Talkdesk - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 11
May 17th is finally here! Opentalk 2016 is upon us. The Talkdesk team will be spending the day at The Village in San Francisco talking to forward-thinking business leaders and learning more about the future of the customer experience.
Sadly, it’s too late for you to come to the event itself! That means you’ve missed the mingling, the refreshments and the attendee experience. Nothing beats being there in person.
Happily, we’re diligently reporting on all the happenings and learnings at Opentalk 2016. We’re paying close attention to all that is said at nine amazing talks and panels by an extraordinary group of thought leaders. In the coming weeks, we will do our best to impart the knowledge shared at the premiere event in customer experience.
This blog post will serve as a hub of our Opentalk content. Check back here for all the latest news on Talkdesk’s customer experience summit.
Talkdesk Announces List of Speakers for Opentalk, A Visionary Conference On The Future Of Customer Communication (PR Newswire)
Communication is the Heart of the Customer Experience (TaskUs)
Pre-Event Blog Coverage
5 Ways to Spend the Weekend in SF Before Opentalk 2016
Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo Shares Insights at Opentalk 2016
Where in the World is Teryn Rikert?
Exciting Talkdesk Product Announcements at Opentalk 2016
5 Reasons You Should Be at Opentalk
Casey Whalen Talks Canyoning, Country Music and Customer Delight
John Mayhall’s Middle School Speech Mishap
Nick Mehta’s Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle for Customer Success
Get to Know Opentalk Keynote Speaker Bonny Simi
Explore Customer-Centricity at Opentalk
How Opentalk is Redefining the Event Experience
5 Amazing Speakers You Can Expect at Opentalk 2016
What You Can Expect at Opentalk 2016
Opentalk on YouTube
Opentalk is a forum on the future of customer experience and communication. It brings together forward-thinking business leaders who believe in the revolutionary idea that real-time communication is the best way to provide a superior customer experience. Opentalk will explore how technology can improve the customer experience by enhancing customer loyalty and happiness. Celebrate and learn about the innovations that are fueling the customer experience revolution at Opentalk 2016.
Talkdesk is next-generation cloud-based call center software that helps you connect with your customers. The easy-to-use interface offers robust functionality with advanced features, comprehensive reporting and seamless integrations with 25+ business tools to empower sales and service teams to have personalized, real-time conversations with customers.
Go to the Opentalk Website
Publish Date: May 17, 2016 5:00 AM
May 17th will go down as one of the most important days in Talkdesk history. As a company, we’ve hit a major milestone: hosting our inaugural Opentalk conference. But today is not just about Talkdesk the business. Today is also about Talkdesk the product.
We announced a suite of updates, new features, expanded integrations and other advancements to our award-winning cloud-based call center software today. For those of you who aren’t here with us, here’s a recap of our product announcements.
Talkdesk for Slack
Talkdesk for Slack offers call center teams a new way to use internal communications to improve the customer experience. Among other functionalities, users can send direct barge links to ask for help via Slack, coach agents silently and configure automatic call center alerts to be sent to users and channels across the entire company when certain events are triggered.
For this announcement, we were joined by Brad Armstrong, Slack’s Head of Business Development.
This integration is available in public beta starting May 18.
We are adding SMS and video to our contact center offering to enable businesses to connect with customers on their channel of choice. From within our unified platform, agents can route, respond and track customer inquiries. Seamless transfers, cross-channel reporting and comprehensive customer information on every channel make Talkdesk Omnichannel ideal for serving today’s customers.
For this announcement, we were joined by Todd Enders, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Salesforce Service Cloud.
SMS is available in closed beta. Video will be available later this year.
Customer Sentiment Score
Our first Predictive Customer Analytics application, Customer Sentiment Score, gives call center managers a 360 degree view of customer happiness based on inputs from the customer, the agent and other external factors. Our algorithm can help companies predict customer happiness and therefore proactively address potential churn.
For this announcement, we were joined by beta user Nate Peace, Support Operations Lead for SpotHero.
Customer Sentiment Score is currently in closed beta.
Talkdesk for Salesforce
Talkdesk for Salesforce adds comprehensive call center functionality to the Salesforce platform including native call logging, real-time reporting and powerful automations. From setup to provisioning users to comprehensive reporting, there is no need to leave the Salesforce environment.
Talkdesk for Salesforce is currently in beta. You can find it on the Salesforce AppExchange.
Talkdesk Callbar is a Google Chrome application that enables agents to take calls from anywhere, anytime via any channel. The callbar acts as the agent’s hub for real-time customer communication across whichever real-time channels are leveraged by the organization. As with our original product offering, Talkdesk Callbar provides agents with comprehensive caller information the moment the call is placed or received.
Talkdesk Callbar is currently in closed beta.
Our platform is designed to be open, intelligent and mobile:
- Talkdesk’s Reporting API gives users complete access to their data for deeper analysis.
- Routing API allows us to make intelligent decisions on how to route all channels in real-time using data from both Talkdesk as well as other business apps
- Our Mobile SDK is redefining how our customers deliver personalized support via mobile by allowing them to build their own native IVR menus and embed voice, video and SMS into their app’s support center
Our platform updates will be available later this year.
For more information on our rapidly evolving product offering, visit our blog. Better yet, why not test out these advanced features directly? Get a trial of our call center solution and become a part of the customer communication revolution!
Publish Date: May 17, 2016 5:00 AM
Today, we’re announcing Customer Sentiment Score (CSS), a new kind of call center feature that allows companies to understand customer sentiment as well as predict potential customer unhappiness and proactively address it. Details of the new feature, which is currently available in beta, were unveiled at the Opentalk Summit today in San Francisco.
Why did we create Customer Sentiment Score?
Modern call centers use data to inform their day-to-day operations. They seek to optimize KPIs, such as average time in queue and service level, in order to streamline customer interactions and promote loyalty.
Comprehensive reporting and data provide managers deep visibility into call center operations, but can sometimes obscure more subtle customer needs. Behind all of the queues and cases, there are individuals. Managers who miss the person behind the number risk alienating customers.
At Talkdesk, we are working to humanize the call center experience without shifting away from a data-centric mindset. We care a lot about call center KPIs, but we care even more about your customers. That’s why we created the Customer Sentiment Score.
How does Customer Sentiment Score work?
At the end of each call, Talkdesk will automatically send the caller a text message asking them to rate their experience. Callers can then reply with a score from 1 (Worst) to 5 (Best) to express their level of satisfaction with the call experience. CSATs delivered via SMS are proven to have some of the highest response rates when compared to post-call surveys delivered via email or phone.
The call center agent will also be prompted at this time to give feedback on what they think the customer’s mood was during the call. This will take place as a part of after call work and will simply require one click on one of five highly-expressive emoticons. The Customer Sentiment Score agent interface has been designed to be playful, seamless, and frictionless.
Caller- and agent-provided data will be combined with other potentially influencing relevant factors, such as the caller’s wait time, the time of day of the call, the caller’s call history, and much more. These inputs will be fed into an algorithm that will calculate the customer’s Customer Sentiment Score.
By allowing callers to submit a score rating their satisfaction with a call and allowing agents to submit a score rating the caller’s satisfaction with a call, Talkdesk enables a closed feedback loop that goes beyond basic CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). With parties on both sides of the line weighing in, we are able to develop a 360 degree view of the caller and build empathy by encouraging agents to constantly consider the feelings of the caller.
In what situations does Customer Sentiment Score apply?
There are many applications and possibilities for the Customer Sentiment Score. In fact, our team is coming up with new ones everyday! Here are a few we’ve come up with so far:
- Most managers know intuitively that long wait times are associated with lower customer satisfaction. The Customer Sentiment Score feature will enable managers to pinpoint at what wait length the scores begin to drop. This data can help to inform staffing decisions.
- A call center manager may find something seemingly unintuitive – as Average Handle Time increases, so does Customer Sentiment Score. Upon looking into this, they may find that longer calls tend to involve rapport-building with customers that then improves their satisfaction. This information can help managers deal with the Average Handle Time KPI appropriately by not attempting to reduce it.
- When an incoming call is ringing, an agent can see the calculated Customer Sentiment Score of that caller and mentally prepare herself for the call based on it. Perhaps Talkdesk has identified that this caller is very unhappy because his last two call experiences were poor. This agent can then begin the call by offering a tailored, meaningful apology and then provide assurances that she will do everything she can to resolve his new issue promptly.
Talkdesk Customer Sentiment Score is currently in closed beta. It will be available later this year.
Publish Date: May 17, 2016 5:00 AM
Call centers are a $22B industry dominated by legacy players with primarily on-premise solutions. The old guard has a powerful market share, but nothing can save them from their own clunkiness. If you are considering investing in call center software, it’s worth your while to think about whether or not an on-premise solution is right for you.
Let’s weigh the pros and cons:
Pros of On Premise Call Center Software
Many of the most adamant defenders of on-premise software harp on the difference in reliability between softphones and hardphones. A direct connection, they say, is the only way to avoid latency, jitter and packet loss.
There is a grain of truth to this argument. VoIP connections over WiFi can be problematic. But that’s actually not due to the call center software itself; that comes directly from the WiFi connection. That problem can be fixed easily by either using an ethernet connection or investing in a more reliable WiFi network.
Still not convinced? Remember that as reliable as hardware can be, it also exists in the physical world. Whereas the cloud forms a kind of shield around your call center software, physical technologies remain susceptible to physical damage. How reliable is a smashed hardphone?
Switching to a new technology requires teams to adapt. It can feel easier to just keep going on the same path. Hey, the technology you haven’t isn’t that bad, right? Why fix something that’s only a little broken?
This on-premise solution pro is only a pro if you don’t care about innovating to succeed. It’s a win for the comfort of your agents and reps, but a loss for your company.
Cons of On-Premise Call Center Software
On-premise software is just that: on-premise. When your call center agents, reps, supervisors and admins are off-premise they don’t have any access to the tools. With on-premise software, you can say goodbye to work from home reps, remote agents, dispersed teams, emergency sign-ons and easy scaling.
The clunkiness of on-premise call center software is not just metaphorical. On-premise solutions require physical hardware. This hardware requires an upfront investment and does not scale easily. It is also susceptible to physical damage and necessitates the hiring of staff for upkeep.
3. IT Staff
Legacy technologies require devoted IT staff and technical assistance. The software is simply too complicated for agents and supervisors to handle on their own. Advanced cloud-based call center software is easily customizable through the interface. No one needs to hold your hand when you want to change your settings, add or delete agents or update your permissions. Not needing IT staff not only saves you the money you would pay in their salaries, it also saves you the time and hassle of having to request assistance.
In the battle between on-premise call center software and cloud-based solutions, the winner could not be more clear. David’s nimbleness defeats Goliath clunkiness every time.
Looking for proof? Take Talkdesk’s cloud-based call center software solution for a spin with a free trial.
Publish Date: May 16, 2016 5:00 AM
Sales development representatives (SDRs) are tasked with the challenging job of convincing prospective customers that their product or service is the best possible solution to all their problems. While all SDRs are guaranteed have the experience of doors slamming in their faces, the truth is that sales is often a numbers game, and some doors will remain open for them. In order to give your SDRs the best chance of getting their foot in the door, your sales playbook needs to be optimized.
Box’s former VP of Sales Productivity and current Chief Storyteller, Doug Landis, shared his winning sales recipe during the TOPO Sales Summit 2016 in San Francisco. According to Doug, the perfect sales equation consists of four key components: technology, unconsidered needs, contrast, and insight.
The Perfect Sales Equation
Technology + Unconsidered Needs + Contrast + Insight
Here’s how sales development leaders can rethink their strategy by using these four elements to their advantage:
While 37% of all sales leaders name technology as the most effective investment they’re making, the other 63%, like Doug, believe that technology is simply an enabler. Technology helps you get to the door but it doesn’t help you get inside; That’s all up to your SDR. Choose your sales technology wisely, but don’t rely on it to make magic happen.
2. Unconsidered Needs
Help customers understand what problems they should be thinking about and paying attention to, or issues they didn’t even know they were experiencing. This is what Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy Officer at Corporate Visions, calls “unconsidered needs.”
Doug Landis outlined three types of unconsidered needs:
1. Undervalued Needs
Needs that customers/prospects don’t fully appreciate, but are coming faster than they believe.
2. Unmet Needs
Needs that are our customers/prospects don’t even realize they have because they’ve created a workaround or they assume it’s annoyance that can’t be fixed because they don’t know a solution to it.
3. Unknown Needs
Needs that customers/prospects don’t even know exist.
How SDRs combine these unconsidered needs with their solution’s strengths can make all the difference. Business should seek to be at the intersection of the unconsidered need and the unique strengths of their service or product.
It’s important to paint a contrasting picture for prospective customers – a message that tells them what the problem is and then what the future looks like if they could fix it successfully. It’s essentially showing them how their lives look without the proposed solution at present and then what their lives could look like if they went with a new solution.
Provide better insights for prospects and customers. Before asking prospects a ton of questions in a cold email, give them some insight, something they didn’t know, a nugget of information. For example, start off with “Did you know that your SDRs are taking 15 minutes to create an opportunity? What if they could reach out to five more prospects in that time?” Give prospects some insight and then ask validating questions.
If you’re a sales leader who wants their sales development representatives to connect with more leads and have more meaningful, personalized conversations, then Talkdesk cloud-based call center software is the solution for you. Learn more about what our sales technology can do to improve your team’s effectiveness. Start your free trial today!
Publish Date: May 13, 2016 5:00 AM
In less than a week, Opentalk 2016 will be upon us! It promises expansive content from innovators in the field of customer experience and an immersive attendee experience. Talkdesk’s summit on customer communication is not to be missed!
In the days leading up to the big event, some of our attendees may find themselves kicking around the City by the Bay for the first time. Others will be coming from Silicon Valley or the city itself, so they’ll be here, but not as rookies.
We thought we’d provide a list of activities to get both the out-of-towners and the in-the-towners through the weekend. For a list of the more conventional tourist destinations, check out our infographic, “10 Things To Do In San Francisco During Dreamforce.”
Here’s what the hip kids will be doing in San Francisco the weekend before Opentalk:
“Off the Grid” Friday Night Food Truck Party
When: 5-10 PM on Friday 4/13
Where: 2 Marina Blvd
How does dinner and watching the sun set over the Bay sound? Check out Fort Mason’s weekly outdoor food truck bonanza, home to 30 food trucks, live music and a wine bar.
Free Outdoor Yoga in Golden Gate Park
When: 11:30 AM on Saturday 4/14
Where: 1690 John F Kennedy Dr, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Sleep in late and then find your way to San Francisco’s biggest park. Spend the Saturday morning before Opentalk relaxing and practicing yoga in a beautiful setting. Beginners, children and dogs welcome!
SFMOMA Re-Opening Celebration
When: 10 AM – 8 PM on Saturday 4/14
Where: 151 Third Street
You are in luck! The SFMOMA’s grand re-opening is happening just a few days before Opentalk. Be a part of the ribbon cutting and neighborhood celebration, then go inside to the newly-expanded museum.
Heart of the City Sunday Farmers Market
When: 7 AM – 5 PM on Sunday 4/15
Where: UN Plaza (Market St. between 7th and 8th)
Grab some local produce, farm products, baked goods and more at San Francisco’s independent, farmer-operated, nonprofit farmers market. Open rain or shine.
Sunday Afternoon Bluegrass Jam
When: 4 – 7 PM on Sunday 4/15
Where: 453 Cortland Ave
Are you in the mood for a little banjo? Enjoy San Francisco’s only bluegrass jam at the Lucky Horseshoe in Bernal Heights.
And on Monday… Rest up! Your brain is going to be packed with valuable content on Tuesday. Spend the day getting excited for the premiere event in customer experience.
Don’t have your Opentalk tickets yet? Reserve your seat now!
Publish Date: May 12, 2016 5:00 AM
The most successful businesses are data-driven. They are the companies where leadership bases their decisions on preset metrics that they regularly track. Goals are set and adjustments are made with numbers serving as rationale.
All this is great, but how does that play with customer service? When it comes to the touchy-feely aspects of a business, where do numbers factor in?
Many companies use the Net Promoter Score® (NPS) to convert customers’ qualitative reactions into actionable data. In this post, we’ll explore NPS generally and its specific application to call centers.
What is NPS?
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a commonly used tool for assessing customer loyalty that was introduced in a 2003 article in the Harvard Business Review. A company’s NPS, relative to the scores of their competitors, is a predictor of growth. NPS is ideally an ongoing exercise in the life of a company rather than a one-time test.
There are two types of NPS: transactional and relationship. Transactional NPS is taken immediately after an interaction with a company and is used mostly as an assessment of that particular interaction. Relationship NPS is taken at regular intervals to assess the overall state of the customer-company relationship.
How is NPS calculated?
NPS is calculated based on two questions:
On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you would recommend our company/ product/ service to a friend or colleague?
Respondents answer the first question with a number from 0 to 10, with 0 being extremely unlikely and 10 being extremely likely. Customers are then given the chance to explain their first choice in an optional second question that yields qualitative results.
Scores are divided into three buckets. 0-6 are considered Detractors: Customers who are unhappy and can damage a brand. 7-8 are Passives: Satisfied but unenthusiastic customers. 9-10 are Promoters: Loyal enthusiasts who will fuel growth.
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage difference between the Promoters and the Detractors.
Companies can score anywhere from -100 to 100.
What is a Good NPS?
NPS scores vary widely based on a number of factors, including industry and age of the company. Ideally, companies compare their NPS to their own past scores so that they can track progress. Companies can also benchmark against competitors’ NPS.
NPS in the Call Center
For many companies, the call center is the heart of their customer service strategy. It is the primary way that customers reach out to their business, which makes it pivotal to loyalty and retention efforts. NPS, then, is a natural fit for companies wishing to improve their call center efforts.
How Does NPS Work in a Call Center?
Call center NPS for a consumer-facing company is often transactional since customers are generally reaching out in a specific instance rather than having regular contact with the company. This means that each call center interaction would be set trigger an NPS survey. How this happens, exactly, would depend upon the call center software being used.
An advanced cloud-based call center software might allow call center managers to create an automatic NPS ask associated with each closed call. This could be tied to agent-set disposition codes. A more disjointed system would require that call center agents manually send out the NPS after each appropriate interaction.
In the case of a call center, the NPS survey can be administered in numerous ways, including telephone prompts after the call, email and text message. Each of these strategies has different advantages. For instance, telephone prompts are never going to be lost in the mail, but it’s possible callers will hang up before taking the survey.
How Can NPS Be Used to Improve Your Call Center?
There are seven steps to improving the customer experience in your call center using NPS:
Conduct NPS survey
Compare NPS to past scores and/or to competitor’s NPS
Thoroughly review responses to “Why did you choose that number?”
Reply to customer responses
Identify key sticking points
The key to using NPS to improve a call center is looking at both the quantitative and qualitative responses. Hard numbers are great, but the reasoning behind the number can only be found in words. Whatever the score, the explanations are where you’ll find what you need to improve upon.
Not only can NPS help your call center identify problem areas, it can also aid in goal setting and tracking. NPS gives you visibility into customer loyalty, which can sometimes feel like amorphous, potentially unattainable goal.
Even better than leveraging NPS alone is using it in conjunction with comprehensive call center reporting. NPS, even transactional, is not a quick process. It can’t match the speed of real-time reporting. For the health of your call center, it’s best to make minor adjustments on the fly and major adjustments as a result of a thorough NPS investigation. The more tools (and numbers) you have at your disposal, the better.
Learn more about using data in your call center by clicking the image below.
Publish Date: May 11, 2016 5:00 AM
Knowing when, where, how and why to outsource your call center or other business processes can be a difficult task. There is no one right time in a business’ lifecycle in which outsourcing should or shouldn’t be considered as outsourcing can be beneficial regardless of the size and stage of the company. There is not one way to do it or one reason why you should. Given all that, here are some tips on why and how companies should outsource.
There are so many reasons why outsourcing can be beneficial to a business but here are just a few.
1.Talent and resources
Outsourcing can provide access to resources that might be too expensive or otherwise difficult to obtain. A company is able to tap into the expertise of the outsourcing company and it’s highly specialized workforce in a cost effective manner. Good talent can be hard to find, and sometimes, even harder to retain. Then add in the cost of recruitment, training and lengthy hiring cycles and it becomes even more expensive and difficult. Outsourcing can help overcome these challenges and bridge talent gaps.
2. Ability to remain agile and adapt
Outsourcing can also help companies stay up to date with latest and greatest in technological advancements. As technology constantly changes, outsourcing can give businesses an efficient and cost effective way to take advantage of new tools without having to make large investments in new technology and labor. With the right outsourcing partner, businesses can adapt quickly to the constantly changing landscape, remaining agile and flexible.
3. Stay focused on core competencies
Perhaps the biggest and most important benefit to outsourcing is that companies are able to stay focused on their core competencies and key customers. By outsourcing non-core business functions like billing, customer support and data entry amongst much more, companies are able to focus on core competencies that add value to the business’ livelihood and continue to innovate and grow.
These is no single formula for the important task of choosing the right outsourcing partner but here are a few tips.
For starters, it’s important to check the expertise of the outsourcing vendor to ensure they are able to achieve the desired end-result and have the references and past experience to show for it. Businesses should do their research before signing with a partner.
When picking the right partner, businesses should consider where the outsourced offices are located based upon their needs. Is there a certain time they need coverage and is there a better time zone for the work? Are they looking for certain language capabilities or cost structures? Every location has it’s benefits. For example, TaskUs chooses to build offices in the Philippines for a number of benefits including language neutrality, westernized culture and the availability and high education level of the Filipino workforce.
It’s also important to understand how communication is facilitated on a day-to-day basis. For example, at TaskUs, after a new campaign is launched, clients have full access to a dedicated onshore based Client Services Manager as well as access to their campaign’s Operations Manager who is based on the floor in the Philippines. That way, clients are able to communicate easily and effectively with our team, who is ultimately their team as well. It’s important that communication is open and easy and the outsourcing team is accessible at all times.
Another important factor to look for is company culture. Does the outsourcing vendor have similar company values and beliefs? Are employees treated the way you would treat your full-time employees? Not only is building a strong company culture a huge focus of successful businesses these days, but more importantly, the right outsourcing partner should feel like an extension of the business.
5. Face-to-face meeting
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to to have a face-to-face meeting and site visit with an outsourcing vendor before closing the partnership. An outsourcing vendor should have the opportunity to present their expertise and demonstrate their abilities and a company should have the opportunity to ask any questions and determine cultural fit.
We know that outsourcing can seem scary, especially for first time outsourcers. The unknown and foreign is always a scary place to be. But when equipped with the right knowledge and the right partner, there is nothing scary about it. Why expend unnecessary resources doing it yourself when you can count on a reliable partner with specialized expertise and knowledge and the time to focus solely on getting the job done right the first time? From our experience, we know that the right outsourcing partner will feel like an extension of your in-house team and your culture. They will invest in your processes just as much as you do and protect the product and brand like it’s their own. They will be available at all times to answer any questions or concerns and won’t rest until you feel comfortable and know that you are in good hands.
TaskUs is a Santa Monica-based customer care and back office support company that helps innovative companies provide exceptional customer experiences. We facilitate hyper-growth like no other BPO. Leveraging our deep expertise of digital services, we provide the people, process and technology needed to deliver operational excellence, scale support systems and increase the bottom line. Learn more at www.taskus.com.
Publish Date: May 11, 2016 5:00 AM
What is there to say about Zuora founder, Salesforce employee #11 and widely recognized SaaS thought leader, Tien Tzuo? He is an award-winning, well-recognized leader and visionary thinker. He coined the phrase “Subscription Economy” as Zuora’s CEO, championing a shift to subscription-based business models and the complex billing structures they inherit. He has spent years working with the best companies in the world to build a platform powerful and flexible enough to fuel any subscription business.
Tzuo will be taking the stage at Opentalk on May 17th. Rather than write a laundry list of his many great qualities, we thought we would let him speak for himself. (After all, that’s what he’ll be doing on the Opentalk stage in two weeks anyways!)
Tzuo has been interviewed and published in a variety of outlets over the years. Here are a few choice insights that he has provided to the press:
The Subscription Economy: A Business Transformation
Medium || March 10, 2015
“Customers today, especially millennials, see less separation between their business and personal selves and expect their business relationships to be more personalized. They also expect a real-time experience with immediate fulfillment. By definition, subscribers can easily switch service providers, so vendors wanting to earn the loyalty of their subscribers must present on-going value and memorable services that get better and better. To provide this, they must be able to sell, market and deliver based on a clear understanding of subscriber behavior, and they must nurture every subscriber relationship.” Read More
10 Questions: Tien Tzuo, Founder and CEO, Zuora
Fortune || June 10, 2014
“I believe success is only 30% based on you and 70% based on the environment you work in. People don’t think that way–most people think success is 100% due to themselves. So, pick your environment, pick the company, pick the people you work with, pick the neighborhood, and pick the area. Because that’s where you’re going to get the opportunity to submerge yourself and to work out your big ideas.” Read More
Why This CEO Believes an MBA is Worthless
Fortune || April 27, 2015
“People now expect products to adapt to their specific needs. They expect ongoing value and unique experiences. And they’re not as interested in methods as they are outcomes. Stuff they don’t teach in Marketing 101.” Read More
The Spare Change Startup
Huffington Post || January 18, 2013
“As the business grows, you will gain customers and it’s important to track their feedback and what stage they are at in the sales cycle. In the Subscription Economy where your relationships with customers are all important, it is crucial to be able to manage those relationships closely to increase recurring sales and revenues. Services like Salesforce.com and Zendesk will enable you to monitor customer engagement so you can better respond to your customer’s comments and needs.” Read More
- LinkedIn page
- The Zuora story
- Crunchbase page
- Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo on Overcoming the Problem of ‘Product Culture’ (Diginomica)
- How Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo is building ‘the next Oracle’ (San Francisco Business Times)
- Zuora’s Tien Tzuo Had A Big Idea For Software To Drive The Subscription Economy — He Almost Blew It (Forbes)
We are thrilled that Tzuo will be speaking at Opentalk 2016. We can’t wait to see what further insights he provides to our attendees.
Don’t have your tickets yet? Reserve your seat at Opentalk now.
Publish Date: May 10, 2016 5:00 AM
As Opentalk 2016 nears, Talkdesk’s Senior Manager of Field Marketing, Leah Kahn, has been sitting down with select speakers to learn more about the person behind the thought leadership.
She has spoken with Gainsight’s Nick Mehta, LinkedIn’s John Mayhall and Shopify’s Casey Whalen. For this installation of our speaker preview series, Leah spoke with People Rocket Principal Teryn Rikert.
Leah Kahn: Thank you for joining us. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say at Opentalk. For all of the five-year-olds out there reading this interview, can you explain what you do to a kindergartener?
Teryn Rikert: You know how you go to school and you get to play every day? And sometimes, while you’re playing, you realize, “Oh! I didn’t know I could do that.” And then sometimes you bring in your friends and you explain it to them. That’s what we do for grownups.
Grownups come to work everyday and do their jobs. Some people are really good at their jobs, but they’ve lost the passion behind it. We help people find their sense of play and creativity and then infuse it into every part of their job. We want them to have those same, “Oh! I know how to do this” moments and then bring in their friends to play with them.
Leah: If your title wasn’t Principal, what would you call your role?
Teryn: Lightbulb Maker and Gamechanger. I like to create that “Aha!” moment that actually changes the way you see yourself and is followed by action.
Leah: What’s your spirit animal?
Teryn: Probably a jaguar. I just love big cats. They walk pretty softly, but you can see the power moving within and through them. I like how they embody power in movement without a lot of noise.
Leah: What was your first computer?
Teryn: It was an Apple IIe, one of those big beige boxes with a little hard drive slit in the front. I used to play “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” I loved following this mysterious character around the world to these exotic destinations. Now I’m the one traveling and exploring cultures, languages and people’s identities.
My first computer memory was from years earlier. When I was three, I attended a Montessori school. There was a computer game there with a triangle that was meant to be a “turtle.” I would type in commands to make the turtle move around the screen. This is a couple decades ago yet I can picture it like yesterday.
Leah: Do you have stage fright?
Teryn: No, I’ve never gotten it. I did musical theatre from the time I was a very young kid. I think when you’re little it’s like learning how to ski or ride a bike. You don’t know that you should be afraid because you don’t have very far to fall.
Leah: What do you think about when you’re on stage?
Teryn: I look at the faces in the audience. There are always the skeptics and the people who are nodding and smiling – some are agreeing, reflecting resonance and others are just happy to be there. My favorite thing to observe is a thought bubble followed by a light bulb.
Leah: When was the last time you gave an elevator pitch?
Teryn: I think everyone does elevator pitches all the time. We’re always selling our ideas, our dreams, our way of looking at the world. The book “To Sell is Human” by Daniel H. Pink really shifted my perspective on sales. If you think about sales as connecting one another with stories that create value and benefit, it’s more compelling to think about how to make those connections than a “sale.”
Join Teryn Rikert and a community of customer-centric business leaders at Opentalk 2016. There are 11 days before Talkdesk’s forum on the future of customer communication. Do you have your tickets yet?
Publish Date: May 9, 2016 5:00 AM
Talkdesk’s customer experience extravaganza approaches. Opentalk will be upon us May 17th. It promises to bring together today’s greatest CX innovators and customer-centric business leaders to discuss the future of customer communication.
Our blog has run down a partial list of the amazing speakers at Opentalk 2016 and written individual announcements of others. We’ve gone into depth about our goal of reflecting on excellent customer experience in our event experience. And we’ve provided you some hints of what to expect.
This blog post explores one aspect of Opentalk that we have yet to make a peep about… Our exciting product announcements!
Talkdesk cloud-based call center software has always been a breath of fresh air (and innovation) in the stagnant $22B call center industry. In a space dominated by legacy players, our software has always stood out for its deep business tool integrations, easy setup and intuitive interface.
Over the years, our product has quickly evolved from humble beginnings as call center software into a real-time communication platform. We have introduced unassuming yet powerful updates, such as the industry-first intelligent reconnect, and innovative leaps forward, such as comprehensive live reporting.
In 2016, our product release cadence has reached fever pitch. Naturally, we decided to “go big” for Opentalk. What better place to announce the next wave of innovative features designed to dramatically improve customer experience than in front of the world’s CX leaders?
What exactly are we going to unveil? Mum’s the word until May 17th! We’re putting the finishing touches on a few more advancements in the history of our already advanced call center software. Stay tuned to see how Talkdesk is radically rethinking the way we communicate with our customers.
Want to be a part of customer communication history? Join us on May 17th at Opentalk.
Publish Date: May 6, 2016 5:00 AM
The Talkdesk team has been working hard day in and day out to make Opentalk an incredible event. Why? We have very high standards for what qualifies as an excellent attendee experience!
With years of combined experience attending hundreds of conferences, summits and trade shows, Talkdesk’s marketing team has seen the good, the bad and the ugly. We are hoping to mirror the ideal customer experience in our attendee experience for this event. We’re taking our event planning one step further than anything we’ve seen at past conferences.
Here are five reasons why you should come to Opentalk 2016:
1. Witness Celebrity Speakers
There’s no denying that the lineup of Opentalk speakers is fabulous. We sought to offer a holistic experience by inviting speakers that come from different departments and areas of expertise to demonstrate that the customer experience should not be left solely to the support and success teams. Customer centricity should permeate all areas of a company.
We’ll have leaders like Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, who eats, breathes and sleeps customer success. We’ll also have sales leaders like Emmanuelle Skala from Influitive, who knows there’s a greater ROI in focusing on customer retention than customer acquisition. Our speakers come from world-renowned businesses including LinkedIn, JetBlue, Salesforce, Intuit and more. Check out the full lineup of speakers here.
2. Savor Mouth-Watering Food
We have nothing against lunchboxes; we know how busy and chaotic event production can be. But for Opentalk, we opted for an elevated gastronomic experience to mirror our emphasis on the importance of delivering a great customer experience. Have you ever heard of spherification? Your meal at Opentalk will burst with flavor as syrup-filled spheres explode over the chicken and waffles. With the help of Foxtail, the Bay Area’s leading food designer used by the biggest names in tech, we’re bringing our audience microhabitat plates, food stations, carving stations and craft cocktails. So delicious you could even consider just coming for the food.
3. Mingle with Like-Minded Leaders
Networking will take on a new meaning at Opentalk. We’ll be setting the scene by creating a cozy and comfortable environment of sofas instead of foldout chairs to keep you relaxed whether you’re watching the speakers or conversing with new friends in the lounge areas. We’re keeping the event purposefully small to give everyone the opportunity to chat and engage with like-minded business leaders that want to learn from their peers and discover best practices for fostering customer loyalty throughout the customer journey.
4. Build Upon Your Customer-Centric Expertise
Apart from expanding their network, the main reason anyone attends a conference is to build upon their knowledge and area of expertise from their peers and market leaders. Whether it’s from the speaker presentations, the panel discussions, or from the summit attendees themselves, everyone will have the opportunity to learn something new and take that knowledge back to their teams and companies to drive growth through a more customer-centric mindset.
5. Touch and Feel at the Gadget Showcase
A truly tactile event that engages all of the senses, Opentalk will be presenting a product showcase where you’ll have a chance to get your hands on the latest gadgets. Get your hands on cool new products while you schmooze, eat and listen to music.
Whether you decide to come to Opentalk for the finger-licking food or the opportunity to see the inimitable Bonny Simi speak, one thing is for sure: You’re not going to want to miss Opentalk. There are still a few tickets left; get yours while you still can!
Publish Date: May 5, 2016 5:00 AM
Opentalk, Talkdesk’s customer experience summit is fast approaching. (May 17th here we come!) In preparation, Talkdesk Senior Manager of Field Marketing Leah Kahn has been interviewing a handful of speakers for the upcoming event. Her mission is simple: Chat with customer experience thought leaders about everything but customer experience.
So far, she’s spoken to Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta about string theory and LinkedIn Team Leader John Mayhall about baby swaddlers. Next up, Shopify’s Support Operations Team Lead, Casey Whalen!
Leah Kahn: Thanks for joining us. We’re looking forward to seeing you take the stage at Opentalk. We’re asking everyone this important questions: Do you get stage fright? Should we be nervous about you up there?
Casey Whalen: No, I don’t. I enjoy speaking. I think of myself as an extroverted introvert. In order to do a good job, I just need to step into character (or drink a lot of coffee.) When I’m in that mode, speaking comes to me automatically.
Leah: Any horror stories?
Not many recently. I’ve given a lot of video presentations where something broke. So many I don’t remember anymore.
I did trip on the stairs at my eighth grade graduation. I pretended like nothing had happened, but inside I was thinking I might have broken my leg. (Editor’s note: His leg was fine.)
Leah: What kind of things do you like to do?
Casey: Outside of being a geek, I’m a total jock. I especially like hockey and baseball.
Leah: What’s the wackiest sport you’ve ever played?
Casey: Canyoning. It’s an extreme sport that you can only do in Interlaken, Switzerland. At first I thought that geography was the reason it was limited to only that one spot, but then I realized it’s probably more about nobody wanting the liability.
Leah: What was your first car?
Casey: It was a 1988 Classic Chevrolet Caprice. It was about 17 feet long. I used to call it the land yacht. It rode like a dream! I once fit 13 people into it, including my sister in the trunk.
Leah: What song are you really into right now?
Casey: I like “Holdin’ My Own” by Eric Church. I feel like it summarizes my life. I have a four-month-old at home now, Madeleine Jane, and a lovely wife, Natalie, who I met playing beach volleyball. But before I settled down, I had a really wild and crazy life. I worked for the Toronto Raptors and used to take 100 flights a year. It was a different time.
Leah: Where have you traveled?
Casey: I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been all over Europe, to every big city in the United States, to a few tropical islands, to Mexico, Hong Kong, Thailand.
Leah: How would you describe what you do now?
Casey: Shopify is a company built for entrepreneurs. As an ecommerce platform, our role is to help businesses when they reach out to us. I’m in charge of building the systems that allow our team to have meaningful conversations with entrepreneurs. I try to make it as easy as possible so that agents can add as much value as possible.
The great thing about Shopify is that the more successful we make our customers, the more successful we are ourselves. I personally am an entrepreneur and so are both of my parents. It’s a natural fit for me.
Leah: What’s your least favorite tech buzzword?
Casey: I don’t like the notion of customer delight. I think customers want to be given tools and then they want us to get out of their way.
Leah: Last question. What do you wish people knew about you?
Casey: I’m a very loyal person. I stand up for the people and things I care about and I don’t back down.
Leah: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Casey. We’ll see you soon.
Join Casey Whalen and a community of customer-centric business leaders at Opentalk 2016. There are 13 days before Talkdesk’s forum on the future of customer communication. Do you have your tickets yet?
Publish Date: May 4, 2016 5:00 AM
Hello again, customer experience innovators. We’re glad to have you back here for our third roundup. For those of you who are new, welcome! You’ve landed on Talkdesk’s weekly review of valuable content related to the customer experience.
Customer experience has become increasingly important as a way to promote the acquisition and retention of customers. Companies use it to differentiate themselves from their competitors. In the modern business landscape, customer experience is the field on which the battle for customer loyalty is fought and won.
Each one of Talkdesk’s Customer Experience Weekly blog posts explores a facet of customer experience. Last week, we dove deep into global customer experience. This week, we’re talking customer communication.
Let’s get into it.
Communication is the Heart of the Customer Experience
Maya S. Horowitz || TaskUs
At the core of any customer experience is the relationship between the customer and the company. The way that businesses interact with prospects and customers can make all the difference in acquisition, growth and expansion efforts. Smart companies are learning that advanced business tools like cloud-based call center software can form the foundation for agents to build positive customer communication and long-term loyalty.
Make every interaction count, even the small ones. They are all relevant.
— Shep Hyken (@Hyken) September 1, 2014
How to Improve Your Customer Service By Simplifying Your Language
Adrian Swinscoe || MYCustomer
As with any type of communication, customer-company interactions are only effective if both parties understand each other. This article discusses the pitfalls of speaking in complicated jargon when interacting with customers. It advocates the use of plain language to ensure that customers feel certain about what is being communicated and therefore have a better experience.
Three Ways to Improve Contextual Communications
Customer Communications Insights
Contextual communications are personalized interactions that are relevant in both content and delivery channel. They are specifically targeted exchanges that are meant to promote loyalty and brand advocacy. This article reviews the basics of contextual communication and offers tips and a link to a webinar on this topic.
#custexp 71% of customers decide financial provider based on how they’re treated https://t.co/KNBy14o6Wo pic.twitter.com/gfMQFVyUeH
— SunTec (@SunTecGroup) April 14, 2016
How to Communicate Your Way to a Better Customer Experience
Effective customer communication begins with effective company communication. This article discusses the up-and-coming business tool, Slack, that offers a solution to companies looking for more interoffice communication. When teams within a business are siloed, it can lead to a disjointed customer experience. The more teamwork is encouraged, the more likely it is that customers are presented with a unified face of the company.
We’ll see you next Tuesday for our next customer experience vertical exploration. In the meantime, why not sign up for the premiere event in customer experience? Join us on May 17 for Opentalk.
Publish Date: May 3, 2016 5:00 AM
We’re counting down the days until our customer experience summit, Opentalk, on May 17th. In the lead-up to the big event, our team has been getting excited about the amazing thought leaders that will be taking the stage. (Of course, we haven’t forgotten about the one of a kind attendee experience we’ve created either!)
As part of our preparations, we’ve taken the time to sit down with a few of our speakers, with the idea of getting to know them as people, rather than just as customer experience innovators. We’ll save the second part for May 17th!
Last week, we wrote a post on Nick Mehta of Gainsight. This week, Talkdesk Senior Manager of Field Marketing, Leah Kahn, got up close and personal with John Mayhall, LinkedIn’s Director of North American Sales Solutions.
Leah: I’m happy to get the chance to chat with you, John. We can’t wait to hear what you have to say at Opentalk in a few weeks. Tell me; What do you do when you’re not working?
John: I spend a lot time with my wife, Kelsey, and our three kids; Sadie is four and a half, Brynn is two and Trevor is three weeks. In my alone time, I really enjoy running, playing tennis and being outdoors. I need to get some sort of exercise in order to be my best self.
Leah: How do you explain your job to your kids?
John: My four and a half year old is the only one who can sort of understand. I start by explaining LinkedIn. I tell them that Mom and Dad go to work to help make the world a better place. By working, we make our home a better place. To do a good job at work, people need to have friends who help them and vice versa. LinkedIn helps people find and get in touch with friends. My job is to teach companies how to find better friends.
Leah: What would make your life easier right now?
John: Sleep. No question. I have a three week old son! Second to that, probably better battery life on my phone.
Leah: What kinds of things do you teach your kids?
John: I try to find shared hobbies with them. Sadie and I both love art. I think that if I didn’t work at LinkedIn, I would want to be an editorial cartoonist. I’m also teaching Sadie how to play tennis. She’s working on her serve.
Sometimes I practice my elevator pitch with her. I figure that if she understands what I’m getting at, anyone will.
Leah: Give me your best elevator pitch for… baby swaddlers.
John: Baby swaddlers solve a very specific problem. As a parent, I get nervous about the idea of swaddling a baby because doing it wrong can be disastrous. A prefabricated setup is good for the whole family because it eases my anxiety and ensures that my baby is safe. All of us get a better night’s sleep.
I think the key to any elevator pitch is to start with the problem statement. That being said, I don’t know if I’ve ever really ever encountered the situation in an elevator. I prefer a talking over a glass of beer so we can have a real discussion.
Leah: Since you’ll be on stage at Opentalk, I have to ask: Do you get stage fright?
John: I do get a little nervous, but I’ve gained a certain level of confidence over time. I just trust in my preparation.
I actually had a traumatic speaking experience in sixth grade. I had to give a memorized speech in front of about 300 people, mostly the parents at my middle school. I didn’t prepare like I should have. In sixth grade, I had different priorities than memorizing that speech.
I was on stage and a flashbulb went off and my mind went totally blank. All I remember is that feeling and then the unimpressed teacher sitting behind me started feeding me lines. I stumbled through the rest of the speech. It was very obvious that I wasn’t properly prepared.
Leah: Has anything like that happened recently?
John: These days, the worst thing that happens is that I start getting very specific questions from audience members during the Q&A. People are typically familiar with LinkedIn, so they end up asking extremely targeted questions. It’s hard to field those because I want to give them an answer but I also want to stay relevant to everyone else in the audience.
Leah: Do you ever get starstruck meeting leaders in your field?
John: We have some pretty impressive executives at LinkedIn. At some point, you just get comfortable enough with them that they don’t maintain celebrity status in your mind. I know that I have to be on my game when I talk to them though and I really love working with people that demand that from me.
The first person that comes to mind that might elicit a starstruck response from me is Tom Brady. Probably Steph Curry, too.
Leah: What’s the deal with your Twitter handle @hansfrugel?
John: Hans Frugel was a character in a Playstation volleyball game circa 2003. I used to play that game a lot and I always played as Hans.
Leah: Thanks for letting us pick your brain, John! We look forward to hearing your insights on customer experience and communication at Opentalk on May 17th.
Join John Mayhall and a community of customer-centric business leaders at Opentalk 2016. There are 15 days before Talkdesk’s forum on the future of customer communication. Do you have your tickets yet?
Publish Date: May 2, 2016 5:00 AM