Optimizing Customer Experience Using Standard Operating Procedures
By Douglas Lim, Global Head of Customer Service, TVP Technology
It is a fact and a well-known fact, that consumers these days conduct more researches and are better informed about the products and services, before they make the final purchase (online or offline). Supercharged by the explosion of the worldwide web, social media sites and mobile devices (mobile phones and tablets); information is available everywhere, anywhere, and anytime. With so much information available at the consumer’s finger tips, customer loyalty is extremely fragile. In this short article, I will not write about what an organization should do or prepare at the front end (the touch points between the organization and consumers, which I believed there are many written articles available). I will write about what an organization should be aware of in order to support these touchpoints to create the ultimate Customer Experience, the readiness of the organization’s backend operations to support these touch points.
Customer Experience is generally a perception of how the consumer perceives about the product, the company and the brand. There are many elements to create this perception, fancy and well decorated service centers, polite and well-mannered service ambassadors, professional and disciplined call center agents, just to name a few of the touchpoints. Organizations can be good in the product, excel in marketing and promotions, superbly setup touch points, but struggle in backend operations and organizational consistency. With information is so readily available these days, to provide good Customer Experience, the whole organization needs to be consistent. Consistency in terms of the R&D, the product, marketing and promotional campaigns, the Presales and Aftersales services; in general all the divisions and departments needs to be consistent and aligned.
The Creation, Alignment And Implementation of Sops, Will Ensure Consistency Within the Organization, a Smooth Customer Journey, and Improve Customer Experience
One of the biggest pain points of most organizations is the lack of communications between divisions/ departments. Such that each division/department is a silo or a fortress, protecting their own KPIs and projects, unwilling or do not see a need to share with other departments. This lack of communication and alignment within the organization will not create the consistency, and unlikely good customer experience.
Let me provide a few examples.
1) R&D created a new technology without prior communication and research with Consumer Market Intelligence or other departments, this technology became redundant because it does not fulfill the needs of consumers.
2) The Product Division created a product that requires double the repair time, increasing the warranty and operational cost. This is a result of lack in prior communication with the Aftersales team during the development stage.
3) Marketing team launched a promotional campaign, but did not notify Aftersales team. Consumers called up the hotline to enquire but the call center agents are not aware of this campaign, and unable to provide further information.
4) Product Managers launched a new product without informing Aftersales team, resulting in touch points (call center, service centers) are not trained, unable to repair or provide any service on time.
All the above examples can be avoided if there are SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) created, and these SOPs are aligned between the divisions/departments. The SOP output of one division can be the input of another division. The creation, alignment and implementation of SOPs, will ensure consistency within the organization, a smooth and error free customer journey, and thus the Customer Experience.
These SOPs are usually management by the Business Process Management (BPM) team. Here are some questions to ask within your organization.
1) Does your organization have this BPM team?
2) Is the BPM team efficient? Does it solve inter-departmental broken links?
3) Is the BPM team given necessary authority to push each department.
In summary, before any organization invests blindly to create the Customer experience, does it have the proper SOPs setup and aligned within the organization. Broken links within the organization may not provide the optimum Customer Experience.