Friday, August 30, 2013

More Than Customer Touchpoint Management

During a stint at one company, we were described as an 'effortless' supplier--in a good way. We put forth effort that made their experience stress-free. Later on, though, we discovered some feedback that our longer term customers were more dissatisfied with us than the newer customers. The more they got to know us, the less they liked us.

A recent Harvard Business Review article by Alex Rawson et. al. show that it's not managing the customer's individual transactions that create satisfaction and less churn. It's managing the overall process. They give the example of a media company's customer onboarding experience. Each of the 6 phones calls, home visit, and web and email exchanges were highly rated. However, that the start-up process took so many steps left many customers less than happy. Either there were too many steps or there were too many problems that necessitated more steps.

Too often we focus on the trees and forget the forest. I've seen too many teams fix individual steps in the process without taking a look at the process as a whole and reengineering it. What are we trying to accomplish and what's the best way to get this done? That is the key question I posed to a group that wanted to run a simplified Lean project. Document the ideal and then see how close you can get to it.

I contracted with an event center recently for my daughter's wedding reception. A few interactions from us on how we wanted the experience to be, and they took over and the evening went flawlessly. Would I recommend them for another event, another wedding reception? You bet.

If you can do a lot for your customers without their involvement, anticipating their needs and wants, they might just view it as effortless. They'll be delighted. They'll stay with you and invite others to join them.

Create problems or a multi-step process from their perspective and you might lose them.

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