Three Major Blind Spots When It Comes To Engaging Customers


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Last week, I was going through my wireless bill and noticed there were some charges I was not expecting on the bill.  I called my wireless carrier and asked about the charges.  It turns out, I misunderstood the international plan I had signed up for when I was recently in Europe.  The representative was very helpful and offered to waive a part of the fees due to the misunderstanding.  I was very happy with the outcome and the representative did a great job.

Shortly after my call, I received a text of a customer satisfaction survey after my encounter with the call center.

Here is the content of the text survey:

Michael, thanks for calling (CARRIER). We’ll text you shortly for some feedback about your wireless call experience. (SURVEY TEXTS ARE FREE)

How likely are you to recommend (CARRIER’s) services to a friend or family member – on a scale from 10 (definitely) to 1 (definitely not)?

My answer:  1.

Sorry to hear. How satisfied are you with the overall handling of your call by Jessica C from 10 (very satisfied) to 1 (very dissatisfied)?

My Answer: 10.

Great! How satisfied are you with the rep’s ability to handle your request in a timely manner from 10 (very satisfied) to 1 (very dissatisfied)?

My Answer: 10

Excellent! Please provide any additional feedback to help us fully understand your experience.

I didn’t add anything else.  Honestly, I was a bit incredulous that other than a poorly worded apology, “Sorry to hear,” they seem to have ignored the fact that I rated my likely to recommend a 1.  It was not a typo and should have been a giant red flag.  I had recently been at one of their stores and spoke to an assistant manager that may have been the rudest person I have ever encountered in a service experience.   I am considering moving all of my accounts away from this carrier as a result of this experience.  However, my carrier does not know this.

There are many things wrong with the process that this experience points out, but I will focus on three biggies:

1)      Management should stop confounding its own goals with process performance – Today, they are mixing apples and oranges. My likely to recommend rating has nothing to do with the performance of Jessica C. on this recent call.   So, should this carrier be using this metric in a survey that is ostensibly for measuring the performance of the call center?

Most likely, No.   Management is rightly being judged on an overall relationship metric and a process satisfaction is the right measure for the call center.   However, measuring relationship in the context of a single transaction is just plain wrong.

2)      Stop ignoring the Big Picture: Customer Experience Programs Need to Focus on the Customer – Most Customer Experience Measurement efforts focus on touchpoints and employee performance.  Precious few resources are being used to understand what customers feel and need at different points along their journey with the company.  To add focus onto the customer, companies need to understand the customer’s journey more holistically.  Customers interact with products and services far more in usage than in sales or service, often playing a significant role in their life. Companies needs to be engaged with customers throughout their journey, not just in one-off conversations, but through an ongoing dialogue.

3)      Dialogue with customers needs to be more like a conversation – “Sorry to hear,” just doesn’t cut it. If you were speaking one on one with a friend or business partner and you had made an error, you would be more likely to say something like, “I am very sorry that something went wrong, is there anything I can do to make things better?”  But the communication from my carrier, just rolled into the next question.  If you want customers to engage with you on an ongoing basis, you need to engage with them much more like a valued personal relationship.  That requires a two-way, individualized dialogue…a conversation.

To accomplish the goal of developing real customer relationships and improving their experience requires that those responsible for the customer experience in CEM and CRM stop talking at customers and start talking with customers.  Also, how customers feel should be more directly linked to how they are served, at the individual level.

A solution we are about to launch, Maritz Connect™ is designed to help companies engage with customers throughout the customer journey with ongoing, individualized dialogue that helps companies build stronger relationships, increase share of wallet and customer retention.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michael Allenson
Michael is Founder of CXDriven. Formerly he was Principal CX Transformation Consultant at MaritzCX where he led a global team that consulted with clients on how to better leverage their customer experience management programs to drive business success. A frequent writer and presenter, Michael is passionate about helping companies leverage customer intelligence to take action that creates lasting customer relationships and sustainable improvements in growth and profitability. Over a 20+ year career, he has consulted with numerous Fortune 500 companies and their leadership teams on how to uncover superior insights and turn them into action. Prior to his role at MaritzCX, Michael was a Senior Consultant for Maritz Research, Technomic, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants and Leo J. Shapiro and Associates.


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