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Customer Experience, Human Capital Management, and Metrics and Skills Series:

Customer experience Y is a function of X drivers. We discuss outcome metrics Y (such as Revenues, CSAT, NPS and other KPIs), the X drivers for Y and skills that are associated with the X drivers.

Subcategories from this category:

Customer Experience

Gamification Applied to Employee Engagement: Is it Shamefication at Work?

The concept of “carrots and sticks” has existed since the beginning of civilization. The questions that flummox business leaders are:

1.  When should we use carrots (aka rewards or incentives) and when should we use sticks to improve employee performance?

2.  What is the optimal reward or incentive that nudges employees to adopt desired behavior?

3.  How can businesses get continued gains from employee loyalty programs?

Rogers

Let us revisit Roger’s Bell Curve of adoption. When confronted with new products, ideas, technologies, etc., some people adopt very quickly as “innovators,” others follow as “early-adopters,” others are “middle-adopters,” and the rest are “laggards.” As shown in the diagram below, the distribution of “types” tends to follow a bell curve. In addition, behaviorists have demonstrated that individuals tend to suffer from status quo bias when making decisions—i.e., they prefer the status quo and move from one segment of adoption to another only after calculating the effort to change (also known as mental accounting) and assessing the reward for change (also known as anchoring). Mechanisms need to be developed to “nudge” individuals into overcoming these decision-making frictions. These mechanisms include Gamification.

As we all know, rewards—ranging from employee-of-the-month parking spots to Pink Cadillacs (Mary Kay) to company-paid trips to Hawaii to bonuses—incentivize top performers (i.e. innovators and early-adopters) to go for the win. When companies introduce pure Game Mechanics gamification (digital or non-digital) to employee settings, top performers continue to win.  Innovators and early-adopters embrace pure Game Mechanics because it introduces “fun” into their initial risk-taking behavior.

In short, the use of pure Game Mechanics as a nudging mechanism can suffer from a “top performers’ curse,” in that it simply incentivizes these employees to behave the same way they would have behaved without the “carrot.”

What carrots will change the behavior of middle-adopters? Why do real-work, data based, points-badges-and-leaderboard (PBL) mechanisms fail when it comes to employee engagement? I attribute this failure to a lack of understanding of the Rogers’ Bell Curve when designing Gamification nudging mechanisms.

When designing nudging mechanisms, the key questions to ask are:

1. What behaviors do you (the employer) want to see from the employees?

2. What workarounds (or recidivism to non-desirable behaviors) need to be prevented?

If the employer has good answers to these questions, he/she can create mechanisms that nudge middle-adopters to the desired behaviors.  In short, employees get the carrot and the employer gets the win.

Serious Games allow middle-adopters to go through the “unlearn and relearn” cycle faster. This, in turn, enables them to trust the change and adopt faster. This is why Serious Games-based mechanisms work so well with respect to employee engagement.  An interesting example is provided by Persuasive Games iconoclast Ian Bogost: Cold Stone Creamery required all new hires to practice their ice cream scooping technique with a game simulator before serving customers. This produced faster on-boarding of new employees and higher employee retention.

At PAKRA, we find that when Serious Games are used in conjunction with Game Mechanics in real-work processes, it provides even more sustainable success than when Serious Games are used in isolation. The results that we see when our clients use both Serious Games and Game Mechanics are given here.

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Let's Nudge Ourselves to a More Inclusive Definition of Gamification

Speeding

In their seminal book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein discuss how to design mechanisms that “nudge” individuals suffering from “status-quo bias.” The goal is to improve the decision-making of individuals who practice “mental accounting” by “anchoring” at specific values when making choices.

Thaler and Sunstein share a story about a lottery designed to reduce speeding in a town in Sweden. Everyone is familiar with “Your Speed is __” markers set by the road to spur drivers to reduce their speed. What this Swedish town did differently—as pictured below—was to choose cars randomly for registration in a lottery if they slowed down. Drivers did not know whether or not their lottery registration depended on slowing down—yet the lottery had the intended effect, which was to induce drivers to pay attention and slow down at a greater frequency than they would in the absence of a lottery. This was a clever (and easily implemented) system for nudging behavior by offering a reward.

Rogers

This brings me to Rogers’ Bell Curve, popularized by Geoffrey Moore in his book, Crossing the Chasm.

When confronted with new products, ideas, technologies, etc., some people adopt very quickly as “innovators,” others follow as “early adopters,” others are “middle adopters,” and the rest are “laggards.” As shown in the diagram below, the distribution of “types” tends to follow a bell curve. This empirical regularity in the adoption process (known as Rogers’ Bell Curve) was first discussed by Joe M. Bohlen, George M. Beal and Everett M. Rogers in a 1957 analysis of farmers’ adoption of new hybrid corn seeds.

In deciding whether to be innovators, early adopters, middle adopters, or laggards, individuals tend to rely on the anchoring and mental accounting studied by Thaler and Susstein. This brings us to the question: How do we nudge individuals to adopt more quickly?

The solution is obvious: design “easy-to-use” mechanisms that nudge individuals into quicker adoption. Fortunately, we have an entire industry dedicated to designing such mechanisms. These nudging Gamification designs go by many names: Serious GamesMeaningful PlayPure Game Mechanics, and Gamified Environments.

PAKRA and other companies in this industry are dedicated to designing mechanisms that help customers, employees, and even farmers reduce status-quo bias and adopt more quickly.

And these mechanisms work:  An emerging literature shows how Serious GamesMeaningful PlayPure Game Mechanics, and Gamified Environments make middle adopters embrace new products/services, new technologies, new processes, new “anything” more quickly than they otherwise would. On a related note, the industry may be new but the ideas are not: The use of Games to plan, adopt, and change behavior (while having fun) goes back thousands of years; in fact, many game-related mechanisms stem from warfare and conflict resolution.

For the nerds, here is a quick overview of how some of these terms originated:

1. Serious Games was first used by Clark Abt in 1970.
2. Meaningful Play in game design was introduced by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman in 2003. 
3. Gamification was introduced into business-speak by Nick Pelling in 2002.
4. History and classification of Game Mechanics can be found in Game Mechanics: Advanced Game Design by Ernest Adams and Joris Dormans.

To us any mechanism that nudges people to adopt and change behaviors is a Gamification mechanism.

Despite its storied history, in the past few years I have repeatedly encountered controversy (see references) surrounding what is (and is not) included in Gamification.

Controversy 1: Gamification consists only of pure game-mechanics; Serious Games are excluded from Gamification.

If you Google the phrases game mechanicsmeaningful playgamification, and serious games, you will find blogs, articles, slide-shares, videos, and books in which the authors parse the differences among these concepts. Rajat Paharia, CEO of Bunchball, is among those advocating that we exclude serious-gamified environments and include only pure game-mechanics in our definition of gamification.

Marginalizing the value of serious games seems completely ridiculous, given that serious games have been proven to help nudge middle adopters! For evidence of the value of serious-gamified environments, see the discussion by IBM's Phaedra Boinodiris and Michael Hugos’ book, Enterprise Games. You can also visit our website to review results our clients experience.

Controversy 2: Gamification only includes Digital Play.

In an April 2014 blog by Brian Burke of Gartnergamification was redefined to include digital play only. This, in turn, led to many heated web discussions on the subject.  In his blog, gamification expert Andrzej Marczewski pointedly wrote: “Gartner has now stated that gamification is nothing more than technology, and without technology, it is nothing.  Whilst we know that is nonsense, the readers of Gartner don’t.”

Excluding non-digital mechanisms from the definition of gamification is simply silly, because we have endless evidence that non-digital mechanisms help nudge middle adopters! While I cannot even begin to conjecture the reasons for Gartner’s denial of history, I can point to Ken Thompson of Bioteams, who makes the case for having non-digital games to address problems of fail-fast learning.

It boils down to this: Do the individuals, businesses, and organizations that we are trying to “nudge" care about these epistemological kerfuffles?  What they do care about are the following:

1. How do we acquire and retain customers?
2. How do we hire and retain employees?

These questions should lead us to gain a deeper understanding of how business processes work, and individuals learn and make decisions—and then we should use gamification to nudge customers to engage and adopt to our products and services faster, and to nudge employees to learn and adopt to change more quickly.

We’ve all heard the adage “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

As Gamification experts, we can be more helpful to our customers if we are more inclusive. Let’s ask what problem needs to be solved, and then figure out which tool in the gamification tool-kit is best-suited to fixing that problem.

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How can we increase user adoption of CRMs and Social Apps by learning from Viking Stoves?

Question: "Do you expect your customer relationship management (CRM) tools and Social Apps to enable you to do your job better?"

Answer: "Yes!  Of course!"

This past September, we determined that CRM tools and Social Apps used to acquire and retain our customers were not enabling us to do our work better.

The word enabling means it should optimize value-added (VA) activities and minimize non-value-added (NVA) activities. Lean methodology defines a VA activity as a work activity where the following characteristics all hold true:

valueadded

If any of the above is violated, then by definition the activity is a NVA. For example, cutting and pasting, clicking several times to get what you need, reviewing, and rework are all NVAs.

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Process Cycle Time Metrics such as Sales Cycle, Handle Time and Time to resolve issues are Operational KPIs that matter most

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Cycle Time is a very important operational metric.

1. Process Cycle Time is the duration from when the first step for the process starts to when the last step ends; i.e. = Queue Time + Processing Touch Time + In-between Steps Wait Time.

2. Sales Cycle is the duration of time from when the prospect is first contacted (or contacts the company) to when the prospect makes the decision to buy/purchase (sometimes measured to the moment of completion of the purchase).

3. Handle Time is the duration from when customer is contacted (or contacts) to the end of interaction with the customer. In call centers = IVR Time + Hold Time + Talk/Chat Time + Call Notes/Closing Time.

4. Resolution Time is the duration from when customer first contacts with an issue to when the issue is considered resolved from customer's perspective.

There are 3 major concepts in Lean. Those are:

1. Learning to See: teaches us how to observe the ways as how people do work or interact with customers and then map and use that observational knowledge to identify opportunities for improvement.

2. Little's Law: indicates the usefulness of Process Cycle Time of processes (such as Sales Cycle, Customer Service processes), as a measure of efficiency.

3. Continuous improvement via removing waste or 7 types of waste quantified by Rolled throughput yield and concept of defects.

The above 3 concepts help us understand Average Handle Time (AHT) or Sales Cycle Time.

Also, Cycle time metrics are correlated with other outcome metrics such as Resolution metrics (FCR), Loyalty metrics (Customer Satisfaction - CSAT and Net Promoter Score® - NPS), Win/Loss, and Customer retention.

Y = Process Cycle Time = f(X), where X’s are:

Process: Flow, Sequence of steps (parallel versus sequential), Queue demand, Set-up or creating new content/product/changes, Change-over between product types or upgrades, Waits, Muda, Handoffs, Escalation, Messaging, Approvals and reviews and other non value-added steps, Decision-making, Redundancies, etc.

People: Skills such as solutioning, demeanor, ability to overcome objections, troubleshooting, Opportunity to do Cross-selling, Accountability, Hiring, Incentives, Training, Coaching, Development Knowledge, Search ability, Critical-thinking skills, Fiefdoms and Silos, Culture, etc.

Technology: Too many legacy systems, Channels, Network connectivity, Data quality, Manual entries, etc.

It is very important for managers to understand the relationship of each of these X variables with Y and the correlation between the X’s.

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Can you measure the ability to de-escalate? De-escalation is a required skill for sales and customer service reps


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Think about the time when you interacted with a sales or customer-service rep. Let's say, you have a question about your airline reservation and reward points.

* You dislike being put on hold for more than 10 minutes, so you go to their website and try to find an answer on their FAQ.

* You use their web-form and email them.

* After 48 hours, you receive an auto-generated message filled with gibberish.

* You google to determine if others have an answer or if others had similar issues, but find nothing that relates to your account.

* You start a web-chat. It takes 5 minutes for someone to join but they ask you to call a 1800number as it is 9 pm and these agents do not address the set of questions you have.

* Now you take a deep breath and call the 1800number. Even though it is 9:30 pm where you are, you are put on hold for 15 minutes and then the rep comes on.

* The rep does not quite "get" your frustration and at the end, does not give an answer that is satisfactory.

* You take to Twitter and express your frsutration.

* You go to Facebook and express your frustration on the airline's Facebook page.

* .....

And the story goes on.

Customers and Prospects initiate an interaction via voice/phone, web, email, chat, face-to-face or social-media because they have a concern or they are encountering a problem or they simply have a question. Typically, they are not calling because they want to express their "awe" with the product or service.

The most important skill that a rep "must have" is the ability to identify the degree of your frustration and anxiety and then to de-escalate the situation adequately, such that they can engage you in a discussion and lead you to a satisfactory resolution.

When they are able to use this de-escalation skill, they can impact "first issues resolution" (FCR) and they can engage you in "solutioning" discussion. These in turn impact the "trusted adviser" score (in case of sales processes) and the "customer satisfaction" (CSAT) (in case of customer service processes).

If they are unable to use the skill well, it further escalates the situation that can lead to losing you as a customer. Also, in this day and age, the loss might not be only that one customer, but you can amplify the concern via any social-media channels (by tweeting with #fail that goes to your followers, by posting on Google+ and making it searchable everywhere and forever or by kvetching on facebook and getting your friends' attention) leading to a permanent and more severe damage to the brand equity.

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Which is more important? Net Promoter® Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

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"Which is more important? Net Promoter® Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)"

Wrong question! The correct question is: Which drivers of NPS and CSAT are more important than others?

So! let us get right down to it.

NPS was first discussed by Fred Reichheld in the 2003 Harvard Business Review. It measures customer loyalty and tells you if your customers are likely to promote your company or product or service.

But CSAT has been there forever. It measures customer's (or user's) overall perception about your company and tells you if your company or product or service actually met their expectations.

CSAT depends on your customer's expectations and the critical-to-quality (CTQ) requirements.

NPS predicts potential for renewals, revisits, "come back again", and crowd-sources your referral revenue-stream. CSAT summarizes your company's or product's or service's performance.

nps_and_csat

Both are business-outcome metrics that are equally important to measure and both relate to Kano's Customer Experience and Competitive Advantage story.

kano

There is a known strong correlation between the two metrics, especially in the tails of their statistical distribution. Causality or "which one causes what" is yet to be determined. High CSAT is likely to result in Promoter status. Low CSAT will push a customer within the detractor and neutral zone. Neutral and Passive makes a dead zone where drivers and behaviors of customers are harder to decipher. In this zone, studying behaviors shown by repeat customer (#bigdata), can provide additional insights.

There are however important business processes and behavioral drivers that are common to both CSAT and NPS.

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Troubleshooting is an essential skill of your customer service associate and directly impacts your customer retention metrics

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Troubleshooting is a skill where a Customer Service or Sales Rep actively listens, comprehends the problem that the customer poses and then via series of question and answer sequences can quickly get to a resolution for the presented problem. Ability to do this well directly effects Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and First Issue Resolution (FCR) metrics.

Most of such interactions happen when customer either calls or chats or emails the agents or customer service reps (CSRs)—Help Desks, Billing Desks, Scheduling services, Reservation desks, Claims-processing centers, Techsupport and Customer-Care organizations for various industries. This skill is needed for all industry verticals including those where customers have purchased your products or services, or are citizens for government or constituents for not-for-profit services or are patients and families for in patient-care envionments. This is also a basic skill for CSRs working at repair shops, in brick-mortar retail shops and in hospitality industry or those who provide services to private homes.

Troubleshooting occurs in four steps.

1. Understand the problem: First, the employee must actively listen to the customer and follow-up by validating that they correctly heard the customer and seek verification.

2. Diagnostics: Second, the employee must ask open-ended questions to understand the decision-tree (fully documented or not) or path they take. Sometimes, they have to calibrate their understanding with customer's expectations.

3. Communicate the possible causes for the problems: Third, confidently identify and assure the customer that they are communicating the right reasons.

4. Find a solution and communicate the solution prior to implementation: The employee simulataneously must know how to navigate any knowledge management or decision-tree provided to them. Lastly, the employee must identify the solution that best fits the problem. In case of ambiguity with multiple solutions, they must be able to resolve the ambiguity by doing additional diagnostics and rule-outs. Also steps 2 to 4 can be in a trial-and-error type of sequences i.e., they will need to do it few times to identify the reasons for the symptoms or issues that the customer is experiencing.

Sales reps need to troubleshoot well especially when they are working in consultative selling environment. Those sales rep who do this well are more likely to build the rapport and become a trusted advisor even if they cannot close the sale in the very first opportunity. The same skill when applied to sales reps, the skill is translated as "solutioning skill".

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By doing "Solutioning" well, you can significantly impact your Customer Retention metrics

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Solutioning is a measurable ability where an employee asks the appropriate questions, determines customer's  need and then suggests solution that precisely addresses those needs. Typical lagging Y metrics measuring customer experience (CX) are Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Revenues or Wins. These, in turn, are strongly correlated to whether or not your customer perceives you as a Trusted Advisor, when they interact with you. This measurable perception is the transition metric between first sales transaction and customer retention. Solutioning is what helps you achieve that Trusted Advisor status.

Solutioning can be applied in three different interaction of the customer journey. These interactions are Lead Nurturing, Customer Service (tech support/help desk) and Cross-selling or Upselling.

Keith M. Eades, author of The New Solution Selling, defines a solution as:

"So what is the definition of the word solution? The typical response is, "An answer to a problem." I agree with this response but feel it's important to expand the definition. Not only does the problem need to be acknowledged by the buyer, but both the buyer and salesperson must also agree on the answer. So a solution is a mutually agreed-upon answer to a recognized problem. In addition, a solution must also provide some measurable improvement. By measurable improvement, I mean there is a before and might be after. Now we have a more complete definition of a solution; It's a mutually shared answer to a recognized problem, and the answer provides measurable improvement."

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Ability to Overcome Objections is one of the most important Influencing Skill an employee can have

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Whether you are trying to influence a team member to step up their participation in a new project or you are influencing a customer to upgrade their services or a prospect to consider your product or service versus your competitors, objections will come your way and you have to overcome those objections.

Overcoming customer’s objections is a skill you use to influence people. This is needed in collaborative projects, in sales, in customer service and any human-interaction. If you can hook others to your story or to make others listen to your Point of View (POV), then it allows you to move the sale forward. How well you or your employees overcome objections, impacts the sales cycle, the reputation factor, and the trusted advisor factor. These factors affect both long-term and short-term customer experience. To achieve that, your sales and customer service reps and team leaders must preemptively know the objections that will be raised and appear to be knowledgeable when they overcome the objection.

Explicit Objections are objections that are clearly communicated by the prospect or customer or stakeholder. When it is communicated, you have an opportunity to analyze their understanding and reposition your argument. Keep in mind, only acknowledging their objection is not enough. Minimizing the emotion behind the objection is as bad as ignoring the objection. The response (whether it be social media, face-to-face, email, phone, chat etc.) must add to your credibility without appearing to be dismissive. In particular, this trait is important when you are handling outbound customer interactions. Employees who plan their call (or interaction), make a list of common objections, understand and can communicate the talking/talk-off points, typically overcome objections better. They are also better at delivering solutions that the customer desires. As they do this right, the customer or the person they are interacting with, begins to trust them.

Implicit objections are objections that exist in your prospect or customer or stakeholder’s mind (sometimes without much clarity) but are not spoken aloud. They might not be sure of what they are objecting to. It might be color or font size or something more important like the amount of re-learn they have to do. The reasons are infinite. Eliciting that information is a skill that comes with active listening and asking open-ended questions. Employees who can do this appropriately, increase their sales conversion, have lower sales cycle and can manage their work-load and WIP (pipeline) better.

Jim Keenan in his blog gives a wonderful example about overcoming implicit objection. Also a great list of typical objections that a sales rep faces and the ways to overcome them is given at this here.

Do you care about successful conversion? For example, if sales conversion is your KPI, then you should learn and measure “overcoming objection metric”. Think about the lost opportunities or delayed projects or lost sales you had, you are very likely to find that there were perhaps more than one objection that was not addressed appropriately.

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Demeanor impacts your Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) KPI

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As you acquire and retain customers, do you measure the customer experience and loyalty? Most businesses measure Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).  If CSAT is the key performance indicator (KPI) you manage, then you know that Demeanor shown by your employee, while interacting with your prospect or customer, is a key driver of CSAT.

We define Demeanor as the quality for verbal, written, and non-verbal communication. The four behavioral attributes for demeanor are: escalation/de-escalation factor; empathy factor; human-touch factor; and non-verbal factor. These factors are subjective behavior measures.

  • Escalation/De-escalation factor: Typically customers do not reach out to you, because they are thrilled with your products and services and/or simply to engage in idle chatter. They reach out to you when they are looking to buy or they have a question or concern. Typically they are in charged state of mind. Recognizing their anxiety and their state-of-mind and responding in a calm but enthusiastic manner shows that you exercised this factor in an interaction. Employees, who know how to de-escalate and use escalation or transfer process appropriately, typically provide better resolution and customer experience.
  • Empathy factor: Building rapport with your prospect or customer is an important step in customer interaction. Showing empathy and using a conversational tone are important factors that help build rapport and make the customer more open to listen to what you have to say. However, an overfriendly tone or engaging "banter for banter sake" or providing wrong information and not showing desire to address the concern can adversely impact other KPIs such as average handle time (AHT) or sales conversion or first issue resolution (FCR). Employees who effectively and efficiently empathize with the customer, provide faster and better resolution.
  • Human-touch factor: Your customer craves human-attention. Whether the customer interaction is completely virtual (such as chat or social-media or web) or in-person (such as phone, face-to-face, webinar, and video), customers find comfort in perceiving and knowing that the interaction is being led with human-intelligence. Employees who show emotion and the desire "to resolve" rather than being flat, robotic, scripted and mechanical, provide better customer experience.
  • Non-verbal factor: Body-language and non-verbal communication such as eye contact, smiling, showing enthusiasm are important behaviors that drive the quality of customer interaction. This is especially relevant for those interactions that are in-person, such as phone, face-to-face, webinar and video. In virtual interactions, such as chat, social media, web and email, responsiveness and acknowledgement of a customer's query or concern are the non-verbal equivalents of behaviors. Employees who effectively manage their non-verbal presence, provide extraordinary customer experience.
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Occupy Customer Experience: #OccupyCX @MicrosoftHelps #Fail

 

Microsoft_Support_Twitter

So today I had an interesting customer service experience. Not only was it a waste of more than an hour, but I still didn't get my issue resolved.

Where to begin? A few months back, we purchased a copy of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac from Staples. The computer we originally installed it on was for an intern and once the intern left, we uninstalled Office from the computer. The box that Office came in tells us that we could install the software on 3 separate computers. Well, today, we tried to install it on computer #2. Of course, the product key didn't work when installing on our new computer. What do we do? Go to Microsoft customer support, expecting some kind of help. Once there, I first look through the FAQ's. Nothing there really helps. They provide a number to call for help with your product key. So, I call the number. Concurrently, Rini, our CEO, starts an online chat with a customer service rep. After a 10-15 minute back and forth through chat, Rini was unsuccessful at getting any help. Keep in mind, I'm still on hold on the phone. 35 minutes goes by...and I still haven't talked to a human being. Finally, the person on the live chat gave us a different number to call. We call the number and finally talk to a human! Only to be transferred to a different department. After the transfer, the operator tells me I need to contact the store I purchased it from to get any kind of help since we purchased it retail and the license is through the store.

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Conversations with Marianne Curran, EVP of Go Daddy, discussing Social Media as a channel to provide Customer Care

Given our latest Occupy Customer Experience blog piece last week, I felt it was appropriate to post to the following conversation we had with Marianne Curran, EVP of Go Daddy, way back in December of 2010. The piece does a great job of displaying exactly how Go Daddy uses social media to provide quality customer care and how it fits in with the company's overall customer experience strategy.

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Occupy Customer Experience: #OccupyCX @GoDaddy

GoDaddy_Tweets

GoDaddy.com employs more than 3,300 employees with 8 locations, including Arizona, Iowa and India, and provides "follow-the-sun" 24x7x365 sales and support commitments.

In this series, we test the operational maturity of companies and organizations in how they leverage social media channels for sales and service processes.

For Go Daddy, we asked one simple question: How well does Go Daddy retain and upsell its customers when these customers reach out to them and bring their concerns via Twitter?

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Occupy Customer Experience: #OccupyCX @Delta #Fail

 

 

Delta_Responded_Chart

 

Delta Airlines employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and has a fleet of more than 700 aircrafts and has 160 million customers.

It has a reputable social-media operation. Or so we have read...

In an article written by Dennis Schaal, Inside Social Media at Delta Air Lines - A Behind The Scenes Look on June 10, 2011, he mentions that they have a control room just for social media at their headquarters, and that they knowingly don't respond to all tweets, stating: "The social media staff doesn't respond to every tweet about the airline, and does its share of apologizing to customers."

At PAKRA, we decided to dive a little deeper and experiment with the Twittersphere for Delta Airlines and see exactly what is going on. We wanted to get few questions answered:

(1.) Since Delta knowingly doesn’t respond to every tweet about the brand, would they be more likely to respond to tweets that areincluded in the “Dreaded” hash-tag #Fail search? As you know, if this hash-tag is included in a tweet about your brand, the customer is probably quite upset with your brand and you are at risk to lose them as a customer. Surely, Delta will respond to all of “these” tweets. Right?

(2.) Why does Delta not respond to all tweets? As we see from the article by Dennis Schaal, Delta has about a dozen "Social Assist Agents" on a 24x7 follow-the-sun support schedule. What stops them from handling more tweets, especially potentially harmful ones like those that include "#Fail" in their tweet?

We analyzed all tweets in a randomly selected time period that included the name "Delta" with the hash-tag #Fail in the tweet text.

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Why it is time to Occupy Customer Experience? #occupycx

You must have read this recent article, “Three Months in Customer Service Limbo”, by David Segal in the New York Times. The article discusses the fate of a customer at the hands of customer service, customer's trials and small successes, and well! spoiler alert -- "Still! Unresolved issues". Oh! What drama. I suggest you read it too.

It is time for us to Occupy Customer Experience.

You, the (B2B or B2C) Customer

As you searched, vetted, purchased, used and reviewed products/services that will help you, you too experienced some degree of failure or had instances where your expectations were not met (if not to this extreme degree in the Times article). Some of you also use social-media channels such as Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and Yelp to communicate your frustrations and delights. Some of you will also agree with me that Revenue and Operational Margins are the two KPIs that your company/organization/institution closely manages.

You, the Manager

Given that you and your team deliver products/services, you are always looking for ways to increase your revenue while reducing operating costs. Among all channels of customer interaction (voice, chat, web, face-to-face and social media), social media is still the cheapest way to find and manage customers who reach out to you via social media.  Also, let’s not forget the amplification effect on your brand. Who can forget the Alec Baldwin tweet on American Airlines, or the Komen Foundation fiasco with Planned Parenthood?

"Customer Experience" is why companies/organizations/institutions exist. Customer experience drives both revenue and operational costs. Your customers are just like you; they want to do business with you using these channels. What is stopping you from delivering exceptional customer experience?

Coming Soon at a PAKRA channel near to you – "Thought-provoking Discussions". Please join the discussion.

 

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Occupy Customer Experience: We wish you a fabulous 2012

Thanks to our customers, users, game-players, partners, advisers, employees, we met and surpassed all our goals and milestones that we set for ourselves in 2011.

Being a Remarkable Learning Company®, we ourselves learned a lot in 2011. Some of the key learnings were:
1. The value of "failure" from Jeff Stibel's blog post "Why I hire people who fail?"
2. The value you get from continuously experimenting, measuring and adjusting
3. The value of using social media channels effectively for sales and customer service
4. Helping businesses and organizations understand the buyer, especially millennial end-user and mindset
5. According to Horses for Sources and recent purchases of SuccessFactors and Rypple, Business platforms like PAKRA are the future of outsourcing
6. One can bootstrap and with a little ingenuity create immersive learning experiences and data that provide insight. These videos from TED.com inspired us in 2011.
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