Path to Resolution in the (digital) Age of the Customer


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It's no secret that digital media is making commerce cheaper. A digital presence levels the playing field between organizations and individuals. Online, you can set up a site fairly quickly, include the options you'd like to have for commerce, and the tools that will give you the ability to measure how you're doing against your goals.

It's too easy, in fact. Let's pick on email this time.

When things go wrong

Things will and do go wrong with digital media, just like with traditional media. An email campaign that was supposed to deliver in waves is somehow scrambled and now your first message is held on some server, while the second one has already been delivered.

The wrong order in messages can disrupt not just your campaign, it can create confusion with customers or prospective customers. You may not see this as a customer issue, and you'd be blindsided when it happens. Because, it does happen with increased frequency.

One-way

We won't get into why you're still thinking in terms of campaigns in this post. Maybe because that's what you know and are comfortable with, even as the results could be much better going the integrated program route.

The main challenge with campaigns is that they're designed to be pretty much one way.

Push all the way into people's email boxes. The problem with this set up is that when things go wrong, or a customer wants to talk with you, the only way they can do that conveniently is by responding to the email they received.

@reply

With all the advances in the gazillion ways of sharing information, there is hardly a @reply button that spells clearly how this is a direct path to question resolution. You could be sharing your grievance with the world about something you don't like, by using the widget.

What you cannot find is often the one button you want — a path to issue resolution.

The one place you can go to, no matter the issue. Is this because organizations are still challenged by internal silos? In other words, if the answer is "it depends", then the customer has no clear communication channel back to you — no button.

Maybe this is just an issue with large organizations. Surely individuals with Internet businesses have the button you can use to communicate with them. Is one auto responder that says "we're really busy taking orders right now" giving out the desired impression?

Frankly, customers don't care how much money you are making, what they want is a clear path to resolution for their issue.

***

Have you thought about providing one path to resolution for your customers, no matter the issue? Why/why not?

You'll be hard pressed to call your business customer-centric and your marketing integrated without thinking carefully about this point.

Your customers don't care about your org chart. They just want to know they can get what they need resolved addressed. Period.

© 2010 Valeria
Maltoni
. All rights reserved.


0 responses to “Path to Resolution in the (digital) Age of the Customer”

  1. Working solely with nonprofits now, I know that a lot of nonprofits have a problem with not knowing who should field questions and where to find the correct answer. It’s been very similar in small businesses I’ve worked for as well. Most people are very capable at their jobs, but when a client, donor, etc contacts them with a problem, they don’t know where to direct them or how to handle it. I think this is where having a sort-of answers warehouse helps. Internal wikis, FAQs, and the like combined with being empowered to make decisions can solve a lot of problems straightaway.

  2. This is something organizations are underestimating, to their detriment. Frank Eliason at Comcast provided a clear path to getting things resolved. Customer support is marketing. Frank didn’t resolve everything by himself, he was just the one button you could use to get resolution from Comcast. He got the organization aligned to solving the issues behind the scenes.
    True that on internal collaboration playing a huge role in streamlining the path.

  3. @Valeria I definitely agree. Weren’t there some Staples (or some other similar company) commercials not too long ago where the customer pushed a button and what they needed appeared or something of that nature? Similarly & ideally, customers should be able to IM with you with 1 click, not have to go through 15 levels of an automated phone menu when they want to talk, find the product they want immediately online, etc, etc. And then once they get to a person, that person needs to be empowered to take decisive action for them.

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