If a business does not control service delivery fracturing, its relationship with customers will always be fraught with ball dropping. What is a fracture point? It’s a lynchpin activity that can really impair a relationship with a customer, if not managed carefully. Four of these lynchpin activities are service delivery metrics, customer data integration, first point resolution and customer journey management. As hard as it may be, taking a brutally honest look at where its lynchpin activities are failing with customers, can lead a business to repair fractures and to uncover a treasure trove of opportunities to turn around its brand experience.
The absence of service delivery metrics is a major fracture. I come across many businesses that do not have clearly established and communicated service delivery standards that govern quality assurance for the customer experience. It’s hard to achieve and even harder to maintain a consistently high level of customer delight, if no one knows what standards constitute a delightful experience.
If a business does not control service delivery fracturing, its relationship with customers will always be fraught with ball dropping.
One of the mysteries that I don’t understand, is why businesses are so quick to activate customer engagement training without having service delivery standards in place. The whole point of training is to “train up” employees to meet service delivery standards, to measure performance against these standards and to ensure that the experience is in line with customers’ expectations. There is a linear relationship between standards, training, skill levels, delivery, outcomes, customer experience and ultimately, customer happiness. Metrics matter and pave the way for measurement of the state of customer delight.
One of the growing areas in business to customer relationship management, is customer data integration. This is the collection and consolidation of customer data from the full range of social media and traditional channels, in order to create a single view of the customer. The benefit here is that this view can be diffused across multi-functional business units that can utilize the data to produce customer-centric strategies which allow customers to have a coherent, continuous and seamless journey.
Four of these lynchpin activities are service delivery metrics, customer data integration, first point resolution and customer journey management.
I must mention here, that some businesses are comfortable with using their social media pages in a limited way, as either megaphones for broadcasting information, or, as question and answer channels. The point of using these platforms to build customer communities is reduced simply, to a lost opportunity.
Another potential fracture point occurs where the customer interacts with the business at the start of his or her journey. It’s time for businesses to onboard first-point resolution as a standard feature of their customer interaction model. Why is it so hard to ensure that real-time data is pushed to the first point of customer contact, which may be manned by either a live person, a machine or a virtual channel?
As hard as it may be, taking a brutally honest look at where its lynchpin activities are failing with customers, can lead a business to repair fractures and to uncover a treasure trove of opportunities to turn around its brand experience.
Why is it so hard for businesses to ensure sufficiency of authority to take real-time decisions that avoid bureaucratic delays and hasten decisions that resolve needs and remediate issues, without having to escalate to a second-level party? The new customer interaction models are designed to provide on-spot closure for customers’ questions, requests and queries, using artificial or human labour, as well as automated responses.
A good starting point for activating the first-point resolution feature, is to begin with the end in mind. It’s installing competent individuals with the right mix of attitude, behaviours and skills, driving as much information to the frontline as possible and conferring high-level decision-making authority on live and automated agents. In other words, it’s asking the question, “What do we need to do to prevent customer escalation beyond the first point of contact?” Then making it happen.
Preventing experience fracturing is not rocket science. it is a business deciding that it will offer a brilliant as opposed to a broken customer experience.
Finally, customer journey management needs to be one that differentiates habitual customers from loyal customers. Habitual customers are driven by superficial motives, such as proximity of location, lack of competitive options or simply habit. Loyal customers are intentional about where they spend their money. They are connected to differentiated value and will not settle for an experience that does not deliver to expectations, consistently.
Preventing experience fracturing is not rocket science. it is a business deciding that it will offer a brilliant as opposed to a broken customer experience. it includes creating dynamic content that builds robust customer communities and smart collaborations that are orchestrated across a connected internal network of business units.
Ultimately, it is about a business deciding that it will provide its customers with compelling reasons to remain loyal.