We started our journey to reimagine our customer experience in earnest in 2018. Our thought was that we would end up with a list of digital transformation ideas and implementing them would have us jump up several notches in the various customer service benchmarks. What we learned, however, was that while implementing new digital tools did help, the biggest impact was achieved by focussing on the following 4 things:
Define what Great Customer Experience Means to You:
The first and most important element in delivering great customer experience is to define what “great” means. We found a practice within the hospitality industry that really resonated with us. When checking into a hotel the front desk staff will hand you the keys while providing meticulous directions to the elevator to get to your room. They are usually polite, clear and fast and as a weary traveler, you are quickly relaxing in your room. Overall good service. Now every so often, the front desk staff will not only provide the directions, but also come out and walk you to the elevator, and anticipate what could further enhance your stay experience at their property by engaging in meaningful conversation. To us, the extra effort is what transformed a good experience into a great experience. We asked our team was to gauge their responses and determine if they were “walking out from behind the desk” or “just providing good directions” when addressing customer and user issues and queries. So, now instead of just pointing our users to their home institution or their training company, our team helps to facilitate those discussions.
“People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”Maya Angelou
Empower Your Front-Line Team:
It’s difficult to deliver great experience if your team doesn’t feel empowered to do whatever is necessary to resolve customer issues. We decided to take a different approach to empowerment and trust. We asked our team to use their judgment in resolving issues, and do what they felt was right, even if it meant an increase in our costs. Our twist, however, was that we asked them to escalate only those issues where they felt that their judgment was leading them to say no to a customer or user. Trusting the team to take whatever action necessary and as rapidly as possible led to over 98% of user issues being resolved during the first contact!
“Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”Aldo Gucci
We started on a journey of anticipatory customer experience. Mining the data available to us, both in our systems as well as in various public forums, we started to provide tips, tricks that could enhance their experience. For example, many of our instructors move from one training class to another, having just a weekend in between to prepare. To help reduce preparation time, we developed a profile of each of our labs that we shared ahead of the class with the instructor. This technique helped the instructors know where a typical student could get stuck in a lab, or if there were other known issues to look out for in a particular module.
Measure and Benchmark:
Our favorite benchmark is the Net Promoter Score ®. We ran NPS® surveys to track transactional and relationship metrics but we also measured the NPS® across our organization. Our modified score which we call the XtremeS score is a weighted average of the customer and internal team NPS scores. XtremeS helps keeps us honest, reinforcing the idea that happy employees lead to happy customers.
“Customer Service is not a department, but a philosophy to be embraced by everyone in the company.”Shep Heyken
The reimagining of our customer experience process has yielded some really great results in a short period of time. XtremeLabs LLC achieved a high Net Promoter Score® of 47 in Q1 of 2019. According to data from Satmetrix, a Net Promoter Score of 28 is average for Software and Apps sector, while Survey Monkey’s Global Benchmark of 2259 companies has an average NPS of 17, making our Net Promoter Score of 47 an exciting outcome of our teams’ efforts!
Ahmar Abbas is CEO of XtremeLabs LLC based in Washington DC and Seattle, WA.