Improving the customer experience

Mark Sten
Globys
“Enhancing the customer experience” is a strategic goal for the majority of telecom operators, but what exactly does that mean? Is it possible to measure something as intangible as the customer experience?
 
According to Forrester’s 2011 Customer Experience Index, which covers 13 different industries, customer experience ranges from just “okay” to “very poor” for almost two-thirds of the brands in their study. Only 6% of firms ended up in the “excellent” category, down from 10% in the previous year’s report.
 
This shows that mediocre-to-bad customer experiences are the norm, and that great customer experiences are the exception. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Through a simple model showing how revenues increase with better customer experiences, Forrester found that wireless operators have the largest potential upside -- more than $1 billion. The question is, how do you get there?
 
It comes down to defining that perfect customer experience and then knowing – for each customer -- how well you are actually doing at delivering it. Unlike in retail where the customer experience is driven by a single event, customers interact with their service provider every day, even every minute, over long periods of time.
 
The challenge for the operator is to understand at any given point what the customer experience actually is for each individual. It requires capturing information on the customer experience, measuring it against what customers expect the experience to be, and then modifying the experience to meet those expectations. After all, the goal is not overachieving in some areas, which inevitably means underachieving in others. The goal is to consistently deliver what customers expect.
 
So how will you know whether the next time you engage with a customer is the best time to recommend to them a new product or the last chance to prevent them from leaving? Your “secret weapon” lies in the wealth of data you have on your customers.
 
By monitoring what customers are doing -- how they are behaving, what they are experiencing, how they are interacting with you, what they are purchasing, what information they seek, etc. -- you can easily gage how close (or far) you are from delivering that perfect customer experience.
 

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