Business Case: Improve Customer Experience and Satisfaction Before It's Too Late

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Consistent performance can go a long way to improve customer experience altitudes and make sure feelings about your company soar. But that goodwill can easily be reversed in an instant.

Constantly ask yourself how your company delivers a reliable user experience. Make it a habit. The trust you have worked so hard for has to be earned everyday. Something as simple as an upgrade of an existing product can quickly change everything.

Managing customer expectations and delivering the best customer experience possible should be a full time job.

Here's a situation to illustrate how this can hurt you if ignored. Recently I received a call from an executive of a telecommunications service provider who was in a panic.

His company had worked hard for many months on a new service offering designed as a major upgrade to one-up their competition. They rolled it out to their customer base, but were quickly overwhelmed with issues.

It turned out that his CEO was pushing to get the new service to market as soon as possible. He set a deadline that the engineering team said they could meet. Well, not exactly! Here's what happened:

  • The user interface was 'upgraded' in an attempt to improve customer experience and usage. It turned out that it changed radically and more difficult to use. They never had any customers test a pre-release version for feedback;
  • As if that wasn't bad enough, surprisingly this company released it with no fanfare and no explanation to their existing users. There was nothing to guide customers through the new user interface. The differences between the old and new user interface and how to navigate the changes were missing;
  • Then there were the software bugs causing connection times to be longer than customers were used to. Also, this caused some previously offered features to be disabled;
  • On top of everything else, their billing system no longer functioned properly. They weren't able to accurately collect information on call connection minutes, the heart of revenue generation for any service provider.

This was not exactly how a company presents a consistent user experience to their customers. The shame of it all was that before the switch over they had a good, reliable platform and a fairly loyal customer base. Their rush to leapfrog competition and improve customer experience levels ended in the exact opposite happening.

What a mess! The new service introduction caused an enormous hit on the trust they had previously earned

So what happened? Here's the playbook of what not to do:

  1. Product management, responsible for defining and making sure engineering designed the new service to their specifications (including the user experience), was asleep at the wheel;
  2. The engineering executive did not have a quality assurance process that would have caught the software and billing bugs;
  3. Existing customers were not engaged at any point before launch;
  4. Marketing, charged with delivering the best customer experience was not in the loop;
  5. The CEO did not understand that his customers had certain expectations and never asked his team the right questions!

The result was angry customers and lost revenue. Don't let this happen to you.

Everything you do should reflect your customer's perspective and expectations. Make sure "consistent user experience" isn't just a buzz phrase. Make certain that the way users interact with your product or service is simple and efficient, terminology logical and consistent, and always ask for feedback before you go too far so they are never surprised.

Managing customer expectations is a must. Work hard to improve customer experience and satisfaction levels - it's worth it! 

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