It s about Customer Experience not Customer Service. By Phil Gerbyshak

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1 It s about Customer Experience not Customer Service By Phil Gerbyshak

2 As companies have improved processes and gained greater efficiencies, one key area has suffered: customer experience. Customer experience is every connection an organisation has with its internal and external customers across all channels and touchpoints. In the past, the majority of customer support was handled face-to-face or by phone. Technology has opened up new channels for customer interaction, including online knowledge bases and discussion forums, social media and . The customer experience is now spread out over more departments and teams, making it much harder to envision and manage effectively. As a result, many companies have fallen into the trap of providing inadequate and sometimes downright poor-quality support to their customers. Customer service is still important. But it s no longer the sole focus of managing an organisation s interactions with customers. Customer experience has now taken the lead. Customer Service

3 Customer experience has important implications for repeat business, customer loyalty and competitive differentiation. Thanks to companies like Amazon.com, customers now expect well organised websites where products and support are easy to find, questions are anticipated and responses are quick. These firms have elevated customer self-service to an art form. As a result, customers are less patient about waiting on hold, while a pre-recorded voice repeatedly insists,

4 Why does customer experience matter? Customers who have a bad experience will quickly take their business elsewhere. According to the 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report by RightNow Technologies, Inc., 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. 82% of consumers say the number one factor that leads to a great customer service experience is having their issues resolved quickly, according to research done by LivePerson.com. Only 26% of companies have a well-developed strategy in place for improving the customer experience, according to MultiChannel Customer Experience Report by Econsultancy. In addition, research conducted by Cherwell Software reveals that 34% of the IT sector is unsure of the benefits improved customer experience brings.

5 Customer Experience is quickly becoming a key differentiator for companies that want to enhance their industry leadership and their bottom line. According to the Customers 2020 report by Walker, by the end of this decade, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

6 How a 150-year-old British retailer rocks at customer experience John Lewis. This 150-year-old company is employee-owned, which helps to ensure that employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction are inextricably linked. When you visit a John Lewis shop, you are being served by an owner, and, that makes a big difference in the level of service delivered. This retailer is committed to an omnichannel strategy providing a consistently excellent experience no matter from where customers want to engage with it. John Lewis has transformed shopping in its stores and on its website into a seamless experience: Customers can research products in one place and shop in the other. They can buy in one place and pick up in another. Personalisation on the John Lewis website remembers each customer s purchase history and makes recommendations based on individual preferences. Customers can scan QR codes to learn more and to make purchases. Its flagship store features virtual mirror technology, which lets shoppers try on up to 500 different garments by superimposing them on the person s image. The retailer describes its approach as agnostic not favoring one channel over another but putting customer convenience first. This extensive commitment to providing exceptional customer experiences is paying off: In 2013, the retailer enjoyed a 9.1% rise in sales over the previous financial year. Company officials credit having a long-term, customer-centric business strategy with much of its success.

7 The risk of maintaining the status quo Are your customers not using your self-service customer support tools? Are your tools designed with the end customer s needs in mind? If this isn t resolved, improvements may not get funded, the status quo is enforced, and frustrated customers defect to other brands. RISK: Being replaceable, support team being ignored, resources realigned to other departments. RISK: Being seen as someone who doesn t get what customers are going through, and thus, being seen as providing IT services for IT s sake. RISK: Lose business to companies that address shortcomings in its customer experience to provide a better service. Amazon.com makes it so easy to buy products from its website, it s difficult to find a phone number. Its focus on customer experience is so strong, its customers don t mind the lack of a phone number. Ask yourself: What would happen if our customers couldn t call us? How could we still make our customers happy if our phones were shut off for a month?

8 Visualise the customer s journey Create a clear picture of your customer s journey starting with their first contact with your company and continuing through to an ongoing relationship. This principle applied to both internal and external customers. Gather together the stakeholders who own different parts of the customer journey, and work to craft a cohesive picture. Invite sales, marketing and other departments that touch customers during different parts of their journey. Keep in mind: there s not one single, monolithic journey all customers follow. You may need to segment your customers by type and map out their journeys separately.

9 The lifecycle of internal customer experience Start with your internal customers. This gives you more permission to experiment and learn from failures. In addition, there s a level of grace a fellow employee will give your efforts an external customer won t. An internal customer experience lifecycle example. 1. Evaluation I have an IT problem that requires help I will explore the corporate intranet, talk to my boss, talk to my co-workers to find answers. 2. Awareness Ah ha, the IT service desk. I saw something about this on the company s intranet. 3. Investigation I m reading about the services offered by the IT service desk. 4. Use and use again Hm, I m not sure, so I m going to call the service desk. (First encounters with the service desk will heavily shape opinions. The team will be judged by: how quickly the call was answered, the quality of information shared, how quickly the problem is solved.) Once you have a clear picture of your internal customer s journey, work with your cross-functional team to define what you need to change to improve the customer experiences and what stories, successes and improvements you need to share to better position your service desk. Remember: Continuous improvement is key. You need mechanisms in place to measure employee satisfaction with your IT service desk. Don t disregard negative feedback. Make necessary improvements and communicate how you re improving things.

10 Questions to help your service desk team improve the customer experience it delivers Why: Why are we doing this? Why do our internal customers need this? Why will they value this? Why will we value this effort? Who: Who needs to be involved? Get really specific. What other departments really GET customer experience? Will they work with us to design our program? Who needs to provide buy in to make this successful? You ll need an executive sponsor, but there are others you ll need to incorporate. Share what s in it for them. What: What will this look like? What will change? What will stay the same? What are the success metrics? What will we call a failure? What are the resources? What will the impact be? How: How will this be communicated to the department, other departments involved, and your company s leadership team? If you re successful, you ll be able to spread it far beyond your internal team and make it a companywide effort.

11 How can we improve internal customer experience? Keep these ideas in mind: Remove from forms redundant requests for information. Only collect the information you really need to solve the problem. Just because we ve always needed this information doesn t mean we STILL need it! Watch what shortcuts your power users take - and eliminate unnecessary steps for everyone. Your power users have created their own experience, so why not share it so everyone benefits. Pre-populate online forms for requesting products and services - Big data technology allows you to collect and return data collected in a variety of ways. A little effort on the front end can pay off huge on the back end. Observe new employees process challenges and improve those processes for everyone. New employees can offer you the best feedback because they have no preconceived notions of how things have always worked and haven t developed any workarounds.

12 Improving the external customer experience Take what you have learned from improving your internal experience and use your cross-functional team to map out your external customer journeys and touchpoints. Investigation Use and use again Continuous improvement Awareness Evaluation Again, the key element is continuous improvement, driven by customer feedback and data.

13 With external customer experience, you have many more ways to engage with customers. For example: The Home Shopping Network has devoted an entire section of its website to online games, where customers have a chance to win tickets, enter sweepstakes and qualify for new deals on products sold via the cable TV shopping channel. The Coca-Cola Company enables customers to connect with someone on the other side of the world and buy them a Coke. Users can select a location, attach a personal video or text message, watch as the Coke is delivered. The receiver at the machine can then send a thank you message back to the sender, right from the vending machine. Consumers can now interact with TV shows in real time. Some shows display a feed at the bottom of the screen with real-time comments (sanitized, of course) from social networks. Technology enables organisations to take customer experience to a whole new level.

14 The pivotal role of IT in customer experience innovation Service desks are in a unique position to be strategic enablers of change within organisations. Encourage other departments to meet and brainstorm ways to improve or rethink customer touchpoints. Service desks can set the example for the rest of the company by putting customer experience first. Take a leadership role in improvement customer experience throughout the organisation. Collect and share data to help build the case for developing a companywide customer experience stragtegy and articles that document best practice. IT Share success stories IT has experienced by improving customer experience.

15 It s time to get serious Chances are, your competitors are already doing so or are making plans to improve their customer experience. It s not possible to stand still, and you don t want to fall behind your competitors. Remember: Customers will naturally gravitate to organisations that take the best care of them. Now is the time to devise a strategy to radically improve your customer experience approach. Set a goal to offer the best customer experience in your market or industry, so you have a fighting chance of retaining your best customers and attracting new ones.

16 About Phil Gerbyshak Phil Gerbyshak is Chief Connections Officer at Scenius Group. While in corporate America, Phil Gerbyshak worked as a vice president of information technology at a regional financial services company, as well as on the national member advisory board for four years. He stays connected to the IT service management industry as a board member of Brew City HDI, where he previously served as president, vice president of finance, and vice president of marketing. Phil Gerbyshak works with organisations to increase engagement by leveraging social media to create and deepen relationships. It s not about the tools; it s about the conversations. Phil has been featured multiple times on WTMJ TV in Milwaukee and profiled in USA Today, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Visit to sign up for his newsletter and get a free ebook featuring 10 secrets of using LinkedIn to grow your business.

17 About Cherwell SoftwareTM Cherwell Software is one of the fastest growing IT service management software providers with corporate headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO, U.S.A. and EMEA headquarters in Swindon, U.K. Cherwell Software s flagship product Cherwell Service Management delivers an innovative, award-winning, and holistic approach to service management, allowing IT and support departments to align with organisational strategy and deliver maximum IT business value. Learn more at Cherwell Software Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Cherwell Service Management and the Cherwell logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cherwell Software, LLC., in the U.S. and may be registered or pending registration in other countries.

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