Guest Post: How to Manage Your Remote Customer Service Team

The internet has made it possible for businesses to sell to anyone, anywhere in the world – yet at the same time, the internet has shifted power to consumers as they can get information on any product or service from multiple vendors and compare prices. In order to win business and succeed in this type of competitive environment, you must take a customer-centric approach and support your customers with the best possible customer service possible, even if that team’s scattered around the world.

That brings us to our next point. How do you manage a remote support team? How can you optimize support to cover all 24 hours of the day? Aside from logistics, how can you keep everyone productive and accountable? How can you make sure nothing slips through the cracks? While it may seem like a daunting task, successfully managing your remote customer service can be done well by following the below tips.

 

people-office-group-team

 

1. Hire the Right People

Working remotely first appears to be a great opportunity for most individuals. You get to work from the environment you’re most comfortable in, there’s more flexibility in your work schedule, and you don’t have to deal with hours of commuting, to name a few. Yet working remotely is a skill in itself and it’s important to look for people who don’t just like the idea of working remotely, but can actually work efficiently with limited supervision.

To ensure that you hire the right remote staff, see if they’ve worked remotely before. Perhaps they have experience freelancing or running their own business. These two characteristics can demonstrate the applicant’s level of accountability, and often is an indicator of a hardworking employee you can trust. You’ll also want to make sure to ask the following questions to make sure they’re the right fit for how you like to manage your teams:

  • What kind of work schedule do you prefer?
  • Have you worked from a co-working space before?
  • Can you attend regular meetings via platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts?
  • What are some out-of-the-ordinary things you’ve done to help customers and make them happy?

 

2. Choose the Right Customer Service Software

Along with hiring the right staff, having the right customer service software in place is essential for successfully running a remote customer service team. The right help desk software will automate the way customer inquiries or issues are submitted, handled and followed up on, making it easy for your remote team to support customers efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, your team will be given access to a wealth of data which allows them to track conversations, monitor client relationships, and revisit past communications with a specific customer at-a-glance. Having this type of organized, easy-to-access information makes it possible for your support team to provide the high-quality assistance your customers deserve.

And while giving your team the tools they need to succeed may be important for you as a manager, let’s not forget the value that customer service software provides you. Such software allows you to avoid micromanaging your team (which can be time consuming and counterproductive when your team’s scattered across the globe) because you’re always in the loop. From details like number of calls taken each day and numbers of issues resolved to hours worked by each staff member and any high-priority issues that need addressing, you’ll have a pulse on the health of your team so you can make any necessary adjustments and fix productivity issues as soon as possible.

 

3. Utilize Knowledge Bases

Did you know that 62% of global consumers have stopped doing business with a brand or organization due to a poor customer service experience? Make sure you don’t become a part of this statistic and create engaging customer service experiences that not only assist your customers, but make them comfortable making a repeat purchase with your company.

In order to achieve this level of trust among your customers, your customer support team will need to have access to as much company information as possible. Even your best customer support representative will come across a question that requires a bit more research. And when that representative is a remote worker, getting answers quickly isn’t as easy as walking over to you and asking a question. This problem gets further compounded when you factor in the time differences between you and each of your remote workers.

This is where a robust knowledge base comes in. By having information in one easily-accessible place, your team always has access to the answers they need to best support your customers. You can create private wiki for this type of knowledge share or create your own internal customer service knowledge base. But keep in mind that the creation of this knowledge base shouldn’t just be left to you and other managers and executives.

Utilize your customer service team to help with its creation and encourage them to update it and add answers on an ongoing basis. Thinking of your knowledge base as a living, breathing document that is constantly changing will give you an unparalleled resource to use for years to come.

 

4. Keep Your Team Productive

One of the most common concerns of individuals managing remote teams is how to keep the team productive and accountable. Fortunately, with the many technologies and platforms available for task management, your support team can be just as productive working from home as they would be in the office. Here are a few types of technologies to look into:

  • Messaging apps – Open communication is a must when managing a remote team. You need to be able to easily share questions and feedback so team members can share what they accomplished the day before, what they’re working on, and any roadblocks in their way. This keeps everyone accountable for making progress each day and keeps your team in the loop about what’s going on.
  • Video conferencing apps – While messaging apps can be helpful for quick check-ins, it can be good to have regular face-to-face meetings via video conferencing apps. Being able to talk to your team and see them visually can help to foster feelings of positivity, support, and encouragement.
  • Task management platforms – It can be hard to manage the tasks of one team, let alone one that’s remote and possible scattered around the world. To increase team cohesion and make sure there are no overlapping duties or individuals encroaching on the work of others, task management apps like Trello are a great option for easily identifying and staying on top of short-term activity, long-term goals and overall progress.

Remote work comes with its challenges, but with the right strategies and tools, you can build and grow a productive and effective customer service team that helps your customers – and your business – succeed.

 

About the author

 jill

Jill Phillips is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps

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Oracle Service Cloud Announces New Releases

Oracle Service Cloud announces new releases for enhanced functionality in Web Customer Service, Contact Center including the Agent Browser User Interface, Knowledge Advanced, Policy Automation, and the Oracle Service Cloud Platform. Included in he release is a new Internet of Things (IoT) Accelerator, which provides a bi-directional integration with Oracle IoT Cloud.

The integration helps customers seamlessly interface with IoT technology so that service events and alerts received from smart devices can be consumed, as well as appropriate action taken by agents, within the Oracle Service Cloud desktop. Field Service seems to be an area where IoT can easily provide true use cases that can quickly garner ROI. It will be interesting to see how vendors incorporate IoT in the customer experience. The Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator will allow internet enabled devices connectivity to Oracle Service Cloud. Accelerators are a collection of sample code, sample workflows, and best practices, documentation, and design guidance to assist customers with seamless updates or integrations with Oracle Service Cloud.Oracle Service Cloud Releases

Oracle Service Cloud also provided a sneak preview of Live Chat. What is the capability really about? Sneak preview allows chat agents to see what a customer is typing before they hit submit. Sneak Preview is designed to enhance agent productivity and bring value to the contact center by decreasing handle times. By allowing the agent to see what the customer is typing ahead of time they can begin to formulate an answer faster, which results in faster responses, and faster conversations. And Live Chat is now a fully supported channel; contacts are automatically matched and the contact and chat workspaces are integrated.

In addition, the release includes analytics performance enhancements with caching for frequent reporting and better notifications for report authors. Modern gauges are added to create much more intuitive and modern reports, allowing users to interpret data quicker, as well as new rendering options, to remove unnecessary components in reports, crisper rendering of charts, and a new modern layout theme. In addition, there is a new dashboard concept—specifically designed for that 5-second-glance overview for busy customer service leaders.

These at-a-glance infolets are available out-of-the-box and contain a number of single metric charts with real-time key performance indicators like open incidents by severity, SLA, First Contact Resolution, new incidents by channel, and so forth. Contact Center Directors can also schedule and send the infolet dashboard by email to key stakeholders at regular intervals. This is key as the more senior stakeholders are more involved, the more they begin to realize the importance of customer experience and customer service to the overall health, stability and revenue generation capabilities of their company.

In addition, the the agent browser UI has gone through a significant performance enhancement to support high interactivity and now supports a much broader range of analytics capabilities. The agent browser user interface is now a single version, meaning it is compatible with versions of Oracle Service Cloud all the way back to May 2015 and upgrades will now happen with zero downtime.  The UI theme has been updated for consistency across all Oracle Cloud portfolio applications. Knowledge authors can now use the Agent Browser User Interface to author and edit knowledge articles with a new HTML editor with HTML5 support.

As the race to provide the best customer experience continues, brands must choose between more single point solutions vs large system platforms. It will be interesting to see the choices of brands and how the customer experience evolves to meet the brand promise.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Drive Awesome Customer Experiences

www.constellationr.com

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Genesys & Interactive Intelligence Acquisition Is Complete

Genesys has completed the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence. Why acquire Interactive Intelligence? The idea is that the addition of Interactive Intelligence will enable Genesys to accelerate its mission of powering the best customer experiences in more industries and more countries – over any channel in the cloud and on premises. The acquisition also means that Genesys now has over 10,000 customers in more than 100 countries supporting over 25 billion customer interactions per year. Genesys will continue to offer support and invest in best-in-class solutions, including PureCloud®, Communications as a Service℠ (CaaS) and Customer Interaction Center™ (CIC), in addition to our core Genesys products.

In terms of how the company is run, Paul Segre will continue to serve as CEO, providing leadership that best supports the needs of customers, partners and employees. Genesys will maintain its headquarters in Daly City, as well as key offices in Indianapolis, Indiana and Durham, North Carolina.

This acquisition is one of many that are being seen in the customer service and customer experience world. It gives Genesys a larger customer base and integrates many of the features and functions Interactive Intelligence brought to the table. As customer experience becomes one of the most important differentiators in a brand’s overall experience, choosing the right vendor to deliver on complex customer service and customer experience interactions will be key. While there are vendors that are part of a larger marketing, sales and service suite, there are other vendors who remain focused on the customer service marketplace. Time will tell how organizations see the need to go with solutions that service part of an organization vs having the capability to connect to the back office as well as other lines of business.

Below is a snapshot of Genesys’s capabilities:

Overview of Genesys

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

www.constellationr.com

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Constellation ShortList™ for Field Service Management

Constellation has announced the Constellation ShortList vendors in Field Service Management which provides the best capabilities to help employees serve customers. Field customer service occurs when resources or services are deployed onsite at a client. Field service management software enables companies to be flexible and nimble when providing service. These offerings are great at detecting problems before having to send someone to repair or fix a customer’s issue. In the event they must send someone, they can communicate in real-time with customers, provide on-site information about products and repair issues while offering relevant and timely service.

These offerings help companies improve their operational efficiencies by optimizing work-order routing and technician scheduling, which results in quicker resolution of issues. Analytics used in field services often optimize when services are deployed and how assets are tied to deployment of resources. They have advanced scheduling systems that let the customer know when the technician or field-service employee will arrive within a reasonable window of time. Helping provide an excellent customer experience is the most important aspect of field service management solutions.

The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research.  This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Constellation considers the following criteria for these solutions:

  • Good diagnostics prior to rolling out the truck
  • Resource management
  • Case management
  • Communication with the customer on the status of the technician’s arrival
  • Scheduling
  • Resource allocation
  • Inventory optimization
  • Mobile enablement.

Constellation evaluates over 25 solutions categorized in this market. This Constellation ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide applications and services without bundling into another platform:

  • IFS
  • Oracle Field Service Cloud (formerly TOA Technologies)
  •  ServiceMax
  • ClickSoftware
  • PTC
  • SAP
  • Vertical Solutions.

For more information on the short lists, please see the Constellation Research site.

@Drnatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer-Facing Applications

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Constellation ShortList™ Customer Service and Contact Center Software

Constellation Research is launching a new program, and I’m happy to share that the vendors that have been listed on the Constellation ShortList™ for Customer Service and Contact Center Software. The program offers buyers of technology a list of offerings to consider in their pursuit of digital transformation to provide the best capabilities to drive leading customer service.

The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research. This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Customer service and contact center software helps solve customer challenges faster by offering the right tools and support, regardless of channel or device (e.g., phone, tablet, email, chat, text, website, Facebook, other social networks). These offerings can effectively manage inbound communication for increased first-contact resolution, in addition to providing co-browse capabilities to allow visual communication for quicker query resolution. Additionally, they can support the reduction of cart abandonment and increase customer satisfaction with in-cart assistance. This type of software provides personalized care through the use of analytics, offering insight into customers’ behaviors for relevant, contextualized service that can predict future needs. Companies can identify new opportunities by integrating these customer insights into their companies’ innovation processes.

The software also creates seamless, online experiences with a knowledge base that learns from every interaction, enabling them to match content to consumer intent, which results in higher conversion rates. The top solutions also provide smart customer self-service, allowing customers to help themselves by fostering peer-to-peer support communities and eliminating the need to reach out to the contact center.

Constellation considers the following key criteria for these solutions: Self-service capabilities, case management, natural language processing for knowledge management and search, omni-channel and device customer journeys, mobile customer service and self service, queuing and routing, workforce optimization, predictive and prescriptive rules and advice, next-best action, natural scripting, customer feedback collection capabilities, IVR, visual IVR, inventory optimization, mobile enablement, social and digital engagement simplified user design (UX/UI), reporting and customer analytics, integration to IoT (Internet of Things) platforms and devices, data dashboard and data visualization.

Each Constellation ShortList evaluation will be updated every 90 days as needed. Constellation clients may work with the analyst and research team to conduct a more thorough discussion of this ShortList. Constellation can also provide guidance in vendor selection and contract negotiation.

The ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. The Shortlist includes:

  • Aspect
  • Avaya
  • Cisco
  • Genesys
  • inContact
  • Interactive Intelligence
  • Oracle
  • Salesforce
  • Verint.

For more information about the ShortList, please visit the Constellation Research site.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Facing Applications.

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The Business Phone System Reinvented: The Next-Generation Cloud Communications and Collaboration Tool

The only way to build a truly innovative and collaborative culture is to give everyone a voice. In working with Dialed, I just completed some ROI research to understand how quickly, easy and affordable it is today to plug every employee into your business with a very innovative phone system. They way it works is that Dialpad turns all of your devices into your business phone, letting you make high-definition calls over Wi-Fi or your carrier network from anywhere. And businesses can let their  remote workers and global offices feel like a part of HQ with peer-to-peer HD video. This is especially great for field service, where video often can solve the problem like no other solution because you can SEE the issue. In these new systems, modern business communications integrate seamlessly with the productivity apps that employees use every day, making it easier than ever for them to collaborate with docs, emails, and calendar invites.

With this system, a brand can move a phone call from their WiFi to their carrier or from a desktop to a mobile device very easily, so in essence it is very easy to switch calls from device to device (phone, tablet, desktop…) It is also easy to transfer calls between colleagues or departments simply by looking up a name in the directory.

In the ROI research we interviewed two companies, Vivant Solar and a large communication services provider to see how they transformed their on-premises telephony systems to a purely cloud-based communications solution using Dialpad. The change, depending on the situation, resulted in six- to seven- figure cost savings. Both companies previously had legacy, on-premises PBX (Private Branch Exchange) technology, which is a private telephone network used within a company.

Dialpad provides a secure, enterprise communications cloud solution that incorporates traditional PBX features into a modern cloud-based, business communications VoIP system. The solution integrates with Google Apps for Work and with Office 365, with a user interface built to satisfy the needs of a modern workplace but without the typical costs of traditional enterprise, on-premise telephony systems.

The platform offers messaging, voice, video, conference calling in the cloud, attributed call transfer, auto-attendant, IVR, business SMS, MMS, and group messaging, call recording, live-call device switching, international outbound calling, local telephone numbers, multi-device functionality, toll-free numbers, visual voicemail, contact profiles, a company directory and fax support as well as core social profile applications, such as LinkedIn and Twitter for context about the caller. In case you are wondering, has anyone else discovered this service, Dialpad’s customers include 60 percent of the Fortune 500, high-growth enterprises, and forward thinking organizations and start-ups. The service is built on the WebRTC framework and runs on a redundant global network of nine data centers on four continents.

CUSTOMER ROI CASE STUDY: VIVINT SOLAR 

In the evaluation of various technology infrastructure systems, Mike Hincks, Director, IT Infrastructure at Vivint Solar, found that traditional IT voice systems come with hundreds of thousands of dollars of yearly infrastructure and hosting costs, all designed around employees using desk phones. The catalyst for change was to use a system not tied to a desk phone. One of the many interesting features was that Dialpad had no upfront capital expenditures or maintenance costs, which made it easier to get the technology approved by senior leaders at Vivint Solar.

In addition, Hincks looked at the money the sister company was spending on long-distance contracts. With Dialpad, there were no long-distance carrier costs. Hincks also looked at the cost of the team he would need to hire in order to maintain an on premise, hosted solution. The sister company had had a five-person team to manage voice applications. In addition, Hincks would have needed to schedule the IT team’s time to provision a new phone for each employee, with at least one hour of training per employee and some additional time from the IT team for troubleshooting. Dialpad required less than one full-time equivalent employee.

Another one of the biggest conveniences was that Dialpad integrated with Google for Work without any authentication process. “I found the Millennial workforce wants technology to work right away. They don’t want to set up an application, have to go through training or troubleshoot it. They want to click on an app and see it work immediately,” said Hincks.

The positive feedback about Dialed from Vivint Solar’s more than 4,000 mobile workers includes:

  • Improving the ease of signing up and using the communications technology
  • Increasing agility to work anytime and anywhere on any device with technology that doesn’t get in the way of productivity
  • Increasing productivity by being able to use a simple user interface
  • Boosting the ability to make bigger sales at a faster rate.

The ROI: Costs were reduced by several hundred thousand dollars, year over year. Savings came from:

  • No upfront capital expenditure and maintenance costs
  • No long-distance carrier costs
  • No need to hire a team to manage the cloud based communications
  • No need to train employees or engage the training department
  • High user adoption rate because of the simple user interface
  • Improved ability to attract talent by reducing recruiting costs and increasing retention of top talent

A GLOBAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS AND SERVICES COMPANY

In the second company, the Director of Digital Workplace Technologies set up a proof of concept (POC) with Dialpad. He found that the best way to meet the needs of workers in the modern enterprise was using cloud technology. He wanted to re-conceptualize how communications services could be presented to users and to eliminate deterrents to productivity, especially for the geographically distributed workforce that used telephony systems. The Director of Digital Workplace Technologies said, “It was important to look at an IT project as an organizational change management project. We learned this lesson when we moved our users to Google Apps for Work. Technology changes that affect how productive workers are should be seen as organizational change projects. If you can’t find something you are looking for, it makes you less productive and frustrated. So we always overlay organization change management with our IT rollouts.”

DON’T FORGET ORGANIZATION CHANGE MANAGEMENT

The company needed to have a new communications system that could be completely up and running in minutes, compared to months or even years required for deploying global on-premises systems. Applications built in the cloud reduce costs because they are more flexible, extensible, and easier to work with while making collaboration intuitive. And this company found organizational change management was a key element for a successful implementation of this new communications system.

The ROI

Using Dialpad, the company was able to retire several of its old telephony systems and realize millions of dollars in cost savings by reducing:

  • Maintenance agreements
  • Infrastructure
  • Service and support for the infrastructure
  • Phone lines from service providers.

Today, the company has deployed about 6,000 VoIP lines on Dialpad, which cover about 40 percent of its global employee base. It is looking to expand coverage every quarter. The company’s savings were several million dollars, year over year. Savings came from:

  • No upfront capital expenditure
  • No maintenance costs
  • Reduced reliance on IT helpdesk
  • No long-distance carrier costs.

GIVING EMPLOYEES MORE CHOICE, RESULTING IN HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

After implementing Dialpad at just one large site, the global company reduced the site’s cost per minute of call time by double digits. In addition, the new system offered features that the old telephony systems could not. For instance, the PBX system had been tied to a particular device – the desk office phone. However, most people are now mobile, working from various devices and remote locations. Clearly, workers could not take their desk phones outside of their offices. When workers were away from their desks, they had to use cell phones or other alternatives – from multiple phone numbers – that created additional costs for the company.

Dialpad, however, allows employees use to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony. When the company moved to Dialpad, employees could use their computers to place calls, essentially replacing desk phones. They could also use the Dialpad application on their Android or iOS mobile devices. To the person receiving the call, it all comes from the same phone number, whether the VoIP call is made from a computer or from a mobile device.

Employees could also become more productive. With the ability to communicate from any place, using any device, while still being accessible from a single phone number, people could connect with each other more easily. As collaboration was made easier, the ability for teams to work more effectively with remote employees was also improved. In essence, the company had a new potential to increase the agility and adaptability of its workforce. Employees could be more productive, collaborative and feel more connected to each other using Dialpad.

MODERNIZING THE WORKPLACE 

The new technology enabled the company to modernize its workplace. The company realized that it needed to give employees – as well as new hires and interns – technology tools that are modern, intuitive and easy to use, unlike traditional enterprise tools. The company found employees could easily pick up how to use Dialpad because they were familiar with Google Apps for Work. While moving to Dialpad, the company was also able to shift a portion of its traditional help desk activity to a self-service and community-supported model. In the community, users can ask influencers an guides questions.

WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IN CHOOSING NEW TECHNOLOGY

Hardware costs and desk phones traditionally have driven the voice communications industry. While struggling for decades to bring down hardware costs, providers attempted to shift to a software model that yielded some feature and cost improvements. However, these changes have not significantly reduced costs, improved scalability, boosted agility or simplified use. In contrast, a revolutionary, exponential change occurs in the telephony industry from using a 100 percent cloud based system designed with the user in mind that is extremely easy to deploy and use while slashing operating costs, eliminating call charges, and offering rapid, unlimited and affordable scalability.

GIVING EMPLOYEES THE RIGHT TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY RESULTS IN BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES

At the end of the day, it’s really the employees that create the customer experience. And employees can’t do that unless they are given the right technology. It’s up to companies to evaluate the technology they are using and to provide them the latest technology that allows them to be their best. For information about this research study, you can find it here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Creating Great Customer Experiences By Empowering Employees

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What You Don’t Know About Millennials Will Hurt Your Bottom-line

This research that I just completed is about how to use customer experience to turn Millennials into brand advocates. Why does it matter? They are different than other generations that have come before then. If you are in the Boomer Generation and are running a contact center there are some changes on the horizon that are key to know about and start preparing for now.

Let’s look at some of the stats. There are >2 billion people in the world. Two billion are active on social media and 1 in 3 consumers prefer social to phones for service. Who’s leading the way? Those that were born into the world with nearly a device in their hand, well almost. And while this post is about customer service, we can’t really separate marketing, customer service and other disciplines. We’ll see why in a minute.

Millennials are the largest, most diverse, educated & influential shoppers on the planet. They are positioned to be the wealthiest generation to date and have influence over their Baby Boomer parent’s choices & will inherent their money / real estate. In fact, by 2018 in US, projected income = $3.4 Trillion/year & surpassing Baby Boomer income.

They are different than The Boomer Generation in that social networks & technology are their LIVES! Here’s some stats:

  • 75% created a profile on a social networking site
  • 55% visit those sites once/day
  • 60% connect to the Internet wirelessly when they are away from work or home
  • 88% text each other
  • 74% new technology makes their life easier
  • 50% use it to be closer to their friends
  • 65% are disconnected one hour or less a day

And millennials take online action all the time!

  • 70% recommend their favorite brands to family & friends
  • 47% write about good online experiences
  • 40% have criticized a brand on a social network
  • 70% would create a video and post it online or write a review about their experience with a company

This post is about customer service, but the initial engagement of Millennials is typically through efforts that tend to fall into marketing – though can also be done in customer service. You want to asknormal-customer-text yourself are you really ready for the Millennials generation? Do you understand how different theunder-20-customer-texty are?

 

 

 

 

 

So if you are wondering where to start here’s some tips:

Map Your Generational Customer Journeys. This is Maya. She is 22 and social is her life. She may do some research using google and find your website. They she may decide to buy something from  Facebook ad, then one the she’s using the product and finds it not up to her standards, she complains on twitter and then leaves critical feed back you your website.

customer-journey

Learn Why Millennials Trust Your Company Enough to Buy from Them

While 55% said “price” was most important reason, however, price is the least important in building their trust

  • 30% cared more about product quality & quick service
  • 20% cared more about the range of products offered
  • Brand switching is common (least loyal of all generations)

Learn How Do Millennials Decide To Buy From You

A company’s reputation can matter as much as the performance of its products

  • 34% bought from a brand because of the social or political values of the company
  • 89% intentionally visit showroom to see product; then price compare & buy online at best price
  • 90% tell their family & friends NOT to purchase the company’s products when they lose trust or respect for a brand

Engage Millennials Around Life Events

  • They care about things that affect their life
  • Graduating, getting married, buying a house, having children, getting a job, getting divorce, dating…
  • That’s the type of content they are looking for from you – help them with their life events and they will reward you with their loyalty

But Know As You Engage Millennials, Don’t Separate Marketing and Customer Service!

Millennials don’t see the company from separate silos. They see the company as one large department and they expect that you know them and that you treat them the same in all channels, on all devices and from all interaction aspects – from marketing, to service to…. If a Millennial has a problem with a company, instead of calling customer service… 

  • They text 5 friends & share frustration on Facebook
  • Friends share the story with peer groups
  • Result: Friends comment on the incident & share their own stories of disappointment
  • A single event can spread like wildfire
  • When seeking customer service <1% will call customer!

Empower WORD-OF-MOUTH Millennial From All Departments and Share Data About Customers Across All Departments

Know what Marketing said to the customer about a product and service. Know what the brand promise was and make sure the product lives up to it. And that customer service knows what that promised was so they can help transform a bad situation into a good one. Millennials want to trust your brand.

  • Millennials are looking for great products and brands to share with their friends
  • Focus on making an excellent product
  • If you do, then your marketing efforts can be authentic
  • As a result, WOM marketing will be done by Millennials.

So here’s some take aways and look forward to a new report with much more details soon! I am speaking at OpenWorld on Tuesday Sept 20 at 11 AM in Moscone West. Come say hi! I want to hear your stories!

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-9-28-15-am

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Constellation Research Covering All Customer Facing Applications to Create Great Customer Experiences!

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-27-16-am

*Sources: Pew Research,  Javelin Strategy & Research Study  &  IRI study

 

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Where I am Speaking This Fall! Come Say Hello!

It’s a busy fall and I hope to see you all out there, whether in person or on a webinar. Here’s some of the places I will be:

1. Webinar: ROI of Social Customer Care Sept 6th @clarabridge http://bit.ly/2bvWzgJ #custserv #CX

(Here’s the report: http://www.drnatalienews.com/blog/roi-of-social-customer-service-how-to-calculate-it-and-create-a-strong-business-case )

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2. Think ROI of Social #custserv can’t be calculated? Think again! Webinar Sept 13th @clarabridge http://bit.ly/2bSN0vj

(Here’s the report: http://www.drnatalienews.com/blog/roi-of-social-customer-service-how-to-calculate-it-and-create-a-strong-business-case )

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3. Digital Transformation: the Digital Blindspot – don’t let it happen to your co #ITRATL Sept 14th @constellationr (Here’s the report: https://www.constellationr.com/research/digital-disruption-blind-spot-could-sink-your-iot-initiatives )

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4. Modern survival guide: Speaking on #custserv for Millennials #OOW16 Tues 11AM Sept 20th @constellationr

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5. Webinar: How #DPM is the new #CX Sept 28th @dynatrace http://bit.ly/2bDQq2X @constellationr

(If you’re not actively managing digital #CX you’re not doing it right. check out the report on how to make #CX the best in the biz http://buff.ly/2b2yjpW )

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6. Digital Performance Management #DPM #DXS16 November 14 – make your #customerexperience #CX really powerful http://bit.ly/2bCLNrE

(If you’re not actively managing digital #CX you’re not doing it right. check out the report on how to make #CX the best in the biz http://buff.ly/2b2yjpW )

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Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Covering Customer Experience and Customer Service, Digital Performance Management and Digital Transformation

 

 

 
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ROI of Social Customer Service: How to Calculate It and Create a Strong Business Case

The phrase “customer service is the new marketing” has gained popularity with brands realizing that poor customer service takes current, and even potential customers, out of the marketing funnel. Why? If a customer doesn’t get the help she needs, she often will not remain loyal – or worse, she will take to social media and tarnish the brand. Think about it. If a consumer’s flight gets delayed or she receives terrible food brought to the table, she might post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Yelp within minutes of the incident. From one mistake, a company’s reputation can be smeared all over the internet. The report goes into a lot of detail so it’s clear how to calculate the ROI of social customer service:

Economic Imperative of The ROI of Social Customer Service

Many brands have experienced incidents where not taking care of an issue turned into a social media nightmare. These include brands like Domino’s Pizza[i], the Red Cross[ii], McDonald’s[iii], and Cisco and extends to people’s personal brands such as comedian Gilbert Gottfried[iv] and hockey player Tyler Sequin.[v]

Customer care extends far beyond the traditional call center. Every touch point or interaction with the company (or even content about the company) can affect the customer’s satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. While it’s not always a positive experience, brands need to hear opinions expressed online to enable them to create the necessary corrections, drive strategy, and improve operations for making great customer experiences.

To gain buy-in for this type of interaction in a social customer service program, executives need to show senior leaders a viable business case. Once everyone is on board, it’s time to create some baseline metrics and goals and then determine what the ROI needs to be based on the program qualifications being set in place. The components of a business case include:

  • Goals and objectives for the social customer care initiative
  • A strategy to meet the social customer care goals and objectives
  • Metrics/Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the goals and objectives
  • The business results (cost savings or revenue generation) or the return on investment (ROI) for the social customer care initiative.

How to Calculate Social Customer Care ROI

Constellation often hears comments such as “the ROI of social media can’t be calculated because there are too many unknowns” or “don’t worry about the ROI – social media is very tactical – just start doing it – get a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a Pinterest account.” Some people may quote metrics and/or KPIs, but few know how to convert them into ROI.

An ROI calculation offers a way to put the business strategy and metrics into a formula to show, in numbers, how the strategy is, for instance, increasing revenue or decreasing costs. ROI calculations can also provide perspective on the potential strengths or weaknesses of the strategy. Examples in this report will show how correctly calculating ROI will help in the evaluation and improvement of your strategies. The formula to calculate ROI is:


Return on Investment
= (Gains from Investment) – (Costs of Investment) x 100

Costs of Investment

Calculating the ROI of social media involves three variables:

  • Traditional customer care business metrics
  • Social media metrics
  • Changes to traditional business processes and metrics when social media is applied to a business initiative.

Here’s an Example: Social Customer Care Increases Revenue and Customer Lifetime Value

An international airline that services over 280 destinations worldwide uses a social media tool for monitoring all its social channels, engaging back with its online communities, doing in-depth reporting, and tracking KPI metrics and agent performance. Most importantly, the platform the airline uses supports its global consumer base, enabling the airline to monitor the 30,000 social mentions received in more than nine languages each month.

A company’s revenue is based on the number of customers and the average purchase value in a period of time. When companies use a social media platform, they can increase their revenue from existing customers. By engaging and listening, they can retain them as customers and increase the amount and frequency of purchases over a longer period of time. When the company is truly listening and integrating the feedback, like the airline above, it will be able to meet the needs of the customer and increase not only the amount that the customer spends, but also the number of years the customer spends with that company.

Calculating Costs

To calculate costs, we look at the cost of the technology and implementation (see Figure 1). Then we also look at the cost of the employees or customer service professionals providing the social customer care. The payroll costs include the expenses of a manager part-time as well as the cost of 10 part-time customer service agents with 40 percent of their time spent on social customer care and 50 full-time customer care social media professionals. The total of the costs for both technology ($30,000) and payroll ($2,720,400) is $2,750,400.

Figure 1. Airline Example of Customer Social Media Cost CalculationCost of Social Customer Care

Calculating Gains

The benefit calculation is created by determining the extra revenue generated from more loyal customers who spend more with the airline. The annual number of customers or passengers per year is 22,000,000 with an average spend per customer of $250. With the increased responsiveness and better social customer service, we estimate that 10 percent of the customers will spend 10 percent more per year. The ROI is calculated by taking the $55,000,000 minus $2,750,400 x 100 divided by $2,750,400. This total increase in revenue is approximately $55,000,000 (see Figure 2), and the ROI is 1899 percent. This means that the airline made $18.99 for every dollar that it invested in social customer care.

Figure 2. Airline Example of Customer Social Media Gain Calculation

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 11.55.17 AM

In the report, we go over many different examples of how companies have calculated ROI. Though there are nearly dozens of ways that social adds to the value of not only Customer Service, Marketing, Product Innovation, Supply Chain, ERP as well as Internal Operations – like acquiring recruiting and retaining top talent. If you want more help on these types of calculations, we are here to help!

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications and how Social, IOT, Machine Learning and AI Transform Customer Experience

[i] “Managing Bad News in Social Media: A Case Study on Domino’s Pizza Crisis”, Jaram Park, Meeyoung Cha, Hoh Kim, Jaeseung Jeong, Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST, from Proceedings of the Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 2012, https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM12/paper/download/4672/4994‪.

[ii] “Red Cross Does PR Disaster Recovery on Rogue Tweet”, Todd Wasserman, Mashable, February 16, 2011,http://mashable.com/2011/02/16/red-cross-tweet/#q0MtRnonuSqN

[iii] “#McDStories: When a Hashtag Becomes a Bashtag”, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, January 24, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/01/24/mcdstories-when-a-hashtag-becomes-a-bashtag/#2b511f55193f

[iv] “Gilbert Gottfried Fired as Aflac Duck after Japanese Tsunami Tweets”, Huffington Post, March 14, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/gilbert-gottfried-fired-aflac_n_835692.html.

[v] “Tyler Seguin’s Account Tweets ‘Only Steers and Queers in Texas’; New Stars Center Says He Was Hacked”, SportsDay, July 2013, http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-stars/starsheadlines/2013/07/07/tyler-seguin-s-account-tweets-only-steers-and-queers-in-texas-new-stars-center-say-he-was-hacked.

 

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Genesys Acquires Interactive Intelligence- Good Move for Both Companies

Genesys (www.genesys.com), a customer experience, omnichannel and contact center solution and Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (www.inin.com), a customer engagement and global leader of cloud and on-premise solutions for  communications and collaboration, are entering into a definitive agreement. In this agreement  Genesys will acquire Interactive Intelligence in a transaction valued at approximately $1.4 billion.

How Will This Affect You and Your Customers?

The transaction will accelerate Genesys’ mission of powering customer experiences at scale, anytime, anywhere – over any channel and device, in the cloud and on-premise. Both Genesys and Interactive Intelligence have developed best-in-class capabilities with highly complementary product portfolios that serve adjacent market segments. So together, the combined company will provide a broad customer experience solutions globally for organizations of all sizes across a range of industries.

If you are wondering about their commitment to accelerate innovation and R&D,  Genesys has explained they are committed to accelerate innovation in the customer experience market, with more than $1.3 billion in revenue and annual R&D spend approaching $200 million.
Notes From The Executives

Paul Segre, Chief Executive Officer, Genesys offered, “This is a milestone transaction that combines industry-leading expertise and capabilities to enable lasting customer relationships, accelerate innovation and drive growth. Our combined product portfolio will provide the broadest set of transformative customer experience solutions optimized for customers of all sizes and sophistication levels, available both in the cloud and on-premise. We will significantly invest across the entire Interactive Intelligence product portfolio to support the continued momentum of PureCloud®, Cloud Communications-as-a-Service℠ (CaaS) and Customer Interaction Center™ (CIC), in addition to the rich portfolio of products offered by Genesys today. We are excited to work with the Interactive Intelligence team to deliver even greater innovation and value to our global customers and partners.
Dr. Don Brown, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Interactive Intelligence explained their position by saying, “We have been working for the past 22 years to build an outstanding company with innovative, disruptive technology solutions that transform businesses. I am confident that our agreement with Genesys, which follows a careful evaluation of strategic alternatives, provides Interactive Intelligence shareholders with immediate and significant value, and will deliver meaningful benefits to our customers, partners and employees. The combination of Genesys and Interactive Intelligence provides a complete portfolio to address all market segments by combining Interactive Intelligence’s PureCloud, Cloud Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS), and Customer Interaction Center (CIC) with Genesys’ offerings. I am excited for the combined company to continue to grow and meet the needs of organizations around the world.

What Does This Mean to You

Customer experience here to stay. It is the one competitive differentiator that a brand can’t ignore. Customers either have a great experience, over many touch points over the time they spend with a brand or they don’t. If they don’t, often don’t return. The question is what solution(s) will your brand use to affect their experience of doing business with your brand? Many choices for sure.

@drnatalie petouhoff,
VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Experience

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