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CustomerCare News The Promenade at Coconut Creek

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Winter 2014


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Five Steps To Applying “Big Data� To Your Customer Communications and Marketing page 20

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Online Customer Experiences

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CustomerCare News

Table of Contents 06 Delivering Exceptional Online

Customer Experiences in the Era of Google

Winter 2014

Google and other industry leaders set the

Publisher Dale Jaslove

bar for online experiences

09 The Customer First Program of

Associate Publisher Keith Levick, Ph.D.


Helping you put your customers first, every time

10 Call Centers as Learning Centers:

16 The Fiesta Movement

Ford Motor Company engages audiences

The Science of Training and Learning

Creativity, flexibility and diversity are keys to successful training programs

12 Why Your Technology

on a new level, utilizing social media to reach consumers where they are

18 Maximizing Quality of Experience An open-door approach to managing the customer experience brings all

Implementation Needs a Peoplefocused Approach Keeping employees and their needs

in mind is essential to ensuring a new

technology implementation goes according

departments together with the customers’ best interests in mind

20 Five Steps To Applying “Big

Data” To Your Customer Communications and Marketing

to plan

Ensure your business is using data to help

14 Responsiveness: The Key To All

it reach its business goals, and ultimately

That Is Good In Business

Responding to clients at all times can set you apart from the competition

reach customers


Customer Care Glossary

Editor-in-Chief Jamie Rawcliffe

Production Manager Chris Schramm

Editorial & Materials Coordinator Anne Seebaldt

Editors/Writers Amy Pagett

Operations Manager Jennifer Barth

Website Design Melissa Sherwood Contributing Writers Vincenzo Basile, Klaus Enzenhofer, Wendy Ferber, Ann Hellow, Van Nguyen, Daniele Spera, Ross Ian Vance, Andy Wood Website Consultant Customer Care News 32000 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 128 Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Winter 2014

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 2014 by Customer Care News. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial content in any manner without written permission is strictly prohibited.


Associate Publisher’s Letter


n the Fall 2012 edition of CCN I interviewed Dr. Daniel Goleman — an author, researcher and expert in the area of emotional intelligence (EI). When discussing the importance of EI and customer service he stated, “How customers feel when they

interact with an employee determines how they feel about the company itself. Loyalty is lost or strengthened in every interaction between a company and its customers.” This quote resonates strongly as I often think and talk about it in my speeches and training. The most effective employees, managers and leaders are those who possess both traditional intelligence (IQ) and “people skills” — the ability to truly connect with the customer. This ability to connect with customers and leverage the interaction requires a skill set far beyond simply knowing the product (or service) the company provides and other “technical” information. Do you know someone, for example, who has a high level of intelligence (the valedictorian in high school) but who has difficulty communicating and interacting with others? Sheldon Cooper from the television show The Big Bang Theory comes to mind. It is as if he is missing some sort of mental filter or lacks a “radar system” that others possess. EI certainly provides a good understanding of how emotions play an important role in providing exceptional service. Human beings, however, are more than emotional creatures. The logical and emotional parts of the brain working in tandem certainly enhances our ability to read and respond to people. But what about the social part of the equation? If social intelligence (SI) is defined as the ability to understand and manage people, clearly there is an overlap between EI and SI. With that said, the definition of Social-Emotional Intelligence (SEI) is the ability to build and maintain positive relationships via managing emotions, trusting “gut” feelings, being aware of and responding to non-verbal communication, and empathically connecting with people. How important is SEI in providing the ultimate customer experience? The research could not be any clearer: • A study looking at 3,000 U.S. banking customers found that, on average, 52 percent felt that their banks did a good job in providing numerous ways to bank, correcting errors and making good use of information. However, the average rating dropped to 26 percent when considering employees who displayed poor listening and responding skills. • In the same study, 24 percent were considered to be “advocates” for their banks, 39 percent “apathetic” and 37 percent “antagonistic.” • Another study reveals that a higher EI displayed by the service provider led to greater reported satisfaction with a service transaction. • Numerous studies have shown a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. It is incumbent upon CEOs, business owners and leaders to create an SEI culture in order to maximize their market shares. Bear in mind, the business around the corner has similar products and services as you. If you want to gain a competitive edge, consider what business authority Peter Drucker once said — the purpose of business is not to make a sale, but to make and keep a customer.

Dr. Keith Levick

Winter 2014

Associate Publisher


Customer Care News

Spring 2013

Delivering Exceptional Online Customer Experiences in the Era of Google Google and Other Industry Leaders Set the Bar for Online Experiences


nyone in customer service understands the importance of fast, reliable service to cus-

• A large site, featuring a highly prized celebrity acces-

the bottom line. In the online realm, customer demands for

“Sorry, we’re experiencing some technical difficulties

tomer satisfaction, corporate reputation and

exceptional experiences are even more stringent, and failure

to deliver can have a huge, lasting impact on customer loyalty, brand and revenues.

Online customers want to get in and out of virtual stores

with an unprecedented level of speed. This is known as the “Google Effect” and it means

right now.” The competitive brand, which sells a very similar item, enjoys significantly increased sales for several days — all from the initial company’s promotion!

Not only do customers want their interactions to be faster,

but they also want their experiences to be richer, featuring

they interact with today to be

ratings and reviews. These features can make web pages

as fast and reliable as Google. For the average user, 0.1 seconds

functionality like online product tours, product catalogs and “heavier,” which is at odds with the goal of achieving speed.

is an instantaneous, acceptable

Increasing complexity in the application delivery chain

experience with a Google search.

difficult due to increasing complexity in the path between

interactions begin to slow and dissatisfaction rises. The impact

delivery chain. First, there’s the increasing complexity that

response, similar to what they Klaus Enzenhofer

As response times increase,

of a slowdown can be devastating: Amazon has calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6

billion in sales each year. In addition, Google itself found that slowing search response times by just four-tenths of a second would reduce the number of searches by eight million per day — a sizeable amount.

Consider what can happen when online retailers fail to

deliver high-quality online interactions:

Delivering fast, reliable experiences has been made more

the data center and the customer, known as the application

starts in the data center. The growing use of multi-tier archi-

tectures, virtualization and other new technologies in the data center makes it increasingly difficult for IT to ensure optimal

application reliability and speed. There are so many potential

points of failure that trying to identify the root cause of an application performance problem can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Second, there’s the Internet, which is also making things

• Trying to purchase a new racing bike, an online cus-

much more complicated. Third-party components are assem-

slow performance at every turn, he leaves the site and

delivery networks (CDNs), ad networks, video, news feeds,

tomer struggles to research products. Frustrated by purchases the competition’s racing bike.

• Drawn by a manufacturer’s sale on electronics, an

online customer tries to buy a new device. The web-

Winter 2014

sory, crashes. The retailer’s website relays the message:

that customers expect all the websites and web applications

site is slow, performs inconsistently and then actually

locks. Not wanting to miss the price, the shopper calls

a call center for help — a higher cost channel — but even the call center is jammed. The customer, origi-


nally intrigued by the sale, abandons the idea to buy.

bled by the browser and can include functions such as content shopping carts and web analytics. A slowdown for any one

of these services can degrade performance for an entire web

page. Today, there is significant complexity at the edge of the

Internet that online retailers didn’t have to deal with back when applications ran solely in data centers that they fully controlled. Additionally, the mobile explosion forces retailers

to ensure strong performance across a variety of mobile car-

Customer Care News

riers and devices, including smartphones and tablets. Greater

ing the same resources. In addition, even if all your

Finally, it’s not just the data center and the web that are

be operating perfectly, there could be something else

desktop browser diversity only exacerbates this challenge.

more complex. Cloud computing infrastructures also affect application performance. Cloud providers rate themselves on availability, but availability does not necessarily translate to high-performance for your customers.

What does all of this teach us in the world of modern web applications?

With so many points that can result in a sluggish or

unreliable website or application, how can you ensure rapid application performance and reliability? The key is for organi-

zations to adopt a new generation of application performance

management (APM) centered on an understanding of the true end-user experience. Several important points underscore this message:

1. Traditional APM tools that provide siloed monitoring of various IT system and network elements are no

data center systems and network components seem to

going awry beyond your firewall — i.e. a slow CDN. Today, the “Internet is the data center” and if you focus solely on elements in your data center, you’re

leaving huge portions of the application delivery chain unchecked.

2. To a similar end, online retailers need united coverage across the complete application delivery chain. Online retailers can derive maximum benefit by monitor-

ing the data center and Internet components of the

application delivery chain in conjunction, in a “single

pane of glass” approach. This is key to understanding the full spectrum of performance-impacting variables and quickly identifying faulty elements when poor end-user performance is detected.

longer sufficient. These tools leave many blind spots

3. Online retailers must understand that the explosion

with one another and the performance of the overall

and applications all the time. Online retailers can’t

because they don’t show how the systems interact

system. For example, even if all your servers are up

and running, this is no guarantee your customers are true for servers in the cloud. Even if a cloud service

provider is exhibiting five- or six-nines availability, a sudden spike in a cloud customer’s application traffic

can result in application slowdowns for others shar-

just rely on sample data to test applications, since

cost-incurring issues can occur outside the testing interval. Compuware research from the 2012

Winter 2014

having a fast, reliable experience. This is especially

of mobile means customers are accessing websites

holiday season showed that Thanksgiving evening — as opposed to just Cyber Monday — is now

also a prime time for online holiday shopping, as

customers browse their tablets from the comfort of


their couches. This is a growing

trend known as “couch commerce,” which has grown more prominent just in recent years as

the lines between Thanksgiving evening, Black Friday and Cyber

Monday are becoming increasingly blurred. Mobile means that no time is okay for mediocre or poor online performance. Online retailers need to be measuring

and monitoring all applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week

and combining this with deepdive diagnostics that allow them to identify the source and cost

of problems and then prioritize resolutions accordingly.

There’s good news for online retailers

Fortunately, leading APM vendors are delivering cost-

effective, fast time-to-value solutions that are based in a true understanding of the customer experience. Armed with the

By now, we all know that fast, reliable interactions are

absolutely critical to an online retailer’s success. So why are

find and fix a wide variety of performance issues before cus-

The simple answer is that there are so many connection and

tomers even notice them.

Going a step further, Compuware is offering services

to its own customers called the Compuware Performance

Pit Stop Service. This service is specially designed for those “on the front lines” for delivering exceptional online

customer experiences. Modern applications are not just

so many e-commerce businesses vulnerable in this area? potential failure points standing between the back-end of the data center and customers’ browsers. Any one of these areas

along the application delivery chain can experience problems and take customers from a satisfactory experience to complete frustration.

Additionally, as modern applications execute more code

growing more complex, but business demands are driving

at the very edge of the Internet — i.e. at the level of brows-

than ever. Compuware’s Performance Pit Stop Service is

and CDNs — retailers must have a granular view of this

application change faster, and IT teams are running leaner targeted at solving this dilemma by providing experts on-

demand who can immediately help solve specific application

performance problems using Compuware’s industry leading technology.

Finally, Compuware also offers a variety of free tests,

which anyone can use to quickly learn how their website

performs across browsers, compared to their competition, and across mobile applications.

Winter 2014

years even as in-store sales growth has remained weak.

knowledge of performance degradation, organizations can then quickly canvas the entire application delivery chain to

End-user experience is the key to ensuring flawless customer interactions

With the holidays rapidly approaching, online retailers are

once again considering how they will maximize e-commerce


revenues, which have grown by leaps and bounds in recent

ers and devices accessing various service provider backbones experience. Only a new generation of APM can overcome

all the complexity of modern application delivery chains and

deliver this view. When combined with deep-dive diagnostics spanning the complete application delivery chain, organizations can proactively identify, pinpoint and fix the source of

application performance problems, preventing damage before it is done. CCN

Klaus Enzenhofer is a Technology Strategist for Compuware’s

Application Performance Management (APM) Business Unit








Customer Care News

The Customer First Program of Excellence

Helping you put your customers first, every time It has been said often these days how necessary it is to provide a great customer experience given the explosion of social media outlets and the ease with which consumers can communicate with one another — sharing both good and bad experiences. Something this important bears repeating. Keeping customers happy is one of the keys to business success. Putting customers first and making their needs a priority is the first step.

“The rationale for developing the program derives from the philosophy that providing the finest care for customers is not a single event, but rather a never-ending process,” says Customer First Program Director, Keith Levick, Ph.D. “Customer service (or care or experience) is not a ‘buzz’ word or a fad. It is the lifeblood of every company that requires continual improvement. It is with this in mind that we set forth and created the Customer First Program of Excellence.”

With this in mind, Customer Care News teamed up with CCN Learning Resources to establish a program that will help businesses not only put their customers first, but let them know that. The Customer First Program of Excellence™ incorporates the best practices, principles and strategies to empower and engage staff and management to provide the best possible customer experience.

The customer experience — defined as all the interactions that consumers have with or about a company’s messages, processes, people, products or services — has replaced the more traditional role of customer service. According to Levick, this requires companies to redefine how they conduct business. The research shows:

Through the Customer First Program, which is geared toward small- and medium-size businesses, organizations have access to a host of materials that will demonstrate to customers that they are committed to providing the best possible experience time and again. “As publisher of Customer Care News magazine, I am pleased to help underwrite this program that is designed to help small businesses establish the ultimate customer experience by getting their staff and managers on the same page,” says Customer Care News Publisher Dale Jaslove. “I believe the Customer First Program of Excellence does just that. We are pleased to be a part of this program.”

• 5% of companies really understand the value of customer experience and embrace it. In these companies it is woven into their culture and fabric. • 20% of companies understand the concept of the customer experience but only pay it lip service. These companies may have signs and slogans, but are not committed to it. • 75% of companies do not believe that customer experience matters. They do not see it as a differentiator regardless of what the research shows. These tend to be commodity-driven businesses.

Among the materials available to participants in the program are custom-designed certificates, window decals, employee “lunchroom” posters and employee wristbands. In addition, an owner’s guide helps owners and managers implement the program, directing them as they establish this initiative designed to improve customer retention while also generating new and loyal customers.

“By participating in the Customer First Program, companies are taking the first step of many to become a 5 percenter,” according to Dr. Levick. “It does not happen with simple slogans or rah-rah speeches. It starts with an awareness that this will take a commitment — one that starts from the top and extends across the entire company.”

To find out more information about the Customer First Program of Excellence and how your business can get involved, call 888-438-9528 ext. 808 or go online to Winter 2014




Call Centers as Learning Centers: The Science of Training and Learning


eople learn together, but different people learn differ-

ently. The preceding phrase outlines two concepts in learning theory that are paramount to under-

standing how people learn.

The first concept, people learn together, implies that learning

is inherently a collaborative activity. This can occur organi-

cally throughout someone’s life, such as school, work, church, extracurricular clubs, or other social activities. Research suggests

that being social and learning are two aspects of a singular event. To put it another way, social environments are also learn-

ing environments

2000 found that learning is more enjoyable and effective when

trying various methodologies, or means, until the information is learned, regardless of the learner’s comfort level.

However, trainers tend to follow a preferred method of

teaching, regardless of how well it helps students learn, and they’re unlikely to change their means significantly.

One commonly cited reason is the need for the same train-

as the call center

disconnect as it assumes that the background, competency and


a 200-seat call cen-

ter in Chattanooga, Tenn., knows this all too well. Since

consistency across training delivery only furthers the learning

learning styles of the trainees themselves are also “consistent.” The need for organizations to be flexible, creative and diverse in their methods is not only something that can be witnessed by

having a conversation with a newly hired call center representative, it’s also rooted in hard science.

The process of thinking is essentially our ability to process

2007, SupportSeven

information. The process of storing and recalling data, however,


sions of being “deep in thought” or having “shallow thinking,”





Each new year has brought additional

clients, more contact center agents, and a greater need for effective training and development — a task few people would

argue can be done without social learning. Even fewer people would argue that learning is not essential to being successful in

a call center. Some would even suggest that learning is simply a byproduct of individuals working together to accomplish a

singular goal. SupportSeven’s goal was to create a culture where agents were continuously developed through training.

is much more complex. Shown through the colloquial expres-

we can see that different types of information require different

levels of processing. For instance, when a call center agent sees the name “Albuquerque,” it takes a different level of processing to recognize the letter combinations for spelling it correctly on a customer’s account than it does to pronounce it verbally to the

customer, and even more so to recognize that it is the name of a city. One’s ability to process information on each level is directly

related to how well the information was learned, practiced and synthesized.

The need for call centers to understand their approach

This involves focusing on the needs of its members in a

to training is essential for improving their learning outcomes,

ratio in half, which allowed trainers to use more means to reach

dichotomy between the means of how students learn and how

social learning environment. First, it cut the agent-to-trainer the agents, including:

Winter 2014

lecture as they would a video or hands-on activity. A study in

ing to be consistent across multiple classes. Unfortunately,


• More time to develop formal learning workshops,

• More one-on-one attention for non-formal job coaching, and

• More expertise to develop informal eLearning modules.


an individual has the capacity to retain just as much from a

and there are few contexts as social

Ross Ian Vance

The second concept, different people learn differently, explains

that individuals learn in a variety of different ways. For example,

however, this is only one factor that drives call center success. A

educators teach can create a need for learners to supplement

their training by relying on modeling the performance of others. In short, the less effective a training program is, the greater the

need for agents to be highly motivated and self-aware in order

to be successful, which carries the added effects of shrinking the

Customer Care News

pool of possible candidates, raising wage expectations, increasing

differently. Organizations must first begin to recognize the social

This is the greatest detriment to training in a call center

exist, one can begin to incorporate aspects of other contexts with

demands on human resources, as well as others.

environment because most organizational development programs do not see this happening in real time. Instead, organizations that do not successfully achieve learning outcomes assume

that they were unable to gather the right candidates for the job, thinking that motivation and self-awareness should already be

qualifications required for call center employment. In actuality, a training program focused on creating a diversity of learning

contexts and methodologies may have provided the tools for those candidates to be productive and prosperous employees for

contexts they create in their training. By realizing these contexts the goal of making learning more collaborative. Second, organizations need to clearly define their learning outcomes and aim to accomplish those outcomes by constantly switching up training

methods. Creating a flexible, creative and diverse training curricula

will help learners retain and synthesize more fully, and therefore process information more effectively. Focusing on these improve-

ments is the evolution of turning the call center into a learning center. CCN

the company.

Ross Ian Vance has been working as an educator and corporate

diversity and flexibility in its training, it was possible to develop

and current doctoral candidate at the University of Tennessee,

SupportSeven found that by focusing more on creativity,

each agent to be an excellent person rather than just an excellent

employee. Not only does this build value for each employee in

the workplace that endeavors to develop them personally, but and self-awareness are fostered as a result.

The good news is that improving training and devel-

opment upstream is not difficult. In fact, it is as easy as remembering that people learn together, but different people learn

his research has led him to publish and speak both nationally and

abroad. His expertise ranges from dynamic classroom teaching

to designing and developing eLearning platforms. Vance is the Client Engagement Specialist at SupportSeven a full-service call

Winter 2014

also the aforementioned intrinsic characteristics of motivation

instructional designer for 12 years. A graduate of Lee University

center in Chattanooga, Tenn. SupportSeven provides scalable

services using the latest in communications technology and is one of only 19 call centers with ATA-SRO accreditation. Vance can be reached at


Why Your Technology Implementation Needs a People-focused Approach


mplementing a new technology solution is never easy,

that their needs are considered and represented throughout the

large, distributed and diverse teams. Identifying and

The rolling out of a new technology in a worldwide organi-

and those hurdles are often greater for employers with

implementing a software solution to address an organization’s

zation requires even greater scrutiny, addressing both local and

is rarely the main concern. For the greatest chance of success, in

cultural considerations. The company must present information

business needs is a multifaceted proposition, yet the tool itself

terms of utilizing the solution to achieve stated business goals, an organization should consider the impacts on its employees at every step.

When technology implementations do fail, often it is not due

to the limits of the solution, but rather how it is implemented. Consider the transition to a new workforce management solution. As such technology automates employee scheduling, time-off

requests, time tracking and how employees are paid — all areas that are deeply personal to employees — any change to these processes can prompt emotional responses. Changes to workforce

processes are felt by virtually everyone in the organization, which is

regarding the implementation in a way that best resonates with

all employees, such as graphical representation or mobile-enabled

content. In addition, understanding the existing familiarity with

technology of each audience and adapting the communications style appropriately will be helpful. For instance, with differing levels of workforce management automation across the globe, some

locations may be more advanced from a process and technology

perspective than others. Employees who are accustomed to entering time online may find it simpler to adopt a new solution than those for whom time entry has always been a manual process. Reinforcing the Reasons for Change

Common Change Management Challenges

the problem to each audience in the organization and show how

ing from multiple perspectives, including technical, process and

by helping executives, managers and end users alike acknowledge

user role changes. The challenge is to ensure all parties understand why the organization is making the change and how they will

ultimately benefit from it. Yet, organizations face a number of difficulties in achieving that goal.

Moving Beyond the Headquarter-centric Approach

One of the biggest issues in change management occurs

when a headquarter-centric approach is taken. In the majority of

Winter 2014

global requirements. It is also essential to account for regional and

exactly why managing that change is critical to success.

The organization must be prepared to address what is chang-

company-wide implementations, the new technology will affect everyone across the enterprise. Yet, as organizations become increasingly distributed, they need to take a broader view of each employee community so that all workers across all locations feel


implementation process.

Any successful transition process requires the ability to sell

the solution can address their specific problems. This can be done

the current problems and appreciate the substantial costs of not addressing them. Presenting a business case that highlights the cost of staying with the existing processes can help build consensus

for the new solution. It is also essential to address how the switch will affect each segment of the workforce:

•E  mployees: Employees may be intimidated by the learning

curve a new solution presents or fear that their concerns will

not be heard or addressed when processes are re-examined. They may also be nervous about how the new processes will affect their jobs. Employee concerns about workforce management technology can be addressed by illustrating how the

new solution delivers better control of their time and can help

Customer Care News

them enhance their role in the organization’s success.

Best Practices for Success

aren’t usually the people making the decision to implement

smooth transition to their new workforce management solution.

menting the change. The organization can get them on board


• Managers: The challenge for managers is that, although they a new technology, they are often tasked with actually imple-

by helping them understand the reduction of manual reviews, simplification of approvals and greater visibility into the team’s schedule that come from the new solution.

There are several strategies organizations can use to ensure a

Consider the following proven best practices for successful change

• Engage stakeholders to help communicate the program and

explain why change is needed by delivering timely, focused messages to specific audiences.

• Executives: Company leaders are typically focused on achiev-

• Recognize the feeling of uncertainty

examples of how the new workforce management solution

how redesigned processes will improve the

ing cost reduction and greater budgetary control. Providing will improve productivity and lead to more effective workforce planning will help to get them on board.

Each group will be affected in distinct ways, and you will need

employees may be having and explain organization as a whole.

• Pay attention to how the plan is working and be ready and willing to make adjustments along the way.

to find a method for soliciting feedback from each group as a

• Take the time to ensure all new practices

that they are a part of the process — another key component of a

• Provide strong and consistent leadership;

result. Soliciting their feedback will also help all stakeholders feel smoothly managed change.

are grounded in the organization’s culture. without it, change will stall.

Ann Hellow

Addressing Shifts in Responsibilities

Putting People First

process change, which can create real anxieties regarding individu-

workforce management software implementation must account

solution. It is critical to communicate why the change is happening

ments. Carefully identifying how the transition will affect each

A new technology implementation is often a catalyst for

als’ responsibilities and how their jobs will be affected by the new

and illustrate the linkages between the personal benefits that will

result from the change and the organization’s measures of success. By providing ongoing support, in the form of training, job aids and tutorials, the company can help all users gain confidence with the new processes.

Conquering Privacy Concerns

Another challenge is that employees may be concerned that

the addition of more sophisticated enterprise software, such as a comprehensive workforce management solution, will spur more

To ensure lasting, positive changes for the organization, any

for the impact on the individual, not just technological requireemployee population and providing a tailored communications

plan will help to garner buy-in and reduce resistance. By keeping all stakeholders well informed and responding to their concerns

and feedback, the organization can ensure the implementation is aligned with both operational goals and company culture. What

results is a people-focused strategy that ensures the individuals

responsible for managing the new solution — and those affected by it — understand why the solution was selected and feel motivated and empowered to ensure its success. CCN

micromanagement, result in less autonomy and create other “big

Ann Hellow, Change Management Consultant for WorkForce

types of solutions can actually deliver greater personal control.

egy, designing custom workforce transformation solutions, and

brother” consequences. The truth is that, in many cases, these For instance, the solution can help them be stewards of their time

within corporate guidelines, rather than having to seek out HR or managers for each time-off request or shift change.

Automated workforce management solutions also provide

more transparency into highly sensitive transactions for employees, how their pay was calculated and whether a leave request has been granted. This transparency can instill more confidence for employ-

ees that the organization is making the investments to ensure they

are treated consistently, fairly and in accordance with expectations.

aligning global programs and teams. As Change Management Consultant for WorkForce Software (www.workforcesoftware.

com), Ann assists clients in facilitating the people and process aspects of an enterprise implementation. In addition to performing challenge diagnosis and project scoping, process redesign and alignment, and employee communication and engagement

Winter 2014

such as what shifts they’re working, how their time was recorded,

Software, has extensive experience in developing enterprise strat-

initiatives, she also oversees other programs led by the company’s Change Management practice, including learning and development, gap analysis, and strategic planning. Ann can be reached at


Responsiveness: The Key To All That Is Good In Business


n an industry with more than 21,000 competitors,

time to free up. When our clients call or email with a ques-

growing after 16 years? It is hard to reduce all the

call or email right away. It seems so obvious and simple but

how are we still ticking — and not just ticking, but

moving parts to only one reason, but on the whole it all boils down to customer service.

What does customer service

mean to us? Responsiveness. In an industry where the same prod-

ucts are pretty much available to

everyone, where do we get the

tion, product inquiry or issue, we always acknowledge their

obviously it is not as we constantly call vendors that don’t get

Responsiveness is something we live by. We are always there for our clients. Things won’t always go right, but we will always make them right.

momentum to grow and prosper?

back to us right away. Sometimes by the time they get back to

us we have already placed our

order with another vendor. As the old adage goes, “You snooze you lose.” Responsiveness is some-

thing we live by. We are always

It’s like the Cowardly Lion’s speech in the Wizard of Oz

there for our clients.

refrain is “responsiveness.”

most dire circumstances was during Hurricane Sandy, a super

playbook, it means getting back to our clients right away even

at least a week, and longer in many places. Without any power

where the answer to all questions is “courage.” Well for us the You may ask what do we mean by responsiveness. In our

if we don’t have the answer immediately. Does that make all the difference? You bet it does. When I call a contractor to

come fix my leaky shower, the one who calls me back right away scores in my book. Even if he/she cannot come right

away, just the fact that he/she acknowledged my call goes a long way, and I feel much more willing to wait for his/her

An example of being there for our clients even under the

storm that incapacitated the Northeast in November 2012 for in our office for a full week, our team members worked on

their cell phones from home and even public places, searching for phone numbers online and contacting vendors, UPS

and clients to make sure orders were not going to be delayed,

and that if they were our clients would know the whole story. We did not drop the ball on any clients. We even fielded a rush inquiry and made it happen the old-fashioned way — no

signed/approved paperwork, just word of mouth via cell phone. We have two simple rules to be responsive: respond to

emails and phone calls within 30 minutes and get our clients a first round of ideas within 4 hours. Of course we are flexible

and often get back to our clients right away and get them ideas

much sooner than 4 hours. Under any circumstance, however, we always acknowledge that they have contacted us so that

they know we are working for them and will get back to them with answers soon.

This had always been our way of doing business, but a few

years ago we put our core values down on paper, and now we

Winter 2014

train everyone at our company to meet these core values. We

also focus on instilling the following traits: a positive attitude, good communication, responsiveness, accuracy, flexibility, hard Wendy Ferber


working, customer focused and having initiative. We use our core values as a guide when we hire team members and when

Customer Care News

we evaluate them. Everything we do is geared toward meeting

by refrigerated truck to Florida on a very specific day to

the result is responsiveness.

location a day early. That location could not accept the

these values. At the end of the day, when these values are met, Each morning our entire company “huddles” in our confer-

ence room. It is an amazing way to connect with one another, help one another with issues and concerns, share information, learn from one another, and work on improving our respon-

siveness. It is a daily training session that feels more like a pep session to provide the best customer service possible. In these

huddles we work out how to be responsive even when our clients don’t know it. Consider the below examples of what

goes on behind the scenes to provide our clients what they want on time:

Marketing Technology Company

Order: Candy jars for holiday gifts

Situation: Vendor called two weeks before the candy jars

were supposed to ship and said they didn’t have the candy jars and they were not going to be able to do anything to fix the situation.

What We Did: We called vendors all across the country

until we found one in California that had the exact same jars and had them hold them for us. We then called our original

vendor to have them shipped overnight so they could finish the job on time.

Result: The client received the candy jars on time and had no idea that there had ever been a problem.

Major Law Firm

a specific location, but the vendor delivered to the wrong

delivery and the popcorn had to remain refrigerated. There

was a very large additional expense to store the popcorn in the delivery truck overnight and re-deliver it the next day.

What We Did: We spent an entire day on the telephone

with the delivery site, convention center and vendor trying to get the popcorn to the refrigerated facility on the right day.

Result: The popcorn made it to the right place on

the right day so that the client never knew what had happened.

We have additional guiding principles that also help us

respond to and meet clients’ needs:

• We put the customers first even when something happens that is not our fault.

• We follow up on everything from sample orders to purchase orders to order deliveries — we never assume that something has delivered.

• We always try to accommodate changes to orders.

• We always offer clients all the samples and proofs they need.

• We are always professional.

• Things won’t always go right, but we will always make them right.

Our clients thank us over and over again for being so

Order: Tote bags

responsive. In a world where there is so much going on at all

available domestically so we had to do an overseas order.

them and respond to their needs right away. CCN

Situation: The size of tote our customer wanted was not The time frame for overseas orders is approximately three

times, clients appreciate that we are able to stay focused on

months. That requires a lot of follow-up considering a

Wendy Ferber is the CEO of Pride Products Distributors LLC,


corporate gifts. She can be reached at 973-788-6985 or at

normal order is delivered within approximately 15 working What We Did: We followed up with the factory for three

months straight to ensure the order would be delivered on

time. (We make the same profit on an order that takes a few

a company that provides innovative promotional products and For more information about Pride Products, visit

check-ins during two weeks as an order that takes at least 12 check-ins during the course of three months.)

Result: The client was very pleased with their custom tote bags.

Winter 2014

Major Financial Institution

Order: Chocolate-covered popcorn for a tradeshow

Situation: The vendor was supposed to deliver the popcorn


The Fiesta Movement Ford Motor Company engages audiences on a new level, utilizing social media to reach consumers where they are


ord Motor Company’s savvy, consumer-friend-

ly marketing techniques, such as the “Fiesta

Movement,” are proof points of the importance of

engaging audiences in experiences rather than simply telling them

to go out and buy something. Consumers want to interact and enjoy their products through rich narratives and experiences that complement and make their lives better.

John Lusk’s compelling story, “Never Underestimate the

Power of Word of Mouth” (WOM), as seen in the spring 2013

issue of CCN, showcases how several industries are using WOM to market their products to consumers. The story highlights the

several platforms including:

• More than 50,000 pieces of original content • Nearly 6.5 million YouTube views of films

• More than 750,000 views of Flickr photos

• More than 40 million impressions on Twitter • More than 300 million media impressions

Ford plans to exceed its previous Fiesta campaign next year

with the Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix. This will be the first

The socially savvy 2009 Fiesta Movement campaign is a great

ed. Everything people see, hear and read about the new 2014 Ford

example of what Lusk wrote about in his article. Social Media Week* in 2009 kicked off the Fiesta Movement campaign, which

was designed to help launch the 2011 Ford Fiesta in the United

Winter 2014

States in less than one year. This included successful outreach on

importance of growing and adapting to extend a company’s reach to new and potential audiences in a non-traditional way.

States. This campaign created interaction between the vehicle and its target customer. It allowed them to use their intelligence

and creativity through social engagement to change the way they saw the car.


Without spending money on incremental media, the Fiesta

Movement successfully established the nameplate in the United

time Ford has ever used a campaign that is entirely user-generat-

Fiesta will come straight from the people who are using the new car. They will be recording, posting and sharing their Fiesta sto-

ries from beginning to end — their experiences are the campaign. There will be no official corporate launch of the vehicle.

The recorded experiences from the Agents could be used for

a print ad in a popular magazine. They could also be used for a 30-second spot during a popular TV show. They might even be

Customer Care News

used as a video introduction as people walk into a music festival. It

especially for purchases that are likely to carry a large price tag.

Platforms like American Idol, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts

mendations or testimonials, or they will turn to social media to

will span paid, owned, earned and experimental media.

Festival, and all the summer X Games will be used in Mission

videos for the Fiesta Movement program. Their stars will act as

The average consumer will turn to family and friends for recomview the opinions of a larger mass of people.

The choices a consumer has to sift through are enormous.

advocates for the Ford Fiesta, helping to extend the reach and

WOM is very effective in helping a consumer make a purchase.

reach people — especially millennials, who are more connected

ask yourself: was it due to a personal testimony or brand messag-

build a holistic story for consumers. It’s a completely new way to and interested in sharing their stories than any previous genera-

tion. And the Ford Fiesta attracts more millennials than any other

So the next time you’re contemplating a new purchase, stop and ing? CCN

Ford vehicle, demonstrating the importance of telling its story in

*Social Media Week is a leading media platform and worldwide

The Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix incorporates the

including Europe, North America, South America, Africa and

a completely new way.

2014 Ford Fiesta’s best features from miles per gallon to personality to performance and connectivity. The vehicle’s qualities are

brought to life through influencers, their friends and their followers. In addition, the engagement piece from Ford offers potential

consumers and enthusiasts alike the opportunity to engage in

event with local presence and global reach across five continents, Asia. The mission is to capture, curate and share the most meaningful ideas, trends and best practices with regard to technology and social media’s impact on business, society and culture. For more information, visit

human conversations with the brand. This allows them to build

Van Nguyen is a socially engaged explorer who has a passion

for the nameplate.

service and engagement and has consulted Fortune 100 com-

rapport with the Agents who are serving as brand ambassadors

As with many marketing campaigns, return on investment

(ROI) is used to sell products. Calculating ROI becomes difficult concrete results.

Where do consumers seeking products or services normally

go first? Do they turn to a television or radio ad? Do they visit each brand’s website? The answer is most likely none of those —

panies on their customer service programs. She is currently the account director at Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations

and can be reached at 313-615-2856 or @SocialMeSavvy.

Winter 2014

as factors such as WOM and social marketing media do not give

for social networks and strategy. She specializes in customer

To learn more about the participants in the Fiesta Movement, and the adventures they have embarked on, please visit www.


Maximizing Quality of Experience


obile Network Operators (MNOs) are

based on a set of underlying systems and network elements

efforts into building their image as Customer

New processes have to monitor QoE, either based on individual

increasingly focusing their investments and

Experience-oriented companies. In this context, Arthur D. Little recommends taking a more integrated approach to Customer Experience Management (CEM). By involving the entire organization in the CEM strategy and processes, it is

possible to better manage all interactions along the customer journey.

From performance measurement to Customer Experience Management

The CEM approach requires shifting the focus of service

working correctly, but also based on customers’ perceptions. customers or broader customer segments, addressing invest-

ments accordingly and more effectively with final impacts on churn reduction.

To provide superior CEM, mobile operators need to con-

trol all interaction channels along the customer journey. In our CEM-oriented model, we focus on two key moments: service delivery (managed by ICT, Network and Technical Handsets Departments) and post-selling and claim management (managed by the Customer Care Department).

performance measurements from traditional network operations

Improving the flow of internal communication

The priority is to measure and control the entire end-to-end

companies will need to move from a classical “stand-alone”

means that the performance of a service is not only measured

customer according to their own needs in an independent man-

to customer service perception or Quality of Experience (QoE). experience that a customer has when using a service. That

When integrating CEM throughout their organization,

approach, in which the various departments interact with the

Figure 1. An ‘open door’ approach is essential to maximize QoE “Stand alone” approach “Are we sure that our Technical Investments are really addressing the customers’ expectations?”

“Technical information is not easy to use as agents have no skills to manage it correctly.”

“Call availability is the ‘king’ indicator to run the Network.”

“Open Doors” approach How good is the service? How easy can I get it?


Marketing Marketing


Customer Care

Winter 2014

Service Customer Delivery Care


Am I correctly charged?


Customer Care



Operations Customer Activitation

How well do they help me?

Service Delivery Billing

Customer Activation

Business Operations

Customer Support


Align Operations Service Delivery with Customers’ Service Expectations

Source: Arthur D. Little 18

Information flows Customer Care News

ner, to an “open-door” approach in which all the company’s units operate as a single entity in terms of the client’s perception.

Improved two-way communication flows among each

department and the others ensure both consistent QoE throughout all customer touch points and direct feedback to the technical department about customers’ perceptions of service performance in order to prioritize technical initiatives.

Technical Operations and Customer Experience Management

There are two main CEM levers that chief technology

officers (CTOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) should utilize:

Lever 1: Shift the focus to E2E Service Performance and Customer Experience

Technical Departments should introduce new processes

and tools to monitor an additional set of values that are known as Key Quality Indicators (KQIs). In this way, the technical

processes for network, IT and handsets are matched against the end-to-end customer

service experience in

order to measure their

specific impact on customer satisfaction.

Lever 2: Put effort into


Customer Experience

The second CEM

lever requires the com-

Customer Care and Customer Experience Management

tive model, in which

that MNOs should employ to improve their customer care

only track custom-




Technical Operations ers’ complaints and

the company’s subse-

Arthur D. Little has identified a specific set of drivers

and enhance the Customer Experience offered to their • Accessibility and ease of use — this must be true throughout all customer touchpoints

quent response, to a

• Response effectiveness — it requires enhanced quality of

the predictive model,

• Operations efficiency — providing prompt responses to a




Technical Operations merge





the information and multi-channel consistency

client’s issue and/or request is proving to be a differential for client retention. CCN

Vincenzo Basile is a Principal and Daniele Spera is a Manager


of the TIME (Telecommunications, Information Technology,




expectations and habits



Winter 2014

and even social media in

Daniele Spera


pany to move from a Vincenzo Basile

address investments to improve Customer Experience and

in the Rome office of Arthur D. Little. They are both members

Media and Electronics) practice. For further information about this topic, please visit


Five Steps to Applying “Big Data” To Your Customer Communications and Marketing

Big Data” has evolved from being an exciting new concept to an essential tool when it comes to reaching

consumers and delivering a good customer experi-

so does the data. So where should marketing and CRM teams begin?

ence. For companies that are serious about their customer

1) Determine your objectives

evolution of Internet analytics, the proliferation of mobile

manager should start is to ask themselves what it is the company

unprecedented availability of data that can be put to good use —

in revenue, and for many it will be a good customer experience.

communications and marketing, Big Data is no fad. The devices and developments in data capture have led to an meaning there is an information trail on everything from your current location to your daily shopping habits to the efficiency of your car engine.

Across all sectors — and departments within individual

businesses — Big Data is helping to enhance capabilities as well

as increase profits, and dealings with customers are no exception.

In terms of front-line, customer-facing parts of most businesses, marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) are

The first place any marketing or customer relationship

wishes to really achieve. For most, the answer will be an increase By linking a company’s database to the overall marketing and

CRM strategy both of these jobs are made a lot easier. There

are three key areas that need to be looked at in order to do this: • Increasing customer spending

• Increasing the frequency of customer visits • Reducing the number of lost customers

These are the three key ways to ensure a business increases

among the first to have originally embraced data — before it

profitability, stripped back to the bare essential. Keeping these in

is a danger of losing sight of what is important and drowning in

is not forgotten and the path to achieving it is not strayed from.

was “Big” — and are already reaping the rewards. However, there all the information available.

With the surge of newer streams of web, mobile and social

data, one of the areas of concern with Big Data is simply the vast amount of information it offers on customers. The huge growth

in digital during the past few years has also meant that the lines between marketing, CRM and service all seem to blur in a way

It allows companies to employ the information they need to

drive their business goals rather than letting their organization’s

strategy grow out of whatever data is available. Employing Big Data effectively requires a clear and agreed data management

policy and having the infrastructure and service providers in

place to make sure that your organization has information that can be analyzed effectively.

Winter 2014

that can be overwhelming. The possibilities seem limitless, but

mind throughout the marketing process means that the end goal


Customer Care News

2) Consider what data is essential

permission — and using it judiciously for appropriate and useful

in particular. Of course all information on customers can seem

heart of the successful database marketing relationship.

This can prove tricky to a lot of departments, marketing

valuable, especially if it has proven tricky to capture. However,

offers and rewards. There is always an exchange of value at the

one of the biggest issues with Big Data is there is often too

5) Put an SCV database at the heart of your activity

tent, accurate and up to date. It is safe to say that any data that

capture, can keep accurate and updated, and can link to a cus-

a hindrance than a help. What’s more, it has to ultimately help

capabilities of a single customer

much useless information. Data needs to be complete, consis-

does not fall into these categories may turn out to be more of you meet your objectives. When deciding whether data is essential or not, ask these questions:

• Is it in a functional condition?

• Does it further your relationship with the customer? • Can you link to a known customer?

• Will employing this data boost profits? If the answer is no for even one of these questions, you

need to decide whether it is really needed. Useless, inaccurate or outdated information can make tapping into Big Data a waste

of time. This is particularly important where marketing com-

Once you have identified the Big Data you need, can

tomer, you need to ensure you are able to do this within the view (SCV), which brings all

the data held by various parts of the business together in one

place. The information from the

SCV can be analyzed to provide insight that enables you to reward and influence customer

buying habits that encourage increased spending, increased

frequency and reduced attrition. The SCV is the core of Big

munications and other elements of CRM are concerned.

Data for marketing and CRM.

3) Find the best way of capturing the essential data

fuel for insight-based actions if

A properly planned and resourced CRM or loyalty program

can be an invaluable tool when it comes to capturing consumer

data and employing it to communicate effectively with customers. Not only do these types of programs enable companies to

track customer behavior — what, when and where customers are

buying — but they also act as great incentives for customers to keep their personal details up to date (in order to make sure they are receiving their rewards and special offers). 4) Secure data permissions and trust

Even companies with established CRM and loyalty pro-

grams need to bear in mind that the Data Protection Act allows

Big Data will only work as the

the data is not held in silos such as mail, store, web, mobile and email, but joined up in a con-

sumer-centric database. And it is

Andy Wood

critical to remember that Big Data needs to not just be about digital data. That’s the point of an SCV — it pulls through store transactions, mail responses, logged calls, application forms and

other organizable customer interactions to create an actionable set of information on the customer. Never lose sight of your objectives

In order for strategies and processes built around Big Data

companies to hold opt-in data for customer communication

to run smoothly, effective data management needs to be in place.

option to opt out. When seeking new information, companies

objectives. It is all too easy to get lost in the vast amount of

purposes but also requires them to offer these consumers the must also make sure all of this is done within the rules of per-

mission. Customers will usually agree to allow their data to be

used when they will receive targeted offers and rewards, but in asking for any additional details, it is worth considering whether

you really do need the data and are going to use it — and if so, Ultimately, any and all customer data has to be used respon-

information, but as long as marketers focus on what really matters — profitability and the customer experience — a CRM or

loyalty program will allow you to gain trust from your customers

by rewarding their purchasing behavior with offers and promotions relevant to them. This in turn will deliver incremental revenues for your business. CCN

sibly and effectively, or your business will lose customer trust.

Andy Wood is the Managing Director for GI Insight. For a more

of their data — keeping it secure and not sharing it without

Customers must have confidence that a company is taking care

Winter 2014


When keeping track, it is also critical to keep sight of overall

detailed marketers’ guide to Big Data, contact GI Insight 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



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

new information. For example, adding the dollar values

Winter 2014

to an agent. 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.


Winter 2014

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 international boundaries.

H Winter 2014




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.

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

Occupancy: The amount of time agents handle calls

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.


Winter 2014


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

Winter 2014



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

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Customer Care News - Winter 2014  

Customer Care News is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. The publishers hav...

Customer Care News - Winter 2014  

Customer Care News is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. The publishers hav...