Blog | Customer Service

Customer Service Lessons: Some companies understand. Many don’t

May 13, 2014

It continues to amaze me how some large companies with so many available resources, can spend so much money on customer service and yet still be so inept.

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What do your email habits say about you?

April 15, 2013

If you can't manage your Inbox, Can you really manage your company?

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Customer Service: The Final Frontier

June 28, 2012

It's hard being a software or technology company or service provider. With technologies leapfrogging each other, it is tough to keep from getting commoditized, regardless of how big you are or technologically superior you once were (just ask RIM). Customers have short memories, especially when your latest interaction with them isn't working the way they want. So what is your final line of defense?  It is your customer service team and the loyalty they endear (or not).

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What not to do if you are running a Customer Service organization

April 17, 2012

I recently booked a flight for my wife on Westjet. For some reason, their website was having a problem and after trying twice, I gave up trying to book online. I phoned their 1-888 number and experienced one of the worst IVR (Interactive Voice Response) experiences of my life.  Basically the system is set up to have the customer book their entire flight by reading to the customer all of the possible options for flying to your destination and back. Once WestJet has extracted this information and priced the flight, then they transfer you to an agent to take your payment information.

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Being Competitively Different

November 12, 2010


On Monday morning,  I attended a presentation by Professor Youngme Moon on how companies differentiate themselves from their competitors.    Similar to her colleague, Clayton Christensen, Moon points out the danger of listening too much to your customers.  Her point is that doing so will lead competitors to move towards a point where they look like each other and become part of a "herd".  According to Moon, Volvo, known for its safety features but boring styling, creates advertisements aimed at presenting their vehicles as exciting to drive. Audi, know for exciting cars to drive, creates advertisements aimed at presenting their products as safe. The result is the two manufacturers moving towards each other and into a "herd" of indistinguishable competitors.
 
In her presentation, she talks about "flocking" and how competitors move to prevent each other from  gaining a lead in any direction (even if it is the wrong direction). In her book, Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd, she tells the story of a programmer who is interested in how birds flock. In order to better understand flocking phenomena, he built a simulation to explain this behavior. For the simulation, he developed three simple rules:

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