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Put Customers in Control

How Do You Put Your Customer in Control of the Customer Experience?

Vinith Kumar

Vinith Kumar

General Manager

Scenario I

I call up my mobile service provider for a billing issue. I am put on hold for 20 minutes before I get to speak to an agent. Then, I am transferred from one extension to another, and it takes 50 minutes for me to get a resolution to my problem.

I, as a customer, am not in control here.

Scenario II

I write an email to my auto insurance company disputing my claims on my service. I get a customer-compliant number, promising to resolve the dispute within 72 hours. I didn’t receive any resolution, so I called customer care armed with the complaint number. I am put on hold endlessly before someone responds to me, stating that I’d receive an email from them in the next 48 hours.

I, as a customer, am not in control here.

Scenario III

My Internet service at home is not working. I opened their mobile application and registered a support request. I received a message stating they had recorded a complaint and would rectify the issues as early as possible. ‘As early as possible’ is the operative term here. It takes them 48 hours to restore my connection with no communication in between.

I, as a customer, am not in control here.

How Do You Put Your Customer in Control Here?

The easiest way is to anticipate your customers’ needs and provide them proactively with self-service capabilities.

Proactiveness Here Can Mean:

  • Informing customers about problems before they occur – planned maintenance outages, any infrastructural issue that might take more than a few hours to fix, etc.
  • Keeping the customers informed about upcoming renewals and subscription payments
  • Informing customers to update their payment details that are about to expire
  • Adding all reported customer issues as a part of the knowledge basis that any other customer can access
  • Continuous learning to reduce the Service Level Agreement (SLAs) as much as possible

Besides these housekeeping activities, you should provide options such as a frequently asked questions page, a knowledge base, or an online community where customers can find answers anytime.

How about running a chatbot with conversational AI that can throw up answers to transactional queries quickly? Also, it should have a feature for you to switch to talking to a human agent on chat or on the phone to resolve anything more complex.

How Do You Make Use of These for the Scenarios Listed Above?

In the case of scenario I, let us assume that I am provided with an automated chatbot option. I go to the chat and am provided with multiple options, one of which is billing.

I choose the billing option, and then I choose the last bill. After this, the bot is not able to answer my queries further. So, it provides me an option to talk to a live agent, and I explain to her that I needed clarification on a particular item in my bill, and the agent helps me resolve it.

Wouldn’t I be happy with the experience?

Let Us Look at Scenario II

In addition to the complaint number and their standard SLA as a part of their email, if I also received a phone number that I could reach if the issues didn’t get resolved in 72 hours would have made things much more manageable.

Let us assume I call the number and enter my complaint number on the Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The moment they see my complaint number, they should be able to immediately direct me to the disputes department for a resolution.

Wouldn’t I be happy with the experience?

Let Us Look at Scenario III

Once I registered a complaint on the Internet service providers’ app that my Internet is not working, let us assume that I get a message from them stating that they would resolve it quickly. I can expect communication from them within 2 hours.

Once they identify the issue and if it requires technical intervention, they should send me a message that a particular service engineer has been assigned the task. They should also send the service engineer’s number.

Now, I can directly contact the service engineer to know the status of my complaint.

Wouldn’t I be happy with the experience?

Proactive Service – A Case Example

I read about Intuitive Health, an Emergency Room (ER) and urgent care company. I am sharing their success in using proactive interventions to put their customers in control of their healthcare narrative while keeping down customer costs.

After realizing that many patients’ ER experiences were far from optimum and ER utilization rates were high, Intuitive Health combined ER and urgent care, where an ER-trained doctor determines the level of care needed. Patients are then only billed for the level of care received.

About 70% of patients in Intuitive Health today walk out with an urgent care bill, saving patients and payors millions annually.

Beyond lower bills, the positive customer experience extends to the entire facility’s layout. Intuitive Health takes a patient-centric approach using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to ensure they are meeting patient needs with real-time feedback. They then use this customer feedback to improve operational processes and procedures for better patient care.

Closing Thoughts

The easiest way to put customers in control is to map their journey with all the minutest details. Once we do that, we can proactively figure out everything that a customer may need in their journey and everything that can go wrong.

Once we are clear, we can help the customers easily navigate through them. Besides, we should document every customer issue and complaint we receive as a part of our knowledge base to improve the overall customer experience.

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