Customer Care is User Experience

If your organization deals with end users at all, they probably have a Customer Care department. It’s a constant disappointment and trouble spot, with regular targets from on high to reduce costs.

To end users, they are almost always a terrible experience, and drag down the satisfaction of your customers with your whole brand.

These unpleasant, expensive Customer Care centers fix problems for people who call, email, tweet, etc. at them. They supposedly put people first, and apologize for the inconvenience but spend more time meeting cost goals which other metrics like reducing time to resolve issues.

But good ones identify problems, and have quick ways to escalate so they stop being problems.

I’ve worked with several Customer Care organizations, done research into them, listened to calls and helped improve tools and processes. As many as 90% of customer contact are about something impacting many, many customers.

Care reps are trained, in theory, to treat each customer like a unique individual, and start each case from scratch, working through all possible problems and each troubleshooting step. But treating each call like it’s absolutely unique is a huge waste, and a missed opportunity.

You don’t work bugs like this, or do you? Where do you discover bugs, anyway? Through a formal test procedure, which you lament is complex with all the ways people use your product, and all the different devices. So why aren’t you using your users and the Customer Care department as a bug reporting system?

Bugs don’t get responded to with a workaround for the reporting party, but fixed for everyone.

The same can be done for accessibility issues, or any other type of problem. Allow Customer Care representatives to escalate problems they discover to the proper team immediately. Make sure your DevOps guys work closely with Customer Care —or are actually a part of it. Run regular reports from customer interactions, feedback, ratings and reviews just like you do with analytics and watching the sales funnel. Use that data to prioritize your activities outside Customer Care, not jus add to the knowledgebase.

Work though that business or technical issue for each key problem encountered, so you don’t spend time working around the problem for each caller, but quickly fix it for everyone. More customer satisfaction, which leads to retention and sales, and if that’s not enough: its much, much cheaper in the end.

Customer Care is too often viewed as a necessary evil, but it’s a key part of how people experience your organization. Customer Care is part of your user’s experience. Design it that way.

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