7 takeaways from BT/CCMA “Customer Engagement 2016” eventBy Emma Graham,
A key word that goes some way to summarising customer service challenges is “realism”, according to customer experience strategist Ian Golding, reminding everyone in the room at an excellent BT event – Customer Engagement 2016 – that not all people in all organisations understand the importance of providing a decent support service.
Anyone attending the latest in the Evolution Series forums, which ran in tandem with the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS, was left in no doubt about its importance, with valuable insights from six excellent speakers on how best it can be implemented.
There were seven key takeaways:
Put customer experience at the heart of what you do
“Attach it to every tactical and strategic decision,” said Ian Golding, a sentiment echoed by Ken Ryan, CIO of 123.ie, who described how it was in his firm’s DNA. “It’s just what we do,” he said.
Make it effortless
A recurring theme was the importance of making engagement as easy as possible for the customer. BT’s Head of Customer Insight, Dr Nicola Millard, took it further and stressed the importance of making it simple for frontline employees as well as customers.
Get leadership on board
Expanding on his view that everyone in the organisation has to champion customer service to make it truly effective, Ian Golding talked about the value of top-down buy-in from management. Commitment from leadership, he argued, will be always be more effective than throwing huge sums of money at overcomplicated solutions.
Focus on mobile
Chet Chauhan, Vice President of Product Management at Salesforce, talked about client experiences that demonstrated the power of omni-channel support and mobile in particular. There was a Eurostar customer that tweeted about a faulty seat only to be astonished when an attendant came up and solved the problem before the journey was over. Then there was the firm that achieved a 62 percent reduction in in call centre handling times because customers were choosing to use a WhatsApp channel instead.
Keep it personal
Dr Millard talked about making the experience personal, achieved by putting customer history at the fingertips of service representatives. Nothing irks a loyal customer more than having to explain the history of their problem every time they speak to a different agent. Service reps should know who is contacting them and the likely nature of the problem before they start a dialogue.
Chet also talked about the importance of a proactive approach and gave the example of embedding customer service links into the actual product, putting the sellers on the front foot, enabling them to solve a problem before it even becomes an issue.
Keep it secure
Recent BT research revealed that customers are concerned about security around customer service. As Dr Millard pointed out, it presents organisations with the double challenge of making customer service as accessible as possible without compromising personal data.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the event was the pragmatic, hype-free approach to customer service challenges. BT’s Lisa Harrington talked candidly about how the company is working hard to counter the bad reputation that telcos and utilities always seem to attract, regardless of what they do.
Appointed as BT’s first Chief Customer Officer, Lisa wants BT to reach the dizzy heights of Apple where loyal customers are prepared to stand out in the rain to buy the latest iPhone. The BT equivalent, she explained, is the many customers that are so satisfied with our services that they come to us directly for a solution rather than go through a tender process.
Having bucked trends among incumbent telcos by growing its share price, Lisa wants to take it further by setting new standards for customer service excellence and growing our customer base