I was fortunate to be at the Omnicom University last month in Boston. It was my fourth time there and like every-time it has left me with some thought provoking lessons that will go a long way in my personal and professional life.
I always transcript my key learnings in simple one liners and keep referring to them often. I will share some with you today but before I do that I am going to share the most important learning that I saw and observed during this visit.
On the inaugural day of our program we were welcomed by Janet Riccio, the Dean of Omnicom University. I don’t know her very well but have met her in my earlier visits. I was surprised to see that she arrived in the class in a small scooter and looked very frail. I learnt was that last year she was detected with ALS and has been fighting her battle. She made fun about it while delivering her inaugural address and took her seat in the back of the class. She was there everyday, filling the class with her sunshine like energy and in-fact closed the class with an inspiring note. The class gave her a standing ovation thanked her for what she was doing for the Omnicom University.
One week after I returned we got the news that she passed away. It was a news which was difficult for lot of us to believe as it was only a week ago that she was driving around at Babson on her bright yellow scooter – holding court in the courtyard and in the classroom – engaged, vibrant, funny and charismatic as ever.
I have always been amazed at the zeal in people to make anything possible but this is the closest example in recent times. In spite of her diagnosis last year, she kept her sense of humour, her passion for life and her endless support to the Omnicom University.
Her light, her kindness, her wisdom, wit and grace, will stay with us always.
As a tribute to her I would like to leave you all with some key takeaways of mine from the Omnicom University this year. Hope we are able to imbibe some of them and honour her memory.
Fiona Whelan, Managing Director of CPM’s International Contact Centre in Barcelona, is interviewed for a special feature on Business Excellence within the Contact Centre & CX Industry for leading Spanish newspaper, La Vanguardia.
Please click here to access the original interview in Spanish.
Read the full interview excerpt in English below.
CPM Barcelona: Specialists in Exceptional Customer Experience (CX) & High Performance Sales
Since Fiona’s appointment as Managing Director in 2015, the company has gone from strength to strength.
During this time, CPM Barcelona has experienced 300% growth and secured multi-million Euro investment to fuel business expansion into an additional site; creating over 1000 new jobs for the region.
Here, Fiona talks about the critical importance of Customer Experience (CX) for businesses of the future and CPM’s continued success as it celebrates 15 years in Barcelona.
What is the main support brands need in order to remain close to their customers?
We are living in extraordinary times in terms of the pace and scale of technological and societal transformation.
This is driving real behavioural change in consumers; who paradoxically want increased efficiency and automation but conversely, more authentic engagement with brands than ever before!
This presents new challenges for businesses operating in an increasingly hyper-connected, transparent and ‘always-on’ Experience Economy.
As products become more replicable and indistinguishable; what matters most are the brand promises businesses make to their customers; and how the experiences customers receive when they engage with brands deliver against these promises.
It sounds simple but can be extremely challenging to achieve!
How does CPM provide this support to brands?
CPM’s raison d’être is to support our clients in delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences (CX).
We provide Technical Helpdesk, CX Support, Consumer Carelines, Customer Satisfaction and High Performance Sales programmes for premier global brands including Airbnb, Harley-Davidson and New Balance, to name a few.
Although we of course speak to customers over the phone; over 60% of our contact centre activities now take place via digital channels including chat-bots, social media, web-chat and ticketing; as well as a variety of messaging services such as WhatsApp and Messenger.
As a result of our investment in AI, data insights and predictive analytics; CPM are also able to harness leading edge technological innovations to automate simpler tasks; whilst simultaneously accessing a more digitally empowered, emotionally intelligent and highly skilled workforce for complex cases.
CPM employ over 2000 agents who engage with over 30,000 customers on a daily basis, spanning 65+ markets and 26 languages via our two contact centre hubs in Barcelona.
On an annualised basis, we deliver €100 Million in revenue for our clients and our CX Teams are achieving record breaking Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of 70 + (a key measure of Customer Loyalty!).
Do your clients belong to a specific sector?
Whilst CPM operates across a diverse range of sectors; in recent years, our success has been fueled by the exponential growth of clients operating within the High Tech, New Tech and Consumer Electronics space, where we have developed a real specialism and predict continued growth.
Looking ahead, what are CPM’s plans for the future?
CPM is committed to Barcelona and the continued growth of our contact centre operations in the city.
Adding to this; CPM have recently launched CPM Ignite, our Work from Home solution which enables clients and agents alike to avail of a boundaryless, virtual contact centre workforce operating across Spain and beyond.
We are also in talks to enhance our Northern European coverage; alongside established partnerships in the US and Asia.
CPM’s vision is to be the premier boutique provider of high skill, customer intimate contact centre solutions for clients across the globe; with Barcelona at its heart as our multi-lingual centre of excellence.
Please click here to view the original newspaper article in La Vanguardia.
CPM Australia, a leading direct sales and contact centre agency and member of CPM International Group; partnered with ACRS to undertake a consumer research study analyzing the current state of customer service in Australia. The findings revealed that Australian consumers tolerance for poor customer service is lower than ever. A summary of the findings and downloadable infographic are available below.
Australians’ tolerance for poor customer service is lower than ever
Today’s consumers are faced with more choices than ever when considering how they want to reach a brand. They’re more digitally connected, socially networked and better informed than ever before.
Consumers are saying it’s still so hard to navigate and resolve customer service issues. These growing number of touch-points has had the negative effect of widening the gap between brands and consumers.
To better understand these concerns and how customers feel about the state of customer service in Australia, CPM Australia partnered with The ACRS Omnibus Tracker to explore these challenges. The “State of Customer Service in Australia Report” reveals critical gaps between customer service expectations of excellence, ease and accessibility and the disappointing realities associated with a lack of consistencies and response.
The power of word of mouth
The research points out that the power of word of mouth still holds its top ranking as the most popular channel. It reveals that the majority of disappointed consumers share their customer service experiences with one to five people. For those who have had a negative experience, 79% will air their grievances with friends compared to 72% who will share their positive interactions.
“It’s been a long standing belief that recommendations from friends and family is the most influential channel over all other forms of marketing. Yet, if consumers value word of mouth and marketers believe it’s effective, then why aren’t brand owners more focused on it?” said Martin Robbins, General Manager – Contact Centre, CPM Australia.
“I believe that the problem is that for the last few years, brands and retailers have been more focused on “collecting” instead of “connecting” directly with customers,” continued Martin. In other words, brands can get too caught up in collecting social media fans while forgetting to actually connect with them. Having 100 really passionate fans that love your brand or product is exponentially more effective than having 10,000 “fans” who’ve signed-up just for the off-chance of winning a new gadget.
The survey also reveals some costly realisations. Over one third (34%) of customers surveyed have stopped shopping at a company in the past year due to a poor customer service experience.
In today’s competitive markets, brands can’t afford to lose sales due to poor customer service. This research validates that customer service stories are spread widely — especially bad ones – and in our experience, you’re typically judged by your resolution and not the initial issue. The quality and immediacy of contact, response and resolution of complaints or queries cannot be underestimated in a world where consumers are less brand loyal and where social media and word of mouth can make or break brands.
Factors driving excellence
In an age where technology dominates our lives, the research shows that dealing with human being trumps social and mobile channels. Across all the age groups, 61% percent attributed an important factor to good customer service experience was getting their query resolved on the first attempt and speaking with someone in Australia (60%).
The study also suggests that social media and mobile channels will not solve customer service queries. For both simple and complex enquiries, customers’ top preferred communication channels for customer service based enquiries includes: speaking with a real person on the phone, followed by face-to-face (in store), and finally through email. Not only does the study reconfirm the notion that customers are seeking a human connection, but they are also seeking local Australian knowledge.