Sat.Mar 23, 2019 - Fri.Mar 29, 2019

3 Strategies to Reduce Member Wait Times with Website Chat and SMS for Credit Unions


In a recent survey of 150+ credit union leaders, increasing member wait times was noted as the top member engagement challenge while SMS and website chat were selected as the most desirable new digital challenges.

Beyond customer effort score – Understanding and avoiding “chronic suck”


The research that eventually became The Effortless Experience began in late 2007 and our research team at CEB presented our first set of findings—specifically that companies are far better off trying to eliminate effort from the customer experience than trying to “wow” and delight their customers—to a group of 25 CX and service leaders in a conference room at the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn, Virginia in 2008. . Suffice it to say, the reaction wasn’t initially positive. The executives we had assembled to preview our findings were less than enthused about what we were proposing. They asked lots of hard questions about the data. They wanted to know how we ran the analysis and what we did and did not control for. They said that they knew that delighting customers and going above and beyond was the right thing to do…so they rejected our argument out of hand. Some understood the findings but lamented the idea of communicating to their frontline that they should aspire to “be average.” And many pushed back on the suggestion that they use a metric like our newly invented Customer Effort Score (CES) over traditional measures like CSAT or NPS. Like the stages of grieving, we worked through the anger and denial…and eventually got to acceptance. By the end of a long day hunkered down in that hotel conference room, they were asking themselves and one another some pretty hard questions about whether they needed to fundamentally rethink what they were focused on…whether they’d gotten it wrong. A couple of years later, in 2010, the team at CEB introduced the idea of effort reduction and the CES to the broader CX and service world in a Harvard Business Review article entitled “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.” As you can imagine, we took some flak for the title alone. But, the article started to get passed around and began to make some waves in the market. In 2013, as we continued to explore the effort reduction story, we were approached by a publisher about writing a book that would package up all of the research and our recommendations for companies. That book became The Effortless Experience and over the next five years, our team would spend an inordinate amount of time—and rack up an unseemly number of air travel miles—telling everybody about the research. I’m reasonably certain that over that period, we didn’t turn down a single opportunity, no matter how small, to get the word out. This was an important message and we wanted CX and service leaders around the world to hear it because we thought it could genuinely change the fortunes of businesses and positively impact the lives of their customers. Only now, a decade after the original research, has the idea of effort reduction and delivering effortless experiences really come into its own and become a truly “sticky” concept in the CX world. It seems everywhere you turn, practitioners and thought leaders alike have embraced the idea of reducing customer effort. [It’s in many ways deeply ironic that Dan Heath, author of Made to Stick —the definitive guide for how to create sticky ideas—wrote the foreword to The Effortless Experience because the idea itself was anything but sticky for a very long time.]. The Customer Effort Score is today considered one of the three major CX metrics (along with NPS and CSAT) that organizations track. At the recent Qualtrics X4 Summit in Salt Lake City, 700 CX leaders packed the room late in the day to hear the presentation of the Effortless research—and a few dozen hung out for another hour to ask questions and to tell me what their teams had done with the effort concepts. And last year, none other than Shep Hyken, a renowned customer service guru, added his own seal of approval with the release of his book, The Convenience Revolution , further expanding on the idea that “making it easy” is not just an important goal for companies, it might be the most important goal to pursue. All in all, it’s exciting and gratifying to see the concept of effort reduction taking hold in the market. But, the one thing that troubles me is the way I see companies going about the task of reducing customer effort—namely, it seems many organizations are exclusively focused on “chasing the number” of CES rather than trying to understand what’s really driving it. While CES is a powerful tool to help organizations track effort and spot at-risk customers, like any CX metric, it’s just a number and an exclusive focus on the number can mean that leaders miss the bigger picture story behind the number. To help explain, I’ll use a simple, but powerful, framework that my colleague Ted McKenna created recently. Think of loyalty in two dimensions. On the one axis, you’ve got “stickiness of the brand/product,” ranging from low to high. Stickiness gets to how embedded is the product in the customer’s life, how hard it is for a competitor to dislodge. On the other axis is the “effort of the experience,” ranging from high to low. To be clear, some products offer only “captive stickiness” to their customers—that is to say, customers would switch if it was easy…but it’s not easy to switch, so they end up staying. Put differently, they stay not because they choose to, but because they feel like leaving is too difficult or painful. Of course, there is “willful stickiness” too—for products so compelling and valuable that customers stay by choice. Even if another option comes along, the customer is so in love with the product that they stay. The upper left represents those companies that earn customer loyalty strictly as a result of the easy experience they offer. For me, this is my neighborhood grocer. Candidly, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s offer a far better product and brand value proposition—better selection, better prices, you name it. But, my neighborhood store is right there. The parking lot is never crowded and you can get in and out of the place quickly. So, I keep going there. The bottom right is for products that are hard to use but are nevertheless compelling and sticky (e.g., the German luxury car I had a number of years ago that was awesome to drive but a pain to maintain) or customers who feel captive to a company and, despite the high level of effort they deliver in the customer experience, switching is just too costly or too much of a pain. I’d put my bank and my airline in that latter category. My bank is a pain to do business with—especially when things go wrong. I remember being in Mexico on vacation with my wife (our first vacation in four years that didn’t involve the kids) and being on hold for more than an hour because they shut off my credit card, suspecting fraud. And, their digital banking capabilities are way behind that of other financial institutions. But, my paycheck is direct deposited there, there’s a branch down the street and they have ATMs all over my area. And my airline…I’m a top-tier customer…but I still get treated like everybody else. That said, all of my miles are with them and I’m so close to hitting a million miles, which will earn me elite status for life. The top right is obviously the holy grail. There are certainly some companies for whom most of their customers would put them in this box because they deliver an incredibly sticky product or brand and a low-effort experience. I can think of only a few companies that fit this category for me: Apple and Amazon come to mind. For me, Amazon Prime is a great example—it’s so incredibly easy ( especially when things go wrong) and phenomenally sticky and woven into my life. Honestly, Jeff Bezos could increase the cost 3X and I wouldn’t even look at the bill. But for companies on the effort reduction journey, we recommend that the first thing they do is not to come up with a plan to shift to the top right, but to eliminate the bottom left from their value proposition. The bottom left which is the death zone, the lose-lose box of customer loyalty and, even if there aren’t a ton of customers who would put you in that box, it doesn’t take many to completely undermine all of the good work the company is doing. To be clear, there aren’t a whole lot of companies for whom the majority of their customers are in this box—and that’s for good reason: you won’t be around for very long if your product and brand have no appeal and you frustrate your customers with a high-effort experience. But all companies—even the best brands—have some customers who would put them in this box and it’s imperative that they identify those customers and act quickly to remediate the situation. This is where the individuals most prone to committing “brand arson” reside. They feel they’ve been wronged by the company and, it many cases, they take their feelings to social media. They feel it’s their duty not just to stop doing business with the company, but to take as many current and prospective customers with them. Great brands can weather these negative customer situations better than others. There are clearly customers who loathe Apple or Amazon out there (after all, they have greater than zero-percent churn), but those brands have built up so much positive equity that their relatively few vocal detractors cannot do much damage to their overall brand equity. But great brands are also listening enterprises who dig deep into what’s driving product stickiness and customer experience issues in order to stop these one-offs from becoming more widespread. How you identify these customer situations so that you can act quickly to remediate and learn from them has always been a challenge for companies. Historically, organizations have relied on surveys to help them spot these trouble spots. But, given their low response rates, surveys fail to capture many at-risk customers until much later, after customers have already churned and publicly aired their grievances. Even a highly negative response to the CES question on a survey won’t tell the whole story here. A bad CES result could just be a reflection of this interaction (i.e., dealing with this issue was a pain…but in general, you guys are pretty good) or it might mask a very sticky product or brand proposition (i.e., “I love your product…when it works”). These are bad situations, to be sure, but I wouldn’t characterize them as lower left situations. At Tethr, we’ve trained our machine learning platform to pick up the warning signs that a customer may be in this “lose-lose” box. As with any new training set, we started by listening to calls that were the worst of the worst. If you take out the colorful language, what you find is pretty fascinating. The recurring feeling in all of these calls was that the customer just felt like the company was wasting their time. This goes well beyond simple effort drivers like repeat contacts, channel switching, transfers or repeating information. And it seemed to be something more concentrated and dire than customer anger, frustration, confusion or any other sentiment we’d detected previously in our efforts to teach our machine to understand and identify sources of customer effort. It’s almost like having all of these effort drivers wrapped up into one. We gave a name for this new category: reoccurring effort. But even that doesn’t fully capture the depth of what’s going on here for a customer. It’s not just that the experience itself is high-effort. It’s that it feels to the customer like their relationship with the company is just one horrible high-effort experience after another. And, to make matters (far) worse, the product and brand aren’t compelling, differentiated or sticky—which makes the fact that the experience is so high-effort that much worse. When you listen to these calls, they are like train wrecks. You can hear the anger and vitriol oozing through the call. For one cable company we work with, we heard a customer spend 15 minutes—barely keeping his cool—explaining to a rep who started the call by asking the seemingly innocuous question, “How can I help you today?,” that he’d already spent roughly 12 hours combined trying to fix the issue he was having with his wireless router. He spent hours on the company’s website. He went to the router manufacturer’s website. He went to YouTube and various online support communities. He had called a half dozen times over the course of three days reexplaining his story every single time he called. “YOU GUYS ARE WASTING MY TIME,” he seethed, and then went on to threaten cancellation, move to a competitor (who, he noted offers the same internet speed for less per month) and to tell everybody he knows not to do business with this company. We shared it with one CX leader at the company who came up with a better description: chronic suck. In many ways, it seems appropriate. It’s the sum total of what you get when you mix an extremely high-effort experience with a dangerously low level of product or brand stickiness. When we took completed surveys from this company and paired them up with customer voice data, we found that reoccuring effort—when you combine it with other sentiments that tend to co-present (namely, frustration and churn mentions) drove a 31% increase in likelihood of an NPS detractor score. And, unfortunately, there was a significant number of interactions that fell into this category…which means not just losing those specific customers, but leaving them in a state where they want to go out and tell the world about their horrific experiences. What’s more, reoccuring effort happens often enough that it’s a real issue for most companies. For one wireless carrier we work with, we took a random sample of 50,000 sales-related calls and found that reoccuring effort appeared in roughly 2,200 calls (4.4%). That’s 2,200 customers who are likely not only to churn, but to spread negative word of mouth about the company to friends, family and coworkers. Do you know where your customers would place you on this grid? And, more importantly, do you know why ? Next time, we’ll talk about the broader issue of repeat contacts—the bane of CX and service leaders’ existence and one of the biggest contributors to high-effort experiences. Contact us at Tethr to learn more about how our enterprise listening platform can help you understand the “why” behind the “what” of your survey scores. The Effortless Experience team at CEB that I mentioned earlier is now part of a standalone company named Challenger. This team is a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about the Effortless Experience research—and how to develop effort-reduction skills at the frontline. They work with organizations around the world on this sort of stuff every day and have a wealth of experience and insight to share. The post Beyond customer effort score – Understanding and avoiding “chronic suck” appeared first on Tethr.

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How to Engage Gen Z in the Contact Center


Nobody Goes There Anymore… It’s Too Crowded


The other day I was driving by a Chick-fil-A restaurant at lunchtime. I was blown away by how many people were in the drive-through lane. There had to be at least 20 cars. I thought to myself, “That’s a long line. You really have to love Chick-fil-A to brave that line at lunchtime.”.

Training for Lead Generation, Customer Onboarding and Support

Customer lifecycle training gives customers the knowledge and tools they need to be successful. As customer success and satisfaction grows, so does retention and repeat business. This eBook can help training teams improve or expand their customer training programs.

Contact Centers Stream Past Virtual Agents to Virtual Presence

Call Center Coach

For many contact centers taking the leap to implement virtual agents to handle the simple and repetitive tasks is somewhat an easy decision to make. With improving the customer experience an imperative, alongside of controlling costs, the barriers of resistance become small.

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The First Step to De-escalating Is to Recognize The Customer’s Emotional Reaction

Myra Golden Media

Let me ask you something. If you’re pissed off at your partner, and you’re yelling, maybe even cursing, and in response they say… nothing. How do you react? Do you calm down? Or does their silence make you more intense? I talk more. Louder. My attitude gets fierce.

Amazing Business Radio: Natalie Petouhoff


From AI to “HIMI” Human-Inspired Machine Intelligence. Shep Hyken interviews Dr. Natalie Petouhoff. They discuss AI in business—what works and what doesn’t work, how it can help companies and employees succeed, and how we can best utilize it.

Why You Must Address Customer Irrationality Before It’s Too Late

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At British Telecom (BT), we were buying a CRM system. I was leading the project and we had 15 people around the table to make this choice. It was a significant decision for a lot of money. So, as it was a business decision, you would think we were logical about it. However, we weren’t.

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Chatbots in the Contact Center, Part 3: Overcoming Customer Reluctance

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Customers want easy access to information—and they want it quick. They also have little patience for self-service options that can’t understand their needs or provide accurate answers to their questions.

A New Segmentation Model for Customer Onboarding

A great customer onboarding program is a proactive and meaningful way to make a lasting impact on customer engagement, retention, and expansion. In this eBook, Skilljar will show you a new framework for building a customer onboarding program, including how to segment users and drive long-term value and retention through education.

Expert Roundup: What Does Great Customer Service Mean to You?

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5 Top Customer Service Articles for the Week of March 25, 2019


Each week I read a number of customer service and customer experience articles from various resources. Here are my top five picks from last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

5 Things You Should Do Today to Manage Uncertainty in Business

Beyond Philosophy

A consistent finding in psychology is that people don’t like uncertainty or risk. It’s called Risk Aversion, and we all have it to some degree. To be fair, we are not risk averse all the time. We also enjoy risky behavior, like gambling, smoking, or playing fast and loose with food expiration dates.

3 Technologies to Drive Peak Performance of Your Contact Center

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How can contact centers leverage artificial intelligence (AI), speech analytics and agent enablement tools to improve agent performance, as well as customer-focused metrics like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)?

The Definitive Guide to Customer Education Metrics

As you build and scale your customer education program, the right data can help you identify patterns, make evidence-based decisions, and adapt strategy to meet business goals. In this eBook, Skilljar will share the data and metrics best practices that have helped their customers meet program goals and communicate business impact.

CX Specialist Ben Motteram Divulges Upcoming Trends in Customer Support

ProProfs Blog

The promise of a delightful customer support experience comes with the responsibility of actually delivering it consistently. Just buying and installing the latest customer support software onboard does not automatically mean that you will provide a great experience to your customers.

Guest Blog: How to Boost Retail Customer Experience Through AI-powered Price Optimization


This week we feature an article by Alexandr Galkin who writes about how retail management should focus on direct communication and/or a balanced pricing strategy and allow AI to manage price optimization. Customer experience comes first.

Net Promoter Score: The Complete Guide


The Contact Center KPIs that Matter Most – TechSee Data Sheet Collection Part 1. In the first of our new series of in-depth data sheets, you’ll discover the huge impact that Visual Support has on NPS, according to some of TechSee’s biggest clients.

Brand Or Customer Experience – what comes first?

Beyond Philosophy

Brand Or Customer Experience – what comes first? The ubiquity of brands is undeniable. With the constant exposure to them, we all feel like we know what a brand is. However, when we are asked to explain it, we often fumble. In fact, it is remarkable just how different our answers are. It seems as if no one really knows what a brand is at all. Branding is imperative to having an outstanding Customer Experience.

Your Complete Customer Engagement Handbook

Transform your contact center to build relationships with your customers that will last a lifetime.

7 practical steps to build a data-driven CX program

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A Decade of Pipeline: We Want to Hear From You

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Today, we’re announcing two new contact center surveys as part of our month-long 10th anniversary celebration. Industry research is valuable to everyone and we would love to have your participation.

Effectiveness Indicators: First Call Resolution, Calls/Resolved

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By Turaj Seyrafiaan. In the recent years, First Call Resolution (FCR) has become a buzz word in the contact center industry! Everyone is talking about it and it appears that everyone is working on improving the results in their center.

8 Zendesk competitors: which help desk software should you choose in 2019?


Looking for a powerful yet affordable help desk tool? Zendesk is not your only option. Check these 8 Zendesk competitors to make a better choice. The post 8 Zendesk competitors: which help desk software should you choose in 2019? appeared first on HelpCrunch blog. Comparison Customer service

How to Create an Exceptional Customer Experience

Learn 5 actions your organization can take right now to improve the customer experience.

Best Practices for Designing Customer Satisfaction Surveys

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The hardest part of creating a customer satisfaction survey isn’t getting your customers to take the survey. Many customers would be willing to attempt any survey you present in front of them. However, whether they’ll complete the survey or leave it midway is something you can’t be sure of.

A Decade of Pipeline: Final Day to Sign Up for Savings—And Win a Staff Pizza Party!

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Our celebration is coming to an end. It has been a fun month of reminiscing on the past decade. In appreciation for all that you have done to help us achieve our 10-year goal, we are giving away a free Pizza Party for your contact center staff. One lucky winner will receive a pizza party […]. Featured call center contact center

Important etiquette tips for customer service on social, live chat and email


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Want a Better Customer Experience? Ask the Front-Line!

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By Peg Ayers. Customer Experience (CX) can differentiate your company from your competitors. An effortless Customer Experience creates loyalty for your brand. Your customers could be yours for a lifetime! You know how much that’s worth to your organization.

Proven Strategies to Increase Case Deflection & ROI

Speaker: Matt Laurenceau, Head of BMC Communities

Many organizations and community managers aim to provide, among other things, effective customer self service support through their online community. While this is all well and good, without taking a strategic and data-driven approach to these types of programs, success may be limited. This webinar will teach you about the strategies and programs that drive success across your community.

What Is Survey Fatigue & How to Avoid It

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6 Tips for Writing Satisfying Customer Service Responses


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Four Phrases Call Center Agents Should Avoid at All Costs


While on a call with a customer, the language used is incredibly important. Call center agents are likely to have many, many conversations over the course of a work day, so it’s easy to forget the importance of each and every interaction you have with a customer on the line.