Improving the Customer Experience part 3: A Deeper Dive into Total Contact Ownership
Providing exceptional customer care requires your Help Desk team to take ownership and accountability for all customer requests. Adopting the concept of Total Contact Ownership, the idea that all customer requests are the responsibility of the first responder, is key to a successful customer experience. By responding to the request, you own the problem. As the owner of the issue, you will be responsible for gathering and organizing the information from the customer that pertains to the problem at hand and for continuing to pursue the answer or resolution taking the issue full circle until the customer is satisfied. Your Total Contact Ownership policy and process should be clearly defined for customers and employees and take into consideration requests that are escalated to another Help Desk resource and/or another resource outside the support team. The Total Contact Ownership methodology is based on the following principles:
- Best in class support – providing top-notch, value-added solutions to the customer focusing on excellence in customer care.
- Ongoing notifications and updates are provided to the customer keeping them informed at all times on the status of their issue, next steps, and estimated time of completion.
- Consistent and effective messaging that lets the customer know you have not forgotten them and are working to find a resolution to their issue.
- Commitment to customer satisfaction. By taking ownership and accountability for the issue, you’re demonstrating your commitment to the customer’s satisfaction. Be careful not to confuse your perception of incident resolution or closure with the customer’s satisfaction. An issue is closed only when it is considered resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. You should make every effort to confirm that the resolution has been received and implemented and that the customer is satisfied with the resolution provided.
- Provide on-going follow-up. Continue to send follow-up messages, to the customer and other support resources involved in the issue, providing status updates and requesting additional information and feedback.
- Define Help Desk triage, dispatch, and escalation policies in accordance with your Total Contact Ownership process so that customers, Help Desk team members, and other members of the organization understand their role and responsibility in the process.
- Collaborate with other support groups and members of the organization to ensure all teams are in compliance with the firm’s Total Contact Ownership methodology. Communication and cooperation is key to providing a successful customer experience.
To implement Total Contact Ownership successfully, you should consider integrating the following practices:
- Define your organization’s Total Contact Ownership policy and ensure all Help Desk and other support staff fully understand its meaning and their responsibility in problem ownership.
- Monitor interactions with the customer and provide feedback to support staff regarding their compliance with the Total Contact Ownership policy.
- Measure support staff performance for response and resolution times.
- Create standard opening greetings, process of gathering information, and closures.
- Maintain consistency that allows you to easily track and report on compliance with your Total Contact Ownership policy.
- Provide consistent notifications and updates to customers within a predetermined time frame if the issue is not resolved at the first point of contact.
- Respond to customer satisfaction surveys designed to capture feedback regarding the Total Contact Ownership policy.
- Select a tool or system that will allow you to track Total Contact Ownership information, assign multiple resources, and report on things like response times and number of touch points.
- Consider how the Total Contact Ownership process be combined with your current performance standards.
- Determine appropriate response times for all support groups for both regular and escalated issues.
- Document and communicate the process to your customers, support resources, and other key members of the organization.
- Modify the technology to meet the needs of the process.
- Measure the success of the process and communicate the results to support resources and customers.
- Incorporate your Total Contact Ownership process into your Customer Satisfaction Survey. Use the feedback from these surveys to improve the process and reward your employees.
Implementing a Total Contract Ownership process does not happen overnight. It takes time to develop procedures and requires cooperation from resources across the organization. Total Contact Ownership should be embraced by the firm and at the core of your Help Desk process. Practicing Total Contact Ownership leads to the most effective and efficient support operations, reduces resolution times, and increases customer satisfaction.
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