Because the Customer is King
I shudder (and not in a good way) to think back on the countless call centers I’ve hung up on, the terribly laid out shops I’ve stomped out of and the confusing websites I’ve clicked away from and wonder how these people manage to run their companies when they clearly haven’t got a clue.
Then I remember just how easy it is for us distractible humans to get sidetracked and swept up in the “running” side of things… so I cut them a little slack, but just a little.
The bottom line is that your customers are the ones supporting your business – and if you aren’t providing an enjoyable, smooth experience for them, well, they’ll soon find one of your competitors who does.
And this applies to every company, from retail outlets to offices to online entities to wholesale and manufacturers – it may just mean defining your customers.
Retail stores could for instance pay particular attention to the layout of their premises. For example stores where the checkouts are located away from the exits, which then force you to show your goods and till slip to a security guard when leaving. Or poor merchandising of stock that leaves the customer wandering around aimlessly growing more and more frustrated by the minute…
Ugh. Just those two words together set my teeth on edge. Which is actually really unfair because I know there are decent, even very efficient call centers out there, the bad ones have just spoilt the batch for me.
So how would a call center become more customer-centered? Well, instead of just being happy with the pre-recorded options that supposedly save us all time, why not look at the options themselves. What are the most common calls made for and can that option be the first of the pre-recorded options, and so forth?
Phone the call center yourself and test the experience, do you allow the customer to leave his / her number so you can call them back if they are holding for a long time? Are the operators knowledgeable or do you have to explain your issue to multiple people as they pass around the phone?
Take a look around your website with fresh eyes, or better yet have someone who hasn’t seen your website before to have a look through it. Ask them to test your online checkout system, your events bookings etc., and ask for feedback on what they found confusing or felt could be made more clear to first time visitors.
If you’re a bigger company and request stacks of documents from suppliers, vendors, clients and anyone else, automate it! With the internet what it is there’s no excuse to not simplify the time consuming (on the part of the supplier, vendor or client) job of printing, filling out and posting these documents (which we hope don’t get lost!) when the alternative (clicking submit on my computer) is incomparably simpler.