Friday, October 7, 2016

Taylor Reach NPS Score +100

 

ct headshot 15-2By: Colin Taylor

Customer Satisfaction is critical for the success of any organization, and Taylor Reach is no different. Each member of the team strives to delight our customers and exceed their expectations.

To gauge the satisfaction of our clients we employ a customer satisfaction survey and all of our clients are asked to participate and complete a survey.

The results we achieved so far in 2016 have blown us away… our NPS[1] score is an impressive +100, a perfect score! This score is truly remarkable as “a Net Promoter Score of +30% is truly excellent” for B2B firms according to Deep Insight. Circle Research has indicated that score of +35 is the top quartile of all B2B NPS scores.

Thank you to all of clients that participated in this survey. We are delighted and honored to have our customers give us this vote of confidence. We will continue to work hard to earn and retain your trust and patronage.

Colin

[1] Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks and Net Promoter SystemSM and Net Promoter ScoreSM are trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems and Fred Reichheld



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Thursday, October 6, 2016

UK Launch – Taylor Reach

CT headshot 15-1By: Colin Taylor

Well it has been a busy month for Taylor Reach and for our Senior Consultant, Peter Elliot leading our UK team. Not only have we launched our Contact Centre, Call Centre and Customer Experience consulting services, but Peter is also relocating and changing his home address. Should you wish to reach Peter his email is pelliot@thetaylorreachgroup.com

Both Peter and I participated in the recent UK CX Awards held at the Park Plaza hotel, Westminster, where he and I both chaired judging panels. Peter judged the ‘New Product, Product Improvement Making the Most of New’ Technology category and I, Business Transformation. There we some brilliant entries and the judging was close, with little to differentiate between the finalists.

In the category of Business Transformation, the winner was Royal London, with Pelican Business Services receiving the Silver award.

1-business-transformation-royal-london-donhales-logo

Figure 1: Royal London winners with Don Hale- Business Transformation

In the New Product/Product Improvement – Loving The Customer category, which Peter judged the winner was Close Brothers Retail Finance, with Barclays – Continuous Improvement Debit Card Disputes receiving the runner up award.

Figure 2: Close Bros with Peter Elliot- New Product/Product Improvement – Loving The Customer

Figure 2: Close Bros with Peter Elliot- New Product/Product Improvement – Loving The CustomerIn addition Peter also presented a number of awards, including; New Product/Product Improvement – (Making The Most Of Technology), OmniChannelCX

In addition Peter also presented a number of awards, including; New Product/Product Improvement – (Making The Most Of Technology), OmniChannelCX

 

 

In the category of New Product/Product Improvement (Making the Most of Technology) the winner was My Home Move, with InMoment receiving the silver award.

Figure 3My Home Move and Peter Elliot- New Product/Product Improvement – (Making The Most Of Technology)

Figure 3: My Home Move and Peter Elliot- New Product/Product Improvement – (Making The Most Of Technology)

The OmnichannelCX category was won by FM Outsource, with the silver award going to Virgin Trains in partnership with Opinsta.

Figure 4: FM Outsource and Peter Elliot- OmnichannelCX

Figure 4: FM Outsource and Peter Elliot- OmnichannelCX

 

All in all it was a great and enjoyable event. It was my first time at the awards, Peter was a veteran having attended and judged previously. I have judge contact centre and customer experience awards on three continents and was quite impressed with the process and quality of the submissions. For anyone who is considering participation I would encourage you to do so and can attest to the level of rigor present in the judging process. For more information on the awards or to see the full list of winners, visit the UK CX Awards website.

Concurrent to the UK launch of Taylor Reach, we have also introduced a free 1 hour consultation available to anyone who has questions regarding their contact centre or wants our perspective on the industry or any aspect of contact centres or CX. You can take advantage of this opportunity by visiting our website and completing a request form  here.

September on this side of the pond has been a busy for Taylor Reach as we worked on a number of projects: we completed the design and implementation of a new quality program for a major power utility, continued to redevelop agent training for one of the most respected names in media, completed an contact centre assessment for a start-up in the cosmetics industry, and helped a major non-profit with the selection of a new contact centre telephony platform.

For more information on the consulting services offered by Taylor Reach, please visit our website or click on your area of interest below;

Contact Centre Assessment

Contact Centre Audit

Contact Centre Benchmarking

Technology Assessment

Outsource Suitability

Site Selection

Training Design and Development

Starting a New Contact Centre

Quality and CX Design and Implementation

Interim Management

CX Health Check

If you would like to stay informed on industry trends, news and updates from Taylor Reach, please subscribe to our Customer Reach Newsletter here

Remember Taylor Reach is vendor agnostic and does not ‘partner’ with any vendor and does not receive compensation from anyone but our clients, so you know we are truly independent.

 

 

 



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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Auditing, Made Easy.

Snapshotz™

Call Center and Contact Center Customer Service Auditing

Operational Efficiency, Excellence and Best Practice improvements can only be achieved once the opportunities have been identified. The reality is however, that due to the ever changing world of technology, communications and the customers themselves, the metrics that reveal the opportunities are constantly changing and adapting to new innovations, fads and management concepts. When in truth Operational Efficiency, Excellence and Best Practice improvements always need to be at the core of the center's overall strategy.

But How Do You Ensure Operational Excellence?

 

Although content marketing and curation has alleviated the pain of searching through articles to identify what's new and improved, they are only half the battle. In order to create a transparent vision for the contact center requires an understanding of how the center is operating today and how it stacks up to other centers. Conducting regular center audits are the most effective and most revealing solution, to achieve this goal. Through conducting a center audit, a full 360 degree view of where the business stands today in relation to where they should be can not only provide indications for improvement, but will reveal missed opportunities or new solutions that have never before been considered or discussed.

Now, while stressing the importance of continual center audits, is it also important to discuss the kind of audit one conducts.

"What are you measuring and what are the conditions being compared?" 

"Who are you being compared against, and how robust is the comparison?"
"What are the insights you are applying to your current situation and what are the steps to reaching the best practices?"

 

Snapshotz™ is the "All In One Audit", the online cloud tool that provides simplicity, clarity and in-depth detail of how a business compares on a global scale.  Unlike no other on the market, Snapshotz ™ provides benchmarking from over 1700 other centers, across 700 data points.  


Read below to see why Snapshotz™ is the tool your center needs to test.

Want More Information/ Have Any Questions?

Snapshotz Consultants
First
Last
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Extending Their Call Center Consulting Services Further, Growing The Taylor Reach Group

Expanding Their Reach of Consulting Services Through the Addition of a New Expert Consultant

Taylor Reach Group Expands to Quebec

Toronto, ON.

Mr. Colin Taylor, The CEO and Chief Chaos Officer of The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. announced today that Alton Harewood has joined the customer experience and contact center consulting firm effective immediately.

 

The Taylor Reach Group expands to Quebec, Canada with the addition of Mr. Harewood to their team. Alton is a business and contact center consultant with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Alton has a strategic planning focus, with 250 projects under his belt.

The Taylor Reach Group is excited to have Mr. Harewood join the firm” says Mr. Taylor.  

His expertise and focus in leveraging technology platforms to enhance call center, customer service and sales operations fits directly into the methodology we employ at Taylor Reach. He will be a great asset in identifying solutions for centers, focusing in on technology acquisition, cloud, and work to further clients’ business developments

Most recently, Alton has been involved in working with call and contact centers to extend their reach online, focusing in on analytical and social development to assist organizations in moving to the cloud. His previous roles involved assessing strategic management and process planning for centers, verifying the customer experience gaps existing for clients, consulting on migration to cloud solutions and offering proficient and modern solutions.

 

Alton lives in Montreal, with his family. He is professionally capable in both French and English. Alton is an avid writer and content curator, maintaining multiple social media networks, all with a “millennial” attitude and runs the Canadian Executive Leadership Group on LinkedIn.

In joining The Taylor Reach Group, Alton is “excited to partner on strategic management consulting, work closely with other team members to utilize their specializations and combine previous expertise with new clientele to further grow both his and Taylor Reach’s Network” 

About The Taylor Reach

With offices in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and China, The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. (Taylor Reach) is a leading Call/Contact Center Consulting Customer Experience and Customer Service consulting firm. This award winning company founded in 2003 by Colin Taylor boasts today a stable of Fortune 1000 companies. The consulting staff at Taylor Reach each possess more than 20 years of ‘hands-on’ Call/Contact Center, Customer Experience, Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction experience in delivering effective and significant benefits from Operational Innovation.

 

 

The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. – Leaders in Call Center and Customer Service consulting – Bringing Order to Customer Service and Call Center Chaos since 2003.

For more information, visit our website,  The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. or contact Colin Taylor at 1-866-334-3730 ext 102 or ctaylor@thetaylorreachgroup.com



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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Customer Satisfaction as a Primary KPI?

By: Turaj Seyrafiaan

checklistThere have always been a number of contact center efficiency and effectiveness indicators. While each has a certain and important role, it should always be emphasized that we cannot analyze these indicators in solitude and need to view them as part of a larger holistic picture. From time to time, however, I have been asked which one of these indicators is the most important measurement for the business? Is there one measurement that a contact center manager can / must follow?
Well, I don’t know if “Customer Satisfaction” should be the only measurement but I do know that it should be the primary measurement. You see, we are all in business because we are trying to generate revenue from our products and services. We are the “Providers” who offer those products and services to customers. Without customers there is nothing for us to offer! We need customers!!
As contact centers play a bigger and bigger role in today’s businesses, their impact on the customers, and as a result on their loyalty to a company, become more and more evident. In fact best-in-class contact centers pride themselves in making the difference and increasing the overall customer satisfaction. Many years ago while doing a benchmarking study; I had an opportunity of discussing the role of the contact center with a senior VP of a multi-million Dollar mail order company. Several of our questions were focused on the sales process at the center, but he simply pointed out that “the catalog does the selling; we are here to serve customers and are responsible for their satisfaction”!! He had clearly understood that without satisfied customers the business could not grow and had entrenched that as the main role for his centers. Don’t get me wrong! They did have all kind of efficiency and effectiveness measurements and he knew his operation in fine detail, but the goal of the operation was to increase Customer Satisfaction.
Impact on Business
In the past twenty years, there have been many studies trying to define the impact of customer satisfaction on long term revenue / profit in more tangible relationship in order to convince those skeptical executives who felt the cost of customer satisfaction would far over weigh its benefits. Majority of these studies pointed to the same conclusion that customer satisfaction matters and can increase both short-term and long-term revenue for the organization.
Here are three of the well known conclusions:
• It costs significantly more (6-12 times) to attract a new customer than keeping an existing customer (“Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied”).
• In a competitive environment, a company with “excellent customer satisfaction” can charge up to 10% premium for similar products and services than its competitor (in other words it take 10% price differential for a “Very Satisfied” customer to consider changing his provider). This premium drops to under 3% for “Satisfied” customers. On the other side, those customers who rate their satisfaction as “Poor” and “Very Poor” will consider a change as soon as similar products and services are available from a competitor.
• Companies that provide multiple products and services can have up to 60% higher revenue from “Very Satisfied” customers than from “Satisfied” customers.
As mentioned all these studies deliver the same conclusion: customer satisfaction is important to the long term survival and growth of an organization. So, if we agree that customer satisfaction is important, how do we achieve that and how do we measure our progress?
There have been many theories around what is it that customers value, and how to increase their satisfaction. In general there are many factors contributing to the customers’ overall satisfaction. These factors vary from customer to customer and from environment to environment but typically include factors such as product (functionality, quality), price, delivery and service. Contact centers don’t have much to contribute to the product itself, price or fulfillment but can have a major impact on the service and this is where contact centers can differentiate themselves while creating wealth for the organization.
Customer Satisfaction is an ART
As a rule, customers’ expectation of a contact center can be grouped into three major categories: Access, Resolution and Treatment (ART for short). “Access” defines how easy it is for customers to reach a center (long wait time or a convoluted IVR certainly does not help). “Resolution” deals with the solutions that were offered / delivered to the customers during their contacts and how easy or difficult was to obtain such solutions (FCR comes to mind). Finally “Treatment” describes how customers were treated during their contacts. Each of these three major categories can be linked back to one or more of the efficiency / effectiveness measurement. For example Access can be linked back to Service Level and ASA.
Customer Satisfaction Index
Having customer satisfaction defined around ART, makes its measurement a lot easier. Typically, contact centers develop a short survey (5 to 10 questions) around these three categories (plus one or two loyalty questions which we will discuss later in this article) in order to measure the overall satisfaction. At the same time a secondary (detailed) survey is developed around each of these categories. These surveys are only used if and when there is a need for more detailed analysis (such as an improvement initiative or investigation about certain category).
Obviously different organizations use different scale for their survey measurement. These scales fall into two categories: Quantitative (such as 0 – 10) and Qualitative (such as Very Satisfied”, “Satisfied” and so on). Quantitative scale is more adaptable for numerical analysis, however, it makes it harder for customers to pick a number that represents their true feeling (for example what is the difference between a “6” vs. “7”). Qualitative scales, on the other hand, provide a better definition to the scale for customers to choose. Regardless of which scale you decide to use, the result can be presented as an index that combines all the results. An index is simply an average of all the numerical results. In case of qualitative scale each grade is given a numerical value in order to cover entire range (for example if the scale has only 4 options, then the lowest grade is 0, the highest grade is 100 and the other two are 33 and 66).
There are still a few organizations who report their result for top 1 or 2 grades only (for example “79% of customers rank their satisfaction as “Satisfied” and “Very Satisfied”). By choosing a specific grouping of the respondent, this method fails to provide a complete picture of what customers (all of them) think as we cannot tell if the majority of customers are “Very Satisfied” or just “Satisfied”. In addition there is no report about satisfaction of the other 21%.
iStock_000015959780_SmallAlthough it has been proven that customer satisfaction can and will lead to higher revenues, there is still the question of customer intention, especially when it comes to the large ticket items such as automobiles. Is the customer satisfaction a valid indicator of future revenues? Would a satisfied customer purchase the same brand when it is time for an upgrade? The problem here is that there are many other factors involved that will impact customers’ intention and as a result even a “Very Satisfied” customer may not become a repeat customer. (Although even in these situations, the probability of a customer becoming a repeat customer increases with the level of their satisfaction).
In order to gauge the likelihood of customers repeating their purchases and becoming repeat customers, many organization – large and small – have introduced one or two questions with regard to customer’s intention, loyalty and potential recommendation to others. When reviewing results from such surveys, we must keep in mind that: a) customers are evaluating the entire organization (including product features and quality, price, delivery and service); and b) customers provide their feelings at the moment of the survey which is highly influenced by their latest experience with the company. Such feelings may change over time depending on more recent interaction with the organization.
Net Promoter
Over the years, loyalty questions have expanded from individual customer’s purchase intention (would you use us again?) to his or her willingness to recommend the company’s products and services (would you recommend us to your colleagues?). The idea here is based on the old adage that word of the mouth is the best advertising. By including the question about recommendation, organizations hope to capture a simple and accurate indicator for future growth.
In 2003 Bain & Company introduced a more formal / structured format for this question and the related analysis called Net Promoter. The survey simply asks about the likelihood of a customer recommending the product and/or service to others on a scale of 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Customers with scores between 0 and 6 are considered to be ‘Detractors’ while those customers with scores of 9 and 10 are considered to be ‘Promoters’ (customers with scores of 7 and 8 are considered to be ‘Passive’). Net Promoter Score (or NPS) is the difference between the percentage of ‘Promoters’ and ‘Detractors’. A positive number indicates that there are more customers recommending the company than those who are denouncing it. Clearly a higher positive number indicates higher number of ‘Promoters’ and higher possibility of revenue growth.
Although Bain & Company introduced this metric as the “the one number you need to grow”, there is no statistical evidence that this indicator is more accurate than any other loyalty indicators or for that matter any typical customer satisfaction indicators already in place.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of which method is used to survey and report customers’ intention, there is no question that customer satisfaction has a major impact on future buying decisions either from current customers or their network of acquaintance. In many organizations contact centers are major source of providing services to customers which magnifies the impact of customer satisfaction with the center on the overall survival / growth of an organization. For these contact centers customer satisfaction must become a major goal (if not the only goal) for the operation.



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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Brexit – Good for the Irish Tech and Call Center Industry?

Brexit Direction Sign with sky as a background

Which Direction for Tech and Call Centers

By Peter Elliot

As an avid participant in the tech industry for the last quarter-century, I have seen a lot of change. Let me start by saying I do hope that Brexit won’t be of much note as we look back on the UK tech scene in five years’ time. That said, I have not encountered a single colleague who is not surprised, saddened and concerned by the result. Voters expressed their concerns based on emotions rather than economics, highlighting the cultural issues that immigration has caused in many communities, and the perceived loss of control to European institutions. Which leaves UK firms to figure out their own way forward in a new economic and political landscape.
The debate about the UK’s trade and immigration policies will continue for the next few years, and if one thing is certain, the accompanying uncertainty will cause firms to delay plans for change, and this will create recessionary forces in the UK economy.
I have been enjoying the freedom of Europe as a UK citizen living in Ireland for the past 18 years, and I can honestly report life is good here. I heartily sympathise with my UK colleagues who must now deal with the Brexit consequences. Ireland has done well from its EU membership since 1973, and most people here see themselves as European citizens. The recent bailout after the 2008 crash was contentious, however the EU prescribed medicine was taken, and the patient is now healed and active again, albeit saddled with significant debt. Ireland will remain in the EU for the foreseeable future.
Tech businesses here are eyeing the political and economic fallout in our nearest neighbour and, after breathing a sigh of relief that we are still in Europe, are trying to gauge the impact on our own vibrant tech industry.
There have been some knee-jerk reactions from UK tech companies announcing a shift of operations into Europe, and Ireland is well placed to pitch for their business. Others have deferred expansions and some such as Lloyds Bank have downgraded their outlook and announced thousands of redundancies.
Here are some of the main pros and cons for doing business in Ireland vs rest of Europe:
Pros
• English speaking
• Excellent education system
• Closest neighbour with good travel links
• Good power and network infrastructure
• Low corporation tax
• Pro-business culture supported by state agencies
Cons
• Higher cost base than many eastern European countries.
• Lack of housing and accommodation
• Underdeveloped public transport system
• High personal taxes
So what are some of the likely Brexit impacts on the Irish technology sector?
Availability of skilled staff. UK software businesses who rely upon a steady flow of skilled staff from across the EU are worried about potential impact upon their existing EU workers and whether recruitment will become more difficult when Brexit is invoked. A valid concern because immigration was the major issue in the vote, so the UK cannot allow the current freedoms to continue. These firms may look to relocate or establish satellite operations within Europe, and Ireland is conveniently close and English speaking. Whilst the increase in economic activity is welcome, it will mean increased competition for skilled staff, and potentially more immigration into Ireland.
Access to UK markets. This becomes tougher due to the falling pound, however currency swings are something Eurozone-based firms should be used to. Neither can I see the UK raising tariffs on Irish and EU based services, so whilst competitiveness may be impacted, unless the pound falls further businesses selling unique services into the UK should be OK.
In contact centres, multi-lingual skills are required to service a pan-European or global business. Ireland has been good at attracting native language speakers from across the EU, and conversely it will become more difficult in the UK. Centre operators in the UK are faced with uncertainty regarding current and future staff from Europe, uncertain economic conditions and uncertainty of the suitability of their UK based centres to support a European market. We will likely see more investment in the multi-lingual BPO sector in Ireland, and possibly wholesale relocation of centres into Ireland and beyond. Most multi-lingual contact centres are comfortable with English as the primary language and Ireland is unique in Europe in this respect.
Future Investment and progress. Often overlooked, the uncertainty of the economic environment in the UK may stall investment and expansion for a period of time. Un-hampered by this, tech businesses in Ireland should grab the opportunity to expand and innovate to gain advantage over their UK rivals.
With an English speaking, well educated workforce and pro-business attitude, it all looks good for net expansion of the Irish tech scene. However in the short to medium term, an influx of tech business may create skills shortages and yet more competition for places to live.
If your contact centre business may be affected by Brexit and you would like to discuss options with a truly independent party, contact the Taylor Reach Group Inc. for more details.
Peter Elliot advises businesses on best practices in customer service and data analysis, and with the Taylor Reach Group helps contact centres benchmark, improve, expand, consolidate and relocate their operations.



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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokemon Go And Your Contact Center

mirror.co.uk

mirror.co.uk

By Colin Taylor

It has just been a few weeks since Pokemon Go has unleashed mobs of zombies walking in search of new Pokemon to capture, and other players to battle. The game quickly eclipsed Twitters total number of users and at more than 21 million players it shows no signs that the growth is abating anytime soon. Cemetaries, museums and private homes have posted notices asking player not to play at their location. Players have walked into buildings, signs and driven into police cars. Playing any game while driving is probably not a good idea. Calls to 911 requesting access to fire stations in LA are ‘impeding emergency service’.
But what does Pokemon Go mean for the operators of call centers and contact centers? The invasion of your call center by Pokemon is likely to reignite the debate about smart phones in the contact center.
Make no mistake Pokemon is a distraction for staff and management alike, it is not just a game played by teens and millennials. So all staff in the center are at risk for being affected by the need to capture Poke’s that are hovering on the next desk, in the parking lot or in the lunch room. In a contact center operation this equates very quickly to a new category of labor shrinkage, right up there with lunch, breaks, and washroom trips. It also can impact and agents’ performance if they were hunting Pokemon until 4 am, they may be a little tired at the start of their 7 am shift.
But it is not all gloom and doom. Pokemon Go also represents an opportunity. Just as some businesses have benefited from proximity to Pok├ęStop and Poke Gyms, others have been spending money to become a hub of Pokemon players. A pizza restaurant in New York city spent $110 in ‘lures’ and increased their order volume by 75%. One enterprising outsourcer employed a lure at their center to attract people to their job fair, bringing more people and candidates to their facility.
How centers will balance the risks and challenges of Pokemon Go on their staffing and workforce management is still an open question. But there is opportunity here as well, the use of lures may help centers to recruit staff and the possibility of leveraging Pokemon Go as an element of gamification shows great promise.
Only time will answer these questions for call center operators, but rest assured Pokemon and augmented reality is here to stay, so we need to get used to the idea and think creatively about how we can turn this technology to our advantage.

Let me your take on Pokemon Go and the implications for your call center or contact center.



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Monday, July 11, 2016

Profit Centre vs. Cost Centre

Profit Centre vs. Cost Centre

By: Turaj Seyrafiann 

July 11th 2016, 

Traditionally, call centers were managed in order to minimize the costs. The reason for that seemed simple and obvious; taking the calls and providing service on the phone appeared to be of no additional value to the organizations. The call centre activities were concentrated around providing the after sale services and at best would be considered as revenue protection (a necessary evil!!). It was many years later that organizations started realizing the value of their contact centers in not only protecting revenue but also in generating revenue from both new and existing customers. This new realization brought a new operational concept to the contact centre environment: “invest more in the centre in order to generate more revenue”!

In today’s environment, contact centers operate in two distinct modes: Profit Centre vs. Cost Centers. In a profit centre environment, the centre is operated similar to an independent or self sustaining business unit. The budgetary and operational decisions are taken with focus on generating revenue for the organization. Although revenue generation may not be the sole purpose of the centre, its management is responsible to operate – and perhaps expand – using internal funds. In a cost centre environment, the budgetary focus continues to be on minimizing the costs. Majority of the operational decisions will be scrutinize in order to find the lowest cost approach with less regard for their value to the centre or the organization. In fact in most cases it would be very difficult to quantify the value of these decisions in a tangible manner.

Which one of these two approaches is right for your centre? Well, the answer depends on the role of the centre within the organization (for example “Technical Help Desk” vs. “Sales & Services”) and the overall mandate for the centre. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. In a revenue centre, the management has broader control over its internal decisions, but with the control comes broader responsibilities and accountability in making the right decisions. On the other hand, in a cost centre environment, there is constant pressure in maximizing the efficiency of the operation (which is not entirely a bad thing) while the management may feel they have none to very little control over decisions that would impact their centre.

The dividing line between the two approaches is not always clear but it is extremely important for the contact centre management to decide on an approach since it will determine and establish the contact centre priorities.

Contact The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. to assess which is the right approach for you!  


Turaj Seyrafiaan
is an experienced senior call center consultant working with The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. 



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5 Reasons New Call Centers Fail

5 Reasons New Call Centers Fail

ct 1

By: Colin Taylor

There can be many reasons for an organization to decide it is time to create a call center or contact center. Perhaps organic growth, a new product, service or acquisition is resulting in calls swamping the switchboard, or customers are tracking down the administrative offices to trace an order, or email volumes are surging and going unanswered?

By creating a call or contact center and being able to direct and centrally manage all call, emails, chats and other channels of communications organizations can realize both financial savings, but also improvements service quality and customer satisfaction. Whatever the cause once an organization has determine it is time to create a call center the next steps can be both daunting and critical.

There are more than 800 discrete tasks associated with building a call or contact center. Common Challenges include; Accurately sizing your call center requirements, Determining which channels to support, Identifying the telephony and technologies required to support your business activities, Mapping your business processes impacted by the call or contact center, Identification of the  integrations and links required to CRM or back office systems, The physical design of the call and workflows, Design of the physical call/contact center space, Creation of an organizational design and the people requirements. People are the largest cost in any call or contact center. People requirements include; job descriptions, Identification of skills required for each role, compensation modeling, quality management, workforce management (forecasting and scheduling) and the reporting required to provide the business with the knowledge to make data driven business decisions related to the call center / contact center and the customers they support.

compass

Taylor Reach assisted thousands of organizations to design, develop, implement and improve their call and contact centers. We have developed a proprietary approach to simplify and streamline what modeling and decision making around what can be a very arduous 6 to 12 month process, resulting in lower cost to implement and higher effectiveness and efficiency from day 1.

Common Fails

In supporting our clients in the development and implementation of new call centers and contact centers we have seen a number of challenges and decisions that can adversely impact the development process. These challenges include;

  • The lack of a cohesive vision of the role of the center. Is the center designed to be a profit center or a cost center? Is the purpose to deliver service that exceeds customer expectations or to be delivered a cost effectively as possible? Has the organization defined the desire customer experience when interacting with the center? Without a clear vision it is impossible to develop a center successfully. Fuzzy goals will produce fuzzy results.
  • Failure to realize that a call center or contact center is a unique and independent business service and must be properly researched and resourced in terms of both people and technologies.
    • The failure to complete proper research has led many organizations to select technologies that don’t meet the needs of the organization. Many solutions can appear on the surface to do what we want them to do, it is only be drilling down to the details of ‘how’ that we can often surface inadequacies. Research takes time, but it is time well invested versus selecting and installing a telephony or technology solution that doesn’t work or handicaps the organization going forward.
    • The failure to realize that a call or contact center requires staff with unique skills and competencies can result in the wrong people being on your contact center ‘bus’. Just because someone likes to talk doesn’t make them qualified to be an agent and a good salesperson isn’t always the best solution to lead a call center or inside sales team. Putting the wrong people in the wrong roles can handicap your center for months or years to come.
  • Failure to plan for growth or seasonality. Nothing is static, companies evolve over time and the reasons our customer contact us also evolve. Organic growth in contact volume may be linked to organizational growth, new markets, products or services. Increased focus on ecommerce can increase seasonal spiked and volumes. If the center planning has not taken these factors into consideration, you can find yourself without the ability to scale the center to support the customer needs. The solution to this can include center expansion and/or outsourcing. Both of these scenarios are disruptive and will reduce service quality while often increasing costs.
  • Failure to understand the labor market. In a call or contact center labor is the number one expense. Center also often have high staff turnover, both externally and internally. The location selected for the center must be sustainable and the labor costs and budgets need to be realistic. Failure to properly plan can lead to a center unable to secure the desired staff with the desired skills and/or force it to pay more than was budgeted for these roles.
  • Failure to seek guidance and expert advice. There is certainly a cost associated with retaining an expert to guide you through the process of designing and implementing a new call or contact center, but there is also a cost for not doing so. We have seen organizations select technologies only to have to remove and replace them within months, build and then shutter center locations due to staffing issues, deliver degraded services because their budget was incorrectly set in the first place and be hampered by center staff and leadership without the skills, competencies or training to excel in the role.

The preceding is by no means an exhaustive list of challenges associated with creating a new call center or contact center, but the examples cited above are some of the common failures, that can spell disaster for a new center initiative.

To find out more about The Taylor Reach Group or our services to support the development of a new call or contact center please check out our website http://ift.tt/1eYfdez review our case studies or contact us directly at info@thetaylorreachgroup.com  You can reach me directly at ctaylor@thetaylorreachgroup.com or by phone at 416-276-9068.

 

Colin Taylor is the CEO and Chief Chaos Officer at The Taylor Reach Group, Inc. a call center, contact center and customer experience consulting firm with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Colin is an award winning industry pioneer with 40 years of call, contact center, customer experience and customer service experience. Colin has been regularly ranked as one of the top industry experts by leading industry publications.



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Monday, June 13, 2016

If Computers Could Read Your Customer Survey Responses…

If computers could read your customer survey responses …

Written by: Peter Elliot

 

            Well, it all depends what you mean by ‘read’. Such a small word that implies so much based upon context. If you told me you read this article, it means you understood it. When a machine ‘reads’ a file, it typically means load and scan. When a machine ‘reads’ a survey response, it scans it, and applies predetermined algorithms to the words. It cannot possibly understand the meaning of the text; if it did, it truly would be artificially intelligent             

            A few years ago I led a project to analyse the written interactions between support agents and customers to gain insights into the reason for the call. We set out to analyse a corpus of text-based interactions between customers and service personnel, derive the topics and themes of the discussions, and use them to understand more about the company’s products and why customers need to call regarding their use. Thanks to a great team of analysts and data scientists, we built a prototype and celebrated a 70% success rate. While this may not seem worth celebrating, in the world of text analysis it’s quite good.

             The methodology is complex, but here are the basic steps. The text is cleaned by removing words (stop words) that have less meaning, such as pronouns. Similar words, such as plurals, are merged by stemming (shortening) them. What is left is a dictionary of meaningful words which can then be analysed. Clustering algorithms then scan for words that commonly occur together, and these clusters are surfaced to a SME (Subject Matter Expert) who answers the question ‘ if you see these words together in a piece of text what topic would you think is being discussed?’ Their answer becomes a document tag, and common tags can be counted, and graphically displayed. To test the validity of the output, a sample of the tagged documents are read by a person who compares the tag to the text, and notes whether the tag correctly describes the subject. This is how we assessed our 70% success rate.

            We humans automatically make assumptions when reading text, and one of them is context. We know up front, for instance, whether the conversation is about a disk storage unit or a fridge freezer. Our SME automatically assumes this knowledge when assigning a tag. Machines know nothing about context unless we provide that information.
While the SME is asked to provide the understanding, the machine can apply it methodically to large numbers of conversations very quickly. The next nut to crack is to get the machine, based on past experience, to learn to apply the SME understanding and create the tag. One way this can be done is to record word clusters and associated tags in a database, and use a search algorithm, however it’s important to search by context to get meaningful results. A start has been made by some MiT researchers who have assembled an open database of word associations and topics called ConceptNet that can be looked up by other applications such as Luminoso, which uses ConceptNet to infer topics and themes without the need for human intervention.

            Companies such as Clarabridge and Medallia combine many of these techniques to turn pages of text, such as TripAdvisor comments, into quantifiable terms. Social media tools such as Attensity use similar tools to trawl through tweets and facebook posts to provide insights into what customers are saying on social media. Their products can also determine the sentiment of the conversation by looking for key words and other words they occur with. Bill Inmon’s Forest Rim Technology Textual ETL product uses a relational database to align the results of context, ontology, taxonomy and text processing techniques in a form that can feed directly to a visualisation tool such as Tableau or Qlikview.

             If computers could read and understand text, and tell us what the text was about, then they would be as intelligent as we are. Furthermore Stephen Hawking wrote “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history”. Reading and understanding text is an essentially human characteristic. But there are many applications where it would be very useful to read text at machine speeds and be advised about the topics within it, and a 70% or higher success rate still provides useful insights that would otherwise require lengthy, tedious and maybe error-prone reading and notation by individuals, where the rate of return for the investment probably would not be acceptable.           

             My particular pursuit of text-reading technology arose from a desire to understand customers, why they call, and whether they are satisfied with the products they have bought. Consider the possibilities as this technology is enhanced, and that 70% success rate improves. In the Contact Centre we could obtain real-time customer satisfaction scores as our agent’s conversations are turned into text via text-to-speech applications, and analysed to indicate today’s satisfaction ratings and hot topics. Product issues could be immediately picked up and acted upon before other customers fall into the trap. Text Analysis technology is still very young, and as it develops has huge potential for improving Customer Experience measurement and analysis.

Peter Elliot is an experienced and professional consultant. Peter and his peers at The Taylor Reach Group, assist companies and organizations to overcome business, strategic and operational challenges in their call, contact center and customer facing organizations



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Using an Omni-Channel Strategy to Drive Customer Loyalty

How Leveraging an Omni-Channel Strategy Can Improve Your Customer Experience 

By: Colin Taylor

Recently, I was asked to give a presentation at the SCORE Conference in Boston on the importance and benefits of using an Omni-Channel strategy to drive customer loyalty. The event was a success and contained a lively discussion about how organizations can leverage an Omni-Channel, contact center design to drive customer loyalty, customer experience and customer centricity.

Omni-Channel can certainly be a game changer for contact centers. Using this approach, it can;

· Deliver consistent service regardless of channel of interaction,

· Support differentiated service for different customer segments and different customer journeys,

· Be a highly effective tool to support CX, customer centricity, customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty.

However according to research today, less than 1% of all organizations have deployed Omni-Channel.  A much more common approach is using Multi-Channel, which more than 40% of contact centers have deployed with 23% stating that they are executing well. Some confuse or combine Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel, so perhaps a look at their definitions would help.
I would define each as follows;

Multi-Channel is the use of multiple channels (calls, chat, email, web, etc.) to provide service to customers. In practice, these conversations occur in discrete channels. 

Omni-Channel employs all of these channels, but rather than separate and discrete communication channels, Omni-Channel provides seamless switching between channels with real-time awareness and knowledge of all the actions in any channel. Omni-Channel is significantly more complex than multi-channel.

This complexity is often born primarily out of the cost and resource requirements associated with integrating many disparate systems. 

But is the investment worth it?
To determine the return on this investment, let’s examine the enhanced capabilities that Omni-Channel can enable:

Segmentation

How can Omni-Channel support customer segmentation?

Companies segment their customer base to better understand these customers. The overall objective of customer segmentation is to analyze your customers, find niche opportunities, and create a sustainable competitive advantage. Segmentation allows organizations to increase profitability by better understanding customer needs and providing the solution then to meet those needs. Different treatments are required for each segment. We can segment our customers in many ways, based on lifetime value, RFM (recency, frequency and monetary value), class of customer, geography, line of business etc.

With Omni-Channel, we can recognize customers based on their segment across all channels:

On Voice Calls: 

  • Higher call/service level priority
  • Routed to higher skilled agent
  • Better FCR,
  • Higher CSAT/CX scores
  • More Empowerment

 

On Emails: 

  • Higher Priority
  • Human intervention versus AI/auto response
  • Contact-able agent signature versus generic
  • More Empowerment

On IVR: 

  • Ability to bypass or short-cut based on caller ID or customer number

On Chat: 

  • Higher service level priority
  • Lower chat to agent ratio (1:1)
  • Routed to higher skilled agent
  • Better FCR,
  • Higher CSAT/CX scores
  • More Empowerment

On Social: 

  • Auto escalation to contact center
  • Human response
  • Recognition

Journey Maps

How can Omni-Channel support your customer journey maps?

A Customer Journey Map (CJM) represents the customer experience from the perspective of the customer. Journey Maps need to be created for all channels of interaction. By understanding the journey of the customer when interacting with the brand, store or contact center, we believe we should be better able to deliver the desired customer experience. The logic here is sound, the challenge is with execution. There has been much coverage of the challenges and flaws in the CJM process as outlined below;

• 34% of companies indicating that they have undertaken CJM.
• Only 2% of companies that have reported success with CJM.
• 13% of customers who say CJM worked for them, while72% of customers who said CJM missed their needs.

The above research notwithstanding, CJM is a great process for better understanding the process, steps and journey that the customer must go through in receiving service from our organization. Failure to conceive, design and execute underlies much of the dissatisfaction cited above. To design and create an effective CJM process you need to keep the following considerations in mind;

1. The CJM must represent your Customer’s perspective. –Do you really know what this is?
2. Use research. -Conduct surveys, research and talk to Customer’s to confirm your understanding.
3. Represent Customer segments. –Different segments may have different experiences, you need to map each one.
4. Include the Customer’s Goal or Objective. –The Journey must end with the Customer getting what they want.
5. Include all touch-points and channels. –Customer’s expect consistency across the organization and channels.
6. Respect ‘Moments of Truth’ and the Emotions they invoke. –A bad interaction can taint an entire relationship. Identify the Moments of Truth and pay attention to the Emotions.
7. Check Alignment to your Brand Promise. –Customers are savvy, they are constantly checking us to see if we are ‘walking the talk’ and delivering the ‘promise’ that our advertising has made

“Is the service we are delivering an accurate reflection of the Brand Promises we have made?”

Omni-Channel provides CJM the ability to validate, confirm or inform:

  • The accuracy of the customer perspective and POV
  • The segmentation accuracy and effectiveness
  • Catalogue the ‘Moments of Truth’ across all journeys and segments
  • Impacts of ‘Moments of Truth’ by segment, transaction and channel

Customer Experience

How can Omni-Channel support your customer experience?

According to Gartner “by 2016, 89% of marketing leaders expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience” We all know that the experience the customer has when they interact with our company, our stores or our contact center, impacts their views, opinions and perceptions of the brand.

Customers judge their experiences on many different levels and across many touch-points. Their expectations don’t differentiate between a retail or a contact center interaction. They expect us to know them at all locations and across all channels. Omni-Channel can help us to do that.

The formal industry definition for customer experience is;
“How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”

CX (Customer Experience) includes all channels of communications and interactions, as illustrated on the Venn diagram:

Customer Centric Model

How can Omni-Channel support your customer centricity?

Customer centricity involves;

• Letting customers define the engagement.
• What channels they want to use.
• What control they can exert over their engagement.
• Engineer problems out as much as possible (proactive notifications/actions.)
• Ability to self-serve when desired.

In short, customer centricity requires that we recognizing a full 360 degree view of the customer. Being customer centric means you listen and respond to what they are saying and are consciously acknowledging their importance in your interactions and business decisions.

Omni-Channel supports customer centricity and ensures it is;
1. More consistent experiences and interactions
2. Superior understanding and appreciation of the customer POV and issues or concerns
3. More detailed and applicable notes in CRM informs better recognition and future actions

In a contact center environment, the moments of truth can an interaction, or can consist of multi- micro moments on any given customer contact interaction, as illustrated in the graphic below:

At Taylor Reach we have developed a contact center variation on this model. Each CX interaction can be viewed across three dimensions that have the greatest impact on the customers’ perceptions, opinions and experience:

  • Emotional connection. The ability of the agent to ‘connect’ with the customer
  • Rational connection. The ability of the agent to leverage training, knowledge and skills to resolve the inquiry
  • Customer effort. How easy was the process of reaching the agent.

We know intuitively that better service and better experiences improve customer relationships and research backs up our perceptions. Medallia Analysis found that organizations with the best customer experience realized a 140% increase in sales  when compared to those with the poorest customer experience scores.

The reasons for improving the customer experience can vary from organization to organization, but broadly they include: Improving Customer Retention, Improving Customer Satisfaction and Increasing Cross-Selling and Upselling.

Customer interactions account for more than half of all customer interactions in many industries, including retail and financial services. The decision of a customer to interact with the center is often based upon the perceived complexity of the task at hand. While many of us are comfortable interacting on-line to discover rates, prices or to understand the return policy, we are more likely to desire a live interaction if we perceive the issue or situation to be complex.

We can look at the Customer Experience across different levels. For example, in the graphic here we see the Customer Experience measured at the Brand level, the individual Customer Journey level and the Interaction level.

Increasingly organizations are beginning to measure the Customer Experience in their contact centers.  Research conducted by Genesys showed how companies are executing this strategy. When asked ‘What metric do you use to measure customer experience and loyalty’  the responses were:

  • Customer Satisfaction 51%
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) 26%
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) 17%

By understanding the capabilities of Omni-channel and the ways that Omni-channel can support related corporate priorities and initiatives such as customer segmentation, customer journey maps, customer centricity and customer experience, you are now better equipped to help position your organization to identify and understand the benefits and returns that can be achieved from an investment in Omni-Channel.

. Omni-Channel strategies support your overall related corporate priorities such as customer segmentation, customer journey maps, customer centricity and most importantly, the customer experience. Going forward, ensuring all of these initiatives are connected are one of the most important considerations to make when looking at the current channels you are employing. Leveraging Omni-Channel is the best method for delivering on your brand promise and optimizing operational performance.

Should you have any questions comments related to this post, please contact Colin Taylor directly at ctaylor@thetaylorreachgroup.com, or call at The Taylor Reach Group Inc. 1 866 334 3730 ext. 102



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Monday, May 16, 2016

The Taylor Reach Group Reaches Out Further

Garry Schultz joins The Taylor Reach Group Inc. & is Ready to Rock the Contact Center World.

Professional Customer Consultant and Guitarist. His passion for performing is what drives Garry to seek out the highest satisfaction in every project he is involved with. With 25+ years of global managerial experience in B2C and B2B, high-technology focused environments, Garry is dedicated to implementing strategic solutions for customer success / customer care initiatives. His emphasis on meaningful performance measurement serves as the foundation to the success of his initiatives.

Paul Knapp joins The Taylor Reach Group Inc. & is Eager to Execute his Support and Service Skills.

Professional Thought Leader and Consultant, Paul has an track record of providing successful strategies within the customer service and support industry. Paul has worn many hats, including administrative managerial and team lead roles, but has always been concentrated on operational care and customer support. He has a focused skill set in delivering organizational structure and tactics, preparing multitudes of process improvement plans for factors such as center actions, quality and professional coaching skills/training relief.

New To The Taylor Reach Table

"TRG has been working with one of the country’s largest media organizations and has been retained to redesigning their entire center’s agent onboard training program"
The Taylor Reach Group Inc. continues to expand their solutions globally, with current numerous projects underway concentrating on developing new strategic center operations and implementing operational best practices. As the day to day operations grow more complex with new channel integrations and adjusting to industry trends occur, your customer support and service can take a back seat to other priorities, but it always needs to remain in front of your business’ drive. TRG has been working with one of the country’s largest media organizations and has been retained to redesigning their entire center’s agent onboard training program; provide strategic evaluations, agent profiling and mapping critical success factors in order to increase overall operative performance. Not only do companies need to place emphasis on the deployment of customer support, but monitoring and assessing the quality and management of such service is of equal importance. Currently underway, TRG is restructuring and developing a new quality assurance program for a large electrical utility company, focusing on evaluating, reshaping and enhancing their call/contact center’s quality and customer experience.
The solution to challenges isn’t always obvious for centers as there isn’t “a one size fits all” solution that exists. TRG has been working with North America’s largest youth apparel brand to assess their center’s current needs, identify missing elements and elucidate pain points that may exist under the radar. Having multiple centers to oversee, this company recognized the complexity associated with managing tens of thousands of contacts across multiple channels in real time, and has retained TRG to help filling in the blanks.
"TRG has been working with North America’s largest youth apparel brand to assess their center’s current needs, identify missing elements and elucidate pain points that may exist under the radar"
"TRG is currently in process of helping one of Canada's leading humanitarian organizations to select a new telephony platform to support their centers in reaching their ideal contact service, customer experience and technical objectives.
The purpose of the call or contact center is to create an open communication channel to reach and engage with your customers. The level of interaction may depend on your consumer’s needs or might be a consideration of your business processes. But it might also be limited due to the technological limitations of your center. A center’s IT platform must have the capabilities to handle the organization and their customer’s expectations surrounding the customer experience, service and support. One of the leading humanitarian organizations in the country realized that their capabilities and potential was limited to due to their current telephony platform. TRG is currently in process of helping this organization to select a new telephony platform to support the centers in reaching their ideal contact service, customer experience and technical objectives.
The Taylor Reach Group Inc. is dedicated to supporting call and contact centers in reaching their goals and objectives. With hundreds of years of customer service, call and contact center experience, our expertise in combination with our passion and devotion have earned TRG the title of one of North America’s top call/contact center consulting services. Contact The Taylor Reach Group Inc. today if your center is in need of reinforcing or fine-tuning your strategy. Contact Ashley Locke for more information about Taylor Reach and our capabilities.


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