CSP Happenings





Topic: Customer Service Experience

AI and Financial Services

September 11, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is permeating across every type of business, helping them act in more sophisticated, data-driven manners. In March, Adobe anticipated the number of enterprises using AI to increase from 15% to 31% in the subsequent 12 months, meaning much of this adoption has already happened.

Among the different types of businesses and organizations adopting AI, financial services is primed due to the industry’s focus on customer service, the availability of financial data and the increasing adoption of FinTech as in the form of partnerships with financial services.

Striking a Balance with Chatbots

Chatbots are able to automatically analyze text and look for keywords that point them in the right direction to solving the customer’s problem. For example, if a financial services customer is interested in opening an additional account and looking for information, certain trigger words like “account,” “additional,” “adding” and “opening” help these bots provide necessary answers, often asking a funneled series of questions in a sophisticated way.

It’s important for financial services to understand the value of these bots, and also their limits. While they can answer simple (and sometimes, complex) questions, they may require a human intervention when their capacity is reached. Additionally, having more and more staff trained to work with these types of AI tools — often moderators who can analyze conversations in real-time and understand where a bot has hit a limit — can help financial services companies utilize AI as a cost-effective solution to customer needs without sacrificing customer service.

Personalizing Recommendations with FinTech

Gathering information about customer spending and their accounts can help financial institutions utilize AI to automatically generate options related to credit cards, loans, accounts and mortgages. For example, understanding direct deposit information can give a bank a snapshot of regular income, and if the customer is looking for mortgage options, what kind of price range and loan options they may be able to afford. Similarly, understanding their spending habits, especially when looking at them by category, can give a picture of what credit options might be the best fit for them and provide them with personalized benefits.

This example extends to FinTech as well. FinTech and financial institution partnerships are becoming more and more prevalent, being mutually beneficial by providing customers with a combination of sophisticated and innovative tools along with regulatory compliance and security. Using this data together with AI creates limitless possibilities for consumers to take control of their finances and derive value from the data they can make available.

Fraud Detection

By regularly tracking and categorizing customer spending, AI has the ability to more quickly and accurately respond to fraud issues. Tracking unusual purchases based on location or type of purchase, along with automatic tools to temporary freeze purchases and automatically notify consumers of a potential fraud incident are all tools that are being increasingly utilized by financial services.

As fraud issues are dealt with, AI can also help to speed up claim resolution, leaving customers happier and feeling more secure in their future purchases by reducing the amount of time their finances are in limbo.

Your Mobile App Will Define Your Brand

September 10, 2018

According to KiteWheel’s State of the Customer Journey 2018 Report, in-app experiences are growing 50% year over year. Consumers are increasingly using apps for key brand interactions and are defining their brand perceptions based around these mobile experiences. In this sense, businesses should prioritize their customer experience specifically in-app when they think about developing a competitive edge. They should focus on overcoming any barriers to adoption of the app, aligning the mobile experience with other brand interactions, creating a continuous experience across different platforms, and establishing processes to constantly learn and improve.

Anticipate Initial Objections

Consumers tend to be impatient with apps, and want them to deliver quickly. In fact, according to TechCrunch, one in four consumers will delete an app after just one use. With high app abandonment in mind, businesses should anticipate objections before they arise and try to overcome them. For example, financial services apps should think about the more technical or difficult aspects of their apps and make sure those pieces are fool-proof. This means mobile deposits, account transfers and any budgeting tools work seamlessly and reliably. By hooking first-time app users with an easy experience, they’ll continue to come back and develop positive brand perceptions through a no-hassle mobile interaction.

Consider Context

Understanding why consumers download an app in the first place helps give context to their state of mind and immediate needs upon download. Meeting their top-of-mind tasks, whether it be aligning their checking account with the app or breaking their monthly expenses into a pie chart, can help financial institutions fast-track customers to their most pressing demands. When financial institutions succeed in meeting these needs, they get to claim an “early win” for app use, which encourages future use and sets the customer on a positive trajectory for brand interaction and app engagement.

Synchronize With Other Platforms

Apps should never be “free-standing” for businesses whose customers have an online or in-store history. In other words, pieces of information about the customer should easily sync with the app, and continue to do so for future interactions. Consider the example of a customer adding an additional owner to their savings account. If the customer submits an inquiry online (from laptop/desktop), they should be able to get onto their app later and follow up with the correspondence. This continuity among different channels – especially in-person, online and through the app – is an intuitive and expected connection consumers want. The fluid experience among channels creates a singular and cohesive customer experience where the various channels they use are purely for convenience.

Listen And Improve

Constant improvement is a must for apps, and while app developers obviously have an expertise in design and experience, customer feedback should be a core part of the improvement process. Understanding bugs, functionality issues, or missing pieces of an app can help developers create an experience that meets and exceeds expectations for the next user. Ratings, bug reporting, open-ended feedback links, and active solicitation of survey feedback are all ways financial institutions can gain valuable insight. Similarly, integrating regular review and analysis of feedback, usually conducted jointly by an internal operations and app development team, can make the most use of this insight and help establish a reviewable timeline for implementation of the most important improvements.

Segmentation: Ways to Think About Your Customers

August 12, 2018

Any successful customer experience improvement initiative requires intimate knowledge of who the customer actually is. There are classic pieces demographic and background information, such as geographic location, gender or age, but these elements alone don’t tell the whole story. In order to accurately meet and improve service to customers, businesses need to think about the different types of customers that come to them, and tailor their service accordingly. As you push to improve your customer experience, consider the following factors:

Product/Service mix

The unique combination of products/services your customer solicits could make them entirely different from another customer, especially as your product/service offerings broaden in scope. For example, a financial services customer with a simple checking and savings account has a unique set of needs from an individual with a mortgage and auto loan. Despite both being customers of the same financial institution, the information important to them, the way they expect to communicate, their concerns and their monetary responsibility to the financial institution greatly differ.

This is an easy way for financial institutions to group their customers and create personas to better understand how their service delivery expectations will change. Grouping customers by the suite of products they use, understanding the unique needs of people who typically use each combination of products and proactively addressing their concerns creates a distinguishable level of customer satisfaction that will turn them into brand advocates.

Representation

The individuals or institutions represent impact their choices and the way they interact with your business. For individual consumers working with financial institutions, their family status and those they are directly responsible for play into their decisions. This is especially true if they oversee multiple accounts or loans for their children.

For business customers, a point-person from a company may have an entire portfolio of products/services they use and are responsible for related to your financial institution. The context of their business, such as their company’s valuation, net monthly revenue, and their industry all play into the way they think about their financial service needs.

Preferred Channel

Perhaps obviously, the preferred channel an individual does business through impacts their overall needs and the way they’ll perceive their overall experience with your company. A digital-first customer for a financial institution will develop their opinion of your company largely by the efficacy of your app and the ability to get issues resolved that exceed beyond the capabilities of the app. Compared to a person who prefers to physically come into brick and mortar branches, a digital-first customer may have a lower tolerance for getting issues resolved in a face-to-face or over-the-phone environment, for example. These nuances are important lenses to look at customers through to meet their needs.

Personal Situation

Perhaps most importantly, it’s important for financial institutions to learn about their customers up close and personal once they get a chance. Learning about an individuals unique circumstances and set of needs from that individual not only is the most fool-proof way to learn about a customer, but also provides an opportunity to create an interpersonal relationship, exceeding the parameters of competitive edge and traditional value adds businesses focus on. In this sense, interacting with the customer and creating a special relationship is more valuable than ever in an increasingly digital-only world.

How To: Coaching Behaviors That Last

August 8, 2018

Coaching employees can prove to be difficult. Managers and directors want their employees to actively pursue initiatives to increase profitability, sometimes in the form of improving customer experience, using sales tactics to increase revenue or offering the right products/services when the opportunity presents itself.

However, taking company goals and pursuing them through lasting change in the form of employee coaching can be difficult. Often, coaching initiatives start off strong, but fall off as time passes and employees fail to solidify positive behaviors. Managers and directors should use the following approach to makes sure the behaviors they coach are meaningful and create lasting change within their organizations:

Identifying End Goals

Managers should lead any behavioral coaching by identifying the goals of the company. These goals are great to introduce even before coaching initiatives begin. By aligning employees with the central goals of the company, and talking about how those goals will positively impact all of the individuals associated with the business, managers create excitement and energy necessary at the beginning of any new initiative. Giving these company goals lays the framework for changes that follow in terms of coaching new employee behaviors.

Identifying Behavioral Goals

An important framework for creating a positive sense of achievable responsibility among employees is to set realistic behavioral goals, which are intended to pursue company goals. Take the example of a company goal at a retail clothing store to increase denim sales. Managers can identify employee behaviors, like informing customers of a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale for all denim in store, as a measurable tool to fuel denim sales. In this example, if an employee historically only informs customers who ask about sales of the buy-one-get-one deal, there is a major opportunity for growth in the form of informing 90% (or more) of customers. This behavior, which drives denim sales, is measurable, coachable and achievable for the employee to pursue.

Making a Case for Change

Once new sets of measurable behaviors have been established, managers and directors should explicitly tie those pieces back to company goals and give employees regular reminders about the way their actions impact the business (and their personal wellbeing) as a whole. Managers should also be willing to overcome barriers, including discomfort employees may feel with certain behaviors. Understanding the root cause of their discomfort, having an open discussion and making sure the behavior is palatable for employees is key to gain buy-in.

Measuring Progress of Behavioral Goals

Regularly checking in and finding smart, efficient ways to measure employee progress toward goals is essential to create lasting change and hold employees accountable. Without regular check-ins, employees can revert to old habits too easily and ignore advice from their managers. By checking in on their progress, and making sure those behaviors are measurable, managers can more successfully coach, and also better understand the efficacy of the behaviors they’re coaching.

Reinforcing Positive Behavior by Connecting Positive Outcome

Importantly, success among employees should be celebrated. When good behaviors are followed and goals are met, employees should be praised, congratulated, and incentivized to further their positive behaviors. By providing an incentive, whether financial or otherwise, employees can be encouraged not only to continue the positive behaviors they’ve established, but come up with innovative ways to develop new initiatives and further drive profitability.

Financial Institutions and FinTech Partnerships Pick Up Steam in 2018

August 3, 2018

In 2018 and beyond, traditional financial institutions and FinTech companies are making serious moves in the form of partnerships. While financial institutions offer a captive audience and the security of adherence of financial regulations, FinTech companies offer a new, creative and practical way to help consumers handle their personal finances, accelerating innovation among the financial institutions that take advantage of their offerings.

Banks Gain Information and New Offerings

One of the biggest benefits financial institutions gain by partnering with FinTech startups is the ability to stay engaged with their customers — and vice versa. On one hand, banks gain access into special insights about their customers such as their spending habits, how they choose to allocate their money, and savings goals they might have. This information helps banks accurately and easily offer other services, like loans, to their customers in a way that is highly tailored to their customers’ needs and unique financial situations.

In a similar fashion, consumers stay more engaged with their banks by getting genuine use from innovative FinTech solutions. In a way, FinTech companies do a lot of the legwork when it comes to innovation by coming up with creative and useful ways for consumers to better control their finances. This takes some pressure off banks who do a good job of choosing and supporting FinTech partnerships, and allows them to instead focus on building relationships with their customers.

FinTech Gains Legitimacy and Adoption

By partnering with banking institutions, FinTech companies can create a form of legitimacy and sense of security around their product. Financial institutions rely on their security and protection against risks like identity theft, and this reputation they’ve cultivated through adherence to banking regulations can be extended to FinTech companies they partner with. Many of the regulatory requirements that apply to financial institutions involve an incredibly steep legal and executive learning curve, and financial institutions offer the know-how to help FinTech companies overcome this hurdle.

Furthermore, FinTech companies gain a large potential new audience with every financial institution partnership they create. The increased adoption and partnership with a financial institution creates a positive cycle of increased adoption, which adds legitimacy, fostering even more adoption.

Importance of a Personalized Relationship

The reality is that the new world of banking and FinTech is constantly changing. Small and large disruptions will continue to be a theme in the years to come, and financial institutions will need to continue to leverage partnerships in order to stay relevant and competitive. However, this change-is-the-only-constant attitude also creates a unique competitive edge for good old fashioned relationship building. More than ever, consumers are looking for financial institutions that understand their needs, go the extra mile to help them achieve financial security and assuredness. Financial institutions that add personal touches and take time to personally get to know their customers create a layer of added security among a sea of constant change and a differentiating factor that is, unfortunately, overlooked by too many tech-focused banks and credit unions. A combination of innovative FinTech partnerships and old-school customer service will create a winning combination through 2019 and beyond.

Importance of Customer Participation

July 17, 2018

Customer feedback is a huge part of directing and improving customer experience. Feedback provides insight into pain points, areas for improvement and can be solicited at various customer touchpoints to better understand what is going through a customer’s mind at a given time.

However, customer participation, or the active involvement of customers in your brand, is becoming increasingly valuable, especially in the age of social media. Social media is a useful vehicle to engage customer participation in a way that extends beyond matter-of-fact feedback. Instead, customer participation gives those invested in your brand a chance to contribute to your brand’s culture, voice desires for new products, raise awareness about issues important to them and give executives a more intimate perspective into how their own customers’ voices can shape their brand and future as a business.

Directing Product Development

The most obvious application of customer participation is involvement in the product/service creation process. A good example is a food/beverage provider creating a campaign to let customers choose a new flavor. In this situation, customers could go online or onto an app and vote for their favorite flavor they want the brand to launch in the future. Their active involvement and participation creates a feeling of ownership and unique engagement they might not have if they were simply “prescribed” a new flavor profile.

The opportunity for customer participation in this way not only to fine-tuning existing products, but creating new products/services as well. Listening to customers and giving them the opportunity to voice their opinions can help create a clear path for new product development by identifying areas where they are unsatisfied, or using your company’s products/services in conjunction with their own devices.

Generating Hype

Customer participation is a huge way to create excitement and authentic engagement around your brand. A great example of generating hype is use of a social media hashtag with your brand’s products, or simply related to your brand’s culture.

By allowing customers to photograph themselves using your product, or in an environment related to your brand (e.g., an outdoors store creating a hashtag #mylifeoutside for consumers to use when they have camping pictures) generates authentic excitement around your brand. The combination of authenticity from real people, along with the ease of doing so (simply creating a hashtag to be populated with thousands of pictures) and the intimacy of the interaction create a unique space for your brand that is impossible to replicate.

Developing and Maintaining Brand Identity

While products and services are incredibly important, more and more, consumers are gravitating toward those same products and services based on a greater brand identity. This brand identity relates to how they perceive the brand, how they perceive themselves, and how the brand enhances their identity or creates an identity of its own they want to support.

Development of a brand identity comes in many forms; one of the original positive ways to create brand identity was through charitable giving. This is extremely true today — many brands try to align themselves with doing good in order to increase visibility and create a positive image. However, brand identity now extends to specified attitudes, core values, lifestyles and perceptions about the world.

Customer engagement is so important in this sense — it helps consumers shape your brand, rather than be recipients of it. It gives your consumers a voice and helps create a reciprocal relationship between your brand and your consumers. In this way, consumers are truly dictating the direction your brand goes and actively contributing to the culture surrounding it, creating a more genuine and grassroots identity.

Consumers Know Their Value

June 29, 2018

The average Millennial consumer has certain preferences when it comes to their buying habits. They want the brands they interact with to exercise a strong degree of corporate social responsibility. Also, they have less tolerance for unintuitive technology – they expect apps, interfaces and online transactions to happen with ease.

Importantly, Millennial consumers in general tend to express a sort of self-recognition not as prevalent in the past. Specifically, they recognize their own value. They know they are important as customers to businesses, and use this as a way to leverage what they want out of their relationships. However, companies that see these heightened expectations as opportunities, rather than unrealistic burdens, are poised to reap the benefits of customer loyalty and a closer partnership with their consumers.

Tech-fluency

Put simply, young consumers want easy technology. Where older generations expect difficulty and bugs dealing with technology, young consumers expect it to work in an intuitive manner every time. This extends to a larger idea – they want the brands and companies they interact with to be easy. They want not just a great product or service, but an enjoyable experience getting that product or service delivered.

No-Frills Assistance

Consumers are privy to certain information that used to exist only in the minds of marketers – specifically, that it is cheaper to maintain an existing customer than to obtain a new one. With this in mind, they tend to think of their relationships with brands in a more longitudinal manner. In other words, they think of their individuals shopping experiences within the broader frame of their relationship with a brand. This is especially important when they’re dissatisfied. When something goes wrong, they want the brand they’re dealing with to recognize their long-term value as a consumer. They want miscommunications to be accounted for, mis-placed orders to be comp’d and faulty products to be replaced; and, these are not simply wants, but expectations, because they know they can offer the brand/company steady revenue in the future.

Social Giving

A particularly interesting perspective of Millennial consumers is their emphasis on corporate social responsibility. They see corporations as more than mechanisms to generate value and revenue. Instead, they think of businesses as community members, entities with political influence, organizations with sets of values, and financial powerhouses that have the ability to wield that power in a positive way. Businesses should consider the ways their corporate giving and ideals reflect their customers in order to gain and retain passionate brand advocates. 

Brand Consultants

New expectations from young consumers put the impetus on brands to not only sell their products/services, but to consult their customers on how to best use their products and services. For example, many outdoors sporting goods stores offer lessons to help their consumers use their products. Or, SaaS companies put a huge emphasis on client education to make sure those using their products are happy. Clothing stores don’t simply provide garments, but offer “Look-books” to help consumers brainstorm ideas for full outfits. The future of consumerism will take advantage of this trend, and brands will use consumers’ desire for guidance as a platform to celebrate their own products/services.

Consumers do more than exchange money for products/services. They become brand advocates. They actively participate in constructive product feedback exercises. They share product pictures on social media. And, perhaps most importantly, they think about the brands they associate with as a form of self-identity, reflecting a unique and special degree of emotional bond. Businesses should see these new standards not just as higher expectations, but as unique opportunities to rise above the competition and gain long-term, passionate customers.

Customer Experience: A Starting Point

June 18, 2018

“I want to improve, but I don’t know where to begin.”

This phrase has been uttered countless times by business decision makers. Most executives have a good understanding of how customer experience drives bottom-line revenue and growth. However, the actual process of improvement sometimes proves to be more elusive. Executives want to improve touchpoints, but they don’t know which to address. Or they want to understand their customers better, but aren’t sure what they need to know.

Consider the following pieces of customer requirements, behaviors, demographics and attitudes when you create a framework for customer experience improvement.

Requirements

First and foremost, business executives and managers should understand what their customers need. Specifically, they need to understand the core function their products/services deliver. From there, they can dive into the nuances: how their products/services fits into their customers’ lives, their expectations in terms of product/service delivery and what parts of the customer journey are most important.

This platform gives managers a starting point to identify their most important and underperforming customer touchpoints — the points of contact which, if improved, would do the most to improve their overall customer satisfaction.

Behaviors

Certain customer behaviors are important to understanding their overall experience. The most obvious indicators of satisfaction are repeat purchases and other actions, such as personal referrals and positive reviews. However, other actions can help businesses understand their personal weak points and what they do well. Understanding how customers progress in their pursuit of your business’s set of products/services sheds light on the changing needs of your consumers.

For example, an investment advisor may have proprietary finance tools as well as professionals on-hand to offer consulting services. If customers pursue the software, over the course of their interactions with this company, they have personal capacity and willingness to analyze data, with some help. However, if they are more interested in hiring a personal financial consultant, they may want a professional to do the heavy lifting and desire a more “hands-off” experience.

Understanding these different customer behaviors will help your company learn more about the needs and requirements you’ve already identified, and will tell you an extra layer of how they can best be served.

Demographics

Demographics are a core part of any customer understanding. It would be negligent to say the core demographic questions (age, income, location, marital status, etc.) could tell you everything you need to know about your customer, but it certainly adds a layer of comprehension.

Most customers have certain characteristics based on these demographics. Affluent customers tend to behave and interact with brands differently than those who have a household income below the median. Millennial customers tend to have higher expectations of corporate social responsibility. Importantly as well, customer demographic information is often available to most companies — they simply need to aggregate it and process it in order to gain a better understanding.

Learning about your customers’ demographics may seem like an obvious move. However, this type of learning is only considered obvious because of its popularity and power to create a profile of your customer base.

Attitudes

Attitudes are a difficult aspect of customer feedback to manage and calculate. Usually, a back story provided by soliciting qualitative feedback from customers is needed to understand their perspectives. However, this attitudinal information can help paint a picture to align with the numbers.

For example, during a website survey, customers are typically able to rate their experience, including different points like ease of site navigation or speed of getting what they need. However, an open-ended question soliciting a written response can help explain why they rated their experience as such, describe pain points and offer constructive criticism for how to improve.

Be sure to lay the groundwork for your brand interactions by soliciting this kind of attitudinal feedback, even if it’s passively or in an unstructured manner, such as soliciting online reviews or asking customers face-to-face about their experiences. The feedback you gain lays the groundwork for how your customer experience improvement begins.

Emotional Drivers of Customer Experience

May 30, 2018

customer loyalty measurementMore and more, marketers focus on the emotions customers experience while interacting with their brand, and the decision-making implications behind those emotions. Historically, marketers assumed customers were perfectly logical individuals who would complete airtight analyses around price, quality and ease of use before a purchase.

However, the emotional drivers sometimes outweigh these traditional considerations. Marketers who focus on the emotions of their customers cultivate meaningful customer relationships and know how they can best spend their time and energy in improving the overall customer experience.

Long lasting relationships

The biggest implication of emotional management is the longevity of a relationship with a customer. Particularly in terms of service providers, the rapport and ease of doing business can sometimes outweigh price and quality in the customer’s mind. If your business is easy to work with, customers will shell out extra money or be more tolerant of mistakes because the greater relationship you’ve established is emotionally rewarding and gives them peace of mind.

Relative importance

Not all touchpoints are created equal. Depending on the scenario, certain points along the customer journey will be highly stressful or difficult, while others will be relatively easy. Take the example of a hot tub – picking out a model may be easy for the purchaser, while installation may be more complex and stressful.

Understanding the emotional weight of various touchpoints will help you better understand and deliver for your customers when it matters most.

Emphasizing customer experience – delivery, not just specs

The emotion of purchasing a product or service is defined by the provider’s ability to meet and exceed customer expectations. A product/service may out-perform the competition in terms of cost and quality, but if customers have to jump through hoops and are treated poorly during interactions with your brand, the value of the product/service is irrelevant.

One of the ways this manifests itself is in customer communication. Ease of purchase and clear explanation of product/service benefits help your customers get the most out of their purchase. Communication helps shape the experience and frame your business in their minds by setting expectations and (hopefully) exceeding those expectations in a way that will delight them.

Selling to the individual, not merely the product user

On paper, the statement sounds obvious: customers are real people. However, it’s worth reiterating. They’re complex, multi-faceted individuals, and your product or service is likely a small piece of their day-to-day life. For businesses, this means your product or service’s relative importance is small enough that customers likely aren’t as interested in what you have to offer as your marketing team.

Understanding this relative importance is important in terms of messaging. Your marketing team should focus less on the minute details that make your product/service better, and more on the big-picture conflict resolution. Understanding what problem your product/service solves, how it can be attained as easily as possible and how it fits into your customers’ lives will create a memorable and attractive customer experience that will grow your brand through repeat customers and passionate brand advocates.

Break Down Silos to Understand Customer Experience

May 2, 2018

Most companies function in silos. It’s a difficult habit to break – the reality is that certain teams require a lot of communication within their own departments and can function with minimal communication to other departments. Once a company becomes too siloed, the departments are rearranged and forced to transition into a new structure. Then, those new structures begin to become siloed.

In some ways, this siloing is inevitable. However, rather than trying to foster constant communication across different departments, periodic and meaningful interaction can be incredibly helpful. And one way to get meaningful interaction in a short amount of time is to have team members do each other’s jobs, or at least shadow and try to help, for a half-day.

Getting divergent departments to interact isn’t intended to make them experts at every job specialty in the business – instead, the goal is to learn about the ways one’s job specialty impacts others. How does a salesperson’s promises affect a client services team? How does ticketing affect vending at a movie theater? Different departments affect each other, and more importantly, their combined efforts affect the end customer experience.

Fixing Existing Issues in Other Departments

Despite efforts to solicit feedback along the customer journey, there are inevitably times when information falls through the cracks. Specifically, the shortcomings of one touchpoint may not become apparent until further down the customer journey.

Take the example of warranty communication. If a customer made a purchase with a warranty over a year ago, they’re unlikely to remember what the warranty specifically covered. This is understandable. However, they should have easy access to information about their warranty and have an easy process for getting their purchased fixed. Is it hard for them to find information about their warranty? Does the company they purchased from make this process easy, or does it feel like they’re trying to avoid accountability? Does the warranty have good coverage?

In the above example, the warranty they signed up for over a year ago doesn’t apply until much later. This is true of many touchpoints:

  • A misleading ad won’t become relevant until the customer is in-store, ready to purchase.
  • A purchase decision won’t truly merit itself until the product is at home and in-use.
  • Frustrations around wait times for customer support won’t be communicated until support is on the line.

Therefore, interdepartmental communication serves a vital function in communicating feedback to appropriate departments who don’t always hear feedback in the moment.

Communicating for a More Flawless Experience

Getting divergent departments to work together also helps create a customer experience that feels like it’s being delivered by a single organization, rather than several separate departments. Giving employees a window into their co-workers daily routines is important for a few reasons:

  • Employees can align their messaging. Does your staff talk about your products and services the same way? Do they use the same vocabulary? Consistency in the way your products and services are described by your organization helps reinforce a positive customer experience by eliminating confusion.
  • There is continuity in the customer journey. When customers have to repeat information, explain their prior experiences with the same organization multiple times, or don’t feel like the organization cares about their last interaction, they’re bound to get frustrated. Encouraging interdepartmental interaction helps employees understand what their customers experience at different points, how they might feel during their personal interactions, and where they’re going.
  • Employees can identify disconnects. If there are gaps in the customer journey, inter-departmental communication is the only way to fill those. There may be points along the customer journey where customers are left in the dark or aren’t provided all the information they need. Interdepartmental communication relieves this issue and helps different groups assign responsibility to meet customer needs.

Consider interdepartmental interaction during your next staff meeting. Getting departments and individuals to interact in meaningful ways — specifically by shadowing and seeing each other work — will give your organization an incredible amount of insight. Learnings during this process will improve your customer journey and inspire out-of-the-box thinking to address deficiencies in your customer experience.