Edition 04

Close the Gap between Customer Promise and Customer Experience in 4 Steps

26th September 2009 By Fredrik Abildtrup no comments

Mass-communication creates expectations, but when the customer does decide to contact you, how will you know if these expectations are met?

A lot of companies do not know their customer’s experience in their various touch points. Marketing campaigns, and sales plans often force the service organization to knot the ends together, thus leaving the customer experience unattended.

Every time a customer contacts you, there is a moment of truth. What is your truth?  Is your front line, the first point of contact for your customer, aware of your customer’s needs in order to assist sufficiently? How do you know if the customer was satisfied after the interaction?

This one moment of truth is why it is imperative that the sales-marketing-service wheel interacts with each other, and even more importantly, that you ask yourself; am I listening to the voice of the customer, so I know what I am doing right or wrong?

Customer experiences are created through various touch points (i.e. websites, emails, letters, advertising, phone and personal interactions). In order to attract or keep customers, you must understand how, why and where the customer interacts with you. You must understand your customer’s individual experience at each of your touch points, and you must integrate these experiences into your processes and goals. Finally, you need to retrain your employees making the attention to the customer experience one of your cornerstones to ensure you consistently provide the foundation to improve your customers’ experiences.

So, in order to be successful follow this 4-step process:

1.      Understand the touch points of your company.
Learn who uses the various touch points and when. Be aware that many customers use many of your touch points, especially if they are dissatisfied with the expected response time on one touch point, leading to a higher total cost for you.

2.      Collect customer experiences across all channels of communication.
Having identified your touch points, start measuring the satisfaction of the individual interactions. By measuring the customer experience, you will be able to make decisions based on facts and knowledge, rather than gut feelings, thus making stronger and more profitable decisions.

3.      Use the collected information to gain knowledge.
Turn the collected information into knowledge to better understand your customers, also on the experience parameter. By doing this you will be able to understand which customers are satisfied, when and at which touch point. By making certain you measure these experiences all the time, you will even be able to foresee, when and where your customers are most likely to churn or defect.

4.      Improve your business.
It is not only satisfaction and loyalty that can be improved. By using the knowledge gained and by working actively with this knowledge in cooperation with your employees, you are able to change the processes that do not deliver customer value.  Moreover you can improve the behavior of your employees toward greater customer value. Involving your employees gives you two great assets. One, a change in behavior towards improving the experience of your customers, thus increasing the customer value. Two, a buy-in and ownership of creating better customer experiences, thus improving your business value.

By focusing on the customer’s experiences, you are able to improve the way the customers think about you, and thereby through your customers’ word-of-mouth even improve your results. By focusing on the customer’s experiences you are able to close the gap between what you promise and what you deliver. In turn, the information of your customer’s experiences enables all your functions, through marketing, sales and services, with actionable customer intelligence to deliver on your customer promise.

About the author: Fredrik Abildtrup

Fredrik Abildtrup is the CEO of TeleFaction. He is a seasoned customer experience and Return on Behavior specialist. Currently he is responsible for the growth and internationalization of TeleFaction. Moreover he assists TeleFaction clients in improving customer loyalty, reducing churn and increase cross-sales across customer service contact points. TeleFaction primarily caters to European businesses in the telecom, financial services, energy, travel and transport industries.

He has many years of  business experience, primarily in sales and management. Most recently as the Division Exeuctive with T-Systems Denmark, a sister company to Deutsche Telekom, where he was responsible for more than 100 employees.

Fredrik Abildtrup graduated from the Copenhagen Business School with a degree in International Marketing and Management. Moreover he has a master’s degree in International Business obtained via the CEMS-programme at the Universität zu St. Gallen in Switzerland.

Visit: TeleFaction.com

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