Strike 2: Why Customer Service Matters

In a recent blog post, I shared a frustrating personal customer service experience about how it took six agents over six days to answer a simple question about additional charges to my account for WiFi-Boosters. At the end of the six days, they had confirmed there would be no extra charges to my account. Issue solved, or so I thought.

At my next billing date, much to my surprise, I saw the extra fee on my bill. Furious may be an understatement of how upset I was as I had already put in a considerable effort on this issue. This time around, I decided to forgo the email channel and try chat. I initiated the chat and provided my account details to complete the security check. Much to my surprise, the promotional message that appeared on the screen was that I was eligible to receive free WiFi-Booster services.

Imagine for a moment, my customer journey and valley of emotions. You say it will be free, you charge me, and then you say it will be free when I take the step to contact your customer service centre. Next to being extremely annoyed, I am also rapidly losing trust in the service provider. In the end, the chat agent was gracious and kind and reversed the charges to my account; however, as a customer, I am feeling close to the line of walking away and seeking the services elsewhere. Two strikes.

This example demonstrates what happens when businesses launch new customer service channels independent of others and forgo a review of the holistic cross-channel strategy and objectives. It is a living example of the phrase; the left-hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.

Regardless of the channel, each customer contact generates new information on your customers’ needs, wants, and behaviours. Capturing this data, analyzing and sharing it across other contact channels is the secret sauce. When you integrate and extend your view of the customer beyond their demographics and products to include their contact reasons and outcomes, you allow your Agent or self-service interaction to be as knowledgable as the customer. When you don’t do this, you are one step behind; the customer feels it and is already slipping down the satisfaction scale.

How do you leverage customer contact data in your customer service interactions? Unsure? Contact Sage & Rae Solutions to learn more about our Customer Service Healthcheck, providing you with an overview of improvement areas and detailed plans to tackle them.

Where does your customer search?

Are your customers using a preferred search engine? Are they researching on social media platforms? Do they ask their friends or online communities for recommendations?

Chances are your customers are observing, researching, and making buying decisions based on information sourced from various digital channels. Many clients ask, – where do I need to be? What digital channels will be most effective for my business?

It can be a hard question to answer at times.  On the one hand, it depends on what products or services you are selling and the demographics of your target customer. On the other hand, there are several well penetrated digital channels where you need to be at a minimum, as that is where the masses are searching. 

According to the Hootsuite Global Report (Q3 Update), 69% of the North American population is on Social Media.  The top 5 Social Media platforms leveraged by consumers aged 16-64 are:

Social Media PlatformCanadaUS
Facebook Messenger62%55%

Next to visiting Social Media channels, these consumers are also leveraging internet sites on a daily basis. The following table shows the top 5 internet sites by volume for consumers aged 16-64:

(average time spent)
(average time spent)
Google.com12m 55s12m 55s
Youtube.com25m 02s23m 47s
Facebook.com11m 55s11m 29s
Google.ca7m 51s 
Wikipedia.com4m 10s 8m 10s 8m 23s

Based on the above information, it is clear where the masses are, and this is your starting point to determine where your business needs to be.  And it is not just about being present, it is of utmost importance that your business is easy to find and that your presence is fresh and engaging.

Getting the right exposure to your current and target customers takes more than a simple post.  It takes well-crafted content and cross-channel campaigns to drive customers through your sales funnel. Remember, your customers compare the service you provide them against every other service provider they engage with. Hence, you are competing daily in a cross-industry landscape for the support, advocacy, and share of wallet of your customers.

So, if you have been dabbling with Social Media, perhaps an employee does it now and then as a side job, then it is time to reconsider your approach to get more value from your investment. Social Media platforms undergo frequent changes by introducing new features and tweaking the analytics which determine how you show up in your target customers’ feed. In today’s marketplace, numerous social media companies with the right expertise (and niche focus) can help you gain more value for your investment.

Contact Sage & Rae Solutions for more information on how to get started today!

It is 2020: Service Matters

As a customer service nerd, I am continually observing the service I receive from the various companies I engage with as a customer. This past week I had two polar opposite experiences worth sharing.

First up, a direct-to-consumer company that provides frozen smoothies delivered to your door – blend and enjoy. Perfect for those of us looking for convenience and selection over putting it all together ourselves. I have been using their service for about six months and decided to move up a package – get more smoothies delivered each month. I logged into my account, updated my package, selected the additional flavours, and completed the order. Once done, I noticed my monthly delivery date changed, and I wanted to set it back to the original delivery date. There appeared to be no option to change this online, so I sent in a contact form with my request. Within 24 hours, I received confirmation that the delivery date had been set to the original date as requested. As a customer, I felt heard, genuinely satisfied with the resolution. I had an increased feeling of advocacy for the company (meaning I would continue to refer them to my friends).

My second experience, which is not so positive, is with a national internet service provider. Due to some connectivity issues within my home, I leveraged their online FAQs and determined I would require a Wi-Fi Booster to get the coverage needed. Upon ordering the Wi-Fi Booster, it became clear there would be an additional fee, so I submitted a contact form requesting the fee be waived. Over six days, an email conversation between myself and six different customer service agents continued to haunt my inbox until the seventh agent confirmed there were no extra charges. As a customer, I felt very unheard; it was like the agents were scanning the email for keywords but not reading and understanding my question. It was a very unsatisfying experience, and I started to wish I never switched providers in the first place so you can imagine what impact it has on my willingness to advocate for the company.

Unfortunately, I have seen this before, and the customer service gap continues to widen. Emerging companies are more agile, more eager thus able to provide a standard of customer service matching today’s customer expectations, yet larger, more established companies continue to miss the mark. My experience would say this is due to a continued lack of investment in technologies and people. When organizations put investing in customer service last, they cannot be surprised when their customer experience scores bottom out.

One thing is for sure, your customers are comparing the service you provide them against every other service provider they engage with. Hence, you are competing daily in a cross-industry landscape for the support and advocacy of your customers.

Do you have a recent customer experience (joy or a nightmare) to share?

Make your personal pivot…

“Transitions, pivots, and reinventions are likely to become the norm…” I enjoyed reading this Ellevest blog post as it not only resonated with my career but also with many conversations I have had recently with friends contemplating changes. As we all embrace innovation and technologies continue to disrupt industries, gone are the days of stability and having one career your whole adult life.

Change brings fear, but it also brings opportunity. I am grateful for the pivots I have been able to make in my career, thanks to my education, international experience, and the guts to try new things.

Compressive Disruption

Disruption. Most headlines these days share stories of explosive disruption – in emerging markets or emerging competition in existing markets. For example, the cannabis industry is an example of an emerging market whereas Uber is an example of disruption in an existing market. There are countless headlines covering examples of disruption in the marketplace. What often goes undiscussed is ‘compressive disruption,’ or, the challenge existing companies face in maintaining profitable operations. The wild card established organizations need to understand and manage are evolving consumer preferences, unpredictable purchasing power and how consumers are harnessing innovation to drive convenience and quality in their daily lives.

Watch this short video explaining a few examples of compressive disruption from the beer and airline industries. While less exciting, compressive disruption is perhaps the bigger obstacle to overcome. What are your thoughts?

Self-proclaimed, multi-generation workforce junkie…

I am a self-proclaimed, multi-generation workforce junkie. Yeah, that’s right – I find this stuff super interesting! So much so, that I read about it all the time.

An infographic from Visual Capitalist interestingly displayed how Generation Z (Gen Z) has some traits which greatly differentiate them from Millennials. I find the Gen Z generation having the most differing views on what retirement may look like, or, even if it will exist when they reach their 60s.

If you are looking to learn more about Gen Z, check out this link!


My love affair with technology…

My love affair with reading the annual “Accenture Technology Vision” started many moons ago and continues to this day. The 2019 report is here and this year’s five trends are not for the faint of heart. The report hosts many bold statements around innovation and adoption which revolve around the emergence of the post-digital era. It is interesting to think that the post-digital era may be upon us, especially considering there are many organizations out there still trying to establish their digital capabilities.

One of my favourite statements from the report is, “In the post-digital world, every moment will represent a potential new market of one. It’s where demand is communicated instantly and gratification is expected immediately.”

Click here to read the full report – it is worth the read!