Companies have simply run out of excuses for not providing good (or even reasonably good) customer experiences (CX).
Not only has there been a surge in CX awareness among consumers — thanks to the Web for empowering users to post product/service reviews, write blogs, take pictures or record videos, and Facebooking (eventually the word will enter the lexicon like “to Google”) or tweeting to their friends. Today the customer demands a good experience when interacting with a company.
But they can because in today’s Social Economy the playing field is leveled. Blockbuster had to face Netflix’s challenge. Barnes & Noble has to defend against Amazon.com. RIM is fighting for its life against Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon continue to fend off VOIP providers like Skype (now a Microsoft company), Vonage, and most of the cable providers.
In other words, if a company cannot keep a customer, there are plenty of competitors to give business to.
Managing the CX becomes a matter of survival for a company.
It has to be viewed holistically. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to enhance the CX on the company website, but when the visitor clicks “Chat with an Agent,” a rude rep comes on-screen to aggravate the customer. Or when the company’s Twitter monitoring team directs a tweeter to call a particular toll-free number, the customer has to go through five levels of IVR menus. Or when a caller requests a call-back via a state-of-the-art virtual queuing feature, s/he receives the call which interrupts dinnertime with family.
You can cover all the bases with all sorts of technology and players, but do you have a 360-degree view of the playing field? A lot of times the focus is only on one or two things, sometimes it’s whatever buzzword the executive heard on his way to the office: multi-channel, social media, virtual queuing, QR codes, mobile apps, etc.
Don’t just chase after buzzwords — settle down, look at existing people and technologies, and start to think like a customer. Better yet, become the customer. Go through hands-on exercises of interacting with the company and its brands. Dial the IVR. Webchat with an agent. Buy something online. Return a purchase. Email customer support. (You may end up having too much fun with it…)
Then do the same but with a competitor.