Do Your Policies Make Your Existing Customers Angry?

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Often in a large company, the proverbial right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Each department creates policies to streamline business processes, improve consistency and quality, and preserve margins. The sales organization is anxious to drum up new business, so they want to court new homeowners, and provide “try it, you’ll like it” policies. The service organization wants to give existing customers the opportunity to renew their service agreements, even when their circumstances change (e.g., they moved from one home to another). The finance group wants to reduce credit risk and eliminate fraud.

ADT Makes It Hard for a New Prospect to Sign Up; © 2014 ADT.comEvery department’s policies make sense in isolation. But, as new and existing customers, we often get caught in the crossfire of these departmental policies. We become confused by the cognitive dissonance these policies imply. Why would you not let a new home owner buy your alarm service for 30 days, if your systems had been previously installed on that home? Particularly when, at the same time, your salespeople are courting that same new home buyer with special offers? That doesn’t make sense, does it? Or why extend credit to customers for their first $5,000 of transactions, but freeze their accounts and demand credit checks after they have successfully met and paid back that first $5,000? These are two real-life examples you’ll read about in Irene Kopel’s real-life customer service anecdotes.

Often, it takes a long time for the voices of the minority of customers who get caught in this cross-departmental cross-fire to rise to the attention of your executive committee. Meanwhile, this relatively small handful of customers is complaining loudly to friends and family members and colleagues, posting on Facebook, Tweeting, and even creating negative websites about your company. By then, it’s way too late to do damage control. Instead, you need (at least) annual CX audits. Walk through your end-to-end Customer Journey, see where the gotcha’s are, and fix them!

How to Audit Your Cross-Departmental CX. A great way to do an annual Customer Experience Audit is to engage with your customers—particularly those who have complained, or not renewed, or reduced their spending. Recruit them as part of your CX Audit team. Interview them (not just surveys) and discover what problems they encountered, how their context has changed, and how the competitive landscape may have affected their behaviors. Engage them in a Customer Experience Journey Mapping session to document where the issues lie and how they’d ideally like to be able to mitigate or avoid them. Make sure that you combine these customer critics on mapping teams along with the key influencers in each of your major functional departments. These collaborative teams will identify the customer-critical issues, probe the policies and business processes that caused them, and redesign those policies and processes into win/wins. Voilà! Problem solved! Annual Customer Experience Audits more than pay for themselves in improved customer retention, increased share of wallet, and more positive social media buzz.

Unreasonable Customer Policy Stories from a Real Customer
Why Justified Indignation Can Lead to Losing Business
By Irene Kopel, Guest Contributor, November 20, 2014

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