An Impossible Dream?
Just how do companies manage to get the economies of scale needed to be competitive today, and yet provide memorable customer experiences in their day-to-day interactions? The ideal scenario is that the systems take complexity out of the way of employees, leaving them free to deliver personal service. And yet the reality is often far from that. It seems to fall to the customer to find their way through systems, often having to work out for themselves how to get the service that they need. ... I well remember the frustration of one former client, who, on introducing a highly efficient CRM telephone system found that although performance efficiency improved, customer satisfaction plummeted. Although customers previously had to wait to get service, when they eventually did get through, they felt well treated. The new system made them feel "processed"!!
Interestingly, I read a report in Saturday's UK Guardian newspaper [01.20.07] that describes what one UK Insurer (More Than) is doing to respond to customers' frustrations around impersonal call centre handling. Their solution is to provide every customer with their own personal customer manager. This manager will be personally accountable for their own customer accounts. It's good to see that they are at least attempting to find a way through this minefield
Is this likely to improve things for the customer, or is the problem they are trying to solve much more deeply rooted? The future shape of organisations is being created by those companies who really are getting to grips with challenges like these. Where are the companies out there who are consistently delivering great experiences, and how are they managing to do it?