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10 Ways to Get Back to CX Basics

Why is it that customer service isn’t improving? Several recent studies suggest it is actually getting worse, not better despite the declining effects of the pandemic, supply chain issues and the like. If you’re like me, you engage with an organization’s customer service department at least once or twice each month. Sometimes I’m calling to place an order, other times asking a question - and then of course, there are the times when I’m calling to resolve some type of issue or complaint.

In my case, I engage with both B2C and B2B organizations and while some may argue there’s a difference between the two, I would suggest the service levels aren’t much better with either one. Why is it so difficult to do business with organizations of all sizes across a variety of industries? Labor seems to be more readily available, we have the tools and technology, but yet many organizations continue to struggle to deliver great experiences.

The Ongoing CX Debate

I’ll digress for a moment to address the ongoing debate among professionals about the difference between service and experience. There isn’t a difference. Bad service produces bad experiences. And vice versa. They are interdependent on one another. And frankly if we are focused on debating the difference, we have our eye on the wrong ball. For some reason, when we walk through the doors of our organizations, we sometimes forget that we too are customers. We should ask ourselves, is that the experience I would want as a customer of my organization’s products and services?

Establishing a CX strategy, creating a journey map, seeking out the voice of the customer are all very important components to creating a better experience. Lately, I’m seeing a lot of churn about how to develop an effective ROI for an organization’s CX investments. These efforts often take time, money, and resources to achieve the desired results. And there are plenty of people like me who are willing and able to help you address them. However, I suggest that in concert with these efforts, we seek to ensure the basic things are done right for our customers. Things that are somewhat obvious and even easy to fix are sometimes overlooked.

Getting Back to CX Basics

To further along my point, I beg a simple question – what is the primary responsibility of an airline? The answer is to get its passengers from point A to point B, safely. The carry-on baggage policy, the seat comfort, the beverages, the onboard entertainment, the friendliness of the crew are all ancillary to the primary objective. Again, the basics for an airline are to get you from point A to point B safely – nothing less.

The same is true for any product or service. Do you know your basics? Do you know what it takes to deliver your service or product effectively to your customers while keeping in mind that everything else is ancillary to the basic core of your business? I contend that if you don’t know the basics you can’t deliver service that creates exceptional experiences, so I've outlined ten simple ways to get the basics right for your customers.

  1. Have someone, a customer - outside your company read your marketing materials to eliminate the ‘corporate-speak’ that only your employees understand.
  2. Interact with your website and ask does it work? Is it mobile-friendly? Is the search engine producing appropriate results? Is the information up to date and relevant? I’m often amazed at how common it is that websites aren’t working correctly, links are broken, or mobile apps aren’t properly formatted.
  3. Make sure the links in the marketing emails you send work and ask yourself are the promotion codes simple and easy to use? I once encountered a 16-digit promotional code to get 10% off my order of $100 or more. So, in this instance making things easier for the customer is sought after. 
  4. Is the contact us section of your website easy to find with multiple contact options. Are you quick to respond and not just to social media posts but to inquiries about potential sales opportunities or customer service issues? Making a customer hunt for your contact information is a bad start to that relationship.
  5. Call your published phone numbers frequently to ensure they function. As silly as it sounds, some organizations have dozens and dozens of toll-free numbers that are rarely used.
  6. Experience your interactive voice response unit. How many layers do you have? Does it route properly? Monitor your own frustration level by trying to find the right button to push that matches your issue.
  7. Are chats and bots helping or frustrating the customer? Are they a nuisance or an effective assistant responding to an inquiry? Do you monitor your chats to ensure quality and beneficial interactions?
  8. Buy your own products or inquire about a service offering. Try ordering from your website. Are products available with real-time stock updates. Make a payment. And even ask yourself are automated order confirmations accurate and delivered in a timely manner?
  9. Check out how the package arrives and in what condition, something that could be the first tangible impression your customer has of your products. Is it the impression you want to make?
  10. Try to return a purchase. Is it quick and easy to understand? Are your returns hassle free and postage paid?

I’m sure there are more you can add to this list. Whether you are a B2B or B2C organization, getting the basics right remains just as important as making a quality product or delivering an exceptional service offering. Having the basics on point can help accelerate your customer experience efforts across the entire organization. In the end, you're looking to create an organization that is consistent and effortlessly easy to do business with.