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Customer Service in a Closing Vice

Blog: Jim Sinur

Never before is there more pressure on customer service. All of this while organizations have to compete for well informed customers. The platitude creators just say all it takes is a better attitude by the front line. Workers should be aimed at “Customer Loyalty ” to deliver “A Customer for Life”. While I believe in these sayings and they are good goals, the reality is that most of the front line workers have their hands tied and are being squeezed in a  ever  closing vice. There are three reasons that there is little relief in just pursuing platitudes and tightening measures/goals. 

The Pressure from Increased Customer Demands:

Customers expect great service and they do not want to deal with functional specialties of your organization. They have specific goals that may run counter to an organizations goals to close a call in a limited time frame. The expectation is that you know them, their goals and their history. In fact they want you to know their mood and respond accordingly. They want convenience as they have little time themselves. They want a pleasing experience as the pressure cooker they live in is difficult, They want you to understand the multiple outcomes they are expecting or they will pick up a go elsewhere. Loyalty is a lost concept theses days.

The Pressure from Not Understanding the Real Customer Journey:

The customers journey is usually larger or different than what your organization and systems are built to serve. Just look at what has happened in the mortgage and account opening journeys for proof of the effect of a better journey. While applying for a mortgage can be easier and more effective, the real journey is finding a new home. The end to end journey here is far more inclusive than getting a mortgage or opening accounts.  If an organization really works on understanding the real journey and the customers goals, this adds great credibility to that organization and contributes to loyalty.

The Pressure from Old and Patched Systems:

Systems have come up from a functional perspective and usually have weak interfaces for service workers of customers. While newly patched interfaces can help, systems that are built around the customers journey and normal variations would go far in helping customers and organizations service representatives. Better systems take some of the pressure and pain away from both. Digital transformation will give organizations a new opportunity to do just that. Make sure all of your constituents  (customers, employees, partners, vendors and stake holders) are well represented in the redesign.

Bottom Line: 

Customer loyalty will come from understanding the real customer journey the customer is on and the goals they have. This means that your organization is usually only one or two steps in their overall journey and set of goals  Expanding an organizations contribution to the overall journey will likely be effective along with fixing the arcane systems that support customers and customer service representatives. Organizations need to fix their system issues and increase their journey coverage to match customers goals and desires.

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