Customer Service is NOT a cost center. And it should NOT be a revenue center. It is a VALUE center for your enterprise. Shift to modern thinking for Customer Service value truths in your current strategic planning.
Value Center? Yes! Customer Service rescues value from churning to competitors. It stems the tide of negative word-of-mouth. It makes up for sloppy management throughout your enterprise. It collects an abundance of customer insights that are more valuable than the VoC you pay so much for!
What you’re seeing here is based on a recent article and webinar interview:
23 Customer Experience Practices You Should Stop in 2023 (CustomerThink article)
What Your Customer Churn Rate is Telling You (LiveVox video)
Modernize your thinking and clarity with 3 Customer Service value truths:
1) Stop Calling it All Customer Experience!
Customer Service, Customer Success, Customer Loyalty, Experience Design, etc. are relatively small portions of customers’ end-to-end experience with your brand. It’s short-sighted, confusing, misleading, and damaging to our field’s maturity and executives’ confidence. Do not mislabel your job titles, technologies, courses, academies, certificates, consulting, and strategies. Be specific about what they are.
Customer Experience: customers’ realities vs. expectations.
Experience Management: how we rescue value and create value toward a 1-to-1 ratio for customers’ realities vs. expectations.
- A customer’s experience includes a lot that is beyond touchpoints.
- Usually, when Customer Service is needed, the customer experience already failed.
2) Stop Undervaluing Customer Service!
Reducing churn and negative word of mouth is certainly valuable to any enterprise. Have you quantified this value relative to the value of newly acquired customers? Create a better balance between Sales and Service, and between Service Delivery and Service Recovery, for the ways you treat compensation, talent requirements, development, etc.
Business success: meeting or exceeding expectations (your value proposition).
- Is Business Development syncing with Customer Service in identifying a truly Ideal Customer Profile? Target customers whose expectations can be met regularly by your enterprise. Make sure Marketing and Sales are not over-promising. If not, you’re causing high costs to serve! You’re generating churn and negative word-of-mouth. You’re setting the path to burdens on Customer Service, returns, refunds, escalations, remedies, etc. You’re making Marketing and Sales more expensive in order to make up for all of the above. These work groups communicate value. It’s these work groups’ responsibility to manage expectations! How are you monitoring and motivating that?
- Service Delivery fulfills value and Service Recovery rescues value. Who creates value? Surely Service Delivery does this to an extent — but all your non-customer-facing groups are at the core of value creation or destruction. How are you mining Customer Service interactions to educate value creators and fulfillers and communicators? How are you collecting, communicating, and championing the wealth of mined insights to guide efficiency efforts and inspire growth efforts?
- When you have identified your truly Ideal Customer Profile (primary target customer segment), then align your whole company to excel with them.
- How are your hiring, development, compensation, and career path practices indicative of all of the above? What is the value of retained customers where Customer Service was instrumental? How does that compare to the value of new customers that Sales is generating? Be fair.
Championing brand integrity is the top purpose of your CX team.
Asking a frustrated customer to buy is inappropriate in most cases. Usually, they have already tried self-service unsuccessfully, and endured muzak and repetitive self identification. Asking for a purchase is often another layer of frustration. In Customer Service’s pursuit of saving the customer experience, ironically, this practice damages trust as your brand appears mercenary rather than empathetic and relationship-oriented.
- Stop asking customers to do the job of supervisors! When you identify performance standards based on what makes a good service interaction, expect agents to self-monitor and course-correct with help from supervisors. Use voice mining to monitor emotion. This tells you whether the interaction shifted initial frustration toward the outcome of trust. No need for a survey!
- Make it easy for customers to give you feedback any time, any way, about anything they want to talk about. This increases trust and customer-centricity from customers’ viewpoint. Technologies exist to manage it, and you’ll get tremendous insights that aren’t available otherwise. Your AI/ML/big data is grossly incomplete without mining Customer Service calls.
- Use voice mining and data mining to track defection turnaround. Tie the value of each customer to this turnaround. This tells you how much value was rescued by Customer Service. Your data may be incomplete, so be clear about it as the tip of the iceberg of full costs or full revenue. Money saved from going down the drain is impressive and compelling.
- The huge revenue opportunity and cost containment opportunity in Customer Service is NOT in Service efficiencies, digitalization, self-service. Certainly, these help if they are done correctly (truly agile, ongoing feedback loops and tweaking, stronger people coordination, etc.) However, your biggest gains are in compelling originators of prevalent issues to (a) stop recurrence and (b) prevent issue occurrence.
- When issue originators stop the root cause from happening ever again, they stop the negative word of mouth, Customer Service costs, escalations, returns, refunds, remedies, lost trust, churn, and extra Marketing and Sales budgets that otherwise have to make up for all this. Add that up!
- When prevalent issues are stopped, this frees-up your trouble-shooters to redirect their talents in value creation instead of value rescuing. It frees-up tremendous budget to be re-allocated to higher value opportunities.
- Absence of issues frees-up your customers to be more productive and to advocate your brand whole-heartedly. Absence of issues reduces negative word of mouth that deters new customers! A study by the London School of Economics revealed 3X revenue growth by reducing negative word of mouth in comparison to increasing positive word of mouth. Think of the huge value untapped by your obsession with engaging Promoters. Tap into the 3X growth opportunity!
- Top value is prevention of issues in the first place. Use data mining thoroughly in Customer Service to identify patterns in customer expectations. This identifies customers’ jobs-to-be-done: their purpose in their relationship with your brand. This purpose should be your senior leadership team’s North Star. It identifies intentional customer experience as performance standards for every single work group and partner across your enterprise. When you align everything you do to maximize value and minimize waste for customers’ purpose, you’re maximizing lifetime value of customers, employees, partners, and investors.
Maximum lifetime value is the goal of experience management.
Customer Service is a VALUE CENTER, not a cost center or revenue center. How much value was squandered to-date this year by outdated mindsets? Going forward, how much value will you reap by modernizing your views, practices, and corporate strategy in accordance with these 3 Customer Service value truths?
Experience Leadership is a phrase coined by author Lynn Hunsaker.
What You Can Do to Master Experience Leadership:
- Get a sounding board for work you have underway.
- Request a rapid action template session to kickstart progress in any area.
- Enroll your senior leadership team, board, and council in our 2-hour C-Suite Guide to CX Growth session.
- Redirect your strategy by encouraging all experience managers (customer, employee, partner experience) to learn the full spectrum of skills needed: Foundational, Intermediate, Advanced.
- Build “brand integrity influencers” by enrolling your whole department in the Experience Value Exchange.
- Join our July live sessions — just 90 minutes any week(s). You can skip any weeks to rely on the self-paced version. Attend any future session at no charge. Live sessions are scheduled only when 5+ people request the same day/time. Our webinars are free, but this is e-consulting: super-rare advice you’ll want to return to repeatedly throughout your career.
I am so grateful for all the learning, and I have already referred my colleagues to ClearAction.
It’s a well-structured resource, packed with high quality materials to ensure participants get an in-depth understanding.
I will enroll in all of ClearAction’s e-consulting!
Super LIKE! Well-rounded, great way to learn. It has given me a more cemented view in my role. It has amazing practicing techniques. I can’t imagine any more useful online resource.
I highly recommend ClearAction! You’ll sharpen your focus and come away with more knowledge and actionable insights and tools you can apply on the job the next day!
I’ve been through 4 modules so far and your materials are really excellent!!! I love it. I just wish I would have used it before.
This resource is certainly among the best CX content I’ve ever found. It unites concepts and application. It’s a CXM system connected with business results. Thank you very much for your attention and interaction throughout the process.
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