Monday, December 14, 2015

ICMI's Top 50 Thought Leaders of 2015 - a Proud Team

An intriguing title, right? Yes, I am both proud and honored to be listed among ICMI's Top 50 Thought Leaders of 2015! One thing is being in the same list with customer service experts and another one is being #5!  I’m so appreciative to all who voted for us. Also special thanks to CallCenterICMI!

I’ve been following most of the team members already and would recommend you doing the same. You’ll only benefit having this team join your community, believe me. 
  1. Marsha Collier | @marshacollier | Author, Speaker, and Founder of #CustServ chat
  2. Shep Hyken | @hyken | Customer Service Speaker and Author
  3. Kate Nasser | @katenasser |Coach, Trainer, and Speaker
  4. Flavio Martins | @flavmartins | VP Ops at @DigiCert, Author of #WinTheCustomer
  5. Anna Sabryan | @annasabryan | #SocialMedia & #DigitalMarketing Professional, PM @OracleServCloud
  6. Doug Sandler | @djdoug | Professional Speaker, Best Selling Author of Nice Guys Finish First
  7. Peter Gregg | @pfgregg | Philanthropist and Customer Service Advocate
  8. Bill Quiseng | @billquiseng | Customer Service Speaker and Blogger
  9. Rosetta Lue | @rosettalue | @Philly311 Executive Director & @PhiladelphiaGov Chief #CustServ Officer
  10. Roy Atkinson | @RoyAtkinson | Customer Service Writer & Analyst
  11. Steve Curtin | @enthused | Author of Delight Your Customers
  12. Jeanne Bliss | @jeannebliss | Cofounder of Customer Experience Professionals Assoc.
  13. Chip Bell | @ChipRBell | Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Business Consultant
  14. Jeremy Watkin | @jtwatkin | Head of Quality for @1callres & Blogger for @commbetterblog
  15. Sheila McGee-Smith | @mcgeesmith | Contact Center/Enterprise Communications Industry Analyst
  16. Blair Pleasant | @blairplez | Unified Communications & collaboration and Contact Center Industry Analyst
  17. Al Hopper | @AlHopper_ | Co-host of #CustServ chat and Co-Founder of @Social_Path
  18. Joshua March | @joshuamarch | Founder & CEO of Conversocial
  19. Adam Toporek | @adamtoporek | Customer Service & Customer Experience Fanatic
  20. Blake Morgan | @BlakeMichelleM |Customer Experience Advisor, Forbes Write, @SOCAP Board Member
  21. Geraldine Gray | @GeraldineGray | Salesforce MVP
  22. Mark Bernhardt | @ImMarkBernhardt | Career Student/Practitioner of How Customer Service, Design, PR, Social Media & Web Support Brand
  23. Nancy Porte | @nporte | VP of Customer Experience at Verint
  24. Alan Berkson | @Berkson0 | TEDx speaker & Influencer Relations @Freshdesk
  25. Greg Ortbach | @gregortbach | Sr. Account Manager @Arcanebrand in #LdnOnt & Co-host of #CustServ chat
  26. Sean Hawkins | @SeanBHawkins | Customer Service Manager and Speaker
  27. Ian Jacobs | @iangjacobs | Senior Analyst at Forrester
  28. Greg Yankelovich | @piplzchoice | Customer Experience IQ Blog
  29. Jodi Beuder | @cx_jodi | Marketing & #CX Fanatic, Founder of jb&co
  30. Brad Clevealnd | @bradcleveland | Author and Consultant, Former President & CEO of @CallCenterICMI
  31. Andrew McFarland | @andy_mcf |Author, Blogger @ Pivot Point Solutions
  32. Nancy Jamison | @nancyjami | Contact Center Analyst at Frost & Sullivan
  33. Mike Aoki | @mikeaoki | Contact Center Trainer and Speaker
  34. Sarah Stealey Reed | @stealeyreed | Editor of @JoinRelate
  35. Jeff Toister | @toister | CPLP, Author of Service Failure, Blogger: Inside Customer Service
  36. Andrew Neff | @Andrewincontact | VP at Keynomics
  37. Erica Strother Marois | @ens0204 | Community Specialist at @CallCenterICMI, Founder of #ICMIchat
  38. Tricia Morris | @triciaemorris | Customer Service Blogger
  39. Leslie O’Flahavan | @LeslieO | E-WRITE Honcho & Writing Teacher
  40. Darren Prine | @darrenprine | Providing Information on Cloud Based Contact Center Solutions
  41. Jenny Dempsey | @jennysuedempsey | #CustServ @dmvorg & Writer @commbetterblog
  42. Justin Robbins | @justinmrobbins | Community Director @ThinkHDI & @CallCenterICMI
  43. Jess Greene Pierson | @JGPierson | Customer Experience at Insightly
  44. Nate Brown | @CustomerIsFirst | Customer Service Experience Blogger and Speaker
  45. Paul Stockord | @paulstockford | Contact Center Industry Analyst
  46. Monica Norton | @monicalnorton | Content marketer, editor, and writer (@Zendesk @JoinRelate)
  47. Neal Topf | @nealtopf | President of @Callzilla
  48. Jessica Noble | @jessicajnoble | Strategy & Customer Experience Consulting Leader
  49. Mike Maffei | @CxCallCenters | Founder of @Aledium
  50. Kevin Hegebarth | @kghegebarth | Marketing VP @hireiqinc






Thursday, May 14, 2015

Have You Earned Your Customers' Trust?

When I typed the title, a story, that happened to me a few months ago pictured in front of my eyes.
Once I took a taxi and when I got home, the driver surprised me asking for more money than I used to pay for the same distance. I guess I had the “why” expression on my face, which made the driver ask me if something was wrong. I replied that it was ok, when the driver stretched his hand out to me with some change and his business card, saying “hope to serve you again, just call me”.
A strange driver from the first sight… At that same moment I didn’t even realize how wise he was. He just seemed to be fair to me... A few days later I remembered about the card he gave me, called him and from that day on he takes me home almost every day. And the other strange thing is that he calls me every day by the end of my working day asking if I need his help. He really built some good relationship and at the same time trust. Customers don't buy from people they don't trust. From my personal experience I can assure you that relationship building is very important.
When your business demands word-of-mouth advertising (and can anyone point me a business which doesn’t need it?), you should deliver an unforgettable service, the one I received.
According to a Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey, when customers trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend a trusted company to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently.
Be real YOU with your customers, add a human element! When you’re comfortable, your customer is also comfortable. When you’re nervous, your customer is nervous too. Keep your eyes open and ears listening. Remember: customer experience is becoming even more important than the product itself.
Earning a customer’s trust starts with giving a great service. When customers trust you they become more patient, they can pay even more than used to pay, they will advise your product/service to their friends, they will assist and defend you. Build trust in your company, in your industry, products and services, build trust in you. Earn customer trust and the rest will follow you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Customer Success Story - Best Reward for Any Company!

What can be better for a company than customer success stories?

The reason I decided to write this post is the story I’ve recently read in Facebook - a touching story, which made my friend's day...

One of my friends was telling about his birthday best present. You cannot even imagine - it was a letter from Lufthansa, a German airline, the largest one in Europe. It said: “The captain of the plane wants to speak to you”. After a while a call from that same captain... What a surprise! He called my friend to congratulate his birthday. Unbelievable! It really made my friend happy. I guess it’s a feeling of being important – who doesn’t need to feel special?

A minute call and the whole world will learn about it. Why can’t we make people happy and at the same time spread some good will?
Another story I read once is about a sick woman, who had recently had medical treatment that made her feet numb. Her daughter ordered six pairs of shoes from Zappos, in hope that at least one would work. Unfortunately none fit her and they had to return all the shoes back, explaining the reason. In two days they received a large bouquet of flowers from the company, wishing her health, along with an upgrade to “Zappos VIP Member". So impressive!
Every company says that their customers are #1 priority, they do every possible thing to delight them, but do they all receive success stories from their happy customers? Do they all “talk the talk” and “walk the walk”?  I’m sure not.
Providing an excellent customer service is a must. It’s the most important point in every business which will make you stand out from the rest of your “one-click-away” competition.
Make customers feel important and appreciated as my friend felt on his special day. Treat them as individuals, value sincerity and try to give more than expected. Create a culture of customer service, the best, unforgettable one; help your customers help you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Exceptional Customer Service with Co-Browsing

Exceptional customer service drives customer satisfaction. True, and in order to provide the best customer service, you should have better relationship with your prospects and customers and at the same time use different technologies that can balance their happiness.
Co-browsing, being deployed across many serious industries at present plays a major role in many savvy business’ routines. It’s used for customer/sales support, online shopping, trainings, collaboration, transactions and more.

Co-browsing “why”s

If you are still unaware of co-browsing “why”s, let’s start with the simplest one - with co-browsing you can see exactly what your prospect/customer sees. You, in your turn, can use the pointer to guide throughout the website, show the products/services, help to choose the best one for the case and help complete the purchase. And the most important fact is that co-browsing guaranties security while sharing your web. What else is needed for a successful business?

Co-browsing “how”s

How co-browsing works? There are many solutions in the market, but I’ll mention the way, the  best one can perform.
  • works with any browser on any computer
  • works across all firewalls and pop-up blockers
  • works on mobile devices
  • works with complex pages and technologies
  • limits view to any combination of web domains, web pages, desktop applications, documents, etc.
  • hides/blocks sensitive data like credit card numbers or account numbers
  • does not store any customer information, ensures regulatory compliance

 Co-browsing “pros”

What values will co-browsing add to the business? Really worth ones:
  • real time assistance
  • customer service improvement
  • customer satisfaction and loyalty increase
  • first call resolution rates increase
  • call handling time decrease
  • self-service tools adoption
  • agents empowerment
  • confidence increase
  • revenues increase
  • new visibility into the customer experience
Many financial and governmental services, retail, telecom, insurance and travel companies already use co-browsing and they saw significant increases in customer satisfaction scores. If you’re not in the list yet, hurry up; use co-browsing for your business success!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Twitter Usage Best Practices

Excited to speak about my favorite social platform – actually Twitter became the source of my social success. It’s so great when your followers’ number grows and they are really your targeted audience waiting for some valuable content from your side every day. Love Twitter! Are you in the same boat with me? If yes, let’s go to some interesting facts on Twitter usage.

Hashtag Usage 
We all know that tweets without hashtags are almost useless. But bear in mind to keep the hashtags to a minimum - 1 or 2 will get you 21 percent more engagement than if you add 3 or more. Hashtags can occur anywhere in the tweet without limitations – at the beginning, middle, or end, the only important thing is to use hashtags relevant to the topic.  

Image Usage 
Along with hashtag usage, keep in mind to compose tweets with images. This gets twice more engagement than those without. Images catch attention as if making the reader anxious to see the content.    

URL Usage
Tweets can be composed with or without a URL. But the ones that include links are 86 percent more likely to be retweeted.

Topic Usage In general Twitter has no limitation of topic usage – you can speak of whatever you desire. In my opinion, it’s more useful to choose a few topics and make them your favorite ones. In this way you become a fan of the topic and you have a proper audience.

Character Usage
140 character usage is the only limitation on Twitter. But this doesn’t meant that we should use it all. The optimal tweet size is 120 characters, which makes it easy for everyone to RT, share, comment. Shorter tweets get more engagement that long ones. Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17 percent more engagement.

Mobile Usage
It’s not a secret that mobile engagement changed the online presence. Twitter says that 60 percent of its active user base accesses the service via mobile devices. Compete found that 18 to 34 year olds are 21 percent more likely to be logging into Twitter primarily via a mobile device.

Date Usage
Many of us use social platforms (mostly for brand engagement) throughout the week. Only 19 percent of brands tweet on the weekends, Twitter engagement is 17 percent higher on those days for brands. So it’s wise to use some services, which allow you to schedule tweets. It makes your life easier, you can schedule for weekends, whole week, why not for a month?

80 percent of world leaders use Twitter. What about you?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Generations Living in the Present High -Tech World

We live in an age when one can meet seven different generations - radically different ones. Each generation has its characteristics, interests, attitude, likes and dislikes, and each approaches technology and life quite differently.

Incredible technological changes made it difficult to live in the same society with many of them. For such a broad topic, I went in search of generations existed in the 20th century. According to which there have been five generations living in 20th century and the division of every “generation category” differs, depending on the age range of 18 to 25.

20th Century Generations:
GI Generation/Greatest Generation - born 1901-1926
Mature/Silents - born 1927- 1945
Baby Boomers - born between 1946 and 1964
Generation X - born between 1965 and 1980
Generation Y/ Millennial - born between 1981 and 2000

Prior to these generations, Lost Generation (1883-1900) also existed. But one can hardly find people living at present or who knows, maybe there are some.

While speaking about technology we come across Baby Boomers most of all, who have lots of difficulties with this innovative world. Generations before Baby Boomers have nothing to do with technology; they are so far from it and live their calm life without even realizing what they miss. On the contrary Baby Boomers try to keep pace with the innovations and the most complains come from their side. That’s why many modern technologies like co-browsing, live chat, screen sharing and many others come to help them.

Generations coming after Baby Boomers very much differ not only from Baby Boomers, but from each other. The Generation X is not very much interested in traditional perks and needs to make clear what they are looking for (having patience to wait), the Generation Y loves challenge, they are flexible, multi- tasking, true team players, but want everything right now.

As for the 21st century, here we already have two generations, and I guess that if before the category range was big enough (18-25 years), now it will change faster, as everything in this world changes at such an enormous speed.

21st Century Generation:
Generation Z/Boomlets – 2001- 2009
Generation A/Alpha, 2010-2025 

I’m almost sure that at the end of the 21st century today’s new generations may appear in the same situation as Baby Boomers. Life is like a marathon, and you should run fast to keep up with all the new things.

Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 – Starting a New Year with the Best Tech Deals

The internet of things? Can we learn about the future peering into the past? If so, this year will also be a promising one, as 2014 has been marked as the most active year in technology. Before that, 2000 was the most active one.

Numerous acquisitions happen each month, but to make my posts shorter, I select the most important deals only. Surely they are important from my personal point of view; anyway hope that my readers will share the same opinion.

The same “giants” all the time – as if conquering the heights. Do they need the products or the talents, or maybe both? Never remember any company announcing about that.

Year started with social deals – two Facebook acquisitions with two-day interval – not bad. Then Twitter joint the list with its ZipDial acquisition. Ok, let’s switch to the list, not to miss anyone. 

06 January - Facebook Acquires to Help Its Developers With Speech Recognition and Voice Interfaces
Facebook acquired, a Y Combinator startup founded 18 months ago to create an API for building voice-activated interfaces. already has 6,000 developers on its platform who have built hundreds of apps. The product lets developers add a few lines of its code to instantly build in voice control and speech recognition. The platform will remain open and free.  

08 January - Facebook Acquires Video Compression Startup QuickFire
Facebook acquired video-compression company QuickFire Networks, further underscoring the social networking giant’s increasing focus on video. Based in San Diego, QuickFire says, it can quickly convert video formats and allow them to be downloaded with less bandwidth and without a loss in video quality. 

Twitter announced that it has acquired Bangalore-based ‘missed call’ marketing platform, ZipDial, which assigns companies a special phone number which their brands can use in print ads or TV commercials. Customers can call the number and hang up before they are charged for the call. In turn, brands can phone or send text messages about their business to the ‘missed callers’. ZipDial’s clients include Unilever, Disney, Gillette, Amazon, Facebook and, of course, Twitter, whose customers have used the platform for placing orders, receiving coupons or entering contests. 

20 January – Microsoft Acquires Text Analysis Startup Equivio, Plans to Integrate Machine Learning Tech into Office 365
Microsoft announced it has acquired text analysis software startup Equivio, which uses machine learning to let users explore large, unstructured sets of data. The startup’s technology leverages advanced text analytics to perform multi-dimensional analyses of data collections, intelligently sort documents into themes, group near-duplicates, and isolate unique data. 

21 January – Apple Buys UK Startup Semetric to Power up Its Media Analytics
Apple has acquired Semetric, the London-based startup behind music analytics service Musicmetric.  While Musicmetric seems an obvious fit with iTunes and Beats Music, Semetric has also been working on analysing data for games, TV, movies and books so will enhance Apple’s understanding of data around all the digital products it sells. 

Microsoft has reached an agreement to acquire Revolution Analytics - the leading commercial provider of software and services for R, the world’s most widely used programming language for statistical computing and predictive analytics. This acquisition will help more companies use the power of R and data science to unlock big data insights with advanced analytics. 

Asia’s richest man is poised to take control of the UK’s biggest mobile phone network, after Three announced it had started exclusive takeover talks with its larger rival 02. The deal would create the UK’s largest mobile phone firm with 31.5 million customers, cutting the number of network owners in the UK from four to three.