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Why understanding your customers isn’t enough to create great service moments

Why understanding your customers isn’t enough to create great service moments

Know your customer. This has become a familiar business mantra. Companies want to create greater customer experiences. And to do this they are scrambling to develop what they deem customer-centric business models based on their understanding of customer wants and needs. This has led to a positive transformation in the customer service experience as more resources and insight are invested beyond the product itself and into customer service and care.

Customer satisfaction has become a cornerstone for brand identity. Happy customers consume more, recommend more, and come back for more.  However,
THINKING you understand what customers want is not the same as ACTUALLY understanding.

I love to cook. It’s the perfect analog outlet for my very digital workdays. I opt to get my food delivered. All the joy of cooking, minus the hassle of shopping! The concept is fantastic. The execution on the other hand has been less than stellar.

Twice now I’ve received my food boxes with damaged containers. The company was quick to respond to my complaint with a very generous voucher for future purchases. However, this neither solved my immediate problem nor helped the company resolve a recurring issue. And ultimately I felt unheard as a customer because my feedback was not put to use for positive change.

Taking the full picture into account is essential to understanding customer desire. Slightly more reflection into my customer experience would have made it clear that the end aim was a home-cooked meal. Unfortunately, none of the secret ingredients in my recipe was a teaspoon of voucher. So my ultimate goal was not satisfied. Hence, no great customer experience.

The Secret Ingredients Are Experience AND Operational Data

But let’s think bigger for a moment. Even the most well-intentioned customer-centric companies have one top priority: growth. And having customers at the heart of your business processes and decisions is certainly key to achieving it. However, you have to tackle this smartly. And in order to do that, you need data. And not just about your customers, but also about your employees, and your operational practices.

Understanding the full spectrum of the customer experience means knowing how your employees are faring as well. Are there any roadblocks hindering their performance? Do they have access to all the information they need to get the job done? Do they have a balanced workload? Their satisfaction in the workplace will be reflected in their effort and output.

Finally, operational data will paint the full picture of the customer service experience. Real-time information will indicate what processes are time-consuming, which departments might collaborate, what tasks might be digitized. This gives you an opportunity to make small adjustments and see some rapid improvements. At the same time, operational data provides key insight so you can develop a long-term strategy for continued success.

Armed with this data, you’ll be prepared to make smart choices about how to best meet your customers’ needs and fix their issues and create perfect service moments.

3-step approach: Understand, Act, Grow

Our flywheel highlights how customer-centric practices based on a thorough understanding of your customers, employees and processes provide you with the data you need to act and improve field service performance so your business can grow.

That is exactly what IEP did to fulfill its YOU FIRST commitment to its customers.
When IEP realized its customers weren’t getting enough face-time with the customer service team, they decided to act quickly. They were smart enough to review their operational data. It illustrated a clear bottleneck: clerical work. Scheduling, invoicing, and parts’ sourcing was taking up 20 percent of the customer service team’s workday. That was 20 percent that could be better invested in improving customer relationships.

IEP decided to implement a field service tool to digitize these processes and free up some time for customer service representatives. Not only did this tool give representatives more time to communicate with customers, it also resulted in big changes in the field. Technicians were better prepared with the tools, parts, and knowledge they needed to get the job done. First-time-fix rates went up. Repair times went down. And customers AND employees were more satisfied with the end results.

IEP Technologies wanted a tool that would eliminate as many clerical processes as possible so that its team could focus on number one: the customer.

The Devil is in the Data

Back to my food box. Had my delivery service provider looked more closely at its operational data, it might have realized that my issue was a recurring one. And probably not just mine. A closer look at the data might even have indicated that overworked or frustrated employees get more careless when packaging goods. At the very least, the company would have realized that regularly compensating customers with vouchers that are ten times the value of the damaged product is not a financially viable long-term solution.

Treating business decisions like life decisions is a good idea. Get all the data and input you need to see the full picture. Then make smart changes that really address your customers’ needs. This will ensure that your actions are good for them and you in the long run.

Get the free white paper: How to Create Effortless Service Experiences in the Field and learn more about the 3-step approach and create perfect service moments!

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