A cardinal rule of CX: Know thy customer


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Want to give your customer a great experience? Then get to know them – and, crucially, remember something about them.

The same principle holds true for the success of any social and professional relationship.
Remember what customers say
This cardinal rule becomes even more crucial when a customer has a problem and needs help.

Unfortunately, there are too many times that customers in distress have to keep telling you who they are. No doubt, you’ve had the experience of calling a customer service line and had to repeat your account number to several different reps when your call gets transferred. That happened to me recently with Time Warner cable and also a credit card company. They want you to first input your account number into the phone system and then repeat it to every rep you speak with. For customers this is like hitting a brick wall. The message it sends is you don’t really want to help them. That’s already the vibe of the “your call is really important to us” type message they hear while waiting for an agent. Customers know that if their call was really important, you would invest more in customer service staff to answer calls faster.

Here’s another example of not knowing your customer. I needed to call to double check whether a service had been disconnected for my recently deceased mom (because she was billed for it after cancelling). Being the web wizard I am, I submitted my inquiry via email (so I didn’t have to call the company during business hours). I filled in the online form and stated my issue. The following day, a sales person from the company called me. The sales rep began launching into a scripted speech about the great deals they had and I had to stop them before they went much further to tell them that my mom had passed on. I explained that I had been trying to check on whether her service has been cancelled. They clearly hadn’t bothered to read the online form I’d submitted. An awful instance of not knowing your customers. Worse, the person I spoke to didn’t care that my mom had passed on – poor form from a health services company!

Customers want you to honor their time and act like a partner. “Know me, know my life,” is what they want. I’m sure many businesses can take more steps to make it easier for customers to do business with them and get support.

Here’s a timely update and good example of that: JetBlue is waiving all their rebooking fees for those with travel impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Now, that is knowing the life of your customer!

Yes, there are ‘reasons’ like safety, regulations and other reasons that you need to confirm that customers are who they say there are. But I’d like to suggest you look at the steps and the effort it takes to get help from your company. Acting like you know a customer shows you value the customer and thus their investment in your company! Don’t take that for granted. You know it’s easier to keep a customer than replace one.

Map out your support and service experiences. Then act like a customer and call your service line and see what it takes to get help in a time of distress.

If you would give that experience a thumbs down, how do you think they feel?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kim Proctor
Kim has a passion for improving the customer experience and loves the online space. Having spent most of her career on the web, Kim is a consultant that knows how to grow web traffic, leverage social media and grow deeper customer relationships. She has consulted for a wide range of companies from small business to the Fortune 500. For more info, see www.CustomersThatClick.com.


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