Customer service has a dark side and we as consumers have all experienced that darkness from time to time. In the television show Breaking Bad, the character Walter White is brilliant and works incredibly hard. But for all his brilliance, he does not really care about people. Instead, he is all about the cynical use of power, money, empire building and fame, which ultimately hurt a lot of people. The question: can customer service learn some lessons from Walt?
Put Customers in Power
Power exists in customer relationships, but where should that power lie? With the agent? Within the IVR or confusing ‘roadblocks’ that we put in front of customers trying to communicate? No, the power should be with the customer.
When doing business with a company – think about healthcare, a mortgage, credit card transactions – we as consumers can feel completely helpless with no control. Where the power lies can make all the difference in today’s customer experience.
Enlightened companies use proactive, context-driven interactions with customers to shift the power to them. Provide current information on customer work and cases in the form of real-time proactive notifications to your customers. This cuts down on customer anxiety and reduces inbound calls asking: “when will my order be done”?
Be Where Your Customer Are
Introduce channels with built-in intelligence to provide service precisely when and where it is needed, such as mobile engagement applications that allow customers to connect with helpful service people – from within the app. These intelligent mobile channels personalize the contact by knowing who you are, where you are, and why you are calling, connecting you with people who can really help via chat, voice or call back.
Tear Down the Walls
Walt isn’t just in the business of crime, he is building an empire. The lesson here is that most companies have too many of their own departmental empires: sales, service, back office, credit and collections, etc. Often times, many of these empires have their own rules and channels, and typically these departments don’t play nice with each other. Customers often hear, “I’ll have to transfer you to that department,” and it’s a cold transfer where the customer has to start all over from the beginning (no customer data is transferred).
New technologies such as workload management can connect the front office with the back office, allowing contact center agents to create cases or work items with the technology routing them to the most appropriate resource based on skill and availability. This technology can also track the work across departments so that customer service due dates (SLAs) are not lost. It will get your departmental empires working together as one.
Seek Loyalty, Not Fame
Walt reveled in fame and he even created a second identity built on his fame. As Breaking Bad showed, fame is indeed fleeting. So, how should companies seeking to build a great service reputation act? Many are measuring their success with metrics such as NPS® or Net Promoter Score. NPS is one of the standards for measuring, understanding and improving the customer experience. It is based on a system that has a fundamental that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
‘By asking one simple question — How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague? — you can track these groups and get a clear measure of your company’s performance through your customers’ eyes. Customers respond on a 0-to-10 point rating scale and are categorized as follows:
- Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
- Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
- Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.
NPS and similar metrics are helping companies measure and improve the customer experience and build a customer base that is loyal and even willing to refer others. The adage that we can’t understand what we don’t measure is also true when it comes to customer experience.
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