Tag Archives: North American Conference on Customer Service

Happy Holidays from Customers 1st!

We’re taking some time off from our coverage of customer service to celebrate the season with our loved ones. We want to sincerely thank you for your readership, your comments and your participation. We look forward to returning to the world of customer service management in 2011!

Here are our top Customers 1st posts from 2010:
New customer experience measurement system for USPS
NACCM 2010: Day 2 in Pictures
NACCM 2010: Rogers Communications’ Customer Retention & Satisfaction Approach

We wish you Happy Holidays!

Reminder: Complimentary Webinar, CCOs Reveal Their Secret Killer Customer Strategies for Long-Term Profitability

Space is filling quickly for our complimentary webinar with Curtis Bingham, who is the leading authority on CCOs, having worked with more than 70 CCOs over the last decade. Curtis shares some of the most profound strategies and tactics that these elite CCOs have used to attract, retain and grow profitable, long-term customer relationships also create a powerful competitive advantage for their organizations.

Thu, September 16, 2010
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
Register today:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/593492816
Priority code: M2300W1Blog

Lessons shared include:

  • Winning executive support for loyalty initiatives
  • Creating an unstoppable customer culture’so you aren’t the only customer advocate
  • Letting data tell you which customers to keep happy, and which ones to let go
  • Giving more to customers counter intuitively generates MORE revenue

We hope that you join us!

New York City Government Customer Serivce Line Reaches Milestone

Earlier this week, the 311 Customer Service call line for the New York City government, received its 100 millionth call.

Mayor Bloomberg set up the line in 2003 looking to: provide easier access to non-emergency services in a cost-effective manner. The 311 service consolidated more than 40 separate call centers and hotlines, encompassing 11 pages of government listings in the City phone book, into one easy-to-remember number.

To further accommodate the New York City citizens, there was also a 311 Online in January of this year to futher aid members of the community.

Source: Market Watch

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Ken Powaga, GfK Custom Research North America

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we’re going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with KenPowaga, Senior Vice President at GfK Custom Research North America. He will be presenting his keynote speech, ‘Profiting from Customer Churn’ at this year’s conference. Download the NACCM:Customers 1st Brochure to find out more about the program this year.

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Ken Powaga is the Senior Vice President at GfK Custom Research North America. He joined GfK in 1982 and established a practice to meet the special needs of business-to-business clients. Ken currently is in charge of product development for GfK’s customer loyalty practice. He has broad sales and account management experience establishing long running customer satisfaction programs for clients in the high tech, retail and financial services industries.

At NACCM Customers 1st, you’re talking about customer churn, can you elaborate on what that is and how your topic will impact our attendees businesses if applied.
Ken: We look at customer churn as the opposite of customer loyalty. When you have loyal customers, you’re continuing to sell to the same customers over and over again and building strong relationships. Churn on the other hand, you’re getting new customers that are replacing a lot of old customers who leave. Today the common belief is that customer churn is a necessary fact of life in the tough business climate that we’re in today. And it seems that most businesses treat customer churn only as a numbers game and believe that if you have more new customers coming in than are leaving, all will be fine. However, it’s not the quantity of the churn you should be concerned with, but the quality. Loss of a single good customer that’s highly profitable may not be compensated by acquiring ten marginally profitable new customers. On the opposite side, not all churn is bad churn. If you lose a lot of marginally profitable customers, and replace them with some strong, high value customers, things will be better.

What are some of the most common reasons companies lose customers?
Ken: Well, customers come and go for a variety of reasons. Some are controllable and some are not. You may gain customers by luring away them from competition who are satisfied with your competitors. But you may also lose satisfied customers who are lured away by your competitors promises. You may also lose customers from dissatisfaction and your failure to provide them what they expect. But then again, you can gain customers who are dissatisfied with your competitors performance. Another reason that customers leave is because they may not need the products or services in your category. But then again, you may gain some customers because of technology who are totally new to your product and service category.

What is the best way to measure customer churn?
Ken: With churn, you need to measure both lost and new customers. And it needs to be both objective and quantifiable measures that can be both managed and controlled profitably. The easy way to do it is not necessarily the best. And that is just simply asking some open ended questions of customers who left, and to ask them the reasons why they left. We found that this doesn’t get to the detail required to manage the churn because you receive expected, politically correct answers instead of a clear understanding of the things that cause change. So what you need to do is you need to have clear, objective measurements of customers who are coming and customers who are leaving. You need to measure their profitability and value to you. You need to measure their experiences and attitudes.

Then what you need to do is to segment both the new and lost customers into complimentary groups based on the reasons for switching, leaving or adopting your products. These segments would include lost customers who are driven away due to dissatisfaction versus new customers who are gained because competitors drove them away by not meeting their needs. It would also include lost customer lured away by competitors due to price cutting or other perceived product services or advantages. The third category would be those who churn based on industry dynamics. Either customer new to the category or those who left the category for a variety of reasons would be in this category.

After you quantify this how can companies use this info to make their business better?
Ken: They need to prioritize and fund customer retention and acquisition strategies based on the results. The first strategy is to fix any product or service problems that are driving the most valuable customers away. This will put a finger in the dyke to stop losing valuable customers. The second thing will be to develop win back strategies for valuable customers who were lured away by competition. This may include coming up with new products or figuring out what are the service aspects that customers are leaving to competitors for. Then the third thing you can do is to promote the products and services advantages to the customers who were driven away by your competition. And finally, you need to strengthen and expand programs that you have been successful in luring profitable customers away from your competitors.

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Kathleen Peterson: Part 5

I think it’s really important that we help the attendees understand that this conference covers so many areas that contributes to the human factors side, to the operations side, to the quality side, organizational side, there’s a huge opportunity for people to walk away with not only actions that they can take but also with new networking relationships that they can maintain.

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we’re going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Kathleen Peterson to talk about the event, both today and what has changed since she first chaired it back in 2003. This podcast is the final recording in the podcast, so check back next week to hear from another speaker from the Customers 1st Conference!

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What are some of the core messages you hope you can instill in attendees as the chair?

Kathleen Peterson: I think the core message of the conference, and as a chair, that’s my roll, is really to inspire. I hate to seem an evangelist about this. I really believe that if the attendee arrives at a conference such as this and is clear about their issues and what they care to learn about then they can design their own experience through the curriculum and through the networking opportunities to walk away with a specific set of action items that they can implement upon return. I think it’s really important that we help the attendees understand that this conference covers so many areas that contributes to the human factors side, to the operations side, to the quality side, organizational side, there’s a huge opportunity for people to walk away with not only actions that they can take but also with new networking relationships that they can maintain. I think a lot of folks that attend this conference are in senior positions and they can crate their own mini networks to challenge and brainstorm with one other. I think the message here is that you have to really understand what the potential for takeaways are. Think in terms of action, learn, participate and connect.

In addition to chairing the event, you’re presenting during a breakout session. What will that be about?

Kathleen Peterson: I am presenting with my colleague Deb Justice on the appropriate development of training curriculum. So not simply, I think the old approach as been ‘Ok, put your login ID in’ people take systems and service and transactions separately within a training development. We are going to be talking about performance based learning. Performance based learning says that teaching needs to reflect the experience a learner is going to have on the job. We’re going to talk about the approach that one takes to that building a model for module development. A look at how to organize content, and then delivery channels around the content. What this does is create a formula, if you will, not only for developing new hire training, but developing ongoing training for the learning population within and enterprise. We’re very excited about it.

We’d like to thank Kathleen Peterson for speaking with us and a very special thank you to our listeners. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/customerworld.

See you in November!

What Makes YOU Feel Good at Work?

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

According to my informal research people who feel good at work are more productive, like their jobs more, have better performance, are more likely to be creative, enjoy “going the extra mile,” and have more energy at the end of the day when they go home to be with their families or pursue hobbies and outside activities.

Help me with my research – every body has their own “Feel Good At Work Factor” and Amanda Levy and I are writing about it. Please help us understand more about yours.

Please go to our comments section after this blog entry and finish this sentence. “I feel good at work when…..”

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, and comment on this post, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

All Fired Up

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

Over the last year I’ve done some things that have some of my friends wondering about me. Maybe it’s that I’m getting better with age. Maybe it’s being afraid to age. Maybe it’s all these happiness coaches I hang out with and study with. One of the things we learn in happiness training is that positive psychologists have proven that the more time you spend using your strengths the happier you are. That makes sense. When you are doing something you are good at you feel good, and you usually get better at it. When you spend a lot of time doing something you are not good at you usually don’t feel as good. I can relate. So it turns out that the psychologists have found ‘ and have evidence to support this ‘ that if you identify your top strengths and spend time each week deliberately working to improve them, you will be happier over time. Certainly happier than if you identify your weaknesses and spend time each week trying to improve them. (Which is basically what I HAD been doing.) All righty then. Let’s get going. And so I went to www.viastrengths.com to identify my top strengths. (Warning: don’t go there without a food or at least a beverage ‘ the instrument they use to determine your strengths is long and a tad redundant, you’ll need at least a cup of tea or equivalent to get through it.) My first strength is creativity ‘ that was fun. I knew that, so it’s always fun to find ways to be more creative. My second strength it turns out is bravery and courage. What? Me? That was a bit of a shock. And so it was that I began challenging myself in ways I never thought I would. It all began with ziplining last year in Costa Rica. http://www.monteverdeinfo.com/canopy/tour.htm It looked something like this. Soaring some 120 feet above the ground scared the devil out of me, but in the end, I was thrilled and excited that I had done it ‘ and done it with a good attitude. I chose excitement over fear. I told everyone that would listen about my ‘SuperCheeka’ experience and reveled in the admiration. Me, a perennial scaredy cat, doing something brave and courageous – how cool was that? So I figured I’d done my brave deed and that would be that. Until I got that email from Connie and Karen. They are friends of mine from South Florida. They do workshops too. We met about five or six years ago and have a lot in common. Except that when you take one of their empowerment workshops you break things, bend things and end the evening walking on fire. I swear, I never, never had the desire to walk on fire. They’d been kind about inviting me to come and see their work, but I’d declined each time, until one day I got an email that said they were filming a corporate video and we asking friends to participate since there would be cameras starting and stopping and bright lights in the night. They invited friends that would be patient and would work with the awkward situation. It’s tough enough to do the activities in that workshop ‘ and with a cameraman in your face ‘ well! Well 53 friends showed up! From early afternoon until late in the night we broke boards, bricks and arrows. We bent rebar, walked on glass and then at the end of the night topped it all off with a little walk on fire. Everybody chose to walk (they say that never happens.) Even the cameramen walked (on walked while pointing the camera down on his feet. Everyone did the firewalk ‘ about 1250 degrees at its hottest ‘ and no one burned their feet. When you walk on fire things change. You learn that your mind is powerful. You get to see your patterns. You think differently about beliefs. There was no hypnosis involved. All choice. I’m the second one you’ll see on the video ‘ busting through the brick. And now I’m all fired up, because I have this belief that when I put my mind to something (and keep it there) that I can make it happen. By the way ‘ want a firepower seminar? Call me, I’ll fix you up. We now proudly tell our clients that board breaking and even firewalking are optional add-ons to any of our workshops. Empowered? You bet! Whooooooooooowahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! http://firepowerseminars.com

Also, check out JoAnna’s first customer service message for Customer Service Week here:
http://www.customercarecoach.com/csw2008/CSW_day1.asp

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

My Favorite Book

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

I had to call the bank the other day and ask the embarrassing question, ‘What’s my favorite book’? The woman on the other end of the line didn’t understand, she said ‘Excuse me’? ‘My favorite book, I need to know what it is’ ah, was ‘ I said. ‘Apparently the favorite book I had when I used that clue as my security question is not the same book that I think is my favorite this week.’ ‘Oh!’ she laughed. ‘I get it. The answer to your security question doesn’t match.’ ‘Right,’ I said, ‘but I really need to know what I thought my favorite book was because I tried all three I think are my favorites and none of them work, and now I’m really confused.’ ‘Oh!’ she replied, using a tone of voice that made me think she really understood why this was a problem for me. One thing I routinely find about the people in the call center of Commerce Bank is they seem to ‘get’ me. No easy task. I resisted the urge to share with her what my top three favorites were and hope that she could find a match because she told me that as much as she’d like to help me solve the dilemma, the answer was controlled electronically and was pretty much lost forever. Would I like to choose a different question? Okay. And so it was I chose a different question and said ‘Thank you for your help, I appreciate it.’ ‘Would you like me stay on the line with you until you have your security questions changed’? ‘No’ my ego said, I’m a grownup and can do this myself. But she was quick to say kindly, ‘Why don’t you just keep me on the line until you are sure you have it, and know it so the next time you need to use it it will work for you.’ Ahh, I thought ‘proactive’ okay, let her just do her job. I’m sure I can get this right. Well low and behold I forgot to put a period after an abbreviation in the answer and (just as she thought would happen) the new security question didn’t get me in. Ahh, I thought now ‘ she really knows her job, and her customers well. We had a good laugh together and after she was sure I had picked an answer I couldn’t forget or misspell she let me off the line. Now you know and I know that it is probably cheaper for the company to do it that way, because it takes less time to make sure I do it right than to initiate another call when I do it wrong again ‘ but that’s not what it felt like. It felt like someone who knew the ropes was getting me used to them, and doing it with TLC (tender loving care) and not TVC (thinly veiled contempt) which tends to be so rampant in some of the ‘helping’ professions. Bravo Commerce ‘ I hope your merger doesn’t interfere with your customer care, because so far, I like it.

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

Speaker Profile: Robert Stephens

With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to introduce you to the speakers we will have at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Robert Stephens. Robert Stephens is the Founder and Chief Inspector of The Geek Squad. Stephens started this business when he was a ‘starving college student’ at the University of Minnesota. While he was going around fixing things for people with his mountain bike and cell phone, he found when he went to help people, mainly with computers, service was lacking. So formed The Geek Squad, which is now a part of Best Buy. With respect to his views on Customer Service, Robert Stephens was quoted in this interview stating: ‘So my emphasis in service, which the biggest expense in pretty much any service business I can think of is human capital/labor. In service, the people are the brand. They are the factories that manufacturer it. I focus really on attracting and maintaining talent as a means of accomplishing that goal.’ To learn more about Robert Stephens read his book, The Geek Squad Guide to Solving Any Computer Glitch, and check out this interview from Service Untitled which delves more into specifics of his philosophy. Also, for more on Stephens watch the YouTube clip provided below:

We invite you to come see Robert Stephens at NACCM as he presents on Wednesday, November 19th, ‘Marketing is a tax you pay for being unremarkable’.

Doing More With Less

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs. I’m an ‘expert’ columnist for Customer Advantage Newsletter and ever few weeks or months they send me questions which I answer. I almost always forget to publish those Q & A’s and so today with my new eyes on potential blog posts I answered one of their questions and then before filing it away said ‘Yippee! A blog post!’ So here we go. The question: Customer demand is rising, but we can’t add more people to Service. So we have to do more with less. What’s a good way to approach this situation? The way you frame the situation is important. You must come at it believing that every one on your team is smart, creative, talented and has something to contribute. In order to bring out the brilliance in everyone in your organization, you must believe this (or ‘act as if’ you do until you realize it’s true). In holding open the possibility that people will shine they usually do. People live up (or down) to our expectations of them. If we expect and empower them to be competent, creative, innovative problem solvers who create exquisite experiences for customers, they’re more likely to do so. Once you hold this as true it’s time you give people the chance to help. In a meeting, start with the truth. ‘I know we would all like it if we had more resources, but we don’t and in the short term, won’t. We can’t do anything about that but what we CAN do is start getting really creative around here and find ways to work around the reality we’re faced with. I believe this team has the talent and ingenuity it takes to come up with solutions to even our toughest challenges. Let’s brainstorm some ideas together and get started.’ Set aside real time for brainstorming (no judgments, no idea-killer phrases, set amount of time where anything goes.) Get people limbered up with some silly challenges ’52 ways you can use a teabag’ and when they are loose and laughing introduce your real challenges. Try using analogy ‘If this were a zoo (a garden, a circus etc.) how would we look at it’? Convince yourself and your team that you have the creative potential to discover solutions for any problems and you will. A hint ‘ little rewards, like mini candy bars, stress toys and kazoos always make creative sessions more fun. Once people are in the habit of being more solutions focused you reinforce it when ever you see it. ‘Jill, I am always so amazed by the way you come up with out of the box solutions that make our customers happy. Great work.’ You might even want to have a once a month celebration for the most workable solutions. Even in the most severe of situations there’s always enough for movie tickets and popcorn rewards. My answer: The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. Companies everywhere are asking people to do more with less. The second thing you need to know is that times like this give us the opportunity to show how good we really are. I believe that most of us have the ability to do a little better every day. If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi will be a keynote speaker at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!