[View Past Issues] August 12, 2014
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: White Paper: Tiered Customer Support is Dead - And That's Good for Business

Customer support departments typically have a “Tiered” or “Level” model of support.  The average number of tiers is 3, with as many as 5 at some companies.  These tiers are based on level of complexity and an equivalent skill level of the technician. 

The problem with this structure is that it is limiting (and frustrating) for both the support agent AND the customer. Collaboration offers a much better alternative to customer service.

Download this whitepaper to learn:

  • Why tiered support is bad for the agent
  • How agents can learn more and become more valuable in a collaborative system
  • Why a tiered model promotes poor customer service
  • How to adopt the new support model of collaboration

Download your copy today!

Large Retail Chains Selects ClickSoftware's Cloud Solution for Workforce Optimization and Capacity Planning
ClickSoftware Technologies Ltd., a provider of mobile workforce management solutions for the service industry, announced that one of the world's largest retail chains has selected ClickSoftware's cloud-based solutions for capacity planning and scheduling for its in-store workforce. The retail chain is moving to real-time, optimized workforce management to ensure that in-store projects are addressed in a prioritized fashion, and completed more quickly. The shift will also bring an improved in-store experience to customers, and ensure well-stocked stores during even the busiest shopping times.

Verint Workforce Optimization Solution Now Available on Multiple Mobile Platforms
Verint® Systems Inc. announced that its Verint Mobile Workforce Optimization (WFO) solution is now available on multiple mobile platforms, including Google Android and Apple iOS. As a native mobile application for Android and iOS-based devices, Verint Mobile WFO™ (Workforce Optimization) enables frontline employees and managers to enjoy the benefits of WFO while being mobile, engage and deliver on-demand intelligence on-the-go, and swiftly respond and take action from the convenience of their own mobile devices.

On-Demand Webinar: The Top 10 Avoidable Mistakes Front-Line Support Teams Make

The words "customer support" evoke images of smiling, headset-wearing people sitting in front of computer screens, eager to serve you. But we’ve all had support experiences that don’t feel anything like that.

When support agents drop the ball, they give their companies a reputation for bad service and make their own job harder. Fortunately, their biggest mistakes are almost always predictable — and avoidable.

Listen to Rich Gallagher, author and customer service expert, and take a frank, humorous tour through the 10 “worst practices” support teams use every day on the frontlines with customers.
Watch this webinar to learn:

  • The impact of "case-close-itis" on performance
  • Catch phrases that aggravate everyone
  • How to think like a customer instead of an agent
  • The wrong way to respond to a customer complaint

Register today!

Worldwide IT Market Showing Tentative Signs of Improvement, According to IDC

According to the newly published International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Black Book, recent volatility will gradually give way to a more positive outlook for IT spending in the second half of 2014. With the U.S. and other mature economies mostly heading in the right direction and a significant commercial PC refresh cycle already underway, improvements in business confidence are set to drive a moderate infrastructure upgrade cycle over the next 12-18 months, while investments in software and services will continue to accelerate.

Worldwide IT spending is now forecast to increase by 4.5% in 2014 at constant currency, or 4.1% in U.S. dollars. A significant proportion of this growth is still being driven by smartphones – IT spending excluding mobile phones will increase by just 3.1% this year in constant currency (2.8% in U.S. dollars). Aside from smartphones, the strongest growth will come from software, including rapidly expanding markets such as data analytics, data management, and collaborative applications including enterprise social networks. The 3rd platform pillars of Big Data, Social, Mobile and Cloud will continue to drive virtually all of the growth in IT spending, while spending on 2nd pPlatform technologies will remain effectively flat.

Meanwhile, although some emerging markets remain constrained by macroeconomic and geopolitical wild cards, there is now significant pent-up demand for IT investment that will drive stronger growth next year in markets including India, Brazil, and Russia. Pent-up demand has already driven a significant rebound in both consumer and enterprise IT spending in China this year, as confidence stabilizes. While mature economies are still driving the upside in 2014, emerging markets will once again dominate in 2015.

Cold Snap and Wild Cards Impacted IT Spending, But Underlying Demand is Strong

Some IT market segments performed weaker than expected in the first quarter of 2014 (1Q14), in line with the weather-related slowdown in U.S. output and the impact of wild card events including the conflict in Ukraine. In particular, an overdue enterprise infrastructure refresh cycle was disrupted by short-term declines in business confidence. However, strong underlying demand for this investment cycle will drive improvements in the server, storage, and network infrastructure markets in the coming months.

PC Refresh Stronger than Expected in Mature Economies, Tablet Shipments Weaker

The commercial PC refresh has proven stronger than originally forecast. As a result, IDC now forecasts PC spending will increase by 3.5% in 2014 (the fastest pace since the post-financial crisis rebound of 2010). Western Europe has also seen an improvement in PC shipments, although PC spending in Europe will still be down by 1% due to average price declines. The PC cycle has already driven a market upturn in Japan, where economic growth and upcoming tax increases drove a surge in capital spending in 2013 (PC spending in Japan increased by 6% last year, but will decline by -4.5% this year).

The U.S. tablet market is now forecast to increase by just 2% this year, but will rebound to 7% growth in 2015 as the PC cycle begins to wane. Worldwide tablet spending has slowed from 29% year-over-year growth last year to 8% in 2014, but will accelerate back to double-digit growth next year (10%). Penetration rates in emerging markets such as China will continue to increase, while some enterprise spending will shift back to tablets.

Pent-Up Demand and Mobile Driving Growth in China, With Other Emerging Markets to Follow

The economic slowdown in 2013 had a negative impact on IT spending in China, but this also created a significant swell of pent-up demand that is now driving improvements in technology investment. IT spending growth in China decelerated to 8% last year but is on course for 13% growth in constant currency in 2014.

Excluding mobile phones, IT spending in China will increase by 5% this year (up from growth of just 2%, excluding phones, in 2013). Server spending in China will increase by 7% (compared to 0% in 2013), storage spending by 8% (up from 1.5% in 2013), and software by 9% (up from 7% last year), but overall market growth is still weighed down by the declining PC market.

Other emerging markets are likely to improve over the next 12 months as business confidence stabilizes. IT spending in India will increase by 15% next year, up from 8% in 2014. In Brazil, the market will accelerate from 10% growth this year to 13% next year. In Russia, where the crisis in Ukraine has damaged business and investor confidence since the beginning of the year, the market is set to decline slightly in 2014 before rebounding to 7% growth in 2015.

Mature economies have remained more stable since last year, with market growth often outpacing expectations. The U.S. IT market will increase by 4% this year, and Western Europe will maintain a 2% growth rate overall. Total worldwide IT spending will reach almost $2.1 trillion in 2014. Including telecommunications services, the worldwide ICT market will increase by 4% to $3.7 trillion, with telecom services growth of 4% driven by mobile data services and increasing broadband penetration. 



Mobile Social Users More Likely To Interact With Brands Than PC Users

Forty-five percent of US online adults access social networking sites weekly or more from a smartphone, while 64% do so from a desktop or a laptop, and 25% do so from a tablet. Mobile social behavior is certainly no longer niche, and if Facebook's success hasn't already driven marketers to better understand the mobile social user, they should take note now.

According to a new Forrester study based on a survey of 37,000 respondents, online consumers who access social networking sites from a smartphone are more likely to read, comment, like, or share content posted by a company than their PC counterparts. For example, 49% and 46% of tablet and smartphone social users, respectively, like something a company posted weekly or more, compared with 37% of PC social networking users.

Time spent on social applications via smartphones is also significant for consumers who engage with brands on their mobile device. On average, these consumers spend nearly 25 minutes per day on Facebook, 12 minutes per day on YouTube, and 10 minutes per day on Instagram. Finally, mobile users are more positive about their interactions with brands on social sites — for example by thinking it's cool to be associated with a brand on social media and viewing a "like" as a way to show support for a company.


Click here for more Industry Stats

SupportIndustry.com Must Read: 5 Secrets to Dealing With the Comcast Customer Service Rep From Hell
Rich Gallagher, author and customer service expert, gives his take on how to circumvent the tricks of the trade of a "retention specialist."
Full Article

Do Your Employees Use Facebook? You Might Have a Problem
A recent study ties Facebook use to divorce. (Either as a cause or an effect. Or both.) Social networks could have a similar adverse effect on the relationship status of employees and your company. It might be time to keep an eye on your workers.
Full Article

7 Things That You Forgot CRM Did
It may have been part of your training, it’s there every day when you sit down at your desk to begin your sales calls, but actually – why are you using that odd database to track every part of your day? CRM, is often a source of much consternation among sales and marketing staff. Those of you that do think that way about your own CRMs, may just need a little nudge to remind you of why they are actually quite awesome.
Full Article

How the Voice of the Customer Helps the Contact Center Drive the End-to-End Customer Experience
Most call center directors view voice of the customer as feedback on how the CSR performed.  This is "little voc" that is internally focused.  "Big VOC" describes how the company delivered on the end-to-end customer experience.   Leveraging the Big VOC provides a bottom-line impact 10-20 times the impact of simply improving contact handling.  It's also an opportunity for the call center director to increase their influence while reducing workload and CSR frustration. 
Full Article

The Missing Piece of the Customer Experience Puzzle
The route customers prefer to take to get in touch with contact centers has been changing for some time, and it's clear that organizations have to adapt to what the customer wants, sometimes for convenience or superior customer service and sometimes for competitive advantage. What apps and desktop self-service generally lack, however, is the final piece of the puzzle.
Full Article

Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service
by John A. Goodman

Customer Experience 3.0 provides firsthand guidance on what works, what doesn't - and the revenue and word-of-mouth payoff of getting it right. The book contains an innovative customer-experience framework and step-by-step roadmap, showing readers how to: design and deliver flawless services and products while setting honest customer expectations; create and implement an effective customer access strategy; capture and leverage the voice of the customer to set priorities and improve products, services and marketing; and use CRM systems, cutting-edge metrics, and other tools to deliver customer satisfaction.

Great companies provide seamless experiences, seeming to know what customers want before they know it themselves ...while others set up fancy Facebook pages and then drop the ball. This groundbreaking guide reveals how to delight customers using the best tools available

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
  • Research Insight: Self-Service Support
  • Research Insight: Average Speed to Answer, Wait Time and Handle Time
  • 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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Carolyn Healey, Editor - chealey@supportindustry.com

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