Contributed By

TWM

Teresa Ward-Maupin

VP of Customer and Digital Experience at Comcast Business

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Start with Customer Experience, Not Customer Service

May 11, 2018

Focus on the customer experience from the start, instead of customer service when things go wrong - demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Many business owners today would likely agree that one of the keys to success is providing great customer service. They invest capital and human resources in customer service programs and technology designed to respond faster and friendlier to problems and complaints. They keep an eagle eye on social media channels to prevent individual fires from turning into massive infernos. Perhaps they even stay awake at night waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if your businesses didn’t need to worry so much about customer service? It’s possible if you make providing a great customer experience a key focus area for your business. When customers have an exceptional experience with your business, they will be less likely to need or demand customer service. Not only can exceptional customer experiences help companies avoid customer service problems, they can help businesses grow, through repeat purchases and word-of-mouth referrals.

Invest in the Customer Experience by Investing in Agility

Begin by making customer experience the best product your business provides. At Comcast Business, customer experience is our top priority, and we’ve dedicated billions of dollars to driving customer experience improvements through all of our products and our network, in addition to all of our internal resources, capabilities, tools and systems.

While many businesses, especially in the tech space, have turned to an agile development methodology to create better products and get them to market faster, at Comcast Business, we focus more on corporate agility in general. We’ve seen the benefits of flexibility in terms of using step-by-step approaches and leveraging a variety of subject matter experts across all functional areas of our organization to more quickly expedite capabilities and to drive innovation. Then, we use those insights to drive both immediate and future product and service releases.

Give Customers a Seat at the Table

Some companies lose sight of who they’re really working for and who they’re serving. At Comcast Business, we give customers a seat at the table: both figuratively and literally. We do so figuratively by making sure that our customers are at the center of everything we do and every product and service we develop. We do so literally by designating an actual chair, in every conference room and at every meeting, for the customer. This compels everyone who works here to think about what our customers need and not just what we want to create or develop.

We also conduct regular meetings with customers. We call them Customer in the Room sessions. Here, we bring internal subject matter experts from a variety of functional areas together with a range of customers, from staunch supporters to detractors and everyone in between. We look at their experience from beginning to current-state and discuss what went well, what didn’t, and possible remaining opportunities. Not only do these meetings provide a valuable learning experience for us, they also provide actionable insights directly to the staff members empowered to resolve any issues — sometimes right on the spot.

Don’t Forget about Your Employees

Employees are often an underleveraged resource in most companies, yet your employees can make or break your customer experience and they often have the best insights on what customers are struggling with on a daily basis. That’s why at Comcast Business, we give our employees a seat at the table as well. We know it’s imperative to listen to our employees and to value their opinions and ideas.

We give our employees a variety of vehicles through which to be heard and acknowledged — from surveys and open-door policies to “shout outs” that recognize their input and feedback, regardless of its nature.

We also invest heavily in our people. We work hard to instill a spirit of empathy within our employees, and we provide them the training, tools and authority they need to address our customers’ needs as quickly as possible. Our agents and representatives are empowered to “own” the customer need or issue until it’s resolved and to navigate each customer through to the appropriate experts if they can’t solve the problem themselves. There may be times we struggle to meet a customer’s expectations but we believe the key is how you recover: owning the issue and working it until the customer is satisfied.

Customer expectations have never been higher. By focusing on the customer experience from the start, instead of customer service when things go wrong, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. Placing the customer at the center of everything your business does and dedicating the internal resources needed to do so can help generate the customer engagement and loyalty needed for growth. Planning today for remarkable customer experiences will pay dividends for years to come.

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