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...

The Little Things Matter Most

My business is all about improving the customer experience. As a result, my friends tell me about their customer service experiences-both good and bad. A few stories I’ve recently heard were about patient experience in healthcare and they brought to light the fact that little things matter most and can have the greatest impact on satisfaction! One story was about a friend’s mother who fell and broke her leg. She required emergency surgery and a couple days in the hospital. After day after surgery, she asked the nurse if she could wash her face and brush her teeth. The nurse said sure. A hour later, another person from her healthcare team came into her room and she asked again. As the day went on, she asked five more people! Everyone was friendly and eagerly said yes, but NO ONE brought her what she asked for. She did not have a good patient experience. Another friend, who is an anesthesiologist, talked about his requirement of his nurses to provide patients in the operating room with a blanket from the warmer. He knows know the operating room is cold and patients are uncomfortable. He ensures that there is a good patient experience. These are all little things in the grand scheme of patient experience. None are about the quality of care. But they make the difference in how patients feel about that care. My friend’s mom had a great surgeon; however, she left feeling like the hospital didn’t care about patients. I’m sure the surgery patients remember the warm blankets. In fact, 70% of customers won’t complain about minor issues but those things...

Which Comes First–Great Employees or Great Service?

Employee engagement receives a great deal of attention. What is meant by that? Employee engagement is broadly considered to be the relationship between an organization and its employees. Employees who are engaged are enthusiastic about their work and actively support the organization. It makes sense then that employee engagement is linked to customer experience. Companies with engaged employees have been found to benefit by increased profits, decreased employee turnover and improved customer experience. According to a recent KPMG study, 70% of engaged employees report having a good understanding of customer experience versus just 17% of disengaged employees. In the same study, companies with engaged employees experienced a 19% increase in income while companies with disengaged employees experienced almost a 33% decrease. Engaged employees work harder for customers, both internal and external, and recommend their company’s products and services. That’s powerful! Create a Culture of Engagement Creating a culture of engaged employees starts with communicating clear goals and expectations. Employees want to know how they contribute to the larger organizational goals and at what level they need to perform to meaningfully contribute. Understanding how they contribute leads to a stronger team environment where employees interact, work together and appreciate how others contribute to the organization. Encouraging innovation engages employees to look for better ways to do things. This is especially true for touch point employees who see first-hand how to improve customer experience. Encourage Open Communication Create an environment of open communication that doesn’t criticize new ideas and setup easy channels for employees’ ideas to surface. Connect actions taken to employee suggestions so employees see and understand how their input...

Feedback Without Action is Worthless

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine leased a new GMC vehicle. As part of the lease, he received a complimentary 3-month subscription to OnStar, the service that keeps a driver safe, connected and ready for the road. As part of this service, he receives a diagnostic report on many aspects of the vehicle including transmission, emissions, brakes, airbags, tire pressure, and oil life remaining. The report also reminds the driver of mileage and maintenance needed. It really is an amazing report full of feedback on the condition of various systems of the vehicle. The diagnostic report is great feedback that helps a driver maintain a vehicle and keep it functioning safely.  What if the driver got feedback that there was a issue and didn’t take action to address the problem? The report would be worthless. The same is true for customer feedback. It is worthless unless it is used to make improvements. Businesses who care about customer experience put the feedback they receive into action. Consider the hotel chain who got consistently negative feedback from guests about its air adjustable beds. While the beds were initially loved by guests, they wore out quickly and became more uncomfortable than regular beds. Management at the hotel chain listened to the feedback and replaced the beds over time. Obviously this was a costly change but one kept loyal guests coming back. Take the example of a quick oil change company. Management had gotten negative feedback from customers that the television stations in some of the waiting areas were showing soap opera programs that were inappropriate for young children who were...