Have you ever excitedly anticipated a birthday present, and been slightly disappointed when you got it? Maybe you had something in mind that you were hoping to get, and you thought to yourself, “I wish they’d just asked what I wanted, instead of guessing.” It would have been a better use of their money, and you would have been more satisfied.
I’ve experienced this in the contact center, but in the role of the “gifter.” As a contact center manager, our leadership team spent months of time and resource dollars developing an updated digital portal for our customers. We were thrilled about the efficiency gains our agents were going to experience, and we were sure that our customers were going to love it. They wouldn’t have to call us as much – they could look it up on their own!
We rolled out the new digital portal with much hype and excitement, but were subsequently surprised by our customers’ reactions. While a handful of customers appreciated the new portal, the resounding majority did not. Rather, their reaction was more akin to “Seriously why did you spend time on this? We wish you would have spent all that time fixing your return process instead.” How did we miss the mark by so much? Well, we assumed we knew what our customers wanted, rather than just asking what would bring them the most value.
Based on recent customer service research data, this scenario seems to be common. The second wave of the NICE inContact Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark Study found that organizations’ efforts are frequently misaligned with customers’ desires. For example, 21% of consumers studied rated personalized service a top priority compared to 13% of businesses. Given this gap in priority, one can assert that businesses are not investing their dollars in personalized service, rather, they are probably investing in an area that may not bring as much satisfaction, loyalty, or perceived value to their customers.
However, what if businesses just asked what the customer wanted instead of guessing, and then acted on those findings? Would that result in better alignment between customer and business priorities, and result in overall customer loyalty? The answer is presumably YES, and that is why Voice of the Customer programs are so important! Regularly engaging your customers -- and investing based on their needs instead of on your organization’s own agenda -- will undoubtedly help close the gap between their perceptions and yours.
Give your customers the value they want and deserve and you’ll receive the gift of happy customers.