Tag: customer care

09 Nov 2017

Using AI to Help Customers Avoid Information Overload

Ever feel overwhelmed when you go onto a retailer’s website or mobile app? Today’s ecommerce experiences put massive amounts of information at shoppers’ fingertips — but oftentimes this influx of data can be harmful to the customer experience.

Navigating all the available information on a website can be both frustrating and create a roadblock for consumers shopping for a particular item or looking for a specific answer. Luckily, artificial intelligence technologies are helping solve this problem, empowering shoppers to cut through noise and quickly find the right information without having to comb through all the text. Here’s how AI-driven chatbots can help minimize information overload, making for seamless, intuitive customer experiences:

Getting to the root of customer needs

A big issue customers face when interacting with brands online is the feeling that their issues and needs aren’t accurately understood. With so much information now available, customers can be forced to search for answers on their own — taking extra time and effort to find relevant information that impacts their demands.

Chatbots help to mitigate this qualm. Equipped with cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, these tools have the ability to dig down into customer issues and truly understand the intent behind their queries to, in turn, provide the most relevant and accurate response and/or escalate the customer to the best resource. Ultimately, this not only ensures customers questions are accurately answered, but gives them the feeling that their issues and situations are being heard.

Pinpointing where online support falls short — and fixing it, fast

With AI, brands can monitor how their customer experience strategy is actually performing and whether they’re efficiently supporting customers. Embedded within chatbots, retailers have the back-end capabilities to pinpoint repeated semantic clusters of phrasings, and understand where their support isn’t accurate or helpful to customers. From there, they alert CX managers to these problems and prompts them to address them by adding more information.

Another key part of this equation is the ability to quickly update all of the company’s knowledge across every platform the chatbot exists on — be it social media, a mobile app or website. This multi-pronged integration ensures the company’s channels offer consistent support no matter where a shopper is looking for answers.

Personalizing the experience

Personalization is a major buzzword in today’s hyper-digital retail space. But the fact of the matter is that tailoring the customer experience is a valuable way minimize information overload for customers.

In the customer service realm, chatbots can ensure customers get information that is most relevant to their particular situation. Specifically, by allowing the chatbot to dig into a specific customer’s profile on the retailer’s website, they can understand previous interactions or purchases and ensure they are providing insight that aligns with these historical insights. Understanding an individual customer’s needs is crucial to providing a seamless and supportive digital experience.

Today’s retailers are tasked with not only having the most interactive ecommerce experiences, but they’re expected to present information in a way that is valuable for their specific customers. Leveraging AI technologies, retailers can ensure their digital properties minimize information overload and provide a top-notch shopping experience.

27 Jul 2017
End User Summit to Improve Customer Experience

Nanorep’s First Annual End User Summit was a Productive, Exciting Learning Experience for Us All

On July 6th in London Nanorep held its first ‘End User Summit’ for our customers at WeWork Paddington. The structure of the event was built to allow for our customers to create a personal connection with us as a partner and more importantly to engage with each other.

In all, Nanorep had twelve attendees across six brands. All of these brand representatives had travelled from across the UK to make it to London for the afternoon representing Digital learning, Customer Service, Operations and Customer Experience.

The event ran as an afternoon session and covered our Product Road Map, a Customer Panel Session with Simon Johnson and Matthew Rawlings from RBS Digital Learning team and finally an insight into ‘Building a Customer Service Bot’.

A Product of our Efforts

Lior Bachar- Nanorep’s Head of Product- provided a guided look at our Product plans, especially showcasing a new User Flow feature that illustrates what steps a customer takes when asking a question through Nanorep. This helps our partners understand the customer journey and where processes potentially need improvement or how a customers’ query may affect other departments. Lior then provided a more complete picture of the current marketplace, illustrating Nanorep’s true position as thought leaders ahead of the curve with better customer service through AI-enabled developments in conversational capabilities.

RBS Shared Their Wisdom – from the Sandbox to Sound Advice

RBS have been a Nanorep customer since September 2016. Amongst other deployments, they currently use Nanorep as an internal knowledge management platform, ‘MyKnowledge’, for their contact centre agents. Using Nanorep’s NLP engine has enabled these front-line agents to find answers to customer queries that much quicker. Simon Johnson and Matthew Rawlings, who manage the ‘My Knowledge’ team at RBS, were the members for the Panel Discussion.

RBS have 15,000 agents in branch and telephony plus an additional 15,000 agents across the UK and India, comprising a total of 30,000 agents. The current traffic they experience within the ‘MyKnowledge’ environment is 2.5M Pageviews per week and they receive approximately 650k to 700k questions per month. They wanted to demonstrate how their frontline colleagues who help their customers minimise the level of effort required for issue resolution.

Having access to a sandbox to use before going live, and testing and ‘playing around’ with the solution really helped them receive a good understanding of the solution and build a critical mass of content. It also helped in term of focusing on areas in bite size chunks and training. Furthermore, the Nanorep Management console’s use of labelling to find content offered a far simpler, more straightforward process, freeing up time for management to help the content team optimise the type of content they create. Nanorep has freed up time for the ‘MyKnowledge’ team to teach the agents to become more conversational and changing the users behaviour, they anticipate this being a long term process.

Nanorep ‘contact forms’ are starting to be assigned and used by product teams and marketing which previously acted in silos, they now work in a more agile fashion. The Voices dashboard within Nanorep allows RBS to now evidence and confirm customer feedback. Increased efficiencies are allowing them to focus on other areas of customer experience. They envision contribution from other departments such as legal and finance becoming content contributors to the articles being created within Nanorep in the future. The user-friendly nature of the Nanorep platform was a massive plus point as well, and they emphasized a 6-week implementation process as compared to a 9 month one with their previous internal system.

Going around the Table Instead of Going Around in Circles

Following the stimulating sessions about the future of the product and the ways in which current deployments can help with improvements today, the group then split up for round-table sessions. The participants were arranged in groups of 3 and 4 for a half an hour round table session to help stimulate thoughts on KPIs, strategy, interdepartmental knowledge sharing, best practices, and future product requests. It was a great, hands-on opportunity for customers from different areas of the country to reflect on their systems and learn from each other, getting fresh perspectives and points of view for practical upgrades on their own use.

Building Better Practices by Also Building a Community

The evening ended with a beer and an opportunity for participants to share contact details and connect on an ongoing basis. While our relationships with our customers are always important to us, this event was for us an exciting opportunity to reconnect with a group of them together and witness the interactions they were able to have with each other. As proponents of cultivating the best customer experience for end-users, we abide by the customer-first mind-set and a customer-centric policy, and this event was a wonderful opportunity to put our philosophy into practice. This year’s first-ever end user meetup was by all measurements a success, and while it was an inaugural event, it has proven to be a worthy one that we hope to continue to facilitate and expand as we scale and grow.

Questions about the event? Contact me!

24 Nov 2016
Thanksgiving Is Here And It’s Time To Give Back: The Importance Of Customer Satisfaction And Retention

Thanksgiving is here and it’s time to give back: the importance of customer satisfaction and retention

Our ancestors knew it, and they turned it into the proverb we’ve all heard a million times: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Intuitively, we all know that’s true, and chances are any one of us can point to numerous examples from our daily lives when we have acted upon the maxim. So why does that pearl of ancient wisdom fly out the window as soon as most companies sit down to draw up their marketing budgets?

Nine times out of ten, to put it very conservatively, the focus is on consumer acquisition at the expense of customer retention. That’s understandable on some levels, both because businesses obviously do need to attract new customers, and because acquisition offers an immediate and readily quantified ROI on marketing expenditures.

But how much is a bird in the hand worth?

The evidence is piling up to show that what our ancestors knew about life applies to marketing as well. If anything, the old proverb understates the importance of customer retention – it costs up to five times as much to acquire a new consumer as it does to keep and nurture an existing one, according to research from Kapow. And that’s not all. Just a five percent increase in consumer retention can increase profits by as much as 125 percent, the studies show, and a two percent increase has the same impact on the bottom line as cutting costs by ten percent. On the flip side, the impact of customer churn due to poor service can be devastating, with 68 percent of departing customers saying they were driven away from a brand by indifference and impersonal service.

In a similar vein, as an article in Forbes reported, 80 percent of a company’s future revenue will come from 20 percent of its existing customers. Yet online retailers are still pouring 80 percent of their marketing dollars into acquiring new customers.

In the face of numbers like those, it’s hard to overemphasize the importance of customer satisfaction and retention.

Putting the focus on customer retention

It’s no mystery that customer satisfaction and retention are the direct result of a committed and consistent focus on putting the customer first. It’s only human for any of us to expect to be treated as a valued individual any time we enter into a business transaction, and it’s the brands that do that consistently that keep us coming back. In fact, yet another study shows that 81 percent of customers will pay more for such personalized service. What’s more elusive is knowing how to turn that knowledge into customer-centric practices that reflect and honor the importance of customer satisfaction and retention in day-to-day operations.

The good news is that today’s state-of-the-art tech tools can provide the data and analytics to give businesses an unprecedented understanding of what the customer wants, expects, and demands from a brand, information that lays the foundation for exceptional customer service and exceptional customer retention.

To put the value of customer retention in further perspective, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs pegs the Customer Lifetime Value of a loyal customer at ten times the value of their initial purchase. When you balance that against the expense of trying to reel in a new customer, it’s easy to see that customer retention is the key to building a stable business for the long-run.

Knowing what they want is the key to customer satisfaction and retention

Most of all, customers want to know, however many layers of technology are involved in a transaction, that they’re making a human connection. They want to be treated with courtesy and respect, and in today’s marketplace in which their options to go elsewhere are virtually unlimited, they are not likely to settle for anything less. They want consistent and reliable efficiency, accuracy, and responsiveness at every touchpoint of their customer journey.

It’s a tall order for businesses to deliver on those human values in the tech-based online marketplace. But (inescapably, if ironically) it is technology that can humanize the relationship between company and customer and build the loyalty that increases customer retention.

With the right tools, it’s possible to map the customer journey, glean important information along the way, and gain the insights necessary to optimize and personalize customer service. Armed with that knowledge, businesses can not only identify and prioritize loyal customers, but also anticipate their next steps and reach out to them with a relevant and timely email, for example. Similarly, they can detect the early warning signs of an established customer growing dissatisfied, and take steps to address their concerns.

This type of personalized attention pays dividends in two ways, both by enhancing the lifetime value of the customer retained and by potentially turning them into a brand advocate, a priceless resource for your company. As Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” We know we are doing our job when we are not the only ones working to spread the worth of our brand, but it is these loyal customers that are giving thanks alongside us.

15 Sep 2016
sixt essential metrics measuring customer experience

These Metrics will Eliminate the Guesswork from Measuring Customer Experience

Here’s a safe bet. If you were to wager a few years back that in 2016 a vast majority of companies would identify improving customer experience as one of their highest priorities, your money couldn’t be much safer. In fact, Forrester’s CX Index places the figure at 73 percent. Overwhelmingly, organizations recognize that in today’s customer-centric commercial world, excellence in customer experience and success in business are inextricably intertwined.

It’s just not always easy to know when CX hits the mark. As with any qualitative concept, assessments of customer experience have traditionally been grounded in educated but subjective judgments that leave a lot of room for missteps or erroneous assumptions. But marketers have always known there had to be a better, more reliable way to guide CX improvements – one based in objective customer experience metrics, rather than guesswork.

Turning the art of customer experience measurement into a science

Improving CX no longer has to be about trial and error. With the emergence of cutting-edge customer experience measurement solutions, it’s now possible to view the customer experience in microscopic detail and quantify any number of variables, in real time – visualized through a customizable dashboard. For marketers, that affords a never-before attainable level of actionable data that provide hard data about what is working, as well as insights for optimization.

Different companies will look to different customer experience metrics to address their own CX challenges and goals, and the most successful of them are thinking creatively about what metrics can reveal key information about the customer journey. Some of the metrics that are proving valuable in accurately measuring customer experience include both ones that might come readily to mind and some surprises:

  1. Churn rate isn’t only about the other guy

    If you tend to think of churn rate as a metric that only applies to subscription-model businesses, it may come as a surprise that more and more transaction-based businesses now look on it as a customer experience metric that can tell them a lot about how they’re doing reaching their CX targets. What percentage of customers make a single purchase, but don’t return within an expected time frame? Given the imperative of remaining focused on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) in any business, the churn rate can be a critical indicator of retention and loyalty, and may be a tip-off that customers aren’t having the quality experience they require.

  2. There’s no measuring customer experience without measuring response time metric

    It may be a more predictable metric to track, but that’s likely because there is no better way to alienate customers than by leaving them hanging, listening to unwelcome music or waiting for an email answer to a query or for a chat line to come to life. That’s not news to any marketer, but turning that knowledge into visible hard data can still be an eye-opener, and a clear call to action if response times are beyond reasonable. Client Heartbeat pegged target time as less than three minutes for the telephone, less than 60 minutes for an email response, and only one minute tops for chat.

  3. Did the customer get the experience he came for?

    What did the customer intend to do and did he follow through to a satisfactory conclusion? Or did he give up in frustration and never complete the desired task? Collecting the answers to those questions by tracking the Customer Effort Score (CES) will reveal a great deal about both the overall customer experience and the specific sticking points on the customer journey. When the goal is to provide a seamless experience, customer feedback on these points can be a crucial indicator of how well that’s happening, including the good and the bad.

  4. How long does it take to solve a customer’s problem?

    Of all the customer experience metrics a marketer can track, the time it takes to resolve a customer’s problem is among the most critical–and not only for the obvious reasons. Certainly, everyone recognizes that it’s essential to respect the customer’s time and resolve problems as quickly as possible, on the first contact. But how important? According to Buffer, companies that solve their customers’ problems quickly and accurately have higher customer satisfaction ratings than those rare companies that don’t seem to generate complaints.

  5. Speaking of satisfaction, get real-time data in real time

    Tracking customer satisfaction (CSAT) with proactive emails after each transaction has become standard practice for many companies, but the ability to quantify and assess responses in real time provides marketers with invaluable data for improving and optimizing the customer experience. The information gleaned can identify weak spots in the customer journey and allow for rapid corrections.

  6. Customer experience measurement goes to the bottom line

    When all is said and done, the point of tracking and measuring customer experience is to optimize CX in order to build brand loyalty and ensure long-term business success. The key to that is found in the conversion rate, of course, and the ability to not only track revenue KPIs but to also tie them to the metrics of the customer journey gives marketers the hard data that has traditionally eluded them.

Ultimately, marketers will determine for themselves the specific metrics they need to best understand the customer experience, and they will need to be creative to zero in on the innovative metrics that can best serve them and their brand.

But what will remain constant across all the brands and all the marketers is the increasingly compelling fact that no customer journey can really be viewed as complete until it has been measured at every touchpoint along the way and then optimized to ensure that the lessons are learned and the appropriate improvements are put in place.

18 Aug 2016
The choice is up to you! The guide to exceeding customer expectations of service

The choice is up to you! The guide to exceeding customer expectations of service

Choices. In today’s world one thing we have in spades are choices.

We have literally hundreds of kinds of breakfast cereals, laundry detergents and even vegan burgers to choose from every time we walk into our local Publix, Wegmans or any other supermarket. We have boundless choices of telecom providers and service plans, and endless options for devices, some with these bells and others with those whistles. With enough choices in our daily lives to make our heads spin, it would be wise to remember that your customers also have a choice – they can choose your brand or any one of your many competitors.

While you chew on that, we’ll remind you that you, as a marketer, also have a choice – you can choose to do all you can to retain your hard-earned customers or to lose them in the vast sea of options. You can choose to fail to meet their expectations, to simply meet their expectations or to exceed their expectations. One path leads to loss of customers and a lack of trust, one leads to customers who although relatively satisfied, could be swayed by other options out there, and one path leads to creating customer experiences that build solid relationships.

Brands are constantly making these choices, day in and day out, whether or not they realize it. In this post we will take a look at five scenarios in which brands made a choice. Some made the choice to let their customers down, failing to meet their expectations. Others saw an opportunity to delight and truly exceed their customer’s expectations. And all provide amazing insights into what it takes to make or break customer relationships.

Zappos – unwavering empathy

First we’ll look at one company known around the world for creating incredible customer experiences – Zappos. A woman named Zaz wanted to return a pair of shoes and emailed customer support to ask about the procedure. Then, unfortunately her mother died and her plans to return the shoes fell by the wayside.

Choices are being made with every encounter, at each touch point. Let’s imagine this same story happening in which the company makes one of three choices – one in which they fail to meet her expectations, the next in which they meet her expectations and the last in which they far exceed her expectations.

After regaining the head space to deal with the return, she emails customer service.

How Zappos could have missed meeting expectations

When it comes to a complicated situation, the agent dealing with the email might not care two hoots about the customer and her problems. Agents may come across as callous and unsupportive, giving the message “we really don’t care about your problem, we’re in this for your money”

How Zappos could have met expectations

A response that acknowledges the customer’s pain should always be a baseline goal. This can be tough using email but agents have to do all they can to show compassion and let each customer know they have been heard.

How Zappos exceeded customer’s expectations

Back in real life, not only did Zappos listen to Zaz’s plight with empathy, they displayed it. The agent told Zaz not to worry, Zappos would take care of the problem. She then set up a UPS delivery to come pick up and package the shoes from Zaz’s home so she wouldn’t have to deal with anything. Soon after they sent her a beautiful flower arrangement to show their sympathy.

This story has gone beyond viral – it’s one of the Zappo’s legends that people tell over and over despite the fact that it took place years ago. This is the power choosing to exceed expectations.

Let’s see some other examples in action:

Comcast misses the mark – entirely

Some telecom companies sure do know how to make their mark, and that’s not always a good thing.

A few years ago a man named Ryan wanted to cancel his Comcast subscription. In a cancelation story such as this, one can imagine that the overall experience with the brand might not have been a winner to begin with. But again, with every encounter there is a choice to create an amazing experience or a terrible one and even when a customer decides to end a relationship, it can be handled with grace and empathy.

Let’s see how this story worked out:

How Comcast missed meeting expectations

Ryan was told that before he would be allowed out of his subscription, he needed to provide a solid reason for canceling. The rep continued to badger him for 20 minutes until a supervisor got involved. He wrote about the incident on social media where it went viral. The incident set off a flurry of bad press for ComCast and many many more stories began to emerge regarding their terrible customer service.

How they could have met expectations

Simply meeting expectations in such a situation is pretty easy – Listen to the customer and give them what they want. By simply giving the customer what they want, even if it means losing their business, brands retain their professional and courteous edge.

How they could have exceeded his expectations of service

Savvy brands know how to make the best out of bad situations. There will be times when a customer decides to go in a different direction or needs to cancel for whatever reason. This is the perfect opportunity to show departing customers that your dedication to them goes beyond simply making a buck. Start with empathy, and do what they request without persisting, or badgering. Kindly ask them what your brand can do better for your customers. Then do something above and beyond for them. Send them a gift certificate to Starbucks or send an email telling them sincerely that you’ll work on the areas that caused the customer to jump ship. Sure they might leave now, but if they know you’re sincere, they may very well be back soon.

Dazed and confused – Amazon encounter leaves customer annoyed

A man named Chris noticed an odd email address associated with his Amazon.com account and he feared someone was trying to hack it or use it for otherwise nefarious purposes. He contacted their live chat rep to have them look into it.

How Amazon missed customer’s expectations

Normally, Amazon scores high when it comes to customer service, but not this time. The chat rep, Farah, clearly wasn’t fully engaged in her correspondence with Chris. She repeatedly asked for his user name and insisted on calling him “ma’am”. She told him she would happily reset his password even though that was not what he requested at all and her writing was riddled with mistakes. Although he tried many times to explain his problem, she just wasn’t paying any attention. Eventually, Chris gave up.

How they could have met expectations

Encounters with agents should be straightforward and simple. In good in situation of customer service queries should be met with professional, neat and clear writing, by reps who are paying attention to the story as it unfolds.

How they could have exceeded service expectations

Although written correspondence with customers might seem less personal, there are opportunities here as well to delight and deliver beyond expectations. Start by meeting their expectations as outlined above with professional and clear communication, and once the issue has been resolved, take the time to follow up with your customers a few days later, making sure their issues are truly resolved. This goes a long way to let customers know you really do care.

Lots of love for Lego customer service

James who is 11 years old and has Asperger’s syndrome, saved up money for a certain Lego train set. After working so hard to save up, to his great disappointment, he found that the set had been discontinued when he went to buy it.  He emailed Lego to voice his disappointment.

How Lego could have missed meeting expectations

Had Lego ignored the poor boy’s letter or sent back a brusque response, they would have been guilty of a major customer service fail. Luckily that wasn’t the case…

How Lego met expectations

Initially, Lego HQ sent James a kind letter empathizing with his situation. But they didn’t stop there…

How Lego exceeded expectations

A few weeks later, just days before his birthday, James got a huge package in the mail from Lego HQ. Inside was the discontinued set. Thankfully, his overjoyed reaction was captured on camera and went viral and the people up at Lego HQ got the chance to see how much their customer service kind gesture meant to James.

Compassion & comfortable shoes

To come full circle, this last example from Zappos goes to show that a legacy of exemplary service is built upon a foundation of continuously choosing to exceed customer expectations.

A woman ordered six pairs of shoes for her mother, suffering from diabetes, from the shoe retail giant. After receiving the shoes, it turned out that her mother was only able to wear two of the six pairs as almost all shoes cause her great pain. She called customer service to arrange the return.

How Zappos could have missed customer’s expectations

Well, since this is Zappos, we know they didn’t fail but let’s just pretend for a moment… When inquiring about returns or anything for that matter, agents sometimes choose to be distant and unhelpful. This might be an agent-related issue but often it’s part of a larger issue and goes much deeper than just that one agent. Customers know which brands really care about their needs and wants, and who is just in it to make a buck.

How Zappos could have met expectations

The rep could have just processed the return, fast and courteous. Professional interactions are a critical element for meeting expectations but they are also the basis for amazing interactions so it’s really crucial to ace this part. But knowing that the brand was Zappos, it didn’t end there…

How Zappos exceeded expectations

Not only was the rep professional and courteous, she told the woman that her father too suffered from similar issues and she should relate. She displayed total compassion and left the older woman beaming from ear to ear upon ending the call. Nice, right? But it goes beyond that. After the conversation, the rep sent the woman a huge bouquet of lilies and roses to let her know she cared and was thinking about her. Then the woman and her daughter got an email from Zappos stating that they had been enrolled in their special VIP program – just because. These are the kinds of expressions that come from the heart customers know it’s real and will be coming back for more.

As you see, becoming a brand whose goal is to exceed expectations isn’t one that’s unattainable or too hard to implement. It just takes a real commitment to making the right choices over and over. And on the other side of the coin, becoming a brand known for disappointing their customers is just as easy, all it takes is making the wrong choice repeatedly.

So now it’s up to you: What kind of brand do you intend to build? One that fails to meet expectations and let’s your customers know you don’t really care, one that simply meets them, which might not be enough to make them stick around, or one that exceeds customer expectations at every turn?

The choice is up to you.

04 Aug 2016
Enhance Your In-Store Retail Experience by Bridging Off Line and On-Line

Enhance Your In-Store Retail Experience by Bridging Off Line and On-Line

You know that iconic image, the one of the triumphant female shopper, bouncing down the city street with her hands clutching her purchases, in brightly colored, luxurious paper shopping bags? Surely, with all those packages in hand she clearly had the shopping trip we all dream about. But today, with the proliferation of e-commerce and especially since mobile apps have taken over, leaving one’s house to shop is almost becoming a quaint memory, a thing of the past like cameras that aren’t part of a mobile device and fax machines. The hard truth is that if there exists a digital option that makes any given action easier and more intuitive, people will stick with that option and leave their old ways behind.

But fear not, if you’re a brick and mortar store owner in 2016, there are lots of engaging ways to bridge the gap between online and instore experiences that will keep customers coming through your door and to your website . Let’s take a look at some innovative ways different brands are bridging technology and the classic in-store experience to keep your brand relevant and your customers connected.

In Store Mobile Apps Enhance the customer Retail Experience

With the fact that two thirds of shoppers are coming in to your store armed with their mobile devices, it goes without saying that mobile is the most important way to reach your shoppers today. Most future-conscious brands already have websites and an app running alongside their brick and mortar operations, but some brands use their apps to drive shoppers to stores as well.

Innovative brands like Target are working to create specific in-store apps, ones that enhance the IRL shopping experience from the shopper’s mobile device. Their in store app, Cartwheelhelps shoppers start their shopping at the comfort of their couch and later on snag in-store-only deals. By selecting in-app deals beforehand, users scan items in store and watch the savings roll in at checkout. Push notifications help keep users in the know about deals they might be interested in and since Cartwheel users have to sign up for the app though their Facebook accounts, all deals snagged are posted to the user’s Facebook page, in a unique social twist.

In-Store Touch screens not Only for High End Retail

Fashion retailer Rebecca Minkoff has given glam shopping a cutting edge makeover. A visit to anyone of her four luxury shops in the US is a tour de force of the confluence of haute couture and digitization. One specific aspect of their plan to keep shoppers engaged in the in-store experience is the strategic placement of touch-screens throughout the stores. Walls are not merely walls, but rather gigantic touch screens that allow the user to scroll through items and then request their chosen items to be sent to fitting rooms across the store. The mirror also makes suggestions about what items to pair with the ones already in the fitting room and can remember what sizes and colors customers prefer.

Calling themselves “The Store of the Future”, Minkoff’s vision is what they call “retail 3.0” – One that’s reinventing both the online and in store shopping experience. They want to take the best aspects of e-commerce and leverage those experiences
in-store to tackle in-store shopper’s most pressing pain points by way of technology.

QR Codes are Not a Thing of the Past

Think about it – why do shoppers prefer to shop from the comfort of their home to going to stores? We all know that part of the reason is that shopping in stores means wading through piles of stuff we don’t want until we find what we do want. To solve this issue Hointer Jeans, a specialty denim shop in Seattle (that eventually developed into a successful e-commerce software platform based on the success of their implementation of innovative digital tools) started adding QR codes to their jeans to make them scannable.

Customers, after downloading the stores app who loathe the idea of hunting for the perfect item find the pair they like, simply walk though the store and scan the QR code of items they like and add in size information, to find it all delivered to their fitting room. Via the app they can request different items to be brought to their firing rooms once they are inside and can pay for the jeans they want right from the or mobile, streamlining the entire experience.

Using QR codes also allows users to scan codes for more information and to find the best prices on similar items. Use QR codes to unlock coupons and deals on products as well.

In-store Mobile Beacons Lets Your Customers Know What on Right Now

Also called Proximity Technology, mobile beacons are the hottest way to say “you are here” at the moment. By way of stickers attached to items that emit BLE, or Bluetooth low energy signals, they send out messages to customers who have downloaded a store’s app to let them know about trending discount and specials when they are close by. Nationwide makeup shop Sephora, aiming at the millennial crowd is using beacons to let their shoppers who have opted to get notifications know about deals on products they are currently looking at or are nearby in their stores.

Click&Collect – Controlled Convenience

We all love to shop from our proverbial couches, but we hate the wait – you know the two to seven day lag between placing an order and delivery. Click and collect, already a big concept in the UK and Australia, allows shoppers to place their orders and then pick up their items from the closest store, all packaged and ready to go. Picking up their own items on their own terms frees customers from that annoying lag time and saves on delivery costs.

Click and collect is a great way to draw customers back into stores after online purchase and a great opportunity to cross sell related items. Retailers like IKEA, Kmart and the UK’s Tesco all use click and collect to provide an innovative blend of the convenience of online shopping and the IRL experience.

Burberry, Taking In-store Retail Experience to New Levels

Then there is Burberry’s.

One of Britain’s biggest retailers, once primarily known for its staid signature brown and red plaid check box pattern, Burberry’s has reinvented itself as the ultimate in combining the IRL and digital experience. A peek into their flagship store in London is like peering into a futuristic catwalk with the notable inclusion of clothing racks and customer associates. Alive with pulsing music, floor to ceiling digital walls that display anything from clothing, to models wearing that clothing to virtual rain streaming down them, and mirrors that relay product information and show other items that match the ones you’ve got in your hands, the store is a digital Mecca, a real life and virtual experience bursting with ways to engage and enthrall customers from the moment they step inside.

From those digital walls and mirrors to the associates armed with iPads for instant information to integration with their social media platforms and campaigns, Burberrys intention is clearly to fuse the in-store and digital experience. And they have it down to a perfectly artful science. Looking for a top to match that tailored jacket? Just touch the mirror, it will give you back ideas for matching items and have them sent to your fitting room. RFID tags on items means that everything is searchable and can even activate those mirrored walls to display those same items in other colors and styles. It’s fully immersive, spanning most senses including sound, touch, sight and smell, all to create an incredibly rich and integrated experience, one that could never be matched online or in app.

Once thought to be on its way down, Burberrys has proven that by embracing digital, any brand can make itself relevant and engage their customers. According to CEO Angela Ahrendt “I grew up in a physical world; and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world; and they speak social.”

What can you do to keep customers coming in your doors?

Digital is transforming the way people shop, online and off. In today’s digitally inclined world, it’s no longer a question of whether or not to bridge the online and instore experience. Brand who want to remain relevant know that they must incorporate digital to keep their customers coming back.

23 Jun 2016
7 Things You Need for a Successful Customer-Centric Strategy

7 Things You Need for a Successful Customer-Centric Strategy

It’s easy to talk about customer-centricity, but in today’s transparency obsessed marketplace, it’s going to take a lot more than that to convince your customers that you are in it for them. Your customers today are savvy and connected – and they know the difference between genuine commitment and hopping on a bandwagon.

In 2016 in order to convince your customers that they are your very first priority, you have to actually make them your first priority. To help your brand navigate the waters of building and maintaining the right approach with your customers, here are seven tips to get you pointed in the right direction and develop a strategy that puts your customers front and center.


Building Your Customer Centric Strategy

  1. Establish a true dedication and conviction to become a customer-centered brand

    Don’t assume your brand can change overnight. As much as you already know that the key to creating loyal customers who come back for more is letting them know that they are your focus, you have an uphill battle ahead to undo all your past strategies and methodologies.

    This is why you need to establish a true commitment to becoming a customer-centric brand from the get-go. So many brands jump on the customer-first bandwagon only to fall right off because of lack of dedication. So now at the very beginning, solidify your company-wide commitment to becoming a customer-first brand.

  2. Get your employees engaged and excited about implementing a customer-centric model

    “You only design the Customer Experience; your team delivers it” – Colin Shaw, Beyond Philosophy

    Your team of front-facing and internal employees can either be your biggest asset when it comes to your new approach or they can run it into the ground. But just how do you get your employees on board with this new model for the organization?

    By giving your employees the proper tools and training and through lots of communication.

    Be sure to give them the proper access to your current knowledge base so they have the right answers on hand at all times. Make it easy for them to follow each customer’s journey with the help of the knowledge base as well. Provide training on how to deal with all sorts of customers, from the delighted ones to the ones mid-freak out and make sure they can access assistance from higher ups as soon as they need it.

    Communication is essential at this stage as well. Explain why a customer-centered model is beneficial to the whole organization, and let them know that their input is valued (and really value their input!). Encourage them to become active partners and to put their own “stamp” on their interactions with customer, while never veering from your newly set strategy.

  3. Set your sights on excellence

    Now get ready to set some goals. We aren’t looking at KPIs and revenue markers here, but rather goals pertaining to personal and departmental excellence that will help keep your customer centric strategy on path.

    Having a strong goal of excellence provides direction for the future and lets you know how far you have come. Through that ever-important skill of communicating with your teams, figure out what your collective “best” is, and then set your barometer one notch higher.

  4. Use technology to understand who your customers are and what they really want from you.

    Today, we engage in a constant stream of conversation with customers, from well before they purchase to well beyond. And whether it’s through your website, your mobile platform or your social media pages, all of these touchpoints can actually be incredible sources of information if you know how to cull the data therein. Overlooking all that data would be a huge waste but aligning all the data from your fragmented platforms is really quite a nightmare without the proper resources.

    Harnessing the information from your digital touch points into one main knowledge base can provide huge insights into just who your customers are and what they want from you. Use it to track trends on an individual level and segment your customers into groups, for further information on where they are in your brand’s buying cycle and their habits and preferences, even before they know it.

  5. Listen to the voice of your customer

    Now that you are (hopefully!) gathering meaningful customer insights, it’s time to extrapolate the meaning and actualize the messages. According to Digitalistmag.com, lots of companies collect insight via digital knowledge bases and then essentially ditch that data in favor of setting up easy to implement promotions and giveaways. This runs completely contradictory to what the data they collect says but they do it anyway because they assume it’s correct.

    As long as you’ve got meaningful data, read it, understand it, look for patterns, get to know your customers in a meaningful way and delight them using insights from that data.

  6. Your customer centric strategy should empower your customers by providing an avenue for feedback

    Listening to what your data is telling you is one part of the equation. The other part simply involves just asking your customers what they feel.

    How do you do that?

    By giving them ways to provide feedback. This could be accomplished by short, polite surveys or by simply asking at the bottom of a page “Was this information helpful?” or though on -page product ratings and reviews.

    We all know that Amazon excels at creating and executing their customer strategy. They combine analytics with surveys and non-intrusive questions like “was this answer helpful” to create an experience that tells the customer that they are the “prime” priority. Regarding Amazon’s incredible success with implementing a customer-centric strategy, myfeedback.com notes “Feedback is placed directly on the product’s page and users are provided with multiples ways to parse the information to their liking.”

  7. Be accessible, be accountable

    Perhaps the most critical aspect of taking on a customer-centric strategy is being there, in the moment, with full attention, ready to drop everything and take responsibility. So be there and be ready to take responsibility for whatever may come, the good the bad and the ugly. At the end of the day, if your brand is really committed to developing and sticking to this strategy, chances are, you’ll be hearing a lot more of the good anyway.

Your customers deserve an experience that puts them front and center, and if they don’t get it from you, they’ll head elsewhere. Before they jump ship, change your course and give them what they want. The time to realign and start designing your customer centric strategy is now.

22 Jan 2015
How to Win Travelers’ Next Mobile Moment

How to Win Travelers’ Next Mobile Moment

It’s commonplace today: Your customers shop and require customer service when and where they want and often in situations that require immediate attention to their needs. Take Olivia, a 32-year old web designer who finally puts her feet up after another long and stressful day. It’s 11 p.m. and Olivia grabs her tablet from the nightstand to browse through her Facebook newsfeed.   Her sister’s update startles her. Can’t wait to see Olivia this weekend for Uncle Steve’s 6oth birthday party.

“Wait,” she thinks. “I need to prepare for my trip.”

Olivia opens ThomasCook.com where she originally booked her flight. She clicks on “Manage Booking” and the screen asks for her “Booking Reference.”

Oh no!  I don’t know if I have it.

She clicks on “Help” and sees a search box “powered by nanorep.”   Olivia types in “i dont know my booking number” without caps or punctuation.  An answer appears as she types.

Thomas Cook Self Service nanorep

Perfect, she thinks. Now I know where to look.

Olivia locates her email confirmation, finds the booking reference, logs in and a few clicks later discovers that her flight from JFK to Manchester leaves at 10:00 p.m. the next evening and arrives at 9:55 a.m.  Great, I’ll have time to pack in the morning.

Remove Customer Effort

According to the J.D. Power 2014 Online Travel Agency Satisfaction Report, price may be an important factor driving customer satisfaction with online travel agencies but the highest-performing agencies excel by providing a superior website/online store experience. “If the site does not function well or provide the kind of information customers expect, they will either move on to a competitor’s website or phone the agency’s call center, costing the agency time and money.”

Olivia wants rapid, helpful answers to a variety of questions about her trip.  Will there be a meal on the flight?  How early do I need to get there?   She may not remember a login password or other personal information. Thomas Cook has an opportunity to provide easy, relevant answers that don’t require much effort.

Olivia returns to the search window and types in a question:  “is there a meal.” The auto-complete function pops in Do I receive an in-flight meal? and gives her a detailed answer with prices, meal times and the menu.

Her next question:

“how early does it get to airport.”

Olivia looks down and realizes she typed in something close to gibberish.  Nonetheless, an answer pops up:

Thomas Cook Self Service nanorep 2

It knew what I really meant to say, she thinks.

Answer Their Questions the First Time

Crafting a great customer experience includes the ability to answer customer questions the first time they ask. Recognize familiar language such as, “How does it work?” whenever, wherever and on whatever device they use.  Answering questions instantly keeps customers on the site, engenders their loyalty and delivers delight.

“Problem resolution has a substantial impact on customer satisfaction,” J.D. Power notes.  “When problems can be resolved quickly via website, satisfaction can be salvaged,” improving scores by more than 23%.

Focus on the Important Moment

In the time it takes to read this paragraph, ThomasCook kept a customer satisfied and it did so by focusing on a subtle yet important moment in the online experience:  Answering crucial customer questions instantly.  Olivia had no need to read the FAQ, send an email or call a representative (which is also the most costly and time-consuming method).

Since it deployed its search powered by nanorep, ThomasCook has seen impressive results including,

  • A 20 percent drop in contact center volume
  • A 10 percent reduction in agent interaction time
  • Meaningful lift in engagement, conversion and customer satisfaction

Do you lack the ability to answer customer questions instantly? If so, consider 5 to 10 scenarios for their behavior on your site. What questions will they have and how will they prefer to receive answers? What’s at stake for your customers and how can you help them resolve their needs? For Olivia, she not only got the information she needed, she got the peace of mind that allowed her to have a good night’s sleep and a relaxing flight to see her sister.  And that helps build repeat business.

12 Jan 2015
5 Customer Care Cautionary Tales

5 Customer Care Cautionary Tales

Everyone has a horror story or two about customer service experiences we wish we could forget. Plenty of times you probably indulge family and friends in an occasional “kvetch” session about a crummy customer service interaction that left your loved ones somewhere between frustrated and enraged. Here are five horror stories we found shared by users on Gizmodo and across the web. 

Infuriating Agent Collision

So here’s the low down. RicemanFTW a Gizmodo reader, shared his horror story about hearing conflicting responses from American Express agents about how to remedy a mistaken slip of the finger on his iPhone that added a few zeros to the end of the intended payment amount.

After a few calls back, and a lot of frustration, he finally found the resolution he was seeking. But hearing differing company policies from different agents put this customer over the edge.

“Either way…it’s a shame that a company’s reputation can be made or broken with a single person. ”  – RicemanFTW

Easy Win: An automated self-service response could’ve ensured that RicemanFTW received the right information immediately. It would also assist agents with an easily accessible knowledgebase about how this particular issue should be handled if it needs to escalate to chat or phone.

Just Make It Easy, Not VIP

Switching from DSL to state of the art fiber-optic technology should be a breeze for such an upstanding company as AT&T. However, one customer found himself in the middle of a bureaucratic game of ring-around-the-rosie as technician after technician tried to deflect the installation issues to someone else. This ultimately left the consumer without phone, TV or internet service.  Ouch!

After two weeks of phone calls all the way up to level 3 tech support, AT&T decided to take their customer service game to a whole other level by getting one of their Vice Presidents involved.

“We got his personal phone numbers and he managed to put all the people together to finally get the damn thing working within 2 more days. We never had to call or talk to anyone but him. He came to the house himself to supervise his techs.” – GregoryJay

This is really a homerun for AT&T, for showing that they truly care about their customers. However, it wasn’t enough for the customer’s wife, who to this day hates AT&T with a passion. So unfortunately, it’s still a loss.

Easy Win: Spending two weeks on the phone with tech support having to re-tell your story over and over again is beyond exhausting. If AT&T used an automated customer service platform which kept chat/query scripts, their representatives could immediately ascertain the context of the call and the history of the customer from each point of contact. This kind of customer service automation can make a troubling situation a bit more bearable.

Hold Please, Let Me Transfer You…to Nowhere

We’ve all been there, just like chimera388 when he was dealing with the home security system ADT. After having forgotten to follow up on an important part of installing this uber safe home security system, chimera388 reached out to ADT via Live Chat, hoping to reschedule this installation.

After having great experiences with Live Chat with other companies, chimera388 was sure it’d be a breeze. So wrong. Live Chat immediately suggested he call an agent on the phone. This agent takes his personal info but can’t view his order. Department transfer. Another department transfer. Finally, an endlessly ringing phone, no answer, no voicemail, no resolution. But now chimera388 is worse off:

“I’m back to square one, except 4 more people now know enough about me to open a credit card. Great.”

Easy Win: ADT needed a personalized escalation path for chimera388. Live Chat is often the best resource to decrease escalation, but when it’s necessary your customers need a friction-less path to resolution. Agent re-directing is very tiresome, especially when it happens more than once.

Not Honoring Your Own Terms

Although it’s expected that when purchasing a newly released device, there may be long lines, in store backorders and late deliveries…companies must align customers’ expectations with reality.
One customer who purchased a Nexus 4 from T-Mobile was charged for a phone that was to be delivered instore within 3 days, his order was cancelled without an update or reimbursement. When he asked to take home one of the phones currently in stock, the rep informs him that he will not be reimbursed for the original payment for one month and must also pay for the new phone.

A phone call to T-mobile reiterates the same flawed company policy. Obviously frustrated, the customer takes to social media and within five minutes T-Mobile is on it.

“Get a reply back within a minute telling me to go into the store the next morning (since it’s about 10 PM at this point) and that there will be a phone literally with my name on the box waiting for me and they are sincerely sorry about the entire situation and everything both reps told me was not even remotely in line with policy.”

Easy Win: Instead of having to visit the store at all, the customer should’ve been able to get personalized answers from the  T-mobile website to clearly see the status of his order and T-Mobile’s terms of protocol for his product. Also,with Voice analytics, T-Mobile would be able to understand how some branches may not be upholding company policy before negative posting on social media has an impact on their brand.

Losing Perspective in the Storm

The next customer service fail came at the hand of mother nature. When a tornado ravaged a community in Alabama, Charter Cable made a gigantic faux pas. After having lost her entire neighborhood, Kelly, a single mother with three kids was told that she needed to make an immediate payment for the equipment that was damaged and lost in the Tornado.

All other utilities servicing the area were glad to suspend service to her now non-existent home, but Charter did not excuse her service and allegedly informed her of the late fees she would face if unable to recover or pay for the lost cable box.

Charter eventually released a statement that it would not charge customers for missing, destroyed or damanged equipment from the Tornado, but the damage was already done.

Easy Win: With a self-service customer engagement platform, Charter could have easily segmented queries originating from this disaster ridden area, or even the personal accounts of those in the vicinity of the storm to receive their generous policy. This would’ve saved the customers added heartache and saved the company from the embarrassment. They needed to help the right customers at the right time – their time of need.

Don’t Be a Statistic

The truth is that customer service fails can damange your brand more than you may realize. In fact, according to a study done by American Express, 60% of American consumerssaid they always share bad customer service experiences, while only 46% clained to always share good experiences with others. That means that nearly three times as many people (an average of 21 people vs. 8 people) are going to hear about it when your company messes up.

You can’t afford this kind of negative impact on your company. It’s time to explore a self-service engagement platform to keep your customers informed and happy.

01 Jan 2015
The 10 Customer Service Changes to Make in 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC]

The 10 Customer Service Changes to Make in 2015 [INFOGRAPHIC]

In case you’re not already overwhelmed by the fact that it is 2015 and the 90s still seem to be 10 years ago, let’s go head first into all of the fabulous changes you should consider making for a stellar  2015.

10 Changes You Must Make For 2015

Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers

A smile and a nice tone does make a difference, but what your customers want is an easy, friction-less experience. More than anything, customers want the person at the other end of the phone or the other side of the counter to be efficient (33%) and empowered (29%).  (American Express)

Let your Customers Serve Themselves

The tide is changing and it’s all about empowering your customers to serve themselves. According to a Gartner report, ·  By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human.

Pick up the Pace

We live in an era of instant gratification, multi-tasking madness and where every moment counts. You must deliver speedy answers and resolutions to your customers. 82% of consumers say the number one factor that leads to a great customer service experience is having their issues resolved quickly. (LivePerson)

Unify Your Brand Voice

Ain’t nobody got time for conflicting answers when dealing with brands. You need to ensure that each touch point with your brand leaves your customers with a consistent understanding of your values, tone and protocol. Prevent “agent collision” and help your customers lower their blood pressure when dealing with you at the same time.

Use a 1 on 1 approach

As personalization becomes the norm,your customers expect for you to speak directly to their needs and give individualized answers.

Step Out of the 80s

37%  of customers with more complex inquiries prefer a phone call with a real person. (American Express) That being said, your customers also need to have modern means of getting answers from you. Social Media, virtual agents and self-service solutions are a must.

Have Mobile Solutions (Long Overdue!)

This year, there will be more people accessing the web using a mobile device than through a PC. (Source: IDC) So if you don’t have a viable solution for your customers to find resolution via mobile channels, you are setting yourself up for a crisis.

Make it Easy

According to Forrester Research Valuing your customer’s time is the most important factor in good customer service. This means you need to make knowledge accessible for your customer at any touchpoint, any screen and at any time.

Optimize Your Team

Chances are that your agents spend more of their time bogged down answering repetitive questions. By implementing a self-service solution you can cut your call center volume down by 70%.

Listen to your customers (and agents)

If the same questions are asked repeatedly, it may be that your content or customer journey map needs some sprucing up. Listen to your agents. They deal with your customers day in and day out, so give them a platform to share their insights and effectively bring useful improvements to your company.

Bonus! Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Hopefully, you already have a full multi-channel customer service strategy in place. Be sure to aggregate all data from each channel for a fuller picture of your customer flow to eradicate possible barriers to resolution.