Viewpoint: Voice of the Customer

Five Things You Can Do to Improve Your Customer Experience

By Elaine Cascio

As a customer advocate, I’m happy to hear so many companies talk about the importance of customer experience. But how many are really taking steps to improve it across all channels?

One thing that’s key is developing a clear strategy based on your vision and goals. But if you’re not there yet, here are five ways to turn up the volume on your customer experience today.

Use the information you ask callers for in your IVR.
Reaching a customer service rep who asks for an account number after it’s been entered in the IVR is a top pet peeve. If you don’t have CTI (News - Alert), at least display the account number on the CSR phone. And make sure that reps use the information – change management is a critical part of introducing any new process.

Make customers feel valued.
Use information you have about the customer (upcoming flight, claim status) wherever possible to personalize the experience and build customer intimacy.

Give customers a chance to succeed at self service.
On the Web, don’t wipe out all the data entered just because customers accidentally hit “return” before they are done. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to enter address and credit card information for the second time. And don’t bounce customers out of the IVR prematurely.

Make sure time outs are long enough for the average caller to enter data.
Usability testing will help you get it right.

Don’t make your customers feel stupid.
Make sure that error treatment on the Web, kiosks, IVR and other channels is helpful and forgiving.

Make customers feel like they’re dealing with the same company, regardless of channel.
Stamp each and every experience with your company’s brand.

Some of these may seem like small changes, but the improvements in customer experience (and quite possibly your bottom line) can be substantial. IT

Elaine Cascio is a vice president at consulting firm Vanguard Communications Corp. (