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Technology’s role in customer service is growing at warp speed. Social media has opened up multiple channels of communication between brands and consumers, allowing those conversations to take place almost 24/7. At the same time, more and more firms are relying on (or planning to adopt) artificial intelligence—and not just as a first stop on the customer service  journey. In some basic cases, chatbots and other AI tech have the power to resolve an issue start...

According to McKinsey & Company, digital transformation is a uniquely complex challenge, because it impacts nearly every facet of an organization. It requires “unprecedented coordination of people, processes, and technologies” and in today’s rapidly-changing business climate, it’s also crucial to survival. So how can an organization pull it off? In his recent book, Driving Digital Strategy, Harvard business professor Sunil Gupta explains what he learned by studying the digital approaches of not just upstarts such as Apple, Amazon,...

We tend to think of networking as creating new connections outside of your company. While this is true, it’s important not to underestimate the power of strengthening bonds within the workplace. While garden-variety schmoozing might inch you closer to that promotion, positioning yourself as an influencer takes more effort and strategy is the smarter long-term move. So what makes a true internal influencer? According to a McKinsey study, “they’re people who other employees look to for...

By now, we’re all familiar with customer experience horror stories—those viral videos of customer service gone terribly, terribly wrong. The airline passenger dragged from an overbooked flight. The holiday package destroyed by an inept delivery man. The four hours in phone calls required just to cancel your cable subscription. But, believe it or not, consumers are quite good at recognizing good service, too. In fact, they’re willing to pay more for it—up to 16% more, according to...

“Over 50% of customers we’ve surveyed are restless, skilled at shifting spend and intolerant of poor [customer-service] experiences,” said Forrester CMO Victor Milligan on a recent company podcast. Plenty of similar research backs him up: An American Express study showed that 33% of those surveyed would consider ditching a trusted brand after just one bad customer-service experience, while another report found that 59% of folks might tolerate a handful of customer service frustrations before they move...

We live in an era when shoppers demand first-rate experiences and every interaction plays a vital role in a company’s success. “Customer service shouldn’t just be a department,” Zappos founder Tony Hsieh once told Fast Company. “It should be the entire company.” And, indeed, the businesses that excel at the game make it a huge part of their corporate culture. Consider the Zappos Zapponians, Bonobos Ninjas, and Apple Genius Bar—which essentially equates tech support staff with...