Welcome back to our 3-part series on how different stakeholders (Customer, Company Executive, Customer Support Lead, and other CX professionals) think about understanding the customer’s voice. The last voice (but certainly not least) we wanted to cover is the voice of a Customer Support Leader.
The Customer Support Leader is a particularly important voice as they are the orchestrator of all customer conversations. They're the connection between customer and company.
For this edition, we sat down with Kriti Kapoor, former Head of Social Customer Care at Microsoft. Kapoor has over 20 years of experience as a leader in the customer support industry, including working as the Global Director of Social Care at HP. Over the years, she has learned a thing or two about how important having a successful VOC program is in building strong customer relationships.
Here's what we learned.
“A company doesn’t exist without its customers,” Kapoor remarks. In her work as a leader in Customer Support, she believes that in addition to operating with integrity, there are three key things that empower or break a company: product development that meets customer needs, a solid sales team, and best in class service/support experience.
Her goal is to build a team that creates transformative support experiences that retain customers and earns their loyalty. Kapoor understands that what brings those two challenges together is the customer experience.
A company needs to listen to customer feedback regardless if the experience was positive or not. Bring in examples of customer tweets from real-time social media or survey responses to try and understand what took place in the customer journey. Look for where the friction was in the product (whether if it's a new product lifecycle or an established one) and resolve any issues. If it was a great experience, companies should double down on those successes and keep improving to exceed the customer’s expectations next time.
Throughout Kapoor’s CX journey, a valuable challenge she has faced is learning how to use metrics, market research, VoC data, and customer data across all channels and simplifying it into one vision. With a diverse group of customers comes a large range of experiences and preferred channels including chat, or social media.
Gathering customer insights across customer surveys, online reviews, and even focus groups will help to direct actionable insights that will help create more effective VOC programs. You don't need a Forrester and Gartner report to tell you that you should never underestimate the power of gathering feedback through data collection, text analytics, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), etc.
Kapoor believes that there needs to be a holistic way to tie and automate this data together. “The main problem is that each department looks only at their piece of the puzzle rather than being customer-centric. It's still either very channel-centric or function centric view of the world”.
Customer retention and customer loyalty depend on all channels focusing on a singular vision. This begins with breaking the silos and starting with the customer at the center of that experience. Being customer-centric means looking at the bigger picture, not just focusing on one piece of the puzzle.
“It is not just saying hey, I am paying attention to this from a support standpoint but I really want to make sure that as a leader in your organization that I have a focus on essentializing that in every department," Kapoor remarks.
“The main problem is that each department looks only at their piece of the puzzle rather than being customer-centric, its still either very channel centric or function centric view of the world”.
In all of her experiences, Kapoor has seen the many ups and downs of leading customer support. One takeaway that she has valued is the impact that dedication to customer satisfaction (CSAT) has had on customers. She recalls a particularly special experience:
“In our online community, we had received feedback from an unhappy customer who had an issue with a brand new printer that he had purchased for his son’s Boy Scouts Soapbox Derby. He was part of a volunteering team for the weekend and he desperately needed his printer to work. He came on my community’s page to talk about his issue and someone on the thread contacted us about the dilemma.
Our Executive Escalation team learned about the issue and coordinated with this customer to have a brand new printer delivered to his house in time for the weekend. He appreciated it and couldn’t believe that we went out of our way to do that for him.
For me, that is when the voice of the customer is so important. Just one little interaction has the potential to have a profound impact on other people and create a better customer experience. That makes the relationship between the company and the customer so real. He was pleasantly surprised and that for me was a beautiful moment of reflecting how when we do this right, you can create magic."
“Just one little interaction has the potential to have a profound impact on other people.”
Bottom line: Customer success is no easy task. Leaders need to constantly understand common customer issues, reasons behind churn, and key factors in customers' decision-making process. That's why VOC efforts are so important for helping to bring in new customers, cross-sell existing ones, and all the while managing detractors that don't recognize your business value.
What are some ways Customer Support has gone above and beyond your expectations? Let us know other examples in the comments!