Posted tagged ‘customer experience’

Driving Online Customer Success: Guest Blog by Mark Penson, CMO & co-founder, Survey Anyplace

October 14, 2014

Hello Blog Readers! I rarely allow guest bloggers on my site, but I wanted to highlight this great post by a new TSIA partner, Survey Anyplace, who will be participating in our TSW Expo next week in Las Vegas. Enjoy!–John

Driving Online Customer Success
Real-time Feedback & Two-way Communication Drives Customer Technology Usage and the Bottom Line
By Mark Penson, CMO & co-founder, Survey Anyplace

When was the last time you used your generic spreadsheet program to its maximum capabilities? Do you even know all it can do for you? Many of your clients have the same issues with the software you’re providing. You need to get to know your customer better before you can help them know your product better. You need to determine what they most need to truly benefit from the services you provide.

When was the last time you received an email after you made a product purchase? Did you actually fill it out? No. I didn’t think so. That’s exactly my point.

Get into the minds of your customers, in real-time, so they can tell you exactly what they think, when they think it, so you can make sure you deliver – and continue to deliver for a very long time – exactly what will delight, not just satisfy them.

Customer Retention, Usage, and Happiness for Long-term Profit

You need real-time, two-way communication to drive customer satisfaction. Consider every customer interaction to be an opportunity to delight.

Customers have a variety of ways to get in touch with you….or may decide not to. It may be easier for your customer to ignore you. You need to remedy this. If the customer doesn’t contact you, initiate contact! If not, you’ll lose the customer before you’ve had time to react.  Think about this statement: “unknown” equals “unloved.”

The question is how you can create two-way communication.

1. Always ask for feedback.

  • Provide easy-to-answer questionnaires embedded in your mobile app or web application to let your user tell you what he thinks about your app, device or service. You’ll get very valuable “in the moment” data.
  • During online support, provide a “Click on this button” survey, asking for his one-minute feedback.
  • Add a sticker with a personalized QR code and URL linking to a survey on every hardware package.
  • If you know who the user is, personalize the survey, upload the results into the CRM system, and react or act accordingly.
  • Always give your users an incentive, of course.

2. Post your users’ feedback in your newsletters, on your website, or any other channel you use to get in touch with them.

  • Be sure to point out what you’ve changed or improved based on the information, so they can see their participation gets results.

3. Gamifying Effort Scores for Better Educated Customers

  • If you’re using only 20% of an application, it’s easy to drop it and jump to another vendor. It’s incredibly important that your customers use your software or hardware to its full extent. Only then will your accounts be less vulnerable to your competitors.
  • Embed questionnaires and quizzes within your applications. Use a “Did you know….?” style. Ask users to take small quizzes about some of the features.
  • Add gamification: give them a score, let them earn badges. Give prizes to people who not only know the most, but also to highly active participants.
  • At the end of each quiz, always ask for one minute of feedback.
  • Track the answers. Not only are you driving loyalty, but also analyzing the scores allows you to measure the “user experience” and the effort it takes to learn new features.

4. Be Proactive During Online Support

  • For every online interaction, let the customer tell you what he thinks. Did he really get the help he needed? Ask him explicitly. If he’s not happy, give him the chance to “click on this button” to get in touch with your priority helpdesk.
  • Don’t just collect the data. Analyze it and make any necessary changes to your customer service process or to reorganize the way the team works.

Get Your Employees’ Effort Scores, Too

Your employees need to know more than your customers. They cannot support your customers unless they understand your products at the deepest levels themselves. Are they there yet? An advanced training program doesn’t necessarily mean that employees all have the required skills. Do you test them on a frequent basis? If not, you should. Define a process to review general and detailed scores and to take actions on individual and group performances.

No matter what you do, though, make it fun. Gamification is critical to drive participation.

Organize quizzes for all the required subjects. Ask your employees to take them at different levels, from junior to expert. Reward them for their expertise and participation.

For these companies without a formal training program, create one using the collective intelligence of your employees – crowd-source it. Ask each person to take a specific product to create quizzes and try them on their fellow employees. You’ll end up with a full training library at a low cost. Formalize it. Gamify it, too, by department, area of expertise, etc.

Success for your organization means satisfied customers. Get everyone on board to drive customer delight in real-time.

Mark Penson is CMO & co-founder of Survey Anyplace, which generates real-time insights by facilitating easy creation of real-time customer surveys and quizzes.


Join us live for TechFUTURES in Santa Clara!

May 2, 2013

Last fall at our Technology Services World Conference in Las Vegas, the question I asked everyone I talked to was, “What does the support desk of the future look like?” What I heard were lots of elements that are quickly evolving, and will definitely be different in 3 or 5 or 10 years. Social media and rising customer clout were voiced by many people. Impacts of mobility–on how we service customers and how customers consume our products–is another game changer. Remote workers becoming the predominate model for support was also on the minds of many people. And other people expressed concern that many of today’s challenges, such as knowledge management, will only get worse in the years to come.

Out of these dialogs grew a new TSIA event, TechFUTURES, which will open our Spring TSW conference on Monday at 11:00am at the Santa Clara Convention Center. TechFUTURES presents a day in the live of a support technician, and the day in the life of a technology customer, in the year 2018. We will look at how things will change in respect to four specific areas:

  • Social media. How will social media shape customer conversations, especially as Generation Y becomes the primary demographic for employees and customers? After seven years of investment, TSIA members are finally starting to see ROI for social initiatives. How will customer communities, as well as current and future social media channels, allow service operations to accommodate ever-growing customer demand for support without infinite scaling of service employees?
  • Knowledge and content management. With the amount of content exploding due to rising complexity and faster release cycles, how can future service employees navigate an impossibly large knowledge infrastructure? Tomorrow’s corporate content store will be even larger and more dispersed than today, creating challenges for service organizations to find what they need quickly and efficiently. How can knowledge tools become more intelligent, anticipating our needs and proactively serving content to employees and customers?
  • Mobility. The mobile revolution has quickly moved customers from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets, with a myriad of smaller and smarter devices on the horizon. As customers become inseparable from technology, their expectations for service continue to rise. As more sophisticated mobile devices proliferate, and mobile applications become the predominate way customers access our technology, how do we effectively support this increasingly mobile customer?
  • Customer experience. With the customer quickly gaining clout and visibility, how will the customer experience movement impact service operations in five to ten years? With the push toward managed services, how can next-generation remote and proactive support technology radically change the customer ownership experience? Where can we make investments today to better enable the ultimate customer experience in the future?

I will open TechFUTURES and then turn things over to our panelists, each an expert on one of these areas, who will present their vision of the future. Our experts are:

  • Social Media: Joe Cothrel, Chief Community Officer, Lithium
  • Knowledge and Content Management: Diane Berry, SVP, Marketing and Communications, Coveo
  • Mobility: John Purcell, Director, Products, LogMeIn
  • Customer Experience: Anthony (T.J.) Felice, President, ISOdx Solutions

After the 4 presentations, each audience member will vote live for what they think is the most provocative view of the future, using hand held response units provided in each seat. I will announce the winner during the awards ceremony at Service Revolutions on Wednesday at the close of the conference.

If you are interested in attending TechFUTURES, attendance is included with your TSW registration. If you aren’t attending TSW, TechFUTURES is open to the public and you can register and get an entry badge at the TSW registration area in the rotunda. I’m really looking forward to this new event, and hope to see you there! Thanks as always for reading!

Creating a Customer Experience Management (CEM) Strategy: A Conversation with Dennis Gershowitz

March 17, 2011

According to the 2010 Member Technology Survey, 81% of TSIA members, across all service disciplines, are using some sort of technology to track customer satisfaction (CSAT), making this the second most adopted technology by tech companies–second only to incident management. And other than financials, CSAT is also the only metric tracked across all services disciplines (support, field, PS and education). But satisfaction tracking has become much more complicated in the last few years, and now the C-Suite is involved as the discussion moves beyond satisfaction to include the importance of the brand, the customer experience, and longer term loyalty. As a result, satisfaction, experience and loyalty are perennial hot topics with TSIA members.

Today I bring you a conversation with an expert on the topic, Dennis Gershowitz of DG Associates, a longtime TSIA partner who works with companies on challenges such as: Services Strategies, Building Customer Loyalty Culture, Best Practices, Voice of the Customer and Process Improvement. Dennis, along with Bill Moore, Director with DG Associates, will be leading a professional development workshop at our upcoming Technology Services World Conference on May 2nd, “Customer Experience Management Strategy Boot Camp.” I had a chance to talk to Dennis about all things experience this week, and here are some highlights of the conversation.

John Ragsdale: Let’s talk experience. I sometimes see companies that are so focused on transactional customer satisfaction surveys that they lose sight of the overall customer experience. Could you talk about the difference between CSAT and CEM?

Dennis Gershowitz: Good question John and one that I am often asked. From a pure definition standpoint, CSAT is part of an overall CEM Strategy. CSAT is the measurement of the degree of satisfaction to which a product or service meets a customers expectations. CEM is a business strategy for acquiring-retaining-growing and winning back customers. Imbedded in this over all CEM business strategy is the component of CSAT. CSAT can often be looked upon as a one time occurrence. For an example, a company might conduct an annual survey to its customer base. This effort certainly fits the definition of CSAT. CEM on the other hand, is not project driven but rather a life-long journey that a company commits to making, whose objective is to continuously exceed the customers expectations and to achieve the ultimate end goal-customer loyalty. In fact, as Tom Peters used to say…to continually deliver that WOW experience to your customer. As I always say to senior level executives, every touchpoint with your customers, prospects and employees is of importance and has an effect, positively or negatively, on satisfaction and loyalty. Make them all count.

Transactional surveys are a great way to measure satisfaction with the service and support your organization is providing the customers. It provides a good look into the day to day interactions with customers, but it only tells part of the story. A holistic, actionable CEM Strategy includes transaction surveys, relationship surveys, employee surveys. CEM communications, in-depth analytics, CEM training for customer facing personnel as well as management and most importantly, and buy-in from the executive suite. When a company has embraced the concept of CEM and runs their business with the customer experience as vital piece of its success, then it has moved beyond CSAT and begun the journey of CEM.

Ragsdale: We just did a webcast on gaining executive buy-in and support for customer loyalty initiatives, and it was a very popular topic. I thought most sales and marketing organizations were onboard with customer experience and loyalty programs, but turns out that is not the case. How can service organizations get cross-enterprise visibility for the work they are doing, especially with the long-term profit implications?

Gershowitz: I actually watched that webcast and thought it was excellent. The question you ask is at the root of a company’s commitment to Customer Experience and loyalty. I work with hundreds of service organizations during the course of the year and find that many of them are very proficient at getting the message of customer satisfaction and loyalty through the organization. There are many ways for this to be accomplished. A mission and vision statement relating to the service organization and entire company’s commitment to continuously exceed customer expectations is a good starting point. Company wide communication tools are great ways for the service organization to continually gain visibility across the company. We have, for example, worked with clients to implement a CEM Communications Strategy. This strategy includes disseminating customer satisfaction and loyalty results electronically via LCD display units throughout the company in places such as the corporate lobby, customer service area and the cafeteria. Also tools such as short State of the Union video promoting satisfaction and loyalty levels within key accounts, marketing pieces that help differentiate your company from direct competitors based on level of service provided, a customer satisfaction annual report that highlights the state of customer satisfaction and loyalty within your customer base, are excellent ways to get the message across the company. One thing is certain, product revenues have slowed over the years but service revenues remain a good point of growth and profit for many companies.

Ragsdale: Is a CEM program only for $10B+ companies, or can small and midmarket firms benefit as well?

Gershowitz: This question reminds me of a story. A few years ago I had an associate who used to frequent a small pizza shop, whose owner became increasingly concerned about losing customers to a new pizza parlor in town. He wondered how satisfied his customers were, how loyal to his restaurant they were, what was important to them regarding the product and service he was providing and were they recommending his place to friends and colleagues. Knowing my profession, he asked me about the possibility of conducting a one time market research project for him that would provide him with the answers he was looking for. Remember, this was a five man pizza and sub shop in New Hampshire. Compare that story to the work that done for a multi-billion dollar medical manufacturing company who was worried about very similar problems. Were their customer’s loyal? Would they recommend them to others? How susceptible were they to the competition? What was important to their customers? CEM is a concept that any company/business with a customer base must be concerned with and take on.

Ragsdale: When we’re in Santa Clara, I want to hear the rest of the pizza story! In your course abstract you touch on one of my favorite topics—mining customer interaction data for valuable insights. Today’s analytic platforms are enabling some exciting and sophisticated reporting. Could you give some examples of insights companies have gained by analyzing the oceans of customer data they usually ignore?

Gershowitz: There are really two ways for companies to look at customer satisfaction and loyalty data. They can look at it from a quantitative perspective and they can look at it from a qualitative perspective. Both are important and will provide in-depth analysis and both can tell you a pretty good story about the overall health of your customer base. Mining of customer insights and feedback is critical when determining what actions should be taken after the analysis of the data is complete. Quantitative data tells you the “what” of satisfaction and loyalty but qualitative data tells you “why”. It allows you to look at Key Drivers and Root Causes of satisfaction and loyalty. It allows you to drill down to the real issues that are either driving loyalty or making your company vulnerable to the competition. Are there particular issues that continually appear when mining customer feedback? Is time to resolve a continuous function that your customers complain about? Is professionalism and courtesy of your service organization a problem that is eliciting negative feedback from your customers? Are you able to slice your data to focus on the feedback and comments from your Key Accounts, the ones that provide your company with the bulk of revenue and profit? These questions can be answered by mining customer interaction data.

Ragsdale: In your course, you explain the 12 basic building blocks of a best in class CEM strategy. Would you be willing to give us a sneak preview of some of those building blocks?

Gershowitz: Sure John, I’d love to give you a quick preview of the 12 basic building blocks of our CEMDNA Playbook Strategy. The premise of the entire strategy is that companies really have two sources of revenue; new accounts and existing accounts, and both are important. We center our twelve step methodology around the core belief that this approach helps companies with customer Acquisition, Retention, Growth and the ability to Win back lost customers.

The 12 Steps are broken down into four distinct phases; 1) Measure 2) Analyze 3) Act 4) Assess. Within each of these phases are modules that help you to accomplish the goals of each phase. We begin with helping companies outline a Road Map to CEMDNA and end by looking at the ROI of successful CEM programs. In between, we look at areas such as the importance of Account Management, Enterprise Feedback Management reporting tools, benchmarking, building corrective action plans, employee engagement as it relates to customer loyalty, communications to stakeholders and the importance of Executive Briefings. The objective of a CEM Strategy is to evolve a business’ DNA to the point where every employee is on board working together to continuously exceed customer expectations. This accomplishment results in a major competitive advantage for the business and ties in directly to increased revenue and profit from both new and existing customers. In the end, the company has e a customer centric philosophy and journey and culture.

Ragsdale: Could you give an overview of how your professional development course is structured? How will attendees spend their day?

Gershowitz: Absolutely. If attendees are thinking about taking this course and are looking for a six hour lecture then they are looking at the wrong course. This course is designed to be highly interactive, with attendees sharing their best practices as they relate to CEM. Having given this course many times over the past number of years, I am always surprised at what I learn with each new session I present. The key to this sessions continued success is rooted in its participants. There are many group activities that take place. There are side breakout sessions, continuous question and answer phases, as well as a day full of educating the attendees on the latest and greatest in the field of CEM. Our goal is that each attendee walk away with one or two Key Learnings. This will help them increase revenues and profits by continuously exceeding customer expectations and maximizing loyalty within their customer base.

Ragsdale: Thank  you Dennis, always a pleasure!

Gershowitz: You’re welcome John, I am looking forward to seeing you and all of the attendees in Santa Clara.


I hope you are all enjoying this month’s series of interviews with industry experts. Coming next week: Breakthrough Knowledge Management: An Introduction to KCS with David Kay of DB & Associates, and a deep dive on services marketing with Kathy Macchi, Managing Partner, Allegro Associates. Thanks for reading!

Conversation with Bill Moore and Dennis Gershowitz: Building a Customer Experience Management (CEM) Strategy

August 30, 2010

Not too long ago I published a blog post entitled, “Let’s Take Back “Customer Experience” from the Marketing Team!” My point was that the term “customer experience” seems to have been hijacked at some point by marketers who use it as a code term for upsell/cross-sell on company websites and online stores. Similarly, I’ve seen “customer experience management,” or CEM, used by vendors selling everything from satisfaction surveys to call recording to multi-channel management. But what is missing is usually the end-to-end view of the customer experience, what elements of the experience drive loyalty, and how to identify those elements so they can be repeated with all similar customers.

To delve into this topic, I was able to schedule time to interview experts on CEM, Bill Moore, the director of CEM training and Dennis Gershowitz, President and Founder of DG Associates, a longtime AFSMI and TSIA partner. Bill is the director of the CRMI, the Customer Relationship Management Institute, where his duties include designing and delivering employee customer relationship training and recognition/reward programs. Bill has a successful background as a service professional with over 30 years of experience working with Honeywell, Data General, Wang Laboratories, EMC, and Kronos Incorporated.

Dennis is a thought leader in service delivery excellence and has led several world-class service delivery organizations, with more than 30 years of service and support experience. As the executive vice president of worldwide support at Alfa Wassermann he led the company to their first globally certified NorthFace ScoreBoard Award for Outstanding Customer Service Excellence. Dennis has a successful background as a service executive with over 30+ years of experience with Coulter Electronics, Alfa Wasermann, Olympus America Endoscopy and Medical Laboratory Automation. Bill and Dennis will be leading a professional development workshop at our upcoming TSW Conference in Las Vegas on Monday, October 18, “Best Practices for Building a Customer Experience Management (CEM) Strategy to Strengthen and Grow Your Customer Base.”

John Ragsdale: Bill, it is a pleasure to speak with you! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me!

Bill Moore and Dennis Gershowitz: Thank you for the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our workshop to your membership.

John: Let’s start with the term CEM: customer experience management. Could you talk about what CEM means to you, and what a CEM strategy entails for a technology support organization?

Dennis: Great starting point, and this comes with various definitions. CEM is a business strategy for acquiring – retaining – upgrading and winning back customers. All technology support organizations must commit to a CEM Playbook Strategy, just as they commit to a marketing – sales – manufacturing strategy. This strategy must be based on the principle that CEM is not a project, but, a lifetime journey whose objective is to continuously exceed the customer expectations to achieve the ultimate goal-LOYALTY. By accepting this principle, an organization begins the metamorphosis to what we espouse as the “CEMDNA playbook Strategy”. That is, all processes must be viewed as to improving the customer’s experiences with your product and your services.

As a certified CEMDNA Playbook Strategy Partner, we teach a proprietary 12 step process to achieving this goal. We measure the success by acquisition – retention – growth – win-back ROI analysis. This strategy must be reviewed at least annually and supported with senior management engagement, funding and employee engagement at all levels. Employee engagement, recognition and reward are mandatory components and must include added compensation for achieving customer satisfaction levels. Establishing KPI’s for at least each customer facing group (sales – marketing – service) is crucial to the success of increasing customer loyalty. We measure customer loyalty by repeat purchasing – upgrades – referrals – extensions and several other key factors. Bob Hayes’ popular and informative book “Beyond the Ultimate Question” confirms the 12 step process within his five (5) major Customer Feedback Program (CFP) components. Hayes also presents a solid argument for the ever increasing NPS skepticism regarding only one (1) question surveys are needed to determine customers loyalty all other type surveys are simply a waste of time and money. Those that choose to become disciples of this NEO-theory and dismiss the decades of well tested and proven survey methodologies that traditionally measure to identify key KPI’s of product issues from service issues, risk high customer churn statistics. This approach is like purchasing a boiler with no gauges to indicate degrees of temperature and pressure-fatally dangerous.

John: In the abstract for your workshop, I’m intrigued when you say, “Discover how measuring loyalty enables the company to focus attention on the “right” customers.” One of the downsides I see to companies jumping on the social media bandwagon is that so much attention is being given to the “loud” customers on Twitter and Facebook. But I suspect these are rarely the most valuable customers. How do you identify the “right” customers for an organization to focus on?

Dennis: Great question often asked by our clients. (more…)

Let’s Take Back “Customer Experience” from the Marketing Team!

June 22, 2010

I just did a search of my old files for “customer experience,” and I first started writing about this in 2001 as a new analyst with Giga Information Group.  Customer Experience, or CEX, became the hottest new term in customer service.  We saw vendors adopt the term as an industry segment name with lightening speed–quality monitoring, CRM,  incident management, knowledgebase and self-service vendors all became CEX companies overnight.

At some point around 2003-2004, however, CEX took a dark turn: Mass adoption of the term by marketing and marketing-oriented vendors that used CEX to mean click stream monitoring and upsell/cross-sell.  The customer experience stopped being about “the product ownership experience” and instead became a euphemism for how to get more products into online shopping carts and through the checkout process. When I was at Forrester, they had a big CEX practice, and it was all about storefront website design and driving online revenue.

I am seeing some very promising trends in customer service about improving the CEX, and have decided that instead of coming up with a new name for this trend, I’m going to TAKE BACK the customer experience term, and use it for what it was originally intended:  to measure the ownership experience of customers while they are interacting with your products and services.

With this in mind, I’d like to draw your attention to a short 30 minute webcast this Thursday at 11am PT: Actionable Customer Experience Metrics: Measure Consumption & Encourage Adoption with Frontline Performance Intelligence. One of the key components underlying TSIA’s push on the Complexity Avalanche and Value-Added Services is product consumption:  technology products are becoming so complex that customers struggle to use all the new features, impacting ROI for new hardware and software.  To understand how customers are ‘consuming’ products, identifying laggards who need more training to improve use of the tools, as well as finding customers who are way ahead of the consumption curve and how they managed to do so, are all projects we are seeing our members try to tackle.

For OnDemand/SaaS vendors, this may be easy.  They automatically can capture how customers navigate applications, what features they use, how long it takes to complete processes, etc., to arrive at a baseline and then show customers how they are above or below that baseline. But for the majority of enterprise software deployments, which at the large enterprise level are all OnPremise, how can you do this level of monitoring?

Enter Aternity, whose End User Experience Platform for Application Performance allows companies to capture how customers navigate any desktop or networked application, which features they use, which flows they use, how long processes take to complete, etc. Armed with this information, support suddenly has the capability to do some amazing things:

  • Work with customers to boost their use and consumption of products, with metrics showing how their baseline consumption compares to their peers in the industry
  • Identify problem areas of the application needing tweaks or rewrites to improve usability and mask complexity
  • Lobby with development to prioritize bugs and enhancements based on actual customer impact, not guess work or the squeakiest wheel.

Not only can platforms like Aternity provide accurate consumption information for enterprise software vendors for the very first time, but the same platform can also be used to have major impacts on employee productivity.  You can use the same platform to monitor how employees navigate their desktop applications, highlighting which employees need additional training and who your ‘super users’ are that may be good coaches for new hires.

Join us Thursday for a great discussion on Customer Experience, and help me take this valuable customer service mindset back from marketing! Thanks for reading!

User Experience Analytics Hot: IBM Acquires Coremetrics

June 15, 2010

I wrote back in 2007 about the ongoing acquisition of standalone analytic vendors, making it difficult for companies to find analytics tools to compliment their existing applications. The flip side, of course, is that enterprise applications are getting smarter, with increasingly sophisticated analytics included in application reporting modules.

The single hottest area of analytics today, from a customer service perspective, are customer experience analytics, that analyze how customers or employees move through websites and desktop applications to understand things like:

  • Usability. Confusing flows or screens that users struggle to accomplish, adding time and cost to employee activities, and impacting customer self-service and online shopping success.
  • Sales potential. Understanding how customers navigate websites help marketers determine where to place ads and upsell/cross-sell messages to maximize potential.
  • Personalization. Analyzing how different segments of customers or demographics use applications or websites help companies create accurate personalization for specific users.

The world seems to have separated between web click stream analytics specialists, and vendors focusing on desktop application analytics. Today, the leader in web click stream analytics, Coremetrics, was acquired by IBM, to become part of the IBM WebSphere business.  I’ve written about Coremetrics before (see Coremetrics improves the Customer Experience by differentiating Visit vs. Visitor), and I even did a webcast recently with TSIA member Paige Newcombe from Coremetrics, highlighting the great story behind their STAR Award Finalist win last year. You can view an OnDemand version of that webcast here: Metrics that Wow! How Coremetrics Became the Customer Service Model of Success

WebSphere is already the market leader for eCommerce and customer portal platforms, and having Coremetrics as part of WebSphere will give marketers unprecedented insight into customer behavior.

I think this announcement will also bring more visibility to the desktop application analysis platforms as well.  We have a couple of TSIA partners who are experts in this area.  Enkata, who participated in our Spring TSW event, specializes in desktop analytics for customer service, helping employees increase velocity and productivity, as well as root cause analysis to increase FCR and eliminate repeat calls with the customer. Another TSIA partner, Aternity, also offers technology to improve the customer and user experience, and we will explore this in a webcast next week on 6/24 at 11am PT: Actionable Customer Experience Metrics: Measure Consumption & Encourage Adoption with Frontline Performance Intelligence

Congratulations to Joe Davis, Paige Newcombe, and all the gang at Coremetrics. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. And as always, thanks for reading!

Customer Service Triumphs: A Round of Applause for Shawn at Logitech

February 12, 2010

As we head into a long weekend, I thought I would close the week on a positive note. One of the side effects of being a long-time spokesperson, ombudsman and cheerleader for the customer service industry is that friends tend to save up their worst service stories and when they see me, I get an earful.  I don’t think I’m personally at fault for every problem in the world of service, but apparently in the views of some, if I was doing a better job, they would never encounter a poor service experience. Last night I met some friends for cocktails, and I’m happy to report there wasn’t a single customer service horror story.  In fact, it was just the opposite.

The topic of discussion was a $400 pair of Logitech ear buds my friend Ed received for Christmas. They stopped working. Naturally, I made dismissive comments about people who buy $400 ear buds, but I was the lone non-audiophile in the crowd and was quickly shouted down. After an initial call to service, and an unsuccessful attempt to track down a receipt, Ed called Logitech customer service back to find out what his options were, thinking he was out of luck.

Enter Shawn at Logitech.  My friend loved Shawn. He raved about Shawn.  Shawn was sincerely sorry my friend had experienced a problem. Shawn was excited about the Logitech products and wanted Ed to love his ear buds. Shawn spent a lot of time with him, walked him through diagnostics to identify the problem and ultimately, dispatched a part that should fix the problem. For once, instead of making excuses about increased complexity, poor accent training, brusque agents and long wait times, I was basking in the glory of someone on Cloud 9 because of a perfect customer experience.

So I asked the million dollar question:  Are you more likely to buy Logitech products in the future because of this experience?  His response? Not only was he going to actively shop for another Logitech product to buy, he strongly recommended we all do the same.  Now that’s turning an upset customer into a satisfied AND loyal customer.  All with one phone call.

So Shawn at Logitech, thank you for making me the hero instead of the goat for once. And to all of the nay sayers who think customer service is declining, here’s my challenge to you:  buy more Logitech products, and if you encounter a problem, ask for Shawn.

I wish everyone a wonderful long weekend, and as always, thanks for reading!

ClickSoftware’s New Release Radically Improves the Customer Experience

January 15, 2009

When I speak with field service organizations, they often ask me how to improve customer satisfaction.  My first response is always the same: give me a specific appointment time, not a window, and keep me updated on the arrival time.  The usual response is:  we can’t do that.  So I was thrilled today to hear about the new product from ClickSoftware, a leading provider of mobile workforce management and service optimization solutions, and a long time AFSMI partner, which I think is the first step to overhauling field service’s view of the customer experience.

Today’s announcement from ClickSoftware is the launch of ClickContact, a new solution for customer interaction management and the newest addition to the Company’s ServiceOptimization Suite. ClickContact offers a number of out-of-the-box features to help service organizations improve customer service by facilitating better communication with customers. Starting with appointment booking, the solution enables service organizations to offer customers the option of self-service appointment booking via the Internet–a huge plus for Web savvy customers.

Customer self-service appointment booking

Customer self-service appointment booking


Coremetrics improves the Customer Experience by differentiating Visit vs. Visitor

April 23, 2008

I’ve been blessed with some amazing managers over the years.  The first was Judy Walden during my days as a support tech at JCPenney, who pushed me to think outside the box and be creative in attacking problems.  Another was Joe Davis, who was my boss at Clarify during the dark days after the Nortel acquisition.  Joe was the first executive I’d worked for with a “No BS” policy–he called ’em as he saw ’em, was clear and direct, and never afraid to discuss the occasional elephant in the room.  These two people have a lot to do with my becoming an analyst–a career that requires creative solutions to problems, and a level of frankness that some people find a bit uncomfortable.

Joe is now CEO of Coremetrics, the original “click stream analytics” company, and yesterday I went in for a briefing to better understand how Coremetrics can help support organizations improve the customer experience.  Though Coremetrics is best known as a solution for marketing professionals, there is a lot in their suite applicable to support.  The biggest takeaway for me was their in-depth understanding of Visit vs. Visitor, which gets to heart of why some knowledgebase vendors have ridiculous claims about the success of their self-service technology.

Here’s an example.  Let’s say a customer has a problem with their mobile phone.  (more…)