Best Customer Experience Articles from the Month of July 2018

The picks on this month’s series of best CX Posts cover a wide variety of topics focused mostly on the future of customer experience and the trends that are shaking up the industry. Here are the top five picks from the month of July;

The Impact of Failing to Close the Feedback Loop

Ian Luck critically explains the detrimental effects that companies suffer when employees at different levels: executive, managerial, and front-line fail, to close the feedback loop. The article published on Customer Gauge examines ‘closing the loop’ from a new angle and shines the light on why companies should reassess their policies on the process.

I talked about the feedback loop when I looked at Six Sigma and the DMAIC process, but in this context it’s a continuous cycle focused on improvements. The study has exposed a new way of looking at the feedback loop at all stages. Most companies are aware and have strategies in place to monitor the feedback loop however most of the time, the focus is on ensuring that the feedback loop is closed at the frontline. Typically little or no attention is given to the other levels, leaving space for unnecessary churn. But what exactly is the problem? Do companies have the right policies in place to ensure their feedback loop is closed at all levels?

This article highlights that customer service is not reserved for those on the frontline and is only a complete process when all levels take part. Customer service is evolving rapidly, call center agents reading from the same script are no longer the definition of good customer service. Many companies are no longer able to survive with these traditional customer service roles and need to devise new policies to ensure efficiency when it comes to closing the feedback loop at all levels.

Closing the feedback loop has been seen to cut down on unnecessary churn by 2.3 per cent annually. This translates to a significant increase of bottom-line revenue in the long run. It is important to first define the responsibilities assigned to different levels starting with the frontline team, then management up to the executive. At the frontline, it is important to maintain the brand’s image by always portraying urgency in resolving arising issues. The main goal is to ensure retention of clients.

Managers are responsible not only for understanding how the customers are being served, but also how best to lead and motivate their teams to provide improved services. The executives are expected to deliver long-term solutions to improve customer experiences. This may involve having direct communication from the CEO to the customers on new policies and why they are being implemented. The article sums up how the customer experience should be a collective effort and how all the different levels of a company have a part to play in customer service.

Maintaining an Almost Perfect Score

Neil Pasricha published on Fast Company a captivating story of an Uber driver who has managed to maintain a rating of 4.99 after over 5000 rides. Vishas Agrawal shares the secret to charming over 5000 customers and why he is keen on maintaining a good rating even when it does not earn him any incentives. Neil took a ride with Vishas and points out seven best practices that are a sure way of receiving the 99 percent rating.

According to Vishas, it is important to set your standards every day. In every ride, he would start by confirming if passenger was comfortable and if they were in a rush so he could potentially help them save time. According to the article, Vishas always treats every passenger with the same high standard of service whether they are the first in his cab when he starts the day or the last. He points out that a clean car and great service will turn a good ride into one worthy of the 5-star rating.

Vishas always uses his client’s name when addressing them. For instance, instead of asking their names, he would start by asking “Is it Neil?”. This, he says, makes them feel appreciated. Vishas focuses on going the extra mile but also ensuring that his passengers are aware of the service he provides. Vishas believes that service makes a difference and does not just pick up any fare – in fact he avoids some passengers he does not pick up drunken passengers even if they are the ones available on a busy Friday night.

The story of Vishas sums up the fact that consistency in customer service is key and as a result, every client should be greeted with a cheerful voice and warm smile. Vishas demonstrates that customer experience can be delivered consistently with only a little bit of planning and effort.

What’s the future of Customer Experience?

Christopher Eliott, a contributor at Forbes, wrote on the future of Customer experience on Forbes this month. Christopher is optimistic that customer experience will get better in future, thanks to the frustrations experienced by customers of today. According to a Customer Rage study carried out by Arizona State University, 8 in 10 customers were unhappy about how companies handled their complaints.

Although the study paints a dark picture on the customer service industry, he says customers are reaching for the skies and hoping for the best in customer experience in future. Customers are constantly raising complaints about bad customer service and this should serve as a wake up call to the industry.

Christopher argues that just like space flights, self-driving cars, Airbnb and Uber, the customer experience industry is set to experience disruptive changes that are bound to shake up the way we view and service customers. Technology is making it easier to monitor performance in customer experience. There’s no room for mistakes as tools like social media and customer survey’s enable customers to not only provide feedback easier, but share their negative experiences with others.

Becoming the Next Customer Experience Manager

This post was initially posted in June, but I thought it was really important and worth sharing even if it is a bit late! Shruti Sarkal published a post on Omoto looking into the evolving roles in customer experience. Not too long ago, customer service was non-existent, and receptionists were the only form of contact between a company and its customers. A few years later, we now have entire customer service departments dedicated to this role and an increasing interest in the job.

The customer experience manager is the link between the brand and the customer. It is the position that every customer experience agent wants to ultimately grow into. According to statistics from Indeed, 20-30% of jobs advertised in the last five years was hiring for a customer service manager. On the other hand, an estimated 0.002% of applicants were looking for this type of role. Shruti argues that these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt and professionals should be looking into these types of roles in the future.

Shruti says that the customer experience manager is a future proof job and more companies will be hiring for the position in the future to elevate their own customer experience strategy. So, where does one start their journey to this role?

Most of those interviewed were of the opinion that one could start anywhere in the field of customer service. The role can be divided into various sub-roles which include

  • CX Project Manager,
  • Customer Service/Support/Success Manager
  • Customer Experience Design Manager and
  • Digital Customer Experience Manager as just a handful of examples.

Businesses that focus on customer experience have demonstrated increased growth in comparison to their competitors. A report from Forrester talks about the fact that CX leaders grow revenue 14% faster than those that do not focus on this are so choosing this path as a career is definitely one that could align to many future job opportunities.

Is Customer Experience an Art or a Science?

Nate Brown and our own Kaye Chapman, contributed an article on CX accelerator about whether CX could potentially increase a company’s bottom line by implementing tried and tested strategies for customer retention.
Kaye stated that “If Netflix can use machine learning to identify more than 76,000 genre types to better fit the tastes of its users, CX could also benefit from using objective science to help take the guesswork out of what it takes to keep a particular type of customer loyal and happy!”

Nate however argued that the science of technology can be used to facilitate the process but CX is largely an emotional process and customers need a more personal approach that cannot be achieved by machines. This very interesting conversation sparked a debate on how companies should create a balance between both aspects to achieve customer retention, and ultimately profits.

Conclusion

Most of the articles this past month generally draw attention to the evolving role of customer experience in companies and the dynamics that might shape future trends. The future of customer experience can be described as ‘busy’ and the industry should pay close attention to emerging technological trends. Companies have moved from having front liners, to a more comprehensive customer experience strategy that extends between channels. Companies now have entire customer service departments service customers on the phone, social media, and live chat services, breaking barriers between companies and their customers. The July posts definitely paint a picture of an ever changing landscape for customers who are now more informed and demand quality.

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About Hutch Morzaria

Hutch has been involved with the Internet and technology from the days of dial-up and has been involved in building and growing successful customer service and technical support teams globally. He has a deep and abiding passion for customers and is always looking for ways to make his teams as efficient and productive as possible. In his spare time, Hutch focuses on sharing his knowledge and enjoys spending time with his family. Connect with Hutch on LinkedIn.