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Webinar: Learn 5 Best Practices of Successful Support Leaders

April 22, 2015, 10 AM (PST) / 1 PM (EST)


Every manager or supervisor in support wants to be effective - and promotable. And there are specific, actionable traits that differentiate best-of-breed support leaders from everyone else. Join former support executive and bestselling business author Rich Gallagher in a free webinar discussing the five best practices that will make you an effective support leader, including:

  • Creating a learning organization
  • Building responsibility and ownership among your team members
  • Theory X versus Theory Y: Why command-and-control doesn't work in support
  • Metrics and you: delivering results without fostering burnout
  • Hiring and recruiting: building the perfect support rep

Register today!

Kodak Alaris Info Insight Speeds Call Center Response
Kodak Alaris has a new e-mail management platform that helps enterprises analyze millions of messages so that contact centers can improve their customer service response times. By aggregating and analyzing information sent through a variety of channels -- including by phone, e-mail, and social media platforms -- the new solution can give contact center agents the information they need to respond much faster to customer questions. The new platform, known as the Kodak Info Insight Platform, is developed and sold by Kodak Alaris, and is part of its Information Management division.

Sonus and Numonix Team to Deliver Enhanced Customer Service Experience
Sonus Networks, Inc., a global leader in enabling and securing real-time communications, and Numonix, an innovator of interaction recording solutions, announced that they are collaborating to increase customer service levels, maximize agent productivity, support compliance regulations and reduce contact center costs by enabling security, enhancing reliability and integrating call recording. Sonus and Numonix are collaborating to improve contact center efficiencies by integrating Numonix RECITE call recording solutions into Sonus’ portfolio of SBCs. When incorporated into one platform, these two technologies provide a fully integrated and interoperable, best-in-class contact center solution.

Looking for the Best Help Desk Software?

Access G2 Crowd's Winter 2014 Help Desk Report to Easily Compare Vendors

Are you looking at customer support software and trying to compare different solutions? G2 Crowd publishes a comprehensive report that contains data collected from 100s of help desk reviews submitted by real users along with vendor information from trusted online sources.

TeamSupport is offering FREE access (a $600 value) to the 2014 Winter HelpDesk Report so you can easily compare feature ratings and vendors side-by-side.

  • compare features of popular software
  • evaluate vendors side-by-side
  • review real user feedback on vendors and features

Access the full report

Most Organizations Are Preventing Front Line from Delivering the Best Customer Experience Possible

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) in partnership with LiveOps, a cloud contact center and customer service solutions provider, has released the 2015 report, "Own the Moments! Understanding the Customer Journey." The report reveals that only 53 percent of organizations have a formal customer satisfaction program, and that 74 percent actually admit to preventing their front line from providing the best possible customer experience possible despite the fact that customer engagement and loyalty were identified as important priorities for all respondents. Report findings were derived from the responses of more than 400 surveyed professionals from virtually every role and level in contact centers and customer service organizations.

To truly be best in class, organizations must effectively leverage their talent, technology, and metrics to proactively anticipate and fulfill customer needs and expectations. The research dives into the challenges, strengths and opportunities that exist for organizations working towards perfecting their customer journey. The report organizes these aspects into five key moments - the essential points at which agents can delight customers and often define a brand. These moments are opportunities for organizations to seize or 'own' in order to yield the greatest possible customer experience:

  • Moments to Empower: The customer service agent owns "the moment," and has the greatest impact on the customer experience as they drive the initial interaction. Yet despite the recognized importance of the agent, nearly 75 percent of those surveyed knowingly hinder their team from providing the best customer experience. 62 percent of respondents cited the agent as the most critical touch point of the customer journey, while only 14 percent empower their agents to provide top-notch customer experiences.

  • Moments to Inspire: Improving employee/agent training ranked as one of the top issues that contact centers wanted to overcome. A majority of contact centers do not empower their agents to their fullest potential, resulting in low employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

  • Moments to Excel: 98 percent of respondents agree that real-time information is vital; however more than one-fifth of organizations have zero visibility into basic information such as contact history. Failing to equip agents with the correct tools and latest technologies results in the loss of insight into the basic information needed to provide proper customer service.

  • Moments to Enlighten: For the first time customers are fully in control, as a result, companies are rushing to utilize performance data to successfully fulfill the needs of their customers. Many organizations claim customer satisfaction as a top priority, while only half have an actual Customer Satisfaction Program in place.

  • Moments to Delight: Alarmingly, nearly 80 percent of respondents felt that their customers are not extremely engaged with their company. As a result, customers view their relationship with such organizations as disposable. Putting customer satisfaction at the forefront of organizational goals is imperative to improving engagement and securing customer loyalty.

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • 42 percent of contact centers do not investigate the root cause of repeat customer contacts

  • Less than 25 percent of organizations have a C-level "customer experience" leader

  • The metric of greatest commonality among survey respondents is Abandonment from Queue (68 percent), yet this metric also topped the list of "least effective" metrics.

  • Identifying a customer having an issue in real-time and conducting proactive outreach would greatly improve both the one-time customer experience and the full customer journey



Gartner Survey of More Than 2,800 CIOs Underlines Regional Differences Between CIOs

CIOs around the world are facing high levels of uncertainty as 2015 gets underway, according to a global survey by Gartner, Inc. The 2015 survey showed that issues experienced by CIOs are far from universal and real differences exist at both a regional and country level.

Gartner has been conducting a global CIO survey for more than 10 years, with the 2015 survey reaching 2,810 respondents in 84 countries, and representing nearly $400 billion in IT budgets and a combined $12 trillion in public sector budgets and private-sector revenue.

United States:
CIOs in the U.S. report an IT budget increase of 0.9 percent for 2015. While the average growth in IT budgets is marginally smaller in the U.S. than the rest of the world (0.9 percent vs. 1.1 percent), only one of eight CIOs in the U.S. is facing a decreasing IT budget.

Looking beyond the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobility, social and big data) and into the next generation of disruptive "SMART" technologies — sensors, maker machines (3D print), augmented humans, robotics and thinking machines — the survey revealed that for every category, the percentage of U.S. CIOs that says "not relevant right now" is larger than their global counter parts.

However, when looking at the number of companies that either have already invested or are actively experimenting, U.S.-based CIOs are — with the exception of the Internet of Things (IoT) — ahead of their global peers as those who have picked up on these technologies and have moved to either experiment with them or deployed them to a larger degree than their global peers.

The survey results also indicate that CIOs in the U.S. believe that they are taking a larger role as digital leaders (54 percent vs. 43 percent of global CIOs), they see themselves spending more time as visionary leaders than their global peers (23 percent vs. 21 percent) — yet only 34 percent of CIOs in the U.S. has a chief operating officer (COO), whereas 53 percent globally have a COO.

CIOs in China revealed an IT budget increase of 8.5 percent, way above the global average of 1.1 percent. Historical data shows that the IT budget at enterprises in China is much lower than the global average. This means that the high increase of IT budget is coming from a very low base.

While globally 47 percent of CIOs believe they have the digital leadership responsibility for their business, only 33 percent of CIOs in China do. This indicates that most CIOs in China are still seeing themselves as traditional CIOs taking care of traditional IT responsibilities (such as to support the business process running), and letting other senior executives take the digital leadership roles. CIOs in China should be more proactive and devote themselves to the digital world so that they can demonstrate their value to the business.

U.K. and Ireland:
A generally positive outlook is translating to growth in average IT spend in the U.K. and Ireland, with CIOs expecting to increase IT budgets by 1.4 percent in 2015. In addition to this increase in the IT budget, there is an increasing amount of investment in IT occurring across the enterprise, with more than 21 percent of IT investment taking place outside of the official IT budget. As CIOs emerge from a long period of cost-cutting and restricted IT budgets, there is a renewed focus on strategic investments in information and technology that will enable business growth.

One measure of CIO leadership and influence in the enterprise is the amount of time spent with senior business stakeholders compared with the amount of time managing the IT organization. CIOs should aim to spend a majority of their time working with the rest of the business to ensure that the value of information and technology is understood and the right investments are made. In 2015, leading CIOs will spend less than 40 percent of their time running the IT organization, choosing instead to spend time with other CxOs (27 percent of their time), business unit leaders (18 percent of their time) and external customers (16 percent of their time).

CIOs in the U.K. and Ireland also show a progressive attitude toward emerging SMART technologies. A significant minority of CIOs have moved beyond monitoring the trends to actively investing and deploying solutions. This is especially true for robotics (9 percent) and IoT (10 percent).

Latin America:
In the 2015 survey, Latin America had the lowest increase in regional forecast budgets in comparison with other regions (0.4 percent), indicating a cautious approach to new expenditures when compared with the previous year. Such a small increase in IT budgets also suggests that companies will seek cost-optimization efforts in order to free some money for new IT expenditures that might be necessary.

Investments in the public cloud are important for companies that wish to thrive in the digital business era. Although less relevant than for global respondents, more than 50 percent of companies in Latin America already consider infrastructure as a service (IaaS) either as a first option or include the cloud as one of their options before making final decisions. Likewise, investments in mobile applications are increasingly becoming the first priority when enhancing or designing new applications. "Mobile first" has become the main strategy for 25 percent of Latin American CIOs when dealing with customer-facing applications. In a mobile-driven digital world, this is an immediate call to action that CIOs and organizations should review their development strategies and priorities to start considering mobile as at least a secondary option.


Click here for more Industry Stats

2015 is a Great Year for Contact Centers
The contact center world is on fire. Never before have enterprise executives so fully appreciated the contributions and benefits of these customer-facing organizations. Innovation is robust and rapid, driven by the new generation of cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors who are not limited by the traditional 6- to 18-month software release cycle. This article presents 4 contact center trends that are expected to attract substantial investments during 2015. All of these trends will make substantial contributions to their enterprises, customers and employees.
Full Article..

50 Things You Need to Know About Customer Loyalty
How do you achieve that kind of unwavering customer loyalty? Well, you have to earn it. Here are 50 statistics and statements on customer loyalty. Check these out and discover the multitude of benefits that your company can experience by securing absolute devotion from your consumers.
Full Article...

Successful IoT Projects Need Corporate IT Know-How
There’s certainly some technology push contributing to the current high visibility of the Internet of Things (IoT). Cloud, embedded software and mobile communications all make the IoT possible. But the IoT business case needs identifiable, down-to-earth use cases and opportunities. This article uses some examples to highlight the value of the business know-how of corporate IT for successful IoT projects. 
Full Article...

Ten top reasons why employees resist change
We all hate change but, as an employer, if you expect resistance to change and then plan for it from the start, it will help to allow you to effectively manage objections, sometimes even before they are raised. At the end of the day all sources of resistance to change need to be acknowledged and people’s emotions validated if your change program is to be a success.
Full Article...

The Growing Importance of Managers in Employee Engagement
Long overlooked, or at least given a lower priority in many companies, internal communications has seen a surge in perceived value in recent years. Names may change -- more and more "internal communications" is being described as "employee engagement" -- but it is clear by whatever description is used, most importantly, there are two significant and desired action items for employees to embrace: developing a sense of shared purpose and passionately following through every day on that sense of purpose.
Full Article...

The Hidden Leader: Discover and Develop Greatness Within Your Company
by Scott K. Edinger, Laurie Sain 

Managers today need to make the most of all their resources - and The Hidden Leader shows them how to recognize and cultivate these talented but under utilized employees, who: demonstrate integrity; lead through authentic relationships; focus on results; work from clear customer purpose; and, fulfill the value promise of the company. Supported by real-world examples of hidden leaders in action - and QR codes readers can scan for instant access to online assessments - the book helps

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:

  • People Issues in Customer Support Survey Results
  • Annual Service and Support Metrics Survey
  • The Service & Support Snapshot: 5 Support Trends That Will Change Your Business

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

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