Friday, May 25, 2007

Enable Live Conversation For Good Service Delivery

CRMChump Reports An Accenture Customer Service for Technology Companies Study: ● 81 percent of customers surveyed who rated their service satisfaction as “below average” said they will purchase from a different supplier the next time. ● Although 75 percent of executives said their companies’ provide “above average” customer care, 58 percent of consumers rated their satisfaction with customer service as average or below average. ● When consumers rate their service satisfaction as merely “average,” the likelihood of their buying again from that same company falls by almost half from 51 percent to 27 percent. ● 48 percent of consumers surveyed said they share their negative customer-service experiences with friends and family. ● 42 percent of customers surveyed said they had to access customer-service channels multiple times to resolve their problems. ● 61 percent of consumers surveyed said they believe that technology has not improved customer service. ● And as for that 78 percent mentioned above, here it is: That 78 percent surveyed said the service they receive is “at or below” the level competitors offer. When you look at what customers actually want, its straight forward: 69% completeness in solving my problem 65% solving my problem 46% solving my problem with one agent 38% using a logical process to solve my problem 35% enable me to quickly and easily reach a live customer service agent 12 ability to solve the problem myself with online tools. So, (1) Solve my problem, completely, at a single touch-point (2) Engage with me and my problem with logical and efficient process (3) Enable me to speak with customer service very easily. By placing strategic "Click to Call" buttons around your FAQ's or on your "Contact Us" areas, or by dynamically publishing "Click to Call" capability when your website sees that someone is in trouble (taking too long to get through the check out process during a purchase), you can increase the ease with which customers can engage with you. Of course, when they do engage with you, you still have to provide outstanding customer service by knowing how to close out that call first time, with that agent. Having done that, you can begin to think about your upselling and cross selling capability.

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SMS & Voice = Attention-Message-Flow (? !!)

As someone who works in this space, I try to be an early adopter. I am, as my other half puts it, an "infomaniac". The downside of that is that I can experience the information overload, noise, ambient information that can be typified by using a service like Twitter. Alec Saunders brings us a report by Mike Gotta that takes this experience and shows us how it must evolve. The Caveat I will add, is that this is for the "infomaniacs" out there: * Take what's going on in my life * add more context about what I am doing * in the context of my interaction patterns * correlate everything in an intelligent manner * continue to analyze continuously, both past and present * discover what's important to me, even if i may not know it * augment that information before you communicate it to me * signal such information or messages relevant to my work context and focus * in a manner that is aware of my attention priorities I could not agree more. Pieter de Villiers commenting on the last post made the point that the message has to be value adding and that there were lots of instances where people would value "getting interrupted" by an SMS or Phone Call. Like the recent campus killings in the US. If we begin to think of such occurrences in terms of 2.0 thinking, we may be able to think about "message streams from the edge" as opposed to "why don't the authorities phone us".

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

60% of Americans Do Not Want To Get A Text From Your Company, Why?

DestinationCRM carries a report on SMS alerting in the USA. The report, "SMS Customer Service Alerts: The Next Frontier for Mobile Marketing," from Jupiter Research makes some pretty useful points about the context of the alert. Over 60% of the people they interviewed, felt annoyed by SMS alerts.
Consumers are most interested in receiving customer service alerts notifying them when bills are due or when their bank balances have hit a certain level (26 percent) and appointment reminders (24 percent). "These SMS cues let the consumer know where he stands with finances or important personal appointments, and can trigger some form of action--a perfect place for marketers to insert a message like, 'New low rates available on auto loans. Click here,' or, 'Your next haircut qualifies for a 50 percent discount,'" the report states. SMS messages regarding the weather (17 percent) and safety alerts for the consumer's location (another 17 percent) tied for the third most welcome form of notifications, trailed by activity alerts (12 percent), order status (11 percent), and personalized travel alerts (11 percent). Fifty-nine percent, however, noted that they are not interested in alerts. (These findings are based on an April 2007 Jupiter/Ipsos-Insight consumer survey of 1,815 cell phone owners in the U.S.)
You HAVE to let customers Opt-In for such services, and give them as much control as you can as to the who where and when they get such alerts. At VoiceSage, we know this, and that's why our new products in development address these issues. If you look at the examples or where customers want the message, its where the message has genuine two way value. If alerting helps the customer interact more effectively with your organisation, then they will value it.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dell Satisfaction Level

Every wonder how Dell would measure a customer satisfaction level?
We’ll never be 100% - no one will be 100%. There will still be some bad experiences, which obviously we don’t want to happen, but will. When we get to the 85% satisfaction level, then we can start promoting it more. By the way, that satisfaction level is based on a 9 point scale, 1 being terrible, 9 being great. If someone would rate us an 8 or 9, they are satisfied. If they are anything less than that, then they are dissatisfied.
Dick Hunter, Vice President of Customer Experience and Support at Dell. From Service Unlimited

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Use Click to Call To Build Interaction

How people shop, in general, is tied forever to the internet. People do their research on line and then, pop into their car, drive into town, handle the product, try it on, listen to it, ask a few questions, and buy. How they form their initial attitude towards the product is probably formed from their online research, the recommendations of friends, and prior experience. New research from Accenture goes into some detail on this: (reported by ZDnet)
the majority of consumers use the Internet as part of the shopping process even if they go to stores to purchase or pick up items. While two-thirds (67%) of survey respondents said they prefer to make purchases in physical stores respondents also said they research product features online (69%), compare prices online before shopping in a physical store (68%) or use the Internet to locate items online before going to a store to purchase (58%). Only 13% of respondents said the Internet has not improved their in-store shopping experience. More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents reported that, when shopping in physical stores, they often find too few registers are open and more than half (54%) say there are not enough sales people available. Many respondents said they will go elsewhere if they don’t find the appropriate selection at a certain store; this is particularly true for items such as footwear (81%); music, movies and books (78%); and jeans (76%).
KelseyGroup, specialist analysts in Local Commerce solutions, add the point that for purchases above $500, 90% of all transactions are completed in store, even where there was extensive research conducted on the internet. If an online site could offer the customer the ability to call their local stockist, and ask them if they have the product available, and any few questions they might have, you have now engaged the customer. From our own domestic shopping experiences at home, I know that if the stockist says, hey we don't have it in stock today, do you want me to get one brought in from our sister store, you can see it here on Friday.... inevitably we say yes. In turn the store gets the reputation of being helpful, reliable, and the place you go to first to for products in that category. And you know, when we arrive at the store, we usually ask for the person we were dealing with by name..... now that's relationship building.

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Don't Want To Hit an IVR?

A great piece in Techcrunch about an innovative new servcie called Bringo. Always want to get through to a live operator? Find the company you want to talk to in their Directory, put in your phone number, and Bringo will call you back with the live connection to a customer service person. As a commentator on techcrunch said, their is more or less a list of these numbers available on It would surely be a simple thing to get a mashup going with a simple tool like Teqlo and have the call back delivered, the connection managed via VoiceSage. If I were Bringo though, I'd go straight to widget and desktop on this one. I would also be working on how to enable the search function from my mobile phone. Perhaps text in the company name to a short code, and then you get called back when the operator is available? Definitely. Again, anyone interested, drop a line to VoiceSage, we would be delighted to enable you!

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Monday, May 14, 2007

As David McWilliams Might Say.....

...Yes, but what has all this to do with Dublin Property Prices? :) Well perhaps technology is going to enable everyone to get better market value estimates. Looking at online information about US property re-possessions and the prices they are securing, combined with price decrease information on Zillow, house hunters are going to have much more powerful information when it comes to negotiation. So what does this mean for the real estate agent? Services like Trulia are going to not only expose historical house prices, prices in this area, prices for houses like this in other areas, but will also make predictions about when will be the best time to make an offer on this house. See Farecast for an example of this working in the airline industry. ReadWriteWeb do a great job of illustrating how the ability to see this kind of information as a chart is going to bring business intelligence to the masses. Need to buy Sterling for an upcoming trip to the UK? Don't buy it now (fool!) set up a "Farecast for currency", that is tied to your travel schedule. If companies like Prosper and Zopa can allow people to lend to each other, why can't US and UK citizens swap currency? So you have 500 Vodafone texts and someone else has 300 O2 Texts on account, but they can't be used cross network? well trade them! Of course, people will need to get these kinds of alerts by phone, and be able to execute them. So what about the Real Estate Agents? The Sunday Business Post reported yesterday that Irish Real Estate agents spend about 40m Euro a quarter on advertising, and that they are obsessed with being number one in search engine results. Local real estate agents pay more than broader based national ones for click-through. The younger the real estate agent, the more they understand the power of the internet in the buying process. Yet, surprisingly few are using simple click to call, broadcast sms, and voice to get generate leads. 20 click through might cost around 600 Euro. Yet, slow to take up click to call? I believe the future for Real Estate agents will be knowing how to create a new position in the emerging information value chain. The old strategy is decaying beneath them. Perhaps it will emerge as a mix of Stockbroker and Lifestyle consultant. If anyone has any thoughts on this I welcome your comments.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hold Time: Hang (up) Time!

Service Untitled has a nice piece on the customer experience of hold times. The bottom line, lots of people sell very similar products and services. Why would I hold? More conversation here and here.

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Service Individuation

JP Rangaswami over at Confused of Calcutta makes an interesting point about getting lost in the metrics of customer service. People are flesh and blood and what happens to each of them is very important in their lives. I remember someone reporting that they saw a T-Shirt with "I am not a customer segment" written on it (thus, my jokey headline). I guess this might just be a matter of people actually connecting mentally and emotionally with the work that they do. How your customer service is connecting to the end user will not just be a matter of good practice and procedure, it will be a matter of caring. This months Trendwatching briefing illustrates how far price differentiation will get you in the long run, i.e. nowhere. That 1% of activists and content creators will search for best value, and then share it with their social network, and then it gets cascaded. What's perhaps new is that the internal workings of your company may also become transparent as never before. A piece of funny banter about a particularly stupid customer may be captured by an employee on camera phone, uploaded to their personal blog; a bad telephone interaction might be captured on a skype recording an played for the world on a customer service complaints site. Enabling click to call and related services are just one way of opening up to the customer and creating one to one conversations. But are their further ways of thinking about "how does this interaction impact on this customers life" and finding ways to further empower that customer. I don't want a ticket number. I want that person I spoke to in customer service to keep me updated. And if I want, maybe put that "virtual ticket" on my website a la the new eBay Gadget for anyone to see how long my issue is taking to be resolved. Think Transparency for while...

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

eBay Objects

In a move clearly supposed to compete with 2.0 start up's like Edgeio, eBay announces it's widget strategy. It has a slightly different business model in that its not a distributed marketplace per say (i.e. does not make every website and blog a potential revenue generator), it just creates an opportunity for people to say "hey, I like this item, if you feel like buying it, my birthday is coming up!!". In some ways it could also be considered a "social search" function in that you are doing a search and posting it up to be shared and acted up, and potentially, re-searched.

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