Why Delighting Your Customers Is Overrated
Uhhuh. Uhhuh h. b. r. at a cat from harvard business your view name gary green i'm talking jamison that he just can't managing director of the corporate executive board sales and service pack desk. He'd call out there at the article stop trying to get like your customer it and then she'll lying on yes twenty can't hear the magazine thanks for joining jane thanks there. A skeptic here a little bit you get and they can still where i don't feel like the problem the customer service it that cos are trying too hard you delight me dealing with them in the opposite problem. Well now customer service like you to terminate cos we're trying to argue late people. Yeah that's a great question the general reaction when i've talked about this research with friends and family has been exactly yours which is boy delight hasn't been my experience at all but when you talk to executives the reactions actually quite the opposite so if you actually go out and. Surveys senior executives set large companies or uh in particular customer service leaders. They would tell you that there the service strategy is squarely around to lighting the customer so in other words trying to create those wow moments with the customer during a service interaction. In the belief behind that is that those wow moments is going above and beyond type interactions or what will produce loyalty on behalf of the customer but i think you go right to the point of the article which is. That the customers only go out and survey them what we hear back is that cos miss the far greater opportunity of simply delivering on basic. What we call the article plain vanilla service promises. Resolving an issue in a timely fashion ideally in one called not passing the customer around through repeated transfers not ask him to repeat information. That's really what customers are looking for the not looking for the wow moments so. Put differently a lot of companies have banked on the hail mary passed the above and beyond kind of wow moment as the cornerstone of their service strategy in the data suggest that they fail miserably in actually delivering on that. It's a very low probability that in that what customers are really looking for what makes them loyal is simply having their issues dealt with an inefficient and uh affected matter. So it sounds like one customers this back there do you because they may get into motion as a bad experience term more powerful and positive motion to this but you're not allowed to carry is that right that's right. So what should they customer service beast okay is dying you mention just getting a day thanks right where's the money sort of basic thing that people should be feldstein stand sure. So to back up a little bit customer service generally finds itself in the top spot usually people reach out the customer service one something's gone wrong. In this can be especially painful in certain situations i think is you and i both know is consumers you know when you're power goes out some clear when it's gonna come back on when your cable service stops working on saturday before superbowl sunday when the flight for your honeymoon is cancel. Things like that can be very high stress kind of interactions and contact centers in customer service organizations deal with these situations all the time so in some respects are kind of behind the eight ball already we found a research is that a customer service interaction though doesn't do anything to help the situation in fact. Okay for service interaction is four times more likely to read to ah dis loyal customer that to a loyal customer. At the end of that interaction. In the things that customer service organizations due to drive that this loyalty or many. But that most prominent ones that we found a research the big drivers about this loyalty are things like repeat contacts so forcing a customer to call back many times to get a service interaction resolved. Are getting issue resolved passing the customer around through repeated transfers asking the customer to repeat information treating the customer to generic fashion uh sort robotic service approach. Another one is forcing the customer to switch. Out of there channel a choice of for example a customer goes to the website first together issue resolved is confused by the information i can't find what they're looking for in then picks up the phone in frustration to call the contact center to actually speak with somebody got their issue resolved. So those are the kinds of things that drive this this listing those are the kinds of things that company should be focus on to answer a question in terms of getting the basics right. Names internet a high stakes emotions they come in d. interaction e actually in a great example any hardware from a u jamie mortgage company they had getting married call center rap i mean where do you think about the emotion did their customers were experiencing. Can you drop a little bit more i not bad example or other examples where they're they're managing a customer solutions. That's a great example it's been really popular with our members. The mortgage wondering question did what many companies do which is to articulated very standard checklist approach. To serving customers and i think as cos we tend to believe that consistency is what the customer wants that you know when i call into this company. This time in russia should be exactly like it was last time you know we should deal with every customer in the same exact way what this company found is that over many years of trying to home this. Consistence checklist oriented service approach that the reaction that they generate on the part of their customer's was actually very inconsistent and they sort of realize that hey maybe our customers actually aren't all the same. And so they took a very different approach to arm the rest of the ability to actually. Listen to verbal cues up the customers were delivering during the course of a service interaction into pick up on what kind of personality they were dealing with it's very basic kind of personality frame works stuff it's the kind of training that most corporate leaders go through in fact. To understand for example the four basic types uh personalities. What the slender did was give the reps er framework for diagnosed without asking questions but diagnosed thing in the moment whether they were dealing with uh personality that was more of a controller personalities who's issuing clear directives. More i think her personality to somebody who really want to get into the root causes of white issue happened and and get a shards of that issue wasn't going to happen again. Uh steeler personalities is is somebody who actually is desire ring of the empathy that most context undersea to deliver but somebody who really wants their concern to be self on the other end of the phone. And then lastly of somebody they call the entertainer personality which is somebody who's just instead of making some small talk in striking a friendly connection with the servers were up on the other one the last thing that person wants us to be dealt with like a robot. So with some of these tips and tricks. Into the coaching and training that these reps were armed with. They got to a much more sophisticated approach of. Be able to listen just in the first thirty to sixty seconds of a call what kind of person they're dealing with in then to deliver the resolution of an issue even the same kind of issue in a very different ways if you're doing with a controller and let's say a customer calls in and there's been an error and they're built for example. You're doing with a controller the excuse would be to get the person on and off the phone she'll confidence get the issue resolved very quickly. No small talk if you're doing with a finger however the approach maybe very different there. The rap would be at liberty take a little bit more time on the call to really dig into why did this doing error occur into offer some explanation and some assurance it's not going to happen again here's exactly why it happened here's exactly what i'm gonna do to guarantee that this is not gonna happen in the future. And again that generates a very tailored kind of resolution approach which make gives those both of those collars the cos they need another desire in here. This it but it really popular case with our members we've seen other. Examples of. Addressing emotional side of the service interaction we wrote recently and uh a block posting on v. h. b. r. sites. About some companies who thought about stripping out negative language looking out the terms and the words that the reps use that really sucked customers off man in the coaching there wraps to not say those things and giving them alternate phrasing. Loyalty one is one of the ah cos we profile that deals with error mile reward so when you're calling in to cash in your miles or your point the by air fare. They often or in the position hard to say no quite often to their customers. And so they've given their wrap some skills in tools. To be able to understand what is the customer trying to do and how do we position an alternative to what they're asking for in a way that. Seems like it's actually the preferred option so when the customer gets off the phone they're not angry about not getting what they ask for but actually feel like the rats help them get to a almost preferred outcome. In cos you've done these things and focus on this emotional connection have reported fantastic results reduce call backs greater loyalty uh from their customers it's really one of those parts of customer effort that is often overlooked. By a customer service organizations there's a ton that happens in the moment in that interaction between the rap in the customer that can be used to the cos advantage to deliver a low effort the perception of a low effort experience to the customer. Yeah as we're talking in that day and talking about really important to them howard mine customer service represented worth giving that people are talking means. Eighteen then yeah he can't get killing them howard skilled changed him in people usually have and it takes you mean customer service. So much of people that drink he hated either but lance thanks or in some sort of phone tree robot which is sort of university i've been getting every line and yet able to left right right. It's on that tangent you know that hearing back it is looking at that number there because of course human their extension. I think every executive out there understands the cost of human capital. Manning the phones handling customer uh interactions versus self serving our actions there's one exactly about there who doesn't know it doesn't understand the economic efficiency and the financial benefit of actually having customer self service. Nevertheless most companies still tend to think that their customers want to call them want to pick up the phone. We've done a fair bit of research around how customer preferences around service and how they want interact with cos is actually changing it well we found is really surprising while cos tend to think that customers display almost a two and a half hour. Times preference for picking up the phone versus self serving. When we talk to customers what they report back is that they're actually. Statistically in different between self service in life service in fact when you look at younger demographics maybe to nobody surprise. That preferences shifting the more heavily towards self service over live service which really speaks i think that's not that's the way people want to interact around service issues but maybe the way they wanna interact with cos what kind of relationships i wanna have with companies. Customers are much more team the self server out issues. And so this prolific and under them to our members could presented with the state are members usually come back to us and say. Boy that's all well and good i see this sort of thing. Secular ship that's happening but how come my call volume hasn't gone down it's clearly an issue of teaching my customers to go to the website for example it what we find is that. It's not a matter of getting them to go it's a matter of getting them to stay one the data points beside the article is that from our research on average fifty seven percent of inbound calls. To the typical contacts in our our from customers who just on the cos website and couldn't find what they're looking for. What's ah double whammy here and that sort of shooting yourself in the other foot moment for many companies as. Thirty percent of the customers were on the phone with their service reps are actually also at the same time on your company's websites i don't know that i could do is just like killer moment where your your boss's opportunity to get a customer to self serve through a much cheaper option. And again from our research we know the customer's actually preferred to go to the website first. And we also know as i mentioned earlier when you force the customer out of the channel that they wanted to be in when you for some out of the website because they're frustrated the camp on what they were looking for you for something pick up the phone there entering that interaction last loyal. Than average so they're starting from a position of this loyalty and we know the contacts in or just tend to make that worse. So generally speaking i think there is this perception the system up from cos. That customers again want to pick up the phone they want to talk to cos but customers are actually very clear with us that. They want to sell surfers but they want that to be an easy ever listen or action in that many of those customers are forced to pick up the phone call into the contact center in enter that interaction from a state of dis- loyalty your frustration from the get go. So any can get better i d links them anything like meetings tell staring e here for customers removing some of these other obstacles you talked about. It gets debating can they go back to trying to quote unquote delete people or in here actually sort of a permanent back thank you exceeding expectations. Once you a rat a kid all those sources of effort. And i keep in mind there's a lot of work to do this is the food for of any winter in terms of getting to a point of perfection in terms of an easy everywhere service interaction. But certainly beyond that point there maybe opportunities actually see the customer's expectations to differentiate the service interaction. The guidance that we give service executives that would that be very careful about the investment you make their. So many of those the light kind of wow oh investments in moments. Based on articles of faith inside the company or or on gut instinct that this is what customers want to. And darn it we know that this makes them happy in this makes i'm loyal but we don't stop to actually do any testing did actually measure the effect of those investments it'd go back and see whether we're getting our money's worth from those. Surely if we're going to give away free things if we're gonna take more time on the phone. We're going to get refunds etcetera. That cost the company money into the cos to go back in measure whether they're getting a return in terms of happier customers more loyal customers people are buying more who are staying with the company longer who are actually going out and saying good things or at least nothing bad things about the company. And again by and large when we see cos going out and trying to create those wow moments they don't actually stop to measure the efficacy. Where the return on those investments line precious ballgame here and back customer service instead challenging that maybe just meeting expectation it tells the wound on it yeah right that's right you know it's. It all comes back to you know what are the customer's expectations we off and turn that question back to. The router to our client or tore remember and say well what do you think your customers expectations are and usually the response or something along the lines of. Well i guess if i were cuss right expect to be able to go to your website find information i'm looking for. If it's a complex issue it i expect to pick up the phone call somebody in for that person actually be able to help me it to resolve my issue for me not to have to be pass around all different folks in the topics that are or for me not to have to call back repeatedly. It's actually pretty reasonable expectations what's your point cos deliver on that so infrequently that in some respects it does become kind of a wow moment. For the customer when that actually happens. But it is you know when you boil it down fixing a customers problems on one go around is actually not crazy thing to expect from the customer's perspective. Well tom or here man thanks for talking with it i'm trying to eliminate seven eight start think someone screwed up. Happened that he did send managing director and we're bringing back here for you camping service pack dash article a count trying to get like your customers and if any july minus twenty his nineteen. From where things here i got boring force my name i'm player at harvard. Uhhuh
Copyright 2010 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.