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Friday, December 19, 2014

Hello BlackBerry Classic - Old is new Again

The Blackberry Classic is for the legacy user that needs to replace their older Bold with something newer. They want a secure device but also one with a keyboard so they do not need to resort to a stylus and a screen based keypad. Its natural for a keyboard to be more effective in entering emails or text.

Whats the best part of the new shiny?

  • Its a bit taller to accommodate a bigger 3.5 inch clear, bright Goruilla Glass screen. Yes touch sensitive
  • Improved 8MP camera
  • The control "belt" is back - answer, end, menu and mini trackpad
  • BB10 OS gives you things like the Messenger HUB
  • The keyboard is backlit
  • 2 day life with a 2500 maH battery
  • Its a bit heavier but is balanced
  • WiFi, GPS and additional sensors
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 16GB storage built in and you can a micro SD card for more
  • Blackberry Assistant improves the voice control experience

So Waterloo has been busy with this device and it is the ideal device for the legacy BB user and for those organisations that need to better manage with BES.

The busy executive is typically using the BB for business and a iPhone or Galaxy for personal use. Its because the BB is a secure business device that's a charm to use leaving the other ones for game and social media activity.

Take a look at BBM Meetings which is better play on mobile collaboration

How to be a better call center agent and improve service – Supervisors take note!

Call Center supervisors and Management need to take their eyes of the reports and look from the eyes of the consumer. Reports do not tell you the mood of the queue or the conversations that occur. The only way is to be an agent for a day to gain insights. Many consumers resort to the call center to resolve issues so let’s start with a better conversation. The most frustrating is billing issues. Take the SVP from billing and have them be an agent for a day. The common billing issues will be resolved quickly.

Now that the SVP has taken his suit off and put on his track pants and a t shirt he can now enjoy a day in the call center and here is what he will not say in order to be a better agent. 

Remember, a bad call center experience means consumers then buy from your competitor.

Here are some gems I have heard from callers:

1.    “Hey Calm Down”
If the caller is shouting because she is angry (especially after waiting 20 minutes in the queue) then you will make things worse by telling them to calm down. It is better to say “Hey, I can solve this problem for you, but only if we can discuss it calmly.”

Sometimes they are shouting because they cant hear the agent properly or they are at the far end of a leased line (with lower volume).We then naturally talk louder.

2    “That’s not my Department”
Telling the customer that it is not your department will anger the customer that was misdirected to you or old calling patterns stuck the call in your queue by mistake. A better response is “It sounds like you need department X and I will transfer you with a priority sequence”. A smart voice menu will have "Press 3 for Billing"

“If you keep yelling at me, I will terminate this call”
If you actually do hang up on an angry customer that person will  call back, and will be even more abusive and demand to speak to management. If you are really unlucky that same person will be presented to you again.

Try this “I am sorry that you are angry, but I can solve this problem for you, but we need to discuss it calmly.”

They are yelling because they cancelled their service 3 months ago and the $39 charge keeps showing up on their credit card. I know I know that you just said "Our billing system takes a few bills to sort itself out" which is why they are yelling now.

      “Would you like to speak to a supervisor?”
Sometimes you just cannot help them so the plan is to throw it up to the supervisor.

• Your immediate superior will not appreciate it and now the caller waits in the queue again to talk to another person to sometimes get the same answer
• You should have the confidence and ability to resolve the problem yourself.
If they ask to speak to a manager, then of course you should pass the call on. Many times your answer and your supervisor’s answer should be exactly the same. Agents should be empowered to resolve issues themselves.

 “What would you suggest for us to solve this problem for you?” would be a better response. Sometimes a $10 credit or free shipping resolves the problem quickly and neatly.

“I don’t know”
No one expects you to know all the answers, but you should at least be positive about finding the ones you don’t. I would respond with “That’s not something I know, but I can certainly find out for you. I will have to put you on hold  or Can I call you back with an answer? ”
Now the agent can jump on their internal instant messaging system and seek an answer from the collective pool.

“How can I help you buddy?” is not the way you should respond and this is better  by stating their name. " Mr X or Mrs X  How may I help you?” However if you are a surf shop in California then this could be the response if that is how your brand works and then its “yo Dude wass up”.

When the agent called me Buddy i reminded him that my dog was sleeping and not talking to him on the telephone...."what?" sorry but Buddy is my dogs name

“I’ll have to put you on hold”
Arrghhh the death phrase to the caller. It is a better approach to indicate to them that you need to get information or approval and they will be put on hold and how long it will be.

Silence or dead air is a no no, but sometimes it is necessary. To avoid the customer yelling “are you still there Hello hello hello?. It is better to respond with “I need to make some calculations or look up the stock level and It will take about 30-40 seconds.

On going agent training is important and some call centers forget that this team is the face of your company. Many times the caller is frustrated and can take out their dissatisfaction on the agent but sometimes the agent makes things worse. Skills training in conflict resolution is mandatory.

A better conversation between the agent and the caller increases CSAT scores and lowers stress levels for all parties.

Do you have any good ones?? Please comment below

Minimun Wage Complainers should Just Stop!

If the minimum wage is increased by $1, the business owners have already started to complain how they will go out of business or lay people off. Going from $10 to $11 is let’s say 10%, that’s not a big jump. If we really want to help the poverty stricken employee then the boost to $16 and has a feel good about better social responsibility and becomes a game changer especially in a dual income family which adds a $1000 extra income per worker, or $2000 for a family. That is per month. A family making a combined income of $40k in Toronto these days is at the food bank a lot. How much is life better at $64k??

The government gets a share, and the employee spends more so the local sales tax coffer gets a boost, and maybe the children get a better breakfast and a tablet or laptop computer to study with. Maybe the extra money supports an internet connection or buying a used car and not having to rely on buses and subways. Let’s go to $16 and make a real difference.

The business owner gets a motivated employee that shows up on time and works harder. The business owner wont struggle finding staff if he pays better than the minimum and helps improve his business. The business owner sees revenue increases because his staff is happier AND MOTIVATED TO OFFER BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE which is a positive improvement for a small business owner.

The boost is 60% so let’s say revenues increases by 30-40% then the other 20-30% can be found in efficiency and more focused cost savings. There are many areas that efficiency can be gained to offset the salary increases and by having a round table with staff will find areas that money can be saved. Maybe you have to raise prices a bit as well but people will pay extra for smiles and better service.

If consumers come to your business and the service is poor because of low employee morale then the consumer might as well go buy on line. The retailers doing the best right now is those that offer better customer service than everyone else.

I have compared the experience in getting a coffee and the one that pays more is a better experience and the same thing for a sandwich shop that believes in a better social index. The cost of the items may be slightly more expensive but you feel better knowing your purchases make a positive impact.

and do not forget your tip could be putting food in a kids mouth as a single divorced mom struggles to make ends meet and continue to instill hope and pride in her kids.

Free Coffee Shop WiFI sells more Coffee and Food Items

Free Coffee Shop WiFI sells more Coffee and Food Items

Offer free WiFi and you will sell more coffee and food items especially if there are outlets available to charge and power devices. Pretty simple! An MBA is not required to figure this out.

For the independent coffee shop owner it s a $80 WiFi router and a $30/month Internet connection.

Actually anywhere your customers need to hang around are other ideal places like Doctor and Dentist offices, Care dealerships and yes even the laundromat.

The new Policing Pyramid

The new Policing Pyramid

Socila Media networks, mobile technologies, and analytic tools are enabling changes in how policing occurs. This enables communites to crowdpolice their environment and the police have better tools in response and incident management.

Are we safer today than we were 20 years ago? I believe so

BBM Meetings Mini Review

BBM Meetings is a fantastic business collaboration app and it is more than just video calling. It is less expensive than the traditional desktop versions like Webex or GoToMeeting, however it is built for mobile.

The frustration many users have with the desktop versions on the mobile device is the logging and pin code management. It’s a struggle to get logging in sometimes.This is where BBM Meetings excels. For example, users are usually rushing from location to location or in their car and no longer need to fumble with dial-in numbers and passcodes. Rather, BBM Meetings will automatically call them when the meeting is ready to start. The dial in number service is still there of course.

It is designed for up to 25 users and can be used on android, apple or BB 10 device and yes you can share documents. Add the secure security features of BB and the business community can enjoy an improved collaboration experience in an easy to use manner.

Couple this with the Passport screen size and the mid life manager can now see the charts without glasses.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Pocket Guide to Successful CRM Implementations

The Pocket Guide to Successful CRM Implementations

Many sales managers and sales operations staff are looking at CRM as a way to manage and to report on sales activity. More frequently, marketing is also jumping into the fray with marketing automation tools integrated with CRM. In both cases, Mobile access is a huge value driver and productivity tool.
Sometimes this project starts with a Business Analyst and other times the tasks are done by the IT department (using similar process documents) and it really is a function of resources or the size of the project. It really is the team that makes it happen!

Regardless of the size of you company a successful Salesforce CRM project requires planning, commitment, and strong sponsorship from your company’s executive team. It’s also critical that you understand the needs of your managers and users before getting started. Without a detailed understanding of these needs, it’s easy to get derailed in customizing the application.

Here are the 5 areas to a successful implementation:

  1. Plan and prepare
  2. Set up and develop
  3. Deploy Salesforce CRM
  4. Drive adoption
  5. Continuously improve.

I am providing some guidelines based on past experience with various CRMs across different organizations that can help you achieve better success in your deployment journey.


The start of any project requires the following elements to be identified up front:
  • ·         Who is the executive sponsor?

The project’s executive sponsor should participate and support the initiative from the beginning, through the cutover and beyond.
  • ·         Who are my stakeholders?
  • ·         Do we have a scope defined and has it been documented?
  • ·         How will measure success?
  • ·         What are the resources available for this project?
  • ·         What is the communications plan for the project?
  • ·         Who is on the team?

The size and scope of your project will determine how many resources you need. However, all projects should include the following even if some participants wear multiple hats

System administrator - This person should be involved throughout the implementation and afterward. It’s important that the administrator understand the business processes and requirements from managers and users.

Project Manager - This person leads the implementation and makes sure the project tasks and overall timeline are on track.

Business Analyst – this key individual usually will develop the business case and requirements documents and work in conjunction with the PM to ensure project success.
One or more power users - These users help make sure your project will meet the needs of the end users, including management. Consider training these users first and then providing more in-depth training.

One or more trainers - Trainers need to identify relevant materials from or develop specific training materials (such as quick-reference guides). You’ll need to provide training guides for the initial implementation and to on-board new users and once the application is live.


Understanding your data is Critical

Whether you’re moving from another CRM application or simply tracking customer information in spreadsheets, you’ll already have existing data. Data always becomes a bottleneck if it’s not reviewed and cleaned early in a project. It is a critical element to success because I have seen so much bad data causing problems within CRM.

Most customers underestimate the effort it takes to clean up, map, and load data. Data shouldn’t be loaded until your system is set up, including setting up your role hierarchy, sharing model, and sharing rules. By taking the time to understand your data during at the start of planning stage you can avoid a lot of issues later on. Maybe have a sandbox CRM just to manage the and test the data loads.

Determine whether you can meet the requirement with out-of-the-box functionality or business processes (low effort) or whether custom development or integration is required (high effort).


The most important element of a project is the vision. This sets the foundation for success going forward.

  • ·         Set the vision and goals
  • ·         Define strategies for achieving the vision
  • ·         Prioritize the goals for achieving the vision
  • ·         Ensure the value drivers (goals) are aligned to the project

This could simply be to implement a CRM solution for managing sales leads and providing reporting. It could start with using the existing customer database then adding in new prospects. Provide reporting to management and train the users. You can then add increased functionality in a second phase. Do NOT START by making it too complicated with a lot of customization.


Success is measured by having 3 metrics that tie into the value the drivers. After setting a baseline measurement and realistic targets we can implement a performance measurement. The solution implementation will have to ensure we meet the measurements required.

Metrics are what needs to get done by when as an example.

This could be simply to ensure all customer data records are entered cleanly, the required reports are functional and training is delivered to each user.


The roadmap helps chart the course for the journey ahead of you. Once you have identified the core capabilities that align with the vision and value drivers you can then prioritize them. The priority is for the elements that offer the most value in order to achieve the desired state.

Good roadmaps include the ability to start and stop along the way or even take a detour. Usually this is where new requests are desired and can be added to the solution.

For our example the elements could be to also develop the account screens, sales entry screens, reporting and dashboards required.


The two most widely used approaches in the world of software are the “waterfall” and “scrum” implementation approaches. Waterfall is the traditional, phased, sequential approach that may lead to a drawn-out implementation timeline. The scrum approach is to constantly build and deliver small units of functionality and revisit and refine them with each cycle. is best served with the more iterative scrum approach for its implementation once installed. Start with basic functionality and then add new features and enhancements in an on-going fashion.

I think it is best to start with the waterfall approach for the initial implementation and then start using a more agile approach to add additional functionality. Delivering too much too soon leads to complexity and that is not a good approach


A project timeline will be required to manage all the tasks and show the stakeholders what the roll out plan looks like.

Once you’ve chosen an implementation approach and prioritized all requirements, you can build the project timeline. Every timeline needs to include the time required to design, build, and deploy. Prioritization of requirements is also key to ensure any “must-haves” are included in the first phase or rollout.

If you use a scrum approach, your timeline will consist of short iterations of the design, build, and deployment phases for a smaller set of requirements.

With the waterfall approach, the design and build phase includes all requirements prioritized for the initial deployment.

For both approaches, consider what tasks can be done in parallel, such as cleaning data and loading data.

The timeline you defined in the planning stage should define the deployment phases and associated schedule. At the first stage, your task is to get your instance of Salesforce CRM “production ready” by creating and adding users, loading your data, and training users.

It's important to communicate early and often, so users know about coming changes. Communication should come from the executive sponsor and focus on both the benefits to the company and what’s in it for the users. Build excitement and set expectations. As the deployment draws nearer, outline the deployment plan, including when users will be trained and how they’ll be supported.

Before loading your production data, first load all users. You can load users manually, one at a time, or with the data loader functionality. We recommend you first load all users and data in a sandbox environment before loading the final set of data into your production environment.


Because data is loaded at a specific time, the transition will be easier if the data load is as close to deployment as possible. Be sure you schedule enough time to map and test the data. Here’s a summary of the steps involved in importing data:

  • ·         Plan your data import
  • ·         Prepare your data
  • ·         Test the import
  • ·         Execute the import
  • ·         Validate your data


This is becoming more crucial because it ensures that decisions are made based on information and communication across the project teams. This really allows the stakeholders to make informed decisions.
  • ·         Develop guidelines for the project and who is the approver
  • ·         Develop a process for reviewing the scope and direction of the project
  • ·         Include any Subject Matter Experts (SME) or the prime stakeholder
  • ·         Establish how the information and project is to be communicated
  • ·         Ensure all key users are properly trained in the CRM product being implemented


Most if not all successful CRM installations are successful only because they had a solid foundation and shared design vision.

Since is in the cloud then the technology risks are removed from the equation. So with a resource defined as the architecture expert you can also identify and constraints and all the service that integrations will be required. Once done we can include the architect design in the project workbook.
Our example is straightforward as the customer data is coming from a CSV file and the solution is in the cloud. However, there is still accessibility to the information via the internet that needs to be addressed and any back up plans.

Ensure that proper certification and training is carried out ahead of time not afterwards.
Data and clean data is the king and one of the most important elements of the project.


Improvements in any organization comes from this section. There are 3 basic steps:

  • What is the current process?
  • Where can we make improvements?
  • Have gaps been identified?
  • List and prioritize and include in the roadmap

For our example the improvements is where the customer account information is visible to all users, the sale process and documentation is attached within the opportunity and reporting is available.

When starting with a new solution the PA tasks are usually up front in the project and the PA is more beneficial once a system is in place for some time that improvements can be made.

I love to use whiteboards and diagrams to show how the process and the day in the life actually is seen. It also beneficial to map this against the functionality available.

Reports and dashboards are also key deliverables.


The key to any program is the users actually using the technology. If you provide simplicity and proper training and the value is delivered easily, then user adoption increases dramatically. However, just because you built it does not mean they will come. A perfect example is a company that is so focussed on exploiting an internal social media platform that the time and effort involved actually takes away from face time with customers. The user sees the task as being encouraged to chat internally, sees no value in selling more so doesn’t bother with the tool. Management then tries to have users start to comply with “must send chat messages every day on internal forums”. The users start to see value when they can reach other experts to answer questions in an open chat forum that helps them answer customer questions faster than email. The way to start this properly is to:

  • ·         Use the SME and super users
  • ·         Have employee focus groups provide feedback
  • ·         Ensure that you have exactly what the user needs
  • ·         Communicate, communicate and communicate success stories

I think the Sales Engineer/Technical support  forum is an excellent example for a chatter group. Sales can ask or posts questions like “customer is looking to be able to import his current Act! Data into…can we do that?” and get a fast response among the community. Over time these forums become searchable.
If the users do not like the solution and use it every day then the project is a failure.

Do not forget to ensure senior management has the right reports and dashboards prepared for them.
They need to be properly trained to access them.

Although Salesforce CRM is easy to get up and running, proper planning and preparation is essential for a successful implementation. Start by securing executive sponsorship so you have support when building your project team and communicating with the end users. Set up and customize the application so it works for your company’s unique needs. And continually revisit and optimize the application, build and refine your metrics, and always keep your end users and overall vision in mind.

Good Luck!

Friday, December 5, 2014

5 Secret Sales Tips for Retailer CSR Staff

5 Secret Sales Tips for Retailer CSR Staff

The world of retail is changing at a fast pace and to remain competitive it is important that retailers “connect” with their customers. Here are 5 simple ways to become more engaging:
1.       Make an Emotional Connection – Consumers want to feel emotionally connected and engaged with brands. If they feel that connection then they become more loyal and spend more with that brand. It is all about building a trusting relationship

2.       Earning Trust – Consumers are a finicky bunch and are ready to shift spending with just a click. In order to build trust you need to be authentic, honest and transparent
3.       Increase and use live face time – Customers want to feel comfortable shopping and more so in-store. Ensure CSR staff are engaging with consumers and that the shopping environment is conducive to a special shopping experience. Special can be small things or a luxurious climate. This can also be done by using video communications in the contact center.

4.       Respect – Always be respectful of customer’s time as today people have become more impatient. Simplify the shopping experience on your website and improve the experience in the store. It is easy to abandon a buggy of goods when arriving to a fast checkout line that has 23 people in line and the other queues are just as jammed. Too many complicated web screens and lack of shipping costs information is another way to increase the abandon cart rate.

5.       Multi-Channel Experience – Smartphones and mobile data plans makes it easy to shop around. Many consumers already have basic information on their purchases and can “showroom” quickly. They can call the contact center while in-store but will not tolerate a 20 minute wait time. Many consumers will take the web experience and email the customer service staff for further information or to understand shipping costs. Many retailers respond to emails several days later which by then is too late.

Retailers need to get back to basics and focus on improving the experience and fixing the little things that are easy to do and can improve the bottom line dramatically.