Customer Service

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A Bank On the Edge of a Deep River

South African finance leader Nedbank is using data and analytics as a way to help the bank’s clients better understand their business. And the more data-oriented the bank becomes, the better able it will be to turn its developing prowess on itself. As the bank dives deeper into analytics, the same data it’s using for clients can help Nedbank better understand its own organization, employees, suppliers, and more.

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Customer Relationships Get the Data Treatment

A new case study by MIT Sloan Management Review, “A Data-Driven Approach to Customer Relationships,” details how the South African bank Nedbank is using its rich access to a trove of transactional data from credit card use — from the time of transactions and size of purchases to retailer locations, and even specific details like the age, gender, race, marital status, and income bracket of some users — to help merchants make strategic decisions to better serve those customers.

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Do You Have a Conversational Interface?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

AI-driven interactions between customers and brands will soon be occurring more often. Messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Slack will combine with AI to make sense of text — both conversational and written — and offer services in real time. Companies can prepare for this shift by choosing a platform, running experiments, and begin introducing AI to their customers today.

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Innovating with Airborne Analytics

Hong Kong’s premier airline is using a blend of data and know-how to guide its daily operations. In an interview with MIT Sloan Management Review, Cathay Pacific CIO Joe Locandro describes how the airline uses analytics to make decisions that balance data with what it knows from the field. “Analytics will give you statistical spreads, give you training, but you still need to have this thing called experience and insight,” he says.

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Measuring the Benefits of Employee Engagement

It’s well known that employees’ attitudes toward the organization have a significant effect on how they approach their jobs and how they treat customers. But recent research suggests that high levels of employee engagement are also associated with higher rates of profitability growth. While the products and services many companies offer can appear quite similar on the surface, exceptional service can be a competitive advantage. “Although we recognize that the ultimate focus of most organizations is on customers,” write the authors, “companies can benefit from adding employee engagement to their list of priorities.”

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Reimagining Customer Service at KLM Using Facebook and Twitter

For KLM, social business arose as a spontaneous response to the Icelandic volcanic eruption that spewed ash into Europe’s airspace for days, halting all air travel and stranding thousands of passengers. Since the abrupt birth of the airlines’ social business strategy, e-commerce senior vice president Martijn van der Zee has made the company a model for using social in customer service.

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Finding the Value in Social Business

A recent survey by MIT SMR and Deloitte shows that companies are starting to derive real value from social business — with the payoff concentrated most strongly in companies that have reached a certain level of sophistication in relation to their social business initiatives. The higher a respondent rated his or her company on a “social business maturity” scale, the more likely he or she was to report that the company is deriving business value from its social business initiatives.

Image courtesy of Flickr user abplanalp_photography.

When Should You Fire Customers?

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Many customers are simply not profitable. Letting them go is one option, but so is trying to train them out of expensive behavior. Options suggested by Jiwoong Shin and K. Sudhir, both of Yale School of Management, include reducing services to unprofitable customers and educating them to use less costly service channels. “We recognize the mix of concerns, both ethical and practical, that swirl around firing customers,” write Shin and Sudhir. “We advocate firing customers only as a last resort.”

Image courtesy of Blue4green.

What You Can Learn From Your Customer’s Customer

Innovative companies fund internal research and development to gain an edge in the marketplace. They also work closely with suppliers to offer greater functionality and performance for their customers. However, some critical new product insights don’t come from suppliers and customers working together but from the customer’s customers. Drawing on numerous examples from technology companies, this article explores the various ways parties can collaborate so that everyone benefits.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user H4NUM4N.

The Benefits of Combining Data With Empathy

Everyone has experienced the frustration of having to repeat voice commands multiple times before finally asking to speak to a service representative. Many large companies have become so focused on optimizing their business processes and systems that they have become all too willing to forget about cultivating emotional connections with customers. But in order to detect and respond to shifting customer needs, companies need to show more, not less, empathy with their customers.

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When Unhappy Customers Strike Back on the Internet

Companies need to understand and manage the rising threat of online public complaining. When customers believe that a company has treated them badly, they may take their grievance public — very public. What can companies do, whether in reacting to such negative publicity or in preventing its occurrence? The authors have developed an “organizing matrix” to help understand and respond to online complaints, noting that “as long as the company uses such fair processes, and as long as it makes customers aware of them, customers will tolerate the occasional service failure.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user Kliefi.

Designing the Soft Side of Customer Service

This article examines how three factors—emotions, trust and control—shape customer assessments of service experiences and their overall view of service providers. Drawing on research conducted at companies including Dell, the Seattle Supersonics and McKinsey & Company, the article posits that organizations seeking to excel in customer service need to attack the “soft side” of customer management with the same type of intensity they have previously used to reengineer workflow and supply chains.

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How to Save Your Brand In the Face of Crisis

When bad things happen, companies need the right strategy for talking their way out of a mess and avoiding a calamitous pummeling of their corporate image. Choosing the best response can spell the difference between a brand’s survival — even enhancement — and its irreversible tarnishing.

Showing 1-20 of 51