Tag: customer satisfaction

21 Aug 2017
FCR best practices

8 Best Practices for First Call Resolution: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to customer service, your foot soldiers are often the customer-facing first line of defense. Whether it’s the staff member who says “What can I do to help?” in your brick-and-mortar store or the person who picks up the phone to soothe a frustrated caller, this moment is essential for building brand loyalty and creating a CX tailored to satisfy customers.

Here are 8 elements of first call resolution success:

1. Quick Response Time

60% of customers believe that one minute on hold is too long to wait to speak to customer service. Waiting on hold, especially listening to recorded messages which say how important and valuable the call is, can actually create a situation where your customer is more frustrated than they were before they picked up the phone.
Your AHT (average handling time) can be kept low by introducing call-back options, giving other channels for support such as live chat, or increasing self-service options on your website, allowing customers to troubleshoot for themselves.

2.Empowered Employees

As the first contact, your call center agents are often the most valuable members of staff in your company. So why in so many cases are they left without the information they need to do a first-class job? The right knowledge management solution can give your agents the tools they need to support customers quickly and effectively. Information will be presented to them at their fingertips so that the customer is never left waiting while the right file is found or another staff member is tracked down.

3. First Contact Resolution via Live Chat

As well as a way to improve call center handling times, live chat is also the preferred contact method of 79% of customers. Most report this is because of how quickly they can get answers, with the average time for resolution as little as 42 seconds. Offering live chat has become essential if you want to stay relevant. Low-level queries are more likely to be handled by chat, leaving your phone agents to deal with more complex issues. If you’re worried about the expense of manning live chat around the clock, why not look into a chatbot solution?

4.Human Support improves FCR

If you do decide to support your human agents with Artificial Intelligence options, it’s essential to make sure that your human staff have the knowledge and ability to step in seamlessly when necessary. Customers can become frustrated easily, and after one or two negative responses from a chat bot, it’s time for escalation. The right support software can move your customers from a chat bot to a human agent in the same channel, whether that’s the website widget, mobile app, or even a messenger tool on social media. The whole process is seamless, achieving ultimate customer satisfaction with minimal effort.

5. Focus on Customer Satisfaction

The fact is that bad news travels fast. Customers are far more likely to tell their friends about a bad experience than a good one. In fact, a story of bad customer service will usually be retold between 9 and 15 times. It’s essential that your agents have the ability to go above and beyond for your customers, creating customer service wins out of frustrating situations.

6.Measuring Success of the FCR Call Center

It’s not enough to feel like you’re doing a good job. Keeping track of the rate of FCR can actually improve your performance, according to research by The Ascent Group. They showed that companies who measured their FCR for a year saw improvements of up to 30%. Measuring performance can include setting incentive goals for call center staff, retraining agents for success, or even setting more realistic goals for customers if that stands out as an issue.

7. Multi Channel Fluidity

Customers aren’t always going to reach out the same way, and a customer who called to place an order last week might want to check on its delivery date from their mobile phone, or even ask on live chat whether something can be added on. Your comprehensive knowledge management system should be able to work holistically to cover all channels, with no delay or lag on customer or product information, no matter where the queries are coming from.

8.Talk to the Customer for First Contact Resolution

It’s important to get feedback from the customers themselves to ensure that the situation has been successfully resolved. A customer who asks to speak to a manager or one who angrily removes their business is clearly a failure of FCR. But did you know that 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain and 91% of those will simply leave? Any interaction with your customers is an opportunity to find out how they feel and what you could be doing better, so don’t miss your chance.

There are no second chances when it comes to first call response success. This metric is essential for discovering how effective your staff and processes are in creating happy customers. By giving your customers multiple channels for outreach, and by empowering your agents with the knowledge and responses they need, you’re bound to see a measurable improvement in both performance and loyalty.

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!

16 Mar 2017
self-service lessons from fast food

Can I Take Your Order? What We Can Learn from Fast Food Digital Self-Service

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of a customer’s interaction with a company will be without human contact. And this isn’t just online. As well as McDonalds, the latest restaurant business to jump on the self-service bandwagon is Wendy’s, with the announcement of 1,000 kiosks arriving by the end of the year to a store near you.

CIO David Trimm says one strong reason behind this investment is simply to “enhance the customer experience.” But how does this work, exactly?

Putting the Customer First

Sometimes, the best customer service can mean getting out of your customer’s way and letting them control their own experience. We’re all familiar with the frustration of ordering your favorite fast food exactly how you like it, only to find out once you take the first bite that they didn’t listen to your pickle aversion (or worse, take seriously your food allergy).

Professors from Cornell and Mississippi State found that self-service options increase the accuracy of transactions. More automation means less chance for error, and more confidence from the customer that they are going to get what they want.

Self-service also gives more opportunities for inclusion and accessibility. A good example for Wendy’s might be a deaf person being able to order their burger and Frosty confidently and efficiently in a noisy, busy store for the first time. Online, self-service helps not just those who might struggle in-store, but also opens up around-the-clock hours and can give visitors the opportunity to access information from anywhere, in multiple languages, with increased relevance to visitor’s specific needs and easy access to the answers they currently seek.

Giving the Customer What They Want

Customers can benefit from being given the knowledge they crave as well as the french fries. Kiosk technology has the potential to give nutritional information, calorie intake, and even some background on the preparation and sourcing of the ingredients. When customers have questions, they want answers they can trust and rely on. Studies have shown that we trust technology more than humans, perhaps because in our day-to-day life we turn to computers and smart phones to give us accurate and efficient answers.

The same is true in any customer-facing business. Customers love the ease of online shopping, and enjoy using the same technology to get answers as they do to make purchases. Rather than pick up the phone, in a survey of 3,000 consumers, 91% would use a single online knowledge base if it were tailored to their needs and easily available.

It’s easy to see that giving your customers a way to take control of their experience, alongside all the knowledge they could ask for, is far from limited to the fast food industry.

Happy Staff, Happy Customers

But it’s not just the customers who are putting the happy into ‘happy meal’ in this scenario. Staff working alongside this new technology have a lot to smile about. Shorter lines and fewer queries mean that they are less busy during peak times. This gives them the opportunity to engage with the customer in a friendlier way than a simple “would you like fries with that?” In many cases, staff are also reallocated or promoted to jobs with more responsibility. Seeing a surge in customers and sales, companies have been shown to hire more staff in the long run, to keep up with the surge in business.

The same is true across the self-service industry. Companies that successfully implement digital self-service are helping their staff by facilitating their work and giving their jobs more depth, and arming them with the right tools and background knowledge. Low-level queries could be handled by support bots, the same way your website might take orders while you sleep overnight, ready for you to fulfil come 9am. The bot can be the line cook, getting all the ingredients ready for the agent to then take over with finesse, better prepared. Like a burger and fries, it’s the perfect partnership. While you could have one without the other, why would you?

Keeping Track of Your Bottom Line

It’s hard to ignore that if customers and staff are both satisfied, your overall experience is looking pretty good. But what’s happening behind the scenes? Self-service can also help you improve your entire business model with the help of data. Just like on your company website, the information you collect on each interaction by kiosk can drive actionable analytics to increase profits and make smart changes.

While it might seem like you’re not going to get much information from how many burgers were ordered on any particular day of the week, think deeper. Which meals did customers abandon after seeing the price tag? What customization options created a bottleneck? Can you increase sales by having ‘add on’ side dishes or drinks at checkout? The possibilities could be endless.

Digital self-service can use Voice of the Customer analytics to give you a tangible overview of what questions are being asked and when. As this updates in real time, you can spot trends and modify content, or empower staff accordingly.

Self-service moving into the fast food arena is just one more example of how the technology is becoming integral in creating happy and motivated staff and satisfied customers. So if you’re not making the most of self-service for your company, you’d better start playing “ketchup.”

05 Jan 2017
self service will buoy your customer service for improved cx

Dive in with Self-Service in 2017 for Improved CX

… or be swept back by the tide as the competition races forward

Now that 2017 has come, we have to take stock of how we fared in the crazed holiday season. While sales may have reached peak performance, cx often takes a hit, most drastically for e-commerce and travel businesses.

As well as you may have planned, surviving this period in which interest soars and your employees and resources are taxed and tested takes a toll and points out where your weak spots still are, and how you have to improve if you want to stay competitive.

If a customer couldn’t find answers online, you lost business. If a customer couldn’t reach an agent or manage to ask a question or receive support, you lost business. If traffic overwhelmed your site or your customer journey was convoluted or your cx unpleasant, you lost business. If your customer started an interaction in one place and wanted to transition to another channel like chat and got lost along the way, you lost business. If he managed to find you on another platform but received inconsistent information or felt that the experience was discordant or disruptive, you lost business.

Sense a pattern?

It can be hard to navigate the murky waters of customer service, especially during peak seasons when it can feel like you’re swimming as hard as you can but you’re barely managing to tread water as the current pushes right back against you. The New Year presents an opportunity to tag in new partners in the relay and reexamine your stroke to get you swimming in the right direction.

Let’s look at some facts

Gartner predicted that while 55% of interactions in 2014 did not require human support, by 2017, 2/3 of all customer service interactions would no longer need a human intermediary. Those organizations that adopt best digital self-service practices can expect lower costs, an improvement in CX, and an upswing in customer loyalty, whereas those that don’t risk being left behind.

Gartner estimated the immense consequences to organizations not diving into digital self-service, evaluating that by the end of 2016, at least 80% of organizations that failed to plan their self-service implementations would incur higher customer service costs and would miss out on the savings and benefits expected.

Research shows that over 75% of customers prefer to use self-service and expect a self-service option in the different engagement channels, proving that it isn’t a matter of jumping onboard as an early adopter but at this stage it is a must – you have to dive into the waters with those offering integrated self-service or you will be left watching alone on the sidelines as your competitors race off with your customers. While agents are still important pieces of the customer service solution, recent research by Forrester indicated that 72% of customers prefer to find the answers to their inquiries themselves, rather than contacting customer support, making consistent self-service across channels an absolute imperative.

Swim laps around competitors with intelligent self-service for improved cx

If you somehow survived into 2017 without a comprehensive self-service strategy in place, you may have been the beneficiary of a holiday miracle. And if the harsh realities of managing customer service queries without an integrated solution and robust analytics have somehow still not convinced you of the need to upgrade your customer service strategy with digital self-service, we urge you to reexamine.

The facts and statistics and research all clearly point to the need for a self-service solution, and the truth is that your customers expect and demand self-service. Without one, you’re stuck wading in the kiddie pool (and we all know what happens there), while your competitors are doing laps around you from the deep end.

Read more about the real benefits of an intelligent, holistic self-service solution on our website. From call deflection to improved CSAT, the outcomes are real, tangible, and astonishing. Want to know more or see for yourself? Contact us to schedule a free demo.

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.

13 Oct 2016
consumer satisfaction engaging with customer service and giving feedback

Six essential strategies to increase customer satisfaction

Silence is one thing, satisfaction is another, as every customer experience manager knows or will soon learn. As one oft-cited statistic in marketing circles makes clear, 91-percent of dissatisfied customers will never breathe a word of their discontent (to the company, that is). They will simply move their business elsewhere – and take their grievance public in all of their social circles and social media haunts.

That fact alone should convince any business of the need to increase customer satisfaction, if it wants to prosper in the intensely competitive 21st century global marketplace. It’s the best way by far to increase revenue, improve customer retention, turn consumers into advocates (not enemies), and raise Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

But how?

It’s by no means a walk in the park. But today’s CX managers and marketers actually can increase customer satisfaction, if they employ the right tools to gain the necessary insights to create the practices that keep the focus on customer service at all times.

How to achieve customer satisfaction in the unforgiving digital world

This part is no mystery: to improve customer satisfaction, a business needs to improve customer service. More than price, more even than the quality of the product itself, it is excellence in customer service that differentiates one business from the next and builds loyalty.

• Give customers reasons to stay, not reasons to leave

Most of all, customers want to know that when they contact a company, by way of any channel they choose, they will be met with efficient and accurate service. Monitoring crucial factors such as the time it takes for them to get a response or to get their issue resolved, and improving on any weaknesses identified, is one of the surest ways to avoid subjecting customers to the lengthy delays that derail planned purchases and alienate people.

• Set clear expectations, and exceed them

Nothing is more frustrating for a consumer than wandering around in a digital world unsure of what to expect from a business, or when. Let customers know up front what your standards and practices are. How long will they wait for a response or a callback? Will that response truly be on target and accurate? Removing the customers’ uncertainty about such common issues in customer service lets them know that a company is committed to their success and satisfaction, especially when the business builds in enough leeway that it can routinely exceed expectations.

• Tie KPIs directly to customer expectations

When a lack of customer satisfaction is the main reason for a loss of customers, it only makes sense to build key metrics and analytics around every step of the customer journey, and to align them with the expectations you have set. By measuring the factors that matter most to customers, businesses have the ability to glean actionable insights that can inform employee training and assessment, smooth out the kinks in systems, and guide long-range planning, at the same time the KPIs foster shared goals and objectives among staff.

• Increase customer satisfaction by monitoring CSAT scores--and acting on them

Most businesses today, and certainly those in the digital sphere, make an effort to collect Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT). Too few of them, however, undertake the rigorous analysis that provide important clues about how to increase customer satisfaction. While CSAT scores typically offer only an incomplete and necessarily subjective glimpse at the overall customer experience, they can be an early indicator of trends and a warning signal when corrective measures are needed, either for customers as a whole or for individuals. If an established, loyal customers is showing a decrease in satisfaction, that can be both a direct threat to their lifetime value and a clue that others may be feeling the same.

• Be proactive and take the first step

It’s a great thing when your customers know they can rely on the service and quality experience they will get when they reach out to you. And it’s that much greater when you reach out to them. By utilizing the power of CX data collection and analytics, businesses now have the capacity to anticipate likely next steps a customer might take on her overall customer journey. A well-timed email with perhaps a special offer for select customers or maybe just to let them know about new developments or solicit their opinions can go a long way toward cementing a profitable relationship.

• Get to know your customers online

The emergence and ubiquity of social media makes it possible (or essential, to be more accurate) for companies to expand relationships with customers far beyond the occasional transaction. Not since the days when the Mom and Pop store down the street was the center of commerce has it been so important to engage with customers, listen to them and learn from them, and enter into the conversation. Regardless of how many layers of technology businesses and their customers now navigate, commerce remains, and will always be, a simple human transaction. People like to do business with people they know and trust.

Customer satisfaction pays dividends for the long-run

There’s an interesting statistic from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs that should be either a welcome reminder or an eye-opener for any company. A loyal customer, that agency found, has a Customer Lifetime Value of us much as ten times the value of their initial purchase. That figure, especially when balanced against the high cost of acquiring a new customer, speaks volumes about the need for any company to focus its attention and resources on increasing customer satisfaction.

06 Oct 2016
customer service satisfaction profitability

Six ways customer service satisfaction goes to the bottom line

It’s not an abstraction, and not just a theoretical nicety, although to hear some conversations about customer service satisfaction you could easily dismiss the concept as more jargon than substance.

 But what a mistake that would be. The benefits of customer satisfaction couldn’t be more real, and customer service satisfaction couldn’t be more essential for increasing the bottom line in any organization. Far from being just a feel-good moment, leaving a customer fully satisfied when they wrap up a transaction with your company has both immediate and long-term implications for business success. For marketing professionals today, it has become imperative both to recognize the numerous concrete and quantifiable benefits of customer satisfaction, and to incorporate customer service KPIs into monitoring and analyzing performance. 

Just consider some of the most critical ways in which customer service satisfaction can spell success or failure for a company:

• A satisfied customer is likely to be a repeat customer

It is expensive for any business to bring any new customers into the fold – and once that has been achieved it’s a shame to lose them after a single customer experience, because replacing them can cost far more than keeping them. The cost-efficient course for most organizations is to turn that first-time customer into a repeat customer. Yet, time and again companies devote enormous marketing resources to identifying and courting new customers, but only a fraction of that to ensuring customers are satisfied with their journey through the buying process. The math is simple and compelling: score one for customer service satisfaction.

• Customer service satisfaction sets a business apart

In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, a commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction is widely understood to be one of the most important ways a business can differentiate itself. With few exceptions, consumers have a virtually unlimited range of sources for any product or service. But they undoubtedly also have a wide range of customer experiences, running from fabulous to horrid. In too many cases, businesses fail to deliver the quality experience the customer expects and requires. In a world in which nearly everyone is quick to share their good and bad news not just at the office water cooler but also on social media in near-real time, companies that meet and exceed expectations quickly gain a reputational advantage.

• Dissatisfied customers are your worst nightmare

Just as satisfied customers are likely to be outspoken brand ambassadors, in person and online, an unhappy customer is certain to provide a company with unwelcome word of mouth that can only undermine profitability. Traditionally, the marketing calculation has been that the happy ones tell three other people, the unhappy ones at least twice as many. But that was before Facebook friends, Twitter followers and all the rest gave customers the types of platforms that were unimaginable in the past. Now, a single customer experience can turn a consumer into either your most enthusiastic salesperson or your most vocal detractor.

• Satisfied customers buy more

A customer who likes doing business with a particular company is less likely to just click their way through a single purchase than a customer who is just trying to complete what they consider a necessary chore. Having found a business that meets their customer service expectations, a consumer is prone to see it as a convenient and reliable source for one-stop shopping. That’s a clear win-win – for the business, which sees a fuller shopping cart and more profits, and for the customer, who doesn’t have to invest the time in visiting multiple sites when one trustworthy one will do.

• Customer satisfaction increases CLV

In the long run, nothing has a bigger impact on profitability, or magnifies ROI on marketing expenditures, more than Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).  And CLV is a direct result, one way or another, of customer satisfaction. The more a customer feels satisfied with a business, the better chance the company has to retain them for the long run. On the marketing side, if it costs $50 to acquire a customer and he spends $50 with your company over the years, well, the boss would like to see you in the morning. But if the same customer spends a couple of thousand over time, you’re looking at a healthy ROI.

• And there are hidden benefits of customer satisfaction

One of the often overlooked benefits of customer satisfaction is that a company that successfully and routinely keeps its customers happy can leverage that satisfaction into a price advantage. A satisfied and loyal customer typically doesn’t balk at paying a small premium for the certainty that he or she will be well-served during a transaction, and afterwards if they have questions or issues. When you consider the cost to the customer – both in terms of lost time and aggravation – of a frustrating customer experience, it’s no wonder that people don’t mind paying a few percent more at a business they can be sure will treat them well and efficiently.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and creative marketers and managers can no doubt expand it in any number of ways. The take-away, however, is that the benefits of customer service satisfaction are real ones, with dollar signs attached to them.

29 Sep 2016
measuring customer satisfaction with KPIs

You Need to Measure Customer Satisfaction – But How?

Why data, not intuition, is the key to measuring customer satisfaction

It’s not likely to come as earth-shattering news to any marketer, but there’s a straight line between customer satisfaction and customer retention. But knowing it and acting on that knowledge to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) can be two very different things, because measuring customer satisfaction has traditionally been a particularly elusive metric.

How do you pin down a purely qualitative experience – how happy a customer is after buying your product or service – and translate it into actionable, quantitative insights? How do you attach a score to an emotion? For many companies the answers to those questions have remained frustratingly out of reach, even in a time when new data-based solutions and analytics have emerged to put them at hand. Unlike a straightforward metric such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), with a single, uncomplicated query that’s easy to reduce to a score and easy to interpret, CSAT is the sum of numerous emotional reactions that, taken together, have everything to do with whether a customer is coming back or not.

That’s not to say that NPS is not a customer satisfaction KPI that any business wants to overlook. But NPS alone can’t tell the story that can lead to significant – and ultimately profitable – improvements in overall customer satisfaction.

Look to the big picture to measure customer satisfaction

While different businesses will settle on measuring different customer satisfaction KPIs, in every case the need to collect data and information is only the first step in arriving at actionable insights. The greater challenge comes in assembling the information in an accessible format that provides an integrated, real-time, and readily monitored visualization that turns every customer interaction into an opportunity to optimize the customer experience, as in Nanorep’s powerful Voice of the Customer (VOC) solution.

Voice of the Customer uses Natural Language Processing technology to capture insights about abstractions such as the customer’s preferences, expectations, and reactions throughout each engagement, adding otherwise unattainable depth and context to any range of customer satisfaction KPIs.

Important KPIs for measuring customer satisfaction

  • When it comes to measuring customer satisfaction, the obvious starting point, of course, is the CSAT itself, although it’s important to remember that, like the Net Promoter Score, it has its limitations. Also like the NPS, CSAT is most often derived from a single question – something along the lines of “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received?” scored on a simple numeric scale. One caveat is that many customers, especially those who felt the experience was unexceptional, may simply pass over the survey. It can also have the effect of glossing over the more nuanced emotional aspects of the customer’s experience that can be key in retaining them and building on the relationship.
  • Measuring Expectations vs. Results helps dig a little deeper, and again with only a simple question at the end of each transaction or engagement. Typically, it’s enough to ask customers to agree or disagree (with room for gradients) with a statement such as “The service lived up to my expectations.”
  • In the same way, Net Promoter Score, as mentioned above, only requires a single question–“How likely are you to recommend . . . “ – to yield a world of information about both an individual transaction and, when aggregated, how well a business is doing in meeting the goal of turning customers into brand ambassadors.
  • In addition to questions about the customer’s feelings, it is also important to track harder data to gain specific, concrete information about the customer experience. One very important customer satisfaction KPI is Response Time, a common source of frustration and dissatisfaction for customers when they perceive they are being kept on hold too long, or emails and chat requests aren’t answered promptly. Tracking this metric not only serves as a further gauge of customer satisfaction, but also can alert businesses to potentially damaging delays.
  • Closely related, first contact resolution time will reveal important metrics about how effectively and efficiently customer queries and issues are being resolved, another factor that can spell the difference between long-term satisfaction and a lost customer.
  • Average handle time is yet another metric that provides a picture of how efficiently the customer is being served, and shines a light on opportunities for improvement, as can tracking the number of repeat contacts needed to close a case to the customer’s satisfaction.

Bring all the data together to truly measure customer satisfaction

Whatever KPIs and metrics are used to measure customer satisfaction in a comprehensive manner, in the final analysis the data has to be brought together in one place where it can be integrated so it paints the big picture. Only then can it yield a full, data-based understanding of how well a company is meeting its customers’ expectations, and what the implications of that are for the company’s long-term success.

22 Sep 2016
Data-driven Improvements in the Customer Journey

Customer Service KPIs Lead to Creative, Data-driven Improvements in the Customer Journey

It’s one thing to determine which customer service KPIs a business needs to track in order to understand the customer journey. But it can be another thing entirely to dig down into those KPIs and discover all they have to say about the overall quality of that journey, and how it can be improved to optimize the customer experience.

In fact, that was all but impossible to do before the new generation of cutting-edge customer service metrics solutions came along to afford marketers a comprehensive, real-time, and visible rendering of each of the metrics underlying each critical customer service KPI. The integrated, ground-level detail now available can lead marketers to the actionable, data-driven insights that – combined with a full measure of creative thinking – can pay off in everything from customer satisfaction and brand loyalty to ROI.

What leading companies are learning from customer service KPIs

While any given KPI for customer service may need to be tweaked to fit the particular processes and objectives of a given business – and while the KPIs that can be measured are really only limited by the imagination – there are some common indicators that many leading companies agree are essential for assessing their customer service performance. These KPIs include:

Response time to first reply

Time is money for the customer as well as for the business, and nobody appreciates being kept waiting. In fact, delays in responding to a customer inquiry can be lethal when it comes to fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty. In today’s omni-channel environment, however, there’s unlikely to be one sufficient customer service metric or a single answer to the question of how long it takes for a customer to receive a response. Instead, it becomes imperative to track average and median response times for each channel. In addition to tracking times by channel, these metrics also detail what portion of inquiries are resolved on first contact.

Resolution of customer cases KPIs

Responding to a customer is a first step, but the key to customer satisfaction comes when a company successfully resolves the issue beyond the contact. There are a number of metrics that tell the story behind this important customer service KPI.

How long does it take, on average, to resolve a case? Knowing that makes it possible to gauge how well the customer is being served. How many cases are being resolved successfully? Both the raw numbers and the percentages of successful resolutions are indicative of the efficiency of both processes and personnel. What is the overall handle time for a case? This is a metric that digs deeper into time-to-resolution, breaking down the process into an understanding of the time required for each stage of the process and revealing opportunities for improvements.

Average wait time metric

Once a case has been opened, and if it can’t be resolved during the initial contact, how quickly does the business respond? How many interactions does it take to resolve a case? It’s important to not only monitor the time from beginning to end, but also to track how long it takes to reach each touchpoint along the way. Measuring the time between touchpoints has the effect of both keeping the customer in the loop at appropriate intervals and informing decision-making about possible refinements to the process.

Number of rerouted contacts metric

Every company strives to respond appropriately and efficiently to every customer contact, and that can mean a customer is best served by being transferred to a specialist. How frequently does the front-line rep need to do that? Once rerouted, how long does the case remain open? How long does it take for the customer to get a response and a resolution? This is a customer service KPI that directly measures key elements of the customer experience even as it points out possible operational improvements such as possible training enhancements for reps.

Average hold time

It’s something every customer dreads, and it can be a powerful disincentive for customers to engage with a business. What are the average and median times that the customer was kept on hold? What percentage of them give up and abandon the call before reaching an agent? What are the average and median times before they throw in the towel?

Customer contacts by channel

Call centers are no longer the only way customers engage with a company, and they expect a seamless customer experience whether they pick up the phone or turn to a different mode of contact. What portion of contacts are coming through each of several channels? How long does it take for the customer to get a response via each channel? A resolution? Are customers utilizing multiple channels to resolve a single case? With consumer behavior changing rapidly to embrace new technologies, knowing the answers to these questions can help marketers perfect the customer experience and anticipate emerging trends.

Social media efficiency KPIs

The prominence of social media in daily life has made the ever-evolving array of social media platforms increasingly important to businesses and consumers alike, and it has become critically important for companies to understand how to use them effectively to improve the customer experience. How quickly is the company responding to customers, by platform? How often do cases begin on social media and proceed to another channel? What are consumers saying and sharing about the company on social media? As platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have taken the place of the village green, it becomes imperative to capture KPI customer service data and insights.

Rep activity and effectiveness KPIs

How well are reps performing, individually and as a team? There are any number of metrics that can provide the answer. How long does it take for a rep to respond to a first contact? How many open cases does each rep have? How long does it take to resolve them, segmented by the stages involved? How many activities does an individual rep perform, and how does that compare to overall averages? With the rep at the heart of any customer service program, the ability of management to assess efficiency and effectiveness is an essential ingredient for customer satisfaction.

Churn incidence and potential

No one questions the importance and economic necessity of keeping established customers happy and retaining them. That makes it critically important both to monitor churn rates and the churn prevention metrics. What is the overall churn rate? How many open cases are on the books at any given time, and how long have they been open? When was the last contact? What is the value of each of them, in terms of current transactions and lifetime value? Tracking these data points can inform projections and, more important, allow for a proactive effort to retain valuable customers.

The bottom line: turn customer service KPIs into action

Of course, this brief list just scratches the surface of customer service KPIs that might be right for any particular company. But, whichever KPIs a business chooses to focus on, they all have one thing in common. They are only as good as the insights gleaned from them and the data-driven actions they lead to.

That, in the final analysis, is both the challenge and the unprecedented opportunity for marketers today: when the creativity that has always been the hallmark of the profession is bolstered by the wealth of data now at hand, just about anything is possible.

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.