Tag: Tom Vander Well

Leadership Transition at C Wenger Group

Tom Vander Well (1)

Tom Vander Well

With the beginning of 2018, C Wenger Group is pleased to announce that Tom Vander Well has been named the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Outgoing President and CEO, Scott Wier, will continue his active leadership in the Group and will serve as President of the Group’s Customer Insight division. Wier and Vander Well have owned and led C Wenger Group as partners since January 2005 when founder, Charles Wenger, turned over his interest in the company.

Vander Well has been a member of C Wenger Group since 1994. During that time he has led the Group’s Service Quality Assessment and training services. Vander Well will maintain leadership of those services while assuming responsibility for the Group’s executive operations. Scott Wier, who has led the Group’s customer research services since 1988, will focus his energy on the continued development of research and survey projects.

This transition is the culmination of a long-term plan. Both Tom Vander Well and Scott Wier will maintain their leadership and client relationships for all projects. Clients can expect continuation of the responsive, data-led services C Wenger Group has provided for over a quarter century.

C Wenger Group is a consulting firm based in Des Moines, Iowa. The Group provides a full array of custom-designed research products with a special emphasis on measuring and improving the Customer Experience including research, Quality Assessment and data-led training and coaching.

Free Webinar! A Beginner’s Guide to Call Monitoring and Quality Assessment

Your call may be monitored for quality and training purposes” is a familiar phrase in today’s business world. For growing companies interested in beginning a call recording or quality program, the process can seem both confusing and daunting. This free webinar is intended to help companies who are exploring the development and implementation of a call recording and quality assessment program.

tom head shotThe webinar will be presented by Tom Vander Well, Executive Vice-President of c wenger group. Tom is a pioneer in the call monitoring and Quality Assessment industry and has over 20 years experience analyzing moments of truth between businesses and their customers. In this webinar Tom will help participants think through basic questions you should be asking. He will provide various methods for approaching both call recording and Quality Assessment, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and present cost effective, practical solutions.

The FREE webinar will be July 13, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. CDT. Registration is limited to 25 participants, so register today! Click the button below or visit:

http://www.videoserverssite.com/register/cwengergroup/registration

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Lessons from the Weeds in TruGreen’s Treatment

My wife and I built a house a couple of years ago. We had to seed an entire yard in late 2015 and, like all new lawns, it has its issues. Early this spring, after one full growing season, I realized that I needed some professional help controlling the weeds and getting the yard healthy. I noticed that several of our neighbors used TruGreen lawn service and TruGreen has made a huge marketing push this spring so I went online to check them out and request a quote. Literally, within a minute of submitting my online quote request I received a phone call from a TruGreen sales person. I was impressed.

One of the things that TruGreen made a big deal about on their website and in their sales pitch was the fact that my “Ph.D certified lawn specialist” would come, do a site analysis, a soil sample, identify the type of grass we have, and discuss with me with a site plan for my lawn. I care about my new lawn and I realize that I have some responsibility in its success. TruGreen even promised they’d visit between treatments, if needed, to ensure my satisfaction. The idea of a lawn specialist who would talk to me, answer my lawn care questions, and partner with me in making my lawn healthy was a big driver in convincing me to sign up.

Within a couple of weeks I received a phone call informing me that I would get my first visit the following day. A TruGreen “specialist” arrived and knocked on my door. When I opened it he quietly said “I’m going to treat your lawn” as he backed away from the door. Fine. I figured I’d let him do his thing and wait for my site analysis, soil sample, and a discussion of the plan when he was done. I never heard back from him, but I did receive a computer generated report on my door knob with what appeared to be stock information and instructions.

A couple of weeks later I received a call, and the Caller ID said it was from TruGreen. I figured maybe this was my call with the results of my site analysis and a chance to discuss the plan.

Tom! This is your local TruGreen office here in Ankeny, Iowa. I understand you’re interested in some lawn care services,” he said.

I was confused. “Actually, I’m already signed up and I already had my first treatment,” I replied.

Okay. Well, I must have gotten an old message. Sorry to bother you. You have a good day.” [click]

At this point, I wasn’t so impressed with TruGreen. However, almost 25 years in Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) research and Quality Assessment (QA) have taught me that the best of corporate service systems have their glitches. I wanted to give TruGreen a chance and see how they would respond to a sincere customer expressing my dissatisfaction. I went to the website and contacted Customer Support using their on-line form. I explained my frustration and what I had both expected and experienced. Later that day, to their credit, I received a phone call from Holly on the TruGreen Customer Support team.

As a Customer Service QA professional, I can testify that Holly was a total pro (much like the Sales associate who initially called me from TruGreen). If I was doing a C Wenger Group Service Quality Assessment (SQA) analysis of Holly’s call she would have received a complete 100. She was personable, conversational, and empathetic. She apologized, articulated a thorough review of the situation, and then assured me that the following morning I would receive a visit from my lawn care specialist from 7:30-9:30 a.m. She also advised me that my specialist was relatively new and a little shy. Nevertheless, she promised he would do the site analysis and soil sample. He would share the results with me, discuss my site plan, and answer my questions. And, she gave me a 50% reduction in my second treatment.

The following morning at 8:30 my door bell rang. As before my specialist quietly said he was going to treat my lawn as he stood fifteen feet from my front door. That was it. This time I stepped out and walked down to him. I told him I was concerned about my lawn and the patches of clover that were growing. I wanted to know what the “plan” was.

Clover’s hard to get rid of,” he said. “I’ll spray it really well today.” He added it might take multiple applications to get rid of clover. There was no mention of my site analysis. There was no mention of my soil sample. There was no mention of a site plan, discussion of my lawn, or mention of the concerns I’d discussed with Holly. I figured I’d see how things played out and returned inside. Thirty minutes later my TruGreen Lawn Specialist pulled away from the curb having left his stock, computer generated printout of what he’d done to my lawn on the door knob.

I contacted Customer Support once again on May 19 (ticket #1698933), referencing my previous ticket number. I repeated what Holly told me I could expect and then described what I had actually experienced. I reiterated that I simply wanted TruGreen to deliver on their promise. I asked that they either provide me with a lawn specialist who will communicate with me as advertised or be honest with me that I was stuck with what I’d received so that I could pay my bill, cancel my services, and search for other alternatives. The auto reply stated TruGreen would respond as quickly as possible.

It has been over two weeks. I have yet to receive a reply from TruGreen Customer Support.

You can learn a lot about a company and the systemic issues that negatively impact their customers’ satisfaction with a relatively small sample of phone calls, emails, chats or other communications. My experience with TruGreen has me pondering several thoughts and assumptions…

  • TruGreen has a top notch technology system with regard to national marketing, sales, support. They are everywhere in the media. They have great ads and a well articulated promise. They are quick to respond to any on-line quote request and a well-trained sales person gave me a great introduction. Likewise, my initial Customer Support experience was both responsive and top notch.
  • TruGreen has local branches across the nation who deliver their lawn services. I’m not sure if they are independently owned franchises or corporately owned subsidiaries, but I quickly learned that the actual customer experience with TruGreen is highly dependent on my local TruGreen branch, their staff, and their abilities. The fact that my local Ankeny office called to sell me services I had already contracted and that they themselves had already delivered tells me that there is at least some disconnect between TruGreen Corporate and the TruGreen branch.
  • TruGreen corporate sales and support is at the mercy of the local branches to deliver a satisfactory experience and resolve actual customer issues. Holly in Grand Rapids could make all the promises and assurances she wanted, but if the local branch in Ankeny was unwilling or unable to deliver, the promise would remain hollow and unmet. The local branches, their communication with national sales and support, and their ability to deliver appears to be a crucial weak link.
  • I assume that TruGeen branches are struggling with an annual seasonal crunch exacerbated by their aggressive national sales efforts. Local branches must quickly hire and train “specialists” and meet increased demands. I have to assume that my specialist was part of an army of newly hired, quickly trained specialists who were rapidly deployed and are struggling to meet demand.
  • I’m sure that most TruGreen customers are happy with a regularly scheduled visit from an anonymous lawn specialist who treats their lawn when they’re not home. I’m also reasonably sure that most customers are satisfied with the stock thermal paper report on their door knob. I accept that I may be among the few customers for whom the site analysis, soil sample, and partnership of a lawn specialist who communicates with me about my lawn is a key driver of my satisfaction.
  • Given that I’ve not received any response from TruGreen’s typically efficient and responsive national support system leads me to suspect that they’ve either accepted that I’m a lost customer or have placed responsibility for resolving my issue on the local branch who has not responded. Pardon the pun, but I’m left feeling like I’m just a pesky weed.

Our experiences as customers, both positive and negative, are opportunities to learn, grow, and continuously improve. That’s what C Wenger Group’s Service Quality Assessments are all about. My experience with TruGreen reminds me that great front end communication with sales and support can only go so far. Customers will ultimately judge us by the actual experience that happens in the moment of truth when we’re interacting. For TruGreen that is at the front door and on then lawn. I am also reminded that almost every customer service problem is rooted in a communication issue.

TruGreen simply needed their lawn specialist to spend 5-10 minutes communicating with me on the initial visit:

“Hi Tom. I’m Joe. If you’ve got a second, let me chat with you about your lawn. Tell me a little bit about your lawn and what your concerns you have? I hear you and I understand. Here’s what I know having analyzed your lawn. Here’s what we’re going to do and what you can expect to see happening with your lawn. Here are a few suggestions I have for your mowing and watering that will make a big difference in us getting this lawn healthy.”

Once I became a dissatisfied caller, TruGreen simply needed someone to “come out as often as needed” to say:

“We’re sorry. We dropped the ball on you. We’re going to do what we promised to do in the first place, and then we’re going to follow-up with you to make sure we get this right.”

As a customer, a company’s silence can be deafening.

 

More great reading from Tom Vander Well:

 

Tom Vander Well serves as Executive Vice-President of C Wenger Group and has led the group’s Quality Assessment, Training, and coaching efforts for over 20 years. A long-time blogger, Tom’s QAQnA and Service Quality Central blogs were awarded for their content in the Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, and contact center industries. Tom was also the contributing Customer Service columnist for the Des Moines Business Record‘s IowaBiz blog. Tom consults with businesses, large and small, in improving customer satisfaction and customer service. tom@cwengergroup.com  @cwengergroup

c wenger group to Present at Central Iowa NCSA Chapter July 8th

central iowa NCSA logoc wenger group members Tom Vander Well and Scott Wier will be presenting on the topic of “Trends in Customer Satisfaction Research and Contact Center Quality Assessment” at the July 8th meeting of the Central Iowa Chapter of the National Customer Service Association. Tom and Scott will be exploring how technology and cultural trends are affecting the way companies measure customer satisfaction and service quality, and sharing their expertise regarding how members can improve their companies’ efforts and avoid potential blind spots that are sometimes ignored in the marketplace.

Central Iowa NCSA was previously a part of the the ICSA but made the switch to NCSA after 2014. The group meets quarterly over the lunch hour for relevant presentations and networking events. They invite new members, either individuals or corporations. For more information visit their website: http://centraliowancsa.com

The previous two meetings were at Farmer’s Mutual Rain and Hail Insurance in West Des Moines but the location of the July 8th meeting has not been confirmed. Stay tuned! We will announce the location once it is firmed up and available. Please mark your calendars!

Tom’s Best from Iowa Biz

For Service Quality Central subscribers who may be unaware, Tom Vander Well is also the contributing Customer Service writer for the award winning Iowa Biz blog, published by The Des Moines Business Record. Be sure to peruse IowaBiz.com for all the great content. Here are some links to some of Tom’s best posts:

Video Clip: Do What Your Customer’s Love

In this video clip, Tom Vander Well presents to a small group of front-line Call Center Customer Service Representatives (CSRs). He illustrates why doing simply what customers expect may not result in higher levels of customer satisfaction. If you want to improve customer satisfaction, you have to consistently demonstrate on the phone the behaviors and service skills that customer’s love (and may not expect).

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!