Issuu on Google+

CustomerCare News The Promenade at Coconut Creek

by XXX xxxxx

Fall 2012


orem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

ing elit. Etiam rutrum interdum arcu

mattis porta. Nulla eget purus massa, non

Emerging strategies to improve customer and employee satisfaction Nullam a consequat quam. hendrerit arcu. Suspendisse potenti. Duis Morbi consequat porttitor imperdiet.

molestie dapibus pharetra. Morbi rhon-

si. Nunc massa massa, facilisis ut vehicula

justo vestibulum. Integer auctor, mi et

eget, luctus sit amet nisl. Vivamus est

velit, interdum a cursus in, fermentum vel purus. Nullam urna ipsum, sodales vel

cus urna eu massa pulvinar nec aliquet

egestas ultrices, nisi urna varius mi, quis consectetur nisl urna a dui.

Donec sed leo tortor. Cum sociis

sagittis ut, hendrerit quis dui. Aliquam

natoque penatibus et magnis dis par-

lis. Ut malesuada, quam varius gravida

Curabitur molestie faucibus magna, et

egestas mi vitae lectus fermentum iacu-

volutpat, lorem neque elementum nunc, a vehicula nisl eros et ligula. Vivamus facilisis, massa et imperdiet congue, lectus

tortor lobortis tortor, in eleifend ante velit eget dolor. Curabitur ut sagittis risus.

In scelerisque sem varius enim male-

suada blandit. Curabitur rutrum est sit

amet odio dapibus ultricies. Proin volutpat pretium blandit. Donec ultricies tem-

por neque at tristique. Sed at magna sed ante rhoncus sodales in nec eros. Donec et libero risus. Aliquam et tortor sed

turient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.


Pellentesque sed neque lacus. Nulla facili-

euismod sapien condimentum at. Fusce

eu leo sit amet mauris elementum congue.

The Missing Link: How Valuable Customer Discussions On Social Media Are Often Overlooked page 28

Etiam dolor quam, volutpat at convallis et, feugiat sed tellus. Nunc eleifend augue

et ante laoreet commodo. Nam nec sapien turpis. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et

magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Integer fermentum, ipsum

Smithson linkes to knock off early, going on expensive golf junkets paid for by corporate lobbyists.

quis tincidunt dictum, urna nisi egestas

sapien, nec laoreet magna orci at ligula. CCN

est mollis dictum quis ac lacus. Etiam

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam a consequat quam.

ultrices eros, in sagittis felis tellus in

Morbi consequat porttitor imperdiet.

rutrum, velit et porta blandit, tortor eros purus. Suspendisse non tortor sapien. In

at magna eu odio aliquam condimentum

Are Home Based Agents the Future of Call Centers? page 7

at eu est. Phasellus quis quam dolor, id tempor ante. Nunc laoreet convallis ornare. Curabitur id nunc erat, a volutpat tellus. Cras eleifend ultricies odio, a

Proin volutpat pretium blandit. Donec ultricies tempor neque

Aliquam accumsan auctor faucibus.

Donec et libero risus. Aliquam et tortor sed est mollis dictum quis

pharetra est tempus id.

Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in fauci-

bus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia

Curae; Pellentesque varius lacus nec nibh

porttitor et facilisis magna egestas. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisc-

at tristique. Sed at magna sed ante rhoncus sodales in nec eros. ac lacus. Etiam rutrum, velit et porta blandit, tortor eros ultrices

eros, in sagittis felis tellus in purus. Suspendisse non tortor sapien. In at magna eu odio aliquam condimentum at eu est. The Link Between Employee Attitudes, Customer Attitudes and Customer Spending page 20

A Celebration Media Publication

The Underlying Importance of Emotional Intelligence page 25

What SECRET Have Over 700 Leading Customer Care Brands Discovered? Network, Learn, and Share with more than 2,000 customer care professionals representing Fortune 500 companies! Join the fastest-growing community of customer relationship experts today! With SOCAP, You will Discover: 2,000+

Members in the largest global community of customer care professionals


Of SOCAP’s conference sessions, webinars and classes feature brand presenters. You will always hear from a peer.


Regional chapters throughout North America. Wherever you are, we are.

SOCAP International — Customer Relationship Experts

Learn more at

Publisher’s Letter “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” — Sam Walton


n publishing Customer Care News, it has become very clear that for businesses to succeed they must first fully understand everything they can about their customers and how they are affected by every interaction they have with the company. How you

do that, what you do with that information and how you deliver those products and services

are vital to the health of your enterprise — big or small. What are the customers’ impressions

from the first billboard, advertisement or online presence? This has come to be known as the customer experience. Those companies that make a commitment to understanding this are the ones that will win.

The customer care industry has evolved more rapidly during the past five years than ever before. The tools for listening to custom-

ers and communicating directly with them have expanded. For years, companies and their leaders spent millions trying to figure out what buyers wanted, needed and thought of them. Today, that information is readily available if you just listen. But, who is listening

to the research? Have the systems been set up to do this? And are the results being

utilized or ignored? Is the C-suite or busi-

Editor’s Letter


ness owner fully engaged in the process of

monitoring the customer voice? Getting

lthough customer service and customer care are

executives to slow down long enough

issues for you on a daily basis at work, you’ve all

to look at the data provided about the

been on the other side of the fence as well in your

customer is not always easy, but it is very

personal lives. Each of us has had to deal with customer service

apparent that a growing number of cus-

representatives in person or over the phone at least one time or

tomer care executives responsible for deliv-

another, and we are daily consumers at stores, restaurants, hotels

ering this information to top level leaders

and a host of other places. Just today I had to make a call about

are now being heard and are proving to be

a personal bill and I was delighted with the customer service I

a valuable asset to the company.

received. While I’ve had my share of bad experiences dealing

The challenges for businesses are

with customer service departments, as I’m sure many of you have,

many in today’s economy, but anticipating

I was pleasantly surprised with the respect and polite demeanor

both the current and long-term needs of

of the woman I spoke to. Not only did she resolve the problem,

but she was also genuinely helpful and polite at every step of the conversation. More importantly for this particular company, my interactions with her made me even more an advocate of them and their service. I would recommend them any day of the week.

As one of the people in your company responsible for customer service, stories and experiences

such as mine are undoubtedly what you hope to hear from your own consumers every day. The secret to their success? Simple. Hiring the right people, training them properly and empowering them to truly care for the customers and help with their problems. Nothing new here, right? While the basic

principles behind providing excellent customer service don’t change much, they are altered by the ever

changing culture of our society. Rapidly evolving technology, social media and more do play a role in

the changing face of customer service. That’s why we’ve put together this issue full of articles from industry experts touching on topics from call centers to customer loyalty to executive coaching, in

customers is vital for future growth. At

Customer Care News, we are very encour-

aged about the developments we have been reporting on in this area. If you are

a senior-level manager at a company or leading a small business, we encourage you to empower the customer care executive

or person responsible for listening to the

true customer voice. That is where you just

might find the solution to developing your next revenue stream.

We have heard the old saying…two

order to provide you with information you need to keep pace with consumers’ needs.

ears one mouth. Listening to and under-

International to present a glossary of customer care terms that will help keep you educated on industry

give us the answers to customer attraction

In addition, we’ve teamed up with the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP)

terms, ensuring you are on the same page as everyone else in the field.

and retention and valuable insight into product development and improvement.


Dale Jaslove Publisher


Fall 2012

Jamie Rawcliffe

standing the customer experience may just

CustomerCare Table of Contents Call Centers News Fall 2012 Publisher Dale Jaslove

Associate Publisher Keith Levick, Ph.D.

Editor-in-Chief Jamie Rawcliffe

Production Manager Chris Schramm

Editorial & Materials Coordinator Anne Seebaldt

Editors/Writers Mella Barnes

Amy Pagett

Operations Manager Jennifer Barth

Account Manager Fran Cohen

Website Design Melissa Sherwood Contributing Writers Jeofrey Bean, J.D. Booth, Matthew D’uva, John Lankford, Jason Wolcott

07 Are Home Based Agents the Future of Call Centers?

KellyConnect® combines its wealth of

experience in the staffing industry with new technologies to develop a new outsourcing solution

10 Call Center Industry a Work in Progress

NexxPhase CEO Craig Mento discusses the changing needs of call centers today

Customer Experience 13 The Customer Experience

Revolution — Are You Next?

“Experience Makers” set the standard in

20 The Link Between Employee

Attitudes, Customer Attitudes and Customer Spending

creating an excellent customer experience

The Forum: Business Results Through

16 Customer Loyalty: How Smart Companies Build Long-term Success

Building relationships with customers is key to creating a loyal customer base

18 Execution is Critical to the Customer Experience

People’s study of a hotel brand demonstrates the correlation between employees and

customers and the affect on the bottom line

People Skills 23 Building a Customer-centered Culture

Executive coaching may be the new solution

Eleven leadership imperatives help

for leaders to grow individually, while also

companies plan and execute to ensure

growing the business

greater profits

25 The Underlying Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Website Consultant Customer Care News 32000 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 128 Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Fall 2012

Customer Care News is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. The publishers have taken all reasonable steps to verify the accuracy and completeness of information contained in Customer Care News. The publishers may not, however, be held responsible for any inaccuracies or omission of information in any article appearing in the Customer Care News. Entire contents copyright 2012 by Customer Care News. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial content in any manner without written permission is strictly prohibited.


Dan Goleman discusses the role of emotional intelligence in customer satisfaction

Social Media 28 The Missing Link: How Valuable Customer Discussions On Social Media Are Often Overlooked

Social media can help companies engage with customers and get “true” customer opinions


Customer Care Glossary

Customer Care News



Start Your Subscription Today Customer Care News magazine is dedicated to exploring the relationship between customer care, customer satisfaction and the bottom line. The more a company focuses on customer care, the more it reaps the rewards of higher customer satisfaction. Research shows that customer satisfaction is essential because of its impact on the many factors that affect a company’s bottom line. It generates higher customer loyalty, repeat business and increased revenue. Happy customers lead to a happy bottom line and happy stakeholders. This should be the call of every company in America. Subscribe to Customer Care News to receive the latest information on trends and issues in customer care with articles from industry leaders and more. Each issue highlights leading industry providers of education and resources that can assist companies in improving their customer satisfaction scores, and thus improve their bottom line. There is no charge to subscribe to the magazine’s digital edition. Simply go to

Call Centers

Are Home Based Agents the Future of Call Centers? KellyConnect ® combines its wealth of experience in the staffing industry with new technologies to develop a new outsourcing solution by J.D. Booth


ood help is hard to find.

Like so many clichés, this one has a ring

of truth to it, especially in an economy that is

turning around. In today’s market, many companies are faced

with one of the most daunting limits to growth — finding people ready, willing and able to meet the demands of customers.

At Kelly Services®, a 66-year-old company that essentially

invented the staffing industry, helping customers do just that

has become something of a science, albeit one that involves Photo courtesy of KellyConnect®

managing people — with all their unpredictability.

Through its comprehensive customer contact center prod-

uct group called KellyConnect®, Kelly Services® offers a home based agent (HBA) program that today has as many as 1,000

employees delivering home-based customer care services, seamlessly and in a highly flexible and customized environ-

David Haas is able to work at home as part of KellyConnect®’s home based agent (HBA) program

ment, from some 39 states in the United States as well as Canada.

But make no mistake: this is no easy feat. Rather than

havoc with day-to-day operations. “When bad weather hit,

energy on what it does extraordinarily well, which is access and

between agents who couldn’t make the commute to the local

manage brick and mortar facilities, Kelly® is able to focus its manage talent.

“We’re able to create an environment where we capitalize

on 15 to 20 years of providing staff to customer care centers,” explains Kimberly Sokol, a strategic development manager with KellyConnect . “Just last year we had nearly 25,000 tem®

porary employees working about 11 million hours for call centers, and more than 13,000 KellyConnect employees were

like Hurricane Ike, we were able to step up and bridge the gap center and our home-based team by providing a robust busi-

ness continuity solution and handling the extra call volume,” notes Sokol.

Today, the HBA program remains a dedicated solution,

meaning a KellyConnect® HBA is focused on a single client at a time.


directly hired by our clients to work in their centers. We know

Successfully managing home based agents


hasn’t happened by accident. According to Vicki Brackett, her-

call center operations within various customer facilities for

successful implementation for some of the world’s most

how to access the talent our customers seek for their unique KellyConnect® has also earned its stripes managing entire

It was four years ago, however, that KellyConnect® launched

the HBA program for an energy sector client based in Houston, an area of the country where weather has been known to wreak

self a work-at-home KellyConnect director based in Denver, recognizable companies takes a very focused approach and a

Fall 2012

more than 10 years, a solution it refers to as “Rightsourcing.”

Successfully managing teams under the HBA umbrella

keen understanding for what working at home can be like at a practical level.

“We call it ‘virtual shock,’” says Brackett, talking about


what happens to someone — anyone — who begins work-

organization successful. “People gravitate to the kind of social

environment. “They don’t know what’s happening to them, but

available. But so is online chat or group chat. It’s really up to

ing at home, especially if they’ve previously been in an office

media they like,” says Brackett. “If they want to talk, that’s

they know something’s wrong. So what do they do? They think

them and what they’re comfortable with.

a change in schedule will fix it, but that generally isn’t getting

“How much ‘virtual face time’ an HBA is going to require

to the heart of it.”

will also depend on an individual’s personality and preferences,”

Brackett. “We see it immediately,” she notes, adding that it

and that’s always a work in progress.”

That’s where the leaders at KellyConnect® come in, says

she adds. “Our job is to make sure it works best for everyone,

might take as long as eight to 12 weeks for a new “virtual”

Jeff Christofis, a senior director with KellyConnect® who

worker to get through the transition.

oversees day-to-day program operations, says the method of

Brackett. “One of the keys is recognizing what is going on and

company apart from the competition. “What we don’t use is

“It takes a leader to get them through that period,” says

training that KellyConnect® provides to its agents sets the

investing in the social tools we have available.”

the traditional ‘spoke and hub’ model,” says Christofis. “In

Eventually, she says, HBAs do “find their stride.”

fact, the only physical interaction we have with agents is when

they complete their I9 at a local Kelly® branch located in every

Creating a virtual community

major city. All other hiring paperwork is completed virtually.

But creating an environment where there’s a sense of

Training is also done virtually, through instructor-led training

community among team members who may be hundreds or

that uses a tag team approach with two instructors alternating

even thousands of miles away involves a new set of strategies

at no more than 90 second intervals. What that does is keep

that have been made possible with the kind of technology

the interaction lively and the level of interest higher than ever

KellyConnect® continues to bring to the table. “What we’ve


been able to do, very successfully in fact, is build and maintain

Being able to work as a team goes well beyond creating a

an environment where our teams feel they’re connected with

virtual community, says Christofis. “Most of the subject matter

Whether it’s through video or other forms of electronic

they all work from home, so they know what it’s like for the

their leaders and other members of their team,” says Brackett.

experts and coaches were agents themselves at one point, and

chat, including virtual “water cooler” type technologies that

people they’re working with.”

create a sense of community, KellyConnect’s managers work

In addition, having a team that provides “real time coordi-


hard to create the same kind of energy that would normally

nation” means being able to keep ahead of challenges an agent

you don’t do it, your attrition is way too high,” notes Brackett.

coach for help.

flow in and through a team that is based in a single location. “If

may be facing, often before they end up reaching out to their

Delivering flexibility in the type of tools people use to

maintain a sense of community is also part of what makes the

Finding the right people

The size of the teams in place at KellyConnect® will largely

depend on the complexity of the service being provided to the

client. “It’s definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ type of environment,” says Brackett.

It’s also a continuously changing environment — one where

KellyConnect® is actively growing new leaders in-house.

“It’s because we’re growing so fast,” says Brackett. “It’s

Fall 2012

Photo courtesy of KellyConnect®

hard to find people who have experience in a virtual call center

Phillip Kapela in front of his home-based desk


management environment, which means we put a very high emphasis on growing leadership internally.”

Based on the number of people who stay with KellyConnect®

once they’re selected for leadership, the approach is working.

“Our attrition at the leadership level is almost nil,” notes

Brackett. “We have some people who’ve been promoted three times in one year. In a performance-based organization like

ours, if they’re able to absorb the training we provide, if they

Customer Care News

demonstrate they can become a great leader, they’ll stay.”

Finding those people in the first place is also key to the

success of KellyConnect®. One of the tools the organization has been able to utilize comes from Furst Person, a Chicago-based

consulting firm that delivers customized talent acquisition software as a service system to Kelly®.

“Our software gives KellyConnect® a very powerful tool

for improving the measurability of the competencies a virtual

worker is going to need to be successful,” says Jeff Furst, CEO and founder of Furst Person. “What we’re able to do is help

Kelly® better define on a competency basis what the client needs and then feed them the people who are most likely to succeed.”

The result, says Furst, is KellyConnect® being able to raise

the bar for its clients. “The software we provide gives Kelly® an additional set of screening, specifically with what the cli-

ent’s needs are for a given project. And because we’ve built the software specifically for the kind of environment that

Photos courtesy of KellyConnect®

KellyConnect® has created, they’re more likely to hire the best person no matter where they are.”

Since it is continually being updated with real-time data,

the software keeps getting better, according to Furst. “We’re

becoming more and more precise in our ability to screen candidates,” he says.

Flexibility on the part of KellyConnect® has also led to a

wider net being cast for its call center employees. “We don’t have any predisposition on the type of employee that’s going

Velada Walker and Scarlett Cook work from home

to succeed in our Home Based Agent program,” says Brian

for a sense of community can oftentimes be overlooked.”

Excellence. “We have every type of staff person imaginable,

industry and companies with a need for a flexible workforce to

kind of flexibility that comes with the work. It really runs the

Additionally, being able to keep jobs in North America

Poelman, senior director for the KellyConnect® Center of

from stay-at-home moms, to students to seniors who want the

Still, Poelman says the time is right for the call center

embrace the virtual call center world.


is something that’s increasingly attractive to KellyConnect®

what’s going to work for them within the environment that is

solution and higher quality than what might be available over-

“Whether they’re full time or part time, the key is knowing

going to deliver the best possible solution for our clients,” adds

Poelman. “Taking that approach, where people can pursue their

clients. “They’re able to take advantage of a cost-competitive seas,” says Poelman.

“What we offer is a true outsourcing solution, not just

individual passions while making a key contribution in their

labor,” says Jim Bradley, senior vice president overseeing

And delivering the kind of environment that’s sensitive to

“Yes, we can find that labor, but because we focus on managing

work life, is always the best way to manage an organization.”

an individual’s need for flexibility is also generating long-term benefits, he says. “The loyalty tends to be higher when people understand they have a unique opportunity.”

Poelman agrees that the isolation factor people face is a

Kelly’s® global outsourcing and consulting group’s operations. people in a highly effective manner, we’re able to provide our

clients with an unmatched level of flexibility and productivity. Our competition simply can’t do that as efficiently as Kelly®.”

According to Bradley, its focus on creating a virtual com-

challenge, albeit one that KellyConnect both understands and

munity is one of the key reasons KellyConnect® continues to

good, but people coming in need to be prepared to take advan-

Based Agent program, but we’re successful because we know


tage of the tools we offer,” he says. “Certainly we’re looking for people who are self-sufficient and self-motivated, but the need

succeed. “It’s one of the biggest challenges we face in the Home

Fall 2012

is able to manage effectively. “Working from home sounds

and understand what those challenges are and we have the tools and strategies in place to manage those effectively.” CCN


Call Center Industry a Work in Progress NexxPhase CEO Craig Mento discusses the changing needs of call centers today For many businesses around the world, call centers are a key

part of providing customer service each and every day. Recently, Customer Care News went to Craig Mento, CEO of NexxPhase, to find out more about the ever changing call center industry and its

face huge upgrade fees or move to the cloud.

CCN: Of the changes you mentioned, what issues and trends

ket. Nexxlinx has been serving the call center industry for 15 years

manage their call center activities in the future?

and has grown in the past decade from $2 million to $40 million.

CCN: What is the NexxPhase core business and what separates you from others in the industry?

CM: Our core business is providing a multichannel, cloud-

based contact center platform that you pay for by the minute. You use a minute, you pay for a minute. It’s a truly disruptive

pricing model. But pricing is only effective if you provide a quality service.

This platform is optimized for production use, in our own

do you see making a significant difference in how companies

CM: Call centers will get more precise in the use of resources, optimizing every aspect of their operations, with a focus on quality and first call resolution (FCR).

Our Best-of-Breed platform uses VPI, Pipkins, Knowlagent, Taleo and Cornerstone.

This business is getting more complex with tighter margins. The forward-looking contact center operators will be using more tools to optimize their performance.

centers and for clients here and abroad. We have an advanced

CCN: Quality staffing is a key issue for all companies that

ized applications, bringing them to market in a fraction of the

and helped manage it? What systems have you put in place to

Business Process Modeling tool to develop and deploy customtime and money associated with conventional solutions.

manage call centers. How has NexxPhase improved the process ensure that quality staff members are put in place?

And, we’ve recently integrated VPI (quality), Pipkins (work-

CM: With personnel costs taking 65 cents of every dollar of

into a packaged Best-of-Breed offering that makes no compro-

We have hired an industrial psychologist to develop a tool that

force management) and Knowlagent (Intraday management) mises, unlike most all-in-one solutions.

CCN: There is a tremendous amount of change going on in the

call center industry. Can you give us your take on some of the

revenue, most call centers struggle with attrition percentages. is far more effective in the screening of applicants. In addition, Taleo and Cornerstone are an important part of our onboarding process.

most significant changes affecting the industry?

In addition, Pipkins (workforce management), VPI (quality)

CM: There are a couple of seismic shifts. First is the move to

ity and productivity.

cloud-based call centers and Software as a Service. The prom-

ise of no capital, no maintenance and no expensive staff is hard to resist…and users are going this direction in droves.

Fall 2012

Centers that are voice-only (up to 80 percent) have a choice —

quickly changing needs. NexxPhase was established in 2011 to take

Nexxlinx’s new multichannel workflow engine to the general mar-

The second is the move to multichannel. Smartphones are the primary device in 40 percent of homes, and consumers want


to have access to support via voice, chat, email or social media.

and Knowlagent (Intraday management) all address staff qual-

CCN: Changes with in-house call center technology have had

a profound impact on staff learning and call management. How do you view the technology changes we have seen in the past couple of years and how can they help a company’s bottom line?

Customer Care News

CM: Well, I think largely, most technologies get developed

and they expect your call center to be fluent in each channel.

the status quo. But all too often, expectations don’t match

voice response (IVR) to be more of a personal assistant than

with the objective of being better, faster or cheaper than reality. It’s not so much that people have gotten it wrong

— they just missed some of the costs for the overall implementation. Thus, the new technology is sub-optimized to the original plan.

So I look at technology as a basic enabler. With the advent of a cloud services delivery and per-minute pricing model, the

They may like Siri on their iPhone, and expect your interactive a rigid tree structure. They may start an interaction as a chat

and want to move to a live agent, expecting their call history to follow them. Or they may post something on social media that

requires immediate interaction. In all cases, we need to be one step ahead of a rapidly evolving market and the technologies that support them.

beauty is that you can immediately take advantage of current

CCN: What does NexxPhase see as the vital products and ser-

CCN: What should call center managers be most concerned

CM: As table stakes, you need the multichannel capability

advantage of the changes that are taking place? Where should

time business analytics to be able to anticipate change or react

technology and precisely align your expenses and results.

about to ensure they are helping their companies take full they start?

CM: Well, call center managers need to be passionate lifelong

learners. This is a rapidly changing industry. We expect our people to be active in industry forums and to be very well

vices needed for call center directors to compete in the future?

mentioned earlier. But you also need a wide variety of real-

quickly to adjust the workflow to the pace of business. Our business is one of foreseen and unforeseen changes. The key is to have the tools and metrics to optimize the next hour, next week or next year.

briefed on the latest trends through industry publications,

CCN: In your opinion, what will call centers look like in the

vide a culture that encourages success. The biggest challenge is

look like? How will they operate in the new online world?

training and seminars. For executives, the imperative is to pro-

that there is so much material to synthesize that they have to prioritize where to invest their time.

CCN: For a CEO of a company with active call centers, what

should they do to make sure they are managing the process and getting the most from their centers?

CM: Benchmark, benchmark and benchmark some more. What is world class in statistics? What’s world class for FCR?

future? Where will they be located? What will their offices What technology is coming?

CM: Great question. You can look at it from a couple of dif-

ferent angles. One would be, what will libraries look like in the

future? Where have resources gone? Is there a virtual place to

actually get knowledge? The contact center is like a library; an intermediary between a need and knowledge that exists somewhere.

For customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores? For price perfor-

We see a growing trend for work-at-home agents staffing a

occasionally bring in third-party analysts to audit and validate

versus brick and mortar look. I believe there still needs to be a

mance? You create the benchmark, measure yourself, then the performance of your company. Unlike some industries, this

industry is constantly a work in progress, and your corporate culture must embrace that change.

virtual contact center. Certainly more of a non-traditional connection between an employee and the people they represent

and their employer, but I think there’s a variety of ways for that umbilical cord to be transformed and extended.

CCN: Customer care has taken on new meaning in today’s

I see a growing use of automation and self-service. There

dents to customer concerns. Can you help CEOs and call center

more than an intelligent data center that can respond to

business culture. Many call centers are viewed as first respon-

managers understand the important changes from technology

CM: Customers are using smartphones, tablets and laptops in

addition to standard phones to initiate customer interactions,

tier 1 queries or to have the ability for very high-end sales, marketing and technology to be deployed for people that

Fall 2012

to social media and the impact they have on customer care?

are valid arguments for the contact center being nothing

are in remote locations anywhere in the world, where the work follows the worker rather than the worker going to the work. CCN


The Promenade at Coconut Creek by XXX xxxxx


orem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam a consequat quam. Morbi consequat

porttitor imperdiet. Pellentesque sed neque lacus.

Nulla facilisi. Nunc massa massa, facilisis ut vehicula eget, luctus

sit amet nisl. Vivamus est velit, interdum a cursus in, fermentum vel purus. Nullam urna ipsum, sodales vel sagittis ut, hendrerit

quis dui. Aliquam egestas mi vitae lectus fermentum iaculis. Ut malesuada, quam varius gravida volutpat, lorem neque elemen-

tum nunc, a vehicula nisl eros et ligula. Vivamus facilisis, massa


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam a consequat quam. Morbi consequat porttitor imperdiet.

et imperdiet congue, lectus tortor lobortis tortor, in eleifend ante velit eget

dolor. Curabitur ut sagittis risus.

In scelerisque sem varius enim malesuada blandit. Curabitur

rutrum est sit amet odio dapibus ultricies. Proin volutpat pretium blandit. Donec ultricies tempor neque at tristique. Sed at

Smithson linkes to knock off early, going on expensive golf junkets paid for by corporate lobbyists.

risus. Aliquam et tortor sed est mollis dictum quis ac lacus.

augue et ante laoreet commodo. Nam nec sapien turpis. Cum

in sagittis felis tellus in purus. Suspendisse non tortor sapien.

nascetur ridiculus mus. Integer fermentum, ipsum quis tinci-

magna sed ante rhoncus sodales in nec eros. Donec et libero

Etiam rutrum, velit et porta blandit, tortor eros ultrices eros, In at magna eu odio aliquam condimentum at eu est. Phasellus

quis quam dolor, id tempor ante. Nunc laoreet convallis ornare. Curabitur id nunc erat, a volutpat tellus. Cras eleifend ultricies

sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, dunt dictum, urna nisi egestas sapien, nec laoreet magna orci at ligula. CCN

odio, a pharetra est tempus id.

Aliquam accumsan auctor faucibus. Vestibulum ante ipsum

Customer Experience

primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Pellentesque varius lacus nec nibh porttitor et facilisis magna

egestas. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing

Proin volutpat pretium blandit. Donec ultricies tempor neque

massa, non hendrerit arcu. Suspendisse potenti. Duis molestie

Donec et libero risus. Aliquam et tortor sed est mollis dictum quis

elit. Etiam rutrum interdum arcu mattis porta. Nulla eget purus dapibus pharetra. Morbi rhoncus urna eu massa pulvinar nec

aliquet justo vestibulum. Integer auctor, mi et egestas ultrices, nisi urna varius mi, quis consectetur nisl urna a dui.

Donec sed leo tortor. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et

at tristique. Sed at magna sed ante rhoncus sodales in nec eros. ac lacus. Etiam rutrum, velit et porta blandit, tortor eros ultrices

eros, in sagittis felis tellus in purus. Suspendisse non tortor sapien. In at magna eu odio aliquam condimentum at eu est.

magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Curabitur

Fall 2012

molestie faucibus magna, et euismod sapien condimentum at. Fusce eu leo sit amet mauris elementum congue. Etiam dolor quam, volutpat at convallis et, feugiat sed tellus. Nunc eleifend


Customer Care News

The Customer Experience Revolution — Are You Next?


uring 2007 and the particularly economic emptiness of 2008 it became very noticeable that there

were a group of companies, large and small, from

several industries that were better, different, more profitable and

Photos courtesy of Brigantine Media ( )

more sustainable than most others. What were these companies

doing? That was the question that motivated the live interviews

and research behind a new business leadership book called The Customer Experience Revolution. These companies, dubbed

“Experience Makers,” included Apple®; Amazon; Starbucks

Coffee Company; Square; Skinit, Inc.; BMW MINI Cooper; and Netflix, Inc. among others.

These Experience Makers redefined industries and changed

customers’ lives for the better. They also changed the expecta-

tions of existing and future customers. Once a market has been changed to a difficult-to-duplicate customer experience, those left competing with just price, features or value-added services are usually marginalized or eliminated.

These customer experience leaders are masters of the three

Ds of customer experience. The companies, which purposely and successfully Determine, Develop and Deliver extraordinary

customer experiences, have a decisive advantage. The aggregate view of Experience Makers reveals how they define customer experience and when it begins:

1. The customer experience includes all interactions people

have with or about a company’s messages, people, pro-

word-of-mouth referrals. “About” also includes very

powerful social media, where one person can quickly

communicate to many people about the extraordinary customer experience they just had.

2. Inside the customer experience is user experience, a

or services. And “about” including viewing third-party

products or services. It is the proof point that promises

with the company’s messages, people, processes, products videos, reading printed opinions such as reviews, and

Fall 2012

cesses, products or services. “With” as in direct contact

person’s experience directly interacting with a company’s made during the customer experience are true.


3. Experience leaders believe that customer experience

people indomitable? It was a bold step. Apple was entering a

tinues when they become customers and even energized

exactly was the opportunity for a new entrant to compete with

begins when people are potential customers and conadvocates.

This insight forms a customer experience continuum where

the experience of customer care begins well before a person is actually a customer. All interactions with or about a company’s

already in the market manufactured phones with great value. And others were adept at consistently introducing new technologies, styles and advanced features.

Before 2007, there were already many successful companies

making smartphones, which combine computing, Internet

experiences people want to have along that continuum at the

Apple entered the market, these smartphone companies includ-

strategic, tactical and operational levels. It starts at the top and is part of the company’s culture. “Delivering extraordinary

customer experiences is becoming more and more important,” according to J.D. Power & Associates. “We know from the data that people will pay for it.”

connectivity and other capabilities in a wireless phone. Before

ed formidable competitors such as Nokia, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry®, Palm and Motorola. These telecommunication

giants leapfrogged each other every three months, constantly adding innovative features and functions.

Suddenly, with one announcement, Apple changed the

When people have experiences they do not compare them

playing field by changing customers’ expectations of what a

site that sells and transacts, it might be compared to Amazon,

Apple sold 3.7 million iPhones, with one million sales in the

in nice, neat industrial ways. For example, if you have a web one of the best experience companies for process. That’s one

reason to go out-

smartphone should do for them. In the first year of production, two months following its introduction.

Before the iPhone, Apple was primarily a computer com-

side your industry,

pany, not a phone manufacturing company. And its entry into

customer experi-

iPhone was expensive, with a poor camera, no 3G capabilities

look at the best

ence companies, and



apply the insights from them. Even

if you are not in the

the phone market was in many ways a competitive failure. The

(a standard at that time), no keypad and no memory card. But this technologically weak and feature-poor product transformed

customers to enthusiastic advocates at a rate unseen in the smartphone market.

As Apple saw it, success in this market wasn’t about the


technology, the features, the calling plan or the price. While

or content busi-

exactly what it promised — an extraordinary experience. From

market, computer ness,



these insights can come from a company such as Apple — a

company that took bold steps based on customer experience to enter and redefine a market new to it and change smartphone

all those are important ingredients, Apple’s iPhone delivered the time people heard about the iPhone until they became customers and then enthusiastic advocates, the iPhone offered, by far, the best smartphone experience.

Customers flocked to phone stores to replace their old

customers’ lives forever.

phones with the new iPhones. Even though their old phones

Seeing the customer experience opportunity

aesthetics and prestige of Apple’s new product. Most of all, they

The crowd at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco on

January 9, 2007 could barely contain its excitement. A confident Steve Jobs entered the stage, peered out at the suddenly hushed

were quite adequate, they wanted the charm, buzz, coolness, fun, wanted what they heard so much about from iPhone owners — the pleasurable experience of using it.

Best of all for Apple shareholders, the iPhone was extremely

crowd, and confidently announced, “Today, we are going to rein-

profitable. Apple grossed 50 percent on each sale. Furthermore,

to the phone market. Apple launched the iPhone. And in a few

its stock rose 44 percent. The industry and its customers were

vent the phone.” It was a brand-new phone from a company new

Fall 2012

all those successful companies making phones? Some companies

messages, people, processes, products or services affect that

experience. Customer experience companies purposely create

short months the phone industry was changed forever.

What made it a great idea for Apple to enter a market

with large, firmly entrenched corporations that seemed to most


field crowded with tough and experienced competitors. Where

Apple gained 14 percent of the cell phone market in a year, and

so changed that four years would pass before another company, just as new to the phone industry as Apple was in 2007, would directly challenge the iPhone.

Customer Care News

That company was Google, which introduced its Android

had trouble understanding the customer experience advantage

as passionate and committed to anticipating, creating and com-

why Nokia and Research In Motion’s Blackberry® have had

phone in January 2011. And the people at Google are every bit

ing through with remarkable customer experiences as Apple. It is no accident that in the experience revolution, these two Experience Makers, both new to the phone industry, are battling for smartphone supremacy.

Creating the iPhone customer experience

The iPhone offered an innovative experience by intimately

understanding and anticipating what people wanted to do with

their smartphones. The iPhone promised and delivered a pleasurable experience as a phone, an Internet communicator, and a music player.

Apple began studying the market and its competitors at

least three years before it introduced the iPhone. While some

people were having good experiences, most were not. The stylus that phone makers often included to poke and type on the tiny keys of their phones was generally unpopular. It was an enlarged

toothpick-like pointer, a potentially dangerous poker that was

precarious to use. People would worry about where the stylus

of the iPhone. This is likely an important part of the reason

difficult times since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. In the smartphone market, they were marginalized by an Experience Maker. If they are to come back, they must at least

be at parity with Apple and Google along the customer experience continuum.

The same approach with the Customer Experience 3Ds can

be said of Apple’s success creating the market for the tablet with the iPad. With an average

selling price of $595 to $645, the iPad sold almost 15 mil-

…SUCCESS wasn’t about

lion units worldwide in 2010

since its introduction in April


created the tablet market by

developing and delivering

The iPhone is a great

in the way. When smartphone owners were focusing on poking

tomer experience that results

from the world around them.

Phone makers promised ease of use. But customers’ actual

experiences were hampered by phones that had cramped key-

boards and tiny hardware pieces that many reviewers and users experienced as feeling “unsure, toy-like or plastic.” Broken promises created an opportunity for Apple to create a better experience.

The smartphone experience that Apple created started

with the elegance of the phone itself and the user experience

or the price.

for mobile customers.

example of how a company

their device, the stylus ultimately disconnected most of them


positive customer experiences

was or even lose it. The real job of the stylus was to help people

adapt to the phone maker’s hardware. However, the stylus got


of that year. Apple purposely

Apple iPhone

can create a complete cusin major success. Apple did its

homework all along the cus-

tomer experience continuum



before it entered the smartphone market. The iPhone

is exemplary. Furthermore, it keeps customers buying

–an EXTRAORDINARY experience.

every time a new iPhone is introduced.

Customer experience is critical to sustainable success today.

that would deliver on the promises made from the beginning

A purposely created customer experience will make a company

user-resistant, fixed-in-plastic buttons and tiny keyboards with

seeing opportunities to be created by customer experience? Are

of the customer experience. For example, Apple replaced the a daring interface. The stylus was replaced with the human

finger — what Steve Jobs called, “The best pointing device in

better, different and more valuable than most others. Are you you next in the customer experience revolution? CCN

the world. One we are born with.” To assure that the screen

Jeofrey Bean is an author, speaker and the principal of Del Mar

developed a screen to interact with people’s fingers by ignoring

wanting to increase the certainty and effectiveness of their deci-

and finger were a gratifying and efficient combination, Apple

unintended touches and hover motions. This intuitive touching

of the screen, or gesture-based interface, allowed users to “flick” This is very much like the experience of turning the pages of a book in real life. It is natural, engaging and, for many, fun.

iPhone’s lure confounded many competitors. Some of them

sions about product and service development, as well as marketing

and customer experience leadership. He is the author of the new

business leadership book The Customer Experience Revolution:

Fall 2012

through a menu, between photos, or from one screen to the next.

Research & Consulting, LLC. He is also an advisor to companies

How Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks Have

Changed Business Forever, with Sean Van Tyne. He can be reached at


Customer Loyalty: How Smart Companies Build Long-term Success


ne definition of insanity is doing the same thing

customer relationship building and, as a result, customer loyalty,

Judging by the way some companies relate to

alty as a way of doing business. In this context, the organization

over and over and expecting a different result.

their customers — focusing on transactions rather than relationships — the same definition could also apply to their idea of business as usual.

Customer loyalty is becoming the ultimate goal of smart

begins at the top with a philosophy of capturing consumer loy-

must be committed not just to satisfying customer requirements, but to anticipating potential problems as well as new requirements and proactively addressing them.

“Customers who are not loyal, but merely satisfied, are able

companies today. Loyalty brings a basket of benefits, including

to switch brands more quickly now,” says loyalty guru Micah

acquisition costs, greater word-of-mouth referrals and reduced

them very similar, and all of them a click away.”

lower cost of sales, better revenue predictability, lower customer risk. Yet many firms are practically stone deaf when it comes to

Solomon. “Why? Because there are so many choices, many of Solomon, author of High Tech, High Touch Customer Service,

listening to the voice of their customers. They survey consum-

says the secret to building customer loyalty comes from “antici-

business data. All in a vacuum. And they fail to put in place the

is something magical about the ability of some companies to

ers. They handle customer complaints. They collect operational management strategies and structures that make customer care an overarching way of doing business.

According to John Goodman, vice chairman of TARP

Worldwide, a firm specializing in customer experience research, only about 20 to 30 percent of companies have formal, effec-

tive voice of the customer programs that create the economic imperative to actually get most issues fixed. Often, responsibility

patory customer service.” While magic is not involved, there transform the consumer experience, turning a basic transaction into a trusted relationship. “When customers feel that you know

what they are looking for before they ask for it, they feel at home at your business and their desire to wander — whether for a lower price or because you made a minor stumble in your service delivery, goes away to a significant extent,” Solomon says.

for monitoring, measuring, assessing and addressing the cus-

Creating the magic

the opportunity to glean actionable intelligence for anticipating

brands with establishing loyal customers. Advertising, earned

Goodman says, “The voice of the customer is available at

ment to sell products and services. But their power to engage

tomer experience is distributed among several departments, and consumer needs and solving problems before they occur is lost. every phase of the business life-

Start with clarity. Companies sometimes confuse developing

media and marketing can certainly generate a sense of excitethe customer over the long term

cycle, from marketing and sales

is limited. A commitment to cus-

to support and billing. Putting

tomer care puts organizations on

these pieces together and inte-

the road to sustained customer

grating them with operational data creates a credible, holistic

every human emotion, loyalty is the result of behavior. According

they are the exception.”

ogy of loyalty, deciding to be loyal is really deciding a pair of

But it is only the “exceptional” company that truly captures

the customer’s attention, appreciation, loyalty and enhanced

Fall 2012

The reason is people. Like

picture of the business enterprise. A few companies have sought

to capture and elevate the end-to-end customer experience, but

margins. Having the processes, methods and infrastructure in

place to move from an environment of commercial transactions to customer relationships is key. But opening the door to


relationships and greater loyalty.

to James Kane, a speaker, author and consultant on the psycholquestions: Do you make my life easier? Do you make my life better?

“If I do not have to do as much work or use as much brain

power, if you can complement something that I don’t do very well, then it’s a good thing to have you in my life,” he says.

Customer Care News

So much for easier. What about better?

“Because we are self-aware creatures, we are not just living

to eat and reproduce. We think about going on vacation, sending our kids to college, things that have nothing to do with our basic

survival. It’s about fulfillment. If I can find an organization, an

found just over half of chief financial officers and chief marketing officers felt comfortable investing in the customer experience

to enhance revenue. That is great news and market advantage for companies actually making those investments.

Another step in building relationships involves empower-

individual or a product that makes my life better and more ful-

ing customer care employees to solve problems at the point of

are always looking to limit the choices we have,” Kane notes.

problem can double a customer’s sensitivity toward price. It pays

filling, that limits the number of choices I need in this world. We

Trust is an important consideration in answering these “easi-

er and better” questions, but too often trust is merely asserted by

contact. According to Goodman, a single product or service to resolve customer problems quickly.

Incorporating customer care into every aspect of virtual

the company rather than demonstrably proven to the customer.

operations and social networking is also important in today’s

But even as important as these elements of trust are in establish-

er self-service, and social media chan-

Trust is about being competent, reliable, honest and consistent. ing customer satisfaction, they fall short when it comes to true relationship building.

“You never get credit for being trustworthy,” Kane says. “I

expect you to be fair. I am not going to give you credit for that.

tech-savvy culture. Websites need to support the goal of customnels must reflect customer preferences for effective and efficient problem resolution.

Finally, becoming a learning

The only time that I have to question it is when you aren’t.”

company is a critical step in build-

mind-reading: “It’s not about whether I am competent at my

From contact centers to social media

And here’s where the magical thinking comes in. Or maybe

job; it’s about whether I am as competent as you think I need to be,” Kane says.

He notes that building trust is about managing expecta-

tions — but not in the sense that a client’s unrealistic thinking must be given a reality check. Rather, it is the process whereby

the customer’s evolving needs and the company’s ability to meet those needs are constantly measured and addressed.

Transaction-based companies wring costs out of their sys-

tems to improve margins. By doing the same thing over and over, by standardizing operations, albeit with better quality and

efficiency, they hope for a different result: higher profitability.

ing those customer relationships. sources to employees in the field, customers are talking, and what they

are saying can identify trends, flag

problems, recalibrate expectations and customize interactions. Make the

voice of the customer valuable input

to every department and business unit and adopt accountability measures to

Matthew D’uva

make certain all issues are resolved. Listen, learn and profit from this rich source of market feedback.

While changing from a company that simply performs

But the transactions themselves may be based on false consumer

transactions to a company that anticipates customer needs and

attrition. This may be a strategy for the short term, but in a

quite practical and achievable. When companies are competing

assumptions and poorly managed expectations, hiking customer world in which consumer preferences can change with a tweet, it is hardly a winning approach for the long haul. Building relationships

Relationship-building companies invest in customer care

people, processes and technology to gain a better understanding of the customer, to use more personalized interactions to give that customer a greater sense of belonging, and to nurture the sense of identity with a product or service that turns consumers into advocates. For these companies, employees coloring outside

Gaining C-suite buy-in to the strategy of becoming the

leading customer relationship company in a given market sector is a key step in building relationships. A recent TARP survey

on this basis, to do otherwise is just plain crazy. CCN

Matthew D’uva, CAE, is president and CEO of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) International, a professional society based in Alexandria, Va., representing more than 2,000 best-in-class customer care executives and professionals from more than 100 brand name companies throughout the

United States and Canada. SOCAP is a member-driven organization committed to promoting customer care and engagement as

competitive advantages within the business enterprise. SOCAP member benefits include education and training, peer-to-peer

Fall 2012

the lines to improve a customer experience is a virtue.

exceeds customer expectations may sound like magic, the goal is

networking, relationship building, partnership programs, confer-

ences and seminars, news and information, research, and more. Visit SOCAP on the web at


Execution is Critical to the Customer Experience The 11 leadership imperatives for greater profits


n any industry, and given identical market condi-


that outperform the competition. They’re not lucky;

execution? Or are you getting in your own way? Be aware of

tions, there are always five percent of companies

they are simply better at planning and executing. Having solid

systems in place for both garners measurable results in terms of employee engagement and customer experience — and therefore your bottom line.

Is developing talent an organizational imperative at your

company? If not, you’re undoubtedly missing opportunities

to convert your customer base into effective and committed brand evangelists. An organization is always a reflection of

its leadership. In his book The Breakthrough Company, Keith

Are you doing all you can to systemize your planning and

these factors, which are often stumbling blocks on the way to great execution:

• Being good: Being good is actually the enemy of great-

ness. It is very difficult to execute at a higher level when your company is having a good year. Most CEOs have a

hard time getting their organization to embrace change

when things appear to be going well. However, change is required to elevate daily execution of plans to make the customer experience even greater.

McFarland writes, “the best way for a leader to get the right

• Being comfortable: Comfortable is close to complacent. If

In Jim Collins’ newest research book, he characterizes 10

zation is performing, it will not be willing to raise the bar

people on the bus is to create a bus worth riding.”

companies that outperformed the general stock market by 32

the executive team is comfortable with the way the organiand make execution a top priority.

times as being “fanatical about discipline.” Both Collins and

• Leadership fit: If the CEO is not willing to embrace or

outside experts as “scaffolding” to help in specific important

nization, then he or she must be willing to accept that the

McFarland also state emphatically that these top CEOs use business areas.

sponsor a complete assessment of every leader in the orga-

team will have some leaders who are simply never going to execute at a high level. The research is clear

An organization’s inability to execute — which funda-

mentally means keep its promise to its customers — is the number-one reason for CEO terminations. Equally sobering is

this fact: “High performers generate 48 to 129 percent higher revenue than average ‘C’ performers,” says a McKinsey &

Company talent survey. In Collins’ book Built to Last, which is

still one of the top 12 business books of all time, he states great performance is about one percent vision and 99 percent align-

ment and execution. In the Balanced Scorecard Report, David

Norton was quoted as saying “90 percent of organizations fail to execute their strategies.” Steven Taub of draws a

Fall 2012

clear and important correlation, in that companies are deliver-

ing only about two-thirds of their potential due to failures in

planning and execution. In a Fortune magazine article titled, John Lankford


“Why CEOs Fail,” authors Ram Charan and Geoffrey Colvin

Customer Care News

don’t attribute failures, or at least 70 percent of them, to bad

mean to your company’s future if your top two competitors

that: not getting things done, being indecisive, not delivering

ence their top three pri-

strategy. Instead, they state, “It’s bad execution. As simple as on commitments.”

Of course, your front-line employees are usually the ones

who touch customers every day. Unfortunately, in a Harvard

Business Review article, Robert Kaplan states, “95 percent of the typical company’s workers are unaware of, or don’t understand, its strategy.”

Data drives the customer experience

Peter Drucker famously wrote, “What gets measured gets

decided to make planning, execution and customer experiorities? Surely it would

90 percent of organizations

loss of market share.

fail to execute their strategies




So, here are 11 proven leadership








• Complete a company-wide leadership talent assessment

• Instantly make leadership development an organizational priority, including in your budget

managed.” So what data is critical for leadership teams to

• Launch a leadership training curriculum of core

moving forward? Systems need to be in place to measure the

• Conduct an organizational employee engagement survey

possess in order to allow measurement of the improvements following:

• Customer loyalty

• Where new customers are coming from

• How effectively each leader is performing

• The implementation of each leader’s individual development plan

• Employee engagement


o Hold

every leader accountable for the design and

implementation of the survey “action plans” for every team or department

• Design a company-wide, quarterly strategic planning system

• Modify or improve your company’s performance management system

• Employee turnover

• Hold leaders responsible for effectively using the account-

• How effectively leaders hold other leaders accountable

• Conduct a complete audit of your talent management

• Customer retention

• Internal customer satisfaction

In a recent national study performed jointly by Premier

Development Solutions and Naviga Business Services, busi-

ness owners and executives were asked, “What percentage of your organization executes its plan of top priorities con-

sistently?” Nearly 40 percent of those executives surveyed

ability system systems:

o Recruiting o Hiring

o Onboarding o Training

and development

o Accountability o Compensation

answered that less than half of their organization does.

• Remove every employee or manager whose performance is

rehire less than half of their entire management team as top

• Do not allow any leader to remain in his/her position who

said that less than half of their entire management team

• Create an effective one-page leadership scorecard

Additionally, 36.1 percent of respondents said they would performers. And the icing on the cake? Almost 35 percent

could effectively articulate their individual top four priorities for 2012.

With statistics such as that, most of those companies

likely have poor morale. Even worse, customers’ experiences

with those companies’ products and services are surely low as well.

At this point, many executives might begin to rationalize,

“That is not true in my company,” or “We just do not have

the budget to make the necessary changes.” What would it

is not an “A” or “B” performer

How many millions of dollars of revenues and profits are

being left on the table because YOU have allowed it? Are you ready for change? CCN

John Lankford is a Master Business Advisor and the founder

of Premier Development Solutions. He is a highly sought after keynote speaker, author and former syndicated business

Fall 2012

Leadership responsibilities/solutions

not at an acceptable level

columnist whose business expertise has been tapped by the New York Times and CBS. Lankford can be reached at


The Link Between Employee Attitudes, Customer Attitudes and Customer Spending


s CEOs will agree, the most important issue

Empirical Analysis of the Relationship between Employee

driving profitable revenue growth. As research

examines the results of implementing an Integrated Internal

facing chief executives is continuous focus on

continues to show — in this study and others from the Forum

— there is a direct link between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and profit. It is time and money well spent for

C-suite executives to invest in their employees’ engagement and

Attitudes, Customer Attitudes and Customer Spending,” Marketing (IIM) Model at a major hotel chain. The IIM Model

is designed to link employee and customer behaviors to financial outcomes as shown in Fig. 1.

To investigate these connections, the study pulled informa-

understanding of brand values. In a study from the Forum for

tion from employee and customer surveys and connected it to

show a direct relationship between employees and customer

database. Main findings include:

People Performance Management and Measurement, the results perceptions of a hotel brand and increased customer spending

behavior. While this study specifically examines a hotel chain, the benefit of supporting employees to understand and deliver

the brand value of an organization to its customers is transferable across every industry.

The study, “Testing the Internal Marketing Model: An

the same customers’ spending behavior from a loyalty program • The key drivers of brand value to customers can be identified and linked to customer behavior. The drivers for the

hotel chain are fast and efficient check-in, employee efforts

to satisfy customers, hotel options and amenities, and precision in service.

• Employee perceptions of brand value are similar to custom-

ers, but lack uniformity across hotel locations. This shows

up as inconsistency in employee attitudes and, consequently, customer experiences.

• Customer perceptions of the brand have a direct and posi-

tive impact on how much money customers spend per hotel

Fall 2012


These findings support management action to influence

employee attitudes and behaviors to create a positive revenue Figure 1



Customer Care News

Employee understanding of brand value and how they

represent those values to customers is the critical finding of this

study. Successfully delivering the key strategies to employees requires strong internal communications and employee engage-

and commitment toward building meaningful customer experiences.

Employees are the face of the brand. When these employees

ment. As discovered in the hotel example, this communication

deliver the company’s brand values to customers, their efforts

maximum benefit. Once employees understand and are engaged

this study finds, simply delivering the value “tries to satisfy”

needs to be delivered consistently across the organization for

in the brand values of the organization, increased customer sat-

isfaction and spending will result, which drives financial growth. Here are a few ideas to get started:

• Establish clear lines of communication: This study found

that consistent communication was important. Delivering a message consistently to all functional areas or departments will prevent inconsistent delivery of the brand values or key drivers to customers.

• Survey employees: Gather their thoughts on how employ-

ees understand brand value. Review the findings, find the gaps in communication and implement communication

appropriately so the team is equipped with what they need

translate directly into increased spending by customers. As increased the total amount



customers spent over time and how much

they spent per visit. The time investment

spent to support them

in their efforts to understand and articulate the brand values and align with customer attitudes about the brand is something

that will increase customer spending and contribute to every company’s bottom line. CCN

to deliver the key drivers for success.

The research study “Testing the Internal Marketing Model:

tition: Set the expectation for employees to strive to work

Attitudes, Customer Attitudes and Customer Spending” was

• Develop a culture that is a mix of cooperation and compecooperatively, but also encourage healthy competition where

employees can feel free to voice their opinions in pursuit of the best solutions for customers.

• Elevate engagement with a formal employee recognition

program: Building structure around recognition allows the

port the brand values that are critical to financial success. Providing clear direction and validating the actions taken toward those objectives will increase employee engagement

conducted by Dr. Frank Mulhern, Northwestern University, and produced by The Forum: Business Results Through People. The Forum: Business Results Through People (formerly Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement), affili-

ated with Northwestern University, is an organizational trust for thought leadership advocating that the most effective way

Fall 2012

organization to consistently reinforce behaviors that sup-

An Empirical Analysis of the Relationship between Employee

business leaders can create and sustain organizational value is

through their partnership with people. The full study is available at


The Promenade at Coconut Creek by XXX xxxxx


orem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam a consequat quam. Morbi consequat

porttitor imperdiet. Pellentesque sed neque lacus.

Nulla facilisi. Nunc massa massa, facilisis ut vehicula eget, luctus

sit amet nisl. Vivamus est velit, interdum a cursus in, fermentum vel purus. Nullam urna ipsum, sodales vel sagittis ut, hendrerit

quis dui. Aliquam egestas mi vitae lectus fermentum iaculis. Ut malesuada, quam varius gravida volutpat, lorem neque elemen-

tum nunc, a vehicula nisl eros et ligula. Vivamus facilisis, massa


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam a consequat quam. Morbi consequat porttitor imperdiet.

et imperdiet congue, lectus tortor lobortis tortor, in eleifend ante velit eget

dolor. Curabitur ut sagittis risus.

In scelerisque sem varius enim malesuada blandit. Curabitur

rutrum est sit amet odio dapibus ultricies. Proin volutpat pretium blandit. Donec ultricies tempor neque at tristique. Sed at

Smithson linkes to knock off early, going on expensive golf junkets paid for by corporate lobbyists.

risus. Aliquam et tortor sed est mollis dictum quis ac lacus.

augue et ante laoreet commodo. Nam nec sapien turpis. Cum

in sagittis felis tellus in purus. Suspendisse non tortor sapien.

nascetur ridiculus mus. Integer fermentum, ipsum quis tinci-

magna sed ante rhoncus sodales in nec eros. Donec et libero

Etiam rutrum, velit et porta blandit, tortor eros ultrices eros, In at magna eu odio aliquam condimentum at eu est. Phasellus

quis quam dolor, id tempor ante. Nunc laoreet convallis ornare. Curabitur id nunc erat, a volutpat tellus. Cras eleifend ultricies

sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, dunt dictum, urna nisi egestas sapien, nec laoreet magna orci at ligula. CCN

odio, a pharetra est tempus id.

Aliquam accumsan auctor faucibus. Vestibulum ante ipsum

People Skills

primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Pellentesque varius lacus nec nibh porttitor et facilisis magna

egestas. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing

Proin volutpat pretium blandit. Donec ultricies tempor neque

massa, non hendrerit arcu. Suspendisse potenti. Duis molestie

Donec et libero risus. Aliquam et tortor sed est mollis dictum quis

elit. Etiam rutrum interdum arcu mattis porta. Nulla eget purus dapibus pharetra. Morbi rhoncus urna eu massa pulvinar nec

aliquet justo vestibulum. Integer auctor, mi et egestas ultrices, nisi urna varius mi, quis consectetur nisl urna a dui.

Donec sed leo tortor. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et

at tristique. Sed at magna sed ante rhoncus sodales in nec eros. ac lacus. Etiam rutrum, velit et porta blandit, tortor eros ultrices

eros, in sagittis felis tellus in purus. Suspendisse non tortor sapien. In at magna eu odio aliquam condimentum at eu est.

magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Curabitur

Fall 2012

molestie faucibus magna, et euismod sapien condimentum at. Fusce eu leo sit amet mauris elementum congue. Etiam dolor quam, volutpat at convallis et, feugiat sed tellus. Nunc eleifend


Customer Care News

Building a Customer-centered Culture Executive Coaching — The New Leadership Solution


hat does executive coaching have to do with a company’s focus on delivering on its promise to customers? The answer is simple, but it’s

one many executives don’t know — everything.

While many companies pay lip service to an extreme focus on

the customer experience, upon closer inspection it becomes evident that customer care is often not a top priority among the executive team. So what will it take to close the gap between words and action?

Dr. Atul Gawande, an accomplished surgeon, had been

in his profession for eight years when he noticed his performance in the operating room had reached a plateau. “I’d

like to think it’s a good thing —,” he wrote in an October 2011 article for the New Yorker titled Personal Best. “I’ve arrived at my professional peak.” This top achiever, however, was

Executive coaching is a partnership that helps senior leaders

deliver on key organizational priorities faster and more effectively. Most, if not all, executive teams spend a great deal of time focused on cash flow trends and new revenues. Imagine the power of an

executive coach who could help the vice president of marketing and

sales strategically dominate the industry by focusing on retaining

the existing customer base. In a national study recently completed

by Premier Development Solutions and Naviga Business Services, only 55.7 percent of the 33,000 executives surveyed cited their

company’s ability to differentiate itself in the market as the way to create loyal raving fans. How many companies can you rave about?

Of all the places you visit, how many deliver service that’s over-the-

top outstanding? Chances are, there aren’t too many. Maybe they have your business simply because there’s no good alternative.

Most executives believe they have a strategic plan for cus-

never going to be satisfied with a flatline in his progress. So

tomer care, but in fact do not. Conduct an informal self-audit: what

but not in medicine — he hired a coach. He remembered

strategy? You might want to be sitting down while you perform this

he did a thing that’s common in the area of sports performance, from his days as a serious high school tennis player going

to a tournament where he played against even more advanced

players. “The kids at that level were playing a different game than I

was,” he said. That’s the thing about high achievers. They’re playing a different game altogether. That’s because they’re never satisfied with a plateau — and they understand the value of coaching. What is the value of an executive coach?

An outside executive coach can bring new ideas and innova-

tions while also challenging your team’s strategy against the best of

the best. The coach will also serve as a sounding board in powerful and confidential CEO-type private discussions. Even if your team

is really engaged and fully focused on customer care, executive

coaching represents your best chance for future and enhanced success.

The subtitle of Dr. Gawande’s article is Top athletes and singers

have coaches. Should you? Most Fortune 1000 companies think they

percentage of this year’s budget is targeted on your customer care

small exercise, because the truth can be shocking. But with today’s

internal politics, who has the moxie to step up and challenge the executive team?

The issue is that many executives suffer from limited or fil-

tered feedback, and the higher they promote, the less frequent and accurate data they receive. A 2009 Harvard Business Review article found that 26 percent of executives surveyed hire coaches primarily

as a sounding board. Outside objectivity and past executive-level experience are critically important to any senior leader who spends

a significant amount of his or her day attempting to influence others, achieve budget goals and affect organizational change.

In early 2012 the nation’s largest study of executive coaches

revealed that “the majority of coaching is designed for leadership development,” and it achieves it in these five primary ways: • Allows a leader to reflect on and learn from decisions

• Exposes a leadership behavior that may be limiting effectiveness

do. In fact, IBM retains more than 60 certified coaches on staff.

• Leads personal career development

ship talent. That’s why in a recent survey by Right Management,

• Provides a sounding board

They understand an organization will never outperform its leader-

leadership skills of individuals who have been identified as future leaders.

When confidentiality and performance improvement are criti-

cal, internal mentoring can only go so far. And having a strategic


Fall 2012

86 percent of companies said they use coaching to sharpen the

• Strategically leads organizational change

advisor can pay for itself many times over, since the impact of one

strategic decision may reap millions of dollars in value during the

parameters be set up front about who is going to receive what feed-

executive will help make every employee’s work unit a great place

anything he or she shares with the coach will not be shared with

next one to three years. Additionally, having a coach for each key to work.

Obviously, the fit between an executive and a coach is invalu-

able to establishing the trust essential for achieving optimal

performance. Among the helpful traits of an executive coach are

years of senior level-experience of their own, candor, and excellent

interpersonal skills. Experience is critically important when select-

the talents and skill levels of direct reports are common during the coaching process so the executive can delegate more effectively — another reason confidentiality is a top priority.

In the 2012 national study done by Premier Development

to developing their leaders. To make matters worse nearly 40 per-

The majority of

the phone, in person or by use of webcam. More than 90 percent

executive ing





start with one or two

assessments that reveal

the leader’s strengths and

surveyed gave themselves a failing grade in their planned approach cent of executives said less than half of their organization executes

its plan of top priorities consistently. The right coach can absolutely

help leaders execute at a higher level. More than 60 percent of executives that completed the national study scored the value of executive coaching as “very high.” Before making a decision so

valuable to your career success, look for a coaching firm that offers experience, a coaching system, past referrals, a track record of execu-

tive success, experience in developing talent and a great fit for your personality. As Dr. Gawande wrote in his article, “Coaching done

well may be the most effective intervention designed for human performance.”

In his book, First Break all The Rules, Marcus Buckingham


presents his research, which proved that organizations with the

a powerful diagnostic

higher customer loyalty. But before even picking up the phone to

needs. Think of it as

tool, a kind of leader-

ship MRI, if you will. Great


in combination with

excellent interpretation

skills, enable executive

coaches to know the

highest levels of engagement were more likely to have 56 percent

contact an executive coach, make sure you take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I coachable?” Do you know how to systematically create a culture obsessed with customer care, or could

you use a little help? Are you consistently measuring engagement

in your company? Do you understand how to strategically measure your “customer experience?”

At the end of the day, customer care is a leadership decision.

leader from the inside

If your dollars are going to billboards and advertising, why isn’t it

In the past 10

advertising for you? A coach with a proven track record can help


years, a team approach has



within your budget to develop a workforce of raving fans to do your transform cultures one executive at a time. CCN

the scene, adding a new dimension in executive coaching. The

John Lankford is a Master Business Advisor and the founder

many egos, strengths and styles present in a department or group.

after keynote speaker, author and former syndicated business

concept is similar to that of individual coaching, but caters to the

Fall 2012

often a stumbling block to leaders. Therefore, conversations about

members of your lead-

coaching is done on

A little more than half of respondents (55.7 percent) said they were satisfied with their value proposition.

not about adding to those responsibilities. In fact, delegation is

Solutions and Naviga Business Services, 39.8 percent of executives

ership team.

Overall, what percentage of your organization executes its plan of top priorities consistently?

anyone. Executive coaching is about helping the executive with all

ing a team of outside

experts to coach key

Less than 50%

back. A high level of trust is not negotiable. Any CEO must know

the issues already on his or her plate, and any in the future — it’s

Bringing an executive coach on board

Often, differing communication styles could represent one possible

dynamic that prevents organizational alignment and success within a team.


Whatever the details of the arrangement, it is critical that

of Premier Development Solutions. He is a highly sought columnist whose business expertise has been tapped by the New York Times and CBS. Lankford can be reached at

Customer Care News

The Underlying Importance of Emotional Intelligence Dan Goleman discusses the role of emotional intelligence in customer satisfaction Every company, large or small, has customers. Be it

employees who interact and assist one another on a daily basis

or the person who purchases your product. The ability to truly

connect with customers so they feel important and appreciated requires emotional and social intelligence. Recently,

Dr. Keith Levick had the opportunity to speak with Daniel Goleman, leader, author and expert in the field of emotional

intelligence, to discover how this increasingly important set of skills truly factors into the customer’s experience — positively or negatively.

CCN: Dan, how is it that you became interested in the emotional intelligence field?

DG: I am a psychologist by training and was the science writer for the New York Times.

When the new research was coming in regarding neuroscience and other relevant data about the brain, I knew I needed to

write a book. It was at that time my journey into the field of emotional intelligence began.

CCN: You have been a pioneer in the area of emotional

Fall 2012

intelligence. You have written numerous books on the topic and have linked the importance of emotional intelligence to organizations, schools, marriages — all aspects of life. What is emotional intelligence?

Dan Goleman


DG: Emotional intelligence refers to ways we can be intelligent about our emotions: self-awareness, self-management, empathy and social skill.

DG: Because emotions are contagious, how your employees

interact with your customers determines how the customer

an important quality for leaders (and employees)?

be using their emotional intelligence to get and stay in an

DG: Emotional intelligence does not mean being emotional — letting it all out. Quite the contrary — it means being skillful

in the emotional and social realm. With neuroscience finding

that emotions are conta-

gious, and that they flow from the more powerful person outward, leaders

are on the spot: your emotional state is contagious,

will feel about your company. You want your employees to upbeat, empathic space, and to relate to your customers from

that state. In my book, Working With Emotional Intelligence, I reviewed data from the hospitality industry showing that the most effective employees were adept at emotional intelligence

competencies like emotional self-management (curbing negative feelings and encouraging motivation and engagement), empathy (which allows them to sense how others feel, and so

be more effective communicators), and collaboration (so they work seamlessly as team members).

for better or for worse.

CCN: It appears there is a link between the leader’s emo-

CCN: Are you saying


that employees actually

“catch” the emotions of their leader?

DG: In my book, Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

tional intelligence and the employee and customer (patient)

DG: Yes, how a leader treats/interacts with the employee can have a direct affect on how the employee services the customer.

– Selected Writings, I discuss the concept of interpersonal limbic

CCN: Then it becomes critically important that leaders know

hormone levels, cardiovascular function and even immune

well as the employee?

regulation, whereby one person transmits signals that can alter function inside the body of another.

As a conversation begins, their bodies each operate at a differ-

ent rhythm. But by the end of a 15-minute conversation, their physiological profiles look remarkably similar — a phenomenon called mirroring. This happens in the office, boardroom,

a restaurant; people in groups at work inevitably “catch” feelings from one another, sharing everything from jealousy and envy to angst or euphoria.

CCN: For a leader to be highly effective, do they need to be aware of their own emotional state?

DG: Leaders who can emanate positive motivation and

and understand how the customer experiences the company as

DG: I also address this issue in Working With Emotional

Intelligence. To shine at service we need to monitor the satisfaction of customers, not waiting to hear complaints but

freely offering information that might be helpful without self-

interest motivating the gesture. This lays the groundwork for a trusting relationship, one where the customer (or coworker)

will feel a positive regard and start to see you as a source of reliable and helpful information — elevating the relationship above one simply of a buyer and a seller.

CCN: So, creating the ultimate customer experience is critical for an organization and its leaders?

enthusiasm for shared goals get the best results. Remember,

DG: How customers feel when they interact with an employee


is lost or strengthened in every interaction between a com-

leadership is the art of getting work done well through other

Fall 2012

the area of customer care?

CCN: Historically, leaders in many organizations discouraged

emotionality in the workplace. Why is emotional intelligence

CCN: Today, more than ever, creating an extraordinary customer experience is critical for an organization’s survival. Can


you address how emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in

determines how they feel about the company itself. Loyalty pany and its customers. To paraphrase business maven Peter Drucker, the purpose of business is not to make a sale, but to make and keep a customer. CCN

Customer Care News

Social Media

The Missing Link: How Valuable Customer Discussions On Social Media Are Often Overlooked


nyone who has ever been part of a brand or

can be polluted by the individual’s awareness of it being a

port structure

or more people is inherently honest and unaware. That is

product sup-

knows that feeling when a

to say, when people don’t realize they are providing

stranger begins talking with

feedback through a significant channel, the genuine customer

someone else about that

sentiment emerges.

item or service. Whether

This genuine customer sentiment is surfacing every day.

overhearing in an elevator

And not in conversations taking place in diners, hotels, air-

conversation, you get a gen-

honesty and true customer reactions are occurring every second

or eavesdropping on a phone

planes or shopping malls. Instead, these invaluable tidbits of

Fall 2012

eral excitement and curiosity

as to what that individual’s experience has been. The

on avenues of social media. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, Jason Wolcott

reason is simple: while focus groups or pursued follow-ups


standardized process, anonymous feedback between two

forums or blogs, there are thousands of bits of data each day that deal with how individuals perceive a brand and its products.

Customer Care News

The industry, it seems, is still trying to understand how to

forms, companies today are also finding a lack of a stop-valve

feel up to finding the solution and simply remain absent on

determine what is a qualified marketing lead or not being able

use this information. While some companies simply do not

social media platforms, others are so buried in data that they

remain at a standstill. By implementing a limited series of pro-

gram modifications, both non-engaged companies and those

attempting to grapple this conundrum can become effective at configuring the data available into a manageable framework. Step One: Embrace Social Media, Top to Bottom

Likely the most common suggestion from social media

experts, encouraging social adoption on all levels of the corpo-

rate hierarchy is raised time and time again due to its real value. According to Burson-Marsteller (a global public relations and communications firm), 70 percent of Americans research a

product online before making a purchase. If a similar market share existed within popular magazines, wouldn’t your company be looking into involvement with that medium?

The value of creating a social media presence doesn’t just

stop at consumer value, but also exists internally. Without widespread acceptance of this new platform, social media teams

often feel like the black sheep of the customer service division while other departments can feel neglected or threatened by these new efforts. By integrating social media within all existing efforts and coordinating assistance across platforms (esca-

lations, research and development, customer feedback, etc.), companies can avoid having that department be the “new kid at school” and, instead, effectively implement what may very well

or filter for incoming content. Whether that means failing to

to find customer service issues amidst hundreds of brand mentions, a wide variety of concerns

exist due to a lack of structured

In reviewing the options available with the widely accessible data the Internet

rules. Sit down

has to offer, companies can ensure

heads, both for

that technology has not evolved far

with department social media and

beyond their currently used tools

sions, to deter-

as well as maintain an open-ended

traditional divi-

mine the top five

most important

program initiative to improve.

types of customer

discussions/feedback and implement the changes necessary to

prioritize them. The resulting solution may be additional filters within your social media tools or finding a different provider

for data due to inflexibility. The worst decision a company

can make, however, is to just go with whatever was decided at

program inception. In failing to review the standards in place, as well as reviewing all standards and tools to determine their

effectiveness and the competitiveness they allow, companies can find themselves stuck wading through the Internet’s static while competitors strive forward.

While each of these items may sound easier said than done,

be the future of all divisions within their company.

they all deal with one common theme: the importance of hav-

Step Two: Define Existing Expectations, Then Exceed

for effective evolution. In reviewing the options available with


Because social media is such a new platform for engage-

ment, companies have been playing catch-up or coming up

with standards on the fly as new titles, divisions and hiring

efforts are made. To ensure the most effective program, the pri-

mary step is to consider what performance standards are being encouraged and review for consistency and improvement. By eliminating the rationale that social media rules should mirror

traditional channels, and developing a roadmap for making social media the most effective and profound customer service

effort in your company hierarchy, true innovation can develop

that will make a large splash online from existing customers

ing the discussions within your organization that are necessary the widely accessible data the Internet has to offer, companies

can ensure that technology has not evolved far beyond their currently used tools as well as maintain an open-ended program

initiative to improve. If you knew that people regularly met at noon to discuss your product in the mall’s food court, wouldn’t

you take whatever steps necessary to monitor that conversation? Yet, all too often, companies aren’t making those strides online for a host of reasons. By making an effort to execute the

aforementioned steps, brand ambassadors can begin making

the changes necessary to monitor and engage with consumers worldwide. CCN

and prospects alike.

Jason Wolcott is the co-founder and CEO of 3CSI where he leads

Step Three: Calibrate to Determine What is of

to clients. 3CSI’s goal is to help companies provide greater value

With the adoption of social media within traditional plat-

Fall 2012

Value Right Now

delivery of strategic customer relationship management solutions to their customers by fully leveraging new technologies and media channels. Wolcott can be reached at


Customer Care Glossary

Blog: A blog is an online journal that’s updated on a regular basis with entries that appear in reverse chronological order. Blogs can be about any subject. They typically contain comments by other readers, links to other sites and permalinks. See SOCAP’s blog at BOS: Business Operating System — An environment that represents the vast warehouses of knowledge of an organization-the way a business is run, the way


API: An API (a technical term for application pro-

people and information come together to add value to

Abandoned Call: The caller hangs up before reaching

gramming interface) allows users to get a data feed

a business process. A BOS is a repository composed of

an agent. (Also called a lost call.)

directly into their own sites, providing continually

a common operating environment, a business process

Access Provider: An organization that provides

updated, streaming data — text, images, video — for

library and enterprise workflow.

access to the Internet. (Also called an Internet Service

display. For example, Flickr’s API might allow you to

Brand Equity: The level of awareness and consumer

Provider [ISP].)

display photos from the site on your blog. When sites

goodwill generated by a company’s brands and/or

ACD: Automatic Call Distributor automatically

like Twitter and Facebook “open up” their APIs, it


answers calls, queues calls, distributes calls to agents,

means that developers can build applications that build

Business Process Improvement (BPI): Betterment of

plays delay announcements and provides real-time and

new functionality on top of the underlying service.

an organization’s business practices through the analysis

historical reports on these activities.

Application Based Routing and Reporting: The ACD

of activities to reduce or eliminate non-value-added

ACS: Automatic Call Sequencer automatically answers

capability to route and track transactions by type of

activities or costs, while maintaining or improving qual-

and sequences calls on a first-in/first-out basis.


ity, productivity, timeliness or other strategic or business

ACTUAL VALUE: The net present value of future

ARU: Audio Response Unit; automated attendants that

objectives as evidenced by performance measures.

financial contributions from the designated customer,

route calls based on digits callers enter on touch-tone

Business Process Re-engineering: A structured

behaving in the way he is expected to behave, knowing

phones. It responds to caller-entered digits or speech

approach by all or part of an enterprise to improve

what we know now, with no significant unanticipated

recognition in much the same way that a conventional

the value of its products and services while reducing

change in the customer’s needs, in the competitive

computer responds to keystrokes or clicks of a mouse.

resource requirements.

landscape, or in the company’s planned strategy. Same

(Also called IVR, VRU)

as lifetime value (LTV).

ASA: Average Speed of Answer

ACW: After-Call Work. Work that is necessitated by

Average Time to Abandonment: The average time that

and immediately follows an inbound transaction (Also

callers wait in queue before abandoning.

called Wrap-up and Post Call Processing.) Aggregation: Combining data in a way that creates new information. For example, adding the dollar values



Call Blending: Combining traditionally separate inbound and outbound agent groups into one group of agents responsible for handling both inbound and outbound contacts.

Baseline Market Segmentation Study: The first mar-

Call by Call Routing: The process of routing each call

of all of a customer’s transactions together to create a

ket segmentation study conducted by an organization.

to the optimum destination according to real-time

new field that reflects total purchases.

BELOW ZEROs (BZs): The customers who cost more


AHT: Average Handling Time; the sum of average talk

to serve than they will ever return in value. Examples: A

Call Center: Term used to include reservation cen-

time and average after-call work for a specified time

Below Zero might be somebody who takes a lot of free

ters, help desks, information lines or customer service

period. OR Average Hold Time.

services, but doesn’t return much revenue. It could be

centers. The term contact center is being used more

AI: Artificial Intelligence is computers that act in a way

a complainer whose complaint was never resolved and

frequently, as calls are just one type of transaction tak-

analogous to intelligent human behavior.

therefore no longer does business with you. Not only

ing place. It is the part of an organization that handles

AMIS: Audio Messaging Interchange Specification; a

is that person worth zero on that account, but actually

inbound/outbound communications with customers.

standard that permits networking of voice mail systems

has below-zero value because he or she will tarnish your

Calls in Queue: The number of calls received that the

from different manufacturers.

reputation in speaking to other customers.

ACD system has received but that haven’t connected to an agent.

Fall 2012

Channel: An avenue through which products and services are rendered to end-use customers. Car dealers, retailers, computer resellers, grocery wholesalers are all examples of channel members.


Customer Care News


Churn: A term that describes customer attrition or

Customer Capital: It refers to the value, usually not

customer defection. A high churn rate implies high

reflected in accounting systems other than as goodwill,

customer disloyalty.

which results from the relationships an organization has

demands of marketers and service providers for cus-

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing (also called “the

built with its customers.

tomer information begin to clash with privacy concerns,

cloud”) refers to the growing phenomenon of users who

Customer Differentiation: The second step in the one-

new entities called Data Aggregation Agents (DAAs)

can access their data from anywhere rather than being

to-one strategy labeled “IDIC” is to differentiate cus-

emerge. By consolidating and controlling outside access

tied to a particular machine.

tomers. Customers are different in two ways: they have

to a customer’s personal data, DAAs will help business-

Conditional Routing: The capability of the ACD to

different value to the enterprise, and they need different

es provide the customer with relevant and timely offers

route calls based on current conditions. It is based on

things from the enterprise. Customer differentiation is

while protecting individual privacy. The basic function

“if-then” programming statements.

vital to pursuing Learning Relationships.

of a DAA would be to act as a central, online storehouse

Consumer Direct: Also known as Direct-to-Consumer,

Customer Experience Development: The process of

for a consumer’s personal information. In a wide-open,

it’s the channel that includes all products and services

overseeing and influencing the totality of a customer’s

wireless world, customers will require their DAAs to

delivered directly to the home through catalogs, tele-

experiences with a brand, product or service, spanning

shield them from mobile “spam,” while sending through

marketing, TV shopping, kiosks, web sites, and the

all interactions and transactions.

messages that truly respond to their needs.

newly emerging automatic grocery-replenishment ser-

Customer Loyalty: The degree to which customers

Data Mart: A special-purpose, usually smaller, data

vices. Consumer Direct describes the process involved

are predisposed to stay with your company and resist

warehouse created and managed for specific business

when a manufacturer sends goods directly to a con-

competitive offers.

units. Almost always, marketing or finance are the first

sumer via the Internet (such as providing music or

Customer Portfolio Management: An organization-

data mart users in the enterprise. It’s much easier and

video) with no intermediaries, but the term also refers

al structure placing line responsibility for improv-

faster to deploy than a data warehouse.

to direct-mail and catalog channels.

ing Return on Customer in the hands of portfolio

Data Mining: Originally a term used to describe the

Consumer Unit: All related members of a particular


recognition of previously undiscovered patterns in a


Customer Relationship Management (CRM): CRM

database. Now it’s used to add sales value to almost

Contextual Commerce: When the advertisement on

is the same as one-to-one marketing. This customer-

any kind of data analysis tool. It’s one of the top 10

the web site directly pertains to the kind of information

focused business model also goes by the names relation-

buzzwords in present language. Data mining is crucial

a person is viewing, and changes with each visitor, and

ship marketing, real-time marketing, customer intimacy,

in CRM strategies, particularly in e-commerce.

with each drill down

and a variety of other terms. But the idea is the same:

Data Warehouse: A data repository created by extract-

Continuous Process Improvement: A policy that

establish relationships with customers on an individual

ing data elements from operational and OLTP systems.

encourages, mandates, and/or empowers employees to

basis and then use the information you gather to treat

Its main purpose is to provide a dataset that users can

find ways to improve process and product performance

different customers differently. The exchange between a

access without affecting the performance of the online

measures on an ongoing basis.

customer and a company becomes mutually beneficial,


Co-opetition: Partnering with your competition.

as customers give information in return for personal-

Database Management Software: Computer pro-

Cost of Poor Quality: The costs associated with pro-

ized service that meets their individual needs.

grams in which data are captured on the computer,

viding poor-quality products or services.

Customer Satisfaction Research: Research conducted

updated, maintained and organized for effective use and

Cross Functional Process Improvement: Business

to measure overall satisfaction with a product or service

manipulation of data.

process re-engineering with the goal of eliminating

and satisfaction with specific elements of the product

Database: Any collection of information — from a

stove pipe operations.

or service.

simple shopping list to a complex collection of custom-

Cross-Selling: Selling related goods and services to a

Customer Valuation: The value of a customer to an

er information — is technically a customer database.

consumer. This process is only one way to increase your

enterprise, composed of two elements. Actual valuation

However, the term is usually applied to computerized

Share of Customer.

is the customer’s current Lifetime Value, and strategic

records of information.

Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing refers to harnessing

valuation is the customer’s potential value, if the cus-

Design for Manufacturability: Designing or redesign-

the skills and enthusiasm of those outside an organiza-

tomer could be grown to his or her maximum potential.

ing the production process of a product so that it can

tion who are prepared to volunteer their time contribut-

(See also Share of Customer).

be manufactured with the least amount of parts in the

ing content or skills and solving problems.

Customer-Centric: Putting the customer at the center

shortest amount of time, using standard as opposed to

CSR: Customer Service Representative. ALSO

of the marketing effort. For example, measuring cus-

custom parts. (The concept originated in Japan in the

Corporate Social Responsibility, a concept whereby

tomer value, not product sales.

early 80s.)

Data Aggregation Agent (DAA): As the increasing

Design Interface: The mechanism by which a customer

take responsibility for the impact of their activities.

specifies exactly what he or she needs. An important aspect of mass customization.


Fall 2012

businesses and organizations perform a social good or

Customer Care Glossary

Lifetime Value: Also known as LTV, Lifetime Value is the “run rate” of a customer’s actual value. LTV: see Lifetime Value.

DNIS: Dialed Number Information Service; a string of

Hashtag: A hashtag (or hash tag) is a community-

digits that the telephone network passes to the ACD,

driven convention for adding additional context and

VRU or other device to indicate which number the

metadata to your tweets. Similar to tags on Flickr, you

caller dialed.

add them in-line to your Twitter posts by prefixing a

sales that a company holds.

Drip Irrigation: Gathering customer information

word with a hash symbol (or number sign). Twitter

Marketing Mix: The unique blend of product pricing,

slowly over time, rather than overwhelming customers,

users often use a hashtag like #followfriday to aggre-

promotion, offerings and distribution designed to meet

prospects and visitors with long surveys they might be

gate, organize and discover relevant posts.

the needs of a specific group of customers.

inclined not to fill out, and using each piece to build on every interaction.

Market Share: The percentage of an industry’s total

Marketing Research: The planning, collection and analysis of data relevant to marketing decision making,

IDIC: The four-step methodology for implementing

and the communication of the results of this analysis

one-to-one relations with customers. IDIC stands for

to management.

Enterprise Application Integration: A generic term

identify customers, differentiate them, interact with

Marketing Strategy: Guiding the long-term use of

for software that integrates legacy and disparate

them and customize.

the firm’s resources based on its existing and projected


Insourcing: The opposite of outsourcing. A service

capabilities and on projected changes in the external

Enterprise Resource Planning: Back-end processes

performed in-house.


and systems; i.e., inventory management and billing.

ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network; a set of

Mass Customization: Shorthand for high variability

Tying your back-end systems with your front-end or

international standards for telephone transmission.

in marketing. It uses the power of the database to vary

customer facing systems is what allows customers to be

ISO 9000: A series of quality assurance standards com-

the marketing message — or the actual product — to

able to check the status of their order, and check stock

piled by the Geneva, Switzerland-based International

fit the characteristics of an individual customer or pros-

availability on an item. Without front/back integration,

Standardization Organization. In the United States,

pect. It is the cost-efficient mass production of goods

customers couldn’t do this.

ISO is represented by the American National Standards

and services in lot sizes of one or just a few at a time.

Error Rate: Either the number of defective transactions

Institute, based in Washington.

Mass customization is not the same as customization.

or the number of defective steps in a transaction.

IVR: Interactive Voice Response; automated atten-

Customization involves the production of a product

Explicit Bargain: The “deal” that an enterprise makes

dants that route calls based on digits callers enter on

from scratch to a customized specification, whereas

with an individual in order to secure the individual’s

touch-tone phones. It responds to caller-entered digits

mass customization is really the assembly of a product

time, attention or feedback. See also implicit bargain.

or speech recognition in much the same way that a

or the rendering of a service from pre-configured mod-

conventional computer responds to keystrokes or clicks

ules or components.

of a mouse. (Also called ARU, VRU)

Metadata: Data about data. For example, a table



Fulfillment: The physical handling of an order, information request, premium or refund.


that tells the system how to translate database codes into words that make a data field easier for users to

Knowledge Management: The leveraging of collective


wisdom to increase responsiveness and innovation.

Microblogging: Microblogging is the act of broadcast-

Geotagging: Geotagging is the process of adding

Knowledge Mapping: A process that provides an

ing short messages to other subscribers of a web ser-

location-based metadata to media such as photos, video

organization with a picture of the specific knowledge it

vice. On Twitter, entries are limited to 140 characters,

or online maps. Geotagging can help users find a wide

requires to support its business processes.

and applications like Plurk and Jaiku take a similar


variety of businesses and services based on location. Globalization: The trend in which businesses cross


approach with sharing bite-size media. Probably a more apt term for this activity is “microsharing.”

Legacy System: An older or outdated computer sys-

Microsite: A mini-site within a site, usually for a

tem or application program that continues to be used

partner brand.

because of the exorbitant cost of replacing or reengi-

Middleware: Software that mediates between different

Handling Time: The time an agent spends in talk time

neering it. Often such systems offer little competitive-

types of hardware and software on a network so they

and after-call work, handling a transaction.

ness and compatibility with modern equivalents. Legacy

can function together.

international boundaries.

H Fall 2012



systems are frequently large, monolithic and difficult to modify, and scrapping a legacy system often requires reengineering a firm’s business processes as well.


Customer Care News

MIS: Marketing Information Systems create rather

One-to-One Marketing: Treating each customer in

Permission Marketing: Obtaining customers’ permis-

than simplify manipulated data, presenting data in

the way he or she wants to be treated. Focused on the

sion to market products or services to them. It is a mar-

a form useful to a variety of people within the

individual customer, one-to-one marketing is based on

keting method whereby companies get their customers’


the idea of an enterprise knowing its customer. Through

permission to market products or services to them.

Mobility: The subject of mobile/wireless.

interactions with that customer the enterprise can learn

By talking only to volunteers, permission marketing

Monitoring: Listening to agents’ phone calls for quality

how he or she wants to be treated. The enterprise is

guarantees that consumers pay more attention to the

control purposes.

then able to treat this customer differently than other

marketing message. The term was coined by author

Most Growable Customers (MGC): Those customers

customers. However, one-to-one marketing does not

Seth Godin in his book, Permission Marketing. See

for whom the Strategic Value, that is the potential value

mean that every single customer needs to be treated

also Explicit Bargain.

of the customer, most exceeds the customer’s current

uniquely; rather, it means that each customer has a

Podcast: A podcast is a digital file (usually audio but

Actual Value. These are the customers who have the

direct input into the way the enterprise behaves with

sometimes video) made available for download to a

most growth potential — growth that can be realized

respect to him or her.

portable device or personal computer for later playback.

through cross selling; through keeping the customer for

OpenID: OpenID is a single sign-on system that

A podcast also refers to the show that comprises several

a longer period; or perhaps by changing a customer’s

allows Internet users to log on to many different sites

episodes. A podcast uses a feed that lets you subscribe

behavior and getting them to operate in a way that costs

using a single digital identity, eliminating the need for a

to it so that when a new audio clip is published online,

the enterprise less money. Most Growable Customers

different user name and password for each site.

it arrives on your digital doorstep right away.

are also known as second-tier customers (STCs).

Operational Entanglement: Enmeshing the opera-

Portal: A gateway to the Internet that provides not only

Most Valuable Customers (MVC): Those customers

tions of the enterprise with those of the customer.

email, calendars, bulletin boards and chatrooms to visi-

with the highest actual value to the enterprise — the

Providing tools so the customer can perform some of

tors or customers, but also customer-oriented service. A

ones who do the most business, yield the highest

the functions that otherwise would have been per-

good portal solves problems for its visitors or customers.

margins, are most willing to collaborate, and tend to

formed by the enterprise, usually so the customer can

Companies should use them as access points to improve

be the most loyal. MVCs are those with whom the

assume more control over the service being rendered.

customer service.

company probably has the greatest Share of Customer.

Outsourcing: Contracting some or all of a depart-

Potential Value: The net present value of the maximum

The objective of an enterprise with respect to its MVCs

ment’s services to an outside company.

reasonable future financial contributions from the des-

is retention. See also Below Zeros, Most Growable Customers.


ignated customer, if the company were to succeed in applying an optimum proactive strategy for changing

Pareto Principle: Named after Vilfredo Pareto, the

that customer’s otherwise expected behavior.

19th-century economist and sociologist, the Pareto

Predictive Model Markup Language (PMML): A

Natural Language Processing: Allows the computer

Principle is also known as “the 80:20 rule.” It says that 80

new industry standard created by IBM and Oracle that

to understand phrases that are only meaningful in the

percent of an enterprise’s revenue comes from 20 percent

allows models to move from system to system.

context of an ongoing conversation.

of its customers. In practical terms, though, it might be

Product Service Bundle: The services and features that

Needs-based Differentiation: How customers are dif-

90 percent of the revenue coming from 5 percent of

surround the core product, such as invoicing, delivery,

ferent, based on what they need from the enterprise.

the customers, or 60 percent coming from 30 percent

financing, packaging and palletization, promotion, and

Two customers may buy the same product or service for

of customers, depending on the firm’s Valuation Skew

so forth.

two dramatically different reasons. The customer’s needs

of its customer base.

Profiling: Using a series of distributions to describe

refer to why the customer buys, not what he buys.

Penetration Analysis: Measuring how well a com-

customers or prospects in a variety of ways, such as

Niche Marketing: A marketing segmentation strategy

pany has penetrated its potential market by finding

demographically or behaviorally.

in which the firm focuses on serving one segment of the

and reporting on the number of people who look like

market. Niche marketing is very much like segmented

customers, but have not yet bought. (Also called market

marketing, only the segments are smaller — a niche is

share analysis.)



Real Time Marketing: Regis McKenna’s term for rela-

a small, distinguishable segment that can be uniquely

tionship marketing or CRM. Refers to the utmost level


of timeliness regarding the transmission, processing,


and/or use of information. A firm that collects and uses customer data in real time can manage relationships with individual customers much more effectively. See

as opposed to waiting for calls. (Also called agent

also Zero Latency. The term referred to in his book,


Real Time: Preparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer.


Fall 2012

Occupancy: The amount of time agents handle calls

Customer Care Glossary


UCD: Uniform Call Distributor; a simple system that distributes calls to a group of agents and provides some Relationship Marketing: see Customer Relationship

Skill-Based Routing: An ACD capability that matches

reports. It is not as sophisticated as an ACD.


a caller’s specific needs with an agent who has the skills

Unified Queuing: Combines all incoming traffic

Response Rate: The percentage of responses received

to handle that call.

(e-mails, text chat, co-browsing, etc.) into a single

from a given promotional effort.


ROI: Return on Investment; a term describing the cal-

Optimization (SMO) is a set of practices for generat-

Unrealized Potential Value: The difference between

culation of the financial return on a business policy or

ing publicity through social media, online communities

Potential Value and Actual Value.

initiative that incurs some cost. ROI may be measured

and social networks. The focus is on driving traffic from

Up-Selling: Selling upgrades, add-ons or enhance-

in terms of a payback period for the investment, or as a

sources other than search engines, though improved

ments to a particular product or service.

percentage return on a cash outlay, or as the discounted

search ranking is also a benefit of successful SMO.

net present value of free cash flows of an investment;

Speech Recognition: The capability of a voice process-

there are many different ways to calculate it.

ing system to decipher spoken words and phrases.

RSS: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) — sometimes

STC (Second-Tier Customer): See Most Growable

customer base is concentrated in a small percentage

called web feeds — is a web standard for the delivery of


of customers. A steep valuation skew would be one in

content — blog entries, news stories, headlines, images,

Sticky Application: A portion of a web site designed to

which a tiny percentage of customers account for the

video — enabling readers to stay current with favorite

interact with customers, requiring customers to provide

majority of the value of the customer base. A shallow

publications or producers without having to browse

input and grow “smarter” over time about how to meet

valuation skew would be one where the valuation of

from site to site. All blogs, podcasts and videoblogs

individual customer needs. The “application” becomes

customers is more evenly distributed across the whole

contain an RSS feed, which lets users subscribe to

“sticky” as customers gain a stake in the service and

customer base.

content automatically and read or listen to the material

grow reluctant to take their business elsewhere. See also

Valuation: What a customer is worth to an enterprise;

on a computer or a portable device. Most people use

Learning Relationships.

see Customer Valuation.

an RSS reader, or news aggregator, to monitor updates.

Stove Pipe: Term commonly used to reflect that a

Value of Future Customer: The net present value of a

Socialbrite founder JD Lasica coined the term “news

business function operates in a vertically integrated

future customer’s lifetime value (LTV).

that comes to you” to refer to RSS.

manner, but does not interact efficiently or effectively

VoIP: Voice over IP; combines voice and data on a

with related functions.

single network.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of







Valuation Skew: The degree to which the value of a

Vortal: These are targeted vertical portals, sometimes called “vortals,” “vertiports,” or “affinity portals.” They

Touch Points: The priority areas for the application of

are aimed at specific interest groups and focus on pro-

search engine’s “natural” or unpaid (“organic” or “algo-

Knowledge Management, typically: interactions with

viding consumers with a gateway to unbiased informa-

rithmic”) search results.

customers, interactions with suppliers and interactions

tion from other sources. A good vortal solves problems

Segment: A group of customers related either by simi-

with employees. Each touch point represents an area of

for its visitors or customers.

lar needs and/or values, or by outward characteristics

potential process or quality improvement and competi-

VRU: Voice Response Unit; automated attendants that

(demographics, postal code, etc). Different from a

tive advantage.

route calls based on digits callers enter on touch-tone

portfolio in that customers in a segment are usually not

Triple Bottom Line: The triple bottom line (sometimes

phones. It responds to caller-entered digits or speech

individually identified, and customers can be members

abbreviated as “TBL” or “3BL”) is rapidly gaining

recognition in much the same way that a conventional

of more than one segment.

recognition as a framework for measuring business

computer responds to keystrokes or clicks of a mouse.

Segmentation: Grouping the individuals in a database

performance. It captures the values that some organiza-

(Also called IVR, ARU)

into segments based on combinations of demographics,

tions embrace: people, planet, profit — that is, social,

response, purchase behavior or other criteria.

environmental and economic factors.

Share of Customer: In contrast to Market Share, share

Trusted Agent: An enterprise that treats customers’

of customer refers to the percentage of a particular

interests as paramount and speaks on the customer’s

mation system in which there is no or little time passing

customer’s business a firm gets over that customer’s

behalf in all its dealings. With most organizations this

between the updating of an information record and its

lifetime of patronage. The ratio of a customer’s Actual

is a very difficult philosophy to implement, because in

availability elsewhere in the system.

Valuation to Strategic Valuation.

many cases the interests of the customer and enterprise

improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a

Fall 2012



Zero Latency: A computer term describing an infor-

don’t coincide. Only in Collaborative relationships do the true interests of the customer and enterprise match.


Glossary of terms provided by SOCAP International.

Customer Care News

CCN Learning Resources, Enhanced Solutions in Customer Service Dedicated to Improving Customer Care Through Education and Best Hiring Practices

CCN Learning Resources has its roots in traditional corporate training, but what sets us apart is our continued connection to the business community through our publishing partner, Customer Care News magazine. At CCN Learning, we provide world-class education and training for companies in the area of customer care. Our Director, Dr. Keith Levick, brings to the table more than 30 years of experience in the coaching and training field. Currently, CCN Learning offers nearly 40 courses to help companies of all sizes improve their customer care, and subsequently their customer satisfaction scores. Courses are geared toward managers and supervisors as well as staff members. Below is a sampling of the courses that are offered: • Managing Multiple Generations

• Wowing the Customer

• Problem Solving & Decision Making

• Team Communication

• Managers to Leaders

• Dealing with Difficult Customers

• Leading During Times of Change

• Create a Motivation Environment

• Communication Skills for Leaders

• Healthcare Customer (Patient) Focus

For more information or a complete list of courses offered, call 888-438-9528 or go online to

CustomerCare News

Customer Care News - Fall 2012