Customer Experience Management: The Medium Is The Message

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Which customer experiences have a happy ending?

“Have I met or exceeded your expectations?”

To that, I ask: Are our short-term memories so fried by multitasking that trite, parting words overwrite any deep-seated resentment that’s formed while waiting on hold, before engaging in meaningless, pre-scripted banter with a company’s bored and disembodied customer service representative?

‘Press 2 To Get Something Done’

Let’s talk revolution. When it comes to customer experience management, too many organizations presume that all of their customers seek the same type of experience or interaction. So to the well-worn expectation to “press one for English” and “para español, oprima dos,” why not follow that with:

  • Press 1 for a friendly chat with someone
  • Press 2 if you really just want to get something done

Furthermore, why don’t companies with repeat customers know all this in advance? For example, if you’re an “always pushes zero for operator” kind of person, why get bothered with voice prompts, instead of just being routed straightaway to the operator? When I phone AT&T on my cell phone, they already know it’s me, via my mobile number. Why not take it a step further and just get me routed to the type of customer experience I’m seeking?

Unleash Service Tiers

Of course, AT&T hasn’t been on the cutting edge of anything since 1932, including customer service. Notably, AT&T doesn’t offer any type of gold or platinum tiers, even for valuable customers that spend hundreds of dollars more per month than the average subscriber. Could such a program help prevent iPhone customers currently locked into AT&T from soon defecting to Verizon? Interesting thought.

When it comes to service level access and segmentation, the airlines show the way. Take Up In The Air, in which George Clooney’s character has flown such an enormous number of miles that he’s part of an über-elite, secret American Airlines mega-miles frequent flier tier known as Concierge Key that counts only a handful of people in the whole world as members. Makes you want to be part of it, no? Exclusivity is enticing. Waiting on hold is not.

Set & Reinforce Expectations

Airlines lead the way when it comes to setting expectations, as well. Going back to American Airlines, if you’re an AAdvantage Platinum Elite Status member, you get mail that lists all of your benefits, such as a special customer service telephone number, priority baggage delivery, a 100% mileage bonus, check-in from the first-class queue, and a shorter domestic upgrade clearing window.

AA pounds that into you, while mentioning that — by the way — if you only flew this many more miles, you’d be part of the Executive Platinum program, which provides even better benefits. But when’s the last time your cell phone carrier — or for that matter, cable provider — ever told you something like that?

Proactive Companies Keep Customers

When it comes to customers, retention is a virtue. Keeping the customer you’ve got will always cost less than landing a new one. Accordingly, best-in-class retention management doesn’t mean sitting back and waiting for a problem to occur. Instead, it means being proactive: analyzing customer data, deducing usage patterns, and always trying to preempt things that might stop working.

Being proactive means crafting offers which are specific to the situation, increase customer satisfaction, and even cross-sell and up-sell customers. For example, take Panasonic’s Toughbook division, an Innoveer customer which sells ruggedized laptops. Like all laptops, and especially ones in hostile environments, more problems generally surface after two or three years than when first sold. Accordingly, after two years, perhaps Panasonic should be increasing the frequency of its touch points with customers to offer extended contracts (past the typical three years) or just sell them new laptops. Everyone would win.

Top Customer Experience Management Strategies

As the above suggests, there’s no secret to creating a great customer experience:

  • Segment customers into service levels, each better than the previous (gold, platinum)
  • Set expectations and reinforce them
  • Retain customers by proactively fixing problems
  • Practice great up-selling and cross-selling strategies to boost customer satisfaction and the bottom line

Choosing to offer this type of customer-focused experience, however, is up to you. Or your competitors.

Learn More

When it comes to creating a world-class customer service program, experience management doesn’t work alone. Organizations must also master services leadership, case management, as well as service operations and management.

To translate the above into business results, Innoveer applies its CRM Excellence Framework to benchmark organizations’ current customer service practices, and then identify which next step will provide the most return for the least investment.

In a brief, 1-3 day workshop, Innoveer helps companies identify the cost, time and business benefits associated with achieving new and more mature — which is to say, more effective — CRM capabilities.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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