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Journey Mapping = Effective Customer Service Strategy

Maps_70172637_m-2015It’s no secret around here that journey maps are key to a successful customer service strategy for your business. We do a lot of customer journey mapping, using data straight from your customers. But there’s more than one kind of journey map, which can lead to questions about what kind of map to create—but also, how to integrate more than one type of map to better understand each facet of your company, employees and customers, to improve your customer loyalty and business outcomes as a whole.

While you’re probably familiar with customer journey maps, employee journey maps are ideal complements to get the entire picture.

You might ask yourself, how do I actually merge customer and employee journey maps in a way that actually gives me valuable information? It’s not always an easy journey, but if you keep a few basic guidelines in mind, it can be a streamlined process with a significant effect on how you understand your company. Read more

Journey Mapping: Not Just a Research Project

6 v2As more and more people are learning about journey mapping, it’s becoming clear to them just how useful it can be. And that’s great! But sometimes journey mapping can be misunderstood—or rather, only used at a fraction of its potential. While many people conceive of journey mapping as a research activity, in truth it can be so much more than that, if you do it right.

The true usefulness of journey mapping lies in instigating organizational change. Doing it right obviously involves lots of time researching with your customers. In fact, a key reason that some see journey mapping as only a research tool is that it is a research tool—but only in part. Viewing customer journey maps as a research project leaves out the most important recipient of the journey mapping process, and the one that makes it a truly unique tool—those parts of the business that most need to understand your existing customer experience. Read more

Exemplary Customer Service: It’s All About the Journey

journey_11868817_m-2015-1“The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer” – Peter Drucker

Sometimes, it seems that companies focus exclusively on the first half of this equation. Sales to new customers are exciting, and resources are appropriately targeted to land new customers. Look at the continual offers coming from TV service and internet providers.

But the second half is just as critical.  In fact, for organic growth, it’s even more so.  In The Economics of E-Loyalty, Bain & Company reports that a 5% improvement in customer loyalty leads to a growth in profitability of 25-90%.

Clearly, customer loyalty is critical, and service is central to building it. However, Forrester Research, Inc. reports that only 48% of companies say they have any kind of customer service strategy (The State of Customer Experience, 2015). If over half of companies have no strategy for serving their customers, what does this mean for the customers themselves? Read more

Guest Post: What does your retail pricing say about you?

Shawnby Shawn Phillips

As a self-professed retail geek, I’m always noticing prices and deals that retailers offer. More than that, though, I notice what these prices really mean. What are you saying to a customer when you set the price of a product? It’s a good question, because you end up saying a lot.

Price is, of course, one of the central touchpoints of retail. But it’s a lot more complex than it seems. The customer wants to feel good about the amount they paid for their purchase, and while this can mean that they feel like they got a great deal, it can also mean that they feel like they paid a fair price for a premium product. If your customer feels like a high-quality product is priced too low, they might start to doubt the quality. Read more

Put an End to Customer Frustration and Build Real Loyalty

Frustrated-Caller-Stocksy_txp7d4c1ddePjP000_Small_493953

I was talking with a call center manager who made a startling comment: “We have some problems with our website. But we deliberately don’t fix them. That way, our customers call us and we can fix their problems and delight them.”

Wow. This was one of those situations where I wasn’t really sure how to react. Who really believes that’s a good thing?

The myth of the Service Recovery Paradox is apparently alive and well. This is the belief that when you do a great job fixing customer problems, they become more loyal than they were before they called. It’s a reassuring belief. At call centers we spend so much time resolving problems that we want to believe that we’re building loyalty. But maybe a better way to view it is that we’re saving loyalty. Read more

Why Agent Coaching is the Key to Customer Loyalty

Agent-Coaching-Depositphotos_44165767_sMichael Jordan had Phil Jackson. Walter Payton had Mike Ditka.  Look at any great athlete, and you probably see a great coach.  But it’s not just athletes.

Former CEO Brad Anderson used multiple coaches as he drove Best Buy to new heights. According to a 2013 study by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford Graduate School for Business, over half of corporate senior executives are receiving some form of coaching.  Yet, it’s unfortunately all too rare for the people who directly impact your customer loyalty – your call center agents.

Now, of course managers will “coach” their teams on how to improve. But all too often these managers were taking calls themselves not that long ago.  And nobody really taught them how to be a coach.  For some organizations, it’s easier to create a training program than to try to turn their managers into coaches. Read more

How Wolters Kluwer Financial Services builds a great B2B customer experience – an interview with interim president Pete Koehn

KOEHN_WebsiteImagine a former accountant leading an organization that helps banks manage regulatory compliance.  You might picture a reliance on financial facts and figures making it unlikely for a customer experience program to take root. If so, then you clearly haven’t spent any time with Wolters Kluwer Financial Services.

Pete Koehn is interim president of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ Risk, Originations and Compliance business unit. Prior to this position, he served in both finance and operations. But both led him to appreciate the role of engaged customers and employees, and of their dual role in driving results.

Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has been growing rapidly, with some of that growth through acquisition. Shortly after Pete stepped into his current role, his Senior Director of Professional Services Darin Byrne approached him about how customer experience practices could help alleviate any customer service disruptions, while paving the way for even greater growth.

His initial response?  “My immediate question was, ‘Is this a real discipline?’

Darin, a CXPA member, assured him it was, sharing maturity models and best practices, and Pete quickly bought in. Since that time, “We’ve used customer experience as a mantra – let’s understand the voice of the customer. With customer experience in mind, we’ve made changes that have really helped us with this overarching idea of getting our business to act as one.”

Three of those key changes they’ve made are in the area of structure, governance, and culture. Read more

woman on phone

Remember, Call Center Agents = Your Brand

woman on phoneHow’s your brand today?

Defining your brand used to be so much easier. In the good old days (for me, the good old days were the 80s), your brand was whatever your advertising said it was. Social media changed all that. Now your brand is whatever your customers say it is. And so your brand is largely determined by your call center agents – those often-ignored people who toil day and night to help your customers solve their problems.

Looking to Your Employees

Unfortunately, many companies treat call center agents as replaceable cogs in a system. When one leaves, bring in another and move on. During the downturn you could sometimes get away with this, because you could always find another worker. But every time a disengaged agent focuses more on getting off of the call then actually solving your customer’s problem, it hurts you twice.

First, it hurts your brand. That interaction just had more impact on your customer than your CEO. Your marketing, product development and innovation were all just made ineffectual because of a frustrated call center agent. That’s always been true, but we’ve been able to ignore that – even in the face of social media. Read more

“Customer experience is all about culture change”: An interview with Mark Smith

Mark Smith 2014How do you create change when you’re the first customer experience (CX) leader at a highly successful business with a history of customer focus?

That’s the challenge Mark Smith faced when he became GE Capital Fleet Services’ first Vice President of Customer Experience a year ago. His response? Focus on the culture, because that’s what will sustain your experience.

Fleet Services’ primary customers are fleet managers who outsource some or all of their fleet management to the company. But they also have a B2C-like relationship with the drivers of those vehicles, who contact the company for everything from password resets to maintaining their vehicles. To build a customer-focused culture, Mark focuses on Listening, Sharing and Collaborating. Read more

Boardroom

Not ready for customer experience governance? Then you’re not ready for CX

BoardroomAs a passionate customer experience (CX) advocate, I frequently get to meet with companies just beginning their customer experience journey. I can consistently predict their future success when the conversation moves to governance.

Governance is the active involvement of senior leadership to guide the program and knock down barriers on the way to an improved customer experience. We all love the idea of a bottom-up approach, but it’s pretty much impossible to sustain change without customer experience governance.

An Effective Customer Experience Program Changes How Decisions are Made.

If you don’t change the decision-making, you really aren’t changing the customer experience. And the most important decisions happen above your pay grade. That’s why you need customer experience governance. Read more