by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social MediaTagged as: Customer Service, Digital Strategy, Risk Management, Service Quality
What do you do when you are disappointed with a product or service that you have purchased? Most people turn to the web: a quick check on Google solves many problems. And a few choice words on Twitter or Facebook can let everyone know about the experience.
From an organization’s perspective however, those “choice” words can be terribly damaging to the brand, if not addressed immediately. One powerful response strategy is scenario planning. It works like this:
1) The top ten likely scenarios are identified, and then responses scripted. These scenarios should cover 80-90% of the likely queries that come in.
2) Customer service representatives are trained to identify the scenarios and the responses, but are empowered to personalize the scripted response.
3) Queries that are beyond the identified scenarios are addressed (sometimes by a more senior person), but then flagged for review and possibly added to the list of scripted scenarios.
Here are a few scenario examples:
Whether you run a large customer service center, or just respond to social media questions on an ad hoc basis, the underlying genius of scenario planning is that the thinking is done beforehand. This week, consider your top ten queries, but instead of developing after-the-fact response strategies, feed these back into the business: what can be changed within the product or service to prevent the queries from being made in the first place? (Some hints: change the sales process, marketing materials, service delivery process, training, product packaging, instruction manuals, etc.)
Marketing Insight: Research (Berry, Zeimanthal, Parasuraman) indicates that the key determinants of service quality are Responsiveness, Reliability, Assurance, Empathy, and Tangibles, with Responsiveness and Reliability being paramount. There is a critical connection between a successful online customer service strategy, and these five dimensions. Developing scenarios and process allows you to ensure that these connections exist.
Back to the past: The first scenario-based response strategy I developed was for accounting-consulting firm KPMG in the mid-1990’s. Same concepts, but the challenge then was dealing with another “new” technology: email and a web site.
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