Friday, March 7, 2008

Customer Experience Management: The Experience is in the details...

I am not sure where you stand in the debate over Customer Experience Management -- or if you even stand somewhere. However, most people relegate it to management-consulting-fad category and would prefer that it goes away as quickly as Knowledge Management, Process Management, and Order Management... wait, none of those are going anywhere anytime soon, are they? Well, hate to say that neither is Experience Management.

However, we need to make more sense of it. Let's see if I remember how the typical vendor pitch goes... if you work with us we will redo all your processes, change your organizations into a customer-centric organization, and make your clients for life -- greatly enhancing your wallet-share, yada-yada-yada. Although some of the concepts are certain, most of the pitch sounds impossible to accomplish (and usually it is).

We are starting to see some successes in this arena though. No, it was not the "forklift" approach to process change, or the "complete redesign of the experience around the customer" that won. It was the detailed, meticulous approach to taking care of customers.

Yep, there may not be a need to change ALL your processes after all, or deploying costly and complex systems. You may just be able to do it by focusing on what you need to do, how you need to do it, and what you need to do it. If then, and only then, you notice you are missing some DETAILS, then - by golly - fix that. Chances are your business has survived quite some time by now... so you may know what you are doing. That does not mean you cannot improve it.

And, that is where the detail part comes in. Focus on the details, let the processes fix themselves (as a former mentor of mined used to say "if you take care of the minutes, the hours take care of themselves"). Don't spend your energy trying to come up with the ultimate experience - you will never be able to do it. Even if you do succeed, it will be outdated by the time you release it. No, you are better than that... You will focus on making sure your emails get answered within 12 hours (as Bank of America does), knowing that then your customers will come back to use that channel. You will make sure that you communicate with the client clearly in all your interactions (as ATT Wireless agents are trained to do) and that you manage expectations throughout the entire process ("I will place you on hold for no more than 2 minutes while I research the best plan for you", as opposed to "please hold"). You, in essence, will treat the customer the way they expect to be treated. And the hours will take care of themselves...

(The personal contents in this blog do not reflect the opinions, ideas, thoughts, points of view, and any other potential attribution of my current, past, or future employers.)
Copyrighted 2008 by Esteban Kolsky/ RWang. All rights reserved

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