SOCAP International

SOCAP Blog

  • Intelligent Agents (The Human Side)

    Posted on: 09/05/2017

    Conversations abound with talk of the BOT (a web robot that automates tasks) takeover in our customer care practices, but how will the human element evolve? If in just 3 short years 85% of interactions will be handled by BOTs, where does that leave the other 15%? This article focuses on the 15% and its importance within our customer care ecosystem, and how you can ready yourself for the impact this will have on your organization.

    artificial intelligenceNo doubt that through automation, many of the mundane tasks, questions and answers that are already housed in databases (account balances, order status, locations, appointment reminders, and so on) will be handled by some form of self-service. These will take place through Mobile, Web, and Voice- IVR channels that have been automated to mimic human characteristics during their conversations. Some will be fully assisted, while others will need human intervention.

    The 15% of those that need human intervention are going to require movement between systems, authorization, and a higher cognition than a BOT today can provide. Readying your organization for this transition will be key. Talk times will be higher to help these customers; therefore, the same number of talk minutes will more than likely occur. In other words, you will have the same staff (in numbers) as you do today, but you will require talent with the capability to perform within these types of complex situations. The bottom line is that customers expect more from agent interactions.

    What will you need to succeed?

    1. Understand your customers and their expectations. 

    expectationsOf course, you can do journey mapping exercises or focus groups to gain insight, but more than anything, you should really put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They want you to know who they are, what they are doing, and why they are doing it. If you can recognize and fix it for them ahead of time—all the better.  That is part of the 85%, not the 15%.

    Be well connected (technically) and anticipate their issues.  There are a variety of options available to enable agents with tracing information on mobile and web devices.

    2. Create automated applications and coax your customers into using these new technologies instead of calling for routine issues.

    Market the new technologies to show their value—lead your customers to them, and incentivize these customers to use the new technologies. Minimize the frustration of using the other options (it may be time to retool). Accessibility, convenience, and ease of use are key attributes. Conversely, you could hide or remove the “voice” option or add cost to speak to an agent.

    3. Begin to recruit, hire, and train differently than today.

    Think of your organization as the most important part of the company. A transformation may need to occur within some companies to allow the center to be a place to “grow into” rather than “grow out of.” Many times today, the center is the first stop on the employee’s career path. Perhaps it should be stop 2 or 3 instead.

    4. Hire great leaders

    Hire people to lead the organization through this massive transformation, which includes the co-existence of “man” and “machine.” Manage the expectations appropriately, gather necessary input, and continue to evolve. Remember the adage: “Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and frequently die from moving too slowly.”

    LeaderSkill sets can include strong problem-solving skills, multi-disciplinary knowledge, technical savviness, on-going training, and the assurance of employee and job satisfaction.

    Measure differently. Think about the contribution of the resolution of a call, CSAT, NPS, customer churn rates, and cost or revenue per call instead of AHT, number of calls, abandon rates, etc.

    As we move through this incredible transformation, contact centers will increasingly use technologies that mimic human interactions. Some customers will be served exclusively by these ChatBots. Customers who cannot be satisfied through artificial intelligence and machine learning will still require human intervention.

    Today’s representatives will require more complex skills than entry-level positions provide. The new skill sets will be more technical, with deeper product understanding, and higher problem-solving abilities. As customers increasingly need these representatives’ assistance, they will have lower tolerance levels for a long time to resolution. More than ever, agents will be influencing CSAT, NPS, and Customer Loyalty scores. It is important to begin planning so that our companies are not left behind. In a land of BOTs, an understanding of humanity remains essential: Keep customers feeling happy and valued, or they will look for greener pastures (or, at the very least, a more convincing simulation of greener pastures).


    Kathy SobusKathy Sobus, SPS Director, Customer Experience Practice

    As Director of Customer Experience for SPS, Kathy Sobus drives strategic alliances and partnerships with various vendors and providers. Under her leadership, SPS’s customer experience experts consult with clients to identify areas of growth. Prior to joining SPS, she spent more than 16 years at Avaya, holding roles that included Global Contact Center Lead and Contact Center Strategist. She has been credited as an inventor on 11 patents, including “System and Method for Managing Agent Schedules in a Contact Center,” which was awarded earlier this year. She was named to CRN’s 2017 Women of the Channel list.

  • It’s Time to Innovate Your Customer Experience Metrics - Measure what matters to your customers

    Posted on: 08/29/2017

    ©2015-2017 Customer Experience Rules! Illustration by Steve Hickner.If you are serious about focusing on customer experience, one of the first things you need to do is forget typical measurements such as customer acquisition and retention. These statistics mean much more to the company than to the customer and typically exclude insights about the emotional components of the customer experience.  Instead, look at factors relevant to your customers.

    According to Joely Gardner, CEO of Human Factors Research, measuring customer should include things like: How long did it take for a customer to receive a package? How many layers are in your automated phone tree before your customer can talk with a real person?

    To determine what matters most to customers, conduct focus groups and in-depth interviews. Listen to your customers and you’ll learn what you’re doing right and, more importantly, how you can improve your process.

    Examine other data, too, such as a review of help desk records (particularly complaints), social media commentary, and discussions with salespeople.

    Gardner recommends having a combination of qualitative information and quantitative data. “I love numbers, numbers are great. But numbers never tell you why. You absolutely have to have the interviews to understand why people give an experience a high or low rating.”

    measureDo you know what customers consider fast or convenient? While your profit margins and market share are very important, just as important is knowing your business customers’ profit margins and market share. Then be able to articulate how your people, products and services can help your customers get to their next profit margin and market share goals.  And deliver on it too.

    A procurement manager at a hospital may choose a product based primarily on price. But there are other influential users of medical products including nurses and patients, each is likely to have a different set of criteria for measuring their experience with the same product. Customers and users may not be the same people, yet understanding the metrics that each cares about and related emotions can be critical for repeat purchases or recommendations to others.

    If your product or part of your service comes in a box it is important to understand the out of box experience customers are having. People are concerned about how quickly the product will get to it’s “Do-Fors” from the time they open the box.  Another concern is how long it takes to understand the instructions of a newly purchased product?  Is using it intuitive? How many languages are needed to deliver messages to the intended customers?  How long does it take for each of those customers, of differing languages, to get from opening the box to using the product? How does this compare with their expectation of that time?

    Say you make lawn mowers.  Your customer has just ended a very long winter in Minneapolis Minnesota and stored the pull-start lawn mower in a shed.  You may be concerned about market share, inventory for the new season and profitability.  This customer really wants to know how many pull starts will it take to get this mower started the very first time it’s out from storage.  And how much time will it take until it can actually be cutting the lawn for the first time after a long winter?

    Take the KPI Challenge

    KPI ChallengeThe key performance indicators, or KPIs, most businesses use are a set of performance metrics for the company. They may be customary for the industry.  Too frequently they are of little interest to customers.

    Take the KPI challenge to find out which of your present performance metrics matter to your customers, and why or why not.

    First look at the metrics you use to manage your business.  Then rank each of them based on how important you think they are to your customers.  Put down your reasons for why you think they care or don’t care.

    Next survey or interview customers and ask them how much they care about each metric.  Then ask for their reasons why they care or do not care.

    What is the gap between your internal and external views? What percentage of your present metrics do customers care about?  How many of those metrics give you decision making insights to improve or innovate the complete customer journey, from discovery to advocacy, for people emotionally and economically?

    It’s Time to Innovate

    It’s likely that you will need to create the metrics so you can make effective decisions to improve or innovate customer interactions along the CX journey.  The best results can come from human centered innovation.  Where you involve people that represent specific personas (detailed customer types) existing and desired, in the discovery and testing of new metrics and important emotions for each interaction from discovery to advocacy.

    Time to InnovateCreating insightful CX metrics is exciting innovation in itself.  Then it gets even better as you see their effectiveness help make the experience your customers have different and better, very difficult to duplicate and more profitable too.

    This is why the best in customer experience have a measurably high percentage of active advocates.  Using word of mouth, social media or direct referral, their customer advocates go beyond giving casual likes and check-the-box recommendations to bringing the business actual new customers. Many times it by sharing with colleagues the experience they had with the business.

    The more you understand what matters to your customers’ interactions with your business, on and off the Internet, the more opportunities you will find to improve and innovate the customer experience. The time is now to innovate your customer experience metrics.

    Learn more in-depth at Moving at the Speed of Innovation: SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference, where we will dive into Customer Experience: Winners, Losers and Must Have Metrics.


    Jeofrey BeanJeofrey Bean
    Customer experience expert, author

    Principal of Del Mar Research guiding companies in successful customer experience decisions.

    Jeofrey has authored two books. Customer Experience Rules! 52 best practices of CX leaders. And The Customer Experience Revolution: How Companies like Apple, Amazon and Starbucks Have Changed Business Forever, with Sean Van Tyne, a best-selling CX book.

    He is Professor at UC San Diego instructing Advanced Digital Marketing, The Customer Experience course and 2 day executive workshop.

    Recognized for CX work as keynote speaker at venues including J.D. Power Excellence Awards Summit and guest on John Hockenberry’s The TakeAway on NPR.

  • Piggly Wiggly to Chatbots in 100 years

    Posted on: 08/22/2017

    grocery shoppingChatbots are here to stay and are quickly becoming the sound of doing business at home, in the office and on the road.

    Self-Serve Innovation

    Who knew the chatbots self-serve pedigree could be traced back to a small grocery store in Memphis, Tennessee? It’s hard to image walking into today’s supermarket but in 1917 shopping for your daily bread required a store clerk who “picked” your shopping list from the shelves while you waited. In 1917, Clarence Saunders the founder of Piggly Wiggly grocery stores had a better idea. He replaced the store clerk with customer self-service and was rewarded with a U.S. patent and a personal fortune for his innovation. Ordering and fulfillment would never be the same again.

    Clarence’s aha moment permanently changed the buyer to seller relationship and created what we label today as the self-service economy – impossible to image that self-checkout  would someday have an estimated global value of $245B.  Driven by the rapid adoption of what has become inexpensive technology, AI / Bot self-service is part of the fabric of everyday life delivering more choice, convenience, personalization  and anywhere, anytime accessibility to an explosion of products and services. It’s a long way from Clarence’s SKU count of about 600 items and the store clerk’s paper pad and pencil.

    Dialing for Dollars

    Old phoneIn common with the grocery store of their day, our first telephone networks required the buyer (caller) to speak with a clerk (operator) who facilitated the service by patching the calling parties together with cables plugged into the operator’s panel. This was true until 1919, when the American Bell Telephone Company purchased the secondhand rotary telephone patent and stitched together the first national service for user controlled (self-service) rotary dial telephones – a system that would remain intact until the 1970’s when rotary was displaced with push button tone dialing foretelling the digital revolution to come. You remember Ma Bell don’t you?  In our time of 2.3B global self- serve smartphone users and the everyday practice of bouncing cell phone signals off of unseen orbiting communication satellites high above our heads, it’s hard to believe so much has come so fast from a humble home town innovation.

    Chocolate to Self-Serve Cash

    ATMCredit for the world’s first automated teller machine or ATM, goes to John Shepherd-Barron. It’s a fun moment of discovery. While soaking in a hot bath, John connected vending chocolate bars with dispensing cash from a self – serve money machine conveniently accessible to customers outside of banker’s hours. John’s aha moment in 1965 realized two years later with the first ATM installation by Barclays Bank in Enfield a London suburb.  To operate, the user inserted a paper bank check encoded with a unique 4 digit PIN followed by a matching keypad entry.

    Yes, this was the first use of personal identification numbers. Today, over 3 million machines are in use worldwide with functionality far beyond simply dispensing cash and a profit center for the issuing bank.

    What’s Next?

    Fast forward 100 years from the first self – serve market and we have successfully innovated our way to virtual service by way of smart devices stitched together by the IoT. We all enjoy the many benefits in price, choice, convenience, customization and anywhere, anytime accessibility. What I find exciting is the path ahead. Think about it. Chatbots speak your native language, remember you by name and voice, get smarter with every transaction, never forget what you last ordered and in some cases offer purchase predictions based on your behavior. Is this starting to sound familiar? Sounds to me like all they may need someday is an apron, pad and pencil.

    Learn more in-person about chatbots at Moving at the Speed of Innovation: SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference, October 22-25 in San Diego, CA!


    Pettinato_FrankFrank Pettinato is the senior vice president/general manager, multichannel customer engagement, C3i Solutions, which is a leading provider of contact center services for several of the world’s best-known brands, in particular, the food/beverage and retail industries. Pettinato oversees all aspects of the development and execution of the company’s strategic plan. Pettinato has held C-level positions in the consumer packaged goods, business services and technology industries. His areas of expertise include operations, technology, sales and marketing. He holds a Masters of Business Administration in international business from Saint Joseph’s University and a Bachelor of Science from Temple University.

  • August SOCAP Scoop

    Posted on: 08/15/2017

    Your August SOCAP Scoop
    Check out the white paper below on Building an Innovation Process.

    Building an Innovation Process


    KeynotesJUST ADDED! Fitbit to Keynote at Moving at the Speed of Innovatio: SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference

    Walk away with fresh ideas on innovation in customer care from our line-up of inspiring keynotes including Jay Kershner, Vice President of Customer Support at Fitbit.

    Learn more about Moving at the Speed of Innovation, register now for SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference at the early bird rate (available through September 15)!

    register


    Quick Poll: Do you share the voice of the consumer (VOC) by including voice clips of actual calls into your reports to other corporate stakeholders?

    Take this quick poll to see what innovative approaches companies are currently using for quality monitoring. Learn more about how your company measures up at SOCAP's Quality Monitoring Workshop, September 13 in Detroit, Michigan.

    Register now and book your hotel by August 22!

    register


    Employee Engagement Research Initiative

    researchSOCAP members are invited to participate in a Customer Care Employee Engagement research initiative from McKinsey to gain actionable insights on what drives employee engagement in call centers. The initiative will collect, analyze, and report out the levers that impact employee engagement and those that do not. Furthermore, it will work to understand which levers and tactics are being deployed in call centers today to address retention. Based on these results, management teams can determine which factors are worth investing in to improve the satisfaction of their workforce.

    McKinsey has built a survey that assesses derived agent satisfaction with a range of engagement factors. A survey link along with a suggested email message will be provided to you and the call center management teams you identify to distribute to your agents. The survey will take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete and is, of course, 100% voluntary and completely confidential. The messaging explains that the purpose of the initiative is to better understand the factors that make a call center a great place to come to work each day. It will ask agents about their tenure, how satisfied they are overall, and how satisfied they are with specific operating practices (e.g., frequency of huddles).

    Once survey data has been collected from a sufficient sample of agents, McKinsey and SOCAP will share the findings. This will include:

    • Relative importance of various retention levers (e.g., supervisor effectiveness, socialization opportunities, management practices, facilities), to help you know where to focus
    • A fact base of the percentage of call centers per industry that employ specific practices, such as daily team huddles, pay-for-performance incentives, etc. This will help you know how your organization stacks up in driving retention.

    To learn more or to participate in this survey, please contact Whitney Gretz at whitney_gretz@mckinsey.com


    What does innovation mean to you? [Video Contest]

    InnovationSOCAP invites you to:

    • Submit a video (60 seconds or less)
    • Tell us what innovation in customer care means to you or your organization
    • Be creative and have fun with your responses!

    Enter for a chance to win a free hotel suite upgrade at the Hotel del Coronado for the Annual Conference. Join hundreds of the brightest minds in customer care for Moving at the Speed of Innovation, SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference, October 22-25 in San Diego, California.

    Deadline to submit a video: August 31, 2017 - See full video contest details here.

    Submit Video


    Your Professional Development

    Online Course - Email Writing Masterclass

    email writing masterclassNovember 7 & 14 (2-3pm ET)

    Register now for this two-part SOCAP Online Course on:

    • Part 1: Tuesday, November 7 (2-3pm ET)
    • Part 2: Tuesday, November 14 (2-3pm ET)

    This two-part series will help customer care professionals improve their own email writing skills, so they achieve results when writing to colleagues and decision-makers in their organizations.

    In this workshop, you will develop your own writing skills; it’s not about developing front-line agents’ skills in writing emails to customers.

    • Part 1 of this online course includes hands-on writing activities, so you can learn how to write the subject line and first paragraph as well as how to write mobile-friendly email.
    • Part 2 of this workshop will teach you how to control your tone and build rapport as well as how to write templates to reuse in business email.

    Please note: In order to receive a certificate of completion, you must attend all live sessions, complete a course evaluation and pass a short assessment.

    register


    Webinar - Beyond CRM: Rethinking Customer Service in a Connected Digital Age

    digital ageSeptember 21, 2017 (2-3pm ET)

    For years, companies have used CRM as the software of choice to manage customer engagement and information, in an attempt to deliver a great customer experience. While managing the front end of the engagement process is important, delivering superior customer service requires more than that.

    Join us as we discuss on this webinar:

    • The need to shift customer service delivery strategies to go beyond engagement, by taking advantage of the collective wisdom in and around the enterprise
    • New technologies
    • Closed loop processes to resolve customer issues and to prevent calls before they happen
    • Essential capabilities for delivering proactive customer service

    Click here to save your seat now!

    register Your Community

    Member Magnet Double Points Palooza!

    TeamThrough September 30, you will receive DOUBLE POINTS for every new member you refer. The member with the most points wins the grad prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card!

    Help SOCAP identify other passionate customer care professionals to grow our community! Learn how you can become a Member Magnet to earn points and win some great prizes.

    SOCAP Member Magnets in the lead:

    • Pat Nicholson, Alta Resources: 15 points
    • Lynn Diegel, The Clorox Company: 15 points
    • Tim Ross, Genesys: 15 points
    • Chip Rohde, Wilke Global: 15 points
    • Karen Vaughn, Nike: 15 points

    Learn More

    Welcome New Members

    • Uzziel Valencia, Agero - Southwest Regional Chapter
    • Mandy Mcgee, Bellisio Foods - Minnesota Chapter
    • Julie Kreger, EPI Marketing Services - Great Lakes Chapter
    • Jay Kershner, Fitbit - Northwest Regional Chapter
    • Sarah Dudley, Ocean Spray Cranberries - New England Chapter
    • Lizzie Resnick, SmartPak - New England Chapter
    • Tamera Connolly, Taconic - New York Metro Chapter
    • Stephanie Stevens, Teleperformance - Southwest Regional Chapter
    • Ann Debbie Young, Trinidad & Tobago National Petroleum Marketing
  • July SOCAP Scoop

    Posted on: 07/21/2017

    July Scoop
    Innovation MakeoverWatch the video message below from Moving at the Speed of Innovation Keynote Speaker: Tamara Kleinberg.

                                               


    space-shuttleLearn More from Tamara at SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference

    Read the latest blog post by Annual Conference Keynote Speaker, Tamara Kleinberg. Add that innovative spark to all of your biggest challenges and greatest opportunities.

    To learn more about Moving at the Speed of Innovation, register now for SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference at the early bird rate (available through September 15)!

    Read Full Post



    Gain Insights on Innovative Approaches to Monitoring: SOCAP's Quality Monitor Workshop

    Take this quick poll to see what innovative approaches companies are currently using for quality monitoring. Learn more at SOCAP's Quality Monitoring Workshop, September 13 in Detroit, Michigan.

    Registration Rates:

    • SOCAP Member: $425
    • Non-Member: $525

    register


    Summer 2017 CRM Magazine coverRead about up-and-coming innovative technology, tools and trends in the Summer 2017 Issue of CRM Magazine!

    Click here to start reading your Summer 2017 issue of CRM Magazine.

    In this issue focused on Technology, Tools and Trends you will find:

    Read CRM Magazine


    What does innovation mean to you? [Video Contest]

    InnovationSOCAP invites you to:

    • Submit a video (60 seconds or less)
    • Tell us what innovation in customer care means to you or your organization
    • Be creative and have fun with your responses!

    Enter for a chance to win a free hotel suite upgrade at the Hotel del Coronado for the Annual Conference. Join hundreds of the brightest minds in customer care for Moving at the Speed of Innovation, SOCAP's 2017 Annual Conference, October 22-25 in San Diego, California.

    Deadline to submit a video: August 31, 2017 - See full video contest details here.

    Submit Video


    Your Professional Development

    Online Course - Stop the Bleeding: How to Turn Your Complaining Customer into a Loyal Customer

    online learningJuly 20, 27; August 3, 10 (2-3pm ET)

    Register now for this four-part SOCAP Online Course on:

    • Part 1: Thursday, July 20 (2-3pm ET)
    • Part 2: Thursday, July 27 (2-3pm ET)
    • Part 3: Thursday, August 3 (2-3pm ET)
    • Part 4: Thursday, August 10 (2-3pm ET)

    In this course you will learn:

    • Three ways to communicate the good news and make the customer really glad to hear from you
    • Five ways to communicate the bad news without saying “That’s not our policy”
    • How to handle problem customers with empathy, agreement and solutions

    Please note: In order to receive a certificate of completion, you must attend all live sessions, complete a course evaluation and pass a short assessment.

    register


    Webinar - Are You Even Listening? Avoiding Consumer Meltdowns Through Effective Engagement

    August 8, 2017 (2-3pm ET)

    Click here to save your seat now!

    register Your Community

    Let's Grow Our Community! Become a Member Magnet.

    TeamHelp SOCAP identify other passionate customer care professionals to grow our community! Learn how you can become a Member Magnet to earn points and win some great prizes.

    SOCAP Member Magnets in the lead:

    • Pat Nicholson, Alta Resources: 15 points
    • Lynn Diegel, The Clorox Company: 15 points
    • Tim Ross, Genesys: 15 points
    • Chip Rohde, Wilke Global: 15 points

    Learn More


    Upcoming Events

    Don't forget to include SOCAP in your summer plans! Mark your calendar for these upcoming events.

    Upcoming Events

    Welcome New Members

    • Jeofrey Bean, Del Mar Research - Southwest Regional Chapter
    • Ursula Dunn, Diageo Global Supply - Chicago Chapter
    • Doug Fry, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada - Canada Community Chapter
    • Mathias Guttu - New York Metro Chapter
    • Mary Hall, V12 Data - Chicago Chapter
    • Guy King - Southwest Regional Chapter
    • Elizabeth Ramirez, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Inc. - Northwest Regional Chapter
    • Krystal Sautter, Bay Valley Foods - Heartland Chapter
    • Ravi Singh, EGain Corporation - Northwest Regional Chapter
    • James Vecchio, EpiAnalytics, Inc. - Southwest Regional Chapter