Last week TMC published the article “What Telecom Innovation Means to the Masses” by Susan J. Campbell. In preparation for TMC’s ITEXPO West 2012 in Austin, the piece featured our very own Joseph Katz, Chief Marketing Officer here at Hold-Free Networks.
Campbell’s thought-provoking questions and Katz’s industry insight really hit the mark. We just can’t help but share the complete behind the scenes Q&A interview with Katz.
Hold-Free Networks will be exhibiting at ITEXPO West in Austin, Texas on October 3-5. You can find Joseph Katz himself at booth #519! Continue reading
By Edwin Margulies
(Part III of III)
Surprisingly most enterprise Smartphone apps have no real, inherent feedback loop. No way to tell how well you did on the last interaction from inside the app. The problem with this is that sentiment can fester if not treated. And this goes beyond simple surveying. I am talking about actually responding to sentiment, not just allowing for feedback. The trick is to respond and offer care before the sentiment goes viral. In-app sentiment feedback solves this problem because your are first able to capture relevant sentiment and then pipe it in real time to customer care agents.
There are several benefits to this approach. First, there is a link between customer loyalty and retention and sentiment feedback. Second, a real time sentiment feedback solution is kind of a “social early warning system.” In other words, you have first crack at responding and trying to help a customer before the issue gets posted on Facebook or Twitter or a blog.
By Edwin Margulies
(Part II of III)
Salve for Cross-Channel Confusion
You can solve the cross-channel confusion problem and the problem of having to bail from the app to communicate. The answer is surprisingly simple: Do it in-app. In other words, you can add a private message channel, and even an enterprise-connected chat channel inside your enterprise Smartphone app.
The benefit of this approach is smoother channel control. Simply put, you don’t have to jump around from app to app to get simple communications done. And it can be built to provide a common look and feel inside the app – with a common interface.
Help for Generic Call Treatment
Make Your App Keep-Worthy.
Let’s face it. Most enterprise Smartphone apps collect a modicum of user information. Take, for example, phone number or email address. This type of data can be passed-along to the contact center in order to aid in intelligent routing. Ditto the ability to provide drop-down lists to enhance the click stream of the user. All of this information can be used to get a customer into the proper queue.
By Edwin Margulies
(Part I of III)
Sadly, the majority of Smartphone apps were built quickly to fulfill the “cool” mandate. Versions 1.0 rarely scratch the surface of customer care and provide only the fundamentals like checking balances or looking up credits. So what’s the problem? Well the fact that most enterprise Smartphone apps are built in a silo creates channel confusion (phone vs. web vs. chat vs. SMS) and can create more problems than they solve.
Do You Know What Your App Is Doing?
I often ask customer care practitioners if they really know what their Smartphone app is doing. For example, is there a likelihood that chances for cross-sell are getting blocked? Or chances for retention of an angry customer falling away? How about the “contact us” page? Is it nothing more than a speed dial? Can customers communicate with you without having to dump out of the app and go to a discrete communication channel? All of these questions and more are often answered with a knowing nod: “Yes it’s a mess and we have to figure out how to make it better.” Continue reading
By Joseph Katz
“As for the complex ways of living, I love them not…however much I practice them.”
– Henry David Thoreau
I promised in my last post that I would have more to say about the “emerging” customer touch points and the customer’s desire for simplicity. On the surface, these might seem like contradictory ideas – if the customer truly wants to keep things simple stupid, why bother with all the newfangled contact methods like mobile apps and social media?
By Edwin Margulies
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems have been serving-up automated self-service since the late seventies and the subject of running pop culture jokes on shows like Seinfeld and The Simpsons ever since. Now the “Systems We Love to Hate” have a new lease on life.
Pay the Devil His Due
IVR Systems do a lot of heavy lifting. From multiple data dips to grab customer account info or order status, to screen pops for agents to speech recognition input from callers. All that infrastructure and professional services to build-out a good IVR app comes at a heavy cost. Continue reading
By Michael Haisten
Enterprises that decide to offer a callback option enable their customers to avoid quite possibly the most frustrating problem with call centers, excessive hold times. In cases where the callback option is presented via the company’s website or mobile application, customers are also able to skip navigating an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, another frequent source of frustration. By allowing customers to choose whether they want to wait on hold or receive a callback at a convenient time, enterprises are providing a sense of empowerment which results in increased levels of satisfaction and loyalty.
On the other hand, the enterprise is able to more evenly spread its demand throughout the day. Agent productivity and service levels are improved by shifting calls from busy periods to the slowest periods. Idle time in the call center is reduced. Callbacks also reduce the number of abandoned calls which can increase sales and revenue.
So how is callback technology best implemented? Here are some rules of thumb, many of which are slightly modified concepts from regular inbound calls. Continue reading
By Joseph Katz
When you’ve spent as much time in the contact center space as I have, it tends to shape your thinking just a bit. For example, whenever the topic of Customer Experience Management comes up, I automatically think of customer service.
I realize that customer experience (or CX as it’s known) has been an area of heightened interest in recent years for the very reason that it does not limit itself to one particular area. To understand things from a customer’s perspective, you have to look at everything from which way the doors open at the local branch to the color of the envelope used to send the monthly bill.
The forest from the trees
Most companies nowadays have someone who heads up Customer Experience; I can think of a few companies who have a whole team of these folks. I’m always fascinated by these individuals because of their attention to detail and their ability to see things through the eyes of a customer. Most of us lose that view of the “forest” simply by living in and amongst the “trees” for too long.
By Michael Haisten
Waiting on hold to speak with a real person in a call center is a common complaint among consumers. So common that television shows and companies alike have capitalized on our collective pain by making fun of these frustrating experiences. Saturday Night Live performed the Julie skit, and Discover created its line of advertisements starring Peggy. A British study, commissioned in 2011 by the mobile network giffgaff, went so far as to indicate that waiting on hold for longer than 5 minutes and 58 seconds could actually lead to minor health problems due to increased blood pressure and anxiety.
Some companies are starting to listen to their customers, however, and are offering callbacks as an alternative to waiting on hold. Callbacks can be offered in a phone menu, website, or mobile application. I think most people and businesses would agree that a 10 minute wait time is generally a poor experience – a call center failure. But the first time I used such a service, I received a callback in exactly 10 minutes, and I thought it was a customer service breakthrough. I even told everyone at work the next day how great it was! It certainly beat the alternative of being captive to my phone line waiting on hold. It got me thinking about the fun or productive things people could be doing every day rather than waiting on hold with the companies we patronize.
Here’s my top 10: Continue reading
By Sarah Rolfing
Today, when it comes to customer service, we all know who is calling the shots. Customers are loosing patience quicker and becoming less forgiving when they encounter a poor customer service experience. The 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer shows that “over half (55%) of consumers have intended to conduct a business transaction or make a purchase, but decided not to based on a poor service experience.” Deciding when, where, and how they want service, the average customer’s service expectations, compared to a decade ago, have skyrocketed.
We can attribute much of the shift in customer service expectations to the smartphone and its precious app offspring. Apps, apps, and more apps! They entertain, teach, narrate our lives, inform, and most importantly, help us. A 2012 study by ClickFox found that “over 78 percent of consumers surveyed use mobile apps for customer service purposes such as billing, account status/updates and interactive chat.” The same study revealed, “over 90 percent of respondents would replace some or all traditional customer service channels with a mobile app if available.” Continue reading