The Speed of Service

By | Customer Experience, Industry | No Comments

The promise of speed surrounds us everywhere. Geico promises that 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and other mobile or wireless carriers constantly tout their 3G, 4G or lightning fast calls, downloads, and messaging (But don’t worry, HughesNet is the fastest for “anyone with a clear view of the southern sky.”)

All this advertising for speed is not unwarranted, because it is wanted by generally every consumer. Speed is not just valued, it’s expected. In my opinion, speed is usually linked to both attention and empathy. Recently, I felt my “need for speed” satisfied in an exchange with a support representative at another web-based software company, GotoMeeting. I use GotoMeeting frequently for trainings with Daxko customers, and I rely heavily on its recording capabilities. After a meeting failed to record properly, (for no apparent reason) the representative was able to help.

I told her that I was frustrated that I had been on a GotoMeeting for an hour and a half, but the recording failed! I told her (ok, griped to her) that I would now have to re-do the recording and upload it today. I am no stranger to customer support, so I asked how I could avoid doing more re-work in the future. She quickly hypothesized why my meeting did not record (she was right!), told me that my recording would be saved on a hidden location on my computer, and sent me a link with instructions on how to recover the “long-lost recording.”

Did I mention that the entire session took about 5 minutes, and we were chatting online? Our messages and responses were instantly recorded. I could save her instructions to avoid the mistake next time. And, she gave me just what I needed (and pleasantly!) so I could accomplish the pressing task at hand.

This speedy interaction made me thankful for any customer service staff person that will help a customer with an eye on the clock, not to improve call times, but to help the customer solve problems and move on. In this case, a “5 minute instant message saved me 1.5 hours of re-recording time.” It’s not quite a catchy slogan, but I think I like it better.

Accuracy Matters

By | Customer Experience, Industry | No Comments

Have you ever gone shopping, bought something fabulous just to get home and find the security tag is still on the clothes? What if it was a store hours away or bought while on a trip where you can’t make a quick run to get it removed? If you’re like me, you’ve had this happen and when you got home to put it on you found yourself frustrated. Although we realize people make mistakes, what are we doing as companies to put our best foot forward in providing an excellent customer experience?

The fact of the matter is, our accuracy in our interactions with customers plays a vital role in ensuring that our customers have a wonderful customer experience.

I recently had an experience like the scenario I mentioned, luckily when I went to exit the store the alarm sounded. The customer service representative removed my tag, but also took a note of the name of the sales person I had worked with. The company was keeping track of how many were left on in error to try to help reduce the number of times the issue happened. What I realized is that this store is taking action. They must have a plan to focus on getting things right the first time, on being accurate.

Some common ways I’ve seen that businesses help to promote accuracy are:

  • Reward staff when they do something right. Set the tone for other staff members.
  • Keep track of mistakes and offer suggestions on common issues to help increase accuracy.
  • Training- training is key, give your staff the tools to do the best they can.
  • Poll your customer- survey your customer to see how they felt about their experience. Include comment fields- these often provide the most helpful insight. Use the data to help develop action plans.

The thing about accuracy is that when our accuracy in our customer service decreases, so does the quality of experience that our customer receives. In today’s society it’s evident that accuracy plays a vital role in the overall customer satisfaction and retention. Accuracy is important, without it customers lose faith in our ability to perform.

In day to day business, how are you ensuring your accuracy? How you making sure that your company is performing at its best to ensure your customer’s satisfaction?

Deliver Your Mission Online

By | Customer Experience, Industry, Mission Delivery, Online | No Comments

Virtual Facilities are nothing new; in fact, they have been used for years by groups of people in different locations wishing to collaborate on ideas and projects. Typically these are secure online collaborative workspaces designed to enhance the exchange of information among a project team working from different locations. The term Collaboratory was coined as far back as 1989 by William Wulf while he worked for the US National Science Foundation. Wulf’s vision was a “center without walls”; a place in which the nation’s researchers could interact with colleagues, share data, and access information in digital libraries all from geographically dispersed locations.

Since then, rapid advances in computing and communications technologies, such as the internet, social media and mobile (Smart Phone) technology have made near real-time delivery of information quite common. Average people have become adept at sharing such things as music, photographs, schedules, ideas, opinions and messages all in real time over the internet; to many, this has become their preferred medium of communication with third parties. Recognizing this, many progressive organizations have recently deployed Live Chat technology on their websites, allowing the public to interact directly with sales or customer service staff without having to pick up the phone or visit a facility.

This is just one example of ways that a member-based non-profit organization like the YMCA could extend their brand and their mission beyond the physical boundaries of their bricks and mortar facility. Imagine being able to communicate with a virtual Health Coach where you could get exercise and nutritional advice right from the comfort of your own computer. Some people prefer to exercise outdoors, perhaps jogging or cycling; imagine if these weekend warriors had online tools where they could plan their workouts, set goals and objectives and track their progress—all while being held accountable to their fitness program by their personal trainer who resides inside their iPad. Other compelling virtual solutions include an online Health Assessment, Symptom Checker, Health Calculators, Recipes, Online Learning and Positive Coaching Courses. There is certainly no better way to reach out to today’s youth than through this medium. The opportunities are endless but the journey might seem more daunting than the destination.

In a recent survey I asked several of our YMCA customers if they viewed their websites as a critical tool for mission delivery and the answer was a unanimous “Yes!” The next question I asked them was whether they thought their members found their websites to be a useful source of information and the answer was a resounding “No!”—curious disconnect. It seems that although many progressive member-based nonprofit organizations understand the importance of this medium, few have the time or resources to invest in delivering the online tools that drive member engagement and positively impact the community.

The good news is that most of this technology already exists and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Live Chat again is a good example—there are literally hundreds of different options to choose from—and most of them are easy to deploy and work rather well. Online health and wellness tools are common too, as are learning solutions. The challenge is identifying the best-of-breed providers and integrating their solutions into a useful online offering. For this, finding the right development partner who is focused on mission delivery solutions could be the best answer. While not entirely painless, the dream of a complete and interactive “center without walls” for a member-based nonprofit is not that far off.

James Smith is innovative strategist for Daxko.