Q&A: LiveOps CEO Gets Human About Great Customer Service

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always been important but now people look at it differently."

SCS: What's one of the gold standards of customer service?

Triant: I'm a big believer in taking experiences from your personal life and [trying] to translate it into your business life—whether that's the way you treat people or how people treat you and what you want done. When you look at customer service in the contact center, if you want to be successful, it's pretty easy. Look at how you're treated when you interact with a company you do business with and then think about how you would really want to treat other people.

SCS: What's the message that LiveOps wants the industry to know?

Triant: I believe that the entire industry overthinks [customer service] and has done so for a long time, and that's why in general, customer service is pretty bad no matter what product you're dealing with. That's because people focus on things that they would not focus on in their personal life.

I hope to continue to evangelize that in what we're doing at LiveOps—driving people to think about customer lifetime value. That comes from...the emotion that customers feel when they have a problem and when they're done resolving a problem. It's part of the Internet of Things; because so many things happen in real time, people can express their feelings or interests or dissatisfaction really quickly. How you react to that can change the trajectory of your company's growth or decline.

SCS: Do agents' feelings also come into play when they're dealing with customers?

Triant: Customer service is a human business, and any agent, whether on the phone, email, chat, or social [channels], is a human being and has to deal with customer service problems in their own lives, whether it's the cable company or mobile phone [provider]. Depending on how they woke up that day or what processes have been put in place at work, they're going to treat you per that process or per how they feel. There's an easy correlation between customer lifetime value and bridging how you deal with customer service by using your own personal experiences.

SCS: What's your take on contact center metrics?

Triant: Everybody today is managed by KPIs in the call center, and no matter where you go, if you look at the KPIs, you'll see things like average handle time, number of calls answered, first call resolution, cost per chat. There's a couple of companies that do well when you look at their KPIs, but their KPIs are not cost per call or cost per this, they look at the lifetime value of the customer.

SCS: Can you name some companies that are getting this right?

Triant: What's happening in this industry is that only the companies that are striving to be something really great, that are really trying to own their industry, are actually trying to figure out how to provide good customer service. Zappos, Amazon, are two great examples of this. But when you look at all these other companies, what are they trying to do? Maximize shareholder benefit, provide good earnings for the next stock call.

This is frustrating. I see it [this way]: If you provide good customer service, you retain your customers, they will buy more stuff from you. Don't look at the transaction, look at the life. There's so many more choices out there that are at our fingertips. Make it simple: How do you want to be treated? Stop trying to bring in consultants; you're overthinking the problem.

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