What Your Customer Data Isn’t Telling You

On a recent trip, our pilot was excited to announce that he got us to our destination 20 minutes early. I was happy to hear that and it seemed my fellow passengers were too! As we sat on the tarmac, our pilot announced that we were so early there was no open gate. We waited awhile longer and then finally parked at a gate where we waited for someone to extend the walkway for us to deplane. In the end, we were actually on the plan longer than we would have been had we landed at on time.  This incident made me think about airlines metrics. If airline leadership looked at the arrival time, they would see a positive metric. But, if you talked to any passengers, the feedback would not be as positive. Most businesses collect a lot of data! But if they don’t collect the right data or truly understand the data, they may not be getting an accurate picture.   Businesses collect an endless amount of data. They might collect data on call center volume, peak times they receive calls and call abandonment rates. They might collect data on customer time spent on their website and where they clicked. These are examples of quantitative data that provide one layer of information. Our flight duration and arrival time are examples of quantitative data.   What quantitative data does NOT tell you is the customers’ motivation behind the activity, feelings, or thoughts about an interaction. Why did they call you? What caused their satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Why did they click through your website but not make a purchase? This is...

The Power of Proactive Customer Service

Many companies provide traditional customer service. They wait until customers have questions or find out about problems before they take action. This is reactive service and can irritate customers, erode trust and destroy brands. Some examples include not informing customers about a delay in shipping or a delayed service call. An extreme example is GM’s delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles for a defect that they knew existed and had already led to 13 deaths. While, companies often have to be reactive, there are opportunities to provide proactive customer service.  Proactive customer service is staying ahead of customer questions or issues and making the first move to offer solutions, before customers ask questions or reach out for help. Proactive customer service creates trust, loyalty and confidence in a business or brand.  Companies are getting better at spotting problems and addressing them before the customer notices. How can your company make the shift to take advantage of the power of proactive customer service?  Create a Customer Service Culture  Create a culture where all employees are focused on the customer, not just touchpoint employees. Employees throughout the organization should be encouraged to recognize problems that can affect customers and feel safe in bringing the problems and a proactive solution to light.   Know Your Customers  You can provide valuable proactive service when you understand your customers and what’s important to them. Engage with customers, especially your top customers, to identify interests and priorities. There are many ways businesses can engage customers. Our company helps businesses engage in real-time through two-way text communication. Using our platform, businesses can tailor interactions for different customer...

Ignoring Customers is Risky Business

Consistently providing great service was the foundation that made my businesses successful. Continuous communication and training ensured all employees deeply understood our customer service culture. I believe that all customer feedback is good, including feedback about problems. That is valuable information we can use to improve. In fact, a problem handled quickly and effectively often results in a more loyal customer. So, it amazes me when I interact with businesses that don’t seem to care and in fact, ignore customers. I had a bad experience with an upscale restaurant and sent in a web form about the situation. A month later, they haven’t responded to me. I know they received my web form because I immediately started to get marketing emails from them! A timely response would have had much more impact. Customer service is changing but it isn’t going away. Business can’t ignore customers. 50% of customers give a business only one week to respond before they stop doing business with them and 89% began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. So, I ‘m left wondering why this restaurant, as well as other businesses, ignore customers. Here are four of the top reasons I think businesses don’t respond. They don’t care  Businesses are willing to let bad service go unaddressed. They view problems as a part of doing business. Things do happen but customers deserve and want a response and an apology when things go wrong. 68% of customers expect higher levels of service than they did one year ago. Individual situations should be handled but more importantly, businesses should look at feedback over time...

Embrace Text Communication 

The first text message was sent almost 25 years ago. Today, 18.7 billion texts are sent EVERY day! Texting has become the most popular communication channel around the world, across all age groups. A Gallup poll found that sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for American adults under 50. Text communication is the most common form of communication for almost half of those over 50. Texting communication is real-time. Text interactions create faster exchanges between customers and businesses and reduce customer effort to contact businesses. Customers want quick, easy ways to resolve problems and get questions answered. Reducing customer effort increases customer loyalty, retention and spending. Businesses that open a text channel to their customers can reap benefits that result in both top line and bottom line growth. Here are five benefits of real-time communication for businesses. Improves Customer Service Customers are highly frustrated with having to contact a business multiple times to resolve an issue. In fact, 78% of customers have abandoned a transaction or not made an intended purchase due to a poor service experience. Text communication enables customers to easily reach the right person in a business with one message. Businesses can establish a knowledgeable team to respond quickly to answer questions or provide information. No more phone transfers, phone tag, web-forms,  or email exchanges. A robust text communication channel also allows businesses to proactively communicate with their customers, anticipating questions and building trust. Resolve Problems More Efficiently Customers don’t give businesses much time to resolve a problem with 50% leaving within 24 hours of experiencing a problem and 79%...

You Can’t Compete Without a Mobile Channel

As I work with businesses on their customer service strategy, it is clear to me that a mobile communication channel is critical to the future success of most businesses. I’m not referring to social media or one-way text platforms. A mobile communication channel is one that offers two-way, real-time interaction by connecting a robust customer care platform to customers who use mobile/text channel. Today, many businesses just don’t make it easy for customers to contact them. Customers are frustrated with the effort required to access cumbersome communication channels businesses offer. 90% of customers are frustrated with being put on hold. 89% are frustrated that they have to repeat their issue to multiple people. 91% are frustrated that they have to contact a company multiple times for the same reason. Millennials are an enormous force for change in how we do business and they expect a different interaction with businesses. They make up about half of the workforce and it is estimated that they will spend $200 billion annually by 2017 and $10 trillion over their lifetimes. They expect easy authentic interactions and prefer text over phone calls or emails. Mobile is Conversational A mobile channel enables businesses to have an easy, two-way dialogue with customers. They can engage with customers to learn about their preferences and to keep them informed of updates and changes. A mobile/text channel can help a company reduce customer service costs by 25%. Mobile is Real-Time Businesses can increase response rates and engagement with customers due to timeliness and relevance of the interaction. Mobile communication also provides more accurate customer feedback. And there’s an added...