Focusing on the customer experience pays off!
Can you name one department in your company that has no impact on customer satisfaction? No ? In fact, every department has an impact on customers, since that’s your raison d’être. Every employee in an organization works to satisfy the customer, or to enable someone else to satisfy the customer. However, in the companies we work for, we regularly find that two major currents are clashing internally: customer culture and operational culture.
These two trends are very different, since the former focuses on customer satisfaction, while the latter ensures that deadlines and quality standards are met. When we focus on customer satisfaction, we make sure that everything we do meets their expectations. But when you’re focused on operations, you tend to forget about the customer in the background.
Don’t treat all your customers the same.
This is a strong trend we’re seeing in many companies as they seek to rationalize their resources and optimize revenues with the most profitable customers. To do this, you need to assess the current and future potential of each of your customers (in terms of both margins and sales). The aim of customer classification is to help you identify the customers with the greatest potential for your company, and to ensure that you deploy the necessary efforts according to their category (premium customers, dilemma customers and customers with potential).
Once you’re aware that all your company’s employees and departments have an impact on customer satisfaction, the second step is to analyze the processes and actions in place, both internally and externally. The aim of this exercise is to identify which actions, throughout the customer journey, contribute to customer satisfaction… or not.
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is therefore the path that a customer request or order takes through the organization. From the moment of first contact, the customer is taken care of, from the beginning to the end of the process. To avoid surprising them, they need to be aware of the process they will be going through. To achieve this, it’s important to review your processes in the same way as you might do in a factory. However, here it’s not a question of having an operationally-oriented vision, but rather of adopting the customer’s vision. This technique enables us to identify actions both within each department and between departments, which put customer satisfaction at risk.
Here are some examples of irritating situations that can hinder customer satisfaction, which our customer portfolio management experts have observed during their various mandates:
- A request for quotation answered too late because the person in charge of tenders also had to deal with internal problems.
- A customer who talks to different people in the company and gets different answers to the same question.
- A customer who receives an order late because the shipping address was not communicated or was communicated incorrectly.
In a company, it is common to find that each department develops its own internal processes without really taking into account the inputs and outputs of other departments. This type of situation distorts the transmission of information within the company, and in particular leads to the dissemination of incomplete information between upstream and downstream departments. Often, this information is customer information, such as calling a customer to confirm a date or delivery, or validating drawings with the customer before going into production…
These codes are due to a lack of distance from the great process of customer satisfaction. Added to this is the fact that operations tend to focus on the task in hand, rather than the reasons why they are doing it. The result: an improvement in tasks or processes without necessarily improving customer satisfaction.
It’s urgent to review all your processes through the eyes of the customer!
In order to steer your process towards customer satisfaction, it’s important for each department to ask itself the right questions, i.e. :
- Does what my department does increase customer satisfaction or not?
- Does the way we do it contribute to it?
- Is the way my department circulates information or passes it on to another department effective?
- Does what I receive from other departments enable me to optimize customer satisfaction?
- Is informal information or telephone feedback from sales reps really processed?
- Does the customer know and understand when we are working to provide solutions?
In our experience, the vast majority of companies struggle to answer these questions. Finding sustainable, customer-focused solutions requires a systemic approach and a change of mindset, which makes this transformation long and complex.
The internal partner: the employee at the service of customer satisfaction
You may have already heard of the notion of the internal customer. But who are they? They are, in fact, the employees of every department in an organization. Internal customers, or internal partners, are essential to the value chain. The employee experience and the customer experience are therefore fundamentally linked concepts if we are to lay the foundations of customer culture. The ultimate goal is not to satisfy the department next door, but to satisfy the customer.
Assimilating the notion of partnership for customer satisfaction means putting the customer at the center of the concerns of all the company’s employees. In this way, all processes and improvements implemented within the company will have a positive impact.
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