Posted by John Hooper,
SVP Client Relations and Business Development, HGS Canada
Over the last couple of years there have been a plethora of new buzzwords around servicing the customer – omni-channel, multi-channel, data and voice analytics to name a few – and there are literally hundreds of solutions in the marketplace designed to assist companies in meeting these new service requirements.
So how can companies navigate through this to ensure they are on the right path in providing a relevant customer experience to the newly connected consumers of today? As these new ideas and concepts evolve around the digitally connected consumer, sometimes we forget the most basic of things when trying to figure out what solutions, systems, and procedures to implement to provide a better customer experience.
Regardless of what technology comes along or what solutions are available, the basic essence of customer service is the same: What is the experience of customers when they try to reach you or buy something from you? Do you make it easy or difficult for your customers to do business with you?
From “Attractive” to “Must-be”
There are a variety of customer satisfaction models that can be used to help answer these questions but one of the most popular is the Kano model. Developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano, this model classifies customer preferences into categories, the first three of which apply directly to dissatisfiers:
Must-be Quality: Must-be qualities are often taken for granted to the point where customers don’t talk about them until something goes wrong. For example, when customers call a company’s 1-800 number, they expect the phone call to be answered.
One-dimensional Quality: These are attributes that are spoken about and ones that companies typically address in their service level requirements. For example, if a customer phones a contact center and is told the hold time is 3 minutes, but ends up waiting for 20 minutes, dissatisfaction occurs.
Attractive Quality: These attributes provide satisfaction when achieved fully, but do not cause dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. These are attributes that are not normally expected. An example of an unexpected way to delight customers might be a company pushing out a coupon or incentive in response to a customer’s tweet or Facebook post.
One strategy in eliminating disatisfiers is to work toward applying “Attractive” qualities to “Must-be” and “One Dimensional” qualities.
In the “One-dimensional” example above, call back technology that eliminates the hold time altogether and saves mobile phone users from exhausting their allotted monthly minutes, could remove the dissatisfier and provide an “Attractive” quality.
In the “Must-be” example above, an attractive quality could be a contextual online knowledge base that answers customer questions so that they don’t even have to pick up the phone to resolve their issue.
The thing to remember is that over time, Attractive qualities become Must-be qualities. A decade ago, the ability to order products online from major retailers would have been considered an Attractive quality, but now it is a Must-be.
Examine All Touchpoints to Eliminate Dissatisfiers
Whichever strategy or model you apply, it is important to view all touch points from the consumer’s perspective. Hire a consultant, a partner, or do it yourself but test your current customer touch points be it by phone, web site, email, chat, video, text, etc. What is the experience like when using these channels? Does it take one or two clicks to get to a desired section of your web site or does it take four or five clicks? How many buttons do customers need to press on your IVR to get service? How long are your customers on hold? How responsive are you with non-voice channels such as emails or chats?
Additional information can come from many other sources as well , including speech and text analytics, CRM data, customer surveys, online reviews, or social media monitoring.
The outcome of this exercise will identify what you do well and the things that you need to work on (dissatisfiers) to improve the customer experience. Once you identify these dissatisfiers, only then can you understand whether the focus of your improvement efforts should be people, processes, and/or technology.
Using objective sources of information will also help you prioritize the dissatisfiers that affect the most customers or those that affect the highest-value customers.
Once you reverse engineer your solution and eliminate these dissatisfires you will see immediate improvement in customer satisfaction, increased sales, increased loyalty and reduced costs.