Adding Support headcount is losing
A while back, I participated in a round of judging for a Customer Service and Support awards competition. It was both an honor to be asked to participate, and a real inspiration to read so many great stories of dedicated Customer centricity. I got a few good ideas from some of the stories that were told, and frankly the future does look bright for Customer Experience, if you know where to look.
That said, one thing I saw several times stood out to me and was a bit of a surprise. There were a number of submissions whose authors touted the brand’s having hired a number of new Customer Service or Support team members as evidence that they’re doing a bang-up job of CX.
Getting CX Right: Discount Tire
This is part of a series of articles about brands that are getting it right. Often we see plenty of examples of brands dropping the ball and failing to live up to their promise, but here’s a chance to highlight those who seem to have gotten it figured out. YMMV, of course, and sometimes these are just anecdotes about only one experience, but as I’ve noticed, when a company really embraces its Brand Promise, these experiences are usually quite common.
How about a little love on this Valentine’s Day?
I recently had new tires put on my car. I’ll glide quickly over the headache I went through trying to work with the national warehouse retailer I originally was going to go with and fast-forward to the excellent experience I had with Discount Tire. […]
I told the agent I was sorry
I was on the phone with an agent on a support line the other day and I told her that I was sorry.
No, I didn’t apologize…
I’d done nothing wrong… Yes, I was upset, I was disappointed, I was frustrated.
But I’d treated the agent with the utmost respect and courtesy and didn’t take it out on her. Such is the subtle difference between saying ‘Sorry,’ and apologizing. You can be sorry for someone’s circumstances for which you have no responsibility. On the other hand, you should apologize if you do something wrong. In this case, it was the former, not the latter.
So I did tell her that I was sorry… […]
If you’re explaining, you’re losing
The late actor (who also did some other things) Ronald Reagan had a saying: “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” Now, when it comes to popular politics, what he meant by that was that it’s important to keep your arguments simple: The more succinct you can make your point, the more likely people are to agree with you, and more quickly. If all it takes to come to your conclusion is along the lines of: ‘Well, here’s the fact, therefore, here’s the conclusion,’ you’re likely to win lots of people over to your way of thinking on a topic. There’s a corollary that goes, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it thoroughly enough. As such, conversely, the thought goes, if you have to go through a complicated chain of logic to demonstrate the point you’re trying to make, people may either think you’re lying or don’t really believe it yourself or any of myriad other reasons not to share your perspective. Keep it simple, stupid, is another way of saying it, at least in practice.
I’d like to suggest that, when it comes to CX, we apply a similar philosophy. And it’s most easily demonstrated in your Customer Service/Support/Care/Success organizations. Are the team members you put in Customer-facing positions in these organizations explaining your policies? Or are they solving your Customers’ issues? […]
Walk in other shoes also
If you read much of what I write, you’re aware that one of the best sources of Customer insights and the one I most frequently recommend is Walking in the Customer’s Shoes. It’s one of the best—if not the best—way for you to understand what your Customers go through when they interact with your brand and your processes. It can be tricky sometimes to get out of your own head (you understand, from the back end, after all, how your systems work, so that perspective is hard to shed completely), but getting out there and experiencing things the same way your Customers do is invaluable.
It occurred to me the other day how important it can be to view things through the eyes of your competitors’ Customers as well. Check it out: […]
CX is not a test
As a math and stats professor, I assign a lot of homework (my cadets can attest to that), but that homework is distinct from the exams I administer. That’s because the purpose of each is different.
When we give homework, the purpose is for practice and learning; getting better at stuff, which is often pretty tremendous to watch from the teaching perspective, because in a lot of topics I teach, that’s going from zero knowledge to proficiency in a short amount of time. Homework, and the errors made during the process of completing it, is part of the learning process: We fail in homework so we know how to recover and do things right; nobody’s expected to get the homework perfect, certainly not in the first try…that’s why students take it home and work on it, bringing it back when they’ve completed it properly (oftentimes with the aid of a correct answer in the back of the book to check their work).
Conversely, when we administer exams, those are an assessment of mastery of the subject material. By the time students get to the exam, they should be familiar enough with the concepts and how to do what they’re learning to demonstrate proficiency. In fact, the homework plays a huge role in obtaining that knowledge in the first place (try, try again, and all that). Here’s the thing that this all leads up to: The last thing a cadet wants to gain from a test is knowledge…the time for that has passed, and he or she needs to have it by then! […]