Let's take a look at some of the best customer service news and articles of the week:
Data-Driven Decision Making: Growing, but Uneven.
Harvard Business Review has an interesting look at how much companies are actually using and benefiting from data when making decisions.
The article’s authors find “empirical evidence that there is something beyond the hype,” that firms are, in fact, “rapidly adopting DDD [data-driven decision- making] and “fundamentally changing how they approach management in the digital age,” but there are reasons it’s not more widespread:
Sometimes the data simply isn’t there. “Even managers who have received the DDD gospel may oversee environments that do not permit reliable data collection,” the article notes.
And there’s still no substitute for the human factor: “For many types of decisions, especially those for which little quantitative data exist, the broader knowledge and experience of leaders still outperforms purely data-driven approaches.”
Plus it’s pricey to invest in all that hardware and software, and it “may outweigh the benefits – particularly if the scale of operations is just too small.”
2016: The Year of the Customer Experience.
Written from a marketing perspective, a recent article in SocialTimes expands on Lithium CEO Katy Keim’s belief that 2016 will be not only the year where customer experience becomes of paramount importance, but that “there’s a much bigger shift afoot: the true convergence of marketing, data, technology, service, and experience.”
She offers a few points to bear in mind:
Generational change is coming. If CMOs don’t understand digital, “inside and out,” they will be soon replaced.
“Old” is not “Wrong.” New should be blended with old, not simply replace it. New and shiny is just that – new and shiny. Doesn’t mean it’s good.
“Social” will soon be “normal.” Social media isn’t a buzzword, a silo, an add-on anymore, it’s the thing.
Customer Experience is paramount. The increased focus on the Customer Experience is already happening at the successful brands, and they make a good one happen intentionally.
Five Questions Customer Experience Leaders Ask.
Good article from Forbes about a recently-released report titled “The Five Disciplines of Customer Experience Leaders.”
The article boils down the five questions you should be asking yourself to “create a customer experience that truly delights:”
What do we want to stand for in the eyes of our customers?
Which actions will have the greatest effect on our target customers?
How can customer feedback promote learning and behavior changes?
What aspects of their experience would our customers want to change?
How can we anticipate and mitigate risks in order to sustain the changes?
Research from Bain & Company finds that “companies that excel in the customer experience grow revenues 4%–8% above their market,” because “a superior experience helps to earn stronger loyalty among customers, turning them into promoters who tend to buy more, stay longer and make recommendations to their friends.”
The Best Marketing Strategy? Customer Care.
Jason Wesbecher, CEO of Docket, writes in Entrepreneur that the most important “customer relationship” to customers isn’t with a brand, it’s “the good old-fashioned kind,” a person to person one – customer to customer service rep.
Human interactions are what customers will remember – and talk about – when contacting your company, he says, noting that no amount of marketing can counteract a bad personal experience.
To that end, companies need to present a unified front, “deeper than mere semantics,” more than just renaming customer service reps “team members.”
What needs to happen, he says, is for companies trying to create a corporate identity to “start recognizing customer service as a critically important representative of that identity and bearer of those messages.”
Your Secret Weapon: Customer Loyalty.
Business2Community delivers the cold, hard truth: “You can’t hack customer loyalty.” There is no substitute for the real thing.
There isn’t any formula, either. Pricing, value, social consciousness, they all matter to somebody: “I maintain a massive collection of stats that have been gathered on the topic of customer loyalty, and the motivations people give for being loyal are all across the board,” the author writes.
So what is the secret? Your employees. “The more a company takes care of its employees, the more those employees will take care of their customers,” he writes.
How to do this? Three things to keep in mind:
Invest in a great workplace. Be a company people want to work for – “especially frontline, underpaid employees.”
Establish your company values. Only hire people who embody those values, even if they’re less qualified than other applicants.
Keep loyalty-building going all the time. Never stop trying to satisfy your employees – they’re the ones who embody your brand.
That’s it for this week. Don't forget to sign up for the upcoming webinar on Wednesday, February 17, about Business Intelligence in contact centers.
Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here next Friday.