2017 Customer Experience Resolutions

By Lynn Hunsaker, CCXP posted 01-07-2017 07:34 AM


2017 customer experienceWhat’s new in 2017 customer experience management? Like most resolutions, what’s new is less about shiny objects and more about mastery of down-to-earth principles. It’s all about keeping your eye on the prize with a sensible plan.

Tech gizmos may add excitement or ease, and trends or predictions may be meaningful in your unique situation or not.

Ultimately, success in turning a new leaf depends on getting your hooks into manageable steps that resolve past weaknesses to propel your growth.

Let’s take a look at 5 ways to accelerate results that your customers and investors will both reward:

    • Customer Service — resolve to prevent recurrence of issues.

      • Set up a system that identifies emerging issue patterns and chronic issues.
      • Stream a sampling of customers’ comments about these issues to the departments responsible for originating the issues: what was the customer trying to do, what did they expect, what did they experience, what were the consequences.
      • Arrange action planning workshops for originating departments.
      • Teach them how to use lean/six sigma tools to identify and resolve root causes.
      • Conduct monthly or weekly review sessions to stimulate progress.
      • Recognize improvement milestones, with an emphasis on prevention of recurrence.
      • Share lessons learned far and wide.

Why this will accelerate results:

Customers want absence of issues. Investors want minimized costs.

Get off the constant treadmill of one-by-one fixes. New issues will always emerge, so old issues should be put to bed. Allow your Customer Service team to transition from reactive mode to proactively helping your Customer Success team.

    • Customer Success — resolve to anticipate customers’ expectations.

      • Segment customers by what they’re trying to get done.
      • Study representatives of each segment to understand what they combine your offering with: people, processes, hardware, software.
      • Create internal and external communications, tools and processes to make things easy for each customer segment.
      • Monitor each customer segment’s perceptions of how well you help them achieve what they’re trying to get done.

Why this will accelerate results:

Customers want ease. Investors want retained customers.

Everyone gravitates to the path of least resistance. Your offering can take the winner’s stand in this path by creating a hand-in-glove sensation for customers. Repurchase and engagement are natural when you help customers achieve their aim.

    • Customer Loyalty/Retention — resolve to earn trust.

      • Match brand promises with brand realities: communicate what’s actually delivered.
      • Drive consistency across channels, across the customer life cycle, across products and locations, etc.
      • Be transparent: what you’re hearing, progress you’re making, what you’re still aiming for.
      • Adjust policies in customers’ favor.
      • Scrutinize loyalty/retention and other efforts for win-win, mutual value and ROI — from the customer’s viewpoint.

Why this will accelerate results:

Customers want consistency. Investors want consistency.

Absence of surprises and mis-matches saves everyone time, money and worry. Absence of surprises and mis-matches builds trust and relationship strength. Loyalty and retention grow faster with greater returns when trust and relationship strength are firm.

    • Customer Journey Mapping — resolve to drive collaboration.

      • For each journey phase/step, identify consequences to customers when things go right or wrong.
      • Analyze the “so what” for each functional area in your company.
      • Conduct cross-functional workshops to identify silos and plan ways to make the journey smoother.
      • Monitor handoffs and celebrate milestones in the action plans.
      • Consult the journey map regularly when creating or adjusting anything.

Why this will accelerate results:

Customers want smooth journeys. Investors want your company to run like clockwork.

Doing things right the first time — horizontally across the company — prevents wasteful costs: re-work, delays, duplication of resources, disillusion and churn. Doing things right the first time and consistently will positively differentiate your brand.

    • Voice of the Customer — resolve to drive action company-wide.

      • Let customers give you feedback how and when they want.
      • Show the size of your customer base at-risk or at-opportunity for each key issue.
      • Conduct an action planning workshop with every business unit on a regular basis, at least annually.
      • Leverage the customer base sizing to interest employees in reading lots of customer comments.
      • Teach everyone how to conduct root cause analysis (ask “why” 5 times) among the key themes in the customer comments.
      • Create action plans to address the root causes.
      • Track action plan progress monthly or weekly at the department level, and quarterly or monthly among the C-team.
      • Communicate progress to your whole customer base: this is true closed-loop VoC management.

Why this will accelerate results:

Customers want respect for their feedback. Investors want business weaknesses to be transformed to strengths.

Resolve what’s bothering customers and you will strengthen your business: customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders will be happier, with less churn and higher engagement. Re-channel investments from dysfunctional treadmills to mutual value creation.

These resolutions not only drive growth, but also drive customer-centered management into your company’s DNA. And that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Image license purchased from Shutterstock.

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