Customer Service

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Customer Relationships Evolve — So Must Your CRM Strategy

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Customer relationships can evolve through four stages — they can be transactional, transitional, communal, or damaged. Understanding each of these stages, using them to classify customer relationships, and tailoring CRM efforts accordingly can enable your company to better deploy its limited CRM dollars. Not all outreach efforts work equally well in all stages of a relationship. And without this kind of tailoring, you’re likely wasting some of your CRM budget.

The Secret to Successful Knowledge Seeding

Launching a peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing platform is not easy. Online support forums have two distinct segments: those who seek product support, and those who provide it. Knowledge seekers are hesitant to ask questions if knowledge contributors are few and far between, and knowledge contributors will not sign up if there are not enough problems to solve. It is a classic chicken or egg challenge that can be effectively addressed by seeding the platform with expert knowledge.

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Leading in a Time of Increased Expectations

Traditionally, big energy companies focused primarily on power generation, not customer-centricity. But that’s changing — and today’s digitally empowered customers have opinions about everything from where their energy should come from to when their bills should arrive. Lynn Good, CEO of Duke Energy Corp., reflects on guiding her company through this transformation.

Which Features Increase Customer Retention?

Companies have an incentive to design goods and services with customer retention in mind. Unfortunately, they often add expensive features to their offerings without knowing whether or how much they will increase retention — and adding too many features can actually decrease customer satisfaction with products after customers have used them.

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Customer Relationships Get the Data Treatment

A 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.

Do You Know What Really Drives Your Business’s Performance?

Although intuitively appealing, strategy maps and models such as the service profit chain have a common pitfall: They encourage managers to embrace general assumptions about the drivers of financial performance that may not stand up to close scrutiny in their own organizations. A more rigorous analytic approach called performance topology mapping may help managers avoid these assumptions, as well as the strategic mistakes they promote.

Now That Your Products Can Talk, What Will They Tell You?

Products connected to the Internet of Things are providing unprecedented levels of information that can be used to improve both products and customer experience. For instance, a company does not have to wait until a customer calls with a complaint to know that a product connected to the Internet of Things is not working correctly. Instead, the product could already communicate the information, giving the company the ability to provide proactive service. Result: more loyal customers.

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Setting Up Digital to Tell Stories to a Global Audience

As the first Chief Digital Officer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sree Sreenivasan leads the charge in managing the museum’s digital content — which means storytelling for a global audience. “My job is to tell a million-plus stories about a million-plus pieces of art to a billion-plus people,” he says. In a Q&A, Sreenivasan discusses the global vision for the Met App (for the museum’s 32 million annual onsite visitors), the museum’s use of social media, and its media lab about the future of museums.

How to Tee Up Choices: The Upside of Default Rules

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

How much choice do people really want? Asking people to make their own choices requires time and focus — there’s all those options to consider. Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein writes that default rules, which establish starting points for everything from rental car agreements to health insurance plans, can save people time and keep them from being overwhelmed by too much choice.

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.

Should Your Business Be Less Productive?

Research suggests that productivity improvements can have counterproductive results in a service business. Productivity gains are not always easy to make without sacrificing perceptions of quality, and unlike on the assembly line, increased productivity may not always lead to increased profitability. Instead, in a service business, productivity must be treated as a strategic decision variable.

Image courtesy of Flickr user DaveMN

What Unhappy Customers Want

Companies have tried for decades to improve customer complaint resolution — without notable success. Customer expectations are rising; customers now expect positive results and not just the chance to complain. Many customers want nonmonetary remedies, such as an apology or a chance to vent. In addition, companies must recognize that they must treat every customer interaction as if it were playing out on a Facebook page or a YouTube video, because it might be.

Showing 1-20 of 60