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7 Myths of Customer Experience (And Why They're Wrong)
Companies need to stop living in a fantasy world and start seeing things as they really are (through their customers' eyes)
For the rest of the July 2017 issue of CRM magazine please click here

Another stark reality here is that many companies simply cannot do all that is needed due to a lack of time and/or resources.

Robbins recommended that companies do a lot more to capture the voice of the customer (VoC). As it stands now, 42 percent of companies do not have any kind of VoC program in place, meaning that when customers voice complaints, those statements are recorded somewhere, but the companies don’t actually do anything with them, according to Robbins.

Robbins, in his previous position as manager of training and guest experiences at Hershey, was often challenged to figure out why some customers were leaving early into their stays at one of its properties. The firm had consolidated seven contact centers into one, with the goal of creating a seamless experience for customers and increasing the number of first-contact resolutions. But this move created a problem: The only contact the company had with customers occurred when they made reservations and then again two weeks after their vacations were over, when the company sent them surveys. By implementing a proactive VoC program and reaching out with outbound campaigns, Hershey found that some groups of vacationers weren’t happy being forced to sleep next to a chain-link fence that bordered a railroad track.

“We had no idea that when we were putting campers next to the chain-link fence and the freight railroad that they were getting rocked and rolled all night,” Robbins recalled. “We were able to save a tremendous amount of revenue and also improve the customer experience just as a result of building that voice-of-the-customer program.”

But the work doesn’t end there. Instead, great customer service requires what Robbins calls a “rinse-and-repeat” approach, constantly listening to customers for clues about what adjustments need to be made next. “Whatever your customers are telling you is only as good as what you actually do with that information,” he said. “It might mean a change in the people you have on that skill set; it might mean a change in the processes, or the way you think life should be done as a customer. Or maybe it’s the actual tools that you’re using.”

MYTH NO. 2: ONE BAD CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE WILL NOT HAVE LASTING CONSEQUENCES.

The reality here is that 86 percent of customers said they are very likely to switch service providers if they have just one bad experience with a company. Only 19 percent of contact center leaders acknowledged this statement.

“For a lot of us, we’re in an age where our product can be replicated; our price point can be matched,” Robbins told attendees at his session. “Customers are looking at the experience.”

Morgan agrees. “In a world and at a time when products and services are largely the same, the only thing that differentiates one company from another is its customer experience,” she says. “As a customer, we know the difference between a good experience and a bad one, [but] all too often at work we don’t remember what it feels like to be a customer.”

This holds true even in industries where competition is low or nonexistent. Look, for instance, at the electricity industry, Robbins suggested. “When they deregulated, all of these companies found out they could offer the exact same product and get close if not the same on price, and they realized that the thing that was going to set them apart was the customer experience,” he said.

What to do about it: Experts recommend focusing first and foremost on customer retention. It’s a well-known business fact by now that it is far less expensive to retain an existing customer than to acquire new ones.

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