Making Your Customer Experience 'Mark' in 2011

The onset of the new year is a time of personal reflection. Like many, I tend to ask myself the same question each year: what is my purpose? And, am I on the right path to lead me there? Although many things in life can be the workings of chance, I do believe that where we eventually end up is not totally random. It seems that we make many conscious decisions, driving us in certain directions. This brings me to the reasons I am in the software industry. The ability to create, innovate and then turn ideas into reality in a short time frame has real appeal for me.

Software is applied in almost every domain these days. However, I find it intriguing that I have chosen to focus on technology that deals specifically with the customer experience. Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, once said, "We are all here to put a dent in the universe." I would like to think that this is true in the field of customer experience as well. Creating ways to improve the customer experience by applying methodology in tandem with technology can be a powerful way to make an impact.

Learning from both good and bad experiences serves a purpose. It provides an opportunity to change, improve and shape the way customers want to interact with your organization. The recipe in creating a power-packed initiative in 2011 includes 1) getting frontline service representatives passionate about what they do and letting them know they really do make a difference and 2) establishing an "outside-in" view, with technology supporting the cause.

Driving Successful Customer Service Agents

Successful service professionals should be the ones who enjoy making a difference in day-to-day conversations with customers. They should gain satisfaction by contributing their daily "dent in the universe." This personal achievement is what drives them to be top of their class, feeding off the energy of satisfied consumers.

Once you have service representatives excited about managing and helping shape the customer experience, it's necessary to zoom out and identify themes occurring in your contact center and across the enterprise. Figuring out how a single experience can be improved may not be that difficult. However, unlocking the mystery of what drives the collective experience of thousands or even millions of people is an exciting but complex challenge.

Leveraging Technology to Make a Broader Impact

The key to unraveling this mystery is getting down to the root causes that create both positive and negative customer experiences. In many cases, you may find that the root causes driving the customer experience go far beyond the agent's knowledge or skills into processes, policies, products and procedures that may need to be updated.

This is not a simple puzzle to solve -- its complexity comes with many potential questions, answers and valuable insight. There is a perception that more information helps unravel challenges and opportunities that surround the customer experience. But in reality, there is a greater need that exists around distilling "voice of the customer" and related key insights contained within that data, while also prioritizing the different corrective actions that will create a positive impact on as many customers as possible. That's what today's Customer Interaction Analytics tools and solutions are all about -- zooming out to capture and mine millions of interactions across multiple communications channels, providing vital intelligence and an "outside in" view that so many businesses lack and that every business needs.

The end goal of creating rewarding customer experiences helps me achieve my sense of purpose. It can also help realize financial prosperity for businesses, since happier customers tend to buy more, and add brand value. So I guess this is why customer experience continues to fascinate me for so many years. I'm excited about the year to come, and look forward to making an impact in improving our experiences.

What "dent" are you planning to make this year in your customers' experience?

Tags: crm
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