About David Toliver

David Toliver is the Director of Corporate Marketing for Angel. With a background in marketing, you'll see Dave pop up every so often with news and press surrounding Angel, studies within the IVR industry, as well as some insight into marketing with your IVR system.  As a many-year veteran of Angel, Dave has extensive knowledge of customer solutions and will be offering case studies and commentary about solutions within different industries.  Dave has a Communications degree from Penn State University, and has 15 years of experience working in Marketing in a number of industries including Legal, Retail and Consumer Software.

A Burger’s Role in Absolute Customer Satisfaction

Customer Service

Earlier this week, Joe Palca from NPR’s The Salt profiled how two companies are helping Cheesecake Factory create a better customer experience.

Joe’s post details the new data analytics system built by IBM and N2N Global that allows the Cheesecake Factory to gain a single view of their services and product inventory across their global locations, quickly spot any potential issues and make the necessary changes to ensure “absolute customer satisfaction.” For example, if the quality of a burger is questioned in a few locations, the Cheesecake Factory will be able to quickly identify why.

All businesses – whether they’re a midmarket company or a global enterprise – are always looking for ways to improve their customer experience and this new system by IBM and N2N is certainly promising for a handful of reasons: consistency, scale and personalization.

Ultimately, this new initiative is looking to provide a seamless customer experience in all of the Cheesecake Factory locations, regardless of whether the customer is dining in Kuwait City or Rancho Cucamonga, California. Being able to provide a consistent experience at opposite ends of the world is a core component in building trust with the customer. This trust not only translates into powerful tangible results of a returning customer, but also improves the overall customer satisfaction.

What’s also unique about this new system is the leading role technology plays in streamlining customer service processes and scaling any customer service iterations in a global environment. As consumers, we absolutely expect these systems to already be in place, so this new Cheesecake Factory initiative may come across as a “duh” project. However, as employees, especially for anyone that has spent time within a behemoth of an organization understands that change is anything but swift. Cheesecake Factory is showing how the ability to scale can quickly simplify any customer experience.

New customer experience technology – especially technology that leverages the power of big data, like this Cheesecake Factory initiative or solutions that use mobile platforms to build a stronger connection with the customer – can be the most powerful common denominator in an organization’s customer experience strategy. A positive and delightful customer experience is the sum of all of the customers’ interactions with the company. With these new customer experience solutions often tied to a centralized database of each customers’ preferences and feedback, customer experience solutions can quickly provide a snapshot of the customer and best inform the customer service agent of how to best proceed and provide a personalized experience.

At the end of his article, Joe brings up a fair point:

“But ‘absolute guest satisfaction’? I have to admit, that quest seems a bit quixotic to me.”

There are very few companies that are ever going to consistently reach “absolute” customer satisfaction. However, many businesses – like the Cheesecake Factory – not only understand how a consistent customer experience can positively impact their bottom line, but the vital role technology plays in this equation. When harnesses properly, customer experience technology is anything but creepy – it’s positive and powerful for businesses and customers.

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Designing Dashboards for the CX: Customer Experience

Designing Dashboards

It’s no secret that the customer experience (CX) is critical to business success. However, creating a memorable customer experience doesn’t just happen from having a solid brand or an outstanding product, but rather from actual insight into past customer behavior, buying habits and individual feedback on a specific solution or event.

That said the ability to pull valuable conclusions about a business’ customers would be nearly impossible without an effective dashboard. To us, an effective dashboard not only gives a snapshot of accurate data, but also presents the data in a visually appealing way.

However, dashboard design is often easier said than done. Based on our customer’s experience with our Caller First Analytics (CFA), below are our recommendations around building an informative and useful dashboard:

Display productive data

A dashboard shouldn’t be a kitchen sink of all customer information. A dashboard should offer historical and current view of business data to enable employees to quickly identify trends. Additionally, these views should offer filtering options that are meaningful and directly connected to the business goals.

If the data is presented in a way that is tied to corporate, team and individual objectives – think key performance indicators – employees are enabled to not only make more data-driven decisions, but also enhance productivity and target improvements towards the CX.

Empower decision making, not reporting

While the customer priorities for each organization are significantly different, get in the mindset of employees and the additional audiences that will see this information to best determine what information would be helpful within a dashboard. With this perspective, priorities will be clear and information will be geared toward decision making vs. reporting for reporting’s sake.

Balance the design

A dashboard’s design shouldn’t overwhelm employees by the volume of data. Too many personalization features can defeat the purpose of the dashboard and begin creating analysts out of employees. A few do’s and don’ts around dashboard design:

  • Do include visuals such as colors, branding or unique data and workflow formatting
  • Don’t make it an eyesore and include too many contrasting colors
  • Do enable context rules and include features that enable employees to quickly  share
  • Don’t give inaccurate or dated information – as you can imagine, this defeats the entire purpose of a dashboard
  • Do favor data clarity and ease of use over embellishment

Although dashboard design is far from easy, visually compiling a large amount of data in a way that can be easily understood and digested is one of the best ways to support business goals, provide the appropriate measurement to enable data-driven decisions and help specifically identify how the organization can improve its customer experience.

For more information on designing dashboards to enable business productivity and lead to an enhanced CX, check out our analytics and dashboard advice on Information Management.

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How Retailers Can Create a Personalized Customer Experience

NRF Retail's BIG Show

Angel announced today that it will focus on how retailers can create a better customer experience at the National Retail Federation BIG Show 2012. As more retailers communicate with their customer bases on the phone, on the Web and over social networks, Angel will demonstrate at booth #3022 how retailers can securely leverage each channel to create more personalized customer interactions.

“Good enough customer service just no longer cuts it for retailers,” said Don Keane, Vice President of Marketing at Angel. “Retailers are struggling to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market, all while trying to keep costs low. Creating a customer experience strategy that focuses on multiple channels is imperative to helping retailers customize each customer interaction and build stronger brand loyalty.”

Angel anticipates the following trends will be top priorities for retailers at NRF 2012:

  • Analytics – As retailers look to enhance the customer experience while reducing costs, having on-demand analytics and background insight on past customer purchases and interactions can enable retailers to create a personalized customer interaction strategy.
  • Location services – Emerging location-based services are giving retailers the ability to efficiently direct inbound calls based on location to the appropriate resource within the business as well as quickly help customers locate a retail store, ensuring the customer receives targeted services.
  • Security – With retailers communicating with their customers on different channels, data and transaction security continues to remain a major focus and a key component to building trust and loyalty with the customer base.

Angel works with 40 retail companies, including 10 of the top 100 U.S. retailers, and will demonstrate how retailers can build enterprise-wide strategies around these trends and leverage cloud-based customer experience management tools to efficiently manage the entire life cycle of any customer interaction on the phone, regardless of the channel.

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Angel Recognized for its Cutting-Edge Solutions with 3 Unique Awards

Recognition Awards

Proof that Angel continues to excel in product innovation and customer satisfaction is in the… Awards! Angel has recently won three different awards: the Best in Biz Awards, the INTERNET TELEPHONY Excellence Awards and the Speech Technology Excellence Award. They illustrate Angel’s corporate success, product innovation, and commitment to improving the customer service.

Best in Biz Awards

The Best in Biz Awards recognize businesses, teams, executives, and products for their business success. Angel was chosen as the silver winner in the Best Overall Company of the Year category. The award commended Angel’s cloud-based innovation, an impressive customer track record, and a strong relationship with Salesforce. With five solutions on the AppExchange, Angel’s most recent Salesforce integration is Voice for Chatter, which allows you to update your Chatter feed with your voice. With this integration, businesses gain the opportunity to deepen relationships with employees and customers and create a positive and memorable experience within Salesforce.com’s enterprise social media platform, Chatter.

INTERNET TELEPHONY Excellence Award

This award is given to companies that have shown successful deployment of IP communications technology. Angel won Internet Telephony Excellence Award recognition for its Virtual Call Center technology, which greatly reduces capital expenditures associated with on-premise solutions while providing callers with more quality interactions with agents. This year’s release of our Mobile Virtual Call Center app on both iOS and Android helped strengthen Angel’s innovation to win in this category.

Speech Technology Excellence Award

Customer Interaction Solutions magazine acknowledges firms that have made impressive advances in speech technology to better serve their clients with their yearly Speech Technology Excellence Awards. Angel’s Mobile Virtual Call Center, which grants businesses full management of their call center through a mobile device, was commended for its extensive functionality and convenience.

These awards represent a trend of success within Angel, as our products have won both of the Excellence Awards for multiple years running.  For more details on each award, read the official press release, or see more Angel awards on our website.

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8 Steps One Pharma Took to Increase Both ROI and Customer Satisfaction with IVR

Common consumer perception when calling a large company and being met with an IVR’s automated menu is that the company puts that IVR in place to do nothing more than keep their costs down and keep callers from reaching their expensive live agents. Where’s the balance between giving callers what they want, and at the same time reducing costs and increasing the ROI for the business?

That’s exactly the question that global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca sought to answer when they began consolidating the customer experiences of all their brands. While AstraZeneca strategically made an early move to cloud-based IVR technologies years ago, they weren’t realizing the full benefit of having a holistic view of multiple programs across their brands—instead, they were using multiple, disparate systems.

A couple of years ago, they decided to make a transformative move in the pharmaceutical industry and created a team devoted to customer experience that worked across brands to create a consistent and effective experience for all of their consumers. But they weren’t just looking for better technology and a positive ROI; AstraZeneca is deeply involved with their consumers and wanted to make sure the changes they were going to make did not negatively affect their brand perception in the marketplace. They were looking for a true “partner,” not just a vendor, to help them along this path.

Here are just some of the steps they took—ones you can also take—to bring all systems under one umbrella with the goal of increasing both ROI and customer satisfaction:

  1. Form the right team: Bring together all of the stakeholders and decision makers across departments and across brands. Then choose a select few who will represent the voice of the company when it comes to the customer experience. Involving too many people (which is easy to do in pharma) can instigate things getting out of hand and can lead you right back to a messy customer experience, as everyone wants to “just throw one more thing in.”
  2. Scrap your old stuff: And your old mindset. The concoction of systems you have in place is myriad of brand colors, which has likely been tie-dyed over the years as brand managers and regulatory bodies have simply “added” and “changed” stuff without taking an overarching look at how each change affects the phone experience. Not to mention, your company and your customers have changed over the years. Now is a great time to start from scratch and rethink your approach. Click here to read more »
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