[View Past Issues] September 18, 2015
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ITIL vs Customer Support: What's the Difference?

There's a lot of confusion around the term ITIL - especially regarding the difference between ITIL and Customer Support software. Although the term is often used as a synonym for customer support, this is not accurate.

The main point of differentiation is in the customers being served - are they internal or external? Internal customers are those of an IT department, handling user issues and software/hardware maintenance and updates. External customers are actual paying customers who contact your support team for help with your product/service.

There are several subtle but key differences between the two, and which one you need depends entirely on the purpose of your help desk.

Download this whitepaper to learn:

  • The definition of ITIL vs Customer Support
  • The purpose and features of each
  • Which one is best suited to your needs

Download the white paper today!

Facebook Is About to Take the Training Wheels off Facebook at Work
Facebook is preparing to push its new workplace product into a lot more cubicles. Facebook at Work, a nearly identical version of the social network designed specifically for communicating with colleagues, has been in a closed beta since January. But that pilot program is ending, and the company will likely launch a freemium version of the interoffice network by the end of the year. This product has been a long time coming. Facebook has been using a version of Facebook at Work internally for years, and reports first surfaced that it was building an office tool for other companies almost 15 months ago. 

Vocalcom Launches Click2Start Cloud Call Center
Vocalcom, a provider of cloud-based call center software and sales acceleration technology, announced that it has launched Click2Start for the SMB market. The true cloud solution simplifies call center set-up or modernization for small and mid-sized businesses, enabling them to leverage up-to-date solutions without bearing the burden of upfront capital or additional IT investments. Available for up to thirty users, Click2Start is a compliant, multi-tenant cloud call center that provides all the benefits of enterprise-level call center software without the cost.

Webinar: Learn the Four Management "Vitamins" for Optimal Organizational Health

September 23, 2015, 9:00am PT

Organizations, like any living system, seek to be effective and efficient in the short and long run. What type of management is required to achieve this? The Adizes methodology describes four roles that management must perform for optimal health. Interestingly, each of these roles, which are like organizational "vitamins," appear in a predictable sequence. Because of this, the problems in an organization are predictable, as is the therapy!

Attend this webinar to learn what these specific four "vitamins" are and how they can help you predict the problems, and the required therapy, for your organization to achieve optimal health.

Register today!

Uncovering The Hidden Profits In Your Contact Center
A new report from ICMI - sponsored by Zendesk - uncovered several opportunities for contact centers to provide more value to their organizations and even to generate revenue. That’s good news for the more than 62% of contact centers that are currently perceived as cost centers by their organizations (as revealed in the spring 2015 global survey that informed the report).

In the new report, “Collapse of the Cost Center: Driving Contact Center Profitability,” ICMI recommends that contact centers focus on missed opportunities in several areas, including:

Service level: Only 27% of contact centers are effectively measuring and reporting service level. The report explains how measuring service level on half-hour intervals provides the typical contact center with the most actionable data.

Agent schedule adherence: 62% of the contact centers surveyed measure their agents to ensure 90% of their time is fully utilized. While 90% adherence sounds good, the report cautions against issues such as agent burnout.

Forecast accuracy: Half of contact centers don’t measure how well their forecasts matched up with reality, perpetuating inaccurate forecasts and masking opportunities for improvement.

Revenue-generation: Only 25% of contact centers have ever considered cross-sell or up-sell programs, despite evidence that well-executed programs both increase revenue and improve the customer experience. The report makes several suggestions for creating effective cross- and up-sell programs.

The full report also covers findings and recommendations around surveys, measuring customer satisfaction, “voice of the customer” programs, and mining contact center data to identify areas for product improvement.

More information about this report available here.

Nearly 80 Percent Of CEOs Globally Expect To Increase Hiring Over Next Three Years 
In a major new study released by KPMG International, which tracks insights on the coming three years, chief executives of global businesses said they are confident about the ability of their companies to grow over the next three years and are expressing confidence about the prospects for the global economy.  

According to the 2015 KPMG CEO Outlook Study of 1,278 CEOs, 69 percent of CEOs in Europe, 66 percent in Asia Pacific and 52 percent in the US are more confident than they were last year about growth and the global economy in the next three years.  In assessing their own company’s growth prospects, 70 percent of European CEOs and 68 percent of Asia Pacific CEOs indicated they are more confident than a year ago. In the US, where the recovery is well underway, 19 percent are more confident than a year ago with another 46 percent expressing the same level of confidence about their prospects for growth.  Most importantly, CEOs globally are set to hire, with 78 percent of respondents indicating they are expecting to be in hiring mode through mid-2018.  

According to the KPMG study, CEOs are grappling with escalating competitive pressures.  In order of importance: 86 percent are concerned about the loyalty of their customers; 74 percent are worried about new market entrants; 72 percent are worried about keeping pace with new technologies; 68 percent are concerned about their competitors’ ability to take business away from them; and 66 percent are concerned about the relevance of their product or service in the next three years.

Status Quo: Perhaps the Riskiest Position for any Organization
Importantly, 44 percent of the CEOs indicated that they are only ‘somewhat comfortable’ with their current business model, with five percent expressing that they are ‘uncomfortable.’ In the study, 29 percent of leaders said their organizations are likely to be transformed into significantly different entities in the next three years.

While the results indicate that CEOs are acutely aware of the need to transform their businesses in order to survive and prosper, almost one-third of CEOs say their business is not taking enough risk with their global growth strategy and more than half (56 percent) said they have not fully implemented a company-wide process for innovation.

Half of respondents noted additional challenges with how their business needs to improve the way it manages data and analytics and how they need to do more to prepare for a cyber-security event. 

Strategic Priorities over the Next Three Years

Globally, executives have their sights set on the following, in order of importance: developing new growth strategies, having a stronger client focus, expanding geographically, reducing their cost structures, enhancing speed to market, and fostering innovation.   When asked whether their primary focus would be on growth or operational efficiency over the next three years, 94 percent of US CEOs cited growth, while their Asian and European counterparts said they were focused on operational efficiency.

In terms of issues having the greatest impact on their company’s prospects and performance, the top three issues identified by CEOs were ‘global economic growth,’ followed closely by the ‘regulatory environment,’ and ‘disruptive technology.’

Central Europe, US Top Expansion Targets
When asked which areas they expected to devote significant capital to over the next three years, CEOs identified expansion outside their home countries as the number one area.  US CEOs are focused on Europe, especially Central Europe, followed by South America and China.  For CEOs in China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and France, the US is the region offering the greatest potential for new growth.  

Growth Mix
Today, 52 percent of the CEOs say their current growth strategies are built primarily around organic growth, with 42 percent saying it is a combination of organic and inorganic growth through acquisitions and six percent saying it’s primarily inorganic.   

When asked to consider their anticipated growth strategies over the next three years, 59 percent of CEOs expect their priority will be organic growth, 22 percent indicated an even split between organic and inorganic growth through acquisitions, and 19 percent say it will be through inorganic growth.  Twenty-nine percent of US CEOs demonstrated a more acquisitive strategy, identifying inorganic growth as a main growth driver.


Click here for more Industry Stats

A Leader's Role in Managing Change Resistance
While Change Resistance is brought up again and again as a source of change failure, executives play a major role in managing resistance to change, and may actually create resistance to change.  Resistance to change is not always a malicious attempt to derail an initiative. Resistance is more complex than people who simply say "I don't want to do this." Understand that working with natural human autonomy is far more effective than forcing people to act.

7 Ways to Ensure a Successful IT Modernization
Research shows that approximately 80 percent of current IT resources go to the maintenance of existing IT operations and systems. The risks to holding onto legacy systems are many, but modernizing IT in any sector is not easy or cheap. The following seven tips may help ensure a successful government IT modernization.

How To Make The Whole Organization Agile
Agile is neither top-down nor bottom-up: it is outside-in. The focus is on delivering value to customers. The customer is the boss, not the manager.

How Improv Made Me a Better Call Center Agent
Contact center agents should absolutely never make up answers when speaking with customers. This is a difficult and serious job - definitely not a place for jokes. So how did performing wacky unscripted comedy prepare me for this business? A thousand possible scenarios with a thousand policies and solutions you have to know. Millions of potential callers with unique attitudes, needs, personalities, and technology and language barriers. When you are waiting in the phone queue for your next call to patch through, you never know what's coming. As a defense mechanism against taking escalations personally, I found myself drawing on my college improv days, imagining I was on stage playing the character of a great call center rep. These calls are my scenes, and these are my lines. What would that character do?

14 experts on the biggest customer service challenges faced by businesses today
Providing great customer service is a challenge for many businesses today.Companies like Amazon and Zappos have raised in the bar in terms of what customers expect, and there are an increasing number of tools and technologies that businesses people can use to improve their support. So, I asked 14 customer service and customer experience experts this question: What's the biggest customer service challenges today's companies are facing and how can they overcome it? Here's what they said:

Conversations With CEOs
by Dr. Ichak Adizes

Conversations with CEOs is a compilation of interviews Dr. Adizes conducted with CEOs he has known over the years - professional executives whom he helped restructure their companies and, in some cases, avoid bankruptcy or manage phenomenal growth sustainably. Dr. Adizes intention is for readers to learn something from these talks-about change, about leadership, and about the travails and rewards of being a manager

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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Carolyn Healey, Editor - chealey@supportindustry.com

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