The Verghis Group

John Ragsdale looks at the Klever Knowledge Community plus resources

By Phil Verghis on August 20, 2013

Unsolicited post from long-time KM guru and industry analyst, John Ragsdale…

New Transforming Knowledge Workshop (KCS v5 Foundations) in Boston December 5-7!

By adamk on September 23, 2011

Take a long, hard look your organization’s existing approach to support. How much do you suppose this outdated model is costing? Not just in terms of morale, but the company’s bottom line? Chances are, it’s thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Would your bosses be pleased if you could trim your budget by even a fraction of that amount?

By popular demand, we are offering our second Knowledge Centered Support (KCS V5) Foundations workshop, December 5-7 in Boston, presented by experts from The Verghis Group. We will be presenting the foundations of KCS, with several Verghis Group twists, particularly “un-mad” measures and internal communications strategies that will accelerate your success!

Want to learn more about how KCS can transform the lifeless pool of support information into useful knowledge, action and excellence? In a cost effect and proven way?

This workshop is specially designed for support/service center directors and managers, Knowledge Management program managers, and other professionals responsible for implementing Knowledge Management strategies.

More info and registration at:

New Workshop – Support Excellence Intensive – September 12-16 in Santa Clara, CA

By adamk on June 29, 2011

We are excited to announce a new workshop – Support Excellence Intensive from September 12-16 in Santa Clara, CA.  Co-taught with FT Works (this is their first open workshop in 14 years!), this 5-day intensive covers customer service and communications skills as well as the foundations of KCS.  This is a first-time combination of two of the key areas you have to have to be successful in customer support – knowledge and communications.

Sign up soon!  Registrations are limited to 16!

Ready to learn more?

Customer Service: Reducing churn and bringing in money

By Phil Verghis on April 1, 2010

A highly under-rated and under-used partnership is between marketing and customer support/customer service. I’m working with a large client now where (as part of a larger engagement) we explored and developed a partnership between marketing and customer service that has resulted in more loyal customers that at the same time yields tens of thousands of dollars of incremental revenue a quarter.

Yes, it can be done without turning customer service and support into sales people. They always have to be the customer’s advocate. However, understanding the customer lifecycle, personas and churn risk points and making that part of the support DNA helps. Dramatically.

Embedded in this interesting article from the Economist is something similar that Cablecom (a Swiss cable tv/internet/phone provider) did.

“Like many telecoms providers, Cablecom has grappled with churn.  Using advanced data analytics, Cablecom discovered that although customer defections peaked in the 13th month, the decision to leave was typically around the 9th month (as indicated by things like the number of calls to customer support services).  To reduce defections, Cablecom offered at-risk customers special deals 7 months into their subscription. 

The results were impressive:  customer defections fell from 20% of subscribers a year to under 5%, enabling the firm to save significant marketing acquisition costs while boosting customer satisfaction.”

Interesting post on motivation in communities…

By Phil Verghis on March 10, 2010

For all of you trying to implement communities – and there are more than just a few of you:

‘Savvy Support’ model (aka no more tiers) cited in new book

By Phil Verghis on January 30, 2010

Andres Sanchez has published a book titled Technical Support EssentialsAdvice you can use to succeed in Technical Support and has cited the Savvy Support model a few times as one of the new models for support.

Read all about it, and much more of what Andres has to say in his book.

Three common issues seen recently in customer support assessments

By Phil Verghis on August 12, 2009

From the August 2009 edition of the Verghis View newsletter. Feel free to sign up for your own free subscription at

Today’s Most Common Service/Support Traps

One of the reasons I have been so busy is because of a number of service assessments I have been performing for various organizations around the world. Over the past few months, savvy executives have been getting a jump on their competition by seeking a blueprint on the best ways to prepare their leadership teams and organizations for the inevitable growth period that lies ahead.

Some companies have found their support infrastructure under increased stress. Others have found the support landscape has grown far more competitive, as customers rightfully demand more value for what they pay.

I’d like to share some of the most common themes I’ve seen emerge during my recent assessments. If you are interested in your own service assessment, please check out 

Trying to be all things to all customers is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s an unsustainable business model. The fact is, customers are not all the same. For a startup, revenue is paramount, so you do whatever it takes to get and keep a customer. But when an organization matures, you need to adopt a more pragmatic approach: getting and keeping your profitable customers.

But if you can’t be everything to everyone, what is the alternative? Is it giving some customers excellent service, while others receive something less? Absolutely not! You can give everyone excellent service. Here’s how to do it.

Give customers in each segment better service than they expect — and better than they can get from the competition.

How do you manage to deliver great service to all your customers? Begin by dividing your customers into segments, and understand exactly what each segment really wants. But how do you segment your customers? If you’re part of a larger company, it has no doubt already been done for you. Talk to your marketing or product management team about your company’s “target market.”

If you’re with a small company or have never done this kind of customer segmenting before, here’s one simple approach.

Just divide them into high, medium and low-revenue customers. This is a decent first pass if you have nothing else to work with.
Next, find out what each segment of your customer base likes, and what your competition does in this space. Note: These days, “competition” refers to more than just your head-to-head competitors. It also includes service experiences across all companies, like Amazon.
Finally, tweak your processes and align your resources to address the needs of each customer segment.
There you have it – a simple way to segment your customer base and deliver exceptional service to everyone.

When I hear people citing their Customer Satisfaction, Customer Engagement or Net Promoter Scores, my first question is usually, “What customer segment does that score refer to?”

My advice: Stop aggregating key performance indicators like customer satisfaction scores across your entire customer base. This is particularly true if you have a large customer base (like one of my clients, who has 60+ million customers). Aggregating customer satisfaction scores across multiple customer segments tends to obscure important details.

In the example above, I’d want to know the sat scores for each segment of the customer base. Ditto the survey return rates. If you have a Technical Account Manager relationship and some customers are paying you a lot of money for a percentage of a senior person’s time, the response rate for those customers should be far higher than for those who only pay you a few hundred dollars a year.

Look at the companies who are reporting profits these days. Aside from one-time events that may have bumped up revenue, most increased profits by cutting costs. While you cannot cut your way to greatness, this should be part of your ongoing strategic business review.

The aviation industry is a good example of profiting from attention to detail. When fuel costs soared, airline profits evaporated like a vapor trail in the sky. A careful review of costs uncovered this fascinating tidbit: 20% of a large passenger jet’s fuel is consumed carrying the fuel itself! This discovery led to critical changes in procedures. Instead of topping off the fuel tanks and lavatory water after each flight, they added only the necessary amount.

Result: Savings of thousands of dollars per flight — often the difference between a profitable flight and an unprofitable one.

There you have it – three simple lessons that can help you get ready for the recovery ahead.

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