I just read the article Asia’s Call Center Woe’s that discusses an Asia-Pacific consumer survey about customer service. The thesis isn’t a new one: Customer Care matters now more than ever; if your consumers aren’t happy with the customer service you are providing, they will switch to your competitor. What struck me though is what was most important to those interviewed: How quickly the phone gets answered when they call. Now, I don’t like waiting for my call to be answered any more than the next guy, but there are certainly things more frustrating to me than long wait times, such as: navigating poorly designed IVRs, being transferred multiple times, talking to a rude agent, having to call back to get my issue resolved. These various aspects of a call rolled together (plus a few others) creates the Customer Experience.
Each one of your customers has a unique set of preferences about how they want to interact with your company and what they expect from those interactions. It’s your job to analyze those and discern how to create that customized care in a profitable manner. The end goal should be to provide distinctive and profitable service to each individual customer. It’s no longer safe to assume that one-size-fits-all.
The road to true customer intimacy can be a long one, however there are some things you can do to get started.
- Customer Segmenting: Do you know who your customers are, why they contact you, and what’s important to them? You can probably answer that at a high level today, but start to think in more detail about all the variations and nuances across your customer base, products/services and how they map together.
- Contact Handling: Are you routing calls solely based on what products/services your customers have purchased (or want to purchase) and what language they speak? Do you have one Service Level goal across your lines of business? As the article demonstrates there are other factors, such as cultural preferences, to be considered when setting objectives and designing routing plans.
- Metrics and Reporting: Are you measuring the right things and are you monitoring your success?
This list is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather just a conversation starter. As we kick-off 2009 I’ll be discussing these topics in more detail. Let me know your thoughts.