Great customer experience is more important than ever. Deliver it by focusing on the core issues, argues Chris Merricks from CX Consultants
2020 saw society embrace digital systems at an astonishing rate. Last year, Tesco became the first UK retailer to deliver 1 million online grocery orders in a single week. Today, more than 1.5 million people across the UK speak daily over Zoom (up from 35,000 in January 2020).
Tesco and Zoom’s success didn’t happen overnight. Zoom began work on their video-conferencing service in 2011, while Tesco offered their first online delivery all the way back in 1996. So what changed?
As offices closed and workers were told to stay at home, the nation’s needs had to be met in new ways. Tesco and Zoom rose to the challenge, already having much of the crucial infrastructure in place that allowed them to scale their operations to meet the sudden increase in demand for their digital services.
Despite some teething problems, Tesco and Zoom’s digital offerings (and the teams that worked on them) ultimately performed well, helping raise the benchmark for great customer experience.
Meanwhile, some organisations struggled because they didn’t have the capacity for remote working. One public sector organisation — which had never worked remotely before due to the sensitive nature of their work — initially saw their 6,000 strong workforce diminished to just 1,000 who had the equipment to work remotely.
In 2021, the expectation of a great customer experience now extends across all industries. The question local governments and public sector agencies now need to ask themselves is, “Are we ready to deliver a great customer experience?” If not, don’t despair. Addressing the core issues affecting your organisation’s performance (rather than addressing the consequences of those issues) can help get things back on track for both you and your customers.
Identify problems before implementing solutions
We often see organisations strive to implement best-in-class CRM systems because they’re renowned for being the gold-standard. However, we often find that the biggest and ‘best’ CRM doesn’t actually address their customers’ fundamental needs. Consider the following example…
We’ve all, at some point, contacted an organisation using their website’s live-chat before calling at a later date by phone, then having to re-explain our situation because the live-chat and phone teams didn’t have access to the same system with our information. It’s a frustrating experience.
Understanding the root cause of a problem from a customer’s point of view — such as integrating two customer-facing teams with the same CRM — results in a much better customer experience. Imagine being greeted with, “Hello, I see you’re having some difficulty with (your problem). Let me help you with that.” How refreshing!
An effectively set up and integrated CRM system can do more than surface the same customer data across different teams. It can facilitate the personalised customer experience that people have come to expect in an age of personalised product and content recommendations.
Give your employees the tools to succeed
Happy customers often lead to happy employees. However, poor customer experience can equally result in a poor employee experience; dealing with disgruntled customers, handling challenging journalists, and coding late into the night to patch up broken systems can take their toll on employees. Solving your customers’ problems — by ensuring every customer-facing department has access to one integrated CRM, for example — could vastly improve customer happiness.
To give another example, a local council chased a resident for council tax payments for nearly a year before finding out that the resident had passed away. Despite the resident’s relative having used the Tell Us Once service to notify all government departments of the bereavement, the local council clearly hadn’t received the message. Phone calls from an unhappy relative followed, and no doubt an uncomfortable experience for the employee on the other end of the phone.
There are many ways to measure whether employees are sufficiently equipped to provide customers with a great customer experience. Internally, you might measure attrition rate, sick leave rate, average handling time, and the number of repeat customer contacts. Externally, you might measure customer effort score (how easily a customer resolved their query) and NPS (how likely the customer is to recommend your service to a friend).
Implement solutions effectively
Solutions that address organisational issues can ignore (or miss) root-cause customer issues. CX Consultants challenges organisations’ assumptions about what they think they need and helps them focus on the root cause of their perceived issue.
One of our clients had a great system in place to handle support requests, but missed key insights due to the way it was used. A CRM should help surface the root cause of problems, so we helped the client understand that the information they were capturing didn’t show the actual reason customers contacted them. By working with them to change the categorisation of requests, we found a process flaw and helped them change it. This resulted in fewer support requests.
Our team has experience working both client- and vendor-side, so we’re uniquely positioned to understand and empathise with the challenges of working on large and cross-departmental projects. We understand that different teams often use different CRM systems and that the volume of collected data can often feel overwhelming. Decades of CRM experience mean we know what good CRM-integration looks like, helping us anticipate critical issues ahead of time such as siloed department integration and over-engineering.
Great customer experience can be achieved by addressing the root cause of customer problems. So when problems arise, take the time to view problems from the customers’ point of view. Because the solution may not be quite what you were expecting.
Please note: This is a commercial profile
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