Newsletter

The critically-acclaimed newsletter, The Edge of Service™, is a conversation on the organizations, people, and technologies redefining service delivery. Free, delivered by email.

Archive

2017

Issue 20 – TEDx: Thriving in an Always-On World
Being always connected…is it a blessing or a curse? Are we in charge, or are we slaves to our smartphones?
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2016

Issue 19 – Three Predictions for 2017
By any measure, 2016 has been a dynamic year for customer service. Customer expectations evolved at a fast clip, social continued to emerge as a powerful service channel, and many organizations made genuine strides to become more customer-centric (with a notable trend to cultivate services that are mobile-friendly).
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Issue 18 – Why You Won’t Catch Cinderella Smoking
To be effective, the quality standards you establish for customer service employees must meet three key requirements.
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Issue 17 – The Stunning Stats Behind Employee Engagement
I believe there are three categories of statistics any leader needs to know about employee engagement:First, employee engagement is strongly tied to customer experience.
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Issue 16 – Four Levers for Innovation in Customer Experience
I’m writing this from an eastbound Delta flight, 36,000 feet over northwest Colorado. The onboard wireless service, provided by Gogo, is enabling me to track flight progress and catch up with some research and email..
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2015

Issue 15 – Getting Mobile Customer Service Right
There are an estimated 7 billion active mobile phone subscriptions today—one for every living person on the planet, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Of course, the number can be misleading, given that many people in developed regions have multiple devices, while others still do not have access..
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Issue 14 – Hiring for Service: It’s Time for a Rethink
Imagine dropping onto Earth from another planet. Your task is to explore our economy—jobs, what we produce, and how we hire and train people for those roles. You’re not familiar with precedent, history, or what’s transpired to this point. You simply look around and take note of what employees do, the skills required, the challenges they face, the value they create. Teachers, actors, pilots, managers, and others..
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Issue 13 – Statistics Behind a Service Revolution
Watermark Consulting hit something of a research jackpot with a simple correlation between stock price and customer service rankings. In the seven years leading up to 2015, they found that the S&P 500 index grew 51.5%. Customer experience leaders in that same timeframe enjoyed an average appreciation of 77.7%, while laggards saw their average share price actually go down (-2.5%).
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Issue 12 – The Keys to Social Customer Service
Being part of “the conversation”—listening to customers and interacting with them where they are—was until recently a powerful differentiator. But it’s now becoming a competitive necessity. And that’s true whether you’re a small startup or a multinational corporation.
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2014

Issue 11 – A Multichannel World
If you were to walk into an Amazon.com customer contact center, you’d see desks turned sideways so that Fire tablet support agents have a neutral background for video calls (one-way, agent-to-customer). Visit the GM customer assistance group focused on social channels, and you’re more likely to hear the clickety-clack of keys than voices…  Continue Reading
Issue 10 – Beware Others’ Benchmarks
Let me begin with a quick preface. The title is “beware others’ benchmarks,” not ignore them, or be uniformed of them. Benchmarks are necessary. But to the definition of beware… be on guard, be wary.   Continue Reading
Issue 9 – How “Waiting in Line” Is Changing
If you care about delivering effective service—whether you head a multinational, direct a division, or are simply intent on meeting commitments as an individual—there are three things to know about queues…   Continue Reading
Issue 8 – The Trait All Successful Service Leaders Share
Janet Bailey was still in high school when she got her first job—working in a call center. It later evolved into a part-time arrangement that allowed her to work while she attended college. She recalls huge phones, multiple lines, and data entry on pen and paper. “When the phone rang, a line would blink and one of us would grab it.”
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Issue 7 – The Culture of Great Service
Culture is top-of-mind in today’s most customer-focused organizations. It likely always has been, but I’m seeing a marked increase in requests to “discuss culture” when speaking to groups or looking at industry trends with executive teams.   Continue Reading

2013

Issue 6 – Hands-On Vision
Dorasan Station, the last stop on our tour of the DMZ, is a railway station that initially opened in 1906 and once linked Seoul and Pyongyang. It was destroyed in the Korean Conflict but restored within the last decade, with help from thousands of private donors.
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Issue 5 – Customer Interaction Is Changing the Game
Jed York, the youthful 33-year-old CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, is bringing a storied team that had fallen on hard times back to prominence. San Francisco won the NFC Championship title last year and came razor-close to winning the Super Bowl.   Continue Reading
Issue 4 – Staying in the Know
The lightening-caused Beaver Creek Fire, near Sun Valley, ID, was fueled by a perfect storm: heavy forests, challenging terrain, dry late-summer conditions, and unusually strong winds that were whipping up flames and sending hot embers miles from the fire’s edges (prompting the nickname “Multiheaded Beast” by fire crews).   Continue Reading
Issue 3 – Managing Time
I remember the surreal day I felt like a master of time. I had conducted a workshop in South Africa and was traveling to Toronto, where I was to deliver the keynote for a conference the next day. My route from Johannesburg included a connection in London, but when I arrived at Heathrow Airport, I was informed that the Toronto-bound plane had “a mechanical” and would be rescheduled for the next morning.   Continue Reading
Issue 2 – What the Adventuress Teaches About Organization
I recently was drawn out of a hat to be one of just a few parents to accompany my ten-year-old daughter’s fifth-grade class on a week-long sailing trip—a school tradition dating back many years. The adventure takes place on a suitably named schooner, The Adventuress, based near Seattle.   Continue Reading
Issue 1 – Is Russia a Service Bellwether?
I recently returned home from Russia, where I delivered a keynote and seminar (through simultaneous translation) on service trends and management at CCWF13 in Moscow. This was my first time working in Russia and, having had opportunity to work in 60 or so other countries over the years, it was high on my to-do list.   Continue Reading