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In the coming recession put your customers first with decision management

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I was pointed to a post today on the topic of customer service (Another Day, Another Customer-Service Nightmare on the EconoWhiner) that pointed out that companies

need to provide quality service and quality customer service if they’re going to survive an economic downturn as severe as this one?

Now I am not going to pick on AOL or even argue that his particular problem with AOL is the result of poor decision management (basic data management seems like the primary cause) – although making the billing decision a real decision not just a price look up would have allowed for discount rules based on problems.   What struck me was how many companies are listed in the comments! Clearly bad customer service is epidemic and, thanks to the internet, companies with bad customer service are going to be “outed”.

If you believe, as I do, that better customer experiences and putting your customers front-and-center will help you survive the recession, what can decision management do to help? First you could read my series of posts on using decision management to deliver a 21st Century Customer Experience. More specifically:

  • You can make sure that your automated systems actually treat customers as people by making customer treatment decisions explicit and then putting your customer service people in charge of how those decisions get made.
  • Take this approach to the self-service applications you have for your customers and you can make sure self-service helps rather than hinders
  • You can also make sure your agents know how to treat your customers by providing them with decisions rather than data, targeted actions not general purpose lists etc. Your agents need to focus on the conversation and the customer, not on reading and analyzing customer data.
  • Because customers respond to every decision you make as though it was personal and deliberate you can ensure that customer treatment decisions actually are by really personalizing your interactions
  • You can also use decision management to make better churn and retention decisions and so retain customers – especially profitable ones!
  • Using decision management to take control of customer treatment decisions helps make sure all your people and all your systems treat your customers the way you want to and so institutionalize great service

Check out my posts on Customer Experience for more thoughts

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