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No matter your occupation, or where you’re located, chances are good that you’re doing more with less these days. Less time, less resources and less employees — just to name a few. Yet as we emerge from the pandemic, customer expectations continue to increase while patience seems to continue its downward spiral.
Despite perceived and actual limitations, it remains possible to keep customer experience on course by focusing on a handful of the right things.
Give process pride of place. Any strategy you’ve set for achieving your business goals will only be as good as the processes in place that make your product or service a reality. Where are they clunky, incomplete, or outright broken? So much focus is on getting the job done that it can feel like a monumental task to zero in on how it’s being done, even when doing so could make things easier going forward.
Encourage your teams to document what they are doing, while they are doing it, the next time around. This exercise shouldn’t take long, but it allows someone else to then put fresh eyes on the steps and help uncover gaps and opportunities. A common one you may find is missed communication opportunities. When are you doing something without telling your customer that may later impact them? Inserting a quick and simple communication into your process now could save big headaches further down the road.
Ask the right question, of the right person. Often, progress is only made by asking just the right question of the right person: the person who has the most in-depth knowledge or the data expertise that you’re seeking, the vendor contact who happens to have seen your specific scenario before, or a like-minded peer at an organization working through similar situations. Thinking creatively about who to approach and what, specifically, you’re hoping to learn is critical in this era where everyone’s time is so valuable.
Focus on complexity, rather than volume. A common approach to prioritizing where to focus and what to fix is to try to size it. By sizing it, we’re often talking about numbers of contacts or customers impacted. An obvious flaw in this approach is that for each customer you’re aware of being impacted by a poor experience, there are often many more who you’ll never hear from or know about. Also, what customers are contacting you about most may not need fixing, but could perhaps inspire ideas for more self-service tools.
As an alternative to focusing on sizing, it’s wise to look for complexity. What are the topics of the longest calls that your customer service area handles? What are the issues that generally need escalation within your organization to other departments or managers? The true wins will come from identifying the root of those customer contacts and doing what you can to make that experience better.
Change the mindset. Nobody needs to feel that they are being asked to do more in order to ensure the best experience for your customers. The expectation, instead, should be to think about your work and be present in what you’re doing. Read a letter that you may drop in the mail every day (or ask someone else to). Does it make sense? Is there one thing you could do differently while you’re doing your job that could make something better for you, or your customer?
Shifting the focus to process, tapping in to experienced people, emphasizing a productive prioritization strategy and recognizing those who operate with a customer-centric mindset is the winning combination to doing more customer experience work with less.
Arissa Egan is a vice president and manager of customer experience and engagement at Camden National Bank. She can be reached at aegan@CamdenNational.bank
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