Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Here in The Netherlands, the football (soccer to some of you) competition is well under way. And of course some teams are performing better than expected and others perform worse than expected.
The first trainer has already been fired and more will soon follow. These trainers get the blame (from the owners and the spectators) for not winning their matches......... although they don’t play themselves.

In most businesses it is the other way around.  If the results are negative, then in most cases the employees are getting fired and the leaders remain in their position.

Both actions (firing respectively the trainer or the employees) bring rarely the required change. Most of the time the shock-effect is short lived and the downward trend continues. It only gives those in power the feeling that at least they have taken action. So, they cannot be blamed.

This blame-game creates a negative energy and it will increase fear. So, people and players are not encouraged to take risks, to be innovative or to be different. It creates a ‘gray’ culture, because everybody is afraid to be the exception.

All this communication is really in its essence top down communication and that never leads to people taking ownership or feeling engaged.

I would propose to have a real dialogue, with all the players involved. This means that owners, leaders, managers, employees/players and also the customers/spectators should be involved on an equal level.
And the main theme should be their strengths rather than the weaknesses. What can be done do increase these strengths? How can we become even better in those area’s?

This creates a constructive dialogue where everyone is encouraged to take ownership and to make sure that you grow, professionally as well as personally.

Are you feeling strong enough to be vulnerable as well?


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Obviously there is huge growth in the use of social networks. But there is still a large part of corporations, which don’t see the real added value yet.
They, these corporations, might not see it, but certainly their customers do!

The 2010 customer experience impact from RightNow has the following findings:

·     55% of the respondents became a customer of a company because of their reputation for great customer service.
·     58% of respondents expect a response to a comment on a social network site. Only 22% got a response.

This means two things. If you want to attract new customers than you better make sure that you provide great service and if you want to retain them than you better respond to their questions!

So, there is a new layer of communication (social media) that needs to be integrated into the main customer service processes. And this is not just an activity on which you want to spend as little as possible, because you view customer service as a cost-center only. No, this is a revenue generator; this is a crucial part of the sales and marketing effort!

This is your wake-up call!


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


 In the May 2010 Survey from the Temkin Group they did ask this question:

‘How often do you delight customers when they get customer service in these channels?’

The result is quite shocking:

- In person            43%
- By phone            37%
- Online            17%

Well as our famous Dutch footballer Johan Cruyff says ‘every disadvantage has also an advantage’, so there is plenty of room for improvement here.
However, this is not a ‘nice to have’, it is a must. Why? In general it takes much more effort to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer. But if you treat him or her badly they will leave and on the way out they will also inform all their friends about their negative experience.

That is why there is an urgent need to improve the performance of customer service. This should cover not only the department with that name, but basically everyone who interacts with the customer.

Customer service is a crucial factor in creating and maintaining a great customer experience.


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Tuesday, October 5, 2010


 Many traditional, established companies still view social media as a fad, a fad especially for young people. That is the reason that they do not put a high priority on the application in their daily operations.

This can be a costly mistake.
The number of users in platforms like Facebook and Twitter is huge and it keeps on growing.
One of the major areas of discussion is (customer) service. People share their experiences online. Actually,  satisfied customers tell three friends and angry customers tell three thousand (source: Pete Blackshaw). Customer service is also the main reason people switch brands across every major industry (source: Accenture).

Key drivers of satisfaction (in customer service) are polite and friendly representatives, resolution of issues in a timely manner, whether customer service agents take responsibility for resolving issues, and the convenience of service representative’s availability.

So, social media becomes a sort of early warning system. Is something being discussed about my products or services of which I need to be aware and take action?! More and more people use social media BEFORE they are calling a helpdesk, or try to get on-site support.

Given the impact and speed of bad news, it is crucial for any customer service department to ongoing monitor social media and act decisively and maybe even pro-actively.

Social media is no longer a ‘nice to have’; it is a must for every organization that is serious about proving great service to their customers and prospects.


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