you must respond by reflecting on what you have garnered and felt through all that customers mentioned and complained about.

Don’t Take it to Heart:

Make a mental note that anger is natural and kind of inevitable in this case. Not all customers are going to be completely satisfied with your product and services. Some might find them obnoxious to have genuine complaints. The customers don’t bear any malice against you, they are just displeased, so, don’t take it personally.

Acknowledge the Issue and Take Required Actions:

Take sufficient time to probe the issue and then think of ways how can you rectify the mistake or issue faced by the customer. Correct the situation yourself, if you believe it falls under your expertise, otherwise consult someone proficient in this discipline. Make sure you consult the customer and consider their opinion. 

Apologize When Needed:

Whether you believe that the complaint is legitimate or a bogus claim, you have to treat it with utmost concern and respect. You must apologize decently and show that you genuinely care about them.

Are Unhappy Customers Really Beneficial For Your Business?

If a customer took time out to express their disappointment or anger towards your products or services, then it means that you matter to them and they want to continue to engage in business with you. So, this is good news for you!

If you ignore the complaint or provide weak and subpar customer service, then you are opening the door for customers and are compelling them to leave. So, this is a major NO for you.

Make sure that the customer feels heard and acknowledged. If you provide attention and grant special treatment to customers, they will feel valued and respected. This will keep them riveted to your business and they will remain your loyal customers.

Encourage customers to share their feedback and mention if they felt like the issue was dealt with concern and competence. Keep a documented record of the feedback and ensure that the customers are satisfied after their issue has been resolved.

The best business isn’t the one with the least number of unhappy clients; it is the business with the greatest number of clients who were angry at first but their complaints were resolved efficiently and they were satisfied.

Conclusion:

All of this may seem like a lot of tedious work and effort but once you get a hold of this strategy you will turn all the frowns into smiling faces in no time. They are your customers and a complaint means that they had expectations from you.

Turn this trust to your benefit and prove to the customers that they matter to you. If you play your cards right and incorporate the above-discussed tips and tools to build a strong customer relationship, you will grow into a family from a business!

 

Top 5 CX Blog Posts from July 2020

So here we are again; in the middle of a new month, ready to evaluate the best customer service blog posts available on the internet. In the quarantine edition of this article, I will entertain you with successful customer experiences stories and the strategies appointed by major companies to modernize and overhaul their online customer service.

Like June’s post for the series, I have garnered the top five articles and provided a succinct edition of them so you can get a clear concept of what those blog posts pertain to. As July was another month that descended into a quarantine timeline, the patterns of customer service had its ups and downs. Let’s move forward to gander at the brief analysis of the top 5 CX blog posts in July 2020!

If you want to check out the whole version, click on the links and you will be directed to the official post.

1.   How Can You Resolve Customer Complaints?

Gregory Ciotti rightly pointed out in his blog post how we can establish a stronger relationship with the customers after we have resolved their issues or complaints. This ignites their faith in the employees and they can assess the employees’ attitude towards addressing their respective concerns.

Complaints usually arise because the customer’s expectations are not met by what you deliver. Sometimes, their inaccurate assumptions supersede their opinion of you and they are not satiated by your work performance. You may also leave room for accepting any mistake or inadvertent display of incompetence at your part.

However, Gregory explicitly discussed ways in which you could handle such customer complaints and optimize your work performance and feedback to maximize the customer’s utility. The task may seem debilitating but if you follow his guidelines, you are good to go!

Engage in a detailed conversation to find out where the problem stemmed from and ask inquisitive questions to learn more about the issue. It is imperative to identify the kind of customer you are handling, as this will give you a lucid insight into how to proceed with the matter.

He also laid great emphasis on how you should resolve the matter at your earliest convenience, rather than make it a priority. He explained how you can deal with any negative feedback and criticism regarding your response by remaining steadfast and polite.

This post guides you and educates you regarding handling customer complaints, so if any bad customer experience is hovering over you, make sure your read this post and find a way to salvage your relationship with the customer. Good Luck!

2.   Are you Oblivious to Terrible Customer Experience as an Executive?

Faith Adams is a senior analyst who spoke the heart out of customers who believed that the executives and workers would never relate to bad customer experiences. The focal concept of her post was the disconnect witnessed between the customer’s expectations and the ineptness of employees.

She explained her terrible experience with online appliance purchases. It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the market dynamics globally and it will take time to adjust with this “first-time” experience. However, corporations should make a sincere effort to cater to the customer’s needs.

She illustrated how her items were never shipped and delivered, she did not receive a refund and the customer service proved to be inadequate and incompetent. She responded to many surveys and questionnaires; however, her efforts and struggles were all vain.

This experience instigated a desire in her; to change the customer service system. She questioned the thinking of executives and their perspective if they ever had to witness such an awful experience. And then she was determined to empower the customers and hold employees accountable for any negligence on their behalf.

She invited executives from all companies and recorded their responses to such customer service and their terrible experiences with CX. She believes it is time to evolve now and rise beyond the meaningless laurels of appreciation. I completely agree with her and suggest you all treat your customers with the utmost respect and regard.

3.   Rescuers at Your Doorsteps!

The prevailing global pandemic has halted many markets’ functionality and has compelled workers to shut themselves in their houses. The scare of COVID-19 has been surpassed by difficulties in continuing to work from home and earning a decent living just by a sitting confined in a room with hours eyes fixated on a laptop, hours on end.

Vasupradha Srinivasan brought the efforts and dedication of service providers to light. She praised their struggle to go out of the way and ensure the maximum satisfaction of their customers. They lubricated the process of working from home without any major inconvenience.

The service providers accommodated their agents, provided sufficient equipment, and granted their customers access to secure internet connections.

Head over to the official post to read more about the generosity and devotion to the work of these superstars!

4.   Can You as a Marketer, Read Customer’s Mind?

Have you noticed how the digital age of marketing has completely altered the way a marketer accesses information regarding their customers? Have you kept yourself updated with modern marketeering tactics that ensure the services you provide remain remarkable by following the digital traces that their customers leave behind? If no, then this blog post is a must-read for you!

Ultimately, it all comes down to the Customer Experience; whether you’ve kept them satisfied with your product upgrades or not, or whether they have had unsatisfactory experiences with other of their purchases.

To cater to such complications, Annette Franz encapsulated her insights on three vital components:

 Customers

Contrary to the popular belief, customer experience extends way beyond the negotiations between the brand organizations and the customers and just their professional relationship. To understand the perspective of your customers you must comprehend their type and develop a personalized relationship with them.

Technology

The new media age and advanced technology have made it easier for marketers to engage in a fruitful relationship with customers. The technology makes it effortless for the marketers to approach the right customers and the analytical tools can help you to make informed decisions regarding investing in customer service.

Data

To earn customers respect you must keep their expectations high and fulfill them. Make sure you have collected all essential statistical data that is obtained through thorough research, questionnaires, and surveys to deliver a personalized experience that cannot be matched by any of your rivals.

In today’s digital world, you are deprived of the live interaction with the customers but you can compensate for this by providing engaging and consistent customer service.

5.   Where Does CX Fall on Your Priority List?

If you can’t master the art of prioritization, you will probably fail at making any vital decision that pertains to the functioning and future of your company. If you want to play it safe and make fruitful bets on your customer service, make sure you are equipped with the apt skills. But all of this is futile if you don’t prioritize giving customers the best experience of their lives. Judy Weader has explicitly talked about this in her blog post.

She proposed three approaches to prioritize and improve the customer experience, which are:

Base decisions on facts and statistical pieces of evidence

Judy described how customer service’s relevant decisions are of grave concern and hold great importance in altering the paradigms of business activities. They have the power to change hefty amounts of revenue, provide job security to workers, and anticipate the future growth of the company. Wouldn’t executives and analysts like to have quantified data and research statistics to make an informed decision?

Two-by-Two Matrix

This concept illustrates the customer’s importance and importance to the business as two individual dimensions. She classified customer importance as pivotal drivers of customer experience, the number of customers facing a similar issue, and the impact of a common complaint affecting the use of product and service. This was positioned against importance to a business that referred to corporate decisions and strategies to improve revenue and minimize risks.

Unanimous Decisions

Judy raises an excellent point about how prioritization doesn’t happen to occur in a business rather it should be a set of choices made and conscious actions performed by the business team collectively. She shed light on how we need to prioritize aspects that are consistent and mutually agreed upon by the whole enterprise.

Conclusion

So, these were my favorite picks from the July’s pots regarding Customer Services and Customer Experience. I found all of these posts to be quite interesting and compelling. It is truly amazing how companies remain undeterred and resilient in these difficult times as we are caught unprepared by this Global Crisis. Comment below and share with us your favorite customer experiences. We would love to hear from you! Also, if you want your next post shared with our audience, just share the link below, in the comment section and we will feature you in our next session! Will meet you next month with some more amazing posts. Till then stay safe!

Top 5 CX Blog Posts in June 2020

Let’s continue where we left off from the last time; appraising the best customer service posts available on the web. In this series, I will share with you my Top 5 CX Blog Posts which include all the best customer service, customer success, and customer experiences stories I can find. I will not be following a particular theme so the focal topic of discussion will be reviews of the revamping of customer experiences online.

Like the previous session of the blog post series, I will provide an abridged edition and analysis of the articles that I uncovered in the previous month, June 2020. The following articles are those which I deemed the best for further exploration. If you want to assess these articles in detail, I will be adding their link and you can go check them out. So, let’s begin!

Which Customer Advocacy Type Suits You the Best?

Forrester conducted research that proved that 92% of the marketers claimed that when they interacted with customers after the sale, this improved marketing’s cachet and displayed marketer’s integrity to the customer. 79% of the customers, who were transformed into the marketer’s exponent showed a boost in upselling, cross-sell and it enhanced the value of the product. 

We must develop a credible relationship with the customers to make them feel valued. Laura emphasized on how beneficial it is for us to engage with customers and reciprocate well. It was fascinating how she also identified the perspective of customers and how they perceive the value granted to them. They may become advocates for the marketers but in their specific way.

In her blog post, Laura Ramos classifies the four different types of customer advocates and attributes them based on what they value:

  • Educators: These are the type of customers that tell about their personal experiences and share the best practices that they believe markets should adopt. Marketers usually tend to exploit this trait as they can extract some useful tips from and then turn them into an audience-appealing educational content.
  • Validators:  These customers are engaging, and they provide helpful input in terms of suggestions and feedbacks. They enjoy being included in your customer advisory group and would even publish reviews applauding your work.
  • Status Seekers: This group tends to be aspiring and determined to brand the companies. They thrive under the limelight provide by marketers.
  • Collaborators: This is a popular type. This type looks at those rare opportunities around them and takes joy in experimenting and unraveling new ideas. They might be inclined to invest their resources, but it is not recommended to attain their feedback on your future ventures.

You must define the customer’s advocacy that will optimize your marketing strategy and then you shall determine which type is best suited for you. The more interesting advice from Forrester’s study was “deliver value first and trust that customer references, referrals and other benefits will follow”. Make this your motto and you will succeed undoubtedly.

Is your Business Practice Ideal in the Time of Coronavirus?

Shervin Talieh’s blog post was so emotionally appealing and it highlighted the lack of empathy prevailing in these difficult times. He made compelling points through his post on this amazing site, Help Scout, and convinced people how we need to alter our motives from monetary gains to benefitting humanity. He even added these cogent examples that were desensitized acts of companies that made a solid case for his topic.

As customers, we may often feel that the ‘helpful’ customer service is condescending and offensive and this would be infuriating. For those incorporated in CX, the customer service usually appears to be an obvious aspect. So, as a customer, I can profoundly relate to all of the parts of the post.

For example, Ticketmaster’s response to Covid-19 was so disturbing and inhuman. How they refused to refund the tickets people spent hefty amounts on and revert this decision only after massive scrutiny. He emphasized frequently the significance of prioritizing small acts of humanity in this time of global pandemic and even illustrated many ways that people could easily follow.

I liked how Shervin connected with the human side of individuals through his post and educated us about how we can salvage our business by being honest with customers and sharing the state of business with them. Also, we should make our customers feel valued, appreciated, heard, and respected. Along with these, he shared some of his wonderful insights that will help you to maintain a healthy relationship with the customer.

I completely agree with Shervin and his understanding of acquired business practices in these tough times. He advised all of us to re-examine our KPIs and the metrics we value along with much other rightful guidance to be followed.

Tough Times for Tough Measures!

 spoke the heart out of customers when he said, “Nothing else will matter to your customers if their basic need to feel safe is not fulfilled by the experience you are delivering”. He is correct! In this global crisis, we can only gain the trust of customers if we make them feel safe and protected. So, in this post on People Metrics, Sean condensed his knowledge into five effective recommendations will you to re-establish your VoC program.

You have to make sure that you prioritize customer’s safety and you show them that you have taken all the essential precautions. Before everything, YOU MUST mention the safety question. Ask the customer if they felt safe during this visit and this will show your utmost concern. It was a brilliant suggestion to add an open-ended question after it. I mean the customer would fall in love with how much concerned you are for their safety and well-being. If someone replies that they did not feel safe, you must confide in them and ask how you could have improved. Investigate the root cause; this will be gold. Customers will see how devoted you are to make everything safe.

For any customer experience expert or VoC professional out there, make it your utmost priority to respond to the feedback and act on it. Credit the customers’ remarks as a holy mantra that you shall abide by as these tough times call for tough measures too!

Employees are the new priority!

I agree with Anette that no one was prepared for the imposed adversities of Covid-19 and it has been challenging for the employees to adjust with the temporarily altered work laws. As a worker, imagine no 100% motivation or encouragement for you as you won’t be physically present in the workplace.

This set of ways that Anette drafted and publicized through her blog post on CX Journey helps us to engage the workforce from home and create a virtual work environment that is closely related to the actual setting.

  • Maintain the organization’s culture and operate with correspondence to core values
  • Effective communication to share updates and keep the employees’ morale high
  • Providing feedback to improve the productivity of workers
  • Correct allocation of tools and resources
  • Rightful autonomy and empowerment as you have to trust the employees; you cannot monitor all their actions

Do not be discouraged by the setbacks as it is a difficult time for everyone so not all things will go according to your plan. I know up until now we have focused greatly on how important it is to establish a healthy relationship with the customer but think how can you create an effective relationship if your own company is broken? So, make sure your employees are satisfied and you have a good connection with them. Anette’s long-term customer experiences make her words credible and influential.

The Digital Takeover in Covid-19

Covid-19 crisis has taken a massive hit on the retail market and companies have suffered significant losses due to it. Jonathan Wharrad, through his blog post on Essential Retail, shared his insights about the incorporation of digital facilities in the businesses. He explained how companies all over are recovering by revamping their business models and adapting to modern techniques.

As you know in these challenging times, customers require assurance that all health and safety regulations are being followed. So, the companies are utilizing devices like cameras to monitor crowds and robots to kill the germs on food packaging and other surfaces. I mean how cool is that!

The popularity that contactless has garnered is amazing and its use is so beneficial for people. The most important constant through all of this hassle has been a connection with customers. Customers are prudent that the brands will engage with them and maintain their utility by developing a digital relationship with them and keeping track of their needs and suggestions.

Interestingly, this will redefine personalized marketing on a greater scale. But Jonathan has rightfully predicted that our reliance on technology will grow and he has warned the retailers to boost digital marketing so that brands can keep up will the shopping patterns of the customers and not lose them!

Conclusion

So, this is a wrap for my favorite Customer Experience and Customer Services blog posts for June 2020. To be honest, these articles were quite fascinating, and it is amazing how all companies are dealing with this massive global crisis for the first time and still managing to win customers’ hearts and validations. Comment below and share your thoughts and reviews. Also, if want to share your post with our audience then feel free to share the link in the comments and we will feature it in the next session! We will be back with the next batch of articles soon!

 

How do you measure First Call Resolution?

Before we discuss the best method to measure First Call Resolution (FCR), it is probably important to understand what it actually is and why it matters.

What is First Call Resolution?  

First Call Resolution in its simplest form it is a measurement used by most technical call centers to determine how often a customer’s call is resolved at the first interaction. FCR makes a difference for two different reasons.

  • Customers that call back, add additional volume to the queue on top of the volume already there. This impacts all consumers and depending on how you prioritize calls can significantly impact some callers.
  • Customers that have to call back for the same problem time after time tend to have a very negative customer experience overall and transitioning them to an advocate of the company is quite difficult.

Measuring FCR 

Now while it’s fairly easy to state that measuring FCR is simply a calculation of how often a call is resolved at the first interaction, measuring it gets a bit difficult as you can well imagine.  Depending on the CRM you are using you might be able to set different intervals. If you do not have a CRM at all, check out my guide on the best CRM for 2020 to get started.

Depending on how you are tracking customer issues – if you are able to correlate the customers to their issues you should be able to pull reports that inform you if/when a customer issue is re-opened and that metric would apply as a negative value. 

    In addition, you must account for the time of reports and the potential of customers re-opening closed issues incorrectly. As I’ve mentioned, you need to determine an appropriate time frame as customers will often utilize the same (fixed) issue when reporting a new issue regardless of if the issue has re-occurred or not. 

    If you do not have such a tool available or in house, measurement gets significantly more difficult.  In this case, I’d recommend that you at the very least get a simple and free CRM like HubSpot. The benefits you’ll see from this tool will make the investment of time well worth it.

    As a starting point, you should aim for 5-10 days as your target time frame for FCR.  Any reports after this period in time would count as a new issue. If you are unable to correlate customer reports by a CRM system, you might be able to pull information from your phone system or ACD/IVR system although this does get a little bit more difficult and complicated. 

    Customer Surveys 

    Now in addition to measuring from a customer report perspective, you can also utilize Customer Survey’s to determine what the first call resolution is from a customer perspective.  However, this is a very “subjective” measurement as it is very dependent on the customer’s mindset and viewpoint and might be unrelated to the question being asked. It’s important to realize and understand that tools like Customer Satisfaction Surveys and company NPS scores are backward-looking.

    Basically they consider something that has already happened. Companies and organizations interested in improving customer experience need to look at customer roadmaps and understand the pain-points/touchpoints for customers at each step. Once this understanding is in place throughout an organization, plans can be made to rectify problem issues and areas.

    Can FCR be Improved?

    There are ways to improve FCR and one of them might be a bit surprising. Simply put – remove the consumer from the phone. By using Omnichannel tools like LiveChat, clients have different ways to reach you and your team. It does not solve the problem of providing the wrong answer from the start – that is something only training can really address & that applies to employees as well as customer training.

    Chat however gives your consumers an alternative channel or path to your team. This is a benefit for several reasons:

    • If they are contacting you again for a follow up on an existing issue, by using chat, they can get quick answers to specific information and areas without impacting the overall phone queue.
    • Chatbots can also help in other ways. By using AI learning and knowledge, it is possible to provide consumers with answers to not just the question they are asking now, but also the question they will ask next!

    What is FCR Good for? 

    Is First Call Resolution a useful metric?  By itself, it probably isn’t.  FCR is dependent on historical data and trending.  The goal at all times should be to improve the FCR that you are providing to your customer as that ensures they are getting a speedy and useful resolution to all of their issues at their first call.

    So if your initial measurement of FCR is 80% (i.e. 80% of issues resolved at the first call) your goal should be to aim for 85% in a reasonable time frame, and so on as time progresses.  In addition to the goal of improving the FCR %’ age, you also need to determine and this is where your reports come in useful – why are your customers calling? 

    More than likely you will find that the 80/20 rule applies here – i.e. 80% of your contacts are due to 20 issues.  If you can focus on those 20 issues, you will drive down your overall quantity of issues quite significantly.

    Who Moved My Cheese? – A Review and Analysis of an Amazing Little Book

    I was recently invited to attend a leadership change seminar which considering the current climate is very appropriate! Now I have quite a bit of Change Management experience through my time learning ITIL. In fact, one of the earliest “fixes” I did at my current employer was the institution of a CAB process for all of the regular weekly changes.

    However, a CAB process is only one part of change and while an understanding of change management is important for everyone, I thought that there might be a better introduction I could provide to my own team on what change is.

    Luckily there was – namely the book Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard.

    Now you might remember both of them from another older book called The New One Minute Manager which was published quite a few years ago? In the One Minute Manager, some basic guiding principles for management were discussed. These were simple truths like providing feedback in private instead of calling out an employee in public.

    I’ll probably explore that book in more depth in a future post, to be honest as while it is somewhat dated, it has some excellent lessons for new managers and is presented in a very easy to understand manner.

    Who Moved My Cheese is presented in a similar manner but this time instead of teaching us management lessons explains how four characters deal with a love of cheese while living in a maze.

    The Characters of Who Moved My Cheese

    Our key players in this book are a bit of a mixed cast. We have Scurry and Sniff – two mice and Hem and Haw – two humans. While all of the characters share a love for “cheese”, how they choose to go about finding it on its loss is what makes the characters distinctive and interesting. When the cheese is moved Scurry and Sniff immediately search it out and start navigating the maze. Hem and Haw however spend lots of time simply bemoaning their fate and wondering why this change happened.

    Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life. It could be a good job, a loving relationship, money, or health. The very core message of the book is this: things constantly change so we must adapt. The quicker we adapt a change the more satisfied we will be with ourselves and life.

    The Lessons To Learn

    Who Moved My Cheese is a very simple book and one that is extremely easy to read. It is in fact a book my whole family read on a beach holiday and made for some very interesting conversations afterward! While the book is easy, there are some very powerful lessons that it delivers which are worth understanding.

    Change Happens

    They keep moving the cheese. Companies constantly change products and services based on changing customer demands and competition. Regardless of your role either as a consumer or employee, bemoaning your fate will not change it.

    Anticipate Change

    If you know that change is inevitable, it is much easier to be prepared to deal with changing circumstances. While the current COVID19 situation might be something no one could anticipate, other situations can be planned for. Even in this circumstance, possible disaster recovery scenarios could be considered which can minimize the overall impact on yourself and your business.

    And the next time that times are a-changing? Reflect on your previous mistakes and don’t let those changes surprise you! Recall that no matter how secure something feels, you should always expect change to happen.

    Because when you expect change (both gradual and sudden) to happen, you’ll better monitor and anticipate it early. And when you monitor and anticipate change early, you’ll find it easier to adapt to it quickly.

    Monitor Change

    Smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old. Understand and monitor the status of your business and operations through dashboards and reports. If you do not have this capability look at tools like HubSpot and their free CRM products to get started. Once this has been implemented, look at 80/20 (Pareto principle) analysis of your customers, their cases and issues, and even your sales to see where you need to focus.

    Adapt to Change

    The quicker you let go of old cheese the sooner you can enjoy new cheese. Simply remaining focused on what was will not get you to what can be. It is important to step away from an analysis and purview about the grass being greener, but rather deal with the current situation.

    Change

    Move with the cheese and come up with new and innovative solutions for problems. While this might sound simpler than it is, as you perform each of the previous steps to future changes you’ll find that this step comes simpler.

    Enjoy Change

    Once you’ve gotten used to changing with changing circumstances, you’ll actually be in a new paradigm. One where you actually start to embrace and enjoy change.

    When change happens, the first thing to realise is that how you react is your choice. The biggest barrier to change is inside you.

    The second thing to realise is that the best way to deal with change is to keep things simple, be flexible and move quickly. When change comes along simply change with it.

    Ask yourself:

    1. “Where am I likely to find the best opportunities, fighting this change or embracing it?”
    2. “What could my life look like if these new circumstances led to something even better than the ones that I’m leaving?” and
    3. ”What would I do if I wasn’t afraid I might fail?”

    The Lessons to Take Away

    Who Moved My Cheese is a simple book but one that is quite interesting and informative. Its ultimate conclusion? Change is inevitable. Anticipate it, adapt to it, learn to embrace and enjoy it. Do so and you won’t just suffer less stress and unhappiness, you’ll enjoy more success and fulfillment in every part of your life and your work. I’d definitely pick it up as it’s not that expensive and while its a very short read, the lessons you take away from it, will last you for years.

    The 80/20/30 Rule

    In a nutshell (and from a business point of view) – the 80/20 Rule specifies that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers.  I’ve talked about the 80/20 rule quite a few times over the years as it is something I’ve found to be valid regardless of the company or industry I find myself in.

    Often called the Pareto Principle after an Italian economist, the 80/20 rule while an estimate is generally remarkably accurate and can be postulated in a variety of areas – For example, you could:

    • speculate that 80% of your calls come from 20% of your products or issues
    • understand that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients
    • reflect on the fact that 20% of your bugs impact 80% of your customers!

    By focusing your efforts on the 20% you will see a dramatic decrease in your calls and cases (or again from a business perspective a massive increase in your revenue!).

    However – an amendment to the 80/20 rule is the 80/20/30 rule. 

    What is the 80/20/30 rule?

    This addition is something I stumbled across years ago and every now and then it comes back to me. To be honest, that is very much why I’m putting it down now as I’m sure it’s a caveat that many of you are not familiar with either and it is something I believe is worth knowing.

    The 80/20/30 rule expands on the 80/20 rule. While it agrees that 80% of your revenue comes from the top 20% of your customers … the important point it makes is that … 80% of your cost will come from the bottom 30% of your customers. 

    This means that most of your costs; for time, resources, support, attention, etc… is wasted supporting the 30% of your customers who are not generating any revenue for you, or at least not enough to give you a return on your investment!!  This is obviously not where you want to be spending your time or resources.

    Now, how do you determine if this is truly the case for you and I’m not just making it up? Well, this is where a CRM system comes into play. Perhaps a tool like HubSpot or something similar. By tracking the volume of cases and issues for your clients and correlating that against the revenue earned, you can easily see if this ratio applies to your business also. Once you’ve come to this realization, well then, it is incumbent upon you to “sort” your customers into different tiers based on these metrics and target your efforts appropriately to maximize your revenue from each group. 

    Your Top & Middle Tiers

    Your top 20% should get a significant focus of course as they are bringing in the bulk of your revenue. 

    The next big 50% chunk should get some attention too as you want to transition these customers up into the next level … These are the clients you want to establish a partnership with as a trusted consultant and provider of solutions.

    By getting to know these clients better, as well as their business’ needs and requirements, you will develop a customer relationship that will last for years. This connection will generate on-going revenue for your business and continued solutions for your client, hence a life-long customer relationship. Think about customer journey maps and other similar tools here to understand where the disconnects are happening and how you can remove pain points to improve their overall customer experience.

    Perhaps something worth exploring is chat and chatbot solutions to help improve overall throughput within your team? These types of solutions are often available with CRM systems but can also be purchased separately through a specialist chat solution provider. In this case, they can be integrated into your CRM solution through APIs ensuring you do not lose visibility of your overall customer interaction.

    Your Bottom Tier

    But with the bottom 30%, you might want to change your strategy as they are costing your business money vs. generating money for you.  Look at options like service agreements where they pay per call or perhaps even an annual support fee which would balance out the cost of their frequent service requests.  NO ONE likes to lose a customer, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to keep them all either!

    SalesForce vs. HubSpot: A Side-by-Side Comparison (2020)

    In the year 2020, no matter what the size of your company or business the selection of the best client management software is not an easy task. I’ve just created this 6-Round head-on-head comparison for SalesForce vs. HubSpot which are two of the best options out there. Let’s see who takes the lead.

    Many questions went through my mind while selecting the best CRM system. I asked how exactly I could improve marketing results with customer satisfaction. How can I opt for the best contact management software? In the end I managed to get the most of the best CRM system I selected for myself and I used the same selection criteria I’m using for this comparison.

    The selection of the best client management software is no doubt an investment that guarantees the growth of your company and engages more clients. I’ve talked about Why Does the Right CRM Make a Difference in an earlier post and I’ve also talked about The 5 Best CRM Systems in 2020 so I’m not going to go into too much depth about CRMs in general here.

    HubSpot vs SalesForce

    There are as many differences between these two products as there are similarities.

    HubSpot sells software specially designed for content management and search engine optimization under inbound marketing.

    Salesforce is one of the cloud computing services that focus on customer relationship management (CRM). It connects the different customers and partners by using cloud technology. HubSpot enables small businesses to grow fastly with the lead generation whereas Salesforce possesses the attributes to streamline sales operations.

    CRM is a model that automates and organizes marketing and sales for better customer service. CRM allows your team to maintain a relationship strategy by increasing shared intelligence and functionality. In short, I can say that companies manage their interactions with present and future customers under customer relationship management (CRM).

    This detailed SalesForce vs. HubSpot comparison will help you out.  Remember, the comparison is based on the top six features you need to look for. It is not an easy task to compare two of the best client management software, but taking the features one by one can make things a lot easier. It will be a guide for your ideas to make a clear understanding of the right direction for solid reasons.

    In this post comparing SalesForce vs. HubSpot we will be looking at the following key areas:

    1. Features
    2. Reporting and Analytics
    3. Marketing and Automation
    4. Cost
    5. Implementation and Support
    6. Scalability

    ROUND 1. Features

    Salesforce Features

    • It follows the lead process and shares an organized contact list with the team.
    • It assigns various tasks to the team and oversees the schedules.
    • It manages the analytics and sales for future forecasts and completes all contract requirements.

    HubSpot Features

    • HubSpot learns about customer needs and creates targeted campaigns to enhance customer service.
    • It also examines new prospects for the support and products under the lead segmentation.
    • HubSpot boosts your revenue by targeting the sales and it is the core module of the system.
    • It also manages the contacts and sends email templates along with books the meetings.

    Round 1 Winner?

    If your target is the sales and content marketing field then try HubSpot as it better than SalesForce and easier to use.

    ROUND 2. Reporting & Analytics

    Salesforce Reporting & Analysis

    • Salesforce is always on time in terms of analytics and reporting as a small delay can cause the information to become outdated.
    • It provides the proper analytics dashboards and continuously receives and delivers the reports without any delay.
    • The output of the analytics dashboard is that users can access it and operate it easily with the best features of intuitive controls.

    HubSpot Reporting & Analysis

    • The reporting and analytics of HubSpot evaluate the progress and marketing of the sale.
    • It comprised of reports, analytics tools, dashboards. HubSpot analytics tools do not provide a deeper idea of customer behavior and marketing trends.
    • It does not give deeper insight and metrics relating to the performance of the business by combing the CRM software.
    • It does not properly guide relating to the traffic tags or UTM parameters on your traffic data

    Round 2 Winner?

    HubSpot needs improvement in reporting and analytics. Thus, Salesforce is more beneficial in terms of Reporting and analytics.

    ROUND 3. Marketing Automation Platform

    Salesforce Automation

    • It is not easy to get accustomed to the software system and personal touch disappears with automation.
    • A high level of cost is included in the installation and for handling the system due to which it doesn’t increase productivity.
    • It is very difficult to every time update the system and deleting the irrelevant entries.
    • It also not easy to compete for the market advantage in terms of revenue and cost.

    HubSpot Automation

    • Through HubSpot, you can attract the visitors, build the community, and convert leads as it is a marketing automation software.
    • It has no coding issues and most of the organizations already using it are familiar with it.
    • It enables content management systems to move in the right direction across multiple channels.
    • The team creates add-ons and peripherals at the right time for the system. HubSpot sends an email at the right time to your potential and valuable clients.

    Round 3 Winner?

    HubSpot offers better and simpler automation as compared to Salesforce with better tools and standards. As it is also easy to use at the user interface and anyone can access it easily even through the mobile app. The key point is that it is simple and easy to setup.

    ROUND 4. Cost

    Salesforce Cost

    • There is no free plan of Salesforce for the benefit and convenience of customers.
    • Salesforce tends to force and pressurize you to purchase preferably their yearly plans.
    • They use hidden tactics to attract customers and they start paying for Sales Cloud at $150/user/month for their Lightning Enterprise plan.

    HubSpot Cost

    The major feature of CRM is the fact that it is free in HubSpot and starter plans are as follows

    • Service hub: starts from $50 – $1,200 per month
    • HubSpot CMS: starts from $300 per month
    • Marketing hub: starts from $50 – $3,200 per month
    • Sales hub: starts from  $50 – $1,200 per month

    Round 4 Winner?  

    If your budget is low then you should go for the HubSpot as it also provides the Free (Forever Plan)

    ROUND 5. Implementation & Support

    Salesforce Implementation & Support

    • Salesforce is expensive and its setup and configuration are intricate. Only a plan of 14-day free trial offers by the Salesforce and there is no free CRM
    • It asks for the add-ons payment and cluttered interface makes tasks complex.
    • The Salesforce customer support is limited and most of the queries remain unanswered due to the weak support system.
    • The internet connection should be stable as it relies on it. So, for the persistency of business and CRM support connection must be secured.

    HubSpot Implementation & Support

    • HubSpot provides the feature of free sign up and you can import all your contacts and can match the existing standards and properties. Hubspot easily integrates with Gmail and other mail clients.
    • HubSpot keeps the same software as your company grows and track the leads. It simplifies the administrative tasks by saving the contact information and emails following the CRM.
    • In HubSpot, CRMs can collect and oversee the data including the sales dashboards. Personal performance can also be evaluated and monitored.

    Round 5 Winner?

    HubSpot wins this round, not because SalesForce is not capable, but rather due to its ease of use. SalesForce can do almost anything you want, but to implement those solutions you need a dedicated team working on the solution. HubSpot by contrast can be quickly and easily configured with little to no knowledge and still be a useful solution.

    ROUND 6. Scalability

    Salesforce Scalability

    • Salesforce has the potential to design and scale the teams along with the thousands and millions of the users
    • Salesforce scalability increases with the increase in the needs of the customer.
    • It supports the merchandising, marketing, and artificial intelligence that maximizes the B2C and B2B user integration.

    HotSpot Scalability

    • You can start with the free plans but as companies grow, they might need a more robust solution for their B2B and B2C requirements.
    • Sometimes HubSpot develops workflows as confusing and features are a little bit overwhelming.
    • Extra programming is required for integration in HubSpot and CSS knowledge is though required

    Round 6 Winner?

    Salesforce is better than the HubSpot as far as scalability is concerned, but what I observed that both needs the improvement

    Verdict

    It’s a tough competition as both, Salesforce and HubSpot are contributing more and more to the industry. Both have attracted millions of clients from all over the world. Both client management software have an extensive and reliable history. I’ve decided based on minor differences that HubSpot is better than Salesforce, especially for small and medium businesses. This does not mean that Salesforce isn’t a wise choice, it’s just there is a better and cheaper option out there.

    The 5 Best CRM Systems in 2020

    In an earlier post, I talked a bit about the creation and set up of a CRM for a friend working within the medical sector. That post and task got me thinking a lot about why I selected the CRM that I did. I realized that I spent a lot of time searching for the right solution and if a “best CRM systems” post in 2020 had been available to me, I might have saved myself some effort. So I thought I’d share some of that research and thinking with you here.

    Over the course of my rather long career in CX, I’ve had the pleasure and pain of working with many different CRMs. Some of them are better than others as I’m sure you’re well aware. So without further ado, here’s my list of the 5 best CRM systems in 2020.

    What is a CRM?

    A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system efficiently collects data about the company-customer interaction and this information comes from a variety of sources including integrated social media handles, official websites, support logs, and testimonials, and reviews from the customers. The central database of the CRM system keeps this information for the company to analyze data for optimal decision making while addressing customers’ concerns.

    In this post we’re going to be looking at five different CRM systems and will try to provide an unbiased opinion on them.

    SystemProsCons
    HubSpotConvenient connectivity to sales, service, and marketing hubs
    Integrated tools for tracking pipelines The efficient activity log of interactions from different sources
    Free CRM services
    Developers are working on introducing in-depth features as the platform is relatively new
    Customization issues for only large businesses
    ZohoNew business leads, client accounts, and client meetings
    Easy lead conversion
    Easy tracking of deadlines
    Convenient access to read-only data to all team members
    Occasional bugs when entering data
    The upper limit on modules should be elevated  
    AgileAdding contacts (automatically or manually) is easy via on-site form filling
    Banners for important updates for users
    Easy email reporting and access to CTR open rate
    No open HTML section for email builder
    There should be more help documents for optimal campaign
    StreakFree Gmail add-on
    No email clogging
    Convenient customization
    You have to manually add the email addresses
    Searching keywords needs improvement (for box correspondence items)
    SalesForceEnsures data integrity
    Efficient automation
    Simple User Interface
    Easy customization
    Easy to navigate mobile app
    Data mapping and visualization needs improvement
    A bit expensive on a shoestring budget

    Our list of the top 5 Best CRM systems includes only those platforms that are suitable for most small to medium businesses. 

    1. Best Overall: HubSpot (Optimal Scalability)

    No matter how small your business is, hopefully, it’ll grow with the right strategy and that is why HubSpot is there for you. With HubSpot, you can start with only a couple of modules or the whole enchilada. The best part is that it’s all free! HubSpot lets you have a scalable CRM system for the long run. Some features are:

    Interactive Visual Dashboard

    HubSpot offers a highly interactive dashboard to let you see live updates of the sales funnel. It lets you track performance and schedule appointments within minutes.

    Automatic Logs

    HubSpot efficiently updates log of social media, call, and email interactions with the customer and you can easily sync it with Outlook and Gmail. You can easily tie Gmail accounts into your ticket feeds helping you import customer contact information in one click.

    Timeline View

    The follow up become fairly easy with the timeline view of HubSpot CRM. You can not only send personalized emails but you can also set schedules and access all actionable insights.

    Marketing Hub

    The HubSpot Marketing Hub allows you to create templates for email, optimize landing pages, and analyze SEO-based ROI.

    Office 365 and G-Suite Compatibility

    One of the biggest HubSpot features is its seamless compatibility with third-party platforms including Office 365 and G-Suite.

    2. Best Cloud-Based CRM System: Zoho

    Zoho is something I used when I was looking for a free version of Office but word processing and spreadsheets are definitely not the only things Zoho does. They call Zoho CRM the “Remote-Ready” CRM – from a company with an incredible portfolio from collaborative apps to accounting tools. If you are not comfortable with self-hosting you need to consider Zoho – the self-hosted CRM system.

    Multichannel Online CRM

    Zoho extracts customer date from live chat, social media, calls, emails, and other online sources.

    SalesSignals

    The Zoho SalesSignals include customer notifications and serve with real-time analytics. It lets you assign the team members individual targets while you can use the central dashboard to monitor the progress of each team member.

    Sales Process Automation

    You can not only build sales processes but can also automate these processes using Zoho CRM. Besides, for different customers, you can create distinct portals.

    Develop and Integrate Custom Solutions

    You can use the Zoho libraries and REST API to develop as well as integrate custom solutions.

    Zoho Marketplace

    The Zoho Marketplace offers scores and extensions you can add to your Zoho CRM dashboard to optimize its functionality.

    3. Best for Automation – Agile

    Agile takes the lead when it comes to extensive automation. The pricing of this CRM system is competitive – $8.99/month as we write – and specifically targets small businesses.

    Extensive Database

    Agile lets you store the details of approximately 10k contacts or companies.

    2-Way Email Tracking

    Agile supports tracking of 2-way integrated emails in addition to custom deal milestones, and lead scoring.

    Builder Tools

    To facilitate marketing teams, Agile provides builder tools. Marketers can use these tools for email templates, forms, and website landing pages.

    Automate Tasks and Monitoring

    You can monitor social media and automate tasks for marketing and the procedure is fairly convenient.

    Plugin Optimization

    Agile lets you use different plugins to optimize the functionality of the CRM system. You can respond to reports by using canned responses.

    4. Best User-Friendly CRM: Streak

    There is no need to worry if you aren’t comfortable with the modern-day complex CRM systems. Streak is the one you need to consider if you are looking for an easy-to-use CRM system in 2020. Streak is a CRM I’ve really enjoyed using as I’m a huge Gmail fan and user.

    While I ended up selecting HubSpot for my personal project and Freshdesk for a recent corporate rollout – it was not due to Streaks’ capabilities, but simply the price.

    Built on the Gmail App

    You can transform the Gmail interface into the CRM system instantly because all you need is to install the Streak extension.

    Easy Collaboration

    You can easily share files to collaborate with the team members. Managing deals, task scheduling, and reminders, and supporting queues are easy with Google Calendar.

    A Mixture of Efficient Features

    Webhook API access, shared pipelines, mail tracking, and mail merge are the valuable features available with Streak CRM. Thanks to Gmail integration, Streak easily uses Google Web Apps. It is also compatible with school and personal Gmail accounts and environments such as Product Development and Sales.

    5. Best Binge – SalesForce

    If you can pay a bit higher to the benefit of your business in the long run then SalesForce CRM is definitely an option to consider. There is, after all, a good reason for it being the biggest CRM in the world.

    Professional Editing

    The editing features on SalesForce are exceptional, for instance, campaign management, lead scoring (rules-based), and automation of the B2B market. SalesForce offers customizable sales process, contact management, and account management.

    Mobile App

    The SalesForce mobile app lets you track customer interaction anywhere anytime. The dashboard is configurable and you can access reports with real-time insights.

    Convenient Collaboration

    You can establish convenient collaboration within the company and share recommendations and files easily. SalesForce is also compatible with third-party platforms including Lightning Sync and Google Apps.  

    Conclusion

    Hopefully, this list is a good start on your CRM journey. While it is possible to migrate from one CRM to another it is often not as easy as you might think (despite what their salespeople will tell you).

    At my current company, we recently went through a 4-month nightmare migration which saw our support portal unavailable for days at a time. In that case, it was simply moving one SalesForce instance into another.

    So if I can give you one piece of advice it is this.

    Do your homework well. Try to get some trial accounts organized so that you can test different CRMs and make sure they integrate into the way you work, not the other way around! When picking the best CRM systems for your organization it’s important to ensure that it suits the way you work.

    The 7 Benefits of AI in Customer Service

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for a while in the realm of SciFi. However, we are seeing it more and more in the world of business. Shown as a negative in the Terminator franchise, it does also have some very positive connotations.

    As we keep adding more and more features to AI technology, its benefits become more visible and spreadable. Customer service is one of the areas that can rely heavily on AI if set up correctly. As customer service feeds into the entire organization, the benefits of AI can quickly be realized by the entire organization.

    With businesses moving online to an ever greater degree, customer service plays an even larger role. Currently, due to the impact of COVID-19 around the world, companies are looking for tools that can help them. This could be due to being forced to furlough employees, but also an even greater demand for online infrastructure. Systems and companies that previously required manual intervention, need AI to move forward.

    The following benefits are some of the most important for AI in customer service. However, limiting them to just a few of them would not reflect the huge effect that AI is having in this area. In addition, every day, we can see how new ways to use it emerge.

    1. Handling Large Volumes of Data

    As the interaction with customers grows, so does the generation of data about them. But obtaining such huge amounts of data would be useless without AI. Humans can’t process endless amounts of data. Due to that, AI is an invaluable tool.

    By processing data with AI, it is possible to obtain powerful insights and predictions about customers’ behaviors. This allows creating targeted marketing campaigns and solving the most complicated issues about their inquiries and complaints. It is important to have a powerful and robust CRM in your corner for the data that you are gathering as Excel sheets will simply not cut it.

    2. Reduce Average Handling Time (AHT)

    This is one of the most remarkable benefits of AI in customer service. Such importance comes from the customers themselves who used to complain about the time they had to wait to obtain service and support.

    Nowadays, chatbots answer basic inquiries and requests immediately. Customers also get reminders and notifications in advance. They can receive their products in 24 hours or less and can track them easily through delivery systems and programs. Some services and intangibles products are delivered online, and clients can enjoy them almost immediately too.

    3. Customize Products Offerings to Drive Up Sales

    Customization is the new frontier of customer service. As customers already know they can get it, they demand it more and more.

    What looks even more promising is the fact that customization can reach many levels of service. For instance, it may start with personalized emails that consider preferences, tastes, geo-localization, previous purchases, and more. Then, chatbots and customer support agents can use it to improve the interaction with them.

    4. Effective Omnichannel Presence

    The presence of multiple channels that allow interacting with customers in many ways brought many positive changes. Firstly, customers seem to be always reachable in one way or another. Secondly, most of those channels are friendly networks that encourage customers to keep in touch with many sources.

    But multiple channels also brought new challenges as they represent a lot of data and channels to cover. In this sense, AI became the ideal way to handle them all. Firstly, AI can rapidly collect and process data from multiple sources.

    Secondly, AI allows centralizing files about each client and their interactions through different channels. With this information, it is possible to provide superb customer service that takes into consideration all the communications from the customer.

    By having a single CRM at the backend that can gather all of the information needed, all of your agents will have access. In addition to this, CRMs like Hubspot provide powerful reporting and dashboards. This lets you better manage your customers and their expectations regardless of the channel.

    5. Positive and Seamless Experience with a Company

    As companies implement AI tools through their operations, customers have the opportunity to improve their interaction. This is to say that when every touchpoint includes an AI, the entire process becomes easier to handle.

    For instance, one customer can receive personalized emails with recommendations that target his unique preferences. Then, the customer tracks its reception by using AI platforms that allow him to verify when he will receive the products.

    After that, the customer can provide feedback and reach customer support through chatbots. In the end, the customer obtains all the services he needed to buy, receive, and use the products in a very positive and seamless way.

    Leading companies like Amazon cover the entire process in this way. And every day, more and more businesses implement more steps to cover the same processes.

    6. Optimize Resources

    When businesses use AI in customer service areas, their resources automatically reach an optimal balance. Such optimization comes in many ways. For instance, if a company installs chatbots, a customer support agent can be more efficient in handling complicated inquiries, requests, and complaints.

    Another example comes from the data that some retailers collect to fulfill their stores. They can select what they predict and base their decisions on the data they collect from customers.

    In the customer service sector, there has long been a fear of AI and ML removing jobs. While this is true to some extent, it must be realized that in reality, it’s not about job removal but rather job creation. AI at the current time is not intelligent enough to be left fully unbridled. It will require human intervention. What is much more likely to happen is that AI will replace simple, menial tasks and jobs, letting human operators focus on more complex tasks.

    7. 24/7 Availability

    Offering 24/7 availability is particularly important for global companies as they have customers from all over the world in different time zones. Moreover, customers have new patterns of behavior because they use different schedules to sleep and work. Consequently, they need different ways to communicate and interact with customer service areas.

    AI is the solution because this technology can be connected and interacting 24/7 during the entire year. By allowing AI to respond first either through chatbots or self-directed knowledgebase queries, customers continue to receive service, while staff are offline.

    Conclusion

    AI is coming. It’s somewhat inevitable. While the impact will be felt in many industries and businesses, from a customer perspective it is almost entirely positive. This technology is included in almost anything we handle now. And customer service is one of the most benefitted. After all, the goal of its development and evolution was to improve people’s life.

    If we had to choose the most remarkable benefit we would definitively go for the collection and handle of data. This is definitively making a substantial change in the way we do business. Every other AI development relies in one way or another on the use of the data.

    The benefits that we mention here are among the most visible. Certainly, they also affect many other areas too because success in customer service implies benefits for the entire business.

    Can a Call Center Help in a Pandemic?

    Firstly I hope that everyone is staying safe and sane during this very weird and bizarre time in the world! What is currently going on is something no-one expected & how people have generally responded is nothing short of miraculous. There are of course exceptions out there – I’m looking at you toilet paper hoarders – but otherwise, I’d say in most cases people are acting reasonably well. However, how people are behaving does not really explain how a call center comes into the equation does it? Well, stick with me.

    Now one group that is going above and beyond during this crisis is probably the medical profession. I think regardless of whether we’re talking about doctors, nurses, admin staff or even cleaners in the hospitals, those individuals have literally been putting their lives on the line to help us. I’m lucky enough to know a doctor and in one small way, I believe that I was able to help also.

    The Situation

    You see, many people are frightened by what is going on. Normally the doctor would be the perfect person to speak to for advice and information. But when we’re talking about a disease that seems to be this contagious, people are staying away from doctors’ offices. This tends to only increase the level of fear and confusion.

    Now my friend wanted to help address this gap. So he came up with a very innovative solution. With potential clients and patients being frightened of meeting a doctor in person, he thought going virtual would be a good solution. However, this was going to be a free service so the overall cost was definitely a factor. Knowing that I was involved in customer management and experience he reached out to me for some guidance and help. So we came up with a strategy.

    We basically split it up into three different parts. A website, a call center and a CRM. Coming from a corporate background, this might have been overkill, but I thought we could do it all at a reasonable budget. Luckily I was wrong!

    Website

    Create and launch a website to inform people of what he was doing. Why he was doing it and how it could be of use to them. The website was not only used as promotion though. It was an entry point with an integrated form that could be filled in. This ensured the doctor had the required information they needed to help. We didn’t really get into SEO and advertisement as that was not the function. He was basically going to promote it through his own local channels and with the current panic, had no concern about traffic.

    Call Center Phone Services

    Potential patients and interested parties needed a way of getting in touch. Here’s where things got a bit interesting. I found a company called MightyCall that offered a cloud-based IVR solution. This was a US-based company, but one that had operations in Canada so it was ideal. The best part – they had a special offer for Health Care professionals and offered their service for FREE for three months as a response to Covid19.

    This made things super easy in terms of decision making. I’m happy to say that the setup was exceptionally simple and the features were more than I could have asked for. I was able to quickly configure an ACD/IVR for my friend with defined operating hours and voicemail services. In this time of social distancing, having the system point to individual cell phone numbers was super simple and easy. In addition setting it up as round-robin ensured that no one, single call taker got overwhelmed.

    For anyone looking for a simple solution, I cannot recommend MightyCall enough. It is a great solution for a call center and can be easily expanded as requirements change.

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

    Now, this was something my friend didn’t really understand that well until I showed him. By integrating the form into a simple CRM – I used Hubspot because it offered a free option – I was able to get all of the information into a single location.

    However, the CRM had other benefits. In addition to providing a single source of truth, it gave us the capability of assigning work based on skill and availability. Added to this was the fact that repeat calls/emails could now be tracked and a record maintained of previous interactions. It all started to make sense really quickly.

    As I continued to play with Hubspot I became even more impressed with its ease of use and capabilities. As someone that uses SalesForce on a daily basis, I’m used to complex systems. Similarly, with the time I’d spent on Freshdesk over the years, I was familiar with simple ticketing systems (well, Freshdesk is simple to use but deceptively powerful).

    Hubspot however, seemed to be a perfect, happy medium. It provided a fully functional CRM, but one that didn’t require hours, days and weeks of study. In fact, I probably had it up and running for the purposes we needed inside of an hour. If you’re looking for a great CRM at a great price (you can’t go wrong with free!), I’d really urge you to look at Hubspot.

    Now we didn’t go the full-service desk route with integrated Chat and Chatbots. That’s potentially a step we’ll take in the future as this offering grows. However, it’s really nice to see how technology can help in a really measurable way. For me, it’s even more important as I can say that I potentially helped save lives. Like the MasterCard add, that’s something that is truly priceless.

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