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How to be a better Service Quality Manager in 2018

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

It’s a new year – and a great time for Service Managers to reflect on ways to deliver more value for their Teams & Organizations in 2018.

Here are some ideas.

More problem prevention, less problem solving

You’ve earned the right to be proud when your Service Staff competently handle Customer inquiries.

But you serve a higher purpose when you stop and ask yourself – why do we get these inquiries in the first place?

To solve that question requires courage.

The courage to get up, leave your desk, and traverse your organization to piece together the root causes of Customer contact.

Because for most Customer Care & Technical Support environments – the best contact is no contact.

The best Service Quality Managers work ‘up and out’ throughout the organization.  They don’t focus exclusively on their internal Staff performance.

More inspiration, less compliance

It’s so easy to get caught up in compliance.

Did Staff say the Customer’s name three times.  Did they wear black socks.

Sure compliance matters – but it’s not the stuff of Staff inspiration or culture building.

In the best circumstances, Service Quality Managers help design ‘what kind’ of experience to deliver.

Then using vivid language – written with adults in mind – they create a ‘statement of experience’ that links the day to day activities of their Staff to the kind of experience the organization aims to deliver.

But crafting an inspirational statement of experience – while important – is only one aspect of inspiration.

The best Service Quality Managers are also inspiring people.

What they speak about, the way they speak, the rituals they build into the lives of their Staff.

The best Service Quality Managers understand the impact of inspiration and harness it through how they behave and what they do. 

More ‘let’s try new things’, less ‘we have to do it the same way’

As the new year begins, some organizations will begin planning for Wave 12 of their Mystery Shopper program, or Wave 23 of their Customer Satisfaction survey program.

They will trot out exactly the same programs they’ve always run – with the refrain that ‘we need to keep things the same for trending analysis’.

With rapidly changing Customer expectations, delivery methods and opportunities to learn and grow, it doesn’t make much sense to keep looking at the past when your Customers live in the present (and of course the future).

Again, courage is required.

The courage to challenge senior leadership to be brave.

To set aside endless trending and really dig deep to learn.

To stop looking at only numbers and respond to what Customers want, need and feel.

The best Service Quality Managers keep updated on evolving approaches & practices in Customer experience and are willing to try new things to learn and grow their effectiveness.

More ongoing Staff development

In so many workshops, Participants tell me, “Dan, I haven’t attended a workshop, training or developmental program in (fill in the blank) years.

Many receive training at hiring and then, as the years roll by, they’re expected to organically ‘get better’ through repetition and tenure.

While I remind folks that they need to largely self-manage their own career these days – that’s not an excuse for organizations to forego Staff development.

The best Service Quality Managers understand that their Staff need to feel they are learning & growing to stay equipped and engaged.

More journey, less destination

Embedding daily, weekly and monthly rituals & storytelling practices, keeps Service & Customer experience front and center in the lives of your Service Staff.

Look deeply into the frequency and intention of your rituals.

A once a year ‘Service Week’ or participation in an industry Awards activity – on their own – won’t be enough to effect profound change.

Whether it’s the morning huddle or a weekly Customer sharing session it’s important to keep Customers front and center in the minds of your Staff.

If you commit to a monthly / quarterly Service ritual – then stick to it.

And use the ritual to focus on Customers – not organizational announcements.

The best Service Quality Managers know that meeting & exceeding Customer expectations is a journey, not a destination. 

They design & execute meaningful rituals that routinely bring Customers to life in the lives of their Staff & Organization.

I hope some of these ideas were useful for you.

Happy holidays!


Daniel Ord

daniel[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com













A Culture of Fear & Compliance are poor tools for delivering a great Customer experience

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

This article proposes that a culture of fear and compliance are poor tools for delivering a great Customer Experience.

In the markets where I work most often, compliance still rules in Customer interactions.

Say this, wear that – act like this, act like that.

One of my students – who had worked as a concierge in a high-end Singapore shopping centre – told us that every morning their boss would line them up and critique all aspects of their grooming.

He told us the experience was a fearful one – and Team Members would begin their shift with a nagging unpleasant feeling.

Another student shared that they had been instructed to say, “Will you allow me to put you on hold?” vs. “May I put you on hold?”

It was never made clear why this use of language was so important to the Customer experience.

But there was a team of eagle-eared Quality Assurance analysts who fixated on language use and tidings of woe to the Team Member who in some way mixed up the verbiage.


Sure, compliance has its place – but not when it takes on Darth Vader-like proportions

Recently I had a meeting with a high-end hospitality company.

The course under discussion was how to help Team Members better interact with high-end VIP Guests through conversational engagement.

The challenge was that Team Members were either silent, monosyllabic or overly formal in the presence of ‘high rollers’.

The position I took was that in order to create a better Customer experience for these Guests, it was going to be necessary to back-off a bit on the compliance – and by association the culture of fear.

Perhaps it was time to allow for greater flexibility.

The whole room went silent.

You would have thought I had just ordered a double bacon cheeseburger in a vegetarian restaurant.

All eyes turned to the Senior in the room.

After a long pause, the Senior intoned that compliance was the most important aspect of their Service delivery and with that, I knew the conversation was over.

A culture of fear had shown itself.

I worry that to this day, these folks would rather look at their shoes than engage conversationally with a Guest.


Branding & the Customer experience

It is completely understandable that an organization would aim to live its brand promise.

The right opening, the right phrases, the right ‘look’ all matter.

They have their place in overall quality initiatives.

The problem comes in when these behaviors – and discussion around these behaviors – crowd out discussion about what’s really important.

It is well understood that what matters most in CX delivery is the Customer’s perception or ‘feeling’ about what they went through.

Clearly no Customer is going to get all excited about your greeting – or the fact that your Staff’s socks matched the color of their shoes.

When it comes to compliance, there’s very little opportunity to differentiate the experience.

But if you really consider your brand promises – either explicit or implicit – along with your values, mission, vision and the like – there’s a lot of rich context to develop powerful CX standards for conversation.

Let’s ask

The moment the Team begins to ask themselves – ‘What can we do to exceed the Customer’s emotional expectations’ for this kind of visit, call, email, live chat and so on’ – well that’s where the magic lives.

Thanks for reading!

Daniel Ord

Daniel Ord





Why Manners will always matter

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

In this article I share why manners will always matter.

Why manners will always matter.

The wonderful etiquette author and columnist, Emily Post, wrote the following –

Emily Post Manners

In this day and age of personal branding, social media profiles and content marketing, it’s nice to reflect on the reality that the essential foundation of a gracious person, or by extension, a gracious society, lies not in knowing which fork to use, but in consciously choosing to become aware of the feelings of others.

Emily’s definition is so great because it nails empathy and care – ‘a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others’.

Wow – this is pretty heady stuff.

At a very basic level – having manners involves inconveniencing yourself

At some basic level, having manners or being gracious means that you are willing to inconvenience yourself for the sake of someone else.

What do I mean?

  • Holding the lift door open for a few extra seconds so that a latecomer can rush in and get to work on time
  • Letting someone else in the buffet line have that last bit of sushi or nice dessert
  • Letting someone with just a few items proceed before you in the queue
  • Saying thank you and job well done a bit more often
  • Paying attention to someone when you really just want to go home

Manners are not something that you trot out to ‘wow’ the Guests

Military dress uniform

I remember as a child, growing up in a military family, my parents reminded us to bring out our best manners when an Admiral came to dinner or my father had an important delegation over to visit.

My parents never said ‘Bring out your manners tonight’.

That reminder would have implied that manners were something to be put on or put away like a sweater.

We kids were taught and required to demonstrate our manners in our daily life, even if no one else was around.

I am convinced that this grounding has been an essential aspect of my own personal ‘success’ which is defined for me by the richness of my relationships.

You’re always there to serve someone

At work you’re always serving someone else, whether that is an external Customer or Client, or an internal stakeholder like a Colleague or a Boss.

In training, whenever people ask me if ‘manners’ or ‘graciousness’ can be learned I always answer ‘yes’.

Because it’s not about the forks.

It’s about the willingness to look out for the feelings and situation of another person.

It feels good

Another great saying I love is this one –

If you hold the door open for someone and they just rush through – well that’s ok – you added some positive energy to the world.

In closing – Emily Post also wrote

Emily Post good manners

Thank you Emily and thank YOU for reading!

Daniel Ord

Daniel Ord


It’s time to relook at the Contact Centre Outsourcer relationship

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

As pressure to deliver a better Customer experience increases, more Organizations are relooking at their  Contact Centre Outsourcer relationship.

And their hands are often tied by ineffective, outdated outsourcing agreements signed years earlier.

The serious Client – can you help us look at our Contact Centre Outsourcer?

Over the past year we’ve had about 1 – 2 inquiries per month along the lines of –

“Hey Dan, can you help us relook at our Contact Centre Outsourcer contract or Outsourcer performance?”

Most came from Organizations who wanted to up the game of their Outsourcer.

But they found their hands tied by poorly designed outsourcing contracts.

It’s tough to be locked into an existing outsourcing contract that was designed and executed years earlier.  

And by colleagues who are long gone or in different roles.

Some of these folks told me that when they approached their Contact Centre Outsourcer to ask questions, the Outsourcer replied – That’s not in the contract.”

Oh dear.

These Contact Centre Outsourcers shouldn’t be surprised that when the contract is up, the Client finds a new provider.

Some Organizations don’t want to be in the Contact Centre business

A few of these inquiries came from organizations where the folks in charge of the outsourcing relationship don’t seem to be happy about it.

The common thread to their situation was that ‘handling the Contact Centre Outsourcer’ was just one of their overall job responsibilities.

And likely the one that caused the most headaches and for which they were the least equipped.

I’d worry if I worked somewhere where Contact Centre or Customer Experience was seen as so simple that it could just be one of my responsibilities.

That’s a big barrier to working effectively with the Contact Centre Outsourcer.

Sometimes the Outsource relationship looks to be an afterthought

Early this year, I was invited in to discuss a Contact Centre Outsourcer vendor evaluation for a major brand.

Their existing Outsourcer contract ran into the millions of dollars.

I had expected a senior level audience and prepared accordingly.

After arriving at the meeting place, I was greeted by 2 mid-level executives who were nominally in charge of the Outsourcer relationship.

Neither had any Contact Centre or Customer experience credentials nor did they want any.

They simply wanted a quick and dirty report card on the performance of their outsourcer – and they wanted it to be done fast and cheap.

The risk of not stepping up to the plate in an Outsourcer relationship

Aside from the obvious financial implications and the impact on Customer experience, there is an additional risk when organizations fail to step up to the plate and partner fully in their outsourcing relationships.

Customer care, Customer experience, Contact Centres & Service delivery – whatever you choose to call it – is a complex business discipline.

It’s a lot more than ‘being nice’ while on you’re on the phone.

It takes time and mastery to build up what I call your ‘Customer chops’. 

For some people it is a life-long calling.

By not stepping up to the plate, these folks on the Client side – by design or circumstance – fail to build up their Customer chops.

So when the time comes when someone finally says – “Hey, why are we getting so many complaints?” or

“Hey, does anybody understand our outsourcing contract?” or

“Hey, how are we doing with successful implementation of self-care/human-care strategies?” no one is going to have a robust answer.

And that’s going to be a problem.

Build your chops

One of the biggest decisions your organization will ever make is who will manage your Customer outsourcing and how it will be done.

And the only way to get this right is to take it seriously.

Learn the industry, build your chops, partner closely with your Outsourcer.

You might learn a thing or two.

Thank you for reading!


Daniel & M&C Class

Daniel Ord

How to plan a better Workshop

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

You can run a better Workshop at your organization by following a few simple steps.

Every year, organizations plan workshops for their Employees – sometimes for a select few, other times for the Team at large.

A better Workshop has the potential to influence, inspire and provide clarity.

But one that is less well-run wastes time, money and impacts management credibility.

Here we share a few tips that will help your Workshop Leader deliver a better experience for your Participants.

1. Write a ‘Mission Statement’ for your Workshop

As with any important project, develop the Mission Statement or set of objectives early in the planning.

Of course you will tinker and tailor with the Mission Statement as you gather more input – but it’s a super important thing to begin with.

A great Mission Statement informs decisions ranging from selection of  content through to the seating arrangement.

Simple examples of mission statements are:

  • ‘As a result of this workshop we expect participants to better understand our current reasons for change and help them work through their Denial & Resistance phases…’
  • ‘After this workshop, we want better integration and bonding between those members of our Team who are newly hired and those who have been with us for some time…’
  • ‘We want participants to leave with a solid definition of Customer Experience, what it means, how it ‘works’ and how to bring it to life in their own work environment.’

Whether your Workshop Leader is the ‘main event’ or is one of several Speakers, understanding the Mission of your workshop helps.

2. Describe the expected audience in as much detail as practical

Audience composition matters.

If the audience is a mix of management and Front-line Team Members, its not appropriate to cover topics like ‘how to motivate staff’, or ‘how to improve staff performance’.

These are better reserved for a management-level audience only.

On the other hand, topics like “Stress Management”, “How to Enhance your Personal Brand” or “How to bring Customer Experience to Life’, can be quite relevant for a mixed level audience.

Be as specific as you can be.

For example –

The audience will consist of 10% senior management from all divisions, 30% middle management from the Sales & Marketing groups and 60% from the Frontline split evenly between Shops & Contact Centre.

3. Share the seating strategy

How seating is arranged and who sits where has a big impact on the success of a workshop.

If the setting is lecture style, such as in an auditorium, the Lecturer may decide to proceed with a one-way presentation (in the Ted Talks style).

Alternatively, they might break down the audience into sub-groups.

After all, a group of 100 is really nothing more than 20 sub-groups of 5 people each.

If there is to be group or table seating, define who is supposed to sit at which table.

If one of your objectives is to get folks to know each other better, avoid situations where management all sits together and staff all sits together.

Seating plans can be predetermined by the organizer or, if preferred, the Lecturer can help to establish the seating assignments.

The key is to let the Lecturer know the seating strategy ahead of time.

Workshop Leaders have a variety of effective and respectful workshop strategies to get participants to rotate to new locations if needed.

4. Define the role of the ‘Big Boss’

The role of the ‘Big Boss’ or bosses should be clarified before the start of the workshop.

Typical roles of the Big Boss in a workshop are to:

  • Address the audience at the beginning with the objectives of the Workshop and the desired outcomes from the Workshop
  • Share latest organizational news and updates
  • Reinforce the Vision and/or purpose of the workshop
  • Introduce the Speaker or Speakers
  • Observe participant reaction to the Workshop

Big Bosses should walk in prepared to deliver on their role and ideally ‘stick’ to that role and not improvise on the spot.

A Big Boss can easily take over the workshop if you’re not careful.

In a recent event, the senior management had to quietly ask the Big Boss to leave as their presence (and poor introduction) created a lot of fear in the room.

5. Let your Workshop Leader know how much time they will have

If one of the workshop objectives is to allow participants a chance to get to know each other, it’s likely that a long lunch and long tea breaks will be encouraged.

The workshop might be held on a weekend and so ends earlier than a normal working day.

Once introductions, tea breaks and lunch have been factored in (along with starting and ending times), your Workshop Leader will know how much ‘real’ time they will have for delivery.

While Workshop Leaders are obviously good at time management, there is a big difference between having 4.5 hours to present and. 6.0 hours to present.

6. Share the evaluations & feedback with your Workshop Leader

Successful Workshop Leaders learn from every session they conduct – whether its the 5th time or the 50th time they are presenting.

They appreciate the feedback.

Thank you for reading and here’s to better Workshops!


Why your call quality doesn’t deliver on Customer experience

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

Call quality in today’s Contact Centres hasn’t improved enough to keep up with today’s Customer expectations.

Recently we released a new training course – “How to have Great Conversations with your Guests & Customers”.

Within days, we received a number of inquiries from banks, hotels and even two shopping centres.

While the industries were different, the inquiry was the same.

“Dan – we’ve got the Team to a level of standardization and compliance.

But despite that fact that we are an amazing company in our industry, we still have to urge (push, pull, scream) to get our Frontline staff to engage in conversation with our Guests & Customers.”

That got us to thinking – why isn’t call quality getting better?

Why do Team Members in hotels & retail environments sound so robotic?

The call mix has changed

What Customers called about 10, 5 or even 2 years ago has changed.

In a North American study, 41% of voice-calls received in Contact Centres were driven by failures in other channels.

So voice-based Centres are transitioning into channel-resolution Centres.  Working to solve more complex and challenging inquiries than ever before.

When you’re dealing with more complex inquiries, the stakes are higher.

A nice tone of voice and saying the Customer name two times isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Proportionally calls related to difficult situations have gone up

Ask any mid to long time Contact Centre Agent about the behavior of Customers today.

They will tell you that their Customers are more demanding.

Your longer-serving Agents might feel that organizational performance has declined over time.  A direct result given the increase in the volume and intensity of difficult situations.

That’s an important leadership challenge that needs to be addressed before the Centre shifts into ‘all Customers are jerks’ mode which is an experience killer.

If you’re an Agent who thinks Customers are jerks, your call quality is bound to suffer.

Contact Centres as an industry remain siloed

Unlike industries such as health-care, law, accounting and the like, Contact Centres are deeply tied to their vertical organization with rew ties to the ‘horizontal industry’ at large.

This means that the folks running the Centres might not have the necessary knowledge, skills and exposure to run multi-channel or omni-channel environments.

Once a Contact Centre has managed to achieve a ‘base-level’ of performance around Operations & Quality, a Business As Usual inertia sets in.

A sense that ‘we’ve done it, we’re there – so for heaven’s sake don’t rock the boat by changing anything now’.

So what is this mysterious Wow Factor everyone talks about?

You still hear the terms, Wow Factor, Go the Extra Mile, Customer delight – but it’s very seldom that Contact Centre leadership can define it well.

How can an Agent deliver this mysterious Customer Delight factor if their bosses can’t even define it?

No – this is not an Agent attitude problem.

This is a management failure.

And the lessons of Customer Experience teach us that consistent (good) performance beats isolated Wow Factors every time.

That doesn’t mean ignore Wow.  It simply means that you have to get the consistency right before you design the Wow.

You can’t build a house with Legos

Of course behaviors like tone of voice, etiquette and courtesies matter – but they are expected and don’t really provide differentiation.

When you listen to calls across organizations in the same locale or region, it all sounds pretty much the same.

Colin Shaw of Beyond Philosophy calls it the ‘blight of the bland’.

I love that term, despite its inherent negativity.

What you get these days when you call a Contact Centre is truly bland – not great, not bad – serviceable.

I’ve yet to meet a Contact Centre Manager who promotes the mantra of ‘Let’s be Serviceable!’

So why is this so common?

Primarily because most Centre leadership and Quality Assurance Teams focus heavily on the compliance standards like ‘fillers’ and ‘use the Customer’s name 3 times in a conversation’.

Agents become compliance driven – because that is what their bosses tell them they want.

And it’s what they hear their bosses talk about every day.

It’s unreasonable and illogical to expect Agents to suddenly dig deeper into their souls and find a way to ‘wow’ Customers when their ‘Quality life’ revolves around tick-marks on compliance-based behaviors.

Recently a senior executive said to me – “We are the most famous hotel in a famous country – surely my Staff can find something to chat about with the Customer!”

While on paper that sounds reasonable, at the Agent level we can’t operate on wish fulfillment.

It’s like expecting flowers to bloom in the desert.

So what can differentiate?

In today’s CX environment, the standard bundle of KPIs that exist in many Centres continues the blight of the bland.

To be differentiate, we find that there are 3 common things – across industries – that Agents can bring to life in their conversations.

The ability to deliver any of these involves a variety of other competencies including listening, empathy, confidence, product knowledge and the like.

  • Relevant opinions

    Imagine you call for a dining reservation in the restaurant of your hotel and after a brief but valuable conversation, the Agent provides their informed ‘opinion’. “In my opinion sir, you’d be happier in the La Sala restaurant as it carries a wider selection of dishes as compared to our La Marina restaurant which is exclusively fine dining and for which options are more limited…”

  • Appropriate Recommendations

    Recommendations are linked to opinions but stronger in depth & intensity.

    “Sir, thanks for answering all my questions. Based on your situation I’d recommend that you take the XX version of our product – while it’s a bit lower than our higher end solution – it will serve you well based on the parameters we spoke about. It’s always superb to hear a Contact Centre Agent use the phrase “I recommend” appropriately (i.e. after careful listening and weighing of options – not simply pushing a product or service).

  • Conveyance of Emotion

    There are so many definitions and descriptions of this important topic and it’s a topic we never tire of studying. One of the best and simplest definitions I’ve seen is this – “The Guest or Customer leaves the interaction feeling better than they did entering it.” 

When it comes to creating a positive emotional experience with a Customer (or at the very least mitigating a negative experience), it’s important to understand that it’s not achieved by tacking on a new KPI such as “Small Talk”.

It’s a matter of rethinking the entire conversation and learning how to identify solid opportunities to express opinions, recommendations and trigger emotions.

Some time back we did a Mystery Shopper which involved asking Agents about the various attractions to be found in a resort.

The question was this – “Can you tell me about the Aquarium?” .

The answer was, “It has fish”.

You can’t build a house using Legos.

Thank you for reading!



Dear Contact Centre Agents – please stop pushing Customers to self-help

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

This article examines the Customer experience impact of pushing Callers to self help options as a method to improve Contact Center productivity.

There are some odd approaches to achieving Contact Center productivity.

One of my least favorite is what I call Tai Chi’ing the Customer.

Here’s what it sounds like –

Good morning this is Andrew, how may I help you?

Hi Andrew, Siti here. Can I ask how to apply for the scholarship?

Sure Siti.

It’s all on the website.

Go to abc.com and you’ll find everything there.

Oooh ah – punch – go away – ack!

Short, sweet – unhelpful.

It’s Tai Chi’ing when you push someone to self-help without offering to help first

Can you imagine you’re sunning at the local swimming pool and you see someone struggling to stay afloat in the deep end?

Look! (you shout) Just grab that orange floaty thing a few meters from you and you’ll be fine!

Unlikely – I assume you’d jump in an help – wouldn’t you?


Designed journeys have exception handling too

Sure – perhaps the digital journey had been planned such that the Customer would have utilized the website.

After all the concept of opti-channel refers to the best channel for a particular Customer performing a particular task.

But when you offer multiple channels, you make a promise to honor the Customer regardless of which channel (or channels) they decide to use.

When I work with students in CX courses I explain it this way –

“When your Customer wakes up in the morning they have a choice – a choice in how they interact with you.

They could call, email, text, or drop in on your Service Centre as they’ll be in town anyway.

At a big picture level, we have to honor them and help get the job done.”

Astute journey mapping experts will recognize that in the case of self-service (website, online FAQs and the like), some ratio of the voice calls received in the Centre will have placed by Customers after trying self-service first – and where the self-service option failed to deliver the desired information (or might have required too much effort to find).

So to be Tai Chi’ed on a voice call – right back to the self-service channel that had failed in the first place – is clearly not an award winning strategy.


There is a danger when measuring service through a compliance lens

We had been working with a large institution on their Mystery Shopper program.

To allow for trending period over period (in this case years) – compliance standards for measurement had not been refreshed or updated for years.

So – when tabulations were done, the scores were (as expected) good.

All the greetings, closings and using Customer names ‘two times’ needed to generate and show off great results to senior management.

But during analysis of the conversations, we had picked up on the extensive use of the Tai Chi approach (that’s what good Mystery Shopper providers do).

Unfortunately, that finding was considered incidental at best.

If this had been a real Customer experience-based Mystery Shopper program, the measurements would have been different – and learnings around the use of Tai Chi to handle Customers would have been embraced and action-ed differently.


As I say widely and often these days – if your Mystery Shopper program delivers the results you had hoped for or expected you’re probably doing it wrong.


How about a version like this?

Good morning this is Andrew, how may I help you?

Hi Andrew, Siti here. Can I ask how to apply for the scholarship?

Sure Siti. Happy to help with that!

(A bit of to and fro to address Siti’s needs)

Ok Siti – had you viewed our website before? 

Ah ok – no worries – let me show you where, in future, you can easily reference what we’ve been taking about on this call.

Of course, if the website does not provide an easy reference – this becomes business intelligence that can be aggregated and funneled to the CX Team for review and enhancement of that touchpoint.

And it’s the reduction of a future call that makes the big difference in your Contact Centre productivity.

Thank you for reading – and please – no more Tai Chi!


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?


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.


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.



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!


[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com