In an age of skyrocketing customer expectations and growing competition, relationships are won or lost at the inbound customer care center.
When your customers reach out, they do so by accessing the communication channel most convenient for them in that moment. Their expectations used to be simple enough. Customers wanted their question or issue resolved efficiently, accurately, and, if at all possible, politely. But as channel technology grows ever more sophisticated, so do your customer’s demands. Is your inbound customer care center able to keep up?
In his recent article at Forbes, author Shep Hyken talked about the ever-increasing challenge of omni-channel customer care. He cited a recent presentation by Jeff Nicholson, pointing to 7 critical points of potential friction that undermine a customer’s contact experience. Importantly, he then noted 7 corresponding points of friction experienced by contact center employees.
Check out the article below. I think you’ll find Hyken’s and Nicholson’s framework for thinking about the customer experience extremely helpful. They certainly resonate for me. At Skybridge Americas, we specialize in eliminating these points of friction. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, please reach out. We look forward to learning about your business goals and sharing how we can help you achieve them.
Are You Providing A Frictionless Customer Experience?
Today’s customers expect more than ever before. They don’t just want – they demand a level of attention from you that may not reflect the service and experience you provide. Your customers have been trained by companies like Amazon, Uber, and others that have disrupted their competition (and even entire industries) by creating a better customer experience (CX). That better CX is due to an experience that has less friction or hassle. I’ve written about this at length, especially in my most recent book, The Convenience Revolution.
This was also one of the major themes at the recent PegaWorld conference in Las Vegas. Business processes, for both the customers and employees, must get better – as in, easier. Alan Trefler, CEO of Pegasystems, made this point clear in his opening keynote. For example, one of his slides showed the multiple ways that customers can connect with the companies they do business with. On the business side, we call this omnichannel, which is another way of saying all channels.
Consider that when we think of the customer, the concept of channels means nothing. Customers just want to communicate with the company the way they prefer. They want to connect, whenever they want, however they want – period!
Meanwhile, inside of the organization, the employees who support customers need a similar experience. It must be simple. Employees shouldn’t have to open 15 screens for 15 different applications just to get their job done. As Trefler stated, “All of this has to be connected – one place has everything; the end-to-end experience for both customers and employees.”
Organizations must embrace new technologies that reduce or eliminate friction for both customers and employees. What makes this difficult is that customers aren’t standing still. They are smarter and constantly being conditioned by the Amazons and Ubers of the world on what kind of experience to expect.
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But don’t worry. Just becoming aware of this trend is a step in the right direction. The next step is to actively optimize one opportunity to eliminate friction at a time. Some of this will be easy. Some of it will take more work and investment.
When a customer calls your organization for support, what’s their experience? Do they wait on hold for what they consider an unreasonable period of time (regardless of how reasonable you think it is)? Do they have to repeat themselves? Do you have a self-service solution where they can take control?
Jeff Nicholson, Pegasystems’ global head of CRM, and I took the stage together at PegaWorld to discuss these trends and more, especially as they apply to the customer support world. The goal is to eliminate friction – to make things easier for the customer. According to Nicholson, the key is knowing where to look. There are seven primary categories that commonly cause friction for customers:
- Duration:Why is the customer on hold for so long? To them, it’s a waste of time. It’s friction.
- Identity:Why don’t you already know who the customer is? How many different pieces of information does a customer have to share for you to validate they are who they say they are?
- Memory:Why do customers have to repeat themselves? When they are transferred between people or departments, why can’t the next person know what was already said and their story? If the customer calls back about an issue from a prior call, do they have to start over?
- Consistency:Does the customer get a different answer when they call back? I remember trying to get some information about my mobile phone plan and got three completely different answers from three different support reps.
- Visibility:Can the customer see where they are in a process? Can they see if an issue is being worked on, if a package has shipped, etc.?
- Empowerment:Can the customer take control of the situation? Are there self-service tools for them to use that are easy and intuitive?
- Proactiveness:Why should a customer have to ask for something? Today, companies can predict when their customers might have a service issue before they know it themselves.
by Bobby Matthews
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Find out how Skybridge Americas can help you delight your customers and grow your business.
We seamlessly integrate our superior customer care skills with your brand messaging. For more information, contact us at 763-477-7720 or submit the form below!