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Customer Service in a Digital Age - NRPA 2013

Presented at the NRPA 2013 Annual Congress in Houston, Texas.

Ryan Hegreness

on 4 February 2014

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Transcript of Customer Service in a Digital Age - NRPA 2013

Customer Service
in a Digital Age

Ryan Hegreness, CPRP
Customer Service Through the Years
“I believe that we are living through the early days of a dramatic cultural shift that is bringing us back full circle, and that the world we live and work in now operates in a way that is surprisingly similar to the one our great-grandparents knew. Social media has transformed our world into one great big small town, dominated, as all vibrant towns used to be, by the strength of relationships, the currency of caring, and the power of word of mouth. In order to succeed now and in the future, it’s going to be imperative that we remember what worked in the past.” (11)
Customer Service

"the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase."
"the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently give the customer what they want and need."
"the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customer's expectations."
"Customer service, like a brand, is what the customer perceives and remembers of the service they received."
"Customer Service is the commitment to providing value added services to external and internal customers, including attitude knowledge, technical support and quality of service in a timely manner"
"The degree of assistance and courtesy granted those who patronize a business."
Why Improve
Customer Service?
"People don’t judge you on the basis of your mistakes — they judge you on the manner in which you own up to them. In my experience, most companies do a terrible job of taking blame. They lob press releases. Or they apologize for the inconvenience. Resist that temptation and say you’re sorry like you’re apologizing to a friend. Be good — and your customers will be good right back to you."

— Jason Fried
"If you have fans or followers or customers, no matter what you do, you’ll annoy or disappoint two percent of them. And you’ll probably hear a lot more from the unhappy 2% than from the delighted 98...Sure, you can try to minimize the cost of change, and you might even get the number to 1%. But if you try to delight everyone, all the time, you’ll just make yourself crazy. Or become boring.

—Seth Godin
Alienating the 2%
create a culture of trust
become a customer centric organization
is the
Customer Service
are very satisfied with federal gov.
customer service in 2011
up from 24%
in 2010.
"Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things."
Customers want efficiency, but what they desperately need is validation, emotional connection, and often simply a chance to vent. At least the customers that will rave about you do.

- Al Pittampalli, More Efficient Customer Service
(Source: sixmonthmba.com)
Quote: The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

Bill Gates
“Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.”
“Customers have memories. They will remember you, whether you remember them or not.” Further, “customer trust can be destroyed at once by a major service problem, or it can be undermined one day at a time, with a thousand small demonstrations of incompetence.”
Why Focus on
the Digital Age?

“Online customers are literally invisible to you (and you to them), so it’s easy to shortchange them emotionally. But this lack of visual and tactile presence makes it even more crucial to create a sense of personal, human-to-human connection in the online arena.”
"The best time to do great customer service is when a customer is upset....Most of your competition spend their days looking forward to those rare moments when everything goes right. Imagine how much leverage you have if you spend your time maximizing those common moments when it doesn’t."

— Seth Godin
Why this format?
“The minute you come up with a rule you give an employee a reason to say no to a customer. That's the reason we hate rules.”

-James F. Nordstrom, former co-chairman
"Customer service is a proactive attitude that can be summed up as: I care and I can do."
"Customer service is a process for providing competitive advantage and adding benefits in order to maximize the total value to the customer"
"Customer service is the ability to provide a service or product in the way that it has been promised"
"Customer service is about treating others as you would like to be treated yourself"
"Customer service is an organization's ability to supply their customers' wants and needs"
"Customer Service is a phrase that is used to describe the process of taking care of our customers in a positive manner"
"Customer Service is any contact between a customer and a company, that causes a negative or positive perception by a customer"
Q & A
Be Accessible
Be Transparent
Be Open/Be Vulnerable
"Policies are organizational scar tissue. They are codified overreactions to unlikely to happen again situations."
Culture of
Local Shops - Personal Relationships - Owner Operated
Customer Service Essential
2005 and on - Social Media adds a "human" element to the digital world - Customers want to feel connected to the companies and products they use, they want to interract, be heard, share experiences and support companies that have values similar to their own.
Douglas Adams, “The Salmon of Doubt”
Source: 37signals.com
Peppers, Rogers - "Rules to Break and Laws to Follow"
With Purpose
- Micah Solomon, “Seven Keys to Building Customer Loyalty and CompanyProfits”:
-Jason Fried, 37Signals
Disney Empowerment Philosophy:
Fix the problem on the spot whenever possible
Report the problem and solution to your supervisor
Review the situation together
Debrief and critique
6. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
1. Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.
2. Don't rely on color alone.
3. Use markup and style sheets and do so properly.
4. Clarify natural language usage
5. Create tables that transform gracefully.
6. Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully.
7. Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes.
8. Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces.
9. Design for device-independence.
10. Use interim solutions.
11. Use W3C technologies and guidelines.
12. Provide context and orientation information.
13. Provide clear navigation mechanisms.
14. Ensure that documents are clear and simple.
"because I have to"
"because I need to"
"because I ought to"
70's - Rise of the Department/Chain Stores - Ownership Removed
Customer Service takes a back seat to Price and Selection
80's & early 90's - Computers streamline inventory tracking, distribution & business analysis
Greater distance between front-line staff andowners/upper-level management
You have to go to a desk to get Customer Service - Price and Selection are important
mid 90's and on: Computers Remove the Need for Human Interraction - Convenience is Important
My Grandfathers: Harry Devers & Arthur Hegreness
21 Stores by 1962
125 Walmart Stores by 1975
First two Home Depots Opened in 1979
First Home Depots were 60,000 sq. ft. each!
of Americans look at
product reviews
before making a purchase.
of consumers say they use a
to help with shopping.
of moms say they do
online research
after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them.
Zero Moment of Truth
"Engagement...is understanding that you must be present in a conversation
when they want to have it
, not when you want to."

- Bob Thacker, GravityTank Strategic Advisor and Former CMO of OfficeMax
"Outrage doesn't take a day off."
-Scott Stratten
1. Explain why it is critical to improve customer service, particularly online.
2. Describe the three steps for improving customer service.
3. Apply the three steps for improving customer service to a situation your department is facing.
1. Explain why it is critical to improve customer service, particularly online.
"Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose."
-Charles Eames

"Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent."
-Joe Sparano
2. Describe the three steps for improving customer service.
3. Apply the three steps for improving customer service to a situation your department is facing.
1. Explain why it is critical to improve customer service, particularly online.
2. Describe the three steps for improving customer service.
3. Apply the three steps for improving customer service to a situation your department is facing.
Providing a service
Meeting Needs or
An Attitude
Providing or
maximizing value
A feeling or perception
Full transcript