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Featured Article: Tiered Customer Support is Dead, and that’s good for business!

To improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and increase revenue, get rid of tiered support. Collaborative, team-based customer support reduces costs by improving efficiency, reducing duplicate effort, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Read the full article.

BroadSoft Buys Transera to Bolster Cloud Contact Center Offerings
BroadSoft has just announced that they have purchased the Cloud Contact Center pioneer Transera. BroadSoft operates its own Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) product, however, with the purchase of Transera, BroadSoft can now offer rich call center features out of the box. Gartner recently designated Transera as a “Visionary” in Gartner 2015 Magic Quadrant in the Contact Center as a Service category. Contact center software currently represents a $3.3B opportunity.

LiveOps Cloud Debuts All New Enterprise Class Contact Center as a Service
LiveOps Cloud has developed a completely new Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platform, CxEngage, that offers the reliability and scalability global organizations need to deliver exceptional customer service experiences anywhere. Built from the ground up, CxEngage delivers an open framework for unmatched integration with standard APIs for greater flexibility and visibility at every level of the organization. CxEngage acts as a single pane of glass from which agents can make more informed customer service decisions and integrates with a broad set of applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), workforce management (WFM), and business intelligence (BI) to perpetually improve service delivery.


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Where Change Management Fails
As companies initiate change, the path to success is filled with potential potholes. But where are businesses most commonly tripped up during a transition? According to 46 percent of senior managers interviewed for a Robert Half Management Resources survey, change-management efforts typically falter at the execution stage.

The research shows this often depends on the size of the company, however. While roughly half of managers at small companies (those with 20-49 and 50-99 employees) expressed the greatest concern about the execution phase, respondents at the largest companies (1,000 or more employees) said they experience problems most commonly after the implementation.

The survey findings further suggest clear and frequent communication can be the remedy for what ails change-management efforts. Sixty-five percent of managers said this is the most important aspect of leading a team through a transition. It was the top response for companies of all sizes and far outdistanced the second-leading factor, managing expectations (16 percent).

Senior managers were asked, "In general, at which point in the following stages do organizations' change-management efforts most commonly fail?" Their responses:

Strategy development

10%

Pre-implementation

20%

Execution

46%

Post-implementation

23%

At some other point

1%

 

100%

Respondents also were asked, "In your opinion, which of the following do you think is most important when leading your company or team through a major change?" Their responses:

Communicating clearly and frequently

65%

Managing expectations

16%

Outlining goals

9%

Delegating effectively

9%

Don't know

1%

 

100%


More...

Social Media Customer Service Declines, American Consumers Don’t Know What Good Service Looks Like
Social media is among the last places consumers want to go for customer service, according to a new survey commissioned by NICE Systems and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).And among Americans, expectations are low across the board. The ​NICE/BCG 2016 Consumer Experience Report focused on customer interactions with providers of financial, telecom, and insurance services. Over 1,700 people between the ages of 18 and 65 were interviewed across the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, France and Australia.

The report found that the number of consumers using social media to resolve customer service issues has dropped compared to two years ago. While daily, weekly, and monthly use of social media channels doubled between 2011 and 2013, those same categories declined between 2013 and 2015, while the number of respondents who never use or are not offered social media customer service rose from 58 percent in 2013 to 65 percent in 2015.

Respondents who do not use social media cited a number of reasons why. It takes too long to address issues said 33 percent, it has limited functionality reported 32 percent, and it isn’t feasible for complex tasks according to 30 percent. Social media was the channel with the highest percentage of abandons in both 2013 and 2015, with the number rising from 32 percent to 42 percent over that period.

U.S. consumers surveyed have lower expectations of customer service in general. Australia and European respondents thought it essential that they be automatically routed to the correct customer service agent along with their information without being transferred multiple times, and that their service provider rep be aware of their past three to five interactions with the company to tailor service to their needs. American respondents, on the other hand, said all of those actions would “exceed expectations.” In total, Americans surveyed ranked only 15 out of 25 factors as essential, while other countries’ respondents expected anywhere from 21 to all 25 attributes.

While American respondents don’t seem to mind waiting for multiple call transfers or repeating their information, having issues resolved immediately was cited by other countries and all industries, genders, and ages as the top factor in a perfect experience, valued by 51 percent of respondents. Other important factors include reps knowing what consumers need and providing an immediate solution, forwarding information and actions from department to department, and knowing what consumers already did through a self-service channel.

Other findings that can be found in the complete report include:

  • ​​Decreased satisfaction and success since 2013 across the board with all contact channels (except for mobile apps), particularly Interactive Voice Response (IVR) (down 20 percent) and social media (down 23 percent).
     
  • Churn rates vary amongst different age groups. While 78 percent of baby boomers will leave a provider due to a customer service issue, only 54 percent of millennials will do so.
     
  • Sharp increase in customer skepticism about the effects of their feedback, with only 25 percent thinking it likely that service providers took action based on their feedback, down from 40 percent in 2012.

More...


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How to Increase Retention in a Contact Center
Attrition is the headache of almost all contact centers. It creates excessive recruiting and training costs, and prevents the operation from ever fully surpassing a learning curve to reach maturity and consistent results. While the average annual attrition for a contact center in the United State is 30%, it is common for annual attrition to surpass the 100% in Latin American centers -- a huge drain on revenue considering that the average cost to recruit a new rep is about $4,000 plus training. But there are ways to increase retention and decrease those needless costs.
More...

The State of Customer Service Leadership
Good and bad service experiences die hard. Who can forget the hotel receptionist who went above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate a last-minute change in travel plans …in contrast to the sulky server at an expensive restaurant who clearly wanted to do anything but wait on you? Long-time Harvard Business School professors Jim Heskett (now emeritus), Earl Sasser, and Len Schlesinger have been studying the service sector -- the good and the great as well as the bad and the ugly -- for more than three decades. In their new book, What Great Service Leaders Know & Do (Berrett-Koehler), they examine the most up-to-date best practices and explain how companies can put a smile on customers’ faces and keep them coming back for more. In a recent interview, they explained some of their findings.
More...

Top contact center management dos and don'ts
Customer service agents set the tone for a customer's interactions with a company. Learn how to improve the experience with contact center management dos and don'ts, along with some proven ways to improve performance.
More...


Top 5 Benefits of Call Center Speech Analytics
By implementing call center speech analytics into a call center’s business strategy, managers of call centers are able to identify specific customer behaviors associated with positive outcomes, determine and resolve core issues by analyzing problematic customer-agent interactions and develop best practices standards intended to streamline overall operations of their call center. Read this article and learn the top 5 benefits of implementing this strategy.
More...

16 Customer Service Skills That Drive Every Business
Great service is the foundation of a sustainable business. It helps increase customer acquisition, and reduce attrition. So, how do deliver rockstar service and set your business apart from the competition? In this article, you will find a list of 16 essential customer service skills every employee needs to win new customers, increase loyalty and build long-term advocacy.
More...

What Great Service Leaders Know & Do
by James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser Jr., Leonard A. Schlesinger

The authors cover every aspect of optimal service leadership: the best hiring, training, and workplace organization practices; the creation of operating strategies around areas such as facility design, capacity planning, queue management, and more; the use—and misuse—of technology in delivering top-level service; and practices that can transform loyal customers into “owners.”

Looking ahead, the authors describe the world of great service leaders in which “both/and” thinking replaces trade-offs. It's a world in which new ideas will be tested against the sine qua non of the “service trifecta”—wins for employees, customers, and investors. And it's a world in which the best leaders admit that they don't have the answers and create organizations that learn, innovate, “sense and respond,” operate with fluid boundaries, and seek and achieve repeated strategic success.

Click here for more information!

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