Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bridging the Customer Experience Perception Gap

Long lumped in with Customer Service, the entire Customer Experience concept is finally being acknowledged as a weighty differential in the quest to build customer loyalty and increase sales. Business Leaders everywhere must first understand there is likely a huge gap between the Customer Experience they believe their company delivers and the perception of that same experience their customers have as they work with them.

A recent paper by SuperOffice stated research showing 80% of businesses believe they are providing excellent customer service. That sounds good, right? BUT - the customers of those same companies feel that only 8% of them deliver excellent customer service. Now THAT should keep you up at night. While this research states customer service only, I firmly believe the responding customers lumped it in with the entire experience, as that is what motivates customers to return or leave.

Leaders typically look at their business goals, put some programs and training in place to enhance both the experience and skills, closely monitor what they think is important to the customers and in doing so they believe their customers are benefitting from a better experience. Let me be clear, the fact that they’ve even thought about how their customers perceive them is a great first step. Being aware that customers even have their own separate perception and wanting to improve on it is key.

But the real issue is they often lack the insight as to what their customers are really thinking… as well as what their employees are thinking.

The ultimate goal is to have little gap as possible between all three components - Leadership, Staff, and Customer Perception. Currently, as research indicates, the best of intentions among companies have fallen short. So, what to do? Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and start again… with a PLAN.

I often find that leaders think they are on track because they WANT to be on track. No one deliberately decides to go off the rails. But to be sure, a focused analysis needs to be done.

This analysis can be as informal or formal as you’d like… Meet as a leadership team and discuss the CEX your company delivers at a high level. Ask yourselves these questions...
  1. What do you feel you do well within the CEX? 
  2. What do you feel could be improved with the CEX? 
  3. What does your competition do differently with their CEX? Are those differences perceived as good or bad?
  4. What do you feel needs to continue to be done or started to improve the CEX
Be as honest and candid as possible during these discussions. There is no blame to be placed, only a plan designed to improve for the future. Now, these same questions need to be asked of your staff and your customers. The logistics may take some figuring, but this can be done in a variety of ways conducive to your setting.

My suggestion - Gather your staff and break into groups of 6-8 and document their answers to the four questions on one sheet. Analyze the answers from those groups and note the answers for trends and ideas.

Then do the same with customers. Focus groups, a cross section, industry-specific, etc - simply starting is key. Each specific situation may dictate a completely different model than another, but the key is to get the feedback from as many customers as possible to get a true feeling of how they feel your company works with them. Think TripAdvisor.Next, examine the responses between the three groups - Leadership, Staff, and Customers - and note the disparity and similarities between answers.

All four areas are important…
  1. What you do well indicates what draws your customers back and where staff feels training, empowerment, and capabilities are strong.
  2. What needs to be improved are key indicators of what could cause your customers to leave and staff to become disengaged.
  3. Just because your competition does something differently does not mean your company should adopt their practice, but be aware enough to know if your customers feel those differences add value.
  4. Pay particular attention to what they feel needs to continue to be done. The here is easily granted because it is already being done and not viewed as “extra work.” Things to start can be prioritized based on a variety of considerations, but be sure to consider each one.
Going through this exercise takes some planning and time, but the insight gained will be well worth every bit of effort. Getting into the minds of your staff and customers is the single best way to identifying and bridging the gap between leadership’s and customer’s perceptions of the Customer Experience being delivered.

Article reposted with permission of author

Kristina Evey | Ever feel that you're just one win away from a major tipping point that will help you and your business stand out as the top tier in your industry? I create that "win" for motivated C-Suite and Leadership teams. I'm a Customer Experience Strategist who loves to help Leadership Teams demystify the process of shifting operational and business priorities to the customer perspective and seeing revenue increase. I like seeing the "A-Ha!" moments at the C-Suite level when they realize how simple changes make huge impacts both internally and externally. I help B2B companies build strong connections with their customers by engaging at all levels to consistently deliver unexpected and amazing experiences customers are so delighted with that price becomes irrelevant.

Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter

Monday, October 15, 2018

Lessons from a Cold Call

Yesterday I received a cold call from a local real estate company.

Here's exactly how it went:
"Hi, this is Kathryn."
"This is Dan from XY Real Estate. Are you looking to sell your home?"
"Are you sure?"
"Ok, thank you. Bye."

No qualification, rapport or value and a HUGE ask. Why is that?

1. What gets measured gets done. If there’s a daily KPI around call volume, ensure business development reps have a caveat relating to pipeline stage or qualification and reframe what a cold call is today.

2. Believe in and enable social selling. Sales teams need to build relationships and get attention where buyers are. Content is the currency of the modern sales person.

3. Marketers, arm your sales teams with valuable tools and talking points that aren’t related to an ask. To stand out today means being interesting, memorable and relevant. Having and sharing industry data and insights is table stakes.

Kathryn Frankson is a B2B event sales and marketing professional at UBM. A believer that 2018 communication means knowing how to get the markets attention through thumb stopping content, audience development and storytelling, she executes sales and marketing strategies in the catering, special event, cruise shipping and pharmaceutical space.

Connect: LinkedIn

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

4 Best Practices To Incorporate Wellness In Your Contact Center

In the contact center community, we understand the true value of a happy customer. We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that we leave our customer satisfied.

But, let’s consider this for a moment:

In order to take the best care of others, we must first take the best care of ourselves.

Do you agree with the above statement?

If we’re not taking care of ourselves, how the heck are we supposed to truly care for our customers? We can give-give-give but at some point, we may burnout.

Health is not a one-size-fits-all box. What is healthy for me may not be healthy for you and vice versa. We can’t force our team to eat the healthy snacks and ditch the soda. We can’t tell everyone to hop on xyz diet for the company weight loss challenge. Wellness in the workplace is much more complex.

And, it all starts with you.

How often is it that we see someone in the workplace start to appear more vibrant? They have more energy than you’d know what to do with, their skin and hair is glowing and they rarely seem to fall victim to that afternoon slump. Of course you want what they are having!

When one person takes the lead from a place that isn’t forced, others might follow. And when this act of self-care catches on, it can spread like a wildfire.

When we create a culture of self-care in the workplace, contact center teams become healthier, more productive, engaged and overall satisfied which in turn can reduce turnover, cut healthcare costs and simply make the environment that much better to go to every day.

As your personal customer service health coach, I guide leaders and teams through this journey.

In this article, I’m going to give you three new ways to look at wellness in the workplace as well as helpful tips for you to incorporate with your team right now.

1. Rethink Movement 

Often, we think that unless our workout is an hour sweat-fest every single day, it isn’t worth it. So instead, we end up doing nothing at all. We’re busy. We’re tired. As contact center agents, we find ourselves sitting still the majority of our shift. We’re often emotionally and mentally exhausted. That extra long workout at the gym may seem overwhelming at the end of a long day, which is why you continue to skip it altogether. Instead, what could it look like to rethink movement as being simply a way to move your body instead of some forced chaos that you really don’t even want to do in the first place? Walking. Dancing. Stretching. Give yourself permission to think about movement outside of the normal treadmill at the gym. Start small - add in movement in doses that seem ridiculously silly yet truthfully realistic: 5 minutes a day, twice a week. 10 minutes a day, once a week. Eventually, increase the time. To what can you commit?

Try this: Pick one or two breaks per work week and commit to 5 to 10 minutes of movement. This might be walking around the parking lot, taking the stairs, doing easy yoga stretches or even turning on music in a secluded area of the office and dancing. Schedule your daily movement activity into your calendar to ensure you don’t forget!
2. Remember to Breathe

If you’re reading this, you’re breathing. I get it. How can you forget to breathe? But are you really breathing? Anxiety prone or not, taking deep belly-filled controlled breaths throughout the day can send signals to your brain to calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure, increase alertness and even boost your immune system. Especially when dealing with high stress situations and absorbing the energy from angry customers, deep breathing can play an important role in giving you the patience and awareness you need to assist customers. Don’t wait for a frustrating situation to breathe - incorporate this before meetings, post lunch before returning to work or even mid-day instead of reaching for more coffee. Deep breathing is less about clearing all the thoughts from your mind, which is impossible, and more about giving your body the opportunity to reset and calm.

Try this: Once per day, set aside 40 seconds for 3 deep belly breaths. This can be done somewhere quiet or loud, depending on your environment. With your eyes closed or open, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Release your breath out your mouth for a count of 5. Do this for 3 cycles.

3. Crowd Out

 Deprivation is not a healthy approach - even when it comes to those darn maple donuts in  the break room. Crowding out is a natural process that happens when you add in more of the good stuff as opposed to cutting it all out and telling yourself you’re a horrible human with lack of willpower because you once again helped yourself to that donut. If you focus on all the foods you tell yourself you can’t eat, guess what - that’s what you’re going to crave the most. If you are trying to eat healthier and cut out processed food, add in more awesomely nourishing foods to crowd out the old neural pathways and form a new habit. I worked with a client who loved fries but knew she needed to cut back because she was eating them almost every day. Instead of restricting, she added roast broccoli and carrots dipped in ketchup to her meal along with the fries. After some time, she noticed that she was craving the broccoli and carrots more so than the fries.

Try this: If healthier snacks like fresh fruit, veggies and nuts are not available to you in your office, plan in advance, leave them out the morning before work and bring them with you to the office. Shift your mindset - munch on these foods not from a place of restriction but rather from a place of nourishment. You can still have the donut. You may start to notice that over time, the donut doesn’t do as much to support you as do the healthier foods. 

4. Non-Plate Nourishment

 You are more than the food on your plate. Yes, the food you eat to nourish and support you with energy to live, is important. But, other non-food areas such as relationships, movement, creativity, career, spirituality and joy to name a few can contribute to your overall health and wellness. You can eat all the kale in the world but if you’re in a career you hate, an abusive relationship, get little sleep and lack joy in your life, you are not going to be authentically “healthy”. By taking the time to look into non-food areas of your life that may need more attention, you are expanding your definition of health. You’re understanding and aware of the impact of habits and how they play into your well-being on a daily basis.

Try this: To get a snapshot of all areas that can contribute to your health, complete the Circle of Life exercise. What stands out? What would need to shift in order for you to bring more of one thing to your life? Talk about it with someone you trust. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection. This exercise may look different from day to day depending on what is going on in your life. Having the awareness around this will make a big impact.


Jenny Dempsey is an experienced customer service manager with a demonstrated history of working in the telecommunications industry. She is skilled in customer service support and leadership. She has strong social media and communication knowledge. Jenny is also an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

Trying to make healthy shifts in your contact center and it’s just not working? Invite me to your workplace to guide your team! For more information, visit:

Or contact me here:
(858) 771-4179