Roger Swannell

Author: roger (page 1 of 106)

Good customer services gets you closer to the customer

Our new customer support system has been live for a week now, and we’ve already seen benefits in customers getting better answers quicker than ever before.

Of course serving customers better is really important, as is making the teams more efficient, but the real benefits come from getting closer to our customers. We now have a means of recording, collating and analysing the that are bothering our customers most.

Agile demands that we get closer to the customer. The manifesto says we should value individuals and interactions and customer services is one place where those individuals we are serve are interacting with the organisation.

So as we take steps to become a more agile organisation we should make real efforts to seize the opportunities that our customer services teams and system offer.

Weekly Update 84

Last week’s update…

What happened this week…

  • Launched Freshdesk for managing Ecommerce Customer Services.
  • Added clothing promo boxes to the Events pages on the website.
  • Confirmed the range of Fascinators for the Online Shop.
  • Refined the new Replacement Orders processes.
  • Abandon basket retargeting ads went live.
  • Advertising to Events registrants went live.
  • Discussed expanding the range of Supporter merchandise.
  • Attended an Agile Risk Management meetup.
  • Analysed slow-moving stock.
  • Met with the Buying Team to discuss expanding our supporter range.
  • Reviewed the Interface Design Document for Stock Adjustment.
  • Met with our Magento agency to discuss building Magento 2.

Read this week…

Doing next week…

  • Planning and prioritising for Magento 2.
  • Launching the My Marathon Facebook Shop.
  • Making the Events promo boxes live.
  • Reviewing the Interface Design Documents for Magento.
  • Holding an Order Management Workshop to explore processes for after AX goes live.
  • Visiting the Internet Retailing Expo.
  • Holding the monthly Ecommerce Management Meeting.

Interesting stat of the week…

  • Over the last 50 weeks the lowest contributing week provided only 0.25% of income, with the highest contributing week providing 4.62%. On average a week contributes 2% of revenue.

In the not too distant future….

  • More branded products for supporters.

Agile Risks Meetup

I went to a meetup with a group of Agile practitioners discussing Agile ways of dealing with risks. It gave me lots of interesting things to think about:

  • Get close to the customer, really understand their needs, to reduce the risk of building the wrong thing.
  • Users who are choosers give helpful feedback because they can decide not to use the solution. If not, feedback is superficial.
  • Explore possible solutions concurrently before going on to build a single solution.
  • Ignore the likelihood of the risk and focus on impact.
  • Communicate risks and issues sooner rather than waiting until they become big problems. Don’t pretend to be green if things are really amber.
  • Deal with risks as you go along rather than identifying and only intending to deal with only if they arise.
  • Risk reduction = knowledge acquisition.
  • Learning about the risky things is building business value.
  • Traditional risk management focuses on ‘known unknowns’, but misses the ‘unknown unknowns’.
  • Unknown things often get put to bottom of the list but maybe they should be dealt first.

Improving our customer services

Today we went live with our new customer services system.

It’s a very Kanban-ish with all the tickets visible, each ticket having a status and states to move through (open, waiting & resolved), each ticket having an owner which means only one person can work on it at any time, and tickets having an SLA which serves to limit the work in progress.

The new system will help the eight people across three sites involved in customer services to be more coordinated in how they help customers and achieve our principles:

  • Shared: We all work together to give the customer the best experience of the BHF. Customer experience is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Speed: We want to provide the fastest route to resolution for the customer.
  • Satisfaction: We want the customer to feel satisfied with the resolution, keep the relationship intact and maintaining the reputation of the BHF.

Objectives are good. Outcomes are better.

The objective is to vacuum the living room carpet. The outcome is to have a clean living room floor. If you focus on achieving the objective you can vacuum the living room badly and not achieve the outcome. If you focus on the outcome you are more likely to achieve having a clean living room carpet and give you scope to consider other solutions like laminate flooring or a rug.

Weekly Update 83

Last week’s update…

What happened this week…

  • Discussed the nest steps of selling Defibrillators.
  • Signed off some Interface Design Documents.
  • Worked on launching our Fascinators range.
  • Had a Magento roadmapping session.
  • Worked on promoting the new tracksuit on the events pages of the main website.
  • Met with a merchandise supplier to talk about expanding our branded range.
  • Discussed our go live plans for using Freshdesk for Ecommerce Customer Services.
  • Created a team site for Ecommerce in Sharepoint.
  • Worked on improving the Give in Celebration page.
  • Took L2B stock off pre-order and dispatched orders.
  • Updated the supporter collection online range plan.

Read this week…

Doing next week…

  • Discussing the Ecom FTP environment to make it more reliable.
  • Going Live on the MyMarathon Facebook Shop.
  • Discussing making a CPR Chatbot.
  • Attending a talk about AI, Blockchain and Facebook Advertising.
  • Launching the new Hoodies and Joggers.
  • Experimenting with Augmented Reality on products.
  • Meeting with our Magento agency.
  • Preparing for our Order Management Workshop.

Interesting stat of the week…

  • Comparing Organic Search traffic in January and February over this year to last year, the number of visitors dropped by 16% but the Conversion rate increased by 57%, the number of Transactions increased by 34% and the Revenue increased by 48%.

In the not too distant future….

  • Smooth, streamlined and coordinated customer services.

Appreciating the women in my life

I know a woman who inspires me to be the kind of man I want to be. She teaches me that courage is a prerequisite for life every day in every way, and that whatever difficulties occur they can be faced and overcome.

I know a woman who inspires me to be true to what I believe. She teaches me the importance of holding the highest ethical standards, of drawing a line in the sand that you won’t cross, and that being fair and true to the people around you is non-negotiable.

I know a woman who inspires me to think in different ways. She challenges me to consider my assumptions and opinions, and to expand my views on people and relationships.

I know a woman who inspires me to always keep on trying to make things better. She taught me the power of just getting on with it and getting it done, that things can always be improved.


Becoming comfortable with pretence

After all these years I’m finally coming to the conclusion that to be successful in an organisation means being comfortable with pretence.

You have to be able to accept falsehoods, inaccuracies, and pretence as implicitly not-true without explicitly stating them as false. Everyone else does the same, and everyone gets along.

If these things were unknowns, I would be ok with dealing with them in that way, but they are known to be wrong and accepted as such. But not by me. I’m not comfortable with the pretence.

Thinking about a Bucks Mind Guide Chatbot

Buckinghamshire Mind is a local mental health charity that supports people across Buckinghamshire. Last year they created the Bucks Mind Guide, a fantastic resource with helpful links to all kinds of services that can support people with mental health problems.

Bucks Mind Guide Website

So, in my bid to make a chatbot for everything, I started thinking about how I could take the masses of information in the guide and convert it into a conversational experience and build a chatbot. My first thought was that because there was so many options for users to ask about and the bot to provide answers for, it couldn’t use button like most of my other bots and would need to recognise keywords and respond accordingly. I considered using Dialogflow (I used used it a while ago when it was API.AI) to handle picking up the keywords, and may still do so later, but to keep it simple I started with using Labels to pick up the keyword entered by the user and jump to the section of the flow that could provide an answer related to that keyword.

Bucks Mind Guide Chatbot

Now, I just need to add to the number of keywords the bot can respond to, and make the messages more friendly.


Copyright © 2018 Roger Swannell

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