The pace of change and digital disruption are themes appearing every day in our newsfeeds. Together with the focus on customer experience and a power shift to consumers we arrive at a point in time where, as Marshall Goldsmith put it “What got you here won’t get you there”.
So where do I start to improve the customer experience?
A recent McKinsey article noted that in delivering a transformation in customer experience a holistic view is required. “... too often a focus on specific touchpoints or channels results in incremental progress that only allows a company to keep pace with the changing customer landscape. Leading executives have recognized that really moving the needle on customer satisfaction requires a more ambitious effort—a transformation of the entire customer experience”.
With digital native players entering markets delivering an experience that sets the bar higher and higher, business needs to adapt quickly. And these experiences aren’t benchmarked from your own sector anymore. If a customer has a seamless experience in the Pay-TV space they expect their utility provider to deliver the same, “if they can do it, you can do it too.”
Review the full customer journey (data)
The ability to create effective customer journeys is critical. The touchpoints customers have with you can be very different. Journeys aren’t necessarily linear; today’s consumer will often leap from A to Z. A loyal baby boomer might seek and value a different experience to a new Gen Z customer. A baby boomer might have seen an article on their Facebook feed and it reminded them to call you to discuss an issue. The Gen Z customer may have seen that exact same feed, before engaging with a chatbot on your website to upgrade their service.
Importantly the aggregation of data from your business is the key to telling you the story of how effectively you are delivering a coherent client journey. But don’t just see it as data – these are real people having a real experience.
What’s the real experience?
Don’t treat these touchpoints as stand alone. There is no point in having a great Average Speed to Answer (ASA) score when the customer is annoyed that they had to call in the first place (because the service technician hasn’t shown up). Yet, this is salvageable if the customer service agent can identify exactly where the service technician is (GPS) and predict time of arrival. Ideally though the customer could have tracked that themselves with a link in their booking confirmation.
Digital channel usage is winning
The opportunities for increased customer satisfaction with automation and self-service transactions are many. Combined with a lowered cost to serve delivers a win win for all. McKinsey research shows telecommunications customers who use digital channels for service transactions are one-third more satisfied, on average, than those who rely on traditional channels.
How can we get more people to utilise these channels? In Europe, for example, 98 percent of mobile phone users in one survey knew their provider offered a service website, but only 37 percent made use of it. In the United States, meanwhile, only 18 percent of mobile users said they used their providers’ online service platforms. Potentially the technology lacks integration to make it simple for the customer to use? Or is it that old habits die hard? Either way, there are benefits to all parties to improve the usage of online tools.
Structuring your business for the future
DeakinCo. in their recent paper, Enabling the Future of Work noted that we need to be ready to face new challenges with our people and use technology to help us deliver the customer experiences demanded today. The four trends they noted were:
- The rise of digital— tools and omni channels are increasingly important, and the human managing experiences needing to be armed with information to assist effectively
- The rise of human experience— as technology increasingly dehumanises, the opportunity becomes to turn the human practice into an amazing customer experience (along with the employee experience).
- The rise of human and higher-order skills— as automation and AI take away the requirement for day to day activities, we see the rise in requirement for lateral thinking, bringing together of people and “connecting the dots”
- The rise of agility—expect the unexpected, and have the resources and processes in place that can rapidly adapt to a changing external environment.
It just makes sense
Harvard Business Review noted those businesses that cleverly manage the entire experience reap significant rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction. Plus, created more-effective ways to collaborate across the business, breaking down silos.
Sounds like Utopia doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to improve the customer experience, make staff happier and have a business that operates more cohesively? Of course, in reality, it’s not necessarily a simple road to success, and you will have to be open to new ways. But it’s a journey you absolutely must be on.
References: Harvard Business Review - The Truth About Customer Experience, McKinsey - The role of customer care in customer experience transformation, DeakinCo – Enabling the Future of Work 2018