|Issue:||Europe I 2014|
|Topic:||Making success personal: Using mobile to improve customer exper|
As the President & CEO of ResponseTek, Syed is a proven leader with a wealth of experience in managing success. Prior to founding ResponseTek, Syed spent over 7 years as an international corporate strategy and e-commerce consultant. Syed was head of the e-commerce strategy group for Cambridge Technology Partners in San Francisco, developing new business opportunities. He has a proven track record of defining and implementing corporate strategy solutions for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Cambridge, Syed established and led the development of the consulting arm of Reid Crowther, a large engineering company. Syed is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering and International Business.
Industry recognition has followed Syed and ResponseTek throughout the years, including:
– Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist (2012)
– Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 (2002)
– Silicon Valley North Magazine “Next CEO” (2002)
Customer experience management is a facility that captures staff dealings with customers and provides feedback to employees at all levels. By delivering feedback directly to mobile devices, employees are immediately alerted and are encouraged to seek improvement of their customers interactions. Trainers can use the feedback for guidance, based on the employee’s personal experience. Executives gain insight to customers thinking, and frontline employees can respond promptly to customers’ complaints and suggestions, thus increasing customer satisfaction.
Every person plays the role of consumer, and in an era of mobile connectivity, this role has shifted. No longer can companies afford to treat consumers as anonymous numbers. If customers are unhappy, they will speak up, not only to their spheres of influence, but also to the companies directly. Often customer feedback is provided through a rant at a call centre agent, or a Twitter complaint about their most recent service experience. With both companies and consumers having access to more information than ever before, consumers have raised expectations and enhanced knowledge. If customers’ expectations are unmet, they will take their business to a competitor without a second thought. To be successful, companies need to listen to their customers and take action to offer better, personal service. If organizations aren’t able to meet customer expectations at the speed that customers demand in the mobile world, they will soon be left without any customers.
Customer experience management, or CEM as it’s more commonly referred to, is the process in which companies track customer expectations of interactions against what actually happens in these interactions. To do this, companies need advanced technology to collect feedback across business channels, analyze it and present it in a format that allows companies to optimize their customer service offerings and grow their customer base. When fully implemented, it becomes a philosophy that changes companies’ priorities, making pleasing customers their prime concern, from simplifying processes to changed employees’ attitudes.
Customer experience management isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a growing industry. Today it is reportedly worth US$2.68 billion, and this number is expected to grow to US$6.61 billion by 2017, proving that companies are seeing the true value of listening.
The trend in the telecom industry is no exception. It seems that the goal of each telco is to be ‘the least bad of the not very good,’ showcasing the low expectations that customers have for their service providers and the need to outperform competitors in service. In this industry, customer experience solutions are not a luxury; they are a necessity. By its nature, the telecommunications industry relies heavily on service interactions. These interactions occur in several business channels, including call centres, retail, online, and B2B. This number of channels continues to expand. Regardless of what channel customers are interacting with, they expect to receive helpful and friendly service.
As companies, in particular telcos, are adopting customer experience management programs and strategies, they are witnessing firsthand increases in customer satisfaction and retention. With the power of mobile, the opportunities to improve services further are exponential, but to fully succeed, the challenge of integrating customer experience management into day-to-day business practices must be overcome.
The power of personalization
To engender change, companies need to make customer experience a personal and meaningful project that all employees can take part in. Giving employees access to feedback related to their customer interactions shows that their performance plays a pivotal role in the overall company performance. Employees need access to customer feedback about their individual performance in a format that they can understand and use to bring about change.
Mobile interactions provide this feedback to employees of all levels from frontline service associates to executives in the boardroom. The practice of constantly checking a mobile phone for social updates is already deeply ingrained in the personal lives of many mobile users. Adding mobile to the mix of updates they receive is a natural step towards bringing the customer experience closer to employees.
When frontline employees get a notification about their latest survey result, they aren’t distracted by an unimportant tweet; they’re provided an opportunity for affirmation or improvement suggestion from a customer. They know what their customers think, and this gives them the chance to modify their behaviour and perform better. This can be supplemented with specific coaching from team leads and managers.; However, having this immediate knowledge gives them the chance to solve problems on their own.
Mobile access to customer feedback gives regional managers a deeper connection to their team, enabling them to support their employees better. They can view trend reports to see changes in store performance and keep track of what is happening while they are away from their desk for the day. It also gives them a reference point for in-person training sessions, as they point to specific interactions and use customer feedback to help their staff.
Executives also benefit from having access to customer feedback. They can now have insight into key metrics and reports. They can check results in-between meetings and compare channels and timeframes, drilling all the way down to specific interactions and customer history. Having access to feedback helps leverage the case for customer experience at the executive level. Executives can show others real customer comments to identify what they are doing well and where they need improvement at a corporate level.
Giving employees access to customer feedback pertaining to their interactions introduces an additional opportunity for them to succeed in delivering exceptional customer experiences. Customers expect interactions to go well, and when they provide feedback saying there was an issue, companies have a chance to immediately improve. Through introducing a service recovery action, employees follow up with unhappy customers. When employees have access to customer feedback on their phone, they are able to make these calls in a timely matter while the interaction is fresh in their mind. The result of this follow up interaction is an increase in satisfied customers. The impact that a simple call makes is substantial. Not only are customers pleasantly surprised that someone is genuinely reading their feedback, they are even more surprised that they have taken the time to follow up and attempt to solve the problem. One telco that saw the dramatic impact following up with customers can make is T-Mobile Austria, which saw a 20 percent increase in renewals from customers who had been identified as a risk of defecting prior to the follow up call.
A changed world
The type of change enabled by mobile presents a huge opportunity for telcos to succeed. When employees have personalized access to customer feedback in a mobile format, the presence of the customer is amplified. Customer insight is part of every decision employees make, from how they approach a customer, to how they train their team, to how they allot budget. Telcos will soon be fighting for the position of best customer service, instead of the ‘least bad.’ It’s about creating reasons for customers to praise them to their friends and social networks. These are the type of interactions customer experience management strives to achieve. It takes the world of mobile and creates a solution that gives all customer facing employees not only the chance to rise to the challenge of providing outstanding customer experiences, but to surpass this.