There’s no excuse for poor customer experience


This blog post is sponsored by the CIO Collaboration Network and Avaya.

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.

Any excuses?

This blog post is sponsored by the CIO Collaboration Network and Avaya.

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