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Unlocking Customer Service
C-Suite leaders and customer experience experts explain how prioritizing frontline employees leads to higher productivity, better customer service, and more revenue.
Sep 1, 2021
Ep. 12: How to Invest in and Implement Technology With Your Frontline Teams in Mind (with Kevin Schatz)
For years, digital transformation projects have topped priority lists of customer service and IT leaders looking to modernize their customer experience. Companies turn to technology to improve efficiencies, automate processes and scale their service organizations. But for every $1 billion invested in new technology, $112 million is lost to projects that fail. What’s more, contact center agents are already inundated with tools promising to make their jobs “easier.” The average contact center agent has to surf between 8.6 different screens to solve a single customer interaction. That doesn’t sound “easy.” Today we’re talking with Kevin Schatz, Sharpen’s CTO, to unpack how to invest in technology that helps, not hinders, your company's growth. Kevin chats through why you need to keep frontline employees in mind when choosing your tools, how to set reasonable project goals and what you need to vet with vendors before you sign on the dotted line.
Aug 25, 2021
Ep. 11: The Value Your Contact Center Brings to Your Business (with Meagan Thai)
The benefits of contact centers are crystal clear to operations executives and those who live and breathe customer service, but what about to all your other business leaders? Those who don’t deal in the day-to-day of customer service, workforce management, and customer operations can miss out on the big picture: your contact center is more than a budget line item. Contact centers serve two groups of people: Your customers and your employees. With such an impactful presence, it’s important to understand the real value a contact center has on a business and its growth potential. We’re sitting down with Meagan Thai, Director of Contact Center & UC Solutions for Telarus, to talk about how getting your contact center right is critical to improving your customer (and agent) experience. Plus, Meagan’s sharing her thoughts on where contact centers are heading in the next few years and what pain points companies seek to solve for most.
Aug 18, 2021
Ep. 10: How to Build Confidence in Your Customer Experience Investments (with Justin Robbins)
Often, the biggest threat companies face isn’t their competitors, it’s complacency. While you spend time ruminating on the next best thing in customer experience, other companies act to actually improve theirs. After a year of pause, now’s the time for action. We’re sitting down with Justin Robbins, Chief Evangelist of the CX Effect to learn the business risks of sticking to “good enough” customer experiences. Justin’s talking through what happens when companies stay the same and don’t invest in creating a better customer journey. Tune in to learn the trends leading the way in customer experience today and why it matters to foot the bill upfront, so you can make lasting improvements to your customer experience strategy. And for leaders who are ready to press start on a better customer experience, he’s touching on where today’s leaders are investing and how they’re justifying those investments - whether to co-execs, shareholders or their company’s board.
Aug 11, 2021
Ep. 9: How to Train Your Customer Service Managers & Set Team Priorities (with Brennan McEachran)
Your customer experience rides on the service your support team delivers. And that level of service is driven by your customer service managers. Turns out, your company’s managers control 70% of your employees’ engagement at work. And when your employees are more engaged, you see benefits like greater productivity, happier customers, and higher profitability (to name a few). To run a successful company, executive teams need to motivate and support their customer service managers. Then, managers can run more engaged teams and better help customers. In this episode, we’re chatting with Brennan McEachran, CEO and Co-Founder of Soapbox, which has since rebranded to Hypercontext. Hypercontext is a collaborative one-on-one and team meeting agenda app used globally by over 100,000 managers and their teams. Brennan’s talking about why supporting your company’s customer service managers and adopting a “coaching the coaches” mentality is one of the best things you can do for company success. Plus, he’s sharing actionable tips for leaders like you to make it happen.
Aug 4, 2021
Ep. 8: The Core Tenets of a Successful Customer Service Strategy (with Cheryl Helm)
It takes the average contact center 9 months to research and evaluate new contact center platforms to “fix” their customer experience. Yet too often, leaders invest in technology but don’t have the right strategy in place to deliver the basic tenets of good customer service. What’s more? Without a sound strategy for a better customer experience, contact center leaders wind up using their new tech that's packed with features just as they used their outdated phone system years prior. Let’s fix that. We’re talking to Cheryl Helm of Helm Communications on how to get the basics of customer service right. Cheryl’s helping call center leaders put strategies in place to deliver outstanding service with every interaction. And, she’s talking about how to discover the untapped potential of contact center technology, so you can finally break through barriers and build a customer experience fit for the modern customer.
Jul 28, 2021
Ep. 7: How to Use Your Contact Center’s Data to Make Better Business Decisions (with Ric Kosiba)
The best decisions are guided by data. Execs need data to manage risk, predict future business patterns, and make the best possible investment decisions to grow their organizations. But so much data is floating around your contact center, how do your leaders know what's helpful and what's not? And how do you validate your data to help you forecast future business needs? Today, Sharpen’s Chief Data Scientist Ric Kosiba explains how contact center leaders can simplify their data to make it relatable to decision-makers outside the contact center. He shares what execs like you want from your contact center data, so you can guide your contact center leaders to improve their reporting. When contact center leaders focus on sharing value, you get deeper insight from your customer service reports. And then you can make better business decisions based on all that insight.
Jul 21, 2021
Ep. 6: How to Balance Efficiency and Quality for an Outstanding CX (with Matt Benidt)
It’s typical for customer service leaders to prioritize efficiency over everything. And with 80% of customers expecting fast service, it makes sense that chugging through more interactions, faster, would feel like a top priority. But those same customers who want fast service also expect good service. They expect answers to their most pressing questions and resolutions for any issue that pops up. And, they want it delivered with a smile from your agents along the way. Unsurprisingly, it’s tough for your agents to turn on the charm and deliver this level of service at scale. Today, we’re talking to Matt Benidt, Branch Banking Operations Group Director at Western Alliance Bank on what it takes to deliver outstanding service for modern customers. In the financial services world, quality is essential. But you don’t want members to wait around for too long, either. Matt, who’s been in the financial services industry for the last ~20 years and has also held positions like VP of Retail Banking and CXO, is guiding you through the balancing act of service.
Jul 14, 2021
Ep. 5: What the Exec Team Needs to Know About Contact Centers (with Joe Staples)
Company executives get a high-level view of what’s happening across departments. They create the strategic vision for the company and define the goals and metrics to realize that vision. But often, this high-level overview leaves out key details that paint the picture of a company’s path to growth and sustainability. To close the gap between what executives know about their contact center and what information they’re missing, we’re talking to Joe Staples. Joe is a veteran of the contact center industry and served as a CMO for more than 20 years, leading the charge at companies like Interactive Intelligence, Workfront, and Motivosity. Now, he sits on the board of multiple companies (including Sharpen!) advising today’s leaders on how to grow their revenue and see greater success. We’re asking Joe what you really need to know about your contact center, so the whole C-suite can get a better grip on what’s happening with customer service (and why it matters). Joe’s talking on the top contact center trends to watch and why employee metrics, like agent turnover, are just as important as your customer metrics.
Jul 7, 2021
Ep. 4: How Remote Work Helps Contact Centers Hire & Keep Top Talent (with Kate Brouse)
Business leaders and employees alike realized the benefits of flexible work environments in 2020. And get this - we saw the benefits even after hurrying employees home and working through a pandemic. Imagine the gains when you do it right. Today we’re talking with Kate Brouse, Head of Strategic Partnerships for the National Telecommuting Institute (NTI). Kate’s talking through how embracing a remote workforce can make it easier for companies to be inclusive and hire more diverse, top talent in the contact center. She’s sharing how this year (and every year after), we have the chance to get remote work right. Without the need to rush employees home, business leaders can make intentional decisions to support flexible work environments that foster higher productivity, better morale, and lower turnover. All of which adds up to better experiences for your customers (plus a more profitable business).
Jun 30, 2021
Ep. 3: How Leaders Can Transform Employee Behaviors for a Better CX (with Chip Neidigh)
By 2023, C-Suite leaders across the globe plan to pour a collective $6.8 trillion into overhauling their technology and processes. Execs are prioritizing change management to improve their customer experience and rid companies of technical debt. But along the way, it’s up to you to transform your internal teams, driving new attitudes and behaviors to support the goals and processes you map out. We’re sitting down with Chip Neidigh, CEO and founder of Kairos - an executive coaching firm that challenges C-suite leaders to solve their hardest problems by building individual and team capacity. Chip’s sharing one tool in the Kairos toolbox, called the BOX Tool. It’s a model for coaching that’s based on aligning behaviors, outcomes, and internal transformation. He also shares his thoughts on a personality model called the Enneagram. He’ll talk through how to coach your customer service leaders away from just coercing behaviors and driving metrics in your contact center, and toward transforming your employee’s thinking to impact behaviors and business results. Check out the BOX Tool on the Kairos Website, over here.
Jun 17, 2021
Ep. 1: How People and Process Power Better Customer Service (with Laura Sikorski)
Nearly two-thirds of executives invest in digital transformation projects without knowing where gaps exist in their business first. Many companies lean on technology to solve their business problems, but tech should never be your crutch. People and processes are the real turbines powering your business and defining your customer experience. Learn why Laura Sikorski, contact center operations and technology expert, says the best businesses nail down their processes and support their people before investing in modern technology. Adding an incredible tool to the mix might be the best medicine for a low productivity plague. Or, it might give you an omnichannel experience. But how does it fit with your contact center’s current policies and processes? And how does it help your contact center reach operational and customer experience goals? Laura’s sharing why technology is the third pillar in a healthy customer service team, not the first. And, she’s giving you tips to prioritize you…
Jun 17, 2021
Ep. 2: How Customer Rage, Delight and Employee Frustration Align (With John Goodman)
Did you know 70% of employee frustrations overlap with customer frustrations? And, have you heard that creating an emotional connection with customers makes them 6x more likely to purchase from your company again? According to John Goodman, Vice Chairmain of Customer Care Measurement & Consulting (CCMC), identifying causes of customer attrition and lost sales is a drain on executives - no one likes to revisit failures. And uncovering employee frustrations doesn’t bring people joy, either. To most, bad news is seen as negative. But really it’s an opportunity. Learning where your company frustrates customers (and agents) gives you the insight you need to improve. And, understanding how to delight your customers along the way breeds lasting loyalty. Tune in to hear John talk about how getting a grip on customer rage, delight, and employee frustration helps you build a business case (and get executive buy-in) for investing in a better customer experience. P.S. Check out John's (free…
Jun 17, 2021
Introducing Sharpen's Podcast: Unlocking Customer Service
Customer service is complicated. Let’s simplify it. In this podcast we talk to C-suite leaders and CX experts who play the corporate long game. They put people first. You’ll learn how to accelerate organizational growth and deliver standout customer service through one common theme: creating a better agent experience. Our guests explore business through the lens of your frontline employees, and they give leaders like you the tips and tools to prioritize employees and flip fragmented service on its head. Subscribe and listen on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play.