1. 7 Keys to Creating a Culture of Customer Centricity

    July 8, 2012 by admin
    As a way to deal with the rising cost of doing business, some organisation outsource their call centre operations to specialised third-party call centre. While replacing an in-house call centre staff with an outsourced vendor can often save money, there are also a number of disadvantages associated with call centre outsourcing.

    One of the disadvantages of outsourcing the call centre process is the possible decline in quality of service due to the fact that the outsourcing company will not be driven by the same standards and mission that drives the organisation. They will be driven to make a profit from the services that they are providing to their client  and other businesses.

    Also if the outsourcer is operating from a different site (and even different country), with employees that are motivated by a different set of standards, then the organisation do not have any managerial presence within that operation which could lead to a loss of control of the customer experience. And for any company that values the importance its customers, this disadvantage of outsourcing may outweigh any potential advantages.

    To overcome such issue and to create a culture of customer centricity, Ramon Lcasiano of Zynga Inc. shared 7 key guidelines for creating a cultural alignment between customer service partners.

    If both the organisation and vendor collaboratively move towards these seven guidelines, they will allow for the creation of a seamless customer experience culture that pays dividends in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    1. Align on Core Values: A culturally-driven customer experience is about believing more than it is doing. Customer service partners want their paychecks and will step up when asked, but if they are not fundamentally committed to the same priorities and objectives as the brand they represent, they will always fall short in uniting to delight the customer.
    2. Reinvent Partner Engagement: Partnerships cannot be predicated on “us and them” mentalities, let alone “us versus them” mentalities. The “seamless” experience offered to customers must be rooted in a truly seamless internal experience that makes agents from the outsourcing provider feel dialled into the brand and brand staff feel dialled into the vendor.  Cultural exchange programs and agent swapping are among the practices that will actualize this concept.
    3. Unite on the Guiding Principle, the “Moment of Truth”: Did you delight the customer?  Check yes or no! In addition to sharing core values, the partners must share in recognition of a clear result that occurs at the “moment of truth” when the customer evaluates the experience he had with the brand. Contrasting views of success are unworkable here; if both brand and vendor are not united in their interpretation of that ultimate “moment,” they will struggle to create truly successful customer engagements.
    4. Magnify the Voice of the Customer: Customer service is ultimately about the customer. Excitement about organizational culture often manifests itself as “Kumbaya” initiatives that are nice on the surface but ultimately meaningless for the customer experience. True cultural revolution is about assuring that the service organizations are uniting to create the experience the customer wants, and that means basing call language, metrics, CRM programs, promotions and upsell opportunities on their ability to bridge a real gap for buyers.
    5. Motivate Agents to Excel: Excel is the key word when it comes to agent engagement strategies. Anyone can throw pizza parties or offer up half-hearted cries of, “Good job, sport!” but truly-connected, customer-centric managers know how pivotal agent happiness is to customer satisfaction. Rewards should be meaningful, substantial (think, more than a free cup of coffee) and in the spirit of the organization’s culture. Rewards are only worthwhile if they help make agents want to succeed as brand ambassadors.
    6. Shore Does Not Matter: Focus on Customers at Every Touch Point – As long as customers are at the center of support efforts, shore need not be a concern. Some businesses prefer to keep their processes in-house. Others see value in outsourcing their workloads.  But neither is inherently better than the other; the differentiator is a customer focus. The office’s location does not matter if your brand can consistently be there for the customer. Successful agents identify themselves by their role in delivering customer satisfaction rather than by their native accent or office location.
    7. Stand for Something Bigger: Research continues to show that customers gravitate towards brands that stand for something. It might not be wise to vocally support a polarizing political candidate, but showing evidence of morality and support for the community is a clear key to the customer’s heart. It is also a great means of engaging agents, who want to feel a fundamental attachment to the brand they represent. Believing in what the brand believes them will make them infinitely more confident and comfortable representing that organization to customers.
    This blog is credited to Brian Cantor – see his full blog for further information.


  2. What is Unified Communications (UC)?

    May 18, 2012 by admin
    Unified communications (UC) systems integrate disparate networks, devices, and business processes.UC allows users to send messages on one medium and to receive responses on another one. For example a voicemail message could be accessed via e-mail or a cell phone. If the sender was currently online according to the “presence information” and currently accepting calls, a response could be sent immediately using text chat or a video call. Alternatively it could be responded to using a non real-time message to be accessed using a variety of media.

    In the following clip Joe Schurman, founder and CEO of Evangelyze Communications, is interviewed by Russ Cappers on the Business Makers Show. Joe simply and clearly explains what Unified Communications (UC) is, he also highlights fascinating innovations in communications and collaboration technologies.



  3. Design Thinking: a pathway for innovation

    January 4, 2012 by

    If you are a design engineer, process engineer or even someone just interested in understanding how to facilitate innovation in your organisation you have probably heard of the term “Design Thinking”.

    Design thinkers use a number of tools to facilitate innovation processes e.g. mind mapping, sketches, and rapid prototypes, and brainstorming to build on the ideas of customers and the design team.

    Design thinking can be broken down into the following four stages:

    1. Defining the problem
    2. Creating and considering many options
    3. Refining selected options
    4. Picking a winner and executing the solution or design
    Design thinking is used to solve complex problems as described in the clip below which explains how a design team developed two revolutionary prototype pint glasses for reducing injuries resulting from glassing attacks.

    Our next Best Practice Report which is programmed for publication in February 2012, will cover the subject of “Design Thinking” in detail.

    If you are not already a BPIR member this is an excellent time to consider joining and enjoy the many BPIR membership benefits.

    A 20 percent discount is available this month only when joining (offer expired).

    Ahmed Abbas

  4. Quality and Innovation for Growth

    December 29, 2011 by
    eCubed Building Workshop
    The NZGBC 5 Green Star Rating
    Right specifications, right time, right price and customer satisfaction. We hear these phrases everywhere and any in industry because as it is important that an organisation’s financial policies and marketing strategies are well designed and established, it is also essential for  organisations to have  an clearly defined quality system and follow it but is that enough?

    Years ago the demand of customers was for quality products and services but now in the present information age, customers are more aware of quality  and can often find a choice of “quality” suppliers. Therefore organisations need to provide something additional in order to delight the customer. That’s why delivering a service that is unique to each customer is becoming more important than delivering a standard solution.  In other words, organisations need to offer innovative solutions instead of trying to cut the cost of goods or services if they want to stay in business.

    One of these organisations is eCubed Building Workshop Ltd a leading sustainable building services consultancy with offices in Auckland and Wellington. eCubed specialises in green buildings design and have a strong commitment towards customer service. In 2010 one of their buildings was certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) as New Zealand’s second six-star building, with a rating of 83 points. It is currently New Zealand's highest rated Green Star building and  received a record four out of a possible five points for innovation. Due to eCubed’s focus on innovation and customer service they have won 9 awards since 1999.

    Below is an interview with eCubed’s Director Patrick Arnold talking about his journey with eCubed Building Workshop Ltd.

    Ahmed Abbas

    When eCubed Building Workshop director Patrick Arnold was young, he was angry at how New Zealand houses were damp, inefficient and cold. So, he developed a service to change that, even if it was only one house at a time.

    The entrepreneurial building science graduate teamed up with fellow building science guns Quentin Jackson and Barbara Joubert to form the Wellington company Building Workshop. The company offered technical services such as thermal, daylight and energy modelling.

    As the green building sector grew, the team realised they needed an engineering component to offer a whole solution to customers so in 2005 it merged with Auckland engineering consultancy eCubed.

    A typical project? "We get asked in by an architect who will have a concept sketch of a building which could be anything from a couple of lines on the back of a napkin to a full computer drawing. They'll say – this is what I want to do. What do you reckon?"

    Sustainable design was optimising the building and making sure it would work, Arnold said. The building science aspect meshes with the engineering side to assess the design, using computer simulation before building begins to make sure the design team is on the right track.

    "Once the building is complete and operational, we can go in again and do things like energy audits and post-occupancy evaluation to provide more feedback on how things actually worked."

    eCubed Building Workshop is trying first and foremost to be the best at what it can do. "If we end up taking over the world that's great – as long as there's no drop in the quality of our work."

    Why did you become an entrepreneur?

    "A couple of reasons. Firstly, my previous work experience had been in London on OE in a nine-to-five office job and I was determined not to work for `the man'. More seriously, the larger, more traditional companies didn't really offer the opportunity to do building science as a career per se."

    What have been the biggest obstacles in running your company?

    "A lot of the construction industry in New Zealand has a very short-term focus, particularly on upfront capital costs. So to start off, we had to really educate the market, and industry in general, as to what we did and why it was worth it.

    "We were lucky in that we were doing this at the same time as the natural tipping point occurred and a lot of what we were talking about became mainstream.
    "Recently we've also had a combination of the [global financial crisis] which has tightened everybody's purse strings – unfortunately sustainability in construction is still often seen as a nice-to-have, which makes it one of the first things to go when money gets tight … coupled with certain political frustrations."

    Name one thing you've learnt while in business and from whom?

    "This is going to sound like a cop-out but we all learn things every day from the other directors, the staff, clients and even the hard way – from our competitors.

    "Learning (or at a corporate level, research) is fundamental. As soon as you stop learning or doing research or creating innovative solutions on projects, it's probably time to stop and have a think about what else you could be doing."

    What are your business and personal goals?

    "When I was younger (and probably more naive), I was really quite angry at how New Zealanders' houses were cold, damp and inefficient. I wanted to provide a service to change that – even if only one house at a time. Nowadays I'm less angry but I've extended my focus to all buildings and making sure they work.. .

    "As a company we're focused on trying to be the best rather than the biggest, so we're very focused on the quality of our work. This means we don't like to walk away as soon as the mayor has cut the ribbon, but prefer to stay involved, monitoring the building to make sure it's behaving and learn from it."

    Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

    "Don't be scared to be bold, but be prepared to be patient."

    Article source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6191136/Hatred-of-cold-homes-motivated-entrepreneur

  5. Innovative employee rewards and recognition schemes

    May 31, 2010 by

    David Harvey, managing director of U.K. research company Business Intelligence (BI), writes [1] that employers are turning to innovative approaches for rewarding their staff.

    In a recent BI survey of small and medium-sized U.K. enterprises a large majority of respondents reported that recognition was as important to them as pay and benefits.  BI’s research identified the following key practices that helped maximise the value of organisational rewards:


    • Promoting the value of rewards; communicating all the aspects of an individual's reward package was seen as being essential in creating a better appreciation of the value that the package actually represented.
    • Being innovative; often it was not the most costly perks that employees appreciated the most.
    • Giving control to employees; self service using Web-based flexible benefit "menus" helped to minimise costs.
    • Delegation of payment options to line managers; enabling IT systems so that line managers were able to analyse and devise pay policies which improved local performance.
    • Introducing health and well-being programmes; the provision of gyms, health checks, on-site medical and dental services, health advice, and health-education sessions was shown to cut absenteeism and to raise performance, while contributing significantly to profitability.
    • Improving loyalty through engagement strategies; e.g. allowing staff to work on their own projects, or to qualify for superior perks.
    • Introducing employee recognition schemes; these underpin performance based cultures.
    • Consulting employees; to find out which rewards they value most.


    [1] R10723 Harvey, D., (2008), The morale high ground, Director, Vol 61, Iss 7,pp 60-65, Institute of Directors, London


    Members can click here to read the full article.


    Neil Crawford