Are Your Surveys Like the Election Polls?

The 2016 presidential election was significant for many reasons. Many feel it may be the most important election of our lifetime. The incredible inaccuracy of the polls stands out as one noteworthy aspect of the election. The political news reporters were shocked and embarrassed by how they blew the prediction of the election outcome. This is a clear demonstration of how decisions can be based on erroneous information. Some of the inherent flaws in polls are similar to problems with surveys. Poll predictions use several factors that are supposed to be representative of the population. Like polls, surveys are the responses from a subset of people who theoretically represent the whole and the results are based on those who are willing to respond. The accuracy declines and results are skewed for several reasons: We are inundated with surveys and, many of us don’t respond, leading to a smaller sample of the whole. I spoke with a business leader recently who was frustrated that only three people out of 750 responded to his company’s survey. His compensation was affected by the satisfaction ratings, but the results were worthless. Customers have been tainted by long surveys with endless pages of questions. No upfront indication of the length or the time it will take to complete result in high abandonment rates. Requests for extensive demographic information may benefit the business but send a message to the customer that the survey is not focused on improving the customer experience. Businesses need on-going customer feedback to continuously improve. So, how do they get it? Business can start by focusing on their customers’ needs, not... read more

Disney Excellence Begins With Welcome Home

Walt Disney created Disneyland for one purpose–to be a place where kids and adults can come together and have fun. Simple right?! So what makes the Walt Disney experience unlike any other? Welcome home! These two words can be heard and read all across the Walt Disney World Resort, where I worked for 5 months on the Disney College Program. Welcome Home can be heard and read all around the property. Welcome home will keep families coming back to Disney in the years to come.Why do Cast Members say welcome home? Walt wanted his guests, not customers, to be welcomed to Disneyland as if he was welcoming him into his own home. The change in wording is what makes all the difference! When welcoming guests into your home, what do you do prepare? Usually this means that you’re cleaning, prepping food and altogether getting your home ready. But, what do you do to prepare for your business’ guests? Do you spend time making sure everything looks perfect? Disney cast members are trained to create the “stage” show ready. Small details and cleanliness go along way. Get ready for your guests, they will notice!  One of my favorite parts of working at Disney were guests who shared previous experiences with me. Grandparents would tell me about coming when Disney World was just Magic Kingdom, or parents share interactions their kids had with characters years ago. My small actions are the memories that families remember from their vacation. Build relationships with your customers, treat them as your own personal guests to make an impression on their experience. The small experiences is what... read more

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... read more

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... read more

Peoplocity Participates in ACTE Forum in San Francisco

George Klein, CEO/Founder of Peoplocity, will participate in a panel discussion at the ACTE Education Forum in San Francisco on November 2. The interactive discussion will focus on the evolving role of the travel manager with specific emphasis on the economic challenges, new technologies, hotel forecasts and controlling spend on ground transportation. George will share his expertise on using technology to improve the traveler experience. Other panel members include Matt Doherty, RVP West, Lyft, Jeff Hillenmayer, Head-Corp Sourcing Americas at HRS and Dorian Stonie, Sr Manager, Global Travel at Salesforce. The panel will be moderated by Ralph Colunga, Sr. Director, Global Travel and Marketing Support Services at Concur. The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has a 25-year reputation for leading the way corporate travel is conducted. As a global association, comprised of executive-level members in more than 100 countries, ACTE pioneers educational and technological advances that make business travel productive, cost-effective and straightforward.        ... read more

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... read more

You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Know

A few weeks ago, I was traveling for business and stayed at one of my favorite hotels. They provided the excellent service I’ve come to expect–staff was friendly and helpful, my room was clean, and my towels were soft. Unfortunately, I would give the hotel a low rating on this visit because one important amenity was not provided. I had a critical report to finish and continuously lost the internet connection. The front desk was unable to solve the problem. I was very frustrated and didn’t get the report done. As a business traveler, an internet connection is as much of a basic need as hot water. I received a survey from the hotel by the time I was on my flight home. The survey was long and cumbersome, and asked about the things the hotel thought were important and the internet connection was not on the survey. The one thing that was important to me as a business traveler. Research has found that 80% of businesses believe they are providing “superior” customer experience but only 8% of their customers agree. This gap reflects that surveys may be leading businesses to mistakenly believe that they are doing a satisfactory job. A shift to capturing real-time customer-centric feedback would reveal valuable information that would enable them to truly understand and improve the customer experience. Business-focused surveys ask questions that are often irrelevant to their customers. Feeling the pressure to meet goals, some businesses even specifically ask customers to give them all 10’s on their survey! By measuring service based only on a survey score, this practice may lead to inflated ratings... read more

Can a Service Issue Win a Customer for Life?

One of my least favorite things to do is having to report and deal with an issue with a service provider. I simply dread it. Past experience has made me feel like I will have to justify the problem. I spend time planning what I’m going to say to convince the business that I actually have a service issue and that they are responsible. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to deal with problems with two businesses—a lawn care company and a garage door company. With both businesses, I felt that their service technician had messed up. One burned my yard with chemicals and the other repaired a garage door opener that actually should have been replaced. Much to my surprise, both businesses were easy to deal with and delighted me as a customer! Take Ownership Both businesses took ownership of the service issue. They didn’t try to cover for their service technicians’ mistakes. I was delighted! I didn’t have to convince them nor did they make me feel defensive. Offer an Acceptable Solution Both businesses immediately offered an acceptable solution. The lawn service credited my account for two service visits and any reseeding costs if needed. The garage door company didn’t charge me for a service call and credited me the entire repair charge on the purchase of a new garage door opener. Again, I was completely delighted! Take a Long-Term View These small, locally owned businesses most likely lost money on me. They were willing to give up the short-term profit to gain my long-term loyalty. Research supports this, finding that if a... read more