Required Reading: Tips for Truly Memorable Experience Design
In his new book, Experience Design for Customer Service: How to Go from Mediocre to Great, Mark Stanley, director of strategic business consulting at Genesys, introduces the Service Trifecta, what he refers to as the three pillars of iconic customer service. CRM Editor Leonard Klie spoke with him recently to learn more.
CRM: What is the key theme you want readers to take away from this book?
Mark Stanley: When was the last time you had a truly memorable customer service experience? When I have a problem, I usually start with self-service. If I have to speak to someone in customer service, I don’t just pick up the phone and call. I take a long time thinking how to frame my situation for the agent to understand what I’m asking and give me what I want. If you run customer service, consider that statement. What it really says is that we make customers jump through hoops to solve problems that were probably caused by us in the first place! How much sense does that make? The single most valuable asset for everyone is time. If I really want to show respect to you as a customer, I do it best when I respect your time. If you were to replace your post-call survey with the question, “Do you think we wasted your time?” how would customers respond?
How do you define a “great” customer experience?
It comes down to understanding customers, anticipating what they need before they even know it, and solving their problems in a low-friction way that signals you were paying attention. If I’m taking a client to dinner and my card gets declined, I’m probably going to call customer service on the spot. When I do, it’s really crucial that you don’t make me enter a 16-digit credit card number into your IVR, then route me to an agent who will ask, “How can I help you?” Start by recognizing that my card has been declined, who I am, my credit card number, and that I need help. Answer the phone by saying, “I see that we just declined your purchase. Let’s figure out why!” That shows that you know my problem and you aren’t wasting my time, and if you fix it on the spot, I’m going to have a positive memory of what just happened.
What are the specific elements that go into making a customer experience great?
Great experiences are driven by hyper-personalization. Know me (authentication), help me (what’s my need?), remember me (for the next time I visit you). If I visit your coffee house frequently, I expect you to know that I don’t like cream or sweetener in my coffee; I like it black. I want only and exactly what I want, when I want it. Nothing more, nothing less.
In the book, you identify the Service Trifecta. What is this, and how are each of the components relevant to the overall customer experience?
The Service Trifecta has three pillars. The first pillar is that most companies are not very good at figuring out the real reason customers come to them in the first place. They spend a lot of time on retention instead of getting to the root cause of the real problem and fixing it. The second pillar looks at how companies miss glaring opportunities to improve efficiencies in service delivery. In fact, the customer becomes the glue holding everything together most of the time. The third pillar explores the value in creating a memorable experience when customers visit. Taken together, these three pillars make the difference between being a cost center and one that generates profit for the company.
You emphasize storytelling. How does this apply to customer service?
Over time, the customer and the company are on a journey together. The journey is made up of episodes that involve encounters between the customer and the company. If you can describe the journey and these episodes as a story, you begin to see how success with one episode gives you the right to go on to the next episode. It’s how the company earns your loyalty and future business.
Are there specific companies that have gotten it right, and what are they doing differently than everyone else?
I like how Fidelity manages the client experience. They make the process of getting help as low-friction as possible. They know exactly what I was doing online before I called and then they cut to the chase.