"Customer What?" Looking Ahead with Ian Golding

“Now, more than ever, should be a wonderful time to be a customer”, says Ian Golding, author of Customer What? a refreshing and practical guide to the service experience. We recently chatted with Ian asked about the year ahead.

Q1: How do businesses establish and maintain a “customer service”-driven work culture?

There are a number of ways to create a work culture that puts ‘customer service’ at the forefront of everything people do. Ensuring that customer experience is a key part of the business strategy is one. Giving people the ability to ‘think and act’ in the interests of the customer (without having to ask for permission) is another. At the heart of this aspiration though, is the need to ensure that you treat your people in the way you would like them to treat your customer. Look after your people, they will look after your customer.

Q2: What customer service challenges do businesses need to overcome?

Regrettably, this is simple to answer – putting the needs of the business ahead of the needs of the customer and employees. If an organization thinks it exists to make money, then it will only focus on the things important to ‘it’ in making money – thus relegating customers and employees to the world of ‘afterthought’!

Q3: What is some key customer metrics every business should be tracking.

Again there is no right or wrong here – however, when it comes to customer experience, I always recommend measuring three ‘voices’:

  1. VOC – the voice of the customers is a term used in business and Information Technology to describe the in-depth process of capturing customer's expectations, preferences, and aversions.
  2. VOE – the voice of the employee summarizes the needs, desires, hopes, and preferences of all employees within an organization.
  3. VOP - the voice of the process is how the process communicates with the organization on performance against customer needs and expectations.

Q4: Are business capturing the right customer feedback?

Without question, the failure of organizations to capture feedback that is truly representative of the ‘end to end’ customer journey! Additionally, obsession with achieving numbers (NPS or CSat scores) rather than capturing ACTIONABLE feedback is a common error around the world and across industries.

Ian Golding is an independent consultant serving the automotive, financial services, logistics, and utility industries. As an avid speaker and writer, Ian has published over 300 articles on the subject and delivered keynote speeches globally. He has also served on the inaugural board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), of which he was a founder member. In 2015, Ian became an Advisor and featured columnist for CustomerThink – a global online community of business leaders striving to create profitable customer-centric enterprises. The site serves 80,000+ visitors per month from 200 countries. You can read Ian’s column, here, or follow him on Ian Golding