Archive for May 19, 2015

Why I Love Kristy From Sprint

 

 

Move over “Jake from State Farm” and “Alex from Target” – there’s a new favorite in town, at least for me.

 

That would be Kristy from Sprint.

 

I love good customer service – this woman went above and beyond. I already let the company know directly, but she is a great example of how to do customer service right.

 

Back story: Sprint allows customers to upgrade their phones a few months before their contract is up. I love this feature and, because I’m not really particular about my phones as long as they work (I just gave up my old Blackberry a year ago if that tells you anything), I’m good with getting an older phone for a great deal and adding another two year contract.

 

One of my lines was eligible for an upgrade on February 1st. Unfortunately, I was unable to upgrade at that time. When I went to the website mid-March to upgrade, I saw that my upgrade date was pushed back until June. I immediately started a chat session to find out why, and was told that this change was made on March 1st and was stated on my bill. Hmm….went to look at the bill, and sure enough it was there in small print. Completely my fault.

 

Fast forward to last week….my daughter’s birthday is this week, and she is a good kid who never wants anything. While that is great in so many respects, it’s painful when it comes time for birthday gifts. Remembering she has a very old phone, I thought a new one would be a great idea, until I realized that my upgrade didn’t happen for a few weeks after her birthday.

 

I visit Sprint’s site and go to their chat. While not verbatim, it went something like this….

 

Me: I would like to know if there are ever exceptions made for phone upgrades. I was originally due for an upgrade on 2/1, but was unable to do so at the time. On 3/1, the upgrade policy changed and I was pushed back until 6/1. Is there anyway this could be pushed up a bit? I’d love to surprise my daughter with a new phone for her birthday.

 

Rep: I would be happy to look up your upgrade date. May I have your information to review your account?

 

Several seconds pass….

 

Rep: Congratulations! Your line is eligible for an upgrade on 6/1. For future reference, you can log into your account to check your upgrade date. Is there anything else I can help you with?

 

Me: Thank you. I did log in to check my upgrade date. I wanted to find out if I can move that up at all given that I was originally eligible in February.

 

Rep: Let me check…..Great news! You can upgrade early if you switch your plan and payment method. If you switch to our newest program, you can upgrade now.

 

Me: Thank you, but I would like to keep things as they are. Is there any way the upgrade date of 6/1 can be moved up to mid-May?

 

Rep: I’m sorry. As sales and service, we have limited options. Please call our customer care center at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

 

So there you go. I figured it was a moot point and almost gave up, but thought I’d call anyway, just to see what happens. And that’s when I met Kristy.

 

She greeted me in a warm, pleasant manner. I explained the situation and she listened to what I had to say – this was getting exciting! To add to it, she even empathized with my situation, saying that she is a mom herself and understands when we want to surprise our children.

 

She looked up my account history and confirmed some information. She then explained the reason that the policy was changed, which made perfect sense but I was not aware of it prior to this, and then stated that she would see what she could do. She asked me to hold for a moment

 

When she returned to the call, she said she would have to ask her supervisor, and apologized for the fact that it might take some time, as they were a bit backed up that day. She assured me that she would find an answer for me and call me back as soon as possible, though it might be up to 24 hours. I was completely fine with that and told her I appreciated it very much. She then went on to confirm the number to call me back at AND said that when she called, if she got my voice mail, she would be careful to keep the message as generic as possible in case my daughter picked up the message so that, if it is possible to move up the upgrade date, the surprise would not be ruined. That last little bit was above and beyond as far as customer service!

 

In the end, Kristy did leave a voice mail about an hour later and left a generic message stating that the upgrade was backdated to 5/1 so I was all set.

 

Even if the outcome were different, and I was stuck with my upgrade date of 6/1, I would have felt the same way about my overall experience. This representative went out of her way to show empathy and do what she could to help me with my request. I appreciated the fact that she listened as well – this was not my experience with the online chat, and it almost kept me from calling at all. Had I not, I would have never experienced the exceptional customer service I did from Kristy!

 

 

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91% of Managers Do Not Believe Customers

 

At least when it comes to resolution via a company website.

 

That is just one of the findings in research conducted by Ovum Research,a leading global technology research and advisory firm, in collaboration with LogMeIn during November and December, 2014. The study looked at what today’s customer expects as far as customer service expectations and compared this to what companies are doing and believe they need to do to provide excellent customer service across a wide variety of channels.

 

You can download the study findings, as there are quite a few interesting key points, especially regarding discrepancies in what customers need and expect to what companies believe is happening.

 

One startling fact: the findings show that 61% of customers who responded turn to a company’s website to find the needed information before calling, emailing, or using live chat “always” or “most of the time”; however, only 9% of managers believe that this is done at that frequency.

 

customers v managers

 

That’s a huge discrepancy.

 

There are a few things that could be coming into play here:

 

    • The types of customer contact received may seem “simplistic” or something that customers could find on their own from the company website, so there is the perception that customers are not doing this.

 

    • Managers are unaware of the company’s website content and feel that some of the inquiries/issues should be able to be resolved from reviewing the company website.

 

    • There is not a good system in place to track website activity and tie it to customer contact, so they don’t know how many customers try to resolve issues from site research

 

    • If feedback surveys are used, customers are perhaps only focusing on the resolution process, and not sharing that they had to contact the company because they could not find the information online AND when contacting the company, they are not readily sharing that they tried to find a resolution on the website before calling.

 

Why are company contact rates doubling and respondents stating that it is more difficult than before to reach a company representative and get resolution if more than half try to find what they need on the company website?

 

The study found that while such a significant number of respondents DID try to resolve their issues from looking at the company website, very few found what they needed, and even fewer were able to get their issues resolved on social media:

 

LogMeIn Ovum Infographic_FINAL.jpg  2835×6319

 

 

 

It looks like there are a few things companies can do to make life easier for customers and call center staff:

 

1. Review website content – perhaps companies have been so focused on ensuring their site is mobile friendly and implementing mobile friendly features such as online ordering and live chat, yet the content has not been fully reviewed. Based on this study, content is sorely lacking and could be resulting in increased company contact.

What to do: use call center data to find trends. Is there a pattern of frequently asked questions or complaints? If so, is the necessary information readily available and easy to find on your website? It might be time to update the website to incorporate frequently asked questions or answers to the most common questions asked of your representatives. This will not, of course, alleviate all calls, but it could reduce the volume of contacts received.

 

2. Talk to your customers – if there is no concrete tracking system to find out how many are trying to self-serve from your website before contacting the company, it’s important to find out if this is in fact an issue with your company. There may be key aspects of your website that are not consumer friendly, or missing key information that would go a long way in self-service resolution.

 

What to do: if you are not getting feedback from your customers, now is a good time to start. Be sure to include questions such as “did you try to find the information you needed on our website prior to contacting us?” or even “how can we improve our website to make it better for you?” You may be surprised at what you find, and often times customers make some great suggestions!

If you cannot incorporate formal customer feedback, include this in your contact resolution process. Have staff ask if the customer had tried to find the needed information on the website prior to calling. This can be tricky because you don’t want a customer to feel as though the representative doesn’t want to help them and is insinuating that they should have gone to the website first. It’s a fine line, but if done right, it can give some insight.

 

3. Include user testing – if you are finding that customers cannot get the information they need from your website, but as a company you believe this information is easily found, it’s time to do some formal, objective website testing.

 

What to do: use a third party, objective vendor to test for website usability. Provide several common scenarios, such as needing to understand the return policy and how to return online purchases for example, and have testers provide their insight into how they went about trying to find the information, how easy it was from their perspective, and if they were able to find the right information without contacting the company. These reports can be invaluable in seeing your site from an outside perspective and help you make improvements as needed.

Thanks to technology, this can go one step further; several mystery shopping providers or third party testers allow for testers to record their online movements as they navigate your site, giving you that birds eye view that you cannot get anywhere else.

 

From reading the study, it is apparent that there is still frustration among customers with regard to company contacts and there are ways that companies can make improvements to speed responses and streamline customer service issues. Some of the tips above can make it easier, but since social media, live chat, and mobile channels are still relatively new, I anticipate that this will improve over time.

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Make Sure Your Twitter Is Ready For DM’s

 

Social media has turned into a customer service channel, and the top social media sites are making changes to accommodate that for businesses and their customers.

 

One of the most recent updates came from Twitter – they have now allowed users the ability to send direct messages to anyone, even if they are not following them and vice versa.

 

This is good news for businesses – often times, customers want to get help on a company’s social sites, but don’t necessarily want to be connected to them through a like or follow. When this happens, they are only able to post publicly on the company’s Twitter page and hope for a response. If their issue requires communication of personal information, such as an account number, the customer will likely end up calling the company, which negates the efficiency of social customer service. This new change will help customers and businesses alike – that is, if companies are ready for it.

 

One little known fact is that, while making this change, Twitter also needed to respect the privacy of those that do not see this as a welcome change. To that end, while they have allowed the direct message capability on their site, users need to activate it so that it can be used. By default, this is a setting that is not automatic.

 

It’s time to take a quick check of your company’s Twitter settings to make sure you allow everyone to send direct messages, whether they are followers or not. It’s a simple process and will only take a minute to set up.

 

1. From your Twitter page, click on your icon at the top right corner and, from the drop down menu, choose “settings.”

 

twdm

 

2. On the next page, you’ll see options on the right side of the page. Choose “security and privacy” to update your direct message capabilities.

 

twdm2

 

 

3. Once there, you’ll need to scroll all the way down the page to find the option for Direct Messages. You’ll see that by default it is unchecked, meaning that only your followers and those you follow can send you a private message. Simply check this box and you’re all set!

twdm3

 

 

That’s all there is to it! Taking a second to open up the communication channels can go a long way with your social customer service!

 

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