It’s the beginning of a new year so no doubt you’ve already read a number of posts containing predictions, resolutions and trends for 2016. I know I have (and for what its worth my favourite so far has been the ever-reliable Annette Franz).
I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon – there’s already been more than enough great suggestions made – instead I’m going to offer just one piece of advice; one thing that companies in the formative stages of their CX maturity (and in Australia, that’s the vast majority) can focus on this year that, if they’re successful, will improve customer experience out of sight.
What do I mean by that? Make it easier for your customers to deal with you.
Research shows that people (your customers) are feeling more pressed for time than ever before. Regardless of whether this time poverty is perceived or real is irrelevant – perception is reality. What it means is that people desire a frictionless experience when dealing with organisations and will be loyal to those that require little to no effort to interact with.
What are some of the things you can do to make it easier for your customers?
1) Understand them and anticipate their needs. This will have two effects: a) it will head off their need to contact you more than once and b) it will reduce your cost to serve because you won’t be doing as much rework. There’s no losers here!
2) Address and solve their issues on the channel on which they raised them. We’ve all been in a situation whereby we’ve raised an issue online only to be told to visit a bricks-and-mortar service centre to get it resolved. Or perhaps asked an after sales service person standing in our homes for something additional to what was orginally ordered only to be told to call the contact centre. Its inconvenient and frustrating. Empower your frontline staff and give them the tools they need to satisfy customer needs.
3) Use your feedback program to learn from disgruntled customers and frontline employees what you need to do to improve your service.
4) Make frontline staff accountable for resolving customer problems and focus your reward and recognition programs on solving problems, not speed or volume.
5) Make it easier for your staff to serve customers. Provide them with the training and tools they need to resolve customer issues promptly. Align organisational systems and process behind customer needs.
Being easy to deal with sounds simple but from the perspective of the three elements of people, process and technology there is a lot of work that needs to be done to streamline your organisation.
For those companies that successfullly differentiate on low customer effort the rewards will be great. If you’re operating in a competitive industry, the benefits may take the form of increased loyalty, greater customer lifetime value and increased referrals. For monopolies or government departments, the benefits could be improved customer satisfaction, lower cost to serve and improved employee engagement.
Happy new year and good luck with all your efforts to improve your customer relationships in 2016.
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