Friday Five: Weekly Review

Welcome back, good to see you again here at Friday Five, where we look at some of the most interesting customer service stories of the week:

Diagnosing the Health of Your Customer Journey.

Digital marketer Len Devanna, president of Trepoint, wrote recently of four places where your company’s customer journey may be ailing, and what you can do to improve your customer journey at these critical health points:

  • Discover. “Search the web using the expressions consumers are most likely to use regarding your products or services,” he advises. Does your brand show up? If not, “stretch beyond the confines of your channels and engage where consumers are.”
  • Engage. Search online again, but “add in terms like ‘Help,’ ‘Broken’ and ‘Hate’.” Do most discussions take  place where you’d expect them to? Are consumers getting the response they deserve?
  • Transact. Are you monitoring all the channels you offer, or have you abandoned some and are missing inbound requests?
  • Advocate. Search your brand name online, with terms like “best,” “recommend,” “great experience.” When you find your passionate customers, make sure you’re recognizing and engaging with them.

AI “Leading The Way” for Customer Experience.

ZDNet writes that according to Telstra CEO Andrew Penn, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning “are leading the way in innovating on customer experience.”

“The world ahead will be full of products and services that are intelligent and able to learn our preferences, interact with each other, the cloud, and other devices that we have," Penn said, using Netflix as an example of a company that gets the CX right through intuitive technology, despite not having as great a selection as other providers:

“Netflix spends 20 times as much on their recommendation engine compared to traditional companies,” he noted approvingly.

But of course, as he says, the best customer service is not to need customer service at all: “Who has tried Facebook's call center? They do not really have one.”

Here’s Your 19-Point Customer Service Experience Checklist!

Thanks, Micah Solomon, for itemizing “19 missteps I encounter frequently when consulting on customer service and the customer experience.”

Obviously the whole list is worth a perusal. Some highlights:

  • Hiring the wrong employees. Solomon puts this #1, and that wasn’t a coincidence. Most customer service problems are solved by hiring the right people.
  • “Lack of commitment from company leadership to customer service and customer experience improvement.” Again, no coincidence that this one was so high up.
  • “Not taking the time to make a customer journey map. Without one, your view of the customer experience will remain, literally, inside-out.”
  • Failing to sufficiently empower your front-line employees. Customers absolutely love it when the first person they talk to can solve the problem. Make it happen.
  • “Management acceptance of ‘good enough’ performance. When poor performance is tolerated, it becomes the standard.”

The Four Types of Customer Experience.

Customer guru Don Peppers offers four categories of possible customer experience, and what you can do to plan for each one:

  • Business as usual. Everybody’s favorite kind – customer as well as seller. Things are repetitive and standardized, “routine” from the customer’s perspective. Automation is high.
  • Predictable customer lifecycle events. Events which are routine for the company but not the customer – receiving the first bill from a mobile carrier, for example. The company expects calls when this happens, although it’s more unusual for the customer to call over a bill. Responses can be standardized here.
  • Threats to cost efficiency. These are unusual, unplanned-for events, such as hotel customers asking to have duplicate guest accounts consolidated but the address fields have discrepancies. Lots of what Peppers calls “nuisance friction” here, your front line should be empowered to solve things like this.
  • Surprises, trials and tribulations. Here’s where things get interesting – there’s no standard process in place, the customer’s “highly engaged,” shall we say. Here’s where you need to plan for how your employees deal with the situation.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction in a Mobile World.

Business2Community has a good look at how to get a handle on how you’re doing with customers in the mobile era, where people don’t bother with snail mail surveys, which aren’t all that useful any more anyway.

But mobile apps are “rarely seen in the channels used to gather feedback,” so how do you measure customers’ satisfaction? Mobile surveys. App surveys. You have to find a way to gauge customer satisfaction at the point of transaction, which these days means via mobile app. Think “tight, focused interactions that could take place just after the journey,” B2C says, that require seconds, not minutes, to complete.

Most people don’t mind these, – interaction rates for such mini-surveys are “off the charts,” B2C says.

Have a great week, see you next Friday!

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