Managing the Customer Experience - A Case
We are excited to kickoff our next newsletter series sharing strategies
and techniques put in place by one of our clients to effectively manage
the customer experience. Working with numerous companies across many
industries, the recurring theme we see is "same stuff different logo."
This includes lack of cross-functional alignment, delivering a
disjointed customer experience while achieving marginal (at best)
results. In these economic times, only the strong will survive. It is in
this spirit that we present a case-study example of a company that
demonstrates practices and disciplines that we recommend and implement
for our clients. The results speak for themselves.
PTC - Managing the Customer Experience
Any company in the enterprise software services space knows that there
are several factors that can impact the customer experience. These
factors include: the client's IT infrastructure; the skill-set of
personnel receiving and/or supporting the solution; the need for
high-availability; the complexities of the application; and the reality
that "where there is software, there are bugs." In order to ensure
client success, proactive measures must be put in place to manage the
entire customer experience.
Improving the customer experience doesn't happen just because the
executive team "says so." Rather, it requires active engagement of
senior management on a daily basis. Quite simply, there is no other way.
We now begin this multi-part series, resulting from a collaborative
effort with Mark Hodges, DVP and Chief Customer Officer at
PTC. This series will cover the following topics:
Closed-loop between the front-line and R&D/Engineering
Executive oversight and engagement on key customer
The Tiger Team (formalized)
Executive sponsorship for strategic accounts
Metrics and results
Taking things to the next level
Closed-loop between the front-line and R&D/Engineering
How many times have you heard (or said) something like "if we could only
improve customer service or technical support, our customers would be
happier?" While there are opportunities for improvement in EVERY part of
EVERY company, "fixing" customer service or technical support (in and of
itself) is NOT the answer to improving the overall customer experience -
it is just one factor.
In our experience, customer service and/or technical support is often in
the unenviable position of having to respond to customer issues
resulting from areas of the business that they do not directly control.
Some examples are: software quality issues; incorrectly set customer
expectations; service deployment or configuration issues; and broken or
disjointed internal processes. As such, "fixing" the customer service or
technical support department in terms of responsiveness or knowledge of
the team is only one component of the optimized solution. To be truly
customer centric, you need all relevant functions within the
organization to align cross functionally, share and escalate issues
effectively, agree on priorities, and own rapid resolution of the
PTC realizes that being customer centric requires EVERY organization in
the firm that directly or indirectly influences the customer experience
to be fully engaged to listen and respond to the needs of the customer.
For example, should it matter to the customer that a problem reported to
technical support requires the engagement of R&D / Engineering? And,
should their experience be the same as would be the case if technical
support were to resolve the issue? PTC knows that regardless of the
nature of the inquiry, it should not matter to the customer who is
engaged and their experience should be the same.
To support this, PTC put in place a closed-loop process to alert R&D of
customer issues needing their attention and support. They also defined
internal service levels based on the severity of the issue. In
particular, they built an "Enterprise down" priority which when invoked,
because of the production impact to a customer, requires not only
24-hour attention from their Global Support organization, but also from
R&D engineers as well. This ensures that updates are received
efficiently and resolution occurs in a timely manner. The processes
enable the front-line (technical support) to properly set expectations
with their customers and to then provide accurate updates based on
regular collaboration and communication with their R&D colleagues. The
diagnostic process often includes direct communication between R&D and
the customer, all facilitated through the Technical support escalation
The reality is that (reasonable) customers know that "stuff happens."
With closed-loop processes, PTC ensures that customers remain up-to-date
on the status of their inquiry and that issues are addressed in a timely
manner regardless of who is engaged to resolve them. Doing so enables
effective setting of expectations and serves to minimize anxiety.
As reported by Mark Hodges, of PTC: "We have found that through
seamless, cross-functional relationships and processes we are able to
respond much more effectively to customer needs. Our customer feedback
and company performance confirms this."
Stay tuned for our next article in this series, where we will continue
to highlight strategies and techniques that have worked for PTC.
About PTC: PTC is all about helping discrete manufacturers succeed
by meeting their globalization, time-to-market, and operational
efficiency objectives in product development. As one of the world's
largest and fastest-growing software companies, PTC delivers a complete
portfolio of integral Product Lifecycle Management solutions to over
50,000 customers in the Industrial, High Tech, Aerospace & Defense,
Automotive, Consumer, and Medical Device industries.
PTC's solutions enable teams to collaborate across departments—and
across continents—helping them create innovative products that meet
their customer needs and comply with industry regulations. In addition
to best-in-class solutions, PTC also delivers expert training, software
support, and world-class services directly through PTC Global Services
and indirectly through a range of partners.
+ Managing the Customer Experience
If you have received this newsletter from a friend
and would like to subscribe:
here to subscribe
View previous newsletters
Some Words From Our Customers
Check out what a customer
had to say about his experience with Customer
has been instrumental in making the Sophos customer survey program a
reality. From concept to launch, the Customer Centricity team guided us
quickly and expertly through the process. Their years of customer
experience were instrumental in analyzing critical customer feedback
allowing us to take swift and decisive action in a very short period of
time. Our organization highly recommends Customer Centricity and will
continue to leverage their expertise in our customer-facing programs."
VP Sales & Operations, Americas
About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through
better service delivery and management.
We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support
teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other
key operations functions.
In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your
customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner
See What Our Customers Say