When it comes to attempting to increase customer satisfaction through customer centricity, it’s essential to not simply understand what a customer-focused organization is, but what it is not.
When you work from a clear definition and well-defined goals, everyone in your contact center can work cooperatively to avoid investing time, energy and financial resources that produce low or no return on investment. Let’s take a closer look at three mistakes that often occur when increasing customer satisfaction is approached from the wrong perspective.
MISTAKE #1 - NOT SHARING THE RESPONSIBILITY
Perhaps the worst approach to building an enterprise that’s customer centered is to place the responsibility too heavily upon the shoulders of those that make up the contact center. Despite the fact that customer care agents do have frequent contact with the buying public, it’s unrealistic to expect them achieve high levels of customer satisfaction without the cooperation of the whole organization.
Consumers have multiple and varied interactions with a company and its brand that collectively inform a customer’s opinion. Those experiences begin with advertising prior to a sale and often end with a customer service call following the sale. Because contact centers are most commonly contacted subsequent to a question or problem arising, it’s unwise to think that contact center personnel (even with the advantages of contact center software) can achieve optimal results without the support of other departments.
The situations in which a contact center is the exclusive or even predominant point of interaction between a business and its customers are few and far between. In the banking industry, for example, customers talk to bank tellers more frequently than they call the customer service number. When it comes to shipping a package, a positive experience that leads to an equally positive customer opinion would more likely result from an exchange with a counter clerk or delivery person than it would from a contact center exchange.
Some industries, such as the credit industry , are entirely limited to points of customer contact that happen by phone, but those are the exception rather than the rule. For that reason, any business that commits to customer centricity must be willing to dedicate every department within their organization to the mutual goal of an improved customer experience.
MISTAKE #2 - NOT USING CONTACT CENTER BEST PRACTICES
Many folks from the service sector agree to disagree with the adage that ‘The customer is always right’. Every customer service representative can tell tales of those callers who make every attempt to gain an unfair advantage by gaming the system.
Whether the customer wants something they don’t deserve or just wants to be unpleasant, not all service scenarios can be resolved to the caller’s satisfaction. Frankly no degree of excellence in dealing with a disgruntled customer can overcome their upset if, for example, an airline passenger who was bumped from their flight, ended up missing an important business meeting.
So, while contact center software can be used to flag problematic conversations that warrant special attention, it cannot eliminate all disputes or unfavorable interactions. Instead, it’s better to review recorded calls and follow-up customer surveys as a team in order to foster greater transparency between stakeholders and establish proactive customer service policies.
Such policies should be focused on determining solutions that are equitable as well as determining which situations require contact center agents to enforce limitations with customers. For the contact center that is truly customer centric, a best-in-class software system will work to tag specific phrases and track interactions for review by a supervisor.
The insights gleaned from recorded calls can reveal practices that result in customer dissatisfaction and indicate where certain policies should be revisited and refined. When that intelligence is combined with data on the lifetime value of a typical customer, management can better evaluate where updating their business practices will deliver a profitable result.
MISTAKE #3 - RELYING TOO HEAVILY ON TECHNOLOGY
In a business culture noted for its dependence upon and passion for technology, many organizations make the mistake of putting far too much emphasis on software and the like. Customer centricity is far more of a mindset than it is a set of technology solutions. The alternative and balanced approach is to arrive at combination of high-tech tools and the high-touch service that only real people who solve real problems can provide.
When you’re committed to putting the customer first, that perspective will cause your organization to want to understand as much as it can about what’s relevant to customers. By knowing their needs, and paying attention to how those needs evolve, contact centers can continue to come up with rewards and concessions that heighten a customer’s experience and improve their opinion of your brand. By achieving greater consumer satisfaction and account retention, higher profit margins are the predictable and natural result.
At the end of the day, the enterprise that dedicates itself to a customer-first attitude will learn how to share responsibility, use best practices, and balance people-driven service with the many advantages of technology tools. In that way, any business can work consistently on improving its performance while avoiding false steps on the road to growth.