Should Companies Pay Us When They Make Mistakes?

Every day, it feels like we are barraged by more and more responsibility for company mistakes while they suffer fewer and fewer consequences. After banks went into bankruptcy in 2009, we bailed them out. Meanwhile, if you have a credit card at 29% and can’t pay it, you are given the choice of bankruptcy and being hobbled financially for 10 years. When I lived in Germany, a country with a generally strong economy whose inhabitants almost never use credit cards, I shared American CC interest rates. 
“Here we would put someone in jail for rates like those,” they said. I could spend a day on the credit situation in this country but that’s for another article. What I want to talk about is the numerous hours each of us spends every year fixing company mistakes. Problem with your phone bill? That’s an hour on the phone. Computer breakdown? Three hours. Gas or internet set up? You might have to take off an entire day of work to be home between the hours of 10 and 6pm when the repair man might or might not come. Is there a reason we aren’t allowed to charge for our time? If I’m a graphic designer at $50 an hour, those three hours fixing my computer just cost me $150. Depending on your salary, these losses could be anywhere from $45 dollars to $600 each time. Why aren’t companies paying us for that time?

Once upon a time, companies used to pay us back when they made a mistake. It was called, credit. Companies seemed to be concerned with making us happy. When problems arose, you spoke with a human being who most often, would give you a refund to pay you for your trouble and inconvenience, A win-win for everyone. In the past decade, with the rise of digital companies who opted for no customer service and no way to reach a human being, other firms followed suit. After all, business is about money and customer service costs money. Since those days, it seems as if today’s business strategies revolve around how much money they can make with the least amount of effort and how much of their responsibility they can shove onto us. Here’s what is fundamentally wrong with that business format. We’re human. Paying someone for their time shows respect. It shows that you value that person’s expertise. By not reimbursing us, companies are in effect demonstrating that we don’t matter. Now on top of taking up our time, they are also taking our private, personal information. And what was the solution to protect our privacy? Use up more of our time. Take the current privacy crisis with social media. What solution did great minds come up with to solve this problem? They decided to set up light boxes that force anyone who wants to protect their privacy to read through pages and pages of legal documents few understand and no one has time for. That might be fine if each of us dealt with only one online company, but we don’t, we deal with hundreds. The other solution? Make us give our personal email and location information in order to have “privacy” with zero assurance we are actually getting it.

I am continually amazed by how kind, thoughtful, generous and nice people are, by how long they are willing to put up with persecution and only stand up to fight back when things have gotten to a point where they can no longer survive. Why are humans so patient in the face of injustice? I for one, say, companies should pay us for our precious time that they waste. Credit card companies should cut us the same breaks they get, our data should be private without having to read a legal forms, and none of us should have to miss work for a day for the repair man.

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It’s Not Time to Leave Humanized Customer Service Yet: Check Out Why

Technological advancements in customer service can tempt us to stash aside the very crucial component of customer service — human interaction. Customer experience is a reflection of what clients feel about your brand and its subsidiary services. This experience is not built by robotic conversations in IVRs, web chats or voicemails. Creation of relationships is naturally stamped in humans; it’s something innate that cannot be annexed by machine chatbots. We’ve highlighted for you some of the reasons that may help you rethink your decision of replacing human contact center reps with automated services.

Empathy is Everything in Customer Service

Machines are configured to help customers in a one-way approach system where customers are left with no space to converse with an agent. Machines are not empathetic like humans do. When interacting with clients, there is need to develop a connection between the agent, the firm and the customer. This can only be done through the establishment of deep personal relationships.

Also, don’t reduce your human customer care agents to handle customers like machines. Avoid restricting them to using scripts or pre-canned messages to save time and reduce queues. Keeping agents motivated means allowing them to interact freely with the customer. Allow them to inspire prospects with their personal stories. They will help in creating a link between the company and the customers. Remember that where there is happy customer care rep, you’ll meet hundreds of satisfied customers.

Bots Can Never Handle Complex Issues

Some customers may complain about a wrong charge on their credit cards; others may want to know about the effect of using your beauty product because they have some health concerns. These are issues that can only be handled by humans.

Humans Increase Conversions

You have customers directed to your company through referral programs and irresistible product offers. These customers are very fragile and need personalized, fast and unprecedented attention. Human reps know how to talk to these clients as they can analyze their history of online transactions. Even with improvements in artificial intelligence, machines don’t understand human emotion and cannot comprehend when customers use slang language. Humans can easily bring leads into the conversion phase as they know what the customer actually needs — they can read between the lines. Agents can also make use of CRM integrations you’ve placed in your contact center for fast and reliable service.

Human Reps Are Vital in an Omnichannel System

With technology driving sales and effortless customer interaction, people can now chat across multiple devices and platforms. Managing people in these diversified digital spaces requires active persons who can monitor as customers drop one platform and join another while continuing the conversation.

Automating customer service is great, but it should not completely replace the humanized service. Contact centers can leverage the use of human reps, self-service troubleshooting knowledge bases and chatbots for exclusive service delivery. If you’d like to augment your contact center with the latest technologies that will simplify the work of your agents, we’re here to help. As Nectar Desk we are willing to go beyond the norm to ensure your call center is equipped with latest software, integrations, and technologies.

They’re Not Investors, They’re Consumers

By John Scarpato

They’re Not Investors, They’re Consumers

You’ve heard it before, but I will say it again. Millennials are different. They demand new ways of consuming your products and services, interacting with your brand, and expect a seamless experience across all channels. Even if you agree with me, you may still be saying to yourself, “Millennials don’t have much money to invest right now, and we’re in the business of managing money, so our main concern is supporting our current investors.”

It’s that term, “investor”, which we use too heavily in the industry though. It may seem innocuous, but it’s quite telling and misleading. Your prospective clients (including millennials) aren’t simply investors anymore, they are consumers. And as consumers, they have a broad array of experiences which are increasingly affecting their perspectives, attitudes, and expectations across all types of products and services. As such, asset and wealth managers are no longer competing only with firms in their own space. Instead, they share clients with a wide variety of firms, many of which are fundamentally altering how their clients view their firm.

UBER

Uber has demonstrated that transparency relieves anxiety for consumers. As a consumer watches the car driving towards them on their screen, they’re confident that they won’t miss their next appointment. Being able to clearly see progress gives them relief.

But when they transfer assets from one firm to another, no such confidence exists. They are completely in the dark about whether the assets have been liquidated at the delivering firm, distributed to the receiving firm, or have been invested properly.

AMAZON

Amazon’s suggestions based on what other “people like them” are purchasing has given consumer’s confidence. They trust that Amazon knows their behaviors well enough to align their preferences with people in similar circumstances and with the same tastes.

The same holds true in asset and wealth management. When a client sets an asset allocation strategy they likely feel unsure if it’s appropriate for them. What would be comforting though, is the knowledge that people who are at a similar stage of life, share a similar philosophy about money, and have similar goals, also have a similar asset allocation strategy. By bringing in the aspect of ‘belonging’ to your firm’s experience, you can help clients feel more confident in their strategy.

SPOTIFY

Spotify knows their users. Their customers expect that the more time they spend with their service, the more they can expect the firm to anticipate and predict what may be valuable to them.

Much of the asset and wealth management advice rendered today is rooted in the risk/return profile of clients…something that likely doesn’t change from the original measurement. But as our clients lives unfold, it’s highly likely that their perspectives and needs evolve too. And if we’re really keeping track of that evolution, we should be able to anticipate their needs, even before they realize that they’ve changed.

As the industry continues to shift from managing money to providing advice as its core value proposition, it will be faced with the expectations that firms like eHarmony, WebMD, and Angie’s List have established too. And what these firms have taught our customers is that good advice comes from intimacy. Knowing people really well means understanding their mental models, communication norms, relationship dynamics, goals, history, and value systems.

While it’s still important to understand someone’s risk/return profile, we’ll need to start to understand them in a much broader sense…as consumers.

Hotmail Customer Service Number

The 30-Second Trick for Hotmail Customer Service

At any time you login to Hotmail support, it asks for just two things. This service is utilized to connect with people that are away from one another. Email service is offered by many businesses that offer it with distinctive characteristics to allow it to be more than only an email support. It’s possible to find one of the most reputed service provide and make certain that you do not need to manage any trouble when preparing the tax. Whichever medium you’re using, being fast and efficient is the secret to providing a fantastic customer services. Being a little organization, it is vital that you deliver a highly efficient customer service as you still have to construct a reputation.

Here’s What I Know About Hotmail Customer Service

When you join with a SIP provider, however, it is possible to also apply your phone’s Internet connection to make calls anywhere you go by logging into the SIP server at the opposite end. There are a lot of ways of doing this and each provider can have a different method of going about it. Other providers will provide you with specific hardware which you have to hook up. There are numerous service providers offered in the business, which have been offering such on-call assistance since many decades.

New Questions About Hotmail Customer Service

To lessen the workload of a business, it is used frequently. Research about the business you choose before you choose the best one for you. If you are searching for one such company, you simply have to go on the internet and hunt for Hotmail Customer Service providers. If you’re confused since there are plenty of companies, compare the packages provided by all them and decide in accordance with your need. The independent tech support businesses are providing quick technical support solutions, for the ease of Hotmail users.

In order to earn a foray into the worldwide market and strike a thriving deal your company should be ready to effectively handle challenges. Whether big or little, every company would like to rule the company industry. Whether big or small, it wants to have perfect outlook towards the competitive field. The Master Dealer Company is a volume based company, so if they’re not doing the volume required to earn money independently, they will frequently pass on the costs to you.

The Fundamentals of Hotmail Customer Service You Can Learn From Starting Today

The Yahoo customers can report the Yahoo Customer Service about their security and security depending on the Yahoo account problems and therefore discuss about any feature of the Yahoo mail they couldn’t understand in the right way. Loyal customers won’t ever wait to pay a bit more for the services and quality provided by your enterprise. So customer require reinforce within this problem is the uncommon case who will be able to help you and resolve the tech troubles. Providing free information on the internet is convenient and an excellent way to pull customers.

The Awful Secret of Hotmail Customer Service

In case the user doesn’t know a lot about accounting process or the way to operate QuickBooks software, would be going to find some assistance from somebody else. It’s been seen that users get themselves not able to log within this software occasionally because of technical error or manual inefficiency. The users do not need to compromise with their privacy since they aren’t required to offer the support executives with their log in details. They may wish to know how to install McAfee antivirus. They can make small changes in their privacy settings which can help them in recovering the widest range of technical issues. They can also want to know the way to deploy Norton antivirus.

There’ll be several companies listed, and you may check their websites where they’ve shared their contact details too. You can have a number of the minor issues solution through its websites but for the key issues you want to seek advice from its various support services offered in the industry. At exactly the same time, there are lots of websites available over the web, including helpful information.

You are able to easily return to your account and increase its performance at the comfort of your house or office too. The account might acquire infertile for the concern of entering the incorrect password repeatedly. When you are producing your Hotmail account. Hotmail email account is a complicated engine that comprises of a great deal of nuts and bolts which are sometimes beyond the comprehension of an inexperienced individual.

Correctly which Hotmail will request that you fill in order to acquire your account access back? Hotmail is additionally a famed service provider that’s run by Microsoft. Hotmail is presently one of the major webmail services and is widely popular with users all over the world.

What is Truly Happening with Hotmail Customer Service?

Condition with when you will need support. The perfect customer care is the one which is made for customers. Thus, within this condition you should acquire HP customer support, so that it is easy to precede your work with no trouble.

Collaborative Debugging: A Tale of Two Bugs

In solving technical problems, engineers often default to looking only at the technical issues. But sometimes the problems aren’t technical in nature — they’re human-centered. At Nylas, we learned that lesson in our debugging process. Here’s a story of two different bugs and how we dealt with them differently.

Like most companies, we keep a running list of customer issues that have been reported by developers using our API. We use Phabricator, an open-source tool for task management and code review, to track our bugs, and the list can get pretty long at times.

Debugging code is hard. I don’t know how engineers feel about it where you work, but, at Nylas, it’s often been the painful but necessary work that we have to do between feature development and code refactors. I like this quote a lot:

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place.
–Brian W. Kernighan and P. J. Plauger

When I was first getting into engineering, I thought that writing the code was the “real work.” But as experienced engineers know, that’s just not true. Sure, you have to write code. But, arguably, the hard part of the job is refactoring and deleting code, thinking of and writing the right test cases, and, of course, debugging issues with the code. A lot of the bugs at Nylas get reported with little to no data about how the users encounter them, and it falls on us as engineers to pull together the scraps of information and identify the root problem, which can take days or even weeks.

However, we’ve learned that there’s a better way to debug issues than what we were doing. Here’s our story of collaborative debugging and how it helped us.

A customer reported that they were experiencing a bug: User A would send User B an update to a calendar invite, and suddenly User B would have duplicate events showing on his calendar.

Here’s the Phabricator task we created:

We had two reports of the bug and a screenshot of someone’s calendar with the duplicate events. Since it was a pretty serious issue for the company using our API, we prioritized it and put it at the top of our “Customer Issues” list.

Let’s take a look at the activity on the task:

  • We can see that someone created it on August 14 when the bug was reported.
  • Two weeks later (August 28), an engineer was assigned to investigate it. She looked into it for a few days and didn’t find a fix.
  • The next week (September 5), I was on bug-fixing duty and decided to look into it.

I started with the logs and found nothing. Here’s the first problem: We only keep logs for two weeks, and the bug had been reported a month ago. Next, I spent a good portion of the day seeing if I could reproduce the bug, but didn’t have any luck.

I reported back, letting our support team know that I couldn’t reproduce the bug and needed a recent instance of it or more information in order to investigate further.

Then, I moved on to fix some other bugs and then started working on a different project the next week. Sadly, to date, the duplicate events bug is still happening.*

First, there was too little information about what the users were doing when they encountered the bug. We needed more data points to be able to reproduce the issue.

The next problem was that we missed the window for checking the logs. Since we only store logs for two weeks, it’s crucial that we address an issue within that fourteen-day window to make sure we can find out where an error is thrown.

The last problem — and in my opinion, the biggest — is that we repeated work. How? Another engineer looked at the problem for three days. Even if she didn’t find a fix, she still investigated, tested a few of her hypotheses, and found out which ones were wrong. But I didn’t have any of that information when I started my investigation.

Later, when I raised this issue at an all-hands, we learned that yet another engineer had looked into this bug but never claimed the Phabricator task because she didn’t find the source of it. We weren’t working collaboratively, and even worse, we weren’t sharing the data we’d gathered because we thought it wasn’t useful.

So what does that mean?

We were operating under the assumption that each person should claim a bug and fix it in one stretch. But that’s a faulty assumption for a lot of reasons. A lot of the hardest bugs just don’t work that way. They require longer investigations and multiple people with different knowledge of the codebase looking at the problem.

In addition, it can be really frustrating to work on one bug nonstop for days without making visible progress. Splitting the work allows people to take a break to work on other projects and tag in someone else with a fresh perspective.

If we had been debugging collaboratively, each person would have been leaving breadcrumbs for the next person to make sure progress wasn’t lost along the way.

The first answer to this question is the most obvious: we needed to get more information from the user who reported the bug. Collaborative debugging doesn’t just apply to the engineers — you need to collaborate with support as well.

Next, we needed to pull stacktraces from the logs while we were still within that two-week window. That step could be handled by support as part of their ticket creation process. If they look at the logs as soon as they get the bug report and drop the stacktrace for the error into the task they’ve created, then there’s more context for the engineer whenever they’re able to start their investigation.

Finally, the last part is documenting our progress — the good as well as the bad — in the investigation. We had this pervasive idea that the findings from our investigations were only valuable if they led to the root problem. But it turns out, people often have similar thought processes when they’re diagnosing a problem, and as a result, they follow a lot of the same paths. Even if your hypothesis was wrong, it’s useful for the next person to know so that they don’t try to test it again.

In this second bug, users would send an email through our API, then request the raw MIME message, which we store in S3. Instead of receiving the MIME, they would consistently get a 404 status code.

So here’s the Phabricator task we created:

First, we got the right information from the user. There was a pretty clear four-step process to follow that reproduced the bug. We knew exactly which endpoints they were hitting and what was happening when they did, which was great.

Here’s the initial activity on the task:

We created the ticket on September 11, and an engineer got to it within ten days, so we still had the logs and could find where we were throwing the error. She started investigating and documented her progress. She initially thought it might be a race condition with S3, but that wasn’t the case. Since she documented that hypothesis and explained why it was wrong, it prevented anyone else from going down that dead end in the future.

Here was the course of her investigation:

It took a few days, and she documented all of her thought processes — what she tried, what didn’t work, and eventually what the problem was. After a few days, she had a rough idea of the next steps, but she left for vacation, so I took over the investigation.

As I’m sure you get by now, this handoff usually would have caused some (read: a lot of) frustration, in addition to time wasted, retracing all of the dead ends that she had discovered. However, because I had all of the necessary context, I was able to finish the last part of the investigation, implementing the fix and deploying it without any problems.

Collaborative debugging enabled us to fix this second bug where we couldn’t fix the first one. In addition, we were able to easily carry over work between multiple people. The customer who reported the bug was happy, and we felt really good that we had made progress on the issue.

The big takeaway from this story is that not every problem is technical in nature. Like most issues, we were inclined to think of this as one that could be solved with a technical solution. We discussed storing the logs for a longer period of time or changing our tooling, but at the end of the day, this issue was a people and process problem. Changing the way we thought about debugging and actively thinking about bug fixes as longer-term, collaborative efforts made the experience a lot better for everyone.

*Update: We’ve since fixed the first bug! 🎉


Originally published at www.nylas.com.

How Google Home doesn’t work if you really like Google

But how did we even get here?

In the last few months, I convinced myself I really needed a home robot device. You know, those speakers that tell you the weather, let you turn on/off lights in your home and steal all your personal information.

After thinking I was going to get an Amazon Echo, I talked with a few people who convinced me that Google Home was the way to go.

It made sense. A couple years ago, I finally realized that I should probably let go of my personal gmail account because I was ashamed to put it on a resume since it used the handle (“erby”) that I’ve had since I was six or seven. I soon discovered that Lichtenstein domains were my last name and that janice.li was up for grabs. Too perfect.

But soon, I realized that I needed to connect real services to it and landed on signing up for a Google business account and fully integrate my personal life with Google Suite. It’s not cheap; between my domain name, web services and Google Suite, I probably pay something like $180/year to maintain everything. With that said, it’s worth it for me and what I can afford. I have full control and customization that’s still integrated with the Google products that are second nature to me, and I have a barebones personal website. I even pay my rent using Google Wallet. Plus, my work life is all on Google Suite so it all seemed obvious to get Google Home over the other robot friends out there.

So of course, I dreamt of waking up and saying “hey Google, what meetings do I have today?” as I figure out how to dress myself or “hey Google, how many unread emails have I received since 7pm yesterday?” to figure out how bad my inbox would be at work.

I wanted to like you. I really, really did.

I set it up and did the first basic commands, like “hey Google, what’s the weather today?” or “hey Google, how long will it take to bike to work?” But every time I tried a calendar command, it said it wasn’t possible. I was committed to figuring it out tonight and after every attempt to connect both my inbox and calendar to Google Home failed, I saw this little pop up on the support page. I quickly clicked START CHAT.

After a bit of back and forth with my new friend Michael, I start to realize there’s an issue.

So wait, I’m a Google superuser, pay for Google Suite services at $10/month and it isn’t compatible with Google Home?

This seems ridiculous and circuitous, but if it means that I just need to create a burner gmail account so that I can use Google Home like I once dreamt, I’ll do it. So I create ____.ghome@gmail.com (creative) and start linking my calendars over and try to figure out email forwarding. This takes awhile, because Michael is the Google Home expert and knows nothing about all my new needs now. Finally, my new gmail account is ready to go, and I speak the glorious command

“Hey Google, what’s on my calendar for tomorrow?”

“There’s nothing in your calendar, but I can add an event to your calendar if you’d like.”

MICHAEL. PLEASE. ARE YOU SERIOUS. WE TALKED ABOUT THIS.

So this is how I ended up with a useless robot friend.

Intercom plugins that will transform different departments in your business

What can Intercom plugins do for your Sales, Marketing, Product and Customer Support?

Intercom has over 17,000 users, and is continuously growing. And with this growth, it comes as no surprise that there are newly emerging and exciting plugins to make Intercom even more of a multi-tool. These Intercom plugins are become increasingly more popular, as they aid and improve different departments in a company; Sales, Marketing, Customer Success etc.

I decided that it would be wise to investigate some of these Intercom plugins a bit more, to discover why they were so perfect for a specific department in a business. This is why:

Upscope

Imagine having the power of viewing your customer’s screen in seconds? No more will you have to ask, “Can you see the button on the right hand side”, or “If you just scroll down, you’ll see the form you need to fill out”. Those questions are now a thing of the past, as Upscope’s co-browsing Intercom plugin shows you exactly what your customer is seeing in real time. In just one click, switch from a conversation on Intercom to securely clicking, scrolling and guiding a customer through an unfamiliar interface. A Customer Success Managers dream!

Source: www.upscope.io

Survicate

One of the most important parts of customer support, is knowing how your customers feel about your product, company and quality of your support. Having a tool that allows you to collect actionable customer feedback, takes the guesswork out of the picture. By using the Intercom plugin, Survicate, you’ll meet your visitors’ needs with in-message surveys, feedback pop-up boxes and one click answers, that’ll improve your conversion rate. Get to know your customers better, and take further action to improve their satisfaction. Everyone’s happy!

Source:: survicate.com/intercom

Meya

We of course had to include Meya in the list. The Intercom plugin that strategically allows you to build commercial and personal live chat bots, helping with day-to-day bot building tasks. Customer support teams can train and host the bots, allowing for a human/bot collaboration. The bots listen to the Intercom conversations and respond when they know the answer, instantly improving efficiency for your customer service by adding more to the team. You can even pause and unpause the bot, for when you or another member of the customer support team are back in the office or back from lunch :).

Source: https://medium.com/making-meya/standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants-2b89817fdff7

Landingi

For your PPC and SEO campaigns, a targeted landing page is essential for success. With Landingi, your marketing team is able to create landing pages without any IT knowledge, whilst keeping high visual standards. With this Intercom plugin, you’re able to convert traffic from digital campaigns into paying customers easily. Landingi is not just a landing page builder, but serves as a tool for gathering and managing all of your leads.

Source: https://landingi.com/

Driftrock

The Intercom plugin, Driftlock, allows you to turn your live chat/CRM into the ultimate Facebook and LinkedIn advertising platform. It was designed with sales and marketing in mind, and helps you engage with customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle (from lead to happy customer). Driftlock helps you take relevant data from Intercom and other customer databases, and turn it into creative ads that your customers want and need to see. Every sales and marketing teams’ dream!

Source: https://www.campaignmonitor.com/appstore/driftrock-flow-for-facebook-custom-audiences/

Productboard

Building a product means nothing if you’re building the wrong product. What if there was a way to build a product you were sure would be enjoyed, useful and used? The Intercom plugin, Productboard, does exactly that, by importing any part of an Intercom conversation that the product team should review. It helps teams understand what users need, and what your team should prioritize building next.

Understanding customer needs in order to develop and design features and products has never been easier. Now, your customer support team and product development team can focus their time and energy on the important things.

Source: https://help.productboard.com/how-to-articles/add-releases-to-the-releases-board

Notion

Having the right actionable data to work from is one of the driving forces in any company. Notion is the Intercom metrics plugin that allows businesses to see the bigger picture. Different departments can share information, such as, SaaS and sales metrics, marketing lead generation and product development. With Notion, you can easily group metrics by team, product or audience, to deliver the right stats, and even share charts on Slack! The reason why Notion works as a multi-team platform, is because it puts all of a company on the same page. Everyone knows where they are, what needs to be improved and allows them to build strategies that will get them to the next stage.

Intercom plugins have become a set of essential tools that can optimise productivity within your business. So, in short, by choosing the right Intercom plugins, you’re not only improving one aspect of your company, but improving the work and results from the different teams within.

For more information about Upscope’s co-browsing solution, visit www.upscope.io or contact our team via live chat to schedule a demo.

Ever wanted to see someone else’s entire Intercom email campaign?

If you’d like to see one complete campaign across sign up, install, trial and purchase including new ways to catch a customers attention then see these real and currently in use Intercom email campaign templates,

How to double installations of your software

When you know the biggest problem in getting people started on your service is the installation, then it helps to concentrate on just that part. This is how a simple UI change and email trick helped us double installations.

Follow our team members here: Minh Thu Saggers and Natasha Hoke

WHAT MAKES EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE SO CRITICAL FOR THE CUSTOMER SERVICE?

Emotional intelligence refers to the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions so as to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately. It is the ability of individuals to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goals. Wondering what it has got to do with customer service? Read on.

Emotional intelligence reflects abilities to join intelligence, empathy, and emotions so as to enhance thought and understanding of interpersonal dynamics. It plays a major role in the interactions between the employee and the customer. EI can actually decide whether the customer would come back to your store or not. It holds a lot of significance in customer service as:

Sharpens listening skills:

When working at a customer service center, listening and understanding the customers is one of the mandatory skills that the agents should have. Emotional intelligence enables the individuals to pick up on the emotions of others and anticipate their feelings. Also, it helps sharpen their listening skills so that they can act in a way that leads to a favorable outcome.

Helps manage one’s emotions and enhance customer service:

Angry and disgruntled customers are the greatest challenges that a customer service center has to face. An emotionally intelligent person will be in control even in the worst cases. This is so because emotional intelligence enables him to manage his emotions as well as the emotions of the customer, without letting the situation go out of control.

Provides a deeper understanding of customers’ needs:

Emotional intelligence helps individuals stay calm in a variety of situations, even when facing angry customers. It makes an organization solution oriented through a better understanding of customers’ needs. The basic idea of using EI is to handle each and every customer. It further aims at understanding his or her perspective and emotional involvement with the situation.

Makes organizations solution oriented:

Companies which are solution oriented and focus on serving the customer instantly, gain more loyalty from customers. When organizations train their employees using emotional intelligence, they are able to pick up on the complexities and address them. This further allows a successful customer interaction. Emotional intelligence offers quick solutions, never leaving the customer dissatisfied.

Emotional intelligence has got to play a crucial role in customer service and the companies/ businesses that realize it ultimately stand out from the crowd!

Source : Live Chat Agent

7 Steps to Scaling Your Customer Support Team for Rapid Growth

In under 12 months, TourRadar was able to rapidly scale up our Customer Sales & Support teams globally, to enhance our service even further for our 1.5M+ visitors per month.

We were breaking records and pushing through new milestones on a regular basis. We’ve been thrilled (and exhilarated) to have the opportunity to grow and face these new challenges daily.

Every day of the year, 24 hours a day, our world-class travel experts help travellers of all ages, from around the world, find and book their next life-changing experience online.

Like many startups that have experienced rapid growth, this transition did not come with a roadmap or clear path to success. It was, frankly, a battle. One that we blasted our way through, struggling, succeeding, and adapting along the way. On a daily, monthly, and quarterly basis.

In the depths of our challenges, as we researched and sought best practices, there were very little resources explaining how, exactly, a travel startup with exponential growth, fresh off a $50M investment round, balances the demands of the modern customer, the pull of topline business objectives, and how that all affects your teams culture.

As all startup wisdom says, when there’s a pain point to be solved and no existing paths — you build your own.

This is a rundown of how we did exactly that. What we are continuing to work on and the lessons we’ve learned from an absolutely insane 12-month growth period. A torchlight for any company looking down the barrel of hypergrowth, this can guide you toward the right solutions for your challenges.

Source: Life At TourRadar

#1 — Nail Your Hiring Process Across Regions and Teams

Hiring is the backbone of any successful team, and pouring time, money, and training into hires that leave a few short months later is not only inefficient but exhausting on your team and spirit.

To scale a team successfully, you need to sync regularly with your HR support team. Incorporate a consistent interview process with sense checks and be willing to say no to an individual for the greater good of the team.

We optimised our hiring process to reduce the amount of time from the first screening call to the final interview to four days maximum, enabling us to capitalize on interest from high-quality prospects.

Across our three customer support regions — Australia, Europe, and North America — we standardized our hiring strategy to ensure consistency in the hiring questions, practical pressure tests, and culture sync so that when a new team member joined, they were adding to the skill-set of our existing Customer Sales & Support teams, and that they were able to hit the ground running.

We also adapted to the local markets requirements — sourcing from travel schools in one region, targeting universities and retail workers in another and constantly working with our recruiters in a feedback loop to understand what an ideal applicant was, and why those we did not accept weren’t quite the right fit.

Co-ordinating regularly meant that we soon had a lean, fast-hiring process enabling us to onboard more agents rapidly to maximum efficiency, with a diverse but unified culture fit that added to our team.

#2 — Optimize Your Onboarding

Onboarding new hires was one of our biggest learning curves during our period of rapid scaling. It was an area that we did not recognize the impact of until it was negatively affecting our agents' efficiency and focus on a daily basis.

By updating our onboarding strategy, training, and ongoing monitoring, we were able to ensure that every agent was an effective one and that they were all fully independent in a much shorter time frame.

This meant that agents were more self-sufficient and empowered and that the existing senior agents were not constantly distracted by training, answering “quick questions,” and other repetitive tasks that occur when new starters are not given the support they need in the early days of their hiring.

Here are just a few things we updated to optimize our onboarding of agents:

  • Watertight onboarding schedule, breaking down the agent’s first 4 days in office to specific blocks of time to ensure a mix of cultural immersion, skills training, and time shadowing existing agents and completing training units. This is executed consistently across all three offices for a unified baseline of knowledge and experience for all new starters.
  • Proactively reaching out and introducing new hires prior to their start date via email, and to the existing team so expectations and excitement levels are high for when they join the team.
  • Appointing specific mentors to new hires so that most of the training and incidental questions is diffused across multiple experienced agents regionally.
  • Scheduled daily feedback loops with new agents at the start and end of the day so that they have multiple opportunities to ask questions or dive deeper into training topics. This is also a great way for new starters to build rapport with their Team Lead.
  • Creation of a team-wide knowledge sharing channel with the sole purpose of answering repeat questions and surfacing consistent answers or areas of improvement for training topics. Our goal is to integrate this with automated solutions in the future for completely consistent knowledge sharing.

These efforts, along with the constant updating of our training units and knowledge base have been instrumental in making sure that by growing the team, we are not increasing the workload on our existing agents, trainers, and team leads. Rather, we are effectively guiding new hires through their onboarding.

This was a critical focus that once implemented, improved the rate at which an agent could become operationally effective from weeks to days.

#3 — Create a Model for Ongoing Training and Career Development

One of the biggest challenges for operational teams, particularly in customer sales and support, can be the risk of burnout and frustration of team members from being on the ‘hamster wheel’ of frontline support, answering repeat questions and dealing with customers on a daily basis.

It is extremely important to us at TourRadar to embody our company value of ‘encouraging personal development and learning’, particularly within a role that is so critical to our company’s success. With an average of +75 NPS score, our agents are the best in the business, so keeping them motivated and happy, moving forward in their careers, fuels their ability to better serve our customers.

To ensure they are able to grow their careers and experience within the customer support team, we implemented a T-model system (nicknamed the ‘Dojo’, as a hall or space for immersive learning) for agents to manage their own career progression, learning paths and development within the company and team.

The model allows for clear and unified expectations of how long, and how many executions of specific tasks it takes to become an expert in any one specific product area.

So, for example, if you want to progress to a Tier 2 level knowledge expert in the Cruise department, you first need to complete a required number of hours and tasks in Tier 1 regular customer support team to ‘unlock’ and progress through to the Cruise specialisation area. Once within the Cruise stream, there are three new tiers to master, over a period of up to two years, meaning agents will always have new challenges and skills to master.

Making these expectations explicit, and allowing agents to self select their expertise areas means agents at every experience level have a goal to push towards and can drive their careers forward in the areas that best suit their skills and motivation.

Source: Life At TourRadar

#4 — Know Your Data and Use It to Your Advantage

From a personal perspective, this was perhaps the biggest revelation and challenging aspect of our growth. As a natural people person, writer, and communicator, the data diving side of customer support was a weak spot that I worked hard to foster and improve over the last few years at TourRadar. Being a data-driven company means decisions and the data used to make those decisions can make or break your way forward operationally.

Learn the language of your product, tech, marketing, and leadership teams — data-driven decision making. Understanding the data and knowing what to ask for from a data report will empower you in all aspects of making operational decisions and product updates to improve things for your team, and drive superior performance.

In order to monitor the impact of our rapid growth, we created multiple levels of reporting, monitors, alerts, and data analysis to understand the difference that growing our team had upon results and our customers experience.

We saw our response times improve by more than 75%.

We saw our NPS score soar to over +70, putting us in ‘World Class’ territory.

We finally had visibility into which regions were experiencing more volume and at what times of the day, in order to make informed hiring decisions.

We could see which customer channels converted better than others and assign resources accordingly.

We were able to give our agents informed feedback and benchmarking.

Most importantly, we were able to identify the impact that our growing team had on the bottom line of the business and communicate that across to all teams, including our investors and board members. We could now tell the success story of TourRadar’s customer support team, confident in the knowledge we had acquired and the data we had to back it up.

Knowing your data makes all the difference — and it’s a language that will serve you well in any decision-making scenario!

#5 — Divide and Conquer

As a lean, mean startup in the early days, we hired and trained agents to be ‘all-rounders’ who could handle any enquiry, any call or question, whether it be sales or support related. We had agents who were ‘jacks of all trades’ and completely flexible to jump on the highest volume channel as and when necessary.

While we still train and imbue our agents with that philosophy, at some point, your team can no longer operate under an ‘all hands on deck’ strategy.

As we grew, it became necessary to update our team structure, allowing for the ‘flat’ organisational structure that TourRadar embraces, but diffusing the load upon single regional team leads to head up teams of 12–17 agents.

Our global team now has a fluid structure of 5 departments; Customer Sales, Customer Care, Cruise, Operator Support (B2B), and Customer Relations. Agents are often in more than one department and are always trained at a baseline in both Sales & Care. But for each department, we now have ‘People Leads’ to support the regional Team Leads in day-to-day operations.

Documenting this structure and making the various throughlines of reporting and expertise clear across the board meant that all team members had a better idea of who to go to with questions, training, and escalation of customer issues.

Though we continue to work collaboratively to hit team targets, and company revenue goals, this structure implementation provided clarity for agents within and outside of the customer support world to understand the interplay between agents areas of expertise and reporting lines.

#6 — Start Documenting Yesterday

Though we have achieved a lot over a period of rapid growth, there is still so much more to do. One of our major goals moving forward is improving our documentation — of internal processes, logic, and dependencies.

This is at a product and operational level. Having knowledge locked into 2–3 sources or people does not scale and will only cause headaches down the line.

As much as possible, work with your product teams and internally with experienced agents to document core workflows, processes, and interplay once you reach consistent levels of execution. This benefits the consistency of the customer's experience, the training of new hires and the entire team by having a single source of truth for how things work in customer support.

We’re blessed in our team to have some select agents that enjoy documentation and have incredible attention to detail to keep our processes on point — find those gems in your team and get started on documentation right away. Chip away piece by piece, and you will make progress!

It will make changing processes, tracking, and reporting infinitely more straightforward if you have done the homework already.

Source: Life At TourRadar

#7 — Keep the Culture Strong as You Scale

This point speaks more to people in leadership roles. The aspect of growth that is hardest to monitor, but the most obvious when it fails, is keeping the culture of your team.

There are a few different ways to encourage and monitor this, but if you take one lesson from this article, let it be this — your actions as a leader will always speak louder than your words.

Your team knows when someone is not carrying their weight, not embodying the company values, or stepping outside the bounds of behaviour and performance. They look to you to act upon this, and what you do (or do not do) will be watched closely.

They notice when you pledge to have regular 1-to-1’s and then don’t execute on them. They take your actions as indicators of your trustworthiness and commitment.

If you let poor behaviour slide or give people ‘one last chance’, the hard-working team members will see this, and no matter how many empty promises you make, your actions are the true barometer of commitment to the business goals and company values. They will lose faith when you don’t take action.

Even when its hard, act. Publicly, and as swiftly as possible to maintain the team and company culture.

Encouraging culture is possible, though not always measurable, but you will see its immediate effect. To encourage culture we aim to do the following;

  • Let the personalities shine. You hired these agents for a reason, their unique style will likely be the reason a one-time customer becomes a customer for life.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Company values, minimum standards and core beliefs of the team are built only through repetition at every opportunity. Over-communicate them, so the team knows these in their bones and start to become advocates themselves.
  • Give your team members enough ownership on projects and space to fail and learn from them.
  • Always communicate the ‘wins’ for their ideas and suggestions, big or small. Especially if its taken a long time to get the product fixes down the pipeline.
  • Work to engage your operations team beyond the ‘walls’ of your department. The more interaction with marketing, product and tech teams, the better agents and overall team members they will be.

Though this list won’t solve all of your scaling headaches, and we certainly can’t anticipate the unique hurdles you are sure to face, covering these basics will give you a solid platform from which to launch into hypergrowth.

Take a deep breath, use your team as a ballast, and enjoy the rollercoaster ride!

Carly Hulls’ exceptional work in the field has recently landed her a nomination as 2018’s Woman of the Year in Customer Service Stevie Awards.

Can your Small Business Use a Contact Center?

You might see the phrase ‘contact center’ and involuntarily squirm. Your fears are unaccounted for however, as contact centers are not the same thing as call centers.

Based on common experience, your mind might flash to images of hundreds of people crammed into a basement full of computers somewhere in India cold-calling you three times a week ad nauseam despite your constant proclamations to stop calling.

Relax, this isn’t that. The question posed at the top is about small business, not monolithic companies and industries manipulating outsourcing and labor laws to annoy Americans senseless.

Contact centers are more about dedicating a portion of your resources to customer communication. Every business could use more of that, right? Well, read on to see if this modern configuration could benefit you.

What is a contact center?

A contact center is a portion of your business or staff focused largely on fielding customer calls and communication. That is key — you aren’t cold-calling people and giving your business a bad name, but merely optimizing the respond time to your customers’ reaching out to you.

I noted that contact centers are modern above, because they are the natural evolution to call centers, or at least those call centers within reason. While both are dependent on phone usage, contact centers take a unified communications approach, spanning multiple channels such as email, text messages and social media in addition to answering phone calls.

A contact center doesn’t need to hit a certain size to qualify as such either — you could post a single employee to monitor customer interactions, and as long as they do so on multiple channels, that would qualify as your business running a contact center.

How do contact centers increase the efficiency of communications?

They do so by unifying all the ways you could talk to customers into a single place, making it easier to manage and track each conversation/text/tweet/etc. Instead of having your employees go back and forth between multiple channels to monitor customer communication, everything is funneled to a single location that is more convenient to follow. That means better delegation and fewer missed sales/support opportunities.

By subscribing to contact center software — these services are typically software-based, meaning you don’t need any special equipment — you get multiple features, or tools, that automatically help speed up each communication as well.

One of the main reasons people hate call centers is because it’s impossible to get anything done by calling them — normally you’re just bounced into a call queue. With contact centers however, basic features like an auto-attendant, call distribution and call transfers make sure that you wind up speaking to the right person as quickly as possible.

The auto-attendant won’t put you in a call queue, but direct you to the specific extension you need. If you aren’t calling for anyone specifically, call distribution will make sure your call gets answered through any number of configurations. Even if you end up in the wrong place or need to talk to another person, call transfers get that done for you.

This heavy phone-focus is true of call centers as well, and you likely have bad memories of them, so reconsider this through the scope of your business. Call centers often have hundreds of people making and receiving calls at the same time, as they are factories meant to frustrate angry and dissatisfied customers. Your small business likely has less than a few dozen employees, meaning the optics of running a system with these features will generally cover any amount of customer communication you get.

Should my business test out a contact center?

Your business could benefit from a call center: Even with just a few people, give them their own area in the office and direct different calls — sales, inquiries, complaints — to different numbers or extensions to maximize your staff and your phone time.

How can I do that?

Getting a contact center up and going is easy, as there is typically no hardware required. All it takes is the manpower to cover the level of customer interaction your business gets and the right software.

As we mentioned before, manpower shouldn’t be an issue. With the features that most softwares offer, communications are streamlined to allow as few people as possible to handle your business communications — allowing you to save on staff or delegate employees to other tasks.

For the software, well, MightyCall more than has you covered. For less than you’d pay a receptionist for a day, you can get a month of coverage full of features and abilities to uniform and improve your business’s communications. You will never miss a call or overlook an email from a customer again, and you’ll stay on top of everything with less effort than ever before.

If you’re skeptical about how useful a contact center can be for your business, you can even give it a test run. MightyCall offers a free 7-day trial AND a 30-day money-back guarantee.

VoIP and unified communications work, and if you’re willing to take the first step, you’ll see why.