consolidated survey results for customer experience scores for the last 6 years, with the latest data from Dec 2012.Forrester has consistently found over these last 6 year that just over 1/3 of companies deliver a positive customer experience – in line with customer expectations.
Why is it so difficult to provide customer experiences that are inline with customer demand?Its because the customer service leader must walk the pragmatic balancing act between the needs of his customers and the needs of his business.
Let’s focus on customers for a minute.Customers of today know what excellent service is and they expect this service from any company that they interact with.
Companies know that good customer experiences are important, but given the economic times that we live in, companies are more focused on cost control measures.
So, lets step back and ask what is the experience that customers want?They want to be able to interact with a customer service organization using the channel of their choice – voice, the electronic ones, or the social ones.They want customer service agents to know who you are, what products you have purchased and what your prior interaction history isThey want to be able to start a conversation on 1 channel and continue it on another without having to repeat themselvesThey want to receive the same experience every time they are in contact with you – This means they want to get the same information, same data, and follow the same processes across each channel. And this is harder to do than it looks.
Most times, a customer’s journey is fractured.They are constrained to starting + ending a service interaction on one channel – They cant start an interaction on email and continue it on the voice channel.
More often than not, most customer service orgs are a mess of disconnected technologies. Agents use tens, sometimes hundreds of different apps over the course of their workday to service customers. They have to hunt and peck for the right information. Its no wonder that different agents follow different processes to help customers and customers often get different answers to their questions.
First of all, know who your customers are?What is their demographic profile?How do they want to engage with you? Over what channels ? Touchpoints?
Understand what activities your customers are engaging with you on – these could be activities that are limited to customer service, or can span sales and service activities.Understand the steps that your customers are following. Rate the success of each step, and identify inconsistencies on processes or steps that deliver poor experiences. Root cause why these steps are giving you trouble – it could be that the right data is not available, or that you have a broken process. Use this knowledge to fix them.
Look at the end to end experience.
Empower your agents with a universal customer history – details of all the interactions a customer has had with you over all the channels that you support. This allows an agent to understand what has been communicated to you in the past, and to build on the knowledge and relationship
First of all, focus on the agent experience. Ensure that the agent has all the customer and product info he or she needs at their fingertips. Make sure that interfaces are highly usable, and deliver good user experiences. Remove extraneous data elements from the screen which distract agents. Empower them with info that they may need from back end sources like product data bases so that they can fully answer a customers question.All these techniques help empower the agent with information so that they can concentrate on the dialog that they are having with the customer.
Ensure that the metrics that you use form a balanced scorecard of sat and cost metrics. This balanced scorecard can also include metrics for compliance and revenue.This balanced scorecard of metrics must be established at the KPI level, and at the operational metrics that you are using to measure and monitor operations. Using a balance of cost and sat metrics will drive the right agent behavior to ensure that they are delivering the right quality of service for your customers.
Address point Kate made about online purchase abandonment if questions aren’t answered (over 50%) ; Valuing my time is most impt thing a company can do…
What is the solution?You want to be able to not just communicate with your customers across the different channels, you want to be able to know what they did from one channel to the next and carry that context forward across the channels to provide a seamless conversation. When self service isn’t enough you need to be able to seamlessly bring in an agent to provide the “Human Touch” to help the customer with the more difficult questions. When this is done right it can significantly increase customer satisfaction and can generate revenue through carefully targeted interactions with the right person to close a sale. (Imagine getting someone with an expensive flat screen TV in their shopping cart suddenly getting an expert on that product to ensure the deal closes and to upsell that HDI cable that will make the picture just that much better)