The Effortless Experience
Feb28

The Effortless Experience

Still relying on customer satisfaction scores  to measure loyalty?  You may be spinning your wheels. When fostering customer loyalty, a common ambition is to exceed expectations and “dazzle” the customer.  However, compelling new evidence shows that surpassing expectations on support transactions has virtually no relationship to customer loyalty! In the book “The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty,” The Corporate Executive Board * notes that even the almighty Customer Satisfaction Score (the holy grail of customer support metrics) has an astoundingly low connection with loyalty.  Net Promoter Score was only marginally better.  We have seen this principle confirmed in my own organization using lean/six sigma principles. If we can no longer trust basic, universally accepted metrics, what should we do? Dixon’s research shows that a Customer Effort Score has a high correlation with loyalty and is a reliable predictor of customers’ future spending decisions. A typical user seeking software support does not expect to be astonished; the customer simply wants to reach a resolution as quickly and easily as possible. Therefore, we need to reduce the amount of effort required by the customer. Two key actions are recommended: Prevent channel switching. More is not necessarily better. Channels such as the resource center, LinkedIn, Facebook, live chat, email, phone and user communities are great, but we should not advise customers to use them if they are not the best resolution path. Customers want to be able to solve their problem quickly and easily.  Consider your highest volume generating issues.  Over what channel can you best resolve that problem?  How can you direct the customer to that channel at their time of need? Apply next-issue avoidance. In many cases a customer issue may appear to be resolved when in fact there is an underlying unmet need. For example, the customer may not have clearly articulated the concern, the issue may have multiple layers of complexity, or there may be system workflow challenges. When the customer has to seek additional help, a high-effort response often is required.  By anticipating common issues, we can reduce effort, resolve issues more quickly and consistently create win-win scenarios. While the primary burden of establishing an effort score my fall to the support organization, all areas of your business should be asking, “What can I do today to reduce effort for the customer?” * The primary principles covered here are from The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Dixon, Matthew, Toman, Nick and DeLisi, Rick.   Share...

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You Cook, I Clean
Feb26

You Cook, I Clean

Strategies for a knowledge-centered support environment “This is a not a hotel, stop acting like it!”  One of the best tech support tips I’ve had recently came from a church pastor.  He was challenging all of us to take ownership of the small things and to be considerate of those around us.  I was struck by the application to a support organization.  Do your analysts view the work environment like their own home, or a hotel they are leaving the next day?  When opportunities arise to contribute do they take ownership, or wait for an imaginary room service to clean up?  Create an environment your employees are proud of.  When this happens, they will carry the banner for you.  No baby sitting or micromanagement necessary. Contributing to the knowledge base is a prime example.  Capturing that knowledge on a regular basis is critically important.  However if you put a “document quota expectation” on your team it is likely to backfire.  If analysts sincerely care about their peers and the department, knowledge management will have value for them.  Not only are contributions more frequent, but they are of much higher quality.  The cookie cutter work you are likely to get from analysts filling a quota of knowledge base articles will not hit the mark. How does one create this environment you ask? First, the author of the knowledge article should not be required to keep it up to date.  When this happens, the analyst is essentially penalized for making contributions.  By having a “you cook, I clean” system (one analyst writes, another maintains) not only will you have another pair of eyes to add integrity to the information, but all analysts will share the burden of keeping knowledge up-to-date.  Also be sure to creatively engage resources outside of support to assist you in the task of keeping knowledge relevant.  They often times bring a valuable third party perspective. Secondly, you must lead by example.  Find small ways to contribute to the knowledge base on a regular basis.  It is one thing to speak of the importance of knowledge management; it is another thing to show them.  Set precedence for keeping the house clean and showing pride for the department. When your team accepts this challenge, the change will be undeniable.  Like walking past that spectacular yard in the neighborhood, everyone who has the privilege of working with your department is sure to take notice! Share...

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