Thanks to Shep Hyken, customer service expert, on his recent webinar, "What Happens When The Customer Experience Breaks: The Dark Side of Customer Experience."
Regardless of how customer-centric your organization, at some point your customer service will fail.
How will your customers respond?
If you've been providing a consistently positive customer service experience, they'll let you know and help you fix it.
A certain level of customer service is "table stakes."
Fortunately, and sadly, the bar is still low.
However, companies like Zappos, Lexus and Ritz Carlton are educating customers, raising the bar and raising customer expectations.
Social media gives the customer a voice.
A dissatisfied customer used to tell 13 people about their experience.
Today, they tell 100's or 1000's. Social media has magnified the customer's voice.
There are three actions you should have in place to ensure you are delivering a consistently positive, and occasionally "wow," customer experience:
- Journey map the customer experience. Be very detailed noting every touch point and every point of impact. Once you've completed your map, share it with a few customers to get their feedback. I'll guarantee your customers will point out some things that never occurred to you, or your team.
- Perform a causal, root cause, analysis of why things happen with regards to delivering customer service -- both good and bad things.
- Create a complaint map of how complaints should be handled and how complaints are actually handled. Obviously you will end up with several different maps since most firms deal with several different types of complaints.
In mapping the customer journey, think in terms of: awareness, interest, selection, maintenance and retention.
Your focal points should be: demographics, entry and exit points in the journey, risk and failure points and mitigation strategies.
Moments of truth will vary by customer, but they're important to document. Ask customers what they consisder to be a "moment of truth" for them.
Your vision for the customer experience starts at the top. Executives set the tone, disseminate and share a crystal clear vision of the customer experience.
Lexus has The Lexus Covenant, part of which says, "Lexus will treat each customer as we would a guest in our home."
Ritz Carlton's credo is, "Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen."
Both of these are easy enough for every employee to understand. Your firm's vision for customer service and the ultimate customer experience must be easy enough for all of your employees to understand.
Executives need to stay engaged by interacting with customers and customer-facing employees.
Ideally, every employee interacts with a customer at least once a month.
You cannot connect too much with a customer. The learning you will get if you listen intensely is invaluable.
When performing the causal analysis: aggregate, classify, analyze, modify and implement.
Focal points should be: data sources, demographic drivers, process modification, benchmarks and tracking.
Use Net Promoter Score (NPS) to determine whether or not a customer will recommend your product or service to a family member, friend or colleague. It's easy to implement and you'll quickly learn what you are doing well and where improvement is needed.
To build a complaint map, think in terms of: capture, investigate, resolve, communicate and follow-up.
You should be doing this for both internal and external complaints.
Employees should be treating their colleagues with the same level of respect and decorum as a customer.
Focal points for the complaint map are: channel breadth and coverage, efficiency and accuracy, empowerment levels and agility and adaptibility.
Employees need to be empowered to address a customer's concern at the point of interaction.
Empower employees to act like an owner and solve the problem creatively.
Empower employees to say "yes" to the customer. If they're going to say "no," they must get approval from a supervisor to do so.
The Ritz Carlton empowers all of its employees to spend up to $2,000 to provide the guest with an outstanding customer experience.
If someone gets a complaint from a customer, they own the complaint. It's their responsibility to resolve the complaint with urgency. Don't just fix the problem, restore the confidence of the customer. Earn the customer's trust that everyone in your organization will "do what they say they'll do when they say they'll do it."
Service is a differentiator and brands are taking better care of their customers.
How long before you begn taking better care of your customers?
Once you hit your goal, set a new goal and keep learning.