3 Ways to Solve Your Customers' Problem the First Time

I’m often asked how to deal with problem customers–customers who call back over and over with the same issue or with related issues. A clue to the answer came when I was presenting to an audience of about 500 professional people at a conference recently. I asked how many of them had personally experienced what it was like to do business with their own company. Only about 50 people raised their hands.

Think about that. If you don’t know what it’s like to be a customer of your own business, how can you really relate to customers when they have an issue? How can you create a truly differentiated customer experience? It’s a blind spot I see in businesses all the time.

Take a common example: A banking customer calls multiple times over a 21-day period for help with a recurring online banking issue. The problem is eventually resolved, but the customer is so irritated she soon closes her accounts and changes banks. What’s the cost of dissatisfaction to the bank?

Consider the multiple contact center interactions at an industry-average cost of $5 per interaction. Think of how much customer lifetime value was lost when the customer left? And how much could “bad PR” from that customer cost the bank going forward?

This type of scenario plays out every day, whether in technology and communications companies, healthcare providers, retailers, hospitality companies, restaurants, you name it. So what’s the answer?

Know your customer better. Map the customer journey–not just steps they took after they became customers, but even before they reached out to you the first time. Understand what they want from you and how they expect to get it. Learn where they’ve been happy and unhappy during their journey with your company.

Dig deep into the customer experience. Having mapped the customer journey, use the many methodologies and tools available today to figure out which touch points cause inconvenience, and which ones represent best practices for convenience. Often, the insights gained from this analysis will reveal opportunities to proactively address customer issues today, before they become problems tomorrow.

Build a new customer experience. With the knowledge gained through journey mapping and customer experience analysis, build a new customer experience from the outside in. Build a customer experience that puts the customer’s perspective front and center, and then measures that experience with each new interaction, continually looking for opportunities to make the customer happy.

With this type of self-assessment, you can build a customer experience solution that helps your company meet customers where the customers want to meet you. That’s going to be a win-win!

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