RIP Customer Service. Long Live Customer Empowerment!

Customer service is dying a painful death. My friend and industry analyst Esteban Kolsky predicts extinction by 2025 while Salesforce has already called it. Regardless of the exact end date, only the vendors who successfully transition to a model of customer empowerment and independence will survive.

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My Personal Experiment with Crowdsourced Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS)®

The embedded broadband chip inside my new laptop wasn’t working. Neither my cell provider nor the PC manufacturer’s support website offered a resolution even though the problem was commonly complained about online. I eventually fixed the issue myself and decided that if vendors refuse to publish knowledge content on their website, then I’ll do so on mine! And thus began my personal experiment with crowdsourced Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS)®.

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Investing in the Worker Experience

Customer experience leaders financially outperform laggards. Forrester Research calculates the advantage at 14%. While almost every company is chasing the CX hype cycle, many forget who creates and manages those experiences: employees. Here’s why you should also invest in the worker experience, including the ROI of doing so.

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Enterprise Search is Dead!

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Search is officially dead – something that probably should have happened years ago when search became so commoditized. Corporate users don’t want “search.” They want insights. Thankfully, there’s a new Magic Quadrant for that.

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We Make a Life by What We Give

Winston Churchill once said that “we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” This idea was top of mind as I visited the Gates Foundation and pondered the magnitude of how Bill and Melinda are turning what they “got” into what they now “give.” When I posted this picture to  Twitter, I pledged to donate 100% of my income from the project to charities in my local community who have similar missions to that of the Gates Foundation. With the contracts now signed – I am excited to announce where that money is going.

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Know How & Know Who

Excellent perspective from a former co-worker of mine. And while most organizations are getting better at surfacing their “know how” content with technologies like enterprise search, many still struggle with how to identify who knows what. In this post, we’ll look at how to automatically identify and leverage expertise within your organization.

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CX: from Fluff to Tough

Everyone is talking customer experience. McKinsey believes CX programs can substantially grow revenues. Gartner predicts that most companies will soon compete on the basis of customer experience while forecasting that half of this year’s product investments will be redirected toward those initiatives.

But talk is cheap and most companies are seeing only modest impacts from their customer experience efforts if they can even measure them at all.

So how can you go from fluff to tough – driving both customer satisfaction and profits from your CX programs?

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How the Slippery Slope of Self-Service Can Break Your Call Center

Self-service is more popular than ever before with 81% of customers attempting to self-solve before reaching out to a live representative according to the CEB. With a cost of pennies per transaction instead of hundreds or even thousands of dollars per assisted case, it’s no wonder why more and more companies are investing in this channel. But focusing purely on self-service is a huge mistake because the more successful that initiative is, the more complicated your assisted channel will become.

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An “Out of Office” Experience

Most people who don’t travel for work assume that life on the road is full of steak dinners, bottles of wine, and plush hotel rooms. I once took my wife on a trip to prove that most work travel is more likely to include gas station sandwiches while running between meetings, an alcohol-prohibited expense policy, and a middle seat in the rear of an airplane.

As stressful as the journey can be, it is the destination – the opportunity to collaborate in real-time with my clients – that I thoroughly enjoy. But I also waste no time before or after the meeting exploring the surrounding areas. This provides an appreciation for my client’s community, exposes me to new scomes, and makes the trip even more personally and commercially productive.

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In-Product Help, the Ultimate Self-Service

For all the considerable investments vendors have made in self-service, customers report only a 45% success rate according to the latest benchmark from the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA).  Most vendors make their customer leave the product, login to a support website, and then type in a generic query before becoming frustrated with irrelevant results. A much better method is to keep your customer in the product, pass proper context about who they are and what they are doing to your search engine, and return a list of highly relevant results. And that’s exactly what my client Adobe is now doing.

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