This is BillingViews’ year of Common Sense. We have already started to apply the concept to ‘Big Data’ – start small, use technology to scale not to think for you – and thought it was time to apply the same to customer experience.
There are more articles and blog posts on customer experience than snowflakes in a snowstorm. Many are as opaque as said snowstorm, many are fluffy and talk about very ‘touchy feely’ things like customers’ emotions.
It may have been done before – it would take some time to check through the snowstorm of articles – but perhaps a practical idea would be to turn the concept around and think about the company experience – from the customer’s perspective.
That done, those all too familiar questions beloved of the customer experience bloggers are easier to formulate:
– What is my impression of the company before I do business with them?
– Do my peers, friends and family know them and what do they think?
– What is my first impression of the company – directly?
– Is there a marked difference between the company’s online and offline presence?
– Is my first impression of them taking an order easy, pleasing?
The list is probably endless. And it takes a while to get beyond the pre-contact PR and marketing efforts into the realms where billing and BSS can affect the customer experience.
The first is probably provisioning. This obviously must be as sleek, easy and fast as possible. You do not want to walk out of a store, or a web site, gazing lovingly at your new purchase, knowing that you will not be able to use it for hours or days. Already the experience is tarnished.
The next is the product itself and companies have spent much time and effort working on the product experience. Many companies still suffer from fragmented product databases, which not only affects the customer experience but also the interaction with the sales or customer service rep.
Having a centralized product catalogue is – provably – one of the most obvious, common sense areas of focus. If customer service reps or salesmen have all the information at their finger tips and it is intuitive, it make sense that the interaction between him and the customer will be easier, more intuitive, less tense, even – let’s face it – more fun. Not to mention that training costs will be reduced, maintenance costs will be down and upselling opportunities will be easier to manage and therefore take advantage of.
Area One for Review and Difficult Questioning – Product Experience.