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Connected Customer Experience

Transforming a Customer Service Culture in Manufacturing

Author Jeff Toister on May-19-2017

The post-sale experience is a giant opportunity for many manufacturers.

Let's say you buy a refrigerator. Buying an appliance like that is a big investment that should last a long time, but there are many reasons you might need support.

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10 reasons why Customer Self-Service Portals increase customer satisfaction

Author Eric Marlan on May-16-2017

A Customer Self-Service Portal helps companies to reduce customer service costs significantly and leads to better customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement

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How to Get Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service

Author Jeff Toister on Apr-6-2017

Imagine you could develop a customer-focused culture so powerful that your employees always seem to do the right thing.

They encourage each other, proactively solve problems, and constantly look for ways to go the extra mile. In short, imagine a workplace culture where employees were absolutely obsessed with customer service.

Almost every leader wants this.

My new book, The Service Culture Handbook, provides step-by-step guidance on how to get there. It combines lessons from elite companies with practical advice that's easy to implement.

Most important, it shows what customer-focused organizations do differently. Here are a few highlights:

#1 Customer-Focused Companies Have Clarity

Here's an easy way to test the strength of your organization's customer focus. Pick a random sample of employees at all levels (executive, mid-management, and frontline). Ask them to answer these three questions:

  • What is our customer service vision?
  • What does it mean?
  • How do you personally contribute?
The average employee struggles with these questions, or their answers don't match their colleagues'.

Employees in customer-focused companies can give clear and consistent answers to these questions. That's because their organizations have a clearly articulated customer service vision that's consistently reinforced.

#2 Customer-Focused Companies Engage Employees

Will we ever stop talking about employee engagement?

Probably not. It's important but there just aren't many companies that are good at it. According to Gallup's most recent employee engagement report, the percentage of engaged employees has remained relatively flat since 2013.

There is a silver lining in that report.

According to Gallup, the best companies have 70 percent or more of their employees engaged. And they do it by following a few basic steps:

  • Employees know how the organization defines success.
  • Employees know what's expected of them.
  • Employees feel they are making a contribution.
Look familiar?

These same key drivers are the ones customer-focused companies use to ensure employees understand the customer service vision.

Sure, there's a bit more to it than that. Which leads us to number three.

#3 Customer-Focused Companies Are Committed

"We're working on customer service this year."

I've heard many executives make that statement. Each time, I know they're bound for failure. Why? Because customer service isn't something you treat like a New Year's resolution.

Customer-focused companies have leaders who are truly committed. Here are just a few things that set them apart from the rest:

  • Customer-focus is a way of doing business, not a side-project
  • Strategic decisions are made with customers in mind
  • Customer-focused leaders consistently model the culture
  • Employees are truly empowered to deliver outstanding service
  • Customer-focused leaders take the long-view on investing in service

I'm sorry to tell you that culture isn't a quick fix. You need to be fully committed if you want to make a lasting change.

These three characteristics of customer-focused companies are just the icing on the cake.

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Is it time to upgrade your Warranty System?

Author Eric Marlan on Feb-13-2017

Many companies still rely on emails, spreadsheets, or custom warranty systems developed long time ago to manage warranty. These warranty systems are inefficient in managing warranty and inadequate to meet the needs of the business to reduce warranty costs and improve product quality.

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Best Practices to automate Warranty Claims processing

Author Eric Marlan on Feb-7-2017

Warranty Managers are faced with a dilemma on deciding the level of automation in claim processing. Automated approvals can lead to more efficiencies, but may result in excess payments from overcharges and even fraudulent claims.

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Connected Customer Experience or CRM Service Cloud?

Author Eric Marlan on Dec-28-2016

Manufacturing companies are increasingly considering customer experience as a sustainable differentiator and redesigning their business to be more customer-centric. Manufacturers face a different set of challenges in executing their customer experience strategies as compared to service companies with frequent but short interactions. The durable products last for years and the customer service the companies deliver during the own cycle is more critical to build customer loyalty and maximize customer lifetime value.

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