For those familiar with Michael Porter’s work, strategy is about differentiation. In the digital era, there is a growing consensus that differentiation will depend on how service providers manage their customers’ experience. Strategy then will need to increasingly focus on Customer Experience Management initiatives. Here are seven that I think would be important. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I would welcome your inputs on additional ones.
1. Channel Unification: Customer interactions with service providers typically occur across multiple channels. From the customer’s perspective, the expectation is that the experience across channels will be consistent. This can be achieved only when service providers have a strategy in place to unify their channels, and then execute on that.
2. Monitoring Customer Experience: Collecting feedback and Voice of Customer (VOC) are examples of techniques that are increasingly important to monitor the customer experience on a regular basis, across customer touch points, and at every stage of the customer journey. In my opinion, Service Providers would do well to incorporate “Customer Experience Data Collection Platforms” as part of their IT initiatives.
3. Process Optimization – Trouble to Resolve: It’s not enough to monitor customer experience and attempt to resolve issues, concerns and complaints. What’s important is to constantly optimize the Trouble to Resolve processes so that customers see a steady reduction in the cycle time it takes for their complaints to be addressed.
4. Proactive Customer Care: Why wait till the customer complains? Advanced Customer Experience Management strategies include the ability to predict when customers are going to be unhappy, and proactively initiating actions that can address the issues. A typical example is that of the telecom service provider monitoring signal quality and ‘call drops’ and proactively messaging the customer with an apology (and perhaps some incentive).
5. Customer Profiling / Analytics: Move over KYC, it is time to Really Know Your Customer (RKYC). With the number of customer touchpoints and interactions exploding due to the digital age, there is enormous amounts of customer data available. Studies have shown that customers will consent to sharing some of their data in anticipation of better services. Therefore profiling customers based on demographics, purchase patterns, and so on is becoming increasingly important.
6. Churn Analytics: Customer churn is a reality for any business. What’s important however is to be able to understand the reasons for churn, and fix whatever is possible. For example, you might have a mobile app that people are downloading but not using, or are uninstalling the app. Analysis of the reasons might point to a poor user experience, or perhaps insufficient functionality. Fixing this quickly can possibly address the issue before it is too late.
7. Precision Marketing: The one department that has maximum stake in the Customer Experience Management area is marketing. However nothing can be more annoying to a customer than a marketing message that’s ill timed, has poor content, and no relevance to the recipient. The optimum customer experience is when marketing messages are precise and personalized to the customer. For example, in the e-commerce space, most customers today would expect recommendations based on their past purchases rather than generic promotions and recommendations.
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