Help Wanted – Customer
The competitive weapon we seek every day via the upcoming and current CRM programs is a loyal, profitable customer base. So that means we should be focused on insuring that every part of our company that touches the customer is customer engineered. With the perfect process, interaction, product and service, we will leap to the top of our industry. Our CRM programs and initiatives will then be able to lead us to the Holy Grail – the almighty loyal and profitable customer base. Since we do not consistently listen to the customer and allow them to engineer the experience, we often feel more like one of the cowboys responsible for moving a herd of cats between two points 300 miles apart.
Customer perceptions of our service delivery and company processes change continually as we alter the experience. Change something here and see how the customer perceives the effect over there – direct a few cats over that way and find that the rest went the other way. In order to improve the journey, we need to rely on customer research to determine the projects to pursue that need customer engineering. We need to measure and manage to the critical-to-quality issues. We have to make improvements and continue to measure.
The contact center focuses on delivering customer service in support of the company. Caller satisfaction has to be measured and along the way, customer-company issues need to be uncovered allowing team managers the ability to provide information and direction for the CSRs to effectively address such issues and to communicate the issues to the process owners.
Unfortunately, we are not entirely effective when you consider the incredible power of the information in the contact center. If a formal process to share company information from customer feedback exists, it is usually weak. Companies do not leverage the power of the customer information.
Contact Centers may conduct customer research – at a minimum caller satisfaction – but perhaps more. The marketing department and the research department conduct customer research to develop products and services, to test collateral and to measure general satisfaction for strategic planning. There may be many research initiatives underway that we do not know about and herein lies the problem. Companies do not have a cohesive, comprehensive strategy to gather the necessary intelligence required to find the Holy Grail.
A disjointed customer feedback process does not benefit the company as a whole. The customer experience cannot be dealt with in a silo fashion. Companies need a new executive position that reports directly to the CEO. The President of the Customer Experience must be the focal point for issues related to all customer touch points. The contact center managers, the marketing managers and the market research department need to report to a Customer Experience Engineer (CEE, pronounced SEE) that works for the President of the Customer Experience.
The CEE coordinates and receives research results related to all initiatives that impact the customer experience. Guidelines are established for all measurement initiatives that includes matching the research methodology to the mode of customer contact, using a consistent scale, mandating a set of standard questions, and targeting specific research to insure little to no overlap of concept or respondent participation. The CEE manages the warehouse of Voice of the Customer information. This re-organization will fine-tune the research efforts to completely and succinctly identify the customer engineering issues of the company. Duplicated research is eliminated. Missed opportunities to measure, identify and implement customer engineering projects are eliminated.
The creation of a CEEer positions the company to develop an effective customer relationship strategy defined as lending value to the customer experience at the lowest cost to the company. Solving customer-defined problems through process efficiencies is a win-win on the path to customer loyalty, greater market share and greater shareholder wealth. Without such a strategy, as is the case with most companies, the CRM failure rate will continue to be a disappointment to us all.
Dr. Jodie Monger, PhD is the President of Customer Relationship Metrics, LC (www.Metrics.net). Prior to joining Metrics, she was the founding Associate Director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality. Her expertise is working with Fortune 1000 companies to help them quantify the Voice of their Customer.
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