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Everyone knows that success in business depends on great customer experience. In industries across the board, we’re seeing that the voice of the customer is driving the market because it not only drives customer loyalty, but it reduces costs as well – all of which benefit the consumer, business, and shareholder. The key is to address the underlying problems and not just treat the symptoms, much like a doctor does with his or her patients.

Consider a pendulum that swings from cost to customer experience. Spending too much energy on providing a great customer experience drives up costs, and if cost savings are the sole focus, the customer experience fails. We frequently see organizations drive cost reduction by cutting budgets within each business function, expecting their leaders to find savings in their individual operations. This approach does work, but drives mostly incremental change rather than transformational change, causing more effort and frustration for the customer. The best way to differentiate in the marketplace and drive transformational change is by taking a holistic view of the organization.

That’s where Northridge steps in and helps our clients fix the right problems.

The first step is to understand the end-to-end customer experience and clearly define what is important to your customers. In order to do that, you’ll need two things: a journey map and a service blueprint. These documents detail the end-to-end customer experience and how the supporting back-office functions enable the front line to deliver against those expectations.

It’s critical to define the true problem just as a doctor does with his/her patient.  This requires an independent assessment of the situation by an expert who provides:

  • Quantitative analysis: What do key data and customer metrics tell us about the problem?
  • Observations: What does the expert see when he/she conducts in-person or side-by-side observations?
  • Discussion: What does the expert learn from dialogue with key stakeholders?
  • Diagnosis: Based on the expert’s evaluation of other situations similar to this one, what is the optimal course of action that will deliver the best results?

Once you’ve identified the diagnosis or root cause of the customer experience issues, you can then take actionable steps to solve it:

1. Identify and Prescribe Treatment Plan: There are many actions you can take, but some will only address the symptoms – like better training for your agents to handle frustrated callers.  So, it is critical to select the actions that are meaningful and will systemically fix the root cause problems. We also see in both health and business, that people want a ‘quick fix,’ which results in frequent starts and stops of various initiatives, like a First Call Resolution contest of the month. If the right treatment plan isn’t in place, your associates’ commitment varies which also negatively impacts results.
2. Follow Through on Plan: Our consultants are experts at developing these plans just as doctors are with your health. Executing the plan includes alignment of all cross-functional stakeholders, structured project management, effective communications, and targeted process design.
3. Follow up and Measure Results:  Just as with your health, it is critical to measure the right things to ensure the desired results are achieved.  We frequently find that organizations have dozens of metrics, but are lacking clear visibility to the ones that truly matter to the customer.  Having the right data readily available allows you to celebrate successes along the way and refine the actions to maximize the results.

By taking this disciplined approach, you can expect to see significant increases in customer loyalty and retention, business growth, as well as cost reduction. With so many variables in organizations, it is impossible to predict results; however, we often see a 7 to 15 percent cost reduction along with substantial increases in customer loyalty and business growth. While the approach works across all industries, we are seeing that healthcare companies are currently realizing significant benefits as they transition from a B2B to a B2C environment. It is critical that they quickly and effectively identify and deliver on the true needs of their consumers which is exactly what this disciplined approach offers.