OPERATIONS

Study: Social media may ease negative word-of-mouth impact

BY Staff Writer

Ann Arbor, Mich. — A study released Tuesday by customer feedback management firm CFI Group found that social media may be blunting the impact of negative word-of-mouth.

According to the findings of its annual Call Center Satisfaction Index, CFI Group said that social media commentary after a call center experience can have a counter-intuitive impact.

“What we are seeing is that, if you have a bad experience, you post it once on Facebook for all to see and then you’re done with it,” said Terry Redding, director of development and delivery for CFI Group. “By the same token, we are seeing good experiences posted in the same way. In fact, we’ve observed that positive comments generally outweigh negative ones almost as a rule.”

While a bad experience may increase the odds that someone will tell others, the sheer number of positive experiences and positive posts seems to be outweighing the negative word-of-mouth in volume.

Another key finding in this year’s report, said CFI, was the shift to self-service, particularly via the web. In 2011, 27% of respondents had tried to resolve their issues elsewhere prior to resorting to working with the call center. The primary alternate channel was the web.

“This is the first year since we’ve fielded that study that we’ve seen a decrease in overall score on the private sector side,” said Redding. “We feel the drop is due to an increasing number of easier calls being offloaded to self-service channels like the web, leaving the more complex cases going to the call centers.”

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REAL ESTATE

Saks Off Fifth to anchor two new outlet centers

BY Staff Writer

Indianapolis — Mall owner Simon Property Group said Tuesday that Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th will anchor the company’s two new centers in development in its Premium Outlets division: Phoenix Premium Outlets and St. Louis Premium Outlets.

Phoenix Premium Outlets in Chandler, Ariz., is currently under construction with a spring 2013 opening planned. Phase 1 of the center will be comprised of 360,000 sq. ft. housing approximately 90 outlet stores featuring high-quality designer and name brands.

St. Louis Premium Outlets in Chesterfield, Mo., is a part of Chesterfield Blue Valley, a mixed-use development to include office space, hotel, restaurant and entertainment venues. A first phase of approximately 350,000 sq. ft. is projected to open fall 2013. The project is a joint venture with Woodmont Outlets and EWB Development LLC. Simon owns a 60% interest in the project.

There are 34 Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th locations within the Simon portfolio both in its Premium Outlets and The Mills divisions.

"We are excited to grow our Off 5th store portfolio with Simon. We believe these two locations are well suited for us to deliver our distinct merchandise offerings to area residents and visitors," said Robert Wallstrom, president of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.

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REAL ESTATE

Verizon opens debut tri-lingual FiOS store

BY Staff Writer

Providence, R.I. — Verizon said Tuesday it has officially opened its first tri-lingual FiOS retail store, where employees are ready to serve customers in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The store is located in Providence, R.I.

“Having employees in our store who speak Spanish and Portuguese will enhance the experience for our customers," Susan Retta, VP marketing for Verizon, said.

Employees at the new Verizon FiOS store will be able to help FiOS customers with questions about their FiOS Internet, TV and voice service.

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