01 Mar Why Front-Line Staff Are Critical to Your Customer Experience Program
Customer experience programs are not a new concept
It has been pretty much established that in any line of business, while your product or service may be what gets them in the door, what keeps your customers coming back again and again is the experience.
The customer experience landscape has shifted the way all B2C organizations manage their brand. This can include impeccable front-line customer service, ease of navigating your facilities (or digital assets), the user design of those facilities, etc. – and how that all ultimately ties back into your customer journey.
In fact, customer experience is not only the responsibility of one business area; it’s something that should be managed across all levels of business.
In the beginning…
Weirdly enough, customer experience measurement (or management programs) have existed in many forms over the years.
From the first bazaar merchant who asked a customer if they could do better, to customer comment cards and the old school variant – the customer satisfaction survey – most of these older methodologies revolved almost exclusively around identifying customer touchpoints, or moments of contact between the business and the customer before and after their purchase.
But, focusing almost entirely on increasing satisfaction at these points is a slippery slope, as it can lead to a distortion effect – data like this can lead companies to believe their customers are happier with the company than they really are.
It also takes emphasis away from the customer’s actual journey with the company, and magnifies the need to act on specific touchpoints.
For example, if your customer service representative asked one of your customers during a service call how satisfied she or he was with their interaction on a Likert Scale, the number your company would get back may not accurately represent the reality of the interaction.
Say the customer gave a rating of 3 out of a possible 7 – was this dissatisfaction due to the interaction the customer had with the customer service representative? Or was the frustration due to waiting too long to talk to that representative, or was the hold music not to her or his liking, or was there something else entirely that led to the customer’s dissatisfaction?
In these older customer satisfaction methodologies, who knows?
There just isn’t enough qualitative data to find out what led the customer to be dissatisfied – the company just knows something is wrong.
Today’s customer experience measurement programs go beyond simple quantitative assessment and look to develop answers to WHY the customer is satisfied or dissatisfied.
This gives a much more holistic view of what’s actually going on in these customer interactions.
Rather than trying to make sense of numbers with no meaning, today’s CX methodologies allow organizations to worry more about managing the store than managing their score.
In other words, customer experience programs allows businesses to become more customer-centric as a whole.
In fact, on a recent episode of Stories of Market Research: The Insightrix Podcast we interviewed Voice of Customer consultant, John Morton, to dig into the most common and critical issues many organizations have encountered in managing their customer journey, as well as some of the customer experience best practices successful companies share.
Identify stakeholders, not just shareholders…
Building a customer-centric organization is about building relationships – and building relationships is done by showing customers you are listening.
Creating a customer-centric organization involves talking to stakeholders – those people, like your customers, who rely on the company, and not just its c-suite executives and board members.
This is why employee engagement surveys are one of the crucial elements in any CX program.
To get to the bottom of a customer’s journey, you must involve front-line staff who are a major part of that journey. It’s the front-line staff of the company who are in the closest relationship with the customer. Therefore, their input to the process isn’t just important, it is critical.
Without direct lines of communication between the front-line and the boardroom, divisions and disconnects across business silos occur – often resulting in a less than optimal customer experience.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “Even if a fix appears obvious from the outside, the root causes of poor customer experience always stem from the inside, often from cross-functional disconnects. Only by getting cross-functional teams together to see problems for themselves and design solutions as a group can companies hope to make fixes that stick.”
Customer experience programs tie the front-line and the boardroom together, creating an organization that not only understands the touch points in their customer’s journey, but also understands what’s happening in the organization on the ground level and all other points along that customer’s journey, before, during and after purchase.
Go beyond customer service and extend to all levels and all areas of a business and focus on creating customer relationships, not just sales.
Address not just the shareholders of a company, but also that company’s stakeholders – bridge the gap between the boardroom and the point of sale.
Ultimately, CX programs address your customer’s entire journey with the company, resulting in someone who is willing to come back, again and again… and again.
Do you want to know more about customer experience programs?
You can download this whitepaper – it describes the Insightrix Customer-Centric Experience Program (Insightrix CX).