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Improve the Customer Experience from Outside, Not from Within
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Improve the Customer Experience from Outside, Not from Within

September 17, 2012

  By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

While many companies struggle to provide the best possible customer experience for their customers, most fall short of the mark. It’s a proven fact that companies believe the quality of the customer experience they provide is far higher than customers think. Some companies, of course, get it right consistently. So what do they do that the struggling companies don’t?

According to a blog on the Harvard Business Review, many companies think that by improving their Web-based customer service and their call center operations, a great customer experience will simply fall into their lap. This isn’t so, writes HRB’s Harley Manning.

“Based on our research, this natural strategy doesn't work because it lacks any understanding of the larger, cross-channel journeys that your customers take,” writes Manning. “For our new book, Outside In, we researched a number of companies that overcame the multi-channel dilemma — systematically — by applying business discipline to the practice of customer experience in an integrated way.”

HRB came up with three primary strategies to help companies improve their customer experience. These include:

Creating an enterprise-level customer experience team. Improvements to the customer experience can’t be made inside any of the existing channels…it needs to come from outside. HRB recommends companies build a team of experts with specialized knowledge about customer experience and place them outside of any silo.

Learning about your customers’ journeys. It’s hard to improve the customer experience when you don’t know what customers’ existing experience is like. Implement a program that will help you better understand customers' real goals, perceptions, and behavior, including how they choose interaction channels and why they switch channels, writes Manning.

Appointing a chief customer officer. HRB says that it has seen an increase in the number of companies that have a single executive leading customer experience efforts across channels and business units. Whether firms call them a chief customer officer or give them some other label, these leaders sit at high levels of power and can “own” the company’s customer experience goals.

Read the full HRB article here.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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