5 Fresh Customer Service Strategies

Do you want your customers to think of your business as a breath of fresh air? The trick to providing “original” customer service is upgrading 'older' ideas and actually carrying through on them.

1. Resolve Customer Problems at Their First Point of Contact

In theory, a chain of command makes sense, but being passed along to various representatives is frustrating to say the least. Authorize your customer service reps to solve problems. Live chat, virtual characters, and virtual call-back support is...

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Four Key Attributes of Successful Call Center Agents

Despite dire predictions that self-service will render the call center agent obsolete, the opposite is true.  Call center employment continues to grow at a healthy clip.  According to recent research published by leading industry thinker Paul Stockford of Saddletree Research, the U.S. call center industry added nearly 52,000 new jobs.  Some of this growth is attributable to the staffing of health insurance exchange contact centers as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but much of it is...

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Virtual Assistants and Call Killing

By Erik Braun, Director, Creative Virtual Netherlands

Recently, we shared the customer story of our first Dutch Virtual Assistant with readers of the Creative Virtual blog. This Virtual Assistant is called Sabine and ‘works’ for NIBC Direct, a Dutch online bank. Sabine was introduced on 17 December of 2012 and went live on the newly launched NIBC Direct website.

NIBC Direct's Sabine

Recently, NIBC Direct shared statistics with us on the effects of ‘Sabine’ on call and email volume. In short:

The number of emails in... continue reading this post »

Lose a Customer, Keep a Customer - Real Life Experiences with Good and Bad Customer Service

The difference between losing a customer forever and gaining their loyalty can be as simple as the service they receive. Within just a few days, I experienced both terrible and stellar customer service. Here are three examples of extreme customer service.

How to Lose a Customer

Reports about poor airline service aren't rare. I'm generally of the mind that a flight that gets you from point A to point B safely is a good flight. However, a couple of recent experiences with United and Frontier made me...

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New Age Customer Service: Old Values Meet Modern Techniques

Laptops, smartphones, tablets and social media have made running a business more portable and labor-saving than ever before. While it’s true that advances in technology have turned many business practices on their head, modernizing too much can mean forgetting about all those tried-and-true old school methods that are still at the core of successful businesses. Here’s how to blend the old world of customer service with contemporary techniques.

 

1. The Seller Era vs. the Customer Era

 

At one time,...

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What Drives an Exceptional Customer Experience?

Leading customer feedback insights analyst firm, CFI Group, recently published its Contact Center Satisfaction Index (CSSI) for 2013 (download the report here).  The results should be a wake-up call for call centers everywhere.  2013 saw an 8-point drop in the CSSI from its high of 77 in 2012 to a record low of 69 in 2013.  While there's probably no need to hit the panic switch just yet, it's equally clear that consumers' expectations of call center services have outpaced their ability to...

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Contact Center Workforce Management

Maintaining a consistent working environment helps to provide dependable service to customers while supporting a stronger productive attitude. Managing your workforce uses key fundamental principles that other human resource programs utilize; however, these principles have been adjusted to apply better in scenarios specific for contact centers. Identifying employee challenges provides key information for building a strong, grounded strategy for unexpected situations.

Employee Talents

It is...

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13 Quick Tips for Showing Your Customers That They’re Always Right

When starting a small business, handling customer service isn’t too overwhelming yet. As the client base (hopefully) increases, though, juggling a steadily-growing pool of patrons becomes harder. Here are bite-sized suggestions for showing customers that they’re still always right.

1. Allow employees (or at least management) some leeway when it comes to resolving customer complaints. Sometimes slightly bending the rules means the difference between a satisfied customer and a fuming one.

2. Always...

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The C-SAT Paradox

What Customer Satisfaction Scores Really Mean in a Self-Service Focused World

 

As websites become more sophisticated and self-service options are continually improved upon, the idea is that fewer customers will need to call, chat or email in for assistance.  We know that consumers, particularly in younger generations, prefer to do things on their own, to find their own answers and solve their own problems using online resources on their own time.  Companies have focused a great deal on optimizing...

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Solution Providers Take a Closer Look at the Key Factors Governing the Adoption of Cloud Contact Center Technology

For most organizations, the key questions about moving their contact centers to the cloud are “When can we do it?” and “How can it best be accomplished?” as opposed to “Is it the right step?” But even in a business environment where companies are striving to meet rising customer expectations for responsive service on any channel they choose and looking to increase flexibility and agility, practical questions on logistics, costs and capabilities must be addressed before organizations make a...

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Customer Retention Through Your Contact Center Agents

The best customers you can find are the ones you already have. Customer retention should be a top priority in your company. According to Forrest Research it costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. Unfortunately, many companies fail to make customer retention a priority. Satisfied customers not only increase sales through repeat business, but also help to expand the customer base through referrals.

Improving your customer retention plan should start in your co...

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Dealing with Angry Call Center Customers

Nobody in your call center likes to talk with an irate customer - whether the customer is justified or not. The constant haranguing is emotionally draining and demoralizing, and it may take a long time just to solve the problem. Below are a few tips for dealing with what may be a common occurrence at your company.

Allow the customer to vent, which he may start doing even as you greet him. Do not interrupt. Remain calm by realizing that his anger isn't personal but due to a product problem or the... continue reading this post »

5 Steps to Starting Social Customer Service

Portions of this article were originally posted on the @SoCoCare blog by Sarah Rolfing. View the original blog here.

Your customers are increasingly turning to their favorite social channels to give praise, offer feedback, ask questions and post criticism about your brand or service.  With that, comes new risk. (Who can forget stories like the PR nightmare United Airlines experienced after Dave Carroll turned to Youtube to post his “United Breaks Guitars” songs?)

But with the right strategies and...

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Your Personal Interaction Analytics Dictionary

Have you ever needed to buy a new computer, and thought you were pretty confident you could select one because you knew you wanted a 17” laptop, preferred a PC over a Mac, needed it to be compatible with a certain type external hard drive and would use it to suit your work and your kid’s gaming needs? So you march into your nearest electronics store sure that information would be enough to make the choice clear. However, when you get there, that isn’t the case. No problem, you’ll seek out the...

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A Virtual Contact Center: Good for Business, Good for Customers and Good for Employees

What strategies does your company have to retain its customers? In most cases, your response will include a variation of employing the use of a proactive relationship management system as well as outstanding customer service. But, is your company keeping up with the expanding virtual world while constantly meeting increased customer expectations? Mobility has become a necessity for companies, employees and customers, alike, and virtual contact centers   have evolved to assist companies in...

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