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Posted by Lauren Kindzierski
Believe it or not, the first quarter of 2016 is almost over. As we seek to improve our customer strategy, it’s a good time to check our comprehension of this year’s hottest emerging digital trends and the newest jargon. This blog will be the first of a two-part series, covering terms that characterize today’s disruptive game changers for customer service professionals. Do you know this industry lingo? And more importantly does your planning incorporate this unified engagement innovation?:
Stay tuned for Part Two of this industry terminology summary—Digital Disruption, which will prepare you for providing the digital CX your customers demand.
Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Andrew Kokes
Your customers are texting. Do you know how many are already texting to your company toll free line? At our March 23 webinar, How to Launch Text Message Customer Service, HGS VP of Solutions and Capabilities Lauren Kindzierski provided some key insights into how to provide this customer service channel to meet, and exceed, the raised bar on today’s CX expectations.
According to our webinar attendees, a good sampling of companies across verticals, today’s businesses are increasingly turning to text as a channel to reduce customer effort and meet the demand for optimized CX. During the How to Launch Text Message Customer Service, webinar, Lauren answered the questions of brand leaders from across North America regarding launching a text solution:
Q1: What should the average response time for text be?
A: When a customer is texting a business, they are definitely going to want a response within seconds, if not faster. When texting friends and family, the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds. Therefore 90 seconds is a really good starting point, because that’s what consumers have come to expect.
Q2: If a customer is in the CRM and is marked as “opted-out,” can a rep still text the customer? Is there anything that stops the rep from texting an opted-out customer?
A: In our system, if a customer has opted-out, the rep cannot text the customer. The customer would have to re opt-in through the legal disclosure process.
Q3: How do you recommend hours of service if customer care is generally offered Monday through Thursday 8 to 8, for example? What happens during off hours?
A: We have the ability to set after hours automated responses. For example, with one of our clients, if someone texts outside of regular business hours, they receive a response that says, “Thank you for contacting brand XYZ. Our business hours are x to x. We will get back to you first thing in the morning. In the meantime, please visit our self-help portal page or Frequently Asked Questions here.” You can then provide a link to the website.
Q4: How many texts can one CSR handle simultaneously?
A: Text is very similar to the chat channel. Typically, two to three texts is average, especially if it’s a new channel and a new agent learning things. As time passes, agents become more efficient. It’s important to recruit agents who are good multi-taskers and are text savvy. This is a good rule of thumb. And when beginning a pilot, take your existing call center volume and anticipate 20% of that being converted to text. The 20% rule is a good industry best practice. This will help you gauge how many people you need for the pilot, and with 20% it would be two to three conversations by concurrency.
Q5: If 20% of contacts are received via text, is that percentage a replacement for other contact channels or is it incremental volume?
A: Typically, 10% is a replacement for calling the 1-800 number and pivoting from IVR into text, while the other 10% is incremental.
Q6: You mentioned a 77% response rate with post transaction surveys. Did the scores increase or decrease based upon additional surveys being returned versus the traditional email replies with a 9% response rate?
A: Usually, you find a positive response rate with text surveys. With text, because everybody does it on a daily basis, and you have told customers that it’s only going to be two questions, they are more willing to respond. You will find that text surveys are more positive and have a higher response rate.
Q7: Does the affirmative consent requirement responding “Yes” lead to any attrition among text users?
A: You might get a couple of instances of attrition, but it’s typically not a problem.
Q8: What are standard response rates after hours, nights, and weekends? Do they vary?
A: If your contact center is open Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, it means that when agents come in on Monday morning, they may have to tackle a few that have come in over the weekend. This may be more volume than they can get to. Therefore, you might want to consider staffing heavier on Mondays, if you have those business hours in place.
If you have further questions about text message customer service, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Jack Biersdorfer
Companies today are confronted with a hostile and complex business environment that includes fierce competition in the global market from legacy brands to an endless line of emerging companies, a demanding consumer who is less concerned about brand loyalty and more interested in value and quality, and technology platforms that are changing at the speed of light.
Couple this environment with hundreds of stores closing in North America as leading market brands scurry to keep pace with the likes of Amazon.com and emerging giants like Alibaba.com and others. As evidence of this disruption, according to Business Insider, store closings this year include Radio Shack with 1,784 closures as well as J.C. Penney and Macy’s with 40 store closures each.
These days there is a tendency for bricks-and-mortar retailers to think that e-commerce retailers have it all figured out; however, online retailers have challenges too. Like bricks-and-mortar retailers, they also struggle with the challenge of how to encourage customers to spend more, increase average order value (AOV), and return to the store faster. Brick-and-mortar retailers can take a page from e-tailers’ investment in digital strategies and solutions that deliver personalization and hyper-localization. This will drive explosive growth in global commerce. The challenge facing all retailers is to create deeper, more personalized localized experiences that also resonate with consumers from varying countries and regions. For example, Amazon supports its two-year old India operations with significant investment in marketing initiatives that resonate strongly with the base, such as a blitz to support the season of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
No industry is immune to these challenges, which affect healthcare, retail, technology, automotive, travel, and communications equally, as companies compete to own the customer. While brand identity still matters, the ultimate differentiator today is service and optimized customer experience. At HGS, we partner with some of the largest global 500 companies. With successful growth, comes challenges as they focus on their customer experience. They simply can’t grow 5X or more and expect to solve their customer challenges by adding people. Our objective is to address these challenges head on using digital solutions that perform the heavy lifting and reduce the reliance on traditional employee resources.
As you weigh this challenging era in business, know that HGS has been in a continuous state of transformation over the last 3 years. Our Digital Natural Assist (DNA), for example, is a platform, designed with a mobile-enabled customer in mind. DNA leverages company knowledge and bridges channels of interaction with an emphasis on empowering self-service while seamlessly integrating agent assistance. We continue to invest in our DNA platform and the assets required to design, build, and host competitive solutions that play a vital role in the continued success and growth of our clients. As a company we remain flexible knowing that there is no cookie cutter solution as our clients want to use new market technologies to better service their customer, but also differentiate their brands.
If you want to learn more about HGS, please visit www.teamhgs.com or drop me an email to jackB@teamhgs.com
Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Mandeep Singh Kwatra
Today, customer experience (CX) is undeniably the primary metric on which companies compete. It cannot be ignored that a digital journey drives high CSAT, according to McKinsey research, which found 76% of customers were satisfied with a fully digital customer service journey, compared to only 57% for a traditional customer service journey. Digital channels of service are not limited to only the self-help or email channel. Chat has been, and continues to be, one of the significant channels in managing customer service and helping customers get the right answer fast.
A balance of both traditional and digital that brings the right tone and language includes digital chat as an essential component of today’s optimized customer experience. And chat, in particular, drives significant ROI for businesses, such as reducing shopping cart abandonment rates, increasing sales conversion, and improving customer loyalty.
As today’s customer demand grows, businesses need services that help them get the right answer fast. That’s what current Chat solutions are all about: making it easy for customers to help themselves, and seamlessly integrating live agent support when necessary when it adds value to the customer and the business. Here we debunk some of the myths surrounding this service.
Myth #1: Chat alienates customers.
Fact: There was a time when companies adopted chat as a channel primarily to save costs—but now this cost-effective solution is, in fact, the channel of customer preference. According to Forrester, 62% of surveyed customers reported being more likely to purchase from a site again if chat was offered. On average, the typical customer engaged proactively by chat while shopping is up to 40% more likely to complete their purchase. The fact is that customers use multiple channels when seeking to engage. Speaking on the phone to a person may not meet a customer’s requirements of time and convenience. And chat is a channel that is well in tune with customer voice. Today’s chat employs analytics to decipher and report on positive or negative customer sentiment. It’s all about digital empathy, which enables companies to pick up on how customers are feeling and also effectively provide responsive service to meet their needs and also stay in synch with the emotional connection essential to optimized engagement. Further, the intelligence and personalization of chat has evolved. As a result, personalization is built in, right from the chat invite that is sent to the customer to the real-time sentiment analytics that help understand if the customer is happy or upset with the service or product during the active conversation. The level of chat personalization is beyond how a customer interaction is engaged or managed. It is also specific to the level of technology used by the customer, and the chat engagement can be delivered using messaging apps or Facebook Messenger.
Myth #2: Chat is not secure.
Fact: In fact, chat is highly secure, with protection such as end-to-end HTTPS, IP restrictions, and data protection rules that meet PCI compliance requirements. More and more, chat is becoming known as a preferred channel to protect the exchange of personal and confidential information. HGS Digital Assist Chat uses 128 – 256 SSL as a standard while complying to various industry specific security and compliance measures, such as: SOC-2, SSO, and security infrastructure using SAML protocol and PCI.
Myth #3 Chat is only for web-based customers.
Fact: Leading chat platforms are even more powerful and engaging via mobile messaging built into your favorite Apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, or directly in you company App. Millennials, the plugged in-generation, are responsible for over 30 billion messages exchanged using chat on messaging apps and social platforms every day. These users and customers affect every industry. They use mobile services and banking services, buy household goods and clothes online, travel, pay utility bills, and so on. If the customer landscape over the years has changed, so has the capability of chat platforms. It is no longer merely a web-based chat window. Today’s chat platform can have the capability to help you connect with your customers through their preferred messaging apps. With HGS Digital Assist Chat, businesses can connect with customers using web-based chat through their website and also reach out to their customers using Facebook Messenger or messaging applications like Line or integrate with the existing mobile apps to provide a communication channel.
Myth #4: Chat is not for my industry.
Fact: Customer issues begin online, with the hope that resolution can be found without the need for escalation to an agent for assistance. A total of 67% customers, across all industries, use web self-service to find answers to their questions, according to Forrester. Retail, travel, and telecom have fully embraced chat, and the playing field is leveling for other industries that are catching up, as chat is faster, more secure, mobile, and in demand. For example, the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is making significant movement toward fully embracing chat to engage customers browsing product details or supporting them via mobile devices while shopping in the store or online. And, healthcare is moving into telemedicine and using case management solutions that have overcome concerns with privacy, based on the understanding that today’s chat platforms are HIPAA compliant.
Myth #5: Chat cannot effectively support complex inquiries.
Fact: Digital Assist Chat is helping customer get the right answer fast while helping business increase sales by 30-40%, reducing calls by 12% or more, and improving CSAT by as much as 120%. HGS Digital Assist Chat combines automated and live agent customer support, creating a more personalized, painless, and satisfying customer experience. With digital assist chat, leading brands are diagnosing patients and providing first-level medical assistance, pivoting sensitive issues out of social media, and increasing online conversions by proactively presenting personalized offers and coupons that reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Chat is the answer to “Where are your customers?” Be sure to meet them there, equipped with the tools and knowledge they expect.
Publish Date: March 9, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Joanne Morrison
Each year, IAOP’s Outsourcing World Summit brings together the best and brightest minds in outsourcing to share experience and ideas that continue to propel the industry forward. This year’s conference February 14–17 at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club in Orlando, Florida, showcased the latest in governance and risk management, innovation, trends, relationships, and disruptive technologies.
Constant Change Is the Status Quo
The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Scott Steinberg, CEO of TechSavvy, titled “How to Future Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed in the New Normal.” Steinberg defined innovation as attacking problems from a different perspective or viewpoint. While not rocket science, innovation requires the flexibility to create slight shifts in viewpoints and is an ongoing series of reimagining and repositioning. As Steinberg notes, “The beauty of innovation is you don’t have to think big. You can create shifts with small changes.”
Highlighting real-life case examples, Steinberg described how MasterCard has repositioned itself as a technology and innovation company. The company has several internal startups within the organization and runs creative competitions for employees to create new initiatives such as QkR!™, a smartphone payment app that was developed in just 48 hours.
Essential to innovation is the willingness to adopt failure as an acceptable outcome. One of the biggest barriers to innovation is risk tolerance and resistance to change. However, it’s always most important to disrupt, yourself, before your competition does.
Olive, Whiskey, and Cultural Fit
Winning the award for most creative session title is “Why Olive and Whiskey Do Not Mix: Finding Suppliers with the Right Cultural Fit” where Prem Shanker, Senior Buyer at Southwest Airlines, described why cultural fit between buyers and suppliers leads to less friction, increased productivity, and quicker issue resolution. Shanker outlined a four-step process for finding a supplier with the right cultural fit:
Are You a Disrupter or a Follower?
In this session, Jeffrey Thrall, Vice President, Client Partner, at Nexient, discussed how to set a technology vision, adopt an innovation framework that works for your business, and then evaluate partners with whom to commit and invest. Thrall advocates for instituting an applied innovation process that includes these steps:
The IAOP Outsourcing World Summit had much to offer for both buyers and providers of outsourcing services and provided valuable sessions on governance, innovations, trends and future concepts, customer experiences, contracts, and disruptive technologies. The HGS team is already looking forward to next year’s conference.
Publish Date: March 2, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Geoff Oakie
In today’s global, digital economy, exceptional and effortless customer experience is a key differentiator.
With the commoditization of virtually all products and services, organizations truly need to set themselves apart, to attain and retain customers. Smart organizations realize that the foundation of such a customer experience begins with their employees. These companies focus equal or greater amounts of time, energy, and resources on employee experience as the customer journey. They understand that happy, intelligent and well-qualified employees are the foundation to happy customers.
At HGS, we start with a pre-designed strategic Employee Experience Blueprint designed to attract the right representatives and empower them to deliver the right customer experience. The HGS CX Blueprint delivers increased retention rates, higher customer satisfaction, decreased employee turnover, and higher overall return on our clients’ BPO investments.
Great CX Begins with the HGS Employee Onboarding Experience
What’s at the foundation of our Employee Experience Blueprint? It’s our Onboarding program, which is designed to recognize and intentionally build the employee relationship at key “moments of truth.” Starting from the moment team members walk in the door for their first interview, and moving along through the hiring and training process, HGS has identified anxiety and job satisfaction triggers, creating and nurturing a positive emotional connection and empowering experience.
The onboarding program starts on day one. HGS job candidates are welcomed to their interview warmly, by name, as a potential new member of the HGS family. As successful candidates, our newest HGS team members, are brought through the four-stage onboarding process, they are supported, encouraged, and respected along the way. They also are prepared for the complexities and challenges of customer care. Following our onboarding processes, our staff and management create what we’ve observed to be both a loyal and able employee, proud to represent our client’s brands.
CX Optimization Starts with the Right Team
The HGS onboarding framework comprises four key Ingredients that contribute to making customer experiences high-impact, helpful, and empathetic:
HGS built this framework to ensure our newest employee’s perceptions and opinions are positive and bolster our referrals and recruitment success. What we found when we implemented this was that the impacts of our onboarding program went so much deeper. Through our efforts, HGS has been able to affect our client’s business in many other positive ways:
Exceptional and effortless customer experience is a key differentiator that HGS provides, optimizing the customer experience… helping our clients to become more competitive.
Publish Date: February 24, 2016 5:00 AM
Imagine that your organization is granted an extra 10% boost in budget. Where would you decide to spend it? At a recent HGS webinar, 43% of our attendees responded to this question with “investment in analytics.” At a follow-up February 10 webinar “The Evolving Role of Customer Care Analytics,” HGS Client Advocacy Leader Jeanne Jones delved deeper into the maturation of analytics as a key business enabler. And she talked about how a “culture of analytics” can play a critical role in translating data into insights.
How do you create the right culture of analytics for your business? It’s both art and science, and it starts with making a conscious investment in the front line of your customer care. It’s often these team members who have the best frame of reference about what your customers need.
At our post-webinar QandA, Jeanne laid the groundwork of a good, effortless customer experience approach. Here are some valuable insights from Jeanne:
Q1: Can you give some examples of meaningful business impacts that can be created by leveraging analytics to transform customer care?
Jeanne: You can check out the case studies on the HGS website for quantified results. Some positive impacts you should be able to expect are:
Risk mitigation would be difficult to quantify. I recommend working with your organization’s quality professionals, who would be able to guide you on applying a cost of quality model that can easily be translated into dollars.
Q2: Is it common to use agent judgment vs. first person customer feedback in measuring sentiment?
Jeanne: This is a challenge. If you’re using sentiment as a measurement, and you’re creating a field in your CRM system to measure it, calibration is important. You can look at both your verbatim comments and the text that captures the true voice of the customer experience. There is also the intangible level that comes through the interaction, primarily in the voice channel. This cannot be measured in a text. The key to measuring this is using something like a pain scale used in a doctor’s office, where a score for one person is not the same for another. But it’s the best way to measure this. When it comes to representatives and using your “pain scale,” it really comes down to ongoing calibration and providing good examples that you can build on over time for consistency in capturing information. This is used as an indicator, an additional way to weigh insight that you can use to guide you on how you prioritize work or resources or capital.
Q3: Our organization is struggling to identify where to take first steps to build our analytics program. Any advice?
Jeanne: The first step of good analytics is a strong commitment from your senior leadership team, in terms of resources, technology, and a commitment to the culture. The more you can engage your cross-functional peers in quantifying the value of the voice of the customer, the better your business case will be. Some of the areas we discussed today like sharing call recording or flagging cases for investigation are actionable immediately and can be done for little or no investment and can be a great place to start. Having senior leadership buy-in is essential to move quickly.
Q4: What is the most important element or technique to enable a culture of analytics?
Jeanne: In my opinion, investing in people and being purposeful in how you represent the voice of the customer is important with culture. With analysts, it involves a trained eye that comes with knowledge and repetition. These representatives who take calls and process contacts every day become really intuitive and can offer great insights. The data itself will not bring that out. Leveraging your customer care representatives is important along with relying on them for trends and innovations. The more you can share the voice of the customer with your senior leadership in a positive way, the more support you can get to continue. Complaints and issues are important, but there is something about being able to highlight brand loyalty and positive experience that energizes people in supporting the voice of the customer.
Our next webinar, “How to Launch Text Message Customer Service ” is at 1 PM on Wednesday, March 23. At this webinar, we will discuss all of the elements needed to successfully launch text message customer service, including:
Text enabling your toll free number
Publish Date: February 17, 2016 5:00 AM
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