Friday, October 17, 2008

Opportunities to Improve Customer Experience While Cutting Costs

Patricia Seybold wrote today a good post in his blog Outside Innovation, called Opportunities to Improve Customer Experience While Cutting Costs, where she told that with the slow down of the global economy, you need to be innovative, and gave some tips to consider:

- Shift Policies to Trust Your Customers and Partners and Eliminate 30% of Business Friction
Well-meaning corporate stewards have put policies and processes in place to prevent fraudulent behaviors in response to the actions of a minority of bad acting customers. Instead of using intelligent technology to identify the few real offenders, companies put elaborate blanket safeguards in place. These safeguards create friction and a lot of unnecessary work for your employees, your partners, and your customers.

- Create Trust-Based Policies; Isolate Offenders.
Why not operate on the assumption that your customers and business partners are honest and will not knowingly steal from you or defraud you? Remove the costly and onerous hoops you currently make everyone jump through in order to use, share, restore, and enjoy the products and services you provide.

- Web 2.0 to the Rescue!
About the use of Web 2.0, she told about easy and lower-cost actions:
.Adopt Web 2.0 “pay as you go” cloud-hosted applets rather than large monolithic internal ERP applications.
. Develop interactive gadgets and widgets to deliver up-to-date interactive functionality and information via your Web site(s) and portals.
. Use SMS, twitter, and instant messaging to communicate with customers.
. Use Wikis and shared collaborative spaces to coordinate across organizational boundaries.
. Encourage customers to take polls, contribute content, photos, videos, tags, and reviews to make your company's Web site more compelling and to help customers make buying decisions easily.

- Add Customer Peer Support to Your Online Self-Service Support
Help your customers and your beleaguered customer support representatives by giving customers easy self-service access to ALL the places they can get help from others.

- Turn Your CRM Project Outside In!
Stop waiting for major internal IT integration initiatives. Create a simple “my account and my info” Web page to give customers online access to all the information you have about their accounts, entitlements, products you've sold them, questions they have asked and gotten answered, and cases they have opened, up-to-date information, and updates.

- Make Customer-Critical Investments Executives’ Top Priority
A good way to keep customers' critical issues top of mind for panicked executives is to use customers' own success metrics as your mantra.

She finished with an important advice: "Plan NOW for customer-critical contingencies and develop cross-functional SWAT teams to proactively and creatively address customer-critical scenarios. It's much better to anticipate the problems that will cause your already stressed customers aggravation than it is to pretend that you can conduct business as usual. You can't."

I think with the slow down of the global economy, it is very important to be innovative and creative, mainly if you are an consultant, looking for help your customer during those hard days.

Patricia Seybold also wrote a good book about how to improve customer experience:

Outside Innovation: How Your Customers Will Co-Design Your Company's Future

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