Operations and Management

Fast, Cheap or Good - Pick Two?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Elaine Cascio
  |  January 01, 2012

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 2012 issue of Customer Interaction Solutions

In the past, picking two was good enough, but today’s demanding consumers expect all three. In these times of tight budgets and entitled customers, how can we add real value to each customer interaction?   

Leverage data to create customer intimacy. This is not just recognizing gold customers, but asking how I like the sweater I ordered from you, or how my recent stay at your hotel was.

Make life easier for customers. If you e-mail a shipment confirmation, include a link for package tracking – don’t make me copy and paste it into a browser. Don’t force me to fill out then print an e-mail form and mail it to you. Send me reminders or special offers that are tailored to me (opt in, of course).

Personalize the experience, whether it’s a web session, in an IVR or with a human. Use history, memory and knowledge to get informed about the customer and how he or she likes to be served.

Meet customers where they are. Today, that means mobile web, Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert) as well as a host of more traditional channels. Not being accessible on customers’ channel of choice will cost you in loyalty.

Ensure self service is well designed, robust and seamless. For many companies, automation is often a customer’s first choice for contact.

Blend high tech and high touch. Gather some data (this may be customer ID, customer routing, or more detailed information like the start of an order or reservation) using automation, then transfer me to an agent to complete the transaction.

Improve response time by closely examining your processes to identify where you can eliminate handoffs, reduce cycle times or automate.

Act on feedback you receive from customers and acknowledge their input. If I take time to give you feedback, I don’t want to see my comments go into a black hole.

Elaine Cascio is a vice president at Vanguard Communications Corp. (www.vanguard.net), a consulting firm specializing in customer experience, self service, contact center processes, operations and technology.

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi