Touchpoints, which are the moments of interaction between customers and organizations during, and after transactions, are very valuable in business, even more so than ever in this pandemic time due to COVID-19.
Every organization seeks to ensure that the touchpoints are successful in guaranteeing customer satisfaction. However, the emphasis on customer satisfaction during such moments often produces a distorted picture, a false notion that customers are happy with companies, even when this is not always the case.
Think of a product query, for example. Companies receive several calls from customers daily, and the companies have to deal with every issue independently. However, if you were to follow up on the affected customers, months later, you’ll learn that the majority of customers do not view such phone calls simply as “product questions.” Rather, the query always points to an underlying issue in an organization that needs polishing for better service delivery.
From our research, we learned that companies that discover the root cause for customer dissatisfaction, and deal with the issue wholly, reap greater benefits; boast an improved customer experience, lower churn rate, higher revenue, and even improved employee satisfaction.
We once worked with a leading pay-TV provider that was excellent at managing churn at the time. However, the company was now dealing with a more mature market, stiffer competition, and more competitive prices.
Churn was a common issue in the business, and the company was conversant with the reasons for the cause; many customers were fleeing due to prices, while others sought rival companies with superior technology and product bundles.
After some research, the pay-TV provider would realize that having an emphasis on customer touchpoints didn’t give the desired results. The measuring success from touchpoints such as call centers, field services, and websites, showed that customers were satisfied. However, feedback from focus groups showed the exact opposite.
Further investigations revealed the root cause of the problem. None of the customers were fed up by a single interaction. Rather, the cause of customer dissatisfaction was something that many firms fail to consider – the gradual accumulated experiences across all touchpoints.
Whereas individual interactions with customers were likely to be successful, the overall experience would result in an average of 40% customer satisfaction. Though the employees could handle the customer issues during the interactions, the same could have been avoided altogether.
Instead of focusing on individual touchpoints, companies can reap more by looking at the journey as a whole.
More Touchpoints, More Complexity
The problem with our sample pay-TV provider is similar to what many companies encounter. Worse still, the majority of companies do not spot the problem initially.
The core of the problem is the nature and culture of the functional groups within companies. Whereas the function groups design and deliver company service, the groups often lose sight of what customers really want.
For example, the pay-TV salesmen are more concerned on closing sales and helping customers decide between the available options in the market. The sales team rarely follows up on what happens after the phone call, apart from whether the customers go ahead with the installation.
However, many customers encounter problems later on in the process, which creates more queries. If the sales team had been keener on issues customers are likely to face in the process, the team would adjust the initial approach to avert future crises.
The solution is not in the management of individual touchpoints. Instead, companies should consider the entire customer journey. Our article will discuss 4 steps that companies can monitor to enhance the customer experience.
1. Identifying Key Journeys
When identifying the important journeys, companies can use a top-down (judgment-based) evaluation or a bottom-up (data-driven) analysis. We advise the use of both strategies for successful results. Consider some 3 companies we worked with.
One telecom company was seeking solutions for a 50% dissatisfaction rate among customers during service installation, an energy company looking to overturn a 40% churn rate, and another telecom company that had 1/3 of new fiber-optic customers always canceling before installation or shortly later. Each of the above scenarios describes a top-down managerial approach. Top-down approaches result in early wins since changes can be made promptly.
However, companies looking to guarantee overall customer experience need more than the top-down approach, hence the bottom-up alternative. The bottom-up efforts involve working with a roadmap showcasing the entire customer journeys.
Companies draw customer and employee surveys together with operational data from all functions on every touchpoint, thus, assessing overall performance. That way, the companies can better monitor processes and establish journeys having the most impact on customer satisfaction.
2. Understanding Current Performance
The next step is to analyze the individual journeys to establish the current company performance. The process involves doing extra research, including having focus discussions with customers and employees.
Among other things, current understanding allows the company to pinpoint company policies that may be giving adverse results. For example, some companies charge call-based technical support. The aim is to dissuade customers from making phone queries, and instead having the customers opt for do-it-yourself (DIY) remedies. However, many customers still end up making the calls, which results in undesirable customer experience.
3. Redesigning the Experience and Engaging the Front Line
Once the company has established the root cause for customer dissatisfaction, the company leaders must avoid dictating solutions. Even in scenarios where the solutions seem easily implementable, the leaders should ensure that the employees participate in providing the solution.
In most cases, problems arise from within the firm, especially due to cross-functional disconnects. Therefore, to come up with permanent solutions, the different cross-functional teams should be brought together to work as a team.
When you allow the cross-functional teams to solve a problem together, the results are more productive. The teams are able to figure out how to work together for the common good. The employees in one function will realize the challenges that other members in a different function encounter, thus, allowing the teams to find common ground, coming up with better approaches. The result is a more viable solution that leaves everyone comfortable and provides quality assurance.
4. Sustaining at Scale by changing Mind-sets
Analyzing individual journeys and reshaping service processes is just one part of the equation. Implementing the changes in the firm is the real deal and, as expected, quite challenging. The 2 steps below should help you deliver at scale on customer journeys:
- Reshaping the company and modifying processes to better deliver the journeys, and
- Adjusting metrics to cater for the entire journey, and not just the touchpoints.
A journey-centric approach helps companies forsake top-down efforts, for the more efficient bottom-up approach which emphasizes cross-functional processes. The majority of companies we have researched take quality measures by changing the central leadership, and having an executive head steer the implementation, driving the company from traditions that hinder change.
As soon as the new management structures are set up, companies then create suitable metrics and measurement systems to monitor the success of customer journeys. Companies that use a broad customer satisfaction metric should consider moving the emphasis from touchpoints to the entire journey. Additionally, the new metrics should hold every team member responsible for the journey’s overall outcome.
The telecom company we sampled created more suitable metrics for quality assurance. The new measures put emphasis on new installations, meaning that everyone, from the sales agent, technician, call center, and back-office agents would work together to guarantee a trouble-free signal for the new customer. Each team member would be closely monitored and tested to ensure customer satisfaction at the end of the process.
Journey-based company transformations are highly effective, but the processes involved are not always easy. This is where you need a partner like Nectar in your corner. Nectar can help you protect your brand and ensure that your customers are getting the service they deserve.
With their suite of award-winning tools, Nectar can test, monitor and diagnose any issues with your contact center. Nectar can help accelerate the process so that your company can see meaningful and relevant results quickly. Contact us for more details.
Article Written By: