It’s all about the experience
I recently attended a major customer service conference in London where over 200 forward thinking organisations gathered to review and discuss the latest trends in customer service.
A number of key themes resonated throughout the day including; the need to build strong relationships with customers and staff, developing connected strategies for a relationship led economy, understanding the new and increasing needs and expectations of customers. We are at a critical point in the service agenda and there is a real need to focus on longer term sustainable solutions rather than short term tactical ones.
All of the above are great observations but the primary insight provided was that the leading customer focussed organisations are looking to move from a transactional approach to one of targeted relationships and that the quality of these relationships is critical.
Great examples were given on how customer engagement and experience were top agenda points in the boardrooms. Senior executives were looking for clear examples of what their customers were thinking, how satisfied they were, how quickly the business was reacting and resolving issues and how the business was building closer relationships with these customers.
Measures and initiatives such as CSAT, NPS, Customer Effort, Co-collaboration and big data analysis were all sighted as ways in which feedback was being captured and reported.
The latest “buzz” subjects of needing to deliver omni-channel solutions and the importance of social media in business were mentioned of course but more in terms of aiding engagement and experience rather than being technology led discussions.
What does become clear is that in moving to an experience based approach organisations need to ensure that each of their channel offerings provide a consistent, easy to use and value-add experience for their customers and that measurement systems are put in place to ensure this is happening.
Another refreshing and timely realisation is the importance of creating high performance culture within the organisation that is focussed on customer and employees excellence. I am firmly of the belief that organisations need to focus as much time on identifying, developing, enhancing and measuring their employee journey as they do their customer journey and that this also needs to be a mantra in the boardroom. It is hardly surprising that if you don’t value your employees, invest in their development and foster an engaged relationship they might not deliver an exceptional and engaging experience to your customers. Delivering excellence and experience needs to be a habit within the business and organisational health and wellbeing is likely to have a significant impact on the bottom line.
With more and more customer interactions being conducted on self serve channels the importance of higher cost human interaction channels in enhancing experience grows. It is almost certain that the contact centre agent of the near future will have an even more important impact on the business than they do today. Now is the time to recognise this and start developing the skills and experience within the organisation to meet the challenges of the future. The contact centre needs to be recognised as the heart of the organisation, driving engagement and experience, rather than an expensive overhead that needs to be eliminated through automation.
I for one am delighted to hear the agenda is moving towards delivering more engaged solutions for both customers and employees and look forward with interest to seeing the words turn in to reality. This is something that is evident in the many world leading brands that we partner with at BPA Quality, a wish to not only push forward the quality agenda in terms of delivering higher levels of service to their customers but also a desire to develop their people to reach their potential.