Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Aligning Customer Experience and Marketing – by NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder nets CCO of the Year Award

By: Colin Taylor

Congratulations to Pete Winemiller, SVP of guest relations for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, who was named the 2013 Chief Customer Officer (CCO) of the Year, by The Chief Customer Office Council (CCO Council). The award recognized individuals who “improving customer relationships, driving profitable customer behavior, creating a customer-centric culture, and helping other customer executives to achieve similar results,” according to Curtis Bingham, founder and executive director of the CCO Council.

The actions and philosophy adopted by Winemiller underscores the importance of aligning the customer experience with the marketing message, “Successfully managing the customer experience creates real connections with our community of fans, which becomes part of our overall identity,” Winemiller adds. “When a guest’s experience matches the core values of our organization’s marketing strategy…it reinforces the marketing message we convey to our customers through all media.”

This is can be a powerful approach and paid off for Winemiller as the Thunder scored the number one spot for ESPN Magazine’s Ultimate Fan Rankings last year.

At Taylor Reach we have long advocated the importance of aligning marketing with the customer experience and that the customer experience is a result of and natural conclusion of marketing activities. We offer numerous tools to support the development of this alignment including CX Snapshot that allows organizations to quickly assess the level and quality of their customer engagement.

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/30/aligning-customer-experience-and-marketing-by-nbas-oklahoma-city-thunder-nets-cco-of-the-year-award/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=aligning-customer-experience-and-marketing-by-nbas-oklahoma-city-thunder-nets-cco-of-the-year-award

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The LAKE approach to Measure Customer Experience

On Friday when our associate Bruce Lebowitz spoke on BlogTalk Radio on Branding Dialogues and one of the points he addressed was the LAKE approach to measuring the customer experience in the call center. LAKE stands for:

- Language, the language and vocabulary the agent employs,

- Attitude, the attitude demonstrated by the agent during the interaction,

- Knowledge, the knowledge employed and demonstrated by the agent during the interaction,

- Effort, the effort required by the customer to get to complete the interaction.

Employing the LAKE approach it is possible to assess the agents’ ability to connect with the caller and demonstrate the company’s commitment to serving the customer.

This approach ties into and links to the desired customer experience and should echo or mirror the brand expectations created by Marketing. The LAKE approach is well aligned with the Taylor Reach Customer Experience Snapshot (CX Snapshot) audit process. The CX Snapshot measures the emotional and rational connections between the agent and the caller and the effort the customer is required to expend in the process.

For more information on the LAKE approach or CX Snapshot please email Colin or give me a call at 416-979-8692 ext 200.

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/23/the-lake-approach-to-measure-customer-experience/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-lake-approach-to-measure-customer-experience

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New York City 311 Contact Center

Recently Taylor Reach had the opportunity to tour and talk with Joseph R. Morrisroe of New York’s 311 services.

The Call Center, launched in 2003 grew to over 400 staff with full and part-time, now through call and service remodeling has reduced the staff needed to about 280.

The center takes about 22 million calls a year over half are completed by live agents. The center answers calls about all things New York. One of the most common call types is which and whether parking rules in effect, NY parking rules vary by day, and changes based on holidays and religious observances. The center also receives calls for services not offered by the city such as Subway which is a State agency. These calls for ‘non-city services’ represents approximately 7% of the total call volume processed.

About half of all calls are processed through the center’s IVR. As successful as the current IVR has been Joe is looking for more success. We discussed the success that the City of London’s England has achieved with natural language. Joseph and his team are working with Nuance and Avaya to bring the service to New York. Launch is expected early in the New Year. It is hoped that the new more robust IVR will answer yet more of the simple and frequent questions, ensuring the agents can focus on handling the more complex ones.

The website is a point of pride for 311 center management and staff. To ensure that the website supported the needs of the citizens more than 4,000 individual knowledge points were reviewed and converted from ‘Rep speak’, the instructions that an agent might have to guide a live conversation into instructions for self service on the web. The website also allows citizens to complete common forms on the website. These forms are then routed directly to the appropriate department. With more than 2 million visitors last year the website is certainly supporting the centers objectives.

Text or SMS messages are sent out daily with more than 300,000 sent last year alone. The city has even created an iPhone App, (yes there is an app for that) with more than 2,000 users.

Joseph took care to comment that the center does not do email. The unstructured nature of email does not suit the model of effectiveness and efficiency that the City is aiming for, so this has not been pursued.

Next on the horizon for the 311 center is live chat. Chat has not been a part of the mix to date, but is viewed by Joe as an opportunity to further enhance the service offered to New Yorkers. A new chat service is expected to debut next month.

The center is located in lower Manhattan enabling people from all over the city to reach it easily by subway. The center design was based on Mayor Bloomberg’s experience with contact centers in the financial industry. The result is a very pleasant and comfortable center; the stations are low profile and the office open and bright. This encourages a team feeling and personal and profession responsibility.

The agent wage is locally competitive and fair given the work and the benefits are better than many other centers. Turnover in the last four years has been very low.

Mayor Bloomberg has been a strong supporter of the 311 center and regularly stops by to speak with staff and even to handle incoming calls. He daily reviews the statistics from the center about issues and service delivery in and about the city. There are many smaller enterprises than the City of New York that could benefit from this level of interest and engagement with the contact center.

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/16/new-york-city-311-contact-center/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-york-city-311-contact-center

Contact Center Jobs Grow in United States, lag in Canada

I was reading with great interest the latest contact center openings and closings from September. The news is quite encouraging on the whole. With more than 40,000 new jobs created globally and almost half of this number created in the US the outlook is bright. Even in Canada where we have seen a spate of recent center closings as US based firms come to grips with the reality of a Canadian dollar at 2 cents over par, we seen flattening of the decline. By my math in September in Canada we saw 500 jobs lost and 600 jobs created. Of course this level of job creation lags that seen in the US and even in a number of individual states. Colorado, New York, and Texas created more than 3,300 new jobs combined and more than 1,300 in Colorado alone! The largest single announcement in the US was TeleTech which plans to hire 7,500 Home Agents nationally. Offshore almost 75% of all of the new jobs created were by UST Global, Convergys and Expert Global that are creating a combined 16,000 new jobs.

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/16/contact-center-jobs-grow-in-united-states-lag-in-canada/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=contact-center-jobs-grow-in-united-states-lag-in-canada

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Gap between Brand Promises and the Customer Experience

Hear Bruce Lebowitz our newest team member speak out the Gap between Brand Promises and the Customer Experience on the next VOC Radio Show- Friday (10/19) – Branded Dialogues

Please join us in the upcoming episode of Voice of the Customer Radio – Friday October 19th (12-1pm EDT). We will be discussing Customer Experience and branded dialogues. While every company makes brand promises in all their marketing and advertising, the most admired companies extend the brand experience through their actual customer service dialogues every day. We will explore how to translate the brand promise to the front-line customer experience that results in happy customers, respected brands and great customer experiences.

As you are aware, all episodes of VOC Radio are complimentary and worth the listen for the Customer Professional.

Title – Branded Dialogues: Bridging the Gap Between Brand Promises and Customer Experience

Expected Outcomes:

• Recognizing the gap between brand image and customer experience

• Review of common pitfalls in organizations

• Relieving the tension between efficient delivery and experience

• Examples to best practices — Leaders in the field

• Measuring experience as well as performance

• How to improve communication between Marketing and Operations

• How to “Brand Train” agents


Bruce Lebowitz

Senior Consultant

The Taylor Reach Group, Inc.

Read more about the Taylor Reach approach to closing the Gap between Brand Promises and the Customer Experience

Read our recent thought leadership piece the challenges in delivering the desired Customer Experience through the contact center

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/12/the-gap-between-brand-promises-and-the-customer-experience/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-gap-between-brand-promises-and-the-customer-experience

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Snapshotz Online Download September 2012

The Snapshotz Online Download September 2012

What’s in the September issue of ‘Download’

At a forum we attended recently, A question was asked as to how we stay so connected and networked in our industry across the world even though we are a small organisation?

Our response is simple. If you have interest, conviction and care, then networks and goodwill follow.

The September issue of Snapshotz Download provides some practical insights in easily digestible formats from industry thought leaders in the form of Darlene Richard and Michael Clark.

September was a busy month in the Snapshotz World and for our customers as well as evidenced by the happenings as listed below!

Snapshotz Exhibited at the Contact Centre Institute of New Zealand Annual Conference on the 14th of September. See Photos’

Snapshotz Online launched our Chinese version commencing with a workshop in Shenzhen, China on the 24th of September as well as at 02 international conferences:

International Call Center Summit and the Eighth Best Call Center of China Awards Ceremony held on the 26th of September.

The China Out Sourcing Summit 2012, held in Hangzhou on the 28th September

In September we take the opportunity to introduce a partner Craig Piercy.

The New Zealand Contact Centre Benchmarking Programme 2012 (NZCCB) In association with the Contact Centre Institute of New Zealand (CCiNZ) and The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Sponsored by Microsoft Dynamics.

The programme has continued to attract award winning contact centres in the caliber of the New Plymouth District Council and Lantern Insurance joining other organisations from the Public Sector and the private sector. The Immigration NZ, Hauraki District Council, Sovereign Insurance, Goodman Fielder, George Weston Foods, New Zealand Courier Post.

“Every progressive contact centre requires legitimate, recognized data and verifiable statistics to demonstrate how competitive or cost effective their centre is, additionally, “there must be a reliable way for one organization or industry to compare themselves with their peers on a range of metrics”. Participation in the NZCCB will enable contact centres to do so.

Compare against a range of over 700 metrics whilst at the same time getting a health check! There are several options available to participate so do contact us if you want to know what best suits your operation.

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/08/the-snapshotz-online-download-september-2012/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-snapshotz-online-download-september-2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Will Technology Kill the Call Center – A Guest Blog

By Ashley Furness

Research firm Software Advice recently moderated a live online debate called, “Will Technology Kill the Call Center?” Representatives from IntelliResponse, Avaya Inc., Drumbi and Etech Global Services discussed consumer contact channel utilization, technology and the impact of these trends on the future call center. The speakers offered advice on customer contact channel strategy, as well as forecasted what companies can expect from the next generation of consumers.

The panel answered four scripted questions before the discussion was opened up to the 40 attendees. These included:

• How have you seen consumer contact channel utilization change in the last decade?

• What role has technology played in this change?

• How do you see technology impacting the way customers contact a company in the future, and the kind of service they receive?

• Will technology eventually render call centers irrelevant?

Here are several takeaways from their responses.

Customers Use Many Channels: Leverage Them Together

All of the speakers agreed that consumers are embracing newer contact channels, such as virtual agents and self service, at a pace never seen before in the contact center world.

For instance, Etech Senior Vice President of Global Development Jim Iyoob said that his contact center clients have seen virtual agent traffic rise to as high as 30 percent of interactions. That’s up from zero just a few years ago. Avaya Director of Customer Experience Management Laura Bassett also cited a study they conducted that showed 78 percent of consumers use the Internet to research a product before they buy.

This doesn’t mean customers are choosing these new channels instead of voice. Rather, they are using self service, FAQs, mobile and other channels in addition to the telephone.

“Once a customer gets to voice contact, they are at a crucial juncture in the interaction. The company needs to be much smarter when they get there,” Bassett said.

In response, companies need to do more than just make these channels available. They should leverage each to better serve the customer. For example, can you tell what a customer was looking at in your FAQs before they called your 1-800 number? Do you know if they interacted with a virtual agent? Having these answers can bring context and personalization to the live response experience. This increases efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Technology Empowers the Customer: Respond to Their Choice

IntelliResponse Vice President of Marketing Mike Hennessy has witnessed a sea change in the way organizations interact with customers. This is due in large part to advancements in technology.

“Technology can finally deliver on the promises from five or six years ago. … This has revolutionized the self service industry. Folks that are clinging to old methods of interaction are doing so at their peril,” Hennessy said.

He says technology for new contact channels has leveled the playing field for user experience. The customer is empowered to choose the communication channel they want, when they want. It’s up to the company to “right channel” their business–to determine which channels are most important to its customers and invest in those technologies.

“It’s the customer’s choice how they want to contact you. It’s up to the contact center to accommodate,” Iyoob said.

Drumbi founder and CEO Shervin Talieh said companies should consider that the majority of customer contact will soon come from a smartphone or tablet. Users don’t want to tap through self-service login screens, or fish around FAQ pages using a tiny keyboard.

The Call Center Died and Was Reborn: Ready Your Agents

All of the speakers agreed that customer contact preference is shifting away from voice. But this won’t kill the call center because it’s already dead.

The concept of a call center comprising phone agents has evolved into a contact center comprising ”command teams” who manage customer interactions through multiple channels. That’s because today’s consumer demands instant gratification, and the reborn center is expected to support those demands, whether they come through Twitter, live chat or a phone call.

“In the future, we will have the tools to seamlessly move from one touch point to another without losing all the context. … This will have a tremendous impact on customer experience, but also the agent,” Talieh said.

This will continue to affect expectations from contact centers and their agents. Talieh said companies need to ensure that their contact center has the ability to leverage these various channels together. This means agents will need to be more skilled and technically savvy.

“At the end of the day it’s the agent behind the technology that’s going to make the difference. While technology will enable agents to be better, faster, more efficient. It will not replace the contact center,” Iyoob said.

The original version of this story is available here: “Google+ Debate Results: Will Technology Kill the Call Center.”

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/04/will-technology-kill-the-call-center-a-guest-blog/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=will-technology-kill-the-call-center-a-guest-blog

Monday, October 1, 2012

Customer Experience and Call Center Consulting Company Adds Teleweb industry Expert Bruce Lebowitz to the Firm

TeleWeb Veteran joins leading Customer Experience consulting firm. Adds to The Taylor Reach Group Inc. capabilities to help brands create meaningful dialogue with their customers.

Toronto, ON (PRWEB) October 01, 2012

Mr. Colin Taylor, The Chairman and CEO of The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. today announced that Bruce Lebowitz has joined the customer experience and call center consulting firm effective immediately.

Bruce began his call center career over 22 years while working for Optima Direct where he managed client telemarketing programs for BMG, WNET and TimeWarner. Bruce then started call center marketing consulting practices within large ad agencies including Rapp Collins and Ogilvy. Bruce was also an early payer in the community and crowdsourcing space while at Participate Systems. Bruce has solved problems and created successful programs for many Fortune 500 companies including American Express, IBM, SAP, Verizon, ADT and DHL. He enjoys creating strategies and then actually working on making the strategies come alive in market. Most recently, Bruce has managed a call center for a healthcare start-up and managed all call-center marketing for BarclayCard, a top ten credit card issuer in the United States.

“We are excited to have Bruce on board”, said Taylor, “His experience working in the space between creating great brands and developing effective customer dialogues is well aligned with our vision of the customer experience. His passion, for working closely with marketing and operations staff to create programs that delivers excellent customer experiences, is really at the core of all we do”, said Taylor.

Bruce holds a Masters degree in Economics for New York University and lives in New York City with his wife and family.

About The Taylor Reach Group, Inc.

The Taylor Reach group, Inc. (Taylor Reach) was founded in 2003 to assist companies and organizations to deliver a superior customer experience by leveraging their contact center. Taylor has completed hundreds of strategic and tactical programs for many of the Fortune 1000, and Global 1000. With experience on four continents the experts at Taylor Reach have assisted companies with 10 to 10,000 agent positions improve the customer experience, operation efficiency and productivity of their call and contact centers. Taylor Reach principals have been recognized more than 30 times for their excellence in contact center operations.

For more information about The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. visit http://thetaylorreachgroup.com or phone Colin Taylor at 1 877-979-8692 ext 200

via The Taylor Reach Group - Call Center Consultants http://thetaylorreachgroup.com/2012/10/01/customer-experience-and-call-center-consulting-company-adds-teleweb-industry-expert-bruce-lebowitz-to-the-firm/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=customer-experience-and-call-center-consulting-company-adds-teleweb-industry-expert-bruce-lebowitz-to-the-firm