By Christie Flanagan on Apr 22, 2013
We all have certain pet peeves about what we experience as customers. One of mine is the all too common experience of calling a customer service line, waiting an interminable amount of time for an actual human to get on the phone, providing the agent with my account information, describing my problem to that agent, and then being transferred to yet another agent because the first one can’t address my problem. Invariably, this next agent asks me to once again provide my account information and once again describe my problem. Why isn’t this information communicated to the next rep in the chain so I don’t have to waste my time and repeat myself? Or better yet, why isn’t that first line rep empowered to help me in the first place.
Many of you may be familiar with “Mind the Gap,” the omnipresent signage in the London Underground that advises subway passengers to take extra care as they cross the gap between the train and the platform. “Mind the Gap” has even become such a part of London’s iconography that you’ll often find it plastered on t-shirts or other souvenirs. The idea behind “Mind the Gap” is to raise risk awareness among passengers so accidents can be prevented, the Tube can run smoothly and riders can go safely about their business. The call center experience I describe above is riddled with what I consider “customer experience gaps” – little landmines that exist between various touch points and channels of interaction where the risk of customer dissatisfaction is high if care is not taken to make these engagements connected, consistent and meaningful. All too often, businesses fail to “mind the gaps” in their customer experience and allow them to become a source of customer pain, frustration or flight.
In recent years, customer experience gaps have only become more plentiful. When I need to make a purchase, my customer journey can take me many places: to a search engine, to a corporate website, to Facebook, or to a store. I may interact with sales people, customer service reps, and other people in my community or in my social network. Sometimes I gather information on my desktop in my office, or on my iPad from the comfort of my sofa, or from my fantastic new smart phone which is with me pretty much everywhere. And as I go about my customer journey with a particular brand, I often observe the lack of connection between the various touch points and that’s because many organizations are failing to “mind the gaps” in their customer experience.
In my opinion, these failures aren’t necessarily intentional. If fact, I think organizations are under more and more pressure to “mind the gaps” and get the customer experience right. Maybe that’s why 22% of respondents in Oracle’s recent Global Customer Experience Survey said that improving the cross-channel experience is the top priority of their organizations’ customer experience program over the next twelve months. One of the problems, however, is that most companies have created systems to address most of these channels and touch points, but they’ve often created them independently, making it difficult to maintain consistent and meaningful interactions with a customer. What companies need to do is examine the infrastructure supporting the customer experience and move away from having these disjointed silos that create customer experience gaps. Oracle can help get you there. How well are you minding the gaps in your customer experience?