Each week I read a number of customer service and experience 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.
The World According to Sharp by Jack Neff
(Ad Age) In the years since Byron Sharp published ‘How Brands Grow,’ his unorthodox theories have taken root with major marketers and begun changing how they buy media. Among the new rules: Loyalty is a crock and broad reach can be more productive than surgical targeting.
My Comment: Let’s start this week’s Top Five list with an article about customer loyalty from a contrarian’s viewpoint. Do we spend too much time focused on taking care of our most loyal customer? According to this article, we may want to rethink our customer loyalty strategy.
Do Loyalty Programs Lock-In Loyalty? by Richard Shapiro
(TCFTR) Do loyalty programs really work? Possibly, but they only generate long-term results when coupled with a human-to-human component.
My Comment: Continuing on the concept of customer loyalty, Richard Shapiro shares some insights into what it takes to make a loyalty program work, and that’s a human connection. I’ve always believed that customer loyalty requires some type of emotional connection that the customer has with an organization, and that typically comes from one or more of the people who work in that organization.
Four Ways to Improve Customer Service by Seth Godin
(Seth’s Blog) Delegate it to your customers. Let them give feedback, good and bad, early and often.
My Comment: This is the second week in a row Seth Godin has focused one of his daily blogs on customer service. He always has valuable insights. This short article has four of them. My favorite is number four, which is a focus on culture. So important!
17 Experts Weigh in on the Term “Soft Skills” by Jeremy Watkin
(ICMI) From discussions I’ve had, some folks would beg to differ with the traditional definition of and value placed on soft skills. Feeling the need to understand the different points of view out there, I asked 17 customer service and training experts to weigh in with their stance on the term “soft skills.” If they’re opposed to it, I’ve asked them to offer up an alternative.
My Comment: Sometimes customer service training is called “soft skills” training. This is frustrating because I believe customer service is everything, but soft. It’s a skill that must be mastered to deliver the level of service and experience that will get your customers to return. My friend, Jeremy Watkin, did a survey for ICMI. He asked seventeen experts (myself included) what we thought of the term “soft skills training,” and if we feel it should be changed. Here are some interesting responses.
Uber’s Tipping Point by Roger Dooley
(Forbes) The Uber CEO chair was still warm from founder Travis Kalanick’s abrupt exit when the company announced several major policy changes. Unfortunately, these changes appear signal a shift away from its relentless focus on optimum customer experience – the very thing that has inspired remarkable customer loyalty.
My Comment: Uber was a disrupter to the traditional cab/transportation industry, mainly because of one thing: convenience. As the author of this article points out: “From the ease of hailing the ride to the lack of any checkout process, Uber has removed just about all friction from the traditional taxi experience.” Now they are considering adding in a friction point, which is tipping the driver. One of the most convenient parts of the Uber experience is when the ride is over, it’s over. No transferring of money. Just a “friendly goodbye.”
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken