[View Past Issues] January 14, 2014
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: Webinar: Take the Imperfect Path to Service Excellence

January 30, 2014, 10 AM (PST) / 1 PM (EST)

To truly focus on the customer experience and deliver high quality, consistent service, there needs to be a balance between metrics and quality. It takes a combination of metrics, monitoring, coaching, training, and effectively communicating to consistently deliver a high quality customer experience that you can measure and promote. Additionally, it is important to know that delivering “excellent customer experience” does not require perfection. In fact, a focus on perfection often leads to customer dissatisfaction and negative employee morale. 

Attend this session to take the imperfect path to excellence and learn:

  • The difference between efficiency and effectiveness (value) metrics
  • Where to focus to create a quality customer experience (tips on call, incident, and knowledge monitoring)
  • How to achieve the balance of efficiency and quality (reporting, quality monitoring, coaching, and training)
  • The skills that differentiate EXTRAORDINARY customer service from good or great service.

Take Aways include:

  • Sample reports
  • Quality score card templates
  • Check list for skills that differentiate levels of service

Register today!

Microsoft Acquires Parature
Microsoft Corp. announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Parature, a provider of cloud-based customer engagement solutions. The acquisition will add world-class customer self-service capabilities to further accelerate the Microsoft Dynamics vision of helping organizations deliver amazing customer experiences.  As a provider of cloud-based customer service software to midsize and enterprise organizations, Parature has a well-earned reputation for outstanding customer service with 70 million users worldwide and more than 500 well-known brands.

Verint to Acquire KANA Software
Verint® Systems Inc. announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire KANA Software, Inc., a provider of customer service solutions delivered both on-premises and in the cloud. The acquisition would form a unique and revolutionary combination that would extend Verint’s Actionable Intelligence® strategy. The collective solutions from Verint and KANA would enable organizations worldwide to implement a single-vendor suite to help transform customer engagement. The acquisition of KANA, a portfolio company of Accel-KKR, is expected to be completed in Verint’s first fiscal quarter ending April 30, 2014.

Accenture Awarded Contract to Help Belk Deliver a Seamless Multichannel Customer Experience
Accenture has been selected by Belk, the largest family-owned and -operated department store company in the United States, to help the retailer to deliver a seamless experience to customers across all shopping channels – in-store, online and mobile – as part of its Omnichannel Transformation Initiative. Under the agreement, Accenture will help Belk ensure that products in both stores and warehouses appear available whether the customer is shopping online or in-store, reducing the possibility that a sale is missed because the product appears to be out of stock in a specific location. The program will also include planning the implementation of a new digital platform, improving the customer experience on Belk.com, growing Belk’s customer analytics capability and integrating its operations to help it operate consistently across multiple shopping channels.



On-Demand Webinar: Dealing With Difficult People at the Holidays!

It is that time of year for warmth, good cheer, and fellowship. But do you have customers, co-workers, or bosses who never got the memo? Communications skills expert, bestselling author and practicing psychotherapist Rich Gallagher will help you warm up your interpersonal skills, and teach you how to deal with some of the "characters" in your working life:

  • Scrooge: He has a word for everything, and it's always "no."
  • The Snow Queen: Can passionately and intelligently discuss any position as long as it's hers.
  • Jack Frost: That icy, passive-aggressive person who always leaves a chill in the air.
  • The Little Drummer Boy: Loudly stirs up drama when you least expect it.
  • The Angry Villagers: Customers who rise up on social media and elsewhere to criticize you.

Using evidence-based principles of strength-based communication, plus Rich's vast experience with managing difficult workplace situations, this on-demand webinar will help brighten your holidays with brand new tools for working effectively with anyone!

Watch the webinar today!

Worldwide IT Spending on Pace to Reach $3.8 Trillion in 2014
Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.8 trillion in 2014, a 3.1 percent increase from 2013 spending of $3.7 trillion, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. In 2013, the market experienced flat growth, growing 0.4 percent year over year.

Spending on devices (including PCs, ultramobiles, mobile phones and tablets) contracted 1.2 percent in 2013, but it will grow 4.3 percent in 2014. Gartner analysts said convergence of the PC, ultramobiles (including tablets) and mobile phone segments, as well as erosion of margins, will take place as differentiation will soon be based primarily on price instead of devices' orientation to specific tasks.

Enterprise software spending growth continues to be the strongest throughout the forecast period. The 2014 annual growth rate is expected to grow 6.8 percent. Customer relationship management and supply chain management (SCM) experienced a period of strong growth.

The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognize market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.

Last quarter, Gartner's forecast for 2014 IT spending growth in U.S. dollars was 3.6 percent, a 0.5 percentage points higher than the current forecast.

The data center systems spending growth outlook for 2014 has been cut from 2.9 percent in our previous forecast to 2.6 percent. This is mainly due to a reduction in the forecast for external controller-based storage and enterprise communications applications. These segments represent 32 percent of total data center system end-user spending.

Gartner has slightly revised downward the IT services compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2017. The largest contributor to this revision comes from reductions in IT outsourcing — specifically, in colocation, hosting and data center outsourcing growth rates.

More...

 

ForeSee Releases the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.S. Retail Edition
ForeSee, the global leader in technology-driven customer experience analytics, released the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.S. Retail Edition. Based on data gathered during 2013’s holiday shopping season, the report features company-level and channel-specific customer satisfaction analysis for the top 100 U.S. retailers.

The new FXI Retail report offers a comprehensive view of satisfaction at the Company-level and across every applicable sales channel including Store and Contact Center as well as Web and Mobile. The study is based on more than 67,600 surveys collected between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17, 2013, for the 100 biggest U.S. retailers as reported by the Fortune 500 and Internet Retailer’s top 100 websites. Retailers listed in this report include Amazon, Dell, L.L.Bean, Apple, QVC, Keurig, Costco, Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Barnes & Noble, eBay, Groupon, Family Dollar, Best Buy, Toys“R”Us, zulily and others.

Key Findings:

Company-level: retailers that satisfied the most (and least) during 2013’s holiday shopping season:

Amazon (90) and L.L.Bean (90) tied for the highest Company-level satisfaction. While this is the first time ForeSee has studied Company-level satisfaction during the holidays, the L.L.Bean website has scored an 80 or above in Web satisfaction eight out of the nine years measured, and Amazon has topped the Web satisfaction list every year. Amazon and L.L.Bean set the bar for customer experience excellence.

Priceline.com came in with the lowest Company-level satisfaction (76), as well as one of the lowest Web satisfaction (75) and Mobile satisfaction (73) scores.

Store channel: Apple, which prides itself on stellar Apple Store customer experiences, lost to the supermarket chain Publix Super Markets in Store satisfaction with a score of 86 – three points higher than Apple’s score of 83.

53 percent of retailers register merchandise as the main priority affecting in-store purchase, and 35 percent register service.

Web channel: While Amazon (88) led the pack for Web satisfaction, some retail sites such as vitacost.com (86), keurig.com (84) and llbean.com (84) are creeping closer. Basspro.com (83) and crateandbarrel.com (80) tied for the most improved sites with seven-point gains in customer satisfaction from last year.

57 percent of retailers identify merchandise as the top driver affecting customer web experience, compared to only 7 percent that register price.

Mobile channel: In a category that saw satisfaction stagnate this year, Walmart (80) was the only company to experience a significant increase of more than three points in Mobile satisfaction, seeing a five-point improvement from 2012’s score. Again, Amazon led the pack with a Mobile satisfaction score of 87.

38 percent of retailers register functionality as the top priority affecting the mobile customer experience, above both merchandise (34 percent) and content (31 percent).

Contact Center channel: QVC (88) beat Amazon (85) in Contact Center satisfaction by three points. Costco (85) and O’Reilly Auto Parts (85) tied Amazon in Contact Center satisfaction.
55 percent of retailers record knowledge of the customer service representative as the top priority affecting the customer contact center experience.

Holiday Satisfaction Trends:

Customers' loyalty wanes: 12 percent of customers surveyed said they only considered one company when making a purchase.

Almost half (49 percent) of people reported that the company they visited was one of several companies they considered equally when shopping.

Multichannel retailers satisfy shoppers: The most satisfied shoppers this holiday season were the ones that interacted with a retailer across multiple channels.

The majority of customers (57 percent) were single-channel users with a satisfaction score of 82, and the remaining 43 percent who used two or more channels to engage with the company recorded a satisfaction score of 85.

Customer satisfaction during 2013’s holiday shopping season is predictive of 2014 business success for retailers: When comparing the future behaviors of highly satisfied customers (with satisfaction scores of 80 or higher) to less satisfied customers (with satisfaction scores of 69 or less), ForeSee found that highly satisfied customers this holiday shopping season report being:

  • 71 percent more likely to prefer the company to others
  • 57 percent more likely to retain loyalty to the company
  • 72 percent more likely to purchase additional products or services from the company
  • 64 percent more likely to purchase next time they are in the market to buy similar products or services
  • 63 percent more likely to give a positive recommendation
  • 60 percent more likely to trust the company

More...

Click here for more Industry Stats

Zappos’ CEO on Using Corporate Relocation to Preserve Customer-Led Culture
In the years since Zappos was founded, we’ve had to make some big decisions. One of the most significant came in early 2004 when we decided to relocate from San Francisco to Las Vegas. Our biggest problem then was customer service—specifically, finding the right employees to staff our call center. A lot of people may think it’s strange that an internet company would be so focused on the telephone, when only about 5% of our sales happen through that channel. But we’ve found that on average, our customers call us at least once at some point, and if we handle the interaction well, we have an opportunity to create an emotional impact and a lasting memory.
Full Article...

Thanking Customers the Innovative Service Way

Most customer relationships don’t end in conflict…most are vanilla to death. Neglect is more dangerous than strife; indifference more costly than error. Great relationships are fueled by affirmation. Nurturing the bounty of customer loyalty requires more than proper cultivation and seeding. It must be fertilized with attention and care. “Courting” the customer does not end with the sale or transaction. This article outlines twenty-five ways to show customers your gratitude. Use this list to jump start your own list.
Full Article...

IT Leadership Lessons You Can Learn From Failure
Although you work tirelessly to prevent them, failures happen in IT. It's important that you discover the secret for turning mistakes into lessons you can use to become a more effective leader.
Full Article...

Making Better Decisions over Time
Managers make a wide range of decisions, from routine calls they face on a recurring basis, to large-scale strategic decisions they may encounter just once in their careers. For issues that are often repeated, the technique of deliberate practice—which involves action, feedback, modification, and action again—is a powerful way to boost performance. The technique works when a decision is part of a sequence, in which feedback from one part can improve the next. Not all decisions work in this manner, however. Knowing the difference is crucial.
Full Article...

Finding the Ideal Agent
Question: When recruiting, what does an ideal agent should look like? What steps should I take to help make the right selection? Answer: An ideal agent has the skills, style, and orientation found in this article.
Full Article...

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
by Lee Cockerell

The former EVP of Walt Disney World shares indispensible Rules for serving customers with consistency, efficiency, creativity, sincerity, and excellence. Lee Cockerell knows that success in business – any business - depends upon winning and keeping customers.

In 39 digestible, bite-sized chapters, Lee shares everything he has learned in his 40+ year career in the hospitality industry about creating an environment that keeps customers coming back for more. Here, Lee not only shows why the customer always rules, but also the Rules for serving customers so well they'll never want to do business with anyone but you. For example:

Rule #1: Customer Service Is Not a Department
Rule #3: Great Service Follows the Laws of Gravity
Rule #5: Ask Yourself "What Would Mom Do?"
Rule #19: Be a Copycat
Rule #25. Treat Every Customer like a Regular
Rule #39: Don’t Try Too Hard

Click here for more information!

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Free Research on the Service and Support Industry
Are you looking for the latest research available (for free!) on the service and support industry? Then check out the research section of SupportIndustry.com. Some of the current offerings available to members are:

  • 2013 People Issues in Customer Support
  • 2012 Service and Support Metrics Survey
  • The 2012 Service & Support Snapshot: 5 Support Trends That Will Change Your Business in 2012
  • 2011 State of the Industry: Six Trends Every Support Organization Should Know
  • 2011 Survey Results: How Support Behaviors are Changing for Mobile and Social Media Environments
  • Research Insight: Self-Service Support
  • Research Insight: Average Speed to Answer, Wait Time and Handle Time
  • 2010 Service and Leadership Trends in Customer Support
  • Research Insight: Effectively Measuring Customer Loyalty
  • Research Insight: Cost Per Contact (Phone & E-Mail)
  • Research Insight: First Contact Resolution

All of these reports can be accessed by clicking here...

Visit the SupportIndustry.com Blog
The SupportIndustry.com Blog is another way stay on top of the service and support industry. Our blog, updated at least once a week, is dedicated to covering the latest topics related to service and support, call center management, customer experience management, web-based support, help desks, workforce optimization and more.
Check it out today

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