In The News
Customer Centricity, Inc. President Craig Bailey has recently joined the
Editorial Board of
CRMToday magazine. Check out his first submission
Managing the [Project] Customer Experience and stay tuned for more
articles in the future.
Customer Advocacy Framework - Managing the Customer
Continuing on our Customer Advocacy journey, this edition provides
additional insight regarding the process framework to establish a highly
responsive approach to ensure that escalated customer issues are attended
to, and resolved, in a timely and effective manner. The Customer Advocacy
process framework includes:
• Customer segmentation
• Engagement process
• Escalation process
• Response planning, analysis and execution
• Managing the customer experience through resolution
• Internal management review
We concluded the last edition with a discussion of response planning and
analysis, and the resulting by-product – a situation summary. This edition
will cover re-engaging the customer and managing the customer experience
In preparation for the customer meeting, you will want to hold a "dry-run"
with all participants from your firm (and necessary 3rd parties whom you
rely upon to deliver the ultimate customer solution). During this
rehearsal, you should walk through the meeting agenda and situation
summary asking each participant to cover his/her part "as if" he/she were
in front of the customer. You'll frequently identify items that require
additional investigation, or phraseology that detracts from the message
(which is "intended" to again create confidence in the eyes of the
Depending on the nature and impact of the incident, you may want to bring
senior management of your firm into the initial call or meeting to
emphasize the level of attention the situation is receiving and
demonstrate the level of commitment and importance being placed on getting
things "back on track."
As you are recounting the sequence of events that caused the customer
situation, be clear in sharing the contributing factors, some of which may
be owned by the customer. You'll obviously need to use a high-degree of
tact and diplomacy in doing so, but you MUST provide full disclosure to
prevent the same situation from recurring.
One thing you might discover when investigating root-cause and
contributing factors is that the client hasn't (yet) purchased a service
or feature that you offer to mitigate the risk (directly or indirectly) of
the customer's situation happening. If this is the case, share with the
customer the benefit of purchasing the service or feature to prevent such
situations from occurring again in the future. This can be a very delicate
topic as a client may have had the expectation that it was covered in the
original agreement, in which case expectations must be reset. One approach
to take is to offer the service or feature for a free trial period, say 90
days, with the expectation that the customer will clearly observe the
benefits and ultimately pay for the service on a go-forward basis.
However, you must also make it clear that if the client has not committed
to purchasing the service at the end of trial period, the service will be
"turned off" and the incident under present review is likely to recur.
Take this opportunity to define the ROI by asking the client details
regarding the impact of the incident (on customer satisfaction, employee
morale, company image, revenue, lost opportunity, etc.). Compare the
impact with the investment required to retain the service and you have
likely "made the sale."
You should also clearly establish criteria for closing out the incident
and turning the customer back over to standard operating procedures (SOP).
The "get well plan" may require a few days or a few months, but clearly
setting expectations and criteria for success at the outset is
Throughout the lifecycle of the escalated event, it is important to
identify and reinforce the silver lining. That is, the progress being
made, resources engaged, management awareness and additional value that
you may be delivering within the overall context of the organization's
response. In a nutshell, reinforce "what we are doing right" without
making light of the incident that caused you to respond in such a manner.
Finally, once the criteria for success have been accomplished, you will
want to confirm with the customer and agree to close out the incident. If
there is disagreement, you will want to go back to the previously agreed
to success criteria and determine which items are of concern. You may
learn that a similar or somewhat related incident has occurred which
places doubt in the mind of the customer that root-cause resolution has
taken place. Clearly establish what is and what is not related to the
original incident; if necessary, you may need to start the process again
for a separate but similar incident. The goal here is to prevent
"open-ended" customer advocacy engagements in such a way that requires
your resources to remain "spun-up" when SOP will suffice for the customer
(which is where you want to be).
We are only a couple of editions away from beginning our discussion on the
proactive aspects of Customer Advocacy, enabling you to get into the heart
and mind of your customer.
View previous articles in this series.
+ Customer Advocacy Framework - Managing the Customer
+ Recommended Reading
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his CRM Magazine article
The Search For Growth Through Innovation, Lior Arussy profiles G.E.'s
growth efforts. The important priniciple to recognize is that "innovation,
growth, and customer centricity are interdependent."
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
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