Brad Cleveland

Great Customer Service on a Shoestring Budget

Brad Cleveland

The Tugboat Institute recognizes Evergreen companies whose purpose-driven leaders build companies focused on long-term growth. Recently, I was reminded of an article the Institute’s Evergreen Journal published on delivering great customer service.

Common Causes of Employee Turnover

Brad Cleveland

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5 Secrets of Accurate Scheduling in Today’s Contact Center

Brad Cleveland

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7 Rules of the Road for Recruiting and Hiring

Brad Cleveland

Call Center Contact Center Customer Service Leadership Organization and Culture Videos Brad Cleveland hiring recruiting

The Top 3 Ways to Forecast for Your Contact Center

Forecasting is no easy task. It can be difficult to schedule the right amount of agents at the right time. Download our ebook to learn how to reduce overstaffing and understaffing, lower customer wait times and improve the customer experience with proper forecasting.

Tools for Your Next Team Meeting

Brad Cleveland

Looking to generate substantive conversation at your next team meeting? Try one of these worksheets on customer expectations, metrics and customer access strategy. It can be helpful to take a step back from the day-to-day, urgent issues to think about the bigger picture.

Customer Advocacy: An Essential Ingredient

Brad Cleveland

Customer advocacy is one of those terms that can be confusing. Does the customer advocate for us, the business? Or is it the other way around? One of the past issues of The Edge of Service™ Newsletter suggests the answers to these questions is both!

Improving ROI on Quality Monitoring

Brad Cleveland

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Building a Culture of Engaged Employees

Brad Cleveland

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Expert Forum: Choosing the Best Path for Transforming a Legacy Contact Center

The world’s most influential and customer-centric firms lead with technology, but do not let technology lead their customer relationships. Iconic firms – as such firms are labelled – recognize that providing exceptional customer experience is a key driver of increased revenue and brand loyalty. Register now to learn what strategies differentiate an iconic firm from other businesses

12 Principles for Building Profitable Customer Relationships

Brad Cleveland

Over the past decade, ICMI has studied, codified and periodically published a summary of the most important principles behind building strong, profitable customer relationships. Lately, I’ve been asked, are these principles less important?

10 Things Senior Leaders Should Know About Contact Centers

Brad Cleveland

A prerequisite to getting good support from senior management is that they have at least a basic understanding of what contact centers do. To fulfill their potential, customer contact centers need commitment and involvement from the top.

Strategy Drives Structure

Brad Cleveland

Many contact centers have been through consolidations or restructurings that are really just cleanup efforts for lack of having or using an effective customer access strategy. For example, I recall helping an insurance company with agent group “consolidation.”

Hiring for Service: It’s Time for a Rethink

Brad Cleveland

In thinking about the challenging job frontline agents have these days, I was reminded of an issue of The Edge of Service™ Newsletter that I published a while ago: The Edge of Service™ Newsletter, Issue 14: Hiring for Service: It’s Time for a Rethink. If hiring is on your list of challenges these days, you might enjoy reading about what … Call Center Contact Center Customer Service Leadership Organization and Culture Brad Cleveland hiring

Executive Report: The Customer Data Too Often Overlooked by the C-Suite

A recent Calabrio research study of more than 1,000 C-Suite executives has revealed leaders are missing a key data stream – voice of the customer data. Download the report to learn how executives can find and use VoC data to make more informed business decisions.

Transform Knowledge into Intelligence and Support

Brad Cleveland

As a primary customer touchpoint, the contact center has enormous potential to provide other business units with valuable intelligence and support.

10 Causes of Inaccurate Forecasts (and How to Avoid Them)

Brad Cleveland

Accurate workload forecasting is critical to contact center success. Recruiting, hiring, staffing and scheduling—virtually everything that goes into optimizing resources depends on having a good estimate of the work that will come your way.

Prioritizing Service Improvements

Brad Cleveland

As a leader, you face many choices when deciding where and how to improve service. And the possibilities multiply when analyzing customer data from sources that range from social posts to surveys to operational metrics. So, which issues do you tackle first?

The Power of One: Every Agent Matters

Brad Cleveland

The power of one is among the most important principles for any agent to understand. This video shows the impact each person makes on service level, occupancy and average speed of answer. Using actual data, the video makes it clear that every agent matters to both customers and their co-workers.

Study: The Health of the Contact Center

What does it take to engage agents in this customer-centric era? Download our study of 1,000 contact center agents in the US and UK to find out what major challenges are facing contact center agents today – and what your company can do about it.

Boosting the Strategic Value of Your Customer Service Operation

Brad Cleveland

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Service Level: Realistic Targets, Taken Seriously

Brad Cleveland

If your operation is chronically missing your service level target, it may be an indication of a fundamental misconception about the importance of service level. You’ll need to focus on a service level objective that your center can realistically achieve.

Agent Performance Standards: Keep It Simple

Brad Cleveland

In recent years, I have seen a trend to streamline and simplify agent performance standards. In many cases, they had become too complex — weighted averages, percent time in this and that mode, formulas that would take a mathematician to figure out.

Managing a Contact Center: The Immutable Laws

Brad Cleveland

For contact centers to deliver great service they need to get the right resources in the right places at the right times. This is no easy task. I recently created a course for Lynda.com on Managing a Customer Contact Center. In this succinct course, you’ll learn what makes contact centers so complex, how to implement a solid planning framework, and … Call Center Contact Center Customer Service Leadership Workforce Management Brad Cleveland leadership Lynda.com workforce management

Skills-Based Routing: 5 Common Problems You Can Avoid

Brad Cleveland

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Aligning the Organization to Deliver the Best Possible Customer Experience

Brad Cleveland

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Cultivating Effective Communication, Part 1

Brad Cleveland

Communication creates meaning and direction for people. When good communication is lacking, the symptoms are predictable: conflicting objectives, unclear values, misunderstandings, lack of coordination, confusion, low morale and people doing the bare minimum required.

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Putting Abandonment in Perspective

Brad Cleveland

In many contact centers, abandonment rate is viewed as a key measure of how adequately the center is staffed. I often get questions like, what is an acceptable rate of abandonment? What is abandonment in such and such an industry? Are there any studies on how long customers will wait?

Maximize Contact Center Impact and Value

Brad Cleveland

Successful contact centers have transitioned from a rote focus on handling contacts to becoming powerful engines of customer loyalty and strategic value. Find out more about the three levels on which contact centers can create value in a recent Lynda.com course video that I recorded.

How to Meet Changing Customer Expectations

Brad Cleveland

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Strengthen Ties Across the Organization

Brad Cleveland

Effective communication across an organization is essential to sharing and using voice of the customer. And there are plenty of additional reasons to strengthen ties. Opportunities for ongoing product and service improvements and innovations almost always involve other areas.

Tighten Up Your AHT Projections

Brad Cleveland

Average handling time, like the volume of contacts, must be incorporated into planning by the half hour. Assuming the same average handling time all day for forecasting purposes will not reflect the environment accurately.

Traits of Engaged Employees

Brad Cleveland

The National Business Research Institute (NRBI) identifies six traits engaged employees have in common, including: They believe in their organization. They have the desire to work to make things better. They understand the business context and big picture.

Common Causes of Turnover

Brad Cleveland

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Make the Most of Changing Customer Expectations

Brad Cleveland

How do you make the most of changing customer expectations and ensure that they are being built into your plans and direction? The following are some important rules of the road: First, ensure that your management team thoroughly understands the 10 basic customer expectations. Post them prominently.

Improvements Must Be Ongoing

Brad Cleveland

Making continuous innovations and improvements that lead to services that are faster, better and more cost-effective is an ongoing process that must be an inherent part of the organization’s culture and outlook.

Top Leadership Competencies

Brad Cleveland

Here’s a great article from Harvard Business Review: “The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World.” Sunnie Giles surveyed 195 global leaders asking them to identify the top 15 leadership competencies.

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Cultivating Customer Advocates

Brad Cleveland

Consider these numbers: Word of mouth drives 20–50% of all purchase decisions. McKinsey) Advocate customers spend 2 times more than regular customers, and because they stay longer, have a customer lifetime value 5 times greater than regular customers.

Focus on What Really Matters

Brad Cleveland

To many, optimization is synonymous with driving costs out of the business — moving contacts to lower-cost channels (self- service, etc.), reducing human contact with the customer, and driving down handling times.