Executive Interview : 2012 Customer Service Feature - Exclusive Interview With Michael Shrader, SVP, Strategic Alliances - SATMAP, Inc
In your opinion, do you believe the customer service you get today from other companies is better or worse than it was say 5 years ago?
The simple, and probably popular answer, is that service is worse than it used to be. Having said that I believe self service capabilities do make it easier and more efficient for the customer in many cases. However when those options fall short and human intervention is required that is where it tends to fall apart. Navigating through the maze of IVR or automated agent prompts, or even finding a number to call can be a very frustrating experience. In our quest for efficiency and lower costs I believe we have made it more difficult for the customer to be "wowed" by the experience and ease of use. My friend, Bill Price, did a great job at Amazon and others need to really think about the customer experience when developing and designing service solutions.
Do you believe there is a correlation between the service you receive as a consumer and your loyalty to the supplier?
Yes I do, however that loyalty starts with the purchase experience and the expectations set through branding and advertising. In a past life we found that the biggest influence on customer satisfaction and loyalty was in the expectations we set during the purchase process. If we met or exceeded we normally created advocates. If we fell short, while we could correct it in service/support we had a customer who was "at risk" so to speak. .
In your opinion, which industry sectors provide great service and which ones are poor?
Product or Retail companies tend to lead the pact when you think of great service. Services companies such as Telcos and Cable companies tend to be the laggards. Some of the Hospitality companies also do very well.
Can you recall a really good experience recently - where you were WOW'd by the service you received?
The best experiences I have had recently have been at the local level where the Associate was extremely helpful and efficient. In each case the personal aspect and genuine empathy and care were the keys. People understand that there can be problems or issues. What they want is for someone to own them and resolve them.
Talking about bad experiences, where do companies go wrong with the service they provide?
- Not providing Agents with the tools or authority to resolve issues.
- Not making it easier to reach someone when you have a problem.
- Not setting an expectation around time of resolution and staying in contact with the customer throughout and afterward to ensure the issue was resolved.
Have you noticed any differences in service from people from different cultures?
Yes. Believe it or not I still find the US associates tend to be the best at providing service resolution. Cultural norms and nuance really do matter.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding the use of technology in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Design it from the customer perspective and to be congruent with what your brand promise is.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding staff in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Give your staff the tools and authority to own and resolve issues AND capture all issues and drive resolution back into the area of the business that resulted in the issue to eliminate it from happening again.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding business processes in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Develop an end to end customer experience model and then put the processes in place to deliver it.
In your opinion, how should contact centers measure the level of service they give?
Start with what is the brand promise and therefore the customers expectations around the service and the experience. Develop measurements based on those expectations. Create a rapid cycle feedback loop that captures customer feedback at each contact point, feeds it back to the area of the business that is best able to impact and improve upon the feedback. Tie everyone to creating customer advocacy as measured by revenue growth, multiple product/service sales, repeat customers, churn rate, whatever is appropriate for your business. The bottom line is are you growing, profitable and retaining your customers.
Lastly, can you share with us one of the worst customer service experiences you have experienced recently (
Communications company. Could not resolve online. Could not easily find a number to call. IVR/Automated Agent unable to assist. Live Agents could not resolve and transferred multiple times resulting in back to original agent. Took 3 calls with same experience each time and over 30 minutes each time. Finally gave up and switched to another provider.
Published: Sunday, April 29, 2012
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