Customer care is the store sign of your brand. Almost every service interaction with your customer is a moment of truth – it creates a lasting impression and impacts the customer experience more than any other touch point along the customer lifecycle. But how do you make sure that your organization consistently performs well in these moments?
Wikipedia defines Operational Excellence as an element of organizational leadership that stresses “the application of principles, systems, and tools toward the sustainable improvement of key performance metrics”. Unlike continuous improvement methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma, the concept of Operational Excellence is designed to create a sustainable impact for an organization based on process focus, systemic thinking, consistency and customer value.
In the context of customer service, Operational Excellence should help an organization to achieve a position where every single interaction with a customer creates a memorable experience, contributing to long-term customer relationships and brand loyalty. Let’s explore some of the key ingredients for Operational Excellence in customer care.
1. Global Process and Technology Foundation
„Think global, act local“ is probably one of the greatest misconceptions in the recent history of business administration. The idea was based on the assumption that large global organizations should act not as corporations, but rather as dynamic units, that are adapting to the changing regional market circumstances. That, what in principle was not a bad idea, has in many cases resulted in emergence of so-called “local kingdoms”, national companies that have distinguished themselves from overriding strategic orientations and principles. These may in particular include global standards of the core processes in a company as well as of the underlying technology platform. Nowadays we can see that only because, and not despite of their global idea companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are more successful than others.
2. Backend and Frontend Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
The artificial division between customer facing units like customer service, marketing and sales of backend operations like in supply chain and IT is another misconception. The backend of one particular company is not a mysterious something, which lives its own life. Yet the opposite is the case – it is a fundamental basis for a superior customer experience. Brands that understand the wishes and needs of their customers and that are taking the targeted customer experience as a basis of all business activities and decisions are more successful than others. The integration of backend and frontend triumphs over segregation.
3. Real-Time Data Visibility and Processing
Data is the oil of our age and a globally standardized process and technology platform is the refinery where it is processed. Companies that have access to real time information can make better decisions and at the same time keep control of all critical processes that impact the customer experience. For customer care that means constant transparency of all processes around the globe as well as the opportunity to proactively manage the customer experience, whether it is about the prevention of anticipated problems or optimal management of every service interaction.
4. Actively Managed Service Offering
How many companies do really know what kind of services they are offering to their customers? If we want to stay with the technical jargon of the mobile and consumer electronics industry there seems to be the common distinction between in-warranty and out-of-warranty services. But what that exactly means and what kind of customer experience brands strive stays often vaguely formulated. Successful companies define their offering precisely, identifying KPIs and constantly measuring the performance. This is never a one-time project but a continuous effort that pays off in the long term. Companies that define their customer care offering as one of a high standard are pursuing clear goals and never stay in a loosely defined grey zone.
We at B2X operate a global customer care ecosystem in 140 countries, managing everyday thousands of customer interactions on behalf of some of the leading mobile and electronic device brands. How does your organization pursue Operational Excellence in customer care? Please write to us and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with the latest developments from the mobile market and B2X.
Summary: Every customer interaction counts. Operational Excellence in customer care ensures that your customers’ expectations are consistently met and exceeded. Successful brands relentlessly pursue process and organizational improvements that lead to a sustainable foundation for delivering superior customer service – ideally on global scale and driven by real-time data and modern technology.
Wolf-Christof Matthaeus and Ehab Elhosary are Senior Managers Solution Design at B2X.