Customer Service

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How to Drive Customer Satisfaction

There are six significant drivers of customer satisfaction for companies to pay attention to: adaptability, commitment to customers, connection with other customers, product assortment, easy transactions and appealing environment. A Trader Joe’s grocery store, for instance, carries about 4,000 items, compared to 50,000 in a typical store. Less is better: Items are chosen to match the demographic and psychographic profiles of Trader Joe’s customers, and provide the assortment customers want.

Why Managing Consumer Privacy Can Be an Opportunity

How many privacy policy updates does your credit card company send you each year? Companies often “manage privacy” and “keep consumers informed” by drafting their privacy policies as broadly as possible and consider their job done if they change the policy 10 times a year to fit with changing practices. However, managing privacy should not be seen by businesses as a burden. Instead, it can be a valuable way to generate and maintain a good relationship with your customers.

Vince Golla, director of digital media and syndication, Kaiser Permanente

Social Business at Kaiser Permanente: Using Social Tools to Improve Customer Service, Research and Internal Collaboration

Social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook have helped Kaiser Permanente — the nation’s largest nonprofit health care provider — grow its positive media mentions close to 500% in the last five years, says Vince Golla, who oversees the organization’s external digital reputation.

Image courtesy of Flickr user le_huf.

Why CRM Fails — and How to Fix It

Customer relationship marketing was supposed to be a “new paradigm” that yieldied more loyal customers and more profit for companies. It hasn’t. Researchers from Cranfield School of Management write that the problem is fundamental: “Most senior management teams have an unbalanced approach to managing marketing investments, and this is particularly evident in the case of CRM.” Their suggestion: successful CRM investment begins with new capabilities to improve customer relationships and then backfills the capital investment as needed.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user **Maurice**.

Putting the ‘Relationship’ Back Into CRM

Many think that the way to capture value through relationship marketing is to focus on the “good” customers and get rid of the “bad” ones. But there is more to best practice relationship management than maximizing revenues on individual customers and minimizing costs to serve. This article provides guidelines for companies that want to improve the value of customer relationships. For most companies, the transition to a relationship-based approach will require a significant shift in practice.

Image courtesy of YouTube.

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.”

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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.

Courtesy of Procter & Gamble

Is Your Company As Customer-Focused As You Think?

To become a customer-focused organization requires senior executives to open up communication with people throughout the organization so they can hear what is actually going on — as opposed to a sanitized version. Few companies make this leap, even though not doing it can hurt long-term performance. However, managers can come to terms with their company’s weaknesses in the realm of customer focus by posing a set of five questions specifically designed to uncover their vulnerabilities.

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