Author: crmxblog

What They Say When They Think You’re Not Listening

GlassesUSA, when it comes to customer service, you get whatever is worse than F. You don’t get a B for Bi**h or a C for C**t, which are two names I was called by your agents on the phone.

When it comes to customer service, I am no stranger.

I have moderated and produced hundreds, if not thousands of webinars even before webcast software existed. Yes, we actually had to fax directions to audience members.

When we started CrmXchange almost 30 years ago and discussed best practices for the contact center, three items were nonnegotiable:  

  1. Treat customer with respect and the way you would want to be treated
  2. Teach agents how to use technology correctly
  3. Try, if possible, to solve the customer issue on the first contact 

Sounds simple enough, right? For some, yes. Recently I had very positive experiences with three companies: Spectrum, Verizon and Cablevision.  Each issue was handled on a phone professionally and quickly.  The phone was answered within 1 minute, and agents from each company solved my issue within 10 minutes. 

Enter: GlassesUSA

I have ordered many glasses from GlassesUSA over the past 5 years with no issue. Their costs are reasonable, and their customer service is typically good, that is, until last month.

I ordered two pairs of glasses; one came in wrong (both the frames and the prescription) and one pair was returned to sender. Ok, we all make mistakes. Surely, I can just get in touch with the company to get it resolved, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

Chapter 1: 1-800-Unavailable

“1-844-244-1186 All Day Every Day 24/7” is what it says on the website, but when called, you’re referred to chat. Okay… I guess I’ll chat.

I had to chat in multiple times, each less successful than the previous attempt. Finally, exasperated, I called and talked to a sales agent, who is the only person I could reach on the phone (is anyone surprised that the revenue-generated stream is the only one that could be reached?).

The sales agent promised he would take care of the issue. He didn’t. Back to chat.

While on chat, I let them know I was an unhappy customer and had no one to talk to. The agent let me know that they no longer have agents to talk on the phone because “the chat resolves most of our issues”. Well, it didn’t.

Each chat led to an agent telling me that a different department would be “sending me an email” in a few days.

So, I took to twitter. As companies have trained us so well, when we can’t get satisfaction, we tweet.

glassesusa tweet
Finally that evening, I got a call from a GlassesUSA customer service agent. Rejoice! I told the agent the issue, and he profusely apologized and ask to put me on hold.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought.

Chapter 2: Am I being punked?

The conversation I overheard went like this:

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone.  She’s tweeting about us all over the internet. Can you talk to this bi**h?”

Supervisor: “I was getting ready to leave but if you need me to talk to this fu****g c**t, then I will.”

Now, I was ready to forgive “bi***h”. Let’s face it, I was frustrated, and I suppose I can be less than favorable when I get upset. But as someone in the customer service in industry for well over 20 years, I thought this had to be a prank.

I hung up.

The original rep called back to see if everything was “taken care of”.  When I told him no, that the issue has gotten worse, he said he would put me through to the supervisor’s manager.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought. Again.

Chapter 3: Oops, I Did it Again.

The conversation went like this.

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone”

Manager: “It’s the person [agent] told me about. Don’t worry, I erased the recording. There is no proof of the conversation.”

Representative: “I erased my recording too”

I have since tried to link it to GlassesUSA CMO and placed a call to the CEO.  As of this time I have not heard  back.

If there are any takeaways from this story, they are these: 

  1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear – you never know who is listening.
  2. While it may be (very) challenging at times, treat customers with respect.
  3. Learn the technology.
  4. Provide a channel that the customer wants; not just what is saving costs for your company.
  5. It is easier to resell a customer than to sell a new customer.  Not only will I never purchase from them again, I tell everyone of my experience (here!).
  6. As a CEO, you are not too big to hear what a customer has to say.  Fish smells from the head down.  

GlassesUSA, when it comes to customer service, you get whatever is worse than F. You don’t get a B for Bi**h or a C for C**t, which are two names I was called by your agents on the phone.

When it comes to customer service, I am no stranger.

I have moderated and produced hundreds, if not thousands of webinars even before webcast software existed. Yes, we actually had to fax directions to audience members.

When we started CrmXchange almost 30 years ago and discussed best practices for the contact center, three items were non-negatable:  

  1. Treat customer with respect and the way you would want to be treated
  2. Teach agents how to use technology correctly
  3. Try, if possible, to solve the customer issue on the first contact 

Sounds simple enough, right? For some, yes. Recently I had very positive experiences with three companies: Spectrum, Verizon and Cablevision.  Each issue was handled on a phone professionally and quickly.  The phone was answered within 1 minute, and agents from each company solved my issue within 10 minutes. 

Enter: GlassesUSA

I have ordered many glasses from GlassesUSA over the past 5 years with no issue. Their costs are reasonable, and their customer service is typically good, that is, until last month.

I ordered two pairs of glasses; one came in wrong (both the frames and the prescription) and one pair was returned to sender. Ok, we all make mistakes. Surely, I can just get in touch with the company to get it resolved, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

Chapter 1: 1-800-Unavailable

“1-844-244-1186 All Day Every Day 24/7” is what it says on the website, but when called, you’re referred to chat. Okay… I guess I’ll chat.

I had to chat in multiple times, each less successful than the previous attempt. Finally, exasperated, I called and talked to a sales agent, who is the only person I could reach on the phone (is anyone surprised that the revenue-generated stream is the only one that could be reached?).

The sales agent promised he would take care of the issue. He didn’t. Back to chat.

While on chat, I let them know I was an unhappy customer and had no one to talk to. The agent let me know that they no longer have agents to talk on the phone because “the chat resolves most of our issues”. Well, it didn’t.

Each chat led to an agent telling me that a different department would be “sending me an email” in a few days.

So, I took to twitter. As companies have trained us so well, when we can’t get satisfaction, we tweet.

glassesusa tweet
Finally that evening, I got a call from a GlassesUSA customer service agent. Rejoice! I told the agent the issue, and he profusely apologized and ask to put me on hold.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought.

Chapter 2: Am I being punked?

The conversation I overheard went like this:

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone.  She’s tweeting about us all over the internet. Can you talk to this bi**h?”

Supervisor: “I was getting ready to leave but if you need me to talk to this fu****g c**t, then I will.”

Now, I was ready to forgive “bi***h”. Let’s face it, I was frustrated, and I suppose I can be less than favorable when I get upset. But as someone in the customer service in industry for well over 20 years, I thought this had to be a prank.

I hung up.

The original rep called back to see if everything was “taken care of”.  When I told him no, that the issue has gotten worse, he said he would put me through to the supervisor’s manager.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought. Again.

Chapter 3: Oops, I Did it Again.

The conversation went like this.

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone”

Manager: “It’s the person [agent] told me about. Don’t worry, I erased the recording. There is no proof of the conversation.”

Representative: “I erased my recording too”

I have since tried to link it to GlassesUSA CMO and placed a call to the CEO.  As of this time I have not heard  back.

If there are any takeaways from this story, they are these: 

  1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear – you never know who is listening.
  2. While it may be (very) challenging at times, treat customers with respect.
  3. Learn the technology.
  4. Provide a channel that the customer wants; not just what is saving costs for your company.
  5. It is easier to resell a customer than to sell a new customer.  Not only will I never purchase from them again, I tell everyone of my experience (here!).
  6. As a CEO, you are not too big to hear what a customer has to say.  Fish smells from the head down.  

While I can’t know, I can image the type of culture at GlassesUSA that lets people think its ok to talk the way they do – then cover it up is pervasive.

While I can’t know, I can image the type of culture at GlassesUSA that lets people think its ok to talk the way they do – then cover it up is pervasive.

The 5 Latest Customer Service Trends You Need To Know In 2022

Contributed article by Wanda Lafond

Customer service has been changing rapidly in the past few years mostly due to the changing business landscape. This, of course, is the direct result of the global pandemic that forced some companies to shut down completely while others transitioned to hybrid or completely remote models of work.

Nevertheless, no matter what changes in the business world, companies need to keep up with these shifts in the industry and implement the necessary changes within their own organizations. Hence, here are the five latest customer service trends you need to know in 2022.

#1 Customer Support Delivered Through Social Media

With the rise of social media during the last decade, more and more companies started joining popular social media platforms to deliver content directly to their audiences. No doubt, social media makes it much easier to make important announcements, have product launches, and so on. Moreover, social media also provides many options for brands to go viral with their content while also establishing closer connections with dedicated customers.

Considering all of this, it was just a matter of time for social media platforms to become one of the primary channels for delivering customer support. Just a few years ago, there were still not that many businesses offering customer support on social media, but this has definitely changed. More and more businesses are offering customer support through multiple channels, both traditional and new ones such as social media.

The best part about offering customer support through social media is that it is clearly much easier to manage than some other channels. In fact, according to BrandWatch, the customer support offered through social media can be up to 12x cheaper than customer support via phone. It’s no wonder that more and more businesses are realizing that it’s a great opportunity to reduce their customer support costs and satisfy clients at the same time.

#2 Shorter Response Time and Round-The-Clock Availability

Nowadays, brands are increasingly focused on their customers. Many business decisions (including those related to customer support) directly depend on the data companies collect about their customers in an attempt to please customers in every way possible. This is probably why more and more customers now expect a much shorter response time when they send a request to customer support. On the other hand, businesses themselves are now prioritizing round-the-clock customer support availability to handle these requests.

For instance, according to Statista, 48% of consumers expect to get a response to their questions and complaints on social media within just 24 hours. This is probably why there are so many brands replying to tweets as fast as they can, especially if they see a customer complaining about something. It’s not just a way to handle the situation correctly when it’s already exposed to the public, but it’s also a way to show that they are proactive.

Another reason why round-the-clock availability is so important today is that globalization has expanded conventional notions of a target audience even for small businesses. Your customers could be located in a different time zone, so if their request needs to be processed quickly, your customer support will have to be available during irregular hours to do so. With 24/7 customer support, “irregular” hours are not even a thing because support can be delivered anytime.

#3 More Self-Service Options for Independent Customers

Even though customers have now become more demanding and expect businesses to deliver high-quality service to them, a lot of people are also quite independent in their own right and willing to take action themselves. This is why more businesses are now offering a wider variety of self-service options for customers who want to handle their own problems themselves.

On one hand, this is great for customers who want such autonomy. On the other hand, it’s also good for companies because they now have to handle fewer customer support requests with so many people doing the work themselves. For instance, one popular way to offer such self-service options is by having a knowledge base on your website rather than a simple FAQ section. A conventional FAQ section is quite limited in the amount of information it can provide, but a knowledge base with categories and good search and filtering features is perfect for customers who want to find questions to their answers themselves.

The only downside is that not every business has the time or resources to create a knowledge base like that. That’s why you can hire a professional writer from the custom writing reviews site Best Writers Online. This writer will create all the content for you after you provide them with all the necessary guidelines.

#4 Increased Personalization in Customer Interactions

As explained earlier, businesses are hyper-focused on their customers nowadays and always aim to deliver the best experiences no matter what. This is why most customers nowadays expect to see a fair amount of personalization in all the interactions they have with the brand. Not only does it show that the company values them, but it also makes the handling of requests faster.

Unfortunately, many businesses still don’t know how to create such personalized experiences which can result in customers leaving. In fact, according to Accenture, 33% of customers who cut short their relationship with a business in 2016 did so because personalization was lacking. Though this statistic is a few years old, many customers still stop purchasing from certain brands specifically for this reason even today.

So, how can businesses solve this problem? You can hire an expert writer from the writing services reviews site Writing Judge to create personalized content for your customers (e.g. emails). However, it’s your customer support team that needs to be trained to deliver better experiences to your customers when they make requests.

#5 An Automated Workflow with Increased Communication

Last but not least, one more trend evident in customer service is automation. Thanks to the newest technologies, businesses are able to use the newest digital tools to automate their workflows and increase communication with their customers. Chatbots can instantly respond to messages, automated emails can be triggered by certain customer actions, and the day-to-day activities of your customer support team can be done by programs entirely.

According to Microsoft, 30% of American consumers said chatbot interactions were “very effective” in dealing with customer support issues. That being said, chatbots still have a long way to go. Fortunately, the AI sector is rapidly developing which is why chatbots are being perfected every year and will likely be able to deliver high-quality customers support in the nearest future.

Final Thoughts  

To sum up, customer service is perhaps one of the most essential aspects of any business which is why paying attention to this department in your company is so important. Use the trends listed in this article to help you create your customer service strategy for the year and deliver high-quality experiences to your audience.

Improving Marketing Experiences With Customer Data

Presented By: Amanda Winstead

What’s one practice your 21st-century business can’t do without?

Our answer is data collection.

Gathering customer data, in particular, can help you hone your customer service strategy, better your sales techniques, and improve the marketing experience you’re providing to your customers.

We’ll talk specifically about the connection between customer data and the marketing experience in this article. When you collect data about your customers, you can make huge strides in your marketing strategy.

For example, you can create content that resonates with them and drives conversions. You can tailor your digital channel experiences to guide them to the next step of the customer journey. You can also learn about your repeat customers and create a specific marketing strategy for customer retention. 

Read on for more about improving your customers’ marketing experiences with data. 

Grow What You Know About Your Customers

Better marketing experiences come when you know your customers. In addition, because their needs, wants, and desires will evolve, you must continue learning about your customers to make effective changes to your marketing strategy. 

For instance, let’s say you collected data on your customers’ content consumption today. You learn they’re educating themselves on sustainability more and interacting with brands that highlight this value.

You can then start showcasing your business’s commitments to sustainability in your marketing content. You could also send your customers sustainable marketing swag, sweatshirts made from ethically-sourced materials, or notebooks created from recycled products to show the depth of your sustainability commitments.

Use your analytics tools to collect the following data to learn about your audience continually: 

  • What are my target audience’s current values? Have they changed since the last set of data?
  • Which digital channels are my target audience using the most?
  • How has their engagement on social media evolved?
  • Which media and content types are my target audience consuming regularly?
  • How many visitors are interacting with my brand for the first time? How many visitors are recurring?
  • How does my target audience make purchases today?
  • Are there any noteworthy changes to the customer journey?
  • Is there any new demographic information about my target audience? 

Customer data can also help you ensure your marketing efforts spread throughout the entire customer journey.

Ensure Your Marketing Efforts Extend to the Entire Customer Journey

Each of your customers will experience their relationship with your business differently. However, generally, they’ll move through the following stages with your business: 

  • Connection- how they’re introduced to your business
  • Cultivation- the relationship starts to develop between you and the potential customer
  • Consideration- they’re considering all solutions to their challenge, including your business 
  • Conversion- they choose your business’s product/service as their solution
  • Continuation- how the relationship continues after the first purchase  

For your customers to have the best experience with your business, you must ensure your marketing efforts extend to the entire customer journey. By collecting customer data on how various people move through their buyer’s journey with your business, you can learn what’s necessary marketing-wise to aid the journey.

Be sure to implement a data collection strategy that uses artificial intelligence tools. You’ll be able to collect vast data sets better and accurately filter the data. From there, you can analyze the information, extract valuable insights from it, and use those insights to improve how you market to your customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

You can also create better content and learn the best ways to share it with your particular audience with customer data.

Create Better Content and Learn Best Practices for Sharing it

One of the best ways to boost your marketing efforts is to create original content and share it with your target audience in their favorite places.

By collecting customer data on the kind of content your customer consumes, the platforms they consume it on, and how they best absorb the information, your content creation and distribution methods will work with your target audience more often.   

Use your data collection tools to gather the following information about your customers and content and improve the content marketing experience: 

  • Comments left and the quality of them 
  • What content is attracting new customers
  • Which CTAs are driving the most conversions
  • What content is resonating with current customers
  • If re-purposing content is working with your target audience
  • If your visuals and videos are a factor in driving conversions
  • How often your content is shared over various digital channels
  • Which digital channels your customers engage with your content the most on  

Improve Customer Retention

So many marketers focus most of their strategy on attracting new customers. This is a mistake because most of your business will come from current customers. Gathering data on repeat customers can help you create a marketing strategy specific to customer retention efforts.

Use your data analytics tools to collect information on repeat customers, like: 

  • Why repeat customers love your brand
  • How repeat customers make purchases
  • How the buyer’s journey differs for repeat customers
  • What the most popular products are among repeat customers
  • Demographics that are different from the rest of your customers
  • Which marketing strategies and tactics attract repeat customers
  • How repeat customers prefer to be rewarded for continuous purchases   

You can create marketing content that speaks directly to your repeat customers with data like the above. You can also make better use of the digital marketing channels they frequent. Furthermore, you can create a loyalty program that rewards customers in the ways you’ve learned they like to be rewarded and use this as an additional platform to drive customer retention.

Conclusion  

The fastest and most efficient way to improve marketing experiences is to collect customer data and use what you learn to make productive adjustments to your strategies, techniques, and tactics. Use the tips above to help you collect accurate data about your customers and modify your marketing to favor them. 

Changing Customer Service: The Impact of the Metaverse

Contributed article by Samantha Smith

Though the metaverse isn’t here yet, it is being developed, and parts of what will be in the metaverse are already being rolled out. For consumers, the metaverse promises to be a fun place to shop, connect with others, and a lot more. For businesses, the metaverse is changing how customer service works and what consumers might expect when they need to contact a business. Some of the ways the metaverse can change customer service include the following.

Stronger Relationships With Customers

The metaverse is similar to a virtual playground, where anyone can purchase virtual real estate and set up shop. Those who sell digital products like NFTs have the opportunity to create a metaverse gallery to display and sell their products. With this, companies are able to build stronger relationships with consumers. The business can interact with customers online, with it feeling like an in-person meeting, and provide more personalized assistance, which impacts how customers feel about their interactions with a company.

More Access for Customers

The metaverse combines technology to create unique spaces where almost anything is possible. Consumers don’t have to be local to be able to shop since everything is done virtually. Whether the company sells digital items or physical ones, consumers from all over the world are able to see and interact with the company prior to making a purchase. This unique experience gives consumers additional access they might not have from across the country, helping build the fanbase for any business.

Enhanced Shopping Spaces

Ever wonder what a pair of shoes would look like when wearing them? Companies like Nike are starting to use the metaverse with augmented reality to make shopping easier. From anywhere, consumers can stop by the store virtually and try on shoes, clothes, and anything else. Nike is one of the first companies to start using the metaverse in this way, but it’s expected to expand to other companies, as well. This provides consumers with a more personal experience online, giving them the chance to try things before they buy them, even if it’s virtually.

Easily Host Events to Connect

The metaverse isn’t just for shopping – it’s also a great way for companies to host events. Companies can create their own unique events for consumers, drawing in significant support for new releases. Consumers who wouldn’t be able to be there in person can take part in the virtual events from anywhere, allowing them to connect with the business and get access to new releases and other types of events. This connection can help build brands, draw in more leads, and help consumers have an amazing experience with the company.

Without being ready yet, the metaverse is already impacting customer service and changing it. Though there is still a lot to be done for the metaverse to be completely up and running, companies can start taking advantage of what’s available now, growing with the metaverse, so they can be ready when it’s available. With the right steps now, it’s possible to get started using the metaverse and taking advantage of the changes it will bring. 

12 Best Tips for Effective Contact Center Management

Contibuted Article by Ravi Soni 

Top tips for effective contact center management 

Influential administrators in the call centre business must remain acquainted with every element of their industry, lead by example, and operate within confined budgets that can be overpowering. However, you can better manage your call centre with these effective tips below. 

So let’s get started, shall we?

1. Comprehensively onboard and train your agents

Even after hiring suitable agents, your job as a manager is never done. Rather it has just started. According to a report, around 87% of employees in a call center believe that training and development are important in the workplace. It begins with a comprehensive onboarding process, self-assessment, periodic training, and monitoring throughout their job span with the contact center.

In addition, both star agents and poor performers require comprehensive onboarding training. However, the only difference is how frequently you conduct your onboarding training and the strategic emphasis of the training. 

For instance, training for poor performers should always remain focused on negative client feedback and QA scorecard assessments. Furthermore, using performance data, you should concentrate your actions on which aptitudes need progress and provide them with training to fill those learning gaps

2. Employ the right agents 

Contact Center managers are only as effective as the workforce behind them. Therefore, it is imperative to employ suitable  agents who possess the required hard and soft aptitudes to accomplish their job. It demands the managers put much of their energy and time into the recruitment process when scanning resumes, checking references, and interviewing. 

Furthermore, managers should concentrate on employing a workforce that exemplifies client assistance soft skills such as initiative, adaptability, teamwork, compassion, virtue, problem-solving, communication aptitudes, and emotional intelligence. 

While these aptitudes are challenging to gauge, they are the most reasonable indicators of success within every call center. The key is to create the list of aptitudes most required within your workforce and then employ agents who maintain these required attributes.

3. Concentrate on Employee Engagement

An engaged workforce is a happy workforce. Such a workforce is more productive, innovative, motivated, and loyal and is more likely to remain associated with your contact center for a long time. For example, a successful call center management team always emphasizes employee attention as the core focus of their administration strategy, and they: 

  • Deliver exact expectations, including objectives and KPIs, so your agents understand what they are working toward in the organization.
  • Help their agents’ actions through onboarding, tools, and training.
  • Present routine feedback—both negative and positive.
  • Listen to the call center agents’ feedback, letting their opinions be heard during the decision-making process. 
Ravi image 2

4. Guarantee Appropriate Scheduling For Effective Management

Operating in a call center is challenging. That pressure can impact your employees. So the point they start to feel overworked, their ability to function at a high-level decreases. That’s where appropriate scheduling comes into the picture. Providing your employees adequate rest to refresh and refocus can guarantee that your clients obtain the best service.

However, planning a downtime can be challenging to schedule even for a small team. For instance, to ensure the maximum efficiency for your call center, it is prudent to factor in employee ability, peak and low hours, employee availability, and numerous others. It can assist you in turning the scheduling into a full-time job by using the most suitable tools available for time tracking.

5. Build a highly communicative call center

For effective management of your center, it is essential to maintain a holistic communication style. Also, as a manager, you must build ample opportunities to discuss your agent’s performance and objectives. By creating a communicative call center management approach, you provide your agents with an outlet to communicate their thoughts and allow you to share your thoughts and opinions on their work performance.

6. Regularly QA your agents’ calls 

Regularly QA your agents’ calls. Listening to the recordings of your agents’ calls will allow you to evaluate your workforce’s strengths and weaknesses to manage the call center better. 

By executing a QA (Quality Analysis) compliance, you can prioritize your calls based on agents’ performance. And with this, you can emphasize which client-centric actions accomplished favorable outcomes and which failed. So we can say that the definitive objective of listening to your agents’ calls is to assess if your client service agents are fulfilling client experience goals. 

7. Evaluate call center QA every day

If you aspire to understand how to handle a call center efficiently, you must initially comprehend how you function, which requires day-to-day quality assurance. This routine quality assurance helps you evaluate your leaders, agents, and clients’ performance at your call center.  

In this way, you can decide what changes are required and where. It offers you a beginning point for progress. You can evaluate every communication in real-time with the help of a streamlined internal quality validation process.

8. Regularly engage with customers, passives, promoters, and detractors

As a manager, you might incorrectly think you don’t have to engage with your clients unless something goes amiss and your intervention is required. Nevertheless, that’s not the point at all. One of the most crucial supervisor skills is replying to positive and negative customer feedback, and you must: 

  • Follow up with the promoters to thank them for their commitment and exhibit your company’s persistent dedication to their delight.
  • Get in touch with detractors and passives to understand how your call center workforce could enhance their efforts to better fulfill the customers’ requirements. 

9. Focus on the data and track KPIs

Reliable data must support decision-making. As a manager it  is imperative to remain familiar with your call center’s most crucial performance metrics based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and employ that data to understand your processes. The key is to estimate accurate information based on your company’s strategic goals and objectives. In addition, within your strategic call center information framework, you should use a tool that provides information on: 

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) metrics
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSat) indicators
  • Call abandonment
  • Average handling time
  • Call resolution
  • Crucial KPIs as delineated by your QA strategy 

10. Give targeted feedback to your workforce

Periodic quality-of-service review is crucial for the prosperous working of any contact center. Take some time to give feedback on your employee performance and then remain ready to take some feedback for workplace improvement. 

11. Delegate duties to your workforce

 It is easy for call center managers to get caught up in the precise details of the job. Nevertheless, numerous small jobs need to get accomplished for a  center to operate efficiently.

There are a lot of high-level strategic decisions that you must take to keep your center running at its best. It is better to delegate some duties to your workforce so you can better concentrate on issues that demand urgent attention. 

12. Always remain on top of your managerial tasks

 As a call center manager, you strive hard to make your call center operate smoothly.Hence, it is equally important to take out time for things like calculating profit margin,  managing timesheets, training, and project planning as it will offer a solid foundation for your team to work on. 

The Bottom Line 

To sum up, we can say that with the right technology and tools and following some effective tips above, you can better manage your contact center to improve your customer service. By following these tips, you can provide your agents with everything they require to effectively and efficiently perform their tasks. If you are looking for cutting-edge call center management tools, there are many leading online platforms that offer comprehensive solutions that will help you offer exceptional client service, better agent satisfaction, and improved productivity.  For reference, start with the CrmXchange Vendor Directory.

2 Out of 3 Agents Want to Change Their Script

Contributed by Balto

At their best, call scripts provide agents with a way to guide their call in a consistent and clear way to achieve optimal call outcomes. Scripts or talk tracks are meant to provide avenues for agents to respond to objections and provide a top-notch customer experience. At their worst, however, they can be prescriptive, clunky, and impersonal.

That being said, scripts remain one of the widely used tools in today’s contact centers, so how can we make them better? Balto, for example, reimagines scripts as dynamic, data-driven Playbooks that only surface talking points to agents when they need them — no memorization needed.

But what about the remainder of the contact center industry that still relies on traditional scripts? The Conversation Excellence Lab conducted a survey of 568 agents to discover what they thought about their script, how often they adhered to it, and more.

We asked agents: What, if anything, would you change about your script? 

Approximately 64% of agents wanted to change their script, whether with something as specific as changing the phrases they use to open a call, or as broad as the general tone and vocabulary throughout. 34% of these respondents wanted to change the length of their script, followed by 17% who wanted to improve the overall naturalness and tone, and 17% who wanted their script to be more flexible and dynamic.

These numbers are telling on their own, but an analysis of agent script-writing involvement, agent tenure, and industry differences better illustrates novel trends within these answers.

Agent Involvement with Script Writing 

While the majority of agents want to change something about their script, 36% do not. That is not a low number. More than one third of agents would not make a change to their script if given the opportunity.

Agent involvement is a major mediator in this number. We asked agents how involved they are on a scale of 1-5 in writing or updating their script, and agents who reported the lowest involvement in writing their company’s script (2.19) were the most likely to want to change everything about it. Those agents who reported wanting to change nothing at all about their script had the highest rate of involvement (3.53).

Interestingly, the next highest category in terms of script involvement belonged to those who said they wanted more ownership over their company’s script (3.5). This suggests that involvement begets more involvement. Once agents are given the opportunity to provide feedback on their script, they want to keep doing so, perhaps in increasing amounts.

This is a good thing. It shows initiative, buy-in, and an ownership mentality, all of which lend themselves to better performance and retention outcomes. To better understand other factors that impact agent attrition, check out our 2022 Attrition Report.

The Effect of Agent Tenure 

Those agents who had been at their contact center the longest were most likely to want to make their script more flexible or dynamic, followed by making the tone more natural. This makes logical sense: The longer that an agent has worked for a company, the more they’ve internalized the call script. But more than that, they’ve also had opportunities to uncover their own best practices and objection responses.

Giving more tenured agents flexibility to sway from their script or respond dynamically to customer objections is, then, an apt method to increase agent satisfaction with their script and otherwise. Read more about agent tenure and satisfaction in our recent report.

Those agents who had been at their job for the least amount of time were most concerned with changing the length of their script, perhaps because they were in the mindset of learning or memorizing it rather than evaluating its contents.

After script length, agents with lower tenure were most likely to list “everything” as a response to what they would change about their script. They may resent the presence of the script to begin with, both as an aspect of their training and as something they are evaluated on in their new role, or they may not understand the reasoning yet behind different aspects of it.

Industry Differences in Sentiment Towards Script 

In terms of industry, which agents thought their scripts were the best-suited? 50% of our respondents in the Home Improvement industry reported wanting to change nothing in their script, followed by 42% of those in Collections and 39% in Constructions.

On the other end, only 9% of respondents in Travel & Hospitality reported that there was nothing to change about their script, followed by 20% in Utilities and Healthcare, and 21% in Professional Services, Financial Services, and Insurance.

This is just a sample of the population and scripts vary widely both within industries and across them. However, there are still insights to be gleaned from these numbers.

Industries like Home Improvement, Collections, and Construction lend themselves to more predictable calls, and therefore more straightforward scripts. Home Improvement and Construction calls generally seek to either provide customer support or set up appointments, while Collections is concerned with collecting funds.

On the other hand, Travel & Hospitality contact centers may see a plethora of call types: bookings or reservations, cancellations, service issues and other complaints, sales, concierge-type services, general questions, and more.

It may be more difficult to align a script with all of these disparate scenarios, leaving more room for improvement from the agent’s point of view. This variety can be found in Utilities, Healthcare, Professional Services, Financial Services, and Insurance as well.

As our surveyed agents pointed out, there are a lot of areas where a script can go wrong, from being too lengthy and prescriptive to being too narrow and not relevant to the caller’s concerns.

Although we have our own take on scripting at Balto, there is no denying that traditional scripts remain widely used across the industry. While it’s true that the majority of agents want to change their script, this number varies depending on their involvement in writing or editing it, their tenure, and the industry within which they operate.

How do managers adjust accordingly?

If you employ a script, take into account agent feedback about its length, tone and naturalness, and how flexible or dynamic it allows agents to be. Make sure to check in with agents — especially those who have been at your contact center for multiple years — and involve them in the script-creation process. Regularly source feedback and refine your script based on the measures above (Figure 1) to ensure that your agents are not among those who express discontent.

Subscribe to Conversation Excellence Lab reports here.

How is Customer Relationship Management Helpful For Business

Customer relationship management (CRM) involves all the strategies, activities, and technologies businesses use to manage their interactions with potential and current customers. With CRM, companies can build a strong relationship with customers, which leads to brand loyalty and increases customer retention. However, both are factors affecting a company’s revenue, making CRM a vital management strategy to help businesses maximize their profits. 

A CRM tool usually has a simple data collection user interface that helps businesses recognize their customers and communicate with them in a scalable manner. This proves how important CRM is for companies. Some other benefits of CRM for organizations are: 

  1. Create a reliable customer base

Businesses that use the outdated method of storing customer data in a spreadsheet make life harder for themselves. The spreadsheet may get lost or fall into the wrong hands, and the data can become compromised. This is why the switch to CRM software is essential for businesses. If you’re looking to keep an excellent overview of your customers, you need a CRM. You can also measure your growth, progress, financial gains and self-improvement over time. 

  1. Register your contacts and leads

A customer relationship management software helps you separate your contacts and leads into categories like customers, prospects, potential partners, influencers, and suppliers. This allows you to implement several strategies to make you more data-efficient and your product more effective. You’re also able to follow customer interactions and share the contact groups with Share Google Contacts solutions to ensure efficient and secure communication among the company’s employees. 

  1. Improve team productivity 

Your employees are the ones that use the CRM software mostly, and it has been challenging to handle since the software was introduced. However, since the creation of CRM mobile, there has been an increase in the use of CRMs. Therefore, mobile CRM increases the use of the software, but it also increases the productivity of your workforce. 

Expert research into the use of CRM found that there has been a massive improvement in the efficiency of business processes, and the productivity of companies using the CRM mobile app has increased significantly. Also, irrespective of the devices, every CRM software reduces the time necessary to input the data manually and search through confusing and untidy spreadsheets. Therefore, this helps save more time that can be invested in other activities required to improve overall productivity. 

  1. Personalize your marketing strategy

An important priority in marketing these days is the customer experience. Businesses, nowadays, spend a considerable chunk of their marketing budget on email marketing. Companies spend an approximate sum of $350 million on email campaigns alone in the US alone. With CRM software, it’s easier for companies to improve their communication with customers. They need to accumulate accurate data to get a clearer insight into the previous interactions and habits of their customers. 

  1. More leads and increased sales

The accurate data accumulated about customers through the CRM software can also be used to target other customers and put the appropriate effort in. Therefore, this increases the likelihood of making more sales. 

Additionally, the data collected can also be used to send personalized gifts and loyalty discounts, both aimed at ensuring customer retention. You can use web forms to increase the possibility of offering free products if they drop their email addresses. This is how you get more prospective customers. You can also use the software to analyze the level of customer satisfaction. This allows you to ask satisfied clients to refer the company to their friends, family, and acquaintances. 

  1. Integrating with other tools

It is possible to integrate your CRM with other marketing software to help you create a more coherent marketing strategy to get more prospective customers. Integrating it with other tools such as email will automate the entire process involved. This makes it easier to see your precise ROI status for your marketing strategy. The social media interaction of customers with your brand can also be integrated into your CRM strategy to help increase your reach to new customers and improve your relationship with the current ones. It’s ideal to use CRM software with messaging ability to send customer loyalty texts, free incentives, and product tracking alerts. Finally, you can integrate it with telephony so that it’s easier and faster to make outbound calls. 

  1. Achieve employee accountability

CRM allows you to distribute roles and responsibilities more appropriately among your employees and follow the direction they’re heading with their tasks. If one employee makes a mistake or falls behind, it’s easier to identify the problem and solve it quickly before harming the business. However, you must be careful not to use it to play the blame game. In contrast, the ability to identify the struggles of your employees and their problematic tasks should be used to ensure their growth. Since employees know what their weaknesses are, they can work through them better. 

Conclusion 

Customers are far more proactive these days than a few years ago. This is a reality that we must accept and get used to. They now research products and companies they want to patronize on different platforms before they arrive at the company’s website. They also have a wide range of choices in front of them. So, it’s essential that we also adapt our strategy to reach them better and be able to offer what they want. With CRM software, you have what you need to attract customers and retain them using a personalized and efficient service. As discussed in this article, there are several benefits of CRM for businesses and only a few were briefly explained in this article.

Author Bio

Thomas Jackson is a professional freelance content writer at an essay writing service and an active member of several writing clubs in New York, where he can provide help with research paper.

Is Customer Experience The Ultimate Marketing Tool?

Contributed article by Frank Hamilton

Advertising surrounds us everywhere. Companies have to try hard to stand out from the crowd and prove that their product or service is trustworthy to customers. Improving marketing customer experience is one of the top opportunities to turn customers into brand ambassadors, win more clients, raise brand awareness and get a competitive edge. But is customer experience the ultimate marketing tool in 2022? Let’s find it out.

What Is Customer Experience?

To put it simply, customer experience in marketing is a general term that covers all the impressions the customers have when interacting with a brand. In response to digital marketing development, customer experience has become one of the strongest digital trends of recent years.

This marketing tool creates the conditions for interacting with customers to meet or exceed their expectations. Customers go through many points of interaction with a company. And it is very important that at each of these points your customer is satisfied.

Modern marketing is customer-centric so the customers are the only ones to decide what kind of products to buy, and what level of service to choose.  In a couple of clicks, customers can view product features, reviews, and ratings, and decide “To buy or not to buy?” They can quickly change brands without compromising themselves if a competitor offers a better product, or service or anticipates their desires.

In such an abundance of choice, when the customer experience is far from being enjoyable, 32% of modern users are willing to give up on their favorite brand. At the same time, one unsatisfied customer will tell about their negative experience to 16  friends and damage the company’s reputation with the word of mouth.

Why Is Customer Experience So Important?

Let’s be honest with each other – there is no perfect marketing tool that will fit every company and every brand. But improving customer experience day after day is a must-follow strategy for every company. Firstly, a positive customer experience is a confirmation that your core business processes are set up right. After all, if at any point of interaction your customer isn’t happy, you need to make adjustments to your team or your marketing strategy. What’s more, the customer experience is directly dependent on employees being competent, responsible, and proactive.

Here are a few more reasons why companies should care even more about a successful modern customer experience:

 1. Increase the Check

Modern customers will never be satisfied with little. Today, they want the most from brands and companies at every stage of interaction. Studies show that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for good service. This means that companies with a customer-centric marketing strategy will be able to earn even more and grow their company faster.

 2. Win More Customers

Customers want a personalized approach that will cater to personal wishes and requests. Targeted advertising, smart content marketing and blogging increase customer trust and loyalty, allowing you to stand out from other similar brands. And as a result, grow the number of leads and customers. Surveys show that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a company offers a personalized approach.

 3. Stand Out From the Competition

Customers today have a wide range of services and products to choose from, so companies should try hard to stand out. A positive customer experience is one effective way to stand out from the competition, and most importantly, to build loyalty and retain customers for a long time.

 4. Lower the Cost per Lead

Word of mouth is free advertising for your company. And it’s worth noting that it’s very effective. According to studies, more than 92% of consumers use reviews to make a purchase decision. Therefore, every satisfied customer can become an ambassador for your brand in the future and help you attract new leads with the power of social proof. Here is how you won’t have to spend any extra money to acquire new customers.

 5. Create a Recognizable Brand

Loyal customers help take a brand to the next level. After all, globally popular brands have become popular because of the consistent digital consumer experience they delivered for years. One of the ways to create a recognizable brand is to tell your potential customers about it as much as possible through highly qualified content since to date, content importance for blog is growing. This is the tool to build loyalty and improve your SEO performance at once.

How To Improve Customer Experience? 

Customer experience is one of the most important marketing tools that determine how successful your company or brand will be. So here are some important tips that can help you stand out with the best customer experience.  

  • Develop an omnichannel strategy to enhance the customer experience. Always be accessible to your customers. For example, if the customer feels more comfortable contacting you through social media, you should be ready to support them via social channels. If the user likes to find information on their own, run a meaningful blog. If the customer wants to contact you after business hours, it would be nice to offer them a chatbot. It will stay in touch with your customers 24 hours a day, which will allow for a better customer experience. Look here for more insights into omnichannel customer experience and the benefits it drives.
  • Train your employees. At certain stages of interacting with the brand, your customers will work with your employees. Be sure that they correctly communicate the company’s values and culture, and have perfect knowledge of the product and the algorithm for dealing with various atypical situations. Regular training sessions can help your sales, customer support, and marketing teams provide impeccable assistance.
  • Provide feedback on time. Listen to and read feedback from your customers. Use this information wisely to improve your service and product. Once you have worked out the weaknesses, try to keep your customers informed about the work done, the troubleshooting, or the improvement of the service.
  • Optimize the customer journey. Identify all stages of the customer’s interaction with your company. Think about how you can make customers’ experience of choosing, buying, using, and committing to your brand stronger and more positive. Use analytics and Big Data to keep up to date with your customers’ preferences and desires.
  • Collect feedback and ratings. Monitor the feedback and ratings you get from customers. If some of these are negative, respond immediately and try to rectify the situation by offering an alternative, a discount, or a personal offer. This will help to retain the customer and save your reputation. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive feedback as well.
  • Implement loyalty programs. The main aim of a loyalty program is to build long-term relationships. Only sincere attention and a personalized approach will persuade customers to stay with you for the long term. A good loyalty program helps increase lifetime customer value (LTV), the loyalty index (NPS), and grow brand advocates, who are particularly useful in attracting new leads at no extra cost. 

Conclusion

Customer experience is the ultimate marketing tool. If consumers like you, they will happily spend money on your product and recommend it to others. In a world where competition between brands is huge, the one who manages to make more people fall in love with you wins.

Improving Marketing Experiences With Customer Data

Guest Post from Presented By: Amanda Winstead

What’s one practice your 21st-century business can’t do without?

Our answer is data collection.

Gathering customer data, in particular, can help you hone your customer service strategy, better your sales techniques, and improve the marketing experience you’re providing to your customers.

We’ll talk specifically about the connection between customer data and the marketing experience in this article. When you collect data about your customers, you can make huge strides in your marketing strategy.

For example, you can create content that resonates with them and drives conversions. You can tailor your digital channel experiences to guide them to the next step of the customer journey. You can also learn about your repeat customers and create a specific marketing strategy for customer retention. 

Read on for more about improving your customers’ marketing experiences with data. 

Grow What You Know About Your Customers

Better marketing experiences come when you know your customers. In addition, because their needs, wants, and desires will evolve, you must continue learning about your customers to make effective changes to your marketing strategy. 

For instance, let’s say you collected data on your customers’ content consumption today. You learn they’re educating themselves on sustainability more and interacting with brands that highlight this value.

You can then start showcasing your business’s commitments to sustainability in your marketing content. You could also send your customers sustainable marketing swag, sweatshirts made from ethically-sourced materials, or notebooks created from recycled products to show the depth of your sustainability commitments.

Use your analytics tools to collect the following data to learn about your audience continually: 

  • What are my target audience’s current values? Have they changed since the last set of data?
  • Which digital channels are my target audience using the most?
  • How has their engagement on social media evolved?
  • Which media and content types are my target audience consuming regularly?
  • How many visitors are interacting with my brand for the first time? How many visitors are recurring?
  • How does my target audience make purchases today?
  • Are there any noteworthy changes to the customer journey?
  • Is there any new demographic information about my target audience? 

Customer data can also help you ensure your marketing efforts spread throughout the entire customer journey.

Ensure Your Marketing Efforts Extend to the Entire Customer Journey

Each of your customers will experience their relationship with your business differently. However, generally, they’ll move through the following stages with your business: 

  • Connection- how they’re introduced to your business
  • Cultivation- the relationship starts to develop between you and the potential customer
  • Consideration- they’re considering all solutions to their challenge, including your business 
  • Conversion- they choose your business’s product/service as their solution
  • Continuation- how the relationship continues after the first purchase  

For your customers to have the best experience with your business, you must ensure your marketing efforts extend to the entire customer journey. By collecting customer data on how various people move through their buyer’s journey with your business, you can learn what’s necessary marketing-wise to aid the journey.

Be sure to implement a data collection strategy that uses artificial intelligence tools. You’ll be able to collect vast data sets better and accurately filter the data. From there, you can analyze the information, extract valuable insights from it, and use those insights to improve how you market to your customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

You can also create better content and learn the best ways to share it with your particular audience with customer data.

Create Better Content and Learn Best Practices for Sharing it

One of the best ways to boost your marketing efforts is to create original content and share it with your target audience in their favorite places.

By collecting customer data on the kind of content your customer consumes, the platforms they consume it on, and how they best absorb the information, your content creation and distribution methods will work with your target audience more often.   

Use your data collection tools to gather the following information about your customers and content and improve the content marketing experience: 

  • Comments left and the quality of them 
  • What content is attracting new customers
  • Which CTAs are driving the most conversions
  • What content is resonating with current customers
  • If re-purposing content is working with your target audience
  • If your visuals and videos are a factor in driving conversions
  • How often your content is shared over various digital channels
  • Which digital channels your customers engage with your content the most on  

Improve Customer Retention

So many marketers focus most of their strategy on attracting new customers. This is a mistake because most of your business will come from current customers. Gathering data on repeat customers can help you create a marketing strategy specific to customer retention efforts.

Use your data analytics tools to collect information on repeat customers, like: 

  • Why repeat customers love your brand
  • How repeat customers make purchases
  • How the buyer’s journey differs for repeat customers
  • What the most popular products are among repeat customers
  • Demographics that are different from the rest of your customers
  • Which marketing strategies and tactics attract repeat customers
  • How repeat customers prefer to be rewarded for continuous purchases   

You can create marketing content that speaks directly to your repeat customers with data like the above. You can also make better use of the digital marketing channels they frequent. Furthermore, you can create a loyalty program that rewards customers in the ways you’ve learned they like to be rewarded and use this as an additional platform to drive customer retention.

Conclusion  

The fastest and most efficient way to improve marketing experiences is to collect customer data and use what you learn to make productive adjustments to your strategies, techniques, and tactics. Use the tips above to help you collect accurate data about your customers and modify your marketing to favor them. 

The 5 Latest Customer Service Trends You Need To Know In 2022

Contributed article by Wanda Lafond

Customer service has been changing rapidly in the past few years mostly due to the changing business landscape. This, of course, is the direct result of the global pandemic that forced some companies to shut down completely while others transitioned to hybrid or completely remote models of work.

Nevertheless, no matter what changes in the business world, companies need to keep up with these shifts in the industry and implement the necessary changes within their own organizations. Hence, here are the five latest customer service trends you need to know in 2022.

#1 Customer Support Delivered Through Social Media

With the rise of social media during the last decade, more and more companies started joining popular social media platforms to deliver content directly to their audiences. No doubt, social media makes it much easier to make important announcements, have product launches, and so on. Moreover, social media also provides many options for brands to go viral with their content while also establishing closer connections with dedicated customers.

Considering all of this, it was just a matter of time for social media platforms to become one of the primary channels for delivering customer support. Just a few years ago, there were still not that many businesses offering customer support on social media, but this has definitely changed. More and more businesses are offering customer support through multiple channels, both traditional and new ones such as social media.

The best part about offering customer support through social media is that it is clearly much easier to manage than some other channels. In fact, according to BrandWatch, the customer support offered through social media can be up to 12x cheaper than customer support via phone. It’s no wonder that more and more businesses are realizing that it’s a great opportunity to reduce their customer support costs and satisfy clients at the same time.

#2 Shorter Response Time and Round-The-Clock Availability

Nowadays, brands are increasingly focused on their customers. Many business decisions (including those related to customer support) directly depend on the data companies collect about their customers in an attempt to please customers in every way possible. This is probably why more and more customers now expect a much shorter response time when they send a request to customer support. On the other hand, businesses themselves are now prioritizing round-the-clock customer support availability to handle these requests.

For instance, according to Statista, 48% of consumers expect to get a response to their questions and complaints on social media within just 24 hours. This is probably why there are so many brands replying to tweets as fast as they can, especially if they see a customer complaining about something. It’s not just a way to handle the situation correctly when it’s already exposed to the public, but it’s also a way to show that they are proactive.

Another reason why round-the-clock availability is so important today is that globalization has expanded conventional notions of a target audience even for small businesses. Your customers could be located in a different time zone, so if their request needs to be processed quickly, your customer support will have to be available during irregular hours to do so. With 24/7 customer support, “irregular” hours are not even a thing because support can be delivered anytime.

#3 More Self-Service Options for Independent Customers

Even though customers have now become more demanding and expect businesses to deliver high-quality service to them, a lot of people are also quite independent in their own right and willing to take action themselves. This is why more businesses are now offering a wider variety of self-service options for customers who want to handle their own problems themselves.

On one hand, this is great for customers who want such autonomy. On the other hand, it’s also good for companies because they now have to handle fewer customer support requests with so many people doing the work themselves. For instance, one popular way to offer such self-service options is by having a knowledge base on your website rather than a simple FAQ section. A conventional FAQ section is quite limited in the amount of information it can provide, but a knowledge base with categories and good search and filtering features is perfect for customers who want to find questions to their answers themselves.

The only downside is that not every business has the time or resources to create a knowledge base like that. That’s why you can hire a professional writer from the custom writing reviews site Best Writers Online. This writer will create all the content for you after you provide them with all the necessary guidelines.

#4 Increased Personalization in Customer Interactions

As explained earlier, businesses are hyper-focused on their customers nowadays and always aim to deliver the best experiences no matter what. This is why most customers nowadays expect to see a fair amount of personalization in all the interactions they have with the brand. Not only does it show that the company values them, but it also makes the handling of requests faster.

Unfortunately, many businesses still don’t know how to create such personalized experiences which can result in customers leaving. In fact, according to Accenture, 33% of customers who cut short their relationship with a business in 2016 did so because personalization was lacking. Though this statistic is a few years old, many customers still stop purchasing from certain brands specifically for this reason even today.

So, how can businesses solve this problem? You can hire an expert writer from the writing services reviews site Writing Judge to create personalized content for your customers (e.g. emails). However, it’s your customer support team that needs to be trained to deliver better experiences to your customers when they make requests.

#5 An Automated Workflow with Increased Communication

Last but not least, one more trend evident in customer service is automation. Thanks to the newest technologies, businesses are able to use the newest digital tools to automate their workflows and increase communication with their customers. Chatbots can instantly respond to messages, automated emails can be triggered by certain customer actions, and the day-to-day activities of your customer support team can be done by programs entirely.

According to Microsoft, 30% of American consumers said chatbot interactions were “very effective” in dealing with customer support issues. That being said, chatbots still have a long way to go. Fortunately, the AI sector is rapidly developing which is why chatbots are being perfected every year and will likely be able to deliver high-quality customers support in the nearest future.

Final Thoughts  

To sum up, customer service is perhaps one of the most essential aspects of any business which is why paying attention to this department in your company is so important. Use the trends listed in this article to help you create your customer service strategy for the year and deliver high-quality experiences to your audience.