Category: Proactive Notifications & Mobility

Category: Proactive Notifications & Mobility
West Corporation

Posted on November 26, 2013 by West Corporation 

Give Me a Great Customer Experience

What is a great customer experience? To some degree a great customer experience is in the eye of the beholder. However, there are attributes that most customers would agree make for a great experience.  Things like:

  • Personalization
  • Intelligence
  • Relevance (right time, right place, with the right products, services and messages)
  • Overall value

In today’s economy, there is a lot of competition for a share of my wallet. The company that most closely aligns with the attributes of a great experience will have a higher share of my wallet. It’s as simple as that.

Examples of great customer experience:

  • My bank. When I visit the ATM, my preferences are stored and offered to me up front at every transaction. I feel like they know me. They wish me happy birthday and offer me relevant and timely add-on services.
  • My pet store. When I visit the store, they help me find the right product. They provide advice and consultation on pet issues

Examples of a poor customer experience:

  • My cable company. Over the last two or three months, I have had numerous problems when attempting to order on-demand movies. There’s an app for that! They have a mobile app, but I have never been offered the mobile app during any interaction. As a loyal customer who has three of their services, you would think they would understand that I have been having issues with the service.

You would think my cable company would see a pattern in my buying and notice that I haven’t purchased a movie for months, and maybe ask why. They could offer me a coupon for a free movie, or call me or message me to ask if I would like an agent to contact me to correct the issue. That would be a great customer experience  — showing they know me and care about me. Instead, I am actively searching for an alternative service. I plan to cancel my service as soon as I have an alternative identified. Now I won’t give them another chance — it’s too late.

Why is the burden on the customer to tell an enterprise when the service isn’t working or is not satisfying them? Why can’t companies use all of the information they have about me and my interactions with them to create a great experience? The companies that figure this out will see a great benefit — increasing customer loyalty and share of wallet — guaranteed.

West Corporation

Posted on October 21, 2013 by West Corporation 

Yes, Please Use Your Smartphone During Training

“Welcome to training, please use your mobile device during this session.”

Is this sarcasm? With the introduction of mobile electronic devices, such as the laptop, cellphone and tablet, learning distractions have gone digital and are not afraid to invade your next learning session. You probably have no trouble identifying “that person” or worse yet those “persons” in your organization who seem to spend more time texting or checking emails than participating in the meeting or training. Ask any corporate facilitator to list common classroom distractions and you will usually hear at least one reference to the use of smartphones during a training session. The mobile demographic demands our attention. Typically, smartphones and other mobile devices are considered a hindrance in learning environments, but does it have to be this way? When I think of mobile devices in the classroom, one saying always comes to mind: If you can’t beat‘em, join’em.

When I first considered integrating the mobile revolution into my training sessions, I have to admit I ran into some resistance from my peers. My spouse is a part-time facilitator for his organization, and we often share ideas and experiences in the classroom. I casually shared this idea with him while at dinner one night, and as you can expect, I received eye rolling accompanied with a long exasperated exhale and a drawn out, “oh boy.” Luckily, I decided to expand my research beyond the dinner table and found other facilitators who applied many techniques with success.

Deciding to start slow, I focused first on the most common mobile device in my classroom, the smartphone. Here are two techniques I was able to easily integrate.

Texting — Text messages are a great way for learners to submit questions to the facilitator. Every learning environment has a shy learner who hesitates to ask questions in front of the class. Texting is a great alternative. Asking participants to text questions during training is also a great way to create a virtual “parking lot” for questions

Smartphone Apps — There are many apps available for both Android and iOS devices that enhance the learning experience. One app worth checking into is from Socrative. Free for teachers and learners, this app provides teachers a method of engaging learners with exercises and games through most mobile devices and provides exportable reports on these exercises through an email Excel spreadsheet. I have used this app in both meetings and training sessions and in a variety of different ways such as quizzes, surveys and collaboration. Once an activity is complete, the app offers me the opportunity to download the report or send it to my email.

I am always interested in what other facilitators are using in the classroom. If you have a solution that works for you, please comment and share. Let’s face it, mobile devices are here to stay. If learners rely on mobile devices for other day-to-day operations, then facilitators should consider how to incorporate them into the learning strategy.

West Corporation

Posted on October 7, 2013 by West Corporation 

Got APIs?

An application programming interface (API) can be defined as a set of protocols, routines, and tools for building software applications. An API enforces structure on both sides of a request, and a good API makes it easier for developers to build apps. Over the past few years, there has been a sharp increase in the use of Web-accessible APIs. Twitter, Google and Facebook handle billions of API requests every day. Others are steadily joining the API movement: provides a directory listing nearly 10,000 different APIs, and even provides an “API for APIs.”

Why the astounding growth? Mobile applications are driving much of the increase, but the bottom line is that APIs are unleashing an incredible amount of creativity by enabling software developers to build amazingly powerful applications — while letting others manage the underlying IT infrastructure. Additionally, the developer is shielded from the complexities of the service implemented behind the APIs, while a pay-as-you-go pricing model further reduces barriers to entry.

Enterprises are moving toward Web-accessible APIs, albeit at a slower pace. Data security is a key concern, as is the risk of adding external dependencies. As a result, there are many companies offering API management services now. These services are offered in on-premise, cloud and hybrid flavors — and are helping to speed the adoption rate of APIs by enterprises. Common features include access portals, development tools, security, analytics and more. Additionally, there are several open-source solutions available. Ultimately, enterprises will embrace APIs from proven, trusted, providers of enterprise-grade solutions and services.

Is your enterprise leveraging the power of Web-accessible APIs yet? If not, it’s time to start thinking about it. Do your business partners offer secure, reliable, managed APIs? If not, make sure it’s on their roadmap. By all accounts, the Age of the API is upon us.

West Corporation

Posted on August 19, 2013 by West Corporation 

Exercise Communication Strategies When Bad Things Happen

Recently while returning from vacation, I spent way too much time waiting in a long line filled with grumbling airline customers — myself included. As my wait grew past 90 minutes, I distracted myself by playing the mental game of how the airline could improve the situation. Since this was a delay caused by weather, it really wasn’t the fault of the airline. However, in my opinion, they could have scored points with dissatisfied and angry customers with better communication. Communication is often the most important factor when bad things happen to relatively good companies. When communication is handled well, it can be the differentiator in how a customer remembers the event.

In my opinion, a well-executed incident communication plan has five fundamental elements:

1.       Acknowledge and reassure.
Don’t shy away from communication because you don’t have all the details at first.  Let the customer know as quickly as possible what you do know and what you are doing about it. Reassure them that the right people are engaged and resolution is their top priority

2.       Establish expectations.
Some customers only want updates when a situation is resolved; others prefer updates at a stated frequency. Find out which approach works best for your customers, as that helps them feel in control. Don’t forget to set expectations for your internal groups working toward resolution of the issue. They need to know what update frequency they need to deliver to you.

3.       Keep your word.
Whether you have something new to report or not, meet your commitment to deliver updates. Nothing can turn a situation from bad to worse faster than avoiding conversation simply because you have nothing new to report.

4.       Deliver updates that are simple, easy to understand and honest.
Don’t sugarcoat the situation or bury a customer in lengthy, overly complicated details. If you are still diagnosing the problem, don’t fake it. If you are contemplating various alternatives, share enough of the details if possible so the customer knows that multiple options are being explored to resolve the issue.

5.       Make it right when it’s over.
That may be as simple as an apology and a statement regarding what you are putting in place to avoid the situation in the future. Closing the loop on the situation gives you one last opportunity to differentiate yourself during a challenge.

A customer once said to me in a difficult situation, “I’m not a mushroom. I don’t like being kept in the dark.” That quote has always stuck with me and validates the value of the five-step approach.

So, how did the airline delay turn out? I missed my connecting leg and was offered a flight two days later. So, I took the situation into my own hands and rented a car then drove 10 hours to my final destination. It was not a good travel experience but it was a good reminder to me as a service provider.

West Corporation

Posted on July 23, 2013 by West Corporation 

Growing a New Automated Customer Care Solution Is Like Growing a Healthy Lawn

Warm weather is here to stay, and our focus is on household outdoor projects. Perhaps you are considering replacing your lawn with new sod to have the lush, green grass you have always wanted. While the long-term benefit of having the lawn everyone in your neighborhood envies is satisfying, it will take some patience in the short-term, as well as ongoing care and feeding.

This is no different than when organizations decide to implement new automated contact solutions for their customers. It takes planning to start off on the right foot, patience not to change direction too quickly and ongoing maintenance to evolve the customer experience.

Lay the Sod
Like new sod, you want to implement a new automated customer contact solution with a debris-free, level environment when laying the foundation. The last thing you need is to take short-cuts and introduce known holes and mounds to a new customer experience. To lay the foundation, you need to plan properly:


  • Identify business requirements and goals; including key performance indicator (KPI) targets
  • Design initial user interface with an experienced team who can recommend best practices


  • Conduct usability tests with existing customers and other customers within the industry

Be Patient and Let It Take Hold
Patience, patience, patience. You need to avoid cutting the new grass too quickly. New sod requires time to grow and establish strong roots, which means there will be initial periods of uneven, long grass.

While it is tempting for organizations to “cut” or “turn the dials” for their newly implemented automated customer contact solutions the moment feedback begins rolling in, it is important to remain patient. Both internal and external customers need time to adapt to new experiences implemented and allow it to soak prior to introducing additional changes.

The reality is that this is easier said than done. To allow flexibility during the “rooting” process, there is a method organizations can employ — a champion vs. challenger strategy:

  • Select a subset of customers (5 to 15 percent of customer contacts) to trial the new feature or application.
  • Roll it out for the selected segment of customers (the challenger) for 30 to 60 days while your other customers continue with the current treatment (the champion).
    • Analyze the customer experiences of champions vs. challengers, leveraging internal and external customer feedback channels and KPI results.
  • Refine and roll out to the challenger segment for 30 additional days.
  • Analyze and decide whether to roll out to entire customer base.

Ongoing Maintenance
Once the sod begins to grow a strong root foundation, it is time to manicure the grass, cutting it to the desired length and fertilizing to achieve a lush green lawn. As weather changes, your lawn routine is also likely to change to handle the conditions.

In order for an organization’s business objectives and quality of customer experience to continue to evolve to meet expectations, ongoing care and feeding of their automated contact center solutions are required to ensure continuous improvements in self-care and to set strategy for high-quality, user-centered design. Six fundamental steps for continuous improvement should be considered when evaluating and evolving these solutions:

  1. Understand the current solution.
  2. Create the baseline performance metrics.
  3. Assess and establish improvement opportunities.
  4. Complete the business impact analysis.
  5. Define the opportunity roadmap.
  6. Deploy enhancements.

Laying a solid foundation, having some patience, and performing ongoing care and feeding are keys to growing a great lawn — and a great customer experience.

West Corporation

Posted on July 15, 2013 by West Corporation 

Does Your Company Measure Its Cost of Being Reactive?

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Reactive maintenance resources can average 30 percent or more than the required resources in a proactive work model. In manufacturing, production downtime losses can average four times the wasted maintenance resources. Companies in service industries also suffer from spikes in resource costs from being reactive but have difficulty measuring them, tending to highly underestimate the impact by considering only the direct human costs.

In a customer-satisfaction-driven environment, employees are typically measured by metrics such as first-call resolution, average handle time (AHT), mean time to resolution, etc. When the policies and procedures are lacking around how to manage and document resolutions and employees are empowered to “do whatever it takes” to make the clients happy, it becomes nearly impossible to measure the cost of individual issue management.

It’s human nature to fix problems fast and hope the problem doesn’t resurface. How many times has your IT department asked you to simply reboot your PC to see if that fixes the problem? How many times does an issue have to occur before your development organization admits that it is a software issue and prioritizes a fix in the next enhancement release? How long does it take you to patch the leaky pipe under your kitchen sink before calling a plumber to fix the issue permanently? The old adage of “a stitch in time saves nine” applies more often than we all care to admit.

You Can’t Always Count on Your Offense
Football fans applaud the safety for his ability to prevent a touchdown by the other team, but they often overlook the missed tackles from the defensive line that allowed it to happen in the first place. The effectiveness of a team’s defense is measure by yards given up in a game. It is then the job of the defense coach to look at the game film later, break down the plays in slow motion, to discover how the team as a whole failed to execute and make adjustments for the next game.

Similarly, most companies operate with a system that thrives on reactive responses rather than the less exciting but far more effective preventive (proactive) approach to invest to reduce, or ideally prevent issues from occurring in the first place. You’ll also likely find reward programs where employees are recognized and applauded for how they saved the day because of their willingness to work overtime and resolve the problem with a smile.

Most organizations can usually calculate the majority of the direct costs in a budgeted mode: maintenance labor, materials, tools, equipment, contractors, etc., that are allocated to maintenance roles. Indirect costs incurred because of decreased maintenance efficiency and effectiveness are not always known or as easy to calculate.

For example, do you know what it costs the company or the customer when a product is not released on schedule? What were the effects of the late delivery on idle resources waiting to engage in their stage of the development lifecycle? What was the cost of the trip where the CEO, COO and CTO had to travel to the customer’s site to smooth over a dissatisfied or at-risk customer?

Supporting new customer sales and prioritizing maintenance issues affecting customers can quickly absorb available resources. When resources have already been cut back to meet monthly and quarterly cost containment objectives, proactive work is put on hold. The near-term consequences are obviously higher, and it is a quick decision on where to focus resources. However, while seemingly isolated to the issue at hand, the longer-term impact of delayed projects and employee morale can have a nasty ripple effect throughout a business. You can be the best executive in the world, but you’ll fail in a compromised morale environment if your employees don’t execute the business plan. This greatest indirect cost, the drop in employee morale, has a multiplier effect, and it’s not a good one. It changes companies — and not for the better.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back …
Accounting systems work well for what can be easily counted and monetized. But this tends to undermine the value of the avoided cost, of understating the real value of sensible preventive investment. We are even taught in business school that with good decision analysis you should include alternative scenarios, weighing the near term returns versus the long term and estimating the likeliness of the scenario occurring. A best-case-versus-worst-case approach can provide leadership with a range of likely risk and reward. Unfortunately, we tend to get lazy when it becomes difficult to value an uncertain avoided cost. We also don’t have a lot of time to develop and think through alternatives when customers demand answers to why their software enhancements haven’t been delivered or aren’t working as promised.

There is also a fundamental societal challenge that undermines our ability to pursue sensible risk management objectives. It is our ability to see the forest through the trees and invest appropriately today to avoid higher (often significantly higher) costs tomorrow. There is little incentive for an operations executive to invest in a solution that won’t pay off for 5 or more years when his or her annual bonus is based on managing costs. You think being a good executive means a laser focus to squeeze every last ounce of productivity out of the business. But the very best executives — the ones whom I admire — have balance. They strike a critical balance between productivity and the overall health of the company, because they fully acknowledge all of these indirect effects on the business long term.

We also recognize from many published examples that companies that do not invest in R&D and innovation (both technology and process) tend to be behind the market, developing me-too technologies and trying to differentiate themselves through customer service, and these organizations are at a higher risk for becoming obsolete. We see this in healthcare. The United States has been described as the best reactive healthcare system in the world. We do relatively poorly at preventive and routine care but have some fantastic high-end long-term care capabilities.

The Answer: Proactive Risk Management
The mistake that growing companies make is having a culture based too heavily around productivity. Good executives strive to find a sensible balance between investing in upfront planning and providing top-notch customer care. Proactivity needs to be a recurring business objective. It should be a mantra to drive the underlying business culture. Planning steps must be incorporated into all project plans and go, no-go decisions should be incorporated into key project milestones.

Incite your employees to be proactive. Build incentive plans that reward employees for the long-term benefits of their actions. Drive product readiness, but be careful not to expect 100 percent accuracy. Plan technology, operational and sales and marketing readiness frameworks so that tweaks can be made as you learn over time rather than starting and stopping over and over again with entirely new formulas or approaches. It is wasteful.

None of us can be proactive in everything we do — but we can move in a proactive direction so we can reap the benefits of all of the strategies of being successful, without having to take backward steps that cause loss of time and money. And face it, people really appreciate that balance and company focus on their own personal growth rather than just the near term, top-line. It ultimately helps ensure a culture of teamwork and satisfied employees.

So, how much is your company willing to spend to move from a reactive to proactive maintenance business model?

West Corporation

Posted on April 25, 2013 by West Corporation 

Can Mobile Apps Enhance Customer Care? Let Me Count the Ways

I am a good Mom, most of the time. My daughter is away at college and needed me to pick up a certified/registered letter at the post office for her. The post office needed a signature for the letter and, of course, no one was ever home when they came to deliver it between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. — duh! Since my daughter couldn’t make it back home during post office hours herself (and being the good Mom), I told her that I would go to the post office and retrieve the letter for her.

So, bright and early in the morning I stood in line at the post office. Only five people ahead of me, great. I’ll still have time to grab a coffee before work. The trouble is that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), as we all know, is revenue-challenged and is operating in the red, so there was only one representative working the line. Customers were doing simple things, but only one guy working slowed things down considerably.

So, 30 minutes later, I finally got to the front of the line. The process to get a certified/registered letter was pretty straightforward. I had to show my driver’s license, as they required that it be the same address that was on the letter. I had to physically sign my name on the signature machine. That was it!

It was then that my wheels really started to turn. This process could be simplified and automated. And, even better, it could be more convenient and maybe even make me loyal to the post office as my shipper of choice and thus spend more money there: Just think if the post office had a mobile app that, among other things, could simplify this process.

If I received a registered letter that I needed to sign for, the app could notify me. I could use my devices camera to scan my driver’s license bar code to prove I was at the same address. I could then digitally sign the “form” within the app. The post office could deliver the registered letter to my home in their next mail delivery. I am happy, and the post office could save money by not needing someone at the physical location to process this type of transaction. Nor would they have to repeatedly try to get my signature at home, when I am never going to be there during the day. Simple, straightforward and effective to me (the customer) and the USPS.

That’s how organizations should be thinking about mobile care applications. They should bring value to the customer and the company — or organizations shouldn’t waste their time. The USPS could save money and apply a mobile app to processing transactions that absolutely need a human to complete the transaction — things like passport processing. The impact to customers is a better customer experience and one that they are more in control of and which is more convenient for them.

Another example is of an experience that I just had as a customer. I am taking my girls to Florida for spring break. My husband is a huge baseball fan (Cardinals, baby!) and we will hit the beach and some spring training games. Well, the girls are 10 and 11 and growing like weeds. So, I went online to order some swimsuits and shorts for the trip. In the Midwest we don’t have a lot of beach apparel in stores this time of year. I went online to my favorite U.K.-based retail site and ordered their stuff. Clothing sizes in the United Kingdom sizes are different than U.S. sizes, and I was not thinking straight, so I ended up ordering the wrong size on a couple items. The next day, I woke up panicked thinking I needed to call and change the sizes before the order shipped. When I called the company, by the time they heard my story, searched for my order, verified 62 pieces of information (exaggeration!) the call took about 12 minutes. And then, in the end, they weren’t able to change my order anyway. So annoying!

What could have and should have happened is that when I called, their system would have the ability to recognize that I had placed an order in the last 24 hours and the agent could greet me accordingly. “Hi Jil Fisher, are you calling about your recent order?” I would have been so much happier if they at least would have acknowledged me and the business I gave the company. And it certainly would have sped up the call if they knew something about me.

If the company could spend the time and focus on making sure all of their channels are connected and aware of recent activity everyone would win. It would save the company money in agent costs with shorter calls due to more intelligence when they are presented with the call. The customers would be more loyal due to the differentiated experience they receive in all the channels that they are using

I don’t want to suggest that customer data management easy. It seems straightforward when you are the customer, but there are lots of things that need to be contemplated from a company perspective — and you don’t want to try to boil the ocean.

  • Companies need to think about their overall processes and how customers transact with them in general. Think like a customer — be a customer. The mobile channel creates a great opportunity to streamline, personalize and engage customers. Just don’t create another communication silo.
  • Companies should think about how all of the channels can tie together. How they can streamline and connect channels.

It’s hard to know where to start, and that’s where a company like West can help. We can help create the vision for an overall customer experience and the road map to get there so you aren’t biting off more than you can chew. We are helping companies with this every day. And we are there every step of the way.

Learn more about this subject in Jil Fisher’s podcast, “Use a Mobile App to Improve Your Customer Care.”

West Corporation

Posted on April 22, 2013 by West Corporation 

The Brave New World of Customer Care

Traditionally, the mobile channel has been the domain of marketing departments that leverage the channel to promote brand, sell and add e-commerce opportunities. Or technical departments looking to mobilize existing websites or internal work processes. Until recently, the idea of leveraging mobile for something as mundane as customer care was not even in the realm of thinking. Mobile is sexy and flashy. Why spend the time to mobilize customer care? There are four main reasons we are seeing with our clients today:

Consumer-Driven Care
Consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to communicating with our clients. More and more, they choose how to communicate and what device they want to use. Mobile is a channel that consumers want to use, and they are using it in their daily lives. Clients that we support know they must play in mobile to ensure that they are relevant to the consumers of their products and services.

Avoiding the Application Wasteland
Take a look at your mobile device. How many apps have you downloaded and how many do you really use? If you are like most of us, there are a handful of apps that you use other than games and sports apps. We use applications that bring value to our daily lives. Increasingly, we are seeing that customer care in the mobile channel is something that consumers will actually use. Customer care functions add value as stand-alone applications or tied to other existing applications, thus creating an enriched application that will actually be used. Mobile customer care also has a tangible return on investment that can be measured against other customer care strategies. This helps companies make the investment in their mobile care channel.

Customer Experience is King
Our clients are breaking down the silos that have traditionally divided internal teams who support their customers and are looking at the experience holistically. Organizations understand that they work hard to attain their customers and that one poor customer experience can ruin the relationship.

Mobile is helping bring companies together because it transcends these silos and offers a channel where consumers have the option to talk to an agent, call an IVR, search a website, launch an application and comment on all of the experiences in social media. Companies are investing in new “C” level positions (e.g., chief customer experience officer) and changing their philosophies around the barriers between internal groups. This has allowed departments like customer care, marketing and technology to come together and start to leverage the mobile communication channel to its full potential.

Connecting Channels to Improve the Customer Experience Is Key
With strategies and organizational structures that align with consumer-driven care, we are helping our clients connect channels to create personalized and intelligent care experiences. We can have the mobile channel aware of what is going on with other channels and adjust accordingly to ensure that the customer experience is effective and valuable. Each customer care touch point is so valuable in today’s tough economy and competitive environment.

We are all moving into the brave new world of mobile. Customer care is no different, despite its reputation for being back-office and behind the times. In the mobile channel, we have another opportunity to automate and perform customer care that will enhance the overall customer experience. It is all about choices for our customers and how they want to communicate with us. We are slowly adapting to customers who want to click their app rather than dial the toll-free number. The companies that embrace this have the best chance to service and grow their customer bases.

West Corporation

Posted on April 16, 2013 by West Corporation 

Generation Thumb, Part 2

A previous post  by a past colleague pointed out the significance of mobile to baby boomers. The ability to work, check email, tweet, check finances, etc., via a mobile device is becoming the standard for most and stresses the importance of mobility. However, as younger generations like millennials come into the picture, it is important to realize the importance of enhancing different channels beyond mobile to address the needs of these savvier tech gurus.

Mobile may be transforming into the new standard of communication, but we are seeing new technologies and strategies emerge that are both separate and entwined with mobile capabilities. For instance, having a social media strategy is starting to become the norm within marketing departments. Leaders are more concerned about brand protection, but they are kept awake at night because social media is becoming more than a marketing vehicle. Blogs, forums, Facebook and Twitter are avenues that also need to be connected into the care organization. Customers are using these avenues to discuss, complain and seek resolution to problems.

The obvious solution to some may be to make a public post apologizing for the problem and offer some kind of compensation for the loss. But, by taking a step back for a moment, customer care organizations are starting to recognize the importance of having both their mobile and social strategies tied together. A public statement may satisfy the masses, but companies can also use one-way and two-way communications through text or SMS to send a more personal message. Not only does this give the “warm fuzzy” that the customer is seeking, but it also shows the importance of how having a unified multichannel customer relationship strategy is the future.

Finally, as companies continue to address  needs around mobile and social, it is important to note that there is a third and equally vital part of this strategy involving the Web. Having some sort of Web presence is the norm for any company. Customers expect to be able to go to a Web address and get a preview of products, self-serve, shop and so on. However, the Web is turning into a greater part of an overall digital strategy that can be designed to engage customers and provide more value to them. Making the environment more virtual and engaging with multimedia, content, forums, chat, etc., not only enhances the experience, but also gives an organization the opportunity to capture vital information needed to be proactive with customers. Knowing who your customers are and some information about them will improve their experience increase your revenue. And both are vital to the success of your business.

The next generation of consumers is putting more emphasis on new technologies, forcing companies to be nimble and preemptive with their communication strategies. The ability to allow your customers to connect with you how and when they want is paramount to any successful strategy. The younger generations are our fastest growing customer base, stressing the importance of having a unified multichannel customer contact strategy. After all, keeping your consumers happy and addressing their needs is a lot cheaper than acquiring new customers.

West Corporation

Posted on April 12, 2013 by West Corporation 

But You Called Me: How Companies and Customers Can Win in the Customer Service Game

Have you ever received a voice message from a company you do business with requesting you call them in regard to your account or a purchase? This type of message likely piques your curiosity and ultimately entices you to give them a call.

Now, how many times have you called back and were barraged with a choice of options on the automated system? Even if you are the savviest of users of automated systems — who understands that if you take the time to choose the right option, then your call is delivered to a customer service representative who can actually help you — you would not be sure where to start.

After bouncing from representative to representative to finally reach one who can help you, you are asked for the third time, “How can I help you?”

You respond with, “Ugh! You guys called me!”

By keeping track and leveraging context of customer interactions through various engagement channels, companies can personalize these interactions and increase customer intimacy.

For the above scenario, the automated system could have acknowledged me upfront and intelligently sent me to a representative who could have greeted me with, “Thank you for calling us back, Mr. Robeson. We have a question for you about a recent purchase.” It would have been a much better experience.

Organizations can save themselves time and cost, as well as increase customer satisfaction, by making sure the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. It is a win-win situation.

Organizational Wins

  • Consistent brand experience across all customer engagement channels, including Web, mobile, automated system and representative
    • Because customer satisfaction equals customer loyalty
  • Reduce transaction times and cost by streamlining the automated system transaction and sending the customer to the correct representative the first time

Customer Wins

  • Reduce customer effort by tracking experiences and context of interactions or the idea that, “It is easy to do business with Company Y”
  • Increase the level of predictability or the idea that, “I don’t mind contacting Company Y because it is likely they already know what has happened and it won’t take long to get an answer”

Remember that the company called you first, so to acknowledge the fact they called you is the least they can do when you call them back.