Volume 5: March 2012 Mashup
Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
Customer Experience Resource: Vivisimo’s #CXO Chat
One of my favorite customer experience resources is, believe it or not, a Twitter chat. What wisdom can be gleaned about customer service and the customer experience from an hour of rapid-fire 140 character missives? Quite a few as it turns out.
Pithy, it seems, is often profound.
For those interested in customer experience, the information optimization company Vivisimo’s CXO Twitter chat can not be beat. The #CXO chat is “a weekly conversation at 12 Noon EST, on Twitter. Each week we discuss a different customer experience optimization topic.”
Some previous CXO chat topics have included social media for customer service, improving the customer experience, and maintaining a spirit of customer service within an organization. Vivisimo usually brings in a customer service expert to lend their expertise to the weekly gathering. Previous featured guests include Mark Schaefer, Kate Leggett, Kate Nasser, Richard Shapiro, and Drew Marshall.
While the Monday 12p EST time slot can be a challenge, I highly recommend giving the #CXO twitter chat a try! The regulars there are extremely welcoming to newcomers, and every hour has great questions and perspectives on how we can all improve our customer’s experiences.
The Month in Customer Service Blogging
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.
- Customer Experience Design: It’s Not About the Process, It’s About the Human Being – A really insightful post about how designers often forget about the actual customer in the experience design process.
- The Organizations That Chief Customer Officers Oversee – Forrester takes a look at CCO’s and their role in organizations. A bit technical, but a great analysis of how this trend is playing out in corporate America.
- The Six Components of a Customer Experience – An in-depth look at how the customer experience breaks down with some great insights on how to evaluate the pieces of the customer experience.
- Customer Service Isn’t An Act. It’s A Trait – Forget the “Customer is always right,” this account manager argues with his customer over Twitter. Publicly scolding your customers? Which customer service manual is that from?
- 5 Worst Things You Can Say to a Customer – These are the types of excuses that make customers want to pull out the “Manager Card” when all the associate had to do was use a better approach.
- Great Customer Service Starts with Seven Letters — I couldn’t agree more. Give me an E. Give me a …
- 8 Ways Brands Are Benefiting from Social Listening – Companies who listen (instead of shout) are benefiting more from engaging in social media interaction than they were when their Facebook updates were set on auto-pilot.
- Motorola Korea introduces Smart Customer Service with LogMeIn – An interesting product innovation designed to enhance the customer experience for Motorola customers — just be careful what you keep on your phone!
- Only One Half of Brands Can Identify Their Most Loyal Customers – Can you? Some eye-opening data about segmentation and retention.
- Customer Service Must Embrace Technology – The title says it all, and it becomes more true every day.
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
- What is Customer Service? – For the launch of Customers That Stick, I wanted to create something really special. This post was it. 19 great and diverse minds from customer service, marketing, and small business share their philosophies of customer service. If you haven’t read the post already, head there now; you will not be disappointed.
Thoughts on the Customer
What is the real cost of bad service?
This question should be on the mind of every company that sells business to business (B2B). Over the past few days, my Market Development Coordinator and I were unfortunate enough to get a guided tour of software licensing hell. After purchasing a software license days ago and trying for hours to get the proper activation information from our “account” on the web, we were forced to enter the wonderful world of call center limbo. Here is the play-by-play:
- 10 minutes navigating the phone menus to get to a message that said your hold time will be… If you enter your phone number, we will call you. You will not lose your place in line. She entered the number; the call never came.
- Called back later in the day. Got someone who transferred us. I had to go to a meeting, and my MDC finally hung up after over an hour on hold.
- Later in the day, she finally reached someone at an overseas call center, but they would not do anything without me and the login information. She setup for them to call us later and to conference me in.
- 3 hours later. The support person actually did call back, and they were able to conference me on to a support call. The call took over an hour of both my time and my MDC. Language barriers and someone who was probably multitasking did not help the process go more smoothly.
Ignoring the natural frustration we all feel as humans in a process like this, as a business owner my calculation is different. My time and my organization’s time is valuable. As a result, the software I purchased from this company had a cost far in excess of what was advertised online. In fact, the cost of the product was more than doubled by the time we spent to get it operational.
The next time I consider buying a product from this company (unfortunately, they are a market leader with incredible products), I will remember how difficult this experience was and will probably evaluate substitutes. If the company was not so dominant in their space, I would probably not even consider going back.
In general, consumers do not evaluate their customer service experience from the standpoint of economic opportunity cost — but you can be sure that many business customers do. For all the energy spent on pricing strategy and marketing, if you sell B2B, you should be aware that time is money and that wasting your customers time through a poor customer experience has a cost.
Sure, it might not affect the 1st sale — but it could certainly ensure that there is never a 2nd.