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How Customer Service will change with WebRTC

The Past And Future Of Customer Service

 

Our definitions and expectations regarding customer service have changed greatly over the years.  Back in the day, it was personal.  Joe walked in to his local bank and everyone smiled, knew him by name, asked about his kids, and helped out how they could (sounds nice).  Since the introduction of the Internet, this has of course changed.  I personally use Schwab as my bank of choice, and have literally never been to a branch.  I’ve called their help line, briefly dealt with the automated “enter your account number now” attendant (also known as an IVR, or Interactive Voice Response), and ultimately resolved any issue with a typically friendly representative over the phone.  In my opinion, their customer service is excellent, and it’s one of the reasons I’m still a client.  That said, there is still a lot of room for improvement, and I believe we find ourselves on the verge of a whole new customer service experience.

Unified Communications

While the imaginations at work are naturally diverse and broadly focused, 2013 and subsequent years should see many of them narrow in on unified communications (UC) and the customer experience.  What I mean by UC is the convergence of voice, video, and data through all of their many mediums and channels.  This convergence will have an impact all over the business world, but will be particularly felt in customer service (and sales, but that’s for another read).  In the bank example above, the automated IVR sloppily tries to take an incoming voice call, glean some relevant data about the caller, and then connect the customer to the appropriate representative.  There lies the often-frustrating rub that we have all experienced.  After typing in your account number and waiting, you finally reach a representative who, through no fault of their own, must ask you again for your account number.  This is because large companies move slowly and still rely on expensive, legacy backend systems that aren’t adequately integrated with each other, and thus do not effectively pass along that data with your call.  Fortunately, with recent additions to the global technology toolbox, these issues are starting to be addressed aggressively.  WebRTC is a new technology standard that builds voice, video, and data directly into the browser, without any additional plug-ins or installations required.  I won’t discuss it in great detail (see Blog on WebRTC) but it effectively makes unified communications a reality and priority for opportunists with an eye towards the future.  Now any web developer can create UC apps that would have cost millions five years ago, and we should soon see disruptive changes in the ways consumers and businesses interact online.

The New Customer Experience

Imagine you have a question about your bank’s website.  You can’t find that tax form you need and the 15th is around the corner.  Without any additional installations or third party apps, you could be video chatting “Amy” with the click of a button.  With your permission, she could take over your screen to help solve your problem, or she could send you the form you need directly through the browser (again, all thanks to WebRTC and its peer-to-peer component).  Of course, you won’t always want to video chat your bank’s customer service rep, but all of that functionality will be available and the channels you use will be up to you.  Because WebRTC is mobile compatible, with a simple transfer button you could leave your computer and finish up your call on the go.  From the business’ point of view and with inevitable CRM integration, they will be able to see who you are, where you are, your account number, etc., and could answer the call with a comment on your local weather.  Seeing the face of your customer service rep seems a bit creepy to think about, but as with all things (Facebook, Google’s Streetview) the public will slowly but surely get used to this personalization of the online customer experience.

Let us know your thoughts.  Who do you think will profit from the disruptive changes discussed above?  Will the legacy backend providers (Oracle, Avaya, etc.) be able to keep up, or will the smaller, more nimble companies be the ones who take advantage?

Author: Max McChesney

 

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How Important Is Your Web site? Should You Use Web Conversion Tools?

The answer of course is… it depends.  If your service or product is commonly found on the Internet, or more correctly, searched for on the Internet, then your web site may be very important.

I am always surprised at the amount of time and energy some businesses will devote to their web site, and yet forget that all of that energy doesn’t mean much unless the site will turn a visitor into a prospect or customer.

I have seen ten’s of thousands of dollars spent on building a site, adding social media sites, paying an Internet marketing company to promote a site, using pay per click to drive traffic, all the while forgetting to use simple and very inexpensive tactics like click to call software  like( www.teledini.com ) or Live chat services, which are abundant.

The research and white papers on Web Site conversion I have seen all show an increase in visitors to prospects or customers when you utilize these type tools. Yet, you just don’t see then implemented enough.

When I ask a business why they haven’t used web site conversion software ( Live chat, Click to call, Click to call back)  the answer is generally they didn’t have any idea how to put it on there site, and in the case of Live chat, who would be the employee(s) responsible for communicating with a web visitor.

Most of those challenges are small,  and the services offer additional solutions to assist. Frankly, the person who does sales for you (or your sales department) would LOVE to have their browser light up with a prospect asking questions.

The better and more sophisticated web conversion software services have call routing capabilities so a Click to call prospect can be sent to who ever, and where ever in the business. You can have your office phone ring, a cell phone, or sent to any number you like.

Look at  the features a click to call program offers https://www.teledini.com/features

The cost is going to be insignificant as well. You may pay .10 to .50  for a click to call prospect connecting with you. Live chat services can be found for $29.00 a month for a small business.  Just Google Live Chat services or click here to see that search

I know how difficult keeping up with the Internet is for a small business,  but it’s important.  Do your self a favor and check out all the very inexpensive and easily implemented ways there are to maximize your investment in your web presence.

We are recommending these to all of our clients, and will be happy to report on the results.  Check back for updates!

Boulder CO. Moving Expereince. Read before you start a Moving Company

Have you ever thought starting a moving company would be easy? Seems like the type of company that is pretty low tech , and high volume. The stats show every American household moves every 7 or 8 years. That’s a lot of business. If I was 22, I would think, heck, get a big truck, hire some strong people, get the insurance, and off you go.

I have had the great experience of  moving a large house twice over the last 11 years. So now I can view the process from the consumer side. There are several mistakes I made in the process, and they highlight how difficult running a moving company must be.

Lets start with sales process.  You will be competing against every company on Craig’s list and in the coupon books. This really is a discount driven business for the standard community moves. Even in Boulder County, where, for the most part you have two type moves, students using a pickup, and corporate moves where cost is not near the top when it comes to decisions.

Frankly I looked at 4 or 5 companies. Some small and new, and a few established.  My main priority was a 100% reliable company. We needed to make the move happen on time , based on the closing of a house. After that, all the standard stuff. I had to trust them, (as years ago I almost lost several expensive musical instruments as I followed a cheap moving company with my belongings all packed into a rental truck, and watched as they decided to take a detour to drop some of my stuff at their local storage area). Another story, but it did teach me a lesson. One must be very careful in selecting a mover. It’s like hiring a bartender… you better find an honest one because there are 100’s of ways to be dishonest in the business.

Although several of the discount movers tempted me with a price that was 30% lower than the big established firms,  I went with a company that had been in business for over 100 years with a high trust factor, Boulder Valley Transfer. They had the best presentation, and great moving tips on their moving tips blog on their web site about moving. Although the cost was higher, it seemed fair, as the sales person broke it all down into the costs… Labor Hours, Trucks (2)  and materials. As a business guy I could pretty much figure out this wasn’t a unfair or inflated cost.  Besides, we had a coupon. 😉  Several of the Discount companies didn’t even come to the house to look around, they just took the size of the home and rooms and said … this many hours this many people.  Scary.

Here is where stuff went wrong, and it was all about us. We decided NOT to have professional packers. Lets save some money and pack all 30 years of accumulated stuff ourselves. How hard can that be?  My wife had a small work schedule for the month leading up to the move.  Well, we were really stupid. How ever many hours you think it will take you to pack up the house for a move, please multiply it by 4.  I Am not joking.  I had figured 40 hours.  

As the final week approached before the big move I thought we could use a little help, as I looked around and figured 33% was completed. So we hired 2 people for 2 days to come help.  That’s 32 hours. After those two days we were closer to 65% packed, with two days to go before the move. At this point I am worried.

So I hire a couple of more professional packers for the day before the move ( the other two were not professional packers. Here’s what I found. A professional moving company packs your things about 5 times faster, and more securely than friends, or hired labor.  So even though you pay twice as much you will save a bunch using the pros in this.

We are still about 85%  when the movers show up. I had checked out Boulder Valley Transfers blog on moving tips several times that week, and there is some good stuff on there. Open me first boxes (GREAT IDEA). My wife marked every box with a  room code. We had room codes up in our new home so the movers could just look at the color coded slip taped to the box, and get it to its correct destination.

Let me tell you, that 15%  that wasn’t packed made  this a really challenging move.  I actually called Boulder Valley Transfer the day before to warn them, and see what we could do. I guess this is more common that you think. So if you are thinking of starting a moving company and envision your people walking into homes with every thing perfectly boxed up and ready to go,that’s not the way it goes.\

The thing is they probable spent an extra 2 hours (three of them, so 6 hours) packing stuff during the move, and yet some how made the move happen for less than the estimated charges. You know how?  Because they are well paid pro’s!  If you had hired a bunch or part time college guys, this move would still be going on!

 

So if you think running or starting a moving company looks pretty easy, think again!  Leave it to the pros.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Clients and excellent Denver Businesses.

I always thought it would be a great idea for someone to produce a web site where sub contractors, and companies that work for other businesses could rate those businesses. After all, if you think about it, how a business treats their vendors is a big indicator of the quality of service you will receive from that company.

It’s the same premise as the old, there are two types of people in the world and you can easily identify them by the way they treat a waitress.  I was very disappointed when I read about a certain mega Internet/Computer business man who in his biography seemed to treat waitresses  very poorly.  I mean… come on! I was a waiter when I was 20. You learn pretty fast about these two types.

The way a business treats it’s vendors is the same thing to me. If I really want to check out a company before we do business, I will ask to speak to their vendors. You should try it!  It can save you a great many challenges.

So, In that spirit I just wanted to give thumbs up to the following clients for making our A+, really great to work with list.  These businesses and the people behind them are a true joy to work with!  I have included our more recent clients, so if you are not on the list, it has nothing to do with how we feel about you. We love all of our clients!

First and most recent is the Bankruptcy Law Firm of LaCroix and Hand, P.C. in Grand Junction. Absolutely the greatest people to work with. I am confident that is I had a legal issue and needed a law firm , these folks would be a pleasure to work with.

And if you need a Denver Painter, Kevin  at American Painting Specialists has been fantastic to work with. I am sure that professionalism is the same if not better at the customer level.

And, finally for now, working with Ameraclean carpet cleaning has been great. As a Denver carpet cleaning company they specialize in pet stain removal.  As a ling time pet owner, I know the number one thing I want from getting the rugs and carpets clean is stain removal. Very professional  and very good at what they do.

A big Thanks to all of these businesses for being so great to work with!

Mike

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