Thursday, March 13, 2014

Where to Start?

Congratulations...you were recently hired by Widget Inc. as the new customer experience manager, and this is your first day on the job.  Although Widget Inc. makes good quality widgets, the only department adding headcount is customer service because they need to deal with the increasing flood of dissatisfied purchasers.  Furthermore, in the last year, the cross-town rival has taken 5 percent market share away from Widget Inc. even though their widget is comparable in cost and quality.
What’s going on?

Your new boss has brought you in as the savior (no pressure), and over the next several weeks, she expects a detailed road map from you on how the company is going to “provide a great new experience that’s going to wow current and future customers.”  Sitting at your desk, you study the company’s organizational structure and realize that producing a widget involves lots of processes, lots of directions, and lots and lots of staff.  CX is daunting you say...and it is.  But it’s also manageable...and that’s where we’re going to begin our adventure at the Widget Inc.

Developing a strategy always begins with a very thorough understanding of the current situation. This understanding typically starts at a high level and then progressively works its way down into the weeds to get at all the nitty-gritty details.

So, let’s see if we can identify some of the following key resources that may help us to better understand why Widget Inc. finds itself in a bind...

Does the company participate in an an industry customer satisfaction study, and if so, does it have detailed reports covering the last 5 years?

Does the company conduct its own customer satisfaction survey, and if so, does it also have detailed reports covering the last 5 years?

Has Widget Inc. recently (in the last year or so) completed any qualitative research (focus groups, individual interviews, etc.) with current customers as well as with those no longer buying from the company, and if so, is there any discussion about why customers buy widgets from the company, what they like and dislike about the widget and the accompanying service, why the defectors stopped buying from the company?

Is there any formal reporting (e.g. contact reports) directly from the sales staff, and does it contain their perspective on what they’re hearing from customers?

Is there any reporting from the company’s call center, and does the report organize and tabulate the calls into distinct categories?  Information collected by a company’s call center can be a gold mine for the CX manager because, if formatted properly, addresses many of the deficiencies often associated with formal surveys.  For instance, obtaining a representative sample of the company’s customer base can be an issue when there’s a relatively small group of survey respondents.  A good call center report, on the other hand, usually tabulates and categorizes the responses of ALL of the calls made by customers.

In the next few posts, we’ll explore how to proceed if some or all of this information is available, as well as what to do if there’s little or no customer feedback to go on.

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