CX Blog

6 changes to improve customer experience

Written by: Kushal Dev | Co-founder, Customer Guru

How to improve Customer Experience?

A friend of mine recently booked her 2 lap flight from Hyderabad – Delhi – Kolkata from a leading online portal. Due to some last minute changes, she had to cancel the second lap of her journey through the call-center, which confirmed and acknowledged the cancellation. She did an online check-in and arrived at the airport in time only to be informed at the check-in counter that there is no booking in her name! The online portal’s retail counter at the airport was of no use either as the helpless staff could only rudely inform (read “unhappy employee == unhappy customers”) her that it was only a sales counter and addressing customer issues was not its “role and responsibility”. The only option left with my friend was to book an expensive ticket at the last moment and account it in her shoestring student budget.

The nightmare started when she asked for a reimbursement. It triggered a series of hour-long calls, calls on hold, false promises of a callback, repeated follow up with managers, their managers, and their manager’s manager for more than 2 weeks. Frustrated, she made a complaint with the consumer forum when she promptly received a call from the company and her ticket was reimbursed in full!!

I fail to understand the company’s intentions. It was at fault, took long to acknowledge it, and spent valuable time with its personnel fire-fighting. In the end, it incurred a huge cost as the last resort to delight the customer maybe or avoid further trouble. By that time the damage was done. My friend had resolved to never do business with it and had informed her friends on social media, in the gym, and college on the harrowing experience she had to go through in the hands of this travel portal.

Are companies concerned only with customer acquisition? They must remember however that bad customer experience will create detractors and drive their customer acquisition costs. Only if the travel portal guys were prompt in resolving my friends problem the story she would have narrated would be a totally different one, recommending their services, in turn, lowering their customer acquisition cost!

So what steps should the company take to provide a better experience and make better customer experience a culture in their organization

  1. Define a process – It’s important for your frontline to be aware of the steps to be taken on receiving a specific complaint. They should be in a position to commit a timeline to validate the problem and expedite the resolution. This requires that the different departments in your organization work in tandem with a common goal to provide immaculate customer experience. Click here to read the 5 step process to implement a customer experience program successfully.
  2. Hire and train – Hire people that share your vision of customer experience. Train them with your processes, best practices, and skills to resolve customer issues and provide an enhanced experience.
  3. Empathise genuinely – When your customers are in distress, acknowledge their pain. If you are at fault, apologize genuinely. Justice denied is justice delayed. If you are the cause of customer distress, make sure to resolve this at the earliest. If it’s delayed for genuine reasons, explain and inform the customer. Make sure that your intentions are right here because you can’t fake it forever. Your customers can easily look through if you fake it.
  4. Be Consistent – Provide a consistent experience across channels. You should be able to recognize a client’s preference, buying pattern, concerns, and feedback irrespective of the channel they are connecting with you. Technology is a great enabler here. Use it to your advantage.
  5. Interact – Customer touch points are your best opportunity to learn about your customers. Use them effectively, whether it’s an online or offline interaction. Listen to them and analyze their feedback. Make sense of what ticks your customers and what puts them off. It’s your best chance to measure how your initiatives are being received by your customers. What you should do more and what to discontinue.
  6. Empower your frontline – Your customer-facing representatives either in the call center or the retail centers are the face of your organization. Along with appropriate training, it’s equally important that they are empowered and encouraged to address customer issues. Not only is it a lot more effective in resolving issues quickly but it instills a sense of ownership in the team. It drives their motivation and works in a cycle of happier employees leads to happier customers.

What else do you think we can learn from this example? What changes would you suggest?

Please leave in your comments, thoughts, and ideas. Reach Kushal at kushal@customerguru.in

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