Each week I read a number of customer service articles from various online resources. Here are my top five picks from last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think too.
Engage Your Front Line To Increase Your Bottom Line by Beth Benjamin and Emma Sopadjieva
(Forbes) Your frontline employees often know what’s wrong in your company before you do. They can tell you what delights customers and what frustrates them and, perhaps more importantly, they can tell you “why.” They can tell you why some customers are buying more of your services, while others are returning products, canceling contracts, and taking their business elsewhere. The problem is that many companies aren’t listening.
My Comment: This article starts with the following sentence: “Your frontline employees, like your sales associates, technicians and customer service reps, often know what’s wrong in your company before you do.” For many leaders, that one line should grab your attention. Engage your front liners. They are with your customers every day, and they may know more about them that just about anyone else in your company.
91% of Top Companies Use AI to Boost Customer Service, Improve Branding by Alison DeNisco Rayome
(TechRepublic) Companies including Alibaba, Lexus, and Uber use both human and automated customer service to deliver the best results, according to a report from MIT Technology Report and Genesys.
My Comment: The companies that use AI (Artificial Intelligence) effectively have figured out an important part of the AI customer experience. There must be a balance between the machine and the human. The best companies know when it’s time to move away from the machine. Customers will accept an AI customer support alternative as long as they can quickly and conveniently (and sometimes invisibly) switch to a live person.
Key Takeaways from Zendesk’s Customer Experience Council by Elyse Simek
(Userlane) A novice’s first impressions on customer success, customer experience, artificial intelligence, and more.
My Comment: Zendesk recently had a Customer Experience Council event. The author of this article, Elyse Simek, has done us a great service and written up a robust recap of some of the top concepts discussed at the event.
Customer Lifecycle Marketing: A Simple Yet Powerful Concept by Lindsay Tjepkema
(Retail TouchPoints) Studies show it costs nearly five times as much to acquire customers than to retain them over the long term. For marketers, this makes sense. Rather than spending valuable time and resources continuously searching for new customers, marketers can spend that time and those resources keeping current customers happy and engaged throughout the customer lifecycle.
My Comment: The “customer lifecycle” concept is interesting. While this article focuses on the retail industry, understanding how it applies to your company, regardless of industry, can be important to how you market, sell and service your customers.
(Effectly) When you’re trying to get executive commitment for your employee and customer experience improvement initiatives, what’s the first question they ask? Typically, it’s something along the lines of: Why? What’s in it for us? What’s the ROI? If I spend money on those improvement initiatives, that takes money from some other initiative. Which is more important?
My Comment: You’ve seen Annette Franz’s name and articles frequently in this roundup of customer service and CX articles. This excellent post by Annette focuses on how to prove the ROI on CX for the C-Suite.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken