Transforming the Customer Experience

Jay Autrey, Chief Customer Officer, MONI [NASDAQ: ASCMA]
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Jay Autrey, Chief Customer Officer, MONI [NASDAQ: ASCMA]

It’s no secret that a positive customer experience is paramount to a company’s success. If customers are not satisfied with the product, service and support they receive, they will take their business elsewhere. That’s business basics. The head-scratcher, to me at least, is that some companies don’t appear to place a lot of focus on the customer experience. You could call that an assumption but we’ve all heard about negative experiences people have had—and we probably have had a few bad experiences ourselves.

The best way to ensure positive customer experiences is simple: Focus on the customer. Customers are important to all businesses, especially to those in the recurring revenue industry, like MONI in the smart home security market. You may be familiar with the adage that it’s less expensive to keep an existing customer happy than to find and sign a new customer, and in my experience that is absolutely true. Effectively managing the customer experience is critical to reduce customer attrition. What doesn’t work is ignoring the customer, hoping they don’t cancel and then trying to win them back if they do.

So where do you start? Take a good, hard look at your customer experience. If it is less than outstanding—or just needs some improvement—put in the time and effort to change or transform it. Make your customer experience the gold standard your competitors will strive to emulate. I recommend starting with three key areas: Listening to your customers; managing only the important metrics; and providing a positive employee experience.

Make Sure Your Customers Have a Voice—And Really Listen

Most companies claim they listen to their customers, but few take concrete action based on customer complaints or compliments. Your customers can be a valuable resource for insight into product improvements, glitches in your support or ideas for service enhancements. And they are willing to talk if you will listen!

Capture the “Voice of the Customer” (VOC) by asking what you want to know—develop a customer survey that focuses on each of the key touchpoints in the customer life cycle, from “how likely are you to recommend this company to someone else?” to “how well did your service experience meet your expectations?” Make sure you also ask open-ended questions to get tangible customer feedback to put into action. Try to reach a solid cross-section of your customers, offering small incentives if that help elicit responses. Then take the feedback and figure out what changes need to be made. It may take some time but the results will exceed expectations when your customers see you respect them, and they will become even more loyal brand ambassadors that drive increased profitability.

 The best way to ensure positive customer experiences is simple: Focus on the customer 

You Can Measure Anything—But Manage Only What’s Important

There is no shortage of metrics and many of them matter to customer satisfaction and the health of your business—but it makes the most sense to focus on the metrics that will bring the largest benefits to your customers. A few of the key metrics MONI has honed in on follow:

High transfer rates among agents

No one wants to waste time by repeating themselves to multiple systems or people. Implement predictive call routing based on customer segmentation to get customers to the agent best suited to handle their inquiry. This is especially important for high-risk customers. MONI was able to increase First Call Resolution (FCR) and, by default, customer satisfaction. When FCR is improved, customers have a greatly improved experience and are more likely to become brand advocates. FCR can also be used as a tool to drive the customer service culture and improve Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Whatever you can do to save customers time and frustration will benefit them—and you!

Higher levels of customer dissatisfaction leading to service cancellations

It’s impossible to satisfy everyone all the time, but it is possible to provide personalized service to meet individual customer needs. This is especially important in industries with traditionally high turnover rates because it is possible to “save” a customer relationship before it is irrevocably broken.

Improve your customer retention by allowing customer service to drive your operations. Onboard your customers with best practices that ensures a good experience and increases retention. Focus on customer communications with a personalized touch. Implement predictive analytics, similar to predictive call routing, to determine a “risk score” for each customer. Use that score to determine your proactive and reactive approaches to head off cancellation (now and in the future). If a customor calls to cancel, determine what you can offer to convince them to stay. Think about “white glove” service and what you’d like to experience. A little personalization and direct communication throughout the relationship goes a long way to encourage customers to stay.

A Great Customer Experience Begins with a Great Employee Experience

It’s challenging to deal with people who may be having a bad day, who are itching for a fight or who don’t believe a company will do what it says it will. Your employees represent your company and you want them to be at their best in every customer interaction, so help them be their best.

Involve employees in solving the problem

Make efforts to engage your employees. They are a wonderful resource of information about customers, operations, what works and what does not work. Harness that knowledge and experience through employee surveys and focus groups. That kills two birds with one stone—improving the customer experience and improving the agent experience.

Simplify the scorecard

Don’t overwhelm your employees with a myriad of metrics they need to worry about. At MONI, our security advisors have two metrics to think about: Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), measured by survey after a phone call; and First Call Resolution. We measure other things, of course, but you manage what is important, and those are most important to us.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of ways to transform your customer experience. It is some food for thought to begin the transformation of your customer experience. The bottom line is that consistent, positive customer experiences benefit your business in more ways than you can count—and will help ensure success for years to come.

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