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Identify customer and business hotspots
To improve customer experience, a helpful starting point is to get rid of “hotspots” – services or business activities that irritate most of your customers. Prioritise hotspots that could have substantial impact on your revenues. If the hotspots are infeasible to be fixed, at least mitigate the irritation for your customers. They appreciate it!
Any customer experience can always be better. But given customer experience spans across the entire organisation, where should we start? One way to look for improvements is to get rid of “hotspots” – experiences that irritate customers or users, or where business performance can be better.
What are hotspots?
Hotspots could be a particular customer touchpoint or a business activity that can be improved. Such improvement, if executed right, dramatically increases customer satisfaction and the commercial effectiveness of a business.
Customer touchpoints are countless, therefore, it’s not practical to expect to get rid of all hotspots in one go! It is more feasible to first understand the bigger picture, before zooming into the specifics and identifying the hotspots that require our immediate attention.
It can be hard to find the right intervention point to address a customer or business hotspot. This requires understanding the experience, expectations and actions of customers. The good news is that often a series of small, well designed interventions can change and even eliminate a negative hotspot.
The 80/20 rule
It means prioritising hotspots that irritate 80% of your customers. These are usually the services that most or all customers have to go through, such as signing contracts, billing and renewals. Some issues are frustrating to only a small number of customers, while some may seem minor for now but could balloon into bigger problems that will impact most customers. Focus on the more consequential ones will be a good start.
Identify hotspots and continuously improve your service
Organizations focus too much on where and when the customer service problems occur. They need to adopt a pre-emptive approach to designing and improving processes around customer’s service experience. This would give them huge opportunity to improve services that cover the majority (80%) of the customers. By focusing on where the problems originate, organizations have also a potential to reduce service costs, as problem scenarios would never occur at the first place.
Customers vs users
Not all irritations are equal. Therefore, it is important to identify hotspots that also matter to your business.
Here, it is helpful to distinguish customers from users. Take a hotel. Customers book and pay the bill, while guests (ie. users) sleep in the rooms and use the facilities. Irritated customers may switch to another hotel and never return. Irritated users, however, likely pose less business consequence if any inconvenience is resolved during their stay.
The second-best option
Some hotspots are too costly or infeasible to be gotten rid of or even fixed. It may be due to technical, political, legal or organisational constraints. If that is the case, acknowledge the problem and apologise to customers, and more importantly, offer support to mitigate the irritation. Customers appreciate that!
Problems become opportunities
Hotspots are issues awaiting to be fixed: some are easy to correct, while some are too impractical to be dealt with. In either case, identifying hotspots helps organisations stay focused on their customers and the potential problems in their experience. Organisations which manage to address hotspots are turning problems into opportunities.