“Why focusing on delighting your customers is a stupid strategy”; is a preview of Corporate Executive Board’s book, “The Effortless Experience” from Bob Apollo in his August 2013 blog .
It’s a great article that portends major shifts in customer service strategy in response to changed customer behavior.
But it raises a question in my mind; if you stop delighting your customers will they still stay?
In this article, Bob talks about “Customer Service Interactions Tend to Drive Disloyalty”, and “The Key to Mitigating Loyalty is Reducing Customer Effort”; however if the customer service interactions are effectively positive, will it not drive loyalty?
The Customer is King
I come from the old school of ‘the customer is king’, and believe in creating an exceptional customer experience, but having read the article, I can see that this could be an unprofitable strategy… and perhaps a new perspective is required.
Advancements in technology have not only helped suppliers to provide responsive customer service, but have also empowered customers to help themselves.
The flip side is this that our new-age customer has technology that can destroy your company’s reputation in the blink of an eye.
CEB’s extensive research showed that positive service experiences generated relatively little positive word of mouth when compared to positive product experiences – but that negative service experiences generated FAR more negative word of mouth than negative product experiences.
One small tweet can go viral in a matter of seconds and can be damaging for your brand.
- Is this something you secretly fear?
- Can you recall instances when your sleep deprived mind was trying to figure out the right way to respond to a tweet or comment in the small hours of the morning?
- Do you stay awake at night wondering what kind of negative publicity will dawn upon your company?
With customers so powerful, First Call Resolution (FCR)s, and Customer Satisfaction Ratings, (CSAT’s) are something for service executives to obsess over.
Negative service experiences leave people angry and frustrated and willing to share their grievances.
The new CRM model is now actually a customer engagement model that listens and engages with the user, with the goal of resolution in real-time. This is one of the reasons why the new CRM is now called SCRM (Social Customer Relationship Management).
According to Aberdeen Group, 65% of customers complain “time to issue resolution” is the top most factor affecting customer service followed by 33% complaining of “Consistency of Experience”.
The principal cause for these complaints is the inability to access the right information at the right time; which in turn increases the resolution time.
Just Fix It
The above statement may sound like a cliché, but when someone is on your support line, it means they are stuck.
They cannot move forward.
Chances are they have probably been stuck for anywhere from 15-45 minutes, having exhausted all available approaches to fixing the problem locally prior to calling the service line.
Now answer this question. Who’s fault it that they are stuck?
The reason people are stuck is usually because of a bug, or the lack of sufficient self-help in the product or on the support Website…. not because they are stupid, although there are a few helpless customers out there.
Do you want to delight them, or would it be better to fix their problem, get them unstuck and back to work.
I suggest the latter and I agree with the conclusion that trying to delight someone on a support line is a dumb idea and waste of money.
Fix the problem as fast as you can and get them back to work, then re-engineer the product to remove the recurring problems.
Poor agent knowledge also adds to the negative experience inflicted on our support-line customer above.
So what should you be doing to help customers help themselves and agents find relevant information instantly?
Capturing and Structuring Content for Reuse
The trick is to accumulate best practices and make them easily accessible:
- Capture the scripts that have been proven to work in serving customers over the phone,
- Capture recommendations that have provided quicker and correct resolution,
- Harvest best examples of letters and emails that have been written to clients and users
- Capture other situational and anecdotal information that is relevant.
Once these best practices have been identified, they can be chunked-down into reusable knowledge components, indexed, tagged and made available by keyword search in the context of the inquiry.
By analyzing usage and identifying what works and what doesn’t, we can get smarter about the real problems our customers are facing and how to resolve their problems quickly.
There are scores of existing applications focused on delivering an element of customer service, yet there are still huge gaps in the ability of customer support reps., (CSR’s) to find what they need while someone is on the phone…. and for customers to help themselves
WittyParrot is well suited to responsive customer-service and support applications. We are interested in working with early adopters who are investigating disruptive responsive customer support solutions.
To find out more about structuring and sharing best practices content for reuse, please download our new messaging alignment and content management ebook.