As we closely examine the role of customer experience management within the enterprise, the focus has been on developing a collaborative infrastructure that allows customers and employees to glean information from each other. And while we spend time talking about the types of platforms you can deploy, it’s just as important to go back to basics and think about how you currently engage customers and what you do with the information and feedback you provide.
We spoke with Sam Keninger, Director of Product Marketing at Medallia, and Ivar Kroghrud, CEO of QuestBack, about managing the customer engagement process and how companies can get their employees to care about customer service.
CXM is More than a Strategy, It's an Attitude
Customer experience is just a fancy term for customer service. Companies engage with customers, at all levels, whether at the front desk or via support emails. If the company culture allows it, feedback received is welcomed and used to solve problems and improve service. Yet, for some, feedback is received with contempt and disregarded before it can be shared with others.
For the companies where culture encourages feedback, you can see it. It’s Zappos, where customer service professional are empowered to solve customer issues as they deem appropriate. It’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car, whose new commercials emphasize that employees can solve customer problems without having to call a manager to authorize solutions. It’s Domino’s Pizza, where every pizza box is a feedback form.
Track Leading Indicators
For Medallia, whose customer experience management software helps clients capture feedback from their stakeholders so they can improve company performance, it’s not just about creating a workflow that shares feedback throughout the company; it’s about learning the intricacies and subtleties about customer interaction that can help empower employees to take initiative to improve customer relations.
Medallia can help review a company’s customer data to get an idea of what behaviors really turn them off. For hotels, guests really hate waiting in line at check-in. Knowing this, companies can provide simple solutions to alleviate wait times, which can drastically improve a customer’s first touch point with the hotel.
These leading indications can help companies stay focused on improving the more subtle approaches that can reap big rewards if executed successfully. Depending on your company culture, you may want to establish measurable goals that facilitate employee teamwork and collaboration to achieve.
Engage in Healthy Competition
Additionally, Keninger notes that, for some companies, being able to rank employees against their peers can help motivate customer service professionals to serve customers better and smarter. As companies, we often ask “what’s in it for us?” For many employees, there’s no incentive to engaging the employee. Whether it’s because there is little followthrough or that customer service isn’t an organizational priority, employees may not understand the implications of their actions. With Medallia, employees can be shown how they rank relative to others based on the customer feedback they receive. When employees feel connected to the outcome that results from their immediate behaviors, they tend to feel more empowered to act appropriately.
When it comes to customer experience, you’re only as good as your least-satisfied customer. Likewise, providing an exemplary customer experience, you’re only as good as your least-motivated employee. The companies that are able to empower their employees to solve customer problems are able to do so because customer engagement is embedded into their corporate culture. It isn’t just something they care about once in a while -- it’s something that they actively monitor and analyze every day.
The More You Care, the More Your Customer Will
A few months ago during our #Socbizchat Tweet Jam, it was determined that, if the elements of social business are to seep into the enterprise, it needs to become a part of business as usual. There shouldn’t be any distinction between business and social business -- they are one and the same, theoretically. Ivar Kroghrud agrees. He says:
In the “Age of the Customer,” a truly social enterprise will be rewarded handsomely by its customers who will become evangelists, whereas an inability or lack of willingness to engage with customers using Social CRM will be heavily penalized. In the Experience Economy, customers expect more, they will tell more, and they will switch services more."
For Kroghrud, motivating employees to engage customers is only the beginning. Companies need to empower customers to carry on the message. Of course paying it forward requires more than just enthusiasm -- it always takes technology to make it easy for employees to capture and sort through relevant social media content on brands or products.
For QuestBack, organizations can gain insights from customer and employee experiences through an automated multichannel feedback collection and touch point measurement system. While there are many platforms that can help capture sentiment. Kroghurd says that the key is to:
Capture more knowledge about this customer’s relevance for your company and, if possible, channel relevant customers to another, more relevant arena for engagement -- a Peer-to-Peer Community. When done in a well-timed and well-structured way, this creates considerable value for the customer who rewards the company with loyalty. Over time, consistent experiences like this turn loyalty into advocacy into evangelism.
The Circle of Care
As companies become more focused on managing and improving customer experience, it’s essential that they not only consider the big picture but the subtle, more tangible approaches they can take to affect the larger goals. It’s also important to encourage and educate employees so they feel more connected to the long-term goals. Ultimately, when employees feel supported by their employer, they become more loyal. Subsequently, their loyalty can inspire customers to become more connected to the brand.