Have you had a look at your customer contact strategy lately? We often get called in to help with these and get told things like “It’s how we’ve always done it…” “It’s what everyone else is doing…” “It’s what our customers want…” But it soon becomes apparent that no one has stopped to ask the customers what they think.
In some cases, customer contact strategies have been in place for many years. They made sense once, but now time has passed, technology has moved on and an investigation of new technologies and approaches is needed. Other times, new approaches have been introduced for the sake of it because they are the modern way, without looking at what the customers actually need or how to get the most benefit from the solutions.
Recently we have seen a few cases of online messaging being introduced quickly to get around call centre resourcing problems. Although this removes some traffic from phone lines, if the messaging is not adequately resourced then long term this has a damaging effect on satisfaction levels. If you send an instant message, you expect a pretty near instant response and if it becomes clear that agents are managing messages on top of calls and other duties then this becomes a source of frustration.
After many years of trading, it is tempting to think we know our customers well and to make presumptions based on what we think they want. However, customer bases and needs can change. Be sure to conduct a full analysis before planning or investing any strategic changes. We are all different, and it is worth investigating whether your customers prefer the usual routes of self service, messaging and calling as a last resort or whether they are different, perhaps remaining loyal to the traditional call centre. Customers should be able to make contact using whatever method they wish and receive an efficient and pleasant response every time.
To understand your customers, their needs and satisfaction levels it is necessary to have initiatives to track, measure and improve in place. This should be as part of continual monitoring and as a source of essential data to help you identify issues and plan improvements and demonstrate their success. Real time dashboards and up to date reports provide the ability to respond with agility to any roadblocks and to meet changing needs, thereby helping you to achieve service excellence.
It’s not always easy to convince the C-suite on why we should refuse to offer the same mediocre CSX solutions as our competitors. An initial and continuing investment is required, and so it is about making a case for why we should build our customer service solutions in the way that our customers want to use them, not just what is easiest (or cheapest) for us. Once these changes are agreed the returns will be clear though, with increases in customer loyalty, recommendations and resulting sales.
CXCo is one of the UK’s leading customer experience consultancies, helping organisations to measure and improve CX delivery. Get in touch today to discuss how we can help you find and implement the perfect customer contact strategy.