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Customer Care the New Differentiator

Customer care is the new differentiator.

Without a customer care strategy, companies can lose customers hurting their brand and growth.

Customer Care Strategy

Delivering exceptional customer care, support and service should no longer be considered as a corporate obligation, but as a strategic marketing and enterprise wide initiative. As technology improves, many business software and applications have become commodities. Case in point, contact center call recording. It has been around for over 20 years and was a huge benefit to financial enterprises and retail companies. Many businesses were founded providing this front office application. Fast forward to 2016, and call recording has evolved into sophisticated workforce optimization (WFO) solutions that include call recording, quality assurance/monitoring software and even automated speech analytics.

The point here is that if you are trying to stand out in a crowded arena you must offer something that differentiates you from the noise. One thing that has become very clear to many companies is the need to deliver immediate, and great customer care. Social media, and other multi-channel customer touch points, have elevated the customer’s reach beyond a telephone call. Companies must be prepared to handle inquires quickly and efficiently with a consistent message and process.

Companies that develop a cohesive customer support strategy will be able to differentiate themselves in many ways. Not only by delivering great customer care to existing customers, but also leveraging their customers to attract new prospects. It promotes credibility and enables the marketing of their customer care successes with customer case studies and testimonials. Happy customers remain loyal customers, and it is well worth the investment to keep customer care and service a high corporate priority.

As enterprise software products have become commodities, new advanced solutions can often be complex business applications to solve today’s needs. Therefore, customer care takes on a different strategy that begins even before a purchase is made. Vendors must do a good job of understanding a clients problems, root causes and other issues. What exactly are they trying to solve and with what result? A tailored solution often works best, and in order to purchase a new solution, different procurement options must be available that match both their business and financial requirements. Delivering a complex solution requires the vendor to assist new clients every step of the sales process – from analysis of their needs to recognition of their return on investment (ROI).

A few steps that need to be considered for a successful customer care launch include a CRM package to monitor all customer issues. Tracking software can be setup with alerts for time sensitive matters, and pre- and post-sales information. This includes sales and implementation data, technical support, and other customer service data such as technical advisors, software updates, and even system audits.

Customer Care

Exceptional customer care gives companies room to grow and keeps clients happy.

Voice of the Customer

Truly managing to successful customer care also involves utilizing customer service tools, multi-channel analytics and customer surveys to capture, analyze and take actions in order to respond to customer needs. This is key to improving customer sentiment and customer satisfaction. Establishing excellence in providing customer communication and service programs that drive to quick resolution and closure creates customer loyalty not just customer satisfaction. Customer care is not an option it is an expectation.

Remember, every employee, from the front office (contact center) to the back office (fulfillment), both share in the responsibility of providing great customer service. A well thought out strategy will enable repeat business through up-sales of products and services benefiting the enterprise with revenue growth and sustainability.

“Four reasons to invest in B2B customer service tech”

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Customer Experience Predictions for 2016

Predicting the Future of Customer Service

One business prediction – you will lose customers to the competition if you can not provide a consistent and good customer experience.

Customer Experience Strategies

Many organizations are currently reviewing and planning corporate customer experience strategies and activities for 2016. As you review current processes and procedures and the things you would like to accomplish, looking into the crystal ball and predicting what the future may bring can’t hurt your bottom line.

One clear prediction for all organizations concerns the overall customer experience and how well your customers perceive their interactions with your company. According to Accenture’s 10th Annual Global Consumer Pulse Research, $1.6 trillion is lost by companies that disappoint customers with poor experiences. It’s a nearly 30% increase in the money up for grabs over the last five years as customers switch companies due to a poor customer experience.

Customers are savvy buyers. They demand excellent service from you no matter whom they interact with or how – by phone, chat session, or email.  They view every contact point as one company and expect a consistent experience. And it is no longer just a matter of how much something costs. Consumers, especially B2B, are more than willing to pay a small premium for a great customer experience that is handled cheerfully and efficiently.

Competitive Edge

If price is not always the winning factor, what else can distinguish your company from the competition? The competitive edge is found in delivering a great customer experience. This has to be an overall effort beginning with the pre-sale and continuing throughout the life of the customer relationship. When employees put the customer first, they create goodwill and a true partner relationship. A satisfied customer will continue to use your services and products if they are met with a familiar and pleasant attitude. More than likely, they will even forgive minor discretions or inconveniences if the overall experience is a good one.

This kind of relationship builds customer loyalty with many tangible and intangible rewards. You will receive repeat business, referrals and positive reviews of your company that yield growth and profitability. You will be able to establish your reputation and brand for excellent customer service through long term customer loyalty.

Customer Service Programs

Many companies today have accrued huge stores of customer interaction and/or Voice of the Customer (VoC) data. However, most are challenged with effectively turning it into operational assessments and actionable reports. New solutions for unifying and analyzing data offer users “Business Objectives”, such as an understanding of overall voice of customer, employee and customer feedback, customer journey and customer behavior-reactions. The benefit of these solutions is that they can automatically look for the related customer-centric activities discovered through analytics, integrate the metadata of each activity, and present it as it relates to their business objective. With this type of big data management, your company can really listen to and understand your customers’ true sentiment like never before.

New Year – Old Plan

You don’t want to become a company that experiences big losses from losing unhappy customers. Success ultimately depends on how well you treat your customers, even more so in our “socially-enabled” society, where a negative post can have an immediate and dramatic effect on your business. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos passionately said, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” Don’t repeat last year’s mistakes. Be a winning company that gains opportunities by investing and planning in customer loyalty strategies that reinforce your brand, boost your reputation and deliver a great customer experience.

The Cost of Unhappy Customers (Infographic)

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The Ascent of Text Analytics

Use text analytics to uncover true customer sentiment.

Valuable customer insight from all data sources is not utilized to its full potential.

The New Frontier – Text Analytics

In this era of progressive improvements to the customer experience, many companies are searching for new avenues to gain insight into the customer journey using text analytics. Text analytics can be defined as a process for analyzing unstructured text, extracting relevant information, and transforming it into useful business intelligence. Large corporations such as Walmart, Amazon, and Google collect massive amounts of customer data in the Petabyte range and beyond. As enterprises of all sizes struggle to uncover true customer sentiment from unstructured data sources such as social media, surveys, notations in CRM software and service notes, blogs, and many other sources, this valuable customer insight is not being utilized to its full potential.

Preventing a Poor Customer Experience

However, most companies use only a fraction of the customer data that is readily available to them. One of the value propositions for using text analytics is its ability to analyze and classify huge quantities of text and automatically extract meaningful data that really needs to be scrutinized. This yields customer experience information that previously might not have been known or recognized, and used to prevent a repeat, poor customer experience. Text analytics reveals insights into why something is happening. For example, a visitor to a website might not be able to find a product or suitable answer to a question. Text analytics can be used to discover if the issue is related to content, FAQs, or navigation problems.

Root Cause Analysis

The data gleaned from text analytics can also be used to determine the root cause of problems (known or unknown), and companies can begin to anticipate or predict problems by analyzing customer interaction data. Just as speech analytics can unveil customer sentiment by automatically identifying key words and phrases from customer telephone calls, text analytics adds to the wealth of unstructured customer information that can be extracted, transformed and loaded into subject-oriented categories delivering new possibilities for enhancing the customer experience.

  • Trend analysis
  • Tool to make strategic business decisions
  • Predict and forecast customer behavior patterns
  • Deliver an improved customer experience
  • Companies are realizing that all employees must listen to their customers, or they will become fair game for the competition

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Why You Need Data Analytics

Data Analytics identifies real business problems.

Leveraging data to identify real business problems can work for you.

Importance of Data Analytics Solutions

The ability to leverage analytics for all of the business data your company collects in order to solve real business problems is now more affordable than ever before and available to every organization. Implementing and applying automated analytics solutions are essential for understanding all facets of your business. As many companies continue to focus on improving the overall customer experience, analytics can help you understand your customer’s sentiment from any touch point (telephone, email, text, social media, etc.).

Not As Complicated As You Thought

Although there are many different types of analytics solutions available on the market, such as front office (contact center specific) and back office (transaction processing) the secret is to partner with a vendor who will help you every step of the way. Once you select a vendor, this is accomplished by first discovering the root causes, pain points, or product and service issues that may be impeding performance or profitability. Some common items or “notions” that analytics can reveal:

  • Excessive customer complaints about a certain service or product(s).
  • Trends and discovery of repeat calls (“called before…”, “calling again…”, “not fixed…”, “still a problem…” etc.) – over time more samples can be discovered and added to the analytics search, strengthening the discovery of repeat calls improving first call resolution.
  • Compliance issues (internal compliance to defined business processes and external or regulatory compliance).
  • Repeat call subject (desktop screen or transactions) representing the repeat call can be defined by user, and automatically and in real time detected by desktop analytics – actions can be taken in real time, such as coaching, notifications, and next-best-action.
  • Monitoring social media sites to understand the voice of the customer (negative and positive), the competition, your brand and reputation, and selling opportunities.

Starting with a defined notion of the relevant data you want to uncover is key to your success. A vendor must allow you to use your own data for clarity, in small digestible bites, to initially demonstrate the viability of the analytics program. Set up an internal team to own the new analytics program. Run the solution as a test program, review the results, implement recommended changes, and review the outcome (benefits, ROI, etc.). You want a vendor that will educate and guide you and do the work for you, sharing results along the journey. Once you are comfortable with the technology the vendor should be able to create a tailored solution for you without a custom price, and continue to assist your future usage, growth and progress.

Multi-channel Delivery – Not as Expensive as You Thought

Analytics programs do not have to break the bank, and are now available to any organization. Many solutions are offered as on-premise, cloud services, outsourced programs, or hybrid packages. Take advantage of the delivery method that best fits your budget and business needs. Selecting the right vendor will enable you to benefit from the functionality and flexibility of multi-channel analytics solutions as well as cost effective delivery methods.

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Enterprise Feedback Management

Enterprise Feedback Management

Enterprise Feedback Management solutions enable views into the customer journey delivering a high level of customer satisfaction.

Enterprise Feedback Management Solutions – More than a Simple Survey

Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) solutions are more than just simple surveys, they are used for actively monitoring customer and employee feedback from all customer touch points such as calls, emails, text, desktop transactions, surveys and social media channels. EFM enables views into the customer journey, and can identify and improve internal business processes to optimize and provide a high level of customer satisfaction, or discover sales opportunities, liabilities, and business intelligence.

EFM, however, requires technical abilities to:

a) Capture all data from all channels, such as structured and unstructured data (text, voice, SMS), and solicited and unsolicited input (such as social media).
b) Perform analytics on all different types of media collected from those channels, including audio, speech, text, email, surveys, screen-based transactions and social media.

Furthermore, EFM demands to provide the capability to view the tiered information (data, unified information, and actionable-predictive-prescriptive information) in a holistic and universal form in order for users to immediately see and easily understand what they have been looking for. This information now becomes a valued enterprise wide asset, not, for example, only a contact center, or other business unit performance or productivity tool.

Complete Views of the Customer Experience

OnviSource supports a true Enterprise Feedback Management solution through its multichannel capture-evaluation, called OnviForce™, and a universal view management, called OnVision™. Capturing data from multiple OnviSource platforms presents a complete view of the customer experience. The data is then analyzed for process improvements, trending detection and associated alerts, customer journey, and sharing of results through real-time, multi-channel analytics, automated actions, and dashboard and other types of enterprise reporting.

Re-defining customer feedback concepts.

 

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Enduring Long On-Hold Times

On-HoldSticking it out while waiting is not a virtue many of us tolerate. Whether it be in a grocery store checkout line, popular restaurant on a busy Saturday night, or a doctor’s waiting room – most of us don’t like the inconvenience of waiting, after all, isn’t our time valuable too?

Without compare, waiting on hold on the telephone has to be the worst form of waiting.  After navigating today’s complex IVR (interactive voice response) menus, only to be told you will now have to wait 30 minutes (after already spending five minutes of your valuable time in the IVR) to speak to a representative – chances are your temper has already started a slow boil, and will explode as soon as that representative answers the phone – that is, if you have decided to wait that long!

Which brings up another reason why companies should NOT compel their customers to wait on hold – first call resolution (FCR)! Not only does answering the call and fixing the customer issue promptly almost guarantee a great customer experience, it can also save the company contact center money by minimizing repeat callers.

A low FCR rate leads to increased call volume, workload, agent payroll expenses, customer dissatisfaction, and loss of customers. Employee moral also sags, as many callers who have simmered to the boiling point vent on the unfortunate call representative. As the Pelorus Group noted, “FCR is an essential metric for any contact center for two simple reasons: it drives customer satisfaction, and reduces operating costs.”

How Long is Too Long to be On-hold?

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Customer Surveys – an Important Tool for Monitoring Customer Satisfaction and Responding to Problems

callcentercircleContact center and enterprise business environments are adopting automated analytics (speech, desktop, social media) as tools to understand the customer sentiment during every interaction/transaction.

Take that “need to know” the customer experience a step further – then customer surveys have to be elevated to one of the most important aspects of a company’s customer satisfaction programs. More and more companies realize they need to learn everything about the customer experience. They are now demanding solutions to enable them to know everything about each transaction.

To fill that need they are utilizing different forms of surveys such as immediate telephone surveys, follow-up email or telephone call surveys, and even independent 3rd party verification surveys for totally impartial reporting.

Benefits of a Customer Satisfaction Survey

 

 

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