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You have to make yourself uncomfortable to become comfortable

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

When you own a business, you have no choice but to put yourself into situations that you find uncomfortable – personal growth is part of the territory.

 

Owning a business means you have to face a lot of things that might make you uncomfortable.

Depending on your personality and background that can include things like:

  • Networking events (not my personal favorite)
  • Presenting (my personal favorite)
  • Writing (blogs, proposals, reports)
  • Selling

If you work in a big company, you can avoid networking or selling or any number of uncomfortable things for years if you choose to – especially if your day to day job doesn’t rely on that particular ability.

 

Of course I can hear some folks say – “But Dan, I have to network with my peers at work…” or “Dan, I do have to convince (or sell) my boss that I have a good idea if I want it to get funded…”

These comments may be true.

But it’s unlikely that your company held back your paycheck at month end because you didn’t network with your peers – or that time you failed to develop a convincing presentation for your boss.

It can be too easy to stay comfortable.

Owning a business is different

No business owner starts out having it all together – you’re always a work in progress.

When you own a business – and particularly when you have a vision or purpose for what you do – you make frequent and conscious decisions to get uncomfortable.

Selling, networking, writing, public speaking…whatever it happens to be.

But the cool part is this.

Through repeated exposure, persistence – and yes, some failure – you get more comfortable.  And the personal growth is amazing.

People that know me well, know I’m shy in social situations.

But workshop participants – especially in large scale auditoriums or halls – tell me I’m fun to watch on stage.

Speaking for large audiences was a very specific ‘discomfort’ zone that I decided to work through.

And now, large scale presentations are one of my favorite things to do.

Come on in – make yourself uncomfortable

If you work at a big bank (or big telecom or big insurance company or in the civil service), you should ask yourself a simple question –

How often do I actively put myself into the zone of being uncomfortable?

If the answer is rarely or never, that’s most definitely not an indicator of a life well-lived or a meaningful career pinnacle reached.

It’s a sign that your personal growth has stagnated – and that you’ve allowed it to stagnate (it’s not your Employer’s fault – don’t even go there).

I found the video below interesting and I hope you do too.

http://www.businessinsider.sg/harvard-psychologist-best-way-fakeing-confidence-presence-amy-cuddy-2016-2/?r=US&IR=T

Thanks for reading!

Daniel

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com

Stop blaming poor organizational behaviour on national culture

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

It’s not ok to blame poor organizational culture on national culture.

One of the great things about working in many different organizations, across many countries & regions, is that you get to see a lot of organizational culture up close and personal.

Whether in KL, Colombo or Frankfurt, the first morning of a scheduled training session is always interesting.

·      Will all the Participants turn up? Will they turn up on time?

·      Will Management turn up? If so, who – and how long will they stay?

·      Does Management all sit together? Or do they integrate into the group at large?

·      What does the energy feel like before the session begins?

·      Do Participants talk to each other or do they stare at their mobile phones?

·      Who is in charge? Is the ‘leader’ present?

·      How does management speak to staff? As adults? Or like children?

 

What a Trainer or Consultant sees and experiences on that first morning of a session – before introductions have been made – should be the ‘best’ in organizational culture.

Why?

Because it’s not work.

Because Participants are there to learn and grow.

Because the gap or opportunity is so significant, an external Provider was asked to come in.

 

On a recent drizzly morning in _______ (fill in the country).

 

On a recent drizzly morning session in ________(fill in the country), half the Participants had not arrived by starting time.

To this, the HR Representative said, “Well you know we _________(fill in nationality here) like to sleep in.”

Or “we’re always late in ______(fill in country)” or “when it rains you know how it is in ______(fill in country).”

But over the years I’ve been conducting sessions, I find that what really matters is which organization you’re working with – not which country you happen to be in.

In countries which are notorious for staff absenteeism and tardiness, I’ve worked with organizations where people simply aren’t late and where organizational culture does not tolerate lateness.

In countries which have a reputation for staff timidity and reserve, I’ve worked with organizations where people laugh and chat and catch up with each other before the session begins.

In countries where traditional management hierarchy is revered and rarely questioned, I’ve worked with organizations where management and staff intermingle and work together.

Great organizational culture always ‘trumps’ national culture.

The way the Employees at Company X behave and carry themselves is quite different than the way Employees at Company Y behave and carry themselves – even though their offices are in the same building.

 

Blaming poor behavior on country or national dynamics is just lazy

When HR, or management, or leadership, blames poor behavior on country or national dynamics – then it’s unlikely that you’ll see a great culture at that organization.

The happenstance of being born in X country doesn’t guarantee a life of tardiness, timidity or futility.

Individuals always have a choice.

A choice to be on time, a choice to speak up and even – as the case merits – a choice to find employment with an organization with a better culture.

Thank you for reading!

Daniel

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com

Some tips on how to write a better email

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

The ability to write a great email is complex skill – not simply the competency to read and write.

There’s a lot more to writing an effective Customer email than many folks realize.

In this short article let me share just a few quick tips to help you craft a better Customer email!

 

Email is a visual form of communication

Your Customer will see your email before they read it.

And while there is a well regarded list of design principles that can help, I’d suggest an overall approach that is even easier.

 

The very best emails look like recipes from a cook book.

Aren’t cook books gorgeous?

I don’t cook, but I can happily flip the pages of a beautiful cookbook for hours.

It’s better than meditation.

Now transfer that design logic to your email –

·      Is it pleasing to look at?

·      Is there plenty of white space so the eyes can rest?

·      Are points listed clearly in chronological or bullet point format?

·      Could a visual image help make a point?

When your Customer opens up your email, it shouldn’t feel like a homework assignment.

 

The best emails sound like the spoken word

I’ve never understood why the moment folks get behind a keyboard, they turn into lawyers.

 

Out come the ‘over the top’ words and phrases that normal people never use in their daily lives.

Some phrases that should be banned immediately?

“We regret to inform you…”

Now how lame is that.

Firstly, is there any regret?  Did that sender cry while they were typing?

 

If there weren’t tears on the keyboard, well there wasn’t any regret.

In addition, who uses the word ‘regret’ in their daily life?

“Hi honey, I regret to inform you I won’t be stopping by the grocery store tonight.”

Nobody talks like that.

Obviously, writing a letter is different.

But it should be understand that letters and emails are different forms of communication with letters being the more formal of the two.

The best emails sound like the (professional) spoken word.

Another phrase to deep six is this one – “We would greatly appreciate if…

How bossy is that?

“We would greatly appreciate (you idiot), if you would fill up the form.”

“We would greatly appreciate (you idiot), if you would queue over here.”

Is there any appreciation here?

No.

Can you feel the warmth?

I can’t.

This phrase – using Transactional Analysis logic – is parental in nature – it involves talking down to your Customers.

How about this phrasing – “We can’t send you your package until you send us your updated address (you idiot).” 

How negative is that?

What about this instead – “So that we can send you your package quickly, may we ask for your updated address? Thank you!”

 

Learn the art of interpretation

The very first step in email writing is to interpret the incoming email.

Your fingers shouldn’t get near the keyboard until you are able to articulate both the TONE and the CONTENT of the email that you received from your Customer.

I look at email interpretation a bit like I look at the popular TV show “CSI”.

 

In CSI, detectives sift through clues to figure out what happened.

Interpreting emails is the same.

Spending a few minutes in precious interpretation – so that you can craft a robust reply – pays off in the avoidance of unnecessary repeat contacts.

I hope these few short tips are helpful and thank you for reading!

Daniel

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com

What I learned judging the Gulf Digital & Customer Experience Awards

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

An innovative industry deserves an innovative Awards – and I’m privileged to have been involved as a Judge & Chairman.

In January I was in Dubai where I participated in the judging process for the Gulf Digital & CX Awards.

I was honored to act as the Chairman for the Contact Centre & Customer Experience categories as well.

Here I share my observations on the Awards process itself – and why I was so impressed with the Awards International format.

There is definitely a lot of great work going on in the Gulf Region – with some organizations well into their 3rd or 4th year of a concerted CX strategy and implementation.

What I liked about the Awards format

By any measure, a successful CX strategy involves a variety of innovations – both sustaining & disruptive – across the entire organization.

But most Awards programs I’ve seen run the same format year after year, or are run as an add-on to a conference.

But I believe that an innovative industry deserves an innovative Awards – and it was time for something new.

What impressed me –

The breadth of Awards categories

With more than 25 categories ranging from the best Employee Experience, not less than 6 Digital Experience Awards, Contact Centre, multiple Customer Experience awards and more, organizations had the opportunity to put forth projects & candidates across the breadth of what it takes to achieve CX at the organizational level.

I noticed that some organizations entered multiple categories – Digital, CX, Employee Experience.

Other organizations focused in on specific categories.  For example an HR Department entered the Employee Engagement & well-being categories.

There was literally something for everyone.

Project & campaign-based entries

Unlike Awards programs that feature annual ‘Best of the Best’ categories, the Awards International program encouraged entry by project or campaign.

For example in Contact Centre judging, I saw projects related to the implementation of Live Chat, specific call reduction strategies and even networking of sites across the Public Sector.

With regard to CX judging I saw projects related to the set-up and administration of CX governance committees, delivery of experience by segmentation & personas and extensive VOC activities.

This approach allowed smaller organizations to compete (sometimes successfully!) with larger organizations for the Award.

There was none of this ‘category by size’ grouping that makes some Awards programs so repetitive with the same categories being announced over and over.

Encouraging and recognizing project or campaign based accomplishments is at the heart of CX because so much is going on over such a long period of time (years in some cases).

What a small hotel chain can achieve with a digital strategy, or an employee engagement program, can readily compete with that of a large bank or telecom.

In fact some of the Winners were SMEs which was very heartening to see.

In the world of CX we can all learn from each other.

After all CX is a journey and not a destination.

The transparency of the process

The Awards judging process is elegant.

50% of the score is awarded based upon the written submission.

All submissions are placed online and judged online making it easy for Judges to work from anywhere.

And all results, including scores & comments, are provided to the Awards entrants when the judging process is finished.

The remaining 50% of the score is based upon the Face to Face presentation made by the Awards entrant to a panel of Judges.

These Judges are the same ones who judged the written submission.

All the comments and scores for the Face to Face judging are provided to the Entrants upon completion of the process.

It’s all highly automated and transmitted to Entrants when judging is completed.

Most Face to Face judging sessions – of about 30 – 45 minutes each – are open for viewing by an outside audience.

So if you have attended the Awards to cheer on one of your colleagues, you can decide which Face to Face sessions that you would like to sit in on and learn best practices and success factors from other Entrants.

Wow – talk about real learning.

In other Awards, most Face to Face judging sessions are conducted in great secrecy and behind closed doors.

This is a rather dated model in an era when everyone is taught to keep learning and relearning – and learn from each other.

In closing

In closing for this article, thank you to Awards International – you have developed a truly professional and robust Awards model for the world of CX.

And the 2017 Singapore & Regional Digital & Customer Experience Awards is up!  We’re proud to be a Founding Partner.

www.singaporecxawards.com

Thank you for reading!

Daniel

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com

Daniel & M&C Class

The Art of Conversation in a service setting

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

The ability to carry on a conversation in a service setting is a fine art.  A great conversation evokes the right Customer emotions.

(The sign in the photo is German word for dishwasher).

This past Christmas, the dishwasher at my mother-in-law’s house in Germany broke down.

So we spent a few days visiting appliance dealers.

I grew up in the U.S. and have lived the last 17 years in Asia, so my expectations of sales & service finesse at big box appliance stores is low.

 

In the big box appliance store in Germany they evoked my emotions with a great conversation

In the store a young lady approached us to see if she could help.

When she heard my American-accented German she switched immediately to English.

As I stood there silently analyzing the interaction, I realized that her competence went well beyond knowing her products & services.

It was marked by her ability to carry on a conversation with us.

Full and complete sentences, clarity, responding to input, articulating responses, a calm unrushed demeanor – wow.

I left the experience knowing more about dishwashers than I had expected.  And we knew which dishwasher was going to be ‘right’ for Mama.

It was so easy and my expectations were far exceeded.

The fact that the conversation was not held in her mother tongue was just an added bonus.

After years of working overseas, I don’t accept that someone can’t carry on a conversation because it is not in their mother tongue.

 

The German apprenticeship system

As we left the store I turned to my partner and asked – “so why is it that here in Germany, pretty much every time we  interact with a retail staff, a restaurant staff or a hotel staff that the experience is so, well, competent?”

And the answer was – the German apprenticeship system.

It seems that in Germany, before you can work as a hairdresser, waiter, retail clerk etc. you complete a formal apprenticeship program.

This means that you study and do on the job training for some period of time before you are considered ‘competent’ to do the job.  The time-frame for an apprenticeship typically runs 2.5 – 3.5 years.

So for most jobs this means that it is not just a job but a profession.

My mind goes immediately here to the Contact Centre industry where Agents are likely trained for 2 – 4 weeks, thrown on the phone and never trained again.

I’m not an expert in the German apprenticeship system – and I’m reading up on it all the time.

But each year I spend on average 3 – 4 months in Germany, and the retail and call centre experiences that I have there are in stark contrast to the experiences that I have back in Asia.

Something is definitely different and it shouldn’t be chalked up so easily to cultural differences.

Here is an interesting article on The Atlantic (2014) called, “Why Germany is So Much Better at Training Its Workers” which compares and contrasts the German and U.S. systems for workforce development.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/why-germany-is-so-much-better-at-training-its-workers/381550/

 

Competence in the service industry – the ability to carry on a conversation

Farmers grow things, tailors make clothes, bakers make bread – but in service we produce conversations.

When I run courses in quality or service, I remind the Frontliners that every day they produce conversations.

That’s their product, their output – that’s what they’re paid to do.

So in the same way we expect the tailor to make a nice fitting suit, or the hairstylist to give us a terrific cut, it’s valid and reasonable to expect a high quality of conversational ability from a Frontliner.

In Asia, many organizations believe these conversations should be highly scripted, or the staff is trained to adhere to a strict list of compliance behaviors in the hopes that these will magically coalesce together to create a conversation.

But that’s rarely the case.

And to be fair to the Frontliners – faced with the prospect of either going off-script or missing out on their compliance measurements – they retreat into polite silence – or act at best as ‘Google on 2 legs’ simply answering questions.

 

Times are changing

Sure – a lot is going digital.

But human interaction through voice, face to face – and even channels such as email and social media – are more complex and important to the overall experience.

The young lady in the big box store in Wiesbaden taught me that competence is beautiful – and that in service – the ability to carry on a conversation is where the power to create a great experience lies.

Thank you for reading!

Daniel

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com

 

 

How to liven up your internal Service events!

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

It’s always fun to present at internally hosted Service events.

You know – those events that most service-oriented organizations hold once a month or quarter to give out Staff awards, reiterate the Service vision and help & inspire Service staff – especially Frontliners – to keep up the great work.

 

After years being invited to deliver short & impactful ‘bursts’ of Service inspiration – and sitting in as a Guest at these events – I’ve come up with a short list of suggestions to make these terrific events even better.

1. Are you suffering from ‘stale air’ syndrome?

Most big organizations suffer from ‘stale air’ syndrome.

Imagine you host anywhere from 2 – 6 Service events a year for your high Performers or other specially selected Team Members.

If there is little change in format, little change in the Speaker line-up (invariably most if not all Speakers are internalEmployees), too much focus on organizational messaging (stop with the preaching already) – you end up with a dull affair.

Especially dull for the high performing Team Members who tend to qualify for attendance at all such events

By the way – compliment letters are (almost) always nice.

But try and get a bit creative on the Awards that you give out at such events – there are a lot more possibilities besides tabulating up compliment letters and giving out Pareto-style awards.

It’s clear that Awards aren’t working well when the same people win over and over (which gets boring for everyone except the Winner perhaps).

 

In my old Contact Centre days we used to give out awards such as “Best Tone of Voice in the Month” or “Most Improved in Attitude over the Quarter” – not just the usual He Who Got The Most Compliments Awards.

Our point was to ensure that we recognized results, improvement and effort – and not just call out the same names over and over.

Advice: Mix it up – change the theme, the flow, implement new and different Awards and/or consider external Speakers at such events – so that people look forward to more than just the free food that you’re likely to have out.

It’s never a cliche to suggest that you ask your attendees at such events what they would like to see in future events!

 

2. Don’t lose perspective on the purpose of your Service event(s)

 

Use your Service event to focus on Service.

Now’s not the time to introduce new HR policies, discuss organizational restructuring or spend time on other non-Service related matters.

There are almost always better formats to use for these types of things.

Advice: Stick to Service at your Service events. There’s always a lot to share here (tip – Customer Experience is often deeply misunderstood – teach CX if you’re out of ideas!)

 

3. Have a good hard look at your Service vision – it may be time for an overhaul

There are still really boring Service visions out there.

Something like GST (Greet, Smile, Thank) should be stickers on cash registers – not a shared vision goal.

Acronyms in particular can be grating.

A = Apple, B = Banana – yes we get it.

Cute does not equal inspiring.

If it’s not inspiring – then perhaps it’s time for a refresh.

I see some organizations spend more effort (and money) on refurbishing their offices as compared to sitting down a crafting a Service vision that inspires people.

Customer expectations have gone up – if you’re not keeping up you’re automatically falling behind.

Advice: If your Team Members (or you!) find that your Service vision has seen better days – perhaps it’s time to sit down and craft a new and meaningful statement and/or set of principles that can inspire.

 

4. Consider a plan for learning

When training budgets are tight, Service events make great venues for learning & sharing as well as recognition.

If you plan to host more than 1 Service event at your organization in a year’s time – why not consider putting together a plan for learning?

Allow the Events to build on each other – so content from Event #1 should flow smoothly to content at Event #2.

We’ve even given out homework assignments at Event #1 which we addressed at Event #2 – thereby creating a real framework for learning & application.

If you tender for external Speakers for such events – consider an annual Tender that covers multiple events – when real learning takes place people want to come – and not just for the free food!

 

Advice: Approach learning at Service events with the same rigor that you would apply to a training or certification system – don’t just look at these as ‘one-off’ events – for some Team Members this may be the only real ‘training’ they get!

I hope these 4 tips are helpful and thanks for reading!

Daniel

65 9838 2353

www.omnitouchinternational.com

New subsidy options for the industry’s best Team Leader Certification!

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

Get Contact Center industry-leading training at subsidized rates in Singapore!

Since 2014, Singapore’s Employment & Employability Institute (e2i) has endorsed and provided 50% subsidy for the OmniTouch Team Leader Series.

The Team Leader Series was designed for middle managers & professionals working in the Contact Centre & Service industries.

Leading industry figure and Head of CS at M1 shared his viewpoint with us here –

 

 

Assistant Director of SP Services Digital Contact Centre shared his viewpoint with us as well –

 

So we are happy to share that –

Organizations & individuals who aim to significantly develop middle management & professional capabilities now have a choice between two program & subsidy options in Singapore.

Budget figures (in Singapore Dollars) are provided at the end of this article for your easy reference

 

Option 1 – the complete Team Leader Series & Certification Program

Since 2014, e2i has endorsed and provided 50% subsidy for the complete Team Leader Series.

The full 6 course series was designed to equip Candidates with full mastery of their job roles in Contact Centres & Service-based environments.

Candidates complete a total of (6) 2-day workshop programs (taken in any order) – as follow:

·      Customer Experience for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      How to Monitor & Coach for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      Contact Centre Operations for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      People Management for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      How to be a Great Team Leader (aka Leadership & Engagement)

·      Managing Yourself for Team Leaders & Professionals

Each program is a Masterclass on its own and comes with its own certification exam.

In addition to these 6 programs, Candidates take (2) prescribed WSQ courses and complete (1) Work Product Assignment to demonstrate applicability to the workplace.

Typically the entire process takes 6 – 8 months or so.

Upon completion, Candidates are fully certified and their organization receives a full 50% subsidy back on the program.

Once Candidates have passed all (6) Certification exams, OmniTouch will also issue a formal ‘Work Product Assignment’ where the Candidate will be asked to share specifically – in essay format – what improvements, enhancements & positive outcomes were achieved across a variety of the domains they completed.

Most importantly, the Candidates are equipped to make a real positive impact at work – whether that’s through improved Employee engagement, superior coaching, or better understanding of how to manage operations.

No other Team Leader Series has achieved this kind of positive impact and Candidates who completed the program tell us how much difference it has made to their effectiveness as leaders.

 

Option 2 – the a la carte Program – choose a bundle of 1, 2, 3, 4 or even 5 courses for your Candidate

For Organizations & Individuals who aim to ‘focus in’ on particular topics, we are happy to share that a new e2i program and subsidy – effective February 2017 – is available on an a la carte basis.

The Organization first selects the Candidate (or Candidates) for development.

Then they evaluate which topic or topics they want to put the Candidate through.

So out of the 6 programs available, they choose a ‘bundle’ of either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 programs from the list below:

·      Customer Experience for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      How to Monitor & Coach for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      Contact Centre Operations for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      People Management for Team Leaders & Professionals

·      How to be a Great Team Leader (aka Leadership & Engagement)

·      Managing Yourself for Team Leaders & Professionals

The Candidate will attend the selected programs that were chosen and at the end of program they take the relevant certification exam.  The certification exam is administered on Day 2 of the program.

They will then attend (2) prescribed WSQ modules and complete (1) Work Product Assignment assigned by OmniTouch.

The time duration for completion will be based on how many of the a la carte programs were chosen.

But we’d estimate anywhere from 1 – 2 months up to 6 months in all.  It is really driven by how many a la carte programs are selected.

Upon completion, the Organization receives back a 50% subsidy for the program.

Here’s an example –

Let’s say, the Candidate decides they want to upgrade their knowledge & skills related to Customer Experience AND Contact Centre Operations. (So two programs are selected a la carte).

So they enroll in one of our regularly scheduled runs of the 2-day Customer Experience program and they enroll in one of our regularly scheduled runs of the 2-day Contact Centre Operations program.

During the workshops they are likely to meet folks from other Organizations who are also in the certification process as well – allowing for a great exchange of ideas & inspiration.

To make every program personal and discussion oriented, we cap attendance to a maximum of 8 – 9 pax.

We believe round table discussion accomplishes a lot more than packed classrooms.

At the end of the 2-day program, they will (like everyone) take their certification exam.

Once they have passed the relevant certification exams with OmniTouch, their internal HR & Admin department will schedule them to attend the prescribed WSQ Modules.

OmniTouch will also issue a formal ‘Work Product Assignment’ where the Candidate will be asked to share specifically – in essay format – what improvements, enhancements & positive outcomes were achieved through their new understanding and development.

The Work Product Assignment will be specifically tailored to the program or programs taken by the Participant.

Once all activities are completed, the Candidate is formally certified in the particular program or set of programs.

And of course the 50% subsidy is provided back to the sponsoring Organization.

Budgets & figures

The program has been designed to be easy to use.

Here are the key process steps & figures to be aware of:

  1. Each 2-day Team Leader program retails at S$995 and is held at the OmniTouch Singapore office at regularly scheduled intervals
  2. The subsidy for each program is 50% or S$497.50 – this means that your final out of pocket figure is S$497.50 for any and all of the 2-day Workshop programs – that works out to less than S$250 per day of training.
  3. If (for example) you decide to go for a bundle of (2) of the 2-day programs the initial outlay would be 2 x S$995 = S$1,990. After completion you receive back 50% (of the S$1,990) or S$995 which means that your final out of pocket for both programs (4 days of training) is S$995.
  4. If you decide to go for the full (6) program Team Leader Series the initial outlay is 6 x S$995 = S$5,970. After completion of the program you receive back 50% (of the S$5,970) or S$2,985 which means that your final out of pocket for all 6 programs (12 days of training) is S$2,985 – less than S$250 per day.
  5. There is no charge for the Work Product Assignment – it is built into the overall design of the Team Leader Series
  6. In order to enjoy the 50% subsidy – full 100% prepayment is required before attendance at the first program. The 50% subsidy is paid back upon official completion (of all the relevant training modules, certification exams, WSQ modules and the Work Product Assignment)

As always we are here to help – just drop a line to [email protected] or message to 65 9838 2353.

Daniel

[email protected]om / www.omnitouchinternational.com / (65) 9838 2353

New recommendations from Clients & Partners – thank you!

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

In an industry driven by excellence, it’s an honor to be recognized by Clients & Partners. Received in January & February 2017 with gratitude and appreciation.

Josephine Oon, General Manager Customer Service at M1, Singapore

It has been a great experience for my team to work with Daniel to bring on our vision for the new Customer Centric Initiative.

He has consistently exceeded every expectation I had for quality, creativity and professionalism. He is assisting us to run workshops that aim to change and reposition mind-sets.

Though there are challenges to roll out to all staff at different levels and departments but results have shown that Daniel has conquered them all. 

Prior to the workshops, we like to commend Daniel’s keen attention on our requirements and offering valuable advice on the curriculum planning and set up.

This was further challenged when we made last minute adjustments but he had accommodated them well despite the tight timeline. 

I highly recommend Daniel as a Trainer / Coach because it will be a pleasure working with such a dedicated individual who truly cares about his clients and his work.

My team and I look forward to use OmniTouch for our future training opportunities. 

 

Lluis Ferre, V.P. Sales and Marketing Asia | Consumer Goods | Healthcare | Consumer Technology| Asia | Global DKSH

We hired Daniel and his organisation to support our efforts in the call center space at regional level. 

They provided strategic guidance, helped setup the service and service offering model and provided training to all our staff. 

It was all done in a extremely professional way, understanding our own business realities and not applying a predefined solution. 

A pleasure to work with Daniel … and with his help we have won already few prizes on Customer experience and more important, business grow is significant as per agreed plan. 

Thanks Daniel and team !

 

Tamara Lužajić, Content Writer, CXM World

Daniel is one of the kindest business professionals I have ever met.

I had the pleasure to listen to him speak in a room full of people, and I was amazed by his ability to seize everyone’s attention with his knowledge and fantastic public speaking skills.

Working with him is always a pleasure!

 

In a Tender briefing, someone once asked me how many Awards I had won. And my answer was that each and every satisfied & appreciative Student, Client & Partner was the best Award a person like me could have.

Thank you!

Daniel

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com / (65) 9838 2353

Daniel Ord

How to conduct (and not conduct) a Customer experience Mystery Shopper

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

Adding the phrase ‘Customer Experience’ in front of something doesn’t make it so.  And this applies to Mystery Shopper research.   A Customer Experience Mystery Shopper is something very particular and special.

Some time back in Singapore, one of the local Awards Clubs introduced a Customer Experience Mystery Shopper Award into its portfolio.

Cool I thought – it will be interesting to see what a Customer experience-based Mystery Shopper Award looks like as per a global vendor.

A short time later, I was helping a hospitality Client set up the Quality Assurance program for their Contact Centre.

A group of 20 senior folks were gathered together in the conference room, and we were in the midst of selecting & defining quality standards when one of them stopped and asked –

Hey Dan – did you know that we entered the Customer Experience Mystery Shopper Award this past year?

No I said – how did it go?

Well – we aren’t so sure. Because in this workshop I’m getting a sense of the complexity that goes into setting & measuring quality – but I’m not so sure it was this rigorous in our Awards entry.

He continued…

I have the final report from the Mystery Shopper vendor here on my laptop – can we flash it up and talk about it?

But of course!

The cover slide whirred up on the screen.

Opening slide – very formal – The Customer Experience Mystery Shopper Report etc. etc.

We were all ready. And then, next slide…

THE GREETING – score 98%

What? The Greeting? Oh – ok. Anyway 98%

Then the next slide…

GET THE CUSTOMER NAME – score 97%

Oh…really?

And it carried on from there.

Slide after slide after slide reported on a compliance measurement – even the Hold Technique was featured.

As we hit slide 20+ something someone in the room turned to me and asked – So Dan — you look a bit pale – what do you think?

Well it was an easy question to answer.

Well guys – I said– what you have here is a wonderfully presented compliance report – but I haven’t seen anything yet that even remotely measures or talks about the Customer experience.

And the room agreed.

Interestingly – in this report there was a final measurement slide that said CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (yes – that’s right – a single slide).

Score – 58%.

But the legend was unclear as to how the score was derived.

After some discussion around the table we guessed that perhaps this was the personal score or viewpoint of the Mystery Shopper.

So let’s put it on the table right now.

If the first thing that comes to your mind when planning a Customer Experience-based Mystery Shopper program is THE GREETING – then you are on the wrong track.

 

There’s a lot of compliance-based Mystery Shopper work going on out there

There are certainly some valid reasons for having a solid compliance-based Mystery Shopper program.

They’re used extensively in the banking & finance industry – especially for ensuring regulatory compliance.

In the Public Sector, compliance-based programs provide a basic ‘minimum-standard’ dipstick – that provides high level assurance that when an email gets sent – it receives a reply.

Or when a telephone call is placed, some kind of basic response – along with basic courtesy – is provided.

While it’s rare to see a Public Sector program skew heavily to the Customer experience (now there’s an opportunity I’d love to be part of!) compliance based programs ensure a level of essential service is provided.

Another example of a smart compliance program is ensuring that things work the way they are supposed to work.

That when a certain telephone number is dialed at a certain time of day – that the call goes to the right place (you’d be surprised how many times it doesn’t).

Or when a certain set of IVR options or digital instructions are followed, that the Customer ends up where they were supposed to and got what they were supposed to get.

As channels proliferate and overlap, it’s really important to ensure that channel mechanisms work the way they are supposed to – the omni-channel Mystery Shopper program.

It’s not right to say that compliance-based programs are ‘bad’ while CX-based programs are ‘better’.

It’s always about defining what you want to learn and then figuring out the best way to learn it.

But there’s a big opportunity in putting together a solid Customer Experience-based Mystery Shopper program.

And no – adding the word Customer experience in front of something doesn’t make it so.

 

If you are considering a compliance-based Mystery Shopper program ask yourself – what am I going to learn from this program that I couldn’t learn from my own Team Members?

Assuming that you’re not conducting Mystery Shopper because you have to (such as described earlier for the finance or Public Sectors), I’d ask myself a very simple question before starting.

What am I going to learn from this Mystery Shopper program that my own Team Members – both Management & Frontline – wouldn’t have already picked up on? 

Once, when I met with a fancy hotel chain, the resident Trainer told me (in a very proud tone) that their Mystery Shopper – apparently a hotel expert who traveled the world – had picked up that the wheels on the room service trolley were squeaky.

And before I could think (and perhaps keep my mouth shut) I blurted out – why would you pay someone for that? 

Shouldn’t your Room Service People & Supervisor pick up on that? 

What kind of culture exists around here if your own Team Members wouldn’t find and fix such matters on their own?

At the end of the day, if the Mystery Shopper program looks and feels ‘police-based’ it will be wildly unpopular – and that makes improvement efforts very difficult.

Because when a program has limited credibility – it automatically has limited impact.

The key is always to define the purpose – a set of objectives for the program – that will resonate with Stakeholders and set the Organization up for future success.

 

So what does a real Customer experience-based Mystery Shopper program look like?

There is no one single model – that’s the beauty of deep dive research – and we share a few models here from our work with innovative Clients.

Let’s start this discussion with the brand

Colin Shaw of Beyond Philosophy says that a brand is perception – nothing more, nothing less. It is what you think and feel about that company: an opinion, a viewpoint, an expectation.

So the Customer experience is the journey the Customer has with your brand.

When you look at it like that – then opening the Mystery Shopper design conversation with a discussion of the brand makes a lot of sense.

If your brand proposition incorporates things like trust, or accuracy, or ownership – then these values can be codified and studied during the Mystery Shopper journey.

The gaps between the ‘brand’ and the ‘Customer experience’ can be identified for further action.

One of favorite Customer experience-based Mystery Shopper programs was with a high end hotel where the GM & Team wanted to focus exclusively on brand values. So we designed everything to effectively measure the success (or gap) in bringing brand values to life.

It was a privilege to work with such forward thinking management and I share this example in many of my talks and workshops on Customer experience.

 

And what about emotion? If you’re executing a real Customer experience-based Mystery Shopperprogram then studying the emotion is a must

One of my favorite things about the rise of Customer Experience is the inclusion of emotion in business discussions.

For too long, Customers (and Employees as well) have been treated as batches of numbers, or ‘segments’ that are expected to behave and perform in certain ways.

If they follow ‘your rules’ – then they can get what they want or what they need.

But if you read any established Customer experience authority you’ll note how quickly (and powerfully) the topic of emotion comes up – in fact Bruce Temkin argues that more than 50% of the Customer experience is driven by emotion – so how can that be ignored?

So in our work designing Customer-experience based Mystery Shopper programs we always talk about emotions.

During the course of booking a dining reservation what emotion do we want to ‘bring out’? It’s definitely not using the Customer’s name 2 times!

Let’s be frank – if you don’t know what emotions you are trying to evoke – how will your Team Members know?

Testing emotion is one of the best things you can do in a Customer Experience-based Mystery Shopper program.

 

We also like The Diary approach to recording thoughts & feelings over the course of the journey

For a well known theme park, we conducted a series of lengthy (6 – 8 hour) Mystery Shopper visits that incorporated thoughts & feelings.

Structured in a diary format and supported by photographs, each final report was quite lengthy.

But after each visit was done, we were able to boil down observations across the journey into a number of themes.

We then cross referenced all the themes across all the visits.

Mystery Shopper research – like Focus Groups – is a deep dive qualitative research methodology – and lends itself beautifully to this kind of study.

What was also great about this program was that no score was assigned.

It was about designing an observation through the eyes of a ‘stand-in’ Customer to document the Customer journey.

The report became legendary and we still have company management write to us now and then on how useful (and revolutionary) the approach had been for them.

At the very minimum

At the very minimum – if you are ready to use Mystery Shopper as a Customer experience tool, consider upgrading your measurements beyond simple compliance standards.

Sure – compliance standards are easy to measure.

But they have very little to tell you with regard to the thoughts, emotions, feelings & Customer journey.

With compliance standards, you can get excellent marks and still deliver a lousy experience.

And just adding the phrase ‘Customer Experience’ to something doesn’t make it so.

Thank you for reading!

Daniel

 

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com / (65) 9838 2353

 Daniel Ord