CX (Customer Experience) is the New Black

CX as a Foundational Metric

The motivation behind our play on a common idiom in titling this article was to accentuate the similarities in the way that black, the foundation color in the world of fashion, which never goes out of style, compares to how the Customer Experience (CX) is the foundational metric which never lessens in importance. In this article, our third so far in the series, we will touch on different operational aspects and their relation to Customer Experience.

Regardless of business model, product offering, service or industry shaking disruption every entrepreneurial startup to conglomerate brings to market, there is one common reason for existence…. The Client.

Different businesses have different customers; however, ALL businesses have customers. The perception that customers have of a company’s product or service, and how they support their product or service, greatly influences that entity’s success or failure.

What’s in a name?

Captive, Shared Services Center (SSC), Global In-House Center (GIC), Center of Excellence (COE), Global Business Services (GBS) are the more common names or acronyms that come up when discussing satellite operations. Usually these operations are located in a country other than the home office and each have multiple definitions depending on whom you ask.

It wasn’t that long ago that company-owned satellite operations established offshore were called ‘captives’. One can only assume that given how hostage-like the phrase “Our Captive in India” sounds, and the industry’s insatiable love of acronyms, the need for new nomenclature became evident.

Truth is, names have evolved right along with the complexity of services and the customer facing aspects of these operations. Call them what you will, but understand the role these entities play in the Customer Experience, and take the necessary steps to properly train, equip and empower these operations so that they can support your client base and represent you properly.

From Script Reader to Problem Resolution Specialist

Rapidly disappearing is the “Thank you for calling _____ my name is _____” decision tree, script driven conversation for today’s customer-facing associates. In fact, the impact of technology and social media has significantly changed the very nature and interaction vehicles regarding the customer experience.

While standardized openings may start the conversation, the media in which it takes place and the variety and complexity of the interaction require not only problem-solving skills, but also the ability to navigate new technology in obtaining necessary data. This is necessary to deliver the information and, eventually, the desired customer result in a friendly, efficient and caring manner. The influx of multiple data points that require significant amounts of processing and analysis to provide meaningful insights can be aided with the use of RPA and AI to augment the capabilities of the person entrusted to represent your organization.

Let’s imagine the following healthcare appointment scenario:

  1. Your employer sends you an email with pre-selected dates for you to schedule a physical
  2. You click the link for your selected date and your calendar automatically updates with the day, time, location and confirmation number
  3. Three days prior to the exam you must travel out of town for a client meeting
  4. You visit your physician’s website and reschedule your meeting via their new chatbot, and receive a new calendar invite with new confirmation
  5. You delete the original calendar entry and complete your physical on the rescheduled date
  6. Later you receive an auto-generated bill from your insurance carrier for the missed original appointment, and contact your insurance company’s support line to report the error
  7. Unable to provide the confirmation number of the original appointment to the automated attendant, you are transferred to the first actual person you have spoken to in this process
  8. The Representative needs to pull data from 3 separate systems (your employer, physician and insurance databases) in a secure and regulatory compliant manner to reconcile and rectify the billing situation.

APIs, RPA and AI could enhance this data sharing and help navigate these systems quickly in order to obtain the appropriate information, allowing the representative to quickly and calmly resolve the situation in a professional and courteous manner – with one call. This responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the person representing the insurance company, but it is incumbent upon the company to provide proper access to the information required to do the job.

Mapping the Customer Journey

The concept of the customer journey map is actually very simple. Create a diagram that illustrates the steps your customers go through in engaging with your company. During this process of producing a customer journey map, you realize just how complicated it can become. You need to address the entire arc of engagement, encompassing advertising, purchasing, social media, ordering, customer service and returns. There can be significant activity in any and every one of these engagements, and if you are not gathering relevant information about your customer and your product, how will you ensure your product maintains its relevance and stays ahead of your competitors’ offerings? The customer journey map can be a tedious process, but it will provide valuable insight into the overall customer experience.

Key Performance Indicators

There are many performance indicators used to determine the health of a process or program (cost, profit, sales, etc.). When it comes to Customer Experience, some key indicators are:

  • CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) – a survey sent to customers shortly after an interaction
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score) – more focused on reference ability and long term satisfaction
  • Customer Support tickets – analyzing the # of new, resolved and time taken to resolve
  • First Call Resolution – percentage resolved within the initial interaction without transfer
  • Employee Engagement – you can hear a smile thru the phone, frowns tend to be louder

Selecting the best KPI’s for you will require research to fully understand the nuances of each metric as well as the relevance not only to your industry but your company’s vision and strategy, as well. In doing so it is best to heed Goodhart’s law, "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

An example of this would be a sudden spike in refunds as your customer service associates discover the quickest way to conform to the “increase First Call Resolutions by 30%” directive!

The bottom line is, no one knows how you wish to treat your customer better than you, and only you can determine the best way to care for your company’s primary reason for existence.

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