We have heard it all before. The customer is always right and what the customer says … goes! Yeah well, that is true … to a point. We will do whatever it takes to make the customer happy, but we are not going to change our core operational process because that is what made our company successful. Does this mantra sound familiar?
Changing the Customer Experience
It should sound familiar, because it is what we do. We address customer concerns and bend over backwards to make them happy, in that specific situation. Then, we go right back to doing what we did before. Core policies and processes rarely change, no matter how many customer concerns are focused on them. The view is typical, since the C-Suite understands the deepest detail of what goes on in the business, customers may be complaining, but they are really out of touch with their expectations. In the dance of customer service, we continue to waltz with our customers to make them happy, without changing what is truly making them unhappy.
The fact is, that if we want to make real, substantive change with the customer experience, we must hear the customers and be willing to make changes to our deepest core processes. Sound like a simple thing? Well, it should be, but making it happen is significantly more difficult. Businesses, no matter the size or the years established, must be willing to change things that just irk our customers. Not listening and making real changes costs businesses in many ways. It significantly frustrates and disenfranchises customers in slow moving herds. As the customers move away, businesses then start to feel the financial impact on their bottom line. Lavishing unhappy customers with deals, discounts and groveling is actually a temporary fix to a long term problem. Before you know it, the customer will be tired of your lip service and the freebies you provide just won’t retain their loyalty.
Making Lasting Change
It is time that business must embrace real change when dealing with their customer experience. That transformation must come through deep and significant change happening with core operational processes. A structured VoC (Voice of the Customer) program, SIPOC diagram or Customer Journey Map, managed by trained and experienced Lean Six Sigma professionals, can achieve the desired results.