For almost a year since I moved houses, I wasn’t given a satisfactory resolution from my television service provider, regarding an issue I was facing.
Since I first contacted their service centre, I was tossed around between departments, had my phone calls put on hold for an average of 45 minutes, and was asked to repeat my problem multiple times, both to human agents and chatbots. I tried finding an email address to write to but it was impossible to find one, and I was forced to go through their knowledge base. The support staff sympathized, but they couldn’t help me fix the issue.
What’s worse was that I was unable to quit and move to another service provider. I was stuck – with a company that provided poor customer service.
So, what is wrong here? The company seems to have focused more on creating customer journeys rather than on the outcomes that their customers are trying to achieve. But it is the latter that drives the former, not the other way around.
Rethink your service strategy by thinking like a customer
Most businesses tend to follow the wrong approach when they draw up their customer service strategy. As a first step, they select a system (a helpdesk solution) that fits their business processes. This is followed by an attempt to create a perfect customer journey with the hope of achieving the right outcome for the customer. But this approach is fundamentally flawed. If customers cannot achieve what they want, having best-in-class systems to create perfect (and sometimes complicated) journeys is pointless. Instead, this approach should be reversed by focusing on customer outcomes first.
Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind when designing your customer journeys.
Multiple customer journeys for a single customer outcome
Customers, and the situations they are in, are often different, so they may choose different channels to get in touch with you. However, your omnichannel strategy should not be driven by your desire to offer multiple channels. It can be very confusing for you to choose from the list of available channels such as email, web, phone, chat, social, chatbots, etc. Instead, your omnichannel strategy should align with your customer’s desired outcome and their preferred communication channel. What is important is that your customers put in minimal effort, and your agents provide consistent answers irrespective of channel, without asking the customers to repeat themselves if they come through different channels. Even if the customer reaches you through multiple channels, the information should be combined and considered as one single case rather than individual cases that need to be solved.
Every brand wants to give the best experience to their customers. However, you should think sensibly when making decisions. You need to consider factors that are specific to your business. Governing factors can include cost, resource, business model, regulations, supporting & legacy systems, etc. These governing factors will help you make decisions when designing the various steps of your service strategy. For instance, you should start thinking of alternate solutions such as self-service and bots in cases where you can’t employ human agents to solve every customer problem. However, every solution should still focus on your customer’s outcome first rather than your system, process, or a journey.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to using customer outcomes to build customer journeys because it varies by your customer, the nature of your business, and your governing factors.
As a part of my job, I engage with different types of organisations every day, who are trying to solve different challenges related to customer service. I would love to share few approaches based on my experience of dealing with these organisations.
Over the course of this series, I will be discussing how your business can focus on customer outcomes to:
- Let your customers be in control to achieve their outcomes
- Empower your customer service agents to deliver moments of ‘WOW’