As I interact with providers, both as an individual consumer and as a business customer, I’m delighted with the improvement in the customer experience that I’m receiving. I’ve seen improvements in customer service and customer-facing processes from companies ranging from UPS (which has redesigned its customer service process—both online and on the phone) to the S&S Deli (one of my favorites places, but which had, in the past, allowed its servers to be, well, neglectful).
I’m not sure, however, if my improved dining experience at S&S was because I was fortunate during my last few visits to have a server in a good mood or whether management had made it clear that the staff needed to be more attentive and polite. I’ve spoken of the dangers of “luck of the draw” customer service before in my article about Dell’s customer service, and I have a hunch that this might be the case at S&S. Lucky for them, the S&S wings are so delicious!
But the change at UPS is a strategic one that crosses customer touchpoints and has a well-thought-out process supporting it. In brief, I waited one extremely rainy day to receive a package that I needed. At about 7p.m. I was looking out the window, and I saw the UPS truck coming up the road. “Finally,” I thought. But the truck just drove by. I checked the delivery status online, and it said that delivery was attempted, but the recipient wasn’t home! I even went down to the front door of my condo building to see if I hadn’t realized that a notice was left. But there was no notice.
I have had trouble with UPS non-deliveries in the past, and I hadn’t received particularly impressive customer service. It was polite, and they arranged to re-deliver, but I felt that it was just “business as usual” and that nothing would change. So when I called this time, and got a message that it was after hours but someone would get back to me the next day, I didn’t have high hopes. I was so frustrated that I also sent an email complaint from the UPS web site.
I received an automated email response saying that someone would be in touch with me the next day, but I still wasn’t all that impressed. Until the next morning when, at 9a.m. sharp, I received a phone call from a UPS agent asking about my problem. And she knew I had sent an email as well as called! I explained my problem. She spent a lot of time with me on the phone commiserating and ensuring that the matter would be investigated. And since I had no delivery notice and decided I wanted to pick up the package at the local distribution center, she gave me a code that would expedite my pick up. When I got to the center, they knew by the code that there had been a problem, and they were very gracious. Very different than my previous experience.
But that wasn’t the end. The next day, I received another call from UPS to find out if everything had gone well. And I also received an email asking the same thing. Quite a turnaround!
The change at UPS was obviously a corporate decision to improve customer service. I was confident that this change was a strategic mandate, complete with supporting business processes, touchpoint considerations, and new customer-centric policies, all of which have been implemented. Although I’m pretty annoyed at the UPS driver who didn’t want to get wet, my opinion of the UPS brand in general has gone up.
Which leads to our article, How to Think About Your Customer Experience and User Experience Design Strategy. Patty Seybold and I understand that, while it is easy to decide to be customer focused and provide great customer experiences, actually developing, implementing, and enforcing an actionable CX and UX strategy isn’t that easy. So we have provided some of the questions and issues that must be addressed when creating an implementable CX/UX strategy as well as our answers to those questions, based on the best practices we’ve observed.