BoldChat’s Holiday Heroes

As we ramped up for the 2015 holiday season – and the chaos that was bound to ensue – we invited people to tell us how their customer service teams prepare – what challenges they face, what their priorities are, and best practices to share. Meet our five Holiday Heroes below!


Angela Doty

Angela is a Contact Center Team Manager at Blackbaud, and here’s how her team prepares for their peak season:

Our busy season is actually in January when non profits are ready to get out last years giving statements. We use the month of December to train and develop additional analysts to move to our chat platform. Our goal is 80% chat adoption by our clients. We are working on providing the best support when they click on that button. Our goal is to continue to reach a 93% Customer Satisfaction Score! Culture at Blackbaud is an important focus. Our chat team really is like family. We provide focused training on our busy season contact drivers and focus on internal promotions to lead roles for continued advancement and development.


Linda Cook

Linda is a Senior Customer Support Manager at Classic Accessories. Here’s what she had to say about how her team gets ready for the holiday season:

-plan for remote work capability due to possible weather conditions
-black out on vacations more than 2 days during season – overtime is not restricted
-pre-planning meetings to discuss and remove obstacles to smooth and timely operations
-morale enhancing strategies on a weekly basis for support team during the season (lunches provided, lots of chocolate, stress relief actions, coffee cart brought in, etc.)
-allow holiday activities (gift exchange, decorations, stocking stuffer wall, etc.)
-keep after senior management to acknowledge support team efforts


Kimberly Ward

Kimberly is a Flood Underwriter at Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, and here’s how her team prepares for the holiday season:

During the holiday season our number one focus is always customer service. Staffing and service levels are monitored to ensure customer satisfaction. We understand that it is frustrating when a customer is unable to reach us. Unfortunately, with the holidays absences are increased, but we can’t allow that to impede on the service we provide.


Jason Acevedo

Jason is the Senior Director of Ecommerce Operations, Imports and Company Logistics at The Limited. Here’s what he had to say about how his team prepares for the holidays:

1) People: ensure we have the right talent at the right time to support our goals.
2) Process: test and retest our processes at different orders of magnitude to allow us to meet our commitments and handle volume/load.
3) Tech: ensure we have the right tools with the right capacity to meet demands.


Juliana Booth

Juliana is an E-Commerce Supervisor at The Orvis Company. Here’s how her team gets ready for the holidays:

As a retail company, the holidays are a busy time for us. Before we start approaching the season, we like to go over what we did the prior year – what worked, what didn’t, what issues we encountered and how can we get a head start to fix/avoid those this time around.

In the midst of hiring additional staff and working long hours, we also like to look for opportunities to give back and have fun. Some examples are employee pot luck/food days, days to “dress like your favorite Christmas character”, and opportunities given to allow everyone to give to/support local charities.

Thanks to everyone who submitted nominations!

Photo Credit: Icomoon from flaticon.com

         

Staying Connected This Holiday Season

Hands of a businesswoman holding smart phone with copy space on the screen above the wooden office table.

With the holiday season right around the corner, many of us will be traveling to visit friends and family and as a result will be leaning even heavier than normal on our mobile devices.  Whether working remotely or just passing the time in the airport with a little Netflix, we rely on our devices more than ever during this busy time.  It goes without saying that our smartphones are more than just phones – they are our mobile offices, our movie theaters, our social connection and so much more.

As a result when things go wrong, it can be very frustrating.  Here are just a few of my favorite mobile device faux pas — and how LogMeIn Rescue + Mobile can help:

  1. Poor Battery Life – As smartphones get bigger and more powerful – battery life tends to suffer. Faster processers, bigger screens, extra RAM to run the dozens of apps we access daily – all great for performance and aesthetics, but they also drain the battery much quicker than ever before.  With Rescue + Mobile’s Click2Fix battery optimization you are able to push several settings known to improve battery life within devices with just one click.
  1. Connecting to Bluetooth or Wireless – We’ve all experienced that awful wait time as your phone re-connects to Bluetooth or wireless networks. —Is it going to connect? What’s taking so long?  With Click2Fix radio toggles you’re able to see and manage existing connections and turn Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS on or off quickly.
  1. App Crashes – With large demands on apps there is bound to be a few crashes here and there. Rescue’s In-App Support provides quick and easy access to the end user’s app to help optimize the mobile app support experience with a seamless, intuitive support channel within the app (all within the Rescue interface).

Whether staying connected to work through email, chat, collaboration tools, or the thousands of other apps choices you may have on your phone – we can all agree on one critical issue – they better work when called upon!

One of our customers, Republic Wireless, is using LogMeIn Rescue + Mobile to help provide quick and seamless support for customers working to get and stay connected.  Offering a low-cost mobile phone service in the US, Republic Wireless customers are often first time smartphone owners.  By offering quick and easy hands-on support Republic Wireless is able to answer questions and remediate issues – reducing costly send-backs and keeping customers connected and happy – over the holidays and beyond.

At LogMeIn, we have made it a mission to help ensure that apps are working properly – and when they aren’t a solution is just a click away.

         

Tis the Season! How Do You Prepare for the Holidays?

Shoppers hurry along for Christmas sales

Every company has a different list of priorities as they plan for the busy holiday season, and the overwhelming demands of crazed holiday shoppers. So, we asked our friends at VF Corporation (The North Face, Timberland, JanSport, etc.) to share their list with us. Erin Dunlavy, Trainer for their eCommerce Customer Service team, said this is what VF does to prep for the increased volume of orders and customer inquiries:

  • Hire more than 100 seasonal Customer Service Reps to manage the influx of volume – beginning in September to ramp up and have all hands on deck for “The Big Show” (AKA – Black Friday!)
  • Extend customer service hours of operation to include Sundays and remain open until 10pm Monday through Friday
  • Offer week-long and weekend training sessions on systems, customer service, and product training to onboard all staff, regardless of their work schedule
  • Give incentives to top “contact takers” each month to keep employee morale high
  • Have a designated chat table where all agents trained only in live chat and emails have a designated place to manage increased volume
  • Provide ongoing trainings throughout the holiday season to address concerns/issues, continue systems and product training, and increase brand knowledge

How does your customer service team prepare for the holiday season? Share your priorities, challenges, or best practices, and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card! We’ll randomly select one winner each week from now until Christmas and highlight their entry on our blog. Fill out the form below or use this link to share your story today!

         

10 Tips for Delivering Great Customer Experiences This Holiday Season

With Black Friday a mere two weeks away, companies are diligently preparing for their busiest time of the year. They’re hustling to make sure they have enough product in stock, staff their teams appropriately, and– perhaps most importantly– ensure they have all the pieces in place to deliver consistent and satisfying customer experiences when contact volumes and customer expectations will be at an all time high. Knowing this can be a daunting task for many contact center professionals, we partnered with ICMI to provide some best practices for excelling during what can be overwhelming time – and keeping the holiday spirit alive!

  1. Know your customer and understand their expectations – customer expectations don’t changeBuddy the Elf Excited during the holiday season, so why should their experience?
  2. Address their needs in a timely fashion – focus on service, not the sale.
  3. Provide a consistent experience across all touch points – regardless of device, channel, or type of inquiry.
  4. Let customers engage with your company through their preferred channel – 53% prefer to use live chat before calling a company, yet only 34% of companies offer chat for customer service.1,2
  5. Utilize a multi-channel strategy to handle high volumes – providing alternative and more efficient channels like chat can help reduce the amount of time customers spend waiting on hold. Consider this a holiday bonus: it also increases efficiency, reduces costs, and sets you apart from your competitors.
  6. Ensure your customer service reps are adequately trained on product knowledge, return policies, shipping timeframes, promotions, etc. so they have the information they need to answer questions quickly and correctly. Wrong answers will result in repeat inquiries, irritated customers, and coal in your stocking.
  7. Staff your contact center appropriately to account for increased volume and urgent resolution. Not having enough CSRs creates chaos, aggravates customers, and results in added stress for your reps.
  8. Provide incentives – like gamification and spiffs – to keep employee morale high. A happy agent = a happy customer.
  9. When possible, avoid escalation – solve the problem in the channel they started in.
  10. Make improvements for the future. Not everything will be 100% perfect – take time to reflect on customer feedback, what went right, what went wrong and make the necessary changes to ensure next year is even more successful.

This list certainly isn’t all-inclusive, but it’s a good starting point to ensure you’re delivering the experience your customers expect.

For more information on these tips and more, watch our recent on-demand webinarHow to Deliver Great Customer Service During Peak Season.

 

1 2015 InContact Consumer Research, InContact, 2015
2 Where Contact Centers Are Missing the Mark with Customer Care, Ovum, 2015
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

         

BoldChat Releases New Feature Enhancements

We recently launched a new release of BoldChat (v8.1) that includes enhancements designed to help companies better engage with and support their customers.

We’ve made improvements to our Automatic Chat Distribution Engine, including Dynamic Queue Length Limits and Visitor Queue Time Settings. New options for queue length limits help address the tapering of chat volume at the start/end of agent shifts, set maximum chats in queue, and define queue size dependencies on available operators. Visitor queue time settings provide controls for queue positions (e.g. end of queue or maintain position), separate behavior for intra- or inter-department transfers, and allow rules to be set for manual re-assignment of chats, emails, Tweets, SMS messages and tickets.

Our latest release also includes the addition of Audible Alerts for our layered chat windows when a chat message is received and when the chat window is not in focus.

To learn more about these and other BoldChat features, contact us today!

         

Eyes on the Bottom Line: How to Keep Customer Loyalty & Support Costs Down

It’s an unfortunate reality that no matter how much you try to simplify and bulletproof your product, there are still going to be times when your customers will get stuck and need help.  Below is a list of tips to help you get them unstuck, make your support team more effective, all while keeping costs down.

  1. Steer your customers towards chat: A support tech can only talk to one person at a time, but with chat, they can engage multiple customers. Chat can also speed things along when you have to give the customer a confirmation number or URL – no need to spell things out and risk misunderstandings.
  2. Support your first line staffers: The more incidents handled by your first-line support staff, the lower your costs. Make sure to equip them with extensive reference materials, including FAQs, records of previous sessions and give them opportunities to shadow advanced support. In the long run, this will cut costs, as your first-line staffers will be able to take on more advanced questions.
  3. Make remote control easy:Remote control access to the customer’s computer or device can significantly speed up support calls, but only if you don’t waste time assessing compatibility and forging unique connections for each user. Standardize on remote control software that connects instantly and that works across the board.
  4. Give customers their own reference materials:Help your customers help themselves by giving them their own FAQ, knowledgebase, or forum. This is a great way to get simple questions answered without having bring in support staff.  Just be sure to keep your customers’ technical abilities in mind. Don’t assume that they’ll understand things you do – explain everything like you would your non-technical aunt or grandmother and have the information is easy for them to access, without having to call into support.
  5. Let support work remotely:Today’s professional remote programs let tech staff work from anywhere with an Internet connection. Letting support employees telecommute reduces absences, cuts down on pointless meetings, and encourages employees to stay with your company, reducing hiring and training costs.
  6. Stay in contact with your developers:No one has a better view of user interface flaws than the tech support staff. Create opportunities – an online forum, department meetings – where support staff can describe aspects of your UI that confuse your customers. In the long run, UI improvements will reduce the number of calls, and save money.

Providing excellent customer support is a necessity for a successful business, but delivering the high level of support customers expect can be costly.  The good news is that if you organize and run your support properly, you can keep costs down and provide the best possible support experience for your customers – helping to cement their loyalty.  And that is as good as gold.

         

Are you going to FUSION 15?

Next week my team and I will be attending HDI’s Fusion 15 conference in New Orleans.  I couldn’t be more excited.  In addition to the fact that I love traveling around and visiting with customers and industry friends, Fusion 15 promises to be a really great week packed with thought provoking discussions on the hottest topics in ITSM.

Of course, the hottest topic in my world is IoT and we have a ton going on to help spur that conversation.

First and foremost – we will have some news.  Continuing the momentum from our April launch of Rescue Lens, we will be launching the latest innovation in LogMeIn’s Support of Things initiative – Rescue In-App Support– which allows support staff to quickly and easily view end user apps, all within the intuitive Rescue interface.   We are really excited about this launch and can’t wait to share more details.  Stop by to see how Rescue In-App Support works live in living color.

Also, joining us at Fusion 15 is one of our favorite customers –BCG Systems.  I will be hosting a breakfast briefing along with Josh Vince from BCG Systems where we will be discussing how the IoT has already begun to impact Support, where we see it going in a few years, and what you can do to make sure your support ecosystem is prepared.  It will definitely be a fun and informative morning.  Details can be found here.

If you are planning to attend Fusion 15 – you can find me and my team at Booth #221.   See you all in New Orleans!

         

Five Ways Entrepreneurs Waste Money and How to Plug the Holes

You don’t want to jeopardize your growing business by having your money slip through your fingers. Here are five small and medium businesses money-wasters, and how you can avoid them.

UNDERESTIMATING PROJECT COSTS

You know how it goes, the first 90 percent of the job takes 90 percent of the budget; the remaining 10 percent of the job uses an additional 90 percent of the budget. To avoid massive overages, learn from others. Tap the wisdom and experience of people who’ve worked on similar projects. You might also want to check with experts in budget management, such as the Center for Project Management and Cost Xpert.

FANCY OFFICES

An office is a place of work, not an extension of the owner’s ego – so avoid the expensive art and tropical fish. Worried about clients coming in? They might be just as happy if you came their way. And keep in mind that, with today’s videoconferencing, cloud storage and remote access tools, you may be able to have most/all of your staff work from home, cutting rent entirely out of your budget

OUTSOURCING SERVICE AND SUPPORT

Outsourcing service and support seems like an obvious money-saver, but outsourced support staff are likely be less familiar with your product and less motivated to go above and beyond. So you might want to keep this one in-house. This doesn’t mean you have to build a helpdesk system from scratch. Look for ready-made support software, such as LogMeIn Rescue, that can meet your needs without requiring much up-front investment.

UNNECESSARY OR EXTRAVAGANT BUSINESS TRIPS

Even if you’re a bargain traveler, you may still be spending too much on travel. Ask yourself whether you can handle the business without in-person contact. Between chat and videoconferencing, chances are you can. And if you do have to travel, keep on keeping those costs down. Take public transportation, invest in reliable mobile hardware so you can stay productive and connected, and remember that pricey hotels usually charge more for Wi-Fi than the bargain one, where as often as not Wi-Fi – and breakfast – are free.

HIRING THE WRONG PEOPLE

Don’t rush into hiring anyone, interview carefully, you want more than someone with the right skills. Look for someone who’s enthusiastic, even passionate, about your product. Make sure you can trust their references; or better yet, go with people recommended by those you trust. Catherine Clifford compiled an excellent list of the hiring rules successful entrepreneurs use.

You have to spend money to make money. But if you spend too much, your company may not be around to make anything. Following these tips will help you avoid the money-wasting trap.

         

[Infographic] Wake Up and Engage! Mobile Engagement is Worth Billions

Mobile devices have forever changed the way we interact with the world around us. They have fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of micro-moments where consumers expect their questions and needs to be resolved instantly.Not surprisingly, mobile engagement (customers engaging with brands via mobile devices) has become widespread and is growing quickly – 47% year-over-year.2 More than a third of all web traffic stems from smartphones and tablets, and IBM predicts that mCommerce transactions will account for 26% of all eCommerce purchases by the end of the year. 3,4

Given the sharp rise of these interactions, we sought to understand not only what types of mobile engagements are occurring (e.g. research, purchases, support, etc.), but also what mobile engagement means for companies’ bottom lines and how – if at all – they are impacted by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Among our findings:

  • 84% use their mobile device to research products or services before making a purchase.
  • 24% of the most recent mCommerce transactions had a previous mobile engagement (i.e. the customer contacted the company via a mobile device prior to making a purchase).
  • Those who own an IoT device are 46% more likely to frequently engage with companies from their mobile device.

You can get a full copy of the Effective Mobile Engagement research report here, or get some quick highlights from the infographic below.

Effective Mobile Engagement 2015 Infographic

1 Micro-Moments, Google, 2015
2 Effective Mobile Engagement, BoldChat by LogMeIn, 2015
3 World Media Trends, FIPP, 2015
Christmas in July: The 2015 online holiday shopping forecast in 5 charts, Digiday, 2015

         

[Webinar] Seamless Mobile Shopping: What it Takes to Create a Perfect Experience

BoldChat_Mobile

More and more consumers are using their mobile devices to search and shop – in fact, Americans plan to do almost half of their holiday shopping online this year.1 Yet the best practices for providing these customers with a seamless mobile shopping experience are not very well defined. New research highlights the critical elements that can make or break a customer’s experience while shopping on mobile sites.

Does your company have a mobile engagement strategy in place for the 2015 holiday season? If not, it’s time to learn what you can do to make this year a successful one!

Join us on Tuesday, October 27th at 2pm ET for an interactive webinar with Don Davis, Internet Retailer’s Editor-in-Chief; President of the e-tailing group, Lauren Freedman; and BoldChat’s Senior Director of Products, Ross Haskell.

They’ll share tips for creating the perfect mobile shopping experience, including:

  • How to measure and benchmark your mobile site
  • What tools help customers make a purchasing decision
  • How to take your mobile customer experience to the next level

Register today!


1
Holiday Headquarters, NRF, 2015