In my time as a CX professional, I’ve developed what I call the Five Principles of CX. I’ll go through them over the course of five articles starting here with the first one: Get It Right (GIR). (I posted an introduction to the series here.) Although not universally the case, and it’s not a good idea to limit it just this way, a lot of folks consider CX in terms mostly of Customer support. That is to say, that most of the time when we consider improving CX, we look to how we handle Customer requests when something’s gone wrong.
This is a narrow view, and we should avoid considering CS as the totality of CX. A Customer’s experience begins before he or she even comes into direct contact with our brand—through word of mouth, online reviews, or just the sound the name of our business makes when spoken out loud—let alone has problems with our goods or services. That said, though, Customer support can help us greatly when it comes to improving our CX.
There’s a theory that a good recovery can make a bad experience better than it otherwise would have been, even without the original problem. That’s often true, but are you willing to take that chance? I’m betting not as more often if an issue occurs, you’ve already taken a ding to your brand. When I used to work corporately I had a process engineer on my team (in the CS organization) who used to say that each call we took in our contact center was an “us-induced” problem, “us” being our own products. This was instructive especially when it came to our prime job, fixing those problems.
Often people will joke that our work would be ‘easier without the Customers,’ and of course, even in jest, there’s a bit of truth to that. Every time we have to help a Customer, be it with the UX on our websites, accomplishing something they need our help with, or answering their Customer support issues, it takes resources. It’s become an article of faith and just a way all industries do business that there needs to be a corporate safety net either to help our Customers through our processes or to aid them when our products or services fail them. Often times in the latter instance, there are then even more processes they have to navigate which often take our help as well. Would that we had (the joke continues) smarter and more creative Customers, they could figure that out all on their own!
Of course, we don’t really think that way about it, even on our most cynical days. But naturally, the smarter approach is to simplify those processes so that our Customers can navigate them on their own. To build simplicity into the system so there’s no need for our Customers to call in and seek help. And if we’re building widgets, to make them of high enough quality that they can withstand the beating our Customers may put them through. “You’re doing it wrong,” is not the right message we should be sending our Customers. “We’ve built it for the way you use it,” is.
To that end, Getting It Right means understanding—through walking in the Customers’ shoes—their needs and uses for whatever we’re selling them, anticipating their needs and use scenarios, and building those contingencies into what we engineer whether it’s a good or service. It’s easier for our Customers naturally, but also for us as we don’t have to spend resources (time, energy, brainpower) on fixing things, but rather engineering them right in the first place.
Although 100% GIR isn’t really possible, we should strive for Getting It Right every single time. Remember, this doesn’t necessarily (unless it’s your brand!) mean knocking it out of the park and blowing your Customer away every time with some sort of over-the-top experience. It’s about delivering consistent and reliable experiences every time.
One more note to those who are in CS. You play a huge role in this as you have an obligation (since you’re on the receiving end, for all intents and purposes, of the bad experiences your Customers have with your brand) to ensure you’re communicating the CX to those who can change and fix the processes that lead to those negative experiences. You have a doubly-important role in making diving catches for the brand but also in taking that front-line information to those who have the responsibility of addressing how your organization does what it does. With your inputs, you play a vital part in making sure that your team Gets It Right in the future. And that’s the first step.
In the next installment, I’ll address the second Principle of Good CX: Communication.