Understand the three myths about improving the customer experience

Hand-Rich-174By Rich Hand, RCDA Consultant

The value of improving the customer experience should be tied to real dollars and ROI, and today executives are putting plans in place to deliver on a better customer experience in pursuit of these gains. There are many considerations to take into account when developing a strategy for improved customer experience.

Over the past 10 years, many organizations have added or elevated the role of handling the customer experience to the C level. There are now chief customer experience officers, vice presidents of customer experience, and many other titles that have direct responsibility for the customer experience. It is a very important strategy of any organization, but the strategy to improve the customer experience is often impacted by some myths about the real customer experience. Let’s look at three of the myths.

Myth 1

The real customer experience resides exclusively in the contact center. I am not sure when this happened, but it is often believed that the customer experience is something that happens only in the contact center. It is easy to understand that executives could believe this, since the contact center handles most of the customer interactions. But customer experience is not only about customer interactions. It is about customer touch points. The customer has many touch points with an organization.

For example, let’s take the cruise line industry. This industry has hundreds of touch points. It begins with the customer calling in to book a cruise with a call center or travel agent or booking online. Each one of those touch points will provide the customer with an experience. The embarkation and debarkation process, the cabin crew, wait staff, excursions and food quality are just a few of the touch points. Every one of them has the ability to impact the customer experience in a positive or negative way. Starting with the greeting, the agent has the role of making the first impression, and it must be excellent. It should set the tone for the overall experience. But it is only a part of the customer experience. The customer experience strategy needs to take into account how each one of the touch points impacts the other and develop the strategy accordingly.

The point is, customer experience improvements can be implemented in the call center, but to be effective, all customer touch points must be included in any customer experience improvement plan.

Myth 2

It’s one person’s role. It is a good strategy to have someone accountable for the customer experience. But that person is responsible for coordinating all of the roles that are part of the customer experience. By assigning someone to the job doesn’t automatically impact the customer experience. It is like being a project manager. The project manager is only as successful as the people who are assigned tasks within the project. The customer experience manager is needed to see the bigger picture and advocate for the customer. This person can point out the processes that need to be changed, the people that need to be trained and the technology needed to improve the experience, but it is a team effort. Everybody owns the customer experience.

Myth 3

It’s a project. The customer experience has similarities to a project, but a project has a start and a finish. An effective customer experience strategy is part of the organization’s continuous improvement plan (CIP). The customer experience will change as the organization changes. New products, processes, people and technology will impact the customer experience, and the CIP should address how to adjust accordingly. If the organization introduces a new technology, for example, the impact on the customer experience must be evaluated and a plan must be put in place concerning how to train agents to use the technology and, if applicable, train the customers on the new technology to ensure a good customer experience outcome. Each change an organization makes should have a cost, revenue and customer experience component in the plan. The implementation of a new technology is a project. How the technology impacts the customer and how to make sure it improves the customer experience is part of the CIP. Improving the customer experience never ends, and it should be embedded in the organization’s culture and be top of mind when considering any initiative.

When looking at your customer experience strategy, make sure you are looking at the entire organization, not just your contact center.

For more information on how Robert C. Davis and Associates can help your organization improve the customer experience, contact us today.