Last week, Lara Ponomareff at CEB (the folks responsible for The Challenger Sale and more recently, The Challenger Customer), published a great article on customer service called “Four Trends You Can’t Ignore.” Don’t let the clickbait-sounding title fool you, she actually makes four really excellent points.
- Customer experience includes more than just customer service interaction
- Technology is an aid, not a cure
- Change management will be an increasingly important aspect of good leadership
- Use each data-source for what it was designed for, don’t mix or misappropriate
I want to focus on the last three points specifically, but in the interest of completeness, here’s the most “bullseye” portion of what Lara has to say about customer experience:
“Whereas customer experience is usually defined in a much broader fashion as a product of all of the interactions a customer has with a company, which may include their interactions with the product itself, marketing offers, the sales team, etc. To be sure, customer service interactions are a large part of the customer experience – but there are other parts as well.” (read the full article here)
Technology and Chat Software
I’ll start with the excerpt here:
“So as service leaders think about technology, they should first think about the solution that is intended to be achieved with that technology. Then begin to work out what else, besides technology, that must be achieved to reach the goal. ”
In the case of Velaro Live Chat, this is our Success Management program. We recognized early on that training and support teams were instrumental elements to the successful implementation and use of any live chat tool. So, to better distinguish ourselves from our competition, and to ensure the ongoing success of our customers, we invested additional resources into this human aspect of our technology company, our Success Management program.
Change Management and Chat Software
Change management takes two forms: 1) tech innovation 2) performance management.
As essential technologies become available at an increasingly rapid pace (e.g. social media management for customer service), and as new customer service best practices continue to form in an attempt to keep up (text-based social media is also a great example here, but video-based is probably not very far behind), it can be frustrating for employees to stay trained in all the old and all the new aspects of their jobs.
But even if you’ve chosen to focus on the more classic methods of communication, you will be forced to engage change management through whatever performance management practices your organization has put in place. How are you using data to inform the improvements you make to your team? How are you rolling those improvements out across all levels of the organization?
Lara points out:
“Either way, it will absolutely pay to recognize that constant change takes it out of the most reliable and robust of employees and success in the next few years will be determined in no small part by how good leaders’ change management is.”
Again, to put it in our own context at Velaro Live Chat, we have built reports that make it easy for you to see where you’re having the greatest success (what to replicate) and where your team is struggling (remediation as a basic means of improvement). There are more features that will support this in the coming months – stay tuned for more information about that!
Data and Chat Software
“While one set of data may have come from an outbound study done on the reasons for customer callbacks on a particular product, another might have been done on customer satisfaction with reps’ knowledge of the company and what it sells. And when a data set built for one purpose is used for another (or if data are gathered without a purpose), it is hard to interpret it in a way that leads to useful conclusions.”
It’s easy to get lost in data, or use one type of data to draw conclusions about another aspect of your business (especially if that other aspect of the business doesn’t have any data on-hand and would be difficult to gather data about). While being “data-driven” (or at least “data-informed”) is a worthy goal that many organizations are now aspiring to, don’t let your desire to achieve that goal cause you to make missteps in your process to get there. In some instances, bad (misleading) data is worse than no data.
At Velaro Live Chat, we are happy to help clarify for you exactly what data populates your reports, what conclusions you can reasonably draw, and what opportunities for more relevant data-collection you may be missing out on.