As a Principal Solutions Consultant for Customer Service at Pega, I have the privilege of interacting with some of the largest and most successful companies in the world just about every week. I’ve met with some for a single day and others for months at a time, but the focus is largely the same: how to improve customer service and evolve CRM systems. With that context, here are three meaningful insights from the front line of enterprise CRM.
- Define your customer service strategy as transactional or experiential and stick to it. This is an executive-led exercise. You can’t be everything to everyone. It’s too expensive, too complicated to design and, most importantly, too hard to execute. Each company should decide how they intend to treat customers based on their individual goals. If you want to be the McDonald’s of customer service, then state it and let the employees do it well. If you choose to be the American Express of service, then commit and do that well. Don’t get caught in the middle of two strategies. Customers will appreciate any model you chose as long as they get what they expect, and maybe sometimes just a little more.
- Map the customer experience and connect it to your internal processes. Based on my professional experience, very few companies map what a customer feels and experiences as they attempt to resolve an issue back to the business tools and employees that support the experience. Typically, companies map either the customer experience or the internal tools and processes – but rarely both together. That said, how can experiences be improved if we don’t understand what the customer is going through and the business tools impacting that experience? Instead, let’s think about overlaying customer actions along with internal processes and apply some design-thinking and user experience concepts to improve the end result.
- Be proactive and passionate about retention. Reactive approaches are still the king of retention. Some use a complaint or issue resolution team to save frustrated customers. This is a simplistic approach and limited in impact because only a small percentage of customers complain. Other companies use technology-driven retention programs that start when the customer calls, tweets or writes and says, “I want to cancel.”
Think of it this way - customer loyalty operates like a bank account. Companies should make regular and proactive deposits to maintain a minimum balance or face the risk of penalty. These actions can be anything from recognizing loyalty when someone checks in at a location or when he or she calls customer service, or even sending that customer a gift if they’ve had a less-than-positive experience. Creating moments of delight proactively for is much more effective and costs less than reactive retention.
I hope these real-world insights hit home and spark energy and focus to make customer service at your company better, starting now!