How to Balance Service and Cost in the Contact Center

Back in December, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jeff Toister, a customer service consultant based in San Diego. The interview touched on a variety of topics, but was focused on issues around staffing and scheduling. We discussed how offering great service typically saves money, something that may be counterintuitive to many. You can access the interview here. …

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In Customer Service Timing Is Critical

The right place at the right time. It’s a common phrase, but in customer service, it matters more than ever. Timing is critical. In customer service, we’re like pilots or stage hands. Like them, we also work in a time-driven environment. It’s not just what we do, it’s when we do it that counts so much. Learn more about how …

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Does Your Executive Team Understand Staffing Tradeoffs?

Are you working through difficult discussions related to resources and budget? Just remember, contact centers must handle most customer-related work as it happens, so resource mismatches quickly result in big problems. It’s essential that those making decisions have a basic understanding of staff tradeoffs in a contact center (read: real time) environment. The following table is an example of how …

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Knowing Your Customers

How do you know what a customer needs? If you mention customer advocacy and pose that question many executives will say, “Well they tell us, right?” I think they picture a frustrated customer across the counter or perhaps calling or posting a message that describes a problem. But there’s so much more to it. The video below from the LinkedIn …

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What to Say to Angry Customers

With the current crisis, contact center representatives are grappling with heightened workloads and anxious customers. It takes practice to find ways to ensure your impact is as positive and helpful as possible. Remember that you’re doing important work. It’s hard work and it can sometimes be disheartening and downright draining. But your role in helping customers during the most difficult …

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“Press 1 for Frustration” Article

This article from Heather Kelly at The Washington Post is a great behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of reaching customer service when call volumes are high and wait times are long. I was honored to be a resource for the article—and I’m thankful for the heroic work so many customer service professionals are doing. https://wapo.st/3cme3JX

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Time-Tested Tips for Handling Tough Contacts

How equipped are your agents for those situations when something is going wrong? When customers are clearly upset? Here are some time-tested tips: If your organization messed up, acknowledge it in a sincere way—and in plain language. (How often as a customer do you see or hear the scripted words, “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused”?) As writing …

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GM Leverages AI in Social Customer Care

GM, America’s largest automobile manufacturer, has more than 17 million social brand mentions and engages in more than 400,000 customer care conversations each year. GM set (and met) two aggressive goals to support their customer-centric vision. Goal 1: Deliver on today’s customer expectations. GM recognized that customers are increasingly turning to social channels for customer service, and established a response …

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Putting Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

Many of the most successful leaders I’ve worked with are uneasy depending on surveys and rolled-up data alone to tell them what’s really happening. They want to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. They want to see the organization, products, employees and competitors as their customers do. The video below, from my LinkedIn Learning course “Customer Service Leadership,” shares some …

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When Building Your Brand, Be Yourself

In a recent issue of The Edge of Service®, I relay my experience meeting actor and author Henry Winkler at a recent ICMI Conference. Winkler reminded me of advice that my mother used to give me, especially when facing awkward or difficult challenges—”just be yourself.” It was sound advice then, and it still is now. And I believe it’s good …

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