Leveraging Technology to Deliver an Amazing Customer Experience

David McSweeney

August 21, 2014

As a service based business with more than 80,000 customers nationwide, it’s critical that we look beyond traditional service methodologies as we support each of our valued customers with a goal of delivering an amazing customer experience. Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed a monumental shift for numerous organizations – small and large, moving from traditional call center environments to online self-service support. While it’s critical that we capitalize on the value that technology delivers in terms of cost savings, consumer expectations and 24/7/365 accessibility, it’s also important that we not lose sight of providing options to our customers, ensuring that we have a support medium that works for them, when they want – or need – it. In the last two years alone, our company has...

Stats Don’t Lie – Service Counts Towards the Bottom Line

David McSweeney

April 16, 2014

Deliver an amazing customer experience. It is a core focus for our organization and the beacon by which we measure and evaluate our performance. While some companies focus exclusively on acquiring new customers, ours dedicates a significant amount of resources and effort to customer retention; cultivating ‘Raving Fans’ within our client base. Customers genuinely care about the service they receive. Oftentimes, ongoing service outweighs their opinion about the original product they purchased. Following are just a few key statistics that demonstrate how service impacts customer behavior, and a company’s bottom line. According to Accenture, 51 percent of consumers in the U.S. switched service providers due to poor customer service.McKinsey research reveals that 70 percent of customers...

Self-Service Portals – Making a Difference

David McSweeney

January 14, 2014

Self-service portals – a good portion of individuals use them on a regular basis and most if not all of us have heard of at least one in particular in the past several weeks – Heathcare.gov. The basic concept of self-service portals is to provide customers with an easy way to access tools and resources specific to your business. For example, as a smartphone owner, I have access to my telecom provider and my account via an online portal. Within the portal, I can check my balance, pay my bill, change service levels, order a new device, and complete a number of other activities, all electronically, from a computer or mobile device, 24/7/365. For many, portals like these are rapidly becoming the preferred medium for service and support, as it’s often quicker and easier for the customer as...

Customer Service and Experience – The Move to Online

David McSweeney

July 16, 2013

Today’s customers demand more than one – or even four – options for customer support. In a world once dominated by in-person returns, written correspondence and telephone conversations, organizations committed to delivering an unparalleled customer experience today are expanding connection points to deliver service and support in the medium their customer wants. Technologies like IVR and phone trees, which were once viewed as innovative and cutting-edge, are now considered annoying by a growing segment of the population. And, while some customers simply want to speak with a live person, others will do anything to avoid it, instead preferring self-service online options, engagement through live chat or connecting through social media platforms like Twitter. In the world of customer service...

PCI Compliance: It’s Required and We’re Here to Help

David McSweeney

May 2, 2013

PCI Compliance continues to raise questions for a large number of merchants across the U.S., especially smaller, independent merchants. Am I required to be in compliance with PCI DSS? How do I go about getting compliant or demonstrating that I am compliant? Is there a resource to help me achieve compliance? Who overseas compliance and what are the penalties for non-compliance? Last fall we partnered with ControlScan, the industry’s leading provider of PCI compliance and security solutions for small merchants and the businesses that serve them, on a merchant survey and we were astonished to learn that nearly half of those surveyed were not clear on the specifics around PCI DSS and more than three-quarters (79 percent) felt that their company was at little or no risk for data compromise....

Customer Service and Twitter

David McSweeney

April 12, 2013

For decades the fundamental medium for providing customer service and support has been the telephone. Companies have and continue to invest significantly in building out – or for some, sourcing – support teams dedicated to delivering immediate customer service to individuals via telephone. Over the past ten years technology advancements have opened numerous doors and provided additional options via new mediums including enhanced interactive voice response (IVR) systems, online self-service portals and live chat. And, more recently, businesses have been leveraging social networks as well - specifically Twitter.  Twitter, which launched originally in 2006, is a social networking service that boasts over 500 million users worldwide, of which some 200 million plus are considered ‘active...

Customer Loyalty Starts with Service

David McSweeney

January 8, 2013

Customer loyalty is defined as, “attracting the right customer, getting them to buy, buy often, buy in higher quantities and bring even more customers.” As companies develop and refine their respective plans of attack for loyalty, the focus is typically centered on rewards and offers, breadth of product offering and unique services or customer benefits. Executive level concerns loom around costs and ensuring that any monies dedicated towards driving consumer loyalty yields an incremental return on investment. Focus is typically on net new strategies; the investment, the offer, the plan/campaign, and the results, but isn’t customer service the foundation of any customer loyalty initiative? Developing and cultivating loyal customers begins with service. Whether you have a brick and mortar...

Three Keys to Retaining Customers

David McSweeney

December 12, 2012

Many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) focus primarily on new customer acquisition versus customer retention, but what is sometimes forgotten is that the cost of acquisition far exceeds the expenses associated with retention. Research from Flowtown estimates that it is six or seven times more costly to acquire a new customer compared to retaining an existing one. And, in the same survey, it is noted that by increasing retention rates by as little a five percent, businesses can yield anywhere from a five to 95 percent lift in profits. For SMBs, retention programs may range from a targeted offer, for example, an exclusive coupon the most loyal customers, to a more formalized, points based program, where customers receive points or money back for every dollar they spend. Whether you are...

Five Keys to Delivering Superior Customer Service

David McSweeney

August 6, 2012

Providing award-winning customer service is not an easy task. Customer expectations continue to rise and businesses strive to deliver unparalleled service and support. Additional investments in personnel, processes, technology and training – are they making a difference? Not according to statistics. Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, 2012 reports that only 37 percent of brands received ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ customer experience index scores, while 64 percent of brands got a rating of ‘ok’, ‘poor’, or ‘very poor’ from their customers. And sadly only 26 percent of businesses have well-developed strategies for improving customer experience. Providing excellent service and support directly impacts the bottom line. As customer acquisition costs continue to rise, keeping existing customers...

Four Keys for Merchants in Choosing Next Generation Payments Technology

David McSweeney

June 19, 2012

In part one of this series, we examined the four major technological pain points that merchants are experiencing today. Part two will provide four tips that merchants can use today to end the confusion and difficulty involved in emerging payment technologies. From determining business value to assessing competition, choosing the right technology for your business will take some time and effort. Like most things in life, having the patience to not rush out for the shiny object will have a major impact on your plan’s ability to sink or swim.  Research It’s easy to look for the quick fix or flashy platform, but to repeat: do your homework! You should understand clearly the business value that any payment solution delivers. Is the solution a nice to have or is it a must have? Is the...