Monday, November 7, 2016

Advance Executive MindXchange Chronicles Excerpt
Insights and Ideas Roundup from the 12th Annual Customer Contact, West: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange

Implementing the Best, Brightest and Boldest Ideas from the Program

Mark Simoncelli, Global Director, Growth Implementation Solutions,
Frost & Sullivan

Philip Bennett, Customer Service Operations Manager, Empire Today

Steve Ellis, Senior Director, Customer Care, EyeMed
Jeremy Ellis, Director of Operations, Experian

Participants at each Customer Contact Executive MindXchange come away with a wealth of key learnings and it can be a challenge to take it all in. During this interactive session, members of the Customer Contact Speaker Faculty and Advisory Board highlighted the most important themes, key take-aways and lessons learned that can be readily operationalized once you are back in the office.

Moderator: People are our key. What are the best practices from this conference?

Responses: It is all about people. Focus on what your customer wants. Invest in on-boarding, invest in the long teaching process. Teach them the why first and then teach the how…teach them empathy.

We are always looking at how we have a conversation with consumers.  Know your consumer.  Tell them: I know why you are calling.

What is the future, how do we take our people to the next journey?

I [would] take a look at the technology and prepare people for what is coming.  New technology is coming.  Some of it we know, like chat, which is not new, but in my company it is going to be new.  There will be agents who do not know anything about it.  I like to comment that I like hiring for skills.  It is important.  I want people who work with the customer. It works well for me. That is the approach I will take with the new technology.

There is so much opportunity out there. There is a lot of change. As leaders, we need to help our people navigate the change. Management needs to work on this.  How do you help people deal with change?  If you are on a team, you work with the team, taking them from here to there. 

We are going through major change in our organization – what does the future change look like?  We are looking at journey mapping, exercises and emerging technology to put it all together. What are we trying to do, we go through the exercise and prioritize trying to understand and help the entire organization be on the same page.

What are your best experiences with customer experience?

From my own customer experience, everything is important. The most important part of the business is finding and keeping customers.  It does not matter what your product is.  Everything must be about that.  You must make that journey painless.  I am a real fan of people who take ownership of the customer relationship from the top to the bottom.  There are regulatory issues you can’t change, but you can help your customer understand them. Any time you get your customer to be your promoter, you’ve won.

I love to talk about customer experience.  When Jeffrey Van deVelde of Sun Trust talks about focusing on the emotion...that drives the customer.

Emotion is the most important connection people can have with your company. This is how you empower your customer.

What about the development of Personas?

Yes, find market segments. You name one persona Susan, she represents young, female professional workers. She is a Millennial. Then you have Bill, he is a senior citizen.  What I love about this is they also look like your employees.  Find the ones that could relate to each persona. Those names that are more descriptive elicit certain emotions in your employees.

It works when we have done it for a defined market. Persona’s help you speak the same language as the customer. Know your customer and make the experience personal – we can use this in our industry. There was a lot of this discussed at the event. 

What about doing pre-mortem analysis?

We have looked at why a new project was set up and then went bad. Why did it fail? It was a frightening exercise, but we could then build a new plan to mitigate those problems that would make it fail.

Where could technologies be used?

My key role is to bring in  new technology.  I know about chat and the cloud, but how do social networks work? Being in the financial business, we do not talk about social.  In other sectors you can feel better with social. SMS is clearly good. Millennials want that. AI technology—how is it being used today, and how it will be used tomorrow?  Where it is going to go? 

Define your terms. We realize sometimes we define terms and we are not talking the same language.  You need to share the language and terms and make sure everyone in the company is on the same page.

Technical terms, not everybody understands the same thing. It is important to remember the people when you implement new technology. You need to be able to teach it to all people.  It is not about having more channels, but how you teach people  to use them. 

Not everyone embraces technology the same way. What we have found when you implement it is that it doesn’t always move effortlessly or seamlessly from one channel to the next. It depends on the company. 

You need to know if you are going to be disruptive, or be the disrupted.  I found two quotes in this conference that I will take away:  “Tobacco is a vegetable and robots don’t sit.” 

Would you get SMS as a technology and get rid of email?

SMS is the most interesting idea. It makes a lot of sense. Email usage is more difficult.

In some industries SMS can be an additional channel, but I don’t know if I could get rid of Email. 

I don’t know if I want to take it away from those people who want to contact me by Email. Let customers contact us, according to how they want

It’s about people, process and technology – Expect disruption and change. Technology doesn’t work the same in all markets – you have to adjust.

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