8 Steps To Great Customer Service
By Rich Tehrani,
Group Publisher, Technology Marketing Corp.
In an age where customers are looking for quality customer service and companies are cutting costs,
how does one find that delicate balance where both parties are satisfied? RightNow is one company
that has figured it out and is storming the global industry producing growth, $36 million in revenue,
and a positive cash flow in a third quarter market where so many have been floundering.
I recently spoke with Greg Gianforte, CEO and founder of Right-
Now in a podcast interview (www.tmcnet.com/2590.1). During our
conversation, we discussed sales, service, challenges and the eight steps
a company should follow to provide a great customer experience.
RightNow is a provider of on demand customer relationship
management (CRM) solutions that are designed to help customer-
centric organizations deliver great customer experiences.
Headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, RightNow has built its
amazing success by practicing the same customer-centric activities
that the company promotes to its clients.
In serving more than 1,900 organizations throughout the
world, RightNow has learned a thing or two about the way
these companies are serving their customers. Gianforte himself
has made more than 200 customer visits since the start of 2008
and there is one primary thing that he hears from customers
when asked about their current challenges: Reduce Cost.
While reducing cost is important, especially in this slower economy,
RightNow sets out to do so much more for the client. As companies
are focusing more heavily on service, RightNow is providing CRM
solutions that not only lower costs, but also increase productivity
to allow the client to create the ultimate experience for the customer.
Much of RightNow’s success is the result of the company’s approach
to implementing its solutions. Gianforte and his team are well aware
of the distrust companies have for software providers and to earn the
trust of their potential clients, they promote a “Try before you buy”
initiative in an effort to bring a new ethic to the industry. As a result,
most implementations are the extension of a pilot run that proves to
the client that the solution would perform as promised.
RightNow’s customer-centric approach is evident in the widgets
that it makes available for its clients. This element of eService provides
pages of digestible pieces of functional information that the
client can drag and drop to customize their online knowledgebase.
There is a widget available for each function a Web site visitor may
seek to accelerate their request or for access to a live agent.
A strong focus on the knowledgebase is key for RightNow and
the company does its best to educate its customers. A useful tool
now in place for this education is a book written by Gianforte:
Eight to Great, which provides a roadmap for customers seeking
to create great customer experiences. These eight steps include:
1. Establish a knowledge foundation
2. Empower customers
3. Empower frontline employees
4. Offer multi-channel choice
5. Listen to your customers
6. Design seamless experiences
7. Engage proactively
8. Measure and improve continuously
The company has experienced a very strong response to this
book. And, while it can take a client three to four years to
work through these eight steps to get to their goal, the process
serves as an effective roadmap. It also allows RightNow to
market through education.
In promoting its drive for the improved customer experience, Right-
Now is discovering that call and contact centers continue to struggle
to deliver the optimal customer experience. One of the challenges
that RightNow is finding in these centers is screen and keyboard latency.
This is having a dramatic affect on the productivity of agents
and the company’s solutions aim to eliminate this latency.
RightNow uses a smart client at the desktop to remove this latency
and improve productivity. The solution is network delivered, yet
it still allows for delivery to the desktop for optimal performance.
The solution is downloaded to the desktop once, and from that
point, only data is transferred through the network.
The desktop interface operates much like
Microsoft (News - Alert)
Office, requiring little training and rapid acceptance and adoption for the user. When an agent is handling a call, only that customer’s information is transferred to the desktop, eliminating bottlenecks and driving productivity.
The company anticipates that its current success will carry them
into 2009. Among its key initiatives is a keen focus on research
and development. Within this division, RightNow will focus on:
• Best of Breed eService
• Continuing to build out multi-channel services
• Customer-centric CRM with automated personalization
• Promoting further integration
RightNow is expected to release its latest update to its Right-
Now CRM Suite today that will include agent scripting and
case-based reasoning. Such enhancements are put in place to
improve the experience for both the call center agent and the
client as it empowers the agent to access information and make
decisions quickly during the call.
Ultimately, RightNow is on a smart track for further success
and growth as it takes a smart and ethical approach to doing
business. The company has discovered exactly what customers
demand from companies and how to empower those companies
to meet this demand. Continuing on this track will only
bring RightNow continued and measurable success.
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