…Look at Your Own Operation (Not Just at Your Employee)
We’ve all been there. A customer has a bad experience on the phone. They’re mad. They’re super verbal. And they’ve taken the time to make sure we know every detail of what went so wrong. The customer care agent wasn’t clear enough, wasn’t fast enough, wasn’t apologetic enough…
First impulse? Fix the problem at the agent level! Of course, when an agent mishandles any customer interaction, we do need to train, coach, and empower that agent to do better next time. But too often, the effort stops there. In a recent Forbes article, consultant Micah Solomon points out the risks of that approach – and the immense rewards of looking at the more likely root cause of your CX issues: your entire customer care operation. You can read it all below.
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Experiencing A Customer Experience (CX) Failure? It’s Probably A Broken System, Not A Broken Employee
By Micah Solomon
When the customer experience (CX) at your business goes south, it’s often because one or more of your systems are broken or haven’t been set up in the first place. A rule of thumb is that when something goes wrong once, it might be a particular employee’s fault, or it could be just a fluke. If it happens twice, though, you should begin to suspect that it’s the fault of a broken or missing system. When you encounter repeated, similar or identical mistakes, the smart move is to look at the system involved: to review its design and how it is, or isn’t, being implemented.
I’ve used this scenario before in print and with my CX/customer experience consulting and training clients but it’s stood the test of time: Let’s say you own a body shop. If customers are complaining about their early morning experiences with one of your cashiers, I’d encourage you to look at the situation dispassionately. It’s probably not the cashier per se who is at fault, though it might look that way on the surface. If you have the chance to study the performance of your cashier, you’ll likely discover a set of problems that runs something like this: they’re not well organized; their computer’s not booted up by the start of her shift—in time to serve the first customer who walks up; there’s no pen close at hand so that customers can sign the charge slips; and so forth.
Even though each of these failures starts with a personal pronoun, what you actually have is a failure of systems, including some or all of the following:
- Training and preparation.Shouldn’t the cashier have been prepped on the necessary supplies and the login procedure for starting a shift? Going deeper than this, has your cashier been introduced to and coached in an effective workplace organization system—perhaps 5S, which is the workspace-organization aspect of lean methodology?
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