Tag Archives: Customers 1st Conference

Customers 1st Speaker Profile: Emily Yellin, Author, Your Call Is(Not That) Important To Us

Emily Yellin
Your Call Is(Not That) Important To Us

Emily Yellin is the author of Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us (Free Press 2009) and Our Mothers’ War (Free Press 2004), and was a longtime contributor to The New York Times. She has also written for Time, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications.

Born in White Plains, New York, Emily grew up in Memphis. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin ‘ Madison with a degree in English literature, and received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She has lived in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London, but currently lives in Memphis.

Emily decided to write Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us while waiting on hold one day in her freezing cold house, only to argue on the phone for hours with customer service at a home warranty company before convincing someone to come fix her broken furnace.

Bio courtesy of Red Room.

European Online Shoppers are Frustrated by Poor Customer Service

This post on bizreport.com discusses how recent research conducted by ATG shows us that many Europeans are not satisfied with their online shopping experiences. In countries like Germany, Spain, and England consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with poor customer service, checkout problems, and unsuccessful login attempts.

Frank Lord, VP for ATG in Europe, the Middle East and Africa mentions:

It’s clear the e-tail market in Europe is still finding its feet. Web shops that consider customer service first by integrating the tools that meet local needs, such as shorter check out sequences in the UK and Germany, and live help in France and Spain, stand to benefit.”

It is crystal clear that European retailers still have a lot of work ahead of them in terms of online customer service.

4 Lessons in Customer Service

This post in the Online Business Advisor details a few lessons learned from a recent stop at a store while searching for a laptop. Customer service in the online realm shouldn’ t be different just because you are not in the customers physical presence. Reviews of bad customer service can float very quickly now with the social web age. So here are a few lessons learned that all businesses should take seriously.

1. It’s important to know when customers want to buy. There should always be a point in your site that can get consumers easily back to the shopping cart, and it should be easy to navigate to as well.
2. Customers should not be aimlessly searching your site. There should be easy navigation, a clear call to action, and prominent offers should be visible.

3. Make sure to offer alternative to consumers and that they alternatives are easy to find.
4. The web doesn’t close, its a 24/7 business so even if you’re not around there should at least be a FAQ page with commonly asked questions and answers to help consumers when they are stuck.

Marketers are Ignoring Their Customers

Jason Tarasi explains in this post in Ezine Articles that many businesses out there are still making the cardinal mistake of ignoring their customers and treating them as nothing more than a mere annoyance. He discusses how customer service can result in repeat sales, less refund requests, and more sales through referral marketing through satisfied customers. Here are some important issues he stresses companies should adhere too.

1. Get back to your customers within 24 hours because it can seem like an eternity to your customer.
2. Give your customers unexpected bonuses. This will help build loyalty and keep your business fresh.
3. Be prompt with refunds because it will only lead to potential headaches if you take too long.
4. Lastly, create quality products and services because ultimately that is what the customer is looking for.

List of Best Practices for Applying Social Media to Improve Customer Service

I came across this post from Heather Clancy on the smartplanet blog in which she lists 5 best practices for applying social media to better customer service from Forrester analyst Natalie Petouhoff. Natalie covers the space regularly and this is a summary of her main points from the report “Best Practices: Five Strategies for Customer Service Social Media Excellence.” Enjoy!

1. Take ownership. Keep focused on the true mission, making the customer service, and avoid letting marketing and sales control the agenda. Understand what they need, but don’t skew what you’re doing to accommodate tactical problems. If you handle customer service properly, it will naturally help sales.
2. Figure out who you want to reach and set out specific goals. Don’t just experiment.
3. Focus on the customer experience. In particular, make sure there is support for a two-way conversation. Where possible, let the customer do the talking on your behalf by engaging and developing ‘super customers.’
4. Understand the role of different technologies. In all likelihood, your strategy will rely on multiple approaches. You need to figure out what’s best for your audience AND you need to keep on top of the new tools that will doubtless be at your disposal in three months.
5. Figure out the costs and build a real business case. Even if some of your perceived benefits might be intangible, you can assign them a value and weigh them against the start-up technology investment you might have to make. You need to know the risks and when to cut your losses.

Verizon and T-Mobile Stay Ahead in Wireless Customer Service

This post on ZDNet shares that according to JD Power and Associates wireless customer service has improved overall since 6 months ago. The wireless companies that led the rankings in customer service were Verizon, T-Mobile, and Alltel.

Some significant number changes include average wait times changing from 6.58 minutes to 5.5 minutes and the percent of calls that were resolved on first contact changing from 66% to 76%. Here are other trends identified by JD Power on the ZDNet post:

  • A third of contacts are about the cost of service.
  • Among customers that contact their carrier two to three times to fix an issue, 17 percent are likely to switch carriers. If a problem is solved in one contact, 10 percent are likely to switch.
  • Fifteen percent of contacts are due to calls or text messages from carriers.

Online Customer Service is Just as Important

According to this post on Econsultancy there should be a strong emphasis on meeting the needs of customers online. The results of a survey conducted by nGeneraCIM show that 91% of UK web users mentioned that customer service is crucial when purchasing online.

If customers needed help when searching through the site, 36% preferred email as a contact means, 26% said they would visit the FAQ section, and only 19% said they would call a customer service number. Many UK websites still haven’t provided adequate means of contacting customer service through the internet. They will have to do a better job, as well as utilize live chat to have an effective online customer service strategy in the future.

Deadly Customer Service Mistakes

I came across this list of customer service mistakes from SEO Hosting that many companies are still committing to this day. Take a look at them, is your company guilty of any of these mistakes? We’re interested in any other mistakes that aren’t on this list as well. Enjoy!

  1. Ignoring your customer after the sale
  2. Not living up to your promises
  3. Not truly listening to your customer
  4. Treating customer complaints as a nuisance rather than an opportunity
  5. Being difficult to reach
  6. Not taking responsibility

Read the full post here.

Join us in Phoenix this November for NACCM Customers 1st

The 2009 NACCM Customers 1st Conference will arm you with the tools and techniques you need to become the initiator at your organization and the skills you need to succeed with all of your customer initiatives. Our world-class speaking faculty is filled with industry-leading initiator’s who are ready to share their secrets to success.

Register by THIS Friday, August 7th & Save $300!

Find out more about the conference and register here: http://bit.ly/G4r9t

Using Virtual Worlds for Customer Service

I came across this interesting article in ReadWriteWeb that discusses how the enterprise has not yet quite dived head first into virtual worlds, even though it has been around since 1995. Virtual worlds are different because it recreates social interaction found in real-life in a digital space. While the benefits of using it within teams are clear (social networking, real-time collaboration, & interactive training) what are some ways that we can use virtual worlds to aid customers? Will this be something more and more companies will take a look at in the future?