The relationship with customers is like any relationship, it’s built on trust and on promises. 10 years ago I worked for a UK company who at that time saw its key differentiator being the customer experience that it delivered and the customer care that it offered as ‘part of the deal’.

As soon as I joined the organization I was inducted into this ‘brand culture’ and one of the key messages that has stuck with me ever since is that Brand is a promise delivered.

We all hate it when promises are broken, it’s often why personal relationships breakdown and it’s also why our relationship with organizations breakdown.

We all know that it’s easy to make promises but so often in business we fail to deliver and that ruins the reputation of the Brand.

In business, promises are made in many different ways:

  • The products and services we develop
  • The marketing messages we create
  • The sales methods we use
  • The service quality we promise

All of these have to align and deliver as promised in order to not let the customer relationship become susceptible to an uncomfortable breakup.

In many cases this breakup is triggered through the customer service experience that just doesn’t meet what is expected or promised by organizations.

According to research by Convergys the top 3 reasons why customers are dissatisfied with customer service are:

  1. Multiple attempts to resolve
  2. Resolution took too long
  3. Had to repeat information

All of these can be significantly reduced through some simple principles that will both reduce the customer effort and increase the operational effectiveness:

  1. Identify the skills of everyone in the organization that could assist a customer – product & service knowledge, languages, sales and service ability, spoken and written etc.
  2. Understand their competency and develop a competency framework
  3. Design your contact management systems to be able to access all of these skilled associates
  4. Develop contact routing processes that enable the right skilled people to be accessed wherever they are; Contact Center Teams, Locations, Home/Remote workers, Outsourcers, Back Office, Branches and Retail Outlets
  5. Ensure that there is ‘protection’ developed into the overflow routing design to avoid overloading or ‘race conditions’
  6. Plan resources based on their skills and competencies
  7. Route customers to the right resources based their context, service needs, contact and service history, value etc.
  8. Make sure the associates have all of the appropriate customer information ‘popped’

By redesigning the way contacts are managed, more customers are going to get answered by associates who are able to deal with their issues promptly and efficiently leading to greater satisfaction. Increased satisfaction leads to the customer being less likely to leave, more likely to buy more, more likely to recommend you to their friends and acquaintance.

At the same time this model will also increase the utilization of resources. It can also increase associate satisfaction as they will get a greater variety of work and be more occupied at the same time.

Don’t let your customer service be the reason for a costly break-up but make customers feel special by treating them as individuals, personalizing their experience and making sure that all possible available resources are used to resolve their issue.

Keep your (Brand) promises.