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A Customer Service Rock Star!

Today we are pleased to feature another post by guest blogger Sarah Simon.  Sarah shares a recent experience with Home Depot to showcase how a potential customer service disaster can be transformed into a positive customer experience.  When the right skills and behaviors are deployed you can become customer service rock star! Background Residential flooring […]

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Good Agent, Bad Policy

Today we are pleased to feature a post by guest blogger Sarah Simon.  Sarah shares a recent personal experience to demonstrate how important it is for companies to take a good hard look at their policies and procedures through the lens of the customer experience.  Some great tips, and a great read! Background Recently, I […]

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Call Center Leaders Must Step Up to Boost Call Center Performance

One of the many incidents that inspired me to start my own company took place when I directed training inside a large telecom company. One day, the regional call center director of our company, I’ll refer to him as “Dave”, called me into his office.  “Jack,” he said, “there’s a problem with the new hire training.” […]

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How to Create Customer Delight

One of the more well-known customer service goals is delighting your customers, a self-explanatory outcome for sure, but exactly how do you go about achieving this goal?  More specifically, how do you get your customer-facing employees to delight your customers? Customer delight is created first by how we listen and then respond to the customer, not just how we […]

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Behavior: The First Mile of the Exceptional Customer Experience

I recently attended the CXPA Members Insight Exchange in San Diego.  It was an excellent conference with well over 100 customer experience professionals in attendance.  The presentations about creating the right customer experience culture and programs were refreshing and insightful. The journey toward becoming a customer-centric organization is not an easy one.  To the contrary, […]

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Why Call Center Training, By Itself, Doesn’t Work

I know this may sound strange coming from a principal of a company that provides call center training around the globe.  However, my colleagues and I truly believe 100% in the following statement: Call center training, by itself, doesn’t work. I have spent more than a few years of my career on both sides of […]

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Motivating Your Customer Service Team

Effective customer service leadership requires setting high standards and expectations for your customer service team and then doing what it takes to help them get there. In this video blog, Jack explores how setting the right performance standards for your customer service team can mean the difference between mediocrity and excellence.

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Do Customer Loyalty Programs Create Genuine Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty programs, such as loyalty cards and point systems, can be useful tools for marketing and for rewarding customers.  However, real customer loyalty is created during one-on-one customer interactions between a customer and the people acting on the company’s behalf, either a sales representative or customer service agent, retail associate or other customer-facing employee. […]

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Deliver Your Brand Vision in Your People & Excellent Customer Service Will Follow!

If you and your company can truly define your brand vision, what you and your products and services stand for, and effectively communicate that brand vision to your front-line employees with engraining customer service training, then you will be able to imprint your brand image in the minds of your customers, and the brand itself […]

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Help Your Customer Service Agents Boost Net Promoter Score

In my blog post last week, “Is Your Call Quality Sheet Capping Your Net Promoter Score?”, I wrote about how the typical call center call quality sheet encourages mediocre call quality and a lackluster customer experience.  This is because the typical call center call quality process is anchored in the customer service agent’s compliance with […]

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The Power of Silence in Sales & Customer Service

One of the most underrated but effective tools in sales and customer service communications is silence. Customers and prospects often buy and act on emotion and justify with logic, but they also make decisions in silence. In this video blog, Jack explores the power of silence, a critical customer service skill, and how to utilize silence […]

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Is Your Call Quality Sheet Capping Your Net Promoter Score?

When is the last time you seriously considered how the call quality sheet used in your call center impacts the customer experience and your Net Promoter Score?  Or have you ever considered this at all? If your organization outsources its call center operations or customer care to a third party provider, have you focused on whether […]

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Sincerity – What Role Does it Play in an Excellent Customer Experience?

What role does sincerity play in customer service and in creating the optimal excellent customer experience? Aside from being sincere, it is critical that customer service providers demonstrate their sincerity as part of the effort to create an excellent customer experience and meaningful customer loyalty.  

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The Winning Mindset for Call Center Management

Ok, so you are extremely busy, moving from one meeting to another, from one project to another, checking on the status of this system and that process.  You have barely had a chance to breathe throughout your hectic day.  Ahhhh, just another business day in the life of a call center manager. But amidst the […]

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When is the Best Time for Executive Coaching?

Lisa, our Vice President of Marketing, is having some issues.  She is not getting along very well with some other members of the executive team, and she seems to be executing on her own agenda.  She could probably benefit from some executive coaching. Our IT Manager, Thad, can’t seem to relate to his employees.  For […]

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Why First Call Resolution May Not Improve Your Customer Satisfaction Scores or NPS Scores

Of course, your first call resolution numbers are very important to you and your call centre.  After all, you have worked very hard to achieve your first call resolution targets.  Not only will good first call resolution results save your company money, they also suggest a better outcome for your customer.  So it just follows […]

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The Temptation of a Customer-Centric Organization: Cutting a Corner (Just One)

Business is great! Things are running smoothly.  Production and service levels are high, expenses are under control, working capital is healthy and cash is flowing.  You’re meeting customer expectations, and they love doing business with you. Taking a look back on your successes and challenges to achieving real customer delight and creating a truly customer-centric […]

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Customer Service Skills & Your Team

When it comes to great customer service or sales and the performance of your team, it’s often the little things that can make a big difference in the outcome with a customer or prospect. Sometimes all it takes to set the stage for a great customer experience is a targeted question or two that uncovers a […]

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Net Promoter Score – Nothin’ But Net!

Another season of March Madness is upon us!  For the next three weeks, sports fans throughout the United States will be tuned into the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament and basketball fever will be in full swing.  Games and tournament brackets (and wagers) will be closely monitored.  Favorite teams will be cheered on.  The road to […]

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Playing Only to Net Promoter Score (NPS) Promoters: Good Business or Risky Venture?

Recently, I came across an interview of Rob Markey, co-author of the Ultimate Question 2.0, about the current state of the Net Promoter Score movement.  The interviewer, Peter Fader, is the co-director of The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative and a Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School.  In the course of their discussion, they spoke […]

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Avoid the Pitfalls of Perceptions & Assumptions in Customer Service Conversations

During customer service interactions, it is easy, natural and often tempting for even the most well-intentioned customer service providers to quickly develop perceptions and make assumptions about a customer’s needs and wants.  However, problems can arise when those perceptions and assumptions are wrong.  When customer service providers become skilled at listening for understanding and asking […]

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How to Tell a Customer No: A Customer Service Skill

Having to say “no” to a customer can be a difficult pill to swallow at times, especially when you empathize with the customer’s problem or issue, and you would like to say “yes”, but company policy does not permit it. For example, if a consumer calls about a product failure in Year 3 for a […]

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An Essential Customer Service Skill – Listening for Understanding

Mature communicators will listen with active interest! In order to listen with active interest, there are four key essential elements you must use to listen for complete understanding of your customer. All these elements help ensure you hear your customer and let’s your customer know you are hearing what he or she is saying. Pay […]

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How to Create a Customer-Centric Organization

The goal of any professional sports team is always to win the ultimate prize.  As many of us saw this past weekend, in American football, the ultimate prize is the Super Bowl.  In European football, it’s the World Cup.  In baseball, it’s the World Series. To the casual observer, it may seem as if the […]

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The New Customer Service Conversation

If your current Customer Service Experience is not creating Loyal Customers, then the interaction itself must fundamentally change. Improving your Customer Experience and driving Customer Loyalty requires an entirely New Conversation with your customers.

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Sustaining Customer Loyalty: Do You Think You Can?

I am sure you remember the children’s story The Little Engine That Could.  The tough little blue engine just doesn’t quit.  He sees the hill in front of him, musters the courage to tackle it and begins churning up and up, slowly but surely.  A little bit at a time he makes progress despite the […]

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Customer Satisfaction Can Still Be Satisfying, Even When It’s Not Enough

I have read several blogs and articles lately that seem to be into dissing customer satisfaction as a legitimate call service center metric.  Some of the authors of these articles go to great lengths to point out the reality that satisfied customers are consistently bolting from one product to the next. We must move beyond […]

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What is Customer Loyalty? It Doesn’t Always Add Up

My youngest son, Jeffrey, was never very good at math.  He struggled from the earliest 3 and 4 times tables and could never find his comfort level after that.  It wasn’t for lack of trying (well, maybe sometimes it was).  He simply was not geared toward numbers. I remember the first few times he tried […]

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How to Motivate Your Customer Service Agents

Our front-line customer service agents are the heart and soul of our customer service operations.  After all, the customer service agents are the ones who actually interact with our customers, day in and day out.  Our customer service agents are the ambassadors and stewards of our brand.  They are the ones who create that all-important […]

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Is the Customer Service Experience You Create Typical or Transformational?

I recently had to call my Internet provider because my monthly bill had gone up unexpectedly by around 20%.  I remember being particularly busy that day with work and other responsibilities, but I figured I had better make time to call them while I was thinking about it or I would forget and find myself […]

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Top 10 Ways to Build a Customer-Centric Organization & Profitable Business

Satisfied customers aren’t enough.  To drive profitability you must generate customer loyalty and orient your entire organization around that mission.  Real customer loyalty is not a short-term proposition; rather, it is a long-term commitment to your products or services, company or brand. In order to create and build Loyal Promoters and improve customer retention, your […]

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Navigating the Customer Loyalty Highway: Avoiding a Crash from Negative Customer Emotions & Effort

Customer experience research from the Customer Contact Council tells us that reducing customer effort is a critical component in building customer loyalty.  The more actual, or even perceived, effort customers must invest in the customer experience, the lower the chances they will start or continue down the road toward product, brand or company loyalty – […]

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3 Resolutions for Excellent Customer Service in 2012

Well, the ribbons are barely off the holiday packages and we are still digesting the last of the figgy pudding, so that means it must be time for us to fill the air with lots of resolutions for 2012. In these waning days of 2011, we hear much pontificating on those things that will make […]

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Call Center Agents are Your Brand! Call Center Identity Crisis (Part 2)

In today’s wired world the demand for excellent customer service is ever increasing.  Customers have a louder voice today than they ever have.  One poor interaction with a customer can create a ripple effect that costs you profits and customers. Think about the last time you thought about doing business with a company.  If you’re […]

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Call Center Identity Crisis: What is Your Call Center Trying to Tell You About Your Brand Solution? (Part 1)

Help!!!  I have an identity crisis.  You keep calling me a Call Center, and that’s not really what I am.  I believe I am your Brand Solution Profit Center. I think it’s time we talk.  Please step into my office and stay awhile. Now, our Call Center is a place that is set away from […]

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Leadership Skills or Behavior? The True Lessons From the Race to the South Pole

In Kishore Sengupta and Ludo Van der Heyden’s HBR blog article “Leadership Lessons of the Race to the South Pole,” they recap the conquest of the South Pole exactly 100 years ago and explore the leadership lessons learned from the famous race between two great explorers, Norway’s Roald Amundsen and Britain’s Robert Scott. Sengupta and […]

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Increase Customer Retention: Don’t Send Them to the “Re-Tension” Queue!

Re-Tension: A second phase of tension that a company quickly creates for a customer who has finally decided to eliminate the first phase of tension that builds up slowly in that customer due to the company’s failure to provide good value or customer service. If you didn’t quite follow the definition above, then perhaps the […]

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Driving Net Promoter Score & Brand Loyalty: Is It the Car or the Driver that Wins the Race?

We are not Formula One racing experts, nor are we really even fans of the sport, but we are aware of the long-standing debate in the racing community among experts and fans about whether it’s the car or the driver that makes the difference between finishing first and anywhere else in the field. Some believe […]

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Driving NPS – The Three “Must-Dos”

We enjoy working with companies that use a robust NPS measuring system.  When measured effectively, NPS can give a company quick feedback on initiatives designed to improve customer loyalty. Today’s customers have power.  It is not uncommon for customers to post feedback in real time.  In the middle of a meal, a restaurant customer can […]

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A Low-Effort Experience Drives Customer & Brand Loyalty

In the most recent online issue of Marketing Week, a leading UK magazine for marketing news, opinion and information, Lucy Handley, in her article “Is Effort the New Loyalty?”, highlights the work underway at BT Global Services in measuring customer effort. BT’s Dr. Nicola Millard is looking at the extent to which consumers have to […]

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Shying Away From Office Politics? What are We Really Avoiding?

After reading Linda Hill and Kent Lineback’s HBR Blog Article “Stop Avoiding Office Politics,” I started thinking how I REALLY interacted with those around me.  What are the politics in MY world?  I am not talking about my wife, sons and new daughter-in-law (although new in-laws always add an additional layer to marriage politics).  I […]

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The Return on Influence of Customer Service

In “Return on Influence, the New ROI,” Amy Jo Martin explains a new concept – ROI – Return on Influence. It was derived from the need to prove the value a professional athlete can achieve for a company. The professional athlete’s influence could create both a value to a product and value to a company. […]

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Customer Loyalty – Convenience or Emotional?

The word loyalty is thrown around quite a bit inside the customer service world today.  Numerous books and scores of articles have been written and blogs posted about the importance and relevance of customer loyalty, as compared to customer satisfaction, and that there is actually little relationship between the two. A loyal customer is one […]

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The Wise CEO & the Human Dimension – What Creates the Final Score?

In the present confusing and conflicted global market environment, pressures and challenges intensify on today’s CEOs to deliver short-term results without losing sight of long-term goals and plans or veering away from long-term strategies.  For the most part, short-term results are defined by financial metrics, as well they should be, because at the end of […]

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Great Customer Service – Don’t Ignore the Basics, but Don’t Have a Basic Conversation!

Phone and e-mail certainly are the basics, but companies can no longer afford to get away with just the basics.  Answering the phone on time and in a pleasant manner is a basic customer expectation.  We all expect to receive clean dishes at a restaurant, but that by itself will not earn the restaurant a […]

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Net Promoter Score is the Starting Point – Behavior Drives It Higher

According to the latest research from the Corporate Executive Board, customer loyalty is the best indicator of future customer economic behavior and business profitability.  It is completely logical that an investment analyst would take Net Promoter Score into consideration when conducting due diligence and generating projections relating to a company’s profitability. The comment about the […]

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Customer Loyalty – It’s Wanting to Experience “That Feeling” Again

Kudos to you, Alyson, for writing such an exquisite article!  I believe you captured the essence of customer loyalty.  The companies that excel at creating customer loyalty are the ones that make us feel good doing business with them. Customer loyalty, in the customer service sense of the word, can be many things.  It’s a […]

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Get Them to “Feel the Love” – Customer Emotional Needs Generate Customer Loyalty

A very nice article here, Mr. Lieu – like versus love is an excellent analogy.  The difference between like and love is found in their emotional foundations. We have found that in order to create loyalty in a customer, three things must happen.  First, you must satisfy the customer’s practical product-related need.  Second, you must […]

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Social Media & Excellent Customer Service – It’s Social!

Excellent customer service is now and always has been Social Media. The difference between now and then is that the speed, depth and breadth of communications has put a lot more power in the customer’s hands.  If a customer is treated poorly, millions of people around the world may find out about it within seconds […]

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Customer Loyalty – An Emotional Engagement

If a customer likes your company only as much as, but not more than, they like one of your competitors, then I would suggest they are not loyal.  Isn’t customer loyalty by definition predicated on the fact that the customer does business exclusively (or nearly exclusively) with your company, as opposed to your competition? I […]

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Only Precise Front-Line Behaviors Will Deliver Brand Promise

What is your brand behavior?  The right offer to the right customer is not enough.  When the offer is acted upon, the right behavior must also be in place to support the brand and the brand promise.  Offers by themselves will not build a brand if the people who are in the best position to […]

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It’s Emotional! Customer Emotions Drive NPS

It’s Emotional! Net Promoter Score is an emotional score.  Whether or not a person recommends a product, service or company to his family or friends is an emotional decision. I believe there are three components that together drive customer service.  First (and most obviously), the customer has a practical product-related need.  Second, whether he realizes […]

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Hunt, Farm or Harvest? Cold Calls & Increased Sales

Hunters, Farmers and Harvesters Cold calling can be fun for a true hunter.  Farmers usually struggle with it, and harvesters won’t even do it.  Good hunters have excellent prospecting skills and know the difference between prospecting and selling.  They know that prospecting requires a different skill set than selling.  They know that the goal in prospecting is to get […]

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Net Promoter Companies & Engaged Employees

Busyness versus Productivity and Performance In our consulting experiences, we have come across many organizations that are chock-full of busy people.  Especially during the past several years, individual workloads seem to have doubled with downsizing and rightsizing – more work is having to get done by fewer people.  This inundation of work creates a great deal of […]

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Reengineering Excellent Customer Service

This is an excellent article extolling the virtues of excellent customer service.  I worked in the telecommunications industry for six years, and the customer service reputation of the particular company I worked for was horrible – our Net Promoter Score was actually in negative territory. Like many other organizations, this company did not fully consider excellent […]

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Transforming HR into a True Business Partner

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, consistently ranked as one of the top medical centers in the U.S., relies on its Human Resources Department to provide a strategic approach to the support and development of the Hospital’s most important asset … its staff and management.  For years the HR Department of the Hospital had operated under a traditional HR […]

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A Mature Communicator Can Cope with Difficult People

In order to be effective in today’s organization, a leader (or anyone else for that matter) must take proactive responsibility for his or her communication with and relationships with other people.  As Tony Schwartz points out, many times this forces us to make a decision to rise above the situation or even to rise above […]

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Sales Performance – Are We Achieving What is Possible?

This is an excellent blog and should be circulated to sales leaders and sales trainers throughout the country.  The selling environment today is certainly very difficult.  Techniques that worked over the past 5 years, past year or even yesterday are ineffective today, yet so many of the old skill sets remain in active use. Salespeople […]

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Call Center Pet Peeves – Just How Many Are There?

I would like to add a Number 6: Front-line agents who are not empowered to make decisions. Companies often install a customer service agent on the front line, give them limited ability to make decisions and push scripts to use to push the customer in specific directions.  It is disappointing when companies expect their front-line […]

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I Don’t Know, I Don’t Care, I Don’t Care to Know

This is an excellent blog comparing the Netflix debacle with Bank of America’s latest move.  I wish it had disclosed the actual names of the BoA committee members who actually made this decision, instead of characterizing it as Bank of America making the decision.  The entity, Bank of America, doesn’t make any decisions.  Its executives […]

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