Keeping the Customer Experience Fresh Through Responsiveness (How Hello Fresh delighted me by keeping me apprised)

 

Mature businesswoman smiling

On Sunday I had to reach out to my grocery delivery service for help. I sent an email and almost immediately I received an automatic reply. The reply was simple, just letting me know that my email had been received.

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Hi there,

Thanks so much for getting in touch! 

We have received your email and will respond shortly.

While you wait, take a look at our FAQ’s at http://www.hellofresh.com/faq/, in case your answer lies there.

Lastly, if you need to make meal choice, update your payment details, cancel or pause your account, please login https://www.hellofresh.com/customer/account/login/.

Talk to you soon,

The Friendly Freshers

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I appreciate getting an immediate response to my query, even when I know this is an automated computer generated response. It lets me know my email successfully reached the company. It puts me at ease.

When I’ve contacted this company over email in the past, the response from a service rep is pretty fast, usually within 1-2 hours. But nearly 24 hours had passed and I hadn’t heard back from the company. It was Martin Luther King Day and I thought perhaps they were short-staffed with people taking the day off. My kids were out of school and my husband and I had also taken the day off. But, to my delight, exactly 24 hours after my initial email, I got a second automated email from the company.

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Hello, Myra,

We’re sorry we haven’t gotten back to you yet. We have received your message and will respond to you very shortly. Thank you for bearing with us.

If you have anything else to add, please just reply here http://hellofreshusa.zendesk.com/hc/requests/854899 and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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I loved this second email, so much so, that I took time out of my holiday weekend to sit down and talk to you about it.

Hello Fresh normally replies to emails within 1-2 hours. But this time they didn’t, but they proactively updated me. This little update, timed perfectly at 24 hours after my initial communication, assured me that my email did not get lost and that they were on top of things. This update kept me from losing confidence in the company and it took away any need for me to reach out again by email or telephone. It protected me from becoming upset or even worse; it protected me from defecting.

Keeping customers apprised via automated emails is brilliant. It puts customers at ease, helps customers feel confident that the company is working on the problem, and it keeps customers from feeling they need to reach out to the company a second time.

The customer experience needs to reduce customer effort, keep customers apprised and it’s a treat when the experience can delight customers. Hello Fresh did each of these things by simply having an automated response built in to launch 24 hours after my initial email.

When you don’t immediately acknowledge a customer a customer’s inquiry, they may wonder if their communication even reached you and this may prompt follow-up communication that cost you time and money. Failing to acknowledge customer inquiries and not providing updates can result in losing customer confidence and trust.

What You Can Do

Review one aspect of your customer experience and explore how you can reduce customer effort and keep customers apprised. If you’re feeling really creative, consider how you might add surprise or delight to this aspect of the customer experience.

The Bottom Line

 

The outcome of an automated customer apprising strategy is customers who are updated and less likely to have to follow up to check in, and your organization will build customer confidence and trust through proactive communication.

Myra Golden is a customer experience keynote speaker and trainer who travels North America looking for great stories to share, and new ways to help her clients deliver the best possible customer experience.

4 Pain Points of Coaching Employees and How to Handle Them

 

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As I sit down to write this, I have an unsightly burn on my right hand. Before my keynote tomorrow morning, I’ll have to find the nearest drugstore and buy a discrete looking Band-Aid to cover the sore. Perhaps the front desk of this lovely bed and breakfast has Band-Aids. I’ll check there first. But not before I talk to you about hot stoves and pain points to coaching your employees.

My children and husband love my homemade bread, so before business trips I try to make a fresh loaf and leave it for them to enjoy. In addition to my basic white bread, I made a dessert bread for my daughter, Key Lime Bread.

It was my first time making this dessert bread. I did the toothpick test to make sure it was cooked nicely all the way through. When I removed the toothpick from the bread, I bumped my hand on the top of the inside of the hot oven. It immediately stung. I stood in front of the open oven, toothpick in hand, for a couple of seconds wondering how I could have been so careless.

Two days later in a bed and breakfast in Ohio, I have an ugly sore on my right hand. I talk with my hands, so this a problem on the big stage. I’ll definitely get a Band-Aid for tomorrow.

I was careless and I got burned. The oven is impersonal. It didn’t care that I was baking bread as a loving gesture for my family. I touched the hot surface, so I got burned. The sting of the burn was immediate. If I went back and touched the inside of a hot oven again, say in two weeks, I’d still get burned. I knew the oven was hot, so, the heat was foreseeable. If you touch the inside of my oven while it’s hot, you, too, will get burned.

Giving feedback and addressing unacceptable performance with employees should be like an oven throwing off heat. The feedback should be immediate, impersonal and consistent. Consequences for not making corrections after receiving feedback should be foreseeable.

old stove

 

It’s what Douglas McGregor, management consultant, calls the Hot Stove Rule.

Feedback to employees should follow the Hot Stove Rule.

 When we fail to follow the hot stove rule, we make coaching harder for ourselves; we’re unfair to our employees; we may put our companies at risk for litigation.

1. Immediate – Unacceptable employee performance or attitude needs to be addressed immediately. Not after things have built up overtime, not on the annual review; immediately. I felt the burn immediately. Your employees need, and deserve, immediate feedback on their performance.

2. Foreseeable – I knew my oven was hot. I simply got careless and allowed my bare hand to come in contact with the metal surface. The potential for injury was foreseeable. I turned the oven on, I let it preheat, I felt the heat. Any disciplinary action you take on an employee; verbal warning, written warning, probation, etc., must be foreseeable. Your expectations must be clear. Consequences for failure to meet expectations must also be clear. Constructive feedback and discipline should never be a shock to your employees.

3. Consistent – If I go into my kitchen next week and touch the oven while it’s hot, I will get burned. Again. The oven is consistent in delivering its consequences. Feedback, coaching and discipline are to be consistent if they are to be effective in ushering in change. You can’t ignore a variance today and then stand firm against the same infraction 6 months from now. You must consistently address unacceptable performance and poor attitudes. You must consistently offer support, coaching and counsel.

4. Impersonal – I touched the inside surface of a 375 degree oven. That is why I got burned. It was not personal. The sting and ugly sore are the consequences I must endure because I touched a hot oven. The burn had nothing to do with my years of experience in the kitchen, or lack thereof, professional title, or how the oven felt about me. It was impersonal. Your feedback and discipline must be impersonal too. Consistently give the same level of feedback, coaching and discipline to any employee who fails to meet expectations.

The bed and breakfast does not have Band-Aids, but there is Target 3 miles away. I can cover my mistake with a bandage. But it’s not that easy for you. You have a professional and ethical responsibility to coach your employees fairly and to give them every possible opportunity to deliver their best performance. You do this by ensuring that your coaching and discipline is immediate, foreseeable, consistent and impersonal.

 

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We Need to Talk About How You Coach Your Employees

Live Webinar with Myra Golden

This new program contains a step-by-step approach to coaching agents to deliver the best customer interactions

And right now, you can get a special $50 discount when you use code COACHBETTER2016, but only if you hurry.  Go to:

https://myragolden.com/webinar_WeNeed2Talk.php

You’ll gain a new sense of confidence, satisfaction and pride in your quality assurance efforts and lower your stress level.

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What Gets Measured Gets Improved (Contact Center Monitoring + Includes Sneak Peak at Zappos Monitoring Form)

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What Gets Measured Gets Improved

In 2015 I lost 22 pounds. While working on getting my weight down I hopped on the scale every morning. Many would say that weighing daily can discourage you or that it’s just not a smart approach to weight loss. I disagree.

My daily weigh-ins allowed me to celebrate my weight loss when I was on track and immediately know when I needed make a change in my caloric intake and/or exercise when I wasn’t losing weight.

It was Peter Drucker who said what gets measured gets improved. He was right. Measuring (daily) helped me improve my weight. And it can help you improve your customer experience.

I am not suggesting you measure your agents or your customer experience daily. So you can relax. I am saying that you need to measure agents and your overall customer experience. And you need to measure often.

One of the “scales” for your customer experience is your monitoring form.

The scale that helps you measure and make real improvements is your monitoring form. A well-designed monitoring form, combined with courageous and consistent agent coaching, helps you improve your customer experience.

Pull out your quality monitoring form this month. Carefully review the dimensions you’re measuring. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are there things we should be measuring that we aren’t currently measuring?
  • Are we measuring things that don’t truly impact the customer experience in ways that matter?
  • Do the ratings assigned to customer experience dimensions correlate to the value of the dimensions? For example, is empathy critical to your overall customer experience, yet it carries little to no weight on your form? Is empathy even measured on your form?
  • Is the form concise and clear, clear enough for agents to truly understand your evaluation of their performance?
  • How often do we monitor calls and give agents feedback? Once a quarter is not enough. Neither is once a month. Quality assurance monitoring in a call center needs to take place a minimum of weekly.
  • Do we simply “coach the numbers” when discussing the monitoring results with agents? The goal, of course, is to improve performance. Numbers matter, but they are just a tool to guide you in feedback discussions. Rather than focusing on a score, focus your conversations on how to help agents improve their interactions with customers.

If I’m supporting your customer experience in a consultative relationship, chances are excellent that I have already reviewed and ripped your quality monitoring form and given you a new form that measures what matters.

If I’m not working with you and you want a great example of a monitoring form that is strategically designed to measure what matters, take a look at Zappos’ Monitoring form.

What gets measured gets improved. Whether that is weight loss or the customer experience, this holds true.

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We Need to Talk About How You Coach Your Employees

Live Webinar with Myra Golden

This new program contains a step-by-step approach to coaching agents to deliver the best customer interactions and designing (or re-designing) a monitoring form that improves agent interactions.

And right now, you can get a special $50 discount when you use code COACHBETTER2016, but only if you hurry.  Go to:
https://myragolden.com/webinar_WeNeed2Talk.php

You’ll gain a new sense of confidence, satisfaction and
pride in your quality assurance efforts and lower your stress level.

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2 Reasons Your Employees Are Failing at the Customer Experience

 

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You know your customer service is not where it needs to be. You know your employees aren’t delivering the level of service your customers expect and deserve. And this is keeping you up at night.

There are 2 reasons why your people are failing at the customer experience.

They aren’t establishing rapport with customers. And this is a big one. And, they aren’t in harmony with what your customers need and expect. Let’s take a look at the reasons agents fail at the customer experience and explore what you can do about it. 

  1. They aren’t establishing rapport with customers

This morning I was monitoring calls for a contact center client; something I often do. Here’s how the Agent opened the call. Continue reading “2 Reasons Your Employees Are Failing at the Customer Experience”

Playing Hooky (The case for a mental health day)

Hooky

I played hooky today. I’m not sick. My kids are fine. I had no doctor’s appointment. I didn’t have to go to the dentist. I didn’t even have a school event or PTA board meeting to attend.

I simply played hooky. I played hooky and I feel great about that. I decided on November 21st that I would play hooky. Today is December 8th. So my hooky was pre meditated.

We all need an “Ah shit” day

One of my former colleagues, Ligea, used to say we all need an “Ah shit” day. A day where we wake up and say, “Ah shit, I don’t feel like going in.” My friend Kendra would say that everyone needs a “Mental Health Day.” Similar to sick days, mental health days are taken to preserve and nurture our mental health.

This hooky playing was essentially about nurturing my mental health. It’s been such a busy time for me. I just wrapped up several back-to-back keynotes on the road.

I’m a woman. A wife. A mother. A keynote for me is more than just a presentation on the big stage. My husband works nights so when I travel I have to plan for a caretaker (my gracious mother) to stay with my kids overnight and to get them to school daily. I have to prepare meals ahead of time and lay out my son’s clothes. I have to clean my house so that I look like I have it all together when my mother stays overnight.

And then, of course, there’s the keynote.

One of my keynotes was to an audience of 1100. The largest contact center annual conference in the world. I spent 9 months designing and rehearsing that keynote. It took me at least 3 months to select my outfit and shoes for the big day.

Myra Golden Keynote

Shortly before my Keynote address at the ICMI Contact Center Demo & Conference in Las Vegas

That keynote was in Las Vegas. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. But I was in South Dakota on business and we didn’t get to celebrate the big 20. So, hubby joined me in Vegas and we had a wonderful 5 days of bliss after my keynote. I loved it. I really did. But my mind was often back home with the kids. Was Warren okay riding with another father to and from football practice? Was Lauren staying on top of her geometry and chemistry homework? Was mom really okay giving up nearly a week of her time to help us out?

Immediately after my Las Vegas keynote I had to gear up for a keynote in Pennsylvania and then right after that, I spoke at a conference for a new client in an industry I am still learning. Insurance. In New York. I wore the same dress I wore in Vegas. I killed it. The keynote in this fairly new industry was truly one of the best I have ever delivered. God was with me. He anointed me and I am still in awe of that favor.

TCCL

The auditorium an hour or so before attendees arrive for a keynote in Tulsa

But there was little time to relish the greatness of my New York keynote because Fairfield County Ohio was just days away. A board meeting and two local training sessions in between didn’t allow for any downtime. I was exhausted, but this annual meeting of about 130 wonderful people expected me to be at the top of my game.

Travel into Columbus was a hassle. Delays. Long, long day. 45 minute drive to my bed and breakfast.

Yes, a bed and breakfast. I stayed at a lovely historic bed and breakfast, Shaw’s, where I enjoyed a clean vegan meal and extraordinary customer service. I got up the next morning and delivered a pretty fantastic keynote to some of the best people I have ever met in my life! It was awesome. I loved, loved, loved the people I met in Ohio.

 

Green Room Myra Golden

Taking selfies like a teenager in the Green Room right before my keynote at a public library annual staff development day. 

And when I got on the plane after the keynote, I nearly collapsed. From exhaustion. And that brings me to November 21st.

When I returned to Tulsa, I resumed reading my daybook, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnauch. I’m reading this book for the third time. The November21st meditation is entitled “Playing Hooky.” Breathnauch encourages women to find a day where it won’t be catastrophic of us to miss work and to call in and play hooky. A mental health day, if you will. And she suggests we spend the day however we want. Going to the movies alone. Having lunch with a girlfriend. Shopping. Reading a novel in one sitting.

Sitting on my couch that day, I picked up my iPhone, pulled up my calendar and found the first day that I could play hooky without the world falling part. That day was December 8th. And I did it.

I took the kids to school, like it was a normal day. Then, I came home, lit a fire, made a latte and started reading a new novel.

Hooky 2.jpg

I heated up leftovers for brunch. At noon I poured a glass of red wine. I had a sugar cookie when I wasn’t even hungry. All day I sat in front of my fireplace reading.

Fire Place Myra Golden

My reading room (Living room) – I literally spent my entire day on my couch in front of my fireplace. 

I didn’t go into my office. I didn’t reply to any emails. I didn’t clean house. I just read. And I read the entire book before it was time to pick the kids up.

It was truly the perfect day. I needed this day. I loved this day.

Drink Think Relax

Take Sara Breathnauch’s advice. Carve out a day just for you. Play hooky. Do whatever you want. Shop. Nap. Go to the movies. Visit a museum. Treat yourself to a spa day. We all need a mental health day or an ah shit day. Treat yourself and comeback refreshed my friends. You deserve it!

 

What I Learned From the Zappos Contact Center

You may already know that I love to benchmark best in class companies and then share ideas with my clients. You may also know that one of my favorite companies to study (and shop) is Zappos.

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In rehearsal for my Zappos webinar

Six years ago I became both a student and consumer of Zappos. As a student, I have studied the Zappos approach to quality monitoring, social customer service, culture, emotional connections, interviewing, training, how they handle challenging customers, and more.

In this special web event I will be sharing with you some of my biggest “Ah-ha” moments from my benchmark study of Zappos. Take a quick look at the outline to see what I’ll be sharing. There will also be an opportunity for open Q &A so feel free to bring your questions.

Find out how Zappos motivates CSRs to deliver friendliness and wow on every call while delivering impressive call center metrics – without management, rules or even call talk time targets.

I promise, after just 60-minutes with me, you will be inspired and thrilled with how satisfying call center management can be! And once you’ve gotten a taste of IMPRESSING your customers and bosses by seriously upping your customer experience, you will be completely STOKED! 

Getting your team to communicate with empathy, friendliness and personal connection is EASY TO DUPLICATE using the CLEAR, CONCISE methods used by the Zappos contact center. 

In this new webinar, I reveal secrets like:

  • The most important secret for actually getting performance and behavior change through quality call monitoring.
  • A creative way to connect with customers in just 15-minutes a day. I’ll tell you exactly how Zappos employees do it every single day.
  • The number one thing you need to know about creating a customer-focused culture that so many call centers learn the hard way.
  • This little-known fact can make a better “coach” out of anyone —and the one secret that will give you rockstar status as you coach employees to optimal performance.
  • Four indispensable techniques for getting employees to convey empathy, friendliness and warmth.
  • Why Zappos pays employees $2000 to quit and the lesson you can take away from their practice.
  • Why treating employees very well pays off. Specific ways you can treat your employees even better.
  • Surprise and delight. How Zappos does it. Discover if this is a good fit for your organization.
  • Why Zappos stopped monitoring calls the traditional way and how they do it now. 

—So you can capture the magic of leading your team to deliver the best possible customer experience, even if you never thought you could!

So, how much is this tremendous call center benchmark experience going to cost you? Well, the regular price for our webinars is $299. However, for a limited time, we are offering an early-bird discount and you can join this event for $199. This early-bird discount is valid through June 10, 2015.

What I Learned From the Zappos Contact Center (Live webinar)

June 17, 2015 1pm – 2pm ET

$299 for unlimited participation per company

Register