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Add value, don't cut costs

We’re all up against it. A deep recession looms, costs will be cut, development projects will be put on hold, consumers will have less disposable income and confidence in the economy is low.

But before organisations consider cutting the customer experience programmes left right and centre, consider how these programmes can actually help organisations better focus their efforts where it really matters and help improve their financial performance.

Here are a few tips for ways a well embedded customer experience programme can help organisations save money, invest more wisely, reboot their sales revenues and making internal processes more efficient and leaner. Yes, Voice of Customer (VoC) programmes can actually help organisations during torrid times, not just cost money to run.

Saving money

How many times have you thought “If only we’d reacted sooner we could have avoided that?” By reacting to negative customer feedback comments quickly, you can avoid PR disasters, stop issues being aired on social media, and best of all, reduce legal administration costs. A VoC programme can act as an early warning system for emerging issues and help minimise ‘recovery’ costs for fixing problems that continue unabated. Listen, take action and save money!

Imagine finding out in real time if a customer was so upset that they were threatening to go legal with their complaint. By getting in contact immediately, customer services are often able to placate the customer, empathise, find out more about the issue, promise to look into the matter and actually do something about it. This sort of action can prevent these cases being taken to the Ombudsman and save hundreds of thousands of pounds in administration and legal fees.

As well as contacting upset customers, a VoC programme with text analytics helps you go one step further. It can identify find people with similar issues who don’t necessarily announce their intentions to escalate the problems – but may do all the same, as well dispensing negative views about the organisation. Contact these customers and nip problems in the bud.

Investing wisely

Every organisation has an investment plan but have they been prioritised according to what your customers want or what your business leaders want? These are not always aligned with each other!

Senior managers often think they know what products or services need improving. But how can they ever really know unless they ask customers what, in their opinion, would really make a difference?

Imagine being told by a senior manager that the Board had decided to invest millions into an area of the business. By examining customer feedback, you can help analyse whether the proposed investment will actually affect customer buying behaviour.

A deep dive analysis into the customer feedback comments may well reveal the proposed investment won’t have any effect on the bottom line. If that’s the case, the company could save itself a whole load and money and instead invest in an area of the business which does affect customer loyalty and will have a positive impact on the financial performance.  

Rebooting sales

Kick starting sales after a difficult period is often challenging but VoC programmes can help you understand which customers types are the most loyal and which may easily be tempted to defect to your competitors.

Use the insight from your customer experience programme to create communications strategies that seek to win back unhappy customers and turn the loyal ones into advocates for your brand. Many a defecting customer has been won back into the fold simply because they are listened to and felt valued by a brand, even if they weren’t very happy with their experience.

Making processes leaner

A popular strategy for many customer service departments and call centres has been to shift customers from physical to digital channels to increase automation. This has become a favourite strategy during the pandemic when calling agents have been forced to stay at home rather than man the call centres.

However, encouraging customers to use digital channels rather than call centres isn’t the only way to save money. Call centres are often handling queries that could be resolved simply by making internal processes more efficient.

Imagine being able to find out what customers like or dislike about your call centre agents and the processes they work within. By understanding what frustrates customers, you can undertake any necessary training or review and improve processes that take too long or cause confusion.

This can lead to reductions in average call times and increases in first call resolutions. All that has a knock on effect of creating a leaner and more efficient call centre operation.

Conclusion

Many businesses will be looking to shake up their operations in an attempt to ride out the current economic storm. But a well-oiled, well-tuned and well-embedded customer experience programme is not a “nice to have”. It should be the lifeblood of an organisation – the one that enables informed decisions at every level.

Used in the right way, it can help reduce costs, make smarter investment decisions, improve customer loyalty and drive sales and make processes leaner and more efficient.

It’s all about adding value, not cutting costs.