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Providing the Right Customer Experience

It's an age old problem and one that companies across all b2C sectors are increasingly facing: How can they deliver the most satisfying service experience,attract more customers, increase revenues from them at the same time as reducing costs? In the past, it's been a difficult objective to achieve but with the growth of multi-channel contact, coupled with an ever demanding and informed consumer, it's critical that companies aim for it today. If they don't, the consequences are stark. In our experience of markets such as Retail, Telco, Outsourcing etc, delivering a differentiated, branded customer experience plays a major role in improving customer satisfaction and all the benefits this brings: increased customer loyalty, which in turn drives high performance through better margins, revenue growth and shareholder value.

Sadly, in many companies, the traditional approach to managing customer contacts in a way that balances cost and satisfaction is not working because the primary focus is cost not the customer and the Contact Centre is seen as a necessary and costly evil, not a strategic weapon for the business. In the communications industry, for example, losing one-fourth of customers each year is fairly typical with Airlines losing about 40 percent of their customers and Insurance companies 30 percent.

So why is this and what is the fundamental problem? Companies are providing self-service solutions that cut costs, but which also alienate customers because they lack personalisation and intimacy and they also imply a degree of knowledge and effort from the customer. For example, they don't effectively identify those high-value customers who must be given special care and attention. Also while companies are implementing agent desktop tools, they miss the point by not preparing those agents who actually have to deliver a better experience to the customer and so in consequence make matters worse. Problems are increased when different departments in the business, crucial for providing input that assists the response to the customer, aren't or can't communicate with each other e.g marketing is going in one direction, operations another.

To combat these types of situations, companies need to build a complete customer experience master plan. This will aim to provide the foundation that allows a company to deliver a superior and ever improving customer experience across all channels of customer contact and their corresponding value chains. Whether a company is servicing a low-value customer or a platinum account, the master plan mandates the right customer experience for each customer type, makes the design of each experience achievable and provides an underlying financial model to track operational improvements and the impact the bottom-line impact. The master plan ensures that companies achieve the right balance between customer satisfaction and what it costs to serve the customer.

Author: Tim Easton - Published: 19 January 2007


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