If at all possible, ensure that EVERY SINGLE PERSON who works for you is also a customer of your company.
Pls note: If you’re a doctor, nurse, teacher, policeman, fireman, warden or work in a hospital or at any one of several other professions, PLS IGNORE THIS ADVICE!!!
Sure, all employees have access to the different tools & communications that your customers use & receive. They most probably get some hands-on experience while they’re in new hire & refresher training.
But there is nothing more valuable…NOTHING…than personally experiencing the level & type of service that your customers normally receive.
You don’t necessarily need a “secret shopper’s” program to see just how well…or poorly…your area, and your company, are doing.
(Yes, I know, you’re in “really, really close contact with your customers & what’s happening”.
You look at all the satisfaction survey results.
You read all the verbatims & free-form comments they include.
You receive both complaint & complimentary letters directly or get reports from your (Executive) Communications Unit.
You see the suggestions that users of your on-line & mobile/app functions submit.
You speak with family & friends who themselves are customers about their experiences, especially when they have an issue or special request.
I completely understand.
“Psssst, Mike, actually I…”
Oh, you don’t? Well you’d better start doing so ASAP!
However, regardless of “how connected you are” to what your customers feel about your products & services, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for being a customer yourself!
Same for your people.)
Hmmm, where was I? 🤔
Right, secret shoppers…
Not only can your employees help you with that, but their own personal experiences & interaction with the different touch points of your organization…ATMs, stores, company website, forms, statements, invoices, telephone Customer Service, chat, IVR/Interactive Voice Response, phone apps…will significantly improve their own expertise when it comes to assisting your customers.
Research has shown that people remember about 60% or so of information that they’re told.
That figure rises to ~70% when that same stuff is read.
But when someone personally experiences something BY ACTUALLY DOING IT THEMSELVES, then retention of that data is often 85% or greater!
They’ll learn exactly what it’s like to open a monthly statement…
…look through the inserts…
…see what information is presented & how…
…compare that to the tools they use to access the same information at work…
…and be much better equipped to handle the “translation” that’s necessary between what the customer is seeing/doing/saying & what the employee on the other side is seeing & hearing.
They’ll also identify various ways to make transacting with your company even easier.
Did they know they could use nicknames for different accounts or bill payees with on-line & mobile banking? It’s a lot easier to pay the proper vendor when one payee is labeled “Home Phone” & the other “Mom’s Cell” (even though they’re with the same company) or when you’re transferring money between accounts.
No need to remember account numbers when your accounts are named “My Checking”, “Our Joint Checking”, “College Savings”, “Johnnie’s Money Market”, “Her Car Loan”, etc..
They’ll learn the various “tricks” to make IVR navigation easier & quicker.
They’ll master the use of various alerts when different situations occur (low balance, high $ transactions, direct debits, etc.).
They’ll better understand various options available, for example, when a customer reaches the daily cash withdrawal maximum.
There are probably dozens & dozens (hundreds?) of helpful hints & tidbits of information they can glean by being customers themselves.
I’ve always told my people…
“It’s really nice that you wanna help teach me how to drive.
But unless you’re already able & a proven good driver, we’re just gonna crash into a tree!”
Pls don’t have your people & customers crashing into the proverbial trees. Make sure your people are certified instructors with as much hands-on practice AND DAILY USE OF THE TOOLS as possible.
It really, really works!
To this day, I’m constantly sending in suggestions to improve the Citi Mobile app!!! Yes, I continue to be a pest.
For example, how come when you’re making a transfer payment to, say, your Checking Plus (overdraft protection), the system will automatically display .”Total Amount Owed”, but NOT “Minimum Amount Due”? I then find myself having to exit from the Transfer/Payment function, return to Account Info, then start the Tsfr/Pymt process all over again!
Yeah, I could check the amount due before I start, but that’s not the point.
Why not just provide both pieces of info?
And why don’t payment coupons from any company ACTIVELY PROMOTE THAT YOU MAKE AN ELECTRONIC PAYMENT, ya know, in GIGANTIC lettering, instead of just telling you to enclose your check or money order made out to “XYZ”?
When I got my AARP membership renewal mailing recently, I needed a damned electronic microscope to find out that info!
Look, what’s good for the company is almost always good for the customer as well.
And vice versa!!!
This stuff ain’t magic.
Once again, thank you so very much for listening!