Do You Allow Your Employees to Help You Delight Your Customers?

Do you help your customer service representatives help you upgrade your customer service experience? If you aren’t you’re missing out on tremendous market intelligence that could help you dramatically upgrade the customer, client, or patient experience you deliver

Without knowing it, you might be telling your customer-facing employees to simply do their jobs and leave the idea generation for how to improve the business to you.

Employees can get that message if you don’t make it a practice to ask them for customer feedback or at the very least, ask them to listen to, and pass along, customer feedback.

I was reminded this morning of how not doing this costs companies in terms of:

1. Loss of customer experience intelligence that could the business upgrade the customer service experience they deliver.

2. Unnecessary operational costs due to unnecessary calls, because web usability or process usability information is not gathered by customer service representatives.

3. Diminished credibility, trust, and respect for management because employees continually see operational and service inefficiencies not being addressed, frontline employee feedback and input not being asked for, and customers being annoyed…and nothing being done about these.

Here’s what happened…

I received an email from my online back-up service provider indicating that the credit card I used to purchase their service had expired. I went online to change it. Because I have been accumulating points on a different card, rather than that one, I wanted to switch to my other card. However, unlike, say, Amazon, there was no option to add a different credit card, only edit the existing one.

Trying to intuit a work around, I clicked “Remove,” thinking it would remove the current card, and then give me the option to add a card.

That turned out not to be the case.

Fresh out of ideas, I called customer support.

When I explained my situation to the customer service representative, it was clear I was far from the first person to call with this question. Acknowledging that she didn’t know why “they” did it that way, she said that to add a card, you actually had to click the Purchase a New Subscription button.

Huh? Now, who would have guessed that? I thought.

I thought about both the customer-annoying experience such an obviously user-unfriendly, user-confusing web interface creates, as well as the extra cost in call center usage it creates.

When I said to the lady something like “If you’re able to pass along feedback to the department who takes care of the site, could you tell them what I said?”

Both her voice tone and hesitation made it clear that she did not think that would do any good.

“You’re the third person today who’s called about that,” she confided.

“I really hope you pass that along,” I said “Because if I’m already the third person today, think of how much money they are spending on calls that don’t need to happen.”

Let’s reflect on this interaction through the lens of the three points mentioned at the beginning of this article:

1. It was clear her employer did not encourage her to gather customer feedback and send it upstream…and therefore was missing out on information that could help them upgrade the customer experience they delivered.

2. When you multiply my call times hundreds, or perhaps thousands, a day across their various customer support call centers, think of how much that user-unfriendly website interface was costing them in terms of unnecessary calls. If only they asked for, and used, feedback from their call center reps, they could save themselves thousands of dollars a day.

3. The customer service representative’s voice said it all—she felt helpless to make a difference and puzzled that “they” had not fixed that problem. By the way, notice she used “they” and not “we”. To her credit, she did not express exasperation nor contempt for her employer, either verbally or non-verbally, but I imagine she felt those feelings…or at least up until she stopped caring.

 So What to Do With This?

1. Do what smart employers like USAA and Hanna Anderson do: involve your customer service representatives in gathering customer intelligence and passing it upstream. Ask them to pass along both explicit messages from customers—e.g. “Your website doesn’t make sense!”—as well as patterns and themes they notice—e.g. customers seem to ask the same three questions day in and day out…and perhaps there’s a way to inform them pre-emptively.

2. Get started today. Share this article with your team and ask them:

a. What frustrations do you frequently hear from our customers, and what do you think we could do to prevent them?

b. What else do you see us doing that alienates—or might be alienating—our customers?

c. Are there other aspects of the customer experience we deliver you believe we could improve on, and how?

d. What are we currently doing that supports you in delighting our customer?

e. What else could we be doing to be more helpful to you?

If you would like help in helping your employees gather important market research from your customers, clients, or patients, contact Brand Promise Partners, email us to start the conversation.