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Friday, December 01, 2006

Managing the Customer Experience

Scott Bush of Martiz More AMA MPlanet 2006 coverage today starting off with a forum session on managing the customer experience (the differentiator) with Scott Bush of Maritz Research and Michael Treacy of GEN3 Partners.

The session focused on an example by Scott Bush (yes he's related to GWB) of a fictitous customer named Melvin and how he went through his daily life interacting with companies in various levels and how each of them shaped his perceptions of each company's brand. Some of the concepts were drilled home when Scott shared some case studies of a handful of their clients, including Sprint, Barclays, and Cadillac.

Michael Treacy of GEN3 Here's the Question and Answer session from the forum.

Q: To what extent was Cadillac's decision to retool their product line impact Cadillac's poor customer service.
A: Scott responded using another company example in Lexus and said Lexus found that their key to success is a great product and great customer service. In the automitive industry you must have both.
Michael Treacy: that certain industries are all about the customer experience (financial sector) and that the product is almost an afterthought. When the product is easily comparable to another product, it's a lot easier for the customer service to be the X-factor.
Scott Bush: In the financial services industry the experience will end up defining the brand.

Q: What are your thoughts on call centers trying to script out everything and how they try to manage their brand & customer experience in a scripted fashion.
Scott Bush: There are different call enters, ones that respond to service requests, ones that sell, ones that do research. Start the customer experience strategy by analyzing your corporate growth strategy and make sure your call center experience is accomplishing the company growth goals. Take the research, interpret it in a way that a call center employee understands it and help them implement it. Maritz has seen several success stories when the call center managers have coached, guided, developed and lead their call center employees and helped them improve the experience on both sides of the phone.
Michael Treacy: I get a better customer experience out of a call center interaction than a face to face interaction.
Rick (my intern) thinks that Michael must own a call center cause he was definitely pushing them pretty hard.

Q: What kind of customer experience improvement tips can you give to a small bank (45 branch locations)?
Scott Bush: It is actually easier to do this in a small bank environment than in a larger one. Have processes in place that will reward employees for superior customer service and focus on the intimate relationships with each customer in each market. Also be sure the senior management team is aligned with these goals as well.
Michael Treacy: The diseconomy of scale is making the technology investments to tie the call center activities with the branch location activities for a main dashboard.

Q: What are some key features of a good recognition program?
Scott Bush: It depends on what level each employee is providing service and what the financial profile looks like. If you can focus in on the non-cash motivational tools then you are often better off. Communication is also incredibly important.

By Jason Dowdell at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

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