Why Queuing Isn’t Just About the Numbers

Why Queuing Isn’t Just About the Numbers

Numbers. Not just any numbers but metrics. We call them performance metrics and we allow them to seduce us. They offer the holy grail of insight and a target – yet they often lead us a merry dance.

I am a numbers guy. A qualified accountant no less, but I know that numbers are only the tip of the iceberg and nine-tenths of the story lurks under the surface – untold, misunderstood and making the charted course unnecessarily perilous.

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Why the Boss is the Weakest Link in the Contact Centre

Why the Boss is the Weakest Link in the Contact Centre

The age of the customer is upon us. But do we really think that the customer experience is getting better?

Well, we certainly appear to have reached an intellectual tipping point where 90% of executives consider customer experience to be their top strategic priority. And this is backed up by hard data – long-term studies have proven that leading customer experience companies earn greater returns.

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Outsourcing Customer Service Need Not Mean Bad Customer Service

Outsourcing Customer Service Need Not Mean Bad Customer Service

One of the biggest myths in customer service is that the company that pays the customer service advisor is a key factor in the quality of customer service. The myth says that outsourcing customer service is obviously bad business.  The myth says that outsourcing customer service is a statement that you don't value your customers.

If you think about it, even for a second, that just can't be true.

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When Your Customer Experience Shoots You In the Foot. With a Cannon

When Your Customer Experience Shoots You In the Foot.  With a Cannon

I don’t find insurance shopping very sexy.  In fact, all I want from an insurance company is the right level of cover and fairness in settling claims.  I am so disinterested in insurance that all of my insurance policies automatically renew.  The only action that is required on my part is that I open and file the cover note once a year.

This is a very short story of an insurance company getting their customer experience very, very wrong.

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Strategy is the Brain of the Organization, Culture is the Heart and Soul

Strategy is the Brain of the Organization, Culture is the Heart and Soul

In our second article for the International Customer Management Institute we were asked to consider the impact that a Workforce Management (WFM) team has on the culture of an organisation.

As we believe that great employee engagement is key to a great customer experience then the WFM team is one of the most critical parts of the organisation.  In the article we consider the different approaches to WFM in cost focussed and customer focussed companies.

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Does Your Performance Management Programme Hold Back Your Performance?

Where strategy is the logic of a business, set by it's leadership to guide the whole organisation, culture is something altogether different. Culture is the heart and soul of the organisation and while the leader will have a significant impact on culture they are unable to control it.

We will be writing a series of articles for the International Customer Management Institute on various aspects of corporate culture over the next few weeks. This is the first one looking at the often unintended consequences that occur when performance management "goes wrong".

Pop over to ICMI and have a read of Does Your Performance Management Programme Hold Back Your Performance?

Does the Praise Sandwich still cut the mustard in modern companies?

Does the Praise Sandwich still cut the mustard in modern companies?

Shifting For Strategic Advantage

Shifting For Strategic Advantage

We have seen a lot of press in the UK that the turnover of doctors is reaching exceptional levels.  One of the often quoted causes are unreasonable shift patterns.  If this is an issue for motivated medical professions then it will equally be of concern in contact centres.

With the clear link between employee engagement, customer experience and exceptional profitability I am certain that an effective shift design strategy is an clear compeitive advantage in the service business. 

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Companies Are Slowly Killing Themselves

Companies Are Slowly Killing Themselves

I saw two presentations today that completely blew me away.  I realised some time ago that the way companies are traditionally run is unhealthy - they are stuck in a cycle of efficiency and transformation that instead of improving the company is making them sicker.  I had a sensation that it was a leadership issue, and I have written about that many times before, but I could never truly put my finger on it.  And today I came face to face with the reality. 

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15 Things About Customer Service I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then

15 Things About Customer Service I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then

 

Nothing much happened on the 9th August 1993 but a young man exceptionally uncomfortable in a paisley patterned tie and his first suit walked nervously towards his first real day in his first real job.

That nervous, starched, trussed up newbie, obviously, was me 20 years ago.  Not long after I became passionate about customers and how important they are to companies.  And these are the 15 things about customer service I know now that I wish I knew then.

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Why Your Customer Experience Strategy Is a Waste of Effort

Why Your Customer Experience Strategy Is a Waste of Effort

Business school text books are written around the key tenets of strategic plans – vision, mission, values and strategy.  They explain the concepts in depth, sometimes they even entertain but they always fall silent on how to implement them well.  And rarely are they well implemented!

 

Nowhere is the strategic plan more critical than with customer experience.  Customer experience is widely acknowledged as the next competitive battleground yet interestingly only 20% of companies claim to have a well-developed customer experience strategy.  And I would hazard a guess that a lot of them are kidding themselves!

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Our Final Guest Post on ICMI.com

The Sleepless Nights of Global Operations

Our third guest post has now been published on ICMI.com - the website of the International Customer Management Institute.

This is the last in a series of 3 posts for ICMI's July focus - Global Service Delivery.  We write about the challenges that come from a global operation.  Often your international locations are nothing like your domestic operation and you have to be prepared for anything........in the middle of the night!.

Pop across to see what it is  at ICMI.com

 

Second Guest Blog on ICMI.com

The 4 W's of Outsourcing Strategy

Our second guest post has now been published on ICMI.com - the website of the International Customer Management Institute.

This is the second in a series of 3 posts for ICMI's July focus - Global Service Delivery.  We write about the 4 key elements of outsourcing strategy that you need to address before you commit to outsourcing.  There is ONE key question that will make or break your outsource strategy.

Pop across to see what it is  at ICMI.com

Guest Blog on ICMI.com

Going Global? How to Partner for Success

 

We have just had a guest post published on ICMI.com - the website of the International Customer Management Institute.

ICMI's focus for July is Global Service Delivery and I have summarised the key partnerships that you need to have in place to set up your first contact centre abroad.

Pop across and read Going Global? How to Partner for Success.

 

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Why Your Obsessesion is Damaging Your Customer Experience

Old habits die hard.  Companies love measuring stuff – but often it is subjective whether what they measure is useful to their strategy.  Sometimes I think it is just nice to measure stuff to feel like you are in control – whether, in reality, you are or not.

Companies that profess an undying love for their customers, the ones that desire "world class" service, survey their customers to find out how they are doing – but is it effective?

 

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Are We Planning for a Great Customer Experience?

Are We Planning for a Great Customer Experience?

It is often said that creating great customer experiences has to be in the DNA of an organisation – a culture of great people, recruited for the right roles, following a clear vision focussed on the customer.  And why wouldn’t you want that?  The numbers just make sense.

 

At the heart of most customer operations some of the brightest and most energetic people work in the planning and workforce management (WFM) teams - we are in the right place, with the right skills, and the right voice to lead the step change; yet still, despite the evidence, we persist with an old story and old habits.

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The Gut-Wrenching Reality of "World Class Service"

The Gut-Wrenching Reality of "World Class Service"

Poor customer service is a pain in the arse.  Bizarrely, it is so often delivered by companies and brands that claim to have “world class service”.  And that is when we know instinctively that “world-class service” is a platitude, the boilerplate for lazy executives who feel they should make some reference to the people that pay their salaries.  But poor customer service is real and it is costly.  New research from, cloud contact centre vendor, NewVoiceMedia reveals that UK companies who give poor customer service are losing approximately £12 billion a year.  Yup, that is a lot of money by any standard!

As customer experience professionals we rarely get to study the thoughts and feelings that come with a poor experience.  A lot happens in the brain that we are not conscious of and has a bearing on our future relationship with that brand.  Let's look at that in some detail.

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Customer Experience – It’s All About the People, Stoopid!

Customer Experience – It’s All About the People, Stoopid!

When it comes to customer service we know some things pretty intuitively:

  • people enjoy helping other people
  • the human brain is social and people naturally want to make connections with each other
  • there are “moments of truth” in your relationship with your customers that define the relationship
  • these moments of truth have a charge of emotion so powerful they will overrule logic.

These days pretty much every company claims that it wants to improve the customer experience.  So, what is it about old habits that stops us making the smart decisions to do just that?

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Guest Blog on Squawkpoint

We had a guest blog published on Squawkpoint today.  Squawkpoint is a website dedicated to customer service improvement.

Hop across and read The Dark Secrets of Benchmarking, our guest post on why we should always be wary of the temptations of benchmarking when improving operations.