“There is one thing that service, marketing and sales managers agree upon: a better alignment of your customer contact channels directly improves the success of your organization.”
“A corporate control function on C-level is necessary to structure processes and all the activities of marketing, sales and services.”
Both these statements are based on recent research done in Europe among Directors and Managers of Marketing, Sales and Services Departments ranging from large to small organizations. In the latest monthly publication of the Strategic Decisions Monitor, there is an emphasis on the desirability of a Chief Customer Officer, or chief customer complaint officer, and the requirement to deploy the new media tools and focus on delivery of multichannel engagement.
Today’s customers are used to employing different contact channels to request information or make sales transactions. Many customers use all channels – Web, Mobile, Social Media or Customer Service call centre in an effort to resolve an issue or complaint. Customers expect their issue or complaint to be resolved properly and timely. Customers, as travellers, have a higher expectation of resolution, as a result of time-constrained travel. One measurement we have found is AirGate Solutions’ Passenger Experience Index (PEI). Another is Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CXi).
The research shows more than 90% of the respondents find that a more integrated channel management is needed to improve the quality and consistency to their customers. This is especially true for large organizations which face the most problems getting alignment between all customer contact channels.
Customer contact centres are traditionally handling call and emails, whereas marketing is handling the web self-service and select social media channels. We’ve met with and reviewed the social media efforts of airports such as Boston Logan, London Gatwick, Amsterdam Schiphol, amongst others to understand how social media channels are being used to improve customer service. On the whole, they have demonstrated a commitment to customer service improvement.
Among the businesses not using social media, many are not aligned, even in their offline channels e.g. sales and service staff at airports and check-in.
Chief Customer Officer or Chief Customer Operations
This same research shows that 80% of respondents believe that it is necessary to install a C-level management function to coordinate all activities of marketing, sales and service in the different customer contact channels. Remarkable is that smaller organizations find this more important than large organizations.
In aviation, we see an increasing number of Customer Experience Managers appointed that are now actively managing the customer process. Their goal is focusing their efforts on connecting every different department within an airline or airport organization around customer service.
The research also found that 75% of respondents indicated that they are given insufficient attention during the time available to resolve their complaints. Despite the rise in social media, 80% feel that management of customer complaints should have more focus and needs a higher priority on organizations agenda.
Deployment of new media
More than 65% find technology nor the quality of contact centre agents adequate for introducing new channels as chat and social media, Investing in technology and applications is necessary, as well as training and knowledge of the agents.
London Gatwick Airport Does It Right
It’s interesting to note that London Gatwick Airport made a dramatic shift from a traditional customer service model to one that fully embraces multi-channel web, social media and Customer Service. Their implementation has improved customer satisfaction significantly.