Technology’s Back-end Effect
1. Develop a channel-by-channel road map of customer needs. Identify the different ways in which your buyers contact you, and their preferences and needs that must be met for each. The road map should show the channels you operate with and the path customers must navigate to get what they want.
2. Re-evaluate the road map from the perspective of building a long-term relationship with your customer and supporting your brand. Think about each need and how it gets resolved, and ask, “How does this interaction cement my relationship with my customer and reinforce what my brand represents?”
3. Keep it simple. Streamline every customer communication channel, making it as easy as possible for your customers to get to their objective.
A Web site design principle that’s been proven to increase conversion rates is reducing the number of clicks it takes to place an order. When developing call-system menus, less is more. Use clear, descriptive options with minimal menu layers. Then test them to be sure that your customers are getting to where they want, quickly and efficiently.
A quick personal experience here: When I called my phone services provider not long ago with a simple billing question (the rate to use my calling card), I had to wade through five layers of menus, only to be transferred to another system and then wait in a queue for an agent. Then that agent had to transfer me to another agent — another nail in the coffin for that services provider.
4. Apply technology where it enhances the customer experience — not just for cost reduction. Look at each channel and develop the resources needed to meet your customers’ needs. On your Web site, provide customer service (order status, product selection tips) information that’s easy to get to.