Category Archives: Customer Service and Support
I grew up (professionally) in Call Centers.
I did all the jobs there were to be done at one time or another: answered phones, played supervisor, managed people, planned for growth, interfaced with business users – and many more you probably don’t want to know or do (if you ever are asked to upgrade a cabling plan, run fast). Back then tools and systems were almost non-existent; certainly not as advanced as today’s solutions. The most dreaded part of working the front line was always (well, when you get past the bad people who like to yell) doing wrap-up notes.
These are the notes we had to write in the customer record following a call to summarize what happened, what they said, what we said and did, and the result. The idea was that if the customer called back we knew what happened. The advent of recording and the evolution of CRM solutions that pull in information from everywhere and automatically record everything the agent and the consumer do across all channels creates loads of transactional, operational, and even feedback information. The wrap up note is a thing of the past (I know they are still being done in some places, but the number of interactions that demand them is minimal compared to every one of them in the past). Read more and comment…
In the knowledge management for customer service industry, we have an ever-present problem – a recent Argyle study of customer care executives found that only 15 percent of organizations had access to the information they needed to solve cases faster and more efficiently. Knowledge, knowledge everywhere… and not a drop to understand.
Switch gears: Paul Greenberg is an industry analyst and ZDNet blogger whose CRM Watchlist is an annual roundup that recognizes companies that are changing the future of CRM technology for the better.
We were honored to be named to the Watchlist for the second year in a row. Read more and comment…
Customer demand for high-quality support continues to grow, as customers have raised the bar for every interaction with support organizations. This comes as a result of the plethora of information available to customers on the Internet, combined with an increase in competitive choices and product complexity. Given this situation, it is imperative that support organizations at least be on a level field of knowledge, or the customer will lose trust. This means that support executives need to be armed with not only the right data, but the right insight.
These executives know there is value in all the data and metrics they collect, but identifying this value using legacy tools has proved frustrating, if not impossible. CRM, multichannel and telephony solutions typically include strong operational reporting, which is useful to determine a top performer for a certain metric, or to measure organizational performance by key performance indicators. But what is missing is the ability to consolidate, correlate, access and analyze data across multiple data sources, identifying linkages and trends, enabling root-cause analysis, and providing insight to allow better understanding for better customer engagement.
Many point solutions have attempted to solve the challenge of information access with built-in search. However, the sophistication of search embedded in many software solutions, while rising, cannot connect the dots across the increasingly social enterprise. Advanced unified indexing technology not only provides access to much-needed analytics, but it is leveraged by agents to significantly impact performance metrics. By having collective knowledge about the customer, as well as their products, support cases, and more, agents can more quickly solve customer challenges the first time, improving resolution time and customer satisfaction across phone, web and email channels.
Find advice from us and the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) on how customer support organizations can leverage data for actionable insight in this new whitepaper.
And the winner is…Coveo! We’re pleased to announce that Coveo has just been named a 2013 Service Leader alongside salesforce.com in CRM Magazine‘s Service Leaders Awards.
These awards acknowledge the “best of the best” in customer service and support, and are chosen by a group of approximately 20 top analysts and industry experts based on a mix of weighted criteria – including depth of functionality and services, customer satisfaction, company direction, deployment costs and overall revenue.
John Ragsdale, Vice President of Technology Research at the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), called Coveo his “top recommended search platform,” due to its “faceted search and dynamic integrations” with external systems, while Kate Leggett, principal analyst at Forrester, noted that Coveo offers “excellent search [capabilities] across structured and unstructured sources” as well as “strong visualization and dashboarding tools to present search results in very consumable ways.”
In its review of the 2013 Service Leader Award winners, CRM Magazine also referred to Coveo as “a mainstay on the CCS leaderboard,” noting that Coveo for Salesforce, introduced in 2012, gives Salesforce users the ability to search across nearly any system, directly from the Salesforce UI. Read more and comment…
Customers have so many choices today. It’s our jobs to make their experiences as easy, relevant and engaging as possible. By delivering exceptional customer experiences, companies can acquire new customers through referrals from highly satisfied customers, retain existing customers and improve their overall efficiency.
Unfortunately, too many customer service agents, field agents and even sales and marketing team members, do not have the essential customer information and insight they need, when they need it, resulting in negative customer experiences.
Imagine this scenario instead, if your organization uses a CRM such as Salesforce: A CSR views a case, and in addition to the details of the issue, he or she is automatically shown the best and most relevant knowledge—from anywhere—to solve the case in the fastest and most accurate way possible – right into the Salesforce Case Console, into the context of the agent. Without conducting a single search query, and regardless of where the information resides. The information is pushed to the agent.
Sound like a future state? The future is now. Read more and comment…
Knowledge Management will never be the same.
We’re at the start of a sea change in how employees find the information they need to do their work. Not surprisingly, the sea change begins with a combination of solutions known for leadership and innovation: Salesforce and Coveo. Together, we are turning knowledge management—and enterprise search—upside down.
Placing customers first, Coveo in September introduced the beta version of our application that pushes relevant knowledge directly into the Salesforce Case Console, into the context of the agent. We started here because we know that companies need and want to improve the customer experience. We know that agents struggle mightily to find the combination of information that will help them solve challenges for their customers faster and better. And we know the problem is only getting worse, in an age of big, unstructured and structured data, and with the continued proliferation of point systems and fragmented content sources.
So we put our enterprise-grade, Unified Indexing technology to the test. Could we push the information that would help agents help their customers faster and with more accuracy, regardless of where it resides? Could we provide a next generation federated search experience to even the most junior customer service agent? Could we make it fast and simple to configure and activate, in the cloud? Could we improve the capacity of a contact center by 10 or even 20 percent overnight by injecting better knowledge?
When we launched Coveo for Salesforce Beta version in September, we heard from many of our friends in the analyst and influencer community that it was going to be a game-changer. Our Beta Program participants proved the theory:
“Users simply find what they didn’t even know they were looking for. We need the right information at the right time to ensure our customers’ greatest success, and Coveo helps us to do that, right in Salesforce.” – Gerard Snippe, Rembrandt, a division of Rabobank (case study)
Today, we’re making this game-changing application one that turns knowledge management and enterprise search upside down, available to every company that uses Salesforce, with our listing of Coveo for Salesforce on the AppExchange. Starting today, Salesforce admins can, with a free trial, help their users stop searching, and start finding. Coveo for Salesforce, Service Cloud Edition is Generally Available on the AppExchange.
How will this turn transform your customer service and support initiatives?
On a trip to Orlando two years ago, I arrived quite late to a Hilton hotel and visited the restaurant a few minutes before closing. The server took my order, disappeared, and didn’t come back for a few minutes. It was just a touch too long, and I was beginning to wonder if my order was forgotten.
Then the server came back, apologized for the delay and gave me a free drink on the spot. I still remember that experience because it wasn’t expected. I had not complained and the delay really wasn’t a big deal. So far as I know, I didn’t send any signals via my body language that I was unhappy.
It impressed me that my server was empathetic enough to realize that their service was not quite up to par, without a complaint. And furthermore, he didn’t have to go ask permission to give me the drink.
That’s a simple but powerful example of an empowered employee. My server obviously had some latitude to make a decision on the spot in the interest of creating a memorable experience. The fact that I’ve told this story many times in speeches the past two years, and now write about it here, speaks volumes for the real impact of that simple gesture. Read more and comment…
Today’s customer service professionals are equipped with an unprecedented amount of tools. Like a carpenter, each tool performs a specific function that’s essential to solving a case in an efficient and effective manner.
But unlike many on the front lines of the CRM business, carpenters have holsters or tool belts that organize the tools for the project at hand: hammer, screw driver, pliers, nails, screws, tape measure, etc. Without a holster, carpenters would waste time running back and forth from their work to get the tools they need, as they need them.
When it comes to customer service, why do we insist that support agents switch between multiple point-systems to hunt down the tools they need: from the CRM system, the knowledge base, SharePoint, personal files, notes on a product management wiki? The “Alt-Tab” shuffling is as unproductive as a carpenter without a holster.
Consider the content that your agents need – and put it in their holster. Read more and comment…
Last month we were honored to receive the CODiE Award for Best Relationship Management Solution by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). DreamSimplicity, a virtual community for business applications and industry professionals, was onsite at the awards ceremony in San Francisco and recorded a brief interview with our own Michael Gagnon, Regional Sales Manager for CA. Watch the video and comment…
We’ve all heard the expression “necessity is the mother of invention.” In today’s day and age of digital engagement and the rapid pace of change in which we all live, this statement couldn’t be more true. Today’s consumers do not want to wait. There is a need for immediate satisfaction which means proprietors need to not only react to requests faster – they must have all of the necessary information to answers any number of requests at their fingertips, in an instant.
This information immediacy issue is playing out every day in many industries in multiple formats – whether it’s a customer on the phone with his or her mobile phone provider trying to straighten out a bill, a product engineer working to determine the next phase of a development cycle and needing to tap into a side project for research data, or a sales force leader determining an appropriate engagement strategy for his or her organization. The problem is, as common as these scenarios are, the access to all of the information necessary to make insightful decisions is not as prevalent as one may think.
This is why Coveo and its customers are paving the way – truly leading the charge as innovators – bringing together vast amounts of data on our unified indexing platform across enterprise systems and social channels and making it available with contextual relevance to each and every user—we term this one-to-one, end-to-end. With a single, unified view of information across channels (think an information mash-up like you’d get on Yahoo! Finance), customer service teams discover information relationships within diverse data sources to better know and serve their customers and enable better decision making – all aimed at building a truly customer-centric organization.
As an example, one of Coveo’s customers has taken the need to be innovative to a whole new level. Priding itself on its customer service capabilities, the SaaS provider of talent management solutions with more than 5,000 customers has been recognized with several awards for its industry-leading customer service and support. In fact, it is the only company in its category that was recognized by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) for Excellence in Service Operations.
The customer boasts an impressive 94 percent customer satisfaction rating from independent studies – in part because of its innovative abilities to bring together information and analyze it in a cohesive manner, thereby better serving its customers. Within three months of its implementation of Coveo, the customer had improved its first-call resolution by 32 percent and cut case resolution time by nearly 13 percent.
As we continue to innovate alongside our customers, we are pleased to also be recognized by the TSIA for its innovation as a finalist for the 2012 Recognized Innovator Awards. Regarding our Insight Solution for Customer Service, judges have noted that:
• “Innovation is clearly seen in this excellent application. Solid business impact can clearly be seen.”
• “Excellent cases and the insight console is unique approach to providing contextual data to agents.”
As we strive to stay innovative in the solutions we offer to our customers and the community at large, we’re also exhibiting at the Technology Services World (TSW) Best Practices conference in Santa Clara, CA, this week. This event is packed with bleeding-edge organizations that are focused on providing innovative solutions to the necessities of life. It is an opportunity for us to share information with our peers and best practices to help our customers continue to bring innovative solutions to the forefront of their businesses.