Monday, April 07, 2008
No Service Is Best Service?
Guy Kawasaki has a good interview up Bill Price, Amazon's former VP of Customer Service. I think I can boil this down a bit further: - Make your product unbelievably easy to use. If you make your customer look up FAQ's, or ring you up for "dumb questions", your product is inadequately designed; - How can you predict a company that's going to have bad service? Ans: They don't print their phone number anywhere you can find it! - Be proactive: give the customer the best price/value point you can "pro-actively" (ie. best value delivery schedule, best value product bundle, etc.) - Eliminate contact friction where it exists and is necessary, but with a view that you should be able to gather the information and fix the reason they are calling at root cause. Here are some follow on questions in relation to that point: 1. Eliminate dumb or avoidable contacts to free up capacity and slash costs. 2. Build self-service that works to free up even more capacity and cut costs even more. 3. Find ways to be proactive rather than reactive because it is often cheaper than waiting. 4. Engage the real "owners" of customer problems to work with the customer service team to fix the problems 5. Make it really easy to contact your business. 6. Use the contacts you get to listen closely to the customer, and act upon WOCAS (What Our Customers Are Saying) 7. Fix reporting metrics, processes, and the staffing side to deliver great experiences for customer contacts. And here is an interesting take on measuring customer satisfaction "The rate of customer-initiated contacts that require personal support is the best measure of satisfaction. This is expressed as "CPX," or "contacts per X," where "C" equals calls + email messages + chat sessions, and "X" equals transactions or installations or invoices sent. Measured and shared weekly, companies achieving Best Service see 20-40% per year reductions in CPX and as a result much happier customers and lower costs too. Our second killer metric is the rate of repeat contacts, or "snowballs." Just like the snowball rolling down the hill, getting bigger and menacing skiers, repeat contacts are clear "customer dissatifiers" that need to be stopped--or melted--before they ruin the company's reputation. CheckFree is a great example here: over the past five years their transactions have quintupled while customer support headcount is down 20%, at the same time that customer satisfaction rose by 20%". I haven't read Mr. Price's book yet, so I look forward to it.