When customer experience management agents and leaders talk about their greatest challenges, they are quick to blame a lack of C-level executive support.
Having a hard time getting executives to buy in to customer service and investing in the customer experience? You’re not alone. The following is a post from Brian Cantor and it originally appeared on CustomerManagementIQ.
Because their executive rank cares exclusively about insular “business objectives,” the customer service function is inherently unable to garner support for customer-centric endeavors.
Take the following leaked letter on how a typical CEO REALLY feels about customer experience and what he thinks of customers and the call center.
This is 2013.
Everyone, including our customers, knows we’re in business to make money – and they like when we’re honest about that! It is, therefore, the opinion of the executive team that they’d rather we serve them efficiently than effectively. After all, we know what customers want before they do!
Starting Monday, our call centers will be moving away from the average handle time metric and begin focusing on maximum handle time. Thanks to our pricy new contact center suite (which is hosted in the cloud, so you know it’s awesome), we now have the ability to automatically end calls after 45 seconds. Remember, your job is to answer as many calls as possible – this new system will prevent you from getting tripped up by confusing questions from annoying customers. And since our efficiency is a top priority for customers, they’ll appreciate our emphasis on time management rather than resolution delivery!
We will also be removing our agent coaching strategies. Coaching takes time and also loads our agents’ heads with fantasies about versatility and personalization. Customers don’t want that, and we don’t want to provide it. We want each of our agents to act exactly the same – that way, customers won’t care when we switch to our more robotic, more cost-effective IVR menus (don’t read into that – we’re not planning any lay-offs…yet). Each agent will receive a 24 hour training course that will include going over our basic scripts and learning to use our CRM system. If an agent is not comfortable handling customers after that training regimen, he is not a good fit for a call center and encouraged to seek work elsewhere.
We all know customers only use social media to learn about new products and get coupons. And we all know that the only purpose of marketing is to drive sales conversions. Beginning Monday, we will officially remove “social customer care” from our offering. Our social media channels will be exclusively dedicated to promoting our great product line. Performance and “ROI” will be exclusively measured in accordance with leads, conversions and revenue. You know, the way marketing is meant to be measured.
I know there’s some myth going around about customer loyalty. Don’t buy it. Loyalty is baloney. My wife, who claimed to be loyal to me throughout our 10 year marriage, just left me for some guy whom she claims “gets her.” And, as you know, we recently fired our CFO of 30 years because he no longer met our needs. Loyalty is a joke.
You can’t predict when customers are going to leave – so you shouldn’t worry too much about getting [customers] to stay. And since we’re basically as good as our competitors, most probably have no choice but to stay. If they do leave, we can get more customers – that’s what our social media marketing is all about!
Beginning Monday, refunds or “make-goods” are out of the question. Customers who are angry have already decided they don’t like us – they’ll take our “make-goods” and run to a competitor. Why reward them for that? And if you sense the call is getting heated, don’t worry – it clicks off after 45 seconds!
We’re in a new age of caring about the customer. And the best way to make sure we’re doing that is to make sure we’re caring, first and foremost, about our business.
Your Loving CEO
Having a hard time buying the validity of that memo?
I sure hope so – it’s absolutely ridiculous. Under no circumstances could someone with that view towards customer management ascend even the first rungs of the corporate ladder, let alone the ones that provide entry into the C-suite.
And yet, when customer management agents and leaders talk about their greatest organizational challenges, they are quick to blame a lack of C-level buy-in. Because their executive rank cares exclusively about insular “business objectives,” the customer service function is inherently unable to garner support for customer-centric endeavors.
Getting executives to buy-in to customer experience
Executives do care about business objectives and metrics. As does anyone who knows anything about running a business. As must customer management leaders as well.
When discussing the lack of C-level buy-in, customer-facing professionals typically underscore the irony that caring about the customer—the thing they allege no executive supports—is actually the greatest driver of success against business metrics. Through customer-minded marketing and customer-centric purchasing and support experiences, businesses build the loyalty and advocacy that lead to increased revenue. And by staying close to the ear of the customer, businesses can remedy support issues before they arise and thus reduce the cost of customer service.
Customer-centricity improves both elements of the income statement
Unfortunately, the same customer management leaders who trumpet the impact of customer-centricity on business outcomes forget that business outcomes are tangible and measurable. They forget that they, when promising customer satisfaction is the link to business success, are promising to show how that chain is formed; they are promising to show how investment into the customer is paying off.
If they can do that, no right-minded businessman—who is accountable to investors—is going to object to customer service investments. They might not seem like the most customer-friendly people, but CEOs are certainly not so anti-customer that they would rather lose money than improve the customer experience.
What seems like a no-brainer in philosophy is often very complex in real life. Since businesses work in reality, customer experience advocates must also do so. They must recognize the difference between a customer management investment that “feels right” and one that yields value.
Focus on the link between customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue
The link between satisfaction, loyalty and revenue might be conceptually obvious, but when it comes to running a business, one needs to show that a specific action sets that wheel in motion. An executive is not being greedy or stubborn by asking customer management professionals to provide that evidence; he is asking them to think aboutwhat matters to the customer and what doesn’t.
In a sense, by putting a criterion of value on the customer management equation, he is asking his team to actually be customer-centric.