Monday, April 27, 2020

The Deck is Stacked Against Customers

I always thought that customers were always right and serving them was always in the best interest of organizations and society as a whole. I had proof that this was the case in that organizations scrambled to install CRM systems, Mobile-first, Omni-Channel, and better processes with improved customer experiences. I actually expected that the organizations that were serving me would get better at customer excellence over time. Reality has set in recently as my service satisfaction keeps going down and I have to deal with websites that don't understand my needs.  Customer pain abounds as represented in a blog I wrote last year. Click here for the customer pain index.

Prospects are Treated Better than Loyal Customers

Buyer beware is an essential business principle that is always in play. Today there is a trend that is permeating in many industries. This is where the prospects get the good upfront deals and the loyal customers get raises in costs for no apparent reasons. In fact, many companies are now hiding the detail by sending summary invoices or just grabbing a payment from one of your accounts hoping you don't see or take the time to question the increase. Is this the way to treat your good base of customers? No, but it is happening all over.

Organizations are Just Putting Make-Up on Ugly Systems

While we are seeing better and better interfaces to package and legacy bespoke systems, the systems underneath are quite silo in behavior and data. While some of the underlying complexities can be hidden, there is only so much an organization can do to buffer customers from organizational and system complexity. While this is getting better, there still is a fundamental problem with the lack of supporting real customer journeys that cross organizational boundaries, Even customer aimed poster child, Amazon, can't track packages well once they hit the United States Postal Service.

Organizations Prioritize Their Goals Over Customer Goals

If you really knew how organizations incent customer service representatives, you would be shocked. They get bonuses and awards based on the number and duration of the calls. This is why they make you feel that you are just in their way. The really good reps figure out how to fool the system by putting you on hold or passing you to another person to help you get your outcomes while preserving their rewards. In some organizations, there are punishments for those who take longer on calls or handle under the average number of calls. Customer goals are rarely in play unless they happen to match the happy paths for organizations.

Customer Service Playbooks are Too Narrow

Organizations design guidance to customer service representatives in very specific and narrow ways. Rarely are exceptions considered even though they fool you by saying "the calls are recorded". The recordings are used to feed managers and CPAs with optimization of organizational goals in mind. The numbers are aimed at meeting internal optimization goals and not the customer's needs. The recording should be used to expand the playbooks too.

Systems and Supports are not Aimed at Real Customer Journeys

Real customer journeys go beyond individual departments to an across the departmental experience. Most organizations believe that the customer's experience starts and stops with their organization except to collect the payments. Organizations rarely look at the whole customer journey that is driven by their individual or aggregate goals. Some organizations actually measure the real journey within their complete organization, but few look beyond their scope of service. Fewer still look at individual customer's goals and really measure customer success.

Net; Net:

Organizations are patching all of the customer potholes over with surveys that just make you want to vote for that poor service representative that may have managed to make it work for you. Most of the surveys are designed to keep the systems as is so that rewards land in the pockets of the managers and sometimes the customer service representatives.  We are a long way from customer transparency and empathy. Any agility is used for profit motives and it looks to get worse. The CPAs are winning and the customers are losing. Click here to find out why.


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