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Auto Attendant: TCN Releases Intelligent Skills-Based Routing

June 1, 2011 16:11 by jllorens

(From TMCnet.com) TCN has unveiled its intelligent skills-based routing that aims to match the appropriate agent to the right customer. The intelligent skills-based routing is expected to push the envelope of auto attendants and virtual call center technology development.

With the new routing skills, TCN has revolutionized the way skills are matched on the back-end, significantly improving connection times.

“Collecting is hard enough without leaving money on the table because of ossified technology,” said Terrel Bird, CEO of TCN, in a statement. “TCN continues pushing the technology envelope, particularly in the credit and collections arena, in response to client demand -- clients who lost calls every day because of slow or non-existent matching.”

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ASTD Books on Social Learning, Customer Service Are Top Picks

January 19, 2011 10:40 by Kristen Fyfe

Two ASTD books have recently been featured as "Top Picks." The New Social Learning by ASTD CEO Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner was featured on the Washington Post's leadership blog as a Top 5 Pick in leadership books. It was also featured on Livemint.com as a Top Pick as well.

I also heard from Bill Keenan, the editor of the Customer Service Newsletter, who said they've selected ASTD author Maxine Kamin's book 10 Steps to Successful Customer Service as one of the best customer service books for 2010! Bill tells me they'll be featuring the book in the February issue. I'm really looking forward to seeing that!

 


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Categories: ASTD in the News | Books

How to excel at customer service

November 16, 2010 13:00 by Ann Pace

(From The Financial Post) -- Relationships are pivotal in business and none is more important than the one with the client. When employees are able to help their clients, with adequate latitude and appropriate tools and training, it reinforces the customer service provider relationship, and gives employees a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Customers will be loyal when they have developed trust and a relationship with the individual who is providing them with a service. It’s a win-win situation.

Yet, even as more employers look for ways to engage employees more, this basic concept may have been lost. Many larger organizations, in misguided efforts at cost cutting, outsource or under-resource their most important relationship — the one between their employees and clients.

In these instances, customers left to fend for themselves, trying to get information or resolve issues through an impenetrable technical brick wall, rarely speak to someone who can resolve their problem, and even if they do it comes after hours of talking to others, leaving messages, or waiting on hold. Sometimes customer service staff have a minimum of training or information and little latitude to take action. Hence these poor employees spend all day listening to angry and frustrated customers. This is not a dynamic that creates meaningful work for staff or happy customers.

When it comes to good customer service, it’s not what the organization declares in advertising and posted vision statements that count, but what they do and how they treat people. Action and putting resources in place speaks louder than words.

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Metamedia Receives Creative Excellence Award for Customer Service Training Video

November 4, 2010 14:30 by Ann Pace

MetaMedia Training International, Inc. has won a 2010 Silver Communicator Award for Creative Excellence for a video-based customer service training program developed for Marriott International’s Residence Inn hotel. The winning entry’s competition category was Video for Training/Corporate Use. The program illustrates Residence Inn’s use of team-oriented “huddles” to facilitate exemplar daily customer service and invoke cohesive team spirit among its’ employees.

“We are honored to be included amongst several top companies receiving awards this year including Disney, HBO, MTV and Yahoo!,” said MetaMedia Vice President of Program Development, Doug Stone. “Being recognized with a prestigious Silver Communicator Award for the high level of work and creative quality brings great pride to our company”.

The daily huddle is part of the Residence Inn culture. MetaMedia’s video uses the huddles to depict real-life situations that hotel associates face on a daily basis, and presents the best solutions and practices for handling customer logistics and needs in an informative and fun manner.

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Research and Markets: Excelling at Customer Service Training Courses

October 19, 2010 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From Business Wire) -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Excelling at Customer Service" training to their offering.

The Excelling at Customer Service training bundle consists of the following ten courses:

(1) Corporate Culture: Building the Service Foundation

As the saying goes, "You can't create the cathedral before you build the foundation." That's why the first course in this Customer Service series focuses on building the foundation of good service. The buzz term is "Corporate Culture." It's not some rare disease, but your workplace "culture" can be positively or negatively infectious as it relates to customer service. In this course, you'll get the basics about corporate culture, and how it impacts service.

You'll be able to identify on-the-job issues that are barriers to service excellence. Simple, but effective, exercises will enable you to differentiate between a healthy corporate culture, and an unhealthy one. At the completion of this course, you'll be able to develop a step-by-step action plan that sets the tone for an organization that prides itself on quality service.

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Workers Agree: Company Culture Matters

October 5, 2010 14:30 by Ann Pace

(From Business Wire) -- As many companies continue to focus on recession management strategies such as cutting costs and increasing operational efficiencies, Randstad’s latest Work Watch survey reveals company culture is a critical driver of business success. In fact, two thirds of working adults (66 percent) believe that company culture is very important to the success of their organizations.

The survey also found that employees believe company culture has the greatest impact on employee morale (35 percent), followed by employee productivity (22 percent). Twenty-three percent of younger workers, ages 18 to 34, say it plays the biggest role in building job satisfaction.

While company culture may be the secret weapon companies need to retain workers and increase productivity and morale, it has suffered during the past two years. According to survey respondents, 59 percent believe that recent economic events have had a negative impact on company culture. With layoffs, reduced benefits and wages, morale has suffered and many workers are feeling disengaged from their employers.

“Companies that will perform well will nurture the factors that make their employees feel happier and engaged at work, more connected to overall results, and more motivated to make a strong contribution,” said Eileen Habelow, PhD., Randstad’s senior vice president of organizational development. “Going forward, companies can’t ignore culture. Rather, it should be addressed as a critical component of their overall business strategy.”

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Call Center Today Launches Unique 24 Hour Training Marathon

September 23, 2010 15:00 by Ann Pace

Call Center Today, a leading call center training and consulting company, is hosting its first 24 hour Training Marathon, a series of one-of-a-kind call center learning webinars, beginning on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 8:00 am EST. The first Training Marathon is focused on customer service for call center trainers and managers.

For 24 straight hours, Call Center Today’s consulting team will lead participants from across the globe in 24 unique customer service training sessions. At the top of each hour a new 30 minute training session will begin, followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers with Call Center Today team experts.

The entire event is focused on presenting practical, inventive and deeply meaningful customer service training for call centers, covering topics that can be used immediately. Presentations will center on customer service telephone skills; management practices; customer service scripting; quality assurance programs; hiring and training programs; customer service supervisor tasks; agent retention and much more.

“This is the best customer service training value in the world,” said Dan Coen, Call Center Today President.  “An entire company can attend with one registration.  The company gets 24 special customer service training sessions. The sessions will be made available for 24 days after the event, so if team members cannot attend they can download the presentations.”

Learn more.

 


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Soundview Live Author Series from Soundview Executive Book Summaries presents FREE webinar: A conversation with the authors of Lead with Your Customer: Mark David Jones and J. Jeff Kober

August 16, 2010 12:17 by Victoria Devaux

"If it doesn't work in the real world, you're wasting my time!" This is the motto of Mark David Jones and J. Jeff Kober, founders of World Class Benchmarking and authors of Lead with Your Customer.

At this Soundview Live event you will learn in a very practical way how to start with your customer and focus the right effort on the right things to achieve world-class results. Mark Jones and Jeff Kober present their leadership model through the lens of your customer — both internally, as you engage your employees (your organization's culture), and externally, as you engage your customers (building your brand). 

 

You will learn: 

• As a leader, how you can establish your foundation for excellence.

• How to create a high-performing corporate culture by optimally serving your employees.

• How to lead in building your brand by satisfying your customers with excellent products and services.

• How you can ensure alignment and integrity for ongoing, continuous improvement.

 

Join us on August 18th at 12:00 PM EDT to learn how to transform your organization while serving customers and employees alike, and to ask your questions of the authors. You can invite your whole leadership team to sit in.

Register here.


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On Leadership: Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh on who he won't hire

July 15, 2010 12:00 by Ann Pace

(From The Washington Post) Video Transcript -- Tony Hsieh: I think maybe 50 years ago you had to choose between maximizing profits and making employees and customers happy. I think we are at the beginning of a very special time where, because everyone is so hyper connected, and because information travels so quickly through Twitter, blogs and so on, it is actually possible to have it all -- to make employees happy, to make customers happy, drive profits and growth, and ultimately make the shareholders, the investors happy.

Tom Heath: I'm Tom Heath, this is On Leadership, and today we have Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com and author of the new book, Delivering Happiness.

Tony Hsieh: For us, the whole belief is that our culture should be our number one priority, and if we get the culture right then most of the other stuff -- like great customer service, building a long term enduring brand -- will just happen naturally on its own.

We actually have ten core values, essentially a formalized definition of our culture. A lot of companies have what they call core values or guiding principles and so on. The problem is that they are usually very lofty sounding and they read like a press release the marketing department put out, and maybe you learn about it on day one of orientation but then it becomes just a plaque on the lobby wall.

For us we wanted to come up with 'committable' core values, and by committable I mean we are willing to hire and fire people based on whether they are living up to those core values, independent of their actual job performance.

When managers from other companies join us, we tell them we expect them to be spending 10 to 20 percent of their time outside the office, hanging out with their team, getting to know the people they work with. They are initially surprised and ask us, "That sounds fun, but is it really working?" Then we ask the people who have actually done it, 'How much more productive and effective is your team because of the higher levels of trust?' Communication is better; people are willing to do favors for each other because they are doing favors for friends not just co-workers. The answers we get back as far as increased productivity is anywhere from 20 percent to 100 percent.

Read more or watch the interview.


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Tech-Enabled Employees Critical to Much Needed In-Store Customer Experience Overhaul

July 2, 2010 13:30 by Ann Pace

(From PRWEB) -- RSR Research's latest report, "The Customer-centric Store 2010: How Retailers Engage Technology-enabled Customers" finds the need for an improved customer experience to be a critical business challenge in 2010; the number one opportunity in the current market is to refine the customer’s in-store experience. The full report can be downloaded at http://www.retailsystemsresearch.com/_document/summary/1130, and is sponsored by Manhattan Associates, NCR and Reflexis, with supporting sponsorship from Microsoft.

"In the early days of ecommerce, retailers and web designers attempted to mimic the store experience online," said Paula Rosenblum, Managing Partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report. "Now they are asking, ‘How can we make the store experience as satisfying as the web?’ The answer is not in mimicking non-store channels, but in creating a differentiated experience that harmonizes with non-store channels. And to do that requires store associates with much more access to technology than they have today."

"With the smartphone, never before has the customer/employee balance been so maligned," adds RSR Managing Partner Steve Rowen, also co-author. "Yet the most well-informed customers still enjoy visiting stores, and it is imperative retailers understand this, nurture it, and rapidly consider new technologies that give employees a fighting chance of being helpful. The future of stores relies on the notion of eye-to-eye ‘assisted service’ – something that online video chats still can’t replicate.”

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