Recently two highly-publicized customer expectations lawsuits have been in the news; one for Anheuser-Busch misrepresenting the alcohol content in a variety of its beers and the other with Subway’s foot-long sandwiches for coming up short. In both cases the customer expectations were clearly set and advertised (Subway’s $5 foot-long sandwich deal and Anheuser-Busch light beers with the alcohol content of higher calorie brands). In both cases, expectations were so blatantly under-served that customer dissatisfaction went through the roof, the customer experience went in the toilet, and now both brands are dealing with multimillion dollar lawsuits and a serious image problem.
Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast and changed the immediate futures of many. Focus will no doubt shift from extravagant extras to just rebuilding the necessities. For many local businesses looking to rebuild as well and turning to their loyal customers and the commitments made prior to this unthinkable disaster, you have to wonder when is the right time to ask your customers to be customers again.
For one local-area sports team, a letter was sent to its season ticket holders affected by the storm offering their support and reminding them their first payment was now due. If you are a season ticket holder it should come as no surprise that this money is due; you committed to these tickets nearly six months ago if not longer. As a team and a business in its own right, at a certain point disaster or not, there are still employee salaries and bills to pay. But if your home is gone or you just lost a family member in the storm and you get a letter like this, would you think the team is pretty insensitive to your situation? Or would you feel they were within their right to collect the money you promised to pay? Continue reading “When is the right time to ask your customers to be customers again after Hurricane Sandy?” »
It is human nature to make emotional decisions based on nothing more than a reaction to a feeling, even if it is irrational. In business, emotional decisions made every day without thorough customer experience analysis to support them is costing you tens of thousands of wasted dollars. How do you know you are making emotional decisions? If someone had directed you to make a change or has imposed a goal and a customer experience analyst has not verified the accuracy of such, it’s a clue that it’s an emotional decision. Continue reading “Emotional decisions will cost you thousands without Customer Experience Analytics” »
Does your organization have customers with different expectations than they should? How does that happen when your company should be setting proper expectations? But, as you know, there are often gaps between what they think and what we think they should think. The gaps often yield dissatisfied customers, high customer effort and more customer complaints than you’d like to get.
Recently I had the experience of being in one of these “gaps” when I needed some pest prevention work done to my home. I jumped through several hoops, both financially (large upfront sum) and physically (items in my yard had to be removed prior to the work starting). I had prepared myself for the money and the preparation to my yard and reasonably expected the work to start promptly. I did not expect there to be further complications once the work got underway. After all, my expectations were formed by the contract we signed.
I knew I was deep into an aforementioned gap when I was met with harassing phone calls from the billing department asking for payment – yes, the payment that had been made upfront. Then, my property was damaged (they knocked the fence down completely) and the necessary repairs were to be paid by me. How is that fair? I did research, partnered with a reputable company, and specifically outlined the payment and the work order upfront only to be met with continued frustration and costs.
Your business and your products vary from this example but the impact of misaligned customer expectations is universal. Expectations are often set at the point of sale and you are left to best manage the gap between your customer and the company. The outcome is the key because negative customer sentiment only serves to damage your brand. Continue reading “Do your customers fall into the ‘expectations gap’?” »
The CRM business has matured beyond simply gathering contact data to a more sophisticated approach to understanding customer needs, business issues, opportunities and competitive threats, said FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher. “What is happening in your customers’ ecosystems could affect your strategy in selling to them.”
Yet many companies are running scared due to social media. This is why Customer Relationship Metrics has launched Social Media BI, a solution for building effective social media strategies to improve relationships with customers and identify operational improvements. We want to bring a rational and responsible approach to creating social media strategies. While many attempt to insight fear and promote boiling the ocean through social media monitoring, we don’t.
With Social Media BI, customer-centric organizations can gain greater control of what customers are saying about their brand by methodically (and scientifically) identifying the issues that are most impacting customers. Based on this analysis, they can take specific actions that will spread positive sentiment, while fixing those problems that damage their brand, the company said.
Social Media BI starts with identification of those issues that lead to the greatest number of customer complaints. That data is then cross-referenced with a targeted analysis of online sentiment and chatter to correlate the issues that negatively impact customer relationships and corporate reputation. Armed with this information, Customer Relationship Metrics then creates a social media road map to help the client execute a cohesive and proactive social media strategy.
The service also includes analysis of the company’s current social media strategies and suggests targeted new approaches designed to enable the it to quickly respond to online detractors, while filtering social media data points to identify best practices and areas of concern.
Excerpts of this article were written by Denise J. Deveau for E-Commerce Times. We have re-posted a portion of the article about Customer Relationship Metrics and our services.
Social Media Customer Service (or Social Media Customer Care) is not customer service that supports how to use Social Media or answers what is Social Media. Social Media Customer Service is about customers being served and supported on social media platforms. To help clear up some of the confusion many will just shorten it to Social Customer Service (or Social Customer Care) when they are addressing this specific area of Social Media.
The recent Social Media Customer Service Report conducted by TNS, surveyed more than 1,000 UK consumers and found that 57% of consumers preferred to search online to solve their customer issues, and then interact with customer service on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blogs and forums over any other method.
Yet, recent statistics from the Genesys Social Media and Customer Services Summit found that a massive 72% of attendees (attended by companies with customers that use social media platforms) hadn’t yet integrated social media into their business customer service operations.
According to a recent IBM report on social media, the top social media challenge for companies is “establishing an ROI strategy.” This quest to quantify by CFOs is apparently preventing many from making the necessary investment in social media strategies and solutions.
One driving force may be because there are numerous functional groups involved with the social media decision. Who is going to own it is creating a modern-day political warfare opportunity. Social media is big, I mean billions of people and dollars big, and everyone wants to own it (internally) because their power and influence in an organization will skyrocket overnight. Continue reading “What is Social Media Customer Service?” »
Mining and analyzing customer comments to understand sentiment is no longer a wish. It’s a must. Based on years of experience, I suspect many of you are like the business partners I work with: you understand the value of the activity, would love to be able to get your hands on the insight, but don’t have the resources to do the work.
But there is good news. Using basic business intelligence approaches, it is possible to get a quick start on sentiment and text analysis to better understand what your customers think and say about your business. This information can then be leveraged to better serve customers and ultimately, improve the bottom line.
The rate at which customers provide commentary in customer experience surveys in itself can be very telling. Below are examples of insights that can be gained simply by examining the relationship between key real-time survey metrics and the propensity of customers to provide verbal feedback.
For the business partner depicted in the chart below, customer comments and real time alert rates were highly correlated. The more likely a customer was to comment, the more likely alert rates were to increase, and vice versa. This suggests that dissatisfied customers who required a follow up call from a manager were more likely to leave negative comments than positive ones.
While this may seem troublesome at first blush, understanding customer complaints is often an untapped gold mine. Reading and mining these comments could offer significant intelligence and gains for this business partner which can then be woven back into continuous improvement initiatives. Continue reading “Your quick start to the customer experience gold mine.” »
Every year around this time I find myself reflecting on the months that have passed and what I wish I would have done, not done, done better or done differently. At the risk of appearing like a new-year’s-resolution-gym-rat that is rarely seen past February, I’ll share my list of 2012 professional resolutions to include dumping reports that aren’t used, carving out creative time, looking for best practices in other industries that I can apply, and focusing on preventing the damage caused by not leveraging customer sentiment.
1. To focus on the things that matter. We all have a “to do” list that we likely dread looking at because of its sheer volume / length. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as scratching an item off the list, even if you know it’s not the most important item, or even a value-add item, right? In 2012, I resolve to minimize the number of tasks on my to do list by only including the items that offer insights into the business, add value to my customers or provide direct benefit my organization. The things which are likely to fall off the list in 2012 as a result? Reports that no one looks at, reports that people look at yet do nothing with, and presentation decks that are so repetitive month to month that even I get bored creating them, etc, etc, etc.
2. To be even more militant about customer sentiment. The business partners that I work with often hear me use the phrase “the quantitative data tells you what is happening, the qualitative (customer comments) tell you why.” Customer sentiment cannot be ignored without foregoing the value that is needed for an organization to differentiate itself from competitors. Everyone has customer conversations but they are not analyzed. Many have customer feedback programs that do not include explanations from the customer about the numeric score given. And still more have customer explanations that are not analyzed. Customer Sentiment Analytics is on my list again for 2012, but with an even higher point of focus. This one should definitely be on your list! Continue reading “2012 resolutions for a better working me (take any that you need for your list!)” »
Tis the time of year when we’re all making resolutions both personally and professionally. This year, pledge to halt the risk to your organization by not effectively analyzing customer feedback and conversations. Your path is unclear and even treacherous without this necessary business intelligence. If you are not able to prove how these customer analytics have resulted in changes to your products or service strategy in 2011, then you dropped the ball last year. Don’t do it again in 2012. You just might not have the opportunity again in 2013.
Did you realize you have all of the raw data needed, so make the resolution to transform it correctly to be a better leader in 2012. Categorize and analyze the customer sentiment and proactively push the information through your organization and out to customers via the call center and social media. Be an assertive executive of positive sentiment and not a reactionary slave.
How would you leverage these customer comments? Continue reading “As the ball drops this New Year’s, don’t drop it again with customers in 2012.” »