Why Customers Hate Your Technology Solutions
‘Redeemed 3832.56 units of (Mutual Fund Name) on 12-Aug-11 at an NAV of Rs XXXX. Your a/c has been credited with Rs. XXXXX’
Thus read the early-morning SMS I received from Citibank. A happy situation one might surmise. But instead, it led to a flurry of totally unplanned, frenetic activity for me – racking my befuddled morning brain for a sale order I’d placed, impatiently logging into the banking system to trace the `Rs XXXX credited’. Fact-finding calls to my broker. Finding no trace of anything anywhere. Just one SMS. And my morning was shot.
As it transpired, it was not a sale, but a very belated internal records updation of broker account code by Citibank that led to this message. Not only nine months removed from the actual activity date but completely incorrect in terms of content too!
Am I going to forget in a hurry this emotional turbulence the bank caused me? Fat chance!
Citibank is not an isolated case of well-intentioned technology losing its way in implementation. When you ask a business what they do around customer experience it is common to hear, “Oh we have invested in CRM systems from …”
In all the flurry around selecting the `right’ technology, implementing, integrating, training one’s staff it is easy to forget that the technology is intended to be not just for internal efficiency but to finally drive top-line and bottom-line. And that can come only if the technology-implementation does something positive for the Customer’s experience.
A CRM system, or any other technology solution – be it Voice of Customer solutions, Contact Management software, Social Media Monitoring tools or any other– they are just that – Tools. As useful or useless as those that use them. Unless we are clear about what to use it for, direct it in that manner and track those outcomes it remains a sub-optimal investment. It helps to remember that the technology started out being about improving our ability to improve the customer’s life. And not about making our own reports look snazzy.
When implementing a solution that claims to be for the customer it helps to ask:
- — What does my customer do in the current scheme of things?
- — What will change once I implement this?
- — Will the change mean more effort for her?
- — If yes, what is she getting in return for the additional effort?
- — Is it commensurate value / worthwhile in her eyes?
- — How can I make the transition easier for her?
- — How do I communicate the change in a language that makes sense to her?
- — Is this actually just making stuff more efficient for me and not helping her much? If yes, can I be upfront about it and REQUEST her help in the transition rather than throwing it at her without warning?
This goes for all changes ranging from the new website layout to a new way of aggregating accounts for the bill to changes in policies and procedures.
Think about the customer, think like the customer to make change less traumatic, more successful. Make a move towards customer-centricity – one step at a time.
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