Prevention beats Redemption in Customer Experience Management

I have been thinking about writing this for about 2-3 weeks now.  I even checked out the dictionary entries for prevention and redemption to make sure I got the right terms.

Most organizations focus their efforts for customer service and customer experience management on the side of redemption (the act of paying off on an obligation) instead of trying to prevent (effectual hindrance) the problem from occurring.  In other words, instead of trying to make sure customers are satisfied by designing better interactions or experiences before they get to customer service, they focus on how to redeem themselves once things go wrong.

In the old days most cell phone vendors knew that phone calls in their network would drop, the technology was in its early days and things like that were expected.  Thus, they had a money-back guarantee on dropped calls and some even created tools in their websites that would allow you to automatically claim the credit due on a dropped call.  That was redemption that was necessary due to lack of technical prowess.  Try to find that tool now.  Technologies improved, calling plans evolved, and you have to go through a very long cycle to get a credit on a dropped call with most cellular vendors.  Vendors used technology to prevent problems from occurring, almost eliminating the problem of redemption.

Your lesson? plan your Customer Experiences around prevention, not redemption, to save money.  Long time ago we used to talk about preventive customer service.  Use that to plan your experiences.  The creation and maintenance of that small application, not to mention the potential for fraud, led those vendors to realize that using better technology would save them money in the long run.

Are you planning your CEM initiatives for redemption or prevention? Why?