Randy Brasche | February 27, 2013
Genesys yesterday announced its plans to acquire Angel , a leading provider of cloud-based self-service contact center solutions. This acquisition is significant to Genesys and infuses new capabilities, solutions and expertise. At the same time, this event is representative of some large shifts happening within the customer service marketplace, and within every company.
Reading the tea leaves from yesterday’s event, how is the market shifting, and what does this mean for the future of customer service?
Multichannel self-service is essential in a social, “always on” world. Angel helps companies rapidly deploy self-service interactive voice response (IVR), SMS, chat, and mobile applications to support their customers’ self-service needs. As more consumers rely upon the web, smart phones and social media to resolve their service requests, companies must quickly develop a coherent digital customer service strateg... read more >
Randy Brasche | January 29, 2013
On a recent flight, I read an interesting article in Gentleman’s Quarterly discussing how television has evolved over the past few decades.
In the beginning, there was the cathode ray tube where everyone piled around the TV in the evening to watch their regularly scheduled program. Later, came cable TV, HBO, DVDs, DVRs, Tivos, Sony PlayStation, satellite and Blue-Ray (not to mention the flat screen TV). These advances provided folks more options to watch TV when and where they wanted.
Today, with the advent of AppleTV, NetFlix, Hulu, Roku and a host of other devices and services, consumers have even more options to watch TV – without commercials – whenever they want. The article discussed how customers no longer want to live in a world of “managed dissatisfaction” where waiting was required to watch a new movie or program.
Waiting is dead.
This article got me thinking about the ... read more >
Randy Brasche | January 14, 2013
I caught up with Max Ball and Ethan Francis as they were getting ready for Wednesday's webinar, Use Mobile Applications to Take Customer Service to the Next Level , and took the opportunity to ask them a few questions.
Max is a Director of Solutions Marketing here at Genesys, and Ethan is our Global Director of Mobility.
What's the role of customer service in a mobile app? Aren't they supposed to be self-service by design?
[Max] Mobile applications are often a way for the customer to get service or buying assistance from your organization. A banking application lets you deposit checks or an airline application helps you make flight reservations – these are service interactions. And sometimes the customer will need assistance or have questions beyond what's in the app itself – that's where the integration with assisted service becomes important. Being able to greet the caller by name based on the integration to their... read more >
Randy Brasche | December 14, 2012
I’m in the process of refinancing my home at a lower interest rate. As part of the loan submission package, I’m required to submit a plethora of documents proving my credit worthiness. One of the requirements included providing two month’s worth of copies of checking and savings bank statements.
Since I’ve opted for paperless statements years ago, I promptly logged onto my bank’s website, only to find that the site was down. In fact, the site had been down for two days. After some research, I found that many U.S. banks were under threat from terrorist cyber attacks , causing many banking sites to freeze to a standstill or shut down altogether. I realized that I would need to physically drive to the bank, walk into the building, speak with a live human being, and request a copy of the statements in person. I couldn’t think of the last time that I actually needed to walk into a bank... read more >
Randy Brasche | November 01, 2012
This past week American’s watched in horror as Hurricane Sandy hurled its fury at the east coast causing untold damage across a several-hundred-mile swath. From this tragedy, we saw many unsung heroes who stepped up to help those in need – spanning firefighters, civic leaders, first responders, and ordinary citizens.
One of the heroes who stood out was the mayor of Newark New Jersey, Cory Booker. As the storm hit his city and the state of New Jersey, Mr. Booker took to the streets in his SUV responding to emergency Tweets – delivering water, diapers, and supplies to citizens in distress, evacuating stranded citizens, and attending to other chaotic events within his city. Along the way, he communicated with his constituents via Tweets and direct messages.
While this is an extreme example, our customer service heroes on the front lines in the contact center can learn a thing or two from Mr. Booker’s compassionate... read more >
Randy Brasche | May 30, 2012
Today, Genesys announced the results of its commissioned study by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The study found some very profound customer service “gaps” – especially in relation to new social media and mobile channels. The report confirms some suspicions that I’ve always held when visiting large enterprise customers. Specifically, companies 1.) Aren’t clear on who owns these emerging channels and 2.) Haven’t effectively integrated these new channels within their existing customer service environments. These gaps illustrate four salient statistics and points to reflect upon:
Who is in charge? Fifty-eight percent of C-suite executives view the CEO as responsible for the social media and mobile channels, but only 28 percent of middle managers agree. This disconnect between top-level and mid-ranking executives might be explained by the novelty factor of social media.
Marketing ... read more >
Randy Brasche | April 02, 2012
If you didn ’ t notice, something pretty monumental happened today. The US airline industry set a surprising record for providing passengers with the best customer service in 22 years. For decades, the airline industry has been the biggest customer service punching bag. Not today. Most notable: customer complaints dropped to 1.19 per 10,000 passengers from 1.22 the year before. On-time-arrivals, mishandled bags, and denied boardings also were contributing factors in the report.
Genesys counts many major airlines as its customers and I ’ ve met with my share of them over the years. I think this is great news for both the carriers and customers. So, why the dramatic and sudden change in customer perception? I think a perfect storm of four events helped cause this major customer service shift.
Restructuring: First and foremost, many of the major airli... read more >
Randy Brasche | March 12, 2012
I’d like to dedicate a blog (and for disclosure purposes -- unsolicited) to one of my favorite new companies: Uber. This new company is redefining the service experience in the taxi and transportation industry that has remained stagnant, indifferent, and dreadful for decades. Uber is ultimately demonstrating how to bring consistency to inconsistent customer service.
We can probably recount more inconsistent taxi experiences than pleasant ones. Here are four of mine:
Taxis can never find my home and won’t call when they give up trying to find me.
The local bureaucracy often regulates taxi services. Do you think these political fiefdoms care and can take action whenever you complain about an unresponsive or offensive driver? I don’t think so.
I live in the big city of San Francisco and often find myself late at night jockeying for the best spot on a busy corner competing with 10 other people t... read more >
Randy Brasche | February 29, 2012
I’m a big AMC’s Mad Men fan – I finally finished watching all four series this week. I love the 1960’s nostalgia: The old rotary telephones, classic retro design and elegant couture.
Back then, these Mad Men created the one-way mirror for focus groups where the advertising executives sat on one side of the mirror and watched the test subjects on the other side answer questions about a product. A one-way mirror provided a glimpse into the consumer psyche. Since then, the focus groups have been a valuable tool for marketers and advertisers to better understand consumer behavior, motivations and purchasing habits.
Unfortunately, focus groups are extremely extensive and expensive to conduct. A multi-city focus group encompassing 15 sessions can cost the average company several hundreds and thousands of dollars. At the same time, the high cost also creates a l... read more >
Randy Brasche | February 21, 2012
When was the last time you called your airline to select or change your seat assignment? I can’t remember the last time I spoke to an agent to request an upgrade or a specific seat. Ten, fifteen or twenty years ago, we wouldn’t have hesitated to pick up the phone to ask for an aisle seat in 12C. Today, we pick up a mouse, verify the quality of the seat though Seatguru.com, and finalize the process through the airline’s web self-service application.
We’ve become so comfortable using self-service for customer service that I think we’d almost prefer not to talk to anyone. We even complain now via the web and will air our grievances over Twitter instead of “asking for a supervisor.” Truth be told, I will do everything to ensure that I don’t need to interact with a live human being and reserve those conversations for the most complex transitions.
We’re picking up the mouse a l... read more >
Randy Brasche | February 19, 2012
There are two places that I’m not allowed to shop at alone. Niketown and the Apple Store. I’ll admit that I have a serious problem. I’m attracted to bright shiny objects. I need a new pair of sneakers every two months. And, every day, Nike does a great job enabling me by pumping-out new colors and styles. My shoe closet validates my problem.
And then there’s the Apple Store. Bright shiny objects everywhere! We all know about the fastidious nature of the Apple Store experience: Great location. Focused products. Experienced staff. My Facebook post announcing my impending shopping trip this past Sunday to purchase a simple $25 VGA adapter for my MacBook Air sums-up my concern:
“Going to the Apple Store. Please God, protect me and give me the strength to ensure I don't walk out $1,000 poorer.”
Within 5 mi... read more >
Randy Brasche | February 10, 2012
Witnessing the frequent nonsense in Washington DC – especially during this election year – can become a comedic and exasperating exercise. The back-and-forth between Congress and the White House has resulted in frequent gridlock. At the same time, this squabbling has provided valuable “checks and balances” on each other to ensure a balance of legislation and regulated power.
Based upon some recent experiences over the holidays, I came to recognize and appreciate our version of “checks and balances” within the customer service world. Over the past several weeks, I received abysmal customer service from three separate companies (who will remain nameless). One required a hold time of at least 60 minutes (on three separate attempts totaling over 180 minutes) to resolve a simple billing question; the second failed to deliver something -- as promised -- after 4 calls into the contact center; and the third charged some ... read more >
Randy Brasche | February 02, 2012
I'm currently at Genesys Sales Kick Off (#GskoLA), our yearly sales event dedicated to inaugurating a new sales year, engaging with friends and colleagues, and sharing best practices and sales-war stories. Today, this seminal event takes on increased importance as Genesys begins 2012 as a newly independent company.
During Sales Kick Off, there are many side conversations in the bar at 1am in the morning, over meals, and between sessions. These informal discussions create a venue where most Genesys folks share unique tribal knowledge and inspire one another. I'd like to briefly write about my inspiration -- courtesy of Richard McCrossan ( @dossan ), Strategic Solution Sales from our EMEA region.
At a Sales Kick Off education session, Richard spoke about the concept of closed loop customer service leveraging the power of social media and workforce optimization (WFO). Brilliant.
If ... read more >
Randy Brasche | January 23, 2012
Think about a recent conversation with a friend, work colleague or family member. Most likely, this conversation fell within one of three simple categories:
Superficial: “Looks like it’s going to rain today.”
Inquisitive: “How was your day? “
Engaging: “I know something is wrong. Let’s talk about it.”
As you can see, conversations span the superficial to deep and personal. That said, it’s naturally the engaging conversations that are memorable and matter most to individuals. Over the past 30 years, companies have been having the same range of conversations with its customers – yet the memorable conversations have always been out of reach. Today, we’re at the doorstep of finally having those engaging conversations with customers that matter.
Why? Companies have evolved and built upon 30-years of conversation experience. ... read more >
Randy Brasche | December 19, 2011
This past week, Time Magazine bestowed its “Person of the Year” honor upon the “Protester.” The uprisings in the Arab World, Occupy Movements, and recent unrest in Russia have highlighted the collective power of the individual and self-determination.
Reading between the lines of this story, I find very similar parallels between the Protester of 2011 and the Customer of 2011. Like the protesters in Tunisia, Egypt and Zuccotti Park, customers reached a similar boiling point this past year. Companies that failed to meet expectations felt the similar wrath of its customers. At the same time, companies that exceeded expectations were rewarded and – in some cases – forgiven for their transgressions.
So, I’d also like to include the Impassioned Customer within Time’s Person of the Year award and detail the top-5 customer stories that personify the same. Before I list the top-5,... read more >
Randy Brasche | December 13, 2011
This past week, I was one of the many unwitting victims in Northern California to have their debit card hacked. Through 10 separate transactions, the perpetrators made off with over $3,000. I’m not exactly sure how thieves commandeered my debit card information. Regardless, my bank was on the case the moment the first fraudulent transaction hit my account. What happened next made me realize that companies are in a unique position to translate these unfortunate situations into customer engagement opportunities.
Let’s face it: We all have a love-hate relationship with the companies that are woven into the fabric of our lives. Banks will inevitably post an erroneous charge, airlines cancel flights, and cable and mobile providers deliver spotty service. With the amount of times we utilize a company’s services on a daily basis, we’re destined to be “wronged” at some point. That said, I believe... read more >
Randy Brasche | December 07, 2011
Last week, I had a discussion with my colleagues about the merits of gauging customer lifetime value within today’s business environment. As a marketeer, I maintained that this metric is still relevant. That said, I felt that this and other customer-related metrics required a refresh to more accurately reveal the unique behaviors of today’s “proactive-consumer.”
Why? Current customer service and experience metrics paint a partial picture for managers and executives to make accurate and actionable decisions. In fact, a recent report found that only 10 percent of companies have good customer experience metrics programs and sub-optimal metrics too measure customers across the lifecycle. In addition, this report found that the emotional response of customers and cross-channel interactions were also difficult to discern.
I believe a solution to this problem is locked away within the data siloes of cust... read more >
Randy Brasche | November 28, 2011
Over the past several years, we've seen the rise of the cross-channel consumer. While the phone still remains a dominant customer service channel, customers are now comfortable utilizing a variety of alternate channels to meet their specific needs. For example, web self-service is now the norm when selecting an airline seat; web chat is routinely used for online shopping assistance; Twitter is the "go-to" medium for venting common complaints; and the telephone is still the best option to resolve complex transactions.
At the same time, consumers will jump multiple channels for the same issue. For example:
Customers will email a problem and then follow up via telephone later.
Consumers will research a product online, yet make the actual purchase over the phone or in the store.
Customers will Tweet their frustration about a service issue and then follow up via the telephone -- and visa versa.
As such, every cust... read more >
Randy Brasche | November 17, 2011
As 2011 draws to a close, customer service and contact center organizations are reflecting on what lies ahead for 2012. What new technologies and trends will change how companies engage with its customers? Which future innovations will have the greatest impact on consumer behavior?
I'm placing my bets on mobility. While mobility is hardly a new concept to customer service, 2012 will be significant for three major reasons.
The smart phone eclipses the feature phone: Based upon a recent worldwide study of cell phone users, 42% currently own smart phones, and 58% are planning to make their next purchase a smart phone. By most estimates, 2012 will represent the “tipping point” where more consumers own smart phones than their simplified feature phone counterparts. And like diapers, liquor, and cigarettes, smart phones remain one of the most recession-proof products that will withstand the ongo... read more >
Randy Brasche | November 14, 2011
I recently read an eConsultancy survey that analyzed customer service preferences across channels. Within the survey, social media garnered a meager 2 percent. While this two percent doesn’t appear significant, companies should take notice. Why? This two percent is already growing into a major challenge for every customer-focused enterprise since about 19 percent of all Twitter users believe Twitter is a legitimate customer service channel. And, major companies such as Comcast receive between 800 and 1,000 Tweets a day with no end in sight.
Companies have spent years perfecting their operations to manage traditional phone and web channels. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for their nascent social media counterparts. In fact, most companies struggle to effectively manage the small 2 percent through a small, siloed team within marketing or PR. As more consumers become comfortable utilizing social media... read more >