In a candid discussion on the poor state of customer service and what to do about it for a recent webinar from Engagement Strategies Media, panel experts at the front lines provide the financial reasons for and principles to support a strategic and systematic approach to customer engagement.
While the Environmental, Social, Governance movement has focused on employees and the supply chain, customers and distribution partners are every much as important to organizational success and have a direct connection with employees. This EEA Youtube Show, “Essentials in Customer Experience,” is designed for management at every level seeking to understand the principles for success.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Association surveys, the average level of customer satisfaction in the US hasn’t budged from the low 70% in 10 years or more, despite the Internet, social media, chat, customer relationship management technology, and large expenditures on customer service personnel. Rick Garlick, Vice President of Magid, a people advisory firm and Chief Research Advisor to the Incentive Research Foundation; Alex Mead, a prolific CX thought leader on Linked in with extensive hands on experience (including as a call center employee) and head of CX for a digital startup in the Middle East, and Barbara Porter, Managing Partner, Customer Experience, EY, who has also owned a call center company, help explain why and how to address the opportunity through a strategic approach to customer experience across the enterprise.
While the regulatory and disclosure authorities define human capital as employees, the concepts of Enterprise Engagement, ISO 10018 People Engagement, and Stakeholder Capitalism metrics equally include customers, distribution, and supply chain partners.
Here are key takeaways:
• Without the total support of the CEO and leadership team, success is impossible, because great experiences are a direct result of a clear customer-focused vision and purpose, highly engaged employees who buy into the organization’s mission and who have the incentive, autonomy and tools to build great customer relationships.
• Poor customer experience persists because companies have a short-term view of ROI measurement and feel satisfied if they hit their cost and sales goals without seeing what they are losing because of employee and customer turnover.
• The ROI can be clearly measured in terms of: Higher levels of customer retention, greater spend per customer, greater willingness to recommend, lower call center costs due to fewer and shorter customer calls, higher employee retention and lower recruitment costs, higher social media ratings, and lower legal costs.
• Companies frequently measure productivity in terms of time spent on a call versus on the value of the outcome when they should measure total revenues, and costs per employees and customers, and willingness to recommend.
• Recognize that great service begins with employees, whose support for internal and external customers is critical to achieving measurable financial and experiential results, and that little is possible without engaging and enabling them to create great customer experiences.
• By failing to measure the return on investment of customer and employee engagement, companies make short-term decisions such as paying below living-wages so that employees are continually looking for the next opportunity. It’s not possible to establish engagement, trust, and meaning unless people earning a living wage, and companies that track the analytics and ROI will see that addressing the pay issue coupled with a total rewards strategy will more than pay for itself in higher revenues and lower costs.
• Define your brand and experiences based on the pains and needs of the people to whom you are trying to sell, rather than only on what you wish to sell them.
• Let people reach you the way they want to reach you by the ways they wish to interact, the web, e-mail, chat, phone, and minimize wait times
• Once you are ready for action, establish a clear strategic, and holistic plan under the direction of a senior executive that connects a customer-centric brand to engagement with all areas of the enterprise so that everyone has common expectations and understandable roles and metrics.
• Rather than silo-ing different aspects of customer service between different departments, create customer service advocates who own each customer relationship, training and empowering them to be the problem solvers so that the caller has one single source with an easy way to communicate. In so doing, these employees become brand advocates who can help identify new ways to serve the customer at the same time as making them feel valued.
To Contact the Panelists
Vice President of Magid,
Chief Research Advisor to the Incentive Research Foundation
Head of CX for a digital startup in the Middle East
Managing Partner, Customer Experience, EY
View the recording of the webinar from Engagement Strategies Media.