How to determine that company is customer focused? Today there is lot of analytics in the market that focus to sell more items to customers, recommend additional items to customer to purchase. There are emerging start-ups with ideas around gifting and improve ability to cross-sell to customers. Good start for the e-commerce companies. What about their customers?
- What are the metrics around around customer service? For example flipkart website shows the reviews and comments for each of the item. I consider it as positive step to rate sellers and customer can choose from sellers selling same items, the one with a better rating.
- Where to find reviews and comments for the taxi booked by customers based on their experience? I was not able to find this information in website of taxi aggregates. Customer can hire a ride using web browser app, and I see comments in mobile apps and some are responded also. I show a twitter stream on my website. Can the feedback be also provided on the website in similar fashion received from all channels?
- Where to view the rating for car and drivers? This is similar to item we purchase from flipkart. With rating, car companies can provide option to customers to book car drivers with more than a specific rating? Can customers be charged a premium when they want to choose driver with higher rating. Is this already available?
Can we not aggregate the review score of individual items and present the same as metric customer satisfaction or customer health score .I am sure that market place eCommerce companies have technology power to aggregate individual item scores across all items and come with customer heath score. It is interesting to note that No SaaS company(B2C) exhibit customer satisfaction or customer health score.
How do companies create the culture of customer focus? customer Focus is soft skill and comes with right practice. One positive news to start with is news about customer focus by e-commerce companies(flipkart) with a policy to mandates all employees to experience handling customer calls for fixed time duration on regular time intervals. May be it should get extended to courier field delivery also? To make company customer focused, customer focus culture should be imbibed in each department of the company and not only in the operations and customer service departments.
Let us start with hiring. Some companies will hire people or skill, filling a position purely on technical strengths. The person may not may not fit with the corporate culture. We need to have procedures and practices to identify whether candidate has the personality and core values that align with being customer focused. Here is a article Flipkart builds its top management differently that describes hiring policy.
We move to training, Some companies spend training dollars on technical skill and product knowledge and this would not raise bar of customer service high. The employees need to be trained for soft skills such as relationship building and customer service. Does your company recognize that need of both, technical and soft skills, to break away from being average in customer service?
Leaders can influence their organization to have better customer focus in three areas
- Leaders need to lead by example. Leaders should not come across as “Do as I say, not as I do” approach. Staff are not able to connect with their behavior as the behavior is in-congruent with what they want to achieve and leaves employees confused and less than motivated. I hear that Indian e-commerce leaders(eg : flipkart) attend customer calls for fixed time across time period and also visits wear-house and this develop habit for all staff to follow the same. Do e-commerce leaders take role of courier boy or customer to experience delivery part of the business? Do taxi cab founders take role of driver and customer on regular intervals? May be they should ask their mothers or wife or women friends to travel and get the first hand experience of safety and customer service. Have they done?
- Develop culture of people driven and not operations driven When people-focused culture develops, everyone puts people first – to start with employees. Putting people first nurtures to develop a team of happy, engaged and fulfilled employees and these employees are satisfied . The happiness of satisfied employees gets transferred to deliver a better customer experience, which customers like and continue to come back. When the culture is operations focused, the company is driven by systems, procedures and the bottom line. What employee observes and experiences becomes learning and culture and a similar experience is passed to the customer, customer do not like the same and hate it. For good example, Airtel customer service seems be be operations focused based on interaction. Do you agree?
- Employees need to be empowered to act on behalf of customer: Every employee is empowered to make decisions for the benefit the customer. The empowerment is shared as guidelines than rules to employees. For example, when employee performs his work, he needs to self- validates based on his conscience whether his work is illegal, immoral or would harm the company reputation and if he has questions or his conscience is not clear, he refuses to implement process or guideline. Alternately in areas where doing something to take better care of the customer might cost the company money (although sometimes that’s still okay), employee should be empowered to consider doing. when manager forces staff at boundary conditions, employee should have a way to bring their concerns to notice of the top management. Effectively the culture should not expect the staff to take manager approval and perform things that violates policy guidelines or typical way of doing business.
Enforcing customer focus in above areas and other areas, the top management needs to create a positive attitude towards customer service. This customer focused culture enables every employee to embrace customer service as a philosophy in every individual interaction, with both external stakeholders as well as internal stakeholders.
For example, product development teams should have perception of customer service teams as equivalent to customers. There shall be a product manager who is actively involved to look through the request received by customer service and also look at resolutions provided. How much time does product manager spend with customer service department in real world?
Let there be two way traffic with customer service team and not one-way traffic where customer service requests goes to test engineer and only test engineers of development team view customer service requests.
After doing couple of things for customer in their organization, session How does Flipkart handle scale and the transition to mobile? [Video] looked as one-way traffic with focus on technology and product around customer journey start phase and help to customer make purchase decision(before sale). There was no mention around innovation in delivery and how customer are handled when things do not happen as planned. (after sale).