Getting the Full Picture of the Customer Experience

Getting the Full Picture of the Customer Experience

When it comes to customer service, what you don’t know can hurt you.

A recent Forrester Consulting global study commissioned by Ricoh found that, by a factor of nearly 3 to 1, managers thought their customer-facing workers communicated well with customers. Yet the same survey showed that by a factor of more than 2 to 1, customer-facing workers felt constrained by “older systems” that sometimes forced customers to communicate with the company in ways they didn’t want to.

Forrester Consulting global study found that, by a factor of nearly 3 to 1, managers thought their customer-facing workers communicated well with customers

Your business is at risk of losing frustrated customers. And you may lose valuable customer-service talent who feel stuck using systems that don’t seem to result in happy customers.

Just one example. Settling in to watch a movie I was interrupted by a service provider error message:   “There’s been a problem (Error 2147)—try again later.”  When I called customer service I got a recording that suggested I visit the FAQ on their website; and if I wanted to wait please know “we are experiencing high call volume”.

No.  I wanted someone to tell me what Error 2147 actually means. And honestly, I wanted someone to hear how annoyed I was that my movie experience had been interrupted. So I waited – and ultimately the rep did walk me through some steps to resolve my problem.

Did I cancel my service that night?  No. Did I spend more of my time working up the chain of command to express my dissatisfaction to a manager? No. And did the rep have any real way to log my level of dissatisfaction?  I’d say it was unlikely.

The point is both of us remained dissatisfied with this experience. This might cause me to say less than flattering things about my service provider, and over time, could drive me to another provider. It also increases the risk of driving the rep to another job.

I believe this represents opportunities for customer service managers and their businesses.

Important customer service knowledge slipped through the cracks because the experience did not result in an exception such as a lost customer or delayed order — the indicators you may consistently track. My service provider may have logged my wait time, but once I spoke to a service rep, as far as their indicators were concerned, my dissatisfaction was resolved.

Better information and process support, such as automated integrated voice response (IVR) with fixes to Error 2147, especially if this was a condition causing long wait times, might have helped.

Improvement through optimized document and process support

Now is the time to assess how well you are empowering your staff to deliver the experience your customers have come to expect. Nothing beats a qualitative reality check with those on the front lines as to what the customer experience is really like.

Keep your competitive edge by verifying that you have the information solutions to not only enable real problem-solving by your customer-facing staff, but that you are hearing everything your customer has to say.

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