Coffee Time Links 09-22-10

SQC’s Coffee Time Links mantra:

15 minutes.
1 cup of coffee.
5 great links.

Top Tips To Improve Your Customer Surveys

Top Tips for Internet Chat in the Call Centre

Growing Business the Old-Fashioned Way

Getting Past Task-Oriented Behavior

Is Customer Effort the Next Customer Experience Metric

QAQnA is now Service Quality Central (SQC)

Four years ago, I started writing a blog about call center quality assessment (QA), customer satisfaction, and customer service. The blog was called QAQnA (Quality Assessment Questions aNd Answers). QAQnA attracted a loyal following over the years and became known as one of the best call center related blogs and websites anywhere. But, I consistently received feedback that QAQnA was cryptic and difficult to remember.

This past year it became clear that QAQnA was due for a facelift. I’ve been planning and working with Samwell Creative on a new look and a new name. Here it is. Welcome to Service Quality Central (SQC)!

It’s a new look and a new name, but you’ll find all of the same great content.

Thanks for making the switch. You’ll also be able to follow us on Twitter @S_Q_C. Many readers followed QAQnA through my personal Twitter account @tomvanderwell. You’re still welcome to follow, but you’ll find my professional and call center related content and thoughts posted @S_Q_C while my personal content will continue @tomvanderwell

Take a look around. The full QAQnA archives are right here. In the weeks and months ahead we hope that SQC will become your hub for call center and customer service related information and insights!

What My Readers Tell Me Makes My Blog Stand Out

Some blogs are worth reading. I had a pleasant conversation yesterday with a regular reader who, after two years, emailed me and asked to have a conversation. It made my day. In the course of our chat he mentioned to me why he appreciated my blog, and what made it stand out. I've heard similar comments before from other readers. I hear it regularly from the person in our office who is tasked with scouring RSS feeds for client related news and content. There are a lot of blogs and sites that waste your time, not to mention the energy required to click the link. There are blogs that continually make it a worthwhile stop. What differentiates a worthwhile blog from a waste of time?

Here's what I hear from faithful readers:

  • Fresh content. While I admit to having periods of time when my posting slows down, there are many blogs that start with a flourish and then die a sudden death. Other bloggers have a great idea and the best of intentions but post once every few months or a couple of times a year. By that time, your readers have moved on to greener pastures.
  • Original content. Many blogs do nothing but copy and paste content from other blogs or sites onto their post. While it's important to link out, and you want to share great content with readers, your readers want you to share what you know and what you think. I may share a tid-bit or summary of something I liked on another blog, but I always try to offer my own two-cents to expand the conversation for my readers.
  • Worthwhile content. Nothing is more rewarding than when a reader tells me that my blog has helped them with their job, their QA team, and even their life. I started this blog with a simple principle. If I am faithful to giving people a few little nuggets of knowledge, experience and wisdom that helps them in a small way, then maybe they will trust me and my group to help them with some of the bigger challenges they face in their business and contact center.

Here's to worthwhile blogging, pleasant conversations, and mutual opportunities for growth and prosperity!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and curiouslee

How Customer Service Should Respond to Social Media

Whenever I hear someone in the blogosphere or Twitter railing against one of my clients, I immediately bring it to their attention. In most cases, I've witnessed my clients responding immediately and appropriately to the situation in an attempt to rectify a problem. After sending a handful of negative posts to one of my clients, however, I received a polite email back saying, "Thanks for sending these to me, but I just don't know what to do with them!"

For all of you companies who are reading this and asking yourselves the same thing, here are a couple of things you should think about:

  • Consider the issue. Is this an isolated case of one customer who had a problem spiral out of control? Or, is it a policy or procedural problem that is much bigger than one blogger on a rant? If it's the former, you should be able to quickly address the issue, satisfy the customer, and hopefully get a few props from the customer on his/her next post. If it's the latter, then you're wasting your time chasing a bunch of individual consequences from the root problem in your control. Fix the problem, then go out and address the social media outlets.
  • Email the person. Put your Customer Service skills to work immediately. Tell the person that you're sorry to hear about their negative experience and you'd like the opportunity to look into it and make it right. You will quickly learn if the person sincerely wants the issue resolved or if they are determined to be an unsatisfied customer on a rant. Communicating directly and discreetly with the author allows you to quickly address the issue without being viewed as trying to aggrandize your response or without getting into a spittting match with the blogger/tweeter.
  • Don't demand a retraction. If you have successfully resolved the issue and the customer is satisfied, it's acceptable to politely ask that they share the experience with their readers. Don't demand, and don't black mail ("I'll do this for you if…"). Just do the right thing for the customer.

Extra-Mile Service in a Cost Cutting Business Climate

Lonely on the extra mile. Heidi Miller has been a kindred spirit in the blogosphere since I first started blogging over three years ago. She has a great post over at the Spoken Communications Blog asking how we're supposed to determine where to cut when customers want us to go the extra-mile (I've always said that there are no traffic jams along the extra mile).

One of the reasons I've come to respect Heidi so much is that she get's it. She spins her own take on the mantra I've been repeating for years. If you really want to make strategic decisions about what your customers want, you should start by asking them – and carefully listening.

FYI: When you're ready to listen to your customers, please feel free to contact me. Getting actionable data from listening to customers is our specialty!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Stitch