how to make sure your customer service is the best, and your customers remain yours

First, the acknowledgment… I wrote this for a presentation I am doing next week at the DestinationCRM conference.  Yes, it is my original material but it is not just for this blog… then again, we’ll see if I get more readers here or people at the conference next week.

As I started getting my presentation ready for the conference, I got to the same point where creativity begins: reading the abstract that was submitted, trying to understand what possessed me to write that, and wondering how am I going to deliver on that promise.  Then I started thinking… I promised to talk about service experiences – how breaking down customer experience management projects into “chunks” makes it more manageable.  Since I am not sure I can cover an entire presentation on that yet, I decided to instead focus on service experiences… but come to it from a Top-10 approach.  Yes, I have taken tons of poetic license from David Letterman’s approach to the Top-10 – not even close.  So, without much further – here are my “ten killer ways to make sure you service experiences are the best and your customers remain yours” (the official title):

1. right channel, right time – always ensure you are offering to your customers all channels they want to use, how they want to use them, and when they want to use them

2. right person, right time – use workforce management to manage your people, their skills, their training, and their careers – ensuring that each inquiry is answered by the best person to do it

3. right answer, right time (yes, there is a pattern) – optimize your knowledge management and repositories to ensure that each agent, client, and system interacting with clients automatically always have the right, and similar, answer

4. right experience, right? – implement an efm initiative to manage feedback from customers and agents, geared to improving and presenting the right experience, all the time to all customers

5. improve, reduce, discard – use analytics across all interactions, to make sure your processes are working properly, optimize them by improving poor performance, reducing unnecessary steps, and discarding non-working ones

6. constant monitoring, continuous improvement – manage by KPI – no, not Key Performance Indicators.  Instead focus on Knowledge, People, and Inquiries – focus on them and your experiences will be superb

7. metrics, choose wisely – don’t use old and tired efficiency metrics (satisfaction, loyalty, handle time, hold time, total calls, response time, etc) instead use the new effectiveness-based metrics to ensure great experiences (did you get what you needed? did we do a good job delivering?)

8. evaluate new, don’t implement… yet – unless you are in an industry where competitive advantage is a mandate (not many), implementing brand new technologies will only cost you money and resources.  Implement in the second wave and you will reap more benefits (this has a killer graph to go with it, email me for a copy of the slides)

9. know expectations, surpass expectations – use feedback tools and events to capture and understand your customer expectations; modify your processes to accommodate them; write SLAs to make sure you surpass them

10. MAKE MONEY – sales is a dish best served piping hot — you are in the hottest moment to recommend, offer, and sell to your customers… right when they need it!  Leverage it.  You’ll be surprised to see how many other problems disappear when you make money for the organization.

So, what do you think?  Did I miss any?  Do you agree or disagree?  What do you think of Service Experiences? let me know… and remember to email me if you want a copy of the slides…